Monday, October 22, 2012

A Few Perfect Days in a Few Perfect Pictures

Hey few blog-readers that are left now that I post once in a blue moon because I'm crazy busy and focusing on other things--

Just wanted to check in and tell you that I had a nearly perfect week and weekend. I remember the week being really great, but don't remember too many specifics, because I am still super busy. Work is going well (how's that for being overwhelmed?), and I got to hang out with my awesome family and carve pumpkins!

Kevin wasn't too grumpy

And Jack isn't too big for me to hold like a baby

And, clearly, he gets his good looks from me.
This weekend, I got to see my little man's first football game, and then spend some time with the Clark fam (bro Chris, sis-in-law April (and her band!), and not so little man Jack) at Reid's Orchard Apple Fest. It was a complete blast.

Then, Joel and I spent some quality time together loving on each other (c'mon, people, I mean the PG kind of love) and visiting a beautiful winery. It was a perfect Sunday to do so, and we got a chance to ask the couple who owns the winery all about raising grapes and making wine, in case Joel ever wants to make all my dreams come true by building and opening a winery on the back 40 acres of our land. They would love for us to come back and stay in their bed and breakfast (for free?? Did you say for free??), and talk over dinner more about how we can be wine drinkers makers.

We also met another couple who want us to come back to their parts (Indiana) and have dinner with them, because they think we're the cutest couple ever (because we are).

Perfect few days, I'll tell you. Tonight, we have our fourth and final debate date. I'm excited.

And, for your viewing enjoyment, the way I've been spending my free time:

Hanging out with this cute baby 

And this cuddly guy

And, on occasion, both at once.

Generally loving my life

Because, have you seen my SO? He's amazing!

Even after a big, greasy meal saying, "please don't take a picture. I know it's just going on your blog."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Back on the Bloggin' Wagon

I'm sure you noticed I haven't been blogging lately. Oh, you didn't? Well, let's pretend you did and cried yourself to sleep each night that I didn't post.

Good, I feel better already.

Here's the thing: I had to kind of break up with my blog for a while. I'd love to say that life got busy, and I had to be a grown-up (get it??), and deal with important stuff rather than spend 30 mins to an hour every day sitting in front of the computer trying to think up things to write and attempt to be semi- funny. But that's only partly true.

The whole truth is that my life hasn't felt very funny lately. It's felt hard. Really hard. I wrote about overcommitment, and then I've talked to almost everyone I know about feeling overwhelmed (good life tip: don't talk about feeling overwhelmed at work. The cheese stands alone). Talking has helped, I guess. But I still, for the past couple of weeks, have felt like every time I turn around I am disappointing someone or failing in some area. And that shit is not funny. It's also not funny that I have had a mini-virus, a full fledged virus, and a someone-shoot-me-in-the-head-please kinda sinus infection all in the last couple of weeks. I've come to the conclusion that the talking about being overwhelmed was not just talk, because my body MADE me shut down for a few days so I didn't die or cry at one more inappropriate time.

But this weekend has been pretty great so far. I didn't have pressing commitments and have been able to spend some time with myself thinking through the awesome things I've achieved in the past, and how I will do some pretty badass things in the future. I've made it through worse, and I probably will survive even worse things than this rut. So I'm feeling much better.

I also have taken this opportunity to consider how I want to spend my time. Since it seems that lack of time is the big culprit that sends me into downward spirals, I have to be a better steward of it. I want to spend my time with the people I love most in the world, and first and foremost care for my primary relationship (that's Joel. He's my future, so he deserves the best of me. That doesn't mean that people from my past are less important, so everyone calm down and take a deep breath. I am just a firm believer that your 'person' comes before others, and I intend to act that way). I want to make time for the people who make time for me. As a grown-up friend, I will nurture friendships in which the support door swings both ways. That, in fact, was a 2012 resolution. I can't fret over relationships that, at the end of the day, are more stressful than rewarding. And I want to be really, really good at my job. That doesn't necessarily mean it has to BE my life, but it does have to be an important use of my time. I want to take more time for me. I can't feel guilty about passing on things that will keep me from being in bed around 9:30 or so, because I am simply someone who needs 8 hours of sleep (or maybe 9, sometimes 10). And I will do things for myself like have decompression time, solid time to keep my personal life in order (basically that means I have to make the bed every day, because I'm a little crazier when it's not made), and time to do things I love with people who I enjoy.

And finally, I want to be more grateful. I want to be grateful for being brave enough to stand up and say 'hey, life has gotten me down, I need a change.' I know it's not funny and it's not very much fun to hear those things, but sometimes they have to be said and dealt with. No one can be happy and fun one hundred percent of the time. I want to be grateful that I feel confident in the life I have chosen. Because I chose it. I am happy living the life of Casi, and not the life that everyone wants/expects/needs Casi to live. This life, although not always a cake walk, makes me incredibly happy. I want to be more grateful for supportive family and friends who give without expecting anything in return, who don't decline my phone calls because they know I'm calling to vent yet again, and who love me and all my crazy glory. I want to be more grateful that I have a job that fulfills me and is solid, important work, despite sometimes being really, really exhausting. And I want to be more grateful that I have a wonderful man in my life who loves me and cares for me even when I wake up in the middle of the night and yell at him because it's too hot, or when I don't clean the litter boxes often enough (I thought we had a deal, dude??), and when I come home from work so upset that I sob and drink wine so furiously and simultaneously that it's clear that I am one big mess. I want to be more grateful that, when it's all said and done, I wouldn't really change a thing. I live a wonderful life, am surrounded by amazing people, do important work, and have someone who will adjust the temperature in our house 70 times a day for me and get up in the middle of the night and scoop cat sh*t because it's making me gag. I am superbly blessed, and it's about damn time I start acting like it.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Just Call Me Martha Effing Stewart

Holy shit, you guys, I cannot even describe what's happening to me. Something has come over me that has made me want to be more domestic. I cooked dinner Friday night. ...Pause for reaction... And I cooked dinner again tonight.

