Tuesday, July 31, 2007

After leaving work, I decided to do a few things that I've been putting off for a while. First I went to get my oil changed. I always feel so awkward sitting there, staring at the nice gentlemen as they do strange things to my car. The guy who was changing out the oil apparently lost control of the hose and sprayed the front of Lois down with Valvoline! Suddenly I was surrounded by workers as they mopped up the mess. I'm just glad that I didn't have the top down. : )

Since I haven't had the car fully washed since I got it (shut up, I've been busy) I decided to take it to the local drive through car wash. I've been a little scared to do that because I've never driven a convertible through one of those and I was afraid I'd rip the top or something. However, once I got the hot oil treatment at the Jiffy Lube, I decided it would at least be worth a try. I screwed up right away by hitting my brakes twice while I was in the thing that moves the car along. To be fair, the guy knocked on the window twice to hand me the antenna, so it was more of a knee jerk thing to hit the brakes! Once I had all of my windows up, I was pulled into the machine. Now, Lois has a little problem I had forgotten about. Normally it isn't noticeable except during very hard rain. There is a tiny leak along one of the windows. It's only a drip, so even when rain is beating down on me it's only a slight annoyance. However, when you focus high pressure streams of water at the car, the slight drip turns into a crowd control hose. Water was streaming in all over me, and there was no way I could do anything about it. I held my hand under it, but all that did was redirect the stream of water so that it ran all over my arm and leg. SIGH. Once I was out of the car wash, I drove straight ahead while I was trying to shake the water off of me. Because I was focusing on that instead of where I was going, I almost ran into a barrier. I had to slam on my breaks and my poor car made a "scccccccccccccccccccccccccccccreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech" sound when it stopped. *shame* I wound up stopping at the Dollar Tree for about thirty minutes so that my clothes and my car would have a chance to dry off.

Once I got home, it was time for lawn maintenance. I should probably stop making fun of Kenny for talking about mowing his lawn so much because I've gotten just as bad about doing it. I say I should stop...but I'm not going to! It's almost all I have left! Anyways, before I began to mow, I got out my giant earphones that I used when working at the radio station. They look like Princess Leia buns on my head, but they block out some of the lawnmower noise so that I can listen to the iPod. One problem with them, though, is that the cord is really long. Somehow, and I still am not sure how, the cord got wrapped around a limb of a tree I was under and the headphones were ripped off of my head. I almost fell out of the seat backwards! I had to drag the headphones around until I could stop the lawnmower and get re-situated. After that things went pretty well until I did something terrible. I feel so horrible about this that I still want to throw up. As I was mowing, I somehow hit a fire ant hill. We don't usually have those in our yard, so it scared me when a puff of brown dust and ants flew out from under my mower. I was so worried about making sure I didn't have fire ants on me (because they hurt sooooooo bad) that I didn't see...gulp...the baby bunny rabbit. I ran over it. It makes me shiver to think about it. I ran over it, but it didn't kill it. It lay there and twitched. I was horrified. Seriously, I didn't know what to do. I hoped that it wasn't hurt that badly since I had the blades fairly high, but I was wrong. Steve had to go and...take care of it. I still feel terrible about it because I would never hurt anything if I could help it and I think I feel even worse that Steve had to deal with it because he's just as soft hearted about animals as I am. *groan*

After the murder, I had to mow the back yard. Cleatus, the neighbor-dog, and I played "Cleatus is going to eat the neighbor" which is a game he dearly loves. He waits by the fence and then runs and barks as I pass by. Then he goes back to the starting point and does it all over again until I pass by again. That dog is seriously on crack. I was still trying to get over the incident in the front yard, so I took that opportunity to sing along with my music. I sang loudly and very possibly atonally, so I'm glad the lawnmower was loud.

After that I came back inside for dinner and to watch a movie. We saw Hot Fuzz, which was hilarious. Now I'm going to go to bed before anything else happens to me.

Alexis: This one had neither a picture or a reference of ingredients in my booklet nor the website. I cross referenced the name Alexis and Vosges in Google and it came up with a kind of wine. Eeeeeeeech, I don’t like wine. Josh always tried to give me all kinds of wine and I thought all of it was pretty disgusting. Great. Oh well, might as well try it out. It smelled a little weird, too. There is some kind of yellow powdery stuff on top that kind of smelled like curry powder. Plus, it was also hot. What IS it with this place and their hot and spicy stuff on top of the chocolate? It’s not that it’s bad at all…just…painful. And my lips are swelling up a little. Hmmmm, if nothing else, this is a tasty substitution to collagen treatments. The inside was sweet and slightly cough syrupy. Not in a bad way, but more in a – hey, mom sneaked my medicine into my candy so that I wouldn’t notice – kind of way. I’m not so sure that it’s my favorite, but it’s not bad.

6 out of 10 for my new, big, sultry lips. It may go down in rank if this turns out to be some kind of bad reaction, though.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Good Lord.

When I logged into my e-mail this morning, I had some messages waiting for me that have me worried. They were both returned/refused delivery messages from addresses that I had never heard of before. Apparently my work e-mail address has been abducted and has been sending viral e-mails to people with the subject line "Sprightly Cleavage."

So, FYI, don't get excited if you get one of these messages from my account. I'm not sending you pictures of a wild weekend in Panama City or anything.

: )

Friday: Friday after work, I needed to go get groceries. I had to back out of going to a Waters concert with Steve and Anthony because I knew I wouldn't have another chance to go once the weekend got started. As much as I enjoy grocery shopping (and I don't exactly know why I enjoy it to be honest) there is a situation that I don't enjoy. It's the "Got To Buy Giant Stuff" grocery shopping. I don't mean Sam's shopping, because their buggies are built to carry big stuff. I'm talking about when you have to go and get sodas, storage boxes, or giant bags of dog food. I had to bet both the sodas for Steve and a giant bag of Purina for the boys, plus a big container of detergent to wash clothes. That wouldn't have been so bad if I didn't also have to get food for us, too! I knew I didn't want my food squashed, so I got these big things first. That was kind of stupid, because then I didn't have enough room to place everything safely into the cart and I had to balance everything on top. I really didn't have that many groceries, but it looked like I might be stocking up for the winter the way things were piled up. It was heavy, too! When I was 12, I was a candy striper for our local hospital and I had to push a 400 pound woman down the hall in her wheelchair. I had to lean into it to manage, and that is how I felt at Target. When I finally managed to check out, I kept having to jump and catch bags as they slid off of the stack. I finally just ended up putting the top down on my car and throwing everything in that way, because I didn't think my trunk could handle it! : )
When I got home, Steve and Anthony were gone, so I made dinner and rented an On Demand movie called "Black Christmas." It was a remake of an old slasher flick, so I thought it would be a quality movie to watch while eating! It wasn't bad...it wasn't good either...but it was kind of tame until Steve and Anthony came back. It turned out they had decided against the concert and just went to dinner. As soon as they came in and sat down, the movie took a drastically disgusting turn. Seriously, up until then, it was just your run-of-the-mill not so scary scary movie. That always happens to me! When I lived at my parent's house, I could be watching a perfectly normal movie, and when I mom or dad came into the room suddenly every other word would be a curse word and then everyone would be naked. SIGH. Anyways, so I turned it off and we sat and talked a while. Then he and Steve started in with the tech-talk and I decorously faded into the background and did other things.

Saturday: I actually went to work on Saturday to make up some of the hours I missed last Monday when I wasn't feeling well. It was mostly just to make up the hours for pay because I didn't have that much to do, work-wise. I had to break into my co-worker's office because I had been given the wrong key to open the door and for some reason, he is the only one who has a print driver in his office and I needed to print. I kicked in his door, but I managed to fix the lock again once I was inside. Shhhhhhh. I didn't stay until 4:00 like I planned, because I got so bored! After work I knew I needed to go to Wal-Mart to get something I had forgotten at Target the night before, but when I got there I couldn't remember what it was I needed! I hate that!!!! Not only is it frustrating, but I always wind up wandering around trying to remember what it was I needed and end up buying things I don't need! Boo!!!!!! The rest of the day was fairly slow. Steve had gone to work to do some necessary techno-weenie stuff and I spent the rest of the day trying not to take a nap. I did some laundry and *gasp* made the bed! I had thought about mowing the lawn, but it had started to rain. You know, we didn't cut our grass for a month because of the drought, but now it looks like a rain forest in a week! I don't understand weather!

