Liebster Award

Thanks to Wendy over at The Scarred Runner for nominating me for this cool little blog award!¬† I am very flattered and excited to write this post. ūüôā

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The Rules:

  1. This award is given to new or up and coming bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers.  Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to them in your post.
  2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees.
  3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 new bloggers (with fewer than 200 followers) to pass the award to and link them in your post.
  4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog.

11 Random Facts About Me:

1.¬† I am very easily startled.¬† Not scared–just startled.¬† The majority of my coworkers have caused me to jump, gasp, and take a step backwards simply by walking through a doorway.¬† Recently, I was walking into the bathroom right before going to bed; the light was on in our bedroom and off in the bathroom, so there was just enough light to make out shapes.¬† For the briefest of seconds, a pile of towels on the floor looked like a wolf.¬† Obviously, I knew there was not a wolf in the bathroom, but my body reacted before my brain.¬† I gasped so loudly and turned to run.¬† Andrew looked scared at my reaction and asked what was wrong.¬† “I thought…there was a wolf in the bathroom.”¬† Yep.¬† Not going to live that one down…ever.

2.¬† I am very squeamish.¬† I once passed out while having my blood pressure taken because the cuff was so tight and I could just feel the blood pooling up in my shoulder and…
Similarly, a few months ago I cut my finger while slicing a bagel.¬† I didn’t need stitches, but it was a bad cut.¬† Andrew told me to hold it under the water and NOT look at it while he went in search of a band-aid.¬† I looked anyway.¬† Andrew had to carry me to the couch and later quoted me saying, “I’m bleeding out!”

3.¬† I really enjoy pranking people, and I always have.¬† Once in elementary school, I wrote down a fake message for my sister that her friend Sarah had called.¬† This was before 8-year-olds had cell phones, so she actually had to dial the number on our wall-mounted phone.¬† Instead of writing down her friend’s number, I wrote the number of one of my friends who was also named Sarah.¬† I correctly suspected that they’d have an entire conversation without realizing who they were actually talking to.¬† When Whitney finally figured it out, she chased me outside and around the house.

4.¬† I think I am hilarious.¬† One time in college I laughed so hard that I peed…I was laughing at a joke that I made.

5.  I have two nieces, and when each of them were born, I understood love in a whole new dimension.  But seriously, how cute are they?

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6.¬† I am at greatest risk of laughing uncontrollably at inappropriate times when my mom starts laughing.¬† A few years ago, my brother was participating in “No-Shave November,” or “Movember.”¬† When Thanksgiving rolled around, he looked a little scruffy, and we gave him a really hard time about having a Dirt ‘Stache.¬† At Thanksgiving dinner my very Southern, proper grandmother said, “Ross, I see you’re growing a mustache.”¬† I smirked, anticipating the criticism he was about to receive.¬† Instead of criticism, however, Grandma said, “I think it’s kind of… sexy,” raising her eyebrows on the last word.¬† My mom literally spit out a bite of mashed potatoes and laughed so hard she was crying.¬† I might have been able to control myself, but seeing my mom try to stifle her laughter while wiping tears off her face was too much.¬† We were quite a non-discreet mess.¬† It happened again recently, but the situation was so inappropriate that I fear we, along with my brother, are still in the proverbial doghouse with my sister, and therefore, I cannot tell the story.

7.¬† When I was little and couldn’t fall asleep at night, I’d sneak down to the living room where my dad was watching television (the rest of the family was asleep.)¬† I’d sit in his lap, and we’d eat popcorn and watch old Westerns, and he never told me to go to bed.¬† Those are some of my favorite childhood memories.

8.¬† My grandmother–not the sexy mustache one, but my dad’s mom–is probably cooler than your grandmother, and has more awesome one-liners than anyone I know.¬† Prior to suffering from Alzheimer’s, she was a feisty little Italian woman with a huge heart and strong opinions.¬† She was our babysitter growing up, and when I was in middle school, she drove me to the drug store one afternoon to buy supplies for a school project.¬† While standing in line at the checkout counter, she scanned the magazine rack and started angrily reading some of the taglines aloud:¬† “50 ways to please your man?? 100 ways to please your man??¬† If you did all those things, you wouldn’t have time to do anything else!!”¬† ūüėÄ

9. I skipped school once during high school.¬† It was during our standardized testing week in the spring of my senior year, and I had a two-hour study hall that day.¬† My partner in crime, Whitney, had a two-hour physics class in which they were watching a movie.¬† (In other words, we weren’t missing much.)¬† We met in the parking lot after checking into and then excusing ourselves from class, and drove to Starbucks.¬† Immediately after ordering our Frappucinos, Whitney side stepped toward me, leaned in, and said, “Don’t turn around, but the librarian just walked in.”¬† Keeping our backs to her, we both went into the single stall bathroom, locked the door, and spent about five minutes freaking out.¬† What are the chances?? Why did we skip school?? We’re going to get in so much trouble!!¬† Finally, we peeked out the door, saw that she was gone, and claimed our drinks.¬† We were young and wild and free.

