Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The long overdue update

Hi, blog! Been a while, huh? Let's see...what has happened since I last wrote?

Well, I quit the online job I picked up in November. It was stressing me out. Probably a very poor choice on my part to start a second job in the Christmas shopping season. All through December I was working 60 hours a week between Target and the online stuff...sooo not ideal. But more than that, the job just wasn't for me. Half the time, I felt like I was borderline harassing people, trying to get them to reply to my messages. The work was tedious. Worst of all, I didn't think the articles I was trying to get people to publish were very good...just generic crap full of seo keywords. If I would've been hired for the position I originally applied for (editor...as opposed to "email relationship manager"), I probably would've stuck with it. Oh well. I'm very happy that I quit--I have time to work on writing again!

Still working at Target. /sigh. Now that the Christmas shopping insanity is over, I don't mind my job...it's just, as always, the low pay that bothers me. I'm kind of holding out for April (that's when they give raises every year) to decide if I should stay or just move on to the next job that has nothing to do with my degree. My supervisor, Judy, retired earlier this month. I actually applied for the job, after much urging from Jordan and some of my coworkers. I didn't get it--"not enough leadership experience." Probably for the best...all you who know me should know that a supervisory position wouldn't really suit my personality. I only applied for the pay raise and benefits, anyway.

Bentley's been with us for three months. Feels like it's been much longer. He still has his issues (as any dog would after having been with a less than nurturing family that ignores him, doesn't attempt potty training, and lets his fleas and worms go untreated)...but he's definitely progressing with training. I think in another month, he'll be officially housebroken and we can retire the puppy pee pads. And he is SUCH a sweetheart cuddle monster. That's my favorite thing about him--he loves to snuggle.

I'm almost an aunt! (Well, an aunt to my own brother's child. I already have two freaking adorable nieces and a nephew by marriage.) I'm very excited to meet baby Malachi next month. Grant and Nikcole are staying in the U.S. until May, I believe, and then going back to Dominica so Grant can resume classes in med school.

Now some bad news...my mom has breast cancer. Sorry for the rough delivery--blunt is best for me, when it comes to bad news. I've known since November, but my parents wanted to keep it a secret until they knew more about what sort of treatment plan she would be going through. After she had the lump and some lymph nodes removed, her oncologist decided she needed 16 weeks of chemotherapy, followed by some radiation. She's halfway through her chemo treatments. I won't get into the emotional turmoil my family has gone through over this...but my mom is getting through it and I'm incredibly proud of her. She's stronger than anyone realizes.

Mmk, think I've hit all the major points of interest. Now to enjoy some peanut butter dark chocolate brownies and the rest of my day off.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My fantasy winter menu

So, on my day off yesterday, I made beef stew. Nice chunky, homey stew...red potatoes, carrots, onions, green beans, and some really tasty beef. It was a good reminder of why I love my crockpot. Throw everything in with a little liquid and seasonings, let it do its thing...4-6 hours later, delicious dinner! And getting to smell it cook all day and make all the neighbors on my floor jealous=bonus points. I just had my second helping of leftovers. Nothing like a little stew for a midnight snack.

I've decided that, if it were healthy/practical/not something that would make my husband cry, I would love to eat this sort of thing everyday (well, while it's cold out). The warmth...the blend of hearty ingredients and savory broth...getting all that yumminess in one spoonful...it's perfect! I also inexplicably really prefer eating from a bowl, as opposed to a plate. Yep, my week could go something like this:

Monday--chicken and gnocchi (something like Olive Garden's...but lighter on the salt)
Tuesday--beef stew (from my crockpot!)
Wednesday--tomato basil soup (Panera has a really tasty version. As does Target Cafe, surprisingly.)
Thursday--miso soup (Sushi House! Or Oyama.)
Friday--baked potato soup (I actually can't think of a restaurant where I love this soup...I just know that I love it, in general.)
Saturday--chili (Texas Roadhouse has good chili, don't you think?)
Sunday--chicken tortilla soup (I think this is best homemade. Maybe for my next crockpot day!)


As for other, more relevant bits of life...well, I'm not in the best of moods lately. Really excited for Christmas with my family next weekend, but otherwise feeling pretty blah-tastic. So let's just leave on the happy, cozy thought of "mmmm." Also, my warm puppies snuggling me.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Where did fall go?

