Archive for July, 2010

Photo Phun

Here’s my Polish Yankee husband trying grits for the very first time. His comment: “Taste like cardboard.” I told him that just meant he needed more salt and butter, but he ignored me.

I don’t know if he was singing or talking, but there he is, driving a lotta miles.

We didn’t stop at the historical markers, except for this one, on the way out here since we were running so late, but we’ve decided to stop at more on the way home. Here is a marker about the Llano Estacado. Joe said he wanted to walk where Vasquez de Coronado walked.

Here’s Joe holding the Farley’s menu.  In the very center is …. ready? Waldo! And Einstein’s in the lower left.

At the UFO Museum, there were some paintings done by people with and without a sense of humour.  I liked this one–an alien Hamlet contemplating Yorick’s skull.  One of the gift shops had some alien skulls, and I thought how cool it would be to get one for Vanessa, in case she ever wanted to do a really twisted version of Hamlet, but they were a little pricey.  Sorry V.

And here’s Joe standing next to an alien who seems to be sending him rays of some sort. I didn’t notice that when i took it, but it’s kinda cool, huh?

Okay, we’re off! Stay tuned for the further adventures of Joe & Faith in New Mexico!

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The Trip Thus Far…

Wednesday evening I got home from work after picking up my dress from the tailor’s and picking up dinner from Chi.li’s. (Can I just tell you how much I love being able to order online at Chi.li’s? I placed the order at about 9 a.m. and it was ready for me right on time at 5:15 p.m.)  Then I started getting everything together and packing.

Joe forced me to try on the dress, very much against my will.  I was still traumatized (heck, still am) about having one of the seams begin to give when I tried it on at the tailor’s the day I took it in to be marked for hemming.  The girl told me she was able to give me about 3.5 to 4 inches more, and I will say that when Joe made me try it on, I could breathe.  I’m still paranoid about what will happen if/when I try to sit in it, but  let’s not go there. I brought a cute black and white broomstick skirt and a black tee with cord patterns around the neckline, and plan to change into that for the reception.

Thursday morning, then, I was up bright and early. I needed to run to the doctor’s office to have them draw some blood for the labwork I needed done. They were open at 7:30, and I was there when they unlocked the door and back home by 7:45.  I figured we’d just load up the dogs and hit the road. No, not so fast. Joe was dawdling a lot, and hadn’t taken a shower yet, and one thing led to another and it was around 10 when we got the dogs to the vet for boarding.  And then there was a delay there, so maybe it was 10:45 or so when we finally got on the road.

Oh, but we hadn’t eaten anything yet that morning, so we stopped at the first Cracker Barrel we saw, which happened to be in Weatherford. If you know your DFW area, you’ll know that wasn’t all that far. I think we were finally seriously on the road around noonish.  I’m not complaining here. I love Cracker Barrel–it’s an innate part of a Stencel family road trip. Biscuits and apple butter (seriously? ambrosia), not to mention a ton of candy.

We began by singing our way through the Beatles oeuvre, only to realize that our knowledge of the music far surpassed our knowledge of the lyrics.  About 6 songs in, we looked at each other and said, “enough.”  Then we talked or didn’t talk and just kept on going.

We got off the freeway a little past Abilene, and got onto some route I don’t remember the number of.  It led us through serious Allergy Central.  Lots and lots of weeds, places where the grass was being or had just been mowed, and our eyes were watering; Joe was sneezing and my head felt like it was made out of glass.  That wasn’t so fun. We saw hundreds of windmills, and that was cool to see up close. We also saw lots of horses and cattle and fields of corn and grapes and something else we weren’t sure what was.  As we drew closer to Roswell, the cloud formations got really inventive. There were plenty of obscene things to be seen in the clouds, including–and I’m not kidding–a giant hand giving us the finger.  I looked at Joe and said, “You know what it’s saying? Hey, you, get off of my cloud!”

I must pause here to tell you that Joe NEVER laughs at any of my feeble attempts to be funny. He actually laughed, and I felt very happy. Alas, I was unable to get a photo of the irritated cloud, but it’s a sight I will never forget.

We got to the hotel around 8ish I think, and I was ready to poop out and get some rest, but Joe insisted we go out for dinner.  We had dinner at a place called Farley’s, and it was kind of a pub/restaurant. Joe and I split a meal, and still had food that we had to leave behind.  The theme of the restaurant decor was, naturally, UFO’s and sci-fi B movies. I took a photo of the menu, which was really clever, and will post it one of these days.

