Sunday, December 27, 2009

Greetings from Florida!

I know I said I was going to be absent for a few...and really, I am! But I'm hanging out at my Granddad's house in Florida, having just woke up from a lovely nap on the couch in front of some football, so I thought I'd say hello.

We left yesterday morning to get here...and it was NOT as fun as it should have been. Let me fill you in on our lovely day of travel.

7:15am: Leave MIL and FIL's house. FIL drove us to airport.
8:45am: Arrive at the Louisville airport because we live in the middle of nowhere and there isn't an airport there.
12:00: Our first flight leaves, from Louisville to Tampa. Late. Was supposed to leave at 11:30 and land at 1:30. Now it leaves at 12 and will land at 2. Start to stress about making our connection, which leaves from Tampa at 2:40 and lands in West Palm Beach at 3:30. We are flying Southwest and naturally cannot find two seats together.
2:00: Land in Tampa and rush to gate, secretly hoping I have enough time to pee. Discover that flight #2 is delayed until 4:10. Granddad's party is at 7. I have not showered, because you know...I have plenty of time to get ready at Granddad's house.
2:15: Eat at Chili's at the airport. Blah.
2:45-3:45: Sit around bored and stare out the window, willing the plane to come early.
4:00: The plane lands...and takes approximately 100,000 minutes for the passengers to deplane (hehe, I love that word) and then for them to clean it.
4:15: We board the plane.
4:45: We are still sitting on the plane, waiting and getting frustrated, but happy because we found seats together.
4:50: There is something wrong with the plane. They make us deplane (hehe) and then sit around and wait as they prepare another aircraft. I start to go crazy.
5:30: Get on the second damn plane. Naturally cannot find seats together because people are assholes. I sit in the middle seats between two nice old ladies who loudly voice their disappointment that the "nice young man" who was sitting there when we got on the plane the first time didn't sit there again. I CAN HEAR YOU, BITCHES.
5:32: Nice old bitch on the left offers me a free drink voucher because it "looks like I need it." We instantly become friends, although I don't take her voucher because I know I will drink too much at the party and I'm trying to pace myself.
6:15: FINALLY LAND IN WEST PALM BEACH. Better yet...our bag makes it, too. Rejoice.
7:15: Arrive at Granddad's party, which started at 7. Change in the bathroom and try to make sense of crazy, air-dried, airport hair. Fail.
7:31: Order large glass of "something red that isn't merlot" while Matt sucks down Jameson and Coke faster than I think is humanely possible. After a second glass of wine and a second Jameson and Coke...we are happy!
10:00pm: Get a massive migraine. Go home and pass out asap.

The good part is...we made it to my granddad's party and it was really lovely. Last night we had a small dinner party with immediate family (ours, and my granddad's girlfriend's family), and tonight, my granddad's girlfriend's SON (did you get that?) is throwing a large party for my granddad at his house. He lives just outside of Miami in Aventura. So, that should be fun! Tomorrow, we're off to Savannah for a couple of days, and then Nashville for a couple of days, and then HOME. It's definitely a whirlwind, but so far we're having a good time!

I hope all of you had a fantastic Christmas...I sure did! Santa brought me all sorts of fun stuff, including a University of Michigan snuggie!!! Photos to follow...when we get home.

xxoo,
S

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Holiday Post

Well, I did it! The apartment is clean, vacuumed, scrubbed, washed, swept, and mopped. I am (kind of) packed for our trip to Florida. My hands and toes are adorned with Lincoln Park After Dark. My presents are wrapped. Two loaves of pumpkin chocolate chip bread are baked. One huge batch of maple glazed pecans are ready. Things are ... done!!!

So, now I'm relaxing. On the couch, feet up, watching Season 2 of Sex and the City. Yes, I realize that's not Christmas-y. No, I don't care. :)

Anyway, I wanted to write a quick post to wish all of you a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year. Whether you're staying home, spending time with family, or going somewhere warm...stay safe, and enjoy yourself! I will be taking a blogging and computer vacation until we return around the 1st. But don't forget about me...I'll be back when 2010 makes an appearance!

xxoo,
S

Saturday, December 19, 2009

400!

This is my 400th post. Wow. Clearly, I'm wordy. Thanks for hanging around this long! :)

Matt and I headed up to Greenwood (just outside of Indianapolis) today to spend the day with our friends Ryan and Amber. At the Melting Pot. YUM. The last time Matt and I ate at the Melting Pot was when we celebrated when I got my job...3 jobs ago. May, 2006. So clearly, it's been awhile. Ryan and Amber live kind of northwest of Indy, so the Melting Pot was a good halfway point for us.

As always, we had a ton of fun (see: this post as evidence). We've been home for a couple of hours now, and I cannot stop thinking about this crazy story that Amber told us. I know I'm going to accidentally leave out some of the craziness (because there is just SO MUCH TO TELL), but I'm going to try and relay the story to you. Bear with me...this will be lengthy. But please try to make it to the end, because the best story is last.

Necessary background information: Amber is a 3rd grade teacher. She had Jaida in the beginning of September, and, obviously, had a sub take over her class for her maternity leave. Amber had a really difficult and complicated delivery, and ended up needing to extend her maternity leave for the rest of the semester. She now will go back to teaching when school gets back from Christmas break.

