hey, sunshine

they’re watching

I’m reading from a Cracked article referencing the Super Mario movie. Suddenly, Super Mario noises start coming from my computer (it’s an ad for Mario Campbell’s Soup)

Dan: Is that Mario noises I hear in that ad? ADS ARE GETTING SMARTER.

Me: It’s a coincidence.

Dan: IT’S NOT.

Me: How would they know? It’s text on a picture in a Cracked article.

Dan: *pointing to my laptop* There’s a microphone on there!

Me: Good point…

(This situation is made even more creepy because the same thing happened to Dan a few weeks ago – shortly after Dan watched The Chinese Connection/Fist of Fury [why does it have two names?] on Netflix, he was on YouTube and saw a car commercial that referenced, yep, Fist of Fury. So maybe THEY are just watching our house…)

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Studying (Sort Of)

The last few songs from tonight’s Study Mix (randomly chosen from the giant study mix by Google Play) is making me happy:

  • The Dresden Dolls, “My Alcoholic Friends”
  • Evanescence, “Anything for You”
  • Fleetwood Mac, “Rhiannon”
  • Stone Temple Pilots, “Plush”
  • Savage Garden, “Gunning Down Romance”
  • Foo Fighters, “Everlong”
  • The Levellers, “Four Winds”

And speaking of studying, I am so over it, which is bad because I’m not even in ‘real school’ yet. But I think that’s part of the problem – I am sooo tired of these online classes, after two semesters of them. It’s a combination of the teachers of online classes not always being, um, of the same quality of classroom format classes (except for one teacher who was awesome, but that was last semester), and of students being typical community college students for the most part, and of me just generally getting tired of the whole online format (a million online discussion boards anyone?) So I think when I’m back in REAL SCHOOL I’ll feel better. But, I’m still waiting to hear from the stinking admissions people, and you think it wouldn’t be THAT hard because I’ve already attended here and everything. I’m worried that by the time I get accepted all of the classes will be full.

Aaaannnd back to studying.

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so. Columbus day.

I recently took a History of the American West course, and I’m currently taking an African American history class that focuses on Consensus vs Conflict Paradigm, so let’s just say that Columbus is definitely on my ish list. (You know what list that is.) Columbus is like all the evil of Hitler combined with a psychopath who enjoys raping, torturing, and killing people personally.

So. In this post I will proceed to ‘celebrate’ Columbus Day.

Get out. Right now.

Plenty

This Oatmeal infographic has been making the rounds and of course I love it. My favorite quote is “(Christopher Columbus) discovered the New World much like a meteorite discovered the dinosaurs.” Also, I like that he draws attention to Bartolome’ de las Casas because he really is an underdiscussed hero.

And to end on a lighter note, I think this is absolutely hilarious:

(When I walked to the post office today and forgot it was a ‘holiday’, I shook my fist at the sky and exclaimed “Columbus! Now it’s personal!”)

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hello Halloween

I think I’ve mentioned once or twice that I really, really like Halloween. Actually, I like all holidays (and have referred to myself in the past as a ‘holiday whore’) but Halloween is my favorite. Autumn is my favorite holiday and October is my favorite month, plus I love dressing up and spooky scary things, so it all culminates in LOVE for Halloween. Last year we moved into our new apartment right before Halloween so I didn’t get to pull out my Halloween Decoration Box, so this year it is on.

October Eve (aka September 30) = started playing the Halloween Playlist, which will continue all month (it’s a 12-hour playlist* and I will not get bored.) Yesterday = decorations (yes, on October 1) and grocery store pumpkins (we’ll have to go to a proper pumpkin patch for the carving ones.) Today = tried on Damien’s Halloween costume (same one from last year; it fits and he doesn’t remember wearing it, so it works for me) and put out fall-themed door signs and lawn stake (oh and window clings! Gotta have the seasonal window clings.) I also picked up seasonal candy for our cute fall bowls (peanut M&Ms for Dan, mints for me) which will undoubtedly NOT last until the 31st.

