Friday, May 29, 2009

A wonderful day in history…

May 9.

Wow had a birthday on May 9. It was a milestone birthday for her. We had a party complete with tiara and cake. What? Every girl should wear a tiara on her birthday.

Since she won’t let me show her picture (and it sure was a good one!) I will share pictures of other people who had a birthday on May 9. Maybe you can guess which milestone it was.

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Billy Joel

He hasn’t had this milestone birthday yet.







candice-bergen

Candace Bergen

She hasn’t had this milestone yet, either.











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Glenda Jackson

She has already had this milestone. So has Queen Elizabeth.










mike_wallace_GI

Mike Wallace

He had this milestone, and a couple of others!








Did you guess it? Let me give you a hint: If she were an anniversary, she would be a star sapphire. Oh, and if she gets there before 5pm, she gets a discount.

Happy Birthday, Wow!

I’ll be there for it next year, too!

* photos from Yahoo Images

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Describe “Act of God”…

Dear Longaberger,

Your baskets are very beautiful, but they’re a little expensive. As with an expensive car, I’m wondering if there is any expressed warranty. Say…free repair if damaged by an act of God?

Isn’t it said:

“All things bright and beautiful

All things great and small

All things wise and wonderful

The Good Lord made them all.”

Okay, maybe not in the Bible, but it’s understood. So if God made all the creatures, shouldn’t He be a little bit responsible for the damage they cause?

IMG_0952

Given that the creature in question is dim and ugly(ish), big and fat, dumb and trouble, and doesn’t quite fit in with what the good Lord had in mind, could I maybe get a discount on the repair?

IMG_0953

Thank you for your consideration on this matter.

Sincerely,

Dawn in Austin

 

 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It’ll be a BFF kind of weekend…

I have two BFFs with the same name. One lives in Canada and the other has a husband who has an ex-brother-in-law named Crash. Oh, and her name ends in “i”.

This weekend the BFF with an “i” is coming for a visit.  She’s been here before, so there won’t be any need to show her all my neighbors and close friends.

She and her husband, who has the ex-brother-in-law Crash, came to visit last September to celebrate our birthdays, which are a day apart. It was a lot of fun, as birthdays should be. What I can remember of it, anyway.

You see, whenever we get together, stuff like this happens:

 IMG_1249 IMG_1298   IMG_1323 IMG_1327 IMG_1329 IMG_1331 IMG_1336IMG_1362

 We won’t even talk about when they came to Trinidad, where rum runs through the faucets. Do you have the friends who have known you forever? Who still love you and keep all your secrets? The ones you can totally be yourself with? Yeah, these are those friends.

When we lived next door to one another, we had another BFF, Bitzie. The three of us have stayed close, even though Bitzie and I moved away from the neighborhood. When she heard the BFF with an “i” was coming for a visit, Bitzie realized we’d be having all the fun decided she wanted to come, too. It’s been a long time since the three of us were together.

I would like to say Bitzie would keep us all out of trouble, but I’m not sure I can rely on her.

55 07

 

This is going to be a great weekend! Good friends, nice weather, and cold margaritas. What are your plans for the weekend?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

One week from today!!

One week from today, I will be on a plane to see my husband! Yay! It’s been a long three months. I’m as giddy as a schoolgirl. It’s like a first date, you know?

Will he like my new haircut? Will he notice I’ve lost weight? Will he wrap his arms around me and hug me enough for three months? I hope so.

I’m so thankful for modern technology, like emails and Skype. We talk just about every day, for free. And we get to see each other. For Free! I don’t know how they did it even as recently as 15 years ago. Mailing letters, with stamps! Then waiting weeks for a reply. I think I would have lost my mind.

CGMan has given me a wonderful surprise for this visit. We’re going to Greece! That’s right, people! I’m going to have a big, fat Greek vacation!

It has been all I can do to concentrate on the mundane things in my life, like getting the tires rotated and helping the traitor Skater move into his new apartment. What I really want to be doing is learning about Greek food.

I hope my new BFF Jenny Craig will understand if I don’t send her a post card. She will be like the farthest thing from my mind!

We will be spending a week on Crete and then three days in Athens. Hey! Then I’ll be “Dawn in Athens”. How cool is that?

Has anybody been to Greece? Any recommendations? Anything you would like me to take a picture of? Since I can’t take you with me, bummer! the least I could do is take a picture of something you’d like to see.

I plan to take my laptop and if given a decent connection, I’ll keep you posted about my newest “road trip”.

Pardon me now, while I go shopping for some “I’m in Greece!” sundresses and sandals. I only have a week left.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Remember…

                            Memorial-Day

Memorial Day

 

We walked among the crosses

Where our fallen soldiers lay.

And listened to the bugle

As TAPS began to play.

