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fast food, flowers, and rabbits

  One of my simple pleasures these days is frozen strawberry lemonade from McDonalds. I love them. I wish I had one right now. But there’s one thing that really irks me. When you go through the drive-through at the local McDonalds, they say, “Would you like to try a (insert latest product)? (no time to answer) May I take your order?” When they started doing this some time ago, I would actually answer the first question because that seems like the polite thing to do, right? But then I got wise to their ways and just ignored them and went straight into my order. But I never actually wanted what they were trying to promote. Now their latest and greatest item is their strawberry lemonade. And that’s exactly what I want. So it’s a little awkward now when I try to answer their first question and just end up interrupting their second question. Then we’re all confused. Or I just wait until the end of their speech and say, “No thanks. I’ll just have a strawberry lemonade.”  I wish they would quit it.

 And while we’re on the topic of fast food, I’m a big fan of Sheetz. Mostly because they give you a very edible 6 inch sub for a mere pittance. So I was in there one time this week and punched in my selection, went to the cashier and paid my 2 dollars and 11 cents, and waited. “559!” the lady hollered. That’s my number. I retrieve my bag, peek inside, and what do I see but 12 beautiful inches of submarine sandwhich goodness. I opened my mouth to inform the “chef” of the mistake, but she was already gone. I would have had to yell across the room. I stood there several moments contemplating the most integrous (it is a word if you look in the right dictionary. I like it.) move. What should I do with the extra 6 inches of sub that I didn’t pay for? If I informed them of the error, they would either tell me to keep it or just throw it in the trash. It’s not like they could sell it to someone else. After all, these things are made to order, and I have special preferences. It’s not likely that someone else would choose my exact, tasty combination (pesto and honey mustard, anyone?). And the lady does not look like she’s in the mood to be told of a mistake. Seeing no better option, I turned and walked to my car toting my footlong. I don’t feel guilty. Maybe that’s why I felt the need to confess to world wide web.

  My flower beds are not doing well. I faithfully plant and water, but things just aren’t growing. Except the weeds. They’re growing just fine. I planted a couple things that I was really looking forward to. I don’t remember what they are called. Well, the rabbits didn’t think it was good enough to eat all my kohlrabi (the chicken wire has been very affective), so they lopped off the tops of these flower plants as well. There’s also some very nice, mature perennials that were planted before we moved in. I was delighted with the flowering beauties that I didn’t have to baby into bloom. Well, now they’re almost all squashed flat right in the middle. Apparently, rabbits like to lay in the things they don’t like to eat. So you would think I would be thrilled when I discovered in my flower bed, a nest of at least three baby bunnies. I could swiftly and painlessly end three future problems. But that just wasn’t happening. Baby bunnies are as cute as they come. And it’s not their fault that their mom and pop (aunts, uncles, cousins) destroy my flowers. So the bunnies lived. The next morning, however, they were gone. Perhaps a hawk or something took care of the problem for us. Now about the rest of the rabbit family…


blogging again

It’s without need of note that I haven’t been doing so well at this whole blogging thing. I even had to reset my password getting in today because I couldn’t remember it. But there has been a recent and significant change in my life. I got internet access in my own home. So without further ado, this blog continues.

Spring is here, and I don’t remember ever enjoying it so much. I drive down the road, and simple things like a lilac bush in someone’s yard or bright red tulips that aren’t even mine just make me all happy. Usually when spring time comes around, I’m still a little bit bitter that winter is over. I know that most of you can’t even fathom such a sentiment, but that’s okay. I guess this year I deemed Pennsylvania’s winter sufficient. As though I was the judge or something. I’ve been getting a real charge out of the weekly farmers market. It’s been taking more than one heavily laden trip to my car for me to stow all my purchases. Then I go home and poke around in the dirt for hours to get everything planted. I was pretty excited about my tiny little garden (actually, Jesse and I have agreed to call it a “vegetable patch” because it’s so small. That seems a more respectable term for such a dignified little patch of soil.) I had planted some kohlrabi that was looking just fine. Well, one day I go out to my gard– vegetable patch, and what do I see but all my kohlrabi mowed off right to the ground. Impressed I was not! I went inside and exclaimed to Jesse, “Blasted rabbits!”
“Let’s blast those rabbits,” he replied. He sort of likes to shoot things.
“Yeah! Let’s!”
“Don’t have a rabbit blaster.” So we put up chicken wire instead. Just you try to eat my kohlrabi now, you bothersome bunnies!

