Friday, January 27, 2006

Piratey Goodness

Pirates are taking over Tampa Bay. This weekend. Seriously.
Gasparilla--it happens every year.

Trying to explain Gasparilla to someone who isn't from Tampa will make you sound like an ABSOLUTE lunatic. Okay... so PIRATES come into the BAY??? Right. And they capture the city? Uh huh. There are cannon blasts? Okay. And a parade of Pirate Krewes??? And women flash for the beads the pirates throw them in the parade? (Do you see how an explanation of Gasparilla makes you sound like you need to have a psychiatric evaluation? Pronto?)

Gasparilla is Michelle's favorite holiday (hey, mine is Easter but to each her own). So the festivities are not for the faint of heart. Breakfast is at 9:30 a.m. Because you have to eat breakfast if you are going to partake in jello shots at 10:00 a.m. Then there is bike riding to South Tampa. To watch the invasion of the pirate ships (I TOLD you I was serious). And the piratey parade. While drinking beer that is pulled in a wagon. But don't let the pirate spirit completely overtake you, or this could seem like a good idea.

But really, it is all in good fun. Piratey goodness. AAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGG.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Stupid Pants

Never buy a pair of pants when in crisis mode. It simply is not a good idea.

Let's say, for instance, you get to work and realize that the pants you THOUGHT were reasonably clean have mustard smeared down the side of them. Hm. At this point, you are probably going to want to panic and call your girlfriend. Even if there is nothing she can do to help you. Because you are already at work. With mustard on your pants.

Your next step, after you get your girlfriend on the phone is to ask her WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO NOW??? Because she should know. Unfortunately, she has the nerve not only to laugh at you but to tell you there isn't a damn thing she CAN do for you and why didn't you bring her your laundry this weekend so you wouldn't have this problem? THAT didn't go as well as you had hoped.

After some consideration, you opt to go to Target. Upon wandering through the pants section, you realize that every pair of khaki pants has cargo pockets. You think cargo pockets are SO overdone, so you are now just stumbling around, mumbling dejectedly about the stupid pants with the stupid cargo pockets.

Then you see them. You have found a plain-front pair of khakis. In your size. And there is much rejoicing.

Until you put them on. AFTER you have already bought them. Because you had no CHOICE but to buy them because there is mustard all over the pants you wore. To work. When you first put them on, you think them a bit stiff and scratchy. The longer you have them on, the more they feel like sandpaper rubbing against your skin. And since you are fanatical about the softness of anything you put next to your body, there is much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

You finally make it home. You see your girlfriend and you begin mumblings something completely incoherent about stupid, scratchy khakis don't fit right, hate them, stupid. Your girlfriend is undaunted. She can fix them she claims. All they need is a good wash. And fabric softener. All will be well with these khakis.

And, lo, it is a sad moment when she puts the khakis in the wash AND THEY REPEL WATER. At this point, you decide that they should go directly in the garbage. Your girlfriend is now no help because she is leaning against the washing machine with tears streaming down her face, laughing about the khakis that are repelling water.

You open a Miller Lite and dismiss this entire situations as ... stupid.

Months pass. You wake up one morning, dig through the clean laundry. You see the khakis, have a momentary flashback of the last time you wore them. But, because you have the memory of a goldfish, you figure they can't be THAT bad. It takes you about five minutes to realize your mistake. It takes five seconds for your girlfriend to tell you that you have no other khakis clean, that you may NOT wear the khakis that your dog used as a bed last night, and that you need to suck it up and bring her your laundry on the weekends.

STUPID, SCRATCHY, WATER-REPELLENT KHAKIS.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I Guess You Can Read It If You REALLY Want To.

We have several things to cover today, kiddiewinkles:

1) The turtle is beckoning you. (Amy, I know you said it is a tortoise. But for the purpose of this weblog, we will be referring to it as a turtle.) His name is Tommy. He really wants you to look to your bottom left, click on him and donate money to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. C'mon, make him feel good. (Lord, that sounded dirty)

2) My job is slowly turning my brain to mush. Do you hear me? MUSH. There is bossiness and scandal and boredom... (I know I need to look for another job. Currently, though, I am having a pity party. Please let me drink my bitter herb tea in peace).

