Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dinner Theatre and a Textbook

*The setting is a dark condo with a single light on in the dining room. Textbooks spill out from an open corduroy messenger bag onto the table, under a bright light. The only sound is the air conditioner (I'm in Louisiana it's hot). I approach the table...cautiously...

"So Calculus...we meet again. I was surprised to see you when I opened up my economics textbook, although I probably shouldn't have been. You've been flanking me for the past three months now, waiting for the day to make my life miserable."

*I lean in to the textbook laying open on the table, displaying various symbols and letters.

"You have nothing to say? Of course not, you need not say anything, I won the last battle, final grade of B+ in my last class that YOU dominated.

*I turn from the table, arms folded.

"And I will win the war."

*I spun back around to the table, hands on my hips, eyes narrowed to page 47.

"So give me your best shot Calculus, because I will win dammit! The victory I had over you may have been one battle in a series of many, but mark my words you will not stand in the way of my diploma WITH HONORS!"

Right about that time I turned around to find Ryan standing in the kitchen, left eyebrow raised.

"Oh hey babe, I was just...ya know...giving my textbooks a good talking to. Lettin' um know who's boss n' all."

He continues to look at me, eyebrow raised. "Right. So uh, are they defending themselves?"

I clasp my hands together in front of me, and slowly shake my head. "Um, no, I think they realize that right now is listening time."

He slowly nods, "Mmhmm, baby are you are sure you're getting enough sleep?"

True story...unfortunately.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How To Tell If You're Leaving Your 20's

Drunk people start to annoy you rather than provide entertainment.

You'd rather sit at home watching a movie or reading a book than go out to clubs or bars.

You spend more than five minutes looking at the statement from your 401k account.

You have a 401k account.

You want to have kids...like now. You never wanted kids before.

You need more than five hours sleep at night, and a half a cup of coffee to make it through the day.

You can no longer just go for a jog, knowing you haven't jogged in about four months.

During your jog, you stop every two minutes to catch your breath and make sure you're not having a heart attack.

The thought of crashing on someones couch or floor, during a road trip or vacation makes you cringe to the point where you consider paying for a hotel room, knowing your mom would be crushed if you didn't stay at the house.

When you do sleep on someones couch or floor your back is sore the next day.

You can no longer pull an all-nighter and be awake for the majority of the next day.

Fast food makes you want to vomit.

Fast food does make you vomit.

You can no longer live off a diet that consists of Doritos, pizza and beer.

I came to the realization yesterday that I'm 27, I'll be 28 this year. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I decided that I have about 2.5 years left to enjoy being in my 20's, then off I trudge up the hill of the 30's and 40's before I hit my "golden years". I got to thinking (I know, watch out), have I accomplished all I wanted in my 20's? Have I fulfilled all I wanted to do in my 20's? You can't go back, once your 20's are gone, that's it. So, what is it that people DO in their 20's? They go to college, they start a career, maybe they're in a serious relationship, maybe have a kid, party a lot, make mistakes. People say that your 20's are for living it up before you have to get serious about life, this is when you can make mistakes and still have time to bounce back. I went to college, I started a career, I'm married, although shortly lived I did go through my party phase, I did make mistakes. I did or am doing all those things, don't get me wrong I had fun and learned some valuable lessons, but I'm completely fine with leaving it all behind. So what is it about your 20's that is so awesome, that your 30's makes people want to sob in despair?

Age is just a number right? I have zero desire to go to clubs and bars, I would rather hang out at our house or a friends house with a beer. Drunken college students truly are beyond annoying, I should know I live next to LSU's campus. I was pretty pissed to see that my 401k decreased by $100...damn stock market. I need at least seven hours of sleep otherwise forget it. I used to be able to pull all-nighters and be at my biology lab at 7am no problemo, that is no longer the case. I love my family to death, but I'll be honest here, the fact that we have no where to sleep is extremely annoying. The beanbag chair on the floor isn't exactly comfy. Fast food and I haven't gotten along since I was 24.

