12.28.2011

Christmas Time

New Uggs!!
P90X2
I'm never sick!  So imagine my surprise when I contract some kind of stomach bug just in time for Christmas.  It started on Christmas Eve.  I ignored it of course because I never get sick.  I figured it would be gone when I woke up in the morning.  No such luck.  I refused to let it spoil the holiday and still enjoyed Christmas with my family.  Mj and I exchanged gifts here at home before we left.  He totally surprised me with Uggs.  He doesn't find them that cute but he knows I do.  I also got a brown leather jacket that I picked out.  I didn't like it as much as I did online so it will be going back and I'll have to find another one for him to get me.  I got him jammie pants, P90X2, Shakeology and a blender to go with it.  He asked for the gift of exercise and I gave it to him. 
Sisters
A present for the baby
We all met up at mom and dad's house where we spent the entire day.  My mom cooked and Mj made his homemade bread and some gravy.  I basically choked down a delicious dinner in between being wracked by stomach pains.  The one plus side to the stomach bug was that half the time the thought of food was unappetizing so I didn't even want to pig out.  Which is unusual for me this time of year.  My mom and little  sister spent all of Christmas Eve baking so there were plenty of cookies to choose from for dessert...and Ice Cream...and Apple Pie.  I could only stomach one cookie and a bit of ice cream.  After dessert we did our family gift exchange.  My dad had me and got me some cute bright fashion scarfs and some trouser socks that were on my list.  Mom got us all a few things because she can't help herself.  It was a very Merry Christmas.
Mom and sis handing out gifts
Mj and I
Big sis and her family
The whole family together
The day after Christmas I went to the gym.  I have no idea how I made it through that hour long work out because the rest of the day was spent fighting that stomach pain which came almost like clockwork every 10-20 minutes.  It really makes you appreciate your health when you feel like total crap.  Tuesday Mj took an extra day off because I asked him to in my sad sick voice.  I was feeling well enough to visit my friend Eb and it was nice to finally have time to see her and her new baby girl.   Today I had a great pain free work out at the gym and then got my hair did.  It was a beautiful sunny 77 degrees today but do you think that stopped me from wearing my new Uggs?  Nope.  I wore a tank top to balance them out.  I'm still really enjoying my time off from work and basically don't ever want it to end.

Sister Time

Little sis
Big sis Dani and my nephew
Dani picked out this robe and Tia gave it to her for X mas.
 I had a great time with my sisters.  Last Tuesday I picked up Tia from the airport and she spent the night at my house.  On Wednesday we spent the day with our older sister up where she lives.  We went out to Mimi's Cafe for lunch first.  I had a delicious Cobb salad which was a welcome break from all of the pure junk I've been eating.  Then it was time for the mall.  We all finished up our Christmas shopping then went back to the house and hung out.  Later that night we went to a late showing of Breaking Dawn Part 1.  I'm not sure who's idea it was to wear our pajamas but a 10:25 pm showing is pretty late so it seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea.  The movie was so good that I got my 2nd 3rd wind and perked up enough to enjoy it.  Can't wait for part 2.  As soon as we got home we went straight to bed. 
Dressed for the movies...sort of
The Theater was deserted.  Glad we didn't bother getting dressed!
waiting for the movie to start
I'm the middle child
The next morning we woke up and went to mom and dad's house.  We hung out there and mom made hamburgers for dinner.  I'm so glad that I was off of work and got to enjoy this time with them.  I really love spending time with my sisters.  Too bad it doesn't happen often enough but I certainly cherish it when it does.

12.20.2011

Decorated the Tree and I'm Free

It basically looks the same as last year and I love it!!
After two weeks of being too tired and busy to do it we FINALLY decorated our tree on Saturday.  It's funny that it took us two weeks to get around to it but it only took about 20 minutes once we finally did it.  I even got some presents wrapped to put under the tree.  I don't do a whole lot for Christmas which is nice because there is no stress.  People ask me if I'm "ready" for Christmas like it's some sort of competition or an exam, but there really isn't much to be done.  Our family exchanges names so I have my family gift to buy and something for the husband.  Done and done.  I also get something for my little nephew.  I haven't done that yet  but there is plenty of time.  I'm such a holiday slacker.  I don't even bake.  My husband is actually in the kitchen making these delightful sugar cookies and Turkey soup with our left over Turkey Carcass from Thanksgiving.  The cookies are German.  Don't even bother trying to pronounce it; I can't.  I need more sugar like I need a hole in my head but they sure are tasty.  It definitely looks AND smells like Christmas in here. 

Spritz spezialitaten Cookies
At my job we don't do the whole holiday party thing but they still make us feel appreciated.  Last Thursday there was a holiday reception for the whole district with some really good food.  Our holiday gift this year was an awesome canvas black fold up outdoor chair.  The kind that folds up into a little bag and has a cup holder in it.  Our boss gave each of us a gift too.  Today was our department holiday luncheon at the Prado in Balboa Park.  We had a little banquet room all to ourselves and the food was really good.

I'm picking up my younger sister who is coming in from San Francisco tonight.  Tomorrow we will spend the day and night up at my older sister's house.  I'm so looking forward to spending time with them.  We are going to do fun stuff that sisters do like shop, eat, talk, hang out and watch teen vampire movies.  Yep, we're finally going to go see Breaking Dawn.  Tomorrow also marks the official start of my holiday vacation.  I don't go back to work until Jan 3rd.  For the next 13 days I will be a Lady of Leisure.  My job totally shuts down for the holidays and we don't even have to use vacation time.  My time will be all my own to do with whatever I please.  I've felt so tired and ragged like I always do towards the end of a long year so I really, really REALLY need this right about now.  I am free!! And it feels great.

