Friday, November 28, 2008

Please, Please, Please...

...finish Midnight Sun!!! I spent the entire afternoon reading it and I'm dying for more. That burning Edward feels for Bella? Well, that's inside me now, as I long for the rest of the book. More than the rest of the book, I want an Edward version to accompany each of the rest of the Twilight series books.

So, I'm begging: Stephanie Meyer, please at least finish Midnight Sun. The rest of the book is priceless to your Twilight fans, and we yearn for the conclusion.

And if you can bear write the rest...well, we'd be immeasurably grateful for that, too.


A big thanks to Shades, for positing this survey and jump-starting my love of Christmas!!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper - this is pretty much the only time of year that I actually wrap gifts, I normally just go to Dollar Tree and buy cheapie gift bags (or recycle them).

2. Real tree or Fake
Well...real. But I have a fake one. I know, it doesn't make sense. Here's the issue. I live in a large, loft-like apartment with very high ceilings. The first year I lived here, I made my roommate go with me and bought a huge, beautiful tree. It was $80. But it was such a pain in the butt to drag up the stairs to the apartment, then to take down and deposit in the dumpster that it was not worth that much money. So last year, my boss sold me his 7 foot pre-lit Christmas tree for a bargain price. Which means I'll be putting it up again this year, to save myself some hassle. But my parents always have and always will get a real tree, and when I live somewhere that's more tree-friendly, I will go back to buying real. Not sure what I'll do with the fake one then...

3. When do you put up the tree?
Whenever I feel like it. I might put it up tonight after work or tomorrow, but it will probably be this weekend, just because I have time for once.

4. When do you take the tree down?
Whenever I feel like it, or when my roommate gets sick of looking at it!

5. Do you like eggnog?
No, yuck!

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Hmmm...I remember being thrilled when I got my own desk, and also when my sister and I both got Dukes of Hazzard matchbox cars.

7. Hardest person to buy for?
Definitely my dad. He never wants anything. Anything he ever buys for himself he gets impulsively and there is never a pattern to what he does and doesn't like. So every year, we try hard and it's truly hit or miss. He also hates us spending money on him, so half the time he'll yell at us for buying him something. Right, like we're not going to buy you a Christmas present!! I already got half of his present and know what else I'm going to get for him, so I'll keep my fingers crossed!

8. Easiest person to buy for?
Every year, I have one, great, inspired gift idea for someone (I'm not terribly creative, so it's usually only for one person). That gift is always the best one to give. This year it's the grab bag gift I'm giving for our "friends" exchange. I love my idea! I can't tell you what it is b/c I think some people stalk this blog but don't comment (grrrrr)....

9. Do you have a nativity scene?
Um, I think I bought a cheapie one for the first Christmas I lived in VA Beach, and I'm pretty sure I still have it. But I definitely need to get a better one.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail - but honestly, I always forget to send them until too late, so I haven't sent any in the past few years, which is terrible. I definitely need to get back into it.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Last year we did a "funny" gift exchange at work (the White Elephant thing) where everyone brought something from home that they didn't want. My gift was an Eggstracter and a Hand Lotion Dispenser that kept the lotion warm. While funny, both were useless. However, my assistant loved them and took both home with her....LOL.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Hands down, it's Santa Claus, The Movie - not The Santa Clause with Tim Allen. My sister and I both love this movie, but most people have never heard of it or seen it.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
It changes every year. Usually not until after Halloween, just b/c I can't get my butt in gear or I don't start thinking about it until then.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Umm...maybe for last year's work thing? I can't even remember what I gave, so I just don't know...

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Starbucks Peppermint Mocha - I know you drink that, but that's what I look forward to every year.

16. Lights on the tree?
Yes please!! My tree is pre-lit with white lights, but I also love the colored ones. I'm not really particular about what kind, but there have to be some!

17. Favorite Christmas song?
Very favorite Christmas CD is 98 Degrees, This Christmas (sad, I know). But my favorite song is probably Silent Night.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Christmas = Pittsburgh, period. I live here now, so I don't have to travel, except to relatives' homes. When I lived out of state and when I move again, I know I'll be coming home for Christmas Eve and Day, at the very least.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Do you really think a girl who loves Christmas as much as I do would say no????

