Saturday, February 22, 2014

Quick Takes - Chocolate Frustration Edition

Joining up with Conversion Diary for Quick takes! 
Oh Easter. I have become so weary of the secular take-over of Christian holy days.
As if attitudes surrounding Christmas aren't bad enough, now they're secularizing Easter! Easter which celebrates the resurrection of Christ, the entire meaning of our faith!!!
I walked into TargJay today and saw this…

It makes me so sad. Easter is not about chocolate!
Is there someone who is sincerely sending an Easter greeting to a loved one, who doesn't want to cross the line by mentioning Jesus?

Right after I snapped the picture above with my phone, a favorite, funny friend sent me this random picture via text.

What store is she in? Is there a sale on plungers? A neighborhood with septic problems that has everyone running out for plungers the way most cities have had a run on shovels this past week?!
Why wonder? I went right to the obvious question: "Are those chocolate, Easter plungers?"

My city just got it's first Tr@der J@e's. I have two words… Cookie Butter! Oh the yum!
It seems so very naughty, but the nutrition facts aren't all that different from the Almond Butter my trainer has suggested as a replacement for sweets… the major difference being the protein content.
Which is, yeah, a major difference!
Most days I feel like a bag lady. Between my purse, computer bag and a workout bag, I'm never arriving home with my hands empty.

On the days I work out, obviously I have take my gym clothes in to work. It's not good to expose your athletic shoes to extreme temperatures, so I can't leave the bag in my car.

One day this week, I was also planning to go to a class after work and needed to pack some food to get me through to 8pm before I can get home... so I looked like a beast of burden as I trudged out the door! Five bags.  It was. Ridiculous.

Then a co-worker came by my cubicle and made fun of the pile of bags.
I explained, "This is my purse, my computer bag, my gym bag, lunch, and another bag has books for a class tonight."  Feeling justified until he smugly pointed out that he carries one bag, each way, every day. 
"What if you started working out? Would you have to carry a gym bag?" I asked, pointing out the necessity of such burdens. 
"That's never going to happen, so no." he replied, with a little smile indicating he's quite happy being soft and doughy. 
Because our relationship is built on snark and sarcasm, I smiled back and said, "Meanwhile, I look like this...." using my hands in exaggerated Vanna White fashion to indicate my form.
He countered with, "Meanwhile, I look like this!" doing the same to indicate his beer belly. "And I have this." he said, indicating his wedding ring and the fact that I don't have one. 

"Which is precisely why I have to lug bags around so I can look like this!" I said, once again acknowledging my form in a slightly defeated, yet dignified way.

I had a little party last weekend, just a few ladies over… including some who have kids.
I was a little concerned, because my place is rather small, and not exactly accommodating for children. But I wasn't going to NOT invite certain people because they have children. And I would have been greatly disappointed if they had responded with the standard, "I have kids, I can't."

So we ended up with two moms and their two kids each, and a handful of single ladies. It was really great! Everyone enjoyed one another and the kids all played well together.

I have a small box of toys that I brought out to entertain the smallest kiddo - and someone said, "How do you have toys?" As if a single woman isn't allowed to have toys for entertainment purposes!
I just smiled and said, "I have toys. It's part of being a good hostess!"
That seemed to satisfy everybody.
Although, I must reconsider my supply of childproof glasses! I have a total of four plastic glasses… which happen to be shatterproof wine glasses which were freebies at an outdoor wine tasting! ( I abhor plastic! I'm going to call it good enough!) 

One of the moms at my party is a dear friend who makes a real effort to include me in her family and be a part of her kid's lives. Her little daughter is very precious to me, so I was beaming when, in response to her daughter sticking to me like glue, following my every move… she said, "My daughter loves two people. TRS and my youngest sister."
I added, "If we were both in the same room with her at the same time, her head might explode!"

It was pretty cute, as they haven't been to my home since having another baby, my favorite toddler was kind of amazed that Miss TRS has a home! "Is this your room? Is that your closet?"
What a dear!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, February 07, 2014

7 Quick Takes - Featuring Lent, Let Downs and Bubbles

Does anyone else find it amusing that fast food restaurants are advertising their fish menus right now... because, February!
Yeah, Lent doesn't start until Ash Wednesday on March 5th... but the ad campaign geniuses don't seem to know that. Oh, maybe it is just fish season.
One of the fast food restaurants near my work only sells fish and chips during lent, and most of their employees don't even know it. It's not on the menu board. I only found out they had a fish option by scouring online last year during lent - then went to order it and seriously threw them all for a loop!
Shortly after Easter they eliminated it again, and they didn't seem to know why. I tried to explain about lent but they had never heard of it before!

