Monthly Archives: October 2010

Music Fun

Since it’s the weekend, I figured I would do a post of some of my favorite songs and music videos. So here’s some music and maybe it will make you smile remembering an older song or a funny video or it might even show you something new.

Warning: This will be an eclectic collection of songs. I pretty much like a little of everything. Broadway, hip-hop, pop, country, rap, punk, etc.

Green Day- “Basket Case”

 

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys- “Empire State of Mind”

 

Taylor Swift- “Love Story”

 

Spring Awakening Hodgepodge- Performance at the 2007 Tony Awards (And yes, that IS Lea Michele and

 

Spring Awakening- Bitch of Living (Profanity)

 

Spring Awakening- Totally F***ed (Profanity. Also, not the best quality, but shows the performance)

(Showed the real versions of the songs as well. Probably my favorite musical and I love that they make no apologies for the honest nature of the play. It’s amazing!)

Michael Jackson- “Thriller”

 

Katy Perry- “Firework” (Love the video. Love Katy Perry and think she looks amazing in this video. Also looks pretty good in “Teenage Dream”)

 

Ludacris- “How Low” (I’m strangely in love with just about anything Ludacris does.)

Eminem and Rhianna- “Love the Way You Lie”

 

Michael Buble- “Everything” (LOVE this song. Wanted it to be first dance, but because we had a singer, she didn’t know it, so went with an awesome Aretha song that she blew away.)

 

Far East Movement- “Like a G6”

 

Lil Wayne- “Knockout”

 

The Band Perry- “If I Die Young”

 

 

Okay, I’ll end here. I hope you all have an amazing weekend filled with the people you love. Any new music video or amazing video I need to see? Let me know!

3 Comments

Filed under Happy little posts

The Business of Blue and Gold

Want to know how to know when you’re a grown up?

Your alma mater starts asking for donations.

In short—HELL NO!

A little background for you lovely folks so I don’t look completely heartless.

I went to MSU (yeah, try and figure out which one of the 5 million of those I went to. My step sister and I both went to schools with those initials and that’s just two states.) It was in small town that I will call Kville. I’ve talked about how small this town is in all sorts of posts. I mean, my brother went to undergrad in a small town than mine, but much small and I may have suffocated.

But, my parents and I visited the school during my junior year because I was the student who was WAY ahead of the game and took my ACT SUPER early. (I needed a life. I know this now.)

And we fell in love. The campus was gorgeous and these southern people with their cute southern, but not deep south, accents were so nice and welcoming. I mean, they said ya’ll. How could I say no?

Also, I wanted to go to school to be a teacher. Two of my aunts went to the school for the same thing and they (supposedly) have a pretty good education program. (If you want to do elementary. Go secondary and you’re on your own.)

It was a 3 hour drive from home, so definitely far enough away that mom and dad couldn’t just pop in, but close enough that I could still go home without the need of a plane ticket.

I was so excited, that when I got the ACT scores I was happy with in the June before senior year, I applied online that night. I was accepted in August. BEFORE senior year even started.

And did I mention that I didn’t even LOOK at another school? No? Well, I didn’t. Might be one of the biggest mistakes of my life. (Except, had I chosen a different school, I wouldn’t have met my husband, so I guess it has it’s upside.)

So, I moved my happy ass down there. I cried in the stairwell after my parents left because I didn’t want anyone to see me, and then I was ready to go.

Well, college had it’s ups and downs. A devil of a roommate, first and only one night stand, fraternity parties, meeting some amazing people, skipping more classes than I should have, first hangover. All those things.

Now, my school doesn’t want me to donate money for all those experiences that pretty much only happen when you’re in college and don’t know any better. They want money for their excellent programs and accredited degrees.

Well MSU, you can suck it.

Since I wanted to teach high school English, I was basically an English major with an education major. And because I wasn’t a true education major in their minds, the education department treated me and the 6 other girls who were in the same program as me like shit. And while we took as many English classes as true English majors (minus poetic analysis, but really, who needs that? ), we still needed the education department because we had a test called the PRAXIS to take in order to get licensed and we had practicums and student teaching placements and all of that stuff to deal with. The English department couldn’t help.

Even better, the two departments openly hated each other. And put us in the middle. Oh, you need early British Lit in order to graduate but it’s at the same time as your Secondary Curriculum class? Tough shit because we’re not talking to the people across the street.

The above actually happened to another girl and me and it was an all out battle for them to work something out so we didn’t have to delay graduation a semester for ONE class. Also, I can be a huge bee-yotch when you are blatantly wrong and I am right and you will not keep me another semester. I learned some things from my dad.

Also, I wanted to go out of state to teach. Mind you, a state 40 minutes away. I wasn’t trying to go to Alaska. And the woman in the office, who I was referred to by a peer of hers since “she should be able to help you with that since it’s part of her job”, told me she didn’t know, she couldn’t help me and I should ask someone else. GAH! This is your job lady. Do it or retire. Those are your options.

I could seriously go on for DAYS about all the crap that happened. Like, saying I couldn’t get into a class because I wasn’t “officially” in the education program, even though my paperwork was in and they could have looked up my status, even though the bulletin of classes lists NO requirements for the class AND my advisor approved it. But they let another girl take it who was in my exact position.