You teachers will especially enjoy this story of: dun dun dun! The sub from hell. I swear.

Amber is clearly a very meticulous (in a good way!) teacher. She has rules in her classroom about raising hands, talking out of turn, etc....like all good teachers should. Before she had Jaida, she spent a TON of time writing out lesson plans that would cover - literally - each and every day until she returned. The sub was basically walking into a pre-taught class - all she had to do was follow Amber's lesson plans.

Naturally, the sub chose to "do her own thing." Before this lady - we'll call her P. Like Peyton. The crazy lady from The Hand that Rocks the Cradle. - started subbing for her, Amber had never met her.

Awkward red flag #1: The day after Amber gave birth to Jaida, P showed up AT THE HOSPITAL, came into her room, didn't say hi or ask how she was, just walked over to Jaida and started taking photos of her. She then took it upon herself to send out a birth announcement to the rest of the teachers, saying when Jaida was born (wrong time!), her weight (wrong weight!), and her length (wrong length!). Weird.

Awkward red flag #2: When Amber got home from the hospital, she sent P an email checking and and seeing how the lesson plans were going. P responded, telling her she's not using her lesson plans. She signed the email "I love you so much." ???????????

Awkward red flag #3: P came over to Ryan and Amber's house to discuss some stuff with Amber. She stayed SO LONG, holding Jaida, that Amber didn't know how to get her to leave. Ryan was cooking supper, BROUGHT Amber supper in front of this lady, and she still didn't get the hint. When Amber said "Well, it's time for supper," P replied "Oh, no thanks, I'm fine." Haha. She then proceeded to tell Amber that people at school were talking about her. (Sidenote: Amber is the sweetest, nicest person ON EARTH. She runs prayer groups at school. She is OH so wholesome and sweet.) P told Amber that the custodians were telling everyone that AMBER WAS HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH THE ART TEACHER, and that Jaida was his baby!!! Oh my gosh. Ridiculous. Amber called Ryan into the room and had P repeat this "rumor." True to form, Ryan started laughing uncontrollably.

Apparently at this point, P (still holding and rocking the baby) said "but when I saw Jaida, I could tell it was Ryan's baby." Um, weirdo. Word on the street is actually that P herself had been hitting on the art teacher, but he had been rejecting her left and right. Sounds like she just pulled that "rumor" out herself. Also...while rocking and staring at the baby, said something about how she hopes God will still bless her with a baby at some point. Aaargh awkward.

Awkward red flag #4: Amber visited the classroom to say hi to her kids and check to see how things were going. She said something along the lines of "When I come back..." at which point P interrupted (to the students!) and said "Well, IF she comes back." Um, there was never a question that Amber was going back to work. What a creepster.

Awkward red flag #5: She apparently has told all the students that she is their "best friend." They don't have to raise hands, they don't have to stay seated during class, they really have no rules whatsoever. Oh dear.

Awkward red flag #6: Last week, Amber asked P for an update on where the class is in their books and whatnot, so she knows what she's walking into in a couple of weeks. P responded with, "Well, in Health, we're on Chapter 1. In English...well, I didn't actually know there was a book for English." ???????? Seriously. Halfway through the year, and the kids are on CHAPTER ONE of a book. And basically haven't done any English.

Awkward red flag #7: Apparently, the only time P did Social Studies with the kids, she talked solely about Christopher Columbus. To emphasize her...um, theme...she dressed up as a pirate (??) and brought in PIPES to show them. PIPES. That you SMOKE. WTF?

Awkward red flag #8: P asked Amber if she could stay home on maternity leave a little longer, because P wanted to make some more money so that she could quit her other job...at Walmart.

Awkward red flag #doesitreallymatteranymore: To be honest, there were so many stories and weird, creepy things about this lady that I really cannot even remember them all. But this one has to take the cake. All last week, the whole elementary school was writing letters to Santa. Please remember that this is a class of 3rd graders. Well, on Friday, P told the entire class that there is no Santa Claus, and made fun of them for still believing in him. Apparently half the class went home crying. Can you believe this shit??!

I am seriously in shock about this whole story. Amber is going to have her work cut out for her when she returns in January...but really, those poor kids! Not only have they had a wasted semester, but now they know that Santa Claus isn't real. Amber...anything to add? Write it in a comment below so my wonderful readers can hear more craziness!!!

Do any of you have crazy sub stories like this? Or something similar?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Stress

Yes yes, the holiday season is joyful and fun and full of pink puffy hearts and blah blah blah, but let's be honest...there's always an element of stress, isn't there? Rushing to get things done, presents purchased and wrapped, houses cleaned, fingernails manicured (is that just me?!), yadda yadda. I have been really looking forward to my two week long vacation (which starts TODAY, by the way!)...thinking about how restful it will be. One week at home spent hanging out with Matt, one week in southern Florida/Savannah/Nashville.

Of course, the more I think about my restful "week"...the more I realize I don't have a week at all, and the time I have certainly won't be restful. Assuming that I don't do anything useful around the house today (which, um, I'm won't...I have to celebrate my vacation!), starting tomorrow I have to clean everything. I have to get the guest room ready for two sets of visitors. Pack for a trip to a few different climates. Get Christmas stuff ready. Finish writing out my Christmas cards. Stamp and mail them. Clean out the fridge. Blah blah blah.

