Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm Unsure If Crappy Decorations at Work Are Meant to Be Ironic...or not.

The offices at the school are decorated for the holidays. And by “holidays” I mean Christmas. And by “decorated” I mean various things have been taped to the walls.

Taping up pictures of Christmas trees, printed from a black-and-white office printer, is not festive. It’s just not. No, the jaunty angles don’t help either. And the more they put up, the more it just looks like some psychopath is stalking a tree and has a bunch of pictures taped to the wall. “Here the tree was getting a decorated, here the tree was getting coffee at Starbucks, and here the tree is taking a shower. It must be a naughty pine! Ah-HAhahaha….hmmmm? hmmmm?”

Sorry for the bizarre tree-stalker fantasy there.

The upside to all of this is the otherwise depressed and twitchy employees are getting a nice diversion. The downside is we had students in interviewing for the medical school today. My first question as a potential student would be “You want me to pay $160,000 in tuition over the next four years, but yet you have a paper plate cut like a snowflake taped to your wall?” As a prospective student, my sense would be that there are serious budgeting problems at the University.

Oh well. Don’t worry about me. I’m really not that riled up over the craptacular decorations. I’ll just go back to balancing these ledgers and wait for the first of the three ghosts to visit.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Electronic Blog Neglected for Needs of Analog Blog

The Christmas letter, that is. I am finally about to take our cards and the “Holiday Herald” to the post office. At least 95% of them. There is always that 5% that we can’t remember if they moved, got imprisoned, defected, or had some other shenanigans happen since last Christmas that warrants a new address label. Their cards are placed in a holding pattern until we get a card from the person in question. Then we quickly address the envelope based on the return address and act like we were totally on top of their life change.

We’ve had a very nice Polish man in our basement all week. I recommend one for your home. He’s working on the bathroom tiles. All day long I hear him calling “Teeeeeem? Teeeeeem?” whenever he has a question. Tim doesn't understand everything he is asking, so we don't know exactly what we have agreed to down there. If we end up with Hello Kitty trim tiles, we'll know we nodded "yes" when we should have shook our head "no."

Things get more complicated when we have one guy that speaks Spanish, one guy that speaks Polish, and one guy that speaks… who knows? Klingon? The three of them put together have an English vocabulary of about 100 words with very little overlap. It makes for some interesting games of “telephone.” By the time information gets to Tim, we are told “Our whale-gun broke, we must use MC Hammer, which requires more wine.” Tim, being the helpful guy that he is, goes to home depot and buys them a new whale-gun. Then the construction guys just look confused when he hands them their new harpoon.

Cultural diversity can be hilarious. These guys could have their own 1980s sitcom.

Hahaha!!! Oh, Balki!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Weather Outside is Frightful

Usually when they predict a huge snowfall, we are all left disappointed. By “they”, I mean meteorologists. Meteorologists love drama, and they don’t mind hyperbole. This time, though, they were right. We’ve had at least 6 inches of snow since it started coming down yesterday. This is Bear’s first time seeing snow, so he spent a long time just staring out the window and then looking around to see if anyone else in the house was freaking out.

We’ve gotten a few of our holiday traditions checked off the list. We bought the tree. We put up Christmas lights. We took dad to the hospital. We’ve almost finished our shopping, thanks to the Internet, a hearty Discover card, and a lifelong commitment to laziness and staying warm. The Christmas cards are the next holiday-related funtoonery to get out of the way.

Wow, I just realized that we really kill a lot of trees around Christmas. The cards, the wrapping paper, and the actual Christmas tree that we prop up in our homes and hang lights and ornaments on. (Not a very dignified way to go if you are a tree.) Well, I am pretty sure this is the way Jesus would want us to celebrate his birthday.

This post is dedicated to Dad. Dad is the hero of hanging lights, and he went down for the cause… and will not be allowed to go back up for the cause ever again. Mom said so.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bear’s Reign of Terror

Cow and I were just sitting here at the computer, minding our own business, when Bear suddenly jumped behind me and challenged Cow to a stare down.

The stare down quickly disintegrated into slapping each other's paws and making Marge Simpson noises (“mmmmm”).

