Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bald Beans and Refried Eagles

This is officially the week I learn or see something new every day. I'm now over two and a half decades old and there are certain things that I have believed my whole life that I am JUST NOW learning are simply, well, crap.

Two ways to look at this: I could either be really p*ssed that I've been BS'd or naive all these years, or be really thrilled because I can wake up every day knowing that there's more to learn.

I choose the latter.

I consider myself a city girl who has been "trapped" in the country. This week has been the biggest Country Girl 101 course thus far. Yesterday, my bloggies, I saw my very first...


I kid you not. Bald Eagle. 100 yards from MY house. Sitting right in the middle of an open field! Little did I know that he wasn't just sitting there enjoying the northerly breeze. I realized after he spread his 8 foot wingspan and took flight that he was also carrying a large Jackrabbit in his huge talons. This was amazing to see first-hand!!!!

Yet, even though I was watching a Bald Eagle with my own eyes, I still doubted this was really an Eagle. "We don't have Bald Eagles in Texas!" This is what I had always assumed.

You know what they always say about people who assume? Makes an ass of of "u" and "me".

Uh huh...I'm an ass. It's a Bald Eagle folks. Google it yourself.

So later that night, I am eating Mexican food, which, unfortunately, always seems to involve refried beans. I decided to share my so-called knowledge about how refried beans were uber unhealthy. Then I was informed that refried beans were, in fact, very healthy if cooked the proper way. What????

HOW COME NO ONE TOLD ME THIS? This is strike two for the day.

Here I am walking around like an idiot, "Bald Eagles don't exist..." and "Refried beans are the devil..." and I'm wrong. Drat!!!

So back to my country girl/nature experience. Today on my run, I see a huge green caterpillar. I'd say about 4 inches long and about the width of someone's finger. Just crossing the road like it's no big thing. So I said hi to him, naturally, and took a few awful pictures with my iPhone. (Oh yeah...Steve Jobs, we seriously need ZOOM on the iPhone. Please get right on that, Apple peeps.)

And sometime today after my run, I get home and spot a very chaotic web in my garage (chaotic = total Black Widow territory) (I am an obsessive Googler). I debate for some time, and then decide I have to take care of it. I hate to kill anything, but when it's between my animals and family and a spider such as this, I have to do what's best for my loved ones. And I was scared the whole time that somehow it would build enough strength/anger to jump 9 feet and bite me and then my internal killing debate would be a moot point. Ugh..

[Sorry folks, no pictures of this guy. My hands were full. And by full I mean bug spray, fly swatter, and metal shield.]

And finally, this evening on my aptly named "nature" walk, I see a massive hawk (hide all tiny chihuahuas!)

And on the way home, I'm fairly certain that I jumped 16 feet in the air when I saw Mr. Tarantula crossing the road. So casually, just like Mr. Caterpillar. I'll bet they're friends.

I think maybe I've had enough Biology for one week. HA! Who am I kidding? I love Biology!

But seriously, let's keep the spiders at a safe distance, shall we?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Here's Your Time. Spend It Wisely

Last night

11:00 pm - searched Craigslist for part-time/full-time/temp/ANY jobs and emailed all the links to myself. Total of 16 potential/maybe/possible jobs. Good news? Sixteen is actually my lucky number.

Midnight - Tried to go to sleep. And tried.....and tried....

12:30 am - Not tired at all. Neither is puppy. Give up and take Tylenol PM.


9:00 am - Wake up (unwillingly). Realize I'm still very groggy from the Tylenol and pass back out only to have weird dreams.

10:15 am - Wake up (startled). Dreamed I was at some massive festival/event and, apparently, we found a shortcut, (but this shortcut was also considered trespassing) and suddenly a cop was threatening to arrest all of us. Then, just as suddenly, a civilian was pointing a gun at the cop (who was sitting RIGHT next to me) and I feared being shot on accident and also feared being arrested for a really stupid reason.

10:30 am - Make suitable breakfast. Drink not-so-fabulous coffee (need to invest in a good espresso machine so I don't have to drink coffee that either tastes like tar or poo, but that's another task for another day).

11:00 am - Force myself to go for a run. Feel very inspired by good music, thanks to Pandora radio for iPhone. Fight my way through random hurricane-strength winds, and finish off by doing crunches and lifting weights. Woo hoo!

