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Friday, September 30, 2011

Some Thoughts on Weather

The weather around here has been pretty yick lately. (Yes, that's a word.) It's been rainy, windy, and chilly. I wouldn't mind so much except that I had to postpone my annual bonfire because of it. But I can handle it... I can be mature.... I don't have to stomp my feet and whine about the postponement. I don't have to throw myself on the ground and pound my fists. Not me. Never.

But even though the weather has been super blah, there have been some beautiful moments in nature lately. In fact, today and yesterday the sky has been full of rainbows, and it's all people can talk about. There's something about a rainbow that just catches you off guard. It's like they're supernatural or something, and you feel like you have to tell people that you saw one. Like that time I saw a unicorn.

Today there was a brief window between one storm and the next when the day became beautiful. Cold, but beautiful. Nature was super impressive today. Here are a few pictures I took.


One hour of beauty + one week of blah = almost even. Almost.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Seasonal Shifts

My friend Erin painted these. Isn't she talented!?

Indications of the changing season: 

I've never been so cold at a Tigers game as I was last night. I drank a cup of hot chocolate to stay warm. My friend drank two. I wore a scarf, a jacket, and put a poncho over my lap and yet still I shivered throughout the whole game. 
(Still had a blast. Never doubt that.)

I got a flu shot today at work. I've been looking forward to it all week because it gets me away from my desk for ten minutes. How sad is that?

I bought a groupon for two passes to a haunted corn maze. I could have bought one for a normal corn maze but I decided to live on the edge since it is the Halloween season now. If you go to that with me, be prepared to guide me through the corn maze while I close my eyes and hold on to you the whole time. 
That's what I did in the last haunted house I went to. 
Only problem was, I didn't know the guy who's jacket I was holding onto. I was so scared I didn't care. I just held on for dear life and kept my eyes closed tight. He never said a word to me about it, and we parted ways without so much as a passing glance. I loved that man.

This morning I heard the geese flying south. That's one of my favorite sounds. It makes me want to curl up under a warm comforter for the season. 

I made myself sick eating candy corns yesterday. (That only required eating ten candy corns. Do those things have a small amount of ipecac in them or something? Still, the first five or so are delicious.)

I'm cold all the time. Someone please remind me to wear a jacket?

What are some fall signs you've seen or experienced lately? 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday Thoughts


Guess where I am right now? Here's a hint: I'm at the last Tigers game of the regular season (wow, I'm bad at hints). Sigh. I can't believe it's my last game for the year. The Tigers will go on playing, but I won't be there to cheer them on because, alas, playoff tickets cost an arm and a leg. But I shouldn't complain. I got to go to a lot of games this season, and none of them were losing games! (Great, now I feel like I cursed the game tonight by saying that. Good thing I wore my lucky underwear.) So it's been a good season for me.

For them too.
(Unrelated to me. [Though I like to think I helped.])

Here's what I love about going to baseball games:

The atmosphere! I love the crowds and the revelry.
The Tiger growl when the team scores.
The "eat 'em up Tigers" guy outside the stadium - in fact, all the colorful characters outside the stadium.
The kosher dogs.
Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera.
The sun beating down!
The Detroit skyline.
The music. I love the music they play at the stadium! 
And everything else, except the wave. I'm not a fan of the wave. Too distracting. The wave not only requires a lot of concentration, but the people who want to get it going are bullies!

What's your favorite sport to see in person (vs. watching on tv)?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Frita Batidos

Tonight I ate at a place I've been wanting to try for awhile: Frita Batidos, a Cuban inspired restaurant in Ann Arbor. Its claim to fame is that it's owned by a woman who was on Top Chef. (Side note: having never seen that show, I almost called it America's Next Top Chef just now. Close call.) It has a really interesting look:


Kinda trippy looking since that second picture is tilted, huh? In real life it's not tilted, so don't worry. I mean, unless one of your legs is a lot shorter that the other. In which case, this is what it will look like to you. But anyway, picnic tables instead of regular tables. Different, huh? I liked it. It felt like summer (about a half hour later, the place was packed, by the way).

But the surprises didn't end there. When my drink arrived, it was in a bag. A bag with a straw sticking out. Kinda looked like the bags hanging from IV's. I put it in a cup which made it look like it the cup had a muffin top.



When my food arrived (a chorizo burger), it had the fries inside, which made it look suspiciously like a character from Pirates of the Caribbean.


In conclusion, the place was full of surprises, and I'd have to highly recommend it. I plan on going there more in the winter since the inside looks like a tropical vacation spot. It's especially fun when enjoyed in the company of good friends! The food was great too, all joking aside.

I mean, if you can get past the idea of eating Davy Jones' face (joking back on).

