Sunday, January 6, 2013

It's Been A While...

It has been quite a while since my last post, but I’m going to give this blogging thing another shot! Let’s call it a New Year’s goal, not resolution. 

Over the holidays I took at Bikram Yoga class in Charlotte at The Yoga Oasis, I highly recommend it if you’re in the area, and the instructor was talking to us about resolutions. “Oh wow, you want to lose 5lbs this year, yeah well who doesn’t?! This year resolve to make a real change in your life, and you’ll accomplish your other goals as a result.” Pretty good advice if you ask me.

Last year my New Year’s resolution was to do what makes me happy, and I did a pretty good job at sticking to that one and I had a pretty amazing 2012.  I was able to accomplish most of the things on my mini-bucket list last year and even a few things that weren’t on my list, so for 2013 I’ve decided to keep the theme going and set new goals for the New Year and hopefully by this time next year I’ll be able to say I’ve accomplished them all:
  • Finish grad school without stressing myself out beyond the point of return
  •   Complete my April 13th half marathon within 2 hrs and 15 mins
  • Try a new recipe at least once a month
  • Blog at least once a month
  • Volunteer at a local shelter
  •  Work on getting through the stack of books I have accumulated on my bedside table (textbooks don’t count!) 
  •  Travel more ( beyond what is required for work of course)
To most people this is probably a pretty boring list, but I’m pretty pumped about it. Finding time to do and try new things isn’t always as easy as you might think. We’re 6 days into the New Year and I’m already making progress on some of these goals, YAY ME! 

This weekend I tried out a new recipe and was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out and how easy it was.  My plan to share all of the recipes, and I welcome any suggestions on recipes you guys think I should try! So here is the first new dish of 2013:

Baked Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce, Steamed Sugar Snap Peas, and Red Roasted Potatoes (feeds 2)

Red Roasted Potatoes:
6-8 small red potatoes
1 tablespoon butter
Salt & Pepper
Sweet Basil

-Preheat oven to 375. Rinse and chop potatoes. Place in baking dish and add herbs and salt and pepper. Melt butter and pour over chopped potatoes, add just a little EVOO and toss making sure all potatoes are coated. Bake for 45 minutes, tossing mixture again at 20 minutes.
1 lb of Salmon
Fresh dill
Fresh lemon
Freshly chopped garlic

-Place fish in a small baking dish. Sprinkle lightly with salt, dill, and garlic. Place thin lemon slices on top and bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

Creamy Dill Sauce: (This makes a good bit of sauce, you'll have plenty left over)

½ cup sour cream 
1 ½   tablespoons Dijon-style prepared mustard 
1 tablespoon lemon juice 
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

-Combine and whisk ingredients in mixing bowl. Chill before serving. Can be served lightly over fish or on the side.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Really? You Thought That Was A Good Idea?

Social media has obviously made the world a much smaller place. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I have the extreme displeasure of knowing what all of my "friends" are doing and thinking all of the effing time. That's great. I don't care. Now while I realize I have the ability to "defriend" you, (thank you Facebook for creating a new term) please do the world a favor and think about stuff before you post it to the never ending internet.

That's right boys a girl, what you put online is there to stay. SURPRISE!!! Shocking I know! Here's a simple question to ask yourself before posting something: would I want my mother to see this? Now if the answer is no, don't post it. If you're not sure, show it to your mother. If you don't know who/where your mother is, well then the negative impact of social media is the last thing you should be worried about.

Recently I noticed where one of my "friends," oh hell let's just be honest...someone I don't talk to, EVER, but I think it is rude to defriend them, posted a picture to their Facebook that I would NEVER post or even partake in the activity being photographed. A photo so idiotic that it made me defriend them and then block them from ever being able to request my Facebook friendship ever again. The sad thing is that this person is a mother. Yup, she has 3 children...awesome parenting there my dear! Forget explaining that to current or future employers, how to do you explain to your kids what Mommy was thinking. Really, you thought that was a good idea?!

