Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Week Away

Christmas is in sight...and that is shocking to me. Where did the last few months go? I apologize for the lack of blogging and the lack of posting on the boards but I have been so, so busy at work. It's insane. I know I have touched on that already but it's true. I had one half day that I came up for air and didn't stay late and then still take work home. That breath of fresh air didn't last though. I'm sitting next to a copy paper box full of shit for me to work on and complete tonight. Crazy huh? I will be losing my mind for the next few weeks still.

I hope to get back here and write some more soon but...in case I don't...Have a wonderful Holiday if you are celebrating this week and safe travels to anyone heading out of town!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Is it vacation time yet? (and Xmas decor)

Work is insane right now for me. This is my busiest time of the year with pricing and such. Managing pricing and literature for 30 different lines is beyond crazy when everything is getting ready for the new year's prices. Then add in the changes to freight and you get an over-abundance of changes. Oh and then you top that with a show that you have to ship out close to 1500 collated pieces of new literature...on Thursday am. You don't even have all your pricing in, let alone new freight. Yeah. Fun times. Not.

I am thinking that I might actually be getting a grasp of my position, lol. It's taken me 9 months but I'm getting there dangit! Everyone did say it was going to take at least a year to cycle through everything and they were completely right! I've been working late everyday for over a week and I even went in on Saturday. Add in houseguests and Christmas and the like and I am beat. Simply beat.

I know that there are people out there that have even more stressful jobs than I do so I'm not really complaining...just unwinding :o)

What else have we been doing? Decorating the house Clark W. Griswald style! Oh yeah. I'm all for those gorgeous houses with all white twinkling lights and wreaths with red bows. They look beautiful. We have a house across the street from us that does that. It looks fabulous. But....that's not our style. Loud and obnoxious bold colors are what make us happy ;o) Luckily we don't have too many neighbors and they all like it. Well, one might not but I really don't give a damn because he's a jackass who leaves his dogs out all day, every day. Last year while unemployed, I got to know his schedule really well and if the weather was bad I went and brought them into our enclosed patio. lol. I probably could have gotten in trouble for that but frankly, I don't care.

Anyway.....yeah...here's some pics of obnoxiousness at it's best.












Sunday, December 4, 2011

30th Birthday was a success

Yesterday was K's Big Dirty 30 Birthday and it was such a fabulous time. I am so thankful that all of his family was able to come up and celebrate with us. I know it meant the world to him. I was able to surprise him with a gift that he has wanted since he first started playing guitars as a boy - a Gibson Les Paul electric guitar. He was shocked. It was priceless.

Here's a few pics - I hardly took any myself so these will have to do, lol
And my ILs new puppy Olive. Omg I am 1000% in love with her!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

And the wind down...for a few days at least

Well...Thanksgiving is over. They came, they laughed, they ate, they left. Now I'm left with a quiet and dirty house, again. I think my mom walked in about 10 minutes after I finished my last blog post :o)

We had such a great time hanging out together. I am so glad that I said my house was going to house us "kids" for the few days everyone was in. It was so nice to have all of us under one roof to just be kids. Well, you know what I mean. You see, in my family, at least my mom's side, my mom and I are the odd balls. We're the...how should I say it? Wild childs of the group. We're smart, don't get me wrong...but we also are the ones who are more free spirited. My aunts and uncles are more of the book smart, strict, over protective types. Which is fine....just it sometimes leads to my poor cousins having to "hide" or skirt the truth about things. And those things are completely not big deals, like having a few beers (the of age ones) or living with your boyfriend (she's 25, BA from Northwestern, Masters from ASU and working on her Ph.D - I think she's intelligent enough to make the decision to live with your boyfriend, lol). In any case, it was fun to just cut loose and hang. It was interesting and awesome to be with them without having to keep up appearances for their parents and our grandma's sake.

The food was fantastic. We ate soooo much. Enough that my grandma said under no circumstances will we have that much food for Christmas! :o)

Did you go out shopping this weekend? I did...I hit Walmart at 10pm on Thanksgiving and I lucked out with getting the $198 laptop! I bought it for K's birthday gift and I'm horrible about hiding things so he got it already. I'm actually typing on it now, hahaha. Other than that, I hit a few more places later Friday afternoon and then some more yesterday. I have some presents under my belt now which makes me happy. Whatever happened to the Rachael that finished her Christmas shopping on Black Friday??? And of course K ended up getting really sick last night into today so we couldn't bring down the Christmas decorations from the rafters today like I planned :o(  The good thing is that the house just needs some touch up cleaning and so the decorating can happen after work this week.

So now...I have 4 days until I have the next round of people up. K has his dirty 30 on Saturday! What an old man ;o) I think internally he's bummed that his 20s are over. I have a small slice of time left before I have to worry about that one.

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I can't believe how fast my 5 days off went. I blinked...and now they're over.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Our Thanksgiving menu

So I'm sitting here waiting for the Griswalds to start arriving in my nice clean kitchen and I figured I could kill time by writing a little. It's amazing how you think your house is in decent shape...until you make plans to host a major holiday. It's like this every year for us, the mad dash to get everything done in time. This year was no different. I have come to the conclusion that we have too much shit. I mean, we do. We're not in any danger of being on hoarders but it really makes me think that we need to go through things are purge.

The problem is I don't really want to let anything go. K is the same way. We're slight pack rats I guess you could say. Why have 1 cookie sheet when you can have 5? Why have 2 jackets when you can have a dozen a piece?? Do I really need all this crap? No. So I should really look at eliminating some of the excess. I started thinking about how if we were to move, I would probably have a heart attack while packing everything up. Because the next time we move, it will be out of state again. And I'll be damned if I lug all this shit with me.

Anyway...moving right along...

On to our menu for Thanksgiving. I think we will, as always, have a surplus of food but it will all be soooo good. Well, minus the green bean casserole because I can't stand that dish, lol.

Appetizers:
Brown Sugar Bacon Wrapped Smokies
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Cocktail Meatballs
Savory Cheese Dip
Chutney Dip
Cheese and Sausage Platter
Chili & Cheese Dip

Dinner:
Turkey
Ham
Goose
mashed potatoes
Drunkin' Sweet Potatoes
Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole
Dinner Rolls
Corn
Cranberry sauce

Desserts
2 Pumpkin pies
Caramel Apple Dessert
Apple Cherry Cobbler

I'm beginning to wonder if that's enough for dessert. There will be 15-17 of us - the "youngest" are twin 15 year old boys so it's not like we have any kids. I could add in some cupcakes easily....

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Prep

Are you hosting Thanksgiving at your house?

We are hosting my mom's side for the 3rd year in a row this year. We love it. Well, we love having the family up here but we don't actually love the prep work that goes into hosting. I am completely anal retentive when having a gathering at my house. I want it to look lived in but immaculate. Ha.

I had this whole insane list made up of things that *needed* to be done. Where am on that list? I think on maybe task 2. However task 2 was a huge one - cleaning out the attached garage and being able to get two cars inside. And as of 9:35 tonight, we did! Score! Technically there are two cars and one Harley in there and there is hardly any room to walk. But hey - they are in there dammit!

It took us longer to even be able to get to that task because K had a bitch of a time working on my truck. I feel so bad for him. I seriously am so thankful that he is able to work on cars and we don't have to take them in to the mechanic. That is such a huge thing. Especially on our wallet!

Speaking of wallets....we slightly fell off the eating at home only rule. The first was for a dinner at a local drive up that if this certain Packer player scores a touch down, their big burger is $.85. So we got two and split a fry. I think that a dinner that costs $4 for us was acceptable. The other splurge was going to Red Robin for dinner but only because K got a small bonus at work. So we treated ourselves. Omg, it was so good. I know some people don't like chain restaurants but I love RR. We both tried a new burger this time and it was super yummy. Two funny (well, to us) things though... 1) We were like, omg $10 for a damn burger that's insane! and 2) eating out wrecks havoc on your stomach! So as not to be too TMI but I could totally tell my tummy wasn't used to that anymore.