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Doesn't really matter to me...I'm not partial to either....just has to be something up there!

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Christmas Eve we spend with my dad's side of the family, so we exchange presents and open them then. But the main, immediate family gifts are done Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
The crowds at the stores and malls. I HATE them.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
My favorite ornament is a ceramic baby angel with my name on it. I think my Aunt Nancy made it for me when I was born, and I love it. I don't really have a favorite "theme" but I like to look at trees that have been decorated in a particular way.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?
Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing...basically, Thanksgiving dinner. We always have ham on Christmas Eve and if Christmas day is at my parents' house, we always have turkey. Love it.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
Everything I ever feel I have to have, I usually wind buying b/c I'm too impatient to wait for it. So there's nothing I really need...but a few things I wouldn't mind having. I gave my sister the run down.

26. Favorite thing about Christmas?
Being with family. Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the entire year!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Few Things

First, I just have to say how wonderful it's been to go over every detail of Twilight with all of my blog friends!!! Besides the two people I saw the movie with, none of my other friends or family have read the books or seen the movie (yet), so I've been getting my kicks out of this blog. And even though I didn't love the movie, I have LOVED reading everyone else's thoughts about it!

Next, my little cousin, Caitlyn, recently started her own blog: Living Love. I thought I'd do the same thing VP did for me and tell my readers about her and her blog so that she can expand her own blog-world! She writes about being newly graduated, a newlywed, and being newly relocated to Atlanta, GA. It's hard not to see her very much, but it's great to keep track of her through her blog :)

Also, I wanted to warn anyone who doesn't already know - I LOVE Christmas and you can be expecting a post about the holiday and my traditions soon. I actually can't believe I haven't posted anything yet, since I've been listening to Christmas music for over a week now (okay, two weeks).

Work has been crazy busy, and since my laptop is temporarily (I hope) on the fritz, I've only been able to keep track of this blog while I'm at work. So any gaps in communication from me can be directly related to my high attendance at recruitment events (and thus, not being in the office) or - the weekend. LOL.

Finally, I hope everyone has a great Turkey Day!! This meal is my favorite one of the entire year, so know that I will be gorging myself tomorrow!

Oh, and a P.S. - I STILL have not received my student teaching assignment. I did call the ED Dept. but the person I need to talk to has been and still is on vacation. My professor/advisor/head of secondary ed told me that it's not unusual to not know this far into the game. She doesn't understand that I have a black hole in my life beginning at the end of December and I need to know what will be happening during that time. My schedule is hectic up until I leave work and then...nothing. ARGH!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Why, Oh Why?

So, I read the Twilight books on the recommendation of many people, including my wonderful blog friend, Vegas Princess. She loved the movie. I...did not.

For anyone out there who hasn't seen the movie or read the books, be forewarned, I will be talking about characters and scenes that I hated!!

Two colleagues (one a Twilight fan, the other just likes vampires) and I made a day out of going to see the movie on Saturday. We bought our VIP tickets, went to lunch, had a drink, did a wee bit of shopping, went to the movie. After the movie, the Twilight Fan (TF) and I were so disturbed we had to have another drink.

First and most importantly: WTF was wrong with the actor they picked for Jasper??? His eyes, his hair, his every odd movement and action...oh Lord. TF and I immediately turned to one another and started laughing.

Every time he came on screen, we could barely control ourselves - seriously, what was wrong with?? Someone needs to tell hair and makeup that the Cullens are the good vampires, including Jasper. I only hope he loses some crazy in the next three movies!

Secondly, we hated the choice for Carlisle. I had heard that Peter Facinelli was portraying him, and I actually thought it would be okay. I like PF, I've seen him in a few movies, and I thought it would be fine. It was not. He had horribly dyed blond hair and looked nothing like my mental pic of Carlisle. TF agreed with me, but my other co-worker, the non-Twilight fan (NTF) actually really liked him.

I was okay with most of the casting selections. I really liked Bella and Edward (although TF and NTF both hated the choice for Edward), which really is the most important thing. I also liked Charlie and Jacob. I did not like Billy - he had a funny, crazy eye thing going there for a scene or two, also.

TF and I are both people who MUST read the book prior to seeing the movie, and then never like the movie very much as a result, because Hollywood never stays true enough to the book. We always go on opening night to the newest Harry Potter movies, and then rip them apart afterwards, but this was worse than that.

