Learning how to cook!

My mom is a really fabulous mother. She loves me unconditionally and I’ve never once felt like I was disappointing her in my life decisions. She did once tell me three years ago that she didn’t think I should take a job working in Gwinnett County since it was so far from my house, but she still supported my decision. (By the way, she was wrong to think I shouldn’t have taken it, since I’m still employed by the same place and worked days just out of nursing school in the ER.) She has also taught me a lot of really important things about life over the years. She taught me that you have to pay taxes every year (surprisingly, not everybody knows this). She taught me not to buy things you don’t have money for (and I still won’t buy anything on a credit card unless the money is in savings). She taught me to work hard and that you’re never too good for a job, whether it be scrubbing floors or serving fries (I clean the bathrooms at work to this day if I have time, because there’s no point in calling housekeeping when I can clean them myself). She taught me to be independent and not to have to rely on anybody else. She recently even taught me how to caulk my bathtub!

However, my mother didn’t teach me how to do my hair or makeup (luckily, I’ve learned a thing or two over the years) and she never taught me how to cook.

I was a vegetarian for 13 years, so I learned how to make a mean grilled cheese and some fantastic spaghetti, but that was really about it. I can’t recall ever making fresh vegetables during my vegetarian years and the first time I ever cooked meat on my own was probably only 1 1/2 years ago. My mom made all of our dinners in my elementary school days, and in my middle school years I spent every single afternoon over at my neighbor’s house, where we ate Goldfish and drank Coke like it was our job. In high school, we mostly fended for ourselves with a bowl of cereal, and once I could drive I was working 30-40 hours a week at Arby’s so I was never home for dinner.

When Jon and I were together the first time around, we did cook some. But we mostly made the same things over and over again. He would make chicken on the stove and we would saute a bag of frozen veggies. I kept telling him that I’d learn to cook when I got out of nursing school and had time.

I finished nursing school and was eating out for most of my meals or making really simple things. Once I started eating Paleo (May of 2012) was when I really started experimenting because you can’t eat Paleo and not cook. It’s impossible, unless you’re rich and order premade meals for every meal.

I’ve pretty much mastered chicken. I can cook up pretty much any type of veggie, although I love squashes, zucchini, and sweet potatoes mostly, and Jon likes things like green beans and broccoli and not much else, so he really limits what I make. I’ve mastered the crock pot and pork is so easy in a crockpot. Well, I use “mastered” loosely. I’m pretty good at it. I’m sure I have room for improvement somewhere in there. I know how to make steak, but Jon usually does it. And I haven’t tried to make fish lately, but whenever I tried before, I failed miserably. Then I got tired of wasting money on ruining fish, so I quit trying. And now Jon makes all of our fish, and that’s how I’d like to keep it.

I still don’t like cooking. I don’t dislike it quite as much, but I still would never say that I enjoy cooking. That’d really be a stretch. I hate baking, but I still only cook Paleo (moo Paleo- I do cheese) and am not a huge dessert person anyway, so I don’t really need to bake. But I do cook because I like knowing what’s in my food and there’s also something nice about being able to serve somebody you love a nice, warm meal. And once you start eating only wild caught fish and grassfed beef and cage free chicken with no hormones and nothing is preserved, you really stop wanting to eat out so much. Oh, and I guess once you hit a certain age, you really should just know how to cook (with or without your mother’s help).

Yesterday I made this.

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It’s chicken baked with creamy spinach and mushrooms. It was delicious. And that’s why I’ve learned how to cook. Even though it’s a pain to make things and I get tired of chopping onions and killing my eyes or peeling 2lbs of carrots or wasting an hour of my day just so I can eat dinner, it’s nice knowing how to make decent food.

Besides, when this is all you buy

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you really have to know how to prepare it. (PS- How nice would my kitchen look with a backsplash?! I WANT!)

So, Mom, even though you taught me a lot of things, I guess I just had to teach myself how to cook! But I succeeded. Except for fish. And I will never independently cook fish again either, cause I’m bad at it and it’s expensive.

