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Monday, November 29, 2010

A Few Things

1. I tried to bust open my gingerbread house yesterday and literally busted up my knuckles. My injuries were very minor but it was still pretty surprising to see blood on my knuckles from pounding open candy. I never realized how tough Smarties and hardened frosting could be.


2. I feel like I've been fighting a cold (or whatever) for weeks now. To the point where I'm considering taking vitamins, something I rarely do. Do you take vitamins? Which ones? And which brand? I've heard good things about C, D, and B12.

3. I'm going to a cookie exchange/competition this weekend and I need to win. After my gingerbread house non-win, I am feeling doubly competitive. Do you have a winning cookie recipe I could try?

4. You know what I've been eating lately? Maple and brown sugar oatmeal with a splash of eggnog. Try it. You'll love it. Unless you hate eggnog in which case you'll most likely hate it.

5. What do you think an ideal winter date is? Ice skating? Christmas light viewing? Family gathering? (Just kidding about that last one.)

All right, those are my thoughts for tonight. Time for bed. See you Wednesday!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend Update


To tell you about my Thanksgiving weekend, I'll use pictures to illustrate what has been an amazing few days. Here are just a few of the highlights:

From left to right:


Top Row:

1. Thanksgiving! My friends Jesse and Jim joined us since they are far from home. It was so fun to have them with us. And the food, my gosh, the food! I'll be right back, I have to see if I have anymore leftovers in the fridge...
2. This is my entry in our gingerbread house competition. Due to a complete lack of good taste and voter fraud I tied for third.
3. My nephew with his entry. He's the one I tied with.

Middle Row:

4. Brian won first place. I feel the need to mention here that I am sensing a conspiracy since Brian also won our Peep diorama competition this year with his Simpsons diorama. It's the Year of Brian in our family, that's for sure.
5. My sister and I met up at 5:15 in the morning the next day for some Black Friday shopping. We had a system: the moment we got there, I got a cart and went to the back of the line while Katherine shopped. Eventually she took over for me while I shopped. When I was at the very end of the line with a long wait ahead of me, a guy a couple people behind me was looking at a diet pill display near us. He said, "If I started taking these now, I could be a whole new man by the time I get to the front." I wish I could say it was worth it, but several of the things we wanted were already gone (grumble grumble grumble)....
6. We saw Harry Potter later that day but had to kill time getting hot chocolate after the showing we wanted to go to was sold out. Spoiler alert about the Harry Potter movie: It was really really good.

Bottom Row:

7, 8, 9. Had a family party today with the other side of the family. Some quotes from that party:

"My doctor said, 'if you take cold medicine you'll get better in about seven days. If you take nothing you'll be better in about a week.'" - Eric

After another uncle told me he reads my blog, my aunt said:

Kris: "Don't anybody say anything, it'll end up in the blog tonight."
Me: "Hang on, I'm writing this down."

In conclusion, it's been a good few days. I felt post holiday blues set in around 5:00 on Thanksgiving, but I'm trying to remind myself that Christmas is just around the corner. I just love holidays.

And try not to be too jealous of this, but I got a phone call from my boss today telling me that due to the heating system in our office building being broken, we will not have to work on Monday while they're fixing it. FIVE day weekend! It's a Thanksgiving miracle!

But enough about me, how was your weekend?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday Thoughts

Tradition!!!
The big day is almost upon us! I love Thanksgiving. Expressing gratitude + family time + delicious food = an amazing holiday.

My family has a Thanksgiving tradition that I've mentioned here before: the gingerbread house making competition. This competition grew from the fact that not everyone in the family enjoyed watching other people watch football and slip into food comas after dinner. Thus was born the gingerbread house competition (which should technically be called the graham cracker house competition, I suppose).



Unity

Ready for judging

This isn't the only holiday competition we have. On Easter, after church and dinner, we have a peep diorama competition, which some people in the family have jokingly dubbed the "Peep Show." The first year we did it a certain family member who shall remain nameless made a Peep show diorama:


Inappropriate.

