Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell, 2010

I'm stealing this from Brie and Temerity Jane, because I am just not that creative with the wrap-up stuff. P.S. You're about to see one recurring theme. Fair warning.

Edited because I apparently was too tired to be posting and didn't make sense on some of my answers. Plus I forgot links.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before? I pretty much did everything this year as a wife for the first time. I visited Baltimore, and met Salt. My sister and I threw our parents a party, rather than the other way around. I earned a Master's degree. I was asked to be maid of honor, not once, but twice.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don't make resolutions, really, so I guess not. This year, I need to make some though: I need to get down about 20 more pounds, and I need to get off blood pressure medication.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope, but some fabulous bloggers, Amanda, Jenny, and Kallay welcomed their babies!

4. Did anyone close to you die? No

5. What countries did you visit? I didn't travel outside the U.S. this year

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010? A baby, please.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Alright, confession time. Dan and I started trying to start a family on May 12th. Honestly, nothing else really stands out as a significant date. 2009 was big for us, and I'm okay with 2010 being a little more on the mellow side.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I graduated with my Master's degree in May.

9. What was your biggest failure? I'm feeling pretty bummed that there's no baby Kingston on the way at this point.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Sort of. I had a cold that lead to an ear infection that lead to the discovery of a severe vitamin D deficiency and high blood pressure.

11. What was the best thing you bought? This is lame, but the aquarium for the turtles. Before we got it, I was cleaning their little container twice a week. I'm so much happier now. I can't think of anything else.

12. Where did most of your money go? Savings and paying off bills.

13. What did you get really excited about? Starting a family.

14. What song will always remind you of 2010? California Girls

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder?
About the same
– thinner or fatter? Fatter. :(
– richer or poorer?
Richer, in every way

16. What do you wish you’d done more of? Traveling. I wish I could have gone to visit my sister in Seattle.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying

18. How did you spend Christmas? Like this

19. What was your favorite TV program? Old: The Office. New: Worst Cooks in America

20. What were your favorite books of the year? This is bad, but I can't think of one book I read this year, other than the South Beach Book and some random chick lit.

21. What was your favorite music from this year? I discovered Lady Gaga this year

22. What were your favorite films of the year? The Town, Despicable Me

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Went to dinner with friends and family. I turned 29

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? A baby (see, recurring theme)

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010? I discovered tall boots. Finally.

26. What kept you sane? My husband

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010. I'm not always funny when I think I am.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Good-bye, Christmas

Well, it's over. Another wonderful Christmas in the books. Dan and I had a great Christmas with my family. We spent Christmas Eve by ourselves, just like last year. We quite like our little tradition. We made a steak dinner, drank wine, opened gifts to each other, played Yahtzee and X-Box. We made spiked Serendipity Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, which I won in a blog giveaway. It was all fabulous. Then, we woke up at home Christmas morning. We snuggled, wished each other Merry Christmas, gave our girls Christmas cuddles, and packed up for Tucson.

Now when I was young, I wanted to open my gifts now. My sister liked to savor hers. She'd practically open hers slower just to cause me to panic. It drove me nuts. This year would have been Young Megan's perfect Christmas. We started our breakfast casseroles before gift opening. We had our traditional Christmas beer - it's usually Guinness, but we had something new this year instead. Another something new this year was my soon-to-be brother-in-law, Daniel, joining us. It was our first Christmas as a family of six, and it was fabulous to look around at so many happy Christmas faces. We took turns opening gifts, around and around in circles. After about an hour, the casseroles were done and we weren't, so we took a break to eat breakfast, then got back to it. Dan and I got an XBox Kinect from Daniel and Megan, gift cards to Chipotle, and clothes. My mom got Dan a red Rudolph nose. I got baking stuff, and a chocolate cook book. We also got something that 20-year-old me would have been pissed about: a Spot Bot. It's really awesome, trust me.

We spent the rest of Christmas day hanging out, preparing for dinner. My in-laws came down from Phoenix and it was great to see them for the holiday. We had a delicious taco bar for our Christmas dinner, and we were joined by more family. My grandparents, who usually spend Christmas with my very unjolly psychotic aunt, were able to join us for dessert. We built a fire pit in the back yard and spent the late evening talking and enjoying our company. It was a perfect Christmas Day.

The last couple of days were a blur of activity. Dan left Tucson for Phoenix Sunday afternoon after football. Between yesterday and today, Megan and Daniel ring shopped, florist shopped, phone, shoe, and cake shopped (with me, of course). We nailed down cupcake flavors, bouquets, and debated Megan's choice of two small wedding bands or one bigger band. She had a very productive week in Tucson in terms of the wedding, and they'll have only a few things to take care of on their next visit.

