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Rental Only DVDs?

I know I’ve mentioned it before, I love movies. Joel and I have a Blockbuster Online membership. We get three discs at a time in the mail and can trade the mailers in for a rental at the physical store. It’s been a pretty good deal for us so far. However, recently I’ve been noticing a trend with the DVDs that we rent that I’m not excited about.

It’s kind of difficult to read because it’s covered with the sticker. It says Rental.

The disc says the same thing.

Seems like a good way to mark DVDs so people might be less inclined to steal them. The problem is, it’s not just a label. When you see it, you should know you’re about to be ripped off. Where The Wild Things Are is supposed to have special features, according to Amazon.com. This particular rental however,

Nothing.

I’ve had this experience with a couple DVDs now and it’s frustrating. One of the fun parts of renting a movie is watching the special features. I understand some movies choose not to include any but it feels like a major rip off knowing that there are supposed to be special features but I don’t get to see them because I rented the movie. I tried looking online to see if I could get any information on this new trend. I don’t know if it’s a Blockbuster thing or if Netflix, Redbox and other movie rental companies are doing the same thing. I’m assuming it saves them money somehow but again, I can’t find any information. Even the employee I asked at Blockbuster had no idea. I’m really curious so if anyone has any information please let me know. Also, any of you that have memberships with other DVD rental companies, have you seen the Rental label on any of your DVDs? Or is it time for us to switch companies?

Anyway, Where The Wild Things Are was a great movie. I highly recommend it. It’s dark, and artistic. Its not your typical kids movie, in fact, it’s almost more of an adult movie. It definitely captured the book beautifully. Luckily it was good enough that I plan on buying it and I’ll be able to see the special features. Not all movies are good enough to own though so I hope this Rental Only thing will remain the exception, not become the rule.

My version of a hot bath

Sorry, no naked picture of me here… today anyway.

Baths don’t actually relax me. Sorry, but soaking in my own filth just isn’t my cup of tea. Plus I’ve never really had a tub that I could get comfortable in. After a few minutes, I’m too hot, my neck is cramping up and I’m bored. I’m much more of a shower person. However, this post isn’t about my hygiene habits. It’s about what I do when I want to relax.

I’m a bit different and this is what relaxes me:

I cut words out of magazines.

As I kid my favorite thing about paper dolls was cutting them out. I’d meticulously cut out each doll, dress and accessory. I’m sure I also made up elaborate stories in my head featuring whatever character the doll happened to be of at the time. When I was done cutting though my interest died out. I didn’t really have much of an interest with dressing up the paper dolls or playing with them. Once they were all cut out, they were neatly put away or given to my younger sisters.

Eventually I became too old for paper dolls. I’m not sure how or when my interests shifted from paper dolls to magazines. As a teenager I had stacks of magazines and one day I started cutting them up. After awhile I had dozens of envelopes full of words and pictures. I don’t know what happened to them. They probably got thrown away once I moved out of my parents house. For years I was kind of a nomad and since there was no place to store my words my habit kind of died.

As a flight attendant one of the easiest things to do on the airplane during down time is read gossip magazines. They’re not very in depth so it’s easy to start and stop reading since interruptions are inevitable. Plus, people leave them on planes all the time so they’re free. During my time flying I built up quite a collection. Not really on purpose, I left many on planes for other people to read or passed them on to other flying partners. Many made it home with me though. Plus, Amazon has had some really great sales on magazine subscriptions (Cosmo for $5 for a year? Um, yes please!). I now have several stacks of magazines cluttering up my house.

Since I’m on furlough I’m currently jobless. I’m looking (Ugh! Whole other story) but in the mean time sitting at home watching DVD’s can get really old. In an effort to declutter and give myself something to do I’ve taken up my old hobby again. I’d forgotten how soothing it is. There’s something about finding interesting fonts, colors, words and letters that just makes me happy.

I haven’t decided what (if anything) I’m going to do with all these words yet. It seems like a waste to just stuff them in envelopes. I’ve thought about using them for scrap-booking (another hobby I’m thinking about taking up) and someone asked me if I planned to make cards out of them. Hey, if I don’t get a job soon I may have to take up kidnapping to bring in a little extra cash. Never mind. That last ones a bad idea Detective who is reading this because someone in my neighborhood went missing. Definitely wasn’t me… I’m open to suggestions though so if you think of anything be sure to leave a comment and let me know. Or leave new hobby suggestions because this one may just be a little too much proof I have OCD.

No, you do NOT have the short haired version

I love taking Phoebe out with us. There aren’t many places that allow dogs around here but whenever we go somewhere like the pet store she comes along. Inevitably when she’s out with us she gets lots of attention. I’m always impressed when people know what kind of dog she is. Before we decided to get a dog and I did the research I didn’t know what a papillon looked like. However, too many times I have people who think they know what kind of dog she is.

