Thursday, December 2, 2010

Baking Disaster

I LOVE cooking and baking. I smile every time I pull out a batch of perfectly round, perfectly moist cookies, my heart skips a beat when I taste the batter of cinnamon coffee cake and I wonder at the pretty little mountain peaks whipped egg whites make. I could write poetry about food, boiled honey’s golden bubbles, the smell of pot roast swirling through my kitchen. I may be coming off very gluttonous at the moment, but I assure you it is the art of food that fascinates me. However, I am not what you would call a master chief. While my experimenting sometimes comes out beautifully, there is usually a weekly disaster.

This brings me to my most recent catastrophe. This year my husband and I were delighted to host Thanksgiving in our little house, our first time ever hosting a holiday and we were both scandalously excited. My parents and brother came, and a few good friends as well. I wanted to make something amazing, something unique, something that would require socks to be strapped on for fear of their being rocked off – corny as that sounds. To put simply, I wanted perfection in a cake. So I opted for a recipe I found on a reliable recipe blog. The ingredients sounded scrumptious, and the cream cheese and cinnamon frosting… need I say more? So I made it, and I gloated over it. Yes, there was definitely some gloating, and when I finally took my first bite of cake I wanted to cry. It was terribly, horrendously bitter. For a few awful minutes I was most assuredly in “the depths of despair” as our favorite Anne Shirley would say. Later I realized that I had made a very rookie mistake, I cut the walnuts it required into almost powdery smithereens, which as most avid bakers understand, makes things too bitter.

I moved on, the day was much to fun to cry over a bad cake. But it’s a story I find rather amusing now, and I thought others would too.

- RS

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Touch of Crazy...

There are times that I look at my life and the only thought that comes to mind is "I really must be crazy..." Not because of anything other than the sheer overwhelming aspect of the things I bring upon myself. I have always wanted to be one of those old women who has so many stories of things I have done, places I have gone, and people I have cared for, that the reaction is "when did you have time to do it all?!" So, knowing that is one of my goals, it is no surprise that I create situations much like the next month of my life!

I found out about two months ago, that I was going to be a product of cutbacks come December. Being young, and owning virtually no furniture (including an actual bed), I figured now was as good a time as any to once again embark on all the possibilities the world has to offer. I began applying to jobs all over the country.. literally. I applied for roughly 70+ jobs.... And, for anyone who has never filled out an online job application they take FOREVER, and it is the same information over and over, asking the same thing "Why are you perfect for us?" When the answer is the same every time "Because, I'm me."

I heard back from 12 places saying "thanks, but no thanks."However, I did hear from a job near Washington, DC asking me to come for an interview. So, I packed up and took the 3 hour trek for the interview... deathly ill taking as much medicine as I could get my hands on without overdosing! The interview went well and I was pleasantly surprised at how nice everyone was. I waited for about a week in a half before hearing back that I was the top candidate and they were able to give me a fantastic benefits package as well as the pay I would need to handle the massive jump in cost of living!

So, I accepted the job and start in just over 2 weeks...Meaning, I have to train people at my current job on the various tasks I do, finish the last 2 weeks of my class, start a new class, pack, find an apartment, move, and begin a new job all in the just over 2 weeks.... I have decided I may or may not be insane!

So, here I go, moving.... again.

Really I am crazy, I know.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Apartment Living

Recently my husband and I moved out of an apartment and into a cute little beach cottage. The moving process was… terrible. Moving is said to be one of the worst stressors for a human, and I swear I feel like I have aged considerably this past week. Because my husband and I are superheroes, we were able to move all of our things in one afternoon… but not without cost. I woke up with a back of someone in their mid seventies and was literally creaking every time I moved. Moving is a bit of a bitch, I hope that doesn’t offend anyone, but I think it’s safe to say that it is appropriate in this context. But there is something much worse than moving… apartment living.

Granted, I live in southern California in a town that I love, but that I must admit can be a bit on the snooty side. The apartment complex we were living at was no exception. When I went to the leasing office to ask what they wanted the apartment to look like after we moved out, I was informed that I was expected to pay for the place to be professionally cleaned and for the carpets to be professionally washed, along with a new paint job. Umm… no.

How is one expected to live in an apartment? No touching the walls, take your shoes off outside the door, please. Oh and don’t put anything in the fridge, it’s just for looks. Am I supposed to float over the carpet while I live there? Put cushions on the floor and play “hot lava” like I did when I was a kid, jumping from cushion to table, from table to couch, just to ensure the floors look like new for decades? And to make matters worse, the rent is so shockingly high that I am fairly sure that one month’s rent at this place could hire a cleaning crew to clean the place five times and there would still be money left over. Sadly, money that a young military couple doesn’t have.

