Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I saved three lives today, no big deal

This is where you expect me to come back and say, "Giving blood wasn't bad at all! It was easy!" And honestly, I thought I would be reporting the same thing too. But unfortunately for me, that is not what I'm about to say.

The entire experience was awful. First, you have to get a finger prick that was surprisingly painful. At first I though, oh that wasn't that bad, and then it slowly started to hurt and as Elf would say, "My finger had a heartbeat." Then I had to answer all kinds of ridiculous questions basically all asking the same thing in a different way: no I do not have HIV or AIDS and haven't had sexual conduct with anyone that has. Once I made it through the finger prick (confirming that my iron was high enough) and the crazy questions, it was time for me to give blood.

I was hoping that the nice man who did the finger prick and the paper work would be the same one drawing the blood but that wasn't the case. I got the very unhappy woman with poor social skills who was obviously learning how to draw blood with my arm and my veins. I'm not trying to be mean, honestly. We all have different skills and unfortunately, working with needles and communicating with people aren't her areas of strength.

Once she (painfully) got the needle in, she said my vein had moved and she had to do it again. Then she realized my blood wasn't coming out fast enough so basically she had to keep reinserting the needle and move it around the entire time I was giving blood, which took me at least four times as long as everyone else.

About halfway through the process (which was about 20 minutes after the first needle insertion) she decided she wanted to throw in the towel and just call it a day since I wasn't showing any promise of filling the pint sized bag with blood. I asked her what would happen if we quit and she said they would throw out the blood they've already collected. Are you kidding me? I was not about to let that happen! There was no way I was letting it be a waste of time and PAIN so we kept going. After no less than 45 minutes of painful needle torture, I was able to fill the pint sized bag with my blood and will hopefully save some lives.

On a positive note, I got to talk to one of my young actresses from the play I co-directed while I was giving blood; she was a trooper to stay with me the whole time. They also had TV's in the gym playing Elf. I didn't expect to be in there long enough to watch over half the movie, but I couldn't have asked for anything better on the TV. In six weeks, I should get a postcard telling me that my blood donation was accepted (it BETTER be accepted) and I will also find out what type of blood I have. Might be a good thing to know. I can't think of when I would need to tell someone, but just in case, it will be good to know.

And, I'm happy to report that after 45 minutes of a one-sided conversation, I think I finally got the Red Cross worker to smile and be polite. After all she put me through, I thanked her for taking the time to keep messing with the needle so that I was able to donate a full pint of blood. She wanted to throw in the towel and move on, but she didn't and I was thankful. Then she thanked me for being patient with her on her first time drawing blood (she didn't necessarily come out and say the second part directly, but we both knew).

All that being said, today will probably be the first and last time I ever give blood.

What would Dexter do?

There are a lot of perks to working in a high school. I love interacting with the students and the days go by super fast! The work is challenging and I'm learning a lot. But there are some drawbacks, too.

I seem to be a sucker when it comes to the kids and have a hard time saying no. They come to my office asking me for notes when they're running late to class (I always say no), they ask me to borrow money since I'm right across the hall from the bookstore and "promise" to pay me back (I usually say no), they ask me to buy their raffle tickets and support their fundraisers (I usually say yes), they ask to borrow my stapler and tape dispenser (I always say yes and rarely get them back) and then a few weeks ago, they asked me to sign up to give blood.

At first I said absolutely not. Then they explained that one person giving blood can save three lives and it's the holidays and you should give the gift of life. They even said the lives that the faculty and staff save by donating could be potential parents of future students and could help increase our enrollment numbers - they are very persuasive! So, I signed up.

I would like to say that I soon forgot about it after signing up but that would be a lie. I have thought about it almost every single day since. As November 30th was getting closer and closer, I was getting more anxious. Today is the day. I couldn't back out even if I wanted to. Only a few minutes ago a student, the senior class president and organizer of the event and the one who talked me in to signing up, just came to my office to make sure I was still planning to give blood. I told him yes and he reminded me that it takes 45 minutes for the entire process (only 10 of that is actually for the blood drawing) and they are only in there for two more hours so I should probably come sooner rather than later. "No pressure," he added at the end.

