Saturday, December 31, 2005


I finally got a new keyboard for my laptop!!! Ross's dad gave it to me for Christmas, so now I don't have to wait for Ross to "just check his email" before I can get on the Internet. Not only that, it's set up in my newly purple sunroom/craftroom. That's right, instead of relaxing during my winter break, I decided that the crappy room behind our bedroom needed some sprucing up, basically so I wouldn't want to die whenever I walked into it. So now it's a a lovely, vibrant, eggplant color, complete with flowy curtains and my artwork on the walls. Zapp and I love hanging out in here. I'm tempted to tape a sign like this on the door:

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


So I went over to the Home Depot today to pick up some more purple paint for the sunroom (yeah, that's right) AND to purchase some sort of mouse trapping apparatus. Even though I will smush most living things to bits, I can't bring myself to kill a mouse. Consequently, the old-fashioned "snap them in half" variety wasn't going to work for me. As I perused the vermit/pest aisle, all I could find was said mouse-snappers, and pellets that are guaranteed to kill mice and rats when consumed. I figured if they could kill mice and rats, they could probably kill dogs, too. Being that I have two of the dumbest (but sweetest!) dogs in the world, and that these dogs manage to get into everything imaginable, I was convinced that I would have to surrender to the fact that the mice might just be there to stay. That is, until something caught my eye.

Tucked off to the side of the last shelf in the aisle was what looked to be an plug-in air freshener of some kind. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a little plug-in doo-hickey that emits sounds at a frequency that drives mice SO crazy that their nervous systems get all out of whack and they leave your house in efforts to avoid insanity. Now, that's not what the package said, but my summary was much more colorful, and not inaccurate. It claims to have no effect on dogs, but I am a little worried about Gary, the class gerbil, who is visiting for the holidays. Hopefully he won't try to escape-or die. But if he does, I can use the story as a good science review of sound frequency.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


This evening I walked into the kitchen to prepare myself a much anticipated peanut butter sandwich, and I saw a teeny tiny brown mouse scurrying along the edge of our counter and disappearing behind our fridge. I have never come upon an unexpected live mouse. I've come across dead ones at school all the time. They like to hide in the book closet and make superman leaps off of the shelves. They rarely survive this stunt, and I frequently find them lying spread eagle in the middle of the floor. My reaction to this is usually "ew" and then I go get Pyramus, the custodian, and he sweeps them up into the dustbin and does whatever it is you do with dead mice. Anyway, I've always wondered what my reaction would be to a not-dead mouse. Well, it turns out that I simply make a series of unintelligible squeals and whines until I have gotten the icky feeling out of my system. After my semi-fit, I bravely got the flashlight and looked behind the fridge-but to no avail. It seems the critter escaped through one of the many holes tucked away in the corners of our Swiss-cheeseque house. Needless to say, we will be picking up some mouse traps tomorrow. I'm sure there will be many pictures to follow showing the spoils of that adventure.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Hangin Out

I went out with the hubs (don't click there-he never updates his blog) tonight to participate in a mini "going away" party for Jake, who leaves for a 5 week stint Nicaragua tomorrow afternoon. We met up with a bunch of people at Empire, a bar in the VCU area. The people I met up with are ones that I see fairly frequently, or at least I feel like I see them because I know what's going on in their lives, mainly through stalking them via the Internet. But the thing is, I guess I don't hang out enough, because when people saw me, they were all, "Valerie! You're here! That's awesome!" Ross always tells me that when he goes to hang out sans me, people are always demanding to know where I am and for me to hang out more. I never really believed him, but I guess it's true. But here's the thing-I feel like when I go to hang out, I can't stay the whole time because my very thin facade of coolness will crumble after a few precious hours. Therefore, if I leave early, they never know that I'm a loser, and I leave them wanting more. Such a conclusion indicates a mastery of social perceptions and the possible manipulations of such perceptions, or severe insecurities. Or is it both? Have I just blown your mind?!?!?!?!?!?!?111

Friday, December 23, 2005

A Christmas Miracle of Sweet, Sweet Justice

After a fab lunch at Perly's this afternoon, the hubs and I decided to brave the wilds of Target to buy A)a keyboard for my laptop that ScottPharr destroyed a year ago by pouring water on it and B) a rug for our upstairs hallway to protect the 90 year old hardwood floors that our dogs' talons are systematically tearing apart. Purchases made, I steered our car out of the jammed parking lot and patiently waited my turn to exit. Being the solid Richmonder that I am, I gave the required go ahead while in a traffic situation, allowing one person to slip in front of me. I let her through, got my "thank you" wave, and gave her the "no problem" wave in return. And that's when the Christmas miracle began.

