Friday, October 30, 2009

So I want to write my words on the face of today.

Trick or treat? I would like to think that you see this blog as a treat, so we'll go with that. I'm wearing my new OU t-shirt, my fun polka dot socks that were on sale at Target & it's Friday - hooray!

The Show-Me State
Let's begin with our MO road trip last weekend. It was so good to spend some quality time with my crazy family! We played some games, ate Spfld cashew chicken & were able to have lunch with my grandparents on Sat. The Mudhouse was as awesome as ever & the weekend flew by! I would be sad if the holidays weren't right around the corner. 

My Office Quote of the Week
“Could you make a new copy of this print because this one has blood spots on it?”

Bdays are Months, not Days!
November is right around the corner which means that it's almost time for my amazing hubby's bday! Yep, that's right people ...on July 1st & Nov 1st we wake up & tell each other happy birth month because that's how we roll.

Ben grew up in a family with 4 kids where bdays were not such a big deal. I, on the other hand, being an only child for 7 yrs. & then 1 of 2 am not sure what it's like NOT being treated like a princess with the red carpet rolled out for you on your bday! I would say that we have compromised on this during the course of our marriage, but I'm pretty sure I won this one & Ben is slowly getting on board.

All Hallows' Eve
Since there were no Halloween parties on the agenda, we decided to host our own & I'm super excited about it! We still have a lot of details to iron out including our costumes, activities & how we're going to fit so many people in our tiny house, but I'm sure fun will be had by all.

The Office was GREAT last night even though only the first short segment had to do with Halloween. We had another semi-movie night last night even though we only watched 1 movie instead of 2. Away We Go was an amazing film which I highly recommend, especially if you are in a transitional time in your life as we are. Ben also downloaded an awesome song called Change by Blind Melon which pretty much rocked our world - love it! I hope everyone has a scary, fun-filled Halloween weekend!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Find a job you like & you add five days to every week.

Hello dedicated blog readers! The leaves have started falling, we turned the heat on (to Ben's dismay) & Halloween is just around the corner.

Sat Morning Surprise
Last weekend our friends Justin & Brandy from FL were in town for a visit. They picked us up on Sat morning & said there was someone they wanted us to meet. They proceeded to drive us out to Timbuktu (a.k.a. Olive Branch, MS) & introduced us to their Realtor their new house ...because they are moving back to Memphis in 3 wks!

In the 5 yrs. we have lived here we have watched many friends come & go, but they have NEVER come back. J & B are pregnant with twins & want to be closer to family & friends, so we are very excited to welcome them back!

My Office Quote of the Week
“Let the women do paperwork, that’s what they’re good for.”

Things I Learned This Week
*Don’t bother getting a manicure at places that don’t put on base/top coats or you might as well flush a $20 down the toilet.

*Even if you turn your clothes inside out, paint WILL go through them.

*It’s amazing how much tension a new Wii video game can cause in our marriage.

*Swingline staplers are far superior to regular staplers.

*Having an iPhone is extremely helpful when playing Scattergories.

*Doing someone else’s job can be fun if you are a very task-oriented person like myself.

What I'm Going to Be When I Grow Up
This week I had the opportunity to meet with a professional home stager & after interviewing her about her career, it only confirmed that this is what I want to do. I've thought about this for awhile now, but wasn't sure if I was ready to make the leap of faith. The biggest thing that caught me off guard was that all of the things I liked about my previous jobs are all elements in this profession (i.e. marketing, working with people & organization).

When I quit my last job, the first thing I did was read What Color Is Your Parachute which I highly recommend. The pieces of the puzzle are finally starting to come together for me. I really admire my dad for being a small business owner & have always known in the back of my mind that that's what I wanted too. I will continue to work my "day job" until Ben & I decide that I can do this full-time. Wish me luck!

We've got the traveling bug again & are off to MO for a fun-filled weekend with my fam! Bubby & Ryan are coming from OK & I'm hoping we get to go to the Mudhouse for some late night coffee chattin'. Cali is getting a bath today & has a new cute, non-stinky polka dot collar. Happy weekend before Halloween weekend everyone!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Still Just a Boy and His Truck

Green truck has survived inspection for another year!

