Meet you in Barcelona

Things were a little different around here with the husband gone. For starters, there was no cooking so the kitchen did not see much use. If I had to make a stop after work it didn't bother me much because it didn't feel like there was anything to rush home to. There's nobody home but me so what difference does it make? The AC was off way more then it was on and there was nothing out of place. As much as I  loved our clutter free house I would rather trip over 5 pairs of shoes a day and wear sweaters and blankets so I don't freeze to death then to have him be so far away for too long. I miss him. I miss us watching movies and cuddling. I miss seeing his cute face when I get home from work and acting silly together. It was only 6 weeks this time.  I can say only because a couple of years ago it was 11. Months.  When he was in Germany we still got to talk and Skype but for the last three weeks he was in Croatia.  I've been feeling totally cut off and it's kind of frustrating.  There are things I want to tell him but can't get across via text.  I have really important things to ask him like whether we should go to Marseilles or Aix En Provence and why or if he could tell me just one more time how to start his new car with the block for a key.  Should I be offended that he reminded me to open the garage door before I ran the engine or just find it sweet that he doesn't want me to die?

Months of research and anticipation have come down to this.  I have a folder full of boarding passes, train tickets, hotel confirmations, self written tour guides and itineraries.  I am nothing if not organized and prepared.  It's funny because Mj has almost no idea of what we're doing on this trip because I planned it all and haven't been able to discuss any of the final details with him.  It'll be a nice surprise for him.  I still cannot believe that I am going to Europe.  Like a wedding, an awesome honeymoon and buying a house it's one more thing that I just figured I would never get to do but like all those others it has become reality.  Mj has been by my side for all of it.  I don't know what I would do without him in my life.

Dropping him off at the airport not only began the six week countdown until I'd get to see him again but also to our vacation. Saying good bye at the airport that morning sucked but it was so cool to be able to say "Meet you in Barcelona" and actually mean it. I felt like I was in a movie.  A really cool romantic comedy; until I drove home, went to back to sleep and nothing all that exciting happened when I woke up. The only good thing about being separated are the heart swooning reunions and I think this might be our best one yet. The only thing that would make it more romantic is if we were reuniting in the romantic city of Paris instead of Barcelona but that's okay because we'll be there just a week later.  I can totally picture it my head.  We'll be hand in hand staring up at the Eiffel Tower.  Together.

Pre Vacation Confessions

I confess that I have never used this much vacation time all at once in my life.  96 hours!!!  I'm such a vacation day hoarder that I was notified that I HAD to use up so many vacation hours by the end of this year.  Being the obedient employee that I am, I immediately booked a trip to Europe.  Even after,  I'll still have over 100 hours left.

I confess that I have spent hours and hours on research for our vacation.  Hours.  Like it's my job.  I could practically write a guide book on the 8 European cities we are traveling to.  I don't want to get there and have to waste time trying to figure out what to do and how to do it.  A European vacation doesn't come around that often and we need to make the most of every single day and do it as cheaply as possible.

I confess that I've been obsessively checking the weather for the cities that we are going to visit.  I added Barcelona, Nice, Rome, Naples, Paris AND Amsterdam to my i phone weather app. 
My pretty passport
I confess that when I thought about not working out for two weeks I got a little nervous.  The ship has a great gym so my goal is to get in two workouts while we're on the cruise but other then that I'm just gonna try not to worry about it too much.  We'll be too busy exploring and having fun.  That alone is going to be enough to wear me out.  Walking will be my main source of exercise and that's gonna have to be okay.

I confess that I have tracked my calories in Lose it every day since I got my i phone almost two years ago.  I'm still trying to decide if I should break my streak and not bother to track calories at all while I'm gone.  I'm going to be eating as much Pizza in Italy as I can so what's the point? 

I confess that I haven't read my Glamour or Marie Claire Magazines for the past two months just so I could save them for my trip.  It's a looong plane ride.  I'm also taking a book called Ice Cream Girls.

I confess that I'm going to pack this weekend and pretend that I'm leaving on Monday.  That way I still have time to obsess over my luggage which hopefully means less anxiety when I actually walk out the door for good.  Packing is stressful.  Speaking of which...

I confess that I still have no idea how I'm going to fit 14 days of clothing into ONE suitcase.

I confess that I still can't believe I'm going to Europe.  It probably won't sink in until I land at the airport in Spain.

I confess that I get butterflies when I think about seeing Mj again.  After six weeks we'll be seeing each other for the first time again at the airport in Spain.  It's just so romantic. 

I confess that this blog is going to be on pause while I'm away.  If anyone is interested in guest posting let me know.  I'd need it by Wednesday.

I confess that in all my years of blogging I've never had a guest poster so if anyone agrees to do it they'll be the first.

Can you tell I'm super excited about my trip?