Monday, September 26, 2011

What I'm listening to


Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
Well, it's 10:20 and I haven't blogged yet today! I've had a busy and super fun day today but instead of telling you about it right now, I want to tell you about some of the music I've been listening to lately!

Music, like I was saying the other day, colors my experiences so I like to share it from time to time. So without further ado, these are the songs that are currently in heavy rotation on my iPod:

Ice Cream by Sarah Mclachlan. Oh, you forgot about this song? Yeah, me too! Until I remembered it! And now I can't stop listening to it. So good.

Pumped up Kicks by Foster the People. I liked this song more before I looked up the lyrics. I still love it, I just try not to think too hard about it. Super catchy. I dare you not to bounce a little  bit when you're listening to it. Can't be done (medically speaking).

The soundtrack to Fiddler On the Roof. Yeah, I didn't say there was any rhyme or reason to what I'm listening to. (Favorites: Sabbath Prayer, Tradition, To Life, and If I Were a Rich Man)

Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Um, that's a really stupid band name. Kinda reminds me of Animal's band, Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem, except that Animal's band name is only the coolest band name ever! But I digress. Home is a really good song. My only complaint is the talking near the end because I hate when songs have talking in them. It makes me uncomfortable. Still, good song, if you don't mind fast forwarding through talking.

Changes by Tupac. Oh my gosh, I sound like such a poser putting this on here. Like I'm trying earn street cred or something! K, I promise I'm not trying to sound gangsta, I just love this song.

Hands in Pockets by Laura Gibson. Calming and soothing. Lovely. I think you'd like it.

Find the River by REM.  If you only listen to one REM song this year, make it this one. The lyrics don't really make a lot of sense, but they also kind of do. They're like word jumbles, but in the end you think you maybe know what he means by them. This paragraph is a word jumble now that I think about it.

So there you have it, the songs I'm listening to the most right now. I love them all. What are you listening to?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Golden Ticket

Last night I attended the General Relief Society broadcast. The Relief Society is the women's organization in my church. Little fact: it's the oldest and largest women's organization in America! I think that's pretty cool. But anyway, several talks were given and they were all amazing. They were all given by women, except one, which was by President Dieter Uchtdorf. He made a lot of great points and one of them stood out in my mind so I wanted to talk about it just a bit and see what you guys think.

WAIT! Even if you're not religious, stick around and keep reading because this is just an interesting life principle, and doesn't have to do with religion necessarily. K?

President Uchtdorf talked about the Golden Ticket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The Golden Ticket, as you all remember, was much sought out for as it was the only way to get into the mysterious Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. If someone opened a candy bar and it did not contain a golden ticket, they were so disappointed that they didn't even notice or care that they still got a candy bar out of the deal!

President Uchtdorf made the point that life can be like that. We don't notice the good because we're too busy looking for the Golden Tickets - money, better job, marriage, kids, or whatever. Everyone's golden tickets are different. And even when life is pretty good, we're not satisfied because it's not REALLY good.

Examples....

The point is that it's important to find joy in life even when we just get a candy bar, with or without the Golden Ticket. After all, chocolate is still good, right? And life is still good, even when we're still waiting for our Golden Tickets.

I think I'm pretty good at this, but not always. I occasionally let myself feel really down because I don't have the Golden Tickets yet that I've been looking for. I worry about when things are going to happen and why I don't have some things yet, and it starts to suck the joy out of life. But I do try hard to overcome this and to enjoy life to the fullest. I am very lucky and have seriously great friends and a wonderful family. I try not to throw away my candy bars just because that's all they are. After all, I love chocolate.

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Things that made me go mmmmmmm...

... on Pinterest this week.

  











Which of these would you most like me to make for you? (You will be sharing it with me, just so you know.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Time Machine Bands

Hey people anywhere near me in age, wanna feel extra old? Nirvana's "Nevermind" album came out twenty years ago tomorrow. Twenty years ago. I'm not going to say how old I was twenty years ago, but it wasn't zero. I'll just say I was old enough to put on a flannel shirt, turn up "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and get good and angsty. 

I can't believe that was twenty years ago. Darn you Kurt Cobain for making me feel old today!

And while I'm on the subject, darn you Michael Stipe for making me feel old this week! While I'm not exactly broken up about REM breaking up (I'm in denial, probably), I have been a bit on the nostalgic side, listening to my old favorite REM songs: Find the River, Fall on Me, Try Not to Breathe, to name a few. REM is just one of those bands whose music serves as a time machine, bringing me immediately back to the time period when I first loved their songs.