Sunday was church. When not doing my secretary duties, I made a pepakura cow for my nephew Seth, who's birthday lunch we were having at mom and dad's house that afternoon. Pepakura is 3 dimensional models of stuff made from paper. I think I've talked about that before. Anyways, the little money-grubber just wanted a check for his birthday (which I hate to give - but it IS his birthday after all) so I folded the check and put it inside the cow. I wish you could have seen his face when I handed him the little grubby paper cow and said Happy Birthday. : ) To be fair, he was very polite about it, and he didn't make a fuss. I honestly thought he'd ask me if that was all, but he didn't. There is some hope for that little red-neck child, yet! I told him to pull off it's head, and he looked at me like I was crazy. I asked if he thought I'd only give him a paper cow for a birthday gift, and his face told me that "yes, you might, you weirdo!" Anyways, he was happy for the check! After lunch, Logan, my older nephew, tried to teach me how to hit golf balls. Dude, I suuuuuuuuuck. I'd like to learn the whole golf thing so that Steve and I will have at least one thing in common and something we can do together! It's amazing to me how we ever wound up married. Anyways, I figured that if I could learn to play golf, which Steve likes to do, we might could do that together. I managed to take a rather sizable chunk out of my parent's yard before I actually hit the ball. It went about seven feet. I also took part of a low lying branch off of one of their trees. Yeah, I think Tiger Woods is not going to have to worry about me anytime soon. Steve said he'd take me to a driving range sometime soon, so maybe I will be able to learn more before I hurt myself or kill anyone. My nephews, 8 and 13 years old, have been playing since they were old enough to hold a club, so it was a little embarrassing for me to be shown up by kids their age! : )
That night at church we had a snack thing, so I was in the kitchen helping out. At least I was back in my element. Heeheehee.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Oaxaca: guajillo and pasilla chillies + dark 75% Tanzanie chocolate + organic pumpkin seeds.

This particular truffle was good because the chocolate is wonderful – dark and a little bitter, but sweet enough to keep it from being too smoky. However, this one caught me off guard because I didn’t have my little booklet with me to tell what kind of truffle it was going to be…and it was hot. I mean, it was spicy. It literally burned my mouth when I was eating it.

Since there was no visible reason why it should have been hot, I got scared that I had suddenly developed an allergy to chocolate which would, of course, drive me to drink or something. There are many things I can live without, but I’m not sure chocolate is one of them.

However, it just turned out to have chili peppers in it. Once the sharp pain went away – about ten minutes later – I sort of decided that I liked it. A lot. Then I decided that I really didn’t need my chocolate fetish to lead into any other kind of fetishes.

7 out of 10 for the extra long burn.
As hard as I've been fighting the urge to do it, I'm going to have to give the 5th Bless-Your-Heart award today. At least, I think it's the 5th. Could be the 6th...I've lost count.

Anyway! This award goes to another of our public figures out there who have been making a sad, sad, sad fool of themselves lately. I'm talking about your favorite white trash princess and mine...Britney Spears.

Seriously, I'm beginning to feel sorry for her. Part of me thinks that she is just being a lunatic for show and part of me thinks she may really be losing her mind. Granted, if I spent all of my time under the scrutiny of the press, I might go a little crazy too, but I'd at least make sure to both wear underwear and try to keep it out of sight. I also wish that people would just leave her alone. Even if she is perfectly sane, who could possibly be on their best behavior 24 hours a day? I'm sure you'd catch anyone doing something embarrassing if a picture of them is taken every 10 seconds! I don't even want to think about what I would be caught doing!

You know, I have an idea to get her all turned back around. I wish my mom could become her personal assistant. My mom the way she was when I was a teenager. She wouldn't put up with any of her foolishness! That young lady would be in by her curfew! She wouldn't smoke or do drugs because my mom would threaten to pinch her head "clean off!" Although I never found out for certain, I'm not sure that was an empty threat! She would also be stopped before going out the door if she were wearing anything questionable. There is nothing more terrifying than my mom saying "You aren't going to wear THAT are you? It makes you look *voice drops down to a whisper* like a hoooooooker!" I don't mean to make my mom sound mean or anything, because she is honestly not that way at all...but man, if anyone was born to be someone's mom, my mom was. Fear of her disapproval kept me out of trouble, I can promise you that! All mom would have to do is get pinched-up-lip-face, and Britney would be helpless.

So, all together now! BLESS HER HEART!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

...and we're back!

Before I give you my first YCOTD update for the new box of chocolates, I wanted to tell you a little bit about the new and little known brand that I will be exploring. I had read about Vosges Chocolate a while back in either a magazine or on one of those web sites where you go to look at expensive things that you don't think you are ever going to get to see in real life. I like reading about artisan chocolate because they are usually made with very odd ingredients or unusual spices that you wouldn't normally run across in candy. Of course, I drooled all over my keyboard when reading about Vosges, but was loathe to order any online because it was sure to arrive at my house while I was at work and sit in the sun all day until I got home. It would have either ended up all bloomed or melted and I would have been unhappy! However, I was excited to see that there was a Vosges boutique in the Forum Shops center in Las Vegas and so I made a point to go in a buy one of almost everything that they had truffle wise.

You can go to the web site and read about the company, if you like. It's interesting, if a little pretentious, but what chocolate boutique isn't a bit pretentious when you get right down to it? This company even gives you directions on how to eat their truffles!

I wound up buying a box of 32 truffles ($73 for the box, yikes!). They were more expensive than I would normally spend on chocolate, but I figured that since I was in Vegas...why not? Since they didn't have 32 different types of truffles, I got some duplicates in case I missed something the first go around. : ) My reviews will be structured as follows:



I will say this, however. I do like Godiva better than these. I don't know if it's just because of the more traditional ingredients, because I have a long and intimate relationship with their chocolate already, or because the box I had most recently was given to me by someone who is very dear to me and who reguards me in a friendly manner. I don't know. However, I want to give the Vosges a fair shot, so I will not be comparing them directly. I just wanted to get that out of the way first.

Red Fire: Ancho chili powder + Ceylon cinnamon + dark chocolate

This one didn’t have a picture on the website, but imagine it as a ball of perfect dark chocolatiness coated in chili powder. Woo-HOO! This is what chocolate should be like and what it was to the Aztecs that were, officially, the first chocoholics!

You know, I don’t really know very much about my family’s history. It's not so far fetched to think that I could be part Aztec! That would explain my love for chocolate and my desire to sacrifice people during the equinox. Anyway…

This is another example of the whole chocolate/cinnamon miracle that I am so fond of. Add in the chili powder, which gives it a spicy burn, and that only makes it better!

10 out if 10, because it was really freaking tasty.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


- When an insurance company decides to give away free gas at a gas station near your home, leave for work at 4:25 a.m. It doesn't matter that the give away doesn't start until 9:00 a.m. You will wind up late for work because every cheap hastared in your town is going to park in the street in the hopes of getting free gas.

- When you have animals in your house, especially fuzzy ones, there is going to be a time when you move a piece of furniture and find a whole animal worth of fur underneath it, even if you've never see the animal near that spot before. Gross.

- Bento boxed lunches make so much sense! The Japanese are quite clever!

- Several months ago I spent many long and messy hours painting a sign to go out into Rocket park. This sign was the bane of my existence, and was only one of two I was supposed to have completed. When I finished the first one, I passed it on to maintenance so that it could be erected by one of the rides it was intended for. I never started on the second one, for one reason or another, so that was the only one the SpRocket had. Yesterday, after being told that the COO demanded that I repair the signs outside (the same ones I had been working to replace) I called and asked maintenance if the first sign I had finished was ready to be placed. I had wondered why it had never been put outside, since I had handed it over while I was still in school. What do you think they said? Oh, it was in the Bus Barn when it caught on fire. What do you think I said? Well, you'll just have to imagine because I will not write words like that in my blog. Now I have to start all over!!!!!!!! GLLLLLLAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRHHHHHH! *bangs head repeatedly against the desk*

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Hola, Y'all!

I know, I know...it's Tuesday and I'm just now doing my weekend update. I hope you were able to control your anticipation.

I will have to begin with Saturday because I don't remember Friday a bit.

Saturday was one of those blessed days where I didn't have anything to do. I don't mean that in the "I was bored" way at all. I mean that in the best way possible. Steve and I had mowed the lawn on Thursday, so that was done, and we didn't have anywhere to be or any afore made plans. It was heavenly. I slept till the relatively late hour of 8:30 that morning and got up to let the dogs out and surf around on the internet. I also learned how to make French toast, which I had never attempted to do before. Of course, that's not a big accomplishment since it's just frying a piece of wet bread, but still... Steve was still asleep, and I didn't want to wake him, so I had beakfast, watched TV and did some random stuff around the house. At 12:45, the moment I had been waiting for all week finally came! My Harry Potter book arrived! *woop woop!* I know that probably makes me a terrible nerd to most of you fine folks (except for the cool ones who share my love for the books) but I don't care a bit. The book was huge. I wasn't expecting it to be so long, but I was excited to start reading it - which I did immediately. I was about 100 pages into it when I had to stop reading and go get some groceries. I didn't mind, though, because I love to grocery shop. I went to Yuppie Market, or Fresh Market for those of you who don't shop there, and got some steaks to grill and some odds and ends that we needed for the coming week. My only problem with the store, well, besides the snide soccermom looks I occasionally get from the "old money" folks, is that there isn't much to buy there that will keep for a while. By that, I mean the stuff that you usually buy frozen that you can pull out and heat up for dinner if you don't have much time. Of course, I think that underminds the whole idea of being "Fresh Market!" So, Steve grilled lunch and we watched some old Unsolved Mysteries episodes. After lunch, I wanted to go back to my book, but I had promised to have the wedding DVD done by the next day so the family could have it. I spent the next couple of hours editing the video and audio parts of it, as well as building a DVD menu so it could be pretty! I don't know if I'll win an Oscar for my work, but I don't think it was too bad. : ) Of course I returned to my book later on in the day and made it to chapter 23 before I went to bed that night. Steve was mad because I can read faster than he can listen to the audio novel, and I was going to know what happened before he did!

