Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's 7:34 a.m. CST. Do you know where your mind is?

Dear Reader,

How I have longed to share with you some important news. I finally am able to do so today.

Wiley and I are moving to Virginia at the end of this month. That's right, Bloomington will be on the list of places we've lived, and we continue our journey on the border with West Virginia. Wiley got a fantastic job at a university, and we move at the end of this month. I gave my notice at work on Thursday, and have been uber-busy since then showing the apartment, baking, and traveling to Chicago to see friends and go to the Christmas market.

Leaving Bloomington is bittersweet. We have friends here that we won't see very often. We have a baby we've watched grow from a little sleeping lump to an interactive little guy who is less and less fussy when we see him. I leave a job without having another to replace it. But mountains are waiting! New things to explore! Hiking! Maybe less snow (which I'm not sure is a good thing because I do like it a bit chilly)! Washington DC is two hours away! The coast is two hours away! Did I mention mountains?

The timing, unfortunately, couldn't be worse. I can't unpack Christmas decorations because I just have to pack them up again! We're going to Arkansas for the holiday and then two days later will attempt a move. Our apartment in Bloomington may go unrented, which is very scary paying for two rents that are expensive. But all of these things will pass. I'll find work doing something, and maybe it'll be something I really enjoy that is right now unexpected. Who knows what this move will bring?

Right now, I'm in Chicago, and I'll be heading out to shop soon (more like window-shop, but I'm getting some exercise). And tomorrow, I get to meet Logtar and his wife for the first time face to face! Logtar and I have read each other's blogs for awhile now, and I can count on him to give an honest comment, which is appreciated, and his writing is introspective, which I find fascinating for a guy to do. I'm very excited!!

And while people have counseled against it, I think I need to change the blog name. If I lose people in the move, then I guess I'll lose people in the move, but dangit, it's misleading, and I miss Sarajevo alot, but I'm just not there right now. Soooooo, if you have any ideas about a new blog name, let me know. (Cara, I'm looking at you - you have such good names for things!)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Moving on Up.

Changes to be made to the little site soon, and then I think I shall be posting a bit more on an array of topics.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I win.

Got my butt up at 3:10 this morning, headed out at 4 am with my warm Glogg in my thermos (like the smell of coffee, hate the taste) to grab my friend, and 45 minutes later, we were in Greenwood at the mall. My timing was off just a bit, as I thought that while the mall would be open at 5, most stores would still be closed until 6. Imagine my surprise when I turn the corner and find the entire parking lot littered with cars. Last night, friends made fun of me for getting up so early and dealing with the throngs of people, but really, it wasn't too bad except in Bath and Body Works, where the B&B Babies didn't know how to snake a line so people kept cutting and 30 minutes later, we finally got to the register. All in all, it was a good time - I got the gifts I needed and hardly any money spent due to returning some other items. And I'd much rather get going early in the morning than go later in the afternoon. By 9:15, which is when we left the mall to come home, walking through the mall was treacherous.

My rules of Black Friday are as follows and I quote:

"No Wal Mart."

"No Best Buy."

"Don't buy crap you don't need just because it's on sale."

Monday, November 16, 2009

For Pom.

Ok, here I am, updating a blog that hardly anyone reads anymore because I don't post anymore. It kinda feels like the chicken and the egg merry-go-round.

Well, let's see. Pom said to write about the mundane, or take an adventure, so...Wiley has a job interview tomorrow at a university. Tonight we tried to figure out how to fold a suit jacket so it would be as little wrinkled as possible.

Yeah. Right.

I have started two part-time is helping out a friend with some marketing things, and the other is being an admin assistant to an older guy who doesn't want to retire. Last weekend I spent some time typing up his original war letters from 1944. Right now, we're in the jungle of New Guinea and the military men only get 1 candle at a time. Being the entrepreneur that he was, my guy got the melted wax from all the other guys in the unit and melted it all together, stuck some rope in for wicks, and put a metal can behind it to make it quite bright. He has a beautiful house, and in addition to being smart, he's pretty nice. He hired me because of my wit, he said. "You hear something, and then you take it and kick it back out in an unusual way," he said. So far, so good. In addition to typing, I also am a bit of maid. I cook breakfast and lunch and clean up the house a bit. Unfortunately, he doesn't care one bit that I hate fish of any kind, and on three occasions now, I've had to cook some sort of fish, or at the very least, prepare it. Smoked salmon with crackers. Sardines with crackers. Fish soup. Gag gag gag.

