Saturday, February 28, 2009

Just Another Manic Monday...

I normally don't find Monday's to be so bad. At least, not as bad as everyone makes them out to be. I usually greet Monday mornings with a smile, and think about all I have to look forward to in the coming week. I know that the crossword puzzle in the Monday morning paper will be a cinch. I know that a new episode of Who Wants to be a Millionaire will be on during my lunch hour. And I know that it's the one night a week that boyfriend and I get to spend the night alone together, making dinner and catching up on our shows. These might not seem like much to get excited about, but I find that being optimistic about even the littlest of things, can turn an ordinary Monday, into a great Monday. This is something I try to do everyday, and it really has helped me to be a more postive person and to enjoy the often mundane aspects of day-to-day life.

But every so often, I just can't find much to be happy about. Today is one of those days.

But I've decided not to let this happen today. No, today I have decided to take my "Case of the Mondays" and throw it out the window. I'm not going to let it win! I have way too many exciting things happening this week to let one little Monday get me down. For starters, it's March and I love March. It's my birthday month, it means that spring is a little closer, and hopefully it means that there will be some major thunder storms in the near future. And, let's face it, I love March because it means February is over, and as everyone knows, February is just a stupid month in general.
In addition to it finally being March, I also get to go skiing this weekend! Mom and T are taking us to Breckenridge for a long weekend, and I couldn't be more excited. Colorado is definitely one of my favorite places in the world. It's snowy and cold and mountainous, what's not to love? I'm not the best skiier in the world, but I can definitely hold my own on the slopes, it just might take me a year and a half to get down the mountain. Boyfriend is gonna have to slow it down this time. I think it's a personal goal of his to see just how fast he can get to the bottom of the mountain. I, on the other hand, like to take my time and enjoy the scenery. And going that fast scares the crap out of me. My brother and his girlfriend are coming too. They live in L.A. and I miss my brother all the time, so I'm really looking forward to spending the weekend with him. Too bad he's still a "crip" and can't ski, but Mom doesn't either so they can keep each other entertained.
Now for the really exciting stuff, MY BIRTHDAY IS IN 6 DAYS!! I'm not exactly that thrilled about turning 26, but I love birthdays so I'm just trying to overlook that little fact and pretend like I'm turning 25 again. 25 is just a much better age than 26. The best part about my birthday, is that I'll be spending it in the snowy mountains, with lots of people I love. Which means that the whole week after will be full of birthday celebrations with all of the other people I love who won't be on a ski trip with me! I'm a big believer in "birthday weeks" instead of just the one day.
So to sum things up, it's March, I'll be in Colorado in three days, and my birthday is in six days. But it doesn't stop there! Today is National Banana Creme Pie Day, it's Dr. Suess' birthday (he would be 105), Read Across America Day, and it's going to be a beautiful, sunny day so get out there and eat some pie, read some books and maybe rhyme a little here and there, in honor of Dr. Suess! Whatever you do, don't let this be just another Manic Monday!

Graces:
1. The color green.
2. Honey Nut Cheerios.
3. Bob FM for my morning drive to work.
4. Opening up my email and finding 3 new recipes sent from various friends.
5. #$&%*^@ for days when you really need them.

Happy Monday!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Invictus

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thanks whatever gods may be
  For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
  I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
  My head is bloody, but unbowed. 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
  Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
  Finds, and shall find me, unafraid. 

It matters not how strait the gate, 
  How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
  I am the captain of my soul. 

I love this poem. I've read it so many times, I almost have it memorized. Yet, every time I re-read it, there's something in it that moves me, that might not have moved me before. My little brother first introduced it to me a few years ago when he got a tattoo with the word "Invictus" across his arm. He is unconquerable, and he inspires me to be so as well. 

What makes this poem even more amazing, is that it was written from a hospital bed. Just think what could be accomplished if we all had this kind of determination, pride, and strength? 

Graces:
1. Friends (aka, TY!) being in town for the weekend. =)
2. It's a Friday, so that's pretty sweet.
3. Sour Patch Kids.
4. Aquafina water.
5. Smileys....obviously =)


Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's all good, baby bay-bee...

I have something to admit to you all. Something I need to get off my chest.  It's nothing Earth shattering, but it might be something that most of you don't really know about me. And for some of you, it might just blow your mind. Or not. It's up to you to decide. 

I love rap music.

There, I said it. I think it started way back in the day, when I was a tiny 2nd grader riding to school with my teenager brother who would listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers (Under the Bridge, anyone?) and Rap. Emphasis on RAP. He was probably trying to prepare his much younger siblings for the reality of life. Or maybe he was trying to drown out our constant bickering.  But most likely, he just enjoyed the look of horror on mom's face when we would walk into the house after school singing "Gin and Juice." He also taught my little brother how to ask for a "brewski, brew-ha-ha, alcoholic beverage" when he was 3. Family dinners were always a good time.

