Monday, October 31, 2005

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Overall, I had a good weekend. We went downtown to Upstream Brewery for S's birthday. I love the atmosphere, but my sandwich was just so-so. I hate when I decide to try something new and then I regret it! Should've stuck with the BBQ Chicken pizza.

On Sunday, it got up to 67 and BF & I ended up taking our Fall pics out at the lake with her new digital SLR. There were so many pretty spots. I'll have to post a picture later.

The bad part of the weekend was, of course, that we had our 3rd loss this season (24-31 to Oklahoma). SO sad! I was there, sitting amongst the Sooner fans, and their loud chants of "OooooooU!" The plus side was that we did have a great view of the field.

The ugly part was that I rear-ended someone on my way to Lincoln! And, I ask you, how does someone who went to school in Lincoln for a year take 3 wrong turns?? If I hadn't taken those wrong turns, I wouldn't have ended up having an accident. In my defense, the accident was not due to me being an air-head, like my last accident, 8 years ago, was. It was one of those exit/yield situations where you think the guy in front of you is going, so you turn to see when you can go and slowly roll forward . . crrrunch! That is the worst feeling! Fortunately, I did nothing to his truck. He had one of those old Ford pick-ups with the metal bumper that really messed up my hood, my bumper, and my headlight. I can't imagine if I'd actually been going at a speed greater than 1 mile per hour!

Friday, October 28, 2005

A Special Break and A Special Breed

I just had to take a blog break from work. Otherwise, I may have slithered out of my chair and crumpled into an unrecognizable ball on the floor. And to think, today is way better than yesterday. It's odd how usually my days are fine, and go smoothly and quickly, and I don't want to repeatedly bash my head on my keyboard and bite all my fingernails down to bloody stubs (ew! I never actually bite them down that far), yet other days I feel as though I need a professional masseuse and 4 Advil more than I need food and water. Yesterday, I scared myself, because after going home from work and being confronted with a very nasty person, who will remain nameless (but is not in my immediate family) I wanted desperately to use the "F-word" repeatedly. This may be normal for some, but it is very very unusual for me, and I can count on one hand the number of times I've been tempted to say it - usually those being very emotionally upsetting situations (involving boys and lots of crying-what else?).
At any rate, today they are catering Qdoba for lunch and that is my beam of light shining in the dreary workday.

Yummm . . . I just had a soft shell steak taco and a hard shell chicken taco with cheese and guac and lettuce and salsa, along with chips and salsa and a gigantic chocolate chip cookie. I ate it with my eyes closed (in private) and I think that made it taste even better. I have now gone from liking Qdoba to loving Qdoba. This may have lifted my spirits for the rest of the day . . I'll let you know.

Last night, Best Friend & I were talking about where the heck our husbands are and who the heck they are (not that I'm in a hurry . . just curious). I said it was going to take a special breed to be with me, and she agreed. But, then I got worried. I mean, I don't want him to be weird or anything or dorky or quirky. (I worry because I meet few people that actually impress me.) So I made my sister promise to not let me marry someone who wasn't cool. She just laughed and said she didn't think that was possible. So I made her promise to marry someone cool, too, so our husbands could get along and we could all hang out together and live happily ever after :).

And I'm pretty sure that you can tell just by reading that last paragraph why I need a special breed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Dinner and a Movie

I wish people would just stop having birthdays and babies! This is getting expensive!

My cousin and his wife, out in D.C., just welcomed their first, Walker Bransby. I'm so excited for them! Bransby is his great-grandmother's maiden name. I love when people use family names!

S had her 24th yesterday, so we went out to Biaggi's for Italian, and it was delicious! I get the same thing every time I go, which is: Spaghetti Pollo Rosso with sun-dried tomatoes, tomato cream sauce, chicken, and peas! I wish I would've eaten less last night so I would've had even more for lunch leftovers today (I love reheated pasta!). But I just couldn't stop!

We went to see "Just Like Heaven" which I thought was cute, but different. I hate to admit it, but sometimes I can be one of "those" who critiques movies a little too much. I often have to bite my tongue so I don't annoy those around me. . and myself. The funny thing is, I hate when other people do the exact same thing!