All of this must be done by Wednesday, because our friends are coming to stay that night and then we're leaving the following morning, on Christmas Eve. Before we head to my SIL's house (and we have to be there at NOON on Christmas Eve, yikes...not exactly sure how we'll get out the door!), I have to quickly get the apartment ready for Guests #2, my parents. We'll be spending a couple of days with my in-laws and then heading straight to the airport from their house on Saturday. So when we leave Christmas Eve morning, we won't be back until around the 1st. Gah.

Until then...I will try to relax, calm down, clean and scrub my apartment and do a gazillion loads of laundry. I'm hoping to still have some time for fun in there...hopefully I can pull that off. Please note that I am very grateful for this time off, even if it ends up being as crazy as going to work!

What does your holiday season look like? Hectic or relaxing? A coworker of mine has 8 - yes, EIGHT - Christmas celebrations to go to this week. That seems a little out of control, no?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pretty Sparkly Things

While doing some shopping with Lisa in Chicago, she quickly pointed out that I was drawn like a magnet to pretty much anything sparkly. I don't know if it's the holidays or what...but I am ALL ABOUT THE SPARKLES right now. Of course this comes at a time when I own pretty much nothing sparkly. What's up with that?! Anyway...here are my top sparkly picks for the holiday season, starting with the cheap stuff:

Forever 21 Sequin Twist Headband $3.80

Okay...how fabulous are these super cheapo shoes from F21? I first saw them on Gigi's blog and fell in love. I checked them out at F21 in Chicago and they were gorgeous!!!
Forever 21 Donatella Glitter Peep Toe $22.80
Okay, on to my one true shopping love, J. Crew. I may not be able to afford anything besides socks and accessories at the outlet, but...I will never stop loving their beautiful items. They really went all out this season with the sparkles and I LOVE ALL OF IT.

J. Crew Sequined Starland Tank $138

J. Crew Sequin Scarf Cardigan $110.40 (on sale!)

J. Crew Crushed Glitter Magic Wallet $16.50

J. Crew Skinny Crushed-Glitter Belt $24.50

J. Crew Starlight Glitter Ballet Flats $125

Okay, no sparkles here, just pretty silver flats with a pretty bow. Just had to share! :)

J. Crew Pippa Mirror Ballet Flats $135
Am I the only one crushing on sparkles right now? What are your favorite festive things?

Only in Indiana...

A neighboring county just made it legal to ride a four-wheeler to school. This can be an actual dirt bike, or perhaps a golf cart. Seriously.

We were talking about the hilarity of this yesterday during my work holiday potluck, when my coworker said that several years ago, she drove a riding lawnmower home from Lowe's. She decided she didn't want to pay the $45 delivery fee, and only lived about a mile away, so ... she hopped right on and drove it all the way home.

I can't make this stuff up, friends! Only in Indiana, I swear. Only in Indiana.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

GOALS and PROJECTS.

As I look at my calendar and realize that Matt is leaving in about a month (okay, I knew that without looking at the calendar)...I have decided that it's time to document my projects and goals for while Matt is gone.

1. Train for and successfully complete the Chicago Half Marathon on September 12th, 2010. Yes, I will do this! My running has been a little less regular over the past few weeks, but I will get back on schedule When Matt Leaves (shortened to WML from now on!). I have really started to enjoy running, and I am looking forward to attaining this goal. I also know that Jenn will be with me every step of the way, and that definitely helps!

2. Clean out the guest bedroom closet. If you could see it, you would understand why this is a whole project in and of itself. It is a NIGHTMARE in there and I have started fantasizing about how I'm going to organize it and where I'm going to put things. It is a really, really big walk-in closet (well, to me at least!) and it has so much potential. Right now, you can't even get in the door because there is so much crap all over the floor. With the help of Rubbermaid containers and magazine holder thingies, I plan to organize the CRAP out of that closet. Whenever that happens, I'll post before and after photos. Don't judge me.

3. Learn how to make my own bread and NEVER BUY BREAD AGAIN. This has been inspired by Lucy. She told me that, last December, she decided to never buy bread again - she started making her own and has been doing it ever since. She makes EVERYTHING! Bread, pitas, breadsticks, english muffins...you name it, she can make it. I think this would be a great thing to know how to do.

4. Get a half share of a CSA farm. I'm extremely excited about this...I have researched and picked out my farm and everything. For 25 weeks, I'll get a box full of veggies and other local treats (eggs, cheese, whatever they feel like throwing in). Lisa and Randy get a half share each summer growing season, and they said it's WAY more veggies than they can eat. Since there will be only one of me, I will learn how to properly freeze veggies so they can last far into next winter 2011.

5. Tied into the last two...I really want to try and eat as locally as possible. I will not completely hold myself to this because eating 100% locally is like...hard. Ha. But I want to make really conscious decisions about where my food is coming from. WML (did you get that? When Matt Leaves), my eating habits will change dramatically. While he needs a whole meal, I could just pick at veggies. I am very happy not eating meat. I plan on being a happy vegetarian 90% of the time. Veggies are grown locally...so, I think I'll be good. UNTIL I need some avocados (clearly not grown here) and ... actually, I'm not sure if brussels sprouts are grown here or not. Clearly something to look into.

