Author Archives: asantosku

About asantosku

Semi-recent college grad from KU who dances like nobody's watching and blogs like nobody's reading. Sort of.

2014 in Review (Just a little late)

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Wow, what a prolific 2014 I had!

Contrary to the lack of posts, I actually had a pretty busy 2014. Actually, maybe it makes sense that there weren’t many posts. 2014 was a pretty social year for me. It’s always been pretty normal for weekends to book up with fun things to do. Last year, week nights started booking up a little too. And I worked a lot, so I just didn’t make my way over to the blog very often. Usually I would start a post but never end up finishing it, whether it was due to lack of time or lack of motivation.

I don’t have a lot of pictures to show for the beginning of the year. My hard drive on the old Macbook Pro went out while we were in Dallas in March, so I lost some pictures. Fortunately, my pictures through the end of 2013 were backed up, so I only lost a few months’ worth, and between sites like Instagram and Facebook, I still had something to show for those three months.

So, let’s look at 2014.

The new year started at Juan and Ashly’s place. At midnight, we toasted with champagne, and I threw out the quote, “Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends,” which was appreciated by nobody except Eddie, because nobody else watched Happy Endings, and that is why it’s no longer on TV. My most vivid memory of the party was hanging out in the basement with Eddie, Jordan and Adkin, listening to old songs from the late ’90s and early 2000s. I do not have pictures to embellish this beautiful story, so my apologies.

I had a five-day weekend to start the year, and I was actually pretty productive. I started exercising. That didn’t last long. 2014 was also a pretty fat year.

For Eddie’s birthday, I ordered him a jacket from Zappos. Specifically, this jacket:

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Not Eddie.

That’s when I learned what phenomenal customer service Zappos provides, so I’m totally going to plug them here. I ordered the size he normally wears, but it came in just a little too big. That night around 6:00 pm, I submitted my request to exchange it, printed the return label, and dropped it off at our local UPS Store. He had a new jacket THE NEXT DAY. They didn’t wait to receive it and take a few days to process it. I emailed the great people at Zappos to thank them for being rock stars and received an immediate response from a human thanking me in return. Lessons learned in 2014: give Zappos lots of business.

The Chiefs made the playoffs after a spectacular turnaround from the prior season. They blew a huge lead and lost in the first round, as we do. I polluted my friends’ Facebook feeds with inebriated statuses in which I am pretty sure I exhibited all the seven signs of grief. That’s about all that needs to be said about that.

In February, Eddie and I booked a Caribbean cruise with five friends for January 2015. I have since been on said cruise! More on that in a later post, assuming I remember to come back to this rolling tumbleweed of a blog. I spent the entire year anticipating this cruise. It gave me lots of time to be excited and then to think about everything that could possibly go wrong, including Eddie falling off the ship and having an appendectomy in Jamaica. Spoiler alert: neither of these things happened.

Because we are boring, we did the usual for Valentine’s Day, which I look forward to every year. We cooked steaks at home. We were a little too lazy to make the dessert portion, though, so we made a trip downtown and came back with macaroons and cupcakes. That trip led to me eating a lot of macaroons and cupcakes in 2014.

Aimee got a new latte maker, and we talked about it one February day at lunch, which led to talk of how we should do brunch sometime, which led to a facebook message with several friends about brunch, which led to us planning a short-notice ladies’ brunch date – Galentine’s Day. We feasted on bacon, frittatas, curry, mimosas, fruit, cinnamon rolls, and other yummy sweet and savory brunch foods – it’s good to have friends who can cook and bake. I also debuted a navy cat shirt I was pretty pumped about that I found at Goodwill. (Also shopped at Goodwill a lot in 2014.)

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Some of the brunch gals!

In March, we went to the Sporting KC home opener with George, Jordan and Jimmy. I think that was the only game we made it to this year, unfortunately. I think will make it to more this year!

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Sorry, all I have is this Snapchat photo.

I took Eddie’s spring break off work, and we decided we would go to Dallas for a few days. We’d talked about going several times before, for maybe a silly reason – it’s the closes place to us with an In-N-Out Burger. Right before we left, the selections were announced for the NCAA tournament, and we found out KU was playing on St. Louis. So we bought tickets to that and cut the Dallas trip short. Actually, we bought tickets to the wrong session in St. Louis, then bought tickets to the correct session, so we had tickets to watch all the games in St. Louis. It all worked out.

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Everything is Texas-shaped in Texas.

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The reason for the trip

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Checking out the city from above.

