Sunday, December 30, 2007

2 Years

For those of you who are married, does it feel like time has gone by faster since you got hitched? It does for me. It has already been 2 years since Dave and I were wed, and it surely doesn't feel like it has been so long.

We celebrated our 2nd anniversary this last Friday. It was a nice day, really, even though most of the day was spent apart. My mom and sisters and I met with a group of female friends and neighbors from our old neighborhood in P.G. for a girls' get-together at Mimi's Cafe. It was delightful to see those old familiar faces! We had a great time talking and enjoying our meals. May I say, that is quite the delicious restaurant!

After lunch, I went with Mom and Jana to the mall to do some ever-important shopping. We were out for hours, but it was wonderful. I love shopping with them, plus we ended up with some terrific stuff.

So finally, around 6pm, I returned home and got to see my husband for the first time in like 8 hours...and I don't think he was thrilled with my extended absence on our anniversary. He did understand that I needed to spend time with my mom before she and dad had to go home, though, so it was okay. I was worn out and feeling a little sick by the time I returned home, but I really wanted to go out for our anniversary and so I insisted that I would be fine.

What better place for a romantic, pasta-and-cheese-filled dinner extravaganza than The Olive Garden? That is where I chose to go. It seemed meaningful enough. On our honeymoon, before being handed the unfortunate fate of both getting the flu, Dave and I walked to a hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant for dinner one night. I guess that ever since then Italian has seemed like an "anniversary" meal. Plus, it feels romantic to go to an Italian restaurant. I have always loved The Olive Garden, so it was a natural choice, right?

Well, if you don't know this by now, let me fill you in--The Olive Garden on a Friday night is pretty much as busy as it gets. Let me tell you this too, though--I was not put off. We were eating there, no matter what. The whole front foyer area was packed with starving people with a craving for Italian, and we joined the masses and took one of those discs that flashes when it is your turn to eat. They estimated the wait to be 35 minutes, and we certainly could have been waiting that long, but it wasn't too awful.

About 35 minutes later, our magic disc flashed like a 70's disco and we were so in. I'll spare you the details of how fantastically delicious our meal was (which it, well, was), but our waitress was really entertaining. She was from Spain and had a heavy accent. She wasn't horribly easy to understand, but she kept saying things when she came to our table like, "How are my people?" or "You like cheesy?", referring to my 5-cheese baked Ziti. When she wrapped up our extra food to take home, a piece of the ziti fell on the table, at which point she reached for the morsel and snuck it into her mouth, saying, "This is for me."

After dinner, Dave took me to a lovely spot beneath a light-adorned tree and gave me a present--a camera case for my new camera! I was very happy to get it. I made him a movie with pictures and music to commemorate our years together, and I showed it to him when we got home and it really touched him. Anyway, we had a really great evening. I just can't fathom that it has been 2 years. It doesn't feel right. But I am so happy with our lives and I can't complain.


Mom and dad left this morning, and it was hard to let them go. Still, life goes on after the holidays. We spent yesterday playing games as a family at Larissa's apartment, our favorite being Robot Rally. We spent hours over that game board!

(Playing a game as a family. Larissa loooooves having her picture taken! But check it--you can see my new camera case on the bottom left!)

(The family playing a heated game of Robot Rally.)

This holiday break has been awesome. I love the feeling of having family close, and being able to spend this special time with them. Even though the festive season is almost over, I feel remarkably happy and fulfilled. School starts this week, as well as a new job, but I feel like I can handle it just fine--like I've had time to refresh and relax. Please, please let that feeling last all semester! :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas 2007

What a fantastic Christmas this has been! Dave and I have had such a great time with our friends and family and really felt the spirit of the season.

On Christmas Eve, we spent the afternoon and evening with Dave's family. We drove to their house, and as soon as we arrived it began to snow heavily. Yay, a truly white Christmas! The whole family was there, and we all enjoyed each other's company and had a delicious pizza dinner. We opened some gifts beside the present-packed tree. All of the siblings had brought gifts to exchanged with one another. I got some really sweet gifts, including home-made accessories, games, and dvds. It was great! We drove carefully home that night, but it was great to have the fresh snow in time for Christmas.

(picture taken by Mom B.)

(picture taken by Mom B.)

On Christmas day, we gathered with my family at Larissa's apartment. My mom and dad had driven here for Christmas the day before and we were so happy to see them! We opened gifts and had a lot of fun. I got some sweet books, movies, and a LOT of delicious candy! We played games and talked and watched It's A Wonderful Life. It made me very happy to have my family together for the holidays, and I know we all had a stupendous time indeed.

Dave has been working at Toys R Us all week, but he stopped working there after Saturday. I really wanted for him to be around for the holidays, and we figured that with the ridiculous hours they had made him work he had made the equivalent of nearly 2 weeks pay in one. So he's not going back there, thank goodness. Plus, I have been offered a new and better-paying job that will begin after the holiday break. I am both excited and sad. I will miss my old job a lot because I worked with some really neat people, but it is time to move on to something else now. But we should be okay money-wise now, even after the hit our savings took from Christmas and dental bills.