12.19.2011

Beachbody Challenge

I have a sugar addiction.  There...I said it!!!  Normally, it's not that big of a deal but during the holidays when there is chocolate, cookies, and cake every where I turn at work then at home it becomes a major issue because it's very hard for me to just say no. Anyways, I've decided that enough is enough!  One of my goals for 2011 was to get back to the gym on a regular basis.  I committed to working out at least twice a week and I have done that for an entire year year now.  I've decided to change things up and do my own personal challenge.  It's basically just committing to 60 days of a healthy diet and regular exercise plan.  Calling it a "challenge" is just a really good way to keep myself accountable and make a conscious effort to do it and stick with it.  I'm going to shoot for working out a minimum of 30 minutes per day 5 days per week.  I don't need to lose weight.  I really want to diversify my work outs and focus less on just burning calories and work more on building muscle tone and flexibility.  Mj is doing a 90 day Beach Body Challenge so we can help motivate each other.  I seriously don't think I have the internal willpower to do P90X2 or Insanity.  I'm just not that hard core! Call me a wimp but I think those are just too hard and not really my style anyways.  I'm probably going to do Slim in 6, Yoga Booty Ballet and/or some other combo of exercise videos.  The more the merrier I'd say so that I don't get bored.  My sister Dani's thing is Turbo Fire and she does that one almost daily and has lost most of her baby weight doing that alone.  She burns about 600 calories per work out.  I will probably still mix the gym in too; which is usually Elliptical but I think being able to work out at home will make it easier to stick with working out.

I don't have a specific diet plan.  I mainly just want to focus on eating lots of fruits, vegetables and nutrient dense foods.  I pretty much suck at doing this!  I don't think I'll totally eliminate sweets from my diet but it needs to be in moderation and not a multiple times daily habit like it's been over the last month or so.  I love the idea that Shakeology takes the guess work out of what to eat and gives you a full serving of all the vitamins and nutrients that you need for an entire day in one drink!  That is huge because on a day to day basis that's really hard to do.  I don't really like shakes so I don't think it will work for me.  My sister loves them though and says the chocolate is pretty delicious.
P90X2 is here!!  Source:  Beachbody.com
Now if you want to do the Beach Body Challenge the commit to get fit plan Step 1 is pretty basic.  Commit to at least 60 or 90 days of an exercise plan and a healthy diet that may or may not include Shakeology.  Sign up for the free Team Beachbody membership here.  Enter the Team Beach Body Challenge here and then log into the Wowy Super Gym Daily Sweepstakes here  to schedule and log work outs.  Every day that you log a work out you are entered into a contest for that day to win $500.   If you want to go big and are interested in being eligible for Monthly, Quarterly and Grand Prizes ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 you must do Step 1 to sign up and then Step 2 where you enter transformation results along with before, after pictures, stats and a series of other questions by March 31st.  If you go this route you will be asked specifically which Beach Body training program you used and you are eligible for bonus prizes if you use Shakeology.  At the very minimum you will get a Free T-Shirt for doing it.  You will also be part of the $500 daily prize contest for logging your work outs.  So, if you are serious about doing the full on Beach Body Challenge you should get started ASAP...or as soon as Christmas is over!!  The link to the Beach Body Challenge FAQ section is here. 



There is no gimmick here.  You will not get results unless you put in the time and effort.  Being fit and healthy has and always will be about a healthy diet and exercise.  The Beach Body Challenge just gives you tools, rewards and a framework to get you into that mind set and help keep you motivated.



Slim in 6


Yoga Booty Ballet


Turbo Fire with Chalene Johnson


P90X vs P90X2

12.13.2011

Jam Packed Weekend


Last weekend was jam packed.  Where do I begin...Ok Friday night.  My friend Fe was a bridesmaid in my wedding and I haven't seen her since.  She lives out of state but was in town for work and I was so excited to get a chance to see her.   We met up for happy hour and got into some great conversations about life, love and work.  Just what a girl needs every  now and then.  She hasn't seen our house yet so she stopped by.  It was really good to see her.

Our party bus for the night
Saturday night was Mj's company holiday party which I very much look forward to every year.  It's a chance to dress up, eat, drink and be merry on the company dime.  The party was at Loew's Coronado Bay and Resort.  Their rooms average about $380 per night so yeah...we didn't stay there.  The four of us took a cab bus there from our hotel which was also pretty nice.  We had a good time.  The food was delicious.  They had a Macaroni & Cheese Martini Bar station.  Need I say more?  Band's are nice for ambiance but overall I think they're pretty lame for dancing so I didn't do too much of that.  We left around 9pm once it became clear that we would not be winning any raffle prizes and went downtown where we finally got the chance to get our groove on.  We found a club with a good DJ and a wide open dance floor and basically danced all night long.  We had a blast.  I won't go into the gory details but I definitely drank too much.  When will I learn that I cannot drink nearly as much as I seem to think I can?  I have no idea what time we made it back to the hotel but I think it was pretty late.

