Monday, May 31, 2010

Organize your jewelry

My father-in-law came in a few weekends ago to help fix parts of the outside of our house that have aged and need replacing. He rocks. Big time. In fact, he's coming again this weekend to do even more for us. Score.

But I'm not going to lie, I'm not really all that much help in this area. Mostly because Jack's there to help. Exhibit A.

Nice view, yes?

Anyway, my home improvement projects are slightly more indoors. And slightly cheaper. So I've decided to start a home improvement series in an attempt to both motivate myself to get some of my do-it-yourself projects done this summer, and I'm hoping you'll join in the fun. I'm calling it Home Decor Assignment Tuesday! 

This week's assignment? Get your jewelry organized!

Because if you're like me, you didn't have an organizational system. If you're like me, you just hang your necklaces wherever you could find a place, like on your bathroom cabinet's handles.

Which, as you can see, isn't so attractive. Also? Tangles easily. Also? Hard to find the one you want and extract it. Because I'm no surgeon. Or archaeologist. So I needed a system.

Enter drill.

(That's right, ladies and gentlemen, she can work a drill.) (If you count "breaking one of the drill bits trying to drill things" as "working a drill.")

I have a built-in shoe rack in my closet, so to organize my necklaces, I simply drilled holes in the side of it and screwed in little hooks so I would have a place to hang them. That was it! And ta-da! Organization!

Next, I tackled the earrings battle. Before, I was just hanging them on the edge of the drawer organizer inside the vanity drawer.

Every time I got something out of that drawer organizer I would always knock a few of the pairs off the edge. Ugh.

To organize my earrings, I just threaded two rows of wire on the top shelf of my bathroom cabinet.

(Okay, get your husband to tighten the wire for you if you need a big strong man to help.)

And voilĂ !!

Instant organization.

As you can see, none of these fixes are difficult. It only took me a few hours to do the whole thing, and really, it was only that long because I broke a drill bit.

So let's see what you got, imaginary readers! How are you going to organize your jewelry this week (or, if you already have a system, how have you already organized it)? You don't have to do it like I did it, you just have to do something with your jewelry to organize it. Don't forget to leave me a comment and tell me what you did!

Ready, GO!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

Jack woke me up yesterday morning by poking me in the back.

"Bake bake bake!" he commanded.

"Grraawwwwwrrrrrrrrrr," I responded. As I've mentioned before, my husband is a morning person. And a night person. And an everything-in-between person. The man is cheery, you have to give him that. Of course, at 6:45 in the morning "cheery" looks a lot like "please kick me in the shin!" It's really hard to tell the difference that early.

A few seconds later, he started poking me again.

"Bake bake bake!" Poke poke poke. "Bake bake bake!" Poke poke poke. "Bake bake bake!" Poke poke poke.

"Sweetheart," I said as sweetly as I could at this time of the morning. "I really don't want to get up right now. Thanks for asking, though."

He laughed at me and began pushing me out of bed. Evidently this wasn't going to work for him. Before I ended up in a heap on the floor, I decided I'd better get up on my own instead. I put my feet on the floor and sat up, growling at him, but he was already talking to the dog excitedly. Short attention span, that one.

He was understandably excited, because I was about to rock his world with five sticks of butter.

That's right, I was making The Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls this morning.

Technically, I was making them for work, but that didn't stop Jack from claiming the deliciousness for his very own. As he was leaving for work, he told me to thank my work friends for "experimenting" on him.

As I've said before, Jack is very fond of PW recipes. I'm quite sure he would leave me for Ree if given the opportunity. And really, I wouldn't even blame him. I would probably leave him for her too.

When we got to the kitchen, Jack started brewing some coffee for us and I got out the dough I had made the night before and spread flour on the counter so I could roll it out. Jack turned around and saw the flour on the counter and frowned.

"Oh no," he said, very seriously, "you made a mess."

Looking back, it's pretty funny that he thought that was the mess.

Because this is what it looked like when I finished.


Yes. I did make a mess.

Rolling the cinnamon rolls proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated, and Ree's perfect little pictures of perfect little cinnamon rolls certainly didn't help my rolling self esteem.