Maybe your 20's are so glorious because your footloose and fancy free. You only have to worry about yourself, no spouse, no kids. Maybe people have the best memories from their 20's, their college days, and when they met their significant other. Maybe when you're 20 you don't have to work 8-hour days, workout for 2-hours a day to maintain a toned physique, and worry about paying a stack of bills on time. I think for most 20-year-olds, the most they have to pay for is a cell phone bill and car gas. Less responsibility, and more time to enjoy life. Your 20's is the last time you get that opportunity before you realize life has crept up on you and it's time to be an adult, get a job and pay taxes and crap.

I'm ok with being in my late 20's, and leaving the "glory days" behind. I may not be able to eat what I want, when I want and have 6-pack abs without having to do a single crunch. I may need more sleep on a regular basis to function well. I may be more concerned with my future than I was five years ago. Isn't that's how it should be? At least in my mind, that's how it should be. Being closer to your 30's isn't so bad. If being closer to your 30's means less hangovers and more naps, I'm all in!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

I am a big-time environmentalist. I’m all for reduce, re-use, recycle. Ask anybody I’ve worked with, lived with, or had some sort of regular contact with and they’ll tell you, “Steph’s all about trying to save the planet.” I don’t have a hybrid vehicle, and I have Styrofoam plates in my cabinet (I know, for shame!), but I do what I can.

I reduce. I know I’ve stated before that I go through our crap and purge like every quarter. I don’t just toss everything, I take it to Goodwill. I may not use this desk organizer anymore, but somebody else might. I may not be able to fit into these size 2 jeans anymore, but somebody else might. I may be out of my leopard print phase and no longer want to decorate my house to resemble Africa, but somebody else might.

I re-use. Plastic bags from the grocery store make great bathroom trash can liners, or Thor poopie bags. I use travel mugs for my coffee versus paper or Styrofoam cups. When we go out to eat, some places give you a hard plastic cup to drink out of. I keep those, take them home and wash them. We have like twelve Moe’s Southwest Grill cups at the house! When I do the check-run at work, I have to cut stacks of paper in half so that the payments fit in the file. I keep the other portion of that paper and use it as a notepad. When bills come in to be paid at work, I use the envelopes they provide instead of using our own. When I lived near Alison we would swap out clothes. At 5’7” she towers over my 5’2” frame, but we could wear the same tops. Why buy clothes, when you can raid your friend’s closets!?!?

I recycle. Recycling in Virginia was beyond easy. You put all your recyclables in the blue bucket, and put it at the curb with your trash. Done. In Louisiana it’s not that easy. Recycle trucks only make certain routes, and they don’t come to apartments or condos. I have a bucket that I store my recyclables in, and every third Saturday I take it to that one random parking lot where the recycle people are from 9am-12pm and they take my recyclables. More effort on my part, but I feel much better doing that than tossing plastic jugs and magazines in the trash.

I don’t have a yard or a garden anymore so no more flower beds to tend. I do however have houseplants. If we ever have a carbon dioxide abundance, my house will have plenty of oxygen! I like my living space to look organic…and artsy, but that’s another post. Now that Louisiana and I aren’t at odds and I’m starting to decorate, maybe I’ll post some condo pictures on here. I’m getting off topic…

Today is Earth Day, do something good for your planet. You live here, you don’t have the option to live elsewhere. NASA is working on that, but as of right now Earth is it for us. Yes, one cigarette butt DOES make a difference. So does one empty soda bottle, and one flyer that fell out of your mailbox that you never picked up. Chances are it will be my dog who will think that one cigarette butt is something to eat and hack up a lung while he's chocking on it, just cuz you're too lazy and inconsiderate to toss it in the dumpster.