6. Become a generally neater/cleaner/more organized person. This is clearly less measurable...but I have so much crap that I know I can purge and throw away. I will have lots of time to work on this...and when Matt comes back, he won't have to pile all my shoes in the bedroom anymore, haha.

7. Get my body in the best shape possible so that when Matt comes home...we can try for a Baby Smith. I have some weight to lose, some areas to tone up...you know, the usual. Because of my endometriosis, I already have a fertility strike against me. I don't want anything else to get in the way of getting pregnant.

8. Play my violin REGULARLY and audition for (and get into, duh) the Bloomington Symphony. I have played violin since I was three years old...and it has definitely lapsed in my adult life. There are so many other things to do, other obligations, other hobbies. I don't want to let this one fall by the wayside. Plus, playing in an orchestra has always been a social outlet for me and I know I'll need some more friends around here when I'm all alone!

Well....that's actually all I can think of right now. Those are the big things. Eventualy, WML, I'll add my project/goal list on my sidebar and mark when I have completed things. Anyone else have anything they think I should add?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Chicago, Milwaukee, and BIG FUN

Well, I can't lie...I had a super duper amazing weekend in Chicago and Milwaukee! And now I will rehash all of it.

On Friday...Lisa, Randy and I went out to dinner at the 44th Ward Dinner Party. We all had high hopes, as it is a grilled cheese restaurant (!!!), but to be honest, it fell a little flat. We had amazing apps, but it took over an hour for our grilled cheese to come. Considering the size of the place (it was tiny!), we started wondering if they were cooking everything on a tiny George Foreman grill or something. It was weird. We had a really sweet waitress, however, who felt badly that we had to wait so long. She generously brought us a free dessert ... which had a giant hair in it. Blech.

On Saturday, I ran out to my car to grab sunglasses and saw some movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked up, and - surprise! A coyote trotted right by me on the sidewalk. I was totally confused and surprised. For a second I thought it was a dog, and then realized that he was a coyote. How weird is that??! Right in the middle of Chicago! I am still giggling about my coyote run-in. Definitely one of the weirder things that have happened to me!

Anyway...on Saturday, Lisa and I drove up to Milwaukee and met Jenn!!!!! We had SUCH a great time. From the second we met Jenn, it was like we were old friends. We spent around 5 hours hanging out in Milwaukee, eating and shopping and just generally having fun! I can't wait until we can meet up again. Jenn is every bit as funny, beautiful, and awesome as you think she is.

We stopped at a resale shop and I managed to find this KILLER dress for the holiday party she was going to that evening.

Maroon velvet? CHECK. Green taffeta? CHECK. Asymmetrical hemline? CHECK. Sleeves that come to a point? CHECK. Sadly, Jenn later shared with us that it was too itchy to wear sans bodysuit...so I look forward to photos from the 2010 holiday party. :)

We also found these KIND OF AMAZING "fur" coats. I have a much better photo of us in them, but for some reason blogger will only load it sideways (?). Sad face. This photo caught us mid-laugh, with Jenn mid-hair tuck.

We were sad to leave Milwaukee and just had such a fun time. But...we did eventually leave and headed to the outlets in Wisconsin on the way back to Chicago. Got a few good little things...mostly socks for work (wow, fun!) and some festive holiday soaps from the Bath and Body Works outlet. Score. Oh, and a few little treats for Matt. Shhh, don't tell. They're secret. :)

SO. That was Saturday. We got home and watched the season finale of Glee (okay, I had already seen it...but was desperate to watch it again. HOW FREAKING GOOD WAS THAT EPISODE??!). And then promptly fell asleep.

Sunday morning, we woke up and went to brunch at the Serbian-owned restaurant on the first floor of Lisa's apartment building. It was delish! Then, Lisa and I headed downtown for a chocolate tour. To be honest...the tour was pretty annoying. The tour guide announced right away that she was an actress (gah) and it kind of went downhill (read: overly cheesy) from there. We did, however, go to an amazing chocolate place - Teuscher, located at the 900 shops on Michigan Ave. Teuscher is a Swiss chocolate company, and they import their chocolate every week from Swizterland! Their specialty is the champagne truffle...amazing chocolate with a Dom Perignon center. They gave us one truffle to sample and it was AMAZING. I bought a couple more to take home for Matt. Lucky boy!

The other good place we went to is called More, and is a cupcake shop. Delicious. It is located...um, somewhere in the Viagra Triangle. On Delaware I think. They gave us each a teeny tiny mini chocolate cupcake, and it was great. The frosting was PERFECT. :) Highly recommended!

After that, Lisa and I shopped around a bit more in the Water Tower Mall and I scored some super duper cheap hair accessories at Forever 21. I finally thought I should leave at 5:00 (6:00 my usual time!) when I realized I wouldn't get home until 10. Double sad face...I was tired!

I made it safely home, though, and now am counting down the seconds until around 2:35 on Friday - which is when my vacation starts!!!! It's about this time (and, okay, pretty much every day) that I really love working in a school!

I hope you all had weekends as wonderful as mine!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My New BFF: Jen Lancaster

I realize that all of you have been blogging about Jen Lancaster's books for FOREVER, but I have only recently jumped on the bandwagon. Let me just tell you...I LOVE HER! Her sense of humor is just spot on, and I find myself laughing out loud every 5 seconds when I'm reading. To the point that it's likely annoying my husband.

