Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Shoe Shopping

Shoe shopping is one of those things I dread. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a girl, I love shoes! I just don’t like it when I have to find a pair. Any other day of the week I can find 10 pairs I’d love to own but not when I’m actually looking.

Saturday, I spent 2+ hours searching for the perfect tennis shoe. (This was at least my 3rd search!) I assure you - it doesn’t exist. 20 pairs later, a splitting headache, and a tired husband, I decided that the pair I had bought at the first store was the best of all that I had tried.

You may wonder why we continued the search; basically, the cost. Have you looked at tennies lately? They are so expensive. It had been at least 2 years since I had bought a pair and it was painful to shell out the money for these.

I did some consumer research and asked several people what brand, type, etc. they like best. It helped some, but really, every foot is so different. The salesman in one store was just plain fed up with me. He kept offering (no forcing) a variety of shoes and every single pair I rejected. He finally walked away, shaking his head in disgust, I’m sure.

Hopefully, these will last another couple of years. I’m not interested in buying another pair any time soon!

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Self-checkouts are a dream come true for me. Didn’t you always have that secret desire to be the clerk sliding the products across the scanner? The satisfying beep that follows is a beautiful sound.

Ever since I can remember, I have been enamored by a cashiers job. Perhaps they would laugh to read this. My sisters and I would play anything imaginable that included a check-out: grocery store, department store, library... We were always careful to make the appropriate sounds, stamp and slide the books, and of course, bag everything carefully to not crush anything.

I guess I’m living a clerk’s life vicariously by going through the self-check. I know people complain about the lack of personal touch and interaction but I don’t mind. I’d much rather have the joy of scanning my purchases and hearing that beep.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

TP Returns

Some of you may remember a previous post regarding toilet paper. :) Today, I brought one of my patients back to my chair and quickly felt a sense of déjà vu. No, there was no toilet paper today just a lot of rapping and dancing when I wasn’t directly speaking to her.

I will call her the orange goddess. Girls, orange must be the new pink! She was decked out in this bright color. Her shirt was orange, orange stripe on her pants, orange tennis shoes, nail polish that was orange, her purse, and finally the doll that was hanging off her purse. Never have I seen so much orange. It was a bit frightening. Where do you even find orange nail polish? It should definitely be outlawed.

To top off this exciting, colorful afternoon, the dentist was doing an exam when her cell phone started to ring (the ring tone must have been set on high…it was very loud!). She proceeded to answer it very loudly. She sat up and had a non-emergency phone conversation at high decibels for at least 10 minutes…no exaggeration. The doctor just looked at her and then went on to another room. Finally, she hung up (only after I had the details of pictures, CVS, etc.). I suggested/requested that she turn off the phone so the exam could be completed. She refused and assured me her sister would not be calling right now!!!

Dog Training (or lack thereof)

Sometimes I think we’ll never successfully house train Pippi. She had another BIG accident tonight – except I don’t really think it was an accident. She knows she shouldn’t, and goes somewhere we are not to go. Funny – she never goes as much outside, at least not as much at once, like as she does inside. Okay, I’m sorry if that’s more than you wanted to know.

Speaking of well-trained dogs, this has to be toward the top. If I could train Pippi to jump rope with me like this, I wouldn’t care if she wasn’t house-trained!

Called to Drink More Deeply of His Sustaining Grace

     As those who attend our high school/college study know, I often start our discussion of John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life by asking everyone to share his or her favorite quotation(s) from the chapter for the week.  I’ve been reading chapter 9 the last couple days, and have been particularly impressed by the following lines (pp. 158, 178):

God does not call us to ease, but to faithful joy. . . . God seldom calls us to an easier life, but always calls us to know more of him and drink more deeply of his sustaining grace.

Short vs. Long Posts . . .

     I sometimes wonder to what extent the length of a blog entry dictates how much or how many people read it.  In other words, I wonder if, due to the nature of the forum, people are more inclined to read a short post than a long one. . . . Of course, I’m certain there are many other factors which have equal or greater bearing on reading all vs. part vs. none of a post – especially how well written it is and how related it is to topics with which one is familiar or finds of particular interest.


     One of these days, Alaina is going to write about some memories of growing up and what she and her sisters used to play and imagine.  My brother Peter and I often pretended that we were cowboys herding cattle or Indians giving them a hard time.  We never dreamed of herding the kind of livestock depicted in the video clip below.  In fact, upon seeing this, my dad said that if this is the new cowboy, he might have to stop wearing his hat!  Watch, enjoy, and laugh; it’s absolutely hilarious!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

THE Purchase

It arrived…on Wednesday to be exact. HSN told us it would be here by the 20th, so we were pleasantly surprised to receive it on the 15th. I felt a little nervous to open the box…a bit unsure of this midnight, tv purchase. It seemed too good to be true and really, who can trust their late night instincts.