So I cleaned the place myself, I washed the base boards, the walls, the floors; everything you can possibly imagine was scrubbed and scrubbed again. I should have invested in Windex and Lysol before I began, because I could have made a fortune. However, I was thwarted by my vacuum. Who decided to stop working after only one room was done, and then proceeded to give me the finger by almost burning the carpet too (it didn’t, but it was a close call). So stubborn me, still determined to do it myself, got down on my hands and knees and searched the apartment inch by inch for every spec k I could find on the floor. It was not fun, but I won! And then came the garage. On the last day of cleaning after about four days of trying to make sure this place was spotless for the final inspection, I decided it would probably be a good idea to mop the garage. And it was, until I saw a pretty gross looking spot on the wall. Since we had moved everything to our new place, the only thing available to scrub this spot with was the mop. Let this be a lesson, mops are not scrubbies, they are not rags, and they can do nothing but scrub floors. As I started to scrub the stain it started to look worse, I thought perhaps I hadn’t gotten the mop clean enough and proceeded to wash it. Oh how wrong I was. I came back to the spot and began again, only to find that what I was actually doing was rubbing the paint right off the walls. What was just a square inch spot was now two feet of an ugly mess.

*Deep Breath*

I am done with apartment living.


Monday, September 20, 2010

A Day in the Life of...

A coworker and I take turns randomly sharing crazy or funny stories the two of us experience throughout our days. We call it "A Day in the Life of..." and we insert our own name..  

Well, I have two stories to share, these types of things really only seem to happen to me, but I find them hysterical, so I thought I would share...

Story #1: To give a good idea of what is going to be discussed, here is a picture of my hair for the day this took place:
It was hot outside and I had no desire to mess with my long, thick, curly hair, and bangs, so I braided my bangs into my hair and pulled the rest up. Matched my earrings to my shirt and shoes and was good to go!.. Or so I thought.
One of my coworkers came into my office for the daily stealing from my candy dish and a few minutes of chatting and banter. This coworker reminds me a lot of Grumpy the dwarf, so to protect the guilty, we shall call the coworker Grumpy.
After a few minutes of talking about the week's happenings Grumpy stops and looks at me then asks "What did you do to your hair?.." I initially thought the question was posed at the fact that not long ago I dyed my hair from blonde to brown, so I comment accordingly. Grumpy pauses and says "No.. Normally your hair is full and thick.. today it looks more......." I begin laughing and say "Closer to 'plastered to my head'?" "Yes, it's not as nice." 

I just began laughing... Especially since Grumpy is bald.

Story #2: My best friend from home moved to Atlanta, GA which is about 6 1/5 hours away. I drove down for the weekend because she asked me to come be a part of her and her fiance's housewarming party... Later did I find out it was a "Hook Krista up" as a second goal party. However, unbenounced to them The Gentleman (name has been changed to protect my last shred of dignity!) that was supposed to show up and sweep me off my feet to be my knight in shining armor actually had vacation, and left a few days prior to go home and visit family. 

Haha... I thought I was off the hook. I was wrong.

I arrived a few hours early and helped do last minute touches on the new place, hang pictures, arrange food, etc..etc.. Once the other guests started arriving we ordered pizza and prepared to pray before commencing to expand our waistlines. The three couples divide up to hold hands with their spouses when my best friend realizes I am standing alone (totally content to talk to Jesus without holding someone else...). She pulls me close and links arms with me saying "Aww, no worries The Gentleman will be here soon enough to snuggle with." ... =O I giggled a bit and said "ok, lets pray." Her fiance began praying such a nice prayer about the food and friends... then switches gears and says ".. and we want to thank you for The Gentleman and Krista's relationship, and we ask that you bless their marriage..." I began laughing and about then reached around my best friend and smacked him... 

That was the closest thing to embarrassed I have been in I cannot even remember how long!... It was incredibly funny though! ;)

I spent the rest of the evening fielding questions about The Gentleman and I... Most of which I diverted by simply pointing out I have not met him yet! :)

Oh a day in the life of Krista!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Daily Geometry

One of the negatives of being a single woman is the lack of having a strong man to do things around the house for you... I mean there are certain things I can con my guy friends into coming and doing, especially if I offer a payment of food. However, there are instances when because of timing there just are no guys around to help, and since I am a perfectly capable woman, I attempt to tackle tasks on my own... This is one example:

A friend so wonderfully went and picked up a new mattress, box spring, and frame that was being given to me for FREE! He unloaded it into my living room (which in fact took up all the free space) for me to then take care of when I got home from work. Now, to help paint the picture, I live upstairs in a loft at my house. I LOVE it, but it certainly is a challenge getting things that are decently large up the stairwell because of the angles and width of the stairs. So, while no one else was home I decide to commence getting the mattress upstairs by myself. First, I removed all the pictures off the wall, cause I knew I would end up taking them out and somehow destroying them. 