"Mine aren't very pretty," I pouted.

Jack looked at me like I had just started meowing.

"Didn't you see how much butter you put in them? They're going to taste amazing. They don't have to be pretty, Mandy."

And they weren't. At least, the first batch that I sent with him to work wasn't.


But I don't think he minded.

The second batch, though, that's where I finally figured it out. They were the right size, they were perfectly sealed, and they had the little swirly thing in the middle like they should. They were pretty.

Just before he left for work, Jack was spooning sugar into his to-go coffee cup.

"Eins," he said, as he dropped the first spoonful of sugar in his coffee.

"Zwei." Another spoonful.

"Drei." And a third. Yes, he does take a little coffee with his sugar.

"What are you doing?" I asked, hearing him say funny words from the other side of the kitchen.

"I'm speaking German," he replied matter-of-factly.

"You speak German now?"

"Yes, I have a little German in me," he said.

"You have a German in you?" I responded, being a smart-alec.

"Yeah, just a little one," he said. "He doesn't say much."


Like I said before, I made a huge mess in the kitchen with this little project, and I had to leave it all to get to work on time after all the baking yesterday morning. I was kind of dreading coming home to clean it all up tonight. So when I walked through the door after work to find this instead:

Better than jewelry - AM I RIGHT, LADIES!?

I was pretty thrilled. I think my exact words to the dog were "GOD BLESS YOU, JACK HORNBUCKLE!"

She looked at me like I was the crazy one.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It takes a secure man to make a joke like that with a stranger

Tonight at Blockbuster, Jack and I were looking at the movies when a man and his kid walked past us toward the restroom. When the man got to the door, he opened it and turned around and looked in our direction.

"Jack! Come on!" he called out.

Jack and I both looked up at him, startled, then at each other. Surely this man didn't want my husband to join him in the bathroom. Also, how the heck did he know his name?

Suddenly, we saw a three-year-old little boy toddle past us toward the man at the restroom door.

Jack and I busted out laughing and the man looked back at us, puzzled. We explained to him that that was also "my" Jack's name, and he chuckled.

"What, Jack, you still haven't told your wife?" the man responded, without skipping a beat.

Monday, May 17, 2010

We used to recycle

 ...until our privacy rights were violated because of it.

Our latest community newsletter has me pretty enraged, and I'm not going to lie, I don't usually care about a whole lot.
A CWD representative will be inspecting residential
recycling carts prior to truck collection service. The
inspection will occur randomly throughout all cities
serviced by CWD. Once inspected, a cart will be
labeled with a green, yellow, or red card adhered
to the cart with a sticker. Cards indicate the level
of compliance with the recycling program.

Red states “Stop. High Contaminants,
Contents not recyclable.”

Yellow states “Caution, Almost There! Some
contents not recyclable.”

Green states “Go, Recycle program compliant!”

Okay, I get that they want to make sure that the stuff is recyclable. Maybe that is a problem for them. But in our house, we only recycle what we're supposed to, and having somebody come dig through our garbage is just enough of an incentive not to recycle for us to consider stopping altogether.  Or at least, throw all the paper stuff (junk mail, etc.) away rather than recycling it. Sure, they'll get a few bottles here and there, but in our house, most of what gets recycled is paper.

What say you, internet? Is it worth having your privacy rights violated to recycle at your home? Or would you give it up too in protest of somebody digging through your stuff?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happy GitzenDay!

Dear Sara,

You have no idea how excited I am to see you in 10 days. I have been looking forward to this for years.

My family and friends call you one of my "fake friends." They tease me for having made friends through this blog and maintaining those relationships only through the internet, but you and I know better. This relationship is anything but fake.

To be fair, they're also quite certain you are luring us all to your house so you can murder us. And if that's your plan, well then bravo, because I'm totally falling for it.

Getting to know you over the past year or so has been such a privilege. I love living in this age of technology, when I can speak to you face to face (while drinking wine! Which is even better!) even though we are 836 miles apart. You are sassy and funny and adorable and I rarely laugh harder than I do when we all get together and Skype with Ellyn and Amie (and our imaginary friend Rachel, eventually, I'm sure of it).