Halloween SPOOKY Bucket List

(not actually all that spooky because of the two-year-old) (who is two months from two but whatever, we’re rounding)

  • Visit the pumpkin patch – at least a local one and maybe a more elaborate Sacramento or Bay Area one if we have time/money/inclination
  • Watch a scary movie (or more than one!) – this is obviously a babien-free activity :) (and would probably not even make the list a few years ago, but these days I’m lucky if I watch a whole TV show in one sitting) (as that weeks-old Star Trek: Next Generation episode on Netflix can attest to)
  • Go trick-or-treating with Damien – I’m guessing this isn’t a big trick-or-treating area because, you know, conservative Christians, but I’m thinking we’ll do the same thing as last year (which was: put a bucket of candy at the door for anyone who bothers to show up, and take the kid to an actual neighborhood.) (Last year I was surprised that a few groups did trick-or-treat through our apartment complex so our candy got eaten, and not by me, which is a plus. Neither of our prior apartments got trick-or-treaters. Well, one was between a shoe store and a bar, and over a Hawaiian BBQ, so that’s why.) (Also next to a Peet’s coffee. I miss that coffee!)
  • Carve/paint pumpkins (at least one of our family members is not to be trusted with a knife)
  • Take a family photo – I even have a fall-themed orange plaid shirt picked out for the little one :)

* And because I know you’re dying to get your hands on that Halloween Playlist, here it is! Well, not all twelve hours of it. Consider it the highlights reel.

  • The entire After Dark album (a collection I bought from Barnes and Noble way back when) (or in 2009, I guess, since that’s when the album came out)
  • Avenged Sevenfold – Beast and the Harlot, Bat Country, Nightmare
  • Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead, Stigmata Martyr
  • The Black Ghosts – Full Moon
  • Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear the Reaper
  • Breaking Benjamin – Cold
  • Castlevania Main Theme & Vampire Killer [Techno Goth]
  • Cold – Just Got Wicked, Witch
  • Disturbed – The Game, Fear, Stricken
  • Dommin – Dark Holiday
  • DragonForce – well, pretty much everything (Valley of the Damned, Storming the Burning Fields, Black Fire, Evening Star…)
  • Echo & the Bunnyman – The Killing Moon, Nothing Lasts Forever (and People Are Strange, which is on the Lost Boys soundtrack – see below)
  • Elis – Devil Inside You
  • Evanescence – again, pretty much everything (Haunted, Taking Over Me, Snow White Queen, Even In Death)
  • Gary Jules – Mad World
  • Godsmack – Releasing the Demons, Voodoo
  • Halestorm – Familiar Taste of Poison
  • I Am Ghost – the entire Lover’s Requiem album, Buried Way Too Shallow, Bone Garden, Burn the Bodies to the Ground, and Rock N’ Roll High School Murder
  • Inkubus Sukkubus – the entire Greatest Hits album (which is entitled Wyches & Vampyres because of course)
  • Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark, 2 Minutes to Midnight
  • Kill Hannah – Love You to Death
  • Korn – Dead, Make Me Bad
  • Lacuna Coil – Daylight Dancer, The Ghost Woman and the Hunter, Un Fantasma Tra Noi
  • The entire Lost Boys soundtrack
  • Marilyn Manson – The Nobodies (from the From Hell soundtrack)
  • Melissa Williamson – You’re Not Here (from the Silent Hill soundtrack)
  • Metallica – Enter Sandman
  • Michael Jackson – Thriller
  • Muse – Supermassive Black Hole (because the baseball scene is THE only reason to watch Twilight, okay?)
  • Nightwish – Nemo, Phantom of the Opera, Planet Hell, Ghost Love Score
  • The entire Nightmare Revisited album (plus some of The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack – thanks Kassi for reminding me that I forgot this! :)
  • Pantera – Cemetery Gates
  • The entire Queen of the Damned soundtrack (so the movie was of questionable quality, and this soundtrack came out ten years ago, and I STILL listen to it all the time because a soundtrack can transcend a movie.)
  • Rob Zombie – Dragula, Living Dead Girl, Superbeast, Demon Speeding
  • Theatres des Vampires – All My Tears
  • Type O Negative – Dead Again, Halloween in Heaven
  • Vanessa Carlton – Paint It Black (I actually have three covers of this song on the playlist but this is my favorite)
  • White Zombie – More Human Than Human, I’m Your Boogie Man
  • Themes: X-Files, Halloween

I just realized that I require the Plants vs Zombies theme song on this list. Make it so!

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I hate our internets

Us: We recently moved to the area. What internet service providers are there?

Campus: AT&T is it.

Us: Oh… crap.

*flashbacks to living in Vallejo with our crappy, expensive, slowwww AT&T internet*

US: I guess we have no choice.

AT&T: Thanks for signing up with us! Our internet is $40 a month.

Us: That’s $10/month more than our old provider for slower internet, but okay, I guess we’ll take it.

*bill comes*

Us: Why is this bill for nearly $200?

AT&T: Equipment! And activation fees! Lots of them!

Us: But… we own our own router and cords, and no one even came to our house to activate the internet. We did the setup ourselves and someone just pushed a button somewhere.

AT&T: It was a very expensive button to push!

Us: We literally don’t have $200 at this moment, but here’s $100 and we’ll pay the rest later this month.