Not every 28 almost 29-yo can claim owning only one car and driving it since turning 16. Not even sure if that's a good thing to claim. I am way past the point of trade-in with the truck and am at the point of drive her until she dies. My mechanic does ghetto-patches on her now and then to keep her going. Even so or Praise the Lord (depending on what verse you're singing), she was too good for some opportunistic government clunker program.

There are the days when she is so backed up she can't exceed 45 mph and it feels like she's going to explode. Other days I sit and watch the temperature go up while I sit at a light and pray for green. Most days, though, she gets me from A to B just fine, which is all I really need.

The truck needs about $1800 in identifiable repairs--all new A/C system and a new clutch. It gargles whenever I touch the clutch because there is a tiny crack somewhere in the clutch system. I manually roll her out of the carport every morning because she spits up residue when I start her up. About once every 3 months I CAN get the tailgate down. Most days, though, she gets me where I need to be, can't complain much about that.

Somehow she keeps from smoking for the 3 minutes I have to go through inspection. It's like she knows it's her last chance. After we passed on Monday, we took the long way home just for fun. I give her at least a quart of oil every 300 miles--must get tired and thirsty after all these years. She's gone from 10W-40 to 15W-40 and now we're on 20W-50. It's the least I could do for a lifetime of service.

Still just a boy and his truck after 12 years...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Not from the kitchen. Stop & Shop. If it's not Stop & Shop I send it back.

I actually had a co-worker give me a high five today because we made it to Friday - woohoo! I took over another co-worker's job starting this week because they are out for surgery, so I've been so busy that it's flown by!

Wilco Will Love You, Baby
Let's begin with the Wilco concert we went to Sat night - amazing! It was at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Memphis which is a restored 1928 beautiful venue! It was a sold out show & we actually considered doubling our money for what the tickets were going for on craigslist, but I'm really glad we went.

I bought the tickets back in August with some of my bday money because I prefer to spend money on experiences rather than stuff. Side note: In one of Ben's counseling sessions this week his client told him that they saw him at the concert which was kinda random & funny.

So...apparently KLOVE (Contemporary Christian music station) has fundraisers multiple times a year. I realize that it is completely self-supporting & does not rely on advertising, but good grief it's annoying! I actually switched my car radio station back to the station I used to listen to because I'd rather hear loud car commercials than pleading for money 24/7. I guess you can say that I have reconverted back to secular music & I'm ok with that. 

Just Call Me June Cleaver
This past week I was excited to try a new recipe from my Real Simple magazine, so I whipped up some cheese ravioli with apples & toasted walnuts. In Ben's words, "The best thing you've ever made!" Ravioli is a staple meal in our house, but this was a whole new take on it, very easy to make & much healthier. Ben also said that he wouldn't mind me staying home & not working if I could have awesome meals like this ready when he gets home from work everyday ...I said, "Deal!"

My Office Quote of the Week
“Let’s have a gander.” I realize this is a staple grandpa quote, but I still thought it was worth mentioning. 

Movie Night
On Tuesday night there were 2 movies in the $1 kiosk that we wanted to see, so we decided to get them both & make a movie night out of it. We started off with Year One (Ben's pick) & Kettle corn popcorn, took a break for dinner & then finished up the evening with The Proposal (my pick). It's rare that there are 2 movies we both want or are willing to watch, but we hope to make this a tradition because it was a lot of fun!

The above pic is our one tree in our yard starting to shed its leaves. Tonight Ben has promised to take me to get a new pumpkin to replace our stolen one (grrrr...) at the pumpkin patch (a.k.a. grocery store parking lot). We also have some good friends in town from FL & of course the huge OU/TX game on Sat! We are (in case you don't know) big OU fans (me by marriage) & we hate TX (just the football team). Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Random Tuesday Musings...

Alright peeps, I have reached the point in my work day that I MUST do something creative or my head may explode! Countless hours of repetitive computer work catches up to me every once in awhile (ok, all the time) & to make matters worse, it's raining!

