Thursday, November 30, 2006


Well holy cow, look at me! I made it! 30 days straight of posting, and I actually think it might be possible that I have less readers now. I'm not that interesting in large doses, am I now? :-)

For my final post of NabloIamnotdoingthisshitagainnextyear I thought I'd share with you why I'll never, ever do drugs. For my dentist appt on Monday the dentist had prescribed me Lorazepam. Wait, I should start by saying that I hate taking drugs of any kind. My birth control is a necessary evil, I'll drink gallons of water before submitting to Asprin, and I am firmly anti antibiotics unless its something serious. So for the doc to give me anti-anxiety pills and for the prescription on the outside to read "Take 3 tablets 2 hours prior to appointment", well that just seemed extreme to me. But I took them 'cause he said so, and WOAH was I on another planet. I vaguely remember telling Ryan on the way to the appointment that he had to stop talking because I couldn't pay attention due to all the colors flying past the car window. Ryan jokingly told me (I swear father-in-law medical man, he was totally joking!!) I should take the rest of that Lorazepam on Saturday for the Barenaked Ladies (BNL! WOO HOO!) concert. Um, husband person, after I took that stuff the other day and 3 hours had passed, I know we went to Michael's after the root canal, but I can't for the life of me remember WHICH Michael's we were at, or what we bought there. Then he asked if I remembered Big Lots and Home Depot. Um, no... Don't remember those. And when I got home from said drug-induced adventure, I took a HALF of a Hydrocodone (the prescription says take 1-2) and promptly passed out for 2 whole hours in the middle of the day.

Oh, and yesterday one of the firefighters was over at our house and he said, "Hey! Heard you were pretty f*d up on Monday!" That's right, this girl cannot handle her drugs. (But she CAN handle her alcohol, and don't you think she deserves a glass of pinot to celebrate making it 30 full freaking days of this?)

I wanted to mention (totally unrelated) this website where I found interesting gifts for my family for Christmas (my brother is totally getting the sudoku toilet paper). I hate shopping, so I think I'll just order everything here this year.

OK, that's all for November. Bring on the holidays and my regular non-posting self. Just kidding, I'll try to post more then once a week because I realize I missed it. Thanks for all your kind comments and for sticking with me this month, even when I was at my lowest in terms of creativity with my writing.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I can see the finish line! Only today and tomorrow left, then no more waking up in the middle of the night thinking that I'd forgotten to post!

This weekend Ryan and are are going to see the greatest band in the whole world. Barenaked Ladies y'all! We haven't seen them for almost 3 years now and we were going through withdrawls. CAN'T WAIT! They are the single most entertaining band I've ever seen perform. WOO HOO! Wish hotels weren't $145/night downtown so we could drink ourselves silly, be crazy at the concert, then walk to bed.

Tonight we're seeing Ryan's parents again for dinner. Ryan's dad has been treating this really nice man from California for a long time where he works, and everytime that guy comes into town he insists on taking us all for a nice steak dinner. And who am I to argue??

And guess what I woke up to this morning?! WINTER! It was almost 90 degrees last week, and today I think it only got up to 55. Arizona weather is the strangest. In Phoenix when the temperature doesn't break 70 during the day, we Phoenicians break out our winter coats.
I'm hoping this means snow is coming soon in the high country. Here's to lots of snow for skiing over New Years!

As my title today suggests, I've got nothing for you. So instead of wasting this post, I present you with a recipe for Homemade Dog Biscuits. I've never made it before, but I'm thinking about trying it this weekend. It came on the back of a mortgage company's advertisement at the dog walk this weekend. Pretty smart of them...

2 tsp dry yeast
1/2 C. water
2 Tbs parsley
1 1/2 C. chicken broth
3 Tbs honey
1 egg
5-6 C. of whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350
In large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.
Stir in parsley, broth, honey, and egg.
Slowly add flour to form a stiff dough.
Transfer to floured surface & kneed until smooth.
Roll dough (DOH! I don't have a rolling pin. Must ask for that for Christmas) out to 1/4" thick.
Cut out w/ cookie cutter of choice.

Bake on un-greased cookie sheet for 30 minutes, flip over & bake 15 minutes.
Cool for several hours.
Serve to doggie of your choosing.

Let me know if you try this recipe and you like. And if you don't, let me know that too so I don't waste my time making it for my own pups. See ya!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

NaBloPoMo Day 28 - Two more to go!

I really am running out of things to say. I've been posting every day for the last 28 days. You know how you're supposed to train for a marathon so you're in shape for the long run? I think jumping right into this marathon of posting might not have been the wisest. I was totally out of shape. On the other hand, I've pushed through and I'm in the final stretch and I'm pretty darn proud of myself.

Last year I was in a group at work that banded together and collected enough money to adopt 9 Christmas Angles. I was so blessed to have been chosen one of the people to take the money and buy for some of the children. Ryan and I spent 2 hours in Target and bought shoes, clothes and toys for 5 of the kids. It was one of the most fun things I've ever done.

Well this year I'm not in that group, and the group I'm in isn't exactly the giving type, so I'm on my own. Ryan and I agreed that we would set aside enough money to adopt a child this Christmas, so today I went downstairs in my office building to the Angel tree to pick out our kid. There were a ton of kids waiting to be adopted for the holiday, but I was shocked by what they were asking for. Bikes, mp3 players, Playstations, DVDs, video games, life-size dolls, kid-sized cars that really drive... Am I wrong to be a little shocked by that, or am I just cheap? Admittedly I don't know much about kids, but those seem like really big, expensive gifts. And don't forget that on top of all those big presents each adopter also much buy the outift and the shoes. That's just a lot of money.

Then I stepped back and realized that it is just plain cruel of me to think, even if it was just to myself, that kids in unfortunate situations shouldn't wish for the popular toys. So I made a compromise with myself. I might not be able to afford a $240 Playstation, but I can afford something.

So this Christmas Ryan and I will be helping Carlos, age 3, to have a very Merry Christmas. Carlos will have a very fun remote control car. Maybe even something in the form of a 4x4. Maybe this monster truck.

So how about you? Do you have programs like this in your area? Are you planning on helping someone else to have a happier holiday season?