I'm Not the Hostess Type

Fancy Cheese Platter
Anybody who knows me personally knows that I am not a cook.  Heck, if you read this blog you know that.   I want to WANT to cook and bake but I just don't.  I think life is simpler without it.  No grocery shopping, no kitchen clean up, no dishes, no dishwasher loading and unloading and no worry about letting ingredients or left overs go bad.  I have simple tastes so I don't have to eat out to compensate for not cooking.  I don't need much.  I've saved a ton of money on groceries since Mj has been gone.

When he goes out of town I get this bright idea to invite the girls over for a little get together which kind of makes sense but doesn't.  On the one hand it's the perfect time to take over the house with the girls but on the other hand he's the one who would know exactly what food to serve at a party.  He told me that if I ever wanted to have a party he'd plan the menu and prepare it as long as I help but I always do it when he's gone so my poor guests are left with me.  Whenever I try to come up with things to serve I draw a complete blank.  I can't deal with anything too complicated.  For me that means anything with more then five ingredients.  I saw a $19.99 family meal deal from Pat & Oscars and it was tempting, but I couldn't go out like that so I came up with something.

It's not like it was a big deal or anything.  I only had four friends over.  But still, I made a stress run to the store that morning.  You know the one that happens when you get paranoid and go buy stuff  for 'just in case' that you end up not even using.  I worried about what to make, if there would be enough and if my guests would like it like every hostess does, but I think I did pretty good.  I had a fancy looking cheese and fruit platter, tortilla chips and salsa, green salad, pasta salad with Italian dressing and Turkey Meatballs.  I did not make the meatballs myself; they were frozen but really tasty.  I am most proud of my Pillsbury Crescent snacks because they were a little different and I actually had to put them together and bake them.  They didn't look quite like the picture, but close enough and they tasted great.  Everyone had a good time and I got to see some friends; one of which I hadn't seen in a year!!!  It's crazy how that happens.

Source: via CeCe on Pinterest

Two weeks ago I spent the night at my parent's house, then my parents spent the night at my sisters house, then last week my sister spent the night at my parents house so this time my mom and sister spent the night at my house.  Did you get all that?  Ha!  Apparently we just really love taking turns spending the night at each others houses.  So my mom, sister and nephew came down for the party on Saturday, spent the night at my house and stayed all day on Sunday.  We had a lot of fun hanging out together.

The only thing about my weekend that sucked was having to cough up $480 bucks on my car for brakes.  That really hurts and there is a chance I got ripped off because I don't know any better but it had to be done.  I did not let it spoil my weekend.

Confessional Fun

I confess that I got to page 132 of Fifty Shades of Grey and wanted to call it quits.  It dawned on me that the book was going to be about her life as a willing sex slave and I found that  I just wasn't all that interested. I stopped reading it for a week but I'm thinking I might as well finish it.

Budget Buster $130, marked down from $400
[Photo Source]
Budget Friendly $12, marked down from $49.99
[Photo Source]
I confess that last month I actually considered buying a pair of Jimmy Choo Sandals.   I was looking for snake print flat sandals for my trip, they came up in google images and I fell in shoe love. They were on sale for $130 down from $400.  I have only ever spent over $100 on boots so even though the price was low for Jimmy Choo it's still too high for sandals and my budget.  I found a cute pair of Alfani flats on clearance at Macy's for $12 bucks instead. My heart still yearns for the Jimmy Choo's.  It could have been my one chance to every own a pair but I'm glad I didn't spend that much.  I guess.  If anybody tells me that I should have bought them I'm going to cry.

I confess that even though I'm on shopping lockdown I bought a cute little Victoria's Secret I Love Pink hoodie.  Hey, it's for my trip.  That makes it okay.

I confess that I seem to have replaced my pretzel addiction with Ritz and Peanut Butter Crackers.  It used to be one of my favorite after school snacks and now I've been eating it after work.  For dinner.  Between that and PBJ's I've almost gone through a whole jar of peanut butter in a month.

I confess that when Chloe beat Maddie at Nationals on Dance Moms I screamed and did a happy dance.  Maddie is an amazing dancer and I think she's adorable but Chloe is the underdog, I love her long beautiful lines and I think it was her turn to shine.  I also screamed when they won 1st for the team.   They won everything!!

Leslie at Blonde Ambition is bringing confessional Friday back next week, Yeah!!  So, I will be linking up with her next week for more of the same.  Have a great weekend!

Hot New Camera

'aint she a beauty?
[Photo source & reviews]
Mj finally decided to buy another camera.  Do you know what this means?  It means that when we go places together and look back on our pictures you will actually be able to tell that I was there too.  Normally, I can barely even get him to take a picture of me but I have a feeling he'll want to use this one.  Anyone ever hear of a Canon Rebel T3i?  I hadn't.  This sucker is big and it 'aint cheap.  He bought an extra lens to go with it too that zooms in really close. 

