A family movie night

Perhaps eventually I will tell you about the main part of my thanksgiving. But that will take time, and photo editing and all that. So for now, just a small anecdote that epitomizes my wonderful family. Slightly gimpy, but impressively resourceful.

It was Friday evening. We wanted to watch a movie. A particular movie - Up. It should have been a simple thing, but it turned it to a rather comical series of complications.

First, the only way my parents can play a DVD on their TV is through the XBox. Only the powercord to the XBox was fried. We needed a new one.

Unfortunately, we have the "old XBox" so only select stores carry the cords for them. So we had to hunt around a bit.

Once we found the cord, it was time to find the movie. RedBox is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately the first one did not have our selection. Lucky for us my parents live in a significant metropolitan area, and there is more than one RedBox in the area.

Movie and cord in hand, we headed home.
We settled around the TV, and inserted the DVD. Tragically, the XBox (perhaps because it was "old") did not recognize our DVD. It recognized other DVDs that my parents own, but there was no getting it to read the one we wanted.

Well, let's check On Demand. Our movie must be there. Nope. No such luck; its not available OnDemand.

Being desperate to watch that particular movie, we decided to do what we do at home. Namely, to watch it on a laptop. Laptop movie viewing is a much less pleasant experience with 6 people than with 2 or 3.

A couple minutes into the movie, it decidedly wasn't working. Time for plan I've-lost-count. Fortunately, my little brother is rather brilliant. While none of us owned the proper cables to connect a laptop to the TV, we thought perhaps we could connect a 2nd (larger) monitor, to the laptop.

And that is what we did.


It took a little bit of time, and a LOT of technical equipment, but we got it working. And watched Up on a small screen (but NOT a laptop screen). (Side note, in the picture above, it's hard to tell but that is little brother's face of triumph. )
Note the surplus of useless technology - TV, Xbox, Xbox power cord, Cable box, and laptop for that matter.

Here we are setting up the "movie theater"


This picture epitomizes the situation.
Marge was apathetic and had an itch.
Little Sister was sleepy and disintereted
Mom was cold and concerned.
Dad voted to just watch something else, but his vote didn't count since he was bound to fall asleep 10 minutes in no matter what we did.
Mon Amour was unphased, but couldn't see what was happening
And Little Brother was disgruntedly saving the day.

It was good times. I love my family.

Annual Hair Cut

I don't get my hair cut nearly as often as I should. I am told every 8-10 weeks is customary. I am averaging about every 8-10 months. I would have had no idea how long it had been between cuts, except that the lady who does my hair was not pregnant when I last got it cut. And her newest son was born a couple weeks ago. That means at least 9 months.

But, I do love a good drastic transformation. I can't help it.
Sorry to those who don't know what my hair looked like before this. It was probably 4 or more inches longer than this, and was always in a pony tail. That was the old.

This is the new:


The back may be my favorite.


It's even cute when I put it behind my ears. Which is good, because as much as I try, I know its going to be behind the ears from time to time.

The lady that cuts my hair goes to church with me. She told me should wouldn't let me go another 9+ months without a hair cut. She said she would remind me in about 10 weeks. For that I am very thankful because it seems you blink and the months fly by; I need these kinds of reminders.

Living Vicariously

All of my friends (it seems) are having (or already have) babies. I love babies. So until it is time for us to have our own baby, I am living vicariously through all my friends. Which is actually kind of nice because I think I have a friend at every stage of babydom. From newly expecting, up through the toddler years and beyond. Tis fun stuff.

This past weekend, I got to go to a good friend's baby shower.
There were lots of pretty presents.


The guest of honor looked very adorable, with the cutest baby bump

There were lots of lovely presents
The sweet grandmotherly folks were perplexed by fancy new-fangled baby gadgets, including a "Sleep Sheep" which is a stuffed sheep that makes soothing sounds for the baby to fall asleep to. They were assigned the task of figuring out how to make it work; it was a comical adventure.

There was also a nice large present, in the form of a stroller/carseat combo.

which the happy father to be had a lovely time assembling.

All in all it was a delightful time. I cannot wait to meet their little boy!

Yet Another Sunset

Here is the sunset as it was beginning to go down.
And here it is almost set. With a lot less clouds as well. But I promise its the same sunset.

