Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Writer's Block Wednesday: By 30, Part 6

Well, and we have come to the end of this "30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the time she's 30" series :)

By 30, you should know ...

11. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.

I learned this in my early/mid 20s, thank God. My advice?

- Don't ever change the essence of who you are for another person. Yes, it is okay to grow in a relationship, to learn to compromise, to try new things. But don't ever try to or pretend to be something you're not. Personal example: If you don't want to be a trophy wife, don't marry someone who wants you to be a trophy wife. If you're a geek at heart, you love Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and God knows what else, don't marry someone who wants you to suppress those interests. If you're the type of person who wants to have fun regardless of what others think (so long as you're not harming anyone else or yourself, of course), don't marry someone who is constantly telling you to "grow up".

Lunch at the Three Broomsticks in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Star Wars Celebration V

Out and about in Greenville with Krohn the dinosaur hand puppet
- We all need money, it makes the world go 'round. But when a job starts stressing you out so much that you end up with ulcers/stomach issues due to stress...it's not worth it.

12. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or not flossing for very long.

Umm...self-explanatory? ;) Though I will say that I can't stress the flossing thing enough, for real. Since I finally forced myself to power through the ickyness that is forcing oneself to start flossing, my trips to the dentist have been soooooo much more, err, pleasant. You know, as pleasant as trips to the dentist can be.

13. Who you can trust, who you can’t, and why you shouldn’t take it personally.

YES. When you can't trust a person, it is likely about THEM and not about you (unless you can't bring yourself to trust *anyone*, in which case you may want to reevaluate things, just sayin'). I don't think I need to repeat (for what I guess would be the *third* time now, haha) that I'm lucky to have a handful of people who I can trust with just about anything, but I've also learned the hard way that there are plenty of people who have been in my life who I couldn't trust. Most of my sorority sisters (that's an issue/mistake I'll have to talk about another time ::rolls eyes::). People who are constantly screwing others over (they'll do it to you eventually too, trust me). Etcetera.

14. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.

Ugh, I am *so* bad about this. In fact, I always say that I'm so good at apologizing I do it whether I'm in the wrong or not! ;)

The thing is, I don't like apologizing when I *am* in the wrong. Does anyone? But after a lot of growing up/maturing I learned how necessary it is to do just that. The problem is, I've always been one to just spit out the words "I'm sorry" when shit doesn't go right, whether it has anything to do with me at all. That annoys people, and I know that it annoys people, but no matter how hard I try to not do it, it eventually happens anyway. Sigh.

15. Why they say life begins at 30

Does it? Really? haha.

No but seriously...if life begins at 30 than I can't even imagine what's in store for me. I've made some crappy decisions in my past and I've had some really rough times because of them, but even with any issues or drama that have cropped up in the past few years these have been a GREAT few years. I may end up worn out by life before I even turn 30 at the end of 2012!

That said, I've had some great opportunities come my way, and some great ideas come to mind, recently - opportunities and ideas that, if they pan out the way I *hope* they will, will in fact prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that at least for me, life truly will begin at (or maybe "just around") 30. However, I'll have to get into that more later...don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, and all!

What's on your personal list of things to have and know -- and possibly do -- before turning 30?

I figured I'd just post my answer to this here rather than in an entirely separate entry, because it's going to be short and sweet. Though my 101 in 1001 list extends until January 2014 (at which point I will have *just* turned 31), there's plenty on there that I've already accomplished and plenty more that will *be* accomplished before my 30th and throughout the year when I *am* 30.

So I suppose my main goal is to just continue to live my life to the fullest between now and December, and then to celebrate the big three-oh with one hell of a birthday bash in VEGAS, BABY! :D
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Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Monday Confessions :)



I confess...that I've been planning a bitch-out post about Game of Thrones vs. the books it's based on for weeks now, and I almost can't wait to post it after the season finale next week.

I confess...that I am not a religious person. Spiritual - maybe - but not religious. That said, I've learned throughout the past week that God works in mysterious ways, and I can only think now that HE IS GOOD.

