Monday, November 29, 2010

Something Has To Be Done

Does anyone else find piles of dirty socks in their living room?

This is what I come across on a daily/weekly basis.


That is our living room coffee table.

And below it, are about three pairs of dirty, stinky, husband socks.

Our house is small and our clothes hamper is maybe 25 feet away from the living room, yet here they lie.

On a consistent basis, I have to scoop socks from under the table and haul them back to the hamper because my lovely husband decides it's too far away to travel after a long day of work.

I find this habit disgusting. And of course, yes, I have talked to him about it. Has it changed? No.

I am not sure why he takes his socks off to begin with. It's like 30 degrees outside and we keep our house luke warm. Wouldn't you want to keep your socks on? Or at the very least go get some new socks?

And lastly, why, if you are going back to the computer room or our bedroom, wouldn't you take that pile of socks with you?

In my quest to find someone else with a "sock" debacle, I came across this blog and fell in love. I am attaching a post that has me breathing a sigh of relief that I am not the only one.

One of these days my husband is going to wake up covered in his own stinky sock pile. I don't know when this is going to happen, but something has to be done.




Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tis' The Season

Today I am Thankful.

I am thankful for so many things and so many people.

I'm thankful for my wonderful family. With them in my life, everything is better and brighter. My mom and my sister are my rocks and two of my most favorite people in the world.

Baby Bennett makes me smile like no one ever has and I couldn't love him more. I am also grateful for his daddy (my brother-in-law), who has become such a good friend and integral part of our family.

I am thankful for my amazing husband who is a constant source of love, support, joy, and entertainment.

I am grateful for my in-laws. They are such a great bunch of people and I couldn't have lucked out more.

I am thankful for my doggie Charlie. He's the best little Chihuahua and I love him to death.

I am grateful for friends who continue to care and make me laugh. It's wonderful to have people in your life who know you inside and out.

I am thankful for a cozy place to live and the means to do many of the things I want in life.

Tonight...I will be thankful for all of that and maybe a little thankful for Cheesecake too.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Photo Challenges: Scavenger Hunt & Thankful

Today was SO pretty with the snow on the ground and the sun out! I was driving out around Issaquah today and stopped about every 100 feet or so to take a picture of one thing or another. Yes, I took my camera to work with me today. Here is what I came up with! Might as well include the shots in this week's scavenger hunt.

The View Above -


Something Hot -


Something Cold -



Electronic -


Sparkle - 










Thanksgiving Photo Challenge - A Sorta Fairytale

I am thankful for so much. My family, my friends, Mike and I still having a job in this economy...but this week's photo will be of my pup Charlie. I am thankful for him because he is such a source of joy and love each and every day. Even when I have had a difficult day, he makes me feel better. So here's my entry for Thankful.





Monday, November 22, 2010

Fall, meet Winter!

And so it begins - the first snow of the season.



It began early this morning and hasn't let up since. We've got between 3-4 inches now most likely and it sure doesn't bother me!


The leaves haven't even completely fallen from the tree out front and we've got snow piling up!



Charlie isn't having it.
He took 5 lightning-fast laps around the yard, marked the mailboxes, barked at a couple of cats,
and high-tailed it back inside. Any longer and I would have had to put him in his snow boots!


Many people dread when the snow hits, not me. I like the cozy feeling of a fire and hot chocolate, the look of fresh snow in the morning, and feeling the flakes hit my face as they fall. I'm not worried about driving (I try not to stress and take care to drive safely) and I am fairly certain I will be fine if I get stuck inside for a few days. My water, batteries, wood, & peanut butter are stocked!

So I will enjoy the snow for as long as it lasts, cause here in the northwest, that could mean it'll be gone tomorrow.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Food is good...when someone else makes it.


I like the Holidays.

Mainly when I say Holidays, I mean Christmas. I love the lights and the spirit of this time of year, but honestly I am not that into Thanksgiving.

It's not that I am not thankful for what I have, it's just that it seems to be about food. I feel like everyone goes to a whole lot of trouble for a big meal and it's over in 20 minutes. And the clean-up...sheesh!

Most people who know me, know that I don't cook much. I can cook for the most part (if I have a recipe), I just don't care to. Cooking has just always been sort of a hassle to me.

I like baking and I am sure this has something to do with my love of sweets and bread....but I try not to eat too much of that type of thing. So, I don't bake much.