(By the way, all that food is from the DeKalb Farmer’s Market. If you live in Atlanta, GO THERE. It’s insanely busy and a serious pain in the ass and it’s -45 degrees inside, but all that food was $92. The produce is all hidden in the bags, but that $92 included pure maple syrup and organic cashews (that accounted for $18 of the bill). It is so cheap and they prepare your pineapple for you! All the chicken is raised without hormones, the eggs are so cheap compared to the store, and they don’t use preservatives in the baked goods and they look delicious, but I’ve never tried them cause I don’t buy bread…)

The “Love” Story Part 1: Iraq.

Since Jon is a pretty big part of my life, I thought I’d give a little story about our background, even though he’s still not actually my boyfriend 🙂

Technically we met back in 2007 in Ft Gordon. I was attached to the 345th CSH (I’m in the Army Reserve) out of Jacksonville, but had been drilling out of a unit up in Dahlonega at my college. I went to Ft Gordon as my second training with the unit, which was the start of our pre-deployment training (it was really long and drawn out). Jon claims that he asked to sit by me one morning on the bus to breakfast and he asked me where I was from and we talked the whole way to the DFAC (dining facility). I don’t remember this at all since I was new to the unit and everybody kind of blurred together, but that was probably when he decided I was awesome!

We did our pre-mob training out of Ft Sam Houston. Our unit had a fake hospital set up and I was working in the EMT (or the equivalent of the emergency room) with Jon’s little brother, David. Jon was working in radiology as an x-ray tech. I’m assuming we must have talked at Ft Sam Houston because Jon took an x-ray of me and I remember looking at it; I just don’t remember Jon being part of the equation.

Let me just take a second to say that I was really looking forward to spending a year without worrying about dating anybody. I’d had a somewhat recent breakup from a boyfriend of two years, and I had zero interest in coming home with some deployment love. Jon also had a girlfriend when we were going through our pre-deployment process and they stayed together for a few months into the deployment.

We got into Iraq and started our jobs. I never paid attention to Jon. He said he did pay attention to me, but kept his distance because he had a girlfriend. My first actual memory of Jon was when I was at the DFAC with my friends one night. All the guys in Iraq liked to go through phases of not shaving (but this wasn’t No Shave November… maybe it was Mustache May?) and I remember talking about how uninterested I was in the guys we were deployed with. Means, one of my Army buddies, was like, “Well, what about him?” and pointed to Jon. Then she said something to him about his mustache, and I remember not having any interest.

Jon and his girlfriend broke up in early August, and he was spending a lot of time in the EMT. We worked twelve hour shifts, five days a week, and since we worked nights, we also spent all of our time off at the hospital. One night, Jon and I started talking and we talked for the entire shift. Then it happened again. And again. And again. We started eating breakfast together. Jon and I talked about absolutely everything you could possibly imagine. When you’re in Iraq and the only things you do are work, work out, eat, and sleep, you have a lot of time to talk about your past. We spent some time running together, and I always noticed how he’d make me run on the inside of him from the road. He was just a good ol’ boy, and I’ve never really been interested in somebody like him.

I honestly don’t even know when the interest started, but I was so nervous to kiss him! Since we were in Iraq, it wasn’t really as easy as it would be back in the States. He would walk me “home” from breakfast and we’d stand awkwardly, out in the open but kind of hidden by some walls, and then I’d just go inside and we’d talk later about how we wanted to kiss.

Jon worked by himself at night in a the x-ray department, which was closed off from the rest of the hospital. I was in there all the time when I wasn’t working. One night, I was off work and hanging out with him. I was laying on the cot and there was a trauma coming in so he was radio’d in to go to the EMT so he could do his thing. Before he left, I think he said something to me, and then he finally kissed me! I was so happy and so excited!

I ended up going home on R&R for two weeks shortly after that. He called me every day and I couldn’t wait to get back to Iraq to see him. During that time, on September 24th my time and September 25th his time (2009), we ended up as boyfriend and girlfriend. I can’t recall the conversation, but I’m pretty sure that I was the one who brought it up.