I look a bit afraid in that picture. You’d be scared too if there was a supernova going on right outside your window.

Is this a Blog I see before me??

I had to go to the eye doctor today. The optometrist’s assistant had the flu. She sounded really sick and was coughing and wheezing throughout the exam. Keep in mind, this is an eye exam, the sort of exam that pops even the tiniest of personal space bubbles. She said she had a high fever and was leaving work as soon as more help arrived. In the meantime, she was spitting microbes all over me as she telling me all about her husband’s recent illness and her uncle that recently got into a car accident, etc. etc. She seemed to be a human drama magnet. I felt bad for her, but all I could keep thinking was that I wish I had worn a different outfit to the appointment. Something more like this…

I always love hearing people’s stories, but I wanted to practice “safe empathy”.

The optometrist told me my vision has gotten “significantly worse”. The tone he used, I felt like he was accusing me of something… but I wasn’t sure of what so I didn’t know how to defend myself. So I just said “YOUR eyes have gotten significantly worse.” That seemed to work.

Then he spent a good 10 minutes asking me why I changed my name when I got married. I said it was a no-brainer, I always knew I would. I guess he had to really twist his wife’s arm to get her to change her last name and he wondered why. I’m not sure why he thought I’d have any sort of insight into his wife’s thought process. It’s not like she has ever called me on the phone and told me her secrets. I told him not to worry – that nowadays a lot of women don’t take their husbands last name or they choose to hyphenate.

It was an interesting conversation and you could tell he had been trying to justify his wife’s reluctance in his own mind for a long time. The truth was probably much less complicated than he had reasoned it out to be. Discovering the truth is also probably much less complicated than he made it out to be. He should simply directly ask his wife what her reasons were rather than trying to figure out her reasoning by asking his patients. It would be like me asking Cow what Tim wants for Christmas. (I'm sure Tim will love the box of crumped paper I bought for him on eBay.) It’s better to just go directly to the source. When that doesn’t work, go to Google.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Mania gives way to Christmas Mania

Our guests politely ate their thanksgiving meal. No one made the universal choking sign, or the universal “My God this Turkey Tastes Like Pork” sign.

The day after Thanksgiving we went Christmas tree shopping with Mom and Dad. Mom miraculously found her perfect tree at the very first stop. In fact, it was the very first tree she looked at. Mom is much more particular about what makes a tree “perfect” as the infographic below illustrates:

I am much less particular:

Usually, I can find a tree much more quickly than my mom. Since mom had divine intervention this year, I was the one to blame for having to drive to every Menards in a two-county area. It was the tree-like shape criteria that was holding me back from committing. The problem was that most of the Christmas trees were being sold with this netting on them, so you couldn’t really tell their shape.

The netting was like tree panty hose. Once you cut off the panty hose, the tree still sort of held the panty-hose shape – so we had to shake it and use our imagination. Here is an action shot of dad shaking a tree:

(Obviously, this picture was taken before Menards security escorted him off the premises for assaulting trees.)

I thought Tim was going to lose his mind as every single tree we looked at looked adequate to him. Here is Tim’s criteria:

Even the small oak tree planted in the front lawn of the Menards looked like an excellent Christmas tree to Tim.

Finally, I did find the right tree. We took it back home and hung the lights on with care:

Monday, November 19, 2007

WWJD? Laugh. And not waste so much time on the Internet.

Yes, I should be in the middle of a faux-cleaning freenzy by now. But I had to share this excellent waste of time with you:

You can make your own church signs at www.churchsigngenerator.com! The possibilities are as endless as your willingness to potentially tick off your lord and savior.

Give Thanks and Show Love with Meat (brought to you by the Meat Council)

And I am thankful that my husband doesn’t wear nearly as much blue eye shadow as the pilgrims did.

We are very excited to host Thanksgiving once again this year. Since I’ve been vegetarian for about 12 years (give or take) I may seem like an unlikely choice of hostess but I promise to not slip any tofu into anyone’s dish.