Can you say cluster efff????

They didn’t even go to online scheduling until THIS year. So to schedule for classes, your classification (fresh, soph, etc) and alphabet day, you woke up at 5AM to CALL a computer-operated system to sign up for your classes. You could be on the phone for 2 hours waiting to get through only to find out your class ended up full while you were waiting so then you would have to go to hell on earth, the administrative building, and fill out 97 million forms just to say “let me into my classes!!!!”

I am also currently writing a letter to the dean of the department, provost, and president of the university about their lack of planning and acknowledging the crap-tastic economy and the fact that they are blatantly lying to the students about job prospects. (I had a professor tell me that if a teacher couldn’t find a job, it was because they must have messed up, failed a bunch of classes, or had no business being a teacher. Mention of budget cuts and no funding was never mentioned. Could have contributed to my funk over not getting a teaching job.) I will share this letter once it’s revised and being sent off.

My husband also had problems with his program. The school as a whole is terrible with administrative tasks and is so behind and unorganized that I can’t believe they are still functioning. They also spend money on completely ridiculous things. Thousands of dollars for a basketball promo to be played before ball games for a team who has NEVER made it into the Sweet 16???

Needless to say, we have no intention of giving them any money.

For those of you who went to bigger schools or schools with huge sports programs that you support or amazing academics, I understand donating. But I adamantly refuse to give money to a school who has yet to figure out that they work for the STUDENTS who go there and  pay tuition and that our football team, who in the past 6 years has won a TOTAL of 9 games, doesn’t deserve millions in funding. Sorry.

Do you donate? Will you? Why or why not? Or am I just heartless?

7 Comments

Filed under Life After College, The Others

Brain Fart

I’m sitting here, in my usual spot on the couch. Television is on. And just a little blah. I have titles of blog posts sitting in my drafts section for me to write, but I can’t seem to wrap my head around one topic long enough to blog about it. So I’m taking the easy way and doing some randoms and brain dump.

* So, I wrote about this new “diet”. Ummm….I don’t know if it’s possible to go through carb withdrawal, but I am. Yesterday (Tuesday) was AWFUL. I had no energy, super dizzy, nauseous, and just blech. I laid on the couch all day and the thought of only eating vegetables yesterday made me want to hurl. However, I stuck to it. I had an omelet for lunch to get away from the salads for a day and then we had turkey bratwursts and cauliflower mashed potatoes for dinner. I think it’s best to make sure I have some variety or this will won’t work for me. But, luckily, today I feel better, so I have a little more hope.

* Has anyone seen the Playtex bra commercials for women with larger stuff up top? I’m all for a better supporting bra, but something about that commercial weirds me out. Not sure why, but it does.

* We were originally invited to a classmate of Mr. A’s house for a costume party this Friday. And we like going to this guy’s house, but we have both been busy and don’t need to spend money on a costume. Also, we haven’t had a date night with just us in a while, so I think we’re skipping the party, using a gift card and going to see a movie. I also don’t want to have to deal with driving back from his house with all the other people who have been out drinking. And Mr. A can’t drink right now because of his Crohn’s flare-up and the medicine he is on. So he’d have to watch everyone else drink and not participate and have to answer a million questions about “Why aren’t you drinking?” He’s not ashamed about it because he can’t help it, but no one wants to keep talking about it.

* Tonight is the first game of the World Series. I will be cheering on the Rangers. Usually, i don’t care about sports of my sports teams aren’t in the playoffs, but I do love baseball and I know a bunch of my Twitter/blog friends are excited, and it would be cool for the Rangers to get their first World Series win EVER. AND, as an added bonus, Mr. A and I are going out to a sports bar that is known for their chicken to watch the game. I’ll find grilled chicken in some form and a salad and go from there. I won’t be able to have a beer and wings, but that’s okay. We’ll get out of the house and I’ll still eat well. Woohoo! GO RANGERS!

* We almost came home last weekend with a dog. One of my favorite things to do on Saturdays or Sundays is to go to Petsmart since they have pet adoptions on the weekends. Since we don’t just want any dog, but we have two specific breeds in mind, it’s usually not hard to walk away. Yes, they are cute and snuggly and I want one or twelve, but it’s okay. This past weekend? They had an Airedale. He was 2 years old and named Jake. He looked like a big old teddy bear and was super sweet. But, he was a mix and was bigger than most Airedales. Also, we just can’t have a dog yet. Mr. A was very upset about this. He wants a dog just as badly and he kind of fell in love with Jake. Oh to have more money…

* GLEE: Well, the ladies at Third Tier From the Top and Faux Trixie do hilarious GLEE recaps. They are much funnier than I am, so go check them out. I liked the episode, but I know I missed some things since I have never seen Rocky Horror Picture Show before. I think we might go see it this weekend, but we shall see. My biggest problem with GLEE is that they keep mentioning nationals, but when have they been working on music for it? Why are they going to nationals since they lost sectionals? Why don’t they have to go to regionals and sectionals again this year? And what the eff is going on with Vocal Adrenaline, especially since they stole Sunny????? Her voice was too damn good to be in one episode and then never spoken about again. Come on Glee. I love you, but get with the program already. (Also, why these two week breaks between episodes? ANNOYING.)

