December 31, 2008

A Very Good Year

Before I announce my resolutions for the next year (and subsequently set myself up for failure), I am going to give myself a pat on the back for a year pretty well done.

• I made sure I was not passed over for training or field work, and thus ensured a raise.
• Lobbied for and got said raise.
• Found a very cute and very affordable house to start our home in.
• Got to a good place with my parents and my sister.
• Came up with the best present ever for my in-laws.
• Got all insured.
• Won a lawsuit on my birthday.
• Fattened up two dogs and a kitten.
• Restarted writing on this here blog.
• Found out I’m going to be an aunt next summer!

December 22, 2008


• The TSO concert was a lot of fun, and, of course, rocked my socks off. I have never before seen an electric flying V violin. Note to the female singers: I know you’re trying to portray a rock image, but please rethink your costume choice. I do not need to be able to see up your skirt as you squat on top of a tier pulling on a high note. Nice black thong, btw.

• My office is dead today, and I still don’t have enough leave for me to be comfortable taking off the whole week. Due to the deadness and lack of coworkers, I brought my sewing to work with me. Don’t judge me, there’s only so much internet surfing you can do.

• Speaking of sewing, I have crossed the line of sanity, I think. In an effort to be crafty, I am embroidering my dogs’ names on stockings. I want to do stockings for David and me, but I didn’t come up with the idea until this weekend, which would definitely not be enough time to complete before Christmas. I’m justifying the stockings with the reason of “practice.” That’s why I am embroidering “Ginger” at work in metallic thread. Practice.

• We have gotten all our presents purchased and David is wrapping them at home right now, because my present-wrapping looks like the work of a fourth grader. The only stress is if the presents that we ordered last week will be here by the time we need to leave Wednesday.

• I was told I was beautiful by the quik-lube oil change guy last week. He still charged me $40.

• I made these empanadas for an office party Friday. They were fantastic and not too hard to make. They definitely stood out among all the dips and candy.

• We are furnishing and replacing stuff in our house piece by piece, and it’s starting to finally feel like ours. We still have great need of wall decorations, but slowly, this house is less of a place to stay and more of a home and sanctuary. Next on the list: a new mattress. And, damn, those are expensive.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, many cocktails!

December 17, 2008

Eight Days Until Christmas!

I have found the secret to maximizing your holiday enjoyment: get your significant other a present they have to share with you. Taking them out for dinner and a movie, getting them a really awesome electronic that goes in a common area (ex. new desktop computer, new Blu-ray player, new piece of furniture, etc.), or taking them on a mini-vacation are all things they have to do or share with you. In my case, I got my husband two tickets to go see Trans-Siberian Orchestra tonight. Not only is TSO one of his (and my) favorite groups, I’m getting a dinner of sushi and a night in a hotel out of this whole deal. Pretty good for his Christmas present, isn’t it?

In other news, apparently I rock at picking out presents for people, or David is either really terrible at thinking of ideas or really lazy. I like to think it’s the first option. I know it’s not laziness, because he’s going to be scouring stores this afternoon to look for the last two presents. This is after I picked out his parents’, sister and brother-in-law’s, grandparents’, two sets of aunts and uncles’, two cousins’, another cousin and his fiancĂ©e’s, and his friend’s present. (Wow, that is a lot of apostrophes. I hope I used them all correctly.) And they all kind of rock, by the way. So if you don’t know what to get for a loved one, just ask me. I’m the Gift Whisperer.

And as an addendum to last week’s post, Alex disappeared yesterday morning and scared the hell out of me. I didn’t know how attached I was to my dogs until I thought one of them might be gone. We don’t have a physical fence, just an electric one that keep them in during the day and when we’re gone overnight, so there’s always the possibility of them getting hit. We live on a very rural road (there’s only a house or two past us), though, and they don’t chase cars, so I was never too worried about it. More so, I was worried about them getting shot or attacked. Perils of living in the country. But luckily, she was waiting on the back porch when I got home and was very grateful for the turkey pepperoni in her bone. I’m definitely not looking forward to the “look up and they’re gone” aspect of parenting. This is why my parents kept me on a leash. A lavender one.

