Birthday Weekend

January 6th, 2018 Comments off

Friday night we were invited to watch the Blackhawks game at a friends business that has a huge projector. Pizza was ordered and much fun was had. I was surprised with a birthday cake too!

Even though my friend who had purchased it thought the frosting was too hard and didn’t taste good, I enjoyed it. Buttercream tends to be more firm than the whipped cream on the other cake they had purchased for another person who also has a birthday coming up. Joe and I were the only ones to eat my cake because I think my friend’s complaints turned everyone off to mine. I took it home so more cake for me I guess.

After the game was over and a people left, we ended up exploring the rest of the building and trying out some massage chairs. Our friend set mine to the vigorous setting which was more painful than relaxing so I didn’t enjoy it.

The highlight of the evening, at least for me, was discovering their game room which included a ping pong table. A woman, who I met that evening, and I played quite a few games whilst everyone else rotated through playing pool, Mrs Pacman, and the electronic drum machine. We didn’t end up getting home until after 2 am and I didn’t get to sleep until nearly 4 am.

Needless to say, our Saturday consisted of nothing more than sleeping in, watching tv, and eating. I wanted to check out the Laser Gaga show at Triton college but developed quite the headache mid afternoon and opted to skip it. I hate how that always seems to happen after a late night of socializing. I only had one alcoholic drink at the beginning of the evening so I doubt that was the cause. My jaw hurt the next day too, probably from all the laughing.

Sunday was my birthday. Before my shower I opened my presents from Joe – some chocolate candy, lip balm, a pair of Bluetooth headphones, and a flameless candle lantern with magnetic scenes you can switch out based on the seasons.

We went to an early matinee of Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle, which we both enjoyed. Afterwards we did a little shopping and I found a cute pair of polar bear slippers for only $3.88 and a welcome mat for only $1.99, both at Sears. We had lunch at Red Robin followed by me getting a new pair of gloves from Kohls (only $18.45 after 50% discount and $5 birthday coupon). We also went to Party City but their Valentine decor was weak. I picked up a free scoop of chocolate peanut butter ice cream from Baskin Robbins and we stopped at Dollar Tree where I found some cute Valentine and St. Patrick’s Day decor. I also grabbed some storage bins because they had new ones in a deep purple which is my favorite color.

Monday I headed to Savers where I found a purple sweater, a plate/bowl for Wookie, a cute planter I plan to use for fake flowers, and a sunflower plate. My total was under $7 for everything which is why I love that place. Unlike the guy who was whining to his girlfriend saying he can’t stand the place. It does get crowded on Mondays since everything is 50% off, but it’s not unbearable.

I stopped at Five Below to look at potential birthday gifts for my brothers but left empty-handed and then at TJ Maxx to look around. I really wanted to find some “winter” decor but all they had was Christmas clearance. I did get a new sponge holder for the sink, though.

My last stop was Chick-fil-A for free lunch since they put a treat in my app (not birthday related). I have grown to love their grilled nuggets with their special sauce. They really are good, but pricey ($4+ for an 8 piece).

Categories: Food, Friends, Shopping Tags:

Goodbye 2017

December 31st, 2017 Comments off

I was going to write my regular annual recap post but I just don’t feel like it. 2017 was a pretty good year other than my weird heath issues, and even though we didn’t go on any vacations we did some fun little things throughout the year. I guess the highlight was getting my new car.

Anyway, since it’s been cold we haven’t done much other than shop. Managed to run out of fabric softener even though I’m usually on top of that stuff so we took a trip to Target this morning to get that as well as some other household staples.

At my urging Joe vacuumed the massive amount of dust that was in the cutout area of our master bedroom too. I can’t tell you the last time it was cleaned up there. I have dust mite allergies so maybe getting rid of all that will help me sleep better.

The Christmas decorations are all down and stashed away until next year. I actually enjoyed the holidays a lot this year but I’m still happy to have the house back to normal.

