Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Monday, Happy Halloween!

What a Monday this has been!  I woke up late (not sure why my alarm clock never went off), then made it to work with two early meetings. 

Today I was supposed to go to the middle school to meet with my Little Sister, so I tried to eat my Healthy Choice meal at lunch time super fast... but kept getting hampered when my boss and coworkers kept trying to talk to me about work stuff. 

I finally made it to the school and delivered an adorable Halloween basket to my Little--and she loved it!  I put some Halloween pencils, a notepad, stickers, and TONS of candy in a little metal pail with a jack o'lantern face on it's front.  I'm waiting for her parents to send a bill from their dentist for all of the cavities I just gave that kid. :)  She was extremely chatty today, too, which I loved.  So much better than my last Little. 

I got back to work, and finished out the day, bolting out the door right at 5 o'clock.  I made it home to Pete, who had stopped on his way home to pick up 3 of my favorite things:  Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale, apple cider and pumpkin cupcakes from Gigi's.  I have a wonderful husband!  I ordered us a pizza using our Living Social coupon, and set up for trick-or-treaters.  Pete went out and picked up our white spinach ricotta pizza, and I cracked open my first beer.  Happy Halloween to me!  I even set aside a little stash of candy for myself.

I only got 4 trick-or-treaters tonight.  4.  I guess it's better than no trick-or-treaters, but I still would have loved to have seen more.  All of the kids got huge handfuls of candy from me, and their parents kept taking pictures of Bella in her pumpkin regalia.  She did look pretty darn cute.

On a positive note, my upstairs neighbors brought their daughter and granddaughter over for candy.  They're usually pretty unfriendly, but tonight they seemed really nice.  I hope this starts a trend of more happy, congenial behavior.

Now that trick-or-treating is over, I'm just eating my cupcake, catching up on Facebook and watching Dancing With The Stars.  Of course.  What a lovely night.  Hubby is in the other room watching professional wrestling, glued to the tv like a senior citizen watching Wheel of Fortune.  I'm so glad he goes in the other room to watch that crap instead of hogging the big screen.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Weekend Recap

What a fabulous weekend this has been!  Here's the short and sweet of it:

  • Kelly (the world's best twin sister) and her husband, Darrell, came to visit.  They came on Friday night so we'd have two nights together and I was thrilled to have them.  I love having guests stay over.
  • We gave Darrell his first Qdoba experience, and met up with Tracy at the Wooden Door Irish Pub for drinks on Friday night.  Pete joined us after he finished his weekend shifts at the radio station, and we had a glorious night of fun.  We even stopped at Krystal to cure Darrell's late night snack attack.
  • On Saturday, we went to the Press Box, my favorite dive sports bar, and watched the MSU vs. Nebraska game. We ate a boatload of chicken wings, downed a couple pitchers of beer and watched MSU lose miserably to the Huskers.  It was a sad day for Spartan fans, especially this one.
  • We all went to Katie and Art's wedding, where Katie became Katie Perry and Art signed on for a life of living according to Katie's whims.  But he knew what he was in for when he asked her to marry him and said his vows.  She's a sweetheart though.  The wedding was at OLPH in Ybor City, steps away from the debauchery of Guavaween, and the reception was at the Palma Ceia Country Club.  They had a great dj and an open bar, so who could argue with that?  I wanted a real dinner, but they only had heavy hor d'oeuvres, so I made do with what I had.  The pumpkin cupcakes were to DIE for.  Here's a picture of the girls during Cocktail Hour:

  • I got up this morning and made pumpkin pecan pancakes with scrambled eggs for breakfast for all of us.  The pancakes were scrumptious, to say the least. YUM!  But you know me and pumpkin--we're soul sisters.
  • Kelly and Darrell left, so Pete and I went on a hunt for pumpkins.  WOW, was that a challenge!  I should have bought a pumpkin last week, but I kept putting it off.  I went out looking today and EVERYONE was sold out of pumpkins. Even the ugly bumpy kind.  I finally wound up at a local produce market and bought 5 little tiny pumpkins, but still wanted a big one to carve.  Pete and I happened to drive past a local Methodist church pumpkin patch and they had a handful of large pumpkins left.  So, $25 dollars poorer, I had a ginormous pumpkin to carve up.  This was actually Pete's first time EVER carving a pumpkin, so I had to give him the full experience.  He was up to his elbows in pumpkin innards and seeds, but he loved every minute of it. I let him help me carve, even though that's my favorite part.  Here's Pete and I's handiwork:

  • After pumpkin carving, I took Bella (my adorable pooch) on a long walk, then came home and put on her new pumpkin costume.  She looked SO CUTE, but I could tell she was sort of miserable.  She perked up once I took the hat off of her, but I think the hat really makes the ensamble.  Here's a pre-Halloween peek at Piglet (that's one of my nicknames for Bella):

A new week is ahead, and it shouldn't be too crazy (let's hope).  In 1 hour it will be Halloween!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

We Pulled Landscaping Duty

Last weekend, I put Hubby to work and we relandscaped 2 areas in front of our condo.  Hubby was NOT pleased about having to do manual labor, but I told him that was part of being a husband--doing stuff for your wife that you don't want to do but know will make her a happy camper.

I've lived in my condo for a little more than 6 years.  This was my single girl pad, and it was bought with only me and my puppy Bella in mind.  It's pretty tiny but efficient, and I figured I'd be here for 3-5 years, tops.  Fast foward to today, and I'm married with TONS of crap (from combining two households, of course) and living in a place that I thought was a temporary stop-over to a house.   Since I'm underwater in this place, however, it looks like we'll be living here a tad longer than expected.  With this in mind, I've been making improvements to the place, both inside and out, so that it's liveable for me.  This means re-doing the awful (almost non-existent) landscaping in front of this place. 

When I moved into this 1st floor condo, the grounds in front of the front door and under the kitchen window were bare dirt.  Apparently my neighbors didn't care about how our homes looked from the curb, but I defintely do.  I added some landscaping and it looked good for a number of years.  After a very hard winter and lots of plant-killing frost a couple years ago, my landscaping was pretty well shot.  At the time I didn't have the extra money to invest in re-doing everything, so it just sat there, looking ugly.  Now that Hubby and I are married and we're a 2 income household, we have the cash to do what I wanted.  And now we don't look like THOSE neighbors who have shabby yards and don't give a shit. 
Here's the fruits of our labor from last Sunday:

Ah, the disgustingness of bare dirt, half-dead plants and washed out mulch.  Now you can see why I HAD to do something drastic about the plant situation.

So much better!  Healthy, colorful plants, an abundance of mulch and no bare dirt ANYQWHERE.  LOVE IT.  I even left my elderly next door neighbors lawn ornament (yes, it's a frog wearing a sombrero--too kitschy to not laugh about) sitting in our new bed of fabulousness.  She was thrilled!  In case you're wondering, we left the landscaping a little on the sparse side on purpose.  We want to give the plants room to grow AND leave a little space so we can see between them.  Weird shit likes to live in the plants here, so I want to see anything that's hiding out.

All in all, a good, sweaty effort with great results.  Now I can breathe a sigh of relief.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Toy

I've been meaning to write more since last week but I've been experiencing major issues with the most important of electronic equipment in my house--my computer.  I have a nearly 4 year old Dell desktop that has been giving me problems since I first took it out of the box in 2008.  It always had trouble connecting to the internet, and eventually it began having other issues.  Lately, the computer has been doing this crazy thing where it shuts down in the middle of me using it, with no notice whatsoever.  FUN.  I've been extremely irritated that I've lost everything I've worked on during those times, and have been tempted to drop kick the thing straight through a window.  The problem with that was that the window didn't deserve such punishment, and the computer deserved worse.  After the computer randomly shut down on me on Saturday, in the middle of me creating a new blog post and downloading the new Jason Mraz song from iTunes, I'd had enough.  Seriously, it took everything in me to keep from destroying the computer where it stands.

I did a little research and figured out that I was going to buy a Toshiba or a Sony Vaio.  I read great reviews on both, plus my sister has a Vaio and my parents have a Toshiba--both gave their computers great reviews.  I went to Staples and Best Buy, and wound up purchasing this purdy little thing on Monday night.

