Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On being thrifty

*Disclaimer: some of this might be an over share. You've been warned.*

So how about all this talk about the recession?

It's something that I prefer not to touch on much. Mostly because so many people already do and it goes along with my whole "keep my political views to myself" mantra. It's just not something that I enjoy writing about and there really isn't anything I can say that hasn't already been said many times over.

But here I am, talking about the recession and how it sucks. Big time.

I lost my job last August. I think for the most part you all knew this, but I never actually said it on here. This was the one place I could come and at least pretend, if only for a few minutes that everything was alright. That I wasn't broke. That my college degree(s) are actually useful.

I have been working, as you also know, for the same ski shop where Andy is employed. It's been nice to be fluid again, even if it's just a little fluid. Jobs are hard to find on this mountain in the best of economical climates, so right now beggars can't be choosers. Although I refuse to go get a job at the McDonald's down the road. If you had eaten there ever you would understand. It's not because it's McDonald's, I promise.

So, needless to say, I've been trying to find ways to still live my life but save money. No one wants to cut back. It sucks to not be able to buy whatever you want. Alright, so I've never been able to buy whatever I want, but there was a time that I didn't have to agonize over every penny I spent.

Back in the fall I made a decision. There were many factors that contributed to my decision, among them was our financial situation. I also took into account environment and things I was exposing my body to.

I decided to stop taking chemical birth control.

It was reaching $60 each month for the kind I was taking. Yes, I could have chosen a cheaper option, but then I would have to screw with my hormone levels after it took so long to find what worked for me. If you're a woman you understand this. If you're a man I'm sorry that I might be over sharing here.

Of course I realize that by stopping I was still screwing with my hormone levels, but at least they were my hormones that my body produces all on it's own. I had been on birth control for eight years and it got to the point that I just felt it wasn't healthy anymore and I made the decision to find another way. We aren't trying to have a baby and don't have a plan to start soon. We are taking precautions, but I won't share that because it's none of your business and you probably don't want to know.

So here I am with all my own hormones and acne to rival what I had in middle school. This is just one of the lovely side effects of going off synthetic hormones. There are many more and as I was on them for such an extended period I'm positive that my body hasn't made a full recovery and there are many more to come.

This brings me to the actual point of my post. Sure the whole birth control thing is part of being thrifty, but there were other reasons that fueled my decision.

I'm talking about skin care.

Have you been shopping for skin care lately? It isn't cheap. Nothing is cheap these days, but in particular proper skin care can rip a serious hole in your budget. I was using a really great name brand. I loved it. It worked well and my skin glowed, but I couldn't buy it locally. The only way to attain it was to purchase online (which I hate) or travel two hours to the nearest counter. It came to the point where neither of those were an option. Gas wasn't affordable and the products were so pricey it wasn't worth their benefit. For a two month supply I spent upwards of $200 and that was just for the basics.

Too much. Way too much.

I had to find another way.

And then I stumbled across a blogger who uses something called the oil cleansing method. I'll try anything once and the theory behind it actually seemed plausible. So that's what I've been doing. I wash my face with a mixture of Castor oil and olive oil (I know it sounds really disgusting) and then use a touch of just olive oil as a moisturizer at night. For daytime moisturizer I broke down and bought the expensive stuff. I can make it last a while because I only use it once a day, but I had to have something with sunscreen. I don't really like makeup so I was going out every day unprotected and I felt like I could feel my skin frying up like bacon. So I caved and found myself a really great tinted moisturizer with and SPF built in. I'm allowed one little splurge, ok?

While my acne isn't totally clear now it's under control. My breakouts are less, but I've noticed that it takes a little longer for them to heal.

I've found other things that allow me to forgo department store products or products that could be potentially hazardous to my health. I guess I'm kind of a purist when it comes to skin and body care and if all the ingredients are man made then why would I want to put that on myself?

I've been researching different home made facial and body scrubs. I've found a lot and I'm trying different ones to see which works better for me. Living up here in the mountains can cause some serious dead skin issues. It's not as bad in the summer so I'm trying to find one that is mild enough for the warmer months coming up.

Also, I stopped using deodorant. Ewww! I know. It's not like I'm not using anything. Every day I wipe my stinky pits with rubbing alcohol and then dust on some baby powder. It works surprisingly well. The alcohol kills the bacteria that causes the smell and the powder makes me feel fresh and soft like deodorant did.