The most fun thing lately is taking care of friends' 2.75 month old baby for the past month or so. Usually just once a week, Baby Boy and I get together at his crankiest time and figure out how long I can keep him from crying. Wiley also helps most days. Sunday was difficult, though - I was all alone, and everything was going swell until his nap time before bedtime. Before I knew it, he was inconsolable, and for 14 minutes, I held him, changed his diaper, made sure he wasn't too hot or cold, tried to use a pacifier, and came to the realization that he just needed to tire himself out. Into the swing he went, and after 1 good suck on the pacifier, was out for about 35 minutes. Then, he was happy to coo until bathtime, when he screamed again (Mommy said it was her ice cold hands).

So cross your fingers that Wiley comes home with good news! That's all for now Pom!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Howdy Stranger.

What a busy time this has been. Wiley and I moved into a townhome, did I tell you this, Dear Reader? We are no longer renting our friends' house with our friends' possessions still in it. This townhome we have rented has only OUR belongings in it, and it makes me so happy. So happy that I can even deal with evil college students who don't know how to shut up because their neighbors have ears.

A friend had a baby, and I've gotten to spend time with the little one. The day after he was born, we went to the hospital, and he cried like a little donkey. It was darling. Well, now he's got some lungs, and it's slightly less darling, though I understand that you just want to figure out what they're trying to tell you. I'm told the feeding is touch and go, so some days are better than others, but hopefully he'll get the hang of it soon or else my friend's twins are going to fall off. They were told not to introduce a bottle until after a month of feeding, which to me sounds awful for them. Syringe feeding so there's no nipple confusion? Gack.

This could be one reason I'm not a mother.

But in light of that, the baby is doing well. This weekend is a baby shower, and I made the diaper cake and fondant for the shower cake. Fondant is sticky business. The premade stuff tastes rather awful, but if you make it from scratch, it's much's still powdered sugar, but with a hint of almond, it brightens it up. Working with fondant could turn out to be a disaster, as this will be the first time I use fondant on a cake. I know, I know, I should practice, but I am baked out. In addition to the fondant, I made pumpkin cupcakes with cream-cheese frosting and peanut butter cup cookies for the holiday weekend. I got good marks from people on both counts. But that also means I'm not interested in baking until later in the week, and I also find that sometimes on the first try, I do really well, and then the second time, it's a disaster. So while I've made the cake and the buttercream icing before, and know that will be fine, then I'll see how the fondant does. If it doesn't work, I can always take it off and make some more buttercream icing. I'm not worried except I still need to figure out the shape. For a planner, it's not really like me to wait until a few days before something is due to decide.

But this is what I call "living a little".

And hooray, it's fall!!!

Friday, August 14, 2009


Nothing about ketchup, sorry, but instead a post to catch-up.

Wiley and I are moved into our own living space...still renting, but everything inside is ours. No more three kitchen tables, two couches and two pianos. No, Dear Reader, it's a treadmill, a couch, a chair, and an ottoman! With 1 dining room table! And some end tables! It's marvelous. Our two-bedroom townhome is close to work so I can walk on the days it's not too hot (oh yes, I will drive .5 miles to work; I've done it, and I'm ok with it). It's on the busline so Wiley can bus it to school when it's rainy. The walls don't seem to be too thin, though we live next to unknowns on one side and an Indian couple on the other. I'm tempted to ask them to come over and make Indian food with us, as we are big fans, though Wiley makes a wonderful coconut curry chicken already.

So the move went smoothly, with A Better Way Moving and Storage loading us up and unloading us at the new place. No scratches, no dings, nothing broken, and all in less than 2 hours. Couldn't have been more beautiful. We thought we lost 3 books and a vacuum cleaner attachment, but all of those items showed up yesterday as we went through our unpacked bins for the third time. As students move in for the year, I'm sure my rosy glasses will become a bit more purple when it comes time to fight for parking spaces, but for this weekend at least, I will enjoy. Wiley also bought a charcoal grill/smoker and has been a caveman ever since he got it. Anytime he can, he's outside playing with his new toy. I can't complain (except he did burn the grass, and it looks a little bad) because the food he's cooked has been fantastic, and all I have to do is set the table and eat.

