Monday, April 30, 2012

Z-Zen Garden

The campus has an absolutely beautiful zen garden outside one of the newer buildings (I think it is actually very new, but I am new around here as well and do not know just how new).

I think the idea of a zen garden is fun and pretty (I do not like the little sand zen gardens for bedrooms though, they remind me of litter boxes and just are not pretty).  If I ever have a lot of money and a lot of yard I think I would like to build one similar to this.  It is not very large, but it would be nice to be able to go in and sit and read in my back yard in one of these.  This one has benches, but it is in a fairly busy area of campus, so not so zen...

However, I might have to give it a go over the summer during a lunch break while there are not so many students around.

What About You?  What do you think about zen gardens?


The color yellow is something that I like to look at, I think it is bright and sunny.  However, I have one of those skin tones that I just cannot wear yellow, it makes me look sick and sallow and jaundiced...therefore I do not buy anything yellow.

However, oddly enough, when my husband and I started talking about paint colors for our soon to be new house...the color for the kitchen that popped out of my mouth was pale yellow.  I am not sure why this is, I think maybe because of the little red checked curtains and the fact that it makes me think of sunny days.  I am not rethinking the color either, I want yellow.  I just am not positive why.

This is the color we are looking at for our kitchen ( )

What About You?  Why do you think I want a yellow kitchen?  Do you like/look good in the color yellow?

Friday, April 27, 2012

X- X-Men

So again, I am kind of a nerd (or really cool, depending on who you ask).

These are the X-Men I grew up with.

I have loved the X-Men since I was a small child.  I used to get up early on the weekend, back when cartoons were awesome (because let's face it, cartoons now are crap), and watch cartoons with my brothers.  We would watch everything: Incredible Hulk, Spiderman, Batman, and X-Men.

There was something even then that drew me in and made me want to be special, to be one of the kickass female powerhouses.  I even had my first ever crush on anyone (and it was a cartoon character!) on Gambit...still have a soft-spot for him (and I must say that while Taylor Kitsch is attractive, he did not do the character justice in the movie).

I read the comics, I watched the shows, I watched the movies, I watched the X-Men Evolution series, and I even own a book about canon.  They have been a part of my childhood and my adult life (I dressed as Rogue for Halloween a few times and the movies are a must see for me...but so are most Marvel movies).  I think having the strong female characters as a role model from a young age was probably good for me.

The newer, not as good, version.  X-Men Evolution

My favorite characters are Gambit and Rogue...though Phoenix was close and  Lady Deathstrike always piqued my interest.

What About You?  Who is your favorite X-Man character?  What super power do you wish you could have?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W-When Shall Spring Return?

It’s cold outside 
it should be snowing, but it’s not. 
Each and every season fades into the world, 
leaving gray, wraithlike emotions-- 
haunting every year of passage. 
I cannot allow myself to feel 

My brain—hot 
especially when thoughts screech out, 
like ravens, trapped in a black slate box. 
A cacophony, which I’ve known far too long… 
since I placed silver nails, firmly, 
in those cedar, one way doors. 

My heart—tepid 
the moon waxes and wanes and re-cycles.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V-Very Merry Unbirthday

We take birthdays way too seriously...

Grant Wood's painting American Gothic
either that or we do not take every day seriously enough.

I feel like everyone should celebrate unbirthdays a few days out of every year (depends on how many you want to do)!  I think setting aside an evening to exchange small gifts, cook dinner together, and watch a movie or have friends over is a wonderful way to celebrate life and the gifts it brings.  So the next time someone asks you to do something and you think "Oh, I don't have time" you should pause and think, this person wants to celebrate an unbirthday and I am special enough to be invited!  You will not always be able to go, but it will put things into perspective and turn a lot of "Oh, I wish I had done that"s into "I'm so glad we got to do that together"s.  

If you want to go all out, you could even have an unbirthday party and invite lots of people and have a silly gift exchange and go all out (maybe even Alice in Wonderland costumes would be fun if you are a costume party person)!  You might make some dear friends and have unforgettable memories.