First, I try sliding the mattress standing tall through the door, which worked perfectly, until I had to turn AND begin acceding the steps.. The height of the door prevented me from also going up the steps, and no amount of body slamming or attempting to fold the mattress would work. Start over. 

Second, I flip the mattress horizontal and think maybe it will be easier to get the angle right using the height and the lack of width of the mattress. Mind you, I was not the best at geometry, and angles, while I can understand the basic concept, I have never been the best at figuring them out ahead of time. I tend much more towards having to figure it out as I go, and can see what the problem is or is not in the midst of it. 

So, I commence to bending the mattress in order to get it around the corner and up a couple steps, then I have to take turns going to the top, pulling over the step, going below it and pushing with... what else than my hips! haha I repeated the pull/hip check process the entire way up the stairs because there are no handles on the mattress, and since my steps are painted they are rather sticky when it comes to sliding things over them. Once I got the mattress upstairs and put in its place, I realized... There is NO possible way I will be able to get the box spring upstairs... especially without help. I did end up disassembling the frame and carrying the pieces upstairs.

However, the box spring is currently still leaned against the wall waiting until my roomie and I can figure out how to disassemble it and carry the pieces upstairs... We are women.. Hear us roar?... OR, maybe just watch us do things in an incredibly round about way.. haha


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back to Writing and to Musing

I realize I have been absent from our little blog for quite awhile now, and frankly not one of my excuses are terribly interesting. Oh it would be nice if I could say that I was busy vanquishing all evil from the world, saving whales, or finding myself, but in actuality, life just got in the way.

Here is a brief summery of my time MIA: Initially I put off writing because I had finals to prepare for, and like a good student, I was dedicated to getting that A… or maybe just not failing. After that my husband and I were able to take a two week vacation back to our home state of Michigan, and it was wonderful. Once we got back to Southern California the Marines claimed his time, which left me with the daunting task of trying to find a new apartment to move into (a goal we still have yet to reach, more on that frustrating process in a future blog) and packing up our apartment. Then, a few weeks ago my fickle wisdom teeth decided it was time for them to leave, and proceeded to break the news to me by causing a terrible amount of pain. Thankfully, pounds of Oragell and more Motrin then I would ever recommend came to the rescue. So, half drugged and a little out of it, I come back to our blog.

The last two months seem to have flown by, and reflecting over them, I think I have discovered a few things. The night my husband and I got back from Michigan and walked into our apartment, it was the first time we had ever felt like we were really home. Not that Southern Californian is our home, but that the space we have spent so much time making into our own finally became ours. For a long time it was hard to leave Michigan, it was our home all of our lives and we dearly loved it there. But “home is where the heart is” has many levels of meanings, and I think we finally experienced it when we walked through our door. In a way, that simple feeling of being at home opened my eyes to a lot of things. Home is never a place or a thing. For me, home is wherever my husband is, it’s where we have spent our time making a life together, and it’s where we live and love and learn to deal with life. Home is the North beach in San Clemente, the woods in Northern Michigan, the used book store down the road, and the place where we feel most comfortable.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Me vs. Bugs

My roomie and I have just recently moved into a new house, a house that she bought. Then, she promptly has spent the last month gone. Meaning I have been left to take care of things, which is not really a big deal. Until, the bugs decided moving with us would be a fun idea...

I am not normally a squirmy person, I do not scream cause of bugs, spiders, crawly things... or even slithery things. I do not particularly like most bugs, insects (is there a difference) or snakes, but they certainly do not scare me... Just annoy me most of the time. However, In the last week I have engaged in scores of battles.

The Enemy: Ants, cockroaches, spiders, squiggly unidentifiable bugs with antennae, stink bugs, june bugs (what are their real names anyway?!), MIB alien looking crickets, and moths..

My weapons: Bleach/water spray, shoes, any hard object within reach, disinfectant wipes, sticky tack, and rags.

The worst part of all of it is the ants that just will not seem to give up! Even when there is nothing to eat, everything has been cleaned, locked away, put in ziplock bags (note: cereal is a ziplock bag must) the trash has been taken out and the trash can's cleaned.. they still insist on being obnoxiously everywhere... Which leaves only going to ant killer next.