Do you have any holiday traditions? I am way excited for tomorrow. As it stands now, this is my plan:

1. Sleep in.
2. Make vegetable tray (my one assignment)
3. Watch the Thanksgiving Day parades and look for my friend Sara who will be in costume marching in the Detroit parade!
4. Go to my aunt and uncle's house for dinner
5. Eat too much.
6. COMPETITION
7. Go back for seconds
8. Kick some trash in an as yet undetermined game (ie: Monopoly or Apples to Apples)
9. Nap
10. Think of all the many things I have to be thankful for. (I'm not totally shallow.)

What is your plan? What are some holiday traditions you have? Happy Thanksgiving! And just so you know, I'm thankful for you. I really am.

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blessed Union

I have been one happy camper this weekend. Why, you ask? Well, since you asked, it has everything to do with the holy matrimony of the Beatles and iTunes. With a union like that, who even cares about Prince William and whats-her-name getting engaged? (I still can't believe my secret fantasy of marrying Prince William has been permanently dashed, but I'm trying to move on...)

When I was in college, I worked as a server in country club restaurant. I remember one night, one of the other servers was doing an informal poll, "who is the best band ever?" Everyone he'd ask would pause and say, "well, it has to the the Beatles, doesn't it?" It was unanimous at the end of the night. No one could come up with a band who could be better than the Beatles. Over the years, I've decided that Led Zeppelin is a close second, but still not quite at the same level as the Beatles.

Anyway, yesterday I got on iTunes and made a little album of my current favorite Beatles songs. I was like a kid in a candy shop so I had to work hard to reign it in and start out with 12. Here are the 12 I chose.

1. Here Comes the Sun
2. Rocky Raccoon
3. Hey Jude
4. Lovely Rita
5. In My Life
6. Strawberry Fields Forever
7. Something
8. Blackbird
9. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite
10. Helter Skelter
11. I am the Walrus
12. A Day in the Life

There are many others I love that didn't make the list like Yesterday, Here There and Everywhere, and Across the Universe. They will be added in the future though, so don't feel too bad for them.

What are your favorite Beatles songs? Maybe we could "come together" in the comments section now and discuss (I can't believe I made that stupid joke but I'm gonna leave it).

Cutest Ever

Have you guys seen this Traveler's insurance commercial? I'm not in any way trying to promote this company but  the combination of an adorable dog who can't stop worrying and this Ray LaMontagne song make me love this commercial. Enjoy. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Place

When I was in college, I took a class called "writing, style, and technology." In that class, we had to learn to make websites and use codes and that sort of thing. On the first day of class, the professor told us to think of a happy place. He gave us a few minutes to visualize a place we could retreat to in our minds when times got tough in class. He told us there would be many times that semester when we would need to visualize our happy place. He was right, but that's neither here nor there.

Over the years I have used that technique when times are tough. I visit my happy place, and find peace. My happy place used to be a Christmas scene but over the years morphed into Ludington, the town where I vacation as often as possible every summer. It's an adorable little resort town on Lake Michigan and it's a place I go to escape, relax, spend time with friends and family, read, hike, swim, eat ice cream, daydream, and feel renewed.

As this week comes to an end, I'm feeling a lot more calm. This week was a doozy but things will get better. This morning I am in a peaceful place, picturing Ludington, listening to a chill song (Amber by 311), and thinking about sleep, which I am looking forward to catching up on this weekend.

If you don't have a happy place to retreat to, you can share mine:





What is your happy place? What is your soundtrack this morning?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Warm Fuzzies

This has been "a week" so far. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only way who's felt that way. On Facebook last night, I saw the following status update from a friend of mine:

"If today had a face, I would punch it."

Not to be a negative nelly, but I could relate. And hers wasn't the only status update I've seen like that this week, not to mention melancholy blog posts from friends, and of course, personal interactions with people who have had it up to here with this week. Is it the weather? The alignment of the stars? Whatever it is, I give the week four more days to redeem itself. If it could do it in less, that would be awesome.

Let's pull it together though - this blog should be a place of refuge (that's weird but go with me), so I'm going to focus on the positive, ie:

I just ate a warm peanut butter cookie with Nutella on it.
I received a nice compliment from a boy today.
I'm watching Psych, and watched Modern Family earlier (t.v. happiness- the cheapest, easiest form of happiness)
Someone showed me how to change the clock in my car today.
My friends are hilarious and wonderful.

