Monday, February 18, 2008
Valentine's Day can have a pretty bad rap. Forced romance can really go horribly wrong. But I do like the idea behind it, and done with the right attitude, it can be a lot of fun. We don't put pressure on each other to spend a lot of money and have a picture perfect evening. We do what we can, and mostly just enjoy putting aside a day to just focus on the two of us. The past few years Anthony and I have had a pretty low key Valentine's Day. We were either busy, or didn't have a lot of extra money to spend. Last year we had just moved into the house so we didn't exchange gifts, just had sushi for dinner and relaxed. It was wonderful.
This year I had time to put up a few Valentine's Day decorations around the house. My cousin and my mom found some old pink and red ornaments while they were cleaning out grandma's house, so I found some branches and hung the ornaments up, and kept out my red glassware. I got a few red candle holders and put the rest of the ornaments into a vase. Very simple, but it turned out well I think.
I got Anthony a really nice button down shirt, some white tulips, his favorite cologne, and I made homemade chocolate covered cherries. I found an amazing little copper colored embossed "leather" box to put the candy in at Target. And a monkey. A little tiny stuffed monkey. Because every year for every birthday/holiday/gift giving occasion, he asked what I got him. And every year, I tell him "a monkey". So this year, it was true.
And he seriously went all out for me this year, which I wasn't expecting at all. He got up at his normal time and pretended to go into work. But he actually spent the whole day getting things ready. I came home to curtains in the living room (something we've been looking for forever), 200 tealight candles lit, a fireplace screen saver on the tv, three dozen sweetheart roses, a sushi dinner arranged on the coffee table, and an mp3 player.
I try to keep the smushy romantic stuff to a dull roar on here, but I have to gush about it this year. The flowers and mp3 were amazing, but the amount of time he put into planning and setting it up was what blew me away. Especially because he gets so much enjoyment out of the surprise. I have to say, I seriously love that guy.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
There are never enough books available. I am always running out. And there are only so many times I can re-read them. If I were ever forced to pick my two favorites, I would probably have to choose Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. I've probably read each of them a dozen times. I have stacks and stacks of books, and most I’ve read at least twice. By the time I hit middle school, I’d read almost every book in the children and young adult sections of the library. And it was an amazing library. Not a two-bit, half-staffed library with three quarters of the shelves empty. There were fantastic librarians who kept the shelves full of books. I still managed to wipe it out. I moved on to the adult section and had worked my way through a decent portion of it by the time I graduated from high school. I will admit there is a library that defeated me. The one on MSU’s campus was too big for me to really make a dent in. Then again, there were an awful lot of books that I had no interest in reading. I’ll skip the "The History of Microeconomics" thankyouverymuch. (snore) And no, I have no idea if a book by that name even exists. Although I do know that anything by that title would NOT be my first choice for an enjoyable read. I did some serious work on their Fiction section though.
I didn’t feel like I’d actually settled into living in Lansing until I had my library card. But the problem is, half of the time when I go to the library, I forget what books I’d planned to borrow. I finally have a system. When I hear someone talk about a book, read a review online, or see one that looks particularly interesting somewhere, I write it down. I know, novel concept. Pardon the pun. It shouldn’t have taken me 25 years to come up with it. It is working really well though. Of course, it didn’t take long for that list to grow to immense proportions, but I’m pretty confident that I can handle it. Library here I come. I don’t buy books very often. I don’t really have the budget to keep up with my list. Plus, I’d rather not have every single square inch of the house piled with books. We still have to come up with a system to organize the ones I do have. My dad is making us an incredible bookcase, but we’ve been slow about picking out the stain for it, and he can’t finish it until we do. Oops. Note to self: Go to Menards to pick one out. SOON.
Digging through a box of books in the office the other day I found two books that I’d never read before. They were obviously used, although not in bad shape. I have no idea where they came from. I didn’t buy them and Anthony didn’t either. Very odd. It’s possible they came from my grandma’s house, although I don’t remember picking them up. I do remember getting a hardcover three volume set of The Count of Monte Cristo, a Nancy Drew book, and The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency from her house. I’m not one to turn down free books, but it’s very confusing. If we have a ghost, I’m glad it brings books instead of chasing us out of the house…but seriously. Weird. The books were E for Evidence by Sue Grafton, and The Devil’s Waltz by Jonathan Kellerman. Both good books, although not great.
