Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween in NYC

The question "What are you doing for Halloween?" has been asked a bunch this week. Thing is, I am not a fan of Halloween in NYC. 

When I told Tom this, he got offended and said that I was being too critical of New Yorkers, and told me how him and his sister used to Trick or Treat. They would leave in costume with their mom and walk to 5th Ave (Brooklyn) to stop into every business. The avenue is filled with restaurants, 99cent stores, bakeries and delis throughout Sunset Park, where the owners and cashiers would put out bowls of candy and the kids would fill their bags with goodies. They never really stopped in at houses (since most buildings were just apartments), but there was the "holiday house" on 57th street where the owner would decorate and wait outside with bags of popcorn. And they were back home by 7:30.

Okay, fine. But I've never seen that. I have seen a lot of other things on Halloween, and heard the stories and seen the news on November 1st. So, while I don't want to accuse my husband of being biased, he totally is. I think the candy and the naivete of youth has left him with fond memories.

Tonight we are staying home, with a movie and some candy.
I can't imagine doing anything in NYC for Halloween (even trick or treating). Here's Why.
Drunk party-goers wandering the street from party to party. 

It's like St. Patricks day, where even if it is Tuesday at 8am and you are commuting to work, people are already falling down drunk. Last night (the 30th) on my commute home I saw 2 people faceplant because they were so far gone. Add in some ridiculously high heeled women and you have an emergency room visit.

Naked/sexualized costumes, all day long.

I'm not opposed to dressing up. I laugh at people in funny costumes, and think the little kids are adorable. But, when you're on your way to work, you are more likely to find yourself commuting alongside the woman dressed as a sexy cop/firefighter/prisoner. You know, the classics. The men tend to be more imaginative, but that opens the door for them to dress as, you know, genitalia. Or any other controversial costume they can think of. Imagine commuting with that sitting across from you, and being a mother with her young child sitting next to that.


Thrown from kids on the street and on top of buildings. If you ask me, I'd prefer to avoid any activity where I could get egg on my face. Or car, or home. Or anything. Delis and grocery stores have taken to 'locking up' eggs during Halloween, especially since egg throwing often escalates into violence.
The L Magazine

I once attended a little parade known as the NYC Village Halloween Parade. Which, for the record, is nothing like the hometown Halloween parades I grew up with. No firetrucks, Girl Scouts with their floats, and little kids running to collect candy they threw. I've never, since moving here, had a panic attack, until I went to this parade. Besides all the hyper-sexed people walking around, smoking pot and drinking out of their purses, you couldn't move. Could not.

The only time you actually moved was when a fight broke out and the pushing forced others to back up on top of you. I went with my old roommate and her husband years ago, and we ran away to get dinner instead, after having gotten separated several times. Insane. Absolute, uncontrolled chaos. I think the parade needs to get shut down, but doubt that anyone with enough sway agrees. And the theme this year? The Garden Of Earthly Delights. Get out of the Manhattan tonight while you can, or suffer the consequences.


I miss rural Pennsylvania. Where the worst thing I've every known to happen (or, ahem, participated in) was TPing (toilet papering property). Maybe some silly string. And that person who handed out toothpaste instead of candy. He was the worst.

So tell me...
Do you avoid Halloween where you live?
Are you going out/trick or treating, going to an event, or staying home?

Same reason I stay inside for New Years.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My 90s country music, flying over the Grand Canyon and how Halloween works in NYC

1. My hubs spent last weekend pheasant hunting. Are there hunters in your family? If so, what do they hunt? Which of the following have you tasted-pheasant, rabbit, venison, duck, goose? Which of those would you most like to taste, or be most willing to taste?
Despite growing up in the countryside of Pennsylvania, I don't hunt and we didn't have any hunters in the family. But, I have helped to skin a deer, and have tasted venison. Not a fan, but then again, I would be fine without meat in general. Except bacon. I love that stuff.

2. What high spot have you visited that gave you a wonderful 'bird's eye view' of something below?
Most notably, our flight over the Rockies and the Grand Canyon. So much better than flying over the ocean, although the sight of warm beaches in Puerto Rico are a welcome sight as well :)
3.  Do you have any birds in your home? These could be either real live pets or decorative, as in bird prints, knickknacks, fabric or pottery.
The only bird-like think I can think of might be a cat toy. There are some birds in a painting on our wall.

