Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday Thoughts

We are having some weird, wacky weather here in Michigan. Based on what I see on the news, we are not alone in this abnormal weather. Last night I nearly jumped out of my skin when some unexpected thunder clapped, and found it hard to sleep as lightning lit up my bedroom in bright flashes. Very strange for January. And today it is just gray outside. So gray.

Due to the grayness and some minor car issues I am having, I found myself feeling pretty blah around mid-afternoon. But I really didn't want to be blah the whole day, so I went to my inspirational quotes Pinterest page for some pick-me-up quotes. And after reading through them, I honestly do feel better! I thought I'd share some of them with you in case you too, could use some motivational thoughts today.






Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Today I am...

laughing at this quote from my Office day calendar:

looking forward to the Mindy Project tonight, mainly because of the Morgan character. Hilarious.

listening to "The Ocean" by Led Zeppelin on repeat.

trying not to look outside at the gloominess out there & wondering if we really are going to get thunderstorms today. Thunderstorms in winter are just weird.

thinking about 5ks I want to run this summer. I think I will start with this one (link). Anyone want to join me? It's in Ypsi, and it goes through Depot Town - both of those facts strike me as really strange but I can't explain why. But Sidetrack would be a great (delicious) slash horrible (crowded) idea afterward!

experiencing a Monday on a Tuesday since I had a snow day yesterday.

reconsidering my relationship with Facebook. I find it an upsetting site to visit more often than not. Certain aspects of it, I love - like staying in touch with people I care about. But other aspects of it stress me out. I'm not going to get off of it, but I might need to change the way I Facebook.* Have any of you experienced this? Any tips?

What about you? What are you up to today?

*Is it ok to use Facebook as a verb?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Unnecessary Review

The reason I titled this post "Unnecessary Review" is because I am about to review something that everyone already knows is good. That is, the Little House on the Prairie Books. I first read one of these books in third grade, which is about the reading level they are perfect for. Even though I have advanced past that level, lest you think otherwise, I have recently revisited these books and have found them completely delightful.

The first book in the series I read, in third grade, was called "On the Banks of Plum Creek," which follows the Ingalls family as they first live in a house underground, like hobbits, then later a farm house. My teacher that year gave it to me as a Christmas present.

As a kid the book really made an impact on me. I was enchanted by it and I learned to be grateful for all the things I had, and how easy my life was. After all, Mary and Laura were delighted to get mittens and ONE piece of peppermint candy for Christmas! I wanted way more than that! Yet they were happy with it!? And peppermint candy, of all things! I mean, who even likes that!? Least of all, kids!

I recently bought the boxed set of the first five books in the series and have been reading about one book every two days. They're obviously meant for a younger audience, but I have been really enjoying them. The things the family goes through are a very interesting look back at the life of the pioneers as they settled in the west. They build their own houses, kill their own meat, grow their own produce, make their own sugar, trade for goods, help their neighbors, sew their own clothing, and enjoy the simple things in life.

If you have children, ages 3 and up, I would highly recommend this series, either to read to them, or for them to read on their own.

Next up on Unnecessary Reviews: 

Earnest Hemingway: A good writer.
Mariah Carey: She can sing really high!
Steven Tyler: He has a weird face.
Brownies: They're so good.
TV: Good for entertainment.
Red: A really nice color.
Canada: North of the United States.
Pools: Fun for swimming in.
Mexican Food: Spicy!

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Today is Michigan's 176th birthday! I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before (haha), but I love Michigan. My family has been in Michigan for 175 years, so almost since the beginning.

A few months ago, I was on a car ride with a few friends. One of these friends was new to Michigan. At some point in the conversation, he asked, "How come it seems like everyone from Michigan LOVES Michigan? What's so special about Michigan?"

None of us said anything for a second. We didn't know where to begin! Suddenly, we all started in with a million thoughts at once: "have you ever heard of the Great Lakes? Have you been to Detroit? Have you ever been up north? Have you seen how beautiful all these trees are? And what about the people? And our sports? And our traditions, etc, etc, etc..." He got an earful. Most people from Michigan really do love Michigan - in spite of the negatives (winter, the Lions, and the roads).

