Thursday, December 20, 2007

Why I REALLY need a camera phone

Occasionally I get a text message from Verizon notifying me that someone sent me a pix message and to log in to my account online to view the picture. I don't get upset that people assume I have a camera phone. Everyone else does.

So this just happened. So I logged into my account.

This is the picture:

Unfortunately Verizon doesn't feel the need to tell you who sent the picture. So my mind started racing. Who do I know whose finger this could be? This is obviously an engagement announcement. Damn, this really is the 21st Century - engagement announcements via camera phone?

Jamie!

So I text Jamie:

"Did you just send me a picture of an engagement ring? I have to view my pics online and it doesn't tell me who sent it. The suspense is killing me!"

About one minute later I receive:

"Yes! :-)"

The conversation beyond that doesn't matter. The point is, if it wasn't Jamie, I would have had to start calling every single friend I have - which wouldn't have taken long, but you know, I'm at work.

I really need a new phone.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On the 11th day of Christmas......

.....I will update my blog and go to a Board meeting and have my dad over for pizza.

The tree is up and it is boo-ti-ful! The house is all decorated, 20 Christmas cards went in the mail this morning and I still feel stressed but totally on track. Christmas isn't really stressing me out, just the week I'm going to lose studying for my final exam on 12/19. I get the sample questions tomorrow and take the test seven days later so I can't really do much for/about Christmas until after I ace that sucka. So I'm trying to get as much done as possible now!

So far this Christmas season has been quite lovely. My Christmas spirit meter is full thanks to a wonderful trip to NYC last week with my dad. It was a great day that I won't soon forget - NYC really is Christmas headquarters if you just relax and accept that it's not perfect and don't dwell on the guys that searched your bag when you went into Saint Pat's Cathedral. Just accept the fact that the world has changed and that people stink and just want to make a buck and go ahead and enjoy yourself.

And enjoying yourself is always easier when you're home! Christmas is at our place this year! I feel like applauding even though it really isn't under the best circumstances. But I'm taking advantage of the opportunity and have enjoyed putting together my very first Christmas table. It is going to be so wonderful not having to travel too much. We still do of course, but going to bed in my own home on Christmas is going to be really special.

I see it now - like in A Christmas Story - me and Mike having a drink just relaxing by the tree after everyone's left.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Screw one day at a time!

So things are finally settling down for a minute. My organization's annual awards gala was last week and a tremendous weight was lifted off my shoulders but I had no time to rejoice since my weekend was insanely, and most unusually, busy (nothing like being in Atlantic City until 2:30 A.M. Saturday morning and being in New York City at 11:00 AM that same morning). But I had a wonderful time and it was well worth the exhaustion!

Then all I could worry about was my World Civ exam which I took last night. So alas, I am free.

Last night after I finally felt free of worry (and watched the Season Premiere of Project Runway which was awesome by the way except where did they find those models!) I realized that it's the middle of November! I am not worried about this at all but Mike and I agreed tonight would be a good night to sit down with a calendar and start planning out the festivities for the next month and a half. Days of work will need taking off, shopping trips involving browsing with hot gingerbread lattes are in order, and our annual trip to Peddlers Village needs planning. I'm going a little crazy this year and proposing to Mike that we also include one Philadelphia holiday day this year which will include a late brunch and shopping and hanging out in the Center City shopping district. There's just something about the city around Christmas time that just makes me all excited and giddy.

The time really is just flying. In order to really make the best of the season, you really must be organized.

So today is a new me. Whew, it felt weird not being able to think more than a day ahead for the past two weeks!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

So you know

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be released on DVD in the states December 11.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wow

I haven't talked about much news lately and that's basically because I always have two opinions that contradict themselves and I usually just end up ranting. And no one wants to read that.

But I just read an article, titled "Sex Offenders locked down, in the dark for Halloween" that actually made me say out loud, "wow".

To be honest I've never even thought about the increasing danger of sex offenders to children on Halloween and I am very impressed by towns like Anderson, SC who are requiring all their registered sex offenders to report to a specific location for the hours between 5:00 and 10:30 PM. In California, parole officers will be checking registered sex offenders' houses to ensure that there are no decorations on any of the houses, "No Candy" signs posted on the doors and lights out.

I have never heard of anything like this before.

However, it does lead to some questions of course. I do understand that this is a precaution but the evidence shows that once a sex offender, always a sex offender. So if there's a possibility that a child in a costume may be a temptation to someone, then perhaps this person should not be allowed to live among the general public. Just a thought. Because if this is the case, how are these towns protecting their girl and boy scouts or any child for that matter out selling candy for school?

I thought about saying something about well, they did their time so leave them alone blah blah blah, and decided against it. I don't feel the restrictions put upon sex offenders tonight are infringing on their rights at all. They're sex offenders. That's all that needs be said about that.

This article really shows what kind of world we live in. But I'm so happy that people are taking precautions and calling it what it is. I sure as hell rather read about precautionary measures set against sex offenders (a real problem) than all the ways your child will bite into a razor this year.

Happy Halloween

I thought it might be nice to keep my fingers out of my little cup of roasted pumpkin seeds and wish everyone a Happy Halloween!

Mike carved his pumpkin last night and I roasted the seeds. (A first). October felt like a wonderfully fulfilling, lengthy month just like it should. It may have been the best month of my life so far! And we're looking forward to getting rid of the candy tonight and I guess this weekend the decorations will have to come down. Sigh. It was a great run.

On another note, I've decided not to pursue my Associates Degree from Camden County College before moving on to Rowan. I've done a great deal of research and work and it seems that a good six or seven classes I would need to take to get my Associates from Camden mean absolutely nothing to Rowan. So why take them? I couldn't care less about having another Associates but I just assumed this was the way to go. I called Rowan to confirm and my future advisor reassured me that I was correct - there's no need for the Associates if my intentions are to go get the Bachelor's.

So I can fast track this thing after all. I can't really calculate it yet though because Camden accepted credits from Berkeley that Rowan may not. That's the next step - to find out if Rowan will take credits from Berkeley. If not, I'll have to take the classes at Camden.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Same time next year!

The party was AWESOME!

Friday night and Saturday was a very fun blur of preparing, chopping, cleaning, setting up, beer shopping, last minute touches, etc. It was all so hectic and then people started showing up and before I knew it, there was a party going on.

Everyone loved the food (and seemed impressed I must say). There was more than enough but everyone just kept taking eating breaks and there was nothing left but a handful of chips and some candy corn by the end of the night.

It really is a blur now - not only had I been drinking all day more or less but I was just so excited at the same time. All my friends were over eating my food wishing Mike a happy birthday and enjoying our home - it really is a great feeling and totally makes you feel "high as hell". LOL

I had a lot of fun with an old friend and made a new one, and strengthened newer friendships with some great people who I was just thrilled to have in my home so I really am just so happy with the way it went but wish it wasn't so much of a blur. But such is life - all the kick ass parts go by way too quick.

So this was our second Halloween type party so I think this will definitely be our annual party and I'm keeping the bratwurst on the menu.

I feel like Sunday never came though - we slept till 1:00 pm on Sunday and I went to bed for the night at 6:00 so I guess that would explain it. 13 hours of sleep and I still feel groggy.

But Mike and I are off tomorrow for his birthday! I'm looking forward to sitting by the fire with him tonight and just cleaning up and relaxing - we can do whatever he wants!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Perhaps there's a link between violence and fugliness

Here it is folks.

"Philadelphia has the ugliest people in the country, according to Travel & Leisure Magazine.

Of the 25 major American cities ranked by citizen attractiveness, Philadelphia finished dead-last."

Let me tell you something, Philly really does have some damn fugly people come to think of it.

But who comes up with this shit?

Read the full article here, appropriately titled, Hey! We're not just fat - we're ugly too!


Monday, October 15, 2007

Mmmmm, mallow cremes

Oh, what an awesome weekend we had! I am thrilled to report that annual pumpkin picking day was indeed excellent.

The great thing is that the weekend felt long too kicking Friday night off having drinks with friends.

So I won't bore you with the details, we made all the same stops we've made the past two years and bought some cool stuff including six new cheese at Delicious Orchards. We made it home quite spent and hung out on the couch for a while snacking on the plethora of goodies we picked up including apple cider doughnuts, pistachios, very decent quality mallow cremes, mmmmmm. For dinner we sampled our new cheeses and had some fresh baked semolina bread and olive oil. (Yeah, I'm fasting today)

Oh, and we picked four pumpkins too! We were the first people to get to the farm so the hayride guy dropped us off and left us completely alone in the pumpkin patch. There's something pretty damn cool about being alone in a pumpkin patch especially the kind where you don't see a car, a road, anything but pumpkins, dirt and corn stalks.

It was great! BUT little did I know it was by no means over. Mike woke me up Sunday morning climbing back into bed to inform me he decided to call out of work and spend the day with me. We woke up pretty early and had coffee and got started with some party preparations including yard work, putting out the haystack, pumpkins and scarecrow and doing lots of little things around the house. Then we got to relax and watch football together.

So you may be thinking, "so?" Well, Mike and I haven't spent a consecutive Saturday and Sunday together since last May SO THERE. It was awesome!

AND THE COWBOYS LOST! (insert maniacal laugh here)

Friday, October 12, 2007

I'll see it rise, Mike'll see it set.

