Thursday, December 31, 2009

A (resolution-free) recap of 2009. Because I'm on the bandwagon.

I made some cookies and the citrus inspired sweets snowballed from there.

I wrote a mission statement to clear up any confusion.

I entered a contest and came in third.

I rambled about cameras. And then proceeded to never take another picture again. (Not really.)

I drooled over this man and watched as history was made.

I went house hunting.

I made cake balls for the first time. Amen.

I had a few bad weeks.

I read a few books and was never the same again.

I made a bucket list.

I went to Yosemite.

I survived an earthquake.

I went to a bar. Because I'm a supportive wife.

I freaked out over this long awaited clip.

I started a project.

I quit a project. And moved to Wordpress.

I was taught a very important lesson by a family of ducks.

I made cookies and brownies and fudge, oh my.

I opened up about something I had been trying to hide for years.

I moved back to Blogger.

I celebrated the 4th by riding my bike for exactly twelve years.

I went to the fair and discovered something amazing!

I got laid off.

And these muffins encouraged me to keep my day job.

I went to Phoenix.

I drank too much and forgot how to operate a camera.

I was sleep deprived and went a little crazy.

I reread a few books and my "problem" got worse.

I took a picture of my cat.

I started my period and went nuts.

I watched a lot of TV.

I was stuck in bed with The Swine.

I cut my hair.

I went apartment hunting and took some pictures.

I packed and we moved.

I unpacked and took time out to see a movie. The movie.

And all too soon it was Christmas Eve and I was stressed.

It's been an interesting year. There were a lot of highlights. (You. Edward. Cake balls.) But I'm excited for a new year. One that I hope is pleasantly peaceful and hiccup-free. Not to get all nauseatingly emo on you, but it's been a damn good time getting to know you guys. Seriously the best part of blogging.

Happy New Year, peeps!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

California. Maybe where I belong. Maybe not.

Dude. Christmas just flew by. And I place the blame on the big move. There was unpacking to finish, frantic last minute shopping, 200 holiday cake balls to prepare, parties we couldn't get out of... and if I had taken pictures of any of it, I'd share them in one big Christmas-related post. But since I didn't, I'm coming to you with gripes of where I live. (Because I become disgruntled every December as I walk by those people still tanning by the pool.)

I have lived in southern California for a long time. Like, MY ENTIRE LIFE. In fact, I've spent my entire life right here inside the Orange Curtain. With one exception. Two pesky years The Husband and I spent in Monterey. ("Pesky" because, sadly, my work experience while we lived there left a bitter taste in my mouth that has unfortunately overshadowed what was really a lovely time in my life.)

Peeps, I don't belong here.

Or maybe I do and I've just lived here so long that I've become desperate for a change. I suppose only a drastic move would put it all into perspective, but I don't think The Husband would be willing to move across the country just to see if I'd like to continue living right here.

I made a pros and cons list. It didn't exactly help.

Pro: The sun shines constantly!
Con: The sun shines constantly.

Pro: My family is close by!
Con: My family is close by.

Pro: There are lots of people!
Con: There are lots of people.

Pro: Great shopping!
Con: Great. Shopping.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

If I were being reasonable (and I rarely am), I'd say that it's kind of cool (for lack of a better word) knowing I can go surfing and skiing in the same day... but I don't do either. I have access to some of the best shopping in the world... and I hate to shop. San Diego, Los Angeles, Palm Springs... they're all just an hour away. But I scrunch up my face in disgust whenever The Husband suggests making the drive.

Plus I'm partial to my own bed, thank you very much.

I'm not sure exactly where I belong or where I'd prefer to live. Definitely a place where I can experience all the seasons. I know I said the sun shines constantly here, but really, we go from summer... to rain... and back to summer. That's it. And, despite my love of the rain, it gets a bit... boring. It'd be fun to see the leaves change colors or to wake up to a white Christmas.

Although, I'll be honest, the snow scares me.

The Husband was born and raised in Minnesota. He has told me stories of winters so cold that they couldn't leave the house or THEY'D DIE. This freaks me out. How do you know when you're not supposed to leave the house?! Does someone tell you? Is it just assumed? Is it instinctual? Does an alarm sound like right before a tornado?

Oh, God, tornadoes.

I wish I weren't so scared of, well, everything. I'd move into a house that was the only one around for miles. When we drove through Vermont that was one of the things I loved most. The houses were few and far between, scattered throughout the hills. It was late October and the trees were alight with the colors of fall. It was gorgeous.

It was during the same trip that we spent three days in Boston. I'd move to Boston in a heartbeat. I loved its history and small-town feel. I loved walking the Freedom Trail. I loved the town homes we passed when we got lost somewhere around the U.S.S. Constitution. I loved Dunkin Donuts.

