Sugar and Spice, But Not Everything Nice

This has been one of those weeks with some crazy ups and downs. It’s certainly a memorable one. As a general rule, I’m a person who likes to hear the bad news first and get it over with, but this isn’t how this post goes.

So we’ll start with the good news- I became an aunt this week! One of my younger sisters had a beautiful baby girl, the first grandchild/niece in my exceptionally large family, and while I am not biased in the slightest, I think it’s quite possible she’s the prettiest baby in the history of babies so far. This is an objective opinion.

Unfortunately, mi hermana lives about a 5 hour drive from me, and I was scheduled to work all week, so I had to put off driving to see her and the baby and my wonderful brother-in-law until the weekend, when I was lucky enough to have two days off in a row scheduled. Finally this morning I was all set to go get my oil changed and drive out to the middle of Nowheresville, when at the lube station I heard those fateful words, “Something is wrong with your car.”

To condense a long and boring explanation that I don’t 100% understand, it’s looking like the best thing right now for us to do is fix up my car the best we can and sell it or trade it in for something cheaper to maintain. I love my little sports car, but I’ve also dropped a lot of money into that black hole over the years and it just isn’t worth it anymore and isn’t large enough for the day that we will want a family.

Anyways, it was not an easy realization to come to. I pretty much sobbed uncontrollably for an hour. Add in my disappointment over not getting to meet my niece yet and the stress of the inevitable financial storm about to rain down on us just when I thought maybe we could get our feet on the ground, and I was a hot mess. Thankfully, the Bearded One was a complete rock star. He calmed me down, gave me a back rub to make me feel better, took me to the park for lunch and let me climb a tree, and cheered me up better than anyone else ever could.

So the ups have been high this week and the lows have been pretty low. I know it will all work out in the end, but I hate dealing with all the stress in the meantime. I’m still unbelievably excited about the wonderful new life my sister brought into the world, and all I can do about the rest is:

I have to admit, I feel a lot more like Nemo’s dad in this.

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A Ranty Review

I had a whole post written up and ready to go, and then I got this morning all to myself, and, well, I went to Redbox the other night and now I’m sucked in to playing Tomb Raider. I’m not a huge gamer, although the Bearded One and I will go off and on with Borderlands 2 marathons and I’m a Fable addict and I’ve actually test gamed for a company before, which was a pretty cool experience! (I signed about a million NDAs to boot). I’m probably about a middle of the line gamer.

But I’ve always loved Tomb Raider. I think I was about ten when I first went to a friend’s house, and she’d gotten a Playstation for her birthday and we sat around all night and played Tomb Raider III all night and I was hooked. I thought it was so cool- Indiana Jones, but a girl! But I (unfortunately) had to go home the next day, and my mom wasn’t sure about the whole video game phenomenon until after I left the house. One of the sucky things about being the oldest child.

Then, when I finally had access to a 360, the first thing I did was go out and buy Tomb Raider Legend. I played that one the whole way through, with lots of swearing and lots of questions like “How do I move this box?” “Where am I supposed to jump?” “Whoops, can’t jump that far,” throughout. It was hard, maddeningly hard, but I made it. And then my disc disappeared and I haven’t played it since.

So with the advent of games on Redbox and the release of the new Tomb Raider, I knew I was going to be playing the latest one. I got a free code the other night, the game was finally available, and the Bearded One wasn’t going to be home for two whole hours. I took it home, all excited… and just found it was kind of meh. The graphics are great, and I like Lara being a little more vulnerable, but I’m just not won over by the gameplay so far. Too much directive playing (um, in the major scenes I’d like to play my own way, not just hit the joystick as fast as you tell me), not enough tomb raiding, and too much one person shooter style fighting. I’m stuck in the Shantytown right now, I’ve probably died about 50 times, 5 of them after changing my settings to Easy, I can’t find my way out and all I can think is, if I wanted to play Call of Duty, I’d be playing Call of Duty. And at least with CoD, they give you grenades so you can shoot more than one person at a time and you don’t have to press the left trigger and right trigger simultaneously to get off a shot! What ridiculousness. If it is not that difficult to shoot a gun in real life, and believe me, I know, it should not be that difficult to shoot a gun in a game. And mostly I’m using arrows because apparently they are more likely to kill someone than a gun is. Ugh.