December 05, 2008

Meet my dogs...

This is Alex.

I adopted her as a graduation present for my soon-to-be-husband in May of 2007. We were told that she is a Lab/Pit bull mix, but, except for her whappy tail, she has absolutely no Lab in her at all. Instead of fetching, she prefers to go get whatever object you threw and then run away from you, grunting all the while in ecstasy as you chase her. Alex hates getting wet and refuses to retrieve things that are thrown into ponds. If the ground is wet, she actually prances a little bit to keep her paws from getting too wet. She is extremely friendly and has never met a dog or person she doesn’t like, including the owner of the dog down the road that latched onto her throat and missed killing her by fractions of an inch. Alex still wags her tail at him when he comes by. She’s apathetic about cats. She has the absolute worst smelling farts, and she likes to expel them in her sleep. She grits her teeth when she eats crunchy things, so she looks like she’s either smiling or constipated when she eats dog biscuits. She is super fast and does not turn on a dime. She greets me every night with something in her mouth (it could be anything from a rock to dead mouse to the neighbor’s son’s boot), tail wagging, and grunting and whining for all she’s worth. She does not like to come when called; instead, Alex likes to head for traffic. She does not like celery. She puts her nose up to the vent while in the car and snots all over it. She is knee-high and thirty-five pounds. She ate the moss out of my amyrillis pot last night.

This is Ginger.

We picked her up as a “free to a good home” in the paper in August of 2007 as a playmate for Alex. She was absolutely spoiled rotten when she came home with us and had to be retrained that dogs do not sit on the couch, eat off the table, or drink out of our glasses. We think she’s some sort of Terrier/Hound mix. Several people have told us she looks like a hunting dog. She points at leaves, it’s pretty cute. She loves to jump in water and will choose to swim across a pond instead of finding away around it. She sounds like she is possessed by demons when she rolls around to scratch herself. She likes to sleep across my legs when we let her on the bed. She can catch treats mid-air from almost any starting position. She can follow commands from across the yard if you have a piece of food in your hand. She likes dark beer. She still growls at the owner of the dog that attacked Alex. She takes a while to warm up to new dogs, and usually won't play with them unless she feels left out by Alex. She is extremely protective of Alex, yet sometimes tries to protect us from Alex. She and the kitten are good friends; when the kitten was new, Ginger and she would sleep together every night. They still share hay occasionally. She is fairly timid in new situations, but will follow Alex anywhere. She heels very well. She plays fetch very well, in that she waits for Alex to go get the toy, then steals it from her to bring to us. Her jaw extends from her face when she's play-fighting (think Alien). She will eat anything. She is also knee-high and thirty-five pounds. She attacked and was frightened off by the self-opening trash can lid last night.

They are very good buddies.

November 30, 2008

I am thankful for...

- finally living in a house that doesn't become unbearable after two nights of no heat and lows of 25 degrees

- my oven that heats my living room when the heater doesn't work

- my husband, who broke the heater trying to install a timer to keep me warm in the early mornings

- my Wii Fit, which keeps me accountable and has the newly discovered feature of timing my running in place while I watch the news during my early mornings

- my dogs, who lick my toes while I attempt plank position on my Wii Fit

- my family, who decided it was too much trouble trying to get together for the holidays, leaving me with three days of pajama-ed football and Wii

- Sephora, who has just sent me a $15 off coupon, just as my crappy face wash is running out

- all the lovely animals that gave up their lives for this weekend, including crabs, pigs, chickens, turkeys, cows, and maybe a deer (I think I may throw some leftover sausage in something)

-, who sold us a great BD player for $145 with shipping

- Croom's resignation

- the fact that neither my nor my husband's income will be affected by the economy

- our ability to take advantage of the current economy (house was a foreclosure, gas bill has been halved, prices have started to drop, retirement mutual funds are basically on sale, etc.)

- finding a church in our new community

- being able to cuddle up on my couch with my fur family and bowls of already-made chili, jambalaya, and chicken soup for the next two weeks

- the Christmas season!!

