Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Good" morning

I am not normally a morning person. I don't roll out of bed with a "let's take on the day" attitude. I don't wake up wanting to sing and whistle and celebrate the fact that I'm awake. I usually prefer silence and solidarity in the morning. It isn't until I've gotten ready and driven 40 minutes to work that I am finally ready to be social and get on with my day.

Today, however, I woke up with a lot of energy, relatively speaking. I still snoozed the alarm clock but only 4 times as opposed to 8. I knew I was heading in for a 12 hour day and I was ready to "take it on." After I was finished getting ready (we're talking hair, make up, skirt, the whole nine yards - not normally part of my every day routine, either), I grabbed my phone and was about to walk out the door when I noticed several missed calls, a few voicemails and a text message saying the school was closed for the day due to a broken water pipe. If I would have found this information out at 5:52 am, when I received the first phone call that I didn't hear because my phone was on vibrate and when I was still very tired and in sleep mode, this would have been pretty amazing news! Guess I'm going to have to get out of the habit of leaving my phone on vibrate in the morning.

But since I was already up and ready to go, I didn't find this news exciting at all and planned on just going in to work anyway. We have an event tonight at 6:30 which is still taking place so I have to get there eventually and I have lots I could and need to be doing. However, I was informed that the water in the school is shut off and there are no working "facilities" to use and was cautioned about coming in before the problem was fixed. Those of you who know me well know that this is a big problem for me. I can't be in an environment without a working bathroom! By the time I would get to work after my 40 minute drive, I would have to go already!

So I decided I would catch up on some work emails from home when I heard one of the animals gagging. I assumed it was Sadie since she's been throwing up all over my house for a solid week now. When I came around the corner and saw that it was Grady, I didn't even have time to think about what he could possibly be throwing up before I saw a pair of my underwear come out of his mouth. I happened to be on the phone with Pat at the time, letting him know about the work situation. When I told him what had just happened, he said "Oh good. I'm so glad you were home." I was thinking the exact opposite. Why did I have to be home for this? Pat then asked, "where did Grady find the underwear?" My answer was the same as it always is, I have NO IDEA!

I can tell you where he DIDN'T find them. He didn't find them on the floor, in an overnight bag or in any place that he has easy access. Where he could have found them was in the laundry basket, that we keep behind closed doors in the bathroom closet or they could have dropped from the dirty clothes when one of us was carrying them down to the basement and he grabbed them then, either scenario would require Grady to be very quick and extremely sneaky, which he continues to prove time and time again that he can be both.

Regardless of where or how he found them, I thought we were past this stage. We haven't had an incident since June and I was finally starting to restock my underwear drawer after all the pairs I've had to throw away. Much to Pat's chagrin, once a pair of underwear have gone through my dogs digestive tract, I refuse to wear them again, no matter how hard he tries to clean them and pretend like nothing happened. He obviously doesn't give me enough credit. Don't you think I would notice that the underwear that were once blue are now green and have holes in them?

So now that the underwear have been thrown away and the puke has been cleaned up, I am sitting here twiddling my thumbs waiting for the call telling me that I can come to work and start checking some items off my to do list. Believe it or not, cleaning up my dog's throw up containing a pair of my underwear never made it to my to do list for the day. Although, I just might add it to the list so I can at least cross something off!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A couple that assembles furniture together, stays together

No, I'm not mocking prayer. I believe a couple who prays together stays together too, but honestly, in my brief 15 months of marriage and five-year relationship with Pat, I have learned this much: assembling furniture and putting up tents are two of the very most challenging situations for our relationship. I don't blame either of us for this fact, I blame the people in China who build the furniture and I blame the people in America who claim they "tested all the parts" and who write those poor excuses for assembly instructions.

The old adage, "a picture speaks a thousand words" does not hold true with assembly manuals, in my humble opinion. You may think your little picture with screws, arrows and parts are clear and concise, but we strongly disagree!

I should point out, that Pat did the majority of the heavy lifting with this project. I was only called downstairs when the manual said "assistance required," (which ironically were the only words ever printed in the entire manual!). I offered my assistance from the very start but we didn't even make it through page one before I was kindly (actually it wasn't very kindly, now that I think about it) asked to return upstairs until my "assistance was required."

I have to applaud Pat, though, for asking me to go upstairs so he could work through his frustrations with the piece of furniture alone. And to be honest, I was quite happy to accept the offer. I didn't want any part of the project but only offered my assistance to be a "team player" and try to help with what I could see would be a very long project (28 pages to be exact).