So I haven’t finished the game yet, and if I can’t get past this point in a timely manner, I’m going to have to return it unfinished. I’m disappointed in the game but oh well. In the meantime, I have a cat on my feet and another on my lap (partly on this laptop, making it very difficult to write), my paycheck is coming in tomorrow, and I have a good book I can finish now that I’ve got that out of my system.

Mommy's Little Helper

You don’t need the keys for the laptop, right?

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A Quickie

This is a little, entirely unplanned post, and, boys and girls, this is what happens when you blog without a condom. Or something like that.

Why is it I always get the urge to clean at 9 pm on Friday and Saturday nights? Not on the mornings I have off, or the lazy days where I say I’m going to clean, but the rare Friday and Saturday night I actually have free. The Bearded One is working and Marisa’s in Florida, so we’ll blame my lack of creativity.

Anyways, tonight I’m experimenting with Dr Bronner’s and vinegar and baking soda trying to finally get the old table from the garage unsticky (that’s the official terminology), and trying to clean out my dishwasher that’s about 100 years old that I’m sure we’ll have to replace if we ever want to sell this place. Along with just about everything else except the plumbing because we had to replace that already.

I really shouldn’t be complaining, though, because I’m actually looking forward to doing some remodeling. The Bearded One helped his grandfather remodel his parents’ house growing up and it’s one of his fondest memories, so I plan on ruthlessly capitalizing on that to get this condo in shape. And this blog is to keep me inspired and focused because I have a sad tendency to be… uninspired and not focused.

And now, dear reader, I have a vacuum and a carpet awaiting me, so I leave you with this music video that I’ve been watching obsessively over the past two days (mostly because Carey Hart is pretty and I’m trying to figure out how to talk the Bearded One into sleeves):

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Mommy Blogs, Weird Obsessions and the Story Ending

I started reading mommy blogs in high school. I couldn’t tell you how I found that first one, or why or even what it was, but I remember being 17 and just being completely fascinated by this woman not much older than me, a former vegan in New York who had already terminated one or two pregnancies and then decided that this would be the baby she would keep. Her life and beliefs were drastically different from my own and I was hooked.

I lost track of that blog before the baby was born, but there have been multiple others since then, some of which I’ve followed for years through huge life changes of both theirs and mine. One where a woman only had one son when I started reading and then went on to have three more daughters, and some days I think, have I really been reading that long? Another who blogged about her family and job and political views, all fairly light reading until her son died of an overdose. I’ll start reading a new one sometimes, or drop an older one when I just can’t connect with the author anymore, but I have now been reading mommy blogs off and on for about a decade.

My closer friends know about this quirky habit of mine and just go, Oh, that’s just Lex, she’s always doing something weird. And they have their own little quirks, like miniatures or fake babies or bee collections and so on.

I think in the beginning, it was because these people had a life that seemed so unattainable to me. Having someone who would want to create a baby with me seemed unattainable in my limited high school experience, and almost more unattainable in my less than stable early 20s. Kids and a family of my own are something that I desperately desired in my younger years, and although on occasion my desire for children wanes as I grow more and more attached to my sleeping schedule, I’ve pretty much always known that I would want and have them someday.

But I don’t think that’s the whole why and wherefore, either. I’ve always had an overwhelming desire to know how the story ends. As a child, I was never without a book- you’d much sooner see me naked. I have a guilty pleasures addiction to sequels, I know everyone complains about them but, come on, I can’t be the only one keeping them in business, right? I not only want to know how the adventure goes but what comes after, the getting the kingdom in order and who came to the wedding and who said what and who wore what and just keep going please because I’ll keep reading. Not only do I have a small set of bookshelves in my room, but a book closet, a garage long ceiling high set of bookshelves at my parents’ and various books scattered over the house including several hiding out in the bathroom cupboard. All this to say, I think a blog is like a book that doesn’t end. And I think that’s why they draw so many people in- everyone loves the myth. From the beginning of time, we all love the myth.

