Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Yesterday was my Birthday. I turned ancient. Of course, I turn ancient every year, because every year I become as old as DH, and then when his Birthday comes in August I stop being ancient again.

I baked my own birthday cake, it was pretty sweet. I made minor accidental alterations, but it was pretty much this Chocolate-Orange Cream Cake. We went up to my Grandma's house and celebrated with my Grandma, Uncle, and Dad, it was great.

If I could describe my long weekend in one word it would be contentment. It was a very relaxing and very contented weekend. Relaxed, wonderful.

Back to work tomorrow. Hopefully being ancient won't slow me down.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The start of a LONG weekend...!!

Its funny that the phrase "its the start of a long week" has such negative connotations. This week I had a nice, short week, and now I get to start my very positively connotated long weekend. Four days off to be exact. We have memorial day off on Monday and I flexed to take Friday off as well. (When we rearrange our schedules at work we call it flexing).

The main reason I decided to take the whole day off was that my Dad came into town Thursday night. It is funny because this is my Birthday weekend, my birthday is always right alongside memorial day. My dad ALWAYS has a profession conference memorial day weekend, so there were many many years where he was gone for my Birthday (not that we did not celebrate, it just came earlier or later). This is the first time the conference has brought him to me for my birthday!! It is in Baltimore and he decided to stop on the way to see everyone here in Ohio.

I got off work at 5:15pm and he was already parked outside my house waiting on us. It was really great seeing him. Thursday night we walked the dogs and then drove into downtown Columbus and went to my favorite Irish resteraunt in town - O'Shaunneseys. It was delicious! Yesterday it was quite nice to not have to go to work! In the morning we walked the dogs, had breakfast, watched some ESPN and played the requisite Rock Band. I decided that its pretty much required that if you come into my house for more than a couple of hours that you need to be introduced to Rock Band, especially if you read my blog and see me posting about it all the time! He sang Pinball Wizard and then another one I did not know very well while I played guitar, it was a lot of fun.

After that we headed off to Campus where I showed him around - this is the first time since I moved here that he has visited me with any time to spare to look around Columbus! So, I took him to my "old life" as well as my current life- ie we went to the Political Science dept at OSU, met up with some of my friends and went out to lunch, I took him to Raising Canes, DH met us and took the afternoon off.

We picked up the Dogs and headed to Alum Creek to walk on the dam. After we were done walking we took the dogs down by some water to get a drink and they almost pulled Aaron into the water. Grim clearly thought she should be allowed to swim around at will. He eventually got her out with only minimal wetness to his pants and shoes. We sat in the shade, with then nice breeze blowing on us and the dogs laying in the grass and just relaxed for a while to give the dogs a chance to dry off a bit - it was rough. LOL.

We came home with the intentions of heading back out to the baseball game, but after all three of us pretty much fell asleep on the couch we decided we did not need to spend the night out and instead just went out to dinner at the Pig Iron (delicious!!) and then came home and watched the NBA playoff game (Magic/Celtics). My dad got his wish and the Celtics won.

All of last night I could not believe it was Friday night, felt so much like Saturday! This morning I am headed to the farmer's market. Dad left at 7am this morning to drive up to Burton and spend the day following my vet sister around as she is on call. Tomorrow we will meet back up with him at my Grandma's for dinner and Birthay cake , and then head our seperate ways. I am pretty sure by Sunday night it will blow my mind that I have another day off on Monday. LOL.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Green Thumb?

So, picking a new car is not all I did over the weekend, its just all I had time to mention yesterday. The other big thing I did was get my garden in the ground!! This required a trip to home depot, and then 2 hrs of hard work. I also cleaned out the smaller flower bed in front and planted seeds. In the vegatable patch I ended up with way many pepper plants. Here is what is growing their now (or hopefully growing soon): three heirloom tomato plants (each a different kind), 1 banana pepper plant, 1 red pepper plant, three basil plants, countless cilantro seeds, countless dill seeds, leeks (these are actually ready to eat, they came up from the seeds I planted last year), 4 unknown plants - I think they are all green pepper, but I don't remember what I bought, two jalepeno plants, 1 sereno chile plant, one rhubarb bush (this is a perennial, I finally planted it!! Can't wait for next year when I get harvest off of it), and one giant weed of unknown variety. For some reason I decided not to pull it back when I was cleaning out the bed a month ago, and I see no reason to pull it now. I want to know what it does. I know, I am weird.

