Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Selling Out to the Man - Econosize

Last week Melanie bemoaned that she and Mike had "sold out to the man" cause they have started using the Wal-Mart pharmacy. Well today I bought a Sam's Club membership, so that means I must have gotten the 4-pack of sell out. I had gone to buy paper towels. It is one of the only things i will not use a generic brand on - it has to be Bounty, or i'm not interested. (and how much do you love, love, love the half-sized sheets?!?) Last year my mom bought me the giant pack when she came to visit for my birthday (hmmm...is that coming up?) and I am using the last roll. Since I was only going to buy the one thing I had borrowed team member Wendy's card. Of course, I started looking around and saw a few things i could use, at bargain basement prices. Buuuuut, I couldn't justify using her card for so many things; then i realized that it wasn't really right to use her card at all. I have an honesty "problem" that way: stupid dang conscience always getting in the way. I did some math with possible savings, took into account that there is an extra paycheck in May (dontcha love months with 5 Fridays?) and signed up for a one year membership. It made me feel oddly grown-up. (yeah, i don't know why either) Now a whole world of multi-packs and econosizes has opened up to me. Yes, i know i am far more excited than i should be. I know that i need to comparison shop cause not all of the prices are bargains. I know that i still need to stick to my budget. I know that I need to keep an eye on storage issues. The only thing I am not sure about is how to tap this keg of salsa.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I Heart Vitamin D!

What would you do after working 13 days in a row? If you answered, "Lay on a blanket in the front yard, soaking up the glorious sunshine, reading a book and drinking an adult beverage" then you are starting to think like Niki. Congratulations. Or condolences. Whichever.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Not a superhero, either

Kaaren posted 5 things she couldn't do, in response to someone commenting that she seemed so perfect. It was informative,as I also find her particularly wonderful in that not quite, but almost annoying way. (Case in point, the next post was about a cake she made - shaped like a WIZARD!) She challenged us to share things we are no good at. (wow, mine is the syntax of that last sentence) Since I normally blog about the coolness in life i though it would be good to share 5 Things That Niki Can't DO 1. cartwheel (try to imagine it... teehee...) 2. snap my fingers (i have the motion, but no sound) 3. play any 2 handed instrument (stupid left hand) 4. touch type 5. hang a spoon from my nose (for some reason this one really bothers me) Okay, people, how do YOU suck?

Everybody cut FOOTLOOSE!

Tis the season of spring musicals. Last night I went to a middle school production of "Footloose" that was directed by my friend, Ron. There is nothing more heart-warming than watching awkward middle school boys try to dance. Except maybe a love song between 2 kids that can't even look at each other. Unfortunately, photos were not allowed; man, i want to show you the 80s-tastic costumes. When you go to school plays, especially musicals, you have to turn the expectation knob waaaaaaaay down. Sets are often minimal, actors are often the wrong size, race and even gender (ask me sometime about Josie and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), sound is sketchy and the singing is flat. But there are always a couple moments when you can see real talent up there. And the kids are so gosh darn earnest. They are really trying. If you go, be sure to watch the parents around you - they know their kids are out of step, but the love and pride is naked on each face. And definitely go on the last night of a run so that you can see the presents the kids give to the directors and to hear the roar of joy and accomplishment from the cast after the last curtain call. Support your local schools' artistic efforts. They may never get to off-off-off-off-off-off-off Broadway, but you'll have a good time. (just turn that knob waaaaaaaay down)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An open letter to today's physical education instructor