This week is going to be an insane grocery trip I think. The big ticket items are being supplied by my mom and stepdad but we are taking care of all the appetizers, some sides and pretty much all the desserts. There are 15 people scheduled to be here this year so....yikes. Oh well. It's once a year and I love how food-centric it is ;o) Fat kids love food y'all.

So if you don't hear from me...I'm busy driving myself crazy trying to get this house perfect!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hmmm.

Wanna know the easiest way to not spend unnecessary money on dinner?

Don't fuck it up.

Twice.

I gave up after the back up plan bombed. Instead I ran over to Culvers and got the 8 piece chicken meal for all of us (we had a friend over). At least I refrained from the chocolate shake, though it took a huge amount of will power. I am drinking a glass of chocolate milk as I type this though ;o)

I don't really have much else for you right now. I went to Michael's again and used up the last of my gift cards. I also went to Goodwill and got a couple things to hopefully create something cool that I can blog in the near future. We shall see I suppose.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rumors

Rumors (Luxe, #2)Rumors by Anna Godbersen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It's weird that I enjoyed a book a lot and yet still hate the outcome. That's basically what I thought of this book. It was an easy read and yet a frustrating read at the same time. The characters I loath claim victory in the end and the heroines are left in their wake. I know that there are still two more books in this series but I'm growing annoyed with how drawn out it has become.

Some time last week I read a thread on a message board (NBC) about how frustrated they've become with how it seems YA series could really be condensed into 1 or 2 books but instead they go 3+ books just to sell more. I didn't really think much of it until I got to the end of this book. Now I completely agree. At least with this series I do. I still like it and plan on reading the next two installments but it has me wishing that the characters weren't still in the same situations they were in at the end of book one. I'd rather have the couples I want together and living their lives. Oh well. At least the books are entertaining.

View all my reviews

~*~Read~*~

  1. World Without End by Ken Follett (Book by a British author); 15 pts
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Book with an average of 4+ Stars on Goodreads); 10 pts
  3. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (Book with a person on the cover); 5 pts
  4. The Book of Luke by Jenny O'Connell (Read a book and give it a new title); 5 pts
  5. Heat Wave by Richard Castle (Read a book under 200 pgs long); 5 pts
  6. Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott (Read a book published in 2011); 15 pts
  7. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (pair with another nestie and read a book she picks for you); 15 pts.
  8. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close (book by a new to you author); 10 pts
  9. Rumors by Anna Godbersen (book with a dark cover); 5 pts
Total: 85 pts

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Concert Bucket List

I'm sitting here watching one of the gazillion VH1 "Greatest" countdown shows and I got to thinking about all those artists and bands that I have yet to see that I really want to. There are so many! I have been very fortunate in my life to go to a ton of concerts. I've seen a lot of bands and artists that I love. I've seen some that I don't even remember why I liked in the first place (um, B96 Halloween bash with Puff Daddy anyone?? Yeah, Puffy before any name changes, yikes).

Until I got to about 5th grade I was a country music listener. My dad was a huge country fan. My mom was a pop fan of the 80s into the 90s. Then the early 90 hit and Seattle grunge rock hit. That was my scene. I rocked flannel, band tees, ripped jeans and combat boots like nobody's business. Oh how I miss the grunge days. I had the Tommy Hilfiger overalls that had those "cool" straps. I was awesome, lol.

Anyway...my point is that I love music. There's something incredibly indescribable when you see one of your all time favorite bands playing all your favorite songs on stage. I love that feeling. I love listening to anything. At work I'm usually listening to the oldies station...which makes me feel old because when there lots of songs that you remember from when YOU were alive and they're now "oldies" material...yikes. I still enjoy country. I love rock. Classic, hard, metal...love it.

So who have I been lucky enough to go see live?

Off the top of my head without thinking too much....The Rolling Stones with the Goo Goo Dolls opening up for them (favorite concert), George Strait (4x), Brooks and Dunn (5x), Def Leppard with Poison and Cheap Trick opening (2nd fav concert), Queensryche, Ozzy Osbourne and then of course Black Sabbath with Iron Maiden (3rd fav concert), the Backstreet Boys (at their height of popularity, lol), nsync, Gloria Estefan, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Dwight Yoakum, Disturbed (3x, love them!), Staind, Sevendust (awesome live), System of a Down, KISS, Journey, Black Label Society (2x), Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley (2x), Carrie Underwood, Rob Zombie, Korn (2x), Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney....

My list could go on and on for a long (!) time. But that's not the point of this post.

I need to create a Band Bucket List. Acts I need to see before I die..or they do. In the last half decade, some artists have passed on that I am sad I will never get to see including Dimebag Darrell (Pantera/Damage Plan), Michael Jackson and Ronnie James Dio. RJD was especially hard for me. I loved him. He's a classic rock god and I'm sad I'll never see him live. I had the chance and I think my funds were low so I couldn't buy a ticket but damn, I should have figured out a way to make it happen.

So with all that nonsense...here's the running list composed of mainly older acts. This list isn't "newer acts that I've been enjoying on the radio lately and only have a couple hits." No, these are acts that I think I need to experience at least once or one more time. Chime in with your own or critique mine. I probably won't change anything unless someone is so horrendous live that I'd be better off burning $200 in a fire pit...

AC/DC
The Stones again. Must see as an adult, not late teens
Collective Soul
Elton John
Billy Joel
Madonna
Foo Fighters
Metallica
Megadeath
Van Halen (whatever incarnation ever decides to tour again)
George Strait again (haven't seen him in over 10 yrs and that's a lot of hits since then!)
Tina Turner
Paul McCartney
Tom Petty

Anyway...Happy National Metal Day!!! 11/11/11

Monday, November 7, 2011

How the grocery budget is related to IF

It may not seem obvious to anyone other than an OOP IFer so I thought that maybe my new obsession should be explained a tad. Seeing our savings in just this one area of our budget will also help to lift the sadness I have in my heart over not being able to afford IVF or adoption at this point in time. Those two paths are so far from the picture right now for us that I'm not even counting on a 2012 baby, unless my ovaries miraculously start working. I'm detaching myself slightly from the IF world but it's only because I don't feel like I am walking that path right now. Yes, I'm still very much infertile. I am still very much heartbroken. I still struggle with the sadness and bitterness and the jealousy. But I'm choosing to live my life until I feel like we are able to fully entrench ourselves in the cycling roller coaster.

I had a great conversation with a fellow IFer, someone I consider a very close friend, about this position I find myself in. She has a beautiful daughter who obviously has wonderful parents and a love of life. It's slightly strange how much I adore this little girl  - someone I have never even met. Maybe it's in part due to her mother's incessant positivity ;o) Sure we have our bitch sessions aboout what's bothering us on any given day but I find myself...how do I describe it...calming down after our chats. She has helped to remind me to just forget about IF (well, you know what I mean) and just live. Life goes on whether we want it to or not. I'm already fighting battles that I didn't chose to fight. Why fight having some sunshine in my life?

And that's where I am living today. I'm trying and making an effort to put us back on the road to having a family. I'm trying to get the old physical Rachael back. I enjoyed her. I enjoyed the non-depressed Rachael. It's so much easier to be negative. It's much easier to bitch about your problems than to be positive and make the changes needed.

