Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Deployment in Review: Month 9

Nine months down! THIRTY NINE WEEKS. That is a long time, y'all. A really, really long time. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I don't have many of these monthly updates left! Then again, it's the Army, so who really knows for sure?

For some reason, it seems like the end of deployment is harder than anything else. I can't really describe it, I can't really explain it, but my Army wife friends agree with me that for some reason, it sucks extra. I have definitely been on an emotional roller coaster, and have been stuck in a funk for quite awhile. I am trying very, very hard to shake it and just be myself.

This month, I ...

-Enjoyed a fun day out in the country at my SIL's house! Oscar and I always have such a great time out there. It is dog heaven, so he loves it - and I love just relaxing and playing with the animals and hanging out with the fam.
-I started writing for Fantabulously Frugal!
-I got water stuck in my ear and had the worst day ever.
-I cut my thumb open and had to go to the ER to get it glued back together ... and then the garbage disposal broke and my sink backed up and it was a nightmare. Possibly tied for worst day ever?
-I went to the Covered Bridge Festival ... aka White Trash Fest
-I finally, finally CLEANED OUT THE CLOSET! And I found some crazy shit in there.
-I started trying to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project over at Fantabulously Frugal.
-I attended my friend Kyle's baby shower (yesterday).
-And today, I drove down to my SIL's to see puppies! Their dog, Macey, had 9 puppies yesterday and they are so adorable. I have some photos to post tomorrow, probably. She is a yellow lab and they bred her with a silver lab. The result? 4 chocolate pups, 3 yellow pups, and 2 dark yellow labs.

So, this month feels like it's been pretty busy. I have also started nesting ... that's the best way I can think of to describe it. Just trying to get the apartment ready for Matt to come home! I have lots of projects and am quickly going through my list. When I'm done, the apartment will be cleaned and organized to a T!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Christmas List

I have seen a lot of bloggers lately posting about what they want for Christmas, so I thought I'd do the same.
That is all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wounded Warrior Project Fundraiser

Hey y'all! I interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to tell you about something really cool that's happening over at Fantabulously Frugal.

Fantabulously Frugal is a site about one of the happiest things on the planet – bargain shopping. However, sometimes it’s important to take a step back and think about those who can use our help. This year Fantabulously Frugal is giving back to the Wounded Warrior Project … in a fantabulously frugal fashion, of course!

Why Wounded Warrior? I know many of you are military wives, or come from military families. The military touches all of us, so why not give back to those who have given everything to serve and protect our country? WWP is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that seeks to help injured service men and women. We are so happy and honored that they have agreed to partner with us over the next couple of months.

Beginning November 26, 2010 – aka Black Friday – Fantabulously Frugal will be hosting an auction on eBay and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. Our hope is that this is a great opportunity for many of you to get some holiday shopping done while seeing 100% of your purchase price go toward a great organization.

Here’s where we need your help: We are looking for items to auction off. Small items. Large items. Any items. Do you work for a company that would like to get involved in donating an item, or multiple items? Please contact us! Are you an Etsy artist that’s interested in donating an item? Please contact us! Let’s all work together to support a great organization. Aside from helping out a great charity, anyone that donates an item will get free advertising on FF from Nov. 15 – Dec. 31 + a post just about them and the item they’re donating!

The tentative fund raising goal we’ve set is $2,000, but I know that we can blow that out of the water! While the auction won’t go live until Black Friday {for those of you that don’t want to brave the stores, we hope you’ll come out and brave eBay}, please feel free to make a donation to Wounded Warrior at any time. Click here to go to the Fantabulously Frugal Team Page. Feel free to join the team and make a donation of any amount… every little bit helps!

Please mark your calendars for the auction on November 26 – I know we are going to have a lot of great items!

And please, if you have a new item you would like to donate or you just want to learn more about the auction, send me an email or leave me a comment with your contact information.

Obviously, you know that this charity hits close to home with me - the Wounded Warrior Project is such a good cause. I know a lot of you have Etsy stores - this is a great chance for some free publicity and amazing advertising while donating to a great cause. PLEASE consider donating something, anything, for this auction!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why men usually aren't social workers

I was having one of those days today - one of those days when I just felt really ineffective with my students. I mentioned to Matt on Google Chat that I was feeling really frustrated about some students who just can't seem to do anything, ever, no matter what. He offered his two cents to try and help.

