Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Thanks Polly!

Once at a regional conference several years ago the trainers put out colors and paper and play dough and pipe cleaners and things on each table for people to play with during the training sessions. I am a big doodler to begin with. I can't keep my hands still when I'm listening to the TV or a presentation or music or anything else. So this was awesome.

I made this little critter, flew him home on the plane with me and everything, and I think he's held up pretty darn well! Who knew play dough art could last years? He sits on my second-to-the-top shelf in my office, which is also occupied by my collection of fish bottles (see previous post on why it's bad for me to try to collect things...)

Monday, October 27, 2008


Stated by the head lady of the Dallas Cowboys Making the Team show thing talking about the cheerleader's outfits:

"no one uniform is the same".

and now Jason and I are arguing because we both think it was a dumb statement, but for different reasons. No one reason is the same.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tagged - Eight Things

Eight shows I like to watch
2-The Office
3- Big Love
4-True Blood
5 -Project Runway
6- Mystery Diagnosis/Mystery ER
7-True Crime shows (48 hours, Dateline Investigation, etc.)

Eight Favorite Restaurants
1- Don't really have any right now other than China Palace in McComb

Eight Things that Happened to me Yesterday
1- I helped Jason clean the driveway
2- I bought plants @ Clegg's and Louisiana Nursery
3- I uploaded my time report
4- I talked to my neighbor
5- I hung out with my cousin Kenny
6- I met a new potential friend @ the plant nursery - turns out she lives right around the corner from me!
7- I looked for Hatchlings on Facebook
8- I decided that I love mid-centry modern architecture

Eight things I’m looking forward to
1- Mom's arm getting better
2- Jason finding a new job that he loves
3- Getting the front and back gardens ready for fall
4- Finishing the two work reports I have outstanding
5- Finding our dream house and moving
6- The new season of Lost
7- Getting in the books I ordered from Half.com
8- Maybe going to St. George Island this winter

Eight Things I Love About Fall
1- Working in my garden
2- A little cooler weather
3- Less bugs
4- Pumpkin and spice flavored coffees @ the coffee shops
5- Getting to see more of my brother and Alex during LSU football season
6- The colors of the Tallow Tree by my driveway
7- Different kinds of birds in the yard
8- Baking pumpkin seeds

Eight things on my wish list
1- Island swirl bracelet, ring, and earrings from Sonya Ltd. in St. Croix
2- A carpenter to finish the house to-do list
3- A new house
4- A laptop computer
5- I guess I need a new car eventually - but I don't want to spend the $ on one
6- A fully funded retirement fund
7- A paid off mortgage
8- Money to give away to causes I believe in

Eight things I’m grateful for
1- My husband
2- My parents and my brother
3- The rest of my family
4- A great job (thanks Mom)
5- That I can feel joy over little things
6- That my parents instilled in me a love of reading and music
7- That I live in a country where people can disagree politically and it doesn't result (usually) in violence
8- The internet

I tag everyone who reads my blog because I want to know what you all have to say!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mid-career retirement

This week I attended a mid-career retirement planning class and learned a TON of things about my own benefits that I didn't know before. It was great, maybe I'll post about some of the stuff sometime. But the main thing I need to share is that the class was presented by two guys. One of them - I swear - if I had closed my eyes and just listened I would swear the class was being taught by Jim Cramer (Mad Money). The other guy - if I closed my eyes and listened - sounded just like that one guy - you know - that comedian guy - short with a weird voice? Yeah that one. I'll think of his name later.

Update on the reading blog


New purchases!

I'm listening to the last book-on-tape I bought during my during last half.com shopping spree - A Thousand Splendid Suns. This week I was @ a mid-career retirement planning class and the guys recommended several books, so I decided to check half.com again and I hit the jackpot! Here's what I bought:

All on audio - some cassettes and some CD's. With shipping - $83.25!!! How do you like THAT?

I am so excited. Can't wait for the Sena Jeter Naslund book - I love her writing. Her first book - Ahab's Wife - is in my top 10 of all time. The Time Traveler's Wife and The Joy Luck Club have been on my to-read list for awhile. I can't wait for the Top Poems and I'm happy to get the audio of this one. I think I'll get a different sort of perspective hearing them read aloud. The investing books are the ones that were recommended in my class.
Consider the Lobster is one by David Foster Wallace who is another of my favorite authors. You Suck is by Christopher Moore, who writes really funny sort-of-science fiction. Sort of Douglas Adams-y. If you haven't read him, I recommend Fluke. It's a hoot.
The Invisible Man and The Sun also Rises are two of those classics that I just never picked up and read, and the last two books satisfy my long-time curiosity the criminally insane. Remember in the 5th grade when I wanted to be an FBI agent? Or my freshmen year of college when I majored in psychology for that couple of months?

