My Other Gig

The weather this time of year is pretty fickle, constantly causing the weathermen to look like they don't know what they are talking about.

Today, I'm pretty happy with the weather's (or is it Mother Nature's) fickle nature.


Because when I walked out of my second class of the day the sun was shining and the sky was blue. This doesn't mean it is at all warm outside, but it's a step in the right direction.

More importantly, the sunshine means that job #2 is good to go for the day.

You see, when I'm not in the classroom typing away on a computer, I'm out walking around behind a lawn mower. That's right; I'm a lawn care professional. And I don't care who knows it.

This is, in fact, my 7th year mowing lawns. Impressive, no?

I can honestly say that I never thought I would still be doing this after receiving my college degree. Little did I know...

I have built up impressive skills over the years, too. I can wield a lawn mower, blower, and weed eater with dexterity and grace.

(Maybe not so much on the grace part. I've never heard anyone use the word graceful to describe me.)

I also have an eye for a sharp looking lawn and have Accuweather bookmarked on my computer. That hour-by-hour forecast occasionally comes in handy - when it's right, that is.

Pretty much what I am saying here is: I define cool.

Don't believe me; every teenagers gets a car around their 16th birthday, but how many get a lawn mower.

Who's jealous now?


My current reality.

I just realized that this is "Lights Out" hour; at least I think it is. Life Fail for me. Whoops. Since there are only three minutes left and I just realized I'll make it up later. Promise.

That's not really what I signed on to talk about though.

(How lame would that be if it was?! Hi, I just fired up my computer to talk about how I'm not supposed to be using electricity. Brilliant.)

Actually, I wanted to talk about a dreaded topic: money.

Tonight I finally sat down and tallied up all my bills. Just bills. No credit cards, other extraneous monthly expenses, gas. Nothing else.

For me bills=car loan, school loans, storage unit, cell phone, and car insurance (which I am just starting to pay for the first time in my life - thanks Mom and Dad). I'm living at home so there isn't rent, utilities, cable, etc. to think about.


But I was still shocked when I added everything up. I'm just going to share it. Maybe it will seem like a good chunk to you, or maybe it's a drop in the bucket. I don't really even know.

Starting May 1, I will be paying about $725 in monthly bills.

Wowsa. I could break it down for you, but I won't. Doing that once was enough for me.

You have no idea how thankful I am to be living at home right now.

There's also good news, and I have a short term plan.

Good news, I got more hours than I expected to for work this next quarter. And this total is not beyond my ability to pay with what I am currently earning.

The other reality though, is that I will be getting only limited hours in the summer. So pretty much, I have to save enough during the spring to pay through September 1.

(Sorry if you're bored; I'm kind of processing this all right now.)

So...my short term plan: for the month of April I will not a) eat out, b) go shopping, or c) spend money on alcohol (meaning bar hop/go out for drinks or happy hour).

This is in part to help me realize how much money I spend that I don't need to and because I won't receive another decent paycheck until the end of April.

I don't think it will be easy, but I think it is doable. And perhaps even necessary in my life.

So wish me good luck, 'cuz ready or not, here I go.


A place called Costco

Costco is one of those stores that I always buy more than I plan on.

It doesn't matter if I'm hungry or not, which can always affect grocery shopping. It's just that the so much good stuff, that you might not even realize is good until Costco points it out for you.

So what, you have Tupperware coming out your ears at home. At Costco you can buy a 50 gazillion piece set specially designed to fit all shapes and sizes of leftovers. A slice of cake, a Popsicle, a gallon of pasta. You name it, there's a container for it.

Why continue to make your own pesto, or buy the speciality kinds in the tiny grocery store containers when you can have a pint that will go bad before you use it all. Unless you top everything you eat with a little pesto, that is.

And I'm pretty sure my life can't go on unless I have that 12 piece, gourmet coffee set. Oh crap, now I have to buy a coffee maker. Luckily, Costco has those as well.

The list of items and departments goes on and on: electronics, home goods, wine, clothes, books, CDs...I think you get it.