Now I'm home, enjoying some quiet that won't last long. The dogs are exhausted from 4 days in Tucson, and Dan's on his way home. Dan's brother, David, and his fiance, Alex, will be here in a few short days. We've got New Year's Eve plans with friends to figure out. They get married January 7th, so I'm sure they'll hit the ground running with last minute plans and arrangements, not to mention the family time with the Kingstons who will be arriving late next week. In the midst of it all is year-end close at work. I'm just hoping that on January 8th, I'm still alive and sane.

So good-bye, Christmas. You were so good to us all in 2010. Here's to a wonderful, prosperous and love-filled (Dan and I have 3 weddings to stand up in this year) New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

I've been a very good girl this year. I am patient, a good big sister, and want nothing more than to give cuddles. I've been much better about not barking at strangers, and I promise to be even better next year. This year for Christmas, I want my own king size bed with huge fluffy blankets, my own room and/or house, an extra feeding every day, 67 stuffed animals to tear up, a heated dog bed, world domination, and a closet full of cute puppy clothes. Merry Christmas, Santa!

Love, Paisley

Dear Santa,

Butterflies. Sparkles.

Love, Clover

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Random Tuesday Musings

  • This is a looooong week at work. There's hardly anyone here, and the things I need to get done are obviously things I've managed to push off for as long as I can.
  • My blood pressure medication is working! However, it causes both fatigue and insomnia. Not a good combo. I finally got some good sleep last night. I took a Tylenol PM and managed to go to bed at 8 and sleep until 5am. I feel a lot better, but still feel tired when I'm awake. The doctor said I should grow out of it, hopefully soon.
  • You should check out Shana's 12 Days of Christmas on her blog. The prizes are super fun and cute. I should know. I've won twice already. We'll be enjoying spiked Serendipity frozen hot chocolate on Christmas Eve.
  • Speaking of Christmas Eve, I have to figure out what we're going to do for dinner. I think steaks would be good. I also need an activity. Last year we did our gingerbread house decorating contest. Dan's not down with that this year. I'm open to suggestions.
  • Nothing starts my day off better than coming to work to find a Christmas card featuring an ugly baby waiting for me at my desk. Do people know when their babies are ugly?
  • I'm pretty much done Christmas shopping. I still have to get some golf balls for my future brother-in-law, and some pickles for Dan. Yes, pickles. Dan asked for pickles for Christmas. I love him.
  • I haven't done an official Meal Plan Monday in a couple weeks. It's not that I'm not planning meals, but it all sounds so boring: burgers, chicken, turkey something, chicken, steak. See? Boring.

Aaaaand that's all I've got for now. Are you stuck at work this week?

Friday, December 17, 2010


...pounds. That's how much I've lost in 4 weeks on South Beach. Nine pounds! I'm ecstatic, honestly. I couldn't stop smiling at the doctor's office. I've been struggling to lose weight for almost a year and a half, since my first round of boot camp. It's been a sacrifice and a huge conscious effort to keep up with this new way of living, and I'm feeling very proud. It was a surprise, as well. I knew my pants were fitting more loosely, but I had no idea I'd dropped as much as 9 pounds. I feel very thankful for the support of family, friends, and coworkers for helping me keep on track and encouraging me, and I just can't wait to lost another 9. When I do, I'll be almost back to wedding weight. Nine pounds. Yay!

On the other hand, I didn't get good news on the blood pressure. I'm going to have to be medicated. It's not what I wanted, but it's what's best for my heart. I also have a significant vitamin D deficiency, so I'll be taking both prescription and over-the-counter supplements. My sister recently sent me some good info on the deficiency, and one effect is weight gain. Another is high blood pressure, which means they're probably all inter-related. I'm hoping that getting my vitamin D levels back to normal will bring things all into balance and it'll be a snowball effect. Vitamin D will hopefully support the weight loss, and the weight loss and vitamin D will aid the meds in bringing and keeping the blood pressure down. Hopefully by March, I'll be able to drop the blood pressure medication and maintain a healthy weight. I'll probably always have to supplement vitamin D, but I'd prefer that over blood pressure meds any day.

Sooooo, awesome! Nine pounds! And hopefully that's just the beginning.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rebuilt - UPDATED

So after the great Hurricane of 2010, I rebuilt my cubicle on Tuesday. my coworker reinforced it with buttresses and it's held up really well, and I added the finishing touches. Here is the outside. The lights blink, but just my luck, none of the 8 shots I got happened to catch them on. Oooof course.

I got my pink flamingos on Amazon (after perusing craigslist ads asking $50 for a "vintage" pair). Mrs. ESPN devised the ingenious method of putting them in styrofoam cups to make them stand. I bought little creepy singing puppies at Walgreen's and stole their hats. The puppies were given up for adoption to Mrs. ESPN's daughters.

