Married to the Empire

Friday, June 29, 2007

Quite a day!

Ruf surprised me by coming home today in time for lunch. We went to Chipotle to eat out, then I dragged the poor guy all over the place, including to the Department of Health for a tetanus shot. He grumbled about that one, but he knows he's overdue for one. We also headed to the bank to have our youth camp forms notarized.

For anyone who hasn't been following the news, North Texas is receiving record amounts of rain, and there's been some serious flooding in some areas. Lives have been lost. A friend of a friend of a friend (how's that for a connection?) lost everything due to flooding, and a request went out to our church to assist the guy. Ruf and I bought him some kitchen basics so he can at least cook again. It's always a joy to be able to use what God has blessed us with to help others.

I also dragged Ruf to a few craft stores because I needed a specific adhesive, and I was having trouble finding it. But Ruf also needed something to hold all his electronic bits and pieces for when he works on fans and remotes and other electrical stuff for his stormtrooper costume, so it wasn't just for me that we went. I needed to return some stuff to Old Navy, and I wound up exchanging my clothes for shorts for him, so again, not just about me!

But I bought him a drink at Sonic to make it all better. ;-)

And to brag on what a wonderful man I married, I have to tell this story. Today we came up behind a stalled van. The driver needed to push it into an adjacent service station, but he was obviously unable to do it by himself. Ruf saw his struggle, threw the car into park, had me slide over into the driver's seat, then he jumped out to help the guy push. With Ruf's help, the van was moved out of the way of traffic. I love that I'm married to a man who sees the needs of others and jumps up to help them out. He's one in a million!

You can watch the show online!

Gordon Keith's Star Wars show is now online. You can view it here: The Gordon Keith Show. Small disclaimer: There is some inappropriate content on the show, such as some photos in bad taste. My hubby is the guy dressed as Darth Vader, and I'm the girl in the black t-shirt sitting next to Princess Leia. I'm in the final segment answering some questions.

Oh, when I don't sound particularly enthusiastic about being married to my husband, it's because he asked me what it's like living with Darth Vader. The question threw me for some reason--I guess because I don't think of Ruf as Darth Vader!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The TV show aired tonight!

Apparently, the show Gordon Keith had planned for tonight didn't pan out, so they went ahead and aired the Star Wars episode. I'll have a link to the video when it's up and working properly. But in the meantime, I'll show you a couple of pictures that I couldn't get to work for me yesterday. I answered a Star Wars trivia question on the show, and I won 2 concept art action figures. The much-coveted Boba Fett (or so I was told) and Han Solo. I'm glad I received at least one good guy! I may be married to the Empire, but I truly prefer the Rebels!

Everyone who was in the studio audience received a goody bag. In it was a station logo t-shirt, a key chain, a pen, a balloon, and some little pamphlet things. I didn't get a picture of the pamphlets because who really wants to see them? But I took a picture of everything else I brought home with me. It was an interesting experience.

Asleep with his mousie

I found this scene too sweet to pass up tonight without taking a picture. Doogie is just too cute when he sleeps.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Filming the Gordon Keith Show

We trekked to downtown Dallas again this week to do another TV show. This week it was The Gordon Keith Show. Ruf was borrowing the Vader costume again, and I was there to help him dress and to sit in the studio audience.

The TV set:

Vader walking onto the set:

Ruf felt bad about being Vader. The Vader suit belongs to Fred, who was there at the TV studio. Ruf was ready to dress as a stormtrooper and let Fred be Vader, but Fred opted to be a stormtrooper. Vader wound up getting special treatment, as in, he got to sit in the guest chair!

Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars films, was the next guest. Peter lives here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Next up was Wayne Orr. Wayne is a member of the local R2 Builders group, and he worked 4-1/2 years building his R2. His R2-D2 is really impressive!

A picture of Wayne and Gordon chatting about R2:

The studio audience:

Gordon wound up chatting with the audience and playing a little Star Wars trivia. I won 2 concept action figures for answering correctly. I was told the Boba Fett one is highly coveted. Um, okay.