We did a little shopping at the outlets near Dallas and a little sight-seeing, then drove back home for one night, and headed to St. Louis for the tourney. We were running late and stopped by my grandma’s house to print off our tickets. Just a quick pit stop in and out.

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Two Kansas fans on the wrong side of the border.

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KU has won 100% of their tournament games when we were there.

On the drive back home, I received a phone call from my sister. She was standing outside of my grandma and uncle’s house, and it was on fire. My grandma was there at the time and was outside with her, but the pets were still inside. I didn’t really know the extent of the fire yet. They found out all the animals had died except one while I was on the phone. It was such a surreal moment. I had just been there one day earlier, in the very room where the fire started, in and out, to print our tickets.

I felt awful for my grandma and uncle for losing most of their pets. They had five cats total before the fire, all of them rescues. They’d say they didn’t need anymore, but they couldn’t turn down a stray in need. Surely none of them would have lived as long as they did had it not been for my grandma and uncle taking them in.

Their fire reminded me not to take anything for granted – what is here today can easily be gone tomorrow. I know that’s cliche, but it’s true. I’m so thankful my grandma got out when she did. The battery for the fire alarm had just gone out not too long ago and was sitting on the table as a reminder to buy a new battery. She and I had just talked about this on the phone within the week – I had done the same with our battery that had also just gone out. I replaced it as soon as we got home and hugged Jack and Heidi.

Apparently the fire started because of faulty wiring. The house didn’t completely burn, but the smoke damage was enough to make it a total loss. My grandma and uncle spent most of the rest of the year in an apartment while it was rebuilt. They are in their new/old home again with the surviving cat and his new playmate. Walking in there is weird. It’s like a parallel universe or a dream, where everything feels the same, but things are just a little off. The burgundy carpet has been replaced with hardwood floors and a neutral carpet. The kitchen now has one entrance instead of two. It’s little things like that.

In lighter news, Jordan and I dressed up as princesses and went to Disney on Ice when it came to town. Little girls asked to take pictures with us. We didn’t expect that, but we probably should have.

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We got some looks.

I worked on my birthday. Most people at work tend to take it off, because, well, we can. I actually had the Monday and Tuesday following my birthday off and decided to leave it as such. Coming in on my birthday reminded of what thoughtful people I work with, and also of the fact that I might talk about eating cupcakes too much.

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They know what I like.

After work, I met Sara at Houlihan’s for birthday dinner. We sat around catching up and drinking wine until suddenly it was after 10:00 pm and we both still had to work the next day. She bought me Hello Kitty themed gifts, and I kindly decorated my coworkers spaces with Hello Kitty stickers when I got back to the office.

I also had the opportunity to do my first Habitat for Humanity build since high school. And I was actually a little less useless than I was in high school. I climbed ladders and learned how to use a nail gun. It’s nice to work for a company that encourages us to leave work to do things like this.

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See how good that looks? Yeah, I didn’t do that part.

Some coworkers and I had a bit to drink at a department happy hour one day and decided we should start a wine club. Then we actually did it. Our first meeting was in April, and we have met every month since. It’s usually on a Thursday night, and we sit around the table drinking wine, talking about whatever comes up – wine, work, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, geese mating noises…

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At any given wine club night, there are only four to six of us – and usually double that much wine

In May, I went to Grand Rapids, Michigan for work to do some additional training. I went with three other coworkers from my department, and we were in a class with four other employees who work in different locations across the country. It was a grand ol’ time. We learned a lot, of course, but we also bonded pretty well. We all had dinner together just about every night. We studied together, went to breweries and the beach together, bowled together, and made drinking games out of yelling Omaha every time these teenage girls in the pool took a selfie.

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Bowling night

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What I do at study sessions

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At Michigan lake with Melissa

It’s hard not to gush about my coworkers, so I’m not even going to try to stop myself. I have the best coworkers in the world. They are the kind of people who make you laugh when you feel like your world is going to shit and who lift you up and are genuinely happy for you when good things happen to you. Not all of them technically fit into the term “coworkers” anymore, as many of them have moved on to do other things, but they are still some of the people I feel most connected to. They are my friends.

My baby sister graduated from high school in May. I couldn’t be more proud of her. She is one of those people I would want to hate if she weren’t my sister, because she has every good quality you could ever want in yourself, and she is gorgeous on top of it, but you can’t hate her because she’s such a sweetheart.