11:50 am - Give myself smiley face sticker on calendar for working out today. Sounds very Kindergarten-ish, I know, but it works for me.

1:00 pm - Watch Cesar Milan work his magic on neurotic dog behavior (I always blame the owner). Practice mad Cesar-like skills on my own dog who barks incessantly at EVERYTHING lately. Go ahead....you can blame me too.

2:15 pm - Apply for 5 of the 16 jobs I discovered last night. Get frustrated because I'm tired of hunting for a job that I only want to keep temporarily anyway. What happened to money growing on trees? Where are these trees and why don't I have one?

2:30 pm - Call a not-so-local YMCA and find out that I can get 3 free passes. I would like to join their spinning classes. Trying to decide if I want to go bright and early tomorrow morning. I'd have to leave my house at 8 am, and since I have now reverted back to being a nocturnal college kid, that might be a challenge. (incase you have forgotten...jobless + sleepless = sleeping too late and dreaming of hooligans with guns).

4:00 pm - Decide to skip watching Oprah today. The topic of Mad Men and the 60's theme don't exactly thrill me. Decide to play on Blogger and find 2 new blogs to follow!

5:20 pm - Boyfriend calls me and I'm surprised it's already "after work" time. Where did the time go? I tell him I'm blogging and he (lovingly) threatens to send me to Bloggers Anonymous, as usual. Hehe.

And now, here I sit. It's 7:55. I haven't heard anything back from any of my jobs. I feel that I got a big, fat NOTHING done today, while I guess in truth, I really did accomplish a few things. Meanwhile, a big storm is blowing in, which explains the hurricane force winds earlier today.

Noteworthy quotes about spending time wisely:
"Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows."
~Pope Paul VI
"All that really belongs to us is time; even he who has nothing else has that."
~Baltasar Gracian
"Now is the only time there is. Make your now wow, your minutes miracles, and your days pay. Your life will have been magnificently lived and invested, and when you die you will have made a difference."
~Mark Victor Hansen
"Time flies. It's up to you to be the navigator."
~Robert Orben

Off to slave away (i.e., pre-heat oven) preparing a vegetable lasagna. Peace out, Bloggers!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September Faves and Craves

Alrighty then! It's time for this month's favorites and cravorites. He he.

I'm a huge supporter of www.theanimalrescuesite.com. Each time you visit the site and click the purple button, you are helping feed rescued animals. Also, each purchase you make and e-card you send helps put food in more hungry animal bellies.

This gives me warm fuzzies.

Note: Consider ordering some cute stuff from their online store this year for your stocking stuffers. Gift + good cause = a wayyyy better gift!

What's a four letter word that feels like L-O-V-E but isn't?
I love me some red wine.
My particular favorites (this month) include J.Lohr cabernet sauvignon and Bogle Petite Sirah. Both full bodied reds. Each under 20 buck-a-roos!

Go on. Be sophisticated. You know you wanna.

This one is actually a major crave of mine right now. I want boots like these. Sexy, girly, fashionable. Perfect for UT games and perfect for my Halloween costume (I'm thinking of being Daisy Duke this year). Gotta love cowboy boots. No need to dwell on the fact that I am a Texan and don't already own a pair. The shame!!

Modern Home towels from Target. My boyfriend has these towels. He's not sure how he acquired them, but they are fabulous. When I need a set of new towels, I will be hunting these down. Fo sho.

Very Berry coffee cake from Starbucks.

Good news: It's reduced fat.
Bad news: Which means it's probably loaded with sugar and creating new diabetics as we speak.

Oh but it's tasty.

Wedding pictures-

The aftermath of my group's stupidity. The proof of our high-on-life-ness. The blackmailing objects of the future.

Let me explain.

Me, my boyfriend, my sister and her boyfriend have deemed ourselves the "Wedding Crashers." We have been to quite a few weddings together this summer alone, and after a glass of wine (or eight), we run around like mad paparazzi and take idiotic pictures. The best part is happily reliving them the next day. I figure one day when we're all eighty and sitting in rocking chairs (on my beach house balcony in the Hamptons, of course), we'll look back on these pictures and giggle.