We drove up Main St. a little ways after dinner, and then turned around to go back to the hotel. We stopped at Dairy Queen to get dipped cones (our DQ’s in DFW have almost all closed), and I managed to get ice cream on my face, my hands, my shirt, my jeans, my seatbelt, and Joe’s hands. Don’t ask how. It was just melty, melty ice cream with a butterscotch shell and it tasted great. We went back to our room where I immediately washed up, and sort of fell asleep in about half an hour.

This morning we enjoyed a truly delicious free breakfast at the hotel, and then we headed to the UFO Museum.  It was interesting. They had newspaper articles, affidavits, photos, all kinds of stuff.  They were showing the movie Kyle MacLachlan and Martin Sheen did about the crash at Roswell.  If you’re not too familiar with the story, it’s basically a farmer found a crashed something or other on his farm. He took some of the wreckage to the sheriff’s office, and the sheriff called the local military. The military got involved, agreed that it was something they’d  never seen before, possibly not of human origin. Then it tuned into a cover-up of something, no one really knows what, except for those who do know aren’t speaking, and Major Jesse Marcel got thrown under the bus.  Whether it was a top secret military or scientific experiment or whether it was an alien craft of some kind, there seems little doubt that there was a cover-up.  The BS about it being a weather balloon was just that: BS.  We didn’t watch the whole movie, just part of it.

Anyway, when we were done there we did a little souvenir shopping, then had lunch at a pretty good Mexican place. After that we went to get me a pair of shoes and some other essentials for tomorrow. Now we’re showered and I’m waiting for Joe to quit primping so we can head out to the camp for the rehearsal & rehearsal dinner. 

I’ve got some photos downloaded to my computer, but I’ll put them in a separate post.

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Oh, the drama!

Stuff happened last night. Stuff like I went to the tailor to get my dress pinned up for the hem. And I decided to ask the tailor if there would be enough fabric that she could make shoulder straps for my dress. There was, and she was very nice about it. However, after she unzipped me from the dress, we both saw that one of the seams had begun to split. That would be where my ribs are, on account of the whole breathing thing.  So she’s also going to have to add a little extra fabric where my ribcage is so that I can breathe. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the minute the photos & ceremony are over, that dress is going off, never to be worn again. I’ll wear pants and a cute shirt to the reception.

Stuff like I had the 2nd sleep study, the part where they fit you to a cpap mask and measure how much more improved your sleep quality is, only silly me is claustrophobic and prone to anxiety and panic attacks. Which means I made it a whole 15 minutes with the mask on before I could feel the panic rising.  They were extremely kind about it, told me that 75% of people can’t do it.  Honestly, if I could sleep with my mouth closed, I think I might make it. But the chin strap didn’t keep my mouth closed, and I felt like I wasn’t getting enough air, but whenever I opened my mouth and the air went out of my mouth instead of where it’s supposed to go, well, let’s just say it wasn’t very pleasant.  So I went home and slept, snoring loudly, mouth agape, in my own bed. And my poor husband sacked out on the couch because, see the previous line, I was snoring loudly. Poor guy.

Okay, for something good: I found a great book last night. It was only $3.99 at Borders, and it was in the box where you buy one, get one free. So you could get another book and still only pay for 1. It’s Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don’t Float, Classic Lit Signs On to Facebook by Sarah Schmelling.  It’s seriously and literally laugh-out-loud funny. I mean, I was laughing madly in the store, particularly in the Chaucer section beginning on page 10. fart. fart fart fart.

And I have awesome sisters and awesome friends who help me when I get entangled in a morass of stupidity, and tell me they love me even though I sometimes wear a tee-shirt that says “Tread On Me” whilst lying on the floor so people can, you know, tread on me.  They send me encouraging responses to my frantic texts and e-mails. So I know I can get through this. I only hope I don’t wear them down through my frantic texts and e-mails. Wowza.

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Cheers to friends both old & new, tried & true. And here’s to getting my life back in one more week.

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Breathing is nice. It keeps you, you know, alive and stuff.

This morning I went and got my hair coloured and cut, and while there I asked my stylist if she would just pin it up to get it off my neck. One of the downsides to growing out  my hair, all the neck sweat. She gave me a really cute updo and didn’t charge any extra for it. Have I mentioned I adore my colourist & stylist? They’re really great.

And there wasn’t a line at the threading kiosk, so I got my eyebrows and lips threaded. Owie. That’s all to say about that.