4. Tell about a time you 'killed two birds with one stone'?
Okay, well there was that one time with the slingshot...

5. Your favorite song with a bird in it's title?
Easy! Tanya Tucker-Two Sparrows In A Hurricane. I have a soft spot for most any country song from the 90s, where you can always find a story if you listen to the lyrics. In an age where music videos were a cross between Olan Mills glamour shots and grainy videos with questionable acting ability. And, in this case, where the first verse and the last verse are identical because it's about different life stages. Give it a shot, people. Country isn't for everyone (I don't care for much before the mid-80s and I generally detest all the stuff after Y2K), but the idea of "two sparrows in a hurricane, trying to find their way" as a description of chaotic and hard times is very poetic. As is much of the 90s country, hence my love of it.
6. What most recently gave you goose bumps?
The air. It's chilly outside, and my landlords just turned the heat on the other day for the first time. And Dora has sat herself next to the heaters ever since.
7. Halloween is this Friday...any plans? Did you trick or treat as a child? Carve pumpkins? Share your most memorable costume.
Staying indoors, probably a movie night.It's cold outside, and while Halloween isn't something I flat-out object to, in the city I kind of do. This city is a controlled chaos, that on Halloween looses control. With 8.4 million. But I'll write more on that Friday. Because I'm still trying to figure this holiday in the city out. In the country it was so simple. candy and fake webs. We would throw together a homemade costume, and drive from house to house. Just because you live past where the sidewalk ends (or, like me, in the boondocks) doesn't mean you don't get free candy. You just had to burn some gas to get the goods.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
It's National "Cat Day" today, and we're celebrating with another visit to the vet. Really, asthma for cats. Dora is in the unlucky 1% who get it, and the poor thing is congested and wincing, like in pain. Hopefully we can figure out why the meds from last week haven't helped.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Five Things This Friday

5 Things that are happening right now.

1. Vising the Vet.
Dora went to the vet for her asthma shot, which she usually needs every three months. When we see her 'coughing' and trying to catch her breath we know it's time to stop in at the clinic for her shot. Which means that we wake the sleeping beast from her slumber and attempt to put her into her carrier before she wakes up.

And when she does wake up, this is the face she gives. You would think I was killing her from the meows of absolute sorrow. Upon returning from the vet and being 'freed'- she saunters out like 'I wasn't scared. Not at all.' And rubs my leg and purrs, because she's a punk like that.
2. Two weeks until Vacation!
Upon arrival, we'll be visiting some manatees, lounging on the beach and visiting Typhoon Lagoon. And because the forecast will be a balmy 79 degrees in Tampa, that means Tom will be freezing in the water and I'll be sunbathing and taking photos from the beach.

3. First Ebola patient in NYC.
Because..... it was bound to happen eventually. Tom has always mocked my overuse of hand sanitizer and aversion to touching the grab bars (I prefer to balance awkwardly and fall on other people as the train sways). And even though you "need" skin-to-skin contact for transmission, I think he'll come around to my side. Germaphobes unite!
4. Brrr! It's cold in here.
And I do realize that $50 is a lot to spend on a hat, but unless I want to look like a robber (you have seen Tom in his biking face maskright??) this might be the only choice this winter
5. Blog overhaul!
I'm working with some amazing women who are working hard to help me get a new domain with Wordpress and enact some needed changes. Did I mention they were awesome as well, since they are using me a their 'guinea pig'. Meaning that they are offering their services for free in the name of building their client portfolio. Already so impressed with the communication and ideas we've discussed, can't wait to set everything up!

So tell me...
Are you freezing where you are?
Have you thought much about Ebola coming to a neighborhood near you?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Letting it go, joining Twitter, and where are the autumn leaves?

1. Elizabeth Lawrence is quoted as saying, 'Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn." So have you done just that? And what did you leave undone in order to do so?
I did get to just 'watch the leaves turn'- I went to Central Park and sat by the duck pond at 100th street on the West Side. At first there wasn't much to see, but then at the pond the leaves were at least turning, if not yet falling.
2. Since we're talking turning...what's one thing you feel you're doing 'every time you turn around'?
Um, rotating? I'm not sure, but I guess you could definitely say that I am rotating every time I turn around.

