Express that gratitude year-round

November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! Well... almost. I fully intend to take it easy and keep my belly satisfied for the rest of this week. I deep cleaned my place, knocked out every last work email and went for a run yesterday afternoon, and that's probably the most action my body will get through the end of the month. My kitchen, however, will be getting all the action tomorrow, since the Thanksgiving feast is going down on my turf for the first time ever. Granted, it will only be myself and Moms, but still. Meal for two, please!

In the spirit of the holiday, I'm compiling a list of all the things I'm thankful for. It's always been a tradition to gather around the table and have each individual state the things they're grateful for [as most families probably do], and every year, I'd get stumped when my turn rolled around. Yes, I have countless reasons to give thanks, and I know it, but the cliche answers like "family, life, job, shelter, health" just seemed so run-of-the-mill and generic. They still do. Plus, once it was finally time for me to speak, everyone else had already used up those answers. There was always this understated pressure to say something simple yet unique and maybe even a bit profound. I'd always think, "Can we just get to the food?" but I could never say that. I even felt bad for thinking it. Of course I'm outrageously thankful for many many things, but I constantly do my best to express that gratitude year-round.

For example, I haven't had to take my car to an actual mechanic for a repair in years. Sure, Blu Belle has her issues; she's over 10 years old, but whenever something goes wrong, I have at least three different numbers I can call for help. When my windshield needed replacing, a friend of a friend met me in a Wal-Mart parking lot and did the replacement in under 30 minutes - for cheap. I recently needed my brake pads changed, and another friend of a friend took care of everything for one flat [read:cheap] rate. A couple weeks later, I realized my rotors also needed replacing, and yet another friend knew someone who would do it for free. And then, the regulator in my passenger side power-window decided to fail... it has since been repaired, and all I had to do was purchase the part from Amazon. Seriously, I'm so very thankful for everyone in my life who has ever helped me out with my car. I can't even remember the last time I paid for an oil change.

Next, I appreciate my network of friends who like to eat as much as I do and who I can always count on for some good mealtime conversation. I'm that friend who calls you out the blue, says I'm in the area and asks if you want to get something to eat. The crazy thing is, I have about a 90% success rate with this approach. That's how I best connect with the people in my life: over some bread and wine [literally and figuratively]. I guess there's a reason Jesus emphasized the importance of "breaking bread" with the people we care about, and I don't sit down to eat with just anybody, so.

Other things I'm thankful for include but are not limited to: holiday scented candles and oils - my living room smells like a mix of pine and roasting marshmallows, the snooze option on all alarm clocks, the curse that comes every month and reminds me that everything is working properly within my reproductive system [tmi?], everyone who regularly updates the blogs I follow and gives me a little peek into their lives, and the fact that I no longer work in retail and don't have to deal with this Black Friday madness.

Now... pass me the pumpkin pie.

Aren't I Classy

November 25, 2013

For those people who have been looking for a way to smuggle wine into the movie theater, Walgreens  now has the answer. I'm famous for sneaking food into the movies, and once I tried to slip my iced coffee into a matinee, just to find a huge spill at the bottom of my purse. Over a year later, the inside of that handbag still smells like a caramel latte. It triggers a Starbucks craving every time I wear it. So I imagine that craving would be for cabernet if I had tried to smuggle an open glass of vino into the movie that day. Now I'll never have to worry about that. Aren't I classy?

Why they call it comfort food

November 20, 2013

If you are what you drink, I must've had a few glasses of cough-up-your-lungs this weekend, because that's all I did on Sunday night. It was one of those restless evenings where all you want to do is sleep, but that's near impossible when that tickle in your throat refuses to settle down. My body finally knocked out from exhaustion around 3am on Monday morning, and I woke up at 7ish feeling like I had fell off the back of a truck. Everything ached. My core muscles were spent, and I was in pain just getting out of bed to brush my teeth. I'm the stubborn type who hates taking any kind of medicine because it never really helps anyway. Claritin, Zyrtec and all those other allergy pills do absolutely nothing for my uncontrollable sneezing during allergy season, and Robitussin hasn't calmed a cough for me since kindergarten. I just suffer through the icky-ness and let my immune system do it's job. So that's what my Monday was spent doing: suffering, and sitting on my sofa, looking out on the patio at this lovely [read:blah] view. To make things worse, I caught the worst headache later that afternoon [caffeine withdrawal] [how am I supposed to run to Starbucks when I can barely get up to pee?], and even after I caved and popped some ibuprofen the dang thing just would not go away. Around 9:30pm I crept under my covers, closed my eyes and tried to think about how there are people in the world way more sick than myself and how I should be grateful that this would soon pass.