* I am currently reading It Sucked and Then I Cried by Heather Armstrong. Ummm….HILARIOUS!!! I don’t have kids, therefore never been through her experiences, but they are so funny. She writes kind of stream of conscious, but I love it. She’s smart and funny and witty and, most of all, honest. Yes, her story makes me a littler nervous about having a baby, but at the same time, it’s the most honest account of labor and delivery and postpartum that I have ever heard of. A woman shouldn’t go into pregnancy blind, but armed with as much info as they can find and know that IF they end up suffering from post patrum, they are not alone and there is NOTHING wrong with getting help. Go read it. Seriously. You will actually laugh out loud.

* So, my MIL wants a Christmas list from me and it is killing me. I don’t want to ask for expensive things because she’s going through a lot and doesn’t need to do that for me. I REALLY want to ask for money, and while I’m willing to do that for MY parents, I’m not willing to write on a Christmas list for her “money”. She bought me some Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses a couple of years ago that I ADORED. They were perfect. I babied those things, but after 3 years, they started coming apart and I finally had to retire them. I would like another pair like those, but I have no idea what she spent on those and feel awkward asking for that again. But, I am asking for some red canvas TOMS shoes, spa/massage gift certificate, and an iTunes gift card. I’ll figure out the rest.

8 Comments

Filed under Happy little posts, The Others

Good Eats

Last week, I asked on Twitter if anyone had done the South Beach Diet or knew anyone and what they thought. The responses were very mixed. Some said they had done it or someone they knew had with great results. Others were vehemently against it, or any type of “diet”.

However, my mom has started this and it has done some wonders. She doesn’t follow it 100%, but in two weeks she’s already gone down a pants size and her energy level has gone through the roof. This is the woman who would want to go to bed at 7:30 each night and still not really want to wake up each morning. She now wakes up early and is active all day and doesn’t go to bed till 10 or 11. She seems happier and is looking much better.

So, this is what I’m doing. I’m going to follow the first two weeks 100%. This means no bread, potatoes, rice, sugars, etc. I’ll be having lots of salads and turkey wraps and tuna in various forms and such. Then, after two weeks, I can start introducing some of those things back into my diet.

I know I know. I should just eat healthier and move on. But you don’t understand how atrocious my eating habits can be. My mother, who had the metabolism of a racehorse until she reached the age of 45, could eat anything she wanted, no matter the fat or butter or salt or sugar content and she wouldn’t gain a pound. This then became how she let my brother and I eat. Only, my brother inherited her metabolism and was athletic, and I did not. I had all of her sisters’ genes which means I gain weight super easily.

And I’ve been working on my eating habits and working out, but french fries and pizza and chocolate call my name on a daily basis. And telling myself to just eat better isn’t cutting it.

Also, my mom has said that after the first few days, she hasn’t craved sugar or carbs at all. She doesn’t put sugar in her coffee anymore and she doesn’t crave bread and pasta like she used to.

Umm….if I can quit having these cravings, then after these two weeks, eating better will be a million times easier. This is also forcing me to figure out healthy alternatives and how to make the food delicious for me. I am not planning on sticking to the SBD after these two weeks, but eating more vegetables and fresh foods and less processed crap and insane amounts of sugars. The book has some good recipes and I have no problem making those and using some of it’s tips, but I don’t want to feel tied to a diet for the rest of my life. I want to learn to eat better and to enjoy the foods I’m eating.

So that’s where we are. Yesterday was day one of this cleansing, as I’m calling it.

Mr. A is going to try to do this with me, but with his stomach issues he will have to be careful about what he decides to completely eliminate from his diet. Yesterday he ate a sandwich on white bread and I just wanted to steal his sandwich and eat it. White bread is yummy. Haha

But to help me, he cute up all the vegetables for me in snack sizes so if I’m hungry, I can go grab some red pepper strips or cucumbers or celery.

DSCN0902

DSCN0906

I even put all my vegetables and healthy things up front in my fridge so when I’m browsing for food, I see those things instead of pudding or something else I shouldn’t eat. And yes, that is a box of wine, but the Bota Box is delicious. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

However, seeing as I’ve had one day, I’ve made some pretty delicious things.

For lunch, I made delicious lettuce wraps with smoked turkey, low-fat shredded mozzarella, red peppers, and a tiny bit of dill dip spread.

DSCN0904

Ummm…holy crap these things were yummy. You wouldn’t believe how delicious and a tiny bit of dill dip goes a long way since it’s so flavorful. I made two and had some green pepper strips and celery on the side. I also added a handful of pistachios for a little salt and crunch to my meal.

DSCN0905

I mean, if all the healthy stuff is going to taste this good, then I shouldn’t have any problems.

Tonight, I’m making red peppers stuffed with tuna salad with very little mayo, diced up peppers and onions and celery and a spinach salad. There is a restaurant where we went to school and they have the BEST salad dressing and all it contains is olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Mr. A is going to make a batch tonight and then I will have ready to go salad dressing for the week.