These books should last me awhile and make my drives back and forth to New Orleans a little more tolerable.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Crisis averted - no therapy needed

OK. Now that I figured out how to save pictures of the hatchlings, I can "have" them without "having" them. I'm just saving pictures of each one to two folders - "Hatchlings" and "Hatchlings I don't have yet".

Yeah, yeah, I know - ridiculous. But my anxiety level is lower again.

On obsession

Collections are dangerous for me.

Over the years, there have been dolls from different countries, unicorns, strawberry patch paraphernalia (all in my childhood), and as I got older there were fiesta dishes, vintage elephant planters, and "made in occupied Japan" demitasse cups.

I admit I get obsessed over making sure I have a complete collection. Finding another piece only brings me temporary joy, because the collection is not complete. So I just don't collect things that have specific "sets" anymore.

And then my old friend from high school, Pam, sent me a damn hatchling egg on the facebook. You have to look on people's profile pages and on different facebook pages to find them, like a scavenger hunt sort of. And in the last 4 days I've found 140 eggs, including some BUT NOT ALL of the limited edition ones. They are CUTE!!! and they are FUN!!!! And I need one of EACH, which of course means that not only have I been looking for eggs, but I've also been looking @ other people's eggs in order to make a comprehensive list which I can highlight as I find the eggs for myself...

DAMN DAMN DAMN. I'm going to need therapy on this one.

2008 Fall Hilltop tour

Today I worked as a docent for Hilltop's Fall Garden Tours, which basically means I sit @ a table and take tickets and try to answer questions. The good part is usually that I get to tour all the gardens plus I get volunteer hours that count towards keeping my Master Gardener certification.

Today was especially great because I was working @ the garden of my friends Susan & Dody. I got to see the amazing things Susan has accomplished since I last saw the garden about 6 months ago, and I got to sit and catch up w/ Dody who just returned from a 2 month internship @ the National Zoo in Washington D.C.

Susan is a landscape architect whom I met because she was in grad school @ LSU with my next-door neighbor (neighborman's mom). Dody is in vet school @ LSU. They are two of the coolest people ever. Before they came to Baton Rouge, they owned a plant nursery in Lafayette. They both know and love plants, and they also both know and love dogs and other animals so they are "our kind of people".

They have taken a cute little cottage in SouthDowns and turned it into a garden paradise. Susan has worked for three years to make this garden from reused, reusable, and sustainable materials. All of the pavers, borders, the waterfall, and the fire-pit are made from chunks of the concrete that came from the driveway they busted up in order to use permeable surfacing for the drive. She put in a "rain-garden" drainage system which captures rainfall and diverts it into the pond and a retaining area and underground pipes divert the water throughout the yard so it never needs watering. So technical - way beyond my landscape knowledge - but the result is a beautiful and comfortable garden.

Another house on the tour was the home and garden of Leah Simon, who owns Tsunami restaurant @ the top of the Shaw Center. Who even KNEW there could be a house like this in Baton Rouge? It looks like something from a cool 60's movie.

Yet another garden on the tour featured a great tea-house and sugar kettle fountain. This was another really comfortable and well-thought-out garden.

The weather was perfect, the gardens were beautiful and inspiring. The turn-out for the tours was awesome - about 120 people came through Susan & Dody's garden just between 3 and 5 (the tours are from 1-5). @ $20 a ticket, I'd say it was a good day for Hilltop!

Many more pics from the tour plus a few treats from my own garden posted to Picasa (link on the right).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

On "The Donut Hole" and gluttony

Mom, Dad and I passed this place - "The Donut Hole" - about a million times driving around Destin. Mom had eaten there with Aunt Frances and said how great it was. We kept meaning to go there, but never made it until the last day. We were determined. It was about 3 in the pm. Mom and I had left Dad reading @ the condo to go shopping, and we were all starving. We decided to pick up breakfast and take it back to the condo. Well we know better than to go anywhere starving. Plus we couldn't make up our minds, so we ended up getting a riDICULOUS amount of food, including: biscuits and white gravy, chicken-fried steak, bacon, cinnamon-apple-nut-homemade-bread-french toast , and a Belgian waffle w/ strawberries and real whipped cream.

Then while we were waiting we decided well, we should certainly get some donuts for the morning, so we got 1/2 a dozen - glazed, filled, and cake donuts.

Then they messed up our biscuit order so the waitress made them give us that order AND our right order. It was silly. The waitress, who was very sweet, let me take her picture with our 400 pounds of breakfast.

