Monday, July 31, 2006


And what's scary is that I already have another 25 for next week.

76. I have fought my weight all my life. And the excessive weight wins a lot.
77. If my husband and I go out in the afternoon, I think, “Maybe we could stop for ice cream?” This never enters his mind—he’s thin.
78. I usually like chunks of things in my ice cream, usually things covered in chocolate, but I do love a vanilla frozen custard cone.
79. I would give up desserts for French fries.
80. I love my veggies, but I could never be a vegetarian. I need a hamburger every now and then.
81. I love sushi. If it comes out of the ocean, I’ll eat it.
82. I don’t shave my legs often in winter.
83. I love fall and winter. I love the clothes for those seasons. I love to be cold so I can sit by a fire and drink a hot chocolate to warm up.
84. I want to go on a dog sled ride—one that lasts all day and you stop at some designated place for lunch.
85. I love dogs. Dogs rule.
86. I love cats, too, but Mom’s allergic to cats and will never visit if I have a cat. Hey! . . . (just kidding, Mom).
87. I still cry when I think about my Daily Dog. I miss her very much.
88. I love big dogs but I don’t like the drool that comes with so many of them. I especially like mastiffs—part dog, part house plant.
89. I would love to have a border collie, but those dogs need a job and I don’t have a farm.
90. I’d like have a hobby farm, but I want alpacas. No need to herd alpacas. I’d like to have sheep, but I don’t think I’m up for how much work they are.
91. I want to learn how to spin, and that’s why I’d like to have alpacas.
92. I realize I have a romantic idea about having a farm, but I don’t care. It gets me through the day sometimes.
93. It would be hard to have a farm considering that I sneeze every time I’m around hay.
94. I have naturally curly, wavy hair.
95. When I was a kid I wanted straight hair, like Peggy Lipton on The Mod Squad. And that girl who runs down the beach at the beginning of Hawaii 5-0.
96. I had great hair in the 80s, and it was so easy because all I had to do was scrunch and go.
97. When my hair was shorter and I would scrunch it, a lot of people said I looked like Sigourney Weaver. (Ghostbusters and Alien were huge) That’s pretty cool. But I’d rather look like Juliette Binoche.
98. I still like having big hair. It’s a Southern thing, don’t try to understand it.
99. I like my house, but I think it’s too big. I feel like a snob when I say that.
100. My dream house would be an Arts & Crafts Bungalow or a thatched-roof cottage. Something with nooks and window seats and built-in shelving.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

One Question Stands Out

It would just be too cute/weird/whatever if I was to do the same MEME that Jay and Betty did, so I'm not going to do it. I just don't have the patience (that was #82). But I do want to address this one:

20. Is it okay for guys to wear pink?

Yes, case in point:

This is Gerard Butler at Dressed to Kilt in 2005. I know, he has a sword and that's cheating, but he looks really good in that pink shirt. And leather kilt.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Spirits and Closure in Louisiana

I just finished a beautiful book called The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue. I found it on Newt’s blog, so thanks Newt! I love ghosts stories, so that’s what attracted me to it, but it’s more than that. Domingue creates two worlds, connected by secrets that tickle the back of your mind, thinking that you’ve figured them out, but you don’t want to think about it too much because you don’t want to ruin how she reveals them.

Raziela Nolan has done everything her way, and in 1920s New Orleans, that’s not easy. She’s in college, preparing for medical school, rather than nursing. She puts pamphlets about birth control into books at the library so they will be found. And she’s hopelessly, deeply, and completely in love with Andrew. But a tragic accident cuts her life short and she is now “between,” a spirit who has chosen not to move on and who wonders the earth, usually because she feels a need to finish something. Over 70 years later, she happens upon Scott and Amy. She haunts their home and witnesses their trials, both women having to face secrets they had long ago buried.

Razie is the narrator. She floats and lingers and is a wonderful objective viewer of life around her. Domingue interweaves Razie’s story with Amy’s fluidly by alternating the stories, but she does it without cliffhangers that make you want to skim one character’s story to get back to the other’s. There are some twists and turns, and you have to keep track of the characters, but there is a plan, and it all comes clear.

One of the things I liked about this book is the way it is written. The words seem to float on the air as Razie narrates her existence as a spirit. Then, when the narration changes into her living life and Amy’s life, the description becomes more concrete. Here’s a passage where Razie, as a new spirit, is describing what it is like:

I hold a breeze within me for a moment. The magnolia cones will not split open for another two weeks, but I can smell a hint of the red seeds that will emerge, a cinnamon-cloves fragrance as rich as their color.

This book is definitely a romance, which isn’t my usual taste, but I did like it. There’s also a lovely Southern-ness about this book. That may be because I lived in Louisiana for 4 years, so I easily hear those accents and recognize those aspects. But Domingue is from Louisiana, so she has the ear for it and I think it translates to the page well. This book is also very sensual, all your senses are titillated through her descriptions, from the scents that people emanate when they are remembering something to the lovemaking between Razie and Andrew.

Next, I’m onto a Laurie R. King novel called Folly. I’ve read several of King’s Mary Russell (with Sherlock Holmes) books and love her writing. This is my first foray out of that series. I’m keeping that library card hot!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Quick Note

I decided to put all those lists of 25 in one place. I'll still post the new 25 here first, they'll just be kind of archived at the other site. The ego has taken over, I guess. Anyay, the link is on the right, called Every 25. Not that I expect everyone to rush over there and reread everything. It's actually so I'll remember what I wrote!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

51 through 75

And yet, another list of 25! This is much easier than one might think. Or maybe I just like talking about myself, I don't know.

But before I get going, just something to think about. I just watched Blade Trinity (yeah, I'm a little behind in my vampire movies), and don't you ever wonder why it is that when the bad guys attack in these movies, they always come at the hero one at a time? Doesn't that seem like a bad strategy?

Well, moving on. Here's the latest list.