And for those of you who have no idea where I got this idea:

What About You?  What do you think about celebrating unbirthdays?  How would you celebrate your ideal unbirthday?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U- A pair of Untitled Sonnets

Unease entangles my stomach, nausea 
uncoils. Could I house a secret so bold?— 
Fear rimed my heart—if so I knew the cause. 
“Is anyone there?” my voice felt so cold 

and stupid. Then thought I felt a small beat- 
a feather-light sense, just out of my reach 
of reason. Heart pounds, reeling defeat: 
I murmur prayers, hoping maybe I’ll see. 

Despair sets in— greedy talons, razor 
sharp. Sobs clash through the silence. How could this 
be true. Eight weeks ago…the truth blazes— 
Numbness. Tingle: my mind is amiss with 

violence. Can you hear that echo, Cadence, 
ripple-effect vibrating soul?...Silence. 

It curls itself around my heart, darkness 
cocoons. A secret soul, waiting to bloom 
‘neath a garden sprite’s angelic address, 
extolling my loveliness, I assume. 

Joyous psyche, my blood thrums its adoration- 
a symphony, echoing a deeper, 
parallel humming. An intonation: 
a star’s voice—whispers…lulling into sleep. 

Neurotransmitter overload. Yank the 
serenity. Discordant, atonal, 
musical grief—a ghastly aria. 
It withdraws, and I clutch hard, unable 

to bear the thought—how close our life could be. 
Would you? Could you? Please share your life with me.
As a sort of framework for reading these--I wrote these during college during prolife month.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Despite the fact that I loathe taking baths (I mean seriously...ew!), I am oddly fascinated by the variety of bathtub styles there are/have been in this world.  Everything from vintage, to ultra-modern , any shape, color, variety you can imagine.  Seriously, just google image bathtubs...

Here are some of my favorites:
This one is very modern, yet sort of natural and earthy at the same time.

This one reminds me of a nautical theme, if it were mine I would paint the walls blue with little fishy decals!
This is so Grecian and pretty, it makes me creeped out and a little in awe at the same time.

This is a sleek throwback to vintage!
Who doesn't love a traditional bathtub?!

This one sort of reminds me of a futuristic sleeping pod...

This one is what I imagine to be country-esque: cute, little, and wooden :)

This one is very zen, I could see enjoying a cup of tea and just relaxing here.
For some reason this reminds me of a plate, I'd feel like I was going to be eaten!See some other VERY cool and interesting bathtubs!
What about you?  Do you have any odd fascinations?  What do you think about these bathtubs?                  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

S-Stitching for Sanity

I do not know what other people do when they are watching television, are listening to music, or are about to go insane from all the craziness that life entails, but I cross-stitch.  My hands get antsy when I am sitting still watching a movie or a show and the feeling of making something beautiful really relaxes me when I get stressed out.

This is my current project, which I picked up at Goodwill for about a buck.  It is the front of our very first Christmas stocking!  I am almost finished with it and just need to do the back-stitching and details and then turn it into the stocking :D  It will definitely be ready for next Christmas.

My first completed project was this cross-stitch which is now hanging in my apartment.

I really like flower portrayals in lots of different art forms.
My longest ever project is this one.  It is absolutely gorgeous, but as yet it is still unfinished.  It needs some back-stitching and details, and I need to look up how to actually do the technique called cording because that is mostly why it has not been finished yet :/

This will definitely be framed and hung when finished!
I also have a few smaller projects which I have completed mostly for fun, and some I have given away as gifts.  I still have these two and think I will frame the second one for our new house and put it in our laundry room/kitty room as that is where I think most of the kitty's things are going to go.  I do not have a home for the first one yet, do not really know anyone who is a big Pooh fan, if you know someone who would love it, let me know (It would need a frame).

I have a few others in my stash for when I finish the others.  One is a ballerina and the other is a mother-nature sort of figure changing the seasons...they are both beautiful.

What About You?  What do you do to destress?  Do you have something you do while you watch tv or listen to the radio?

