Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I Want Wednesday: March 28, 2012

**I Want dresses. And somewhere to wear them. Work is not dress-friendly and there is no way I could justify SIX DRESSES in my closet that have minimal opportunities for being worn.

**I Want to know who I am. I haven't worn a dress since July 2009. When I was *in* a wedding and kind of *had* to. I mean, of course, I will wear one for my own wedding too, but I don't ever gravitate toward dresses. I am confused.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I Sing in the Car: March 27, 2012

A little different twist on the last five songs that my iPod played on shuffle... 

Song #1
Artist: Kenny Chesney
Title: You Had Me From Hello
What is the very first line in the song? One word, that's all you said.
Is that lyric significant to you in any way? Not particularly.
What is the 4th line of the song? You were in my future far as I could see.
Does that line make you think of a certain person? It certainly does.
What is your favorite lyric in this song? Inside, I built a wall / So high around my heart, I thought I'd never fall.

Song #2
Artist: LeAnn Rimes
Title: But I Do Love You
What is the last line of the song? But I do love you.
What is the 9th line of the song? But I do love you.
Does that lyric bring up any memories? Not at all. But it sure does seem to be the theme in this song!
What lyric in this song do you relate to the most or find to be the truest? And I don't like to turn the radio on / Just to find I've missed my favorite song.
What is the chorus of this song? I love everything about the way you're lovin' me / The way you lay your head upon my shoulder when you sleep / And I love to kiss you in the rain / I love everything thing you do, oh I do.

Song #3
Artist: Kenny Chesney
Title: Sherry's Living in Paradise
What is the first line of this song? Sherry's living in paradise.
What is the 5th line in this song? She's happy now it seems.
How does this lyric make you feel? I remember when I reached a place in my life when I finally felt happy again.

What movie soundtrack would this song be perfect for? I can't think of specific movie, but it would have to be a chick flick in some tropical location. And I suppose it would help if the protagonist was named Sherry.
Which line is your favorite? Chasing something or running from something / Had a lot of lovers that were good for nothing / And she's thought about leaving once or twice / But she's still in the sun and this laid back life.

Song #4
Artist: U2
Title: With or Without You
What is the first line in this song? See the stone set in your eyes.
If this song title was a movie title, what would the movie be about? Some kind of broken-hearted love story maybe? Or perhaps a comedy-action type movie?
Does this song have a memory attached to it for you? I will forever associate it with the Ross and Rachel breakup on Friends.
What kind of mood does this song put you in? It's kind of a pensive, angsty song, but I cannot be either of those things when I am picturing that scene from Friends.
Which lyric is your favorite in this song? Toss-up between: "Sleight of hand and twist of fate / On a bed of nails she makes me wait" and "Through the storm, we reach the shore / You give it all and I want more."

Song # 5
Artist: Lee Brice
Title: Love Like Crazy
What is the 10th line of the song?  He'll say "Pull up a seat."
Does that lyric remind you of a situation you've been in? Maybe back in the day when one of my grandparents would have some wisdom to impart.
Does this song have a deep meaning, or is it just straightforward? I think it's a pretty direct set of instructions on how to have a long, happy marriage. I'll tell you what: It's "free advice" I take to heart in my relationship every day.
What is the last line in the song? Ain't that crazy?
Which is your favorite lyric? Just ask him how he made it / He'll tell you faith and sweat / And the heart of a faithful woman / Who never let him forget / Be a best friend, tell the truth / And overuse 'I love you' / Go to  work, do your best / Don't outsmart your common sense / Never let your prayin' knees get lazy / And love like crazy / Always treat your woman like a lady / Never get too old to call her baby / Never let your prayin' knees get lazy / And love like crazy.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: March 26, 2012

Monday: T put together a roast for the crock pot. It's simmering away as we speak.

Tuesday: It's been a while since we had grilled chicken wraps with honey mustard, and we have some heavier meals on the menu this week, so I really wanted something lighter.