Back to Twilight - the other things that I hated had to do with the content. First, it drives me CRAZY when they do things out of order for no particular reason. They did this a lot with the sequence of Bella & Edward's relationship. I hated that they cut parts out of the "meadow" scene from the book (and that it wasn't really in a meadow) and I think if they had left it verbatim, viewers who hadn't read the book would have had a better idea of why Edward and Bella were so drawn to one another. This is my favorite part of the book, and they totally ruined it in the movie.

Also, I hated the scene when Bella was supposed to be leaving Charlie. Where was the passion? The tears? The slamming of doors? Instead, she calmly slams one door, moves back and forth between the bedroom and the bathroom, and doesn't really give Charlie a reason for leaving. She doesn't even cry!! How are we supposed to know how broken up she is about leaving if she can't even shed a tear? Grrr....

Okay, I need to stop before I pick apart the entire movie! The sad thing is that I know I'll go see the next 3 when they come out! Hopefully I like them better :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Oh Lord...

Please tell me this is not what I'm in for as a future English teacher!!

A One-Two Punch Of Knowledge Knocks Marcy Out
Girl #1: Oh my god! Romeo and Juliet is a book!
Girl #2: It's like, Shakespeare.
Girl #1: Oh my god, who?

Borders Bookstore
Commack, New York

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Winery Tour

So, one of the many things that happened over my busy past few days is the annual winery tour that I organized. Three years ago, two of my friends and I spent a beautiful fall weekend at my parents' cottage, on Pymatuning Lake about 1.5 hours north of Pittsburgh.

We decided to go to two local wineries, and then ventured over the border into Ohio and visited a ton there. We wound up going to 10 wineries that day. I was driving, so I stopped drinking - I only took a sip here or there if my friends thought I'd like it. We had a blast, my friends were very tipsy, and we bought tons of wine.
After we came home, everyone we told about our weekend wanted to do something similar. So, last year, we got a group together and did the same thing. We wound up with about 16 people, we booked a (short) school bus, and were on our way. We had mimosas on the bus, lots of snacks, and visited five wineries in Northeast, PA (just north of Erie). It was a blast!

I know this pic is not the best, but it really gives you a beatiful glimpse of the short bus :)

After the school bus, more and more people wanted to join our fun. I mean, who wouldn't? What is there not to love about family and friends chugging around wineries on a short bus?
This year the trip was later due to everyone's busy schedules. My parents wound up not being able to come with us (b/c my dad doesn't pay attention when I tell him things) and a lot of people who committed early on wound up dropping out for one reason or another. At any rate, we wound up with a large school bus this year, and 15 friends. Once again, we had a blast!
There were a few stress & drama-filled moments for me that had me swearing up and down I would never organize another trip, but overall, it turned out great. We had originally asked for a large bus b/c we had so many people, and I tried the day of the trip to get us into a smaller bus to save some cash, but it turns out only the full sized buses can go out of state. Weird, huh?
We returned to the site of our original winery tour, chugging around Madison and Geneva, Ohio. We were on this wine trail, and we were on the section that forms a little "s" on the bottom left. There are 10 wineries in that area, but we only made it to six of them.
The bus was gigantic. Our driver Leigh was phenomenal until she got a little touchy at the end - not all of the parking lots were "bus friendly" and it started to snow as well.
My favorite wine came from St. Joseph's Vineyard. That's their logo (cute, huh?) to the right. I personally prefer dry and semi-dry wines, and I think I liked all of their wines that fall into those categories. In addition, the wife of the owner was the person who poured our samples, and she was amazing! Per Ohio wine, the vineyards are supposed to charge you for samples. She gave us all of our samples for free, and she knocked $5 off of the price of each bottle of wine we bought. That's good for business - we will definitely be back!
Another favorite location was Harpersfield Winery. They had a fire going that smelled out of this world good, and their tasting room was small but very cozy. A few of my friends ordered food, and that was delicious. Plus, their wine was delish! The atmosphere was so fantastic I had to remind myself to mention the wine, but it was a great place. Very chateau-esqe! That's the outside of the winery to the left, and the yummy fireplace to the right. Actually, I think the pic to the left is going to have a room or two available as a bed and breakfast in the spring. Great idea!
There was another winery where I really liked the wine, but the employees were not fantastic. I called every winery to make sure they were cool with us coming in with a busload of people (even though it wasn't full). If I didn't talk to a person, I left a voicemail. Everyone I spoke with was super friendly and happy for us to come.
The South River Vineyard was the exception. We had specifically remembered their winery b/c it is housed in an old church and is very unique. Plus, they have beautiful grounds, including a pavilion with a fireplace and adirondack chairs.
So, we arrive and march up the steps into the winery. We were particularly excited about this winery b/c we planned to take our snacks off of the bus and sit for awhile, eat, drink wine, etc.
The woman working the counter looked at us and said, "Wow. No one told us there was a bus coming." My friend said we could leave if they didn't want our business.
I don't think the employee heard her, but I told her that I had called to let them know we were coming, and if it was inconvenient, we would leave (there were not a lot of people in the winery, I don't know what they were worried about). At this point she back-pedaled and said it was fine. We tasted a few and bought some bottles. One of my friends bought an entire case for holiday presents.
I asked if we could unload our snacks and eat outside or inside at the tables. She said it wasn't a problem at all. So we went outside to start unloading and one of my friends overheard another exchange. A couple was walking into the winery and the guy said to the employee something about the bus. The woman told him we were leaving.
What? You just told us we could eat here, and now we're not allowed to stay?
We left. We probably would have anyway, since the weather was getting iffy and it was too windy to sit outside, but talk about unaccommodating. Why would treat a group who gave you significant business in such an unfriendly way? I guess I just don't understand. It's a shame, I'll probably never go back and their wine really is good. Oh well!