My leave ended, and so I returned to Iraq as a taken woman 🙂

To be continued… Dun dun dun.

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Some of our first pictures together in Iraq… He liked me even without any makeup! Haha.

Weekend adventures: Coke Museum, CNN Center, Westin

As expected, I’ve been insanely busy lately! I did get to have a decent weekend with awesome weather. It’s been raining all. summer. long in Georgia and it was finally nice out! My Friday night was just spent down at Crista’s house hanging out for a bit. I was planning on staying in to do school stuff but decided against that. My Saturday was mostly wasted because I picked Jon up late (I was the DD) on Friday night and woke up early to meet up with his parents, sister, and niece and nephew in Atlanta on Saturday.

What should have been a nice morning was somewhat ruined by a ton of issues with Comcast and my alarm system. I won’t even get into it, but let’s just say that after FIVE calls with Comcast over the last two weeks and them refusing to help change my safe word over the phone, the police were called to me house three times. And then they offered to change the password for my DAD over the phone! I was livid! I gave them my social security number and my dad isn’t even on my account! He’s just a phone number that Comcast has for my alarm system! Anyway, we only saw Jon’s family for a few minutes because of the whole issue, which was unfortunate cause he doesn’t get to see them that often.

We slept all day Saturday and then ran errands Saturday night, followed by some Orange is the New Black and an early bedtime. We’re exciting.

Sunday was a pretty fantastic day though. We went to the Coke Museum and the CNN center since my military ID is expiring in November, so we wanted to take advantage of the free tickets. It was a beautiful day out and it was so nice spending time with Jon. One of the huge changes from our relationship last time and this time is that we’re actually friends now and not just dating. I love that he’s my best friend and I genuinely love spending time with him. We decided last minute to go to the Westin, which is a 72 story building that has a spinning cafe on top of it that you can view Atlanta from. I’ve been wanting to do it for awhile so I’m glad we did, but I still want to go at night. We had a drink there before coming home.

We both napped after our adventures and then I went on a walk with Laura. I spent my evening working on homework and watching more Orange is the New Black.

Yesterday I ran 4.94 miles and worked out legs. It was really nice out so I ran Riverside Park. This morning I worked out some upper body with Kassie and decided against running or doing cardio. My legs need a break after almost 5 miles. They’re not used to this. I’m not really training too seriously for any 1/2 marathon right now, but it’s definitely still a goal. Training without hurting myself is a bigger goal though, so I’m not really setting any deadlines.

Well, it’s already 10pm and I need to eat dinner. I just got home from my biology class and lab and am waiting on Jon to get home from the Braves game so I can hear about his day! I’ll add some pictures of the weekend!

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Sexy glasses at the  Coke Museum for our 4D film.

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View from the Westin.

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My little Instagram photo collage.

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Huge drink at the Sun Dial Cafe in the Westin.

Alright guys, have a good night!

12 Things I’d Tell Girls

I spend a fair amount of time scrolling  through facebook and instagram during the day. It makes me feel old and judgmental. Which is cool. I guess. I also go to a community college with girls who are 18. I judge them too, which isn’t fair since I’ve had 9 years of life on them and I was probably just as dumb as them. But I still judge them. But I feel like it’s important to teach girls things. Let me make a list of things that I think are important here.

1. Don’t leave the house wearing something that barely covers your vagina and leaves your belly hanging out. There is nothing cute about having to pull your dress down every step so an ass cheek doesn’t fall out and leave your belly alone till you’re at the beach or having some private time. Also, men will want you for sex. Only sex. Because that’s what you look like.

2. Don’t waste time on drama. You only have as much drama in your life as you allow. Your friends are “talking shit” about you? They aren’t your friends. Find new ones. Real friends don’t cause problems in your life.

3. Love isn’t enough. I know you “love him” even though he treats you like you don’t matter and you don’t trust him, but you don’t need that. Love people who add something to your life and make you happy.