If I am going to be completely honest though, I got the heeby-jeebies.. and definitely did the heeby-jeeby dance in the kitchen this morning after I killed a cockroach and had to clean it up... ew.. ew... ew. All I could think of was my old youthgroup kids that kept saying (while in Mississippi on a missions trip) "They (cockroaches) don't die they multiply!"... I really hope that's not true!

Bugs just were never this bad, big, or obnoxious back home that I can remember!... I NEVER remember cockroaches, and I certainly do not know where the alien looking ones come from. All I know is, apparently the gloriousness of the warm weather brings the grossness of the weird and gross bugs. Yuck.. ew. ew. Gross.

Once the roomie gets home... Pest control here we come!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Missed Life Lessons...

I was always a very aware child. My earliest memory after I describe it, I was informed by my mom that I was in fact a year in a half old at the time. I became a Christian at 2... standing between my mothers knees. At 4 years old, I could read, write, and navigate my directionally challenged great grandmother through a large city in order to go pick up my mom from work... and, thanks to my uncle Mark I learned to climb trees, play video games, and how to sneak down Grandma and Grandpa's stairs without the floor creaking when I was 2 or 3... I remember my childhood very vividly, and I grew up as though my life was this epic adventure movie.. where clearly I am the beautiful yet completely capable protagonist.

And yet, somehow I find myself realizing I have missed some apparently key life lessons... Leaving the question to be begged: What happened?!

Let me share some of these with you...

Life Lesson #1: Insurance and Bills.
I have never been good with math, but I still always got A's in my math classes because I worked my tail off... So, the other day I get a medical bill summary, clearly stating in multiple places "This is not a bill" ... (Ok, then why did you send this to me?!...) what caught my attention was the serious problem with the math.
Cost of visit: $240
Insurance coverage: $182
Your cost: $0
And, I never got the official bill either...... That clearly leaves $58 that just disappeared!.... What in the world?.. Now I am paranoid that I will end up with some magically appearing balance of accrued medical visits bill... I still cannot figure out how the insurance math is so different then basic math!... Ok, so I haven't learned this life lesson yet, but if you know, please share it with me so I CAN learn how this works!

Life Lesson #2: Faulty Appliances.
A while ago a friend and I made dinner and dessert for us and a couple of our guy friends. After we were done the stove would not turn off... and in fact the broiler turned on making the entire stove molten hot. Initially we assumed some how the self cleaner had been turned on, but the door was not locked, nor was there any indication of the self cleaner being on. So, in our attempt to be capable women we were going to slide the stove out, but seeing as it was too hot to touch, that quickly got ruled out as a possibility. One of our guy friends had stepped out of the room for a phone call, while the other watched me be a capable woman (?!).. In my attempt to have everything under control I devised a plan....
Pull the bottom drawer of the stove out, and... unplug it! Which was a great idea.. to my friend and I. She stood over me reminding me to avoid touching the stove with my completely extended arm as I reached to the back of the stove and worked the plug out of the socket.... It worked great until my thumb touched one of the prongs and I got electrocuted, which caused me to yelp, and jump... but carefully so I didn't sear my entire arm on the stove, then just laid there for a moment as my entire arm went numb. Eventually I unplugged the stove and saved the world.... Only to then have our friend who stepped out return and inform me I should have just switched the breaker... Doh!.. (Did I mention my older brother's an electrician.. and I SHOULD have know that?.... whoopsie!)

Life Lesson #3: Cooking.
In my family, I am the second child of 4. I have an older brother who is married with 3 children of his own (being an aunt is AWESOME!), and I have a younger younger brother and sister. Growing up, my older brother and I (unbenounced to my poor parents) made every meal a chance to see who could eat more... So, my mom made LOTS of food. Subsequently I learned to cook making, well... LOTS of food. Currently, when I am at home and cooking, if my brother and his family come over, that means cooking for at least 10 people. No big deal, until I moved away and had to cook for just one.... The first year I lived alone I cannot even begin to fathom the amount of food I threw away because it would get bad before I could eat it. I mean, if you are making macaroni (a staple in my family growing up) you make the ENTIRE family size box..... And then, proceed to eat nasty left over macaroni for a WEEK (or more)! Why?... Because, mom always made the whole box, so of course you make the whole box... Not ever realizing that mom was cooking for 10... you are now cooking for a TENTH of that (plus the fact that you no longer are trying to out eat your brothers...). Soon though, soon you figure out, you are not actually saving money when you buy perishable food items in bulk because you end up throwing more than half of it away before you can eat it... It has only taken me almost 2 years, but I have begun to learn to cook based on the size of the crowd I am cooking for instead of habits learned growing up. 