A picture of the group with Gordon Keith. From left to right: Fred (TK), Holt (Clone Trooper whose costume broke today), Rachel (Princess Leia), Todd (Tie Pilot), Gordon Keith, Mike (Jango Fett), Ruf (Darth Vader), and Holt's 2 boys Kyle and Jordan are the cute little Anakins in front.

I had a photo taken with my sweet and not-so-scary Darth Vader:

After the show, Vader's zipper broke and he needed Stormtrooper Fred to help him. This just made me laugh:

The show should be on the air here in Dallas in 3 or 4 weeks. I'll be sure to post a link to it when it's on!

Youth Lesson Notebook

This is a really basic concept, but it works well for me. I work with the youth at my church. Usually, I just co-teach Sunday school with my husband, but sometimes I teach the weekly lesson to the whole youth group. (Sunday nights during the school year; Wednesday nights during the summer.) When I study and plan for one of these big lessons, I keep a notebook with my notes. I have a few of these notebooks lying around the house, and it's interesting to go back and see what I've taught in the past. I've even been able to recycle a few lessons this way after enough years have passed to assure that the same kids aren't getting the same lesson. I'm showing you a picture of one of my neater notebooks with my notes for tonight's lesson.

For more great ideas, Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Some random thoughts...

First, tomorrow the stormtroopers and one of the R2 builders will be filming for the Gordon Keith Show. I have no idea who this guy is or what his show is like, so I really don't know what to expect. One of the guys listens to his radio program, and he was concerned that they would be made fun of (like Bob Eubanks did while MCing the Rose Bowl Parade). Ruf, as PR officer, got busy contacting Keith, and he was assured that this would not be the case. But the guys are still planning a walk-out if that occurs. I'll be in the studio audience wearing my brand-new 501st Legion t-shirt (Ruf's request). Should make for an interesting afternoon.

Second, I'm fascinated by the show How Clean Is Your House. I've watched it the past couple of days on BBC America at my friends' house while catsitting for them. I am absolutely appalled at how nasty some people let their houses become! But more than that, I'm fascinated that Kim and Aggie can walk into those houses wearing nice clothes and shoes and no face masks! I'm fighting hard to squelch my gag reflex while just watching it on TV! I know I'd be vomiting my guts out if I had to actually experience those places in person! Those ladies either have no sense of smell or stomachs of iron! I just love watching the cleaning transformation!

Third, we spent a good hour or so at Blockbuster last night. Ruf was given a $25 gift card as a thank-you for giving up his entire weekend to work (like he had a choice!). We bought 3 movies. I chose Everything is Illuminated; Sin City and The Day After Tomorrow were Ruf's picks. Buying previously viewed videos are a great way to save on movies you want to own.

Fourth, I just returned a fun little cookbook to the library (because I'd maxed out the renewals!). It's called Grandma's Wartime Kitchen. It has tons of interesting facts and recipes from the days of rationing here in the U.S. during WWII. It's fascinating to read all the creative solutions that women came up with to stretch their limited supplies.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A day of shopping

I had a very busy day of running around and spending money. My sister and BIL have requested some more fajita seasoning from Pendery's World of Spices in Fort Worth. I drove the hour or so there and did some major spice shopping. This store has such an incredible selection of high-quality spices. Their selection of chili powders alone is impressive! In addition to the fajita seasoning, I wound up buying a couple of packages of their Dad's Oven BBQ Rub, a couple of packages of their Chiltomaline (the first chili powder invented by DWC Pendery in the late 1800s), some cumin, two bags of Texas Red Dog (another chili powder thing), some white pepper, some colored sugar, and a bottle of Mexican vanilla. Um, let's just say that I spent a good amount of money. But it's money well spent!

Since I've been working on cleaning up my craft room, I decided to do a little decorating while I was at it. I found some great items at amazing prices. This should be a fun room when I'm done!

I bought most of the items at Hobby Lobby. The three baskets were only $10 all together. The lampshade was $1.99. The embellishments for the lampshade were $3.99. The cute pink hanging lights with "crystals" (I bought 2: one is out and one is still in the box) were only $5.39 each on clearance. The bulletin board was $5.97 at Walmart, and the pink spray paint for it was $3.77. The most expensive thing was the acrylic lamp. That was $14.99 at Target. Also at Target, a couple of bowls on clearance for $1.39 each. I'll put my paper clips and whatnot into them. The lime tumblers were 4/$1.38 on clearance. I'll use one or two for my pens and pencils. I think I came out pretty cheaply considering how much stuff I bought!