Monday, November 27, 2006

NaBloPoMo Day 27 - Better Get it out Now

Happy root canal day to you! I'm about to take some nice happy pills so I thought I'd get this post out before I'm loopy. Have I mentioned how much I hate the dentist? When I was a kid my dentist told me that the numbing shot was more painful then actually filling the cavity. So when I was a kid I had every cavity filled without any meds. Yikes! That dentist also told me that the fact that I was missing two bottom front teeth was not a worry. Then I went to college and got my own dentist, and it turns out that the archaic dentist of my youth was a little off in the head. My mouth was a mess. In one two week period I had to go 4 times to the dentist to get about 10 teeth fixed. Then I had to get braces (at 23, how attractive) to fix the problem of my missing teeth. Then I had a nice little surgery (under general) where they grafted bone on to my jaw, screwed a titanium post into the jaw, then fitted me with a fake tooth. Nice, huh? (and side note: as a result of the grafting, every time I donate blood I have to say I've had a 'transplant' of cadaver bone. I have dead people stuff in my mouth, wanna make out?) So needless to say I've got issues with the dentist.

Great, now that I've got myself all worked up and scared, I'm going to go take my anti-anxiety meds. See you in la la land!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

NaBloPoMo Day 26 (and still going strong!)

Well, today's the last day of my grandma's visit. We did a lot of great things together this week. Last night we went to Zoo Lights at the Phoenix Zoo. Do other zoos do this? From Thanksgiving to New Years the Zoo puts up millions of lights. It is just gorgeous. Some of the lights are set to Christmas songs, and others are displays that look like animals moving doing things. My favorite was the baby elephant shooting water into its mother's eye. The problem with this event is that there are SO many people its impossible to enjoy the lights because you can't stop to look at them without the fear of being trampled by stroller-pushing mothers or run into by children wearing obnoxious blinking light hats. And then there's the folks who bring flashlights in (even though it specifically says not to) and they shine them all around in the poor animals' enclosures. I know all that is balanced with the fact that the money people pay to get in goes toward the animals in the long run, so I think its worth it. If you go though, don't go on a holiday weekend is my advice.

That's my mom and Ryan in the second picture. It was funny to see people using point-and-shoot cameras with the flash to take pictures of the Christmas lights. You know you won't be able to see the lights, right? Anyway, Ryan and I are thinking about going back again when its a little less crowded so we can take our time, sip our hot chocolate, and really enjoy the lights.

For my grandma's last day here I suggested that we go to the Walk for the Animals at Tempe Town Lake. I went once before to this, and it was so much fun. Karma, Mika and I met my mom, dad, grandma, and Shadow down there and we (my mom and I) did the 2k, we looked at all the fun booths, did some raffle stuff, drank yummy gingerbread lattes, but mostly we dog and people watched. There were thousands of people there and almost any dog you can imagine. We even saw an Irish Wolfhound. The only other time I've seen one of those giants was in England walking in the fields with a farmer. Anyway, it was a ton of fun and a GREAT cause. The Arizona Animal Welfare League funds no-kill shelters in the state. And I'm happy to say they adopted out 4 pups today at the walk! I almost brought one home myself but Ryan would have killed me. We donate to them regularly as I feel really strongly about this.

So that's the end of the long weekend for me. Oh wait! I have tomorrow off too! But not for any fun reason. Its root canal day! YAY! Later.

For the few of you insane people who mentioned to me that you wish you'd known about NaBloPoMo, there's a group that's doing it in December. I will not be one of the. But if YOU do it, I'd be glad to READ a post every day. :-)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

NaBloPoMo Day 25 - Holidays are Tiring

Oh man, did I open my mouth. I went over to my parents' house last night for turkey leftovers because my bro was going to be there (it was his Thanksgiving dinner) and because my grandma's still here. I signed myself up for every day that I was available while my grandma is here, and its just been a tad much. I've seen them 6 times in the last week and I'll be with them tonight and tomorrow too.

Last night I just wanted to hang out for one night of the week, drink a glass of wine, and relax. So by the time I got to my parents' house I was just a little stressed and I told my dad I was 'familied out'. Big mistake. I hurt his feelings. But I didn't mean it to be hurtful, honestly. For me its an hour driving round trip to get there, and I'm one of those people who lives for my routine and I'm a homebody to boot. And sometimes long stretches of time spent with people you don't normally see on a daily basis... I know, it all sounds horrible, selfish, and I'm a horrible daughter.

And I really do wish I could take it back. Why couldn't I have kept my mouth shut and enjoyed the time with my family while my grandma is here?

Holidays are stressful.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Running off the Turkey

Running the day after Thanksgiving is hard. I felt that turkey every step of the way this morning. Ohhh.

Turkey day was a success! Have I mentioned its my favorite holiday? I woke up and started baking. There's something so satisfying about baking. I made two of those pumpkin cakes (picture below). One of them I took to my brother because he was on shift yesterday. Poor kid. I don't think I've every mentioned here that my brother is an emergency worker too. He works on an ambulance, and it makes family days hard because he and Ryan are often on opposite shifts. Anyway, the guys at Kevin's station were so happy to have a Thanksgiving treat.

Dinner last night was great! Ryan's parents joined us at my parents' house and the food was awesome, conversation was fun, and we all ended up being over there for 4 and a half hours playing Soduko and chatting. The definite highlight of my evening was when I sat down at the dinner table BEFORE I ate and my fat a$$ broke the chair I was sitting in. :-) At least it was a reminder not to stuff myself. Which I did anyway. And it was worth it. OK, so it was the 'kid' chair at the table and it'd been sitting in the heat in the attic for a while, so its no wonder it broke, but STILL.

After a few glasses of wine we'd all loosened up to the point where we were comfortable telling embarassing stories. I got to hear all about how fat Ryan was as a baby and how he got the scar on his forehead. And I told my family all about 'brown trout'. We got to talking about sharks and I was telling everyone how terrified I was to pee off my cousin Cam's boat in Florida because of sharks. But after a few beers and having been surrounded by water all day, a girl's gotta pee! So I held on to the back rail, kept my feet on the boat, and just stuck my bottom in the water. The whole time I was hanging over the edge I was envisioning how appetizing that would look to a shark under the boat. Anyway, we learned from my cousin that when the boys are out on a long trip and they have to go the 'other', they just do it over the side too. Then they warn each other to watch for the 'brown trout'. I know, appetizing conversation for Thanksgiving dinner, but what's a good family dinner without a little discussion about poo?