Me and my mac and cheese martini


Dancing the night away
Sunday morning we met Laura and Rob for breakfast then Mj and I went to the Bills v Chargers game.  We had great seats but it's still so hard to find the ball while watching a live game.   Luckily the sun was facing us so that kept me warm through most of it.  It was fun watching the Charger girls.  The home team won; Mj wasn't too happy about that.  I was pretty tired by then so I was really glad to finally get back home.  Not so glad to have to take a test for school but at least I got it over with.  One down and one more to go.
Chargers V Bills

It went against every fiber of my being to go out on a Monday night after work.  It was cold and rainy and I'd already had a full weekend and a very long day.  Mj's friend's cousin was doing stand up so we met up at a nearby burger joint then went out to comedy night with his friends.  I forgot how vulgar and nasty comedy can be but it was fun and funny.  Tonight there are no plans unless you count the gym.  The weekend was exhausting...but fun!  I'm a homebody so a lot of times I just want to stay home but I think it's good for me to get pushed out the door and pushed past my limits every now and then.  Life is meant to be lived....even if I often don't  feel I actually have time to live it!  But we sure made time this weekend.  I hate to say it but we still haven't decorated our poor little Christmas Tree.  Hanging head in shame.

12.08.2011

Thursday Thoughts

It's funny how you could have never heard of something your entire life and then once you do you keep hearing about it.  I'd never heard of punkin chunkin before in my life until I watched a Modern Family episode where Cam had this far fetched story about chunkin a punkin in a sling across an entire football field and they chunked a punkin at the end in an attempt to see if he was fibbing or actually telling the truth.  Then over Thanksgiving break I happened to see the Punkin Chunkin World Championships competition on TV.  Ironically enough, this occurs in Mj's home state of Delaware and is a big thing there.  Then, I discover a new blogger and she lives guess where?  Delaware.  And she actually went to guess what?  The Punkin Chunkin' World Championships to watch.  It seems that you don't know of something until the universe decides you are supposed to and then once you do it sort of pops up all over the place.  Never heard of it either?  Well, they have a website of course; Punkinchunkin.com.

As if Basketball Wives weren't enough we now have the pleasure of Baseball Wives in Arizona.  This show is really reaching here.  Most of them aren't even actually wives and most of the who are actually wives are married to retired players.  They'll show a "wife" and the illustrious caption of Married to So and So Retired flashes across the screen.  Or even worse,  Ex Wife of So and So (Tampa Bay).  If you are really at the bottom of the barrel it says Dated so and so (Denver).  Okay.  I better shut up though; because at least it gets me through my Elliptical work outs.

Is anyone else a regular unwitting participant in class action lawsuits?  I had a string of class action settlement pay days last year and a few this year too. I can't even count how many class action e mails and letters I've received advising me of my rights to opt out or in or whatever else.  Most of the time the lawsuits are against companies I've actually heard of but a couple weeks ago I got an $18.00 check out of the blue for a lawsuit about something I've never even heard of.  It's funny how they find me too.  They had my new address but not not my new last name.  It's kinda nice to receive a $20 check here or a $30 check there every now and then out of the blue.  It's just odd.
Decorate Me
OK...so we got the tree last Saturday.  It smells like Christmas but it doesn't look like it quite yet.  We have TWO neighbors with lit up Christmas carousels in their front yards (I know....random).  We also have a blow up Santa and Reindeer across the street and we have yet to decorate our tree.  This is a going to be a jam packed weekend but mark my words it will be decorated  by the time the weekend is out.

12.05.2011

Me Time

The minute I walk in I can already feel myself relaxing.  The dim lighting and the melodic soothing music lull me into a feeling of calm and a general sense of well being.  I change into my white robe and step out into the lobby where I pour myself a cup of refreshing lemon water and help myself to a granola bar from the snack basket.  The smell of jasmine fills my nostrils as I sit there and read a magazine.  Can you guess where I am?  Oh yes...the spa.  I love facials.  It's not full body like a massage but they get your shoulders, neck and arms and it makes your skin feel so good.  My skin felt nice and tingly for the rest of the day.  The pedicure was nice too.  I got a sparkly bright red color so I'm all ready for the holiday party on Saturday.  You can't do housework after being pampered like that so I came home and relaxed.  Well, mostly.  I did some homework too.  The cleaning and the laundry can wait until the next weekend. 

I'll spend money on something tangible like clothes but rarely do I spend money on spa treatments.  I have my husband to thank for sending me off to the spa this time and most of the times before this.  If I could I would do it every month but it's nice just to be able to do it at all every now and then.  Life feels so rushed and exhausting sometimes that it's refreshing to slow down and totally focus on yourself in just one moment without having to think about the next.  I had 2 1/2 hours where the only thing I needed to do was relax, feel good and let myself be pampered.  When I think about it, I can't really put a price tag on that. 


11.27.2011

Thanksgiving at Our House

Mj and his very first Turkey
Can I really say that I hosted Thanksgiving if I didn't cook a single thing?  Well, it was my house and I did do a lot of dishes and cleaning up so maybe that counts?  Everyone knows that my husband is the chef in our house so I don't think anyone was surprised that he did the whole shebang on his own.  It's also no surprise that it was his idea that we host in the first place.  Now that we have a house he just couldn't wait to do it for the first time.  I had no doubts that we he could pull it off.  His dad is in town so he was off Wednesday.  By the time I got home from work and the gym he'd done most of the cooking with a few things left over in addition to the Turkey left for the day of. 
Yummy Thanksgiving Day Buffet
Me and my nephew
We had 7 people over, so a total of 9.  There was so much food!!  My mom  brought some appetizers, potato salad, asparagus, macaroni and cheese and sweet potato pie.  My sister brought deviled eggs and greens.  Mj made everything from scratch including the cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, bread, sweet potatoes, lemon cake, cinnamon swirl cake and then of course the turkey.  And I, along with everyone else gobbled it all up.  Dinner was hot and ready by 5pm.   Way different then the debacle that was last year's Thanksgiving.
My sister and I in the middle of a dance battle
I didn't think I overdid it...until dessert.  The cinnamon cake was delicious.  By the time I finished it off with ice cream I was stuffed!!  Then, we all had fun with Dance Central 2 on X Box Kinect.  Everybody tried it at least once.  I was so full that I could barely move by this time so I'll blame my total lack of coordination with the dance moves on that.