Some of this might seem a little extreme, but like I said it's equal parts economically fueled and health based. I thought I was a little crazy to begin with, but then while I was talking about some of my lifestyle changes with my mom she reminded me that this isn't so far fetched. A hundred years ago women had to do something to keep fresh and feminine. There wasn't a walmart or department store on every corner. They had to make their own remedies. My own grandmother used peroxide to bleach her hair because hair bleach wasn't readily available or affordable.

It's always nice to have a little perspective from someone that lets me know I'm not totally crazy.

What are some things you're doing to tighten up during the recession?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Happy Blogiversary to me

That is all.

Have a good night.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Learn from my mistakes

In case you were wondering, it's not a good idea to eat an entire pie in less than twenty four hours by yourself.

Not because it will make you sick. Oh no, I have a stomach made of steel. You shouldn't because you'll feel like a fatty and then it will be raining buckets and thirty five degrees outside and you won't be able to go for your scheduled run. Then you'll feel even more fat and be convinced that you put on ten pounds over night.

So, next time there is a pie on your counter saying "eat me!" just say no. Walk away. Or better yet take it outside and give it to a neighbor so they can feel like a fatty instead of you.

But, damn, it was good.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

And so it begins

Last summer Wendy's re-vamped their frozen treat menu. Not only did they have frosties, but they also had two flavors, and mix-ins, and milkshakes and frosty floats.

For about two months Andy and I were regular visitors to the late night drive through window because what's better than ice cream right before bed? Especially in an apartment with no air conditioning.

Last week Andy's cravings came back. It's a little early as the temperature during the day hasn't risen above 75 and at night it's sill in the 30's sometimes.

Currently he is out getting his second frosty float in two weeks. As the temperature rises the trips will only become more frequent.

This is not good.

I decided to forgo the trip this time. Not because I have self control. Oh no, think about who you're talking to here. I don't even know what self control means. No, I opted out of a frosty because I decided last night to make a peanut butter pie and spent the day consuming half of it all by myself.

As I have another half for tomorrow I decided that a frosty was probably overkill.

But next week is my birthday week and all bets are off. If I want a frosty I'm going to have one. Even if I ate a whole pie already that day.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Party

After a little meltdown by the birthday boy we had quite a nice time yesterday. We're still not sure what triggered the little crying fit, but he got over it and enjoyed his party. That's really all that matters.

We consumed pizza and cake and opened presents then pilled in the car and went to the town park. That is, after we went to Dollar General to get shoes for the guest of honor. My mother wouldn't be my mother if she didn't forget something.

Here are some pictures to chronicle our adventures.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

A glimpse of things to come

The party's over.

Pizza and cupcakes were had. Presents were opened and enjoyed. Mylar balloons were fought over. I have lot's of pictures and a few videos to share with you, but I'm exhausted and right now all I really want to do is sit on the couch and recover.

So I'll leave you with this and a promise of more to come tomorrow.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A true spring baby

Today is my nephew's third birthday. My youngest nephew that is. His name is Alex. He just became a big brother for the first time three weeks ago to Lilianna. Remember Lilianna?

It's tough not being the baby anymore. When he met his new sister for the first time they tell me that he seemed alright with her, but his mother was not very high up on his list of people he liked. He wouldn't even give her a hug. Then when I saw him he became very attached. He's usually glad to see me and gives me hugs. Then goes about his merry way. But the last time I saw Alex he wouldn't let me out of his sight for about an hour.

I guess he was feeling the effects of big-brotherdom.

So we're having a little party for him tomorrow. He has had a celebration today with his parents and siblings, but when you're feeling down you need a little something extra. So we're going to carry the celebration over another day.

I spent the better part of my afternoon making cupcakes for his party. I mixed and baked and iced and sprinkled. I'm quite pleased with how they turned out and I'm sure Alex will love them. He loves blowing out candles and being sung to. His two older siblings have never cared for the birthday song. Although I can imagine it's overwhelming to have nearly twenty people belting it out to you all in a different key.

I'll be sure to take pictures of tomorrow's festivities to share with you. I may even get a little video of the birthday boy blowing out his candles; over and over again.

Happy Birthday Alex!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stubble

These past few months Andy has taken a serious interest in cycling. He's always been at home on a bicycle, but he's taking it more seriously now. Making it his summer sport of choice. Something has to take the place of skiing and fishing just doesn't give the same aerobic benefits. While he hasn't given up on fishing (hell will freeze over first) he has decided that cycling would be a good thing to add to his repertoire of hobbies.

