Archives for January 2012

Thursday Ten: My Head Is Full Of Music Edition

1. First things first – this has been an amazing few weeks for music – several awesome downloads last week and this week’s release of Ingrid Michaelson’s new album, “Human Again”. If you’re an Ingrid fan (and I am), this seems a bit of a departure from her usual quirky Ingrid sound – seems a little sadder, a little less…fun. Still beautiful. Still lyrically Ingrid. It just has a slightly different flavor.

2. Since I’m already talking about music… I’m less than a month away from a road trip to Blissdom! Kat and I will be driving from hereish to there – which translates into SEVERAL HOURS IN THE CAR. Of course, I love a good road trip, I love me some Kat – and I am SO excited about the trip. But, Kat and I need some good tunes in the car – if you have suggestions for our Road to Bliss playlist, let me know.

3. Saw the movie “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” this past weekend. I’d been slightly (not very) hesitant because movie adaptations are never as good as the book. Frankly, I loved the book so much the movie didn’t stand a chance of measuring up. But. It was beautifully done and lovely and I didn’t cry nearly as much as I thought I would. And it’s got an Oscar nomination – making it the only contender for “Best Picture” that I’ve seen this year.

4. I just wrapped up reading a fun book this week, and I’m reading a book with The Princess for our Mom/Daughter book club, but I’m finally gearing up to dive into Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Have you read it? What did you think? I am not normally a reader of biographies, but thought I’d give it a whirl. I took the below photo outside the 5th Avenue Apple store in New York City.

5. I’ve reached the point of winter where I am bored with my hair and debating getting a major hair cut. I need to talk myself out of it. I have been growing out my hair since my last drastic above-the-shoulders cut two years ago and it’s down to the bottom of my shoulder blades. I don’t want to grow my hair to my feet – but I’m not sure I’m ready for a short ‘do again (or ever!). But… winter almost compels me to make a change. So… maybe I need a new color.

6. Pumpkin is on a SkippyJon Jones kick. I have to admit, I find it somewhat adorable that she’s added the phrase “holy frijoles” to her vocabulary.

7. A boy told The Princess yesterday that she was not “built for soccer” but that she was “built for math”. I don’t even know what the hell that means, but I’m sure it wasn’t intended to be nice. I’m fighting the mama bear urge to tell The Princess to give him the middle finger and say, “You’re right – I’m so good at math I can tell you exactly how many fingers I’m holding up.” But, that’s not the right answer. My gymnast could probably beat any of the boys in her class in a pushup contest, and being good at math is an awesome thing. I can only assume this boy just didn’t want any girls in a “boys only” game of soccer. To which I say THIS: pbbbbbbbbbbbbth. Whether you are a parent of daughters or a parent of sons (or of both!), you have a responsibility to challenge the gender “norms” that have been held for so long: girls can’t play sports, boys can’t play dress up or have dolls, everything made for girls needs to be pink. It’s 2012 not 1950. I have daughters – and it’s my job to let them know they are capable of doing damn near anything a boy can (except pee standing up – I’m not encouraging that mess).

8. I’ve made it a mission to work on strengthening my skills in the arena of food photography. It’s not easy – for sure – but, I’m intrigued by it.
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9. My sister’s baby shower? It went WELL! Now to plan the shower for my sweet sweet friend who is due just four weeks after. Two baby showers back to back has taught me one thing: I was right in not pursuing a career in event planning.

10. Project Runway without Tim Gunn? No bueno. I even almost miss Heidi. Project Runway AllStars is kind of a miss for me. And that’s my hard-hitting reality TV opinion of the day.

Frosted Oreos (ON A STICK!)

I think Pinterest is pretty amazing for a lot of things, and sometimes I see things that spark great ideas. I’ve seen great recipes and lovely photography inspiration pins. And then sometimes I see things I want to try – like those sassy Oreos on a stick.

The problem? That pin linked to somebody’s blog post with just a picture of the cute desserts. No how-to, no tips, no nothin’. Well. Shucks. That doesn’t help.


So let me tell you about ’em, huh?

First things first. You’ll need Double Stuf Oreos. Reason? Even if you get the skinniest lollipop stick, it’s too thick for the regular Oreos. It will break EVERY. SINGLE. COOKIE.

So, if you’re with me so far – Double Stuf Oreos. Lollipop sticks.

You’ll want to microwave the Oreos for just a few seconds – for me, eight to 12 seconds was enough to soften the frosting in the middle enough to insert the lollipop stick.

Note: Putting that lollipop stick into the Oreo frosting? It’s still kind of a pain.


Next, you’ll need candy melts. Now… I used pink ones – these are for my sister’s baby shower tomorrow (shhh, don’t tell her!), so PINK was in order.


I melted this in the microwave also – start with a minute in the microwave in a microwave-safe container. Stir. They’ll probably need a bit longer in the microwave, so heat in 30 second increments until your candy melts have indeed melted.