There's something about those formative years of a persons life that just seems to grab onto the music of its time and doesn't let go. Maybe it's because those years are so tumultuous and confusing, and therefore both emotionally rich and porous. It's almost like the music saturates the experiences, bringing flat memories to life years later. You can't hear the 14 year old voice of your high school best friend now, but you can hear the music you were listening to at that time, and that makes the memories more three dimensional. Does that make sense? Probably not, but it does in my brain.

Toad the Wet Sprocket, Counting Crows, Jellyfish, Pearl Jam and several others also serve as musical time machines for me. I listen to them and I'm suddenly knee deep in a memory from high school. I'm on the farm with Kelly, or hanging out at Abi's house, jumping on the trampoline at Carrie's, loitering in the hallways in my high school, burning incense at Kerry's house, or hanging out with Sarah. And a million other memories.

I don't long for those times, I just remember them more clearly while listening to their soundtracks. And thank goodness it's a good soundtrack! What are some of your time machine bands?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One Month Anniversary

As of today, I've been blogging every day for a month. Have you been able to keep up? One friend complained that it's "too much." But other than him, people seem to be ok with it. I have enjoyed it, though at times it's not easy. Some days I don't feel like being peppy, and that has been reflected on here a little bit. Sometimes I'm not sure if I'm "allowed" to be more honest and real.

Today for example, I'm in a somewhat tender mood. Not a bad mood, and not a sad mood. And no, I'm not pmsing. I don't know what's going on with me. Just feeling somewhat tender. Like I want someone to wrap me up in a down comforter, give me a mug of warm cocoa and a giant cookie and keep me company for the evening. You know what I mean?

I'm feeling happy though. So much so, that I think I'll give you some more book recommendations! Continued from part one. But I think instead of five, I'll just give three for now. That way I can say a bit more about each of them. Each of these books is a book that makes me laugh. That's the theme for today.

1. How to Talk Minnesotan by Howard Mohr. I have been reading this book since I was sixteen which was.... like.... five years ago?* In fact, see that picture on the right? That's a picture of my copy of the book. I've had to tape up the edges because they are so worn. This book is written to be a guide book for people visiting or moving to Minnesota. It's funny to me because so much of it applies to the Midwest in general. If you buy this book, please tell me so we can laugh hysterically together.

Here's an excerpt from the chapter titled, "Non Sequiturs, Rebuttals, and Gifts."

"Phrase: Yeahbut

One natural response to a controversial statement in Minnesota is to end the discussion by saying that's different. Delivering an apparent non sequitur has the same effect. But there does come a time when you're forced to speak your mind and that's where yeahbut comes in handy.

Pronounced 'ee-ah-but,' yeahbut is the introductory phrase to the majority of Minnesota rebuttals. A Minnesota debate consists of a  controversial statement by one person and a yeahbuttal by another.

ex: 'It's a big country, China, all those people. A guy kinda wonders.'

'Yeahbut they're drinking Coke and Pepsi now, so that's something.'"

2. In Zanesville, by Jo Ann Beard. This is the best book I've read this year. I would highly recommend it. It's about two 14 year old girls growing up in a small town called Zanesville. The author absolutely captured the voice of girls that age, and I experienced extreme nostalgia for that period of my life as a result. The book is hilarious and insightful.

"I'd like to be the kind of person who can do something weird and not become weird because of it, but that's out of reach for me - I am what I do at this point, and if I do this I'm done for."

I chose a short quote because so much of what's funny in this book is the dialogue, which would lose something taken out of context. I would especially recommend this book to my female readers, but men, you might enjoy it too. It gives a little inside glimpse into the young female mind.

3. In the spirit of witty books about young girls, the next book on my list is A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel. This book was recommended to me by a friend years ago and is one I often flip through when I need a pick me up. It is Kimmel's true account of her life growing up in a small town and it is as charming as it is funny.

One of my favorite parts is when Haven, aka "Zippy" accidentally cries while reciting the poem, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" in school. Mortified, she asks her mom later that day why the poem made her cry. Here's an excerpt:

"Mom thought for a moment about how to explain it. 'The best answer I can give is that poetry is all about the effect it has on a reader and Robert Frost was very, very good at that. If you're asking what it means that the line is repeated, I'd have to say I don't know. It's stylistic. But the effect is pretty clear.'

'Doggone right the effect is pretty clear! The effect is I looked like an idiot in front of my whole class and I'm never reading poetry again unless it's by James Whitcomb Riley!' And I went storming out of the house to try to shake off the injury done to me with words."

Those are a few of my favorite funny books, though honorable mentions include My Point and I do Have One, by Ellen Degeneres, and anything written by David Sedaris. What's the funniest book you've ever read?