Thanks to a very generous gift card I got for birthday/Christmas, I did order a couple of books from Borders. They were two I knew I was going to enjoy. One was The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood. Since Margaret Atwood is one of my absolute favorite writers, I knew I’d love her most recent book. It’s the story of the Odyssey from Penelope’s perspective. What she did with her life while he was gone for ten years and how she fended off the hoards of suitors after her.
The other was The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic. When a 120-year-old New York mental hospital was closed, they found hundreds of suitcases that belonged to the patients at the hospital. They did research to find out more about the people that the suitcases had belonged to. The book tells the stories of 25 of those patients who lived there. I read a review of the book online which lead to a website with more information about the book, the people’s stories were fascinating, and I am really excited to read it.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Also, Anthony is coming back tonight. He's been gone for 8 days, and there was a possibility he'd be gone for another week. But he called to say he'd be home tonight around 11:30. Today is a seriously good day.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I used to be a Brussels Sprouts hater, but after dinner tonight I have totally changed my mind. I've been determined to get over hating them. It always seemed like they had potential, but every time I had them I was disappointed. A lot of the time they were bitter. And even dripping with butter or cheese sauce, they just didn't impress me. Broccoli is a much better vehicle for cheese and butter.
I'd heard good things about roasting them, so I tried them roasted with balsamic vinegar, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. (drools) They were amazing.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Yep, by some kid in elementary school. I turned him down and gave it back.
2. LONGEST RELATIONSHIP?
3.5 years (the one I'm in now).
3. LAST GIFT YOU RECEIVED?
A green quartz and diamond necklace from Anthony for my birthday (yesterday).
4. EVER DROPPED A CELL PHONE?
All the time, luckily mine seems to be indestructible, I've never had a problem with it.
5. WHEN'S THE LAST TIME YOU WORKED OUT?
Unfortunately several weeks ago, I'm recovering from some sort of bronchitis thing, and it's not a good idea to work out with gunk in your lungs.
6. THING(S) YOU SPEND A LOT OF MONEY ON?
I have a feeling my definition of a lot is much smaller than most people's, but clothing, decorative stuff for the house, and BPAL perfume.
7. LAST FOOD YOU ATE?
Leftover Apple Baked French Toast.
8. FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT THE OPPOSITE SEX?
Probably height if I'm being totally honest.
9. ONE FAVORITE SONG?
Yeesh, that's a difficult one, it really depends on my mood. "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley kills me every time I hear it though. It's a song I feel instead of hear.
10. WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
11. HIGH SCHOOL YOU ATTENDED:
12. CELL PHONE SERVICE PROVIDER:
13. FAVORITE MALL STORE:
It's pretty rare that I shop at the mall...uhm, probably Schulers, the book store.
14. LONGEST JOB YOU HAD:
Working at a Meat Market/Deli. I worked there for 2 summers and 5 Christmases, so a total of 8 months or so.
15. DO YOU OWN A PAIR OF DICE?
16. DO YOU PRANK CALL PEOPLE?:
17. LAST WEDDING YOU ATTENDED:
Erin and Kyle's maybe?
18. FIRST FRIEND YOU'D CALL IF YOU WON THE LOTTERY:
Erin, but only if I won enough to buy Johnny Depp. Otherwise, I'd probably be boring and invest most of it.
19. LAST TIME YOU SAW YOUR BEST FRIEND:
Unfortunately, at my grandma's funeral and I'll see her tomorrow at her grandpa's funeral. This has not been a good year for grandparents.
20. FAVORITE FAST FOOD RESTAURANT:
Probably the pizza place that's about 3 minutes away. It's good, cheap pizza. And they also deliver macaroni and cheese and ice cream sundaes.
21. BIGGEST LIE YOU HAVE EVER HEARD:
Probably something coming out of our current president's mouth.
23. WHERE'S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT WITH FRIENDS?
Usually their house or my house. We like to get together to cook.
24. CAN YOU COOK?
Yup, I love it.
25. WHAT CAR DO YOU DRIVE?:
One that's new to me, I just bought my mom's '04 Honda Civic.
26. BEST KISSER:
27. LAST TIME YOU CRIED?:
A couple of days ago, it's been kind of a crummy holiday.
28. MOST DISLIKED FOODS:
Brussels Sprouts and Bell Peppers. Bell Peppers overwhelm the flavor of dishes, so I only like them in very small amounts. And I'm working on liking Brussels Sprouts, I found a recipe for them roasted with apples and bacon which sounds promising.