4. Don’t have sex with everybody. Sex actually is something special. It’s not just something fun to be tried with everybody. But if you just can’t keep your body parts to yourself, at least be safe about it. Get tested. Use condoms. Take the pill.

5. Don’t get pregnant to keep a man. I feel like this should be obvious, but apparently it’s not. It doesn’t make the man stay. All that happens is now you have a baby, which you will probably be taking care of alone.

6. Don’t take 100 selfies a day. There is more to life than your 100 faces a day. Also, enjoy the gym without taking pictures of yourself. Enjoy life and stop being so superficial. Nobody wants to see your morning face and your gym face and your date face. By the way, you look absolutely ridiculous taking all those photos of yourself too.

7. Don’t portray your life as something that it’s not. If you’re sad being single, then don’t talk about how much you don’t need a man and how much you love being single. There’s a difference between faking it till you make it and acting like a totally different person.

8. Care what people think. It shouldn’t run your life, but there’s nothing cool about saying, “I do what I want and I don’t care what other people think.” Those other people might have to hire you one day, or you may end up dating their son. Those other people might even be your friends. (Or the older college student who thinks your vagina/belly showing outfit is inappropriate.)

9. Be active. America has gotten really fat, and not only is it not healthy, but you really do feel better when you’re moving around. You don’t have to be some hardcore gym goer, but walk around. Lift things up. Move more often than you sit.

10. You don’t need to drink all the time. Getting drunk and throwing up on yourself and then talking about how much you don’t remember the next day isn’t cute.

11. Know your self worth. If you know what your worth, nobody else can bring you below that.

12. Work hard. Don’t be lazy. Nobody is too good to clean a toilet. Nobody is too good to serve McDonald’s. You get out of life what you put into it (unless we’re talking about taxes).

12 is a random number, but I think I’ve hit some of the main things I think about regularly. Anybody else care to add to this?

Rambling about daily life

I’ve been fairly busy lately and am sure that it’s only going to get worse. I’ve been working 15-20 hours per week all summer long because of my thumb injury (and NO weekends!!!). Before my trip to Croatia and Italy, I was in the process of finishing up buying a condo and moving, so I stayed busy, clearly. I’ve somehow managed to stay really busy only working 20 hours a week even with no condo buying in the mix. But now that I’ve started classes, it really seems impossible to go back to working 40-50 hours a week and fitting in the life that I’d like to have.

My schedule from September 12th to October 11th is miserable. I am taking two trips so I have to fit my 120 hours of work into the remainder of that schedule, and it’s rough. I also have classes, which means studying and homework. I’ve never had to prepare to go to lab, but my lab is pretty time consuming even outside of the class time.

I’ve been much much much happier and way less stressed (obviously) than when I was working more. After October 11th, once this schedule period is over, I really need to figure out a way to schedule myself so I can actually enjoy life too. I work hard so I can take big trips, and now I’m working hard to save for grad school and do home improvements, as well as putting money back into savings after three months of severely decreased pay and a lot of expenses. But after having all this time off, maybe it’s just not worth it anymore to bust my ass at a job that I only 65% like, just to take huge trips once a year… Maybe the 10 hours of overtime just really isn’t worth my sanity.This is what happens when I start a blog with no direction. I ramble (which is 100% true to life).

I’ve been busy with class since it started. I’m not the oldest one in class, but I definitely am older than the majority of people there. I was appalled by the skirts barely covering vaginas and bellies all hanging out when I was at the bookstore. All the kids in my class are talking about what they want to be when they grow up: doctors, vets, biologist, etc. I’m just like, heeey I’m 27 and taking this to get my bachelor’s and don’t like my job… You probably shouldn’t get into healthcare, btdubs. It sucks. (Not every nurse thinks that… Just most of us, haha. Kidding. Kind of.) My mind just doesn’t comprehend science either, so this isn’t even a class that I’ll enjoy. I don’t get things that I can’t see. Cells, viruses, God. You know.

