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.