Once in a while The Husband will suggest moving to Washington and to that I give an enthusiastic HELL YES. For three reasons. One, we already have family there and, let's be honest, if it's just The Husband and me? One of us is sure to kill the other. Two, it rains a lot and I effing LOVE THE RAIN. SO MUCH THAT IT REQUIRES CAPS. And three, I mean hello!? Edward lives there. (Yes, I just went there.)

(In all seriousness, if you ever hear of me making plans to visit the town of a FICTIONAL CHARACTER, please shoot me in the head immediately.)

(Wait. I take that back. Let's face my pathetic reality. It could happen one day and I don't want fear for my life adding to the excitement.)

Since I've apparently lost all control of this post, I'll end it. (You're welcome.) But, first, questions. Because I’m disturbingly curious about you.

Where do you think you belong? Do you live there now? Have you ever lived there? If you could change anything about where you currently live, what would it be?

Me? I’d do something about all this traffic. And all these people. Like... get rid of 'em. Seriously, there are way too many people here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Miscellaneous. The Christmas Eve Eve and I'm a bit stressed edition.

Two weeks ago, I ordered The Husband's Christmas present online. It included a free gift. Two hours after I clicked "submit order," I received an e-mail saying the item was out-of-stock and I'd be notified as soon as it shipped. Two hours after that, I received another saying the item had been shipped. Today I received a box. Inside was the free gift. The item I ordered isn't due to arrive until January 5th. Awesome.

We finally got a Christmas tree yesterday. Today it's still not decorated. But I don't think I've ever seen a more perfectly proportioned tree. And it smells amazing.

Last night I found my gifts hidden under our bed. I spent the better part of an hour testing their weight and gently shaking them. Nearly all of them have me completely stumped.

The Husband refuses to see It's Complicated with me on Christmas day. Because it's a chick flick. Maybe if I threaten him with New Moon...

I saw New Moon for a third time last week. I love Edward.

I'm only halfway done shopping for Christmas dinner. Which means I have to go to the store and battle the crowds today. Which means I will need chocolate.

The Husband was violently ill two days ago. Since then, I've been going back and forth between fear of catching whatever he had and trying to convince myself that I feel GREAT! AMAZING! NEVER BETTER! 'cause they say it's all in your frame of mind. I swear, if I ralph on Christmas, I will hurt someone.

Yesterday we had a Secret Santa party at work. Apparently, my Secret Santa thought he knew best because he decided to toss out my list and get something I have absolutely no use for. Thanks, Santa.

I'm not completely 100% done with anything... decorating, shopping, wrapping, you name it. And I can't get motivated to do any of it. And I'm running out of time. And it's stressing me out. Which makes me want to sit down and just read for a while. Which just wastes more time and stresses me out even more.

Make me feel better. Tell me one specific thing that you are most looking forward to on December 25th.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hey! Look! Fall!

Winter is right around the corner, but I finally caught my first glimpse of Fall (or, as "Fall" as we get around these parts) and, damn it, I'm going to enjoy it. We had a couple days of rain, but it's been clear and sunny since. And it's going to be 70 degrees on Christmas day.

What's Mother Nature up to in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winner. (And I am completely lacking in creativity today.)

I was going to try to come up with a fun, exciting way of announcing the winner, but then I decided to get back in bed and read. And, well, now there are too many things that I still need to get done today that you're going to have to settle for another random pick. So, here goes.

And the 18th comment belongs to...

Congratulations, Emily! Please e-mail me at to claim your gift card. Oh, and if you need some recommendations, I guarantee you'll love this one, this one, this one, and this one. You're welcome.

And, actually, I don't guarantee that you'll love it. I have intense fear every time someone I know decides to read the series. So, I hope you'll love it, but if you don't... Well, I'm just not going to entertain the possibility.

And for those of you who may be wondering what the correct answer was...

1. My husband has a tattoo of the Minnesota Vikings on his left shoulder.
True. The boy is DIE HARD. Much like his wife is TWI-HARD. (I'm sorry.)

2. He was an all-star hockey player when he was five years old.
True. He was born in Minnesota where I'm pretty sure hockey is the only thing you can do what with it snowing ALL YEAR ROUND.

3. When he was just a kid, he once took a snow mobile into a fence while going 60 miles an hour.
True. Because too many pucks to the head.

4. He is completely deaf in his right ear.
True. Just plain born that way. And one of my best friends is completely deaf in his left ear. Am I the only one who finds that odd?