Totally sidetracked. I’ve also been doing the elliptical. Since I had gone running outside on Saturday, I decided to do an hour on the elliptical earlier this week. I’m trying to alternate running and the elliptical because my joints aren’t used to long running and I don’t want to overdo this whole training thing. After an hour on the elliptical, my knees hurt. So I took a day off and did 30 minutes today because that was all of my free time. Tomorrow I’m actually doing one of those intro personal training sessions since I got it free with the gym membership. The guy totally reminds me of a guy I briefly dated last summer, which is weird.

An update on the shower: I called a plumber this week (and by that, I mean my mom called one that they use for her work). I had a really strong feeling that the water behind my shower was a leak and not just some grout issue. Sure enough, there was a pretty decent leak in the pipes leading to the faucet. I guess there must be some sort of homeowner’s intuition cause my parents kept telling me to wait awhile to see how the wall was, but I just knew there was  leak! The pipes were fixed today but my walls are still cut out while the mold dries and to let the water dry up. It smells like a basement and I had to move the litterbox to the hallway. It’ll be drywalled next week and that’ll be when I pay, I’m sure. Not a clue what this is going to cost me, but I’m not looking forward to it.

I actually do have things to talk about, but my brain is fried. I read biology all day long and then went to class and then did some homework. I’m in the middle of some lab stuff now, but Jon went to get a massage (thanks for MY massage!) so I figured I’d take advantage of quiet time. I’m cooking dinner when he gets back and cuts up my chicken (since I don’t like cutting raw meat with a splint on- gross) and we’ve been watching Orange is the New Black at night. We both passed out on the couch last night watching it, so I’m excited to watch the rest of the episode.

Okay, more effort next time. Hope all the ramblings weren’t too boring 🙂

Being an adult is hard work

I bought the domain “at20something” because that’s how old I am and because all of the better names were already taken, including my first and middle name. Also, I’m not very creative. Hence the two cats that I’ve named Kitty and Kitten. I also couldn’t name it anything too specific because I don’t want a blog about anything specific. Anywho… Let’s talk about being 20 something.

I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit this, but I have a feeling other people can probably relate here. When I was a kid, I used to dream about the day when I grew up and didn’t have to wake up to go to school anymore. Not in like that life is going to be so awesome and I just can’t wait for it to get here kind of way, but the omg all I want to do is SLEEP IN and when I’m an adult, I won’t have to wake up early to go to school five days a week!

I told you it was embarrassing. At the ripe old age of 11 (I have a feeling those wishes were the most intense during the middle school years), I was looking forward to the day when I didn’t have to wake up early five days a week.

There are really cool things about being an adult. I actually can sleep in if I want to and nobody will yell at me for it. My boss may call me at 7:15 and ask me if I plan on coming into work for the day (that only happens every once in a blue moon), but nobody yells at me. My dad isn’t at my house playing Enya as loud as the stereo will go. My mom doesn’t try to vacuum the house to annoy me. (I do have a Tom cat that tops my parents in the annoying department though.) I can also buy whatever food that I want and eat it whenever I want. Hungry? Mom won’t tell me to eat a piece of cheese till dinner is ready. I can eat chocolate chip cookies if I want until my dinner is ready! In all fairness, now that I have to eat the food that I slave over, I don’t want to ruin it by eating a snack first. I also don’t even buy chocolate chip cookies.

Despite that really long list of cool things about being an adult, the list is way longer of not cool things.

1. Instead of waking up at 7am to go school, I now have to wake up at 5am so that I can be clocked in before 7am. I also don’t come home at 3:30 anymore, but at 7pm. Or 11pm.

2. My mom doesn’t even make my breakfast or lunch anymore. I have to wake up extra early to make my own.

3. I do all the grocery shopping. Then I have to cook my own food. I’m not even a good cook, so sometimes the food isn’t even that good. But because I had to pay all that money for the food (know how much organic chicken is?!) and slaved over a hot stove to make it, I’m going to eat it even if I don’t like it!