Now I'm starting to get nervous! It's all mental, of course, but my heart is racing and my hands are shaking as I type this. Have I mentioned I hate blood, I'm terrified of needles and I'm a HUGE WIMP? But I do like humans, so saving humans would be a good thing. I'm 27 years old and haven't saved any lives yet, unless you count little Johnny who jumped off the diving board and couldn't swim. I'm an organ donor but don't plan on saving lives with those bad boys any time soon so if I want to save lives, this is a good way to do it. Besides, if high school students can do it, I can do it too, right?

Here goes nothing....

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Turkey Day!

I realize this video is a little graphic. In fact, it makes me feel horrible for the turkey that I'm going to consume today. But, I also found it to be moderately entertaining and the overall message of being thankful is a good and appropriate one. Enjoy the video and more importantly, enjoy your Thanksgiving and don't forget to be thankful! :)


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A very different kind of Thanksgiving Eve

Thanksgiving Eve: The most popular drinking night of the year. It's 12:25 a.m. and the only thing I've drank all day was a root beer and gatorade. At one time, I did partake in the Thanksgiving Eve drinking and partying festivities but tonight, my festivities were quite different.

Today I baked 3 dozen iced pumpkin cookies with cream cheese (with orange food coloring) frosting, one pumpkin roll, 4 cheese balls and tripled the recipe of sweet potato casserole. I've been working on this stuff all day long and have a new appreciation for those of you who host Thanksgiving at your house. It became very obvious to me tonight as I turned the KitchenAid mixer on too high and sweet potatoes went flying all over my kitchen, that I am not even close to being ready to host Thanksgiving, or any large scale cooking event, at my house.

I tip my hat to all of the rest of you who do. Goodnight.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sandy and the 1000 Paper Cranes: About The Project

I recently joined the group 20 Something Bloggers and stumbled across the blog below where Sandy is creating and releasing 1000 paper cranes with a different inspirational word on each one. She leaves them for others to find and to hopefully spread a bit of positive energy and "world peace" which is what cranes symbolize. She came up with this idea after reading "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes" by Elanor Coerr which is a book about a girl from Hiroshima who was diagnosed with cancer and wanted to fold 1000 cranes before she died but unfortunately only made it to 644. I was inspired when reading her blog and thought you might be interested in learning about it too!

Sandy and the 1000 Paper Cranes: About The Project: "So why 1000 paper cranes? What started this all? After reading the true story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Elanor Coerr, I was..."

Black friday blues


For a number of reasons, I have only once in my life ventured out on Black Friday. Here are a few of the reasons why I make it a personal goal to avoid shopping on Black Friday:

1. I hate waking up early
2. I despise waiting in long lines
3. I try to avoid large crowds in small spaces whenever possible
4. I don't have a shopping buddy to venture out with me
5. My shopping list is never ready in time


Here is one reason why I would, under the right circumstance, consider shopping on Black Friday:

1. I love getting a good deal

I believe it was three years ago when I decided I would venture out on Black Friday for the first time because I was after a particular bargain. I wanted to get Pat a nice drill and Sears was having a really good deal on one. I talked my dad into going with me and I didn't go super early. I ended up getting a lot of shopping done that day and despite going out late, I was still able to get Pat the drill (which has been immensely beneficial to us both as homeowners).

Because I don't like to "mix the moment" and try to not think about Christmas until after Thanksgiving, the #1 reason I don't venture out on Black Friday is because I haven't even figured out yet what gifts I'm going to be buying for people. And if I'm going to get up early, wait in long lines and subject myself to large crowds in small spaces, I better have a really good reason for doing so. And usually, I don't.

This year, however, I have some gifts in mind for people that perhaps might warrant a trip out on Black Friday, if I could get some good deals. But I'm still up in the air. It might be a game time decision. I don't have an organized shopping list put together yet which would be key in determining whether or not I venture out. I will be home in Mansfield on Friday morning so I would be dealing with Richland County's finest (as opposed to Cuyahoga County's finest - not sure which is worse).  We will be heading to Brunswick on Friday afternoon for Thanksgiving with Pat's family and I will still need to cook my sweet potato casserole. And, I would really like to just relax and sleep in. So I'm not sure I can/am willing to make the early morning shopping trip, but if I do, I'm going to keep Holly's tips in mind.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I just can't mix the moment