Sunday was church, of course, and I was once again off-handedly insulted by a guy who I am friends with. Bless his heart, I know he never means to do it, but he puts his foot in his mouth all of the time. We were talking about swimming, and I mentioned that I didn't like to wear a bathing suit and he was telling me that his wife didn't like to either. Then he said "You know, I don't like skinny women. You and (wife) and just about the perfect size." Well, since I know I'm not exactly svelt, I didn't say anything, but I just rolled my eyes and laughed. He's also the same guy who told me he almost didn't recognize me because I was dressed like a lady. Heh, oh well. At least I know he wasn't trying to be insultin! Later on, we went to my parent's house to celebrate my brother-in-laws birthday with them. Steve and I normally give him a check, but due to an oversight on our banking, we weren't able to write him a check that wouldn't bounce out of orbit when he tried to cash it. I had a bunch of rolled coins, so I was going to cash them in for some "foldin' money" and put that in his card. Steve had a better idea, though, and we dumped $25 dollars worth of dimes, nickles, and pennies into a box. I made him a card that said: "Happy Birthday! As a new year comes along for you, we hope the change does you good!" Cheesy, I know, but he still didn't get it until we explained what we meant. Heeheehee. He thought it was funny once he understood. Everyone enjoyed the box of change and the joke as well. Whew. Sometimes I feel like an alien in my family. If I didn't look so freakishly like my mother, I'd almost believe someone left me on their doorstep as a baby! That night we went to church again and had dinner with some church folks at Cracker Barrel. I wasn't hungry in the least, but the company was fun. I think I'm going to buy one of the pretty quilts in that store. I heart Cracker Barrel!

Although it was a good day, I had some weighty issues on my mind that made the day imperfect. Although I'm getting much better about not worrying about things that I can't control, there are still some things that really bother me, things that matter a great deal to me. I don't think I could discuss them with anyone, Lord knows I've tried, because I don't really know how to articulate what is bothering me about them. I mean, *I* know what it is, but trying to explain it to someone else makes it sound trite and silly when it is really anything but. I know I'll figure it out one of these days. I just worry that I'm going to go about the issue the wrong way. It's hard to know what can and can't be said, because even when you think you know what you can talk about with someone- they surprise you in the worst possible ways sometimes. Ugh. Anyways, I'll figure it out I guess. I hope. I just don't think I'm cut out to think seriously for very long periods of time.

Monday I didn't go to work because I wasn't feeling well. I wasn't sick, really, but I hurt all over and I had zero energy. Normally I'd equate the feeling with doing a lot of heavy manual labor in the hot sun, but I hadn't done anything like that at all. I don't mean to sound pitiful, or try and illicit sympathy, but I want to explain what was wrong in case any of you can tell me if it sounds familliar to you because it has started to happen quite a lot with me and I don't know what to think. I woke up with my back hurting like crazy, and when I stood up my legs were sore too. Not just my muscles, but my knees and ankles hurt too. When I moved around a little more, my whole right side felt like it was swollen up, and my joints each had what felt like a perfect band of pain around them. It actually hurt to touch them. I was also stiff and I kind of hobbled around all day hunuched over like Quasimodo. It was weird! At least I didn't waste the whole day, because I was able to finish my Harry Potter book! HAHAHAHAHA! It was awesome. I will give no spoilers, but I will say that I guessed at least three things about the book correctly all along. So, in your FACE you doubters of mine!!!!! And no, I didn't fake being sick just to stay home and read! : ) I'm sad the series is over, but it was a good ride.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bless his heart. Steve rented a movie for me on Netflix called "Blood and Chocolate" because he thought that it would be right up my alley. While I was touched and flattered that he would use up a Netflix delivery for me, one that could have been put to better use by renting - oh, I don't know - another Fall Guy Season 1 disk, I do have to say that the movie was bad. I can describe it in three words: Explosive Projectile Diarrhea. It isn't that I didn't appreciate the thought. I mean, the title did have the word "Chocolate" in it after all. I only got through about 15 minutes of it before realizing that it was the kind of movie that a goth kid would buy and watch every day. Ooooooh, it was dark (ish). Oooooooh, it had brooding, accented men with long hair. Oooooooooh, it was about werewolves. Ooooooooh, they drank Absinthe. Ooooooooh, it tried WAY too hard. Stay away...far away...from this movie.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


1) There is a fashion faux pas that has always troubled me and it has reared its ugly head again recently. I first noticed it in my latter years of high school, even though I’m sure it was around much longer than that, but I’ve never been able to understand it at all. Why do some women (because this is a faux pas specific to the XX chromosome pairing) feel that it is perfectly OK to wear a black and white dress/outfit and red shoes? I mean, I’d understand if it was a black-white-red combination, but that isn’t the case. It’s a black and white outfit, with nothing red about it, and red shoes. I just want to go over to them and shake them like a British nanny! I want to stand them in front of a mirror and go over their outfit piece by piece and point out that they just don’t match! Why? WHY? WHY DO YOU WEAR THE RED SHOES? FOR THE LOVE OF PETE AND HIS DOG BOBO, WHY? (pant, pant, pant) No, it’s okay. I just took one of my pills. I’ll be fine.

2) We had a marketing “retreat” yesterday at the apartment complex where our VP lives. It was a pool party type of thing, so of course you know I was thrilled. I’ll just lay it out flat for you here. I’m too self-conscious about how I look to wear a swimsuit at a pool. I love the water and I like to swim, but I don’t like getting half naked in front of a bunch of tall, skinny women. Weirdly enough, I can go to the beach in a swim suit with no problem, because no matter which beach you go to, there is always going to be someone who looks worse than you do. A 500 lb woman in a thong will show up and make you feel like a supermodel at a beach. Eh, it was no big deal except that they kept asking me why I didn’t bring my suit. I just made jokes until they left me alone about it. It was hot, though, so I almost just jumped into the pool fully clothed. I also had to get creative with my hair because it has gotten so long (it hits my shoulder blades now). I ended up with sort of loopy Princess Leia buns on each side of my head, which looked silly, but worked admirably. I hate summer. :P

3) The cinnamon rolls I made the other day were not a fluke! I attempted the recipe again to make orange rolls, and it worked again! It’s like, if you follow the directions, nothing catches on fire or doesn’t rise! I even took a picture of them as proof.

They were yummy. I just wish it didn’t take 4 hours to make them!

4) I miss Josh. : (

Monday, July 16, 2007


With the power of my Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (from 1953, no less) I, Kelly Pratt burner of all things bakeable as well as killer of yeast every time I've tried to use it, have made awesome, from-scratch, from for real scratch, cinnamon rolls.

Bask in my cinnamon and sugar sprinkled awesomeness.


This weekend was one of both happiness and sadness. Well, that’s not really saying much, every day is one of both happiness and sadness normally. However, this was one of SIGNIFICANT happiness and sadness because this was the weekend we said goodbye to Josh before he heads off to his higher purpose in life.

I won’t bother you with details on Friday because I didn’t do anything except clean the bathroom and do laundry. Well, I worked too, but you already knew that, right? Nor Sunday because I didn't feel well and slept the whole day. So, we will focus on Saturday.