Yes, I knew it would be a long project but I don't think either one of us anticipated the assembly of our new TV stand to take two days (and still not quite finished as I'm writing this). But neither one of us anticipated the parts being faulty, the holes not aligning right and new holes needing to be drilled, etc. Some would say that when you pick the cheapest TV stand in the entire store, that this is to be expected. I say buying a TV stand off of Craigslist that is already assembled is looking better and better!

We are making progress though, the Robinson duo that is. The last time we assembled a piece of furniture together, a hammer was thrown - not in my direction (or angrily "dropped" as Pat likes to refer to it). This time nothing was "dropped" and there was no swearing or angry words exchanged (with the exception of a few shrewd remarks - coming from both directions if I'm being honest). Just a tension in the air that you could cut with a knife.

I have to believe that we are not alone in this and that other couples, too, find the process of assembling furniture to be one of extremely high stress and tension. I believe a few things will help us down the road: buying expensive furniture that is delivered to your home already assembled, buying cheap furniture that comes with better instructions and working parts, buying already assembled, used furniture on Craigslist and finally, realizing that a request to leave the room is better than staying in the room and fighting. I am now quite comfortable with the role of being an "assistant as required."

And when this stupid piece of furniture is finally finished, I promise to post a pic. In the meantime, here is what it's supposed to look like: stupid TV stand.

UPDATE: As I was getting ready to hit the "Publish Post" button, I heard Pat yell from the basement and thought he was talking to me. When I yelled down to ask him what he said, he answered "Oh, I was just swearing to myself." I stand corrected about there being no swearing. I also might stand corrected about it being a two-day project as our "bedtime" is quickly approaching and it is still not completed.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Forever Young

At the faculty and staff orientation last week, our new principal and assistant principal announced that faculty and staff could wear the uniform polos and khaki pants on Fridays and the school would be providing us with the first polo! I was really excited about this. One less day I have to stand staring aimlessly into my closet in the morning, when my brain isn't functioning well anyway, while I try to decide what to wear that day. I was so excited that I went and paid the $20 to buy a second polo (in my favorite aqua blue) so that I could rotate between the two polos each Friday.

Today we had a pep rally at the school so we were allowed to wear our polos on Thursday (in addition to tomorrow). When I woke up this morning, there was no time wasted on figuring out what to wear. I was excited! That is, until I got dressed. When I was looking at myself in the mirror with my polo shirt tucked into my khakis, something just didn't feel right but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. I'm sure it had something to do with the fact that my shirt was tucked in. I just haven't reached the age where I'm quite comfortable with that.

When I arrived to work this morning, the first co-worker I ran into said "Aww, you look cute in your uniform." Then it hit me. I looked like I was wearing a uniform, not a faculty/staff dress down day outfit! I had just gotten past all the "you look like you could be a student here" comments and then I go and dress just like a student. The day went downhill from there. We had a fire drill and a teacher mistook me for a student and started to ask me why I wasn't standing with the rest of the students. It became a running joke all day. The principal threatened to give me a detention for talking (then I REALLY felt like I was in high school again), another teacher told me I was violating the dress code because I didn't have socks on, etc.

I can take a joke as good as the next guy (no comments from the peanut gallery) and especially when it comes to jokes about my age I should be getting quite used to it! But when I asked people who were picking on me, what grade I looked like I was in and most of them said a freshman or sophomore, I quit thinking it was funny! I can't help it that my face is round and my cheeks are chubby. I have tried dying my hair brown and I look albino and unnatural. What do you want from me, people?

So what do you think? How old do I look in my "uniform?" And if you were me, would you try to get your money back on the above polo and never participate in faculty dress down day again?

It's almost time for our favorite serial killer!

I cannot believe that Dexter season five starts one month from Sunday! We do not even have the Showtime channel, but I am confident that we will by September 26th when the season premiers. There is no way we can read everyone's facebook status updates and hear how everyone is so excited about the show and not be able to watch it ourselves. PLUS, we just got our new 52" LED Sharp TV. Can you imagine watching Dexter in 52" of high definition? I can't!

If you're a Dexter junkie like we are (thanks to my dad and and Jill), you may enjoy watching the season 5 trailer below.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Get in the kitchen and make me some: Hummus

Easy Roasted Red Pepper Hummus


  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil


  1. In an electric food processor, combine garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, and lemon juice. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add roasted peppers and basil; process until the peppers are finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer hummus to small bowl, cover and chill until you are ready to serve.