Imagine if no one cared? Imagine if people never cleaned up after themselves, or recycled, or re-used anything? Imagine if people never volunteered to clean up the bay, or highways? Well, some people don't have a choice, but some people, like myself, volunteer to clean our planet. If no one cared, or cleaned up after themselves it would look like New Orleans after Mardi Gras 24-7, and trust me, that's not pretty. It's a trash heap. So do your part, you live here too ya know.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Life, Math and Other Ramblings

I'm sure you guys have noticed my lack of attendance, and lackluster blogging. My bad. Other than mine and Ryan's crawfish excursion and movie outing this past weekend, I've pretty much become a hermit with my nose in my textbooks. This is the last week for this math class, the LAST math class that I need for my degree. I was busy celebrating the joy of no longer getting my ass kicked by the world of calculus, when I pulled up the syllabus for the economics class I'm taking starting Monday. Week one...differential calculus. My fist held in the sky, "DAMN!" This being said, I more than likely will continue my sporadic posting.

On a different topic, I've decided to no longer blame God for my problems. I've decided to blame the Universe instead. Just in case God's listening I don't wanna piss him off anymore than I probably already do.

I had a hard time zipping up my size 4 pants this morning. After my freak out frenzy of weighing myself, taking measurements and fat percentage counts I've decided I need to start working out again. Reason number two for my sporadic posting.

I think I'm getting accustomed to Louisiana. I have a desire to decorate the condo.

Louisiana makes recycling very difficult, but I think I've found a way to recycle without having to pay fees or drive to five different recycling centers if I have recyclables other than paper.

Ryan and I saw Kick-Ass on Sunday. I thought it would be a cheesy teen flick, nope it was actually really good.

Well that's all I got guys. I know, my thoughts are so deep and intriguing, I exhaust myself. Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to bed I go. Sleep deprivation at it's best.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Crawfish

Ryan and I went to our first crawfish boil yesterday. Earlier in the week Ginger came into my office/room missing a wall and asked what Ryan and I were doing this weekend. My response was the usual, chores, errands and school. She said her sister was having a crawfish boil and everyone wanted us to come. Ryan and I have never had crawfish before and we're totally into trying new foods, so it took me about 2 nano-seconds to say SURE.

I have never even seen a crawfish, I originally thought they resembled a lobster. They do, kinda, except they are much much smaller. Ginger told me that one person can eat about 5lbs. of crawfish. I sat there completely puzzled. Was that a couple crawfish or just one ginormous crawfish? Crawfish are fairly small, so it's actually a small pile of them that equals 5lbs.





When I got to Ginger's sisters house they had the crawfish in a huge pot with water, spices, vegetables and chicken. Apparently you don't buy crawfish at a store, you catch them yourself...in the bayou. Crawfish eat "beef melt" and you catch them with that. Some use traps, some use nets, but all use this beef melt stuff as bait. *Shrug* I don't know, this is just what they tell me.



The crawfish are alive until you put them into the boiling water, you want the meat as fresh as possible. Kinda like cooking a lobster. Newspaper is laid out on the table, and when the crawfish are done cooking and cooling, the whole pot is dumped out on the table and everyone digs in.



On the way out to the bayou I was telling Ryan I was concerned about having to take them apart to eat them. When you eat lobster, they don't bring out the whole lobster for you to pull apart and eat, you just get the tail. When you eat crab legs, they don't bring out the whole crab, just the legs and you have to crack them apart to get to the meat. You are given the crawfish as a whole crustacean. Eyes, antennae, pincher's, everything is still all attached and you disassemble it. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to do it with it "looking" at me. Ginger showed us how to pull it apart, and as soon as I ate that crawfish it no longer was a tiny creature that lived in the bayou, it was dinner, and it was damn good. I looked at Ginger as the hit spicy meat melted in my mouth and started reaching for the closest crawfish on the table. Who knew these tiny insect looking things could be so yummy?!?!



Ryan and I ate A LOT of crawfish and we became fans of these crawfish boil things. Louisiana may be the poorest state in the country, it may have A LOT of ghetto, have some of the worst crime rates in the country, and education be absolutely terrible, but hot damn the food down here is amazing and the people are some of the greatest I've ever met!