I can't get over movie prices! It's only been a few months that I have not been considered a student. (I graduated last December, but then had to take a 1 credit hour class in the Spring in order to receive my diploma and "technically" graduate.) Whenever I walk up to the box office, I have this debate going on in my head.

"Just say you're a student."

-"It's a lie! It's a lie!"

"It's not that big of a deal."

-"It's still a lie!"

"Everybody else lies and says they're a student."

-"Should you compare yourself to everyone else?"

Dangit! "One adult, please."

Now if the kid at the box office wants to assume I'm a student, then I'll let him give me a "discount".

Monday, October 24, 2005

It's a Girl!

Mom woke me up at 5:45 a.m. this morning to let me know that the baby had just arrived. I just talked to my brother and heard her making noises in the background. Can't wait to meet her! Isn't it funny how your hunch about the sex of a baby can be right so often? We all thought it was a girl, and we were right.

*Sophia Payton*

It's amazing to hold any baby, but when it's your sibling's baby, it's even more awesome. It's a new addition to your family. This little person is forever going to be a part of your life. Just one look and you love them. You always will.

Can't imagine what it will be like to have one of my own. . . I sure hope labor is this easy for me. This little girl came out in only two pushes!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

October Weekend

It was so nice to spend time with Best Friend this weekend. We stayed the night out at her grandparents' larger-than-life lake home, because she was house-sitting. One word can sum up our time together: Chill. We ate some delicious food from our fave Mexican place, El Bee's. We watched two movies back to back, without even getting up for a potty break. Both were good in very different ways: Crash & Fever Pitch. We ended the night with a game of pool. Oh, and I can't forget that Best Friend was awesome enough to surprise me with some Maggie Moo's ice cream: cake batter & cookie dough. I hate to admit it, since I'm such a big Cold Stone fan, but Maggie Moo's does have a better cake batter ice cream.

The sun was absolutely gorgeous coming up over the lake. We sat on the dock for awhile enjoying the pretty fall colors and smells.

Of course, the rest of the day we watched football. It was so sad that we had our 2nd loss this season :(

I let her try on my wig, too, so I just have to post a pic of it. (Hope you don't mind, BF.)

At night, I hung out with Awesome Married Couple and their cute little baby. I haven't hung out with them since our September lake party! L asked me, "So, Laura, do you like carving pumpkins?" They are king and queen of hinting. Needless to say, I ended up carving their pumpkin for them, something I didn't mind doing. I felt a little pressured, though, because they just sat there watching me, occasionally giving me tips and telling me, half-jokingly, that I only had one chance to get it right. (They only had one pumpkin.) Fortunately I think it turned out. What do you think?

Thursday, October 20, 2005


These are my kids. Well, they're not my kids, but they're definitely my favorite kids. I met them when they were only 3 weeks old and preemies. They were so tiny and beautiful. It was love at first sight.

At the time, I was looking for a job, after being jobless for a couple months due to knee surgery. I was interested in being a nanny, but didn't know where to look.

My friend nannied and said she'd heard of a woman who was pregnant with twins, already had a 3 year old, and wanted some help. She got me the number and I made a call. Debi wasn't actively looking for help, but when she heard I was interested, she told me to come over and meet her children and we could go from there. I ended up spending the day there and was immediately hired on as the "nanny". It was my only job for 7 months. Though I left for a more steady nanny job and eventually went on to other jobs after that, I never stopped coming over to baby-sit the kids.

It's been so wonderful watching them grow and develop their adorable personalities. I was like a proud Mama when I would watch them every day, and I would tell stories to everyone (who didn't really care). Though every stage with them has been fun, I'm really enjoying this age: 3 1/2. They're talking more than ever and I love hearing the things they'll say.

Evan is definitely all-boy, but he has the sweetest personality. Always has. Caroline used to take toys from him and when he'd take them back, she'd cry, and he'd just give them right back to her. He's always been a "sharer" and a "hugger". Whenever he has his little bursts of testosterone and ends up hurting her, he's quick to apologize and give her a hug. Last week, I had to scold him for misbehaving in the restaurant and later on, when I told him I loved him, he just looked up at me with his big brown eyes and said, "I wuv you Woah" (he still can't say a few of his letters yet).