We didn't let it bother us. We visited another winery, Debonne, and were able to get in and taste right away. They even had a mini brewery for my cousin's boyfriend to enjoy, along with live music. Two of my friends immediately got on the tiny dance floor and made friends with the band, and the rest of us just hung out. We really had a great last winery. We drank a bottle of their yummy red wine with the best name: Cab/Cab (that entertained us for awhile) and then piled back on the bus to head back to the cottage.
Overall, it really was a good time. Everyone who went was fun and I think had fun. I think I'll probably do another year, although I may leave the planning up to my sister! My parents are sad that they missed it, so I think we'll have to do a repeat.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Sorry I have been MIA lately...I was traveling for work Wednesday-Friday and the laptop I took with me would not connect to the Internet...then I was out of town and away from computers for the weekend as well. I've been trying to catch up on everyone's blogs and make comments but have not made it all the way through yet. But I'll read them, I swear!

So, I checked my e-mail once during the past five days, and I had received an e-mail from a classmate saying she received her student teaching assignment and where it was. So I raced home from Harrisburg to check my mail in the 3 hours I was in Pittsburgh before leaving again. Nothing.

Last night I came home from the Steelers game and glomped down to the mailbox again, still in all of my game gear (which was soaking wet from the rain and snow). Nada.

When is it coming? I don't like not knowing where the next four months of my life is going to be spent. I need to prepare myself as much as I can; I'm already nervous about teaching in general. I need to leave work in the next five minutes to go to class, so it'll be a few more hours before I can check the mail tonight. My schedule is crazy all week again, I have job fairs and will be in and out of the office every day this week (except for Wednesday when I'm not in at all). I can't bear the wait.

I was okay until I knew my classmate received her assignment. Now, it's torturous. Sigh.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cranky People

I have a really hard time with people who just can't manage to be civil to others for no particular reason. I am the type of person who will be annoyingly friendly and upbeat 95% of the time, regardless of how angry you're making me. When you catch me during that other 5%, I'm usually just short or snippy, very rarely am I downright rude.

Of course, when I am on the phone with someone who is not understanding what I'm telling them or asking ridiculously stupid questions, I will vent when I'm off the phone. But I'm usually not rude to the caller.

So, it's particularly irritating when someone is unnecessarily rude to me. I'm leaving tomorrow for Harrisburg for a 3-day job fair - it's the only big one I go to every year, and I always look forward to taking the small trip. We have a corporate "executive assistant" (EA) who registers us as a system for all recruitment events, orders all giveaways, etc. She asked me to stop by to pick up the materials I'll need for this particular event, despite the fact that she has couriered all of the other materials I've used all year over to me (our offices are not far from each other, but are not in the same building or complex).

