Monday, February 28, 2011

Top 10 reasons I own cats and random updates

10 random reasons I love my cats
  • I always have something to clean up so my vacuum never gets lazy!
  • My kitties keep my doctors in business because I’m actually slightly allergic to them and think they cause my sinus infections. For the record, it’s the dust/dander, not the cat.
  • There is NOTHING sweeter than having my kitty sitting/purring on my chest.
  • I get practice with conflict resolution when they smack each other around. Sadly, I generally just yell at them--I think I need more practice.  
  • I save money on electric blankets by getting them to sit on my feet or lap.
  • I always have someone to snuggle. Best of all, even if Newton doesn’t want to be, he tolerates snuggles!
  • Even though I have to clean up their poo, unlike dogs, I don’t have to watch them poo and pretend like I don’t know what is going on.
  • I don’t have to take them out for walks.  In fact, Newton, while curious, won’t go outside. Yeah, I’m lazy.
  • It is beyond awesome to have a welcoming committee when I walk in the door!  Newton and I have races to the front door every day when my husband comes home too.
  • I get lots of exercise chasing the kitties around in attempts to catch them to administer snuggles.
random cuteness:
Newton making use of my laptop bag


My meetup today went wonderfully! Only one person showed up, but we really hit it off, meaning it was a success. I can’t wait to schedule more!  We had kabob and talked for a couple of hours--my idea of a good time.  She lives near an ikea, so I see a trips in our future.  

Oh my goodness--we leave for vacation on FRIDAY!  I’m really excited!  Some people might think that taking a vacation to visit your in-laws doesn’t sound like fun, but they (obviously) don’t have the coolest in-laws in the world like moi!  I’m really fortunate to have gotten such a great new family with a great new husband.  Okay, enough gushing.  

In other news, I found my gym!  I settled on Planet Fitness since they have the cardio machines I like, are close, and the atmosphere seems really nice.  They pride themselves in the no judgement environment and not catering to the typical gym rat/bodybuilder type that generally make big girls feel seriously uncomfortable.  I own an elliptical, but I can’t wait to use an arc trainer again.  One of their membership s that they offer includes a guest membership (you can bring a guest with you each time).  How cool is that?  

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lots of new jewelry!

I spent a considerable amount of time this weekend finally working on jewelry. I'm hoping to get enough together that I can feel confident in opening an etsy shop or my own store.  I wanted to post some pictures of people can see what I have going on, or even take requests! Just for the record--I attempted to set up a bit of a backdrop to hang my jewelry and yes...I was using a box of Clementine. Actually, I took the fruit out first and then turned the box sideways.  
Triple strand seed bead necklace and matching earrings

chin-link bracelet, silver and gold 


beaded chain-link earrings

A shot of everything
Beautiful beaded earrings that match the triple strand necklace



another view of the chain-link bracelet
Special Thanks to our friend J, who modeled his finger;)
If you are interested in purchasing any of these beautiful pieces, please feel free to message/email me for prices and information.  I accept paypal, and can send you an email invoice.

I had a great time making this stuff, and was feeling really creative this weekend! Personally, I love multi-stranded necklaces, and had a great time making the triple strand necklace.  It matched my outfit last night perfectly, as we went out with our friend who is was in town for the weekend, so I can testify for how comfortable and awesome it is!  The chain-link bracelet was so much fun to make.  I've been making the earrings, and wanted to use the larger jump rings for something.  I really like how it turned out, and can make more to size. I think the contrasting gold/silver worked out really well.  Do you prefer gold or silver?

Our menu for the week sort of worked.  I forgot to take out chicken to defrost, so we ended up having pasta one day with turkey that needed to be cooked so that worked out.  The only thing I feel guilty about is going out for kabob one night because both of us were too tired to clean the kitchen and cook when my husband got home after 7pm.  I'd been stuck for more than an hour in rush hour traffic and was feeling very blah, so I'll just use that excuse. However....I'm excited that I made two new meals, and they were both  big hits.  First, the Asian Chicken Salad was awesome.  My husband gave me permission to make it 1-2x/week for now on.   I made another batch of it, sans chicken, the next day and ate it with some poppyseed dressing two days in a row.  Hurray--lots of veggies!
Performance W80150 6-inch Plastic CaliperThe second new recipe I had made was steak and veggie stir fry.  The original recipe only called for sliced steak and broccoli but I had lots of veggies, so I added them all! I ended up using 2 green onions, 2 carrots, a bell pepper, broccoli and some sugar snap peas.  It was colorful, and tasty  I actually had to use my caliper to measure my steak since I'm incapable of measuring thins correctly lol. Yes, I washed it before and after!
The sauce was VERY similar to the salad dressing recipe used in my salad.  It was tangy, a little sweet, and great. I'll post the recipe tomorrow.  Usually my husband and I would each take a steak and either eat it all (him) or about 3/4 of it (me).  With this stir-fry we both got our veggies, delicious rib-eye steak, and had some serious left overs.  It was a win!
What was left in the pan after two servings were taken out. 
Our friend J, who abandoned us for his dream game job on the West Coast (who could blame him) came to visit this weekend. It has been great being able to spend time with him, and today a couple of other friends came to spend time with him before he headed back.  I'm a little embarrassed that my friend Aud and I, when these gatherings happen, ALWAYS seem to end up doing the 'girly stuff.'  Today we worked on some beading and jewelry making while our husbands and J talked tech, and played the first round of DungeonQuest.  We ended up playing 4 rounds of DungeonQuest, and the fun never ends.  The game is hilarious and very unpredictable.  It isn't a typical board game.  If you haven't played before, consider checking it out, or coming over to my place to play!!
Tomorrow is my first meetup group! I'm really looking forward to it, and afterwards I'll post an update. We have 4 gals signed up.  I also found a similar group that is targeting people in Virginia, so maybe I can get some of their MD residents to hop on over to my group as well.  www.meetup.com/happy-housewives


What did you do this weekend?

