12.29.2014

Staycation Mode

I'm in serious staycation mode and apparently that means no blogging.  My last day of work was December 22nd and I don't go back until January 5th.

So what have I been doing?

Tis the season for cute ankle boots // Aldo
Spending a crap ton of money which WILL happen even if you buy nothing else if you buy your husband an iPad.  There was a spa visit and dinners out.  I have this habit of deciding I need things after Thanksgiving which is the same time I also need to by things for other people.  It was all fun and games until I saw my credit card balance.  I paid my credit card off and will start fresh with being more conservative in January.
A photo posted by Cece (@pinksunshine94) on
Reading as many books as I can.  The library and very specifically, that library transports me to my broke single years when I lived alone in my condo and spent hours and hours reading alone in my cozy little studio.  The library was free and I had a lot of free time on my hands so I was there every single month combing the stacks for something new.  I hadn't been in so long that I had a $4.00 fine from 2010.  Good thing they don't charge interest or send you to collections.  Incidentally, 2010 is when life got very busy for me.  MJ came home from an 11 month deployment, we bought a house and got married.  Then I discovered DVR and it was all over after that.  Life gets so busy that I may or may not make library trips a regular thing but this staycation was the perfect time to go back.  Hopefully I'll do more reading in 2015.  I missed it!

Watching Married at First Sight.  With the help of experts three arranged marriages are set up and the couples meet on their wedding day when they walk down the aisle.  Crazy right?  But so fascinating.  I stumbled upon this on my Direct TV app, recorded all the episodes and finished most of it in two days.  It's a really interesting reality show that actually seems real and not full of wanna be actresses that signed up for the free vacations.  Each episode has really interesting insight about making a marriage work and it's a pretty interesting social experiment to watch unfold.  Jason and Courtney are my favorite couple.  They are so cute!!

Finding my motivation for working out.  Any motivation I was still hanging onto left me in the dust about last month.  I fought it, but once the holidays hit and it started to get chilly it was gone and I decided that was okay.   If I work out I work out and if I don't...well, clearly life goes on.  I am fitting in as many morning yoga classes as I can at the gym and we will see what happens in the new year.

Enjoying quality time with MJ.  He worked only one more day than me so last week was a staycation for both of us.  On Christmas Eve Eve we wasted $26 bucks on this Winter Wonderland holiday event downtown that was pretty much worthless unless you had a gaggle of kids.  At least we got to see a Reindeer.  I don't even care because it was one of those warm balmy nights (yes, in December) that I can't get enough of.  We strolled around downtown on a Tuesday-which felt strange, until we found a place to eat with outdoor seating and drink specials.  Wasted money or not it was a fun night.  Playstation was down for two wonderful days which was great for me and our quality time but not so great for a man who is addicted to Destiny.

Wearing lots of pajamas with my fuzzy flowered 10 year old grandma robe.  I eat breakfast, run errands and/or work out and then jump into my jammies for the rest of the night.  We made it until after Christmas without the heat.  Which is also the day I thought it was Friday and showed up 24 hours late for yoga on Saturday morning.  I walked right out when I realized I was the only idiot there with a yoga mat and did a yoga DVD at home.  We always have a contest to see who can last the longest without heat and for the second time in a row he broke first.  It's not that I don't get as cold as him it's just that I am more willing to suffer if it will save money.

Cleansing my closet.  It was time and I was finally ready.  I told MJ that I will probably be wearing these same clothes for the next twenty years.  I think I did pretty good, but I still have a lot of clothes and I'm not into shopping for sport anymore so I don't expect my wardrobe to change that much in the near future.  I'll still buy things when needed but I can't add much ESPECIALLY if I'm not willing to part with anything else.  I'm going to make a concerted effort to wear every single thing I own over the next year and if I STILL have things I haven't worn I will re evaluate next year.

Organizing my iPhotos.  After five years my MacBook finally died but not before it was reset to factory settings and wiped in a last ditch effort to save it.  Nothing was not backed up in the time capsule as it was supposed to be.  I got a new one six months ago but, I lost all documents.  MJ was able to recover what I think is most of my pics but they are all just randomly thrown in there with no rhyme or reason.  It's a big project I've been putting off for months



Christmas was different this year being that it was just the two of us but it was still good.  I got everything I wanted plus a few extra's that MJ surprised me with.  That afternoon we went to the movies to see Exodus, which was really good.  See it.  So good!!  Then we went straight to dinner and spent a quiet evening at home.  We intend to do the same for New Year's Eve minus the movie.

I have one more glorious week that remains before it's time to go back to work and I'm going to enjoy it.  Now, to catch up on some blog reading.

12.17.2014

No Holiday Party For You

We didn't go to the holiday party this year. I'm still not sure how I feel about this although I guess I'm okay with it considering I gave up my campaign to go on Wednesday.  I don't even know why I was still trying to get MJ to go at that time when I never had any idea what I was going to wear in the first place.

We ALWAYS go to the company holiday party. Mine is an employee only lunch during the day for my department but his is a THING and we haven't missed one since he started working there.  That's four years of holiday parties and I have documentation for all of them; 2010 here, 2011 here, 2013 here, and 2014 here.  You know you've been blogging a long time when you have to use the search function on your blog to find your own posts.  Normally the party is on a Saturday, there is a cheesy band and we get a hotel room for the night wherever they are having it, but this year they decided to make it a happy hour thing. Two years ago they moved it to January which actually worked out really well and this year they moved it back to December.  On a Friday.  At 4:30pm.  Ugh.  I find it difficult to pass up free drinks and a meal but there is something about a holiday party in December that feels really exhausting when all I can think about is making it to Christmas break.  It finally got cold, it was supposed to rain, I'd have had to get off work early and I figured I wouldn't feel like bothering anyway so I said, "If you don't want to go, we aren't going.  I'm over it."