He has a new bike. He's slowly purchasing new gear. He's planning on what races and events he wants to participate in.

And he's shaving his legs.

Yes, that's right. Shaving his man stumps. Many avid bikers do so. Something about aerodynamics, as I understand it. Please enlighten me if there is something more to the story.

The point of this is that now he knows what my life has been like for the past fourteen years (give or take). He doesn't complain anymore when my legs are a little prickly. I'm here to tell you that a day's worth of growth on my legs feels like rabbit fur compared to a day on his; which resembles something like a cactus. But it bothers him to have prickles and he doesn't like to sleep with unshaven legs now. Something about the prickles not feeling good. No kidding?

Also, he understands the need to purchase a fancy razor for leg upkeep. He has a nice one for his face, but when he decided to sheer his legs he went out and bought the cheapest disposable razor he could find. Result? A lot of nicks, and because he refuses to use lotion it took them a long time to heal. He did confess to me that he had used my razor after that and it does a much better job. Duh! I haven't asked if he's using it regularly. I guess I'd better. I don't mind if he uses one like it, but I'm not sharing razors.

He has managed to keep it up for several weeks now. I'm interested to see how long it lasts. I must confess it's taken me a while to get used to feeling his smooth legs next to mine at night. It's not all together unpleasant, just different.

And if I thought it wasn't possible for his legs to get any whiter, I was terribly, horribly wrong.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

You're due when?

Julie left this afternoon.

Our visits together are never long enough, but always treasured.


I made reference to her "condition" in my post yesterday, but I've never really made an announcement on here.

So, in case you didn't know, my long time friend and her husband are expecting their first child.

I've known since January, but kept her secret because she wasn't ready to tell just yet. As with most first time pregnancies she and Frank are swimming in unknown waters and just didn't want the whole world to know until they knew things were ok. So my lips stayed sealed until I was given the green light, but I still didn't feel alright announcing such big news to the whole world.

So what changed? Well, first of all Julie has blog of her own in which she talks openly about her pregnancy, so I didn't think it'd be such a big deal now if I talked about it from my perspective. Also, she has a bump. A large bump. There's no hiding now. No secret keeping. The bump is a dead give away that there's a baby on the way.

Before you ask me anything I'm going to brief you on what I know:

Julie is due in September
They are not going to find out the gender. They want to be surprised.
She would appreciate it you wouldn't invade her personal bubble to touch her belly. Just don't do it.

There, now that all that is out in the open I can share with you how excited I am about this baby. I can think of no one that deserves to be a mother more than her, and I'm going to be an aunt again! Albeit, an honorary aunt, but who are we kidding? This kid is going to get just as much attention from me as my actual factual nieces and nephews. So, just call me Auntie Joanna.

I have to tell you a little story about Julie's visit. I already told you about how we're still hot, but there was another incident, if you will, but one quite different.

I decided that Little Bunny (that's the nick name she gave the baby at my urging to discontinue the use of "it" in reference to her unborn child) should have a t-shirt from my town. Little Bunny needs to know early where to find Auntie Joanna if Mommy and Daddy are being disagreeable. So I took Julie to our local Chamber of Commerce to pick something up. The older gentleman working there was very friendly and chatty, so we told him that Julie was expecting and that I was gifting a shirt for the baby. He took one look at Julie and said, "Oh, well it won't be long now." Julie didn't skip a beat and replied, "Actually I'm due in September." Old Gentleman got quiet and his face went blank. He looked at her belly again and said, "Well, you must be having four babies!"

What else is there to do in reply to that but laugh? I laughed. I laughed a lot. Julie politely laughed off his comment and made some statement about just carrying big. I think it was an effort not to cry or panic over the possibility that there is some mutant growing inside her that is going to break all infant birth weight records.

Needless to say, Julie's bump is quite obvious. Here's visual proof:


She wakes up in the morning and says, "I'm pretty sure I grew over night."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'm still hot, apparently

I don't have long. Julie is here and she's leaving tomorrow so I want to maximize my time.

I just had to tell you about our experience getting dinner tonight.

Julie decided that Little Caesar's Pizza sounded good, so we went to town to get some. But that really doesn't have anything to do with my story.

On our way we inadvertently ended up in the cruise line. Do you know what a cruise line is? If you don't then bless your heart and just know you're better off being in the dark.

Anyway, some guy honked at us and about the time Julie was expressing her outrage that he honked at us I saw a lot of other young'uns in the parking lot. Dressed up for what appeared to be no reason.

