Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 6/27


1. What do the words 'freedom' and 'liberty' mean to you? Does your mind go more in the direction of not being persecuted or discriminated against or does it head in the direction of doing what you please?

Freedom and liberty tend to bring patriotic thoughts to mind, but it also makes me think about freedom in Christ.  It's not always about doing what you please, because in my experience that leads to chaos.  It's more about not being bound by unjust rule.

2. Nathan's sponsors a hot dog eating contest every 4th of July. Last year over 40,000 people attended the event and almost 2 million watched it on TV. The winner ate over 60 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. How do you like your hot dogs?

I'm not the world's biggest fan of hot dogs.  They give me heartburn.  (So 60 in ten minutes is out.  And kinda gross!)  But when I do eat them, I'm a boring ketchup-only girl.

3. If you were going to enter an eating contest what would be on the menu?

Cookies?  Ice Cream?  Definitely something sweet.

4. Do you run your house more as a dictatorship or a democracy?

It's just me and Delilah, and since she's non-verbal she doesn't get a vote.  So I guess, a dictatorship by default.

5. Where was your favorite summer place when you were a kid?

I would have to say that it was my aunt's pool.  Mostly because I love to swim.  And since her daughter and blog reader (hi, Myndi!) babysat us, we went a lot.  But my favorite part is when you went in at the end of the day, put on your dry clothes and cuddled up with a snack all full of sun and water-logged.

6. Do you have a guest room? Would you want to stay there?

I have a room that I use for storage, but it shouldn't really count.  I usually have guests sleep on my very roomy couch.  I sleep there quite often, and it is very comfy.

7. Next Wednesday America celebrates her independence. Do you have any special plans for the 4th of July? If you live outside the USA when and how does your country celebrate its own patriotic holiday?

I don't really have any plans for the 4th yet.  I usually end up at a picnic and a fireworks display (celebrating not the 4th, but Crystal's birthday), but I feel like I cheated a little this year after the incredible show they put on at CMA Fest after the concert.  Those were some amazing fireworks!  

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I have been watching entirely too many episodes of Sports Night and Dawson's Creek on Netflix.  Those shows alone make Netflix totally worth it.

The Writing Rambles, But The Kid Is Cute

I thought this summer I would blog more.  That hasn't really happened, and I'm not sure why.  Most of time it's just me here, alone with my own thoughts.  Which the more I think about it, the more that is probably by design.  Don't get me wrong, I'm getting out of the house and around people plenty.  But summer seems to be the only time when I can really focus for very long on much of anything.  Starting next week, that is mostly going to include prepping for the new school year.  (I'm sure I'll get excited eventually...)

There are a couple of things coming this week about which I am getting excited!  On Friday,  I will get to meet my sweet friends' (Michael and Lauren) new baby girl!  There's nothing sweeter than cuddling a new baby (she's almost two weeks old) and visiting with old friends.  And if that wasn't enough fun, on Saturday I will be reunited with my long-lost friend, Amber!  She's been busy with weddings and life in general, which means that it has been almost three weeks since we've been able to get together.  (And if you know much about us, you know that doesn't happen very often!)  That's a pretty good weekend of plans, if you ask me.

One thing that happened last weekend was that the Divine Miss M was baptized.  She was, of course, absolutely darling in both her christening gown and her after-party outfit.   Need proof?

Her face in that last one cracks me up!  She hadn't been awake from her nap very long and she just looks so confused!  And that little pink outfit?  I could just eat her up!!  Which reminds me, I don't think I shared a couple of my favorite shots from Father's Day either.

Trust me, no kitties were harmed in the making of these pictures!  (In fact, he loved it!)  I'm glad we were able to enjoy being outside some then because that won't be happening anytime soon!  It's going to be absolutely sweltering here for the foreseeable future!

Okay, I've resorted to talking about weather!  It's time to go.  I will try again tomorrow with the Hodgepodge!

Friday, June 22, 2012


I'm having a little trouble organizing my thoughts into a real post, so you're going to get a list.  And I'm sorry for that, but not sorry enough to write a post...

