Thursday, November 20, 2014

Stuff & Things 11/20

Kristin's Knook

Last weekend, I went to a self-serve wine bar with my family.
Yes. You read correctly.
Self-serve wine bar.
You can all come visit me now.


I took myself to dinner and a show last night.  
It was the first show in my Broadway series season ticket package.   
I'm a pretty good date, by the way.


I've had some really solid conversations with friends the last few days.  
These are friends I don't always stay in the closest contact with but who are never far from my mind.  
Our talks have made my heart happy.


I am in love with my new Matt Nathanson shirt.
That is all.


Today is my Friday.

I am using up more of my PTO tomorrow, and I could not be more excited.


In addition to getting some writing done, I'll also be seeing "Mockingjay, Part 1" tomorrow.

Liam = yum. (They almost rhyme ... if you try hard enough.)
The excitement continues.

What's up with you?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Things I got when I didn't get the guy

I have lamented about my singleness a lot in this space.  It's true, I've never been in a serious relationship, but I've had my fair share of broken hearts.  Some might disagree.  They might say I don't know what real pain is unless it comes at the hands of someone with whom I'm in a serious relationship.  But I think heartbreak is heartbreak.  Period.

Most of my breaks came by way of crush rejection.  But sometimes they occurred after long periods spent with someone only to learn our feelings for each other were completely different. In some cases, I was looking to him for romance, and he only saw me as a friend.  In another case, he liked me, but couldn't let his friends know that because they wouldn't approve.  In the most painful case, he told me I just wasn't the perfect vision of the person he wanted to be with.


Yeah, I shed lots of tears over these guys.  But these situations weren't a total loss.  From several of them, I gained an appreciation for a team, a band, or a TV show that I wouldn't have before.

I never really cared much for NFL football until high school.  When I developed a crush on a guy who was a diehard Kansas City Chiefs fan.  I instantly started paying attention to their games, first just the scores and then more solid stats. I eventually started watching the games, and to this day, I'm still cheer for them.  Attending a game at Arrowhead is still on my bucket list.
This photo was taken a few weeks ago on a lazy, no-makeup Sunday.

Music is one of my favorite things.  But I'm kind of selective about checking out new artists.  Especially if they aren't in my usual genre.  I primarily listen to singer-songwriters, but a guy I was talking with thought I needed to hear this one band that had more of a pop-punk sound. He was sure I would love them.  So he sent me a We The Kings CD, and he was right.  I did love them. The CD went into regular rotation in my collection. After he tore my heart out, I stopped listening to the band for a while.  It just brought up memories of him.  But about a year ago, I gave them another listen and even though it still reminded me of him, it didn't hurt as much as it once did.  WIN.  Here's one of my all-time favorite songs by them.  It makes me swoon a little.


Somehow I missed the TV show "Sports Night" in the late 90s.  I'm not sure why.  It is right in my wheelhouse -- a comedy/drama about sports journalism.  And Josh Charles is in it (I find him adorable).  A few years ago, a guy in whom I was very emotionally invested sent the series to me for Christmas.  He completely pushed me away a few months later, and I thought about getting rid of the gift.  But I just couldn't.  Instead, I tucked it away and only recently took time to watch it.  And I adore it.  I'll definitely be re-watching the series at some point in the near future. I'm glad I kept it.


I was also exposed to rap music, NBA basketball, and soccer by various guys, but those just didn't catch on as strongly for me.

Overall though, I think I came out OK in some of these heartbreaks.

What were you exposed to by an ex that became a favorite?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

First snow = perfect baking day

On Saturday, the first significant snow fell in my area. 

This was just the start. We ended up getting about three inches, which still isn't much, but it was enough.

This means most people forgot how to drive in winter weather (pro tip:  don't tailgate, leave room to stop, pump the breaks instead of slamming them, and slow down).

It also meant it was a perfect day for baking.

I headed up to my parents' house, where we had planned an afternoon of learning to make kringla from my mom.  Six or so of my friends were supposed to join me but due to the weather, they all bailed.  Oh well.  More kringla for me!  And a batch makes about five dozen, so I had plenty.