*ha! Try six! (Humor me.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday Thoughts

I think I will make today a traditional Wednesday Thoughts and just tell you all the random things that are on my mind today. Sound good?

First of all, thanks for the tips on sleeping. I think I'll try crossword puzzles, as a few of you suggested. If you get a text from me at midnight asking for a five letter word beginning with "z" and ending with "q," it's your own fault. But I am going to give it a try. I'd rather do crossword puzzles than resort to taking a sleeping pill with all the crazy side effects that were so popular a few years ago. I'm not really in the mood to stab anyone or drive in my sleep.



(Later in this episode, Homer starts doing super crazy things because of Nappien. Things I don't want to do. And yes, I do take all my medical advice from the Simpsons. Which is why I also stay away from a drink called the Flaming Moe.)

In other thoughts, I'm going to visit my grandma tonight. Whenever I visit her she asks me to help her with some small task around her place, which I am usually happy to do. A couple weeks ago we cleaned off her kitchen counter, which was getting cluttered with boxes of crackers and cookies. She made me taste test a cookie or cracker from each and every box to see if they were stale or not. They were. Hopefully there will be no tasting today.

Speaking of tasting, for lunch today I'm having a salad, but do you know what I want? A huge bakery cookie with a mug of hot chocolate. Doesn't that sound cozy?

Anyway, enough about me. What are you up to today?

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Buckling Down

Raising Hope, Tuesdays 9:30
prerequisite: season one
Although fall is a truly magical and wonderful season, there's something about it that makes me resist its advent. Maybe it's because winter comes next and I dread winter. Or maybe it's just because I don't want summer to end because summer is so amazing. Maybe it's because fall is the most nostalgic time of year. Or maybe it's because since childhood fall seems to send the message, "summer was fun, but now it's time to get back to work."

I'm not in school anymore but I still feel that message loudly. It's time to slow down, time to focus, time to study. I do have a pretty heavy schedule this fall, I have to admit. And it's going to keep me inside many evenings, working to keep up. I may even have to cancel some social plans. It's not going to be easy, but I can't let myself fall behind.

So far my schedule looks like this:

Monday: How I Met Your Mother 8:00
Tuesday: Raising Hope 9:30
Wednesday: Modern Family 9:00
Psych 10:00
Thursday: Parks and Rec and whatever else NBC feeds me that night

And here's the scary thing: I don't have a dvr! But I do have the internet, so I guess if I decide to have a social life, I could always catch up later. But still. Then you have to worry about spoilers and falling behind. I mean really, school tv is hard!  But it's fall and I must buckle down. I can't fall behind now or it'll be that much harder when the mid season replacements start in January. Summer was fun but it's time to get serious.

What's your fall schedule like? Do we have any of the same classes?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sleep

I'm really bad at falling asleep. Really, really bad. I toss and turn and my mind just won't shut down. I've always been a bit of a night owl but I was hoping I'd grow out of it. I haven't. As a result of these sleep problems, I'm tired. And I need your help. Could you please:

a. Tell me what tricks you use to fall asleep (warm milk, counting sheep, etc...)

or

b. tell me a really boring story that will put me to sleep.

As a thank you, I'll tell you a boring story which will put you to sleep! Just don't read it until you leave yours, cause this one's a guaranteed snoozer.

When I got home from work today I noticed my hair was kind of frizzy because of the rain. So I turned on both my flat iron and my curling iron and tried to fix it before my sister's birthday dinner. But it would not be fixed! My bangs looked awful! They kept going the opposite direction I wanted them to. I think it's about time to go to the salon and get my bangs trimmed. Anyway, eventually I just gave up on my bangs and put a headband on. Later as my nieces and nephews were jumping on me and messing up my hair, I wondered why I'd put so much work into fixing it in the first place.

The end.

If you're still awake, you must have as much trouble sleeping as me. K, now it's your turn. Put me to sleep.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Basic Equations


Ah, the weekend. I'm loathe to let it go come Sunday night. I had some happy moments this weekend. I'll tell you a little bit about some of them with some simple math.

1. The Eastern Market in Detroit
+
outdoor karaoke
+
the song "Footloose"
=
spontaneous dance party on the street


2. Scrabbble
+
a tray full of vowels
-
losing
=
happy


3. A headache
+
pain meds
+
a phone call from a good friend
+
snuggly puppy laying on my belly
=
Contentedness


4. Crafts
+
a huge Tiger's win!!!!!
=
an amazing night


Did you have any happy equations this weekend?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Things that made me smile...

...on Pinterest this week.

From here


From Spongebob


Ugh, so relatable! From here.
Men, this is what you should be for Halloween! Link.
Is this a cool costume idea or what!?
Scrabble coasters! Love it! Instructions here.