51. I love to have a glass of red wine with dinner, but I turn as red as the wine and have to fan myself.
52. I learned a lot about wine while we lived in CA because we went to Napa Valley for wine tasting often. That was back when wine tasting was free.
53. I learned to always eat before wine tasting; otherwise, you’ll get to the last winery and think, “Thish ish the besht vine, efer.” And you’ll get home and it’s awful.
54. I learned to like red wines in CA.
55. I’ve been a registered Democrat all my life. My husband was apathetic for a long time, then when he made up his mind, he was a conservative.
56. I consider myself to be more of a wishy-washy-why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along moderate.
57. I spend so much time researching something and hearing all sides, that it’s difficult for me to make a decision about anything.
58. I haven’t worked for a year, and I doubt myself and my decision-making skills.
59. I work the crossword puzzle every morning, in pencil because I need an eraser.
60. I use the computer to help me with the puzzle, but I don’t have to answer every question.
61. I tell myself that I do the puzzle to keep my brain active, but it’s also a good procrastination tool.
62. I think that I’m difficult to live with, and my husband has the patience of a saint, at least when it come to me.
63. I sing in the shower sometimes; I especially like Patsy Cline songs.
64. If there is music on, I’m dancing. Not well, but I’m dancing.
65. I love to drive the Miata at dusk in the fall. That car is better than therapy.
66. I love my kitchen. Everything is organized well and easy to get to.
67. I have a craftroom that I love, too. I’m still working on it, though, trying to get it just right.
68. I have way too much yarn that I use and way too much fabric that I don’t.
69. I scrapbook, quilt, a little stamping, have made jewelry, and am going to learn to crochet. I have way too many hobbies for one woman.
70. I watch too much TV.
71. I love all the Law & Order series, but I only like the original CSI (even though I really like Gary Sinise).
72. Mostly, I watch mysteries. I have fond memories of watching mysteries when I was growing up—MaCloud, McMillian and Wife, Columbo.
73. I’m very proud that I don’t watch all the “reality” TV shows, except Project Runway and sometimes America’s Next Top Model.
74. I never say the words “Shut Up” because I was taught it was a horrible thing to say. Almost as bad as cursing.
75. I do, however, cuss. The only way a Southern woman can—through a smile. And I save the worst words for the most effect.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Mmmmmmm cookies

This is a quick post today. I thought I'd put up that Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe. I got this out of a Souther Living cookbook--my favorite cookbook. I've changed a couple of things, but it's pretty much like that recipe. These are Jay's and my hubby's favorite cookie. Because they are made with shortening instead of butter, they're light and fluffly like little cakes.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sprinkling of fresh nutmeg (optional; I added this—just grate some fresh nutmeg in)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (But I use almost a whole 12 oz bag of Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat shortening at medium speed until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg and pumpkin, mixing well. Combine flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg (if using). Add to pumpkin mixture. Stir in vanilla, chocolate chips, and nuts (if using).

Drop dough by tablespoons onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 13 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 5 dozen.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Dog Show

We went to the regional Dog Show on Saturday. The list showed lots of different breeds, but they must have not all been there that day. We missed the PBGVs (what Daily was) by a couple of hours.

However, we did see this dog!

This is Darby and she is a Spinone Italiano. She's also one of the dogs we went to see, and I'm in love with this breed. Probably because she looks like larger version of my dog, and also because I love hound dogs. We talked to the owners for a long time while they got ready for the ring. This was quite a nice surprise since many times when we ask questions or if we can pet the dog we're told, "She's about to go in the ring!" OK, OK, sheesh.

And before anyone starts preaching to me about how breeding dogs is barbaric and how I should go to the Humane Society to save a dog, just relax and take a pill. I have no quams with going to the Humane Society and will look there, too, as well as the various dog rescue groups. But if I want a particular dog with particular traits and disposition, then I will go to a breeder. Not some redneck with puppies who have "papers" but a legitimate breeder who has a medical record for all her/his dogs and who interviews me just as diligently as I interview them.The people at this show, at least the ones we met, are serious about keeping the lines healthy, and that's why I would go to a breeder. And even if we do go to a breeder, we will probably want to get an older dog that needs a home.

So, that said, here are some pictures of Darby and Allie.

And here are a few random shots of the show.

Grooming is serious business at these shows. There was hair flying everywhere. This is a Bearded Collie, I think.

Clumber Spaniel

Poodles waiting their turn. They remind me of vultures perched above it all.

I guess the dogs get pretty stressed, so they need a massage. You can't see it, but the one in there didn't seem to be enjoying himself.

For the pet who needs to lose a few pounds--the pet treadmill!

Friday, July 21, 2006

It's All in the Wording

As I've mentioned, I'm a baker. And being one, I have the all-powerful Kitchen Aid mixer, which after 7 years is still holding up and producing cookie and bread dough.

My friend M really really wanted one, but her husband thinks that her hand-held mixer is perfectly fine. She sweetly asked, then she whined, then she nagged, then they just argued.

Finally, she said, "If you want me to bake these things, I need the proper tool."

He said, "Oh. It's a tool. Well, that's different."

They went out and bought one that weekend.

*Wipes a tear away* I'm so proud of her!


I spent all afternoon and evening yesterday editing a friend’s article she’s having published in a professional publication. It’s a paper that she wrote for a school she attended, and she had cut it down from 7,000 words to 3,000 and wasn’t there yet and wasn’t happy with how it was turning out.

I warned her ahead of time that I wasn’t going to coddle her even though I know how hard she worked on it and she’s my friend. I keep telling people, “Don’t ask my opinion if you don’t want to know.” I haven’t heard from her yet, except to say that she got it (through email). I tried to be positive about what I thought was really good, so hopefully she’ll forgive me that I cut about 30% and told her she should rewrite a section because she had lost her focus. Well, she did! Actually, I think she was in better shape than she thought, and I told her that, too.

So, once again, I have helped someone else who is getting published. Always the bridesmaid, yadda yadda yadda. I enjoyed editing her article for her, but it reminded me of what I read in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I’ve spent too much time being a “shadow artist:”

Shadow artists often choose shadow careers—those close to the desired art, even parallel to it, but not the art itself.”

Always an editor, never a writer. Always supporting other people in their writing and to live a creative life, but not taking my own advice.

It’s not that I don’t have a creative life at all. I have way too many hobbies and writing on this blog is a good outlet. But I always want more. However, “more” is also going to take more self-discipline, more courage, and more hard work.

I better get busy!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Energy Abound

Well, the Wellbutrin must have kicked in because I’m getting up early, working out, cooking again, and working on projects. I’m not snapping at Al as much and am feeling down right perky! So, I thought I better get started on the quilt blocks for the Block-of-the-Month club. One of my best girlfriends and I signed up together. She’s much more disciplined (a nice way of saying she’s obsessive compulsive) than I and had her blocks done the weekend after we got the material. It probably drives her crazy that I waited until the weekend before they are due to start mine.

I joined this club to challenge myself, but I may have bitten off more than I can chew, I’m afraid. Thought I’d share them with you as I get them done. We are doing 2 blocks a month, which is 1 more than I want to do, but it’s a full-size quilt when it’s done.