Next week: Pinterest Experiment #2 and curtains! I just got the cloth in today, and I love it.

sneak preview

sneak preview

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Life As We Know It and My Civic Duty

It’s been one of those weeks that’s been a little unusually rough for no one reason. Or even necessarily a definable reason. Mostly little stuff all adding up to make everything feel off. I haven’t gotten enough sleep, The Bearded One and I have been grumpy at each other for various, possibly irrational reasons (although I find him stealing the OJ I use for my smoothies a perfectly legitimate reason to get angry), migraines, and last but not least, jury duty on my day off. Oh joy.

So, jury duty. Oh the joys. I got the summons and was informed to be at the Frank Crowley Courthouse at 8:30 am sharp to do my duty as an American citizen or else. They also sent me a validation tab for parking and a DART pass so I would have no excuse as far as transportation. Now, I do have an automobile that I rely on to get me to and from work, but the idea of driving downtown during rush hour fills me with a kind of eldritch horror that I like to avoid at all costs, so the DART it was. I don’t take the DART very often, so it’s actually kind of fun when I do… until I mess up. I got to the station late (If there’s anything you should know about me, it’s that I’m constantly running late. I blame makeup.), and then realized I was at the wrong station, so I hopped on the train that would take me to the right train, switched trains and then belatedly realized, staring at the map on the train wall that I hadn’t needed to switch trains at all, then finally got to my train stop and ended up having to walk half a mile passing under the highway to get to the courthouse that is apparently not in downtown after all.

The fateful DART pass.

The fateful DART pass.

Of course with my scatterbrained train experience, I got to the courthouse fifteen minutes late, debating several times on the way whether or not it was even worth it to show up at that point and faintly hoping that I’d get there and they’d scold me and send me packing. Alas, my hopes were dashed as I arrived and realized I’d missed nothing except the ability to find a good seat. Thankfully I’d filled out the little questionnaire online beforehand, so all I had to do was go through security and sit down. Embarrassing fact: I took off my belt going through security and tried to wait til I got to the jury room to put it back on, except the jury room was filled with probably 500 people and I found a seat next to an older gentleman and felt too awkward to put it back on so I just sat, belt in hand, for my entire jury experience.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. I had a book and my phone to keep me occupied, unsuccessfully tried to lure my husband to come meet me for lunch and watched as the numbers called got higher and higher. Finally, after about 3 hours of noneventfulness, the court wrangler called the last people up for the day and dismissed the rest of us! I triumphantly returned my belt to its rightful place on my waist and emerged from the courthouse, head held high.

Anyway, it all added up to me not being very fun to be around this week. On the bright side, today turned around and was pretty nice, it was beautiful outside and I had coffee and got off work early and I’m excited about tomorrow’s lunch (mmmm chicken tacos) and some other fun things I have planned. And now that I have a little more familiarity with the DART, I plan on using it for some fun day dates with The Bearded One. Posts to follow muahahaha

Here’s an adorable cat picture to reward you for finishing this rather boring post:

free me!

free me!

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Pinterest Experiment #1

So I’m pretty much a Pinterest fanatic. I’ve found a zillion (that’s an exact number) recipes on there that I either have tried or want to try, I used it extensively in planning my wedding, and I use it to focus my clothing choices and cleaning methods. It’s an extremely useful tool and I love it.

However, I’ve found that not everything works out as planned when I follow a pin’s recipe or advice on Pinterest, so why not give a review of the pins I try out? Today we’re going to recreate one of the pins I found the scariest: the Spinach Smoothie. Green smoothies have been all over my Pinterest homepage, and I have to admit, I’ve been very ambivalent about trying them, even though I love spinach and have been wanting to add more of the awesome nutrients it provides to my diet- particularly iron for my anemia, magnesium for my headaches, and folic acid for overall well being. But this morning I decided I was going to bite the bullet and try it out!

