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!