Silly

Sock-Her Match

Whew. It’s been a busy few days. Hubby & I drove home to Detroit last Thursday and just arrived back to Chicago tonight. Lots of fun things happened during our trip home; of which I’d like to write in more detail. However, I’m quite tired right now.

Instead, I find myself sitting on our couch watching some World Cup soccer and enjoying it immensely. The only thing I find highly annoying are the darn horns; of which it sounds much like a nonstop remix of “Flight of the Bumblebee.”

Watching the World Cup reminds me of when the tournament was played here in the U.S. back in 1994. And if you asked Hubby about that time period, he would no doubt tell you one of his famous “Emily” tales; one that usually includes adding some embellishments to the actual story.

This tale includes a book bag, an important career-defining test, a Type-A gal (aka me ), and free tickets to see the U.S. play against Switzerland.

Back in 1994, I had just graduated from Nursing School and was studying to take the Nursing Boards (NCLEX) which would provide me licensure to practice as a Registered Nurse. 1994 was also the first year that the NCLEX would be provided to each candidate indivdually on a computer. Prior to this, each candidate took the same standard exam at a set date and time in an incredibly huge room with the rest of the eligible candidates for that date. In addition to taking the exam on the computer, each exam would be unique; meaning that the test questions would vary from person to person and … depending on how you did, you could have a minimum of 75 questions, up to a maximum of 265 questions. Regardless of how many questions you ended up answering, one could fail at 75 questions or pass in 265 questions. So needless to say, I was quite nervous as I had no previous reference to taking these computer adaptive tests.

This also meant that I took my study guide with me everywhere so I could study at a whim. And back in 1994, laptops weren’t common, iPhones weren’t invented with apps to assist in studying for these exams. Oh … and the internet wasn’t readily accessible to the general public; so forget being able to google  for answers on WebMD or nih.gov. Nope; this meant that on top of the study guide I’d take with me, I might just take one of 20 lb textbooks for Pediatrics or Med/Surg … depending on what topic I wanted to study that day. And oh, did I mention that my study guide weighed about 10 lbs all on its own?

Anyway, less than a week before I was to take my exam, my then-fiance called me up and told me that he had two free tickets to a World Cup match at the Pontiac Silverdome, compliments of his employer at that time. Initially, I had told him that I wouldn’t go because I still felt I had so much more studying to do. Except, well … he wouldn’t take no for an answer. “Once in a lifetime chance,” he’d tell me; followed by “you need to take a break from studying so much!” And, truth be told, he was right. I was THAT Type-A that I felt I couldn’t go a moment without studying for the NCLEX.

That’s how I found myself heading to the World Cup.  But because I still couldn’t let go of not studying at all, I also found myself taking my 30 lbs backpack filled with NCLEX studying material. I considered it my “security blanket.”

Because of security reasons and traffic issues, the city of Pontiac required that all ticket-holders be shuttled into the Silverdome from their downtown location. (And yet, I was allowed to take a huge backback in then … Wow, life pre-9/11!) So the day of the game, Then-Fiance and I stood in line with another coworker and his girlfriend waiting to catch a 15-minute shuttle ride to the venue. And once we got there, we were so enthralled with the international atmosphere and into the game which ended up in a 1:1 tie.

Afterward, we found ourselves amidst 70,000-plus people trying to catch a shuttle back to downtown Pontiac. Oh, and did I mention it was 90-some degrees outside that day? It must have taken us more than an hour just to get onto a shuttle and, because of surrounding traffic, an additional half hour to get back downtown. But the kicker of it all was … that entire time, I did not once open up my backpack to study.

Stryker, the 1994 World Cup Mascot

Instead, the wonderful man (that I eventually married) ended up carrying my 30 lb security blanket the entire time … while I “absorbed” all the information by osmosis.

He’s such a good guy, my husband … and even though he’d likely tell his side of this story by adding an additional 50 lbs worth of study material, I am most grateful for all the wonderful things — big or small — that he does for me on a daily basis.

And reflecting back on this tale? Well it just reminds me that even back before our lives were immersed in the world of Infertility … that my wonderful husband was always there to let me know when I needed to come up for air and take a breather.

I guess you can say that I scored big by marrying such a wonderful man. And that we make a perfect match.

Okay, I’ll stop it with the lame soccer terms. More interesting posts coming soon … I promise. But for now, it’s nighty-night!

This One Time?

