I had a really great Christmas. Everyone was way too generous in their gift giving. When questioned about this they simply would say “it’s just that kind of year” or “I love you!” and who am I to turn away the generosity of others because of their love for me?
Before Christmas I had actually not been in any sort of spirit for it, barely getting presents for anyone at all. I made out my Christmas cards while very sick, with no address book so I had to look up everyone I could remember and missed a lot of people, and I’m lucky I got out the 20 I did.
My favorite gifts were intangible — seeing friends I haven’t seen in a long time, getting to spend time with family members I love, seeing the happy smiles on faces of people who enjoyed what they receive, getting to try something new and simultaneously fearing and loving it (we drove on the 35 degree incline of the Bristol Motor Speedway, which hosts two NASCAR races a year, and I was so terrified my eyes were moist, but I would of course love to do that again).
I feel like I’ve lost my knack for writing tight blog posts, so just keep bearing with me.
My stepdad gave me the NASCAR track gift AND a Tempurpedic pillow when I told him that the pillow I was sleeping on in the camper made my neck better. He also showed up to a movie he knew would have a lot of things in it he wouldn’t care for, just so we could all be together. My mom gave me the gift of promising to come here in February to help me clean and organize the apartment. If you hadn’t noticed, Dawg and I never showed you a video of our home after we moved in. That’s because it’s a disastrous mess in here, mainly because of all the stuff I lugged here from Vermont. It all needs to go, or be organized so that it fits neatly here, and my mom is riding the Megabus to come all the way here to do that.
And Dawg’s mom told me she wants me to call her Mom. Because I’m a keeper.
My brother’s family sent us gifts from Vermont all the way to Tennessee so we could open them with my mom and stepdad. They were too generous, and I told them so, but they’re happy about it and I now have a fridge filled with peanut butter cups of varying shapes, and a neoprene cover for this MacBook Pro I’m typing into right now.
Dawg gave me items that tugged at my heartstrings because they were from him to me, and they are sentimental to us. And I loved watching him open his gift from Georgie because she truly got him one of the best gifts of all time — 4 pairs of pajama bottoms in a huge box, one pair flannel, one pair fleece, one pair cotton with Santa hat skull, and one pair polar bear.
I am a flawed person, and yet these people still love me. Such a great gift. The best, in fact.
It’s funny how there’s your reality of a situation, someone else’s reality of a situation, and the truth of a situation. The three can sometimes be so mismatched that you spend a really long time battling against closure and (what’s that other adult word people like to use?) forgiveness. Yesterday I finally quit the battle and forgave myself for my part in one of the most ridiculously mismatched situations I’ve ever been a part of.
As with life there are also many interpretations to music. One of my great friends on Facebook tagged me to play a little iTunes game:
1) Turn on your music player.
2) Go to SHUFFLE songs mode.
3) Write down the first however many songs you want that come up–song title and artist–NO cheating, please.
She suggested that if your shuffle presented you with the same artist more than once you should remove the duplicate and shuffle again so that any given artist or group is represented only once.
And here were my results:
1. The Fame – Lady GaGa (<--- this is how iTunes writes her name, instead of Gaga)
2. Run - Snow Patrol
3. Bojangles Remix - Pitbull featuring Lil Jon &Ying Yang Twins
4. I Like It Rough - Lady GaGa
5. The Chase - DJ Rob3
6. How You Like Me Now? (Single Edit) - The Heavy
7. When Love Takes Over - David Guetta featuring Kelly Rowland
8. No Compromise - John Deere
9. Rocket - Def Leppard
10. None of Dem - Robyn
11. High Roller - The Crystal Method
12. Ring-a-Ling - Black Eyed Peas
13. Cars That Go Boom - L'Trimm
14. More Than Friends - Estelle
15. Control Me - Booka Shade
16. Big Rooms Bigger Tunes - Stu Hirst
17. Hey Boy Hey Girl - The Chemical Brothers
18. Florida - Modest Mouse
19. Fever - Adam Lambert
20. Sabotage - Beastie Boys
21. Good Girls Go Bad - Cobra Starship
22. 1 Thing - Amerie featuring Eve
23. Yes - LMFAO
24. We Walk - The Ting Tings
25. So Simple - Alicia Keys
I didn't take out my one duplicate (#4) but if I had then #25 would be:
25. No Joy in Mudville - Death Cab for Cutie
If I had to hazard a guess about myself based on this playlist I'd say I'm a really aggressive lover who enjoys also being aggressed upon by a famous guy who goes to Florida with me once in a while. Nice.