 

The chaplain led a prayer

We stood with heads bowed low.

And I thought of comrades

I had known so long ago.

 

They came from every city

Across this fertile land.

That we might live in freedom,

They lie here ‘neath the sand.

 

I felt a little guilty

My sacrifice was small.

I only lost a little time

But these men lost their all.

 

Now the services are over

For this Memorial Day.

To the names upon these crosses

I just want to say

 

Thanks for what you’ve given

No one could ask for more.

May you rest with God in Heaven

From now through evermore.

                                                         -C W Johnson

 

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Enjoy your Memorial Day, and as you gather with friends for a barbeque and camaraderie, take a moment to remember the men and women through out history, who have given everything they had to give in service to our country. 

For all our military personnel, I wish to say “Thank You” for your service and hard work. You are appreciated!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Oy! The stench!

Can somebody please tell me why, in the name of all that is right in the world, a dog feels it necessary to roll around so completely as to cover her whole body with the remains of something dead?!

This is a twofold problem, you see. First, I have to rewash the dog I just washed yesterday. Then, I have to scour the yard to find the offensive smelling dead thing. And trust me, it’s something dead. This is not just your run of the mill stinky dog smell.

Sometimes it’s pretty noticeable, like a dead snake. Um, EEEWW! But sometimes it’s not easily seen. For instance, the leftover midnight treat the cat left in the middle of the yard- a headless field mouse. In which case, I have to let the dog find it again and start to roll in it. Then I have to break her heart by yelling at her not to roll in it so I can scoop it up with the shovel and toss it over the fence.

The look of sadness is almost more than I can bear. Why? Why do they like this so much?? Does the smell of rotting mouse carcass release “feel good” endorphins like chocolate does for us? Does the oil of decaying garden snake sooth itchy skin? Does this act bring them back to their more primordial dog? Back to the time when they killed their own dinner? Did they roll in it then, too?

These are burning questions that run through my mind when my darling dog jumps in my lap for some lovin’ as she reeks of Eau de’ Putrid.

I believe if I find the answer to this question, it will open the door to all of life’s other mysteries. Like why men put the toilet paper under.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Be kind to your waitress…

Today is National Waitstaff Day. (it is! Look it up here! ) Today is a good day to appreciate those hard workers who get up every day, come into work, put a smile on while they roll up all the silverware for the day, fill all the condiments, make the iced tea (sweetened AND unsweetened) sweep the floors, set the chairs up and make the coffee. All this before they even bring you your breakfast.

The Girl had just recently told me a story about a family that came into her restaurant. I was a bit appalled and thought to myself that I was going to just have to write about them in my blog. What better day to do it than National Waitstaff Day?

Her restaurant has a policy to add a 15% gratuity to parties of six or more. I think that is perfectly acceptable. Big parties are a lot of work, and usually a server has to put two of her tables together for the one group.

This particular group had 5 adults, 1 child and a baby in a highchair. At the end of the meal, the woman came up to my daughter, their server, and demanded (not asking politely, mind you) demanded that she remove the gratuity because she didn’t feel her 4 year old counted as a person to make the group a party of six.

Yet, the child ordered a regular meal, drank 3 glasses of soda that the waitress had to refill and made a mess that only four years olds are capable of.

The Girl smiled graciously and said sure, she’d be glad to take it off for her, which she did and then they left her right about 10%.

In honor of waitstaff everywhere, I am going to give you some tips on how to tip your server. Feel free to pass it along.

How to Tip Your Server (*prepared in part by Wiki-How-to)

1. Determine the “tippable” total.

If you used a coupon, you should tip on what the bill would have been before the coupon.  Otherwise you’re punishing the waiter for the management’s efforts to bring you into their restaurant. For example, if you have a 2 for 1 coupon, the server still did the full amount of work, you should tip on what the bill was before the coupon.

2. Evaluate your service. The key is to objectively judge the service, and the service alone. If the food isn’t good, or the prices are high, things like that, it isn’t the server’s fault. You should base your tip on things like:

-how quickly your food was brought to you

-how the food matched with your order

-how often the server checked with you (that’s a biggie for me!)

-how friendly your server was

-and how fast your bill was brought and processed- no one likes to hunt down a server to get the bill

3. Give the benefit of the doubt.  If the service isn’t quite perfect, take a look around. Unless the server is downright rude or neglectful, consider this:

-if the place is understaffed and busy, that’s a management issue. A waitress can only do so much

-if a waiter seems forgetful, remember everyone is new for a while. Being a server is all about multitasking and it’s a steep learning curve.

-if the food wasn’t cooked properly, remember that the waitress didn’t cook it. Sometimes the kitchen is at fault.