I confess...that I wish Ex would just move away from the Greenville area. Especially as I have no idea why he has stayed here THIS long ::rolls eyes::

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Family History Friday: Take me out to the ballgame...

I figured since it's baseball season (though my beloved Red Sox apparently have no idea what they're doing this year), I'd post a bit more of the family history that I learned from my grandfather's "memoir". It was another one of those things that had been mentioned many times when I was growing up, but I didn't know the exact story until I was typing up his stories.

Basically, we had always been told that my grandfather "almost played for the Red Sox" but that the Marine Corps got in the way.  Which was basically what happened, but it's still great to now know the details :) In short, my grandfather was an awesome baseball player. He was on the high school team in 8th grade and was the youngest player at the time.


Near the end of his 10th grade year, my grandfather was asked to go to Boston to participate in a Red Sox tryout camp. *Tenth grade*!!! Crazy. He was recommended by his high school coach selected based on how he had been performing in high school baseball, and only he and one other player from his League were at the tryouts.

Me, my dad and my grandfather at a Greenville Drive (our current local Red Sox farm team) baseball game in 2007
He spent two days at Braves Field and was then invited to Fenway Park for three more days. The other player from his League was not invited, so it appears that he made the first cut ;)

During the three days at Fenway my grandfather went through infield and hitting practices, and on the last day he participated in a game with the other men who were trying out. When tryouts were over they told him that because he had two more years of high school they couldn't take him just yet, but that they would be watching him.

Unfortunately - in a way - a Marine Corps recruiting officer arrived at my grandfather's high school, looking for guys to sign up for the reserves. My grandfather signed up as soon as he turned 17, in January 1950. They told him he would be able to finish school, but a mere four months later, in May 1050, he was asked to report to a Marine Corps meeting in Springfield, Massachusetts. When he arrived he was told that he would have to leave for boot camp in June - and that he wouldn't be going back home. He asked about finishing high school, but was merely told, "Son, you will finish your schooling in the Marine Corps."


In the end, my grandfather was released from the Marines early - in 1952 - thanks to a bill that had been passed. But by that time it was too late for the Red Sox, especially as he had yet to finish high school. He did that, but he never became a major league baseball player.

That's okay with me, though...who knows how things would have turned out or if I would even be here if he had ended up with the Red Sox :) At least it's a cool story! Pin It

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Writer's Block Wednesday: By 30, Part 5

Another Wednesday, and though I haven't really had writer's block lately (despite my sorry lack of posts) I'm continuing with this series of "30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the time she's 30". Because I loves it. ;)

By 30, you should know...

6. The names of the secretary of state, your great-grandmothers, and the best tailor in town.

Secretary of State: Hillary Clinton. Although I won't lie, I've only known the names of the SoS's since maybe 2004. Hey, so sue me, I couldn't even vote until that year! ;)

And thanks in part to the fact that I was accorded the honor of typing up my grandfather's memoirs, and also to a free 6-month subscription that I received to ancestry.com - yes, I know all of them!
Paternal-paternal great-grandparents: Frank Walker & Hulda Carlson
Paternal-maternal great-grandparents: Wendell Bradway & Elizabeth Bigos
Maternal-paternal great-grandparents: Stanley Dearstyne & Evelyn Miller
Maternal-maternal great-grandparents: Lawrence Sisson & Margaret McMullin

As for the best tailor...well, I've used a couple in the area. Unfortunately one who I liked shut down; another was a bit pricey. Right now I'm actually working with a third on something a bit bigger but I think I've found a winner so I'll go with a "got it" on this one too, I think ;)

7. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.

Yes, and honestly, I actually didn't mind it! Don't get me wrong, it was a bit lonely at first, and I don't know if I'd like to do it forever, but sometimes - once in a while - I even miss being able to come home from work and snack without cooking a meal and watch whatever I want on TV and blah blah blah.

