Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Oh, but I don't!

Last night I got the pleasure of babysitting my two and a half year old nephew for a few hours. I had a lot of laughs, and a good time.

We spent a little time playing with a fire truck. This was an especially cool fire truck because it made noises, and had an extendable ladder - all the bells the whistles.

Me: Can I push a button to make the siren go off?
Him: No, I will push the button.
Me: Ok.
Me: Can I play with the fire truck?
Him: No share. I'm going to play with it. You can play with a pillow.
At which point he lobs a pillow into my lap.
Me: I don't want to play with the pillow.
Him: Oh, but you do!

I'm telling Grandma.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's All About Present-ation

I love wrapping presents. I love pretty paper, ribbon, and bows. So this year I bought some ornament embellishments from Michaels to spruce up the gifts.

A shot of my little nubbins.

And a close-up of the red ornament nubbin. I thought they were so cute. They are 50% off already too, so a bag of ten of these guys was like $0.59!

I tried to sneak up on Nico snoozing under the tree and snag a photo, but he caught me.

Sasha just loves sitting on the big present under the tree.

I like the simple, festive look of ornaments in a glass bowl. I think it's a nice touch for the house. Nothing too over the top, but still along the lines of holiday spirit.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Cards


The Christmas cards have been designed, printed, and mailed. I finished them up this morning while enjoying the jazzy sounds of A Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack, my latest addition to the holiday music collection.

The trees are up, the house is decorated; I just have to finish up my shopping, which is close to being done. Now if we could do something about this snow....

Photos were taken by my friend, Christina!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thankful For

Last weekend was Thanksgiving. It was pretty ho hum for me this year. By Wednesday night, the night before Thanksgiving, I could tell I was getting sick. I didn't feel good. Just blah. Something. The last few weeks have been hard on me emotionally, and I think it caught up to me.

I woke up on Thanksgiving with a sore throat. Just as I suspected, sickness was setting in. Again. I thought I'd snap out of it once I got up and moving around. The Husband and I headed out to my parents' house outside of Lansing for our first Thanksgiving meal of the day at 1:00 p.m. I started to feel better once I was at there and catching up with my family. So we ate, and I stuffed myself on my mom's awesome cooking, and we had to leave at 2:30 to go to Macomb to my mother-in-law's house for another Thanksgiving celebration. After spending more time in the car than at my parents' house, we arrived. I was feeling like crap again. Nothing a few glasses of wine couldn't cure though. I was able to hit the hay around 10:00, and totally stuffed up, unable to sleep.

We finally got back home to our own house on Friday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. By then I was sick. I mean blowing multiple tissues full of snot out at a time, and have more to go (I'm picturing the clown who pulls handkerchief after handkerchief out of his pocket. Yeah, my snot was like that. Never ending.). Sinus headache, body aches, and drowsiness. So the remainder of my Friday and all of my Saturday were spent lying on the couch. One of my favorite weekends of the year was ruined. Saturday was gorgeous too. We really should have gotten our Christmas decorations for outside put up, but we didn't. Now I don't know if we'll even get to it at all this season, because since Sunday on, it's been snowing pretty good. And that pesky day job I have, seems to get away as well.

Onto the day job...about four weeks ago now I interviewed for another job. I was looking for a promotion since I was unable to get one here. I ended up getting the job offer and accepting. Ever since accepting, something just didn't feel right about it. I had a pit in my stomach about leaving my current job. Yeah, the money...we're talking in the next two years about working my way into a five-digit raise. The office is rigid though. Firm on the rules and anal. For someone like me, who commutes an hour into work, I like a little leeway when I need it, and especially when the kids come, I'm going to want that flexibility. None to be had there. So is the extra money worth anything if I can't even be with my family? And they were cold. In the interview, when we were going over the offer, when I had questions. Every time. They weren't exactly a welcoming committee, if you know what I mean.

I have some connections, so I called the person that used to have the job. She found it hard to have one positive thing to say about the place. Ut oh. Then again, it could be a personality issue on her part. Who knows.