   The place where I work is hiring a new consultant in Arizona. He flew in this week to meet everyone and stuff. His name is Harry. So sometimes as the mood strikes, my boss will buy lunch for everyone. This day it was pizza. So we’re getting ready to devour the food, and Harry says, “Do you guys say grace?” Everyone stopped. I think all of us are at least professing Christians, but we never pray before we eat. Not sure why. “Go ahead,” one of the other consultants responded. So we all bowed our heads as Harry thanked God for our food. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
I was so impressed, encouraged, and maybe a little convicted, too. He had never even met us before that day, didn’t know of our religious routines, but he wasn’t afraid to speak up. I want to be like that.

   Coming up next is a beach outing with three lovely ladies that I grew up with at least since high school. And one baby that we’re hoping likes the beach and doesn’t scream all night ( my ear plugs are purchased). Then it’s off to Michigan for a family reunion. It feels like I haven’t been out of the state in forever. We’ve been getting sort of antsy to travel somewhere. Hopefully this series of short trips will cure us for at least a few weeks.

   And that’s all for now. Bye.

I fall asleep to the sound of rain. I awake to the sound of rain. I love it. I’m expecting that it will rain every day outside my mansion in heaven because I like it so much. It gives me a warm, contented, happy feeling. But then, I’m occasionally reminded, I don’t have to work in it. I’d be okay with at least being able to see it at my job. I’m holed up in a basement without windows. But I am not complaining. How could I complain? I mean, I’m here today writing on my blog and getting paid to do it. The last two days of “work” have consisted mostly of reading books, listening to music, and messing around on the computer. I occasionally arise to answer the phone, do a small task, or make myself a cup of coffee. Very stressful. But before you all line up at the door to drop off your resume, this only happens once or twice a year. I actually have to do some fairly unfun things here at times.

So Red Robin makes the best burgers in the world. I’m willing to be proven wrong but so far I haven’t. But I’ve had this problem pretty much ever since they put that Red Robin on the strip. I tasted the Banzai Burger, and that was it. I would be there and determine within my heart to try something else. So I would open my mouth to order. “I’ll have the Banzai burger,” I hear myself say as though I’m controlled by something else. Well, we were there again one night last week. I took control of the situation and ordered their new Mt. Olympus burger featuring feta cheese. Oh, boy…(she closes her eyes in blissful memory)…. All manner of Greek goodness packed into a hamburger. It even give the Banzai a run for its money. You have to order it special. It’s not on the menu. I don’t know why. I dare you to try it. Yummmmmmmmmmmmm.

I’m reading the first book of the A.D. Chronicles by Bodie & Brock Thoene. I’m a fan of Bodie, but I always said that Brock ruined her writing. He should stick to the research. But I think I’ve either been proved wrong or found an exception. This book is very captivating. It’s set around the time of Jesus’ ministry, but Jesus isn’t the main character in the book. The main characters are the people around Him. But it’s fascinating to think of who Jesus is through the eyes of the blind man healed, a shepherd who was in the fields the night He was born, even those who wanted Him dead. It’s just a novel; someone with an education in history imagining how it might have been. It’s not gospel, but it brings me to consider who Jesus is to me. In a way, I’m one of those people in the story. They were real and had to make a choice about how they were going to respond to Him, as do I.

So we’re sort of half-heartedly trying to sell the motorcycle. You see, we really like it, but for practical and financial purposes, it should probably go. Someone called and was coming today to look at it. They never showed up. I was sort of glad. It’s shiny. It’s fun. And it’s LOUD! So, you know, if anyone wants a motorcycle….