I am in the middle of reading Bright Lights, Big Ass and it is just so damn funny. What I love most about Jen (yes, I feel that we're on a first name basis) is that the stuff she writes is so freaking REAL. Stuff that you've thought to yourself a million times. Or maybe it's just that my sense of humor is almost exactly like hers? Not sure. Either way, I've got to share an excerpt that keeps making me giggle.

"The second prong in my revised Trinity is IKEA, the Swedish home store monolith. If you're unfamiliar, they carry every single thing you could possibly ever need to fill your home and garden at low, low prices, but in obscure Swedish sizes so those items won't coordinate with anything else you own, like, way, if you want to put a regular Target lamp shade on your IKEA lamp. Fletch thinks it's Sweden's master plan to make Americans so busy trying to construct furniture with Allen wrenches that we don't notice they've invaded us. (Personally, I think it's payback; the Swedes are pissed that we aren't buying ABBA albums anymore.) ... Except possibly Las Vegas, there's no better place to people-watch than our IKEA. Were the FBI to pay attention to my helpful suggestions (or return my calls), they'd know to set up a camera at the front door, because at some point every single person on the face of the earth eventually passes through it. I don't care how rich or poor you are, the draw of purchasing twelve hundred tea lights for thirty-seven cents is too great for anyone to resist."

Seriously...go to the library/bookstore. Check out/buy Jen Lancaster's books. I desperately want to be her real-life BFF.

In other news...I'm heading out of town on Friday (yep, again!) to Chicago/Milwaukee! I am TRES excited. I'm driving up to Chicago on Friday afternoon for a fun weekend with Lisa. On Saturday morning, a good friend of mine from Boston will also be in Chicago, so I'm going to have breakfast with her while Lisa has to work for a few hours...and then, L and I are heading to Milwaukee for the rest of the day to FINALLY meet and hang out with Jenn!!!!!!!!! I don't remember when/how Jenn and I discovered each other's blogs...or who discovered what first. All I know is that the we became fast bloggy friends, and our relationship has evolved from blog commenting to constant emailing/Facebooking/Tweeting/IMing. Yep, it's out of control. We prefer to use 2+ modes of communication at once.

ANYWAY, the point is, I'm excited. You should be too. Expect photos.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Too Funny

My mom emailed me this forward last night. She usually doesn't send them, and I don't usually read them, but ... I just had to share this one with all of you, especially considering how much time we all spend on the computer.

I understand this information is true whether your have a Mac or Pc.

INSTALLING HUSBAND
A woman writes to the IT Technical support Guy

Dear Tech Support
,

Last year I upgraded from
Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and I noticed a distinct slowdown in the overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jeweler applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition,
Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as NEWS 5.0, MONEY 3.0 and CRICKET 4.1.

Conversation 8.0
no longer runs, and House cleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system.

Please note that I have tried running
Nagging 5..3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.

What can I do?

Signed,
______ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________

Reply


DEAR Madam,


First, keep in mind,
Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while Husband 1.0 is an operating system.

Please enter command:
ithoughtyoulovedme. html and try to download Tears 6.2 and do not forget to install the Guilt 3.0update.
If that application works as designed,
Husband1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewellery 2.0 and Flowers 3.5..

However, remember, overuse of the above application can cause
Husband 1.0 to default to Silence 2.5 or Beer 6.1.
Please note that
Beer 6.1 is a very bad program that will download the Snoring Loudly Beta.

Whatever you do,
DO NOT under any circumstances install Mother-In-Law 1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources.)

In addition, please do not attempt to reinstall the
Boyfriend 5.0 program. These are unsupported applications and will crashHusband 1.0.

In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly.
You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance.
We recommend:
Cooking 3.0 and Hot Looks 7.7.

Good Luck Madam!
IT SUPPORT DESK

Monday, December 7, 2009

What a great Sunday!

Well friends, yesterday was truly fantastic. I spent most of the day with my friend Alyssa, her brother and her dad at the Colts game! This was my first time to Lucas Oil Stadium AND my first NFL game. Woot! We had a blast, along with some amazing tickets - on the 25 yard line, 14th row. Double woot! I clearly took a ton of photos.
Stretching!
Oh, well hello there, Peyton Manning. :)
The Colts whipping the Titans
Number 32 = Mike Hart! Anyone remember him from Michigan? Love him!
Well hello AGAIN, Peyton.
The Colts game was a full day activity in itself...I left at 9am and got home at 6pm. When I walked in the door, I was thrilled to see our friends Ryan, Amber, and their baby Jaida! Remember them from this post? Look how much Jaida has grown!

Me, 3 seconds after coming home from the Colts game. Tired, and not my best look.
My FAVORITE photo. Oscar had never seen a baby before, and we weren't sure how he would react. Likewise...I was hoping Jaida wouldn't be frightened of him. He got right in her face and sniffed her all over with tail wagging. He just loved her! Couldn't get enough. It was SO cute.
Jaida's first dinner out at Motherbear's!
Jaida loved the Christmas tree...so Matt took her over for a closer look.
Ahhhh that chubby little face!
Ryan and Matt, BFFs for several years (Ryan was Matt's best man, and vice versa). Cute!
If you look closely, you'll see all of our piles of crap. We were (are) in the middle of changing from fall decorations to Christmas. I'm ALMOST done. Promise. :)
Ryan turned our dining room table into a makeshift changing table, and then he and Matt grabbed some beer and hung out under the mistletoe. :)
Reaching for a beer...haha!
Peekaboo!
Seriously...have you ever seen such a cutie??!
Oscar says goodbye to his new BFF
Seriously...most fun day in a long time! But I am still exhausted. Sometimes, you just need a weekend to recover from the weekend, you know? :) How was YOUR weekend??