Now it's your turn. If you're already here reading this post, it will only take you 30 seconds to click on "comment" and leave a happy thought. I know you have at least one in you. How about you go ahead and share it? I'm not the only one who could use it! Here's to a happy tomorrow.

Wednesday Thoughts

I've been sick this week (and some of last week).  I was so sick, in fact, that I stayed home from work on Monday. I intended to sleep all day but was too sick to rest - catch 22. So I read blogs, read books (I'm now on the second book of the Hunger Games series), and watched the movie "Killers," where for the first time I noticed that Ashton Kutcher is cute. I guess I'm the last one to notice that. Magnum was in it too, so bonus!

Besides illness, I've also been dealing with confusion with guys. I'm going to hope that any guys who this may or may not be about stopped reading after I started gushing about Ashton and Magnum so they can't identify themselves in here. Actually, I'm just going to play it safe and say I don't understand guys in general. I'm just exhausted with games and trying to be a mind reader. Although... if I'm being completely honest.... as much as this pains me to say.... I suppose I could be a bit more forthright too. But I don't want to! (I just stomped my foot in a huff.)

And on that mature note, shall we move on? 

How about if I go back to the safer topic of movies. I actually saw a lot of movies over the weekend. Here are some brief reviews of the movies I saw:

Troll 2: So bad. So, so bad. But I think that's the only reason you see a movie like Troll 2, right? Worst movie ever. There are no trolls in it, and someone gets seduced with corn on the cob. Need I say more?
Nacho Libre: I had never seen it before and I laughed my head off. Loved it. "XxOoxXoxoxOoOXX"
The Burbs: One of my all time favorites. "Do you know what this is Ray? It's a human femur." If you haven't seen this yet, you should. With me.
Annie: One of my favorite musicals ever.
Killers: Two words: eye candy. No wait, one word: Mustache.

Have you seen any good movies lately?

Here's my last Wednesday Thought: Two weeks after daylight savings time, I still haven't figured out how to change the clock in my car. (Although admittedly I've put very little effort into it.)

Happy Wednesday.

Oh, and PS - if you haven't read my interview yet, check out the post below - the one with the picture that looks like I'm a cast member of Kids Incorporated (which a lot of you are probably too young to remember...).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Interview

Don't be intimidated by my skills with Paint
Hey guys! Remember this girl who you kind of like? Well, she* got interviewed by the beautiful Sandy over on A Brief List of Rules. Go check it out and maybe leave some love. Sound good?


*I promise that will be the last time I refer to myself in the third person on this blog. Unless the situation warrants it again.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Informer

I'm sitting here with so much on my mind, and yet not able to really write about any of it in ye olde blog. Not to worry though, eventually things will come out in vague terms and we'll be up to date. But that's not what I'm going to blog about tonight. I'm sitting here with Indian Outlaw in my head hating life because you know when something like Indian Outlaw gets in your head, it aint getting out.

The same thing happened to me last week. I couldn't get "Informer" out of my head. Don't get me wrong, Informer obviously rocks (insert sarcasm font here). But what are the lyrics!? It's so frustrating! Best I can tell, "Snow" is singing,

"Informer, you know so snow going be slogokieioaicn be blam, a licky boom boom now."

Nailed it. You could pretty much sing anything and claim it's right. Here's a link if you need a refresher but be warned - you will not be able to get it out of your head!

I was talking to a friend about it and he sent me a link to this website called "Unhear it (link)." I checked it out and what it is is a playlist you can listen to to get the original song out of your head. The bad news is that the songs on this playlist are as bad, if not worse, as the song you had in your head to begin with. For example, after listening to it for a bit, the songs I heard were: "You Spin me Right Round," "Barbie Girl," "Too Sexy," and "Who Let The Dogs Out."

What song do you have stuck in your head now? You're welcome.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Would you rather?

Sleep for 8-9 hours a night in an incredibly comfortable bed - for a month - while still keeping up with all your responsibilities,



or

sleep five hours a night (with no naps), for the entire month, BUT have a housekeeper who will cook your dinner, do your laundry, and wash your dishes during that month?


