Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bad news

I got laid off today. My entire group got wiped boss, his boss (my divisional manager), and all the writers in my group. Along with others on the floor. It was a complete bloodbath today. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to why certain people were cut loose and other not. It doesn't look like appraisals, seniority or anything played a part, because it wasn't the riff-raff being let go, it was really hard working creative people. We will be employed until the end of November, and then my severance package should (hopefully) get me through February. The job market in DFW is actually really good, but because I do such a specific job, there's not a whole lot out there being offered for what I do. And the worst part of all of this? After working with these people for 8 years, I won't see them anymore (on a daily basis anyway) and that I'll be competing with my friends for the few jobs out there in our field. I'm completely devastated and in shock. I don't think I'll be around here for a while. I need to regroup. I'm so upset.

ETA my neighbor called and said she's bringing over a big bottle of wine after work. Maybe that will soften the blow a little. :(

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

You know what they say about opinions...(and "operation neighborhood boo" update)

Well, here's mine.

I know I won't make any friends with this, but this is my opinion, as it may be.

I don't understand why some people (my friend and her husband, for example) take their kids trick-or-treating, but won't pass out candy to other kids. In all honesty, it kind of irks me. And I'll tell you why. It seems to me that if you are going to participate, you should reciprocate. Heck, I don't even have kids and I fork out a good amount of money for candy for the neighborhood kids. When I was young, one parent would take us out, and the other would stay home and pass out candy (other than maybe our very first time trick-or-treating). They may even switch half-way through if they wanted to join in on the fun. But the point is, I just don't understand not being a kind neighbor and passing out candy if you are going out and collecting some.

And while we're at it, this bothers me too. The other evening, the school up the road hosted a Trunk or Treat event. I just don't like Trunk or Treat. I somewhat understand the reasoning for it, but honestly, I think it's ruining Halloween. Over the last few years, we've had fewer and fewer trick-or-treaters, but more school/church sponsored Trunk or Treat events. A friend once told me that the reason they do it is because it's safer. It's safer to let your child go up to the TRUNKS of strangers for hand-outs? How is that any different than having your child go to the door of your neighbors? And really, wouldn't it be easier for an evil person to snatch an unsuspecting child and leave in their car than on their doorstep? If parents (or an adult in charge) is taking the kids door-to-door, then how is it that much more dangerous than Trunk or Treat?

It just seems to me that Trunk or Treat is taking away a much-loved, time-old tradition that gets the neighborhood together to particpate in a fun activity. I remember trick-or-treating would also allow us to meet new neighbors. We had a blast! I'm not about to hoof it up to the school to set up my trunk. Not that I could, because it's for parents whose children attend the school. And being that I don't have any, I couldn't participate even if I wanted to. Gah!

In other news, I don't think my "operation neighborhood BOO" has taken off. :( Finally, by Saturday evening, all bags that I had left out on the porches of my neighbors had disappeared. So I assumed that maybe in the next day or two I'd see more signs showing up in windows. Wrong. Only one of the 3 houses I left bags for put their "we were boo'd" sign up. So I take that to mean the other two aren't participating.

Dang it.

And I thought maybe I'd see other houses with signs, you know, from being Boo'd by the one house that I knew was playing along. Nope. Nothing.

Well that really bites.

Maybe I hit up the wrong houses. Here's the funny thing...the two houses that AREN'T playing along have children. The one house that IS playing along doesn't. Hm. What gives?

This week has been a bad week (can't you tell? ha!). I'm on edge (uncertainty at work...layoffs coming news or hints or anything, so the office environment is darn near crazy). Rumor has it this Friday will be the "big day." Hopefully after 8 years with my company, I'll still be employed. *sigh* So if you can spare any prayers, I'd appreciate it!

I hope the rest of your week is nice! :)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Booing around the 'hood

I've heard about booing (or ghosting or spooking) that goes on in neighborhoods across America, but have never lived in a neighborhood that participated. Either that or nobody likes us and therefore we didn't get booed. Shocking, I know, but possible.