I picked up poinsettias and KFC buckets after work last night. I think they add a nice festive touch to my "porch." Plus, I think the admins will enjoy them when I gift them later today.

The judging is today - not Friday like I said last week - so hopefully I win. There's also a potluck, but I won't be participating. South Beach trumps potlucks. I've done really well on it, with just a cheat here and there (gotta stay a little sane, people). We had a cookie exchange here at work, and I sent all my loot to work with Dan. Ironically, my mint meringues didn't work out and I had to bring store bought cookies. The shame. Seriously. They are so good when they come out - they're my favorite cookie that my mom makes, and I was so sad to not be able to share them. But if there's one thing people don't appreciate around the holidays, it's salmonella poisoning.

Anyway, I have my appointment with my doctor tomorrow to check my blood pressure. My blood work revealed a vitamin D deficiency, and I'm wondering if that could be contributing to the blood pressure and weight gain. Please send good thoughts - I know my blood pressure hasn't gone down over the last month, but hopefully a solution for the vitamin D will pull some double duty and help with the ticker.


UPDATE: I came in 2nd in the cube decorating contest. Bummer. The general concensus (from everyone but the winners, obvs) was that I was robbed. But it's okay. The cube that beat me was very nicely done in a much more traditional style. And it was fun. I'm already cooking up next year's design...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Don't worry. Toto is okay.

Last year for our cubicle decorating contest, I turned my cubicle into Brooke's Cocoa Bar with the creative help of Salt. I had fresh cocoa and all the fun stuff to put in or on it, decorated sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and tried to turn my cube into a festive little wonderland. I came in second. Not bad considering I'm alone in my cube and the winners had two minds to put together and decorate.

This year, I decided to go in a different direction. Redneck Christmas. With the help of Dan's skills and my coworker's extra pair of hands, I turned my cubicle into an iconic Airstream trailer. I covered in in silver paper, then added an Airstream logo, wheels and windows and strung it with lights. Dan made me that doormat that says "Git R Done." I had a tree put up and used bobbers as ornaments, and hung little stockings for my little rednecks all named Bobby (including a Justin Bobby, R.I.P. The Hills). A coworker brought in some rickety old lawn chairs and I have plans for poinsettias in KFC buckets and my pink flamingo lawn ornaments are on their way. It was on the road to White Trashville.

But this morning, I came in to find this...

My coworker with a hilarious sense of humor left the tornado on the wall when she came in and saw the trailer has collapsed. Don't worry, Toto is okay, and with the help of FEMA, we'll be rebuilding in time to take the gold medal at judging on Friday. It'll be even awesomer.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Things you should be complimenting me for

This one is dumb, but I guess we have to get past it...

Day 12: Something you never get compliments on

Really?! Who keeps track of what they never get compliments on? How do you even know to think of these things? Does someone actually keep tabs of "oh, I did something awesome today, and no one gave me props?" I have no idea. But just for fun's sake, here are some things I don't think I've ever been complimented on:

  • Being claustrophobic
  • How graceful I am
  • My hatred for the stuffing cooked inside the turkey and subsequent demand for separate stuffing
  • Knowing nothing about the members of the bands I claim as my favorites
  • My ability to crack my toes
  • My stubby eyelashes
  • The way I claim that I can remember long random strings of numbers very easily and then say "I'll show you. What's your credit card number?"
  • My blanket-hogging abilities
  • My texting while driving skills (just kidding, Mom)
  • The way I hate to rinse dishes because that's what the dishwasher is for, duh
  • The freckle on my left middle toe

There you have it. A few awesome things about me that no one has ever complimented me on. Probably along with this post....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Well, aren't you funny?

I'm organizing a cookie exchange at work. After finalizing all the plans, I got this from my friend, Michelle.

The most awesome cookie order ever:

"I would like to place a an order of 3 dozen cookies please. I would like them to be gingerbread houses with each cookie detailing a window, door, and each individual shingle on the roof outlined in frosting. I'd also l like the houses to be decorated for christmas, with lights and wreath detailing. In addition like a minimum of 4-5 colors used on each cookie. Oh and some realistic-like snow on the roof. If possible, in the window I'd like a "scene from grandma's house" possible with a christmas tree and grand piano showing through the window. The star on top of the Christmas tree should be a Swarovski crystal. I will send you a check for $30.00. Thanks a million."

Sure, I'll get right on that :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Meal Plan Monday: 12/6

Welcome to December's first Meal Plan Monday! Woohoo! Today is also my fabulous friend, Rachel's 30th birthday and the first day of Shana's 12 Days of Christmas giveaways on her blog, Fumbling Towards Normalcy. Go check it out for rules and entries and you might get a very special present.

On to Meal Plan Monday:

Monday: South Beach Chicken Capri (chicken, ricotta cheese, mozzarella) and broccoli

Tuesday: Chili - never made it last week.

