Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Finding love on 85

“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it.”
-Ivan Panin

Last night I was driving home on the interstate from Bible Study, enjoying my Monday night phone call with my mom, when I thought I recognized the truck that I was passing. The license plate numbers seemed right, and squinting in the dark, the brown exterior color seemed to match. And sure enough, it was Rob, driving back from the gym.

I honked my horn a couple times, and then pulled up next to him. He looked over and smiled, and then he realized that it was me.

He told me when we got home, “I looked over and saw this hot girl. Then I looked again and realized it was my wife.”

Whether or not that's true, that’s why I love him.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Denim Dreams

“Denim has always been an everyday symbol for style.”
-Ritu Kumar

Last week I saw a girl dressed in a really cute, almost knee-length jean skirt, and I thought, “Man, if I had a skirt like that, I would wear it all summer long. It would be so much cooler than jeans in the stifling Atlanta heat.” Unfortunately, the blue jean skirt hanging in my closet is almost six years old and actually sized for a child—so, needless to say, it is time to give it to the Salvation Army and time to find a new one.

Rob and I spent a rainy Saturday afternoon at the mall, searching in vain for a blue jean skirt for me. We went into every clothing store where I had a chance of affording something. I was prepared to pay full price, and everything. We scoured the racks, and found a total of 3 denim skirts in the whole dadgum mall—and none of them were cute. Rob was having great fun, making fun of my "lack of" fashion sense.

At Macy’s I even asked the saleslady to help—the conversation went something like this:
J: Excuse me, ma’am, do you have any jean skirt that will cover my ass?
Saleslady: Unfortunately not, we have these. [pointing to a tiny mini skirt that’s smaller than the skirt headed for the Salvation Army]
J: No, I was really looking for something a little bit longer than that. Something I could wear to work.
Saleslady: Well, you can wear it with leggings. That’s the style.
J: Ok, thank you. I don’t think my office will go for leggings.
R: You should have just asked her to direct you to the teacher denim!

So all of my 3 illustrious readers… what should I do? Obviously jean skirts are NOT in style this season. So should I continue and order one online? Like...
Or if that’s just totally last season, would you care to advise me on what I can wear to work that’s actually in style this summer?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Down in Margaritaville

“If life gives you limes, make margaritas."
-Jimmy Buffett

Lately Rob and I have been in the habit of eating at Chili's on Friday night. I rarely have to be asked twice if I want a $3.50 margarita.

But tonight, I need a margarita. Not want, need!! After a week like mine, it's a wonder I've waited until 3:00 on Friday to start dreaming of alcoholic beverages.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Turnaround, bright eyes

“I would rather lose a good earring than be caught without make-up.”
-Lana Turner

Every morning I do the whole makeup routine. Not necessarily a lot of it, but I do go through the motions: moisturizer, concealer, foundation, blush, eye shadow... I’m just not that interested and definitely not very knowledgeable about makeup. Perhaps I should take lessons from my step-grandmother who is a retired makeup consultant. (On second thought after remembering the lipstick that she applied for me last summer, maybe I should pass on that one.)

Lately I’ve been in the habit of wearing mascara, too. While in school, I regularly left this out of my routine, for the simple fact that I hate taking it off at night. However, now that I have a more consistent schedule, and I’ve actually found a makeup remover that works, I’m sporting it more often.
And today... Today I wore eyeliner. Just because. Crazy I know. I’m not sure I have the right color for my skin, etc. but at least I didn’t smear it all over my face. It seems I may be making progress. We’ll see if Rob notices a difference when he gets home.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wish I was there

“Buy a house, a business, a boat!"
-Peter Gilmour

Rob has gone to Spartanburg for an all-day roofing class tomorrow. I was looking forward to getting a much-needed burrito, popping in a chick flick, and finishing up Callie’s wedding invitations.

However, it seems that plan will have to be put away for another day. Work stuff has popped up and it’s at 5 o’clock, over an hour away. Yuck!