Kringla (pronounced "kreenglah") is a Norwegian cookie that is a favorite in my family.  It's sweet but not too sweet, if that makes sense. I'd share the recipe, but my mom has some secrets, and I don't feel like disclosing them.  But the main ingredients are butter, flour, buttermilk, and sugar.  I mean, it's Norwegian, so what did you expect?  My mom had stirred up a batch Friday night because it's best to let the dough refrigerate at least three hours, but she prefers to let it sit overnight.

Then, we took little balls of the dough and rolled them out, forming them into a pretzel shape that is the sign of a bakery in Norway.  (Some people do figure 8s, we do the pretzel.)

Bake half the time on the bottom rack.  Then turn it 180 degrees and put on the top rack for the remainder of the baking time.  This helps them get nice and brown on the bottom and only lightly browned on the top.

They are so delicious.  I took them to work yesterday and everyone loved them.  This has been a theme whenever I take kringla to share.  Most people don't know what it is at first, but when they try it, they rave about it.

Do you have any family recipes or foods that are special?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Music Monday: John Mayer - "Edge of Desire"

I've been in a Mayer mood a lot lately, and this song always always gets to me.  His introduction is perfect:
It's a Sunday night, a night never to be trusted for emotions. So, a lot of you guys are gonna head home and either receive texts in the dead of night or actually compose them that are not going to be fully representative of how you feel for the rest of the day, for the rest of your week. Then you'll be reaching out, and if you're not reaching out you'll have someone else reaching out to you. And your friends, and your brain, and your morals, and your conscience have all trained you not to respond. But I'm gonna go against the grain and I'm going to suggest that the next time you get a message from the one you love, the only person in the world you love and can't talk to, that you respond. And you just write back when they ask you if you're up, and you're up, just write back, "Yup, come on over." Cause life is just too short to keep playing the game. Cause if you really want somebody, you'll figure it out later. Otherwise, you'll be laying in bed with a Blackberry on your chest staring at it, doing nothing for the rest of the night, hoping that it goes, "PRRR, PRRR, PRRR." If you love someone, if you love someone. If you love someone, if you love somebody. If you love someone. Don't say a word, say, "don't say a word, just come over. Just come over, just come over, don't say a word, just come over. Let me cry all over you, let me wish that you were someone different." If you love someone....

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Stuff & Things 11/13

I'm so glad it's finally Friday Eve.  This has been a super long week.  I've been tired and just feeling out of sorts.  That's not to say there weren't high points.  There were.  There always are.  But I spent most of the week just feeling blah.

Kristin's Knook

I'm in the middle of reading a really interesting and entertaining series.  
I won't log it on GoodReads or tell you the name though.  
You would judge me.  
And I just don't need that in my life.


Good things are happening to my friends lately.  
I could not be happier for them.  
I like it when good people are rewarded.


I'm very much looking forward to a baking day with friends on Saturday. 
It'll be fun, and we'll have lots of goodies.  
Double win.


The other day, I had someone end a call by saying, 
"By the way, Jesus is Lord, and that is the only way to Heaven's gates."  
Um.  OK.  
How am I supposed to respond to that?


For an introvert who loves being home, I sure don't seem to be sitting still much these days.  
The nights I'm not working, I have social plans.  
It looks like I don't have a completely free evening until mid-December.  
Who am I?


I have not worked out once this week.  
I feel gross, and I am disappointed in myself.  
I need to find a way to make it work in my schedule --- no matter how tired I am.

Man, for being a busy person, I'm also kind of boring.  Sorry, readers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I hate dating, but I love Taylor Swift

If you're new around here or don't know me all that well, let me just spell out my relationship history in two words --- serially single.

I have spent years (more than a decade, really) attempting to date and meet someone.

I have tried nearly every dating site out there as well as speed dating and general networking.  I've met a few people along the way, but none of them panned out beyond a few dates.

I've had friends offer to set me up, and even though I agreed, the other parties never did.

Nothing came out of any of this except a lot of frustration, wasted money, and a fair amount of self-doubt.  I don't need any of that.