Evenings walks are pretty therapeutic, I must admit. For the past few months, I've taken a stroll every evening and I find it to be relaxing and invigoration at the same time. Your blood pumps just a little and yet it's relaxing. Most nights I will go with my mom after dinner. Even if I'm in a not-so-good mood, I generally perk up during and after a walk. And every now and then I get a nice little treat by seeing a bunny bounce by, a hawk soar overhead, or a deer alert to my presence. Kinda cool.

By far the coolest cover for the iPhone. It's called invisibleSHIELD by ZAGG.

Apparently it's so darn sturdy a Boeing 757 could fly into my phone and not even leave a scratch. Of course, I would have more important things to worry about, like "Boeing owes me a new iPhone as mine has just been incinerated."

In all seriousness, I have this cover and it truly is scratch-proof. I also love that it leaves my phone as sleek and slim as it should be. No bulky cover. Hooray!

Ok, that's all I got.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Bragging Rights

I have to brag just a little on my boyfriend.

My family is celebrating a 65th wedding anniversary party/family reunion in 2 weeks (that I failed to mention to boyfriend because it's so very far in the future). I decided to mention it to him yesterday because it dawned on me that he would be at a University of Texas football game and unable to come. Sigh...

This made me sad.

However, I would never have expected him to attend this party with me because:
a) He had already paid for his very first season tickets, and that would be like wasting money.
b) I knew this particular weekend was already off limits for doing much else. Damn football season..

So I had already written off the idea of him coming with me.

Until later.

He called me and said that if this was important to me, he would gladly give the tickets to someone else. And believe me, there are plenty of takers.

[He also said that had this been the weekend of the UT/Texas Tech game, then we may have an issue. But that's beside the point.]

I decided that this was important enough to me. How often do we get all these folks together? Not often enough. And how much longer will some of them be around? You never know.

I want him to meet the ladies so they can tell me, "He's dahling honey, just daahling!" and ask silly things like, "When's the wedding?" and "It'll be great to have another lawyer in the family." And I want the men to have the opportunity to grill him (in a lighthearted way, of course) and share war stories, and bond over football, discuss power tools, and toast to the beautiful and talented women who make them the men they are today...

Granted, it's only my dad's side of the family. We can work on the yankee half of my family later (when we plan that trip to Chicago that he doesn't know about yet.)

After our conversation about him coming, I had these warm fuzzy feelings running through my body, so I texted him something like, "You're so sweet. Thank you for doing that for me." And he replied with "You deserve it."

I love my man.

And I really do hope I deserve him.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My 'Pseudo Vacation' To-Do List

For those of you who don't already know (that would be 80-87% of you), I am once again "on vacation," as my boss likes to call it. Simply put: I've been layed off again.

That's the beauty of oil and gas; work comes and work goes.

During this time, I have learned this about myself:

Week one is a swell time. I basically treat it like vacation (except I must constantly fight the urge to spend money). I scream "woo hoo!" and run to my car and make the 3.5 hour trip to see my boyfriend. Then I stay for a few days, come home, blog, scrapbook, clean stuff, watch TV, play and cuddle with my tiny dog. I stay up late just because I can and I sleep late just because I can. Week one is like my favorite icing on my favorite cupcake. Yummy.

It's week two that freaks me the hell out. Week two makes me lay awake at night and wonder how I'm going to pay for my new car. That's when I spend an hour or more per day on my laptop searching for temporary (usually low paying) jobs. Then after my job hunt, I get slightly depressed because no job ever compares. However, any job will do (for now). Then my staffing lady ignores my emails and I feel like I'm the one doing HER job and I should be making commission off my job finds!

Perhaps they are swarmed in the staffing office due to the economy and sky-high unemployment rates. I should be more understanding, right?
No! She needs to do her job. And now.

Anyhoo, the point of me venting (is that ALL I do lately?) was to make a list of all the things I'd like to get done while "on vacation"because, honestly, I need to just make the best of this time off. (And I WILL continue calling it vacation because it's my fantasy world and I call it what I want.)

Things I want to accomplish while on pseudo-vacation

1) Finish Eclipse (once and for all) and begin Breaking Dawn.

2) Have a movie marathon of some sort, either:
-Disney movie marathon
-Musical movie marathon
-I don't do scary and I don't do westerns, so what else is there? [ideas welcome here]

3) Clean out my medicine cabinet.
Expired medicine + things with no labels = bad news.

