Sunday, November 30, 2008

Debt

I just paid off my credit cards. 100%.

My internet and Netflix automatically come out of my one credit card every month, so I have an automatic payment set up to pay that off every month now, so I will never get any more finance charges. I won't even have to worry about paying the bill, because it will always be $0 by the time I get it.

And we have enough in the savings account for Paul to pay off his student loan, so he's going to do that this week too!

I feel so awesome right now. This means our only debt is the car, which is still way more than we can pay off, but we're way ahead on payments so it shouldn't be a bad mark on our credit when we go to get a home loan

I am officially free of my credit cards. YAY! I feel so...light!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Made for TV, but not for DVD

I'm bummed because The Christmas Toy was only released on DVD without Kermit's narration, and even that isn't available on Netflix. The original made-for-TV movie released in 1986 is only available on VHS, so if I want to watch it this Christmas I will have to spend an hour in my basement. Maybe my dad still has it in the basement, and then I can watch it while I do the stationary bike.

Had a nice second Thanksgiving this evening, even though Paul and I fell a bit behind our planned schedule...everything was still very yummy!

Lots of fun plans between now and New Year's...

Friday dinner & Hershey Symphony with Linda
Saturday Christmas par-tay at Jeneane's with the VA SAIC crew
The next weekend Trinity choir concert followed by the choir Christmas Party, which last year had more top-shelf liquor than I have ever seen outside a liquor store
The weekend after that KFC Christmas party (yes, that's one Christmas party every weekend from now until Christmas!)
Then 1.5 more days of work, followed by 12.5 days off from the afternoon of Tuesday 12/23 through Sunday 1/4/2009. Hey, I had 3.5 days of use-it-or-lose-it vaca at my new job, plus designated holidays on 12/24, 12/25, 12/31, 1/1, and 1/2. Can't beat that!!
I'm planning on 12/23 Cookie Fest 2008 with Han, baking all afternoon
Christmas Eve with my family followed by the usual late service with the choir at church
Christmas Day with Paul's family, officially upholding our new one-location-per-day rule of Holiday travel
Saturday after Christmas in Lebanon with my Mom's family
Some quality time the next week hanging out and crocheting with my mom
and for New Year's Eve hopefully driving down to NC with Kelly and Reed to party with the other two PREPs!!

And somewhere in there, decorating our apartment and going to get a real tree with Kelly and Reed! Yay for that piney smell every day when I come home...we should probably do that this week sometime...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

iPhone, bitch!

I am having lots and lots of fun with Kelly and Rachel (and Paul, Reed, and Matt). Also, as I believe I mentioned on twitter, I am drunk. Furthermore, I wish Kelly P. could also be here!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I heart Rachel's iPhone...

The end.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

This post is NOT about Twilight.

Which I haven't quite finished yet. I'm not talking about it.

Tonight: using 10% off coupon at Giant, which I MUST use because I missed using my last $0.40/gallon gas discount from Giant, which means I am giving them free money. I am still going to be disappointed that my shopping trip wasn't bigger, but I just don't need that much stuff from Giant right now. I am going to go make a list of stuff I can buy anyway.

I need to go do laundry. And us my avocados and tomatoes. And make the grocery list. And finish reading...but I'm not talking about it...besides, tonight is House, which I will be watching for the first time with the digital converter, which hopefully means it will be clear! It will still suck, but I will still enjoy it.

EDS had a fire drill today 3 minutes before my phone call for my first-ever RFI assignment. The alarm made the most awful, head-exploding sound I have ever heard, including when the alarm in my dorm went off every 15 minutes from 2AM through 4AM at Juniata. Worst. sound. ever. I held my ears all the way down the stairs, which was only 5 flights as opposed to the 11 flights I had to go down at SAIC in Virginia, so I guess it's a trade-off.

Other than that, work is going quite well...I might even get to do some programming! And traveling for fun training things!

Ok. Laundry. And avocado slicing. And grocery list making. And House. And reading...that book. You know, that one.

Friday, November 21, 2008

How ironic

Today I successfully donated blood for the first time in a while...I got a really no-nonsense woman who took about 90 seconds start to finish to find a vein, smear iodine all over my arm, and poke a needle in there. It only took her the one try, and I proceeded to fill the bag quicker than I've ever done it before! The needle did hurt this time though, which is unusual for me, so she wasn't perfect.

Ironically, I was reading the 4th Twilight book as I bled. Pretty funny.

Tonight Paul is going to donate at Holy Spirit's center, and then we are going to treat ourselves to dinner out - I think donating blood must take a lot of calories to recover from, so we're justified, right?