In the meantime, I have told my boss that I got an offer to leave. She said she was sad to see my go, and wondered had I gotten a promotion here, had I even been looking elsewhere? I was honest and told her "No, I wouldn't have been looking if they had promoted me here". Truth be told, this is a pretty cush place to work. It's flexible, my boss is totally family oriented and believes in "family first", and most important, I'm in my comfort zone, but I need a raise.

I ran into the director here before Thanksgiving and we had a nice little chat. He told me that I needed to be careful at my new job, that the management there was awful, and that they can't keep their staff around because of it. He said that I would've been perfect for my boss's job when she moves up, that's its too bad I'm leaving, blah, blah.

That was the final thing that pushed me. I hadn't been feeling good about this change from the start, but that just confirmed it. The following day I marched into his office and asked him to do something to get me to stay. That in turn resulted in my boss submitting paperwork to HR immediately for me to be promoted (I just have to hope the HR committee agrees to it, because they have final say). ALSO, are you ready for this? There was talk about letting me work out of a Grand Rapids office when the weather is bad. Supposedly they are working on this for me now.

Pretty cool, huh? So I guess everything has worked out for me. On paper at least. Only time will tell. Big sigh of relief.

I don't say this often, if at all, but "thanks". He knows I'm talking to Him.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Brandon + Meghan - November 22

We got the pleasure of attending the Husband's cousin's wedding in Detroit a couple of weekends ago. It was a lot of fun. We stayed right in Greektown, and the weather was perfect for November (i.e. no snow and even sunshine!).

We stayed at The Atheneum hotel. I thought it was absolutely gorgeous!

The living room area.

Our view out the 7th floor window...

The reception was at the Roostertail. Top notch indeed.

The happy, newly married couple.

And the old, married couple. We're still happy most of the time. ;-)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And The Winner Is...

As a follow-up to the competition I had earlier this month, the winner is Kristen, with her guess of November 24 being the first day we'd get over 1-inch of snow accumulation this season!

The official weather report can be found here.

Kristen, please e-mail me at ker.co@hotmail.com and give me your mailing address. I will send out your $9.00 Gift Card to Celebration Cinema, good for one adult ticket into a feature film! Enjoy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christmas Groove

We're getting into the spirit of the holidays...Check out our slamming moves...

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Say What?

If the temperature hits 70-degrees today, it will mark the first time EVER that Grand Rapids has managed to have 4-days in a row in the month of November with highs at or above 70-degrees! It's looking pretty likely that it will happen. Get out and enjoy it if you can, because this is pretty unseasonable in Michigan for sure.

So in honor of this fabulous weather, and the crummy weather that is to come, I'm going to have a little competition.

Cast your vote in the comments section of this post for which day Grand Rapids will get their first official snowfall. The first official snowfall means snow in accumulation of 1-inch or more as reported by Wood TV 8.

The winner will get a prize!

The prize will be awarded based on the Price Is Right rules. The closest guess to the actual snowfall date without going over, is the winner. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sweet Cleo

Goodbye sweet Cleo. You were the kindest, most gentle creative ever. You touched our lives in so many ways. You were there for the laughter and the tears; always so loyal, always a friend, and always a part of the family. We will love you forever and will miss you with all our hearts.

1995 - 2008

Another Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my favorite brother!

...and many more!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Spooky Little Girl Like Me

Halloween 2008 at the Crumpets:

The Weather Lady, Edward Scissorhands, A Pirate, and an Undecided Voter.

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate's life for you.

I want the news AND the weather.

That's one heck of a crash if your steering wheel ends up on your insides!

And your 2008 winners of Best Overall Costume and 2nd Worst Costume: Edward and Joe the Plumber!

