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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday Thoughts

I couldn't get into my car this morning. It wasn't an emotional thing; it's not like I couldn't face the day (though I suppose that's not entire untrue). I just literally couldn't get into my car. The door was completely frozen shut. And remember my awesome new scraper? It was frozen into my ice-sealed trunk, unable to fulfill its destiny. So I used an old-school scraper and when that didn't work, a giant glass of super hot water. Eventually I was able to get the car door open and face the slippery drive to work.

I'll admit, the drive in could have been a lot worse, but the prettiness of the snow softened my heart somewhat.

I was totally watching the road when I took this, no worries.

And this scene greeted me when I walked up to my office building:


Fine, snow. Fine. I'll concede. You're pretty.

Between the snow and parting my hair on the other side of my head as an experiment, today is definitely going to be a challenging day. Let me explain about the part. See, I heard this piece on Radiolab about mirror image, and how the way we see our reflection in the mirror is different than how people see us. They had a guy on the show who talked about how he thought the way he looked in the mirror was fine, and couldn't understand why he was unpopular. Then one day he got several passport pictures taken and discovered by examining them that he was goofy looking. He blamed it on his part, and parted his hair on the other side of his head from then on. And because of this, he claims his life improved dramatically. He was more popular and had more friends. Because of his part.

So I decided to experiment and change my part today. I had talked with my coworker, Justin, about the Radiolab show yesterday so he knew about the guy who changed his part. Today I told him about changing mine, and asked him if changing it made me more likable, less likable, or the same likable. He paused and I added, "And you can't take into consideration the annoyingness of the question. This is based on part alone." He then quickly answered: "same likable."

So now I have to feel "off" all day and I am not even more likable. In fact, if I'm being honest, it's probably making me less likable. Or maybe that's the snow's fault?

Between the snow and my part, the deck is definitely stacked against me today. I guess I better take a quick look at the bright side for today: peppermint hot chocolate, Chinese food, a party at my grandma's retirement building at which Elvis* is going to be performing, and my book club. (Oh boy, all those people are going to see me with this weird hair part. [Sigh.])

Happy Wednesday.

*not the real Elvis, cause you know....he died and stuff.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stayin' Alive

I haven't blogged about my grandma for awhile, but I know at least a few of you enjoy my grandma stories, so I thought I'd write a few updates about her.

My grandma, whose name is Fran by the way, tells me she's living on borrowed time lately. She's been telling me this for about three or four years but it always worries me when she says it. She's almost 92 so you never know, right? A couple months ago, her son told her he's coming to visit in December. She adores her son (my uncle) so she is really looking forward to this. But when telling me about it, she got overwhelmed at the idea of having to wait a couple months for his visit. She sighed heavily and said,  "First I had to stay alive for Barry's wedding (my cousin), and now I have to stay alive for Larry's visit." I told her it was only a couple months away and she could manage it. She agreed that she could probably make it to December. Just to play it safe though, she decided to celebrate her January birthday with the November birthdays in her building because she's "not sure she's going to be around in January."

Yesterday I called her after work to ask her if I could pick her up any dinner. She thought about it for a bit and said, "How about a strawberry milkshake?" I said,"Is that all?" She said yes. So I got her a medium strawberry milkshake from McDonalds (her favorite), and she sipped away at "her supper" while I helped her with some stuff at her place. I guess when you're almost 92, ice cream for dinner is completely acceptable. (She finished the whole thing.)

Now, I know you'll have a hard time believing this story, but she recently told me that while she still loves my curly hair, and still thinks men prefer curly hair, she has been liking the way I've been wearing my straight(ened) hair lately. I should have gotten that in writing....

She has a best friend who lives in her building, a blind man named Lewis. Every Saturday evening he walks over to her apartment and they have dinner together then watch the O'Reilly Factor*. In one of their recent get-togethers the conversation turned to me and my persistent state of single-ness. She complained to Lewis that though she prays for me to get married all the time, God must just not be doing His job. Lewis wisely told her that God works in his own way, and that seemed to pacify her for the time being.

I'm not sure if I've told you this before, but my grandma thinks the best case scenario for me is to find a widower to marry. Specifically a widower with kids. She justifies this fantasy by saying, "you're just so good with kids." I have to say, "I know I'm not in my twenties anymore, Grandma, but I can still have children of my own." I'm not sure if she believes me on that account or not but she seems skeptical. Either way, she's sticking by the plan for me to find a widower. I just hope she's not trying to find one for me in her retirement complex.

I'm really lucky to have my grandma in my life. She really is very sweet to me and though I know I'm far too flawed to believe I'm as great as she tells me I am, her kind words stick with me after I leave her place. I just need to plan a big event for a few months from now (and another a few months later) that she "has to stay alive for." Any suggestions?