What is your favorite piece that I posted? What would you like to see more of?  Advice/suggestions always appreciated (unless it is my husband telling me AGAIN to proofread my blogs better...)

I'll leave you with a picture of my kitty in on of his favorite places--any bag he can get in.  Isn't that face precious?

looking out the window...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

5 tips to a happy marriage

Putting aside your ego
I’ve learned in the short time I’ve been married that a huge component of marriage is putting aside your ego.  It ISN’T about always trying to be right.  It is about realizing that your marriage is the most important thing in your life, and being right isn’t.  I’m not talking about serious life changing issues--just those little ‘discussions’ that can get heated between spouses because we are both opinionated, and umm...bossy.  On the big issues, we generally agree on topics, or as in the case of religion, have come to an agreement to disagree.  It is okay to not agree on a topic, and to have differing points of view--we are human, and if we all thought exactly the same, it would be really really REALLY  boring.  

Don’t go to bed Angry
It goes along with putting aside your ego, but is insanely important. I’ve never gone to bed mad at my husband.  Granted, I don’t think I can stay mad at him for more than a half hour when he gets that hurt look in his eye, I want to apologize immediately even if it wasn’t my fault. Not going to sleep angry means that you wake up each day to a fresh start. Yesterday might have sucked, but today has so many possibilities.

Affection
Maybe I’m just the worlds most affectionate person but I always love touching, hugging and kissing my husband.  We hold hands as we walk down the aisle of the grocery store or sit next to each other.  My head naturally drifts to his shoulder during a movie, or my feet end up in his lap.  This touching helps keep us connected to each other, an unspoken I love you.

Intimacy
Nope, not talking about sex.  Yes, sex is a part of intimacy but totally not going there.  Intimacy is being close to your partner.  For us, reading before bed helps relax us, and is intimate.  Taking a bath or a shower together, is intimate.  We lay together before we fall asleep and cuddle.  My hubby once painted my toenails (it was a hideous shade, but the guy is color blind--total props).  It also has a lot of cross over with communication because openness with your partner about how you feel, even if it is ‘man you are pissing me off’ is intimate.  

Open Communication
Early in our relationship my husband and I established a open communication rule.  This ‘rule’ is basically that we tell each other everything.  The more we might want to hide something, the more we have to tell each other.  It works.  No hidden agendas, no hidden affections for others, no misunderstandings.  Okay, we have misunderstanding but we can talk them through.  We are honest about our feelings happy or not so happy.  Think of all the things that you are embarrassed about and naturally want to keep to yourself--we share. After a life of keeping stuff to myself, this didn’t come easily but it feels great to know that I’m never alone.

dedicated to my hubby--the sweetest most infuriating man I'v ever met :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Asian Chicken Salad with Soy-Ginger-Sesame Vinaigrette

I am really proud of my massive cache of produce that we purchased at the store today.  After I posted last night's blog I found a recipe for Asian Chicken Salad and reallllly wanted to make that for dinner tonight, so I changed my menu a bit--see, it's flexible! 
I tried a couple of recipes from this book and didn't like them at all. I was pleasantly surprised to LOVE this one. My husband said it was as good as anything he could find in a restaurant.



Asian Chicken Salad  with Soy-Ginger-Sesame Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette 
3T seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic (half a small clove)
1t finely minced fresh ginger (I just grated a bit over the bowl)
1t soy sauce (I used reduced sodium)
1/8t salt
2t sugar
2t toasted sesame oil
3T canola, soy or peanut oil (I used canola b/c I had it on hand)

Salad
1 pound romaine lettuce (a large head or "hearts")
2 cooked chicken breasts (you can shred, or just cube it)
1 1/2C (4oz) shredded red cabbage
1C (about 3 oz) mung bean sprouts (I used alfalfa sprouts)
2 medium carrots, shredded (truthfully I grated 1 1/2 before I almost grated my knuckle and just cut it up)
2 scallions (white and tender greens part) cut into very thin strips about 1-in long (I used green onions b/c umm...thats all Safeway had)
1/2C loosely packed cilantro leaves
2/3C cashews or silvered almonds (I used almonds and they were sooooo good!)

