Today I'll just wrap up my thankful for the month because, well, I want to. That's why. It's my blog and I'm here to break my own rules, sucka! Here's 16 through 30:
16. For living in my hometown. Friends that grew up here but now live far away come back to see their families and I get to see them when they are here. I don't get to travel much so this is a nice treat for me. This was especially nice when I didn't have to travel to Portland to meet months old AJ, firstborn daughter of Denise. SHEISSOCUTEYOUGUYS!
17. For fun scavenger hunt games I get to play on my camera. I'm becoming a bit of an Instagram whore and I sure do love having an excuse to play with my real camera.
18. For people who cook for me. I'm so glad Husband is the cook of the family and that my mom is making turkey dinner tomorrow. I just don't have the hang of it but I'll bake for you in return! Maybe clean? Sex? LOL
19. For online shopping so I never ever have to consider camping out for Black Friday. Gross.
20. For this lovely weather. I hurt for the people that were victims of the hurricane or have to worry about tornadoes and snow and shit like that. We have earthquakes sometimes. Big whoop.
21. That BFF and Crusty are both living in California again. I can't tell you what this means to me. It's kind of the best thing ever.
22. That I live in proximity to many wonderful things like the Santa Barbara Zoo and the Reagan Library. I can be at the beach in 5 minutes or the mountains in 20. I can go to LA for baseball or hockey or concerts with ease.
23. For Levi's. Without them I don't think I would be able to wear pants because I wear jeans every. single. day.
24. That I have money in a 401K and in a savings account. And in our checking for that matter.
25. For my DVR! Dangit. I get to watch my shows at my convenience. Amazing. And there is nothing like fast forwarding through commercials. Iron Chef. Top Chef. All that stuff. Love it.
26. For coffee in the mornings and beers at night. Silly to look forward to beverages but I do!
27. To always be busy. Lord knows there are days that I wouldn't mind curling up with a book and not getting out of bed but it's nice to know I always seem to have family or friends that I need to visit or work and chores to tend to. Must mean I'm doing things right since I have no time to be bedridden.
28. That we don't have to go to Michigan this Christmas. As much as I love my in-laws, there is nothing worse than holiday travel. Plus this will be the first Christmas that I get to spend with my Lici Niecey!
29. That magazines and books are still in print because I don't always love reading online and am just not ready for a Nook or a Kindle.
30. For music. Whether it's listening to Casey sing or singing to Casey, the radio, the iPod, Pandora, or Husband strumming the guitar... It's just my favorite thing.
Happy thanksgiving blog readers. Thanks for reading, thanks for being my buds. Thanks for marrying me or being in my wedding. You know who you are. xoxoxoxo
9. For health insurance. I can't imagine what our medical bills would be like without it. I guess this is on the forefront of my mind because I have a dentist appointment this afternoon and just paid a $25 bill for Casey's testicle consultation that could have run well into the thousand dollar range without insurance.
10. For Disney animation. Be they movies or shows on DVD, on TV or On Demand, they sure come in handy. I can't be on the clock the entire time Casey and I share together and cartoons are something we can both enjoy either side by side or as a distraction. Plus, their movies are a must-see at the theater for me.
11. For this blog. I'm so glad I get to keep up with friends here, sort out my shit and basically just be myself. I met Husband and quite a few good friends blogging. I never take that for granted. Plus it helped me keep in touch with BFF and Christine when they moved across the country for no reason. Now they're both back in CA. Dummies.
12. For my in-laws. God knows I didn't get to choose them but my MIL and FIL are two of the best damn people around and I have zero complaints about either of my BILs or their wives and children. Frankly, I wish they lived here instead of MI but at least we have airplanes and Skype.
13. For Maria. I could ask for no better a care-giver for my boy. She is flexible and kind and generous. She teaches him far more than I think even I do. And most of all she loves him.
14. For modern technology. I really love my Samsung Galaxy S III and that it allows me to email, text, do Instagram and play WWF and Draw Something. My blackberry had nothing on this bitch!
15. For Target! Damn, I love that place. I realized this after my trip to TWO malls last Saturday. I hate the mall! Target has everything. Groceries, toiletries, clothing.. you name it, I need it, it's likely at Target.
If one more stupid ass Republican dipshit says something about Obama destroying America or any such thing I'm literally going to stab a motherfucker. Jesus Holy Christ. We have had far worse hold the rank of POTUS and here we are, still standing. Enough already. The only reason assholes are up in arms is because he is black. He didn't do all this damage. He got it dropped on his lap. Period, the end, STFU.
Elmo? Petraeus? Damn you for being heroes that can't keep it in your pants. Affairs are legal. Sex with an 18 year old is legal. You two are just smarter than that. I do not understand how people cheat on their spouses or how any adult person can have the secks with an 18 year old but they do and it sucks. Mind you, I don't really care too much about this but some people do so I'm mad for them. Sex is fun and awesome, I get it. But is it really worth the fallout? I really don't think so.
My boy watched Brave last night since we bought it on DVD the day it came out and he was not nearly as scared as I was when we saw it in the theater. He said "Watch out!" and "Rocks!" and "Bears, mama!" quite a few times but other than that he was cool as a cucumber.