Now? You’re ready to dunk your Oreos. It’s easy because they’re on the stick, you have a container full of candy melt, so dip, shake off some of the excess, and lay flat to set.


As you can see, I used a cookie cooling sheet. I did this so that some of the frosting would remain on the back of the cookie. The problem here is that you need to use caution when removing the set cookie from the rack (I used a butter knife to scrape some of the excess set-candy from the back of the cooling rack and then to gently pry the cookie from the rack).

More than a few cookies were lost until I perfected the “scrape the bottom of the rack” technique (Initially, I skipped that step. Many cookies were lost. It was sad).

So, you know. They’re wicked cute. If you like Oreos, they’re pretty yummy.

BUT, they’re a TEENSY-TINY bit tougher to make than they look on Pinterest. But y’know… now you know.

And knowing is half the battle.

Thursday Ten: Playing Catch Up On New Music edition

1. My music library has had somewhat of a drought lately – hadn’t really added much of anything new. I changed that this week. I downloaded the new album by Florence + The Machine, the latest Ani DiFranco and the Taylor Swift/Civil Wars single from the Hunger Games movie, “Safe and Sound.” All good stuff. Happy ears.

2. The other song I’m loving now is Ingrid Michaelson’s cover of “Somebody That I Used To Know”. The song is all over the internet right now, with basically everyone on the planet covering it. I like her version. And I love watching what she’s doing with percussion.

3. The Princess had a spelling bee the other day and sadly was out in the second round. And she was devastated. She knew how to spell the word and her mouth just went a little faster than her brain. Poor kid.

4. I am on the second round of antibiotics for this 2012 Massive Cootie Germfest. Seriously. I think they’re working. My sinuses feel less like popping out of my face. It’s been…not so fun. But, I’m hoping I’ve turned the corner. I hope.

5. In the zone with baby shower planning – my sister’s shower is THIS WEEKEND. Pulling those last minute details together and really just excited about spoiling my sister and my unborn niece rotten. I think I’m finally done shopping for the shower. I keep picking up “one more thing”. So fun. Can you tell I’m a first time aunt?

6. American Idol is back. As someone who will never make more than a few sympathy dollars with her singing voice (I think it’s really good but I realize that every one else just lacks taste), I sure do love the first few eps of American Idol where everyone sings so horribly. It makes me happy. Which is awful, but I’m sure it’s the point.

7. Sometimes I take a picture that I fall in love with. I wish I had had something better than just an iPhone with me but I still… I look at this and see exactly what had drawn me to his moment. Sometimes I see something – but it doesn’t translate. This, the emotion I saw in the empty chairs, carried to the end result.
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8. Around the holiday season, everyone was talking about Love Actually so I rented it from iTunes and I thought it didn’t download. Well, I thought that because iTunes told me it didn’t. Then this week, I got notice that the rental period was nearly up. I’ve had that movie ALL THAT TIME? Well, guess what? Another year has passed and I still haven’t seen it.

9. In four months (WOW! Just four?!), I’ll be in Boston walking in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. You know it’s a good cause, so if you’d like to support me, please click to donate.

10. I’m really looking forward to the movie “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” that comes out this weekend. Would I have cast Tom Hanks? I’m thinking… no. Soooo, it’ll be interesting to see.

End of an Era. Again.

In May, my job was eliminated and even though I had been tremendously frustrated by the experience towards the end and thought I’d prepared myself for the inevitable layoff, it still hit like a ton of bricks. Even though I wasn’t in love with the job, it was a job, and it was my job, and change is yucky.

And then true to fashion for the Company, they realized how much work I was doing that they couldn’t immediately farm out. They hired me on a part-time/contract basis and on I soldiered, doing what I was used to doing.

I continued with the contract work through the summer while interviewing for jobs.

I continued after I started my new job.

I continued even after I realized how tired I was working a full day, coming home and working some more.

I knew that they would be transitioning my role, that it was fading and that they’d hired someone who could do the same thing and more, but in house. So it wasn’t like I thought it was a permanent situation. Hell, I didn’t want to work there forever anymore.

And then.

At the beginning of January, I tried to log on to my computer to get some work done. And couldn’t. A call to technical support told me my account was disabled and I left a voice mail message for the woman I reported to. The next day she called me back to say: “Oh, December 31 was your last day. I forgot to tell you.”

So, I guess I’m done.

I sent my materials back, and with very little fanfare it’s over and done and after ten years of working for the Company (whose name I am still not mentioning because it’s not nice), it’s over.

And while I have to say: it was good while it lasted and I am grateful for the part time work to hold me over while I searched for and found a job, I find it amazing to believe that ten years of service and hard work doesn’t warrant more courtesy than an “Oops, I forgot.”

I guess I should be so grateful, in this economy, to have had a job that I would happily excuse bad behavior but instead I am left with an odd feeling: I am relieved to have had the experience, I am relieved to be saying goodbye to them at a time when I saw it coming and I didn’t need them, and yet I have this bad taste in my mouth of how is there so little regard for the PEOPLE in an organization that a little courtesy didn’t seem to register on one’s radar long enough to actually follow through with it.