See, like I told you - much more universally appreciate-able

Recalling my love of ASL

Once upon a time I took an American Sign Language class at a local community center. I loved it, so I took another. I also loved that, so I began to volunteer with the teacher of the class in the deaf preschool class that she taught. There I met some of the most amazing 3 and 4 year olds in the world.

I loved it so much, that when I started my community college education full time at the naive age of 17, I jumped headfirst into an ASL interpreter program. It was only then that I learned that loved the language, but I didn't appreciate the Deaf Community (there is a distinct but complex difference between deaf people, and the Deaf Community. I have nothing against deaf people, but wouldn't survive in the Deaf Community. It's complicated).

My favorite aspect of interpreting is actually the theatrical / musical side of it. I saw a Shakespeare play interpreted in ASL once; that was glorious. We also had a professional interpreter who specialized in concerts / Broadway, etc, come to class one day and show us a few numbers. It was breath taking.

Unfortunately, I do not have a theatrical bone in my body. Performance makes me nervous. I got to tour an Opera House recently, and just walking onto the huge stage and looking out at the empty theater, knowing full well that I didn't have to do anything, made me nervous. Yeah. So I quit the interpreters program. And went on to major in English. A nice safe major.

Anyway, the point of the post is this: I still love ASL as a language. And love to see it "performed" to music and the like. And that love has recently been renewed - because a friend of Mon Amour's randomly linked this on her facebook.

He's fantastic! But from there, I went on to find lots of quality ASL interpretations to popular music, and I am addicted. I LOVE being able to understand most of it, and learning new signs, and figuring out how to interpret idioms into something that makes sense in ASL.

Now I have written too many words. And I doubt many people but me will appreciate this. But it had to be posted.

Tomorrow, something more universally appreciated. Sunsets.


Senior Citizen

Of the small herd of barn cats on our farm there are 4 or 5 new ish cats, and then 2 or 3 old cats. The old cats are actually the friendliest.

The other day, this cat (and older one) pretty much made my day.


He was so wonderfully affectionate, and would purr even when I simply got close.

I think he even managed to purr while simultaneously hissing at Marge. Poor Marge.


I still tell myself I am not a cat person. But maybe if I had a barn, and could have barn cats, I would be a barn cat person.

Quality vs. Quantity

My little sister came to visit the other weekend.

We had a lovely visit of doing nothing.

We walked around and took pictures of the cows.

My little sister takes lovely pictures.

I take tons of pictures of the farm. So occasionally I stumble on some good ones. But Little Sister's pictures always seem to turn out beautifully.

Introducing: Oscar

Allow me to introduce the latest addition to our Seasame Street themed petting zoo.
This is Oscar:
He came to the farm a few weeks ago and my landlady emailed me to tell me he was here. Her exact words were "He's in the field with Bert and Ernie. He looks like Ernie. He is #52"

Well, I thought to myself "cool, another white faced cow" assuming, as I have been that Ernie is the white faced one. However when I went to find him, I discovered that #52 is actually all black. Meaning two things:
  1. I have been wrong all this time about which is Bert and which is Ernie. Bert has the white face. Ernie is all black. My bad
  2. That my landlady's comment is actually comical. Oscar "looks like Ernie" in the sense that he is all black....like every other cow in the field. Not a helpful comparison at all.

Anyway.

He's a scruffy fluff ball. And I like him.
He is definitely the new cow in town. No one seems to be hanging out with him yet, and he seems very tentative about everything. Hopefully Bert and Ernie will take him under there wing.

Rite Aid

For a long time now, I have known that I needed to break into the world of drug store rebate shopping. I have read all about it and seen some of the fabulous deal you can get from the drug store. But because I have never been drug store shopping, it just wasn't on my mental list of sales to check every week.

Well, it was time to fix that. For my first trip, I decided to go with a good friend and expert deal shopper. Together we headed off to Rite Aid - armed with a print off of their corporate policies on couponing, etc. In case things got ugly and we needed to pull out the big guns. (Fortunately, we did not have to, everything went quite smoothly)

It was not a huge trip in terms of stuff purchased, but it was monumental nonetheless.

Here is what I got:


Total Cost (after my rebates come in): $0.00

Yup, it's not much, but it was all free. And it is all stuff I will use - toothbrush, shampoo, lightbulbs, and who can refuse free chocolate.