Speaking of the said motorcycle, we decided to take it to the Grange Fair. We thought that was one of the true cultural experiences of living in Centre County. And we’re all about culture. So we took the bike. So we wait, wait, wait to get up to the gate. We get through and they usher us to front row parking, then tell us how they’ll make sure that nothing happens to the bikes. Kind of like royalty. It made me feel sort of the same way as I do when I go blasting through the EZ-Pass. I was later told of someone who also came to the fair, drove around for twenty minutes looking for a parking spot, and finally gave up and went home. In that case, the motorcycle was very practical.
Another cultural experience we had was the Festival of our own town. When we tell people where we live, the reaction is often one of awe. “Whoah! Cool! Do you live close to the camp?” Yes, actually, we’re serenaded many summer nights by crashing skateboards. But the image that most people have of Woodward was far, far from the one portrayed at the festival. It was sort of like the county fairs you might read about in a little town one hundred years ago. Little wooden sheds with one bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling housed classic competitions such as ring toss and bingo. Hot dogs and ice cream were sold from similar sheds. A local country band twanged from the stage. It was great. I liked it.

I think I might have the best boss around. One random Friday, he comes into the office and says, “Today’s wing day!” and passes around a menu for everyone to pick a flavor. Now you must understand that hot wings are one of my favorite foods of all times. It’s one of those things that has stayed with me from my two years spent in Canada. So you can imagine my delight and glee at the prospect of wing day (on the company card, of course). I ate way more wings than anyone else did, I think.

 The Amish fish fry wasn’t scary at all. Quite relaxed, actually. Oh, and my peach dessert was the best one there. Don’t mean to brag or anything. I’m just saying.
And speaking of my cooking skills or lack thereof, it may surprise some of my past acquaintances greatly to know that I have come to actually enjoy the duty of cooking. (insert shocked gasps) I remember being laughed to scorn because I had to use a recipe to make rice-krispi treats. Well, not that much has changed. I still use directions for things like cooking potatoes, hard boiling eggs, and making rice-krispi treats. I’m not ashamed of it. But I’ve reached the conclusion that you are better off if you didn’t really learn to cook before you got married. I hear seasoned cooks in their twenties say how they struggle to make anything different. They just keep going back to the same old boring recipes because they’re easy. Well, I’m not even tempted to do that because I don’t know how to make the old boring stuff either. So everything I make is new and exciting. In the six months that we’ve been married, I’ve only repeated a dish a handful of times. Teach a young girl to cook, and you take away the enjoyment of it for later when she actually needs the skill. “If you can read, you can cook,” I always said. Turns out it’s true.
That’s my theory. I think it’s a pretty good one.

How did it get to be August so fast? I don’t understand. Time – it slips through your fingers like money.

 My excuse for the extended period of non-postage this time is vacation. One and a half glorious, sleep-in-til-10-get-up-and-play-Settlers, relaxing weeks. ‘Twas grand.

 This post’s product review is inspired by our recent trip. Everyone who likes to travel and even some who don’t should just go ahead and invest in EZ-Pass. For years I’ve gazed in wonder and longing at the cars that go zooming past the long lines at toll booths. A mere tap on their breaks, and they’re on their way. Wow! So Chicago is particularly notorious for toll booths. The best way to get to Minnesota is straight through Chicago. So one day we stopped at one of those neat little plazas going over the road, we did. And we bought us an I-Pass. Now I wonder, “Why oh WHY……..did we wait so long?” Now I cackle with glee as I go zooming past all the ignorant. Not only am I saving time, I’m also saving 50% of my money! I love it. You will, too.

On our way home, we stopped for the night in Madison, Wisconsin. We were waiting for the elevator to lower us to the lobby. As we stood there, we were absent-mindedly reading the signs posted on the wall. One of them said, “In case of fire, use stairs.”
“Where are the stairs?” Jesse asked.
“Who cares,” I thought.
(Fast forward several hours) I’m taking a shower when I hear a loud buzzing. It will go away. It doesn’t. “What’s that noise?” I holler. I turn the shower off and listen. Above the piercing alarm, I hear panicked footsteps and voices in the hall. A mad scrambling then ensued to prepare for rapid departure. We’re on the fourth floor. And we don’t know where the stairs are! My heart was seriously picking up speed when the alarm stopped. The panic in the halls was replaced with relieved laughter. As it turned out, some well-meaning child had pulled the fire alarm. False alarm. But I learned something: Always be aware of your available escape route.