So that's how infertility and food budgets can be related. There are some that just will not get it and that's ok. But for those that do, you know that this path is hard and there are no guarantees that this will result in a baby for us. But I have to try. We have to try. Because the regrets of not trying everything possible to have a baby are regrets that I don't plan on having.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Food Budget Post 2

Yesterday I went grocery shopping to fill out the majority of our grocery shopping for the next two weeks and I got some more great deals. I'm really getting into this smart grocery shopping thing, lol. I got down on myself for about 2 minutes when I got home tonight but K was able to pick me up. I was down because in my head I was thinking I was going to be spending $50 and coming home with 15 full bags of groceries. Not very realistic, I know. I think that I did well for what I spent this trip. Included in the totals are toilet paper and 2 different kinds of dish scrubber re-fills so that was $10 right there with those three items alone. Blech!

I managed to find an awesome coupon for $4 off the purchase of 10 "Weight Watchers Smart Ones" frozen meals and coupled with the in-store deal of 6/$10 and that brought my per item price down to $1.27 each! Regularly priced these hover around $2.50-ish. I think that ends up being a good deal, don't you? If I couple these ten meals with the leftovers from dinners over the next 2 weeks, that will mean I won't have to buy anything else for lunches until the end of the month, after Thanksgiving! Pretty sweet huh?

What other deals did I get....hmmm...Yogurt was on sale 10/$6 and I had a coupon for $.60/purchase of 8. So I bought 8 for K and me and that made each yogurt $.52 a piece. The cheapest I get them at Walmart is $.66. Now I have to keep my eyes open for PnS's same type of yogurt deal as Festival and go on a Wednesday or Saturday to double my coupon. If I can do that, that will bring each yogurt down to $.45. On yogurt alone that's a savings of $1.52 on any given week since we both have yogurts for our breakfast most mornings. Any savings is good savings!

I have to admit that like on the TV show, my favorite part is looking at the bottom of the receipt and seeing the amount of money and percentage saved. I spent $68 and my savings came to a total of $32.44 & 32% saved! If I add the two totals from my trips this week, that's a savings of $60. I'm slightly ashamed to say that I never really gave much thought to spending that money prior to now. I mean I always had the little gnawing thought in the back of my mind that I could probably try harder to get a better deal but I never really listened to it. I would clip coupons sporadically and if I happened to remember bringing them to the store, awesome, if not, well oh well. I'm determined not to be like that anymore. The savings are out there - I just have to put a little effort into it. 

My goal of being financially and physically healthier is underway y'all! I'm determined to make this work! K and I were talking last night about how much better it is for us to not be eating all those fast food and restaurant meals. When you think about how over-sized the portions are, how much sodium and sugar those meals have and THEN figure out the insane price markup, it gets depressing. I'm not fooling myself that magically I will lose some weight but I know that it *will* happen, even if slightly and slowly. That's good enough for me.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Girls in White Dresses

Girls in White DressesGirls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


"Can we Auntie Iz?" they asked her. "Can we sleep in your room?"

Isabella looked at Molly, who didn't look back. "Sure, " Isabella said. "you can sleep in my room."

Caroline cheered, then tripped herself on the long blue dress she was wearing and started crying. Isabella picked her up and held her in her lap.

Caroline had always been her favorite. When she tried to whisper, she talked into people's mouths. Last Thanksgiving, when she'd dropped a drumstick on the floor, she'd said, "Fuck it." And when Molly had asked her where she'd learned that word, she shrugged and said, "Grandma Kathy."

Want a random book of late twenties dating and relationships? Here it is. However, that's not a bad thing. There were some real laugh out loud moments for me while reading this book, like the passage above.

While I laughed, I also had a heck of a time keeping all the characters and their stories straight. It never stays with one character for long and their stories take strange turns all the time. Maybe that's the point though. Maybe the people we end up staying with don't make sense to our friends. Who knows? Not me. All in all this was a very quick and easy read. There's really not much else to say about this book unfortunately. My review is short and simple, much like the sections in Girls in White Dresses.

View all my reviews
~*~Read~*~
  1. World Without End by Ken Follett (Book by a British author); 15 pts
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Book with an average of 4+ Stars on Goodreads); 10 pts
  3. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (Book with a person on the cover); 5 pts
  4. The Book of Luke by Jenny O'Connell (Read a book and give it a new title); 5 pts
  5. Heat Wave by Richard Castle (Read a book under 200 pgs long); 5 pts
  6. Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott (Read a book published in 2011); 15 pts
  7. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (pair with another nestie and read a book she picks for you); 15 pts.
  8. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close (book by a new to you author); 10 pts
Total: 80 pts

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Grocery Score

So recently I have decided that I am going to become an awesome couponer. I've always been a bargain shopper. I love clearance sales and I'm not afraid to go to our awesome Goodwill and search the clothes racks. In fact, the Old Navy jeans I am wearing now are from GW, bought new with tags for $6. I'm not into name brand jeans. I've always been an Old Navy pants kinda girl. Or Kohl's. They just seem to fit me best. Besides, I'd much rather splurge on purses and hats and scarves and jackets. Wait...where was I going with this post again?? Oh yeah, coupons and food.

So I'm sure that many of you have watched the TLC show Extreme Couponing. Which, from an entertainment point of view, it's fun and amusing. In my neck of the woods however, their scores are far from realistic. Even in Chicago, I don't remember the policies being that lax. Here only one grocery chain (Pick n Save) doubles coupons but their rules state they only double up to $1, you can only double 5 coupons and the doubling days are only Wed and Sat. And of course their prices are higher on a regular basis. So for that reason, you really have to shop smart with them. Our other major chain (Festival) does not double but they do have their own super section of coupons and deals. My third option is Walmart, who I have recently found out will match competitor prices on groceries right at the register, no questions asked as long as you have the current circular.

So now it's up to me to get smart on how to work these deals. While doing my coupon homework last night I found that today was going to be a special 1 day meat sale at Festival. I scored lean ground round for $2.38/lb. Normally that would be about $3.99 a pound for us. Our frozen chicken kievs and cordon bleus were $1, normally $2.29. I love having these on hand for a simple, "out-of-ideas-for-dinner kind of night. Our rice and pasta sides were 10/$9 plus you got a free rotisserie chicken ($6.49). The chicken was on the meal plan for this week anyway so we moved it to tonight instead of Saturday. It was like we ate for free this evening! Super Score!

There are some other awesome deals still to be had before the week is over and I am going to spend the rest of my evening plotting my trips this weekend. I am planning on stocking up as much as I can (and can afford) to help our food budget stay on record pace.

I have always been the queen of eating out. I had parents that cooked maybe 50% of the week if I was lucky. It's all I've known in terms of food consumption. As of today, we have not eaten out in 2.5 weeks. I know that to some people that sounds like the easiest thing ever. For us, that's actually a huge accomplishment. I will pat myself on the back (lightly of course) because I know I need to keep going with this change. It's better for our budget and also for our health. We don't eat boiled chicken and brown rice but it's better than insane portions of pasta or fried food. I do miss my turkey subs though. And maybe cheese sticks. But I can make those at home...I just have to stay focused and keep this train on the tracks. Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Lost Symbol

The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3)The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I have to say that I was one of those people that years ago read Angels and Demons long before The DaVinci Code came out and I enjoyed those two books a lot. I eagerly anticipated the release of this book. I got it as a gift almost immediately after it came out....but I hardly cracked it open. I had already been hearing the mixed reviews and it didn't really spark my desire to plow through it.

It took my until now to actually read it - almost two years ago. Am I so glad I did? Eh. I guess. The funny thing about this book is that I enjoyed the suspenseful part of the book but not so much the secret that the suspense is about. How do I explain it? I really didn't find the lost secret to be that interesting. It wasn't the Holy Grail search. The parts where Robert Langdon and Katherine Soloman were on the run - intriguing. The parts that they were talking about mind over matter and minds working together to create a measurable change in the world - not so intriguing.