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Class of 2014

My cousin (well, first cousin once removed, but who wants to say all that?) Cambria celebrated her first birthday. I think this picture sums it up:

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Somebody tell me why we don’t celebrate our birthdays this way as adults.

Sara and Collins kindly came over and helped me start a garden, which I took lots of pictures of and then became disgruntled with after the squirrels ate the fruits of my moderate efforts.

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Cucumber fetus before its untimely death

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When squirrels weren’t eating my garden, Heidi was putting her butt on it.

All in all, I probably yielded a dozen or so peppers that I was able to eat. Part of this was my fault. I kind of stopped remembering to water everything. Next year I am probably just going to do peppers, which the squirrels weren’t very fond of.

In June, my sister, cousin Amber and sister-in-law Maria relived our childhoods by going to see the Backstreet Boys in concert. Okay, I was totally team NSYNC, but I did secretly like the Backstreet Boys, even though I couldn’t admit it. You had to choose one in middle school, okay? And I made my decisions. Now that I am a grown up, I can admit this.

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Am I everything you need you better rock your body now

My department went to a Royals game over the summer which led to what I like to refer to as the chest bump gone awry, which led to what was probably my first concussion, but I didn’t go to the doctor to confirm this. I just stayed awake as long as I could, then slept on Aimee’s floor and hoped for the best. My coworkers rewarded me with a Diet Pepsi, which sits on my desk as a trophy or reminder of that day. After my head ricocheted off the concrete, I held a cold Diet Pepsi up to the goose egg protruding from my head.

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Pre-concussion – getting photobombed by some lady

We spent quite a few days at George and Jordan’s pool over the summer, including the 4th of July. Later that night, we went to Corporate Woods for their firework show.

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4th of July lounging

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Waiting for the fireworks to start

We had a murder mystery night at George and Jordan’s with Will and Adkin and Jimmy and Jen. The setting was a speakeasy in Chicago in the 1920s. Because Jordan is a far better hostess than I am, she went all out and decorated their apartment and created menus to go with the dinner we made. We dressed up according to our characters’ descriptions.

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There was one thing that wasn’t on the menu: MURDER

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Eddie was not a very good detective. In this picture he is unknowingly hanging out with the murderer.

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We went all out.

For our anniversary, Eddie and I stayed at Southmoreland, a bed and breakfast at the plaza in Kansas City. It was our first time staying at a bed and breakfast, and we weren’t sure what to expect. We were shocked when we walked into a room with no TV, because well, we watch a lot of TV. It was actually a wonderful stay, though. We had sushi for dinner, and that breakfast in the morning…amazing. It was a beautiful morning, so we ate outside, and the owners grilled pork chops and made French toast and filled us up with so many drinks – water, coffee, OJ and a smoothie. And the owners were so warm and welcoming. We plan on going back at some point this year and staying in the carriage house.

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Anniversary selfie in our room at the B&B

The next day, we got pedicures together – Eddie’s first time. And we stopped by the Boulevard Brewery. It was too late to get a tour, but we spent a little time in the tasting room.

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He’s ready to go

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If you haven’t gathered between this photo and the In-N-Out photo, Eddie is a fan of double fisting.

We also caught the last night of the Summer Concert Series this August in downtown in Lawrence. We hung out on a blanket listening to music and caught the fireworks show after.

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Pigs on a blanket

For our September wine club, rather than going to somebody’s house, we went to the Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery in Paola. It was yet another beautiful day, and we sat outside and listened to a live band while tasting different wines and then eating pizza and walking around the vineyards. It was a perfect setting. We followed that up with a trip to Louisburg Cider for donuts and ended the day playing Cards Against Humanity at Melissa’s.

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I just want to eat this again.

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Melissa and her husband James

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The vineyards

In October, the Emilys and I went to Brew at the Zoo at the Kansas City Zoo. It was just about everything I love – drinking wine and hanging out with animals. So I’ll probably be back.

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Yo mama is a llama

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Don’t worry, guys. It’s not a real bear.

Later that month, we carved pumpkins at Aimee and Mike’s house with Melissa and James.

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Mine is the cat, of course.

And I spent Abby’s birthday with her and Brendan. We went to Beer Kitchen, and then Abby and I chatted at her new house into the wee hours of the morning. I don’t have pictures to commemorate this, but it was a good night. I hope it was for her too.

The girls and I did not make it to Hermann this year, but we did still go to our annual Chiefs game, where we were spoiled with another win. We weren’t used to those for a long time.