AT&T: Okay.

*internet gets turned off*

AT&T: Suckers!

Us: Okay, okay! I guess we’ll just max out our credit cards to pay this bill, which is… still $200? What the heck is with that?

AT&T: Don’t question it. Just pay it.

*bill paid*

AT&T: Oh, part of that $200 was towards your next bill, by the way. You didn’t actually have to pay it right now. Haha!

Us: At least our internet is back on… and our next bill should be lower, right?

*next bill comes*

Us: Why is it over $100 again?!?

AT&T: Another installment on that activation fee! Plus a fee for when your internet was turned off! Isn’t this fun?

Us: We are literally never going to see a $40 bill, are we?

AT&T: Nope.

*I push ‘publish’ and worry that AT&T will now turn off ALL my internets/drop me as a customer for taking their name in vain*

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read ALL the books

It’s no secret that I’m a bookworm, and while I don’t read quite as much as I did in years past, I’m happy to say that procreating did not erase my ability to enjoy a good book, like I was warned that it would (although for the first few weeks after Damien was born I was worried that all the naysayers were right. Nope, turns out that was just extreme sleep-deprivation, multiplied by hormones and pain meds.) Actually, reading is one of the few things I CAN still get done, mainly because it’s a portable hobby and I can dip into it for a few minutes during the day.

However. One thing I did NOT realize was how many books I owned. It makes sense – I’ve been living out of storage for years, and I never fully moved out of my parents’ house before I moved back into it (or even when I moved out of it again, because we were right down the street and if I really needed something from their garage I could go get it.) But once my parents moved to a much smaller house thousands of miles away, suddenly I was stuck with the entirety of my possessions. And a lot of those possessions were books. I went through and got rid of many of them before moving, and still more I stored with my grandparents (mostly books I’m saving to use in a classroom someday, that I don’t exactly need cluttering up my little apartment.)

Still, a lot came to college with us. A LOT. And they were all disorganized and I had no idea what I had and what was where. I planned to organize things all summer, but when Dan needed a few books for a history class this fall that I KNEW I already owned, I bit the bullet and got all the book boxes out at once.

This is what happened:

There's a table under there somewhere...

There’s a table under there somewhere…

I tried to sort by author when possible, and by genre when there weren’t enough by the same author to make a good stack. I tend to find an author I like, then read a whole bunch by that author; in fact, the highest stacks you see in the picture are all one-author stacks.

Here we see the Crichton, Grisham, and (Michael) Connelly piles. I think the really huge one is Jonathan Kellerman. So many good books!

Here we see the Crichton, Grisham, and (Michael) Connelly piles. I think the really huge one is Jonathan Kellerman. So many good books! (Also, maiden name/middle school handwriting photobomb!)

When all my books were together, I was flabbergasted at how many repeat books I had. The worst offenders were my favorite books! My guess is I saw them in the give-away pile at my parents’ house, or in a coffee shop, or the library discard bin, and somehow forgot that I already owned one (or two) at home. I really don’t know. But I had three of Michael Crichton’s Sphere, three of Michael Connelly’s The Closers, lots of doubled-up Far Side comic collections (that was probably from combining book collections with Dan) and even doubles of books where I didn’t keep either of them.

The good news is, I found the schoolbooks Dan needed. And I made a largeish pile of books to give away. And best of all, I put all the books away in a completely organized manner, so I can actually find what I’m looking for the next time I go through my books.

This is how I organized my boxes - and if my house happens to catch fire, this particular box is coming with me!

I used the brilliant 3×5 Card/Sharpie/Tape system to label my boxes – and if my house happens to catch fire, this particular box is coming with me!

Because of how many books I have I can’t possibly keep them all out at once – I only have room for the books I haven’t read (or want to reread), or am likely to reference (like parenting books, or schoolbooks.) We do have a giant bookcase in our living room that was always full of books growing up, but I’ve been trying to make it look a bit more decorative because it makes Dan happy and apparently we don’t live in a library. (BUT IF WE DID THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.) (Sidenote: YES. Also, this is a picture of my house someday when I live alone.) So now that bookcase looks like this:

This only shows the top two shelves of the five-shelf bookcase, because the bottom two partially obscured by a chair/rocking horse (and aren't done yet anyway.)

This only shows the top two shelves of the five-shelf bookcase, because the bottom two partially obscured by a chair/rocking horse (and aren’t done yet anyway.)