Dear Mr PE Teacher - Thanks for letting us use your room yesterday and today to inspire kids about Earth Day. Thanks for not pitching a fit, as many PE teachers do. Thanks for laughing about it and saying that its a nice day to be outside. Thanks for being helpful and finding us paper towels. There was one small problem, however. You, sir, are fine. In fact, I'd say you are super-fine; perhaps, even super-D-duper fine. Come on, you have to know how fine you are. You exercise for a living. You were probably a jock in college and the years since then have been good to you. Could you please NOT walk through the gym while I'm trying to talk about Chesapeake Bay conservancy? Could you avoid your own office? If you have to come into your own space while we're there, could you wear a bag over your head? And an over-sized sweat suit? Could you never smile that ridiculously dazzling grin? Could you not be so sweet and understanding with your students? Could you not talk to me with that hint of a Southern accent? I'm only human, dude. Professional or not, i'm not made of stone. Give a girl a break and take the day off next year when we come to your school. Please. Thank you. PS - Happy Earth Day, everybody.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

ABCs of Rea

I mentioned that i finished a project on Monday that I had been working on for a few weeks. Rickki called yesterday to say it arrived, so now you can all see it. I made her an ABC mini-book of words that describe her. Humility is a great characteristic, but if you are truly humble you may not realize just how amazing you are - Rickki is like that. I thought she needed to see how cool she is, so here is how i made the "ABCs of Rea." First, you need words. I free-wrote how i feel about my best friend, picked out the adjectives and descriptors and then went to the dictionary and thesaurus to fill in all of the letters Yes, i skipped "X" cause i refuse to drop the initial "e" on words like "excellent" and my only other choice was the archaic abbreviation for Christian - Xtn - which is lame. I started with a pack of alphabet index cards punched a standard quarter inch round hole in the upper left corner and sponged sage ink on each card, being sure to use different coverage and to make different patterns on the front and back. I chose a variety of solid and patterned paper that went with the background color I wanted each letter to be different, but super clean and simple so i only used colored pens, sticker letters (love them!!), background stickers and clear epoxy spots Here are a few of the finished pages and my personal favorite, "T" Once all the letters were done I did a cover page and bound the book with a binder ring. I tried to tie on embellishment ribbons a la Kathy Vetters' $8 long-books, but it looked AWFUL (KV - how do you make it look so good? mine were CRAP) so i went with glass circle beads instead. And, in case you are wondering, my BFF is: adorable, artistic, amazing, active, astonishing,awesome, able, active, brave, beautiful, blessed, busy, (bunny), charming, clever, creative, complex, deft, devout, determined, dear, delightful, encouraging, earnest, fine, fiery, fun, faithful, friendly, genuine, gracious, hilarious, humble, handy, hopeful, independent, indispensable, intelligent, inspiring, joyous, jack of all trade (master of many!), key, kin, keen, kind, loyal, (laughs), love, mom-mother-maternal (i couldn't decide which i wanted), magnificent, modest, neato, necessary, natural, observant, open, obliging, outstanding, polite, pleasing, passionate, powerful, quick, quiet, qualified, reverent, radiant, real, remarkable, rare, special, supportive, strong, super, true, talented, thoughtful, tender, unique, unusual, unusual, unpretentious, virtuous, vital, vivacious, valiant, wild, witty, worthy, wonderful, warm, youthful and zesty. I love you, girl - i can't wait to see you in 2 weeks!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Spring means goats

Many people might not realize that much of Maryland is an agricultural state. We grow a lot of corn and soy commercially, but really flourish in produce. I have no idea how much of our produce gets sold commercially, but i can tell you that there are counties where there are roadside stands every 37 seconds. And i'm talking about big stands with parking lots, not card tables in driveways (though we have those too). On the Eastern Shore the produce market gets especially thick and competing markets try to lure customers with playgrounds, snoballs, ice cream stands, yard art and petting zoos. I knew it was truly Spring when, on the way to our show, team member Felicia and I spotted that Wright's Market had put the goats back in the feeding pen. Obviously they can't leave them out during the winter so when the weather gets nice enough the goats reappear. They have a bunch of goats in their... ummmm... herd? flock? group?... whatever a bunch of goats is called and they only put a few out for the public to feed at a time. Today there were 3 mini goats - 1 grey and 2 white with dark spots, and 1 medium sized goat whose head reached the top of the fence if he stood on his hind legs. yes, their eyes freak me out too, but otherwise they're cute The petting pen is pretty big with places for the goats to eat, sleep and play as well as an awesome climbing apparatus where there are feed troughs that visitors can fill using a massive pulley system we tried to get more pictures, but as you can see from the odd lines my camera started having a nervous breakdown (i would say from sheer joy at the goaty goodness) We of course stopped to feed and pet and play with the goats and to generally enjoy the sunshine before our show. The important thing to remember as you look at the pictures is that Felicia and I were being paid when they were taken.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Small World