I felt like there needed to be a bigger pay off. I just read 500+ pages only enjoying the cat and mouse parts but not the reward in the end. Granted, I knew that many people were letdown with this book before I even opened up the front cover but it was still disappointing.

Dan Brown can write a good suspense filled novel. I did enjoy it, just not as much as Angels and Demons. I really do hope we get another installment of Robert Langdon. 
View all my reviews
~*~Read~*~

  1. World Without End by Ken Follett (Book by a British author); 15 pts
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Book with an average of 4+ Stars on Goodreads); 10 pts
  3. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (Book with a person on the cover); 5 pts
  4. The Book of Luke by Jenny O'Connell (Read a book and give it a new title); 5 pts
  5. Heat Wave by Richard Castle (Read a book under 200 pgs long); 5 pts
  6. Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott (Read a book published in 2011); 15 pts
  7. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (pair with another nestie and read a book she picks for you); 15 pts.
Total: 70 pts

Monday, October 24, 2011

My feet are cold

And I hate it. I am really not enjoying this whole "gotta wear socks everyday" thing. Yuck.

I really do love my slippers though. Right now I am down to two pairs:
and




yup. I'm a child. Eh, whatever. I'm cool with that.

But I want another pair or two. I really miss my fuzzy thong slippers but I finally broke them after way too many hours of use. These could be a good replacement to them
Acorn New Spa Thong $36











A hard rubber bottom pair would be good for letting the dog out or having to run into the garage for something.
Acorn Textured Moc Chinchilla $40











These look fabulous, albeit a tad pricey for my budget right now:
Ugg Ansley $100











Or these look fun
Reef Reef Snooze Bar 2 $36

as do these:
The North Face NSE Tent Mule Fur II $45

Hey...this IS Wisconsin after all. Slippers and down coats are to WI as bathing suits and flip flops are to Cali.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Adrenaline

Adrenaline (Sam Capra, #1)Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I could picture the book playing out on the big screen as a cross between Die Hard and Bourne Identity. It was a fast-paced CIA action thriller that never seemed to slow down. Sure, it takes a little leap of faith here and there (how much can one man take, honestly!) but never did it come across as unbelievable.

Sam Capra is a CIA agent assigned to a project in London. His wife Lucy is about to have their first child and life is good for Sam. Then one day he is at work giving a presentation when he gets an urgent call from his wife telling him to get out of the building and run. When he gets outside he spots her being taken hostage and the office building he just exited explodes.

From there Sam is taken prisoner by the CIA, who believe him to be a traitor. When he is finally able to, he escapes and sets out to find Lucy and their baby. There is never a dull moment in his journey and in the end it is left slightly unfinished so I can only hope that there will be another installment.
View all my reviews
~*~Read~*~

  1. World Without End by Ken Follett (Book by a British author); 15 pts
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Book with an average of 4+ Stars on Goodreads); 10 pts
  3. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (Book with a person on the cover); 5 pts
  4. The Book of Luke by Jenny O'Connell (Read a book and give it a new title); 5 pts
  5. Heat Wave by Richard Castle (Read a book under 200 pgs long); 5 pts
  6. Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott (Read a book published in 2011); 15 pts
Total: 55 pts

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Heat Wave


Well, this book had me confused. Not by the story you see, but by the author - whom I knew nothing about. When the hold came in from the library and I picked it up, I saw the little logo about the show Castle being advertised. The "author's" name is Richard Castle. Now...I've never watched the show Castle but I was sitting there thinking, hmm, I guess the author has a TV show?? Nope. Well...sort of nope. The author of this book IS the fictional character of the show Castle, who is a writer. And one of the characters (Jameson Rook) in the book is actually Castle on the show. The main character, Detective Nikki Heat is supposed to be like the female lead on the show. Still with me? Yeah, I had to wiki it. I would almost suggest you do the same because I'm not sure I even explained that correctly. Oh well. In the end, it was a quick fast mystery. I never complain about those.

This is actually the first mystery I have read in quite a while (well, for me). I can't remember how I stumbled upon this book but it fit a category in the Fall Book Challenge so I decided to give it a try. I like female detective leads in books so this fit in with that.

Nikki Heat is a NYC detective charged with the task of solving a high profile murder case. The victim is a real estate developer that was sent flying from his 6th floor balcony. Along the way another crime is committed in the dead man's apartment. Oh and of course she has a potential love interest in Jameson, who is a writer that is given permission to shadow Det. Heat and her unit. I love her squad of guys. There are some good comedic lines in there and it broke the tension in those too serious moments.

I would say that it was a nice easy read and I will for sure check the other books out in the series.
~*~Read~*~

  1. World Without End by Ken Follett (Book by a British author); 15 pts
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Book with an average of 4+ Stars on Goodreads); 10 pts
  3. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (Book with a person on the cover); 5 pts
  4. The Book of Luke by Jenny O'Connell (Read a book and give it a new title); 5 pts
  5. Heat Wave by Richard Castle (Read a book under 200 pgs long); 5 pts
Total: 40 pts

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Heading for Iowa

for my cousin's wedding on Saturday.

I'm not sure what I am in for. This should be interesting. The real question is should I even say hello to her soon to be husband or should I snub him as he did to me on my wedding day ;o) Naw, I'll play nice. Only because I know our grandma isn't thrilled with him either, lol.

Anyway, have a great weekend! I have some more books posts coming up too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Figuring out things

I had a bunch of books posts recently huh? :o)

I had a lot of time to read last week can you tell? This week I'm not sure how much time I will have. I'm hoping that with me going to an out of town wedding and being in the car for 6.5 hours one way will allow me to get some more read. We shall see. With that said...

I have some other things I've been trying to figure out how to blog but I'm not sure if I'm ready to at the moment. I mean, I guess I am ready since I'm sitting here typing this but I'm not sure if I'm ready to make it reality.

I'm thinking about leaving the IFV board and the bump in general for now. I have been feeling like it isn't home to me anymore since we are out of the game right now and since the board split from IF to IFV, it is so....off to me. The premise of the board was a great idea. In theory it was awesome that we were going to have a place for those that "graduated" from the IF board to be able to post with those of us still in the trenches. But hardly any of the "graduates" ever post. It's always the same ones - which I love, don't get me wrong but...idk. I'm still active over on the nest but the baby boards are not where I am right now mentally.

K and I are tossing around the idea of possibly cycling again in December. A very hail mary IUI cycle to use up the last of our FSA money from this year. Nothing is set in stone and no appointments have been made. It's just an idea. But with that comes the fact that I don't think that we are going to be heading into an IVF cycle anytime soon. And here's the shocker...I think I'm ok with that. At least...I'm ok with that today.

So what's changed? Nothing really. Except that I think that we are uncertain of our future in WI. I think that the wheels are really starting to turn with us looking to move home or south. That's always been the plan but with some things that have happened recently for K, it seems to have pushed the thought more to the forefront of things. I also want to do some traveling and enjoying my time with K again. We've been really working at our relationship since that last rough patch and I think that we are mending well. It's give and take. We both still want a baby more than anything in this world but I think that we are opening our minds to the idea that we might have to wait a little longer. We can put ourselves in an awesome position before baby comes to have me be able to stay home. We both want that. If I were to be get pregnant right now, I would still have to work. Not the end of the world - and believe me, I have no real opinion on working moms vs SAHMs but it would be nice to stay home.

So...here I am. Still treading water in the IF department. It blows. I hate this part of life. I really don't know when it will be my turn to be a mom but I hope it's soon. I can't control that though.

I can only control how I live my life in the meantime. And in the meantime, I want to live.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Book of Luke


I have fallen into a YA pit. I'm not complaining because some of my favorite books are YA but it's just funny how I end up reading book after book in one genre and then I switch to another genre and do the same thing. I'll probably be back to chick lit or mystery again soon. This book is written by another new-to-me author, Jenny O'Connell.

