Tuesday, December 31, 2013

#120 He Takes a Cup of Kindness to 2013

I'm not one of those who grows overly sentimental on New Year's Eve.  In fact, I'm not an overly sentimental type in most categories of life...although I was pretty bummed last week when I broke my astronaut ornament that hubby bought me last year.  If you don't know why I would have an astronaut ornament, don't ask--the explanation wouldn't make much sense anyway.

As a blogger, I decided it would be only fitting to give a run down of 2013 via what has occurred here on "Somewhere That's Green".  As I skimmed over this year's posts I realized two things:

1. Some of these things seem like they happened ages ago.
2. I definitely need to blog more.

January, 2013


The best thing to come from January, 2013 was a gratefulness to my father for never having given into my pressing desire to go plumbing with him.  This was an expensive lesson I learned while he was at my house several times regarding blockage of...well, you know.  Read about it here: cess pool issues

February, 2013

boys and gram

We celebrated my Gram's 80th birthday.  Recently, I was given a compliment that I haven't heard since I was probably a preteen.  My grandmother came to my church to hear me play violin, and one of the ladies I was playing with said, "That's your grandmother?  I thought it was your mom!  She looks incredible."

Read about Gram's birthday bash here: Let's Grow Old Together

March, 2013

Apparently, at least according to my blog, not much happened during March, 2013.  My favorite post of the month was in celebration of World Down Syndrome Day (something that is guaranteed to get me to blog during the month of March).

If you missed it and would like more information about those with Down syndrome read this: All That Matters About People With Down Syndrome

April, 2013


We didn't take a vacation this summer, so our trip in April to Desilu Studios and Pathfinder Village was pretty much it.  It was a short trip, but inspirational time well spent with Hubby.

May, 2013

My favorite post of the year occurred in May after the weight of Easter and the History Channel's The Bible series got to me.

Favorite post of 2013: #96 He Has Been Redeemed

June, 2013


In June, Hubby built and planted our first garden.  It was a little late in the season, so we didn't have a massive crop, but it got us excited about the possibilities for 2014.

July, 2013

100th 4

I celebrated my 100th blog post!!  Looking forward to another 100 reasons for why I love this man.
#100 He Gives Me More Than 100 Reasons To Love Him

August, 2013


Two fun things happened in August:

1. My Gram, you know, the one who just turned 80, got a tattoo with me and
2. I received a call from my principal asking if I wanted to teach Kindergarten this year.

I'm not sure which I was more excited about.

September, 2013


For Hubby, this was the year of the stache.  He was determined to have a full handlebar mustache by August and succeeded.  In September, he shaved it off for me.  What a glorious day it was.

Sadly, I must state that he recently regrew the stache.  Perhaps I will be posting in 2014 about how he gets rid of it for good?

One can only hope.

October, 2013

I was lucky enough to meet my cooking inspiration: The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, again.

November, 2013

Hubby's job goes through many crazy busy stages, however November was the craziest it has ever been.  Hubby began working with a client that has him taking business trips to LA.  Even though I hate when he is away, the old adage "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" is proven all too true whenever he leaves.

December, 2013


December has been a month full of excitement for my home and my kitchen.  There are great things in store over at The Orange Strainer.

Friday, December 27, 2013

#119 He Doesn't Stop the Music

I love in November when some radio stations begin playing Christmas music all day long.  In my area, I have a choice of three which makes commercial breaks just fine with me.  As Christmas Day draws near, a few other stations join in with nonstop Christmas music and everything is right in the world.

The day after Christmas everything changes.  Finding a Christmas song on any radio station is like expecting to hear a Mozart piano sonata on a heavy rock station.

I can't wrap my head around why at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Day the plug is pulled on everything Christmas.  Suddenly, the pinks and reds of Valentine's Day stand in the forefront of supermarkets and department stories.  Radio stations go back to their regular routine, as if they had never played music filled with the hope and cheer of the season.  Employees of various entities who could only give the farewell greeting of "Happy Holidays" now suddenly can say, "Happy New Year".

In Miracle on 34th Street, Kris Kringle says, "Christmas isn't just a day, it's a frame of mind..."

Far too many people have a mechanical frame of mind towards Christmas.  Thanksgiving ends, Christmas decorations go up.  Gifts begin to be bought.  Cookies are baked on this day.  The tree is bought on this day.  Presents are wrapped on this day.  The tree comes down on this day.  Decorations are packed up and put away on this day.  Then, we'll all meet up at the same time, same place next year to do it all over.