It has this cool textured cover that feels like a more geometric golf ball.  I hit a snag, though, when I went to set it up last night.  I turned it on and immediately tried to download iTunes.  At the end of the download, the computer froze up and I had to hit the kill switch to restart it.  Yes, with a brand new computer.  I immediately told Hubby that I wanted to return it, because I don't think a new computer should ever seize up on me like that THE FIRST TIME THAT I TURN IT ON.  He told me that I was being irrational and that sometimes that stuff happens.  I tend to disagree, but he convinced me to keep giving it a try.  I continued downloading updates, and continued to have problems, with downloads taking ridiculous lengths or time and stopping mid-download for no apparent reason. (sigh)  So now, I'm trying to decide if I want to return it.   Sometimes I wonder if dealing with technology is really worth it.  I know that I need a computer, but do the headaches ever end?

Hopefully I'll be able to work on the blog post I was working on this past Saturday some night this week, once I get this computer mess straightened out.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Baby Talk

So, recently Hubby and I have started talking more about kids.  Yes, we talked about kids before we got married, but to be honest, we never got into much detail about names, nurseries, or day care.  H was scared of the idea and I didn't want to stress the guy out--it's not like I was pregnant then and we were forcing the topic.  When we were dating and engaged and I'd bring these things up, Hubby would answer my question and move on to something else with a worried look on his face.  Poor guy was scared.  Actually, "scared of babies" might be an understatement.  "Terrified" is probably more like it.  We agreed that we'd wait a year or two after we were married to have kids, and I was happy with that.  I didn't want kiddos right away anyway.

Now, 4 months into marriage, Hubby seems to be MUCH more willing to talk about kids, and we've been talking about it a lot over the past week.  We've talked about pregnancy, doctor visits, maternity leave, baby names, our philosophies about teaching our kids, and way more.  Part of me was like, YAY, we're talking about babies finally!  And another part of me was like, Oh crap, we're talking about kids... yikes.  The thought of having kids sounds amazing, but the idea of pregnancy and childbirth worry me.  Hubby and I laughed at how I'll probably be disgusted at the thought of changing diapers and I'll want to wear a Hazmat suit and goggles to change the baby.  And maybe some rubber gloves up to my elbows with one of those face masks that surgeons wear, with the plastic shield across the eyes.  Not really, but a fleeting thought crossed my mind.

As for babies, so many questions come up for me.  Among them:  What if I'm not one of those women who loves being pregnant?  Will I be miserable for 9 months?  What if I have terrible morning sickness?  What if I give birth to a holy terror?  What if I never feel rested again?  All of these things swirl around my mind like a cyclone, moving fast and furiously between questions before I even have a chance to rationalize them.  Now that the reality of starting a family is drawing closer, I can't help but to feel nervous but excited about the whole thing.  I actually thought to myself, But I'm not old enough to have kids.  UM, yeah, I'm actually in my early 30s, so I'm there.  Plenty old enough for kids and quite honestly, I better get started soon.  I'm no spring chicken after all (as my mother likes to remind me, seriously).  I'm lucky to have chosen a man who will be a great dad, and I'm at a good place in life.  I can handle it.  Thankfully I have another year or so to get used to the idea.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A New Adventure

Now that we've been married for 4 months TODAY (YAY!), I've learned that life has just thrown Hubby and I our first big curveball.  His employer announced yesterday that they were shutting his division down on Decebmer 15 and everyone would be laid off.  Yes, 10 days before Christmas and 12 days before my birthday (like that even matters at this point, really).  Hubby is sad because he's worked there for 5 years and has never lost a job before.  He has no idea how to cope with the idea of being unemployed, since it's never been his reality.  I've been unemployed at two points in my career (not by any fault of my own), and it's devastating when you're a hardworker and sitting idle isn't your cup of tea.  Hubby's employer said that they'll try to find jobs for people in the local area, either within their own company or with other companies that currently have openings for similar work.  I think that's a nice notion, but we'll see if that really comes to fruition considering that this employer has announced that they're laying off 30,000 employees in the next two years.  I just have a hunch that placing their cast-offs in comparable positions isn't the highest priority for them.

Since I work as an HR Manager, I am going to help Hubby get his resume together and create a LinkedIn page to start building connections.  Part of me wonders if this could be a blessing in disguise.  Hubby really hates this job and wants a job doing his real passion, radio.  Radio jobs are super hard to come by and it's all about who you know.  The problem is that Hubby doesn't really know anyone outside of the station he currently works for part-time, since it's the only station he's ever worked for.  I guess it's time that he gets out there and starts shaking hands and kissing babies, making the most of every interaction he has with these people in hopes of landing a full-time gig.  Radio people are a strange breed.  Radio stations are regular businesses, but they aren't run like any business I've ever encountered.  The number of potential sexual harassment lawsuits are HIGH given that they can say pretty much whatever they want, whenever they want, and hell, they can drink on the job.  It's rare that you find that, though I've heard of several other major companies that allow it (hello, Sponsor Shots and Beer Fridays, complete with taxi cabs on call to take drunkards home in the afternoons).  Let me get off my soapbox about that, though, since that's not why I'm writing this!  My point is that radio is weird, and even though that's Hubby's dream career, it's going to be a tough road to get him to a point where he's working at a station full-time.