Last night during dinner Mike asked me what I thought about him going to California with his two childhood best friends, Roman and Knarr, and meeting up with his other childhood best friend, Dayv, who lives out in California, so that they could all attend Roman's graduation. Roman lives out here in NJ, but is graduating from an online animation school in California. He thought it would be cool to go to the ceremony and do some networking.

I told Mike he'd be a fool not to go.

For some reason, Mike was surprised by my response.

I explained to Mike that I think it is very important that he travel, and that by going out on this trip, him and his boys are going to make memories that will last a lifetime. I said I hope they plan trips as they all get older too and get married and what not. This is the time to start doing these things. We all work hard - why not be a little spontaneous and play a little too?

So Mike's going to go out to California in January and I'm stoked for him. Knarr's a traveler so all the arrangement making will be in his hands so that's kind of a relief. Mike just has to make sure he gets on planes. Everything else will be taken care of.

As for me, I'm looking forward to eating cereal for dinner every night that he's gone and hearing all the crazy stories I'm sure he'll have when he gets home.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Examination Civilization

So I took my exam last night and it's a damn good thing I did since I thought my head was going to explode if I didn't get the three pages of memorized text out of it. It all spilled out of me nicely and in order, but damn, did my hand hurt! I haven't handwritten anything lengthier than a post-it note or grocery list in ages. Every few minutes I had to stop and shake out my hand and flex it a bit. It was pretty painful.

I don't know for sure how I did but I think I did fine. I'll let you know in a week or two when I get the exam back. I just feel so much better to be done with it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

What's up with me?

I have my first exam tomorrow and it's hard as hell. I've been studying my ass off and I'm a nervous wreck. I just want to be done with it. I have to study all night tonight and I'm meeting up with a classmate around 11:00 to compare what we've each come up with.

Next Monday is my first Stats exam but I'm not as nervous about that one. I have all day Sunday to study for that and that's good because nothing's gonna put a damper on ANNUAL PUMPKIN PICKING DAY! I've been hyping this day up since August and it's finally this weekend. Then it's all about getting through the Stats exam Monday and pulling Mike's party together for Saturday. I know it will all come together. I think last year I was way more excited and nervous and neurotic but I think it's just because it was my first party. I know what to expect this year, and well, if there's no more food, you got here too late; have some cheese.

But I'll be super stoked come Friday night when I get to start making the food and Saturday I'll wake up like a crazy person! Those are the good times. I love having people over.

I'll be sure to post lots of pictures!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Title

Ugh, I feel so gross. I'm having such a gross week. And I'm fairly overwhelmed which just adds to my overall feeling of grossness. I'd like to just watch the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and lay in my bed and nap.

Anyway, mine and Mike's anniversary was very cool. We actually got drunk on Friday night which is pretty rare for us especially since it was just the two of us. But we had fun and met some crazy guy at the second bar we went to and heard all about his affair with his next door neighbor. That's always fun.

So Saturday didn't go as planned. Do any of my plans ever go as planned? We slept late (10:00) and just threw on clothes and headed out to the Farmer's Market and had crepes with apples for breakfast and bought some goodies. We ended up playing follow the yard sale signs on the way home and hit up about a dozen sales. Yard sales are really only good for three things to me: frames, photo albums, and bottles. So I picked up all three along with a much larger caesar salad bowl than the one I have ($2.00!) and Clerks II on DVD. Not a bad take.

The funny thing about the day was that we ate about 5 soft pretzels and some apple cider donuts for lunch and fell asleep for four hours. The house was a disaster and I don't know how it got so bad and it bothered me but after a little concentration on making it not bother me, it didn't anymore. I just went with the proverbial flow.

So dinner was very nice and Mike looked fantastic! I thought I did too which wasn't bad for suffering a hangover and eating several pounds of carbs for lunch, but I guess we clean up pretty nicely. ;-)

Lastly, after Mapquest took us on a RIDICULOUS route threw murderelphia, we got to the Jim Gaffigan show and he was hysterical. Seeing a really good stand-up act makes you realize that you don't laugh enough and how laughing for an hour straight gives you this really great high, makes you feel less tense, and makes you feel more alive.

We had fun. It was cool.

So now it's Thursday and I just want to be done with this work week. Mom's coming over tomorrow and I wish I was in a better mood, but Mike is getting all the Halloween stuff out of the attic tonight so seeing some old friends should help.

There will be a lot of, "Oh, I forgot about this! - I love this thing" and it's fun.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Celebrating a third

Saturday Mike and I are celebrating our three year anniversary which is actually October 8. I asked him to take off from work on Saturday so that we can have a nice relaxing day, then get all dolled up for a fancy dinner and then head over to Upper Darby and the Tower Theatre to see Jim Gaffigan. It should be a very nice day. (I'll post a picture!)

I just love this weather. It makes me so happy! I hope Saturday Mike and I can get up early enough to get coffee at the Tree House and walk the Farmer's Market and pick up some nice produce. Does it get better than that?

Addendum: In finding a link to the Tree House, I discovered that the owners have it up for sale! That makes me sad. I hope whoever buys it keeps it the same. I really like that place and have a lot of memories there. Mike and I have also made a lot of memories there and we're meeting there today in fact at 6:00! Where will we meet on Tuesdays?

I wish I could buy it! How amazing would it be to own a well established coffee shop? I could keep everything the same including the staff. It would be a cinch. I'd establish trust with the public then gradually add my own point of view. A new sandwich here, a new table there. It would be super!

Sigh

Monday, September 24, 2007

These foods don't taste very good

Veggie burgers are not good. No, definitely not. However, I bet they are fantastic in say, the Middle East, or in any other countries where lentils are typically used as a substitute for meat.

I have no doubt that I didn't make them properly and I have no doubt that they wouldn't taste great to someone else with that palette. I was very proud of them. I boiled my lentils and barley (a first for me) and I sprinkled my cooked onions with curry powder (another first) and was amazed by how my kitchen smelled. I made the patties and other than the green complexion, scent of curry powder, and strangeness of seeing little round pebbles (lentils), they really looked like hamburgers. They were a lot of work and I was thrilled.

So dinner time came. I felt Mike staring me down as i took my first bite so I struggled to keep a poker face, swallow, and say, "not bad." He wasn't convinced. "No, really, " I continued. "I'm not crazy about the texture and the curry is a little strong but I bet they kick ass to people who eat this stuff."

Mike took his first bite and was not amused. He chewed for about an hour with this look of disgust on his face then swallowed.

He pushed his plate away. "I'm not eating this shit." I peeled my nice soft roll away from my patty and ate the roll. We gave the other four to some guy Mike works with who eats foods like this a lot.

I threw away the rest of the lentils. I don't like beans and I don't like peas. Lentils tasted to me like a pea bean. I think it's safe now for me to conclude that I will not like any lentil recipe.

I'll stick with my brown basmati rice.

Anyone have any suggestions for something else I should try?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Exploring vegetarianism - NO PREACHING I SWEAR

Two weeks ago I went out with my girlfriend Kelly to lunch and shopping. She wanted to pick up a book called Skinny Bitch and she said it took sort of a drill sergeant approach to helping the reader lose some weight. For example, the first line in the book says something like, "Hey fat ass, keep eating shit and you're gonna look and feel like shit." I thought it was pretty cool so I picked it up. Well, I guess you truly cannot judge a book by its cover because what started out kinda cool became a long diatribe on going vegan. According to these skinny bitches, the only way is to go vegan.

Well I say fuck that.

However, the book made some valid points especially against artificial sweeteners and what dairy really does to our systems and just how awful the average meat is (and what slaughterhouses are really like).

So I immediately got off the sweet n low, have drank a total of three glasses of diet soda in the past two weeks and stopped buying any juices with artificial sweeteners. I now only use raw sugar in my coffee and iced tea. A very positive change I think. If you ever want an interesting read, look up why Nutrasweet failed approval eight times in front of the FDA and how it finally got to be approved. Someone yell shenanigans!

Dairy is a funny thing. The book pointed out to me that we are the only species that continues to consume dairy after we get off our mother's breasts. My brother Joey always said milk made him feel sick. I don't drink milk - not even when I was a kid. My mom didn't force that on us. Well, It's bad for us and it produces mucus in our systems. I had some nice Thai iced tea last Friday made with about 8 ounces of low fat milk and I tried to see about this mucus thing. Lo and behold I felt nauseous afterwards and felt clogging in my upper chest. I never usually consume that much milk at one time.

MEAT! What an icky word. If you want to go on happily consuming meat a word of caution. DO NOT READ ABOUT SLAUGHTERHOUSES. You won't be able to put meat in your mouth even if you close your eyes. Not only that, these poor animals are fed food covered in pesticides, they are constantly injected with hormones and antibiotics and they stand around in their own shit all day. I'm all about animal rights, but my number one reason for exploring vegetarianism is that I don't want mutant children and I don't want to be very sick one day.

This all got me thinking about the youth of today. Girls becoming women at age nine, obesity, OCD, hyperactivity disorder, youth diabetes. Their moms eat all this shit and then the kids eat all this shit and everything is getting so far away from what nature intended that it's going to be difficult to get back to normal.

I want to have a healthy child. That's the bottom line. And I want me and my family (Mike) to be healthy. Eat fruits and vegetables and grains and keep away from overly processed foods and chemicals. Voila. You're healthy.