SATURDAY: I awoke early, again, because apparently I still haven’t figured out that I am allowed to sleep late on weekends. I was supposed to drive out to Josh’s house between 9:30 and 10:00 so we could get an early start on what became our ALL DAY CATHOLIC DAY OF FUN! We actually named it that, I’m not kidding. Josh, who still harbors secret hopes that I am going to convert to Catholicism, wanted to take me to see the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and to go to the Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman. The Shrine, which is what I’m going to call it in this instance, was an extremely beautiful church, dedicated to the infant Jesus, that is attached to a cloistered convent. Josh had warned me in advance not to wear shorts so that I could go into the place. So, I wore my most comfy khaki pants and a sleeveless shirt. However, when we got there, there was a sign that said sleeveless shirts were against the dress code. Gah! So I was all set to go into the gift shop and buy a t-shirt, but we found out that they loan out cover-ups for those of us with the audacity to dress like heathens. I guess my arm flap was going to incite lust or something, but when in Rome… So I grabbed a random sweater off of the pile and we proceeded to tour the place. It was really, very gorgeous. I’ve studied enough about cathedrals to know what to expect in these big Catholic churches, but I was still a little overwhelmed. My first thought when entering the piazza and seeing the statue of the infant Jesus was, and I feel bad about it now, the movie “Talledega Nights” when he says all of his prayers to the little-tiny-baby-Jesus. Oy. Anyway, one of the first people we met was a Franciscan monk wearing Birkenstocks and carrying a backpack over his robe. He was very nice and he and Josh talked about their training. He seemed tickled to find out that I was protestant. I get that a lot from people when I go to church with Josh. Anyways, we saw a display on the Shroud of Turin and we went inside the crypt chapel where they were filming some kind of thing for the catholic channel. I felt bad because I was wearing flip flops, and I had to kind of scrunch up my toes and walk slowly so they wouldn’t pop up against my feet. I got a cramp in my toe from that! Then we went inside the main church and there were NUNS! I am fascinated with nuns, but I don’t know why. We actually came in right in the middle of their novenas, so I got to hear them pray aloud, the one who was leading the prayers had a beautiful voice. I shocked Josh by kneeling down with him on the kneeling bench and praying with him. I suppose he thought that I was going to sit there, drool and stare or something. We were in a church after all. I may not worship the same way he does, but it’s still the same God we’re talking to. OK, well, I did open my eyes and stare some because it was a beautiful church. The alter area was gilded gold and it was very gothic in style. The ceilings were vaulted and the stations of the cross were carved in high relief and they flanked some of the most beautiful stained glass windows I’d ever seen. I’m a sucker for stained glass windows, though. The tabernacle was also gold and carved and the confessionals and pews were made from dark wood. It was so pretty. The nuns just kept on praying, and I wondered if they were ever going to stop. Turns out they don’t. Someone is always in there praying and keeping the Eucharist company. Of course, they aren’t always doing it aloud, but that is what this particular group of nuns do. After Josh and I left there, we bumped into a real, live Dominican friar who Josh talked to while I returned the sweater I had borrowed. He was also really nice and funny. Josh says that the Dominicans are considered the “Funny Friars” and they don’t take vows of silence. That’s good, because I don’t think Josh would last a week! We went to the gift shop where we ended up in line behind some “Jersey Catholics” who, I swear, could have been part of the cast of “The Soprano’s.” They bought handfuls of stuff and kept walking off and picking up other things to buy. They also said stuff like “What? Yeah, bring me anotha baby ova heah. Oh yeah, buy it for y’self, go’on.” I finally lost my composure when the lady behind the counter had to say “I’m sorry, but we only have grown up Jesuses, but no more baby ones.” Josh had to punch me in the arm to calm me down. I wound up buying a St. Domonic medallion – since he’s Josh’s order’s patron (and he has a dog) – and a St. Anthony coin thing. Josh says that St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost stuff, so I figured it couldn’t hurt. I got a mug that has a picture of the pope on it with his arms raised like Richard Nixon, and the words "PAPA BEN" across the top. Something about that mug makes me laugh. I also bought Josh, as a going away gift, a car rosary. It’s much smaller than a regular one, so you can pray while driving and not get tangled up. With the way Josh drives, he’s going to need one! When we left there, we drove through Cullman and stopped at this gi-normous Catholic church to look inside. There was a wedding going on, and I wanted to crash it but Josh wouldn’t let me. He wouldn’t even let me sign the register! BOO! From there we went to the Ave Maria Grotto, which we had visited before years ago. He’s fascinated by the place, so we took some time to look around. We also went to the Abby burial grounds and the cemetery chapel and he took me to the church on the grounds of St. Bernards. It was lovely and quiet. I waited for him to do his confession thing and then we went to lunch.
By then we were starving, but we were supposed to have dinner in a couple of hours with the rest of our friends and we didn’t want to stuff ourselves. We went to All Steak and ordered some appetizers and some orange rolls. Oh, my. I had forgotten how good they were. We wound up gorging ourselves on the rolls and then Josh bought more to take home with him! At this point we were tired and slowly slipping into sugar comas. So we went home.
We had a good time on the drive home and we laughed a lot, but it was sad too. It’s always sad to know it’s the last time you’re going to do something. We’ve been friends for at least 8 years, and he is one of those people who is easy to be friends with. We can talk about almost anything, and he isn’t the kind of person who waits around for you to get in touch with him first. He calls and wants to go to dinner, or go see a movie or whatever, and he’s always up for something if you call him. Sure, he has the knack of calling at the worst possible time sometimes, but that’s such a small thing in the big picture. He also brought me chocolate when he knew I was upset. How many guys who don’t have to do nice things like that, actually do it? Not very many.
Anthony, Shannon, Steve, Josh and I, all had dinner at Red Robin that night, and we had a great time. There was a sad undercurrent, of course, but that was to be expected. After dinner, we stood in the parking lot and talked until we all got quiet and knew we had to say goodbye. I’m glad we spent the day together. Saying goodbye is always easier when you have a little closure. : )
On a happier note, we plan to visit him in Colorado as soon as we can go over there, and he is coming back to Alabama for a while in March. He’s also asked me to make his 15 decade rosary, which I thought was so sweet. He’ll wear it on his habit, and he said he wanted one that was important to him and not one just bought for the job.

So there we go. Josh has left the building.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dark Caramel Embrace: A chewy-soft center of premium chocolate caramel enrobed in dark chocolate

I'm sad to say that this is the last piece of chocolate from the box that Kenny gave me for graduation. First off, I'd like to say thank you,
LinkKenny-Dahling, for feeding my addiction to premium, high quality chocolate. Thank you also for such a wonderful gift that spawned a reason for me to both eat and describe each piece.

I have to say that I am able to go out with a bang. This piece was toe curlingly fantastic. It was like chocolate and happiness met, fell in love, and had a baby. The only thing that could have possibly made it better would be if I could be eating on a beach somewhere at sunset...with Josh Groban feeding it to me and singing in Italian. Sorry, but that part of the fantasy doesn't change. : )

When I resume my YCOTD posts, we will be working our way through the box I got in Las Vegas from Vosges Chocolates!
Just to let you know, we finally did get our luggage back from the airlines. It was two days later, and everything was still there. For a day or two I was afraid that my snow globe might have violated some kind of law and they had to try and detonate the bags for safety reasons. Happily, that wasn't the case.

I decorated the lobby of the SpaceDome for the showing of Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix. According to everyone else, it looks great! I was glad to hear that because I am still not that confidant in my artistic abilities when I have to do things on a grand scale. It only took me two days to paint Hogwarts on the glass of the projection booth, but it looks a hundred percent better than the last painting I did on there. Also, my house banners and my Death Eater print kicks booty. I am going to post a picture soon and then you can tell me what you think. Even if you don't like it, you can tell me. : )
I did have one small accident while painting, though. I was exhausted and practically running on zero energy, but I was on a tight deadline so I couldn't slow down. I was going back to the storage room to wash out my brushes and I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing so I fell off of the steps and sprained my ankle pretty badly. My foot just rolled over and I landed right on my ankle. It made that "crunch" sound that is unmistakable. I also jammed both wrists and my right pinky finger when I hit the floor. Oh, and I hit my head on the air conditioning unit. : ) I just lay on the floor thinking that no one knew where I was, and I might have to lay there until morning. Luckily, I was able to get up and take stock and realized that I was okay. I jammed my foot back into my shoe, which had fallen off when I fell, so it could swell up inside of it and I wouldn't have to walk through the parking lot in my bare feet. I know I'm terribly clumsy, my sister used to tell me I could trip over a painted line, but I don't normally hurt myself when I fall. However, when I do hurt myself, I make up for all of the other times that I don't.
Anyways, come see Order of the Pheonix in IMAX. Then leave a comment card on how great the decorations look!

Well, I have some sad news. I'm going to be losing my best and very favorite Josh on Monday. He was accepted into the seminary and is going back to St. Louis for a week before he heads off to Colorado for his novitiate classes. I know, I know, I'm not really losing him, but let's be honest. He's going into the priesthood and he will be almost all the way across the country. By the time I see him again, everything is going to be different. I'm going to miss him. I hate it when people leave. Another picket gone, I guess. Well, at least he's going for good reasons. That isn't always the case. I'm very sad.
We are going to get one last fling before he leaves, though. A bunch of us will be going out on Saturday to say goodbye. I can't really decide what the best way to say goodbye to someone who is going into the priesthood, though. I have narrowed it down to two choices: 1) A day trip to Cullman to see the Ave Maria Grotto and then on to have orange rolls (drool, I've been craving them for months) at All Steak and then wind up the day having dinner at Red Robin. Or 2) Liquor and whores.

It's a toss up.

Dark Chocolate Truffle: Traditional dark chocolate ganache

Yeah, baby! I'm back to the chocolate updates! C'mon, you know you missed it as much as I did!