Not only that, but I created two Pinterest projects. (Okay, maybe just one idea, but two final products.)

Dry Erase Picture Frames!
They aren't as fancy as this, but one holds our grocery list, ideas of dinners for the week, and things that need to be done. The other one is small and sits next to our key box where we can write little messages to each other for the day. (Ten bucks says I'm the only one who ever writes on it, and in three weeks, after 20 or so carefully constructed messages, Joel says "what message board??" But, shit, guys, I feel accomplished!)

I'm beginning to wonder if my new domesticity is coming from the fact that I am working hard at saying no and honoring what I actually want to do rather than what I feel obligated to do. For instance, I have two huge work reports due tomorrow and Tuesday, but rather than using my precious weekend off-time to work on them, I am taking tomorrow morning in the office so that I can get them done on actual work time.

And, again, maybe it's because I complained about being overcommitted, and I have this newfound time where I'm doing what I want, but I have to say that this has been the most perfect weekend. 

I was off on Friday, and I literally did not put on pants all day! Nor did I put on make-up or even bathe. It was amazing. I did, however, make a little chicken dish I thought up in my head. Joel and I both thought it was quite good, and he even got up in the middle of the night and ate all the leftovers, so I call that a cooking f*cking miracle.

Saturday, I got to catch up with my amazing friends, Trina and Adam, and their sweet little bundle, Levi. We all met up for coffee, and even my grumpy brother, Kevin came. Then immediately after breakfast, I met my mom, stepdad, and grandparents for lunch. I basically bored them with a hundred stories about their grand-dog and grand-kitty. I think at one point, I could see my grandmother spelling out "Please stop talking about your pets like they're children" with her chicken fingers.

I reluctantly love Katniss Everdeen

And I'm obsessed with this guy. I'm not even ashamed.

Joel and I had a quiet dinner together (that was take-out, I admit it) and had lots of good quality time, and I didn't even have to beg him for it and define exactly what I meant by quality time using graphs and charts like I usually do in a crazy, hysterical voice. Which I'm sure was bliss for him. He really hates my crazy, hysterical voice. 

Today, we have rested and cleaned a bit and enjoyed time outside together. And I made taco soup for dinner. I kind of made up the recipe, so I hope it's good but it smells pretty damn good, and CD and Katniss Everdeen are suddenly my best friends, so they must think it smells pretty damn good too. 

Of course after my perfect weekend, I have a crazy busy work week that involves lots of 5am mornings  and one 3am morning. And I work every night this week--YAY!! 

Except Wednesday, because it's the first presidential debate, and Joel and I have a debate date! I'm already trying to think up a hokey meal that's politics-related. I know you love this new domestic Casi. But don't get used to it. Who knows when all of this will fade, and I decide to order pizza for a week straight?

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Lately I've been thinking a lot about overcommitment. I have had conversations about it, been listening to audio books about it, and taking note of when I do it and how I feel after.

The problem seems to be that I want to be the absolute best employee I can possibly be. I want to say yes to every request, I want to be there for anyone who needs help any time any day and anywhere, and I want to figure out a way to work in the car, on the toilet, or in my sleep so that I can get as much done as humanly possible.

I also want to be the best girlfriend I can possibly be. I want there to never be a dirty dish in the sink or a load of dirty laundry waiting to be done or put away or there never to be a night when I order pizza rather than cook a healthy meal. I want both of the animals to be fed and clean and loved on sufficiently. I want to be fun and exciting at a moment's notice and never have to ask that the trash be taken out or the floor be vaccumed. I never want to be so tired that I can't be understanding and loving.

I want to be an active member of my extended family. I want to spend time with both of my parents, my grandparents, brothers, and nephew without being asked or reminded or told how long it's been since I've visited. I don't want to miss family reunions and not even realize I did.

I want to be the friend that everyone can look to for lunches or dinners or drinks or coffees or slumber parties or weekend adventures anytime. I want to be the friend who remembers to send birthday cards and mother's day cards and supportive texts on especially tough or exciting days. I want to be the friend who's there for exciting and life-changing moments. I want to be the friend that my friends say, "you're always there," or "I knew I could count on you," or "I always have so much fun with you," and never "I miss you," or "it feels like years since I've seen you," or "where have you been?"

I want to give my time freely and without thought. I want to not have to look at the clock when I'm spending time with people and imagine how many minutes have passed that could have been used responding to emails or grocery shopping or cleaning something. I want to not avoid answering a phone call, because I know that I can't hang out or chat or give another presentation or make time for just one more family who needs one-on-one help. I want to drive the speed limit instead of rushing to get to an appointment on time or rushing to get home because I have 100 things to do before I go to bed. I want to read without falling asleep and write without forgetting to add pictures to my blog for two weeks, because I don't have the extra 15 minutes to organize them. I want to lie in bed for an extra ten minutes. I want to stay home and snuggle for an extra hour. I want to not have to say "I have to hang up now, I'm trying to carry in groceries."