That Friday we ate carne asada tacos for dinner out of paper containers, drank Bud Light and watched a movie.  The weird thing is that he can't even tell me why he didn't want to go.  He was actually on the committee this year and all he could say is that he wasn't feeling it.
What he was feeling, the second he heard about it was a co-worker's birthday party.  For the last two years this guy has thrown a big birthday bash that we couldn't go to but he had no intention of missing it this year.  And when I think about it, by the time I was one glass of wine in I thought it was a holiday party.  It was downtown so we had to pay for parking just like usual.  There was an open bar on the balcony.  There was a nice little spread of finger foods and snacks.  I'm still wondering what he did with all the furniture.  All of it was removed so there was plenty of space for dancing.  There was a nice sound system playing hit songs from this decade.  I even got to see a ton of music videos on the synchronized TV that I would have never otherwise seen since I still haven't figured out where all the music videos have gone.  That alone was so entertaining I spent the first hour of the party saying things like, "So that's who sings this song."  It was the same crowd too.  The co-worker friends that I see at every company holiday party, dodge ball, and kick ball game of year's past, were there.  And so was MJ.  I'll hang out with that guy almost anywhere; including the ER
I think it's safe to say that we had fun.

No, it wasn't THE holiday party, but it's not too hard to convince myself that it was actually better.  I didn't have to feel like a fool dancing to a cover band on an empty dance floor.   I didn't have to shop for a dress or figure out which one I was going to recycle.  There were Costco wraps and chocolate chip cookies which I love and the house wine was a sweet white moscato.  Drink tickets at the company holiday party NEVER include moscato.  Also, I'm not so sure I would have survived going out two nights in a row.  We are on a two party night per year average right now.  Our last one was Las Vegas in August so I figure we will be due for another around June.

The only thing missing was the raffle prizes and we never win those anyway. 

12.12.2014

Empty Fridge and Mutant Carrots

It's time for a confessions post.

I confess that I don't understand the elf on the shelf thing.  Is it just this really skinny elf that you take pictures of in different places?  If so why?

 I confess that we have a missing TV remote that we have both stopped looking for.  The last one that went missing turned up after about a month so I imagine this one will too.

I confess that I was almost late to work one day because I couldn't figure out if the stripes on my dress were white or off white.  I didn't know which leggings to wear!!  Inside they looked off white but when I went outside they looked white.  I grabbed the white leggings and took them to work with me because I couldn't make up my mind and I had to get out of there.  

Our sad empty refrigerator
I confess that we've been eating out a lot!!  And when I say eating out I really mean picking up food and bringing it home.  It's usually Subway on Wednesday's and Santana's on Friday but last week I had Subway three nights in a row.  We literally ate out Monday through Saturday.  We stick to healthier options (unless we go with pizza which is only occasionally) but our sodium count definitely goes up.  I was solid for four weeks.  I cooked every Sunday and then I quit.  I stepped up to the plate and made Chili this week.  I know.  ME?  Santana's is on the menu for tonight and we'll see what happens next week.

I confess that I recorded and watched four episodes of Prison Wives Club.  It's so bad.  In my defense, the DVR has been empty for months and I was desperate for something to watch.  I used to be able to count on House Hunters for something new but even that is done.  Over Thanksgiving break I decided to get hooked on Red Band Society since it was on Hulu.  The show is really good.  There is nothing trashy about it-my only confession on it is that I watched nine episodes in two days.  There are so many good shows I'm not watching but I really, really try not to get involved with too many.  It becomes difficult to keep up with and I end up feeling bad about myself when I spend too much time in front of the TV.  There are still a few shows left that we watch together, but most of what I watch on my own is out of season so for the time being I have NOTHING.  This is a really good time to get into some books. 

I confess that we had a fruit fly infestation.  We have no idea how it started but one day there were just a few of these tiny little gnat like flies and each day there were more and more.   MJ googled it and made a trap to kill them off but it took a few weeks for the last one to finally disappear.  I haven't seen one in a few days so hopefully we are in the clear.

I confess that I take pictures of my mutant carrots before I eat them because they are just so bizarre looking.  It's funny because when I show my mom she wants to know if I ate it.  Of course I did!  It only looks funny; but they taste like any other carrot.  I guess it was some kind of factory malfunction but they deserve to be treated normally just like all the other carrots.  Right?

Well, it's been a long week and it's raining right now but I'm not going to complain like I usually do because our state is in the middle of a serious drought.  We need this, so I have to get over myself.

12.08.2014

Wicked Good Date and a Wicked Bad One

When we were in New York we were interested in seeing Wicked but saw Kinky Boots instead so when Wicked came to town for eight weeks we were all over it.  I thought tickets were expensive just because it was New York but unfortunately I think theater in general is expensive.  We got really good seats though and it was a really good show.  I grew up knowing about Dorothy and Toto with their gang of friends off to see the wizard but new nothing about who got smashed under the house, the background of the Tin Man, Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion and how Glenda and the Wicked Witch of the West came to be.  Turns out the wicked witch was not wicked at all; just misunderstood.
It was my first date with that cute little Louis that required documentation.  There is a neat story behind it too that I will share later.
We planned it so we could go to the play and then have dinner at Fleming's downtown.  I have no sense of direction but when MJ said it was on the opposite side so we should drive I looked it up.  I tend to believe there isn't any place I can't walk to and I didn't want to give up the parking we had already paid for.  It was only .7 miles.  We walked a million miles in New York and I was wearing my comfy flat knee high boots.  Definitely walkable, and then we got to stop for cheap drinks along the way.  I got this $40 off coupon from my AmEx card which may or may not even cover an entree depending on what you get, but a discount is a discount.  I'd never been and it sounded like a great idea to add it onto our date.  After having eaten so much chicken over the last year I crave juicy steak's more then I ever have before.  I got the filet and it did not disappoint.  MJ got a filet with crab and caviar on top.  Eww.  The steaks were juicy and full of flavor, the garlic flavor of the mashed potatoes was perfect and the bread was hot and crusty.  Fine (very expensive) dining is kind of overrated in my book.  I don't need a $40 steak but if I get one it better be good; And it was.   Forgive me for a second while I swoon over my husband.  I didn't get a picture of him so you will have to believe me when I say he looked so cute!  He was freshly shaved which I love because it brings out his baby face.  He refused to wear slacks or dress shoes but he wore a nice button up.  It was a wicked good date.
How does he manage to look cute at a time like this?  Cute but gross!! And hey, they won  the championship so he'd say it was worth it.
Sunday's date however was terrible.  It was very poorly planned or should I say not planned at all and the ambiance was terrible.  I met my grungy blood spattered husband at the emergency room where he promptly devoured a foot long subway sandwich plus cookie while we waited for hours in butt numbing chairs amongst a crowd of injured and/or potentially contagious people.  Fun, I tell ya.  I got the dreaded text message that Mr. Accident Prone had done it again and I needed to find an urgent care.  He got hurt in his last (of three) flag football games and when you get hurt after 5pm on the weekends the only option is the ER.  He hadn't eaten all day and they told him it was a 90 minute wait so I plucked my pajama clad body off the couch, threw on some sweats and made a Subway stop before meeting him there.  He got there at 6:30pm, I got there at 7:30pm, he got called back at 9:45pm and we were out of there around 10:45pm with seven stitches in his head.  He's quite the trooper.  He actually went back into the game after he busted his head, didn't even flinch when the needle went in and was up by 4:30am for work today.

