Friday, May 3, 2019

Coffee and a Classic: Persuasion

April's Coffee and a Classic book box came today. Overall, the box is gorgeous as usual, but I wasn't quite as happy with this month's box as I have been previous boxes. It seems like it's always a bit late, coming the first week of the next month, which I suppose is still okay but many people get them a week or more before mine even ships. This month's box was supposed to be The Great Gatsby, a book I absolutely adore, but they changed it at the beginning of the month. Instead of Gatsby, April's book was Persuasion by Jane Austen. 

One thing I'm not less pleased about is the book choice. Would I have been happy with Gatsby? Of course! But, I'm also happy with Persuation. Have to say, I'm still really excited about this book. I love Jane Austen and this is one I've not read yet. And as you'll see, the book is really pretty. It has one of those lovely, buttery soft covers, embossed with gold accents.

Every single thing in the box is gorgeous, as usual. There were a few things about my box that were different than others who got the same box. The mug was different than most others and the candy was loose inside the box, rather than being in a box, like many others I've seen pictures of. 

All that said, the box was still just so lovely!

The box included a book, mug, salt water taffy, a scrub that smells vaguely of roses, sea salt & caramel cocoa, a book mark, and a book bag. So, it was absolutely filled with nice surprises. 
The book is a Barnes and Noble edition and is absolutely beautiful. It does have a few flaws, however, the most notable of them the scuffed up letters on Jane Austen's name. Still, the cover is smooth and soft, and a very pretty shade of pink. 

 The book mark is tiny, like last month's, but still very pretty. I will probably put it up on a shelf so I don't lose it and use the box insert as a book mark instead. 

I cannot wait to open the cocoa and have a cup! I have loved every single cocoa in all the boxes, I suspect this one won't be different. The sea salt taffy is soft and delicious. The mug is pretty, but most other boxes got a white, insulated travel mug. I'm a little bit disappointed not to have gotten that one, even though this gray mug is still very pretty. 

Since I have pretty sensitive skin, I will probably only use the scrub on my legs. It has a very light, soft rose-like scent. Not overwhelming at all, but also not my usual thing. I'm still going to give it a try and, who knows, maybe I'll love it. 

Who doesn't love book bags?! I really like this one. I got a Jane Austen book bag a few years ago for my birthday. I put this one with that one and will use it when I travel. Very pretty bag and a lovely addition to this month's box. 

Overall, my impression of the box is that it's quite nice. It has a lovely salt water type theme, so I'm guessing that the book is set by the shore or on a ship. Having not read it, I couldn't say, but I'm looking forward to finding out! 

Next month's box was a tough one for me, but I believe I'm going to be getting the children's classic box instead of the regular classic lit box because the selection is Aladdin and the Arabian Nights and there's no way I can pass that up! I'll just have to email them and let them know I want to change selections this month. Looking forward to that one!

Friday, April 26, 2019

35mm Mystery

In late 1996 or 1997, when I was just out of high school and thinking I might major in photography, I took a photography class a local junior college. It wasn't very practical, and had a little crush on my photography instructor, a very talented photographer quite a few years older that I was. At that time, I bought a Pentax K-1000 camera at a pawn shop, because I needed a 35mm camera with all manual settings. Although I absolutely loved the class, which taught me technique and how to develop in a darkroom, it was the first and last time I used that camera. It's in my garage, collecting dust. During a manic shopping-spree moment, I replaced it with an expensive digital camera a few years ago, which I also don't use much.

Due to some things happening in my life at that time, I never did finish that photography class. I wasn't much in a place in my life where I cared about things like passing classes. Much to the chagrin of my present self, in addition to being impractical, I was also frivolous. Until this morning, I didn't even remember I took that class. Then, going through an old keepsake box in my spare bedroom, I found a roll of 35mm film still in the canister. The tab is rolled in, so the film has been used.

Shaking it out from inside the plastic canister, the outside of the roll is somehow rusty. Considering it's 22 or 23 years old, that's not too surprising, though I have no idea how it could have gotten like that. The roll is still firmly sealed, it doesn't look like any light has gotten inside. So, I'm thinking it might be able to be developed... maybe.

There are, of course, a few problems with that. The first is a simple matter of where. Where can you get 35mm film developed anymore? I'm likely going to have to mail it somewhere. The other problems are a little bit more complex. I have no idea what's on that roll of film. Zero idea. I'm a little bit afraid of what it might be. I would imagine it can't be anything too risque, but who knows? And what if that film isn't mine? What if it's something from one of Matt's grandfather or mother's old boxes? I wouldn't imagine it is, but who the hell knows? Since the film is black and white, it's almost certainly a relic from that long ago class.