Of course, some of the above rant is tradition.  I have nothing against tradition.  I love it.  My problem is when we lose sight of the meaning of Christmas by making it a meaningless part of the machine that is our everyday life.

When the music ends, it's like the world is saying, "We're done with that, now it's onto the next big thing,"

I know I'm a bit of a fanatic.  I get eye rolls when I say that I've been listening to Christmas music since September, a mixture of reactions when I put my first tree up towards the middle of November, and constant questioning towards the end of January from those wanting to know when I will finally take my decorations down.

I don't do it because I'm eager for Christmas Day.  I don't do it because I'm impatient and can't wait until Halloween and Thanksgiving are over.  I do it because the emotions and feelings that go into everything that is Christmas are ones I want to embrace for as long as possible.

The excitement and anticipation to give and receive.

The warmth and coziness of a glowing tree.

The contagious cheer that spreads like wildfire as the day approaches.

The childlike thrill of the first sparkling snowflake that falls from the sky.

The hustle and bustle of preparing the perfect gift or meal for loved ones.

The peaceful calm of knowing every family member is here to share one more Christmas.

The hope and joy of a Savior born to save us all.

So if you pass by my way and the buds of spring surround or the glow of a summer sun is in the sky, and you hear Christmas music--don't think me crazy.   Instead, know that I am longing for the feelings that only this time of year can bring and should not be too soon forgotten.

Monday, December 23, 2013

#118 He Doesn't Trash Pick

Hubby has a firm rule: We don't pick people's trash--no matter how good it may look.  While I may not have always followed the rule firmly, I've learned, as always, that Hubby knows best.

While on first drive by it may look as if the owner is insane for parting with the items resting patiently for trash day by the curb, I've found that if someone has put something out for trash there is usually a good reason that they did.

In October, I broke our rule and picked something up off the side of the road.  I'm giving myself a free pass on this one because it wasn't exactly in the "trash" category.  Four slatted doors with the sign "free" taped to them sat propped against a tree of one of the homes on the way to my parents' house.

I'm going to be honest---I knew when I picked it off the side of the road that it still fell under the trash picking category in Hubby's mind.  If I'm being really honest, it was that way even in mine.  But I had a reason, a very good reason.

Here lies my inspiration for grabbing the one door that I instantly found to be longer and heavier than expected, as I rammed it into the back of my car, after nearly falling onto my bottom, then almost taking out my rear window, while balancing this behavior with continuing to peek behind me in hopes that the home owners didn't come outside to get their mail at this precise moment:

Hubby's boss buys me a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens every Christmas.  Because of this, I have an ongoing file of future home inspiration and current home projects.  Considering my display of Christmas cards usually involves taping them around a doorway in the kitchen, this picture inspired me to find a more creative display for notes of love during the best time of the year.

I'm sure you can see why I needed a slatted door and why finding one on the side of the road was an absolute gold mine for me.*

*Note: For as much as Hubby does not want me to trash pick, he also does not want to spend either minimal or astronomical amounts on items that appear to be anything other than brand new.

While Hubby was away in LA, I cleaned the originally white slatted door and painted it red.

Okay, that story isn't quite that simple.

I went to Walmart, grabbed the cheapest, smallest can of red paint I could find only to discover upon finishing painting my first coat that it was Rust-oleum paint: paint geared towards protecting against rust and corrosion.  

Really necessary for a wooden door, right?

Yeah, that's exactly what I thought when I discovered it.

I also quickly discovered that paint, maybe particularly Rust-oleum paint or maybe just paint in general, smells absolutely horrid and can fill an entire house within minutes.  So on one of the coldest days in November, I cracked open all the windows in my house, left, and prayed that the smell would clear out.

Then I got the bright idea that I should have just endured the cold and painted the door outside.  Because, of course, I couldn't turn back time, hours later I moved the door outside and that is where it stayed for the following week.

But I think it was well worth it.  I now have a beautiful display not only for Christmas cards, but thank you cards, birthday cards, and other notes that ordinarily would fill the front of my refrigerator or the frame of my kitchen doorway.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

#117 He Counts His Blessings

One of my favorite Christmas songs has always been, "Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)".  In case you aren't familiar, here's a little bit of it:

"When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
I fall asleep counting my blessings

When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
I fall asleep counting my blessings"

I have an immeasurable amount of blessings for which I am beyond thankful.  This isn't even the tip of the iceberg, but I find it of utmost importance to sit down and recognize my blessings every so often so that when I have a moment where I find myself wallowing in a pool of my own tears I can put everything into perspective by remembering all that I have been given.