3) The Gideons invaded USF's campus today. I have to admit, I love those guys. They make me smile. Even when I was completely anti-Christianity, I couldn't help but be really nice to them. Polly Sunshine I am, when I talk to one of those Gideons. The FOUR of them I saw on my short walk to get my bagel this morning made my day.

4) This is possibly the most boring post I have ever written. And if I have written something MORE dull than this, PLEASE don't tell me. I really don't want another pot of bitter herb tea.

I will be back tomorrow. I promise I will do better then. Please don't leave me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Happy Tortoise Cycling Team







The official fundraising for the 75 mile bike ride has begun! The proceeds benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

C'mon, click the turtle! You know you want to.

* For some unknown reason, the turtle above is giving me fits. That's a BAAAAAD turtle. Look for the turtle to your bottom left and click on him. Thanks!

Monday, January 23, 2006

In the Neighborhood...

I love the fact that I live in a neighborhood that I can literally get lost in. Okay, wise guys, I know I could get lost in my own house... but that isn't the point.

Yesterday, after finishing my reading for the day, I decided it was about time I get off my lazy butt and get some variety of exercise. The brakes on my bike are still squealing like someone is murdering them, so that was a no go. And, besides, biking isn't as zen for me as walking is... And everyone needs a bit of zen time on a Sunday. So I set out on foot.

My neighborhood has a cemetery, a golf course and several large lakes. Not that these things are at all related. I just happen to find them enthralling. Although the lakes are only visible by looking between the houses that line the banks, I get an incredibly peaceful feeling from just seeing the water. As I plod along. Looking at the houses. Which are all vastly different. Wondering who lives in them. Admiring landscaping. Laughing at ceramic seahorses hanging on the side of a home. And saying hello to all the dogs, children, bicyclists and folks in general milling about on a Sunday afternoon.

The neighborhood consists, for the most part, of a myriad of small side streets named things like Divot Lane, Teegreen Drive, and Underpar Circle. Unfortunately, the golf theme seemed to confuse my sense of direction even more than usual. In fact, I made it home in an hour and a half (although I only meant to be gone for an hour) only because I followed the golf course to the 18th hole. Only then was I 100% sure where I was and which direction to walk home.

But oh did it feel good to be out that long. In the sunshine. I was so relaxed. And peaceful...

And then I walked into the house where a certain dog had eaten part of the front door... Lord, deliver me from Milo.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Finally Friday!

Whoo! Do we really have to work a FULL week next week? I am not sure I can handle it. The thought gives me shivers. These are the times I wish I had a vocation instead of just a job. Note to self: Must work on that.

Good Things:
* Desmond Tutu is an amazing speaker. He spoke of forgiveness, healing wounds of racism and hate, hope and faith in God. Being in his presence and hearing this great man speak was a live enriching experience. I am blessed to have had the opportunity.
* Vietnamese food kicks butt. Seriously. Tasty. And the portions were HUGE. Amy & I are both, shall we say healthy eaters, and we could easily have split a meal. Oooh, and it was cheap to boot. Score one for Pho Quyen Vietnamese Cuisine!
* Last night was actually a DATE for Amy & I, complete with dinner, a cultural event and then a nightcap (okay more than one, but you get my drift). I heart dates.
* The majority of time spent tomorrow will consist of volunteering and bike riding. Perfect Saturday.

Bad Things:
* I had fast food for breakfast. Not only did it not live up to my expectations, but I could FEEL my arteries clogging with every bite. Boo to that. Note to self: avoid artery clogging food at 9 a.m.

But the best thing of all is that today is FRIDAY! Party on my crazy bloggy buddies.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Let the Yammering Begin...