3. How hard is it for you to 'turn the other cheek?'
Horribly hard. This is something that I tend to do, it get upset and hold a grudge. Of course I know it's wrong, but it feels so immediately satisfying to have control over them with refusing to forgive them. Of course, we all know that is hokey and isn't healthy is the long run.

4. When did you last turn a drawer, your car, a room, or your entire house upside down looking for something? Did you find it?
Last Tuesday. I put my keys on my bed where I was getting around, and when I went to leave I forgot I had even grabbed them, thinking they might either be in Pennsylvania or packed in a suitcase.

5. 'One good turn deserves another'...were you most recently on the giving or receiving end of that sentiment?
I don't know when the last time I even heard this statement was.

6. Red, yellow, and orange are the colors of fall. Also the colors of fruit. If you were permitted only one color of fruit in your diet, which would you choose? This question isn't as easy as it sounds, at least not for me.
The writer has some random thought process. Um,. I'd stick with Yellow. Because I like bananas, pears and golden delicious apples.

7. The Hunt for Red October, October Sky, Halloween...which 'October' film is your favorite?
None of the above? I am not into Halloween, and haven't seen the other two (although October Sky sounds interesting). We are most likely going to have a movie marathon on Halloween since Halloween in NYC is unlike any other night in the city. We are most likely watching Lord of the Rings or Star Wars, since Tom somehow has lived 27 years and not seen them.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I Joined Twitter. And.... I like it. So, come follow me to see when my new posts go up, and to see what life in NYC is like!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake

My mother was not a Martha Stewart or very "Pinteresting" in the kitchen. She always followed recipes and I don't remember her experimenting in the kitchen very often. In the days before Pinterest, All Recipes and even Martha, she used cookbooks. Sometimes Amish or Mennonite cookbooks, but more often than not she bought the church 'potluck' books that were compiled by the church ladies. And some of her most requested dishes came from recipes on the labels of cans and boxes.

So, when I tell people about "My Mother's World Famous No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake" what I really mean is the (take deep breath) "Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk Cherry Cream Cheese Pie" recipe (what a mouthful). Which, I just discovered, is online here. But, since I find myself referring more to this blog than to my recipe books for the 'repeat' dishes that please- I'm posting it here as well.

You can see, that this is not an Eagle Brand sponsored post. I'm all for buying the cheaper brand, as might be obvious with the White Rose Cream Cheese and Kirkland Vanilla extract.
I decided to use these little dishes, but traditionally this recipe is for a standard 9inch pie pan (or crust from the grocery store). I wanted to trey and use these 9 tiny dishes instead, and it worked out pretty well. Like my mother, changing the size of the dish used is as much as I improvise. When we have company over, I use a 9x13 inch baking dish, and double the recipe.

I find that making my graham cracker crust is incredibly simple. but you can always buy yours. If you're interested in how I do it--

Monday, October 20, 2014

Why We Don't Share Chores

I'm still brand new to this new world of domesticity, but when we were engaged Tom and I agreed on one hard and fast fact- we would not share chores.

Chores? Shouldn't I call it housework? I do enjoy certain aspects of running a home, such as picking items up, keeping things put away and dusting. I'll call those things housework. But then there are the doozies that everyone kind of hates a little. Those are the chores in question.

Picking Up the House
Even when we were dating, it became apparent that Tom doesn't go around the house putting things away. He will create a pile of his laundry next to the hamper because he doesn't think about it. He will leave drinking glasses in the living room, and forget where he put his keys and wallet more often than he'd like to admit.

I used to ask him to put his clothes away (or dishes in the sink), but why not just do it? I've at this point adopted the task of picking the place up throughout the day, as needed. And since I love a clean house and Tom just plain doesn't remember, I'm glad to do it.