1. Family

Dad: My dad recently started a new job and up until two days before Thanksgiving, he was committed to working Thanksgiving day.  That meant missing my delicious dessert breakfast and coming home to a late Thanksgiving dinner, and then getting up early the next morning to do it all over again.  I'm thankful my dad found out he didn't have to work Thanksgiving and was able to spend the entire day home with his family.

Mom: Every year my mom makes our entire feast and doesn't ask any of her children for a lick of help.  Do I think she's crazy?  Yes.  But I'm so thankful for a mother who provides, doesn't demand, and loves unconditionally.

Gram and the memory of Pop: My grandfather, Pop, would occasionally volunteer to pray at our holiday meals.  It was a deeply emotional prayer thanking God that he was alive one more year and able to spend the holiday with his family.  I'm thankful for his memory and thankful to still have my Gram with us.

Siblings: This Thanksgiving, not only am I thankful for my birth siblings, my siblings by marriage, but also for those that are my siblings not only through birth.  I'm grateful for those I got to spend part of the day with and those who are always with me in spirit.

Hubby: My blog says enough for why I'm thankful for my husband, but this picture says even more:


2. Food

My love for eating food has been ever present.  However, my love for cooking food has not always been.  My mother dragged me to a pampered chef party at my Aunt Terry's house the year before I was to be married.  All the women were going around answering the question, "What do you like to cook?"  When it came to me, I honestly blurted out, "Nothing.  My husband is going to starve."  I'm thankful for this inexplicable love of cooking, baking, and being in the kitchen.

I'm also thankful for the tradition of my family dessert breakfast.  You can read about how it began and what last year's was like here: Thanksgiving breakfast.  I'll be posting over at www.theorangestrainer.blogspot.com a few new recipes I did this year.

Like this candied bacon:


And these cinnamon rolls:


And this cranberry butter:


3. Relaxation

It is hard for me to take time to relax.  I have to be severely ill or interested in watching a movie to actually "relax".  Thanksgiving is one of the few times during the year that my couch and I cozy up together with absolutely no regrets.

4. Holidays

Holidays and the traditions within them are a blessing.  I know that I can take the likeness of Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof when it comes to traditions and holidays.  I have a controlling love over them.  Unlike Tevye, who followed tradition because it was all he ever knew, I think I have such a firm grasp to mine because some of the best times of my life have been spent within moments of family traditions.

This was a last minute cell phone shot.  I love it.
5. Home

There are many who can't be home during this time of the year.  Sickness, location, careers, and more keep many separated from their loved ones with no consideration of what time of year it is.

This is a tough one to remember to be thankful for.  It is something that we often take for granted.

Of course we will be home for the holidays.

Of course we will hug our family members once again, eat together, laugh together.

I'm thankful, just as Pop always was, for another year to have the privilege of being home with my family.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#116 He is Humble

I love my blog.  I love being able to write about what I want, whenever I want.

I do have a confession though.  Sickeningly sweet displays of affection between significant others disgust me.  When I see PDA, I want to barf.  When couples baby talk to each other in my presence, I want to bonk their heads together and say, "Yo! You're thirty-something-years-old for crying out loud, knock it off!" 

Now, I realize I'm a hypocrite.  I throw sickeningly sweet displays of my love for my husband at you all the time.  In other words, feel free to give me, as Liz Lemon from 30 Rock says, "an exaggerated eye roll".

Sickeningly sweet, or seriously scary?  You decide.
No, you know what, you deserve two.  Go ahead.  Two exaggerated eye rolls for you for putting up with my nonsense.

Blogging, or even let's just say the social media world period, has given people a power that they have abused.  We speak like we know everything, when really half of the content out there is plagiarized imitations which seek desperately to wow peoples' news feeds with yet another post that states something opposite the usual like, "Why I Don't Love My Children" but really in the end has a moral (or not in some cases).*

*Note: I don't have children, so don't get any ideas.

But we really know nothing.  We over glorify our opinions and write them in a way that seems so convincing the reader looks at it and thinks, "Wow, this is written so adamantly, it must be true".  

Me?  I am not a verified source in anything.  I hold no more than a simple bachelor's degree and a few master's credits.

It doesn't stop there.  Social media allows us to boast proudly of accomplishments that others from the outside looking in stare baffled by the hows and whats that it took to reach such incomprehensible feats.  In other words, we make out that we are living perfect pinterested lives when really we should be reaching out to those who can't even spell pinterest.

Wait a minute.  Pinterest isn't even a word.  So, who cares if you can't spell it? 

For the past four days I have been unable to speak much higher than a whisper without sounding like a croaking toad.  

Laryngitis is for the birds.  