And because of this, I overcommit. I say yes to everything or imagine that I can be there for everything. I book my calendar so tight that I have no free time for months. And I have to stop. In the end, I always seem to disappoint someone by canceling or rescheduling or not showing up. I have to learn to say "I'm sorry, I can't," or "no, thank you," or "that doesn't fit into my schedule." I have to admit I can't do it all and be it all to everyone. I had a massive breakdown Saturday night after an especially long, exciting, emotionally-taxing weekend. And with that, I began to cancel and reschedule things I'd committed to doing this week. I hate it, and it's hard, and it makes me want to cry thinking I might let someone down. But part of being a grown-up is realizing when you're overcommitting and learning how to stop. So here's my effort. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, September 24, 2012

100 Things Before 30: 20 Things I'm Proud I Did in my 20's

With my on-going project of 100 Things I Want to Do Before 30, I have compiled a list of the things I'm really proud to say I've already done!

1. Travel outside of the country. In 2008, I went out of the country for the first time. It was crazy to think I'd made it to 25 and not left the country. But then I waited another four years to leave again. I have been to both Mexico and Costa Rica and look forward to many, many more trips out of the country. In fact, I believe we'll be taking one for my 30th birthday.

2. Recognize that the grass always seems greener on the other side, but rarely is. This was a hard lesson to learn, and I still have to remind myself to live my life with this in mind. It's easy to think that you want what someone else has or even what everybody else has, but chances are good, they have complaints and wishes for greener grass as well.

3. Learn how to grocery shop. Not only can I do this, but I can do this like a mother f*cker.

4. Find a career you love. I somehow lucked into the career I have. I never imagined myself being in higher education or outreach, but after my very first professional job in college admissions, I was in love. And the passion has been blazing since.

5. Beware of credit cards. I have heard many a horror story about credit card debt and the pitfalls of it. My family never really used credit cards, so in my mind, it was never really an option. While I may wear my debit card out, I will never scan a credit card.

6. Be in a relationship with a purpose. This may sound silly, but so many of my past romantic relationships were purposeless. They may have felt purposeful, but looking back, my emotional wheels were spinning but not getting me anywhere. I finally feel happy and secure in a relationship that fits me.

7. Start a blog. Done and done.

8. Live on your own. When I was 21 years old, I moved into my first grown-up apartment. I did move back in with my mom for two months in 2008 to get back on my feet after a bad break-up. But I quickly got back up on those feet and lived on my own--all alone--until January 2012 when I moved in with Joel. But that totals 7 years of living on my own, most of those all alone. I have no doubts that I can make it on my own, stand on my own two feet, and be the independent goddess I can be.

9. Dine alone. I know lots of people who have never done this, but I, in the past, made an art of it. I worked in a career where I traveled alone most of the time for several years. In this time, I loved getting dressed up, going to dinner, sitting at the bar and having a drink...all alone. It gives me time to think, a chance to people watch, and honestly, makes me feel ultra glamorous.

10. Pay all my own bills. This goes with the living alone, but I started paying all of my own bills when I was 19 years old. There have been times I've been in some tough spots, and there have been times I've had to ask for help from some wonderful people in my life, and there have been times when I've just had to figure it out. But I have done it and still do and am extremely proud of that.

11. Ask out a crush. I remember when I was single and was interested in someone who wasn't asking me out, most of my friends would tell me to lay low, send subliminal messages, but never ask him out. But then one guy came along that I simply couldn't be coy with. And so I bit the bullet and asked him out. And over a year later, he realizes that was the best thing that could ever happen to him (or at least he freaking better).

12. Quit a job that wasn't right for me. I took a job in my early 20's and although I thought I wanted the job, and I thought it would make me happy, it didn't. It made me miserable. So I made a hard choice and didn't look back. And although it was scary at the time, it worked out for the best.

13. Do something everyone thought I shouldn't. Maybe not everyone, but lots of people thought I shouldn't move home in 2008. I had lived in Lexington for 7 years and had a pretty good life there. But I was yearning for a life in Owensboro. I wasn't close to my family (proximity-wise), and I was missing my nephew and three little brothers grow up. I took a lot of crap for making that decision, but I'm so happy I made it.

14. Move away from home. Again, I lived in Lexington for 7 years, and I'm so happy I was able to experience life outside of Owensboro. It was different and great and gave me memories to last a lifetime.

15. Move back home. Because it was absolutely right for me.

16. Fall in love. I have fallen in love, out of love, and stayed happily in love. It is the best feeling in the whole world and sometimes it can evoke the worst feelings in the whole world, but I am thankful for my experiences in love, and I can't wait to keep building on this certain love story that has my heart.

17. Opened my heart to someone. In my earlier 20's, I thought I wanted a bad boy. I mistook lust for love. I hurt people. I got hurt. I sabotaged perfectly good relationships. I waited around for people who weren't worth it. I let love get away. But through it, I learned that opening your heart doesn't always end in walking away with pieces missing. It can mean something new and wonderful and life-changing. And that's something I can get on board with.

18. Accept the things in my past so I can move forward. Big things have happened in my life that have broken me. Things that I thought I'd never get over or learn to deal with. As I have gotten older, however, I've learned to accept that those things are part of the journey that's leading me in the direction of happiness and wholeness.

19. Forgive someone. With the stories in my life that are full of pain and brokenness, there have been people along the way who hurt me or disappointed me or broke my heart. I have forgiven all of those people. Some of them are still in my life, some of them are no longer, but they are all forgiven in my book.

20. Forgive myself. I've made some pretty terrible decisions in my life. I've done things I'm not proud of. I've allowed myself to be in and stay in bad and even dangerous situations. For a long time, I didn't believe that I could keep myself safe or allow myself to be in healthy relationships. I was angry at myself for that. But in growing up and working through past mistakes, I have learned that I, too, am human and if I can forgive other people, I can forgive myself as well.