On top of the bookcase I have an old globe I adopted from my dad’s former classroom, a random empty metal photo holder, a photo of young Dan with his mom, our electronic picture frame (which broke in the move but Dan fixed because he’s awesome), vases with glass beads from our wedding (they had calla lilies in them and were centerpieces) plus driftwood/shells from beach trips, a wooden whale from I have no idea, and a plant that we’re sunburning despite only a tiny sliver of window being visible from behind that huge bookcase.

The first shelf houses the oldest books from my old book collection (yes I have one of those) – my oldest book is from the 1880s I think? But most are from 1900-1910. Also, a picture of Dan/Kassi/me, a lantern that’s actually battery-powered, and Damien’s handprint. The second shelf holds a framed sea horse monogram of Dan’s and my wedding date (free from the internet!), a fossil, a random abalone/glass vase, and hardcover books I attempted to arrange by color. When you see that in magazines they always have way more books, so the effect isn’t nearly as good this way. Oh well. Finally, the third shelf has our faux book board games, we weird metal ball thing that’s Dan’s, a little collection of silver frames, and an orca mosaic Dan made as a teenager.

We also have a long bookcase (well, two bookcases next to each other) behind our couch, dividing the living room from the dining room. Those are still pretty book-filled, though not necessarily with fun books.

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Isn’t our stained carpet lovely? I swear it was like this when we moved in… I’m trying to look at it as a positive – even with a dog and a toddler we can’t do anything bad to it!

The closer bookcase has Damien’s books on the top shelf, and textbooks plus some file folders on the bottom shelf. (It’s mostly empty because Dan’s school hasn’t started yet.) The far bookcase has paperback books I want to read on the top shelf (yay!), parenting and religious books on the middle shelf, and giant coffee table books (mostly courtesy of my husband)/scrapbooks (including both Damien’s and my baby books) on the bottom shelf. Also there are stacks of books on top of each bookcase, because BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS. (Actually I just thought they’d be fun for visitors to flip through. Also the ones on the near bookcase are tiny and wouldn’t fit on a shelf very well.)

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Dorm Room Flashbacks

Last weekend, my entire family (well, a good share of them anyway – there were six adults plus one not-at-all-helpful toddler) helped Kassi move into her first college dorm room. She’s living and working in the same dorm I spent three of my five College Pt. 1 years in, so it brought back All the Memories. It made me want to look back at pictures of my first dorm room, which led to me looking at ALL of my dorm rooms, none of which I would still have photos of were it not for my blog (thanks to the fact that I am a serial killer when it comes to computers and external hard drives. I’m trying out Amazon’s Cloud Drive right now so if you also use it, I’m sorry if it breaks from my mere presence. These things happen.)

Anyway. Onto the ugly dorm room pictures!

Freshman Year (2004-2005)

My first dorm room was definitely the worst. It was shaped like a rectangle with a sink and a bathroom in the first half, closets (really armories because they weren’t inside the walls) jutting into the middle of the room, and beds and computer desks in the other half. Everything but the beds were attached to the walls, meaning there was no chance for personalization of that lovely cinder block paradise.

Remember cordless phones? At this point cell phones were around (I even had one, which meant pretty much everyone did) but there were no cell towers nearby so no cell reception on campus. I think I killed that bamboo within a few months. Oh, and check out Dan’s hand! He took that picture in high school (on a beach in Mexico on a mission trip our freshman year) (lots of nouns in that sentence) and I loved it so he gave it to me framed at some point. Currently that very same photo and frame is hanging on our dining room wall! (We have no purple phones though.)

The kitchen/sink area I talked about earlier. I got that blue coffee pot when I was 14 and saved it for three years until I went to college. I took such good care of it (or it’s just good enough quality) that Kassi is still using it in her dorm room! (She could have used my minifridge too but she used Kaeli’s instead. My microwave, however, is long gone. It got confiscated after Kassi set some popcorn on fire in it visiting me during my junior year, haha…)

My desk! Pretty much no one had flat screen monitors yet, or even optical mouses (mice?) I still like to have pictures everywhere so this isn’t too embarrassing. Oh, and I got that Gary plushie my junior year in high school and I just threw him away last year. Damien finally sealed his fate by removing his eyeballs…

The shelves directly over my desk. I’m amazed by how few books I brought to college! Maybe I didn’t want to seem like a nerd? (HAHAHA no that wasn’t it.)

My closet – I had to take the doors off, or they’d run right into my bed. Great room planning! I literally wore four colors (black, white, red, and pink) with the rare blue jean thrown in there. Also, giant heeled shoes. My feet are WAY too old and broken to wear heels out and about now!

My bed, complete with blanky that I still sleep with every night (shut up, it’s sooo fuzzy!), and stuffed animals because I have always been hardcore like that.