Caroline has always been a princess. When she was only 6 months old, she would see flowers across the room and begin sniffing. She's always been drawn to jewelry and "pretty things". She loves anything that has to do with being feminine. She only refers to her bedroom as her "princess room", though the only princessy-thing about it is that it's pink. She can speak clearly, with the slightest (and cutest) lisp. And she loves to sing. She sings to herself all the time, but especially loves standing on a stool and performing "Twinkle, Twinkle", knowing every word and hitting every note. She has the stronger will of the two, but it's often the silent iron will. Oh, but her will can't touch her big brother's.

They say red hair symbolizes a fire-y personality and when it comes to Ryan, they're right. He's full of fire when it comes to not getting his way. We could be getting along great and all of a sudden he'll be upset with me. He's gotten better over the years, but it still makes for an unpleasant evening when I tell him 'no'. I can't help but laugh when I think of the time he called me a "dirty mudblood". His dad told me later it was a "person of questionable heritage" (from Harry Potter). Ryan and I do have some great memories. He and I used to go to the park and the toy store together a lot, stopping for an occasional ice cream cone. As he gets older, he prefers to keep to himself and play his computer games and build things. I'm always so happy when he wants to show me something or include me in his interests. (He doesn't like pictures, so I had to get one while he was sleeping. Too bad, because he's much cuter when he's awake!)

Kids really put things in perspective. No matter how bad my day or how hard my life may be, when I walk in the door and they're smiling and dancing for me, nothing else seems to matter.

Pepperoni Rolls

Yay! I "slaved" over pepperoni rolls the other night for our potluck today at work. But they were all nearly gone before lunchtime, which means they were a big hit. I've had a few people ask me for the recipe already.

1 pkg. Rhodes frozen dinner rolls
1 jar baby dill pickles
1 jar Grey Poupon Dijon mustard (with flecks)
2 pepperoni logs/sticks

Set rolls on cookie sheet (2 inches apart) and let rise for 2-3 hours. Mince at least half a jar of dill pickles. Cut pepperoni into smaller, skinny sticks.

Preheat oven to 375.

Take each roll and flatten into “mini pizza” (using rolling pin, but don’t make too thin). Spread thin layer of mustard. Sprinkle the pickle relish in the middle and put 4-5 little pepperoni sticks. Fold two ends in and roll up (like a burrito) and pinch together.

Bake for 15 minutes.
I had some seasoned fried chicken from the potluck and wondered who made it. It was so-so. I wish I hadn't asked, because it only confirmed my fear. It was the one girl (ok, one of two) that grosses me out and we suspect she doesn't wash her hands after using the bathroom. Ugh! I feel gross. Reminds me of Dad's definition of potluck:

You're lucky if you find the pot your wife brought.

I did, however, have some delicious banana pudding. Though it was very good, it still doesn't touch the kind I had in southern Alabama a year ago.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Wiggin' Out!

I meant to write this post days ago when I posted my picture, but I am just now getting around to it. If you haven't already guessed by the subject of my post, the brown hair is not really mine. It is a wig!

I've always wondered what it would be like to be a brunette, but I'm not daring enough to color my hair. Plus, if I wanted my blond back, I would have to either wait a very long time, or really damage my hair by bleaching it. I never considered a wig before because I assumed it was too pricey and would probably look really fake. Last week, a co-worker told me she got hers for only $25 at Mr. Lee's! That settled it. I was going wig shopping.

I took a friend/co-worker with me and tried on 5 or 6 wigs before finding "the one". Let me tell you, we had a lot of laughs! My wig came to a total of $37.44! Of course, for that price, it is not human hair; it's synthetic. The downside to that is that I can't curl it or wash it, but for the price difference, it was worth it.

I put it on in the store and have since worn it every day (6 days) and only taken it off to go to bed. I decided that it's crazy enough that I'm wearing the thing, but how much weirder would it be if I kept switching back and forth between blond and brunette?! Besides, if I didn't wear it consistently, I wouldn't be able to know what it's really like to be brunette.

