Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cleaning, Shining, Buffing

I saw a post on Facebook this morning for homemade jewelry cleaner. I had seen similar posts on Pinterest and had even tried one that didn't work so well, so I was skeptical. However, I have several pieces of silver jewelry that are not only pretty, but sentimental to me. I bought all but one at The Mystic Jewel in Duck, NC during our family vacations to the Outer Banks. I haven't worn them in some time because they had become quite tarnished. Something about silver jewelry...If you wear it regularly, the oils from your skin keep it from tarnishing. I've gotten out of the habit of wearing any jewelry, so mine needed a good polishing. As a result, I decided to give the post on Facebook a try. It is as follows:

  • 1 cup water heated in the microwave for 1-2 minutes (I heated mine for the 2 minutes)
  • 1 piece of aluminum foil. Big enough to cover the bottom of a cereal bowl.
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1Tbsp liquid dish soap

What you do is heat the water up in your bowl. While it's heating, cut or tear a piece of aluminum foil that is the size of the bottom of your bowl. Once the water is heated, place the aluminum foil in the bowl and add the salt, baking soda, and dish soap on top of the foil. I used a plastic butter knife to give it a little stir. Then I simply placed my jewelry, a few pieces at a time to the cleanser and let it sit for five to ten minutes, giving it a little nudge with the knife every so often. I could actually see the tarnish cloud up the water as it was cleared off of my jewelry. I wish I had taken before and during pictures so you could see the difference.

The Results:

The chains cleaned up very nicely. Most of the tarnish came off of the pendants, but some shined up better than others. I took some pictures so you could see:



 This is my moonstone pendant. Of all my pendants, this one had the best results. You can see the shine and clarity of the silver.
 These are my chains. As you can tell, they are tarnish-free and pretty shiny. There are just a couple spots in the first chain that had some tarnish that wouldn't come off.
 This is my blue lace agate pendant. As you can tell, there's quite a bit of tarnish on the side. I allowed it to soak for the full ten minutes but this was as good as I could get it.
 The front view of my blue lace agate pendant. The pendant hangar (I don't know the technical term for it) came pretty clean.
 This was the most disappointing piece. This is my opal dragon fly. While the tarnish came off, I was unable to get any shine out of it. The silver is pretty dull looking.

 This is my charoite pendant. I had pretty decent results with this piece. The charoite itself cleaned up nicely.













As you can see from the side view, the silver part, while not showing much evidence of tarnish, isn't very shiny. 
 This is my peridot pendant. This piece was a Christmas gift from the Mister and didn't come from The Mystic Jewel. Anyway, it cleaned up okay. I just wish the silver was shinier.
 This is my peridot bracelet. The tarnish did not come out of the tiny detail around each stone. However, I think that it gives the bracelet a nice vintage look to it. The silver itself, on the links between each stone, still shows a bit of tarnish. The clasp, especially, looks a little rough.
This is a full, if a bit out of focus, view of my peridot bracelet.

















Final Verdict:

While the homemade cleaner had some good results, they weren't as good as a commercial silver cleaner would have been. My main concern with using both the homemade cleaner and a store bought sliver cleaner on my jewelry is damaging the stones. I didn't notice any adverse effects from the homemade cleaner so I think I might make another batch and try it out again. Anyone have a better recipe for jewelry cleaner that they want to recommend?

Monday, December 09, 2013

'Tis the Season?

I have a long and convoluted story to tell. Hang on to your shorts.

After that cold snap we had, freezing temperatures equals a cold snap in Florida thankyouverymuch, the weather did a turn about and we had a warm front come through. Being the heating/air conditioning Nazi that I am, I opted to open windows rather than turn the air conditioning back on. I'm sorry, but air conditioning isn't happening at my house in late November/December. Remember that if you ever want to visit in the winter.

Anywho...

Our rental management company informed me that we were "due" for a home inspection on December 5th. I have a hard time believing that the timing is sooooo coincidental when he just happened to mention it to me on the phone when I called for the second time to tell him the heat pump wasn't working. (Remember when I posted that the heat wouldn't come on and we had a repair guy come out? Well, it turned on once and then wouldn't come back on. AC either. Turns out that the outside unit had a short that caused a thingamajigger in the inside unit to break. It's all fixed now and it wasn't our fault.) So, between the heater being broke and the high temps we've had, my electric bill for the past month was less than $100. Beat that! I digress. Again. ANYway, because of the inspection, I went on a three day cleaning frenzy. I vacuumed every one of those days. We also got one of the book shelves built, sanded, stained, sealed, and loaded with books that we've been intending to build since the movers broke ours. I completed all the organizing, unpacking, and decorating that I've been putting off for five months. The house looks pretty good if I do say so myself.

Today, I wrapped the first Christmas presents. I went to put them under the tree, but the tree skirt was a bunched mess, all wrapped up around the trunk because the cats won't leave the tree alone. Cat owners commiserate. I figured I'd vacuum up the needles while the skirt was mostly out of the way before straightening it. When I hauled out the vacuum cleaner, I noticed that it the canister needed emptied from the last time I vacuumed. When I went to do so, I saw that there was a sludge build up all around the bottom of it. Because the epic cleaning took place during this warm front with obscene humidity levels, the dust and dirt combined with the excess moisture in the house and formed a layer of ICK in my vacuum cleaner. I had seen a post on Pinterest a while back on how to clean your Dyson so I figured I'd do a Google search to see what I could come up with because, frankly, I was afraid of running water all over my $600 vacuum cleaner. I found a YouTube video that demonstrated how to take apart and rinse all the various components of your Dyson. They had a yellow Dyson and I have a purple Animal, so I had to figure out some stuff of my own, but I bit the bullet and washed it out. Talk about disgusting. Just when I thought I had cleaned everything, more nasty, dirty, sludgy water would pour out of it. It was freaking nasty. I'm sure living in San Diego on a canyon for three years contributed to the excess of yuck. I mean, we had an amount of dust in that house that you wouldn't believe. I didn't realize how truly dusty that house was until we moved into this one.
These are all the parts of my Dyson that I cleaned. The two in the back are both pieces of the canister and the three in front are parts of the two filters. P.S. My kitchen was painted that color when we moved in. I no likey.

So, if you have a Dyson, don't be afraid to take it apart and clean it. In fact, if you have allergies, hay fever, or general lung sensitivities, I highly recommend regularly cleaning your vacuum. Probably with a dust mask or something if you have "limp lungs" (what movies is that from??). Dyson recommends rinsing the filters every three months. Just be prepared to go without your vacuum for about 48 hours while it dries. I'm sure mine will take longer with this lingering humidity and rain we're having. I'm going to give it 72 hours at a minimum just to be safe. I don't want the dust to combine with any moisture that might be on the inside of the canister. It'd defeat the whole thing. Just be sure to check out an online "how to" video before attempting to clean your Dyson. I take no responsibility if you decide to throw your entire vacuum in the tub without knowing what you're doing first.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Chain Mail

I haven't done one of these in a while and you all know how much I like them. I found this meme over on Adventures in Mediocrity. It may be called Adventures in Mediocrity, but it's really about her life as a New Yorker which is anything but mediocre. If you want to participate, consider yourself tagged and let me know that you did so I can go and read your answers. On to the questions.