Laundry (or, more specifically) the Laundromat
I HATE going to the laundromat. I don't use the word 'hate' often, but when you are completely dependent on separating and bagging up your worn clothes, hauling them downstairs to your pushcart, getting the pushcart out the door and through the front gate and onto the sidewalk and into the laundromat and getting your quarters and loading your soaps and then getting your clothes in.... (pause for a breath here).... then you have to hang out there with all these strangers and wait for it to finish. And then you have to load the dryers, wait for them to finish, fold all your clothes on the 1 ft square piece of counter-top real estate (that you had to fight for), pack your bags and return home.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Home Alone

Just kidding.
Tom left early this morning for a men's retreat with our church, and I get the apartment to myself until Saturday evening. Living in a small apartment with my in-laws next door, alone time is a previous commodity. I grew up an only child, would find myself exploring our house and being alone for hours on end. Tom grew up with his sister in the top bunk. So, getting used to cramped quarters and the "family-family-family everywhere" environment has been exhausting at times. Sometimes I just need some alone time.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Easy Fall Decorating

One of the best parts about fall arriving is the ample opportunity to switch up the decor in your house.  And while I'm excited to cook soups, bake with peanut butter and cozy up with a blanket on the couch- I'm possibly most excited to switch things up around our apartment.

When we went apple picking in Mid-September, I grabbed some small pumpkins for about $2 each. A bag of popcorn kernels and some candles during a Bath and Body Works sale. And an upside-down pot that I already had. The smell of simmering apples and cinnamon coming from the crockpot.
When we arrived to visit my mother in Pennsylvania this last week, we were greeted by around 10 massive pumpkins. Of course, we decided to visit their private neighborhood pumpkin patch. Where the owners handed us a kitchen knife, pointed us up the hill to the patch, and told us anything we wanted was $2 each. So we bought 4, carved two, and brought the rest home for family.
This guy is "Captain Catnip", and he has had 5 battery powered votives inside him. They've been lit since Sunday, and haven't died yet. The people we passed on Route 80 must've been a little confused why a lit pumpkin was riding shotgun back to NYC.
In early September I saw the fall decor bandwagon pull up, and I jumped on. Wal-mart happened to have all the necessities for a cheap fall wreath, and so I grabbed a bunch of leaves and a wire wreath frame I'll be able to repurpose for upcoming seasons. 
I've lived in NYC for several years, in tiny studios where I had barely enough room for myself and Dora. It's such a privilege to have space, finances and ability to make our apartment a home. I hope that anyone who reads this finds as much joy in their small (or large) spaces as much as I do, since so many don't have the luxury.

So tell me...
Have you decorated for fall?
Are you a little disenchanted with the season, or did you jump on the bandwagon with me in early September?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Being a grouch, and my love of grilled cheese sandwiches

1. What's your favorite time of day? Why?
I get up during the week at 6am, and usually wake Tom for breakfast at 630 or 7. I love being able to hang out on the couch and watch the news together, while I wait for incoming phone calls. On the weekends, I love 10-11am. If I am up that early on a Saturday, I miss a lot of the crowds who wait until the afternoon to do any errands or shopping (making me feel super productive), and on Sunday I go to church and enjoy listening to the sermon and worshiping with friends.

2. Waffle iron, toaster, coffee maker, mixer, blender...which small appliance would you say most needs replacing in your house? 
Well.. I refuse to buy a toaster, waffle iron, or any small appliance I do not need. Our kitchen is tiny- so I toast our bread on a frying pan. But, I would love a Vitamix or high-powered blender. Ours doesn't need replacing though, unless you could a permanent "sofrito" odor that sticks in the plastic.

3. It's National Grouch Day (October 15)...what's something that makes you feel grouchy?
Arriving to work (my pm shift in the office) and having everyone bombard me with work immediately. Give me half an hour. Please back away.

4. Ever been to Canada? Is that a country you'd like to visit? According to Trip Advisor, the top ten best destinations in Canada are-Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Victoria, Calgary, Niagara on the Lake, Niagara Falls, Whistler, and Halifax. Which city would you most like to see?
This past May, we actually took a cruise from LA to Vancouver, and loved Canada! I think Victoria was incredibly serene and beautiful, and the culture in Vancouver was almost like a big city grew, but the residents remained incredibly grounded and nice. Win-win!
5. What was your favorite food (or one of your favorites) when you were a child? Is that still a favorite?
Grilled cheese sandwiches. On wonderbread, with kraft cheese. And while that is all fine and good, I probably wouldn't ever make it again. However, we do go to The Melt Shop, where they make delicious grilled cheese sandwiches, Parmesan tater tots and tomato soup :) So I am just a complete hypocrite (or perhaps just lazy). Things always taste better when you don't have to make them, am i right?