This one was, as a member of the holey moley ganache family, a shining example of what a truffle should be. Sweet, smooth, dark, and rich. Just like I like my men.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Day 9 – Sunday, July 1, 2007: We had to get up at 4:00 am to get the rental car back and get to the airport in time to catch the flight home. When we got up to the ticket desk to check our luggage, a clot of people had formed. Most of us were using the automatic check in computers, but we still had to wait in line to hand over our baggage and tell them that no one had put anything into our luggage without our knowledge. Something about that just tickles me to death. If someone put something into our luggage without our knowledge, how are we going to know? Geez. Well, we stood there in a gradually growing line waiting for our turn. There was some kind of issue with the family before us, so it took a while. As we waited, a guy – who looked like the lead singer of Cold Play and whom I named “Man Purse” in my head, mainly because he was carrying a man purse – came up and stood next to us rather than behind us in the line. Steve and I both thought that he was going to try and get in front of us, which would suck. When the family left, Mr. Lee, Steve, and I began to walk forward when some chick came out of nowhere, not even the front of a second line that had formed, and handed her stuff to the ticket agent. Of course, as genteel southerners (koffkoff) we said nothing, but Man Purse looked up at her and in completely deadpan tones said “Hey, there’s a line. You just cut in front of eeeeeeeverybody.” The lady turned bright red and snatched her things back from the ticket agent and went back to her place in line. Man Purse motioned for us to go on, so we did our check in thing. So, thank you, Man Purse, and I apologize for the conclusion we jumped to about you!
After all of the car bombs and craziness that was going on in England, I was afraid it would take us forever to get through security. Once we made it to the security area, there was a line all of the way down the corridor. Luckily, the line went fast if you knew what to do. Basically take off everything but your pants and walk through the metal detector. I was really afraid that they would take my ice packs away from me, as I had packed my chocolate into my carry-on bag so it didn’t get smushed, but since I pulled them out of the bag and sent it through the x-ray machine and it was still frozen, they didn’t keep it! Yay! The chocolate was safe for another day! Since we were on our way home, and I didn’t want to have to deal with the struggle of the plastic bag and 3 oz toiletries, I had just packed them with the rest of my luggage and so they didn't have to decide whether my toothpaste was plastic explosive. Since we had gotten through security faster than we thought, we had a while to wait on our flight.
The weirdest thing happened after I went into one of those stores that sell snacks and magazines. I just wanted to get some kind of magazine to read on the plane, but the bride, fashion, and home and garden mags weren’t calling out to me. I was scanning a pile to see what else I could find, and I came across an Esquire that had a new, and exclusive, Stephen King novella printed in it. Of course I wanted to read it, but I felt odd buying a magazine with a mostly naked Angelina Jolie on the cover. So I went to the paperback section and figured that I could find some book – any book – to buy with it so I wouldn’t be embarrassed. I didn’t see anything I wanted, but I grabbed a book called “The House Next Door” that sounded marginally interesting and paid for my purchases. The novella lasted until we were in Atlanta on a layover, and since I was bored and too far away from any interesting shops and whatever, I decided to read the book. It is a good book and I got sucked in right away. I kept on reading until we boarded our flight to Huntsville, which was continuously being pushed back because of “maintenance crews on board” and ended up being over an hour and a half late.

OK, here is the weird thing. While we were traveling out west, I started thinking randomly about how much I used to read in junior high and high school. I was one of the few people in our class to actually check books out at the library, and I wound up reading a great deal of books that I picked out not knowing anything about the stories or authors. I was thinking about those random books and two popped into my head, one was a book about a haunted house and the other was about a woman who cross-stitched. I know, they sound fascinating, right? Well, I wasn’t thinking about them hard or anything, just wishing I knew what they were called so I could find them and read them again – because they were interesting. While sitting on the plane back to Huntsville, I was reading the book I had just bought, and realized that it was the book about the haunted house that had randomly popped into my head earlier that week! *twilight zone music*. Well, I thought it was weird, anyways…

We finally got to take off and in due time, with no fanfare, we landed in Huntsvegas. I was directed outside to sit with our carry on luggage until the rest of it could be collected from baggage claim. I waited and waited, and finally Steve and Mr. Lee came outside sans bags. The airline had lost them! Again! The stupid airline LOST Steve’s and my luggage! Now, since we were home it wasn’t a big deal except for one thing. Steve and I both packed our prescription medicines in our checked baggage! Also, my hair dryer and most of my summer clothes! AAAAARRRRRGH! What do these people have against me getting to my destination with my stuff? I’m determined to figure out how I can carry everything I need on the plane as a carry on from now on. It’s just getting ridiculous!

So we made it home, sans luggage of course, and I am glad to be back. There is always something terribly anticlimactic about coming home from a long and adventurous journey. However, there is also something wonderful about coming home, too. I enjoyed my trip, every minute of it except for the hot temperatures, and even that can be filed away under “new and unusual”. So now back to my everyday adventures.

Monday, July 09, 2007

and now back to our regularly scheduled blogging...


DAY 7 – Friday, June 29, 2007: I think that even Mr. Lee is finally getting tired. We awoke this morning, late as it turned out since where we are seems to exist in a strange time anomaly. We are in Utah now, but right across the border from Arizona, which is in a different time zone. However, Arizona doesn't observe daylight savings time, but the Navajo reservations in Arizona do observe it. What I'm trying to say is that we never know what time it is out here, and we keep crossing the border into Arizona, so our clock was set wrong. Anyways, today was the day we were going to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The North Rim is higher up and cooler than the Southern Rim. It is also less crowded with tourists, but there were so many people there that I can't imagine what the southern rim must be like. We ate lunch in the Grand Canyon Lodge, with a view to die for, and then we set out to walk along the a trail to one of the lookouts. There was a lot of downhill walking, and a lot of very rude people who pretty much just try and shove you off of the edge instead of trying to share the pathways. We finally made it down to the point and the view was spectacular. It was literally awe inspiring. There were too many people to really stay down there for long, so I started back up the trail to the lodge. Of course, the inevitable effect of all of the downhill walking on our way out there was the subsequent uphill walking we had to do on the way back. I had to stop four times before I made it back to the top. Once everyone caught up with me, we had to sit for a while more to be able to make it back to the gift shop. I thought we'd be spending the rest of the day there, but after we visited the store, we left. Mr. Lee asked if we wanted to stop anywhere else, or did we want to go back to the motel and sleep. All in favor of sleep say “I”. Motion carried in a unanimous vote. We came back and sacked out for a couple of hours and then went out to eat and to shop for souvenirs. I have been looking for a heavy silver and turquoise bracelet, and the place I went had a lot of them, but the only one I liked enough to buy cost $1500. I decided to wait until my next trip for that one! : ) Our tire also went flat today because we picked up a screw somewhere, so that had to be fixed. While Steve and Mr. Lee took off the flat tire and put on the spare, I sang the song “Stouthearted Men” to keep up their spirits. I have now lost my singing privileges for the rest of the trip. : (

