Lackanappin’

20 Jul

Yesterday afternoon, I went out to coffee and splurged on a double-dirty chai frappuccino. Mostly because I have no self control, but also because it was 90 degrees and as humid as a puddle. Then I laid on the hammock to catch a nap. The breeze surprised me with an occasional coolness. The sunlight played peekaboo through the trees. The hammock swayed just enough to rock me into a blissful sleep.

But.

If I had known that those two measly espresso shots would have prevented my slumber, I would’ve gotten off the hammock and gotten something done.

HammockChai

Instead I laid there with my eyes pinched together, wishing sleep would waft over my caffeinated body.

So yes, the dark circles under my eyes are natural.

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Anomalies.

1 Feb

Monopoly.

Au gratin.

Onomatopoeia.

Abnormally.

Origami.

Cacophony.

Apostrophe.

Saskatchewan.

Say them out loud. They’re fun to say, but not often used. Especially apostrophes. Which also irritate me. Those who can’t use apostrophes should be stripped of the privilege of internet usage.

I’m not normal. Perhaps you’ve noticed. That alone makes me an anomaly.

But wait…there’s more!

I’m not a morning person, but with my work schedule, I now have trouble staying up past 1am. If I’m not a morning person and I’m not a night person, am I even a person?

I’m not the 99%. I’m not even the 1%. I’m just 1 person, which makes me 100% myself. And compared to myself, I am totally normal.

But compared to all you weirdos, I’m an anomaly.

For example, I don’t drink alcohol…don’t even desire to.

Iridescent. 

I wear skirts like it’s the unbreakable rule, except the truth is that I really do it because I want to. It makes me feel pretty, and like most girls, I like to feel pretty.

I have had the same best friend for two decades, yet I’m only 23 years old. That’s because loyalty is my strong suit, and loyalty is my downfall. I hold on to people long after they’ve walked out of my life. I also hold on to receipts, almost-empty favorite lotions, and cell phone pictures of every wonderful meal I’ve ordered at restaurants.

The front door I walk through every time I go to work and return from shopping ventures is the same door my parents brought me through when I was a newborn. I haven’t moved. I haven’t moved out.

Misconstrue. 

I’m always right. Which means you can’t always be right. Unless you’re agreeing with me.

I rarely brush my hair. After it’s washed, I run my fingers through it a few times, and that’s it.

I go to church three times a week. That’s why I have every single Sunday off and why I don’t work on Wednesday nights.

Sometimes my brain sends me a picture of what I’m trying to say, instead of words. When I force words out anyway, they come out jumbled and I get really frustrated and stop talking.

Effervescence.

I wear polka dot knee socks with striped shirts. In public. And I smile to myself at the kindergarten girls who are jealous of my rockin’ style.

I make my bed every day. That way I know one thing in my room is neat.

I’ve never liked my thumbs and toes. Ever.

I don’t like compliments. I have a high enough opinion of myself that when someone tells me something nice, I feel like it’s boring and repetitious because I already knew that about myself.

Spontaneity.

I like to smell my hair. In fact, I switch up my shampoos and conditioners every day to spice things up.

I have a mole on the back of one of my ears. I didn’t discover it until I was a teenager. Seriously, who looks at the backs of their ears?

I drive stick shift and change my own oil, when the weather permits. Oh yeah, and I’m a girl. Girls are capable humans too.

Immensely.

I live in a bakery and I’m not obese.

I take daily multi-vitamins. They’re gummies. Because somewhere inside me is a five-year-old girl who is still completely infatuated with candy.

Regardless of my age and maturity level, I do not and will not like peas. Not by themselves. Not in soup. Not in mixed veggies. Only in the trashcan.

In order to stay hydrated, I drink flavored water. Often it is carbonated as well. Clear, tasteless water is for those who are more committed to hydration than I am.

Astronomically.

Inordinate.

Ricochet.

Serendipity.

Chasm.

Volatile.

Plethora.

Expand your vocabulary. One word at a time. Try one word a day.