At WordCamp? …

Hah. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

It’s been a long couple of days, but I’m happy to report that I spent a lot of those hours at Camp. Yep, I learned lotsa good stuff. And this means I’ve got lotsa stuff to do with this fascinating piece of work.

But for now I can at least spiffy it up a little. What do you think?

Okay. That’s it for now. I’ve got a better post coming soon. Promise.

Split

Like the current Stanley Cup Finals series, the ApronStrings Household is split.

For those that aren’t sports nuts like the two of us, that means that the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers are both tied with two wins apiece after Game Four in the seven-game series.

Not that I mean to say that Hubby & I are at odds with one another … well, at least when it comes to our relationship. Rather, we’re at odds when it comes to cheering on which hockey team we think should win the coveted Cup.

I should start off by saying that, first and foremost, I will always cheer for my hometown Detroit Red Wings wherever we live. But since they failed to make it to the finals this year … I had no choice but to choose an “adopted” team.

I should also add here that if I had my druthers … and if the Red Wings weren’t going to make the Finals … I would have absolutely loved to see two different teams vying for the Cup this season. And those two teams would have been the Vancouver Cannucks and the Montreal Canadiens. To me, it only seems fitting that the year Canada won Gold in a Canadian Olympics, then they should also deserve to have Stanley return home … at least for the year.

And yes, Mrs. Spit. I know this would have made you very very happy, also. 🙂

Instead now, Hubby & I find ourselves — for the first time in our married lives — rooting against each other. Him cheering for a team, simply because they’re considered the underdogs of the series. And me cheering for a team, for the mere fact that this team’s town has become my adopted town.

Hubby cheers for his team, simply because his opposing team has long-been rivals of the Detroit Red Wings. While I cheer for my team because it’s been 47 years since this team has won the Stanley Cup.

Either way, it’s been fun watching the series with Hubby. And it’s definitely made watching the NHL’s “second season” much more interesting.

~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~

Meet Al the Octopus; the Detroit Red Wings mascot. For Wing Nuts, like ourselves, throwing octopi onto the ice during Playoff Season is a long-standing tradition for the Red Wings Franchise.

As for how Al got his name … he was named after Al Sobotka, the general building manager for Joe Louis Arena; and the wonderful soul that picks up every thrown octopi and twirls it over his head.

Sidelined

Hubby & I "backstage" at Movement 2007

Ugh. So much for making it down to Movement this year. Nope; instead I woke up Saturday morning feeling craptastic … which led to an entire holiday weekend of coughing and congestion. Boo.

Hubby & I did end up making it to the premiere of The Drive Home on Friday night, though. And it was absolutely wonderful.

And since I’m still not feeling a hundred percent better yet, methinks I’ll send you over to Hubby’s blog to read about it. All I have to say is that watching this movie reminded me of why I’m still proud to call myself a Detroiter.

If you’re interested in watching some interesting facts about Detroit Techno and the history leading up to the inaugural Detroit Electronic Music Festival in 2000, click here.

Oh, and Hubby’s review? Click here.

That’s it for now. *cough cough*

See you when I feel better. *blows nose*

*Mutters, “I do have snots for brains … *

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Stick-er

Hubby & I bought our 2002 Subaru Legacy Outback with the idea that we’d have this “wagon” for our future children.

Never mind that we had already been on the infertility roller coaster for more than three years by then. And that I was heading into my first laparotomy to clear out some of that nasty endo stuff. Nevermind that we pretty much knew by then that IVF was in our near future.

We just wanted to have a nice reliable “family” type car to own so we’d be able to share memories of road trips with the kids like both of us remembered growing up.

And as we all know, that dream never came into fruition. Well, at least the “kids” part.

Anyway, around the time Hubby & I got our Outback, these car stickers began to pop up on minvans and SUV’s everywhere. They were the kind of clear car stickers that you could place on the rear window and peel off, if you ever needed to. And on these stickers were “stick figures” of all the family members that lived in the particular car-owner’s household. You know, Dad followed by Mom plus how-ever-many kids they had … and even whatever pet they had.

They still have those stickers today; except now you can customize it to whatever you’d like. You can have Dad be a “golfer” while Mom is a “nurse” (or worse … at least for me, pregnant!); and you can have kids be “dressed” in whatever activities they’re involved with (sports, scouts, etc.).

And as much as I began to despise those car stickers (especially in the later years of our IF journey), I must admit that I’ve always wanted to have one.