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

*photo found here*

...around town. The lights are up around the square downtown, several people have lights up outside their houses/apartments, SUVs have bows on them...all the signs are there.

But not at our apartment...we still have Indian corn hanging from the front door, pumpkin candles, and gourds on display. For some reason, I just can't seem to get into the Christmas spirit this year. Not sure why exactly, but I seriously think that part of it may be the unseasonably warm weather we've been experiencing all fall. It is December in the midwest, and I just now brought out my winter coat. We turned the heat on for the first time on Tuesday. I just now got some hot chocolate.

Last night I spent around two hours trying to make a Christmas list for my MIL. The whole time, I just couldn't figure out why it was so damn hard! Is it because my entire family is basically skipping Christmas this year? Maybe, although thankfully we will still be celebrating with my in-laws, so hopefully the Christmas spirit will hit me eventually...?

Yesterday, I decided it was time for Christmas to start around here, officially. This weekend I'll be cleaning up/packing away all of the fall decorations, and we're going to get a Christmas tree! We didn't get one last year, so it will be our first tree in two years. I am starting to get excited about unpacking all of our decorations and ornaments...plus, a Christmas tree makes everything look so warm, happy, and fun...don't you think? Once we get the Christmas tree set up and decorated, I'm going to wrap my Christmas presents EARLY and actually put them under the tree...what a novel concept!

Is anyone else having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit this year?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Friends

I don't know how you ladies feel, but I for one think that the older I get, the harder it is to make friends. I have lived in Bloomington for just over a year now, yet I can count my (new) close friends on one hand. Okay, I have about 3. I'll add 2 more as friends-I-don't-hang-out-with-outside-of-work-but-I-still-like-quite-a-bit. So...5 friends. At the same time, the older I get...the less friends I feel like I need. It's far more important to me to have just a couple of really good, close friends than several "surface" friends. Thoughts?

Of course, at the same time, not a day goes by that I don't miss my girlfriends back in DC. It doesn't seem like that long since we moved away, but all of a sudden I realize that it's been over a year. So many things have changed ... one got married, several others are pregnant, and I just feel like I'm missing so much. I loved working with such a great group of girls...work itself was challenging, frustrating, and often crappy, but having that awesome support system really helped us make it through the day.

When we moved to Indiana...I felt so lonely. And really, I still do. But you know what? So many of you have helped me make it through my days here. I have email friendships with so many of you...it seems weird sometimes that we don't know each other in person! On that note...I am excited beyond WORDS to meet Jenn next weekend...I mean, BEYOND WORDS. I know, you are jealous. Although it seems weird to "meet" someone you already email/tweet/blog/google chat with on a daily basis. What constitutes actually meeting somebody, you know?! :)

Anyway, my new Bloomington friends are awesome and I'm SO happy to have met them (Alyssa, Becky, and Patty, I'm talking to you!). It feels great to have a few girlfriends here, and to start creating some girl night rituals (Thursday nights with Alyssa have quickly become tradition!). I'm also SO excited to have a girls adventure on Sunday (with Alyssa again!) to the Colts game!!! Yessssss! Excitement!

Have your views of friendship changed over the years? Do you think it's harder to make friends the older you get? I certainly think that if you can't make friends at work, it is SO difficult. This is definitely the first time I have had difficulty making friends. Moving is SO much harder than I ever knew.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Anna's Baby Shower!

Here are some photos from the baby shower I threw for my BFF Anna two weekends ago!

Anna and me. Isn't she gorgeous? She is the most beautiful pregnant girl I have ever seen!
Baby shower cupcakes! Delish!
Half of our guests at the fun bistro
Restaurant shot. How cute is this place???!!!

Favors! We had pretty soaps and these ADORABLE cookies from Etsy seller Sugar & Flour.
Blurry close-up of another cookie. They were so cute!!!
The restaurant made these personalized menus - so cute!
We wanted to help start Baby Mae's library, so everyone brought children's books as part of their gift.
How cute is this? One of Anna's friends made this diaper cake. It's so cute! Plus she had never done it before...just looked up directions on the internet.
All the goodies afterwards!
This is the awesome diaper bag I gave Anna. She will be such a hip mom!
And back at their house...Baby Mae's bedroom, complete with shower gifts!

Anna and her husband Tim looking all cute on their front porch
New house!
It was a fabulous weekend...I cannot wait for Mae Felicity to arrive on or around February 2nd!!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Absenteeism

I really have felt lately that I've completely vacated this blog...but I think that I'm finally back! Life has been so busy lately, between hosting my BFF's baby shower in Charlotte two weekends ago, to going out of town yet again to Michigan for Thanksgiving. But now I'm back, and happy to be home!