Also, this week:

Tuesday: steak salads with seared steak strips and low-fat bleu cheese crumbles

Wednesday: Sarah’s homemade tomato basil soup

Thursday: Roasted chicken with cauliflower mashed “potatoes” and sautéed asparagus

Friday: Turkey bratwurst and salads

Saturday: Omelets with veggies and turkey sausage

Not sure about everything else yet, but I have some delicious snacks to keep my hunger down and I’m still working out. I’m actually pretty excited about this and ready to see some changes, not only in my pants size, but also in my food mentality and desires.

6 Comments

Filed under Foodie, Life After College

Bedtime

Humans are creatures of habit. We like having some semblance of a routine so that we can know that all in right in the world and that world peace is not far behind. Wait, am I the only one like that? I hope not because then I’m even more weird than I’m willing to admit.

And even during my recent funemployment life-killer boredom-fest free time at home, I have found a way to have some sort of routine. I wake up later than any self-respecting adult should admit sleep in a little, have a little breakfast that usually consists of a protein drink. I will then get on Twitter and see what everyone was chatting about as they were getting ready for work, check the blog and e-mails, and commence watching an exorbitant amount of Law & Order: SVU on Netflix.

This goes on for a while, then I find some lunch and do any picking up around the house I feel needed for my husband not to move out. After lunch settles, I’ve been doing my 30-Day Shred work out. Less and less cursing has been happening, so that’s a plus. I then get showered, put some clothes on so my husband doesn’t know that I’ve been in pajamas most of the day, and continue with the Netflix and internet routine. Some days I have to go do laundry, others I have go grocery shopping or run errands, but this is my day for the most part. Sad? Yes. But I start work on the 4th and then I’ll be one happy girl to be getting out of the house and into real clothes on a regular occasion.

So bedtime in the A Family Household is the same. There’s a routine.

Usually starts about 30 minutes before Mr. A actually plans on going to bed. He’ll start making comments about sleeping or needing to go to bed and then look at me expectantly. It’s almost like he’s prepping me because it seems about 30 minutes before he’s ready for bed, I’ve started typing my blog post for the next day or have gotten involved in some muti-strain Twitter comment or I’m in the middle of a television show or something.

***It’s 9:56pm on Sunday. I’m writing a blog post for tomorrow and my husband just said, “You aren’t writing a blog post are you? We need to get going to bed.” It never fails people."****

Eventually, his yawns become more frequent and loud and he decides to go to bed. I usually go as well because I just like when we go to sleep at the same time and I remember when I was student teaching and went to bed at 9 every night and that was too early for him, so I went to sleep alone. Talk about lonely. So conversations get wrapped up and we get ready for bed.

Now, I have no clue if our routines are “normal” or not. We’re not very normal, so I wouldn’t expect our bedtime to be.

I will check that the front door is locked because I have irrational fears of people breaking into our apartment in the middle of the night and killing us. (This is why I can no longer watch scary movies because then I become a nut job who things that every time the A/C kicks on or the upstairs neighbor moves that Michael Myers is breaking down our front door. My dad should never have let me watch the shit that he did when I was little. I’m forever messed up. Now, my husband has some OCD tendencies, so after I check it, he usually checks it. I’m okay with it because I don’t need John Wayne Gacy coming to hide me under his house.

By this time, we have brushed our teeth and such. As I’m farting around, and for reasons unbeknownst to me, delaying going to sleep (usually because of my “little” sleeping in habit, I’m not all that tired at 10:30), my husband is being a lunatic and STRAIGHTENING THE BED.

Yes. You read that right.

The exact same bed we are about to get into and mess up anyways. My husband insists that the sheets be straight and all of that jazz. But this is also the man who thinks the bed should be made perfectly everyday even though no one will see it except for us and I could care less about a made bed. (I must have skipped over all the domestic wife genes at conception and went straight for the love of sleep and things sweet and salty ones. My zygote self has no clue how much it has screwed me.) I make fun of him about this every night. Keeps him in check.

Finally, the time has come for us to curl up in bed and drift off to sleep. Except my brain is crazy and decides that the first 10-15 minutes of being in bed is equal to 12 cups of coffee and I get super hyper. Like 13 year old girl at a slumber party prank calling boys hyper. We usually joke around. I’ll neck jab him, he’ll start tickling me behind the knee caps, most sensitive next to the feet, and so on. It usually ends after he’s holding my arms to keep from tickling him and I get mad because I can’t break free. Mr. A is very strong and this makes for games of wrestling or play-fighting very one-sided.

I finally calm down and settle in to sleep. I silently curse the neighbor behind us who leaves their porch light on all night long that shines directly into our bedroom window and put a blanket over my eyes. And while I don’t let my feet hang over the side of the bed because I saw I Know What You Did Last Summer and the killer grabs the girls feet because he’s under the bed and I just know that IT is hiding under there, but my feet cannot be under the blankets while sleeping. This also applies to socks. The idea of having my feet covered while sleeping is repulsive. I like cool feet.

And every night, at some point, Mr. A will get up to use the restroom, and if I don’t wake up when he first gets up, and instead wake up while he’s gone, I panic for a minute because I can’t find him. As soon as I see the bathroom light on, I can calm down, but I won’t fall back asleep until he’s safely in bed next to me.