Finding Mr. Right

1 Dec

To begin, I’d like to clarify that this is about my sister, Sarah Jean, and her recent discovery of her very own Mr. Right. Please direct any congratulations to her, as I need not be congratulated for an upcoming wedding that ain’t mine.

The following post may be recognized by any of you who attended her bridal shower, which I had a part in organizing. One of the hats I wore was the imaginary funky whirly-doo hat of Game Moderator. If I actually had a hat for the part, I imagine it would look like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.

Some of you may have heard of the Left Right Game. The directions are simple. The Game Moderator (hat or no hat) reads a story with key words sprinkled generously throughout. Most often the key words are “Left” and “Right,” so when the word “left” is read, the object/prize is passed to the left, and exactly the same yet somehow also opposite for the word “right.” I wrote a game script about Sarah and Philip, so the key words I chose were…..“Sarah” and “Philip.”

The writing took quite a bit of planning! I had a script written out which had the displacement marked to make sure the object/prize was going fully around each table of (up to) nine ladies, and not just going back and forth between a few. It started out as a very informative, get-to-know-the-couple type of game, but as you can see by the color coded marks towards the end, there ended up being a lot of back and forth as “Sarah (pass right) and Philip (pass left)” met in college and did things together! I mention in the last paragraph about the prizes. I spent several weeks gathering up some items that Sarah likes that I thought other ladies would enjoy too – such as candle scents, body care scents, favorite beverage, musical items, etc.

Ahem! Attention please! The game is about to start….

All of you here should know Sarah by now. Sarah is the blond one sitting here with the sparkly engagement ring from Philip. Some of you here might even remember taking care of Sarah in nursery or a kids class. But did you know that Sarah was born in Hawaii? Sarah didn’t move to Pennsylvania until she was the ripe old age of one.

Around the time wee little Sarah was flying from Hawaii over Wisconsin to Pennsylvania, the Rains family in Wisconsin was preparing for the arrival of Philip. Except they got more than just Philip, they got his twin brother Paul too! Philip and Paul are the next-to-youngest in a family of eight kids. Philip was raised in the same city he still lives in – Mukwanago, Wisconsin. After Philip’s parents homeschooled him for a few years, Philip went to Mukwanago Baptist Academy. Philip learned to play the french horn, and Philip learned how to sing tenor. Most importantly, at age 9, Philip accepted Christ into his heart and became an heir of God. You’ve heard of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh? Well at the moment of salvation, God began preparing a different Prince Philip (the Rains one) for a special princess in PA whom Philip hadn’t even met yet.

The name Sarah means princess. And Sarah enjoyed the royal status that accompanied being the oldest of five children. Just like Philip, Sarah was also homeschooled for the first few school years, then Sarah attended Emmaus Baptist Academy. Sarah learned how to play the piano at an early age, and has enjoyed music ever since. Sarah sang alto in the school choir, as well as at several state choir concerts. This love for music was a factor in Sarah’s decision to pursue a music degree at the Baptist College of Ministry in Wisconsin. When Sarah was 17, she surrendered her life to God in salvation and God has been preparing Princess Sarah’s heart for Prince Philip ever since, even though they didn’t know of each other’s existence yet.

In December of 2008, Sarah graduated from LCCC with a degree in Accounting, but she felt as though the Lord wanted her to do more with her life than be a human calculator. Philip was part of a men’s octet from the college, and he sang at Grammy Coulton’s church, which was the first time Sarah met people from the Baptist College of Ministry. Neither Sarah nor Philip remember meeting each other that day, but God used that to pull Sarah toward BCM.

In the fall of 2009, Sarah left for her first semester at BCM. Sarah was on the same student fellowship with Philip. You may have heard this fellowship referred to already as “Fraser Fellowship,” which was named after James Fraser, missionary to the Lisu people in China. Throughout the four years of college on Fraser Fellowship at BCM, Sarah was on the same softball team and the same volleyball team as, you guessed it, Prince Philip. In their junior year at college, Philip was the president of the fellowship, and Sarah was the secretary. By this time, unbeknownst to Sarah, Philip had already begun to pray about if Sarah was part of God’s will for his future.