I've been reading so many blogs where people are doing this. I wanted to join in on the fun! I'm determined to spread some kindness through the neighborhood!

Some background...Most of the folks in our area of the neighborhood are older...about to retire, retired or one foot in the grave. There aren't many people our age, with the exception of our next door neighbors (who we've become very good friends with since they bought their house about 2 years ago) and one or two other couples down the street.

When we first bought our house, I was told by the lady across the street that the ladies of the neighborhood have a weekly "ladies coffee." I was so thrilled! (I longed for a neighborhood where people were actually neighborly and would get together, have block parties, BBQs, holiday events, etc.) Unfortunately, these coffees are held on Wednesday mornings. Which doesn't jive when you work full time. *sigh* So no ladies coffee for me. Boo hiss.

My next door neighbor went to a garage sale down the street a year or so ago. The lady who was having the sale happened to fall into the "one foot into the grave" category. Old lady was talking to another old lady neighbor about some get-together they were having for the ladies on the block. Next door neighbor expressed interest, only to be told by old lady that "oh, this really isn't for you. You young girls should go have your own thing."

Really?! Did old lady just diss next door neighbor, strictly based on her age?! Yes, as a matter of fact she did.

That really irrated me. We may be 100 years younger than most of the ladies in the 'hood, but we're still homeowners here and nice people, too. We'd still love to get together with the old ladies and be neighborly.

Isn't going to happen, apparently. (Truth be told, she was the only person to come off that way. The other neighbors are actually quite nice, even if they do mostly keep to themselves.)

So after reading about all the booing going on around America, I decided to spread some love to the folks here, whether they like it or not. :)

I made all of the appropriate information (poem, rules, boo sign).

I gathered up the important supplies...

Filled the bags...

Sammi wanted to double check my packaging skills (she's nearly blind and almost completely deaf, but her sniffer still works)...

Checked the time so that it was nice and late so nobody would see me...

Made sure I was ready to be sneaky...

And delivered the bags to the doorsteps of unsuspecting neighbors. I walked up to one house and discovered that their walkway was littered with acorns, voiding out my wicked ninja skills. I didn't want to be discovered, so I left and went to another house. It really was loud...every step I took sounded like bubble wrap popping. I didn't want to wake anyone up. It was midnight after all.

Tomorrow morning I'll do a quick walk around the block and see if the bags were found. I hope so, and I hope this helps to spread some fun around the neighborhood!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My dirty little secret

I have something to share with you.

It's quite embarrassing, actually.

Be prepared to scream in horror. You might even want to hide your eyes.

Oh yes. It's true. This is my craft room.

Everyone in blog land posts pictures of their perfectly decorated rooms, with its clean floors, dusted surfaces and absense of clutter. But this is reality folks.

I'm not afraid to admit it.

My craft room is a disaster. I assure you the rest of my home is not like this.

Because I am the only one who uses this room, it tends to become the pit of hell where craft supplies go to die.

It was organized at one time. I have lots of shelves and containers and cubbies and labels. Somewhere along the line, this feat in organization has gone haywire. I start projects, then either get bored or busy with something else, and it sits. Add another project to the mix, and well, you see how this goes. For some people, it's a drawer in the kitchen. Maybe it's a closet or a garage or basement. For me, it's my craft room.

Are you embarrassed to know me?

So what is your dirty little secret?

Monday, October 20, 2008

You won't find anything witty or clever or crafty here

Just some pictures from the weekend.

Friday night, I did a rescue transport with one of my girlfriends. We toted a german shepherd, a pit bull mix and a yorkie/poodle mix from Dallas to Ardmore, Oklahoma. The dogs were on a 3 day transport from Dallas to a rescue in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Cosmo, the german shepherd, is about a year old. Supposedly his family brought him in to a vet clinic because they thought he needed elbow surgery. When the vet called them to pick him up, they said "just euthanize him." He was very timid, but very sweet. I love his crooked ear and his beautiful light brown eyes.