So far, I've discovered some things I like about the color:
1. It really brings out my eyes. I've always felt like my eyes do not stand out and can look dead.
2. I can get away with more dramatic eyes. Wearing more eye liner doesn't necessarily make me look more made-up. It's complimented by the dark hair color.
3. I can wear certain lip colors that I couldn't with blond hair. I've not worn much lipstick lately, but I have a few colors that I love that just didn't look good with blond hair.
4. It makes me look older. This is something I won't want in a matter of a few years I'm sure, but it's nice for a change. I've always looked quite a bit younger than I am.
5. It looks better when wearing certain colors.

What I like about wearing a wig:
1. It's quick and easy.
2. I know I can take it off whenever I want to.
3. It's fun!

What I don't like about wearing a wig:
1. It itches! After awhile, my head gets numb to the feeling of having all my hair secured to my head with a ponytail holder, barette, bobby pins, and a little cap. . . but it does itch - sometimes more than others.
2. I have to be careful that my blond doesn't peek out on the sides of my face. Not something that you really want to have to worry about. I've bobby-pinned some strands that seems to take care of the problem, but occasionally I'll play with it and begin to see some blond showing through.
3. It's not very versatile. Right now I have the top pulled back which looks best and most natural, but it would be fun to be able to pull it all up or curl it.
4. I feel like I have to tell everyone it's a wig. The vast majority of people have thought it was real, because it is the same length as my actual hair (a little shorter actually). But I would feel like I was deceiving people if I didn't admit it was fake.

For the most part, I've gotten compliments and positive responses, though there have been a number of people that prefer my blond hair (me being one of them, though I like the brown). My grandmother is my biggest critic. She hates it and has told me so at least 20 times (that is no exaggeration). She then apologizes for telling me it looks terrible and asks me to take it off so she doesn't have to apologize anymore. . . . I think I'll take the criticism and keep wearing it for awhile.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Wholesome Table Conversation

Looking out the dining room window at one cat stalking another.

Mom: "Well, are they going to fight or have sex?"

Dad: "Looks like they're mating."

Mom: "But he looks like he's about to pounce."

Dad: "That's the idea."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

This little guy is my nephew. I met him less than a year ago. In fact, I met his mom a little less than a year ago . . and in a whirlwind of a matter of months, I had a sister-in-law and a nephew.

It was all so strange. My little brother is only 21 and here he is a husband and a dad to this little boy. He's been the only daddy this kid has known. My brother plans on adopting him. It's so sweet to watch them together. Aaron is such a good dad, and Micah loves him like crazy.

He also loves my dad like crazy. "PapaPapaPapaPapa." He reaches out to my mom and my sister, too. But, me . . . he's not so sure about me. One day he likes me . . the next day he'd rather ignore me. One day he'll give me a kiss, the next day he's not interested. He sure doesn't seem to be this fickle with everyone else.

And this picture . . it took me about 25 shots to get this. He kept looking away on purpose. He gets this little grin on his face like he takes pleasure in making me work for his affection. There's another little grin he gets when he's fighting so hard not to smile at me and give me the satisfaction. Before the smile breaks, he'll just stare at me as if he doesn't find me the least bit amusing. And I do try too hard. I'm like a clown out of costume with this kid. It's exhausting.

I'm hopeful that one day he'll love me . . every day.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


I have a little obsession with make-up. It's been so unorganized since I've moved home a few months ago. I had an excuse to get organized when I got it all out to do Alyssa's make-up for prom. Here it is (minus my many many lipsticks and glosses). As you can see, I've gotten quite a few freebies from Clinique - gotta love those. And working at the Lauder counter didn't hurt either.
Here's what I can't live without:
Estee Lauder Idealist
Estee Lauder Illuminator
Estee Lauder Go Wink (which they are discontinuing, but Mary Kay has something very similar and almost easier to use).
Benefit's Hoola bronzing powder (a little goes a long way)
Estee Lauder Illusionist mascara
Favorite everyday lipstick: Clinique Bamboo Pink.
It's all just too much fun!
Share your favorites . . . .

True Story

Her phone rang.

She smiled. It was her husband.