Friday, October 24, 2008

My New Winter Ensemble

I scored this coat from New York and Company for a cool $60. Not bad, eh? It'll go perfect with the new hat I got earlier this season.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

An Update for You

Well, I haven't posted a real entry in a while. I should probably do that. Nothing too terribly exciting has been happening. My sister got engaged a couple of weeks ago, I guess that is pretty exciting. Weddings always are. With me though, not much is exciting.

I applied for a new job today. It'd be wonderful to even get an interview, because this job would be quite the promotion for me. I can't imagine the candidate pool I'm going to be competing against. A raise or promotion would be nice though. I haven't seen one in four years come December. And you wonder why I have a piss poor attitude at work! It's such a great feeling going in for annual evaluations and being told how great I'm doing, but sorry, no raise. Are you kidding me? That's like Santa Claus telling some little kid, "Johnny, I know you've worked real hard all year long at being a good boy. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. However, you're not getting any presents this year. Here's a lump of coal. Suck on that, chump!"

I told myself that I have to at least try for this job. Even if I don't get an interview, I gave it an honest shot. That's the best I can do, because quite frankly, mama is getting tired of coal for Christmas.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Debate

For entertainment purposes only, but oh so funny...is the Penguin a Republican???

Handle With Care

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My Lucky Day

Today after work when I arrived to my car, I saw a dollar bill neatly folded in half tucked under my driver side front tire, like someone was leaving note for me. I picked it up cautiously, in case it was a poop dollar (story to follow). It was not. The dollar was as clean as a bill could be that was left on the ground, and a crisp new one at that.

Someone from work saw me pick it up to which I said "must be my lucky day!". Hey, I'll take a dollar after taking it up the rear with my investments as of late. It's always fun to find money.
Now, onto the game of Poop Dollar. Yes, evidently this game truly exists. I found out about it from my college roommate's boyfriend's friends (did you follow that?). This is how you play as explained to me:
-Someone goes poop.
-Then that said person uses a dollar bill to, ahem, wipe on one side.
-Take dollar bill, crumple it a little, and put it poop side down on a somewhat busy sidewalk outside of a bar.
-Sit inside the bar with your friends near the window, and watch how many people stop to pick the dollar up, then realize it has poop on it and drop it back on the ground.
-Laugh at their reaction.
-Bet on how many people will pick the dollar up, and believe it or not, some people will walk away with it.

I shit you not (pun intended), a group of college guys played this game on more than one occasion. So you've been warned, pick money up that is found on the ground with caution, because you never know when a group of college kids are watching through a window and laughing at you.
Come to think of it, maybe that's what someone did with all of our investment portfolios...shit all over them, and now they're watching us try to salvage our remaining dollars, while having a good laugh at our expense?
Good thing the government gave AIG an $85B bailout loan...cuz those executives deserved a much needed break from driving their own company into the ground. Spending $23,000 in spa treatments is a necessary business expense. Ask anyone.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Designed By Me

I made this earring and bracelet set at Polka Dots in Lansing. I designed it and strung it up, but got some help with the final assembly. One of my favorite jewelry sets to date. Crafting something yourself makes it that much more special.

If You Could See Me Now

Today I'm breaking in my new shoes. I thought they were so cute, and the Husband thought they were cool too. I typically don't get a response from the Husband on the coolness of shoes, so these must be special. My feet say "the jury is still out on that one."

By 10:00 this morning I had my shoes off underneath my desk. I'm not sure why a three and a half inch heel is really necessary. The slant of the shoe alone makes my ankles feel like they just walked 12 miles, but then add in where the shoe has rubbed against my feet making them raw in two spots? Mmm, ever so delightful.

So here I am sitting in my cubicle with a tissue stuffed into the left shoe protecting the side of my foot from more chaffing. If anyone has a tearful moment, I can bend down, pull a tissue out and go "There, there. Everything is going to be alright." while getting the look of disgust from the person in distress. Now that I'm thinking about it, that tissue might be better served for myself though. Anymore raw skin, and I will be the one crying.