Of course, our sticker wouldn’t have any children on there; it would only have Hubby & I in our “custom” outfits. And of course we’d have to add our fur-children. So I looked online to see what they had available and was pleasantly surprised to see just how much we could customize them.

Hubby's the "Comic Book" guy and I'm just a fashionista ...

I haven’t ordered one; nor do I think I ever will … because geesh! They seem ridiculously expensive for stick figures … but, it was fun imagining what our rear window would have looked like.

Pacey McPacer *

Dear Mother Nature,

I know you’ve been quite busy lately with natural disasters throughout the world. And I also know you’ve been filming some pretty funny tampon commercials and all. (BTW, you’ve never looked better!)  But I was wondering if I could ask you one small favor.

You see, I love lightning and thunderstorms as much as any other person … but the thing is, my poor overly-anxious dog does not. In fact, she despises it.

I don’t so much mind it if the light show and marching band performance happens during the day or even late in the evening. After all, I always love a spectacular and entertaining production, but when it happens in the middle of the night, it’s a whole other display.

Last night / Early this morning was an example of such a presentation. It started out with our poor Kozzy-girl pacing around the apartment about a half hour before the light show even began. And once we heard the click-click of her paws on the hardwood floor quicken, we knew the first wave of thunderstorms wasn’t far away.

A Hubby sketch of Kozzy

When the whining started shortly after the first display of fireworks, Hubby & I knew we were in for a treat. And as each crack-boom began to come closer and closer together; our 14-year old “puppy” would pant as she circled around the apartment faster and faster.

And dear Mother Nature, that’s not such a great thing to hear shortly before 4 o’clock in the morning.

But see, dear Mother Nature … that’s not the worse part of it all. Because Kozzy did eventually calm down; only after I spent an entire hour in our bathroom … the smallest room in the apartment with the brightest light and tiles that don’t click-click as loud as hardwood floors. No, the worse part was that as soon as I got her into her “room” and onto her favorite rug … you decided to have — not one or two — but three encore performances. All of which happened over the next hour … until finally, an exhausted Kozzy fell asleep.

And believe me … had their been more than just the office chair in Kozzy’s room, I probably would have done the same.

Kozzy asleep on her favorite rug

Alas, it was shortly before 6 o’clock before Kozzy finally let me leave her room — Hubby’s home office — so I can catch some Zzzz’s. And by that time, the sun had already broken through the clouds.

So Mother Nature … I do love you dearly; and I promise that I will continue to take care of you as best as I can. But could you please please please lay off the thunderstorms in the dead of the night?!

Kozzy, Hubby & I would love you dearly for that. And so would her cat-siblings, Rain & Yami …

~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~

* Pacey McPacer is the name we gave our poor Kozzy when she begins to pace around anxiously.

And just so you know that we’re equal opportunity fur-parents, our other pets have similar names, too. There’s Dusty McDuster, the black cat that does not like to be brushed. And there’s Daffy McDeafster, the senior citizen cat that can’t hear … or at least pretends that she can’t!

Our Pacey McPacer ... How can you resist those EARS!

The Wicked Don’t Rest

Lest you think I’ve been resting on my laurels** this past week, I’ve been actually quite productive.

Apparently a "laurel" is a flower

Well, okay … except for the first few days where, I guess you can say, I was storing up my reserves. Yeah. That’s what I was doing.

<Quickly throws piles of tissue on bed and sofa into the pockets of her pajama bottoms … >

Seriously though, Monday morning I spent some time sorting out some paperwork and making a few important phone calls. And Tuesday, I spent the day updating and rewriting parts of my resume.

Yesterday was spent online all day searching for jobs that match my career history and filling out tons*** of applications. And today … well, it’s slowed down a bit; but at least I put more out there.

The other important thing I did was update my LinkedIn page. Oh, and ask for some recommendations from previous peers. Hopefully this will come in handy in helping me, at the very least, get some interviews.

And then there's THIS Laurel ...

So that, my dearies … is my small victory of the day.

Tomorrow’s? Most likely getting out of bed at a decent hour; seeing that Hubby & I are treating ourselves to a midnight showing of Iron Man 2.

Hey, gotta have some fun now. Don’t I?!

~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~

** What IS a “laurel”**** anyway?!

*** Okay, I exaggerate a bit. Maybe more like a quarter-ton.

**** Huh. Just found out that the “laurel” referred to in the idiom is interpreted  as an achievement. Guess I haven’t been resting on them; seeing that unemployment isn’t exactly an “achievement” to be proud of …

Perfect Bed Buddies

When moving to Chicago last year, Hubby & I ended up buying a full-size bed mattress and frame from IKEA. The thought was that I was going to use it as my bed until Hubby officially moved from our home in Suburban Detroit in April of last year. Then we’d move our queen-sized bed from Michigan and move the IKEA bed into our guest room.