That's when I figured it out. We'd beeen singled out by horn honking guy as a couple of young fillies scouting out the local hot guys. He wanted us to pull over or roll our window down and talk to him.

We didn't. We let him live his fantasy.

Who are we to crush his dreams by showing him our wedding rings and Julie's expanding baby belly?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Don't forget your green

Tomorrow is St.Patrick's Day.

Or green beer day.

Or National Ginger Appreciation Day.

That's what Andy calls it.

Because he's a ginger.

Andy and I went on our first date on St.Patrick's Day.

Nine years ago.

He wasn't wearing green.

But I didn't pinch him.

I didn't kiss him either.

I'm not that kind of girl.

We had frozen yogurt.

His was chocolate and vanilla swirl.

Mine was chocolate with oreo sprinkles.

We went after work, so our date wasn't very long.

But I had a good time.

Clearly.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Killer

For some reason Milton has decided that the broom is his mortal enemy.

Observe.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Living up to Donna Reed's standards

Andy and I seem to have a hard time keeping a tidy home. We don't live in filth or anything, but we just seem to let the clutter pile up and then when someone comes to visit it's a mad dash to get everything put back together.

As a teenager I was the typical messy teen whose mom was constantly nagging to clean my room. In college, when I had my honest-to-goodness own space, I was much neater. It pained me for people to come into my room and have anything out of place. I even made my bed every day.

When we got married two and a half years ago, things changed. In part because I worked a random schedule that comes with being in retail management, but also because I just wasn't going to clean up after another person. Sure, if Andy was a child, more specifically if he were my child, I would be happy to pick up after him or at least help him learn to clean up his own mess. But he isn't a child. He is a grown man, and he knows better.

That isn't to say that Andy doesn't get tired of the clutter. He would let it pile up for a while and then just one day out of the blue announce that he was tired of living in the middle of a mess and go on a cleaning rampage. When he does things like this it makes me feel like I'm about two inches tall and that I haven't been doing my wifely duty.

But seriously, what exactly is my wifely duty? Don't I work too? Don't we use the apartment equally? We both shower once a day. We both sleep in the bed that never gets made. We both cook in the kitchen and use the dishes in the cabinets. So why should I feel like it's all my fault when it looks like something exploded in the living room?

Something had to give.

Two weeks ago I spent the better part of two days completely cleaning and organizing our apartment. We had company coming for the better part of a week and this is something we'd talked about doing for a while. Both of our apartments the we've inhabited have had two bedrooms, but the spare has always been unlivable. We seem to use it more for storage than anything else, but not anymore. Everything has a place on a closet shelf or in a drawer. I even rearranged the furniture in both bedrooms, by myself.

The apartment looked great; the best it has looked since we moved in. Then Andy came home and said, "So how long do you think we can keep it looking like this? I give us until next Saturday."

Oh, hell no.

The next day I went out and bought a dry erase calendar and wrote a week by week cleaning schedule. So far I've been able to keep up with it. When you start with everything tidy in the first place it makes the cleaning so much easier and less time consuming.

All-in-all it seems to be working well. Thought I think I'm going to start throwing Andy's socks away if he keeps leaving them on the couch.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dark chocolate no bake cookies

If you haven't ever made these you're totally missing out, and you don't even need to know how to bake. They require minimum effort with maximum rewards.

I made them tonight because my sweet tooth was protruding and my options were to go buy a $6 piece of chocolate cake or make something myself. I already had all the ingredients so I whipped up a batch of no bake cookies instead.

I modified the recipe and used dark chocolate cocoa powder instead of regular. It made the cookies extra rich and decadent. Though it also increased their resemblance to cow patties, but I promise they don't taste anything like poo.



Truly, a chocoholic's dream.



**Edit: I forgot to mention that I also didn't use chunky peanut butter. I used creamy because that's what I had on hand. I've never had these with the chunky kind. I imagine it would put a different spin on the texture of the cookie, which I'm not so sure about. But give it a try if you like.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

In case you wanted to know

You know how people talk about adrenaline and how getting an adrenaline rush is so awesome and makes you so much stronger? And exercising gives you adrenaline rushes?

This is all true. However, what they don't tell you is that the adrenaline rush comes after the exercise happens and during the actual activity you just want to die, or throw up, whichever comes first. It's great afterwards because you make it through and you didn't do any of those things.