1. Song you can't get out of your head?  Daylight by Matt and Kim. The Oldest Child was listening to this song when we got home from Christmas shopping today. I've been humming it all evening. I love this song so I don't mind it so much being stuck in my head.


2. Favorite ice cream flavor?  I luuuuurrrve Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. It's so yum.

3. Are you a polka dots, stripes, or sequins kinda girl? Stripes mostly. Then polka dots. I really don't like sequins all that much.

4. Your favorite beauty product or secret? I really love Urban Decay's 24/7 eyeliners. They come in so many different colors and they apply very nicely. As for a beauty secret, you should always pluck your eyebrows right after you shower. Why? Because the heat of the water opens up your pores so it hurts less.

5. Favorite spot in the area (or state) you live in? That's easy. I love the beach. Our beach is absolutely gorgeous with sugar, white sand, blue-green water that's warm in the summer and the tourists bypass us for the more popular tourist-y places like Destin and Gulf Breeze. In all the times we went to the beach this summer, there was always available parking. In all the places I've ever been, Florida's gulf coast has the prettiest beaches in my opinion.

6. Current app/website addiction (besides Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest)? Well, since Google had to go and continue their trend of treating their loyal users like asshats, I've switched to using Feedly to read blog posts. I really like it and it's actually more visually appealing than Google Reader was. I also love my Weatherbug app because I'm obsessed with the weather.

7. What's at the very top of your Christmas list this year? Well, it was the box set of Breaking Bad. I've forbidded (TBBT reference, hahaha) the Mister from getting it for me though because it's pretty pricey. There's really not much else on my list this year except for some books that I've been wanting.



8. What is your favorite color? I've really been into the green family lately.



9. What do you order when you go into a coffee shop? I hardly ever get coffee out anywhere besides Starbucks. My go to drink of choice is a mocha frappuccino. During the holiday season, however, I love the peppermint mocha latte. YUM!


10. Favorite place to shop? This is hard to pick just one. Barnes and Noble is one of my faves. I'm also pretty much addicted to Ulta. If we still lived in San Diego, I'd say Nordstrom Rack. OMG!! It's so much fun to shop there. 

11. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? This one has been covered a lot. I'd go to Europe. I don't know how I'd limit myself to just one country, so I go broad and say the entire continent, lol.

12. Go-to nail polish color? Scarlet O'Hara by Essie. It's the best red EVER made. Ever. Hands down.

13. What is your favorite outfit? And I ask: Favorite or go-to? My favorite outfit is my nice pair of jeans, my purple blouse, and my alpaca cardigan. However, more often than not, I'm wearing sloppy jeans and a t-shirt. I'm trying to venture out into scarves though.

14. Do you have any body mods (tattoos, piercings, etc.)? I have my ears pierced but hardly ever wear earrings because my ears are so sensitive. Even gold and silver makes them swell and itch. Other than that, nope.

15. What animal would you be, based on your personality? Probably a sloth because I don't do much other than hang out at home.

16. What is your favorite song? I don't have just one favorite. Off the top of my head though, I'd pick These Days by Foo Fighters. I absolutely love that song.



17. What is one object that you use daily, that you love? I guess I'd have to say my phone. I use it every day for just about everything. I feel disloyal for saying so, but my Samsung Galaxy S3 is 100 times better than any iPhone has ever been. Apple needs to beef up their game in my opinion.

From Meghan Sara:

18. What is one non-holiday thing you're looking forward to over the next few months? Starting grad school in January.

19. How do you take your coffee (or tea)? I take my coffee with flavored creamer. My favorite is International Delight's White Chocolate Mocha. YUM!! As for my tea, depending on what kind it is, I like it with honey and/or lemon. If it's plain oolong, I like it straight.

20. What is your favorite food obsession? Panera Bread. Aside from loving everything that I've ever gotten off of the menu, (Okay. I don't really care for their smoothies.) I really like their hibiscus tea.

21. What do you wear to sleep in? I can only sleep in a t-shirt or tank top and shorts. Long sleeves, pants, and socks in bed drive me nutso and make me hot, no matter what the weather is.

My addons:

What is your favorite holiday cocktail? Feel free to leave a link to the recipe.
What is your favorite holiday scent/air freshener (plug-in, spray, potpourri, etc.)?
Do you do the whole coordinated bedding set or do you put together your own look?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chattanooga, Tennessee


Our northern route to Ohio took us right through the middle of Alabama, up to Nashville, through Louisville, and into Ohio through Cincinnati. We drove straight through since we were in somewhat of a hurry to get there. The drive took about 14 hours and the loss of an hour by transitioning from the Central time zone to the Eastern time zone. Yes. The western part of Florida's panhandle is in the Central time zone. Most people don't realize this.

Anyway, on the way home, we decided to break the trip up into two days. The halfway point was in Nowhere, Alabama. Or maybe it was Nowhere, Tennessee. Either way, it was in the middle of nowhere. I'm pretty much a genius when it comes to maps. I'm directionally challenged, but I can read a map. Figure it out. So, I mapped us out an alternate route that took us through the eastern part of Tennessee, with a quick jog through the very northeast corner of Georgia, and back into Alabama. It only added 30 minutes to the drive and allowed us to stop in Chattanooga which is just about, smack dab halfway between Huber Heights, Ohio and Navarre, Florida.

We stayed at a pretty decent hotel in Chattanooga that was downtown. Ok. I have to tell you. I was pretty much unimpressed with the city itself. It was very blue collar and seemed run down. The surrounding area is beautiful with mountains and fall color and the Tennessee River. We checked out a local restaurant for dinner, the Terminal Brew House. We wanted something non-chain and having a selection of craft brews, as well as being close to our hotel, it seemed to be a winner. The Mister said that the beer was excellent. I had the house pinot noir and it was pretty good. We had to specifically ask the waiter if the girls could have soft drinks since he didn't bother to take their drink orders or even give them a glass of water. The food was so-so. Not horrible, but for the prices, nothing special. We opted to have the "seasonal steamed veggies" as our side dish and was served BEETS. Who in the holy heck serves beets? Who likes beets?!?! What kind of side is that? It was an unsatisfying meal, excellent selection of beers aside.

Overall, I didn't have the best impression of Chattanooga. I know. We were there for less than 24 hours, but from what we saw, it wasn't compelling enough for us to plan our next family vacation there. It's nice to know that it's a good halfway stop for the next time we drive to Ohio and we'd stay at the same hotel again too. They had a really good breakfast.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lip Factory Inc. November Beauty Box

Package insert with product descriptions. Included in every beauty box.
I've been a subscriber to Lip Factory Inc. for several months now. I am a very satisfied customer. Despite what the name might suggest, the beauty box includes more than just lip products, most months. November is the first month that it's been all lip products. Either way, I am a happy subscriber. The monthly subscription cost is $22.00 but the contents of each box is worth twice if not three times as much. And I LOVE trying new products. Here's what came in my November box.

1. Palladio Herbal Lipstick in Wine Shine. Retail price:  $6.99. I love the color. It has just a bit of shimmer and it smells pleasant without being overwhelming. I really hate lipsticks that smell so much that they taste perfume-y.