Me: I am having one of those days where I feel like I don't know how to do my job. I have this group of kids and I am just out of ideas for them.
Matt: waterboarding
Me: hahaha. I love you.
Matt: It works.
Me: :) I feel like I could get fired for that.
Matt: Picket their houses and start blogs about them*
Me: HAHAHAHA definitely would get fired for that
Matt: you clearly don't appreciate my innovations to your field.
Me: I'm sorry. :( Thanks for the suggestions though.

And that, my friends, is why men usually aren't social workers. Gotta love it. Of course, me? Well, sometimes I feel like I would like to pull an Airplane on some of these kids!

*This is referring to the super awful Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell, who has launched what seems like a hate campaign against the openly gay student council president at the University of Michigan, Chris Armstrong. If you haven't heard about this story, you can read more here. It is a really weird story - Shirvell started a blog bashing this kid, calling for his resignation, and admitted to going to his house and protesting. Ridiculous. I seriously, seriously hate people sometimes.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Is it Monday Yet?

I can't remember the last time I was looking forward to a Monday ... but this, folks, is the day. I woke up this morning feeling great. I had a good night of sleep, woke up and took a great long walk with Oscar. Then, I decided that I would make Lucy's butternut squash soup. This is about when my day started going south.

I peeled and chopped one butternut squash, and then started in on the second. It was really hard to cut through, so I was kind of holding it at a weird (read: dumb) angle. And then, in a split second, I thought to myself "holding the squash like this is stupid and I'm going to cut myself." One millisecond later, I cut myself. Bad. Really really deep. I sliced right into the pad of my thumb. And it would NOT stop bleeding. It bled a lot. For awhile. I was talking to Matt on gchat, and he told me to superglue it. This scared me ... plus I couldn't find any superglue.

Eventually, Kyle and Rob came over to pick up this week's veggies (they were out of town) and I had them assess the situation. I ended up going back home with them so that Rob (or should I call him Dr. Rob?) could put some liquid bandage on my thumb and then he stuck a bandaid on. He thought it would be fine, but also exclaimed "wow, that's really deep!" when he was patching it up.

Seemingly all better, I headed back home to finish the soup. I peeled and chopped 3 squash, 2 apples, and 2 onions. Then I went to put it all together, when I realized I didn't have any broth. Aaaaargh. So I had to go to the store in the middle of all of this and get some damn broth.

I got home finished the soup (fiiiiiinally ... hours later) I noticed that the thumb was bleeding through the bandaid. Crap. I took off the bandaid and washed it out and WOWSERS it hurt. Bad. I put some more liquid bandage on and oh my gosh, I was in tears. I put another bandaid on and desperately started to google how to tell if you need stitches. I also asked my twitter pals, and a couple of you said I should go to the ER, stat. At this point it had been about 4-5 hours since I had cut myself ... and it was still bleeding. And it was right at this time that my garbage disposal started leaking all over the kitchen floor. Excellent!

Well, crap. I packed a snack and a book in my purse and headed to the hospital. I was there for two hours and, thankfully, luckily, did NOT need stitches. Instead, they used some of that fancy skin glue and now I should be good to go. So ... Matt was clearly right when he told me to just use superglue, but somehow I felt much better having medical professionals there to clean it out a few times and put actual skin glue instead of superglue. :)

SO. I came home, finally had a bowl of the damn soup (which was delicious, by the way) and called it a night.

And on that note, I am totally ready for this day to be over. So I will leave you with some funnies - yesterday I went to the Covered Bridge Festival in Middle-Of-Nowhere, Indiana. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but ... it surely wasn't the giant white trashfest that it turned out to be. Thankfully, I brought my camera, and documented several of the more perplexing sights.

1. Have you ever wanted to get a medical scooter, but were concerned about how your significant other would travel alongside you? Well, folks, wonder no longer! Simply attach an office chair, circa 1970, to some sturdy wheels and attach it to the back of the scooter. Voila! A scooter made for two.

2. Batman was there! Along with his girlfriend. My SIL and I spent quite a bit if time trying to figure out if she is Catwoman.
3. Ever wonder where Santa spends his offseason?

4. This is my BIL, David, and my nephew Cooper. Cooper is an infomercial junkie, and was concentrating very hard on a demonstration about how wearing a little magnetic bracelet can improve both your energy AND your balance.

