Monday, March 31, 2014

I Feel Witty, oh so Witty!

It's a rare occasion that I'm quick and witty on my feet. Most of the time if someone is playfully making fun of me, I respond with "shut up" because that's all that I can come up with. 


There is one particular moment from my past where I was actually pretty fast on my toes when it came to responding to an embarrassing situation. One of the houses I grew up in with my mom and then-step dad was a quaint little rancher that shared a driveway with a horse farm. The horse farm was located at the front of the driveway, so in the mornings when I would walk to the end of our driveway to wait for the bus, I would have to walk past the horse farm and the house. The people who lived on the farm were kind, sweet people and the husband had this British accent that I loved. 

One morning walking to the bus stop, I began to sing "I Feel Pretty". I'd like to point out at this point in time that I can't sing worth a damn but I do it nonetheless because who doesn't like to sing randomly? Anyway, as I was singing this over and over again on my little trek, the husband with the incredible British accent stepped out of the barn, with a look on his face that confirmed he heard every single off key note I belted out. 

I quickly recovered from this mortifying moment but saying to him, "just scaring the birds away" and walked on. I could hear him laughing as I crossed the street. 


That wasn't the last time he caught me mid-song by the way. The gorgeous dog you see in the picture above is my beloved Zima. Best dog that ever graced this Earth. 

Anyway, I let her outside, while I stayed inside and did dishes. We lived on a little over an acre of land that was surrounded by the horse farm and woods that backed up into a neighborhood. Zima was always really good about staying in our yard most of the time. One time, I couldn't see her so I started walking around the yard singing "Zima" in my most operatic voice possible. My neighbor was in the field next to me watching me make an ass out of myself. 

There was no witty recovery this time, no it was just "Zima get your butt inside" while I ran towards the house wondering if it's possible to avoid a neighbor for the rest of your life. 

Have you ever had a moment in your childhood where you look back now and think about how quick witted you were?

Friday, March 28, 2014

End of the Week Roundup

Happy Friday everyone! I must confess this week has been a bit slow news-wise, so that means more kitty pictures! 

1. I posted a story over the weekend, if you haven't checked it out yet you can here. I have to be honest I was really nervous about posting it but those of you that have checked it out have been really kind and supportive and that means so much to me!

2. Saturday I met up with my good friend Linda again. She's a teacher and I love just sitting there and chatting with her about school, teaching, students, everything school related! She's hilarious and time flies when I'm with  her.



Her Saint Bernard, Honey, is freaking awesome too.

3. Part of the reason why I don't have much to post about this week is because I came down with one of my sinus migraines for two days and laid on the couch all day. My boys are always super cuddly when I'm under the weather...okay so they're super cuddly all the time but even more so when I need them.


4. ...except for when Dave's home. Then they're all over their papa.

Mommy who?

5. Want to see the worst picture of Nibbler ever? 


whoa mama!

How was your week? Check out my links tab to see who I link up with!


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Divergent

If you remember, in January, I participated in Bon's Book Club for The Husband's Secret. I was excited that she chose Divergent for March's book because I always wanted to read it and this would be the perfect excuse to stop putting it off and just do it. 



+ Who is your favorite character in the novel and why?

I feel like this is really "teenage girl" of me, but I loved Four. He was mysterious but you could tell underneath all that secrecy was a good guy. I liked that Tris had someone she could trust no matter what when everything kept happening.

+ Did you like Tris as the main character?  Why or why not?  Do you see her as a strong female lead?

I did like Tris, and I thought she was a strong lead for the book. I really enjoyed how she struggled to find her place in her faction while remaining true to her feelings. I liked how she managed to "recover" from situations that would have left me curled up in a ball and just move on, it definitely made her suited for Dauntless. As I was reading the book, I just kept thinking to myself "I would have died by now" or "my anxiety would have left me useless". 

+ What did you think of the ending of the book?  Was it satisfactory to you?