Even if Hubby lands somewhere other than radio, I just hope it's doing a job that he's happier with.  Nothing makes me sadder than seeing the man I love go to work everyday, to a place where I know he's going to be miserably unhappy.  It would be even better if Hubby could find a job that pays him more, but I'm not going to push my luck.  I'll just be happy with a job that pays the bills and makes Hubby happy.  And I mean that.

Wish us luck as we press on and see where this whole thing takes us!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bigs and Littles

For those of you who don't know, I'm a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters.  I know, it's so "do-gooder" of me, and I have come to enjoy it even though it's been a bumpy road at times.  I participate in a school-based program for students who are enrolled in the Doorways Scholarship program in the State of Florida, which requires the kids to have BBBS mentors and keep high GPAs through all of middle school and high school.  Their families must meet income requirements to show that they're in need of this assistance to send their kids to college, so there are several variables that have to fall into place for the kids to be eligible for the scholarship. 

This is now my third school year as a BBBS mentor at a middle school in St. Petersburg.  For the previous two years, I mentored a young girl named Ahmeda.  She seemed very sweet, but it was really tough because she never wanted to open up to me and talk to me, depsite my best efforts to learn about her, engage her in conversation about topics she cares about, etc.  I literally tried everything I could think of, attended mentoring classes to find new ways to reach her, and worked with my BBBS Match Manager on ways we could get her to talk to me more.  One week we made progress, then the next time we met it was back to square one.  I was so frustrated at times and felt like neither one of us was getting anything out of our time together, so I thought about giving up on it.  At the end of the day, though, I knew it wasn't the right thing to do, to give up when things got hard and leave a girl without a mentor that she's required to have.  At the end of the last school year, Ahmeda finished middle school and went to high school, and I was given the choice to continue on with her to high school, get a new mentee at the middle school or quit altogether.  I decided to make another go at it and get a new mentee.  I knew it couldn't get any worse than what I'd been through with Ahmeda.

So, this year I got a new Little Sister, JaLeah.  I'd post a picture of her on here, but there are legal reasons why I'm not allowed to photograph the students, and that's fine.  So I'll describe her and you can envision her in your mind.  JaLeah is 12 years old and lives with both of her parents and little brother.  She said that her dad is Indian and her mom is African American, and she loves that she has such a unique combination of ethnicities.  She is sort of a tomboy, but wants to be more girly as she grows up.  I can totally help her with that.  She LOVES to play softball and loves eating at McDonald's, and she admits that she doesn't have one single best friend.  She says she has several friends that she can talk to openly, though, so that's good.  Every kid needs that.  Like all of the kids in middle school these days, she wears very colorful clothing, skinny jeans and either Nike sneakers or Converse.  I think this is their new school uniform because every single kid is dressed exactly the same way, just with variation on the color of the articles of clothing.  Totally typical of that age, where everyone's trying to fit in.  Meeting with JaLeah on Friday made me realize why I wanted to be a mentor in the first place.  We had a long, easy conversation, and she got more talkative the longer we chatted and as I asked her more questions.  She loves that I have a dog and come from a small family like hers, and I really think we're going to hit it off.

I know that the middle school years are tough ages for kids.  Hell, those were the hardest years of growing up for me, so I KNOW what these kids are going through and why they may not trust strange adults with unknown motivations.  I'm just glad that I had such a good experience meeting my new Little on Friday, and I can't wait to see what the upcoming school year has in store for us.

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Tampa, Florida, United States
I'm a wife, daughter and amazing twin sister. I'm a mom to my adorable dog, Bella. Loves: Shopping, cooking, baking, good grammar and Dave Matthews Band. I'm also a Bath and Body Works addict, a Michigan State Spartans fanatic, and an iPhone aficionado. I see beauty in simple things and little things make me ever-so-happy. Welcome to my world!

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