  • I made a chocolate cake off Pinterest this week.  It's the one where you sub Greek yogurt for the oil and eggs.  (1 cup yogurt, Devil's Food Cake Mix, 1 1/4 cups of water and bake)  It was awesome!  I may have had it for breakfast the last two mornings.  And 1/12 of the cake is only 5 Weight Watchers points, so that's pretty good!
  • Yesterday I splurged and got my hair cut (it needed it, badly) and a pedicure!  It was nice, but it will be the last splurge for a while because I also got my first property taxes as a homeowner this week.  And promptly wanted to throw up a little.  
  • I'm in the process of going through all of the storage areas in my house and getting rid of what I don't use.  This seems to be making the mess in my house worse.  Anyone want to explain that one to me?
  • I'm really wanting to start painting everything.  I am not wanting to tape everything off.  I sense impending disaster.
  • I'm trying really hard to watch less TV and listen to more music in hopes of being more productive around the house.  I'll let you know if this actually works.  
What are your random thoughts on this Friday!  I'd love to hear them in the comments.  Wishing everyone a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 6/20

1. Summer officially rolls in with the Hodgepodge this week, for those of us in the Northern hemisphere anyway. What song says summer 2012 to you?

I love a good music question.  The song that is screaming summer right now for me is "Pontoon" by Little Big Town.  It's everything a summer song should be.

2. What's your favorite quintessential summer food?

Watermelon.  Hands down.  No contest.

3. I've spent a lot of time traipsing up and down the NJ Turnpike in recent weeks. Did you know the rest areas on the turnpike are named after people who lived or worked in NJ? Clara BartonWalt WhitmanJames Fenimore CooperMolly PitcherJoyce KilmerThomas Edison, and Grover Clevland just to name a few. Of those I listed, who would you most like to have known and why?

Hmmm....this is a tough one for me.  It would be between Edison and Clara Barton.  Edison was a genius, but also kind of a jerk, as I understand it.  So the advantage would go to Clara.  I mean, think of all the things that any of those people would have to share with us!  Makes the history nerd in me a little crazy!

4. At what age did you move out of your parent's house and what prompted the move?

I moved out of my parents' house in 2005, I believe.  I moved because my grandma's house was available and it felt like it was time.  I saved up money to do some renovations on the inside and have pretty much been doing them ever since.  Stay tuned for later this summer when I completely redo my bathroom.

5. What's more satisfying to you-saving time or saving money?

Saving time.   I will brag about getting home quicker than normal.   I never have been very good at saving money, even when I try.

6. Name something you think brings out the good in people.

I think that a tragic event sometimes brings out the good in people.  It's sad that it takes something like a natural disaster to bring out a sense of  community, but it's true.  I also think that, at least where I am from, people come out and do amazing things when anyone is in deep need.  I have seen our community raise thousands of dollars to help teachers who were battling breast cancer and things of that nature.

7. This last question comes to you courtesy of Kathy over at Reflections...will you be taking a vacation or a staycation this summer? If so where will you go? If a staycation is on the calendar have you made any special plans to fill the time?

I had a staycation.  We ended up not being able to go to Virginia at the last minute, but several of my friends ended up with time off at the same time.  So we went shopping and to the wineries and to the Jake Owen concert.  It was a good time.  Of course, my last minute trip to CMA Fest was technically a vacation.  So, I guess I inadvertently had both. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I have been on a major music downloading spree recently.  I bought three whole CDs plus several individual songs.  I will probably be doing a little what I am listening to post at some time in the near future.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Somewhere In The Middle

I've been in a weird mood lately, my people.  Not necessarily down enough to worry, but not really feeling like myself either.  I'm not really sure how it even got started, to be honest.  I know that I have listened to this song about a thousand times and even though I am pretty sure it's suppose to be happy, but it keeps making me cry.  So there's that.