I muscled off the packing tape only to find tons of packing peanuts, a little dog’s dream come true. [Side Note: I think packing peanuts are one of the worst inventions, they make such a mess and stick to everything!] I scrambled around and tried to pick them up before Pippi came bounding up the stairs. I thought I succeeded only to have her come and find more.

The box was packed tight and it was difficult to remove the item we had ordered. I struggled, due to its size, but finally managed to pull it out. It was beautiful, soft, luxurious, and exactly what we wanted! I sighed a huge sigh of relief – no $100 non-refundable return! Yeah!

You may be wondering what it was…well, come to our house and see! :) JK, it is a gorgeous california king bedding set. That was our big HSN purchase. It is very nice!

Many of you had some wonderful ideas about what we ordered…I highly recommend you spend some time inventing these great products. We were especially impressed with the dogbot!

Here It Is...

Friday, February 17, 2006

What We Did NOT Purchase on HSN...

     Actually, for those of you who have been waiting with great anticipation and inquisitiveness, we’re not going to keep you in suspense much longer regarding the identity of our HSN.com purchase.  (Is it appropriate to use “identity” when it’s a thing??)  But that revelation is Alaina’s area, unless she otherwise delegates.  So far, she has not.  But I can supply a few hints – or at least, a few statements of what is it not, your excellent guesses notwithstanding.
     (I do apologize for our lack of writing this last week.  It bugs me when others go for long periods without blogging, and then I go and do it [or rather, don’t do it] myself.  I have no excuses other than very long hours at work, home improvement projects, a lightning storm last night, and . . . I’ll think of something else soon, I’m sure.)
     Tom, we love the idea of a dog-bot.  But HSN doesn’t have one, or anything close.  One night in passing we did see dog-steps advertised, to help your small (or old) dog get up on your bed.  Pippi doesn’t need that yet – she can get up quite nicely, thank-you, at least when she wants to.  They also have a deep cleaner that apparently does wonders on pet stains, but unlike your dog-bot, I assume, it doesn’t obey voice commands or act independently.  And I can find no one item that comes close to completing all those tasks; if you find one, please let us know!
     Rebecca, I’m all for your amazing cleaning products, but I don’t see them either, and that’s not what we purchased.
     Kevin, I’d like to get a laptop, and HSN sells them, so that’s a realistic guess, but not our purchase.
     Josh, I thought your suggestions were very original, and wondered if I could find any of them online.  I had no luck with finding electric dog polishers or fur sinks at HSN.com, froogle.com, or even ebay (my favorite locator of hard-to-find objects).  Ebay does list a “Rotary Grooming tool Dog Felt Nail polisher buffer,” which you can “buy it now!” for $4.49.  It’s supposedly “The Fast and Easy Way to Trim, Shape, and Smooth Nails.”  Is that what you were talking about?  If you want one, you can check it out here.  While at that seller, I also discovered a “20 lb Pet dogs Legs out Padded Front Dog Carrier tote.”  I think it looks so funny, and am certain you would get some second, if not third, looks wearing it carrying Bailey!  (Especially if you were out on a walk with Catherine carrying Hannah similarly!!  I can so picture it, and the hilarious reactions you would get!)
     So, my fruitless quasi-shopping trip made me wonder if such things existed at all, or if you made them all up.  I am concluding that either great minds think alike – including yours and quite a few others – or you have heard of some of those objects before.  I found mentions of electric dog polishers here, and they are also included on a list of useless inventions (some of the other items are also quite funny!).  Electric dog polishers also show up on The Motley Fool site in the following example of economics:

When there is only one bidder for an electric dog polisher, the chances for mispricing are infinitely higher than when thousands of investors bid every day on the present price of IBM or Pfizer stock.

Elsewhere, I found the comment that “[i]nventing an electric dog polisher is an interesting concept, but the market would be extremely limited.”  I think HSN is probably looking for more marketable products, but then, late night television is probably the time and place for such a product, were it to be sold.
     But what makes me suspicious that your ideas are not totally original, other than the microwave socks, is the following quote, provided by the good folks at B&N:

After he became nationally famous as a comedian, Martin joked that his new wealth had allowed him to buy "some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks, got a fur sink ... let's see ... an electric dog-polisher, a gasoline-powered turtleneck sweater ... and of course I bought some dumb stuff, too." Actually, Martin is a serious art collector whose purchases include paintings and drawings by Roy Lichtenstein, Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso and David Hockney.