At Christmas I could successfully shop for every single person on my list without a problem. Granted, my cousin probably didn't want 15 kinds of cocoa, but more is better. At least that's what the TV adds tell me.

I can't visit the place without purchasing something. Even if it's just a soda to sustain me through arduous journey through the warehouse.

Costco, I salute you for sucking me in time and time again.


Lumps and Bumps

***Warning: blog contains somewhat graphic pictures, avert eyes if easily nauseous.***

A few weeks ago I noticed a bump on my right thigh. Just a bump, slightly below the surface and slightly sensitive to the touch.

I decided it was worth a visit to the doctor. This led to a visit with the ultrasound tech.

The good news, the lump is an old hematoma (a.k.a. bruise).

The bad news, there are actually a handful of lumps and bumps in that thigh. Looking at the ultrasound was like a battlefield (if said battlefield were black and white and grainy).

These lumps will go away (supposedly) on their own, but if I want I can help the cause with heat. Which I might do eventually.

Now, you may be wondering how a person could obtain so many lumps from old hematomas.

The answer:
How does one obtain such lovely bruises?

It's easy really. Get a horse to kick you in the thigh.

It works every time.

Excuse me while I go find a heating pad for my thigh.

Organic or Not?

I have a full blog post planned for later, but I came across this online and wanted to share it.

Have you ever wondered what produce really needs to be organic to be beneficial? I definitely have. Here's an easy way to remember:
If you want your own pocket-size version visit FoodNews.org.

You can also check out their complete list of fruit and vegetables here or just visit their site for more information.


Remember I Forgot

Let me preface this entire post with the fact that I am thrilled to have a good, stable, well-paying job. Thrilled. Absolutely.

That said, I was reminded while working March Madness for CBS how much I enjoy working in sports.

I love it.

I left the weekend with the renewed sense that this job I have now is short-term. I'll try to use the time wisely (i.e. pay off bills and save some money) and enjoy the experience.

Because this job is definitely interesting and challenging. Things could be worse.

But I also know that I need to find ways to stay connected to the sports industry. If that means sitting on a phone or running errands or shuttling important people around, then that's what I need to do.

And that's what I'm going to do. Right after I finish off this chocolate chip cookie and catch up on some sleep.

Priorities, right?


To sum it all up.

I haven't blogged for real in about a month. I'm pretty on top of things like that.

Instead of trying to sum up what I've been doing since my rather short note a few days ago, I'll leave you with a few pictures. (from Google Images - I managed to take a camera with a dead battery and have no real proof of what has passed my life.)

My friend Sam and I had a great time together. The following all happened because of her.

First I went to work at the the NCAA Tournament for CBS. I spent all my time sitting in a production truck (see below) and talking into a headset. Oh, and eating really good food.
Our time there included some excellent karaoke, probably the most eclectic mixture of karaoke I have ever witnessed.
After a few crazy days, we ventured north to visit Sam's friends and crash on their floor. They were great hosts and lived less than a block from here.
One of the highlights of our visit was some delicious sushi. Not only did it taste great, but it was also happy hour making it even better.
Needless to say we had a great time. Our together also included a few adult beverages and driving. Lots and lots of driving.

Thanks to everyone who unknowingly contributed images to this post. You're the best!

Back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.


Gone, like yesterday is Gone

I've been MIA for a while now, and it's not going to change in the near future except for this brief post.

I'm currently in the city of roses, working March Madness for CBS. Yesterday I spent the entire day in the production truck watching 23 million little monitors and answering questions from NY.

And eating really good food. There was this crab artichoke dip. Yum. And three kinds of hummus. Triple yum.

I work tomorrow, and then my friend and I (she got me the job) will head north to see her friends and bum around the big city.

I plan to be home Monday. And probably won't post before then. I just wanted to warn all my fanatics.

Excuse me while I get back to watching basketball.


An Almost Baker

I really enjoy cooking, trying out new recipes and eating the results of my efforts.

I've been thinking of trying out red velvet cake recently. It looks gorgeous and can be tasty with the right recipe.

I'd done my research, bought the ingredients and decided on cupcakes so I wouldn't have to deal with frosting a whole cake.

Then disaster struck. I went to preheat the oven and there was no power.