Keep checking back for my list 100 Things I Want to Do Before 30 and see how I'm making progress on the list!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

100 Things Before 30 List: 10 Things I Would Never Add

So I've been working on a blog project I'm really excited about where I'm identifying 100 (okay, it's actually shaping up to be 110) things I am going to do before I'm 30 and try to complete them all before the big day. I have spent the last week compiling my list, and for that, I did some extensive research on the internet of other people's suggestions. With that, I came across a few things I would never add to my list. And because you're dying to know, here they are:

1. Do unacceptable things to your hair. At first, I added this to my list. Then I started thinking about my job, my fear of having bad hair, and my commitment to high fashion (which also sometimes includes not putting on clothes all day or wearing the same yoga pants for an entire week). Suddenly, I panicked and marked it off my list. Maybe had I started my list when I was 22 or 17 or, oh, f*ck it, I would have never done unacceptable things to my hair. (Except for maybe not wash it for four straight days--which I do often.)

2. Savor the hangovers of your 20's. This is not going on the list because I absolutely hate hangovers with a fiery passion. So much so that I will sometimes sacrifice a little extra fun in an effort to avoid hangovers (crazy, I know). I have had more than my fair share of hangovers, and so now I would never again willingly sign up for one. Call me a grandma, that's cool. I'll call you the morning after drinking and sing you a song, since I won't be hungover.

3. Go to Vegas. I don't know why, but this is just not my cup of tea. Lots of people get super pumped about going to Vegas and go often and love it. I have not even an ounce of desire to go. This is what Vegas has to offer: alcohol. I have that at home. Big boobs: I don't have them myself and do not care to see them. Gambling: No, thank you. I prefer to, instead of taking $200 and trying to turn it into $400, take $200 and try to turn it into three or four new outfits for me! Sorry, Vegas, you didn't make the cut.

4. Run a marathon. Simple, I'd like to actually complete the things on the list.

5. Buy a house. Lots of people recommended adding this to your pre-30 brag points. This will not be going on my list because we already have a place to live. In fact, we have three.

6. Get purposefully sunburned. Recently on our trip to Orlando, I covered my powder white skin in SPF 100. Not only is getting sunburned uncomfortable and painful, but it is dangerous. I have been through the phases of laying out with baby oil on, going to the tanning bed daily, and dealing with the inevitable result of sun poisoning. I'll keep my milky-whiteness and my skin cancer-free body.

7. Own a convertible. Have you seen my hair after getting out of a convertible? Two words: rat's nest. Will never happen.

8. Bungee jump. Everyone says to add this to my list. I say they are crazy cakes.

9. Do something ridiculous like quit my job just to say I did it. Part of being in your late 20's is realizing how to be responsible when you need to be. I don't want to add anything to this list that would jeopardize the things I've worked hard to build. I'll be keeping my home, job, SO, and all other important things throughout this process.

10. Move away to live somewhere else. I have lived in another city in my lifetime, and it was an amazing experience that I will always cherish. But now, Owensboro is the place for me. It fits my lifestyle, and my job and loved ones are here. I will continue to travel, but I'm fairly sure that my roots will continue to spread in the good 'ole city of Owensboro, KY.

Keep checking back to see the 20 Things I'm Proud I Did in My 20's, the 100 Things I Want to Do Before 30, and the results as I work through the list!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Flashback Friday

Because I have been posting vacation memories this week from last week, you loyal readers have no idea what I've been doing this week. (And I know it's keeping you up at night.) Frankly, I'm so busy that I don't even know what I've been doing this week, but I'm going to try to recall some of the highlights.

I have a wine-induced injury. Not even lying. You know I went to the wine festival on Saturday night and bought several bottles of wine. Well, I purchased a few too many to fit in my handy-dandy wine-carrier that one of the booths gave me, so I was using my purse as a make-shift wine carrier. At one point in the night, I bent over to pick something up and a bottle of wine came rocketing out of my purse and jammed into my elbow. Which luckily broke the fall to the ground, so the wine was salvaged. My elbow was not. I was convinced it was broken for two full days. Joel says broken and "has a bruise" aren't the same. Whatever, it's totally broken. Or chipped. Or something.

I had a cancellation at work on Tuesday, and I actually got to take a nap. It was the best day of my life. Joel was kind enough to recommend I take a nap every day this week, but I told him if I did, we'd have to go to work naked and hungry every day.

I caught up with great friends this week! On Monday, my life-long friend Connie Beth (who just moved back to Owensboro) and my hair expert/very good friend Leslie, and I all went to have drinks and appetizers at a great place called Niko's. It was so much, and I absolutely love getting my friends who don't know each other together, because then we can all be friends! Speaking of, I got to see my very good friend, Brandi and my very good friend/coworker Shelley on Wednesday, and we had lunch at the Bistro with my other very good friend who just moved back to Owensboro, Ashley. I haven't laughed as hard as I did at that lunch in a very long time. In my dream life, I could have lunches like that every day.

I got to see DEE!!! Girls and boys, my sweet preg has been so busy lately because she has welcomed a German exchange student into her home and she has a one year old and our jobs are crazy cakes. But we both had a sliver of time today to grab lunch and tell each other how much we love each other. It made my whole week!! (And I totally think she should start blogging about having a GES, and we should all read it!!! Hint, hint, Dee!!)

We may have a new addition to our family. And when I say "may," I mean most certainly. Remember when Em moved away and my soft-hearted SO agreed to keep her stray kitty at the farm? 
Well, I will be completely honest with you for a moment. After she dropped the cat off, we never saw it again. We had resigned ourselves to the fact that it had been eaten by a coyote or something equally as tragic. I poured a bit of wine out for my fallen homie and moved on. But a few nights ago, we saw something stirring in the bushes, and I will be damned if it wasn't that cat. Joel got it food and water, and I convinced myself that I could touch and hold this kitty who hates people. Joel kept telling me this would never happen, but after about 45 minutes, she came into my arms and started calling me her mommy. We held her a bit while Joel made bets with his friends about whether or not I would bring this cat home to live with us. I kept telling him no amount of love justifies a litter box and that this thing could brave the storm at the farm (I mean she already did for almost two months). But within the hour, he had convinced me to bring this thing home. Now we sort of love her. All of us but CD. He's pissed. And she hates him. And they are in constant competition for eating each other's food. So I've played referee all afternoon between these two, but currently we're at peace, so here's hoping. Here's also hoping this sweet kitty learns to use the litter box and that Joel learns to clean it.