So, here’s Month 1, Block 1

I like this one. It actually turned out ok and is the size it’s supposed to be, which will be very helpful when I have to sew all of these blocks together.

Here’s Month 1, Block 2

I’m not so happy with this one. It’s the most difficult block I’ve ever tried, so the learning and challenging has begun. It’s crooked, the points don’t match, and it just doesn’t look as good. I might get some more material and redo it. The blocks don’t get any easier, so I’m going to plea temporary insanity when someone asks me why I signed up for it in the first place.

One thing I’ve learned about quilting with this project is that I prefer knitting. I can knit anywhere and it’s pretty easy to fix my mistakes. Quilting is so exact, and being a bit anal retentive, you’d think that would be a good hobby for me, but I’m also a bit of a “fudger.” You can’t fudge a ¼-inch seam. But I do like the focus that quilting takes. I block (no pun intended) out everything around me while I’m in that quilting world. And it’s nice to have some time that all I have to think about is measuring correctly, sewing, and pressing seams.

And I do like the puzzle aspect of making a quilt. There’s a little bit of magic to see those squares and triangles come together as a design. But there’s a lot of math, and it’s all in fractions. I don’t see me designing my own quilt for quite awhile. Patterns that have already figured out all the math are definitely the way to go.

Then there’s the fabric. I looooove fabric. With this quilt I’m moving out of my usual earth tones and using pastels. The material is chosen and provided for us by the ladies running the club who also own the quilt shop. We pay for the material, but they give us the amount we’ll need for each block in a packet, only about $4. So, I don’t have the fun/frustration of choosing the colors and material. I’m so new to quilting that it’s nice to have someone else provide the material. I quickly become overwhelmed in the fabric store.

But I have also learned that I’m asking for a sewing machine for Christmas. Mine is 17 years old and can only do 2 stitches—straight stitch and zig zag—and has 4 tension settings. Those aren’t enough choices for quilting. Plus the ca-CHUNK ca-CHUNK ca-CHUNK sound mine makes is driving me crazy.

So, tomorrow I get the instructions for 2 more blocks. This time, I’m really going to try to do them sooner than the last minute. I am. I swear!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Attention Indian Food Lovers!

I love Indian food. I love to cook Indian food, but it’s usually an all-day process. But I don’t always have all day to cook, so I am always on the lookout for easy-to-make Indian food.

I’ve found 2 things. One is pretty easy, and one is stupid easy. I like the stupid easy best. Here's the first one:

Madhur Jeffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking has great recipes that are, well, quick and easy. I’ve made several things in this cookbook and they’ve all turned out great. But even easier is this:

Cook up some chicken and veggies (or just veggies if you like), then add the envelope of the Sukhi paste of your choice, 1 cup of water, and TA-DA! Really good Indian food! Serve over rice and pair that with some heated up frozen Naan, and you’ve got a delicious dinner. The directions on the package say to add everything together, then cook on medium-high until the meat is cooked, but I have this thing about cooking chicken—it has to be really, really done. So, I cut up the chicken and cook it in a little olive oil first, then add the veggies and cook them until they are a little soft, then add the paste and the water. It doesn’t take anytime at all for the sauce to thicken.

We had the Vindaloo last night. Very, very spicy! I’m not going to eat the leftovers until I have some sweet Mango Chutney to cut the heat. It was almost too spicy for my hubby, the man who adds red pepper and/or Tabasco to just about everything. But it wasn't so spicy you couldn't taste the flavors.

I bought the Sukhi’s at our local Organic/Health grocery store, but you can get it at, believe it or not.


Monday, July 17, 2006

It's Monday, and it's all about me!

Time for another list, this time 26 through 50. It's a bit of a lightweight today. Nothing too shocking, I guess.

26. I love James Ellroy novels, but I crave a scotch and a cigarette when I read them.
27. When I have free time to read, I read mysteries.
28. I love Ian Rankin’s Rebus mysteries mainly because they are set in Edinburgh and I love Edinburgh. There's something almost gothic about them. I guess it's the setting.
29. After I got my master’s I swore I was not going to read anything challenging for at least a year!
30. I find it difficult to just read a novel. I read critically, but I turn that off when I read other kinds of things.
31. I’ve been an editor for most of my life, but have taken a break from it for the last 3 years.
32. I’ve edited everything from poetry to fiction to radar repair manuals to curriculum assessments (you know, those nasty tests the kids have to take now?) and even a sci-fi/fantasy novel for a friend.
33. The best job I ever had was a part-time job as a library clerk.
34. I still feel uncomfortable with technology. It’s moved so fast that I haven’t been able to keep up.
35. I subscribe to cooking magazines and actually cook some of the recipes from them.
36. I created and edited a cookbook for a service organization.
27. I cooked dinner for more than 40 people at a Christmas Progressive Dinner.
28. I was and still am an Osmond fan, especially Donny. I’m not ashamed of my Donny days.
29. I had a poster of Shaun Cassidy on my wall, until I replaced it with Scott Baio.
30. A Chorus Line was the first musical I saw, and I was hooked.
31. I still love musicals and plays, but I haven’t followed what’s on Broadway for years now.
32. I tried some acting classes a couple of years ago and decided I just can’t let go enough to be an actress.
33. Many times I feel like I’m living in my husband’s shadow.
34. I have nightmares that my husband is fed up and leaves me.
35. I’ve been married for 17 years.
36. For our 15th anniversary, we were going to renew our vows with an Elvis impersonator in Vegas, but he couldn’t get time off work.
37. Al owes me a trip to Vegas.
38. I love horror movies, especially vampires and haunted houses.
39. I never missed an episode of Buffy, Angel, or Charmed.
40. I don’t like “slasher” movies because of those wimpy women in their underwear, screaming in a corner.
41. I thought Rose Red, the Stephen King miniseries, was pretty lame, but I watch it every time it’s on TV. And it’s on a lot.
42. I love the Halloweentown movies on the Disney Channel.
43. I don’t like romantic comedies. I’m probably one of the only women in the world who did not like Pretty Woman.
44. I do like period pieces that just happen to be romances. Persuasion and A Room with a View are two of my favorites.
45. That’s not to say I don’t like all romance movies. I loved Chocolat and Shakespeare in Love.
46. I dream of writing a novel because it's easier to do it that way. Actually writing it is hard and takes the self-discipline and courage I don't seem to have.
47. I also dream of writing screenplays. I want to adapt Caleb Carr’s two novels The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness into one movie—the mystery of Angel of Darkness but the point of view of The Alienist.
48. I want to be a successful writer so that I can live any where.
49. I would live in Scotland.
50. I love Billy Connolly, the funniest man on earth.
50. We toured 7 scotch distilleries in Scotland in one week the first time we went to Scotland. By the time I got to the last one, I could have given the tour myself and didn’t do any tasting.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

"You cheated . . . Pirate"

This week one of my best girlfriends and I went to see the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie. It became obvious that our husbands did not want to see it when they kept ignoring our suggestions of going. My husband discovered a long time ago that it is easier to ignore the suggestion than to say no and suffer the wrath of “we always do stuff you want to do, why can’t we do what I want to do.”