So I'm wondering how it will go down this year, with lent starting so late - will they stop carrying fish in mid-March just after lent starts?
This is just how secular our country is becoming.

All those F@ceBuch Look Back videos were fun this week, huh? It really was neat seeing all the great highlights of some friends.  Not for me though. I watched my preview, but my most-liked posts were my dad's death, and an observance of what would be my sister's birthday... (she died nearly 30 years ago). That and the fact that the first pic to come up was not of me, and another one was of a friend who I'm no longer friends with. All the other pictures were of other people's kids. So that was awesome. Way to make single look good!

That was uber depressing so I didn't bother to post mine. Nice way to feel like a loser.
Everyone else had engagements and weddings and babies or anniversaries - you know, life milestones. Mine was about everyone but me.  Which, my bestie pointed out, is rather representative of my life, which is more about others. But still. Total downer.

Extra weird, I have a friend who got married and divorced in a matter of months, and somehow neither her ex nor the wedding pictures made it into her video via the most-liked posts formula. But the most depressing moments of my life did. How does that work?!

Knowing those videos were based on the last five years -- reminds me that a recent date (yeah I gave up dating, but I told God I would be open to any men He dropped in my lap.) asked me, "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

Oh sheesh. As if first dates don't feel enough like job interviews!! I was a bit stunned by this odd question, but managed to say that I didn't think that was fair question at our age. Being over 40, nothing in my life is really going to change unless I get married.
I have to work to support myself, and it's not likely that any other business in my industry is going to hire someone my age when they can get kids fresh out school, and trained on the latest technology for less than what I'm paid now, which isn't all that much. So I'll be working where I am for as long as I can.
I have a mortgage that I can't refinance, so I'll be living here until I either win the lottery, die or get married. I can't really have or adopt a child on my income and work schedule... so yeah, my five year plan, not much change or excitement unless God drops that man in my lap.
Not really a fair question of a middle-aged woman with no prospects. Whomp whomp.

Somehow, a conversation in the office about government and politics turned to the young co-workers discussing precautions they're taking in the event that the U.S. government becomes unbearable and / or really starts attacking Christians and Catholics more severely than they already are.
They talked about how they are saving money and having funds in another country that would be accessible even in some sort of freeze.
My first thought, these kids must have access to trust funds or other generous contributions from their families.  My second thought... "Wow. I am scr@wed!"
I will be broke, with no options, and no one to care for me. So I guess I'll just prepare to be a Catholic Martyr!

Okay... happier thoughts. How about bubbly?!
I am a fan of bubbly water, so last year I finally bought a SodaStream so I could make my own carbonated water and stop hauling bottles of Arrowhead home from the grocery store. I love my SodaStream!
When the CO2 runs out, you can return it to a store, and get a refill canister for half price. Half price is $15. I'd been going to TarJay, but the last couple times, they were out of refills, making it a bit of a hassle.
This was the case last night, and they suggested I try B@d, B@th & B@yond.  Despite how terribly cold it was ( -9 degrees), I drove a bit out of my way, hoping I had a BB&B coupon in my driver's side door pocket (I find that's the best place to keep them since they don't expire).  Luckily, I had a $5 off coupon, which applies to a minimum $15 purchase... so yes... refills are $10 instead!  Whee! Why didn't I think of that before?!!

Yeah. That's right. It was minus nine degrees here!! In Denver!  It's rarely that cold here and I'm very happy I bought a down coat for Christmas!!  ( my mom never knows what to get me, and suggested I pick out something I like and she'll pay half. So this year I selected a beautiful down coat with a fur collar!! Squee! ) 
For the past week or more it's dipped below zero a few mornings and evenings. But being Denver, it hits 35 or 60 at about lunch time and I end up waddling around in my giant parka!!

The Olympics!!  I'm not a huge sports fan, but there is something about the Olympics.
When I was a kid, I was always intrigued by the profiles on the athletes. That reporters actually got to interview these Olympians and their families... to tell their stories of struggle and determination, dedication. That just seemed like the best job in the world to me. That was the first inkling I had to be a journalist.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Seven Quick Takes #10

So I just discovered that one of the new characters on Downton Abbey is actually two characters. Why are the downstairs scenes so DARK?!