But more than that, you're the girl I want to be when I grow up. You have the most ridiculously positive attitude about everything that life has thrown your way, and your constant decision to choose joy is incredible. Every time I feel sorry for myself, I remind myself that I can leave my house. Every time I'm sick, I remind myself that you're probably in 3,000 times more pain right now and not complaining about it one bit. You have become my mascot for joy whether you like it or not, and just knowing you has changed me.

I will forever love you for the way you say "honey" in that northern accent or yours, your sense of humor, and for our common love for LOST, peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars, small evil dogs, and Jesus. You are my very real fake friend and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Happy birthday, Sara.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's another giveaway!

Update: picked #5, which was Amanda! I'll contact you, Amanda, and get you in touch with CSN. Thanks for entering, everyone!!


You may recall my giveaway a few months ago with CSN stores. They have everything from speaker stands to cookware, and I'm happy to report that they're letting me do another giveaway for a $60 gift certificate to one of their stores.

To enter, simply leave any comment on this post.

Extra entries:
That's 5 possible entries total. I will draw a winner on May 20. Good luck!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The day Brittany's head exploded

In the locker room before the game

In the broadcast room

Watching the court get put together

Holding the game ball

Putting the game ball away ON THE COURT as the game was about to start

Holding two NBA championship rings

Friday, May 7, 2010

In which I make you squirm

I thought I was afraid of geckos.

Well, I was right, I am afraid of geckos. But until this morning, I thought geckos were the worst enemy I could have. I thought finding a gecko in my house was the worst trauma I could have.

Oh my cow, people, I was so wrong.

I was sound asleep on my brother's downstairs couch in Boston, dreaming about something I can't remember now, when I felt something on my ankle. It was kind of a scratchy feeling, and I was somewhere between asleep and deeper asleep when I shook my leg a little. The scratchy thing stopped. Then I felt it again. I shook it off again, this time sitting up and looking underneath the covers to see what was scratching my leg. I figured it was a tag on the comforter, but as my eyes adjusted in the darkness, I saw what looked like a silhouette of a leaf. But it was kind of odd shaped... rounder than a leaf, with a longer, skinnier tail than normal leaves.

And then, I let out a gasp as the leaf... it SCAMPERED AWAY.

That's right, people, there was a mouse. Under my covers. Crawling around my leg.

I have never gotten out of bed so fast in my life.

I shot out of that basement like a rocket, sprinted up the stairs, around the corner, and up the next set of stairs to my brother's bedroom. His greyhound was already barking when I got there, so they couldn't hear me knock quietly as I stood outside and did a squirmy "a mouse was just on me" dance, heart pumping a thousand beats a minute.

I heard them telling the dog to be quiet, and I knocked again. Of course, the dog barked as I did that too and finally I just started babbling incoherently at them through the door between barks.

"Sorry. Mouse. Need a dog. Mouse. Covers. Leg. Mouse. Help. Please. Dog. Mouse."

Finally, they realized I was out there and called me in. I opened the door and tried very hard to explain what had happened. They didn't have the "What's that you say!? A mouse? How dare it attack you unprovoked and invade your slumber! We shall find the evil rodent immediately and destroy it! You stay here and we will remedy this posthaste!" reaction that I had hoped they would.

Instead, they looked at me like I was crazy (WOULDN'T YOU BE TOO!?) and said "It's six in the morning."

Yes! I know! And there was a mouse! In my bed! So I didn't want to be in it anymore!

After a minute or two of me standing there and my brother and sister-in-law staring and blinking, staring and blinking, I went to my groggy friend Brittany's room. I sat down on the bed and began explaining what had happened, not really sure what to do next. I certainly wasn't going back downstairs, but all my stuff was down there, so images of thousands of mice infesting my open(!) luggage, crawling inside my underpants and makeup bag, gnawing on my jeans and leaving droppings on my toothbrush flashed through my mind.