Of course, we had to have popcorn, so it was already a good start. I was pretty satisfied with just one Pirates movie but was looking forward to this one. Actually, I look forward to anytime I can see Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom on a large screen, but that’s a different issue.

So, I just have one word for this movie: Tentacles! The beastie has tentacles, Davy Jones has tentacles, and they are always moving in that slimy, snakelike way. And with tentacles comes mucus and slapping/sucking noises.

There’s a much higher “ick” factor in this movie. I think I preferred the “living dead in the moonlight” people to the “living dead from the ocean” people. The hammerhead shark guy, the barnacles stuck to people’s faces, seaweed for hair, in addition to all the tentacles. Ew. But it’s to the make-up, costumer, and special effect’s people that deserve the credit. It sucked (pardon the expression) me into a whole other world. And as in the first one, there's great sword fighting, especially when Jack, Will, and the Commodore are all fighting each other.

Johnny Depp was great, again, as Capt. Jack Sparrow, but it wasn’t as much fun as discovering that character in the first movie. But this has got to be one of his greatest creations. Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightly are back in the adventure and have the enviable distinction of being the only ones with pretty, white teeth. How do they keep their teeth so nice when everyone else looks like they’ve been eating squid ink risotto? Anyway, the best addition, IMHO, to the cast is Bill Nigh (also of Underworld, Love Actually, Shaun of the Dead). He was awesome as Davy Jones. I think he’s awesome in all that he does, but he did really well here considering that he had to act with an octopus for a head.

And can I just say, Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp are so much more desirable as pirates. Why oh why does the bad boy, long hair, scruffy face seem so much sexier than their real selves. OK, so Johnny Depp still has the bad boy, long hair, scruffy face thing goin’, but Orlando Bloom is just so darnn pretty. The rougher look works for him, babe. Or would that be, works for me?

I really liked the ending of the movie—I thought it was cool. And I’ll go see the third Pirates movie when it comes out next year, too. Savvy?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Clouds Have Parted

Thanks all of you for the kind words of support and prayers. It means more than I can say. I'll admit I almost didn't post something so personal, but I started this blog to force me out of my comfort zone. Thanks for hanging out there with me.


I said we had storms, so I thought I'd show you a picture of the front coming over the backyard neighbor's house.

I love storms. My dog and I both would stand outside, facing the wind head on, sometimes being pushed off balance. The neighbors must think I'm crazy.

When I lived in Florida, we had a lagoon with a pier in our neighborhood, so I used to go down there as storms were coming in. I'd stand on the end of that pier, bracing myself against the wind. Then I'd rush back to the house just in time to sit in the chair by the window and listen to the rain.


One more quick thing. It took me a while to find this op-ed piece by David S. Broder of the Washington Post on a website you don't have to register for. But I found it here, at the Houston Chronicle's site. It was in our local paper today and I thought it set out some of the issues at the G-8 Summit pretty well. I found it interesting, thought some of you might, too.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Power of One Little Email

I got an email from my husband today that made me cry. It shouldn’t have; there was nothing sad about it. Maybe listening to the rain has made me melancholy. Or maybe it just took me by surprise. Or maybe the Wellbutrin hasn’t kicked in yet; it’s only been 3 days. But still, I felt a little silly sitting on my couch, blubbering into a Kleenex.

See, he told me that he works with a guy whose wife has MS, and they talked for a long time this morning. They exchanged numbers, and he invited us to their house, which he designed and had built for her. The main living area is on one level, the doors are wider, there’s a walk-in shower and other things that will make life easier for her.

That’s all good stuff, right? I mean, it’s great that Al has someone to talk to and that we can talk to another couple that is going through this stuff, and it’s sweet that he built that house for her. So, why am I crying?

Because it’s another thing forcing me to accept that I have this disease. Because I don’t want to get to a point that I have to have a house built because I can’t go up the stairs easily any more. Or I can’t step over the tub to take a shower. Or I can’t get a wheelchair through the door.

My doctor has told me that there’s a good chance I may never have debilitating symptoms, and that the medicine will slow the progress of the disease by about 30 or 40 percent and that I might have a mild case. I do really well on all my neurological exams, better than most. And I hold on to all of that, and I tell others that when they need comforting when they find out about my diagnosis. But it’s still a degenerative disease without a cure, and we just don’t know for sure what’s going to happen. So, meeting people who are having to deal with things that I might have to can be as upsetting as it is comforting. And I have to wonder if I should be preparing for something worse? Should Al be preparing himself?

There are a lot of diseases out there, and there are a lot of people dealing with them day-by-day because that’s the only way to do it. I have a good friend with Type I Diabetes and one with Acute Porphyria, and we’ve all bonded in a whole new way. They’ve been there and understand my reluctance to accept this diagnosis, and the frustrations and fears that come with that. But there’s only so much other people can do. At some point, I have to “step up to the bat.” I thought I had, but these little reminders are coming at me from all different directions. So, I guess I’ll cry a little, feel sorry for myself a little, ramble on my blog a little, then I’ll get up and make a cup of tea and start planning dinner. Just like any other day.

Note: Al got home and told me about his conversation. He couldn’t wait to tell me that this lady had been in a wheelchair, her MS was so bad. But with Avonex (what I take) she’s doing great and is even riding a bicycle. So, there’s always hope and good news.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Not Your Typical Bundt Cake

I love to bake. I lose myself in the kitchen and become fluid as I gather ingredients and tools then measure, spoon, whip, and beat flour, butter, eggs, and sugar into lovely things that you can eat while drinking coffee.

And sometimes, I bake cakes. It took some practice to make good cakes. Most of them were dry and cooked a little too long around the edges. Nothing that a lot of icing couldn't take care of, but still, I had some practicing to do.

And I got better. I made a chocolate cakes for my hubby's promotion party. One of the young airmen came up and said, "Ma'am, this is the best cake. It's like my grandma's cakes when I was a little boy, and she made the best cakes. And I want to thank you for making this cake." I got all teary-eyed.