4. Determine the tip. The general guideline is 20% for excellent service, 15% for solid service and 10% for bad service. On average, people tip around 18%.

-remember that servers make a little over $2.00 per hour. That’s right, well below minimum wage. They have to make a certain amount because taxes are taken out whether the tip is there or not.

-if you have small children, remember the server has to clean up that mess. Any of us who have children, know that our kids do make a mess.

-if you’re having a business meeting and taking up a table for a long time, especially when it’s busy, remember that the server could have had two seatings in the time you’ve been sitting there. Tip accordingly, even if you didn’t require a lot of service during that time. The more turnover, the more opportunity to make tips.

5. Calculate the tip.

-an easy way to determine 20% is to take the total, move the decimal over one to make ten percent, then just double that amount. For example, if the pretax bill is 32.45, move the decimal over to the left making it 3.24 and double- $6.48. Give the girl $6.50 and call it a day. Don’t quibble over a couple of pennies.

6. Try to tip in cash. Sometimes there’s a hold on the credit cards and the server doesn’t get that tip for a few days. If your service was exceptional and you have the cash, let the server take it home with her that night.

I know this is a long post, but I really felt it was timely. These are hard times for everyone. If you have the money to go out to dinner, don’t skimp on the tip just because times are tight. That server is trying to make a living, too.

Here’s a note to any waitstaff out there who might be reading this: You never know if the person you are waiting on is (or used to be) a server. We tip really well, but we don’t just give it to you. We know good service when we see it.

I think today I’ll have lunch at my favorite little Cajun cafe and tip my Girl waitress really well.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Honey! I’m Home!

It was a good trip. I got to see Wow on Mother’s Day and her birthday (it was a milestone!) and she got to spend some time with her sister.

As I mentioned before, I broke my laptop while I was out visiting. I wasn’t worried, because I had the foresight to get the insurance on it. Right? Apparently not.

When I went to the blue and yellow computer store to show the “nerds” what I had done to my computer, they pulled up my file and as luck would have it, I had not, in fact, bought the right type of insurance. I bought some hardware insurance. I am positive the salesgirl sold me the accidental, but it’s been over 30 days, it’s not on my receipt, so whaddya gonna do? (p.s. don’t cry, it doesn’t work)

The out of pocket expense to repair the LCD screen was more than what I paid for it, 32 days ago. Since I couldn’t return it and it was obviously no good anymore, they did refund the money I had paid for the original insurance, to use toward either repair or a new one.

So yes, I am now the proud owner of a 17 inch beautiful blue Toshiba paperweight, and a brand new 15 inch blue Toshiba laptop.

What I did learn over the 32 days, was that bigger is not always better and it is definitely heavier. I learned my lesson and got a smaller one. Of course, I made sure to speak loudly and clearly at the register, “I WANT THE ACCIDENT INSURANCE” .

So that was my day yesterday. What have you been up to while I was gone?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Did you know...?

...that one of the largest slave escape attempts in American history occurred in Kentucky, in August 1848?

...the song "Happy Birthday to You" (Happy Birthday Sharon!) was written by two sisters from Louisville, KY in 1893?

...when God dug out the Grand Canyon, He used the dirt to make the hills of Kentucky?

...Chevrolet Corvettes are manufactured only in Bowling Green, KY? (The Marine knows that. It's a great stop on a road trip!)

...the cows in Kentucky have legs shorter on one side, so they can walk the ridges without falling over?

...that Kentucky is the birthplace of a lot of famous people, like Tom T. Hall, to whom Heiferyung is distantly related and Tom Cruise, to whom she is not related and wouldn't admit, even if she was, because he's a nut job?

...that both Abe Lincoln, President of the Union and Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, were born in Kentucky? They were born less than 100 miles and one year apart.

...that if it rains on the first day of the month, it will rain for 15 days?

...that Heiferyung broke her brand new laptop while visiting Kentucky and now has to use a borrowed PC with *gasp* dial-up?

P.S. some of the facts were told to me by my Grandma. I claim no responsibility for their accuracy. See you next week!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Googling on the road…

Before I tell you how wonderful this trip has been, let me say I hope all the mothers out there had a wonderful Mother’s Day and that their kids were all good and well behaved. Or moved out. Same thing.

I have not had internet connection until today. I’ve been in the hills of KY at Auntie Narmie’s house. Even if her neighbors did have internet, the fact that the nearest one is about a quarter mile away, makes it pointless to speculate whether they would have wireless I could steal borrow.

But today, we went on a little road trip. We have landed in Olive Hill, KY, where my grandparents and stepdad are buried in small family cemeteries. It is tradition, in these parts, to place flowers on the graves for Memorial Day. Here, Memorial Day is a time to remember all loved ones gone, not just those who died in service to our country.

