Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A different kind of 365 project...

I broke down and bought this on Etsy yesterday:

It has one page for each day of the year. I decided that this book is going to come with me everywhere, and I will write a page or less every day this year. Maybe a quote, maybe a journal entry, but something will be written each day for 365 days.

I figure it'll be a cool momento for my kids or grandkids someday at the very least.

And for me, of course.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Dog is a Creep, Vol. I

Our dog, Cypress, has an uncanny ability to peer around walls, stare at you when you're sleeping or undressing, and be just a general creeper. I figured I'd start posting some pictures of this because by some stroke of luck my phone or camera is always on me when she's doing it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Little bit of this, Little bit of that...

Once again I find myself putting too much pressure on myself when it comes to this blog. I start to write something or consider writing something and just decide that it simply isn't interesting enough.

Valentine's Day was lovely. I gave Rob his CDs with this card from Ann Taintor:

...and he made me a huge breakfast with omelettes and bacon...undercooked, just like I like it.

He also helped me make a big dinner, complete with some AMAZING gluten-free mozzarella sticks (recipe here) AND did the dishes. In other words, fan-tabulous. I love that my husband is around to enjoy such holidays with me...I'm very lucky to have that luxury.

In other news, I went to the tattoo shop last Saturday for tattoo session number 3. This time we worked on the sky, touched up the flowers, and added the stems. It's really coming together. I go back in a month for another 5 1/2-hour session and then we'll have another touch-up before it's totally done. Here's what it is looking like so far:

The colors are so stunning. I can't wait to be able to gaze at the finished product every day.

And to end this rather random post, a picture of my adorable husband decked in his safety gear. We live near a fitness trail where a lot of snowmobilers...snowmobile? Go snowmobiling? and unfortunately they all go pretty fast. We had to buy Cypress a reflector vest so she won't get hit and Robbie got one for himself, just in case. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011


One of my favorite authors is Tom Robbins. He's one of the only authors whose prose makes me totally stop and he just read my mind and perfectly phrased everything I was thinking. I wanted to share some of my favorite quotes.

“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words 'make' and 'stay' become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.”

I centered my wedding vows around this quote so it has a special place in my heart.

"You disrupted the predictable pattern of my life, and although uncertainties and changes can be uncomfortable, a life is only a paper puppet show without them."

I read this on a plane actually, and instantly wrote down the quote to share with Robbie later.

"We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love."

Need I say more?

“When we're incomplete, we're always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we're still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on--series polygamy--until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.”

A good eye-opener for any relationship.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bits and Pieces: Our Home

I thought it might be kind of fun to show some detail pictures taken around our home.

A little matryoshka doll I got from a friend last Christmas.

Pretty self-explanatory, our drain!

This is our collection of toilet reading. The first two books, "How to Make Love" and "How to get along with Boys" were originally published in the 1930s and 40s and were republished in 2006 or so.

Our fridge! Other childless couples we know have much cleaner refrigerators than us but what can I say, we are accumulators.

My bouquet from our wedding.

The one plant in our home we miraculously have not killed.

Love sun, even when it's cold outside.

Monday, February 7, 2011

30 Things About Me

I've seen this here and there throughout the blogosphere and thought I'd participate!

1. I had cancer when I was 3 1/2. My father picked me up one morning and noticed a hard lump on my side. My kidney had formed into a tumor the size of my head but it was only a stage 0 or 1 cancer, since it hadn't spread. My kidney was removed and I had chemotherapy for 6 months. Haven't had any problems since, except the celiac disease, which I think (without any medical knowledge) might've been triggered by the trauma.

2. I have an ever-worsening fear of trains. Not sure where it came from. It started on a trip from New Hampshire (maybe 4 years ago), when we saw the arm of the crossing thing come up. It scared me and now I can't look at the front of a train without crying and feeling nauseated. I also hate small spaces and big machines, which explains the anxiety attacks I have in the car wash.

3. My husband and I met for the first time in high school. However, my mother worked with his father 5-10 years earlier, and his stepmother was my sister's kindergarten teacher. Somehow we never met before high school.

4. I told Rob that I loved him the first night we got together, after a 3 hour long conversation.

5. I have always hated the "Happy Birthday" song. When I was a kid I forbade my family from singing it to me and if they did, I plugged my ears until they stopped.

6. Before I put my deodorant on the in the morning I have to smell it. I thought this was totally out there but apparently my cousins do it too!

7. When I use the bathroom in a public restroom (hey, I travel, it's a pretty frequent occurrence), I have to plug my ears when I flush the toilet with my foot. It's really loud and stresses me out in such a tiny space.

8. Rob and I have already figured out the names of our future children, if we decide to have children. He could never figure out a boy's name he liked until his brother came up with Robert, so we could call him R2.

9. I have weird rules around watching movies and TV shows. When I want to destress I watch shows like Seinfeld, Family Guy, and Mystery Science Theater 3000, because they don't require any significant emotional investment. I don't mind watching the episodes over and over either, simply because they aren't stressful.

10. Similar to #9, I hate suspense. Sometimes I'll read ahead just so I don't have to stress about what's going to happen.

11. I would ultimately like to be covered with tattoos, but unless I can be promised a lifelong job that doesn't require me to hide them this is simply not in the cards.

12. I almost always wake up just a minute or two before my alarm is set to go off. This is extremely annoying.

13. I have a bad habit of picking/chewing my lips. I managed to stop for a few months before the wedding but started right back up again.

14. I've had a lot of people tell me I look like Winona Ryder or Natalie Portman. I think it's just because they both had short hair at some point.

15. When I was a kid, my mother was relatively controlling in regards to food. I never had any sweet cereals and had few sugary snacks. As a result I have an insatiable sweet tooth; in college I would sometimes just eat Cookie Crisp for dinner.

16. My favorite song is "Don't Think Twice" as done by Mike Ness.

17. I drink a vodka cranberry, made with Svedka raspberry vodka and Ocean Spray Cran-Pomegranate, at least once a night. I'm not an alcoholic or a frequent drinker, but what can I say, it's my one vice.

18. I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I love how challenging my job is, but sometimes I wish I could be a housewife and spend my days organizing my home and eventually raising our children. Not sure how that'll all turn out but we'll see!

19. I an obsessive saver...with money, that is. I tend to not be a great haggler (like with buying a car) so I usually lose money, but I've already started contributing to a 401(k) and I also put money into a savings account every month. Rob makes fun of me but I think we'll be pretty happy later on!

20. I have mini-panic attacks if I forget my chapstick. I need to have my chapstick with me at all times.

21. Rob and I spent the entire time he was enlisted--4 years--unmarried and apart. We saw each other every couple of months for a week or two, and during the deployment, we spent 6 months apart and then 8. I'm pretty proud of everything we've gone through.

22. I never wanted a smartphone until I got my current job. Now that I have one I can't stand being without my phone, unless it's a self-enforced hiatus; for example, if I'm on a date with my husband.

23. Also, when my husband was in Iraq, my phone was ALWAYS on me. I would tell college professors ahead of time that I may leave to talk to him, and when I was in Russia one of the first things I made sure of was that he could call me. Amazingly we were actually in the same time zone for those three months! Made for much easier communication.

24. I have really nice handwriting and I love hand-writing things just because I love the process of actually writing it.

25. One of my favorite movies is "Se7en" with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. I also love "Shawshank Redemption."

26. I am a big reader. I love the Harry Potter series, as well as everything Tom Robbins and everything Kurt Vonnegut. I actually have a few books autographed by Tom Robbins thanks to my lovely friend *A* [see her blog here!].

27. I know that modern country is just about the worst music there is, but I grew up with it and listening to it makes me feel happy and calm. I absolutely love old country, as well.

28. I speak Spanish fluently and also speak Russian intermediately. I plan on getting a Russian tattoo after this half-sleeve, complete with matryoshka (nesting) doll.

29. I love my dog, Cypress. If we can't have our own children I want to have a huge plot of land with a ton of dogs.

30. Rob and I performed two songs at our own wedding - "Dirty Glass" by Dropkick Murphys and "When She Begins" by Social Distortion.

Tweets 'n Things

Is anyone else on Twitter? I've only somewhat recently understood the appeal. So if you don't find me as boring as this blog probably makes me look, follow me and let me follow you! :)

Have a wonderful start to your week!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Valentine's Day

For some reason I am all about Valentine's Day this year.

I understand the complaints of it being a ridiculously saccharine, commercialized holiday and frankly I agree. But Valentine's Day has always been kind of special to Rob and I for one reason or another (just sort of happens that way).

For our first Valentine's Day (we'd been dating around a month, knew each other for 3 or 4) he sang me a song he had written for me in front of our entire cafeteria. My husband is, and always has been, extremely shy, so this was huge. I was totally smitten. I think I still have the words to the song somewhere.

He also sang me a song and proposed to me 6 years later on Valentine's Day in our apartment.

Throughout the years I've always tried to craft thoughtful gifts, for Valentine's Day, our dating anniversary, birthdays, etc. Frankly I've been pretty impressed with a lot of my ideas. One year I took a deck of 52 cards, and on each one taped little slips of paper with "I love you" in different languages. On the front side of the card was another slip of paper with a reason why I loved him. Kind of goofy but it kept me busy and I had a ton of fun with it.

I think my favorite gift, which wasn't a holiday gift but rather a deployment keepsake, was a 365 Quotes Jar. Admittedly I stole this idea. I cut out 365 small slips of paper and on each one wrote a quote, an inside joke, or just a message to him or memory from the past. He absolutely loved it and would sometimes read multiple slips each day. Luckily I knew him pretty well and had cut out additional slips just in case.

I also spent four hours making him a fleece blanket once for his air conditioned can in Iraq.

Each year I struggle with what to make him or buy for him. He's the kind of person who buys the things he wants on his own, saving up for them if necessary. I'm also so used to asking his opinion on things that I often end up doing so for gifts.

I guess it's a struggle because I don't understand what sort of gift can truly convey the emotion I happen to be feeling at that given time. I've given this man my soul, my life, my heart - a box of chocolates just doesn't reflect that kind of commitment to me.

Perhaps I shouldn't put so much pressure on gifts.

(If you are reading this, Rob, please stop spoiler alert).

This year I tried to contact both his favorite musician (Mike Ness) and his favorite physicist (Michio Kaku) to try and get autographed memorabilia. Neither attempt was successful though I did receive a personal email back from Dr. Kaku which I thought was pretty cool.

(And since I have to tell Rob everything I confided in him about this second attempt).

In the end I found myself perusing eBay and found a somewhat rare, old Social Distortion CD that was signed by Mike Ness in the 90s. Not ideal...but I hope he'll find some enjoyment in having it.

The company offered me two other signed CDs for $100...but I can't decide how far I should go with this.

Regardless I suffer from gift insecurity.

Any fun gift ideas between you and your significant other?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Advice for First-Time Flyers

I flew on Monday for the first time in about a month. It was a great time to drag up all my annoyances about flying and the people I tend to travel with. So, with that, I'll provide those of you who do not fly as often as I do with some quick tips.

1) RESEARCH. I didn't realize that there will still people who didn't realize that you can't bring liquids on a plane, but they exist, and they hold up the TSA security line like you wouldn't believe. You can't bring anything above 3 oz, which includes the coffee and the water bottle you bought outside of security.

Here's a hint: I never put my small toiletries in that damn little quart bag. I hide them strategically throughout my bag and I've had my bag searched for them maybe twice (after flying twice a week for the last 18 months). If they do catch them and open my bag (again, very rare occurrence), I simply play the "oh I packed in a hurry" card.

2) Flying with Children? Don't. Make people fly to you. Kidding, of course, but hear my facetious rationale on this one. I don't even say it because crying children annoy me, I say it because I feel bad for the parents who have to collapse a giant stroller, hold a baby and 2348723 bags filled with things to keep their toddler's mind off of her throbbing ears, all while managing an apologetic smile to the person next in line to get on the plane. I've watched single parents pass their children to complete strangers just so they can wrangle the ridiculous amount of luggage required to travel with a child or children (not blaming the parents here, I'd do the same thing). Clearly this is tongue-in-cheek, as I understand it's often impossible not to fly with children...but seriously. Think about it.

Also, if you don't have kids, and you see people with children who are using that leash thing, don't judge them. I'm not even a parent and I can totally understand why people use these. Also, try not to judge parents of screaming children. It's not their fault and let's face it, if we could all scream and cry while flying we probably would.

Picture from

3) Do you have a disability or have to travel with children? BE OBNOXIOUS. You know those people that inch their way up to the gate around half an hour before boarding? Those are frequent travelers. They can board first, meaning they are privy to all of the overhead space before everyone else boards.

HOWEVER, if you have children under the age of 5 or "need extra time down the jetway" (for example, if you are elderly or have a disability) you can board before all of these people. So here is my hint to you as a frequent traveler: be obnoxious and force your way to the front of these gate zombies. Often as soon as the gate agent starts announcing, the zombies crowd the area making it impossible for you to get through, especially if you have children or have a tough time walking. Grab a seat close to the gate entrance and when you get to the half-hour mark do not be afraid to charge your way through us douchey business travelers.

Picture from

4) If you are in Zone/Seating Area 3-5, the last tip does not apply to you. Stay back and wait until you're called. We all had to deal with it at one point and you just make things more difficult.

5) Do NOT put your seat all the way back, unless you want to be an intolerable douche and want me to push on your seat the entire time, because that's what I do. Conversely, don't force your legs up against the seat so that the person in front cannot push their seat back. Incredibly douchey.

6) If you sit in the back of the plane, do NOT put your luggage in the front of the plane. Again, don't be an intolerable douche. People in the bulkhead seat have to put all of their things in the overhead compartment

7) Related to #6, if you are in a bulkhead seat, put all of your luggage in the overhead compartment. You can't hold your purse, you can't put it behind your feet. It all has to go in the overhead compartment. It's obnoxious but if you asked for more legroom, this is what you get.

8) Don't Hold up Traffic in the Airport. It's the same as driving - stick to the right. Don't drive down the middle, or stop in the middle of the lane. Go with the flow and we'll all get where we're going.

I hope this helps those of you who may not travel as frequently as I do. Enjoy! :)