Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Oh la Birthday!

Yesterday was my birthday! And Brady's, too. I don't usually make a big deal out of birthdays, mostly because my birthday is so close to Christmas that I've never really been able too, but it's just not that big of a deal for me.

So yesterday my best friend and I went a ran a few errands/went shopping, and then B and I went to dinner...


...at Texas Roadhouse.

Then we headed downtown. During the winter, there is an ice rink set up downtown in the middle of everything in our version of "times square". It was a swell idea...



...until we noticed that the sign said "admission closes 1 hr prior to rink closing." The rink closed at 10, and we got there at 8:50 and didn't get in.

So we took a few pictures of the things around us in the square...




...and went home. Ha!

But it was a good birthday. B got me some roses and an Everlon Diamond Knot necklace (that I told him I loved, but didn't want him to get when it wasn't on sale and it wasn't...men apparently think you aren't being serious when you say that haha). It was a lovely day, and tomorrow is new years eve so good times are still a-comin!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Belated Kwanzaa

...Hanukkah and Christmas. It seems like it's been forever since I've posted anything. Also...I have to say that I found it funny that like 3% of bloggers make posts on Saturdays, but 85% of bloggers posted on Christmas. Awesome.

Christmas around here was awesome. I got a new camera, which was exactly what I wanted, and it is AMAZING. It's a bit slow on the action shots, so most of the pictures I took of Brady on Christmas were a bit blurry. But the focus on this thing makes me want to kiss a frog. Check out this picture focus:



It doesn't get much better than that with a point and shoot camera.

B and I were also granted a Wii. I have since kicked his butt in every WiiSports game and WiiPlay game. I bought The Biggest Loser the other day, but haven't tried it out yet. I love Wii.

B was the proud recipient of a PSP (from yours truly) and a point and shoot camera from my parents--he's needed one because all he has now is an SLR and that's hard (and risky) to lug around all the time. He also got some clothes. Because he needs some, and he won't buy himself anything, so I took the money other people were going to spend on him and bought clothes with it. He loves them, and my honey is lookin' good.

Brady got a powered "quad" from her Nana and "Gupa" and slammed into things around the house with it, loving every second of it. She ran into the couch and promptly demanded "move da couch!"



B's mom also granted all of her kids and her kids significant others marshmallow guns. And spent a good half hour cleaning mini marshmallows out of the corners of her living room ;)

Tomorrow though? Tomorrow is my birthday! And it's also Brady's birthday--because putting that much awesome on two different days wouldn't really be fair to the rest of the world. She'll be 2 and I...won't...and we're be celebrating!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Googlisms Part Deux

In honour of the fact that I have done nothing exciting enough to talk about lately tomorrow is Christmas Eve, I thought I'd visit a few googlisms. For those of you who are not hip to the slang I use as if it actually means what I think it means have here on the blog, these are phrases people have googled and ended up on my blog somehow.

So...

is there wax in now and laters?
is there? because that would be good to know. that would be a very convenient truth.

Teyem Akrona
I'm thinking that doing a weird spelling of "tim akron" is probably not going to get you...well...anywhere except on this blog apparently.

casual suicide
there is none of that here. and I'm not sure how suicide can be "casual"...pretty sure it's the exact opposite of casual.

clown porn
i guess i was wrong. this is, apparently, a problem.

These last two need to be attacked together:

wedding dress with horses on it and wedding dress pictures flamingo
um...no. just no. trust me on this one.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Stained Glass Cookies


This was a fun recipe. And by fun, I do mean that it looked great on paper but made me want to fork my own eyes out in actuality.

Cut outs and I? We are not friends. Never have been, never will be. I don't even like the taste of cutouts. But these were just so pretty!

Ingredients were pretty simple. Jolly ranchers and cutout dough (in my case, homemade--unsalted butter, flour, one yolk, sugar, and vanilla).

According to the recipe, the prep time for this was 15 minutes. If someone can make all of this in 15 minutes, I'd be calling the world records group.

