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