“Aw! Look at the little chihuahua”

“I have the short haired version at home.”

*sigh*

Here’s a quick lesson in dog breeds:

Chihuahua =

Cute, but nothing at all like a papillon=

I mean seriously, how can you confuse this face

With this

???

I know people are just trying to be friendly so I’ll keep smiling and nodding. It’s just too much effort to explain that they don’t have a short haired version of my dog because there is no short haired version of a papillon. I won’t stop sighing though.

Eating In: Day Four

Today was a much better food day and I even have a recipe to share. Since I started tracking my calories on SparkPeople I’ve run into some interesting problems. I thought I would have a hard time staying within my recommended calories for the day and I was right, just not in the way I thought. When I eat out I have problems staying under my calories for the day. However, when I eat in I have the opposite problem. I have to yet to follow the meal plan exactly and maybe that’s my problem. I was surprised to find how easy it is not to eat enough calories every day. What I have the most trouble with though is eating enough carbs. I know, whine whine. You probably hate me now. Not getting enough calories every day is just as bad as eating too many so it’s something I have to manage better.

Anyway, the food report: I woke up and was freezing this morning so I had some oatmeal. There’s nothing like oatmeal on a cold morning, love it. For lunch I cooked the rest of the Greek turkey burgers that I made Monday.

Mmmm, it was a really yummy lunch.

Then dinner I made a garden vegetable frittata. It took a decent amount of time to prepare. There was a lot of chopping and mincing vegetables. I also discovered that if I say ah! enough times while using a big knife Joel will offer to buy me a food processor. I wonder how I can make that work for other things… Anyway, it took awhile but it was delicious!

It doesn’t look too bad either, does it?

The recipe calls for it to be served at room temperature but we were hungry (because it took three times as long as it should have to make due to my lack of vegetable chopping skills) so we just let it sit out for 20 minutes or so. If you would like to make this yummy, veggie-full frittata you can get the recipe here.

Eating In: Day Two

I knew eventually eating in all week would probably become more of a challenge but I didn’t know it would happen so soon. I found out today was National Free Pancake Day at Ihop. I love their pancakes, especially when they’re free! In my head I tried justifying it. Ya know, it was supposed to be about saving money and if it’s a free meal then it doesn’t really count. In fact it should be even better because it doesn’t cost me anything at all… right? *sigh* I didn’t give in to temptation though and held out. I can get free pancakes next year.

This morning I didn’t have anywhere to be so I was able to have a normal breakfast. It wasn’t anything fancy, just some cold cereal. For lunch I made Joel and myself spinach and cheese omelets. It was my first time making omelets and I was surprised that it went pretty well. It actually came out looking like an omelet instead of scrambled eggs so I was pleased.

Dinner was another story. I got a recipe for portabella mushroom burgers off Spark People. I love mushrooms and when I looked at the ingredients it seemed like it would be delicious. I didn’t pay close attention to the instructions when I decided to make it though, and that was my big mistake. We bought all the ingredients yesterday and as I was preparing to make the burgers I read the recipe more closely. That’s when I realized this was not going to be a quick and easy meal to make.

The recipe called for garlic, rosemary, thyme, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. When I read the ingredient list I assumed they all would be mixed together and then rubbed on the mushroom cap. Yeeeah, not exactly. What I actually had to do was this:

I cut little slits in the top and had to insert the garlic, rosemary and thyme into the holes one by one. It took for.ever.

Once I finally finished stuffing the four mushroom caps I brushed the oil and balsamic vinegar on them and grilled until they were tender. The looked pretty nice once they were done.

Unfortunately they weren’t as delicious as they sounded and looked. They weren’t awful but they were no where near worth the time it took to prepare them.

So, out of six meals at home I’m only classifying one as a fail so far. Not too bad for a girl who almost never cooks.

Eating In: Day One

Joel and I eat out way too much. This is mostly out of laziness. I have a really bad habit of not thinking about food until I’m ready to eat. I don’t tend to plan ahead and by the time I start thinking about food I’m too hungry to want to cook something. More often than not there’s not much of anything in the house for me to cook even if I wanted to. This is also because of laziness, I really hate grocery shopping. Joel doesn’t mind doing it but his work schedule doesn’t give him a whole lot of time. All this eating out is expensive and it’s been awful on my waistline.

Joel and I have been meaning to eat in more for awhile and so when the Huffington Post announced their Week of Eating In challenge I was excited. It was the perfect excuse to stay in, eat healthier and save money.