One of the local radio stations has been playing Christmas music since November 1st. I have been strategically ignoring this station so that I don't hear any Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. I know it might sound weird, but I am one of those people that like to take it one holiday at a time. Maybe it's because my mental capacity is too small to handle them both at once, or maybe it's because of the way I was raised, but I cannot partake in Christmas festivities until after Thanksgiving. There. I said it.
I know there are people who strongly disagree with my stance, and that is okay! But because I really do love all holidays and all seasons, I like to make sure that I get to truly enjoy each and every one. My house is decorated for Halloween starting mid/end of September and once Halloween has passed, I leave up all the general fall decorations until after Thanksgiving.

Pat and I are on the same page when it comes to leaving Thanksgiving and Christmas as two separate holidays. Don't get me wrong - I really do LOVE Christmas! And I would celebrate it longer if Thanksgiving happened sooner, but no one asked me for my opinion when selecting the dates of these two events. :)

All of this being said, I am starting to get VERY excited for Christmas (even though I'm trying to mentally block it out until Friday). After this Thursday, it's game on. Christmas music will officially start to dominate my playlists (much to Pat's dismay) and I will slowly but surely start to Christmasfy our house. My absolute FAVORITE Christmas movie is Elf and I can't WAIT to watch it!!! (Bye Buddy...hope you find your dad). I am starting a Christmas Movie Watching List for the Robinson household and so far the lineup is:

Elf, Home Alone and Christmas Story (only so I can do my impression of the kid with the tongue stuck to the flagpole - I seriously sound just like him) - in that order.

When do you decorate for Christmas? What are your favorite Christmas movies?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Throw your hands in the air

Me surrendering in one of my dance offs
And wave 'em around like you just don't care. That's pretty much my dancing strategy. It's all in the arms. Most people who know me know that I LOVE to dance. And recently, I seem to love DANCE OFF's and participated in many this summer during our marathon of weddings (most of which I lost, by the way).

Not only do I love to dance, but I have pretty wicked awesome dance moves, in my humble opinion. Sure, my robot isn't the standard robot you're used to seeing, but it's the scarecrow like movement of my arms that makes my robot so unique. My biggest area of strength with my dancing is most definitely my arms. There's no limit to what my arms and hands are capable of when they get moving to the "right beat" - aka, anything Black Eyed Peas and most recently Like a G6.

Because my upper body dance moves are so good, I excel at dancing in the car. When you're sitting down in the car, all you have to work with is your upper body so you really have to make sure you're giving it all you've got. And I do.

Pat drove us to Columbus last weekend for the OSU game, which allowed me to get down with my bad self in the passenger seat. I am usually well aware of my surroundings and only engage in embarrassing (aka wickedly awesome) dance movements if there are no other cars around us on the highway. But when Imma Be by Black Eyed Peas came on the radio, all my inhibitions must have flown straight out the window because idda be making a fool out of myself when an SUV pulled up right beside us. Of course it had to be a vehicle taller than us so that he was actually looking down on me and watching me flailing my arms around and singing.

Pat, who saw the car approaching and resisted his temptation to warn me so that he could enjoy the extreme embarrassment he knew I was about to experience, tried to console me after the car passed by saying "hey, look at it this way...at least you'll never see him again." As he was saying this, he started to speed up so that we were once again, right next to the SUV. I was truly humiliated while Pat was laughing hysterically.Payback for all of the Pat bashing I do in my blog? Perhaps.

Don't worry, the incident didn't make me want to give up on my car dancing all together. I did the driving, one armed dance just last night on my way home from work. And before I go, let me share with you my ultimate favorite dancing song...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happy Holidays and Rock On!

So you know I love to sing, but what you may not know is that my voice is only half as good as my husband's. We both are extremely talented electric guitarists and decided this holiday season we would start our own band to help spread the holiday cheer. We want to thank my dad and Jill for purchasing Rock Band for us a few Christmas's ago, against their better judgment. It really gave us the skills and confidence to pursue our passion. We both feel we wouldn't be where we are today without their support. Happy Holidays from the Robinsons!