Straight down the middle of the room. My roommate was pretty much my opposite in every way (except for the fact that we were both way too devoted to boyfriends who Just Weren’t That Into Us. Thankfully neither of us made it to the end of the year with said boyfriends… or each other as roommates, that matter!)

Sophomore Year (2005-2006)

This year I shared a room with Daylene, my bestie cousin, and it was probably my best year of college (at least in hindsight!) Thanks to Daylene’s big sister we got into a better dorm, and our room was SO. MUCH. BETTER.

Our room had A Theme: black and white, which made decorating easy. (Not that we were amazing decorators… but we didn’t have any money either!)I had the top bunk, and according to my blog archive, I only fell off three times! Built-in shelves next to our bed – I had the top two and Daylene had the bottom two. There’s that hand picture again! (Dan took the picture on the top shelf too.)My computer desk, with the same Freaking Huge Monitor and lots of pictures (plus I added another plushie – Kuroneko the kitty – who still lives, unlike his snail brethren.) Wall between a closet (Daylene’s I think?) and the sink/kitchen room. I bet no one brings stereos to college anymore, lol. (Also, I wish I still had that picture I took of the Sundial Bridge; it’s pretty good!)The beforementioned kitchen/sink room – I still use those dishtowels in my kitchen! I called this our Makeup and Hair Center in my original blog post, sooo I guess we used this to store makeup and hair stuff? (This is one piece of furniture I still own. It used to house Damien’s clothes but is now full of toys, with different baskets.)To this day, this is the best closet I’ve ever had… Also the only one you could walk into (technically I could ‘walk into’ my closet now but I would just walk right into a wall.)
Junior Year (2006-2007)I was still in the same dorm so my room was pretty much the same, but I had two random roommates during the year (Daylene’s sister was back from a year as a student missionary, so the two of them were my suitemates.) I was surprised I even took pictures of the room. My comforter was reversible, so this is actually the same comforter from the previous two years. And there’s that same piece of furniture as a bedside table. (Also, apparently I had a giant cow head pillow?)More cow head, plus some randomly-placed art (I just put up the Picasso cat on my wall again. It’s actually a giant postcard I framed.)My desk, which now features two computers (I had the laptop all along but mostly used it in bed, lol.) I also had that fishtank in every room, with a parade of fish that passed through. Also, I spy Dan’s hand photo on the wall (behind the ugly internet cords; this was pre-wireless.)That same shelf again. I still had the top two shelves, only I decided to branch out into fire hazard territory and put stuff directly on the heater. (Just coffee mugs, so that’s not too bad right?) Our ‘kitchen’ was not nearly as organized in this room… Roommate #1 was very much a slob so if I wanted anything organized or cleaned I did it myself. I really don’t remember anything about Roommate #2 except that she was always on the phone!

Summer School (2007)

I decided to stay and work/take some summer classes in 2007, which was fine except I had to move back into the dreaded first dorm! Luckily I didn’t have to have a roommate for the summer session, which made living in that horrible room a lot more tolerable. I slept on the bottom bunk and put the top bunk up to get it out of the way.My computer desk (with more books this time! Also some DVDs and CDs, another thing college students probably don’t display anymore.) (Also, can you spy WoW? What can I say; I was alone all summer…)I used this desk for eating, and apparently for displaying things that were black and white. (Also the topless cover of my Man Ray art book, which I picked up for free at a book exchange!) Return of the Cow Head!One of my closets (complete with free anime poster someone gave me in Japantown in San Francisco. I had seen the show so I figured I earned it.)My kitchen/bathroom area – the caf was closed much of the time during the summer, so I had to *gasp* actually do some cooking in the shared kitchen. I ate a lot of instant mashed potatoes, lol.

I couldn’t easily find any photos of my senior year dorm room, which is too bad because by the end of the year it was pretty cool. I was rooming with both Daylene and her friend Annalisa across two connecting rooms. We had our beds in one room and our desks (plus an extra bed we made into a daybed) in the other, and it was the ideal setup for people with different schedules and study habits – you just have to convince an R.A. to room with you! :P (Also, I got two closets again – since the R.A. room had giant closets that Daylene and Annalisa were using we decided it was fair. I will most likely never again know the joy that is two unshared closets.)
But out of all the rooms, which one brings me the most nostalgia? I was totally surprised to find it was the summer room. It’s funny because I only lived in this room for three months but – I got to live by myself! Everything was exactly how I wanted it! That will pretty much never ever happen again. Maybe someday I’ll post comparisons of the various places Dan and I have lived while married… which might actually be more embarrassing than the dorm rooms…)

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blogging my food

After weeks of radio silence I bring to you this: a photo of a salad.