He is not only a wee echo nowadays but also is carrying on conversations like a boss. This means he can also back-talk so here is a whole new hurdle for the adult people in his life. I was practicing with him all morning to say "Happy Birthday, Gaga" and he basically ignored me but in the car on the way to Maria's, I sang Happy Birthday to my mom and he decided he'd just sing along and keep on singing. Nothing is cuter than that. I challenge you to find something.
I realized The Five-Year Engagement had been sitting in an envelope for too long so I told Husband we had to watch it to get a new Netflix DVD to gather dust. I sort of recall someone telling me this was not a good movie but I refused to believe it because Judd Apatow touched it and I really, really liked the cast. Unfortunately, this movie was not so much a rom-com as it was just a sort of sad look at two people not really able to commit. Not even commit, really, just unable to get to the altar. I really dislike seeing philandering and there was some of that here. Plus the jokes just weren't funny enough to make up for the "Where are we going with this?" feeling I got from the whole movie. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this kind of movie or maybe I just need to admit I am really not the rom-com type. Plus they sort of made Michigan seem lame and that turned Husband off. We can't have anyone thinking Michigan is lame, understand?
To make up for our lack of theater going and mediocre Netflix viewing, we actually made it to a matinee to see Skyfall. We arrived quite early and there was already a line of people waiting to buy tickets to see this. I think it says something about 007 that there are now two movie theaters in Oxnard and our "old" one was packed at the first viewing of this showing on a Sunday morning. Aside from the frequent and obvious product placement, I really can't say anything bad about this movie. There are beautiful women, awesome action scenes, gorgeous locales, Daniel Craig rocking the hell out of everything he wore (or didn't), impeccable acting by revered actors... This movie is just chock full of winning combinations. Even the theme song was great and it was Adele and I am so over Adele! I think the other two Daniel Craig Bond movies kind of took themselves a bit too seriously and this one was just a lot of fun with quite a few nods to the old Bond movies including the car, the drink and the theme song. And as for bad guys, they just don't come much worse than Javier Bardem. He was no less than incredible. Go. See it.
For my family, immediate and extended. We may all get on each other's nerves on occasion but I'm glad that we are all very close, both in proximity and in our relationships.
For my husband. I am so glad I no longer need to date and really did marry my best friend even if he does get on my last nerve sometimes.
For my friends, be they real or imaginary. And by imaginary I mean on Facebook or via blogs. Even if I haven't met some of them face to face, they fill a big part of my life.
For my job, especially today thanks to a big, fat bonus.
That I am a home-owner. Not only is my mortgage less than my rent ever was, I am so glad I don't have a tiny two-year old terror running around a tiny apartment. With stairs of death.
For Betty. She may be try to be my shadow at all times and drive me up the wall with her neediness, but there is a comfort and feeling of safety that she provides that I'm so thankful for.
For the Bun. He serves no purpose other than to be a super cute cuddle of fur but I love him so much.
For our vehicles. I'm sure glad Vehicular gets Husband to and from San Diego so cheaply and reliably even though he might look awfully silly getting his huge body in and out of its tiny little self. And the Flex is simply the best family wagon around. Room for a boy, a dog, and potentially 7 adults. Holler.
I cried last night when Barack Obama was confirmed as re-elected.
I have avoided listening to Mitt Romney speak pretty much this whole time because I already hated his face and last night's concession speech confirmed why. As gracious as he was, there is a general feeling of authenticity and sincerity that is lacking.
I fell asleep before I could watch Barack's acceptance speech.
I am appalled that I asked God to bless America and our POTUS on my facebook and a friend told me that Barack Obama is not a good person. He is a good, good man. For anyone to say otherwise needs a smack on the mouth.
I love that he appears to be deeply in love with his wife and children.
I barely got the swing of things 4 years into my job so hopefully he can only do better things in the next 4 without the pressure of re-election hanging over him.
I believe the "right wing" alienated a lot of women with their stance on gay marriage and Planned Parenthood and that is one of the main reasons they lost. Women make up quite a bit of the population and are not an interest group. They should not be treated as such.
Seems fitting to type about this today. Last night, fellow blogger and enabler Genny came over to my house bearing a bag full of 50 or so hospital grade pregnancy tests. Just what I need right? To thank her for her generosity, I asked her to stay while I tested my pee. As the many, many tests prior to now have read, these too were negative. "These" because after she left I took another and again this morning, one more. I have a sickness.
To say I am relieved that these tests are all negative would be an understatement. I have come to the conclusion that I am 100% happy to have one, perfect little boy. I kind of have known this for a while but this most recent go 'round of being off of birth control and having sex with my husband has really proved it. Can I tell you how stressed I have been? I have been buying piss tests like a damn junkie and I have literally been scratching the flesh off my legs about it. I don't need this much stress over anything in my life, especially not the thought of bringing another child into this world.
I think I have been listening too much to the outside forces of the world, be they intentionally aimed at me or imagined by me. My pregnancy was pretty much the norm and my birth story is the easiest one ever told. However, I had challenges recovering from childbirth and I suffered from some pretty stupid postpartum depression. I sort of knew just after Casey was born that I didn't want to go through any of that again but I tricked myself into believing it was just PTSD.