I just thought this was fun. And it made me happy so I’m sharing.
And finally, in closing: Happy birthday, Big Brother. I <3 u, old man.
Back at the end of September Amy posted a recipe for Easy, Budget-Friendly Manicotti using jumbo shells instead of manicotti shells. It looked SO delicious that I went right out and bought all the ingredients to make the recipe! And then I found out that Dawg doesn’t like manicotti.
So, I’ve been waiting to make these shells for just me and finally got the chance on Friday. I modified the recipe from Amy’s, so I’m going to share my version since that’s what I’m eating. And I hope Amy doesn’t take offense, I end up modifying pretty much every recipe I make because … um, I just do … and so here’s what I made with Amy’s recipe guidance, which makes it not quite as budget friendly:
1 package (12 ounces) jumbo shells
1 jar marinara sauce
1/2 jar fra diavolo sauce
1/2 jar Merlot sauce
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Boil jumbo shells on stovetop for 12 minutes. While shells cook make the ricotta filling in a large bowl. When shells are ready drain and rinse with cold water so they can be handled. Place Merlot sauce into bottom of baking pan. Stuff each jumbo shell with ricotta filling to capacity. Place shell on top of sauce. Repeat this, adding as many shells to the pan as will fit in one layer. Top all shells with marinara sauce then top with fra diavolo sauce. Sprinkle cheddar shake onto sauce, covering completely. Bake in oven for 25 minutes.
What if there are a bunch of broken jumbo shells and extra ricotta filling? Just pull out another pan, spread some sauce on the bottom, place all broken shells on top of sauce, spread ricotta filling on top of broken shells, top with sauce and sprinkle cheddar, and bake for 25 minutes.
Here’s a photo of the end product of the unbroken shells:
Back a few weeks ago I wrote on my blog that I found out some family news that I kinda always maybe knew but it was confirmed and it was really taking its toll on me emotionally despite it not affecting me directly. Soon after I wrote that post I got a text message from the now retired-from-blogging Bdogg who asked me what was up. I told her the details and many texts and a few days later she had her seat booked to come to NYC to see me.
Thursday she texted me to say she was annoyed that her plane was delayed, delayed, delayed and then when she finally got on the plane she mentioned she was finally on the plane and I texted back that I was REALLY glad she was missing the storm we were having… which turned out to be a tornado. Dawg and I were supposed to pick up B from the airport so she could stay with us in our home. He got caught up at work because the tornado happened right before quitting time, and then after he assessed the damage at work he had to go to his volunteer ambulance corps in his role as Captain to calm down the utter pandemonium they were experiencing and causing for themselves because they service the area of Queens hit hardest by the tornado. By the time he got home it was 10 minutes after B’s original landing time before her delays. I had considered trying to drive to B myself for a quick minute, but I suck at driving at night and I was seeing the start of reports of the damage around Queens so I waited for Dawg. When he arrived we spent the next 2 hours driving a trip that normally takes 20 minutes in no traffic, 40 minutes in heavy traffic. It was just a big parking lot for much of the trip, and MANY roads were closed completely because (um) there were ginormous trees fallen completely across them and no one with a chainsaw had quite arrived yet to clear the road.
We finally reached B and told her how horrendous the trip home was going to be… and although it took forever to get home it felt like a minute because B was finally here!!!!! And because we went a totally different route home which took us through prostitution territory (apparently they don’t take breaks for natural disasters). When we finally did get home B got to meet all the kitties and she fell in love with Twitter, who was on her best behavior and was giving B the “are you my new mommy?” look. We all went to sleep with a plan for Dawg to go to work in the morning (oh well) and for me and B to take an exciting trip to Manhattan, just the two of us, to have a relaxing but crazy (that’s totally possible) trip.
