Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Short List

Tax season is upon us, and the income tax filing has always been my job.

I haven't mentioned to the IRS that I took Algebra I three times and had a math tutor for the duration of high school, so they just keep sending me refund checks anyway.

Avoidance of this task is nearly as tricky as the filing itself.

In the past hour, here are a few things I've managed to squeeze in to my tight tax-filing schedule.

1. Change clothes to be more comfortable 

2. Apply a new lip gloss and check it's color in different lighting (I am home alone.)

3. Change the toilet paper roll

4. Send around 20 emails

5. Change clothes again

6. Plan a very elaborate dinner as a reward to myself for doing the taxes

7. Read several "Bachelor" recaps

8. Actively search for Jillian's dress, should I be caught off-guard in New Zealand with the prospect of a fantasy date and nothing to wear

9. Pay bills 2 weeks early

10. Mentally decide which pajamas I'll wear as soon as it's acceptable to put them back on

11. Call Brad with no topic of conversation planned

12. Call Brad again

13. Browsed through Southern Living's Idea House Kitchens. (I felt my mouth spontaneously salivate at Walker's Bluff and Emerson Hill.)

(My soul is drawn to exposed brick.)

Unfortunately, all of that activity only took 23 minutes, so now I really have to get going.

Or maybe I'll just start dinner...


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

If Loving Chocolate Is Wrong, I Don't Want to be Right

There are few things that can get the ol' blog-writing juices flowing like chocolate.

Even though I am NOT sappy, sentimental, or romantic, I still love Valentine's Day.

As a child, it was my favorite school holiday because of the Valentine's Box Decoration.

Nothing thrills me more than to take an ugly, large shoebox, cover it with cute paper, cut out lots of hearts, and change it into an adorable makeshift mailbox.

You can imagine my delight and outright GLEE when Jackson came home with a school paper proclaiming it is Valentine's Box time!

I immediately pictured the entire family creating our own boxes (in addition to his assigned box) in which to leave little notes and candies all week.

The breath from the fantastic idea had not yet left my mouth when Brad vetoed the entire plan and called it "lame."

He also said that nothing about it sounded fun and if I really wanted to make a box so bad, why didn't I make my own and leave him out of it?

Well, being the only one with a box and forcing people to put gifts in it didn't sound too fun.

Instead, I re-channeled my Valentine's (or is it the singular "Valentine"?) energy into making goodies for some special people in our lives.

We've done this for a loonnnggg time, and it has always been such a blessing.

Even before I had kids, I remember making a few simple Valentine's cards for some co-workers. One of them commented to me that she couldn't remember the last time someone had given her a Valentine's card.

And I honestly couldn't believe that something so simple helped her feel loved on a day that usually left her feeling empty.

Since then, that has been the goal: to show love to others in our lives because it is usually so unexpected!

So here is my plan for this year:

1. Bake brownies and eat lots of the batter.
(Oh, and use a giant heart cookie-cutter to make some cute shapes.)


2. Separate the leftover red and green Christmas M&M's.
Before you get all grossed out that I am just picking up stray M&M's from around the house, know that they were extras still sealed in the bag from Christmas.

(Most of them anyway.)

3. Round up some Hershey's kisses.

Using your leftover Jedi Snack bags, load up the super chocolately brownie, M&M's, and Hershey kisses.

Then tie them with that gorgeous and cheap grosgrain ribbon you snagged from Hobby Lobby for 90% off at the post-Christmas sales.

My petite-artiste (Lilly), made some cute cards with our Valentine's verse for this year:

"We love because He first loved us." I John 4:19

Now dream up something cute yourself and go deliver some love!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

When Did This Happen?

I am totally sucked in to "The Bachelor."


I've watched a few seasons here and there, ranted about how ridiculous it is, and I fast-forwarded right through those INCREDIBLY uncomfortable kiss-fests.

And yet.

I watch.

My biggest issue used to be the obvious: THIS IS NOT REAL LOVE.

(Remember true love?)

But it's kind of like watching action films...you can either think to yourself while watching the latest James Bond flick, "That car chase sequence was totally impossible and there is no way he lived," OR "What creative minds the producers possess to come up with mind-blowing stunts and of course he lived because otherwise the movie would end and this would be a depressing, Academy Award-nominated drama."

So for me, reality TV is the same way. All true lovers of anything reality, died long ago to the fact that is, not reality. 

It is a staged, "reality" setting where interesting personalities collide.

So, without apology, here are some things I love about it:

1) The girls' clothes. 

Love 'em or hate 'em, they give you something to talk about. I am cracking up at all the scarves this season. We'll look back in a few years and mock the scarf phenomenon just like the tight-rolled jeans.

(Of course, that doesn't stop me from owning about six and wearing them as often as possible.)

I love seeing the dresses, stretchy pants, accessories, and even the cute suitcases.

Since my personal wardrobe doesn't extend beyond workout clothes and jeans, it's exciting to pick out which dresses I love and whose overall style I adore.

So far, Jillian and Molly are my favorites.

Jillian's shirt/belt/legging/boot ensemble is what I would totally wear if Brad and I went on a date in the city and I had a body stunt double.

Molly's black jacket and red necklace this week were fantastic. Where do I buy them?

Dear Bachelor Producers: Please put a style guide at the end of every show. Thank you.

And I don't want to rain on Jason's parade, but the purple shirt? The purple tie? 




2) Chris Harrison.

For those of you who don't watch, because you have higher TV standards than an earthworm, he's the host.

And I love that he doesn't take himself too seriously. He has some incredibly insane things to say..."This is the MOST DRAMATIC Rose Ceremony EVER" and "Jason, ladies, we are down to the final rose."

But he knows that is all for the sake of  TV and doesn't presume the audience is mathematically challenged. (Myself excluded.)

Chris and Jason have some great banter (even though Chris is feeding him the obvious questions) and Chris forces the bachelor to articulate his perspective on the relationship drama we've been watching through carefully edited montages.

Que bueno!

3) Personality fascination.

Being an over-analyzer and a perceiver (at least according to the Myers-Briggs folks), I thrive on reading body-language and dissecting the interaction between the girls and Jason.

People are amazingly complex (um, duh) and it is so much fun(!) to see them interact.

During the conflict (which there hasn't been much of this season), Brad has to leave the room and cover his ears.

I turn it up and marvel at the intensity.


Don't get me wrong, I do NOT love cat fights and insults at all. 

But I do love well-delivered honesty (even when it stings a little) and when people use their influence to encourage others.

Sounds crazy, but it happens more than you'd think.

Melissa and Steph both show their excitement with authenticity and enthusiasm, but do so without squelching the other girls' happiness when it's their turn for fun.

Steph (who, thankfully, is gone--personality miss-match!) gave the most gracious exit interview I've seen.

She showed her disappointment, respect for Jason, and optimism for the future without throwing anyone else under the bus.

Nice work.

Call me shallow or crazy, but either way, I am completely entertained.