Looking back at 2009

Thank God this year is almost over. In the quarter of a century I've been alive, this has definitely been one of the tougher years I've had to get through.

  • In January, hubby and I were learning how to be "parents" to our cute little furbaby he got me for Christmas - Tiger sure keeps us entertained!

    Also in January, I went to the Disturbed/Skindred show at The Rave in Milwaukee with 2 of my bros-in-law and a couple they were friends with - definite concert first for me: getting knocked over in the crowd and being at the bottom of the pile! Now I've been to a ton of concerts in the past decade, and I usually stand down front in the crowd, however I have to admit, this time I was pretty scared and I was fortunate to have grabbed onto one of my brother in law's wrists while I was going down so he could pull me up before I got trampled once people pulled up the other 3 people who landed on top of me - I seriously think I blacked out for a moment at the fear of getting trampled underneath everyone, it was THAT BAD! And the ironic thing was, this happened during the set change, while "Bodies" by Drowning Pool was playing over the speakers - the crowd was acting like Drowning Pool was actually on stage! Needless to say, ever since this incident, I've been a bit more weary of going down front at shows since then.

    We also spent Friday nights for a few months playing Halo at one of hubby's co-worker's places with her husband and some of her friends.
  • In February, we had the car accident. We had a green light, it looked clear, so we went... then about 2/3's of the way through the intersection a car on our right decided to run the red light and crashed into our front passenger side of the car, completely throwing off the tire alignment and suspension on the entire vehicle. We were lucky though - had he hit us a split second later, he would have crashed into me in the passenger seat, rather than the tire. The car ended up being totaled, as the insurance companies agreed it would cost more than what the car was worth to fix the tire problems, but luckily we had the GAP insurance on it and were able to get a new, better car - the 2008 Dodge Avenger. 
  • March was pretty uneventful - we got our tax return and it all went to pay off my surgery bills from December. It was nice to not have that debt hanging over us anymore though... there was also the beginning of "the cell phone switch fiasco" which was more complicated than it should have been... I was also fully healed from my surgery too, according to the doctor.
  • April was also pretty uneventful, from what I recall. We started hanging around with some of hubby's employees, which turned out to be a mistake later on down the road... I also had my first Lia Sophia jewelry party too at the end of the month. It was fun to visit with everyone that came - we had a nice girl's night while Josh was at work.
  • Then in May, "the shit hit the fan" or so they say. I found out that first week that my bosses were cutting my hours (and my pay) in half, as we hadn't had much business and a lot of places didn't want to have to pay for the cost of advertising in their local newspapers. I spent the rest of the week filling out applications all around town with hardly any luck. Right after Mother's Day, I found about something that completely devastated me and pretty much shattered my world at the time. I was depressed and upset for days, and in the aftermath, it left me paranoid and with trust-issues now - both of which I still deal with even nearly 7 months later. It took longer than I would have liked for part of the problem to be completely out of the picture, but we worked through what had happened and started to rebuild what had been broken. It's a healing process, and while no one knows how long it will take for the paranoia and trust-issues to go away completely, I do feel myself and the person involved are stronger now than we were before. I firmly believe God lets everything happen for a reason. I feel this was one of His ways to finally get our attention, even though it hurt me like hell to have to go through what I did.

    May was also the last Wing Ding festival. Hubby and I went with his brothers and some of their friends. We saw Halestorm, The Parlor Mob, 10 Years, Coolio, Powerman 5000, Saving Abel, Saliva and Shinedown.

    My college roommate also moved to Dallas, Texas at the end of May - we helped her move and it's kinda sucked not being able to drive the 30 miles to hang out with her once in awhile... Hubby and I are planning on visiting her down there in October, as he's also a Dallas Cowboys fan and would love to see them play in the new stadium too.

  • June was pretty uneventful too - just more of recouperating from the events that happened in May, as well as continuing to try and find a 2nd job to make up for the income I lost when my hours got cut at work.
  • In July, we spent the holiday weekend out at my in-laws, which was pretty fun. We also took a trip out to Pennsylvania to visit with my relatives - my mom's side was having a big family reunion with relatives I had never met before, and it was nice to get to see my dad's side of the family too, including relatives who couldn't make it out our way for the wedding last year. We did some sightseeing while out there and also spent a day at historic Kennywood.
  • August was a fun month. We joined Netflix, which I have been getting full use out of, and I also celebrated my 25th birthday in an epic way - we got tickets to see Nine Inch Nails' last show EVER in Chicago which was on my actual birthday. It was really neat - I just wished I had seen Trent Reznor and co. live a few times more, as he's not planning on touring anymore.
  • Labor Day was in September and my college roommate was back for a visit, so we drove into a suburb of Chicago and visited with her and her boyfriend and a friend of hers - it was pretty fun. We also started watching HBO's TrueBlood and hubby got me the 1-7 boxset of the books the show is based on for our 1 year wedding anniversary- needless, to say I'm hooked on the story! 

    Our anniversary was good, we went out to eat at Lino's, which is a really nice restuarant here in town, and exchanged gifts. First year of marriage kinda sucked though, as we had a lot of ups and downs, as you can see... I always heard the first year of marriage was the hardest, but I didn't really believe it until I experienced it myself. I figured we had spent enough time together, known each other for over a decade, and practically lived together a few months before the wedding, however nothing could have prepared me for this past year and all we went through - I wouldn't wish it on anyone! All I can say is, communication is key - without it, your marriage is doomed to fail and have problems. If you're not happy with your spouse or something in your marriage, simply talk to the other person and let them know - keeping it to yourself and dealing with it in your own way will only hurt it and make things far worse than they should be. Marriage is a partnership - you deal with problems together, not individually. And you can't deal with the problems if there is a lack of communication about how you're feeling.

    But onto the rest of the month!

    To finish out September, our kitty escaped from home very early one morning - we had the window in the living room cracked only maybe half an inch, to let the air circulate out there, since it had been so hot, however we think she saw something or was trying to get at one of the stray cats that come by and pushed open the glass panel more and busted out the window screen. They said most indoor cats don't go far from home, so we were making the rounds on our block several times a day, but with no luck. We found her roughly 56hrs after she escaped near the back of our apartment complex, hiding under a large plant. She was scared, dirty, and you could tell she hadn't eaten anything. It was pretty scary, having my baby gone and missing for that long though!

    We also decided to start house hunting, as we learned online that pending the mortgage rate we get, we could end up paying just as much for a mortgage and utilities as we currently are now to rent. We looked a few, and decided to go get pre-approved for a loan, however we hit a few roadblocks when it came to the credit portion that we needed to get cleared up first before the bank could approve us for a good loan amount - one of the major ones being that the GAP insurance from the accident in February didn't appear to cover the remainder of the car loan like we were told it would.
  • Near the beginning of October I joined Mary Kay and have been doing pretty well with it. I enjoy having my weekly girl-time too with my unit. Hubby celebrated his 26th birthday at the end of the month too.
  • At the beginning of November I responded to a job listing I found on Facebook for a seasonal cashier job at a Sears store in town. I had an interview and got hired on the spot and started about a week later. It was a pretty easy job... Thanksgiving this year was spent with my family, as we are alternating who's family we eat with each year. We also met up for lunch with some friends from out of town too which was nice. I worked the mid-morning shift of Black Friday at Sears. It was busy, but wasn't too bad. I stopped over at Walmart afterwards and finished up the rest of our Christmas shopping - everyone's presents were bought and wrapped by December 1st this year - it was nice not having to rush around and deal with the crowds this year!
  • December wasn't too bad. I earned my Sapphire Star with Mary Kay, which was exciting! We went to our church's production of A Christmas Carol, which my mom was in charge of all the costuming, and we also took the train into Chicago with my family where we spent time at the outdoor German Christkindlmarket, eating authentic German food, then a visit to Macy's, Millennium Park, and window shopping on Michigan Ave. It was a fun time! I also had a girls night of baking Christmas cookies too! Christmas Eve was spent with my family as usual, and then we drove out to my inlaws' on Christmas day. Hubby also managed to pick up some overtime at work this month too. 