But during? Whoa boy! You body starts to revolt against you and your muscles start screaming out, "What are you doing you crazy bitch? We'd like to make it to our 27th year! Stop this business right now!" But you don't stop because you know better than your muscles and you know you're making them stronger and in the long run they'll thank you. But they still manage to exact their revenge. Oh yes, just wait until the next day when you're feeling all gratified from your workout. Then you take that first step out of bed and instantly collapse onto the floor because your muscles are refusing to hold you up. Who had the last word?

Now, none of this is meant to discourage any of you who'd like to take up running. If you talked to me on any other day I'd tell you that if I can do it you totally can too and you should find some running shoes and a track post haste!

Also, as I said before, after the workout I feel much better. I even feel energetic and like I could have gone another mile or so. And I fully intend to keep this cycle up. The next time I go running I'll be all pumped up and ready for that adrenaline high again, until I actually start to run, then I'll remember the pain again.

I always forget the pain when it's gone and only seem to remember the gratification that comes after. I've heard the same thing said about natural unmedicated childbirth, but I don't know personally and I don't plan on finding out any time soon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What I'm doing.

After several days going (what feels like) non-stop this is what I've decided I'm going to do this afternoon:

  • Have a little lunch
  • Read
  • Cuddle my bunnies until they tell me to leave them alone
  • Take a nap
  • Have my husband grill some burgers for dinner
  • Watch him clean up the dishes
  • Read some more
  • Take a hot bath to ease my sore muscles
  • Watch the new episode of America's Next Top Model
  • Finish my book
  • Go to bed
I've got a busy day ahead. I better get crackin'. I might even make some time to come back here and talk to you, but I'm not making any promises.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Only a week later...

Well, almost a week.

Here are some pictures of Lilianna

Sweet little girlLot's of hairChillin'

Monday, March 9, 2009

Just in time for a cold front

We had another beautiful day today, so I finally made myself get out and start running again. I haven't been for about three months. It turns out that the runner side of my personality gets overshadowed by the lazy, whiny side when the temperature falls much below 40. If my inner runner makes any suggestions about exercise the lazy in me takes out a mallet and beats that crazy talk out of my head.

Of course it doesn't help that there is perpetual wind up here on my mountain. It's really lovely on those hot days of summer (the few), but when it's already freezing outside the wind makes it feel five or ten degrees lower than it actually is. So I've allowed myself a while to be a sloth.

I actually had a great workout. My pace hasn't slowed and I didn't have any trouble with breathing or cramping. After I cooled down I even felt like I could run some more. I didn't because I don't want to over do it. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

I used one of my Christmas presents for the first time during my run today. My in-laws bought me the nike+ system that works with my ipod to monitor my progress with running. It's every bit as cool as I thought and I think it's going to help motivate me. I'll be better able to track my progress so I'm thinking my competitive side will come out and force me to push harder.

I'm not too sore, but I do need to do some stretching to make sure I stay that way. And of course they're calling for a cold snap and some winter weather starting Wednesday/Thursday and going into next week. I'm gonna have to ignore my lazy self so I won't lose momentum. Any words of encouragement are welcome.

So after two nights of pilates and running this afternoon I promptly went to the grocery and picked up a frozen pizza and a soft drink. At least I have my priorities in order, right?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Escapee

Our apartment has somewhat of an open floor plan. The living, dining and kitchen are basically all the same room and there is a doorway that connects that part with the rest of the apartment.

We usually corral the bunnies into the main room; not letting them into the bedroom and bathroom part of the apartment.

Every now and then I'll let them explore in the other rooms and when I do they get very excited, and then very upset when they find themselves, once again, shut out.

This past week I've been letting them into our bedroom so they can hang out with me while I read and do other things. They don't like to be alone and I haven't been spending a lot of time watching TV lately. And honestly I like to be with them as much as they like to be with me.

This morning though, I had the bunny gate up blocking the entry way. Basically the bunny gate is a cheap-o baby gate that I bought a year ago when we moved here. It has served it's purpose well; thought it's made primarily of thin plastic and the bunnies have certainly tried hard to chew their way through.

Andy and I knew eventually they would succeed and we would have to replace the gate or deal with them in the other rooms.

This morning Milton finally did it. I was using the computer and for about twenty minutes I heard him at the gate chewing, and digging and shaking it, like always. I just figured he'd give up and move on to something else eventually, like he usually does. But Milton is nothing if not persistent and all of a sudden I heard silence. Then I heard a little clicking sound on linoleum. We only have linoleum flooring in one place in the apartment. That's in the hall way on the non-bunny side of the bunny gate.