Momma Said There'd Be Days Like This...
Ben came to lunch with me yesterday & today because Mondays are his day off & he didn't have any clients scheduled today. There are interesting things you find out being married to a therapist...for instance, did you know that the likelihood of clients showing up to their counseling appts. is next to nil when it's raining or snowing? It's good that Ben didn't have anyone scheduled today because he probably would have just sat in his office all day & had a bunch of no-shows.

Olive Juice
When we were in Austin a few weekends ago for our Ireland team training, we were eating yogurt for breakfast one morning. I looked at Ben & saw him mouth, "I love you," which was both sweet & unusual for him to say randomly. I looked back at him with my big, blue eyes & said, "I love you too!" to which he replied, "I SAID I love yogurt." Needless to say, since then it's been an ongoing joke in our house & we tell each other that we love yogurt constantly.

A Walk Down '07
A friend of mine (Jess) was asking about a picture from Halloween '07 where Ben & I carved funny pumpkins, so I ventured down memory lane & found it on our blog. I decided to fix the formatting on all of our '07 blog posts because it got all jacked up when we transferred our blog & I had only gone through '08.

I can't believe how much happier & content we seemed back then! I was telling Ben about all the fun things we did that year...we went to a John Mayer concert, made fun trips to Nashville, Ben started working FT after he finished school so we doubled our income, I went on a work trip to Vegas, we went to Jamaica for our anniversary & last but not least, we got a Wii. The big question is, in 2 yrs. will we look back at our lives now & think the same thing?

This blog post has turned kind of Debbie Downerish so I apologize. We still do fun things & have endless possibilities of where our lives can go from here, but we've felt stuck in our job situations for awhile now & it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you have no idea what that light will be. Also, it secretly hurts my feelings when no one comments on my Friday blogs & no one has for a couple of weeks now. Is anyone out there? Bueller, Bueller?

Friday, October 9, 2009

And if we just keep digging we can reach the foundation of our souls.

Whoa - this week has been one crazy roller coaster in the lives of Benica! We were contemplating a trip to OK this weekend, but it would have been too much. We need some R&R in Memphis fo' shizzle!

Everything is Bigger in TX
Our Austin trip was definitely an adventure! We found out around 10P the night before we left that we needed to be in Little Rock at 8A rather than 10A like we had thought, so that 4A alarm was a fun start. The themes on our road trip were Starbucks, twizzlers & Redbox movies! Somehow we managed to squish 7 people in a Hyundai Veracruz so that we could all be together & drive each other insane (jk, sort of). The training went well, there was some major team bonding & we arrived back home at 2:30A Mon morning. Let the roller coaster week begin...

I mentioned in my last blog that Ben worked like a mule on our front garden & how great it turned out, so I wanted to share a pic. We attempted to plant several small plants in the spring to add some color, but they all died slow, painful deaths. Anyone have any tips on very resilient plants that can survive in clay-like soil or how to keep bugs off your plants without using icky pesticides?

Ben & I were talking the other day about how some restaurants use tactics to get you in & out of there as quickly as possible. For instance, our eardrums almost burst every time we eat at Jimmy John's because they play their music so loud. Also, Ben was at Chick-fil-A the other day & said it was like the North Pole it was so cold!

My Office Quote of the Week
“Chuck Norris is the baddest man that ever walked the earth…well besides me.” Side note: I cannot emphasize enough how I do NOT make these quotes up.

I ♥ The Office
I must give a shout out about how AWESOME The Office was last night - loved it on so many levels! Also, how cool would it be if The Office spoofed your YouTube wedding video?! At one point in the midst of my tears during Jim & Pam's wedding Ben said, "Suck it up Thompson!"

