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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Six Word Saturday

cure for feeling overwhelmed - porch time



Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit.  Or I visit everyone. Or even numbered entries. Or odd numbered entries. Or multiples of three. Depends on what's going on that week.  In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Breaking

I didn't sleep last night. The wheels wouldn't stop spinning and I did far too much thinking.

I've decided I'm taking a break because I'm feeling really out of sorts and I can sense that I'm struggling to keep my head up. I'm not sure for how long but I'm feeling like it might be a week or so away from the blog (Six Word Saturday will still happen) and a big cut back on Twitter. Unless I decide it would be more therapeutic to blog about it all, in which case probably all of you will want to take a break from me.

In a somewhat related story, May is Mental Health Month. Check out their site for information on how to help yourself and how to support the 1 in 4 adults who suffer from a diagnosable and treatable mental health condition.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Six Word Saturday

Rapture today? Will scrub toilets tomorrow.



Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit.  Or I visit everyone. Or even numbered entries. Or odd numbered entries. Or multiples of three. Depends on what's going on that week.  In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Friday, May 20, 2011

What's on Draft? (Link-up Day)

A week or so ago, I mentioned doing a link-up to share what's in our draft folders if enough people were interested. Since a few of you replied, I'm going to go ahead. Today's the day!

My own draft folder currently holds 37 posts. I'm just sharing a screenshot of the first 25.



I have no idea what some of these were supposed to be about. Some have actually been posted under other names (like Snakes on a Plane in San Francisco). There's an emergency "Six Word Saturday" post, just in case I completely forget to set it up the night before. And a post about "boobs".

I don't know if any of these will ever be blessed with the "publish" button. Probably a lot of them need the "delete" button instead.

Now it's your turn, because I know some of you have much more interesting draft folders. Just take a screenshot or type out what's in your draft folder. You can either share it in the comments or post it on your own blog. If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the appropriate post. Links back to this post are appreciated!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thoughts on Online Friends





 


Are you tired of hearing about my trip to Texas yet? Don't worry, I'm finally almost out of Texas stories. Very soon, I'll start with posts about visiting our family up north! You're welcome!

While in Texas, I finally "met" a couple of my online friends. The first I've known for five years. We met in an internet chatroom. Not THAT kind of chatroom. Geesh. The second is someone I've met through this blog and I've known now for a couple of years. Some of Joe's family thought that was a little weird, that I considered them friends even though we had never really met each other. You know how that works to those that don't live and breathe blogs and twitter.

Anyways, this is the first time I've met up with online friends in person and didn't feel extremely anxious. There was a point when it was strange to me to have shared so much personal information back and forth and then finally meet in person. People can be very different in the flesh! And yet I've never had a bad experience with the in-person meet-up. I always go for a public location and make sure the husband knows where I am and when to expect to hear back from me. (Note to self: make sure to turn phone ON, otherwise husband will text and call and start being concerned when that you aren't answering when you are so chill that you just hang out for longer than planned.)

So back to Texas - I wasn't nervous. And I realized that part of my issue with making friends through more traditional circumstances is that I always feel like I invest a lot into the relationship and by the time I'm comfortable sharing about who I really am, maybe that freaks them out and they no longer want to be friends with the anxious paranoid girl with self-esteem issues and no job. The best part of my online friends is that I'm able to throw all of that out there right up front. "Hi, I'm Cate, and I'm heavily medicated." By the time we get around to meeting in-person, I don't have to worry about putting on a mask to woo you into being my friend and then being afraid later that you won't like the "real" me.

I wish I could be more open and honest in my day-to-day life. If I could really just own it, it would do me a world of good. But in the meantime, I really cherish those of you who have become my friends over the years, sharing all of your deep secrets with me and allowing me to share mine with you. It makes that first hug when we finally meet-up mean so much more. And that's awesome.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Odds and Ends from Texas