5. Donut burger. I really don't have anything else to say about this, besides ... well, no. Nothing.

6. Well, finally! I have spent YEARS looking for a stuffed animal that is both cuddly AND microwaveable. Thank goodness!
I sent these photos to Matt, along with a detailed description of what a crazy shitshow this whole place was. His response: "I would never have believed there was a white trash fest in Indiana had it not been for the pictures! I am shocked! BTW, I guess I am going to have to cancel the order for our tandem scooter. Oh well. I try to do something nice for us and you always have to make fun of it."

Ha! Too much. Anyway, hope these made you giggle. And I hope that, for the most part, you had a better Sunday than I did! So today ... I will say, thank goodness it's almost Monday!

Friday, October 8, 2010


I've been wanting to write about this subject for a couple of weeks now, but I wasn't sure if I had the right words. I'm still not sure, but I'm going to speak (write?) from the heart and hope it all comes out okay.

Little Girl Shaina, practicing her "clarinet"

I started playing violin at the age of 3 (and piano at the age of 4!). I begged my parents to let me start playing these instruments because I grew up surrounded by beautiful music. Why? Because I was an "orchestra brat." My dad plays clarinet in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and my mom is a piano teacher. Growing up, I thought that EVERYONE'S dad played an instrument! I was surprisingly old when I figured out that this just isn't the case. I realized, then, that my parents were special - they had this thing, this talent, this special gift that a lot of other people don't have. And I thought (and continue to think!) that was pretty darn cool.

My mom still recounts one of the first times she took me to a DSO concert - it was at Meadowbrook, a great outdoor pavilion, with lawn seats and ice cream and all sorts of fun things. I was maybe around two years old, and we had lawn seats. My mom brought coloring books to keep me occupied as the DSO played what I'm sure was a wonderful concert. Miraculously, I stayed quiet and occupied throughout, until I heard a familiar sound - my dad playing a solo. I stood up, pointed, and loudly proclaimed, "clawinet!" My mom was mortified, but she said that people around us were very impressed that I could identify the instrument. :)

A year or so later, I came home very frustrated from preschool one day because I had created a lovely drawing and my teacher couldn't decipher what it was. I apparently kept saying what she interpreted as "clean-up pail," so eventually the drawing was labelled as a "clean-up pail." At
home, my parents realized that I had drawn a "clarinet player" - definitely something new that my preschool teachers weren't used to hearing! I've been told I had some trouble saying the letter R at that age, which probably led to some of the confusion.

Daddy + Daughter practice time, 1984

Growing up as a DSO kid, I went to countless concerts, rehearsals, tours, and I even got to go up on the scaffolding when Detroit's Orchestra Hall was undergoing renovations back in 1988ish. And yes, I still remember my dad lifting me in the air so that I could touch the place where the giant chandelier would be wired to the ceiling. Some of my favorite summer memories involve spending weeks out in Vail during the summer music festival and hanging out with my friend Jillian, another "DSO kid." I remember tours to the Upper Peninsula and concerts at Interlochen.

My childhood revolved around music and concerts, and as I grew older and became a more competitive violinist, my life started to revolve around MY concerts, performances, lessons, rehearsals, etc. Playing violin was a huge part of my life growing up - and it always will be. While my competitive playing tapered off around college, I still love to play (and just recently joined the Bloomington Symphony!). Being so involved with music has done nothing but influence my life in a positive way. I have made amazing friends, learned from amazing teachers, and visited amazing places.

To be honest, I could go on for days sharing all the ways music has influenced my life ... but instead I'll turn to the subject at hand. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is in serious trouble. Despite being consistently ranked as one of the top ten symphony orchestras in the United States, money is tight. Contract negotiations went nowhere, with management asking for a 28% salary cut, drastic cuts in health insurance, elimination of contributions to the musicians' retirement accounts, and a reduction in the number of musicians. The musicians agreed to a 22% salary cut - but that wasn't enough. Finally, at a negotiation standstill with an expired contract, the musicians made the painful decision to strike.

At this point, the future of the DSO is in jeopardy. The thought of the DSO not being around - and my dad being out of the job he loves so much - is more than heartbreaking. There has been a ton of press around Detroit - and the country - about the DSO strike, and I saw a great quote in a Letter to the Editor of the Detroit News, written by Bruce Ridge (Chariman, International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians):

Of all the great artistic institutions in Detroit, none are more visible internationally than the Detroit Symphony. There can be no doubt that if the management is allowed to implement their proposals, the reputation of the organization will be irreparably damaged. With the arts meaning so much to Detroit's economy, the question cannot be "can Detroit continue to support its world class symphony?" but rather "how can Detroit afford not to?"