I will spare you the details of the transaction, but it was a combination of mail in rebates, SCRs and manufacturers coupons. For more info on how to work this kind of deal for yourself, go here.


Cute faces

I love these little cows.

They just have the sweetest faces.

They are so shy, but curious at the same time.
So cute.

Soy Bean Harvest

For a long time this was parked in our yard.


Just waiting for these to show up so that they could start the soybean harvest.

Once they arrived it only took about 2 days.

They soybeans are gone now.

There is nothing left to harvest. It may as well be winter.

New born

Most of the baby cows (all 20 of them) were born a month or more ago. But just this past week, there was one last new addition. It looks very tiny next to the others.

Here is its mother giving it a little bath.
video

It is super cute.

They grow fast. The other "little" cows in this video are just a month ish older than the pint sized one.

Time for a frost

In general I am not a huge fan of cold weather. Winter is much too dark and cold for me. But, since there is no stopping the arrival of winter, I vote we skip this middle ground. It's cold, but not freezing. Which means that all the flies on the farm are very sleepy, but not dead.

They like to sleep on the side of our house:

All the little black dots are sleeping flies.
When ever you open the door, a few particularly groggy ones who have landed on the door, just kind of fall into the house, where they warm up and wake up.

We have way too many flies for November. It's time for a cold, hard, frost.
Sorry flies, its not personal, but I am tired of swatting flies like it's July.


Making up for the lack of pictures

It seems I let two whole posts go by without any pictures. This must be remedied. Enjoy these random farm pictures with out any narration.





Belated Blog Anniversary

It seems that I totally forgot about my blog anniversary.

Way back on October 27, 2008, I began this blog.

That means that this is the longest (by a lot) that I have ever kept any form of journal.

Let's see how far we have come...

I began this blog because Mon Amour's time was suddenly filled up with homework.
It still is. Therefore, I still blog.

This time last year we had a dog named Marge.
We still do. She is bigger, and sleeps in more these days. But she is still Marge.

This time last year we lived on a farm.
We still do. Our house is still quite quirky.

We still have the same jobs. The same cars. We do have a new shower curtain

Oh, and we do have a new church. I guess that was this year's exciting life development. It was a learning experience. I learned that I am a Presbyterian through and through, and Mon Amour learned that that is not such a bad thing. So we've been in the process of making new friends and getting connected all over again. It's been a slow process, but exciting none the less.

Well, that's the year in summary I suppose. Nothing too exciting, but I felt I couldn't let the anniversary go by without at least a small nod.

Horseradish

Otherwise know as, My Job in Summary Form.

I make it a point not to blog about my job. I don't know why exactly. Perhaps because all interesting stories are simultaneously entertaining and complaining. The best stories are the most painful. So I avoid telling work stories all together. But today it cannot be helped.

I work in Event Management. I plan corporate parties. I am not a wedding planner. I do NOT work with brides. There are many good reasons for this. The main one being for the most part, every bride (that can afford a legitimate planner) is what we call a bridezilla. (if you are going to spend $100K plus on a wedding...it understandably must be perfect) Corporate money is much easier parted with. Hence, I work in corporate event planning.

But this safety measure is not entirely fool proof. Occasionally a corporate "bridezilla" slips in.

The following excerpt is the an unedited (with the exception of the removal of any specific reference to a specific thing or person, and a slight abridgment) real life email from a legitimate client. His was hugely entertaining (and revolting at the same time) to me. I hope that someone not in my line of work will also appreciate it. Otherwise, my apologies in advance.

Dear Meeting Planner- -
For our conference next fall, I suggest that you be sure that the FancyRestaurant's menu, as well as any other venue for "group" meals where beef is served, includes SpecificBrandName fine-ground, hot prepared horseradish. World famous!! Not one of those "wimpy" horseradish sauces, consisting of mostly sour cream, but REAL horseradish. SpecificBrandName has been a fine local company for roughly 75 years. I think they even generated fees for some lawyers over the years, with tax controversies, a charge of allegedly diluting their products decades ago with a bit of potatoes thrown in, whatever. But they DO make a good HOT horseradish for folks who really know how to spice up their beef.
I have no "interest" in the company, but I have a great interest in having our company provide hot horseradish with beef - - - not just a wimpy sauce. Maybe both - - the real stuff for beef lovers, and the mildly-spiked sauce for those who prefer that. Whatever!
Too bad I'm at my PoshSeasideTown place right now, or I'd call for a dinner reservation!! I just made myself hungry!
Sincerely, Uppity Lawyer Client.

