Tuesday, January 31, 2006

This Thing Called LIFE

The family had such a fun time celebrating with Reece yesterday. He chose
IHOP as his place to dine on his birthday last night. Isn't that cute? I
love it that he gets to choose. Emily chooses on her birthday, as well, and
we always look forward to these celebrations. They have their parties with
their friends on the weekend after their birthdays, but the family always
celebrates on their actual birthdays. Reece loaded up on pancakes and we
knew it was a true party when the chocolate milk got spilled. (Remember
when it wasn't a party until the cops came? Yeah, times have changed.) We
all had a good time eating and watching him open his gifts. Everyone
enjoyed it, that is, except Emily. She's never been too thrilled to watch
her little brother open gifts without her participation. The older she
becomes, however, the easier it is for her. That's a sure sign she's
maturing, which is supposed to be good, but I don't want her to mature too
much. I want her to be eight years old just like Reece. It really gets on
their nerves when I tell them that, since they are kids who want to grow up
as quickly as I wanted to when I didn't know better either!! I couldn't
wait to grow up when I was a kid, as did everyone I knew. I think that's
the worst irony about being an adult: remembering how great it actually was
to be kid, but also remembering how much we wanted to be adults, because it
looked so great to be an adult. What a thing life is, huh?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Happy Birthday, Reece!

Happy Birthday, Reece!
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa.
Reece, it’s hard to believe you are celebrating your eighth birthday today! I want to thank you for making the past eight years so exciting. I know I tell you, all the time, that you are the cutest boy in the world, and you ARE, but you are also very smart, funny, sensitive, kind-hearted, have great taste in clothes, and you’re a great basketball player! You also know more about cars and trucks than I will ever begin to know. You are extremely independent, too. You’ve always wanted to do things for yourself, and your opinions are your own, not someone else’s. You love life and get excited when you see a butterfly or a worm in the dirt. Your love for animals is boundless and it’s such a delight to see you playing with Dooley. Abby loves you, too, and leaps for joy when you walk in the room. Some of my favorite times with you are the Saturday mornings when we go to the Humane Society and you give treats to all the dogs. By the time we are ready to leave, you’ve fallen in love with at least two or three of the dogs and want to take them all home with you. They are also drawn to you like a magnet because they know that you are such a loving boy. I love you, my darling nephew, and hope you have a wonderful birthday.

Hugs and kisses forever!


Saturday, January 28, 2006

My New (Again) Obsession

Diet Rules for Cheaters

1. If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has no calories.

2. If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, the calories in the candy bar are cancelled out by the diet soda.

3. When you eat with someone else, calories don't count if you don't eat more than they do.

4. Food used for medicinal purposes NEVER count, such as hot chocolate, brandy, toast and Sara Lee Cheesecake.

5. If you fatten up everyone else around you, then you look thinner.

6. Movie related foods (Milk Duds, Buttered Popcorn, Junior Mints, Red Hots, Tootsie Rolls, etc.) do not have additional calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel.

7. Cookie pieces contain no fat-- the process of breaking causes fat leakage.

8. Things licked off knives and spoons have no calories if you are in the process of preparing something. Examples are peanut butter on a knife making a sandwich and ice cream on a spoon making a sundae.

9. Foods that have the same color have the same number of calories. Examples are: spinach and pistachio ice cream; mushrooms and white chocolate.

NOTE: Chocolate is a universal color and may be substituted for any other food color.

10. Foods that are frozen have no calories because calories are units of heat. Examples are ice cream, frozen pies, and Popsicles.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Appalling To The Masses

I've been shopping for a new bedspread, and since I don't enjoy actually getting off my rear end, driving to a store, parking my car, and walking across a parking lot, much less dealing with salespeople, I've been trying to find one online. I found this ad on my favorite site, you know: the one in which you place your bid and hope you've won, only at the very last second someone comes in and outbids you? That's beside the point, actually, of this here post, y'all. Just LOOK at the wording and the spelling. My God. Dude can't even spell chocolate. AND, Dude assumes we don't know what color "chocolote" is. Read the entire advertisement. What are "continuous" states? I'm still laughing and I've read it about fifteen times in hopes that I wasn't really seeing such a poorly-written, ignorant ad! (This is copied exactly as it was found:)



Monday, January 23, 2006

It Felt Like A Burnin' Ring Of Fire

How y'all doin? I just watched "Walk The Line" and the Southern accents are racing through my head as I try to analyze the movie. I really loved it, but I do think it could have been a little shorter. I grew tired of watching "Johnny" stumble around. I kept wanting to shout, "Straighten up, boy!!" Everyone loves a reformed celebrity and this story is no different from many others, but it was the acting and the music that made it such an excellent movie. The love story was well-portrayed, too. Go and see it if you haven't already. Thanks for taking me, Mom. I needed a night out!