Step 1: Make dough, if doing so. Shape into 3 discs. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. Then roll out.


Step 2: Using a large size and small size of the same (or different, I suppose, if you want) cutout, do cutouts from your dough (first with the big one, and then cut out the middle of the big cutout with the little cutout) and put them on a piece of parchment paper just big enough for a cookie sheet.

Step 3: Separate colors of jolly ranchers. The recipe says "red and green only." I don't know about you, but I can't remember the last time I've seen color specific packs of jolly ranchers, so I did all five colors in one original flavor bag and had wayyy more than enough.

Anyway. The next thing the recipe says to do is put the jolly ranchers in a food processor. I'm pretty anti-breakingthebladesonmyfoodprocessor/cleaningmyfoodprocessorbecauseihadtochopupjollyranchers so I put each color in a separate lunch bag, went out to the garage, and hit them with a hammer until finely chopped.

Here, I learned something: jolly ranchers stick together, even when finely chopped/hammered, even when only left for 10 minutes. I suggest doing one color at a time, because it become a royal pain to rehammer everything.



Step 4: Pour crushed ranchers into individual bowls or saucers or whatever you want. Then, using a tiny spoon (or a metal baby spoon, which worked great for me), spoon some into the middle cuts on your cutouts. The recipe says "level with the cutout"...I say "higher than the cutout" because level left a few holes.


Step 5: Bake. Recipe says 8-10 minutes "or until golden brown". If I cooked them for 8 minutes, they would have been black. 4 minutes and 30 seconds was just about perfect for me. It also says to let them cool on the cookie sheet, but I took them off (ON the parchment paper) and set them aside so they wouldn't continue to cook.

The recipe, supposedly, makes 36 cookies. I made probably a good 50, maybe more. Most of them were in my first few attempts at this and were burnt, broken, ugly, and thrown away. But hey...some of them turned out awesomely so it was worth it!


...and I'll never be making them again.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Too Much Into It

I have decided that I'm getting too excited about the world of cupcakes. I saw this recipe today, and the first thing I saw was "use fondant" and I'm all...eh, I'm not professional, fondant is just not for me.

And then I realized you can buy it on Amazon. AND edible ink pens. I don't really know where I thought professional bakers got these--I guess from the Private Professional Baker Store that I did not have access to--but Amazon? Rockin'. I added them both to my cart, but haven't bought them yet (I need $14 to get free shipping haha).

I'm getting too into this baking crap.

And I'm not sure I want to stop.

This recipe is super adorable. But, I'm not sure I can even make it because one of the things the baker used was a time specific thing from 2008. I have one of them, but I'm not sure I could find them this year. Either way, though, they won't be done for Christmas.

The stained glass cookies, however? I'm about to make the dough :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Final Fantasies

I thought of that title before I wrote it down...and then I realized that it sounds more like a movie of continuous death than a week of finals. But, then I decided these finals could lead to death, so it may be appropriate anyway and kept it.

This is finals week. It's also final papers week. Personally, I think a class should have one or the other: a final paper, or a final exam. But, apparently the professors are not all of my side for this so most of my classes have both. And this week has gone as follows:

Sunday: Worked 9-4. Wrote 6 page research paper on Your Baby Can Read software vs. Linguistic Abilities. Accomplished zero studying, as paper took all night.

Monday: Worked 9-4. Went straight to campus. Studied for about an hour, ignored 250 definitions and 4 out of 6 chapters while doing so. Took linguistics final at 620. Got home about 845pm and started working on a Brit Lit paper.

Tuesday: Spent entire day writing 6 pages on the concept of chance in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. Thanked sparknotes theme page. Turned in final at 615pm, returned home. Went to the mall to finish getting B's gifts from other people (the man will not buy the things he needs so he'll never be allowed to get cash as a gift).

Wednesday: Worked 830-330. Currently working on a 5 page paper about allegory in The Inferno (due 10am thursday). Really the easiest paper I'll have all week, but can't focus so instead I'm blogging. When completed, must study for the exam in Western Literature at 10am Thursday.