Which is your favorite?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hard Core

The following is a real conversation I had with a friend last night, who I will call C, to protect his identity. (I will call myself "me" because I'll be the other one talking. I can't believe I had to explain that.)

C: I'd read your blog more if it weren't so generic.
Me: What are you talking about!? I'm not generic! I'm unique!
C: Yeah, in a generic way.
Me: (outraged)
C: I'd read more if you'd dish about the real details of your life. The juicy stuff. Be more personal.
Me: That's not happening.

If he feels that way then I'm assuming others might too. So I spent some time today racking my brain for juicy stories I could talk about: dating, ex-boyfriends, journal entries, personal struggles, menstrual cycles, and so on. I asked my friend Jesse what he thinks would be more exciting to hear about from those options. He said it'd be fun to hear about menstrual cycles because "it's funny to hear about irrational behavior." My response? "WHAT DO YOU MEAN IRRATIONAL!?"

So after exploring all the juicy things I could talk about, I finally landed on the most hard core thing I could think of:




That's right: crafts. No but for real, I just feel like writing about crafts right now. I'm sorry if that's not juicy in the traditional sense. You know I'd love to blog about other stuff but I'm sort of limited since guys I might want to date are reading.

Do you mind? In fact, I'm going to start doing posts here and there featuring fun things I've found on Pinterest. I hope I don't lose my male readers. But if I do...... ladies have I got some juicy stories for you!! (I'll tell you when/if the guys are gone.*)

*Guys, don't go. ;)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cheesy

After another fun-filled night in Chicago, I drove home very late last night/early this morning. I should have taken the whole day off work today but like a fool, I didn't. As a result, I've been a zombie all day! But instead of going on and on about that, I thought I'd show you one more picture from Chicago. Check out the cheese on this deep dish pizza!

Christi was trying to get a piece on her plate but the pizza didn't want to release it to her and held on with all its cheesy might. (What am I even saying? It's the exhaustion speaking.)


The diet starts tomorrow? I felt kinda bad consuming that many calories, but when in Chicago, you have to eat deep dish pizza. It's un-American not to. That's what I told myself anyway. No regrets!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday Thoughts

A Tigers ice cream helmet plus
a Sox helmet = a collection. FYI.
My friend Christi and I are in Chicago for a couple days this week. We're going to do all the touristy things today (the Bean in Millennium Park, the Navy Pier, etc...) which I have done before, but still enjoy. But the main thing we were excited about doing, we did last night: see the Tigers play the White Sox! And win (again!), I might add!

Have you ever seen your team play at a rival stadium? I never had before, and it was a unique experience. Usually, when at Tigers games, I do a lot of this: "WoooooOOooOoOO! Yeah!!" Last night, however, I had to suppress my natural self which was not easy. I'd find myself standing up and shouting, "WOOOO...er...woooo" then quickly sitting back down and politely clapping, quietly.

At least 30-40% of the fans at the stadium, including the two guys sitting next to me, were Tigers fans, which made it that much harder for me to suppress my cheering instincts. But two things made me feel slightly guilty. One, Christi overheard the people next to her complain, "There's too many Tigers fans here." And two, the other half of our row was a group of nuns cheering for the White Sox.





The nuns spent a lot of energy trying to get on camera (and succeeding at times), which was very funny. But their presence also made us feel a little guilty about being too obnoxiously supportive of the Tigers. For example, one of the guys sitting next to me felt extra bad when he yelled at the White Sox, "You suck!" Then realizing what he was saying, quickly ducked his head, covered his mouth and said, "crap, do you think the nuns heard that?" The nuns being there almost made me wish the White Sox could actually come close to beating the Tigers. Not beat them, mind you, but come close. Just for the nuns.

Now I'm off to enjoy some of the sites of Chicago. What's your favorite thing to do here?

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Halloween Planning

Is it bad that I'm already thinking about Halloween? Wait, let me go one further, is it really bad that I'm also already thinking about Christmas? I'll stick with Halloween for this post though, so don't worry.

A few years back I had an annual tradition of throwing a huge Halloween party with some close friends. We loved hosting that party, and we'd start planning for it months in advance. Even though I haven't hosted many Halloween parties in the last few years, I still get that excitement around this time of year. Halloween is just such a fun holiday.

Feeding my Halloween obsession this year is Pinterest which has some amazing ideas. It's been filling my head with holiday craft ideas for days. What I'm trying to say is, Pinterest is an enabler.

Here are some of the spookiest ideas I've found so far. I'm sorry if it's too early to be thinking about Halloween. Don't blame me. Blame society.


So freaky!!! From here.
 LOVE this idea from here.