My sister and Shanna bought me a tea set for Christmas. (Okay, okay--they bought it for me AND Amy. But, let's be real here... can YOU envision Miss Amy making tea? I didn't think so) I wish I had a photograph of said tea set. But suffice it to say it is an antique white ceramic set with a bamboo handle. The cups are ever so dainty. I felt a bit like a five year old having a tea party with her teddy bear. It was lovely. And lavender green tea does NOT taste like soap, in case you were curious.

Why am I yammering about tea & tea sets? Well, OBVIOUSLY, if you had been paying attention at all, you would realize that I am trying to tell you about the Quiet Evening at Home I enjoyed last night. The one where I caught up on my Bible study reading. Because I am a backsliding Bible dork and had to skip Bible study on Tuesday because I had completed NOT ONE LICK OF THE READING. But LOOK how much fun I had over the weekend while avoiding all my responsibilities!

Where did my point go? Oh, there it is! Bible study! I am caught up now. I read Esther and Jonah last night. Esther is an incredibly woman affirming book (especially for the Old Testament). Glad I didn't just skip over it to get to the New Testament. That's right folks, we have officially moved into the New Testament now. This week we are going to talk about the radical nature of Christ's ministry. Pretty hyped about that. Somehow, though, I think it might make me realize the places in my life where I come up more than a bit short.... but I guess that is the point (at least part of it anyway).

Tonight, Amy and I are going to hear Archbishop Desmond Tutu speak. After a dinner of Vietnamese cuisine at a restaurant I have wanted to try since I moved to North Tampa. Whoo! An intellectually stimulating date with an international flair!

AND tomorrow is Friday... Hold me. The excitement is almost more than I can stand.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ola Geneva!

While in Tallahassee, Amy and I spent some quality time with my grandparents. You may read her description and see photos here.

My grandfather is quite the ham. He makes everyone laugh. Heck, he pickles eggs in jalepeno juice... who wouldn't love a man that is so passionate about jalepeno juice?

My grandmother is much more reserved. Except... well, except this time. She got on a roll telling stories about her many, many years as a teachers aide in Hicktown, Florida (aka Perry). Laughing, good Lord she was cracking herself up.

And then. Out of nowhere: (read with a southern drawl)

You know what I just can't stand? When women wear their shorts, you know, and it looks like their crotch is just EATING their shorts!

Uh??? Amy looked like she wanted to crawl under the couch. I was just howling. And the hand motions really made the story.

Who wants to go with me next time to visit Butch & Snoot?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Wise Wombat

Who knew wombats were so smart?

Via Mighty Girl

Hey, Ya'll!

We made it back from Tallahassee. Ya'll, there is nothing better than good friends and a good long weekend. I think T & Amanda were beginning to wonder if we had moved in with them or if it really WAS just a visit. But, alas, Amy & I headed back to Tampa at 6:45 last evening.

For those of you who only know me in the blogosphere, allow me to say that Amanda is not just my bloggy buddy. Not that there is ANYTHING wrong with that. But we do actually know each other in person. And have for a long time. You get no more details than that, so stop asking. (Heh)

T & Amanda are gracious beyond belief. And fun. Even though Amanda fell asleep on the floor watching Saturday Night Live. I am going to blame her narcoleptic behavior on the fabulous dinner of baked spaghetti that T made. Oh, and of course the tasty libations that followed...

While staying on the plantation, I did get to help Amanda feed the horses. And she let me drive the mule (even though I almost rolled us down a VERY steep hill that we were trying to navigate up). Unfortunately, we didn't get to ride the horses this time, so my Intro to Cowgirl 101* has not yet been completed.

The whole weekend was just as exciting as I had hoped for. I will post more snippets as they come back to me.

Thanks T & Amanda! We love you.

*Please note: This is simply an Intro course. It certifies me ONLY to strut around in my cowboy boots with just enough knowledge to make me completely inept at handling a horse.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Tomorrow evening, Amy, Milo, Jezebel and I head off to Tallahassee to visit with T and Amanda. I would love to tell you how excited I am.... But I am too excited to come up with words...

EEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!