Anyway, this book is set in Boston, very soon after a re-location back from Chicago. The main character is Emily Abbott and she is simply tired of being known as the nice girl. She is reeling with all the changes forced upon her in a short amount of time: her family getting moved back to Boston, her dad staying behind in Chicago, her boyfriend Sean dumping her the morning she leaves for Boston...so as she falls back into her friendship with Josie and Lucy, she decides that she is going to change things in her life.

She and her friends are charged with the task of coming up with something to put into their high school's time capsule. After a bad breakup for Josie (by Luke) the girls decide that their contribution will be a how to guide dealing with how to change a guy. Their focus is on changing Luke - the boy who dumped Josie. Emily is put up for the task and she takes the job and runs with it.

Along the way she finds herself questioning why she is doing what she is doing. Because of course, Luke isn't what he seems. She is falling for him and now her friendship is at risk when the girls, especially Josie, finds out that she loves Luke and doesn't want the experiment to continue.

Of course the books ends on a very commonplace note but it was generally a good read. Perfect for a teenager for sure. It lacked an ending that I was 100% satisfied with but I won't hold it against the author because it seems that other readers were asking for a follow up to the story and she is obliging with a shorter story. So...I suppose this is a TBD ending for me.

~*~Read~*~

  1. World Without End by Ken Follett (Book by a British author); 15 pts
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Book with an average of 4+ Stars on Goodreads); 10 pts
  3. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (Book with a person on the cover); 5 pts
  4. The Book of Luke by Jenny O'Connell (Read a book and give it a new title); 5 pts
Total: 35 pts

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Luxe

Here I go again...falling into deep lust for another YA series! Anna Godbersen has me hooked on these characters for sure. I have already picked up book #2 Rumors, and got notification today that the third installment, Envy, is ready for me to pick up.

This is another quasi-historical fiction book set in 1899 but leans more on the side of being simply a story of intertwined lives and their romances and hardships. Sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland are a part of the upper crest of society in New York City. Elizabeth is secretly in love with one of her family's hired help but in order to save her family from financial ruin, she agrees to become engaged to Henry Schoonmaker. Henry is another member of old NY money and he had been carrying on with Elizabeth's "best" friend Penelope Hayes. When his father puts the pressure on Henry to marry "correctly" otherwise he would be forced with being cut off from his father's money, he proposes to Elizabeth. Their engagement comes as quite a shock to Penelope as she was convinced the rumors of Henry buying a ring from Tiffany & Co. were true and the ring was intended for her. She sets her sights on revenge and enacts several plots to win Henry for herself.  

In the meantime, Elizabeth's younger sister Diana manages to catch Henry's fancy. He can't get her out of his mind and the same can be said for her. Diana finds herself missing out on really knowing who her sister is and why she is moving toward a loveless marriage with Henry. The person that Liz loves is Will. Will asks time and time again if Elizabeth will go West with him and be his wife. She breaks his heart when she stays in her engagement and she dreams of the life she will never have. Lina in turn hates Elizabeth for breaking Will's heart, as she is herself in love with him. She hates "old money" standards and after being fired, she sets out to reinvent herself.

The book begins and ends at Elizabeth's funeral - which is not a spoiler so don't fear that I have ruined the book. Somewhere along the way I saw where the book was headed but I wasn't sure how it was going to get there. For that reason, I liked the book a lot. It had some cute touches like the society columns running around that time, highlighting things that seem so dumb in modern times. I suppose that's what all our tabloids run with today but back then, you lived and died by those columns if you were in certain circles.

~*~Read~*~

  1. World Without End by Ken Follett (Book by a British author); 15 pts
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Book with an average of 4+ Stars on Goodreads); 10 pts
  3. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (Book with a person on the cover); 5 pts
Total: 30 pts

Anna and the French Kiss


I really enjoyed this book. It was sweet and syrupy but hit the right amounts of both without being a cheesy book. It very much reminded me of the Jessica Darling books in the way that the story unfolds. It's classic YA love/angst. Which seems to be what I am really enjoying reading right now!! This was the first book I have read by author Stephanie Perkins but it won't be the last.

Anna is a senior in high school from Atlanta who is sent to Paris for her senior year at the boarding school SOAP. Her parents are divorced, her father being a quasi-famous Nickolas Sparks-esque author and she has to figure out how to survive on her own for a year in a country she barely even knows anything about - let alone a word of their language.

Right away she is befriended by one of her dorm mates and falls into the pack of her friends. It is in this group she meets Etienne St. Clair. He's gorgeous. He pushes her in the right ways. He's awesome. He's taken. Of course, right? Anna, being lost in a city thousands of miles away from home, is heartbroken about so many things and her friendship with Etienne starts developing into something much more than casual friends. He shows her the world, starting with Point Zero in Paris. Without being able to help herself, she falls more and more for this boy.

Follow the typical pattern of boy and girl falling for each other but not being able to be more than friends all the while being exactly that and you can come out with this book :o) But hey, what's wrong with that?! Frothy, fun, romantic. A perfectly enjoyable read. I can just see the movie version of this book already. And I tell you what, it would be a hit, no doubt about it.

~*~Read~*~

  1. World Without End by Ken Follett (Book by a British author); 15 pts
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Book with an average of 4+ Stars on Goodreads); 10 pts
Total: 25 pts

Saturday, October 8, 2011

World Without End


Ok, by now you have to have realized that I am a big fan of Ken Follett's historical fiction books. I love them. I really do. I don't doubt that the size of these books is enough to keep some people away. Each of the three books I have read from him hover around 1000 pages. I mean, that's a lot of reading for many people. To actively seek out multiple books of that size says a lot about how much I enjoy his style of writing. There are books out there that I find myself skimming paragraphs because of superfluous wording. I don't find myself doing that with his books. I read each and every word.

World picks up a couple centuries after Pillars of the Earth leaves off, in the same lands of medieval Kingsbridge, England. We are introduced to characters that are the decedents of the great Jack Builder, Merthin and Ralph. In the opening chapter the two young boys, along with Caris and Gwenda are playing in the woods when they witness the killing of two men by Sir Thomas. Merthin witnesses Sir Thomas burying a letter and is sworn to secrecy about what he saw. This letter would later become an important in their lives.

Jumping forward ten years, we now find the four children grown and living very different lives. They are all intertwined as always. Gwenda is from a poor family, Caris a wealthy one. The boys are going their own ways, Merthin as a carpenter and Ralph plotting a way to bring honor back to his family. Throughout the book, Ralph follows his own desires and shows how cruel and unfair he can be. His pride is what he runs his life by, much to his brother's chagrin.

Merthin and Caris are the central characters in the book. They have a love story that is always put to the test. Whether it is by Caris's cousin, Godwyn, who becomes prior after the death of their uncle, the Prior Anthony or by the plague or by Caris herself, they spend the better part of the book unhappily separated.

During the Plague (and well, whenever she feels her place demands it), Caris's strong will is what pushes her to take charge in Kingsbridge. Having entered the nunnery as a life or death decision when Godwyn accuses her of witchcraft. Her punishment is death but she strikes a deal with the Prioress to spare her life if she becomes a nun. On the day before her wedding to Merthin, Caris accepts her fate as a nun. Merthin is heartbroken and decides that his life no longer will be spent in Kingsbridge.

The Bubonic Plague is another central force in this book. It raged in Europe and while Merthin was married and living in Italy, he fell ill to it but was one of the few who survived. He lost his wife and her whole family, everyone except his daughter. He decides to return to Kingsbridge...and to Caris. Unfortunately, it follows him. The country is ravaged and so many lives were lost.