I think I'll definitely have Twilight finished in time to discuss it in depth with Katy and Hannah again over Thanksgiving. Oh, and with Kelly on Friday at Herby's - that's probably the most important part. Haha.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Twilight Gripes

I'm about 3/4ths through the 3rd book in the Twilight series. I only really started to hate Bella in the 2nd book after way, way, way too many pages of her angsty, self-centered, masturbatory whining. I'm enjoying the 3rd book much more with Edward back in the picture, but last night I read a sentence that really made me cringe, and my inner feminist just about jumped out of my head and burned the book on the spot.

The scene is Bella wanting to go visit someone, and she knows that Edward wouldn't want her to go because he would consider it unsafe. No spoilers, I promise.

"I just stared at him, trying to understand what he wanted, and trying to put out of my mind the yearning I felt to go to La Push so that I wouldn't be swayed by my own wishes."

The thing that infuriates me is that she is mad at herself for not being able to completely push aside her own desires in order to completely understand what Edward wants so that she can do what he wants despite the fact that it is the opposite of what she wants. Not only that, but she feels it's necessary to not even tell Edward how she feels, because it's not OK to discuss her desires with him, she feels that she should just think about it until she convinces herself that he is right to begin with, and her desires were wrong and don't matter at all.

Now, in the reality of the book, she does get what she wants, but the way it plays out casts Edward in the role of benevolent patriarch who is giving Bella what she wants in order to prove to her (and himself) that he can be "reasonable." Bella is still worried that he is hiding his disapproval of the plan, and seems like she is STILL considering not going just to give him what she thinks he wants. It's ridiculous!! Gah. I hate Bella so much.

Also, I hate that Edward keeps taking Bella's face in his hands and making her look at him. I think it happened 3 or 4 times just in the few chapters I read last night. It's so condescending, or patronizing, or something. I hate it.

That said, I am enjoying the books on the whole. The story is fun. The writing is definitely mediocre, or worse, but the plot is good. The relationship between Bella and Edward is definitely the most compelling part of the entire series, but I'm even getting a little weary of that - how many different iterations of proving to themselves that the other really does love them unconditionally can they go through?? Seriously.

OK I'm done now.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Let's Get Digital

Our government coupon for the digital converter box for backwards people such as ourselves who get our TV for free over the air. So we stopped at Best Buy this afternoon and got the box, and first impression is great - the signal is WAY clearer, as good as if we were paying for these channels, and no fuzzyness! Plus, now we have 11 channels! BUT when we do anything but sit still on the couch, like if I'm walking around the living room picking up clutter, we get the new digital version of snow: pixilation. Plus the sound sometimes cuts out as well. But the problem isn't bad, and I think the extra channels and clearer signal in general totally make up for it. With the coupon, the converter box was only like $25. Only other down is that now we have FOUR remotes: TV, stereo, DVD, and now the converter box. Ick.

Then I walked into the kitchen to make myself a hot drink in the microwave, and Paul went "WOAH!" I peeked out, and the TV screen was a colorful mess of little squares, with the sound wiped out as well. Interesting discovery. So I guess if I don't like what Paul is watching, now I know what to do! *evil grin*

In other news, we left the Hershey Bears game early to avoid the traffic once the Bears scored their 6th goal, putting them up 3 with 8 minutes left. They scored again as we were walking out. So I think they won. They scored first, then the Philly Phantoms scored 2; Bears tied it up, then the Phantoms pulled ahead again 4-3. But in the 3rd period, the Bears tied it up again, and soon pulled ahead. It was a fun little evening.

Earlier in the day, Paul and I headed down to York to pick up his re-sized wedding band at the closest Zales, and on our way to Best Buy for the digital converter box, he spotted a sign pointing us to a Greek Church Festival. So we changed our dinner plans on the spot, and detoured for some yummy Greek food. I had a delicious Gyro, and Paul had a really yummy potato/noodle/ground beef layered thing, all washed down with our favorite Greek coffee. The ham loaf is now waiting in the fridge to cook tomorrow for use as a yummy lunch sandwich ingredient for next week's lunches.

As for dinner at the YCI student restaurant last night: really amazing! It was all super fancy, artfully plated, and perfectly cooked. One of the fanciest and unique meals we've had, and all for way less than we've paid for other nice dinners. I would definitely go back there again!! Plus of course it was WAY less since we had our actual dinners for free a la the gift certificates Paul's family got us for our anniversary. I highly recommend it to anyone for a budget date night of the highest quality. Just don't expect matching gourmet service - the waiters are just the same students in a rotation, so they'd all rather be back in the kitchen, but the girl who served us was very nice anyway. We waited a while for our waters at the beginning, but that was OK since we brought our own wine to tide us over! Oh, also, all the courses were perfectly sized, so I was pleasantly full but not stuffed even after 4 courses.