I will be honest and say that maybe wedding season is part of it.  It's hard to be the perpetually single girl while it feels like everyone else you've known ever in the history of the world is coupled up and walking down the aisle.  (Slight exaggeration?  Yes.  Is that how it feels sometimes?  Uh huh.)  And that's not to say that I'm not happy for those couples, because I am.  Some of them have waited a long time to get their day and I would never want to rob them of an ounce of joy.  Just the same, sometimes I just can't be a part of it. Sometimes I come up with really feeble lies because the truth is hard.  And I know how selfish that is, but I also know my limits.  And right now, one more wedding and I will scream.

I oscillate between wanting with everything I have to be married and not wanting it at all.  Which sounds crazy, I know.  It's just that for every happy couple, I seem to know one who is going through some kind of agonizing heartbreak or worse yet, break up.  Part of me wonders if Paul knew what he was saying when he said that some of us were best off to be single.  Of course, in the next breath, I am knee-deep in planning an imaginary wedding to an imaginary man.  So I suppose all hope is not lost.  What can I say?  I'm a woman of contradictions.

I say all that to say that I am aware that I am not the only one who feels this way.  So, if you are somewhere in the middle, looking around thinking how life is not at all how you'd imagined (and not in the good way), remind yourself of this.  Repeat it over and over until you believe it.  Because trust me, I will be.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's Okay Thursday

Its Ok Thursdays

It's Thursday and I've decided that it's time to remember that it's okay...

...to be a little obsessed with Twitter.  (I've only had it a couple weeks!)

...to clean your kitchen in stages, over multiple days, to minimize your horror.

...to be super excited to find Inside The Actors Studio episodes on YouTube!  (I'm a nerd!)

...that you took the summer job you swore you weren't going to because the money is good.

...to have a showroom dreams and a dime store budget.  (At least I hope so!)

...to think everything tastes better in a glass full of Sonic ice!

...to sleep in and still take a middle of the afternoon nap!

What do you need to remind yourself it's okay to think, feel or do?  Share it with the class in the comments!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 6/13

1. In what way are you your own worst enemy?

I'm my own worst enemy because I can't always seem to shut my mouth, even when it would be in my best interest to do so.  If I am right, I can't just settle with the satisfaction that I was, I have to crow about it.  And heaven help you if I get on a roll.  It's not one of my finer qualities and one that I am really trying to work on.

2. Jacques Cousteau's birthday was Monday, June 11th...ever been scuba diving? Is that something you'd like to try? What's your favorite 'under the sea' creature?

I have never been scuba diving.  I have this inherent fear of drowning, so that's kind of a bummer.  It is something I would like to try because I love aquariums (the big kind, not the kind you have in your house.  Well, unless you have a the big kind in your house.  Then I'm in!).  I love all of the tropical fish, but my favorite is the sea turtle!  They are just so cute!

3. On a scale of 1-10, how comfortable are you in and around the water? (1=not at all, 10=very) Do you know how to swim and if so how and when did you learn?

Despite the whole fear of drowning thing, I  am a big ole 10 in the water!  My mom took me to swimming lessons from the time I was old enough to walk and I would go every summer.  I am a very good swimmer and I absolutely love being in the water.  (As long as I can see what's around me.   I hate swimming in murky lakes, which is all we really have around here!)

Me circa 1986

4. What's something you do to motivate yourself to tick an item off your to-do list?

I can't really think of anything in particular, probably because I tend to lack motivation to check things off my to-do list.

5. What makes a good neighbor? Are you a good neighbor?

A good neighbor helps you when you have two inches of water in your basement and you don't know why you can't get the water shut off.  And will also put a new bulb in your headlight after you look at them with sad puppy eyes.  I should also mention that I don't have houses as neighbors, I have businesses.  And they take good care of me.  In return, I let them walk back and forth through my yard.  Hmmm....maybe I should bake them cookies or something...

6. Who loads the dishwasher at your house? Is there a right way and a wrong way?

I don't have a dishwasher.  there's no room for it in my tiny kitchen.  But, after years in my parents' house, I can tell you there is a right way and a wrong way, but no one says too much if you will just do the dishes.