We had so many experiences in Texas and not all of them are enough for their own post so let's tidy up those loose ends here.
  1. You haven't lived until you've heard a six year old randomly sing "Crazy Train" - Ozzy Osbourne tunes should be a staple for all breakfasts.
  2. Despite considering ourselves experienced travelers, we did not pack a single piece of clothing with long sleeves. We had one day in Austin with rain, wind, and a high temp of 52. Lesson learned.
  3. I have discovered my hidden talent for dodging flying ketchup.
  4. A good sign that I'm among my kind of people? A nice long discussion about books that ended with the generous gifting of three books I can't wait to dig into! And not a sci-fi in the batch.
  5. iPads make great flashlights.
  6. Some people (and kids) are exactly the same in person as they are online.
  7. I learned that the reason some ice cream is better than others is because of "fresh cows". As in - "of course the ice cream is amazing, they have all those fresh cows right in the field out back!" And this gem came from one of the adults. Love it!
  8. Kids will insist that they love tobacco sauce, even once you explain that they probably mean tabasco.
It really was a great trip. Joe's family was very welcoming and put me immediately at ease (no simple task!). The friends I met up with were lovely and not axe-murderers. And Austin and Houston both moved up on our list of cities we would be comfortable relocating to if a work opportunity should present itself.

Next week, I'll start sharing some stories about last weekend's trip to visit our families in NY. And then, I'm refusing to leave the house until at least August.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Driving in Texas

When Joe visited his cousins twenty years ago, he wasn't old enough to drive. On this trip, we rented a little car, mostly so we could make the drive to Austin and back. Since we weren't familiar with the area, Joe packed our GPS.

Here's how a GPS works - you put in an address, it tells you how to get there. It's up to the driver of the vehicle to actually do what it says. If the driver fails to do so (what, turn HERE??!!?), you don't get where you're going and the GPS gets all snitty because of all the "recalculating." Also, I'm pretty sure that "recalculating" is GPS-speak for "you are such a freaking moron, you should pay better attention!"

So Joe spent a lot of time making the GPS angry. Eventually, I think it was just giving us crazy directions to see if he would actually listen. Things like - get on the highway. Get off the highway. Okay, get back on the highway. And then I think it laughed at us.

The ultimate maneuver from the GPS came on the drive back to Houston to catch our flight. The GPS told us to exit at the next ramp. Joe listened, for once, and in the process ran over a huge dead dog with the rental car.
me: Holy crap, what was that?
Joe: A dog. It was already dead.
me: You didn't see it?
Joe: I was just following directions!!!
me: I didn't hear the GPS tell you to run over a dog.
Joe: The GPS said to exit there!
Fortunately, there was no damage to us or the rental car (or the already-dead dog, though JoeJohnston still felt bad for hitting it). And Joe will probably never listen to the GPS ever again.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dinner of Champions

One of the yummiest meals we had in Texas was at Chuy's. If you ever have a chance to eat there, try the creamy jalapeno dressing. Try it on salad, on tortillas, dip in it, roll in it, bathe in it. It's THAT good. You'll thank me.

On our second night in Austin, we weren't really feeling like going out. It had been a long, cold, rainy day and we decided to get some wine and hang out in the hotel room. This is the night the power went off. This is also a night that the GPS had its way with us. And this is the night that we ate the Dinner of Champions.

First, we went in search of wine. Joe ignored the GPS for awhile and we finally ended up at an HEB (grocery store) in a not-so-great part of town. Twice we were asked by other shoppers for cash because they didn't have enough money for their purchases. (Protip: put the beer back before you ask me for money.)

Once we had purchased our wine, we made our way back to the safety of our glorious Super 8, stopping next door at Jack in the Box. Add our new purchases to our Chuy's leftovers and you get our Dinner of Champions:



And yes, we DID drink wine out of paper Super 8 cups. Totally keeping it classy.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Six Word Saturday

too much waiting; need a plan


sorry for the lateness - blogger ate the post and im fixing from my phone. Hope this works now!

Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit.  Or I visit everyone. Depends on what's going on that week.  In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday the 13th

Are you superstitious? Does Friday the 13th scare you? Because I'm going to tell you a REALLY scary Friday the 13th story. Ready?

Are you sure you're ready?

You might want turn all the lights on and grab your wubby!!!

Here's the scary story. Today is Friday the 13th. I am on a plane (with JoeJohnston) going to see my family. Brother, sister, niece, nephew, mom, dad, gramma, in-laws. The whole bunch.