Anyways, this is the fullest my garden has ever been, I actually used the whole thing for the first time. I hope everything does well!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Vroom Vroom

I would say it was a productive weekend, I feel like I actually accomplished some things, which is always nice, and uncommon for me.

Saturday I got my driver's license renewed, then we drove to Dayton to look at a 300C. We thought both the car and the dealer were sketchy. We grabbed lunch in downtown Dayton, and then headed home. Two notes of interest about this experience:

(1) DH finally understands how questionable my current car has become. As he had not ridden in it for weeks/months, he apparently did not take me fully seriously when I described the various noises it makes or said it was literally falling apart. We were almost to Dayton (DH slept most of the way), when all of the sudden he sort of snaps to attention and realizes there are all sorts of weird noises. I told him they have become normal to me (though there is a new sputtering related to the air conditioner fan I believe). We NEED to get this car replaced ASAP.

(2) Dayton does not feel very big, at all. I just looked at Wikipedia and its population is 166K in Dayton proper with a metro area of over 800K. When we were downtown, it felt no bigger than Duluth MN (my hometown), which has 84K in Duluth proper and 275K in the metro area. It had a couple more tall buildings (not taller than those in Duluth though), but it had a lot less medium height buildings. It seemed very compact for such a large area. We came up for two possible explanations for it feeling so small - either the population has decreased dramatically since the 2000 census (which really would have nothing to do w/the buildings), or it is just more spread out, since it is not up against a lake and hill.

Anyways, we made it back to Columbus and headed for the Mercedes Benz dealer at Easton where we had test-driven the first 300C. They had been steadily dropping its price since we looked at it. I am sure they just wanted it off their lot since most the cars they sell are worth so much more. We had them assess my car and then we decided we are going for it, put a down payment on the car and will go back Tuesday to finalize everything. Hope my car lasts until tomorrow evening!! We think it may be about the worst trade in that place has ever seen, seeing as it specializes in the luxury brands. So, hopefully tomorrow night our car concerns will be resolved. In the words of DH (this is actually sung as a little song) "we're getting a chryyysler were, were getting a chryysler". LOL.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The BIG Difference

My older sister and I are similar in many ways. Some pictures of our faces share remarkable resemblance. We both have the same personality type in the Myers-Briggs test (INTJ). We both value logical thinking, practicality, and science. We share most political and religious beliefs. We both are intelligent, we both have some athletic ability. We both have crazy vivid dreams. We both have weak ankles. We both still have our childhood teddy bears with us. We both love animals. We both love water. We both love Minnesota. We both love Twilight and Harry Potter and Orlando Bloom at the end of Pirates of the Carribean 3. We both prefer cool weather to hot. I could go on.

That said, there are many ways in which we are different as well. I would say, for example, that she is harder working, or more ambitious. Not sure which one it is. We both played sports in high school, as I said, we both are somewhat athletically inclined - good hand eye coordination and what not. The difference... while she lived to work hard it and practice and obsess over it, I simply enjoyed the actual competition of it and could care less about practice and running, self improvement. I have never been one to practice, at pretty much anything. So, she is a harder worker. She is also nicer than me. Everyone likes her. I tend to be more outspoken or have more attitude. I am more creative than her and always have cared more about philosophy, fiction, art. She went into a hard science (vet medicine) that involves lots of gore. I prefer to keep gore to a minimum in my real life. In contrast, I love horribly dark movies and horror that makes her cringe. I embraced running off to be independent at college, she abhored and avoided it. She is sort of a spaz about certain social things, big streets, etc, all things that do not bother me. She is a natural born organizer, I get easily overwhelmed by organization tasks and live like a slob half the time.

BUT. The most important difference, the one that inspired this post, is the fact that we don't agree on colors. At all. LOL. Yes. That is right. I wrote this entire post, with all of its insight, because when I got dressed this morning, one of the first things I thought was "wow. my older sister would really HATE this outfit. I am not sure she could bear to look at it." You see, there are very few color combinations in my mind that actually clash. I have ALWAYS been like that, since I was little and got into fights with my mom about whether I could wear the purple sweat pants with the orange shirt to school or not. I know they don't match per se, but what is wrong with putting them together?

