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This is not my favorite month.  I even hate it so much that I purposely misspelled “you’re” above, the grammatical error that irks me the most (I think I broke up with a guy over this before, among other things, but he always got it wrong even after I corrected him on it many times… and yes, I do realize there’s a change I’ll always be single).  Anyways, this August has to go on record as one of the worst since 1977 (when Elvis died).  In summary, it’s been hot.  And it’s been raining cars and dogs, figuratively not literally, in the money expenditures department.

Last Sunday, the car wouldn’t start.  Assumed it was the battery, which is was, but also a broken thermostat and cracked rear shock.  The thermostat I can’t vouch for, but the battery and shock repair were obviously legit.  NTB told me about the shock back in February when I got my tires replaced, but I said no to them on repairing it in typical cheap Emily fashion.  It wasn’t an emergency fix, I’m not that negligent a car owner.

Today, Rocky went in for his bi-annual teeth cleaning.  Little guy needed 5 extractions on his front bottom teeth (I’ve never counted, but I can’t envision there being more than 6).  They charge like $30-45 PER extraction, so that adds up, especially on top of the blood panel, actual teeth cleaning, and antibiotics.  If they charge me for clipping his nails, which I requested they do while he’s knocked out because he hates it so much, then I’ll really lose my $hit.  The good news is he is fine and recovering, and after doing some research I learned that it is important to extract them if they’re loose. Otherwise it’s painful and they could get a bacterial infection.  I’m just nervous to pick him up and take a peek at his teeth.  If I had any money left, I’d go to the east side and get him fitted with a gold grill for the bottom front.  But, after all this, I am not broke, but on the verge of tears based on how much I’ve spent in the last not even 7 days, so we’ll have to put the grill on his list for Santa.        

My Mom reassured me that it always happens like this… every once in a while you get hit out of the blue with major expenses.  She also told me that I didn’t need to go crazy and sell my car and start subsiding on beans and rice.  But, I’m considering it.  The latter part of that statement.  I really love my car and want to hang onto it for a long time.  I just might want to consider getting a second job… like at Starbucks where I can at least get my coffee habit paid for.  Or if Walter White was real and lived in Austin, I might do a little freelance work for him.  Ha.            

Oh, and one last bit of crappy for August.  Time Warner finally cut off my free cable.  Bastards.  I thought I might be a glitch in the system or somehow my apartment complex provided free basic cable, but I guess I was wrong.  I went so far as to call them to report an outting but they said they didn’t see anything for my area.  They put me on hold to connect me to a techie who could help me pinpoint the problem, but after waiting about 15 mins I gave up.  I was slightly curious to see how far they would go before looking at my account and realizing I wasn’t paying for any TV.  I decided to take the advice of another cable-less friend and ordered an HD antenna that looks like the Star Trek enterprise.  It comes tomorrow and fingers are crossed I get all the channels, especially NBC, because that’s my jam.  In the meantime, I’ve started Mad Men from the beginning on Netflix and am doing just fine.  Take that, Time Warner.  And August. 

But, not too hard, August, because I don’t want any other bombs dropped on me in the next 10 days.  Which, I’m guessing I probably just jinxed myself with that statement.

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Last Friday was a day of total geeking out for me. 

First, there was a sample sale at WFM, meaning you grab as many supplement samples as you want and you leave a donation for them.  I raped this sale.  I’ve now got a year supply of protein powder and some really expensive cocoa powder.  Antioxidants, y’all!

Second, there was a one-day only sale on salmon going on at the store.  I bought 4lbs of Alaska Troll Caught Salmon for 8.99 (before my discount). Ye-ah!

Third, the New Girl Summer Bus Tour came through town and I went.  Dragging my Mom of course.  If it wasn’t for her, I probably would have gone home empty-handed (aka with no shirt).  She won me a pair of glasses, as seen in the pic, but I was able to trade it out for a t-shirt later.  You know me and t-shirts.