2. Model Co. Lip Couture Lipstick in Luella. Retail price:  $17.00. It's a great fall color, feels very moisturizing and has a satin finish. I love the built-in mirror that's on the tube cap too.



3. Designer Skin Fall Lip Shimmer in Hottie Tottie. Retail price:  $7.30. It's a pretty color with a nice shimmer. It has a pleasant minty smell that's not too much and it doesn't have a taste at all. It even feels tingly when you put it on which will be nice for the cooler months when lips start drying out. The only thing about it is that it takes forever to click it up the tube to the brush applicator. Stila lipglosses are like that too and it isn't my favorite delivery method but the product is usually worth it.




4. Medusa's Makeup Lipstick in Red Square. Retail price:  $12.00. I have to tell you, red lipsticks scare me. I've never had one before now. The color, once applied, doesn't really match the tube, if you can tell in my picture. It's almost a fushia rather than a bright red. It also has a candy-like smell too it but it's not overwhelming. I love the unique tube that it comes in but I wish the pigment were more true to the tube.






5. Medusa's Makeup Lipgloss in Temptation. Retail price:  $8.00. It's a very sheer lipgloss with a candy scent to it. I love the gold shimmer to this wine-like color. This will make a great fall color.














6. Retractable Lip Brush. Retail price:  $3.88. Honestly, I don't use a lip brush to apply lipstick or gloss. I'm a straight from the tube kinda gal.

So, the total value of my November box is $55.17 which is a great deal for having paid only $22.00. Amiright?? Plus, it's totally fun to get stuff in the mail and it's also great fun to try out new products. Before getting my beauty box, I had never heard of these makeup brands. If you're tempted to join me, I would love and appreciate a referral #385105.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Where the Hell Am I??


It's COLD here. Maybe it's not Vermont cold, but it's freaking cold nonetheless. We've had freeze warnings the past two nights. Our daytime highs have been pretty chilly too. I knew, logically, that it gets pretty cold in northern Florida and it's even been known to snow from time to time, but I think I was hoping that people were exaggerating. I don't have enough winter clothes for this place. Seriously.

What's more, our heat doesn't seem to be working. We, supposedly, have central air and heat but when I switched the thermostat over from "cool" to "heat" three days ago, the heat never kicked on. The current temperature in my house is 63. Do you know how hard it is to make yourself get out of bed in the morning when you know it's that cold and there's no heat coming? Considering that our forecast high for today is only 55, I don't see the house warming up all that much today.

When we first moved into this house, we had a very respectable-sized woodpile in the backyard. In the last three days, we've seriously depleted our supply of wood due to the fact that the fireplace has been our only source of heat. Having an open concept living room/dining room/kitchen, it really doesn't heat much though. It raises the temp about three or four degrees. As a result, we've been sitting and/or laying on the floor in front of the fireplace, lol. Even Bailey is cold. She wears a sweater all day with her bone blanket draped over her back plus an extra blanket at night to sleep.

Three good things come from having your house uncomfortably cold: 

1.) It's cold enough to put my pretty comforter on my bed and I sleep really well.
2.) The water in the glass next to my bed stays nice and cold all night.
3.) I should have a nice decrease in my electric bill with it not being hot enough for the ac and no heat.

I'm calling the rental management place as soon as I post this. I'm hoping they open at 8 am.

Friday, November 08, 2013

I'm Right. That's All.

While we were in Ohio, something occurred to me. Over the entire course of the trip, we stayed in three different hotels. You know what all three of them had in common? The most available sheet of toilet paper in all the bathrooms was folded into a neat little triangle. Do you know what this means? The correct way to put toilet paper onto the holder is with the sheets rolling out from above not below. If you have your toilet paper with the roll coming out from below, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG!! You can't fold a sheet into a nifty triangle if the toilet paper is coming from the underneath.



I. Have. Solved. This. Debate.

You man now continue on with your life, all the richer for this most important, life-altering revelation.

You're welcome.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Cousins


You know the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding? There's this part where Nia Vardalos' character is going on and on about how big and crazy her family is and how many first cousins she has, 27. I have something like 25. Add in myself and my siblings, and there's 28 grandkids altogether. I have first cousins that I've never met. The way my family likes to give people up for adoption, I probably have more that I don't even know about. Our trip to Ohio afforded me the opportunity to see some of my cousins again. On my dad's side of the family anyway.

It was almost a surreal experience for a group of us to get together and go out for drinks. The majority of my memories and interactions with my cousins are from family get togethers while we were growing up. Being the second oldest grandchild, I have cousins who are still teenagers which is weird. It's hard for me to even think of them as first cousins. They're more like nieces and nephews.

Still, while in Ohio, we were able to get a group of us together and go out for drinks. There was my cousin J and his wife, my cousin D, my cousin K and her husband, and my cousin M and the Mister. Between the five of us cousins, we live in three different states. Going out was so much fun that I wish we lived closer so that it's something we could do more often. We reminisced about family holidays and summer vacations spent at my grandparent's house as well as catching up on our current lives. For being so closely related, we are a diverse bunch.

I wish I had thought to get pictures. Who knows the next time that I will see any of them. I can hope that it won't be another 13 years and that it won't be because of a funeral.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Falling Back

Autumn in Rural Ohio


So far, fall has been quite eventful for us. First of all, it certainly doesn't feel like fall in Florida. We had a couple cool'ish days in October, but they were only a few days and overnight lows didn't get out of the 50s. Having lived the majority of the past 16 years in states with moderate climates, the one thing I miss about living somewhere with definitive seasons is the autumn.

My grandmother passed away last week. She had a history of diabetes, the childhood kind, not the fat people kind, and heart disease and had been on a steady decline for a while now. For some, the release of death is a kindness and not a devastating loss. For my grandma, who had been shocked back to life by a defibrillator several times in the past several weeks, knowing that she was finally at peace was a relief. Added to that, when my grandparents sold their house back in 2009, I had said goodbye to what was. We didn't make it back to Ohio between that last visit and my grandma's passing. Yes, I'm sad that my grandma is no longer with us, but I've come to terms with her passing and I'm okay.

We took the girls and Bailey and drove to Ohio for her funeral. The trip north was quite picturesque. Once we got into Tennessee, fall colors started showing themselves on the trees. As we made our way further north and into Ohio, the colors were more vibrant, varied, and plentiful. The last time we had been able to enjoy fall like that was when in the fall of 2006 when we were still living in Vermont. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I was in the middle of it once again. Still, you'll never, ever hear me say that I miss the snow and winters, lol.

The trip north wasn't all about my grandma. We also took time to visit what family that we could, carving out special time with my dad. Recently, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He actually got his third round of chemotherapy while we were there. I hadn't seen my dad since 2010 when I was in Ohio for his last open heart surgery. You might get the idea here, that my dad isn't always in the best of health. Seeing him and the drastic physical changes he has undergone was the most difficult part of the trip for me. As you could probably guess, he's lost a lot of weight. According to my sister, his hair has started to thin, but from the way he's wearing it (in a hippie ponytail, lol) I didn't notice a difference. The most startling difference was that he now looks older than his 62 years. It was hard to see. My dad has already had surgery for the cancer and the chemo is to, hopefully, ensure that the doctors got everything and that it doesn't come back. We are optimistically hopeful. Despite the circumstances, I was glad that my girls got to spend this time with their papa and that he was well enough to go to Chuck E. Cheese (I have an 8 year old nephew) with his grandkids.