He did it, and boy was he proud of himself. I turned around and looked at my little gray cuss and if he could grin he would have been showing all his teeth. He made sure that I saw him and then he turned and scooted into our bedroom which is his favorite place to be.

I spent the next few minutes trying to coax him out. I guess we're in the market for a new gate now.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Goodbye flannel sheets

Today was such a beautiful day. I can't wait until the temperature is permanently in the 70's and everything is lush and green. I'm sure we have another cold burst or two looming over us in the coming weeks. It's inevitable that we get all cozy and comfortable with our windows open and our painted toe nails with flip flops only to have everything squashed by a return of winter. It's something I've come to accept, but I'm going to enjoy the suns rays while I can.

Andy even got a sunburn today. Which isn't hard for him to do, and he'll have many more before winter returns next November, but his skin hasn't had this much color in a long time. I've really enjoyed calling him a lobster this evening.

I spent the afternoon reading, napping and wrangling young'uns. My mom came up with my grandmother and the three musketeers. It's always an adventure when they come. Veronica wanted to make something in the kitchen, but I was sadly unprepared as this was an impromptu visit. I'll make it up to her next time.

We went to Chick-fil-a (we're regulars when the kids are with us) to let them play in the indoor play space and catch up on family happenings. The kids didn't talk too much about Lilianna. Alex clung to me a little more than normal. He's always happy to see me, but he never has to have my by his side like that. It seems he's feeling the loss of his status as the family baby. He'll survive I'm sure and enjoy his baby sister once she can interact with him a little better.

Jerem came out of the play space at one point and declared that he had found his true love. Honest to goodness that is exactly what he said. There was a really cute little girl playing with them and I guess he took a fancy to her. He said that she was six years old and she was invited to his birthday party and he was going to marry her one day. But he couldn't tell us her name. It was possibly the sweetest thing ever. Alex was keeping up family relations as he sat next to the little girls dad and talked to him. He was just trying to make the way a little easier for his big brother. ; )

All-in-all it was a really nice Saturday. I didn't get to go out and run in the sunshine like I'd planned because I stayed with the kids a little too long, but there's always tomorrow. And I've got my pm pilates dvd to get me through the night.

Don't forget to spring forward tonight! Yay for longer days!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Crossing my fingers...

that my car stays fixed for a while.

Andy fixed it today, finally. I guess it wasn't so much his fault that my car sat unused for almost a week. It's hard to tinker with it when there's over a foot of snow on the ground.

He did, however, admit to me that it was his fault that the car was broken in the first place.

Back in December when he replaced the alternator he broke a piece off and thought it wouldn't be a big deal.

Turns out it was a big deal.

But at least it was easy to fix and hopefully it won't break again for a long time.


**I still don't have pictures of the new baby. Actually I do, but they're very dark so I'm holding out until I get some better ones. My mom would have sent some to me already, but she is keeping the three musketeers and just hasn't had time to upload anything to the computer. But now that I have a working chariot again maybe I can get down this weekend to see her and smell her sweet baby smell for myself.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Giant cake and a bump on the head

It turns out that my debit card was somehow compromised and the bank canceled it. They sent me a new one, but it would have been nice to have a heads up. You know, like a phone call or even a letter saying something along the lines of, "Yo, we didn't want anyone to steal your money so you won't be able to use your card anymore." Whatever, at least I know now. We don't know why Andy's card is having trouble. The bank said they didn't see a problem with it and we used it a couple of times today with no issue. Let's hope it stays that way.

While I was at the ATM today testing my card, I managed to give myself a giant welt on my head. As you know my car is, once again, out of commission, so I've been driving around Andy's monster truck Jeep. When I get into my Jeep I can pretty much just open the door and sit down. Not so with Andy's. He has a lift and giant tires which cause me to have to sort of hoist myself up into the car and swing in at sort of an angle. I guess I was agitated from my debit card problems and didn't pay enough attention to what I was doing. So basically I slammed my forehead into the door frame as I was getting in. Luckily, I hit the padding around the frame so that helped not give me a concussion. I'm pretty sure I would have been unconscious for a second if I had hit just metal. But my head hurts and I'm counting on it being blue tomorrow. Right now it's just red and swollen.

After I got everything sorted out and ran some errands I came home to get my bake on. Our friend Ally is leaving Saturday to go to Europe for the next six weeks. She's an awesome cyclist and is getting a free trip to go race with the US National Development team. How great is that?