Anyway, back to the music. I have recently re-discovered my love for rap. I used to be strictly a "gangsta rap" kinda girl, especially the old school stuff like Notorious B.I.G. and Dr. Dre. But I have to admit that some of the new stuff is starting to grow on me. I'm really loving me some Kanye West. Too bad the dude is obnoxious as hell when he's not making music. I also like Lupe Fiasco, Jay-Z (although he really needs to ditch Beyonce), T.I., and Outkast. I only wish that I was a little more "gangasta" myself so I wouldn't feel like such a poser. I mean, I'm a total white girl in every sense of the term. But I'm cool with that. 

Do this: put Pandora internet radio on the Kanye West station. Turn the music up really loud. Get out your Wii Fit and just dance it out while you work it out! I promise, you will not regret it. And if you don't have a Wii Fit, just go ahead and dance it out anyway. But make sure to do it when no one else is home, it can get a little embarrassing, but I really wouldn't know anything about that.....

Graces!!
1. A big brother who passed on his love of rap music to all three of his younger siblings. Well, these three at least. 
2. Half a bag of Sour Skittles. If you eat the whole bag, you'll lose all your taste buds for at least two days. Consider yourself warned.
3. Cobra's new little dog, Duff!!  He's a great dance partner. =)
4. Pumpkin muffins at Panera. Delish!!
5. The new Thunder mascot, Rumble the Bison!! Although, I personally like to call him Grumble. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"If only you weren't so wishy-washy!"

I'm feeling very conflicted today. Very undecided. Very wishy-washy. And it's not about any one thing in particular. It's about everything. I had a minor panic attack just deciding what I wanted for lunch today. After work, I drove around aimlessly for half an hour because I didn't know where I was headed. And just now, I've created 18 different stations on Pandora.com and haven't even made it through one song yet. 

This happens to me a lot. Sometimes I wish I had someone to make all minor decisions for me just so I could have some peace of mind and focus on more important matters. Because I am usually the most conflicted with the least important decisions, like what pair of undies to wear in the morning, or where to stop and buy a bottle of wine. Or two.  And I always, always have ADD when it comes to music. I'm a song slut. I listen to 13 seconds of one song, 45 of another, and rarely make it all the way through an entire one. It's like I know what I want to listen to and how I want to feel, I just can't seem to find the song that will really work for that moment. And it's worse with food. I will crave something, but never be quite sure what it is, so I'll eat and eat and eat until I find whatever it is that will satisfy my craving. It's a bad, bad habit. But I kind of secretly love it because I kind of not-so-secretly love food. 

So because I'm feeling so random and all over the place today, this blog post will most likely be equally as random. I hope that's okay with everyone. If it isn't, you can file a complaint with the complaints department. But I really wouldn't bother them, they've been working overtime lately.

Station change #19. Peter Bjorn and John. I've made it through 4 songs so far. I may have found a keeper. 

As some of you may or may not know, I have a tiny case of what we like to call "road rage." I'm not an angry person by any means, but get me behind the wheel of a car and all bets are off. You don't even want to know what I yelled at a nun one time. But don't worry, she didn't hear me, so I figure I'm okay with The Big Guy upstairs, right?

Don't answer that.

Anyway, even though I suffer from this nasty illness, I really hate it when people get all road-ragey on me. It makes me feel guilty for making them so angry. It also make me nervous, and when I get nervous I sweat, and I really don't like sweating. When I'm having a road rage moment aimed at someone else, I usually keep it pretty under control. I yell and curse inside the confines of my little car. Sure I might say some incredibly inappropriate things at times (A nun? Hello!) and I've been known to wave The Finger around, but it all happens out of the view of the driver I'm cursing at mercilessly. So when someone else flips out on me, and I can actually see it happening, it makes me squirmy and sweaty and generally uncomfortable. This happened to me this morning. And it wasn't just anybody giving me the stink eye. It was an old dude. In a suit. Driving a brand new Mercedes. Why couldn't it have been some redneck in a rusty pickup? For some reason that would make me feel better because I would sort of expect it. But this guy looked like he knew better. Like this was maybe the first time he'd ever pulled up next to somebody and totally flipped his sh*t all over the place. But judging from the gestures he was making, that was not the case. It almost made me wish that I'd actually done something to deserve all the fuss, I mean, this dude was really putting out some effort for me. And I didn't even do anything to deserve it! I really didn't. No, really. In fact, I was so caught off guard by his honking and flailing about, that I hardly even realized he was there. I just looked at him like the crazy, balding, old fart that he was, looked in the mirror and applied another coat of lip gloss. Which in my mind, means I totally won that battle. 