Oh, and I could have whoever I wanted over/to visit whenever I wanted. I only wish I'd gotten more pictures of the sad state of furniture in my little one-bedroom in Orlando.

March 2006, Broadwater apartments on International Drive, right on the LBV/Orlando line ;)
8. Where to go -- be it your best friend’s kitchen table or a yoga mat -- when your soul needs soothing.

Oh, yoga definitely helps, but as I mentioned in a previous "By 30" entry, I am also *very* lucky to have (and grateful for) friends who I can go to in an hour of need. In fact this was proven 5-fold just two days ago, when I received some shocking and shitty news and pretty much had a breakdown for three hours straight. I honestly don't know what I would have done had I not had amazing people like my mother and my close friends Jonathan, Allie, Mike and Becky to talk me down and pull me through.

You love my face in this picture, don't lie.
9. That you can’t change the length of your legs, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents.

Oh, my hips. I gave up on those long ago. And I'd rather change the length of my torso than the length of my legs, and having never needed to come to terms with the latter...well, I won't say I never bitch about the former, but I'm no idiot. I long ago gave up the idea of having a body like...well, like almost any sexy movie star, be she a wisp of a woman like Keira Knightley or a  curvaceous woman like Scarlett Johansson. I'm happy with being healthy and fit, so I suppose I've got this one down.

Nature of my parents...I don't know, I suppose this is something I haven't thought about in a long time. It was an issue when I was a teenager, for sure, because they were pretty darn strict...and it was an issue with my dad for some time in college because of some bad decisions/choices he was making at the time. I won't say I understand my parents - well, I certainly don't understand my father - but they're good people, and they love me. They raised me well and they have taken care of me when I needed it and would help me again if I needed it and they could do so. What more is there to ask of one's parents, you know?

10. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.

Uhhh...I'm not sure I understand this.

Maybe it's because I honestly had a pretty great childhood. I won't say that it was completely without issues - I dealt with my fair share of dirty fighting with my little sisters, of rebelling against my parents, of bullying (especially/mainly in middle school and high school). My mom and dad struggled monetarily when I was young - a lot - but there was always a [safe] roof over our head and [good/good for us] food on the table. Also, I've learned to look back and...well, not exactly ignore the crappy stuff that happened, but know that it helped make me who I am today and then look past it to all of the positive things about my childhood/growing up. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to go back to that - any of it. Not being a kid, not high school (God, no), not college. In fact, the past not-quite-four-years of my life have been the best so far, even considering any hardships I've endured. After 30, it can only get better...I hope ;)

And honestly, who can argue with a childhood full of puppies?

Yes, I was a hideously ugly baby, and yes, my head is still ridiculously large (though at least in itself more proportionate than it was way back when).
At least I eventually learned that this is NOT the proper way to hold a puppy.

Coming up next week...the final installment of this "30 before 30" series!
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Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Confessions: I'm back!



I confess...that I have become one of those people who is scared of the sun and skin cancer. I am allergic to sunscreen - yes, all kinds, I've lost count of how many I've tried - so I spent my vacation last week in shade and covered up and got basically no color/tan at all. And I'm probably not as okay with that as I should be ;)

I confess...that I thought I'd scheduled more entries to be posted while I was gone. Oops. Maybe next time I go away I'll suck it up and ask for some guest posters...

I confess...that I was "that person" on our cruise - someone was hogging a chair that I wanted to sit in on the adults-only Serenity Deck of the Carnival Liberty. They had left a bag on it and I took up watch nearby and after 40 minutes they hadn't come back once. So I asked a crew member to remove their bag. The rule is 30 minutes so the deed was done, no problem. The person didn't come back until 20 minutes AFTER I asked for the bag to be removed. No, lady, you didn't "just go to get coffee" for over an hour.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Writer's Block Wednesday: By 30, Part 4

Here we go again...another installment of my "30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the time she's 30" series :) Only know we're on to...

By 30, you should know...

