Thursday, October 30, 2008

Old-school Halloween costume time

In the spirit of the impending holiday, here is photographic evidence that I did used to participate in it. These are only the pictures I have--my mom has all the baby pictures. If she didn't have them all packed up for her move back to Michigan (on Sunday!), I would have scanned some of them, too.

This year we'll probably go out to dinner or lock ourselves inside to avoid the chaos. Not that I expect many trick-or-treaters to make it past our building's security doors... although they didn't stop people from getting in and vandalizing everyone's front doors and the hallway walls with red nail polish Monday night. They also dumped the cigarette butt receptacle all over the floor. Classy!

First up, from 1989 or 1990--second or third grade. The clown girl, Lindsay, lived in our neighborhood and was my friend all the way through grade school and into college. The princess is my sister, Katie. Can anyone guess who I am? Please post guesses in the comments! This is one of my all-time favorite Halloween costumes--so original, not from a store-bought ensemble, and it was totally 100 percent all my idea! My mom sewed the flag together for me.

My sister and I are wearing probably three layers of extra clothes under our costumes, including pants. It's cold in Michigan in October!

Next, from 1994--seventh grade, when we lived in Ohio. My sister was a carnival vendor--see her popcorn bags and the "souvenirs" on her vest? Her hat says Kirby's--the name she made up for her vending business. Such a creative costume. I was supposed to be an Egyptian princess or... something. Um, definite costume fail for me. And yes, I am wearing the crown from my sister's princess costume. Also on display are my nasty snaggle teeth (thank god for braces). I bought the hooker lipstick, beads, bracelets, and earrings at the dollar store. What can I say? I was a classy little broad in the Buckeye State. And my sister was ridiculously cute. Now, she's a knockout. As a birthday card I once gave her said, "Stop being younger than me, you bitch!"

Third, a back-to-back Heidi Renée costume fail from 1995, when we were back living in Michigan. Katie was a picnic. Brilliant once again, right? The detail was amazing--she even glued little ants onto it. It was the bases-loaded home run of costumes. The kids belong to my older cousins. Glinda the good witch grew up to be our lovely golf prodigy. The ballerina is follwing in my (admittedly rather mediocre) footsteps in Okemos choir and theatre. The boys are giant teenagers now, and do quite a bit of damage as hockey players. My costume was a court jester, if you can call jeans and an oversized red sweatshirt a costume. Fail, fail, fail. I think I am wearing the same hooker lipstick that I paired with my Egyptian princess costume. I am also rocking the braces. Eighth grade was an awkward time.

Fast forward to high school--senior year in 1999. Of course all of the drama kids went to school in costume. That's just how we roll (you should see the pictures of my costumes and makeup for our actual shows). I believe this was the year that Angela wore her fabulous magnet costume (or was it the year before? Please, please post a picture if you have one). That's Lindsay (from the first picture) in the camouflage, and the object of our mutual affection, Aaron, who was... Mexican? He was also the first boy to grab my boobs.


My boobs were smaller then. All of me was smaller then. I thought I was so chubby, but look at how little I was! Especially in the second picture, with my costume twin, Christie. Isn't hindsight always 20/20? I don't know exactly what this costume was supposed to be. I guess I just wanted to look hot.

Warped body image aside, senior year was one of the happiest times in my life. Definitely not as happy as now, of course, because now I have someone who likes grabbing my boobs enough to be my husband FOREVER. Wifery WIN!

I hope everybody has a good time tomorrow night, Halloweening it or not.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It should have been 35-14, but who's counting?

Hail to the victors, indeed.
(Photo by Rod Sanford, Lansing State Journal)

It reminds me of another Michigan State victory, the 2001 clock miracle (another article here).

Finally, here's one last favorite trash-talk column:

Bring on the trash talk
By Krista Latham
The State News
November 2, 2001

We’ve heard it all before.

Michigan students call MSU students unintelligent, low-class, uncultured and socially inept. They say our campus is too big, our teams are easily beaten and our classes are jokes. We know nothing about their academic challenges, their social pressure or their massive collections of knowledge.