Also, both Mr. A and I sleep talk at times. We have woken up in the morning on numerous occasions to tell the other about the ridiculous things the other said during the night. I tend to talk about Kool-Aid or shopping and being lost and bugs, and he talks about school, war, and dogs. I would love to be able to see his dreams.

Even though our routine is spastic and hilarious, at least in my mind, I love our routine. The husband and I are very silly and playful, so it makes sense that the playfulness carries over into our nighttime routines. I get to crawl into bed every night next to the man that I love more than anyone else and know he’s there with me. If I’m having a nightmare, I will reach over and he will hold my hand until I can relax and fall back asleep. He’s my best friend and I can’t wait for many more nights of our little routines.

 

****It’s now 10:25. My husband is taking glasses to the kitchen and giving me the eye about going to bed. Time to check the door…***

10 Comments

Filed under Happy little posts, Married Life

Can’t Stand By

I’m not really sure how to approach this topic. It’s controversial and I try to avoid those topics, simply because I don’t want to deal with the backlash.

But I feel like I can’t stay silent.

Wednesday was a day to support teens being bullied, especially gay and lesbian students. The recent rise of teen suicides due to bullying has been in the news and I’ve been thrilled to see the national outpouring of support. Many of my Twitter friends stated that they were wearing purple to show support to those going through a hard time that it gets better. I saw many statuses on Facebook showing their support, as well as many celebrities showing that they care and that there are resources for them and people that love them. I especially love the comments about the people that will love them that they haven’t even met yet.

Now, whether you agree with a person’s sexual preference or not, I hope all humans agree that being bullied and feeling like your only option is suicide is a terrible thing and something our youth shouldn’t have to suffer through.

And by chance, I happened across a documentary about the Westb@r@ B@ptist Church. (I don’t need anyone in support of them googling and finding my little corner of the internet.) If you don’t know about them, they got a lot of publicity when they started picketing at funerals of soldiers. Not necessarily gay soldiers, but soldiers because they were happy they died because the U.S. has gay people. See? I can’t even put the logic together. I guess because we have gay soldiers it’s a good thing all soldiers die? They make no sense.

What bothered me even more was the rhetoric being used, and that the children were just as indoctrinated. And while I don’t use this word and it bothers me, these people, these so called Christian people, used the word “fag” more often than I’ve ever heard. They were so mean and judgmental and unlike anything I’ve ever been taught in church. And protesting funerals? It makes my blood boil and the hair on the back of my neck to stand up. I was, however, happy to see that a local motorcycle group placed themselves and their super loud bikes between the protestors and the funeral so that the grieving family didn’t have to hear their hateful words.

And we wonder why kids are having such a hard time these days.

We have this small, but very loud, group of people who are spouting off about how terrible and evil they are. And it’s not just this group. There are, unfortunately, plenty of people who are willing to yell and shout and scream about the sins of gays and that they will go to hell and that they don’t deserve to live. And when a middle schooler keeps hearing this, but they can’t make their feelings change, they might start believing that they don’t have a reason to live.

Katie from the Overflowing Brain, wrote an awesome blog post about this topic, and she wrote it better than I can, so might as well get to read her words. I just came across her blog the other day, and it was the same time that all of these news stories were breaking my heart and I really enjoyed her post and was happy some people are willing to speak out.

I went to school to work with high school kids. I really do love that age group. Yes, they have HUGE attitudes, but I’ve never claimed to not have one myself. And sarcasm doesn’t usually work with 3rd grade kids. Also, high school can be a very rough time for some kids. It wasn’t a cake walk for me and I was pretty average. Some of these kids think that high school is everything and that high school is what the rest of the world is like. Believe me. It’s not. Or I would still be single and with a bad group of friends who made me take the brunt of all their jokes so they could feel better about themselves.

And I know it’s the current slogan, but I hope kids can truly understand that it DOES get better. I would never want to go back to high school, but I am happy now and high school showed me who I didn’t want to be like.

I did my student teaching at a VERY conservative school. Believe me, I wouldn’t have picked that school, especially with some of my viewpoints and the rampant racism that ran through that place. And overall, it wasn’t as bad as I expected, but there were definite problems. And when reading a book that mentioned harassing someone for being gay, my students didn’t see a problem with it. I almost lost it that day in class. We had a very serious talk about attitudes and behaviors and sayings that would not be allowed in my classroom and how they need to grow up and not be so closed minded.

I just don’t understand why this is still such an issue today. If two men or two women want to marry, let them. It doesn’t bother me, and in my opinion, love is love.  It’s not like heterosexual relationships are doing all that great. I know 3 people my age who are already married and divorced. At 23. Why not let people marry who they love?

I don’t know what else to say about this that hasn’t already been said. I just hope everyone can try to be a little more understanding, and even if you don’t agree, there’s no need for the hate. If you want to be a true Christian, love your neighbor and don’t judge. It’s time for everyone to have a little more love in their life.