10. I am, as Andrew likes to say, an “emotional sponge.”¬† An easy crier.¬† I’m not sensitive in the sense that my feelings are easily hurt, but when I see/hear/read/imagine that other people are sad, it’s like I absorb the emotion.¬† Around Christmas this year Andrew and I were watching¬†Home Alone.¬† <Spoiler alert> At the end of the movie when Kevin’s mom walks in the house and sees him standing in front of the Christmas tree, I started crying.¬† Andrew was incredulous.

“Why are you crying??”
“Because he’s okay!”
“…He’s¬†been okay!¬† We’ve seen that he’s okay the whole time!¬† And you’ve seen this movie before!”
“But his mom didn’t KNOW that he was okay, and now she knows!”

True story.

11.¬† I love telling stories.¬† Thanks for reading a few of mine. ūüôā

Questions from The Scarred Runner:
1. What do you do to unwind for the day?  When I get home I grab a snack, lounge on the couch, and watch a few episodes of whatever sit-com is on at the moment.
2. What is your favorite dessert?  Ice cream.  No contest.
3. Cats or dogs?¬† Undecided.¬† If a cat is raised right, as ours were, they are awesome pets.¬† Ours totally broke the cat stereotype, but I don’t necessarily like other people’s cats.¬† Theoretically, I like dogs, but there are few things I find more gross than getting licked by a dog.¬† I am allergic to both.
4. What color is your car?  Grey
5. What inspired you to start blogging?¬† I enjoy writing, and I love reading other people’s blogs!
6. Beach or Countryside?  Beach.
7. Drive or Fly?  Drive.
8. Do you always have the latest tech gadgets before anyone else?  Definitely not.  I went from flip phone to iphone just a few months ago.
9. Least favorite celebrity?¬† Lady Gaga.¬† I don’ t know what it is about her, but her music makes me want to gag-a.
10. How do you feel about magic tricks?¬† I hate them.¬† Magicians are so smug, and I don’t like feeling tricked.¬† Seriously, don’t ever show me a magic trick.¬† I have very strong feelings about the matter.
11.¬† Have you ever modeled professionally?¬† Why yes, I had a brief stint with Rosetta Stone in college.¬† Look for me as you’re learning a new language. ¬†(I just made up that question because I wanted to share that fact :-D)

My Nominees for the Liebster Award:

Races, Reps, and Ramblings
Lucy On The Lookout
Gluten-Free 2013
Reluctantly Skinny
Run With Perseverence

*You can answer any of the questions above or make up your own ūüôā *

Thanks for reading, if you’ve hung in this long. ūüėÄ

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Squeaky Clean

Saturday night. ¬†9:30 p.m. ¬†I just started the washing machine on a hot water cycle, no clothes, lots of bleach. ¬†Why? ¬†Oh, friend, take a seat…

After a long day working in the garden, Andrew and I cleaned up to go out to dinner.  Around 7:15 p.m., right before leaving home, I remembered I desperately needed to start a load of laundry if I wanted to wear clean clothes to church in the morning.  I started the laundry.  We went to dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant.  Andrew kept his dish mild, while I requested the medium heat.  We talked about our day.  We talked about our friends.  We talked about tomorrow, and Andrew suggested that perhaps I was unnecessarily stressed this week.  On the way home, we stopped for sorbet.

But all this is irrelevant to the bleach in the washing machine.

When we returned home, I remembered that I needed to put my clothes in the dryer. ¬†I began pulling the clothes out of the washing machine, a few pieces at a time, shaking them gently to avoid wrinkles. ¬†As I neared the bottom of the washer–only a few socks (no matches) remained–I saw something at the bottom of the drum, partially hidden by the agitator (I just Googled, “washing machine diagram” to learn the technical names.)

Is that a…? ¬†No. ¬†No way. ¬†Catherine, you are being neurotic. ¬†It’s just a big wad of lint. ¬†With a tail…

“Andrew…?”

“Yeah?”

“Can you please come here?”

“What’s wrong?”

“I think… there’s a mouse…a dead mouse…in the washing machine.”

Oh yes, indeed there was.  I considered not writing about this because it is So. Gross., but figured the story was worth it.  We have no idea how it got in the house, much less the washing machine.  The best guess we have is that it came in through the garage, which opens right by the door to the laundry room.  We had been keeping a double-bagged bag of bird seed in the laundry room because when we had it in the garage, a mouse broke into it. We checked the bag, and it had (recently) been chewed, so we think the mouse must have smelled it and sneaked in while we were working in the garden with the door open.  Gross, gross, gross.

So now, 10:08 p.m., I put my wet, took-a-bath-with-a-dead-mouse clothes back in the washing machine, shaking each item individually, intentionally–just in case. ¬†Just in freaking case.

I will not wear dirty clothes to church tomorrow;  they will be squeaky clean.

(Squeaky clean?? ¬†I can’t believe I said that. ¬†Great word play, horrifying mental image. ¬†I’m so sorry. ¬†I might wear dirty clothes tomorrow.)

Weekend Highlights

We had a very full weekend here, and while I know this post is a little late, I wanted to write about some of the highlights.