As I began to scoot forward to claim my place behind the lady I allowed to pass, some jerk-face in an SUV cut in front of me and slipped into my spot in line. Being a Southern lady, I can not allow such rudeness to take place without giving the culprit "the what for." The only appropriate "what for" to give was to honk my horn at him. He then turned to me with his jerk-face and said "Yeeeeessssss???????" followed by a series of jerk-faced "I'm a jerk-face" faces. As he was making said faces, jerk-face failed to notice that he had not completely pushed on his brake, and proceeded to run into the car in front of him. Hearing the two cars connect filled my heart with such joy-a joy that one might call "The Joy of Christmas"-that I could not help but to toss my head back with a gleeful laugh as I drove by jerk-face who had been sufficiently pwn'd by the Christmas Spirit.

Merry Christmas, dear readers. And may you be blessed with a Christmas Miracle of your own this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Wanna hear Ross scream like a girl?

Then show him one of these!!!!!!!11111:

We have had an infestation of sorts of these little buggars as of late. I guess they don't like the cold weather either. We've found one on the couch, one on the ceiling, several in the hallway, and one staring at me from the bathroom wall while I was, ahem, otherwise occupied. And not only are they insanely ugly and hard to catch, but they make a huge pile of guts and legs when you smash them. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth even killing them. Oh well, sometimes the dogs help with the clean up process. Gross, I know, but it really gets old after a while. Now I'm sure all of you will be clammering to come over to our house. Not only is it frigid, but now it is crawling with critters with faces like this:

Monday, December 19, 2005

Here's a chance to be really sweet

Who, out of everyone you know, has the best laugh?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Today's inquiry...

What is the best scene from a movie ever? I have three:

The end of Big Fish when the son is carrying the father into the lake and he sees all of the people from his life. I cry every friggin time.

When Will Farrell is in the phone booth in Anchorman. I laugh to the point where I'm not breathing anymore.

When Tom Hanks is stuck in the floor in The Money Pit. One of the best lines in any movie ever is: "My chest is constricted. I can't shout." Whoooooo. Hilarious.

What about you?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Baptismal Update

So Ross and I met with Steve Constable of Stony Point Church, the place we semi-attend. The gist of the meeting was that he can't really baptise me unless I'm a member of the church. Ross and I are not really for church membership, i.e. we don't see the point. But Constable assured me that if I don't ever get baptised I won't go to hell. That's always nice to hear. So now I have to decide what I want to do, if anything. The fact that Constable wasn't like, "Here, let me baptise you right now in Starbuck's," requires me to figure it out. I'm not so good at "planning" so it'll be interesting to see what happens.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

TWO IN ONE DAY! But a topic of interest...

As I lay in bed last night, nursing a belly-ache, I started to think of things I could post on my blog that would allow my loyal but often silent readers to be more active in this whole blogger/audience relationship. I came up with this question that I thought would generate some interesting responses:

Out of all the books you have read, who is your favorite character and/or narrator? Here are some of my favorites, as obvious as they may be...

Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. Her narration is authentic and hilarious. I want to have a daughter just like her one day.

Good ol' Holden Caufield from Catcher in the Rye. I love it when he describes cute things that girls do as "killing him." The scene when he describes how pitiful his old teacher is cracks me up, too.

Becky Bloomwood from the Shopaholic series (yeah, that's right). Her justifications for her ridiculous actions remind me of a certain red-headed friend I have.

Esther Greenwood from the Bell Jar. Even though I'm not as crazy as her, I can definitely relate to her breakdowns.

Francie Nolan from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The descriptions of her alcoholic father are heartbreaking and moving.

I know, I'm such an English major. But I want to know what you think. Please let me know!

Our house is a very very very cold house

We had the last Potluck of 2k5 this evening, and I assaulted all of our guests with the same question: "Is your house warm?" I even made poor Kate describe the warmth of her house to me, as she now lives in an adorable *one* story house which is much easier to heat. Many of you unfortunately have to hear about our frigid abode anytime you see us. Well, now you get to read about it.

I love love love our house in the summer. It stays nice and cool, even through the melting days of a Richmond August. However, once winter hits, Ross and I are forced to live/dress like paupers, walking around inside with hats and scarves on muttering, "It's so cold." Our house was built in the 1920's and still has all of the orginial windows. I know, I know, 1920's windows sound charming, what with their mouldings and all. But mouldings don't keep you warm. Just come over and put your hand in front of one of those charming windows-it'll seem a lot less cute when you feel the northeasterly blowing into our dining room. Not only do they let all the cold in, but they also let all the heat out. So much heat that our poor furnace just keeps running, racking up a $311 gas bill. I guess it'll be time to seal the windows up with plastic this weekend, a project that requires Ross and I to work together. Ross and I love each other more than words can say, and that love is able to stay strong because of our awareness that we don't work well together when it comes to house projects. Hopefully our love will withstand the stress. And, I mean, it could be worse. As Ross said to me tonight as I was doing the dishes in my coat and scarf, "At least you can't see your breath inside the house. That's something."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I am SO not schmoozable