7. You know it's summer when_____you start getting fresh garden goods thrust upon you whether you like it or not_____.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

If you have been here much, you know how I feel about Gilmore Girls.  It is my all-time favorite show.  I know the names of the episodes.  It's a very serious thing.  And while Amy Sherman-Palladino has brought us shows since, I haven't really loved them.  Until I watched Bunheads.  Maybe it's my love for Broadway's  Sutton Foster and Kelly Bishop, but I loved the pilot.  (You can watch it on hulu now.  The show airs on ABC Family on Mondays.)    Did anyone else see it?  Thoughts?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

CMA Fest In Pictures (And Some Words, Of Course)

I'm not the kind of girl who goes on adventures.  I think I'm willing, but the opportunity just doesn't come up that often, I guess.  So, when Kristi called and wanted to know if I could join her for a last minute trip to Nashville, I said yes.  And I've never been more glad that I did.  

Ready yourselves, there are a lot of pictures in this post.  Since we didn't really plan beyond a couple of days to go down to the Fest, we didn't actually have tickets when we got downtown.  This isn't really a problem though because you can buy them from licensed guys on the street.  We found a guy and got our tickets and headed straight to the Riverfront for Eden's Edge.

When Mel Tillis came out next, he brought one of my favorites, Heidi Newfield, who was super shiny and one heck of an harmonica player!

When we were done with the Riverfront, we crossed the footbridge.  The view was incredible, even if the walk was a little hot!
I don't know who this guy is, but he looks like Sheena's husband.  The idea of Ronnie as a country guitarist was enough to keep me entertained while waiting for Florida Georgia Line.  (See, Sheena!  I totally wasn't kidding!)
Speaking of, I have to admit that I wasn't really a fan of Florida Georgia Line until I saw them live!  Aside from being pretty easy on the eyes, they also put on a really great show at the BMI Tailgate Party!
Now it's time for a little comparison.  This is what LP Field looked like when we got there before the shows really got going
This is what it looked like during the opening act (who was some guy named Kenny Rogers.  You might have heard of him.)  Partying with 50,000 people was more fun than I could have possibly imagined!  It was relaxed and fun and it felt like everyone was there to have a good time.  (Well, except for those two guys who got into a fist fight in our section, but I think having too much fun might have been the root of that one.)
I wish I could have gotten a better picture of Little Big Town, particularly of Kimberly's hair, because she definitely has one of the best heads of hair in country music!  Not to mention that whole awesome voice thing!  I can't wait for their next album!
Here's Natalie giving her best Eric Church!  We had to laugh because it was 11:00 at night, but this was easier than carrying everything!
And here's Luke Bryan (sigh!) during one of my favorite parts of the night, when he took to the piano and played all kinds of other people's music!  It was funny and unexpected, and a boy who can play guitar and piano is just hot!  We danced and laughed and hollered through his entire set!
I stopped here because how many pictures of a big screen are too many and we were too far away for my little camera to do much more.  I just didn't have it in me to lug my bigger camera around!   It was a great spontaneous trip and I am so glad we did it! Now I'm ready  to go again next year!

Monday, June 11, 2012

I Want Adventure In The Great Wild Somewhere!

So last week, my BFF from high school, Kristi Jo, sent a text asking if I had plans for the weekend.  And once she told me what we were going to do, I dropped any notion of a plan and packed my bags.  Where did we go?  Here's a blatant hint...

You got it!  We left Saturday morning to go to Nashville's CMA Music Festival! (If you follow me on Twitter...no really, take a minute and follow me if you don't....or on Instagram for that matter, you'd already know this!)  We got to our hotel, took the shuttle downtown, met up with friends, bought tickets on the street, and hit the ground running!  Twelve hours of music and fun and it was so worth every minute!  I'm going to talk more about it tomorrow after I get a chance to get my pictures sorted, but I see how people want to go the whole four days!  It was incredible!