Thursday: Take exam at 10am in Western Lit and turn paper in. Drop by bank. Do take home final for Students with Exceptionalities. Study for in-class exam of Students with Exceptionalities.

Friday: Take Students with Exceptionalities final at 10am. Attend staff party at a place I don't work on the other side of town (:D), and work 3-930. Revise Linguistics final.

Saturday: work 10-5. SLEEP.

At some point, I have to sell my books back to the school for 10% of what I paid for them.

Needless to say, this week I HATE being an English major. Next semester? Zero English classes. Aha.

Monday, December 14, 2009

They DO!

Do you remember this post in which I described proper guest towel etiquette after our guests used the only towel not neatly in a nice clean pile?

Well, they visited again this weekend.

I got smart, though, and kept my own towel out of the bathroom. Ha. Beat that, suckers.

However, do you also remember me making a wise crack about them using my razor because it wasn't where I left it? Do you also remember that I was positive they had just knocked it off and put it back because of the shelf it was on?

They DO use my razor!


I put it up this time out of the way to where it was impossible to knock off, and both days I found it flipped the other direction on that spot. Does anyone else find this gross? Because I do. Ew.

One thing's for sure: I won't be using my scrubbie (known to the civilized world as a shower puff) anymore. Time for a new one.

Ew.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Life's a Beech!

First, there's this:


FACEinHOLE will be the death of me.
(Those of you not eagle-eyed, ehmm, that is not brangelina but is infact B and I)

And then there is retail at Christmas, in which my coworker and I were called "beeches" by a french guy today. Really doesn't strike fear with the accent. Really just makes me ache for some sand! And makes me laugh. Five hours later :)

And, a couple days ago, I bought some of those "earbuds" headphones that everyone loves now just to try them because I got a good price. I've never been more aware in my life that the hearing in my left ear is horrible. I hate them haha.

Also, on the calendar. I checked out Outlook and actually find it kind of awesome! But I checked out google, and that's awesome too. And if they could blend to make one perfect one, that would rock.

So far, I've found this about the two of them, which I'm only listing in hopes that you'll all tell me that there is a way to do this that I'm not finding:

Outlook:
-I can't put my tasks on my calendar and have to go to a separate spot to find those--which basically means I'm still using two calendars.
-One of you guys said something about color coding? And I'm wondering how that works, because so far the only thing I'm able to add to the calendar are "appointments" so I'm not sure what could be color coded. But I would like to know. Because I love colors!

Google:
-I can add a task to the calendar, but I can't add reminders to them.
-I can add events to the calendar, but everytime I try to click on it to edit the time on it, it never loads and therefore only holds an hour time slot when something (like work) is really 7-8 hours. But I LOVE the colors!
-How do you add the "events" on the bottom left side where it gives you a "suggested list" like "US holidays"? I see them. I want them. I can't get them on the stupid calendar!

Thanks for your help!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Calendar suggestions??

I have two calendars. One is on the back of my door. It keeps track of my work schedule and occasionally birthdays. The other is my school planner and, when I feel like adding something to it, it keeps track of my school due dates.

However, I don't really use either with much functionality. My most accurate and most used organizational system? Post-it notes on my desk overhead.



They don't stick very well. But, that's not the biggest problem. The biggest issue is that they don't smack me in the face and remind me when I have something due. (Dear Post It: Please create face-smacking notes. Thanks, Via)

What I really need is a desktop calendar for my computer. One of those where you enter all kind of things (like appointments, schedules, assignments due, etc) and you can set a "reminder" for an hour before, the day before, the week before or whatever you want that will pop up on your computer automatically on that day at that time.

Does this exist?

Keep in mind that I'm not fancy and I'm still working on XP and Microsoft 2003. I think something like this exists on the Vista, but I don't know. And it's irrelevant since I'm "ancient" here.

I really, really need it.