Our sweet kitty turned into an attack kitty. So, we were calling the cat Essie. Because originally we named her Shack Cat, but I said I wasn't going to go around calling for "Shack Cat," so we abbreviated to SC. If you say that fast, it's Essie. However, once our sweet little love started coming around and getting super used to her new family, we spotted a flea on her and decided to spray her with a touch of kitty flea spray. Now, her name is Katniss Everdeen because that bitch is a fighter. She scratched us and bit us and otherwise kicked the asses of two humans, despite the fact that she can't weigh more than two pounds. So we have been nursing our wounds today. I am convinced that I have cat scratch fever and that my finger is going to fall off, but both Joel and Grannie Annie keep assuring me that's not the case. Joel's hands look like a tiny vampire tried to eat them from all the fang marks and my finger is hanging half off (no exaggeration. Okay, maybe a little exaggeration.) I'd include pictures but I'm afraid if I keep typing and playing on the computer, the shred of skin that's holding on my middle finger will break and I'll bleed to death. Katniss Everdeen went to the vet today, and she's a healthy little bugger, but we will have to keep an eye on her to make sure she--and we--don't have rabies.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go nurse my wounds and hope that Katniss Everdeen doesn't start foaming at the mouth or go into attack kitty mode again. Wonder what a good dose of wine does to kittens?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wednesdays are also for Reflection

Last week, we were on vacation. These are postings in "real-time" And by, "real-time," I mean one week ago today. 

It's Wednesday night on vacation and here's what you've missed:

We were getting ready for dinner last night, and I commented on how shitty my hair looks in Florida. I didn't even bother to bring my straightener, but it's so frizzy and gross that it won't even curl properly. So Joel says, "I'll fix it." And proceeded to COMB MY CURLY HAIR. Curly hair girls of the world, you feel my pain. I, trying to be a nice, patient girlfriend, let him comb away, then immediately downed two glasses of wine to help ignore the fact that I had combed curly hair, and I was actually taking that shit out in public. When I saw the final product, I must admit, it didn't look horrible. But I was also half-drunk.
I decided I still love him

Then we had dinner in Downtown Disney, at Fulton's, and by the time we left, we were both covered in lobster juice and butter, but it was oh-so-amazing. And we saw LegoLand, which made me miss my little man and wish he was here with us. 


We argued over whether this was a T Rex. I won.

I've also been missing CD so much and saying every morning and every night how we should have snuck him on the plane with us.

We watched a few minutes of what could only be a Mexican Home Makeover show, and we argued about whether what was being shown was the before or after, because there's no way people were crying over some flowered-up wall paper and Wal-Mart comforters, unless they were tears of "oh, shit, what have they done to my home?" But, alas, Joel was right, and it was the 'after' that they were showing. Wowza.

By this morning after the presentation, I was drinking wine straight from the bottle. I mean, it's vacation, and I get to, so why not. Then I went to yoga, and it was every bit of amazing. If that woman taught classes in Owensboro, I would pay whatever it cost to be her student. I felt amazing, stretched out, and super calm when I finished.

Which was good, because some type of f*cking mosquito/bird/bat-type thing bit me all over my arms, and now I have the f*cking West Nile Virus. These are like seriously huge, itchy painful bites, and I am probably dying as I type this. (UPDATE: They are still there. I absolutely have the West Nile Virus.)
West Nile Exhibit A

West Nile Exhibit B
Tonight, we had dinner at an amazing restaurant called Big Fin. I had raw oysters, which I love. We shared crab legs, which Joel cracks and peels while I eat, and we split a delicious crab/grouper dish that I barely touched, because it was served with mashed potatoes that I drank with a straw. And because we're on vacation, Joel tested the $21 whisky, and we split a shot of vodka with an oyster in it (not worth $17).

Making peace with my Florida hair
We leave tomorrow morning at the ass crack of dawn, and I'm actually really sad. Not just because this vacation wasn't long enough, but also because I'll miss feeling extravagant and exciting in Orlando, when we go back to our nights of evening news and noodle-less lasagna straight from the casserole dish.

Dose of Perspective: We just talked about it,  and although we had a great time here, we agree that we have a pretty incredible life back home. We're so blessed and so surrounded by love in our home that every day feels a little bit like vacation.

And best of all, at home, we have a big furry dog to share it with.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesdays are for Just Say No

Last week, we were on vacation. These are postings in "real-time" And by, "real-time," I mean one week ago today. 

So apparently it's Wednesday but I can't be bothered with knowing that because I'm on vacation, bitches!! But there are few things in life that don't require work, so of course I had to do a bit of that this morning. Here's the deal:

I cannot say enough good things about our amazing resort/suite. It is beautiful, comfortable, huge, luxurious, friendly, etc etc. 

We got it dirt cheap. I didn't really get why, but then we checked in and I noticed a) It's a handicap room. Guess what? That's actually more valuable to me, because I particularly enjoy sitting down while showering and allowing my belly button to look out the peep hole. B) We're across the way from some serious construction. Again, I get the last laugh, because we just turn the TV up louder or the air conditioning up higher so we drown out the sounds of hammering. C) They try to sell you a time share. Not even kidding, they are serious about this shit. They called five times in two days to schedule a complimentary breakfast/meeting with us and give us a welcome gift. I will tell you this: The welcome gift was a travel size shampoo, ten percent off a seafood place we were interested in, and a coupon book to the outlets that probably did legitimately save me quite a bit of money, because I spent my entire savings at the outlet mall.