So back to the whole vegetarianism thing. (P.S. I just bought the most beautiful half of a cooked rotisserie style chicken. I haven't had that in years!) I went to the store and bought some soy hot dogs (good with lots of ketchup), I researched vegetarian recipes and made delicious steamed dumplings, I talked to some people about different rices, and then I went to my new most favorite place. WHOLE FOODS.

I always thought Whole Foods (organic supermarket) was super expensive and for like indie rocker vegan type kids. I was wrong. A woman I work with recommended I try brown rice (I never had it) and basmati rice. I gazed upon the bulk rice and grain bins looking for my first experiment in rice. Brown Basmati Rice. I could try two kinds at once! I bought a cup to make in my brand new rice cooker/steamer and was on my way.

Brown basmati rice is friggin delicious. I hesitantly raised my chopsticks to my mouth and had a taste and was pleasantly surprised. Mike really liked it too and said we don't have to ever eat white rice again. I was thrilled at this new discovery!

While i was at Whole Foods I also checked out the meat counter. Can raw meat be beautiful? At Whole Foods it can! I looked at it and read the information on where it come from and what diets the animals are on and how they live and realized that was meat I could eat and not feel sick. It won't be often but I was very pleased. Afterall, I cannot expect Mike to stop eating meat because I don't want to. He's been great trying new things (tofu) and hasn't complained once about the lack of meat being served in our home.

Hence the chicken. It's been two weeks now and I only had meat twice. Mike had it a lot more than me but not too much at home. I am making veggie burgers tomorrow out of mainly lentils and pearled barley so I thought I'd offer up a compromise. Tonight I'll serve that nice all natural rotisserie chicken with a nice broccoli Asian slaw I also picked up at the prepared foods section and some nice ciabatta rolls.

Tomorrow, Mike eats his first veggie burger.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A good place

As terrible as it may sound, if I can manage to block out my mom's issues and the heartbreaking realization that she may be the most miserable person on the planet, I can smile and take comfort in the fact that I'm really in a good place right now with my life. I think I need to say that again and just relish in that for a moment.

I am in a really good place right now.

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK ON WOOD. Damn! I already regret typing that but now the jury's out.

I have bullshit inconveniences and stupid shit happens to me every day but overall, the big picture, is pretty good. If I didn't worry about my mom all the time I'd be ecstatic. The best thing about all this is that I'm no longer waiting for the shoe factory to drop. My old friend, Fred, came up with that one for me. In my life it's never just been a shoe but the whole damn factory. I'm still scared the shoe will drop but I can deal with a shoe. Shit, I may even be able to deal with a shoe store. But I'm not holding my breath waiting for a catastrophe to rob me of my happiness. I pray at night for the safety and good health of those I love and I put it in God's hands.

So why do I feel this way? So content and happy? Well, I guess because I'm doing something that has to do with the future. School. I'm working towards something. Mike and I are growing at communicating and we're having a blast together. I'm losing weight and doing good things for myself physically that make me feel awesome mentally. I guess also because I cleaned out my entire closet top to bottom and got rid of so much stuff especially any clothing that was tied to bad memories or uncomfortable situations. I filled the closet back up with awesome brand new stuff that fits this new me.

Also, I guess because I'm growing and just feeling pretty damn good about who I'm becoming and I have a great partner and a comfy bed and comfy pillows and good food and well, read the quote at the top of the page - life is made up of little things - and I understand this.

I've also learned that when I look forward to something too far in advance the days until the event fly by in the blink of an eye. Appreciating each day is something I'm practicing but it's a little difficult. But I'm getting better. I bought a rice cooker/steamer because it is practically impossible to make rice on an electric stove. I am making vegetarian steamed dumplings Friday night and I am so excited. Mike and I are going to rent an Asian themed movie On Demand and feast on dumplings and edamame and this I very much look forward to. AND it's only two days away and I have arranged something for me to look forward to every few days so I don't hold my breath through the remainder of September until our three year anniversary. It would be very simple for me to miss everything until 9/29 when Mike is taking me to the Water Lilly and then we're going to see Jim Gaffigan.

I guess I'm just appreciative. I love my little simple life. I NEVER EVER thought I'd be in this place. It's all pretty great but the real clincher is being in a steady relationship with someone who not only loves all my little quirks but actually encourages them. As independent as I feel even though I live with Mike, I only just realized that he really has so much to do with all my happiness. He really has helped me to grow and supported me especially through my big transformation which I guess was a few years' in the making and isn't over yet. I always wanted him to say the right thing at the right moment not even realizing that he always did the right thing at the right moment and his actions have spoken volumes more than words.

Mike, in my life of little things, you are my something big.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Report: First Day of School

First day of school came and went without any stress or anxiety. I got to school in plenty of time to buy my book for the class that starts next week and to find my classroom. Too bad kids were in there and I had to wait outside for half an hour.

I like my professor a lot. The class is World Civilizations. 8:00 - 10:30 PM Wednesdays.

We spent half the class listening to Mr. M. explain the format of exams, quizzes, homework and how our two personal days work. That's right, personal days (which I have no intention of using.) He wants us to see school as a job and much like a job, we will receive personal time to use however we want to (not on an exam day) and will not penalize our grade in any way.

He's nice and speaks well and he kept my attention. He's full of obscure historical facts and that's always fun when he throws them into the mix.

As far as my class goes, there were probably around 20 of us and I'd say only three were over age 30. There was a handful of recent high school graduates and the rest were a mix of people in their twenties.

I was home by 10:45 and was able to catch the last fifteen minutes of Top Chef and stayed up to 1:00 to watch the encore episode so I could see the first 45 minutes of the show. What sucks about school is coming home ravenous and wide awake. I ate too much too late last night. I'm going to have to figure this one out.

I have a quiz next week so I have to do my homework. Overall, it all went fine.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

First Day of School

Today is my first day of school! World Civ - 8:00.

Woo-Hoo!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fight what you know

Throughout the entire month of August all I did was bitch and moan, "I haven't even been to the beach yet." I had not been to the beach yet because my weekends were always either booked or lets face it, I didn't make it a priority.

Last week I had decided that I was going to go to the beach on Saturday, 8/25, if it killed me. I was faced with obstacles but damn it, I hurtled over my hysterical mother who wanted me to stop by and I held my ground to my boyfriend's demanding mother who acted as if my going to the beach alone was an act of treachery or infidelity.

I got to the beach around noon and at four I called Mike to tell him I was never coming home. I had the most wonderful afternoon and I am just so pleased that I didn't accept that the summer was over (because it wasn't) and didn't just sit back and feel sorry for myself for not having had much of a summer.

It was wonderful to sit in the sun and listen to the waves crashing on the shore. I read and watched the surfers surf and the kids take surfing lessons some ways away from the guys who knew what they were doing. I took a long walk and collected shells and I watched babies experience wet sand for their first time. I felt my shoulders slowly back down from my ears and I even practiced my yogic breathing. I had a great afternoon and got back to Mike's parents house where we were staying, showered (you know, those great showers after a day at the beach!) and then went to a party with some great people and got drunk. It was a great summer day.

So yesterday, Tuesday, I got to go again! and Mike went with me. We went to a different beach, LBI, and Mike was kind of a crab. (I told him I should have left him at the beach so he could scuttle back into the ocean.) But overall, I had a nice time. I swam and played by myself (I tend to regress in age when I get to the beach) and I was surprised to find Mike watching me play at one point. I found a shark tooth! Mike says it wasn't and I say it was and after I held onto it for over 45 minutes while I played and got pummeled by waves, I lost it. I could have stayed a few more hours but Mike gets bored fast with the beach. It's just not his thing and I can't make him love something as much as I do nor do I want to really, but we had to go.

After a nice lunch and a beer we walked around and played in the arcade and checked out the kids on the freestanding water slides. Mike promised we could do that next year. I kept thinking of my brother Joey and how we used to go on those water slides when we stayed with my grandparents. It's a lot of running up stairs! Up down up down for two hours! It's a blast. It made me a little sad though that they shrank. They used to be 1,000 feet tall! They don't look it anymore. I remember how we used to race down the slides. Me and my two brothers would each take a slide and all push off at the count of three. It was great!

I have an obligation all this weekend but I decided I should hit the beach again on Labor Day. I figure September will still be hot so I plan to get a few more beach days in. It's better late than never and now the water's warm and after Labor Day the beaches will be pretty much empty so maybe I did the best thing by waiting. I guess like any season, summer is what you make of it. I had a great vacation in May and August is turning out to be pretty good so I think I can stop walking around bitching about how much this summer sucked. My summer doesn't end on Labor Day, but when the temperature at 2:00 PM is under 78 degrees for a consecutive seven days in a row.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

To make yourself smile

I think I discovered one of the secrets to a good life. I'm willing to share it with you.

Every once in a while, if you can, buy yourself something ridiculous. If you see something special and it makes you yell out, "I have to have this!" even though you may not use it more than once a year, buy it anyway. You'll have a blast telling everyone about it and when it finally comes, you'll run that box straight into the house and tear it open with the joy similar to that you experienced as a child at Christmas.

Well, folks, I can make a giant cupcake!

Can you make a giant cupcake?



Mine came yesterday. You can buy one too here!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Oh, back to school, oh I'm no fool so it's back to school

School's around the corner.