So my new recipe for this week (I know, I've taken a few weeks off) was hummus. I'm not sure how or why I decided I wanted to make my own hummus, but for some reason I started searching for recipes and bought the ingredients on our last trip to the grocery store.

The first recipe I made was just plain hummus. I didn't really like it at all. It tasted very bland and in Pat's words, "it tasted like rotten peanut butter." How is that for an endorsement of my cooking? ha! You can view that recipe here and I'm sure you would be able to put your own twist on it and spice it up a bit!

After my disappointment with the first hummus recipe, I turned to Facebook to get some feedback from people about their favorite kinds of hummus. Several people recommended roasted red pepper hummus. So I (well actually, Pat) bought a jar of roasted red bell peppers and I put the hummus I had previously made back into the blender and added two roasted red bell peppers and the basil. You would not believe the difference it made! The dip is delicious and I highly recommend the recipe!

The tahini sauce (which is both disgusting in looks and smell, in my opinion) is located in the ethnic aisle at Giant Eagle and only comes in one large bottle, costing about $6. I was a little hesitant to buy it knowing I wouldn't even need that much for the recipe. But after how well the hummus turned out, I know we will definitely be making it again! I found the chickpeas (which I also learned is the same thing as Garbanzo beans) in the same ethnic foods aisle. I didn't use whole garlic, I used garlic powder instead (1/8 tsp. for each clove). I'm somewhat embarrassed to say this but I still haven't cooked with real garlic yet! I think I'm intimidated by it because it's so strong and I don't like strong garlic foods (some Italian I am, huh?). And I don't even own a garlic press! (hint, hint Grandma!). Because I started with a different recipe, I only used 1/4 cup of lemon juice so maybe adding that little extra (the 1/3 the recipe calls for) would make it even better! You'll have to try it out and let me know! We had added a little olive oil and paprika to the original recipe (trying to get some more flavor out of it) so you may want to try that too because it tastes perfect just the way it is.

As for the pitas, I bought whole wheat pita wraps and cut them into triangles with a pizza cutter. They taste great but there is 260 calories in one pita! So the next time I make it, I am definitely going to have to find a lower calorie/fat alternative! Any recommendations?

Finally, to answer some one's question about why I am going to all of the trouble to make hummus myself instead of simply buying a pre-made package at the store, I have several reasons. One, I'm a gluten for punishment. I am really trying to become a better cook and this new recipe each week is a great way for me to do that. Also, I am really enjoying trying to make as many things as I can from scratch because then I know exactly what ingredients are going into it! And finally, I think it's cheaper this way.

I can't be sure because I've never bought hummus before, but here is what I spent: $6 for tahini paste (will make at least 10 batches of hummus), $3 for lemon juice (will make many, many batches of hummus), $2.50 for the chickpeas (only makes 1 batch of hummus), $2.50 for the roasted red peppers (will make 2 or 3 batches of hummus). So I spent around $14 for the ingredients and got a HUGE batch of hummus and will only need to buy the chickpeas to make another batch.

The recipe says it makes 2 cups of hummus, but it seems like it made much more than that!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dysfunctional evening at the Robinsons

Play-by-play of the evening at the Robinson household.

5:00 PM: I call Pat on my way home from work. We discuss our plan for dinner and our excitement to actually eat dinner at a decent time since we weren't working out.

5:30 PM: Pat arrives home from work to find a #2 accident in Grady's crate (re-read Oops I crapped my crate again for a refresher of what this is like)

5:40 PM: I am almost in car accident following old woman going 30 MPH while merging onto busy, rush hour highway

5:45 PM: Pat finishes cleaning up Grady's crate accident

5:50 PM: I arrive home and show Pat the birthday gift I got for Leann. I place the box on the dining room table.

5:55 PM: Pat fires up grill to start cooking turkey sausage for the quiche

5:56 PM: Pat realizes we are out of propane

6:00 PM: Pat runs to home depot to get propane, the grocery store to get a missing ingredient for the hummus I was making and to HH Gregg to pick up our back ordered TV stand

6:10 PM: Pat is in checkout line at Home Depot and asks cashier why the propane tank feels so light, she (kindly) responds in her deep, raspy southern voice with, "It's got a blue cap on it. You can go replace it if you want." Pat ignores his gut telling him the tank isn't full and buys it anyway.

6:11 PM: I am sitting at the kitchen table on the computer when I hear Grady chewing something that doesn't sound like a bone. I walk over to investigate and find him eating the box with Leann's birthday gift in it.