He had other bits of wisdom long this line to share - which restaurants to eat at, which manager to ask for for the best service, etc etc. I will spare you the details and stick to the highlights.


Is he for real? Yes. Yes folks, he is. No "wimpy sauce" for him. Bring on the tax-evading-local-company horseradish; there is no substitue.
This is why they pay me the big money. To make sure my client's horseradish is too their liking.

One day I will retire. And it will be a beautiful thing.

Oktoberfest 2009

The other weekend, Mon Amour and I visited his parents for the 2nd Annual:

We went last year and had a grand time. So we definitely couldn't miss this years.


There was, of course, a lot of beer (all micro-brewed. No Guinness, or Miller Lite, or whatever).

Last year it was all kinds of beer, this year it was all Oktoberfests and Pumpkin Beers. My favorite!


The enjoyment of those beers, was occasionally (pleasantly) interrupted by a more official taste test of the following 6 beers:

Including some Lambic. Lambic is to beer, what White Zinfandel is to Wine. I.e it is the beer for people who don't like beer. It takes like fruit juice. Only weird. I don't like it. Beer should taste like beer.

On the other hand, there was also a bourbon beer in this mix. Bourbon beer = waaaay beyond dark beer. It was pretty much the blackest, most intense looking beer I have ever seen. I didn't taste it. I can pretty much guarantee I wouldn't like it.

Like I said - Pumpkin and Oktoberfests are just right. Neither too light and fruity, nor to dark and bitter.

Beyond the beer, there was also lots of yummy food. Not the least of which was this simply amazing pumpkin dip. Served in a pumpkin (genius!) with ginger snaps.


There was also candy corn. Lots of it.

There was healthy food too. And I promise I did eat some of it.


The decor was also lovely.

By the end of the 7 hour party (yes, first guest came at 3pm, last guests left after 10pm) a lot of beer had been consumed.
This may or may not have been all of it.
However, the general consensus was that despite there being a few more guests, and a lot more hours of partying, a lot less beer was consumed this year than last. How consiencious of us.

All in all, it was a very lovely time. My favorite beer was the Cottonwood Pumpkin Beer. Unfortunately it was also everyone else's fave. So when we took home leftovers there was none of the Cottonwood to be had. Sad day.


New Shoes

The only thing that convinced me to finally get rid of my old tan shoes, was the purchase of a fun new pair of shoes. Before we get there, let me tell you a little bit about the box they came in.


It had instructions for recycling it on it.

#3 is kinda sketch.


It also had a size chart so that you could now how long your foot was based on your shoe size
For example, a size 7.5 women's is the length of a chopstick.
A size 13 Mens is a long as a bottle of wine
A size 10.5 womens is the length of "a small french stick". Which sounded random at first, but I looked it up, and it seems they mean a small baguette. Who new.


And who provided me with all this fun information?
Puma of course.

My old shoes were my feeble attempt at faux-pumas.
This time I got the real thing (on clearance at an outlet, don't worry. It wasn't dirt cheap, but it was still a good deal.)


And here they are folks.

They are black, and slim, and comfy. Good for walking, and also, they look decent with just about any of my pants. I can wear them with khakis, corduroys, jeans. It's beautiful.

I love them. Like a lot.

Old Shoes

Once upon a time, my little sister and I were planning a trip to Europe and needed to get good shoes for the trip. Ideally something comfortable for walking, but that didn't look like a tennis shoe (so as not to scream tourist too loudly).

I ended up getting these. (they looked nicer when I bought them)


Since that time (almost 4 years ago), I have continued to love them, and they have been showing some wear for quite some time now.

So this past weekend, I threw them in here:

Into our smelly, water filled dumpster.

Good by sentimental and wonderful shoes. It was tough letting go, but my fun NEW SHOES helped ....more on that tomorrow.

Wrong Season

Yesterday it looked like this outside.


It's been cold and drippy for a long time now.


But for some reason the rose bush recently decided it was time for round two.

A couple of out of place blooms on a dreary day.