Meanwhile, Spartans students call Wolverines snotty, pretentious, boring, overambitious and big-headed. We complain they don’t even have a campus and their students take class competition over the top. They know nothing of our academic challenges, our social normalcies or our Spartan pride.

Our parties are riots. Your parties are lame.

We shop at the lowly mall. Your prissy skin crawls at the thought of a bargain.

Yes, we’ve definitely heard it all before....

On Saturday, I know some of those arrogant U-M students will find a way into Spartan Stadium. They’ll stand in our student section and say things like, “Go team, tally-ho!” They’ll act as though they know every single thing about every single player. They’ll shout out plays to head coach Lloyd “Scary face” Carr, as if he can hear them.

In other words, they’ll be those annoying ones that everyone will pick out and shower with obscenities.

And that will be fun....

You think you’ll win because you’re better. It’s your mantra, your security blanket in life. And we’re that person who sees you boast and then coolly gets the job done, smiles to ourselves and goes home.

That’s really why you don’t like us, isn’t it?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I once dated a rabid U of M fan. No really, I think he had rabies.

One of the biggest events of the year for those who bleed green (like me) is the Michigan State-Michigan football game. The Spartans are in Ann Arbor today, so to show my love for my boys in green, I thought I'd break out some old school trash-talking journalism: my favorite game-week columns from the days of yore!

Pack your Prada bags, the Spartans are coming
By Eric Lacy
The State News
October 20, 2000

Now I know the “other” university is lacking a nationally renowned, accredited school of journalism, but a column referring to a “sketchy” visit to East Lansing, with reference to K-mart and Prada bags just seemed to be a waste of space...

Here’s a primer on happenings at U-M: When athletics aren’t going well, athletes are getting in trouble and the athletic department is recovering from bad investments, so-called “fans” get mouths as big as former basketball center Robert Traylor’s waistline.

U-M Skunk Bears not worth breath
By Bethany Chismark
The State News
October 25, 2004

Who really wants to be a wolverine? A wolverine is related to the weasel and according to has "heavyset body, short legs, dark fur and a bushy tail. Also called glutton and skunk bear." Skunk bear? I think that name suits their team. Let's change it to the Michigan Skunk Bears. Ahhh, perfection.

The Spartan. Defined as "rigorously self-disciplined or self-restrained, courageous in the face of pain, danger or adversity." Sounds like our school. Who wants to be a skunk bear, again? That's right. No one. Plus, Sparty looks way cooler on the field compared to a rodent running around in a sweater.

Spartans are cut above U-M football team
By Jacob Carpenter
The State News
October 23, 2008

There’s an old saying that you’re never supposed to kick a dog when it’s down.

Whoever coined that phrase never said anything about Wolverines.

Kickoff in T-minus an hour. Let the trash-talking commence!

UPDATE, 7:19 PM: Victory! Now it's time to enjoy it. But please, Spartans, don't riot. We're better than that. That said, Jason and I are heading out to see what mischief we can get into.

P.S.: Everyone go wish Angela a happy birthday!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sometimes my cooking looks like baby diarrhea but I promise it is far more delicious.

Last night I thought we didn't have anything good to make for dinner. Well, that's what Jason thought, because he can't envision combining things (that on their own are very boring) into a full meal. I, on the other hand, can. Which is how I came to make Thai "chicken" with spicy garlic peanut sauce last night.

After examining every item in the refrigerator, freezer, and cupboards several times and walking away convinced we were just going to starve (or eat cereal), it came to me. Make something like that Cheescake Factory dinner (Bang Bang Chicken) that Jason liked so much last weekend! (Yes, we went there twice in four days. I refuse to be embarrassed about that.)