6. Do you cry easily?
Since the pregnancies, I have definitely changed emotionally. No more scary or suspenseful shows, gore no more. And when I watch a sad movie (or read about anything heart-wrenching online) I can almost guarantee some tears will appear.

7. Have you started your (gasp!) Christmas shopping? If so when, and how much? If not, when will you even begin thinking about it?
I have! When I saw some sales in August, I jumped on the bandwagon and started squirreling items away. I love that all the women will be taken care of, I just need to figure out some manly gifts in the next few months.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I woke with an angry blister on my finger from burning myself while cooking yesterday. And it's right where I would hold a pen against my middle finger, so my penmanship looks like a 2 year old's might look. Any suggestions on how to get this thing to go away?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Baby Loss Awareness Week

Huffington Post has an article up that hit me hard, with many of the points applying personally and some that I never was able to have.

I've never felt "phantom kicks" but I did wonder if was possible to go a whole day without crying. Could a heart break from sadness? And could it turn cold, since I didn't cry hardly at all for my second loss? Those email updates were almost the end of me. The unsubscribe button seemed to ignore my requests, and buybuy baby to this day sends us coupons and tells us to come visit their newest location. And at what point in a new pregnancy will I be able to feel excitement, and stop feeling held back by fear of another loss?

And the guilt. Being jealous when someone who I was pregnant along with keeps growing a bigger belly, at the rate I that I was supposed to. I've had some unexpected teary eyes in church, and for that matter, while co-hosting her baby shower. Her son is such a sweet baby now, but it feels like I'm being forced every Sunday to see what my second baby would've looked like today, the milestones that would've been reached.

But then there are the problems that come along with recurrent miscarriages. Like hearing from your husband how a co-worker asked him how the new mama was doing, thinking that we must've had baby #1 by now. Then how he had to explain that we lost it and another as well. Seeing him come to the understanding why I asked him to not tell the whole workplace, just "in case". And while I do like to be right at times, I hated being right about this.

Or, like how you mention something simple like that you've loved Skittles ever since your 'first pregnancy' to someone you see everyday, who then breaks down because they never knew you were pregnant and lost a second baby. Then later disclose that they've lost 4, the most recent landing them in the hospital on life support a month back.

Yeah, that happened this last week and reminds me more than ever that the reason for this blog even existing isn't just a personal journal or a potential future avenue for my own business. It was started to give a voice to those who have grief in pregnancy.

I found myself whispering with the woman I mentioned above about her miscarriages. I know she's chosen to keep them private, unlike me (on the web anyways), and I wonder why we feel that we must whisper. We don't broadcast deaths in our family because we are proud of them, we make them known to ask for support and prayer. We welcome help from church members, loved ones, and request bereavement leave from work. And generally, those things are given if they are available.

But if we whisper, we suffer in silence. I had a death, not just in the family, but inside me. Twice. That deserves some paid time off of work in my personal opinion. While I did want to be left alone with my husband, some flowers or cooked meals would have cheered me up and a written note or letter of encouragement definitely would have been such a needed blessing.

I've learned. Next time I'm pregnant, I'm going to record it. I'll talk about the highs and lows. Grow a support system. And if there is another miscarriage, I hope some support does make its way over to our door. And that I stop encouraging this culture of whispering that seems to be stuck in our subconscious.

In the meantime, I have gained a penpal who is in the situation of just trying to conceive. We are in different boats, trying to stay afloat in the same ocean. But knowing that someone is out there, who prays specifically for me in the realm of being childless, getting through any recurring grief and in growing in the Lord is exactly what I need. I know that there are others who need support, whether through letters, prayers or in finding someone online who is being honest about their struggles with pregnancy. 

Knowing this keeps my fire lit, and as we start trying again this November, please pray for us, and know that we want support. The world is a small enough place that we all know know someone who has had trouble in their pregnancies (or lack of). Let's be more compassionate and stop whispering.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mom's Monster Cookies

I know it's only October and it seems a bit early to mention December or Christmas, but hear me out.

We're going to visit my mother this long weekend, and one of the things I will be doing while I'm there is raiding her recipe books. She isn't a world class chef or baker, but I love the simplicity of it all. These recipes are ones that I've grown up with, and loved since I could remember handing her the ingredients.

Enter: Monster Cookies. 
My mother and I would make this recipe every year, come mid-December, on an day when we had the entire evening free. It's the perfect thing to bake for those unexpected gifts that come up (coworkers, church, etc), because this recipe makes 50 dozen cookies.
50 dozen cookies.
To properly make this recipe, one should have the following things ready to go:
Stock soup pot (or some very large container)
Multiple cookie/baking sheets.
Wax paper or cooling racks set up
Another person to help (It was a yearly tradition with my mom, don't attempt this alone).
Monster Cookies
12 Eggs
5 cups (2 lbs*) Brown Sugar
4 cups white sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
1 Tbsp Corn Syrup
8 tsp Baking Soda
4 sticks (1 lb*) Margarine or Butter
3 jars (3 lb*) of Peanut Butter
18 cups Oatmeal
1.3 bags (1 lb*) of Chocolate Chips
1.3 bags (1 lb*) of M&Ms
Any other mix-ins, such as walnuts or raisins

1. Mix everything together
2. Drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet by teaspoon.
3. Bake at 350 until they "look done"

Gotta love a simple recipe, right?

*To clarify on the recipe's usage of pounds (lbs) instead of cups (c.)
There is a lot of sugar, butter and peanut butter in this recipe, so whoever wrote this recipe just used pounds.

2 lbs of brown sugar
An average bag size for brown sugar
1 lb of margarine 
4 sticks 
3 lbs of peanut butter  
3 average sized jars
1 lb of Choc. Chips 
An avg bags of ch. chips is 12 oz. 16 oz equals 1 lb.

--I live life on the edge, and add two full bags
1 lb of M&Ms  
An large bag of M&Ms is 20 oz. 16 oz equals 1 lb.

--I stick with the 16 oz (1 lb) this recipe recommends

Of course, 50 dozen does sound like a lot, but it will provide you with a ridiculous amount of easy Christmas gifts and will last you to the new year. You can also do what I plan on doing, flash freezing a bunch to snack on throughout the season.

So tell me...
Do you have a bulk cookie recipe I should know about?
What baking traditions did you grow up with?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Hard-Boiled Kind of Morning

Good Morning. Today Blogtober prompted me to write about a Halloween memory. Well, I'm going to be a rebel yet again today, and not. Today feels like a good day to free write the stuff in my head. Sometimes I take Tom on what I call my Mental Journeys, but today I'm taking this blog. Hold onto your hats. 

Hard boiled eggs
With a 6am weekday wakeup, I usually make Tom and I coffee with scrambled eggs, toast, or oatmeal. Standard breakfast fare. On days I wake with a migraine or feeling ill, I "make" cereal. But, I boiled some eggs last night before bed, anticipating a hard day ahead. And..... I woke feeling fine. But now we have an acceptable meal. I remember when Tom introduced me to cumin seeds, specifically in eggs. And today, as I almost covered the eggs with sesame seeds, I realized I have no recipes for sesame seeds. Any recommendations on how to use them up?

Isn't it weird to find out life happens while you are asleep?
I obviously don't belong in this city (you know, the one that never sleeps), because I love doing just that. And because I wake up early, I see traffic jams on the news. People who woke up earlier than me to get ready, say goodbye to their families, and travel to Manhattan for work. And, today anyways, they also get stuck in traffic.

NRG. Killing birds, but saving you money.
Without fail, Tom says that phrase every time that an NRG commercial comes on. Have you seen the article about the birds getting incinerated in California? Craziness.
He also told me a story.
When Tom was 16, he got an internship working with ABC. His parents, trying to prepare him for life in the real world, told him one bit of advice that I had never heard until today. They told him to just say no to his coworkers when they would offer him cocaine. Because, (I guess??) in the 80's when they were in the corporate environment, "you want some coke" was a common question. Tom said that for his first few weeks working there, whenever he heard anyone sniffle, he'd get out of the room quick. I busted up in laughter, but, it could've been that way. Maybe. I mean, have you seen "The Wolf of Wall Street"? That is not a movie recommendation, in case you were wondering. Ech.