This is not the first time in my life I wished I had some non-prescription glasses to wear.

My geeking out ended about noon and I was EXHAUSTED.  That’s what good geeking out does to you.  It also makes the workday fly by.  Holla!

If there’s one thing my friendship with Kelley has taught me, it’s to never be afraid to BS with strangers on irrelevant matters.  These days, I’m a Netflix (streaming only) subscriber.  Every once in a while I get on there to search for a movie, or a tv show or an actor.  I’ve noticed that each time I search, my search results return something that is in no way related to what I searched for.  They might share a LETTER, but that is all. 

Today, I searched for Elvis Presley (in anticipation for what movie options I’ll have for August 16th) and I was not pleased with my results.  Maybe it’s the day or maybe it’s that time of the month (month end close… gotcha), but I lost my cool a little bit.  I got THREE results related to Elvis Presley.  I also got results ranging from Elvis Costello (I could have let this one slide) to ELVIRA (why is that shiz on Netflix) to Jamie Foxx.  All I wanted was what they had on Elvis Presley.  I don’t want 5 pages of results related to bologna I did not search for.  I decided to drop them some feedback.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), my only contact options were chat or to call them.  Since I hate talking on the phone, I opted for the chat session.  Here you go:

Welcome to Netflix Chat. How can we help you?
You are now chatting with: Jonathan

You: Hi Jonathan

Jonathan: HI there! Who am I chatting with today?

You: Emily

Jonathan: Hey there Emily. How can I help you today?

You: Well, I was hoping to find a place on the site to leave a comment/feedback about the site. Is this the best place to do so?

Jonathan: Absolutely, we love feedback. I’m all ears.

You: I’ve noticed that a lot of times I will search for a specific movie or actor and when I get my search results it contains a plethora of other artists/movies/shows etc that have nothing to do with the artist/movie/show I searched for.

You: For example, I just searched Elvis Presley. I got three results related to him and then a whole ton of others. Like Elvis Costello, Elvira and even Jamie Foxx. Is there a reason for this?

You: I’d rather only have the three search results that directly related to what I was searching for. Short and sweet. I don’t see the need to cloud the search results with a bunch of other mumbo jumbo I have no need for.

You: I hope this makes sense. Thanks for listening.

Jonathan: Of course, that’s a great call out. From my understanding, the search is mostly intuitive with closely matching names or things you could’ve possibly have been meaning to type. This an absolutely great suggestion though that I’ll pass on to research. I really appreciate you taking the time to call this out.

You: No problem – I’ve noticed this a few times and find it a little frustrating. Thanks for being warm to my feedback. I appreciate it and promise I am not a crazy person.

Jonathan: No, I totally appreciate your feedback and completely understand the craziness!

You: Thanks, Jonathan… have a great day!

Jonathan: Absolutely, you have one, too!

Now, whether or not he’ll actually mention my feedback to “research”, I have no idea.  But, at least for my piece of mind I voiced my complaint and managed to waste about 5 minutes of his time today.  It feels really good to BS with strangers sometimes.  I’m just glad I learned that lesson young. 

If in a month or two, I search for something and notice that the results only contain exactly what I searched for, then I’ll know that I effected (affected?) change for the first time in my life. 

Yes I can!

Recently, my Mom put in a request that I write something about her.  I agreed, but it took me a week to figure out what story I wanted to share.  I knew something would come to me and sure enough it did over lunch today.  Two months ago, I was helping her set up for her clothes/trunk show (called “ETC”).  She put me in charge of organizing the two racks of sale clothes out in their garage, which was bordering on furnace level heat.  Is it still child abuse when you are 30?

After an hour of working, I decided to take a small break.  I began to look around at the garage and noticed some very interesting objects and object placements.  Thinking to myself that this would be great blog material, I snapped a few pictures.  In no particular order, aside from the last one being my favorite, here’s a peak at the inside of my parents garage.  It’s definitely used more than just for parking cars and keeping boxes of my elementary school artwork and projects (Mom, I promise when I house sit in July I will go through these).