November 20, 2008

You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

I really do love my job. I get along really well with 98% of my coworkers (except for that one person who felt the need to exclaim "I don't see how you eat that! Ugh!" anytime I brought in sushi or ethnic food; luckily, I don't run into them much anymore). I have good benefits and decent pay. I work in a nice office (sorta, more on that below). I have a flexible schedule. I have a big truck that I don't have to fill up on my dime. My field interests me and keeps me in nature.

That said, there is a lot of frustration and dumb-ass-observing that goes along with my job. I was hired last year, and last week, I was finally given a direct line supervisor. This office was supposed to be staffed and functional four years ago. A state-wide project manager hasn't been in place in two years, and little chance of one for at least 4 more months, if not longer. Due to these two circumstances, I have been pretty much sitting on my hands for over a year. And I drive an hour one way to surf the internet. I have done probably five months worth of real work, and that's stretching it. The office that I've been place in is one room with two other people where we are supposed to have the three office suite down the hall that has actual storage space. The consolidation of three separate region offices has left us with no idea where documents or maps are, and relying on another agency's good graces to store stuff.

Most of this is small stuff I can deal with. But, today, the shit has hit the fan. All annual leave from tomorrow until January 3rd was canceled due to "exigency of public business." Actually, it's due to a poor business plan and poor training and poor follow-up from as far back as five years ago. I understand duty to the taxpayer, but this is excessive. I'm not going into the details, but this reaction is overkill. This doesn't affect me so much, as I have no annual leave, but three of my coworkers have been pole-axed. One guy now has to drive six hours on Thanksgiving Day with his family of five, instead of spending four days with his family. Another has 200 hours of use or lose leave that he can't use, not to mention his non-refundable plane tickets. The third has to deal with several counties of severely morally-depleted employees who are very hard workers and are now being punished for that, not to mention missing out on spending time with his two-year-old daughter. I definitely don't want to be in his shoes.

So yeah, the holiday spirit has leached right out of this office. I've already planned an office lunch for the day before Thanksgiving, now I know I'll have plenty to feed. I'm also planning on trying to bring in cookies and snacks for the guys that will be working ten or twelve hour days. Maybe this won't be as bad as it seems now, but I'm not holding my breath.

I really dislike the top guy in this agency. He is the definition of asshat. Or maybe just a Grinch.

November 14, 2008

Is a wolf-whistle really all that flattering?

I made this recipe Wednesday night, and it was awesome. I accidentally left the peas in the freezer, but it was still yummy.

This week, I got the chance to help out with an Future Farmers of America Land-judging competition (junior high and high school). Along with picking out the pit sites and making the texture calls earlier in the week, I got to stand around and make sure no one broke any rules yesterday. I actually got to hiss at some kid, "There is no talking while scorecards are still out." I felt like such an authority figure. I really wish I had pushed my sunglasses down on the end of my nose while saying it.

It was a lot of fun for me (I got to talk about soil, and people were forced to listen to me!). I was outside all day, got to eat hot dogs and deer sausage for lunch, and got to chum around with some coworkers. After the scores were announced, I went out with one of the teams and their advisor to give them some pointers for next year's competition. More talking about soil!! Woot! It was team of high school guys, and I actually think most of them retained some of what I said. As they were driving out and I was walking away, though, one of the guys leaned out and whistled at me. I have to admit, at first, I was flattered. It's nice to be appreciated. But then, as I was driving home, I started to think maybe I should have reacted more negatively than a dismissive wave. When I'm walking down the street, I hate when random old or skeevy or both guys catcall me. I would have never dated a guy that got my attention by whistling at me. Except for this one really cute soccer ref... Anyway, maybe I should have said or done something to remind that kid that 1) I am an elder (yeah, I'm only 22, but I have a hard enough time getting people to take me seriously, shouldn't I be trying to reinforce that to a high school kid?), 2) I was in a position of authority at the time, and 3) women in any position are not there for you to ogle, stopping being such a Neanderthal, dude.

But, then again, it was nice to hear that somebody thought I looked nice. Maybe it was the new hair. Conundrum.

November 12, 2008

New Haircut!

So I finally got over my fear of change and got a new haircut. For years I've worn it straight, one length (everynow and again I would get some long layers in front), and long.