I think I'll write to some people who develop film, send them a picture of the roll and canister, and find out if they think it can be developed. Worth a shot, right? And, at this point, my curiosity is killing me.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Treat Your Spouse Like a Ten Year Old... Hilarious.

I was browsing Facebook recently when a meme about tricking your kids into doing chores came across my feed. I usually cackle at these things, then move on. Har har, hide your kids phone charger and make them do chores to find it. Hilarious. But this one caught my eye because the person who posted it suggested it might be applicable to getting your spouse to do chores.

While my husband sucks at helping around the house, and I cannot get him to do chores most of the time, he's also an adult. He's a grown man with a high tolerance for mess. He says he doesn't clean because he doesn't care if the house is a mess. He sees the mess, he just doesn't really give a shit. This is something we go back and forth about because the reality is, if he doesn't do it, I still have to. But, he also does a heck of a lot of other things like working 11-12 hours a day, going out to do errands when I'm feeling lazy--he's actually out getting food right now, as I type this--and plans fun things for us to do together.

But again, he's an adult. It's insulting to suggest that a wife should trick her husband by hiding his phone or charger, or make him play little games to get his things back. That's pretty ridiculous. Do I wish he would be more helpful? Of course, I do! Would I demean him by forcing him to go on a scavenger hunt for his Nintendo Switch? No.

Maybe it was a joke and I have no sense of humor. Or, maybe this sort of humor is degrading to adult humans--both men and women. I just don't find it funny. Somethings tells me treating one's spouse like a ten year old isn't conducive to getting said spouse to see one as an equal life partner deserving of sharing equally in the responsibilities of adulthood. But maybe that's just me.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Coffee and a Classic: The Phantom of the Opera

March's Coffee and a Classic box came at the very end of last month. I only just got around to taking pictures of the boxes contents. I was seriously stoked when I checked the sneak peak last month and discovered that March's story was Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera. Like everyone else, I've seen and loved both the play and the movie. But, I'd never read the book. I cannot wait to get it started. I'm still working on last month's book, The Last of the Mohicans, very slow reading, but am going to temporarily set it aside until this one is done.

Here's the box in all it's glory...

The book isn't one of those fancy cover editions, but I'm pretty sure this one doesn't come that way. And you know, it doesn't matter. The book's cover is neat and it's going to be a lot easier to handle than those books with the covers whose spines I'm terrified to mess up.

I just love the picture on the cover! The book mark this month is metal, a musical instrument (accordion) which is fitting but I think I'm going to leave it in the package and put it up somewhere so I don't bend, break, or lose it. Moving on...

Every month the box comes with an insert like this that says what's inside. This month's is particularly fun and fitting. I'll probably tuck it inside the book so it doesn't get lost or damaged. Maybe I'll use it as a book mark. And, now I'm wondering what I did with all the other inserts that came with the previous boxes... time to look for them. I don't want to lose them. Hopefully it's not too late.

This month's goodies include a sleep mask, which I haven't tried because I don't like anything on my face, a air freshener that's shaped like a chandelier (below), and a rose shaped chocolate. It has taken all my willpower not to eat the chocolate rose before I could get this picture of it. I have since eaten it so that I could write about how tasty it is. It was. You're welcome.

How cute, right? I love it. It's hanging on my new book shelf, about five feet from me, and the scent is a little bit overwhelming. I'm pretty sensitive to scents anyway, but this is strong. Once it dies a slow, scentless death, then it'll just be a cute little book shelf ornament. Definitely cannot put it in my car.

And the part I most look forward to other than the book and cocoa... the mug! I've recently started collecting mugs, I think I may have mentioned that in one of the previous posts, and every single bookish mug that comes with these boxes has been lovely. This one is small, only just about exactly 8 ounces, but it's really lovely. First thing I did was wash all the paper shavings out of (the box is filled with paper filler to pad everything) then fire up my kettle and make myself some cocoa (pictured below).

See how it's somewhat bent down on the top? Yeah, that's because I've almost emptied this little pouch. It makes 3-4 mugs of coca, I've just about downed all of them. Of all the cocoa's, this one was my favorite. It's the sweet vanilla cocoa from McStevens. It's pretty inexpensive on their website, but I haven't ordered it because the shipping is almost as much as the tin of chocolate. $8 shipping on a $10 tin of cocoa. Doesn't matter if I loved it, not paying that.