I know, it isn't technically winter until the end of December...but it sure feels like winter, doesn't it? The best of fall goes by too fast. :(

Thanksgiving was last week. Jordan and I had a really great time with my family. It was good to see my grandparents and aunt and uncles. And Matt! Grant and Nikcole were absent, of course...we skyped with them after dinner. This was the first year Grant hasn't been home for Thanksgiving, but they'll be here for Christmas. (Have you seen that stupid Folgers coffee commercial with the brother and sister? The brother comes home from Africa for Christmas, gives his sister a present...she sticks the bow on his shirt and says "you're my present this year." Yeah, that makes me tear up. How lame am I?) My mom made all the typical Thanksgiving dishes--the turkey, corn casserole (my favorite!), mashed potatoes, sweet potato and apple casserole, green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce...yum. I contributed with a pumpkin cobbler. Jordan had to go back home in the evening because he was working third shift at the hotel. I stayed in Burlington til Friday...stayed up late watching Food Network with mom, ate hash browns and scrambled eggs for breakfast in the morning (have I mentioned that my dad makes the best breakfasts ever?), and had my parents drive me home in time for my Black Friday shift at Target.

Black Friday...I hate it. And I HATE that Target, and several other stores, decided to open at midnight this year. As if 4 AM wasn't ridiculous enough. I was very grateful to have been scheduled as the closer. My shift was 1:00-11:30. As far as busyness, it wasn't that bad at the cafe, at least not while I was there. (Apparently, it was completely crazy from midnight to 8:00 AM...and they only had two people there at that time, with no one scheduled to cover their breaks. Smart, Target.) Pretty much like a busy Saturday or Sunday afternoon. They were even taking my cafe team members away to work in other parts of the store, since the four of us that were there from 1:00-6:00 were bored and tripping over each other. The worst part was cleaning up at the end of the night. Since we had been opened for basically 24 hours straight instead of the usual 15, everything was really, really dirty. But overall, it wasn't too bad. Just a long day, really.

What else? Oh, my birthday was last week, too. I'm twenty-four now. Whoo. My parents got me a cookbook, a sugar cookie candle (love!), some candy, and a stand mixer. Sooo excited to have a stand mixer! My hand mixer is a hand-me-down from my parents, like thirty years old, and smells like it might burst into flames when I run it for more than a minute. I want to make something fancy now, like divinity. You definitely won't catch me buying any cans of frosting at the store.

Ah, and I guess I haven't mentioned--we have a new puppy! Bentley, an eight-month old shih-tzu. He is such a sweetheart! He came with a few problems...fleas, worms, not potty-trained (though the woman we bought him from said he was housebroken), not neutered. We've gotten the first two taken care of, still working on the potty-training, and Jordan is calling the vet today to get him an appointment to be neutered. So, it's been a bit more work than we thought it would be, but I guess that's usually the case. Bentley and Crosby's relationship is a work in progress. They're still figuring each other out. But when Bentley isn't in ultra-playful mode, they get along really well. They're cuddling with each other on the couch next to me as I'm typing this. :)

Guess I should get going...working 4:00 to midnight tonight. In softlines! Can you believe that? I haven't worked in softlines since the cafe was being remodeled in February and March. And even then, I didn't work there much. To be honest, I kind of hate softlines. There are no aisles or actual locations--you just sorta have to know where things go. And do I know where things go? Of course not! They shouldn't expect me to, given that I work at Target cafe 99.5% of the time, but I'm kind of a perfectionist at work--whatever I do, I want to do it perfectly (the fact that I don't like working at Target is irrelevant...I just have a crazy good work ethic). I hate being unsure of myself--that's a big reason why I like the cafe so much...I really know what I'm doing over there. But softlines? I might as well be a new hire. /sigh. So it's going to be a long night. If I have to fold a thousand pairs of jeans and workout pants, I'm going to scream. I hate folding pants.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Boy have I been busy. Pretty obvious though, right, when I haven't written in months?

In the last month or two, I was very preoccupied with preparing my MFA applications. But since I've recently decided to take yet another year off before applying, that's no longer my top priority. That's right...I'm giving myself another year. I admit that it feels wrong to be changing my game plan at this point, but I just wasn't feeling at all confident in my applications. I was rushing through my endings and edits, and the results were bad. It doesn't matter how great the beginning of a story is...if the end is crap, or clearly wasn't given as much love and attention as the rest of the story, then the whole thing fails. Although I think a lot of what I had prepared to submit was truly great, I still don't feel that it's my best work. And I just can't bear to go through the whole application process and all the fees if I'm only going to be rejected and have to do it all again next year. I would rather do it right, and feel totally confident, the first time around. So that's the new game plan--use the next twelve months to write write write and improve improve improve so I'm ready next fall. I think I'm going to have to buy myself a lovely new notebook and go back to my "write something everyday" challenge. It's not easy, but the last time I tried it, the results were surprisingly amazing.

I've also been working a lot at Target...blah. Gotta pay those bills. I won't bore you with my many complaints about the job. They did, though, make me the Target Cafe team trainer. Nice to be recognized as super knowledgeable about my area, but it's basically a promotion without the raise. They did give me a new name tag with an oh-so-prestigious "TRAINER" label, and a candy bar. Whoo. Still keeping an eye out for a job where I can work fewer hours and make more money.

