Friday, August 30, 2013

The Day my Oprah Dream Died

Flashback Friday!  I originally posted this on my birthday in 2008.  I'm going to The Taste of Colorado tonight, for the first time since 2001. 

Oprah is largely responsible for my move to Denver to start my new life. I had watched her show religiously when I was in my abusive marriage and she gave me the tools I needed to get out of a bad relationship and make it on my own. My dream was to someday be in the audience for one of her shows.

yep...I used to be a blonde.

After moving, I made some wonderful friends at work. Misty ended up being one of my best friends because we had so much in common. We were young, single, beer drinking ladies! As I got to know her better, I realized that she was super high maintenance. She refused to sit in the backseat of a car...ever! She carried Kate Spade Handbags that cost more than my rent. She was addicted to buying department store make-up and had all of these storage containers on wheels to store it in. She would only drink Starbucks Coffee and she had fake nails, a fake tan and fake hair color. Then something happened that just floored me. She agreed to dog/house sit for a family but she had demands! First of all, $50...Cash. Then she had to have 3 bags of Cool Ranch Dorito's, 1 1/2 lbs of Smoked Deli Turkey and Baby Swiss (it had to be from the deli), 12 pk of Diet Coke, 12 pk of Coors Light and a loaf of Honey Wheat Bread.

The end of August 2001, the new season of Oprah was getting ready to tape and I was checking her website for the upcoming shows. They were going to do a show about High Maintenance Women and wanted viewers to write in about people they know. I told Misty that I was going to write a letter about her and she just laughed.

On Labor Day, we went to The Taste of Colorado in downtown Denver and I missed a call on my cell phone. I didn't recognize the number and there wasn't a message. A short time later....that number called again and it was a producer from The Oprah Winfrey Show! She loved my letter and they were considering us for the show. I couldn't believe it! I was beyond excited! We would both be on the as the long suffering friend of a High Maintenance Woman! They asked us to send a photo and to be expecting the call about our travel arrangements. The show was scheduled to be taped on September 13th!

I thought this had to be the most amazing birthday present of my entire life. I was going to meet Oprah. I was going to be ON my favorite show. How did I ever get so lucky!

And then on my birthday, September 11th, I drove to work listening to the horrific tragedy that was taking place in New York City. All day we listened to the radio at work and the phone that I answered 500 times a day was oddly silent. And then when it did ring, it was the producer from The Oprah Show. They were canceling our show and didn't plan to tape it at all because it was no longer appropriate. Sorry.

I was crushed. The 9-11 terrorists not only killed all of these people but they prevented my dream from coming true. And then I felt terrible for being so upset about my little dream when the dreams of thousands of people where ending. Their lives cut short and the lives of their loved ones ripped apart. I guess this is why I take 9-11 so personally.

A few weeks later, we finally went out to celebrate my birthday. I got on stage at Sing Sing in Denver and sang head, shoulders, knees and toes (not knowing that someday I would sing it to my children) and I met some Colorado Avalanche players at a bar and Misty would ask them to sign her ample bosom with a sharpie marker. What kind of high maintenance woman does that?

The tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. ~ Benjamin E. Mays

And so I have a new dream....of seeing the Oprah Show, from the audience, with my husband. I dream of going to Chicago and enjoying the city with him. Anyone want to babysit?

Being friends with Misty taught me many things. How to feather my nest, how to pour the perfect beer, that I deserved the best, some friends are really enemies in disguise and that sometimes...people pretty up their outsides to try to cover up an ugly inside.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wrong Number Text

My Dad is a Pilot and Flight Instructor.  He teaches people to fly with their instruments in 10 days.  It's really quite amazing!  The other day he was in an airport in Texas when he saw this really cool LEGO airplane and he texted me and Keith a picture.

Dad has had his iPhone for almost a year now and he's getting pretty good at texting with it.  He even sent me a video once!

So I responded to the group text with a picture of a LEGO airplane kit that I had seen at Target just that morning.  Dad asked me if I bought it and I said I was waiting for Christmas.  That's when we realized that my Dad had sent the text to the wrong Keith.

Wow.  Be careful who you accidentally text from your address book in Ozark Alabama! I decided to defuse the situation with humor.  The offended party did not respond.  Turns out the guy is an old crotchety truck driver that my Dad helped get a job in Wyoming a million years ago. 

Let this be a lesson to you.  Clean out your address book!  Especially is you have random people with the same name as your loved ones.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Circle of Trust: A Squirrel Story

Originally posted April 15th 2011.  This post brought my fear of squirrels out into the open.  Friends and strangers started sending squirrel related items to me and after a few months of therapy, I think I'm finally okay again. 



Have I ever told you why I hate the movie UP?  It's not because that poor little boy is gone for days and no one appears to care where he is, or because I don't like old people.

It's because of that dog.  The one that says SQUIRREL all the time.

It scares the crap out of me.....because I have issues with squirrels.  I know what you're thinking....what doesn't Connie have issues with and does iKeith take medication to deal with it all.  The answer is no, he doesn't but his eyes may stay rolled up inside his head if he doesn't stop rolling them at me.