Well, in a minute. Actually this is somewhat of a personal accomplishment for me, especially as I tend to be the opposite of domestic (which is inconvenient being as I’m a wife and mom and am expected to, like, cook and clean things. My strategy is “fake it”, and it’s worked out thus far!) So back when I worked nearly-full-time as a teacher’s aide, I had a thirty minute lunch break before actual lunchtime, when I was on duty. Sometimes I packed my own lunch but often I would end up at Safeway on my break, grabbing something to eat later in the day. My very favorite lunch was a shaker salad from the grab-and-go section.

That’s not a Safeway shaker salad but you get the idea. My preferred salad had cucumbers, tomatoes, and mozzarella balls with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. SO, FREAKING. GOOD. (Sidenote: I didn’t like cucumbers at all, and only tolerated raw tomatoes, before Damien was born. Now I love them. Is there a thing where pregnancy literally changes your tastes, or is it just a growing-up thing? I didn’t like salad, avocados or onions until I was a teenager…)

While I was working we had a student teacher in the classroom for awhile who, like me, was poorish (we both were married and lived with our parents at that point, for what that’s worth) so she tried to DIY everything she could. She suggested I make my beloved salad at home, and while I thought it was a great idea… I never did. Nope, I kept buying those $3.99 salads from Safeway a few days every week (although I often got them for cheaper with my club card and Just For U, which is the best savings program ever. Safeway should pay me for mentioning them so much in this post!)

Buuut, since we’ve moved to the Napa Valley I actually have been doing a lot of things myself to save money. For instance (and this is going to sound silly but here goes), I always bought the steam bags of vegetables because it was so easy, and I suck at steaming on the stove. Once we unpacked here I realized I already own a microwave steamer which works amazingly, so now we buy the cheaper frozen bags of veggies. Also, we’ll buy whole veggies/fruit instead of pre-chopped (much to the chagrin of my husband, who loves his Hearts of Romaine premade salad, but the extra choppage is good for him. Well, it saves money anyway.)

That is a four paragraph introduction to say: I finally made my shaker salad at home! And it was delicious!

First I gathered my ingredients: Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing, cucumber (slices cut into 1/4ths), cherry tomatoes, mozzarella pieces (string cheese cut into pieces. Sadly this salad lacks the mozzarella balls of the original, but buying mozzarella cheese and forming it into balls simply for a salad seemed ridiculous when I have a toddler and a stockpile of string cheese at home.)

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I put all my ingredients into this trusty food storage container, poured some dressing on top, and shook it up. Annnd voila, delicious salad!

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I could have totally eaten it out of the storage container, but putting it in a Real Live Glass Bowl made me feel extra fancy. (Also, this was during Damien’s nap so I had time to take the extra step. Living it up!)

Also fancy and delicious: my homemade latte.

Lattes taste better when you take square photos of them. It's a fact!

Lattes taste better when you take square photos of them. It’s a fact!

I received a combo espresso/coffee maker for a wedding present, but broke the espresso carafe in one of our many moves so I had just been using the coffee maker. Well, moving to a location 15 minutes away from fancypants coffee (aka an espresso shop) (actually the college has one during the school year, but during the summer I’m out of luck) made relearning how to use my espresso maker a necessity. I bought a replacement carafe on Amazon and I’m calling it: best purchase of 2013. I use that thing literally every day! The milk frother/warmer on my espresso machine is broken so I use a handheld milk frother (like this one) and warm my milk in the microwave. I buy the cheapest espresso in the grocery store and it still comes out great – better than what I get in coffee shops sometimes! Best of all, it is saving me a ton of money. (Recent discovery: Hershey syrup in the milk, post-foaming, for mochas. Extra yum!)

Now everyone laugh at me because you’re baking seven layer cakes while I’m learning how chop vegetables by myself (with no adult supervision! I’m a big girl now!)

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25 (more) things

I was wasting time reading old blog posts (that’s what happens when you get internet after not having it for awhile – you get easily sucked into wormholes) and I found this 25 things post. It was fun, so I decided to make another, and here it is!