On top of this I also added some chow main noodles for crunchy goodness. I forgot, but my husband will tomorrow, add manderine orange (Clementine in his case) over the top of the salad.  If you like spicy dressing, add a little Chinese chili oil to the dressing. 
My produce cache! 

salad in the bowl before I dished it out...lots of almonds on top

half of my salad...I was really hungry


Monday, February 21, 2011

Goals, Dinner Menu and Pictures

I would like to thank all of the people that read and commented on my last post. I was touched by all the comments and I think many tears were shared all around. 
I never wished for this blog to be complete fluff, but I didn't want to be a controversial blogger either. First, I don't consider myself an expert in any arena.  Second, I don't see the world in black and white, but rather in shades of grey. As such, it is easy for me to see many different points of view, even if I don't necessarily agree with you.  I really enjoy posting articles about recipes and kitties but I hope to sprinkle in a few thought provoking ones along side them.  
One of the reasons I started this blog was on the advice of a friend who suggested I blog my weight loss goals, and journey.  During the last couple of years I've learned that making weekly menu's has really helped keep me on track shopping and eating.  I struggle with this, as I do with anything that really involves planning, but at the same time really did enjoy it.  I hope to start posting weekly menu's along with follow up.  I have a goal to try one new recipe a week, and hopefully will review them after I make them.  This week is a perfect time to do this since...we finally unpacked my cookbooks! I'm sooooooooooooo excited to finally have bookcases. My husband and I have never had room for all of our books, and we are both really looking forward to being able to display, organized and use them.  We started with three "Billy" bookcases from ikea, and most likely will need another 2-3.  Our goal is to have turn the front room into a library.
Back to cooking...this is this week's menu copied from my google doc that I made and shared with my hubby

Tuesday

Dinner: pasta with ground turkey and sauce

Wednesday
Dinner: Roni’s Chicken with mango, Sugar snap peas, and carrots

Get Cooking: 150 Simple Recipes to Get You Started in the KitchenThursday
Dinner:(hubby make) Stew with Barley, beef and veg (potatoes?)
Friday
Dinner: steak and broccoli stirfry from Get Cooking: 150 Simple Recipes to Get You Started in the Kitchen (I got this book for Christmas and haven't been terribly impressed with the recipes thus far, but I'm willing to try another)

I plan on giving the husband leftovers for lunch, along with bell peppers, and a fruit of some kind. For my breakfasts, I have been eating oatmeal. While I'm not the biggest fan of the packets, since they aren't nutritionally the best, at least I eat them. I'm buying some Clementines this week to snack on as well. I hope we can turn them into some light Orange Julius's as well! I'll post a recipe later this week on that as well, as soon as the hubby perfects his recipe.
Here are some pictures to entertain you :)
Dinner--Yum! Homemade cheese pizza with some ground flax and whole wheat flour. The crust looks funny cause umm...I nibbled

As soon as the bookcases went up, I filled them!

Loads of empty boxes that housed our books for far too long, and a curious kitty
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

How one woman's death irrevocably changed my life

How do we become us? Do we emulate the people we see on TV, magazines and books, or do we take after the people around us?

I remember seeing her across the aisle at church. She was so beautiful, with a smiling face and long dark curly hair. She wasn’t super skinny or overweight.  She seemed to like sweaters. Her happiness seemed infectious, and I wanted to know her  but at 12 was far too shy to walk up to someone. Aside from the sign of peace, I’m not sure we ever actually spoke.  Luckily I knew her mom, a French/English teacher at the local high school. I knew her name was Sarah, just like my best friend from NY before we had to move to Indiana. It seemed like the hand of providence reached down and guided me to be interested in her.
One day, my parents were discussing sending a card to someone because someone had died. “What? who? tell me!” I demanded, and they reluctantly told me it was Sylvia’s daughter Sarah, killed in a car crash the night before.  
I was devastated. I had heard the sirens, and hadn’t said a prayer, or anything; I’d just ignored them. I vowed from that day forth to say the Lord Prayer whenever I heard the sirens go off. And I did, for the next 7 years.  
I learned later that Sarah had fallen asleep at the wheel driving home from her father’s house in a nearby town. She had been up late the night before reading Emily Dickinson in Spanish.    Through a newspaper article about her, I learned of her aspirations to go to Harvard, her amazing poetry, her recent travel to Spain, and her Speech team accomplishments
Without even realizing I shaped my life around attempting to follow in Sarah’s footsteps.  When I got into high school I took Spanish (although I had my own reasons for wanting to take Spanish), and while in college traveled abroad to Spain.  I joined the speech team and tried out for some plays. I am apparently an awful actor, but  I was really good at speech.  To be precise, I was amazing at Impromptu speeches. I have no idea where this talent came from (oddly enough something else Sarah excelled at) but I was a state finalist 4 years running, and placed 9th in state my senior year.  I was so nervous before each speech that I nearly threw up, but when I was in front of that room, I had poise and precision that seemed electric.  Standing in front of those classrooms was the one time in my life when I felt in control and felt self assured.  I have no idea where this self confidence came from since I had 30 seconds to make something up and talk for 5 minutes. For those 5 minutes I wasn’t judged on my weight, my hair or my clothing but the content of my brain, and talking was something I was good at.  I never saw Sarah speak, but I imagine she had the same type of poise and confidence.
While I never dreamed of going to Harvard, my self confidence (and grades) certainly didn’t travel that far; I did dream of going to an east coast school. When my aunt talked to my mom and brought up her Alma Mater, Trinity, I decided to apply and was accepted.  Trinity was the only school I applied to. I have no idea how I knew I would get in, or why I only applied to one school.  
Church and music was another area that I seemed to emulate Sarah in.  At her wake, there were pictures, most likely her senior picture, that had a verse “how can I keep from singing” at the bottom. For years, simply thinking of that song would bring tears to my eyes. I loved that song before her death, and treasured it after.  I was very involved with my churches choir even after I went to college, heck even after I stopped professing to be a Christian. Music is a balm that sooths the soul.
In a strange twist of fate, I ended up living with Sylvia after my parents moved to Ohio and I stayed behind to finish school. We had become close, through school and church events, and I longed for a stable relationship.  My family was...tumultuous for lack of a better word. I didn’t get along with my parents, and I’m not sure they cared to get along with me.  “Depressed teenager, just ignore them!” seemed to be their motto and so I was left to my own devises most of the time. I had a wonderful time living with Sylvia before going off to college, and it seems to have brought me closure.
Teenagers are emotional beings. It is a time of great emotion and hormonal changes. We all know this, we all went through it.  When Sarah died I was just started to go through all of these changes and was reaching out, grasping at anything I could hold on to, anything healthy that I could just have for me.  I chose Sarah, her memory and her dreams.  My parents discouraged me from picking Sarah as my confirmation name, but I chose it anyways.  See, Sarah’s have been good to me. Sarah gave me something healthy, warm and fuzzy to wrap around myself.  The memories I have of her are good. It is incredibly sad that her life was lost so young, but in her death I managed to find a way to live through her memory.  I hope I give that memory the justice that it deserves.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Back to life....back to humanity