It's going to be a long Monday.

It wasn't an ideal way to spend a Sunday evening but I wouldn't have had it any other way.  I would have felt like crap sitting at home while he starved alone for hours with a busted head.  Being married means that sometimes you just gotta step up to the plate and choose the inconvenient option.  When he thanked me and told me what a good wife I was it made the whole ordeal more then worth it. 

12.02.2014

Thanksgiving in a Box

That whole cooking thing. Well, we decided not to do that this year.  I realize that some people love to cook and believe that Thanksgiving is not the same without a ton of home cooked food that you worked really long and hard to prepare.  I am not one of those people.

My parents house is a disaster.  When you are moving the week after Thanksgiving chances are your home is not equipped to handle cooking a Thanksgiving feast, leftovers or having guests so we knew that Thanksgiving would be at our house.  If I never make a Thanksgiving dinner in my life that will be fine with me.  I just don't have it in me to do such a thing.  MJ did it a few years ago, but was not interested in doing it again this year.

So what do we do about food, because Thanksgiving is nothing without food, or so I'm told.   Turns out, there is quite the market for this conundrum.  We aren't the only slackers who don't want to cook Thanksgiving dinner and there are plenty of places that will do it for you at an affordable price.  We decided on Fresh & Easy because they offered the best variety for sides and we love their freshly made food.  I've never eaten anything I didn't like from there and it really is Fresh and Easy.   Decisions about food are always critical for my mom but when it's Thanksgiving, it's really serious business and this was only going to work if my parents were okay with it.  There were a lot of text messages back and forth and at one point I thought we were going to have to cook but it worked out.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but when I saw that cute little box I knew everything was going to be okay.  Even though we didn't cook anything it smelled like we did and that's part of why you love it so much right?  The turkey needed almost three hours to cook and all the sides had to be warmed so we still got to use the oven.  The house smelled exactly like someone was in the kitchen all day, and someone actually was, it just wasn't us. 


After much discussion we agreed on brussel sprouts with bacon, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce for sides.  It even came with a free pumpkin pie.  MJ is currently working his way through it by himself since I don't eat pie.  He isn't even a fan of pumpkin pie and says it's pretty good.  My mom was nervous about the stuffing and yams so she made stuffing and picked up yams from Boston Market and my dad refuses to eat anything but the cheapo cranberry sauce in a can.   Throw in some dinner rolls and we had a complete Thanksgiving spread.  For dessert MJ made marble cake and peanut butter & chocolate chip cookies from scratch.  We also had ice cream but we all atE so much that it never came out of the fridge.

Thanksgiving dinner came out of a box but no one was disappointed.  Not even my mom.  It was one of the best Thanksgiving meals I've ever had.  The turkey was all breast so we didn't have to deal with all those nasty bones, everything was full of flavor and we had just enough left overs.  The best part about all of this is that no one had to slave away in the kitchen for hours the night before or the day of.  MJ picked up our food the day before Thanksgiving, made the desserts in the morning and we were chowing down by 2:00pm.  There were dishes, but not the mountain it would have been had we cooked.  Some might think a store bought Thanksgiving is sad, but I call it efficient.  Okay, and maybe a little lazy.  

The best part about the day was spending time with MJ and my parents.  We sat around, drank wine, ate, talked and watched football the entire day.  I knew it was going to be the last time I saw them for a while but it didn't hit me until they were on their way out the door.  I kept it cool while they were putting on their shoes and it wasn't until we were outside when I was giving my mom one last hug that I lost it.  We clung to each other and sobbed.  I'm a grown woman and I have always been very independent.  I don't see my parents every weekend but the idea that I can't see them every weekend or even every month if I want to makes me really sad.  She's still my mommy and not having her and dad nearby is going to take some getting used to.  After they left MJ put his arms around me so I could cry some more.  I'm crying even as I write this.  Dramatic much?  Maybe so, but I'm emotional and those are my parents.  I'm going to miss them.
A photo posted by Cece (@pinksunshine94) on
We got our tree two days after Thanksgiving which is a big deal because we get it later and later every year.  Last year I don't think we got it until the week before Christmas so I was determined that we not procrastinate.  We really have no excuse because the tree farm we use every year is right across the street.  We drive by it on our way home from work every day.  We walk to the ATM if we need cash, walk across the street to the lot and then MJ carries it home.  He remembered to bring his gardening gloves this time.  We got a really good tree.  The shape is perfect and with the decorations it looks about the same as it did last year and I love it.  The four day break lasted a really long time which was great.  I think that's what happens when you don't pack a lot into it.  The only thing we did was go to the movies to see Mockingjay.
I'm a mac and cheese girl.  I don't eat stuffing, I don't do yams, cranberry sauce or pies and if I only have one thing on Thanksgiving I'd be happy as long as it was mac and cheese.  I knew I wasn't getting it this year and that was okay because I know that someday I will eat it again.  I don't plan on this being my last meal, ever.  I know that nobody is promised tomorrow but I'm pretty sure that even if it was, the last thing I'm going to regret is that I didn't eat macaroni and cheese on November 25th.  If I was on death row and didn't get it for my last meal, that's another story.

The thing I will think about more than anything else is who I spent it with because it's just food, and people are infinitely more precious than macaroni.  I think everyone can agree on that. 