So happy shopping day to you all. I am hiding in my house and Ryan's at work. He was just in the area and I wanted to get rid of the rest of that cake (I've already had two slices today!) so he stopped by in the engine. The neighbors getting REALLY curious when a fire truck is parked in front of the house. hehehe It was a treat to see him in the middle of his shift like that. Made my day! Tonight, more dinner w/ the fam. I'm going to be totally familied out by the end of this long weekend!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

NaBloPoMo Day 23 - Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Crumble Cake

Water Feature, Mesa Arts Center

That's a nighttime shot of this:

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Day 22 - I'm Thankful For

What better way to spend this post then to say what I'm thankful for. I hope you're all thinking about what you're thankful for and I hope you're all planning on spending time with family and friends tomorrow for my most favorite holiday of the year. All my favorite foods and no pressure to find gifts for anyone! The perfect holiday.

I'm thankful for:
-My husband. I'm so thankful that I found a man who is the perfect roommate, a romantic partner, and a thoughtful friend.
-My family. We've been through a lot together.
-My friends. I am so blessed to have so many dear friends in my life. I feel like if I'm having a bad day or have hit a rough patch, I've always got someone I can turn to.
-My job. I'm so lucky to have a job that pays well enough to fund my vacation habit.
-My dogs. When I'm alone or sad, its so nice to have Karma to snuggle with or Mika plopping her head down on my knee and looking up at me with the hugest puppy dog eyes.
-My camera. It may just be a material possession, but that camera has given me a creative outlet like I've never had before.
-My health.
-My awesome house
-My love of food
-My ability to be active and enjoy the outdoors (also good for counteracting my love of food)
-A good wine
-A good beer (cheers!)
-Arizona (I adore my state!)
-My comfy bed
-A hot shower
-Financial security
-Good movies
-Sleeping in with Ryan and the doggies on Sundays
-When Ryan has a day off

I could go on forever. I really do have so much to be thankful for in my life. Another reason Thanksgiving is the best holiday: its a day for us all the step back and realize just how lucky we are with what we have.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Turkey Day Training - NaBloPoMo Day 21

I think I've mentioned before that I'm the only female in my group at work. I'm almost the only female withing 10 rows of where I sit actually. Women tend to be more inclined to do things like plan parties or organize ways for coworkers to socialize. If I were a manager, I would provide lots of opportunities for my workers to get to know each other. I believe there's no better way to help people work together better then to provide opportunities for them to figure out that they actually like each other.

Because my manager doesn't hold that belief AT ALL, I took it upon myself to plan a Thanksgiving appetizer potluck. I did this in my last group as well, and it always turned into a really fun way for people to chat, if only for 5 minutes between meetings, as we gathered 'round the potluck table. So in an effort to try to get my odd new little group to be a bit more friendly, I sent out an email last week and I couldn't believe the response! They were actually excited! And my stodgy old boss even read my email in the staff meeting and announced what a GREAT idea it was, and that we should do this more often.

The food started coming out at 8:30am this morning. Pies, cookies, veggies, hummus, smoked salmon dip, tortilla pinwheels.... Then at 10:30 the big guns came out. Turkey, breads, salmon, corn casserole, all kinds of soda, more pies.... Ohhhhh. My problem is that I don't have an off button! And I KNEW that I was going out for Mexican food for lunch with my family today, but I still ate. I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and afterall, I did plan the thing. I'm never eating again....

Thanksgiving this year is going to be a piece of cake (pie). It worked out that Ryan's parents are able to join us for Thankgiving at my parents' house. It should be great. My family, his family, and my grandma's in town too. I convinced my mom to let me be in charge of dessert, and she's really having a hard time letting go of the pumpkin pie thing. I like pumpkin pie as much as the next girl, but why settle for pie when you can have.... PUMPKIN CRUMBLE CAKE. I swear I think about this cake all year in anticipation of fall.

In case you're looking for a fun crowd-pleasing recipe to replace the tired old pumpkin pie this year, check out The Cake Mix Doctor's (I heart you Cake Mix Doctor!) Pumpkin Crumble Cake. Recipe below. Pictures to follow when I make it in a few days.

Serves: 18 to 20
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 70 to 75 minutes
Assembly time: 5 minutes

  • Solid vegetable shortening for greasing the pan

  • Flour for dusting the pan

  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter or margarine, at room temperature

  • 4 large eggs

  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) pumpkin

  • 1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, chilled

  • 1 cup chopped pecans

  • Sweetened whipped cream for topping

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13- by 9-inch baking pan with solid vegetable shortening, then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set the pan aside.

  2. Measure out 1 cup of the cake mix and reserve for the topping. Place the remaining cake mix, the butter, and 1 egg in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until well combined, 1 minute. Using your fingertips, press the batter over the bottom of the prepared pan so that it reaches the sides of the pan. Set the pan aside.

  3. For the filling, place the pumpkin, evaporated milk, 1 cup sugar, remaining 3 eggs, and cinnamon in the same large mixing bowl used to prepare the batter and with the same beaters (no need to clean either), blend on low speed until combined, 30 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the mixture lightens in color and texture, 1 to 2 minutes more. Pour the filling over the crust in the pan, spreading to the sides of the pan with a rubber spatula. Set the pan aside.

  4. For the topping, place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the chilled butter, and the reserved cake mix in a clean medium-size mixing bowl. Rinse and dry the beaters. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until just combined and crumbly, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stop the machine and stir in the pecans. Use your fingers to thoroughly knead the pecans into the topping mixture. Distribute the topping evenly over the filling mixture. Place the pan in the oven.

  5. Bake the cake until the center no longer jiggles when you shake the pan and the pecans on top have browned, 70 to 75 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool slightly on a wire rack, 20 minutes.

  6. Prepare two recipes of the Sweetened Cream. Slice the cake into squares and pass the Sweetened Cream to spoon on top.

* Store this cake without the Sweetened Cream on it, covered in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My Toof Hurts - NaBloPoMo Day 20

I've got a dentist phobia. When I have cavities filled just having all those hands and and the bumper things and the gauzy things and the drill and I'm choking on my spit and water and the noise... I start to hyperventilate and more then once I've panicked and reached up to pull all that junk out. My dentist is great and very patient with me, and I do understand that the whole thing is irrational, but nothing I do to calm myself down works.

I've had this sensitive tooth for about 2 years now. Last Friday that tooth turned from sensitive to excruciating. Whenever I ate hot or cold food that tooth ached all the way down into my jaw. So today I visited my dentist and after he did some tests that included tapping, pulling, and applying SUPER cold and super hot to it, he announced, "That tooth is dead". So it turns out that Karma is not the only family member who gets a root canal this month. *pout* Scary!