Now it’s April of this year, and Hubby & I are still using that full-sized bed . That’s because we never did end up moving that bed … yet, anyway. And let me tell you, I’m sorely missing our thick, plush queen-sized mattress.

Not that the IKEA mattress isn’t comfortable. Let’s just say that the bed frame is just a little … lopsided.

To explain this more, if you’ve ever owned an IKEA bed, you’ll know that instead of having a box-spring mattress, they use a slatted bed base. Depending on how soft or firm you want the mattress to feel, you can choose from a variety of different slatted bed bases.

Now, for us … the slatted bed base wasn’t the problem. The problem lies in (no pun intended … kinda) how the slats fit into the particular bed frame we chose. Which was on sale, by the way. (That should have been our clue … ) Let’s just say that the longer you sleep on the bed, the more the slats start to slip downward off the frame of the bed on one side or the other. And well, that just makes for an uneven sleeping surface.

No matter how many times we’ve fixed the bed, over a period of time it starts to become lopsided once more. And now … well let’s just say that both sides of the bed have slipped off the frame; one side on the upper right and the other side on the lower left. Thank G*d for the midbeam; otherwise the mattress would have sunk down completely!

Obviously the cats found some balance in the bed!

Anyway … the other day, Hubby and I were talking about our sleeping experience with this bed … which, despite the nuisance of being lopsided, is actually quite comfortable. As I was getting ready to turn in for the night, I asked him when he’d be coming into bed. His response was, “Soon.”

“Good,” I told him. “Because when you’re there, I feel more balanced.”

And then we looked at each other and grinned; knowing full well that I meant that literally and figuratively.

Midnite Wind

Yesterday evening I got to spend some time with an old friend, T. It’s been a while since we’ve had a chance to sit more than an hour and talk … which typically would be during the annual Chicago Comicon when both of us would be “in town.”

T was always a gracious host. Charming.

I say “in town” because before last year, T would fly in from the west coast (or even overseas!) while Hubby & I would drive from Detroit. Yes, we’re that much of comic-geeks (well, rather Hubby & T are) to go yearly to Chicago for the past 5-plus years now.

Now, as of two months ago … we’re all in the same state and within one hour of each other. And because Hubby’s been helping him (as well as me) set up his own website (still under construction, BTW) to promote his own comic, the two of them have been “chatty” lately.

And seeing that *I* knew T before Hubby ever did … well, yeah. I was feeling a little left out. So yesterday, when I knew the two of them were meeting up in Evanston, I made sure that they’d stick around long enough for me to meet them after I got off work.

Seeing T again after a couple years (he never made it out to last year’s comicon, and we opted for San Diego the year before) was nice. It had me reflecting over the first day as a university student, moving into my dorm. I happened to first meet him in line while waiting to get my school ID taken.

Even though he claims we met back in high school my freshman year  after Track practice when I asked a mutual friend of ours if they had seen my brother. T even insists that I told him to look out for Dr. Bro’s “sh*tty brown car.”

Future-SIL, T and me (from right to left) ... Look how skinny I was!! Sigh ...

Which of course, makes me chuckle because that would totally be something I would have said.  Unfortunately I only have a very vague recollection of that memory. Which is why *I* still claim that we first met that first day I started in college.

“Hey,” T said to me. “Aren’t you [Dr. Bro’s real name] little sister?”

“Yeah,” I answered, as I crinkled my nose.

And every time we see each other, T has to bring up that story. Just to  remind me on how “offended” I looked when he asked me that question. And then I have to remind him how in high school I was always known as Dr. Bro’s “younger sister.” And here, on the first day at a new school, I immediately get recognized as being related to Dr. Bro. Again.

After those awkward first words, we found out that he’d eventually be moving into the same dorm that I’d be in and that we should “hang out” sometime. So afterwards, I ran up to my room and told future-SIL** that I just met my first new college friend.

Once T moved into our dorm (probably about a week after that first meeting), the three of us became quick friends. Future-SIL and I would pester him mercilessly and, for some strange reason, he would put up with us. Then there would be the countless times we’d end up in his room late at night playing poker for pennies and  … uhm, yeah … other college-related “experiences. (Oh come on now … I wasn’t that bad, but it was my first year in college after spending 12 years in Catholic school!)