After spending a week in hotels, we are more than thrilled to be home. I missed my cats terribly. We hired our 14 year old neighbor to look after them and she did an excellent job. We are back in the land of summer though. It was 80 degrees when we got home and it's in the 80s today as well. Time to put the winter clothes back in the closet for a few more weeks. Fall is all about change. Change comes a little later for Floridians. We'll have to wait and see what it'll bring.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Minimum Effort



I'm making an effort to get back on my blogging schedule. Today is Current Events Wednesday where I voice my very opinionated voice-y opinion on something in the news. Or something people are talking about. Or something that I feel like talking about. Ya know.

Anyway, I saw on Instagram on Monday an image furthering the movement to raise minimum wage to $11.00. You really gotta be kidding me there. $11.00??? Really??? I'm sure this sounds good to all the high school drop outs out there, but let's be realistic.

How many small business owners can afford both the Affordable Care Act and paying a 16 year old kid $11.00 an hour?? Even before the health care deal, a small business owner would have a hard time paying a minimum wage of $11.00. Who do you think is really going to pay those increased wages? The consumer will when all businesses, because you don't really think this will be confined to just small businesses do you, raise their prices to offset the increase in minimum wage.

The instagram pic said to raise minimum wage because, "nobody can survive on $7.25." I'm not even trying to debate that. I can't imagine how hard it would be to live off of $7.25/hour, especially if you're a family. But you know what? Minimum wage equals minimum skills. Get yourself educated. Get yourself some experience. And don't even begin to tell me that there aren't enough resources out there. There are free job fairs all the time. Most communities have workshops for job hunting, resume writing, etc. And if all you're doing is earning minimum wage, you qualify for student loans/grants. Can't afford books? Rent them. My school had a thing where I could designate part of my loan for books and I still had money left over after paying tuition. What other excuse do you have?

Don't cry to me and don't expect me to support/vote for $11.00 minimum wage.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

My First Autumn in Florida

It occurred to me the other day that this is the first time I've ever been in Florida during the fall months. I briefly lived here in 1998 and I've been to Florida on several occasions for vacation, but all those times were during either spring, summer, or winter. Huh.

I'm really enjoying the cooler temps. We're still getting into the lower 80s, but overnight, it's been in the 50s and 60s. Overall, it's cool enough that I've had the windows open this week for the first time and the ac off. I don't think the home owners ever opened the windows. They were nasty dirty and required cleaning and vacuuming. Anyway, I'm looking forward to a lower electric bill. Hopefully. Speaking of bills...

Our water/sewer bill has gone up $15-$20 every month since we moved into this house. I was expecting an increase from June to July since June would have been a partial billing month, but every subsequent bill has had an increase. Not only has it increased, but it's now $50 more a month than the average for this house. I'm not happy. One reason was that the hall bathroom toilet was leaking. The flapper was warped. We replaced that last week so I'm hoping that will reflect on next month's bill. I also went all dictator on the fam and made a list of rules for water/sewer usage. Ugh.

Anyway, this fall ushered in the first tropical storm system that we had to deal with:  Karen. First, we had hurricane watches. Then, the storm weakened and we had tropical storm watches. Finally, it weakened further, changed its track, and we barely got any rain and hardly any wind at all. We had worse thunderstorms over the summer. Seriously. All this storm did was ruin weekend plans we had. So, we have all of our canned food, water, batteries, candles, etc. on hand so if something else comes in before the hurricane season ends in less than a month, we're all set.

Navarre Beach from the Pier before Karen. Scary, right?

Something else this fall in Florida...

We're upping Bailey's weight loss program. She's lost quite a bit of weight since we moved. She's been getting daily walks in the evening once the pavement has cooled off and with the weight loss, she's been more playful and moves around more easily. She seems to have reached a plateau though, so now I'm walking her in the mornings before it gets too hot. She's not enthusiastic about this additional walk. I have to constantly encourage her to keep going after about 15 minutes. I even let her take a break at the bay. We have a fishing dock in the neighborhood that is on the banks of the East Bay. It's really very lovely. Still, after that first 15 minutes, it's a chore to keep her going. I'm hoping that with repetition, she'll start to enjoy the additional walk instead of acting like I'm punishing her.

View from the dock as Bailey and I relaxed during our walk.


Lastly, the Mister signed us up to go to the Marine Corps Ball this November. The jury is still out on whether or not I'm going. He has to. The only reason I even considered going this year (the last ball I attended was in 1998) is that it's supposed to be at a really nice resort-type place in Destin, FL. I, like Bailey, have gained some poundage. I have to tell you. Using this blog and my social media peeps as a support system for keeping up with diet and exercise was a dismal failure. You people sort of suck at it. Anyway, shoving myself into a muumuu isn't my idea of fun. However, if I can find a dress that isn't muumuu-like, and I don't look like a stuffed sausage in it, I'll go. I don't like the idea of the ball to begin with. It's a bunch of adults going to prom. It isn't dignified. And it's also a thinly veiled excuse to get drunk at the prom like you couldn't necessarily do in high school. It's annoying.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Today, It's Games


This is a subject that has annoyed me for many years. First of all, I’d just like to say…How very easy and convenient it must be for people to be able to lay the blame for mental illness and/or a lack of parenting and/or a lack of personal responsibility on the doorstep of video games. It takes a severe lack of imagination, or at least a good imagination, to use video games, television, and movies as an explanation for why people do dumb things.

Anyway…

Video Game Addiction

 I’d like to open my topic by saying that I am by no means, an expert clinician on mental illness. I only have my familial experiences and examples to go by. Haha. I kid.  Sort of. My undergrad is in English and I only took intro to psychology. Still, I would like to claim a sort of expert-ship when it comes to gaming. I’ve been playing video games since the original Atari. I even played the black and white Pong but I think that was a little after it was initially introduced. I played The Oregon Trail in elementary school on a Commodore 64. I’ve played games on every Playstation console and almost every Nintendo console. I admit to never having had a Sega or Xbox though. I put my foot down against the Xbox because we already had a Wii and the PS3. I also game on a PC, Mac, iPod/phone, and iPad as well. Suffice it to say, I’ve been playing video games the majority of my life. I still play some sort of game at least once a week and participate in the gaming world via Twitter and blogs. Yup. I’m a geek or nerd or whatever you want to call it. I am joined by millions. We are legion. Deal with it.

I’ve played a variety of games from first person shooters to MMO fantasy games to platform games to simulation games to role playing games. I’ve even played a few sports games even though I’m not a sports fan. I can’t think of a genre of video game that I haven’t played or at least tried. AND LO AND BEHOLD!!! I’ve never felt compelled to get a gun and kill actual people. I've never gone on a hunt for elves or gnomes. I have also never developed a gaming compulsion.

I’ve known people that have had a compulsion to play video games. All of them have said that their compulsion had roots in another problem or issue in their life. For instance, one person said that his/her gaming compulsion stemmed from issues with his/her father (this person was 19 at the time of their gaming affliction). The game became a place to hide, a place to avoid confronting the real problem. Another person said that they had a generally addictive personality. Video games weren’t the first, nor were they the last, addiction that this person had to overcome.