4. I do all my laundry. Also, I do all of Jon’s laundry, which doesn’t make sense because he pays rent at a house with a washer and dryer. But I do it all anyway. This includes sorting, washing, folding, and putting it away. Yup.

5. I have free reign over my money, but I also do a job that I don’t love to get that money, and then Obama takes half of it to pay for the lazy people with no jobs that don’t try to get one (I’m okay paying some taxes to the hard working, unemployed people) and then most of the rest of that money goes to things like my mortgage, groceries, gas, school, things for my house, cat litter, etc.

6. There really is no time. I’m a single 27 year old. I live alone (or with a non-live in boyfriend who is here every single day). I don’t have kids. My house is only 1100 square feet. But I just never have time. Ever. At least when I was a kid, I had hours upon hours to just spend sitting at the computer or to annoy my brother and sister.

7. My weekends aren’t really “free time” anymore. At least when I was 11, I had my entire weekend free except for maybe a few minutes of homework. Between yesterday and today, I spent a good 8 hours on cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping. That’s a normal person’s day at work, or a day in middle school.

This list is getting too depressing. But really, the moral of my story here, is that if I ever do happen to pop out some babies, I will sure as hell make sure they appreciate how easy it is to be a child. Either that, or I will teach them how to clean a house as soon as they can walk, so that my adult life can be more enjoyable and my kids really will feel like they have it easy once they get out on their own. At least that way, all their hopes and dreams about how easy adult life will be can be halfway true.

I’m going to go ignore my lengthy to do list to enjoy watching Orange is the New Black with my cats and my man. Maybe tomorrow I’ll cross something else off the list.

Weekend & Wine Trail

I’ve had a pretty awesome weekend! Jon was out of town for drill, so I decided it would be a perfect time to finally see all of my friends! Friday night I ended up going downtown to hang out with Kassie and Gina. We went to eat Mexican food and then hung out at Kassie’s house till 11:30ish. I haven’t really spent a ton of time with them since Gina moved about 45 minutes away but it’s entirely ton the eat side of the city, which means a ton of traffic most of the time. I have seen Kassie a few times for lunch or at the gym, but it was still good just to have a relaxing night with them.

Saturday morning I ended up sleeping in a little bit. I woke up and it was still really cool outside, so I went for a 3 mile run before getting ready. Crista came over for our winery/cabin weekend. We didn’t even head out of town until noon, so it was way later than we had planned, but not a big deal.

We went to Montaluce first, where we found out there was the Dahlonega Wine Trail this weekend! It was $25 for a free wine glass, wine samples at five wineries, and a free glass of wine at each place. Montaluce was really pretty and we ended up spending awhile there before heading over to Wolf Mountain. The set up was competely different there and you couldn’t really sit and enjoy the wine. It was more like a herd of sheep moving from station to station. We hung out on the patio for awhile just talking and then we both decided we weren’t really in any condition to be going to a third winery.

A few photos from yesterday:

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We ended up stopping to have pizza for dinner in Blairsville (I think the wine influenced that decision). We ate entirely too much and we were both miserable all night and most of today because of it. Neither of us eat much bread and I don’t think either one of us can handle it in those extreme amounts.

We relaxed the rest of the night at my parent’s cabin and I slept in till 10 today and we laid around this morning. We tried to get coffee at a cute coffee shop this morning but it was closed, so onto Three Sister’s Winery we went! It wasn’t easy to find using our fancy iPhone navigation, so it took awhile. It was a much smaller winery and honestly, after all the wine and pizza yesterday, neither of us really even wanted anything else to drink. We headed to Frogtown after having a few samples at Three Sister’s, and ended up having one sample at Frogtown.

We got a little lost again heading back to Dahlonega thanks to the iPhone, but ended up making it the outlets so I could wedding dress shop for a friend’s wedding. No luck, but I did get some new things that I really didn’t need.

Now I’m home doing some house stuff, awaiting Jon’s arrival from drill! Still have a few hours to go, so I’ll probably enjoy my trashy TV shows before his Braves watching takes back over my TV all week.