Gosh, I was nervous today, but I survived the GRE and I'm happy with my results. (My knees were actually shaking when I left the testing center.) I scored higher than the required numbers for the schools I'm considering, so I'm very, very relieved. Now I have to get busy with all of the applications. It will be May or June before I know exactly where I'm going to school in the Fall.

Now it's time to crash. My brain's had all it can take for one day.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

In All Fairness...

It seems as if I've devoted a particularly greater amount of blog space to cats lately, thereby neglecting my other favorite animal. Yesterday's and today's posts, hopefully, will make up for it:

One afternoon, a woman was in her back yard hanging laundry when a tired-looking dog wandered into the yard. The woman could tell from the dog's collar and well-fed belly that he had a home. But when she walked into the house, the dog followed her, sauntered down the hall and fell asleep in a corner. An hour later, he went to the door, and the woman let him out.

The next day the dog was back. He resumed his position in the hallway and slept for an hour. This continued for several weeks. Curious, the woman finally pinned a note to his collar: "Every afternoon, your dog comes to my house for a nap."

The next day he arrived with a different note pinned to his collar: "We have six children. He's trying to catch up on his sleep."

Friday, January 20, 2006

A Couple Things Before The Weekend Really Gets Started

I cried a little when I read this.

This, however, made me laugh.

Have a good weekend and send me positive thoughts on Monday morning, please. I'll finally be taking the GRE and then I can move on with things.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Thirteen Things about VANESSA