I've been thinking about sharing this story with you for a long time because I feel like it's one of those *little-known secrets* about me.

It started back in 1997.  I was living in a cute little blue house near the University of Northern Colorado.  Our backyard had beautiful 100-year-old oak trees that provided the most amazing shade.  One day I walked around the corner in my kitchen and there on the counter was a squirrel helping himself to a loaf of bread.

I crapped my pants. 

This went on for the entire summer.  I was terrified to walk into my kitchen and lost 25 pounds.  I moved soon after the country but we don't have problems with squirrels in the country.

Have I told you how much I LOVE coyotes?

In 2002, I lived in Denver and part of my job at a collection agency was to go to the bank every day with our deposits. Rain or shine....I drove to the bank.

One day I came out of the bank and before I reached the doors to the outside....I saw a squirrel standing on the trash can just beyond the door.  He was blocking me from leaving the bank and he was giving me the evil eye.  I was held hostage in a bank vestibule!  Finally, another customer walked up and scared him away.  I might have kissed that guy.  On the lips.

In 2004, iKeith and I bought our first house and it had a big beautiful yard that backed up to an even bigger park.  We had 20 trees in our, cherry and a bunch of really old pine trees.  I spent that entire first summer weeding and planting because we were getting married in our back yard soon.

It wasn't long before the assaults started.  First, they were verbal.  Chattering at me and jumping from tree to tree while I did my work.

Next, they ate my sunflowers and dug up my bulbs.

The final straw was when they started throwing pine cones at my head.

We tell people that we sold that house and moved to Utah for a job....but the truth is that we were ran out of town by the squirrels and I had to join the Squirrel Protection Program.

I bet you didn't know their aren't squirrels in Ogden Utah....did you?

This morning, I opened the door to the laundry room and found a squirrel standing there. I may not be the smartest person, but I know that squirrels don't have laundry.  I've already been having laundry issues because the stupid girl that lives next to me highjacked the washer and dryer the other day so I've been putting it off for almost two weeks.

Now I can never do laundry again.

And I have to move.


10:35am Mick the Squirrel Hunter Maintenance Man was just here to inform me that he's been fighting with this squirrel for a few days. Apparently, it chased my favorite neighbor Don's wife Dawn out of the laundry room yesterday.  He's removing the dryer because he suspects that our squirrel is a girl and she's got babies in the wall.  I die. Also, the laundry room is covered in POOP!

12:15pm No more news from Mick The Squirrel Hunter, so I've decided to seal the doors and windows with plastic  because we have lots of nuts in the house. Macadamia Nuts.  We're now like the boy in the bubble.

1:43pm Looking outside for Mick The Lazy Squirrel Hunter, I noticed a small squirrel trying to break into my SUV.  If I hadn't sealed the windows and doors...I would have tossed him my keys.

5:37pm Too nervous to cook so iKeith has offered to take me out to dinner. I wish he'd offer to do the laundry.....

8:30pm I'm drunk and I'm ready to physically fight the squirrels.


12:14pm  I haven't heard back from Mick...but word on the street is that there is a family of squirrels living in the wall of the laundry room and Mick can't figure out how they are getting in.  I was told that a man is coming to spray something that will smell bad and repel the squirrels.

In other news....I think the squirrels have a summer home in my roof.

I did my laundry at a scary dirty laundry mat today and I swore to never return.  I'd rather just buy new clothes every week. There were people in my personal space, people that didn't own laundry baskets and people who might have been carrying around large quantities of drugs in baggies. Oh, and there was a dog there.  By the way, if you have your first name embroidered on your sweatshirt Barb.  It makes it a lot easier for me to cuss you by name in my head (and my blog).  Barb.


9:11am Just talked to Mick. The fox urine bomb was dropped on Saturday morning which explains why the squirrels were terrorizing me that day. He also shot and killed four of them in the laundry room on Friday night. My laundry room is now a crime scene.

I informed Mick of my suspicions that they might be moving to the roof and he's coming over with a flood light later because the attic access is in my apartment.  Awesome.

I'm off to google what it takes to make a fox a pet.

12:55pm  Mick the Squirrel Killer hasn't shown up yet.  Also, according to google, Foxes don't make good pets.


3:07pm  Heard noise outside so I went to check it out and found this.

That's Mick and his son attempting to patch a hole in the building in the continuing squirrel saga.  He assures me that this will stop them.  He also informed me that the fox urine did nothing. Soooo glad I didn't buy a pet fox.

Mick believes that this is where they are getting in.  Let's hope he's right.


12:54pm  It would appear that Mick's Fix didn't work because he's given up and is just letting the squirrels come and go as they damn well please.

This door is normally locked and only residents of my apartment have access. Why didn't he just make the squirrels their own key? I walked over to the office to talk about the possibility of waiving my penalty for moving before my lease has expired and the office is closed until Monday.

Something tells me they knew I was coming.


11:00am  I think I know why the door was propped open all day Friday.


I decided to face my fear and do laundry yesterday.  It was scary and I felt my throat closing as I headed down the stairs....but it wasn't because of my fear.  It was because there was a smell down there that was making it hard to breathe.