Thai "Chicken" with Spicy Garlic Peanut Sauce

2 bags of Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chik'n Strips
1 onion, diced
10-14 oz. frozen veggies of your choice (I used a medley of peas, carrots, corn, green beans, and broccoli)
5 large spoonfuls of peanut butter (preferably a natural kind not loaded up with sugar, e.g., not Jif)
3 cups soy milk
2-3 large spoonfuls of chopped garlic
olive oil
soy sauce
chili powder

Prepare veggies according to directions on package. Sautée diced onion and frozen chik'n strips in olive oil (just enough to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom of the pan). In a small pot, heat soy milk and peanut butter on low heat, stirring to combine evenly. When soy milk and peanut butter have reached a saucy consistency, stir in garlic (use more if you really like garlic). Add soy sauce and chili powder to taste. I used about 10 takeout packets of soy sauce and 3-4 tablespoons of chili powder, but just keep adding and mixing until it tastes right to you. Mix thoroughly. When the chik'n strips and onion are cooked through, combine with drained cooked veggies in a large bowl. Pour sauce into bowl and mix until evenly coated. For a saucier consistency, make more sauce. Serve over rice.

Serves 2 adults with a ton of leftovers. So really it probably serves 4-6 adults.

Don't say I never taught you anything.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Good thing I didn't make cake. All those candles would've made a bonfire.

Today is a special day.

On this day in 1981, my husband was born. At first glance, you're probably thinking, "Damn, Heidi Renée, how did you reel in such a gorgeous man?"

The answer, of course, is that I have no freaking idea, because he is the kind of nice guy-regulation hottie combo who would have ignored the hell out of me in high school and college. I can't tell you what I did to fix the asshole magnet in me--if I knew, I'd be telling all the ladies I know. Trust.

Jason is much more than a guy who's easy on the eyes and rocks a nice suit and tie. He has overcome so much in his life--much more than I've ever had to face. The cards he was dealt by the universe came from a deck devoid of aces. But he took that crappy hand and shuffled it into one hell of a full house (I'm the queen, obviously... are there jokers in a full house? Because we have three furry ones.). He has accomplished so much in 27 years, and I am so proud and in awe of his drive to achieve and improve. He inspires me to aim higher and work harder. He is a true self-made man, and one hell of a great husband.

Case in point: Rather than sleeping in this morning on a rare day off, he got out of bed to help me take Jasper and Lola to the vet--never a good time. Even on his special day, he's thinking about anyone but himself.

He's out right now spending the rest of his day off driving his dad around in the Corvette (complete with fancy wetsuit material seat covers--my little offering in honor of him being so full of win and awesome). Last night at the stroke of midnight I presented him with a celebratory homemade giant chocolate chip birthday cookie. Tonight we're going out to dinner with his whole family.

Happy birthday, baby. I hope your dreams come true this year. Mine come true every day I get to spend with you.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I swear we don't live in filth.

Last night I got a case of the wife crazies. I got so fed up with the messiness and junk in our apartment that I went on a cleaning rampage. Jason got swept along in my psychotic wake. We cleaned our bathroom and the cats' bathroom (if you click on the picture, you will see the poopy footprints that just had to go--the trail extended out onto the carpet in the hall!), unclogged our bathroom sink, vacuumed, took out several loads of trash, put away two loads of laundry, and set aside a few things to Freecycle. It makes a world of difference to get rid of the clutter! There's a lot left to do, but already I feel so much better.

Although I ended up throwing out some things I would have liked to have kept, like gift and packing boxes (we just don't have enough storage space!), we were able to give away some of Jason's old electronics equipment from when he was in technical school. Hopefully the high-schooler we gave them to will get good use out of them.

I also handwashed six bras that had been sitting on the closet floor, too dirty to wear again. I always put it off because it's so annoying to do. The obvious solution to this is to buy cheap bras that I can throw in the washing machine, but I can't bring myself to do that. I like my overpriced rack racks from Victoria's Secret too much. And honestly? They fit properly. And that's important when you're contending with D-sized lady lumps.

Speaking of Victoria's Secret, I finally took the plunge and ordered clothes from their Web site. It's the sweater in the picture, except a deep pink berry color that doesn't seem to be on the site anymore. I'm always hesitant to order stuff when I'm not sure it will fit. I have a few VS tank tops that I bought in-store, but since most stores don't have any of the clothes, I've never had the opportunity to try any of their sizes on. I've been ordering Gap stuff online for years, but that's because I know their sizing and am always 98% sure about how their clothes will fit me. I am happy to report that my sweater fits perfectly. I am very excited--a whole new world of "you can buy this in your underwear" has opened up to me! I'm contemplating getting the blue sweater now, too. Is it weird to have the same clothing item in multiple colors? I buy multiples like that all the time because I can never decide what I like best.