"I'm not gonna answer that," she thought. "I know he's just calling to tell me to hurry up." She grabbed a sweatshirt and quickly pulled it over her head. It didn't match her sweatpants or flip flops, but who cared, she was only running out for a second.

Her husband was headed to work and she was parked behind him. Every once in awhile one of them would leave before the other and a car would have to be moved. She grabbed her keys off the dresser and headed for the back door. Should I shut it, she wondered. Nah, I'll be right back, she thought.

It was still raining outside. The sky was cloudy and even darker than usual for this time of the morning. She ducked her head as if to brace herself for the cold, rainy, Fall weather, and hurried outside. She smiled and waved good-bye to her husband as she ran past his truck and jumped into her car. In just a minute, she had backed out and pulled back into the drive. She wished she didn't have to go to work herself in just an hour or so. She'd rather stay in on such a dreary day. . maybe clean the house.

She loved the house. A couple of rooms had been newly re-modeled and she had decorated well. It felt warm and cozy inside, and it had character. But, she knew they wouldn't live there forever. It was in what she called a "pocketed" area. Most of the homes were built in the 30s or 40s, many of them with big screened-in front porches. The homes near hers were well-kept up, but home maintenance could vary from block to block, as could the type of neighbors. The streets were not well-lit, either. Overall, she had never felt completely safe there.

As she ran around the back of the house and opened the screen door, she immediately noticed muddy shoeprints going up the two steps into the kitchen. She froze. Immediately she thought of her husband. She had just washed the floors last night. Could he have somehow come back inside? But she had seen him drive away. Plus, he knew better than to track mud in the house. This didn't make sense. Her heart began to beat faster. She slowly walked up the stairs and through the kitchen looking to see where the footprints led. Her chest tightened as they went into the main room, turned into the hallway and went straight into the spare room. As she stood in the main room, peeking into the spare, she saw the closet door . . cracked. And she knew. There was a stranger in her house.

A chill went up her spine as she fought back tears. She felt panicked. Her mind began to race. She had to call her husband. She still wanted desperately to believe he'd tracked the mud in, he'd gone to get something from the closet, and she was alone in the house. But her phone was down the hall in their bedroom. Should she run out without it? Did she dare to run down the hall and back and risk facing the intruder? She did.

She bolted down the hall, grabbed her phone from her dresser, and ran as fast as she could to the back door. Her husband was already on the other end.

"Did you come back in the house and get something from the spare bedroom closet?"


Her voice was shaking. "Did you come back into the house and get something from the spare room closet?"


"-There's someone in the house." And in an instant, she was back in her car and pulling out of the drive. She sped off and headed straight for her brother and sister-in-law's house. Tears began streaming down her face the moment she stepped inside.

Within the next hour, the police were at her home searching the premises, looking for evidence, checking for fingerprints. Since she'd left, the footprints had gone down the hall, entered her bedroom, turned around (apparently after not finding anything of interest), and disappeared. The police called the incident a burglary, though nothing appeared missing.

She and her husband spent the day crying, so happy they, especially she, was safe. What if it hadn't rained? What if the intruder hadn't tracked mud into the house? They prayed together and thanked God for protecting her.

Her husband removed his Smith & Wesson from its case and decided to carry it with him for an indefinite period of time. That afternoon, they drove to the humane society and picked out a 6-month old bloodhound and called to arrange for a security system to be installed in their home. Their lives really will never quite be the same again. They will always be more aware of their surroundings. She will never walk to her car in the dark alone. They will always think someone could be watching.
I'm so thankful that my friend is safe. I know the Lord protected her and I am grateful! We walked around in her backyard today and there were no muddy areas. Praise God that his shoes were somehow muddy! It was just creepy to think some guy was back there watching in the dark, in the rain, inside their fence. To think he may have planned it. He may have known their schedule. It's really a wake-up call. I know I need to be more cautious even though I live in a safe, nice neighborhood.

Just thought I would write out my friend's story and tell you all to be cautious and never think it couldn't happen to you.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Look . . Twins!