4 Comments

Filed under The Others

Attempted Hobby

***FIrst of all, I got LOTS of responses to yesterday’s post about Wal-Mart, both on the blog and on Twitter. I just want to point out that I don’t like supporting Wal-Mart. Not at All. I really dread every time I go there. However, we are in a tight financial budget and, unfortunately, they’re cheaper. BUT, after my last couple shopping trips there and how much I despise it, I’m trying to see if there’s a way to use coupons or store brands at Schnucks or maybe even Kroger to keep the price down without going into the zoo that is Wal-Mart. I feel I received a lot of strong opinions and I hope no one thinks I’m a huge supporter. I’m not. But I’m broke and sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. And I’ve never been to a co-op and not sure what’s there, not there, cost or anything. Not even sure where one is here…*

 

Anyways, this is about my new little hobby.

For graduation and Christmas last year, Mr. A bought me a nice and new fancy camera.

Nikon My little Nikon Coolpix p100

I’ve never owned a fancy camera before. I had a digital one before, but it wasn’t very nice and it had terrible software which made it a complete pain in the ass to load pictures or do anything with it. And then I left it on a cab in Vegas. Yeah. My dad was thrilled about that one.

Even thought it was pricy, we had a lot of important events coming up that we wanted a good camera for. You know, like a wedding and a honeymoon. Those things.

So here I was with a new shiny camera and not a clue how to use it. I mean, I could take a picture, but not clue how to really frame pictures or do cool things I see other people doing or what the different settings were for. The pictures I took looked significantly better than the ones on my old crappy camera, but not to the level that this camera should be able to do. Completely user error.

Therefore, my little beauty hadn’t been getting the use that it should have been. Also, it’s a little bulky so I feel awkward taking it everywhere like I might if I had a little thin one. But I am determined to use this more.

I figured this past weekend would be the perfect opportunity to take my camera with me and play around some. Not only would I be in the woods and have pretty things to shoot, my dad is actually really good with a camera and I would have lots of time to ask him questions and have him show me things. As it turned out, both of my dad’s friends are also really good photographers, so I got hints from everyone. One guy has some intense lenses and takes pictures that I’ve seen being sold for hundreds of dollars. (I’m getting my dad to e-mail me a couple. I’ll post them as soon as I get them. And I will tell you which ones are his, even though you will be able to tell because his are gorgeous.)

I must say that I in now way think I’m all that good. This was my first time ever really playing with effects and settings. I’m not sure how to use lighting quite yet. I really want to take a photography class and friend M said I should see if a camera shop here in town has a class to take. I’m looking into it.

Mostly, and this will sound so lame to anyone who takes pictures, but I learned that a macro is used for close-ups. Confession? I thought that flower meant it was for nature pictures. Dumb. So, a lot of these are close-ups because I found it so fascinating the details I could capture. Also, my dad taught me how to take a close-up and then make the things around it blurry. I apologize that most of these will look similar. I learned something new and then kept going with it.

DSCN0768 I also took like 12 pictures of my ring because I didn’t know about the macro, and until this weekend, had never been able to get a good picture of it. HA.

DSCN0758

DSCN0767 Super tiny flower.

DSCN0769 I love my Chuck Taylors. Lameeee

DSCN0770 Fun mushroom/fungi thing.

DSCN0771 Close-up on some wheat

DSCN0773

DSCN0787 Yummy salad.

DSCN0794 My brother’s sweet boots. I took pictures of everything.

DSCN0800 I thought my brother’s vein-y hands were neat.

DSCN0805

DSCN0818 My brother has a Harley sportster. It’s pretty cool.

DSCN0820

DSCN0885 Up the tail pipe.

DSCN0866 Why yes, my brother DOES have a sparkle blue helmet. No, he’s not gay. Promise.

DSCN0871 Cool side mirror picture. Should have cleaned the mirror first. Oops. And my brother wears the bandana to keep his face from chapping. He’s not in a gang. Promise. I sure do a lot of defending for that kid… Too bad he’s a badass.

DSCN0873 Oops. Got myself in that one. Not the point.

DSCN0827 My camera even has a food setting. My dad found this amusing.

DSCN0840

DSCN0845 I want to see a bird that actually has a feather that looks like that.

DSCN0857 Lonely leaf.

DSCN0865

DSCN0878 I really like this one of my brother playing guitar.

DSCN0880 Beer of choice.

DSCN0887 Barbed wire keeping out the nature.

DSCN0892 Cool tree and I like how it’s framed against the blue sky.

So there ya go. I don’t have any photo editing software. I would love Photoshop, but it’s pricey. Does anyone know of any online or cheaper programs to use? Especially since I’m new to this. Not quite ready to invest too much money into a new thing just yet.

Also, if you have any tips or tricks or something, feel free to let me know. I love great photos and hope to learn to take some soon.

7 Comments

Filed under Happy little posts, Pictures, Things I Love

Grocery Snob

walmart       VS      schnucks

 

This has become a new dilemma for Mr. A and I. Where to buy our groceries?

The town we went to school in only had a Walmart, a Kroger, and a small hometown grocery store. The hometown grocery store wouldn’t have everything we needed or wanted and Kroger wasn’t convenient and cost more than Walmart. I mean, I was in college. My budget was more focused on getting an outfit for the island party and cash to buy beer.