Thursday Night–(I know, not technically the weekend… but close enough.) ¬†Andrew’s church league basketball team progressed to the championships last week, and the final game was Thursday night. ¬†The guys played well…and won!

bball champs

Our good friend Kevin, who lives in Dallas, was in town for a meeting that day, and he was able to make it to the game and cheer on the guys.  We enjoyed visiting with him for a while after the game!

Friday–My alma mater, James Madison University, played their first and only game in the NCAA tournament. ¬† They got their butts whooped, as expected, but I was still excited that they made it to the tournament. ¬†There was a small part of me that held onto hope that maybe, just maybe, they’d be the first #16 seed to beat a #1 seed ūüėČ

JMU

I was really excited, okay?

On Friday night we took a youth group trip to Jumpology–a new indoor trampoline gym in town. ¬†It. ¬†Was. ¬†Awesome.

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The room was essentially wall-to-wall trampolines, plus areas for basketball, dodgeball, and a foam pit.  It was quite a workout!

SaturdayРYesterday I recapped the 5k I ran with my brother; you can check it out here. The short version:  we kicked butt.

Rebel Run

In the afternoon, our friend Andrew came over to watch the VCU basketball game.  Unfortunately, no havoc was wreaked.

Later in the afternoon I helped with a youth group service project.  Once a month we help wheelchair-bound adults with disabilities (residents of the Virginia Home) enjoy an afternoon of bowling.

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Everyone–youth and bowlers–had a great time! ¬†I love to see how excited they are, not only when they do well, but simply to be there bowling.

When I arrived home, I found that Andrew had been hard at work in the yard and made some awesome progress on the garden:

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Doesn’t it look great?? ¬†We cannot wait to start planting.

Saturday night our friends Amanda and Diron came over to watch some more basketball. ¬†With JMU out of the tournament and VT not in the tournament to begin with, we were not particularly interested in any one game other than for the sake of our brackets, but we had a great time hanging out! ¬†Amanda and I have been friends since college, and for a long time would say, “We need to go on a double date!” ¬†When the four of us finally hung out a couple of months ago, we realized just how similar we are, and now we get together often. ¬†We laugh a lot, although I think it often centers on how neurotic Amanda and I are ūüėČ ¬†Regardless, we are very thankful for these “new” friends in our lives!

When Amanda and Diron left, we continued watching TV, and I fell asleep on the couch, as often happens (I think I inherited this ability from my grandmother.) ¬†It doesn’t matter what time of day it is or how interested I am in what’s on TV–the couch + the sound of the television are my personal recipe for sleep. ¬†Andrew finally turned off the TV, and the instant the sound was gone, I sat up straight, opened my eyes wide, and said, “We should go to sleep!” ¬†Andrew started laughing and said, “Oh you think we should? ¬†You think we should go to sleep now?” ¬†ūüėÄ

Sunday– We had a pretty typical spring Sunday until the evening when…it snowed?

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It started sticking to the ground in the middle of youth group, so I decided to send everyone home early just to be safe. ¬† I know everyone is saying this, but I am very ready for spring to actually be spring. ¬†Snow is great–in January–but I am so ready for warmer weather.

Even so, a blanket of white was not a bad way to end a great weekend!

 

The Sandwich-Hater’s Lunch #1

The phrase, “The best thing since sliced bread,” carries no weight in my mind; ¬†what’s so great about sliced bread? ¬†Perhaps it’s the result of years of bagged lunches with only minor variations of the same boring sandwich, but about a year ago I realized that I have a serious dislike for the all-American lunch.

That’s right: ¬†I HATE sandwiches.

When I say, “sandwiches,” I’m referring specifically to the make-at-home variety. ¬†The whole grain bread. ¬†The meat. The cheese. ¬†The veggies. ¬†The condiments. ¬†The peanut butter and jelly. ¬†Regardless of the combination–and I’ve even walked on the wild side and tried non-whole grain breads like freshly baked sourdoughs, and tried non-lunch meat meats like well seasoned chicken breasts–the result is the same: disgust.

When I say, “hate,” I mean… well, let me walk you through my experience step-by-step:

¬† ¬† ¬†Bite 1: Not good, but hey, it’s just a sandwich.

¬† ¬† ¬†Bites 2-3: I really don’t like this. ¬†Maybe if I move it in my mouth so it doesn’t touch my¬†taste buds and wash it down like a pill with a big gulp of water…

Bite 4: Throat closing.  Will. Not. Swallow.  Spit it out.

Sandwich in trash can.

(Side note: ¬†if you have served me a sandwich at some point in the last year and right now are thinking, “Geez, I had no idea,” I apologize… I certainly would not expect anyone to cater to this kind of crazy. ¬†;-))

What it all adds up to is this: ¬†lunch for me requires some creativity. ¬†Here’s what’s in my lunch bag in lieu of a sandwich this week:

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Brown Rice (Cooked in the rice-cooker with low sodium chicken broth)

Green Beans (Sauteed in a skillet with a little olive oil & garlic salt)

Chick Peas (Straight from the can)

I make a big batch on Sunday or Monday, and I am set for the week!  Delicious.

For all my fellow sandwich-haters out there, stay tuned for more ideas, as I plan to make this an ongoing series.

It’ll be the best thing since, uh, cooked rice ūüėČ