29. THING YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOURSELF:
Creativity, loyalty, openmindedness.
30. THING YOU DISLIKE MOST ABOUT YOURSELF:
The fact that disappointments really get to me and sometimes hold me back.
32. LONGEST SHIFT YOU HAVE WORKED AT A JOB?:
Probably 12-13 hours, working at the deli/meat market right before Christmas.
33. FAVORITE MOVIE?
Arrgh, I hate questions like that...The "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is pretty high up there.
34. CAN YOU SING?
Yup. I used to take lessons. Now I just sing in the car.
35. LAST CONCERT ATTENDED?
Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh.....probably one of the symphonies Anthony and I went to a few years ago.
36. LAST KISS?
This morning when Anthony left for work.
37. LAST MOVIE RENTED:
"Mr. Brooks" and "1408". Both were surprisingly good.
38.ONE THING YOU NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT:
Contacts or eyeglasses...anything else is negotiable...but without those I'll never find my way BACK.
39. FAVORITE vacation spot:
France was amazing, but I also really love Mackinac Island, and Nova Scotia.
43. LAPTOP OR DESKTOP COMPUTER?:
Both! That's what happens when you date a computer geek.
44. FAVORITE COMEDIAN?:
Eddie Izzard. Because men in dresses and high heels always win.
45. DO YOU SMOKE?
46. SLEEP WITH OR WITHOUT CLOTHES?
47. WHO SLEEPS WITH YOU EVERY NIGHT?:
Anthony, and our cats Mercury and Ra.
48. DO LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS WORK?:
Sometimes. I have a hard time with them though.
49. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU BEEN PULLED OVER BY THE POLICE?
50. PANCAKES OR FRENCH TOAST?
French toast or Gingerbread pancakes.
51. DO YOU LIKE COFFEE?:
Yep. I'm a big snob about it though. I really prefer to make it in a French Press.
52. HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR EGGS?
in a basket. Also known as Toad in a Hole, or an egg cracked into a piece of toast and fried inside of it.
53. DO YOU BELIEVE IN ASTROLOGY?:
I think the general descriptions of signs are often surprisingly accurate. The ones in newspapers and magazines are a joke.
54. LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?:
My parents, they called to wish me a Happy Birthday.
55. LAST PERSON ON YOUR MISSED CALL LIST?:
My parents. They called and sang me Happy Birthday on my voice mail. Then I called them back.
56. WHAT WAS THE LAST TEXT MESSAGE YOU RECIEVED?:
Hmm, probably from my friend Josh. He was driving cross country by himself and wanted to talk to someone to stay awake.
58. NUMBER OF PILLOWS?:
At least two. One under my head and the other to snuggle.
59. WHAT ARE YOU WEARING RIGHT NOW?:
Yoga pants and a long sleeve shirt, Christmas socks.
60. PICK A LYRIC, ANY LYRIC:
"Well I’m not paralyzed
But, I seem to be struck by you
I want to make you move
Because you’re standing still
If your body matches
What your eyes can do
You’ll probably move right through
Me on my way to you..." Paralyzer by Finger Eleven
61. WHAT KIND OF JELLY DO YOU LIKE ON YOUR PB & J?:
62. CAN YOU PLAY POOL?:
63. CAN YOU SWIM?
Yep, I was in the lake before I could walk. I've physically been dragged out because I wouldn't leave the water.
64. FAVORITE ICE CREAM?:
Mayan Chocolate Haagen Dazs (chocolate with cinnamon). Or Pumpkin Spice from the Dairy Store.
65. DO YOU LIKE MAPS?
Yep, although I'm more enamored with what they look like than actually using them. I have a good natural sense of direction.
66. TELL ME A RANDOM FACT ABOUT YOURSELF:
I have a 3 inch scar across my knee from when I cut it open as a child.
68. EVER ATTEND A THEME PARTY:
Yup...though nobody told us that they'd changed the theme from "lingerie" to just plain ol' pjs...so we were definitely the most risque-ly dressed of the bunch.
69. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SEASON:
Fall, absolutely. Although I also really love the few weeks transitioning between the seasons.
70. LAST TIME YOU LAUGHED AT SOMETHING STUPID?
...well I checked "I can has cheezeburger?" a little bit ago.
