Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This Is The Year I'm Going To Get My Crap Together...Oh Screw It, I'll Be At The Bar

One year ago today, I was on the road, my car packed with my belongings, Thor sitting in the backseat, headed to our new life in Louisiana. I was angry that I had to give up my job at the company that I had worked so hard at. The position that I worked so hard to obtain and maintain. The company that I could see me growing in and climbing the corporate ladder in. I was angry I had to leave my house, not because I loved that house, but because I knew that there was no way we could afford two house payments, and with the housing market being beyond lousy, we would eventually lose the house. I was sad to leave my friends, although most are military and would eventually move, I was sad to leave my civilian friends too. I loved my life in Virginia, I was angry I had to leave it behind. My marriage was not good, Ryan and I were fighting all the time, constantly at each others throats, and I had zero desire to live in Louisiana. On top of all that I was disappointed with myself for feeling all of those things. It is now one year from that day. I have a decent job with decent pay. One of the ladies I work with has become a good friend. I no longer hate my husband, as a matter of fact I think I'll keep him. Thor's gotten used to not having a backyard and doesn't even bother with the stray cats anymore.

Time heals all things. Eventually you're gonna get over it, you're gonna move on with your life. I had to stop fighting the battle of Louisiana, and just get over it. I, of course, was the only one fighting this battle. Louisiana had no idea I was at odds with it. Eventually you just have to say, "This is my life right now, I can either deal and chill or stay pissy and miserable." It's exhausting holding a grudge, especially against an entire state that doesn't know you despise it. Am I saying you should force yourself to like something? Nope. Do I ooze happiness that I live here. Meh. But I do live here now and I can either make the best of it or be a pain in the ass. Frankly, I'm running out of new reasons to continue hating this place.

Basically, eventually you end up saying, "FINE, you win, I'll be at the bar."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Home Is Where the Heart Is



The word home can mean many different things. Your home could be your house, the facility you physically live in. For a student going to school out of state, or a military person your home could be your parents house. Your home may be where your significant other may be, or where your children are. For me, I have many homes.

I first left my parents house when I was 21, I got married and moved to where Ryan was stationed-8 hours and 2.5 states away. Ryan would get upset that I still called Charleston my home. Not that I didn't consider my place with Ryan home, but Charleston was where my family was, so I called Charleston home. Nashville is also home-Ryan's family is in Nashville. Now, Baton Rouge is home. I think of Baton Rouge as a temporary home, similar to the way I thought of Virginia as being a temporary home.

They say home is where the heart is. Ryan and I have so many homes, and our home has changed every 4-5 years, we just say America is our home, right now we live in Baton Rouge. When people ask us where we are from we typically look at each other, laugh and say, right now we live in Baton Rouge. Explaining that I'm originally from NY, Ryan's originally from CA, but prefers to say he's from TN, we met in SC, lived in VA and now LA is just too much to explain.

Lately I've been missing my family a lot. I call it being homesick, even though I have a home here. I don't remember missing my family this much when I was younger, even though Ryan says I've always been a little homesick. I don't remember the yearning for my family being so strong. I've even seen them three times this year, I still miss them very much. Maybe it's because so many things have been going on with my family this year-Lauren's graduation, Jackie getting married, dad getting a new job and leaving the police field, mom's heart attack. Maybe it's because we're trying to have a baby and I never thought I would want kids, let alone have them without my mom being around. Maybe it's because the holidays are coming and I always miss my family more around the holidays.

Someone really needs to develop teleportation, 12 hours is just too far to drive on a regular 2-day weekend. Is anyone else homesick? Do you guys miss a certain person or place?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Operation Learn How To Cook Cajun

I am by no means a cook. I can bake. I come from a long line of excellent pie bakers, but my cooking skills are horrendously lack luster. Ya know those marinade packets made by McCormick in the seasoning aisle at the grocery store? The ones where you mix the seasoning, oil, vinegar and water? THAT is my kind of cooking, bada bing bada boom, DINNER. Sssaawweeettt! Hey give me a break, my husband cooks, I swiffer.