Remember when you were a kid, back to school meant new clothes and A NEW THEME! The backpack had to match the binder and the pencil case and the lunchbox! Deciding on a theme for your supplies was no easy decision. My mom wouldn't allow me to just change my mind half way through the year and besides, did you ever try to buy an adolescent backpack in say, February? You can't. They don't exist. So you had to know what you were doing. My mom often times wouldn't take us shopping until the week before school started so it was slim pick ins - I had to settle for some mismatch and damn how I hated that!

So here I am thinking about what I require for school. All I really need is my textbooks and a graphing calculator. That makes me sad. I have an office drawer full of pens, pencils, highlighters and I bet I even have two or three sharpeners. I have notebooks even. I even have over twenty bags that could constitute as a "book bag". Lame.

So I bought a new "bag" to make me feel better anyway

and I'll buy a new crispy clean notebook.

The bag is the damn closest thing I could find to one some girl on the train had. I saw it and I was like, I have to have that bag! (P.S. - I love bags. More than clothes and shoes. If you know my mother, feel free to comment with any plethora of jokes you can think of. I LOVE BAGS!)

I saw it was an Eastpak so I scoured the whole website and didn't even find anything close. I went to a backpack website and looked under Eastpak and saw something pretty close so I bought it. It's not even a backpack. It's a shoulder bag made out of backpack material but it's not a messenger bag. I grew out of that phase.

Hey, anyone want fifteen messenger bags?

Oh and anyone wanna sell me their TI-83 plus graphing calculator? Go look in the junk drawer and let me know how much you want for it.

I'll trade you some messenger bags.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Nothing left to theorize

HAVEN'T FINISHED YET? NO WORRIES! NO SPOILERS HERE!

Last night I told Mike I'd just read for half an hour then get dressed so we could go out for coffee. About twenty minutes into that half hour, Deathly Hallows picked up the pace big time. Three and a half hours later, I had finished the book.

I loved it. I wish it went on forever, but nothing can. And similar to the death of a loved one, it feels wrong to say anything negative.

I thought I'd cry but I didn't. I emerged late at night into the living room and Mike looked up and could tell I had finished. He gave me a nice long hug and then tucked me in and I woke up this morning and continued reading Water for Elephants. Life goes on.

I will certainly read it again soon just because I did read it a bit fast. I don't think I missed anything but it felt like my heart was racing most of the time which, looking back, makes me feel like I speed read.

I look forward to the rest of the movies and I really look forward to reading the stories to my children and then them reading them to me. I feel special that I was around for it all - the craze, the anticipation, the movie releases. I hope my kids are jealous.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Worst way to spoil it for someone

Damn, I'm annoyed! Pissed as all hell really. I just stumbled upon information regarding a significant death in Deathly Hallows in a ridiculous way. Now, I had a hunch this person was going to die but I wanted to read about it not have some stupid livejournal subscriber spoil it for me.

I was reading oh no they didn't! like I always do (rather shamefully) and reading about some stupid show on NBC getting sued. I clicked on the link for the rest of the story that happened to be above the comments and some dumb bastard had the face of the character who dies in Deathly Hallows with R.I.P. next to it as his image or avatar or whatever the hell you call the photo that shows up every time you post a comment. My eyes flicked to his comment to see what this jerk had to say about the NBC show getting sued and he wrote, "I am so sad XXXXX died!"

Why the hell would he/she post that in the comments section of this show being sued??!!

I have shown great care in avoiding all articles, radio, and news altogether that even mentioned Harry Potter the past two weeks unless it specifically said, Safe to continue - we will not spoil your fun!

The book came out Saturday and it's 750 plus pages. If you have a job and a man to make dinner for, chances are you haven't finished it yet.

People are so fucking stupid! Honestly, they are. No consideration whatsoever.

Oh, and if you think I spoiled anything for you, you're stupid too because we all know at least three people are going down and I haven't revealed anything.

I'm a tad shy of being half way through by the way.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Less than 18 hours to go

Life is short and a lot of people find it easier to be miserable than do something nice. My mom is case in point. So to alleviate this problem, I throw in a dash of guilt, a touch of manipulation and hope for the best.

For example, it dawned on me today that instead of just dropping my mom's HP book off tomorrow at her house, we should do some reading together. But not at her house. Not the sort of setting I want for this final read. Sounds awful, but her house doesn't feel worthy of the act of my reading this book there. I am making one last Harry Potter reading memory starting tomorrow and yes, I will be picky about where I read.

So I told her it would "mean the world to me" if we could pack a picnic and go to a nearby (25 minute drive) state park that has a lake and pretty scenery so we could have lunch and start the book together. I told her it's our last chance to do this and that I would keep my fingers crossed waiting for her reply. After some heeing and hawwing and wondering how long we'd be gone, she asked if she could speak to her husband first before she responds. I concluded this is the best answer I would get at the time and couldn't argue simply because I was at work. After dealing with this woman my whole life (obviously) I can gage almost to pinpoint accuracy the chance of our picnic happening. Right now there is a 78% chance. She'll most likely ask first why we can't just read at her house and I'll give my response and then she'll give in but not before asking one more time if we can stay home once I show up tomorrow to pick her up.

I know where, when and why I picked up the first Harry Potter book - I was 20. I cannot remember if I bought book five on its release date or if it was out already but I remember reading it. I remember buying book 6 the first day it went on sale and reading that book with the intensity of someone dying of thirst lunging for a cup of water.

I think it would make a brilliant memory and an excellent story to tell my children if mom would go and read with me in the park tomorrow and I hope she does. At this point, I'm just as excited to see what happens as I am preserving these memories. I can only hope that another series just as wonderful as Harry Potter will ever appear again in my lifetime.

Thanks for the memories, J.K.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Changing like the weather in NJ

I think this may be it for the major changes in appearance. Blogger is just so limited and I have hated all my previous failed attempts at blog design. I kind of like this one. I need a photo or two but beyond that, I think this may stick.

What do you think?

You'll see I also changed the title of this blog. The name Criscipline goes back a very very long time - about twelve years - and I hate it. I hate it because the name was born out of my stint with Bi-polar Disorder and it was the name I gave to the darker side of myself when I did heavy writing during my growing pains and waves of madness at 12 years old and beyond. I have tried over the years to convince myself that the name had taken on a positive connotation but yet still, every time I see it, I feel a pang in my stomach. I feel phony when I use it and I am finally so content with being little 'ol me, Jessica, that I don't want to be anyone else or use any silly pen name anymore.

I'm just over it I guess it would be fair of me to say. So as of now I am officially retiring the name. See ya later, Cris. You were like a tumor in my brain and a thorn in my side and I crushed you a long time ago and kept you alive in spirit but no more.

*I am proud to add though that if you Google Criscipline, the only hits that come up are mine - stuff I wrote, links to this blog, etc. Not one other. That's quite an interesting little tid bit. This web address will remain the same too for the sake of convenience.

Best to be sure

So as I wrote out a check for the second class I'll be taking my first semester this upcoming fall, I just had to be sure, "So all I have to do now is buy books and show up for my first class, right?"

I was relieved when the gentleman who took my money responded, "That's right!"

Call me silly or stupid, but it seemed the whole process of enrolling at County College was a difficult one. So many papers, departments, things to prove and I still have to mail out a few papers. I am so relieved the hard part is done (at least until classes begin.)

I registered early enough to get a spot in the classes I wanted at the times I wanted.

My fall schedule:

Mondays - 8:00 - 10:30 - Statistics
Wednesdays - 8:00 - 10:30 - World Civilizations

I'm excited and nervous to be going back but ecstatic I followed through. I am going to be a student again and I am quite pleased I won't miss dinner with Mike twice a week. However, I will be crying once Project Runway starts up again and Kelly and I already agreed to move our Wednesday night hang-out to another night.

It will take quite a long time but now that I'm 25 I really do see just how fast time flies and that if life continues in any sort of pattern resemblant to what it's been, my life won't be very similar to what it is now (except for Mike being in it I hope). That's what's so much fun about life. You always hear people say, if someone would have told me five years ago I'd be doing XXXX or being XXXX, I would never have believed them!


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Simple flavors

Last weekend I did my grocery shopping and planned out a menu for the whole week so that I could get back in the groove of making dinner and I must say, it was a blast and I loved cooking every night and finally trying some new things again. I think I kind of slacked off there for a while because I was so sick of the same old dinners.

Now this week I'm back to cooking Mike one thing and myself another because I really need to lose some of this weight that doesn't want to go away! Yesterday afternoon I tried to focus on what I wanted. I wanted wonton soup but without the wontons. So just a few clicks later I had a recipe for wonton soup and after crossing out everything I didn't need, I was left with four ingredients. I was skeptical.

However, I picked up some ginger root after work and some fat free low sodium chicken broth and some scallions. I had garlic of course. I cooked about a tablespoon each of minced garlic and ginger in Enova oil for a minute, added a handful of chopped scallions and poured in 4 cups of the broth. I brought it to a boil and let it simmer for twenty minutes and I was amazed by the smell. I couldn't believe what some ginger and garlic produced when married and I had used these flavors before of course in stir fry.

I was so pleased the soup tasted as good as it smelled. Mike had made himself a tuna melt but near the end he said, "that really does smell good. Can I try some?" He didn't leave a drop.