In fact, Michigan's tourism website,, is the most visited state website in the country for the sixth year in a row - by a lot. It beat number 2 Florida by one million hits! I am assuming, of course, that it's mostly people from Michigan using the website, so that shows how much we love our state.

You gotta admit - it's a pretty cool place. A peninsula right in the middle of the country? And bonus: it's shaped like a mitten? (I don't know why that's a bonus.)

So this post is dedicated to Michigan. Here is the cake I made for today:

The upper peninsula gave me some trouble - especially the Keewenaw Peninsula. But it's still edible, and that's what matters.

The rest of this post is pictures I have taken of the state I love. Happy birthday, Michigan!

What's your favorite thing about Michigan, Michiganders?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Live in the Now!

If you've ever seen Wayne's World, you might recognize the title of this post as a quote from that movie. In that scene, Wayne is looking through the window of the guitar store, staring at a guitar he wants. Garth is getting tired of waiting for him and says, "Stop torturing yourself, man! You'll never afford it! Live in the now!"

When I find myself feeling too sad, whether reminiscing about the past, or worrying about the future, I often hear Garth in my head telling me to live in the now.

This week I have been pretty down. I think there are lots of reasons why. Winter is a major reason. It's giving me cabin fever really bad. Still feeling run down from the flu is another reason. I'm back to work and life, but still tired and coughing. And then there are more personal reasons too, like the big L (loneliness) and others.

So today I'm going to just live in the now and be happy. Tomorrow too. And hopefully the next day. But today I'm just going to think about today, which is technically the now.

Here's what my life is like now:

I've been reading a lot more. Mysteries and classics, mostly. I recently ordered the Little House on the Prairie series, which I haven't read any of since I was a kid. I started reading them yesterday and was enchanted immediately. I can't wait to cozy up with them again tonight. I also ordered a Little House cookbook, which has recipes from the books. Many of the recipes call for things that I don't know how I'm going to get my hands on (like blackbirds or oxtail), but I'll do my best. I'll draw the line at pig tails though (the kind attached to a pig, not the kind attached to a little girl's head).

I've been drinking a lot of fruit and vegetable smoothies. I've fallen in love with carrot juice as a main ingredient. I am still waiting for more recipes from you guys!

I've been wondering what to do with my time when I'm stuck inside. I love being outside and I've been suffering from cabin fever. Once I'm over my cough and feeling healthy, I'll get back outside and face the cold. What should I try? Snow shoeing?

I've been wondering how old I'll be when I get married. I am comforted by the fact that Jessica Fletcher (of the Murder, She Wrote series) had/has (which is it, when a character is fiction?) an active dating life in her 60's. Maybe I'll find love in my 60's.

I've been online shopping. It's not good, you guys. I'm not shopping out of control or anything, but I don't really need to be shopping at all. How many books can one person own? Or doodads?

I need to just accept that it's winter, I have cabin fever, and I can enjoy it. I'll curl up with a mug of hot cocoa tonight and a good book, and call life good. Because, it is. Right?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Boy's hand warmers

Just by way of a short update, here are the hand warmers I made for the males in my family:

Nothing fancy - just squares. If there's one thing I've learned from baby showers, it's that girls like pink and boys like blue, so I went with blue. Well, blue and white. White is one of the few colors (while not technically a color) that knows no gender.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday Thoughts

It's winter.

So, so winter. It's in the single digits outside, it's dark out. I'm wearing a sweater AND pants (yes, and pants) and I'm still cold. I'm also wearing socks. And underwear. It's so cold, my root beer burst in my car while I was inside sick with the flu (I should have known better - this is not the first time this has happened). 

All I wanna do is grumble grumble grumble in this post. But that's not what you guys want to hear, right? 

So I'm going to work on a fun project and get back to you. 

2 hours later......

Ok, I'm back and feeling a little better about life. This year I'm going to surprise my nieces and nephews with Valentine's packages. Who doesn't love receiving presents in the mail, right? Plus I love those buggers. Also, I'm a spinster. 