The hubs and I were invited to this political dinner/drinks/fundraiser thing for Chris Peace, a House of Delegates candidate for the 97th district. Ross and his bidness partner, ScottPharr, are building this guy's web site, so the hubs, the Scott, his wife, and me-self got to go to Julep's for some free food this evening. The food was good (I basically had crab dip for dinner), the wine flowed like wine, and we got to see good ol' Mark and Jamie, friends who we could never get enough of even if they lived in our house. But here's the thing: JERRY EFFING KILGORE WAS THERE. Yeah, that's right. Mr. Not-Our-Governor, the man who has been the subject of much mockery in our household for the last year. Once he walked in the party (which he stayed at *just* long enough to get his picture taken and then skeedaddle), I knew I was out of my league. Rather than discuss issues with the politicos surrounding me, all I wanted to do was scream, "I DIDN'T VOTE FOR YOU!" at Mr. Kilgore, and eat some crab dip with a spoon rather than on a cracker, as is the "appropriate" or "ladylike" way. I had nothing to say to anyone and kept following Ross around, who kept following Mark, who kept following Jamie, who was only there to make business connections in case she decides to quit her job. I am so not a grown up. But I so love free crab dip.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Save some holy water for me!

Sooooooooo a lot of you might not know this, but I was never baptized as a baby. My mom had "issues" with organized religion, so she just never had it done. We were sent to Sunday school to learn "the basics" when we were really small, but then left to our own devices as we trudged our way into adulthood.

Not being baptized was a non-issue when I was a non-Christian. But now that I am "one of those" (Who hearts the quotation marks tonight?), it is a major personal issue for me. I appreciate where my mom was coming from, and I'm excited that it's something I get to choose to do. But it's been in the back of my mind for a while. Ross likes to joke and tell me that I'm going to hell. Atleast I think he's joking. Anyway, I decided when I was around 18 that I did want to get baptized as an outward expression of my faith. However, I was 18 and had no follow through whatsoever. Now, 6 years later (it makes me sick to my stomach to think that was a whole first-grader ago) I have managed to, as I have mentioned, acquire a hubby, a car, 2 dogs, and a house. Now I'm trying to get me a preacher and a baptism. I've already contacted the pastor of the church that Ross and I semi-attend to get the baptismal ball rolling, as they say. Or as I say. Anyway, just wanted to share that. Do with it what you will. But I'm just saying, I fully expect a truckload of those "Congratulations on Your Baptism" money holders stuffed with cash once the occasion is upon us.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Muttled but somewhat meaningful musings

I just looked at my own profile and saw that it said I am 24 years old. Naturally, I knew that I am 24 years old, but there's something about seeing in print that solidifies it for you. I know that 24 is by no means old, but on the day I reached it, I had a minor freak out.

I think when most people turn 24, they have a freak out of the "What am I going to do with my life?" variety. I had one more like the "How did I get to this point already?" sort. I mean think about it. I was married by 21, got a job, got a car, got a dog, got a house, got another dog, all in 2 years. Now I'm left wondering what there is left to do now-I want to move on to the next thing. It's like I have this checklist in my brain where I am just marking things off as I get them done. And being the control-freak that I am, I like to get them done very quickly. Most of you would probably say that the next thing on the list is babies. I would tend to agree with you on that, but I know that the thought of having babies right now sends Ross into a panicky, sweaty-palmed spiral. I know we're not ready for kids. I know this. I just feel like I'm going to be stuck in a rut as I wait for the right time to come. And it pisses me off that I'm going to be like that. Why am I so attached to this constant desire to keep things moving along to the next phase, instead of just loving the amazing life I've been blessed with so early on? I'm seriously going to start trying to mellow out and enjoy the way my life is now. I have a hilarious, loving husband, the sweetest, most loyal friends anyone could ask for, a job I love, two dogs that treat me like a rockstar when I come home from work, and a family that has always supported and encouraged me, despite our dysfunction. That's more than anyone deserves. So I'm gonna shut the mess up and and take it all in while it's here. The rest will come when it's supposed to.

Ok, so I'm a loser.

My post before last, I got all high and mighty talking about how I don't see the point of myspace. But while I was investigating it, I set up my own profile. I keep going back to see if I have any new friends. All I have is Ross and some guy named Tom who wants me to come see his band. Please go here and make comments or ask to be my friend.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Happy Field Trip Day!!!!