The good thing is that the dentist gave me some valium-like stuff for the day of, vicadin to take from now until then, and I get a day off work. Woo hoo!

So tell me, have you ever had a root canal? Was it as bad as you thought it would be?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Euro vs. The Middle East And Why the NFL is Dumb

For lunch today my family went to The Euro Cafe in downtown Gilbert. For reference when I'm on my vant a few lines from now, here's a few examples of what's on the menu: Gyros, Mediterranean salad, goat shrimp (with feta), turkey pita, etc. The food here is excellent. Well I wanted a little hummus with my gyro, but it wasn't on the menu in the appetizer section, so I asked our (bitchy) waitress for some, and she snottily informed me that 'this is EUROpean food (hence the name). Hummus is middle eastern'. Um lady, looked at a map lately? Greece could arguably BE in the Middle East, and you're basing your menu on their food, and every other gyro-serving Mediterranean establishment in the US has hummus, so grind up some chick peas and lets go. I wouldn't have felt so hyped about this if she hadn't been so mean, but I went home and looked up 'Greece', 'hummus' and 'pita'.

OK, so TECHNICALLY hummus belongs to the Middle East. But LOOK:

OK, maybe I'm splitting hairs, but Greece is right next to the flipping Middle East! Add to that the fact that EVERY other restaurant that I've been to that bills itself as 'Mediterranean' serves hummus like its a staple, and I can't understand the attitude from this woman. Is it her mission in life to educate the difference between Greece and The Middle East? Um, lady... Greece is one on conquest outcome away from being part of the 'Middle East'. You think food sees borders? I don't know why I'm so worked up about this.

Speaking about being worked up... Ryan and I went to the Cardinals (boo!) game today. The stadium really is gorgeous, and HUGE. The game was exciting and felt mature then the college game yesterday. Does that make sense?

But the NFL? Can suck my non-existent balls. I went throught pat-down area where they only ran their hands down my sides (what? people don't hide weapons in their crotch? Which they TOTALLY DO!). But when I got to the table where they checked my bags they saw my camera. Evidently cameras ARE allowed. Cameras with dettachable lenses, however, are not. Um, what? The reasoning is that it is a 'professional' camera. Do they think I'm going to make money off the pics I take in the stadium? Me versus the guys who are ON THE FIELD with their freaking 5 foot long lenses? So we had to walk a mile back to our car to leave my baby there with the hopes that some moronic thief would hit the Beemer next to my car instead of mine.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

NaBloPoMo Day 19

HA! Its 7 minutes after my last post, but TECHNICALLY it is the 19th. I will try my darndest to put up a real post later today/tomorrow/when I wake up, but with the way this weekend is going...

I will say though that we're going to a Cardinals game today/tomorrow/later (boooo! Cardinals suck!). Ryan's parents have season tickets and couldn't make it to this one, we're lucky enough to get the seats. We're excited to go see the new stadium (which, by the way, is about 90 minutes from my house and might as well be in another state its THAT FAR away). The stadium was designed to look like a barrel cactus, which seems kind of dumb to me, but I don't get paid to design buildings, so what do I know?

OH! And one more thing about TODAY's/yesterday's football game at ASU. There was a special act for the halftime show. It was freaking Tower of Power! Oh what? You're not down with T.O.P.? That's ok, you'd have that in common with about 99% of the people in that stadium tonight. They're this killer funk/soul band from the 60s/70s/80s with a crazy horn section. Ryan and I were so excited. They were in town on Ryan's birthday but the tickets were so expensive we didn't go. (We've seen them twice before in concert, but we could stand to see them a few more times). Anyway, as soon as they came out, we started singing at the top of our lungs along with, and my friend Toni and her husband were so embarassed. I think Ryan and I might have been born in the wrong decade.

Alright, I'm off to try to get Ryan off the Xbox so we can go to bed. More tomorrow! I mean, today!

Spinakopita Burgers and a Birthday. IN THE NICK OF TIME!

TEN MINUTES LEFT IN THE DAY! Man I'm cutting it close. But I've come this far! Can't give up now. :-)

Tonight my grandma, in town from Florida, came over for dinner. I made Greek burgers (turkey, spinach, feta, etc.), hummus, cucumber/yogurt sauce, and more. She told me she felt like she was 'eating health'. Its super healthy, and AMAZING tasting. Sure to be a crowd favorite. Here's the recipe.

Just got home from the ASU game where we were given free VIP tickets to sit in the loge (pronounced like the thing the Jamicans rode down the ice I think) level. There was free food! And free soda! And seats that weren't backless and made out of metal! It was so fun.

OK, 6 minutes left of Nov 18th. Did you go outside and see the meteor shower? And how could I let the day pass without wishing my most favorite (and only) brother a very happy 25th birthday. I love you Kevin!

Tomorrow a birthday lunch and even more football. Twice in one weekend! And I don't even like football... :-)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Drinking Randomness

So I'm drinking. You surprised? No? We've got an insane weekend and tonight was an unexpected night off to hang. Together. Alone. Which means: drinking and house cleaning. That doesn't sound exciting? Yeah, well... IT IS. So there. Just having my husband in the same house, doing something, ANYTHING, together is heaven.

That said, I've been drinking. And I don't have much to say here. But I'm committed d*mn it!

Lately I've been sending myself emails from work with ideas of things to blog about. Here's today's email. Consider it your post. Can you decypher it?

Money for lunch.

Meteor shower. Leonid. 11:45pm ET Saturday the 18th. (9:45 AZ time)
Meteor shower in Flagstaff, sitting on the rock.

I like my blog title. Sometimes visit other blogs (via the randomizer)
and wonder if those people regret that they assinged that title to their
life stories.

First car. 12" sub woofer. Beastie Boy

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Happy Blogday to Me and Monkey Business

I got so wrapped up in NaBloPoMo that I completely forgot to celebrate my Blog Birthday! November 5th was the 2nd anniversary of Putting Out Fires. I've 'met' some really great people through this blog, been inspired by some, been entertained by others. Because of this blog I found photography, the new love of my life. I know it sounds cheesy, but I see the world differently. I see beautiful things in places I wouldn't normally have noticed. And while I make an attempt to be a little entertaining, this blog has been good for ME because I can go back and read through the last 2 years of my life because its all out there. Well, not ALL of it, obviously, but you know... :-) So happy (belated) Blogday to me and Putting out Fires.