6:13 PM: I finish yelling at Grady and return to the computer

6:45 PM: Pat arrives at HH Gregg to pick up our TV stand that was delivered on Sunday.

6:47 PM: HH Gregg manager tells Pat the stand was damaged and they would have to order another one

7:00 PM: Pat returns home with propane tank. He goes to light the tank and realizes we are out of matches.

7:01 PM: Pat calls his dad to find out how heavy a propane tank should feel. He realizes the propane tank is too light.

7:20 PM: Pat returns to Home Depot to replace the propane tank and buy matches.

7:40 PM: Pat arrives home with second propane tank

8:20 PM: Pat finishes grilling turkey sausage

8:21 PM: I start putting the rest of the quiche ingredients together and realize we have no half and half

8:25 PM: Google substitution for half and half

8:35 PM: Place quiche in oven and set timer for 45 minutes

8:40 PM: Take Grady for a quick walk while dinner is cooking

9:00 PM: Hear a loud squealing noise as we walk in the dark. I turn around and try to figure out what the noise was. Grady stepped on a mole on the sidewalk and inured it.

9:03 PM: I finally convince Pat to pick up the mole (with our unused poop bag) and move it to a hiding spot to protect it while it recovers

9:35 PM: The quiche is finally finished and we sit down for a dinner even later than we would have had we gone and worked out

New look for my old blog

Stating the obvious here, but I decided to give my blog a face lift. I have had the same look and feel of my blog for over 5 years and I thought it was time for a change.

You may notice that I also decided to change the title of my blog. Don't get me wrong, I still love that old Calvin and Hobbes quote, but I didn't think it accurately described what I do in this blog. I'm not sure that I can accurately describe what I do on this blog either, but what I can say is that it is my own (often exaggerated)
interpretation of my life. My life as I know it. I hope that you like the new look and title! It almost seems a bit too sophisticated for my often very unsophisticated topics. Oh well. That's my life!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Bucket List

1. Swim with dolphins
2. Go whale watching
3. Visit Hawaii
4. Visit the Grand Canyon
5. Visit Italy
6. Visit Ireland
7. Visit Australia
8. Win the lottery so I can take all of the above trips
9. Master the art of caring when it matters and not caring when it doesn't (and learning to know the difference)
10. Have a family
11. Celebrate a 50th anniversary with Pat
12. Train Grady (or another dog if necessary) to be a therapy dog to take to hospitals and/or nursing homes
13. Find meaningful work that also makes me happy
14. Write/Publish a book

Happy 24th Birthday, Evan!

Today would have been my brother’s 24th birthday. It’s so hard for me to believe he would be that old. I can’t really imagine him being any older than the six year-old boy I remember (the way he looks in this picture is the way I remember him). I wonder if he would be tall, no one in our family is very tall. I wonder if his hair would still be blonde or if it would look more like a dirty blonde or light brown like mine. I wonder where he would have gone to college and what he would have majored in. I wonder if he would have a girlfriend and if I would like her.

On his birthday seven years ago, I went and got this tatoo on my lower back in his memory. Today I wanted to do something in his honor again. So taking Mark's advice of "living like you're dying" and in honor of my brother's life being far too short, I decided to make my very own bucket list.

In my mind, I’ve had a few things I knew I would like to do before I kick the bucket, but I’ve never formally made a list. Watching Mark and his battle with cancer has shown me that you shouldn't wait to be told you are dying to actually live like you are dying. Because the reality is, we're all dying. I don't say that to sound grim, but none of us are going to live forever and if we wait until we are given a reason to make a bucket list, the odds of us actually having enough time left to check off all the items aren't that great. If you know me well, you know I am constantly making lists anyway so it's shocking I haven't already done this.

Since I've never really given the idea of a bucket list too much thought until today, my list is probably going to be short starting out. But I want this to be an ongoing list that I continue to add to and, hopefully, check items off! I'm going to give this list it's very own post so that it's easy to find and easy to update.

I hope that once I write the list, I remember to truly live each day to the fullest. If not for myself, then for my sweet little brother, Evan.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oops I Crapped My Crate

Do you remember the Saturday Night Live skit, Oops I Crapped My Pants? It was always a favorite of mine and I still enjoy it to this day. Check it out if you've never seen it, it will be worth your time.