Graces:
1. WINE
2. A dozen red roses from my Valentine.
3. My fish, Colonel Mustard. And yes, he's still alive!!
4. Using glassware for things other than what they were meant for. i.e. juice glasses for wine, plastic tumblers for coffee, souvenir glasses for fish bowls, etc.
5. Multi-colored pens to color on any random, unsuspecting piece of paper that comes my way.

P.S. Notice that none of my graces are food related today, which might be a first. Well, unless you count wine a food, which I most certainly do not. 

P.P.S.  Can anyone tell me where the title of this blog came from? I know one person who might be able to, if she can dig that far back in her memory. She's really pretty and loves gingersnaps. But no pressure. None at all. =)


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Because I love you all....

I'm sharing with you my recipe for the most delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies you will ever have! Well, my little cousin claims to have the best recipe, but I haven't tried one of hers yet, so for now, this is what I've got. And I must say, it's the best cookie I've ever made. I can't take all the credit though, I got the recipe from my mom. I don't know where she got it, but in her hand-written recipe book, this recipe is labeled as "The BEST Oatmeal Cookie, EVER!!"  I have to note that my mom likes to do that. She throws the words "BEST EVER" into every recipe that she falls in love with, but this time, she was totally right. Anyway, enough chit chat, let's get to the good stuff. 

Ingredients:
1 c. Crisco shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 c. quick oats
1/2 c. chopped pecans, or other nut (optional, but I promise, they won't be as good without)
1 c. chocolate chips. Or more if you're feeling crazy, which I usually am. 
My mom and brother like to add dried cherries also, but I prefer them without. I do think that the dried cherries would be delish if you were using white chocolate, but I haven't tried that yet.

Directions: preheat oven to 350 degrees
 Cream together the shortening and the sugars. Add vanilla and eggs, and mix well. Sift dry ingredients (flour, soda, salt) together and add to batter slowly, about a 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (dried fruit, if using) by hand.  Chill for one hour, then roll into balls and bake on ungreased cookie sheet in preheated oven for 10 minutes. 

A few notes:  When I last made these, I chilled them for a few days because I put them in the fridge and then forgot to make them. The dough was a little crumbly, but it baked up beautifully, so don't let that discourage you if it happens. Also, don't over cook!! I tend to like things a little more "well done" than my mom usually does, but she was right about this one. I slightly overcooked one batch, and they just didn't have the same flavor as the rest. So if they are looking brown on the sides, take them out!  Thirdly, if you have a little brother, keep these cookies far, far away! Or at least save a few for you and the rest of your family. My little brother scarfed down all but 5 of these cookies in a day and a half. But he's 20, and has a wicked metabolism, so he can get away with such things. Stupid boys.  

Enjoy!!!

Grace today:
1. Peanut butter. On anything.
2. Being up early enough to catch the sunrise, especially today's. WOW!!
3. Finding un-cashed checks in my wallet. 30 extra bones I didn't even know about!!
4. Emails chains with my girls that begin on Monday and end on Friday, just to start over again the next week. =)
5. Wikipedia.org. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oh, the majesty of it all...

One of my favorite things about Oklahoma is it's crazy weather. Two weeks ago we had a minor ice storm, last week was nothing but sunny skies and warm 70 degree weather (and crazy wind), and yesterday we had tornados that seemed to come out of nowhere. And it's February! 

I went out to Lake Hefner to take some pictures of the skies. I love the skies during storms, and the lake is usually one of the best places to really get a clear view. I'm not the best photographer, and these pictures definitely don't do the skies any justice, but just use your imagination. 

Doesn't this one look like the skies are opening up to Heaven? I can tell you one thing, it didn't look like that in person. 

This one was looking in the direction that the storm was moving. Aren't the clouds ridiculous??
I love how the clouds just come in and take over the place. Sometimes it seems as if they've taken over the city, not just the skies. Yesterday definitely did not disappoint. 

This was looking back to where the storm came from.  As the clouds moved in, and back out again, the air felt so strange and eerie, like something was about to happen. I thought it was simply breathtaking. 
 
Points of Grace.
1. Having a camera with me at all times. You never know when you'll see something truly amazing. 
2. Shelter during a storm. 
3. Pink Lady apples. Hmmm...delicious. 
4. Scarves in all shapes, sizes and colors. 
5. Paul Frank socks. 