I really wish people would think more! Just think! Even if you think through something and still come up with the wrong answer/explanation/solution...just THINK! USE YOUR BRAIN! I know it's in there somewhere! Buried deep down in the depths of your skull there has to be a brain, there just has to be!

That's my rant for the day. If you disagree with me, well quite frankly I don't care.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hearts, Candy, Chocolates...OH MY! Valentine's Day,Ugh!

Valentine's Day, ahhh yes! That magical time of year that comes around every February.  It is that special day where guys go out and mindlessly buy chocolates, roses, and make dinner reservations at a restaurant you would never otherwise go to. Because nothing says "I love you" like celebrating your love for each other with your significant other doing things that are just sooo special that they can't be done the other 364 days out of the year.

So, you got roses for the special day? Awww how sweet and original! I bet that took what, all of 30 seconds to think of. Yup, you're a lucky girl. He really loves you! So much that he paid someone to do all the work involved with your gift for this special day. Hey, why get you something that you can use and that will last when you can have beautiful flowers that you can watch slowly die. Nothing says romance like the sweet stinch of  almost dead roses.

According to every commercial I've seen in the past week I should be drooling over the idea that I'll get something shiny and new wrapped in a velvet box for Valentines's Day.  Well no thank you! Maybe I'm just too practical or way too cheap but I'd rather have something I can actually use.  This year I got my Valentine sheets. Why? Simple, because he needed sheets. There is nothing romantic or sweet about sheets, at all. But I got him sheets because he needed them. And in return I got a My K-Cup for my Keurig, because that's what I wanted! No large amount of money spent, no useless crap gift that I'll put on a shelf and forget about six months from now.  Just something small and thoughtful.

The problem with Valentine's Day is that most women have a completely unrealistic expectation for this stupid holiday. Like most girls, I've had some great Valentine's Days and I've had some really shitty ones and for that I partly blame the men in my at the time but I also blame the stupid fairy tail forced down our throats by romantic comedies.

This year I encourage everyone to watch at least one of the following movies with their significant other:

The_Break_Up movie poster

Why, you ask? Simple, because they don't really have happy endings. They are movies about people in relationships and what happens when those relationships don't work out.  Sometimes it isn't about finding your one true love, or soul mate, or even the person you might be able to stand for the rest of your life if you plan on settling but it's about having fun and being happy; even if that happiness is only for a short time.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm Sorry, Could You Please Spell That?

At least once a month for the past year I've seen someone announce their pregnancy on Facebook.  While I have no desire to have children in the near or fairly distant future, I admire anyone who can bring a child into this world and raise it without completely screwing it up.  Since the only child I have has four legs, I realize I am in no way qualified to give parenting advice but I must make one plea to all mothers-to-be: please, for the love of God do not give your child a ridiculous name that people can neither pronounce nor spell!!!!

I don't pay much attention to random pop culture news but I did notice this morning where the Today Show reported that Beyonce' and Jay-Z welcomed their first child, a baby girl. A baby girl who will without a doubt lead a very lovely, over privileged life and enjoy all of the opportunities that the world has to offer.  But NO amount of money will change the fact that those two named their child Blue Ivy. Her name is a color, and not a creative one! Just because you like a color and a number does not make it OK to make that your child's legal name! And it's not just those two. People with far less wealth give their children horrible names every  day. If it isn't in a book or the name of someone else in your family, perhaps you should reconsider what you're about to name your child! And if you give your child a fairly normal name, please spell it correctly!  I cannot tell you all how many times I've had someone in my office with what appeared to be a perfectly normal name until their parents screwed up the spelling in a poor attempt to be more creative or unique. Oh, and don't name your kid after an adjective! Like Precious or Sincere (yes, I'm being totally serious). Also months, fruits, vegetables, sports cars, animal breeds, and countries are also off limits! If I meet one more 20 something named December, I'll scratch my eyes out. And what in the world were Gwyneth Platrow and Chris Martin thinking when they named their daughter Apple?! Seriously?! Do you know what I think of when I hear the world apple? First I think of electronics, then granny smith, then peanut putter, and how an apple a day keeps the doctor away. If we were to play a word association game right now and you said apple, I can guarantee you I would not respond with "oh, what a cute name for a little girl to be stuck with for her entire life."

