Thursday, December 29, 2011

if only this was more exciting

Whenever I have a three day weekend, the first morning back at work is always a challenge.  However, that was not the case after this past Christmas weekend.  On Tuesday morning I was wide awake and feeling more than ready to face the week ahead, and I think I owe it all to my brand new leopard print high heels.
 That's right.  I am finally able to realize my dream of Bringing Animal Print Back to the Office in a Classy, Relatively-Understated Manner.  As I slid into those high heels on Tuesday morning, I felt totally on top of my game.

And then I got to work and looked down at my desk calendar and saw this...

It was bold.  And highlighted.  And yet it meant absolutely nothing to me.

Oh, of course it meant something.  I just COULD NOT remember what.  And, to be quite honest, I still haven't remembered.  I have a very complex highlighting system for my calendar at work, and in general I use pink for non work related reminders.  I chose pink because in my opinion it is the least professional color, and I like to save the most professional things for work.  Like blue and green highlighters and LEOPARD PRINT HIGH HEELS. 

So the good news is that C.C. has nothing to do with work.  The bad news is that apparently it was something I felt was important enough to make the calendar, and I still cannot remember what it means.


After work on Tuesday I headed back home for Emily's birthday dinner.  The good times continued on after dinner when my mom provided me with several food items to take back to my apartment, including Christmas cookies, pizza, cheesecake, and some coffee grounds.  And a bag of green peppers because clearly I am nothing if not TOTALLY HEALTH CONSCIOUS.

If you're thinking, "Wow, it sounds like she took half the kitchen," you are not alone in that sentiment.  Just ask my siblings or my dad.  I don't know what my family was planning to eat the rest of the week but fear not! Oh Laura Darling was not going to go hungry!

After my food was packed, I sat at the table and had a last minute chocolate covered pretzel.  I put my coat on but then I decided I might get thirsty on my long, arduous, trek home, so I poured myself a glass of sweet tea. 

And then my brother exclaimed "This is the LONGEST goodbye EVER.  LAURA JUST KEEPS EATING."

So, my leopard print high heels and I made our grand exit.  
And that was my Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

of course we popped

It's no secret that my favorite photo pose OF ALL TIME is The Pop.

And so it only seemed appropriate for us to pop out of my dad's Christmas kayak on Sunday.
Houston, we have a framer.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

here's hoping she never drives faster than her guardian angel can fly

Well, today is an important day in Emily's life.  She turns the big one-six.  Turning sixteen is a big deal because that is the age at which the Powers That Be in the state of Pennsylvania decide that you are old enough to operate a motor vehicle.

Not only am I her older sister, but also someone who was blessed with SUH-WEET driving skillz, so I feel that I have an obligation to pass along some words of vehicular wisdom to Emily on this monumental day.    Something like always use your blinkers.  Never use your phone when you're behind the wheel.  Or, my personal favorite, don't spend more time looking in the rearview mirror than you do looking out the front windshield.  That may seem like obvious advice, but sometimes I find myself spending so much time worrying about what is coming up behind me that I lose focus on what's right in front of me.

That actually sounds like it could be a metaphor for life.  Pay more attention to what is in front of you than what is behind you.  You can't change what is in your past, but it is up to you to determine how you approach your future.

Oh, I am so deep and intellectual.

I wish I could dispense more driving advice, but I have to admit that I found myself in a wee bit of a car-related dilemma just this evening.  I was attempting to back out of my parents driveway, which in my defense, is not straight and has some tricky pavers on both sides. Anyway, things did not go as planned and after about eight attempts (unfortunately I am not exaggerating) my dad finally had to come outside and back my car out for me.

And then on my way back to my apartment I got my first THREE BEEP ALERT on my new snapshot discount device from Progressive.  And by "new" I mean I've had it for 24 hours.  Apparently I may have utilized some "harsh braking" in order to stop at a yellow light. 

Last time I make that mistake.  Next time I'm just going right through.


The bottom line is that I can't believe Emily is turning 16.  SIXTEEN.  WHERE OH WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?  I was in second grade when she was born, and I really can't remember what it was like not to have a sister.  

So, happy 16th Em.  You make life a whole lot of fun.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

sleep in heavenly peace

A funny thing happens when you move out of your parents' house and take your bed with you.

And then return home a week later to sleep there on Christmas Eve...