1. How to fall in love without losing yourself.

Personally, I believe that if you find the right person - someone who accepts you for who you are, accepts not just what you look like but what you enjoy and what you want from life - you don't need to worry about losing yourself. For me, it's this guy:


The thing is, Steve and I have a *ton* in common, but there are also some core beliefs where we differ pretty greatly. I won't say we never argue, I won't say that we never ever drive each other nuts, but in general he lets me be me far more than Ex ever did. And of course, by the time I started dating Steve I had already wasted far too many of my adult years lost in what was a bad relationship anyway...so I knew better than to fall into that trap again, thank God.

2. How you feel about having kids.

Can I say that I disagree with this one? Please? No? Okay. Sigh. Because I definitely don't know how I feel about having kids yet. Some days I think I maybe want them. Most days I think "hhheeelll no". To be completely honest I think Steve wants them for the wrong reasons and that we'd be silly to have them for those reasons, so nope...don't know yet and probably won't before I turn 30 at the end of the year.

That said, I have two nieces and a nephew and I love them to pieces, but they also drive me crazy whenever I spend more than a couple hours with them and that adds to my chagrin over the idea of having my own one day. Though my newest niece, who we call "CC Bear" (long story), is pretty much the best baby ever and if anyone was going to change my mind about this whole kids thing, it would be her:


3. How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.

Oh I'm good with this as I've done all three. Haven't liked doing any of these things, that's for sure, but the experience is there at least.

Quit a job: The last time I did this I gave at least two weeks' notice (I actually think it was three), had a written and signed letter of resignation with me but also asked for a private meeting with my boss. I sat down, explained why I was leaving, handed her my letter and that was that.

Break up with a man: I avoided using the cliche "it's not you, it's me" with Ex, though I was also as kind as I could possibly be (though maybe too kind, considering some issues that cropped up later). I told him we weren't right for each other, we'd been forcing things to "work" and not doing a very good job of it, that we weren't getting any younger and it was time to cut our losses and move on. I was honest and straightforward and I even apologized a lot while explaining all of this. I don't think I could have done it any better than I did, to be honest.

Confront a friend: I've probably "confronted" most of my close friends at least once. I'm not the type to keep my mouth shut when someone is acting a fool ;) As I'm still friends with most of the people I've confronted in the past, I guess I do an okay job of it. Honestly I don't even know if "confronting" is the best word to use because if a person you care about is acting like an idiot and you feel the need to do something about it, the best way possible (in my opinion) is to sit them down in person (or on the phone if you really can't be in person...I despise confrontation through email/Facebook message/text), explain why you're there and why they are there, and just be mature about it. If the friend is worthy of your time, he or she will listen and a discussion will ensue and things will work out.

4. When to try harder and when to walk away.

I learned this one the hard way, but I learned it nonetheless. Honestly this isn't something I could ever really explain or teach; when you reach this point in a relationship you. just. know. and I don't think it would be possible for anyone who isn't in your relationship to know. For me...gosh, it was a moment over four years in the making, really, with the last six months or so of those four years being just constant build up to the realization that there was no more TRYING. I lost count of the number of people who told me I should keep trying and how many times they told me as much. I lost count of the number of people who said "Why the hell are you still trying?" and how many times they told me as much. And then I knew what I had to do and it still took one weekend and four great people to remind me why I was doing it. Shout out to Cabin Crew 2008!


And by the way, that decision that I was tired of TRYING - because though relationships never "just work", at least not forever, they also shouldn't be constantly forced - that decision to walk away - was possibly the best decision that I ever made. I've never regretted it, not for one moment of one hour of one day since it happened nearly four years ago.

5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.

I don't like this at all, or maybe I just don't like the way it's worded? It implies that if I kiss someone a certain way they have every right to "misunderstand" what I would or wouldn't want to happen next, and couldn't that then mean that they have a right to try something I don't want, or to even try to force something I don't want on me???