  1. I am the resident bug-killer in my household; Dan gets too scared or grossed-out. I actually used to get a lot more grossed out than I do now but living in low-income rentals has cured me of that. We’ve had just about every pest under the sun, including my least favorite creepy-crawly creature, the centipede (luckily in the yard, not the house) and I have murdered them all in cold blood, happily. Oh wait, I just thought of an animal Dan takes care of for me: slugs (but he doesn’t kill them; he just throws them across the yard. Our former apartment had cracks in the walls big enough to let slugs in. They would chill out in our kitchen. Ewwww.)
  2. When it gets warm enough I wear flip flops almost 100% of the time (that is, when I’m wearing shoes; I like going barefoot too. My feet are practically leather from years of these habits.)
  3. I actually unironically like some of Nickelback’s music. (Please don’t think any less of me.)
  4. I can recall the lyrics from nearly every song from nearly every musical I’ve performed in since childhood – and my school did one or two musicals every year, so this is a lot. Ask me some time to share the song about fearing the dentist, or to sing the Christmas Pageant shepherd’s song in Spanish.
  5. I only didn’t make the honor roll one quarter in high school, and yet I never made the honor roll at all in college. What is up with that? I swear I didn’t get THAT much dumber…
  6. I feel FAR more comfortable talking to kids to adults, so if you see me chatting up your children at the park and slighting you, I’m sorry! (I hope the fact that I actually have a kid myself makes this less creepy.)
  7. My hair color/texture has totally changed since I was pregnant with Damien (hormones will do that to you) and it’s awesome. I’m kind of afraid to get pregnant again for fear it will change back, or to something I don’t like, haha.
  8. I’ve seen a LOT of scary movies and TV shows and am hardly ever scared or grossed out; however, when I saw my first non-disaster/sci-fi horror movie back in fifth grade I didn’t sleep without nightmares for a year. I guess I scared it out of myself.
  9. The movie from fifth grade, for the record, was Scream. I rewatched it a few years ago and confirmed that it was, indeed, semi-scary (and not scary like the villain scene of a Disney movie, lol. I actually used to run out of the room during those scenes because I was scared. My excuse was that I just happened to need something in the other room right that instant.)
  10. And as a final mention of the horror genre, I think one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen was The Ruins.
  11. I am still all about the swingset at the park (if it looks like it’s sturdy enough to support someone quite a bit larger than your average kid, lol)
  12. Speaking of childlike behavior, I slept with a stuffed animal until Damien was born. Then in my sleep-deprived state I would confuse the plushie with the baby and kept worrying that I forgot to put him back in his Pack n Play and would hurt him (that was when he was REALLY tiny and before I felt safe co-sleeping with him.) It scared me so much that it totally broke my plushie habit, which is just as well because they wouldn’t fit in our bed anyway (which is usually full with two adults, one toddler and a dog.)
  13. I drink coffee and caffeinated soda in the middle of then night and I don’t think it affects my sleeping habits at all. That said, I know I’m not immune to caffeine because energy drinks keep me up all night.
  14. Last 25 Things I shared my internet blog-reading habits, and here’s how they’ve changed in the past four years: I now check 25 blogs a day and they are all personal blogs too. A lot of them are ‘mommy blogs’ but several are DIY/home stuff, humor, photography, and just plain personal blogs with nary a kid in sight. I also have a folder with websites I check periodically, when I have time (like on weekends or if no one posted on their blog that day.)
  15. When I was in junior high my cousin and I liked to plan our weddings, designing our wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses, flowers, etc. A few weeks ago going through my parents’ garage I found an old drawing of my ‘planned’ wedding dress – and it’s pretty much exactly like the wedding dress I actually got married in, ten years later. I guess I know what I like! (I’ll have to look for that drawing and post comparisons, ha.)
  16. As a bookworm this is a form of sacrilege to admit, but I already admitted the Nickelback thing so here goes: I read the Song of Ice and Fire books (all except the last one, which I still need to do, except BABY) and I watch Game of Thrones and I enjoy the show a lot more. (To my credit, they’re very similar, so it’s not like saying you liked the originally Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie better than the TV series or something.) (Which I didn’t. Team Sarah Michelle Gellar! And Angel too! Whose name is not actually Angel but David Borneau!)
  17. I’m still kind of disappointed that they chose the ASOIAF series over other fantasy series – not that I don’t love the TV show, which I do, but there are certain series (like this one) that I would sacrifice organs for to see played out on the TV screen (in a well-done, GoT way.)
  18. Like most teenagers, I had ridiculous crushes on celebrities (where I covered my door with posters with magazine cutouts of their face and wrote their name + my name in my notebooks.) The order went like this: Devon Sawa and Jonathan Taylor Thomas in elementary school (lol), Leonardo DiCaprio in middle school (yup, the Titanic years), and Josh Hartnett in high school (I still stand by that one. He reminds me a little bit of my husband actually.) I also had a girlcrush on Amy Lee, because she is amazing. I stand by that too! Also also, Juliya Chernetsky, aka Mistress Juliya, mostly because I wanted to be her.
  19. As a married woman I’ve obviously left all that silliness behind me! Well, at least the evidence on my walls/binders, haha. But if I WERE to put up a poster, it would be of Ian Somerhalder (swoon) and Tim Lincecum (my sister Kassi and I agree that it’s the half-Filipino-ness. We liked his long hair too but I have to admit he’s looking very attractive without it.) (Also, I am so bummed I don’t have cable and couldn’t watch his no-hitter the other night! I watched as much as I could on the internet and bought a newspaper the next day, like a good Lincecum fan should.)
  20. Speaking of Giants, one of them is Dan’s celebrity twin: Madison Bumgarner (see?) We went to game two of the 2012 World Series and Bumgarner was pitching; Dan wore his Bumgarner tshirt and people all over San Francisco were noting the resemblance and ‘congratulating’ him on his win. :) Sadly I do not have a celebrity twin, not even an athlete or reality star. I’ve only been mistaken for someone one time – wait, no, twice, but it was by a two-year-old (one of Damien’s ‘classmates’ always thought I was her mom when I came to pick Damien up, and I did look a little bit like her, in that we had similar heights/builds/hair/clothing style. Our faces didn’t really look alike though.)
  21. Before Damien was born I thought I wanted daughters, but now that I have a son I have to say they are completely awesome. I’d like to have at least one daughter (after the hypothetical three kids I’m having) (once I convince Dan to go up from his hypothetical two) but if I had only boys I’d be happy with that. Note to self: refer back to this after I end up with boy triplets or something.
  22. I really, really love living in California. I’ve lived here my whole life, in various parts (born in central, moved to southern, then moved to northern where I am now) and hope I never have to leave. Of course, if our careers take us elsewhere we’ll go but this state will always be my home – I’m a total California girl (despite being unable to tan, haha.)
  23. I like to watch everything with the close captioning on. I’m a better reader than I am a listener and that way I can follow the dialogue with background noises (and I don’t have to turn the volume to baby-waking levels.)
  24. In one of our high school yearbooks I was voted Most Likely to Write A Book but actually Dan almost done with his fourth book and I’ve written zero. (I’ve blogged a lot though…) I was also voted Messiest Locker, so that’s something I can still strive to live up to, lol.
  25. Speaking of high school, next year it has been ten years since Dan and I graduated. That’s fairly mind-boggling to me. For the past few years Dan and I have been jokingly telling each other we have to hurry up and accomplish something because we’re on a timeline, but unless we can manage something amazing in the next few months were out of luck! (I keep telling myself that we’ve just done things in a nontraditional order, figuring out the marriage/family thing and then tackling careers, but I’m not always persuasive.)