Tonight’s NYE menu
Carmelized Ham & Swiss Buns
Bang Bang Chicken
Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks

Hopefully I can make it until midnight. See you next year!

Categories: Holidays Tags:


December 26th, 2017 Comments off

Friday was my company’s holiday luncheon which is always fun. I ordered two White Russians since Sangria wasn’t an option. I didn’t participate in the grab bag, which turned out to be a wise decision since the only present I would have wanted was a Darth Vader onesie, but I did win a gift wrapping set they raffled off.

I originally won a bottle of wine but was told I could take the gift wrap instead which was perfectly fine by me. The area around the restaurant, which is outside our local mall, was packed with traffic so I vowed we’d avoid stores until after Christmas.

Saturday we hung out and then took Wookie with us after dark to look at Christmas lights around the neighborhood. She ended up throwing up in the car so we won’t be doing that again! We were also up late cooking a turkey which she really did not like because she doesn’t like going in the kitchen when the oven is on but she wanted to go to bed and that’s where her crate is kept.

Sunday we celebrated Christmas with my family. I think my parents and Brother J went a little overboard this year, but I do like that I got presents instead of gift cards! Brother B got me some candles even though he hadn’t intended on exchanging (probably since I revealed a month or so ago that I had already gotten him something) and his girlfriend gave us homemade cookies which were/are delicious!

Pictured: Cookie tin, Lipstick & the Leash (book), Wii Sports Mix, How To Be Perfectly Unhappy (book by The Oatmeal), Invaders Must Die by The Prodigy (CD), 20 by Orbital (CD), Oxxo vegetable chopper, various candles. Not pictured: a set of packing cubes.

Joe received a hat that says “Cool” so he can be “Joe Cool” LOL, a beer mug, a $25 Binny’s gift card, a $25 Dunkin Donuts gift card, and a $25 McDonald’s gift card plus some money. See what I mean? They spent far too much and I feel bad. I got my brothers each a cute magnet from a craft show (Megaman for one and Jason Vorhees for the other) and for Brother J I also got two wrestling DVDs (although the brat went and ordered one of them himself after sending me his wishlist so I have to return it), a poo emoji keychain, a book, and some True Lemon since he was joking I should buy him some.

We gave my parents each a Target gift card, my mom a CD, and my dad a magazine subscription. We also gave Brother B’s girlfriend a Dollar Tree gift card and a rubber ball inside a stocking with paw prints on it for their dog.

My only complaint about the evening was that we were supposed to be there at 5 but didn’t arrive until almost 5:30 due to traffic. It had snowed earlier that day and we got caught behind snow plows in EVERY SINGLE LANE for a good portion of our drive. Brother B called me right around 5 so I explained our predicament. I don’t know whether he didn’t relate the info to my parents or what, but once we arrived we found everyone had already eaten. Seriously, they couldn’t wait for us? Especially because we brought the ham, turkey, cranberries, stuffing, and mac and cheese. I was pretty irked but didn’t let it ruin the evening.

Christmas Day was low-key with just the two of us and Wookie, which was perfect. We opened our remaining presents (we each had opened two the evening before) and also gave Wookie her gifts.

It was so cute how her tail never stopped wagging. I love that dog so much!

Much to my surprise, Joe got me an iPad Pro! Apparently it was $150 off at Target a few weeks ago which was a stellar deal coupled with the 5% off we get with our Target card. I wasn’t really liking my Samsung mini tablet (I prefer Apple’s ecosystem) and at this point I’ve given up hope of Apple releasing a new 7″ tablet. I plan to give Joe my Samsung tablet, and if by chance Apple does decide to release a new mini tablet I will happily buy one and give Joe my iPad Pro 10.5″ since his iPad Air has gotten extremely slow over the years. (I still occasionally use my iPad 2 but not for much since it’s nearly six years old and quite slow now).