I am finally fed up.

I am retired from dating. 

I haven't decided what all that entails.  I just know I'm done putting myself out there. I'm done trying to find a meaningful relationship.

I'm just going to live my life and spend my time on the things and people I love.

This is not to say I don't reserve the right to change my mind.  But it's probably going to take someone really amazing to make me pull a Brett Favre or Ryne Sandberg move.  (In case you're not a sports fan, they both came out of retirement.)


Also, I'm joining Helene's link-up this week ...

Helene in Between Song of the Week Wednesday

.... and sharing my FAVORITE song off Taylor Swift's new album. I cannot stop listening to it.  And this video is crazy awesome (emphasis on the crazy, but also on the awesome).

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nine hours on a bus to watch a loss = FUN!

A few weeks ago, Cyclone Fanatic (one of the Cyclone sports sites I read regularly) advertised a bus trip to Lawrence to watch Iowa State take on Kansas.  For $95, I could have a game ticket, a ride to and from the game on a bus equipped with satellite TV and wifi, and fun with fellow fans.

I had considered similar trips in the past but just couldn't make it work.  This year's trip was well-scheduled, and I thought it might be a good game to watch.  I also haven't had any kind of real vacation or left the state in more than two years, so I decided this would be a worthy splurge.  I bought in.

After staying out too late Friday night, 5:30 a.m. on Saturday came way too soon.  But I pulled myself out of bed, heated up the breakfast burritos I'd made for myself and the two friends going on the trip, and began the 25-minute drive to Ankeny.  We were told to be there by 7 a.m. for a 7:30 departure.  I like to be early, and I was. There were only a few people not there by 7, and we actually got on the road a few minutes earlier than planned.

Two buses full of Cyclone fans ready to head to Lawrence, Kansas.

The satellite TV didn't work perfectly on the way down, but we made the best of it.  One of our chaperons lead an open discussion on the game, the team, and the upcoming basketball season. He also told a Charlie Weisz joke and created a mix CD that he started up as we pulled into Lawrence.  All in all, Chris Williams' parents were pretty fun.

My friends and I chatted with each other and some of the people around us.  There were three younger guys (mid-20s, as it turned out) in the back of the bus with us who were very entertaining.  So much that two of them earned nicknames on that trip.  One was lip syncing along with Taylor Swift's big hit from 1989, so we named him, "Shake it Off."  Another came out of the small bus bathroom with something wet on the front of his sweatshirt and he said, "Two pumps was a little too much."  He meant hand sanitizer, but our minds took it a completely different direction, and he became known as "Two Pumps." As the day wore on, he embraced that nickname, and I have a feeling it could become permanent.

The satellite TV cut in and out, so wevturned it into a drinking game.

As you might guess, there was also some drinking on the bus.  My friends and I started with some homemade Apple Pie (thanks Justin and Savannah!) and moved to some craft beer.  Our young friends were drinking Bud Light and doing Fireball shots about every half-hour.  Yeah.  We were ready to party.

(Chris Williams is the publisher and VP of Cyclone Fanatic.)

When we arrived in Lawrence, we had about three hours until game time.  We loaded off the buses to find beautiful, sunny, 50-degree weather.  It was perfect for a little tailgating.  Mostly, my friends and I just drank with our new back-of-the-bus friends and two more who joined our crew, Tyler and Kari.  There was also pizza from Papa Keno's (delicious by the way) and lots of laughing and talking.

The girl lying down is one of our new friends. She kept saying she was in Mexico. Ha ha.

About an hour before kickoff, my friends and I boarded one of the shuttles to the stadium and prepared to cheer the Cyclones onto what we were sure would be a victory.  But then Kansas scored two touchdowns in their first two possessions, and the Cyclones went three and out more times than I can count.  Iowa State showed some fight at various times during the game, but they just couldn't get much yardage and first downs were just hard to come by.

My best "action" shot of the day.