We don't really have any plans for New Years Eve, however I really do hope that 2010 is a much, MUCH better year than 2009 was.

I am planning on really pushing to get people to host Mary Kay facial parties, and we're hoping to have the majority of our 'extra' debt paid off soon and jump back into the house hunting pool before the end of January, since the credit stuff should be cleared up by then.

Here's to 2010!


Don't miss these Christmas movies

Since Christmas is this week, and since I did a previous entry regarding what my favorite Christmas albums are, I thought it only appropriate to make a post about what some of my favorite Christmas movies are.

"A Christmas Story"
Who doesn't like this Christmas classic about Ralphie, a boy who wants nothing more than a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas? "You'll shoot your eye out," everyone tells him, but that doesn't stop Ralphie! While it was released in the early 80s, it takes place sometime in either the 30s or the 40s and has various, hilarious sub-plots throughout the film. Based off the real-life occurances of the narrator Jean Shepherd, this is one Christmas film that is entertaining for the whole family.

"National Lampoons Christmas Vacation"
Who can forget the Griswold family Christmas? Chevy Chase reprises his classic role as Clark W. Griswold who decides to have an old-fashion family Christmas at home with all the relatives, but things get a bit crazy when Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) shows up too, unannounced, in an RV. So many memorable moments in this one as well... while some parts may not be suitable for the younger kids, adults and teens will enjoy this one.

"Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas"
Forget the live-action Jim Carrey one, the classic animated Grinch is the one to watch! Who doesn't like this one, where Grinchy gets annoyed with all the Who's singing and happiness so he dresses up his little dog Max like a reindeer and himself as Santa and sneaks down into Who-ville on Christmas Eve to steal Christmas away from them, only to realize when it doesn't affect them that Christmas is more than just about presents and roast beast! What a great classic for the whole family!

One of the more recent Christmas classic is "Elf," where Will Ferrall plays Buddy the Elf, a human who was raised at the North Pole, being brought up like an elf, but decides to go to New York city and find his real father, spreading innocent holiday cheer to those he comes in contact with. While a lot of Will Ferrell movies are dumb and slapstick-y, this one was actually pretty heartwarming and a great one to help get you and your family into the Christmas spirit! Zooey Deschanel co-stars too.

Going for a record

So the other night on the news I saw this story:

Rockford tattoo artist tries to break world record

ROCKFORD (WREX) -  A Rockford tattoo artist hopes to ink his way right into the "Guinness Book of World Records".  Jeremy brown is trying to tattoo a client for 50 hours.  He started around 2pm Friday.  Brown says his client, Nicholas Thunderberg, came up with the idea.  Brown has to stay up the whole time, but he says Nicholas is the one feeling the pain.  "The tattooing I know I'm going to be okay with, I don't know for that long, but right now its just the hype from it."

When it's done, Nicholas will have a cherry blossom tree with mountains in the background of his arm and a phoenix on his back.  If there's time, he'll also get a mask on his chest.  We'll check in with them this weekend to see how they're doing.

The cool thing and how this story relates to me?

Jeremy (of EuroTat2) is the tattoo artist that did my tat last year =)

"I'm in love with somebody... and it's not you!"

Probably one of my current favorite rock anthems at the moment is Halestorm's "It's Not You." Too bad it wasn't around 3 years ago - during the post break-up fiasco with my ex, this song would have been perfect, as I can totally relate to it!


How I Met My Husband, part 2

Unfortunately, weeks passed and I didn't see him in Sunday School, or Wednesday night youth group for that matter. It wasn't until Snowcamp in January that I saw him again... He was too shy to come talk to me, so we proceeded to make it a tradition to pass notes back and forth all throughout our youth groups various fall and winter retreats over the years, and occasionally send email (back in the early days of it!) to each other.

In high school we got to know each other a little better, as we ran in similar circles of friends, and after high school, when I went off to college, he was one of the few friends from back home who bothered to keep in touch with me. We'd occasionally chat on AOL's Instant Messanger between our classes and even met for lunch a few times when I was visiting in town some weekends. We also met up at a few local concerts back home as well.

Eventually he started coming down to visit with me and my new boyfriend at the time, joining us and a few friends for a weekend camping trip, coming down with his then girlfriend for my birthday... when he started playing World of Warcraft with us online, we really got to know each other better, as we all played way more than we should, although it was a great tool for keeping in touch with people who didn't live nearby.

Near the end of his relationship with a psychtic girlfriend, he started spending more and more time visiting me and my then boyfriend at college. I felt bad for him, I really did - the girl was crazy and hurt him real bad! They eventually broke up and he came down at least once, sometimes twice, a month for the weekend just play WoW and hang out with us, I'd assume as a distraction for how he was really feeling inside.

It wasn't until my 2nd cousin's wedding that June (2006) that I had a sort of epiphany - something at the wedding got me thinking and led to the reminder of why I hate the ending to the movie "Pretty in Pink."

Since most have seen it, Molly Ringwold's character has this best friend, Ducky, who's head over heels in love with her - he'd do anything for her and give anything to be her boyfriend. Unfortunately for Ducky though, she's in love with a popular rich jock-type. They date briefly, but break up right before the prom. She still decides to go anyway, to prove to the popular rich kids who broke them up that they can't break her. And of course Ducky offers to be her date so she doesn't have to go alone. Ideally, she should end up with Ducky at the end, right? I mean, he's always been there for her, even after the popular rich guy gives in and dumps her for his superficial friends. But no, rich and popular apologizes for being stupid and she ditches Ducky at the dance for him.

There's a similar plotline in the movie "She's All That" as well, where she has the best friend who'd do anything for her and give anything to be with her, but she pursues the popular jock instead.

I realized hubby was kinda like the best friend in that movie and I was the main character. I thought, "why not give the best friend a chance?"

The only problem was though, I was still with my then boyfriend and didn't have any valid reason to break up with him at the time.

So I kept my mouth shut.

It got really difficult though as the months went by and he visited! I started looking at him differently... he looked really hot when he came down for my birthday weekend, all cleaned up wearing dress clothes (he had just come from an interview). On Halloween, it took everything in me not to jump him! I told my roommate about how I was feeling and they strongly urged me not to do anything with him while I was still with my boyfriend, as he had been cheated on before. So I resisted the temptation and continued to keep my mouth shut. It wasn't until something somewhat major happened that put a strain on that relationship and I was able to finally have a valid reason to break it off.

Nearing the end of my relationship with my ex, my now husband and I got to talking online. I remember exactly what I was doing the night he figured it out - we were both playing and talking in World of Warcraft. I was playing my night elf rogue in the Alterac Valley battleground, stealthing around and snagging the horde towers at their base. He was telling me about how his parents were trying to set him up with a girl that attended his dad's Monday night class, and how his siblings had said they wanted to approve of any of his future girlfriends, after the mess of Psycho and he was talking about what bad luck he's had with girls over the last few years. I just casually threw out "Well, you never know, maybe your luck will change soon." Honestly, I didn't know how he felt about me anymore - he used to make suggestive comments here and there about us over the years and would comment about how he was "next in line" if my boyfriend and I broke up, but he hadn't said anything like that in a long time, and I didn't want to just flat out ask.

The next night, he was leveling a character in Darkshire and I came to help him out on my rogue. He said he had a question for me that had kept him up thinking, but he wasn't sure if he was just reading too much into it. "What did you mean last night when you said 'Maybe your luck will change soon'?" I asked him what he thought I meant by it and he asked if I was implying that I was interested. I forgot who said what, but I did admit I had been crushing on him for months, but didn't know how he still felt, do to the aforementioned reasons. He admitted he really fell for me back in high school and never stopped. Now at the time of this conversation, my boyfriend was still staying at my place. I told now husband that honestly, I didn't see things lasting too much longer with my boyfriend at that time and that I really wanted to take a break from that relationship once he moved back into his place. He completely understood.