I really enjoyed spending time with family.  It was a great Thanksgiving and now we have tons and tons of leftovers.  I don't know how we will ever eat it all!  Our refrigerator is packed to the brim and that means no cooking for either one of us for a while.

11.23.2011

40 Years

Me and the rents on my wedding day
I don't know the origins of it but there are designated traditional wedding gifts for every anniversary year from 1-75.  I don't think I'll live long enough to be with my husband for 75 years but if by some miracle I did, then I know that our gift to each other that year is supposed to be diamonds.  Year 3 is leather, year 6 is candy, year 15 is crystal and year 30 is pearls.  According to the list year 40 is a Ruby.  My parents just celebrated their 40th anniversary and a month ago my mom was thisclose to giving my dad a kidney.  Now that is off the charts awesome in terms of a gift right?  An organ from your very own body is way more precious then diamonds.  It is the ultimate gift of life and health.  My mom was a match and right in the middle of the testing process.  It turns out she didn't have to donate but she was willing and ready to do it.  

On October 24th they got the call.  My mom picked up the phone and the lady said, "Does your husband still want a kidney?"  My mom said, "YES."  A donor kidney had finally became available and by 7:00am they were at the hospital and my dad was getting tested and prepped for transplant surgery.  It took longer then we thought it would; about 5 hours.  My dad pulled through with flying colors.  He was in ICU for a day then got moved to his regular room.  Just one week after surgery he got to go home.  The doctors said the kidney was "lazy."  My dad was really disappointed to still have to do dialysis even after the long awaited healthy kidney but we hoped that it would start doing it's job very soon and it did.  On November 9th he was taken off of dialysis.  No more would he have to spent 4 hours a day 3 days a week hooked up to a machine to do what his kidneys no longer would.  He actually has three kidneys now.  Turns out they actually leave the non working ones in and just add the new one. 

Now there are doctors appointments several days a week and a stock pile of pills that need to be taken in addition to his insulin.  My mom took off work and has been right there by his side taking care of him and helping him manage just as she has been through this entire process.  Just as she has been for the last 40 years.  In sickness and in health, through good times and bad.  I can't count how many times I shook my head in anger over things that were going on in that relationship but my mom's love for him has never wavered; and despite actions that may speak to the contrary neither has his for her.  My mom is as forgiving as she is generous and my dad is as loveable as he is stubborn.  When you love someone like that you will do anything to save their life.  You are selfless if a little selfish because not only will you do what it takes to make sure that person is okay but you also can't bear to imagine a world in which they do not exist and want to keep them with you.  My dad feels healthier and more energetic then he has in a long while.  He needs to keep up the exercise and eating right.  This is a new lease on life and he need not waste it.  Not only for himself but for the people who love him.  I don't like to think of my parents getting older.  For my whole life they've just always been there and that's how I want it to stay.   I'd like to think that they will be here forever.  Just as I'd like to think that my husband and my sisters and anybody else I care about will be too.   

Forty years with Mj.  I'm all signed up...I just don't want it to fly by too fast.  The 40 year anniversary traditional gift is Ruby, the modern day gift is a Garnet and if he needed an organ I would give it to him.  What will we look like in 40 years?  What kind of twists and turns will our relationship have taken?  How many date nights, weekend getaways and movie nights will there have been?  How many disagreements?  Life is just so precious.  And so is love.  We are not promised tomorrow so while we are here we need to be thankful for what we have, live and love as hard as we can, while we still can.  

11.21.2011

20 + 10 Birthday Party

All dressed up and ready to go
Me and the beautiful Birthday Girl
Another good friend of mine entered the 30 something club.  Her Birthday is actually Thanksgiving Day but she had her party on Saturday night.  Instead of going out she invited all her friends to her parents house and we all celebrated with her.  Months ago Mj planned to attend a college football game with his friends.  Then, I find out that this party is on the same night.  Oh no!!  He made a half hearted attempt to keep his original plans but when it came down to it he knew how sad his wife would be if she had to go without her main squeeze so those plans basically fell apart and I got to have him for my date.  It was a really fun party.  There were plenty of alcoholic beverages to choose from, good music, good food and a delicious Red Velvet cake.  She hired a guy to make street tacos and they were to die for.  Let's just say I ate way too many to mention here without total embarrassment and shame.

Me and Mj
You can either be sad about turning 30 or you can get over it and just celebrate and that's what she did.   Which got me wondering what I did for my 30th and I actually can't really remember.  I don't think I did much of anything at all and I vaguely remember being kind of bummed out.  Hind sight is 20/20.  If I knew then what I know now then I wouldn't have been sad about the Big 3-0 at all.  My 20's kinda sucked and the 30's have been way better then I ever expected.  Like me, Bianca has spent her 20's dealing with some relationship challenges and I hope she finds her Mr. Right in her 30's like I did.