The baby shower in Charlotte was a huge success. My friend Anna is the most beautiful pregnant woman I have ever seen! The shower was a ton of fun, and she got so much fun stuff. I will post photos in the next couple of days, as I get my life together. :)

Matt and I headed to Michigan last Wednesday for Thanksgiving, which was wonderful. We saw lots of friends and family, and we were able to attend my college friends' "Thanksgiving Part Deux" for the first time in several years. Part Deux is an additional Thanksgiving celebration that occurs the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It's a big potluck full of wine and fun and food. This is the first time in 4 years that I've been home for Thanksgiving, so it was a lot of fun to go and hang out with all the college friends!!!

We drove back to Bloomington today...a long, 6 hour, rainy drive full of spontaneous brake lights and incompetent drivers. But we're SO happy to be home (extra happy to be home in time for Sunday night TV!).

Back to the grind tomorrow! On Tuesday, my new coworker starts and I'll be training her. I'm really looking forward to that!!! I can't wait for her to start and I can't wait to settle back in at my school full-time.

In conclusion...it feels good to be back in the blogland! I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday, and as I'm catching up on my Reader, I can't wait to read all about yours!

xoxo!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thankful

Just a quick post to say how thankful I am for so many things.

My wonderful, caring, supportive, fantabulous husband.

My family, both "old" and "new."

My friends, both real-life and bloggy, who have already shown so much support for Matt's deployment, and it hasn't even started yet!

Oscar...world's best dog. I swear.

A stable, wonderful job that I love.

...And I am so thankful for all the joy and love in my life and my world.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekend Adventure

Hello friends! Just a quick post to let you know that I'm going out of town today!!!!! My mom and I are driving to Charlotte, North Carolina, to host a baby shower for my wonderful friend Anna. I am SO excited. I've put a lot of work and planning and love into this shower and I can't wait to see how it all turns out! I'm sure I'll be taking my computer, but not sure if I'll have time to blog.

So, have a fabulous weekend, and I'll be sure to post lots of fun photos and shower stuff on Tuesday!

xxoo

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Overheard at Work

This is a special edition of "Overheard from my Office." I wanted to share this story to show you how sometimes, adults can be just as ridiculous as teenagers - sometimes more so.

This morning, I volunteered for an event my organization puts on several times a year at various junior highs in Bloomington. I volunteer at every one because I freaking LOVE IT. It's called Reality Store, and it's an exercise to teach students about how much stuff costs in, you know, the "real world."

Based on the kids' GPA, they are assigned a level of education, and from there, a career. For example: A student with a 4.0 has a "graduate degree" and then can choose from something like a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer, etc. (As an aside: nobody is ever a social worker. Ummmm that needs a graduate degree! What the crap?! Haha...) This is of course supposed to teach them that grades are important in the grand scheme of things...yadda yadda. They can choose if they are married or single, and then they have to roll dice to see how many kids the have. There are a gazillion tables set up around the gym/library (depending on the school) and there is a "Housing" table, then a "Utilities" table, "Transportation," "Child Care," etc. There are also tables where you can buy a vacation to Hawaii or a dog or whatever. It's always fun to see when a kid will buy a Hummer before getting a place to live and stuff like that. Gotta love it!

Anyway, the event is run/organized by my boss but everyone who works it are volunteers. There is a diagram of all the tables, and the kids have to go to every table before they're done. We mark off each table on their little diagram with a marker. And you probably didn't need to know all of these details but I wanted to set it up properly. The main thing here is that it's fun and volunteer-driven. And at the end of the shift, all the volunteers fill out a survey discussing their experiences.

Some event occurred this morning that were detailed on someone's survey:

Apparently, a lady was marking off tables on the students' papers with a smiley face. Pretty innocuous. Well shortly into the class, another lady walked over to her and said, "I see you're using a smiley face to mark off their sheets. I just want to let you know that I've been volunteering at the Reality Store for several years, and I use a smiley face. I would appreciate it if you stopped using the smiley face at your table."

??????

Well the lady who received the talking-to naturally thought that the Smiley Face Nazi was joking around, and continued marking off papers with smiley faces. At that point, Smiley Face Nazi started sending students back to the first lady's table and asking her to remove her smiley faces!!!!

Oh gosh, I'm worried that this just came out in the most complicated way possible, and I am impressed if you actually made it to the bottom of this post. The moral of the story: even adults say the most ridiculous things. I am pretty sure that two people can share a smiley face, but....what the hell do I know??!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

True Love

I get cold in our apartment. Really, really cold. It's kind of a running joke between Matt and I, because I ALWAYS complain about being cold. He thinks that even when it's 100 degrees outside, I'm still cold.

Anyway, the temperatures are starting to drop, but we try to hold off on turning the heat on for as long as possible. We haven't turned it on yet and would LOVE to last a few more weeks. Matt has been SO busy with school/homework/studying/papers that he stays up pretty much every night doing work after I go to sleep. Thankfully, we just put our electric blanket on the bed...but I always forget to "preheat it" and the bed is always icy cold when I crawl underneath the covers.

Last night, I told Matt I was heading to bed, and then went in the bathroom to brush my teeth. When I came out and crawled into bed....it was toasty warm! Matt had preheated the blanket for me while I was getting ready for bed.

True love? I think so.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Books

As many of you know from my blogging/tweeting/facebooking/whatever, my phone broke just over a month ago and I lost everything. INCLUDING my giant list of books, which I had saved in my Blackberry. And nowhere else. Big mistake, clearly. Thankfully, I put my list of books on the blog awhile back, so I thought I'd revisit it and update it a bit.