We continued talking about the idea of us dating if things didn't work out with my boyfriend after our 2 week break (I really did want to give the guy a chance to get his act together and although I had wished I could have broken up with him prior to Thanksgiving, circumstances made it so that wasn't an option and I really wanted to wait til after his finals were over to actually break up with him if things hadn't changed). The first night of the break, my roommates and I had some friends over for drinks, including now husband, who came down on a last minute whim and decided to stay the weekend, and my boyfriend whom I was on a break with. After most people left, now husband stuck around and we watched a few movies on tv together til we both got tired and he left and stayed at my boyfriend's place. He came over again the next night to hang out and we watched some more movies on tv and then he left to go home.

We had made plans to attend our church's annual Wonders of Christmas production the following Saturday and since he had to go to work, we had agreed to meet up later to see his brother's band compete in a Battle of the Bands competition back home. I didn't bother inviting my boyfriend because the last time he went to Wonders, all he did was make fun of the music and skits and complain about the creepy old guy sitting next to him, and I didn't bother inviting him to see the band because we had invited friends from high school to join us and it's not like he knew any of them.

This was the night of our first kiss.

After the Battle of the Bands, we got some Taco Bell and then he dropped me off at my parents house. As I went to get out of the car, I heard him call my name. I went to turn around to see what he wanted but before I could, he had grabbed onto my arm and pulled me toward him, kissing me. I smiled, we said good night and told him I'd see him in church the next morning.

Later in the week, he asked if he could take me out to dinner, so I said sure - it was a fun dinner out, but it wasn't an "official" date.

Now hubby and I had agreed we'd wait a bit after the break up before to start dating, but with Christmas and New Years right around the corner, neither one of us really wanted to be single for the holidays. About a week after the break up, I texted him on my way to work on December 23rd (I know, I know, texting while driving = bad) and asked him "Can I be yours forever?" He texted me back saying "Forever and ever!" Good thing too - within the first day or two of being single I already had guys at work asking me out!

We spent that Christmas and New Years together - celebrating Christmas Eve with my family, Christmas day with his, and New Years with friends.

They always say that when you find "the one" you just know, and within our first few months together, I knew. He claims he knew back in 8th grade, it just took me nearly 9 years to realize it.

Now that's not say everything has been perfect - I think I've had more arguments with him than I have with any of my past boyfriends, but we attribute it to us having similar personality traits and having known each other so long that we know which buttons to push without even thinking about it!

We got engaged shortly after our 1 year dating anniversary and were married in our hometown on September 13, 2008, after knowing each other for nearly 11 years, and being a couple for almost 2.


How I Met My Husband, part 1

"How long have you been together?"

"How long did you know each other before you started dating?"

"How did you guys meet?"

I always get a bit giddy whenever someone asks me those questions about my husband and myself because we have such a neat story!

Ours dates back to the beginning of December 1997. The same weekend of our church's annual production of Wonders of Christmas. This month marks the 12th year we have known each other.

We were both in 8th grade and regularly attended the 2nd hour Junior High Sunday School class. Being the 2nd hour class, it was smaller, as the contemporary church service took place during this hour and most went to the 1st hour class and then onto that service - my parents went to the more traditional service which took place 3rd hour, since their Sunday School class met only during the 2nd hour. Most of the time, there was less than 10 of us in attendance to this particular class, myself usually being the only girl (except for when one of my friends would randomly show up).

After class, there would sometimes be 15-30 minutes before service started so everyone in the class would take turns playing Carpetball (only we called it something different that I can't for the life of me remember what it was!) - being the only girl most of the time, I definitely could hold my own against the guys and usually beat most of them!

Anyways, this particular Sunday, my Carpetball reign had ended (we played where the winner stays in until someone beats them), service was starting soon so I gathered my Bible and purse and started to make my way towards to the exit to head upstairs and find my parents to sit with them.

I got about two-thirds of the way to the door when I heard one of the guys call my name. I stopped to make sure I had all my belongings, thinking maybe I had left something next to the Carpetball table. I started to turn around to take a look and see, but saw one of the guys approaching me - he didn't have any of my stuff with him though...

He stopped and handed me a folded piece of paper with my name on it, but before I could say anything, he took off running out the door and up the stairs. It didn't help I couldn't think of his name... he was a regular in our Sunday School class though, usually sat in the 2nd row, somewhere behind me so I never really got a good look at him, other than the fact that he was really tall.

I went to the restroom nearest the Junior High room and opened up the piece of paper "this guy" had given to me.


Looking back at it now and throughout the years, we have a good laugh over how cheesy it was, but at the time it was really sweet. Growing up, I was never one of the popular kids at school, and the same clique carried over into youth group at church. I was always one of the left out kids that always got picked on and none of the guys my age would give me the time of day. Granted, I wasn't allowed to date yet or talk on the phone with boys, but it still would have been nice to have a guy like me. The fact that a guy had actually noticed me, let alone write me a poem, blew my mind!

Well since I had no clue who he was, other than Mr.-Really-Tall-Who-Wrote-Me-a-Poem-and-Sits-in-the-Row-Behind-Me-in-Sunday-School, I took the poem with me to Wonders of Christmas that afternoon.

I was in the teen chorus number as well as the candle burning number with my friend Jackie. Her mom worked at the church and knew pretty much everyone, so naturally my friend did too - I figured if anyone could give me more information about "this guy" it would be her. And she did!

To be continued tomorrow!


Amusing things that happen at work

For my "day job" I work as a graphic artist for a small family owned business, however my job is not limited to just designing ads as I also get stuck doing mailing among other office related tasks.

In my office, there is the owner and his wife who does secretarial type stuff, who are both in their 70s, as well as their son, who I would guess to be in his late 30s or early 40s. Father and son run the business.

Well in addition to the random moment of "old person vs modern technology" and or the occasional times where the owner gets frustrated with something his wife is doing (or not doing fast enough) and they start yelling at each other, there have been some standout moments of hilarity.

  • One that stands out, took place a few months ago. Son was going to run over to McDonalds and pick up some food and offered to get some for mom and dad. Mom said she wanted something and a "senior pop." Son was all "uh mom... I'm not a senior, they're not going to just give me the senior drink." And she was like "Oh sure they will - just ask." Then son was "But mom... I'm not a senior!" She told him to just ask. It was a pretty funny exchange though that lasted for a good minute or so!
  • Then, just earlier today, I walked into son's office to show him an ad I had been working on and wanted his opinion for it. As he's looking the ad over, I notice that pulled up on his computer is the popular, addictive Facebook game "Farmville"! It took everything in me not to bust out laughing when I saw that!

I'll be sure to post more random hilarity that occurs at work on here in the future!


Christmas is in the air...

With Thanksgiving (and for that matter, November!) having coming and gone, that means Christmas is right around the corner!

After eating turkey and pumpkin pie and finishing my Christmas shopping for this year, it was time to put up the tree and put out all the Christmas decorations!

In the spirit of Christmas, here are some of my favorite holiday albums to throw on, in no particular order:

1. "Christmas Eve and Other Stories" by The Transiberian Orchestra

Product DetailsMy two favorite tracks on this album are "Christmas Sarajevo 12/24" and "A Mad Russian's Christmas," both instrumental pieces that I heard on the radio around Christmastime when I was a kid. Eventually my mom got me the CD one year. While I'm not too crazy about and tend to skip over the songs with a choir in it, I LOVE the instrumental pieces on this album.

What's great about the TSO is that they combine electric guitars into their orchestral pieces to create amazing instrumental works that everyone can enjoy!

2. "Snowed In" by Hanson

Product DetailsNow I know not everyone is fond of Hanson - either you loved their breakout hit "Mmmbop" or you didn't - yes, I was a Hanson fan back in 7th grade but grew out of them by the time I reached high school, however the brothers are definitely gifted and talented and as a Christmas album, this is probably still one of my favorites just due to several of the classics Hanson performs so well.

My favorite tracks on this one are "At Christmas" - a Hanson original - and their rendition of a "Silent Night Medley: O Holy Night/ Silent Night/ O Come All Ye Faithful."

Don't write it off just because it's Hanson! As a Christmas album, this one is solid!