Last night my fever finally broke and I began to feel a little more human.  Apparently the wind affected a lot of people last night/today and it too affected us.  Our power went out...again.  I am seriously getting sick of our power going out. This time it was only out all day. At least it wasn't as cold as last time!

When we were looking at houses, we had this jerk Realtor tell us if we wanted a place with a garden tub, that we would never use it, and it would just collect dust.  I bet if we'd been looking at a house WITH one, he wouldn't have said that...I would like to say, for the record, that we totally use our awesome tub.  Anyone else find that they get more done when the power is off, cause I do.  Last time our power was out, I cleaned my entire house and re-organized my room.  This time my husband and I took a bath (in that tub we supposedly don't use), and get lots of reading done. We are more than half way through Royal Assassin (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 2).  After our hard work bathing and reading, we took a nap. Yes, very stressful day.  After all that difficulty and our lights still not being restored, we went to dinner. Luckily when we returned, the power was back so hubby could play his video game.   Overall, a pretty good day now that I'm feeling better.

Jewelry Update
Today I finally checked the mail and found a beautiful card from Sara over at http://strandupdate.blogspot.com/ thanking me for her earrings. That totally made my day--thank's Sara! 

This week:
Yoga! I've got 3 classes to make up at this point, since I was sick the last two weeks
Make more Jewelry since I'm actually out of product.  When I have stuff, I would like to start an etsy store.
meetup--I have people in my group! I'm so psyched. Call me pessimistic, but I wasn't sure people would like or come to my meetup.  If you are interested, join us at www.meetup.com/happy-housewives.
Language homework--my friend is helping teach me Pashto with all it's 40 letters! Maybe I should have stuck to Spanish. I would ideally like to be able to read Arabic, Farsi and Pashto.  Right now I can 'read' but it is realllllllly slow.  Practice, practice, and more practice!

What are you up to this weekend/week?  Any plans for this three day weekend? I am looking forward to getting our bookcases put together!  When they are, I'll put pictures up, since I finally charged my camera battery.  

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, The Cute

The Good
My meetup group seems to be taking off! I'm really excited at the prospect of meeting some new people.  My husband always talks about how social I am compared to him. Since socializing to him means playing a game over the internet...it doesn't take much.  Really though, I am a social person. I love meeting people and having events planned out.
Also good, my new coat tree, my adorable kitty that loves me, my adorable hubby that loves me, my friend that brought me frozen pizza, cough drops and medicine and even a rotisserie chicken to ensure that I ate more than just cheese.  I love my friends.
Lately the weather...I hear it is good, but I haven't gone outside yet today. Shame shame...

The Bad
I'm still sick, and am not sure it isn't getting worse. I feel awful and this cold seems to have drifted a foot south to my chest. I woke up gasping for air yesterday morning because there was junk in my throat and I couldn't breathe.  Yes people--I was almost suffocated by snot. Ew!!! I'm pretty sure I've got the flu:(
Also bad, not realizing that the pretty flower picture I got at Ikea for like 2.99 was made from paper no canvas and accidentally poked a hole in it.  I guess thats what I get for going to ikea and getting art for 2.99...

The Ugly
The crap I'm coughing up...nuff said.

The Cute...
This is cute...

My cat doesn't understand why laying across my neck might not be comfortable for ME...it is for him!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New meetup.com group--Happy Housewives!

I am a housewife.  There is no other way to say it. I’m not unemployed and looking for work, and unless the perfect job falls on my lap, I don’t intend to go back to work any time soon.  If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I am suffering from a severe and acute case of loneliness after moving away from all my friends.  