Toward the end of their senior year, while Sarah was busy preparing for her senior piano recital, Philip’s parents called Sarah’s parents with a very important question. It was a question that Sarah’s parents posed to Sarah the night following her recital: Sarah, would you be interested in a Biblical courtship with a certain Prince Philip Rains?

As they say, the rest is history. But in this case, the rest is the future! Don’t forget to pray for Philip and Sarah as they start a life together in January! I’m sure most of you are wondering what you’ve been passing around the table. I’ll give you a hint: it’s a favorite item or product of Sarah’s. And whoever has it NOW is the winner. You may open it at your leisure!

I unfortunately do not have prizes to dole out to all my faithful blog readers. Rest assured, you would’ve had a one-in-nine chance of winning if you had attended the bridal shower last month!

Talking in the Morning

11 Nov

Of all the wonderful traits I have, none of them include anything to do with morning hours. Unless it’s the wee, wee morning hours, at which time I am able to accomplish much. But that’s a discourse for another day.

Recently, I have become an awake-in-the-morning person, which is not to be confused with a morning person. The two are very, very different, you must understand. An awake-in-the-morning person is identified by the visibility of their eye whites at a point in the day that comes between sunrise and noon. A morning person goes far beyond that; they are characterized by not only wakefulness, but also lucid conversations, cheerful disposition, effervescent spirit, and in some cases, excessive accomplishments by 9am.

Though it pains me to say it, I am no longer the incredible night owl you’ve all grown to know and love. In fact, most nights I can’t even stay awake past 1am, since the morning alarm is set for 8:04am. Though I have yet to expound on this in a blog post, I got a second job – one that requires my eyes to be open in the morning. Most specifically, I am required to be awake, in the office, and ready to talk to clients at the unthinkable hour of 9am. And yes, people actually DO call at that hour!

The above has been said to lead you in to this story about a recent morning where I found myself both awake and talking to a large group of ladies. Had I not said all of the above, many of you may have had heart attacks upon hearing what I did before noon.

Saturday, November 9th, was the bridal shower for a certain sister of mine. No, not the 12-year-old sister…the other one. The blonde one whose bedroom was my sewing room for the four years that she was away at college. A real-life morning person who also is my older sister. The one who actually inspired this blog. Yeah, her. So she’s getting married. If your only connection to my life is this blog, I apologize for failing to mention the wedding sooner. It’s been exciting. I’ll try to post about that in the future, like before the actual factual nuptials.

Sarah Rains

Moving back on topic. Mornings. K, got it. As her maid of honor, it was truly my honor to help with the planning for the bridal shower. If the truth were to be told, I don’t usually go to showers because I find them dry and boring. If the truth were to be too hurtful, my RSVP is usually something like “awwwww I’m working that day and can’t come!”

[Disclaimer: I realize that “dry and boring” is a blanket statement that is offensive. I have gone to showers in the past and have enjoyed myself whenever possible. And yes, there have been those times when my work schedule genuinely conflicts with the shower.] 

Due to my inexperience with bridal showers, I was a bit tenacious to be involved in the planning process. My mom and Nina, another bridesmaid, were immensely helpful in planning it. I incorporated a few things from a recent ladies meeting (reading letters from special people who couldn’t attend), a favorite high school Christmas party (variety of coffee flavors), an infatuation of mine since childhood (sugar cubes), a ladies meeting at my Grammy’s church years ago (“Left Right Game”…more on that later), and rules from teaching a children’s class (don’t talk while I’m talking).

The shower was due to start at 11am. Being such a punctual person myself, I figured that people would show up at 11am, or maybe 10-15 minutes early to get a seat. Nope. Our first guest arrived a full hour early (while I was still readying prizes), and they steadily trickled in until 10:40am, at which point it was more like a frosting piping bag bursting on cupcakes instead of piping pretty lines.

Philip cupcakes       Sarah Cupcakes

At one point, I remember my mouth literally dropping open as ladies just continued to walk through the doors.