Sting has a musical.
Never would I have thought I'd want to see a musical by Sting. But this one seems different. Basically The Last Ship is about Sting's early childhood life, living in 'the shadow of a shipyard', while the shipbuilding industry was in decline.  I stumbled upon this TED Talk awhile ago, and a few weeks ago saw it was in fact, a promo for his musical, and not just an awesome TED Talk. Watch this talk below, and tell me you're not intrigued.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Letter to Future Me

Dear 2024 Me,

38 huh? Hopefully you've learned Spanish by this point ;-)

But in all seriousness, I hope that by this point you will have found your calling, whether it be motherhood or not, self employed or not, country life or not. But more importantly, I pray that whatever stage of life you're in with marriage, motherhood and career that God is still held at the center and you seek to be happy second. And it's not important if you're still figuring it out. We all are.

Sincerely, 2014 Me

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Most Dysfunctional Vacation. Ever.

Today's prompt is for the "best and worst vacation" we've ever had. Since all my vacations have been pretty awesome, I'm choosing to write on the most dysfunctional one I've ever been on.

Of course, it was a roadtrip, because those never go as planned.
It started off simple enough. My sister implored our father to allow me to come spend June and part of July seeing some of the world outside rural Pennsylvania. I was 13 and she was 20, a newlywed, and living in Tucson Arizona. I pretty much thought she was the coolest person ever. It was agreed, I'd spend a month out there, and when my sister and her husband relocated to Maryland in July, we'd take a roadtrip back.

We took a flight out, and had a great time for the month while in Arizona. We went to Biosphere 2, Saguaro Natl Park, Mexico (Nogales), Tombstone, and the Grand Canyon. I was able to spend quality time with my sister, see what life was like outside my small town, and get taste of adventure.

The month ended, and it was time to pack up their belongings and drive to Maryland. Being in the military, this was planned well in advance, and I'm sure they spent many days planning the route. Since we were allotted 7 days to make the trip, I believe that we were expecting to travel I-10 straight across the southern US to New Orleans, then to Disney, then take 95 north to Maryland. Simple, really. A week was plenty of time to get there, after all, the entire route only takes two days of driving. Add in a few overnights, it should've made sense.

Have you ever reminisced over a 
point in your life and thought 
"That could've been made into a movie"? 

Monday, October 6, 2014

DIY Sharpie Mugs

 First impressions: Easy, simple. Attractive even. Right?
Wrong. I used three different types of Permanent markers, and baked them at 350 for 45 minutes.
And they all did this:
I'd say that's a Pinterest fail, but I'm also assuming I don't know what I'm doing half the time. Being washed by hand promptly removed the Sharpie, and this is even with me having stopped as soon as I noticed the ink disappearing.

So tell me...
Have you made these mugs and had them remain intact?
Have you fallen off the Blogtober bandwagon (ahem, like me) yet?

Friday, October 3, 2014

When I grow up, I want to be a...

I grew up the daughter of a farmer and a nurse, and knew I never wanted to be either.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed helping dad feed the calves their bottles, haying in the summer and tagging along. I've milked cows, riden cows, and been attacked by a cow. Textbook cowgirl, right here. But then I hit my teenage years and saw that it was really dirty and very hard work! Not to mention this was when all the small farms were going under, dairy prices were dismal, etc. Things you wouldn't know if you didn't hear if a dinner every night. And, while I have so much respect for my mother and the good nurses she works with, it involved touching strangers. Not something I would ever be comfortable with.

I wanted to be a veterinarian. Until I had a paper due in 6th grade, where I had to go watch a veterinarian work. Of course being the farm girl I was, I didn't get to watch kittens and puppies getting their shots. My father took me to watch a cow give birth when the vet had to come assist on the farm. It was horrifying, and while birth is beautiful, a cow giving birth is a tad much for a 12 year old girl. And, if I can be frank, there as a lot of birth involved. Anyway...