But I will not be making this cake.

This is the latest novelty bundt cake pan from William-Sonoma, and they actually think it will look like that when you're done.

There is no way on God's green earth that I could butter that pan well enough to have all those details and shapes come out! I couldn't even make that in sand, let alone cake batter. Oh sure, "its premium nonstick interior provides quick release and easy cleanup" but I just wonder. But for $30, I think I'll just stick with my old classic bundt pan.


This is my horoscope at Yahoo:

You're at a crossroads now, but there's no wrong path to take. Follow your heart.

Hello Fates! Could you be a little more specific, please? Follow my heart? Great. I'm a complex woman! There isn't just one heart's desire. Sheesh!

At least it's nice to know there's no wrong path. Guess the wrong decision is indecision and not taking any path. Uh huh. Too bad I can never make up my mind.

If It's Not Scottish . . .

All of my inner thoughts have had a Scottish accent lately. I’ve been surrounded by all things Scottish, so I guess it makes sense that I would be thinking with a wee brogue. Ach, ‘tis joost a wee thing.

I’m listening to MC Beaton’s book Death of a Bore on CD while I knit. I love this series. They are about Hamish Macbeth, the only police in Lochdubh, a small town in the Highlands of Scotland. She also writes the Agatha Raisin series, which are just as entertaining, but this time set in the Cotswolds.

But back to Hamish. Having visited small towns in the Highlands, listening to this story is like being there again. So many wonderful characters, funny but real, in a storybook way. I compare it to Andy Griffith in Mayberry. Guess that’s why I like it—I loved the Andy Griffith show. Plus, Hamish always has his dog with him, which is also why I enjoy these books. And he talks to his best friend frequently, talking out his cases.

This series was also a TV series by the BBC. It was just as entertaining as the books and starred Robert Carlyle. (Did you see the Full Monty? He was the lead, the guy who came up with the interesting way to get some money.)

So, the other Scottish medium was a movie. I watched Trainspotting for the first time. I know the movie came out in 1996, but it’s not the first time I’ve been a little slow on the uptake. I really hadn’t been interested in this movie because it’s about the drug scene of Edinburgh youth. But, I was in a mood to be challenged emotionally, so I watched it. The movie focuses on Renton (Ewan McGregor) and his struggle to get off heroin and have an ordinary life: “Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a starter home. Choose dental insurance, leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose your future.” Of course it’s not easy and there are disturbing as well as heartbreaking scenes. It’s a fascinating film; a slice of life I have absolutely no understanding of. And I don’t say that in a snobbish way—it’s not that I’m stiff-backed anti-drugs. I really don’t know about this lifestyle, the way a nice little military wife living an ordinary, normal, and sheltered life wouldn’t.

Directed by Danny Boyle (Shallow Grave also), Trainspotting is so amazingly moving and thought-provoking but it is also a bit quirky. OK, that’s an understatement. If you’ve seen Danny Boyle films or read Irvine Welsh you’ll know what I mean. If you haven’t, let me see if I can give you an idea.

Renton is at the pub with all his friends and his parents. They are celebrating because he didn’t have to go to jail for shoplifting because he entered a rehab program. Mom is calling him her baby boy and everyone is congratulating him. Then the mother of the other friend, Spud, who was arrested with Rent but did go to jail, walks in, looking for something—support, sympathy, apologies for not helping her son. But the loud-mouth friends send her away, yelling that it was her fault her son was in jail—all her fault if it was anyone’s. Rent knows this isn’t true, walks out the backdoor of the pub, with a voice over narrating that the rehab and methadone they give him wasn’t enough. He needed a hit. He climbs a tall rock wall, stands, then jumps, and lands like a frog back in the sparse heroine den asking, “What’s on the menu tonight?” His own kind of suicide.

I was ready for a change after that, so I watched House Hunters International on HGTV because they were in Edinburgh. It’s just amazing the cost of homes there! And small homes at that. Well, I thought they were small, but the people looking raved about all the room they were going to have. Over $200,000 for a flat!

So, after all the Scottish influence, now I’m craving a cup of tea and shortbread. Either that or a nice dram of a peety scotch.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Past Projects

Saz asked about photos of the knitting projects I've been working on, but what I'm working on right now are gifts for people who read this blog, so I couldn't do that. But I do have a couple of pictures of some past projects. I don't always think to take pictures before I give things away, and I don't often make things for myself, so I don't have things to take pictures of. But here are a couple of things.

Jay laughed when he saw this hat, but I think it's great. I love knitting cables, and this was a simple project for that.

My young neice and sisters-in-law like to go dancing, so I made purses like this one in different colors that they could take with them.

These were THE gift this last Christmas. All the men in Al's family are hunters, so I made these fingerless gloves in camoflauge yarn to go with the scarves I made in the same yarn the year before.

Once I learned to knit in the round, it opened a whole new world of projects. But a lot of what I do is still just big rectangles. You can do a lot with rectangles.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Fist 25

I had my latest 3-month check-up at the MS clinic today. All is well, but the heat is playing havoc with my symptoms. Also, the mood swings are not getting any better, so I’m starting Wellbutrin to try to get a handle on it. So maybe now I’ll just be a little cranky, rather than a raving lunatic!

Part of the discussion to decide what to take involved how my age and the state of my hormones might be playing a part. Being 40 now, I guess I can look forward to pre-menopausal mood shifts, in addition to the depression caused by the MS (seriously, not just depression because I have MS but it’s actually a physical symptom of the disease). Al is just so looking forward to this. I swear he actually had a look of relief on his face when I told him about the Wellbutrin. I can’t blame him. Being the only other person in the house, he gets the brunt of the swing. We’re also pretty psyched because this medication supposedly doesn’t affect the libido. And I’m psyched because the first side effect listed is weight loss! This is a problem? Weight loss would definitely lessen my depression.

So, my doctor visit made me a little thoughtful. Since we talked about how getting into her 40s is a sort of transition time for a woman, I thought I might take stock of who I am and what I’ve done. Maybe it will help me decide who I want to be, or maybe that I’m fine just the way I am.

It also gives me something to blog. So, periodically, I’m going to give you 25 facts about me. Maybe we’ll all be a little surprised.