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See, the hot cheetos are red, which is one of the Chiefs’ colors…

We spent the holidays with family as always. My cousin gave birth to a baby boy, her second child, on Christmas Eve. Normally I do my end of the year post around Christmas, but we were especially busy this year, because we were also preparing for the cruise, which was at the very beginning of the year. We also had a New Year’s party at our house, complete with a party light and karaoke.

I’ll just end this post with a few other tidbits from the year per usual.

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Not even sure where we are here. Trivia maybe?

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Eddie snapped pictures of Jack and me cuddled up

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I am not sure where this alligator’s carcass is.

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I got a new bike! We spent the end of summer and early fall biking downtown for breakfast.

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Jack’s customer service isn’t exactly stellar. But he did help me whenever I worked from home.

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Sara and I set up a recurring dinner date, in which I go to her house and she feeds me. It works well. This is her cat Flynn checking out the wine.

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We got a new public library and a skating rink to go with it!

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Cairo Santos became the Chiefs’ new kicker, so Maria got us jerseys with the family name.

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At some point it became tradition for Aimee and I to get coffee together every morning at work. We are now codependent and get really sad when one of us works from home or has the day off and we have to get coffee alone.

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Jordan and I got some dancing in at Tony’s sister’s quince.

It is now 2015. The first month is almost over. Right now, I feel like I am in a very good place, mentally and emotionally. I’m quite happy, which is not how I usually feel in the dead of winter. But almost two weeks off work, a week in the Caribbean, coming back to great coworkers and a special project to work on, and finding out you had an awesome overall ranking for the year before will do that for you.

Physically, I could be in better shape. I came back a larger Amanda than normal. I don’t think most people notice, but I do.

I made a list of goals for 2015. I guess you could call them resolutions. I always give myself really vague resolutions, like, “Be a better version of myself,” and then at the end of the year there’s no way to really quantify it. This year, the goals are in writing and quantifiable, for the most part.

  • Write one page per week
  • Exercise 3 times per week, at least 30 minutes
  • Go out to eat less – maximum of 2 times per week
  • Lose 14 pounds from returning cruise weight by the end of Eddie’s semester
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Use emergency fund for emergencies only
  • Read 12 books

I can already tell you that I have failed at some of these goals. We ate at three different places yesterday. Some of these goals are basic things normal humans do without thinking about them, but I don’t, and they need to be done. Some of these goals are things I actually enjoy and like to do, like reading and writing, but I just don’t. And I should. So there it is. I won’t be successful every week or every month, but I hope at the end of the year I can look back and say I actually made some changes.

I don’t know how often I will be on the blog. It’s just a little piece of my life floating out in the space that is the internet, and it’s weird to think about who might come across it someday. I’m planning to just start a Word doc and write for myself, but I think I will be back more than once at least, which would be more than I visited last year.

A lot of really bad things have happened in the world lately, and forever, and that gets to me sometimes, and I don’t really know what to do with the feeling. But when I zoom in, my life is everything that I could want it to be at the moment, and I know there is a lot more to come. So I’m finding happiness in all that I have and holding the many people in my life as evidence that the world is not always a horrible place and that most people are good.

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Thanksgiving 2014

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I have so much to say that doesn’t belong on the internet.

I wish I felt the warm fuzzies I normally feel this time of year. Mostly I feel a mix of anxiety and mental exhaustion.

That said, it doesn’t mean I lack things to be thankful for.

I have a home. The best husband, friends and coworkers anyone could ask for. A family that loves me and that I love back dearly. My sweet, crazy Heidi and handsome snuggler Jack. A job that I usually enjoy that pays me a living wage. Mentors to seek advice from. And let’s not forget Netflix.

I’ve been off work since last Friday, and this is my favorite holiday, so I ought to be in higher spirits. Plus I have a cruise to look forward to in a month and a few days. But sometimes I just feel weighed down by the world. I’ve become older and maybe wiser or maybe just more cynical. But when I read the list above, which is pretty much the same list it is every year, I remember why it’s worth the effort to attempt to spare my spirit from the soul-crushing boulder this world can be.

That sounds a lot more dramatic than I intended it. It’s just that the world is a shitty place, and it’s probably always been this way, but when you are younger, if you’re lucky, like I was, people tend to shield you from that reality. And then you get older and you see more and more of what people are capable of and how many people are suffering and how injustice is just tolerated as a fact of life. And you learn how little your vote actually counts and how all your leadership options are owned by corporations, and you see that even good intentions will be squashed or transformed into something unrecognizable.