And hey, maybe the microwave socks are an updated form of the gas-powered sweater??  
     Regardless of your originality, however, it was a great idea.  Unfortunately, your guess is incorrect.  For the real thing, you’ll have to wait for Alaina’s reveal.

Venting re: blogger

     I love blogging, but I certainly have my frustrations with blogger.com.  It bugs me that sometimes I can’t indent, and I can’t do indented paragraphs (e.g., for block quotes), and that if I write something on Word, publish it, and then go back and edit from blogger.com, I lose all my indents (noticing a theme here?)  
     Well, to top it all of, I’ve been working on an entry this afternoon and running into a lot of the above problems.  Instead of editing from blogger, I was deleting my post and publishing from Word again!  But then I just accidently deleted Alaina’s original entry on HSN from last week!  Thankfully, I was able to hit my “back” button enough to recover that text, but all of y’all’s great comments are seemingly lost in the bottomless abyss of the internet black hole.  (Okay, that’s mixing metaphors, but I can’t help it – that’s how frustrated I am!)
     My (real) post shortly . . .

HSN purchase . . .

Last night, we did something that I never thought we would do…we bought something from the Home Shopping Network. I really can’t believe we even watched it long enough to know we wanted to order it. Lest you think it was an impulse buy, it was something we had been looking for. They say satisfaction guaranteed, I’m just worried that it will cost $100 non-refundable to send it back. :)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Veyron Joke, as (impliedly) promised

     In my recent post on the Bugatti Veyron, my closing thought, I observed, reminded me of one of those few jokes that I always remember.  When I lived with the Enas family, the kids loved to ask me for a joke, and I’m sure I told this one at least a couple times :)  So anyway: What was the first thing that went through the mosquito’s mind when he hit the windshield?  Can you guess?  His rear end, of course.


     In a recent post, a friend of ours asked her readers to submit lists of “top fives” (see Catherine’s Feb. 4 post).  One such list was of pet peeves.  I will admit that, though this probably makes me a geek (or nerd, or something – I always get them confused)  a number of my pet peeves have to do with grammar and pronunciation.  For example, misuse of I and me – especially the use of I as a direct object (it should be, “she gave Alaina and me some candy,” not “she gave Alaina and I some candy” – just like you wouldn’t say “she gave I some candy”).
     But the one about which I set out to write – when people say often and pronounce the t.  It just shouldn’t happen.  How do you say “soften,” or “listen”?  I’ve never heard anyone pronounce the t in those words.  I learned this from Gary S. several years ago, but didn’t know the why behind it until recently, when I discovered the following usage note on Dictionary.com:
Usage Note: During the 15th century English experienced a widespread loss of certain consonant sounds within consonant clusters, as the (d) in handsome and handkerchief, the (p) in consumption and raspberry, and the (t) in chestnut and often. In this way the consonant clusters were simplified and made easier to articulate. With the rise of public education and literacy and, consequently, people's awareness of spelling in the 19th century, sounds that had become silent sometimes were restored, as is the case with the t in often, which is now frequently pronounced. In other similar words, such as soften and listen, the t generally remains silent.
I concede that this gives some support for the proposition that pronouncing the t in often is now becoming more frequent.  Nevertheless, I agree with Gary that it should not be, just as you would not pronounce it in chestnut, listen, or soften.  So I wonder, are there other similar words where it is not pronounced?
     Finally, a word to those of you reading this who practice these pet peeves of mine: as far as your grammar around me goes, don’t change a thing for my benefit :)  I don’t want you walking on pins and needles around me, and certainly don’t want you to avoid me because of a foolish pet peeve on my part!  Furthermore, I’m not perfect, and make similar mistakes myself, so am in no position to judge!

Classical School of the Medes

     A few days ago I was checking out George Grant’s blogs, one of my favorite blogs (I love the fascinating and often unknown stories from history he recounts, and often applies to our situation today).  Anyway, I was intrigued by one of his links – to the Classical School of the Medes.  What in the world (as well as, where in the world) is that, I wondered.  So I checked it out.  So should you.  As I have learned from Michael Yon’s online magazine, as well as from other sources, I know that many good things are happening in Iraq, but these schools are one of the most encouraging things about which I have heard.  So much of what is happening, while urgent and important, relates to the here-and-now, helping make life a) possible and b) easier now.  These schools, it seems to me, should really help make a difference in the long term.
     One of the exciting aspects of the program is that you can help support one of the children in the schools.  That’s something we can do to actually help make a tangible difference, both now and in the long term.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

You Know It's Been a Long Week When...