Pat beat me home from work today, as I was at a hair appointment until 6:30 p.m. When I pulled into our driveway, I immediately noticed the bottom, plastic part of Grady's crate in our driveway. Next I saw the puddles of soapy water and my clean, wet dog. Oops, Grady must have crapped his crate (again). We've been through this song and dance more times than I can count over the last year. You walk in the back door and the smell hits you like a freight train. Next you have to figure out whether or not it's all over him and whether or not he can walk out of the crate or if you have to carry him out of the crate (which is no longer an option for me since he now weighs over 60 pounds).

We've been watching his movements for the past few days, waiting for the wedding invitations to make their "reappearance" and as of last night, still hadn't seen them. While I haven't actually talked to Pat, since he is probably at the YMCA (I'm sure he has some built up aggression to work out after coming home to a *&#@! hole), but if I had to guess at the reason for the accident, the wedding invitations would be my first guess. I know that paper is biodegradable, but in moderation. Also, cardstock is probably on its own playing field as far as the digestive tract goes.

I've never had a dog before with such a sensitive stomach, and in my lifetime, we've had a total of 9 before Grady. But then again, I've never had a dog before that eats such strange things (i.e. socks, underwear, paper, wrappers, plastic lids, sticks, mulch, dirt, etc.). Don't get me wrong, I've seen dogs chew on sticks before. No big deal, right? Maybe for some dogs, but not for Grady.

I took him to work with me last Friday, the last day of the illusive "summer hours" at work, which I soon realized were just some ploy to get me to take the job. Everything was going great. People kept stopping in my office to say hello to me, telling me how well behaved he is for only being one year old. It made me feel so good to hear them say that! I was feeling high and mighty about this well behaved dog we trained until I saw a pile over in the corner. It was about the size of a softball and looked like some nomb was trying to build a campfire in my office. It was a thrown-up pile of sticks! But the sticks were still so big and in such original form that if it weren't for the yellow bile that accompanied them, I wouldn't have known they had ever been through a dog's digestive system. So no, Grady doesn't chew on sticks. He bites them in half and swallows them whole.

I'm not trying to re-write Marley and me or take any of John Grogan's thunder with this blog. Believe me, if I never had to write about Grady's eating habits or bowel movements again, I would be thrilled! But this is the unfortunate reality of my, I mean our, life. Whether I like it or not, taking flashlights out in the backyard at night to inspect Grady's movements is a regular occurrence in this house. We give high fives to each other for healthy stools and console whoever is going to be home from work first the next day when there are unhealthy ones.

So when you feel inclined to ask (again) when Pat and I plan on having kids, please remind yourself, we already have one and he just crapped in his crate (again).

Monday, August 16, 2010

I'm going green, sugar!

So I have been feeling really guilty (thanks to my Mom) about how many plastic bottles Pat and I go through in a week (Bullet Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour! Most of them are thrown away!). Please note, we recycle each and every one of these plastic bottles. I make sure to bring my empty bottles home from work each day to recycle them since the school doesn’t recycle plastic. That being said, we do go through a lot, especially me.

I take a Lipton Lemon Iced Tea in a plastic bottle with me to work every day. I buy a 12 pack of these teas about every other week. My mom and Mark saw some special on TV about how much plastic the country as a whole goes through, and ever since then it has been my mom's personal mission to make sure I am not one of the citizens contributing to this problem. She has brought it up several times and each time I remind her that I do recycle them. It appeases her for the moment but the next time I see them, they bring it up again.

The last time my mom mentioned it (last week), I decided I would actually take her words to heart and think of ways I could still drink my tea without using all the plastic bottles (after all, I like the Earth too!). My first solution was to just buy one big jug of tea that I would then pour into my plastic reusable water bottle every day. But the big jug is made out of plastic too and I'm not convinced that 1 big bottle of plastic is any better than 12 little bottles of plastic. So I went on to plan B: what if I make the tea myself? Now there's an idea! A new challenge in the kitchen... I like it! So I went to the tea isle and bought the Lipton iced tea packets, which as far as going green is concerned, they come in a small box and each tea packet is wrapped in paper and the box itself is wrapped in shrink wrap. BUT, there is no plastic! I bought some lemon juice, that I needed for the hummus recipe I'm also going to try this week and I knew I had plenty of sugar at home.

Last night I made the tea and I think it's delicious, if I do say so myself! In addition to being a more "green" alternative than buying the plastic bottles, it's also much cheaper! I can get several weeks worth of tea out of one box that cost $3.69 at Giant Eagle. I can also get about half a year's worth of tea out of the bottle of lemon juice that I bought. That beats paying $6.00 for twelve bottles of tea!