5. He is poop-in-your-pants terrified of earthquakes.
True. Although I feel the need to clarify that he has never actually pooped in his pants. Thank God. The man will dance naked through a tornado, but absolutely detests earthquakes. Which is why, whenever we're sitting in traffic beneath a freeway overpass, I feel the need to say, "Gee, I hope there's not an earthquake right now." He does not find this amusing.

6. He got so drunk on his 30th birthday he puked his guts out on the side of the road as I drove him home.
True. And it was my first time spending the night. Needless to say, I slept alone in his bedroom while he spent the night on the bathroom floor. Loser.

7. He eats Little Debbie snack cakes in bed every night.
True. And I'd like a do-over so I can marry one of the people who said this had to be false because why would he choose Little Debbies over my baking. I don't get it either. He's a strange man. Or else my photos are better than my baking and I've got you all fooled.

8. He once won over a hundred thousand dollars playing the lottery.
False. Maybe a hundred dollars and a few scratchers. And that's being generous. (But I have an abnormal amount of daydreams surrounding us winning the lottery.)

9. He's been to every state in the U.S. except Alaska.
True. He gets around. In the beginning of our relationship, this fact frustrated me to no end. One of the drawbacks to being with someone so many years older. They've "been there, done that" a lot more often. I wanted to experience "firsts" with him and there weren't many to be had.

10. He's only read one book since I've known him.
True. It was Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich. And he's read it twice. Once I told him that the only thing in THE WORLD I wanted for Christmas was for him to read Twilight. He sat, silent with his head in his hands, for several minutes before I finally said, "Honey, relax. I'm kidding."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Flirting, continued. Because I’m much too interested in other people’slives. And romance novels.

This topic has been too fun to stop at just one post, so I hope you wonderfully brilliant and opinionated people will continue to humor me.

Allow me to provide some additional information.

This man has a live-in girlfriend and, while it would seem that he was being honorable, I'd have to say it wasn't exactly like that.

Keep in mind that I'm no mind reader (not like Edward, anyway) but I was there and I was following their behavior and conversation closely. (As closely as possible while still trying to have some of my own fun.)

He was seeking her out as much as, if not more than, she was him. There was clearly an attraction between the two and I’m only being realistic when I say it happens, even when you're married. (But, please please please, know better than to act upon it. I'm so sick and tired of cheaters.) In fact, when she wasn’t around, he was overheard asking about her. He was interested in her. It certainly wasn’t one-sided.

My impression of his "reminder" that she had a husband at home was not an honorable one. He was testing her to see how far she was willing to go and when he realized that it was going to end at some fun, casual flirting, he left.

That's when it became clear, to me at least, that it's not just about you or even your significant other. That fine line between what's appropriate and what isn't is also determined by how the person with whom you're flirting feels or behaves.

If she had realized that he was interested in more than a casual flirtation, she should have walked away. End of story. In that sense I do think she crossed a line. And, despite my opinion of him (he obviously wasn't taking his own girlfriend into consideration and therefore he's scum), I do sort of commend him for walking away when he realized that they weren't thinking on the same level.

These are just a few of the comments that made me wish we were all in one big room debating the topic. God, what fun.

"Light flirting is ok. As long as the marriage is a very solid one and neither the husband or wife have ANY insecurities. And that, of course, is a rare one." MichelleSG

But who knows? This may be a totally normal thing for her and something her husband wouldn't think twice about. Interesting. I would love an in-depth look at their relationship. (Again, I seriously need a life.)

"If she's out there flirting she needs some attention she's not getting, but not fair to her man. It may have only been the eyes this time, but what next time?" Mia

Such a good point. Does she feel like something is missing? Or is she just having fun? Although, knowing what I do about him, maybe something is missing from his relationship if (and I don't know for certain, but) he was interested in going beyond flirting.

"If her marriage was rock solid and she's "in love" with her "soul mate" then spending an evening flirting with another man is a no-no." This DVM's Wife's Life

But couldn't you also argue that if her marriage was rock solid then maybe a little flirting is nothing to worry about? Of course, I'm such a pathetic romantic that I read "in love with her soul mate" and instantly think of one of my beloved romance novels in which a husband and wife would be too busy flirting with each other to flirt with anyone else. Sigh. (I did mention I need to get a life, right?)

"If you're doing something that you wouldn't do with your husband there, it's not okay. There's no other way around it." Chelsea

Completely agree. I'd love to weasel my way into an event where they're both in attendance so I could see just how her behavior is affected. I'd throw another party except I can only justify that amount of tequila for very special occasions.