The Finale: 

Our basement was completely gutted, sealed and rebuilt.  The Squirrels had been living in the walls for years and created an unsanitary environment.

Mick was issued a summons by the Lakewood Police Dept when one of my neighbors reported that he had discharged a firearm outside of the apartment.

We have been squirrel free for two years! 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

SMASH Your Life

Originally posted in January 2013 when I started the challenge.  

I'm so excited to share my Smash Book pages with you today. I can't wait to document my entire month at a time. If you think you don't have time for this project, I'm here to tell you that is not true. It took me longer to edit the pictures than it did to put it together.

I've been picking up the goodies to use on my pages at Target and Michaels through the month and there is still more I want to get. The nice thing is that these accessories are under $5 and won't break my craft budget.

My friend Jessica who accepted my Smash Your Year Challenge  (click here to see her pages) gave me a super cute Thirty-One zippered pouch for Christmas.  I was thrilled to discover that my Smash Book fits into it perfectly!  Through the month, I collected pictures and my fun Smash Book Accessories so that when I was ready to put this thing together...I would have everything in one place.

In case you missed it...How to Print Your Instagram Photos.

Can you tell that I love Downton Abbey?

I stacked the pictures from my Whole Foods Cooking Class so I can lift one up.  I really like this technique and will probably use it every month.

I'm also decorating the cover.  I saw this picture on pinterest and it is my inspiration.  I'll be adding to it each month and my goal is to have it complete at the end of the year.   Follow my Journaling Board on Pinterest.

Are you joining us in the Smash Book Challenge?  Please put a link to your post in the comments!  We want to see your pages.

More Pages:

February Smash Your Year
March Smash Your Year
April Smash Your Year

More coming....I promise!

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Non-Mormons Guide to Utah

Originally posted on 2/22/2011.  This is one of my favorite posts and still stand behind all of it! 

I was reading a post from Dooce today about her study.

In this post I discovered that most homes in Utah have a room just off from the front door that is used for Home Study with the Mormon teacher that is assigned to come to your home and check up on you.  ie...Brother Horton.

We thought this room was a dining room but now that I have this bit of information, it makes sense that this is what it was supposed to be used for because it was painted fertile earth brown and it had french doors with no handles on it. All the better to lock Brother Horton in my dear!

Since moving back to Denver, we've had time to reflect on our Utah experience...I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner...but as a public service to all new transplants to Utah I present:

The Non-Mormons Guide to Utah

  • The room near the door is not a dining's a home study room. This would be a good place to visit with the missionaries you will be inundated with. Don't be a dork like me and make them stand outside in the cold. 

  • The room in the basement with shelves is not a wine cellar. It's for your one year (or 3 month if your broke) supply of canned goods. A list of what you are supposed to have on hand can be found here. You can expect at least one neighbor to bring you a couple cans to get you started.

  • The church at the end of your street is called a Ward. The guy that runs it is called a Bishop. The big churches with the gates around it are called can't go in unless you are a Mormon.
  • General Conference is a meeting that is televised twice a year (generally...April and October). You will think that the second coming of Jesus has occurred but it's just that all of the Mormon's are glued to their TV's for the entire weekend. This is a great time to go to the Zoo or any other popular venue.
  • If people at the grocery store don't smile at's because they don't recognize you from The Ward.
  • Liquor stores and grocery store beer. Liquor stores are only open until 7pm and 10pm. Plan accordingly. Whatever you not drink grocery store beer. It's a waste of money...they don't call it near beer for nothing. 
  • Speaking of booze. You can get a (3.2)beer at 10am...but you have to wait until Noon for wine, real beer and liquor. Don't bother ordering a Martini, Margarita or a Long Island Iced Tea. They are only allowed to give you 2.5 ounces of liquor per drink. Also, you have to order food with it.
  • Lots of restaurants and stores are closed on Sunday. Figure out what's open on Sunday and enjoy dining in a near empty restaurant. This is also your best day to go to Target and the Mall.
  • Learn to make the following dishes: Jello Mold, Funeral Potatoes, Frog Eye Salad and Fry Sauce.
  • It may be difficult to make friends in Utah but don't take it personally. Mormons are very busy with church activities and have likely lived in the same area for their entire lives. Also, you won't have much in common with them. Hang out in coffee shops and approach other people drinking coffee.
  • If you aren't interested in becoming Mormon...then don't accept a Book of Mormon or attend any church functions. In some places, this will encourage them to try to convert you. And whatever you not invite them into your living room to discuss things. This gets your name on a special list that you can't be removed from.
  • If you do not convert and continually turn the Missionaries may be shunned by your neighbors. Don't take this personally. It's their loss.
  • If you see a woman at the grocery store that looks like she just stepped out of an episode of Little House on the Prairie and she has a whole bunch of kids...she's probably a sister wife. Smile and say Hi to her because everyone in the store will be whispering about her behind her back. You are both real nice to her.
  • Never admit to having had an abortion, being gay or being Jewish (we aren't...they assumed).
  • The best restaurants and grocery stores with exotic ingredients are located in Salt Lake City.