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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"The sweater"

It's been too painful to talk about, which is the only reason you haven't heard about the knock-down, drag-out fight that took place in the Robinson household exactly one month ago. Since I alluded to the incident with Pat and "the sweater" in my blog last night, I feel as though it is my civic blogging duty to fully disclose the entire story with any other newlyweds out there who might be struggling through some of the same issues. By the way, I assume it goes without saying, but just so we are clear, no one was physically knocked down or dragged out of our house during this fight. The only thing that was bruised and scarred during the argument was both of our egos.

A few months ago, I went shopping (weird, I know) and found some really awesome deals at Ann Taylor Loft, a store that I can't really afford UNLESS I find things on the clearance racks, which I did. I bought this super cute mustard yellow cardigan (one of the "in" colors of the fall, so I'm told) to match the super cute yellow mustard Gianni Bini buckled flats that I found on clearance at Macy's. I feel like "the sweater" and I had a very special bond, right from the start and were destined to be together.

I bought the yellow shoes first with absolutely nothing to wear them with and with absolutely no need for them. I haven't read Suze Orman's book about women and money that my parents bought me years ago, but I'm assuming she would say buying a pair of shoes simply because you want them and think they are cute makes perfect sense. So after I bought the shoes, I went out on a mission to find the perfect yellow mustard shirt to go with them. The first store I entered was Ann Taylor Loft and as soon as I made my way back to the clearance rack, I saw "the sweater." It was the only one in the store and happened to be in my size (petite and all) and it was only $20! Obviously, it was love at first sight.

I wore the cardigan once to work soon after buying it and got a lot of compliments on it (and the shoes).One student told me, "Oh, Mrs. Robinson - that color is really "in" this fall." I responded with a simple thank you, as in, duh... I already knew that but what I was really thinking was, awesome! I had no idea because I'm terrible with fashion! As the compliments kept coming, the bond I felt with the sweater grew stronger.

And then it happened. I remember that fateful night like it was yesterday. I went to empty the dryer from the load of laundry Pat had put in there. As I was grabbing clothes out of the dryer, I saw "the sweater." My stomach sank. I knew based on the material, the way "the sweater" fit, etc. that this was for sure an item of clothing with "lay flat to dry" instructions. I immediately looked to see what setting the dryer was on... it was dried on HIGH. I grabbed the sweater and gave it a once over. I could tell that it was significantly smaller than the last time I had seen it. I checked the label to confirm my hunch that "the sweater" should have never been exposed to the extreme heat of a dryer on high.

Once I saw it in writing "lay flat to dry," I marched upstairs. All I could think about on my way up there was the many conversations Pat and I have had about how easily my clothes shrink and the extra caution that needs to take place before putting my shirts, especially sweaters, in the dryer. I was fuming mad and kept thinking to myself, I'm not asking him to do anything I wouldn't do for him. I DO take great care in the way I handle his laundry.

I'm not sure exactly what words were spoken or who started yelling first but many loud words were exchanged. I marched back downstairs to try on the sweater and prove to him that it wasn't "fine" as he kept insisting it was. When I put it on, the sleeves were SKIN, no circulation getting to your arms, TIGHT. He tried to lie to me and tell me that it didn't look "that bad," but we both knew the truth. I wanted to cry. "The sweater" was ruined and unless I lost 20 pounds and about 2 inches of flab on my arms, I would never be wearing it again. I sprayed it with wrinkle spray and tried to stretch out the sleeves as best I could, and then simply hung it back in my closet where I expected it to remain until I gained enough strength to get rid of it.

I know what you're thinking. At least my husband does laundry and helps me out around the house. And you are right, you're absolutely right. And looking back over the situation a month later, I feel the same way. AND, he's made a huge effort to put any and all of my shirts on the drying rack instead of the dryer and he has requested that I keep any "delicates" separate from the rest of the laundry so that he never has to read labels. I plan to try to implement this as well.

It is also with great pleasure that I announce to you the silver lining of this whole situation. After writing the blog last night, and bringing the painful wounds of "the sweater" incident back to the surface, I decided I was going to try and wear it to work today and it FITS! It seems that wetting the shirt and stretching the sleeves really worked (I can assure you - I did not lose 20 lbs. or 2 inches of flab on my arms).

Who doesn't love a happy ending?