Bella Mia is a beautiful brindle pit bull mix. Now, I know people hear "pit bull" and immediately think on the negative. I've helped with several pitties and not a single one had the personality or behavior that the media has put out there to the public. Bella Mia was no exception. She was super sweet. She would stand up on her back legs to get lovin's, and would flop over on her back for a belly rub. She was found as a stray in Dallas, darting in and around traffic. I would have LOVED to have kept her myself.

And then there was Pepper. She is 11 months old, and for whatever reason, her owners didn't want her anymore. She is going to live with the mother of one of the rescue group folks.

Sunday afternoon was beautiful....typical Texas fall day...sunny and 80 degrees. We went to the Dallas Arboretum and enjoyed all of the beautiful plants they had on display.

Did you notice the short-sleeved pearl snap shirt on hubs? Ha!!

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Flattered again

Can you see me? I'm blushing! Brandi was so kind to think of me when giving out this award! She is so sweet, and I always enjoy reading her blog. You should swing by her place and visit. And please keep her precious dog Carmen in your prayers, too! He has cancer, and she needs all the prayers and good thoughts out there. Having been through this myself (we lost our Booger in 2004 to cancer), I know how heart-wrenching it is.

list 6 things I value and 6 things I don't and then pass this award on to 6 people!

6 things I value (in random order):
1. the grace of God and his blessings
2. my husband and my family
3. my animals...heck, all animals...I love those critters
4. honesty
5. good friends
6. general kindness

6 things I don't value (in random order):
1. dishonesty/liars
2. this thyroid's really screwed me up physically and emotionally and I am about sick of it!!!
3. abuse of animals
4. sweating the small stuff (and I am so guilty of this myself)
5. people who are only out for themselves and have no care of the consequences of their actions
6. self-absorbtion

I pass this award along to:

1. The Days of Johann, a great blog about a super cute agility dog

2. Lindsey, who seems like such a sweet girl! She made a cute monogrammed pumpkin for her friend's fall wedding...what a great idea!

3. Natalie. This girl is funny! I bet she'd be a kick to hang around with IRL! I think we are kindred spirits. Did you know she has FIVE dogs?! She's my hero!

4. Brie. This gal blogs some really cute projects and lots of recipes that look to die for!

5. Reynie. You should see all of the creative things this girl has done! Check out her blog if you haven't.

6. Jenni. Wow. I'm so inspired by her.

I also just noticed that Brie gave me a smile award the other day! I don't know how I missed this! Thank you Brie! You are so sweet!

Award recipients....

1. Must display a cheerful attitude.
2. Must love one another.
3. Must make mistakes.
4. Must learn from others.
5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world.
6. Must love life.
7. Must love kids.

Here are the rules for the Smile Award:

1. The recipient must link back the award's creator.
2. You must post these rules if you receive the award.
3. You must choose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself.
4. You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award.
5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
7. You must thank your giver.

I will come back to pass it along! Thanks again!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I heart him

I am so proud of my hubs! He's so motivated, such a hard worker and inspires me. He plays in a band, has his own teaching studio, does recording sessions....he's living his dream. We should all be so lucky.

In the early years, hubs worked a "regular" job and then would gig at night and on weekends. About 10 years ago, he made the decision to quit his job and play music full time. That was very scary for me. I don't like the unknown. I like stability. Around that time, I had just received my degree and was working my first "out of college" job. I was starting to see the light at the end of the student loan tunnel when he made this decision. I was worried, but I also knew that there was no better time for him to take that leap.

Over the 15 or so years I've known him, hubs has played every type of music imaginable...rock, blues, jazz, original, Christian, even calypso and everything in between. Currently, he plays in a country bad. Though this is not your grandma's country band. It's more of an alternative country/rockabilly band. They are a lot of fun!