Now, I have bangs! First time since 7th grade, and they definitely look better now. I do actually have to spend a few minutes on it in the morning, but it's not too bad. (You'll have to excuse the just cut-ness, it's not that flat normally.)

For my next experiment, color! I'm thinking of either a warm brown gloss or auburn low lights.

November 10, 2008

It's the Hap-Happiest Time of the Year...

I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but visiting my cousins' this weekend evolved into us breaking into Christmas classics such "Santa, Baby" to keep the baby smiling, even though all we knew were bits and pieces of the chorus. It was amusing listening to the non-word version of "All I Want for Christmas Is You" accompanied by baby giggles.

Well, the dreariness has passed for the time being, and the air is crisp, cool, and blue. All the leaves are changing and we're actually getting some color and hang time with them this year. Usually, it's green, brown, on the ground. And fall is over. We've had at least two weeks of changing colors and it's actually kind of nice.

This year with the economy being what it is, my family has decided not to do Christmas presents. We're just going to spend a nice meal together and watch some football (SEC!) and play a board game. I still want to get my sister a little something, but it definitely helps out with the furniture fund, having to buy presents for just one side of the family. My parents are probably going to institute "no presents for Christmas" for perpetuity because they weren't really big into gift-giving to begin with. Instead of gifts, we eat. For every holiday. The spread for four people has gotten out of hand before. I think the last turkey we did was 19 pounds. For four people. We had turkey soup and turkey pot pie from the frozen leftovers for 3 months. It was awesome. We haven't discussed the Christmas meal yet, but I know I'm doing duck for Thanksgiving. And maybe some sort of oyster dressing. It just seems like duck and oysters go together, doesn't it?

In the Great Get Healthy of 2008, there has been moderate success. According to Wii Fit, I have lost 3 pounds with no major dieting and better food choices (forgetting the cookies that my husband has been baking non-stop. Will power, I needs it.) and almost daily exercise. I may not make my 10 pounds in one month goal, but I do feel like I could easily stay at this weight, which is the real goal here. To become more fit and a smaller size in a manageable manner. I'm owning the strength training at abs and lunges (also, the Super Hula Hoop) and can now do 2-3 military style pushups (weak, I know, but it's better than none). So goal = semi-accomplished.

The next big challenge? Losing more weight over the holidays. Since I love the food, I guess I'll be Wii-ing my ass off this time next month.

November 05, 2008

A case of the blahs

I feel depressed. Not really, but enough to give me a headache and make me whiny. I shouldn't feel this way because my job is finally picking up for a few weeks and soccer season is over so I get to see a lot more of my husband, but I do. I think the underlying reason for it is because I need a vacation. I'm trying not to use any of my annual or sick leave just in case family planning decides to go awry, and am building up comp time to use in lieu of leave. I haven't built up very much yet, and that is frustrating. For the last month or so, not only have I not been able to take more than a few hours off, my weekends have been very full and the next few don't seem to be any different. They will be a little more relaxing, hopefully, with getting together with family and friends, but still. I want a weekend in my sweats to clean and organize and decorate and cook. I keep hoping that maybe things will slow down, but then something "fun" comes up every time. Like this last weekend. I was left to my own devices, to do what I want, but of course, I think driving an hour to a football game will be "fun." Not. Not only did we lose, but only three people I was interested in seeing were there, the tailgate that I made brownies and cookies for never materialized, I got blocked in, and my cold got worse. And it was my idea. And then I complain, because I am an idiot. Maybe December will be different. (Yeah, right, I know.)

At least election season is over now, so my TV will return to its normal state. I do have that to look forward to.

Also in better news, my husband has discovered how to program the coffee maker. And the angels sang "Alleluia."

November 03, 2008

I think my brain is shaking...

I am officially a government employee, as I now drink coffee most mornings. I don't even drink it to wake up, I like the taste of it. *Gasp!* But, I have discovered that unless I actually need a caffeine jolt, 2 cups is the max I can handle. This from the person who used drink cappuccinos at 9 pm. Not anymore. I'm actually noticing my train of thought bouncing from topic to topic. And not in any logical order at all. In the past 30 seconds, I've covered Thanksgiving plans, gardening ideas, dinner plans for tonight, and random thoughts about work. I tried to do an online training course, but I am having no luck at all keeping focused. I keep clicking away from this document, as a matter of fact. At least I haven't progressed to my hands actually shaking.