I need my stuff. I can't go down there. I need my stuff. I can't go down there. I need my stuff. I can't go down there. I need my stuff. I can't go down there. I need my stuff. I can't go down there.

"Obviously," I told Brittany, "I'm going to be sleeping in here with you for the rest of the trip."

I think she understood. And being the really sweet, supportive friend she is, immediately started listing the things that could happen to me as a result of a mouse attack.

"You know," Brittany said "if it bit you, you might get superpowers, like Spiderman. On Captain Planet, they got bit by rats and their eyes turned red and they became zombies."

Fantastic. I'm going to become Mighty Mouse.

And then? She picked up her iPhone and started googling. "What kind of bacteria do mice have?" "Do mice carry diseases?" "Can you die from a mouse bite?"

All of these topics really put my mind at ease, Brittany. Thanks, friend.

And of course, later, my brother was all "Maybe it had rabies!"

Rabies and super-powers? Well it's my lucky day, isn't it?

As it turned out, the comforter that I was using had been stored on the floor of their basement, and they think the mouse made it its nest inside the folds while it sat there. Then yesterday, they simply placed it, still folded, on top of the couch where I was going to sleep. When I went to bed, I barely even unfolded it before I collapsed under it and passed out.

Which means that the mouse and I were in bed together all night. And I don't know how long it was crawling around on me before it finally woke me up.

I think I'll be sleeping a little lighter tonight.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

An opportunity to remember


Well, it's over. It kind of feels like I should throw confetti and yell "Happy New Year!" because after BikeMS, what else is there? It's time to start over now, I guess.

Except that I still have $401 to raise before I meet my goal.

This year's ride was... picturesque. The way I'm remembering it right now is much the same way I imagine new moms remember childbirth. Yes, there was pain. A lot of pain. I remember being in pain. But that part's all fuzzy in my mind today.

What's clear and sharp is the memory of the perfect weather, the feeling of relief when I saw the rest stops in the distance, my awesome bike speaker cranking upbeat music (BEST INVESTMENT EVER!), the taste of the blue Powerade (someday I shall write a post about my deep love for Blue), and crossing the finish lines on both days to loud music and cheering crowds, some of whose members were in wheelchairs.


(This is my friend Jimmy. This was his last year as our team captain because he's moving to Florida. He's one of the best people I've ever known. You would like him. Because everybody does.)

This year was a little rough since I had strep the entire week before the ride and went into it on only my second day without a fever. I was pretty wiped out. Having eaten nothing but liquids all week probably didn't help me any either. I knew that I would have to take it easy and ended up riding 75 miles, which is about half. I was a little disappointed after having trained so long, but I'm also satisfied with not having pushed it more, especially since my lungs didn't appreciate that little stunt one bit and have been punishing me ever since with a very menacing cough.

But I can get past all that. This ride is never about riding for me. I will never be one of the super-fast riders who finishes by 10 a.m. or one of the riders who skips rest stops (I needs me some protein every ten miles!).

Sometimes I don't pedal and gain as much speed as I should when I'm going down hills because I'm too busy taking in the beautiful scenery around me. Sometimes I even stop to take pictures.

I don't mind spending a little extra time at rest stops because I get to see other riders arrive with that same look of relief on their faces that I had when I finally got there.

I don't mind struggling up hills because it gives me an opportunity to remember the people with Multiple Sclerosis who struggle to get out of bed every morning.

Every time my muscles ache, it's an opportunity to remember that people living with MS can't always control theirs.

Every time I have to take a SAG van to the next rest stop, it's an opportunity to remember that there are those living with MS who have to ask for help going to the bathroom or getting dressed.

And even the times I can't clip out fast enough and face-plant onto the concrete is an opportunity to remember that people with MS can't react or move as quickly as they'd like to sometimes. (Thankfully, I didn't fall during the ride!)

I suffer two days a year for people who suffer every day of their lives. And my hope is that one of these years, those people won't have to suffer any more.

One of these years, we'll be riding to celebrate the cure instead of riding to find it.


And I have a feeling that that ride won't be painful at all.


You can learn more, donate, or watch the video about my mom's MS here!