One of the things that I discussed was joining meetup.com and finding some groups that fit my interests, and appealed to me.  The only thing is that there aren’t very many.  There is a cooking group, there is a sewing group, there are mommies groups but there aren’t any housewife groups.  I wanted a groups of women, who don’t have children (or who just really want to get out of the house occasionally without their child) that want to expand their groups of friends.  So...my solution? I made my own group! I’m still trying to figure out if being an organizer of a group is worth the fee they charge, but it seems like an excellent networking tool to bring women together.  If I just make a few friends from doing this, it will be worth the price.  

The group’s website is:
www.meetup.com/happy-housewives

If you live near Baltimore, MD please join my group! If you have suggestions on events, just post them!  I scheduled a random date to meet up, but the time can be flexible.  

Note: The main picture right now is of penguins.  I picked it because a. penguins are cute, b. they were in a group and c. I had no other pictures that I didn’t have to pilfer from google image.  

Cold and Ikea....

I feel a little like I'm being kicked while I'm down. I have developed a head cold.  An ears popping, sniffly runny nose, eyes red, headache, sore throat head cold.  This is why I fear going out in public. I have like NO immunity. I go in to a doctors office, or when I'm walking and I hear some kid with a wet cough and I want to RUN the other way. I'm not a germophob person.  Far from it, my mother extols how my brother used to eat dirt as a child and never got sick.  I'm all for increasing your immune system's tolerance, except in the past when I got sick, I would stay sick...for months.  Let us hope that not having my tonsils will help this cold pass quickly and not turn into a bacterial infection.  I plan on downing a lot of tea today...mostly b/c I downed half a bag of cough drops this morning and now I'm out.
I am thankful that I don't have to miss 'work' to be sick and my family isn't depending on my income to buy food. I am so thankful that I have a wonderful and supportive husband.  I plan on squishing him when he gets home. A few cracked ribs will show him how much I love him;).

On a happier note, last night my husband and I went to ikea and finally bought some bookcases. They look sort of like this...
South Shore Axess Collection 5-Shelf Bookcase, Chocolate
 I'm psyched because in the 3.5 years we've been together, we've never been able to unpack our books because we have never had space for bookcases!  We are turning our entire front room into a library, and lining the walls with bookcases. We put our lovesac, that looks like this4' Microfiber Foam Bean Bag Chair Chocolate Brown like LoveSac (only we have the real lovesac brand) in the front room along with our papasan chair. I want to create a comfortable place for people to read, and hang out.
I also bought a coat tree like this:
 We have a closet, but I've never liked having to hang up coats. Ever. I got in trouble for this since I can remember, so I cheated and bought a coat tree. It is pretty...I will post pictures later.  I bought a couple of lamps as well because our house was designed strangely.  They never put in overhead fixtures in two rooms upstairs, so without standing lamps, you have no light at all.  I figured anyone that uses our guest room might appreciate a lamp and I needed one in my room as well.  I got these really pretty ones with a paper shade. I considered getting the paper shade to the floor lamps but I saw images of Newton climbing up the side. No, seriously. I can't have flowers anymore because he EATS them.  I wish I could get this cat the shirt that says 'I'm the reason we can't have nice things.' I really can't complain too much since he is saving us money on flowers, and then he does sweet things like spending all night trying to get me to roll over on my back so he can suffocate me, I mean sleep on me.  He is an adorable cat, just a little overly curious with a serious case of pica.
I will post pictures of all of these lovelies after I charge my camera (and we put the bookcases together).

I also finally got my desk all set up, which is exciting.  I am wondering what I want to do there verses on our kitchen table where all of my crafts are now.  It makes me feel more secure as we settle more into our house! Something else that I did was create my own meetup.com group!  I wasn't finding one that fit my needs and desires, so I created one.  I will be posting a separate post about that, probably tomorrow. They said it would be 3 days before it was up and operational.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

decisions decisions decisions

One of the many things that I love about my husband is how he takes things that could be turned into fights in other couples, and instead of reacting explosively, he uses it as an opportunity to understand where those feelings, insecurities and uncertainties are coming from.
Last night I had a...lets call it a moment. It involved some tears and a little hopelessness and it could have been a lot more than a moment if hubby hadn't talked me through it, helped me and held me.  The gist of it is, I'm lonely.  Not only am I lonely but I'm floating around in life and aside from being a mother have had no other 'goal' since I graduated from college.  I would like to find a job that fulfills me and that I find interesting (and have applied for a couple) but it is a waiting game.  I have things I'd like to work on, but motivation seems lacking. I miss having friends like I did in WV. I miss being able to walk down the hill to our friend's house, open the door with my key, and walk in to be immediately smiled upon and loved on by a drooling one year old.  I just miss the comfort of my old life.
It all comes back to old insecurities. I don't know many people here, and it seems people here are a lot busier than people in WV. It is hard for me to get out and meet people because I don't know where to go, what to do and how not to appear as awkward and out of place as I did, DAILY during middle and high school.
So...enough complaining; what am I going to do about it?


  • I am taking a yoga class, and while the women in my class aren't really 'friend' material (most are much older) it does get me out of the house.  I'd like to do it 2-3x week instead of once.
  • Meetup.com; I want to find some meetups, especially crafty ones where I can at least find some likeminded crafty people
  • neighbors. I know I have them, but I don't know any of them.  I will talk to my landlady about any groups and such she was involved in.  