I planned to go yesterday, but wound up running out of time on the way to yesterday's recruitment event. So I figured I'd get them today when I leave - EA typically works 8-5, so I could just stay late, make sure everything's under control for my back-up, and pick them up on my way home.

EA left me a voicemail saying that she didn't know when I was picking up the supplies, but that she had to leave today at 2:00 PM and I needed to pick them up no later than 1:30 PM. She left this message at about 11:30 AM, leaving me a small window of time to do so. Now I would have to validate my parking, drive to pick up the supplies, re-park, and have to validate my parking again when I leave. Not a huge deal, but it makes me feel bad having to validate my parking twice in the same day.

Optimistic me decides to look on the bright side. I ask a few co-workers if they want to come along for the ride and then we can all go to lunch at a local German restaurant. I send an e-mail to EA (approximately 15 minutes after she left the voicemail) and tell her I'll be there in about half an hour, and that I'll call when I'm on my way.

I start calling from the parking garage. Her phone is forwarded to her voicemail. I continue to call for the 5 minutes it takes to get to her building. She never answers. I try to track down another person in her office so that she can tell the EA I'm on my way. The other person also doesn't answer.

So we arrive and my 3 colleagues go into the building to try to find the EA. They arrive and find EA eating her carrot sticks for lunch. She is extremely huffy, saying that I was supposed to pick the stuff up yesterday, she didn't get my e-mail b/c she was eating, and her phone was forwarded b/c she's at lunch. She grabs the boxes and starts slamming them around for my co-workers. As she gathers the materials, she tells them to make sure I know to return her cart as soon as I return from my trip.

My colleagues have to use the loading dock to exit the building b/c they can't go out the front door for some reason. The lift is broken, and they have to carry all of the boxes and the cart down a flight of stairs. The EA's cart has her name taped to the handle. After lunch, I have an e-mail from EA telling me that my co-workers didn't seem happy and reminding me to drop off the cart when I return.

Is this situation ridiculous to anyone else, or just us? I know if I were leaving for the day at 2:00 PM, if I even ate lunch, I would do so while answering my phone and keeping up with my e-mails. I'm determined to open a mini moving company just so I can use the cart over and over again and never return it. I'm not sure why she needs it - maybe she wheels paperwork down the hallway?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


These are just a few pictures from my fun weekend. My friend had a party on Friday night and we had a blast!
These are two of my friends, dressed as Twister and Bam Bam. How cute is that Twister dress?? She had the spinner on a little hat but didn't really wear it b/c it wasn't comfortable.
My friend Speechy and I were hipsters on Friday night. We created and rehearsed our definition for anyone who didn't know what a hipster was: "They think everything is ironic. They only watch Indie movies and listen to Indie music. And they're taking over our neighborhoods!" We wore clothes that didn't match, tights, glasses, scarves, and had face tattoos. And of course we drank PBR all night (Pabst Blue Ribbon)! My hair is particularly messy in this picture. Hipsters don't bathe for long periods of time - we weren't willing to go that far, but I put tons of hairspray in my hair and tried to make it as messy as possible. At one point it was in a "hipster pouf" but it didn't stay up for very long. My hair is definitely not aerodynamic!

This is my co-worker and her hubby (the same ones who were in the other LBS at the Steelers game). They were dressed as Bill and Sookie from the new HBO show True Blood. Sookie was up all night making her outfit - she even created True Blood bottles and a waitress tray. You can't tell from this picture, but her t-shirt does have a little "Merlotte's" logo on it. How cute is that? I don't have HBO so I haven't seen the show, but I've read all of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse books. I have issues with the differences between books and movies, but that's for another day!

We were in the basement for a large portion of the party playing flip cup. It was boys against girls and one of the guys was dressed as the cowbell guy from the SNL skit (another guy was the Christopher Walken character, but he wasn't playing with us). We were all obsessed with the cowbell, as you can kind of see from this picture - he would play it and we would clap and chant for everything ("Flip cup, flip cup;" "Bathroom break, bathroom break;" "PBR, PBR"). It was out of control but SO fun!