THE END.

What, you aren't scared? Because I'm TERRIFIED!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Formality

We stayed with one of Joe's cousins while in Houston. His cousin's name is also Joe, because despite approximately 19 male cousins (this is not an exaggeration - think large Irish Catholic family), there are only about five acceptable names. This leads to a lot of overlap and so they must find ways to distinguish between people, especially for the kids.

Apparently in this case, Joe's cousin decided to introduce my Joe (see, it's confusing already!) by both his first and last name. The six-year-old boy caught onto that immediately. "Hi, JoeJohnston, my name's JimMurphy." And for the rest of the weekend, and forevermore, I have decided I will always call my husband JoeJohnston. It's all one word, sort of like when Phil on "Amazing Race" talks about "aracearoundtheworld." Are you leaving today, JoeJohnston? Can I sit by you, JoeJohnston? Goodbye, JoeJohnston! Listen to me count to one hundred, JoeJohnston, without even getting tired! I think JoeJohnston is at the door!

Little JimMurphy is a bit on the wild side. He's the child we will remember for singing "Crazy Train" at the top of his lungs during breakfast. He's also the child that literally set fire to their house by playing with matches. (This was before we visited - nobody was injured but there was a lot of damage.) I mean, you always hear about kids starting fires by playing with matches but have you ever actually known of a case where that happened? Because after meeting JimMurphy, suddenly it seems VERY plausible. And it was also fitting that JimMurphy became so possessive of JoeJohnston, since JoeJohnston himself has done community service at the fire station for an incident involving bottle rockets and a dry field.

But JimMurphy is a good kid. He comes with a twin sister who claimed me as HER Cate. Twins, I can't escape them. It's always reassuring to me when youngsters seem to like me. I'm just not sure if it's reassuring that I might some day be good with a kid of my own or if it's just reassuring me that I'm right in thinking most children have very bad judgment. Either way, the whole herd of kids was a blast to be around the entire weekend and a lot of our best memories from Houston will be associated with the 12 and under crowd.

And, by the way, I am CateJoeJohnston. Pleased to meet you.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Semi-Super 8

For Joe, TripAdvisor.com is his travel bible. Hotel? Restaurant? Things to do? We make no moves until we consult with TA. So when booking our room for the Austin part of our trip, we booked at the #2 hotel in Austin, the Super 8 Austin Airport, South.

It had been years since we last stayed at a Super 8 and it's not usually high on our list of preferred accommodations but considering the reviews and the price ($220 all-inclusive for 3 nights), we decided to go for it. After a quick search, I even found a coupon for a free upgrade that landed us in the "Business Suite."

The location was fine. It wasn't right in the thick of the action, but it wasn't too far away. It was near a major highway so downtown was very accessible. The rooms weren't necessarily luxurious but they were clean, functioning, and safe. Every morning, a nice little breakfast buffet (as long as someone doesn't eat all the bacon before you wander downstairs) and each evening, chocolate chip (coconut-free) cookies!

But on the first morning, the bedside alarm went off at 6am. I'm not sure if this was an alarm the previous guest had set and house keeping did not UNset, or if this was an unadvertised "amenity" in the business suite. Either way, I managed to throw the clock across the room silence the alarm and go back to sleep for a bit.

Due to the low rates, it's possible that the hotel did not pay their electric bill. Or maybe there was a murderer on the loose. One dark and stormy quiet evening as we prepared to watch a little tv on the laptop before bed, the power went out. At Motel 6, they'll leave the light on for you. At Super 8? Not guaranteed. "No worries," said the front desk. Also, no ETA on power restoration. I brushed my teeth by the glow of candlelight iPad and called it a night.

The only other odd thing I noticed about the hotel was that they located the "business suite" right next door to the "family suite" - in what world does that make any sense? Also, don't those children EVER sleep? And are there about forty of them over there, judging by the noise?  Or maybe a herd of obese hyenas?