The Cyclones lost the game and officially became the worst football team in the Big XII.  They have zero conference wins with three games remaining -- Texas Tech, West Virginia, and TCU (and if you saw what TCU did Saturday, then ... well ...). There might be some who say ISU is the worst in the nation, but I refuse to accept that.  But I do think this was rock bottom.  But, hey the Jayhawks fans tore down their goal posts after the game, so they obviously thought it was awesome to beat us.

This was obviously taken before the game because we were still all smiles.
My friends and I got a bit lost on our walk back to the bus.  The shuttle we'd ridden had taken a weird route through campus, so we had no idea where we were going.  I used my GPS to direct us to Lot 90 (which is the lot number the bus driver had given me that morning).  But when we got there, it was clearly not our lot.  We had no way to get in touch with anyone on our bus ... except through Twitter.  I tweeted to the guy who had organized the trip and he told me we were in Lot 72.  Another quarter-mile walk, after we'd already walked about a half-mile.  Sigh.  I tweeted back to him that we were on our way.  Thankfully, the buses waited for us and we were soon on the road.

The ride back to Ankeny started out with a frustrating tone.  Our long walk plus the terrible outcome of the game had us all in a bit of a sour mood.  But the Back of the Bus Crew started turning things around and we had a good time. Probably too good.  We might have been a bit rowdy and loud for most of the drive.  It seemed everyone else wanted to sleep and just watch the game, but we were still wound-up and enjoying each other's company.  I would not be surprised if we were all blacklisted from future bus trips.

But I hope not.

Despite the disappointing game and the misdirection out of the stadium, I had a great time.  I would absolutely go on another Cyclone Fanatic bus trip.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Music Monday: Darryl Worley - "I Just Came Back From a War"

I'm the granddaughter of a veteran. I have friends who have served or are currently serving in various branches of the military.  A few years ago, I helped provide newspaper coverage of the funeral of a fallen young Marine (I think about Lance Cpl. Joshua Davis frequently).

Tomorrow is Veterans' Day, the day to remember and honor all of them.

Many thanks to those who give their time and service -- and especially to those who gave their lives.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Weekly round-up, Vol. 12

Sorry I didn't get this posted yesterday.  I had full intentions of getting this mostly ready Thursday night and then putting final touches on it Friday night, but ... my social nature got the best of me.  I ended up staying out way too late both nights and then I had to get up early Saturday for an all-day bus trip (which you'll get to read more about on Tuesday).  So I just didn't have time to put this post together. Until today. 

 But it's Sunday, which is the perfect time for reading, so maybe I'll move this link-up to Sundays.  Thoughts?

I'm struggling to get back in a regular workout routine now that I'm not training for anything.  Holly at Hey, Hollywood has some great ideas on how to stay motivated to work out Check on taking a class. Check on grabbing a friend to go with me.  Hopefully I'll be back at it regularly soon.

Organization is not my forte. At all.  I would like to be better.  I'll start with the five organizing tips offered by Steph at Life According to Steph.  They seem pretty easy to adopt.  Maybe if I start small, I can build to success.

I love when I find another blogger who is as obsessed with music as I am. Enter Helene at Helene In Between.  She has launched a new Song of the Week link-up each Wednesday.  It's PERFECT.

Sarah Hartley opened up about her post-baby struggles.  This is a real thing that happens to women, but we never talk about it.  We need to start.

I'm an empath, so I find myself taking on the emotions of others very easily.  Holly at Hey, Hollywood gets this and gave some pointers on how to care for yourself amidst the act of caring for others.

Finally, Jess at Run With Jess is organizing a virtual Elf Run.  I'm really intrigued and am thinking about joining up. 

Enjoy your Sunday! 

Friday, November 7, 2014

I run for hot chocolate!

After my half-marathon, I took a lengthy break from running. Two weeks, to be exact.  

So you can understand why I was feeling a little nervous last weekend as I got up and headed to Principal Park (home of the Iowa Cubs) for the Hot Chocolate 5K for which I'd registered.  

My nerves were no match for the cold though.  Wow.  My weather app told me it was 41 out, but it didn't feel anywhere near that warm.  A brisk breeze out of the east made it feel much closer to freezing.  I ended up waiting in my car until about twenty minutes before the race was set to start. In hindsght, this probably wasn't the best idea.  It would have been better if I'd spent more time outside, acclimating to the temperatures.  But I'm a wimp, so I didn't do that.