I have to say that I’ve never known someone who translated actions in a game to real life like the criminals we’ve been hearing about in the news. Most people understand that something that is animated, such as video games, isn’t real and isn’t an example by which to live their lives.

How many millions of people who play video games every day and aren’t criminals are there versus the people that play video games and have committed violent crimes because of them?

I’m not saying that there are not inappropriate games, at least in my subjective opinion, out there. Personally, for my family, Grand Theft Auto and all of its incarnations, aren’t allowed in our home. You know why? Because the Mister and I actively parent our children. Still, offensive, objectionable, unacceptable, inappropriate, are all subjective words. What I call offensive someone else might not and vice versa.

I’m also not saying that in some instances, video games cannot play a part in the motivation behind a violent crime. But I am saying, in my inexpert psychological opinion, that even if games have been part of the drive behind a crime, that it is only one piece of a diverse and complicated puzzle. People that have the ability to pick up a gun and kill innocent strangers have way more complicated problems than the video games that they play or the movies that they watch.

My point being is that of all the people that I have known of that have had addictive issues with video games have all had other underlying personality flaws and/or mental instability(s) and/or social issues. They have all said that if it hadn’t been video games, it would have been something else. These people had the ability to take personal responsibility for their actions despite everything else they had to deal with which is more than you can say about most people. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, we are a society full of people with an inability to take personal responsibility for our actions and pass the blame off onto someone or something else. Today, it’s video games, yesterday it was guns, who knows what it will be tomorrow. How about we all take an old fashioned look at our values and personal ethics for a change. If you think I'm wrong, some of my opinions here are supported by someone who is an expert. Read this article on video game addiction/compulsion.

It would be a breath of fresh air if people could demonstrate that they possess common sense. And I’m not talking about the criminals here.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Still Get the Tingles (and other stuff)

Maybe it's because he had 24 hour duty and had to work the next day, but I've been especially loving my husband the last couple days. He called me this morning. He was just driving from point A to B on base and had a couple minutes to talk. That he called me "just because" made me all melty. I love that man.

Just so you know:  Duty and the next day of work equated to him being at work from 6:30 am Tuesday until leaving work at 3:30'ish Wednesday. Including drive time, he worked a straight 35 hours and was awake for 40 hours straight. I don't know how he did it. Also, just so you know, his car has the built in hands free deal for his cell phone.

Enough sappy stuff...

Breaking Bad


I've recently become a Breaking Bad fan. This came about because of Michael Symon's Facebook feed, lol. He can't say enough good things about this show and all his effusive gushing made me curious. I started watching it on Netflix and was immediately hooked. It is such a compelling drama with Dexter-like characters where you really like them but know you shouldn't because they do pretty horrible things. I went on a Breaking Bad binge and finished watching the first four seasons plus the first eight of season five on Netflix. Then I hit the rest with OnDemand and I'm all caught up now. I get to finish out the series by watching them on Sunday's with all the rest of you schmucks. Ugh!!!

I would say that this show is in the top five favorite dramas of all time for me. I told the Mister that last night and he said, "Even more than Dexter?" I had to say yes because Dexter, while one of my favorite shows, probably in the top ten, has had its bumps in the road. It's like Chris Hardwick said on one of the Talking Bad sessions (sorry, don't remember which one), Breaking Bad has never had a bad episode. Most shows always have one or two episodes that make you feel like they were written simply to get you from the episode previous to the one following but every episode of Breaking Bad has been a nail biter and has had an, "Oh shit! Did that really happen??" moment. In my opinion, this final season of Breaking Bad is just as good as the first or any, really, of the previous four. How many shows can you say that about?

On the one hand, I'm sad that I came into this series in its last season. On the other, it was a great ride to be able to watch the first four seasons successively and at an obsessive pace, lol. Especially considering that this series has mid-season hiatuses. Yuck.

Next up, Sons of Anarchy. I have to be honest and tell you that I have my doubts about this show despite the hype. So far, I've only watched the pilot, but it didn't hold my attention all that well. I also have an extremely hard time believing Katy Sagal in this role. I can't get past seeing her as Peg Bundy despite the fact that I hated Married with Children and didn't watch that show. Still, I'm going to give this show a fair shake because the Mister said I would like it and I keep seeing people rave about it on Facebook.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Dress for Success

United States Department of Education

 As many of my faithful are aware, we have lived all over the United States. As of this last move, my kids have attended schools in four different states. Between the two of them, they have attended 14 different schools. As a result, we are familiar with how different schools are run in different areas of the United States and in different school districts. All of them have had their good points and their bad points. None have been completely awful, although the Youngest Child's second elementary school in North Carolina came pretty close, and none have been completely great.

Every time we enter a different school, even if it's just been the transition from elementary to middle or middle to high school, we have had to learn all the new rules and policies. A learning curve, getting aclimatized to a new school environment, is something that all schools have in common.

What I Liked and Didn't Like


I want to briefly touch on one thing I did and didn't like about schools in each state.

California:  

Like:  I liked that the Oldest Child's high school allowed them to have coffee. I know. So what? But I thought that was very California. When we moved here to Florida, she was shocked that kids aren't allowed to have any drinks outside of the cafeteria except for water, lol.

Didn't Like:  The lack of boundaries. All the schools my kids attended had a dress code of some kind or another. Did they enforce it? Not that I could tell. Driving my kids to and from school every day, I saw what kids were wearing. Some of the outfits looked like they were hitting a club, not going to school. It was pretty appalling.

Vermont:

Like:  Almost everything. They only attended one school in Vermont and we loved it. Something that I really liked about it was that they strictly enforced having nutritional food at lunch and even at classroom parties. You weren't allowed to bring cakes and cookies and chips at all. Even at Halloween, kids weren't allowed to bring a piece of Halloween candy in their lunchboxes.

Didn't Like:  I didn't like having to park my car and walk into the school and sign my kids out at the end of every day. I understand the reasoning behind it, but in the middle of freaking winter, parking at the back of the lot and then tramping through several feet of snow (and then inches of mud in the spring) was a pain. They needed a different system.

North Carolina:

Like:  We had good experiences at almost all the schools in NC. We went through two elementary schools and one junior high. The first elementary school was excellent. What I liked about all the schools was that they taught the kids manners. All the kids had to address their teaches as "yes, ma'am" and "no sir". It's not such a bad habit to instill in kids.

Didn't Like:  The second elementary school was very bad about overlooking bullying. This resulted in pulling the Youngest Child (the Oldest was at the junior high) and homeschooling her.

Florida:


Like:  I know it's way early to decide how we feel about the schools here, so I'm sure I'll be altering my opinions at some point. However, I like that the schools here enforce the dress code. I think that it shows that they have standards and will most likely enforce other school rules as well.

Don't Like:  The dress code. What? Yeah. I like that they have and enforce a dress code. However, there are so many rules and it's so strict that they may as well utilize school uniforms.

School Uniforms

School Uniforms

My kids have attended schools that had a school uniform policy and one school that had a pseudo-uniform policy.