I love the idea of cooking and wish I liked it more, but I just don't. I find that I want to make something on occasion and that if it's basically prepared I will most definitely throw a meal in the oven.

I also really enjoy going out to dinner. It's sort of what I spend my entertainment money on. I don't buy myself expensive things, go out drinking or go shopping a lot, I just like to eat out. Everyone has their "thing" and that's mine. It seems to be Mike's as well, which works out great because I have someone to go out with.

 I know that we could save a lot of money by eating in more often, but I have to have something that I really enjoy doing and can look forward to. Most of the time I save a lot by staying in on weekdays, so I think it probably balances out. Not to mention that I never have all the ingredients to cook, so I always end up going out to the grocery store and buying a bunch of food! If I spend $20 on groceries for my meal, isn't that just as expensive as going out? Except when I go out to eat, someone waits on me and I don't have to clean up afterward!

Thanksgiving is a great time to spend with family and I enjoy that the most, but it's a little overwhelming for someone who isn't that into cooking. And even though I am not much of a kitchen whiz, I still plan on having my very own little Thanksgiving one of these days. One where Mike and I spend it together learning to make everything ourselves. That would be interesting....what? I can't make stove-top stuffing? Yikes!

Maybe Mike and I should practice and have a "pretend" Thanksgiving, so when we do attempt it on the actual holiday, we don't end up with a full trash and eating pizza.

This is our usual contribution for Thanksgiving dinner!
No, we don't make it. It's a Costco request.  :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


Charlie, Jeffrey,.......meet Sydney.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Double Whammy! Confessions.

Two postings in one! Aren't you lucky?

1st Confession - I really and truly believe I am addicted to lists.

I was realizing the other day that I make lists for everything! I think I am addicted.
Everywhere I look around my house and especially my office is riddled with lists. I don't know if I feel like my memory is horrible or I just like the organization that comes with writing things down. Maybe both. For instance - in front of me right now are four lists. FOUR!
1. bills due this paycheck
2. passwords
3. books I want to buy and/or check out from the library
4. blog subjects

Oh my god. I just made those lists into a list! Sheesh!

You name the list, I probably have written it. I have lists for: groceries, X-mas gifts, songs to download, movies I loan out, errands to run, etc., etc.

I even just recently started a "What to pack for vacation" list. No, I don't have a vacation planned, but it would be nice to have something to print out for when I DO go on vacation next. I was talking to my mom about this around the time we went to San Francisco. We thought it would be a great idea to make a master list for packing so you wouldn't forget anything. Makes sense right? Right? ....No?

I won't even go into my list-mania going on in my office right now. You would commit me.

Even better than writing the list itself, is being able to cross items off. I think that is my true obsession. Being able to cross things off my list makes me unbelievably giddy. And I don't mentally cross off as I go - I need to slash a big, dark, pen line through each item. It just feels like accomplishment, a little pat on the back for a job well done.

I have to confess something else that it totally nuts.
Shhhh....I add things onto my list (that I didn't remember to add, but took care of) after the fact, just so I can cross it off! I know.
My favorite paper to use is post-its. The square ones. Unless it's a long list, then I need to type it. If I don't have paper...I write on the back of my left hand. And no, I don't cross off the items I wrote on my hand. That would be disturbing.                    

OKAY! We're really cookin' now!


2nd Confession - I am currently in love with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban. ( I know, nothing new)

I fell in love with T.S. when her second album came out. Then I was really excited when her 3rd came out in October. Speak Now is a really good junior album! Back to December is probably one of my favorites, but it's hard to pick! The best things I can say about her, are as follows (in list form):
1. she writes her own music. I really admire this (she's like 20!)
2. she puts a lot of songs on her albums so you get more for your money.
3. I can listen to the whole album, without wanting to skip songs.
4. she has her head on strait and treats herself with respect and dignity. She's a good role model for young women.
5. she's a proclaimed nerd and so am I. We would bond.
6. Ellen scared T.S. on her show and her tall ass fell over! Hilarious.


As for Keith? I F'in love him. I have been to at least two concerts and they have been amazing. He is a great entertainer with mad guitar skills and you just can't help but swoon for that Kiwi/Aussie accent. I won't make a list about this country artist. It would go on too long. I haven't had much time to listen to this new album Get Closer, since it just came out today, but I am sure it won't disappoint.

Let me know if you want a copy of either album. I don't have a problem with burning and sharing good music.

(photo I took at Keith Urban's last tour)

Anyone care to go to one of these concerts once they are tour?! Hit me up!