The right foot has a piece of tissue scotch taped to the outside of my big toe. It's not quite a cast in the sense that it's wrapped around my toe, more like a fluffy, protective layer keeping my skin from touching the inside of the shoe. As you probably guessed, I have to make due with what supplies I have at my desk because I don't have any Band Aids. Nothing but class over on this end.

I haven't given up just yet though. With a little breaking in and possibly some trouser socks, we'll be golden.

Yeah, golden.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Black Bean Tostadas With Corn Relish

I found another fabulous black bean recipe. This one came from Everyday Food Magazine. Aside from the cheese (which you could easily omit), this is a great vegetarian meal. I'll definitely be making this one again. Even the Husband liked it, although he thought it could use a little salt, so he topped his with Cholula Hot Sauce.

The recipe:

1-package (10 oz) frozen corn kernels
3-tbsp of olive oil
Salt and pepper
1-jalapeno chile
1-pint grape tomatoes
8-ounces monterrey jack cheese, not sliced
4-flour tortillas
1-can (15 oz) black beans
reduced-fat sour cream, for serving (optional)

1. Start corn relish: Squeeze limes into a medium bowl. Thinly slice scallions, and add to bowl along with corn. Add 1-tbsp of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate.*

2. Prep vegetables: Halve jalapeno (remove ribs and seeds for less heat if desired), mince. Halve tomatoes. Combine in an airtight container, cover and refrigerate.**

3. Shred Cheese, place into plastic bag, and refrigerate.***

4. Make tostadas: Preheat oven to 475-degrees****. Arrange tortillas on two baking sheets; brush both sides with remaining 2-tbsp of olive oil. Rinse and drain beans; sprinkle over tortillas. Top with tomatoes, jalapeno, and cheese. Bake until golden and crisp, about 10-minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.

5. Finish with corn relish: While tostadas are baking, pit and peel avocado; dice. Toss with corn mixture to combine.*****

6. For serving, top tostadas with corn relish, and if desired, sour cream.

Now, for MY way of making the tostadas.

*I did not refrigerate the corn relish after putting it together, because I had no intention of serving it cold.

**I didn't refrigerate the jalapeno and tomatoes either.

***I used shredded cheese instead of buying a block of cheese and shredding it myself. The el lazy-o route.

****I used hard shell tortillas that I had on hand, so I didn't have to oil up the soft shells. I topped the tortillas with everything except for the avocado. I wasn't all that crazy about putting cold relish on my tostada. I wanted everything the same temperature.

*****I added the avocado to the tostadas after they came out of the oven.

Incredibly deliciously!!! Definitely a keeper.

Stock photo...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Favorite Political Shows

Here's a list of my favorite political shows. I catch at least one of them every night.

1. The Colbert Report. Stephen Colbert puts one of the funniest spins on current events. It's great political and media satire. Catch this show on Comedy Central. Ahh, if we both weren't married...

2. Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Keith is quite funny, but the political issues are heavier and discussed more in depth. Keith is also quite opinionated, which I appreciate as well. If you like Colbert, I think you'll like this one. Check it out on MSNBC.

3. Hardball With Chris Matthews. Chris knows his stuff. I love watching this guy because he is not afraid to call a bullshitter out, which can lead to some awkward confrontations. The format of the show has Chris playing a moderator between guests. This is also on MSNBC.

4.) Morning Joe. Joe Scarborough hosts this one. I have to admit, the husband watches this one a lot more than I do. Joe is a Republican. He also served in the Unite States House of Reps, so he knows his stuff, and he's entertaining. It's interesting to hear about the events from this perspective. Another MSNBC show.

5.) Real Time With Bill Maher. Ahh, now this one I really like. Serious sarcasm and swear words. My kind of show. Bill is a raging liberal. His New Rules segment usually has me rolling on the floor laughing. It's shown on HBO.