I used to not need one. I used to be able to keep things in order with my memory. That skill apparently flew out the window sometime this summer because it's long gone now. Geez, losing my memory already!

I'd really appreciate some suggestions!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Giveaways of Glory

There is this group of people giving away a number of one thing. It's awesome, and I never win anything but I always indulge in pretending like I'm feelin' lucky (right, google?).

So these awesome bloggers are indulging me this week with their giveaways:
MckMama
Kelly
Stephanie
BooMama
and Steph and NieNie.

But you should absolutely definitely not look...because you prefer that I win ;)

Friday, December 4, 2009

PeaceCorps

I have considered, for many years, a stint in the PeaceCorps. And if B and I hadn't gotten together, I probably would have done it. After my experience in Africa, all I wanted to do is travel and do service work. I would do it for my job if I could (and B could go with me). I even had a dream this week that I was getting ready to "just run down to Kenya for a week" (my words in my dream, like I just did that all the time and it was no biggie).

Because, who doesn't love toting 2 month olds around like this:



But things are different now. I do have B, and he'll be in and out of the country all the time already, and I don't want to be away from him for two years. But this is something I really wanted to do before starting a family (which is a big part of why I'm not against waiting four years to do so). I'd really, really love to do something PeaceCorps-like for six months or a year. You know, if I ever graduate. The kicker is that it has to be something that pays me. Not to sound selfish, because it's not about me getting paid to do it, it's about me not being able to pay to do it. I used that account on Kenya (which I wouldn't change if given the chance, just saying that it's gone).

And I want to do it in another country. There are things here that I can volunteer for, and I do when possible, but it's not the same as going to another country. Going to another country lets you experience a completely different culture than your own while helping out, which is such a fabulous thing to do.

I'm kind of looking into doing a teaching stint abroad, but it's hard to get into that and find one that pays you--but not impossible.

But that's not really PeaceCorps-like. And I'm open to suggestions if anyone knows anything that is and is more like six months...? Hmm?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Stories from the Phonotographer

Since my camera broke a few weeks ago (sad!) I have been taking just a couple photos with my cell phone. Which are horrible, by the way. But tell a good summary of things that have been happening lately...



The best game of Jenga ever played. At work. Yea...we work hard.



My sister's "crosseyed chinese cat." He fell off this table immediately after this picture. He's so awesomely random.



There is a bridge here. With iron walls and a ceiling. You can't see it because of the ridiculous fog. ...not that I took this while driving, or anything...



This crazy guy hangs out on my campus. He rants about completely random and conspiracy theory things. This time he was yelling about sports drinks causing alcoholism. He calls himself "Magician of 1" ....yea.



We bought some of those "growing capsules" at the dollar store the other day and tossed them in a bowl of water. Chase was fascinated.



This is why I never fill the truck's gas tank. I usually stop at $20. In the end I spend the same amount, but spending $50+ on ONE gas run makes me feel incredibly poor.

I also put up christmas and took a picture of it, but apparently that pictures doesn't wish to appear in my email. Sad!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World AIDS Day

Today is world aids day. Today Devil U pulled off the only awareness stunt I've ever been impressed with from them. They basically had a bunch of random students in the middle of class change put duct tape on their mouths and hold signs with AIDS facts on them while frozen in motion, as if they were just walking to their next class. It was awesome.

It reminded me of this, where 200 dances nonchalantly broke out in a huge dance in the middle of a train station in Belgium:



But AIDS is more than just a stunt.

33.4 Million people currently have HIV/AIDS.
2.1 million are children.
2.7 million people were newly infected in 2008.
.48 million were children.
2 million died of AIDS in 2008.
.28 million were children.

More than 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981.
Africa has over 14 million AIDS orphans.
At the end of 2008, women accounted for 50% of all adults living with HIV worldwide
In developing and transitional countries, 9.5 million people are in immediate need of life-saving AIDS drugs; of these, only 4 million (42%) are receiving the drugs.

HIV/AIDS is a preventable disease.

Something has to happen...