Since it's so, so, so cold lately (did I mention that?) I thought I'd make them something to keep their little hands warm when they're walking to school, or just have to be outside for a bit. So this evening, I made them some hand warmers for their coat pockets (I am going to do a more masculine version for the 6 yr old boy, and a more teenage version for the teenager since these would mortify him). 

Here's what you need! 
  • Fleece
  • A shape to trace
  • Scissors
  • Needle/thread and/or sewing machine

1. To start, you cut out your shape (two pieces of fleece for each hand warmer) - I printed off a heart shape to trace. 

2. Then you sew it closed most of the way around, leaving about and inch open.

3. Turn it inside out, then fill it with rice (uncooked rice.... did I need to say that?).

4. Sew up the gap by hand. 

And there you have it! Pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds or so and it'll stay warm your whole walk to the bus stop (not guaranteed - I mean, I have no idea how long your walk to the bus stop is). And they will keep those little hands warm. 

Oh! I almost forgot step 5: Don't look too closely at mine. I am not a seamstress by any means. But my heart is in the right place! Oh dang, I just made a pun and I didn't even mean to. 

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Worth of a "Like"

I know that just last week I complained about a Facebook phenomenon but I can't help it - I'm annoyed again. And this time it's because of the abundance of "If I get X-many likes, my husband/wife/boyfriend/dad will do ____ for me!" Or "let me get/do _____". What is the power of a like? And do any of these people keep their promises if the number of likes are received?

I don't have any kids, but if I did, I certainly wouldn't want them to post a picture on Facebook saying, "please forward this to 1,000,000,000 potential kidnappers/weirdos and my dad will buy me a pet."

And what about the ones that say, "If I get X-many likes, my wife will consider having another baby." A BABY!? Because of Facebook?? "Well honey, we had you because 500 strangers 'liked' the idea. Otherwise we would have been done after your brother and sister. That's why your middle name is News Feed."

These people aren't serious, are they? In just ONE scroll through my Facebook timeline this evening, I saw four of these:

Not one to be left out, here are some I've come up with. Should I post them?

What is a "like" worth to you? Or a "share"? Is a "share" worth more than a "like" in Facebook bucks? And what about a comment? Why is a "like" worth more than a comment? I don't understand Facebook currency. But I do know that "likes" are worth more than conversation (about having another baby), or committing to being responsible (for a pet), and they are definitely worth more than dignity (acting like a fool in public).

"Likes" have a lot of power, that much I've learned this evening. Maybe more power than they're worth.

Flu Survival

While this flu hasn't officially been called an epidemic yet, I believe it's well on its way. I got the official call today that my test came back positive and what I have is the flu. (I didn't really need a test to tell me that.)

Because I know several of you are also sick, or will be (sorry), here are some tips for flu survival that I have written for you. None of these tips are official medical advice nor have they been approved by the CDC, so take them for what they are. The advice of someone with no medical training whatsoever.

1. First and foremost, if you know you have the flu, or are even pretty sure it's the flu, I beg of you not to go to work, or social functions, or anywhere where you can spread it! Seriously, just stay home. Some people are not very compassionate to illness but who cares. You gotta take care of yourself. And not infect those around you.

2. Watch movies that don't stress you out. You don't want to be tense or sad when you have the flu. There's no need to produce more fluids in your face by crying. Trust me, your face is already suffering enough.

3. Also when it comes to movies (or tv) don't watch anything that's too funny. Laughing equals coughing. If you insist on watching a funny movie, you'll have to figure out a new temporary laugh that doesn't require any deep breathing. Once you do this, record it and send it to me. I'll tell you if it's any good.

4. You need to shower and wash your hair from time to time, but don't worry about keeping it looking nice. This is a picture of my hair yesterday morning after I took it out of a two day ponytail.

5. As long as you're stuck at home, write an email to one of your favorite authors. I did this and got a response! It cheered me up.

6. If people offer to take care of you, or bring you things, take them up on it. It's hard to have people spoil you, but just this once, let them.

7. Read. It's relaxing and a nice thing to do when you have to be in bed all the time anyway. I read three books in the past 5 or so days! I'm usually too distracted and busy to sit down and read.