This has to be my favorite. From here.
(It's made from chicken wire.)

I'm determined to make at least one of these. Maybe all three. Which do you think is the scariest?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cooking Class

In an ongoing effort to get married* become a more well rounded person, one of my goals for the fall is to become a better cook. I can already make the basics- chicken, tacos, toast, bascetti. And I have a few slightly more complicated dishes up my sleeve for dinner parties or special occasions. But that's about it. So this fall, I'm determined to become a more interesting, more talented cook.

To start out, I've been focused on crock pot cooking. Up till this point the only thing I've made in my crock pot is pulled pork, and that is delicious every time. So I have faith in the magic powers of the crock pot! But I need to branch out.

This is the crock pot recipe I tried yesterday:

Apricot Chicken

Ingredients:
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/3 cup bottled Russian (or Catalina) dressing
1/2 envelope onion soup mix
6 frozen chicken breasts

Preparation:
Mix the first three ingredients together. Place chicken in crock pot and cover with apricot mixture. Cook on low 5-6 hours. Serves 6.

I threw it all in the crock pot in the morning before leaving for church for the afternoon. While in church, I found myself thinking about it as if it were my child: "Is it doing what it's supposed to be doing? Is everything going well? Is it burning?" (a thought I hope I never have about an actual child.)

[Dang, I just realized I'm blogging about cooking. This is weird. Moving on.]

Good news though, the meal turned out delicious. I served it with rice and a salad. So if you're looking for a good recipe idea, I give it two thumbs up.

I wish that cooking came naturally to me. I know a lot of people just have an instinct for it. A pinch of this, a dash of that. I'm the kind of person who studies the recipe very closely and refers to it nonstop the whole time I'm preparing it. Which is why I'm starting off pretty easy. The next recipe I'm going to try is for lil smokies. It calls for a cup of grape jelly, a cup of bbq sauce, and two packages of lil smokies in the crock pot for several hours. I'll probably make this for a football watching afternoon. I love lil smokies so I'm pretty excited about it. Plus, it's really fun to say lil smokies. Lil smokies.

Do you have any cooking tips for me? Are you a good cook? How did you get to be one? What's your specialty?

*Totally kidding!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Aging Gracefully

A couple weeks ago I found out that I have a small fracture in my foot. It's nothing serious, but I have to wear a funky shoe most of the time (unless it doesn't go with my outfit). My doctor said it should be all healed up in no time.

The other day I got my x-ray results back and read through the report carefully. Something caught my eye in the report. There was a line that read, "minimal degenerative change of the first ray of the blobbety bloobety" (I'm paraphrasing). The word that upset me? Degenerative! What do they mean degenerative? I'm young(ish)! I grew up drinking milk! There should be no degenerative changes in my body for years!

So I called my doctor's office right away to get more information. They calmed me down and said the degenerative change is extremely minimal and just a natural part of not being a teenager anymore.

I was somewhat comforted by this, but still mostly traumatized. I had visions of myself taking over for Sally Field in those Boniva commercials (original picture here). I'm too young for this!

The new face of Boniva.

If you need me, I'll be over here drinking a tall glass of milk to wash all this Boniva down.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Cider Mill

It feels like fall today, and I started out the day with one of my favorite fall traditions: going to the cider mill for fresh donuts and apple cider. My friend Sarah went with me and the donuts were so good we each had...well, we each had more than one. That's all I'll admit to.

The moment we walked into the cider mill, I said the first thing that popped into my head (as per usual): "I wish I could take a picture of this smell." It doesn't make sense, but I think you know what I mean, right?



Fact: Michigan is the number three apple growing state in the country!
 (After Washington and New York.) In case you were wondering.
And I know you were.

Check out the apple slushy maker!

Sarah's not blurry in real life, for the record. (But she is a
teacher,which is why she's hugging the
"great teacher gifts" products.)

We sat on a beach towel because it's been raining all week. Look at
those donuts! Fresh and warm, crisp on the outside,
but soft on the inside. Get in my belly!

The rest of the afternoon has continued to feel like fall. The University of Michigan/Notre Dame night game (first night game ever) is tonight and nearly 1 out of every 3 people I've seen today (including Sarah) has been sporting the maize and blue shirts and hoodies. There are already planes flying overhead near the stadium with banners flying behind them for all the sports fans to see. And the grocery stores are packed today with fans loading up on tailgating food.

It really doesn't get much more autumnal than days like today, does it?