As far as the feeling wondering in life, I am going to try to establish a schedule so that I get my projects, language work and computer programming work done instead of talking about how I want to do it.  I suck at self motivation, so perhaps this will be the opportunity to help change that.

What do you do to drum up some motivation, and keep yourself from sitting on the couch watching bad television?  What keeps you motivated? I used to get my motivation from deadlines and due dates, but not working means there aren't really repercussions for not meeting deadlines.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

GreenLiteBites Cookbook!

I had the honor having lunch with one of my favorite bloggers this week.  I found Roni through an article about her on CNN of all places, and it just happened that we moved near to where she lives.  She has been a great motivation to get me cooking healthy food, instead of just baking all of the time. You'll see that I have talked about her on my blog before, including posting some recipes that I love.  
While I'm good at feeding my husband, and knowing what he likes, I am just now learning how to feed myself good and healthy food.  I struggle with looking at my pantry full of food and cooking instead of baking.  Her recipes are easy, quick, healthy and most of all delicious.
She recently came out with a cookbook that I just ordered through Amazon.  Check it out, and get your own!
If you want to check her out, go to www.greenlitebites.com.  Warning: her blogs are highly addictive and will leave you wanting to cook, a lot.

Valentine's Week!!


A couple of weeks after we met, my husband took me to see Avenue Q (2003 Original Broadway Cast) at the National Theatre. It was AMAZING. After the show though, he did tell me that he doesn't 'do' holiday. He however is perfectly happy to give me a 'birthday' type present in the middle of May though! This translates to getting some interesting presents on unbirthdays, or not expecting anything unless I ask (umm..or hint). I love giving/getting presents so I fell into giving Valentine's WEEK presents instead of day.  Here are my some of my presents....

Wednesday: some cool household stuff that I got at Bed Bath and Beyond
Thursday: Zombie Dice
Friday:Gummy Heart Candy
Saturday: lots of couple time
Sunday: Couples Yoga Class followed by a nice lunch
Monday: SKIP BO Card Game and Dinner (I'm aware that this hasn't happened yet, but he found his gift and we discussed dinner already;))

I am sure that I missed some stuff, and it wasn’t even planned originally to give him a gift a day.  I just had fun with the stuff that I picked up. The games were because  I wanted to buy him a couple of games that we could play on our way to Oregon in a couple of weeks. 

Today we had an awesome time a couples yoga.  While my husband hadn’t done yoga before, and I’m a newbie, we still had an amazing time. We are both really flexible, and have decent balance.  The class was really light and fun, but also at times challenging and I would go so far as to say a trust activity.  In one position we hand to hold hands and then basically sit, using the other partner’s weight to hold you up.  this was the hardest position for me because I had to trust that he was basically holding me up....very hard.  The most fun position was something like this

http://www.fitsugar.com/Partner-Yoga-Pose-Facing-Fence-332192
Only instead of facing each other, we were both facing forward.  We then did it as an entire class. Something like 30 people in a circle all doing the pose.  It was pretty hilarious and fun. Sadly, this class is only offered once a year, and not weekly since I would love to do something like this with my hubby every week.  

Yesterday we were working on finances and since we were already on the couch in the basement, decided to watch a movie on our big screen TV.  Our choice? Top Gun.  I actually had NEVER seen it before!  I liked it, but now I have the music stuck in my head!  After we finished Top Gun and lots of popcorn, we moved onto the Bond flick “The Living Daylights.”  I love the show Chuck, so it was hilarious seeing Dalton playing Bond.  He is most certainly NOT my favorite Bond, but it was so much fun.  

What did you do to build intimacy with your partner this Valentine’s Day?  

On another note, I need a schedule so badly. I’m a lazy schmuck if given the chance so I want to make a real schedule. My friend is going to do some language lessons with me, but I want to do a lot more.  I also need to work on my programming so that I can go forth and confidently say that I can program and have the skills needed to learn other programs.  I also really need to get back in the gym and STILL haven't had luck finding a gym/trainer that I like.

How you deal with your personal vs. work goals?  How do you incorporate them?  

Saturday, February 12, 2011

If you give Eileen some popcorn

If you give Eileen some popcorn, she'll need something to watch, so you'll go downstairs and watch a movie.
During the movie she will realize that she needs to wipe her hands so you'll go upstairs and get her a napkin.
After the movie and popcorn is over she'll be sleepy and leave the napkin behind.
A week later Eileen will realize that she needs to go downstairs again where she'll see the napkin left abandoned a week before.  After seeing the napkin Eileen will need more popcorn. And with that popcorn...another movie.

This is the story of what I am doing tonight.Top Gun [Blu-ray]

I made my own ice cream!!

About a month ago we bought a Vitamix CIA Professional Countertop Blender with 2+ HP Motor, Platinum and I'm in LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE!!
What won my husband over?  Orange Julius.  As a kid he LOVED the drink Orange Julius, and after we saw how they used a vitamix at DQ to make them he was completely and utterly won over.
Moving on...today after making my hubby a breakfast Orange Julius, which he liked so much he paid me for it (hehehe), I decided I wanted to make some sorbet.
I threw in
5 big frozen strawberries (I bought a ginormous bag from Costco)
1 banana
1 tsp vanilla
1 splash of milk (I wasn't sure it would blend well without)
turn on blender, use tamper to push the flying strawberries into the blades and 20-30 seconds later, BOOM, you've got a frozen delicious fat free nummy dessert (or breakfast in my case).
The one ingredient soft serve ice cream recipe that is blended frozen bananas is going around on the web, and I wanted to make my own delicious version with strawberries.  It...was...awesome, and as you can see in the picture, quite pretty.
You can see the consistency--it was thicker than a smoothie and had to be eaten with a spoon
Spot the cute kitty....
and because everyone likes pictures of kitties...here is one I  took yesterday of Newton...