BTW, I heart the whole "Fall Back" thing. I leave for the office pretty early (6 am, usually) and there is nothing that depresses me more than leaving in the dark only to come home in the dark. Plus, I hate waking up in the dark. It is so hard to get going with the sun not even up yet. Add in that my husband sleeps much later than me usually, and you get me stumbling around in the dark and trying to put an outfit together by guessing what color everything is based on what shade of gray it is. That doesn't always work. I guess it helps that I really have no fashion sense. Brown shoes with a black belt and shirt? It's what I'm wearing today!

I just found out that Miss Zoot has the exact same feelings as I about this.

Also, this weekend, I got everything done on my list except changing out clothes (because it is 40 when I leave for work and 80 at lunch time) and decorating (because my husband reminded me that I can hear him shouting when he gets back from Georgia). I feel mighty productive.

October 30, 2008

Singles' Night

So, as of 7 am this morning when I left for work, I will not have a husband present until late Sunday or Monday. A little bit of me is excited, the other (majority) bit of me is kinda sad and lonely. Except for the occasional training or conference session, we don't spend that much time apart, so it'll be a bit of an adjustment, but it's not really the him not being here that bothers me, but the me not being there. David plays on an intercollegiate club soccer team, and they have regionals 14 hours away this weekend in Georgia. I'm not able to make it due to expenses and taking time off of work, and this makes me sad. I hate that I'm not going to get to be there to cheer for his team from the sidelines and embarrass him with my catcalls. I hate that I'm not going to be there to either congratulate the whole team if they do well or buy them all beer if they don't. It's just such a passion of David's that I hate not being there for a major part of it. Although, if they end up doing well, nationals is only an hour and a half away, so that's pretty lucky. I should just stop whining about it and plan my girly weekend.

So, boyless activities for this weekend:

- Wii Fit Hula Hoop with no one laughing at me.

- Going to a MSU football game where I actually go into the game instead of just tailgating.
- Starting a composting bin.
- Making calls about decorating that can't be vetoed, because you know what? I can't hear him yelling that he doesn't like picture ledges all the way from Georgia.
- Getting a vacuum! And actually vacuuming! (I never thought I'd be excited about vacuuming until I didn't have one for a month and a half. My carpets are disgusting.)
- Eating popcorn for lunch and dinner everyday.
- Changing out summer and winter clothes.
- Wii Zelda with no one making fun of my karate moves during sword fights.
- And, of course, putting goop on my face and relaxing in the tub.

Any other suggestions?

The Whole Body Image Thing

As witnessed here and here, I am constantly trying to motivate myself to get into better shape. Part of this desire is a feeling of inadequacy, remembering what I used to be able to do. As a child, I attended the requisite dance school and was just generally really active. In junior high and high school, I channeled this into track and soccer. Track soon fell by the wayside, but I loved soccer. I was decent at it and one of the fastest girls on the team. My senior year of high school, I applied to attend the Air Force Academy and was accepted, but chose not to go. And then everything just stopped. I played a few intramural and club soccer games here and there, but was so disappointed by how out of shape I was, the game was just not the pleasant experience I wanted it to be. Six years ago, I could run two miles in 16 minutes (hey, I never said I was awesome, just that I could do it), do fifty sit-ups, and thirty push-ups without even wiping myself out. Now, I struggle with one push up. It is a major accomplishment if I make it through one mile. And this depresses me. And I don't like being depressed, so I want to change this.

Another part is my husband. He is incredibly supportive and loving and has never said anything about my weight. Because he is also smart. But, he is also incredibly active. An avid soccer player, he is constantly running 5 miles and biking 25 miles to stay in shape for games. I want to be able to do some of that with him. Now, I know I will never be able to keep up with him, because at 6'4", he has freakishly long legs, but maybe we might be able to take the dogs for a jog together without me clutching my side in pain after five minutes. Plus, I can't let him be the pretty one.