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Purple Butter


I love to cook. Have I told you that before? If I haven't, then just keep it in mind. I'm sure the majority of the things I write about on here will be food related. Anyway, the only thing I love more than cooking, is cooking with someone I love, especially Matt. It's just fun to be in the kitchen together, and since he isn't as into cooking as I am, I think it's especially fun to have him help out. Last Saturday night was our anniversary (4 1/2 years baby!) so we decided to stay in and make dinner together. While I tackled the main course, Matt took the job of making the bread. Which really just meant he had to separate it (it was pre-sliced) and butter it. He decided to make some delicious garlicy-herby butter, so he started digging around the spice cabinets. At some point, he asked me something about food coloring, but I just sort of laughed it off, and started thinking about what exactly food coloring was made of, because I'm sort of weird, and that was the logical thing to think about at the time. Anyway, a few short minutes later, I turned around to find him mixing up a bowl of neon purple butter. Yes, neon purple. Because we have neon food coloring. He was so proud, and honestly, so was I. I mean, how can you resist a man (and a scruffy man to boot) having fun with food? It was probably one of my favorite moments with him ever. Did I mention how long we've been together?  Anyway, ever since then, all I've been able to think about is what other foods I can dye with food coloring, without it being too creepy, of course. I've come up with some pretty good ideas, and I'm really looking forward to trying them out. I promise to keep you all up to date on this very serious and interesting experiment. 

Points of Grace.
1. Neon food coloring. Go buy some. It will change your life. 
...Okay, it might not change your life, but it will make your food pretty. 
2. My girls!!!! You know who you are, and I love you, you foxy ladies! 
3. My grandma. Man, she's fantastic. 
4. Sweatpants. I can't help it, I like to be comfortable. 
5. The White Stripes. Did you know that Jack White took Meg's name when they married? That doesn't really make me like them more, I just thought it was an interesting bit of info. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Journals: Friend or Foe?


 I found this journal online today and I just love it! I found it on katespaperie.com, and there are LOADS of awesome paper/craft related things on that site. I could spend all day looking on there. This particular gem is made of 100% recycled materials, which just adds to it's awesomeness. 
    I love, love, LOVE journals. Always have. When I was little I loved getting those little diaries that had the tiny lock and key. I poured my heart and soul into them, which at the time, meant that really I was just doodling or complaining about one of my brothers. But journaling has been one of the only things that I've consistently done my whole life.  I've never been very good about being open about my feelings, or really about anything, so I've always used journals as an outlet where I can get everything out, good or bad. In high school, I gave one of my boyfriends my journal because he was so frustrated that I could never open up to him. Hopefully I'm a little better with that now, but that's really a whole different topic all together. 
    I promise I have a point and will get to it eventually. 
    My question is, what do you do with old journals? I spent the night at my mom's house last week, and I could hardly get my nose out of my old journals. But the thing is, I didn't like reliving some of those times in my life. In fact, most of it left me distraught, disappointed, and a little depressed. I've had some less-than-wonderful moments in my life and reading all about how I felt during those times made me feel like I was back there, going through that break up again, or my parents divorce again, or through one awful moment after another. Apparently I failed to ever write about any of the wonderful moments I've had. Why didn't I take the time to recognize those moments? Did I make it a point to only have the bad ones to look back on? The more journals I found, the more I asked myself these questions. Then I came across a journal I kept in 2002. 
    In the summer of 2002, my friend Rory took his own life. He was a lifelong friend, and the only boy I'd ever called my best friend. We were 19. His death crushed me. It still does. It was by far, the most difficult thing I've ever gone through, and I hope to never experience that kind of pain again. Even though it was such a sad time, I somehow found so many happy things to write about in my journal, it's as if I knew I'd look back on it one day and want to remember how much I loved Rory for being my friend, instead of how much I hated him for leaving me. Reading through my journal reminded me of so many memories I had almost forgotten. I found two poems that Rory had written just months before his death. I found a letter he'd written me from college. So many memories came back to me while I was reading that I ended up not feeling sad about reliving that painful time, but happy because I was reliving the friendship I used to have. His was a lifelong friendship that I will forever cherish, and most certainly never forget, especially since I have the journal to look back on.  I even felt comfort and peace in remembering how in those weeks and months following his death, all of my other friendships were strengthened by the bond that we all now shared. And I felt comfort at finally finding myself at peace with Rory's death. 
   What I'm saying is, if you find yourself reading through old memories that you may not like, remember that what you went through then only contributed to who you are now. And that which doesn't kill us, only makes us stronger. 

Points of Grace
1. Journals. And paper goods in general. 
2. My cousin's new baby, and my 5th second cousin, JMD, V!!
3. Super Bowl parties with good friends and goooooood food. 
4. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
5. The Pandora app for iphone, for getting me through all the running that I dislike so much.