Sunday, June 24, 2012

Newfoundland in Sicily

On Friday night, Kelsey and I went for a walk around the neighborhood to enjoy the lovely evening. While we were out, we walked past a house with a BIG black dog in the backyard who must've thought we were a threat--lots of barking ensued, and we crossed the street to stay away from him. We agreed that he must've been a Newfoundland, what with the size and the possessiveness, although that was a bit more "outspoken" then most Newfies I've ever seen.

My best-remembered encounter with a Newf took place when I was 10 or so and my family was living in Germany. (My dad was Air Force and we spent three and a half years--best time of my life--at Ramstein AFB.) Get this: in Europe, they still have travel agents! Like, you go to an OFFICE and tell someone that you'd like to take a trip and then THEY get on Hotwire and book your crap, and then charge you EXTRA fees! (I assume that's how travel agents work in the modern work.) Anyway, my mom booked us a cruise through a German travel agent, so one night, we found ourselves up the road in the nearby tiny city of Kusel (population about 5K), loading onto a German tour bus. The bus took us alllll the way down through Bavaria and Switzerland, ending up at the port of departure for the cruise, which was either in the south of France or in Northern Italy (but I'm pretty sure it was France).

Over the course of a week or so, we travelled in a counter-clockwise circle from our starting point. I believe we stopped in Toulon, Barcelona, cut across to Mallorca ("the 17th German state," so called due to its extreme popularity as a vacation destination for Germans), stopped in Tunisia (thereby claiming my third continent), Sicily, Naples (where my only memory consists of the fact that not a single car had side mirrors), and Rome, before heading back to our original point.

While in Sicily, my family took a local bus out to the beach and spent a lovely afternoon playing in the surf. (The fact that we almost missed the boat at the end of the day by no means put a damper on the day's festivities.) Anyway, as we were swimming, my dad and brother (who was seven at the time, I believe) were goofing around: Dad would crouch down underwater, Robin would clamber on his shoulders, and then Dad would stand up quickly and launch Robin into the air. Great fun! Well, one of these times, Robin came up spluttering (as kids are wont to do when hurled head-over-heels into water)--and suddenly, out of nowhere, up comes charging a ginormous black dog! The Newf, very obviously concerned about Robin's welfare, started "herding" my brother back to shore. The kicker was, he made sure to stay in between Robin and our dad the whole time--he perceived Dad as a threat and wanted to protect his adopted charge! We all got a laugh out of it and the owner apologized profusely when he caught up to his dog, who had BOLTED as soon as he saw a child in trouble!

Too bad I'm a cat person...and don't have the patience to deal with a dog that big! When it comes to big dogs, my mom's always said that she'd love a Bernese Mountain Dog: but only if she could afford a mansion to house it in, and a maid to clean up all the hair and slobber. I can relate!


Phew! Sorry for the break, loyal readers (assuming there’s actually anyone out there in Cyberland who reads this blog)! It’s been a busy, stressful couple of weeks. I’m currently at about the half-way point of a 27-day straight work streak—that is, by the time the Fourth rolls around, it’ll be my first day off in 27 days. Wooooooo.

Tuesday nights are Trivia Night at the local Applebee’s, and Boyf and I are to be found there practically every week. We usually end up in the top three, which nets us keychains, koozies, and even giftcards! Our team name, as you can see, is “Multiple Scoregasms,” which usually provokes at least a few chuckles. 

  My current favorite menu item is the Sizzling Asian Shrimp and Broccoli, which is one of their “Under 550 Calorie” selections (and only runs 13 PPV). 

Afterwards, we swung by the Boyfriend’s bar to watch the end of the basketball game and—since I was watching my PointsPlus intake—I had a Diet Pepsi. Mmm! Drink of the gods. I was excited that it was so Lincoln-ized: I always think it’s cool to find those cans that have been personalized for the region in which they’re sold (usually with Six Flag passes or something like that), but I’ve never seen a specialized can for the town in which I’m living. I actually run past the Children’s Zoo usually about once a week, along the Billy Wolff Trail. Following the Billy Wollf Trail from Holmes Lake, over on the east side of Lincoln, all the way back downtown, is right around 5.5 to 6 miles, and a great path. Love it!

Last Friday, I had a girls’ night with my bestie Kelsey. I got to her apartment around 11 and didn’t end up leaving until 4 a.m.! It had been much too long since we’d hung out. We ate chips and queso, and sampled a new drink I invented: the Malibu Mimosa. (It’s exactly what it sounds like. Om nom nom.) 

Kelsey is the mommy of a bunny (named Bunny) and a guinea pig (Lola), who I’m pretty certain is a direct descendent of the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. 