Speaking of new jobs--I got one this week! But it's not substantial enough to replace my current job. It's more of a supplement. It's a virtual position, roughly twenty hours a week. It doesn't pay well at all, but that's because the company is just starting up. It's a guest post company (aptly named GuestPostU)--writes quality articles on a variety of subjects for a variety of websites and blogs. While I was hoping to be a content writer or editor, those positions were filled pretty fast and I ended up as the email relationship manager. So I'm the one matching up potential clients with relevant articles and handling all the communications via email. It's easy, and I can do it from home. It is, however, quite time consuming. Today was my first day and I couldn't believe how long it took me to make ten pitches. But now that I have the process pretty much figured out, I'm sure I'll be able to do the job faster.

I've also been crocheting a lot. Learning how to make amigurumi toys, for one. I've only made gingerbread men and an elephant so far...but they turned out super cute! I'm planning to make a whole fleet of gingerbread men to give away at Christmas. They're too freaking cute not to share. :) I'm also working on a hat and a scarf...must be prepared for the chilly days ahead.

Oh, baking, too. It's fall (my favorite season!) so I can't help but want to bake all the time. I've been cooking more real meals, too...rather than pasta or easy ready made skillet meals almost every night. In fact, I have mini brown sugar meatloafs in the oven at the moment and tasty potatoes waiting to be fattened up with milk and butter and mashed to creamy deliciousness. I love making comfort food.

And now that it's almost November, I'm going to be busy working on my NaNoWriMo novel! Might be tricky with all this busyness talk...but that won't stop me from trying. I have a fun chick lit (think romantic comedy) plot in mind. I hope I have time to at least top last year's word count, which was around 10,500 words (bit short of the goal of 50,000...).

So that's what I've been up to...and am going to be up to.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Settled In

Well, it's been two weeks since we moved in...it feels like we've been here months, though, now that we're settled in. Love it here. It's so bright and sunny and roomy but also cozy because of the floor plan. Don't even get me started on how much I love the covered deck (especially on days like today when it feels like fall in the morning) and having my own office (no more desk and keyboard squashed in the living room, yay!) and the gigantic kitchen (in which I've already baked brownies and an apple crisp, in addition to many meals). Basically, we're very happy here. When I'm at work, I'm actually excited to come home and be here. That's new, and I like it.

I'm looking for a new job. I can't take Target much longer. It's no surprise that I'm miserable right now, though, during the back to school rush. In my opinion, back to school is worse than the Christmas rush...especially when you're working weekend shifts. UGH. Now, I'm aware that things will be much much better once it's September. And until late November, it will probably be blissfully slow. But that doesn't change the fact that I'm working very hard for only seventy cents above minimum wage...and that's AFTER my big yearly raise! Pfft.

I like working at Target, really. I'm great at my job, all my bosses love and appreciate me, and my immediate supervisor Judy has given me a lot of responsibility at the cafe--letting me fill out and scan our weekly food orders, having me train new team members, etc. And if they paid me $9.00/hour, I would be completely content to stay there until I have to quit for graduate school. But they don't. Sooo, looking for a new job. Thus far, I've applied for an editorial assistant position and a customer service rep position. I think I would be quite qualified for either position, what with the English degree and the five years of customer service experience and all...so hopefully I get a call soon for an interview.

Still obsessed with crocheting. I've made...six purses now. Heh. Not all for me, though--I gave a couple away as gifts. I'm working on a small afghan now, in super soft "autumn red" yarn. It's so pretty, I can't wait til it's finished. Jordan says it's too small, though, so I guess next I'll try making a full sized one. And pretty sure I'll be crocheting at least a couple things for Christmas presents this year. Maybe I'll be brave enough to try making socks by then!

I didn't think it was possible, but I love Regina Spektor even more now. Stumbled upon some songs of hers I had never listened to before...man. They've been stuck in my head constantly for the past two days. <3

UPDATE: I have an interview on Friday, yay! Its for the customer service position, at a specialty lightbulb company. Hope it goes well!! Did I mention this is a Monday-Friday, 8-5 job? After a year of working mostly evenings and pretty much every weekend, that sounds beyond wonderful.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Ugh, this move is killing me.

Okay, moving sucks to begin with. Trying to figure out which kitchen/bathroom items can't be packed til the last minute and which ones are nonessential enough to be taped into a box...running out of boxes...running out of space for the boxes you do have. It's miserable! Add to that the fact that Jordan and I are both working through the whole process, opposite shifts of each other (but team work and joint decision-making are overrated, right...?). And the fact that we don't have 5-7 able bodied family members helping us, as we were lucky enough to have the last few times we moved. My parents are the only ones who can help this year (though Carissa has volunteered her dear husband to help, as well).