Today the entire 5th grade class went to the Virginia Marine Science Museum in Virginia Beach. It was quite the eventful day and I thought I'd share it all with you.

I spent my day with 4 kids. Read their names and brief descriptions below:

Kevin-All-American, blue-eyed boy with a charming smile and a "killer fastball." Pretty much guaranteed entry into any fraternity once he enters college on a full athletic scholarship. Very smart and sweet, but, more often than not, a pain in the ass.

Amanda-Very sweet but insecure young lady who wants to please all adults, and to talk about umcomfortable things with them.

Taylor-As ghetto-fabulous as they come and insists on wearing her down-jacket with the fur-lined hood at all times, but just with the hood hanging off of her head.

George-our favorite Egyptian friend who has recently added the phrases, "Come on, man" and "Dude, for real," to his vocabulary.

The rest of my students were passed along to my chaperones, who I must say were WONDERFUL today. I chose each of these kids to be in my group each for their own special reason. Kevin, because he lacks any shred of self-control. Amanda, because she has very little to say to children her own age and tends to have mental breakdowns when she can't communicate with them. Taylor, because she would just boss around anyone in her group, including (or, perhaps, especially) the chaperone. George, because I am one of the few adults who can actually understand what he says. It proved to be an interesting and, eventually, heartwarming day.

We started off in the Bay and Ocean Pavilion where you get to see hissing cockroaches and hermit crabs. While we were at the hermit crab touch tank, anytime Amanda saw two hermit crabs anywhere near each other, she would ask in an exceptionally loud voice, "Are the mating?" or "Where are their genitals?" I obviously could not chide her for those questions because she used the appropriate terminology, but I myself am not mature enough the answer those questions, so I just shoved her over to one of the volunteers and allowed them to stutter over the explanation.

After Amanda learned all about hermit crab reproduction, we made our way over to the sting ray tank where you can actually stroke sting rays when they flap to the surface. Most of the kids were scared, but the sting rays seemed to really like being pet, and they would kind of bump the kids hands and snuggle with them. When George's hand skimmed over the back of one ray he yelled, "Feels like baloney!!!!!!!" I almost died from the cuteness and hilarity of this statement.

After our hands-on encounter with nature, we decided to go outside and walk around on the 1/2 mile trail they had. Here Kevin decided to become a jerk-demon from hell. He would either be running off somewhere, or lying on a bench, refusing to move. After threatening him with an office referral that would be waiting on the principal's desk on Monday, he eventually straightened up. However, he decided he would "pay me back" by climbing all over any display he could find once we were back in the building. And he really got me. Having him make that phone call to his father, explaining for himself how he was acting really stuck it to me.

Lunch seemed to rid Kevin off the demon-possession and any general crabbiness in the group. After eating we went back to look more closely at the animals we hadn't seen. Much to our excitement, we found the sea turtle tank. It's tucked away in this dark hallway with the aquarium taking up an entire wall. We all just sat down right in front of the tank as the turtles came up to us, bumping their noses on the glass. I looked over at one point and saw that George was laying on his back, looking up at the tank. Soon the rest of our group was doing the same thing, just staring at these huge creatures, with their prehistoric feet and smooth bellies. I have never heard a more silent group of children in my life. It was definitely one of those moments that I will never forget. At first I was bummed that I didn't get a picture of all of them spread out on the floor like that, but a photo really wouldn't have done it justice anyway.

After a quick IMAX movie about Sharks that was pretty boring, it was time to go home. Our trip down to the museum only took 1 hour and 45 minutes. However, the other driver (not the driver on my bus, thank you very much) was the leader for the route home and she chose to take some ass-backwards way that ended up taking 4 hours. Taylor was ordered to be silent about 30 minutes into the ride because she is physically unable to speak at a volume less than, like, 300 decibels. We watched "Finding Nemo" for the first hour and a half, thinking that would cover us for the majority of the trip. But no. The kids got so riled up and crabby that for the last 2 hours of the ride we turned off the lights and they were all ordered to go to sleep. They fought it at first, but soon all you could hear on the bus was the sound of 5th graders in a chorus of snores. Oh, and one chaperone's phone ringing every 10 minutes, followed by the following conversation:
Her: Hullo?!??
Other person: mmpmpjhpjpjpjjjppmm
Her: What?!?!?!?
Other person: msdlfkjsdjjjfjsji!!!
Her: Why don't you speak up?!?!?!?
Her: Ok then, bye.

We arrived back at school at 7:15- 2 hours and 15 minutes late, carrying two busloads of hungry children and greeted by 80 angry/worried/annoying parents. Not the best way to start the weekend. But hey, at least I got to gaze at turtle bellies for a while.