Friday, April 20, 2012

R-RPG video games

Yes, for those of you who do not already know...I am a bit of a nerd (or really cool, depending on who you ask).  I love to play video games when I get the chance.  I love RPG style games (I hate FPS games, mostly cause I cannot aim to save my life and end up beating people with my weapon instead of actually shooting them).  Mostly I love old-school RPGs like Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, Lufia and the Fortress of Doom, and ALL of the Final Fantasy Series (VII is the best, but they are all worth playing...again and again and again).

Best game ever!

I started playing games with one of my brothers before I could even read, playing along as the second player on Secret of Mana and controlling one of the characters in the party.
Once I learned to read, I quickly embarked on my first solo gaming experience and completed Chrono Trigger at age 7 or 8 (it has been a while, so I do not remember when it was exactly), and have played it several times through since then.

Fantastic game!
I remember often having tournaments with non-RPG games as a child, such as StreetFighter or Mortal Combat and the loser had to pass the controller to the next player (we still do this with things like Rock Band)...I was raised in a gaming household, but some of my siblings never really caught the bug.

I still love to play video games in my spare time.  Mostly I play them on computer emulators now since I do not own any of the original systems (they all belonged to my older brothers).  I do currently have a PS2 and it gets some love every now and again as well.

Playing games is a great way to take a break from reality, I mean who does not want to be a kickass character who goes about saving the world from imminent danger.

What About You?  Do you enjoy playing video games?  What is your favorite/most memorable time playing a video game.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Okay, so we all have quirks:  I am not sure whether my husband and I are just quirkier than other people, or that we live with each other and thus are subject to exposure of more quirks.  Either way, my life is interesting awesome!  Also, if other people are as weird as we are, life is entirely different than I imagined.

So here are a few examples of my quirks:  I color code my closet, I shower and get dressed the same way every time, I meow at my husband, I pretend to be small animals, I sing and dance around the house (and my lab...) when I am alone...and sometimes when I am not, I like all varieties of music from rockabilly to pop, I paint my nails weird colors, I am mildly obsessed with getting a kitten, I like to play the "what if" game, and apparently my husband thinks it is weird that I do not put milk on my cereal (unless it is Honey Nut Cheerios)...this is a small list of the oddities that really are not that odd...just in case you are all actually not as weird as me...I do not want to weird you out :D

Thomas is a quirker too (here are a few examples):  he makes up lyrics to songs that feature me (super cute) and sings them around the house, he acts like a puppy, he cannot remember to close a cabinet...pretty much ever, he likes to climb on lots of things, he pulls ridiculous faces (a lot), he prefers to drink warm water, he talks to the cats (so do I...but they are my cats), he tried to vacuum the cats, he tried to get my cat dizzy by holding her and spinning in a chair, he tried to play catch with my cat, he likes to ask hypothetical logic puzzles about people dying/disastrous situations, and he likes to help but often gets side-tracked...

This is what I get when I ask for help taking the sheets off the bed.

When I ask for help making the bed, I get a cat made into it...

...or a Thomas made into it!
And when I ask for help putting the laundry away I get this (I think he was hiding in it).

Something weird we both do is come up with super-weird endearments for each other, this stemmed from a period of us trying to figure out cute nicknames for each other and failing a lot, now it is funny (we finally settled on him calling me glowbug/kitten and I call him puppy).  One of our most used is rutabaga-face and if you have ever seen a rutabaga...they are not very pretty.

We also make absurd threats to each other if we are pretending to be annoyed...Thomas' usually involve him threatening to take my ovaries out in some bizarre way (let us say with a spork) and then cooking them somehow (let us say sauteeing)...these are common occurrences and they crack us both up.

What About You?  What are some of your strange quirks?  Do you think you are weirder than the average person or do you think they are just better at hiding it?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Honestly...who does not love a good pizza?  I know I do.  I also know that it is cheaper and you get exactly what you want when you make it yourself.  Surprisingly, it is not that hard to do!  The most time consuming part is the dough, but you can make it ahead of time and freeze it and just set it on the counter the morning you want to make pizza!  I got this recipe from my Italian co-worker.