It is what it is.

Because ultimately the end result is this: I have work. I now have a little more free time that I was ready to have. I don’t have to come home and start another shift of work with their projects.

It’s all good, right?

Yes. It really is.

Wishing they’d handled it differently surely doesn’t make it so. Feeling that I deserved more kindness at the closure doesn’t make it happen. And since I haven’t invented a time machine and surely they haven’t either, it can’t be re-done, undone, or changed.

It is what it is.

And so it goes and so it’s done.

And life goes on.

Thursday Ten: Still Coughing Edition

1. Well, the antibiotics are gone but this cough still lingers, as does this runny nose. It’s not fun. It’s not fun at all. I need all the Kleenex in the world right now. It’s not good.

2. As I type, the snow is falling and we’re expected to get a few inches of snow in West Michigan. We’ve been pretty lucky with a mild winter so far, so I shouldn’t complain about getting a few inches of snow in January except… I really don’t like snow.

3. And with bad weather comes… the lengthening of my commute. This morning’s drive in was super slow. And there wasn’t any snow. It’s ONLY GONNA GET BETTER!

4. So, the thing about Project Runway All Stars is… Tim Gunn isn’t on it. Pfft. What’s Project Runway without Tim? I’m rooting for Mondo, though, and yeah, I’ll probably keep watching.

5. With this cold that won’t go away, I have decided to heed the typical “drink lots of fluid” advice and have upped my water intake by about 100,000 percent. (I may be exaggerating). Those insulated cold cups with the straws? THE BEST for encouraging water consumption because somehow drinking with a straw seems to make it less of a chore. Probably the same reason I can drink ten diet cokes when I go out to eat (not really ten. Probably).

6. Baby shower planning mode in full effect. Do you know that baby shower planning is really tough work? It IS. But, I’m excited and can’t wait to surprise my sister with some really fun stuff that she has no idea about. Turned in the final head count today and we’re going to have a full house.

7. I am making it a mission to get better at food photography – I’m a rotten cook, but I want to sharpen my skills at making food look appetizing. I gave it a whirl photographing the brownies I baked tonight. Let’s just say I have a LONG WAY TO GO.

8. Do you use Pinterest? I was resistant to trying it, but love the photography ideas. And the cookie recipes. I really love the cookie recipes.

9. Did you pick a word for the year? I did.
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10. Just finished reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close over the weekend and LOVED it. I am not a fan of writing and highlighting books – but this book made me want to. There were so many lines that resonated with me that I wanted to make note of them all. I didn’t. I may go back and track them down. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie (though now that I’ve read the book, I question the casting).

Thursday Ten: Sick Day Edition

1. I had to call in sick to work today and I hate that. I realized after feeling progressively worse yesterday and then just being wracked with awful coughing jags last night and the overall feeling like I’m drowning in snot…then waking up feeling not at all better… that maybe I should stay home and maybe get in to see the doc. Doc gave me antibiotics, cough meds and orders to rest and drink lots of fluids. There may be a nap in my future.

2. When I don’t feel well, I crave carbs. Exhibit A.
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3. Michigan beat Virginia Tech in the SugarBowl! Whoohoo! Would have preferred less of a tense, edge of the seat, game ending at midnight ordeal, but YAY! A victory. Hail!

4. Cough medicine is making me sleeeeeeeeeeepy. It wasn’t supposed to. Nondrowsy? Hmmph. I may actually take a nap today.

5. Book club last night – the book for January is The Night Circus, which I’d been wanting to read, and now I have an excuse. Whatcha reading?

6. After a holiday season of pretty much eating what I wanted WHEN I wanted (monkey bread, salted caramel cheesecake, ice cream sandwiches on New Years Eve), I have decided to start paying more attention to what I’m eating. Being sick has made this a little easier than it could be, since I can’t taste anything right now. I should be eating broccoli.

7. Before we got our puppy, there was this lovely spot by the sliding glass door where the sun spilled across the floor in delicious warmth and I would lay in the spot and read, soaking in the golden rays of the sun. Yeah. Not anymore. Pup’s claimed that spot as his own. Booooo.

8. I watched the first two hours of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (the latest version with Daniel Craig) and thought it was well done – though I ended up leaving early because of a migraine (do you wonder why I hate winter so much?). I felt it stuck to the book a lot better than most movies do and I thought it lent a different layer to Lisbeth that I hadn’t gotten from the books – sometimes it’s hard to visualize, but I think it made her vulnerability more apparent and made her make sense.

9. Now that winter break is over and kiddos are back to school, do you find your kids are thrilled to be back? I think mine are – but it’s definitely an adjustment period after two weeks of a willy-nilly schedule.

10. Project Runway AllStars starts tonight. I don’t watch as much television as I used to but ALWAYS ALWAYS make an exception for PR.