My outfit today: black puma shoes with gold trim, dark jeans, violently red tanktop, lilac button up shirt w/red showing at top and bottom, irridescent orange necklace (thanks MIL!). She would probably demand I change if she saw me.

I love it. Who doesn't want to be a rainbow? It makes life more interesting.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

To cough, or not to cough?

I came home from work yesterday around 9:15am (after an hour and a half) due to my cough and basic inability to breathe. The weird part is how little the ammount of coughing this week has had to do with how I feel. Monday I was coughing every few minutes, but they were productive coughs and did not disrupt my day. Yesterday I was not coughing nearly that often, but when I did cough it was an uncontrollable, horrible sound fit that made me feel like crap. Today we are back to the more frequent, more productive coughs thankfully, and I am back at work accordingly.

Hopefully it continues to improve.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Poor Pitiful Me

I had huge ambitions for productivity this weekend. I planned to at a minimum, get my vegatable garden and flowers out front planted. I also had hoped to do some organization concerning our CD/DVD collection. Unfortunately all of these plans were thwarted by getting sick on Friday. During the day Friday I started to have sneezing and a runny nose. It got progressively worse, hit rock bottom on Sunday morning, when I did not even want to get out of bed, and then rapidly improved until I am now stuck somewhere in a vaguely runny nose and occasional cough.

So, what DID I get done? Saturday morning I was feeling halfway decent, so I still met my friend for coffee and we went to the farmer's market. It is not yet nice enough for them to have many fresh veggies, but I did buy jalapeno plants, a serano plant, and chocolate tomato plants (those are the purple cherry-size tomatos, delicoius). After that, as scheduled I headed out to test drive some cars with DH. Have I blogged about this? I think so. My car is on its way out, so we are looking to replace it with a car for DH and then I will drive our old Buick. I am not looking forward to driving the Buick, but it makes the most sense and then I can get a new (to us) car in a couple of years. Anyways, the big debate has been practicality vs desire (want vs need so to speak). For years DH has been coveting the Chrysler 300C:

The 300C has a V8, and luxury interior. It is slightly more expensive than what we were originally planning on spending. Anyways, so we went and test drove one of these on Saturday (a 2005). I felt very out of place at the Mercedes dealership that was selling it. As we waited to drive it I looked at another full size sedan that had 368 HP, cost 90K, and required the payment of a $1000 gas guzzler tax. Anyways, after we test drove the 300C we went to find a Hyundai Sonata V6 to test drive. This did not go as planned. FIRST we went to the wrong side of town (E Broad St instead of W Broad St), then when we got there, they could not find the keys for the car we wanted to drive. The car also happened to wreak of cigarettes, so I don't mind skipping the test drive. So we headed up to Car Max in Dublin and test drove a Sonata 07 V4 and an Altima 04 V4. We then went home, took the dogs for their walk, then went back out to find a V6 Sonata.

There was actually one relatively close by at one of the tiny little dealerships on High Street. The dealership is called Buyer's Choice ( I am bothering to post the name because I want to offer them some free advertising. While its highly unlikely we will buy the car we test drove there, the man we dealt with was very nice and the kind of person I would want to buy a car from. He seemed very eager to make sure we have everything we needed and that the car was "ready" for us so to speak. He told us everything that he knew was wrong with the car and what they were doing to recitfy those things before they would sell it. I wish that they had the car we wanted as I would be happy to purchase from them. Anyways, the conclusions from test driving for the day - while I don't personally need more than a V4, it is clear that there is a substantial difference between a V4 and a bigger engine. So, if DH wants a V6 or V8 I understand. Ultimately it looks like we are headed for the Chrylser 300C. I understand why DH wants it, and we can afford it, so why not. Being practical is important, but occasionally you have to live in the moment and do what you want while you have the chance. We will be shopping for a 300C from here on out, hopefully we find one relatively quickly because the sounds my car is making are getting stranger and stranger.

