Food Food Food -- how much better would my life be if I never knew how yummy food is.

I've been asked by a few people lately to give some tips on eating better. On the one hand, I find this odd as I am/was complete diet-failure for years. I've tried every diet known to man over the years and I always lost weight -- once even dropping 3 sizes on a 1000 calorie diet before gaining it all right back. The only reason I was finally able to lose it was the gastric bypass surgery -- which I've never regretted for even a short moment. And hell, even on this -- I still havn't lost as much as I should have. I'm a diet failure for sure.

On the other hand though, I do eat a million times healthier than I used to -- and I could easily make some recommendations. But really, please understand that I do NOT eat as I "should." I've gone back to LOVING my sugar and candy. Snack cakes are fabulous and so is fast food -- but now I cheat and eat these things -- before they were my entire diet. I've got to look at it as a whole and see the changes and the greater good in it... not the snickers bar ;)

One of the biggest changes I made was in what I drink. I was blessed with not having the option of resisting this change -- and it was super hard at first, but now that I've been doing it for 18 months, I don't ever give it a second thought. Basically I used to drink Milos sweet tea, juice, milk, and cokes. Aside from the milk, that's all a ton of sugar and empty calories. A coke has what -- about 200 calories? So lets say that over a day I had 2 cokes (I usually had more), 2 glasses of tea, and some fruit juice for breakfast. Whats that -- almost a THOUSAND calories -- in liquid. Hell even if they were diet cokes, I'm still at least at 600 calories -- some days even more than that. Empty wasted calories -- and that's at least half the allotment for the day right there! Now I drink crystal light and mainly (as in -- I always have TWO gallons made up in my fridge) unsweet tea sweetened with calorie-free Splenda. Yes, I should always drink more water -- thats better than even unsweet tea -- but that brings me to my next point...

Don't throw out the baby with the bath water. I had to realize that I'm not on a diet. I had to come up with a workable diet -- a very very very imperfect diet... that works. What do I mean? Well, I know I should drink more water -- water is better for me than unsweet tea, right? But the fact is that for the next 40 years, I'm not going to be drinking 4 bottles of water a day. I'm not even gonna ACT like I would. But I need to liquids -- and unsweet tea is a totally acceptable alternative. It's calorie free -- so yeah, I'm not on the super healthy end of the spectrum -- but I'm keeping myself on the lower-half. That's my philosophy in a nutshell -- I'm not gonna be on the healthy perfect end of the spectrum -- but I can stay on the healthier end more often than not by making some easy substitutions. Some of these substitutions include:

-- Fat Free Milk instead of 2% (2% is great -- Fat Frees even better) Unhealthy (high) side of the spectrum: Whole Milk. Healthy (low) Side: Fat Free milk -- I choose the lowest option that I can live with and be happy with. I still get my milk everyday :)
Unsweet Tea instead of sweet tea and cokes. High End: coke. Low end: water. I can't do all water -- but unsweet teas a lot closer to the low end than anything else.
-- White Wheat bread instead of white bread. So I shouldn't have bread, really (my diet needs are different than yours). Realistically -- I eat bread. At least if I'm gonna eat it, I make a healthier choice than white bread. Also, it goes back to the heathy spectrum -- I shouldn't have sandwiches -- period. But you know what, a turkey sandwich is a whole fucking lot healthier than about 200 other things I'm likely to want for lunch on any given day. So do I not buy the supplies for a turkey sandwich because it's not "healthy" or "ideal" for me. Well, again -- I'm being realistic. The odds that I'll go the rest of my life not eating sandwiches is pretty low. Plus, if I don't give myself something nice and low-cal as a choice -- even if it's not a great choice -- I'm gonna end up eating who knows what and that's going to end up being a LOT worse for me. So again, I pick an item thats on the healthier end of the spectrum -- I settle to be at 25% rather than ) where I should be -- but at least I'm not in the upper end.
--Egg beater instead of eggs. Simple.
--Fat free whenever possible! Fat free cheese -- Butter substitute -- fake mayo -- fat free sour cream. No, it doesn't taste as good -- that's a fact. But you know what -- every single meal we eat shouldn't be perfectly ideal. I figure you should take some hits for at least 2 out of your 3 meals.
--Asking myself how much value that cheese really ads. I like cheese on everything -- but if I'm making a bowl of chili, really cheese doesn't boost it that much more. I used to toss things like butter, cheese, mayo into my meals out of habit -- and because they're good. I do that way less now. You can't have the best every meal -- sometimes you just need to eat something basic.
--MEAT. For everyone, meat is important. For me it's even more so. If we want to get down to it -- I should eat meat and vegetables every meal. We should eat meat first -- it fills you up -- then veggies -- THEN other stuff. How often do we do that? Is it just me - but I don't. Hell, I could go an entire day without eating meat. Not because I don't LOVE me some meat -- but because you have to cook meat. I could easily have cereal for breakfast, some cheese pizza or a cheese sandwich for lunch -- same kinda deal for dinner. Or even if I do have meat for something -- it was never all three meals. Now I choose meat as much as possible. I dig up new recipes and surf the butchers section at the market for new things to try. I incorporate the leaner meats like turkey, chicken, and pork. And here's the thing -- even if it's not what I want or it's not the center of the meal -- I incorporate SOME type of meat. Like yesterday for breakfast, I really just wanted a grilled cheese sandwich. That's what I wanted, period. I didn't want any damn eggs. But I cooked up the sandwich AND some eggs and I made myself eat some of the eggs. So yeah, again, I didn't have the ideal breakfast -- but I took it down to the healthier end of the spectrum. If I'm gonna have pasta (first it's going to be whole wheat pasta rather than white) and I'm going to put some chicken or meatballs in it. And when I eat it -- I'm going to focus on the meat and eat more of that than I usually would have and eat less of just the noodles.
--Veggies are awesome -- What I just said is not true. I like potatoes and corn and I don't care if they're bad for me dammit. So sometimes I have a baked potato loaded up with chicken and fat free sour cream. Oh -- horrible horrible me -- I just ate a potatoes. Well, dammit -- a potato really isn't evil -- and wasn't it better than having bread or pasta or who knows what? Again, not all healthy -- but it's on the better end of the spectrum. Also, I like broccoli and peas. I cook them up with dinner whenever possible and eat at least a few bites. Suck it up and eat some damn vegetables. If you don't make yourself cook them you're never going to eat them. So just cook them to look pretty on the plate. Having 2 bites of veggies everyday isn't much -- but it's damn better than none. Also, I try random vegetables. Like I don't like black-eyed peas a lot. I've never craved a black-eyed pea... but they don't disgust me. So I cook them with dinner, put them on the plate, and make myself eat some. It's good for me.
--New recipes! Last night I made muffins. I used Spice Cake mix straight from a box and only added canned pumpkin to the mix. They taste heavenly -- just like my sisters pumpkin bread she bakes fresh. And while I shouldn't be eating a fucking muffin of all things -- I'm getting a awesome treat that I love... and it's got a vegetable in it -- and less than a third of the calories it would have had if I made it the traditional way. And finding new recipes spices it up. I haven't gotten bored with what I eat yet. I browse the internet or take ideas from restaurants -- I browse at the grocery store and I go with my whim. Sometimes having a dinner thats not so great calorie-wise isn't a tragedy. I've cooked up red beans and rice a few times. You might say that's bad. I say that it had loads of meat and the beans are veggies. Calories don't define healthy -- think about what you're eating. A rice krispy treat only has like 50 calories -- but it's not part of a great diet, now is it?
--If you crave it, eat it. My nutritionist told me this one. Basically if I want a piece of yellow cake with buttercream icing -- there's really no sub for that. Maybe I'll plan to treat myself to a slice this weekend. Because I'm the kinda person who would fixate on it and want it and think about it -- and eventually, I'm gonna crash and have it anyway. This goes for less extreme things too -- like a nice loaded potato. You want it -- eat it... as a treat. Like do something good and then you're allowed to have a great potato for dinner. Obviously this has to be in moderation -- but you see what I'm saying? You're not on a diet. You're just trying to eat better. You're not going to be a health nut all your life -- or even all week. You're allowed to splurge -- it's not gonna kill you as long as you keep your head on straight about what you eat MOST of the time.