Disclaimer:  This post is not sponsored by Fresh and Easy but I wish it was.

11.24.2014

From Diapers to Double Dates


My parents are retired now and California 'aint cheap so they started house hunting in August.   I was fine with it, as if I have any say so in the matter. When they got back, they told me they found a house.  Okay, so their really gonna move.  I knew it was happening and I was still fine with it.  I was at work when I got a text message that the new house would finish being built in December.  I was no longer fine with it and I cried because it wasn't until then that the move felt real to me.  Like, really, real as in I will no longer be able to see my parents whenever I want to.  My sisters' moved a way a long time ago so they already know what it's like not to have mom and dad nearby, but I don't.  I moved out six months after I graduated from college so I really didn't expect to be crying about mom and dad moving in my thirties.  They sold my childhood home last year.  It was sad, but they were still here and I knew this was coming, but it feels different when it's happening next month.  When I say next month that's next week since November is all but done and they are moving the week after Thanksgiving.  Las Vegas isn't far.  I've been going there at least once a year already, but it's not here.  It's not forty five minutes away and that is going to take some getting used to.

They spent their 43rd wedding anniversary knee deep in packing and fielding inquiries on Craigslist about five drawer dressers and sofa tables.  Does anyone remember the Penny Saver?  Well, my parents sure do and that's where they put an add to sell a bunch of stuff, but us young whipper snappers know that Craigslist is everything.  My mom is learning, but not quite computer savvy enough for Craigslist so I posting their stuff and oh, my gosh is it crazy!  I have to forward all e-mails to my mom and I've only seen a portion of the interaction she's getting, but she says keeping up with it is a part time job.  They got two calls out of Penny Saver. 
We are trying to squeeze in as much as we can with them while they are still here.  My mom and I did mother daughter facials and lunch a few weeks ago and on Saturday we met at  The Cottage in La Jolla for a double date.  It looks like a house that's been turned into a restaurant and I've never had food come out so fast.  I'm always on a quest for the best french toast in San Diego and this place takes the #1 spot away from DZ Akins.  We've come a long way baby.  My parents used to change my diapers and now we go out on double dates.  They have been through a hell of a lot in their 43 years of marriage and yet here they are stronger than ever, sitting across from MJ and I who have barely just begun.  It was one of those days that I stood there tilting my face into the sun and smiling, just because it felt so good to be where I was in that moment.  My beautiful parents.  My amazing husband.  The weather, which was 75 degrees because San Diego still has no clue that it's not Summer.  Sitting outside chowing down on french toast and sipping on mimosas was a really nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

This is the last Thanksgiving with my parents, and I don't even want to talk about Christmas.  I'm grown and married.  Why am I taking this so hard?  Just thinking about it gets the tears rolling but, we're making the most of the time we have left.  

11.19.2014

About Walking Dead, Just Wondering

Is there anyone else still completely obsessed with The Walking Dead?  Dumb question.  The show has beat Sunday night football in ratings for three weeks in a row.  I can't even glance at Twitter until after I've watched it or else it's spoil alert city.  If that's not a hit show I don't know what is and if you aren't watching it yet you're missing out.

Spoiler alert: If you have not watched the episode from two weeks ago (Season 5, episode 5) you may not wish to continue reading.
Five seasons in and I'm still completely fascinated with this show.  The zombies, the plot twists, the raw exposure of human nature at it's worst.  The characters are so complex.  Some I've wished would die five episodes before they finally did.  I vowed I would quit watching the show if Herschel or Andrea died.  That was a lie of course, because there is no way I'm not watching this show.  Bob was a love hate character.  I hated him when he couldn't put down the bottle but he redeemed himself.  I still can't believe nobody cared about Bob as much as I did.  I'm the only one I know who cried for him and if anybody deserved tears it was him.  Seriously, that was a really bad way to go.  The worst.  How could you not cry for Bob?  Daryl was a love hate for me too.  I hated him almost as much as I hated his evil brother but now I think he is one of the most beloved characters on the show.  Now that I think about it, I've also love hated Herschel (may he rest in peace), Rick and Carl at different times.  Even sweet Beth was driving me nut at some point.  It's the kind of show where you don't know whether to pull your hair out or cover your eyes.  I know anything can happen, but it's really nice that they have gotten so efficient at zombie killing so I'm not terrified that everyone is going to die anymore.  Well, everyone except Eugene also known as liar liar pants on fire who needs to learn how to start taking care of himself now that the cat's out of the bag. I will shed no tears over his death.

This show has it all, but season after season I find myself asking some of the same questions, none of which have been answered to my satisfaction. 

+How are the women of Zombie Apocalypse land handling that time of the month?  It has to be dealt with. 

+It's obvious that they wear the same clothes every day, but are they wearing the same underwear everyday too?  I remember one episode last season when Beth found a sweater and looked clean for about half a second before a zombie killing ruined it.  The dirt, blood spatter, and vagabond lifestyle have to make cleanliness impossible.

+How bad is the body odor?  Between their rugged, outdoorsy active lifestyle, lack of deodorant, soap and toothpaste it must be pretty bad.  I'm assuming that even if they still had those things at one time they have to have run out by now.  I'm sure they can pillage some of them stuff on their runs but it has got to be hit and miss.

+How sexy can sexy time be at a time like this?  It's not happening a lot, but people are doing it and it seems a little awkward what with the lack of privacy, hygiene considerations and dead people running around.  Lori and Shane were the worst in season 1.  They had no shelter whatsoever at that time.  The apocalypse had just happened and she ended up pregnant.

+What are the men using to shave?  Rick is looking pretty scraggly lately, but I've seen people on Naked and Afraid with beards bushier then his after 21 days.  Glenn is smooth as a baby's butt and how does Abraham keep his mustache so nicely shaped?  I wouldn't know this type of man thing.  I suspect you can make a knife work, although it would be really tough without shaving cream. 

+I imagine Carol must be resorting to a knife to maintain that pixie cut.  It's also, not entirely unreasonable to think she may have scissors.