All in all, this months box did not disappoint! The whole thing was just as fun as they've all been. I've already checked the sneak peak for the April box and I am so excited. I cannot wait for the next book. It's one I've read five or six times now, but that I love every single time. I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it! If you're interested, check it out on their sneak peak page.

**Absolutely not a paid endorsement, I pay for this subscription every month. I just love the product. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Dinnertime Drama: Rant Edition

I'm in a curmudgeonly mood today...

It's a little bit after four o'clock in the afternoon and I was just sitting her thinking that Matt would be home soon and then... queue the dinner time drama. And, you know, I kind of dread it. Okay, more than kind of. I dread it. I would almost do anything to avoid this nightly ritual where he looks at me like I'm somehow the party responsible for all domestic responsibilities, including but not limited to cooking dinner. Because that look is always followed closely by disappointment that I didn't thaw anything out and then expectation that I'll do something about it.

Every single goddamn day, we go through this dinner time dance where we go back and forth about what to eat. He asks what we have, I say I forgot to thaw anything out, and we try to decide what we're going to do instead. He never wants to go out to dinner anymore, though he never had a problem with it when we lived in Texas. A few days ago he went so far as to tell me he doesn't like to eat out and never has... which is absurd in a way that's shocking to think he even said it.

Tonight is not going to be any different. I didn't take anything out and we need to get groceries. So, we're going to have to either have something ordered, or I'm going to have to talk him around to going out to dinner. Since he spent half the early morning hours throwing up today, he's going to be particularly picky about what he wants to eat (as he should), which is going to make figuring out what to eat even more difficult. This is seriously a waste of a good hour of our time every single fucking evening. Every single one.

I know this is something all married couples go through once in a while. In fact, there are memes about it all over the internet. Yes, hilarious. But after 20 years it's starting to not be so hilarious. And, while I know that I could prevent it just by cooking dinner... I just don't want to some nights. I work too. I'm tired. I want to chill, rather than spend my evening cooking and cleaning up the mess. I don't want to. Simple as that. I should not have to be responsible for dinner every single night.

And, he's home... time to go to war over dinner.

Friday, March 22, 2019

2019 Veloster N

I went out this morning to get groceries. It was raining and when I turned on my wipers, one of the blades was torn, so I decided to get the car serviced and have them change the wipers. Because I have no idea how to change my wipers, and I needed an oil change anyhow, I drove across town to the Hyundai dealer. The wait was an hour and a half, so I settled in with a book, but the tv in the waiting area was too noisy for me to focus on the book. The news was on, talking about college admissions scandals, so I wandered around a bit. Stopping at the book that has info for each of the models, I flipped through to info about the 2019 Veloster and the 2019 Veloster N.

I scanned the features, checking out both models. Not going to lie, the first time I saw a picture of the new Veloster and Veloster N, I didn't love it. It was so different than mine and change makes me grumpy. But, since then, it's very much grown on me. It's so sleek. So much more aggressive than the older models. When curiosity took me over, I asked one of the sales guys, Jon, if they had one on the lot. Not only did they have one on the lot, they had it inside on the sales floor... where it was dry. Let me tell you, it was love at first site. This car is gorgeous!

I stalked around it, checked out it's features, talked with the sales guy about it. He took a look at my 2014 Veloster and worked on a trade-in quote. He drove my 14 Velo and got some info about how it runs (really well!) and checked the milege (really low!). Then we talked some more about the 19 Velo. We took it for a test drive (he drove, I rode). It's a 6-speed manual transmission and I haven't driven a stick-shift in almost 5 years, since we had the Sunfire.

I told him I'd take it, if they would give me financing. He said it wasn't a problem. About an hour later, I was signing the paperwork. Half an hour after that, I was deciding on gap coverage and a protection coverage package that would seal the undercarriage and scotch guard the seats. Twenty minutes later, I was leaving, in my 14 Velo to go get Matt to sign the paperwork. I also went to get groceries.

When Matt got off work, we went to pick up the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N that I bought today.

Can you see the happiness? I am so happy! This pic does not do this car justice, so here're some more pictures that also don't do it justice. It's raining today, so the pics just aren't great.

This pic and the one below were taken before I bought the car, when it was still on the showroom floor. The lighting in there was okay, but the pics were taken really quick so I could send them to Matt.

After we picked her up, we drove around a little bit while Matt got used to the feel of the clutch. It was still raining and the roads were slick, and everyone and their mothers were getting off work, so I was a little bit nervous the whole ride, but I still had a good time. Then we headed across town to get our favorite for dinner, Maymoes, a cajun food restaurant here in Logan. 

When we got home, I took some more pics...