I mean for God's sake, sometimes a girl just wants to kiss. And when I say kiss I mean KISS, in every sense of the word. It could be the sexiest hottest most amazing kiss ever but that doesn't mean I want your hand on my boob or up my shirt or down my pants or on my ass or a million other things that a person would assume a kiss is leading to or should lead to.

Maybe I'm just a forward enough person. If I want something more than a kiss, trust me...you'll know. So in that way I suppose I have this down. But again, I think this little "rule" needs to be re-worded. Or something.
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Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Confessions...to blog hop or not to blog hop?



I confess...that I love doing these Monday Confessions posts, but I'm maybe considering dropping off the link-up/no longer having them be blog hops because, well, no one signs up. And I have no idea how to promote it as such :-/

I confess...that I hate the finish on my desk at work. It always feels like...sticky, or something. (Weird, I know)

I confess...that we had a friend visit the weekend before this one that just passed, and we had a big party that weekend also (for the Derby) and I swear I may still be recovering. It's always such a blast having visitors, but it's also so darn TIRING! :)

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Easy & Tasty: Italian Crescent Casserole


You know, in general I love to make dishes or meals that are well-rounded, and usually that means a lot of ingredients.

But sometimes you just want something easy and tasty, and that's when a recipe like this comes into play :) 

ITALIAN CRESCENT CASSEROLE

1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
1 cup garlic pasta sauce (red!)
1 can crescent dinner rolls
1 ½ cups shredded Italian cheese blend
Dried basil

 
-       Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

-       Mix the cooked beef and pasta sauce in a skillet over medium heat until warm.

-       Separate the crescent dough into 8 triangles. Place the dough in an ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate in spoke pattern, with the narrow tips overlapping the rim of the plate by a couple of inches.

-       Press the dough in the bottom of the pie plate and up the sides to form a crust that covers the pan. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the shredded cheese.

-       Spoon the meat and sauce mixture evenly over the cheese.

-       Bring the tips of the dough over the filling to meet in the center; do not overlap.

-       Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup cheese and some dried basil (as desired; I wouldn’t use too much!). Bake 20 minutes.
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Friday, May 11, 2012

Family History Friday: Learning About an Ancestor

I've known for many many years that I'm descended from Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island - but it was only in typing up my grandfather's memoirs and then utilizing my ancestry.com subscription that I finally decided to figure out exactly HOW I am descended from him. That full story will have to come another time, but for now I wanted to express my excitement about a book that I found at Costco - especially as this book discovery came right on the heels of all this other family history stuff :) I started reading it about a week ago and I'm loving it! Honestly I think anyone with an interest in early American history, especially those from New England, would enjoy it as well.

A full book review will come later (possibly around the same time as that whole story of how I'm descended from Roger Williams) but for now, I can at least say I'm excited to continue building my knowledge of this ancestor!
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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Writer's Block Wednesday: By 30, Part 3

Here we go, the last 5 things one should HAVE by 30, straight from "30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the time she's 30"!


By 30, you should have...

11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra.

Yes, no, and I've got plenty of those. 'Nough said? Honestly I don't even know how to use a drill, but does it count if Steve has two? I mean, if something happened to him I'd inherit them and if we divorced I suppose I could insist that we split all tools 50/50... ;) (I kid, I kid)

12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.

I don't know about "ridiculously expensive", unless you count a vacation. Honestly I'm more about experiences than "stuff" and though I have some very nice pricey-ish Coach purses, I would rather spend my money on travel and so I do. I'd say the biggest thing I've ever bought and paid for myself just because I deserved it was my amazing-awesome-no words can possibly describe it-trip to Europe in July 2007. So many gorgeous places visited, so many new friends met, so many great times had. And it was worth every penny that I spent to go (and there were a lot of pennies spent on that trip - thousands upon thousands of pennies).

The Netherlands
Ooo la la, Paris! haha
French Alps
French Riviera
Clubbing in Barcelona with some amazing new friends
13. The belief that you deserve it.

Damn right! No, but really...