B and I finally got out to Manhattan at 1pm so we made our first stop be Hale & Hearty for soup and salad. We were both SO happy because it’s where we met for lunch the last time she was in town, just down the street from where I used to work. After we used my terrible sense of direction plus B‘s iPhone’s much awesomer sense of direction to navigate us to Pop-Tarts World (you’ll hear more about that on Wednesday , Sephora, a Japanese bakery, La Maison du Chocolat (super expensive chocolate that is sooooo worth it), and then a train ride to Forest Hills to have dinner at the Santa Fe Steakhouse. It was a fantastically relaxed day with zero arguments, no trying to be nice and compromise because we both wanted to do exactly what we were doing, and we were wiped out by the time we got home. Dawg had to work overnight at vollies so we said bye to him and hung out until we were too exhausted to function then went to sleep.
Saturday was a Queens day! Since Dawg was sleeping the day away after working his day job then working overnight at vollies, B and I went to breakfast at the Georgia Diner just the two of us. Then we had a Poppy-caused adventure trying to get to the Queens Center Mall. We finally arrived and had a great time shopping at Macy’s, drooling over Steve Madden boots, and visiting the LEGO and Disney stores, taking a sitting down break at the food court (if you ever think there are too many people milling around that mall go down to the food court and you’ll realize it could be twice as bad if everyone from the food court was walking around the mall instead of sitting down there…), and finding our way back out of the parking garage. After this we were EXHAUSTED so we went home to take a few minutes rest then B, Dawg, and I went to Simply Fondue for the fondue feast! We had salad, cheese fondue, meat fondue, and the All of the Above fondue where they put all the ingredients from all their chocolate fondues (minus raspberries, for some reason) into the pot and light it on fire. It was so yummy and the company was awesome. We went to Borders for a little bit to get drinks and look at books (I was too exhausted to do that, so I sat in a chair and downloaded Shazam to my Droid) then went home to watch TV and wrap up our time together.
This morning Dawg and I took B back to the Georgia for breakfast then it was time to drop her off at the airport. Sad.
A short and sweet visit, and a friendship that I worried was fading away but is very much alive and well. Thank you, B. I can’t wait to see you again.
That sounds so… confrontational. That was just to tie in the fact that:
1. in today’s Cereal Wednesday I literally set up the shot incorrectly and for much of the video you only see from the bottom of my glasses DOWN to the cereal. But, we do this in one take and that was my one take! So, enjoy.
2. I am now an author on Buy Her and have a review up today. Please go read it, I wrote it for you! Britt has a ton of new authors over there, so I highly recommend that you add the site to your feed reader if you haven’t already. I love it over there, an awesome collaboration of awesomer than awesome women telling you about products and services you might know about but haven’t tried or things you’ve never heard of… or things you have heard of and want to chime in about. It’s ok if you’re a guy, go chime in. We love guys.
3. my back has been doing much better thanks to something I can’t tell you about because I’m writing a review of it! :p You’ll have to wait a while for that. But, point being: My back is no longer SCREAMING at me on a minutely basis, and it is bliss… Did you know 80% of us will experience back pain at some point in our lives? I already had it for 2 solid years before, I think someone else gave me their turn. (Honestly, really, it’s because I’ve gained so much weight, and I know that, and I need to take care of that, but I adore food and haven’t quite yet gotten to my “hitting bottom” point.)
4. I had a group job interview last week and will know this Friday if I get to have an individual interview. I am SO excited to find out. I wrote my little heart out in the cover letter for it. Whether I get the job or not, I think I’ll post an image of the cover letter so you can see me in a nutshell. I’ve never written this kind of cover letter, so I’m hoping I stand out because I wrote from the heart.