Wednesday night we sat down at the kitchen table and did our civic duty. That's right, I'm talking about absentee ballots. When I dropped them off at the town clerk's office on Thursday, a little shiver ran up my spine. All we can do now is wait--fingers (and toes) crossed.

The waiting is over for my mom--she and Phillip bought a house in Michigan and she'll be moving home in the next month or so! Our time living near each other in Massachusetts has been awesome, but we're both starting new chapters in our lives that will be even better than what we have now. I know we're both ready to leave this state!

I sure am. Jason is still in wait-and-see mode with the Navy. All he has left to do is pass his physical--it's just a matter of him finding the time to schedule it with the recruiter, a task more difficult than one would think because he has to go stay at a hotel in Boston the night before. That's the Navy--everything is on a schedule and has to be done just so. We miss that life. We'll have it back soon enough!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

On the banks of the Red Cedar, there's a school that's known to all

Today I had the pleasure of watching my Spartans dismantle Northwestern in football. Take that, NU, for rejecting me back in the day.

I was totally shocked that the game was even televised here--thanks, ESPN2! I made Jason "suffer through" the whole thing--watching football, he says, is even worse than seeing New Kids on the Block. It's funny how his profound dislike for them has evolved into a healthy tolerance when presented with situations he finds less appealing than hearing or seeing them.

Sadly, I found out too late that the MSU hockey team was playing in Massachusetts yesterday (Amherst) and today (Boston). It's the only time they'll be here all season, so I'm bummed.

This living in another state thing really cramps my Michigan State sports fan style. I worked hard enough to get two degrees from the place, and what does that get me? A successful career outside of Michigan, yes, but leaving has its drawbacks: where am I supposed to wear my hockey jersey and my vast MSU hoodie collection? Somehow, sporting my green and white while Jason fights ogres on the PS3 is not nearly as satisfying as doing so with other people who bleed the same green that I do. I always yearn for the brisk air and crunchy leaves on campus and the smell of Munn Ice Arena when this time of year rolls around--I don't think that feeling of nostalgia will ever leave me.

As a follow up to Thursday's post, I found someone whose couch is uglier than ours, and theirs (like ours) also comes with its own personal shredder cat. All ugly couches should, in my opinion. Behold:

more animals

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Just another day at the "office"

Jasper (white) and Lola (gray)

Jasper and Lola

Jacob, Jasper and Lola

P.S. Our couch is the fugliest thing ever.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

We go to Target often, actually.

The quest for the perfect PS3 continued on Saturday with a trip to Newington, New Hampshire, where a Gamestop had the model Jason was looking for. We enjoyed the scenic drive and the chance to take a longer cruise in the Corvette while the weather is still nice. It seems like all the other sports car drivers had the same idea--we saw a few other Corvettes and even a Ferrari.

We got into Newington and followed our GPS to where the Gamestop was supposed to be, but found an abandoned-looking building in its place. This is not the first time the GPS has sent us to the wrong place. We were once trying to find a Target and it sent us down a dead end dirt road. Ever since then, all driving mistakes due to the GPS have been called "going to Target." it happens more often than I'd like to admit, but I still don't know how people managed to drive anywhere before Mapquest and global positioning systems.

We finally found the Gamestop in a new shopping center down the street. Jason was relieved to find that they still had the PS3 and plunked down his wad of cash. That mission accomplished, we headed off on several other man missions like going to Lowe's to look at the tools and to Best Buy to price-check the video games. Those things done to his satisfaction, we decided it was time to find dinner.

Rather than hit up a chain restaurant we've been to a million times, I wanted to try something different. We settle on the Cataqua Public House, a pub at the Redhook beer brewery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We loved it! I was pleasantly surprised by the multiple vegetarian menu options, and I even liked the beer Jason got--I generally think beer is disgusting.