+How have they not wasted away to nothing?  Their entire life is one big giant work out that never ends what with all the keeping watch, miles of walking and zombie killing.  Their calorie expenditure cannot possibly be met with whatever squirrels and canned foods they find along the way and carry with them.

+Is baby Judith eating squirrels too?  She's a big girl now.  Surely, she has run out of powdered Milk by now.  What are they doing about diapers?

This is an example of the randomness that runs through my mind anytime I watch an apocalypse, on the run, war, type movie.  I'm a 1-2 shower a day kind of person, who is scared of spiders, very picky about food and feels anxious when my house is dirty.  Tent camping is hard core for me.  I am the definition of wimp and I already know that I would not manage well under those conditions and would have probably died or wanted to not to long after this whole thing broke out.  I don't even like eating meat off a bone so I don't know if I could bring myself to eat roadkill.  I'd like to think that I'd be as bad ass as all the girls on the show have become out of pure instinct for survival but I'm not so sure.  
More questions:
+How long has it been since all hell broke loose?  I haven't seen much of a change in weather conditions but that may or may not be that obvious in Atlanta.  Look at Carl.  I almost forgot that he was just a little boy when the show started.   His voice has changed and he looks so much older.  With everything that's happened and the size of Judith it's got to be at least two years.  Maybe more.  If it doesn't wrap up soon Chandler Riggs may age himself out of the role.  

+Why has Maggie never once mentioned Beth?  When Glenn was lost, she risked life and limb to find him even though she had no idea if he was alive or dead.  Not a peep about her sister Beth.

+Is it really that swift and easy to slice through bone to brains when you are stabbing someone in the head? I don't think I really want to know the answer to this one.

+I'll probably never find out if they are brushing their teeth, but what I really need to understand is what was so terrible about living in the hospital that Beth would rather jump down an elevator shaft into a basement of dead bodies to escape?  She was safe.  Outside she has to sleep in the dirt with one eye open to avoid being eaten by zombies.  That police lady (and her henchmen) seems a little off and they have to work to earn their keep but clean sheets and edible food sounds a lot better than the alternative for this clean freak.

I do realize that most of my questions, specifically those related to hygiene are completely non essential to the story line, which is pretty outrageous on it's own, but I can't help wondering.

11.12.2014

Writing A Novel Is Hard


Writing a novel is such a freaking roller coaster ride and I don't even like roller coasters all that much anymore.  One day I'm really proud of what I've created and then the next day I'm convinced it's the worst thing anyone has ever written. I have loved and loathed this painstakingly created collection of words a million times over during this entire process.

I let my mom be the first person to read it in paper form and make edits.  Then I read it for myself and made edits of my own.  I tried not to even think about it for about two months so that helped me look at it with fresh eyes.  It started out really good.  It was interesting and I liked what I was reading but then it fell flat.  There were different parts of the story that were just boring and other parts where I just didn't like my own writing.  I was probably really over it the day I wrote certain parts and I could tell.  After spending years and years on this it was really discouraging and I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do to fix it.  I had a few ideas, but nothing concrete.  Nothing I felt confident about making that difference I needed to make. 

I decided to deal with the basic edits first.  Getting through it was tedious but I had to get it done from the paper version  before I started making any major changes in Word.  A lot of it was grammar, some of it was wording, some of it was calling characters by the wrong name, but all of it was really time consuming.  It was page after page, correction after correction and it felt like it would never end.  It took me about three sessions to get it all done.  I did session two at my favorite coffee shop and I felt really old school carting that giant stack of paper around but in a really good way.  A really proud way.  Like, I wrote that.  Those are my words.  Every single last one of them.  It's technically a manuscript although I don't feel comfortable referring to it as such. 

After I finished that round of corrections it was time to get back to writing mode and start trying to make it better. That's when I got discouraged again because I still wasn't sure exactly where to start.  Part of me just wanted to be done with it.  I wasn't totally satisfied, but I did what I set out to do.  I wrote over 100,000 words.  I wrote a novel and it's done.  I was tired of thinking about this thing so maybe that was good enough.  That's what I tried to tell myself, except it wasn't good enough and I couldn't rest until I made it better. 

Spurred along by forces outside myself that wouldn't allow me to give up; I sat there at my dining room table with my laptop open one Sunday morning.  I looked at the random notes I'd made in my phone while I did my paper reading.  I made some more notes in my dog eared spiral notebook.  I did a little bit lot of staring into space, and then I started typing.  Once I got started I couldn't stop.  I removed entire sections added new ones and moved existing things around.  If changed one part of the story I had to go through the entire thing and update any related parts.  One thing led to another and I was sent into constant editing mode of finishing and improving for a good two weeks.  I'd think about a sentence that should be changed or something else I needed to add on my way home from work and immediately open my lap top and do it when I got home.  If I thought of something else while I was in bed I'd add a note to my phone and add it in the next day.  My mind was constantly racing with thoughts and ideas about this fictional group of people that I've come to know and love.  It's exhausting and it doesn't seem to stop no matter how much I kind of wish it would until I feel that it's where it needs to be.  I've only had a few different updates pop into my head over the last week.  I'm really excited about the changes I made and I think it's pretty much where it needs to be for now, until I decide that I hate it again.  I mostly meant to trim things down but my word count unintentionally went up.  I'm sitting at 471 pages and 111,301 words of double spaced Courier New. 

The obvious question is, "Now what?" and the annoying answer is still, "I don't know."

11.05.2014

Not A Halloween Post

Greetings from Costa Rica
It was another uneventful Halloween for us.  I went and had drinks with friends and MJ stayed home to pass out candy.  I couldn't even post anything on Instagram because if it wasn't Halloween related it wasn't allowed.  I kid, but that's totally what it seemed like!  I had lots of fun checking out everyone's costumes and creativity though.  While I was out with friends I vowed that I would dress up next year.  We all said it would be fun to do a group themed girls dress up outing but even as I said it I wasn't so sure.

We had a lot of left over candy; which is very expensive by the way.  We spent $25 bucks which is not much in general but a lot for candy.  MJ wanted to take it all to work and I said, "No you aren't," and was given a deadline of 4:30am on Monday morning to remove whatever I wanted to keep from the bag.  I kept all classic Snickers, Snickers Peanut Butter squared and some of the Snickers Almonds and Reese's peanut butter cups.  The most I've eaten in one day is three and I've been taking one to work with me each day.  My sugar addiction is much improved from last year.  I didn't even have any today.