So maybe it is the fact that I've had to listen more, or maybe it's just something that getting old does to you, but I'm tired.

I'm tired of people being against people.  I'm tired of people who think they know everything.  I'm tired of people caring more about who liked a picture they posted than if a friend in need has made it through the night okay.  

Bottom line: I'm tired of people caring only for themselves.  

When did we allow ourselves to become so numb to the people around us?  To not realize that every single life matters and should be treated in such a way?

I have a million things swimming in my mind that I want to post about Thanksgiving.

Like these beautiful, sinfully scrumptious scones
I've been planning and preparing and prepping for my favorite day for weeks, but the feeling that has been overwhelming me right now is want for my fellow man.  Want that each person would feel valued.  Want that each person would have exactly what they need in life.  Want that we all could treat every person we run into with love and warmth, regardless of who they are, what they stand for, or what they did to us.

We have so much to be thankful for.  Thanksgiving really isn't the day to do it.  Everyday is.  Instead of making Thursday about giving thanks, why can't we give to others so they can have something to be thankful for?  

I don't mean in the typical way.  This is the time of year when you'll hear it most: food drives, clothing drives, gifts for children.  All of that is wonderful and certainly something worth participating in, but how about the things you can give without spending a dime?  How about the things that you can give when it isn't the giving season?

A smile
Holding the door for someone
A compliment
A conversation 
A hug
A word of encouragement
Letting someone get in front of you in the check out line
Your time

I'm not really a wishy washy person and you certainly won't hear me constantly ragging on issues such as this, but it's one that is on my heart for the moment.  Again, I'm not a verified source on anything.  But, I believe the main focus of our lives is not meant to be ourselves, but others.

Who can you give to so they have a reason to give thanks this holiday season?

Phone Pictures 062

Thursday, November 21, 2013

#115 He Knows Everything About Me

Facebook has a way of eating life away.  I've noticed the most current "trend" is to give someone a number which will tell them how many things they should write about themselves that most people don't know.  I thought about it and realized after perusing most people's lists that most things on there most people would probably learn after only spending a short amount of time with that individual.*

*And I also just realized I used the word 'most' in that sentence a lot.  I'm sorry.

I decided I would come up with a short list of things that you would learn about me if given a short amount of time alone with me.  I'm sure they will fascinate you to no end.

1. I'd do anything for my family.

This is a smack your forehead 'duh' statement.  But let's investigate a few examples of how I've lived this out recently.

Exhibit 1: Helping my grandmother apply fake eyelashes twenty minutes before we need to leave for my brother's wedding, a concept which certainly sounded much easier than it really was.


Exhibit 2: Crouching down on my hands and knees in a bridesmaid gown in a three foot corner of a room for what felt like eternity trying to figure out what went wrong with my sister-in-law's train as my husband held it high in the air and the rest of the bridal party sat around snacking on hors d'oeuvres.*

*Wow.  What a sentence that was.  Or, perhaps I should say: That was a quite a sentence!**

**Sorry, grammar and me don't get a long.  Wait, is it grammar and me, or I?  Or is it, me and grammar?  Now I'm confused.  

Not one of my better moments in life.  I may or may not have gotten a little snippy with one of the bridesmaids.


Good thing all you can see is my back.

2. I can't stand the sight of blood.

It only takes a 9-year-old shoving their bloody hand in my face at recess for everyone around to realize the truth of this point.

3. I'm a bit of a hypochondriac.

It is for this reason I do not go on webmd.  Ever.

4. Christmas is my favorite time of year, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.


As can be seen by the fact that my Thanksgiving decorations were up before Halloween and I am currently gazing at my beautiful Christmas tree that my grandmother gave me.

5. I have never been to Disney World.

When I was younger Disney World was this fantastical land of mystery that all the other kids my age went to, but I never could.  You might recall my recollection of this pastime from this post.

At this point in my life, thankfully, the desire has completely faded away

6. I will never eat food that is past the expiration date.


See number 3.  Trust me, they go together.

7. I have never broken a bone.

I have, however, awkwardly stepped down off of a brick step upon leaving a restaurant and 'strained' my ankle.  (Yes, this was the medical term for what went on down there).  The following day I couldn't stand up without yelping in pain.  I got dressed for work, literally used my arms to scoot my bottom halfway down my staircase before I realized I wouldn't make it into work and had to call my boss and embarrassingly explain that I had severely hurt my ankle.*

*Note: I've heard of this happening to girls who have been, well, a little intoxicated.  Sadly, I can't even use that as my excuse.  This was unfortunately a completely sober me who apparently just didn't know how to walk that night.