And my lap warmer, who spent most of the day laying next to me keeping me from getting anything done.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mission Impossibly Early Morning!

My husband is on a mission. Daily he goes to bed a little earlier and wakes up earlier. It started with him going to bed around 10 waking up around 6. Last night we went to bed at 8 and he got up at 4:30.  Does he do this to go to the gym? Have a lesiurely time sitting around in the morning, or even strive to get more work done? Nah, he does this all for a parking spot. Yes, that is right, you read correctly, a parking spot.  See where he works parking is a precious commodity traded for a good nights sleep on the open market. If you don't want to walk for a quarter of an hour in sub zero weather, you get up before most teenagers go to bed and haul your ass into work.  On the up side, he can work his eight hours and leave at 3pm, but at that point he is so exhausted he just wants to go back to sleep and start the whole vicious cycle again.  The most humerous part of this for me though, is that he actually gets up early on the weekends now! He used to sleep till noon-1pm on the weekends to 'catch-up' on sleep and then wouldn't get anything done the rest of the day.  Now he is finally used to getting up early, and seems to get more done.  I believe becoming a morning person however is the last nail in the coffin of actually becoming an adult.  My dad would be so proud...

My limit of getting up early is getting up at 5am with him, seeing him out the door, watching a little hulu and falling back into bed. I am not a morning person, or perhaps I am a closeted morning person who is reluctantly leaving the safe sanctuary of the comfy bed in the closet that I've been huddled in for the last 26 years. Last night however, it seemed like too much work to get ready for bed, be read to (we are reading Royal Assassin) snuggle, and then come back downstairs, so I just went to bed with him....at 8pm.  Now I understand why old people eat dinner at 4pm!  While I wasn't wide awake and perky at 4:30 in the morning (is anyone?!) I was at 7:30, and stumbled downstairs to respond to email, read facebook and do other mindless tasks until the rumble of my belly necessitated food.
I had been laying in bed last night dreaming of new things to make with my vitamix, and I really wanted a green smoothie again.  Green? What? You put Spinach in your smoothies? Yeah yeah, ya can't taste it! Promise.

Here is what I threw into my Vitamix CIA Professional Countertop Blender with 2+ HP Motor, Platinum, and no I as you can probably tell, I didn't really measure.
an apple cut in 4
a whole banana (missing a bite, cause I like bananas)
some frozen strawberries
2 cups of BABY spinach (ok, in my case 2 fistfulls of spinach)
some grapes (I got bored and stopped after about 15 of them)
splash of cranberries juice
end of a container of fage yogurt (probably 1/4 cup)

(Note: There are no rules to green smoothies other than including some spinach to make it, green.  Generally though, you can't taste the spinach and it gives you a lot of iron and other nutrients we aren't getting since most of us (read:me) don't eat enough veggies. A Vitamix is perfect for making green smoothies because it has an amazing motor that can liquefy most anything in 10 seconds or less)
blend that sucker...then I tasted and added 10 ice cubes and 3 more strawberries and blended some more.  
Thats it!  I went to pour said smoothie and "SPLAT!!!" It filled my cup and runith, splatith over onto the counter and got a little on my radio (don't tell my husband). Woops...I cleaned it up, grabbed a couple of mini-muffin tops and breakfast! I think I might have a couple of hardboiled egg whites too.
Here is a picture, cause I know that people like pictures.
before...

after...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Baby Bellies, Muffin Tops and Earrings Galore

West Virginia Update:

Thank you to everyone that commented on my last blog entry.  I was definitely having a down day. I realized that I hadn't taken my medicine, and that coupled with PMS left me in a funk for the better part of a day. Hiding out for a bit, and talking to the husband seemed to recharge my batteries and I headed back downstairs for more playing with our friend's son.
Overall the trip was fabulous. I got to see so many people, and feel some pregnant bellies. I think my friend's baby hit me with her entire arm!  It was pretty awesome.  I am planning on going back out in April when one my friends has her baby to help out for a bit, and get my fill of holding a newborn, so I'll get to see all my kids and friends again soon.  I am really sad that my cousins are moving though, but I love them enough that I am totally willing to drive or fly to visit, but it won't be as convenient. I've had an amazing time watching their children grow over the last couple of years and becoming great friends with them.
It was insane to see how much the little girl I watched has grown in just a few short months.  She used to call me I-eeeeen because she couldn't pronounce the letter L.  This time she was saying "Look at this Eileen, come see this!!" and invited us to a highly orchestrated party with play-doh that she demanded we attended.  I missed the friendship of her parents as much as her, and it was lovely to sit and chat for a bit before I headed off into the rainy night for dinner with another friend. I feel fortunate that people were able to make time for me in their schedules and really honestly wanted to know how I was doing.  The trip really brought home for me how much I miss our friends, and how important those relationships are to me.  I really REALLY need to find some new friends out here.