11.18.2011

Friday Randoms

  • On the way to work one day I saw a guy brushing his teeth in his car.  I was really curious about where he would spit so I kept checking him out in my rear view.  He opened the door, spit in the street, checked his teeth in the mirror and then did a little bit more brushing.  I also saw a girl putting on make up in her car.  I put on my juicy tube lip gloss every day in the car on my way to work and I've done a few touch ups in the past but she did the whole nine yards.  Sitting there in traffic on the freeway I watched her put on foundation, blush, eye shadow, mascara and then whip out a brush and start brushing her hair.  Very entertaining.
  • I saw a guy at the gym wearing flip flops.  I've never been able to figure that one out.  What kind of work out are you planning to do in flip flops?  And if you drop a weight on your foot you are in big trouble.  I think it should be a rule that you can't wear flip flops...or a tweed suit.  Yep.  I saw a guy in a tweed suit on the exercise bike.  He even had a hat on.  You know those cool ones with the brim?  And while I'm at it why would anyone want to work out in denim?
  • I've been getting unsolicited junk mail at work.  That's weird in and of itself because I don't use this address for anything but even weirder is that it's from Camel.  The cigarettes.  I love coupons and if I smoked these would be awesome but considering I've never even thought about smoking, getting them at work is just annoying and offensive.
  • Have you seen the new Splenda Essentials adds?  It's Splenda with added Vitamin B, Anti-Oxidants and Fiber.  I use Splenda and plenty of it because I need flavor in my coffee and am not willing to take in the calories of "real" sugar even though I have read all kinds of warnings that it could be hazardous to my health.  I'll gladly take the Vitamins, it just strikes me as strange to put Vitamins in a food product that has no nutritional value and could actually hurt your health.  It's like putting Calcium in Donuts. Hey, I wish they would!!  Then, I could feel better about eating them.
  •  We had five people over to our house to hang out and watch a pay per view fight over the weekend.  All five of them had i phones and you know we got 'em too.  The i Phone is pretty catching.
I LOVE the idea long sleeved dresses because I'm always cold
    • I've been a bit of a shopaholic lately.  I purchased 4 pairs of boots since last month!  The last two are Audrey Brooke here and BCBG here from DSW.  Are DSW and Aldo gonna pay my bills?  No.  So why do I keep giving them my money?  I also have bought 2 sweaters and a bunch of long sleeved shirts for Fall.  I'm done!  I swear.  At least I thought I was until a fellow blogger Natalie turned me onto this gem of a website.  Thanks Natalie!!  My original intention was to strike it from the record book and pretend I'd never seen it but instead here I am posting about it and saving the link on my very own blog.  Francesca's Collections has the kind of pieces I've been looking for and can't seem to find in the stores and they even put together outfits for you and set it up so you can easily buy every piece in the outfit to complete your look.  It's perfect for a style challenged person like me.  Just look at that adorable dress; speaking of which I have hardly any dresses.  The prices aren't bad and it turns out they even have a store near where my sister lives.  I MUST resist this store until after the new year.  I've done enough damage already.   
    Thanksgiving is in the air!  We are going grocery shopping this week to get everything we need.  We are going to a big 3-0 birthday party on Saturday night so thank goodness the rain isn't going to start until Sunday when I will be at home all day recovering.

    Have a great weekend everyone.


    11.14.2011

    The Trash Man

    My husband is not really into the whole household cleaning and organization thing.  He is amazing in the kitchen and will cook up a great dinner or bake cookies in a heart beat but it can be difficult to get him to straighten up or pick up after himself.  He can be forgetful too.  Sometimes I have to remind him over and over to do certain things before he remembers to do it.  There is one particular thing however that he does unprompted and without any reminders by me.  Rain or shine like nobodies business he is on it when it comes to taking out the trash.  I have never had to remind him about this chore as long as we have lived together.  In fact, I never even specifically asked him to...he just did...like magic.  When our little recycling trash bin just outside the garage door fills up he dumps it.  Come Monday morning as I lay in bed still hitting snooze I can hear the familiar scraping of him wheeling those trash bins out to the curb before he goes to work.   By the time I roll up to the house later that day after work those bins are back inside the fence next to the house right where they belong.  More often then not he forgets to put a trash bag in the can but bless his heart, he will dump the kitchen trash and will even walk it outside to the trash bins if I pull it out and leave it next to the door.  What is it with men and trash? It's just about the manliest household chore around.  I wish cleaning the bathroom or dusting the blinds were considered manly.  I can hear it now.  No honey, you better not be cleaning the bathroom again.  You know that's my job.  Not likely, but the trash is their domain and you would be hard pressed to find a man who does not believe it is his inherent duty to handle it.  And thank goodness because I have so many other things to do and remind him about so I really appreciate that I don't ever have to haul those stinky heavy trash bins to the curb.

    When it comes to trash I can sit back, relax and know that it's being taken care of.  Just as soon as I finish cleaning the house.



    11.10.2011

    Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders 6

    Training Camp [Photo Source:  CMT.com]
    It's the same thing every year.  It starts with a cattle call mass audition.  Hundreds of hopefuls from all over show up to collect what is hopefully their lucky number and a chance to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.  The first round of auditions is freestyle dancing.  The bunch is narrowed down to about 100 and those select girls are invited back for another round of auditions the next week and are given quite a choreography challenge.  They learn a fast paced routine and then are expected to perform it 45 minutes later-including prep time to reapply the make up that is now dripping down their faces.  The girls who make it past that go back for yet a 3rd day of auditions the next week.  This time they are joined by the returning veteran cheerleaders.   They start the day with an intensive round of interviews and then they perform an original routine for the judges and then the routine they learned the week before.  Those who stand out and are good enough to make it past that last grueling day of auditions are invited to Green Valley Ranch four weeks later and into the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders training camp.  This is where the hard work REALLY begins.  Daily three hour practices, uniform fittings, make overs, final team cuts and about 50 dance routines later the chosen few will make the team and take that official DCC group photo.  It's hard work but it seems so fun and exciting.