Really, I don't eat particularly well -- not at all. But like I said, I eat better than I used to. And I baked a big turkey roast yesterday and stuck it in the fridge. For lunch, I'm gonna have a turkey sandwich. Why should I feel bad about that? I shouldn't eat sandwiches -- ok -- but that turkey sandwich will be mush better for me than mcdonalds, or dinner leftovers, or pizza, or pretty much anything. A Turkey sandwich is pretty damn healthy as far as I'm concerned. And a piece of white wheat bread doesn't have that many calories really -- add on some fat free cheese and mustard -- and it's not so bad. And yes, that's obvious right? But not if I just throw it out as even a consideration because I know I shouldn't have it in the wonderful grand scheme of food I should eat. You see what I'm saying?

Basically, I just hope and pray (and know) that all these little choices really add up. Cutting a tiny bit of fat here and here and here ads up over time. Only eating a few bites of vegetables a night seems like a huge waste -- you're throwing a lot of them away and you didn't even want them anyway. But picture 3 florets of broccoli every night. In a month, that's 90.

Oh and you don't have to clean your plate. Sometimes we eat the last bite(s) just because they're there. Don't be afraid to throw food away. Yes, it's a waste -- but it's not on your waist! I've decided that rather than mourning the waste of good food and money when I throw away the stuff I don't eat -- I'm proud of myself for not eating it. I'm proud of my portion control and new life style. I don't make myself eat the leftovers because they're there and I should.

And I might post more recipes than I have been. I've always gotten some decent feedback when I post a recipe. I cook for myself almost every night -- and yeah, most of the time it's super simple stuff. But I try to think of new dishes and new ways to have it. I actively think of what veggy I might like -- of what I could do with pork, chicken, turkey, beef that I haven't done in a while. I make a lot of casseroles that might have one part not-so-perfect but then are loaded up with lean meat and veggies.

I guess I'm just about to the point of rambling. Sorry for the long post, and sorry if everything I said seems super obvious. But a few people have asked me lately for tips on eating better. And here's all I have. And yes, you can totally give up calorie drinks. Yes that means that pretty much everything at the gas station is now off limits -- but it was a waste of your money anyway. Crystal light isn't heaven, but it's better than plain water -- and now it comes in those nifty things to drop in your bottles! And hell, drink a diet drink instead of the calorie one. Diet drinks taste nothing like their counter-parts, I know. Aint nothing free in this world. You know what I like even better than a nice Mountain Dew? Buttercream cake icing straight out of the tub. Just because it's good or you've become accustomed to it, doesn't mean it's right. Some of us are literally getting a thousand calories just in LIQUIDS every day. Damn people (myself included here), suffer and drink a diet drink. After a month, you're going to like the taste of the diet one and the regular one will disgust you -- I promise. Now that I eat way less sugar than I used to -- when I eat a sugary treat I'm shocked and sometimes disgusted by how freakishly sweet it is. And I used to eat this stuff all the time -- because I was used to it. You'll go through withdrawals and it'll be damn hard -- but after a month or two, it won't be hard, I promise.

Highlight of my month.

I have to say, oddly enough the highlight of my month happened this evening. I had the pleasure of watching a professional electrical engineer and a geek huddle around my Christmas tree and enthusiastically debate, hypothesize, and test how my touch-ornament works. (If you don't own a touch ornament -- you MUST get one. It's a plug that you plug into the outlet then plug your Christmas lights into -- then a wire with a christmas ornament comes out and you hang it on the tree or whatever and when you touch it -- it turns the lights on or off. It's simply wonderful). We even dug out a battery to test one theory. It made me happy.

Tonight at dance we learned Cha Cha. I also had the pleasure of being the only girl in the group -- matched by 4 guys. That means I was the desired commodity and everyone wanted to dance with me. How awesome is that? Cha Cha has a quick triple step in it. I'm not good with the triple steps -- I'm still a big girl and my body just doesn't want to move that fast. I can do it -- but I feel retarded and wonder what I look like doing it. The teacher said I was doing perfectly though. We learned the basic Cha Cha, the cross-over, the backwards break, my spin -- and the move where we both do a spin/turn on the crossover and we turn back-to-back. It's hard and a bit of a workout -- but Nathan was right -- it's an incredibly fun dance to do. That double turn where we both turn is my favorite dance move yet. And dude, to keep count you get to say "cha-cha-CHA" How much fun is that? A lot.

My leg muscles are mocking me for my morning jaunt. They especially didn't like adding dance lessons on top of their pain for the day. But I count dance class as a workout because it makes us move around and sweat for an hour -- which is totally a work-out in my book. That means I worked out TWICE today.

Oh, and I was super light-headed all day. Like sick-light headed. I guess I just made myself sick -- or maybe it was the lack of sleep? Anyway, Nathan kept turning me again and a again because we were trying to get the steps right and lord I just about passed out. I had to make him stop.

Being the only girl partner, I did a lot of Cha-Cha-CHAs and spins tonight. A lot.

I'm loving dance lessons more and more -- and I'm getting really good. For christmas, I'm going to buy myself a dancing dress, and if I can find some at a good price, some dancing heels so I can go to the dance parties they hold every Friday. Not that I can't go now -- but I wanted to get a little better before I went and started dancing with strangers -- and what a perfect reason to buy myself a sexy dress! My Spring semester is probably going to make me have to drop the dance lessons -- but I really hope that we can all work it out at a time where I can keep going. If not, then I'll probably go to some of the public lessons during the week and then we can still all get together for the dances on Friday...

I'm OK.

So after writing that post last night (I feel like that lots, yall -- it's not new or any worse than it usually is... I just actually wrote it out so maybe someone can at least have an idea of why some things are just so hard for me. No one ever understands) -- well, I knew I wasn't gonna go back to sleep anytime soon. And since the sun was going to come up soon... I decided to excercize!

The red line is my morning jog. Well, I jogged for a short bit... then I walked. I'm proud of myself! I walked past the movie theater and all the way to the grocery store I shop at. I was going to walk to Pet Smart and buy those little antlers to torture the cats with... Then when I got there, I realized it was a Petco not Petsmart. And I so knew that it was a Petco -- I don't know how that mind fart happened. Anyway -- not only was it not even the right store... it wasn't even open! Oh well. It was a nice walk.

So don't everyone worry and freak out about me. Prayers are always appreciated though :) I'm proud of myself -- today was going to be a bad day... now it's a good one. I've worked out -- I'm gonna make a Turkey roast for lunch... and go to class... Then tonight is dance lessons. I'm gonna wear my new skinny pants too.

I need a hug.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with me? I've got all this freakin anxiety about going to class -- and no good reason. As I mentioned before, I slacked off on my Paxil schedule a bit ago and fell off the happy wagon. This led to missing a few classes -- I want to insert a "don't worry, it's cool" here but I'm not a hundred percent positive that it is. It's not fucked over and all my teachers are super understanding - but I've got 2 weeks left in the semester and I'm always on the "please dear god I'm about to ruin my life" kick this time in the semester. This time is no different. Anyway, it doesn't matter if you didn't catch any of that because this post is not about my grades -- this post is about totally nonsensical social anxiety disorder.