I got into the Halloween spirit by watching two scary movies.  We watched the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre on Saturday night.  Oh my word, that movie is disturbing and just all around weird.  It came out in 1974 so it was interesting to see how those movies have changed over the years-which is not much.  They have a formula, it works and they are sticking to it.  I also watched Cabin in the Woods Patient Zero alone on Sunday.  I'm actually kind of embarrassed about this one because it was pretty bad but I kept watching.  I mean, it was good but also really bad.  The fight scene between the two partially disintegrated former babes was just so bad.  I'm a sucker for scary movies though.  I don't know why.

This is totally off topic but we also found ourselves watching Sex Sent Me to The ER on Sunday.  Well, not totally off topic because one of the couples that ended up in the ER after sex was wearing costumes.  The only thing is that they were celebrating his birthday not Halloween but that's just a minor detail.  Anyway, did you know that sex could be medically dangerous?  I'm not talking about STD's or unplanned pregnancy either.  It could potentially result in a ball permanently lodged in your mouth (that was the birthday celebrating couple) or even a brain injury (that was a couple celebrating their engagement).  I'm just saying-be careful.

Another Halloween thing is the time change and I have to say I'm not a fan.  It was bright enough for me in the morning before although I know it won't be once Winter hits but headlights on my way home from work is just bumming me out right now.   I actually forgot to turn them on yesterday because it's not quite dark when I leave but definitely dark by the time I get close to home.

Mid-term elections also happens around Halloween.  I'm a mail voter so I dropped my ballot off at the public library last Monday, because let's be real.  Who actually has stamps?  I may have a few somewhere but I decided to save myself the effort of searching for them by dropping it off.  I have a history of forgetting about mid-term elections but this mail voter thing is keeping me on track.  I think I can only miss one or two elections before I lose my status.  I like the flexibility so  we can't have that.

By the time Halloween hits it's also supposed to be chilly, even here in California.  We got about a week of 70's and tall boots but now it's supposed to be in the low 80's again through Saturday. 

I'd say my Halloween post was late but it's really not because I didn't really 'do' Halloween.  Also, I almost didn't post this at all because I couldn't think of a single picture that made sense, but then I got a postcard in the mail from Costa Rica from my parents.  They've been back for over a week now, but it's the thought that counts and I really love it that my mom sent it to me.  This is their first big trip as a retired couple and I'm still really excited for them.

This photo still makes absolutely no sense for this post but who cares. 


10.30.2014

I Really Like Free Money

My last few posts have focused on things I suck at which include but are not limited to driving, cooking and even taking a bath.  So this post is about something I'm good at.  Making money off credit cards.  I've never considered it an option to spend money that I don't have and have made saving money a priority since I got my first retail job at age sixteen.  I'm not sure where this came from but because of it I've never been in any kind of credit card trouble and I have always had money in savings no matter how little money I've made.  I'm also really good at saving money.

I hate debt but I love using credit cards.  I like to buy what I was going to anyways, pay it off in full each month and earn rewards for it.  One day MJ and I were out having a drink.  I was already in a good mood because it was Friday night but I got an e mail telling me I earned $13 in cash back bonus and I got ridiculously excited.  He rolled his eyes at me but, it's free money!  Of course it's exciting.  It doesn't work if you are not 100% clear on your budget, have the potential to get into trouble with credit cards or are disorganized when it comes to paying bills.  One late payment or one month of interest kind of negates what you are hoping to get out of it but this is what works for me.

1// I focus on one card at a time.  It should be one with no annual fee and no expiration on points so it's easy to keep up with.  The one I use most often has has no annual fee and I get 1% back on all purchases.  I get 2% at restaurants/gas and up to $250 per month/$3,000 annually (then 1% after that).  For a while Discover was my primary card, but I have other cards with good points programs as a back ups if I want to keep the spending separate like for vacation, a particular purchase or if a retailer doesn't accept Discover.

2//  I Spend only what I can afford and pay it off every month.  I use a credit card for gas and day to day expenses and pay it off each month just to get the points.  The key for me is to know exactly what the bottom line figure that I can spend and don't exceed it.  If I know my max and don't exceed it then I know I can pay it off at the end of each month and avoid interest.  To do this, you must also know your budget and you can't be late on a payment either. 

3// I use credit cards for large purchases even if I have the money. Whenever we have had big purchases for the house we put it on a credit card then pay it off even if we have the money just to rack up the points.  It really sucked paying $400 for a kitchen sink but it helped ease the pain to know I'm getting something back for it even if it's only $4.00.  It adds up.

4// I take advantage of partner retailers for increased cash back rates.  Any time I make a purchase online I check first to see if the retailer is listed.  If I log in and make the purchase through their link I can get between 5% and 15% cash back on something I was going to buy anyway.  They have a lot of great places you are probably already shopping at like Groupon and DSW.  That's how I got $13.00 just for buying my contacts at 1-800 Contacts.

5// I Sign up for special additional cash back offers.  Two of my cards offer different promotions throughout the year when they offer 5% in different categories like gas or grocery stores.  If I get an e mail about a promotion I sign up right away.  I earned enough for a $20 credit in just 3 months.  Maybe that doesn't sound like much but it's free money just for going about my business using that card.

6// I don't let the points dictate everything.  I use the card that makes the most sense.  It would make me crazy if I were constantly obsessed with getting more points every single time.  Sometimes it makes more sense for me to use other cards and I'm okay with that.  I left my Discover at home when we went to Europe and just used my MasterCard so I could carry one card and not have to worry about the limited retailers that accept Discover.  If I want to use a coupon at Macy's and it requires me to use my Macy's card I'll use my Macy's card.  If I'm at Target I use my Target card because they offer 5% instant cash back savings on all Red Card purchases.  If I'm buying groceries I use our joint debit card that has no points associated with it because that's the stream of money set up for that.  This is supposed to be easy so I don't want to complicate it by having to remember to transfer money later.