I don't think there is any problem with thinking that once in a while, you deserve nice things. So long as it doesn't become an "I deserve everything I want RIGHT NOW" mentality, of course ;) That said, I have done my best to be an independent adult. I went to school and worked hard. I graduated and found jobs and worked hard. I am grateful for everything that I have today and I continue to work hard. And hey, when you work hard at whatever you're doing - being a stay-at-home-mom, running your own business, or just being part of the usual daily grind at a job - you deserve nice things/rewards once in a while!

14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.

Oh gosh yes.

First, I'm allergic to sunscreen. Hopefully this isn't TMI but it gives me one hell of a painful rash. I've tried every kind out there - organic/all-natural, baby/childrens' sunscreen, sensitive skin, plain old PABA-free - none of it works. This scares me. I've always been careful but yeah, I end up with a good sunburn once in a while because of this. That said, I don't overexpose myself to the sun/lay out/go tanning. I try to use natural products (I love Burt's Bees!) for my face and because my skin is so sensitive I have to stick to washing it with regular old Dial antibacterial bar soap. Considering I'm 29 and recently got mistaken for 23, I think I'm doing okay ;)

As for exercise - I love it. It's almost like an addiction. If I go ONE day without a good run, I feel off. I like yoga as well because it calms me (I know how cliche that sounds but I swear it's true). I've been exercising on a regular basis (we're talking 4-6 days a week at least) for over 5 years now and I definitely don't see that stopping anytime soon.

In regards to "those other facets of life", well...I think I'll just have to handle those as they come, because I'm not entirely sure what they are? I mean my body, metabolism, what have you is already vastly different than it was when I was in high school and weighed - no lie - 30 pounds less than I do now. That said, if I really had to cut something out, sad to say but the amount of beer I consume would have to either change or go away entirely. A scary thought, yes, because I love my beer, but I don't want to end up as a middle-aged woman with a beer belly. Yuck.

15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better.

Sigh. I knew some of these would really trip me up.

Let's get one thing straight - I don't dislike my job. Sometimes I actually like my job. In fact right now is probably just a bad time for me to respond to this because January through April are consistently the most stressful and difficult months of the year for me at work. In general I am at the very least thankful for the fact that I am able to work, that I do work, and that at the end of the week I get a decent paycheck. Plus good vacation time.

But what I'm doing right now? I'm not sure if it's a career. I never thought I would be a Business Manager. Though I tend to enjoy the HR stuff, I certainly never expected that the bulk of my daily duties would be finance/accounting related. So what kind of career do I want?

I want to be a writer. An author. Published. Able to live off the money that my writing makes me. I would vastly prefer to write novels, but hey, I'd consider it a career and be overjoyed with it if I could get a job writing for a travel publication, a food and beverage publication, or...or...well, basically anything but straight journalistic-style writing of news.

It's my own fault that I'm not doing any of those things - I know this. Which is why I'm pushing myself to work toward a career like that. And ::fingers crossed:: I'll accomplish something soon...though maybe not by the time I turn 30 in just over seven months :-/

And a "satisfying relationship"? Gah, this is where I can tell that this article was originally published in Glamour magazine. Way to not clarify, article. Because most women would automatically think that they needed to be at least in the beginning stages of a satisfying relationship with a significant other...but I'm here to tell you that if you're approaching 30, or if you ARE 30, and you have satisfying relationships with at least some family members and a few great friends, you're doing a-okay. Would a significant other be great? Sure, if that's what you want. But it's not necessary. It shouldn't be necessary.

Maybe this is easy to say because I do have a husband, and he gets me and our relationship is more than satisfying. But at 25 I was married and in a completely unsatisfying relationship, and I had to face the fact that if I left him I could be alone for years, possibly well past 30, maybe even forever - yet I still left, because I had other satisfying relationships to bolster me. And I'll never tire of saying that it was the best decision I made and if I hadn't taken that path my responses to many of these "things I should have and should know" would be totally different and way more depressing. Heh.