Wednesday: Church night = quick meal. Pizza for dinner.

Thursday: Chicken tenders, not sure how T will decide to make these. He wants some mac & cheese on the side. I think I may also need a veggie.

Friday: I want to try a new recipe for Spinach-Pesto Meatball Soup. I am sure we will have some warm bread and a salad with it. That's typical fare for us with soup.

Saturday: Chinese-Style Pork Stir Fry and some wild rice.

Sunday: Egg and Sausage Bake with some fresh fruit. We ended up bumping this yesterday because it just didn't appeal to T's tastebuds as we neared dinnertime.

Notes from last week's menu: Monday's Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans and Potatoes was tasty, though I think I liked it better than T did. Tuesday's cauliflower really came out perfectly; that was some of the freshest looking cauliflower I've seen, since my Gram used to walk out to the garden a cut a head of it for the next meal. Thursday's Creamy Pesto Stuffed Shells came out well (despite my best efforts to destroy the meal), though next time I hope to actually use the Creamy Pesto creme -- the Savory Garlic was a good improv in a pinch, though. And we ended up changing Sunday's dinner plan at the last minute, and having a quick frozen skillet meal with some salad.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Leftovers: March 23, 2012

Somewhere, buried in my Google Reader, is a blog that posts "Friday Leftovers." Those thought fragments or bits of an idea or blurbs that don't really constitute a whole post of their own, and yet they are still a part of life. I wish I could give credit where credit is due, but I need to find the blog first...and if you saw my Google Reader, you would understand why this is something of a dilemma.

** I am beyond thrilled to learn that Bath & Body Works is bringing back last Spring's limited edition "Signature Vanillas" for a short time. I discovered, far too late, that I love the Vanilla Apricot scent, nearly as much as I like their Christmas scent, "Vanilla Bean Noel." By the time I realized just how much I liked it, it was long gone. And I was sad. My mission today, after work, is to go straight home, check my stash of coupons, and then go straight to my local Bath & Body Works to stock up. Even better? They are running a "buy three, get two free" sale. I am happy!

** Happy is a far cry from how I was feeling yesterday evening. That was more along the lines of thoroughly annoyed with myself. Why? Well let me tell you what a stupid head I've been. ALL WEEK.On Sunday, I did my grocery shopping. I knew the ground beef I bought wasn't needed til Thursday and Monday was the "sell by" date. I should have put it in the freezer until Wednesday, but I didn't. I also had some Philadelphia Cooking Creme that this new recipe for stuffed shells uses. When I was putting things away, I needed to stack items, because the refrigerator was getting full. All week long, the refrigerator thermometer was reading between 40 and 50 degrees, no matter how high we set the temperature control, and it was running almost constantly--and yet this whole time the freezer was at at zero degrees without issue. T was getting annoyed because it had been working fine until it suddenly wasn't, and our new appliances are barely a month old. When I went to start dinner yesterday, the ground beef, which was already pushing it by not being frozen until needed, was looking...not good. Because it had been in a 50-degree refrigerator at times, I refused to take chances with it. I tossed it and asked T to go over to Publix for some fresh meat. (1. I am annoyed with myself for wasting a pound of perfectly good meat, throwing $5 in the trash and spending additional money. While the $10 is not making or breaking anyone's bank account here, it just irritates me in principle.) While he is at the store, I finish prepping for my meal as best I can, while waiting for the ground beef replacement. I take the Cooking Creme--creamy pesto flavor--out of the refrigerator...and it is FROZEN. Now I am confused because how on earth is the entire refrigerator running warm, the ricotta I also took from that same shelf is the proper consistency, and this stuff is rock solid?! I open the refrigerator to check the other contents of that shelf--yogurt, sour cream, another container of cooking creme which had been buy-one-get-one--and they are all fine. And then I see it. When I stacked the items on Sunday? I had BLOCKED THE VENT that cools the refrigerator. The only thing getting blasted with constant cold air was the offending item, while the rest struggled to keep cool and the refrigerator worked its butt off. (2. Now I am additionally annoyed because I have wasted MORE money. I had to toss a $3 container of cooking creme, because cream cheese is a yucky consistency after freezing and thawing. I also wasted whatever dollars it took for the refrigerator to run nearly non-stop Sunday through Thursday.) I sigh at myself and improvise with the other cooking creme, which is Savory Garlic flavor. (3. I am disappointed because I was really looking forward to the Creamy Pesto flavor.) T comes back with the ground beef, I tell him about my refrigerator theory and the cooking creme, and I carry on with my dinner preparations. I finish dinner and start eating...and then realize I forgot to use the baby spinach I wanted to use up before it spoiled. It wasn't part of the recipe, but I had it from something else and I hate wasting food if I don't have to. (4. And now I am annoyed that I have to toss this spinach which really can't wait any longer. Normally wouldn't have bothered me *too* much, but I felt like I spent dinner preparations just tossing money in the garbage disposal.) Just slap a big L for loser on my forehead. Oh and the refrigerator? Running perfectly again. I am embarrassed, because I know better.