School uniforms consisted of tan, navy blue, or white, collared shirts, sweaters, and slacks and skirts and belts. I'm not sure about shorts, but they should allow some type of shorts for hotter climates. Anyway, I thought they were cute. The good:  It was super easy buying school clothes, you didn't have to worry about violating the dress code, it was easy getting ready for school because you didn't have to figure out what you were wearing. The bad:  Kids grow and it's really hard to find school uniform items in the middle of the school year. It can cost parents more money because you have to buy both uniforms and "street" clothes.

Pseudo-uniforms consisted of:  collared, polo-type shirts, button-down shirts, conservative jeans (no holes, rips, stains, and they had to be worn at the natural waist), and belts had to be worn. I think this is a good compromise to school districts that are afraid to adopt a school uniform policy. And I truly think it's fear that keeps them from doing so and not anything else. School uniforms are often the unpopular choice despite the fact that they are usually the best choice. JMO. Anyway, this school's dress code policy was clear, concise, and applied to both girls and boys. I really think that's key, by the way. I think all school dress code policies are more complicated and pickier when it comes to girls versus the rules that apply to boys' clothes. Boys are basically allowed to wear whatever they want to so long as their jean aren't worn at the knees and their underwear isn't on display for all to be offended. Do boys get measured for shirts and shorts?

Dress Code

I was called into school today to bring the Oldest Child alternative clothes because the dress she wore violated the dress code. It was too short. They actually measured. I work from home, so I saw her this morning and approved what she was wearing. In fact, she has worn this dress to this school before with no problem. Today, they decided that it wasn't appropriate. And they actually measure! This seems very 1950's to me. They also measure the width of shoulder straps on shirts and blouses.

Consistency is an issue. How are kids to understand the respect rules if they are arbitrarily enforced? I don't expect one faculty member to keep one set of eyes on a couple thousand kids every day. However, she has six or seven different classes every day, so why didn't at least one teacher notice her dress the first day that she wore it?

Being 17, she has given her dad and me more than our fair share of teen angst to deal with over the last three years. However, dressing provocatively has never been something we've butted heads over. She has a couple pairs of shorts that I think are a bit too short, but I bought them, so what can I say? And do you know how hard it is to find shorts for teenaged girls of a decent length that aren't old lady long (no offense old ladies)? Most of my girls' shorts are too short for school. Most days, they have to wear either capris or jeans. Not a big deal in most areas, but it's still 90 degree here with the heat index in the 100s. That's really hot and uncomfortable to be wearing jeans.

All I'm saying is, if the school's dress code policy is so strict that it's uniform-like, they may as well make the unpopular decision of having school uniforms. At least then, girls could wear skirts and boys could possibly wear shorts. I already have to buy the girls two sets of clothes:  Dress code appropriate for school and regular teenaged kid appropriate for nights, weekends, and holidays.

What is considered conservative and appropriate is a relative thing. It varies by region in the United States and by state and school district and more specifically, person to person. I think my girls dress nicely. Their asses don't hang out the bottom of their shorts and their boobs aren't falling out the top of their shirts. They don't show a lot of skin. They don't wear all black (not that there's anything specifically wrong with that). They don't wear clothing with hate messages, drugs, or curse words written on them. They don't wear clothes that show their underwear. The Oldest Child's dress this morning was a mint green, knit type deal with capped sleeves and a square neckline. It looks very sweet on her. It being too short didn't even cross my mind. My idea of modest and appropriate is probably different from the next parent's idea and this is where a clear cut dress code or school uniforms should come into play.

All I ask for is some common sense and consistency when it comes to school dress code policies. I don't appreciate being called to take my daughter clothes in the middle of the work day. Or more accurately, right when I was getting into my morning work groove. The dress code here is so confusing and has so many different layers to it that the Youngest Child actually has anxiety issues about her clothes. She has clothes in her closest that she's never worn, clothes we bought for back to school, because she's been sticking with what she's previously worn that haven't gotten her into trouble. That, ladies and gentlemen, is pretty ridiculous. Amiright?

This time, the Oldest Child didn't get into trouble for violating the dress code because 1.) It's the beginning of the school year and 2.) She's new and 3.) It's her first infraction. The next time, she'll get an in school suspension.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

August Challenge, Day 24: Learn About Something New

I actually looked this up today because it's been bothering me for a couple weeks now. You know when you get eyelid twitches? Those little muscle spasms that are just plain annoying? Well, the following are possible causes:

  1. Tiredness
  2. Stress
  3. Too much caffeine or alcohol
  4. Eye strain
  5. Dry eye
  6. Nutritional imbalance 
  7. Allergies
I'm figuring the cause of my continued annoyance is stress which has led to insomnia and thus, tiredness. I haven't had any changes in my diet. It could possibly be eye strain and dry eye but I've never had eye spasms coincide with those before. Lastly, my allergies have been much better since we moved so I don't think that's it either.

Treatment (via www.nlm.nih.gov)

  1. Get more sleep
  2. Drink less caffeine
  3. Lubricate your eyes with eye drops
Helpful, right? Get more sleep, hehehehe.

P.S.

Yesterday's challenge prompt, "spend $5 or less" was impossible. Did you see my favorite shopping sites? I went to Ulta today and spent an embarassing amount of money. I don't think anything was under $5. Anywhooooo.....

If you'd like to jump in and participate in this blogging challenge, please visit Natalie Grueninger's blog for prompts. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

August Challenge, Day 22: My Favorite Online Shopping Sites

I think shopping online can be just as fun as shopping in person. I also think that I tend to spend more shopping online than I do in person because I don't feel the pressure and anxiety in my home that I do in the stores. Still, there are just some things that you can't or shouldn't shop for online. Shoes by a brand you've never worn before, for instance. You can never be sure of shoe sizes. You also shouldn't shop for makeup online unless you are willing to be adventurous when it comes to colors. I recently bought some lip gloss that looked like it was a coral color online but when it arrived, it was gold. Gold, gold. Luckily, though, it was sheer enough that I can wear it over lipstick or blend it with another gloss for shimmer. You gotsta be flexible when shopping online. You should always check the return/exchange policy of a retailer before shopping online.

And seriously. Is there anything better than getting packages in the mail?


These are my favorite online shopping websites, in no particular order:

  1. Ulta. I love Ulta. I spend waaaay too much money at Ulta. I love the ease of earning points there too. I almost always have points that are ready to be redeemed.
  2. Barnes and Noble. Duh. Do I own all the books ever printed? Umm, no. B&N is probably my top, #1 favorite place to shop. I luuurrrve my books. I'm a member there also and it's probably the longest membership I've ever had anywhere, store or otherwise.
  3. Nordstrom. They have such good deals in their online sale section. I shop at Nordstrom online every Christmas.
  4. I'm not sure if this one counts, but I love iTunes. I don't even have an iPhone anymore, but I remain loyal to iTunes. They just have a better selection of apps, music, and TV and movies than the Google Play Store does, IMO. I am, in fact, shopping for music there right now. 
  5. Smashbox.  Another favorite makeup website. I earn points there too. And they always have some great deal going on. I may need a makeup intervention.
I can't think of anymore places that I shop online at right now. And I know there are more. I get my credit card number stolen from online shopping more than anyone that I know. It doesn't stop me though. How dumb am I?