The only problem I'm facing is the amount of sugar I have to put in the tea to get it to my desired taste. I put 1 cup of sugar in 2 quarts of tea. It didn't seem like a lot until I tried to get my calorie count from the tea. There are 98 calories in 6 teaspoons of sugar, which is about how much sugar is in each 8 ounce serving of the homemade tea. I would really like to find a sugar substitute to use instead so the calorie count will be lower but I'm afraid to use fake sugar. All I hear are negative, scary things about sugar substitutes. I was drinking diet teas and diet pops because of the low-calories but then someone told me diet is actually worse for you because of the fake sugar. So, sugar, what is your opinion? Real sugar with higher calories or finding a sugar substitute? Here is some useful information on sugar substitutes from the Mayo Clinic. I know what you might be thinking, just suck it up and don't use as much sugar. That is an option I am going to consider as well but I'd love to hear your thoughts!

In the meantime, enjoy this appropriate little jingle.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My dog ate your wedding invitation

The last words out of Pat's mouth before we left for the grocery store were, "Did you dog proof the house?" We both walked back into the house to give it one more look. We moved anything made of paper off of the kitchen and dining room tables, we learned the hard way that moving paper into the middle of the tables isn't enough. He has long legs and he knows how to use them. Funny thing is, we have NEVER witnessed him jumping on the counter or our tables. He's at least smart enough not to do it in front of us. We made sure to close the doors to the bedrooms, we all know what he does with socks and underwear. We closed the doors to the bathrooms to prevent him from getting in the trash or the toilet (and he has done both). Finally, we shut the door to the basement just in case he could find any trouble down there.

Feeling quite comfortable with the condition of the house, we left Grady alone while we headed for the grocery store. Neither of us really wanted to go. We'd been cleaning our messy house all day and really just wanted to lay on couch and relax (and watch the PGA Championship if your name is Pat). But we knew we had to go. We had no food for breakfast or lunch tomorrow and I knew I would be working late on Monday. We tried to make the trip quick since neither of us wanted to be there. We were in and out in about 45 minutes, a pretty quick trip for us. But then I remembered I needed to get hangers so we headed to WalMart. Then we went to get some dinner at Penn Station and finally, we headed home. Total time gone was probably about 2 hours when all was said and done.

When we walked in the back door, I asked Grady, "Were you good while we were gone?" We looked around the house and everything appeared to be exactly how we left it. That is, until Pat spotted the little yellow magnet clip that belongs on the refrigerator, located over by the back door. Pat wasn't too alarmed by this, as he wasn't sure whether or not there had been anything in the clip before we left. I, however, was a little more concerned. That afternoon, I spent some time taking old wedding invitations off of the refrigerator to make room for the others and I put two different sets of wedding invitations in that yellow clip and hung it on the lower half of the fridge. It never dawned on me that he would actually take items off of the fridge! One of these days I will learn that anything is possible when it comes to Grady.

Worst case scenario, or so I thought, would be that he chewed up the invites and I might not be able to make out all of the words on them. Since we had closed off all of the bedrooms, bathrooms and the basement, I thought it would be fairly easy to find the remains of the invites. I looked in the kitchen, the dining room, the living room and the hallway and I couldn't find anything. Not even a small shred of paper. I looked under the couches, under the microwave stand in the kitchen, still, nothing. He ate two entire sets of wedding invitations including the invitation itself, the reception card and the directions. Both invitations and reception card were thicker stock paper and the directions were regular paper.

I was honestly in a state of shock at first. I shouldn't have been, since swallowing things whole is pretty much his M.O. But he has never destroyed all of the evidence! He was so close to getting off scot free. If only he would have put the magnet back on the fridge then we definitely wouldn't have noticed until we left for this wedding on Saturday. And by then, we probably wouldn't have even thought to blame him.

He is laying on the couch right now, on his back with his legs in the air. Maybe he's having a little trouble digesting all of that paper. I'm telling you this, he is lucky he is so cute and so hard to be mad at! It's going to be really embarrassing when we have to contact the bride and groom of the two weddings and ask for all of the information again.