I had designated myself as the “MC” for the shower, but as the room started filling up, I started second-guessing myself. Was I crazy for thinking I could talk over a crowd of ladies?! I poured myself yet another cup of coffee, then decided it was high time to put some makeup on my face to hide any trace amounts of sleep-deprivation.

At 11am, people were still steadily streaming in, and we were still awaiting the arrival of the rest of the salads and breads that ladies had so graciously agreed to bring. As far as the announcements I intended to make, I was a little wide-eyed and terrified. A few times my mom prodded me with “It’s 11:15, so the longer you wait, the longer the shower will go” and “You should go say something, or you’ll just keep wasting time.” I had some pretty rock-solid excuses though: “I have two swallows of coffee left” and [three swallows later] “I’m still drinking my coffee.”

coffees

But eventually, the show had to begin. The dear mother of some of my dear friends agreed on-the-spot to whistle loudly to direct the attention to me. Then I was even more terrified – everyone was looking at ME! Thankfully, I had written out somewhat of a schedule, complete with what announcements needed to be made and when. Even so, with everyone looking at me, I felt the need to expound on all the instructions a little more than necessary, as well as say some non-scripted things since my mouth kept moving to fill the silence, while my mind was in a minor state of stage fright. That’s what I happens when I try to talk in the morning. Either the words just don’t come out right, or the words just. keep. pouring. out. 

The best/worst line of the day was when I was attempting to give a brief synopsis of the order of events so the ladies would know when cupcake time was (which was NOT immediately following soup). After explaining the order of which foods would be eaten when, I said, “And I asked a few ladies to speak today, but I didn’t ask all of you, and not all at the same time.” Thankfully all the ladies had a good laugh about that one, so I doubt they realized that it was spoken out of an attitude of frustration over my inability to get them all quiet for my super-important food announcements!

announcements

Afterwards, I had an epiphany – instead of needing a microphone or someone to whistle, I could’ve just popped a balloon. You know I’ll remember that for the next party someone makes the mistake of asking me to organize.

There is so much more I could say about the shower, as it really was a lovely shower, and I didn’t even bore myself, which is a pretty big deal. But this post is already excessively long, so kudos to anyone who made it this far. I do intend to update again soon with the script of the game we played, which will be somewhat of an engagement background/announcement for the aforementioned those of you who use this blog as the sole way of keeping in touch with my life happenings.

I also got a NEW CAAAAARR!!!!!! Which deserves its own blog post as well. So come back!

Per request

14 Jul

It has been with some gentle urging and prodding that I hereby make a guest appearance on my own blog. I have had no shortage of material about which to drone on and on. Time, however, has prohibited me.

To begin, I would like to expound upon a pet peeve.

“Me” is not a dirty word. It is the objective form of the personal pronoun “I.” Simply put, if I am the object of the sentence, “I” becomes “me.” See what I did there? I used correct grammar. Correct grammar was used by me. That’s easy enough if I use “I” or “me” by their own lonely selves in a sentence.

But the disconnect seems to come about when introducing a second party to the sentence. When Matilda and I went to grammar school, they doled out highest honors to Matilda and me, NOT to Matilda and I. Just like they wouldn’t dole out such honors to I, they would not dole out honors to Matilda and I. Do you see where I’m going with this? I am afraid that people are so tired of being corrected by us Grammar Nazis for saying “me and Billy Bob went a-huntin’ for varmints” that they equate “me” with bad grammar. It’s sad. If you catch yourself saying a preposition before bringing a personal pronoun into the conversation, you should probably use “me” and not “I.”

Remember this: I do awesome things, and you give awesome gifts to me. You and I are best friends, and people point and laugh at you and me.

*steps off soapbox*

*slips on soap*

*splats*

*picks self up, looks around to make sure no one saw that*

Totally unrelated to the slip, trip, and fall that nobody saw, I have a heart-shaped bruise on my forearm.