And as I walked through the mall to get to my car, I passed Buckle, Joe’s favourite store. Well, that’s not quite true. I didn’t pass it. I stopped and bought him a cool shirt and a ring for myself. I have a thing for rings that have the elasticky bands so I can wear them on my thumbs or my pinkies.

Then the place that had me so stressed I could hardly breathe: the bridal store.  See, I knew that there was no way that my dress would zip, even with any alterations the tailor could do, but they insisted that maybe it just needed two people to zip it for me. Yeah. Turns out I was right. So I asked if I was stuck with it (they have an all-sales-final policy), and the owner very sympathetically said that they special ordered it for me. I said I understood, and she said that she wishes she could do a swap but they didn’t have any dresses in my size in the store in the right colour. So I eagerly told her that I’d already talked with the bride about it, and that if I couldn’t get something in a similar shade, the bride was okay with my wearing something cream coloured. Turns out they had a dress in my size in a similar shade, but browner. The original dress is kind of a pinky dusty rose; this other dress is kind of a brownish rose. And it fits. It zipped up, a little snugly, but not painfully, and is strapless but has a high enough back that I can get some of those high waisted Sp.anx to wear under it. It’ll need a hem, but that’s the extent of alterations.  I need to go, therefore to LB and buy some Sp.anx and then to DSW to get a pair of shoes. I’ll go to the tailor Monday to get it pinned up for the hemming.

Honestly? I’m very relieved. I actually like this dress much more than the other, and may not put it up on E-Bay right away. Maybe I’ll make Joe get dressed up and take me to the Bass to see the symphony or a play or something, and we’ll be posh. And I was prepared to suck up the loss on the other dress and still go to Pe.nneys to buy another dress, so even if this dress cost less than the other, I don’t consider that I’m out any money at all.

Next in my day: Lunch with the family. We didn’t do breakfast today because of my needing to get to the salon when I did, so we’re having lunch instead. And then I’m going to go see a movie, whether Joe wants to join me or not. And then I’m going to take a nice long soak in the tub and read a trashy novel. Um, probably Boccaccio, because I don’t read contemporary trashy novels. And Boccaccio’s book isn’t a novel, per se, but it’s definitely trashy.  I don’t feel it would be wise to try to read my Nook in the tub, alas.  Okay, so after the soak, I’ll watch something on DVD and go to bed nice and earlyish.

This next week will be busy. Second sleep study on Monday night (the question du jour: Will chauceriangirl be able to sleep with a CPAP  mask unlike the other times she’s tried to do so). Go to the tailor Monday right after work. Pack for the trip and load up the car on Wednesday afternoon. Thursday morning: labwork at the doctor’s office; dogs to the kennel; drive to Roswell. I plan to spend the day Friday at the UFO Museum and then the Museum of Contemporary Art in Roswell before going to the rehearsal dinner Friday night. Saturday, of course, will be spent getting myself beautified and dressed for the wedding, then completing my matron of honourly activities for the bride. The wedding is that evening, and then the reception of course follows. Joe and I will have to leave the reception fairly earlyish because of the whole driving back to Fort Worth on Sunday. Then another doctor appointment Monday afternoon to get psychiatric clearance for the lap band surgery. That should complete everything the surgeon & insurance company requires, so my surgeon can submit everything to get approval.  Depending on the timing, it could be as early as August, although I think September is more likely.

Joe got home from Vegas last night. He’d gone to see a couple of shows while he was out there, including Cirque du Soleil’s Love. He thoughtfully got me a souvenir book, the documentary on the making of, and the soundtrack on CD. I now officially want to go to Vegas to see it. It looks amazing!!!

So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Peace out.

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Friend Numero Uno


My best friend is my sister, the incomparable Izzybella. Why? Why not? She has been there for me whenever I've needed her, every day of her life. She and I see life a little differently, but totally coolly at the same time. I can trust her with anything. She's ferocious in her defense of me, as I am in my defense of her. Nobody messes with my sister and gets away with it, unless she tells me I'm not allowed to say or do anything to that person. And vice versa. Like today she's in her very best ferocious tiger mode, and I really appreciate it, because things today of are of the serious suck. So I have to tell her she can't chew a certain person a new one, but I will tell you it makes me feel a lot better that she wants to. Y'know?

I've got lots of good friends, but there's only one Izzybella. And I love her madly.