And finally, since I had to send that fajita seasoning to London anyway, I decided to stuff the package with a few little goodies for my 4 nieces. Some candy, some gum, some fun stuff for baking with their mom, some patriotic ribbons to wear in their ponytails on the 4th of July, and my copy of The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook. They like Anne, so I figure they'll enjoy cooking with their mom some of the dishes that Anne enjoys in the books and movies.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Cleaning out

This weekend was supposed to be a sort of vacation weekend for Ruf and me. We weren't actually going anywhere (we can't afford to after our trip to London just 6 months ago!), but we were taking the weekend off from all obligations, such as teaching Sunday school (both of us) or singing on the praise team (me). We were supposed to enjoy a nice concert in the park at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens after spending a wonderful half hour or so at Pendery's World of Spices. (Okay, wonderful for me, as Ruf says that Pendery's is his Radio Shack. That comment comes from the fact that I've told him that I find Radio Shack to be the most boring store in the world.)

That was all screwed up because Ruf found out at 4:30pm on Friday that a client had to have something on Monday. Poor guy has had to work all weekend.

I've been making good use of my time home alone. My craft room has been nothing short of a disaster lately, embarrassingly so. I've been on a huge cleaning and cleaning out kick. I even tackled the closet in the craft room which has been a hodge-podge of random stuff we rarely access. For example, I found a bag full of backup disks for a computer I haven't owned in a decade. I found the video camera I used to film my dance team (back when I was a dance team director in my first year of teaching 11 years ago). The sound no longer works, and the technology is hopelessly out of date. I discovered we're actually old enough now to start shredding all those boxes of financial documents that the experts say we should keep for 7 years. I found photographs I didn't remember even having. My old jewelry box that I hung onto for no discernible reason was pulled out of the depths of the closet. There were boxes for cell phones we haven't owned in years. I found a wonderful book of photography called Christmas in America; a friend gave it to me as a going-away gift when I moved to Europe our junior year of high school. (She and I shared a Christmas Day birthday, so it was an especially appropriate gift.) I even found an old check register from 10 years ago, and it was fascinating to see how differently I spent my money back in my single days. (I shopped for clothes a lot!)

The shredded pile is huge. The trash pile is even bigger. The giveaway bag is filling up. And I'm not even close to being finished.

But it sure feels good!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Darth Vader Ain't Cheap!

The average cost of a Darth Vader costume is $3000-$5000. Crazy, isn't it?

To further add to the cost, today I picked up Vader's cape and tunic from the dry cleaners. The total cost of cleaning the two items came to $20.50. Ouch.

Being a plain old stormtrooper is much cheaper. The costume is simpler (although still not inexpensive), and everything that isn't plastic can be tossed into the washing machine. No dry cleaning necessary. I think I much prefer that!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Works-for-Me Wednesday: The Schedule

I've decided to join the WFMW postings over at Rocks in My Dryer.

I have what I lovingly refer to as The Schedule. My friends all know that deviation from The Schedule makes me antsy. Here's the general breakdown:

Monday: errands, appointments, miscellaneous
Tuesday: laundry
Wednesday: finish laundry if necessary, shop grocery stores based on the day's sales ads
Thursday: clean the house
Friday: errands, appointments, miscellaneous
Saturday: whatever I want
Sunday: church, read the newspaper, whatever I want

I'm so scheduled, in fact, that I only see certain doctors on certain days. For example, I always see my neurologist on a Monday, and I always see my rheumatologist on a Friday. Always. Deviation from this would... well, I don't know what it would do to me, but it wouldn't be pretty. I like continuity and predictability; it works for me.