So...feeling a bit stressed. Not really sure how it's all going to get done. To keep the panic attacks at bay, I just keep thinking of Monday. By Monday, we'll be completely moved in to our new place...hanging pictures and clocks on our walls, using OUR VERY OWN WASHER AND DRYER, enjoying the deck, maybe baking something in the big beautiful kitchen. Monday is my day off, and our two year wedding anniversary. It will be a lovely lovely day.

I should be getting to bed, really. I have a lot to do in the morning/early afternoon before work. But I am thinking way too hard and fast to fall asleep. So...survey?

How much does the last person you talked to mean to you? He's my best friend, life partner, soul mate, etc...so I'd say he means quite a lot. As much as a person can mean to someone, really.
Do you have plans for tomorrow? Yes, very unpleasant plans.
What's the last movie you saw? Shawshank Redemption.
Have you heard of Google Plus? Yeah. Haven't really looked into it, though.
Can you take a joke? Yeah, usually.
Do you look okay? In general, yeah. At the moment, ehh.
What's something big that you're looking forward to? Getting into graduate school...having babies...buying a house. Fun grown up stuff like that.
Do you accept all of your friend requests on Facebook? No, only people I actually know.
What do you want right now? For it to be Monday.
Are you dramatic? Not really.
Ever experienced tornado or a hurricane? Tornado, yes.
Are you feeling lonely? Not really.
When do you start school? Hopefully next fall...but who knows.
Do you fight back? Depends on the situation.
Is it possible to miss someone so much that it hurts? Of course.
What do you have pierced? My ears.
If you could change your natural hair color, would you & what color? Some pretty shade of red or strawberry blonde might be nice...
Even though cigarettes are bad for you, do you smoke them anyways? No.
What happened last night? I went to work.
Do thunder & storms scare you? No.
Do you find it annoying when others fake being 'high' or 'drunk'? I don't know anyone who fakes being high or drunk...that just seems dumb. So yeah, it would probably annoy me.
What's the last video game you played? Terraria
Are you the kind of person who over-thinks everything? Yeah, generally.
Google, Bing, or Yahoo? Google.
When were you the happiest in your life? I don't think that's the sort of thing you can reasonably measure. Or at least I can't.
Have you ever played in the snow? Yeah.
Do you tend to take things too far? No, don't think so.
Did someone say 'Goodnight' to you last night? Yeah.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Yep, addicted

Well, I'm to the point where I get an awful headache if I don't have my daily cup(s) of coffee. Definitely addicted. Oh well, I totally saw this coming. I come from a long line of passionate coffee drinkers. Pretty sure my dad has no less than three cups a day. Perhaps I should work some half-caff blends onto my coffee shelf.

Speaking of addictions...I've started crocheting, and I'm a little obsessed. I've been at it for a week and a half and I've already made two purses and a hat. There's something incredibly satisfying about creating something useful and lovely out of nothing more than a straight piece of yarn. Also, I love having my fingers busy, especially when I'm just sitting around, listening to music or watching TV. Last night, I watched four episodes of Glee and crocheted the whole time. As soon as we're out of super-save mode (which we're in at the moment because of an upcoming big fat pet deposit and a raise in our rent...oh, and multiple recent car repairs), I'm going to go buy the dozen or so skeins of yarn needed to start an afghan. I'm looking forward to trying a big project that will take me more than two days to finish.

What else is going on in my life... Work is pretty much the same. We've hired a new cafe team member, though--yay! So I'm getting better days off. Judy was especially nice to me for this week and next--Friday and Saturday off this week, Sunday and Monday off next. That's right, four day weekend! And I actually have July 4th off--I can't believe I got it off without actually requesting it. Probably going to spend two of those days with the family in Burlington and two here in town. Definitely going to be doing lots of writing and crocheting. And some preemptive cleaning and packing, I suppose. One month until we move to North Liberty! I am unspeakably excited about our new place (especially since I hate our current apartment more and more every day)...but dreading the actual move. I hate packing, I hate unpacking....I HATE shuffling a thousand boxes from one apartment to another, in the unbearable summer heat of late July/early August. Boo.

I'm going on a little vacation with my family (sans Grant--one of his good friends is getting married that weekend and he's in the wedding party) in a few weeks. All of our Maryland family (my Dad's side) are getting together for a reunion. I'm looking forward to it. It will be interesting, since I haven't seen any of these people since I was, oh, eight or nine. I'm eager to see the state, since I don't remember anything about it. Except for the reunions we went to when I was a kid, I've never really been that far east. I'm a little sad that Jordan isn't coming along...but both of us taking five days off from work is probably a bad idea. Plus Crosby would be so depressed if we both left him for that long!

Mmk, enough blogging. Time to get ready for work...