And on a smaller scale, you watch the people around you take each other for granted, and you know you are guilty of the same, and you think about the moment in which they will no longer be around to take for granted anymore, the day you will look back and wish you’d said more, done more, loved more.

Yep. Still sounding a little dramatic tonight.

The important thing is, this is why I love what Thanksgiving has become. I’m not talking about the whole native Americans and pilgrims Thanksgiving, but what we have made it today. A day to share with loved ones and to focus on what we have instead of what we don’t have. What I have is a crazy huge support system to make me feel better when I’m down and out, to share my anger and to celebrate my successes. And I get to do the same for them, and it’s easy and rewarding and natural, because when you love someone, their hardships are your hardships and their triumphs are your triumphs. I never have to bear my burdens alone, and I always have someone to clink glasses with.

The world still sucks. But my world is nice. And I suppose the next step is to focus on trying to make other people’s worlds nice too.

2013. such goodbye. very new year. wow.

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Well, I may be horrible at remembering to post these days, but I do still feel obligated to do a recap of 2013, because, if nothing else one day it will be fun to look back on this blog and see a recap of all the past years.

2013 began at George and Jordan’s (for us at least). My hair was really long and ugly. I love my hair when it is long to a point, and then one day it just looks like it doesn’t belong on my head. It’s like a wig, but less fun, because it’s not a wig. So that’s what I remember most about New Year’s Eve. Bad hair.

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Long hair, do care.

I fell asleep on the couch not too long after midnight, as I do at most parties. At least I made it longer than George, who tried to go to bed before midnight.

If you are wondering about my hair, I cut it right at the beginning of the year.

Hello, bob.

Hello, bob.

The girls and I had our annual Christmas party in January again, due to December being a little too hectic. Joann drew my name, and I made out like a bandit, because she had been couponing. In addition to getting the coffee maker I wanted, she also gave me a Chiefs trash can (necessary) and a bunch of hand soap and detergent. Score!

Eddie had a birthday. I honestly don’t remember what we did for it. It must have been awesome. His birthday always sucks, because it gets lost after Christmas, and the weather is always bad. I checked my calendar to see what we did, and I have a Saturday marked off for Eddie and George’s joint birthday party, but I’m fairly certain that never happened.

I also don’t remember Valentine’s Day, but we probably watched a movie and ate food, because that’s usually our V-Day preference.

I worked like crazy at the beginning of the year. It was depressing. Dark when I left for work. Dark when I got home. We were so busy, I routinely worked until the lights went out. And then I worked in the dark. The one perk of this dark cloud over my life is that I did a lot of retail therapy, in the form of watches, purses and jackets.

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My best memories of early 2013 are Thursday nights at Minsky’s. We didn’t go every Thursday, but quite a few, because the Papa Minsky’s pizza was on special, and they have good deals on Boulevard pitchers. I was so stressed from work, and those fat, giggly nights with Eddie were my saving grace.

 

We also got a lot of snow in February, which resulted in a couple of days off work and these creepy snowpeople that I made with Beth.

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Yes, that is a jalapeño nose.

By the time my birthday rolled around, things were still pretty bad at work, but I do remember having a birthday miracle, which was a much needed slow day. And my awesome coworkers bought me silly gifts, which brightened my day and my desk.

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My cousin Amber had her first baby, Cambria, on May 22nd. I went straight to the hospital after work, thinking she would have had the baby already, and Cambria didn’t show up until around 10:00 that night. I drank a lot of free coffee and hung out with my mom and sister in the waiting room.

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May 25th was the busiest day of the year. Eddie was a groomsman in Doug and Tanairi’s wedding, so that was the beginning of our day. Then we had to rush to his youngest sister’s quinceañera, where we were padrinos. Then we split ways, and I went to Jen’s bachelorette party, and he went to Tony’s graduation party. It was also Norah’s birthday party and Jack’s adoption day.

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I gave Norah her birthday present a little late.

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We saw the Lumineers (and lots of other bands) at Buzz Under the Stars in June. I was so excited for that night, because I thought lying on a blanket under the stars in June sounded like the best idea ever. It might have been if it hadn’t been a random cold, rainy day and if the people around us were capable of going more than 10 minutes without a cigarette. It kind of ruined the mood. But by the time the Lumineers came on, we’d found Jen and Mikki and their crew, and they were in a less smokey area, and we bundled up in blankets and enjoyed the show.

Jen and Jeff got married the next week. The weather cooperated that day, the location was beautiful, and so was the bride. Aimee and I danced a lot that night.