*Spoilers*

I really was bummed out when she started picking off characters. I get that in real life if all this really happened that most likely a bunch of people that you loved and cared about would die but this is fiction. What I mean by that is that the author really could have expanded some characters, namely Tris' mom. She's so mysterious and right when we find out she originally belonged to Dauntless but switched because she was Divergent, she dies. It would have been so cool to be able to read a back story on the mom or have her survive and help Tris navigate all this craziness.

With that being said, I have to say the ending was satisfactory because it left me wanting more and I ended up buying the other two books. 

+ How do you feel about Tris and Four's relationship?  Could you tell that Four liked her before Tris figured it out?

I almost feel like I should respond to this question with just "duh!" I could absolutely tell that Four liked Tris and it was really frustrating for me when Tris would just automatically assume the worse. It's like no sweetie, those are the actions of a guy who likes you, how can you be so blind? 

I enjoyed reading about their relationship, it was a nice "human" aspect to a story that otherwise made it seem like all humanity was lost. 

+ Anything else you want to say, add, admit, confess?  Now's your time to shine!
I don't know about anyone else, but this book made me aggressive, like to the point that my husband told me I might want to stop reading it. For example, we were on the bypass and in the right hand lane, Dave switched to the left hand lane to allow people coming onto the bypass to merge and I told him "why would you get over? It's survival of the fittest!" He looked at me like I had lost my mind. Mind you, normally I'm yelling at him to get over to let people merge....I swear I'm not a mean person. 

My favorite scene in the book was the Ferris wheel scene. Not only was it smart of Tris to do, but the way Veronica Roth wrote it really helped to create a neat picture in my head. 


Have you read Divergent? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

14 in '14 March Update

If you've been here long enough, you know the gist. I wrote a post about books I wanted to read this year. You can read January and February's posts here (or click on the specific month). 

I'm not going to lie, the books I read this month were a major disappointment. Bummer! 



Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?

I was so disappointed in this book. I really, really wanted to like it and had high hopes for it. I find Mindy Kaling hilarious, but unfortunately this book was not. I guess I was hoping that it'd be like Tina Fey's book and be a memoir about her life so far with funny high-jinx  and awesome anecdotes about her childhood. Instead, she breezed through the really interesting part of her life where she "became famous" and wrote a bunch of random chapters. Seriously, the way she wrote it, she wrote one really great play with her friend that got her noticed and she magically became a writer for The Office. There has to be so much more to it than that, like failed plays or hilarious moments when they realized they were going to make it...something!

I was just expecting so much more from Mindy, although I'd still recommend it if someone liked her. 



The Partly Cloudy Patriot

I really wanted to like this book. How great would it have been for me, a history major, to be able to say, "this book is awesome please go read it and have fun learning about history from a woman who is around our ages, instead of some old man who farts dust and writes boring history books?" (Because that's how I feel about most books written about history: dull and boring.)

I really wanted to be able to tell you that. 

But no, what Sarah Vowell wrote was unremarkable and left me literally skipping pages and even whole chapters and then wondering what the book was even about. The description of her book reads, in part:

Sarah Vowell travels through the American past and, in doing so, investigates the dusty, bumpy roads of her own life. In this insightful and funny collection of personal stories Vowell -- widely hailed for her inimitable stories on public radio's This American Life -- ponders a number of curious questions: Why is she happiest when visiting the sites of bloody struggles like Salem or Gettysburg? Why do people always inappropriately compare themselves to Rosa Parks? Why is a bad life in sunny California so much worse than a bad life anywhere else? What is it about the Zen of foul shots? And, in the title piece, why must doubt and internal arguments haunt the sleepless nights of the true patriot?
Where the heck was that book?  

What I was expecting was a collection of personal histories of Vowell peppered with historical fact, almost like a story within a story. Instead, what I read were chapters like the one that was devoted entirely to her boss who sold maps. That's it, there's no funny story behind it, or some interesting moment about finding the Bermuda Triangle, or anything like that. That particular chapter left me literally asking out loud, "WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THAT?" Can you tell it still kind of perturbs me?