A perfect compliment to our out-of-order washing machine.

I did what I believe anyone would do in my place. I ate cream puffs dipped in homemade fudge sauce.

And it was good.


Today was Saturday

I'm feeling pretty handy. And productive.

My good friend, Cece, has had an old window sitting in her hallway for months. Maybe even years. It was to adorn her walls.

The problem: how to affix it. The thing is quite massive. Over 3'x 5'. We borrowed a level and drill from my father, and picked up drywall screws, a studfinder, and a tape measure from Lowe's.

Minutes (or a while) later the window was up on the wall looking as if it belonged there. And we did it ourselves. Aren't we handy?!

A celebration of hard cider and chocolate peanut butter (whoever came up with the combination originally should be knighted) ice cream ensued.

I also made a delicious soup and homemade bread earlier in the day for a wonderful rainy day feast.

And cuddled with the puppy. A lot. In fact, she's sleeping besides me right now.

And my cousin got engaged, wine and chocolate covered strawberries (and my sister hiding behind the hill) included. Congrats!

It was a pretty fantastic Saturday.


One word: Ridiculous.

I'm a college basketball fan. I've said it before and I'll say it again, probably two or three or 20 times.

This is probably the best time of the year for me. March Madness begins not just with the NCAA Tournament, but the conference tournaments leading up to it. And even the last few weeks of the regular season.

Tonight, I experienced the most ridiculous game ever. EVER.

Syracuse vs. Connecticut. 6 Overtimes.

The box score read like a baseball game. The game took almost four hours. Nine players scored in double figures between the two teams. Eight players fouled out of the game.

With the win Syracuse earned a place in the semifinals of the Big East tournament.

I don't even know what to say about the game. It was just ridiculous. The length of a tennis match with as many periods as a baseball game.

You can't write a script for that.

This game is just six reasons that I love college basketball.

And I'm hoping to have a front row seat in Portland next week for the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Keep your fingers crossed that either CBS needs me or my friend can hook me up with tickets.


You may have won this battle

Firefox and I are at war.

I have depended on the Firefox browser with my Mac, because it is often more compatible than Safari with certain features online.

However, I'm starting to get annoyed with the 'Bookmarks' feature.

This may not seem very serious to you. But I spend HOURS online daily. Okay, maybe it's not that bad (well, it probably is).

Regardless, I find it extremely aggravating to be missing bookmarks I thought I created and to not be able to sort my bookmarks into folders. Or, even worse, not be able to delete bookmarks.

Perhaps you are thinking that maybe I just don't know what I am doing. And that's a valid question, because I am not a computer genius.

But I haven't been tackling this problem alone. I've consulted Firefox Help. I've tried different techniques that I picked up in 'Nam. (Side note: thanks to all that served in Vietnam - I appreciate you.) Basically, I've tried everything!

Firefox has foiled me at every turn. Occasionally it will let me think I have the upper hand and I get a bookmark saved, but mostly it's difficult.

Is this enough to push me back to Safari? Firefox, do you really want to find out?

Because I am winner, and leaving you for another server would definitely count as a victory for me.

Think about it.


I just barely made it through the 8:30 class at work today. Luckily I wasn't typing for a student. It would have made little to sense for them.

I convinced myself it was time to get into some sort of schedule sleep-wise. Working at 8:30 three days a week with Tuesday and Thursday off has not helped me get into a rhythm, not surprisingly.

Then I remembered that today was the last time I would have to wake up early for the next two and a half weeks.

Postpone that whole sleep schedule thing. I'll just have to wait until I get my schedule for next quarter. I'm hoping for 9 a.m. start times, and I might indulge in a parking pass. I could sleep an extra 45 minutes probably.


In other news, I got my first paycheck. Yay!


Feel free to send me the check anyway.

As we all know, or as I hope you all know, now is not a good time to be selling a piece of real estate. Or even a car for that matter. Although you wouldn't believe the trouble my brother has had buying one.

Anyways, my point is you don't want to sell you house right now.

Something that's even harder than selling a house right now...selling a condo you didn't even know you owned.