And whadaya know, I woke up the next morning feeling a good 70% better than the night before. I jumped on my computer, caught up on work and started to get back in my usual routine. By the end of the day, a super deep hunger hit me with some serious aggression, and I met up with a friend for dinner at Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro. Pasta with Grilled Chicken as the main & Bread Pudding for desert... it's after meals like these that I remember why they call it comfort food. I'm already looking forward to my leftovers for lunch.

Read, Baby. Read.

November 13, 2013

Awhile back, Kimberly asked for a few solid book recommendations, and without hesitation, I started rattling off a few recent titles in her comment section. I could've listed at least 15 good reads without coming up for air, but I stopped when I realized I haven't sat down to read a good novel in a few months, maybe longer, and this is extremely out of character for me.

During my grade school years, when summer break hit, all the kids in my neighborhood would play outside from dusk 'til dawn. No exaggeration here. We only went inside to eat, pee (confession: sometimes we just peed outside) or grab a different toy/game to play with. Every morning I would wake up anticipating the excitement that was waiting for me outside the walls of our house. But every morning my mom would lay out a list of academic work I had to finish before I could go out and play. She bought math and science workbooks with countless pages for me to complete, and every week I had to write a book report. YES, a book report. Do kids still do those these days? I haaaated it. There I was sitting on the couch in our living room, with a calculator in one hand and a Nancy Drew novel in the other, trying to survive the torture of hearing all the hopskotch and hide-and-seek fun I was missing on the other side of my front door, because none of the other kids' parents made them do schoolwork on a sunny afternoon in July. It was the bane of my pre-pubescent existence, but I forced my way through one book after another, just so I could finally go outside with my friends.

On days when there were no kids to play with and nothing entertaining to watch on TV, I'd approach my mom with a phrase she hated hearing: "I'm bored." Pretty soon I learned my lesson about that one, because she'd come up with a laundry list of things for me to do around the house. If I was still bored after that, she'd just tell me to read. Read, Baby. Read.

Well... twenty years later, here I am with this knack for reading that I just can't seem to shake. THANKS, MOM. I've had people look at me sideways for choosing a novel over some trending self-help book, but a good story sucks me in like a deep, sweet dream. I'm currently on my 3rd read of a Jurnot Diaz narrative because the tale was too captivating to only flip through once. That 3rd read, however, is taking me forever to finish. How am I supposed to get through these last few chapters when The Walking Dead, Scandal AND Nashville all have new episodes coming out every week?

If anybody has any kind of book recommendations, please please please drop it in the comments. It's time I dust off the ol' library card or maybe even renew my Barnes & Noble membership.

Only Guilty Men Bring You Flowers

November 11, 2013

I'll keep this short.

Thoughts shared last night between Meredith & I, while on our 2nd glass of white merlot: why do men wait until the screw up to buy flowers for their lady? Flowers are nice. They're these beautiful living arrangements that don't take up much space and only demand as much attention as you're willing to give. Put them near the sun, change the water every few days and watch them turn into a gift that can light up your living space for a week or so. A man is quick to take us out to dinner (a gesture that wears off as soon as our hunger returns), buy us a drink or take us somewhere different for a date, but the thought that goes into buying flowers for your woman requires a different kind of thought process. A thought process that only seems to happen when they're trying to make up for something. Can I get flowers just because you walked past the floral section at the grocery store? But then, that would require a man taking a trip to the grocery store... on his own... and maybe that's asking too much. Keep them expectations low, ladies.

Except don't.

I might be a tad bit obsessive compulsive

November 7, 2013

Yesterday, I had 3 different people make comments on how clean & tidy I keep my home. The term OCD was tossed around a few times, and as they backed up their conclusions with semi-solid evidence [I don't go to bed with dishes in the sink, I frequently wipe down the surfaces I'm using, I keep the blanket on my couch neatly folded... y'know. Normal stuff], I decided that maybe I could be just a teeny tiny bit anal when it comes to keeping my living space in order. Truthfully, I just dislike chaos. In a world that's so disheveled and erratic, my home is the one place where I can and should be completely in control of how things look/feel.

It's nice to have some order in your life, which is why I like outlines and lists. A little bit of disarray is always nice, like how my photos sometimes have absolutely nothing to do with the post, but for the most part, I need structure. In college, all my academic essays had to be outlined before I could start writing, and I'm drawn to numbered lists. That's why when I read Joy Felicity Jane's update for the day, I had to follow suit. [BTW, the photography on her blog is well worth the click] [seriously, WELL WORTH IT]

It's November 4th. Rent is now late.

November 4, 2013

You know how men are always saying that we women don't know what we want? No man has ever, ever been able to say that about me. When I want something, I make it clear and find a way to make it happen (within reason). I struggle with whether this is a good or bad personality trait, because it's times like this weekend when I had to get difficult with two different Sprint store managers that I wonder how far is too far.

Ah well. I walked out with the exact phone I wanted, and it didn't cost me a dime. I even had a credit on my bill by the end of the day.

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