We were only able to eat about 1/2 the food - it was too much. And I ended up bringing home 2 of the 6 donuts to Jason, but Greta found them first. I caught her skulking through the house with a glazed one in her mouth, and there was jelly all over the living room floor...

Official Louisana / Missisippi Smith family evacuation center

When I was 5 years old, a tornado destroyed 1/2 of McComb, Mississippi. Mom and I were in our Toyota Corolla picking up another little girl for kindergarten when it passed through. We were backing out of her driveway and the other mother came running out of her house motioning for us to come back. Mom pulled up just a few feet before a huge limb from a pine tree fell on the trunk of our car.

Although I was only 5, I remember this day vividly. I think for sure I had post-traumatic-stress disorder. Until I went to college I got nauseous and wanted to be in a closet with blankets and pillows any time the sky even got dark. If it's really bad and rainy, I have flash-backs of the car rocking in the wind and pinecones showering the windows.

After Katrina - forget it.

Weather is not something my family takes lightly.

Jason and I didn't leave Baton Rouge for Gustav to go to McComb mainly because I was more worried about a tornado hitting McComb than I was about a hurricane hitting Baton Rouge. My parent's house is surrounded by old oak trees.

So last week, the folks had a "Safe Shed" delivered.

This thing is anchored into the ground x feet (I don't know) and weighs 24,000 pounds. It has an escape hatch in case something falls in front of the door, and it came with it's own wrench to open the escape hatch.

I'm expecting a drill next time I'm home to time our evacuation to the Safe Shed...

On the good points of being a gardening procrastinator.

So....I'm not the kind of gardener that gets up early in the misty morning to work in the garden. I'm the kind of gardener that looks around one day and says "Oh crap. I guess I need to put that shrub back in it's place before it attacks somebody." Or "Gee, I wonder what's under all these weeds?". Or "Oops, I think the schnauzers are about to get eaten by the cayratia vine again." And then I go into work mode and try to fix the whole garden in one afternoon.

Yes I know that it would be much easier to do little chores along the way and keep it under control, and I wish I was that kind of a girl, but I'm not.

The wonderful thing about being a sporadic gardener is that sometimes I walk outside and see something amazing that I had no idea was happening. Like this toad lily. Last time I looked at it there were just a few scraggly leaves and I thought for sure it wasn't going to do anything. Now it's in full bloom and it is a really cool little plant.

I like fun surprises like that. It's one of the benefits of being a chronic procrastinator.

Native American Exploitation Day 2008

So as I was saying, my Aunt and Uncle have a really great condo in Destin Florida which they weren't using in October, so they offered for us to go down and spend a long weekend. Since I had Monday off for Native American Exploitation Day, I took Friday and Tuesday off too and Mom, Dad, and I headed to Destin.

On Saturday we decided to go down to the beach and stick our feet in the water. It was sunset and just perfect, and I was taking some pictures. Got some great ones of Mom and Dad,

And then asked Mom to take one of Dad and me. Well, you know how sometimes in Destin when the tide goes out it leaves that little step-down? We were right in front of that. And you know (for those of you that know) how Mom always has this certain "picture pose" that she does to TAKE a picture? Well, she tried to do that but when she stepped back she hit that little sand ledge and fell funny, tried to brace herself with her left arm, and yep. It broke in two places.

I felt SO terrible. My mother has never had to go to the emergency room for anything in my lifetime, and I think she's only had to go once in her own lifetime when she cut her knee after breaking the porcelain tap in the clawfoot tub when she was sliding down the back of it when she was a very little girl (like she was NOT supposed to be doing, but we all did it in that tub - it was too fun).

Oh! I almost forgot the best part. My mother DOES NOT go out in public without fixing up. You know - shower, hair fixed, etc. etc. Well, for the first time in my life Dad and I peer-pressured her into getting in the van with us. We assured her we were just going to ride up the beach to look @ the water and get something to-go for dinner and she wouldn't even have to get out of the van. Then Dad decided he wanted to eat @ The Stinky Fish, and Mom was a good sport and agreed. Then we decided we wanted to stick our feet in the water, and again Mom was a good sport and came to the beach.

So, there we were driving up to the emergency room and Mom (although her hair always looks beautiful, blond, shiny, and perfectly in place even though she is paranoid about it) was thinking she has on no makeup and hasn't washed her hair. When I went to help her get out of the van, she said "WAIT! Get my brush!", and made me brush her hair. I'm surprised she didn't make me put some lipstick on her, but she was satisfied with her hair brushed.

Then in the ER waiting room she made the little desk man turn the TV to the LSU game.