Which do you choose, and why?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful

Thanksgiving is exactly two weeks away! I love this time of year so much. I have always enjoyed Thanksgiving because expressing gratitude has such a cheering effect. In that spirit, I have something to be grateful for that I wanted to share with you!

A few weeks ago, a coworker of mine told me that he was going to Utah to visit his son and grandchild. Knowing that I sometimes visit friends in Utah, he asked if he could bring anything there or back for me since he was driving out and would have room in his car. I thanked him but said that wasn't necessary. We got talking about what foods Utah has that we don't have in Michigan and I mentioned Grandma Sycamore's bread, which I had there this summer and really liked. He asked if I wanted him to pick some up for me when he was in Utah, and I said no, but thank you.

Fast forward a month to when he got back from his trip. He came to my desk yesterday and asked me to come with him. When we got to the hallway, he said, "you're going to tell me I'm crazy," and handed me a bag full of loaves of Grandma Sycamore's bread! He wouldn't allow me to pay him for it either. He is a very generous man and is often doing acts of kindness like that for people in our office. I was really touched by his thinking of me and going out of his way to do something nice for me. He made my day.

delicious bread!
When the delicious bread became a delicious sandwich.
What is something you are grateful for today?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday Thoughts

I wouldn't really go so far as to say it sucks.
I hope this doesn't make me sound like a total curmudgeon but I don't get the popularity of the Kindle. What is the appeal of reading on a screen any more than you have to? It's sort of ironic since I'm here typing onto a screen and hoping you'll read this (on a screen), but the difference is that there isn't the option of reading this in print.

I'm probably overly romantic about books. The scent, the feel, the texture.... You know what I mean. Or do you? Are you a Kindle person?

I get that you can can carry them anywhere, but you can carry a book anywhere too. It's not like books are 50 lbs or something.

How about let's move on. Weigh in if you have an opinion!

Speaking of reading, I finally caved to the zillions of positive reviews and have started reading The Hunger Games. How many of you have read it? So far, I'm really enjoying it.

And lastly, in Wednesday Thoughts, yesterday a friend of mine told me about some goals she's set for herself. They were all health related and one that really stood out to me was "get 8 hours of sleep a night." We discussed this one for awhile. I'm single and I don't have any kids so getting 8 hours of sleep should be an achievable goal for me, yet somehow I live on 5-6 hours every night. Why? I dunno. I can't key down at night, or I'm up reading (cough...blogging...cough), or whatever. Then suddenly I look at the clock, panic about how little sleep I'm going to get, then can't sleep because I'm worrying about that. It's a vicious cycle.

Are any of you good sleepers? I think I'm going to work on this 8 hour a night goal. I honestly think my life would change for the better if I did. If you have any secrets for a faster escape to the land of nod, I'm all ears. Or eyes, as the case may be.

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

T.V. Love

I love comedy t.v. and rarely watch dramas. Lost was the exception (and I miss it dearly). Life is dramatic enough, so I'll stick with comedies, thank you. Here are my top four picks that I think you will also like. I need to make it a round five, so tell me some of your favorites!

1. Modern Family - you've already heard me go on and on about this show, but that's because it's hilarious. Check out the "quotes that make me laugh" column on my side bar for some evidence. The characters are fun and perfectly cast. Bonus: it's often heartwarming. Here's a link to the Halloween episode, which was great.


2. How I Met Your Mother - I just "discovered" this show. I feel weird saying I "discovered" something that many many people have known about for years but you know what I mean. People have told me I'd love it for years now but for some reason I never checked it out. I've only seen about ten episodes so far and since I'm mostly watching it in reruns, the episodes have been in no way sequential. But they have all made me laugh out loud multiple times and one even made me cry, in a good way. I'm hooked. Here's a short link you might find amusing  - the hot/crazy scale.


3. Community - Season one was awesome. Season two has been so-so so far, but I have faith that it can pick back up.


4. Psych - Why aren't more of you watching this show? Honestly, it's hilarious. It's about a fake psychic detective and his best friend who solve crimes using their superior observational skills. Yes, it's about solving murders but it's not as cliche as most of the shows out there that do the same. It's laugh out loud funny. It's on the USA Network, so it has weird seasons but the new season starts this week! Check out the schedule and see clips here.