T showing off his Chinese yoyo skills

Like, for instance, the time he called us on our dorm phone and whispered oh-so-quietly, “Does the wind blow at midnite?” In which he later came up at midnight with one of those industrial-sized roles of toilet paper from the communal bathroom on his floor. And brought it up to Future-SIL and my dorm room. Which was the corner room. Of the top floor of our building. And we proceeded to … uhm … let the wind carry the whole roll of toilet paper outside of our dorm room. Which then proceeded to wrap around our entire dorm building. TWICE. !!!

Anyway, my point being is that T is one of those long time friends that, regardless where we are (both in location and in whatever stage) in life, we pick up wherever we left off.

And that’s a comforting thought in the midst of chaos or tranquility.

~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~

Eesh. Why does the last few days of Lent seem like forever? Here’s my daily Lenten bit.

Look closely at the yoyo above me ... Hmmph!

Good Deed of the Day: Does going into work for an extra day count as a good deed? If it means that I was able to give some extra feedback and encouragement and to my staff, then methinks it does!

Grateful Thought of the Day: I think this one’s obvious today. I’m grateful for friends where it’s as if we’ve never skipped a beat. It could be as simple as not having seen each other in a long time. Or it could be as unique as meeting in person for the very first time, but feeling as if we’ve known each other forever.  Those are true friendships.

~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~

** What? You didn’t know?! I may have, in a previous post mention that my SIL and I were college roomates the first two years at university.

More Cowbell!

Living in Hockeytown (aka Detroit), I’ve been to enough hockey games to know at least the first verse of the the Canadian National Anthem. It also helps that Windsor is literally across the river (and south) from Detroit.

But after being addicted to watching the 2010 Winter Olympics these past few weeks, I think I’m getting to know the whole she-bang.

What exactly am I going to do after this weekend?! And, more importantly … what am I going to do with my new iPhone “Cowbell” app? After all, I did download it specifically for the ski and bobsleigh and snowboard events. And I know d*mn well I’ll be using it tomorrow and this weekend when watching the men’s hockey event … But still!

A little more cowbell!

Ah … but according to my team, I was told I could use it to “herd” everyone together for our team meetings. Or use it to call order in the room. Or simply use it to disrupt a tense situation. In any case, it will be fun using them in other sporting events … like, oh say … Michigan Football?

Let’s see, want to hear the most girl-scouty good deed I’ve done thus far in my Lenten “Good Deed” journey? Get this … I actually helped a blind man cross the street. Not. Kidding. You. What can I say, the opportunity presented itself as I came up to the intersection right by the El station close to my home. I saw him standing at the corner looking unsure as to which direction he wanted to turn, so I simply asked him. And even though I didn’t physically walk him across the street, I at least pointed him (or, rather lead him) in the right direction.

As I sit here tonight watching … duh, the Olympics, I’m actually rooting for 16-year old Mirai Nagasu from the US to medal … I just love her personality! But somehow, I think she won’t. And I really hope that Joannie Rochette gets to medal tonite. I think that despite the fact that her mother passed away, she had an incredible short program. Oh well, I’m just hoping for a good program tonite.

Wouldn’t it be great if Joannie won? Then I’d get to practice my singing of the Canadian National Anthem. Ha!

Anyway, with the focus on Joannie and the loss of her mother … well, it makes me think of my own Mom, and how I’d feel if I lost her suddenly. As it is, we’re coming up on the year anniversary of my Grandma Rose’s passing … which I’m sure is probably weighing heavily on my Mom’s mind as well. I think it’s events like this, whether it’s my Grandma’s passing or Joannie’s heavy loss, that reminds me how lucky I am that my Mom is still here with me.

I love this picture of Mom & Me

So that’s what I’m grateful for tonite: I’m grateful for my own Mom. I’m grateful for all the gifts she’s given me, including my love of reading and my love of constantly learning. I’m grateful for the fact that she raised me to be compassionate and — probably much to her chagrin — independent. Mostly, I am grateful that she’s still here with me in this world … because, despite what she probably thinks … her love and support mean the world to me.

Okay … time for me to buckle down and watch Women’s Figure Skating. And maybe … just maybe … I’ll break out that cowbell!

~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~

Well. There goes my chance to belt out “Oh Canada” … but hey, at least Joannie medalled! I’m very happy for her!!

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