I am a slow learner sometimes haha! I am sure I will be adding to these missed life lessons as time goes on...


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Before I die...

Once a long time ago made a list of things I would like to do before I die...  Then my computer's hard drive crashed and I lost it.. Then I made another, and my new computer's hard drive crashed too... So, this is a newly revised, new list that is hardly complete, but it is slowly getting there.. The list is in no particular order... at all, and I have tagged the ones I have accomplished.. but I left them on here because it is kind of a cool thing to see what you have accomplished :) I hope you enjoy my list, and steal from it to start your own!

Watch the sunset or sunrise from each side of every ocean: **Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, Southern | Go dog sledding | **Go on a Safari in Africa | **Scuba dive | Ride a camel in the desert | Pyramids at sunset | Tango in a milonga | Build a house start to finish | **Cross the Canadian border | See Cuba | Have a croissant at a French cafe | Take a road trip across the U.S. | Have an exceptional time in Greece | Whiskey at a pub in Ireland | Stay in the ice hotel | Visit that church made entirely of bones | Make butterscotch from scratch | Go on a multi-day biking trip | Get art in a gallery | Attend a Black and White Ball | Grow vegetables in my own garden | Learn to roll in a kayak | Write a novel | Be conversational in six languages: **1. English **2. Spanish 3. Sign-Language 4. Greek 5. German 6. Arabic | Set foot on all seven continents | Set foot in all fifty states | Help someone get into or through college | **Visit ancient ruins | Stand atop the Great Wall of China | Get my second degree black belt | **Get a tattoo (I have two) | Learn to snowboard, and ski| **Learn to wakeboard and water ski| Drive a sports car over 100mph| Stand inside the Taj Mahal | Do something for someone they can never repay| **Do two pull ups | Go berry picking and make completely homemade pies | Have a large dog again | Ride through the Panama Canal | Go Sky diving | **Horseback ride through a coffee plantation| Make my own perfume | Tithe my whole life | Go to the Kentucky Derby | **Go white water rafting | Taste 1,000 Fruits | Get in the habit of grand loving gestures | Live in a house with a window seat and wrap around porch | Go parasailing | Go paragliding | Swim with bioluminescent plankton in Puerto Rico | **Climb a volcano | **Climb a glacier | Go rock climbing | Watch the sunrise or sunset over the Grand Canyon | Attend Loy Krathong, the sky lantern festival in Thailand | Ring a church bell | **Move somewhere new alone | Organize a retreat | Rewire a lamp | Learn and be good at all the Latin ballroom dances: Argentine Tango, **Salsa, **Cumbia, **Merengue, **Cha cha, **Bachata, Rumba, Mambo, Bolero, Samba | Go on a cruise | Use my work to improve lives | Form a workplace with people I love | Participate in a giant food fight | Make my own list of the hundred best things to eat | **Climb a mountain| Choose fifty favorite places to relax and connect with God | Go a day without speaking | Plant a tiny orchard | Own a lot of land and create a “middle of no where” feel| Throw a block party | Remove money as a concern |  Take a month long vacation without computers | Zip line through a canopy | Lemonade on the front porch swing on warm summer night | Buy a stock on my own| Have a big wedding celebration with everyone I love | Christen a boat | Attend La Tomatina in Spain | Shoot every major gun: **Pistol, Shotgun, **Rifle, Muzzleloader, Revolver | Learn to surf | Be in Spain for running of the Bulls (but not participate) | See a glacier in Antarctica | Live in another country for a year | Dive with Manta Rays in Hawaii | **Start a fire without a match | Live in a converted barn with an ocean view | Hike the Inca Trail. | Spend the night in a treehouse | See a space shuttle launch | Swim with a whale

I hope you had a blast and got some ideas seeing the start of the fun things I want to try to do in my life!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Adventures in Gardening

I grew up in a rather rural area of Michigan, surrounded by dairy farms, corn fields and two parents with green thumbs. So naturally, it seems odd not to have a garden with me here in California. However, living in an apartment, it’s fairly impossible to have full fledged utopia of flowers and vegetables, so I opted for plants that I knew could be grown in pots: tomatoes, peppers, and an assortment of herbs (I also use all of these things on a weekly basis when cooking). The problem was I neglected to remember a very important fact… I am no longer in the Midwest where it rains ten times a week and the sun only burns the albinos. Here in SoCal, it’s a different story.