The Saturday run-around totally wiped me out. I went to bed around 11pm and slept in until 10:40AM on Sunday, woke up feeling horrible (as previously mentioned). I spent most of the day watching bad lifetime movies, which is out of character for me, but I what can I say, I was sick. I watched four of them actually. The funniest part is that DH watched much of them with me, including all of the "Pregnancy Pact" movie that was on 7-10pm that I was not even planning to watch until he stated he was interested in it.

So there went the weekend. No plants planted, no weeds cleared, no DVDs or CDs organized, no Grandma visited (did not want to get her sick). I guess I will try to get these tasks done over the next few days instead now that I am feeling better.

Friday, May 14, 2010

There she goes...

One of my coworkers got fired yesterday. We are still on probation, so its not entirely uncommon, but it isn't entirely common either. Despite the fact that I have been getting ridiculously excellent reviews (somewhere along the lines of "your perfect, hope your not bored, do you want to join a committee"), it is extremely nerve wracking to see your supervisor escort someone out of the building and then have that cubicle standing empty across from yours for the rest of the day. She is the second person in our unit of six newbies to go (we also have two helpers). It is such an abrubt process at my job because of the sensitive information we deal with. If you get fired during probation the process is something like Monday- have your review and be told they don't think you are going to make it through probation. Some other random day that week - supervisor calls you into HR, they tell you you are terminated, and you are escorted out of the building immediately. With only four of us left in the unit, it is much more likely we will be broken up, which really stinks because I like my supervisor so much. There is a slight but unlikely possability we will just get two members. Whatever happens, it will probably happen in November when the next training class is released.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Barenaked All the Way!

Last night I went to a Barenaked Ladies concert, something I haven't done since High School. It was so much fun! They are pretty much my all time favorite band. I was worried about how this concert would be for three reasons (1) I was not going w/friends who were BNL crazy, just DH who is occasionally BNL tolerant.(2) One of the two lead singers of the band left the group about two years ago due to drug problems(3) While their newest (2010) album certainly had songs I like on it, it did not entirely capture the old magic of previous albums.

As it turned out, these things were nothing to worry about. The band was awesome even down a member. There was only one time all night you could really feel his absence, during one of their hit songs - One Week. The fill-in just did not quite hit the spot. But overall the concert was awesome. It made me want to copy their entire work to my MP3 player and just listen to it all over again (this is a real possability actually, I do own all of their albums and have MP3s of many of their unofficial song). The only song they played that I did not know was the theme song to Big Bang Theory. They did all the the favorites, plus several off of their new album. It was so much fun!

After the concert we went out for a drink with some friends who also attended. It was my friend T's birthday and his BF had purchased the ultra-deluxe tickets that included a meeting with the band. They got to go in before the concert w/about 20 other people and talk to all the band members in a cocktail-style setting. They said it was really neat, and apparently my friend T was completely star struck and had no idea what to say. Anyways, we went out to drinks with them afterwards and they presented me with a birthday present- an autographed copy of the band's latest album! Its so cool. I have never had anything autographed like that. Next time they come through town I may just have to invest in those ridiculous tickets...
Such a fun evening!! I am still hyper over it :-)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day Visit

This past weekend my In-Laws visited for Mother's Day. They arrived Saturday afternoon. We decided to go to the racetrack for the evening, an activity that DH has done a few times with work and coworkers and I have never done. I am sort of anti-gambling, not from a moral perspective, but from a "I am so risk adverse its not very fun for me" perspective. But, I figured why not give it a try. Turns out I am absolutely horrible at picking horses, and don't even have beginners luck. I got one bet right and got $2.40 from it. (We won't talk about the cost of all the bets I got wrong). Luckily DH is better and won $150 or so, so the evening was not a complete loss. I did enjoy myself, but ultimately left with a bitter taste in my mouth because I just can't help but feel guilty for loosing the money better, no matter how many times DH or ILs tell me that I should just view the money lost as the cost of the evening of entertainment, like I would if we paid for movie or sports tickets. I would go again in a social setting though and probably enjoy it again.