1. A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey (read it, loved it, made me thankful I never did drugs, got sad at the end because I knew it was fake)
2. Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown (READ!)
3. April and Oliver, by Tess Callahan (just checked out of the library)
4. Baby Proof, by Emily Giffin (read, and liked, but not as much as Something Borrowed and Something Blue)
5. Belong to Me, by Maria De Los Santos (read - very enjoyable)
6. Bitter is the New Black, by Jen Lancaster (just checked out of the library)
7. Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall (haven't read yet but REALLY NEED TO!)
8. Breaking Dawn, by Stephanie Meyer (read, FINALLY)
9. Bright Lights, Big Ass, by Jen Lancaster (just checked out of the library)
10. Can You Keep a Secret?, by Sophie Kinsella
11. City of Falling Angels, by John Berendt (started it, couldn't get into it, gave up on it)
12. City of Thieves, by David Benioff
13. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, by Mark Haddon (just read last week and LOVED IT!)
14. Eclipse (READ!)
15. Escape, by Carolyn Jessop (OMG. GO AND READ THIS BOOK. NOW. IT IS AMAZING AND SCARY AND INCREDIBLE AND SAD AND HAPPY.)
16. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (read it, loved it, laughed out loud several times)
17. In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan
18. Master Your Metabolism, by Jillian Michaels (ahhhh)
19. The Memory Keeper's Daughter, by Kim Edwards (read ... had very mixed emotions about this one. thoughts?)
20. Merle's Door, by Ted Kerasote (read - total sob fest if you are a dog lover)
21. Mommywood, by Tori Spelling (don't judge me)
22. My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult (read this yesterday. The whole thing. I was not ready for the sadness factor. Argh.)
23. Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro (just started this yesterday!)
24. Nudge, by Somebody Thaler and Somebody Sunstein (I guess I skipped first names with this one)
25. Outtakes From a Marriage, by Ann Leary (read, blah)
26. Perfection, by Julie Metz
27. Please Stop Laughing at Me, by Jodee Blanco (read, made me feel sad about how cruel kids are)
28. Pretty in Plaid, by Jen Lancaster (just checked out from the library)
29. Remember Me?, by Sophie Kinsella (just checked out from the library)
30. Rhett Butler's People, by Donald McCaig (read and had mixed feelings about...lots of inconsistencies with Scarlett)
31. Scarlett, by...I don't remember because it's not in front of me (READ!)
32. Shopaholic and Baby, by Sophie Kinsella (READ!)
33. Shopaholic and Sister (READ)
34. Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (READ)
35. Shopaholic Ties the Knot (READ)
36. Something Blue, by Emily Giffin (READ AND LOVED!!!!!)
37. Something Borrowed, by Emily Giffin (READ AND LOVED!!!!!)
38. Stori Telling, by Tori Spelling (listened to the audio book on the way to Charlotte...LOVED it...it was like listening to US Weekly for 6 hours!)
39. Such a Pretty Fat, by Jen Lancaster (just read it and laughed out loud for the entire book)
40. The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
41. The Almost Moon, by Alice Sebold (listened to the audio book on the way home from Charlotte. Wow, that was a dark one. Seriously. If you want to read a book about a woman who kills her elderly mother, this one's for you!)
42. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz
43. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Steig Larsson (don't know anything about this, but Matt pointed it out at Border's and said it's supposed to be great)
44. The Middle Place, by Kelly Corrigan
45. The Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson
46. The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
47. The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink
48. The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro
49. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
50. When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris (I LOVE him!!!)

Whew. So, there's your update. I know I've asked you before, and I'll ask you again...tell me what you're reading right now! Anything good? Anything I should be adding to my list? Please let me know!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Shaina's Christmas List: Forget-Everything-Else-Because-These-Are-The-Only-Things-I-Really-Want Edition

I'm so sorry...I know I've been neglecting the blog lately. I'm not even sure why...just a combination of work being busy, and home being busy, and just generally feeling...you know, busy. But I thought I'd throw together my LAST and FINAL Christmas list.

Okay. I know, this looks ridiculous. But I have been wanting YogaToes for awhile now. Every time I wear heels or tight shoes, I daydream about how fantastic it would feel to stretch my toes out at the end of the day. And every time I get back from a run, and my feet feel all weird and crazy, I wish I had some yoga toes to stretch them out again. I have a lot of foot issues with running...my toes, my arch, my over-pronation...and I would just love to pamper my feet a little bit with these bad boys. :)


Now that I am working on becoming a serious runner, I would LOVE to have a Garmin Forerunner. This is the 405CX. It is SO COOL. Over the winter, my runs will become longer and longer, and I'm really going to need to have a good way to track everything. This is at the top of my list for Christmas/Birthday/whatever. I'm also so happy the Garmins started looking less like crazy wrist computers and more like watches. :)

I am dying, dying DYING to have a Nikon DSLR camera. There are so many, and I'm really not sure which one is best for me...but I would really love to get back into photography again, and I'm going to need a camera while Matt is gone (he'll be taking our digital camera with him). I have so many friends who have this amazing camera, and wow...the quality of the photos is amazing.
So, now that you know what I'll be asking Santa Claus for....what's on YOUR Christmas list this year?