Monday, April 12, 2010

MIA, Toothpaste and Traveling

I've been MIA for a bit. There was a death in Ryan's family, so last weekend was a lot of rushing, driving and feeling awkward. Ryan's family is complicated, we won't get into it. Even after I explain, it still won't make any sense. Before the weekend, there was school. This math class is almost done, and it's truly kicking my ass, so I'm counting down the days.

Other than work, school and Grandma Ann's death (RIP) not a lot has been going on. I did however mistake my travel tube of toothpaste for eye cream on Saturday. My eyes are now minty fresh. I got to see my nephew, he's the cutest thing ever. Got to see my sister-in-law all dressed up for prom. The dresses are a bit showy these days, but it's prom and she's a good girl so I suppose I should tranquilize the protective older sister instinct to wrap her in a parka three sizes too big.

Ryan and I realized we're getting old. I remember in our early twenties an eight hour road trip one way for a three day weekend was nothing. Four hours sleep, PUH, no problemo. When Ryan was deployed I used to drive back to Charleston from Virginia, by myself, for a long weekend all the time. Dude not anymore, Ryan and I were exhausted all weekend, and we're still tired. Our backs hurt when we finally got back to Louisiana. Our backs never hurt before. We have to make three trips to Charleston this summer for family stuff. That's a 12-hour drive one way, 24 hours in the car. THREE trips in three months. AND, due to my company being the sticklers they are on time off, we have to make that 12-hour drive one way in a three day weekend. Family is gonna have to start visiting us dude, this is getting exhausting. Every Thanksgiving, every Christmas we travel to see family. They're gonna have to start pulling some slack here. We can't travel like this when we have a baby. We're pooped just traveling with ourselves and Thor! After August, unless someones dying or having a baby forget it, you'll have to get a webcam, we'll skype, the most traveling involved there is to the nearest outlet.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Some of the Best Things About Spring

Easter is practically here, this time of year makes me think of Jesus and cadbury eggs commercials. Since I typically avoid the topics of religion and politics, and see no reason as to why I should succomb you to my heinous and often confusing views of either topic, and talking about various animals wearing rabbit ears...well, I'll just move on...

Growing up in NY state, spring is typically full of nothing but TONS of rain and mud. It's still pretty cold up there, and I remember being a kid staring out the windows and driving my mom crazy with my cabin fever. Spring in South Carolina is beautiful. TOTALLY different than NY, we all went through some climate shock when we first moved. Right around the end of March/beginning of April, the trees start budding, and flowers are everywhere. I remember the first time I saw Wisteria (the flower, not the lane), it's absolutely beautiful. They don't have anything like that up north, they have lilacs and daisies, no wisteria. My parent's backyard is full of multi-colored azaleas, deep blue hydrangeas, bright pink camelia's and sweet-smelling confederate jasmine, TOTAL opposite of the lakes that would accumlate in our half frozen backyard up north around this time of year. Virginia is full of dogwoods and red bud trees, not nearly as beautiful as Charleston in the spring, but more colorful than NY! I haven't quite figured Louisiana out yet. You don't really see many flowers, you might see a flowering bush but that's about it, at least in Baton Rouge. Most of the trees here have leaves now, or at least half leaves, some haven't opened up all the way yet. There's lots of green here, not nearly as colorful as South Carolina in the spring. Louisiana may not have the flowers, but from here until Christmas there's a festival every weekend! They sure do love to party down here.

No matter what part of the country I'm living in, nothing beats the smell of fresh cut grass, and being able to roll my window down without developing icicles as earrings. The wider range of produce in the grocery store doesn't hurt either. I was super stoked yesterday to find kiwi that wasn't rock hard! Eh, what can I say, it's the little things. Hope everyone has a good Easter. Me, I'll be chillaxin' with Ginger and her family down by the bayou.