8. Call your doctor and get some good cough syrup. It's so worth it.

Those are all the tips I can think of. I'm on the mend now and can't wait to be 100%. There's nothing like being sick to help you appreciate how good you have it when you're healthy! I hope that none of you catch this flu, but if you do, I hope these tips help you get through it!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Masque of the Red Death

Many of you will probably remember the title of this post as the title of an Edgar Allen Poe short story. In that story, Prince Prospero hides from the plague, known as the "Red Death," inside his abbey. He and many other nobles hold a masquerade ball while they are in hiding. Unfortunately, a mysterious figure appears dressed as the Red Death and one by one each of the guests die, including Prince Prospero. They could not hide from the Red Death.

The Masque of the Red Death is how I now remember my birthday party last weekend. Only, the Red Death is really the Flu. That horrible, highly contagious, wicked flu that's going around. Considering the number of my friends who have it, I think my birthday party may have been a Petri dish in disguise. 

I myself have been home from work with the flu since Wednesday. I have been coughing, sneezing, aching, moaning, headachy, flat on my back sleeping 18-20 hours a day, and basically an all around a pleasure to be near.

I called my doctor yesterday to find out if I should go in for the flu, or if it would just run its course. After asking me my symptoms, they told me I should come in. I have asthma (nerd alert, I know), and it has been compromised by the flu. So I went in today and the doctor told me that this flu is brutal (no duh). She also told me to stay quarantined in one room if possible because the flu is so contagious (for up to a week). She took my throat culture and asked me to drop it off at the lab on my way out. While at the lab, I was asked to wear a face mask. That made me feel good about myself.

My doctor told me that if my test comes back positive (and she thinks it will), she is going to write a prescription for Tamilflu for those I live with so they can have a fighting chance against it. It's too late for me, she said.

And just for the record, I got the flu shot this year. 

Anyone else out there have the flu? What are you doing to get through it?

UPDATE: the test came back positive. It's the flu.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday Thoughts

This Wednesday Thoughts is coming in right under the wire due to the flu. I was completely caught off guard by this flu. One minute I'm fine, the next I'm trying to stop moving or breathing because it hurts too much. And forget sneezing. Sneezing is the devil. I know I'm not alone either - this flu is rampant. How many of you have it?

And none of my "sick-day" stand by's appeal because rather than watch re-runs, I'd rather just sleep 20 out of 24 hours. I know, woe is me, right?

I've been listening to Dracula on audiobook to pass the time, which is really good. Super spooky! And I've been drinking a lot of smoothies. In fact the only time I've gotten out of bed today is to get more medicine and make a fruit and veggie smoothie. I basically can't stop making smoothies. Sara created a monster. I'm almost exactly like the mom from So I Married an Axe Murderer. "I juice everything now. I'm on the Weekly World News Garth Brooks juice diet."

Please tell me you've all seen that movie?

Ok, I'm not funny or interesting today so I'm going to wrap it up. If any of you have any tips for surviving the flu, please share them.

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Like" for Heaven, "Ignore" for Hell

Those of you on Facebook will recognize the title of this post. For awhile now, an exhausting meme has been making its way around Facebook manipulating people into "reposting" pictures that say things like "Click 'like' if you love your mom," or "Like this picture of a girl who survived cancer, ignore if you don't care about her." Feelings of guilt wash over us as we see these... "Will my mom know I didn't repost this? I tell her I love her but is that enough? What if the little girl finds out I didn't 'like' her picture? Will her cancer come back?"

The more dramatic ones say things like "Like this picture for Heaven. Ignore it for Hell." Um, excuse me Facebook meme, but I don't think you really have that kind of authority. Yet even as I mentally sass Facebook, I wonder if angels are looking over my shoulder, writing in my permanent record that I did not press "like."

You know that old phrase, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em"? Well, I decided to make some of these horrid memes of my own. If love me, you will repost them. If you want to see me dead, you will ignore them. If you like me, you will comment. But no pressure.

I don't want any of you to go to Hell, so please follow the directions on those pictures very closely. The rules of the internet are very strict. Let your conscience be your guide.