So Joel tells me since he's doing the conference thing and our time outside of that is precious (damn sweet talker), I should go to the presentation by myself and see what's up. After I cussed at him, I decided this was actually a good idea, because I could claim that I don't make financial decisions without my life partner (we won't tell them about yesterday's shopping decisions made solo) and have an out from their sales pitch. So I get up at an unnecessary hour on vacation and go to the breakfast. I had convinced myself that bacon, eggs, and biscuits would be worth every second until I showed up and realized the breakfast was some damn stale muffins and bad coffee. Already pissed off, I met my sales agent. Honestly, I loved her. She gave me her cell number later in the meeting to call her if Joel and I decided to sign on, and I kind of want to use it to call her just to hang out. She was very low pressure and just gave me the bottom line and how to get the best deal for the money. She understood I couldn't make a decision without Joel and gave me her number to call if we decided to buy. I thought that was it, and I was happy. But then she passed me off to a processor who wasn't as friendly or laid back and acted super pissed off when I said no to a lesser package she was trying to sell me.
As a final kick, they give you a thank you gift for putting up with their shit your time. They let you choose between signing up for their point program and getting the equivalent to one night free hotel stay or $75 cash. They tell you how stupid you'd be to choose the cash, because the hotel stay is much more expensive, and then try to sell you a point package. I assured them that I was, in fact, stupid and wanted my cash. After they act all pissed off and condescending that you've made such a dumb choice, they make you go visit three other people who also try to convince you of your idiocy for taking the money instead of the point program. They all told me it was a bad decision, and I assured them that I make lots of bad decisions and am really quite good at it. I also told them really they were idiots for not realizing I had a firm grasp on my own stupidity and try to flaunt it whenever I can, especially when it comes to monetary matters. But, an hour and a half later, I had a cool $75 in my fist simply for listening to people tell me how dumb I was. Who's dumb now, assholes? I'll think of you while I'm killing even more brain cells with the wine I plan to buy with this moola. In your salesperson faces!

Also, today, I'm linking up with Rachel again for Wonderful Wednesdays! Head on over and check her out!!

lala Lists

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesdays are for Shopping

Last week, we were on vacation. These are postings in "real-time" And by, "real-time," I mean one week ago today. 

In VacationLand, it's Tuesday, so I'll catch you up on what we've been doing that I haven't already mentioned. 

Sunday was our one-year anniversary and after packing frantically, taking CD to the babysitter (aka His Grandpa (aka Joel's Dad) ), and driving to Nashville, we went out for a mini anniversary celebration at our new favorite spot, Bar Louie. We were exhausted, and in fact, ready to go to bed by 6pm, but decided to have a few drinks and enjoy each other's company before heading out for vacation. It was awesome, and we had a great time and took a super cute picture of ourselves on Joel's phone. But he refused to send it to me, because "you're gonna put it on your blog, aren't you." So you get no picture of that night. (Note to self: take that shit with our own phone.)

Monday, our flight was delayed so we decided to commence the celebration with beer and mimosas for breakfast. Everyone at Max and Erma's loved my idea of making mimosas with pineapple juice instead of orange juice, and I don't want to brag, but I'm somewhat famous in the Cincinnati area now. 

Because of our mimosa adventure, we got into a bit of a hurry and needed to use the moving walkway. I have never been on one of these, because it's stupid and simply I'm not coordinated enough to handle it. Joel made me suck it up and get on the damn walkway, and it jarred me so much that I may have pulled a muscle in my lower back. I also looked a bit like a drunk toddler on them and people stared. 

Then on the plane, I had to go to the bathroom so freaking bad that I started to hum aloud one long, constant note to keep myself from pissing my pants. There was a long, steady stream of people jumping up and going into the bathroom before I could get back there. I find it hardly fair that one frantic-looking lady got to use the facilities 16 times (I counted) during the flight, and I couldn't even go once. Then, when the plane was stopped and everyone was standing in the aisle waiting to get off, Joel encouraged me to "just go now." I got back there, took one look at the toilet, and couldn't pee for the rest of the day. I'm not even kidding. I don't know why my body hates me. 

When we got to the car rental place, we got to rent an ELECTRIC CAR!!! Seriously, for dirt cheap. $180 got us a Nissan Leaf for three whole days, and we did not have to pay a cent in gas. It was awesome. I predict we will own an electric car within the year. 
LOVED this car

We decided to have an early dinner on the resort, since we were both tired from being up since 4am and had buffalo calamari, Shock Top beer (MMMMM), and fajitas for dinner. Our server, Enrique gave us great tips of where to eat for the rest of the trip.
See what happens when I take photos on my phone?!?

Sometimes on trips, my colon decides to blockade itself so that I can't go to the bathroom the whole time I'm traveling. Sometimes, it panics and releases everything in it. This trip, it was the latter. Our bathroom at home is far from the bed, and we can't hear each other doing our business over the TV and fan. It is wonderful. This was not the case last night, as I was letting out a symphony of lovely sounds, trying to hold it in, making it even worse and louder, while Joel listened outside the door. Even though it's been a year and we've seen all sides of each other, I still can't let him see that side of me. So, when it's all done, I come out sheepishly and say "sowwy, honey." "Huh?" he replies, "I didn't hear anything." What. A. Gentleman.