I was embarrassed even thinking about the drama I would be exhibiting if my arm was broken in two places. Mom never even cried, never whimpered. She just sat in the waiting room holding her wrist which was shaped in ways that wrists shouldn't be shaped worrying about the sand on her shoes.

So anyway, to make a long story longer, they got it fixed (temporarily - she has to have surgery on it next Tuesday) and we got back to the condo where she immediately wanted to take a shower.

I still think she looked cute and her hair was as pretty as always :)

The Power of Cheese

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Perfect weekend get away - almost

Sitting on the balcony of my aunt's condo in Destin, overlooking a gigantic, quiet, fountained pool, reading Infinite Jest, good cup of coffee. Dad sitting next to me reading political humor. Mom on the lounger reading Water for Elephants. Fox News playing (very softly believe it or not) inside.

Wish my hubby was sitting here next to me reading something inspiring and thoughtful, but he has school networks to run and classes to teach and couldn't get time away this weekend.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Office of Redundancy Office

Minutes read by a coworker today:

“Supervisory committee reviewed plan to begin planning workplan.”

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

OMG the ped egg is the most amazing thing ever.

5 minutes and my feet look better than they have since I was 10.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I love the new P.I. guy!! I hope he's the new Wilson.

Spiny-backed orb weaver

That's the name of my spidery garden friend. Now that I've researched it I'm sure it's a girl. What should I name her? I'm thinking "Prissy" or "Queen Fluffy".

"The egg case is constructed first from an oval egg sheet made of finely woven threads, which are firmly attached to the lower surface of a leaf. After the eggs are laid on this “silken sheet,” they are covered with a loose, spongy, tangled mass of yellow and white threads. Next, several strands of dark green silk are laid along the egg case. The final cover is a net-like canopy made as the female moves along the mass, with several dozen coarse, rigid, dark- green and yellow threads."

Isn't that amazing that they can make different colors of silk like that?!

What is success?

Sonya is "redefining success" is that the same as settling? discuss.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Chocolate & Friends

So I generally am not a spider person - like - AT ALL. I mean, I won't kill one if I can at all just move it somewhere else, but they give me the serious heebies. I'm much more tolerant of them in my garden than in my house, because I know they eat bad bugs and they don't tend to startle me as much.

This little spider built 3 or 4 webs right across my gate last week. Every morning, I gently moved the web over. Finally he got the hint and built the web NEXT to the gate, right above the chocolate plant, and he's been there for several days.

He's rather smiley, isn't he?

And here's a pic of the chocolate plant, which I LOVE but it's sort of hard to keep contained once you get it going.

I TOLD you people...(you know who you are)

...that this tree behind my neighbor's house was a Koelreuteria (Golden Rain Tree), and that it did have yellow flowers before they turned into little chinese lanterns. But did you believe me? Nooooooooo... One day you'll learn to listen.

First pic (yellow flowers) taken behind my house this week. The second one (pink lanters) was taken last year in October or November.


New giant mirror

So, yeah I'm not a great judge of "scale"... but it's nice to have a mirror I can see my whole self in, and Greta seems to enjoy it.

Guess what?


Schnauzer Butt!

(It's been a long week I'm a little loopy)


Today I spent the day working @ my friend Lori's house. This is her sweet and beautiful baby Lucy. Lucy is spoiled rotten, totally unlike any other dogs I know (cough cough). Lucy does not like being cold and prefers being in full sunshine (the top of the dining room table is a good place for this) or on the sunwarmed concrete of the driveway, or on her heating pad, preferably in front of the blazing fire in the fireplace thank you very much.

Lori loves her doggie. I know this because we all get random e-mails @ work about once a month that say "I just love my little doggie. She's so purty..."
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Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I'm having a fuzzy day today. Had a hard time getting up. Actually, got up, made Jason's lunch, then took a nap. Maybe it's lack of good sleep? Maybe I need to up my meds? Maybe I need to get off my ass and do some yoga or at least something. This morning in my muddled state I had a hard time remembering what day it was. Nothing new, this is how I am most mornings....just relatively this morning was bad.

So now I'm @ work and feeling better. Listening to the last half of the "I's" on my i-pod

I Got it Bad - Ella Fitzgerald
I Miss You - Incubus
I Palindrome I - They Might be Giants
I Took Your Name - REM
I Will Possess Your Heart - Death Cab for Cutie
The Ice is Getting Thinner - Death Cab for Cutie
If Only - K.T. Tunstall
In My Place - Cold Play
In the Car - Bare Naked Ladies
Istanbul (not Constantinople) - They Might be Giants
It's All Been Done - Bare Naked Ladies