"My dog ate my homework" sounds so much more believable now!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Football widow

I knew this day was coming. I've been hearing about it for months. I believe Pat started his countdown for football season in June. Actually, who am I kidding. Pat started his football countdown the day after the super bowl. Despite his constant reminders and countdowns, however, football season sneaks up on me each and every year. With the blink of an eye, summer is over and Pat is preparing for his fantasy football draft event. Speaking of the fantasy football event, that is where Pat is at this very moment. Pat is what I would like to call somewhat of a bedtime drill sergeant. He likes to be in bed by 10 and asleep by 10:30 on work nights. No exceptions. UNLESS... something important comes up, like tonight for example. His fantasy football draft event started at 6:45 PM. It is currently 10:53 PM and he is still not home. This is how it all starts...
But let's be honest here. I knew what I was getting myself into. Pat and I started dating in the fall. Our first conversation revolved around BGSU's homecoming FOOTBALL game. Our first "dates" involved me coming over to his house and watching football. His knowledge of the game and all of the athletes playing in it were quite impressive. It didn't even occur to me to view this knowledge as scary. And then it happened. Something that has never happened before in all of the years I've been playing the game Balderdash.

It was the first Christmas we were dating. Pat came to my dad's house to meet the family for the first time and we embarked on the yearly ritual of ending the night with a game of Balderdash. The category was a date. Just a random date. Each of us had to anonymously write an answer for what this mystery date could be, hoping that it would sound believable enough that others would vote for it. After the answers were submitted and the "dasher" was about to read all of the answers (fake and real) they realized that there were two answers that were exactly the same. One was the real incident that happened on that date, the other was someone who was playing the game and actually knew the correct answer. Again, this never happens! The person was Pat and the date had something to do with the very first Super Bowl. At that moment, I started to understand the magnitude of the situation.

A picture of Pat at this time last year, preparing for his fantasy football draft.

For many dates after that point, well actually, every date since that point, many of our every day decisions have been based around football. For example, where we go out to eat (do they have TV's?), where we are going to sit at the restaurant (will I be able to see the TV?) once we have determined that they do in fact have TV's. Before we were actually engaged and I mentioned the idea of having a fall wedding, Pat immediately cautioned me about the difficulty we would have in selecting a date, you know, with Ohio State football taking place on Saturdays.

Now before I sound like some anti-football feminist, I want you to know that I, too, enjoy watching football. Ever since someone actually explained the game to me my freshman year in high school, I have enjoyed watching the sport...in moderation. I have always enjoyed watching THE Ohio State Buckeyes. But that was about it. Once I started dating Pat and realized he bled orange and brown, I came to terms with the fact that I would probably never miss a Browns game in my life. And I'm okay with that. How do the lyrics to that song go? "I'd rather live with him in his world, than live without him in mine." Well it's true. I enjoy watching the Browns with him. But that's where it ends for me. After I watch the Buckeyes and the Browns, I'm cashed out with football for the week. But not Pat. He has a desire to watch each and every college and NFL football game.

And it's not just the TV that he takes hostage for the season. It's the computer too. After the games are over in the evening, he needs to check his fantasy ranking and before the games even start, he needs to set his roster. I'm glad he has passion and I'm glad he has hobbies. I am just really going to miss his company over the next five or so months.

I decided to google the term "Football Widow," just for fun (and to find a picture to go with this post) and you wouldn't believe all of the stuff I found! Wikipedia had this to say about Football Widows:

A football widow is a term for those who have a relationship with a sports fan (often a follower of football) who pays more attention to the game than to their partner during the sport's season of play. Football widows are usually, but not always, women. Usually the "widow" has little interest in the sport themselves.

Although it is widely tolerated and not considered a serious disruption by many, dedication to following the sport (such as watching game broadcasts on television) can disrupt home life and the relationship between the couple in question.

There are support groups and they even sell T-shirts!

I'm not going to say my formal goodbyes to him yet, as the season hasn't officially started. However, September 2nd (OSU's first game) and September 12 (the Browns' first game) will be here before I know it. In the meantime, I'm going to cherish the time I have left with TV, my computer and of course, my husband.

What's in a name?

Is there an appropriate amount of nicknames you can have for your pet? Or maybe a better question would be, how many nicknames is too many? I was just thinking about all of the different names I/we (but mostly me) call our dog, Grady, and there are a lot!

I wonder if it gets confusing for him? Maybe that is why he only listens to me half of the time - because I only call him by his real name half of the time (actually, that's being generous. I probably call him by his real name much less than half of the time).

Here are the different names I call my dog:

Grady Mac
Grady Mac Robinson (his full, birth given name)
Grady Boy
Big Boy
Mr. Fluffy (name given to him by kid at the vet)
Mr. Fluffer
Mr. Fluffer Pants
Mr. Fluffer Pants Head
Mr. Fluffer Head
Fluffer Fluff (spin off of Flavor Flav)
Stretcher Bear (I used to say this every time he stretched, now he stretches just to hear me say it)

Wow, as I was typing these I started to get embarrassed! I don't think much of it when I'm saying them, but when you see them in writing it takes on a whole new meaning. Not only is it ridiculous that I call him this many names, the names themselves are absolutely ridiculous. You can kind of see the progression of how each name came about (maybe? or maybe like many things that come out of my mouth - they make absolutely no logical sense whatsoever).