Merry Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

all i want for christmas is lasagna

Well, it's almost midnight and I am WIDE AWAKE.  That's a smidge inconvenient because I have to wake up in six hours to go to work, but my brain...IT WILL NOT TURN OFF.

Of course, I'm not completely surprised that I'm still awake, because it has been a very eventful day.  That is, if you consider "very eventful" to be eating an entire bag of Ghirardelli chocolate and getting lost on the way home from the office.


I've gotten lost two out of the four days this week.  And my commute is only four miles.

You see, this is my first week driving to work from my new apartment, and I am on a quest to find the fastest route from my office to my front door.  It turns out that NOT ALL ROADS LEAD HOME, and in fact some of them lead to deserted industrial areas on dark roads which is not the ideal place to find yourself on a rainy night.

On the plus side, I now know where the county's fire academy is!

Speaking of excitement, I had myself a little Christmas miracle today when one of the supervisors at work came around and announced that there were some leftovers in the kitchen from an earlier lunch meeting.  You better believe I shot out of my chair like a bullet and beelined it to the kitchen where I discovered a salad, some cookies, and  A GIANT PAN OF LASAGNA.  There were no plates in sight, so a fellow paralegal and I scrounged up two cups from the box behind the water cooler and started filling them up with lasagna.

We were about three forkfuls into our respective lasagna cups when one of the secretaries appeared at the door.

With a pack of paper plates.

"Wow," she said, "You girls must be hungry."

So that was awkward.

If you think that being caught in the office kitchen eating lasagna out of a cup from the water cooler would deter me from going back for seconds, you have underestimated my love of an Italian casserole.  I had a meeting with the other paralegals at 3:00, and when we were finished I may have strolled by the kitchen to survey the status of the lasagna situation, and upon seeing that there was plenty left, made myself a plate.

It was, once again, delicious. 

And it turned out that I needed all of the sustenance I could get to help me through my arduous, confusing, four mile journey home.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

we may be on our own, but we still have a lot to learn

This weekend was moving weekend.  Forty eight hours ago I was sleeping in my bedroom at my parents' house, and now I am living the life of luxury in these digs...

Is it fancy OR WHAT?!  If I had a nickel for every time Michelle and I have used the words classy, sophisticated, grown up, adult, and elegant in this past two days, I would have enough money to shell out the fifteen bucks for the premium parking here. 

When we had this little apartment photo shoot tonight, Michelle said, "I just want people to look at these pictures and think...Wow, she's really made it."  


We spent most of Saturday unpacking and hanging up various pieces of wall art, all of which were hung without the aid of a level or tape measure.  We have become masters at the art of eyeballing it.  Last night was our first night here, and we celebrated by playing Scattergories and watching Half Ton Teen and an episode of My Big Fat Gypsy Christmas.  In other words, LIVING THE DREAM.  

This whole weekend we have been calling ourselves the "Workin' Girls."  We used the term frequently this morning as we strolled Home Goods because we are SO CLEVER.  

"We can totally buy that vase!  We're working girls!"  

"You know who would have those flowers in their house?  Working girls!" 

We went to far as to make that the name of our wireless network and even contemplated sending out Christmas cards from "the Workin' Girls."  Well, that grand idea was nipped squarely in the bud when my brother texted me tonight and said "you guys do know working girls is another name for hookers, right?"


Do you know what else we don't know?  How to change the name of our wireless network.  But I think that is something we better figure out AT ONCE, before our neighbors get the wrong idea about how we were able to afford such lovely wall art.

Goodbye, Workin Girlz.  Hello, Career Women.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

i will be filing a patent tomorrow

I am moving in two days.  TWO. DAYS.  I am getting very excited!

 The last few night I have been busy packing, and accepting the fact that I have way too many shoes.

Oh my word THE SHOES.

However, the packing process has also led to the creation of my latest invention.  Allow me to introduce the hanger-belt.
 The perfect solution for transporting large quantities of clothes hangers!

If only I had thought of that during one of the, oh, EIGHT times I moved throughout college.

Oh well.  Better late than never!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

my backup plan

If this whole paralegal thing doesn't work out, at least I know I could have a successful career as a dog trainer.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

pretend there is a clever title here

 Yesterday, there was Something Big a brewin' in our county.  I was fairly certain that there would be news vans aplenty at the courthouse all afternoon, so after I finished my lunch I headed there under the guise of "picking up some documents."  