Friday, September 9, 2011

What I hear when I listen to the news

What all newscasters sound like to me
these days.
I like to be well informed, and I often listen to the news for a good portion of the day. But lately I just can't stomach it. It's so depressing and negative! I still want to be well informed but I've become a lot more picky about the news stories I'll listen to. I can't listen to all of it because this is what it's begun to sound like to me these days:

Thinking about going to the mall this weekend or a sporting event? DON'T! Because terrorists are targeting that very place you're going to go! Stay home! In fact, crawl under your bed and stay there all the time! From now on! I can't emphasize this enough: you're not safe anywhere.

Remember unemployment? From when we were talking about it five minutes ago? Well guess what? It's WORSE! Worse than it was five minutes ago!

That tomato you're eating might be bad for you. Also, you didn't wash it long enough. And you cut it wrong.

Thinking about retiring? You'll never be able to! The American dream is over! Mwahahahahaha!

When planning for a vacation there are several things you should remember:
1. Make sure you write a will before you leave!
2. Gas is really expensive! So don't go on a vacation!
3. If you do go on your vacation anyway, you'll be sorry! Because that place you're staying at has bedbugs! Also, terrorists.

Whoever the other guy is, who's running for president in 2012? The one you don't like? He's going to do all the opposite things that you want him to do! All of them.

I need a news vacation. Or I need to find a more upbeat news source. So far I'm considering The Onion, Weekend Update on SNL, and/or paying a friend to tell me the highlights at the end of the week. I'd be willing to give pay bonuses for creative made up stories.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Favorite Bookshelf Recommendations Part 1

Yesterday I finished a wonderful book: Anne of Green Gables. If you can believe it, I'd never read this book before! Having seen the mini series years ago, I was pleased to relive the story as it was actually written. I can understand why so many of my friends list this book among their very favorites. There are parts of Anne we can all relate to.

When I was finished, I went to put the book in my "special bookshelf." I have several bookshelves, but one is reserved for my favorite books. These are the ones I like to pull off the shelf and leaf through, re-reading my favorite parts. However, I noticed yesterday that this bookshelf was getting too full, with rows being hidden by stacks of books in front of them. So I decided to go through and decide which books should be moved to the other shelves.

As I did this, I picked some out that I would send home with you if you were over asking for recommendations.

I chose about twelve, but because I know that is way too many to share in one post, I will share five in this post, five in another, and five in the last. No, I'm not that bad at math. It's just that by then I know I will have picked out three more. I'll tell you a little bit about the book and after that I'll share a favorite quote from the book.

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. This book is a classic for a reason. I love the feminist strong will of Jane and I love thinking about how shocking the ideas presented in Jane Eyre were at the time it was published. It's a dark book but full of hope and strength with a little mystery thrown in. Not to mention the morality questions posed.

"If all the world hated you, and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved you, and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends."

2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I love this book so much, I can't express it. I think I cried all the way through the last chapter (or more) when I first read it. It's about a young girl growing up in a poor family in Brooklyn during the Depression. You grow to love the characters as if they were your own family.

"Forward! Nonsense! Send the card if you feel like it. I hate all those flirty-birty games that women make up. Life's too short. If you ever find a man you love, don't waste time hanging your head and simpering. Go right up to him and say, 'I love you. How about getting married?'

3. Coming Up For Air by George Orwell. Most people think of 1984 or Animal Farm when they think of George Orwell, but if you ask me, this is his best book. It is as insightful and paranoid in some ways as you would expect, but without the aftertaste of doom and gloom that the other two bring. It is about a middle aged man who comes into a little money and decides to visit his home town and get away from his wife and kids for a few days. It's hilarious, with the dark, dry humor you'd expect from Orwell. Very witty and smart. I could go on and on about this book. It is one of my top three favorite books, for sure. But I'll stop. Here's a quote:

"Well Hilda and I were married and right from the start is was a flop. Why did you marry her? you say. But why did you marry yours? These things happen to us. I wonder whether you'll believe that during the first two or three years I had serious thoughts of killing Hilda. Of course in practice one never does these things, they're only a kind of fantasy that one enjoys thinking about. Besides, chaps who murder their wives always get copped. However cleverly you've faked an alibi, they know perfectly well that it's you who did it, and they'll pin it to you somehow. When a woman's bumped off, her husband is always the first suspect - which gives you a little side glimpse of what people really think about marriage."

4. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. An amazing and moving true account of her childhood growing up in Stamps, Arkansas. The book is funny, poignant, inspirational, and thought provoking.

People were those who lived on my side of town. I didn't like them all, or, in fact, any of them very much, but they were people. These others, the strange, pale creatures that lived in their alien unlife, weren't considered folks. They were whitefolks."