Observation #1: The life size cactus

The Christmas Cactus?

The Christmas Cactus?

Observation #2: The stuffed chicken in a chair

Just takin' a load off

Just takin’ a load off

Observation #3: The body of a mannequin (side note: when ever you hear the word “mannequin” does it remind you of that awesome 80’s movie about the mannequin that comes to life?)

Close your eyes kids!

Close your eyes kids!

Observation #4: Dan’s childhood baseball certificate properly displayed on a shelf

50 years later and we're still proud!

50 years later and we’re still proud!

Observation #5: The chair on a chair in the air

Just hangin'

Just hangin’

Observation #6: My Christmas tree fully decorated and under wraps

After this post, there might not be any presents under this tree this year

After this post, there might not be any presents under this tree this year

Observation #7 (my favorite): The doll resting on a trash bag full of something with her leg propped up (I promise I did not do that)

Nobody puts the baby doll in the corner

Nobody puts the baby doll in the corner

This happens to everyone at some point or another… you’re at your desk, carrying on multiple IM conversations and you accidentally send the wrong message to the wrong person.  Today, I was talking to a co-worker about my Urban Dictionary word-of-the-day, while carrying on a conversation with Amy about UT football tickets.

Today’s word is “mouse arrest”.  Which means getting grounded from the family computer.  I don’t know if it’s because it’s Friday or what, but I thought it was funny.  After sharing the word and definition with my coworker, I began to type the sample phrase they include, but of course, I sent it to Amy accidentally.  Whoops.

Me: Do you know what face value are for them in that section?

Amy: I think it is $75

Me:  ok, so those you found are probably FV

Amy: the UT box office has $75 as the price for all tix for that game
            Stub Hub has some for $65-68
            not much of a difference

Me: I’d say go ahead and get those and I’ll just work on getting the extra ticket
           from our family friend… unless  you can wait a week or two.  

          after my mom found my pornfolio, she put me on mouse arrest

 Amy: haha

 Me: sorry… wrong IM

 Amy: hahahahaha
          I still really enjoyed it

Totally a random thing to IM and I’m just glad it went to Amy and not someone else who’d I’d feel uncormfortable discussing my “pornfolio” with.

I’ve always had a fascination with dreams.  Even the ones Fleetwood Mac sing about.  Perhaps it stemmed from the 4th grade when Sarah and I had to do a report on something and we chose REM, as in rapid eye movement sleep, not the band.  My Mom drove us to some old school ladies salon/hair care product store in North Austin, because it was the only one in town that sold the styrofoam heads that you can display wigs on.  Using our artistic abilities, we cut out a chunk of the back of the head and with play-dough, we constructed a little scene of someone shopping the produce aisle of a grocery store.  Pretty lame dream, I know.  I think we were trying to exemplify that people often have very basic, everyday like dreams.

The one I had last night was so not ordinary.  Maybe for Ted Bundy, but not for myself.  I dreamed that some mass murderer attacked my sorority house, while I was across the street watching.  The other people with me rushed across the street to the sorority house to help save our sisters, but I dilly-dallied around where I was because… hello, they were killing people over there!  I woke up this morning feeling extremely guilty for not putting myself in danger and also because I thought our old president (not you, Robyn) had died. 

Then, this afternoon I was telling my coworker about my crazy dream and her response was, “Oh my gosh!  How bizarre!  And just after you had that other dream recently where your guy friend was killing people”.  I had completely forgotten that one. 