Confused? Probably. Let me explain.

Friday afternoon as my father and I made our way across the state I got a message on my phone.

Realtor Larry was calling to tell me they had scheduled a showing for my condo Monday morning.

However, it was a crazy weekend and I spaced on calling him back. I got a second message this morning while I was working. They were postponing the showing due to the weather.

(Did I mentioned it snowed here today? I don't live in a snowy place, and am a little confused.)

Now, right now, you're probably thinking this sounds all quite normal, except for the snow that is. I mean, any realtor worth his/her salt would be this communicative.

But here's the kicker.

I don't own a condo. At least, not one that I am aware of.

If I did own a condo a) I would not be living with my parents, b) I would have sold it much sooner since I only recently became gainfully employed and would be living with my parents anyways, and c) I would actually have room for all my crap. (Have I mentioned my room is piled with boxes AND I have a storage unit over 350 miles away.)

I left Realtor Larry a message this morning and haven't heard back yet. Apparently you become much less of a priority when they realize there is no commission involved. (i.e. you don't own property.) Weird.

I do have to wonder what my place looks like. And how much I'm trying to sell it for. I guess I may never know.


Small Pet Peeve

Since I've been home - well, whenever I'm home actually - I make use of the local public library.

It's a great way to save money, especially at the rate I've been cruising through books during all the free time of unemployment provided me.

Plus, there is a ton of variety there even if it isn't all good. To me.

One thing I've discovered that REALLY annoys me is other readers who feel the need to edit books. Maybe they don't like the word choice, maybe there is a typo. Either way, some person out there feels the need to "fix" the mistake.

Except it's only more distracting to have pen or pencil scratch marks in the text. I probably wouldn't have noticed if the author used 'girl' instead of 'young woman'.

It's really annoying. C'mon people.


Things that I think are AWESOME:

(Warning: sarcasm included)

1. Spiders the size of my fist located mere inches from my foot. I avoided making eye contact with the creature so it couldn't sense my fear, but I also have no idea if it was poisonous because I didn't look closely. Good thing my dad took care of it...unfortunately he only put it outside.

2. Parking tickets...for parking a 1/3 of the way onto the sidewalk. Here's the kicker: the street had no curb, making it hard to distinguish between street and sidewalk while parking.

3. Walking a couple miles in heels after not wearing them for a long time. This one I take complete credit for. You would not believe how thankful my feet were to have enough of a break to run home today.

4. Driving to the other side of the state...again. I am excited to see my sister's play and visit with her some, but all this travel isn't as fun now that I am working. I have to stop complaining about this whole work thing though. It's only three days a week, and I just got done complaining about not having a job. Yes, I will take some cheese with that whine. Thank you.

5. Clean sheets. This one would be completely lacking in sarcasm, except for the fact that I keep putting changing my sheets off. It's hard to enjoy clean sheets when they are sitting at the end of your bed. My bad.

I could come up with some more to share with you. I'm sure of it. But as one of the girls on ANTM said, "I don't have to spew rainbows all the time."



Not My Cup O' Tea

This weekend was a blur for me filled with too much driving, catching up with some of my favorite people and wedding planning/buying.

Before you jump to any conclusions, let me be clear that I am NOT getting married. At least not anytime in the near future. Currently, I define the concept of 'single'.

My cousin, however, is getting married. June 20. And I am a bridesmaid.

This is what I learned from the wedding portion of the weekend:

1.) I am INCREDIBLY thankful to not have a wedding to plan. Just dealing with everyone's expectations and suggestions would be exhausting, let alone making the actual decisions.

2.) If I ever happen to get married, I will elope. It just seems easiest. My sister has already voiced her objections to this idea.

3.) Since I have announced my elopement plans I will probably be forced into a wedding, in which case I will have my bridemaids were a common shoe color in whatever shoe fits them best. I will also probably let them pick their dresses (again in a common color). Especially since that is something they pay for, not me.

4.) The only thing I really care about for the ceremony/reception is the food. It better be good and there better be an abundance.

5.) Mostly though, I'm just planning on eloping. I feel it's the best choice, financially, emotionally, and mentally.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.