 Now we’ve been back to the work and the heat for a week. Tonight, we get to go to an Amish fish fry. I’ve never been to an Amish fish fry before. I’m supposed to take a dessert. That is somewhat daunting to me considering that the Amish are particularly renowned for their good cooking. I am not so much. I thought about just stopping by the grocery store and picking something up. Then at least if it’s gross, I wouldn’t have been responsible. But then I said to myself, I said, “No way! I can do better than that!” So I will. I hope.

 I recently received a verbal spanking from my family for not posting in the last week or so. I’m ever so repentant, but frequently run into a problem. Whenever I’m around internet access, it seems that I have a million other things to do. They, of course, had as many rebuttals as I had arguments for not posting. I guess they’re right. So this leads me to where I am today – sitting in the playground area of a local McDonald’s. I’m in the kids’ sections because it was much quieter. The only problem is the music.

The rain has been beautiful. On Friday night, I went outside and stood in it for a while. I loved the rain on several fronts. For one thing, I love rain most any day. It makes me happy. For another thing, the earth was parched. The crops weren’t growing, from the fields of corn and hay to my little tiny weedy garden. The grass was brown and crunchy. Also it was just hot! I’m not much for complaining about the weather. Of all the things there are to complain about, I think the weather is one of the dumbest. After all, who are you going to blame? But. The heat that has been pressing on us for the last week has tempted me sorely. Actually, I yielded a time or two. If you would give me a choice of all weather conditions, I might choose heat above tornadoes and hurricanes but nothing else. I hate it. But who’s complaining?

 Has anyone around here been to the new ice cream shop called Lickety Split? I was overjoyed when I was informed that Penn State Creamery ice cream was sold right in the town where I work. Peachy Paterno, I believe, is the best ice cream I have ever eaten. So that’s my product review. I’m sure they would be thankful for the free advertising I just gave. I wonder if there’s a way I could get free ice cream out of the deal. Hmm….

 My husband is on a three-game winning streak in Settlers. I’m tired of it. Some time ago, I thought maybe I should just quit playing Settlers. It seemed that I had to make an apology after every game. Being a Christian during a Settlers game was getting harder and harder. Jesse and I had our first fight over a Settlers game before we were married. I think I’ve mostly conquered that hurdle of the game, because I can honestly say that Jesse’s winning streak has made no blip in our domestic tranquility. Now if I could just win a game again.

 Now I can’t wait to see if anyone still reads this. My family made it sound like I would loose all my following if I let it go more than a few days between posts. We’ll see.

I miss it

 So Xanga used to be the thing. Everyone and their cousin had it. Then Facebook took over. And I got sucked right in with everyone else. Xanga was cool. Facebook was cooler. But is it? Don’t get me wrong. I like Facebook. I like to find out what everyone is eating, what the weather is doing in their part of the world, and when exactly they decide to take a nap. It’s all very fascinating. But I lost something when I let my Xanga site slip into oblivion. I lost part of my brain! Now, it didn’t actually go anywhere that I know of, but it did cease to function. I lost touch with the writer withing me. I stopped thinking like a writer. Writing, to me, was more than something I did for fun-  it was the way I took in the world around me. Everything that happened to me was processed through the writer. When I stopped writing, I quit thinking like that. Things that I would have otherwise taken note of go slipping right past my notice. I think my vocabulary has changed, too. Writing cause me to look for new and better ways to say things. I had these friends who also liked to use big words. After we would use a particularly lengthy word, we would say, “I’ll be that’s not in the average high schooler’s vocabulary.” I don’t talk like that anymore. I miss thinking like that. I miss talking like that. I’m tired of the little things in life passing me by. Because after all, life is mostly made up of little things. I want to experience life like a writer.

So. I’m reaching a conclusion. Here it is: I’ll start another blog. Maybe no one will read it, but I’ll do it more for my own good. I hope someone reads it, but that’s not so much the point. A lot of things have changed since my Xanga days, two of them being the lack of high speed at my residence and the lack of free time parked in front of a computer. Hence, the posts may be a bit sporadic. But we’ll see what happens. Come along if you like.