For one weekend, I was a kennel attendant at a local kennel. I cleaned kennels of 20 dogs, inside and out, on Saturday and Sunday, and when time allowed, I was even able to walk and romp with the dogs. Such dogs included two Great Danes (who were the best-behaved dogs of the whole group), two German shepards, a border collie, a Boston terrier, a collie/shepard mix, a St. Bernard, a Labradoodle, a Bichon Frese, two Schnauzers, a golden Retriever, and a little yellow dog that looked like a fox (bushy tail and pointy ears and just a doll). There was also a dog named Starbuck that scared me to death, so he was walked by others. Call me a coward, but when I see you foaming at the mouth when I'm trying to put water in your bowl and you're trying to chew a hole in the fence to get at me, I'm going to leave you alone. The Retriever tried to have his way with me, but I was able to fight him off by telling him to sit. The Labradoodle was impossible to put a collar on, but with the help of my boss, I got it on him, and he was just as giddy and jumpy. I'd had enough by this time and realized if I was ever going to be able to actually walk him, I'd have to show I was top dog, so I said, "Sit." Nothing happened except more bouncy. "Sit." This time, a lap around me. "SIT." He sat. And stayed sat until I said, "Ok, let's go." I patted myself on the back. Sadie, the St. Bernard, however, had a mind of her own, and refused to go back into her kennel after her walk. Tugging on a St. Bernard's collar is not going to work. Pushing on a St. Bernard's rump also has no effect. I think Sadie just got a little tired of my pleads because she finally went in after about 5 minutes of me throwing up my hands.

In addition to cleaning out the kennels, I also got to experience just what a dog feels when that door is closed because I ended up locking myself in the kennel no less than three times. I was able to get out one time, but the doors were a little stickier on the other two, so I was glad my boss was there to get me out. She said she used to do it all the time, which made me feel better.

Unfortunately, the job was short-lived, and I am not working there anymore, though I have made a new friend who shares my love of Indian food, and I'm hopeful that we will get together for lunches around the kennel schedule. When I got home, I picked up my cats and danced around the room with them, telling them how happy I was that they were little so I could pick them up and place them wherever I wanted them to be (not that they stay, but that's ok).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Moving Day is Coming.

As has become the norm in my life, I am moving. How "norm", you ask? Well, for being 32, I've moved a total of 14 times. I find it kinda funny, considering that I never thought I was one who moved a lot, like Army families.

I'm excited to move and live in a space where everything in it is mine. I am trying to be a minimalist and not have crap/clutter, but with others' belongings in the same space, that proves difficult.

The only downside is that we're still renting, and in my opinion, still throwing money away. Wiley disagrees, saying it's nice to call someone else to fix something that has broken (like the clothes dryer). In connection with that, we will be living in a complex, and you know how noisy community living can be. But I'm close enough to work to walk, and Wiley's still on the bus line, so it should all work out. And no mowing or weeding!!!

And now off-topic completely and better suited for Twitter, but I haven't made the leap yet:

Brett Favre, it's terrible that you string teams along, but really, it's what people now expect from you. I think you should have retired long ago.

Wiley and I have started watching Cake Boss on TLC. It's gotten my creative juices flowing, and I have been playing with icing and decorating with it, and I made my first fondant (guess what - the taste is actually pretty good!) in preparation of making a baby shower cake in a couple of months.

We have also been hooked on Deadliest Catch. If you haven't seen this show (and I managed to avoid it until this year), these guys are completely nutters. I can say with absolute certainty that while I like boats and I like water, this is a job I would NEVER attempt.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Basil Fingers

It's been awhile since I've posted, so this will be a bit of a mish mash because I have a little to say on a few topics.

The container garden is growing. I just picked basil and we are having it with our tomato and mozzo, called a caprese salad, I believe. It's very tasty. Yesterday, the first cucumber got picked and eaten, and it was sooo good. Tonight I cut some suckers from the tomato plants in hopes that they'll bloom more tomatoes. Right now, I have two: one marble sized, one golf sized, and one that I don't consider a tomato just yet because it's still mainly a flower.

Over the weekend, Wiley and I went to Louisville, where we met up with family and went to Churchill Downs. We won two races - right before we left. It's amazing. For only $2 and some odd change, you can bet on a horse. Or a box. And you can do this all day long. It was really fun!!! We also went to the casino, where we lost our winnings on roulette and a slot machine. I don't like the $10 minimum bet tables - you lose too much too quickly, and it's no fun. My strategy is to stand next to Wiley and tell him red or black. We found the $2.50 electronic version of roulette, where we did much better, but in the end, we still lost.