Anyway, my parents will be here the rest of the week and Dave and I are excited to spend lots of time with them. I wish they lived closer, but hopefully someday that will change. For now, though, we are overjoyed to have them around!

Oh...and our 2nd anniversary is on Friday! It is simply unbelievable that we have been married for that long, isn't it? Two years ago today we were making final plans on our upcoming 2 years. That's a LONG time. But they have been great years!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

My Favorite Things in 2007

Chandelle tagged me, so I'm going to try to come up with my favorite things in 2007. As it happens, several of them are food-related. Huh. Here they are in no particular order.

1. Our car, Blanca. She's a great car and very reliable. We love having transportation, especially after we went about 4 months without a car. We never wish to do that again.

2. Darigold yogurt. I love this stuff. It's tough to find gelatin-free yogurt, plus it's organic and is hormone-free. Oh, and did I mention it tastes GREAT?

3. IKEA. I know it is more crowded than Disneyland in that place, but I am really into walking around and checking out the cheap, modern, European furniture. And then there's all that crap for sale on the bottom floor...I love it there. Oh, and the cinnamon rolls.

4. UVSC, which provides Dave and I with both school and employment. I gripe about it often but it really is a decent school.

5. Shakespeare. I took a Shakespeare class this semester and have really enjoyed reading and learning about the plays. I used to think that I could never understand Shakespeare, but it really isn't so difficult if you spend enough time with it.

6. My new ring. It was a birthday gift from Dave and I love it! It is everything I ever could have wanted :)

7. Our "garden." We tried to grow tomatoes and peppers on our back porch this last summer. We planted too late and didn't get a very big harvest, but what we did get was delicious and far better than anything you'd find in the produce department.

8. Comcast internet. It's hard living without the internet. Trust me. Almost as hard as living without a car, in fact :) But we got a 6-month deal from Comcast and we are loving the internet! Too bad the promotion is almost over.

9. Black Bean Chipotle Gardenburgers. I love these more than almost any other food right now. They taste good with almost anything, as well as by themselves. It doesn't MATTER if you are vegetarian or not, you MUST try them anyway!

10. Blogging. I didn't used to see the allure of the blogging world, and wrote it off as pointless. But then I decided to try it for myself. Like so many other things in life, I was wrong about it--blogging is a great release and a wonderful way to organize photos, information, updates, and the perfect thing to help family and friends keep track of what's going on in life.

Wasn't that fun? I tag Jamie, Kathy, and Kenna.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Of course, things could always be worse. But right now I feel awful. And I'm about to start complaining, so don't read this unless you want to hear about it.

After Dave's first day doing seasonal work at Toys R Us (sorry, I can't make the stupid 'R' go backwards like it's meant to), both of us thought it would be much nicer for him to not go back again. I wanted him for the holidays without anything to pull him away, and he wanted to get the crap out of that hectic place and not worry about working for a couple of weeks. But we can't. Isn't real life a pain? Doesn't it suck how we have to live from paycheck to paycheck? And let me tell you, the longer you are married, the more bills like to attach themselves to you and become a part of your life. It's not realistic to just take 3 weeks off from work without any kind of financial compensation. After all, there are rent and internet and food and electric and gas and everything else (and I don't know why I listed 'internet' before 'food.' That's just messed up). But there is so, so much to pay for now.

So we sighed and went to Target to buy him a red polo shirt to replace the size XL button-up hideous shirt Toys R Us had provided him (which they forced him to tuck in, by the way...ugh), and yesterday he went to work at 5 p.m. I had gone to work at 2 that day, and finished up at 6. He was supposed to stay until midnight at the big 'R Us. Fine. I got a ride home with my sister Larissa and hung out with her, watching The Office and wrapping presents and such. I appreciated her company. Jana joined the "keep Karen company" cause, too. It wasn't so bad after all, you know? Hanging out with my sisters is always awesome. But I missed Dave. And for some treacherous reason fate handed me one more awful thing: a cold. As soon as I got off work it hit me. I've been in agony since 6 last night, and at Larissa's I was sniffling and sneezing and generally being one gigantic runny nose named Karen. Making it worse, Dave called on his break and said that since he was closing, he'd probably end up staying past 1 a.m instead of midnight. Blah!!

Jana went home and I sacked out on Larissa's couch waiting for Dave to call. After 2 a.m. he finally did, and he picked me up. He said that his next shift would start at 11 a.m. the next day (well, that day technically). I kind of freaked out. By the time we got home and went to bed after 3 a.m., it wasn't even possible for him to get a full night's sleep before starting his next shift. How can they schedule him like that, without a chance to recover from the last shift? They are evil, evil toy-making people.