This is unlike any gig he has played before, but he loves the music and the guys. He's having such a great time with them. In all the years I've known him, hubs has never dressed the part of a Texas man...until now. It's so fun to see him wearing boots, a hat and pearl snap shirts. I never thought I'd see the day. However, this is reserved for gigs. This is not his normal clothing style. Though I have seen a few short-sleeved pearl snap shirts work their way into his every day attire. ;) I think he's too cute.

I think the Lord has truly blessed him. Not only was he given a wonderful talent, but he's able to make a living with it.

Because of his work, hubs has been able to travel all over the country, Canada and Europe. Evidently the folks in Europe love American blues music, so he's been there several times, to France, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, etc. That definitely beats sitting in front of a computer in a cube all day!

He and I have different work schedules, and it's difficult to find time to spend together. It's very hard on me sometimes. I miss him quite often. But every night I pray that he is happy with what he is doing and that he is successful. And even though it hasn't always been easy over the years, I am so happy that he is doing what he loves. A lot of folks don't get that opportunity, whether it's because of personal choices, family obligations, finances, or any other number of circumstances. And though he irritates me quite often ;) I am very blessed to have married this man.

(Note: I'm not usually this sappy...shut up Gwen! :b....but for some reason I am tonight. :D )

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Frightfully fantastic or just plain weird?

I love Halloween. It's always been one of my faves. But I've noticed some very odd (even for Halloween) decorations out there. Take a gander and tell me what you think.

First we have a yeti in a cage. Hm. Okay. I'd venture to say it's not even a good yeti.

How about "Rot-off the Deadnose Reindeer?"

A football jack-o-lantern for all of you sports fanatics.

A skull beer bong for all of you heavy drinkers. (I think this one is actually kind of funny!!)

A little ghost mouse to spooktify your workstation.

A dog statue with an orange feather boa. I am partial to this one. I love dogs. I love orange. And I guess now I have to love boas. He is quite cute all dressed up.

And lastly, my favorite! (I do have a weird sense of humor though)...I found these several years ago at JoAnn's of all places, and had to buy some. I gave one to Hubs because I thought his students (both children and adults) would get a kick out of it. I also gave one to a coworker, and she LOVED it.

For your consideration, the cat jelly bean dispenser, which releases black (licorice) and brown (peanut butter) jelly beans from its hiney when you press on his back. The tail lifts and out pops the "poop."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Holiday yummies!

I'm cleaning out emails at work. Last week I had over 15,000 in my inbox. I've whittled it down to 2600.

While doing this tedious task, I found this recipe, perfect for this time of year. My mother sent me a while back (on 10/18/04. Saying that is an old email is an understatement, so I won't say it.

Pumpkin Fudge

2 c Sugar
1/2 c Evaporated milk
1/3 c Mashed pumpkin
1/2 ts Vanilla
1/4 ts Cornstarch
1/4 c Butter
1/4 ts Pumpkin pie spice
1 c Chopped pecans

Cook together sugar, pumpkin, cornstarch, spice and milk until it forms a soft ball when dropped in cold water, or until mixture reaches 235F on a candy thermometer. Add vanilla, butter and pecans. Beat until creamy. Pour into a buttered plate and cut into small squares when nearly cool.

So while cleaning out emails, I also found these pictures! A few years ago, a coworker and I were in charge of a birthday celebration. Halloween has always been one of my absolute favorites, so we themed the celebration around it.

We made all sorts of spooky, ghoulish treats! Everything had fun names. Here's a few things we had:
1) witches fingers (sugar cookies)
2) skull caps (Ruffles chips) and brains (dip)
3) spiders nests (haystacks)
4) bloody popcorn (red food coloring on popcorn)
5) tombstones (cupcakes)

I wish I could remember everything else! But this was 4 years ago, and my memory is not so good.