The story unfolds with many other events that I have not even mentioned in this short review. In the end, I highly recommend this book and will still be waiting (impatiently) for his next book.

~*~Read~*~
  1. World Without End by Ken Follett (Book by a British author); 15 pts
Total: 15 pts

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

81 Days until Christmas

Isn't that insane? Wasn't yesterday June?

I have become absolutely addicted to Pinterest. There are so many pins floating around on that site that I want to try. So many of them are Christmas decor or craft ideas. I wish I had half the talent that some of those people have. It's insane. If you haven't already checked it out, let me know and I'll send you an invite (you need an invite to become part of the cool club ;o) )

Anyway, that brings me to the title of this post. 81 days until Christmas. That's it folks. Thanksgiving is in like 5 weeks or so. I have no idea what I am getting anyone this year. I really don't. Normally I already have a running list of ideas to get me started. So far this year? Nada. Anyone else stumped this year?

I'm also really sad that we won't be surprising my Grandma again this year. We had such a wonderful time in Texas last Christmas. It's really a bummer that we can't head down there again. I just have no time off from work. Plus the holiday falls awkwardly on a Sunday so that shortens the time that we can leave WI.

Well, that's the first holiday post from me so far this season! I can't believe I'm talking holidays. Insane. Simply in.sa.ne.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Food Budget post

So I have been really thinking about our budget lately. More specifically - our food budget. We love to eat and love to eat well at that. Which is fine for some but I'm just tired of food being a huge line item in our monthly/weekly budget. And really, we could stand to lose weight. Which we are getting serious about doing. We are the types of people that have to take baby steps and see a instant gratification type of reward to stick with something. Knowing that, I think the first step is to try to cut down on the amount of money we throw into eating out and buying groceries. What's the worst that can happen? We save money?? Doesn't sound like there is anything to lose by doing so.

So with that in mind today, K and I went to the grocery store tonight to pick up something last minute to grill. I started thinking about what was going to be made for dinner the rest of the week and I told K that we should try to see how cheap we can eat this week. We already had some staples in the pantry and fridge so what could we supplement them with to complete our workweek? If all goes according to plan, we will have the following for dinners:
- super tacos (ground beef tacos on pita bread) and mexican rice
- hot dogs with chips (already had everything)
- chicken a la king
- a hamburger helper type of homemade dinner with noodles and ground beef
- chicken kiev and mashed potatoes
- grilled cheese and soup
- pizza on Friday night

For our lunches we are going to have
- brown rice and chicken breast
- pb & j or peanut butter and fluff
- salad
- I already had a frozen pizza thingy for two days worth of lunch
- and left overs: super tacos, chicken a la king

So that's our plan. If we can stick to it, we will have only spent $55 on all our food for the week. It might not be the absolute healthiest menu for a week but it's also not terrible. Looking at it I see a lot of carbs in the menu which I'm not thrilled about but this is a more carb heavy menu than we usually do. When it comes to sandwiches, we don't use two slices of bread (other than grilled cheese), instead I fold over so it's only one slice of whole wheat.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I've got the blahs

I stayed home sick form work today. I have been feeling really dizzy and achy for days. Then the last day or so I have had these horrible hot flashes. I thought last week I was coming down with a cold or something but that never turned into something. I was so overstressed the last couple weeks at work that I was wearing myself down big time. This job will kill me. It really will. Anyway, I woke up and the room was spinning and I felt feverish so I took a sick day. The funny part is that I couldn't even find my thermometer to take an official temp! After all those months of temping for TTC purposes, I must have hid the stupid thing! It's here somewhere... :o)

As for what else is going on, not much. I'll have to post some pictures of the basement now that we can actually hang out down there. It is far from decorated but it's usable. That feels amazing. No longer do I feel grossed out when I am forced to go down there. I actually want to be down there. I love having the extra living space. Now we have to work on the utility area of the basement and make a spectacular laundry area.

Well, that's really the whole boring update that I have for today. I'm feeling quite rundown lately. I know that can lead into another woe is me, bitter infertile post but I'm not going to go there tonight. I want to, but I won't. I went to a baby shower on Sunday, the same day as my step-nephew's 1st bday and maybe that has something to do with it. I have no idea. I am just so over it all. I'm over not having a family, I'm over the insane stress I am put through at work, I am over a lot of things. But, I'm not going to go there :o) Not today at least.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I must share some product raves

And no, I am not getting any reimbursements for this post. I just felt that there are a couple things I have come across in the last week or so that I am loving right now and wanted to share.

The first is something so "duh" I can't believe I've never come across something similar before. Forgive me if this is old news to you but...

This is the Michael Graves for Target Nesting Corner Hamper

It is nice and tall - very important when you have a dog that likes to steal your underwear!! See that liner? It is mesh on the inside and lifts off so you can easily transport the dirty garb to the laundry room. This fits perfect in an unusable corner that is formed from my dresser and the bedroom door. The other great thing is that is is only $16.99! Yeah. You really can't beat that in my book!

The other item that I have a serious rave for stems from the much mentioned basement renovations. Originally we were going to go out and by a laminate countertop from either Menards or this weird overstock store we have up here to replace the existing bar countertop. From what we remembered when we were pricing out new countertops from last year, it should have only been about $40 for the length we would want. Well...not so much anymore. It was going to be around $100. Which really isn't bad, I know this, but when you are trying to renovate on a shoe string budget and that bar you are reusing is a temporary bar, it's hard to justify spending that money. So on to the internet blogosphere I went. I had heard that it was possible to paint laminate countertops and have it look decent but I was thinking it was going to be a huge process - one that I didn't have the patience for right now. I came across some sites and decided to follow a hybrid of the following DIY tutorials:

Blissfully Domestic - Transform your laminate countertops with paint
or
HGTV - Painting your countertops for a new look

So off to Menards I went with the hubby. I was putting the flecked spray paint into my cart when my observant husband pointed out that there was a kit to do just what I wanted to do! Now I had always known that there were the more expensive, fancier kits for doing this. But those are over $200 and it's a more detailed process to make them resemble granite or whatever. I just wanted something simple. And cheap. And quick. Well, here it is.

Rust-Oleum's Countertop Coating
It's was only $20 and it is tint-able to 16 solid colors. We chose "Wheat" for our can. The directions are easy. I could have done this by myself but hubby was nice and helped me out. You only have to sand the existing countertop lightly and apply the paint. There's no priming needed. It is washable and moisture/chemical resistant. The tips I feel are needed are:

  1. Use rubber gloves when applying this paint. You can't wash this stuff off easily. I found out the hard way. I needed to use nasty mineral spirits to get it off my hands. 
  2. It smells wicked. Make sure to vent the room you are painting in as much as you can. 
  3. Use a 4" or 6" roller with a fine/very fine foam roller brush. It will make the paint very smooth. Also - whatever brushes you use, be prepared to throw them out when finished. For that reason we bought a refill for the roller right away. I wasn't even going to bother trying to soak the foam brushes.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I am not a 21yr old college kid anymore

Someone remind me that I am too old to be out at a bar until 3am. That's pretty much the gist of this post. :o)

I felt so energized to start the weekend off early and get a ton of things done around the house...and I think that's fallen off the table. When you drink a bottle of wine by yourself before you even leave the house, you know it's going to be a long night. At least the bar is a short walk through the backyard to get to! If I would have stumbled and fallen down I would have been ok to just sleep outside. I mean, it is my yard after all. I was smart enough to take a couple Ibprofin before I went to sleep so that helped a lot - except I slept through the alarm and then when I woke up, it was 10:30 already. Fuck.

So we had a few errands to run before we could get going on anything and when we got back home, K noticed that one of our rear tires was almost flat. Fuck. He filled it up so we are going to have to watch it to see what happens. Not cool. Not cool at all.