If you'd like to jump in and participate in this blogging challenge, please visit Natalie Grueninger's blog for prompts.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

August Challenge, Day 21: My 21st Year


The prompt says to share pictures and stories from the year we were 21. All of my photos are still in boxes and I'm not entirely sure where those boxes are right now, so no photos. Sorry.

The year I turned 21, we were, ironically enough, living here in Florida. I don't think we did all that much to actually celebrate my birthday. We were all kinds of broke during that time in our lives. We had a two year old, the Mister's rank was still mostly nothing, and on my 21st birthday, I found out I was expecting our Youngest child. We were also all kinds of young and ignorant. But you know what? That was one of the best years that I can remember. The time that we spent in Florida was full of friends and parties and the beach and making good memories even without money. 

That was also the year that I experienced my first hurricane. It was only a category one and I don't remember its name. Cat 1 hurricanes are just intense rain storms. No biggie. There were also several tropical depressions and storms that summer but I only remember them as rain.

In September, I moved back to Ohio with the Oldest child because the Mister had moved from Pensacola to Jacksonville on orders and we couldn't go with him. It was decided that I didn't need to be alone and pregnant in Florida.

In February, the Youngest child was born. The highlight of my 21st year.

In April, at the very first minute that the Youngest child was allowed to fly, the girls and I moved out to San Diego, where the Mister was now stationed, to live. Thus began our almost five year stint in California.

My 21st year was pretty full all in all. Lots of relocating, lots of excitement. It's certainly a year that I'll never forget.

If you'd like to jump in and participate in this blogging challenge, please visit Natalie Grueninger's blog for prompts.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

August Challenge, Day 20: Three Smells That Bring Back Memories

I realize that I fell off the wagon several days back. I've had some personal stuff going on. Oh wells. I thought about going back and playing catch up but decided not to because it would just be a post dump that I don't think would be all that interesting to read. I'm going with today's prompt and you all can just pretend that you read the previously missed days. So there.

Lakeside, CA 2003
 One smell that brings back memories is the smell of wood smoke. For a while, every time I smelled smoke, I'd run to the window and check the sky for signs of a brush fire. This was due to living through the 2003 California wildfires. When we moved back to California, I was pretty paranoid about fires for probably the first year or so. Then we bought a fire pit for our backyard and started re-associating that smell with good memories of s'mores, wine, and good times instead of bad. Even today, when I smell smoke, my first reaction is to check the skies but I don't immediately panic anymore. Plus, we've gotten so much rain this summer that it'd be pretty impossible for NW Florida to have out of control wild fires. We're much more likely to drown.


Another smell is the corn silk. It was so funny...On our drive from CA to FL, we saw corn fields in either Arizona or New Mexico. I don't remember which. But, it was so out of place. It was entirely weird to see so much corn in the desert. Then, the Mister and I sort of looked at each other and then cracked the windows just to see. And yep, we could smell the corn silk on the freeway. A smell that we both associate with growing up in Ohio. It was kinda neat to smell that familiar smell so far away and in such an alien-type of place. The smell of corn silk and soy beans will always remind me of hot summers in Ohio.

The smell of a ham or turkey roasting will forever remind me of the holidays, no matter what time of year I smell it. I'd say about 90% of my holiday memories are good ones so roasting turkeys and hams are a gooooooood smell. I suppose you could add in the smell of pine from a fresh cut Christmas tree too. And pumpkin pie spices. Man! I'm looking forward to the holidays this year, lol.



If you'd like to jump in and participate in this blogging challenge, please visit Natalie Grueninger's blog for prompts.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

August Challenge, Day 12: Ghost Story


 Yes, I believe in ghosts. Not yours, mind you, but the experiences with the unexplained that I've had personally. I may believe in ghosts, but I still only believe in the things that I've seen, heard, or felt myself. I believe I've told all my ghost stories in previous posts. We haven't had any unexplained encounters since living in California the first time. I've always considered this ironic because the house we had in CA was only about 20 years old at the time whereas we lived in a 200 year old house in Vermont that had a basement so scary that we all refused to go down in it. I mean, dirt floors and 200 year old slate foundation people.

Anyway, my favorite ghost story to tell is the one with the broken bowl. Up to this point, we had experienced some weird stuff in our townhouse but it was pretty basic like lights turning on and off on their own. This story happened at about 2 am. The Mister and I were sound asleep as were both of the girls who were just tots at the time. We were suddenly woken up by this loud bang and then as we were laying there trying to figure out what the hell, we hear water trickling. I hit the Mister and tell him to get up and turn on the light. There was no way I was leaving the safety of my covers.

He hits the light and we can see that a floating candle bowl we had sitting on our dresser was broken. The trickling water noise was the water from the bowl draining off the dresser and onto the floor. This bowl was made of thick glass and it was fairly new. There was no reason that it should have just spontaneously broken into two clean pieces in the middle of the night. And it was two clean pieces of broken bowl with no shards.  Then there was the loud bang of it being broken, like it had been hit or dropped onto the dresser.

This incident, added in with all the other unexplained stuff that occurred during the four+ years we lived in this house, is why I believe in ghosts.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

August Challenge, Day 11: Earliest Memory

My earliest memories occur at a time when I'd probably have been better off being too young to remember stuff. I'll fast forward to the second grade when I was seven.

My teacher, Miss Richards, was one of the most popular teachers at Indian Mound Elementary School. Our school had two teachers in each grade so you had a 50/50 chance of getting the teacher that you really wanted each year. Lucky me, I got Miss Richards and was thrilled. I'm not sure what it was about her that I liked more than the other second grade teacher. Maybe it was because she was young and pretty. Today, I barely remember what she looked like, lol. Anyway, she had a deer antler in her classroom. Us students use to vie over the privilege of using this antler to scratch Miss Richards' back. I laugh at this now, but this is one of my most clear memories of all elementary school. One student used to stand behind her and scratch her back with this antler while she would sit and read a story to the class. How weird is that? Nowadays, I bet she wouldn't have been allowed to get away with that.

If you'd like to participate in this blogging challenge, please visit Natalie Grueninger's blog for prompts.  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

August Challenge, Day 10: Opening (Five) Lines from Five Favorite Books

This post should be titled, "Opening five lines from five favorite books on my iPad". My books are still in boxes so I'll be taking these lines from books that are on my iPad.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. "Then there was bad weather. It would come in one day when the fall was over. We would have to shut the windows in the night against the rain and the cold wind would strip the leaves from the trees in the Place Contrescarpe. The leaves lay sodden in the rain and the wind drove the rain against the big green autobus at the terminal and the Cafe des Amateurs was crowded and the windows misted over from the heat and smoke inside. It was a sad, evilly run cafe where the drunkards of the quarter crowded together and I kept away from it because of the smell of dirty bodies and the sour smell of the drunkenness."

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson. "Call me Ishmael. I won't answer to it, because it's not my name, but it's much more agreeable than most of the things I've been called. "Call me 'that-weird-chick-who-says-"fuck"-a-lot'" is probably more accurate, but "Ishmael" seems classier, and it makes a way more respectable beginning than the sentence I'd originally written, which was about how I'd just run into my gynecologist at Starbucks and she totally looked right past me like she didn't even  know me. And so I stood there wondering whether that's something she does on purpose to make her clients feel less uncomfortable, or whether she just genuinely didn't recognize me without my vagina. Either way, it's very disconcerting when people who've been inside your vagina don't acknowledge your existence."