Single for the first time in nearly 6 years, and loving it...in VEGAS, of course! Take THAT, "satisfying relationship" rule!
Or rather, proof that a "satisfying relationship" can be with your family...
...or with your friends. (yes, Steve was my FRIEND first so I think he counts? haha)
As for all of those "other facets"...again, I guess we'll just have to see.

Stay tuned for next week's installment - the first 5 things from the list of what a woman should KNOW by the time she's 30!
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Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Confessions (of a "serious" sort?)



I confess...that this past weekend DRAINED me. A friend came to visit and we had our big annual Kentucky Derby party and it was amazing, don't get me wrong, but wow I am just too old for this nowadays ;)

I confess...that I'm finally forcing myself to re-organize my life and my priorities. It feels good and scary at the same time, because I am having to give up some things...but to be honest the things I'm letting go of have ceased to be as enjoyable as they once were anyway so I'm sure that it's all for the best.

I confess...that I am so, so, SO ready for a *real* vacation. As in the kind where one sits on one's butt on a beach with a book.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

An old fallback recipe...

This is a meal I've made so many times I pretty much know the recipe by heart. It's a great, fairly light casserole that would probably feed up to four people, but is okay as leftovers if you're just two like us ;)

BAKED CHICKEN PANZANELLA

2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained (the recipe called for the diced tomatoes with garlic, onion, and oregano, but I couldn't find that specific type, I think I used garlic & basic or maybe garlic, onion & basil and it tasted fine)
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 package (5 oz) Italian seasoned croutons
1/2 cup Italian dressing
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sliced fresh basil leaves



~ Heat oven to 350 degrees. In an ungreased 2 quart baking dish, layer chicken, tomatoes, green onions and croutons. Drizzle with Italian dressing.

~ Cover with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Uncover, top with cheese. Bake about 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle with basil.
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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Favorite Things Thursday: Album (as in music)



Wow. This one is going to be difficult.

You see, my taste in music is...varied. To say the least. And with two of my favorite bands - The Beatles and Muse - I can look at every one of their albums and find probably 3 or 4 songs that I LOVE, a couple that I like, and a few that I'm not fond of. So it's basically impossible to choose a favorite album for either one of them.

In the end, the easiest thing for me to do is go with Daft Punk's album "Discovery". Hey, it's also a soundtrack! (For the anime-style film Interstella 5555, which is actually pretty darn good. I'm a bit "meh" about a couple songs on it (for instance, "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger", though my feelings on that song may be due to Kanye West's bastardized version of it), but in general it really is a great album. Especially to run to!

My favorite song on it is probably "Veridis Quo", though :)

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Writer's Block Wednesday: By 30, Part 2

Today's post is a continuation of my response(s) to the "30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the time she's 30" article :)

By 30, you should have...

6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.

Oh dear. Honestly, my past is probably TOO juicy. Should I ever have children, I'll definitely have to pick and choose what is appropriate to tell them. That said, the major things - my first true heartbreak, the huge mistake that was my first marriage, the important things I've learned about how to party but do it safely and keep it under control...those things, they'll hear about. Though they may never see this picture or hear the story behind it:

July 2008. That's all you need to know.

7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age -- and some money set aside to help fund it.

This is something I struggle with. I'm really good about managing my debt - what little I have. But I have absolutely no savings, and though I do have some investments they certainly aren't anything that would get me by in my old age.

I'm not stupid. I know better than to rely on the idea that social security will be around (or that I'll get anything out of it) by the time I retire. I have a goal to start some sort of true retirement fund/401k by the end of 2013, though. I swear. Which is after I turn 30, but again...at least I don't really have any debt (virtually none outside of a car payment and a mortgage) and I *do* have some investments, even if they don't amount to much...right? ::sheepish grin::

8. An email address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account -- all of which nobody has access to but you.

Yes, yes, and yes.