So basically, I don't want to go into a room full of people who will tease me about having missed class. They will. It won't be mean -- it'll be light-hearted teasing... I think. I guess. Yes, OK they won't be mean -- but they'll tease. I'd tease too if it were switched around -- the old "uhuh... sure you were sick *wink wink nudge nudge*" And for some reason, I'm having some intense issues about not wanting to face that.

Sure, you're thinking, yeah she just doesn't want to go to class (BTW, I've been back to the other classes, this is just one class I'm worried about -- my favorite class where I like a lot of the people in the class). Well, it's complicated. I'm up at 4am because I simply cannot sleep because I've got that racing mind - sick tummy - can't sleep cause there's too much to think about thing going on. Same thing happened last time. And when I GO to class, I get sick. Like sick sick. Light headed and faint feeling. Hot and sweaty. And like I want to throw up. I don't think I can throw up because of the bypass surgery -- there's nothing in the pouch to throw up -- no acid or bile or old food -- nothing. But my body doesn't know that. So I still get the watering mouth -- that uncomfortable twinge in the back of your throat and nose -- that feeling that any second you're going to fold over and just expel all your internal organs into the toilet while gagging and being unable to breathe. And this is all before I've even gotten in the car to go.

I mean I shouldn't feel like this. I'll do fine in the class. I missed a program... or two -- but I've aced the other programs and I aced the test so I'm still in good standing in the class. And I like the class -- it's assembly language which is actually new to me this semester so it's cool to be learning something new as opposed to learning c++ for the Nth fucking time. And I like the people in the class -- they're cool. And Of course with all the sickness comes the whole "I look horrible" complex I get sometimes. Which I know you don't believe me, but feels like I should be locked in a cage in someone's basement because I am THAT atrocious that I shouldn't be seen by anyone. Obviously, totally not true -- but I'm telling you how I FEEL when I get like this, ok? Remember the "I feel" statements they taught us in grade school?

And I don't look horrible at all. I look great. I look better than I've looked in years. I'm still at 205. I'm officially a size 16 pants (WOOT! Bought my first pair of 16s today at Old Navy -- I'm LOVING being able to buy ANYTHING I want at nearly ANY store -- it's fucking awesome. No seriously, you've never experienced the inability to find what you want because you're limited to certain stores -- I could NEVER have bought pants at Old Navy before -- and I couldn't wear most of their tops either. Now I can have WHATEVER. I. WANT. That feeling is just indescribably cool). And I'm a solid misses XL top -- unless it's a sweater or a larger cut shirt -- in which case I'm a LARGE. So I'm freakishly close to my goal sizes (a 12 pant & large top). I look great. And my hairs not a mullet anymore so I can wear it down again -- and my skin looks good -- and my glasses are so freakin cute that people comment on how adorable I look in them. And I've got cutesy girly earrings now which look so cute with my curly hair. And today in class, I sat indian style in my desk. My lord -- I'm like foldable or something now.

So yeah, I shouldn't feel like this. I shouldn't feel like crying because "I'm so ugly." I shouldn't be walking through a parking lot and fearing that every bully and bitch I've ever known is about to find me and make my life a living hell -- just like they always did in elementary and high-school. I'm an adult now, I've got control over such things. I could run them over with my Beetle if worse came to worse. But I haven't been bullied in a long time. I haven't been the but of someone strangers public jokes in like a year -- though I can remember the last time perfectly, and yes it was because of my weight. But the point is that it's not going to happen. And even if it DID -- who cares -- right? (OK, I care -- obviously -- why are people so mean? -- but I shouldn't).

And I'm tired of living on the edge of a disastrous spiral that I'm barely fending off. I'm tired of waiting on the bow to break -- the shoe to fall.

When's it gonna get better?

I can do this. I can so do this. I'm awesome. I am the shit. I'm cute -- fun -- smart -- talented. And hey, if all else fails -- I could get a full time job at Walmart and that would totally pay the bills. So see -- even worst case scenario isn't horribly despairing. And I'm not 330lbs anymore so that lady won't come through my line anymore and tell me that I look just like her daughter who had gastric bypass and beg me not to do it because "I'm beautiful as I am" even though I'm just trying to make it through my fucking shift and she feels the need to tell me that I'm fat but still pretty -- LIKE I FUCKING ASKED.

And I hinted at all this underlying dispair to a old friend today and she just couldn't understand it. She said she's always envied me -- she can't fathom how I could feel this way. I mean ME -- I'm fucking awesome. Right?

Ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh

And I really hope that yall understand that when I write these posts, I'm pouring my heart out and I can't even go back and re-read them cause I'd cry. Respect that, please.


Well, everyones been posting pictures of their Christmas decorations and I haven't yet! Mine have already been up for weeks -- what's taken me so long? I shall fix this right now. First, the tree:

Isn't it great!? I love it. And my ornament collection is already coming along nicely! It's mostly penguins because penguins are super cute and Christmasy.

Here's my outside lights:

I'll get a better picture of the wreath tomorrow -- I made it myself :) And the snowflakes fade in and out at different times, thats why they aren't all lit in this picture. I tried to get Tabitha to come to the window for the picture but it didn't work.

You know you love it.

Kitty pictures = happiness. And since I just cleaned out my flickr account, there's room to upload more pictures! First, here's my evening in a nutshell:

Yep that's about it -- pretty much every evening, actually. I'm on the laptop -- they're on the couch. At least if I reach over, Jack gives me kisses. [[reaches over and gets kisses]]

That one's just because he's cute. Jack is all muscle and huge feet. And dude, isn't his collar in the perfect position there? I've got to order Tabitha's -- she's going to get one like Jack's except in red.

Now one more. If, by chance, I'm not on the computer and am instead in the kitchen cooking -- Jack can be found atop the fridge:

My god, he's just too fucking cute isn't he? Look at the ear! And yes, I already told you I'm playing favorites. Plus it's really hard to take a good picture of a black cat with a shitty camera. Besides, all she does is sit there. Also, it's a shame I don't like the name Pearl. Mom's suggestion of Jill (for Jack & Jill) is beat out by the name Pearl. Then they'd be Captain Jack Sparrow and his Black Pearl.

Guitar Hero

Have you seen the play station game "guitar hero?" I've infiltrated a group of hardcore gamers -- this is ok because they have all the awesome video games. Last night at "real game night" (so named by myself indicating that we only play party games that non-nerds play and that we can tell other people we played without sounding like total dorks), I saw this game for the first time. The controller is like a guitar -- only with buttons instead of real strings and frets. Obviously, it has nothing to do with being able to play a real guitar, but that makes it no less awesome. You get to play a big selection of various rock songs -- everything from Stairway to Heaven to I Love Rock & Roll to Audioslave! (BTW, did I mention that I have the new Audioslave album and also an acoustic bootleg of Chris Cornell playing/singing a lot of his old stuff plus Audioslave stuff in one of those tiny little bar-concerts? I do -- aren't you SO jealous? I know). I gotta say, that game is damn nifty. I had heard the guys talking about it a few times and kinda mocked them about it -- but watching Richard play last night was actually entertaining.

Now I'm in the mood for good music -- the music I used to listen to all the time before the likes of Janie Porche, Aimee Mann and Jack Johnson dominated my car. Old music like I used to listen to in High School -- all the old faves. This calls for new playlists!

I love 90s music, BTW. I think we all have a time when we are imprinted with what will always be our favorite songs. I think this occurs in your teens - early 20s when you're listening to a ton of music and exploring who you are, who you want to be, and who you will become. I was lucky enough to be imprinted with 90s music -- cause I ROCK. BTW, everyones complimented me on my musical tastes lately -- whats up with that? I thought I had horrible taste? I really do just get better with age.