The best thing is that I've found a new favorite quick and easy soup recipe that has virtually zero calories minus the tablespoon of oil to cook the garlic and ginger in. This recipe is also really just a base and you could do anything your heart desires with it. I think next time I'll add some broccoli and egg noodles.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

You know you've really made it when you're a character on the Simpsons

This is what Mike and I might look like if we were in the Simpsons:

Go make your Simpsons avatar and be sure to let me see!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Mike and I braved the madness last night and headed out to see the 12:01 AM showing of the latest HP movie. I love the excitement - you can feel it in the air and you're bound to see some kick ass HP shirts and wands flailing around and groups of kids in their favorite school colors. I wore my faithful Gryffindor shirt of course.

The second that first all too familiar orchestra note hit when the Warner Bros. logo sculpted of dark stone appeared on screen with the dark ominous sky behind it, the crowd went wild with applause. At last we were seeing the next installment!

The next two plus hours went by with a few laughs, a lot of hooting when Harry finally braved his first kiss, and a lot of tear shed near the end due to an amazingly well done flashback type scene where Harry lays in AGONY. He really did some good acting in this one although I cannot say the same for anyone else.

So how do you take an 800 page novel and make a kick ass movie? Well, you can't.

It's quite clear that the writers and directors know their audience - at least 80% of them read the book - so it's alright to cut corners and chop some stuff out. Unfortunately it's all that filler stuff and the scenes between major action that make Harry Potter the story we love and cherish so much.

Much like Lord of the Rings, the first 200 pages in Book 5 took up about six minutes in Order of the Phoenix. Yeah, they got all the big stuff but I left feeling like I was rushed through what should have been an amazing experience - seeing a story I love so dearly on screen! For those who didn't read the book, I feel that they could have blinked and missed Sirius' death and possibly not even fully realized what happened to Mr. Weasley. Furthermore, there was so much going on that Harry and Umbridge were the main characters in this movie. Two minutes of Hagrid on screen? Unacceptable! So little Snape? Disappointing. I know they're not around too much but I even felt like Ron had hardly any lines.

But alas, they did their best most likely and I'm sure it was no easy feat. 800 pages is a lot to work with. It was still a Harry Potter flick though so, ya know, it was great for that!

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Farewell by Stephen King

He says is best of course so here 'tis:

Goodbye Harry
by Stephen King

I'm having a day of mixed feelings: happy because I'm reading the manuscript of a novel that's full of magic, mystery, and monsters; sad because it will be finished tomorrow and on my shelf, with all its secrets told and its surviving characters set free to live their own lives (if characters have lives beyond the end of a novel — I've always felt they do). It's called The Monsters of Templeton, by Lauren Groff, and it will be published early next year.

Did you think I meant the final Harry Potter tale? Don't be a sillykins — not even your Uncle Stevie gets that one in advance (although I'm sure you agree that he should, he should). But I expect to face the same feelings, only stronger, when the pages of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows dwindle down to the final few. Hell, I had trouble saying goodbye to Tony Soprano, and let's face it — he was a turd. Harry's one of the good guys. One of the great guys, in fact, and the same holds true for his friends.

The sense of sadness I feel at the approaching end of The Monsters of Templeton isn't just because the story's going to be over; when you read a good one — and this is a very good one — those feelings are deepened by the realization that you probably won't tie into anything that much fun again for a long time. This particular melancholy deepens even more when the story is spread over multiple volumes. I felt it as I approached the end of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy, more strongly as I neared the conclusion of Frodo's quest in The Lord of the Rings, and with painful keenness when, as the writer, I got to the end of The Dark Tower, which stretched over seven volumes and a quarter century's writing time.

When it comes to Harry, part of me — a fairly large part, actually — can hardly bear to say goodbye. I'd guess that J.K. Rowling feels the same, although I'd also guess those feelings are mingled with the relief of knowing that the work is finally done, for better or worse.

And I'm a grown-up, for God's sake — a damn Muggle! Think how it must be for all the kids who were 8 when Harry debuted in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, with its cartoon jacket and modest (500 copies) first edition. Those kids are now 18, and when they close the final book, they will be in some measure closing the book on their own childhoods — magic summers spent in the porch swing, or reading under the covers at camp with flashlights in hand, or listening to Jim Dale's recordings on long drives to see Grandma in Cincinnati or Uncle Bob in Wichita. My advice to families containing Harry Potter readers: Stock up on the Kleenex. You're gonna need it. It's all made worse by one unavoidable fact: It's not just Harry. It's time to say goodbye to the whole cast, from Moaning Myrtle to Scabbers the rat (a.k.a. Wormtail). Which leads to an interesting question — will the final volume satisfy Harry's longtime (and very devoted) readers?

Although the only thing we can be sure of is that Deathly Hallows won't end in a 10-second blackout (you're going to hear that a lot in the next few weeks), my guess is that large numbers of readers will not be satisfied even if Harry survives (I'm betting he will) and Lord Voldemort is vanquished (I'm betting on this, too, although evil is never vanquished for long). I'm partly drawing on my own experience with The Dark Tower (reader satisfaction with the ending was low — tough titty, since it was the only one I had); partly on my belief that very few long works end as felicitously as Tolkien's Rings series, with its beautiful pilgrimage into the Grey Havens; but mostly on the fact that there is that sadness, that inevitable parting from characters who have been loved deeply by many. The Internet blog sites will be full of this was bad and that was wrong, but it's going to boil down to something that many will feel and few will come right out and state: No ending can be right, because it shouldn't be over at all. The magic is not supposed to go away.

Rowling will almost certainly go on to other works, and they may be terrific, but it won't be quite the same, and I'm sure she knows that. Readers will be able to go back and reread the existing books — as I've gone back to Tolkien, as my wife goes back to Patrick O'Brian's wonderful sea stories featuring Captain Aubrey and Dr. Maturin, as others do with novels featuring Travis McGee or Lord Peter Wimsey — and rereading is a great pleasure, but it's not the bated-breath, what's-gonna-happen-next suspense that Potter readers have enjoyed since 1997. And, of course, Harry's audience is different. It is, in large part, made up of children who will be experiencing these unique and rather terrible feelings for the first time.

But there's comfort. There are always more good stories, and now and then there are great stories. They come along if you wait for them. And here's something I believe in my heart: No story can be great without closure. There must be closure, because it's the human condition. And since that's how it is, I'll be in line with my money in my hand on July 21.

Source

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

You will be missed

I was thinking yesterday about how some people have loads of friends that they know and correspond with but only through the internet - message boards, gaming, a specific sport or hobby - creating a friendship where most often alias' are their only means of addressing one another and private details other than location simply aren't offered up.

I was thinking of my step brother who passed a week and a half ago. I had a hunch that he most likely had these friends and thought to myself, they may never know what happened to him.

So I googled my step brother yesterday yet again and found that there was a posting on Wizards.com announcing his death. It turns out they did only know him by his alias and it also turns out my step brother owed two people some Star Wars mini figures from a trading arena. One of the guys, frustrated that his figures never arrived and annoyed my step brother never responded to his many e-mails, attempted to track him down. He found his Myspace page and while reading through the comments, soon realized that my step brother either passed away or moved. He then found the obituary and started a thread asking everyone to bow their heads for their fallen brother and to not expect any trades from him.

A two page thread soon followed where everyone posted very kind words of loss and speculation and asked how the original poster learned of this information which is when he replied with the details above. The majority seemed to assume (based on the obituary stating he had passed away in a hospital and the family request donations be made to a rehabilitation clinic) that my step brother died of cancer. they offered condolences to his wife and children not even knowing he was not married. They all agreed 34 was too young to die.

So I registered and sent a message of thanks to the original poster confirming that yes, my step brother died very unexpectedly and thanked him for alerting his friends on the message board. I offered no details since it's clear my step brother didn't speak of himself to these people. I also thanked everyone for understanding about the missing trades - a poster had said that his minis no longer seem that important.

Also in the thread, people tried to rally everyone to make a donation. Some did. The acknowledgments of donations were sent to my step brother's mom. I told my step dad and he seemed grateful and admitted he was curious who sent donations from Missouri and Wisconsin.

I guess even though we have "friends" we never meet, that doesn't mean they won't wonder where we've gone when we stop sending invites to play games or stop trading toys. You don't have to meet someone to know how cool they are and know that they will be missed.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Oh, forget it

I just wrote a whole rant about how tired and stressed I am and scratched it.

I'm tired and stressed. Check back next week.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Comings and Goings

Whew! So things are calming down now....sort of. I didn't realize it had been so long since my last post so I figured I'd pull together an update.

School:

Three weeks ago I took and failed my math placement exam for Camden County College. I went in there sort of full of myself and didn't even look at the sample test and felt both mortified and humbled when I failed horribly.

I studied my head off all week and went back exactly 7 days later and did fine on the re-test. I felt under tremendous stress to do well on this test because taking a remedial course seemed like a huge waste to me. I knew I knew the stuff but just forgot the rules of algebra and paying for a course that didn't even count towards my degree just sounded awful!

So I got my acceptance letter a few days later. (I wasn't really worried about that obviously.) And next I have to meet with the advisement center than an advisor for my major and then register.

In the meantime I've been taking a Quark class for work and it's been really nice being back in a classroom. I'm excited to start school.