3. "Little Drummer Boy EP" by Jars of Clay

Product Details This 3 track EP is worth getting if not for Jars' version of "The Little Drummer Boy" but for their version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," which is also included. Probably one of the prettiest versions of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"it is also very dark and cryptic sounding, really drawing you into the song, making you apart of it. Their version of "The Little Drummer Boy" also is very delightful and one that everyone should enjoy.

4. "A Very Special Christmas 3" by various artists

Product DetailsSo I know this compilation series has been around for awhile, but volume 3 is the only one I own. This particular volume of the series contains Christmas songs covered by various popular artists from the mid-90s, such as Natalie Merchant, Hootie and the Blowfish, Blues Traveler, Tracy Chapman, Sheryl Crow, Sting, Enya, and more.

My personal favorites are No Doubt's "Oi to the World" - which is an upbeat, uptempo ska song - and The Smashing Pumpkins' "Christmastime" - Billy Corgan really knows how to croon em out!

5. "Happy Christmas, vol. 1+2" by various artists

This compilation set (which is now on volume 5 according to Amazon.com), features Christmas songs by some of the more well-known Bec Recordings artists such as Five Iron Frenzy, Plankeye, Switchfoot, MxPx, Sixpence None the Richer, The Deluxetone Rockets and more. True, the majority of artists and bands on Bec Recordings are Christian, being a Christmas album series, it's not strictly limited to hymns - quite a bit of these bands and artists are pretty rocking musically!

Some of my favorites off the first two albums in this series are "You Gotta Get Up" by Five Iron Frenzy, "Away in a Manager" by Plankeye, "Winter Wonderland" by Joy Electric, "Heaven's Got a Baby" by Sarah Mason, "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" by Sixpence None the Richer, and "Christmas Day" by MxPx


Team Edward or Team Jacob? How about Team Who Cares?

This weekend, the 2nd film in the Twilight Saga, New Moon, opened in theaters. For the past few months, the cast of the film has been all the rage on entertainment channels and gossip magazines. Its midnight release broke the box-office record for midnight sales, beating out last summer's midnight release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Price.

What I don't get, is why do so many people care?

Sure I read the books before they became insanely popular. I'll admit, the first 3 in the series were alright - they were nothing great and sure not anything special, but they were somewhat entertaining and an easy read. I took me awhile to get into Twilight (the first book), but when I did, I read New Moon (the second book) in about a day or 2, finishing the third book (Eclipse) by the end of the week. Now the fourth book... yes, I bought it the first weekend it was out, but it honestly took me 2 weeks to get through it. You know a book is bad when you have to force yourself to read it just to find out how the Saga ends. The only good part of Breaking Dawn (the fourth book and last in the series - thank God!), were the chapters from Jacob's point of view. The rest of the book, and come to think of it the whole series, was a Mary Sue (as my husband says writers call it), where the author lives out her fantasy through the main character, letting the main character get everything she could ever want.

Honestly though, I don't understand why these books are so popular, and especially the movie.

Now I haven't seen New Moon yet, however I plan on seeing it later once the hype of it dies down and it's half price, but Twilight was HORRIBLE. The cinematography was bad, the "special effects" were terrrrrrrible, and the acting was horrendous. We just watched the Riff Trax version of it recently which made the movie actually watchable (for those that remember MST3K - Mystery Science Theater 3000 - Riff Trax is the child of the MST3K crew, where they provide humorous commentary tracks to current films that can be sync'd up to the DVD).

And with the books... Bella is a HORRIBLE role model for girls. She doesn't care to see the big picture, she doesn't appreciate what she has, she's selfish and has no regard for her friends and family (how many times in the series does she treat her dad like crap and sneak around with Edward or Jacob behind his back, blow off her friends at school, or emotionally hurt Jacob?) and she's willing to give up everything, including her family and her life for one "boy" who is a terrible boyfriend (which we'll get to in a minute!). She pretty much uses Jacob and then continues to manipulate the poor boy and his feelings for her and string him along when it's convenient for her to do so once Edward is back in the picture. She's not a very strong female role model for teenage girls to be looking up to.

And then there's Edward Cullen... who is a horrible example of what a boyfriend should be. He sneaks into Bella's room while she's sleeping just to "watch her sleep" which is creepy in and of itself, and he's always making the decisions in the relationship without any regard for how she feels - healthy couples communicate and come to agreements together - it's NOT one having a say in what's best for the other without giving them a say in the matter. And throughout the series we see him be selfish and emotionally abusive towards Bella as well, with his whole "we shouldn't be together" and then 2 seconds later "I can't resist you" and then coming and going again and again. I'm sorry, but don't ever let a guy string you along girls - if he can't make up his mind about whether or not he wants to be with you, walk away and find someone that will.

I will admit, after the events that occur in New Moon I was pretty much telling myself what an idiot Bella was every few pages. So I honestly don't get why teenage girls (and some grown women for that matter too) are so into this series - the books weren't even THAT great!

I'll admit, if I had to choose a "team" I would be Team Jacob, but mainly because of my husband. The character Jacob and my husband have similar qualities, both physically and personality-wise. And Jacob and Bella's relationship/friendship sort of reflects the one I had with my husband - we had been friends for 9 years before I gave him a chance. I knew he had a huge crush on me the entire time though, but resisted and we still remained close though despite this, although he would occasionally make comments about wishing I was his, etc while I was dating other guys. The fact that Jacob puts up with all of Bella's crap once Edward comes back into the picture says a lot about him and reminds me of how much my husband put up with me when I was dating a guy that was completely wrong for me.

I completely agree with Stephen King when he said that Twilight author Stephanie Meyer "can't write worth a damn" - while her books are a simple and easy read, there really isn't much to them. And she completely changed classic vampire lore, creating "vegetarian" vampires and stating that instead of burning in sunlight, they sparkle. Maybe that's why the kids love it - instead of being deadly predators, these ones are bright and shiny and sparkle in sunlight!

Honestly though, I'd much rather take my True Blood vampires and werewolves over the Twilight ones anyday. The series is much better written, the world in the series is much more believable, drawing you into the series, and in the books, heroine Sookie Stackhouse, is a much stronger, better female role model for the most part.


For the love of Netflix

In August, my husband I decided to sign up for Netflix. So far, my only regret is that we didn't sign up sooner - I LOVE Netflix.

My husband and I watch a lot of movies. For several years in college I worked at a movie theater (from May-Sept 2005, and then June 2006-July 2008), and for the last half of my career there, I was management. Working at the theater, I got to screen films for free before the rest of the public, and I got to bring a guest (or 2 as management) to any non-sold out show.

When I moved back to my hometown and took a job closer to where we were living, we cut but a bit on how many movies were seeing, but not by much, as the theater chain up here has what they call "The Five Buck Club," where after a movie has been in theaters for usually at least 2 weeks, if you are a member, you present your Five Buck Club card and get to see the film for only $5 instead of the full $9.75 or whatever it costs nowadays. Now the only problem with The Five Buck Club, is that sometimes a movie doesn't stay in theaters for more than 2 weeks, or they get rid of it early for a slew of new films they need to make room for or it just does so poorly that they don't see the benefit of keeping it longer than 2 weeks. Because we no longer have a 2nd Run Theater up here anymore, this means hubby and I miss some films.

The week before we joined Netflix, we rented 2 movies from Blockbuster. Just to rent 2 movies from there, that had been out for several months already, cost us $9 total!

With Netflix, for $8.99 a month you can rent unlimited movies (that is, you can have 1 out at a time - if you want more than that at a time you can pay more), and you can watch tons of films instantly online. And the great thing is that you can find TONS of movies - even rare obscure titles, foreign flicks, and old, old classics. You can also rate movies on a 5-star scale and write reviews to share with other Netflix members. If you invite friends to join you and they accept, you can view each other's rated films and queues.

Normally, we didn't use to rent a lot of movies since we usually saw all the ones we really wanted as soon as they came out in theaters, but with Netflix, we no longer need to rush out to see something that might flop in it's opening week and pay almost $20 for it.

With Netflix, we have our queue set up, and if there's something we'd like to see, but don't want to spend the money on it in the theater or if it never made it The Five Buck Club, we can just save it to our queue and when it comes out on DVD it'll be added to the top of our queue and sent to us as soon as a copy is avaliable.