Mans best friend

When I ran to the grocery store this morning, I parked next to a pickup truck with a dog in the back. He was a huge dog -- yellow short hair -- almost like a lab but even bigger. I couldn't resist going over to pet him. His tail was just wagging and he kept trying to lick my face with his massive tongue -- what a sweety! And do you know he was just sitting in that truck bed with no restraints, nothing to keep him there -- just his obedience while he waited on his owner to come back. Even when I walked away, he just barked at me to come back -- though he could have easily jumped out and come to me. I've seen a few dogs trained as such. They will sit in the bed of the truck and wouldn't even dream of getting out -- even under great temptations. They sit and wait for their owners to return and give them a pat on the head. I'm not an animal person really, but I much prefer dogs to cats. They're just so wonderfully loyal and loving. Even when you have a disobedient dog (like my moms dog, Bonnie) they still win you over with their unconditional love.

Dogs are such amazing creatures -- they melt my heart sometimes. When I was leaving Erin's house the other day, I came across a small dog in the grass. I walked up to him and petted him and began with the baby-talk asking him why he was outside all by himself... and then realized his owner was right there and had been watching me have a conversation with her dog. I felt like a bit of a moron.

One of the most horrifying things I've ever read was a study some evil bastards did with dogs. These "scientists" kept dogs and trained them and then after they had the dogs loyalty and love, they (I will spare you the details that haunt me still) tortured them to death to see how far the loyalty went. Even after being mutilated horribly and on the edge of death, they still licked their masters hand and remained true.

I don't know where I'm going with this or why -- but damn, dogs are just so awesome. They're too good -- we don't deserve them. They'll do anything just to win your approval and a pat on the head. They'll protect you to the death. It's just... wow. I know that dog would have waited days in that truck bed with nothing holding him there but his own will -- just because he was supposed to. Amazing creatures.

Jesus "IS" Lord

We all know that I can’t spell and I’m horrible with the Grammar. Hell, I can’t even spell ‘grammar.’ For this reason, most jokes about such things are over my head ...or something I’m guilty of myself. One mistake, though, I get to enjoy and ridicule. The one that always puzzles me: The “misuse” of “quotation” marks.

It seems to me that there exists a population of people who believe double quotation marks are just another way to emphasize a word**. And when I read a sign like this, I always use my mental double-quote fingers which makes me giggle inside. Yes, I use double-quote fingers all the time. And yes, I giggle inside at other peoples expense way more often than is polite. I can’t help myself. I’m a bitch like that.

And now there’s a whole flickr pool of quotation-mark retards (clicky) for our enjoyment! Awesome! Go forth and be amused – but be warned: there’s something going on with the "pumkin soup."

BTW, I'm almost afraid to post this because I can't imagine how many mistakes are in it. Please grade me on content and not syntax. That's how I passed my English Comp classes -- well, content and grace of God.

**Totally off-topic: Word just gave me a grammar flag on this sentence because of “wordiness.” Maybe I LIKE to be wordy, Bill

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for*...

+ My momma
+ All the great friends I've made this semester
+ My awesome apartment
+ Mr Jack
+ That I was blessed with the opportunity and the means to have weight-loss surgery and totally turn my life around
+ Psych meds
+ All the wonderful luxury comforts I'm able to enjoy everyday (wireless internet and a laptop!)

*This is by NO means a complete list, and I present it in no particular order. These are just a few of the things I am thankful for :)

I immediately regret this decision.

So I have to work night shift tonight (and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that) -- so if you feel like chatting, just dial up 911 and wish me a Happy Holiday. Work has already ruined my holiday (and gotten me hell from my family) so I refuse to let it ruin my Wednesday too. So instead of sleeping in all day so I can stay up all night, I got up and ran my errands. Bad idea. Apparently going to Sams Club and the grocery store is a nightmare the day before Thanksgiving.

I was going to go to Krogers because I'm becoming a Publix snob -- but just the parking lot was a fucking nightmare so I ended up at Publix. It was packed out and they were out of things like lemons and turkeys which was being complained about loudly. And I'm sorry, but if you're waiting until the day before Thanksgiving to shop for your Thanksgiving dinner preparations, you're a moron. And dude, you don't have a turkey yet? What the hell? You should have already gotten started on cooking at least half your dishes -- you shouldn't be running to the store to pick up the main ingredients.

I'm also going to go to dance lessons, even though I should probably take a nap before work. I refuse to let work ruin my dance lessons.

I'm pissed at work. I have seniority over the other part-time dispatchers (expect for one who only works 2 weekends out of the month, which gives me priority over her) but I'm the only one working all 4 days. And not only am I working all four days -- but Mac has decided to give me the absolute worst shift -- the night shift. Everyone, Karen is in the market for a new job -- hook me up if you have any connections. I love my job, but I'm tired of this shit. I've got seniority, I'm excellent at the job, and I've not called out ONCE. I even gave them months notice when I needed a day off -- and they STILL didn't want to give it to me. Dammit, I deserve some fucking respect. Time to find a new job.

PS: Happy Pre-Thanksgiving.

This quote amused me far more than is reasonable:

"Thou shalt not follow the NULL pointer, for chaos and madness await thee at its end." (Henry Spencer)

The Birthday Report

I had a wonderfully fantastic 24th Birthday. Fantastically wonderful, even. I started out the weekend in Birmingham with my family. And even though she'll do it all again on Thursday, my mom made me a Thanksgiving dinner for my Birthday.

As I've complained, I work weekends and holidays. So this year I was going to skip Thanksgiving and head straight on into Christmas -- much to my family's despise (they thinking I'm skipping Thanksgiving with them on purpose). Well, being the wonderful awesome sweetest mom in the world, mom wanted to give me a Thanksgiving. She planned all by herself, to have a big Thanksgiving dinner just for me -- which means all the stress of Thanksgiving -- TWICE!

Momma cooked and cleaned all day. We had turkey and dressing, potatoes au-gratin, greenbean casserole, corn casserole, cranberry casserole, rolls and who knows what-else -- all homemade mostly from traditional family recipes plus a few from the food network. The best part was all the scraps of paper with hand written recipes scrawled on them. Momma finally got cable -- thus Food Network, and has found piles of recipes she wants to try.

I got a yellow birthday cake with white icing -- exactly what I wanted. And of course, mom made me breakfast in the mornings ;)

Then today, I came home to Huntsville a bit early to celebrate with all my awesome new friends. They took me out to dinner at Carrabbas (which was 100% my choice) -- then we all went to see HAPPY FEET! I really didn't expect the evening to be so great. Erin and me had planned to do dinner and a movie for my birthday, but I hadn't heard back from anyone on if they were going -- and K & R were gonna be out of town -- and then TODAY I couldn't get in touch with Erin! But, then it turned out that everyone, even K & R, were able to come. Erin called during dinner and they rushed over to join us. She totally made up for the being late by giving me a set of proper metal measuring cups and spoons (something I deeply desired but refused to purchase). So THANK YOU to everyone for making my birthday really special :) And most of them don't read my blog, so Michael (who was of course, with us tonight), feel free to link them ;)

BTW, Happy Feet was AWESOME. I want to buy it and quote it for the rest of my life. It was a bit long winded on the educational parts (especially the life cycle of the penguins -- like we haven't all seen March or the Penguins -- or even care for that matter), and also a bit preachy -- but it was also hilarious and 100% quotable. I must buy it and memorize it. Oh, and the animation was INCREDIBLE. I think we're all getting spoiled with these great animated movies -- but wow, take the time to really look at how beautiful this one is. The snow is perfect -- from the snowflakes to the lighter layers of snow that move with each step they take -- and the foot prints and such -- it's cream of the animation crop for sure (even beating out Pixar, IMO).