    I watched Season Four but missed it last year and Six seasons in it's still the same cycle just a new set of girls.  A whole new group of big hair, full make up and gyrating bodies with the dream of being a DCC.  I'm still lovin' it!  I love dance and I'm totally fascinated by the process.  Kelli and Judi don't miss anything cutting girls left and right reducing many to tears.  They make comments like, Are those cankles or just muscular ankles? She's got those thick arms and What a shame that her body is so short because she's so beautifulShe's a little thick and stocky.  They are brutal.  I can't even imagine the pressure of trying to learn a dance and perform it soon after with their eyes boring into me while they take notes and talk into a voice recorder.  If you get called into their office after a practice watch out.  One girl was told not smiling while she dances could get her cut while two others were confronted with questionable pictures found on the Internet and asked to do some explaining.

    Where do these girls come from?  Every girl that made it into camp has this long flowing hair and giant eyes.  If your tummy is not flat as a washing board the coaches will not hesitate to let you know and you'd better fix it or risk being cut.  Looks are equally as important as dancing ability.  Back in my cheerleader days I was actually coordinated enough to learn choreography but I was never really a strong dancer.  I might be able to fit my booty into those tiny shorts but never in a million years even if I trained eight hours a day I don't think my dancing skills would ever be good enough to make that prestigious team...or any NFL dance team for that matter!  Plus, I don't think I have nearly enough hair...or boobs.  Hey, maybe that would make a really good reality TV show to see if such a thing would even be possible for a total non dancer like myself.  Nope, I don't think being an NFL Cheerleader is in the cards for me but I can certainly live out my fantasy by watching this show.

    It comes on Friday's at 10 pm Eastern on the C.M.T channel.

    11.07.2011

    The Real World?


    The Real World, New York, Season 1 (1992) [Photo Source:  MTV.com]
     There was a time when I did not miss an episode of The Real World.  It was the first reality show of it's kind spawning an entire Reality TV genre back in 1992.  I watched enthralled by this concept of a show about real people living real lives.  I remember when those seven strangers picked to live in a house had dreams like dancing, modeling and acting.  They had stories to tell, things to do and causes to support.  Sure there were altercations and drama drove ratings but it felt like the show at least had a story to tell.  My oh my how it has changed.  Now, they just hang out, get in fights, party, drink, have sex in hot tubs and quite often get kicked off of the show.  Most of them really should be ashamed of themselves.  How do you hold your head high in public and go out for a job in the actual "Real World" after having something like that broadcast on television?.  Well, maybe you don't and that's why you see so many former cast members recycled through the spin off challenge shows for years and years on end.  Hey, maybe they have the right idea.  It has to be funner then a regular old office job. 

    I quit watching it after the outrageous first Las Vegas season (Season 12, 2002) and gave it one more try when it moved to San Diego in 2004.  Just because I live here.  That was the ONLY thing that got me to tune in.  They even had them hold down jobs to try to give them some sort of purpose I guess, but even that could not disguise the overall pointlessness of it.  Well, the show came back to San Diego for it's 26th season.  Yes, Season 26!!! I thought it would be cool to see my city on TV again and maybe get back into it so I thought about watching it for about 2 seconds, twice.  But ultimately, I could not bring myself to do it.  I've been known to enjoy more then a few ridiculous reality TV shows but I have my limits.  If I want to see that kind of drama I can watch Basketball Wives which is at least made up of people my age instead of teenagers.  The last "coming soon" clip of The Real World I happened to see featured several of the cast members wearing boxers and physically fighting each other.  That's when I knew I made the right decision to skip it and every other season that I haven't watched.  I've pretty much"aged out" of it.

    What I really loved most about Reality TV when they first started to pop up everywhere was the chance to take a peak inside lives of regular people similar to or very different from myself.  I find it interesting to see how other people live and to watch their stories play out.  MTV still has some reality shows I like.  I'm really enjoying the Chelsea Settles Show.  I also watch I Used to Be Fat, True Life and Teen Mom.  I like watching shows about people pursuing dreams, embarking on a new journey or overcoming an obstacle.  I am still a huge long time fan of America's Next Top Model with all of it's cat fights.  I have really gotten into Dance Mom's where the mom's are yelling and arguing constantly.  Those shows are still full of people behaving badly but at least it's about people DOING something with some sort of story to tell.  Now they often just cast a bunch of people together who either don't know each other or don't like each other, hope for lots of drama  and call it a show.  Which works out fine in the end because drama sells and there really is something to suit the tastes and tolerance levels of all ages and interests.  And you don't get to season 26 of any show without doing something right.

    You know you are old when you can no longer stomach the raunchy antics and immature behavior displayed by the typical cast of The Real World.  There may have been something real about it when it first started out but not anymore; or maybe I'm just too old to see it.

    11.01.2011

    New Clothes or New Technology?