Today was day one:

On Mondays Phoebe has obedience class. Of course I stayed up too late the night before and got out of bed later than I should have. Then the shower water wouldn’t get hot (grrrr) so I took too much time fiddling with that before I just gave up and took a cold shower. Anyway, all that meant that I was running out the door at the last minute so my breakfast was a cheese stick. Not exactly gourmet but it kept me from fainting during class.

For lunch I ate some leftover vegetarian chili. I got the recipe off Spark People. It was pretty good and it lasted me three meals so definitely inexpensive. Normally on Mondays I’m so hungry I pick Joel up and we grab some kind of fast food. Today it was nice to eat at home and not spend the money.

For dinner I made my Greek turkey burgers. Those are always delicious and one recipe makes seven or eight burgers so I was able to freeze half and we’ll have them again later this week or next week.

So far we’re off to a good start. We have all the ingredients we need for our meals tomorrow and we’ll go grocery shopping for the rest of the week on Wednesday. I’m looking forward to cooking more this week. If I cook anything extra delicious I’ll be sure to share the recipe. I’ll also share if I have any cooking disasters so you can laugh at along with me.

Chicago Auto Show

Joel and I went to the Chicago Auto Show today. It my first time so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’m not really a car person but I thought it could be interesting and since we were given the tickets I figured if it was boring we could just leave. Well it was the opposite of boring, I had a blast. We ended up staying for 7 1/2 hours! Even staying that long we still didn’t see and do everything. Honestly we probably could have spent another 7 hours there if we hadn’t been so exhausted.

This is just a fraction of one area of the show. It was enormous. As you can see it was really busy since it was the second to last day of the show.

This is the DIY Suzuki…

I love me a pretty Mini Cooper.

Note: this car does not actually fly.

I fit… in the Fit… *giggle*

Remember that Superbowl commercial?

This car had sparkly seats! I might have squealed a little.

What you’re looking at is a grill, and I’m not talking about what bugs usually die on. This is a fully functional grill. Also included, a mini fridge and sink. This is the ultimate tailgating machine.

Nice thing about the auto show is you are introduced to new cars and find out which ones are nice and which ones aren’t nearly as cool as they look. This Toyota was a dud.

I think Joel liked this car more than I did. Shh! Don’t tell him I told. *wink*

We aren’t in the market for a new car right now but we got some great ideas for when we do start to look and we had a great time in the process. Hopefully Joel and I can make The Auto Show a yearly tradition.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a video of the Jeep test course we got to ride on. Watch Joel and I get whiplash!

*Sniff, Sniff*

Joel and I have both been suffering from colds for the last couple days. Tonight Joel has the headache from hell that I had the other day. *sad face* I’ve now progressed to occasional stuffiness with a good amount of the sneezes thrown in. At least it’s progressing. Hopefully both of our colds will be gone in the next couple days and we can go back to our normal non-scrunchy selves.

Side note: I have a funny sneeze. In fact I have made strangers laugh out loud when they hear me sneeze. It’s not my fault though, it’s genetic. My dad sneezes like the big bad wolf, you’d think it would blow the house down. My mom on the other hand has much more normal sneeze, at least at first. The funny part is the end. Some people call it a backfire. Some have said it sounds like a cat meowing. It’s like “achoo, hew!” Lucky me got a mix of both so it’s something like “AAHCHOO, hew!”

Anyway, I consider myself a fairly healthy person. The last time I got majorly sick was about five years ago, and the time before that was almost ten years ago. I do however find myself with the occasional common cold. Sneezy, stuffy, phlegmy (is that a word?) grossness. Since it is called the common cold I assume some of you suffer from it from time to time. Here’s how I generally survive mine.*

First of all, the minute I feel like I’m getting a cold, you know, that little itch in the back of your throat, I start taking tons of vitamins. Usually vitamin C and echinacea three times a day. I’ve tried Cold-Eeze before but it didn’t seem to do much and it leaves a very strange, bitter aftertaste in my mouth. Also, I’ve tried gargling lime juice and salt which is also iffy on how well it works. No word on whether adding tequila is more or less affective.

While it seems the above are helpful, I have yet to find something that actually prevents a cold from coming every time. Usually my colds are much shorter than the average person’s though so I like to think they at least help.

Once I have a cold the most important thing I take care of is my nose. I always make sure I some kind of tissue that has lotion in it. There is nothing worse to me than feeling miserable only add to it by rubbing my nose raw by using cheap tissues.

Even with great tissues I still inevitably end up with a rudolph nose. To take care of that I slather Desitin on my nose right before I fall asleep. I know it sounds weird using diaper rash ointment on your face but trust me, it works. You have to use it at night though because it doesn’t soak in quickly. So, unless you think walking around with a gooey, white nose is better than a red one, I’d wait until you go to bed.