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We spent the 4th of July swimming at George and Jordan’s and then went to the T-Bones game. I finally got Eddie to go to a game with me. All it took were $1 beers.

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Eddie went to the Ozarks with the guys for a weekend in July. It was my first time home alone for a whole weekend in years. I did nothing. Just hung out with Heidi and Jack.

Abby, Aimee, Beth, Christa and I went to see the Little Mermaid at Starlight Theatre. It was mostly full of little girls, but you could tell we were not the only ones looking to indulge our inner children.

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I started prepping for a new job with my former supervisor/current friend/mentor over the summer in hopes of finding another job within the company. I’d been in my position for a little over two years, and it was time to do something else. A job position in Aimee’s department opened up right before we went on vacation, so I submitted my resume before we left, and I accepted a phone call to schedule my phone interview in the bathroom of the hotel in Chicago. I had my phone interview in the parking garage of Navy Pier, and I interviewed in-person my first day back at work. Thankfully, I got it, otherwise that stress during vacation would not have been worth it.

I just posted about Chicago, so I won’t add too much, but while we were there, we did try to reenact a wedding photo of us high-fiving in front of Michael Jordan’s statue. Here’s the original:

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And here are our failed attempts:

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We are the worst.

Not too long after getting back from Chicago and Cedar point, I left again to go to Hermann for annual wine tasting with some of the ladies.

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Near the beginning of the day

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The result of the day. Moral of the story: do not let Neidig sisters piggy back you. Or do, because it’s fun until they drop you.

On September 24th, Christa, despite her tiny pelvis, gave birth to baby Liam.

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And I started training for my new job on October 1st. Training is the best, because we are actually trained in classrooms, and it’s like being paid to go to college as opposed to being paid to do actual work or paying to go to college. If I could train forever, I would. But, if I have to work, I do like my new job, and so far it is so much better than what I was doing before. I can actually leave at a normal time again, and I don’t have stress dreams about work every night. I did dream that I got shot last night, and I willed myself to stay alive for Eddie’s sake. Still a better dream than work dreams.

The girls and I did our annual Chiefs game in October as well, and we won, because the Chiefs win games this year! Our first (and hopefully not last) playoff game is this Saturday. It’s been an amazing turnaround from last year, and it’s been a nice reminder of why football is my favorite sport. It can be tough being a KU fan and a Chiefs fan when you like football.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were about the norm, which is a good thing. We enjoyed time spent with family and friends. We also spent the past few days using our many gift cards we received. We’ve been incredibly unhealthy.

And below are a few recap pictures from throughout the year.

 

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To sum up 2013: it came in like a lion and went out like a lamb. I’m happier than I was when the year started. I guess I kind of kept my resolution to do something besides watch TV, because I crocheted like seven or eight scarves, so that’s something.

And 2013 gave us my favorite meme: doge.

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In 2014, my resolution is to be a better version of myself. That should always go without saying. But sometimes I am a worse version of myself. I want to be more thoughtful, spend more time doing good, build some muscle, break bad habits and be a positive source of energy for the people around me.

Thanksgiving + Recap

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No posts since July? Uh, whoops.

Here’s what’s been up:

In August, Eddie and I almost did not make it on our anniversary road trip to Chicago and Cedar point, because a spark plug mishap kind of snowballed into car cancer for my car. I won’t delve too far into that, because I don’t understand anything about how cars work. I just throw money at them until they work again and I keep doing that until that car is no longer worth the money I’m throwing at it, and then I find a new car to throw my money at. I hate cars. So I rolled my luggage out that morning and rolled it back in that night after Eddie and my uncle Jimmy spent all day working to get it in questionable condition. It should be noted that Jimmy was supposed to be getting ready to leave on his own road trip, and instead he drove out of his way to Lawrence to work on my car and then didn’t even allow me to buy him dinner. Who needs dads when you’ve got uncles? And…I just realized my children are not going to have uncles, since Eddie and I both have sisters. That’s sad for them.

Anyway, no amount of questionability will prevent me from going on vacation, and I am happy to report that my car made it to and from our destinations with no problems and about 2,000 more miles on the odometer. We lost  a day of our trip, but at least we made it.

We stayed near O’Hare, which wasn’t terribly convenient but was cheap. The weather was fantastic for the time of year. It rained briefly our first day there while we were at Navy Pier, but aside from that, 70s and sunny pretty much the entire trip. We visited the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium and rented bikes to get around. I hadn’t ridden a bike since high school. Loved it. The lake was gorgeous, and we also did a quick lake tour and used the water taxis to get around one day. I love being on the water. I wish I could take a boat to work every day instead of my stupid car.