5. And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie. It is so hard for me to pick out a favorite by her! My second favorite is The Murder of Roger Ackroyd which will blow your mind, I guarantee. But And Then There Were None is so well done. So well done in fact, that when I re-read it a few years ago, I realized I couldn't remember who'd dunnit, and found myself shocked all over again! Please read it.

There was a silence - a comfortable replete silence. Into that silence came The Voice. Without warning, inhuman, penetrating.... 'Ladies and gentlemen! Silence, please! You are charged with the following indictments."

I want to go re-read all of these books right now, but I really have to focus on the stack of unread books next to my bed first. Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What are some of your "must read" recommendations?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday Thoughts

I'm two parts today: one part melancholy and one part cheerful. I think the melancholy is coming from the rain and the fact that I'm a little bit sick. But no one really wants to hear about that stuff and I don't really want to write about it so instead I'll focus on the cheerful part.

Some people have asked me if I saw the Labor Day Dancer when I was up north this weekend. Well, the tragic answer is no, I didn't see him. However, he did show up at the beach and dance his heart out for a few minutes, but then he took off and I arrived just minutes after that. Heartbreaking! I missed it! Everyone told me it was amazing though.

The rest of the day I sang "Tiny Dancer" a lot but changed the words to "Laborday Dancer." It didn't exactly flow, but I had to express what I was feeling and it worked. If you don't know who the Labor Day Dancer is, it's this guy who goes to the beach for one magical weekend and dances his heart out along the shore while listening to a walkman. He fills me with joy.

Here's a short video from two years ago. Turn the volume down because it's a tiny bit windy. But, you should watch because not only do you get to watch the dancing, but you also get to see a little bonus around the 20 second mark.

video

In other thoughts, last night I got chatting with a friend about the singer K$sha, wondering if her parents named her with that dollar sign in her name. I'm assuming not. But I am jealous of that dollar sign, and want a symbol in my own name too. I suggested "E!izabeth" to my friend, but he came up with something even better: El¡zabeth. Pretty genius, huh? Where would you use a symbol in your name?

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cinnamon and Pumpkin


Over the weekend the temperatures dropped from the high 90's to the low 70's. I went from swimming in a pool on Friday to needing a jacket outside in just a few days. I don't know how it happened.

When I saw on the weather report that it was going to be getting cooler, my heart sunk, reluctant to let summer go. But now that the cooler weather is here, I'm finding it fits me like a glove. This is the weather I'm used to - summer is a fluke, a short lived vacation from normal Michigan weather, which is, in a word, cold. I'm sure we'll have some warmer temperatures come back before summer is officially over, but I have to admit, this cooler weather is pretty nice.

Today as I drove around running errands after work, I saw people walking down the streets in scarves - cute, trendy scarves, the care-free cousin of the more practical winter scarf. I saw people riding their bikes in jackets and hats. And they looked pretty content.

Weather like this makes me want to curl up under warm covers, read, bake desserts that have pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg in them, and go on walks in warm sweaters. It also makes me want to go to football games, get lost in corn mazes, and sip warm apple cider outside. It has me looking forward to bonfires and Halloween, to crunching leaves under my feet and cuddling up for warmth.

How do cooler temperatures inspire you?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Getting Away

It's interesting how getting away, even for just a few days, can give you a new perspective on your life. That distance from life was just what I needed this weekend when I headed up north. It was a cold and windy weekend in northern Michigan. But that just gave us the excuse to take more naps, watch more tv*, read more books, and play more cards. Oh, and eat way more food than was necessary. I really can't complain about any of that that.

The chilly weekend in Northern Michigan reminded me of many cool Labor Day weekends spent up north when I was younger. A tradition my family had was to walk across the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day. The Mackinac Bridge is the bridge that connects Michigan's lower and upper peninsulas. It's a five mile span and only open for pedestrians on Labor Day. I remember many crisp and cool Labor Days, wearing our newly purchased Mackinac sweatshirts and walking across the bridge.

Labor Day marks the beginning of my mental transition into fall. One of the ways I acknowledge this change is by punching the waves in Lake Michigan, and punching them hard. It's a chilly tradition but it's my way of expressing my distaste for summer ending.** I think I made my message clear this time around.

Here are some pictures from the weekend.

The sun came out for a bit!

This score card got crumpled up by my opponent after I was accused
of cheating. As if!
Fish fry! With freshly caught fish (and watermelon). So. Good.

There's just no way to take a picture of fudge without it looking like....
well, something I'm too much of a lady to say in this forum.

Coooooold walk out to the lighthouse.

Fishermen

Heading home

It was a good weekend. Do you have any Labor Day traditions?


*Ohmygosh, have you guys seen Extreme Couponing? Insane!
** This is a tradition inspired by the tv show "Pete and Pete," one of the best shows ever.