1. I was born in Arkansas and lived in my hometown until I went to college.
2. I graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas, with a double major of English and Journalism.
3. I almost didn’t get my “with honors” title because I wrote such a bad final paper. I didn’t talk to my advisor during the writing process, just wanting to get it done. They let me rewrite it because my advisor felt responsible that he didn’t check in on me, but I felt that it was all my fault.
4. My honors paper was on Lillian Hellmann, but I don’t remember what I wrote about her.
5. I have an irrational fear of breaking down on the side of the road.
6. I’ve moved 11 times in 17 years, to 7 different cities.
7. I’ve been knitting for 2 years. My mother tried to teach me when I was a kid but I wasn’t good at it immediately, so I didn’t like it. Now I’m obsessed.
8. I have a masters in English from Louisiana Tech University.
9. After I got my master’s, I bought a cake for my party that said, “Master of Her Domain.”
10. I took singing lessons for years.
11. I’ve been in several community theater productions.
12. My first stage role was a whore in Three Penny Opera.
13. My favorite roles were Sylvie in The Female Odd Couple on stage and Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew for an acting class.
14. I love to cook and bake. And I send lots of food into work with Al.
15. When Al was meeting people in his new office but same building, the men said, “We hear your wife bakes great cookies.” Little spooky.
16. I never liked beer until I went to Germany to visit friends.
17. I still wasn’t a huge beer fan until I discovered microbreweries—New Belgium rocks.
18. I’ve helped my husband brew beer, but I don’t consider myself a brewer because I really don’t enjoy it. I consider myself Quality Control.
19. I love coffee, but rarely drink a whole cup.
20. I rarely drink a whole can of soda, either. They are referred to as “Kelley Cans” in our house because they have about a third of the liquid still in them.
21. The most surprising song on my iPod is “The Beautiful People” by Marilyn Manson. People will be shocked to hear that, but it’s good to work out to!
22. If there is a fire, I’m grabbing my iPod first. Yes, it’s that important to me.
23. My husband has a motorcycle, but I’m afraid to ride with him.
24. My dream car is a Jeep Wrangler. I want to be a Jeep Woman. Actually, it’s a Land Rover, but a Wrangler seems a little more obtainable.
25. I’m jealous of how funny my brother is and wish I was as witty and intelligent.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Book Review--Now You See Her by Cecelia Tishy

I read this book during the 2 days I was in the cabin at Niobrara State Park. I would classify this mystery as a “cozy.” Cozies are mysteries that feature an amateur detective and usually are low on graphic violence. Think Miss Marple mysteries by Agatha Christie.

In this novel, Regina Cutter is in her early 40s and newly divorced from her rich, executive husband, who dumped her for a woman one year older than their 23-year-old daughter. She moves back to Boston, inheriting her Aunt Jo’s home, psychic ability, consultant job with the police, and joint custody of a beagle named Biscuit. She always had the psychic abilities, but she hadn’t used them until she was back in her aunt’s home.

Tishy, who also writes the Kate Banning mystery series, has created a pretty tight mystery with some interesting characters and a nice atmosphere of living in Boston. The character who brings the mystery to Reggie is Detective Frank Devaney, who used to consult with Aunt Jo. He brings something for her to hold, hoping for some kind of psychic vision to help him with his case. This time, it’s a case that has already been solved, or so he thought back in the 70s. But now he’s wondering if they put the wrong man in jail. But Reggie’s gift isn’t something she can do “on call.” She has to rely on old-fashioned leg work if she wants to solve this mystery.

She has some help along the way. Stark is a Harley-riding friend of her aunt’s and with whom she shares custody of Biscuit. While Stark wants Biscuit to be a brave hunting dog, Reggie wants her a cuddly household pet. There’s a nice banter between these characters and you know that for all her protests, Reggie is glad to have Stark in her life. You will also be expecting her to be riding her own Harley by the next installment.

Nicole is Reggie’s boss and the owner of StyleSmart, a used-clothing store for women coming off welfare who need clothes to go to work. Knowing more about the not-so-desirable areas of Boston, she’s a good source of information, not to mention a means to an end in one of the many twists that the plot takes.

Oh, and there’s the Arnots, whose expensive new home has a history of quick homeowner turnover and the reason may be a ghost. Reggie has agreed to check it out for her realtor friend, Meg. But there’s more than a simple haunting going on at this home.

So, here are some opinions about this book. This is an old-fashioned book review—I’m going to actually give you an opinion, not just a story synopsis.

Tishy has created a pretty tight and fairly predictable mystery. Predictable is not a criticism—predictability is fine as long as the story is interesting enough to carry the reader through to the end. This story does that. She does a good job of all the clues culminating into a final confrontation. There are no surprises, no clues that she unfairly sneaks in, and the result is logical, even though at times it seems that she has stretched her “red herrings” a little thin. Although they come together in the end, they seem a little excessive in the middle where I got a little bogged down.

The real problem of this book for me is that it is written in first person. This is a difficult point of view to pull off because you have to decide very quickly if the narrator is believable. Because this is a mystery with the main character as detective, you have to trust her interpretation of what she sees and hears, or at least understand how she could misunderstand something. Also, it helps if you like the main character, and that’s where I have a problem. I’m not sure I like Reggie enough to really root for her. She laments constantly about her former privileged life, and although she is honest that she is having to face her racist tendencies, it’s uncomfortable when every person she meets is usually described by the color of his or her skin first.

Also, she takes some risks that are really fantastic. Now, it is fiction, so that’s ok, but I got a little irritated with her that she refused to talk to her cop friend any more about her findings and suspicions because she didn’t think he’d listen to her. So, I have a problem with introducing this cop to ask for help, then his talking down to her like she shouldn’t be doing anything to help. The intention, I think, is to allude to his stand-offish attitude as being some hidden agenda on his part. But I don’t think this is the character to do this with.

And just one little thing, she talks as if there is another book before this one, but I can’t find it. And everything I’ve seen, says that this is the first in the series. So, how did she get these bruises and sore arm from her first outing helping the police? It’s a mystery!

So, bottom line is that I liked it well enough that I didn’t put the book down. I was interested enough in it to keep reading, mainly to see if my guess of the bad guys was right. I’m not sure I’ll pick up the next in the series, though.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Ashfall Fossil Beds

A great attraction to visit while staying at Niobrara State Park is just 30 minutes south, down a country road, in the middle of nowhere—Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park. Here you will see complete skeletons of animals that were buried under a blizzard of volcanic ash about 12 million years ago. Thus, the name “Ashfall.”

The Ashfall Fossil Beds:

In 1971, paleontologist Mike Voohies was excavating on Melvin Colson’s cornfield. He found the skull of a baby rhino protruding from the side of a gully, at the bottom of newly exposed gray ash. They ended up with 100 rhino skeletons in that spot. It’s at this point that I said, “Oh, rhinos, that’s interesting, I guess. [pause] Wait a second. Rhinos in Nebraska?” Yes, and camels and zebras and horned rodents and so much more. The brochure says, “It is clear that before the catastrophic ashfall occurred, the area was inhabited by a rich variety of life reminiscent of modern East African savannah.” Amazing.