Here's a few pics (and, I actually did use the oven to make the "witches fingers" cookies!! Are you so impressed with my talents?).

We made red punch and gave it a cool name that I don't remember. I filled a rubber glove with water, froze it and then put it in the punch the next day. It quickly melted. Someone had a skeleton laying around (you find the weirdest things in peoples' offices), so I took it apart, washed it and threw it into the punch.

Good times.

If anyone wants to make that pumpkin fudge and send it my way, I won't turn the post man away. ;)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thrifty Thursday and an award

I must show you my latest thrift store goodies!

I love dishes, especially old ones...Fiesta, Pyrex, anything pretty or eye-catching. This may seem strange to you since the kitchen is not my friend. I think maybe in my mind, neat old dishes make me think of a cozy home.

So when I saw these cuties on Shannon's blog, I knew I had to get my greedy little paws on them.

Actually, truth be told, I already had one of these. I can't remember if my mother bought it for me, or if I bought it. I never knew what its intended use was supposed to be. So for years, I had it on one of my antique vanities and used it to hold jewelry. Then when we bought this house, I put it in our bathroom on the countertop and used it to hold jewelry. I could never figure out what the little "depression" was for, but as it turns out, my ring holder fit in it perfectly.

Then quite a while back, after we redid our guest bathroom, I put it in there and used it as a tray to hold bath salts, a diffuser and a candle.

It has this really cool swirly circular pattern.

One day I saw Shannon's blog post about her dishes and a light bulb went off. So that's what this thing is!

I've never noticed them while out browsing the thrift and antique stores. Maybe I just never paid attention because I was always looking for more Fiesta.

Then yesterday I saw these.

I bought every single one they had. The price? $2.99 each. I think that's a pretty good deal. Hubs asked what I'm going to do with all of them. I told him I'd use them for the next time we have a smart dinner party. ha!!

When I was standing in line checking out, I noticed a display shelf that had TWELVE (12) boxes of four sets each of the pattern that has the grapes.

That's 48 sets y'all!! I wonder where the heck all of those came from. They were priced $12.99 each box (set of 4). I didn't buy any because grapes really aren't my thing. But if I change my mind and want a couple, I am sure they will still be there because there are TWELVE boxes! Holy moly!

Today I found another cheese dome lid. It's much deeper than my others.

Perfectly sized for one of my ceramic pumpkins.

I had the pumpkin on a bookshelf, but with the dome, it's a little too much. Maybe I'll put her on the foyer table.


I received an award from Jenni! Wasn't that sweet?

The blog award rules:
1. List 6 things about yourself and
2. Pass this award on to 6 other bloggers (my favorite part of this!)

Six things about myself:

1. I'm a vegetarian. A strict one. That means no, I don't eat chicken. No, I don't eat fish. I don't eat any animals period. (I've always wondered why when I say I'm a vegetarian, people always ask if I eat chicken and fish.)

2. I'm a HUGE animal lover. Huge. I volunteer with animal rescue, bring home strays, have three rescue dogs of my own. I'd have more if I knew Hubs wouldn't divorce me. ;) Hubs says when I'm old I'll be the crazy lady on the block with all of the animals. I'm afraid to admit that I think I'm already that person.

3. I was editor of my high school yearbook. That lead me to study journalism, more specifically advertising.

4. I also minored in criminal justice. I'd *love* to work in forensic science, or be an agent for the ATF or DEA and bust down some doors so I can lock up the bad guys. Advertising seemed like the safer choice.

5. I'm a shorty! I stand only 5 ft. tall.

6. I love the beach. I think the stork dropped me off with the wrong family, because my folks are not beach people. We never went when I was a child. So now I go every chance I get.

So now I give this award to:

1. Brandi
2. Candy
3. Carrie
4. Gwen
5. Aimee
6. AJ

In each of their own ways, these ladies have inspired me, made me think more deeply or just have been a pleasure to get to know.

Have a great evening y'all!