Because of Netflix we have watched so many more movies in the past few months - lately, for our date night, we find ourselves either going out for a nice dinner and coming home to watch our Netflix movie, or we pick up a $5 pizza from Little Caesar's and eat it while we watch our movie.

Talk about a great way to save on your monthly entertainment budget!

And like I said earlier, some films you can even watch instantly on your computer! There's been several times where my husband is at work and I'll find a movie on there that I wanted to see that he didn't, I can go ahead and watch it. Netflix also has tons of TV shows you can either watch instantly or have sent to you disc by disc.

Plus, the more you rate movies, the more movies Netflix can recommend for you based off what you liked and didn't like.

Now true, it might not be as quick as going to the video store yourself and picking something up, however it is pretty quick.

Say we watch our movie on Monday and drop it off in our outgoing mailbox either later that night or early on Tuesday. Tuesday morning, the mail goes out with the DVD we are returning, they receive it late that night or early Wednesday and immediately send us out the next film in our queue, which arrives Thursday afternoon. See? It takes roughly 48hrs to have a new movie sent to you. You can easily watch at least 2 movies a week, in addition to any you may watch online. That is so worth the $8.99 a month! Just one trip to the video store alone costs you roughly $4!

I honestly think Netflix is one of the best inventions of the past few years.


I Fantasize About the UPS Man, do you?

The summer before my wedding, my family took a trip to Virgina Beach, however I didn't go with them, as I was busy working 2 jobs and with the upcoming wedding in September and our honeymoon I really couldn't afford to take an additional week off work back then.

Well, they decided it'd be nice to bring me back a 'fun' souvenir t-shirt they found in one of the shops along the boardwalk (and if you've ever been to Virginia Beach you know all about the boardwalk there and the tons of tourist shops there!).

Now my husband has been working for UPS since the beginning of 2006 and is a supervisor there as well. The t-shirt they brought back for me was a light brown one that says "I fantasize about the UPS man," exactly like the image you see with this blog.

I'm not one to wear novelty shirts like that out in public (personally I think they're tacky), but I have no problem wearing them around the house or as a sleep shirt, which is ultimately how I ended up wearing this one.

Well, one day last Spring, on my day off, I decided to sleep in like I usually do and snuggle in bed with my dear hubby. I was also expecting a package to be delivered, so when our buzzer rang, I promptly jumped out of bed, made sure I looked decent and answered.

The UPS delivery guy came to the door with the package I had been waiting for and asked me to sign for it.

While I'm signing for the package, the UPS delivery guy asks me "Are you part of The Family?" with a big grin on his face.

I pause and look at him with a bit of a confused expression as I'm not entirely sure what he's referring to by The Family.

"Your... shirt. Do you work for UPS too?" he asks, still with a big goofy grin on his face.

I stop for a moment and realize that oh geez, I wore the shirt to bed last night and since I'm in my PJs, I'm still wearing it. And wow, this delivery guy looks like a total geeky guy - short with glasses too and he has a big, wide grin on his face because of my shirt! LOL

I give a small chuckle and tell him that no, I myself don't work for UPS, but my husband does - he's a supervisor.

He hands over my package, still with that big goofy grin on his face, and says whatever delivery guys say when they leave.

I close the door and immediately bust out laughing at what had just occured. I go running into the bedroom and wake up dear hubby to tell him all about it too, in which he busts out laughing as well!

I'm sure I made that dorky delivery driver's day!


Avon calling... too many times!

So recently, I decided to become an Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay.

I was looking to make a little extra money cuz I figured anything is better than nothing and after looking into it more, I loved the philosophy the company is based on (The Golden Rule and the idea of God first, Family second, Career third). My husband seemed to like that when it came to Mary Kay, it is a consumable, unlike the jewelry I was considering selling, so that would mean I would always have people coming to me for reorders, plus, Mary Kay has a 90% buyback guarentee so if we decided it wasn't working out I could always return what I hadn't used and get 90% of what we paid for it back. I also liked that my unit's weekly meetings and get together was considered girl time too, as at times I get tired of being cooped up in the apartment when I'm not working 2 days a week at my day job.

Now a friend of mine was also considering signing up for Mary Kay after hearing all the benefits and rewards you can reap if you put the effort in, and asked on her Facebook if anyone would buy from her if she sold. Unfortunately, she didn't get a lot of good response and one girl even told her to sell Avon, citing Mary Kay ladies are crazy and pushy - I would beg to differ, just based off my own experiences.

Now true, I have heard stories of sales ladies from various companies who do get a bit pushy and annoying, but the only annoying experience with one I personally have had was with an Avon lady.

I got engaged at the beginning of January 2008 and shortly after I attended a local bridal expo with my mom and mother in law.

Now when you arrive at the expo, they have you fill out and sign a sheet with your phone number and email in order to qualify for any of the drawings they do throughout the expo. Without reading the fine print, I, like all the other soon to be brides, went ahead and filled out the form - who wouldn't want to get put in a drawing to win a free veil or honeymoon to the tropics?

Well, like most of the other soon to be brides, I didn't win any of the handful of drawings they did that afternoon.

A few weeks later, I got a voicemail from a lady who said she was an Avon rep and wanted to get together for a free facial and discuss my makeup for my wedding.

I wasn't interested, as my Matron of Honor did Mary Kay at the time and had already offered to do my makeup for me, so I didn't bother to call this Avon lady back and deleted her voicemail.

Then a week later, she called again and left me another voicemail, similar to the first.

Eventually she reached me one evening as I was driving home from work and was irritated that she was calling me YET AGAIN.

She told me who she was and why she was calling. She asked if I had makeup plans for my wedding yet and I informed her about my Matron of Honor being with Mary Kay and that she was already going to be doing my makeup for me. The lady then offered her free facial to me, but I told her I really didn't have the time and wasn't interested. She said if I changed my mind to please give her a call and I figured that was the end of it.

But it wasn't.

The next thing I knew, I was getting email offers from her EVERY OTHER WEEK. Luckily, I had them sent to an email account I wasn't checking regularly, but still...

I went to this bridal expo almost 2 years ago and it is the only place I can figure where she got my phone number and email address from, as I have never filled out anything for Avon before. TO THIS DAY I am STILL getting emails from this woman. I have NEVER bought anything from her, or from Avon for that matter, and I haven't even spoken to her since that one phone call back in February or March of 2008!!

Talk about annoying!

I finally figured out how to unsubscribe from her emails, as there was no "to unsubcribe from this mailing, click here" link on any of the emails (thank you gmail for implementing a block feature!)

So the lessons learned from this:
-Read the fine print before you sign up for anything at bridal expos (for example) as you never know who they will give your info to and how long that person will harass you for.
-And before you go defending one company over the other, you really can't say one company has crazy pushy ladies while another one is great because there will ALWAYS be someone who had a bad experience with the company you're saying is so great.

Do I think Mary Kay is great?
Sure I do - I wouldn't have signed up for it if I thought otherwise.

Will I tell you that no one is crazy or pushy there?
Well, to be honest, the only consultants I know and have encountered are the ones in my unit and some friends of mine who have sold it in the past. From my experiences, all the women I've met with Mary Kay are really friendly and aren't nearly as overly annoying or pushy as this one Avon lady I encountered was. Those of you that know me know that I'm not very pushy at all! And yet I'm doing just fine with my Mary Kay business.


Christopher Walken does "Pokerface"

Another gem a friend showed me that was just too funny not to repost!

Apparently on Halloween, Christopher Walken appeared on some BBC talk show and read the lyrics to Lady Gaga's song "Pokerface." Someone on Youtube decided to mash that clip together with the "Pokerface" music video and here is in the end result - this really is just too funny!


The Best of Halloween 2009

Growing up, as a little kid, Halloween was that one day out of the year where you get to dress up like your favorite movie or tv character and go door to door with your neighborhood friends asking for candy from all the neighbors.

As I got older, I would dress up as something simple (like a vampire for example) and pass out candy to all the little trick or treaters that would come to our house while my mom and aunt took my little sister and cousin trick or treating.