In fact, this Thanksgiving meal will not skimp on the meat at all. The turkey has a sausage stuffing. It’s legs are tied with bacon like there is some bizarre poultry hostage situation in my oven. Salt pork is stuck under the turkey’s skin to keep the bird juicy and to keep the arteries of our guests clogged with my love. Just to add to the carnage, we'll also be serving ham!

So how many different kinds of animals is that? Five? Oh wait…sausage, bacon, pork, ham that all comes from the same animal.

Why don’t they just call it pig? They call turkey “turkey’. They call chicken ‘chicken’. Why are pigs and cows given a different name when they are on the dinner table?

I don’t pretend to understand the way the meat-eating world works or their mysterious nomenclature. But I do understand that I don’t know a single vegetarian in a 100-mile radius. As freakish and weird as I think it is that people enjoy eating meat, I have to understand that everyone else feels the same way towards me for not eating meat. I try to fit in with the locals as best I can which includes feeding guests what ‘their kind’ expects: meat. So it is a meat-based Thanksgiving, as is customary for omnivores. I'll make myself some tofurkey, and mockery from the meat-eaters (as is also customary) will follow.

Does this look like a joke to you? The pilgrims would have been grateful to have soy-based "meat" in a tube for their first Thanksgiving.

Anyway, Thanksgiving mania is on in full swing so the blog probably won’t be updated until the dust settles. How do I spend my day during Thanksgiving Mania? Well, I knew you'd ask so here is an infographic:

(Note: Faux cleaning is the type of cleaning where if you just take a quick glance, it looks clean but if you look closer you will see that it isn’t clean. Examples of faux cleaning include stuffing unsorted mail into drawer, hiding dirty clothes in the back of the closet, and dumping additional kitty litter into the box rather than scooping it out. Faux cleaning is especially effective when entertaining guests with poor eyesight.)

Happy Thanksgiving! And... since our readership probably only extends to our immediate family, we'll see you on Thursday.

Monday, November 12, 2007

You Can’t Ride That Rollercoaster

Tim was editing a wedding video today, and he never ever ever (ever) makes fun of some of the bizarre or lame things that people do during their ceremonies. And he’s seen a lot of bizarre and lame things. But today, there was a very special ceremony that he found disturbing enough to transcribe and e-mail to me.

Here is what the Pastor said to the couple and the congregation:
"As anyone who has been married a while can
tell you, you will not wake up the next day as warm
and fuzzy to the person next to you as the day before.
Its a bit of a rollercoaster ride...and you can't
ride that roller coaster. What you're coming here
today to do is not to not to express your love but
your commitment…

“… and that may be true, that you have
fallen out of love with the person, but that's not
what you're getting married for. You are getting
married out of commitment.”

Thank you Reverend Killjoy of the Church of St. Johns Wort. If he is this much of a downer at a wedding, I’d hate to hear what he says at a funeral.

The couple left the ceremony with just one question: where does the clown waterslide fit into God’s plan for us?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

It does look like a litterbox... if you close your eyes.

Kitties have once again infiltrated the studio. Despite a pet gate and closed doors, Bear seems to find a way down. He rolls around in the dust, runs in circles a few times, and then leaves satisfied with his experience.

Cow makes the trip less frequently (mostly due to lack of agility),but when she does make the trip she evidently doesn’t see a studio before her… she sees a huge litterbox. Niiiiiiiice.

Supposedly, we have guys coming over to put in floors today. So the kitty scent will be sealed in.

What was funny is that our contractor said the floor would be done while we were on our road trip. Then Tim got a frantic phone call from a floor guy. Here is a picture of Tim being not happy to talk to Floor Guy while on our trip:

I guess it isn't so much"funny ha-ha", but more like "funny we are paying you."

The floor guy was calling because he had to know what texture of carpet we wanted. Of course, we never knew there was more than one texture. We picked out our carpet based on a sample and we wanted exactly what the sample looked like. The texture was … I dunno… carpety?

Not knowing the texture of our carpet delayed ordering the pergo and the bathroom tiles, for some reason. Long story short… our contractor is sort of a bit “off” in his personality and our floors have finally been ordered. Installation should start today.