Week one showed promise, and I boasted to all my friends and family back home of my wonderful porch garden. My tomato plant was blooming and my herbs seemed to be thriving. Week two, I noticed the plants starting to brown, and if I did not water them every morning, by mid day they would all be wilting. Week three, my tomato plant had decided that half its branches were going to die, a weird bug seemed to infiltrate my peppers, and I learned that parsley does not like the California sun. By week four my plants were pitiful, and I frankly did not have the time to water them five times a day…. This experiment was shaping up to be a failure.

But then I had an idea… I remembered those beautiful glass bulbs that could be filled up with water and then turned upside down into a potted plant, watering it as needed. This would solve the biggest problem… however, the military does not often permit much of a paycheck and after looking at the price on those glass bulbs and almost having a heart attack, I decided on a much cheaper idea....

Tacky much? lol

- RS

The Perfect Evening...

I was informed the other day that my idea of a wonderful evening is not normal for a girl... I was a little unsure how to take that comment, and apparently my following story of a perfect evening did not help my case:

Not long ago, a friend and I were talking and we decided to hang out that evening and watch a movie, I was starving and really wanted a meat lovers pizza, and he had to run to the car store to pick up who knows what. So, since I am always striving for practical, I struck up the deal to pick up the pizza while he finished his errands and we would meet up when we were done to watch the movie. Perfect plan... Once we met up, what movie did we watch?... Since it was my turn to pick the movie, and he has an absolutely massive collection of movies, I chose a classic movie that I had grown up with, Steven Seagal's Hard to Kill. LOL 

Yes, my idea of a wonderful evening is a meat lovers pizza and an action movie. I am my father's daughter to the core. haha


Monday, June 7, 2010

Becoming My Mother...

It seems almost every day that I find a new thing that I do that reminds me of my mom. Sometimes I see my hands, catch a glimpse of a reflection, an organizational style in the kitchen, folding clothes, a phrase or saying, a belief that I did not realize I had... Every day I am finding myself being more like my mom. Which, since my mother is an amazing woman, I am perfectly ok with this, however... I have begun to recognize little weird quirks that I had no idea I possessed...

When I was growing up, I never paid much attention to how my mother organized things or the way in which she did things, I mean, why would I? I grew up with her organizational style my entire life... it makes sense to me. Then, I moved in with other people, and I realize that my mother's style and flair for doing things is not the way everyone else's mom does it.

Apparently, I have now adopted my mother's style in a lot of weird ways. :)

For example.. The silverware is always to the left of the sink, the spices are always right next to the stove (if cupboard space allows), cups are always to the right of the sink, and plates are to the left... again if cupboard space allows for such organization. You always put the serving spoons and spatulas on the counter in some sort of container.

Staples in the kitchen must include Milk, Peanut butter, Bread, Cereal, and chocolate chips hidden somewhere. Salt is always on the table, and you cannot cook without garlic, minced onions, and italian seasoning. You HAVE to have season salt for macaroni and cheese. You must ALWAYS have something from each food group for every meal, even if just a little bit (with the only exception being breakfast...). Even if you do not "like" a portion of the meal, you must at least try it or if it is the only option (i.e. Lima beans as the veggie), you have to have at least a small portion for the vitamin and nutritional factor. However, it is crucial that your meal is not all the same color... you just cannot have Macaroni and cheese, corn, and breaded chicken, they are all the same general color and that is just too boring to eat! LOL

When doing laundry, you have two piles... Dark. Light. haha.. forget just towels and sheets, pinks/reds, etc..etc.. You buy clothing based on its functional-ability, which includes being washed AND dried. 100% cottons are pretty much a no go unless it is a regular t-shirt (or pre-shrunk).

These are just a few of the things I have discovered recently that make me laugh, and more and more like my momma every day (which is a good thing in my opinion...). I had not realized how ingrained in me some of these things were until someone else set them up differently.


Oh how like we are to our mothers…

My mother, whom I could often rarely understand growing up, I now have a deep appreciation for. It’s rather sad that it sometimes takes so long to fully understand the things they do for you, and how often they really did make sense. There has been many an occasion when I have been doing something and stopped abruptly when I realized, “oh my god, I am turning into my mother!”

My mother is a wonderful cook. Often times you hear of grown men missing their mother’s cooking, I may be relatively good at it, but I have nothing like the honed skills of my mom. She had certain things that she would almost always make homemade, bread, desserts, and many other assortments. Now, I find myself baking just for the fun of it, it’s something that reminds me of her, and living so far away, that is a very good thing. I remember when I was little how she would call her mother every now and then and ask how to make something, or what she should add to a recipe, now I find myself doing the exact same thing. It makes me smile, as if the female legacy of our family will live on through the things we create, no matter how far away we are.