She is currently letting her babies chew on the business card of the worst academic adviser (college's version of guidance counselors) in the WORLD. We're both English majors, so we've had to spend a LOT of time with that idiot. What's the line? Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, teach gym. Those who can't teach gym, become guidance counselors.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

End of the World (a few months early)

I was driving home from Nebraska City and drove straight through a hu-uuge thunderstorm (which is still tapering off outside now).

"Crazy Train" came on the radio. I turned it up to 11. A bolt of lightning turned the sky purple and I couldn't hear the thunderclap over the rain pounding on my car.

It was very possibly the most metal moment of my life.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

No Thank You, I STILL Don't Like Sports

Welp, Southwest had a special on tickets this week and The Boyf and I just booked for a three-day jaunt to Chicago in August! He's a huge Cubs fan--and baseball is the only sport that I care about--so it should be great fun.

Speaking of sports, it's apparently the time of year when basketball teams play against each other for high awards. I believe their competition is called the Super Bowl? (Just kidding. I know the Super Bowl is hockey.) Also, soccer is a "thing" right now. Now, Boyf is a HUGE sports fan. I mean HUGE. I never knew so many sports existed until we started dating! He doesn't care what sport: baseball, football, basketball, tennis, hockey...the list goes on and on. From what I've been able to tell, there's ALWAYS some kind of sporting match on TV. Once one sport's season ends, the next one picks right up.

Essentially, what this means is that I only get to watch Extreme Couponing (or any show that concerns a super-morbidly obese person) when he's at work, because otherwise the TV is monopolized with sports--and even if there's not a game on, SportsCenter (this is a TV show all about sports on ESPN, which is a channel all about sports) has like 20 zillion episodes EVERY. DAY. Not to mention it also somehow broadcasts over his NCAA 2012 football video game, so I keep hearing the same updates every five minutes or so. It's like Chinese Water Torture, except every five minutes it's Erin Andrews (a traitor sportscaster lady) perkily chirping "Sports! Sports sports sports. Sports sports, sportssports--SPORTS!"

Aaaand now I'm going to veer away from "sports" because it's reached that point where the word doesn't look like it's spelt right anymore. --Oh! Except I wanted to talk about soccer really quickly. I've spent about five years, all totalled, in Germany, so I should by all means like soccer--except I am an AMERICAN and we play REAL SPORTS where a game is NOT ALLOWED TO END IN A TIE and also all of OUR sports-guys aren't BETTER GROOMED THAN I AM (gosh dang metrosexuals) and OUR sports-competitors can TAKE A FREAKIN' HIT and DON'T FLING THEMSELVES ON THE GROUND to PRETEND that someone about 15 YARDS AWAY away just kicked them. EMPHASIS. However, Boyf refuses to accept this fact and stays ever-positive that he will convert me to the dark side of European sports (but I will never go because then my good American sports-watching parents would disown me), and if I ask a casual question to be polite while he's freaking out about some basket or touchdown they just made, he goes off on this like, 20-minute explanation which then requires about 10 sidebars of its own just to explain why their clock counts UP instead of DOWN. (Did you know a soccer clock counts up?! It's just plain wrong.)

I leave you with the one good thing about soccer players:

[Image via The Hollywood Gossip]

 (They do tend to have some pretty rockin' bods.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Frustrating Schedule

author's note: This is mostly just going to be a little bit of a rant, so you can tune out if you'd so like.

I just saw a friend post something on Facebook about having his "weekend" in the middle of the week--his two free days are on Wednesday and Thursday, as opposed to most peoples' Saturday-Sunday weekend.  Another friend had commented, remarking that her schedule is laid out about the same. I started to comment...and realized my friend didn't need to listen to my whining, so I moseyed over here to subject youse guys to my frustrations.

At my job, I have one of the most frustratingly random schedules I've ever seen. I'm one of the few employees who has fairly open availability (and is also poor enough to pick up any extra hours that happen to be laying around), so I just get slotted in wherever anyone else can't work. As a result, my schedule is just about as far from a "typical" 9-5 as one can get. Let's take a look:

Sunday: I leave the house at 8 a.m. in order to work from 815 until noon. Meh, not too bad.
Monday: At 1145, I head to work from noon until 7 p.m. or so (whatever time it ends up being by the time we close up shop). [Hence, why I'm posting right now: I've been at work, all alone, for three hours and I am very much bored of everything I should be doing.]
Tuesday: My short commute in the morning (leaving at 945) in order to work from 10 until 2 is then trumped by a 45-minute commute in the evening. I leave town preferably by 415--430 at the latest--to lead a meeting in Beatrice. I'm there until right around 7 or so, at which point I usually stop and get groceries on my way back home, arriving home usually around 815 or 830.
Wednesday: Wednesdays are MY "weekend"...sometimes. On average, I end up working Wednesday nights (from 4 until 830 or so, factoring in a half-hour/35-min drive) about every other to every third week.
Thursday: Thursdays suck. I head off to work at 830 and essentially get a lunch break around 2, at which point I scarf food and run errands before commuting an hour to Nebraska City at 330 (345 at the absolute latest) in order to lead a meeting until about 645; the drive back puts me home around 745 or 8.
Friday: I just upped my Friday workload; I used to only have one meeting, from 4 until 6 in the evening, but since I'm such an great team player (bleghhh), I'm picking up a shift for the summer for another lady whose other work schedule changed. Fridays I now will be working from 845 a.m. until 1130, and then again from 4 til 6.
Finally, Saturday: Saturdays aren't bad either; I just have to show up at 10 (leaving home at 945) and work until 1 (they just cut my hours from 3 p.m. to 1 p.m.).

HANYWAY, it really isn't TOO terrible (Mike Rowe's had a lot of jobs that make mine look positively cushy), but I'm alone for the most part so it gets pretty mind-numbing, and I have enough slots here and there that trying to go on vacation for longer than a day or two becomes an exercise in futility when it comes to running around, trying to recruit people to cover my shifts. Plus, Boyf works on Wednesday and Friday nights (until about 230 a.m.) so having to get up early on Thursdays and work all day is just annoying; I'd prefer to be able to chat with him when he gets home, or keep him company at work for the night. It'd also be nice to combine some of those random hours onto an already-full(er) day so I could consolidate my free time and not have to get dressed in business-casual-wear every single day.

To thank you for taking the time to read this (or to just scroll down this far), here are some pictures from Boyf's friends' wedding a few weekends ago. The Boyf was a groomsman, and his house served as the staging area for the they busted out the old Nintendo.
Boyf on the left, groom in the vest

Matching Chucks and--naturally--a flask

some overexposed table decor

Ciao ciao!

Baseball, a Birthday, and Book Club

It's been a fairly busy weekend! The Boyfriend's birthday was on Friday, but since he and I both worked, we pushed celebrations off until Saturday. After I ran the Havelock 10K race on Saturday morning and then worked for a few hours, we headed out to his dad's farm, where the whole family had convened for a cookout. I didn't have my camera with me at that time (too many little grubby kids' hands, not enough sobriety to pay attention to delicate electronics), but I strapped up when we headed downtown to the Saltdogs game. A friend had hooked us up with tickets, so it was a cost-effective, super fun night!
We found out later that the mascot's neck-dingleberry made his ears flap.

The Boyfriend, enjoying an adult beverage at his birthday game.

The local bowling alleys sponsor a quasi-Zorb version of bowling during the seventh-inning stretch.

The boys went downtown after the game, but I just went home and went to bed--work in the morning, you know. Today, I worked until noon and then Boyf and I ordered pizza and watched Hardcore Pawn (boyyyyy am I glad I don't live in Detroit!) until I headed to Book Club at six. This was only the second Book Club I'd been to; I joined with my friend Amy, who is an old friend of the club's founder. 
This month, we'd read Sister, by Rosamund Lupton. Each meeting of the club, we bring food that pertains to the book; since Sister is set in London, with digressions to New York City, we decided to bring New York street vendor food: hot dogs, soft pretzels (with cheese sauce!), potato salad, and some delicious cherry cheesecake.
Strawberry lemonade and discussion

Phenomenal cheesecake

om-nomming all up on this cake

Roddy (the founder)'s dog, Stormy

A mini-garden outside of Roddy's

As I was leaving Roddy's house, a storm started brewing to the south and I tried to get some shots before my camera died (poor planning on my part, yes). I hightailed it to campus, where I knew of an open parking garage and made a beeline to the top. Unfortunately, I didn't get any epic lightning shots like I was hoping, but there were some pretty sweet clouds boiling above.

At the elementary school across from Roddy's house

right around the corner from the parking garage

atop the parking garage, facing to the east

and looking directly south. The phallus is the Nebraska State Capitol, fondly referred to as "the Prick of the Prairie." Those eagle-eyes among you may be able to see the one flash of lightning I was able to catch tonight in between the small tower on the left side of the picture and the apartment building in the center of the shot.

I hope my first post has been entertaining enough for y'all! I'm honestly very proud of myself for posting this so soon after the fact. Let's hope this is the start of a new trend!

Bis sp├Ąter!