To put it quite frankly, it sucked and I'm really not looking forward to checking out her other book on this list, Assassination Vacation, because Partly Cloudy Patriot left such a bad taste in my mouth, but for the sake of finishing this list I will at least give it a halfhearted try.

I will say this, the book gave me some great afternoon naps, so thanks for the beauty sleep, I guess.

Here is the list so far:

1. Where'd you go Bernadette?
2. Sacre Bleu
3. Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?
4. The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic
5. The Partly Cloudy Patriot
6. Assassination Vacation
7. The Alchemyst
8. The Graveyard Book
9. The Maze Runner
10. The Husband's Secret
11. Beauty Queens
12. The Dust of 100 Dogs
13. The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her own Making
14. The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books

What are some books you read this month? Did you like them?

I'm on Goodreads, if you'd like to add me.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Let the Music Play

 In high school, I had this obsession with CD's so I have a ton of them. A few weeks ago I as I was going through them, certain ones stood out that had meant so much to me at the time. It brought back great memories that I thought I'd share with you. 



Before you judge me for owning an Ally McBeal CD or a Christmas CD, or an Ally McBeal Christmas CD, let me as you this: have you ever heard Robert Downey Jr sing? When he was on Ally, my friend Kristen and I became obsessed with him. We'd have weekend film fests where we'd watch as many 80's RDJ films that we possibly could. When RDJ left Ally I was crushed for weeks. "River" and "Chances Are" were on repeat for at least two weeks while I nursed my broken heart. 

My first TV heartbreak. 



When I was 16, my mom and then step dad separated. It was something I took really hard. He was my best friend, my dad, my rock. When he left, I turned to music to help me get through it. Most mornings at the bus stop I'd play "Wish you Were Here" by Incubus, the entire "Wonder What's Next Album" by Chevelle, and Default. 

Listening to these songs now still takes me back to those moments. 






My senior year in high school I worked at Hot Topic. It all started out as a joke, my friend Lola and I were walking around the mall on my birthday and we were joking that it would be funny for me, in my pink Gap shirt, to apply for a job there. I ended up getting the job and loving every minute of it. Even if I wasn't the typical "Hot Topic" shopper, I still felt like I belonged. 

My first month there I was named employee of the month. Normally, EOTM would choose three albums to play throughout the month, but my manager chose my three albums for me citing my "newness" and not having the time to get my choices from me. Secretly I think he feared I'd ask for Britney Spears or something. Anyway, on of my co-workers named Kurt, who had dreadlocks I was fascinated with, gave me this CD to "borrow" so I could acclimate myself to the music that typically played in our store. I loved this CD and it broadened my horizons to other bands I would have never paid attention to like Finch and Chevelle. 

I obviously never gave this CD back to Kurt, which I kinda feel bad about. However, if it's any consolation I think about him whenever I play it. 




I heard about The Wreckers through One Tree Hill and I loved this CD when it first came out, no scratch that, I still love this CD. It's a shame that the girls only made this one record because it is so damn good. 

There is this one song I used to listen to over and over again, "Cigarettes". The lyrics just resonated with me because the chorus sings " 'cause someday maybe somebody will love me like I need and someday I won't have to prove 'cause someday somebody will see all my worth". I was in a really terrible relationship at the time and I just longed for the day that I would be with somebody who would be good to me. Lucky for me, Dave is all that and more. Now, instead of crying when I hear that song, I smile and think about how far I've come since I first got this CD. 


What are some songs or CD's from your past that mean something to you?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

"Drive"- Part II

If you need to catch up, you can read Part I here, or scroll to the bottom of this post and get the whole story in one shot. 