Wednesday: South Beach Steak au Poivre and veggies Dan has requested burgers and veggie fries. I guess they're a hit! We'll do Steak au Poivre another week.

Thursday: Mushroom Crockpot Chicken

Friday: Leftovers or improvise

I'm trying out a couple of recipes from the South Beach Diet Cookbook, which a friend let me borrow, and throwing in a few standbys. I'm still doing Phase 1. I've done really well with South Beach with only a few cheats sprinkled in. Pants are starting to loosen up, but I'm not to where I want to be to go on to Phase 2 just yet.

I need to take my weekends into account as well. For the most part, I've been fine with leftovers. This past weekend, we went to Cheesecake Factory on Saturday and I had a steak and shrimp dish with veggies instead of their amazing mashed potatoes. Last night, my dad and Dan and I went to Native New Yorker after my dad and I went to the Rams/Cardinals game, and I had a steak salad, but snuck a couple of Dan's fries. Over all, I've done better on this diet than I ever have before, and I hope that the results are coming soon. My blood pressure was down a bit on Thursday, so hopefully it continues that direction.

Here's your linky for MPM:

These are the people in your neighborhood...

Living in an apartment oftentimes means living around some serious characters. There are a lot of nice families in our complex, and there are some people I give the serious side-eye to. I was thinking this morning about the interesting people we've lived near in our almost 3-years here, and thought I'd share.

At the old building (before we moved due to lack of AC), we had some really fun people. We had the 19 and 23-year-old lesbians from Alabama. They were super sweet, and helped me out a few times with Paisley when she was really little and I couldn't get home at lunch. Neither of them had more than an 8th grade education, and they had some serious attitude and probably some substance addiction issues, but they'd have given you the shirt off their backs. Very sweet girls. They moved back to Alabama for an opportunity at Wal-Mart. I miss them.

Also in the old building was a man we called Billy the Pimp. He was an older black guy who seemed to be living with an older white woman above us. He drove a Cadillac and wore the kind of suits and hats you'd find marked "Pimp" at a costume store. He'd disappear for months at a time and then reappear. Billy bounced around between sales jobs, so he was always trying to sell us whatever he was currently selling, everything from Nissans to life insurance. He once told me that Paisley's tail was curly because she was friendly. This was said as she was barking ferociously at him. Not to mention the fact that she's part pug, which I told him multiple times. Billy the Pimp still lives with the doughy white lady and always gives a smile and a nod when he sees us.

Our new building has some interesting people, too. For example, our neighbors above and on the opposite side of the stair way. They seem nice, but are frequently arguing as they come and go. I know you're not supposed to judge books by covers and all that, but neither seems to take pride in how they dress. The girl appears to work in an office, and her pants are always wrinkled and just a bit too short. I just always want to fix them. I try to at least take pride in how I look when I go to work, and even if I'm not 100% happy with an outfit, it's pressed and clean and I look presentable. Not to mention, they have a pit bull (a disallowed breed for our complex, and most complexes for that matter) that they walk around off-leash. He seems nice enough, but with all the stereotypes about pits, it just seems stupid to me to let an aggressive-breed dog walk around unleashed. It's just asking for trouble.

The guy directly above us is the Vanilla Ice Ice Agent. For real. He's an I.C.E. agent. He drives an unmarked car and every once in a while we see him leaving in full agent gear with rifles and everything. He never says anything to us, just stands on his balcony smoking cigarettes and glaring at everyone. Before the I.C.E. agent, we had a meth head who would threaten to harm herself and lock herself in her apartment, resulting in us calling the police multiple times. it's ironic that a cop now lives in her old place. Needless to say, Vanilla Ice Ice Agent is a much better neighbor.

My current favorite is the Professor. I don't know his actual name, but he's a sweet older guy who calls Clover "Killer" and Paisley "the mean one." He leaves at the same time every day in a slight variation of pretty much the same outfit. I've decided he's a Professor because he looks like one. One day, out of the blue, he came to our apartment with his little TV and asked Dan to help him with his cable set up. When he saw our 47" screen TV, he went and bought one the same day. Before then, I'm not sure he'd really spoken to either of us. Last week, I got the great surprise that he seems to have a mail-order bride. Yes, I know, I'm stereo-typing, but you'd think so, too, so don't judge me. He was beaming as he introduced me to her, and all of a sudden he's all cheery and he even decorated for Christmas, which he definitely didn't do last year. Whoever she is, she turned him into a less Scroogey guy just in time for the holidays.

So, those are the people in our neighborhood. Despite most of them being perfectly nice and harmless, I'm so anxious to begin house-shopping and get the fudge out of there in March. I know that living in a house doesn't guarantee us that our neighbors won't be wackadoos, but I'm ready for new ones.

Do you have any interesting apartment neighbors?