** I had grand plans to go to Animal Kingdom this weekend. I like to see the animals before the Summer heat is full force and they get all lazy and sleepy. In full defiance of my plan, Mother Nature has cranked up the heat to the upper 80s, and it's going to rain both days this weekend. Hmph.

** I am ridiculously happy with the paper products being made for the wedding. They amuse me. They make me smile. They are coming out exactly as I pictured them. The person I am working with on Etsy has been a dream!

** On the wedding front, I ordered the first pair of shoes I am considering for the wedding. They are due to arrive any day now. And if I don't like them for any reason? Zappos has a 365-day return policy (provided you have the box and the shoes are in new condition) and free shipping. Both. Ways. I can't go wrong with that, right??

** Today marks the one-year anniversary of my surgery. I am stunned that it has been an entire year. And I still like my scars, faded though they be.

** I have been lax about having delicious candles burning since we moved.  I have no excuse. I know where the candles are, and I have quite an arsenal of seasonally-appropriate scents from which to select. Truth be told, none of them can compete with windows thrown wide open to welcome the perfume of orange blossoms, but sadly, their time is coming to a close. I need to break into my stash of Spring candles soon. And on the topic of Spring, I need to do something about the banner on this blog. The snowflakes are not only stale, but they are not even the correct season!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: March 19, 2012

Let's try this menu share one more time, shall we?

Monday: We'll be trying a new recipe for Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon Garlic Green Beans. It's time for some cooking to happen in this new kitchen already!

Tuesday: T is going to put some tilapia on the grill in foil packets. I am going to boil up some cauliflower. We'll have a salad for some color.

Wednesday: Midweek Lenten worship for me means we need a quick easy meal. T is going to pick up some Chicken Noodle Soup to-go from Bob Evans, something he has been craving for a little bit.

Thursday: Maybe you should sit down. Here is a *second* new recipe for this week! I will be putting together another variation on stuffed shells. Creamy Pesto-Stuffed Shells to be specific. We'll warm up some garlic bread and have a salad too.

Friday: Linguine with Clam Sauce is a favorite in our house.

Saturday: T is going to grill up some sausage burgers to go along with some mozzarella sticks we've been wanting to have. And since I need some sort of veggie in my meal, there will be a salad as well.

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner! T is going to make his mom's recipe for Egg and Sausage Bake, and we'll have some yummy fresh fruit on the side.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Where apparently I am it.

It's been ages since someone "tagged" me to do a post, but tagged I was, back in February. I've had it open in a tab since then--that is one of my favorite features of Chrome, that it remembers the tabs I have open until I decide to close them, no matter how many times I close my browser--and I finally have the time to see to this. The idea is to answer the questions asked, then tag some more people to answer questions of my own.