Pictured: Gel pens, Tsum Tsum coloring book, Junior Mints, iPad Pro 10.5″, pumpkin seed BarkTHINs, Further by Chemical Brothers (CD), french vanilla and mint Swiss Miss cocoa, a PopSocket, and Human Giant starring Aziz Ansari (DVD).

Joe’s “big” gift from me was a fitness tracker. Not a Fitbit, however, since he didn’t want something that expensive in case he didn’t make use out of it. The one I got him is pretty cool because it doubles as a bare-bones smartwatch that sends him alerts when he gets messages. For the price ($35) it’s pretty impressive. Other things I got him: a Norelco multi-groomer, a beard grooming kit, beard shampoo, candy, a cocktail muddler and spoon barware set, and a Jack Skellington nutcracker.

After setting up my iPad we had a late breakfast which included a new recipe I came across that I thought Joe would like – Three Cheese Grits Casserole. To my surprise I really liked it too so that will be part of our Christmas tradition moving forward.

We also dismantled the Christmas tree because it was driving us crazy. It’s just too big and messes with the flow of our home.

This morning we ran over to Target and Walmart to check out the after-Christmas discounts. We didn’t need any gift wrap but were on the hunt for Christmas cards; unfortunately there weren’t many styles to choose from so we didn’t get any which is ok since we have enough for next year anyway. We did buy some candy and a timer and remote-controlled outlets to make turning on the Christmas lights much easier from now on. I’ve already starting using them and they work great!

We’re also on the hunt for a slim Christmas tree for under $35. Walmart had one for only $25 but it was pre-lit which I’m not sure we want to deal with since it doesn’t seem like you can remove the lights and replace them with your own down the line.

We also bought this awesome sign.

We really liked it the first time we spotted it two weeks ago but didn’t want to pay $18. Today it was only $8.92! I like how you can hang it or just put it on the floor or a table since it has a built in stand.

Today was also our Christmas with the kids. Since E had to work this afternoon we met them at a pizza place at 11 am for lunch (and they were on time, woo!) and then went back to K & ES’ place to open presents.

Now we’re just relaxing since it’s back to work tomorrow. Boo! At least I only have to work two days this week!

Categories: Family, Holidays Tags:

Crosstreak Gripes

December 22nd, 2017 Comments off

Ok, you knew this was coming. Things I don’t like about my new car:

1) Doors do not automatically lock once I start driving. I’m still not used to that or the fact that if I do remember to lock them that I need to unlock them before I can exit the vehicle.

2) The car will warn me if a vehicle is crossing my path while I’m in reverse but it has no problem if I attempt to run over a person (we carefully tested this by having Joe walk behind my car while I was backing up).

3) Seat warmers on low aren’t quite warm enough but on high are too hot. I need medium heat, damnit! The Jetta let you pick between 1-5 and I kept it on 2, sometimes 3, since 4 and 5 were way too hot.

4) Head unit can be slow to respond when the car is first turned on and the backup camera glitches a bit.

5) No USB port in the cubby area directly underneath the head unit. The only port is in the center console which is awkward to access and then where am I supposed to put my phone? I can leave it in the console but then I need to be careful what I store in there since there’s no tray and it’s just a big “hole”, or I can thread the cable and stick my phone in a cup holder. Not a fan or either option so I’ve just been accessing my phone via Bluetooth since I really only need Apple Car Play if I want to access maps on the car’s screen.

6) Cup holders are not as deep as in Joe’s Escape so when his taller one is in my car it moves back and forth making noise. There’s also no cup holders for backseat passengers unless you count in the doors but who uses those? You’d be surprised how ofter we take advantage of the fact that Joe’s Escape has four cup holders in the center console area. With us bringing our water bottles everywhere and then stopping for a coffee or something we do make use of them. Won’t be able to do that in my car unless we relegate the water bottles to the doors.

7) Sometimes the car accelerates or brakes strangely, almost as if it’s deciding what to do instead of responding to my input. It’s not consistent, and I think it may have to do with the CVT and the all-wheel drive which is very different from my Jetta. I do miss the acceleration of the Jetta, but I’m also babying the Crosstrek while I break it in so it might have more pep if I pushed it. I’ll find out once I get above 1000 miles. I’m just around 420 now.