Oh -- and Mom gave me 2 sets of sheets. I've been waiting for a set of luxury sheets. Mom told me to wait and she'd give me them for my birthday. And she came through with her promise. But then she couldn't resist buying me the most adorable set of penguin flannel sheets too. I came home and put them on my bed right away and as soon as I finish this post, I'm going to go crawl into my freshly dressed bed -- complete with electric blanket. And adorable rug by the side of the bed. The rug -- is an old favorite of mine. It came from Target a few years ago -- super freakin- cute. It was falling apart though and dirty. The fact that I washed it really made it wear out. There's felt shapes and such stitched to it and those barely survived the washing machine... but... Saturday I had the intense pleasure of sitting in front of the TV watching Food Network and hand-stitching repairs on that rug for 5 hours. If there is a perfect way to relax/sedate/pacify me -- Food Network combined with a tedious craft has got to be it.

Oh, and speaking of crafts -- I made a Christmas wreath for my door and was given some ornaments for my Christmas tree. So naturally, I rushed home to get the tree just right and hang the wreath and dress the bed and get everything just right... and was a bit late to my own Birthday Dinner. I'm sorry, guys. I got caught up in the Christmasy goodness.

Penguins & Paula Dean

You know, when you like something -- oh like, say... penguins because they waddle and talk like Robin Williams putting on a mexican accent -- people tend to give you that something. This is the case on my part. It's made worse because I see cute penguin things -- like my salt 'n pepper shakers and my new espresso mug. Now I'm going to have the penguin Christmas tree. I should not have bought all those cute penguin ornaments, because just tonight, I received three more. I could totally have a theme tree -- all penguins!

I'm home in Birmingham for my Birthday -- being slowly murdered by stress from my family. Mom's always so happy to have me home though. Tomorrow we're having mini-thanksgiving dinner for me complete with Paula Dean's F-ed up cranberry sauce recipe that just so happens to be the very same one me and Erin were making fun of the other day -- and I don't even get food network. Here's how the conversation with mom went:

"We're having a SPECIAL cranberry sauce recipe..."

"I hate special Cranberry sauce recipes. I like the canned cranberry sauce... Oh, me and Erin saw the most disgusting recipe Paula Dean made -- it was like pecans and mayonnaise spread on slices of cranberry sauce!"

"THAT'S the one!"


"Everything Paula Dean makes is good."

Update on my stupidity.

I'm an idiot, this has been brought to my attention. Michael posted a link to the crazy meds article on Paxil in a comment so I read it.
"Paxil and Paxil CR (paroxetine hydrochloride) happen to be those types of meds that if you stop taking it and start up again, they won't work as well as it used to. Even if you stop for just a couple of days. You have to be totally med compliant with Paxil and/or Paxil CR (paroxetine hydrochloride) or it's pointless. Symptoms may even worsen, which may have something to do with the rash of suicidal acts and ideation amongst adolescents on Paxil / Seroxat, as teenagers are as bad as the bipolar when it comes to being med compliant."
Ohhhh, THAT'S whats wrong! As I said in my previous depressing rant (which was actually holding back a lot), I've been avoiding taking it to avoid being a sleepy zombie -- and then I got worse -- so I keep avoiding taking it on time -- which made it all even worse. I continued this for a little over a week until I find myself totally freaking out about everything -- ruining my school semester -- shaking and almost passing out in public. Go me! I'm a genius!

Of course all that's still way better than the effects of Effexor, you know. I know, I hate being reliant on medications that mess you up this much. Please don't lecture me about how psych meds are evil. When I take them like I'm suppose to and get on the correct dose, it's great. I'm just having trouble getting there on Paxil.

I took yesterdays dose last night, and then I slept a lot -- and I already took the first one for today. I feel better. Maybe it's a placebo effect, but I'll take it. Of course I'm also alone in my apartment. But I feel like getting the place cleaned up and taking out the trash and washing some clothes. And Erin's coming over later for Grey's Anatomy. And I think I'll make some of those chocolate fat-free muffins. I'm also really looking forward to my Birthday and I'm trying to avoid getting caught up in the mess of what are the plans and whos getting their feelings hurt about it. I've already had a phone call about it this morning. It's my birthday dammit -- we're doing dinner Saturday night at Tim & Heidi's and that's nothing against you -- sheesh. I'm sorry, these plans upset you -- please don't make me miserable about it. For my birthday, I want to be happy. Happy birthday -- get it?

Cat pictures are rewarding.

Some of my pictures of Mr Jack (game night & the blinds one & the trashcan one) were invited to be in some Flickr pools (Bad Kitty & LOL Cats). Now they're getting lots of views and comments & even some favorites.

I feel so special.

Geeky Goodness meets Genius

Here's a post to push down the last one in which I feel a bit vulnerable so I shall now sweep it away.

So I was in Brookstone at the mall looking over all the expensive awesomeness when I came across a massage chair. You know the type -- you sit face down and there's a donut for your face so you can still breathe, right? Well I didn't sit in it -- not only because Erin pointed out how many people have put their sweaty faces against that cushion -- but also because I'd have to take my glasses off and I'm just to lazy to do that. And then I had a stroke of genius:

They should make these things where you don't have to take your glass off. There could be a pad for your forehead and then the rest of the U for your chin leaving a nice opening for your glasses. It makes sense to me. There are enough of us out there who love our glasses for there to be a market for this. Why should I have to remove my glasses for a massage? Step it up, Brookstone.

Shoot. Me.

I just want everyone to know that I'm nearing total nuclear meltdown. My social life is going great! I got my ears pierced so I'm looking fucking adorable (and no I don't own panties that say "adorable" but it's still true)! And I can dance (tomorrow we're working on the Rumba)! And I lost 3 more lbs(I'll be below 200 before I know it)! And my birthday is this Sunday! I'm going to Birmingham and moms making me a mini-Thanksgiving dinner since I have to miss real Thanksgiving -- which just proves that my mom is the coolest sweetest mom EVER. Then Sunday I'm going to be back here and I'm gonna go see Happy Feet with Erin and Matt and whoever else wants to come. And I'm totally wigging out.

The increased Paxil makes me a lethargic black-out-prone non-caring flake. It makes me want to sleeeeeeeeeeeeeep. And not only does it make me want to -- but it totally makes me. I can sleep through 3 alarms now -- even when they go off for an entire hour right next to my head. I randomly fall asleep in my living room and am late for things that I WANT to do -- like dancing or movies. Obviously, this is affecting my classes in a negative way. So I avoid taking my Paxil because I can't risk randomly falling asleep and missing a-whole-nother-day. Which makes my social-anxiety act up BIG TIME. And anxiety in general, really. I forced myself to go to class today because I'm at the point now where HOLY SHIT I've allowed myself to TOTALLY fuck up. And not only was it a huge drama to even go -- but I was literally SHAKING in class and on the verge of tears. No reason -- I'm just fucking crazy. I'm losing it. It's going. My apartment is messy. That's how I know I'm losing it. There are clothes on the floor and I've no desire to get out of bed and pick them up even though it bothers me.

And I actually thought to myself that I'd really like to cut myself -- cause I deserve a punishment -- but I've got just enough sanity built up to know that that's fucking stupid and accomplishes nothing. And I really don't want to kill myself so if I totally fuck over my life and lose financial aid (again, heh) -- what the hell am I gonna do? My parents can't help me -- my mom doesn't even have a income right now -- which makes me feel horrible and makes me worry about her so much. So I've worked out that I need to find a full time job that makes at least 9 dollars an hour to keep up my apartment and bills and all that nice stuff. See, there's so much more to think about when you don't want to kill yourself because you really like your apartment and cat and dance lessons. This is why...