*****************

I hear my phone ring, but I don’t bother answering it. I told everyone this was my day off and that I was taking a break from everyone and everything. There is only one person who would ignore my request and that was Alyssa. “She’s probably going to rope you into something for her wedding that she could do on her own or with her fiancé,” I think to myself. I shut my phone off and go back to reading, happy that I finally did something for myself. I finished reading my book and a few hours later realized I had read right through breakfast and now I was starving.

I decided to walk to the local café. As much as I hated driving in my little college town, I loved being able to just walk out my door to delicious, fresh market food. It helped that the hipsters moved in and took an interest in being the next big thing in town.

I pull open the door to the little café and smell all the delicious goods that had just been baked this morning. I grab a bagel and sit down to eat and watch the people walk by the window. 

Then he walked in.

Tall with broad shoulders, his dark hair hidden by a beanie worn to keep his head warm, his eyes swept the room and locked with mine. I never understood what it meant when someone said eyes were the window to someone’s soul until I looked into his. They were hazel and kind. His eyes were the kindest eyes I had ever seen, and made the world stop. Everything slid away and disappeared and all that I saw were him and his eyes.

“Now who’s being cliché?” Pete chuckled.

I snap back to reality and look away, blushing, wondering how long I had stared for. It didn’t matter because he was walking right up to me.

“Hi, I’m Zach,” he said. “Would you mind if I sat with you? The café seems full and you have an extra chair.”

“Um, we’re the only ones here right now.”

Zach looked down and smiled. “You caught me, how about this, I really like to people watch at this table and it’s something I like to do every day.”

“That’s a better excuse,” I reply. “Help yourself.”

We talked for hours, he talked about how he loved to draw and really wanted to be an artist, I told him I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I “grew up” but that it wasn’t what I was doing now. By the time we parted ways, I knew he was the one.

Suddenly everything sped up, Pete came back into view and explained, “I’m highlighting here for you” and then slowed down to a new scene.

I’m running out of a bathroom waving something, screaming “Zach! Zach, you have to get up here!” Zach comes running up the steps and cries out, “What, what is it?” I leap into his arms and scream “You’re gonna be a daddy!”

My arms shift into the clouds a little deeper. I feel my stomach drop and Peter looks over at me, “have you had enough torture yet?”

“Keep going Pete, I need to see how this ends.”

The next scene cuts in and I see Zach holding me, rocking me as we both cry into each other’s shoulders. There is a mural on the wall behind us, it’s something Zach has been painting in an empty room and looks like the beginning of a jungle.

“It’ll be okay, Katie. We’ll figure out what went wrong and make it better. I promise.”

“It’s not fair!” I push Zach away and run white paint over an elephant’s happy painted face on the wall.

And then Pete fast forwards.

I look exhausted but happy. I’m in the hospital and Zach’s bright, happy eyes smile at me. “Meet Emma” he says triumphantly and hands me a little bundle.

My eyes meet Emma’s and the world stops again. She has her father’s caring eyes, and that makes everything right in the world.

I become engrossed in this life; this was the life I was supposed to lead. Pete begins to move on to the next scene, I beg him to stop, to stay in this moment but he shakes his head, “Katie, you shouldn’t have opened Pandora’s box.”

Emma is older now, I can see her grabbing mail from the mailbox and running up the stairs to the house.

“Mom!” she scream, “I got accepted! I’m going to Stanford!”

Zach runs into the room and we all laugh as we jump up and down with joy.

Pete slightly fast-forward’s, not much. I can tell only a few months have passed.

I’m standing in Emma’s room, empty of everything that made it Emma’s room
Tears well into my eyes as Zach grabs me and pulls me close, “She’s only a few hours away, love. We can visit her anytime.”

Pete looks over at me and smiles. It isn’t a happy one; it’s more of a sympathetic smile. “Don’t ask again Pete, just keep going.”

Emma is now the one in the hospital. Zach and I are waiting impatiently in the waiting room. It didn’t feel like it took this long to meet Emma, why does this feel like forever?
Finally our son in law comes out, “They’re here! I’m a daddy to twins!”