I’m so ready to get out of this job, get out of this town. Here’s where I wish I were right now…

Only $89,900 in Spartanburg$107,500 in Boiling Springs
$115,000 in Boiling Springs
$115,900 in Boiling Springs
And these are just a few to dream about...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Highlights of our camping trip

“Camping is nature's way of promoting the motel business.”
-Dave Barry

  • Surprising Ricky when we got there. He had no clue that Rob and I were going to be there for his birthday weekend. His wife had secretly invited us. We got there after everybody else and were able sneak up on him while he was standing up telling a story around the campfire. He said he had wondered why Heather kept counting two extra people in her preparations, and why she had accidentally thrown my name around several times in conversation lately.
  • Raindrops falling on the tent. Saturday morning we woke up to rain. Some of the people had already emerged from their tents, so they were sent scrambling. But Rob and I were still snoozing, as the raindrops fell. It was awesome. Especially since it really didn’t rain much throughout the day. Just a few sprinkles here and there.

  • Engineering a toilet for the ladies. The first night we used a bucket inside the old camper. But after someone had to empty the next morning, it was decided that a better solution was needed. My engineer husband built a toilet for us. He even dug a channel that led down to the river for the run-off. You’ve just got to see the picture.

  • Midday most of the group went tubing down the river. Rob and I stayed behind—we weren’t too thrilled about braving a 40-degree dirty river for an hour without the promise of a shower afterward. Instead, we sat on the dock, propped our legs up, and read. Without all of the people around, we were able to really appreciate the beauty of being outdoors.

  • Games with the girls. In normal everyday life, I wouldn’t be best friends with any of the girls that we were camping with. They each had very extreme personalities. But at one point on Saturday the girls gathered in one of the large tents to play Taboo. I’m good at games, so it was a wonderful way to get out of my shell for a little bit. BTW…my team won!
  • Hamburgers on the grill. We were all responsible for our own breakfasts and lunches, while there were hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner. By 7:00 on Saturday evening, all I had eaten was a pack of pop-tarts, way too many cashews, and two malt beverages. I was hungry, and hungry for real food. The burgers just really hit the spot.
  • Campfire games. This group really likes games, and so do Rob and I. We also played Guesstures, basically an electronic version of Charades, around the campfire late at night. It was girls against boys, and it was a lot of fun until the girls got so worked up about having less points. I can get pretty competitive, but in this case, I thought playing was just as much fun as winning.
  • Late at night. We all sat around the campfire drinking and talking until late in the night. As the drinks were emptied, the conversation got that much more interesting. Sometimes funny, sometimes just sad, but all in all, quite an experience.

  • Sunday morning. We woke up with the sun, and then packed up to leave. Two nights of camping was enough for me. I was ready for a bathroom and a filling meal. Rob and I waited in the parking lot of Zaxby’s until it opened!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

When women rule the office

“If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there are men on base.”
-Dave Barry

Recently I’ve been working closely with a hair products company. Today I presented the conclusions of the qualitative research that I have been laboring over for the last month. The conclusions were very strong, and I think the whole audience believed. Thus it was successful.

However, once again I left the client’s office pondering about more than just hairbrushes and headbands. Of the 10 people in our meeting, 7 were female. As I currently work in a male-dominated office (and often business), I’m totally intrigued by the notion of working with a bunch of women, especially women around my age.

They are all dressed so cute and seem to be such good friends. For example, when one of the girls asked the group, “So what’s been going on since I got back from my trip to China?” (Meaning at work), someone replied, “Well, Ashlee Simpson is pregnant and engaged. And did you hear that Beyonce and Jay-Z got married.” I’m not especially a gossipmonger, especially about celeb news, but to be able to talk about that sort of stuff with your colleagues—that’s foreign to me.

And the girls, they dress so cute. I currently have no motivation to dress up super-cute at work. Everyone else is wearing the button-down and khakis that they wore last week. Therefore my wardrobe is definitely lacking. This week, in particular, I had to “dress up” three days for meetings, etc., and I don’t have many more cute clothes in my office. I need the inspiration, and I need the advice that these women could give me.

Rob has complained recently about women crying at his office. I have to admit I have shed a tear or two, but I’m sure it was a well-deserved tear. I also don’t have much patience with whiny, bitchy girls who get their feelings hurt all of the time. Somehow though, I imagine that female-dominated businesses run a lot differently than the male-oriented jobs that Rob and I are currently in. Maybe that’s idealistic of me, but someday I would like to find out for myself.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

We're booked!

"The trip across Arizona is just one oasis after another. You can just throw anything out and it will grow there, I like Arizona."
-Will Rogers

This week has been absolutely crazy with work. Thank goodness Rob and I are looking forward to a bit of a respite this weekend when we will go camping with a group of Rob's high school buddies.