8. I have perfect vision.

I take after my father in this department.  He is my only immediate family member who I share this trait with.  However, now I stand alone because he uses reading glasses.  Not because he has to or anything (you know, like, because of his age) he just thinks they look cool.*

*Note: Yes, I'm kidding.  He needs them just like he needs hearing aids and continues to torture my mother to no end by not getting them.

9. I cut my food with my left hand.

Every time I do this in front of my grandmother she comments on it, then double checks with me that I actually do write right handed.

In other words, we have the same conversation about ten times a year.

10. I get bored with lists like this easily.

As in, I almost made up the last three points on this list just to reach an even ten.  It took all day, but I finally came up with something.

Therefore, I am done.  Sorry for having eaten away as much life from you as Facebook.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

#114 He Has Made Me Dependant

This past week has been the worst week of my life.

Now before you start thinking that I'm just a typical woman complaining about life, please make note: I'm not that kind of woman.  I don't normally complain about bad days.  I try to make the best of each day.  I don't take sick days.  I never milk a cold, a headache, my period, etc.  I am a woman, I have all the issues that come with being a woman, but I do my best to not allow that to have an impact on my day.

This week I've learned that without my Hubby, I am nothing.

Many women hate such a statement.  I suppose it does have a way of making one seem less empowered and more dependent.

If needing my husband in my life makes me that, then so be it.

On Monday, Hubby left me for a week and a half long business trip.  I expected to begin missing him somewhere along the third or fourth day, yet by the end of day one I was already feeling as if my reason for waking up each morning was completely gone.

I wasn't even excited about food.

That is a serious problem.

I quickly (quickly as in within minutes) had a new found perspective for the military wives out there.  My husband was barely gone a day, and I was feeling completely helpless without him.  I can't imagine how they do it for months on end.

The first day, my brother, Jonathan, came over and hung out with me to keep me from missing Hubby too much.

The second night, I planned to get a few things done around the house, then batten down the hatches for my first night alone.  I cooked myself a miserably lonely, pathetically lacking gourmet quality, dinner of frozen meatballs and macaroni.  Somewhere around 8:15 pm my carbon monoxide alarm began going off.


I was instantly annoyed and found it rather odd because only a week ago I had changed the batteries because it had started to go off.*

*Note: I had also turned the heat off because something instinctual inside of me said that it going off wasn't the batteries but was connected to the heat being on.

Since Hubby was away, that left me completely alone to make the decision of what to do about the screaming piece of plastic on my wall.  I did what any sensible grown woman would do.

I called my daddy.

After explaining about the batteries already being changed, he instantly hypothesized that my chimney was backed up.

Great.  Just great.

He asked if my heat was on, and when I said yes, he told me to turn it off.

I happen to have a serious paranoia problem.  Even though my father said I would "more than likely" be fine now that the heat wasn't pumping dangerous gas into my home, I packed up my laptop and headed to Starbucks.  As I sipped on my Caramel Macchiato and graded some school work, I pondered the thought of sleeping at my parents' house if only for my piece of mind.  Then I considered the fact that I left the batteries in the alarm and it was probably still going off.  I secretly hoped that my neighbors didn't care enough about Hubby and me to knock down my front door to try and save us.

My suspicions were confirmed when I returned an hour later and my door was still in tact.  I wasn't sure if I should be offended or grateful that I didn't have to deal with a broken door and an awkward situation.

After an unsettling hour pretending to myself that I would be fine staying in my now heat-less home, I decided at 10:20 pm to go sleep at my parents' house.

Thus started my horrible week.

The fourth night Hubby was gone, I finally came back to my house to venture sleeping in my own bed.  But first, I went to dinner with my dear friend, Amy, at Longhorne Steakhouse.  Either it had been a long while since either of us had been there or we were both extremely famished, because everything we put in our mouths we instantly wrote love sonnets to.

But our dessert, oh our dessert....


This was worthy of not a sonnet, but an epic poem.

Pumpkin Spice Lava Cake.  I don't know what more to say than: warm icing, cream cheese goodness, happy tummy.

At this point we were ready to pass out.

The fifth day I finally had more than one hour in my home in which I could be a little productive.  I did something that I never, ever do.

I dusted.

I would be ashamed admitting that I never, ever dust my home, but I just can't be.  There are too many other important things in life for me to be doing than to spend any large amount of time dusting my home.

But with Hubby gone, it seemed like the right thing to do.

Amid dusting, I decided to give our bedroom a deep clean.


I think Hubby has an Under Armor addiction.