We all know New Orleans is a foodie's dream. The food here in Louisiana truly is phenomenal. I love spicy food and NOTHING compares to the food in Louisiana. For several months now I've wanted to be able to go home and cook true Louisiana cuisine for my family, or if people come to see us I'd like to be able to make Cajun food for them. About a month ago, I started researching authentic Louisiana dishes-gumbo, jambalaya, ect.

Several weekends ago, we tried our hand at gumbo. It was a miserable failure. First of all, cooking this stuff is not nearly as easy as just throwing it all in a pot and stirring. Hollywood needs to find new sources for this crap. Cooking Cajun food takes HOURS, chopping, prepping, stirring, take crap out of the pot, putting crap back in the pot. I was literally in the kitchen for four straight hours that Sunday afternoon. Dude, I'm in the kitchen long enough to clean it after Ryan cooks, do the dishes and make coffee. Four hours is entirely too long. Ryan even helped! After I asked where we put the chainsaw so that I could cut up the chicken, he decided he had better come see what the crap I was doing. Basically, the gumbo was horrifically bland. I even doubled up on the spices, no worky worky. It was just boring, no kick, little flavor, it just wasn't good. This weekend is round two of the gumbo sector. We'll let you know how it goes...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Injuries and Marathons

Two days after my sister's wedding my dad and I were on our usual 12-mile bike trail. Every time I go home dad and I take a 12-mile bike ride. It's something that allows us to bond, something we both need, and we've both come to enjoy it. I wish I could say that I was doing something valiant like saving a child from an on-coming car or rescuing a kitten from the clutches of an alligator, but I can't. I was avoiding a pricker bush, which caused me to almost ride smack into a pole, which upon dodging that caused me to lose my balance. I jumped off the bike, lost my balance some more and landed in a heap on the asphalt. My knees and hands were a bloody, fleshy mess and I had to walk a mile vs. ride because my ankle was all jacked up; but I'll be damned if I didn't finish all 12 miles, blood running down my legs and all.

Since then my knees and hands have healed nicely, my ankle however is another story. It's amazing how such a minor sprain can be so annoying. The wrapping, the icing, the elevating, GAH! After about a week I was able to walk normally on it and go up and down stairs faster than an elderly woman who just had a hip replacement, but it's still slightly swollen, and twisting my foot so that the bottom is facing up is slightly painful. I was supposed to start training for the Mardi Gras Marathon two weeks ago, but I didn't think running on a sprained ankle, minor or not was a good idea. Aside from the swelling and the strange tweaking when I twist my foot, I feel fine, so I decided to start training slowly. Today I walked 4.5 miles, I feel great, and my ankle is still swollen. No worse, no better. I guess we'll see how it is in the morning.

No wonder athletes get SUPER pissed when they get injured. Not only does it set them back weeks, months or years, but it's so frustrating and annoying. I was planning on starting marathon training no problem, but now I'm weeks behind and I'm having to nurse this dud of an ankle. I'm glad this happened so far ahead of the marathon, plenty of time to heal and train!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Realms of Twilight

For those of you out there into role-playing games, check out the Realms of Twilight website-http://www.realmsoftwilight.net/. I actually know the author, Ryan and I have been friends with he and his wife for a few years now. The Realms of Twilight Campaign Setting book is actually a "world book". It sets the scene for the game master to work in. Each player chooses their own character and rolls for their character stats. The game master then places those characters in a certain world or area. As you can imagine there are a lot of things to think about, terrain, vegetation, life forms, city dwellers, the list goes on and on. Most people just want to play, they don't want to have to think about all that crap. Just like the Dungeons and Dragons magazine and books, Realms of Twilight does the same thing, it sets the area of play for the game master. Dan even offers a free 9-page sample of his book, so you can check it out before you make a purchase (this is available at drivethrurpg.com).