  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water 
  • 300 g flour (I used 2 cups for those of you who do not have scales like me, also I used all-purpose flour and other recipes call for bread flour...I think it makes a slight difference in consistency and rising times)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar

  • Directions:
  • In a small bowl dissolve yeast in warm water and let stand for about ten minutes.  Combine other ingredients in large bowl while waiting.  After the ten minutes is up, add to the larger bowl and stir in.  Knead on a floured surface for about five minutes.  Return to bowl and cover with a dish towel and let rise until doubled in size (one to two hours).  Punch down the dough (this is where you can freeze it if you want to use it another day) and then let rise for another twenty minutes.  Roll out and bake about ten minutes at 350F (if you like crispy dough, if you do not like crispy dough you should top the unbaked crust and then bake for about fifteen minutes).  Top with all your favorite toppings and return to the oven until the cheese is melted!  

  • For my first pizza I used marinara sauce, mozzarella, ricotta cheese, banana peppers, red onions, spinach, and half with pineapples.  I have to say that it was absolutely delicious.

What About You?  What are your favorite pizza toppings?  What do you think about homemade pizza?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I have never really tried origami, but I think I would be atrocious at it.  My skills do not lie in folding straight lines (or drawing them for that matter!) or in following the sorts of directions they give you for folding.  The few attempts I have made at origami ended up in frustration and objects that no one could tell what they were.

My husband, however, likes origami and was given an old origami day calendar and spent most of an evening folding out cute little animals and bringing them to the bedroom to show me.

His work station: AKA the middle of our living room floor.
A little jumping frog.

That actually jumps when you push on its butt and let go! :D

A butterfly in my favorite color.

That can flap its wings.

The absolute cutest little turtle.

Supposedly a bunny rabbit, I think it looks like a Pikachu.

What About You?  Do you do origami?  What crafts do you do to keep your hands busy and sort of calm down after a long day?

Monday, April 16, 2012

N-New Nephew

On April 11th at 12:47am, I became an Auntie again!  The newest addition to our family is Jude, an eight pound and eight ounces, twenty-one inches tall long baby nephew.

When he was born he had some fluid in his lungs and was put in the NICU on oxygen and antibiotics and a feeding tube.
He looks just like the rest of us!
I think this image is the sweetest.
The worst part of him being here besides his poor health was that no one got to hold him at first, and his big sister could not even go in and see him since you have to be over 18 to go into the NICU (but she did have her parents put a picture of her on his NICU crib so that he would recognize her when she could see him).

After my sister-in-law could not sleep, she spent a night praying over Jude and on the 12th they took out his feeding tube and oxygen lines!

A comparison of him to a picture of his big sister as a baby.
And on Friday the 13th (who says it is an unlucky day!) they took out his IV and Jude finally got to meet his big sister and go home!  When she got to hold him she said "This is my world-wide happiest day ever!"

First time getting to meet and hold her little brother.
One big happy family at home!
I cannot believe how much I am already in love with my baby nephew without ever having held him or met him and having only seen him in pictures.  I hope he does not grow up TOO much before the next time I get a chance to visit home and meet him.

What About You?  Do you have any new babies in your life?  What is your favorite part about having babies around?

Friday, April 13, 2012


I made my first batch of muffins this month.  I started with Mixed Berry Muffins!  I was super excited to see how they turned out.  Here's the recipe I followed:

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup milk
1 cup mixed berries (theoretically you could put 1 cup of apples, chocolate chips, or whatever you like in your muffins--also, frozen fruit works too I just put mine in the microwave to thaw a bit)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups (I used a household spray bottle with extra virgin olive oil, helps cut down on CFCs and waste to dispose of).
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate bowl, cream together sugar and shortening (if you do not know what cream means, it means mash it together with a fork until it is all the same consistency).
Stir the flour mixture into the sugar mixture alternately with the milk.
Add the fruit and stir in.
Pour batter into prepared muffin pan (every time I read muffin pan it makes me want to sing the nursery rhyme, do you know the muffin man lol).
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  (I did 20 minutes)
They sure look good enough to eat!
And the verdict is that they taste pretty yummy, but next time I might do 1/8th cup shortening and 1/8th cup butter...there is just something missing, and I think it is butter...or maybe chocolate chips (they make everything better).