5. some very important to me people are visiting soon (one this month and some next month). I’ll fill you in later. I cannot WAIT to see them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
6. TiMER was available as a recommendation to me via Netflix Watch Instantly so I watched it at bedtime on Monday night. It was a really great movie that forces you to think through if you’d really like to be told exactly who your soulmate is, thus discounting anyone else you might have a relationship with. The ending leaves me sad for the main character who spent a lot of time trying to find her one and just dropping people who she realized from the timer on her arm weren’t her one. If I am not currently with the person I’m “supposed to be with” I assure you that I don’t wanna know about it, cuz I love the guy I’m with to little teeny tiny pieces, reconstituted to a sheet of paper, then torn back up into even more pieces.
7. you look beautiful today. (Guys, it’s ok for you to look beautiful, I promise.)
Coffee in my bed clothes.
Meeting Bella‘s neighbors.
Meeting Bella’s mom.
Blue Moon, onion rings, and chicken quesadilla in mah belleh.
Tanger Skechy scents.
Walking in sunshine. As opposed to on it.
MACHETE!! (“Lo siento.” *bang bang*)
No high fructose corn syrup here! Except in the Guinness cheese.
Tip-toe through the handcuffs.
JFK exit 20 instead of exit 19 in 0.1 miles = 20 minutes less driving.
In other words: A great day with one of my BFFs. Thank you, lady.
I’m leaving Wednesday for sunny Orlando where I will attend Star Wars Celebration V and see the (I forget their new name now that the word “mafia” isn’t in it, but I mean my friends). I am leaving my home with a gaping hole in the living room wall and no pipe connected to the toilet. There’s also a drop cloth, an emptied water bottle, and wall shit. When I come back it all better be like nothing ever happened in that corner or else I know who I’m visiting first thing Monday morning with my Dark Lords Rule commemorative baseball bat.
I just want to squee a little tiny bit more that during this trip I will be meeting many of my friends’ children for the first or second time. I love kids, so I’m excited to see them all and see what damage we can cause when we’re all together in one group.
See you on the flip, I don’t plan to blog while there. I do plan to tweet, though. TWEET!
And don’t worry, Mama Dawg is taking good care of the girls, cuz I’m dragging Dawg‘s ass with me to the conference. Also, I have a 3-day crop going in FarmVille, and 1 bottle of unwither in case it decides to croak on the 4th day instead of the 6th.
I got to meet Shannon’s entire family, including her husband Scott (a mad cool guy), Grandma (a mad cool lady), and “Debbie aka Deb-o-rah” (another mad cool lady who demands your respect if you work with her).
I GOT TO MEET LUCKY AND BOO-BOO! and the birdies! and another kitty! And Shannon’s mom’s dog Otter!
I did not get arrested. And neither did anyone else, even though the cops tried their very hardest to set Shannon’s husband off like the very fireworks they were telling us we weren’t allowed to set off.
I was escorted to the bathroom by the lovely Angel who is the BEST bathroom escort ever. She even peed a little laughing so hard when I told her my funny story about the cleaning lady not letting me use my own bathroom so I had to bring a bowl into my bedroom and pee in it. (True story.)
I am not sure this is a highlight, but more of a proud moment for ninja girls everywhere when I was told by Shannon’s brother-in-law to pole dance on the metal tent poles, TWICE, IN FRONT OF HIS GIRLFRIEND, so I told him off. Poppy is not a stripper, yo. Poppy is a respectable lady and demands that you treat her as such. Unlike that fucking dirty whore Molly Pitcher* who has the clap and splinters from riding the wooden pole.
I had Yuengling on tap and in a bottle for the first time ever, then chased it with a delicious Chick-fil-A spicy chicken sammie and waffle fries.
I had a pineapple and coconut concoction made for me by Angel.
I went to a party in another state with only my ID card and my Droid and a bottle of bug spray and some cash as personal possessions. That was nutsoid.
I watched badminton and horseshoes played in the dark.
I went home feeling completely sober and woke up with the worst hangover I’ve ever had ever ever ever but it was well worth it.
And here are a few photos from the event:
Click above to see the flickr set.
*I promise I only mean that the rest area off the NJ turnpike is all those horrible things. I never knew the wife of the wounded rebel soldier. I’m guessing she was lovely.