Yeah, I sure had my priorities in line.

So we shopped at Walmart. Also, it was the only place that was truly one stop shopping. Need shampoo? Walmart. Need batteries and ice cream? Walmart? Need windshield wiper blades? Walmart. You get my point.

I remember my first Sunday in this new town my freshman year. My parents had given me money to buy any little things I needed that we didn’t bring down and some food. I thought I would head to Walmart on my own and feel like a grownup.

Terrible, terrible idea. You NEVER go to Walmart on Sunday, if you can help it, and especially not on move in weekend. Talk about a mad house.

Also, the farm workers get dropped off at this particular Walmart on Sundays so they can do their shopping. But the boss doesn’t come back to get them for like 5 hours, so they hang out and it just adds to the chaos.

Most college students there hate Walmart, but at the same time, we don’t have many other options. The closet Target was 2 hours away and sometimes you had to buy food and toothpaste.

So when we moved to our new and current city, I was so freaking excited that we had a Schnuck’s about a mile from our apartment.

I grew up using Schnucks grocery stores, and I guess I’m just attached because I’m used to them.

But also? It’s not a Walmart. I feel more like a grown up when I do my grocery shopping there, list in hand, perusing the aisles and I pick up delicious food to make for our little family. I love the fancier selections of certain items, such as sauces and seafood and meats. I mean, I could get a live lobster if I wanted. Not that I want to hear it scream like a person as I drop it in boiling water and then have to cut its head off, but I could if I wanted to.

The problem? It costs more.

The husband and I try to keep our grocery bill to around $100 a week. We’ve been close most weeks. But shopping at Schnuck’s makes it more difficult. Their prices are higher on nearly everything and our $100/week budget doesn’t end up stretching as far.

So I’ve gone back to Walmart and it just breaks my heart. There’s something about that store that I absolutely hate an I want nothing more than to have a budget that I can shop at my pricier store and walk around with my head held high as I drink my Starbucks and shop. (Yes, sometimes I take a coffee with me. Grocery shopping is hard people! HA)

So where do you all shop? Do you choose the cheaper store to save money? Or do you go for the more expensive one just because you prefer it?

“I wanna be a billionaire, so freaking bad…”

14 Comments

Filed under Life After College, Life in Law School (even if I'm not in it), Married Life, What to do?

Weekend Recap

Well, I made it back alive.

And I actually had a pretty good time, minus the bitchy step-sister, but I pretty much just avoided her and hung out with my super cool brother.

These weekends have been legendary. My dad and his friends have been going to this place for nearly 10 years now and they look forward to it every single year. They usually book it in January for October. Yes. They are THAT dedicated.

They rent cabins or a huge house for all of them, usually 8-12 people. The main lodge has a fall and a spring concert series. Dad and everyone pick a person or band they all agree on seeing and book that weekend.

Also, for the workaholic that is my father, her didn’t touch his laptop once. Not once. Ummm….until I was 20, we took a family vacation EVERY summer and he ALWAYS would work at some point during that vacation. Usually he would wake up early and work while the rest of us slept in. He would check e-mails, make phone calls, and work on various business projects as time and internet access permitted. This weekend? The only time he got on the computer was to load everyone’s pictures from the weekend so he could make the annual picture album of the trip. It may not mean a lot to you, but for me it just shows how much this trip means to him and how much he needs the break.

DSCN0756 Each cabin had a name. This was ours.

DSCN0779 Living room and kitchen area.

DSCN0782 My stepsister and I shared a bedroom. Not ideal, but whatever. Only spent a few hours there each night.

DSCN0784 Our GIANT jacuzzi tub and bathroom. I tried the Pioneer Woman’s “hip out” trick. Not sure it did much for me.

DSCN0788 Some of the libations.

DSCN0789 That’s not even a fourth of the wine consumed this weekend. Not including the peach Bellini’s my stepmom made. Talk about buzzed all weekend.

It was a lot of fun.

Friday we got there and kind of got settled. Once everyone got there and settled in their cabins, they came over to ours for grilling steaks and lots of wine and a bonfire. Music was played, drinks were had, jokes were laughed at. Definitely a good start.

DSCN0805 And we have fire.

Saturday morning, friend M and his girlfriend made omelets. HOLY COW.

DSCN0826  Best. Omelets. EVER.

Seriously? You don’t understand the mouth-watering delicious-ness that was this thing. M and gf made each of them to order so every person got what they wanted. Mine has some browned bratwurst from the night before, spinach, onions, red pepper, mozarella and cheddar cheese. Yummmmmmm. And I don’t even usually like egg dishes, but these were so delicious.

Saturday during the day was just kind do your own thing. Some people went to come art fair in town which turned out to be more of a craft fair. And by that I mean every other booth was crocheted things. Yes, we were in the middle of nowhere. (And I didn’t have cell phone service all weekend except when we went to the lodge for the weekend. Talk about roughing it…haha)

DSCN0832 Dining area at the lodge.

Dad took me and my stepsister to see the lodge and such. I developed the new hobby of photography over the weekend, so I was able to walk around and take pictures and practice some things my dad showed me. (I’ll do another post just on the new hobby of mine.)