The scientists think that ash from a huge volcanic eruption in the Rocky Mountains (probably southwestern Idaho), blew eastward and quickly devastated the landscape. Animals drowned or struggled through drifts of ash as if in a blizzard. They died where they lay, and that’s why they also refer to this park as a “Prairie Pompeii.”

Instead of removing all the bones and putting them into a museum, they have preserved them where they lay. You walk into an open-sided barn and walk above the fossils, and a helpful student hands you a Skeleton Map so you can know what you are looking at. It’s really very shocking at first. So many skeletons all in one place. Babies next to their mothers, and in a special case on one wall, there is the skeleton of an unborn baby rhino. Here are some pictures that will explain it better than I can:

#2 3-toed Horse:

Adult Female Rhino:

Young Adult Male Rhino:

This is a really fascinating place for kids and adults. There are digs still going on, and a paleontologist is working at the center who will answer questions and will walk out and give a tour of current digs. Here’s a picture of one of the current digs (zebra) and a picture of the sifting table and the main building:

Not a bad day for $5 for adults, plus $3.50 for a park sticker, which we didn’t need because we already had one. Get your state park stickers!

Also, the weather was gorgeous that day. They were having an unusually cool day. And I mean cool—it was at least 3 in the afternoon before the temperature got close to 80. We actually turned the heat on in the Miata! That night, the temperature got down into the 50s! I asked the lady taking the money at the front of the park if this was normal, because if it was, I’m moving there! She said it wasn’t and that they should have been in the 90s. So, it was a wonderful day for an outing. We actually had great weather the whole time and always rode with the top down in the Miata. So, I now have the tannest shoulders in Nebraska.

Well, that's about it for the trip. I did say I'd do a review of the book I read, and I'll post it this weekend sometime.

Thanks for coming along for the trip!

Lewis and Clark Slept Here, Part II

There’s a lot of history in this area, as you would imagine, and this will be your history lesson for today. Lewis and Clark camped just above the mouth of the Niobrara River. There are memorials to the explorers and the American Indians who were forced from their home in this area.

Here’s a picture of where the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers meet:

The town Niobrara is one of the oldest in Nebraska, and in August 2006, they’ll celebrate their 150th anniversary. The town has actually been relocated twice because of flooding waters. The latest move was in the 1970s. They moved a whole town? I’ve heard of that happening, but I’ve never actually been in a place where it happened.

Here’s a picture of the town from one of the hilltops in the park:

The Ponca Indians made their home in Niobrara before they were forced to move to Oklahoma, the Ponca Trail of Tears. Chief Standing Bear made a famous trek back to Nebraska to bury his son. The Chief Standing Bear Memorial Bridge crosses the Missouri River to link Nebraska and South Dakota.

Here’s a picture of where the Ponca lived:

Here’s a picture of the memorial bridge:

This area is also known for being where Mormons wintered with the Ponca Indians. Ten Mormons died during that winter, including Mormon leader Newel Knight, and there is a monument marking their graves.

Here are some other random pictures of the area:

A 15-star flag down by the Missori River:

Trail Riders in the Park:

Another pic of the Missori River:

Dueling Doggies


Coming up next, a day trip to the Ashfall Fossil Beds!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Lewis and Clark Slept Here, Part I

One of the best things about Nebraska is the state park system. The $17 for a year pass is worth it and quickly pays for itself. So, when Al and I decided that we had to get out of town for the 4th of July because they are just firecracker-crazy in this place, we decided the only safe place was a state park because they actually enforce the “no fireworks” law.

We actually found an opening at Niobrara State Park (NSP) in northeast Nebraska, but only because the 4th is on a week day—otherwise they are booked for every weekend. The park is situated on an expansive 1,260 acres at the “T” of the Missouri and Niobrara Rivers, on the Lewis and Clark Trail. I think it’s the largest park in the state, and if it’s not, it’s still pretty darn big.

It was only about 4 hours northeast of us. We got everything loaded into the Mazda Miata and took off! Part of the fun of a trip is getting there, especially in a Miata. We went through many small towns, and I do mean small. Many were less than 100 people. Each town had a grain elevator, an auto body shop, a gas station, and usually a church, and as quickly as we drove into the town, we drove right out again. The most prevalent scenery was the acres of cornfields and soy beans. There was also the wonderful floral smell of lavender! Acres and acres of lavender, which is good because it helped cover up the aroma of feed lots, which were also prevalent. The further north we got, cornfields of the flat prairie gave way to rolling mountains with round bales of hay interspersed with grazing cattle. The sun was shining and it was just starting to get hot when we pulled into the park.

They have RV pads and tent sites, but we stayed in one of the 2-bedroom cabins, the Blackbird.

They have 19 cabins at NSP, 12 are two-bedrooms and 7 are three-bedrooms. They also rent out a group lodge, which accommodates 110 people and would be great for retreats and family reunions. All the cabins are well equipped with place settings for 8, pots and pans, a pitcher, microwave, stove, refrigerator, and the all-important coffee maker. They even had coffee filters! What a great place! Each cabin has a screened-in back porch with a grill and picnic table out back. What they didn’t have was a TV or a phone. And the only radio was a small radio alarm clock. Heaven! We didn’t bring a computer, and we couldn’t get a strong enough signal on the cell phone, which means that even though Al forwarded our home phone to the cell phone (why would he do that? I don’t know), we didn’t get any calls. I was almost giddy. Now, obviously, if I really wanted to rough it we would have actually been camping. But I’m too old to sleep on the ground, and although I reveled in not fixing my hair or wearing make-up, I did like my indoor, spacious bathroom with a shower that had the water pressure of a fire hose.

Here was the only downfall to the cabin:

It looks like a dentist’s waiting room, but it’s really the family room. So, although I envisioned sitting and reading and knitting in a big comfy chair, that wasn’t meant to be. But we made due. I still got a lot of knitting done, and I read one of the two books I brought. I wanted to start with The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr, but I decided it was going to take a little more concentration than I wanted to give it. Carr is a great writer, but this book is a Sherlock Holmes story, written from Dr. Watson’s point of view in Victorian England, so it’ll take a little more focus. So, I read Now You See Her by Cecelia Tishy, a “cozy” mystery set in Boston. I’ll actually write about it in another post.