What about you?  What is something you recently learned how to make and made for the first time?  How often do you tweak recipes and what is your go-to add-in?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

L-Left To Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust

Left to Tell is an autobiography by ImmaculĂ©e Ilibagiza, recounting her life from early childhood to how she became a survivor of the Rwandan Holocaust, and found God during the darkest time in her life.  

This autobiography is nothing short of amazing.  The writing style makes you keep turning the page, wanting to learn more about each person and see what happens next.  I have never been so enthralled by a biography or autobiography, usually I find the facts boring and dull.  This account is both enjoyable to read and has a first-hand witness to the horrors of the genocide, which in my opinion is hard to do.  

I do not think this book is for everyone, but I would suggest it--I initially did not think it would be something I would enjoy reading, but decided to give it a chance.  I am glad I did.  

*Note*  This book does not attempt to shove religion down your throat, but it does talk about religion quite a bit.  I would suggest this book even to those without religious ties, because the entire story is so worth reading.

What About You?  Do you like biographies/autobiographies (why/why not)?  Was there ever a book you were given to read you thought you would not enjoy and ended up enjoying immensely?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


So for those of you who did not know my favorite animal was African Elephants, I am absolutely positive you thought it was KITTENS (or cats), and you would have gotten my second favorite animal!  I adore fat, waddly kittens running and have wasted LOTS of time on youtube watching videos of kittens running, kittens chasing things, and kittens just being kittens...yeah I know...I am a bit of a cat lady.

I have never bought a kitten, I have found them or they have found me.  My first kitten (that I got to name and dub my own) was Serendipity (Sera) and she showed up on our front porch in Indiana.  I then found six kittens outside my boyfriend of the time's house:
I did not get to keep these cuties, they were given away.
But I did keep these three!
I adopted and bottle-fed these kittens because they were too little to eat real food, and the feral cat colony they belonged to were all sick and would have made a poor life for them (they are my babies).

Dante (the good looking male against the pillow) is very friendly, chill, laid-back, meows pitifully when I visit with his sisters and take them away, and was very tolerant of my young nieces picking him up and carrying him around when  they were little.  He stayed in Indiana with my mom when I moved to PA because she loves him, and he is attached to her.

I brought Ellie (short for Elphaba, the black and gold kitten on the right), and Dessa (the front kitten) to PA with me.  They snuggle me and with each other and have two VERY different personalities.

Dessa acts like a dog:  she is very friendly, craves attention, loves to play (especially with laser pointers), likes to jump in boxes, likes to lay on shoes, likes to be in the way (and knows exactly where that will be), she eats plants, likes to get up on the top of doors (not sure how she does that!), and will approach anyone.

Dessa in the sink...when I want to clean it...cannot even get mad at her!
Thomas spinning Dessa to try to make her dizzy, it worked!  (So laid-back, I mean she did not even scratch him!)
Ellie is very shy and easily startled, she likes to hide in my armoire, she likes me best, she will reach out with her paw and tap you to get you to pet her, she likes to lick eye make-up off your face if you do not wash it off before bed, likes to roll around and pet herself on feet, and she is most active during the night.

Kitten Dessa and Ellie.
Right on top of the clean comfortor and freshly made bed.  D'aww.
I do not know what I would do without my kittens (well cats now...they will always be my kittens!).  They make me laugh and snuggle me and love me and only occasionally make me mad.  Even my husband loves them (although he would never admit it).  I have been wanting a new kitten to add to my mix lately, but I do not think it will happen for a matter how much I want one lol.

And of course...cute kitten links to some of my favorite kitten videos!

Momma Cat Hugs Kitten Having Nightmare

Kittens Running Round (see what I mean about fat waddly kittens-squee!)

Cutest Kitten...I want one with floppy ears!!!!!!

KITTENS!  Inspired by, KITTENS!

What about you?  Do you have a love for kittens that borders on cat lady?  What is your favorite kitten video, picture, or meme (please post here!)?