Steve and I do have a joint account but we also have separate accounts, and I don't have a debit card for the joint account anyway - the only reason it's joint at all is so that I can transfer some of my paycheck to him every week to help pay our bills.

Even in my first marriage, I was never under any sort of impression that I had a "right" to have access to Ex's email account or voice mailbox. Nor that he had any "right" to have access to mine. It was one of the few things that worked about our relationship and so I've carried it over to my relationship with Steve. Everyone is entitled to their privacy...even if they're married.

9. A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.

Thankfully, my resume hasn't been "padded" since about a year after I graduated from college. Even then it was just maybe...worded a bit loftily. Nothing was an outright lie.

10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.

This is something I am so, so, so lucky in. I can narrow my response to this "thing" down to three people, but really, I have three times that number if I need them. And sometimes I do. My *true* friends are my rocks, my inspiration, and though they are all so very different I'm not sure what I would do without any one of them.


Though I'm not sure I've ever cried around/to Becky, I can tell her anything. And she is definitely awesome at making me laugh :D Not to mention the crazy stories we have about our times together...our mutual love of all things Disney...and a few mutual dislikes as well ::cough::girls whose names begin with S and end with A; that mutual friend's ex girlfriend; ridiculously emo guys; etc. ::cough::


Allie, on the other hand, has definitely heard me cry. A lot. One time I called her on my way home from work, back when I was a restaurant manager at Disney - it was something like 12:30 or 1 AM on a weeknight and I was sobbing uncontrollably and she just...listened, and calmed me down. Because she's amazing like that. And like Becky, I can tell Allie anything. She has never judged me, she has always been there for me, and even when she didn't agree with what I was doing, she was still somehow on my side in the best way(s) possible. She's amazing and strong and I love that despite distance and differences in life situations, we've remained friends since we met nearly 11 years ago.


Now, Jenna's not necessarily the first friend I call when I'm really upset and need to have a good cry. That's not to say I wouldn't or haven't called her at such times - but sometimes you know someone who (a) has enough on their plate without needing to deal with your burdens as well and (b) is the person you'd rather call when you just want a good laugh. Seriously, Jenna's laugh is infectious, and she's just an all-around crazy, fun person to hang out with or talk to. That said, she's also brutally honest - she'll say things you may not want to hear, but things that need to be said nonetheless...and I think we all need a friend like that. She's been my BFF for about eleven years now (yeah, 2001 was kind of a great year when it came to meeting friends, for me...haha) and it would take some sort of Earth-shattering issue to change or sway that!

Stay tuned for more "30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know", coming to a blog near you (this one, duh) next Wednesday!
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Monthly 101 Update: April

Ugh. This was another one of those overwhelming months where it seemed as if SO much happened and yet I didn't really accomplish anything. Case and point: My 101 in 1001 list.

Although I actually did make good progress on a few of my 101 goals - for instance, baseball is back and I saw two more out of the ten games I wanted to see; also, I've been keeping up with my new recipe book/binder and will probably have enough recipes within the next 2 months or so to actually print them out and create the thing.

But the only thing I accomplished this month?


Don't do anything more than trim my hair for 1 year (bangs don't count). It may sound silly, but I'm atrocious about my hair. I get bored with it VERY easily (though weirdly enough, I've had the same platinum blonde color since late 2007 and I'm not bored with THAT yet). I cut a few inches off in October 2010 but actually haven't done anything more than trim it since then...however, I didn't start my 101 in 1001 list until April 20th of last year, so I made that the date at which I could say I hadn't cut my hair in at least a year :)

Sadly...I'm not sure you can tell the difference:

Early April 2011

Mid-March 2012
Well, I guess you can see how there's maybe an extra inch. Sigh. My hair grows at a snail's pace. Seriously, look at the length in October 2010, right after I cut it:

Excuse my gigantic head.
 Mother trucker, I can't see a difference at all.

Sigh.

Anyway, here's hoping I do a bit better with my 101 in 1001 list next month :-/ Pin It