Then, there was the miscarriage. I try to tell myself I am not one to look for signs but if there was ever a sign that maybe Casey was "enough", that should have been it. It's been almost a year since the miscarriage and I can honestly say I am just not over it. Hell, I'm not over the fact that I intentionally terminated a pregnancy almost 16 years ago. These two things weigh heavily on my mind. They're practically daily thoughts. I need to listen to myself - and to Husband who has told me time and time again he supports whatever decision I make when it comes to bearing his children - and put this shit on hold, perhaps indefinitely.
Next step is looking into hormone-free birth control options. I have also taken a note from Christine's blog and am making some goals:
Financial: We're paying things off and building savings accounts up. Casey will have his own established by the end of the month and I am banking on a healthy bonus to get us back on our feet.
Spiritual: I started a journal by my bed and am starting it off by listing what I am thankful for each day this month. It's nice to stop and realize what you have.
Career: I am going to try and maintain a more professional composure here and hope to retain my sanity along with my job. However, I have applied for a position elsewhere and am anxious to see where that goes. I know from experience that the process is very slow so I am patiently waiting.
Health: Husband and I both need to get our cholesterol under control so we are focusing on bettering our diet. We have both decided to cut back on our beer consumption during the week. Yesterday was the first time I didn't have a beer after work in some time and here I am, alive to tell the tale. I have remained strong about avoiding the candy dish at work, am bringing my salads for lunch again and have a stash of good snacks that are helping me avoid the tray of cookies in the other room.
Physical: When daylight savings started on Monday, I started walking the boy and the dog in the morning. It's not much but it's more than what I was doing. I also have a treadmill in my garage waiting for me to use it. Our goals for the weekend always include walks and bike rides so I just need to keep up with that. Hard not to be physically active with a 2-year old boy-child and a puppy.
Organizational: I would like to start a list of things we need to do around the house, for the house and in general. For the most part, I'm anal and organized but I need to get a realistic look on pricing things to get the house in better condition. Other than that, I'm calendared up the ass.
Our Saturday began with a stop at Ostrich Land USA. We decided to spend the day in Santa Ynez and since we drive past there all the time we stopped. It was $9 for us to walk around stinky, growling ostriches and emus and that low price included a dustpan full of rabbit food that Husband had the pleasure of feeding them. So gross.
Next stop was Quicksilver Ranch to stop and see the tiny ponies. These twinsies above were much newer than the others and were just as cute as can be. Casey is at eye level with them but could really have cared less about them. He preferred running down the corridor of their barn and grabbing black widow spiders. Yes, I know. Horrifying.
I have such mixed emotions about the picture above because the two of us could not be cuter but I could not be fatter. I haven't been fatter, actually, since I was pregnant with him. This definitely, absolutely has to be my "before" picture. Ugh.
Here's Husband and the boy looking adorable and fun. We had a pit stop at the Santa Inés Mission so the boy could cool down and have a snack. When I was a kid we had to build the missions in elementary school so this was a real treat. While I may not agree with the religion, Catholic history is very interesting to me. What I could have done without, though, was the faux blood where Jesus's hands and feet would have been on the crosses bearing the Stations of the Cross. We got it, Catholics.
And finally we have the boy zonked the heck out. This picture had nothing to do with Saturday's festivities. Why I love this picture so much is that I didn't put Eeyore and Pooh in bed with him. He did that all himself. And made my heart melt all over the carpet. What a mess!
Yesterday afternoon I got to leave early to take Casey and myself for flu shots. That process was so painless I almost felt like it was a trick. Since I was home, Husband was on the road home and my family was coming over for trick-or-treating later, I decided to make dinner. Shocking, I know. I dug into my recipe box (why I have one of these I really don't know) and found an email from my mom dated March of 2001 for baked ziti and decided I would make that since I had made it before, apparently 11-1/2 years ago. Since everyone was raving about it last night, I have decided to share it with you. Lucky.
Recipe serves 8 and preparation should begin about an hour and a half before serving.
32 oz spaghetti sauce (I use Ragu but I suppose you can make your own.)
16 oz package of penne noodles
1 lb lean ground beef
15 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 egg slightly beaten
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
This is not a part of the recipe but I finely diced a whole lot of garlic for flavor
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. A 13" x 9" baking pan will be needed so get that ready with some non-stick spray. Cheese is sticky, y'all.
In an 8-quart dutch oven, prepare the noodles per directions on the side of the box for those of us who don't know how to boil noodles. Drain. Set aside.
In the same dutch oven, brown ground beef over medium heat. Stir occasionally so that the beef is nice and crumbly. Takes about ten minutes. Drain the excess fat.
Add all the ingredients except for the mozzarella to the beef along with 16 oz of your sauce and stir until well blended. Then add your noodles and blend that, too.
Put that whole mixture in the pan, top with the remaining sauce and then sprinkle the mozzarella on top. Bake for about 20 minute or until you can see the cheese bubbling.
This part is from my mom's original email: "Serve this with garlic bread and a nice red wine and it is a meal fit for a king or two queens." Adorable.