Overall, it wasn't a bad hotel. I don't know if we'd stay there on a return trip, but nobody stabbed me to death in the shower so I consider it a win.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Bad Handshake

I'm going to start sharing some stories from our recent trip to Texas. I met a million of Joe's cousins and their kids plus a friend of mine in Houston, then we met another friend in Austin and just did some random wandering around. By the time I run out of Texas stories, I should be back from a trip to see our families in NY/PA and hopefully I'll have tales to tell from that trip. If we're lucky, these stories will not involve breaking any babies.

They say you can tell a lot about a person by their handshake. I've always been very proud of mine - I think it's firm and shows that I am not some weak little girl. After spending years working in IT and in government, I liked to think that my handshake at least gave me a fighting chance of establishing myself as someone who would not be walked all over.

Then, in Texas, I met a bunch of Joe's cousins. It was a bit overwhelming for little old me with the whole travel anxiety and stranger anxiety and crowd anxiety and my deeply held belief that "family" is the ultimate F-word. Still, I kicked ass and did you all proud. There was no vomiting, no shaking, no sticking my foot too far into my mouth.

Upon introductions, some of the family hugged. Some shook hands. Some knocked over wine glasses with their tales (ok, that might've been the dog). But I hugged and shook and tipped back glasses of wine with the best of them.

Except the ONE cousin. It was like the worst handshake ever. Somehow my thumb ended up inside the handshake with all my other fingers and it was just weird. Not her fault. Not mine. Just a missed handshake. A week later, it's still on my mind. My handshake is awesome, I swear! But now, I'm "strange handshake girl".

Or, maybe I'm just "paranoid girl" or "over-thinking girl" and she didn't even notice. Yeah, entirely possible. But you can be sure that if our paths cross again? She is getting the best handshake EVER!

Monday, May 09, 2011

What's on Draft? A Link-Up

I'll start by confessing that for years I asked what beers a bar had on draft. Thank goodness for homophones so they didn't realize I'm a moron. But when I saw "draught", I thought that was pronounced drought.

But this post isn't really about beer. At least, it wasn't supposed to be. It's supposed to be about the infamous draft folder we all have tucked away in our blogs. That place where great ideas never quite got off the ground. A holding cell for the posts we aren't brave enough to publish. Every so often I like to go through and remove a bunch that I don't think are worth keeping. Like recently, this happened:



No, I have no idea what I was thinking when I punched "new post" and typed that in. There wasn't even any content beyond the title. It's like when you scribble yourself a really important note but then when you find it again later you can't remember what it was about.

I was thinking how fun it might be to take a sneak peak into your draft folders. If a million people anyone is interested, I can set this up as a linky in a few days - just let me know in the comments.

Regardless, I'll post my draft folder soon. It's an interesting place sometimes, inside my head.

The What's on Draft? link-up will happen on May 20th! Come back that day to share and poke around some draft folders!

P.S.And now I see that both draught AND draft are acceptable when referring to beers. So I've confessed to being stupid with no real purpose.
P.P.S. And also Joe has informed me that it makes more sense all around to ask what's on tap. Brilliant.
P.P.P.S I swear I was sober when I wrote this post.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Six Word Saturday

Texas was awesome, going "home" next



I'm just catching my breath between trips. Joe's currently in FL and next weekend we'll be visiting family back "home" in NY and PA.  


Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit.  Or I visit everyone. Depends on what's going on that week.  In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Thursday, May 05, 2011

I'm Back!

Oh, blog and bloggy friends, how I have missed you!!! I've returned from an amazing trip to Texas and I have so many adventures to share. Pages and pages of notes for random crap inspired stories.

Just give me a chance to catch my breath and I promise lots of new posts next week. Maybe one tomorrow. Plus, technically today is First Fursday and it's possible that the fur-freaks have queued up a post while I was away.

So glad to be back!

P.S. REWARD OFFERED! If anyone caught the description and/or plate number of the allergy truck that ran me over in the Houston airport yesterday, I will send you seven hundred forty-six MEELION dollars all the cat hair you can eat.

P.P.S. A girl goes away for a few days and Blogger changes stuff. Why are my labels on the left? What's this "location" thing? My location is undisclosed, psychos!

P.P.P.S. Anyone know where I can buy a kid-sized pink or purple bandana?

P.P.P.P.S To the person who left a comment about grabbing a drink in Houston: I just saw your message now. Dammit!