On a side note, if you want to see what "the sweater" looks like, you can check it out here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

No one likes sour jugs

If you read my blog often, you know that my husband Pat is usually my favorite topic of discussion. Whether it be his refusal to read the labels on my clothes and his insistence on washing all colors together and then throwing them in the dryer on high, or the fact that after living in our house for 2 1/2 years he still can't catch on to the routine of making sure the shower curtain is pulled closed; he provides a lot of material for me to use in this blog. But tonight, I'm reprieving Pat of his role as the victim of my blog and instead I'm going to talk about myself.

When I got home from Dale Carnegie class tonight at 10:00 p.m., Pat saved me food because he knew I didn't eat dinner. He heated it up for me and served me at the table. What a husband I have! Then, in a very soft, polite voice he said, "Emily? Can I ask you favor?" I wish I could say I responded with, "Yes, dear. Anything you want." But actually, I was busy facebooking so even though I heard the question, I wasn't really listening so I didn't respond at all. He asked the question again, still polite but not quite as softly as the first time, "Em...can I ask you a favor?" This time I did answer with, "Of course!"

His request seemed simple and almost silly to me at first. He asked that if I'm the one to finish off a gallon of milk, that I rinse it out and crush it rather than leave it on the counter for him to take care of, which I thought was a perfect strategy, by the way. So I said, yes, I can do that but I still didn't think it was that big of a deal if I just left it on the counter, just as he doesn't see the big deal about shrinking my favorite and worn only once Anne Taylor Loft sweater (I swear, I am not bitter about that AT ALL). He must have been able to read my nonverbals because he proceeded to explain to me why this was important to him.

Tonight, while I was at class, Pat was so kindly cleaning our kitchen - which I appreciate VERY much. He started to collect the recyclables and noticed the empty milk jug, right where I left it for him on the counter. Assuming I had already rinsed it out, which I guess is standard procedure for recycling milk jugs (who knew?), he went to smash it and was immediately gagging as the overwhelming odor from the sour milk that was left in the bottom of the jug blew into his face.

I wasn't showing the sympathetic reaction he was probably looking for when I was laughing hysterically in his sour face - pun intended. But once I gained my composure, I recognized how very unpleasant that experience must have been for him and how very unhappy I would have been had it happened to me.

So I learned something tonight. After 27 years of thinking I'm perfect (hardy har har), tonight I was in for a rude awakening when Pat brought to my intention that I am in fact, not perfect. I have one flaw and one flaw only...that I do not rinse and crush our empty milk jugs. Noted. I'm off to take a shower where I can assure you I will immediately close the shower curtain when I'm finished! :)

I'm singing in the car

I know I'm all about putting myself out there with my embarrassing stories for you to laugh at and I swear, most of the time I'm okay with it. But the hypothetical situation I'm about to explain, is not something I'm 100% okay with yet and therefore, I can neither confirm nor deny that the following is true.

A few months ago, I may or may not have created a playlist on my iPod titled, "Songs I like to sing along to" filled with tracks I feel best fit in my very limited vocal range and that I enjoy singing along with. I may or may not have burnt this playlist on to a CD and I may or may not be found belting out the songs during my long commutes to and from work. I may or may not pretend that I'm karaoking the songs while I'm practicing them in my car and perhaps I even rewind certain parts of the song over and over again until I feel I've hit a difficult note the best of my ability. I may or may not have listened to said CD so many times that I feel I've either mastered the songs on it or determined they no longer fit in my vocal range as I once thought they did and therefore I may or may not be compiling a list of songs for my next CD. I may or may not be an average girl with an average or slightly below average voice, living in the body of someone who desperately wishes she had half of Carrie Underwood's talent.

If the above is true, after a little more practice, you may or may not get to experience me breaking out of my Karaoke comfort zone of "Something to Talk About" by Bonnie Rait and "Material Girl" by Madonna. Although they have both proven to be tried and true, I feel as though I owe it to my followers to come up with some new material, hypothetically.

If you burnt a "Songs I like to sing along to" mix - what would be on it, hypothetically speaking, of course.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Root, root, root for the home team

We have had back-to-back weekends of tailgating fun and watching our teams bring home victories!