And now let's talk about monkeys. Today, at a gift fair at my work, I bought my brother this flying monkey for his birthday. There were monkeys flying all over the office today. And this monkey? When you slingshot it across the room and it hits the wall, it lets out this hilarious monkey scream. AH AH AH AH!!

That lead to a conversation about pet monkeys. Which, it turns out, one of my coworkers had as a kid. He had two squirrel monkeys called Cheech and Charlie. Cheech was as sweet as could be and loved to hang out with his humans. Charlie, on the other hand, was a little devil with a bad attitude. One night the kids in the family were sitting at the dinner table eating a dessert of donuts (who gives their kids donuts after dinner?). My coworker's brother James was eating when Charlie the monkey snuck up under the table, reach his long little arm up over to the tabletop and snatched James' donut. He then took off into the living room, James hot on his heals, and scampered up the curtains (one-armed, since he had to hold his prize in the other arm) and camped out on the curtain rod. Not to be outdone by a monkey, James ran for a chair. Charlie ate that donut (almost twice his size because he was so small) as fast as he could, but hadn't gotten very far before James snatched it right back. Charlie was so angry he jumped on James, grabbed him by both ears, and bit him square on the nose.

So how about you, if you could have any fun animal as a pet, what would it be?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Clothes Make the Man (or Woman)

Back when I was excited about blogging (which was for like a year and a half up until this summer) I had ideas all the time. Something would happen and I'd think, "I have to blog this later!". For a while I even kept a little notebook with things I wanted to send out into the world. Then this summer I just lost interest. Now I'm back, thanks to NaBloPoMo, and I've got all kinds of ideas again. Except for I forgot about my notebook.

I swear I had the best idea today for an interesting, conversation-starting post. I said to myself, "I should email this to myself so I can blog it later." But alas, I didn't. Now I have nothing.

Well, ok, I have something. Here's a question for you: in a professional working environment, what is acceptable clothing for someone to wear? Have we gotten too lax in the way we dress for work? I work in a professional environment filled with engineers, most of whom have at least Masters degrees. Today in the cafeteria I saw a 20-something girl (a rarity. the girl part, and the 20-something part) wearing a short skirt and hooker boots (boots that hit above the knee). The outfit had the intended effect (all the guys in the cafeteria stopped talking and were staring), but I, as the only other female in there, was appalled. But that's not all. In general people dress really sloppy at work. I see guys with ripped jeans and t-shirts all the time in my office building. I can understand it on the shop floor, but in the engineering building?

So how about you? How do people dress at your work? Do you wish they dressed more professionally?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Almost halfway through NaBloPoMo!

Hey all! I got my fancy shmancy lens! I'm so excited and spent most of the day at work thinking about all the fun I was going to have with it tonight. My new lens and I are having some growing pains though. I'm overexposing all my pictures. I've checked all the settings, taken into account the new lens when thinking about the aperture settings, blah de blah, and I just haven't quite gotten the hang of it yet. So tonight is practice night.

For today's post I thought I'd give you links to a few sites I'm digging. This first one is an oldie for me, but I've gone back to it for ideas of photography projects in the hopes that I'll wrangle this camera yet. This 'class' is excellent for beginners, but it is also great for people who think they know their camera but could use a refresher on the basics. And if you don't fit into either of those two categories, then I suggest you take a look at the 'assignments' attached for each lesson.
You'll find some inspiration there. Here's the link.

Another photography link for you is Ken Rockwell. If you aren't already obsessed with Ken, you probably should be. Any answer you could be looking for in the shape of explanations, reviews (which he does a GREAT job giving), and hints can be found with him. Most of the camera equipment I've bought on his suggestion, including my NEW LENS.

And last, but definitely not least for today, is bloglines. Bloglines allows you to track all the blogs you're into by letting you know if each has updated. Its really easy to use, and I've gotten a whole lot better at commenting on my favorites' sites as a result. They also have a nifty button for your toolbar that allows you to add a site that you're currently looking at straight to your watch list. Check it out!

Oh wait, did I say that was it? One more link to my most favorite video possibly ever on YouTube. Enjoy!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The customer is always....waiting

Don't you hate the practice of people in the home service industry giving you a window of time in which you should make yourself available for THEM to come do work that you are paying them for? Maybe its naive of me, but I tend to think that if I'm paying for a service, I should be the one who is asking them to make themselves available at a time that is convenient for me. How did they get the upper hand? And we all know that "Please be available from 10am-2pm" really means "I will be at your house at 2:15, and by that time you'll have wasted your entire day and you'll be so pissed off you've almost given up waiting for me to show".

Well, we have been waiting for this camera lens since the beginning of July people. Yesterday I get an automated message from UPS stating that a package will be delivered tomorrow and that it will need to be signed for. Oh, and by the way, "We will be in your area between 8am and 7pm". Um, what? In order to get my $800 lens that I've been waiting 5 months for I need to be chained to my house all day?

The (one) good thing about Ryan's schedule is that he's home during the day sometimes, so for today at least it wasn't too big a deal. Well, except for he didn't leave the house for errands all day because he knew I'd be heart broken if I didn't get that lens TODAY RIGHT NOW IMMEDIATELY. But here we are. 4pm. 8 hours into our 'window' and still no sign of UPS. 3 more hours to go. Here's hoping I don't have to pee (thus possibly being unable to get to the door fast enough because it IS all about the UPS man's schedule afterall) in the next half hour because Ryan's out jogging the devil dog.

Aside from that, I have BIG news people. Bigger then when Pumpkin Spice Lattes reappeared at Starbucks for the season! Drum roll..... I finally figured out what I'm making my girls for Christmas! That might not sound like a big thing, but I'm telling you I stress. I was with a few of those girls this weekend and they were talking about how they were already making progress on their projects and I realized I hadn't put any thought into it at all. The trick is to find something that can be mass-produced (I need 6 afterall), cheap (because I have to make 6), and spectacular enough to warrant a good Ya-ya Christmas gift. Oh, and it has to be functional and something that the girls would actually use. But I did it! I found the perfect thing. So there Christmas! And this weekend we're starting our Christmas shopping. Have you started yours??

After Ryan ran the devil dog, Karma D. Bear and I went out. About 1/4 mile from our house I saw the UPS man! RAPTURE! So I picked up the pace, ready to go play with my new toy which SURELY had arrived at our house. That was a half hour ago. No lens. Now they're just messing with me.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Killer Bug Two

(Click for better view)

I went outside today to check out my rose and that same bug was there with a new kill! Craziness. I'm happier with the feel of this picture. He was nice enough to get a little closer to the center of the rose this time.