*She recently told me that watching tv just makes her angry most of the time. I can't help but wonder if her choice of programming is the problem. I told her to stick to sitcoms.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Update

Thanksgiving day was full of many of the things I am grateful for: family, food, and recognizing how  how blessed my life is. Here are some pictures from the day, and one short video. I'll start off with the video. My nieces and nephews were SUPER excited about going to Disney World for vacation, so I asked my niece what she was going to see there. 

video

It goes without saying that we had sooooo much delicious food. I mean, SO much. I guess it was necessary to have a ton of food though since we had 30 people there. But still, we had enough food to feed twice that many people. I brought the green bean casserole and some mini cheese cakes. They both turned out really well, if I do say so myself.



As per our tradition, we made candy houses after dinner (to avoid watching the Lions lose, and Nickelback perform). The kids went first, then the adults took a turn. My uncle made an outhouse, which probably would have won if we'd done the voting this year.

I played outside with the kids a lot. I pushed them on the tire swing, helped the little ones teeter-totter, and played tag with the boys. They were a bunch of cheaters though because they tagged me back even though I specifically said, "no tag backs!"


The chickens tried to come home with me. The chickens amuse me to no end.


It was a super fun day. I definitely have a lot to be thankful for. Later that night/morning, my sister Katherine and I went out to do some Black Friday shopping. But that's a story for another day. I hope your Thanksgiving was as good as mine!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday Thoughts

America's national bird is the bald eagle. Personally I've never been that into the bald eagle. First of all, they're scary looking, and secondly, they're scarce (which isn't a bad thing considering my first point). But I suppose I don't mind having it as a national bird since it has little to no impact on me, personally. Benjamin Franklin thought the national bird should be the turkey. He criticized the eagle for having "bad moral character," and being lazy and weak, whereas he said the turkey, "though a little vain and silly," is a "bird of courage" who "would not hesitate to attack" an enemy invading his territory. He forgot to mention the fact that it says, "gobble gobble" which is also a very American ideal. (Gobbling, that is.)

Not only is the turkey brave and fierce, but let's be honest, it's delicious. The turkey is present in most American homes at least once a year on Thanksgiving.Turkeys and Thanksgiving go together like (insert something that goes together). What other animal can claim to be the centerpiece of any other holiday? I guess for the Fourth of July we eat a lot of hot dogs, but those come from lots of animals (among other things), so we can't give any one animal credit for the hot dog.

But I digress. This year for Thanksgiving I am in charge of the green bean casserole, and I'm taking that responsibility very seriously. Sort of like when Chandler was in charge of making the cranberries on Friends (anyone remember that)? Green bean casserole is one of my favorite dishes for Thanksgiving. Along with mashed potatoes and the aforementioned turkey.Oh, and gravy of course. For dessert, my mom always brings her famous dessert, "Oreo Delight" which the crowds go mad for, myself included. What is your favorite Thanksgiving food? What are you cooking this year?

I love Thanksgiving. I love that we have a holiday that focuses on gratitude, and counting our blessings. It kinda makes me sad that Thanksgiving gets so overlooked (it seems to me, anyway). Especially with many stores opening their doors at midnight on Thanksgiving night for Black Friday. I don't love that. Though I suppose it was inevitable. But I do love that I'll be spending so much time with my family and enjoying an extra long weekend. And gobbling up lots of delicious food!

Turkey for National Bird, 2012!

Happy Wednesday.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Creative Weekend

I've mentioned this before, but this time of year always stirs up creativity in me. When it gets dark at 5:00 in the afternoon, I guess it becomes necessary to find things to do inside (besides carbo-load and mope - my two fall back winter activities). 

This weekend was an all-out craft weekend, starting with Friday when I stayed in, watched a movie I'm ashamed to admit*, and made a wreath for my grandma. This was a super fun project and I'm going to make another one this week. Sorry the picture of the finished wreath is blurry. I couldn't get the dang thing to hold still. 

I spent any free moments the rest of the weekend making headbands to give as gifts. I'm addicted to this project these days. 


Saturday afternoon I went to a painting class with some good friends. I was very nervous about this. One of my sisters is a very talented painter (check out her website), and I know that compared to her, I seriously stink at it. But I had a blast in this class and would definitely go again.


There's us with our final paintings. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with mine. A friend of mine looked at the picture and said, "Oh wow, it's good!" I said, "really?" And he said, "Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't buy it and hang it up, but it's not bad!" That kind of honesty always makes me laugh. But if you want to lie and tell me it's amazing, I'm always ok with that too.