Side view from both sides (above and below), which is significant because it looks different from the left than from the right. It has a door on the passenger side that doesn't exist on the driver side. 

The color is called Chalk White. Do you see all those red accents and the red brake calipers? *swoon* And that grille, the Veloster N is a turbo, so it's got the turbo grille.

I also got another pic of the back, straight on. I think I said so before but, it's a hatchback. Don't mind the big, dead bush to the left of the pic. We're constantly having to cut that damn thing down and it grows back like a weed (which it probably is).

And since it's raining, I got this cool pic of the N logo on the back...

What's really neat about this car, other than how it looks, is that it's actually powerful. The older Velosters looked great, but they had no power. It was fine for around town, but trying to go over the mountain pass was a rough. This car has a lot of kick. It's also fairly limited edition, they didn't make a ton of them. The dealer said they made only about one per dealer. I got the only one in Cache Valley. I'm so thrilled.

I haven't driven it much. Just pulled it into my garage, but I'm going to spend some time practicing my stick-shift skills in the near future. I hear it's like riding a bike, it comes right back to you. Let's hope so.

The only thing I intended to buy today was groceries. ♥

Friday, March 15, 2019

Coffee and a Classic: The Last of the Mohicans

A little late on this one, but I got my February Coffee and a Classic box around the first week of March (since February is a short Month, I suppose) and, I feel like a broken record saying so, but it was absolutely gorgeous. I look forward to this box every month because opening it is such a joy. One of the things I love most, aside from the obvious, is that if Matt's here when it comes, he enjoys the unboxing almost as much as I do. He truly is great a gifting!

February's book is The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenmore Cooper. Every month they have a sneak peek of the book, so you can change your selection to classic children's lit or classic non-fic if you like. When I checked it out in January, I was slightly surprised by this choice for February. Being that Valentine's Day is in February, I expected a more obvious classical romance. Having never read the book, nor even seen the movie, I had no idea that this one is a romance!

Matt knew, though, and when the book was out of the box he turned it over and handed it to me. "Read this," he said.

I swooned. I did. I'm not too old for that and a good love story is my Kryptonite. I am an absolute sucker for a good romance. But, I will say, this book is quite a lot harder a read that I thought it would be. It's been a long time since I've read anything too complex, so this one is a challenge. Especially since I'm currently reading it aloud to Matt so we can experience it together. Being a dyslexic, reading aloud is a pretty good exercise for my brain, even when I stumble here and there. Matt's a gentle listener.

The book comes from Paper Mill Press and the cover is this lovely heavy black paper. Last month's book also came from this press. The books are just gorgeous, even though the words are pretty tiny. Or maybe I'm just blind? Either way, the lovely golden embossed embellishment makes this book really beautiful. It also means I'm doing doubly careful with it as I read so I don't bend the spine. Not the easiest thing.

The bookmark in the month's box, pictured above next to the book, is actually wood. It's very thinly shaved wood with a picture printed on the front. It's lovely and not as fragile as I thought it might be. Even though the book has a ribbon bookmark, I'm using this one to keep my place.

As with all of these boxes, my drink choice is cocoa. This one is sort of like a Mexican chocolate, but the spice is a little bit more diverse. Since I love Mexican hot chocolate, I really enjoyed this one. The only thing I would have liked was instructions. Which sounds crazy, but doing a little bit of research about last month's Earl Gray Hot Chocolate, I learned that it's supposed to be made with milk, rather than water. So, I don't know if this one should, too. The powder sank to the bottom when I made it with water, so I'm guessing it should be.

The cocoa is from COCOA SANTÉ whose cocoa is both organic and responsibly sourced. On their website, this cocoa is called Kashmir Spice. It can't be purchased directly from them, but I'm definitely going to have to get some more! And looking into it, it can be made with either milk or water.

And this month's mug...

Isn't this mug pretty? I just love how much their mugs always fit the theme of the box so beautifully. I'm never completely sure if they can be put in the dishwasher, so I just handwash them. I've begun collecting mugs in the last few months and this is a lovely addition to my collection.

The other goodies in the box included a dream catcher--not pictured here because I jumped the gun and whisked it off to hang above my bed--and a candle that smells really clean and pretty. The candle has this lovely wilderness-y design around the outside.

The last thing in the box was, of course, the month's sweet treat. Chocolate candy rocks in a neat burlap sack.

They're gone now because, well, chocolate. But, I would have you know I took some time to admire each one before putting it into my mouth. It's uncanny how much this candy really does look like rocks. They tasted really good, too, so there was that.