Thankfully, my sister-in-law, Kristina, invited me to dinner that night.  Being around other people made the time move a little faster, but still not fast enough.

During our time apart, Hubby and I did something that we hadn't done since high school....

...we talked on the phone for more than five minutes.

In fact, we stayed on the phone for a little over two hours most nights.  It reminded me of how thankful I am that I don't ordinarily have to talk on the phone for so long to Hubby anymore.

It was about this time that I started complaining that he wasn't sending me any pictures of the places he had been going.  After all, I take pictures just about every where we go together, and here he was alone and not sharing his journey with me.*

The first picture I received was of this crazy building:


I'm not exactly sure how I would feel to be in one of the offices above the empty space.  I hope they get a special bonus at the end of the year.

*Note: Hubby made me clarify this business with the pictures he sent me.  He wants the world to know that he didn't just start sending me random pictures on his own.  Apparently, that's a strange thing for a person to do.

Oh boy, am I in trouble.


He didn't get too much free time to himself because it was really a work, work, and more work trip.  Saturday and Sunday, after he spent a little bit of time at the office, he was able to take a few hours outside of the work zone.


I know he truly loves me, because he took pictures of his food for me.  This sign alone makes me know I would love this restaurant.


Oh my stars.  Does life get any better than this?  Kale and butternut squash salad with grilled ham and cheese.  Hubby was on the phone with me as he was eating this meal.  Afterwards he kept telling me how full he was and I just couldn't believe it.  That must have been one crazy sandwich!


Saturday morning there was a film crew outside of Hubby's office building.  He said they offered him the leading role for the scene they were shooting, but he turned them down.

Such a modest man I married.


Pink's is a top ranked, high rated, widely reviewed hot dog joint in Hollywood.  With specialty hot dogs like the "Martha Stewart", the "Lord of the Rings" and the "Three Dog Night" I can only imagine how wonderful his was.   


Hubby shopped in Hollywood a little and then sent me this picture.  It reminded me a lot of our trip to Vegas, only minus the casinos.  

Tonight Hubby will be home.  I'm just a tad beside myself with excitement to have him back.  While I never ever want him to go away for this long again, I have to appreciate this week spent without him.  The old saying ,"You don't know what you have until it's gone" certainly applies.  Here I started the week thinking I was this tough chickie who could certainly handle nine days without her man.  Now I am awakened to realize how essential he is to every single moment that takes place in my life and how much he truly completes me.  

Sappy?  Yes. 

Should it be any other way?  No. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

#113 He Dislikes Daylight Savings Time

We all moan and groan in the spring when we lose an hour and have to spring forward.  This cruelty and unfairness is completely gone from mind when in the fall we gain an extra hour.  Hubby, the ever rebellious individual that he is, not only dislikes daylights savings time during "Spring Forward", he also hates it during "Fall Back".

This I can't imagine.  How could anyone ever dislike having an extra hour added to their day?!

Yet Hubby still declares to me twice a year that it is preposterous that America has adopted such an idea as to adjust our clocks to fit in accordance with the seasons.*  In fact, early in our marriage I distinctly remember his standpoint and my urge to challenge him leading into a wham bang drag out argument.  

*Note: There are more reasons and Hubby would probably have my neck for simplifying it to such a basic point.  Unfortunately, this is the way my mind summed up his issue.

One hour, even as an adult, can be like a million years.  The freedom and possibilities that lie within one hours are endless.  Somehow the knowledge of that one extra hour made this weekend more glorious and noteworthy for me than ordinary 48 hour weekends.*

*Second Note: My weekend really begins around 5:00 on Friday.  In my mind, the weekend is truly 55 hours long, but for argument's sake, I wrote 48.  Whew, glad we cleared that up.

I zoomed from work to home to Hubby's work on Friday night to pick him up.  From there we headed back to that famous highway that I recently wrote about to go to a wedding of one of Hubby's coworkers.  In my mind, this was the start of the loss of my extra hour.  The wedding started at 6:30 pm and the reception would go until midnight.  This left the certainty that we would not arrive home until at least 1:30 am.

We pulled up to High Lawn Pavilion in West Orange, NJ and everything changed when I saw this:

NYC view

Instantly I regretted not being in the habit of carrying my DSLR on my person at all times.  Yet, it would have been quite impossible to squeeze it into the little clutch I had brought along that night.  I was left with a smart phone picture of the breathtaking view of one of my favorite places.  

If it hadn't been so cold out, I would have stood and enjoyed the view deep into the night.  But it was cold and Hubby had friends waiting inside, so we walked away--translated: Hubby dragged me away.