1. I don't believe in ghosts.

2. I love to go to the movies.

3. I never wear pantyhose.

4. I get bored easily.

5. I love used bookstores.

6. Listening to someone use pitifully horrible grammar makes me want to scream.

7. I wash my car about once a year.

8. I really like picnics.

9. I don't like to cook meals.

10. I enjoy baking, however.

11. My Christmas tree is still in my living room.

12. I think I would die if I didn't have Internet.

13. I love my family.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Greatest Story Ever Told

Once upon a time, a girl asked a guy "Will you marry me?"
The guy said, "No."
And the girl lived happily ever after and went shopping,
dancing, camping, drank martinis, always had a clean house,
never had to cook and farted whenever she wanted.

~~~The End~~~

(Thanks, my friends, for the good words of encouragement!)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Stressed Aunt Vanessa

Stressed Kitty
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa.
Okay, so I'm a little stressed right now. The GRE is on Monday at 11:00 and it's four hours long. So, I must study. That's what I'm busy doing and that's why my eyes are so yellow. Everytime I think about the test I have diarrhea.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Mom, It's just a break. I'll get back to my studying in a minute, I promise.

Saturday, early in the afternoon, and I've been studying all morning for the GRE, which I'm taking on the 23rd of this month. Hopefully, I'll do well on it and a good school will accept me for the program to which I'm applying. More about that later.

I simply had to take a break and I thought it would be fun to do a meme I read on Naomi's blog. She's quite an interesting character and I've been reading her blog for a few weeks. Go check her out and say hello from me. Anyway, here's my contribution to the meme. Writing it will be the only fun I have all weekend.


1.- Ice Cream Dipper at Baskin-Robbins. My first job, when I was sixteen. It lasted about a month. Thirty-one flavors; thirty-one days in the month. You do the math.
2.- Travel Agent. This one lasted two weeks.
3.- Legal Secretary. Most boring job on the planet.
4.- Cosmetics Salesperson. I had to talk women into buying fifty-dollar eye cream on a daily basis. My sales were not good.


1.- "The Godfather" - Love both I and II and watch them every time they’re on TV.
2.- "Heat" - It must be the DeNiro thing.
3.- "Braveheart" - This one incorporates some of my favorite things: Medieval history, royalty, Medieval warfare, Mel Gibson, and MEN IN KILTS.
4.- "Love, Actually" - Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth...need I say more?

Runner up: "The English Patient"


1.- "The Sopranos" - it’s those Italian men, again.
2.- "Seinfeld" - second-best show ever.
3.- "I Love Lucy" - best show ever. Always and forever. No debating this one with me.
4.- "Curb Your Enthusiasm" - Of course, since I love "Seinfeld" I’m going to love this. It's even more brilliant than "Seinfeld."

Two runners-up: "Commander In Chief," and "Trading Spaces."


1.- London - I want to live there.
2.- Paris - haven’t been since I was a teen, and I need to go back.
3.- Dublin - I love Ireland and especially Dublin. It’s got all the history and beauty, plus the modernity I need, and Guinness.
4.- Key West, FL - haven’t been in such a long time, but would love to go back.


1.- eBay, love finding a great bargain.
2.- Half.com, the best place to buy books!
3.- Rotten Tomatoes, at least three times per week for movie info.
4.- iTunes, for Virgin Radio UK, and all my iPod uses.


1.- Peanut Butter; God’s finest food.
2.- Pizza with tons of vegetables and cheese. Stomach just growled.
3.- Maki dipped in a little Wasabi/Soy Sauce mixture.
4.- Tie: White Birthday Cake with all that sweet white frosting, and Glazed Donuts.


1.- Coffee
2.- Diet Coke w/Splenda
3.- Vanilla Soy Milk
4.- Dark Beer


1.- London’s Theatre District buying tickets
2.- Dickson Street Bookstore in Fayetteville, AR
3.- Across the street from #2, at Common Grounds, drinking their wonderful latte
4.- Lying on the Beach covered in sunscreen and reading a fascinating novel while Colin Firth is at the bar buying me a Frozen Margarita


EVERYONE. Come on, my blogging buddies, do it, it's fun!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Thank You, Kelly!

In honor of my approaching blog anniversary, I decided that I needed a new look for "Aunt Vanessa," so I began searching for a designer about a month ago. I looked at several sites and designers' sites and Nello Designs was the best. I contacted Kelly, aka Nello, and she understood what I wanted immediately! Isn't this cute??? I just love it. It symbolizes my role as Aunt: to always have candy ready when needed. That's the prime role of an aunt, and the rewards are love and admiration from the niece and nephew. It's a pretty easy price to pay for all the love I receive from Emily and Reece! Anyway, thanks ever so much, Kelly, for the wonderful new look, and I hope you continue to do what you do for a long time. You are very talented and a pleasure to work with!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cats, Cats, and More Cats - Abby is Jealous!

I love my Arcamax daily joke e-mails. Today's is tailor-made for Aunt Vanessa, and in honor of Muki, here it is:

A man hated his wife's cat and he decided to get rid of it. He drove 20 blocks away from home and dropped the cat there. The cat was already walking up the driveway when he approached his home.

The next day, he decided to drop the cat 40 blocks away but the same thing happened.

He kept on increasing the number of blocks but the cat kept on coming home before him. At last he decided to drive a few miles away, turn right, then left, past the bridge, then right again and another right and so on until he reached what he thought was a perfect spot and dropped the cat there.

Hours later, the man calls his wife at home and asked her, "Lynn is the cat there?" "Yes, why do you ask?" answered the wife. Frustrated the man said, "Put that cat on the phone, I am lost and I need directions."

Go, kitties!!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Muki is asleep sitting up!

Muki is asleep sitting up!
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa.
This is my brother Don's cat, Muki. He's about a hundred years old. He only has a few teeth, which are yellow, really bad breath, and no claws on any of his paws, done by a previous, unknown owner. He found my brother about six years ago and they've been best friends ever since. He sheds about a pound of cat fur every single day, yet has a full coat of pretty grey hair. Don took this photo while Muki was snoring and napping with his head straight up. He's quite the cool cat.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Emily's Ready For Winter Cotillion

She's adorable!
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa.
Yes, she's beautiful, but you know what? She's even more beautiful on the inside.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Thursday, January 05, 2006

It's Family, Bless Their Hearts