*The first Twilight movie. I know you'll never be able to look me in the eye again now. And what's worse? I've seen it  before.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Happier Friday

It's Friday so I should be thrilled right? Well, I am. I mean, really I am. The weekend is almost upon us. But there's still work that has to be done today, and not only that, but the air outside is winter air. It feels like when you stick your head too far in the freezer, looking for a popsicle in the back. It's crisp, and it stings. And because of that, I need a little pick me up. I thought you might too, so I thought I'd share some fun Pinterest finds again. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. And if not, well... tough. :)

I love Arrested Development (from here).


The feelings expressed here do not reflect the feelings of management. (from here)
I wish this was in my wallet. (from here)

 There are no words. (from here)
Michigan, in leaves (from here).
Yep.
Please tell me you've seen Labyrinth (from here)!

Which do you like the best? Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday Thoughts

Wednesday! Wednesday! Wednesday! (Please read that in the voice of the guy who announces the monster truck rallies.)

You guys, I am in a state of shock that next week is Thanksgiving. What the what!? This year is going way too fast. And in a broader sense, now that I think about it, my life is going too fast. Dang. I am not getting any younger. Pretty sure I'm going to make it a New Year's Resolution to get married in 2012. Think I can do it? Does making it a goal help at all?

In other thoughts, I got busted this morning by a coworker who caught me listening to Sufjan Stevens' Christmas CD box set. Is it still too early for Christmas? I've crossed over, I think. It's too late to go back. If it makes you feel any better though, I watched a Halloween special last night too. 

Oh my goodness, you guys, I have been way excited to show you this ice scraper mitten I bought from Eddie Bauer the other day. (There's a handle inside the mitten.) Pretty cool, huh? It's honestly sad how excited I am about this. Nothing puts me in a foul mood in the morning like scraping the ice off my windows and getting wet, cold fingers.


Winter..... I.... think....I.....can....do.....it.....again. (Sigh.)It snowed last week. It didn't stick or accumulate at all, but it came down hard for a little bit. My coworkers and I stared at it out the window, adjusting to the variety of emotions it stirred in us. For me it was mostly dread, but oddly enough, a bit of happiness. Winter is part of me, I guess. Even though I mostly hate it.

And lastly in Wednesday Thoughts, I've been a crafting fool lately. I went to a church Christmas craft workshop over the weekend, and that only fueled the fire (check out some of what I made here). My nieces and nephews are going to get some of the awesome-est home made gifts they've ever seen for Christmas this year! And some store bought stuff too, because I still want them to love me.

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Travesty

Nickelback: Rated Teen
You know what's just like the seriously most UNFAIR thing to ever happen to Detroit in like the history of time!?!?!? I'll give you a hint:

What do you get when you put too much change in the vending machine?


Yep, you got it: Nickelback is playing the Lions game halftime show on Thanksgiving Day.

The outrage over Nickelback playing the halftime show is a real source of amusement for me. The petition to get them replaced has over 50,000 signatures! I feel kind of bad for Nickelback. (I'd feel worse if they weren't millionaires.) I'm not sure exactly what people are mad about, though I'm assuming it's the way that guy sings with that super gravely, rocker voice. Personally, I'm indifferent.

The big complaint, besides that goofy voice, is that they don't represent Detroit (and that there's no "mute" button when you're actually at the game). So who does represent Detroit? Here are some other musicians from Michigan. Who do you think would be best?

Kid Rock: Kid Rock can basically do no wrong here. But how many times can one hear "Bawitdaba"? The answer: an infinite number. I'll never tire of it, personally.

Eminem: Too angry for Thanksgiving.

Insane Clown Posse: Just kidding.

The White Stripes: Wait... did they break up? And did anyone ever find out if they were married or brother and sister?

Madonna: Nope. She's British now.

Sufjan Stevens: Hmm. Love him, but he's not exactly for the football crowd.

Alice Cooper: I don't want to see scary make up or a boa constrictor when I'm trying to digest my turkey and mashed potatoes.

Ted Nugent: He's too busy releasing wild boar into the suburbs. (This is an inside joke for Michiganders.)

Iggy Pop: Once again, not while I'm eating.

And lastly, three of the most loved and most used Michigan artists: Stevie Wonder, Bob Seger, and Aretha Franklin. Personally I'd love to see Stevie Wonder perform. I'd definitely put down my second plate of Thanksgiving dinner to sing along with Superstition. Instead, I'll be straining my voice trying to do my best Nickelback rocker-voice impersonation. (Either way it will be awesome.)