Glass Bottom Boat Ride, Cabo

We took a glass bottom boat ride out to see the arch, Lover's Beach and Divorce Beach. Very beautiful. We left from Medano Beach, which is the only swimmable beach in Cabo. On the trip we were able to see all sorts of tropical fish (hence the glass bottom), and we even saw string ray jumping out of the water! That was pretty cool.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

Eve Ensler, the American playwright, performer, feminist and activist best known for 'The Vagina Monologues', wrote the following about Sarah Palin.

Drill, Drill, Drill

I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I don't like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice> > count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story -- connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.

I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country chose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the presidency with regularity.

Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God's plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin's view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, 'It was a task from God.'

Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist's baby or not.

She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth control. I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence and we know how many babies that makes.

Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking. From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference. This is a woman who could and might very well be the next president of the United States . She would govern one of the most diverse populations on the earth.

Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air.

Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right. But when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared in God's name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything America has ever tried to be.

I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of the U.S. , but of the planet. It will determine whether we create policies to save the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack. It will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing. It will determine whether America is a free open tolerant society or a closed place of fear, fundamentalism and aggression.

If the Polar Bears don't move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, 'Drill Drill Drill.' I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain.

Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in the floor of the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the trust between nations and peoples, more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life?

Eve Ensler
September 5, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

So Much For A Group Photo

Sushi and Sunsets

The evening that the husband and I went on the sunset cruise, we stopped for sushi first. We went to Tsuki Sushi and Tepan Grill in the marina. What makes this place unique is that the chef uses local fish for traditional Japanese specialties and adds a flare of Mexico to the dish. So heavenly!

We ordered the Sashimi Tuna, which is fine slices of tuna and avocado with a cilantro, avocado, wasabi, and sesame seed sauce. Nom, nom, nom.

Our second dish was tempura shrimp (tempura means that either the seafood or vegetable is battered and deep fried - so if you're afraid of raw fish, give this one a go!), crab and salmon rolls. This was served with the same cilantro sauce. I can not rave about the sauce enough. I'm not much of a soy sauce girl. I feel like soy masks the flavor of what you're eating, and if I'm eating sushi, I want to taste all of the wonderful flavors! This cilantro sauce was a great pairing. You'll notice the neon colored wraps. They are soy bean wraps instead of the traditional seaweed. It was a nice alternative to the sticky seaweed wraps. I thought that was cool, since I've never had that before.

I think Tsuki Sushi was one of the best places I've gone for sushi in my life, followed second by a place in San Luis Obispo, California. Of course, being from Michigan, we really miss out on the freshness of being able to catch fish in the morning and serve it up that evening.

Here we are on the sunset cruise. We had to cruise around to the other side of Cabo, the Pacific side, to see it. The cruise ended up being a lot of fun. My parents got it for us.

Back in the marina after the cruise.

Here are some sunset shots from the resort later in the week. We were on the Sea of Cortez side, so we didn't get to see the sun disappear into the water like on the cruise. It was still pretty though.

Mama and me during one of our dinners at Tomatoes.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

The Husband and I went with my parents to beautiful Cabo San Lucas, Mexico over the Labor Day holiday. Needless to say, it was amazing. We stayed at the fabulous five star Hacienda del Mar. It's outside of downtown Cabo, only a ten to fifteen minute cab ride away. The grounds were breathtaking, and it was like it was its own little village. I would highly recommend this resort to anyone thinking of traveling to Cabo. The photos speak for themselves.

Click on the photos to enlarge.

Gorgeous views of the Sea of Cortez from the infinity pool.

The saying goes "Don't drink the water in Mexico", also equally important, don't swim in it! The undertow is like nothing I have ever experienced. Once those waves crashed and hit my shins, I'd have to fight to keep standing. The force drawing me back with it was frightening. Cabo is on a peninsula surrounded by the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. The Sea of Cortez is not swimmable. We were told that three people drowned the week we were in Cabo. The undertow pulled them out to sea. A force to be reckoned with. It's like nothing else to sit with a cocktail and watch the waves coming crashing in, one after another though.

The sea was angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli...

Stay tuned. More to come.