Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yeah it's been awhile. Don't judge :P So I was thinking today about graduation and the caps and gowns and the parties and the commencement and speeches and whatnot. And I realized that most commencement speeches are useless. Having been a part of a high school band, I've heard many graduation speeches sandwiched by those wonderful melodies and Pomp and Circumstance and Recessional. (Yes, that's sarcasm.) And most of them stunk. I mean, don't get me wrong, they were fantastically inspirational: Reach for the stars, be a go-getter, always improve, be the best, you are the best! Go to college, get a job, get married, settle down, put into your 401k and you're set for life. You'll be happy. (There will be an upcoming post on happiness, but with my history of blogging [or lack thereof] I'm not giving an ETA.)

And most of these kids listening to these speeches end up working minimum wage jobs in food service and retail. Happy? Probably not. So what would a real, honest commencement speech sound like? (Rabbit trail: I just realized that I double-spaced after one of my sentences and am now wondering if I did that for any others. Perhaps I should go check?) Ahem. Moving on. Yes, down-to-earth, realistic commencement speeches. So here it goes, since all of you know that I will one day be the most sought-after graduation speaker ever. You can all say you knew me when ;)

Dear Class of 20__,

Congratulations. You've made it through one of the easiest chapters of your life. Oh yes, you can say that those chemistry labs were hard, that trigonometry exam was a killer, and that high school drama is worse than anything else in life. But those were actually some of the easiest challenges you'll ever encounter. Welcome to  the real world! [kudos for that line go to my dad.] But before you go turning your tassel, I'll leave you with some advice that should be given to every graduate transitioning from the the stage of high school to the harshness of reality.

First of all, make goals. I know, you're 18 and you've got your whole life. Well it's going to fly by. So figure out what you want now. Know what you want to be doing when you're 22, 33, 45, 67, and 99. [of course those numbers have significance, but only mom and Pete will get it probably.] Now figure out what you need to do to get there. Life's a journey, and you need a map. Or GPS, as maps are probably obsolete by now. Make sure your goals are attainable. You probably won't be making 60k right out of college. But you can work up to it, if you work hard and smart.

Secondly, get a job. Yeah, it's your last summer to goof off with your friends and have fun. But even a summer spent working at McDonald's looks better on a resume than being a party animal. Even if you don't want to have a career in food service, it will teach you priceless lessons of having a work ethic and being responsible. In fact, get a job that's either in food service or retail. Keep it for a minimum of two years. It will teach you a lot about people and even more about yourself.

Third, and I mean this in the kindest way, you're not special. You're not going to change the world. You're not Dr. King or Ghandi. You're also not owed anything. If you want something, work hard to get it. Save money, get another job, make sacrifices. Again, this is the real world. And the real world isn't beholden to anyone, least of all a brand new high school graduate. 

Fourth, want to go to college? Great. Before you start looking, know what you want to major in. Don't know? Don't go. College is expensive and the market is saturated with many worthless degrees. Look into tech school and research what certificates may be less expensive but still hold the same value. Go to job search sites and see what employers are requiring for positions that interest you. This is the real world, and no one is going to do this for you.

Fifth and finally, know what's really important. Having 800 friends on Facebook might make you feel cool, but having three or four friends who support you will get you through the rough times in life and celebrate with you during the good times. Having a job that requires you to work 70 hours a week may make you feel prestigious, but the times you'll want to remember are those that you spent with your family. Know who's important, and make sure they know it too.

You've only got so much time. Make it count.

Cynical, I know. But I think there's a little too much Pomp and Circumstance out there, and it seems a little unrealistic. See you in six months! (Just kidding, Mom; I'll try to blog more frequently, I promise...)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Coming Soon!

A comparison of Stride spearmint gum and Orbit spearmint gum. Aren't you excited?

Sunday, October 9, 2011


 I got new glasses. Some people like them, some people don't... like my dad :) he walked in to Target the other day and did this sort of buzzard-like circling around my head and then peered at me with kind of squinty eyes. "So... you got new glasses, huh." "Yep, Dad, what do you think of them?" His reaction: "They uh... well, um they, ehh..." I surmised that he didn't like them and he replied with a firm "yep!" But oh well, they fit better than the old ones and I like them. So did the guy at the Tim Hortons drive-thru... as well as a couple of friends, one of whom asked if I got new glasses. Upon my assent, my other friend promptly said "oh yeah I noticed them a few days ago..." to which I replied (choking back laughter) "I just got them today." Haha at least they tried, right?
 I went for a walk the other day. This weather is the my favorite of the whole year. It's chilly at night - I need several blankets to stay warm. It's brisk in the morning and evening, which is perfect hoodie weather :) But it's mid to high seventies during the day, which means I can still wear short sleeved shirts and flip flops. Life does not get any better than this!
It's a bad picture, I know. But it's the best out of four or five tries. This picture was not meant to be a shout-out to my very dirty car, but it's a very detailed and intricate spider web built on my very dirty car. Yeah, it's kind of gross because this spider is using the space behind my mirror as his home. I'm not a fan of spiders. But this web has been on my mirror and door all day, and driving 60 mph didn't hurt it at all. And the best part is, Mr. Spidercus Arachnid was smart enough to not attach it to my window so I can roll it down without feeling guilty that I ruined his web. I thought it was pretty brilliant.