    Aldo "Perchinski" [Photo Source:  Aldo.com ]
    I'm not that person who is always up on the latest technology.  I got a DVD player when I could no longer find VHS at Blockbuster and I got my first smart phone last year.  When this whole H.D. thing started to take off I thought it was cool and all but not something that I really needed or even wanted and insisted that having just one Blue Ray player in the house was plenty.  I mean, "What's the difference anyways?"   
    Steve Madden "Branddy"  [Photo Source:  Bloomingdales.com]
    I don't spend much time thinking about gidgets and gadgets.  I'm more likely to be thinking about those Steve Madden boots that I saw at Macy's and I've had my Fall shopping list set since last year.  I very excitedly checked some clothing items off my list at Kohl's with a 20% off coupon.  Then I just had to get the knee high boots I've been wanting.  When I get it in my head that I want something I'm on a mission.  I researched, bought and returned boots for a week until I got the perfect two pairs.  The Aldo's were not on sale unfortunately, but I had a $20 off coupon for the Steve Madden's.
    Samsung HD TV
     Mj on the other hand is not concerned about his wardrobe.  He rarely ever is.  Every now and then he peruses the mall for a new pair of jeans which he has yet to find but that's about it.  He's not a technology nut but he's definitely into technology and when he wants something he's on a mission too.  About a month ago he started talking more and more about a new TV.  Why? I asked.  We have two nice flat screens of decent size already but he wanted a slightly bigger one.  He got more focused last week then talk turned into action.  Like me when I'm shopping for something specific he did his research and checked out a few stores and the next thing I know there is a brand new larger TV sitting in our living room.  It has a so called infinity edge.  There is a very thin silver border so the picture just seems to go on for well....infinity.  The first movie we watched on it was Bad Teacher.  I could see every single pore and wrinkle in Cameron Diaz's skin and it looked like they were actually in our living room.  It is the most crystal clear, realistic TV screen I've ever seen.  Did I mention that it has 3D?  We haven't tested it out yet and I don't know how often we'll even use it but apparently you can't get one without it these days.  He even downloaded the app that allows him to turn his i Phone into a remote control.    

    I've pretty much loved every bit of technology I supposedly don't need and didn't necessarily want.  I can now see the huge difference between HD and non HD.   If I watch a DVD that's not in Blue Ray it looks "funny."  I absolutely LOVE my i Phone and don't know how I ever got along without it.  So what's better and more exciting?  New clothes or new gadgets?   You get to wear clothes and they can be purchased relatively inexpensively.  When Mj runs out and gets the hot new thing at Best Buy does he get the same shopping high that I do when I find the perfect sweater?  Maybe so...and I must admit that TV is beautiful.  Did I really just call a TV beautiful?  My natural inclination is to love clothes and profess that I can do without the latest and greatest in technology but in reality I guess I like 'em both.

    This just so happens to be the 3rd TV he's bought in as many years.  I didn't even ask him how much it cost.  I don't even want to know but I bet it was way more then my Fall shopping....for the last several years.  I'll stick to lusting after clothes and shoes.

    10.30.2011

    Time Flies

    My goodness.  The last two weeks have literally flown by.  Work has been very busy so my days there fly by and then fitting in schoolwork, the gym and house work outside of working hours has left me utterly exhausted and wondering where my time has disappeared to.  There simply isn't enough of it.  Then, the long awaited weekend comes and I still feel like I didn't have too much time for relaxing.  Two weekends ago was packed with activity.  It was a fun weekend but busy.  Saturday was spent shopping and running errands.  On Saturday night we met up with friends of mine I haven't seen since my wedding for a nice dinner out downtown.  How does that happen?  How do you go over a year without seeing people that live 30 minutes away?  They have two children and one of them is pursuing a Master's degree full time.  Life is just busy.  Then Sunday I spent the day at my mom's to spend some time with my older sister and my nephew, while Mj went over to his friend's house to finally see their new baby.  That was that.

    Monday my dad finally got his kidney transplant.  My mom called me while I was at work and I went and spent most of the night waiting in the hospital with her.  I was almost falling asleep in my chair.  Then Tuesday I was back to the hospital to see my dad as part of an extended lunch break then straight to class after work.  We didn't get out until 10:00pm.  I squeezed in a gym work out on Thursday at 5:30am before work and I was tired all day long.  I know I'm busy when it takes me almost a whole week to watch America's Next top Model.  When do I get a chance to just sit on my butt for hours and clear out my DVR?   Friday night we watched a movie.  Saturday morning I woke up and cleaned house and then we did a bunch of errands all day long then visited my dad in the hospital.  He's doing well.  He should be out of the hospital by tomorrow or Tuesday.  We picked up dinner on the way home and watched another movie.  We do love our movie nights.

    Today I woke up and had to do homework.  Ugggg!!  I actually got really tired and had to take a nap.  Once I woke up it seemed that half the day was gone.  I did more homework and then I FINALLY got a chance to sit on my butt and chill.  Sad as that may sound, I live for that when I haven't had a chance to do it in a while.  I'm clearing some shows out of my DVR and getting my House Hunters fix.  This is the first day that I've felt like I could actually put together a coherent blog post.  If I didn't have to spend 40 hours a week at work I'd have plenty of time, but I wouldn't have much of anything else! So I guess that means I better brace myself for another busy week ahead.