I woke up this morning at 1:30am. I've got some things running around in my brain and I'm starting to lose sleep over it. I'm like the walking dead today. I know I'm supposed to be productive, or enjoy the weather, but I'm not feeling much of anything today, least of all productive and not at all about enjoying anything.

I did, however go to a one year-old's birthday party today. I'm not too hip on what kids like or need, so I opted for a Target gift cert. Is that weird? I figure the parents can get her something she needs.

I got some really good news yesterday. Ryan ordered me this lens this year for my birthday. He ordered in at the beginning of July and every 2 weeks they send him an order update letting him know that the delivery has been delayed again. Well yesterday the notice was that they SENT IT. I'm so excited. I'm hoping to trade in the two lenses I have now for a nice wide-angle. New lens photos coming soon!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Picture Post

Scrabble Saturday.
(Ryan beat me by a mere 3 points)

The Kill

(click for better view)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Day 10 and still blogging!

This post-a-day thing is killing me. I found a NaBloPoMo randomizer and I've been cruising around trying to meet new people, but about every 3rd person's current post says, "Well, I just don't have the time or the penchance for insanity to continue..." But you know what? Amanda? Hangin' strong people! It's like a blog marathon and I'm passing all those other folks who stopped running and are sitting on the curb. Woo!

Needle biopsy? Not as fun as its name might lead you to believe. But it wasn't totally painful and Fred and I survived. This 'procedure' consists of the pathologist taking a syringe and jabbing the needle in and out really fast to get the gunk all broken up in Fred and shoved up in the needle. Oh, you were eating? Sorry 'bout that. I'll know what's going on Monday. I don't have any real worries though.

Today I saw Catch a Fire with a girlfriend. It was a great movie and I didn't realize until the very end that it was a true story about a Freedom Fighter during the apartheid in South Africa. I left the theater and said to my friend that I couldn't believe that something as horrible as that happened like 10 years ago. Then I realized that I was being an idiot. That kind of thing is STILL going on. I highly suggest this movie (although maybe not for $9.00 a person when you can wait a few months and get it for $3 at Blockbuster. boo movie theaters).

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I'm a Slaaave to You

I admit it! I have a problem. I am totally, completely obsessed with reading tabloid gossip about celebs. I find myself giving Ryan updates on those people's love lives and who is having a baby, but to be truthful I think he only listens because he knows that occasionally Perez Hilton has nip slips and other um, accidental flashings. Today I've been obsessively reading about Britney and her sham of a marriage to the greasiest human on the planet. Why do I even care? But I do feel really sad that while these people fall victim to their skewed view of reality, their children suffer.

I'm going to the hospital for a little procedure on Fred the Mysterious Neck Lump tomorrow. Its no big deal, honestly, but I'm not too thrilled about it. The big 'C' word has sort of become my life lately and I'm not ready for anyone else (in this case: me) to be affected. I saw an ad with Lance today that really made me feel all kinds of better about what's going on right now. That man is amazing. I feel like if you could bottle up his courage and will to win, we could really make a difference.

Happier things: thank you to the people who wrote and asked me about Karma. She's a happy puppy! I'm convinced she must have been in pain before because since her surgery she's been super active and cheerful. My dad, who has had many awesome dogs including his current one, told me the other day that Karma is the best dog he's ever had in his life. I couldn't agree more. Why can't dogs live as long as humans? I can't believe my baby is already 6.

Because this is the most random post ever.... My girlfriend africankelli sent me an article from the NY Times the other day that talked about how people of my generation really like to have something to complain about or be upset about. I'm not really explaining that right, and I've had a glass of wine so I'm too lazy to go find it, but basically it was an editorial from a NY woman saying that these days people don't feel the need to be overly cheerful (a la L.A., as she says), and that we're perfectly content to wallow in the things that aren't quite perfect in our lives. So how about you? Are you one of those?

Oh, and one more thing: It was 89 degrees in Phoenix today. Isn't it November? Bring on the cold and the pumpkin spice lattes!

(Can you tell NaBloPoMo is killing the little creativity I had?)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Political Eavesdropping

I can't stop grinning today. I usually try to steer clear of politics and the like on this site because I don't want to offend anyone (like family) who doesn't agree with me. But you know what? It's my blog and you can choose to stop reading if you don't agree just like I'd choose to tell you to cork it if you sit in the area of my desk at work and are using phrases like 'Liberal bastards' and 'Those idiots'. Besides that, I'm just too giddy and worked up today to not express how happy I am for my state and the possible future of the country today.

First, if you're not from Arizona you might not have heard that MY state is the first EVER to say NO! to an amendment to our state constitution that is discriminatory in nature toward gay people. Hell yeah!

Second, I think we've together sent a message to our government that we are absolutely not happy with the direction our country is headed. We want change, and we want it now.

Third, and this is really not going to be popular, but I'm pretty happy with the immigration bills that passed. For the most part I think that the resulting laws will just reinforce that someone here illegally should not have the same rights as citizens. Like the right to in-state tuition for example. I spoke with someone I'm close to who works at a college and they're concerned about drop in enrollment and they, understandably so, are sad because they've known so many illegal immigrants who have been great people who want to learn and have done well in school. I sympathize, but my answer to that was this question: "So how about your students from, say, Pakistan who come here legally on student visas and are not allowed in-state tuition? Is that fair?". So what it comes down to for me is the law is the law, and if you break it you should not be considered equal to a citizen of the US, or any person here legally, in situations such as this. And while I do feel for people who were brought here illegally as children, I feel like we've got avenues for citizenship for a reason and their situation is unfortunate, but it also does not follow the legal path to be considered eligible for the same rights I have as a citizen.

Fourth, I cannot tell you how happy I am that for all the abuse I've taken at my work from all the ultra-conservativos here, they're finally getting a taste of their own medicine, what with the barraging poor innocent liberals, I mean liberal singular, with their opinions all week. I spent the first part of today seething because the guys around here were so upset that they were gutter-mouthing liberals, democrats, idiots who don't understand the issues, and on and on. They make these comments with no regard for who they might offend, and that pisses me off. But then I realized that they're just trying to lick their wounds, and instead of being mad, I should realize that what I had in front of me was a golden opportunity to entertain my readers. So, for your reading pleasure, I have compiled below a short list of some of the things I heard while sitting at my desk today. This list started at about 11am, so you've missed the most volatile of the comments, but it's entertaining none the less. (Oh, and you won't see the enraged, hate-filled comments about homosexuals here, because that's the first thing they got out of their system this morning)

- "It's a brainwashed Congress!"