DAY 8– Saturday, June 30, 2007: It was the day that almost didn’t seem to end. Today we headed back to Las Vegas so that we would be able to be up and at the airport in time for our, once again, early flight out the next day. We took our time getting out of Kanab, and we set off. We stopped for a short time at a place called Pipe Springs, which is an old Mormon home, built like a fortress, over a natural spring on Piute Indian land. It was a very interesting place, still pretty much looking the same as it did back in the day. However, there was something odd about the whole shebang to me. OK, bear with me and then tell me what you think: We were told that the land had originally belonged to the Piutes. Because of the natural spring, it was a natural place for natives to stop for a while, live, harvest wild grasses and food and hunt. Of course, there aren’t that many places out in the desert that have the kind of water that is needed to support a village, so this was an important place. At some point, either Brigham Young or some other honcho of the Mormon church sends out the Mormon settlers to live long and prosper and what-not out west. So a group of settlers finds this big, beautiful area of lush grasses and natural springs, settles there and lets loose their thousands of sheep and cattle to graze. This destroys the grasslands, of course. The Piute Indians, a rather peaceable people, couldn’t make them leave so they lost their hunting and harvesting area and moved on to someplace else. This, of course, was a sad and not unusual thing to happen back then, as we all know. Then the Navajo Indians get pissed that the white man is on Indian land, so they start to steal animals and fight with the white man, and kill a few of each. So the settlers build this big house, or fort, over the spring, cutting off the water from all of the Indians and anything else that might come along. None of this is what confuses me, however. I can dig the whole “Go Forth and Multiply” thing, even at the expense of rousting out a whole civilization. I can dig it, but not like it. What I can’t understand is whether or not the Indians, who’s reservation this fort is now on, are being quite honest about how well the Mormons and Indians (sounds like it would be one hell of a Super Bowl, doesn’t it?) actually worked together and still work together. I got a weird feeling that both the lady who worked at the counter as well as the tour guide – who were both not-Indians- were trying really hard to justify what happened, when very clearly it was wrong. They were also stressing very heavily that both peoples worked together harmoniously to bring about the end result of this museum or whatever it is. Anyway, it troubled me.
So we passed onward and stopped briefly again to see if we could find a glass fly catcher (don’t even ask) and then we motored back into Vegas. We had a few hours before it got too late, and we didn’t have anything planned, so I asked if it would be OK to go back to the Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops, that hoss-daddy mall I spoke of earlier- and shop a bit. They said it was fine, because we ended up missing that statue thing Mr. Lee wanted to see, so we would just catch the showing of it that day. We had to park at the Treasure Island parking area and take a shuttle to the Mirage, where you walk over to Caesars and into the mall. We jumped onto the tram and went about 2 feet when the tram got stuck. We were in a glass tube with a lot of other people, and we couldn’t get out. I came really close to having a claustrophobic meltdown. I was just able to keep myself from the ultimate act of panic, which in this case would have been flinging myself against the glass walls of the tram and screaming for help, by remembering that there is only so much oxygen in the room and screaming would have been a big waste of it. I almost didn’t make it, though. We finally started moving again after about 15 agonizing minutes, and we got over to the shops. I was really hoping that Steve and Mr. Lee would have gone on to do something manly, because I know how much Steve hates to shop, and I’m pretty sure that Mr. Lee would be bored to tears if he went into women’s clothing shops with me. So I couldn’t enjoy myself knowing that they were going to be bored. They finally found a shop they wanted to go into, the F.A.O. Schwartz or however it’s spelled, and I took that time to run back and go into a store I wanted to see. I guess I was wrong about designers not making clothes for chubby girls, because I was able to get a really great pair of jeans and a pretty top from Lucky Jeans. I was in and out in enough time to make it back to the fellers with 2 minutes to spare! We watched a very impressive, but somehow creepy, animatronic show and then we went on our way out. Of course, I had to make one more stop. Vosges Chocolate, which only has three stores in the USA, happened to have a “purple room” in this mall. I had heard about them before, but I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to buy any without having to buy them online and run the risk of them melting when they shipped. So I went inside and bought a ton of chocolate. Oh, yeah. The poor clerk was new, so it took me forever, but I left with enough truffles to last a while. They also gave me two ice packs, because it was 111 degrees outside – no, that’s not an exaggeration, that’s how hot it was – and I didn’t want them to melt before I got a chance to eat them. When we finally left and had dinner, it was time to go back to the hotel and pack up. It seemed like I had everything I owned in my suitcase. Since I had no idea what kind of weather we would be in, I packed too much (a problem I am determined to stop ASAP) and my case was to it’s limit. So Mr. Lee gave me his fold away suitcase and I packed the excess into that. I found out while we were packing, that at one point, we had been in the same hotel as Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, and Celine Dion. Of course, I didn’t see any of these people, but that was still rather cool to know I could have! : ) Then blessed sleep.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

We interrupt this vacation story for my WEEKEND UPDATE! WOOOOOOOO!

But really, only because I'm afraid I'll forget what I did if I don't write about it now. : )

This was another wedding weekend for me. Not MY wedding, of course. I still haven't conned another man into wanting to be married to me yet, plus I'm still married to Steve for now.

Yikes, that would be an uncomfortable Thanksgiving, wouldn't it?

Anyway, I was asked to sing at another wedding, so after work on Friday, Steve and I went to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Steve wouldn't normally go to these things with me, because he always has Steve-type things to do, but he was asked to do videography, so he had to scope out his angles.
The girl who was getting married is the daughter of our church secretary, and the wedding party was LARGE. We got there towards the end of the rehearsal, so we didn't have to be bored for long. They ran through the ceremony one more time, and I was able to practice my song at the appropriate time, and then we had dinner. Well, I say we had dinner, but I didn't eat. The poor lady who was catering didn't have enough hands to do everything that needed to be done, so I helped her out. I'm nice like that, sometimes. I did get a couple of bites of some kind of wonderful poppy seed chicken casserole or something, though. Gotta find that recipe! After we left, we ran a couple of errands and came home. Very exciting stuff.

Saturday I woke up early again, at about 3:30 am this time, and I let the dogs out and played on the computer until I was sleepy again. When I went back to bed I had really horrible nightmares about being attacked by someone's house cat. I have been having dreams about evil cats a lot lately, but I don't know why. I woke up this time convinced that my face was bleeding, but it wasn't. That was a really freaky dream. Well, I ended up wasting a lot of morning in sleep, although can we really call sleeping a waste of time? We got up and did some much needed cleaning, although we made barely a dent in the lair of filth that we call home. : ) The wedding wasn't until that evening, but we had to get there a bit early. Steve had to set up and since he and I had been asked to make a slide show for before the wedding, we had to be there to make sure that was up and running. As an aside, I'm getting better at the slide shows on my Mac. Better, faster, stronger...I'm the bionic Mac User!

Darn Steve and his Lee Major's kick.

The wedding went really well, and everyone said my song sounded nice. There wasn't even a hint of "Butterfly Kisses" anywhere in the whole ceremony, so I had very few problems. THe bride was really short and the groom really tall, so when he was told to kiss the bride, he picked her up and kissed her! It was so cute. : ) The reception was at a country club across the mountain from our church, and I was supposed to do the video for that. It was a beautiful evening and the weather was so nice. I'm glad things went so well for them. The bride was on the edge of hysterics, so had it rained she might have jumped off of the roof of the club house. Yeesh. Steve was dying to play golf, because the course was so nice, but of course it's tacky to break out your clubs during the middle of a wedding reception. In my opinion, at least. I was having to be careful what I filmed because I had very little battery power left in the camera and no spares. I was doing really well and got all of the important stuff until the dancing started. Everyone was being so silly that I wasted the rest of the battery recording them, so I missed her tossing the bouquet and leaving in the limo, but hey, when it's a choice between my church members acting foolish and someone throwing flowers, I'm going to film the dancing every time!
Sunday was back to normal. Church, lunch with the family and then a nap. I stayed home from evening service to work on some graphics stuff for work. I'm supposed to be decorating the IMAX lobby for Harry Potter, and I'm woefully behind. : ( Oh well, I can only be perfect some of the time!

Friday, July 06, 2007


DAY 5 – Wednesday, June 27, 2007: Once I was fairly certain that there were no critters in our laundry, we got ready and headed out to hike some trails. They don't allow civilians to drive their own cars out through the parks, so we caught the shuttles that went out there. We started out going down to the narrows, but we really just walked the length of the paved trail. There were many fat squirrels that would come up to you and ask for food. We weren't supposed to feed them, but like the ravens, I think they benefit from people food. We actually saw one lady, who sat down on a bench along the trail, have a squirrel climb up beside her and get into her pocket where she was keeping her own snack. That was pretty funny. One fat squirrel followed me around. I guess I look like I keep food on me, I don't know. We walked, and walked, and walked, and walked. We walked so much that I decided I hated walking. In a bad moment of both being hot and utterly fatigued, I told Steve, who wanted to hike this particular trail, that I hated him and would divorce him so that I would never have to climb up another mountain again. I was kidding, but it felt mostly true at that moment. We finally made it to wherever the dang thing led, and I walked back while Steve and his dad stayed down for a while. I wasn't upset anymore, since that only lasted for a second, but I was also tired and I didn't want to stand at the bottom of a gorge anymore. We finally left the park and came back to our hotel. Don't ever, ever take air conditioning and running water for granted. We had dinner and did a little shopping and then came back for bed. At that point, I felt as if I had been flogged with a stick. I was sore, tired and pretty sure I was going to take my next vacation somewhere that I could sleep and be cold for the whole time I was there.


Day 6 – Thursday, June 28, 2007: I think Mr. Lee hates me. No, really, I think he does. I don't think there is any other reason for him to take me to the middle of a desert and ask me to climb rocks in heat that exceeds 100 degrees. I told him that if he wants to kill me, there are easier ways. Oy, vey. This was part of my day today. We left Zion after breakfast and went on towards our new destination. Poor Mr. Lee had a slight fender bender and bumped into a mini-van full of Japanese tourists, but luckily there was no damage to either car. All I know is that it scared the behoobies out of me when we hit them. He gave them his information, but since they were both rental cars, I don't think it will be an issue. So we drove on to Kanab, Utah and a little past that so that we could go to “Toadstool Valley” which is the place in the middle of the desert that we walked through where there are rocks balanced on other rocks. It is actually much more impressive than I make it sound, but I quickly got tired of them. Why? It was hot. Nay, it was damn hot. Please forgive me for saying that, but it was. It rivaled the heat in Valley of Fire, and that was horrible. After taking a few pictures, Steve and I just sat in the shade of one of the rock formations until Mr. Lee was ready to go. It was a mean kind of hot. We left there and were going to go to see a river, but because of the heat, we decided that it would be smarter to go on to our next place instead. We went on to Upper Antelope Canyon, which is an amazing sandstone cave that has been sculpted and molded by wind and sand that blow through it. It is owned and operated by a Navajo family and they make sure you PAY to see this cave. You pay to park, and then you pay again to be driven out to the cave in the bed of a 4x4 Bubba truck that they whip out across the sand of the desert with little to no thought to your safety. Well, that's probably not true, but the lady who drove our group out there certainly seemed to be trying her darnedest to throw us out of the back one by one. When we finally got there, we were led into one of the most amazing places I have ever seen. The Navajo believe that it is a sacred place, and they do a special ceremony there once a year to ask permission of the gods to allow tourists in there. O....K. Well, it is a beautiful place, where some really amazing pictures could be taken. Unfortunately, I don't think I was able to take any of those amazing pictures. If you focus on the sky, it washes out the picture. If you focus on the light coming into the cavern, it washes out your picture. You have to set the camera on some kind of unusually long aperture thing to get enough light, and unless you have a tripod, it gets all smeary. Who knows? By the time we got to the end of the cavern, I was freaking out due to claustrophobia. There were too many people inside that little place, so Steve took me back towards the front of the cave and we waited on Mr. Lee to get his 3D pics. I bet they are going to be unbelievable! On the way back, the truck started fishtailing as the tour guide rocketed over the sand dunes. I could easily see the bed of the truck snapping off and flipping us over the side of the dune. Fortunately, we made it back safely. In addition to the fear of God that the Navajo woman put into me, I also got a free microdermabrasion treatment as we drove over the dunes. Gotta love that silver lining. Now I just need to make sure to get all of the sand out of my ears. Yuck. I also ended up with enough sacred sand in my sneakers to create a small altar in my hotel room. I hope the gods don't get pissed that I took it out. I didn't have much of a choice, though.
We made one quick stop at Glen Canyon Dam, and one rather lengthy drive through a cow pasture that Mr. Lee wanted to check out before making it back to the hotel. We had dinner and now I'm about to go to sleep. Thank God.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007