We rush each other and give one another big hugs. There is so much whooping and laughing, I can’t tell who is doing what.

I step into the room and hold my granddaughter while Zach holds our grandson. “Meet Katie and Zach”, Emma says.

Those eyes again.

Pete fast forwards again, “we’re gonna wrap this up now.”

“No, Pete, please don’t fast forward.”

I’m lying on a comfortable bed now, my hair is grey, my skin is wrinkled. Zach sits by me, much older than the last time I saw him but his eyes give him away. Even in his old age, his eyes are happy and youthful. He begins to tear up and breaks my gaze.

“Katie, if I ever did one thing right in this life, it was marry you. The purpose of my life was to be your husband and Emma’s father. You can relax now, I’m not going anywhere. I love you more than I could ever express.”

My eyes close, everything goes black.

“Pete, I made one wrong decision. Let me go back and do it again. That life was supposed to be the one I led!”

“I can’t Katie. I’m sorry but you can’t change what has already happened, but I do want to show you this.” Pete swirls the clouds open again and I see Zach sitting at his desk. Even with the windows closed you can hear the cars driving past on the highway. The highway I was on when I died.

Zach is hunched over something that he is drawing and hears the sound of a crash. He gets up to look out the window and I look down at the picture.


It is a drawing of me. 

***********************

Full version of the story is available here. If you took the time to read this, first off thank you! Secondly, I really hope you liked it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

"Drive"- Part I

I'm trying something a bit different today. One of the main reasons why I started this blog was to release some creative energy I had going on. I love to write, but I don't do it very often. Every once in a while I will write short stories or poems that are floating around in my brain. This post today is a story I've recently written. It's a bit long so I've broken it down into two separate posts, the first half I'll post today, the second half tomorrow. And the end of tomorrow's post I'll provide a link to the story so you can read it in one sitting, if that's how you prefer to read your stories. I know that half of a great reading experience is being able to read in comfort. Enjoy the story!


**************************

"Drive"

My phone rings and I see Alyssa’s name pop up. A small groan escapes my lips, but I answer anyway. That’s what a good friend does right?

Alyssa speaks before I can even mutter a greeting, “Katie! I know it’s your day off and I know you said you really needed some “me” time, but I really need you to come with me today! Pleeeeaaaseee?”

The whine in Alyssa’s voice makes me sigh with resignation. She’s getting married in three months and has been on a rampage to check things off her list. “What do you need me to do?” I ask.

“Meet me up at the outlets; I think I found the perfect ties for the guys to wear for the big day. I’ll take you to lunch after, my treat!”

I tell her I’ll meet her in an hour and get out of bed to get dressed. I had really been looking forward to just spending the day relaxing. Work has been crazy and I just need some time to de-stress. I can feel myself getting slightly irritated at the idea of giving up more of my time for others. Why can’t I just say no?

“Stop it,” I tell myself, “You’re only doing this because you’re jealous.” I start to whine to myself in my head, why can’t I be selfish? I’m 32 years old and, as the saying goes, ‘always a bridesmaid, never a bride’. At this point I’d just be happy with finding one nice guy.

I walk out to the car, continuing the conversation in my head. “I’m a nice person,” I reason, “I have a ton of friends on Facebook. That has to count for something, right?” I stop, see my reflection in my car window and realize just how pathetic I sound to myself. Really Katie? A ton of friends on Facebook should equate to true love? I shake my head and get in the car.

*****************

I’ve been on the road for about twenty minutes, it’s really cold outside and my car has finally heated up to the point that I can turn the heat down a bit. I turn up the volume on the radio, my favorite song is playing. Mileys voice drifts through the cabin of the car, “drive my heart into the night, you can drop the keys off in the morning”. Her haunting voice sends me into a daydream about Josh and my heart aches just a little.