Actually, I really did have to pick something up at the courthouse and the fact that news cameras would be there was just a bonus.  And a reason to apply my best lip gloss and practice my network TV smile.  In an effort to make a cameo on the nightly news report, I took the long way around the building, IN THE RAIN, ensuring that I passed each and every news truck.  

I am sorry to report that my vanity and I did not make the evening news.

 Anywho, now on to the main point of this post.  And this next part is free from humor or sarcasm or clever puns.  I know.  THERE'S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING!!

So, getting to the courthouse requires driving through a fairly bad neighborhood.  The streets are crowded and narrow and lined with cars and old, run down row homes.  The residents are poor and drugs and violence are not uncommon.  

While I was stopped at a red light in this neighborhood yesterday, I looked over and saw an old woman standing in the rain, setting up a nativity scene in her tiny front yard.  The figures looked like they were wooden, and the whole crew was there.  Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, even a cow and some sheep.  

As I sat at that light, I thought about how that woman, who likely has so little in the way of money or possessions, wanted to make sure that her tiny patch of grass between her front porch and the street was filled with a nativity scene this Christmas season.  There I was, sitting in my warm, dry car in my nice clothes, focusing completely on applying my lip gloss perfectly in the hopes of "running into" a news reporter, and there she was, standing in the cold rain making sure that the manger was front and center and boldly displaying her faith in a place where it might not be so well accepted.

I began to think some Deep Contemplative Thoughts.

I wish I could say that the moment continued to be one of reflection.  However, just before the light turned green, I watched the woman pick up a large mallet type object and proceed to whack every member of the holy bunch on the head.  

Several times.  

And with great force.

I am assuming that since the figures were wooden, they had some sort of stake on the bottom so they could be secured into the ground.  And it appeared that this woman wanted to be sure that those stakes were in there as far as they could possibly go.  I don't know if she was trying to protect them from tipping over or being stolen or perhaps being swept up in an uncharacteristically forceful gust of wind.

Whatever the reason for the mallet, I laughed out loud right there in my car as I watched this woman make her way around the nativity scene, whacking all of the attendees on the noggin.  It was a sight I never expected to see.

The bottom line is that if a nativity scene catches your attention this holiday season, pay particularly close attention to the facial expressions.  If the shepherds look disgruntled, you will know why.  :-)


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

the joke at the beginning has nothing to do with the rest of the post

So, do you know what the fish said when he swam into the concrete wall?


This past weekend started off on a great note because on Friday Matt and I went out to dinner at Applebee's.  Actually, first we went to Kohl's because Matt wanted to pick up some more new threads for work.  I usually see Matt in jeans and some sort of dark, solid color shirt, and I just assumed that he would dress in a similar style for work.  You know, a white shirt, black dress pants, plain tie.



It turns out that when it comes to dress clothes, Matt is quite the snappy dresser.  He was picking out bright ties and striped shirts and fancy socks, although he did draw the line at a pair of multicolored suspenders that I suggested.

He may live to regret that decision because just yesterday I read that 2012 is going to be the year of the suspender.  

Stock up, everyone.

On Saturday Michelle and I drove out to see our new apartment.  We were meeting at 2:30 but I went a little bit early so I could drive to the nearest Target and then time how long it would take me to get from there to the apartment.  I think everyone knows that when choosing a residence, proximity to Target is of utmost importance.  Well, I'm happy to report that it will be four minutes, door to door.

My research also led to the discovery that the Target is located in THE SHOPPING CENTER OF MY DREAMS.  Not only is there a Target, but the shopping center is also home to AC Moore, Barnes and Noble, Ross (dress for less!), Old Navy, Gap, the food store, Famous Footwear, and the Guitar Center.  I don't even play the guitar, but I might start because I will be living FOUR MINUTES from the Guitar Center and it seems ashame to waste that sort of convenience.

On Sunday I went to church and then made a stop at WalMart for a Christmas tree.  I found a 4 foot tree for $30, and a 6.5 foot one for $34.99.  And as they say, go big or go home.

I went big.

And then I went to the checkout line in the Christmas section of Wal Mart, where I ALMOST LOST EVERY LAST OUNCE OF MY CHRISTMAS SPIRIT.  