The next few days were spent in various places in the great state of Utah. If there is one thing that stuck out for me, it was the fact that there are a LOT of white people in Utah. A lot. It was also colder than I thought it would be. The morning we left St. George, I dressed in clothes that were appropriate for the blazing, hell-like temperatures that we had encountered the day before. Unfortunately, a tank top and shorts were a little too exposed for what felt like early spring to me. I had to suck it up, though, because there wasn't any way I could go back and change when I realized it. At any rate, we went on our way. Our first stop was Cedar Break and Bryce Canyon.


DAY 3 – Monday, June 25, 2007: On our way to Cedar Break, Steve tried to kill me. Don't let him lie and say it was an accident either. We had stopped at one of the many turn-offs along the road, which allow the interested motorist to stop and take pictures of the gorgeous scenery from the vantage point towards the top of the mountain. This “scenic overlook” happened to be at the edge of a cliff, but offered up a lovely view of the valley and surrounding mountains. I had taken a couple of shots and found a wildflower that I wanted to shoot. That's one thing I do on trips like this is to try and take as many macros of wildflowers that I can find, as long as they are different from the ones at home.
But I digress.
I knelt down by the plant and began focusing, and all of a sudden Steve came rushing towards me. Here I am on the edge of a cliff, kneeling down with my back to the very LONG drop, and Steve tried to push me off. Well, that's what it felt like, anyways. He actually lost his footing and slipped, landing on his butt and sliding into me. I had the whole bloody and painful fall played out in my head in about 4 seconds before I realized that Steve and I had not fallen over the edge. Once the dust settled and we both realized we were still alive, we laughed hysterically. I don't think that it was all that funny, but it was either laugh, or faint. I didn't want to faint at the edge of a cliff. When Steve and I pulled ourselves back together, we all got back into the car and drove off towards Cedar Break.
Cedar Break is a big, rocky hole in the side of a mountain. Well, that is much less romantic sounding than it really is. It's a beautiful, rocky hole in the middle of a mountain. It is like a little version of Bryce Canyon, and you can see the various levels of strata in the rock, as well as some very lovely “hoodoos.” A hoodoo is a new thing for me. It is a tall spire of rock, shaped by the wind and rain, and it can look like all manners of things. It's basically big needles of rock that are slowly, but surely, falling away from the larger area of rock. We stayed there for a while, while Mr. Lee took his stereo camera onto some (shhhh) off limit trails. Steve and I were still a little shaken from our near-death experience, so we sat on a big log and continued to be happy to be alive. Once we left there, we went on our way to Bryce Canyon. We were technically in the Dixie National Forest, which we were told was named such because the settlers felt that since it was far enough south from Salt Lake City, it was just as much south as the real Dixie was. Before we left, Mr. Lee stopped at a place that he knew of off the beaten track. It was so beautiful. It was a large meadow with a stream running through it. It was so perfect that it almost didn't look real. Mr. Lee and I took pictures while Steve wandered around. There were no other tourists there, so we could take pictures without anyone being in the way. It was, by far, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen anywhere. This is from someone who loves the beach more than any place on earth, but I would go back to that meadow and stay in a second. When we drove off, we passed through a place that reminded me a lot of the town in the Pixar movie “Cars”. It was a tiny town that catered to the people traveling to Bryce Canyon. It was a perfect example of a one street town. There were all kinds of motels with interesting names and street signs that would make James Lileks wet his pants. We had lunch in that town and then finally made it to Bryce. We stayed in a place called “Bryce View Inn, which was an offshoot of the Ruby Inn – a place once opened by a Mormon family in the early 20th century. Once we got settled, we drove on to the different look out points along the canyon. There were so many beautiful places that it's hard to describe. Lots of hoodoos, canyons, trees...just all kinds of nature. I took a million photos, I think. Although it was strictly prohibited, some lady was feeding the ravens pistachio nuts, and they wouldn't go away. Those freaking birds were HUGE. I'm not kidding. They would come right up to you and stand there, so I'm sure that all kinds of people feed them, but they were so big that they started to get scary. I was able to get some pretty good shots of them, but when they started ganging up on me, I got into the car. : ) We were out there for several hours, and I got to see the moon come up over the canyon's edge. It was so beautiful. At some point that day I got severely sunburned (of course, I didn't know it because it didn't seem that hot) and I got some pretty bad mosquito bites on my shoulder blades. One of the bugs must have been as big as a humming bird because the bite it left on me was the size of a silver dollar! Hastared bugs. By the time night came on, we got back to our hotel and slept. Unfortunately for me, I kept waking up in the middle of the night and so the next day I was exhausted.

DAY 4 –Tuesday, June 26, 2007: Today was a day of ramblings. We would be staying in Zion National Park for the next few nights, but since we didn't have to be there for a while, Mr. Lee took us on a trek to Escalante. There is a place out here that is basically a staircase of cliffs where each step is a different color based on the strata layer it encompasses. Of course, you have to drive many miles between steps, but it was something we wanted to see. We stopped at a couple of places on the topmost step, where everything is white to take pictures. We were going on to a place called “Long Canyon” which was at least two layers down from where we were. At the next level, drove through an area that made me feel as if were were in a road runner cartoon. If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch an episode and look at the landscape. Lots of orange rocks and cactus were along the way. We stopped for dinner at this place where there was no air conditioning and the waiter was named Pavel. We were the only patrons at the time. The food was good, the atmosphere was nice, and the music was late 90's college radio. All in all, not bad. We went on from there and drove for what seemed like ages to get into the canyon. It was beautiful. I know I keep saying that, but it's so hard to explain if you can't see it yourself. Red rock walls rose on each side, and cottonwoods grew along because we were near a river. It was striking contrasts of both color and texture all around us. We stopped at a crevasse in the mountain and got out to take pictures. It was amazing to stand in this giant crack in this mountain. The shade was at least 20 degrees cooler and the constant breeze blew in and whistled around us. That was another thing about being where we were. In almost every place we visited, it was quiet. I don't mean the kind of quiet that you might be used to, but silence. Even with cars occasionally driving by, there is this great QUIET around you out here. It's peace.
When we left the canyon, we drove back the way we came and went on to Zion National Park.


I wish, I wish, I wish that I could tell you how beautiful Zion was. It was huge, and beautiful, and it almost didn't make sense to me because it was so alien from what I am used to. Huge rock outcroppings, enormous cliffs, and sheer mountain walls were all around us. It was literally breathtaking. We stayed in a tiny burg called Springdale, which is a place which is specifically created to cater to the families and hikers who come to see the place. Zion was first settled by Mormon settlers and soon grew to be a favorite spot for campers, climbers, hikers and families who want to get acquainted with nature. We got settled in our hotel “Bumbleberry Inn”, don't you just love the name? The mountains rose all around us, and as we sat in the cafe, I watched the sun paint the striped rocks as it went down. I can't imagine what it would be like to live in a place like Zion all year round. The tourists would suck, of course, but if you could get used to that...oh, my. I had to wash some clothes in the bathtub, and I laid them out to dry on our tiny back porch. I knew that the dry air would dry them before morning, but I was nervous leaving them out all night because I'm not that familiar with the kind of critters that live in semi-arid mountainous areas. When morning came, I went out and found to my delight that the clothes were indeed dry. However, as I was picking them up, I saw something on the ground that hadn't been there the night before. I saw what I thought was a crab claw. I thought that someone had eaten crabs the night before and had thrown the shells down and one had managed to wind up on our porch. Well, I'm sure that I don't have to tell you that it wasn't a crab claw. It was a scorpion claw. A scorpion claw so big that I thought it came from a crab. Oh. My. God. At least I can say that it wasn't still attached to whatever monster scorpion that had lost it, but that didn't make me feel better. I grabbed all of our clothes and ran inside. I shook and pounded all of those clothes until I was sure there was nothing living in them. I still don't feel better about it. *shudder*

EDIT: Upon further examination, and by that I mean that I made Steve go out and look closer, the monster scorpion claw...was plastic. So I'd like to say thanks to the kid who broke his toy and managed to scare the crap out of me. SAAAAAAALUTE!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Hi, Everyone! I’m sure you missed me while I was gone, right? What, you didn’t know I was going anywhere? Well, that’s not surprising. I don’t normally wonder too far away from home. However, for the past week and change, I have been traveling out west like the pioneers of yore. Well, if said pioneers drove in air conditioned covered wagons and stayed in Best Westerns. My adventure began June 23. Here is my story.