     Last night I was driving home from work about 9:45 and calculating in my head my hours for the week.  I figured I had worked about 13 or so yesterday, and was trying to determine whether I had worked 10.5 on Monday and 11.8 on Tuesday or vice versa.  I was about three or four miles down the road before I realized, wait – this is Tuesday, so obviously there was only one work day prior to the one I had worked yesterday, not two.  That took me a while to figure out . . . Needless to say, I feel like I have been working a lot.  It’s great for my billable hours, but not good at all for the home improvement projects started this last weekend.  And, judging by the paucity of my posts recently, it hasn’t been good for blogging.  I think this will be my first post before midnight in quite some time! :)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Weekend Projects

Have you ever gotten into a project that seemed like a great idea, only to find it’s a bit more complicated than you thought?  Andrew and I are re-doing our bathroom.  I planned to paint over the weekend and we did it together, which was great.  We love the color, but we didn’t love the carpet on the floor.  We decided on Saturday to take out the carpet and place tile…ourselves.  We made a couple of calls and it really didn’t sound complicated, so we headed to the tile store.  We forgot our paint chip (of course!) and so only had the paint that was still on my hands.  After checking out lots of tile and finding that our favorite options were $6-9/sq. ft., we opted for a much less expensive but nice tile.  The man at the counter asked us about the tools we would need and as we responded with a negative to just about every single tool, he added it to our bill.  Yeah, the project ended up being a bit more than we originally thought…also typical of last minute projects. :)  We went home and pulled up the carpet and pad, removed the staples, nails etc., and thought we would be able to do more.  Not so.  Andrew realized that the floor isn’t quite level.  So now, we are trying to determine how serious this is.  I think he’s got a plan. :)  So, we have a ripped up bathroom with beautiful paint and a bedroom with all of the bathroom stuff in it.  I love weekend projects! :)   Now which weekend will it be done?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Highly Recommended Link . . .

I’ll quickly add one more thought before calling it a night.  You all should definitely check out Michael Yon’s online magazine (there is also a link under “Andrew’s Favorites”).  Mr. Yon is embedded with the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment (commonly known as the “Deuce Four”).  He is a first-rate author and photographer.  While so much of the news coming out of Iraq is politicized and, most often, bad, he tells it like it is, and often it is good news that he reports (and he’s certain we’re winning, despite the terrible costs he witnesses first-hand).  Mr. Yon doesn’t sugar coat his reports, so they are stark and poignant, but also very interesting and refreshing.  

My New Dream Car, and Reflections Thereon

Let me see; it has been more than a week since I last wrote here, and Alaina has six or seven posts. Meanwhile, I have started and nearly completed at least four or five posts in my head, and pondered many more, but unfortunately none of them have flowed through my fingers onto this virtual page.

This is hardly the most significant post I could come up with, but with the amount of time I’ve spent mulling it the last few days, it certainly deserves some space. Somehow in recent days I came across a blurb about the new Bugatti Veyron. From the first picture of the Veyron I saw (see photo nearby), I was hooked. Its color scheme, and my instant fascination with it, brings to mind a 1990 or 1991 Raleigh Peak mountain bike I discovered in an ad in Bicycling Magazine and drooled over for several years. I never received / purchased the Peak. I am afraid that’s not a good omen.

Definitely intrigued by the color scheme, unusual style, and the few tidbits of information I quickly picked up, I did a little research. Here’s a
quick overview from Down Under. The article says that few will make their way to Australia; that’s a shame, as it would appear that in its vast open spaces the Veyron would have some room to run . . .

I found a more entertaining and fascinatingly informational review, however,
here. The test driver/author has a sense of humor as well as style, and goes into some detail about how the car was designed and developed to actually achieve the sought-after speed (400 kph!) (note especially the part about the side view mirrors acting as “spoilers”). It begins:

When you push a car past 180mph, the world starts to get awfully fizzy and a little bit frightening. When you go past 200mph it actually becomes blurred. Almost like you’re trapped in an early Queen pop video. At this sort of speed the tyres and the suspension are reacting to events that happened some time ago, and they have not finished reacting before they’re being asked to do something else. The result is a terrifying vibration that rattles your optical nerves, causing double vision. This is not good when you’re covering 300ft a second. . . .

But once you go past 200mph it isn’t just the suspension and the tyres you have to worry about. The biggest problem is the air. At 100mph it’s relaxed. At 150mph it’s a breeze. But at 200mph it has sufficient power to lift an 800,000lb jumbo jet off the ground. A 200mph gust of wind is strong enough to knock down an entire city. So getting a car to behave itself in conditions like these is tough.