Dinner at the resort
All dressed for dinner

Later, we were watching TV and came across an old episode of Full House. I confessed to him that growing up I was head over heels in love with Uncle Jessie. He says, "that fat guy on Dukes of Hazard?" Total generational moment.

Today, I got up and commenced with the shopping I have been longing for. Three hours, several bags, one cab ride home, and fist of money later, I have no idea how we're going to get all this shit home. 

Here's the breakdown. These were outlet malls, so I purchased: 

For Him: 4 button down shirts, 6 t-shirts, polos, or long-sleeve, 1 pr jeans, and 2 Columbia jackets (one winter/one rain). 
For Her: 9 shirts, 1 sweater, 1 cardigan, 3 dresses, 1 pr DKNY jeans, and 2 Columbia jackets (one winter/one rain). 

What it would have been if not on sale: $1,385.
What is was because I'm an amazing shopper: $640.

It was amazing and although I had to transfer money from savings twice and call BB&T and ask them to please turn my f*cking credit card back on (again), we now have fall wardrobes. 

Currently I'm writing at the pool outside our room. Here's a shot of it:

When you're on vacation, you have time to paint all ten!

Stay tuned for more vacation fun!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mondays are for Mini Meltdowns, Even on Vacation

Last week, we were on vacation. These are postings in "real-time" And by, "real-time," I mean one week ago today. 

This weekend was quite interesting because, as usual, I had booked myself so tight that I could barely stop to glance in the mirror to see how big my stress-induced Mt Vesuvius zit on my forehead had gotten. Saturday was tons of fun because I was able to take my sweet, pint sized man (that's Jaxon. Joel is 6'1, that hardly counts as pint-sized) to a cool festival  Owensboro had and throw a mini bday party for him since we'd be missing his party on Sunday.

The day was great, but at the end of it I had a mini meltdown because I always feel so exhausted and pressed for time and can never call people back or return emails or visit people the way I'd like to and despite getting to do fun things, I wasn't able to do the have-to things to prepare for our trip, which meant rushing around Sunday morning and forgetting important things like our unlimited trolley passes for Orlando.

On the car ride home Saturday night, I was confessing to Joel how tired and stressed I am and have been and will be from now until the minute I die an early death because that's what being so stressed all the time does to an otherwise healthy heart, and I just lost my shit. I started crying and talking about childhood traumas and random things like being forced to go to Florida and show off my milky whiteness since I didn't have time to spray tan and having only one toenail painted because that's all I had time for. So when I say mini meltdown, I mean I completely fell the fuck apart.

But for the rest of the night, he was awesomely sweet and attentive and basically waited on me hand and foot. So maybe I should have breakdowns more often. Or maybe if I do, he'll think I'm even more batshit crazy than he already does. Which, surprise Joel, I really am super batshit crazy and will never stop over-extending myself, being in a hurry 100% of the time, and having exhaustion-induced breakdowns (even if it is the day before we leave for a relaxing vacation).

Luckily, now that we're officially on vacation, I can drink alcohol at leisure (like with breakfast) and read and walk slowly and sometimes just sit and think without someone trying to talk to me or schedule me to do something. Sweet, sweet relief.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

And Finally: 100 Things I Want to Do Before 30 (THE LIST)

Here it is! The list of 100 Things I Want to Do Before 30. (Spoiler alert: There are actually 110.) Some I have done before but want to do again in the next months, some I've never done, some I need to adopt as part of my post-30 lifestyle. I'll update the list as fun things happen or new lessons are learned. Keep checking back to see my progress!

1. Take advantage of an open bar. 
2. Sing out loud in a public place.
3. Play elementary school type sports. Kickball, dodge ball, etc.
4. Have one day of complete indulgence.
5. Stay up all night. 
6. Enjoy a late night diner/4am meal. 
7. Buy as much as possible from Forever 21. 
8. Go to/host a theme party.
9. Skip Black Friday, take advantage of Cyber Monday. 
10. When eating finger foods, use the hell out of dipping sauce. Don't be bashful. 
11. If you don't have to eat Ramen noodles, do it anyway to keep yourself humble.
12. Watch 5 of the top 50 movies on IMDb. 
13. Camp in a tent. 
14. Surf. 
15. Keep a plant alive for a year. 
16. Sleep under the stars. 
17. Sing karaoke. 
18. Try snowboarding. 
19. Go to a waterpark and not feel scared or self conscious. 
20. Catch a fish. 
21. Upgrade one room in my house. 
22. Go skinny-dipping. 
23. Take a dance lesson. 
24. Kiss in the rain. 
25. Go skiing. 
26. Tip a server with something other than money. 
27. Play a drinking game.  
28. Drive more than 100 mph. 
29. Drink absynthe. 
30. Lick a 9 volt battery. 
31. Take part in a motorsport. 
32. Set off a fire extinguisher. 
33. Watch all the Monty Python movies. 
35. Get a perfectly justified parking ticket. 
35. Make a bet you can't afford to lose. 
36. Drive on the Pacific Coast Highway. 
37. Go to a music festival. 
38. Try a unique and rare food. 
39. Try three restaurants featured on the Food Network. 
40. Blow $500 in one night. 
41. Buy wine worth more than $50. 
42. Shoot something. 
43. Break something--not a bone!!
44. Use an entire roll of gaff/duct tape in one day. 
45. Make a pointless modification to your home. 