    10.19.2011

    Team USA is Golden

    Team USA Gold  [Source:  USA Gymastics.com]
    If you follow gymnastics this is no longer breaking news but the US women won team gold at the World Championships last week in Tokyo.  They did am amazing job!  Every single one of them stuck every single routine through the qualifying competition and final competition.  Alica Sacramone tore her Achilles in podium training so she was out.  This was a real  blow to the team but they didn't let it affect them.  Russia was second China finished third and the Romanians were in fourth.  It's a very unforgiving format with three gymnasts up on each event and every single score counts.  Every other team had breaks but not USA.  They were like perfect little dancing flipping machines and could not be stopped.  They aired the Team Final and the Individual All around competition last weekend on NBC so I got four hours of gymnastics over the weekend.  Universal Sports aired the event finals but unfortunately we don't get that channel for free.  I would have been willing to pay the $19.99 to watch it live on Universal  Sports online but with the time difference between here and Tokyo I would not have gotten to sleep.  The Pan Am Games start soon.  I'm hoping that will be televised as well.  Could it be possible that I would actually get to watch 4 competitions on TV in the same year?  We'll see.  Nastia Liukin (2008 Olympic All Around Champion) officially announced her comeback.  By this time I just thought she was stringing the media along for the last 2 years saying "we'll see" when she really meant "no way" but it looks like she's really doing it so it'll be interesting to see how she does.

    Chusovitina, Maroney & Thi Ha Than Phan [Source:  USA Gymnastics.com] 
    I have to point out that the Vaulting silver medalist is married, has a child and is 36 years old!!  In a sport where those in their early 20's are ancient this is amazing and very cool.  Her name is Oksana Chusovitina and she started out competing for the Soviet Union, then Uzbekistan but has represented Germany for the last five years.  She was competing back in 1989 before most of her current competitors were even born.  She will be going for her 6th Olympics next year. 

    Team USA Medals (Women's)
    Team:  USA, Gold
    All Around:  Jordan Wieber, Gold
    Vault:  Mckayla Maroney, Gold
    Beam:  Jordan Wieber, Bronze
    Floor:  Aly Raisman, Bronze

    10.13.2011

    Cookie Factory

    Last week Mj tried out a new chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I crumbled like a cookie and ate 4 in one night!  I had one, then another.  Then, Mj gave me one, then another so technically, it was really all his fault.  He took the rest to work the next day and although I loved them dearly I was glad they were gone.  I came home from work and actually breathed a sigh of relief because I didn't see them.  Not that I looked or anything.  Turns out they were concealed in the microwave so of course I had to have a few that night.  Those ran out but now there are more! Mj volunteered to make cookies for a work event so on Sunday and Monday he turned our kitchen into a cookie factory.  He spent Sunday making the batter and about one batch out of each kind.  Then Monday he made the rest.  Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chip and Chocolate Chip with nuts.  There were bowls of batter and trays of cookies every where.  Every time he took a new batch out of the oven I wanted another one.  They are even harder to resist when they are fresh out of the oven and melt in your mouth warm.  These cookies are delicious I tell you!  They stay soft and chewy.  Every day I come home from work it's hard to resist eating at least one or two.  Well, it's been almost 24 hours since my last cookie fix...so I guess it's about time for another.

    10.10.2011

    Desert Getaway

    I couldn't get Mj to get up here with me

    Earlier this year I won a two night stay at the Riviera Hotel in Palm Springs.  The hotel was free so we were going even though we set off having no idea of what there even was to do there.   That was of little concern particularly considering that we really just wanted to do nothing.  We took the scenic route there.  Windy roads and no guard rails.  Scary!  So I was not behind the wheel.  We checked into our hotel room Friday around 4pm and immediately set about taking a nap.  Once we woke up we were starving so we went online and found a place for us to eat.  We ended up at this Mexican restaurant where the servings were gigantic and the food was delicious.  When we got back we changed and went out to the hot tub.  Can you see the giant Quesadilla and Miller Light still sitting in my tummy?  The weather was a perfect 80 degrees all weekend and even at night there was a perfect hint of warmth in the air.
    Hot Tub time
    Pool side fire pit
    Check out this decor.  Source:  Billy Reed's in Palm Springs
     The next morning we slept in way later then either of us ever do at home.  I felt like I was sleeping on a cloud in that bed and the heavy black out drapes make the room as dark as night even in the day time.  We found a place nearby our hotel to go eat.  It was this random land that time forgot restaurant that looked like something out of the 1800's.  The seats were velvet and the decor was ornate but the food was really good.  Then we headed over to Bed Bath & Beyond to pick up some things for the house.  I bought some sunglasses at Marshall's next door.  When we got back to the hotel we went to the pool.  And what a party pool it is during the day.  The pool area has this sleek Hollywood type of vibe to it.  complete with Cabana's, lounging beds, and blasting music.   That night we saw lots of people all dressed up in their party clothes roaming through the hotel so I know there was someplace happening to go to even in this tiny desert town but we weren't interested.  All we wanted to do was relax.  After a couple hours lounging by the pool we took one last dip in the hot tub and headed back to the room to do just that.  We couldn't even be bothered with going out to get food.  It was time for room service.  How often do you get to sit in the middle of a King size bed and chow down on Pasta...with bright RED sauce? We split a delicious spaghetti dinner and watched Interview with a Vampire.  We both saw it long ago but it was the only thing we could find on TV to watch so we went with it.  We stayed up really late playing Scrabble online.
    Room Service Please.  Yum!!
    On the way home Sunday morning we stopped at Ruby's Diner for brunch.  It was my turn to drive so Mj could watch football on his phone which was fine with me as long as he can handle my singing.  When I'm behind the wheel Sirius radio is on the Love channel where I somehow know the words to just about every song that comes on.  Air Supply, Barry Manilow, The Bangles.  It's like a time machine and I love it.  

    It was a pretty low key weekend.  If you think about it we ate more then we did anything else!  We didn't do too much that we couldn't do at home but there is something about staying in a hotel and doing it in a different town that makes it fun, exciting.  Different somehow.  We weren't that far from home and we didn't do much but we were together, we were relaxing and that's basically all we really wanted out of our mini weekend getaway.

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