And speaking of losses, a very close friend of mine lost someone very important to her (most of you will know who I'm talking about, but that's all I'll divulge). I've been trying to be there mentally for her due to the fact that I'm so far away, but the truth is, we all grieve differently. My mother was taken from me very quickly without warning; my friend's loss was something that was foreseen awhile ago, but that doesn't make it any less painful. And the fact is, while I am empathetic, I don't know how she's feeling. So I tell her how I felt when I had to deal with this and ask if it's somewhat similar. The first year after my mom died, I felt electric, like everything was in technicolor. She passed away in February of 1994, and the cold Iowa winter was just brutal. Nothing but grey and cold. I don't remember the weather clearing up for quite some time. But I remember one day driving down Main Street and stopping for a minute to look at the sky in the spring. It was the clearest, bluesky sky I'd ever seen, and I thought with a bittersweet smile, This is the first clear day of sunshine without my mother. And that's how it went the entire first year. First prom without Mom. She'll never get to hear about my dates or fights with the steady. First spring without Mom. This is the first year that Mom won't be able to plant a garden. First concert without Mom. She's not here to hear me practice. No more swimming and laughing at Mom when she gingerly sticks a foot in the pool and decides I'm nuts for going in at 78 degrees. (Now I get it, Mom; it's too damn cold!) No senior pictures to be taken in the summer where Mom gets to say, "I like that one best" or "Your smile was too fake in that one". First fall without Mom. No funny little paper pumpkin decoration that you paperclipped together and stuck on a table. I called that period the Year of Firsts, and every time I thought about going through something without my mom in this world, it was a shock to my soul.

So for my friend who is reeling without her rudder to steady her, the only advice I can offer is that time does heal. You never really get over the grief; you make room for it in your life, and eventually, you notice that the grief gets smaller and smaller, though it will never go away completely, and it may be that 10 years down the road, you'll remember something in the middle of the grocery store that makes you start crying buckets right then and there, while people look at you like you're crazy (and not just because you have 21 items in the express lane). I was very raw for quite some time, though I held it together, missing just a week of school but still going to orchestra rehearsal everyday because that's what you do: you go on. You already know your life is changed. You can't go back to the Life Before. But that's ok because that's what happens, and is supposed to happen. Right now is just about getting through the logistics, and when you're home, it will sink in even more. And that, my friend, is when you call me and cry your little heart out because that's what I'm here for. And I'll cry right along with you because it's really hard, and though I don't know exactly what you're going through, loss, plain and simple, really, really hurts.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Happy Spring.

Wiley and I went out for a bike ride last Saturday morning and decided to bike into campus and take pictures of flowers so I can work on my skill. These were the best.

Posted by Picasa
There are actually a few more, but for whatever reason, I can't get them on the blog. So, for another 8 or so pictures, click here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

And Today's Eye Roll Goes To... states that being fat is less eco-friendly. "Thinner is better to curb global warming."

You can read the article here.

I'm already in a bad mood, but this made me even more mad. Our "models" are stick figures. I'm by no means skinny, but I know I have a problem when I see normal-sized models and think they're fat because I'm so used to seeing the skinny models that shouldn't look like a 15 year-old girl. And now we have this stupid article to hang over our heads. No, we don't already have a complex, so feel free to guilt us one more time.

You know what? There are people in the world who are fat, not because they are lazy, or because they eat too much; much of it has to do with genetics. Even when I was at my thinnest, I still had a belly. That's where my fat likes to go, first and foremost. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the gift of looking pregnant even when it isn't so. The last thing I want to read is that I'm contributing to global warming simply because I don't fit industry standards which are way out of whack. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go release my greenhouse gas.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

On Hiatus.

As it's been 3 weeks or so since my last post, I gotta say I just haven't been feeling it lately. I type a lot, which has led to the hands hurting (especially the right), so I try to give them a rest at night and stay off the computer. This in turn leads to less computer time at night, which is really the only time to blog. And if I' m being completely honest, starting this blog was a way for me to keep in touch with friends and family while I was abroad. I'm not abroad anymore. I don't have any new stories to tell you. Blogs that have a central theme are the ones that are read. My blog doesn't do that anymore. I could tell you the funny stories about my coworker's 3 year-old daughter, who took a dollar bill out of her mom's purse and stood in front of her with it in her hands, threatening to rip it if her mom said a bad word again, but those aren't my stories...maybe SHE should start a blog. My stories involve my cat gaining 1.5 pounds since being back in my care (yes, this is a good thing), or the fact that I was two inches away from hitting a stupid college student who darts out into the street like a toddler...and I know there are those "life" blogs out there, but I'm not one to share everything, especially if I think it's boring. When you're not completely anonymous, that's hard to do without taking some flak, and I don't really want to take flak. So while I won't take the blog offline completely (I still see some strangers coming to it from outer lands), I also won't be posting anything for some time. For those people who read consistently, and the e-quaintances I have with some fellow bloggers, I thank you for your attention. I'll still be keeping tabs on you.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Birthday Wishes

On a cold cold day, back in 1996, after waiting and waiting and waiting for my sister's water to break, I went home, sure I would not have a little niece until much later. Not long after I left, my sister indeed went into labor and delivered a little girl, whom I got to meet three weeks later. Today that little girl is beginning the teen years. Having gone through it myself, and having watched my eldest niece go through the years of angst, my words of wisdom are: good luck to the rest of us. Lil B, you won't have any idea what you're doing until you've done it and can laugh about it years later when you finally have the age of wisdom about you, but we will watch you now, sometimes with awe, sometimes with abject horror, and yet at other times with annoyance, but know that your family loves you underneath it all. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Embracing Fear

As I was recounting an argument had between family members to my Auntie Em, it dawned on me to go ahead and blog about it - fear.