7// I let the points stack up over time and then cash in.  With Discover I can redeem the points as cash on Amazon, as a credit on my card or in gift cards.  They have a huge selection of gift cards to choose from and some of them offer the the gift card at discounted prices so you get more for less then what you pay for it.  They also have big ticket items like airfare and other household products and electronics.  I earned enough for a free airline ticket once.  It was awesome to get that airline ticket but it took so long that now I focus on smaller rewards.  I like that instant gratification of getting things faster even if it's in smaller increments instead of waiting years and years.  I like to save them for vacation.  When we went on our honeymoon to Oahu in 2010 I used my cash back bonus to get a $100 gift card which I used as spending money.  Mj was racking up points on a card of his own at the time and it paid for both of our airline tickets.  I was able to use $36 cash back bonus towards a pair of shoes I bought on Amazon.  I also had $60 in cash back earnings when we went to Maui last year, a $50 card when we went to New York and I have enough points from MasterCard for a $50 gift card.

I've been doing this for a while and I'd feel like I was throwing away extra money not to do it at this point.  Sometimes I feel like I'm getting away with something.  The credit cards are only offering incentives like this because they want me to stick with them, use the card and pay them interest and possibly any other fees they can get.  For about two seconds I felt bad that they pay me without getting anything in return but they should actually be ashamed of themselves for how much money they get out of people.  They have some really sneaky rules that almost got me.

I took advantage of a 0% interest balance transfer offer with Discover and then ended up using the card for a few purchases because I was buying something from partners where I'd get that extra cash back.  I paid off those purchases in full at the end of the month and was shocked to find an interest charge on my statement.  Normally, there is a 30 day interest free grace period on new purchases. Turns out, if you carry a balance as a result of a balance transfer you lose your grace period on any purchases thereafter.  The minute you charge something it begins accumulating interest so it didn't even matter that I'd paid it in full by the due date.  I'm sure it was in the fine print somewhere but that is a ridiculous obscure rule and it's clearly to take advantage of people that might still need to use their card.  I'm in good standing so I got them to waive the interest charge and stopped using it, but how sad is that? 

I don't feel sorry for credit card companies at all and I plan to continue to make money off of them as long as they'll let me.  If you have questions on the specific cards I use let me know.

10.24.2014

Woman Driver Mishap

Last week was so excruciatingly awfully slow that I thought it would never end and this week flew by.  It's funny how that happens but I'm not complaining.  I couldn't be happier that it's Friday.

Today I have just one confession.  One that I never even got around to telling MJ and there is a good chance he'll find out by reading this post.  Not because I was worried about his reaction but because I was so mad at myself that I didn't even want to talk about it.  At all.  Like, maybe if I don't mention it then I can pretend it never happened but the only problem is that denial doesn't work.  There is still a cluster of deep nasty black scratches that go all the way to the metal on my right rear bumper because I backed into a sign last Friday morning.

I tend to be a bit of a nutcase in the morning.  I get into my car then get out to run back into the house to make sure I turned off my flat iron.  Then I back out of my garage and stop in the driveway so I can go back to make sure I turned off the closet light.  I also forget things.  Sometimes it's my water bottle other time it's my phone but this time around it was my hard boiled eggs and I got all the way to the exit of our housing complex when I realized it.  I was already running late but I had to go back.  I'm so dramatic about my routine.  My breakfast won't be the same and then my day will be ruined without my eggs. 

The other thing working against me is that I suck at driving.  I hate to be that woman but I kind of think I am.  My speeding ticket days are behind me but I can't parallel park, find it difficult to maneuver into tight spaces and I'm scared to make left turns without traffic lights.  I will sit there forever and ever making sure it's clear and then I get all flustered if someone behind me gets impatient and honks.  Sometimes I don't even like making lane changes.  I also have a terrible sense of direction.  Even GPS is confusing sometimes.  All it takes is one wrong turn and suddenly I don't even know what planet I'm on.  I only know one way to get anywhere and I refuse to drive in other states.  I also get really confused when I back up.  I can't seem to find the connection between which way to turn the wheel and the direction that my car will go.  I'm relatively harmless, but I'm a mess.

When I realized I forgot my precious eggs I backed out of the exit but turned my wheel too soon and didn't see the street sign sitting on the corner until I heard that awful nails on chalkboard sound of it screeching into the side of my poor little Honda.  Thank goodness nothing happened to the sign or else I'd have the HOA on my back.  I braced myself before checking out the damage and it's not terrible but it's ugly to look at and a nice little reminder of my stellar driving skills.  I still haven't decided if I'm going to get it fixed or not.  I love my little Honda to pieces.  She is old but she is the best car I've ever had.  I like to keep her clean and pretty but they'll charge you a thousand bucks to fix a scratch.  I don't know why it has to cost so much.  Then I got to sit in traffic for an hour stewing about my stupid mistake because there was an accident and I was thirty minutes late to work.

But that was last Friday.  Last week sucked, this one-not so much.  I made it out of the house today without forgetting a single thing and got to work 15 minutes early.  We're still hanging onto the 80's around here which I love.  I'm looking forward to meeting friends that I haven't seen in a long time after work so I'm wearing my five minute face AKA I actually put on make up.  And I really like my outfit.

It took me a almost a week but I'm over it.  I still can't drive but I like to think I have other qualities that make up for it.  We've already established that being a great cook is not one of them.

10.22.2014

The Not So Sexy Side of Bath Time

I've never been a bath person.  I was so excited that we had a separate shower and bath in our house and then I never took a bath.  We've lived there for four years and I only took a bath for the first time a few months ago and then I never did it again until recently.  Prior to that it had been years since I last took a bath.  Anyone else start to wonder what they've gotten themselves into once the bubbles fade away?   

The reality of a bath is often far different then the way I imagine it and this is why.  Behold, my bath time thought process.....

++I cannot wait for that bath.  I'm going to drink wine, relax and take my time.  This is going to feel so good.  Oh, look at all those fluffy bubbles and the bubble bath smells so good.  I can't wait to get in there.

++It feels even better than it looked.  Let me just close my eyes and experience this for a few seconds.  And drink some wine too.  This warm water feels amazing.  I could stay in here forever.