Last weekend we tailgated in the Muni lot in downtown Cleveland for the Browns vs. Patriots game. We had awesome (and rare) Cleveland November weather and couldn't have asked for a better group of people to tailgate with!
In addition to the great weather and great company, we absolutely could not have asked for better seats at the game! I have never had such awesome seats at a Browns game before! Granted, it was only my second game ever, but still, I don't think I will ever get to enjoy better seats! But most importantly of all, we got to see the Browns bring home their third victory of the season against the best team in the NFL!
Excited Robinsons after the big win!
So far, Pat has proven to be a good luck charm for Cleveland! He got to see (in these same awesome seats) the win against Cincinnati. So far, he's 2-0 with his tickets. He's going to the game today against the Jets and I really hope he gets to see another win! He really wants to see the Browns beat former receiver, Braylon Edwards who Pat hates more than Lebron James!

Yesterday, our fun tailgating excursions continued in Columbus, Ohio for the OSU vs. Penn State game! The main purpose of our trip was to celebrate my SIL's 21st birthday! Happy Birthday, Leann! We love you!
The Robinson kiddos - we missed you, Traci!
I got to see my cousin, Matthew, who I haven't seen in what feels like forever (a year and a half - which is forever!). I'm so glad we were able to meet up!

Me and my cousin Matthew
We had awesome seats in the student section and got to see a great game - a little too great in the beginning when Penn State was beating us 14-3! It was pretty fun to be on the bleachers in the student section when everyone was jumping up and down - but I'm not going to lie, when all the bleachers were moving with each jump.. I felt a little nervous about them caving out from under us. I know, I know... I'm old.
The view from our seats - thanks for hooking us up with tickets, Leann!
Now that Pat is off to tailgate for the Browns game, I have the entire day to myself! I have lots I want to accomplish. I want to drive to Old Navy in Avon to return something I bought online and don't want to pay to ship back (by the way - North Olmsted NEEDS an Old Navy. Are you with me?), I want to go to Michael's craft store while I'm there and get some new Christmas paper and then I want to come home and start making our Christmas cards! As I'm constantly reminded everywhere I turn, Christmas is right around the corner and I never seem to give myself enough time to make my cards and get them mailed out in a decent amount of time before the holiday begins. While I'm making these cards, I plan to watch a full week's worth of shows that I haven't had time to watch: Glee, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Little People Big World and Law & Order SVU.

I should also plan our meals for the week, go grocery shopping and straighten up our house. Wow, that's a lot for one day. I better get moving!

Enjoy your Sunday and GO BROWNS!!! As Pat says, this is a make or break game for us. Our record will either become 4-5 or 3-6. One sounds much better than the other!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Get in the kitchen and make me some: Shredded chicken sandwiches

I wrote the blog below on October 19, 2010. Why it stayed in "draft" form, I'm not quite sure but it's time to set it free. Enjoy.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ingredients

  • 1 (50 ounce) can whole cooked chicken, drained, bones and skin removed
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 1/8 cups water
  • 1 (8 ounce) package dry bread stuffing mix
  • 6 hamburger buns, split

Directions

  1. Shred chicken, and place in a large pot or slow cooker. Stir in soup and water. Stir in the seasoning mix from the stuffing, and then stir in the dry stuffing mix. Cook over medium heat until heated through. Spoon onto buns, and serve.
I realize I am long overdue for a new recipe of the week. I'm not sure where the last month has gone. I feel like I blinked in August and opened my eyes to find October 19th out of nowhere. As I've said before, life should feel much calmer for us now that wedding season is over and I hope to get back to my goal of trying one new recipe each week.

We had company this weekend for all of the Halloween festivities and I wanted to make something in bulk to feed everyone for lunch on Saturday. I thought hot shredded chicken sandwiches would be perfect! There was just one problem: I've never made hot shredded chicken sandwiches before. Can't be that hard though, right? Just buy a big can of shredded chicken and throw it in the crock pot. I soon found out that you can't actually buy a huge can labeled "shredded chicken." And if you can somewhere, that somewhere isn't Marc's in North Olmsted. So I decided I would just call my mom and get her oldie but goodie recipe. We LOVE her shredded chicken sandwiches and I wanted her recipe. I called her only to find out that she doesn't even have a recipe and just found one online (but she didn't remember where she found it or what ingredients she used). Thanks for your help, Mom!