- "We're in big trouble..."

- "What's scary is if those voters are doing this because of the war, what's going to happen in 2 years?" (we're gonna get a new President, that's what!)

- "She's going to be the House leader?! She's a loony! What are we coming to?"

- "I see it comin'! President Hillary! Amanda would vote for her."

- "The ballots haven't even had a chance to dry yet and they're already screwing the country up"

- "Rumsfeld stepped down? Oh man, change is in the wind. Luckily they replaced him with one of Bush's buddies so we should be OK"

- "Oh baby, that's what I like..." (Oh wait, that was the farter/singer/whistler/talking-to-himself guy over the wall just being normal)

And as an added bonus feature I give you the following conversation:

Guy 1: Did you see that Minnesota elected a Muslim to the House?

Guy 2: A Muslim?? Let's hope he's one of the good ones!

Guy 3: Yeah, can you say 'Sleeper'?!


Nice, huh? It reminds me of that Borat film where they catch real-life Americans saying things they KNOW are discriminatory, but they don't think it MEANS anything because it's in 'jest', right? Be careful what you say! You could end up in a movie or on someone's blog.

Separation of Church and State

Seen on a church sign on my way home from the gym today:

"Give God What's RIGHT, Not What's LEFT"

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Rock the Vote! I did!

I get so excited about voting! I came home from work today and prepared myself. Cheat sheet: check. Water bottle: check. Snacks for waiting in line: check. Picture ID: check. Soduko for waiting in line: check. And off we went! We showed up at the polling place, and there was not a single person in there! The voting volunteers looked bored stiff and came to life as soon as they saw us come in. I got the feeling that they'd been bored most of the day. What happened? Did people really not vote in this important election?

One of the hardest things about where I work, besides being one of the only women, is the fact that I'm probably the only liberal-type around there. Because I live and work in Mesa (very conservative) and my company has a ton of ex-military guys working there, I'm an oddity. Every year around election time the guys feel the need to 'school' me, like I'm a misguided soul or something. I don't appreciate it. And it pisses me off.

So while voting is exciting and I look forward to doing it, between the guys at my work and the constant barrage of mud-slinging commercials I'm really glad that tomorrow is November 8th.

I'm so glad I joined Fussy's blog for a whole month thing. I was feeling really sad that I'd lost interest in blogging, and having a deadline every day forces me to sit down and think. Today what I've been thinking about is my Aunt Deb in Iraq. She sent a bunch of us a letter today and I'm telling you, it is unreal that people are going through what she's going through. Admittedly she's in a really good area as far as provisions and comforts go, compared to some of our other guys over there. But here's some of the things that hit home what her situation really is:

- She is only allowed to wear either her desert camouflage uniform (DTU) or her PT clothes. No exception. Even if she gets up in the middle of the night for a potty break.
- 3 minute showers. No exception.
- Walking a mile each way to work wearing her Kevlar (an additional 25 pounds)
- No ability to do your own laundry (someone else washes her undies!)
- No free time for TV, no making your own food, no ability to call a loved one when you miss them

I'm thankful every day that there's people out there willing to make a sacrifice. I hope this election gives a change for the better, no matter what direction that be...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Day 6 - How I spent my next 2 bonuses

My cubemate was complaining to me today about how he just hates the dog crap in his backyard. It makes him mad at the dog when he has to pick it up. He can't wait to 'get rid' of the dog. A dog who is about 10 years old and has been part of his family for probably that long. I can't even begin to fathom these feelings about a dog. Dogs, who greet you at the door because their whole day revolves around you. Dogs who know when you're sad and can make you feel better with a lick or a cuddle. Dogs who remind you that its time to go outside and enjoy the beautiful day with a walk.

I know some people will understand this, and some will think I'm insane. Our Karma D. Bear cracked a tooth and developed an absess. That's serious stuff. If ignored, she could die. We had two choices: 1. Have the tooth pulled for the cost of a plane ticket to Hawaii or 2. Have the tooth root canaled and filled for the cost of a plane ticket to Australia. The problem is that my Bear is 5 years old and needs that big back tooth for crunching hard food.

I was sitting in the living room the other day looking at the XBox we bought on a whim this year and I thought, "How can I justify buying that thing, and not spend a few hundred dollars more to keep my furry baby healthy?" So we forked out the money and Karma had a nice nap today and woke up with a new tooth. When she came out of the back room all loopy and silly from the drugs, she had nice fresh puppy breath (strawberry bubble gum flavored toothpaste!) and a shiny, healthy mouth, I felt like we'd made the right decision.

So how about you? How much would you pay for the health of your furry family member? Is there a limit?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My Day

I am an inadequate photographer. I look at the pictures on Flickr and I wish that I could take pictures like that. I have friends who shoot weddings for pay! What an honor that would be, to be such a good photographer that people trusted me with the most important day of their lives... Anyway, I AM inadequate. I love taking pictures, and I carry my camera everywhere I go, but I wish I got it. I wish I understood the camera better then I did.

Today's one of those days that I wish I could take pictures that really described how the day felt. It wasn't special at all; but it WAS because it was an Amanda and Ryan day: Slept in ('til 7), snuggle dogs, have breakfast, go to the bark park, landscape the yards (front and back), have a few beers and shots ("Cheers to... {whatever we're thinking about}...), Ryan washing my car, us making dinner together, eating dinner by the fire outside on the new patio... I wish I could capture it all. But its not enough to just take a picture. I want the picture to show what I'm feeling, how the day felt just then, a picture that feels. I wish I could do that.

But since I can't capture the whole day, here's part of it. A happy dog.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Vote Early and Often

Is everyone voting this week? There's too many important things going on in our country not to, so please do. And if you're in Arizona don't forget your 2 forms of ID. I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of really unhappy Arizonans at the polls on Tuesday.

I haven't decided how I'm voting on everything yet, but I can tell you that I'm keeping mental track of all the people who have called me with those annoying pre-recorded messages asking for my vote. You want my vote? Don't bug me during dinner. Maybe try stopping by with candy or something. A little chocolate would surely sway me. :-) But the phone calls? Where you say 'Hello?' three times before you even hear anything? So annoying. Do they think that actually gets people's votes. Hmmm.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Happy Birthday Ryan!