But he happily and diligently went back to that place at 11 today. He's so good. I mean, he really wants to take care of our family. I feel bad about the whole thing, especially since I'm sick and don't think I can make it to my job today. And what I really want is for him to be here with me all day, to do nothing and worry about nothing. Thanks Dave...I love you so much for what you're doing!

Enough. Excuse this mess of "writing," I'm really sick. I think I'll go blow my nose now.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Finals are over!

Score. Finals are over! It hasn't been a great week because both Dave and I have been clamoring to finish our final projects and study for tests. Plus, add on work and other responsibilities and you've got two very busy people.

So, what's new? As soon as finals were done, I busied myself with getting ready for Christmas (shopping, wrapping, cards, etc.). I think that Dave and I are mostly done with Christmas shopping. Last year was a miniature nightmare just because we had pretty much no money to our names, and getting people what they wanted just wasn't easy for us. This year is better. I mean, we aren't able to go overboard with shopping but it does feel good to find the gift that we know someone will love and just be able to buy it instead of wonder what we can do instead. I wish I could make gifts for my family and friends, but the hard truth is that I am not crafty. I can do basic crocheting and occasionally I can churn out a nice looking piece of art, but very rarely do these projects turn out to be anything I'd like to give anyone. I don't know, it's hard.

So I've been getting everything ready for the holidays, and occasionally playing the odd video game and watching the BBC miniseries North and South. It's nice to know that, right now, I don't have homework or reading to be concerned about. It's okay to waste time for an hour doing something I WANT to do instead of feeling guilty about it because I SHOULD be studying. Lovely.

Work is good. Dave's testing center job is off for the holiday break, and he may be working a seasonal job. My job gets a break for about a week for Christmas. I just got another raise (yay!) but my search for a new job still continues. I have a job interview on Monday...hopefully it will go well.

Holy crap, Dave just walked through the front door and it is FREEZING outside! :( I hate the cold.

Oh, and one more thing--as of last week, the sprinklers were still coming on at our apartment complex. Seriously. Here is what happens when you leave the sprinklers on in the winter:

Saturday, December 8, 2007

"I believe I've been to hell, and it's white, snow white."

Dave and I were running errands and this is how the weather turned:

Don't you get stressed out just LOOKING at these pictures?

Ridiculous. I hate this weather. I know it's beautiful (like I went on about in the last post) but it's freaking deadly. It's such a mess, added on to the holiday shopping traffic. Let me tell you, the Target parking lot was nothing less than a death trap (which meant the inside of the store was almost as bad, with people packed in like sardines with shopping carts and screaming children).

So if that's the dark side of the holidays, here's the bright side:

Ahh, I love winter again :) I mean, as long as I'm on this side of the window.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Winter: it's official!

It snowed! It finally snowed!

I love this time of year. Well, that's a little ridiculous for me to say, since I hate the cold and the snow and the bleak weather. But I do love the holidays! I suppose that the vision of Christmas laying ahead is enough to pull me out of despair and into joyous celebrating.

Even though we put our tree up the day after Thanksgiving and I've already begun my Christmas shopping, it just hadn't started to feel "Chirstmasy" yet. Not for me. I guess what I really needed to make it all real was a nice snowstorm, and boy did we ever get one of those on Friday night!

I must admit, freshly fallen snow is one of the more beautiful things in this world. I mean, push aside the fact that it is deadly, and cold, and just plain in the way most of the time, and you've got a really lovely gift from nature. It is also the one thing that signifies Christmastime more than anything else. Yeah, they have great Christmases in Arizona, but it's just not the same. Seeing that snow out there on Saturday morning, I felt as though a button had been pushed, a flag waved: Christmas is really coming!

So I feel more into the whole "spirit of the season" now. Like, it's okay to sing Christmas carols in church, and it's okay to turn on the lights on the tree, and, more than anything, it's okay to go nuts and join the throngs of holiday shoppers at the mall, which is filled to capacity daily with seething, squirming, excited crowds. I'm sorry to admit it, but I love it--that rush! That excitement of being in the middle of it all. No, the whole commercialism and buying is something else entirely that I won't get into right now, but it is so fun to shop for the people you love. How cool is it to find exactly what you know they want? You can't wait to see their face on December 25th.

So. On another subject, I'm set up for school for Spring semester. I made a couple of changes after talking to an adviser today (she was booked for 3 weeks before I could get in to say a word to her) and now I'm not only taking math (quantitative reasoning...we'll see how I do with THAT) and Modern English Grammars (sounds like a blast...haha), but now I'm signed up for Creative Writing! This will either be, as I see it, a lot of fun or a real let-down. Either way, it will help me decide on a Creative Writing emphasis or a Literary Studies emphasis. I'll have my Associates after Spring semester is over, and I've decided to go for my Bachelors. I must be crazy, right?

Speaking of crazy...Dave will be working seasonal at Toys R Us, since his Testing Center job gives him 3 weeks off between semesters (and that's a little long to not be working). I feel bad for pushing him to do it, but it will be nice to have a little extra money as opposed to dipping into savings, which is never fun to do.