Sunday, November 14, 2010

Laundry Day

Nothing much to post here today except some cute pics I took of my nephew Bennett the other evening. We were playing in the guest bedroom/computer room and I decided to dump out my, just washed and oh so clean socks, on top on Bennett. Who might I add loves laundry, laundry baskets, and rolling around on the bed.

He would lay on his back and I would continue to drop Mike's long socks (tube socks?) on top of his head, until he was covered. He would leave it a moment and then pull it off his face and laugh. I got a photo of him peeking out from the pile of laundry! :)

(Bennett - almost 10 months)

Then I gave him a vibrating neck pillow I had in the closet that I know he LOVES. He lays his head on it or chews it and giggles! Here's the other photo of him laying on this magic pillow.


Good times with my favorite little man! Isn't it great how kids are entertained so darn easily?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bucket List

Do you have a Bucket List?

I started a list a year or so ago. I need to see in print, the things that I wanted to accomplish at some point in my life. Some things went on the list right away and were quite obvious to me, while others are still being added to this day.

The list isn't that long right now and I have already accomplished a couple things since starting the list. Earlier this year, as you can read in this blog, I met one of my favorite authors Richelle Mead. This was on the list. I felt great that I went out of my way to do something I always promised myself I would.

The other weekend I was visting some friends in Bellingham and I had the opportunity to cross off another thing on my bucket list. Shoot a rifle. Elan and Ashley have a rifle, a handgun and a shotgun...so we set out to the outer Nooksack area to find a spot to shoot.

Let me tell you that I have indeed shot a gun before. They don't scare me and I have a good respect for both the guns and people who use them for the correct purposes. I think that if you decide to get a gun ( I haven't decided if I will own one yet or not ), you should first learn to be proficient at loading and shooting. Then you need to have a proper place to store the gun, whether that be in a closet or a safe, and make sure you have a safety setting. I know that many people are nervous about guns and safety with children in the house. I believe that rules and regulation, education, and a safe place to lock them up should be in place. I also think that if you are smart about the storage and handling of a gun, that they can both be a great protection and a fun sport.


I enjoyed shooting again. I like the challenge of aiming and hitting your target, the feeling of power behind the kick-back, and doing something out of the ordinary. We three had a really great time...when the gun didn't get jammed (some of the bullets were not the best). The rifle I am shooting had a great scope on it and was very quiet in comparison (which I prefer!) and Elan put it together himself! That thing was heavy though...a few minutes and my arms hurt!



Other things on my Bucket List to cross off?

Sky Diving
Hot Air Balloon
Attending a World Series baseball game
Sponsoring a needy child in another country
Visiting all the major Roller Coaster parks in the U.S.
Vacationing to Greece and Italy
Owning a house

These are just a few things, and hopefully it will only get longer so I have more reason to look forward and do things that make me happy. I already got the guy ;)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Greatful

A photo I just love and wanted to post for a challenge this week:

Eyes ~ Simplicity

This is my good friend's cat Tatum. Her eyes were so piercing I HAD to take a quick picture. I don't think  she was very happy with me however. ;)

My dear friend Katie has really been there for me this past year. She is someone I was close with back when I worked for the bank and I sorta kept in touch with her over the last few years. This past year or two however, she has really stepped up and shown me that people can really BE there.

As you get older, one tends to find that many of the friends she once had are not quite "there" anymore. Whether it be because you have grown apart, are in different stages in life, or have just changed. Some people you never really believed you would end up close to at this point in life, end up surprising you. They really show you that even in a bleek moment, they can be exactly what you need. And beyond that, they can listen and try to understand even when they don't - they can put themselves in your shoes and really feel what you are going through.

This same person may not be in your life later...life changes...happens...but, I can be greatful for having her in my life right now. Be greatful that I have an unexpected confidant and comedic relief. Thank you to Katie D for being available to become someone important to me.






Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Love Thy Neighbors


I thought I would post a little something for you all to think about today. It's a message about being courteous and helpful to your fellow humans, something I think many of us forget to be on a daily basis.
It seems simple right? Be nice and do what you can to help people. Well, this is something most of us have to continue to remind ourselves. Something we need to be self-aware of.