Today my husband turns 28. I have huge feelings of guilt about not planning a hugely special night like he did for my birthday. It's part being mentally and emotionally consumed by some tough stuff these last few weeks, and part my nature to over-plan. I've spent the last week scouring restaurant reviews and travel guides to find the perfect restaurant and ended up with a list too long to be useful. So tonight we're off to Thaifoon, which is a trendy new-Thai restaurant in Scottsdale, but still casual enough to wear fancy jeans, which Ryan would prefer. Then its off to Kazmierz Wine Bar. This is Ryan's favorite wine bar, so I'm sure he'll love it. Depending on how pooped we are, we might try to meet his favorite fire captain out for a few drinks after that. I know, it's a far-cry from T. Cook's, one of the most highly rated restaurants in the whole Phoenix area, but it'll do. Good food, good company, good alcohol. I may take advantage of him later. ;-)

Well I can see that you all were thrilled by my question about one of Ryan's favorite sax players, Branford Marsalis. We saw Branford's brother Wynton last night at the gorgeous new Mesa Arts Center theatre. The Marsalis family in legend in the jazz world. The concert was so amazing, but as I sat there I was writing a blog post in my head about jazz audience ettiquete. Being that this was a large audience, mostly older, mostly white, mostly season ticket holders, and the thing was sponsered by a "Smooooth" jazz radio station, I automatically went on gaurd. They didn't clap at the right times, they clapped ALONG WITH THE MUSIC.... I really was going to devote this whole post to that, then I realized I was being snobby, and who's to say I know any more about jazz then the next cat? And I have to tell you, besides the 10% or so who left at intermission, these people just loved them some Wynton, and Wynton didn't seem to care about anything other then that the people were digging his music. So boo on me for being such a snot. And yahoo for the people of Phoenix for appreciating a truly great musician.

While we're on the topics of jazz and my man, have I ever told you how Ryan and I met? Ryan lived in my apartment complex in Flagstaff when we were going to school. I noticed him immediately, and one weekend, fueled with braveness because my girls were there egging me on, I walked right up to Ryan in the parking lot and introduced myself. Back then he was playing professionally and was on his way to a gig, instruments littering the ground around his feet as he got ready to jump in the car. The next day my girls and I decided to throw a party. I marched right around the corner to his apartment and invited him over, and he came! But it wasn't my boldness that snagged him. It was my jazz...

Two years before that I took, as an elective, the History of Jazz. The class was taught by a totally laid back, relax-eyed, slow-talking trumpeter who is well-known in the valley. This guy used the words 'cat' and 'dig it' and 'yeah man' in the spirit of someone who truly embodies the form. My class was full of jocks looking for a 'cake' class, and I was frequently the only one who could pass the tests where you had to identify the instrument playing in a song (me being a proficient violin player in elementary school and all). At any rate, I couldn't get enough of what I was hearing. They say you either love jazz or hate it, and I fell hard. Every CD Fred told us we should have in our collection I went out and bought and nearly wore out on my CD player in my car.

So, on the night of the party at my apartment Ryan and his roommate came over. The typical Twister and body shots ensued (and the visit by the police) but when the party died down, Ryan asked to look through my CD collection. I think it was a musician test. "Hmmm, will this girl have 3 different renditions of Barbie Girl mixed in with her N'Sync and Shania Twain..." (OK, I had those too, but that's besides the point). But what he found instead was Miles Davis (Kind of Blue) and John Coltrane (Blue Trane), among others. But then he flipped to the next page and said, "You have Coltrane's Newport '63?! I don't even have that!"

So that's it! Don't tell me that school never prepared you for life. I took a class that made me a wife. (Ha! That rhymes!)

Happy birthday husband of mine!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Bionic Man

Man, this blog-a-day thing is a lot harder than I thought it would be. Today's been insane. After work Ryan and I ran up to the hospital to visit my dad, who's had a really rough day. There was a bit of a complication in that one of his muscles, the deltoid, is completely dead. I'm telling you, that man has been through more pain then anyone I know... BUT, they gave him pictures of inside his should throughout the surgery and they're so cool. When he gets home from the hospital he said I can post some here.

Ryan and I are off to Wynton Marsalis. Ten points to anyone who can name his brother and tell me what TV show his brother used to be on. (hint: he's a sax player)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Love from Home

My Godmother Deb has been deployed to Iraq for the second time. This woman is a saint I tell you. She's a nurse, so they've got a big need for her over there. She's been gone about a month now, and it still makes me giggle to think of my dimple-cheeked adorable Aunt Debby wearing fatigues romping around the desert over there. This is at her going away party:

Adorable, huh? Sorry guys! She's taken. :-) Anyway, the other day I was thinking back to when I was in England last year for 3 months. It seemed like eternity! I just wanted to be back home with my family and friends, and I wanted Mexican food so bad. And England's not really in a country ravaged by war, so I had a cake walk compared to what she and our other soldiers are going through.

I don't care what your opinion is of this war we're fighting, it is simply amazing that there are people in our country who believe in a cause so much that they'd risk their lives for us like these guys are doing. So it was a small price to pay to put together a nice care package for Deb to remind her that people are thinking of her back home. I got everyone in my family to contribute cards, snacks, DVDs, Christmas/fall decorations, and more. I can't imagine how much something like that would mean to someone stuck in Iraq. Here's the loot:

So, do you know anyone who's deployed who could really use a letter or a simple 'thinking of you' card? (and by the way, all mail to soldiers goes through an address in the US, so the postage isn't unbearable. AND, some postal places offer free boxes and packing for packages going to Iraq and Afganistan).

I've got an insane week this week. Besides anything, tomorrow my
dad is having a complete shoulder replacement. Crazy, huh? He's the bionic man. He's gone through 3 knees on his right, 1 on his left, and all kinds of other insane bone things. Tomorrow night my parents gave Ryan tickets to go see Wynton Marsalis for his b-day. Fun! Ryan's parents are going with us. And Friday is my man's birthday. We promised no gifts, but I just can't help myself. He deserves it! I couldn't have wished a better man for myself.

And because today's his last shift before his birthday, you know I had to bake for the boys at the station. These peanut butter cookies (made with orange honey in place of some of the brown sugar) were delivered on a Happy Birthday platter. They are just the perfect amount of chewy. Mmmmm. Good thing I saved a few for myself at home.

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    Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

    I'm Amanda. I'm an engineer in an industry full of men, a professional wedding and family portrait photographer, a firefighter's wife, a traveler, and a dogMa.

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