Here are a few picture of our floorless basement. Don’t let the term “floorless” fool you. There is a gigantic litter box on which to walk.

Asthmatics probably shouldn’t view the above picture. It’s a bit dusty. But what if that isn't dust? What if they are orbs and the basement is very haunted. *gasp* *coughcough* Asthmatics still shouldn't view the above picture.

Tim isn't sure he loves the color of the main room. It looks especially pinkish in this picture and less so in person. It is supposed to be a light tan. Still, we may need to "man it up" a bit once everything is done. You can interpret that however you choose.

The view from the guestroom is nice. Tim and I may move down here. I just hope they get the texture of the carpet right.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Yellowstone was actually the only somewhat planned part of the trip. We had reservations at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge – which was the only lodging available in the park this time of year. There was something very Shining-esque about the experience as the day we left, they were preparing to close up for the season. We stayed away from rooms 237 and 217 (to cover the movie and book version of The Shining respectively).

Seeing as we were staying at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, it only made sense that we saw Old Faithful in the snow.

It was pretty much what you would expect. A lot of water spraying up from the ground at regular intervals. I mean, I can cry at regular intervals and you don’t see anyone building a snow lodge around me, do you?

The driving was a bit treacherous and some of the roads were closed. But, harazardous conditions just weeds out the weak tourists. It leaves the hardy behind to enjoy spectacular views like this:

There were lots of geysers and bubbling bits of planet to be had at the park. It smelled strongly of sulfur, as if mother nature herself had farted. Beautiful.


Tim does the best prospector dance.

This was actually at a rest stop somewhere in Montana. It was the only bathroom in hundreds of miles, I swear.

Disembodied Presidential Heads Encourage Patriotism

Mount Rushmore was completely vacant.

The monument was exactly what we expected. You’ve likely seen pictures of Mount Rushmore a thousand times, and we can tell you that it looks exactly like the pictures. No more or less impressive.

We did get to take a walking tour around the front of the monument, to get some good views up presidential noses:

Of course, Tim and I get easily distracted and on our walking tour we found the perfect spot for some simulated Senior Pictures.

Omigawd, I never know what to write on these things! Stay just the way you are - don’t ever change! Have a great summer. PS- CLASS of ’94 RULZZZZZZ!!!!

Dinosaur Park

We visited an old dinosaur park on the outskirts of Rapid City, SD. It was just outstanding. I understand all of the cement sculptures in the park were hand painted by a blind and easily distracted turtle who was holding a paintbrush in his mouth while chewing gum.


For some reason this sticks out as one of my favorite things we saw on our trip. It was a little museum in South Dakota dedicated to wood carving. While the name of the museum implies the exhibits are about woodcarving in general, it was really about one man and his creations.

We were (surprise) the only visitors to the museum at the time. A very nice lady led us into a room with carpeted benches to sit on while we watched a video about the museum and about wood carving. It was a very long and mumbly video with a painfully low production value. We wanted to get up and leave but it was just too awkward with curator lady hanging around nearby. We didn't want to hurt her feelings.

After the video, we walked into a big room which was the museum itself. It was filled with automatons. I LOVE automatons. I have ever since I was a little kid and I was obsessed with The Carousel of Progress. I especially love the life-size ones. Of course, this being a wood-carving museum, all of the automatons were made of wood which made them pretty creepy. Here are some pics:

There was a fake book displayed which gave the story of the man who created all of these wood carvings. The display had been amended when someone took a permanent black marker and wrote at the bottom of the display that that the artist died in 1966. Sort of an unceremonious “PS- He’s dead now”

Especially interesting to me was this Native American Couple. First is the puzzling sign “Works when breathing”. The sign made no sense to me until after I pushed the button and the woman’s breasts heave up and down loudly. Clearly an asthmatic automaton.

Also deeply puzzling (and disturbing) is the insistence that these guys “love kids”. In fact, that initiation video we had to watch before entering this museum also talked about this display and specifically said these automatons love children.

They may love children (so long as children do not touch or interact with them in any way) but I can promise you that children do not necessarily return that emotion. I’m looking at a tall glass of nightmare juice here.