From the start of the wedding, to the cocktail hour, to dinner, and even, gasp, dancing* I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

*Dancing ordinarily isn't my thing.  Ordinarily as in never.


The bride was gorgeous, and the love between her family and her new family was strongly represented.

I had such a good time, that I actually lost track of time and didn't mind the fact that I was still up at 11:30 pm and over 50 miles from home.

I'm Blue

Does this picture make anyone else want to start singing Eiffel 65's "I'm Blue".  Da boo dee da boo die?

With this late night start to my weekend, one would imagine that I would spend my extra hour on Saturday recuperating.  Unfortunately, Saturday mornings do not lend extra sleep time for me since I teach piano lessons bright and early.

Somehow, I managed to find enough sleep, teach my lessons, and still be in a decent mood by the afternoon.

Because of a series of boring reasons and events, Hubby's car was at work and we needed to get it before the weekend ended.  After giving me a variety of options for how and when we could get the car, I told Hubby the best choice was to go shopping fifteen minutes north of his work at the Jersey Gardens Mall and then get his car on the way home.

Shopping is always the best option to make a long trip worthwhile.  


Even at this point, I only thought I was spending my extra hour shopping at the mall.  But before I knew it, it was 8:00 pm (really 7:00 pm) and I was back at home.  We had a quick bite to eat, then decided to go back out shopping because apparently we hadn't already had enough.  

Operation Christmas Child

Our next shopping trip wasn't for ourselves.  At least, it didn't start that way.  Somehow a few things for me found their way into our basket.  

Our church is participating in Samaritan's Purse: Operation Christmas Child.  Hubby and I decided to put together two boxes, one for a boy and one for a girl.  It was fun picking out little gifts to bless someone else this Christmas.

Saturday night I found myself in bed at my normal Saturday night time (irregardless of Daylight Savings Time) and Sunday morning, when Daylight Savings actually occurs, I woke up at my normal time.  When I turned over I was met face to face with a tray filled with breakfast delights that Hubby had prepared for me.

Looks like the extra hour gave him something extra to do as well.

Of course, I was half way through my eggs before I thought to take a picture of Hubby's thoughtful surprise.

Sunday afternoon, I was still left with time on my hands.  Hubby asked me to sew a button on a jacket he planned to take on a business trip this week.

What started with just this:


turned into this:

Sewing room

and then this:


The moral of this nonsensically long post is that one hour extra provided by Daylight Savings Time isn't just an hour.  It is a world of possibilities for things that can be done and accomplished if faced with the right attitude.

I wonder if I'll feel the same around March, 2014.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

#112 He Drives the Parkway for Me

The Garden State Parkway is my least favorite road in New Jersey to travel.  This is followed by the New Jersey Turnpike, which is followed by Route 130.  Although, Route 130 is really in its own special class.  The area of it by my house is perfectly fine.  I drive it with little angst or anxiety.  The end south of Florence is the when I start sucking my thumb and screaming for my mommy.

Note: I had to drive it for work for a whole year of my lovely life.  I still twitch a little whenever I have to grace it with my presence.

Hubby drives the Garden State Parkway (GSP) everyday.  Only a short stretch, but it is the most dreadful part of his entire commute, as noted by me.  I don't think he acknowledges how terrible it is.  Perhaps he has blinded himself to the horrors of this road so that he is able to endure it.

I don't know.

In case you don't live in New Jersey, or in case you are so blessed as to never have to drive this end of the GSP, here are my complaints.  For starters, there are five lanes.  That in itself is recipe for disaster.  As if that wasn't bad enough, whoever designed the lanes clearly had smart cars in mind because short of a bicycle, they are the only other vehicle that could comfortably fit.  Though I know I am staying in my lane, I am constantly feeling as though I'm drifting closer and closer to the cars beside me.  I can't imagine what it is like when there is an accident.  On top of all this, the lanes curve and turn more than a bendy straw.  Meaning that as a driver you have to be doubly alert.

That said, Hubby ventured even further than usual down the GSP with me Tuesday night for a life changing event: another chance to see the Pioneer Woman live and in person.

Okay, not exactly life changing.  Perhaps, simply inspiring?

You might recall a year and a half ago, when this blog was just a baby, Hubby took me to meet The Pioneer Woman.  Her second book had come out and I was ecstatic to go to NYC to see her.  I walked on clouds the entire night and left the city with her signature, a blurry picture, and the courage to pursue my dreams.

Seeking another such experience, I begged Hubby to take me to the signing of her recently released holiday cookbook.

Alright, I didn't really have to beg.  I just said I wanted to go and he made it happen.

I love him.