Right of Passage
1. Take (another) trip abroad.
2. Sit down, unplug, and read fiction. Every day for an entire week.
3. Take a road trip.
4. Accept that you can't please everybody, and then decide which select few opinions and feelings you value enough to try and satisfy.
5. Enjoy the journey. The destination is fun, but sometimes the journey is the best part. 
6. Live as if you're not going to make it to 30. 
7. Don't confuse the people who are always present with the people who are always there.
8. Make a point to have too good of a time today to worry about tomorrow.
9. Lay off the current generation of teenagers.
10. Step outside of your comfort zone. Be willing to learn and take on challenges you may not want to do. 
11. Be thankful for what you have. 
12. Start investing.
13. Invest in yourself. Take classes, read books, learn a new skill. 
14. Develop your best skills.
15. Take a girlfriend road trip. 
16. Go hiking. (in Europe, if possible)
17. Watch a movie in a theatre alone. 
18. Buy an expensive piece of jewelry for yourself. 
19. Read one meaning book from the Bible all the way through. 
20. Get something free from a masterpiece of complaining. 
21. Get something published. 
22, Test myself: do something I would never do in a million years. 
23. Spend a weekend in New York. 
24. Read 5 books I've always wanted to read. 
25. Reread 5 books I love. 
26. Climb a mountain. 
27. Take a weekend break more than 4 hours from home. 
28. Take part in a demonstration. 
29. Start a novel. 
30. Have a difficult conversation with someone I love very much. 

1. Volunteer. 
2. Donate to charity. 
3. Take on a mentee.
4. Take food to an animal shelter and walk a dog while I'm there.
5. Give something I don't want to get rid of to someone in need. 

Practical Tips
1. Learn that I don't have to respond to every text, email, or phone call. Go an entire day without technology. I can do this on vacation, but I want to do it in real life.
2. Learn to cook. That's lofty, so cook one complete meal for dinner. Complete with wine and beer pairings.
3. Keep making friends.
4. Don't allow your mood to be linked to your bank account.
5. Whether big or small, always have something to look forward to.
6. Spend more money on experiences and less on material things.
7. Save money whenever possible.
8. Listen and ruminate, but never make important decisions based on others' advice.
9. Live the life you want to live, not the life others expect you to live.
10. Meet with a financial planner or advisor. 
11. Track your expenses for a month.
12. Prioritize. Learn the difference between being busy and being productive.
13. Set up a financial plan. 
14. Save 10% of each paycheck. 
15. Establish healthy eating habits.
16. Set aside time for you. 
17. Be aware of etiquette. 
18. Be a good friend.
19. Create an emergency fund. 
20. Have a complete health check. 

1. Reconnect with someone I have lost touch with.
2. Try and take notes on 30 different types of wine.
3. Buy an entire outfit for full price.
4. Find a mentor.
5. Know what you're getting into.
5. Try the "BEST" of 30 things. (wine, steak, sushi, fish, pillow, sheets, beer, chocolate, bread, butter, cake, etc)
6. Finish my Master's. 
7. Pay off college debt. 
8. Become fluent in something. 
9. Make my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health a priority. 
10. Start recording my family history. 

Everything I Need to Know I Learned While Drinking Wine

Maybe you've heard of the poem Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Well, they were really onto something, and it became abundantly clear last night that some people failed the kindergarten of life.

It is Sharla's birth month, so we decided to celebrate by going to a Jazz and Wine Fest in downtown Evansville. We brought along our good friend, Leslie, and Sharla's husband, Jody. Poor guy, he was completely surrounded by gossiping girls. 

We went to this wine fest as a much larger group two years ago and had an absolute blast. 

But it wasn't nearly as crowded as it was this year. In the year since we've been, they have downgraded to plastic glasses (such bullshit) and cut three hours off the time frame of the event. I'm guessing since people (like me) couldn't start drinking at 1pm this year, they packed the streets at 4:00 when it opened. As we passed super crowded "booze tents" as some drunk called them (that drunk was not me--promise), I got the brilliant idea to pass up the tents near the entrance and go to the ones farther away hoping they were less crowded. This was not the case. The line at the tent we ended up at was through the tent, out the side of the tent, and down the street. 

We waited to taste our first sample of wine for an hour and fifteen minutes. This was fine by us, because we were catching up, and friending each other on Instagram, and otherwise occupying ourselves. At the very same moment, our blood sugar was plummeting, and we all started to feel a bit cranky. 

Then, some assholes decided they didn't need to wait in the hour-long line and that they could cut in front of us. At first, we were all just a bit perturbed. Then as this trend really caught on, I decided I'd had enough, and my hangry self walked up to this group of selfish cutters, knocked their glasses out of their hands, shoved my empty plastic cup down the throat of the one who commented on the long line despite having just cut it, and basically dominated the wine festival and drank all the wine for myself. Except that only happened in my dream after I passed out from lack of food and wine. Except that didn't happen either. 

What really happened was that we finally made it to the taste-test area and no one would give us samples so we started helping ourselves while loudly commenting on the f*ck faces who'd cut in front of us. Then I purchased 8 bottles of wine and drank as much as I wanted in front of the cutters who were still waiting to get samples. And ate some kind of blackberry chicken mashed potato pita, because I was about to go into shock from low blood sugar. 

But after our it's never okay to cut lesson, the night was amazing. We sampled lots of really good wine, lots of wine that tasted like hooch, bought some (seriously 8 bottles for me) to bring home and drink later (or last night as soon as I got home), and made lots of good birthday memories!


Earlier in the day, my fam met up at a Catholic Church picnic to watch my sis-in-law's band, Dysfunctional Groove, play, and they were awesome! And we were so proud of her!! And I made my brothers do a little family photo shoot with me. And they loved it. 

And Stink played an Angry Birds game that made him an angry bird.

And this guy was the highlight of my life. 

And this is how I feel today. 

Be sure to tune in tomorrow and the rest of the week to hear about our Orlando vacation adventures from last week!! You'll love every minute of it, and I'll pretend I'm still on vacation because I have to work 110 hours this week. YAY!!