Once I got to college, Halloween was a time where slutty girls would dress up skimpy little slutty versions of classic characters or outfits, while the rest of us would dress up as something more down to earth (like a pirate) or a favorite character (like the year my roommate and I dressed up like our World of Warcraft characters). It was also a time to find some fun Halloween parties too!

Now that I'm out of college and living the typical life of a 25yr old, finding a good Halloween party is hard to come by, and we don't exactly have the cash to spend on a Halloween costume. I will admit though, my favorite part of Halloween is still seeing all the clever costumes people come up with! Thanks to Facebook, I still got to enjoy seeing what people came up!

This year, I saw:
-several zombie girls
-a really good Billy Mays
-Hannibal Lecter and Clarice
-Michael Jackson
-Flo from the Progressive commercials
-Vulcans from Star Trek
-dead Abe Lincoln
-Pyramid Head from Silent Hill
- 7 and 9 from Tim Burton's 9

among some other really neat costumes!

What did we do? We decided to go Trick or Treating for food - Taco Bell was giving away free Blackjack Tacos from 6-10, while Sonic had 50cent Corndogs from 6-10! It was a fun time regardless though!


Hitchcock never looked better!

I came across this Vanity Fair article from February 2008 the other day. It was pretty cool so I thought I'd share.

Vanity Fair's Hitchcock Classics Photo Spreads

The latest issue of Vanity Fair includes a set of photo spreads featuring today's Hollywood actors recreating classic Hitchcock scenes in an article titled The 2008 Hollywood Portfolio: Hitchcock Classics. These photos are as good as anything Annie Leibovitz has photographed, which is amazing to say, and are quite a cool set to browse through. Everyone from Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow to Naomi Watts to Emile Hirsch and James McAvoy to Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem are featured in this set. Whether you love Hitchcock or whether you love A-list actors, you need to check these out. It's rare that we feature anything like this, but these are just too cool to pass up.

I love these! Here are some of my favorites from the photo spreads:

Charlize Theron in "Dial M for Murder"
Charlize Theron in Dial M For Murder

Emile Hirsch and James McAvoy in "Strangers on a Train"
Emile Hirsch and James McAvoy in Strangers on a Train

Jodie Foster in "The Birds"
Jodie Foster in The Birds

Seth Rogen in "North by Northwest"
Seth Rogen in North by Northwest


The Men's Brain vs the Women's Brain

A friend of mine sent me this video the other day. It's a speaker talking about the difference between how men think and how women think. It really is eye-opening! Watch it with your spouse or significant other - I'm sure you'll both be laughing at how true it really is and the fact that you've probably said some of the same things at one point or another (especially near the end when he starts talking about the boxes!) - I know my husband I do!


My thoughts on the Balloon Boy

So the other day, the world all watched as a balloon traveled like 50 miles across Colorado, hoping and praying that little Falcon was safe. Supposidly, little Falcon's siblings say they saw him untie and climb into their father's balloon which was being used for some science experiment.

When the balloon came down, there was no sign of the little boy - did he fall out? What happened to the basket? Where could he be?!

A few hours later, it was learned that little Falcon had been hiding the whole time in an attic above the garage.

Later the night, the family made an appearance on Larry King Live. The parents asked the little boy if he heard them calling for him when they were running around looking for him. "Yes..." said little Falcon. "You did?! Why didn't you come out when you heard us calling for you?" asks one of Falcon's parents.

"Because you had said we were doing this for the show." Falcon responds. Dad then quickly begins talking about something else.

Later on in the Larry King interview, the interviewer asks if Falcon can clarify what he meant when he said "we did this for the show" and the dad gets all flustered, then defensive and acting offensive at the question, trying to explain that they had been on Wife Swap twice before and that Falcon might have been referring to that show.

Days later, various people connected to dear old dad, come forward, saying that them and the dad had been trying to pitch a science-related reality show to various networks, and part of it was to involve a giant balloon like the one Falcon was believed to have climbed into.

As much as the family denied it being a hoax when it first happened and even after the Larry King interview, obviously it wasn't.

I think they should be ashamed of themselves - the hours of people's time they wasted, while everyone watched on tv, to the authorities who helped search for little Falcon. They should have to foot the bill for the gov't and taxpayers money that was wasted in this faux search for their son, who was obviously safe and hiding in the attic the whole time.

The things people do to get on tv these days... and really - did they think they were going to get away with it too?



Video Game Art

Having an art degree, I love seeing some of the crazy fun stuff people come up with.

Recently, I was introduced to this fun blog - www.spritestitch.com.

It's a blog that features custom made video game art - mostly well known classic characters like Mario, Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Space Invaders and some Final Fantasy. It's really neat though!

My favorites are the Donkey Kong shelves and the NES Controller Coffee table, both can be seen in the Amazing Custom Gaming Room.


It's Tin Foil Hat time!

I saw this on some forum or blog I was reading and just HAD to share it!

Just look at the face on that cat!

Too funny!

Just try to look at this picture and not laugh!


Tiger, meet Catnip

My kitty, Tiger, turns 1 near the end of the month.

So today I went ahead and upgraded her cat food, since we ran out this morning, and put her on Science Diet's 1-6 year Indoor Cat food since she's no longer a baby! She sniffed at it and licked it and I think ate a few pieces of it, so she should make the transition from Kitten to 1-6 year old kibble alright.

PetSmart sent her a birthday card with a coupon for 1 free tree to celebrate with - it was a bit odd seeing my kitty's name on a piece of mail!

Tiger also had her first interaction with catnip today. I had read somewhere that you don't want to give catnip to them when they're real little for some reason or another, but I figured being almost 1 year old was okay to introduce it.

PetCo had a Halloween display with a bunch of pet toys and costumes (I would have gotten her either the vampire cape or the pirate hat with dreads if they were in of our budget!). I bought her a little catnip and crinkle filled pumpkin plushie for $1.50 - probably the best $1.50 I've spent in awhile!

Tiger was laying across the couch when I gave it to her. Usually with new food and toys she'll sniff at it and either lick or pat it to check it out first, but not this time - she laid right into it! She must have bit and played with that toy for a good 20 minutes or so before she wore herself out! It was hilarious watching her! At one point, I went to pick it up and bring it into the other room and she a death grip on it! LOL...

The picture on the right is from the first night we had her, near the beginning of December. She was approximately 7 weeks old and hid under the end table most of the night; she was scared of her new home, mommy and daddy. We made a trail of kibble (as seen in the photo) to try and lure her out, which would cause her to peak her head out.

Nowadays, she can't even fit under that end table - she'd get stuck if she tried! I don't even remember when she got so big! She's nearly full grown now! Look how little her paws were! Now, when she stretches them out, they're nearly the size of her face!

Ah, my furbaby is growing up!


Oh, the People of Walmart...

Just recently, a friend online introduced me to a humorous site, simply titled PeopleofWalmart.com.

I have added this site to my regular daily internet surfing routine.

The premise is simple - regular people like you and me go to Walmart and take pictures of some of the craziest looking people (or vehicles) that you would only see somewhere like Walmart and post them to the site.

Some of the attire these people wear... well some are just straight up kooky and outrageous, while others... well... why would you go out in shorts that don't even cover your butt and if you weigh like 200lbs and have a huge gut, wear revealing clothes?! Sorry but whoever told you that was a good idea to wear something like that out in public... they're probably laughing at you!

Other fun sites to visit for interesting reads that I've learned about lately are FML.com (f-my life), where people share brief posts about something terribly bad that ruined their day, MLIA.com (my life is average), similar to FML, but instead of terrible things that happened, these people share humorous stories that happened during their day that often make you smile. Another fun one is emailsfromcrazypeople.com, where people share some rather interesting emails they have gotten!

Super Mario Ray J!

Nick Volkert, an artist/cartoonist, fellow NIU art student alum and former co-worker of mine, created this for me and I thought I'd share it.