All of my good friends were living on the same street (like Wisteria Lane in Desperate Housewives) and I was the only one that knew that Jay was killing people and burying them under his house.  I kept thinking, “How does Suz not know that Jay is a murderer?  Should I tell her?”.  But, I was too scared to say anything because I thought I’d get in trouble for knowing all along.  And I started to sweat BIG TIME when Margaret and John had been missing for a month and everyone kept asking about where they were.  Well, I knew…

Yeah, extremely sick and twisted dreams.  I used to think I should keep a journal of my dreams, but I’m a little too scared to analyze these dreams I’m having lately.  And I should probably stop sharing them with people at work.  Not sure what they are starting to think of me.

The other day I was leaving work and scooted to the elevator with my afternoon snack in hand.  Upon entering the elevator, I noticed the Engine 2 book author, Rip Esselstyn, standing there with his bike.  I couldn’t get over how cool this “celebrity sighting” was.  His vegetable lasagna recipe is a favorite of mine.  And I also admire any tough firefighter dude that loves his veggies. 

After a few seconds it dawned on me that the snack I was just beginning to enjoy was an animal product in the form of greek yogurt.  Rip is a vegan.  I casually tried to tuck the Fage under my arm and out of sight, but I imagine he still caught a glimse.  I thought… of all the days I don’t eat my snack before leaving (which I always do), I run into Rip on the elevator.  Go figure.

Gamma and I were driving home from dinner tonight and we passed a cop. She tells me to be careful and then goes on about how she has to be careful when she drives home from a party after having a drink. She doesn’t want to get pulled over or in any accidents. She says, “The last thing I need is to have any boners in this car”.

I began giggling uncontrollably and she says, “Well haven’t you heard of a boner before?”. In response I say, “Of course, but I think there’s another meaning to the word that you don’t know of”.

About 30 minutes go by and I can’t let this go. I decide to ask her what exactly a “boner” is and she says, “Well, it’s an accident, a mishap”.

And I think to myself… well, yes sometimes you’re right.

My deepest apologies for the lack of blog action lately.  I’m not sure I can even tell you where the last month has gone.  Aside from studying and traveling, the rest of my time was spent planning!

Ten years ago, when I went off to college, mi madre turned 50.  And I recall that after her birthday had passed there was a little disappointment in the air about not having been thrown a party.  Dan and I put a little note in the back of our brains to do something for her 60th.  Luckily, we also had a few reminders from her along the way!  She also remembered to remind us that she had never been thrown a surprise party before.  Note taken.

The planning began in the early summer and we decided to throw her party at the Stone House winery nearby their neighborhood.  Invites were sent, food was ordered and my trial run at being a pathological liar/actress/fugitive began.  We picked the Saturday before her birthday to throw the party.  The kicker in throwing her off was that I had told her I’d be on vacation in Maryland that weekend, but would be home the weekend after her birthday to celebrate.  She began asking questions when she knew we were up to something.  I just told her to stop talking about it and know that she would be celebrated.

During the week before the party, we finalized decorations and plans.  I also sent her and Dan an itinerary for my upcoming trip (changing the dates in my original itinerary).  She bought it.  After work Friday, I headed down to Austin to stay the night with Amanda.  The next morning, after a delicious Kerby Lane breakfast, cousin Amanda and I ran around town picking up the cake and flowers before we headed out to Spicewood.  The plan was to hide out at Jenny’s(friend of my Mom’s) house before the party and on the way out there I would call my Mom to say I had made it to Maryland (she knew I was “arriving” around 1:30).  But, while we were in Central Market picking up the cake, I received a text from my Mom asking if I had made it to Maryland yet.  I responded that I was at the bag claim and would call her from the car. Which I did.  It’s just that the car was in Austin (and would be driving within 50 feet of the house) and not Maryland.  Before I called, I made sure to check the Maryland weather and get all my facts together so I wouldn’t blow anything.  This all sounds so easy, but I was a nervous wreck we were going to spoil it somehow!

Enter Lance.  About 2 hours before the party, while we were working on flower arrangements, I got a call from Dan.  Lance had left a message singing Happy Birthday to my Mom.  Dan, on top of his game, quickly deleted it before she heard or before Lance said anything like, “Have fun at your party tonight”.  We had to be careful.  We’d gone this far without her knowing, we had to finish strong.  I told Lance to call back the next day and repeat his message.  Which he did, what a sweet guy!