Just know that if I ever choose to change my schedule for you, you're pretty darned special to me!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Just call me Mrs. Vader

Ruf has borrowed the Vader costume several times now, and it was in desperate need of a cleaning. The cape and tunic will have to go to the dry cleaner, but the undersuit is machine washable. I turned it inside out and washed it in cold water with Woolite on the delicate cycle. Yes, even tough guy Darth Vader has delicates. It's now hanging in a decidedly feminine bathroom to dry. If you could see Vader's face, he just might blush with embarrassment because this makes him seem far less menacing.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Is eating out cheaper than cooking?

That's the question posed by MSN Money today. Of course, people quoted in the article cite that it's far less expensive for them to just eat out than to buy groceries.

Um, no. They just don't know how to shop.

I understand being strapped for time when everyone works outside the home. We've been there. But it really takes very little time to look at the weekly grocery ads and look for sales. Stock up when the things you eat go on sale. It's a pretty simple concept. If chicken is cheap this week, buy a lot and put it in the freezer!

Also, it helps to have a plan for a few meals in mind when shopping. Buy what you need, then get out of the store. If you walk through the store throwing whatever strikes your fancy into the cart, then of course, it's going to cost a lot! If something is overpriced, don't buy it, but wait until it goes on sale.

It also helps to spend a little time chopping up veggies or fruits in advance, then they're easy to access when you're strapped for time. It's also less expensive to do your own cutting. Convenience foods are always overpriced, so doing for yourself saves a lot of money. I listen to audio books in the kitchen, so I'm entertained while I work. It makes the whole cooking thing that much more pleasant, and I look forward to it.

Our home-cooked dinners produce leftovers, which mean future lunches. Another way that cooking at home saves money!

I just wish that once in a while, these articles would actually interview people who know how to work their money, instead of people who haven't a clue.

501st Legion at the science museum

I took several pictures of the stormtroopers at the science museum yesterday. Partly, I was trying to capture on film just how popular they are with the crowds. People just love the 501st! When people figure out I'm with Ruf, I almost always get asked by at least one person questions about how much the costumes cost and how do they join? Even though they are bad guys, almost everyone loves a stormtrooper! It still weirds me out, though, to see little kids throw their arms around Darth Vader. He's evil!

People gathered around to get a pic with the stormtrooper:

Tie Fighter Todd and Stormtrooper James:

I tried to get a shot of Darth Vader with the hordes around him. However, the hordes crowded around him so much that I couldn't see him to get a shot! So, I had to to wait for the crowds to clear. All I managed was a shot of a guy doing bunny ears behind Darth Vader Paul's head. So disrespectful of the Dark Lord!

Tie Fighter Todd:

A radio station showed up at the museum. Kris Brunken from KRLD interviewed Ruf:

CW33 had a TV camera there to film the crowds and stormtroopers at the exhibit:

Ruf was in the process of "suiting up," and he couldn't find his other leg bell. He failed to notice that it was already attached to his hip. :-)

Star Wars props and models

All pictures were taken at the Fort Worth science museum. All props and models are on loan from LucasFilm and were actually used in the Star Wars movies.

Anakin's prosthetic arm:

Luke's prosthetic arm:


AT-ST aka Chicken Walker:

Star Destroyer:

Blockade Runner:

Jawa Sandcrawler:

Landspeeder model (Obi-Wan looks like a Ken doll in Jedi robes!):


Medical droids:



Interrogation Droid:

Tauntaun model and binoculars:

A model of the slave housing on Tatooine where Anakin lived with his mother:

Star Wars costumes at the science museum

We spent Sunday afternoon at the Fort Worth science museum again to help with the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit. I actually remembered to bring our camera this time, so I'll be posting a lot of pictures today. LucasFilm lent the museum a lot of the costumes and props from the movies, so everything you see was actually in the Star Wars films.

This is my favorite picture. Ruf was armored up and looking at a stormtrooper costume behind glass:

Han Solo and Chewbacca:

Princess Leia, R2-D2, and C-3PO:

A Jawa:

Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Hayden Christensen is MUCH taller than Ewan McGregor!):

Padme Amidala:

Snowtrooper (this costume totally creeps me out because it looks a little too KKK):

Tusken Raiders:

Darth Vader:

Vader's Helmet taken apart:

Young Anakin:

Yoda (okay, it's a puppet, not a costume, but it seemed to fit here):