Other comedies I like but that didn't make the list are 30 Rock and The Office, both of which are often funny, but are too inconsistent as of late to be in the top 5. I still like them though and they might be able to work their way back in .

What are your top four (or three or five...whatever) favorite comedies?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weekend Update

I had a longer weekend than usual, both because of daylight savings time, and because I took Friday off. I don't normally do this kind of post but I thought it might be kind of fun. I hope you agree. Here is a list of some of the weekend's highlights:

Got my front tires balanced - I hate hate hate hate hate doing this kind of thing. I never wish I was married more than when I have to get work done on my car. I figure then I could push it off on him, right? Anyway, when going to a repair place, I feel like I'm going to be taken advantage of or say the wrong thing. Luckily this time, nothing like that happened. I was confident and they charged me zero dollars. I left feeling like a modern woman - shoulder pads and all!

Family time. In contrast to getting my car worked on, I love love love love love spending time with my family. We celebrated the joint birthdays of my aunt and nephew. Here's a very short video of my niece, who is learning to talk, saying "happy birthday, James," with a hiccup in the middle. She melts my heart. Watch it if you want to learn to love again. My aunt and nephew are two of my favorite people in the world so this party was very special.

video

People I love, celebrating birthdays
Went on a tour of Detroit. This was too fun! We went to the Heidelberg Project, the Guardian building, Belle Isle, and a few other places, and ended by eating in Mexicantown, my favorite place to go in Detroit for dinner. Thanks to my friend Jonathan for giving an amazing tour. Detroit is such a special city with so many cool places to see. Plus, I had a great time with fun and awesome friends.
The Guardian building, the Heidelberg Project, Detroit Central Station, and the Heidelberg Project, clockwise.

I finally saw Toy Story 3! I somehow missed the bandwagon when everyone first saw it. So many people said they cried when they watched it but I didn't. What does that mean? Do I have a heart of stone?

I slept an extra hour last night because of daylight savings time and it was glorious. On the down side, I probably won't figure out how to change the clock in my car any time soon.

I think that's a pretty good list of my weekend highlights. It was a great weekend, and of course, I'm sad that it's over. What was the most fun thing you did this weekend?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday Thoughts

If you're like me you are so glad election day is over. I love voting and I care about the issues, but I am so tired of the negative attack ads! This election has been particularly negative, if you ask me. The ads have been almost comical in their aggressiveness and accusations.

Even I was not exempt from attack. Check out this poster I found tacked up all over town:


My own sister! What we were running for, I have no idea. I guess we just got caught up in election fever. Even the best of us can't resist the appeal of a good smear campaign.

Happy Wednesday.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hell

What are some of the things Michigan is known for? Cars, Motown, Great Lakes, and of course... Hell. Hell, Michigan that is. And what better time to go to Hell than Halloween weekend?

I had never been there before, but when a friend from Utah (living in Michigan) mentioned that he'd always wanted to check it out, I thought it was the perfect time to go. Some of the must-see sites in Hell include:

  • The dam (for the jokes)
  • The Dam Site Inn (both to eat at, and to make jokes about)
  • The wedding chapel with a question mark at the top (where a lot of couples were getting married this past Saturday)
  • Screams ice cream shop (where many goods are sold for $6.66)

  • The post office (where they will burn the corners of your postcard and post mark it "Hell, Michigan")
  • Loads of those "put your face in the hole" photo ops


Does your state have a city with a cool or embarrassing name? I'd rather live in Hell (Hell, Michigan, that is) than these (actual) cities:

Embarrass, Wisconsin
Meat Camp, North Carolina
Cookietown, Oklahoma
Oddville, Kentucky
Boring, Tennessee
Greasy, Oklahoma
Intercourse, Pennsylvania
Possum Grape, Arkansas
Sleepy Eye, Minnesota
Chunky, Mississippi (no way does anyone there have good self esteem)
Horneytown, North Carolina (I didn't make that up)

Do you know of any other towns with crazy names? Which one of those would you least want to live in?