But let's be honest, no matter who plays the halftime show, there's one thing we in Michigan have to be thankful for: the Lions don't suck this year. So maybe we should all just calm down a little bit.

Monday, November 14, 2011

(Not) Engaged

I saw this ecard on Pinterest today and it reminded me of a conversation I had with a good friend over the weekend. This is NOT about you. You're extremely attractive. This is about other people.



Friend: Remember that super awkward guy who came to visit me for the weekend and left the "size" sticker on the side of his jeans the whole time? He's engaged.

Me: What!?!?

Friend: And that giantess from work? The one with the horrible personality? I overheard her mention a husband the other day.

Me: Oh brother. Well, they're probably married to weirdos... That's what we have to tell ourselves anyway so we're not so sad when we die alone. (pause) Sorry, I shouldn't joke about that. We're not going to die alone.

Friend: But we probably are.

Me: Yeah, most likely.
 
This conversation was followed by laughter, so don't feel too bad for us. You have to either laugh or cry right? Laughing is usually the better option. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Happier Thursday

I haven't done a post about Pinterest in awhile! I think I'm overdue in showing you some things that are making me happy on Pinterest lately. I hope these images brighten your day a bit!

Ron Swanson (from here)
Adorable!! (from here)

T Rex and I have something in common. (from here)
Oh, turtle. (from here)
Love Mary Tyler Moore! Love this. (from here)
Who doesn't need to be reminded of this? (from here)
An ad from the 50's. There are no words. (from here)
The "awww" factor is overwhelming. (from here)

Here's to a happier Thursday. :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wednesday Thoughts

Heads up: this is an old fashioned Wednesday Thoughts. Ready for a lot of disconnected thoughts? Let's go.

A few days ago I woke up to a ginormous pimple on my cheek. At first I was sort of mesmerized by it. I have dry skin and I almost never get pimples, so I honestly didn't mind it at first. It entertained and amused me. It was something new and different. But now, several days later, it's still here and I'm tired of it. What am I supposed to do with this thing? Pop it? (Gross.) Ignore it? Oxycute it?

Should I switch to the "new look" of gmail? Have you switched yet? Is it going to be terrifying to make the switch? Will I recover? Can I go back? Change is hard.

Daylight savings was nice on Sunday, when I got that extra hour of sleep, but now that the sun is setting pretty much when I get out of work, I'm not so sure how I feel. In a way, I don't hate it. Yet. I mean, it's a novelty. (Like my pimple, I'll probably be tired of it in a few more days.) Yesterday I was running an errand after work and noticed how dark it was. I got discouraged thinking about how late it must be getting, and how there was still a lot I needed to get done. Then I looked at the clock and it was 5:20. Weird.

I wrote a status update on Facebook on Monday asking people if there's still time for me to get married on 11-11-11. Only a few people had faith that there's still time. Some people suggested waiting till 12-12-12, but I mean, I don't know. If the Mayans were right, and the world ends on the 21st of that month, that doesn't give me a lot of time for wedded bliss. But if I must, I must. If I can't get married on a cool date, I'm not getting married. It's as simple as that.

Happy Wednesday.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Crafty

i wish i could make this!


This past weekend was one of the more relaxing weekends I've had in a long time. I hardly did anything, and it was wonderful. I went to my favorite restaurant, I re-taught myself how to crochet, I watched my favorite show on DVD, I went for walks, and I slept. A lot. I slept so much. I think I slept 11 or 12 hours Friday night, and at least 10 Saturday night, with the daylight savings boost. Who sleeps that much!? Not me! Not usually, anyway. But I did this weekend and it was awesome! Minus the weird dreams that are inevitable when sleeping that long.

I blame it on the weather, which is cooling off a lot. I think I'm going into hibernation mode, where I spend much less time outside, want to sleep a bit more, and have a deeper desire to do crafts and learn to sew. I always go into craft and create mode when the seasons shift. It's relaxing, therapeutic, and a good way to avoid the impending cold weather.

Pinterest is only feeding my increasing obsession too. I browse Pinterest for ten minutes and suddenly I need to order a lucet, and I need to learn to knit (anyone want to teach me?); I need to get coupons for JoAnn's, and stock up on yarn. Once a year I become a pioneer woman, except without the skill level of a true pioneer woman in any area.

What I'm trying to say is, if you'd like a poorly made gift for Christmas, I'm your gal. Want a funky scarf? You got it. A home made bracelet? I'm all over it! An imperfect blanket? Got it. Just know that your mind won't be blown when I tell you I just learned to sew/knit/use a lucet this year when you get your present.

Any requests??