Our long drive down the GSP wasn't so horrible.  We headed out before rush hour and were at the bookstore a honkin' two hours before the signing started.  We weren't taking any chances with having to wait three hours again to get our book signed.

No, that time is not an exaggeration.

This signing was in the Barnes and Noble in Paramus, NJ and they did not seem to have their ish together.

I know, I just used a non word 'ish'.  It was that horrible and I'm sorry.

There were no organized lines, no staff readily available to guide and assist the customers, it was, in a word: nightmarish.


We weren't let in to our seats for the presentation until 15 minutes before it began.  Which meant we had to stand for an hour and a half.   

We got coffee first, of course.

When we were finally seated, the leg room provided was worse than economy class on an airplane.


We were in the third row and although we really should have been in the second or first, I wasn't complaining.

Okay, I might have complained just a little.


Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, came out a half hour late.  Apparently no one had warned her what NYC traffic into NJ is like around 5 o'clock. 

Again, people, get your ish together!

She did a short presentation that inspired me to blog blog blog, and then began signing books.


Which meant more waiting.

There were quite some characters that Hubby and I observed together as we all bonded in the boredom of waiting and the stickiness of three hundred people being squished in a small room for two hours.


Pioneer Woman is gracious enough to sign every item brought to her and to pose for pictures with every person who wants one.

Hubby was beginning to melt and hinted to wanting to step outside when I was only about a half hour away from getting my book signed.  I gave him the you-won't-get-in-trouble-later-if-you-do-this okay and he cleared out of the room.

IMG_6394 - Copy

Which meant the poor Barnes and Noble guy had to take my picture for me.  I brought my DSLR camera this time, instead of using my phone last minute like last time.  He looked at my camera, held it for a moment, then said, "It's not on" and Pioneer Woman and I shared an understanding laugh.  I went over to explain to him that it was indeed on, but the picture was not going to show up on the screen, that he actually had to look through the little hole that is made for an eyeball to be held up to.

It was a learning experience for us both.

*"Boy, I'm glad I didn't use a blotting paper, tissue, of even just a sheet of paper on my face before this picture"...wait, nope that's not what I said.  I looked at my picture on the ride home and though, "Gee, I'm so glad I fixed my hair before this picture.  If only I realized it was my oily face that needed the work!".

IMG_6395 - Copy

Though I had pre-ordered my cookbook, as any true fan would, I bought one of her "Charlie" books for my Kindergarten class.  She signed it to them and I shared it the next day in school.  They seemed to really enjoy the fact that her dog likes bacon....just like any smart person or animal would!

*Oh look...Kitty Kitty is having the same problem that my face was having.

Hubby and I love trying local restaurants whenever we are in a different city.  Hubby found "Chakra" while we were waiting in line.

He may or may not have made a reservation for 7:30 and we may or may not have shown up at 8:00 and pretended we didn't have a reservation.

Come on, don't tell me you've never done it.

It was a Tuesday night, after all.

Okay, I know, I'm just making excuses now.


You would never know from it's name that it is a Modern American restaurant. 

The mood was very intimate, definitely a perfect date setting.  There were couches with pillows instead of chairs for some of the seating.  There was one wooden table seating about ten with a glass top that covered a dug out center that any type of "centerpiece" could be placed in, or under.  I wanted it. 


It's been some time since I've pulled out my DSLR camera in a restaurant, but my food looked so good I knew I needed to do it.  I had to do it.  I ordered the Goffle Farm Chicken 'Thanksgiving Style' with a side of Yukon Gold mashed potatoes.  The chicken was tender and served on top of root vegetables, cornbread stuffing, and cranberry jus.  It was the perfect blend of wonderful.  The mashed potatoes might not have been a necessity, but they made it that much more delightful.  They were smooth, buttery, and everything I love in a mashed potato.


Hubby ordered the TC steak which is 40-day aged Colorado sirloin steak served with cream spinach.  He also ordered a side of hand-cut fries topped with Parmesan and truffle oil and served with ketchup, aioli, and spicy mayonnaise.

I'm going to be honest.  I was so obsessed with my food that I didn't even look at Hubby's plate until his steak was half way gone.  I did get a bite of his steak and a handful of fries.  The steak was perfectly done and the fries were exceptional.  The aioli and spicy mayonnaise were a delightful difference to the average french fry dipping sauce of ketchup.

If Hubby hadn't said it first, I might have said it myself.  The experience of going to a book signing is awesome, the first time.  While this trip was still inspirational, and all in all I'm glad I went, it will probably be the last book signing I attend until I am able to go to one of my own.

Here's to that hope.