And on a different note: if you buy a collander to avoid spilling pasta down the sink when draining it, make sure that you don't spill the pasta on the stove when transferring it from the collander back to the pot. It makes the collander rather useless. On a minor rabbit trail from this note: adding one slice of CoJack cheese to a pot of mac'n'cheese makes it taste better. Rather than taste like processed boxed blah, it tastes like cheesy processed boxed blah! Isn't it a great time to be alive? Aren't you glad you've read this post?

Monday, September 19, 2011

And In the Morning, I'm making Waffles!

Can't help it. Shrek is one of my favoritest cartoons ever. Shrek's sarcasm, Fiona's tomboyness, and then this guy. Who I think of every time I make waffles.

Which, isn't ever. Until tonight. (Ohhh that sounded foreboding!) Anyway, a few weeks ago Target had waffle makers on clearance. So I figured, eh, why not. So I purchased a black George Foreman waffle maker, put in in a cupboard, and promptly forgot about it. However, one of my co-workers who knew I bought it wouldn't let me forget. "Did you make waffles yet?" "Break in that waffle maker yet?" "Are you EVER going to use that thing?"

As I explained to him, I don't have a clue how - Mom takes care of that stuff. All I know is that it's non-kosher to use a boxed mix (and you'll notice that I've had issues with those premade foods before). So after enough nagging I Googled "best waffle recipe ever" and found a recipe that looked decent. So I told Josh that I had found a recipe and he could quit worrying now, thanks for being concerned about my waffle maker ;). But oh no, that wasn't enough, Josh then said since I had a recipe I should MAKE the waffles too! (Proof that guys can never be pleased!) ;) Fine, fine, ok. Went shopping. Bought ingredients. Does anyone realize exactly how many types of flour there are? Wheat flour! Bread flour! All-purpose flour! Tall! Decaf! Cappuccino! (That one's for you, Mom.) I got all-purpose. Even though waffles are a type of bread and should therefore use bread flour. However, in order to be more nutritious and health conscious (oooh look at me using big words!), wheat flour may have been a better choice. Beats me.

There. Now I have a waffle maker, waffle recipe, and waffle ingredients. Think Josh is happy now? Oh no. "Why haven't you made waffles yet?" Good gravy. So I decided that tonight was a good waffle night.

First, the waffle maker. Pretty, isn't it?

And of course the batter is next to it. Don't ask me what's in it. I have no idea. All-purpose flour maybe? According to the destructions (or instructions, if you're not me. Which you're not, which is good cause that would be so awkward. Sorry, rabbit trail...) one should first rub vegetable oil on the waffle maker with a paper towel. Then one should plug it in and turn it on and allow it to preheat. Next one (does anyone else get annoyed by the third-person stuffiness?) Next one I poured in some batter, skimping a bit because the destructions warned me that I should NOT pour in too much. How much is too much? No one ever gives specifics. I NEED DETAILS, PEOPLE!

Anyway, this is the first waffle...

Yeah not quite done. Apparently Mr. Foreman had a slight issue in regulating heat throughout the entire waffle maker. Oh well. The all-knowing destructions say to throw out the first one anyway, because it soaks up all the oil I rubbed on with the paper towel. Pshht yeah right. It was tasty ;)

I'm not a syrup eater. I don't like it. It's super sweet and super sticky. Gross. No, if I'm going to eat breakfast food for supper, I would like some protein with it. So I made a white sauce and threw in some super-oniony/garlicky ground beef to make pure deliciousness in every bite. But now the question is, do the waffles and the gravy taste good together? Taste-testing! :)

 Yummy deliciousness :) I love white-sauce anything. Yeah I'll probably die when I'm 35, but it's so worth it!

The next waffles turned out better, thought Mr. Foreman's heat regulation is clearly going to be a problem. More experimenting to come :) Anyway, that's all the pictures I have because I got a little distracted eating... my only other comment on the experience is, does anyone have any clue how hard it is to clean a stupid waffle maker?!?!?!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Crescent Rolls

My mom makes the best crescent rolls in the whole world. Probably the universe. They're amazingly delicious and buttery and fluffy. She (with the help of child labor, aka her kids) makes them two or three times a year, usually at Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. It takes all afternoon; mixing the dough, letting it rise, and then realizing it hasn't risen enough so letting it rise again (which usually involves the dough rising up over the top of the bowl and occasionally spilling down the sides and onto the stove...). Then it has to be kneaded (insert corny jokes here) which is a nice release for anyone who carries frustrations at the point in time. Then the dough gets rolled out in a half-hearted attempt at a circle (with laments from certain people about how it shrinks) and then gets buttered and cut into... a lot of pieces. Sixteen? As many as looks good.