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We also got to spend an evening with Ceily while we were there. We didn’t end up getting to Chicago until late Sunday night, so we didn’t get a chance to spend as much time with her as we’d initially hoped, but we did enjoy a deep dish pizza together. I want to eat it again. Now. I’m getting upset thinking about it. She also confirmed our suspicion that Garrett Popcorn was delicious and that we should get some. So we ate about a billion calories of popcorn on this trip. Ugh, now I don’t have deep dish pizza or popcorn.

When we got to our hotel in Sandusky, Ohio, I learned how spoiled Eddie has become. We don’t stay in super fancy hotels, but we usually find pretty good Priceline deals on 3.5- or 4-star hotels, so they are nice. You know, the doors don’t open directly to the outside, the beds are a little more comfortable, you assume any hookers who have been on the bed before were the fairly classy type and that they probably made it out safely after the encounter with the agreed upon amount of money. Where we stayed at was really a motel, because that was just about the only option aside from spending $200 a night to stay in one of Cedar Point’s resorts. I won’t pay for that unless we are actually going to be spending time awake in the room and there is a hot tub in it. No. And it has not been that long since our motel-dwelling days for him to feel so far removed from them. So we spent two nights as planned in the motel, spent our anniversary at Cedar Point, and nobody got shot. Well, at least neither of us did, and to my knowledge nobody else at the motel did either.

Cedar Point lived up to my expectations. I’m glad we decided to spend two days there instead of one. The best rides were maXair and Millennium Force. Oh, Millennium Force. The lift system that takes you up to the top is surprisingly quick, yet I still found myself wondering how we could possibly not be at the top yet as it kept pulling us. It’s that tall. And then you finally get to the top and drop almost straight down. Ahhhh I loved it. Thank you, physics.Image

What else has happened since July?

I got a new job. Same company. Different department. I actually had my phone interview in the parking garage at Navy Pier on our second day in Chicago. That made the trip a little less relaxing than I’d hoped for, because I spent the first day stressing about the phone interview and the next day thinking my phone interview had not gone very well. I got the call to schedule an in-person interview at the planetarium and called back to set it for my first day back at work. So then I had that to think about for the rest of the trip. First day back, I showed up all dressed up, and you can always tell by who else is dressed up who you are competing with for a job. Initially the department I went into planned to hire two or three people. I felt good for having made it to an in-person interview, but I knew a lot of people who applied for it and didn’t know at that point how many had already had their interviews. Ultimately, they ended up hiring seven people, including myself. I now handle theft claims, meaning I take statements when people have had their belongings stolen and then I help to price what was stolen and get them paid (i.e., I shop online for a living now). I like it so much better, so far at least. We’ll see after I’m no longer a newbie, but for now, I am very content with the move. And I work about 40 feet away from Aimee now, so that’s nice, too.

And that brings us up to about now. Thanksgiving was a few days ago. It was pretty much the same as always: my family’s, Eddie’s family’s, a little shopping but nothing crazy. I did get a little sick Thanksgiving night into Friday, but thankfully it was short-lived. My list of things I am thankful for is about the same as always, too. I am a sad, pathetic person without Eddie, my family, my friends and my pets. I’m thankful for the new job and the new coworkers I’m am starting to bond with, as well as my old coworkers who have transitioned into the friends category. For a winning Chiefs season and Sporting KC’s upcoming cup victory. (Fingers crossed!) For the life Eddie and I are building together and this little house we are making memories in right now. For a landlord who was nice and called the night before Thanksgiving to knock $50 off the rent for the inconvenience of our hot water heater going out a few weeks ago. He had a new one put in almost immediately but since it was a Saturday when I told him, we had to wait until Monday to get somebody in to install it and spent the weekend without hot water. I am thankful for hot water.

I had the past week off work, so tomorrow will be my first day back. I’m sad my week off is over, but I’m not dreading going back. That’s a pretty nice feeling.

Right now, I think I am going to decorate for Christmas. It’s finally time. Since I am a bad blogger, I guess I’ll probably be back around New Year’s to recap the year.

This whole post is TL;DR, so I will not be proofreading under the assumption nobody else is reading it either.

The first five years

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In just a bit more than two weeks, a fortnight and three days, if you will, Eddie and I will be plummeting down a roller coaster, screaming our lungs out, in celebration of our fifth wedding anniversary.

FIVE YEARS!