Dan, the creator of Realms of Twilight, has been playing these role-playing games since he was four years old. His 20+ years of experience in this hobby shows in his book. If you've run a campaign before, you know how often the game master needs to improvise and think on their feet. Just one roll of the dice and anything in the game can change. All those details you thought of before, now may not matter. From the crisp detail of the terrain to his extensive background explanation of dragon lore, running a campaign with his book will be an entertaining and smooth experience. Personally, I am looking forward to his first fantasy novel.

I've dabbled in a broad area of hobbies. I've tried anything from knitting to PC gaming. There's few things I won't try. Why not try everything once? If you find out something isn't for you, well that's the best thing about hobbies, you can start or stop whenever you want. Life's too short not to try new things. You never know, you just might find out something new about yourself, meet some pretty cool people, or realize you really like something you never thought you'd enjoy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Be the Duck

Be the duck. A swimming duck, not a flying duck, I don't do flying things. To the world, a duck gently and gracefully glides on the pond, barely making any ripples in the water. The duck looks calm, cool and collected; yet underneath the blanket of clear water those little webbed feet are paddling furiously. So, my new mantra...be the duck...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Marriage Is Like Ice Cream



The flavor, whichever you choose as your favorite, never changes, it's always the same, sometimes you really crave it and sometimes you wonder why it's even in your freezer. It typically seems to be your undoing, your comfort when you've had a rough or particularly celebratory day. HOWEVER, there are days when you know you should throw it out, because it drives you crazy, yet you can't bring yourself to toss it because even though it drives you crazy it is a constant. It's always there when you need it, and when you don't need it. It always tastes good, it never tastes bad. You can depend on ice cream...for the most part. It may have a rather negative affect on you when you step on the scale, but when you evaluate the pros and cons, the pros win, so you keep the ice cream in the house.

However odd this post may be, it's true and you know it. ;-)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Weddings and Reflections

I was in Charleston last weekend getting my sister married and what not. After about four nervous breakdowns, six pep talks, an entire box of tissues, a drunk DJ, and a charred veil, my sister is now a newlywed.

I look back and remember what it was like starting a new chapter. I was now a wife, I had a husband. We had our own place in a different state than either of our families. I remember one night I was homesick and crying. Ryan held me close, stroking my hair saying, "It's ok babe, we have each other. I'm your family now." I burst into hysterical sobbing at that point. Poor guy.

It can be exciting starting this chapter in your life, and scary. Right before the ceremony to wed my sister started, she, Lauren and I stood in that church nursery, my sister glowing in white, holding her bouquet of Calla lilies, the lilies vibrating from her shaking hands. "Do I look pretty?" She asked. Her voice shaky, her eyes wide and glassy. I responded, "You look breath taking." She looked at me and said, "I don't remember you being this nervous when you got married. Why am I so nervous?" Her lilies shook harder with every question. I slathered another coat of lip gloss on her lips as I told her that as soon as she saw Josey she would be fine. She was. The candle light ceremony was beautiful. I'll never forget how my new brother-in-laws eyes welled up with tears as he repeated those vows to my sister.

Watching my sister at her wedding and reception, and getting the post honeymoon-I'm home-I miss you, phone call makes me reminisce about what was running through my head when I got married. I was going to own a home, have my first child, be the top personal trainer at the gym, remain a size 0, Ryan and I were going to take fabulous weekend getaways to DC, and have gobs of money in the bank, all by the time I was 25. Well, needless to say none of that happened quite the way I expected it to. I was a personal trainer...for about three weeks, we did go to DC a few times, and we did buy our first home when we were 23 and 24.

It's amazing how your priorities change with age. You suddenly realize that all those lofty ideas were just that, lofty. Somewhere in the midst of sugarplums and gumdrops, those ideas got sticky and became a giant ball of sickening sweet sugar that makes me laugh and roll my eyes. (Maybe that's where those pesky ten pounds came from...) Oh Stephanie, look how naive you were. Somewhere down the road we all realize that things don't always go as planned, plans have a tendency to rearrange themselves. Just like Marina always says, it always works out in the end. I've decided that it's not the end that really matters, it's the process of getting to the end.