In one of our shows we pull up a volunteer based on their birthday. Yesterday I called for a May baby as we normally go with whichever month is upcoming. When my volunteer told me his birthday was May 7th, i pointed out that it was 4 days before MY birthday, May 11th, at which point the first teacher on stage-left started wildly waving her hand - that was her birthday as well. We air high-fived, of course. About 10 minutes later we called up another volunteer; it turns out her name was Nicole. There were more high-fives about Nicoles genetically being chemical geniuses. As volunteer Nicole was leaving stage she whispered to me "My birthday is May 11th." WOW What is the probability that in a room of 230 people, three of them have the same birthday AND that all three are female AND that 2 of the 3 would have the same name? That's mind wobbling.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

mmmmm... eggplant

I am trying to eat more eggplant and asparagus. Not necessarily together, mind you, but I am trying to develop a more well-informed opinion on them both because I never really ate either growing up. Last night I went over to Stacey-from-work's house and, yes, there was eggplant. It appeared in the form of tasty, little rolls filled with cheese and drizzled with red sauce. She told me they had a fun name like "rolltinis" (teehee), but i think she might have made it up. They accompanied fabulous sandwiches of marinated, grilled turkey (gotta get me a stove-top grill pan - WOW), granny smith apples and brie, which Stacey calls "the cheese of my childhood." (i think she had a slightly different childhood than me...) Totally yumtastic and yet another way for me to enjoy eggplant. Thanks, Stacey!


Beautiful, but deadly... Welcome to allergy season, people.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes

Sometimes all you need is to have one really good day. Yesterday i woke up after almost 6 hours of sleep. I had a McGriddle for breakfast. I was wearing heels. I accomplished all of my Monday goals at work, including getting the summer sorted out. Someone told me they were proud of me. Wendy came to work and made it through the day. Someone invited me over for dinner later this week. Someone commented on my cute hair (i just cut the really short Bettie Page bangs that i favor in the summer, but always look alarming the first day). There was a post card from my dad. I talked to my mom, who is having a good week. I talked to my beloved Rea as we plan for her birthday visit (my birthday, her visit - technically it's happening the week before my birthday). Someone called to start scheduling a birthday dinner a month in advance to be sure we can find a date. I received a picture in the mail of me and one of the people i love the most in the world from the angel he was smart enough to marry. I got e-mail from the sweetheart i lived with in college, talking about possibilities for our reunion this fall. There was a mix CD waiting for me at home from someone close to my heart, but far from my door that very well might be the BEST MIX CD i have ever received (and i've gotten some whoop-a** ones in the past). I had a fabulous dinner of leftover Mexi-bake (a dish i made up with pasta, rice, black beans, onions, jalapenos, taco sauce, cilantro, cumin, spinach, corn and cheese) and fresh strawberries with a little sugar. I took a break from the gym cause my arms still ached in a good way from the workout the day before. I wrote in my journal for the first time in a while. I finally finished a project I've been working on for weeks and took pictures of it. (to be blogged after the recipient has it) I went right to sleep when i got in bed. It is amazing how little it takes to put you back on course. The big horrible things in life that weigh us down and stress us out can be put into perspective with a kind word or gesture, with the right song. I still have quite a bit of stress in my life right now, but it is so much easier to carry today. What a difference a day makes, indeed.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Giant. Rusty. Metal. Chicken.