I decided last minute to change a few of the colors in Photoshop, but he did all the rest of the work =)


From LOLcats

I can totally see my kitty Tiger doing this:

funny pictures of cats with captions

And this one just cracks me up, it's too cute!
I'm tempted to do this to Tiger for Halloween!

funny pictures of cats with captions


Multiplex #399

I thought today's Multiplex was pretty funny - especially since Kerasotes does this up here!

For those not familiar, Multiplex is a webcomic about working at a movie theater and the lives of the theater's main employees - if you've ever worked for a movie theater, you'll crack up often at just how true some of these strips are!


Tiger's Big Adventure

So last Wednesday morning, sitting on my laptop doing something on WoW with Josh once he got home from work, Tiger was sitting in the window behind me, grabbing at my hair and bopping me on the head with her claws. I had Josh throw her out into the other room and close the bedroom door, as we tend to do when she's being obnoxious. A little while later, after 530am, we hear a lot of banging around, which sounds like it's coming from the balcony above the window in our living room. I figured maybe the neighbor above us was rearranging balcony furniture before they left for work or something, so didn't think much of it.

About 20 minutes later, Josh leaves the bedroom to get a drink and notices his chess set is all knocked over. Yelling about the cat messing up his stuff, I tell him to find her, show her what she did wrong and then put her in the cat carrier. He informs me she's gone. "What do you mean she's gone?" "Gone... as in, she broke through the window screen and is gone."

We got shoes on and ran outside trying to find her, but it was too dark. I couldn't sleep and spent all morning looking up lost pet info online. I slept out on the living room couch too, as they said to keep the exit point clear and stay near it, in case they return. We went out searching some more that afternoon, then after dinner and before Josh left for work. I went out around midnight on my own and drove around our neighborhood - they said indoor cats that get out don't tend to go too far from home, within a 2 block radius. We did this again on Thursday - going out several times during day-light, then again at night. We tried using tuna to lure her, as well as her ball toys too. We hung flyers around our area on Thursday and I went to the animal shelter as well, but no luck.

At one point we thought we might have seen her - as we went out once before Josh went to work and saw a cat that wasn't black but wasn't light coming out of a bush. We called to it and tried to lure it with tuna, but it took off running when we tried to get close and we couldn't find where it went.

On Friday, I decided I was going to thoroughly take the time and poke through every bush, brush and other small place a cat could hide. I visited a website on the pamphlet the animal shelter gave me that described several types of indoor cats that get out, and the one that fit Tiger best stated she was probably hiding nearby, scared. They say often when an indoor cat gets out, they'll freak once they realize they aren't in their territory anymore, and even tho home might be nearby, they'll stay hidden and won't respond to anything - their owner, favorite food, favorite toy... nothing. If they get the courage to come out for food, they will only do so at night and then retreat to their hiding spot.

I went out our building's back door and started poking along the back of the building and property. I got over to the planted area near the garage and dumpster, poked in a bushy plant and out ran a cat - grey with a black tipped tail with rings around it and black stripes all over - it was Tiger! She went running behind the garage. I called Josh to get out there, as I was going to need his help in catching her. He stayed where I was standing and I went around the other side of the garage, to try and head her off, as the only other way out was to climb the fence behind the garage. She was crouched down in the leaves and fallen branches, hiding, but Josh spotted her and talked me to her, as I couldn't see her from my angle. I got close enough to her, held my hand out so she could sniff me. She looked at me and gave a scared little cry. I picked her up, but everytime I stepped on a leave or branch, she'd squirm and try to get out of my grip. I handed her over to Josh, as she doesn't squirm nearly as much when he's got her. She was missing her collar though.

We took her inside - her eyes got real big when she saw 'home' - she knew where she was. We gave her a bath right away, which she didn't like at all! She looked really skinny too - probably hadn't eaten since before she ran off. We dried her off then let her eat some tuna, cat food and water. When she wasn't chowing down, she spent the rest of the day sleeping. She seems uninjured and okay though. We'll know in a few weeks if she's pregnant or not though.

I got a call on Saturday from one of the neighbors saying they found her collar. I went over to get it - it was right next door, one of the main properties we had been searching for her. The lady said they found it on one of their wood piles, where the grass had been matted down a bit. She said her cat and dog had picked up a scent there as well.

I asked her about the black kitty we see coming from their yard all the time - the one that stops by our windows and 'plays' with Tiger through the window (they follow each other back and forth along the window and then take turns banging on the window - he's the only stray that comes by that Tiger doesn't puff herself out and hiss at). She said he's a stray - the people that lived in a nearby house used to leave food and water out for the strays regularly and when they moved, people found like 15 strays living under the porch, including the black kitty. The lady said he used to get in fights with her cat and dog though so she started bringing them inside, but he still comes up to their door all the time. He just wants love and a home. She said she took him to get fixed, so he wouldn't get all the neighborhood strays pregnant, and that she's tried putting ads in the paper 3 different times finding a family for him, but with no luck.

I'd take him in if i could, but our place is too small for another pet. Maybe if we get a house, we can take him with, since Tiger seems to like him, but we'll see.


Harry Potter theme park opening soon!

I can't wait for future visits to Florida now!

It is officially OFFICIAL! Warner Bros. has teamed up with Universal Studios in order to create a Harry Potter “Theme Park within a Theme Park”. It is scheduled to open in 2010. The Harry Potter theme park will open around the same time as the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie. This 20 acre theme park located in Orlando, Florida will enable visitors to experience scenes from the books and movies. And on that note, fans will definitely be glad to hear that construction for the Harry Potter theme park has begun! The 20 acres of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are getting closer and closer - and now 2 years seems to be too long! Complete with the Hogwarts Castle, the village of Hogsmeade, and probably many other attractions, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter , which will be built in the Islands of Adventure, will not be a disappointment to most fans.


Keep your stuff safe or burglars could rob you badly!

In light of a few people getting their stuff jacked this week, here's a few 'warning' stories that my boss was forwarded to by a friend of theirs and they showed it to me.


Story 1 (which has been deemed by Snopes as being partly true)

A couple of weeks ago a friend told me that someone she knew had their car broken into while they were at a football match. Their car was parked on the green which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially allotted to football fans.
Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard.
When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen.
The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house.
The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean up the house.
It would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents.


Story 2 (which has been deemed by Snopes as being a legend, but it's still possible)

This lady has changed her habit on the hand phone after her handbag was stolen. Her handbag which contained her mobile, credit card, purse... Etc....was stolen.
20 mins later when she called her hubby, telling him what happened. Husband says "I've just received your SMS asking about your Pin number. And I've replied a little while ago".
When they rushed down to the bank. Bank staff told them all the money was already withdrawn.
The pickpocket had actually used the stolen handphone to sms "hubby" in the contact list and get hold of the pin number. Within 20 mins he had withdrawn all the money from the bank account.

Morale of the lesson:
Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list. Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, sweetheart, Dad, Mum etc....and very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked thru SMS, CONFIRM by calling back.


9/11 - 8 Years later

Flipping through this photo gallery, I started to tear up.

I remember, 8 years ago today, when it happened. It was senior year of high school, just after 'zero' hour band practice. Luke and I were hanging out in the commons after band, waiting for Paige to get there, since they hadn't let us into the hallways yet. The big screen was on, but we weren't really paying any attention to it, we were hanging out by the pop machines, talking about the football decorations the cheerleaders had made.

Kirk came over to us and asked if we had saw what was going on on the tv, we hadn't, so we went over towards the tv and saw.

I was taking RVC classes my first 2 periods that semester and they didn't meet on certain days of the week, this day being one of them, so I went home for the 2 hour break (all the radio stations were broadcasting newsfeeds - seniors had open campus privileges that year, so we could leave when we had no classes going on) and watched the news with my mom while trying to take a nap. I woke up right before the 2nd tower collapsed.

When I went back to school, all we did in each class was watch the news on the tv's in each classroom.

I remember after school, I got home and my parents had me help them take all the cars over to the nearest gas station to fill up our tanks - right after we started filling up, a ton of other cars showed up, doing the same thing.

I was working for Millward Brown back then and got a call that I had that night off work, obviously. When they did have us go back in, they told us they tried to take out of the system as many of the New York and surrounding area numbers that they could, but if we did happen to get a number or a person who was affected personally, to apologize and not press the call. For all others, we had a new intro, regarding 9-11 that we had to say for the following days/weeks.