Last weekend, a sweet friend of mine posted a picture of a homemade waffle, fresh out of the waffle-maker. So fresh off the waffle press it was actually still on the waffle press!
And my first thought was, "Wow! You can eat carbs?!?!?!?!?!!"

My second thought was, I have become Emily, from The Devil Wears Prada who is upset that Andy is going to Paris Fashion Week in her place, getting all the fabulous designer clothes... after all, she says, "You don't deserve them, I mean you eat carbs, for Chrissake!"

Yes, that is what Paleo has done to me!
I think I finally have enough clothes for the winter season. She says as lent approaches, and spring closely follows.
Sheesh, what is it about me that has two closets full of clothes, yet I have nothing to wear?
I'm trying really hard to cull my wardrobe. It's hard for me to get rid of anything because I don't buy it unless I like it in the first place - so why would I get rid of it?
My real problem is that I tend to buy individual pieces, then struggle to make outfits out of them.

So as much as I have told myself to quit buying clothes woman, you need to save money! It's always just this one thing to complete this one outfit.
That and the fact that I struggle with finding jackets and blazers that fit without a ton of alterations... so when I found two jackets that accommodated what must be my freakishly enormous shoulders, but still fit around the rest of me that is considered by most to be quite small... I was compelled to buy them since they were only $25 and $15 each!  The problem is, that set me off on finding a top to wear under the houndstooth jacket. And the problem with shopping for one thing is you find other things.  Vicious cycle.

Anyway - now I feel my cold weather wardrobe is complete now that's February. May the sweet baby Jesus help me when it's time to rotate to the spring/summer wardrobe!

Speaking of wardrobe... a friend had a clothing swap party a couple weeks ago. We all cleaned out our closets, then brought our goodies to her house and picked whatever we liked. Anything left over was going to a local thrift shop. What a great idea! It was fun too.

Even better, I was able to get a few new-to-me items, that when I brought them home - miraculously went with several things I already had. Completing a few more outfits, or at least, giving some other items more play in the rotation.
If culling my closet was supposed to be the goal, then I failed. If it's being happier with what I have, I succeeded!
The real bonus was being able to try some looks that you wouldn't normally invest in, but if you're getting it for free, you'll give it a go.

A conversation with my bestie gave her a chance to unload some concerns about just how she's fulfilling the roles of wife and mother. She had a rough couple of days. I told her that the fact that she's working on repairing the damage is proof that she's doing it right.

I know, as a woman without a husband or family, that it's easy for me to picture sunshine and rainbows - and even though I know that's not so - I'd still rather have a rough day as a wife than a mediocre day alone. I shared that thought with her, waiting for the kind of correction I get from most marrieds... the old "Marriage is hard" refrain. (as if being single For. Ever. is some piece of cake!) Instead, she replied, "I know what you mean. I was single for a long time. I would never want to do it again. Being single is definitely harder than being married."

A couple days later, another friend who has been married just over three years - reinforced that message. First by saying that she thinks I'm handling an extended period of waiting better than she ever handled hers, and hers was shorter - and mine just keeps extending!! When I told her what my bestie said, she agreed, she would never ever choose to go back to being single.

I guess there's no real conclusion for that thought. Just stating real facts.

I am SO single.
Visiting a friend for dinner, she got out a jar of pickles she canned herself, for us munch on until dinner was ready. She opened the sealed jar, slid it across the counter to me and just as I went to fish out a pickle with my fingers, she handed me a fork! Wow! A fork to get a pickle out of a jar? How fancy!
Oh no, I wasn't using my fingers, I um, slipped, yeah I slipped.

Yeah, living alone for a lot of years will drain you of common decency I guess!

How is it we can stay in touch with friends who live across the country, but someone who lives on the other side of the city falls completely off the radar?

A sweet friend just had a birthday, and asked me to join her and some friends out for dinner and live music. Once we met up, we  had a great time. She even pointed that we have that great quality where even though much time passes, the minute we're together, it's as though no time passed at all.
Those are the BEST friendships. When you can pick up right where you left off.
I have many friends like that, and it is one of the greatest blessings on this earth.
Now we just have to make an effort to get together more often!

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