Now if you're from a different country and in that country your name makes total sense then fine! By all means, have at it buddy! But there is never a reason to name your child after a well known university (yeah, I met someone who I can only assume was named after a school a few weeks ago) or name a your child after you and not make him the second or third. I met a man two days ago who was a junior and he named his son after him but his son wasn't the third. Confused yet? Because I sure as hell was. The dad was JR and the son was named after who I can only assume was his grandfather, which means that he and his grandfather have the exact same name. Good luck with that one buddy.

Now not all non-traditional names are bad. That isn't what I'm saying at all. All of my grandparents have/had some of the most common names you can think of  which could be why both of my parents have less than common names but they fit their personalities and they aren't crazy names with insane spellings. Here's a good test, before you name your child "Star" think about how that would look on a name plate 30 years from now sitting on a desk. If it would look better on a name tag on a McDonald's shirt, you should probably reconsider your other top three choices. And if you do reconsider and land on a normal name, just stick to the regular spelling! Please! Until about a year ago, I had no idea you could spell Melissa more than one way. Whenever someone asks me how to spell my first name I just assume they can't read. To the best of my knowledge, there is only one way to correctly spell my name.

All I'm saying is, if you're on the fence about coming up with a name for your unborn child ask yourself a few questions before making any final decisions:
1. If I were 7, would I make fun of a kid with this name?
2. Would I want that to be my name when I'm 75?
3. If I type it in Microsoft Word, does it appear with a red squiggly line under it?

If you answered yes, no, and yes to those questions dust off the baby name book and give it another chance. If not for your child then please, do it for the rest of us who will be forced to say "I'm sorry, could you please spell that?" anytime we're forced to interact with your offspring.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Since When Is Content A Synonym For Happy?!

Earlier today I was talking to a co-worker, and we were doing the usual “how was your Christmas, got any big plans for NYE?” routine line of questioning. He then jokingly asked if I had any New Year’s resolutions and at the time I couldn’t think of any.

As the day went on I started thinking about a conversation I had with someone on Christmas Eve about life and being happy.  A good friend of mine sarcastically said that being happy and being content seemed to be one in the same these days. Naturally I found the comparison more than a little depressing.  This afternoon I found myself having lunch with the same person and we kind of continued that conversation, both trying to figure out what we were going to do with our lives.  The general consensus was that neither of us have a clue as to what we want to do, but we both know one thing for sure, we want to do what makes us happy.

Now doing what makes you happy seems like a great idea, but you can’t pay your mortgage with hopes and dreams and you can’t turn on the lights with a wink and a smile.  So there comes a point where doing what makes you happy needs to align with being able to maintain a certain standard of living. I’m fully aware that money doesn’t buy happiness but I’ve always said I’d rather be miserable in nice house than in a shack.

I have pretty much always walked the straight and narrow path and followed the yellow brick road that has been laid out of me. Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a very practical and rational person and that I over analyze every option and scenario before coming to a final decision (most of the time). The one time in my life that I didn’t really think anything through was probably the first full year after I graduated from college, and that was probably the most fun I’ve ever had and the happiest I've ever been.

After being rejected from all eight, yes eight, Ph.D. programs I applied to and ending a four year relationship I decided to “find myself” between 2008 and 2009 and have a little fun and try not worry so much about everything. During that time I went skydiving (twice), took a few road trips to visit some old friends, went to multiple concerts and saw several of my favorite bands, hung out in Boston and Cape Cod for a while,took salsa dancing lessons, took up an amateur interest in photography and went to DC for Obama’s inauguration (No matter what your political stance is, everyone should try to attend at least one inaugural event in their lifetime b/c it was freaking awesome!). I also decided to get in my car and drive several hours to visit my best friend just to prove to her that I could get there faster going my way than the way that she went. Awful idea by the way, I somehow ended up at the airport in Raleigh, NC and added an extra hour to the drive.