So now I'm sitting here wondering what I am actually going to accomplish today. Well, to be fair, I did kind of accomplish one thing. We went to look at this store that is sort of like a random junk overflow store for a new counter top for the bar downstairs. It's sort of like a Re-Store but with weird huge statues and things like that. Anyway, there's no way I'm paying $100 for a new nice countertop when this particular bar is temporary. So instead I came home and researched painting laminate countertops. I think that is what I am going to end up doing. I can make it fun colored and it doesn't seem to be too hard of a project or very expensive. Music to my ears.

So yeah, that's my Saturday. Will me some "kick in the ass" vibes, will ya? Please? I need them, lol.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Summer Rental


Summer RentalSummer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


So far this is my favorite book from this author. It was a light beachy chick lit book - exactly what I was looking to read this time around.

Ellie was recently downsized from her job at a Philly bank and she finds herself questioning the road her life took. She is busy planning a month long beach trip for her and her two close friends who have their own share of baggage.

Dorie's marriage was shattered by her husband's betrayal and she is stuck having to pick up the pieces of her life - along with a new role she didn't plan on.

Julia has everything she has really ever wanted but still can't commit to her long term boyfriend.

"Madison" leaves her husband and is on the run when she bumps into Dorie at a diner and with the girls having extra room in the house and with Madison needing a hideout, she accepts Dorie's offer to move in. She is hiding some dangerous secrets that could put her and her new friends in harms way.

And then there is the landlord...Ty. He's desperately trying to hold on to the property, Ebbtide, but foreclosure is looming in the not so distant future. On top of that, he and Ellie find themselves entering into a relationship that neither of them was looking for. 



View all my reviews

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another year older (Chicago Birthday PIP)

And probably not a whole lot wiser to be cheeky, haha









I enjoyed my birthday weekend at home to the max. I spent Friday downtown with my mom shopping up and down State St and Michigan Ave, playing tourists at Millennium Park, etc. She bought me these fabulous Nine West silver Grecian style sandals that were 75% and I looooove them. They are simply fab. (see that box in the picture to the right? That's them)


It stormed during the day on Saturday so we couldn't make it down to the Air and Water show but I ate a great lunch from Taco Burrito King and our friend from up here in WI came down to hang out with us for the weekend. Saturday night we went to a Queensryche concert at the Congress. They are a past their prime band that had some great hair metal big hits in the 80s/90s but we still love them. I mean, shit, it's sad that now when I go to concerts, I'm noticing that the audiences are getting older and older. Oh wait...that means I'm getting...Never mind.

If you've never been to the Congress, you should if you get the chance. There's no air conditioning. The bathrooms are dingy. The floors are sloped concrete. It's outdated. Instead of forcing people outside for their cigs, they said screw you and literally just knocked down a wall in the keg storage room for the smokers to go have their nic fit. But it's awesome. It rocks. The interior is a huuuge dome and the whole room has intricate architecture and carvings that are over 100 years old. If they ever fixed this place up I would cry. It's that awesome.

Sunday I went back downtown with K and friend and I got to act like a little kid. I jumped in fountains and looked up the skirt of Marilyn. I rode a water taxi to Navy Pier and drank a creamcicle drink while playing in the Navy Pier fountain. It's every immature late 20-something's dream day right? Ok maybe not. But for me, it was heaven to be home enjoying the city that I love and miss so much. I am so homesick right now. I will never stop saying what a wonderful city Chicago is.


I actually got a decent shot during the practice flight session on Friday




Friend and K


Yes...I am a big kid. I hope some things never change. Life would suck if I actually took myself seriously.



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Birthday bummer

I always get so worked up about having a fun time with birthdays. In my life I have only had one time where my family is in one place at the same time. That was my wedding. I can count on one hand how many celebrations I have had in my life with both my mom and dad present at the same time. They were too busy battling each other to see how it took its toll on my...especially on my birthday. This year is no exception. I had plans and then my dad decided that he didn't want to do that on Friday (my actual birthday) and instead he wanted to do it on Saturday. All because he wanted to. Too bad I already had plans with my mom for Saturday
. He just doesn't get it. He doesn't see how my whole life, I've never been able to enjoy just having my family together without any problems. I always have such high expectations but in the end, I'm just setting myself up for disappointment. Now I'm not doing any of the things I mentioned in the other post but I'm busy filling my days with other fun stuff. I say, to hell with the problems makers!

A few days have passed since K's cousin had her son. I will concede that there is the chance that maybe she deleted me with good intentions...but I really don't know if I think that's true. I mean, it would be nice if it were but the main reason I say that is because when I figured out I was deleted, I sent her a message about it. I never received a response and she didn't go into labor for another 4 days. I know she had a test coming up so maybe life was just really busy so I think the best way is to just let it ride for a while. The ball's in her court and when things settle down, if she wants to talk to me she can. It might have been easier for her to just hide her posts from me rather than going the deletion route though. In any case, it is what it is. Luckily she lives 1500 miles away so I don't have to worry about running into her or talking to her in person any time soon. I still say I am going to let K handle the gift situation. It is his cousin after all. If he wants to get something and send it, I don't mind one bit. He's a big boy ;o) I kept working on the blanket and I didn't like how it was curling up so it wouldn't have been done in time regardless. lol.

Anyway...I guess I better get some laundry done and then start packing so we can leave after I get home from work tomorrow. This 3 day weekend could not have come fast enough! I'll bring back lots of pictures to share I'm sure! Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sisterhood Everlasting


A decade ago (almost,) my SIL and I became avid readers of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series and the subsequent movies that came out. I remember reading the fourth installment and being so sad that it was over. At the time, I think I remember reading some interviews with the author about how she didn't have any real plans for the characters it the future. Cue the tears.

However....it looks like she came to her senses! Hahaha. Brashares said that she didn't feel like it was the end after all and that she had always hoped to revisit Lena, Tibby, Bee and Carmen as adults. The beginning of the book finds us transported to a sisterhood now comprised of almost 30 year olds. And may I add...that makes me realize how much I have changed in the same amount of time. These girls were in college when I was. Yikes.

Anyway, back to the book. This book takes a sad turn almost right from the get go. I didn't read any spoilers before picking the book up. In fact, I hadn't even know that there WAS a fifth book until maybe a week before I checked it out of the library! I'm almost glad I didn't know. It was a shocker for me. So much so that, as luck (?) would have it, I was home for the funeral and saw SIL at my ILs and I told her about the book (which, no she didn't know was out either) and I told her how the beginning shocked me and she said she wanted me to spoil it for her. You should have seen her eyes.

The funny thing is, after thinking a certain way about the book up to that point, the end turns it all around. The book makes sense..after not making sense to me for close to 300 pages. I suppose it had to happen like it did. There were times I was absolutely frustrated to no end with all the girls. I wondered if the author lost the magic that was the Sisterhood. But she didn't. The Sisterhood lives on. I doubt there will be another book focused on the four Septembers. I do, however, see an outlet for another branch series though...just sayin'.

Completed:
  1. Read a YA book: 3 Willows by Ann Brashares, 5 pts.
  2. Read a book based on its cover: Sunset Bridge by Emilie Richards, 5 pts 
  3. Read a book with a number in its title: 10th Anniversary by James Patterson, 10 pts
  4. Read a book that is a part of a series: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares, 10 pts
Total: 30 pts

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

10th Anniversary


Ok, so at the bottom where you see my completed count, you will notice I am moving a couple books around - which, calm down, is allowed, lol.

Anyway. This is the latest Women's Murder Club book from James Patterson (I feel like I have typed that here before - oh wait - I have). Major life changes are in store for Lindsay in this book. She and Joe are finally married and trying to have a baby! While I still wonder if something will eventually happen between her and her partner Rich (who proposes to Cindy!!) I feel like they are a good math. I just wish we would have actually been able to be "at" the wedding. The book just picks up right after they got married. As for the investigative part of the book, 10th Anniversary centered around three cases that Claire, Cindy, Yuki and Lindsay are trying to solve.