Tomorrow: singing at church at the early service, then headed to the grocery store and home to tidy up a bit before Crystal arrives. Hopefully she's in the mood for some grilled sandwiches for lunch. Afternoon of socializing with Crys followed by some veggie pot pie a la Hannah at my parent's house for Mom's birthday! Another fun-filled weekend with Mer and Paul.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Date Night!

This is what I'll be having for dinner tonight:

Current four-course prix-fixe menu:
Louisiana Cuisine

Course One
Chicken and Andouille Étouffée
a classic blend of chicken and smoked andouille sausage in a rich, dark bodied sauce - served over red beans and rice

Course Two
Crab Cheesecake with Pecan Crust
a savory blend of blue crab, cream cheese and spices baked in a pecan crust and smothered with sauce meunière

Course Three
Beef Wellington
spice-rubbed tenderloin topped with mushroom duxelles and wrapped in flakey pastry - served with red wine demi-glace

Course Four
Apple beignets with Creole cream cheese and bourbon caramel sauce

Paul will pick from the 3-course menu and we'll share the dessert. I'm headed to the liquor store on my way home for a bottle of wine!

(I originally typed "I'm headed to the liquor store for a bottle of wine on my way home," which is a very good example of a misplaced modifier! Happy grammar lesson of the day.)

PS: after dinner, we are going to see the new Bond movie, Quantum of Solace! Fun fun. I wonder if I'll have room left in my belly for some popcorn...probably not...darn.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cooking

I miss posting recipes like I got to do with the whole Whip It Up thing this summer, so I started another blog for the rare occasion that I make something new and yummy for dinner and feel like sharing.

Tonight that very scenario happened for the first time! I give you Salmon & Rice Casserole. Enjoy!

Shaping up to be a busy week...yesterday Paul and I had a lovely evening at Herby's drinking way too much for a Monday night, and hanging out with some wonderful Nawakwa people: Kelly, Reed, Tom, Gerry, Mindy, Keith, Marilyn, John, and Jack. We almost had the restaurant to ourselves, which is good, because at times we were rather loud. It was really really fun.

Tomorrow we're going to attempt making pasta from scratch, so maybe I'll actually take photos and post again. Paul tried to do this on his own on Sunday afternoon, but because he does not have a knack for dough, it didn't go too well. I eventually figured out that most of his problem was using semolina that was not ground finely enough - it was like corn meal. We managed to get a bit of misshapen fettuccini anyway, and boiled it and ate it, and it was OK. Tomorrow we're going to use regular all-purpose flour and see what happens.

Friday we have a date at the York Culinary Institute's student-run restaurant, for which we have a gift certificate from Paul's family that should get us both our meals for free. I plan on bringing a bottle of wine, so that will be an extra $0.50, not bad for a 4-course meal.

Saturday evening we have tickets to the Hershey Bears game with 40 other Juniata folk, yay!

Sunday I should hopefully get to finally see Crystal, and then Sunday night is birthday dinner for my Mom.

Whew!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tainted victory?

Not cool, people. Not cool.

I can only hope that a more tolerant culture fostered by the Obama presidency will lead to change on this issue - like at least a nation-wide institution of civil unions for same-sex couples.

On an unrelated topic, and I know at least two of my friends agree with me on this, what the heck was Michelle Obama wearing last night? Yuck.

President Elect BARACK OBAMA

I am so happy right now.

I voted at around 7:50 AM beside my wonderful husband, and spent this evening with him as we watched history unfold. What an awesome experience.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

What I did this week

My main achievement, aside from sitting around on my tushie, was to finally get a whole lot of pictures printed. I spent about $90 at Giant and got 321 prints, mostly 4x6, and including plenty of duplicates. I finally got a few important 5x7's to people who were owed them, and for myself I filled an entire 200-photo 4x6 album with a bunch of fun stuff from the last few years of my life. I plan to take it with me down to York tonight to show off.

I also read the first book in the ever-controversial Twilight Saga and have started in on the second, which I will try to avoid letting consume me over the next two weeks as I go through training for my new job.

And finally, I bought stuff online:
a new Juniata hat in Vegas Gold (not the blue hat shown),
a really nice, heavy rugby shirt for Paul in Burgundy,
and an awesome 24 oz. Thermos that has already demonstrated its awesomeness by keeping my tea piping hot for hours today, and as an added bonus it even pours without taking the lid completely off! I love it. It's so efficient, it doesn't even feel warm on the outside. Love it!

Finally I want to direct you all to two new blogs:
iReadtooMuch, Hannah's blog which is already funny and amusing after only 1 1/2 posts; and
Craft Day, my hopeful soon-to-be business venture. Read my introductory post! Tell your friends! E-mail me with suggestions, or even better, business!
Both blogs are also linked to the right.
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