"Over time, a married relationship does lose that fun-flirt vibe, so I think it's okay to go along with it if you find yourself in that atmosphere. It's part of the social experience, in my world. Call me crazy, but at a party I occasionally get sick of in-depth discussions about health care reform or whatever." Alias Mother


"Old dating rules still apply - don't get your honey where you make your money." Deb Thaxton

Ha! If, God forbid, I ever found myself single again, I don't think I'd ever date a man I worked with. (This from a woman who met and fell in love with and married her boss.)

"That guy was so honorable. Instead of trying to make the most of her behavior and seeing how far he could run with it, he left after reminding her that she had a husband at home. And it sounds like she's an, ahem, attention whore. She might not have gone to bed with him, but she didn't see anything wrong with provoking him. That's so rude, imo." Anne Marie

And now that you know more about Mr. Honorable? I'm dying to know if you're opinion on the subject has changed at all with some new information.

Actually, I'm dying to know if any of your opinions or thoughts have changed and I hope you'll share if they have. Although I'll understand if you decide to completely ignore me for going on an on about two random people flirting with each other. I'll try to come up with something new and exciting for my next post. No promises on the "exciting" part.

* * *

Oh, and don't forget. Winner announced Wednesday.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Seeking your advice, thoughts, opinions, whatever. The flirtatious edition.

I attended a going away party this past Thursday night.

We gathered at a bar. Naturally.

There was a lot of drinking involved. Naturally.

After the obligatory tequila shots, I watched as a friend proceeded to flirt with most of the men there. I've worked with this girl for a while now and have come to know her fairly well. She's rather introverted (I think I know a little something about that) and definitely comes out of her shell with the aid of alcohol (I might know a little something about that, too).

As she happens to be married (her husband wasn't in attendance), I have mixed feelings about her behavior. To each his (or her) own, certainly... but I was intrigued and couldn't help but watch her throughout the evening.

Well, as much as I could while I went back and forth between the restroom where our guest of honor paid homage (if you know what I mean) and the outside patio where my favorite couple proceeded to pick a fight with each other. (And, let me tell you, the fight? It was like getting an unexpected glimpse into their innermost secret life together, a glimpse I was never meant to see. It was disturbing.)

But I digress. The flirting. It was so interesting. (I really need to get a life.)

As time ticked away, there was one man with whom she flirted with more and more. There was eye contact, a lot of smiling, playful teasing. There was no touching and, from what I could overhear, nothing inappropriate was said. They talked about work, some sports, his upcoming move to San Francisco.

Then it was midnight and, after more eye contact, he left and she approached me with a perturbed expression.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"Men. They're so stupid."

No shit. "What happened?"

"I told him he should stay and have another cocktail and he kept saying 'you have a husband at home.' Over and over. 'You have a husband at home.' I told him to stay and have a drink! Not come home and go to bed with me!"

"He's a man," I said, "I'm pretty sure all he heard was 'let's have sex.' Especially with those eyes you were making at him."

"It was flirting! What's wrong with a little harmless flirting?"

And, really, I do believe it was harmless. They weren't huddled up alone in a corner together. They were definitely mingling with other people, but frequently throughout the evening they'd find themselves in another conversation, making jokes, poking fun, laughing.

It got me thinking (seriously, it's been three days and I can't let it go) about what's appropriate and what isn't. I have incredibly mixed feelings on the subject, so... I'm doing the only thing that makes sense to me. Opening the topic to discussion.

What do you think? When you're in a relationship, is flirting okay or not? How far can you go before you cross a line?

Friday, December 11, 2009

A contest. In honor of the one who used to be nice.

My husband is currently sitting in a dentist’s chair having ten (TEN!) teeth pulled. Let me repeat that. TEN. TEETH. PULLED. RIGHT NOW.

Which means, instead of blogging, I should be in the kitchen making mashed potatoes or liquefying all of those processed foods he likes so much. (Look, I don't cook, okay? If he wants a cookie, then I'm his girl.)

Since The Husband's going to be miserable and thus make me miserable and all that miserableness is going to spill over onto this miserable blog, I figure I might as well do something to lessen all the misery.

And, ta da! I just happen to have in my possession a $20 gift card to Barnes & Noble. If I had received this gift card even two weeks ago, I'd have spent it already. But no. I received it after I discovered the new love of my life a.k.a. eReader and had sworn off buying books for good.

Actually, I did go to B&N to browse around. I almost bought a New Moon calendar (no, really, I need a calendar!) and a pair of book ends. They were chess pieces, one red and one white. Just like the cover of Breaking Dawn. But they didn't match our decor. And they cost more than my $20 gift card budget allowed.

So, rather than let it sit and waste away in my purse, I might as well have some fun and give it to someone who'll put it to good use.