Our last conversation was still fresh in my mind. He told me he loved me but that he couldn’t see us growing old together. A week later, he was already seeing someone new, and even made it “Facebook official”.

 There it was again, damn Facebook. I think I just need to deactivate it and back away, I think to myself, still daydreaming. Suddenly I am snapped back to reality as my car hits ice and I begin to slide.

Everthing begins to happen so fast and I can’t control anything. My car picks up speed even though I’m trying to hit the brakes, I see the concrete bridge approaching and there is nothing I can do. I try to prepare myself for impact, reminding myself that if I brace and tense up I could hurt myself more. I have hope, my life isn’t flashing before my eyes. This is a good sign right? I hear the sickening crunch of my car crumpling against the bridge, I feel nothing and everything goes black. Miley’s voice is the last thing I comprehend before everything is gone, “I thought you would be there when I go…”

*****************

I awake to a warm, sunny day. I look around me and see clouds.

 Wait, what? Clouds? , I think to myself.

“Katie,” a voice behind me says. It’s so melodic that a wave of calmness passes through me. I turn and see a man in a white robe with long white hair and a beard. He appears to be holding a tablet of sorts with several names on it. My name is currently at the top of his list. Could this be Saint Peter?

“Am I in heaven?” I manage to get out.

“You catch on quite quickly! Most people assume they are dreaming or that someone is playing a trick on them since they swore they were going straight to hell,” the man replies.

“It’s a bit cliché, don’t you think?” I reply. “I mean really? Clouds, white robe, long, white hair? Of all the things people talk about when it comes to heaven, God and religion and they get this right?”

“It’s different to everyone. This just happens to be the heaven you think of. Thanks for that by the way. I can’t tell you how much I hate it when I have to give the news to someone who thinks of me as a cute little baby in diaper with wings. Cherubs have to be the most annoying thing out there.”

I chuckle at the idea of this man dressed up like a baby, then when the visual hits my head it makes me shudder. “So Pete, if I can call you that. What now?”

“What no begging, pleading, trying to convince me that it wasn’t your time? And Pete’s fine.”

“Would any of that help?”

“No.”

“Then why bother?”

“Good point, in answer to your question, ‘what now’ is up to you. It’s your heaven.”

I think about this. I always assumed when you went to heaven, all the questions you had in life would be answered, or it wouldn’t matter and you’d forget all about it but quite frankly, the questions of who killed Jon Benet and did OJ really do it still bugged me. I open my mouth to speak but Peter cuts me off, “You make it into heaven and that’s your first thought?”

“I guess not,” I say. “Okay, how’s this. Is life predetermined? Like when I was born, did God already know that I was going to die at 32, single with nothing but a wailing mother to remember me by?”

Peter looked past me into the distance; he scrunched his brow and pressed his fingers to his temple. “No one ever asks me this and I like it that way. Your life is not predetermined by any means. God knows what’s going to happen to you based on decisions you make. So it’s kinda like you have free will but he still knows. Please don’t ask me to explain it any further than that. It’s complicated.”

“So what you’re telling me Pete, is that if I had done what I wanted to do this morning and ignored Alyssa’s phone call, I would still be alive. There would be no “Final Destination”-like death spirit trying to kill me all day because this was my day to die.”

“Precisely,” was all Pete replied. He began to walk away, rather hastily. I yelled out, “Wait! Pete! Wait!” and he stopped and hung his head. He knew something and I was going to figure it out. Maybe there was a loophole?

“Pete, can you show me what my life would have been like if I hadn’t answered the phone? Please?”

Pete sighs, turns around and says, “Do you really want to know? Wouldn’t it be better to not know and then not have to be faced with the possibility that you didn’t lead the better life? I can make you forget all that. You can live up here blissfully unaware of life on Earth and rest your soul in heaven, like the rest of the folks up here.”

“I’m not like the ‘rest of the folks’ up here Pete. I want to know.”