One involves the mysterious rapes of various women. They have no recollection of where they were, who they were with, and how they got to where they were. Cindy, ever the reporter, is not going to let this spree go unsolved - no matter what damage it might bring to her.

Lindsay is looking for answers to a crime of kidnapping a newborn from a teenage girl. Her case takes lots of twists and turns and in the end, her assumptions are proved wrong.

Yuki is trying a high profile case that should be a slam dunk. She needs this win in court. Her boss is dangling a nice office along with a promotion if she continues to produce results. What should be an easy conviction of the wife of a philandering husband might not be so cut and dry after all.
Completed:

  1. Read a YA book: 3 Willows by Ann Brashares, 5 pts.
  2. Read a book based on its cover: Sunset Bridge by Emilie Richards, 5 pts 
  3. Read a book with a number in the title: 10th Anniversary by James Patterson, 10 pts
Total: 20 pts

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Progress

I have to say that even though I got nothing accomplished today, it was a very productive day. I needed this. A day to watch tv on the couch, run into some stores I wanted to, take a nap, laugh with K and not have to worry about entertaining anyone. It was heaven. Tomorrow, well technically today, I need to get a LOT accomplished. Yard work, basement, cleaning, groceries, working on work I brought home (gag).

I posted on fb that if I knew that it wouldn't end in bankruptcy, I would have walked out on my job on Thursday because I was sick and tired of crying at my desk. It's true. I am overwhelmed. I am stressed to the max. I try to ask questions and get guidance from my co-workers and supervisors but I am always feeling like I'm not getting it. I was never properly trained and they have me writing the procedures for my position (the aforementioned work I brought home this weekend). How am I supposed to write procedures if I don't even know what I am doing most of the time?! My probation review is on Monday and I am terrified. Absolutely terrified. We, like millions out there, need my income to support us. Yes, I do have my eyes open for other jobs but the job postings are scarce here still - maybe even worse than 4 months ago when I was hired. I hope something else will come my way soon!

Something that sort of clicked in my head tonight revolved around an internal thought train I was having while watching an air show here in town. I think that I have been so consumed with what "isn't" and what "may never be" that I have forgotten what "is."

I was not a bitter person. I was a happy go lucky, life of the party, smiling, confident woman. What happened to me? I'm a (super-sized) shell of who I was. I was sitting in the church for Ed's funeral on Friday listening to the mass and I felt something stir. I still have the religion war going on internally but I realized I missed having faith. I missed having hope. Those two things have been so far out of my life that I forgot what they were like. I still don't believe in the church in the way I did growing up but I'm ok with that. I really am. But I'm not ok not feeling like I'm believing in something, in someone. I stopped believing in myself, in my husband, in my life and future, in my abilities as an employee, in fairness, in friends, in family, in happiness, in God. That's a very long list of gloom.

I can't just snap my fingers and believe in things again but I do have to make a valiant effort to correct them. I need to let go of the sadness. I need to let that go for my own mental health. I need to start making a difference in my life and in others again. I was the person people would flock to for fun and for a chat. I haven't been there for others because I haven't been here for myself. I'm not fixed. Nor will writing this post make me fixed. But at least I have acknowledged that I need a change in my life. I just need one major thing to go right for a change. I need to wake up and be happy for a change instead of wondering what the fuck is going to ruin my day today. I need to stop hating fb pregnancy announcements. I have to settle on the fact that most people don't understand what years of infertility does to someone and they will never understand the pain I am in day in and day out. It's hard to come across people that honestly can't stand being a parent or act like it was just something they did because they felt the should not because they wanted to. Why them? Why do the "deserve" to be parents? They don't. They were just on the other side of the coin.

I have to say that things have calmed down at our house. We're making a conscious effort to make things right. I need to stop talking at him. He's right - I have been doing that a lot. Too much. He needs to deal with the stress he internalizes in a productive manner. I have to wonder if we are actually doing better than an be expected with all the things we have been dealing with over the last few years. Infertility, unemployment, depression, money stress, buying a house and renovating said house...Maybe we're actually lucky to be where we are at. We're re-evaluating things. What I have found is that not being with K is not what I want. He's my partner. He's my best friend and my biggest ally. We may have grown apart and there might be a wedge between us right now but we're not permanently broken. We're still us. We just are a much different version of us. Life has dealt us some shitty ass blows and yeah we've gotten a few bruises and broken bones - we're still breathing. That's all that's important. I have my husband and that's what I want. The rest is merely details.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Stitches in the head

...for K. Poor guy was working on the basement and he stood up...right into a sharp corner of the wall cabinet that houses the breaker box. He saw stars and swore up a storm. I heard him loud and clear from upstairs. So yeah...staples to the head later, and he's all good.

The shitty day at work was capped off by the shitty night at home. Well, I shouldn't say that. We actually been having a good few days. You know...I shouldn't even type that like that. It's hard to be so open on a public forum sometimes because it's your life. You end up having to justify feelings or censoring yourself. I try to never censor myself here and I hope that you appreciate that. It's tough though. I don't want to paint K as anything but the guy I fell in love with and married. But we have our problems. I don't know what the future holds. I can't say with 100% certainty that we will make it. But I know we'll try. Marriage is tough. It really is.

Anyway, we had his sister and her boyfriend up and it was a fun time. I love spending time with them. My SIL is such an amazing person. She always makes me laugh and her genuine concern for taking care of people is amazing. I'm lucky to have her in my life. Of course it doesn't hurt that she and I are a bit insane and looney. But hey, as long as we laugh at our own jokes, it's all good :o)

I will admit one thing though. I am seriously loving my empty house. While I have loved every minute spent with my family and friends over the last month, I am beyond ready to be able to walk around naked if I want to. I hate having to throw clothes back on right after my morning shower. It's the little things people ;o)

I will most likely be heading home tomorrow for the funeral of a close family friend on Friday morning and then turning around and coming right back up. He lost his 5 yr long battle with colon cancer yesterday. He lived 4.5 years longer than any doctor gave him. Ed was a huge jokester. He was my mom's best friend and he was like a crazy uncle to me. He did a wonderful reading at our wedding. This was what he read:

On Marriage
from Madeline Engel's The Irrational Season

“Ultimately there comes a time when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take.  It is indeed a fearful gamble.

Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created.  To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take.  If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom; and the risk of love which is permanent, into that love which is not possession, but participation.  It take a lifetime to learn another person.  When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co -creation which is our human calling.”

RIP Ed. You will be greatly missed. Thank you for being my friend. May all your pain finally be gone. XO

Friday, July 22, 2011

Yet another downer post

I admitted something in a confessions post today on the boards and actually hitting "post" made it seem so real. I admitted that I slept in the guest room and that I was unsure about the state of my marriage. All of that is true. Explaining my marriage is something I'm not sure what to say about though. I don't want to paint K as the bad guy, yet the problems stem from how he acts/deals with stress. I love him. I love him to death. He is my best friend. Imagining not being with him is something that I truly can't picture. But here we are, trying to figure out if we can fix us.

He is willing to go to counseling which is a big step in the right direction. I hope he follows through with it. I think that we can get back on track, I really do. I don't think that we have a horrible relationship. I just think that we've been dealt with so many crappy things in the last few years that we have lost touch on the ability to cope. It's like we've been on over-cope mood but in reality, we're not coping with anything. We're just existing. Is that bad? I'm not sure.

We do love each other. We both care about each other. Those are the most important things in my opinion. We'll figure it out. I'm not ready to give up yet. It's just hard.