71. WHAT TIME DID YOU WAKE UP THIS MORNING ?
10am. I've been sick and I'm trying to get as much rest as possible.
72. BEST THING ABOUT WINTER?:
The snow makes everything seems quiet and still. Also, it's my birthday!
73. LAST TIME A COP GAVE YOU A TICKET?:
6-7 years ago?
75. NAME OF YOUR FIRST PET?:
Chelsea, a very bitchy tiger striped cat.
76. DO YOU THINK PIRATES ARE COOL OR OVERRATED?:
77. WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS WEEKEND??
79. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE:
Some kind of therapist.
85. ARE YOU ON A LAPTOP?:
87. ARE YOU SMILING?:
More like smirking.
89. DO YOU MISS SOMEONE RIGHT NOW:
90. IF YOU COULD GO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WHERE WOULD YOU GO?:
To every country in Europe.
92. ARE YOU IN HIGH SCHOOL?:
Thank god, no.
93. DO YOU HAVE A CRUSH?:
Yep. I'm pretty enamored with my cats.
94. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE NAME?
Mine actually. Or Maggie. Both derivatives of Margaret.
95. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR BATHING SUIT?:
Um, one is black and the other is black with red cherries all over. Both are vintage-y looking.
96. DOES YOUR SCHOOL START IN AUGUST?:
I'm not in school right now.
97. DID YOU GO ON VACATION LAST MONTH?:
Unfortunately not. Anthony's gone all the time for work and my schedule is all over the place. I'm not sure we're together long enough to go anywhere.
98. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ON A CRUISE?:
Nope. Not really interested in one either, unless it were a really small ship around the Greek Isles.
99. DO YOU HAVE A SISTER?
Nope, I'm an only child.
100. ARE YOU UPSTAIRS?:
Nope. I'm in the living room of the house we live in.
101. ARE YOU IN LOVE?:
102. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN THE HOSPITAL?
Well, I work in one...so I'm in a hospital 5 days every week. As a patient, yes. The last time was a couple of years ago.
103. DO YOU WISH YOU COULD SEE ANYONE PARTICULAR RIGHT NOW?
Yes. But we've lost contact.
104. WHAT JEWELRY ARE YOU WEARING?
None at the moment, I just got up.
105. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO AFTER THIS SURVEY?
Get something to eat, put in a load of laundry and get ready for work.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
That's the tree pre-pruned. Normally we just leave it alone, a few crazy branches don't bother me. But it was a little too bizarre this year to do it. So a few well placed snips and it at least doesn't look like it's trying to take over the living room.
It still has a few bare spots, but altogether it was pretty nice. We bought LED lights, since we needed to replace our old lights anyway, but we definitely got the wrong ones. They're the larger bulb, and didn't give our tree the normal magical glow. Luckily, they're indoor/outdoor, so next year they'll go outside, and we'll get the nice small bulb LEDs.
People sent a lot of Christmas cards this year, and we finally found a good way to hang them. Although by Christmas Day we had cards propped up on the dining room window sill that the cats kept knocking over. We may have to hang a second ribbon next year.
Here is the table set for the brunch that never happened. Every year about two weeks before Christmas I have people over. It's usually a dinner to celebrate my birthday. This year, I decided to try brunch. Sadly, the night before we got NINE inches of snow, and no one could make it. So, we dragged in a couple of neighbors, and ate a lot of frittata for the next week. Hopefully next year the weather will be a little more cooperative.
On the dining room bar I added some fresh spruce branches and candles. It looked gorgeous when I lit them, but it was a little nerve wracking to have flames in the middle of dry tree branches.
For the most part I kept things simple in the rest of the living room, a few pine cones added to the candles on the coffee table looked nice.
Unfortunately we couldn't keep most of the Christmas gifts under the tree. The cats thought the curling ribbon was delicious, and spent most of their time trying to chew on it.
One decoration that I put up didn't really fit. I put up a Nativity set. I'm not Christian. I know this is where most of you stop and scratch your head. It was my grandma's Nativity set, and no one else in the family wanted it. It's at least 60 years old, probably more like 80, and I hated the thought of seeing it tossed out. I remember playing with it as a kid. I'd sit on the floor in her living room and arrange and re-arrange the figures in it. She never minded me playing with it, and let me fix it until it looked JUST right to me. I don't think I'll put it up every year. But for the first Christmas without her, I couldn't stand to have it shoved away in a box.
And finally, here are our artistically posed Holiday cats.