We have the week off. The plan is to spend a night in St. Louis, head to Chicago for a few days, then hit up Cedar Point for two days before our sad trip back to reality. To say I am excited is an understatement. We’ve been stuck too close to home for WAY TOO LONG, and work has been, well, let’s not even talk about that. I think that when we come back, we will feel refreshed and ready to take on the world again. And then I will probably cry. We won’t talk about that either.

In addition to marrying Eddie five years ago, I also bought this macbook five years ago, which means I have way-too-easy access to five years of photos, mostly of pets and food and my nails, but uh, I think there are a few of us, too.

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What have we learned from these photos? You can cut and regrow your hair a lot over a five-year span. Even throw in some bangs for fun every once in a while.

What have we learned from marriage? Absolutely nothing.

JKJKJK

There is still much to be learned, but here is an incomplete list of things I have learned about marriage in years 0 – 5. Some of these also easily apply to people who are not married or in a relationship, but in the context of my own life, and this is my blog, after all, they apply to marriage.

  • It is possible to watch two full seasons of a tv show in one day if you put your minds to it.
  • When you have money, you will find ways to spend it. When you don’t have money, you will find ways to save.
  • It is best to take turns picking up the carryout pizza, lest the person at the counter recognize you as a “regular.” This just happened to me, and I’m going to make Eddie start picking it up.
  • A little time apart is okay. Eddie upon his return home from the Ozarks a couple of weekends ago: “I actually missed you.” No duhhr.
  • You get to make racist jokes about a whole new group of people, and nobody can legitimately call you out on it (only applies to interracial couples). The other day I reasoned with my coworkers that while my children probably won’t be great drivers, they’ll be excellent at math and great swimmers.
  • When you come home from a long, horrible day, hugs are always available and waiting.
  • Pick your fights. So cliché. So completely true. If you can find the one sane cell in your brain and convince it to answer the question, “Is it worth it?” the answer is almost always a resounding, “No, go take a nap.” And when you are done being mad, stop acting mad. Get over it. Be over it. Also, if you have that rare moment of clarity where you suddenly realize you happen to be the person in the wrong, admit it.
  • You chose to become half of a whole. It doesn’t mean you are not your own person. It means you owe it to your spouse to be somebody who makes them a better person as well.  It means being considerate and calling if you suddenly find you’ll be home much later than expected, not because you don’t trust each other, but because the other person might be at home writing a mental eulogy speech under the assumption that you are dead on the side of the road. It means supporting their hopes and dreams, even if it’s inconvenient in the short run. It means sacrificing the larger slice of pizza sometimes, because you care more about their happiness than your own, and you are a saint. It means eating the bigger slice of pizza sometimes, because you don’t want them to be unhealthy and die, and you are a saint.
  • Using the “divorce” word isn’t going to jinx you into getting divorced. Wait. I don’t know that, because it’s still possible for us to get divorced. But he reminds me frequently that we don’t have a prenup, since I am the current breadwinner, and I remind him of the same, since he will likely be the breadwinner in a few years. So far we still like each other. And there’s always life insurance to stick around for.
  • Choose to trust each other, and choose to be trustworthy.
  • Travel. Make memories in new places, far away from work and school and the monotony of daily life.
  • Dream about the future. Right now it’s, “Where will we move in a few years?” “What will our first house be like?” “What will our kids be like?” Later, I assume it will be, “When will our kids move out?” “When will our kids stop asking for money?” “When will we ever be able to retire?”
  • Remember that you love each other, remember why, remember to show it, and don’t give the other person a chance to forget it.

Obviously, I am not an expert. At anything. And five years is still a short period of time in the grand scheme of things. But I realize looking at this list that I have learned a lot. And I know I am going to learn so much more over the next x years of our lives. It’s exciting to be hitting our first real milestone anniversary. And what can I say? Still love that dude.

Today is the day

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Today, I disclosed to Eddie that people only come to my blog for food belly pictures. To celebrate, here are some old food belly pictures that I never posted, because both my closet and hair were a mess. Today, I disclose to you that I am a hot mess.

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Before

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After

Here it goes again

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I keep starting posts I can’t finish. So I’ll keep it short. The world is filled with stupid people and horrible people who do terrible things to other people. I know it is also filled with good people who make a case for why humanity ought to be mourned a little if a giant asteroid hits Earth and destroys humankind. I am trying for my own sanity to focus on the good and be part of it. Some days I fail. I’d like to succeed more days than I fail, and that’ll be a good start.