Although the only thing I was really interested in was reading and strolling around the trails, the park did offer activities for those who have a hard time being still. That would be my husband, by the way. He was telling me the activity choices from the information brochures, conveniently organized in a binder on the table. Horseback riding, hiking trails, swimming, and guided motorized raft tours on the Missouri River all at our disposal. But it was late in the afternoon, and all we really wanted to do was jump in the pool and cool off.

But let me tell ya about this pool. Sorry I don’t have a photo, but it looks like a pool. It costs $3.50 to get in, and once you’re in, they require that you shower first. Also, they don’t allow shoes in the pool area—any shoes. So, yes, you burn your feet as you walk around. Also, there are no lounge chairs. No chairs of any kind! The only chairs are the Lifeguard stations. Luckily, the pool was still worth it. That was the cleanest swimming pool I have ever been in! And cold! We wanted to cool off, and it worked. We stayed for an hour and a half, but the kids had gotten bored of jumping off the diving board and were heading into the more shallow end where we were. It was a sign that we should head back to the cabin.

Back to the cabin and eat! We brought grillin’ food with us. There is a family-owned market just a couple of miles down the road in the town of Niobrara where we picked up the things we forgot, but we brought most of the stuff we’d need. Unlike other vacations, this one was not all about the food. We didn’t go out to eat at all, preferring to grill something and sit out on the back porch.

After we ate, we went for a walk. Dusk was just beginning, my favorite time of day. Here are some of the photos.

View from behind our cabin:

View from across the street of our cabin:

Missouri River at Sunset:

Well, that’s enough for Part I. Next, I’ll post some more photos and information about the area.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Honey, I'm Home!

It feels like I've been gone for a week, but really it's only been a couple of days. This is really just a quick note to let everyone know that I'm home and am working on posts about my trip. I know you are waiting with bated breath for details of our little trip to the cabin.

We stayed at Niobrara State Park, which is in Nebraska, just the other side of the Missouri River from South Dakota. And yes, it is in the middle of nowhere.

Right now, though, I'm putting aloe on my sunburn and getting the laundry together. It's amazing how much laundry two people can make in just 2 days!

Talk to you soon.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Going Out of Town

Hi! Being in Nebraska for July 4th is like being in downtown Beirut, so we're outta here! I've never been real wild about fireworks, anyway, and they are just horrible here. Our poor little dog, who has never been afraid of fireworks, peed in the house last year because every time she tried to go outside there was another huge BOOM from an illeagal, commercial firework. So, orginally, we made these plans to get her out of town. Now that she's gone, we're goin anyway.

So, I'll be out of commission for a couple of days. My hubby asked what I wanted to take to the cabin with me and I said, "A book." That's all I want.

So, to hold you over until then, I nabbed this off of Jay.

40 Questions

1. Have you ever been searched by the cops?
No—I’m waaaaayyy too ticklish for that!

2. Do you close your eyes on roller coasters?
Yes, because I’m a weenie.

3. When's the last time you've been sledding?
1993 in Syracuse NY. Actually, we had the dog pull us on the sled.

4. Would you rather sleep with someone else, or alone?
I am such a bad sleep partner, my husband sometimes wishes I’d sleep by myself, I’m sure. The tossing and turning and talking in my sleep drives him nuts!

5. Do you believe in ghosts?
Yep. I even did a “cleansing” of our new house. I have a way too active imagination.

6. Do you consider yourself creative?
Yes. Do other’s consider me creative? Obviously not the people who hire and pay creative people.

7. Do you think O.J. killed his wife?
Yes, for all my opinion matters on that subject.

8. Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?
Aaaaaaaaaaagggggghhhhhh! No more! No more! I don't care!!!!

9. Do you stay friends with your exes?
No. I don’t really have any exes. I got lucky and found my sweetie pretty early.

10. Do you know how to play poker?
Not without a cheat sheet.

11. Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?

12. What's your favorite commercial?
The guy making his cell phone talk to the co-worker on the other side of the cubicle wall, “Because he’s lame?!?”

13. What are you allergic to?
Mountain cedar. The worst part of living in San Antonio.

14. If you're driving in the middle of the night, and no one is around do you run red lights?
No, cause I’d still get caught.

15. Do you have a secret that no one knows but you?
If anyone else knew, it wouldn’t be a secret.

16. Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees?
That’s baseball, right? Are those my only choices?

17. Have you ever been Ice Skating?
Yes, but I was like 8 or something. I’d love to go again.

18. How often do you remember your dreams?
Until I have my first cup of coffee.

19. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
Watching Billy Connolly talk about his prostate exam.

20. Can you name 5 songs by The Beatles?
I Wanna Hold Your Hand
I Am the Walrus
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Eleanor Rigby

21. What's the one thing on your mind now?
I don’t want to give myself my shot in a couple of hours.

22. Do you know who Ghetto-ass barbie is?
Don’t know, don’t wanna know.

23. Do you always wear your seat belt?
Yes, always.

24. What cell service do you use?
Verizon. Like the service, hate my phone

25. Do you like Sushi?
If it comes out of the ocean and you put wassabi on it, I’ll eat it.

26. Have you ever narrowly avoided a fatal accident?

27. What do you wear to bed?
White tank top and panites.

28. Been caught stealing?
Yes, but I was like 6 or something and was just exchanging what Mom had bought for something better I wanted. They were just sitting in a box—no one said I couldn’t trade up. Sheesh, what a fuss!

29. What shoe size do you have?

30. Do you truly hate anyone?
Yes, but I’ve tried to move on. A person who does hateful things and enjoys it is easy to hate.

31. Classic Rock or Rap?
I guess Classic Rock. But if I hear Sweet Home Alabama one more time I’m gonna have to crawl through the radio wires and strangle someone.

32. If you could sleep with one famous person, who would it be?
The latest obsession is Tony Curran. He’s Marcus in Underworld Evolution. And he’s a Scotsman—I have a thing for Scottish men.

33. Favorite Song?
Hmmmm. That is so hard. I love “Smooth” by Santana and never get tired of hearing it. But I also love “Come Rain or Come Shine.”

34. Have you ever sang in front of the mirror?

35. What food do you find disgusting?
Pork rinds.

36. Do you sing in the shower?
Yes, usually Patsy Cline

37. Did you ever play, "I'll show you mine, if you show me yours"?
Yes. And that’s all I’m gonna say.

38. Have you ever made fun of your friends behind their back?
I’m sure I did when I was younger.

39. Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?

40. Have you ever been punched in the face?
Heaven forbid!