++This is the perfect time to get some reading done.  I'm going to be real careful so I don't drop my i Pad.  That would suck.  Now isn't this nice?  Wine, warm water, reading.  I feel great.

++Okay, I'm REALLY hot.  But I love it and all these strategically placed bubbles are making me feel kind of sexy. 

++I'm starting to sweat.  Let me put this i Pad down.  It's too hot to focus on reading.  And what happened to all the bubbles that were hiding my belly rolls?  Time to refresh those bubbles.

++Well, the bubbles didn't quite make the comeback I'd hoped.  How long have I been in here?  Only thirty minutes?  I'm so hot, but I can't get out yet.  I'm not even done with my wine.

++My face is glistening with sweat.  Is it me or am I basically just sitting here in my own dirt? That's it, I can't take it anymore.  I'm out of here.

An undisclosed number of days or weeks later....you know what would be perfect right about now?  A bath.  And the cycle repeats.

I haul the tower fan into the bathroom and blast it in my direction while I'm in there so I don't overheat as fast and can stay in a little longer.  It also helps if I don't fill the tub quite so high.  By the end of it I'm sitting in a pool of tepid water and when I can't take the heat anymore I wash up, rinse out under the tap and get out as fast as I can.  I do not emerge from the tub half covered in bubbles and into a silky kimono style robe.  I like to clean the tub before I get out.  Nobody likes a ring around the tub so I might as well get it over with.  Then I have to get downstairs and finish whatever it is I put on hold to take a bath.

So not sexy.

I look forward to taking a bath.  I love the way my body feels afterwards and I like the idea that I took the time to luxuriate in something that is totally and completely about me but I'm not sure what I love more.  The idea of a bath or the bath itself.  Maybe it would be different if I had jets.  Maybe I'm just doing it wrong.  Maybe I shouldn't be trying to boil myself in the tub like a hard boiled egg but the hot water part is one of the main reasons I want to take a bath in the first place.  Most days I don't feel like I have time to sit there for much longer anyway so I guess it works.  I will say that leg shaving is so much easier in a tub but overall, showers are just so much more practical and I'm nothing if not practical.  I'm not sure how often I'll actually end up doing it but I do see myself taking baths in the future more then once every five years.

Are you a bath person or a shower person?

10.15.2014

17 Signs That You Are Not A Cook

I'm so over the never ending cycle of what's for dinner.  The obtaining of groceries and the preparing of food week after week.  I wish I could afford a food delivery service.  Not the kind that delivers you the ingredients so you can make it yourself but the kind that delivers actual already cooked grab and go healthy food that isn't loaded with sodium.  What would be really cool is if there was a dinner pill for days you just don't feel like doing the whole what's for dinner debacle; which is basically every day for me.  It would meet all the nutritional qualities of a balanced dinner and trick your belly into feeling like you ate something.  I need to get on that one so I can ditch cooking and get rich while I'm at it.

Sometimes I feel really guilty for not being this Susie homemaker hot dinner on the table for my man every night (or even every other night) kind of wife.   When I cook it's mainly because I love my husband.  Not to say that when I don't cook it means I don't love him.  When I don't cook it just means I don't like cooking and I probably wouldn't bother at all if it were just me.  At some point I'd probably get tired of my non cooking alternatives and have to break down and cook but that would definitely be a last resort.  I haven't totally given up hope.  I'll keep dragging my butt into the kitchen and trying to love cooking but for now and the foreseeable future I don't.  I'm glad my husband does.

You know you aren't a cook when.....

1//You try to make it fun by drinking wine but being in the kitchen is just another chore that you have to get through.

2//You 'accidentally' forget to take out the meat so you can put off cooking for just one more day.  Oh darn.  I guess I'm going to have to pick up dinner on the way home.

3//You cook as little as possible.  Whatever the minimum number of times you can cook dinner in a month and still save your marriage is the number you shoot for.

4//It's been so long since you've been in the kitchen that one day your husband finally asks, when are you gonna cook something?
 
5//Nothing you ever make tastes as good as when someone else makes it.  EVER.  No matter how hard you try.  So why bother?

6//You are okay with eating things like sandwiches or Quesadilla for dinner every day.  At least you didn't have to cook it.

7//It takes you a really long time to make even the simplest things.  My husband can make almost anything in 30 minutes or less but unless it's a straight to microwave or oven meal everything seems to take me at least an hour.  I managed spaghetti last week in 45 minutes.  Go me. 

8//You consistently use the wrong knife.  You can't cut bread with that one.  Why are you using that small knife to cut vegetables?  Why would you cut cheese with a butter knife? To that I say, it's sharp, it cuts.  What difference does it make?

9//You forget to turn the oven on until it's time to put in whatever it is that you've been prepping for the last 30 minutes.  No wonder it takes you so long to make anything.

10//You put something on the stove and then totally forget about it until after your husband has already finished making whatever it was that you were supposed to be cooking.

11//Sometimes you even forget to turn the oven off.  Oops.

12//You can't just whip something up out of the pantry. It's a process and preparation is required. First you have to mentally prepare for being in the kitchen.  Then you have to go to do research to find the recipe and go to the grocery store.  That's another reason you never want to cook.  It's such an ordeal.

13//If too many ingredients of said recipe are too exotic forget it.  If you have to ask someone at the grocery store where you might find garam masala or mustard powder or what it even is then you move onto the next one until you find one with ingredients that you actually recognize.

14//The less ingredients involved the more likely you are to make it.  If there are more then 10 ingredients there is a good chance you will skip it and move onto the next.

15//Even still, you often skip out on ingredients that seem like too much trouble.  How much of a difference does that lemon rind really make anyways? It'll taste fine.

16//You can't get through cooking a meal without having to ask someone how to do something or googling it.  Do I need oil? How do I know it's done?  I have had to google how to make chicken and how to boil eggs.

17//You are nervous when others eat your cooking.  Will they notice that  you axed two ingredients, half of it stuck to the pan or that you forgot to use seasoning?

I also pin no bake recipes and still don't make them so that's 18.  I'm a kitchen nightmare.

Do any of these apply to you or am I the only blogger on the face of the plant that doesn't love to cook?  Any tips on how to love cooking would also be helpful.

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