1. What dreams have you achieved?
Are you kidding me? I am living the dream. We just bought a house. We're getting married in the fall. My dream was to have a happy life...and I do.

2. What dreams have you yet to achieve?
I don't know that I have any big lofty dreams left. Which sounds bad, but it really isn't. My dreams are mostly of the small variety, like visiting every Major League ballpark at least once, meeting a few of my longtime internet-made friends in person finally, see some more of the United States. The biggest of my goals is to finish paying off some debt. The biggest of my daydreams is to visit Hawaii someday. And someday, God willing, I would like to be a mother.

3. Have you lost any friends that you used to have and you wish you could get them back?
No. If someone is no longer a friend, it was a calculated decision on my part. There was a reason it was better we part ways.

4. What was your favorite car?
I loved my first car. A little black 1998 Nissan Altima. I loved the way it looked when it was freshly washed. I loved how it drove. I loved that it was all mine.

5. What was your favorite job?
There have been parts I've loved about every job I've had...and parts I haven't liked so much. Of all my jobs, I liked working in food service the least by far, but I don't think I could pick a true favorite.

6. Do you look forward to going to your current job?
Most of the time. I very rarely dread it...and when I do, it's usually because I am due for a vacation. Everyone needs some time to recharge.

7. Since you started blogging, what has been your favorite post by you?
I have a dozen I have actually tagged as favorites, but I think my very favorite of them all *might* be "Where I'm From."

8. By others?
Oh wow. I've read so many. I usually share them on Facebook. I don't think a specific one actually comes to mind though.

9. What is your favorite side to a good roast?
Ummm... whatever side is moist and tasty and on my plate?

10. What is your favorite zoo animal and why?
I think the "big cats" are very regal and giraffes are interesting to watch move around, but when I am at Disney's Animal Kingdom, I can lose large chunks of time watching the white-cheeked gibbons. They completely fascinate me.

11. If you could go to space, what in particular would you like to see?
I think I would just like to see the earth from above. I loved the feeling of perspective I got from hiking under the sequoias on my Christmas vacation, and I think the same sort of perspective could be gained in reverse from viewing this planet from afar. Truth be told though, I don't think I would do well with space travel and that would weightless thing. I figure if I can't even stomach "Mission Space" at Epcot, taking off in a space shuttle likely wouldn't be a good plan.

I don't think I can make it to quite eleven more people, but how about: Rachel, Krystyn, Stripeycat, CheleRebecca, Suzy, and G (consider this your nudge, since we agreed to encourage one another with our blogging!)

And for their eleven questions:

1. You have been awarded the time off from work and an all-expenses paid week anywhere in the United States. The catch is that it must be somewhere you have not been before. Where do you choose to visit?

2. Name three of your guilty pleasures.

3. The best kind of Girl Scout Cookie is:

4. What do you value most in other people?

5. Be honest. Do you sneak some raw cookie dough when you're baking cookies?

6. Have you ever looked back at your life and realized that something you thought was a bad thing was actually a blessing in disguise?

7. What is the most beautiful place you've ever visited?

8. Are you more of a thinker or a feeler?

9. Name three things you are thankful for right now.

10. Have you ever participated in a three-legged race?

11. When you are at an event that plays the National Anthem, do you place your hand over your heart?


Friday, March 16, 2012

In boxes.

On a particular evening, a couple of weeks ago, as I sifted through some boxes long set aside, filled with dreams of a life I once thought I wanted, I realized I was ready to let them go when I last sealed them inside those cardboard walls. Item by item, I discarded the contents into a large plastic contractor's garbage bag. Then I broke down the cardboard into a flat, tidy pile. In the morning, I wheeled the garbage can to the curb, the yellow recycling bin set to one side, casting them away forever, ready to step into the life waiting before me.

I am ready.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Imagine me with eyes the size of saucers.