All in all, this box definitely did not fail to meet my expectations. Like the previous two I've gotten before it, I was so pleasantly surprised. Since I didn't expect to love this one as much as I did the two before it, imagine my delight to find out I've enjoyed it every bit as much, if not more. The book is turning out to be quite good, even though we've only just begun.

I can't wait for March's box. I resubscribed for another three months, so I have three more boxes to look forward to! I've already checked the sneak peek section of their website and will admit to some loud squealing, as well as a bit of jumping up and down when I saw what March's classic lit was going to be. If you're interested, you can check it out on Coffee and a Classic's Sneak Peek page. If you're not much into spoilers, I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise. ♥

**Absolutely not a paid endorsement, I pay for this subscription every month. I just love the product. 

Friday, March 8, 2019

Happy International Women's Day

FabFitFun sent out this cute graphic to celebrate International Women's Day and posted this quick little writing prompt to celebrate the day. It's so fun, I thought I'd write about it here instead...

I feel most confident when _______.
Women are _______.
My favorite quote: _______.

I feel most confident when... I get everything on my to do list done. When I finish a good book. When I straighten my hair and toss on a touch of makeup. When I'm taking some time out for mindfulness meditation and self-care. When I know I've done a damn good job.

Women are... capable. This seems like a weak adjective, but for me it's most apt. So many inequities for women come down to one single thing, that women are still seen as incapable. Women aren't often found at the highest levels in business, no woman has been president, women are see as less capable and earn less pay. Women are no less able than men. We're strong, independent, and most of all capable.

My favorite quote... there are actually several, but I'll share two with you. Both by strong women writers that I admire.

“Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody. ” - Jane Austen

"Keep a light, hopeful heart, but expect the worst." - Joyce Carol Oates

Finally, to all the strong women in my life, thank you for making me better. To my lovely Grandmother, Wilma, who made the best pie I've ever eaten and who loved me unconditionally. My beautiful mother, Cheryl, who always believed in and loved me, even when she didn't always agree with my choices. And who taught me strength come from within. My sister, Candi, who always makes me smile and blows me away with her creativity.

June 2018
To my amazing college professors, Dr. Mallory Young and Dr. Julie Chappel, without whom I would never have been introduced to some of the strongest women's voices--their's included. Who pushed me to grow in ways I would never have been able to without them, to think critically, and to understand feminism and feminist criticism.

With Dr. Mallory Young, August 2012
To my best friends, Melanie and Amanda, who've been there to cheer for me, listen to me complain, and given me a shoulder to cry on when that was necessary. Both women have show me over and over again that sisterhood doesn't have to be about blood.

Melanie (left) and Amanda (right), both taken in 2018
To my oldest friends, Jodi and Shannon, who've shown me that friendship is as much about wanting to share a connection as it is about sharing common interests. And, who've shown me that forgiveness and understanding can rebuild what might have otherwise been lost.

Oldest picture, ever. Mayra, Julie, Shannon, Jodi, Shannon T, & Me... Maybe 1995?
And to the rest of the very lovely women in my life. Friends who I haven't seen forever like Jenn and Marsha, or the ones I've met online and become friend with, like Phoena, friends from grad school and from jobs over the past few years, you're all amazing.

I love you all. Happy International Women's Day!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Serial Killer Manicures

So, last night, I dreamt I was a serial killer. Yeah, I don't think that dream catcher I got a few days ago is doing it's job. Strangely the dream didn't really seem to be a nightmare. Which sounds crazy since, you know, I was a serial killer. What do you suppose this says about my fucked up psyche? I knew I have issues, but this goes to a whole other level.

In the dream, I was so busy cleaning up after one of my killing sprees--yeah, apparently I hid the bodies--that I was late for a nail appointment. I literally dreamt that I was late to get my nails done because I was cleaning up blood to hide my crime. This is not normal.

The only thing I can think about this bizarre dream is that last time I was getting my nails done, Nicole and I were talking about dreams. I told her about my long-time reoccurring dream, that one time I dreamt I was married to Derek Hough, and about how I once dreamt that I made out with one of my male college professors in an elevator. Clearly, my brain is associating getting my nails done with dreaming.

So, according to the great font of knowledge--you know, Google--dreaming you're a serial killer can mean that you feel helpless in your life, so in the dream you're in a position of power. It can also mean that you're on a power trip and enjoy watching others suffer. Yeah, good thing I'm firmly in the dream interpretation is bullshit category, because both of those interpretations suck.

But, really, you'd think I'd have more to worry about than being late for a nail appointment if I was a serial killer. Apparently not.