So in celebration of her achievement and to send her off in glutinous American style I made her a giant cake. With 14 layers. It was really fun and not as difficult and time consuming as I thought it might be. I got the recipe from Bakerella, who is everything I aspire to be. Truly she is my baking hero.

Anyway, here are some pictures from today's baking marathon:

14 cakes, cooling
Icing phase 1
Icing phase 2
Ally with her cake
If you want to see Ally in action she'll be on Versus on April 4th riding in the Tour de Flanders.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Just so you know

This is a picture taken this past Sunday during the snow storm. It's local. These guys apparently did this for fun, and that is an actual road they're driving on, not a random field.

Post Script

I meant to include in that last little tirade that my new niece is here.

Lilianna Eileen
March 4, 2009
12:15 am (roughly, I don't know the exact time)
7 lbs (the largest of all her siblings)
19 inches (short like the rest of us)

I haven't seen her yet, which makes me really sad. I've been able to go to the hospital to visit the first three and somehow I think I'm neglecting her by not being there. If it weren't for my damned car I'd be on my way instead of typing this.

They have told me that she has lots of hair and a very round face with skinny legs. My mom said at first she didn't bear any resemblance to anyone, but the more she looked at her the more she saw my grandfather on my dad's side. I'm sure she's beautiful and I'll have pictures just as soon as I can carry myself off this mountain to get some.

This isn't funny anymore

In the last month or two Andy and I have been having trouble with our debit cards randomly being declined. We always have money to cover what we're trying to purchase and often we have just used the card at a different location.

It's really starting to piss me off. And we always know that money isn't an issue because we get messages like "card has been canceled" or "cannot accept card" or "data is not activated."

It has only happened to one of us at a time though, until today. We were in separate locations trying to make purchases and we were both denied.

How weired is this?

I don't understand what's going on. We've been thinking that it's a fluke, but there have just been too many situations like this for that. I feel like the bank is targeting us for embarrassment.
I guess we'll have to call them tomorrow to find out what the problem is. I really hate calling the bank. We have three branches near us and somehow every person employed at those three banks have the personality of a green pea. It makes me uncomfortable to even think about it.

I think I'll go gorge myself on fudge bars to make myself feel better and wallow in self pity for having to deal with my money institution tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's Tuesday

Just another day on the mountain.

I don't think it got about 25 degrees today. That is not helpful when we're trying to get rid of all this snow.

Also, my car definitely won't start. The battery is dead as a doornail. Andy went out last night to try it and then when we came out this morning to leave the driver's side door was wide open. Apparently the cold froze the latch and we had to wait for the sun to warm the door up before it would close. That was awesome. I guess it really isn't a big deal unless some small rodent decided my car was warmer and more comfortable than whatever tree it was living in. That would be bad, very, very, bad.

People come skiing because of all the great snow we have and then they come in the shop and complain about how cold it is. All I can do is show them our thermal underwear and make suggestions. Clearly they want me to pull out my magic wand and raise the temperature ten or fifteen degrees. Soon I'm just going to start suggesting that they don't go. It's a freaking outdoor sport. One that can only be enjoyed in the winter time. Suck it up and deal with the cold or find something else to occupy the time.

On a brighter note; my sister-in-law went into labor today with her and my brother's fourth child. She's probably going to deliver in the next couple of hours. A new baby is always exciting. Hopefully I'll have a functioning vehicle so I can go down this weekend and meet my new niece. I'll let you know when she's here.

I think I'll go sit on the couch with a warm beverage and a blanket and watch all the stupid people out on the ski slope freezing their butts off. Have a great night!

Monday, March 2, 2009

After the storm

There is only one word to describe how I'm feeling right now: exhausted.

We had one hell of a snow storm last night. 12-15+ inches across the region. I know compared to some places that's small potatoes, but we haven't had a good snow like this in at least five years. It's the kind of snow that we pray for each winter and it finally came. I love snow so I'm ecstatic and I woke up in a really good mood this morning. Even though I couldn't get in my car to find out if it would start. The door handle was a block of ice and Andy had to come back and get me to take me to work. He could have opened my door, but I was already so late it would have taken too much time to clean off the Jeep, and then if we'd gone to the trouble it probably wouldn't have started anyway. That's life.