So I started my own google search to find the perfect recipe. Most of them were pretty similar, either cook a whole chicken and tear it apart yourself (no thanks) or buy cans of chunked chicken and smash it yourself. I thought for sure I had seen in the back of Paul's Drive-In during my three-month stint of working there, these big cans of already "shredded chicken." I assumed you just buy the cans, put them in the crock pot and call it a day. Turns out, it doesn't work that way. Oh well.

So I ended up buying five 10 oz. cans of chunked chicken. I put the chicken in the food processor, which I later realized wasn't entirely necessary. Breaking the chicken up with a fork would have worked just as well. I mixed the chicken, soup, water and stuffing in the crock pot and cooked on low for a few hours. It was delicious and I highly recommend this recipe!

Oh how I sparkle today!

I'm always joking about the fact that my life is like a comedy routine, a Michael Scott in the Office or Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents kind of comedy where the uncomfortable jokes are usually on me. Most of the times these "jokes" take place when I'm all by myself. This morning was a perfect example. I was just finishing up getting ready for work and realized I hadn't put any lotion on yet. I wear lotion every single day and I like to rotate the scents (weird, I know).

As I was looking through my rather large collection of Bath and Bodyworks lotions and feeling like I wear the same ones all of the time, I realized there was a strawberry champagne Victoria Secret lotion that I hadn't worn in a while. Without reading the label, I picked it up and put a strip of lotion on both arms. I rubbed it in quickly and put the extra lotion on my chest, as I always do. I gave myself one last look in the mirror, not looking for perfection by any means since my hair was still wet and I definitely wasn't looking my best. As I started to walk out of the bathroom, something sparkling in the mirror caught my eye and I quickly remembered why I hadn't worn the Victoria's Secret lotion in such a long time; it is "shimmer" lotion (i.e stripper glitter lotion). I feel that there is a HUGE difference between "shimmer" and "glitter," so when I bought this lotion a few years ago, I was looking for a soft, subtle shimmer look, not a Halloween costume glitter look.

Anyway, I was panicking at this point because I looked ridiculous. No matter where I was working, I would have been embarrassed, but especially working in a Catholic High School, I was mortified. I quickly threw on a cardigan to take care of covering up my glitter covered arms, but the chest was still a huge problem. I wet a tissue and started scrubbing my chest. It wasn't coming off. I then wet a washcloth and started scrubbing and slowly but surely the glitter started coming off.

Needless to say, I was running even later than usual this morning. Perhaps dry skin would have been a better alternative to the strawberry champagne stripper lotion by Victoria Secret. One question I keep asking myself is, why am I even hanging on to this lotion? I've had it for several years and never wear it but I'm a pack rat so I convince myself that as soon as I get rid of it, I'm going to really wish I had it. You just never know when you might need to look like a stripper!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Smile and say thank you

Last night in Dale Carnegie, the students were learning and practicing how to accept compliments by simply smiling and saying thank you. The purpose of the exercise was both to help people understand the power of giving sincere compliments but also to recognize how difficult it is for many people to accept compliments. The first reaction of many people when receiving compliments is to respond with a joke or a statement that somehow takes away from the praise they just received. Even if you don't say anything out loud, many times your facial expressions and nonverbals say it all for you. I am very much guilty of this myself. I usually make a joke or say something sarcastic when receiving compliments.

Today, I received a compliment from a man the same age as my dad (or older) that went something like this..."Well, don't you look cute today!" Practicing my DC techniques, I simply smiled and very politely said thank you, even though there were so many contrasting, not positive thoughts going through my head. It made me feel really uncomfortable, as I usually do when receiving compliments. But this time I think I was uncomfortable for a very different reason than I'm just bad at accepting compliments. I really wanted to ask him to define what exactly he meant by the word cute. Did he mean cute as in, you are young enough to be my daughter and I view you as a child and today you look cute like a child or did he mean you look cute today as in, I think you're attractive and who cares how old you are, age is nothing but a number type of cute. I'm not trying to flatter myself and assume he meant the latter but if he did, I'm totally creeped out. If this is the type of attention I get when I wear my hair straight, add this to the already long list of reasons why I rarely take the time to blow dry and straighten my hair.