Of course, I'm going to make you work for it. Below is a list of random facts about The Husband. All are true except for one. Care to take a guess at which one is false?

1. My husband has a tattoo of the Minnesota Vikings on his left shoulder.
2. He was an all-star hockey player when he was five years old.
3. When he was just a kid, he once took a snow mobile into a fence while going 60 miles an hour.
4. He is completely deaf in his right ear.
5. He is poop-in-your-pants terrified of earthquakes.
6. He got so drunk on his 30th birthday he puked his guts out on the side of the road as I drove him home.
7. He eats Little Debbie snack cakes in bed every night.
8. He once won over a hundred thousand dollars playing the lottery.
9. He's been to every state in the U.S. except Alaska.
10. He's only read one book since I've known him.

Yep. All true. Except one.

I'm going to mix things up a bit this time. All participants will be eligible to win, regardless of being right or wrong.

The gift card can be redeemed online or in-store, so the winner can either provide an address where I'll be happy to mail the card OR I can supply the card number via e-mail so the winner can use the card online. Your call.

A winner will be randomly selected and announced Wednesday, December 16th.

Hmm, is there anything else? No? Okay, well, then...


* * *

Winner has been announced. Thanks for playing, peeps!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Proof that he used to be nice.

The Husband used this piece of paper to write down a recipe for chicken soup. Seven years ago. I've never seen it, I never saved it, but there I was, just a moment ago, clearing away a stack of papers on my desk and there it sat as if waiting to catch my eye.

Just a couple days after The Husband and I moved in together, I became ill and was stuck in bed for days. The Husband searched for and wrote down a recipe and then made chicken soup from scratch. Yes, the same man who's idea of cooking is popping a frozen chicken patty in the microwave and spreading Miracle Whip on top MADE ME CHICKEN SOUP FROM SCRATCH.

That was seven years ago. I am totally having this framed.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Because boxes make me feel scattered and disorganized.

My co-workers are making me cranky today. They won't shut up. Their phone calls are taking much, much too long. The one who "axe" questions keeps turning the radio up too loud. I bought some Red Vines to make myself feel better. They’re stale and so hard to chew they need to come with a dentist appointment.

I just finished reading New Moon. FOR THE 452nd TIME. I couldn't help it. As soon as I saw the movie, the urge to read the book came on all hot and heavy. I tried to resist. Apparently, I didn't try hard enough. Thankfully, the urge to read the rest of the series is not as strong and I think if I start the Lisa Kleypas book I recently downloaded to my iPod, I'll be okay. (I have serious issues. I'd go see my therapist, but SOFT PORN, remember?)

Reading books on my iPod is my NEW FAVORITE THING OH MY GOD. When the Kindle was introduced, I wasn’t interested. I like BOOKS. Books you can hold and smell and look at and flip through. Then we were in Utah and I needed a book for the long drive home. Instead of driving around an unfamiliar city looking for a bookstore, I made the decision to download one to my iPod and give the eReader application a shot. I LOVED IT. The book and the experience. Now, my books come with me WHEREVER I GO. I can read anywhere. It's easier to hold, easier to flip pages. I'm seriously in love. I can't believe I ever had doubts. And, honestly? Not having to find a place to keep another book is AWESOME.

I am desperate to hang Christmas lights. With the move and the endless unpacking, it feels like the holidays are slipping away and, damn it, this is my favorite time of year and I don't want to wake up one day in January and wonder what the hell happened to Christmas.

Unpacking isn't the only reason I've been in a BLUNK these days. (That's my hip way of combining the words "blog" and "funk." Watch. It'll be the next cool word.) While in Utah, I discovered that my twin twelve-year-old nieces read this here blog. And, at the risk of offending and hurting the feelings of my ENTIRE FAMILY, I'm going to be completely honest with you. (Because, damn it, that's why I HAVE A BLOG.) I don’t like it. Children shouldn’t be reading this. Children who don’t understand some of the serious topics I choose to write about, but ONE DAY WILL, shouldn’t be reading this. I would even go so far as to say that I feel angry. I’m struggling to get past it. I’m struggling with the idea of saying fuck it and starting over somewhere new.

Also, I hate, hate, hate it when someone quotes something I wrote back to me. It’s painful. (I’d make a terrible writer.)

Last, but not least... I miss you people. I don't miss my old job, but I do miss the downtime. Time that I gratefully used to stay up-to-date with my favorite writers and photographers. I miss commenting regularly. Now I finally get a chance to open my reader just to find 150 new blog posts. It's a bit intimidating. Granted, most of 'em are from PW, but still... Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there. I miss you.

Okay, I work next to this Clarion. Tonight I finally took a picture. Those lights have been out for weeks.