So there you have it. Possibly a little weird but they work for me and make my colds way more bearable. What about you? What are your best tips on surviving a cold?

*disclaimer: I don’t have a medical degree of any kind. If you’re really sick, see a doctor.

Only in the Midwest

Early this morning, while a blizzard swirled outside, I was lying snug in my bed fast asleep. My puppy was curled up under my arm on one side and the other side was pressed up against my husband. What I was dreaming I’ll never remember because I was jostled awake by a rattling. It sounded like it was either a huge gust of wind, something hitting our building or something exploding close by. The entire apartment shook for a few seconds and then was still again. I barely woke up and would’ve shut my eyes and fallen back asleep, thinking I dreamed the whole thing. Joel however, sprung out of bed and gasped, “What was that?” Since I was still coming out of a fairly deep sleep (having only fallen asleep four hours earlier) I was pretty confused and a little annoyed. Joel excitedly jumped out of bed and began throwing his clothes on while asking, “Was that an earthquake?”

“I have no idea. Come back to bed!” I moaned while trying to get back to sleep as quickly as possible.

“I need to check things out.”

“Check what out? If it was an earthquake what are you going to do about it?”

“Well if it was a bomb I’ll be able to see the glow from the city.”

“Joel, no matter what you’re going to see a glow from the city, it’s Chicago, it’s a huge city.”

By this time Joel was out the door. I was too awake by that point so I tried to speed up the process by rolling over and checking the “nearby” section of my Twitter app. Sure enough, people were talking about feeling something and wondering what exactly it was.

I heard Joel come back in the house and then I heard the TV turn on. Keep in mind this whole thing happened maybe three minutes before. I’m fairly certain no news goes on the air that quickly. Joel watched for a couple of minutes then came back in the room and grabbed the dog. Up until that point Phoebe had been sleeping soundly through all the excitement and didn’t seem very pleased to be pulled out of her warm bed.

“People are talking about feeling something on Twitter.” he informed me, “There’s nothing on the news though.” He again went outside, this time with the dog.

By this time I figured I may as well document the craziness so I began twittering.

I also did a little research and found out that it was indeed an earthquake and that the magnitude was 3.8. At the time the site said it was a 4.3 so I guess it was somehow downgraded in the last 17 hours. Not sure exactly how that works.

When he finally came back inside for the second time I asked him again what exactly he expected to accomplish outside. His reasoning was that if it happened again he didn’t want the apartment to fall on him. This was never mentioned to me so apparently he was totally cool with leaving me to hold up the building. Don’t forget, he took the dog with him… At least I know where I stand.

Eventually we both calmed down and managed to doze a little while before our alarms went off. Only in the Midwest can you have a blizzard and an earthquake at the same time. What a night.

Knowing I won’t get much sleep makes me grumpy

It’s my last night here in California. I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand I’m going to really miss my sister and family. On the other hand I cannot wait to see Joel and Phoebe. I also am not looking forward to getting up at a ridiculously early time tomorrow morning. I have to get up at 2am. Two AM, People! Ugh, my eyes hurt just thinking about it. I really hope I can sleep on the plane. I should but you never know. On the way here I got stuck next to Mr. Chatty McWhistles. I’m crossing my fingers for either a quiet seat mate or ideally no seat mate at all. That would be fabulous.

I’m also pretty pissed that I never got my luggage hook (not quite what mine is like but that’s the general idea). Mine was lost in Cancun (thanks taxi driver) so I tried to order one online. The stupid hook was $10.00 and I paid almost $11.00 in shipping so it would get here in 1-4 days. Apparently to the company I ordered from that equals 7 days, grrrrr! I’ll probably live but it’s going to make traveling with my two overstuffed bags so much harder. *whines* Where’s my big strong man when I need him?

Part of the reason my bags are so overstuffed, besides my need to pack everything I possibly think I could ever wear (It’s a sickness I swear.), is I got a spice rack today. It was only $20 and it came with 16 jars of spices. The best part though is it comes with free refills on the spices for five years! Just buying a couple jars of spices can cost $20 let alone getting free refills. My goal is to try and use them as much as possible. Working on number 18 of my 30 by 30 list, in case anyone is keeping track.*grin*

Anyway, I need to sign off because I have to go to bed. If I fell asleep at this moment I would only get five hours of sleep. Wow, tomorrow’s going to be a long day. Like the title said, just knowing I won’t get much sleep makes me grumpy. I’m so glad I’m not working my flights tomorrow. I have a feeling I wouldn’t be making the skies much friendlier. It will be worth it when I’m back home with my love though. Night!

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