need i say more? Caponbridge, WV

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Corndog Goodness

Saturday night was the Final Four in college basketball. I'm sure you can all imagine how much i care about college basketball, especially since neither Maryland or Ohio made it that far this year. However, UNC did make it. And when 2 of your friends live in Chapel Hill cause one of them is a professor at UNC and they happen to be in town, you're watching college basketball. Mel and Mike were at their party during the day on Saturday, but they were coming back to the Palmateer's in time for the game so i went over around 6ish. We aren't going to talk about the pathetic travesty that was the Kansas/ UNC game; Mike might start crying just reading this. Instead we are going to talk about the portion of the evening that wasn't a bitter disappointment - the food. There is a corndog recipe that Jason loves, loves, loves that Kate will only make for special occasions. This qualifies. Whatcha doing Kate? Cooking. Whatcha doing Jason? Waiting. The recipe is from Rachel Ray, who might be close to the most annoying person on the planet, but she does have some good recipes. It is oven-baked making it much easier to cook and lower in fat. We were told that it was sorta spicy, kinda like a corn chili dog; what we weren't told is that they were HUGE! Look at those momba-jombie things! They were more like spicy corn loaves with a tasty dog center. Wow. I appreciate the stick, but they had to be eaten with a fork. YUM!

Sunday, April 6, 2008


After the bbq yumminess at Rub mel, Mike, Jason, Kate and I retired to Casa Palmateer to watch the last few episodes of Battlestar Galactica season 3 and the season 4 premiere. Man i can't even tell you how much i love that show! (well i could, but that would need its own post) Anyhoo, Kate and Mike turned in after the Cylon festivities while Mel, Jason and I wiied. Jason and I showed Mel how to bowl and box. I actually like watching the people who are playing more than the screen. Jason was pretty stoic, but really got into bowling Mel made the best faces We explored some of the Wii party games. It is amazing that some games can be so AWESOME while other games on the same system are lamer than a Gremlin at Daytona. Why, oh why would there be a video version of beer pong?!? And why, for the love of Pete, would anyone call it "Ping Cup"? Why would the knockoff skee ball (i think it was called Scoot Ball) have a huge clown face on the background? You can't use your miis in these games so you pick a character; why were they all in costume? Do you really need to be a masked flamenco dancer to shoot darts? The trivia was kinda fun, except when JP got the "sports" category 3 rounds in a row and beat me 92-7, but we all know i'll take trivia games in basically any form. I think I can safely say that i am in love with the boxing. I think that if i had Wii boxing at my house I would never go out. Ever.


Who doesn't love barbeque? Mel and Mike were in town over the weekend for a friend's going away party so they hooked up with me and the Palmateers for some dinner on Friday. Since I had to work later than everyone else (isn't that always the case? i need a vacation) Jason picked a BBQ joint downtown on Light St, past Federal Hill, called Rub. There's the rub... C'mon! Someone had to say it! - Melanie I really liked the faux-Texas decor and the laid back atmosphere. The sausage was excellent, the mild BBQ sauce was yummy and the moni cheese (that would be macaroni and cheese for those of you not yet fluent in Niki) had extra pepper which some people (including me) loved. The bourbon pecan pie was delightful (how could that NOT be good) and others thought the banana pudding was amazing (yech - i don't care for banana pudding). I was tickled by the mason jar glasses; a lot of places do that using the pint sized jars, but these were the honkin' quart sized jars. Of course the best part of dinner was being with these hooligans

creating colors

I wonder who gets to make up the names for paint colors. That's a job i could really enjoy. Yesterday i was dying doileys with a coffe wash, but it came out too light. So i added a tea wash - too bland. So i added a dye wash - eureka! It is a soft pink with browny-grey undertones. I think I'll call it "Antique Spring"

Thursday, April 3, 2008

checking in

haven't fallen off the face of the earth... swamped at work... IT issues... considering moving to Idaho... sparkle ponies to return (hopefully soon)