Now we're looking forward to an even bigger trip. We're booked for August 23-30 in Arizona. Yaya!!! We've got plane tickets and a car reserved. For some reason, the Enterprise in Tempe doesn't charge extra for us being under 25. Isn't that spectacular! That was the make-or-break of the trip--and it looks like it's a make!

And thanks to Callie-girl, I've familiarized myself enough with GoogleDocs to set up an itinerary that I can share with Rob. Not that he'll ever look at it. But it's there if he wants to.

Our tentative itinerary is:

  • August 23: arrive in Phoenix, drive to Tucson
  • August 23-25: Tucson
  • August 25: drive to Williams
  • August 26: Sedona for the day
  • August 27: Grand Canyon for the day
  • August 28: drive to Phoenix
  • August 28-30: Phoenix, until heading home
Lots of driving, but we also get to see everything we want to see. Be prepared for many more posts about the trip.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I've got the blues

“You don't have to travel around the world to understand that the sky is blue everywhere”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Last year when we were creating our wedding registry, we agreed (eventually) on most of our choices: everyday dishes, china, and even silverware. But what we struggled with the most was the comforter for the bedroom.

While I always tended towards designs like this:
Rob always leaned toward designs like this:
We ended up with lots of gift cards; so one Saturday after the wedding, we decided we would stay at Target until we agreed on something. We ended up with a chocolate brown bedding set with rust-colored throw pillows. Not too shabby.

Then a few months later, we were choosing which wedding photos to have printed large. Our favorite was one with a bright blue sky. It didn’t match anything in our home. However, we agreed that the bedroom was most lacking in d├ęcor. And I was given “permission” to redecorate. Good-bye rust color!

I’ve held off on purchasing anything yet because I wanted to make sure I had the color exactly right.
After three trips to the paint aisle, I finally found the right shade of blue. I’ll be carrying these swatches around in purse, just in case something catches my eye. And, I’ll be crossing my fingers that we’ll be moving to a real house soon—a real house where I can paint the walls as I so choose!

Spring Cleaning

“Spring cleaning is all about personal satisfaction. It is the time of year that triggers homeowners to revive their home and renew their lives.”
-Peter Walsh

Yesterday after church, we started spring-cleaning. My goal is to forget sentimentality and to simplify. I started with my closet—the innermost sanctum of our little apartment, and therefore where everything gets dropped and forgotten. Many leftover wedding decorations were piling up in there, as well as craft supplies and gifts bought in advance. Rob’s been getting on to me about the black hole in there, so yesterday I went into attack mode.

Closet Before:

I pulled almost everything out into the bedroom, meaning that I had to finish before bedtime. Armed with a can of Coke and some good tunes on the stereo, the overhaul was successful. I threw away a big box of stuff. I have two big boxes for Salvation Army. And even have an empty shelf, ready for when I take on the big Winter-to-Summer clothes switch (it’s cold again this week, so it might be a few weeks before I attempt that).

Closet After:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Rude Awakening

“I told my therapist I was having nightmares about nuclear explosions. He said don't worry it's not the end of the world."
-Jay London

Last night at 2 o’clock in the morning I woke up totally wet with an empty glass in my hand. Needless to say, I jumped out of bed cursing, and praying that Rob would sleep through it.

As I’ve battled these never-ending allergies, I’ve found that it helps to keep a glass of water next to the bed, in case I get choked up. Before falling asleep, I had been holding the glass of water, but then specifically thought, “Jana, it would probably not be a good idea to fall asleep with this in your hand.” And, I put it aside.

However, at some point in the night, I must have picked it up again, and then proceeded to pour it all over myself. I kind of have some muscle memory of throwing my hand up in the air, just before I awoke. I changed into dry clothes, put a towel over the wet sheets, and climbed back into bed. Where I promptly fell back asleep and dreamt of killing my fish.

I’ve been having these frightening dreams lately where my fish is dying and I can’t do anything about it. Last night, while begging her not to, a tiny Asian woman threw Scooter into a tank with another Beta fish. He fought to the death, but because he is so old, he did not come out victorious. Any dream interpreters out there?

Let’s just say it was a rough night.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Here we go again...