She is not the most organized of women, and she would even admit to this, but she is most definitely the cleanest. Let me explain: while there may be a stack of books on the dinner table, the couch cushions all in a scramble, clean laundry still in a basket on the floor waiting to be folded, rest assured that every surface was disinfected, every floor vacuumed, swept and/or mopped (including under the couches and tables), and every dish rag bleached. She makes sense. She would allow there to be a bit of disarray, if it meant she had the time to keep things clean. I find myself often following her lead, I clean my couch cushions, always keep the floor and counters washed, but I dismiss the pile of junk on the table, or the stack of books by the chair. I like a neat house, but knowing that things are clean rather than just appearing so is something she taught me and that I now appreciate.

While these are just a few out of a very long list of attributes I have received from my mother, the list goes on, and is filled with many things that seem simple but that I now hold dear. One thing is for certain, I am proud to say that I am my mother’s daughter.

- RS

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Essential Skills...

I never really paid much attention to the fact that my mom, grandma, and grossmama taught me to stitch, sew, use a surger (sp?), and cross-stitch... It seemed like a basic thing that "I guess" everyone learns. I mean, everyone learns to sew on a button right? Every girl learns to hem pants right? How about sew on a patch?... I never really paid much attention to these bits of "essential skills", and I have always sort of taken for granted the fact that I had these skills... Until one fateful day at work...

I tend to try to wear much nicer dress clothes for board meeting days at work. Well, since I had been through all of my nicer dress clothes, I decided to buy a new outfit for the next board of trustees meeting... So, a friend and I toodle around and we find the cutest black pencil skirt and white button up top.. Awesome! Both for a total of $27.. Love it!

The morning of the board meeting, I struggled with the zipper and my roomie helped me "get a running start" and zip it up completely, no big deal.

I got to work a few minutes late.. because I had to choose between being on time or having my coffee, and well, lets be honest, I will always choose the coffee (I may be slightly incredibly addicted)! I had been at work for maybe 20 minutes when the coffee I downed on the way (I have an hour or so commute to and from work) takes over and I need a restroom break.......

Once I am getting ready to leave the bathroom I take a quick look at my outfit, because lets be honest, you want to make sure you don't have your skirt tucked into your underwear or toilet paper on your shoe.. That is when I discovered my zipper had slipped. Weird, so I went to grab it and fix it, only to make it completely zip open, with the actual zipper stuck at the top.... *doh!* So, I spend a few minutes trying to unzip/re-zip/unzip/re-zip...... to no avail. "Maybe I have something in my office that'll help!" So, I hold my zipper closed and make a dash for my office and close the door...

My office provides no safety pins, no needles, and no thread.. nothing. Dang it. So, I begin to enlist for helpful ideas from other girls via facebook and text messages... I received a lot of helpful advice "staples" "go home" "buy a new one" all great, but none practical enough for my situation seeing as where I work is almost an hour away from any real civ
ilization.. or the nearest clothes store.. But, staples seem to be the only option at this point... *sigh*

"Wait! I work at a residential facility!..." There has to be SOMEONE who has a needle and thread!!....
I get ahold of a coworker who lives across the plaza, and she is able to bring over a needle and thread, and I spend the next half an hour... SEWING myself into my pencil skirt with 100 small stitches lol ... =/ No one that day had a clue what ordeal I had just been through...

Never again will I take for granted my seemingly unimportant skill of being able to sew and stitch... Thank you Mom, Grandma, and Grossmama! Gotta love the taken for granted essential skills forced upon you as a child! :)


Friday, May 21, 2010


Since moving to California a year a half ago I have witnessed another world. I will never forget my first visit to San Diego back in spring of 2007 when I fell in love with the city, the beaches, the boardwalk, the piers… Who would have thought that a year and a half later I would be getting married on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, California? I might have dreamt it, but I would have doubted it ever coming true. But it was true, and my new husband and I started our married life in a little town (I say little in the west coast, beach city sense, not the mid-west sense) next to one of the largest military bases in America.

While my romanticism for the ocean, the constant sunshine and culture remains, there are some things about southern California (or “SoCal” as I have learned the natives call it) that never cease to frustrate, confuse, and simply be odd to me. Things like the fact that every day the weather is above seventy-five degree you will not be able to find a parking spot at the beach, unless of course you feel like parking more than a mile away and walking, is one of those things. Spontaneity is difficult on the weekends if you want to eat out at restaurant of higher caliber than Denny’s or Ihop. While reservations are not always required… if you want to eat before the crowds start to die down around ten at night or later, then pre-planned dates are a must. The speed limit on the express way is sixty-five, if you’re not going at the very least seventy-five, expect there to be some very angry Californians passing, honking, flipping you off… apparently everyone who lives here is a very important person who is always late for a very important appointment.