Saint Peter sits down and swirls the clouds beneath him to open up the sky below. He motions for me to sit beside him. I see myself lying in bed, reading, just like I was the morning of my death. And so it began….again.

*****************

Friday, March 21, 2014

End of the Week Roundup

These past few weeks have been flying by and, quite frankly, I'm loving it! Here's the roundup for the week:

1. Friday I got the ombre put back in my hair. I had dyed my hair dark in January against my hairdressers objections and ended up missing my ombre (which she totally predicted...moral of the story, always listen to your hairdresser when she speaks up!). After she colored my hair, we decided to have fun and style my hair like a 50's pinup. 



2. Saturday was a really good day. It started out at a local smorgasbord with Dave, and our good friends Bob and Becca. We gorged on delicious food, hung out in the gift shop and then went shopping for even more delicious food.  





3. After hanging out with Bob and Becs, we stopped at the library so I could pick up some books. They were having their grand re-opening ceremony and I ended up walking away with two books for free. Then as we were walking to our car, I saw this:


Two things about this: 1.) I grew up with a Rottweiler, so anytime I see one I just want to cuddle the crap out of them, this one, whose name is Tonka, was a sweet as could be and 2.) I've never petted a pig before. It's like petting a wire brush. 

4. Veronica Mars on demand. I was in heaven. This movie lived up to pretty much all of my expectations. 



5. This picture is so damn cute, I literally saved it on my computer as "Awwww". 


Stop back tomorrow, I'm posting something different on the blog (on an "off" day too!)...and you'll have to come back to see!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy "Birthday"



Exactly one year ago today I started writing on this blog. Originally titled "A Dramastically Different Life", this blog has grown into so much more than what I expected. 

Before creating A.D.D.L., I had wanted to start a blog for a few years. I even created one a few years before starting this one, but only ended up writing two posts before I abandoned it. I remember telling friends the summer before I started Nicole Marica all about my grand plans to start a blog. I don't know why I wanted to write, but I knew I had to, like an itch that needed to be scratched.

I changed the name from Dramastically Different because, although it was a catchy name, it was such a pain to try and tell people the name. It was definitely a mouthful. Also, I worried the name would pigeonhole me. This blog doesn't have a niche, I write about what currently inspires me. A name like A.D.D.L. would almost force me to write about nothing but my own life, which I can promise you is not worthy of consistent blog posts. 

Friends and connections I've made through this blog are probably the best things that have come out of me starting this blog. Fellow bloggers are so supportive and most of them are kind and willing to help out each other. I feel so incredibly lucky to be part of the blogging community.

I've also begun to notice fonts. The different styles, combinations, and usages for them. It's kinda scary to be able to look at an advertisement and know what font the company used.  

Before I wrote my first post, I had created and designed the blog page and created my Facebook page. Then I let it sit for two weeks because I didn't want to write one post and then abandon it like I did my first blog. One night, Dave and I just sat around playing a game all night and I knew I just had to pull the trigger and post about it. And so it began!

I've really enjoyed this ride so far, and I can't wait to see what lies ahead for Nicole Marica (it's weird I feel like I'm talking about myself in third person, haha!). Thank you, readers, for coming here weekly (or however often you do) and reading. Here's to another year! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Chicken Lettuce Wraps



This is a really easy meal to make, and while probably not the healthiest, eating it in lettuce makes you feel like maybe you might actually be eating well, or at least getting one or two servings of vegetables in! 

I found this recipe years ago when I became obsessed with Houlihan's lettuce wrap appetizers and wanted to recreate it at home. A few notes about the onion: it calls for 1 cup of onion, which personally drives me bonkers. Does anyone honestly chop an onion and then measure it out with a cup (timidly raising hand...I used to do that)? Well, I decided to take a stand against measured onions and just chop a small onion and leave it at that. So you can do that too. Secondly, there was a time when I never kept "real" onion in my house because I rarely ever cooked homemade meals, which means that I used the dried onion that you can find in the spice aisle at the grocery store. This did not change the taste of the meal at all, so you could totally use the dried stuff and get the same results. 