So, work today was a zoo. There were just two of us because the season should be winding down. We shouldn't be busy. We shouldn't have gotten over a foot of snow last night. But we did. And work has been hosting a demo these last couple of days so there were all kinds of new people for me to meet and greet. Lots of new faces to put with names and voices I've heard on the phone. Lot's of questions like, "Did you get out on the mountain at the demo today?" and my reply of, "Nope, I don't ski." followed by a blank stare and the inevitable, "But you work in a ski shop."

Yes, that's right and I don't sell equipment. I sell clothing. I can still do that and keep my feet firmly planted at the bottom of the mountain in my 700 down fill snow boots thankyouverymuch!

We were so busy in fact that I didn't get a break today. I just worked straight through. When my relief came I wanted to give her a kiss, but I didn't because that would have been weired. I did however tell her she was the most beautiful person in the world and carry my happy ass to the car as fast as I could get Andy into it to take me home.

So now I plan on takin' it easy. I looked myself over when I got home and even my hair looks tired. It's all flat and not shiny anymore.

Thank goodness I only have to work half a day tomorrow.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cabin Fever

Wow, six posts in February. I've outdone myself

So in honor of nearly a year of blogging (and to get myself back into the swing of things) I'm planning on posting once a day until my "blog-o-versary" on March 26th.

Why are you laughing?

Stop it!

I can do this... really.


Anyway. It snowed today. It's still snowing as a matter of fact.

I knew there was supposed to be some kind of inclimate weather, but this time of year you really can't count on anything. With spring right around the corner you never really know what's going to happen. So when I woke up this morning to a dusting of the white stuff on the grass and not much else, I wasn't so surprised.

I have spent the last two days cleaning my apartment. Which hasn't been this clean ever. Including when we moved in. No kidding. To treat myself I planned on taking a little trip to town this afternoon and picking up a few things. Not really necessities, but things we could use none the less. I decided to wait to leave until lunch time to give all the stores a chance to open since it's Sunday. At around 12 I sat down to use the computer and the weather was the same as it had been hours ago; soggy with a mixture of precipitation.

Thirty minutes later I get up to leave and look out the window. Sometime in the past half hour it snowed at least half an inch and there were no signs of stopping. But I'd been locked in my apartment with Comet and rubber gloves for two days and no amount of snow was going to stop me from getting to town. I briefly went over various family member's reactions to my resolve.

My step dad: "Oh no you're not going out in this."
Andy: (knowing me better, but hoping to discourage me anyway) "I really don't think it's a good idea."
My mom: "OK, will you bring me (insert product) back from Walmart?"
My grandmother: (who thinks I'm capable of doing anything) "Well, be real careful and call me when you get back."

I decided to go with my grandmother's imagined seal of approval and set out on my journey. Now, by "town" I mean the nearest place hosting more than a grocery store and a Riteaid. At least a 15 mile hike. I knew it was going to be slow moving, as I live in a tourist town and it's the weekend. Lot's of out-of-towners who don't know how to drive in snow. Not that I'm all that adept myself, but I'm not as chicken as I used to be.

On the way to town

My trip there was relatively uneventful. I made it without incident. The people behind me didn't tailgate and I kept a wide berth from the people ahead. I made it to my destination. No one had what I was looking for, but I made a few purchases and used a coupon, picked up some lunch and got back in my car to make the trek home. My cabin fever was satisfied.

This is where things get tricky. Remember when I told you my alternator was acting up again? Turns out there was just a bad connection that was easily fixed with a saudering iron. My car has been doing well ever since then. Doing well until today that is. I guess Andy didn't make the connection quite as strong as it needed to be so when I got back in my car to start it up my check engine light was on. Fabulous. All I need is a broken down car in a snow storm. But it was running so I stiffened my resolve to make it as far home as possible before I was stuck.

Driving back home

I won't go into all the details of my trip. I'll just say there was only one incident where I was sideways in the road, but luckily there was a car in the other lane that had run off the road so there was no oncoming traffic. It's not lucky that they ran off the road, but it's lucky that they were stopped and I managed to do the same and not collide with them. Then some idiot decided to pass everyone in my lane, nearly causing a multiple care pile up. People like that deserve to have accidents. And if you are one of those people I'm not sorry I wrote that.

My car did make it home, barely. I'll be surprised if it starts next time I go out. We'll probably have to put the battery in Andy's Jeep to charge it up and he'll have to revisit that faulty connection. But I'm pretty happy with the outcome of my trip. Mostly I'm happy to be home again in one piece.

That needle should be up around the 14
Next time it snows like this and I want to go out in it please remind me to come back here and read this.

Also, could someone bring me some hot chocolate? Like, right now?