I will give ya'll a full update when I return.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Dialogue

Amy: Oohh, do we have JUICE???

Kiker: Weeellll.... we do. But it isn't Juicy Juice.

Amy: What IS it then?

Kiker: V8 Splash.

Amy: That is poo-poo juice.

Kiker: I am SORRY?

Amy: I don't like it. It tastes like poo.

Kiker: Have you even HAD it?

Amy: Yes. I don't like it. Poo-poo juice.

Kiker: Well, I just thought I would branch out. And it was two for one.

Amy: Oh, GREAT. Now we have TWO bottles of poo-poo juice. All because you wanted to branch out. We have a routine. There are things on the list that we always buy. Now .... poo-poo juice because you went off list.

(It is so nice to have my girl back)

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Hard Days

This post, for the first time, has made me face one of the great blogging dilemmas: How much should I really divulge here? Obviously, I don't hesitate to share my own inner musings. Like it or not, I am who I am. But when faced with sharing someone else's trials and tribulations, even when said trials and tribulations directly involve me, things become a bit murkier.

Ultimately, I decided to write this because I know the mere act of writing is cathartic. And because sharing a nightmare always makes it less terrifying. And because it's primarily Amy's nightmare, and she said it is okay.

For the past two years, Amy has been taking Lexapro (an anti-depressant). It has been, more or less, a pleasant little ride. Lexapro is not the first drug she has tried. But it is one that seemed to work with relatively minor side effects. However, she has recently reached a point where the medication seems to be dulling her positive emotions more than inhibiting her negative ones. And she was becoming extremely cranky. For no good reason. I STRONGLY dislike cranky. Not to mention, we recently discovered that Lexapro is now known to cause significant weight gain. Which Amy STRONGLY dislikes. So... we thought maybe it was time to try something new.

Last week, after only sporadically taking her medication for a week or two, she finally she ran out completely. Now here is the part where I take a huge share in the culpability for the nightmare that was yesterday: we decided not to refill the prescription until she could see her doctor to request a change in medication.

Uh, perhaps some research was in order before quitting a drug cold-turkey. Trust me, I don't mean to sound glib about this. But she hadn't taken it regularly for a week. She stopped taking it altogether last Sunday. And she had no serious withdrawal symptoms ALL WEEK.

Until yesterday.

In fact, until yesterday, things were great. She rediscovered how FUNNY I am (okay, she rediscovered it after I pointed it out, but STILL). We were laughing constantly, having really meaningful interactions. It was like Amy, only with every charming, lovable characteristic she has amplified.

And, then... SUNDAY.

I have never seen someone literally on the edge of a breakdown before. At lunch, Amy suddenly got paranoid that I was laughing at her. Then, at Borders, she couldn't stop racing around the store (literally). There was buzzing in her head all day. Every time she moved her eyes or turned her head, she could HEAR the movement in her head. Her heart was racing. She was feverish, with flu-like symptoms. And she cried... oh Lord, what an understatement... she SOBBED on and off all day. Oh, and of course there was the ever present feeling that she was going crazy. Losing it. Completely. Things got so bad, we filled her prescription for Lexapro last night at 10:00 p.m. Less than an hour later, the withdrawal symptoms were subsiding.

Let's recap, shall we? Amy is on medication for depression and anxiety. Yet, somehow, the WITHDRAWAL symptoms can put someone on what seems like the edge of psychosis.

Besides being enraged that she was prescribed this medication in the FIRST place, I really frightened about what it is going to take for her to come off of Lexapro. From the frantic, albeit belated, research that has taken place in the last 24 hours, weaning down to a lower dosage before coming off of the medication doesn't help much if at all. And the withdrawal symptoms can last from one to EIGHT weeks.

Dear God, help us.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Lazy Friday

Yawn. S-t-r-e-t-c-h. Today is a charmingly cozy & lazy little Friday.

I woke up to sunshine peeking through the blinds in my bedroom. After lots of happy, sleepy sighs and snuggling in the covers, I managed to drag myself into the shower.