Here is what you need:



Ingredients:

-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1 cup finely chopped onion (honestly I just use one small onion and I don't think that makes a full cup)
-1 lb ground chicken
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1/4 tsp garlic salt
-1 12 oz bag broccoli slaw
-1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
-1 tsp sesame oil
-1 head lettuce 
-rice noodles (optional)

Here's what you need to do:

1. Place oil into large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add onion and cook for 5 minutes to soften.

2. Add salt, pepper, garlic salt, and chicken. Cook until browned, crumbled and cooked through.

3. When meat is cooked, stir in broccoli slaw, teriyaki sauce, and sesame oil. Cook until heated through.

4. While meat mixture is cooking, wash lettuce and break apart to form "bowls".

5. Serve spoonfuls of chicken mixture inside lettuce leaves with noodles (optional) on top. 

Enjoy!



Monday, March 17, 2014

What Will Be, Will Be

Source

I mentioned to you guys last week that I signed up for grad school. It was something I've always planned to do, finish my bachelors and then take a semester off and sign up for grad school the following semester. I met with my adviser on Thursday and she told me I only had five classes I had to take, then student teach and then I'd be done with the classes portion for my certification (I'd still have to take some tests to officially be certified). 

It didn't really hit me until the next day that five classes meant one full school year, which means I could be student teaching next fall. This completely blindsided me. It was one of those moments where you keep saying something but you don't really realize what you're saying until it smacks you upside the head one day. 

This revelation terrifies me. 


Source
It's no secret that Dave and I have been trying for a kid. It's also no secret that we put having babies on hold until I was done my schooling. All the quasi-planning I did in my head for these two significant parts of my life, were planned separately. It wasn't until I realized that there was a very good possibility that I may have to take three months off of my work (for student teaching) and possibly have no job to go back to that I realized this may all happen at the same time that Dave and I are pregnant or have a baby. 

There is a huge part of me that wants to put school on hold for a few years, the part of me that wants security for our future children, and no longer wants to put this very important part of our life on hold. That wants to have that comfort of knowing that my current job can provide for our family. There is also a part of me that didn't foresee myself teaching in the first few years of my kid's lives. 

There is an even bigger part of me that has been wanting to be a teacher for so long, that screams "move forward! what will be, will be! just see what happens!"

I don't have the right answer for what I should do. I know what I'm going to do for the time being, which is go to school and see how life plays out, but that doesn't mean that I'm not completely afraid of what will come. 


Source

Friday, March 14, 2014

End of the Week Roundup

This week has been a great week! Dave has been an awesome husband all week, between getting me flowers, tuning my ukulele, bringing home my favorite dinner and so much more, I could do the roundup all about him. But I'm sure you don't want to read all about that, so here are some other great things that happened:

1. Sunday I hung out with my mom and sister and helped my sister pick out bridesmaid dresses for her wedding. Then we went back to my mom's house and I did some trial makeup runs on the two of them for Jess' wedding. I'm definitely no makeup artist but it's kind of a unspoken tradition that I do the makeup on family members for their weddings. I did my mom's makeup for hers, my aunt for hers (and then again for my own), and now my sister's. It's such an honor. 



2. Tuesday was such a gorgeous day I decided to take a walk on a trail near my job at the end of the work day. It was a really good walk, but a bit too long. I decided to walk for 45 minutes and then turn around, which probably wasn't the best idea. I'm still hurting! I snapped this pic on the walk:


3. I guess you could officially consider me a grad student, since I'm accepted back into school and just need to enroll in some classes for the fall. I'm really enjoying my time off so it's probably not going to be fun going back.


4. Speaking of school, I was selected to be in two honor societies. It was a bit of a surprise to be admitted into both, but very exciting.



5. And of course, here is your weekly pic of the boys


How was your week?