And on that oh-so-positive note, that wraps up another 25 things for a few years.

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here is another post about depression

So I’m having a bad/depressed day for the first time since we moved, and I’m upset that the beautiful scenery doesn’t somehow miraculously heal me from depression. (Not really, but it was nice having a little break from, you know, being me.) I’ve been off my meds for awhile – I lost my insurance in May and am hoping to get on Dan’s school insurance in September, when he becomes eligible. I have MediCal still (assuming it transferred correctly when we moved) (which reminds me, I should call our new county to make sure) but usually the waiting list to see a doctor accepting MediCal is literally months long. I haven’t actually tried in this county, but I should, because I really like myself better medicated (and I’m sure everyone around me does too.)

Right now my triggers are: thinking about our still-not-fully-unpacked house, worrying about our joblessness (not that I’d have a job during the summer if we hadn’t moved), worrying about the bills we can’t pay, worrying about Damien’s decision that he no longer needs sleep, and thinking about how bad of a parent I am (or feel like I am) when I’m depressed. Which only makes me more depressed.

To be fair, here are things that make me happy (or at the very least, less depressed):

  • Marcia noticed my two-year-old original-issue Nook Tablet was getting old and malfunctioning a lot, so she upgraded it to a Nook HD tablet. It is a huge improvement, despite costing much less than the original tablet. It runs much smoother, has a better operating system, and best of all uses Google Play apps rather than only Nook-specific ones. My favorite part is that I can make an account for Damien specifically tailored to him, so his games don’t show up in my account and my books don’t appear in his. Love it!
  • Damien is sooo into learning right now. He asks to do ‘school‘ every day and picks up on almost every activity I introduce to him super quick. He also says and does the funniest things – for example, last night I was trying to convince him to go to sleep in his own bed by telling him how comfy, open and spacious it was. Damien picked up on the word ‘spacious’ and has yelled it at random intervals ever since (including 3am, but that’s another story.)
  • Netflix. Netflix is my friend and keeps me sane while unpacking the million-and-tenth box (while trying to figure out WHERE DO I PUT ALL THIS STUFF IN THIS SMALL ALBEIT CUTE HOUSE.)
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