DAY 1 – Saturday, June 23, 2007: This morning, the 3 Pratts all awoke at a painfully early hour so that we could make it to the airport at the still painful, but not overly so, hour of 6:00 a.m. Luckily we weren’t flying U.S. Air (whom I still haven’t forgiven for losing my luggage and making me spend the night lying on the floor of the Charlotte airport) so our flight was delayed no more than 5 minutes. We flew into Atlanta and were told that the flight had been over-sold and they were looking for volunteers to give up their seats. Um, hello…if people didn’t want to take this flight, they wouldn’t have bought the tickets. And how do you “over sell” a flight anyways? You have x number of seats, you should sell x number of tickets, right? At any rate, this problem, plus the fact that they had to get a different plane, made our flight leave a half hour late. I wasn’t going to complain about that, though. Not after the Charlotte debacle. On our plane, they had the monitors that normally show movies and safety videos, playing a computer simulation of the path the flight was taking. There was a red line from Atlanta to Las Vegas and the little plane would move as we grew closer to our destination. I kept expecting to hear the Indiana Jones theme! The flight was uneventful for the most part. I sat beside a couple whom I lovingly dubbed “Mall Perm and Dragon Shirt”. We didn’t bother each other, but Dragon Shirt kept getting up and down the whole flight. Either he had a cocaine habit or traveler’s diarrhea, I don’t know, but he went to the bathroom an uncountable number of times during the three hour flight. When we approached the Vegas airport, I could sort of see out of the window, but not very much. Mall Hair kept her fat head in my way, but I was able to get a few glimpses as we landed. My first thought about Las Vegas was “brown”, once we deplaned, my second thought was “Hot”. My third thought came once we were in the rental car area, and that one was “Dry”. It’s kind of unnerving to be able to describe a town the same way you can describe a badly cooked steak. At any rate, we had arrived.
If there is one thing I’ve learned while traveling with the Pratt men, is that there are two phrases that one needs to remember to make things move smoothly. These are: “Whatever y'all want is fine” and “It doesn’t matter with me.” I have found that, since they don’t listen to me anyways, these phrases seem to make things go by faster. I had almost forgotten about this, but remembered right away when Mr. Lee asked me to pick a car out of the line-up. I picked a Green Dodge Charger, we drove off in a powder blue Grand Marquis. No problem. So we drove around a while, looking for our motel. Once we found it and got situated, we were trying to figure out where to go from there. Steve wanted to go see something called the “Star Trek Experience” and Mr. Lee was hungry –so what to do first? Since I read a brochure about the Star Trek Experience and saw that there was a place to eat there, Quark’s, I asked why we didn’t just go there and kill two birds with one stone. They said OK, and we ended up at The Mirage Casino and Hotel eating in what had to be the world’s biggest buffet. No Problem. From there we went to Caesar’s Palace to look at the inside shopping mall. I had never seen so many designer stores in my life! Dolce & Gabbanna, Versace, Fendi, Seven Jeans – pretty much every store mentioned in the song “My Humps” I realized. There was even a Harry Winston there! I wanted to go in, but realized I’d have to sell Steve by the pound in order to be allowed to look around. I didn’t get to go into any other shops because Mr. Lee wanted to run to the other end of the mall to see some kind of weird statue thing. That wasn’t a big deal, though. Not only could I not afford anything in any of the stores, but they don’t make anything that would fit me. Chubby girls aren’t allowed to wear designer stuff! Anyways, we left that place, found our car and went to the Star Trek Experience. It. Was. Amazing. We saw both the Borg Invasion and the Klingon Attack shows, and both of them were so much fun! I had no idea what to expect, so going into full scale mock-ups of the Starship Enterprise and running through hallways, basically a huge set that looked exactly like the ship on TV, was incredible. My only problem was the part where they tell you to line up to go into the ride (a ruse which was well played by our tiny little tour guide) and while you’re watching the safety video, the room goes pitch black and when the light some back on, you are somehow in the transport room. That was fun, but apparently being “transported” feels like a big rush of cold wind blowing up from the floor. The problem was the big gust of cold wind blew my shirt over my head. Luckily I was able to fix that before the lights came back on! We went onto the bridge of the 1701-D (a perfect replica…awesome) and then into a Turbo-Lift that took us to the “Cargo Bay” where we got on the escape shuttle. That part was a very fun motion based simulator that literally felt like you were flying through space, running into things, getting shot…I mean, my geek quotient went through the veritable roof, people. I have always loved Star Trek, but now I love it more. Once the ride was over, we were dumped into the gift shop and then out the door. It was, by far, one of the most enjoyable amusement-park like rides I’ve ever been on!
After we left the Las Vegas Hilton (home of the Star Trek thing) we wanted to go back to the motel. We didn’t stay at one of the swank casinos or anything, but I’m kind of glad. I’d like to stay there someday, but there were just too many people and too many lights. Deep down I’m always going to be a small town girl, and while Las Vegas was an amazing place, it was overwhelming. It was too much all at once in too small of an area. I’d love to go back sometime, though, just to be able to see what else there is to see. We finally went back to our hotel and fell asleep in record time. I don’t even know if I made it under the covers before I was unconscious.


Day 2 – Sunday, June 24, 2007: We left Las Vegas at about 9:00 a.m. and drove off into the desert so that we could see Nevada’s very first state park, Valley of Fire. We made a short trip out to Hoover Dam and stopped to take some pictures. We took the dam pictures, but we didn’t take the dam tour. : ) We went from there and drove north to the state park. When I asked Mr. Lee what Valley of Fire was, he said it was a place where the rocks were red. I said OK, because that made sense. However, that description didn’t do the place justice. It was like another planet. You are driving along in the desert, the foothills of the Rockies all around you, brown and gray, and suddenly – and I do mean suddenly – you are on another world. Right in the middle of this valley are these huge, red sandstone rocks. They are GORGEOUS! They come out of nowhere. There is nothing else like them anywhere around, so it literally looks like you are some place completely different than the place where you drove in. The rocks have been eroded, smoothed, and molded by the constant winds that blow around it and they were in these bizarre shapes. There were caves and holes all through them and some of them looked as if they had been machine cut and sanded. There were also Indian petroglyphs in the walls of one of the rocks. They were beautiful and still so clear! They were also really strange. Steve said that it was simply a picture of a deer riding a magic carpet stick. I said OK, because that was as good of a guess as any! : ) Something that I have not mentioned is that the temperature outside was hot. No, hot doesn’t seem to be right. It was really hot. Hot in the way it never gets back here in Alabama. It was dry, of course, but it was like being baked alive in a microwave. I now know what an ant in the beam of a magnifying glass feels like. It was the kind of heat that makes you wonder if God is mad at you for something. It was so hot that it sapped your will to live. It also sucked the moisture out of your body without your knowledge or consent. I have rarely ever been so thirsty in my life, and I have NEVER been tempted to lie down and die like a dog just so that I didn’t have to walk anymore, until today. We finally got back into the car and made our way out of Nevada and into Utah. We were going to where, as Mr. Lee said, “the Mormons do their weird thing.” : ) They have streets named after Brigham Young like the south has streets named after Martin Luther King. After being in that bowl of hell-fire, I couldn’t help but think that there was no wonder that John Smith thought he met Jesus. I was so hot, I thought I saw Jesus too. He was sitting with Santa Clause and Optimus Prime, having a soda and playing poker.
As we drove, I was speechless with awe at the places we drove through. It’s hard to explain how that part of the country looks because it’s almost too much to process. It was almost indescribably beautiful. It’s not just the colors or the cliffs, mountains and gigantic sky that seems to never end…it’s like…looking back in time. It makes your chest hurt and your eyes tear up. It’s just, beautiful. I know that doesn’t tell you anything, really, but I can’t put it into words. I just wish you could have been with me.
We stopped for dinner and sleeping in a place called St. George, Utah. It’s a nice place!