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. "The leather-bound volume was nothing remarkable. To an ordinary historian, it would have looked no different from hundreds of other manuscripts in Oxford's Bodleian Libray, ancient and worn. But I knew there was something odd about it from the moment I collected it. Duke Humfrey's Reading Room was deserted on this late-September afternoon, and requests for library materials were filled quickly now that the summer crush of visiting scholars was over and the madness of the fall term had not yet begun. Even so, I was surprised when Sean stopped me at the call desk."

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  "When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim's warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping."

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. "It wasn't a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance. Mrs. Baird's was like a thousand other Highland bed-and-breakfast establishments in 1945; clean and quiet, with fading floral wallpaper, gleaming floors, and a coin-operated hot-water geyser in the lavatory. Mrs. Baird herself was squat and easygoing, and made no objection to Frank lining her tiny rose-sprigged parlor with the dozens of books and papers with which he always traveled.
     I met Mrs. Baird in the front hall on my way out. She stopped me with a pudgy hand on my arm and patted at my hair."

There you have it. I tried to pick a variety of fun-ish-type books. Yeah. I consider Hemingway to be fun. Geez. Oh. And sorry for the f-bomb but it wasn't necessarily out of my mouth since I was quoting from Jenny Lawson's book.

If you'd like to participate in this blogging challenge, please visit Natalie Grueninger's blog for prompts.  

Friday, August 09, 2013

August Challenge, Day 9: A Regret

What's the saying about you haven't lived if you don't have regrets? Or something to that effect. I can't really think of anything that I would consider to be a huge regret but rather I have lots of small regrets.

  • I regret not getting out more while we lived in San Diego. Both times. We passed up a lot of hiking opportunities, great restaurants, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah. 
  • There are so many times in my life where I kept quiet where I wish that I hadn't. 
  • I regret not taking more video and pictures of my kids when they were little. I have lots of pictures but hardly any video and no matter how many pictures I have, they still aren't enough. Kids grow up so darned fast.
This is depressing. I'm done.


Thursday, August 08, 2013

August Challenge, Day 8: A Guilty Pleasure

I actually have a couple different guilty pleasures. I think everyone should have at least two guilt pleasures. It makes life fun and it's something that you can keep a mystery or be completely, flamboyantly, unashamed about.


I'll start off with reading. I like to read what can only be termed as "trashy" novels. Think, Laurell K. Hamilton and Kresley Cole. Why not? They're fun, entertaining stories and a great way to lose yourself and leave reality behind for a little while. That's what all guilty pleasures should do, be an escape in some way or another. I also like to lose myself in steamy romances. When I pick these types of books up, I'm not looking for historical accuracy, existentialism, or deep-thinking philosophical tomes. Fun times, end of story.

Next, I have a love of science fiction/fantasy/paranormal. Not just in books either. TV, movies, games, and even comics, which I guess is considered literature too. Again, it's about transporting yourself to another world and considering alternate possibilities. Did you know, when zombies gain popularity in a society it coincides with a general dislike and distrust of their society's current state, politics, etc.? I would say that's about right.

Lastly, cosmetics. I've always liked makeup and nail polish since I was a little girl. As an adult, I don't leave the house without my face on, or as the Mister calls it, my war paint. When I'm depressed or even if I'm sick, going through the ritual of putting on my makeup and taking the time to look human makes me feel better. That being said, recently, I've become obsessed with Ulta, Urban Decay, Smash Box, Essie, Butter, Stila, Laura Geller, OMG!! I'm getting excited just thinking about it. My makeup collection has gotten to the point where I've had to come up with new ways of storing and organizing it. I've also had to make myself stick to a monthly makeup allowance or my spending gets out of control. If you've ever wondered what to get me for a present, a gift card to Ulta would make me swoon.

What are your guilty pleasures? Don't be shy!!

If you'd like to participate in this blogging challenge, please visit Natalie Grueninger's blog for prompts.  

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

August Challenge, Day 7: Five Songs That Bring Back Memories

OMG!! This is a hard one, picking just five. I love music and always associate many memories with different songs and artists.




Wowsa. He's kinda good looking, right?



Almost anything in the country genre will always remind me of my husband because I didn't listen to country music before we met. Specifically though, Dierks Bentley for reasons I'd rather not go into. But Dierks' music brings back memories of when the Mister was deployed to Afghanistan. You might think that it would make me sad or depressed to hear his music and think of that time, but it was actually comforting.









They Say Vision by Res will always remind me of the time we lived in San Diego the first go around. I used to blast that song on my car radio with the windows down and the AC on full while cruising Lakeside. I love the upbeat rhythms. This song always puts me in a good mood.













I love this album cover.

 Don't Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult reminds me of Ohio. When the Mister was in boot camp, I used to make the hour and a half drive between my dad's house and my mom's house quite a bit. Or maybe this was while he was in MOS school. Anyway, that song seemed to always get played on the classic rock stations during the drive and any time that I hear it, that's what I think about.








Aberdeen is off of Cage's sophomore album.





Aberdeen by Cage the Elephant. This song will always bring back memories of driving my kids to school the last time we lived in San Diego. Alphabetically, it's the first song on my iPod. When I plug it in and play it through my stereo, it's always the song that comes up until I hit "random" and "next". I got really sick to death of the opening notes of that song, lol.








Anything Imagine Dragons, Muse, Of Monsters and Men, The Lumineers, M83, Atlas Genius, and lots of other alternative played on XM's Alt Nation channel the past couple months will always remind me of this last time in San Diego. We hardly ever listen to anything else when we're in the Mister's car. Mine doesn't have XM, lol. But he doesn't have a harness for his iPod like I do in mine so it all works out, heheheh.

If you'd like to participate in this blogging challenge, please visit Natalie Grueninger's blog for prompts.  

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

August Challenge, Day 6: A Favorite Quote and Why It's Special



I've never been much for inspirational quotes. I like quotes that are funny and sarcastic. That's just my nature. I've always like Oscar Wilde's, "Friends may come and go but enemies accumulate." How true, right? And look as his picture? Doesn't he just look like the kind of guy that would say that? What an arrogant ass. He's one of my favorite authors though. He also has quite a few quotes that I find funny and appropriate.


If you'd like to participate in this blogging challenge, please visit Natalie Grueninger's blog for prompts. 

Monday, August 05, 2013

August Challenge, Day 5: Something You Wish You Did Really Well

In no particular order...


This may seem weird. Why would anyone aspire to clean? But I wish I was one of those people that keep their house clean 24/7/365. If I lived alone, my house would be clean. I get sick to death of cleaning up after people all the time. Yeah. I wish I were a better cleaner.


I wish I could play a musical instrument. Any intrument really, but I lean more towards the piano. I love music and have always wished that I could play an instrument and hear the kind of music I wanted to hear, played the way I wanted it played, whenever I was in the mood. 



I wish that I was a better writer. More, I wish I was a talented writer.

It's good to have aspirations I guess. ;)

If you'd like to participate in this blogging challenge, please visit Natalie Grueninger's blog for prompts.