A few things then occurred which contributed to the lazy nature of this Friday:
1) I realized how SORE my legs are from biking.
2) My favorite snuggly baby blue sweater and tan corduroy pants alluringly beckoned me from the closet.
3) Nostalgia regarding driving to work, while listening Christian music and drinking Starbucks, overwhelmed me.

So, I arrived at work all toasty warm, with Starbucks in hand. Lazy, lazy Friday.

Crisis Avoided

We decided to skip the emotional turmoil of sorting through Amy's treasured belongings last night in favor of beer & talk of bicycles. The dork factor is high in our humble abode. But our dorkiness makes us loveable. Doesn't it?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

With Trepidation I Approach This Evening's Activities...

Know what happens when you put two girls and two dogs in a 2,000 square foot house? Mayhem. And messiness. Especially when one of those girls has a seemingly endless amount of toys (yes, I really mean toys for children... Geez.), collectible lunch boxes, giant food, and Fisher Price people. That are spread all. over. the. house.

Last night, Amy decided she could no longer take the clutter in the play room (otherwise known as the third room). There is so much going on in there that it is almost impossible to walk through the door. So... tonight... we are supposed to clean it. Together. Uh...

Amy doesn't like to part with things. And I like to give everything away. Really. If I haven't used it or seen it in a year, it needs to go. I tend to be a bit callous regarding my feelings about Amy's things. (I can promise you though that this is pretty much the ONLY way I am callous) The last time we tried to sort through this room together, there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. Literally. Don't laugh.

So, I am feeling a wee bit of trepidation regarding the sorting this evening...

I will send word tomorrow, if I have survived.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Can We Get a Bulldozer In Here?

My office is moving to another building on campus in February. This is exciting because a) the bathroom in this building reminds me of a dirty elementary school bathroom (and you have to go OUTSIDE to get to it), b) I will have my own window that looks to the OUTSIDE (this may seem obvious, but the window in my office right now looks into a hallway), and c) I will finally get to recycle this crap that has been in my office for 2.5 years that I have NEVER touched. Or looked at. Or dusted. Seriously, it has cobwebs.

You may wonder WHY I would let things accumulate in my office in this fashion. The truth is, if I had my way, this stuff would have been gone long ago. But, when I started this job, I worked for The Ultimate Pack Rat. She threw nothing away. Seriously. She had calendars in her desk from 1986. She kept every piece of paper from every meeting she had been to, every fax she and sent, every draft of every document. I am currently drowning in a sea of totally useless information... And I have to go through it all, just to make sure I don't throw away something we might actually be able to USE.

It is kind of liberating, though... this purging of my office. Part of my struggle with this job has been never feeling like I was given a solid place here. I was dubbed a sorry replacement for my predecessor early on. I wasn't allowed to re-organize my office. Heck, it was a year before I even had a JOB description. So, maybe this move is a fresh start.

At least I will be able to look out the window, if I get bored.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Resolutely

2005 was a good year for me. I settled into my life in Tampa. Got engaged. Found a church. Volunteered more. And, overall, had a lovely time.

So... 2006...

Since I have fallen in love with my bicycle recently, my goal is to ride to work 4 times a week until the Much Anticipated 75 Mile Ride in May. And hit the gym twice a week. Since I am PAYING for my gym membership anyway. Stupid gym membership.

Then there is the long anticipated... quitting smoking. Not going to be the most fun resolution ever, but it has to be done. And Amy has promised to be supportive. NOT cranky. Supportive.

Oh, and let's not forget the getting married that Amy & I will be doing in May. I SWEAR WE ARE SENDING OUT SAVE THE DATE CARDS. Stop rushing me. Oh, just go ahead and mark your calendars now. May 28th. It is the Sunday of Memorial Day. Bet you thought we hadn't even picked out a date yet...

And let's not forget... practicing financial responsibility. No late bill payments. No overdrawn accounts. And paying off some of our debt. Gah. Debt is gross.

That sounds like a nice start, huh? I think so too.

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