I have no idea what happened to most of February and the first half of March. For serious. It had been just long enough since my last move that I had conveniently forgotten the toll it takes on...everything. It isn't that I am having a difficult time feeling comfortable in a new house with new sounds at night or anything like that. In fact, it felt exactly right from the very first night there, comfortable and familiar.

The adjustment has been more in the disruption of my familiar patterns. I don't know where anything belongs yet, so I keep losing things, even though I have carefully put them away. Case-in-point: We wanted to go out to dinner on Saturday, and T asked me where our stash of gift cards was. I knew for certain that I had not carelessly tossed them in a pile. I distinctly recalled holding them in my hand and telling myself to put them somewhere that made sense, where they could be found when needed. And then...right, I couldn't figure out where that place was. I wandered the house in circles for a good twenty minutes before I finally located them. They *were* in a place that made sense, but the problem with a new house is that nothing actually makes sense yet. That is actually an accurate representation of my whole life right now too. My old rhythms and routines were designed to fit into an apartment, and now I am adjusting to a new space and a new routine, and I frequently find myself overwhelmed.

Toss in "plan a long distance wedding" and you have a recipe for not getting anything done before the next task draws my attention away, and my poor little blog sits neglected, weeks of my life shuffled out of sight with hardly a glance and a mention. A thousand thoughts that get swept into a meaningless pile, never making it into this space.

I am, in a word, overwhelmed. Maybe the first step back to feeling balanced is to just start the new normal. Maybe then the rest will fall in line.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Snapshot From Along the Broken Road: February 2011

A photo of me:

By the way? It is way hard to take a photo of yourself in the mirror and actually capture what you set out to photograph. This is one in a series of about sixty photos. Of which I kept eight.

1) Candle scents this month:
None. Has anyone seen my candles?

2) What I am reading this month:
Instruction manuals for all my new appliances. Who has time for recreational reading these days?

3) Top three songs I was drawn to:
"Stand," by Rascal Flatts. "I'd Just Be With You," by Julianne Hough. "The Woman With You," by Kenny Chesney.

4) Movies I saw:
Moneyball. And it was pretty darn good. Not at all sorry I inadvertently ended up owning it when I merely went out to rent a copy.

5) Favorite tv moments of the month:
Alcatraz - This show is blowing my mind; you cannot blink or you're going to miss some subtle detail that will be important later. Your best bet? Find a tv-viewing buddy, and after you've both watched an episode, compare notes.

6) Something yummy I made:
Has anyone seen my kitchen? Are the candles there too?

7) Restaurants where I ate:
Arby's. Hollywood and Vine (Disney's Hollywood Studios).

8) Five things I am loving this month:
1. All the natural light filling my house. I finally don't feel like a cave-dweller anymore! And I don't have to have a light even during daylight hours. And this whole "showering by the soft glow of morning light" thing? Pretty much the best way to wake up and ease into the day. 2. The new comfy couch with its reclining ends. I feel like I lounge in the lap of luxury. 3. A washer and dryer that I don't have to share or pump handfuls of quarters into or don't get my clothes entirely clean or make my clean laundry smell burnt. And my washer is so smart, it actually knows when a load is off-balance AND REDISTRIBUTES THE CONTENTS ITSELF. 4. The ice and water dispensers on my (brand new, humongous) refrigerator. We drink a lot of water and it is so nice to not have to haul gallon jugs home every other week of grocery shopping and shuffle bottled water around the inside of the refrigerator. 5. I cannot tell my dishwasher is running. I am not even kidding you. Even standing right next to it, if it weren't for the little blue light telling me it is working, I would not know. A far cry from the apartment-grade dishwasher that sounded like a jet engine.

9) A goal I had for this month:
Rebalance myself after moving and feel some kind of rhythm to my days again. We're getting there.

10) This month I looked forward to:
Living in a house. Having space to breathe. Feeling like our monthly payments are going toward an investment that benefits us and not someone else.

11) Something I want to be thankful for this month:
That my camera didn't end up broken.

12) A photo I took this month:


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