I’m sure by now you’re wondering, what in the hell is this girl talking about? I said all of that to say this: my New Year’s resolution for 2012 is to do what makes me happy and I encourage everyone else to do the same. That doesn’t have to mean a career change, starting or ending a relationship, going back to school, or anything life altering. If traveling makes you happy, then get in your car and go somewhere. My plan for 2012 is to create a mini-bucket list and make sure I can check off everything by December 31, 2012. So far items on my bucket list include: take a road trip to somewhere I've never been, read more for enjoyment (making sure text books don't count), take up a new hobby (not exactly sure what that will be yet), spend more time with my friends, go to more sporting events (especially during baseball season!), spend more time outside, run a 10k (my goal of a half marathon this year was a bit over the top), and finally meet some of these babies my friends keep popping out! Seriously! I feel like some of these kids will be teenagers before I meet them if I don't start doing a better job of keeping in touch with people.

So in 2012 be prepared to read about my slow moving progress as I attempt to figure out what it is I'm doing with my life. This will either be incredibly entertaining or an epic failure, either way I'm looking forward to it!

Monday, December 26, 2011

High School Reunions Post Facebook? Seems A Little Pointless If You Ask Me

So, I'll never understand the point of a high school class reunion. Sure, I suppose it made sense for our parents' generation but today what is the point? Honestly? With Facebook, Twitter, and everything else we have access to, if I wanted to keep in touch with you, I would.

There are maybe 10 people I still talk to from high school that I'm still actual friends with, and a few of those people weren't even in my class.  The people that I went to high school that I actually care about keeping in touch with, well I talk to those people on a somewhat regular basis and even make an effort to get together with them a few times a year. Most of them are pictured above, but if I'm being honest, I don't keep in touch with everyone in that photo. There are some people that I enjoy seeing randomly out and about every now and then but in general, we've all parted ways and moved on.

As someone who lives in the same city that she graduated high school from, I don't see the appeal of a 10 year reunion. When I see someone I went to high school with in the grocery store, I've been known to go down a totally different aisle just to avoid an awkward conversation about the weather and what you've been doing for the past 8 years of your life (don't act like you've never done it). The truth is that if we cared enough we'd make more of an effort to keep in touch.

Now let's be honest for a moment. Let's just get down to the bare bones of it all. We will attend our high school reunion to see what the "cool" kids have done with their lives, find out who has gained weight, who has joined weight watchers, and who has just become a total screw up.  As someone who wasn't one of the "cool" kids, I must admit I would like to know the answers to some of these mysteries, but honestly the majority of these questions are answered on a daily basis on my Facebook news feed.

I realize this all probably sounds a bit rude or perhaps antisocial, but I'm not saying anything most of us haven't already thought about. If you're big on the idea of a 10 year reunion and if you've never seen Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, I encourage you to watch it. Then you'll understand where I'm coming from.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays

So, after careful consideration I've decided to start blogging. Not that I think my random thoughts are all that interesting, but this has been something I have considered doing for quite some time. The intention here is not to offend anyone, although I'm sure at some point that will happen. The content of this blog will contain only my thoughts and opinions and if at any point you find yourself offended, well then I suggest you stop reading.

For those of you who don't know, Windsor is my wonderfully awesome dog and I spend the majority of my free time with her. This means that yes, I do in fact talk to my dog. Hopefully some day modern veterinary medicine will allow us to be able to know what our pets are thinking/ feeling but until that time I'll continue to hold one-sided pointless conversations with Windsor as she stares at me with a blank look in her eyes, and then recount those "conversations" here.

If you're wondering what has finally driven me to begin blogging, and I seriously doubt you are, the answer is simple: my laziness! This year for Christmas my parents were kind enough to give me the gift of an Apple iPad. After hours of playing Words With Friends and Angry Birds, I thought I'd put this thing to a more productive use and share with the world my random thoughts. No need to thank me, it's my contribution to mankind.

So with all that being said, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and enjoy because this is my gift to the world! (That was to be read with extreme sarcasm)