If you are a country fan, you will probably recognize the acts we saw.  From the Riverfront to the Main Stage we saw:  Eden's Edge, Mel Tillis, Florida Georgia Line, Kenny Rogers, Hunter Hayes, Love and Theft, Little Big Town, Eric Church, Kip Moore, Faith Hill, and Luke Bryan!  We also met people from all over the world.  You think I'm exaggerating?

Our table buddies from supper had come to the Fest from Norway!  (Kristi and Natalie met another couple in line from England!)  That certainly takes a little more planning than we did!  Nashville knows how to throw a party, ya'll!

I promise the rest of the story (and definitely more pictures!) tomorrow.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Just Move

This has pretty much been my life motto:

Except here's the problem, I am getting to the point where even my fat clothes are tight.  And it sucks.  I found a picture of me the other day which was taken almost exactly four years ago, when I was very close to the thinnest I have been since high school.

Now two things about this:  1) I still had unfortunate fat rolls.  2) I was on prescription drugs to make me lose weight (in all, I ended up losing almost 70 pounds)  that eventually contributed to a really ugly depression.  Still, it wasn't that long ago when I could wear clothes from American Eagle, even though that's irrelevant because they are no longer age appropriate.

Anyway, I say all that to say this:  I need to get serious about eating right and exercising.  I feel better when I do it.  I have so much more energy when I am doing what we are supposed to do.  And I don't just need to do it because it makes me feel better, but because I have all of the bad diseases in my family history, and if I don't want to have them myself, it's time to fight.  (Because I'm not getting any younger, even if I am not that old!)

Sure, I've said all this before, which is why this post isn't really about the grand gestures.  I was actually encouraged to get with it by something very simple.  My childhood friend (in that I can't actually remember a time in my life when I didn't know her) has been challenging everyone to get moving by posting daily exercise challenges.  And my goal is to do those challenges and whatever else I feel up to for the entire summer.  Weight Watchers has worked for me in the past if I can stick with it, so I may try to add that as well.  But my plan is to just take this one pound (and one crunch) at a time.  I don't even have a scale, nor do I intend to get one because I get number obsessed.  I will know by how my clothes feel and how I feel.  My big goal, which I hesitate to even really set, is to run a 5K by this time next year.  I don't know if I will do that, but it feels nice to have some kind of long-term goal in mind.

Wish me luck!  And have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

And Some Days, You Don't

I don't feel like blogging today.  And it's not because I don't have anything to talk about because I have a whole post list full of half-baked ideas and notes-to-self.  I don't want to blog because I am heartbroken over what the Krulls' (and so many other families) are facing right now.  Lucy's cancer is back, and there's just nothing else the doctors can do.  And in the face of what this family is going through, writing something trivial just doesn't seem right.

So what I would like to ask is that you join me in prayer for the Krulls'.  For strength, for peace, for comfort.  For a million other things that they will need as they walk this unimaginable road.  The thing that I love most about blogging is the sense of community--even if we have never met, we do feel as if we know one another.  This family is just as close to my heart as one who lives next door, and they covet prayers now more than ever.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 6/5

1. How many students were in your high school graduating class? Did you know most, if not all of them?

I believe that there were 37, if I'm correct.  And yes, I knew all of them, most since kindergarten, where my mom was our teacher.  That's the beauty of a small school, I suppose.  There aren't many strangers, though I would like to think that I am a lot nicer person than I was back then!

2. What was the last thing you photographed?

My sister, just yesterday,  for an ID photo that she has to send in with some of her nursing paperwork.

3. Pickles-love 'em or loathe 'em? If its love what's something you eat that needs a pickle?

LOVE THEM!  I will gladly eat pickles by themselves, but I have to have them on my burgers.  I prefer dill to bread and butter or sweet, but I will eat them all!

4. What's a stereotype you seem to perpetuate without meaning to?

Way to slip that one in with all the lightweight ones, Joyce!  : )    I'm not really sure how to answer that one.  It would probably be that single girls have cats and sit around eating ice cream in their pajamas bemoaning their fate.  I happen to like all those things, but I have to believe that I would if I were married too.  Particularly the ice cream!  I don't do a lot of bemoaning, however.  I just don't see the good in it.