While I am sure I could find a great deal of things to rant about, the fact is that living here has been a wonderful experience. I have been introduced to coffee that far surpasses Starbucks and Mexican food that is so good you gain five pounds with every bite but know that it is worth it. My last Thanksgiving I was here while my husband was deployed, my dad was visiting and we shared pumpkin pie on the pier at night, and it was one of the best times of my life. A typical date with my husband involves dinner at an authentic French CafĂ©, a movie, and a walk on the beach. Do I really have a right to complain about traffic, angry Californians, or sunburns? Probably not. I am sure that there are pros and cons to everywhere one lives, I miss my family and my friends. I miss cheap gas prices, going out of doors and being alone, people not telling me I sound like I’m from Canada… But I love it here. I told my husband when we were married I would follow him anywhere and I would be happy. And that has been the truth, I am enjoying these early years of my marriage, living on the West coast, soaking up the culture, the differences. I am thankful for this.

- RS

Then there is Virginia different... I have never really understood the big deal about the difference between the North and South. I mean, come on, we are all one country right?.. Haha.. Nope. For example, "Bless your heart" in the south REALLY means "You stupid retard" ... In the North, we apparently just say it like we see it. Everything moves slower down here too, the Wal-Mart greeters actually greet you... And, the cashier loves commenting on things you buy, and talking with you. In fact, here is a tip, in the South, do not bother going shopping unless you have the time to spare in the checkout lane.

Then, there is the driving. I do not know, and probably should avoid commenting on all of Virginia or South, but where I live, being polite is a way of driving for no apparent reason. Slowing down and allowing someone who does NOT have the right of way to turn in when you DO have the right of way... Common things. There are absolutely no acceleration lanes for the highways. No joke, the acceleration lanes are 30ft tops. So, you must stop at the yield. Do not even get me started on the driving when it rains or snows... Lets just say, I have driven in big cities and did not get road rage like I get here when I have to drive and the sky decides to spit a little..

But, to give you a fun little visual as to a reason I hate the road system, this picture is the same road, same direction, but please note you are actually headed West, but that is not an option in terms of the sign...

However, on a much more positive side, the views I get to see far surpass what I ever saw in mostly flat Michigan...
This view almost two years later has not grown old.. and is never taken for granted. It takes my breath away all the time at how beautiful God's creation is. And, to be clear, I swerved off the road to jump out and take this picture.. and it has not been edited.. this is exactly what it looked like in person.. It was AMAZING. :)

So, while I also hate the road system, and get annoyed at the slowness that is a culture, I too cannot complain when this is a normal occurrence in my life...


Thursday, May 20, 2010


I don't know how many times you have moved recently, but, apparently I have ADD when it comes to staying put. I love change, but I realized not long ago that maybe I should consider staying put for a while. Let me share a bit about the math that is my apparent affinity for moving...

During my college years I moved to and from school 4 times, then to and from camp 4 times.. If you do the math, that's 16 moves in 4 years alone, not including moving home for the holidays.

However, In the 3 years since college, I am getting ready to make my 7th move. Meaning I have packed everything I own into too many boxes, trying to cram way too much into my car... only to move it to a new location and unpack it... and then not be able to find ANYTHING for weeks even though I marked every box. I have moved 4 times in the last year in a half alone... Not to mention, I have painted and re-painted way too many walls in the last couple years..

Now might be a good time to mention, I do not own a bed, nor any couches or tables. I sleep on an oversized air-mattress, and have lived with girls who have enough furniture that it does not matter what I do or don't have. However, based on the reactions I have gotten, you would think it is the worst thing ever that I do not actually own a bed. When someone acts like I am too poor to afford a bed, I graciously try explaining to them the scenario that is my life...

How in the world would a girl possibly move a regular mattress (probably a queen size) and a box spring, plus a bed and frame all by herself?! Did I mention, I lived on the third floor for 8 months, and currently live down a flight of stairs.. and am moving into the upstairs of another house in less than a week. I don't care HOW comfortable the bed is, it is NOT worth that much work. I am perfectly content to deflate my bed, stick it in the backseat and air it back up with the flip of a switch wherever my destination takes me next... haha

Oh moving how I love to hate thee...