Last year was my first trip up to decorate the graves. I must admit, I do feel a familial pull when I come up here, even though I was raised very far from here. It is comforting for me to share this tradition with Wow and her sister. I hope one of my children will someday feel the same thing, when they bring me up because my iron butt has rusted.

So on the trip up here, let me remind you that I was traveling with two sisters. Just because they are mature in age does not for one second mean they are mature in any other respect. Those two crack me up. They are constantly arguing comparing notes on any variety of topics. As they get heated about it, one will say to the other, “We’re just going to have to Google that”. Do you see where this might be going?

Yes, that’s right. For the last half hour or so, I have been googling for them. Here is what I have found out:

Snakes do come out at night.

I am the only one of us to have seen a whippoorwill.

and

Henry Winkler is not gay.

My Mother’s Day has been beyond perfect. I look forward to many more of these trips with them. Between the two of them, I’m sure there will be plenty more to google.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What does HOV mean to you?

Austin is not considered a big city. I have lived in big cities before. Phoenix and Washington DC to name a couple. One thing these “big” cities have in common is an HOV lane. There is no HOV lane in Austin, just bike lanes.

HOV means High Occupancy Vehicle. That means two or more people in the car. The reason for this is so car-poolers can have a lane to get them to work faster than the other guys, who choose to sip their coffee in peace ride to work alone.

As I was leaving Dallas the other morning, on my way to Wow’s house, the masses were headed in.

Let me just interject right here and ask; am I the only one who gets a kick out of going against traffic during rush hour?  The only one to look over, see all the eager resigned faces of the cogs that run commerce from day to day, laugh maniacally and say “suckers!” Really? Just me, hunh?

Because I tend to get in the lane I need to be in and stay there, I was in the far left lane (not getting off this road till I get to the mid-south) which put me right next to the incoming HOV lane.

Here is what I noticed:  Not many had a high occupancy rate!! That is just wrong. That is breaking the rules. I have been known and yes, even ridiculed, for my non rule breaking-ness. And here all these Dallas drivers are just cruising along in the HOV lane, sipping their Starbucks, as if the lane were designed specifically for them!

Honestly, I could see the smugness on some of the faces. I could tell they were justifying to themselves that it was perfectly okay to be driving solo in the HOV lane because: 1. They are the CEO of the company 2. Employee of the month 3. late for work or 4. because the car in front of them has 3 people in it, it all evens out. 

In Dallas, I guess HOV means Honesty Optional Vehicle.

Monday, May 4, 2009

It’s the little things…

There once was a bulldog named Phoebe

Who tried to drink, but quite feebly

So I turned on the hose

As she stuck out her nose

And that’s when I gave her a freebie.

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P.S. those are not my weeds.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Iron Butt rides again…

Now that CGMan is overseas and Skater has betrayed me moved out, my road trips are of a different sort.

I run up to Dallas every once in a while to see my dad and stepmum. That’s any easy one because it’s only three hours away. Shoot, Iron Butt would do that if they were having something good for dinner!

My big trips are the ones I take twice a year. I drive to Wow’s house in the mid-south. It’s an eleven hour drive. While the trip up there is not very adventurous, once I get there, it gets pretty fun.

Last May was my first Wow trip. I drove up to her house, picked her up, and drove to KY with a stop at my sister’s. Then I drove Wow to her sister’s house further “up the road”. Where “up the road” means several hours worth of driving. Then I drove the two of them further up KY so we could decorate our family graves for Memorial Day.

You can see the photo story here. (note: to see the ‘story’ you have to hover your cursor over the photo title) I had such fun with those two, that I did it again in the fall.

You might be asking why I don’t just fly up there and then rent a car? This is why:

IMG_3605 Because Wow wanted a bucket of apples for frying. Wow wanted two cases of green beans, a case of pickles (Auntie Narmie makes the best!) and a few jars of homemade kraut. Then there were all the books she found at the flea market. Yes, that is a watermelon you see. It’s not like they don’t have watermelons where Wow lives. I guess they’re just not as good as ones you pick yourself. And by pick yourself, I mean the one Wow made me haul up from the garden for her.

Yeah, they won’t let me bring all that home on the plane. Because what Narmie gave Wow, she gave me, too. I told them both that if this kept up, I was gonna have to get a bigger SUV.

It’s Mother’s Day time again and I will be heading out for my Wow trip. This time will be bittersweet, because one of the graves we will be decorating is my stepdad, who passed away shortly after my visit there in the fall.

Knowing Wow and her sister, Narmie, there will be plenty of laughter and of course, my favorite…stories from when they were girls. Who needs roadside attractions when I have these two cut-ups? I do cherish this trip.

I’ll try to stay in touch while on my journey. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to talk about, once I get back.