8) The trunk space is small compared to the Jetta.

None of these are deal breakers and I still love my new car but I figured I’d document them here for myself, plus as a warning of things to keep in mind when I buy my next car 15+ years from now!

By the way, Joe convinced me to buy all weather mats for the car and they do look nice. Originally we were going to get Weathertech which is $180 for front and back but went with Husky for $140 instead. They look almost the same so I’m happy.

Categories: Car Tags:

Mammograms, Zoo Lights, and Star Wars

December 20th, 2017 Comments off

Saturday (12/16) began with a visit to the radiology center for a mammogram. I had to reschedule my original appointment after the facility informed me that I also needed a follow-up ultrasound from the one I had last year. Since there wasn’t time during my original appointment to do both, I rescheduled it. Then Friday evening I got a text from the facility to remind me to bring my doctor’s orders in for the tests. I called to ask whether one was required for the ultrasound too and that’s when they informed me that yes, I needed one. I was livid and let them know they should have told me that sooner. Of course my doctor was gone for the day at that point and wasn’t due back until Monday morning which meant I would have to skip the ultrasound and could have just stuck with my original appointment. Shortly after this I received a phone call from someone else at the facility with yet another appointment reminder, at which point I explained they could cancel the ultrasound portion because I wouldn’t have the order I didn’t know was required.

Fast forward to Saturday morning when I check in and am asked for my ultrasound order. #$*(@*#)!! I had to explain that I already told them I couldn’t have it done. Then when I’m in the room with the tech she mentions that they don’t have any of my previous mammograms for comparison even though they didn’t tell me that last year. How incompetent is this place?!? Plus how good is their screening if they don’t have earlier scans for comparison and just let that go for an entire year? I swear to god!

I also haven’t received my test results back even though I was told Tuesday at the latest. It’s probably because their horribly designed form asks whether you want your results by phone or not and I checked off no since I wanted them in writing. But then AFTER that portion near the bottom of the page there’s a note saying you’ll get them by mail regardless of whether you want them by phone. Well WTF, why don’t you put that first BEFORE the person fills out the form? And no, there weren’t any asteriks indicating there was more to read below about the choices. So I scratched out the part where I checked off “DON’T call me” and initialed it but those people are such idiots I bet they didn’t realize that I was trying to tell them that they SHOULD call me. I don’t even want to know at this point in case it’s bad news. I’m actually in a good mood this holiday season and don’t want to risk that getting ruined. I wouldn’t be able to do anything about a bad test result until after the holidays anyway.

Also, I was just thinking about this – last year when they told me I needed a second mammogram and an ultrasound, I’m fairly certain I didn’t need a new order from my doctor, so why would I think I needed one this time? I swear, I need to switch facilities moving forward. I only started going to this place because it was cheaper than the hospital but I don’t trust them with my health.

On a lighter note, Saturday night we made some hot cocoa and went to Cosley Zoo to see their lights. They are rather lame, and even more so this year it seemed, but they had an Ozinga cement truck there all decked out with lights coordinated to music which was fun to watch. I ended up having to download the Light of Christmas song by Owl City since it’s been stuck in my head ever since. I really enjoy the upbeat nature of the song despite the fact that I’m not religious.

Sunday (11/17) morning we went to a very early first showing (8:45 am) of the The Last Jedi. The theater had a decent amount of people but no one in our row or in front of us which was perfect. I enjoyed the movie but can understand why people have bones to pick with it, some of which I noticed and others which escaped me.

We had lunch at Red Robin before doing some shopping and then relaxed the rest of the day. I made chicken taco soup in the crockpot but chose an older recipe instead of the better one I found online so that kinda sucked. That older one has now be obliterated so I never mistakenly make it again.

Categories: Excursions, Health, Movies Tags: