Friday, March 31, 2006

Would You Have Done It?

This morning before work, I went to the local 99-cent store and stood in a line kind of like this: Okay, not really. There were only about fifty people in line actually. The store was giving one of these:
to the first nine people in line. The store opened at 8:00, and I got there around 7:15. There were already quite a few people in line, and we asked the store-employee-crowd-control guy, "When did those first nine guys get here?" His answer: "2:30 yesterday afternoon." !!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, now ipods are great, I'm sure, but they aren't that expensive. Who in their right mind would spend the night on the sidewalk in front of the 99-cent store for anything?! I'm not that nuts, but I did stay in line even though the ipods were gone because the next 99 customers got one of these:
for 99 cents. I'm sure my siblings will enjoy it, and it didn't make me very late to work. They owe me, though.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Brazos Bend, Part Two

Looking for alligators wasn't the only activity we enjoyed at Brazos Bend State Park recently. Seth was excited to find a vending machine, and it had nothing to do with getting a drink. It had everything to do with the fact that when you drop a quarter into a vending machine, then press the coin return button, you get a different quarter. For a coin collector like Seth, who is trying to acquire every type of quarter ever made, this means that vending machines are not drink dispensers. They are potential treasure chests. While relentlessly pursuing a quarter he didn't have yet, he attracted an amused crowd of onlookers.
Success!!!!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Today's Winner of the Foresight Prize Is...

...Popular Mechanics magazine, who declared in 1949 that, "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." !!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Plight of the Secretary

I often find my job difficult to label, as I find myself being the receptionist, secretary, saleswoman, webmaster, research assistant, computer consultant….but I’m more of a secretary than anything else. Now, being a secretary is a good fit for me. My skills and personality go well with that job. But, that doesn’t mean it’s without its frustrations. As someone who is helping others accomplish their projects, I sometimes get sent on wild goose chases. ALL IS FUTILE, A MERE CHASING AFTER THE WIND!! Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but I have had some incidents recently that made me reflect on this plight. We will not go into the details of these experiences here, but they went something like this:

BOSS: I need you to rope the moon for me. Could you have it ready by tomorrow afternoon?
SECRETARY: (trying to catch her breath and feeling more gray hairs sprouting) I can do it for you!!!!
Thirty hours and much effort and grief later…
SECRETARY: Do you remember that moon thing you asked for? I have it ready now.
BOSS: Oh yes, that’s right! Well, actually I don’t need it after all, since my buddy just told me it’s really not made of cheese. Do you think you could put it back?
SECRETARY: (after briefly considering bursting into tears and/or banging her head on the wall) Sure! I’ll do it after lunch.

Here’s to all you secretaries out there who know exactly what I’m talking about.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Off On Another Adventure

Our grandparents were in town last weekend, and we all went down to Brazos Bend State Park for the day on Saturday. We found a huge tree with ghostly-looking moss all over it that made a good backdrop for a portrait.
This guy thought the moss would make a good beard, too.
The park is known for alligators, and we were not disappointed. The weather was cloudy and cool, which was perfect for animals being out, and we saw nutria, a bunch of different kinds of birds (even spoonbills and a great blue heron!), a few turtles, and about twenty alligators.
This was probably the closest one. If you click the picture, it will get bigger, and you might be able to actually see the alligator.
We found this huge fallen log along the trail, and paused to sit, climb, walk, straddle, or jump off while yelling like a maniac.
We also found a hilarious sign. (We are very easily amused.)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

See That Boy Grow!

Thirteen-year-old Seth has been experiencing remarkable growth in the last several months, and is now very close to being the tallest one in the family. His lofty height is especially noticeable when he's washing dishes with Anna! (and it's not because she's short)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Coming Soon, To A Corner Near Me

This has created no small amount of excitement at my office. In case you can't quite tell, yes, it's a Starbucks. It's only about two blocks down the street, and everybody has feelings both of excitement and of concern about what this will do to their pocket books and their caffeine addictions. Hmmmmm, we'll have to see. For my part, I don't care that much because I only enter Starbucks about once a month, and that's always for a tall decaf mocha frappucino with no whipped cream. Ordering it is half the fun, by the way.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Dance Fanatics

Our Romanian performance went really well last weekend. Here we are (all but two of us) backstage right before we went on.
We were a little concerned because we'd had a pretty bad rehearsal earlier in the afternoon, but the performance went very well. I guess it's true what they say: "Bad rehearsal, good performance." There was a Romanian dance instructor in the audience, and he complimented us afterward and said he was very impressed. That meant a lot, coming from him! There were a bunch of really good dance groups who performed in the show, so it was a lot of fun.

That Romanian teacher and also a Bulgarian teacher did dance workshops on Saturday, which John and I really enjoyed. There were some great dances, including several dynamite ones. (Translation of "dynamite": leaves you breathless and sweaty.)

There was quite a change of pace on Sunday afternoon when we got to do some English Country Dancing. I felt like I was in Pride and Prejudice! It was nice, but I didn't like it as well as other types of dancing. It was a little too elegant and slow. If I had lived a couple of hundred years ago, I think I would have been better off as a low-class citizen!

We arrived home and told our family all about our time. That's when the word "fanatic" came up. Who, us? fanatics?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Play at Work

One of my co-workers had a birthday last Friday, and the other girl and I thought it would be fun to decorate his office. We showed up early, hoped he'd be a little late, and got busy. We had a great time, and would have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves even if he didn't really like it! Not to worry, though. He did indeed show up late, and he liked his office. He wanted to know if we'd shown up at four in the morning or something!

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Texas Independence Day

My family went to Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park last weekend for the Texas Independence Day festival. There were lots of living history re-enactments, plus old-time entertainment. It was beautiful weather, and we had a fun time.

We saw a blacksmith making nails, and it was obvious why people re-used nails back then. Seth and several others got to brand a piece of wood.
This was an old-fashioned band that played great music, mostly dance tunes. They had a little girl (on the far right) who played the spoons. She did a good job, but looked so bored!
The finished product from the wood burning.
This was my favorite thing, I think. These cloggers were very good and looked like they were having so much fun! I really enjoyed watching them.

New Word

Guess what? I just learned a new word!

"Yatta"

It means "you ought to" and I believe it is primarily used by young, fast-talking Southerners. I haven't decided yet if I qualify to use it.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Quote of the Day

This is from Actor/Governor/Bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger:

"Money doesn't make you happy. I now have $50 million, but I was just as happy when I had $48 million."

Monday, March 6, 2006

I Survived RODEO HOUSTON 2006

Houston, Let's Rodeo!!! I went to the rodeo yesterday with several friends from church. We arrived early to look at the livestock show and eat some carnival food. Never mind about the carnival rides. Generally speaking, my age mates and I have outgrown excitement over ferris wheels and carousels, but not fried oreos and funnel cakes!

I hadn't been to the livestock show before, so that was fun. They had a lot of cute little animals like calves, chicks, and rabbits. We also saw many cows, goats, and other assorted farm animals. These weren't the typical run-of-the-mill animals though. They looked like they had been washed, brushed, and manicured within an inch of their lives! Someone told me that the prize-winning animals can sell for over $100,000!!!

The rodeo itself was the best part. The calf scramble is always hilarious, since it seems to mostly consist of various teenagers hanging for dear life onto the tails of obstinate and amused calves!

Clay Walker gave the concert, which included old favorites and new, first-time-in-concert numbers that will be on his new CD. I enjoyed it, except for the girls screaming behind us. I can live with a little screaming if there is truly cause for excitement, but it gets annoying when it occurs every few minutes, especially if the individual has been endowed with a particularly piercing voice.

A few memories and observations from this year's rodeo:
  • How did friends go to huge events together before cell phones were invented? Countless people, my group included, where on the phone saying "Where are you? We're a little ways down from the Ford truck show behind the big white tent with picnic tables across from the north entrance to the livestock show on the opposite side of the Astrodome from the Ferris Wheel..."
  • I found the mass transit system fascinating. Our city should be proud of the way they efficiently transport over 50,000 people from the stadium to the various Metro Park 'n Rides around town. On the other hand, though, when I was traveling through the crowd control mazes to board the shuttle, I decided I know what the cows in the livestock show feel like.
  • The rodeo has to be one of the best places in the world for people watching. You have to watch out though. As a sense of propriety in public becomes more scarce, people watching becomes more of a hazardous sport.
  • How does the stadium get away with charging $3.75 for a bottle of water?!? It's absolute robbery, especially when they don't let you bring anything in with you! You can't even bring in the $2.50 bottle of water you just had to buy in the carnival because they wouldn't let you bring anything on the bus with you!!
  • Since I work in an insurance office, I was amused that the bull riding was sponsored by United HealthCare. I would think that bull riders would be bad for business for a health insurance company!
  • Last but not least, this rodeo will go down in history as the year I got beer poured all over me. I was sitting in my seat, minding my own business and enjoying the show, when all of a sudden, I was assaulted by a big splash of icy cold liquid. It seems that the clumsy and perhaps tipsy individual behind me had her arms full of nachos, purse, program, shopping bag, and beer when she started to sit down, leaned forward, and proceeded to pour beer all over me. It was a very uncomfy experience because I was not only cold and wet, but I smelled like the town drunk! Thankfully, I dried off fairly quickly and didn't reek too badly. The lady offered to write a note for my mother explaining why I was arriving home smelling like beer, but I told her that would not be necessary.

As Bilbo Baggins says, "It a dangerous business, going out your door."

Friday, March 3, 2006

Intelligence Test/Word Game

Okay, it's official. I'm intelligent, but not a genius. In fact, I'm three whole points away from being a genius. At least, that's the conclusion based on this test.