This is why I kindly request that Steph shoot me -- preferably after my birthday but before the end of the semester. Shoot me twice to make sure you don't just maim me -- I don't want to be a Oprah show. And then check my pulse to make sure I'm dead. And take care of my Jack. He gets Meow Mix wet food way more often than he should because I'm a sucker and he needs to have dry food out all the time because if you just try to measure out and give it to him twice a day he eats it too fast and throws up. And he likes cat treats -- but the moist ones -- not the hard ones. And he needs to have a cat toy like the one with his feathers on the end because that's his favorite and it makes him happy. I got it at Pet Smart. He like things with feathers and bells. And pet him lots -- even though he plays all hard-to-get and acts like he doesn't want to be held, he turns into a total purr box when you pick him up anyway. He's a bad liar. I'M GONNA MISS MY CAT.

The Request

I'm sitting here about to heat up some leftovers, write a program, study for a test, and generally have a total mental breakdown (hopefully I'll get to watch house before I lose all my mental faculties, though) when I hear a knock at my door. It's the knock of my neighbor -- the one I have over for dinner sometimes and who watches Jack for me when I'm gone -- I guess I should call her "my friend."

So I get up, unlock all the locks, flip on the light switch and open the door. "Hi." "Hey."

"So I have this really odd request..." "Uhuh?" "Can I buy a condom from you?"

I shit you not. And then the rest of the story, I'll plead the 5th about.

I'm, like, a real adult now! A precious one!

Why, you ask, am I a real adult now? Because I got my ears pierced tonight. Yes my friends, Karen got 2 upper-cartilage piercings (widely rumored to be the most painful piercing in existence) long before I got my lobes pierced. BUT, at least I got them done before my 24th birthday. Now I can buy all sort of awesome dangly earrings!

Oh, and I'm precious because that's what my pink panties have plastered across my ass in light blue script. Which totally means it's true.

More window art

Friday a friend asked me to paint her some windows. This happens a lot. The difference in this instance, however, is that she not only wanted to go ahead and pay for them -- but she convinced me to get in the car right then to purchase said windows. Then she wanted to help me paint them. So unlike all the other requests, I've already finished hers up. See:

(BTW, you can click that to see a larger image)

I like them :) They're not red & black as they appear in the picture. It's actually a dirty red and a dark burgundy-brown. Oh, and isn't my table cloth awesome? I know. I am the shit.

The cat situation

For those who care, here’s an update on the cat situation in my apartment – if you don’t care, don’t read: simple.

Yep, I still have her. Jack sleeps at the foot of my bed and Tabitha sleeps up against the small of my back. If I roll over, Tabitha gets up and walks all the way around the bed to reclaim this spot. This has yet to fail. She spends most of her time in my bedroom (the back of the apartment) either on my bed or under it. This has spurred an oddity in Jack. Whereas before, Jack barely came into the bedroom when I’m in there – now I’ve found him a few times napping on my bed rather than in the living room with me. He goes to visit her.

She still eats more than Jack even thinks about eating. I’ve gone through 3 bags of cat food since I took her in. I finally gave up and bought the biggest bag they had. It’s now half gone. How much can a kitten eat? How much can it continue to poop? When will she stop?

She’s not nearly as skittish. When I hosted game night last week, she even ventured out to meet everyone and get petted a bit. It’s annoying petting her though. She’s exactly like my moms cat – the one I don’t really like. They have the same body shape – the same silky long hair – and the same oddities. By that, I mean they have to be active in the petting. She won’t just sit there and let you pet her – shes got to meow and walk around to direct exactly where your hand goes. Like if she sat still you wouldn’t pet her anymore or something. So shes constantly walking back and forth or in circles jamming her head into your hand and meowing. It sounds cute, but it’s not. You can’t just walk by while shes sleeping and give her a stroke – no, she’ll have to meow and get up. Annoying.

Erin has been the cheerleader of keeping her. She’s the one who talked me out of taking her to the shelter when I had put my foot down and asked her to come with me as moral support. She’s also made it feasible to keep her. I already had a free vet visit for Jack – Erin found me a coupon so Tabitha can have a nearly-free vet visit and a certificate for a 50 dollar spay. So for 50-some-odd dollars, they can both have vet visits and she can get spayed. The problem is, not that I’ve got coupons – I have to act fast. I’m not paying 50 dollars to pay her if I’m not keeping her – but if I dare keep her, I need to act now while I can save tons of money.

Jack loves chasing her around – and she even provokes him by sneaking up on him to pounce while he’s sleeping. And they are loving to lick each other. They still wrestle around and she growls constantly – but I think it has turned into playing now. I just wish she’d shut it with the growling.

Oh and everyday they sleep a little closer to each other. Jack tried to skip ahead by licking her to death and then laying smack on top of her, but she’d have none of that. With their inching closer, they’re about 5 inches apart now. Jack anxiously awaits when he’s allowed to touch her.

So there you have it. I still don’t know what I’m doing with her. Do I take her to the vet? Do I get her a red label collar to match Jacks? Do I paint her a matching food bowl? I just don’t know. I do know that for about 5 minutes yesterday, I had a person who was looking at her and seriously considering taking her – he even went so far as to call his girlfriend about it. And it kinda broke my heart – to think that she might be taken right then – I knew Mr Jack would miss her soooo much. And for a second I contemplated taking the offer back. But he turned it down anyway so now I’m still at a loss as to what I’m doing.

I’m such a sucker.

Steph, come get this damn cat, already!

Spring 07

Oh man, I just registered for my Spring classes and I'm gonna have one hell of a shitty schedule. All night classes, no choice. There goes my budding social life. BUT I'm graduating next year so I can see the finish line here. This spring I shall take the following:

CS413: Digital Design (sounds eerily simple, doesn't it?)

CS499: Senior Project (I'm told it's a group project. I never do well in group projects -- I get stuck with losers that won't do their part and then I end up doing the whole thing.)

CS424: Programming Languages (Exposure to all those programming languages that no one uses anymore but might crop up in future employment when we're asked to trouble shoot & update ancient code that no one understands)

EH301: Technical writing (gotta know how to write the manuel for my shiny programs)

After that, aside from electives, I'll just have to take Operating Systems -- where they make us write our OWN operating system. Nightmare. So far for electives, I'm going to take an advanced C++ course (i'm in that now), and a UNIX course. The rest will be whatever can fit into my schedule.

Ugh - no more game nights, dance lessons and grey's anatomy night :(

5 things

1. The little bastards knocked over my Christmas tree.

2. Last night I ate at a Japanese restaurant -- just like I'm an adult or something (FYI: Karen doesn't do oriental food). I got to sit on a pillow at a super short little table with a hole for your feet -- which was quite nifty. AND I successfully learned how to use chop-sticks.

3. We have a report-card type sheet to keep track of what we learn at dance lessons now. I have learned some Rumba (we'll learn more next week), ALL of the Waltz, and ALL of the Tango. I like Tango best. Did I mention how good I am doing? I can totally dance.

4. I bought a futon cover specifically to match my cat. This way every single hair doesn't glare at you. It's khaki. So is Jack.

5. I need to stop shopping on eBay. I've won 3 items this month alone -- and believe me, I bid on many more. My newest acquisitions are 2 ice-cube trays. They're silicon and make little ice donuts. Isn't that nifty?

Jack tries not to come off as too "needy"

Embrace it

I didn't know the Jerry Springer show still came on. I see that the subtitle is "an hour of your life you'll never get back." My god, that's perfectly hilarious.

No more political commercials!