Isn’t it awesome?! It’s like a temporary tattoo from playing volleyball on Thursday. Which, by the way, was the perfectest day for volleyball yet this season. It wasn’t too hot, nor too cold. It was overcast, but not raining. There was a beautiful sunset, yet the sun wasn’t in anyone’s eyes to prohibit awesome spikes. And best of all, there were enough people for two full teams plus one sub per team, so everyone could take a water break every six rotations, but not soooo many subs that anyone had to wait more than a couple minutes to get back onto the court!

In conclusion, I would like to share a couple anecdotes.

First, my hair has gotten so long these past few months! With the exception of the days where it is like 90+ degrees outside, I like to drive with my windows down. Unbeknownst to me, I have been shedding as well, so my long brunette hairs flew off my head and onto the carpeted/felty back part of my car that covers my trunk. (I will call this part of my car “the rear dash.”) However, when I was gassing up my car the other day, I noticed that there were long white hairs strewn all across my rear dash! I felt anger begin to rise within me. What AARPer has been taking my yellow car for joy rides while I was sleeping, and leaving their telltale white locks on MY rear dash?! Then it occurred to me….it was MY hair that the sun had bleached! There was also a dead wasp, who had finally baked after taunting me on many an early-morning ride to work.

Lastly, I was pulled over recently on one of those aforementioned early-morning rides to work. It was actually a morning that I’d left on time, and was hitting greens instead of reds, and there seemed to be less congestion on the highways, so I actually consciously chose to drive within the speed limit. Doing so allowed me to people-watch. Other drivers are sometimes really funny to watch! Sometimes they’re really infuriating to watch since the dumb fools think they can text and drive. I always honk at them. Always. Then I pray that they crash into an indestructible tree in such a way that they need all their fingers amputated so that they can never again text and drive and endanger the lives of thousands on the road.

But I digress. Back to my leisurely morning drive…. I was taking the on-ramp between one highway to the next, and I noticed a police car parked on the shoulder with his lights on. Out of respect and an innate sense of caution, I slowed down even more than my already-within-the-speed-limit speed. Merged onto next highway, continued the mile or so till my exit. The police car had turned his lights off and pulled out a few cars behind me. No biggie. I wasn’t speeding. I hadn’t cut anyone off. I used my turn signals for merging. I had my lights on even though it was only slightly overcast. I had current registration stickers, and my inspection still had about a month left. I had taken the body out of the trunk and scrubbed the blood dribbles off the bumper. Kidding. As I took my exit, I was thinking to myself about how glad I was that I’d decided not to speed that day. Aaaaand the police car was suddenly on my tail with his lights on.

On the shoulder of the exit ramp, I pulled over with barely enough room for other cars to get by, put on my hazard lights, and rolled my window down before turning my car off. I’m a pro at getting pulled over. Upon the officer’s request, I produced my license, insurance, and registration. After a looooong silence, he told me why he’d pulled me over. I have an after-market amplifier on my muffler, and I could get cited for that. I asked him if he was citing me for it, and he said no, he was just letting me know that I could get cited. So I did what any good female would do, and asked the man for his advice on what I should do. I can’t remember exactly what he said, for he was an older gent, with really long nose hairs which danced disconcertingly and distractingly as he answered my question. I don’t think it helped that I was looking up into his nose from my perch in my drivers seat. In any case, I was not ticketed or warned or cited. Just politely informed that I could get cited, and to have a good day, ma’am.

Party in a Balloon

15 Dec

Until the moment you read this blog post, you may be one of the many human persons under the faulty, narrow-minded perception that good parties have balloons at them. That is true, but only partially. Equally, and perhaps even more true, good balloons have parties in them!

I hereby expound.

Way back on a sunny summery day of June, my friend got hitched. Way back even further, on a sunny but somewhat chilly St. Patrick’s Day, my friend had her engagement party. I looooove shopping for creative gifts! But I couldn’t think of a big enough gift that said WOW-YOU’RE-GETTING-MARRIED!!!