One of the many, many mani's I was on time for. ♥

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Right Place, Right Time

I was listening to a romance novel last night while Matt played a video game. The female character was gushing to her friends about how lucky she had been, how if she hadn't been in the right place at the right time, she would never have met her man. She went on to talk about how he had brought so much into her life. And you know, rather than cocking a skeptical eyebrow as I sometimes do, I could kind of relate to this chick. 

Three or so weeks ago, Matt and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary. We've been together almost 20 years and, not gonna lie, that feels pretty amazing. He's brought so much into my life, exposed me to things I would never have been otherwise, and made me a better person. He's always believed in me, even when I've given him no reason. In short, he's pretty damn amazing. 

The thing is, had I not been at the right place at the right time, I would never have met him. Having met randomly on ICQ (it's a chat program, sort of like AIM or yahoo messenger), had I not been sort of randomly searching for someone to talk to, we would never have met. In a world of creeps, and there were a hell of a lot of creeps on ICQ back then, I found a good guy. The odds were not in my favor. Especially so because I was not looking for a man. I was just looking for company. 

Do y'all know how many times I've had to explain that we met randomly, on the internet, way before there were any sort of dating websites. Back then, people had to meet sort of the same way you meet someone at a bar, or the laundromat. It has to happen sort of by accident. You might meet someone in a chat room where you share a mutual interest, but that same thing could happen if you meet a nice guy in the horror novel section of a bookstore. It's by chance. 

I took a chance, it paid off, and I spent the next 10 years telling people not to do what I did. It wasn't safe. Flying to Texas in the middle of the night to meet a man I hadn't even seen a picture of was probably the dumbest, most reckless thing I have ever done. Hubs could have turned out to be a psychopath. After almost 20 years together, I'm pretty sure he's not. Still, it was pretty insane and a good bit dangerous.

All that being said, I will never regret having made that choice. 20 years later, we're still happily together. Sometimes, taking chances pays off.

We're a little crazy ♥

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

How exactly do they test that?

Matt went to the grocery store on Sunday to get a few things we needed. This is hit and miss. Sometimes, he comes home with everything and it's all the right stuff. Sometimes, like Sunday, he comes home with everything and some of it's the wrong stuff. In this case, the man knowingly and willfully committed the cardinal sin of grocery shopping... he bought one ply toilet paper.

Okay, it's gross to talk about toilet paper, right? Right. But seriously, why do they even make this stuff in one ply? He also got the wrong brand. I fixed this, but now it's toilet paper wars around our house. He has been forbidden to use my two ply until all the gross paper he bought is gone. He says he got it because "the bears like it." He's kidding, of course, but still... come on, man!

But then today, while straitening up the hall cabinet--because for some reason we tend to just shove the plastic wrap from the old toilet paper to the back of the (very deep) cabinet when we put the new stuff in there--I got to thinking about the packaging and the way they market this stuff. Without getting totally gross, they talk about the ripples or how strong it is, or how it won't leave furry dust bunnies in it's wake. But, I mean, how do they test that exactly? What kind of job would that be? Toilet paper tester. And what about the people whose job it is to design toilet paper--or paper towels and maxi pads, for that matter--what kind of education do you need for that? Personal hygiene product engineer?

I'm totally serious... mostly. I want to know how they test it. Since Matt works in production, I know, of course, that the paper itself is tested in a factory setting and is totally legit. Got that part. I kind of want to know how to know the ripples will make you more clean or that it won't leave fuzz on your ass? I think they would have to just assume that, right?

I digress. I made such a freaking fuss about the one ply and the fact that he bought the wrong brand, that he might just remember next time. Maybe. In the mean time, I'm going to try (and fail) to keep my mind occupied by less mundane and, quite frankly, gross topics going forward.

PS.I just tagged this post "marriage, toilet paper" which, I won't lie, made me laugh. 😁

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Coffee and a Classic: Jane Eyre

I got my January Coffee and a Classic box yesterday and, I have to tell you, it was just as beautiful as the December box! So beautifully curated and full of surprises I might never have tried on my own. I told Matt that this is one gift box I will keep getting for a very long time. Okay, so maybe I said forever, but... you know, forever is a long time.

The book is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Though I read this book when it was assigned in a Women's lit class in college, somewhere around 2008 or 2009, I cannot wait to read it again. I actually started it again last night and I'm really enjoying it. The edition that came in the box is from Paper Mill Classics, and it is gorgeous. The cover is a lovely white paper, with purple accents.