I bring this up because it's something I have been working on. It doesn't take much of your time or thought, but you DO have to remember to do it. Two ways I have been working on this "courteous and helpful thing", are very small but important ways.
First:  I always give financially when I can.
I try to at least give enough to the Salvation Army around the holidays to feed a couple of families. I give to the homeless loitering on the streets on occasion when I have a couple of dollars to spare. I know that some people assume they are going to spend it on alcohol, but I feel like "what if they don't"? See those Santa's ringing bells in front of the local grocery stores? Give them your change! There are a lot of opportunities at the grocery store... grab a bag of cat or dog food to throw in those bins outside for local animal shelters. At the very least, give $1 to whichever cause the grocery store is participating in that month. I always say yes, and offer to add $1 to my bill at the register. This makes a difference to someone, even if it doesn't seem like a big deal.

Second: I always try to be a NICE driver.
This is something most people do not ever think about. There are plenty of drivers out there with a whole lot of road-rage and plenty more who are complete jerks. When I am out on the road, I make a concious effort to be courteous and do what I can to make my fellow drivers commutes easier. I try to remember this when traffic is at it's worst during my morning commute to work. I take a route that sometimes gets completely backed up by a garbage truck, a school bus, or it's just plain packed. I always make an effort to let at least a couple waiting cars in ahead of me in line. They wait on cross streets sometimes for many minutes, trying to squeeze out onto the main road with no stop light or person slowing down to allow for this. I let them in.
Trust me, the greatful look on their faces will make it worthwhile.
Other things? Maybe just remember to use your blinker or wave when someone else let's you merge. Maybe do your best to keep your distance and not tailgate...or refrain from cutting people off.
There are many things you can do in this car-filled, everyone's late, it's raining and gloomy commute, to help make other people's lives a bit better.
Maybe other drivers are being raging a-holes today, that sucks. But don't be one of them, because if you are a courteous driver and be nice to others, they may just pay it forward and make someone else's morning.


I encourage you to pick a couple of things that you can work on doing to benefit others. They can be very small things, but still be helpful.
I challenge you to comment back with something you will do or continue to do, to make some sort of difference to someone else.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Photo Challenges of the week!

Here are my entries for this week's Photo Challenges.

The First is my very own sister's, entitled Windows to the Soul. Here is my "eyes" photo - of course I would choose one of my fur-baby Charlie. He has the prettiest brown eyes! I will post my other (1st) choice as well, but figured since the photo is OF Mandy, she may feel strange having it as an entry.
Here is my Charlie Brown ~

And here is the one of my sissy!




The second Photo Challenge deals with "Light" and I had so many neat ones I couldn't choose! This Challenge was posted by Linkie Lueville and is a new one for me.
Here is my entry: another one of my sis! She's going to LOVE me ;)


note: I did not alter her eye-color, just popped the image a bit. She really does have two different color eyes.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My pick for Show Of The Year ~


Spartacus: Blood and Sand hopes to appeal to your bloodlust and the other, more common lust. Anyone who has a problem with violence, nudity, sex, profanity or anything else Rated R-worthy should tune out.

This series is loosely based on what little is known about the warrior Spartacus before his role in the Gladiator War against the Roman Republic. It's a superhero origin story set in Ancient Rome, if you will.

Spartacus (Andy Whitfield) is a free man who crosses the wrong Roman army leader, is parted from his wife Sura and condemned to die by the hand of gladiators. When he defeats all four of his foes, however, an ambitious owner of a ludus (gladiatorial school) purchases him in hopes of turning Spartacus into a successful and profitable fighter.

The series initially feels like an homage to "300." Besides using green screen technology, "Spartacus" embraces the most primal behaviors: violence and sex.The violence, not your average choreographed hack-fest, is a larger-than-life character in itself. In fact, even more technology is used to glamorize the sprays, spurts, fountains, and pools of blood. Although there's enough realism to elicit an occasional wince, the violence is overblown enough to allow for some desensitization. Perhaps this isn't a good thing in real life, but this is supposed to be escapist TV.

Cut to the second reason for capitol Rated R : sex. Bare breasts are as common as bared shoulders, and apparently double-stick tape had not yet been invented. Whether it's a beautiful, almost balletic loving union between man and wife or earthy, less sentimental encounters between a socially superior Roman and a slave. There are plenty of public displays as well, sometimes for deliberate, voyeuristic purposes. You've been warned ... or enticed as the case may be.

Don't worry - the series makes way for enough plot to give our poor, overstimulated eyes a rest. There's a bit of political maneuvering, fierce rivalries, the examination of slavery vs. free will, ludus-yard hazing and even romance. In fact, the heart of the show is Spartacus' desire to reclaim his wife, and for this he must become a legendary gladiator to gain leverage with his owner.