Every since that day, my parents started watching Fox News constantly... I recall that was the only thing on the family room tv for months.

I just want to thank all our troops who have been fighting for our country, all the ones that have been over fighting this war on terriorism or will be in the near future.

I personally know a handful of people who have served and enlisted in the different various branches of our military: my cousins in the Army and Navy, my 2nd cousin-in-law in the Army, various friends in the army and Air Force, as well as friend's dad who is also in the Army. I also had many classmates in college who had enlisted in the military, awaiting deployment, or working hard as part of ROTC and later went on to serve our country overseas.

THANK YOU ALL for all you've done for our great nation!


Food for Thought

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook and I thought it was quite interesting.

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
- Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931


My epic birthday weekend and then some

My 25th birthday was like a week ago, it went pretty well.

Come Friday, I hadn't heard anything from anyone confirming they'd be coming out with us and the ones that did earlier had to cancel, so Josh and I just did our own thing. We went to Chili's and got their 2 for $20 deal, which is better than Applebee's because it includes dessert. I had 1 Long Island too and wow was it strong! I was feeling tipsy after just a few sips, before our food even came! After dinner we walked around Target to kill time - Josh bought me a new purse for my birthday, since the one I had was on the verge of falling apart. We went and saw District 9 - it was pretty good!

Saturday we got up and drove to Chicago to meet Brooke and go to the last ever NiN show in Chicago. We waited in line for about 2 hours too and Josh and I were able to get good seats up in the balcony - I figured after the Disturbed show last winter where I nearly got trampled I was going to take this one easy and just enjoy it, especially since it was a sold-out show and the pit/front was more than likely going to be brutal. Mew, a foreign band from Denmark was the opening act... they played for maybe 30 minutes. They were interesting, to say the least, although Josh couldn't seem to comprehend how a guy could hit those high notes and still have his balls, lol... Trent Reznor and his band came out about 30 minutes earlier than scheduled and rocked a 30-song set for about 2 hours. I took a lot of photos and Josh got some video of Survivalism - because this was the final Nine Inch Nails tour, the venues gave permission for fans to bring cameras and stuff in to capture it. They did a lot of songs off of The Downward Spiral, and they did Right Where It Belongs, which I guess was a rare treat, as it's one of the songs Trent never does live. My only disappointment was that we didn't get to hear Closer - they played it for the Friday night show, but not for the Saturday show... I guess they almost canceled the show also - Trent woke up sick that morning and was sleeping it off all day during the set up and rehearsals... you could see him running back for water after nearly every song too. It was a really good show though! I'm glad I got to go!

Sunday we went over to my parents house for a birthday BBQ. My aunt, uncle and cousin came over, as did my in-laws, 2 of my brother-in-laws and my little sister-in-law. It was a fun time - we spent most of the day over there.

Josh's friend Gryn came up a couple weeks ago - we went out dinner and saw Inglourious Basterds. That was a really good movie! I liked it!

Jeny was in the area this past weekend. We drove out to Carol Stream on Friday to meet up with her, her bf Tim, and her friend Kim and drove over to Naperville to eat at Lou Malnati's, where they have really good Chicago deep-dish pizza. We went to a few bars for drinks after dinner, played pool for a bit at one until it got too crowded and you couldn't use the pool cues cuz there were too many people - Josh and Tim were making fun of the Cougars who were there, which was pretty amusing, while we all agreed that we didn't look skanky or trend enough to fit in at a Naperville bar (most of Naperville is full of yuppies). We couldn't find a bar that was more 'us' and so we all went back to Kim's place for a bit and played a few games and watched Family Guy til Josh and I had to leave. It was a fun night though and I'm glad I got to see Jeny again - I haven't seen her since like May.

Here's a few NiN photos:

First: Trent Reznor; Second: Trent Reznor and Peter Murphy (of Bauhaus) performing "Reptile"


We got a New York Yankee in the family!

I stopped by my parents house the other day and my mom informed me that her cousin's son (my 2nd cousin) just got signed to the New York Yankees fresh out of high school.

What's really neat, is that while Evan's been playing baseball forever and his dream was to one day be a Yankee, having going to games all the time as a kid, he also really wanted to go to college and had a full ride scholarship to play baseball for San Diego this fall. College being the only thing really holding him back from signing with the Yankees, they wrote in his contract that they would bank x-amount of money for him, in case something were to happen and he could no longer play, he could still go back and attend college.

DeLuca living his dream (from MyCentralJersey.com)
Evan DeLuca is the type of kid people root for.

Tom Gambino, Immaculata High School's baseball coach, compares DeLuca to another former Spartan, Jack Cust.

"There's not a nicer kid," Gambino said of DeLuca. "When I had Jack as a senior, everybody rooted for him, no matter who you were in the school. Everybody liked Jack because he's such a nice person. (DeLuca) may be a step nicer than Jack."

DeLuca took a small leap in following the Oakland Athletics outfielder's footsteps by signing with the New York Yankees Monday night, three minutes before the deadline to sign draft picks.

"I've been dreaming about playing in the organization since I was little. . . . It's a bit of a dream come true for me," DeLuca said.

The 44th-round selection signed for $500,000, a number that he; his father, David; agent Bob Barad; and the Yankee organization could all agree upon."I'm on a cloud right now," David DeLuca said Thursday. "It's really hard to believe that Evan's a part of one of the greatest baseball organizations in history."

Evan DeLuca reported to the Yankees' rookie-league team in the Gulf Coast League, based in Tampa Bay, Fla., Thursday morning. It was the first step in fulfilling a childhood dream, and a dream for David DeLuca, who was also a draft prospect out of high school.

Evan DeLuca is not expected to play for the affiliate this season but will remain in Tampa for instructional ball, which begins Sept. 23 and helps athletes with conditioning and allows for additional hitting and pitching sessions.

DeLuca is adjusting to life as a professional baseball player. He already received his jersey and ran into major-leaguer Ian Kennedy, who is rehabbing.

"I'm used to seeing these guys on television and now I'm part of the Yankee family," DeLuca said.

DeLuca had signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the University of San Diego, and had every intention of heading to California for school in the fall. But the "mystique" of the Yankees was too special to overcome.

Letting the Toreros know that he would not be playing for them was the most difficult part of the experience for both the younger and elder DeLucas. David DeLuca called the whole experience "a roller-coaster event."

With the midnight deadline approaching quickly, the DeLucas went into New York to get a physical done, as was recommended by the Yankees. When they got home, they found out the Yankees had depleted most of their budget for signing bonuses.

"After thinking he was 90 percent sure he was going to be a Yankee, he was 90 percent thinking he's not going to be a Yankee," David explained.
At three minutes before midnight, while father and son waited quietly in Evan's bedroom, the phone rang. It was Evan's agent telling them the deal had been struck.
"We were ecstatic, and there were lots of tears," David said. "Luckily, they were tears of joy."
Gambino, who also worked with Evan DeLuca at the Jack Cust Academy in Flemington, was equally thrilled about his former player's contract.
"Everyone is excited for Evan," Gambino said. "My phone was blowing up, people asking, "Is it true?' "
Both David DeLuca and Gambino agree that it was Evan's performance this summer, pitching in Washington state, that nudged the Yankees into signing him.
DeLuca registered 94- and 97-mph pitches in four wins on the West Coast. And that velocity coupled with DeLuca's lefty delivery and mean pick-off move ("It's ferocious," Gambino said) make him a candidate to move up the Yankees' depth chart during his time in Tampa.
"I think the thing he's going to have to do is stay focused," explained Gambino, who has coached no fewer than a dozen Major League Baseball draftees. "With his velocity from the left side, he's going to get noticed."
If DeLuca can stay focused while working with Yankee Hall of Famers such as Goose Gossage and Whitey Ford, Gambino is sure he'll make an impact in the baseball community.
"He's going to be a great ambassador for the sport, ambassador for me at Immaculata, for the Jack Cust Academy, because everybody loves this kid," Gambino said.