The lodge was built in like 1800s and is super old and cool. There is a wraparound porch that goes around 3 sides of the place and is filled with rocking chairs.

DSCN0837

The place is surround by hills covered in changing leaves. It was gorgeous.

DSCN0834

We weren’t actually staying at the lodge and I’m good with that. The hallways where the rooms are looked like they came straight out of The Shining. I kept expecting kids on tricycles to show up. Creeeeepy. And the bathrooms were communal. So, down the hall and shared with everyone else in your hall. No thank you. Did that in college and I have no desire to do it on vacation.

DSCN0831 Looking down on the concert area. It was much more packed with chairs that night.

Saturday night was dinner at the lodge before the concert. Ummm…wow. It was buffet, but probably the best buffet food I’ve ever had. Best mashed potatoes ever since I didn’t have to add butter or salt to them, and that’s huge for me. A creamed spinach dish that was to die for, Caesar salad that has just the right amount of dressing, grilled trout with lemon and rosemary, and  prime-rib that you could get as rare or as done as your preferred with a horseradish sauce. And for dessert, you could pick from bread pudding with a bourbon sauce, pecan pie, or chocolate mouse. I had the pecan pie and stole a couple bites of the bread pudding and both were delicious.

The concert itself was so-so. Everyone agreed that of all the shows they’ve seen, this was probably their least favorite. I knew the music wasn’t going to be my kind of thing, but I went along and tried to look as into it as I possibly could.

That night we went to S’s cabin and had another bonfire. The only thing missing was the marshmallows, but maybe as an adult you no longer like marshmallows? I don’t see how that’s possible, but who knows.

Sunday morning S and his wife took care of breakfast. Man, my dad’s friends know how to cook. She made a breakfast casserole that blows my mom’s version out of the water and super delicious French toast. I know it seems like all we did was eat, but I promise that’s not the case. I just like food so when it’s good, I talk about it. My dad put together a quick slideshow of everyone’s pictures to close out the weekend.

DSCN0875 My brother jamming on his guitar.

It was neat to finally be on one of these weekends since I’ve heard about them for so long. I got to hear my dad and brother playing guitar together. I sat on the front porch with a book and a beer and just relaxed in the sunlight and breeze. I played with different settings and techniques with my camera and learned that I really want to learn more and maybe even take a class. I was able to avoid killing my stepsister, which is a feat of it’s own, and I learned that my stepmom isn’t so bad. I missed my husband and was so glad to return home to open arms and a warm hug.

Hope you all had a great weekend as well!

5 Comments

Filed under Just having fun, Normal Family?

Getaway

wildwood

As of Friday afternoon, I will be here. Looks relaxing, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, Mr. A will not be going with me, but he needs to study and he is going to his hometown to see friends on Saturday, so it works out. He needs a good boys night with his friends that he’s known since grade school. Admittedly, I’m a little jealous. I love his friends and wish I was going, but oh well.

Anyways, I will be in Missouri at a place that does weekend concert series and other various events. They have a ton of different cabins and houses and it should be a lot of fun.

It will be me, my dad, my stepmom, stepsister, brother, Dad’s friend M and girlfriend, and Dad’s other friend S and wife. My dad has known M and S since he was in his twenties and these guys are great. They’re like super cool uncles. I love spending time with them.

Dad, brother, S, and M and their significant others have done this every year for about 5 years now. There may be a couple additions here and there, but that’s the main group. I wasn’t originally on the guest list for this year, but since my brother and his girlfriend broke up, he had an extra ticket, so now I’m part of the cool kids club. They are actually very selective about who they invite. It’s their weekend to get away and relax, so I feel a little honored that I’m an adult now so I can go.

Lameeeeee. Oh well.

Except, I think my stepmom invited my stepsister since I was going to be there. As if I needed someone to keep me company. Really, I would have much more fun without her. I’ve hung out with all of these people my whole life and I don’t need her attention-whoring attitude, but whatever. My brother and I will drink our C@rona, talk about our dad’s eccentricities and it will be great.

Also, my brother is riding his motorcycle down, so maybe he can give me a ride on it. I don’t normally like motorcycles, but I figure I’m safe with my brother and he won’t be trying to show off or anything.

They also have this down to a science. Everyone is assigned different dishes or meals to take care of.

Friday night, everyone brings their own meat and they grill and someone brings a salad and a potato dish. I was in charge of dessert, so I made the peaches and cream cupcakes and the chocolate chip pumpkin cupcakes for that since my stepmom has heard me talking about all of my new baking adventures. Saturday morning M and his girlfriend will make individual omelets, which are apparently to die for. During the say is just snacky foods and such. That night we’ll eat dinner at the lodge before the concert and Sunday morning, S and his wife make a breakfast casserole and I made my cinnamon swirl bread.

I’m looking forward to it. I brought a couple books for relaxing time on Saturday. Everyone kind of chills on the porches and hangs out. Apparently M naps a lot. My dad has a lot of pictures of M napping. Weird.

But I hope all of you have a great weekend. Find time to relax and do something for your self. All of you deserve it and more.

I’ll recap all the funny stories when I get back.

1 Comment

Filed under Happy little posts, Normal Family?