I realize that several of you might not care that much about classical music and the arts - but I know that many of you probably played instruments in elementary school, junior high or high school. Perhaps some of you participate in your community orchestra, teach music lessons on the side, or participate in a musical group at church/temple/whatever. Perhaps some of you are part of a union - maybe you are a teacher, maybe you or someone you know works for GM, maybe you know what it's like to be in this position. I am asking you now to reach out and help support the Detroit Symphony. It doesn't have to be monetary - just take a moment to click "Like" on the DSO Musicians' facebook page. You can access it here. That's all it takes. Let the DSO musicians - and management - see that their support is growing daily.

If you are interested in learning more about the situation, please visit the Detroit Symphony Musicians' website. You can also follow the musicians on Twitter @dsomusicians.

If you live in the Detroit area, please consider supporting the DSO musicians by attending their October concert series! You can learn more about that by clicking right here.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Closet ... Part 2

Okay, so when I was cleaning out The Closet, I brought in a notebook and made a huge list of all the weird shit I found in there. And then I set it aside for blogging purposes (OBVIOUSLY) and then totally forgot about it when I blogged my photos yesterday.

SO. Without further ado. THIS is what I found in The Closet.

-Matt's social security card
-Matt's pipe and pipe kit (yes, Matt is an 80 y/o man who enjoys smoking a pipe)
-Various valentines from Matt's nieces/nephews over the years
-Movie ticket stubs dating back to 2005 (these were Matt's)
-A combination to a lock - lock whereabouts unknown
-Lease information from when Matt lived in the barracks when he moved to DC ... circa 2005
-An envelope labelled "wedding gift cards" that did, indeed, have a few leftover wedding gift cards - with money! - inside
-Wedding magazines (I have been married for almost 2 years now)
-A bullet
-Ticket to the 2004 University of Michigan Commencement Ceremony (i.e. my college graduation)
-Menu for the sushi restaurant Matt and I had our first date at and, two years later, got engaged at
-Recipe for eggnog, hand written by Matt
-My birth certificate
-Every paper I wrote in grad school
-13 Bed Bath and Beyond coupons
-Grant proposal I wrote in grad school to add a college counseling curriculum to the subsidized housing development I worked at (hmmm foreshadowing?)
-An entire duffle bag of clothes that never got unpacked from when we moved here ... in September 2008. Hey, I was wondering where that stuff was!

So, there you have it. Have you ever found some weird stuff in a close YOU have cleaned out? Do share ... it got to the point where I just had to laugh!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Finally ... THE CLOSET!

So ... cleaning and organizing the Closet of Doom and Despair was Numero Uno on my big deployment goal list. Then I tried for several months to put The Closet out of my mind ... because, well, it sucked. And then, one day in February, I started pulling things out of The Closet. And it looked like this. Please note how the photo below is not actually of The Closet but, instead, the guest room. The Closet had spilled out. Everywhere.

The closet didn't look so bad then ... cough cough.

The problem was that ... people came to visit before I could actually do any work on The Closet, so instead of doing anything to fix the problem, I just threw everything back in The Closet.
So anyway, it took until September to start working on The Closet. I took some photos after I had taken almost everything out and, well, basically just piled it around the guest room. It looked scary. Like this.
But The Closet looked a little better ... like this.
I had a huge trash/recycling pile. It looked like this.
I sent these "in the process of cleaning The Closet" photos to Matt so he could see that I was really working on it. He told his mom afterwards that he saw the photos and was upset - had he known I was in Iraq, he would have tried to meet up to say hi.

Ha ha. Very funny.

Anyway, it took around a month, but I am happy to say that The Closet of Doom and Despair is now The Closet of Peace, Love, Happiness and Organization! Voila!

I know, I know. You're impressed. I am, too. Sometimes I just go in the guest room and walk in the closet for the sake of, well, walking in the closet. Yay!

So ... cleaning out The Closet? CHECK!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday photo

This is what Oscar wants to be when he grows up ... and to be honest, I think there's a lot of similarity. :)

Happy Friday, y'all! Any fun plans? My parents are coming into town late tonight and we are headed to the Michigan v. IU game tomorrow. Cannot wait - this will be the first time I've been able to get to a Michigan game since college. I've never been able to afford it! But since nobody cares about football down here in Bloomington, I snagged game tickets for $20. Gotta love it!