So this is the pin I used as a guideline: http://pinterest.com/pin/104779128802851724/

I like it because it breaks down everything into components: here’s what you can use as a base, here’s the filler, et cetera. Here’s all my components before I added them:

Ingredients

It’s not like I shop at Whole Foods a lot, or anything

I started off with frozen bananas. It’s easiest to slice up the bananas before you freeze them, and definitely don’t freeze them still in their skin because that’s just bad news bears. Not that, uh, I learned that the hard way or anything. Nope.

Bananas

My oh so attractive frozen bananas

Next I add the base. Normally I use milk, but I remembered to buy orange juice last night and didn’t remember to buy milk, so today it was a cupful of OJ. I have a sneaking suspicion that the freshly squeezed orange juice was healthier than milk anyway.

Image

Following that, I put in two separate thickeners. I used about a tablespoon of almond butter:

almond butter

and then I added my personal favorite part of the smoothie: Frozen Greek yogurt. Now, I don’t know if you have ever tried this, and although I can’t profess completely jumping on the Greek yogurt bandwagon (I don’t eat a lot of yogurt in the first place), but this stuff is the bomb.com. (If you’re wondering if I’m this dorky in real life, the answer is yes.) I love this frozen Greek yogurt. First off, it’s 100 calories per serving, and second off: it’s fricken’ good! To me, it tastes just like vanilla bean ice cream. Now, I don’t suggest using it if you’re trying to make a root beer float (I’ve been down that road, and it ain’t pretty), but for milkshakes and smoothies it is totally awesome. I used about a cup of it for my smoothie, which I think is less than their serving size.

the bomb.com

If you look up thebomb.com in the dictionary, they just have a picture of this.

For the sweetener, I just added the tiniest bit of vanilla. I forgot to take a picture and I’m too lazy to go dig it out now. Just trust me on this. Not even half a tiny capful.

And now for the biggie: the spinach.

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dun dun dun

I just bought a handful of the loose baby spinach because I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to use. The sign said it was $10 for a lb of spinach, which came out to…. 10 cents for the amount I bought. Score! I used about half of what is shown here. Not too shabby.

And now for the finished project:

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Kindly note my ADORABLE owl cookie jar

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars WOULD EAT AGAIN

It was awesome! I couldn’t even taste the spinach. It did come out a slightly green color, but since I was that kid who pestered her mom for the green ketchup because I knew it freaked her out, that didn’t bother me. Now, I didn’t add the power boost part of the smoothie, because protein powder is dang expensive, but I fully intend to try making my own, so that will be another blog post at a later point. I believe we call this Pinterest Experiment #1: Success!

If you would like the direct link to the guideline from today, courtesy Super Skinny Me: www.superskinnyme.com/how-to-make-a-smoothie.html

And if you would like to follow me on Pinterest:www.pinterest.com/lexcgirl

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The Friday Night Special

Do you ever struggle with just… letting go?

It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a control freak, although I’ve spent many years doing my best to minimize the fact and hiding this less than attractive character flaw. But somehow our (or maybe just my) romantic relationships tend to bring out the worst in ourselves (myself). Your spouse is supposed to be a part of you, the other half to your whole and I’m afraid that sometimes I take that a bit too literally.

The Bearded One and I, for all that we’re supposed to be a two in one Friday night special, do not see eye to eye on everything and on occasion I can get a little carried away in trying to impose my will, because my way is right and our lives would just be so much easier if he’d just give in and do it like I told him. But that’s not the way this two for one works, and most of the time when I try to impose my will all I get for it is mad.

So right now I’m trying to do a little less pushing and a little more relaxing. Because the possibility exists that it’s my problem and not his (perish the thought!) and maybe, just maybe, if I let go, I’ll get something in return. Be it a little more peace of mind, or maybe even some more reaching out on his part, while we’re both part of something more now, we’re still two different people with different needs and I have to be more understanding of his, because he’s pretty patient with mine.

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Photo courtesy of Samantha Caroline Photography

 

 

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