Then I wanted to be an architect. This lasted the length of a 7th grade presentation. After I got all my photos of cool, modern buildings put on my PowerPoint slides, I found out that math, geometry and the like were more than a little important.

At the ages of 12 and 13, my hopes and dreams were dashed. I was obviously never going to be employed. Life was hard, everyone wanted me to choose a profession, and every year they wanted a new report. I mean, I was 13, and was way more interested in that cute boy in my class.

2009, 2010, 2011
Not the best years for me, in the context of employment. I worked as a short-order cook (spawning my fear of poor knife-handling), became a telemarketer (and was horrible at it), moved to NYC and took a job in a billing department which my most stressful position ever. I then worked in a pizzeria 60 hours a week and got my real estate salesperson license. I loved that actually, except that not renting any apartments solidified the honest truth that I am not a salesperson.

Flash forward to 2014. 
I'm in my third year working at a desk job, helping people navigate transit and commuting in NYC. Not glamorous or lucrative. But, we get free health and dental care, I work from home part of the day, and we do have great office parties. Really, everyone should work in a small office for this reason. And, oddly, this further reminds me that I work in the NYC version of The Office.
But... what do I want to do?
I would love to be a stay-at-home mom, homeschooling and living out in the country somewhere with a cow, dozen chickens and a small business. But if I'm a childless wife, living in NYC at this office job for a long time, that's okay too. 

I just want to be happy. And so far, so good. I've learned that you shouldn't base your identity on your job.

So tell me...
What did you always want to be?
Was your path to your current job winding, or pretty straightforward?
What do you (still) want to be when you grow up?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Release the Kraken!

Say what you will about it being nothing but a dirty, crime ridden, place where zombies would go nuts. Movies really have done a number on NYC's image. But in general, it's good. I like it, and have no regrets about leaving the country for civilization.


NYC is very old, and with old cities there are bugs and roaches. They just are. I'm not necessarily referring to a Joe's Apartment scenario, where they dance, sing and help a young man woo a 311 operator. But I never even saw a roach until I moved here. And I never thought that Dora would let such crimes go unpunished.

Let me explain.

Ever since moving into the apartment last July, they've shown up. Here and there. Once in a while. But, since half of the units in our building are involved in a remodel or are having some kind of work done, I guess the resident roaches have forgotten that their natural predator lives here. And so the sometimes sneak out and act like they own the place. But they don't. The Kattan does. And yes, we give Dora cool titles when she's "hunting". I can always tell. She starts chatting, looking under the refrigerator, and spends all night in the kitchen. Waiting. Plotting.

Really, she just wants a toy that will run around and amuse her. She's not hard to please.

So, this morning I woke to make breakfast. And there was a roach, hanging out next to the sink.What followed was not my finest hour, and I am not proud of what I did. I brought in the Kattan. I put her on the counter. I undermined myself in one swift, bug fearing motion.

And, being the brat she was, she decided to jump down and walk away. The walk felt smug, like she had lost all respect for me.

So tell me...
Anyone have an attack cat, who walked off the job?
Or, any non-poison alternatives?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My Other Nickname

I don't bike anymore.

I've given it up, hung my helmet up for retirement. Of course, I did bike that one time in Vancouver while on vacation but it was just to make my husband happy. But I'm over it. Biking is a choice, one I no longer choose to make. And while I am now happily dubbed 'Farina' by the in laws, I was once known as Woodchuck, and sometimes The Gopher. I was not flattered.

But..... it's biking in the countryside! It sounds so serene, right?
Wrong. One day of biking in the country had me making the choice between hitting a tractor trailer head-first or propelling myself down an embankment at a rather large tree. I chose the tree, crawled bleeding into our house, and was rushed to the emergency room to have my braces and bark pulled from my lips.

There have been other 'incidents' but most notably, that one. Sometimes I wonder if the tree still shows where my teeth tore bark away and earned me those wonderful nicknames. So that's my story. Not glamorous but definitely exciting. And, I can blame lapses in memory and my perpetually split lower lip on this experience and not on a fist fight.

So tell me...
Anyone else out there have an odd nickname?
Or hate biking?

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