Grady is for sure going to have an identity crisis one of these days!

Come on, make me feel better. Do you make up any random nicknames for your pets?

It's not always rainbows and butterflies

This has always been one of my favorite lyrics from the song, "She will be loved" by Maroon 5. Anyway, I thought it was fitting to describe the highs and lows I often experience in life and happen to be coming out of one of the lows right now. It's funny how as you grow up, you learn things about yourself and really get to know yourself on an intimate level. I would say at age 27, I'm still in the early stages of "getting to know myself" but I have definitely come a long way. It's not just about getting to know yourself, though. I think it's about getting to know yourself and getting to know this big world we live in, in order to be able to put yourself, your problems and your world into perspective. Nothing about me is larger than life so how could my problems possibly be?

Many years ago, my lows were much more frequent than my highs and the lows were really low. So much so that I took medication to keep myself on an even keel. Before the medication, I wasn't able to see further than the current problem or the current day. I didn't have a grip on the big picture. Only the here and now. During college, after a few years of counseling, I took myself off of the medication. After that point, when I would feel myself falling into a "rut," if you will, I would instantly start to panic. I would feel like there was something wrong with me if I wasn't happy and optimistic 100% of the time. I would think I wasn't normal and wonder if I needed to get back on medication.

As I'm getting older, I've come to realize that whether or not it's normal for other people, the highs and lows are a part of my life. It's a part of who I am. My emotions come in waves of highs and lows but the highs now far out number the lows. And it's these same emotions that cause the lows, that also allow me to get really happy and really excited most of the time. So instead of resenting the lows, I let them come and I let them go, and appreciate them for making the emotional, sensitive person that I am. I'm not a "middle of the road" type of person. I'm not comfortable living life with just a mediocre attitude. I want to feel strongly and passionately about things! The lesson I need to learn is, what is worth feeling strongly and passionately about and what is not, hence the aforementioned aspect of learning to keep my life in perspective with the big picture.

With everything that has been going on with Mark, coupled with some professional frustrations of worrying whether people at my new job think I'm actually doing a good job, I found myself in a "rut." But I didn't panic about it. I didn't feel like I'm abnormal for experiencing it. Instead I just rode it out, knowing it would pass. I didn't feel like talking to people on the phone as I often do and wanted to keep to myself. So I did. And just as I suspected, it passed.

The challenge I am faced with is learning how to keep myself from getting to this low place for reasons that don't warrant my time or energy. I think the Mark situation is completely natural and would make anyone get down in the dumps. However, I can't let people professionally deflate my balloon. And that's exactly how I feel sometimes. That people can just walk by me with a needle, pop my balloon and suck all of the positive, optimistic energy out of me. That's not okay. I just heard this quote yesterday:

"You do not have to attend every argument you're invited to."

I thought this was a perfect quote for me and something I should think long and hard about. People can and will continue to think whatever they want about me. Sometimes it will be true and many times it won't be. But why should I give anyone the power to deflate my balloon?

I definitely think this is something that will continue to improve as I grow and mature and become more confident in the person that I KNOW I am, versus the person that other people think I am. Once I'm at peace with myself and the person that I am, I hope I won't be so easily swayed by what others think of me.

I can assure you of one thing. If I'm anything like my parents, by age 50 I won't care less what anyone thinks of me! Here's hoping it doesn't actually take me 23 years to get to that point!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Recipes gone wild....

You wanted to see the burnt bread that caused so much ruckus at the Robinson household so here you go. I believe it was the sandwich on the right that, moments after this photo was taken, caused me to lose my tooth. Okay, let's be honest. Of course it wasn't the bread's fault that I was negligent and let it burn. And it certainly wasn't the bread who said, "Hey you. Yeah, you with the thousands of dollars worth of dental work. Sink those money pits right into me and find out if I'm really as burnt as I look." No, I can assure you that's not how it happened. If the bread really did start talking to me, there's no way I would have ever bit into it and I never would have lost my tooth. So, maybe it was the bread's fault after all.

Just in case you would like to give this recipe a try, you can find it here: Grilled double cheese and bacon sandwiches.