I love Martha Stewart (have you noticed?) I guess if anyone was going to handle being thrown in prison gracefully, it would be her -- but it's still impressive. What I love so much is that she doesn't allow anyone to hold it against her -- she's the first to admit to it and make a light hearted joke. I've seen her joke about it before on her daily show -- for instance in a knitting segment, she wore a shawl that a fellow inmate had knitted for her... being that they've got time for stuff like that. Today though, she opened her show by urging everyone to go out to vote. That's not abnormal and didn't need anything further be said -- but she pointed out that she was allowed to vote until she was off probation and urged us all to go vote for her. She also mentioned how sad she was that she couldn't participate and pointed out how lucky we are. It was classy. She's so damn classy -- even about her stay in prison & probation. The woman is amazing.

On another voting note, it's a rainy day in Huntsville. I'm watching the news @ noon and they keep mentioning how surprised they are at the voter turnout considering it's raining. I don't get it. Why would the rain keep someone from voting? (Unless you have ombrophobia or pluviophobia -- in which case you should know: there is hope.) It's not like someone chooses who they're going to vote for, wakes up and sees the rain and goes "oh well -- guess I'll vote next election." It's not something you can just put off till tomorrow.


Yes, but they don't use soap.

What's with people being mad that I gave the cats baths? I've never heard of this before -- ever. Jack has had regularly scheduled baths since I got him 11 months ago. And Tabitha lived outside -- who knows what was in her hair. And now that they're licking on each other -- I don't want Jack to get something from her.

A few people have expressed surprise at this. I've even been told it's cruel. "Cats hate baths and they clean themselves -- it's unnecessary stress." They clean them selves with their tongue. That's like me never taking a shower because I wipe myself off with a washcloth every night -- why should I wash my hair or scrub my underarms? Why do I need to wash my butt when I wipe it a multiple times every day?

They needed baths. Now their coats are silky and shiny. They smell nice and they're so soft and fluffy! And bathing them gives you a great time to check them out for any bumps or injuries or anything odd. You also get to use medicated soap -- or flea/tick treatments. And did I mention the fluffiness?

Yes it stresses them out -- but so does taking them to the vet or trimming their nails. I trim Jack's nails every month -- are you going to have a problem with that too? I make sure to give him/them lots of love when I'm done followed by special food and after a few hours they forgive me. And did I mention the fluffiness?


Bowling is not a good choice for a first meeting with someone. Well, it's not for me. I should have chosen something that doesn't make me curse every 5 minutes. Something I'm not quite so laughably horrible at. Something where I can be a gracious winner as opposed to a sore loser. Something that doesn't have so many openings for smart-assery from both parties. Something cheaper. Something that doesn't come with "complimentary socks."

Things I am … not …am …maybe

Last weekend, I was blessed to take a spontaneous lunch with a huge group of new friends (we had Bellicinos and it was really good). The table was long so there were various conversations going and lots of chit-chat and story exchanging. We were talking about school – in particular elementary and high-school – and I of course mentioned my track record of constant detention and demerits through out. I thought this would come as a surprise – but no, it didn’t. Kelli guessed correctly that it was probably for talking all the time.

It kinda caught me off guard in an odd way. I used to talk all the time. You couldn’t shut me up. But I thought I had changed – for a while I didn’t talk all the time… I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I thought that I had just grown up or grown out of it or that my depression had taken that from me. I thought that person was just gone – and it’s odd… because that’s me again. It’s very satisfying. I guess I can’t convey what I want to say here – or how I feel about it. I just wanted to post it because it’s just… nice.

Another trait I’m not sure about. Cleanliness. Everyone who knows me now thinks that I’m this huge clean freak. I’m not sure that I am. I live in my own apartment. I don’t have anyone to clean up after. When you see my apartment – I can’t blame a dirty dish or a tea ring on the counter on someone else – it reflects directly on me. I also am super vigilant and paranoid to make sure it doesn’t become over run by the cat(s). I don’t want my apartment to smell like a cat. Let me repeat – I don’t want my apartment to smell like a cat. I want people to be comfortable in my home – whether they hate cats, are allergic to them, or own them. I do NOT want to become one of those people whos house you don’t want to go to because the dog will jump on you and you’ll get cat hair all over your jacket and leave smelling like a hamster cage.

Also: bugs. The apartments I live in have a huge bug problem. I’ve tried every bug trap, killer and spray known to man and I have conceded defeat. I’m going to have bugs and there’s nothing I can do about it. At least Jack has something to entertain him. I can however, avoid making it worse. No food or drops of food – no crumbs – no plates left sitting on the sidetable after I’m done and too last to rinse them and put them in the dishwasher. And as for my guests, I’ll pick up your dirty plate and immediately take it to the kitchen to wash it and put it in the dishwasher – NOT because I can’t stand that you left that plate there – but because it might attract a damn bug. I’m covering my ass – not trying to make you uncomfortable.

So Friday, Erin and I were shopping at the aforementioned Christmas thingy when I picked up the most adorable childs jacket. It was like 300 dollars and made of tapestry with feather trim. SO CUTE – and also so impractical. Erin pointed out the futility of putting an actual living child in something so gorgeous. She also mentioned that my children especially were going to be filthy little mess makers just because I’m so anal about keeping everything clean.

No I’m not. I think I’m not. Hmm.

So clean! ...A little too clean...

Usually, after working the night shift I go home and crash. Yesterday (or is it today – I’m confused) however, I opted to clean. Monday I’ll be having someone over who is super allergic to cats. Also next weekend, I might have someone spend the night who is super allergic to cats. This means that my normally clean apartment needs to be super clean. So I picked up some Fabreeze Allergen and sprayed the place down with that – cleaned all the upholstery and dusted – then vacuumed thoroughly. Then I gave both cats baths with special cat shampoo (a cat that just had a bath is positively the most pathetic thing ever – multiply that by 2). And to round it all out, I gave the kitchen a thorough cleaning, scrubbed down the bathroom and changed the futon cover.

A few things to note from my cleanings this morning:

1. Fabreeze Allergen Reducer (with the yellow cap) smells so much better than regular fabreeze. I don’t use fabreeze because I can’t stand the smell – but this isn’t bad.

2. A cat that has just had a bath has to be one of the most pathetic things in existence. Today, I experienced this times 2. I also managed to retain all my skin.

3. Holy fucking shit – Mr Clean’s Magic Eraser is the most awesome cleaning tool in existence. I am fucking AMAZED. Was it Tel that recommended this to me or was it Leah? I scrubbed my bathtub with this thing and I was so excited that I called people to tell them about it. Yes, I totally did. It uses no cleaners – nothing to rinse after done – doesn’t use much pressure – it’s like wiping something down with a damp towel – only magic. It painlessly and effortlessly wiped away rust stains that have been in my shower since I moved in. Professional cleaners didn’t get these out – I’ve never gotten them out with my scrubbing with various harsh chemicals and this little sponge just wiped them away. It even wiped away old paint that was on the floor of the tub. Literally – just wiped it all away. My tub is sparkling – LITERALLY. Holy shit. These things are AMAZING. You must buy them. I must go buy more – lots more. I must stockpile.

I also did all my laundry and cleaned out my closets and got everything all sorted out. I was so pleased with myself that I had to say a special prayer of thanks for being blessed with such a wonderful place to call my own complete with everything I need. It was nice.

And then as I sat down to check my email which I guess has become a nervous twitch in an odd sort of way – some odd compulsion. Must. Check. Email. …It occurred to me that my apartment was way too clean. It didn’t look lived in. Everything was in the proper perfectly cleaned place. Even the latest copy of Martha Stewart was placed at just the right angle on the side table. It looked like I had been on vacation for a month and was just returning home to the unfamiliar scent. It was kinda creepy. Even the cats smell like citrus. I actually cleaned too much. And it’s quite surreal.