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Ever watched A Christmas Story?  Seen the bit where Ralphie’s dad is changing the tire, and he knocks over the hubcap that Ralphie is obediently holding with the lug nuts? And Ralphie says ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffudge and you know what’s coming? And you were right–he says The Word. The Queen Mother of dirty words. The Eff-dash-dash-dash word.

If you ask me what I’m thinking tonight, any of it would be prefaced by fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff. The Word. The Queen Mother of dirty words. The Eff-dash-dash-dash word. You know. The word that starts with fffffffffffffffffffffffffffff and ends with “uck.” As in Yuck.

Lessee–my gypsygrrl is having a rough time right now. The doctors are trying to find out what’s going on with her, and she’s having lots of procedures and worries and waitings and seeings.

My psych nurse practitioner has to see me again before she can give me psych clearance for lap band surgery. My next appointment with her is 8/2. My surgeon only operates one day a month at the location my insurance insists I have the procedure at. So it’s looking more like the earliest it can happen is September rather than August. And I realize even that isn’t a bad thing, but I’m one of those people that when I make up my mind, I’m ready to go.

I picked up my bridesmaid dress today. I didn’t have time to try it on at the shop because I had to call Gypsy. I promised. And besides there were 20 people in that small shop and it kind of gave me wiggins. So I tried it on half an hour ago. It doesn’t fit. As in there is at least a 4 inch gap where it should zip right up. The bride wants to know what I’m going to do. How the ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff should I know? I’m going to go see the tailor tomorrow and see if there is anything that can possibly be done, but I’m not holding my breath. There is scarcely an abundance of dresses in the particular fabric and colour in my size that I could just buy off the rack, besides which I’ve already paid $230 for this particular dress that I’ll never wear again, if indeed I get to wear it at all.  I was planning on wearing an ivory pashmina over it, because trust me when I tell you no one needs to see my upper arms, so there is a chance that the tailor can jerry rig it somehow that between him working his magic and the pashmina, it might possibly stay on long enough for me to participate in the ceremony & pictures, and then change before the reception.

Oh man this is just stressing me out. Please send me some nice happy vibes.  And send some to Gypsy while you’re at it, if you can. She needs them too. More than I do.  ‘Kthanxbai.

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"Quote is a verb. Quotation is a noun."

Because I'm a turbo grammar bitch. Ask anyone. Right, Izzybella? Jehara?

Okay, I'll give you another one. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche." And that's from The Canterbury Tales by the inestimable Geoffrey Chaucer, whom I completely worship, in a non-blasphemous writer stalker kind of way. That sentence describes me perfectly. I love to learn, and I love to share what I've learned, even if the people with whom I'm trying to share aren't particularly interested.

I've always thought that the hallmark of a superb teacher is a passion for the subject being taught. I know that I myself have found joy in classes solely because of the teacher's enthusiasm.

When the incomparable Izzybella and I worked together, every now and then we'd be doing a tedious task, like collating and sorting and filing things, and she'd ask me to tell her a story. That usually meant I'd pull one of the pilgrim's tales from The Canterbury Tales, and mix it up and be very dramatic, sometimes even including sound effects. That was fun. I miss being asked to tell her a story.

So I'm passionate about Chaucer, passionate about writing, passionate about history, passionate about learning, and if you know me I've probably shared more than you want to know. Because gladly do I lerne and gladly teche.

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 Well, now, I don’t know. I think they’d be saying that I always loved kids, and that my surrogate kids were glad to have me in their lvies. And they’d probably be joking about my eternal home being a self-cleaning house, seeing as how I abhor housework. And they’d be speculating on what Geoffrey Chaucer and I would have to talk about when we finally met. I hope that they would say their lives were a little richer because I was part of them, and I hope that they would miss me.

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Pencil Sharpener

I was always the youngest kid in the class–I barely made the cut-off date to start school when I did. And I was skinny and scrawny and shy, which meant I was prime picking-on material. I don't remember what grade it was when this happened, but it was traumatic. I'd developed the habit of going up to the pencil sharpener whenever I need to fart. That way if it was a smelly one, I wouldn't gas out the people next to me, and wouldn't get mercilessly teased. Or if there was a little bit of noise, I'd be far enough that no one should hear it.

Alas, the best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley, and this particular day I did not take into account that because of the oppressive heat of the day, the fan that stood in the front of the classroom would carry the unfortunately unpleasant aroma to the whole classroom. Instead of humiliating myself around 5 people, the whole classroom knew exactly what I had done. It was awful. Seriously.

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