On Christmas day my extended family comes together for lunch. My mom is from a large family and there are usually about thirty of us who are able to make it for the holiday. That’s only about a third of the total number, but many of my cousins have other obligations that day. This past Christmas several cousins attended whom I rarely see. One of these cousins is Shannon. He’s a few years younger than I, and he’s our Rainman. He can remember someone’s telephone number if he only heard it once, twenty years ago, yet he cannot function in the adult world. His mental level is that of about a ten year old boy, and he is the sweetest guy in the world, as long as you don’t try to touch him. He’s not autistic in the sense that he is completely withdrawn, however. He was talking to my mom at the family Christmas lunch and something he said made my mom refer to me, and I was sitting on the other side of my mom, so she pointed at me and asked Shannon if he remembered me, Vanessa. He looked at me for a couple of seconds and said, “So, there are two Vanessas here today. There’s a skinny one and then there’s her,” pointing at me.

Of course, when he realized what he’d said, Shannon was really embarrassed. I actually thought it was funny and my very mature brothers were laughing their very mature heads off. Later I learned that Shannon was confusing our cousin, Luann, with me, and that was why he said what he did. And, Luann is definitely skinny, but I love her anyway. She also reads this blog, so, I hope you get a laugh out of this, Cousin Luann, you skinny bitch.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Those You-Know-What Resolutions

As we all prepare to start a new year, it is time again to make those ever so important New Year's Resolutions. Here is my boss’s list of recent years' resolutions and the revised ones for 2006.

Resolution #1
2003: I will try to be a better husband to Lisa.
2004: I will not leave Lisa.
2005: I will try for reconciliation with Lisa.
2006: I will try to be a better husband to Rachel.

Resolution #2
2003: I will stop looking at other women.
2004: I will not get involved with Rachel.
2005: I will not let Rachel pressure me into another marriage.
2006: I will stop looking at other women.

Resolution #3
2003: I will not let my boss push me around.
2004: I will not let my sadistic boss drive me to the point of suicide.
2005: I will stick up for my rights when my boss bullies me.
2006: I will tell Dr. Hodger and the group about my boss.

Resolution #4
2003: I will read at least 20 good books a year.
2004: I will read at least 10 books a year.
2005: I will read 5 books a year.
2006: I will finish last month’s Field and Stream.

Resolution #5
2003: I will not get upset when Bill and Roger make jokes about my baldness.
2004: I will not get annoyed when Bill and Roger kid me about my toupee.
2005: I will not lose my temper when they tell the guys I wear a girdle.
2006: I will not speak to Bill and Roger.

Resolution #6
2003: I will get my weight down below 180.
2004: I will watch my calories until I get below 190.
2005: I will follow my new diet religiously until I get below 200.
2006: I will try to develop a realistic attitude about my weight.

Resolution #7
2003: I will not take a drink before 5:00 p.m.
2004: I will not touch the bottle before noon.
2005: I will not become a "problem drinker".
2006: I will not miss any AA meetings.

Resolution #8
2003: I will not spend my money frivolously. 2004: I will pay off my bank loan promptly.
2005: I will pay off my bank loans promptly.
2006: I will begin making a strong effort to be out of debt by 2008.

Resolution #9
2003: I will see my dentist this year.
2004: I will have my cavities filled this year.
2005: I will have my root canal work done this year.
2006: I will get rid of my denture breath this year.

Resolution #10
2003: I will go to church every Sunday.
2004: I will go to church as often as possible.
2005: I will set aside time each day for prayer and meditation.
2006: I will try to catch the late night sermonette on TV.

(Kidding. I stole these from Arcamax, but they're a lot more funny than mine!)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Savoring What's Left Of The Holiday

I don’t know how I ever lived without an iPod. Not only can I have my favorite music with me all the time, I have photos! Whenever I start missing Emily or Reece, I just click around until I find their picture and just like that, I’m all happy again! Of course, I have no idea how to actually find the photos, I just move the wheel around and click a bunch of times and somehow get lucky and find a photo. Same goes with downloading the music. I’ve added about 200 songs to it this afternoon and by pure luck they got downloaded into the Nano. Read the instructions? What? That would take all the fun out of it!

And now for a recap of my three-day weekend, the last one I’m getting for a long time:

Auntie Linda was my date for New Year’s Eve. We ate sushi, then went for a latte and then went to see “Fun With Dick and Jane” and laughed our heads off. I’d read all the negative reviews, but I loved it. It’s one of those movies you have to decide you’re going to enjoy beforehand and then sit back and be entertained. Afterward, we ate caramel cheesecake then went to Wal-Mart and wandered around until about 2 a.m. Jealous? I thought you might be.

New Year’s Day was great. I had the family over for cake and ice cream and we had a fun afternoon. David connected Emily’s video camera to the TV and we watched all the videos she’d made over the holiday with her new camera. David took Reece and her to the Deer Camp** earlier in the week and she made a “documentary” about the outhouse. It was hilarious. I think she might want to think about film school.

Today, Dawn (sister-in-law) and I went to see “The Family Stone” but when we arrived the movie theater was closed. There were several other people there and they were trying to open the doors, also. It was advertised in the newspaper that they were open this afternoon but they lied. They’ll be hearing from Aunt Vanessa tomorrow. We licked our wounds and headed to Target for the 75% Off Leftover Christmas Crap Sale and spent two hours there filling our basket. I now have enough Christmas cocktail napkins to keep me in the drinking business until I’m eligible for Medicare.

Now, right this minute, I’m singing to the Beatles and Abby is wishing I’d shut up so she can finish her twenty-hour nap. After this post, I’m going to take down the Christmas tree. I don’t want to!

**Deer Camp = a rugged cabin in the hills of Arkansas where my dad and his old croanies have some land and go to “hunt” during the year. (I’ve spent one night there and will never return.) The cabin is really, really rugged. Full of bunk beds and all the manly stuff you could imagine. It also has a rickety front porch that is covered with chairs and the finest gas grill you’ve ever seen. They have their priorities straight, yes they do. The surrounding woods are beautiful, however, and it’s fun to go there and enjoy the scenery and complete silence. (And ride four-wheelers - you have to be Southern to appreciate this, I know.) Emily and Reece loved it. Well, Reece loved it, and Emily liked it. They were there for three days and I think Reece only brushed his teeth once in that time. It was paradise for a seven-year-old boy!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year From Aunt Vanessa

Me In A Few Years
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa.
I hope you all have a wonderful, safe, healthy year! I'm looking forward to living life to the fullest in the coming year and hoping that you do as well. Can't wait to read all about your lives as you write about them on your blogs.

Love to you all,