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Under the Surface

I've been thinking lately about why I blog about the things I do. I blog a lot about seasons, holidays, and other random thoughts. But I don't blog about the more personal things - my worries, the guys I'm seeing, the things that upset me, and so on. I think I've figured out why that is. Here are some of the reasons:

I don't know who's reading this blog.
I DO know who's reading this blog. (Catch the difference?)
I don't want people to think I'm looking for pity.
If I get really personal about loneliness or worries, people are bound to give well
meaning advice that will just annoy me or make me feel like I was fishing for it.
I'll feel vulnerable.

The breakdown of what I end up publishing looks something like this, with the top layer being what I blog about, and the bottom being what I don't.

(I don't have any serious health issues, but occasionally I get sick and don't want to be all "I'm sick, wah wah" about it, though I may acknowledge it briefly.)

Both parts of that picture are me at different times in my life. I am happy for the most part, and I try to enjoy life. And the bottom layer list doesn't tend to happen all at once, thank goodness. But there's a lot of stuff going on in my life. And, I'll be honest, I do wish I could be more open. I wish I could tell you that I haven't been over the top happy lately, that I'm worried about the future, that I sometimes feel lonely, and the upcoming holiday season, though I love it, often compounds those feelings of loneliness. But I can't tell you those things because it makes me too vulnerable.

But at the same time, I think a lot of you could probably relate to some of the things I'm feeling so I think, I think, I'm going to try to be more open. We can all survive the upcoming cold weather together, and the bad and funny dating stories together, and the holidays together. Sound like a plan?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's Official.

3 Musketeers is the least desirable of the left-over Halloween candy in my office. Just two days ago, this pie pan was over flowing with a variety of mini candy bars, but now look at it! I felt so bad for them, I actually ate one this morning just to show some mercy on the poor, forgotten, 3 Musketeers bar. Sitting there, all rejected, passed by for other more delicious candies. It broke my heart. Ok, that's a lie. I wanted chocolate and I didn't care what form it came in. I have to admit though, it wasn't the easiest way to get my chocolate fix. 

There's nothing interesting about the 3 Musketeers bar. It has a thin chocolate covering and some sort of mystery filling on the inside. No caramel, no peanut butter, no cookie center, no nuts. Let's face it, it's lackluster! But on the other hand, it is chocolate. (Kind of.)

What's the last candy to go at your house/office? 


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday Thoughts

I've been walking backwards into winter, keeping a close eye on summer and fall, and the start of November has been startling to me. I know it's still fall for almost two months, but it's starting to not feel that way. On Halloween day I went to Target to get candy to pass out to trick-or-treaters and the store was decked out in Christmas decorations. It was jarring. How can it almost be Christmas?? Last month was August! At least, I thought it was. Time is moving too quickly.

I've found myself accepting some parts of the change of seasons. For instance, I'm excited that pomegranates are back. And I swapped out my apple cider for some egg nog, which I do not drink but instead put in my oatmeal (just a dash and it is SO good). And I've found myself singing along with Christmas songs on the radio at least twice before I quickly turned the station. Truth be told, I was already sneaking in some Christmas music last month, but now that people are declaring this the Christmas season, I feel like it's too early.

It's like I don't even know myself. Usually I'm crazy about the holidays. They just came too fast this year. I need to change my attitude.

I think I'll ease into it, eking out as much fall as possible until the inevitable start of winter. In that spirit, I wanted to share with you these pictures my friend Sara took last weekend when we went to a corn maze. We spent a lot of time that night deep in the corn maze, looking up at the stars which Sara, who lives in Detroit, couldn't get enough of. My other friend, Sarah (notice the "H" - they are two different people, who I often refer to as "the Sara(h)'s"), recently got the new iPhone which has a constellation recognition ap that she wanted to try out. So we stood in the middle of a corn field, gazing up at the sky for quite awhile before one of us pointed out the uniqueness of our surroundings.



Beautiful, isn't it? Both of these pictures were taken from a little look out tower the owners set up at the entrance to the corn maze. Some people have gently accused me of being obsessed with corn mazes, and I suppose this post is doing nothing to prove them wrong. But I hope these pictures show a little bit of the appeal of the corn maze. What the pictures don't show is the flickers of flashlights we could see from inside the corn maze, or the screams and chainsaws we could hear from the "haunted" corn maze (adjacent to the non-haunted one). They also don't show our muddy shoes, our gloved hands, our scarves, our empty hot cocoa cups, or the bonfires set up nearby.

On that note, I'm starting to think this post should have been titled, "Dear Fall, I'm in love with you. Do you like me back? Check yes or no. Love, Elizabeth." But it's Wednesday so I can't call it that. Instead I will just say:

Happy Wednesday.