Matt was here while I was opening the box yesterday and he was quite impressed. He said he was surprised how themed the box is, every single thing going together perfectly. The little thing hiding in the top left corner is a little journal, each of it's pages unlined and watermarked with the picture of the woman on the front of the book. It all goes together so well.

The mug that came with the box feels delicate and has this pretty texture. The quote on the front is from the book. I'm sure I mentioned before, but the subscription options allows you to choose coffee, cocoa, or tea as your beverage. Cocoa is my drink of choice and this month's flavor is Earl Gray Hot Cocoa.

I have to tell you, I didn't think I would like it. I like tea and I like cocoa, but together? Um, not so much. But, you know, jokes on me. I actually really, really liked it. It's not overly sweet and has a nice tea flavor. I'm seriously going to look for this stuff online because it was so lovely. Matt had a sip and also liked it. My only objection to it is, as you would imagine, the texture. I think it must have tea ground up and blended with the cocoa, because it doesn't completely dissolve and the last sip or two has dregs, the way a cup of tea might. It's a small thing.

The box also includes a little journal, which I mentioned before has watermarked pages. The book mark is another quote from the book and is magnetic. It's currently on my fridge because the book has a ribbon book mark. The soap has a nice, pretty scent, but I'm not sure what it is. The best surprise was that chocolate bar. Like the cocoa, I expected to dislike it and again, I actually really enjoyed it. It's bittersweet chocolate, so it's not too sweet. The bar has a little bit of lavender and vanilla-infused sugar dust, and is the perfect amount of sweet. I'm going to be looking for more chocolate by Black Dinah Chocolatiers.

I'm about to go back to reading, as soon as I'm done writing this. My only concern is that I'll do damage to the book's spine reading it... but honestly, books are meant to be read, so I'm trying not to worry about it. Just like last month, I cannot wait to find out what they have planned for the next box. I saw someone on Instagram saying they live for this box and I'm beginning to understand why. It's perfect!

**Absolutely not a paid endorsement, I pay for this subscription every month. I just love the product. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

From my drafts: Weddings & Utah

From my unpublished drafts, post written in October 2017:

One of the lovely ladies in the training class for my new job--um, oh yeah, I got a new job--she invited me to her wedding. I hope to be able to go, but I don't know yet if it'll happen. I don't love weddings and neither does the hubs. I really only mention it because this is the third wedding I've been invited to in less than two and a half years.

Maybe that doesn't sound like a lot, but to put it in perspective, in the 16 years I lived in Texas we were only invited to one wedding. One. And I was a part of the wedding party. All of my friends and acquaintances were older and either already married or never planned to be.

When I lived in California, I only attended three weddings... four, if you count the one where I was the bride. That's it, just four, and that's not a lot when you consider that in my whole life, all 36 years before moving to Utah, I was only invited to/attended a total of five weddings.

It's interesting because it seems to say something about the culture in Utah that there are so many weddings. Talking to another of my training classmates, a 25 year old with an almost one year old baby, she told me the average time from meeting-to-matrimony in Utah is only three to six months. She sort of laughingly said that she's considered years behind the mommy curve because most first time mothers in Utah are eighteen to twenty-one years old.

Young people here graduate high school, go on missions, then come home and get married. It's pretty dang fast. But, how much time does that really give them to get to know one another? Not a lot, that's for sure. A quick, illustrative statistic: the divorce rate in Utah is 73% for women and 68% for men. 3-4% above the national average for each gender.

The first time I got married, I was too young. Some may argue that the second time I got married, I was still too young. They would be right. Married at 18 and again at 21, I wasn't then who I am today. I wasn't grown up, just because the law says so. I wasn't prepared for the responsibility that came with being married.  Fortunately, my current husband and I grew in the same direct, for the most part.

But how often does that happen? If the statistics are correct, only a little better than a quarter of the time. That's a heck of a lot of divorces, especially in a place where the predominate religion says that a woman can only have one eternal, heavenly husband. Somewhat of a double standard, considering the same doesn't apply to men.

My point is only that there seem to be a lot of weddings going on around here, considering the number of long-term marriages is so low. The couple from the first wedding I was invited to since moving here, for example, actually only stayed married a few months. It's a little bit scary, when you think about it, because many, many of these short term marriages are producing kids. Not just one or two, but a LOT of kids. Kids who will grow up, graduate high school, go on a mission and then get married without really knowing who they are first.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Milestone: 600 Posts

Two posts ago was my 600th post on this blog. That feels like a milestone. So, even though I haven't posted much in the last couple of years, I have written a heck of a lot of posts. And, that's just the posts I've written since moving my blog to this domain. Sadly, all my older posts have been lost over time and with moves from blogger to Wordpress and back.