Our Wal Mart has a separate Christmas department with two checkouts meant specifically for customers puchasing holiday items.  I am a big fan of this rule, and I'm almost ashamed to admit how annoyed I become when people violate it.  On Sunday there only happened to be one Christmas line open, so, you can imagine I DID NOT FEEL VERY CHRISTMASY when my six and a half foot pine tree and I found ourselves in line behind a man buying one package of Capri Sun juice boxes and 28 cans of Alpo dog food.  NARY A YULETIDE ITEM IN SIGHT.  And yes, twenty. eight. cans.  Twenty seven were steak and one can was lamb.

His canine compadre must be very sophisticated.

The cashier scanned the juice boxes and then started on the Alpo.  And neveryoumind the fact that there were TWENTY SEVEN OF THE EXACT SAME ITEM, she canned every. single. blessed. one.  

I stood there in line and had quite the internal dialogue.  It went a little something like this.  "I cannot believe she is going to scan all 28 cans individually.  And if this guy had the NERVE to be a Christmas checkout interloper, he could have at least grabbed a box of candy canes or something.  This is taking forever.  Okay, GET A GRIP HERE Laura.  Keep some perspective.  It's only five minutes of your life and YOU JUST LEFT CHURCH FOR GOODNESS SAKE.  And it's Christmastime.  FA. LA. LA. LA. LA."

Finally, and I DO MEAN FINALLY, the cashier was down to the last three cans.

Can three.

Can two.

Can one!!
"BEEEEEEEP."  Item not found.  IT WAS THE LAMB.

It was right then and there that I knew my head was going to explode.  I wasn't even going to be able to enjoy my brand new six and a half foot Christmas tree or learn to play the guitar at my neighborhood Guitar Center, and I think we can all agree that would be nothing short of tragic.

After several phone calls to the customer service desk and a visit from an assistant manager, the Lamb Alpo Debacle was settled.  I quickly paid for my tree, and went on my merry way without my head exploding.

Talk about a Christmas miracle.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

t minus eleven days

When I finished classes for my paralegal certificate a few months ago, there was a celebration dinner held for graduates and their families.  The university was Catholic, and before dinner the president of the school, a priest, stood up and said a prayer.  He prayed for the graduates to act honorably and professionally in our careers as paralegals, and then he gave thanks for those who supported the students.  

He said that behind every student was a spouse or a child or a parent who cheered them on and was always there with some encouraging words.  Right after the "encouraging words" part, my dad leaned across the table, and in the loudest whisper I've ever heard, said, "Yeah!  Like MOVE OUT!"

He meant that in the most kind and gentle way, of course!

 (That thing hanging next to my dad's head is a bird house.  We are aviary FANATICS over here.)

I graduated from Penn State with a bachelor's degree in English.  Contrary to popular opinion, a liberal arts degree does not necessarily put one on the fast track to a suh-weet career and the financial ability to live someplace other than your parent's house.  And so, once I graduated in 2010, I found myself on the "going back to school and living in my childhood bedroom" track.  


Well, I am happy to say that in two weeks, I will be leaving my childhood bedroom behind. 

I'm moving out. 

Which explains why our garage looks like this at the moment....
 New furniture, ahoy!  Please note that those wreaths will not be coming with me to my new digs. 

There are several amazing things about this whole situation, not the least of which is the fact that I am able to get some great mileage out of songs I don't have the opportunity to sing on the average day.  For example, just this week I changed the Rascal Flatt's song "I'm Movin' On" to "I'm Movin' Out."  That is a slow ballad, which makes it perfect for me to sing when various family members start to tear up thinking about my impending departure.  

As you might imagine, that happens quite frequently.

For those upbeat, packing, shopping for bath towels and bed sheets moments, I can sing "I'm Movin' Out" by my friend Billy Joel.

And finally, for those middle of the road moments, we have R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly," specifically the line that goes "I think about it every night and day, spread my wings and fly away."

To say that I am excited about moving out would be the understatement of year.  I am renting the apartment with one of my best friends, and I know we will have so much fun.  

That's not to say that it won't be an adjustment.  Living here at the old homestead was what some may call a cushy lifestyle, evidenced by the fact that just last Monday my mom brought breakfast to my room as I got ready for work, packed my lunch for me, made dinner, AND bought me a pair of festive holiday socks.
When I'm on my own I will need to learn to do things like cook something more substantial than a tuna melt, and operate a coffee machine. 

And purchase my own holiday socks.

As happy as my parents are for me to move out, I know they will miss me.  Once I'm gone, who else will recite Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding vows at the dinner table?  IN AN AUTHENTIC BRITISH ACCENT, NO LESS!

 It's a good thing I'll just be a phone call away.