Work:

Work has been hell and we finally submitted a $13 million dollar proposal yesterday that we had been working on for two weeks. I am very tired and very happy it's Friday.

Mike:

Mike's wonderful! He asked me to make a calendar for him of all the comings and goings and note which days I want him to take off. He typically works six days a week but doesn't have to so before we went away he promised that he would take off his sixth day of work every other week. So tomorrow Mike is off and it will be the first time we wake up together without one of us having to go to work since Florida! I only realized last night that it's been just a few days shy of a month since we had a day off together. I do not take these days for granted.

Everything else:

Everything else is good but not great. I'm nowhere near where I want to be with my weight and activity level but Mike and I still religiously update our line graph every Friday with our weight and I'm maintaining but not really losing. Before we went away I was exercising somewhat consistently and I haven't done a thing since we got back. It's hard to start up again. I just feel so damn tired.

I'd still like to find something active that Mike can do and/or enjoy. It's hard with his shoulder and his knee but sometimes I wonder how much of that he uses as an excuse. LoL. One of my most favorite things is playing catch with a baseball and glove but he claims he really should not do that even at a short distance. He's probably right though - his shoulder was rebuilt.

Other than that, we've just been running around. We're both tired. It's a lot of constantly feeling pulled - work, family, friends and it's just hard because we always end up having to be the ones doing the driving and sleeping elsewhere than home.

Tonight and tomorrow will be a well deserved break!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Who Struck First?

I think......

Mike had a nightmare last night and grabbed me very hard while I was sleeping and I woke up startled to death crying and screaming.

Mike rolled over and immediately held me and kissed my head asking very panic stricken "what's wrong? What's wrong?"

"You grabbed me! wah wah boo hoo hoo"

"No I didn't."

"Yes you did. Wahhhhhhhhhhh"

A minute later we were sound asleep again.

It was scary though. I am a nervous sleeper (bad things have happened whilst asleep) but never nervous with Mike obviously but I do need to be woken up carefully. No loud noises or shaking or I get very scared before even fully conscience.

We didn't talk about it this morning but Mike called me at work at 8:30 and he was very apologetic for his possibly having had a nightmare and grabbing me but he said he does think I was the one with the nightmare.

I apologized too for whatever did happen and we agreed we're not sure who did what. (The apologies were just gestures - no one was mad or anything.)

But very weird. I hate not being able to remember what happens when I'm asleep/awake. Like the times Mike said he'd call and didn't and I'd wake up and think, "Mike didn't call me last night" and I'd call him all pissy for forgetting just for him to say, "Check your phone!" and hang up on me. Woops, he did call and I talked to him for 25 seconds. I do not recall.

Ahhhh, stress release

You know those times when you have a lot on your plate but you're not sure how to go about getting certain things done so the stress of having these tasks just builds up and builds up. That's how I felt this past week. In addition, my land lord is the only person I truly just want to punch in the face repeatedly so having to deal with him and his outright lies has been no picnic either.

Last night I submitted my application to Camden County College finally and printed out the course catalog and highlighted which credits should most definitely transfer and found out what courses they want me to take first semester and when I want to take them. I am so pleased to say that if the credits transfer that I know should transfer and I take my two courses this semester that I plan/need to take, upon completing my first semester I will be exactly where full time people will be at the end of the semester. So I won't be behind until second semester then I'll be really behind.

Anyway, I have to take Western or World Civ this semester (I chose World Civ) and a math elective. I don't know what that means but I assume it means I can elect to take any math course they offer so I'll talk with an advisor and pick a good one. It would be easy for me to take a class I've already taken in high school but where's the learning in that?

My computer and printer were acting up but I got it all done. I also got the dealings with the landlord done. (He needs a punch in the face so bad.)

I even went out and bought a gift for my friend a whole week and a half before I need it. The plate is looking cleaner.

I'm taking my math placement test Thursday too and I'm exempt from the English one so that's good.

I guess that's it.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Looks like I already know when my next trip to Florida will be

Direct from The Leaky Cauldron:

There is an exciting turn of events tonight as Universal Studios and the people behind Harry Potter announced that there will in fact be a Harry Potter type theme park at Universal Studios (Islands of Adventure) in Orlando, Florida. This announcement confirms the rumors that have persisted for some time; now this is to be fact with the park due to open in 2010.

Hosted by production designer Stuart Craig in a special webcast for various sites including TLC, among the details revealed are:

This new theme park will include facets such as a Hogsmeade section, the Forbidden Forest, and even Hogwarts Castle where you will actually be able to walk inside a replication of the beloved castle.

J.K. Rowling is described as having been "very involved" in the creating and planning of this park since the begining.

There will be many types of rides some "intense", shopping, and more

A "British" environment is to be maintained, including the food served, and mannerisms of the staff.

The park is aimed at fans of both the movies and books, geared for fans of ages or as they said " 7 to 67"

Will incorporate elements of all the Harry Potter novels, books one through seven
You can few the entire article and press release at the link above.

OH MY GOD!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A dream come true

So we're back from Disney and we certainly had an amazing time. Thanks to everyone who listened to all my excitement prior to the trip and helped me plan it all out.

Mike and I spent Sunday through Tuesday hanging about the resort with Mike's cousin John and his friend and we just relaxed. The weather was gorgeous every day we were there - 85 degrees, sunny, no humidity and a cool refreshing breeze. Our resort was beautiful and our villa was even bigger than our apartment and we did spend a lot of our time in the pool like I hoped we would.

Wednesday we pulled a 13 hour day in Magic Kingdom and had a blast. I had no idea what to expect but everything just went so smoothly. There were little surprises and something to look at everywhere and I just felt myself getting younger and younger in spirit throughout the day.

My favorite moments in Magic Kingdom:

1. Space Mountain (best ride EVER)
2. The fireworks at night
3. Meeting my first character (Piglet)
4. The Philhar Magic Show (outstanding show)
5. Laugh Floor with Mike Wazowski (Monsters Inc.)
6. Meeting Ariel
7. My first Mickey premium ice cream bar

Thursday was my birthday and we spent another 13 hours in Epcot. I noticed that the day before in Magic Kingdom kids had happy birthday pins with their names on them so my first mission was to get myself a pin.

I did. The lady who gave me it said I can celebrate my birthday all week! I wore it proudly and didn't have it on five minutes before a cast member (Disney employee) very happily wished me a very happy birthday. I knew at that moment that my pin would take me places.

My favorite Epcot moments:

1. Every second spent in the Nemo and Friends area (They had an aquarium in there with all the real Finding Nemo fish. They had manatees and dolphins and a Finding Nemo ride and an interactive show with Crush! I laughed my head off!
2. Meeting Elastigirl, Mr. Incredible and Fro-Zone
3. Meeting Sully and Mike Wazowski
4. Meeting Woody and Buzz

Friday was MGM day and I totally wore my birthday pin with pride again. MGM seemed smaller and we wrapped that show up around 6:00 PM. However, there were times in MGM when I said out loud to Mike, "I think MGM is my favorite so far." I realize now that it's almost impossible to have a favorite because all the parks are so different and each have their very own special high lights but MGM was awesome.

We also met 10 characters that day which was hands down a huge highlight!

We met Elastigirl, Mr. Incredible, Fro-Zone, Mike Wazowski, Sully, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jaffar, Minnie (again), and Goofy. Meeting the Pixar characters was great!

Tower of Terror was petrifying like it should be and I really appreciate how much work Disney puts into its props, scenery and set design. You really have to see it to believe it.

I apologize for not going into further details but you can see our photos here. Photos speak louder than words anyway.

Overall, the trip really was a dream come true.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

This trip just keeps gettin' better!

So if you live in the state of New Jersey, I know you've been bombarded with commercials for Sonic Drive-in. If you live in New Jersey, I also know you may have wondered where these lovely establishments are because there aren't any in NJ! So you may also have wondered, Is Sonic souping us up for their arrival? or does Sonic want to make me plan a road trip? What the hell, Sonic?

I've been seeing these commercials since I was 20 years old (I'll be 25 this month) and still no Sonic in NJ.

However, Doug and Kristin satisfied my curiosity when I went to visit them in NC five years ago and they took me to a Sonic. We played in the batting cages awaiting our burgers and Sonic has, HANDS DOWN, the best fast food burger I've ever tasted. 'Nuff said!

So I am happy to see that there are not one, BUT FOUR, Sonics in Orlando. This is very very exciting.

So if you want to indulge in all the joy that is a Sonic burger and a peach pie milkshake, travel on down to Morgantown, PA if you live in NJ, because that'll be the location of the nearest one.

Checkers deserves props though for coming in at a close second but who the hell wants to travel to the dodgy neighborhoods they're located in? Not me.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

New arrival

After almost an entire year of saving, worry, back and forth, and dealing with shitty people who don't follow through, Mike got the official word that he could buy his 1952 Buick for the price he offered.

Exhale!

I had no idea he even made the call we knew would be the final word whether good or bad last night when he ran into the kitchen and lifted me high into the air screaming, "We got the car!". I also didn't know he ripped my pants until he calmed down and said, "Sorry, I ripped your pants when I picked you up."

Screw the pants, we just got a 1952 Buick.

So Mike is going to have it towed to its new home (our home) the day after we get back from Disney. Screw a day of rest after six days in Disney - we have to spend four hours in the car then push a steel box up a long driveway.

Well, this should keep him quiet for a while. I hope the next time he decides to drop several grand it will be on something much smaller that fits on my finger.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Letting Go and at the Same Time Not

Maybe because it's spring time or maybe because I am constantly trying to get and remain organized or maybe because Mike wasn't coming home, I took on a project that I wasn't sure how many different emotions would ensue: the project of going through, sorting, and discarding memorabilia.

In folders of various shapes and colors that have traveled with me throughout the years and in binders and albums in a locked antique trunk live photos, letters, cards, ticket stubs, etc. in no discernible order of a past life - a life seldom recognizable.

I grabbed it all - the folders, the photos and planted myself at the coffee table determined not to stop until it was all sorted and ready to lock up again.

I started with the photos and sorted them into pictures of me that I could not link to anything other than a pleasant memory. I considered them my independent photos and smiled as I looked at them. Just me. I stand alone.

There were family photos, sorted those, photos of Mike and I, old old old friends, current friends. They were sorted in neat little photo folders I purchased before beginning this project. The photos were funny because there weren't many current ones. Obviously because all my photos now live on my computer.

Greeting cards: my goodness were there greeting cards! I am pleased to note that about 65% were from my momma. I will always keep those cards as long as I live. I was also surprised and a little annoyed to see how many people don't date their cards. My oldest brother is guilty here but I can't blame him. There were only three cards from my other brother, one of which wasn't even addressed let alone signed! I kept it because I remember thinking how typical of Joey it was and it makes me laugh to this day!

Speaking of my brothers, I came across letters and cards my brother and sister-in-law sent for no reason but to say hello and to remind me that I'm in their hearts without saying so. There was one letter - just a hello how ya doing type thing with clippings from the newspaper about Lisa Anderson that Doug sent me when he was living in North Carolina during my "I want to be a pro surfer" phase. I wonder if it meant as much to me then as it does now.

All the boyfriend stuff was casually swept to the side while I got through the good stuff.

I found letters and cards from my nemesi. (My plural version for nemeses) I got angry and found it funny at the same time how they used to pledge their undying love for me. There was lots of I wish I was as smart as you and Do you have any idea how beautiful you are and I'll always be there for you and so on and on and on. I again considered writing one of them a letter. The one I visited two Christmases ago. I hear she's not doing too well. The purpose could be two fold - to show I'm a still good person and can reach out to her after all the God awful things she put me through AND to mildly brag about how great I'm doing. It would be brilliant!!

Moving on here. I have to get through this.

The boyfriends. Lots and lots of photos were ripped up. I made piles; each one having a name, and sorted memories like m&m's.

Two piles were particularly painful.

One, the largest one, was not for the reasons you may think. My time with A.B. was the happiest days of my entire life. I do mean that. But let me explain. I am so happy today with Mike but it's a mature happiness - the one that contains bills and rent and is overloaded with worry and responsibility. The happiest time in my life was comprised of friends I never thought I could call my own, a crazy whirlwind love, late drinking nights, singing songs at the top of our lungs with the jeep roof down on a summer day, living rent-free, watching John Cusack movies in our pajamas eating cereal, playing improv acting games at three in the morning, playing Asshole in rundown Philly apartments, and dangling our feet off fire escapes ten stories up.

It just doesn't compare. I miss my friends from that time immensely. They all live within ten minutes of where I live now as far as I know and they may as well be in Timbuktu. I fucked this one up. Real bad. And it still hurts. Real bad.

Going through all this stuff was so weird but there was one constant underlying thought. All these people are gone. How awful we, as people, can share such intimacy, secrets, oaths of undying love and then one day just become some letter tucked under someone's bed for a decade and then get discarded altogether. I do believe, I have to believe, that there are letters written by me and photos of me tucked away somewhere by someone I meant the world to if only for a second.

I saved the worst for last and was surprised how really bad it was not. But my dreams were. K.F. destroyed me and robbed me of the last of my innocence. I'll never love as blindly as I did then. (I feel like John Cusack in High Fidelity here.)

That stuff got tucked away and then tucked away again in something bigger. It wasn't so bad and it felt good. There was very little to tuck away in the first place. But he was in my dreams all night in short little scenes. He was the same to me as he was in reality - mean, short tempered. And I was the same in my dream as I was in my past with him - hanging on every word, constantly holding my breath and forever SCARED.

It was a bad night to say the least. The fog took a while to wear off too. But he knows how awful he was to me and I do take an ounce of comfort in that.

Before I wrap this up I just want to say that wish I could apologize, or rather, I wish I had one chance with so many people just so that we could end things of an even or good note. Even a hello, how are you? Really, that sounds great! You take care of yourself now would be better than having these awful memories of how things went down and last conversations. I hate loose strings. I hate all these final notes and wish they weren't final.

But they are in so many cases.

I am pleased to finish with the Mike and Jessica folder. That folder did not get locked away and I hope will never get sealed. We will continue to add to it and make a lifetime worth of memories.

P.S. One item I found that made me actually go "Holy shit!" summed up a good two and a half years of my life. Two and a half years of laughs, MANY MANY faces, and heavy drinking- my Jose Tejas waiters book - band stickers and everything! Damn that's one hell of a memory. I'm so glad I kept it!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Do you love Dancing Dirty?

Do you love the film Dirty Dancing? Were you too young in 1987 to go see it in theaters or were you just not interested at the time and regret your indifference? Do you think Patrick Swayze circa 1987 was smokin' hot?

Well, here's your chance to go see Dirty Dancing on the big screen.

That's right. Dirty Dancing will be in theaters May 1 and 2 with 20 minutes of additional bonus footage celebrating its 20th anniversary!

Just go on over to Dirty Dancing's website to find which theaters near you are participating!

I've already purchased my tickets through Fandango! ;-) Have you?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Spring has Officially Sprung

This past weekend was a gift - a marvelous warm sunny gift! My house looked beautiful with all the windows and blinds open, the curtains swaying in the breeze. Doing yoga in my bedroom, which is just a remarkable room when the morning sun hits it, was invigorating to say the least.

We needed this after all the cold and rain.

Saturday was a bit of a wash but I sure took advantage of Sunday starting the day off with a three mile jog and going back home for the best yoga session I've had so far. After dinner, Mike and I took a nice long walk.

Only 26 days are left until Mike and I leave for Florida. Twenty-six days of pure anticipation.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A few words on yoga.....

Awesome! Beneficial! Fantastic!

I threw a CD in yesterday titled Solace comprised of ocean sounds and instrumental music made from instruments I cannot pronounce to block out the sounds of passing cars and other white noise.

Weight Loss through Yoga is broken down into numerous chapters with each chapter going into a new set of postures. I did the warm up section yesterday and I did it twice. I want to commit each section to memory before moving on to cut down on those pesky interruptions of having to reference the book.

Like I said, I only did the warm-up section comprised of five postures and I feel fantastic! I was amazed this morning and even now still that I feel sore as if I did a good cardio workout yesterday. It's amazing how little I (and I'm assuming most people) breathe. I feel two inches taller and much calmer.

I weighed myself yesterday morning and again today and was amazed that I had lost six pounds. Obviously this wasn't just a result of 40 minutes of yoga but I feel confident that it had something to with it. I just felt and feel like my body is something worthy of being taken care of. You wouldn't buy a thoroughbred horse and feed it cigarettes and alcohol and salt & vinegar chips.

I'm also realizing that I had always taken such a negative approach to losing weight: putting myself down, eating because I was so angry with myself, feeling like I'll never get to where I want to be. The yoga is teaching me to concentrate on my positive attributes and overall, have a genuinely more positive outlook.

I know this won't work overnight and I know I'm not changed in the blink of an eye. For example, we lost our hot water last night assuming our landlord failed to pay the gas bill again and I'll be damned if I didn't smoke two cigarettes over it. (Turned out to be the pilot but we had to wait for our downstairs neighbor to get home at 10:00 PM to figure that out.) That experience alone reminded me not to fall to pieces and not to assume.

I have to keep to a routine that consists of a whole package: water, vitamins, special tea, psyllium seed husks, yoga, exercising, etc.

I think I can do it this time.

Yoga really is pretty damn awesome though.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Update

Ahhhh, what a restful three day weekend I had. It was marvelous and included many a three hour naps without rhyme or reason, lots of reading, not a lot of showering, and one very fun dinner party with friends which included getting drunk and playing Apples to Apples afterwards. Mike was home early Thursday and home from work on Friday and Sunday. The weekend really was great!

So now it's Monday - the lovely day I get to start over. I read the yoga book mentioned in the sidebar over the weekend and am eager to go home and do my first yoga session. I know it will take a while to learn the routine but something is better than nothing even if I have to stop and reference the book every few breaths. I feel good though. Just reading the book has made me feel calm and I haven't had a cigarette in 26 hours.

In addition to practicing yoga from a book (a good book) I have my wu-long slimming tea, my vitamins and my psyllium seed husks. I've ran around every warm day so far which hasn't been many and I'm waiting for Spring to come. (What is up with this weather?)

But I feel good and that's what matters. This three day weekend was super for my body. I feel recovered.

P.S. We didn't go hiking/fishing because it was bitter cold yesterday (Easter).

Monday, April 02, 2007

Getting a head start on Spring

So I did go hiking on Saturday even though it was cloudy and cold. I really enjoyed myself and felt proud to have gone all by myself.

According to my trusty map, I hiked about 4.5 miles. The park was small and I covered all the trails. Next time I will certainly forfeit my backpack (book, camera, cellphone, energy bar, water, etc.) and just go jogging. It was impossible to get lost or lose the trail and it wasn't so much hiking but walking on a trail with the occasional wood bridge, root, and man made staircase.

Some trails were very desolate but just when i would start to feel uncomfortable I would see a house through thinner sections of wood and feel at ease. Relax, Jess, you're practically in someone's backyard. LoL

There were sections with picnic tables and canoe drop off points. I want to go canoing quite badly. The designated fishing spots were cool looking and I think Mike would enjoy himself.

In fact, Mike and I did decide to sit Easter out this year much to the dislike of his mother. Mike and I so rarely get to spend a day together that the thought of traveling, traffic and another Holiday meal served Weight Watchers style was just too much to handle. We instead will feast on a breakfast of bacon, eggs and blueberry muffins and head to the park so Mike can fish and I can jog. Sounds like a great Easter to me.

I will snap some photos and post them then.

When the journey ends......

I finished the Dark Tower Series last night.

When I was done with the seventh and final book in the series, I slowly turned the book around, looked at all sides of it and sighed. I walked into my office and found the open space on the shelf beside the previous six books.

Just placing it on the bookshelf and turning out the light felt so utterly wrong and disrespectful. Before I knew it, I had lightly grazed the cover of Book 7 with a gentle kiss and slid it into it's respected place among the other books in the series.

I stood for a moment, looking at the spines, and ran my fingers along all seven.

I then turned out the light and shut the door.

But not before saying,

"Stephen King, to you I say thankya."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Springin'

I just spent some time researching S. Jersey parks and trails and canoing spots. It turns out S. Jersey has a pretty decent nature park selection and I was surprised to see how much some counties in NJ I've never heard of offer. I need to pick up a trail guide. All these websites talk about parks but never say where to access them.

Kelly asked me one night if I've ever gone kayaking. "No, but I think I'd really like it in mirror calm water." She said she loves it so perhaps that's something new I could do. I'm just thinking. I've vowed not to let this spring and summer pass me by.

So it turns out, right in neighboring towns, there's a 346 acre park called Cooper River Park with fitness trails, non motor boat drop in points, volleyball courts, softball fields, the works. I've driven right through it but never around it so I'm definitely going to drive around it and check it out.

When I have an idea, I explore it and my ideas get very random so bear with me.

I ordered some Wu-Long tea today. I'm not sure why - I guess because I hope it will boost my weight loss and metabolism and kick my ass into gear. I'm not one for dieting aids - I believe a healthy diet and exercise is all it takes. But I thought I might give this a try for a kick-start and even if it does nothing, at least it's loaded with cancer fighting antioxidants and ecgc.

Another random thought:

Mike and I were in the car somewhere when I verbally observed, "No one roller blades anymore. It's like it's not cool anymore. I used to love roller blading and lost quite a bit of weight doing it."
Mike replied, "Then go roller blading."
I asked, "Would you laugh at me?"
Mike started laughing and said, "Hell yeah."

Yesterday I saw a kid roller blading - the first time in a very long time. Then just now I saw a kid roller blading. I think I might go get some new wheels and go. It's embarrassing what I've done to my wheels and more embarrassing that I continued to use them way past the point of usability.

If people laugh at me, well, then oh well they laugh.

Speaking of mean close-minded people:

Mike and I took a walk around our neighborhood yesterday. It was 80 degrees outside. We both donned short sleeve shirts and we held hands and walked around. I was absolutely amazed by the amount of confused even dirty looks we got. What? Two young people with lots of tattoos can't take a walk around a conservative neighborhood? It disturbed me. Mike didn't care but I did. These people wouldn't even say hello to us as they strode past walking their dogs or pushing their kids in strollers. It really pissed me off, but I was very pleasant so whatever.

If you know of any cool spots in S. Jersey to spend a nice day or go hiking, drop me a comment.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Not a spaceship, a ROCKET SHIP

I am petrified of flying. The fear gets worse as I get older. Just like how I can no longer ride on roller coasters when I used to love them throughout most my childhood. I'm afraid of a lot of things - ya know, like dying. I've talked about this before though so I won't bore you with it.

Last year I flew with my mom to Seattle to visit my brother and sister-in-law. I cried silently at take-off squeezing my little stuffed angel that goes everywhere with me. Once we got in the air and leveled off I was fine. I'm also fine landing. I calmed myself last time I flew telling myself that it would just be a sick joke for God to take me before I got to finish reading the Harry Potter series.

Hey, it worked.

I'll be flying in May, but three times instead of two because we have a layover on the way back in D.C. Little did I know at the time that we're going to get on one of those little planes that only fit about 50 people and then take that for an hour to Philadelphia. Wouldn't it be ironic for me to die in a plane crash now that I can practically touch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows being released July 21? That would suck. But I've mostly been able to calm myself this time by reminding myself that terrorists typically don't hijack and crash planes on the weekends. I will be flying on a Sunday and then again the following Saturday.

I guess I was thinking about this last night because I flew in my dream but in a ROCKET SHIP. I got to look out the window and see nebulae and black holes and a beautiful light show. I was scared though. But it was pretty fun. It was a very long dream and it was a long rocket ship ride.

SUBJECT CHANGE:
I'm so happy with the weather. If I could, I'd pat you on the back, weather. Keep up the good work.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Preservation - The menu of my life

I am sometimes very apprehensive about the future - mostly because it seems so scary and dark. A few Christmases ago I had a major anxiety attack. I could not for the life of me bring myself to buy wrapping paper, cards and bows, etc. at the 75% discount after the Holidays. I was convinced I wasn't going to see the following Christmas. Well, Mike's mother took it upon herself to buy all the good stuff and I was very grateful and it came in handy the following year.

I went through the same thing when making the decision to open a retirement account. I did it of course; just in case....

Which leads me to my new project:

I have a manila folder on a shelf below all my cookbooks in the kitchen bursting open with printed out recipes from the Food Network, Cooks.com, etc. I print them out when I go recipe browsing and shove them in this folder. There's also a lot of tried and true favorites in there. The folder is crusty with food drippings and the most often used recipes are torn and have some grease spots on them. LoL. There's also some recipes jotted down on scrap that mom has given me over the phone that are hardly legible.

So last night I grabbed the folder and started plucking out all the tried and true favorites. I grabbed my laptop and starting retyping them in my choice of recipe language and added my own modifications including the source or creator of the recipe.

My favorite thing about it is that I added a History line which would look like this if you were looking at my recipe for Mocha sweethearts:

History: I made Mike these for our first Valentine's Day together (2005) while I was living in Philadelphia. I made them again for Valentine's Day in 2007, our first Valentine's Day living together in NJ.

I'm excited to put these all in a three ring binder separated by course and insert all the sheets in plastic sleeves - preserve them while preserving my life with food. We all have soundtracks to our lives - this is the menu of my life.

I'm also excited to decoupage and seal the binder. Who knows? Maybe I'll have children some day and I can't imagine a better gift to pass down than a lifetime's worth of favorite recipes and memories.

Friday, March 23, 2007

anewdo

The following is a picture of me taken around 8:00 AM Thursday morning. Notice the long hair? The longest it's ever been in fact.



Below is a picture of me taken around 8:00 PM same day. See the difference?



I have done foul, mean, rotten, unforgivable things to my hair. And who could forget the time I shaved it all off right down to the skin with the exception of some bleached white bangs? My oldest brother I'm sure will not since I made that choice three months before his wedding. Yikes. It was alright for the wedding.

So after all the dye jobs, after all the times I let drunk friends cut it with paper scissors and all the strife, imagine my surprise when I actually felt nervous about seeing it go. I was very surprised with my new feelings of attachment.

I made the decision to cut it on Tuesday. Some days I loved it and some days I hated it and Tuesday I looked in the mirror and thought, "Holy shit, I look Amish." It was incredibly boring, had no sense of style whatsoever and it just hung there thin and straight and weighted down. (Here I had trouble coming up with a simile. Woulda been a good place for something witty eh? - I am accepting suggestions on the comment board)

So I made the appointment and was feeling sentimental and nervous before I left the house the day of so I snapped the first picture.

I won't bore you with the details. I went to a really real stylist in an expensive European-esque Salon and was treated like a leper. No surprise there. My hair was one inch short of being able to donate my ponytail to Locks of Love and I was a little disappointed because my mom has to wear wigs and I would have liked to give my hair away so that a small child could have a wig made of my hair. My hair was wet when she measured it and I did think of waiting a month or two for the extra inch but I was already committed - now or never.

So I told the stylist what I wanted she told me it would look bad on me I asked her what would look good on me she said she didn't know - a shag? I said can you show me what you mean she said you don't know what a shag looks like? I said I do she was mean to me and belittled me a bit I considered leaving I finally said just do this (picture) and she finally turned nice and did what I asked.

It was a jarring experience but I got a good haircut that really complements my fine, thin, straight hair. Styling it is fun and a cinch and everyone seems to love it. Mike really loves it and was extra nice to me last night. I asked what's up? He responded with the famous, "It's like a having a new girlfriend!" then he turned all red and we laughed.

Overall, I'm pleased.