Since starting this blog on September 29, 2009:
  • We brought Chewbacca home to live with us (December 2011)
  • I've graduated from College twice (December 2009 and August 2012). 
  • I wrote a master's thesis.
  • Got accepted to the Ph.D program at TWU, but decided against going.
  • We've moved from Texas to Utah (2015). 
  • I've lost two living grandparents (Grandma Wilma and Grandma Marylou). 
  • One of our best friends, Tommy, passed away (December 30, 2017)
  • Worked as a freelance writer.
  • Worked as a graduate assistant and writing center tutor.
  • Taught English to college students.
  • Worked in utility billing, as a clerk for a company that does large scale print jobs, did customer service, and held a low level leadership position.
  • Our sweet kitty, Galileo passed away (RIP - January 8, 2019)
And those are just my milestones. Matt has his own series of wins and difficulties during that time, but they wouldn't mean much here, so I'll just say he's gotten several job promotions and leave it at that. 

According to my trusty blog stats:
  • My most popular post was 21 Day Fix & Shakeology (38,053 hits)
  • Second most popular is Happy Halloween: Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" (33,713 hits)
  • Most of my traffic comes from google, with viewers in the US.
  • This blog has 215, 313 page views, all time.
  • I've had an uncountable number of themes (not even going to try to count them).
  • I changed my blog domain from to
That's most of it, I think. I just find it pretty fun that I've been writing on this blog long enough to have posted 600+ entries, not including the unpublished ranty blog posts I wrote and never posted along the way... and there have definitely been a few. 

Since blogger is where I originally started blogging an eternity ago, I wanted to share again my first ever premium blog theme from back when my blog was called "ya don't say...", because it's fun. I gotta say, I still like it. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

RIP Galileo

On Tuesday morning, our sweet kitty, Galileo, passed away at home. He was 15 years old.

We adopted him from a pet rescue in Waco in June 2004, when he was only 6 months old. When we met him, his name was Dusty, but Matt didn't so much like that and decided we should name him Galileo. It's a pretty big name for such a small creature, but it was somehow fitting.

Over the years, he's been with us in Waco, Stepheville, and then kept Matt company on our move to Utah. They rode together in the Uhaul all the way. He was definitely a character, but was so loving.

Then, almost two and a half years ago, he got very sick, very fast and we thought we were going to lose him. Turns out, he had diabetes and his sugar was so high, meters couldn't read it. We did everything we could to save him and, eventually, he went into diabetic remission. He gained weight, began walking normally again. We couldn't have been happier.

During the last few weeks his health declined so quickly and on Tuesday morning, around 4:30am, he passed away. We're having him cremated, his ashes put into a pretty sealed box, same as we did when our kitty, Chummer, passed away in November 2005.

It goes without saying that we are totally and completely heartbroken over the loss of our sweet Galileo. He was the very best cat, so sweet and loving. He would cuddle and drool, and purr. He was so affectionate and Matt was very attached to him.

RIP sweet boy, you're forever in our hearts. ♥

Friday, January 4, 2019

Heritage for Christmas

I mentioned once that Matt was adopted. Because it was a closed adoption, he doesn't have any information about his birth parents. He doesn't know what he is or what he's predisposed to. For as long as we've been together, it's been a bit of a running joke him not knowing what his heritage is. He would tell me that not knowing was a good thing, it meant he could choose which one he wanted on any given day and would never be wrong. Maybe he'd be Italian, or Hungarian, or German. He has no idea and has always had a very good sense of humor about it.

For Christmas this year, I decided we should settle it once and for all. As one of his gifts, I got him an Ancestry DNA kit. I gave it to him early so he could send it in, mostly because I'm impatient. I want to know what he is. Almost 20 years of suspense is killing me! He did the swab and sent it in. This thing is supposed to take almost 2 months to come back. It only took less than one month and shortly after Christmas, he got his results.

Turns out he is almost 100% from the UK. England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Just a tiny, tiny, tiny less than 1% German. I won't lie, I'm a little bit shocked. I've always thought it was likely that he was at least a little bit Italian. Nope. Not at all. But what's amazing about this thing is that it shows him the migration of his ancestors from Europe, all the way across to the East coast, then south, and finally to the middle of Texas.

This is pretty impressive because he was born in Fort Worth, TX (at Edna Gladney). This DNA test shows his family's migration to the very place he was born. What's also neat about this thing is that it can connect you to people who share your DNA. This means for him that he may be able to connect with his birth family. He may already have started doing just that. Best $50 I ever spent.