Everyone arrived right on time, the food was plentiful and delicious, the wine was excellent (I downed 2 glasses out of nervouseness before she arrived), the decorations pretty amazing (if I say so myself) and best of all… we pulled it off!!  And I was no longer lying to my Mom about EVERYTHING.  Not easy to do when you are such a perfect daughter!

Laurie and Jenny picked her up for a “girls night”.  She really wasn’t suspecting anything but that at all.  Here’s a visual recap of the party.  Pardon the multiple videos… I got really nervous when she was walking in and accidentally hit stop on the recorder.  Since my hand-eye coordination is spot on, I recovered just in time.

After dinner, we moved out to the outdoor patio to have cake.  One of my Mom’s dearest friends, Kati, offered to sing a song when we were doing toasts.  She chose “You’re The Top” by Cole Porter.  I googled the lyrics ahead of time and found them fitting since there are so many art history references.  Turns out, my Mom loves the song.  Bonus!  (Side note, Kati also did my hair and make-up for prom.  What a good friend!).  It was such a magical moment and I get chills/watery eyes each time I watch this video!

You’re the top!
You’re Mahatma Gandhi.
You’re the top!
You’re Napoleon Brandy.
You’re the purple light
Of a summer night in Spain,
You’re the National Gallery
You’re Garbo’s salary,
You’re cellophane.
You’re sublime,
You’re turkey dinner,
You’re the time, the time of a Derby winner
I’m a toy balloon that’s fated soon to pop
But if, baby, I’m the bottom,
You’re the top!

When the festivities were winding down, we took a group shot with the face mask things I made using a picture from when she was in 2nd grade.  (Thanks to Chuy’s for making Elvis ones and giving me the idea).

It was a perfect evening for a perfect and well deserving lady!  Thanks to Jenny and Laurie for setting up “girls night”.  Thanks to me for planning it all.  And thanks to Dan for picking up the tab! 

Happy Birthday, Mom!  LYTM!

P.S.  You can see the rest of the pictures (and really cool centerpieces) here.

My sister and I have been joking about how much more enjoyable of a world it is that my brother lives in compared to the one we live in. I’d say this is true 9 times out of 10. This past weekend I experienced the 1 time when it’s more enjoyable to be in my world witnessing his.

I spent the weekend in VA visiting the family. We went into the District on Saturday afternoon to check out the Newseum. Afterwards, we stopped at one of the nicer hotels near the White House for a cocktail before heading back out to Reston for dinner. Just to set the scene, below is a picture of the actual bar/lounge area, which you can see is pretty nice.

We sat down and before long the waiter came by to take our drink order. Gamma orders her usual Maker’s, Dad gets white wine, ESM orders a Cosmo and I get a Kettle One. Lance was the last to order, and we all expected him to ask for Coke, maybe a Dr. Pepper. With the seriousness of a crotchety old man who is about to order a Scotch, my brother says, “I’ll have a Buttery Nipple”. It took all I had not to spit out the handful of peanuts I just put in my mouth. I immediately put my hand over my eyes, because I couldn’t face seeing the reaction on the poor waiter’s face.

After a few minutes the waiter comes back with everyone’s drink, except Lance’s. To make matters worse, he has to ask Lance, “What exactly is in a Buttery Nipple”? I decide to take charge and overrule Lance’s order. I tell him to just bring a Bailey’s or White Russian. Lance’s ridiculous metabolism could pull off the habit of drinking either of those on a regular basis. So, why not go Dude style?

Unfortunately, Lance had no idea why the whole incident was so funny. He was actually a little perturbed that we were giving him such a hard time and that he couldn’t have his Buttery Nipple. I told him to save those for when the waiters/bartenders aren’t wearing suits.