5. Ever been horse back riding? If so is it something you enjoy? If not, do you have any interest? Did you watch the Kentucky Derby? Will you be watching the last leg of the Triple Crown this weekend?

I have been horseback riding.  It's not something that I would want to do often.  I'm not really scared of horses, but I don't really want to ride them much either.  I did watch the Kentucky Derby and will be watching Saturday, as this could be a moment in history!  Triple Crown contenders don't come around every day!

6. What's your favorite 'wedding' movie?

Oh my!  If you come here often, you know how I feel about movies.   And I could never pick just one.   I love The Wedding Date, My Best Friend's Wedding (the scene on the boat breaks my heart every time) (also I might have a thing for Dermot Mulroney), 27 Dresses, Bridesmaids, Father of The Bride (the remake), Made of Honor, and Love Actually (the wedding scene with everyone joining in the song!).  And those are just the ones I can think of.  Though it is very different tonally (not at all a rom-com or even all that happy), there's also Rachel Getting Married, which has an outstanding performance by Anne Hathaway.

7. What is one 'tourist attraction' in the USA that you'd like to see in person?

There are so many, particularly out West.  But the big two would be The Grand Canyon and Crater Lake.  I would also really like to see Niagara Falls, now that I think about it.  I have a lot of places I need to see!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Okay, I know that I am the last person on this train, but seriously how good is Downton Abbey?!?!  I am watching Season 1 on Netflix right now and I cannot get enough of it.  It's not the least bit dry, even though it is a period piece, and I simply can't wait to see what's next!  The chances of me owning Season 2 in the near future are looking pretty good!  (Since only Season 1 is available for my instant queqe!)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Queen's Jubilee

As far back as I can remember, I've been fascinated by the British royal family.  I've always found that rather curious as we don't have a lot of royalty in the Midwest.  It wasn't until I read Jerramy Fine's Someday My Prince Will Come that I realize I wasn't alone in my obsession.

There's something about the pageantry of it all that we just don't have here in the States.  The closest that we come is what?  An inauguration?   And even then, when was the last time that you saw a president riding down the Mississippi with a thousand ships?  Because that was awesome!

(my favorite royals--Harry, Catherine, and William)

Anyway, I say all that to say that I am going to be bummed to miss the replay of the concert tonight because I have my first summer GED class and I'm too cheap to get a DVR.  Because even this Midwestern girl has to admit that a 60-year reign is pretty impressive.  God save the Queen!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Wineries, Twitter, and Rugby

Another weekend has gone by, thus ending the "I can do what I want" portion of my summer vacation.  But just because today means that I am back to work, doesn't mean you don't get a few pictures of the weekend!

Because several of my friends were on summer vacation last week, we all decided to meet for lunch at the local winery.
 It was a beautiful day, unseasonably cool (in the the 60s) and we had this gorgeous view to ourselves almost the entire time!
 Here's some proof that Amber and I can actually take a self-portrait.  Apparently, we can be taught.  Or at the very least had a little dumb luck.
 Cynthia was proving that she is a beast!  She was sickly, but didn't want to miss out on the fun!  We had a bunch of other people with us, too, over the afternoon but I didn't want to bore you with a million pictures.  (Instead, I will bore you with my words, like usual!)
 This is actually an older picture, but this sweet guy came by to see us.  He's the winery mascot and I love him, even if he looks like that thing in The Neverending Story.
 Amber decided that she wanted to make a new friend, but Mama Kitty wasn't really into it.  She hung out with us, but was mostly happy in her own chair.

Saturday I felt pretty awful with this allergy mess, so I mostly just hung around.  Sunday was all about church with some of my other friends, lunch and Cool Spoons with my sister (I may have a fro-yo obsession!) and hanging out with my parents.  (Watched the College Rugby National Championships.  This could be my new favorite sport!)

Also, I joined Twitter, finally.  So, if you are so inclined, you can follow me by clicking the button in the sidebar!  What did you do this weekend?.  Fill me in, friends!