Of course, there are those miserable times when *someone* forgets to butter the dough before cutting, which then involves laughter-filled attempts to butter these little triangular imps which are constantly shrinking or tearing. These evil fiends then get rolled up from the big end to the point and placed on a cookie sheet and baked at some temperature that rivals the surface of the sun. Eons later (or so it seems as the smell of baking bread wafts across the house) the crescent rolls get taken out of the oven and get their tops dipped in butter. Then they're left to cool a bit (except for those poor rolls who are deemed "testers" and are devoured mercilessly mere second after being buttered) and then packaged up to be taken to Grandma and Grandpa's for whatever-holiday-it-is dinner.

Upon arriving, these rolls who survived the testing phase (and the snitching phases, and the "mom I'm hungry are we there yet can I eat a roll so I don't get sick" phase...) are placed in an *adorable* basket with a cute little bread cloth and displayed for all the world to see and try not to drool over while the rest of the meal takes the time of the Ice Age to prepare. After the rest of the meal is finally ready, these surviving rolls are doomed. Over. Done. Finito. Like, hasta lasagna, don't get any on ya. We never take leftovers home.

Anyway, all this to say that I didn't feel like making a zillion crescent rolls for little ole' me. So I went and *gasp* bought some generic Giant Eagle brand crescent rolls. You know the cardboard tube that's supposed to pop when you open it? That kind.

Well it should've been my first clue. The tube didn't pop. It didn't even make a noise. In fact, it didn't open. After beating it to death on the counter, I got it open. Out popped two rolls of dough. Ok, no problem right? Psht. In theory (and according to the directions) one should simply unroll the dough, split apart the pre-perforated triangles, roll them up and bake them. Voila!

It's a lie. The dough doesn't unroll. It was one big lump. Lacking a rolling pin, I took a less intelligent method and simply cut the roll of dough like cinnamon rolls. The dough, having been in my freezer for... a while, was hard and kind of hard to cut evenly. I guess they didn't turn out too bad for being some store-bought non-name brand piece of dough made with some fake butter that doesn't even taste real... ;-)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I would first like to say that this blog is *completely* voluntary. I have in no way been encouraged, pushed, or harassed to blog.

With that disclaimer aside, I have a confession to make. But first, some background. Whenever I walk up or down stairs, I count the steps. Why? Well, it’s a habit I started when I used to walk up two flights of stairs every night to get to my room. The second flight was always pitch black, and there were no risers on the stairs, only treads. Knowing when I reached the top without having to feel around was important. As a result, I count steps in my head without even thinking about it. It’s second nature. If I’m on a flight of stairs I have never walked before, I will make a mental note (still without thinking about it) of how many stairs there are. All the flights at church have eight steps except the flight by the locker room – seventeen there. Gander Mountain store somewhere in Michigan? Twenty-nine. Yeah, it’s a curse.

I love escalators. I first rode one on my tenth birthday at Barnes&Noble. My mom and I went to pick out books for my birthday present (and of course, stop at the Olive Garden for lunch), and I got to ride up and down the escalator. I still get a shiver whenever I walk on that first “step” and start riding up or down. It’s like going on an adventure, especially if the escalator is in a bookstore. Then final part is just as fun… watching the stairs flatten out and disappear and waiting for the right moment to lift my toes up so they can meet the sloped metal and gently ride off the escalator – and then that awkward “oh yeah I have to walk again” first step.

*contented sigh*

Oh yeah, confession. Well, being an online student in finals week (why am I blogging again?), I took my laptop to Barnes&Noble to use their free Wi-Fi for a change of scenery from my couch. As I was leaving, I ran downstairs to see if the newest book in one of my favorite series was out in paperback yet. Check; definitely stopping in next week to sit in one of the big chairs to read :-). As I rode the escalator back up, there were people behind me who seemed in a hurry, so I started *gasp* walking up the escalator. As I neared the top and was watching the steps disappear, it occurred to me that I was on stair number 17…

Frustration set in first. How am I supposed to know how many stairs there are when they flatten out and disappear?


Oh yeah. It’s an escalator. Well I feel sheepish. Realizing there were still people behind me, I refrained from laughing out loud at myself and left Barnes&Noble with a stupid grin on my face.

It reminds me of this clip, which I first watched in Mrs. G’s management class…