At 200mph you can feel the front of the car getting light as it starts to lift. As a result you start to lose your steering, so you aren’t even able to steer round whatever it is you can’t see because of the vibrations. Make no mistake, 200mph is at the limit of what man can do right now. Which is why the new Bugatti Veyron is worthy of some industrial strength genuflection. Because it can do 252mph. And that’s just mad — 252mph means that in straight and level flight this car is as near as makes no difference as fast as a Hawker Hurricane.

You might point out at this juncture that the McLaren F1 could top 240mph, but at that speed it was pretty much out of control. And anyway it really isn’t in the same league as the Bugatti. In a drag race you could let the McLaren get to 120mph before setting off in the Veyron. And you’d still get to 200mph first. The Bugatti is way, way faster than anything else the roads have seen.

This latter link also includes, on page 2, a link to a slide show with lots of cool shots. By surfing the net, I found this awesome shot, which is now (at least temporarily) on my desktop both at home and at work. Have I “peaked” your interest? :)

Well, before you decide to go out, buy one, and drive it home, you might want to save your pennies for a while – a long while. You’ll need about 130,000,000 pennies, in fact. (According to
this site, that would be about 40 tons of pennies. I don’t think the dealer or the realtor would accept payment that way. [Correction: That should read 400 tons of pennies. Thinking about it on my way to work this morning, I realized my calculation was off by one zero!]) As one of my co-workers commented, he can’t imagine a house this expensive. Well, he and I could imagine such a house (such as this one), but not owning it. And Alaina and I agree – if it comes down to owning a nicer home versus nicer cars, the house definitely wins (not that we’ll be moving up any time soon!).

The possibilities, however, of owning one intrigue me. Let’s say that I need to go to Atlanta next week to review some documents (I do). It’s about 533 miles from here to there. Driving normally, mapquest.com estimates it would take me eight hours and 25 minutes to get there. A flight would take about an hour and a half, but I would need to allow for at least another 45 minutes (conservatively) spent at the airports on each end, for a total of three hours. But if I were driving a Veyron, even at less than top speed of 250 mph – say 220 – I could make it in two hours and 25 minutes. That cuts six hours off the normal commute! Of course, you’d have to allow time to fill it with gas a couple times, but it’s still less than the flight/airport time. Now, don’t you think a Veyron is a great idea? If only I can persuade Alaina.

And yes, there’s other little problems, like cops with radar guns (no, I doubt they could catch me, even with a chopper, but running over stop sticks at 200 mph would not be fun). Even worse would be the terribly
slow traffic. Think about it. If I were to come over the crest of a hill at 220 mph and rear-ended another hot-rod going, say, only 90 mph in the same direction, that would nevertheless be like running into a parked car while I was going 130 miles per hour. I wouldn’t have time to say, “Uuh ooh” or even “ouch.” That makes me think of a funny joke, but I don’t have time for that now.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Another Audition

Recently we enjoyed yet another American Idol audition in the office.  This time someone gave us a rendition of…actually, I’m not sure what.  It was quite unidentifiable.  She was singing to the dentist with her new dentures.  Must have been a proud moment for her.  Evidently, this was the first thing she’s really ever said in the office.  How exciting for her to finally feel comfortable enough with her mouth!  That’s a huge part of dentistry…making people feel more confident with her mouth and smile.


Well, today I’m going to return to the topic of our dog, Pippi. Right now, she is making happy, deep throat noises, lying on her back, and playing with a toy. Seriously, I’ve never seen a pet that loves toys so much!

Last night, I was re-organizing all of our Christmas decorations…yes, I deemed these worthy of keeping. :) Pippi (mostly wanting my full attention) tried to “help” but instead pulled out an ornament and took off with it down the stairs. I chased her down there feeling frustrated and annoyed. She was in the living room and I told her to drop it – did she obey like a good little dog? Of course not; that would be too easy and would certainly attribute too much to our skills as pet owners. Every time I got within a few feet, she would bolt. I was pretty mad by this point…she was looking straight at me and clearly knew what I was requesting. Finally, I bribed her. This is a horrible thing, I know, but I was beyond dealing with her and was afraid she was going to break the ornament. Too late for that. She dropped it in favor of the Cheerio treat and I retrieved the broken ornament.

She spent some quality time in her crate to think about her actions (yes, I had to bribe her to get in there, too). She was glad when Andrew finally came home and let her out. :) She ran upstairs and settled on my lap for a nap…yeah, I love her and can’t stay mad for long!