Christmas Shopping

So me and Erin went to the Under The Tree Christmas Shopping festival this morning. Were were all ready to spend some money -- both of us brought extra cash just incase we saw something we wanted and they wouldn't take a check -- and both of us had a list of things to keep our eye out for. Nothing. Neither one of us bought a single thing.

I saw tons of ornaments I wanted, but many of them were more than 10 dollars -- and I'm cheap when it comes to a small shiny ball that makes an apperance once a year. I wanted to pick up some embroidered stockings and thought this would be the perfect place to do it -- I was wrong. There was lots of antique jewelry but no star sapphires (well there was a horrible one for 5k that I wouldn't have even bought for a hundred dollars) -- but lots of snobbish dealers who insulted my intelligence. And most of the vendors were quite rude, actually. Erin and I could barely get anyones attention to ask a question about their products or prices. Even though we arrived right at opening on the first day, the place was packed out with mothers and tons of children and strollers in tow -- not good for an indoor shopping festival. I didn't see anything I couldn't easily find someone else -- nothing stunning or unique -- and all of it was at horribly exagerrated mark-ups. I'm glad the door women let us in for free (though she shouldn't have) because I'd feel totally ripped off if I had paid to go.

As it is though, shopping with a friend for expensive bobbles isn't such a bad pass-time. There were lots of beautiful things – but nothing I couldn’t easily get for a fraction of the cost somewhere else. I’m glad to have gone and I enjoyed it – but I don’t know if I’d pay to go again. If they let me in free next year I would go – but if they want their ticket fees, I’ll pass.

Oh, and highlight of the day: We had Rolo’s for lunch. Quick background: My mother and I love Mexican food. So we’ve been to Moe’s on Airport a few times. Every time we went, we’d see that the restaurant next door (Rolo’s) was packed out with old people. (and we all know that old people love some cheap great food. Follow the old people = find great food). This never failed – packed out everytime. So one day we were going to Moe’s and at the last minute, I decided we should try this other place.

Well, Rolo’s seems to be very similar to Cracker Barrel – but the selection is much more limited because every day they have different specials and side dishes available. The food is considerably better (and that’s saying a lot) and the prices are rock bottom for the great food and large portions. It’s good comfort food with veggies and gravy. Mmm.

I suggested it after dance lessons on Wednesday and everyone enjoyed it. I was disappointed though because they didn’t have their awesome broccoli casserole that day – they apparently only have that on Fridays. So when Erin and I were thinking of a place for lunch – I immediately went for Rolos and my broccoli casserole. Lunch special are even better than their dinner prices! I had a BBQ baked potato – huge and covered in all the goodies for 4 dollars. And Erin’s lunch takes the best-lunch-deal-I’ve-ever-seen-in-my-life prize. She got one of these massive potatoes (at least 1lb) smothered in fresh grated cheese, real thick-chopped bacon, butter, and loads of sour cream… for 2 dollars. She added a drink and a plate of fries and still got out for under 5 bucks after tax.

I’m glad to have discovered Rolo’s and also to have gotten all my new friends totally hooked on it. I’m telling you – follow the old people.

I have things to do!

This weekend there's a big Christmas shopping festival sort of thing going on in Huntsville. I can't sleep (unless I'm supposed to be somewhere -- then I can't wake up, but at night -- nope) so I was cleaning up a bit. I moved a fan that's been in the bathroom and underneath was a brochure for this event. Mom had been looking at it and I had used it as a dustpan so it's been in there hiding. I picked it up to glance at it again and lo-an-behold, it's today. Well, I'll just go then. And after i decided to go, I read in the fine print that students get in free -- score!

So actually going to a local event got me to looking at what other local events I might be interested in -- after all, there's not much better to do at 5am. I saw that the symphony orchestra was playing and decided that I might be interested in that -- can't be that bad, right? Well, tickets range from 40 something to over a hundred dollars! EEK. Won't be going to see them anytime soon. Guess for the moment, I'll just be happy with my rapidly budding social life as it is.

Oh, and Erin's almost convinced me that I'd be a bad person if I gave up Tabbatha. I've got to figured this out soon because I need to order me and Jack's christmas stockings and I can't very well have one for Jack and not her (if I keep her, that is). I can't even figure out how I want her name spelled. I know I've been misspelling it -- I think it's really like Tabitha or something -- not sure if there's 2 B's or not... OOOH, maybe they'll have stockings at the festival today!

Since sleep is apparently out of the option (which will lead to me staying up and going to this festival when it opens in 2 hours and paying 5 dollars to get in early followed by me coming home and crashing and then waking up right before I have to go in for the night shift), I shall vacuum and then practice my dance steps. Let me just tell you, Wednesdays dance lesson was fantastic -- we just focused less on the ridged steps and more on making it all flow and proper lead and follow techniques and posture and stuff. Damn, I'm getting so good. I never thought I'd know how to dance at all -- much less be good at it! Me and Nathan were tearing up the dance floor. I know lots of steps and different turns too -- and I can put it all together and and survive Nathans "I'm gonna try something tricky here" statements. I ROCK. I'll be going to those Friday-night dances soon enough. I might even buy a sexy dress for it. Oooh.

Praise God!

I picked up a power adapter for my powerbook today -- way more money than I wanted to spend. And I just want to praise God here because the adapter is the only thing that was broken. I was scared that the port might be broken too -- 1 month after my Apple Care expired. My fears were even further confirmed when the people at the store told me something had probably broken off inside it -- something I just couldn't see. Ugh. BUT NO! It' works! WOO! Thank you JESUS!

Also, the shirt I'm wearing today that I got from Old Navy -- a large. YEP.

And I met with my advisor yesterday -- I'm in way better shape than I thought! I shall finally graduate in this coming year. I've got to take a lot of electives. I can take at least one CIS elective -- like to meet requirements. Awesome! Teach me how to use the internet for credit. HAHA

Oh, and I've got to toss my old power adapter -- anyone want a power-brick extension? Or just the plain plug? I'll trade you a Christmas ornament for it.

Aw crap.

My powerbooks power adapter just broke -- this just days after reading how there's a shortage of Apple bricks now because of the new magnetic laptops. CRAP.

First, I better be able to find one. Second, how much is this going to cost me. Third, CRAP.

Way to excited for her own good.

THE TREE'S UP! Happy November 1st! This babys gonna be up for 2 months this year! I'm so freakin' excited! Exclamation points! CHRISTMAS TIME!

CHRISTMAS MUSIC! Third Day Christmas music, no less. Holy shit this is great.

"We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye! And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?"

Diet Brownie Muffins

So my mom got this recipe from someone in Weight Watchers and told me I HAD to make it. I wasn't as enthusiastic as her, but I have a meeting with my advisor today and I want to bribe her with baked goods, so it's a good time to try it out. After tasting one of these things, I just HAD to post. MY GOD -- this is better than cake made the regular way -- this is awesome! These massive muffins are 3ww points for those of you who are on it -- they're like 2 grams of fat each and less than 200 calories. Here's the recipe:

1 box Devils Food cake mix
1 can Pumpkin
3/4 cup water

Don't follow the directions on the box of cake mix! Usually you would add whole eggs, oil, milk, and butter -- fat, fat, fat, and fat. This time you're just going to mix the powdered cake mix with the pumpkin and water -- nothing else! Bake it as you normally would and bam!

These are so good. They're super rich and moist and simply gorgeous. I'm glad I hadn't planned to ice them, because I've never seen more beautiful cup cakes. They rise perfectly -- I really should have under-filled the cups more than usual, but they look great so maybe not. I can't taste the pumpkin at all. I had once last night and while eating it I got the sensation of smelling a fresh carved pumpkin, but today I don't even get that. It's all fudgy goodness. Mmm.

You should totally make these.

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