I did my best to get loosened up and enjoy the race while we waited for the start. I made friends, as always, with the lady next to me.  She only started running in June and this was her second 5K of the weekend. Crazy.  

The route of the race was gorgeous.  It wound all along the Des Moines River, crossing it twice.  The second cross -- on the way back -- went across the Women of Achievement Bridge.  I've been wanting to check out that bridge for a long time, so I was really excited about this.  It is a fantastic structure and I definitely want to go back and walk or run downtown more often.

My final time -- 35:42
Pace -- 11:42/mile

Not too shabby.  Especially citing my long break from running.

The hot chocolate at the end was pretty tasty too.


Last week's workouts
Friday: Off.
Saturday: Off.
Sunday: Hot Chocolate 5K
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Zumba (1 hr)
Wednesday: Off.
Thursday: Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred

I fully intended to go to BodyPump and/or Zumba on Thursday, but some plans came up.  So I pulled out the Jillian Michaels DVD for a quick but intense workout. 

What's your go-to when you want to squeeze in a quick workout?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Stuff and Things 11/6

This is my first time joining Kristin's link-up, but I've been meaning to for a long time. I mean, Thursdays are all about the random, right?

Right. So let's get to it.

Kristin's Knook

First :: 
I want to wish my mom a very happy birthday.  She's one of my favorite people in the world.  I wish I was more like her almost every day.  Maybe I will be someday with a little more practice.
This is still one of my favorite photos of my mom and me.

Second ::
I invited a friend to join me at Zumba on Tuesday night.  She'd never gone before, but I think she enjoyed it.  This might become a Tuesday night tradition for us.  I would enjoy that a lot.  Having a workout buddy makes it easier and more fun to go.


Third ::
I have a very fun road trip coming up this weekend.  I'm riding a bus with a hundred or so other Iowa State fans down to Lawrence, Kansas, to watch the Cyclones to take on the Jayhawks.  Two friends are going with me as well and I'm sure I'll make some new friends on the journey.  It's going to be a long day, but I think it'll be a lot of fun too.
It's been two years since I took in a Cyclone football game with these two.

Fourth ::
I am almost one week into NaNoWriMo, and I'm still feeling good.  I had Tuesday off of work and was able to knock out about 6K words.  That'll definitely help me out since I know there will be a few days this month I won't have any time to write.  The story is starting to really pan out too, although I'm still nervous I'm not smart enough to write something like this.  I'll be sending bits out to beta readers next week, so we'll see what they say.


Fifth ::
I'm seeing one of my favorite music guys tomorrow night.  And it's my 200th concert ever (yes, I've kept a list).  It couldn't be more perfect and I'm so looking forward to seeing him.
Yep, it's this guy -- Tim Stop.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

These new shows will be cancelled ...

... because I like them.

I don't mean to be a pessimist, but it's true. See: "My Generation," etc.

Now that I don't have DVR, I try to use my TV (and Hulu) time wisely.  I don't take on a lot of new shows, but I've taken a chance on a few new shows this fall and I love them.  Which means they're probably doomed. Sorry to the other people who like these shows and especially to those who make their livelihood from one of these shows (if they should for some reason find this blog).  I think I'm a curse.

"A to Z"
Christin Milotti is adorable and quirky.  And Ben Feldman is her perfect opposite.
Their friends are a hot mess, but very entertaining.
I think this show displays the reality of relationships starting -- they can be awkward.
Or maybe that's just me.

"Red Band Society"
You had me at Dave Annable. (The sexy doc on the far left.)
But Thomas Ian Nicholas is a delight as well.
This show is really well-written and the characters are likeable.
I'm looking forward to seeing how they develop.

"How to Get Away With Murder"
Shonda Rimes owns Thursday nights.
She can do no wrong in my eyes.
In fact, she's someone I'd love to have lunch with someday.
I feel like I could learn a lot from her.

Are you watching any of these shows too?  
What are some of your favorites?

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