On that note, I'm out & am hoping for a long weekend full of sleeping while listening to the rain, hot apple cider & seeing Wilco in concert! Don't forget to check out Ben's tween blog below...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Confidence, Self-Esteem, and Multiplication Tables

In my tween blog for the week, I am writing about the most dreaded thing to me in fourth grade...the multiplication table. For starters, being left-handed, I smeared all the lead on the page from left to right. This bothered me a lot and my little finger all the way down to the end of my hand was charcoal gray. Secondly, I was always timed and never came in under the clock. I would feel so defeated and sad because I thought there was something wrong with me. The guidance counselor even got me a left-handed multiplication table so I wouldn't smear my writing and could actually see the last number I wrote. I am slow AND have a different chart from everybody else.

Really, I had little confidence or self-esteem. I could easily do the tables, I just didn't believe I could. Make it a timed competition and I didn't even have a chance. I knew I could never make the Olympics in math tables, so why try? Just give up, I'll never succeed, I'd think to myself.

But it was never seen as a confidence or self-esteem problem, always an academic problem. Could nobody see the truth? I think this is a big failure of the educational system and parents. Academic performance has little to do with personal development. Children who live in an environment where they can thrive do well, while those in an environment that does not allow them to thrive struggle. Measure children by their grades and you miss out on the child. I did well enough in school grade-wise, but I didn't walk around with my head up or have many friends. Which should we be concerned with the most, the grades or the child?

I was missed on the radar at school and at home. I never made it on the radar because I always flew below it. I learned how important the outside was in hiding the inside. I made great grades. It took me several years until I acted out in class, but boy did I get some attention, as well as flunk my Romeo and Juliet exam. Even then I just made a blip on the radar screen and back to flying low.

Maybe I shouldn't expect the school system or parents to look for kids with confidence and self-esteem problems, but I do. As long as grades are the indicator, they'll miss it. Needless to say, I am in support of de-emphasizing performance-based grading systems, and more on emphasizing overall child development. Let's focus on making environments in which children can thrive and be seen for more than a grade. When children can thrive, they can learn what they need to without worrying about the dreaded F I don't have the answers for how to do this, but I do have a lot of ideas.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

There are 3 things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics & the Great Pumpkin.

Welcome to your bonus early Friday blog - LUCKY! Tomorrow we will be on a crazy road trip to Austin, TX with our team for training. It looks like the second flood may be hitting Austin as well this weekend, so we may be coming back in an ark instead of an SUV.

Showering Babies
I know that all of my male readers out there are on the edge of their seats in anticipation as to how the baby shower went this past weekend...I will leave you in suspense no longer!

First of all, I must give mad props to my hubby for totally stepping it up & helping me somehow pull it off! He did everything from weeding/mulching our front garden to moving furniture around 18 different ways while I kept changing my mind to doing the dishes & making our infamous hot corn dip! Now that I think about it, I'm not exactly sure what I did... Merschon impressed everyone with her amazing cupcake tower complete with Aaron's name & sprinkles. In a nutshell, the shower was a hit!

Pumpkin Thief
On Friday we were at Home Depot (which Ben calls Best Buy) buying mulch for the garden & I spotted a cute medium sized pumpkin that I brought home & put on our front porch. It looked SO cute just sitting there saying, "Welcome fall!" I was pulling into the driveway Monday afternoon & our cute pumpkin was GONE! Ben decided that some punk kids stole it & he came up with a foolproof plan that included rigging a pumpkin with poop, but I vetoed it. I wish we had a neighborhood watch program for important matters like these.

Red Heads Have More Fun
Ben has been requesting that I dye my hair red for the past couple of months. If you all know Ben, he has very few preferences having been the youngest child of 4, so I was happy to oblige. 

Cold Weather Pup
I know I've talked about how Cali loves cooler weather, but it boggles my mind how much her personality changes with the seasons! She has gone from lounging on her puppy bed inside our house in the A/C 24/7 to being outside sunbathing in the grass, exploring the backyard & laying on what we refer to as "her step" on our back porch. It's like the heat sucks the life out of her & then when it gets cooler, she's herself again. We're glad to have our frisky puppy back!

October is in full swing & I couldn't be happier...I'm just hoping these next few months are much more fall-like instead of the usual 2 Memphis seasons: summer/winter. Everyone can start thinking about their Halloween costumes now! Enjoy your fall weekend!