“Almost everything in life is easier to get into than out of.” -Unknown

**Disclaimer: These are my thoughts from today, and they’re not necessarily friendly. I don’t think that any one who will be reading this today will be offended, but just in case, someone finds this later, you have your own reactions to this situation—these are mine.**

Yesterday was my husband’s cousin’s 18th birthday, and also the day she chose to tell her aunt/legal guardian (aka my MIL) that she is six weeks pregnant. This is like a kick in the stomach for all of us. If you knew some of her back story, you would know that C struggles with her schoolwork and self esteem, probably intensified by a learning disability and psychological imbalance, which have been exacerbated by, if not instigated by years of living with and then being abandoned by an alcoholic/drug abusing mother.

My MIL is not the most maternal person in the world, but she has been generous to open her home to her niece. We’ve been keeping our fingers crossed that C’s grades would be good enough to graduate and start at the local community college. But it looks like that’s all up in the air right now. That just kills me.

Of course that side of the family is not very good at anger management either, so I imagine the last few days have been hell for C. Luckily Rob is aware enough that although he is furious, he knows he shouldn’t lash out at her right now. However, I’m pretty sure everyone else hasn’t been that thoughtful.

On the other hand, I react to situations a lot differently from them. My philosophy in these instances is that it is pointless to get mad about what could have been or to get frustrated by what should have been done—this is the path we’re on, so where do we go from here? Rob told me last night that perhaps I should give C a call. However, that puts me in a sticky situation. I don’t have any more solutions than anybody else, I’m not totally in a buddy-buddy relationship with C, and I don't want to step on anyone's toes, but I think that she needs a champion, someone that’s looking out for her.

I think that the moment you become pregnant, you are suddenly snapped from being a kid, and you become an adult, making adult decisions, whether you’re ready for them or not. So someone needs to step up and treat C like an adult. Hopefully that includes making suggestions and providing advice, but it also means letting her make the important decisions.

I’m also struggling with this new obstacle because unplanned pregnancies seem to run rampant through the women of this family. No one in this family has conceived a child because they planned for, wanted, and were ready for a child. And I’m having a hard time not placing blame on a certain someone who is always more willing to give criticism than praise. This same someone who took on the role of parent when a child needed it, and who is threatening to throw it away because it’s not easy now.

My first thought when Rob told me was, “Oh, we could take that little baby and love him or her so much. We’re more ready for a baby than C.” But unfortunately, that’s not the answer. And, I’m not so sure that we’re that much more ready.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Please go away

“Every season can be an allergy season, depending on what you're allergic to."
-Clara Chung

I’m totally fed up with this nagging cough. And I’m beginning to hate cough drops. I’ve been popping cherry lozenges for about a week and a half now, to no avail. I battled severe allergies two weeks ago, and this is probably left over from that. But nothing I try seems to make a difference.

Last night I lay in bed, propped up on pillows, willing myself not to cough. Not to wake my poor husband up. I was trying to practice a very deliberate breathing pattern, to take a sip of water every now and then, to clear my throat as a substitute, as well as to fall asleep. At one point I noticed that my fists were clenched and I was choking in order to suppress my constant urge to cough. And then all of a sudden, I lost out, and I started hacking away again.

Thankfully the Benadryl finally kicked in, so I did at least get some sleep. But when I woke up this morning, there was still no end in sight.

Mr. Cough… please go away. My husband is tired of sleeping next to you. My colleagues are tired of listening to you. And most of all, I am tired of you.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

We have a date!

“Map out your future- but do it in pencil. The road ahead is as long as you make it. Make it worth the trip."
-Jon Bon Jovi

I think that I’ve mentioned before the glorious trip that I’m planning for this summer. Hopefully I’ll have news soon that we’ve booked tickets and hotels, but today we have a date. Or at least I think we have a date. Rob looked at his calendar, which is very full and his work, which is very busy. I compared his dates with my calendar, which is very empty and my work, which is very not busy. And, voila, we came up with August 23-September 1.

We’ll be going on a whirlwind tour of Arizona. The travel books say you can’t make it from one end of the state to the other in a week. But we have 10 days, and we’re going to do it! I’ve spent my “free time” today planning our itinerary, and it looks like we’ll be doing a lot of driving, but that we’ll be able to see everything that we want to see. Any tips for Arizona? Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Sedona, Grand Canyon, or anywhere in between?

Here’s a pic from the last time I was in Arizona. June 1988.

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