In such cases, one must go back to the basics of gift giving: “What does this person like?” In this particular case, one of the many answers I came up with was “balloons.” Ah yes, this friend of mine loves balloons! She even incorporated them very tastefully as the backdrop for their marriage altar! That started my mental wheels a-turnin’. This is what I came up with:

balloon gift

 

I took all the little mismatched gifts I’d been finding hither and yon for her, added confetti, stuffed them into balloons, then blew a bunch of hot air into the balloons! I tied them all together and attached a wide ribbon for carrying ease. If I had thought ahead a little more, I would have filled them with helium instead of my very own carbon dioxide, but hey, it was pretty cool as it was.

Gifts that could be put inside: gift cards (I tried…success after a few irreparably-stretched balloons), chapstick/lipstick/lip gloss, confetti, nail polish, very small (ahem) garments, more confetti, jewelry of the non-poky variety, individually wrapped chocolates/candies, Starbucks VIA coffee packets (or any drink that comes in those just-add-to-16.9oz-of-water packets), travel-sized lotions or hand sanitizers, more and more confetti, ETC.

There is really no foreseeable end to this list. Most of the things I listed above were for a girl. Guys can get…..um, Hot Wheels cars, army men, candy, bowtie, Swiss army knife, etc. Men are so hard to buy for…..

Oh, and then I attached a card that had cute straight pins on it, for popping purposes! No need to sharpen your claws to pop the balloons!

straight pins

 

Your recipient need not be a balloon enthusiast. They need only have a will to find the party in the balloons at the party.

Aaaaand in conclusion, I make absolutely no promises for another post before Christmas. Only a vague assurance that I have other great gift-giving ideas that I might share with you in the future. *wink*

Diatribe to Hurricanes, and Advice for the Rest of Us

27 Oct

If you are a hurricane and reading this, please stop. We can’t be friends if you remain all hurricane-y. Simmer down, stop acting all maniacally, and just be the sweet li’l fall breeze we’d all love to have around.

If you are not a hurricane, that doesn’t automatically mean we can be friends, but it’s a really good start.

I’m not very experienced when it comes to hurricanes, and it’s been months (at best) since I actually sat down and watched the Weather Channel. However, to my guests at the hotel, I have the final word when it comes to what this storm will bring to our humble northeast region. I told one guy that if I knew what the storm would be like, I’d be a millionaire because I could tell the future. Another guy asked if I thought he should stay in his hotel room all week. One lady flipped out at my coworker, who was unable to predict whether or not we would have power throughout the storm. We’re amazing, but we’re not THAT amazing.

Last year about this time, we were experiencing the second of two terrible storms. The first was Hurricane Irene in August, which literally washed away many of our belongings as our basement filled with water. The second was Snowpocolypse, the white storm that downed trees and froze Jack-O-Lanterns all over this lovely region, resulting in enormous amounts of power outages.

The main difference that I’ve noticed between this storm and last year’s storms is this: people are freaking out waaaay more and are thus more prepared. I guess the memory of last year’s storms are still very vivid. Example: Last year lots of local people were calling up my hotel the day the lost power, wondering if they could book a room that had heat; this year the locals are booking in advance and expecting us to know if we will retain power or not. One positive note is that the power companies seem far more prepared as well; as I was leaving the hotel, I saw at least 10 big humongous trucks from power companies parked in our lot. They came from out of town to help our wonderful town. How kind.

Before a big storm (snow or otherwise), everyone buys the standard essentials: bread, milk,  and eggs. That’s perfect if you want milk with which to wash down your French toast every morning of every single storm. Because I am more creative, I instead purchased bacon, coffee, and jelly beans. I recommend that sugary, greasy, caffeinated combo. Also, I hear most places are out of the “essentials” anyways.

Oh, and buy a generator a few weeks before the storm. It’s too late now, they’re sold out. Lesson: plan ahead next time.

Yes, I think we’ll get rain when Sandy comes to town. And wind. And snow, if Sandy has a run-in with the cold front. And tornadoes if Sandy’s middle name is Dorothy. And sandstorms if Sandy wants to stay true to her name. But I really hope she’s just plain ol’ no-middle-name Sandy who wishes her name was actually Staycalmanddrinksomecoffee.