There are some great moments between the characters and some major tension building throughout the show, that seems to be close to exploding at any moment. The manipulation between two of Spartacus' leading ladies: Lucretia and Ilithyia is enticing and the competition between Spartacus and Capua's former champion, Crixus, is just plain entertainment.

Mike and I couldn't resist a Lucy Lawless (Xena) comeback or a passionate fight to the death (for mike) and a few toned, loincloth wearing warriors (for me).
You may not be into this type of show...some aren't. BUT for us, it's pure indulgent premium cable bliss.

P.S. We are very worried for the Spartacus star, Andy Whitfield, as he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and may not be able to return for a second season of the show. I can't picture anyone else in this role...SUCK!

This leads me to give a "shout-out" to my other favorite (Showtime) series DEXTER. Michael C. Hall was also diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma and is now in remission. Thank you God! What is going on with the stars of my favorite shows?!

Grobanator

One of my alternate-life hubbies is bringing it hot once again with a new song called Hidden Away. I'm excited to hear the whole album coming out this month! Yes, he's a bit of a geek...yes, he has curly, shagalicious hair and looks like a tall hobbit...and yes, he sings classical/pop/ballads... BUT, I like geeks. I married one, I have a couple in the family, I in fact AM one. So! Stand back world - Josh the Grobanator is in the house and his voice is embedded in my soul.

Lyrics I LOVE!

All these words that you meant to say
held in silence day after day-
words of kindness that our poor hearts crave,
please don't keep them hidden away.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween Photo Challenge!


Since I am on a roll and my lovely sister showed me how to link up to these challenges, I decided to participate in her photo challenge as well! I took a few photos outside yesterday when it was sunny and thought "my neighbor carves a GREAT pumpkin!" So I snagged it and made it the subject of the day! So here is one of the great Fall/Halloween shots I wanted to throw at Mandy's newest photo challenge. Hope you like it! :)

Fall Photo Challenge!

I have been wanting do do one of these for a while now and decided to go for it! Occasionally another photographer will host a "challenge" to get you to take a themed picture and you enter in your submission. Simplicity is having a Fall Photo Challenge that I decided to participate in. I decided to keep it simple and go for a nature-ish shot of what I would think of when picturing Autumn.

ENJOY!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Positive Thinking


Today is a good day.

I have been thinking all good thoughts. I try to be a positive and optimistic person in general, but i know that it's not always possible. Many days over the past year, have been negative days. Days where I feel like life sucks, traffic sucks, you suck, my body sucks...suck suck suck.
I always come out of this stupor and find happy, good things to think about. But, it's very easy to fall back into the routine of "suck". This is human nature.

Today, I feel like things are okay - things are just fine. Like maybe I can feel happy and look forward to some great things. Maybe it's the sun being out today and warming my face. Maybe it's the good interactions I got from my coworkers. Maybe I just feel like being happy. Whatever it is, I'll take it.

It's days like today, that I feel like making someone else feel happy too. It's days like today, that I feel like even if my wishes and aspirations don't come about quite the way I want or when I want...that it will be okay. Today I feel like maybe I CAN find the motivation to go on yet another diet and work toward my goal of being healthier. Or maybe I CAN find the money and time to possibly go back to school or write that book I have been putting off.

I know that a lot of what I want is a matter of prioritizing and attacking one thing at a time, accomplishing it, then going on to the next thing. Sometimes though, you do not have a whole lot of control over a situation or the means to accomplish it. This is hard for me. I don't like feeling that I don't have control over my future, and it's difficult for me to grapple with the idea that I may have to cut my losses for the time being and move on to something else temporarily. Maybe the timing is off and I just need to come back to it. In any case, I don't like quitting or leaving something unfinished. This is why I find it so darn hard to quit reading a book when I am halfway through. Even if I can't really get into it or I don't like the style of writing, I just have to keep going.

So what all that really means is that today at least, I feel like it's okay to maybe put something off that is not possible at the moment and come back to it. I feel like maybe I can just enjoy my friends and family and be glad for the things I have, like a stable-ish job and a loyal husband. Today, I think it's okay to just BE and smile and soak up the vitamin D that I am so lacking.

Today is a day for positive thinking and I encourage everyone to join me. For at least one day.

{photo taken my Michael, edited by Alissa}
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