Now we not only have the same iPod, we have the same laptop, too! I'm really not trying to copy Best Friend, but, what can I say, she likes cool stuff and she always gets it first. And just as I had decided which camera I wanted, she got that, too! Shoot!
Here we are having a CD swap night where we imported each other's favorite CDs, (while watching the O.C. . . . I will not get hooked, I will not get hooked).
After that, we went to a bar/grill in my town to hear the Chris Saub Duo and play some pool. I ran into some guys I knew from high school, which is always fun because I like seeing what other people are up to, which this time happened to be "working for my dad's construction company" and "working for his dad's construction company" and a job where "I pretty much do this [hang out] without the beer".

Fun night, and thanks to Best Friend for coming out to my neighborhood this time ;)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

"the very hairs of your head are numbered"

And the number of the very hairs of my head is a lot less than it was two days ago. If you have thick hair and haven't had your hair thinned before, it can be amazingly beneficial. It not only takes less times to dry and is easier to wash, but it can give you a much more attractive 'do' and contributes to making your locks more manageable. I used to be afraid to give Cousin Joy the 'go ahead' because my thick blond hair was like a trademark of sorts. I had gotten so many compliments over the years not only for the nice natural "blondness", but also for the thickness of my hair. My old hairdresser said I had the best hair ever. I mean, he was the best in town, and he never thinned my hair. But, Joy likes trying new things on my hair without telling me until after the fact, so several months ago, she went ahead and thinned it. The result was fabulous! I could actually "toss" my hair! I could run my fingers through it! I could blow dry it in under an hour (yes, that's an overexaggeration). It just lay on my shoulders so much more nicely. So, after several months of letting my hair grow even longer, it was time to thin again. This time, the change feels so much more dramatic than before and I'm kinda freaking out about it. I really liked having a nice thick ponytail. But I'm looking forward to perhaps styling it more often, which translates into at all, since I can't remember the last time I did anything but let it air-dry wavy or pull it up. So, all that to say, I'm a big fan of thinning shears (when used by a professional) - just remember to thin within reason to avoid shock.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

1,061 . . 1,062 . . . .

As of last night, I now have over 1,000 songs on my iPod. 1,062 to be exact, after last night's addition of some old Mariah hits, Frank Sinatra CDs, Faith Hill, and a few CCR classics. It's taken me about a month to reach this point and though it's very easy and quick to import and upload songs, I don't even want to know how many hours I've spent doing it. My free time has really only consisted of spending quality time with my laptop and iPod. This, however, does include running while listening to the iPod, which feels much more productive than sitting while listening to the iPod. It's so fun not knowing which song will play next. It also means that I don't have to listen to myself pant loudly which causes me to think about how much I hate running and I want to die. Listening to music means I can run until I get to the point where I think about how much I love running and how I could just run forever. The other night I began my jog to "Broken Wings" (the Tupac remix) and did my cool-down stretches to "Trip Through Your Wires" by U2. I'm loving the variety and randomness! I thought I would only enjoy jogging to upbeat music, but I've found that even slow songs and worship music can pump me up just as much. It dawned on me the other week that running in the dark while listening to loud music was probably not very conducive to looking out for my own safety. I feel pretty safe where I live, but I often jog through blocks that aren't well-lit and, though they're not bad parts of town, they're not exactly "inviting". I began carrying my Mace spray last week, which makes me feel better, though I know I still wouldn't be able to hear anyone if they were to sneak up on me. Scary thought. But, today I felt the cold weather blowing in. Unlike yesterday with temps reaching 90, today they, instead, dropped into the 50s! I think I might cry! Not only does this mean outdoor running is about to end, it means I have to wear socks and closed-toe shoes, take my boxed up sweaters out and probably to the dry cleaner's since they're a bit wrinkled, and scrape the frost off my windshield every morning. *Sigh* Fall has officially arrived.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

"It's a beautiful day here in Lincoln . . "

The guy on sports radio was right. It was a beautiful day, around 80 degrees with a nice breeze. But what made it even more beautiful was our win against ISU (#23), the first Big XII Team we've played this year. We won in the 2nd OT. What a game! Our offense finally showed up. So we are now 4-0 and remain undefeated at home against ISU (since '77)! Above, me & Micki had to get a picture with this guy! What a great paint job. He was eating up the attention, walking around the entire stadium. I love crazy fans!