Friday, November 05, 2010

It's a bird...it's a plane...it's sun glare!

On Wednesday, it took me an hour to get to work. Three weeks ago, it took me an hour and ten minutes. That's right. I could have driven home to my parents house in Bellville or Butler in the time that it took me to get 28 miles. As soon as I realize traffic is backed up, I always turn on the radio and start scanning stations until I hear a traffic update.When traffic isn't moving at all, I always expect to hear about some horrible, three car pile up. And sometimes, I do. On other days, when there are no accidents to report, I end up hearing the traffic reporter on the radio say, "traffic due to sun glare delays."

Yes, you read that right.

okroads.com
Sun. Glare. Delays. I know. It makes absolutely no sense to me either! I understand when traffic is delayed because there's an accident or because it's raining or snowing. None of these situations make me happy, but at least they make sense. However, the sun shining, which is such a rare and beautiful thing in Cleveland, just doesn't make sense for such significant delays in traffic

Maybe it is because the sun is so rare in Cleveland. After all, the lack of sunshine is one of the reasons Cleveland is ranked as one of the most miserable cities to live in (according to national studies - not me). Cleveland ranks number 47 on the list of 101 cities with the lowest average sunshine amount (see full list here). "Dismal weather" and high commuting times are just two of the factors that have won Cleveland the prestigious award of most miserable city, an award I don't agree with, by the way. I can't argue with the statistics on unemployment, crime and weather, but I really do enjoy living NEAR a big city with so much to do - near, not in, being the clarifying word! Even if our sports teams don't win championships and titles, it's still fun to go to the games and cheer them on! 


I have completely digressed. Back to the sun glare delays. When you're driving East on your morning commute, brace yourself and mentally prepare for the fact that you might actually witness the sun shining. If you should encounter such a situation, please follow these steps carefully: put on your sunglasses, put the visor in your car down and drive. If we all work together, I am confident that we can rid this city of unnecessary delays in traffic due to the sun.

We may not have very many days left to witness these rare sun sightings, so please, let's just embrace the time we have with the sun and it's warmth. 

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Trick or Treat!

I have always loved passing out candy to the trick or treaters. Growing up, I was usually in charge of this task at my dad's house in Shelby, which was in a perfect location to get TONS of trick or treaters since he lived at the end of a large Boulevard.

When we bought our house two years ago, I was very excited to pass out candy for the first time. I was working late on the Friday of Trick or Treat. I didn't get out of work until 5:30 or so and Trick or Treat started at 6! I rushed home, threw on Pat's pirate hat that he wore for his costume that year and we sat on our porch together waiting for the slew of trick or treaters to arrive. We waited... and waited... and waited... but they never came. The only kids who came were our neighbors, which included three families and a total of six kids. We only got six kids! I was so disappointed! Pat, who probably dominated all of the candy we had left over, was not nearly as disappointed.

I didn't have high hopes the following year. I didn't want to set the bar up too high again and get disappointed. I tried a different strategy. I stood at the end of the driveway to make it even easier for them to get the candy. Our neighbor went all out and designated his entire front yard as a cemetery with a fog machine and all. If that doesn't get the kids there, I don't know what will. I don't think we reached double digits that year either.

This year, our third Halloween in our house, I got really excited again. I bought our candy way too early and it was almost completely gone by the time Trick or Treat came around. Obviously, my memory had failed me and I thought 25 pieces of candy would not be nearly enough, so I went to buy more. "If you buy it, they will come." Or so I thought.

Turns out they didn't have any Halloween candy left so I had to buy Reese's peanut butter Christmas trees instead. Pat put the candles in our pumpkins and put them out front and I was streaming Halloween music over my computer to really set the mood. And then we waited.

Slowly but surely they started to come. I deemed many of them as being too old, some weren't even dressed up and many just had pillow cases for bags. I made each of them who weren't dressed up try to explain to me what they were supposed to be (I sound like a teacher, don't I?). But after a few bad years, I was more concerned about quantity, not quality. I wasn't about to turn anyone away! We had 25 Trick or Ttreaters this year. The exact amount of candy I had BEFORE going out to buy more.

Looks like Pat and I will be enjoying the Reese's Christmas Trees ourselves!