So what suddenly made him decide to spend hundreds on a camera after four years of not owning a one at all or barely taking any pictures?  Europe that's what.  He wants us to have a really good camera while we're on vacation which is pretty cool but then I got sort of sad.  I'm the picture taker not him.  I'm the unofficial historian in this marriage and I'm the blogger.  I take pictures of EVERYTHING yet he has a really nice camera and I don't?  Since I was looking all pathetic and sad he said it'll be ours, which is sweet, but then he jetted off to Germany with it and I haven't seen it since.  As soon as that camera and I are in the same country again and I figure out how to use it you might see some better pictures around these parts.  Our vacation pictures should be awesome and maybe I can finally get my food pics to look as good as they taste. 

A Novel Idea

Sept 2009:  6,800 words, 27 pages
Jan  2012:  10,131 words, 42 pages
Feb 2012:  0
Mar 2012:  0
Apr 2012:  13,513 words, 53 pages
May 2012: 19,282 words, 80 pages
June 2012:  23,056 words, 95 pages
July 2012:  29,517 words, 123 pages
Aug 2012:  35,058 words, 146 pages

I started this in 2009, put it down and didn't look at it again for three whole years.  I never even said it out loud to anyone that writing a book was something I wanted to do until this year even though it's been floating around in the back of my mind for a really long time. I mean, you can't just casually say, "Oh, yeah I want to write a book."  It seems so impossible.

Who am I to think I am actually capable of such a thing?

I love to read and to write. I used to sign up for Summer reading programs at the library when I was a kid. I've been writing in journals since I was 9.  I used to write stories and enter writing contests in elementary school. I've always loved writing, but I have no clue if I'm any good at it. If I'd been true to my heart in college I probably would have majored in creative writing or journalism or anything to do with writing.  In retrospect I wish I had. Sociology may have seemed more practical at the time but I've never even come close to working in that field so I could have gotten a degree in anything based on where I'm at now.

Writing a book has always been a dream of mine, but I put it off for so long because I was afraid. I didn't know where to begin and I was afraid of finding out that I wasn't capable of it. Eventually, I put some words on paper in 2009 and got a nice start. Then I got stumped. Then life happened. I was too busy with house hunting, wedding planning and post wedded bliss. There was always some excuse.
Sneak Peak
Every  now and then I'd get this burning desire to write a book and instead of ignoring it this year I dusted off the old manuscript and got to working on it again. It's going to be Fiction.  I had to re read everything and figure out where I was and then where I wanted to go, but once I got started again I wrote 20 pages in one day making me think....okay maybe I can do this. I need to get to about 60,000-80,000 words which is about 225 pages for it to be novel length, so I made it one of my new year's resolutions to write 15 pages per month. I'm a little bit behind. I skipped Feb and March altogether because I was taking a few college classes, and I'll be gone for half of next month so I'm not sure how I'll do then. I'm okay with that as long as I do my best to write every month.

Sometimes I hit a wall.  I don't know what I want my characters to do, or it feels boring and don't know what to do to liven things up. When that happens I get a little discouraged, and put it aside but at some point I force myself to pull it out and keep writing. Write something. Anything. I keep telling myself that if I just make myself keep going, eventually the story will unfold. I keep notes about the characters and a timeline of events as I go so I can keep track of what's going on. With every page I write, I gain more confidence in myself that I might actually be able to finish it. 

Even now that I've decided I'm doing this the words "my book" still feel very strange coming out of my mouth.  It's something that a lot of people say they want to do, but only a handful ever actually do it. I really want to be one of the ones that do. I'm not even worried about whether or not I would get it published or not.  I just want to be able to say that it was something big I wanted to do and that I did it.

Too Short Long Weekend

I spent most of the long weekend with my mom.  I got to her house Saturday afternoon and we went to Moonlight Amphitheater to watch the musical Anything Goes.  It's an outdoor theater with lawn seating so we were sitting in lawn chairs outside while watching the show.  We brought Subway, chips, cookies and candy to eat.   It's been years since the last time we went and we liked it so much we decided we're going to try to go every summer. 
Mom on the grill
Outside in the sun, w/frizzy air dried hair
Sunday morning my mom and I went to the gym together.  When we got back she fired up the grill.  My parents were planning to spend Labor Day at my sister's house where it's 105 degrees which is way too hot for grilling so she did it at home instead and this way I got to take some food home with me.  We sat outside in the back yard and drank wine and talked.  The weather was perfect.  It's been in the 80's for the last couple of weeks.  Over the course of the weekend we watched three movies and talked and talked and talked some more.  I wasn't even planning to spend two nights.  There is really nothing to rush home to since the husband is gone and I was enjoying myself so I stayed.  I always have a great time with my mom and I love it that we are so close.

I came home Monday morning, went straight to the gym and then had the rest of the day to myself.  I got to see and talk to Mj on face time.  I watched TV and took a nap and just relaxed.  Wow, is it really 10 o'clock already?  Time for bed.  The weekend went way too fast as always.