Sunday, in honor of mother's day, we did what MIL wanted, which was a trip to the zoo - something I never object to. However, turns out half the city had the same idea. It was crazy crowded, and so we did not end up actually seeing that much, and we tired easily. We did get to see the new Polar Bears, who were being adorable rolling around in the grass. We also got to see the Bats and the Manatees, which are my favorites. We also saw a wolf burying a stick, which we all found amusing. After the zoo we played some Wii. Turns out I finally found a video game I am goog at without trying - Wii Bowling. LOL. I won, all time champion! My second game score was 193. We then grilled out, ate a delicious dinner, had some Dairy Queen, and watched the season finale of The Amazing Race. It made me want to take a trip to San Fransisco. They got to repel up this tower, it was very cool. It was overall a fun and relaxing weekend, though it went by very quickly. Guess its now our turn to visit St Louis again!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Strawberry Derby Cake and UN Members

All the things I wanted to post about this week, and here comes another weekend and I have not posted anything.

Last weekend was a bit crazy! DH went to the Kentucky Derby with some people he works with. I was invited, but not interested. So, it was just me and the dogs. Friday night I had a girls night, we forced a poor soul to watch The Princess Bride. Saturday I spent the morning baking and then headed to Cleveland for a family BBQ. On the way up my car decided to have its exhaust start dragging. Luckily, my Uncles and BIL kidnapped it and wired it back together before I had to drive home. There was a lot of good food and good company. I made up another cake recipe that turned out very well, here is the recipe.

Strawberry Derby Cake

The Cake:
One box of white cake mix
Eggs, Oil per Boxes instructions
1 1/4 cup pureed strawberries

Mix ingredients together until they are thoroughly blended, bake slightly shorter than instructions on box, until the cake is cooked through.

The Topping:
1 container cool whip
2 8oz pkgs softened cream cheese
powedered sugar
sweet & condensed milk (1 tbsp)**
2-3 cups chopped strawberries

Using a mixer, blend cool whip, cream cheese together, add vanilla and powdered sugar to taste, if it seems thick you can add 1 - 2 tbsp sweet and condensed milk (or just put in less cream cheese to begin with!!). Stir in strawberries. Try to make this at least an hr or two in advance so it has a chance to blend in the strawberry flavor.

When the cake is cool (still in pan), spread on topping, let sit for 1-2 hrs (again, to meld flavor), enjoy!!

Also, this recipe I ended up with 1-2 cups extra of the topping, so you might want to experiment with the consistency to cut down on leftovers.


Sunday was a nice and quiet day. We went and poked around CarMax once DH was back in town. DH and I are car shopping - always the debate, to go for value or follow heart's desires? We will see. Dh is hankering for a Chrysler 300C, but its a bit extra over other things we are looking at. Maybe we will just buy me a new car first and wait to see if he still has the urge in a year or two when its time to replace our other beater.

Monday night we went to our first obedience training, puppy left at home. We have been trying some exercises with puppy all week to start easing into clicker training. They are not going so hot. River is just not interested and has a tendency to lay down instead of trying to figure out how to earn the treat like she is supposed to.

Tuesday I went to J's house to bead, lots of fun, good company, good artwork. I am getting quite the jewelry collection. Maybe sometime I will take pictures on here and show you all the stuff I have made.

Wednesday we went to Trivia, where I was pretty much useless, but it was still fun.

Thursday morning I started training for a new computer program at work called E-Cat. It is the first step in homogenizing the disability process between states. I think it will work well. As usual I found training pretty boring, so I spent a lot of it memorizing the countries of the UN in alphabetical order. Like this (believe it or not, this is written by memory):

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangledash, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darsallum, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Croatia, Costa Rica, Cote D'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of South Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equitorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgestan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morroco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Omen, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papau New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Phillipines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar....

I did not do R-Z yet. It might get done today though because I have no work to do. I got my 8 month review and it went very well, as expected. I closed 45 cases in the past month, which is a lot. I received 58. Therefore, my caseload is still rising, but much slower than other peoples' who are closing less cases. My pending caseload is 124 as of right now. I gained three cases this week. We also input requests for our cost savings days for July 2010 - July 2011 (this is ten days unpaid leave we are required to take). Once my days are approved I can start plotting for a trip to Duluth at Thanksgiving.

Anyways, that was my week! Hope everyone else had a good one.