4) Run/walk more. Let me rephrase that - run more. I already walk every evening. My rear still jiggles more than I would like, but I've decided I'm not allowed to whine about it if I'm not doing everything I can.

5) Read another book. Which book is yet to be determined. (feel free to chime in with your opinions on the following):

- Time Travelers Wife (synopsis here)
- Homer's Odyssey (here)
- The Host (here)
- The Wolf in the Parlor (here)
- Outliers (here)
- Breaking the Bank (here)
- The Palace of Strange Girls (here)
- The Weight of Silence (here)
- Modoc (here)
- The Hunger Games (here)

6) Try to force myself to love yoga. Or more realistically, give yoga another shot.

7) Quickly earn $20,000 to start my own business. Oh wait...

8) Clean off my desk. I HAVE A DESK!? I thought that was just a mountain of papers, dog treats, and receipts with a computer monitor peeking out from the top. Hmph..

9) Become a Big Sister (with Big Brothers Big Sisters). I'm pretty cool, not even gonna lie about it. I'd be a good role model for a young girl. I love doing kiddy stuff. Plus, I never had a little sister to pick on. What more can you ask for?

10) Finish my scrapbook. I spent a zillion trillion dollars buying supplies for this and only have 8 pages done. Come on, woman! Find your inner Martha Stewart already!

11) I'm seriously contemplating getting my real estate license. Here's the catch: I have boatloads of time to take the courses, yet I can't spend that kind of money right now. Blah! Still, it's something I'd like to do.

Ok, that's all for now. Stay tuned for my September 'Faves and Craves' in the next few days.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Rant (or twelve)

I try to stay positive for the most part, but sometimes you just have to gripe about stuff. Let's just call it venting. Positive thinking is healthy, but isn't venting healthy too?

Today (and every day for the past few months) I have been extremely irritated about where I live. One might call this the boonies/sticks/podunkville/BFE. Whatever you want to call it, I do not live where anything is convenient.

This wears on me (and that is an understatement).

For instance, everything you do is an EVENT. Today I have a Dr. appointment (for another injection for my super cool Ernest Syndrome). It will take me an hour and a half to get there and probably half a tank of (not cheap) gas round-trip. This is what started my whole rant today. Here are a few more examples of such EVENTs:

- Let's run up to the mall!
Reality check: Oh wait, that's at least an hour drive for the closest mall. Any other mall is right around 2 hours.

- Maybe I'll just get gas on my way to work.
Reality check: Nope, you have to drive 25 miles before reaching the ONLY station on your way to work. Good luck with that.

- Let's meet for lunch!
Realilty check: I'll leave at 10:30 (technically still breakfast time) to get there by noon.

- I need a few things from Target.
Reality check: That'll be 40 miles due north. Oh you want a Super Target? That'll be 60 miles.

- Hey Cupcake, we're all going to a movie tonight after work. Wanna come?
Reality check: Sure, I'll leave at 5 and get home at midnight (for a 2 hour movie).

Hopefully you see my point now. If you know me at all, you would know that I would never choose to live this far away from civilization. Not at age 26. Perhaps at age 60 when I'm over the whole city thing. But I'm still not convinced of that either.

Granted, there are many good things about where I live. (Always trying to see the silver lining!) You get to see wildlife that you wouldn't see otherwise. I do love that. And you really don't have any neighbors, so there is a sense of privacy. You also have scenery (rolling hills, river valleys, wild flowers). You also get to see amazing storms blow in like no other. For a photographer, this place is a dream! And it really is dreamy.

On the flip side, because of the country-ness, I have a few more worries. I have a dog that weighs less than most bunnies, therefore he is prey for large birds, coyotes, bobcats, and (gasp!) mountain lions. Also, more open land equals more snakes and spiders most city-folk have never seen. I'm not a fan of spiders and snakes are really not the most pleasant thing to come across. There have been a few scorpions too, and to me, those are just as creepy if not more creepy than spiders. ...Arachnids... [shudder]

What do I want, you ask? I'd like an apartment again. In the suburbs. NEAR a city. I'd like a gas station less than 10 miles away, a decent grocery store within 15 miles, some sort of shopping within 20 miles, and a few more than 2 restaurant choices. I'd also like a Freebirds and a liquor store, but let's not get carried away.

I know exactly where I want to be. In fact, I have the apartments picked out. The question is when can I get there?