What is fear? If you don't know, go look it up. This ain't Webster's Dictionary. And this is my blog, so don't go thinking that I'm going to give you the right answer. I'm giving you mine.

Fear, to me, is a motivator. Fear is practically my compass. That which I am afraid of, I know I must do. I don't have a fear of jumping out of airplanes, even though I've never done it. But since I don't fear it, I don't do it.

I feared leaving a stable, cushy job. So I knew I had to do it. I feared being a foreigner in a country where I didn't speak the language. That told me that that was the right decision for me. While I think I was a failure because I hardly picked up any of the language and I didn't go out very often by myself, at least I left the country for a time, which is a success.

I'm not saying I've done everything I'm afraid of. One great example is working out at a gym. I hate the gym. I went in KC for a period of time, but I can't say I enjoyed it. I always took the treadmills at the back so no one could see my rump bubbling underneath my sweats, and the weights? Forget it. So that's a fear that I have yet to reconcile long-term - I met it once, but right now, I exercise in the comfort of my own living room...kinda like you people with Wiis, but without the console. Hey, lookit that - I just justified not having to come to terms with my fear....

(Ahem, moving on.) What I find interesting is how people respond to fear. Change is constant, so you'd better get used to it, right? But what about fear? There's a lot of fear in the air these days. And how do people deal with it? A lot of people I see don't deal with it. If they're afraid to travel, they stay home. If they're afraid of their retirement (or lack thereof), they don't open up their brokerage statements. (And if you do, have a chair handy because you may faint from seeing your 401k turn into a 201k.)

I think if you aren't careful and can't deal with fear in a healthy way, it will consume you in ways you can't really see or don't notice. You may become depressed, or sleep too much, or develop ulcers. I suppose people don't deal with fear because it makes them uncomfortable, and why in the world would you want to make yourself uncomfortable, especially when you have a neighbor, a loved one, a boss, a movie, do it for you?

Because this is where growth comes from, people. When you face your fears, you build character. You stretch that courage muscle, and before long, that courage muscle will bulge because you've conquered your fears. There are some fears that you'll never get over. I will forever be a little wary of rain if I'm not on a hill ever since I lived unknowingly-but-intuitively in a flood zone. That doesn't mean I'll be living in a flood zone to face my fear. What it will mean is talking myself out of becoming worried when after 15 minutes, the water works still haven't shut off. That uncomfortable feeling will go away, but you have to acknowledge that you have it, and while you feel like heaving out your insides with a spade, rest assured that the feeling will pass. It could take awhile, but it will pass. And if you find that your fear is debilitating, for Cher's sake, go get professional help. Once I have my master's, you can come to me if you like! But don't stop living just because you're afraid. Take one step at a time to overcome your fear.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

First Post

In our household, New Year's was pretty low-key. We made food and had some friends over. At 11:46 or so, we turned on the TV, and our options were kinda limited: Carson Daly, Ryan Seacrest with Dick Clark, or Anderson Cooper with Kathy Griffin. We bounced between Ryan and Anderson.

Things I noticed:

Manhattan, KS, was shown on CNN at 2 am EST.

Apparently the 5 second delay isn't in effect anymore. Kathy Griffin got a little unruly and said something to the effect of taking a male appendage out of Anderson's mouth.

Dick Clark really shouldn't be on TV anymore. At all. He's just not the same after the stroke, and it was painful to watch.

Who the hell were all the people singing and dancing? I knew the Jonas Brothers and Fallout Boy. That was it. And what is up with fashion today, people? Solange, another singer I don't know, had this yellow crap over her eyes...looked like tape....wearing a dress that was fashioned from a garbage bag, with a green belt and blue shoes with clear stilletto heels. She looked like a train wreck. If this is what the kids are listening to, and looking up to, I never want to hear another bad word about the grunge look. At least the shirts matched the shoes.

And now, a little advice. Make a couple of goals and work on them slowly. Don't do the resolutions - you know you will break them by the end of the month. But with a goal, you can work on that and even if you take a wrong turn, it's ok because that's what happens with goals. It's easier to see when you've gone astray and then how to fix it without beating yourself up. Good luck!