Baking/Cooking:

I like to have meals and such prepared for my husband so it is easy for him to pack a lunch and eat healthier food than he would if he went to the cafeteria and ordered chicken strips and something else that has been soaked in grease.  I really struggle with not eating out, although lately I've gotten much better at not stuffing myself when I do.  Yesterday I scrambled some turkey meat with a little seasoning so we could have tacos, but since it is pretty plain I could even throw it on some homemade pizza.  The hubby loves burritos, so I keep the fridge stocked with those for him to fill up for a quick meal.
I had seen a weight watchers recipe several places that used a box of cake mix (I used Devil's Food) and a can of pumpkin so I tried that out. I am pretty happy with the moist results.  I packed one for my husband and we'll see what he thinks. I also made some Fiber 1 muffins that came in a boxed mix that had been on sale.  They had been sitting around for awhile and I thought it was time to make them.  I was shocked at how good they taste actually.  Sadly, I made mini-muffins and forgot to grease the pan so I ended up with muffin tops instead of entire muffins.  That's my favorite bit anyways though so I'm not really complaining.
Another quick thing I did was slice up some carrots so they are easy to grab and throw into some spinach for a quick salad.  We have grapes and a plethora of other things that could make a nice sweet salad that doesn't need any dressing.
I think my pop-tart fantasism is over with.  Please God let it be over with. I don't even WANT to like pop tarts, but occasionally crave them, and then since they are there have to eat them.  No more poptarts in my house! I'd like to get the cereal out as well and pre-make salads or some healthy quick to eat thing, so I eat that instead.  I need to eat more vegetables, but I struggle....What about you?

Jewelry:

I sold all but one pair of earrings, so it is time to make more!  I really enjoy making them, and they are so comfortable to wear. I hate heavy earrings, but the jump rings I use are so light you don't even feel them.  I also sold the blue necklace and matching earrings to a great friend and hope to get a picture up of her wearing them soon!  Next I hope to move onto making rings, but I have to finish my friend's baby blanket first.  I will, of course keep you update with pictures and progress.
I AM planning on setting up an etsy store, but not until I have some product to take pictures of, and list.  I am struggling with deciding how much time I wish to devote to crafts verses language study and computer programming.  Right now all of my 'creative' time is going to crafts, and I'm perfectly ok with that, and love doing it, but to what end? I think my trip to Oregon to see my in-law will either help solidify my desire to continue jewelry making, or move it more towards the academic study of gemology. If I want to get into this and sell stuff, then I need to invest in more product at a better price than what I currently have.  We shall see!

What did you do this weekend?  What are your creative outlets?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Old Friends, Old Insecurities

On Friday I packed up my husbands SUV and headed out to West Virginia.  I was supposed to go to Baltimore to have lunch with Roni from greelitebites.com, but once again our plans were foiled, first by weather and then by an event that had been rescheduled to this Friday, due to weather LAST Friday. We will have lunch eventually, hopefully before her baby is born lol.
Right now I am watching my friend's son mumbling and giggling while attempting to catch a cat who is not at all interested in being caught.  I managed to show up around lunch time Friday, since I left right after the morning rush hour.  Traffic was fantastic (meaning, minimal) all the way here, and uneventful.
While my life before I left WV was concentrated mainly around toddlers, and how much I desperately wanted a baby, being around them again makes me wonder. Do I want all the noise, the constant needs, whining and stress? People have told me since I can remember what a great mother I would make while I constantly question how true that statement is.  Am I able to give my friend's kids my 'all' because it is short term? If I had my own, would I just become lazy? I have all of these ideas of the mother that I would like to be, the activities that I would like to do with my kids, the places I want to go. Does everyone reassess their desire or ability to be a parent around time when there is no going back?    Here is the thing....all those insecurities aside, I know I can do it. I also know that I will try my hardest to give it my all, and am not afraid to ask for help. Above all, I know that I have my amazing husband who will stand by my side through it all.
I also had another realization.  I am more judgmental than I should be. I don't think that is it possible to be completely non-judgmental just as it is impossible to be completely objective, but I could definitely judge less.  My friends raise their kids as they see fit, and I should just give their children all of the love I can in the world while I am there, and raise my children as I see fit.  I tend to think since I read constantly and research that everyone should want to know that I have to think, but I also need to learn to shut my mouth, even if I disagree with people.
I'm in a funk...I am really really tired and I haven't been sleeping well. My friend told me that basically, it isn't healthy that I am waking up every 90 minutes, and remembering it every single time.  At home it is mostly because my husband's snoring will wake me completely.  While visiting friends it is because I am on a different bed. I don't want to take medicine but I only vaguely remember the last time I slept through the night without waking up, and it involved sleeping in my bed, alone, while my husband was out of town.  I want to sleep with my husband, I love the feel of being next to him, and even here while I am away I still find myself reaching for him and longing for his heat and presence next to me.   Ear plugs you say? Oh, I've tried them, many a time.  They either fall out, or make my ears itch horribly so even if I fall asleep I end up TAKING them out in my sleep.  I think I just need a really really comfortable guest bed.  In the mean time, pardon me if I am a little grouchy and sleepy.