Then, there's my job. My job supposedly requires equal field and office time. Currently, it is all sitting on my ass time, but soon, hopefully, my days will be filled with hiking hither and yon. I like that my job keeps my activity up, but I'd also like to keep myself in shape so I can get my job done in noticeably quick time.

There's always the family-expanding idea, too. I'd like to be healthy and relatively active during any and all pregnancies. Plus, when said baby does arrive and grows a little, I'd like to be able to keep up with it.

And, lastly, there's the vanity issue. I've never really kept up with my weight, just how my clothes fit and felt. At 5'9", I've always been able to hold a little more weight than what most of my friends announced was their target and still been happy with myself. And that's what has jolted me into my latest attempt to downsize. I visited my sister this weekend and stepped on her scale just to see. 162 stared back at me. I have never been that high. I don't feel that heavy. I didn't even notice that my clothes had gotten much tighter. I still thought I was hovering around 145-150 pounds. But I hate that number. I am not happy with it. And once I started to think about it, my body shape has changed. I have stomach rolls sitting down now. I have dresses that I don't wear because they're hard to zip. Same with pants. I even have some beautiful custom-made business wear that I haven't worn in 3 years because the buttons and seams pull. My wardrobe revolves around 3 pairs of "curvy-fit" jeans. And I didn't even notice. Or was in denial. Yeah, it was probably denial. I don't want to be in denial anymore.

So, with the purchase of a Wii Fit and the use of the yoga mat and balance ball that has been sitting my house for a year now, I am trying to make a change. I am changing my eating habits to cut out junk food and keep food like chex mix and granola bars at my desk for cravings between meals. I am eating smaller portions. Coming from a family that's dinner time motto was "Eat everything on your plate" this is taking some actual effort. I'm checking to see if I'm full halfway through a meal, if I'm actually still hungry or if it's just "it's so good, I want to eat more." I'm aiming for 15-30 minutes of workout time everyday. When we get some money saved up, I'm going to buy a bike. I'm doing triceps dips and squats at my desk. I am cutting back on butter!!

And you know what? I've lost three pounds!! My goal is 10 pounds in one month, and that's one of the biggest reasons for the Wii Fit. It allows me to keep track of everything and get some nice, computerized, non-judgey feedback. My overall goal is to get back to 140, with one 135 being my dream goal. And I want to be able to do 10 push-ups without the help of a forklift.

Has there been anything that you've noticed has helped to keep you focused? Different types of goals or different methods?

October 29, 2008

The Update

So, in the year and half that I've neglected this thing, a lot has changed. I did graduate (cum laude, even!), gotten married, gone on a honeymoon, got a job, adopted two dogs, my husband has found a kitten, we bought a house, the old cat ran away, and I love my life.

As opposed to how I used to feel, I am satisfied with my life now. I mean, I want a baby, but not right now. Well, maybe right now, but not with pay and leave being what they are. I like my job. I love my job when I am able to fulfill my job description, but since I have no supervisor, it's been kind of boring lately. I even like my husband, which is a good thing. And since I have job security (I work for The Man) and am just starting on saving for retirement, even the stock market deciding to be schizophrenic is going well for me. I was able to buy an affordable starter home because it was a foreclosure. Plus, gas prices just went down! Woot!

Please don't hate me because the universe decided to time some things right for me (finally), I am just making a concious effort to be optimistic. I've made a decision to tell myself every morning "It is a good day." Now, it may or may not be, and I'm sure there are going to be some surly posts here, but believing it's going to be a fine day for even 15 minutes before something goes wrong should save me a forehead wrinkle or two, right?

BTW, my landlord was a giant douche. He killed my crepe myrtles and honeysuckle bush. Bastard.

I'm Back!

I know everyone was waiting with bated breath.

I'm going to restart blogging. I doubt anybody that use to read me still has me in their blog feed, but maybe. Hopefully it will stick this time. I love reading through other people's archives, hell, I had fun reading through my own today, so I'm hoping to continue this as a way to keep my memories fresh.

Please to enjoy!