On the way home the GPS decided to be totally awesome and run out of battery power, then refuse to charge, so we were forced to navigate home without it. This lead to a slight detour over the border into Maine, but once we found the highway, we were on the right track... until Jason missed the ramp onto the highway that leads us home. At this point we were cruising around the towns outside of Boston, so he decided to head to his hometown, Malden, from which he would be able to get us home. We enjoyed the Malden detour--I liked it because we passed a dance club that I've been wanting to go to (insert Jason rolling his eyes here) so now we know where it is, and Jason felt a sense of accomplishment rolling through his old stomping grounds in a flashy car with his lovely wife and a PS3 in tow, a sort of silent "up yours" to everyone there who ever underestimated him (which is just about everyone).

Oh, and just in case you thought I wasn't going to mention New Kids on the Block this time, here's a video of Joey showcasing his mad dance skillz while performing "Twisted," a song from their new album, The Block, at our concert:

And here is the whole group performing "2 In the Morning," one of my favorite songs from The Block, at our concert:

Now I had better wrap this up before it really is two in the morning. Goodnight!

Monday, October 6, 2008

I told you I was working my way through that drink menu.

After watching the vice presidential nominees debate on Thursday, Jason rescinded his previous statement that he'd rather watch John McCain talk than see New Kids on the Block. Now he says he would much rather "suffer through" NKOTB than he would through the Republicans. Victory!

His chief complaint about the potential veeps? The way Sarah Palin pronounces maverick (and also her inability to actually answer a question). But enough about that.

Friday we went to Game Universe in Framingham so Jason could trade in his Super Nintendo and his rather impressive SNES game collection toward a Playstation 3. The They didn't have the particular PS3 model he wanted, so we left with a fistful of cash instead. Then it was time for dinner. We (read: I) had wanted to go to Minado for seaweed and sushi, but by the time we got there they were about to close. I was crushed--I really, really wanted seaweed salad!

Instead, Jason decided we should go across the street to The Cheesecake Factory, which was fine with me until he got lost in the mall parking lot and yelled at me for trying to help him navigate in the right direction. By the time we finally got there and were seated, it was 9:30 and I was starving because all I had eaten all day was a bagel.

Fast forward to the end of the meal: we order our dessert to go and my two Long Island iced teas have kicked in quicker than the food. By the time we get home, I'm slightly out of it and have to pee RIGHT NOW. We get to the door and Jason discovers he's left his building key in the car. So he goes back out to get it and leaves me crouched down, leaning against the wall holding it for what seemed like an eternity. At this point the waves in my head are equally as strong as the waves in my bladder. He finally gets back and unlocks the security door and I book it upstairs where I again have to wait for him to get there with the keys. The second he gets the door open, I hurdle over the kitty welcoming committee and into the bathroom. When he comes into our room a moment later, I'm sitting on the toilet with my head in my hands. He asks me if I'm ok, and I wail, "Nooooo, I'm dizzy and I need to take my contacts out because I can't SEEEEEEEEEE!"

I somehow manage to do that and find my way to the couch, where I faceplant. I drag myself to bed a short time later while Jason is in the shower.

Wow, other peoples' posts about drunken shenanigans are a lot more entertaining than mine are.

I'll continue with my weekend tale tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New Kids on the Block weekend, part 2

Jason is in Kansas for work this week, and every single time I have talked to him I have brought up New Kids on the Block. I swear I am not mentally ill (well, maybe a little in the picture--that was when we were getting ready to leave for the concert). I'm just a very happy fan.

You might recall that I had been wanting to go to that concert since the dates were announced in May. I told Jason over and over, to the point where I thought I was being annoying and ought to give it a rest, that I wanted him to get me tickets for my birthday. After August came and went with no tickets, I asked him why he hadn't gotten them for me. He said he thought I didn't want to go anymore because I had stopped talking about it. Um, no.

Of course, I had to pester him to get me my Journey diamond necklace for Christmas two years ago by saying I wanted it every single time the commercial came on until he finally took me to the store to pick it out. Why are men so slow to pick up on such obvious things? I figured out and ordered what he wanted for his birthday a month ago and it has been hidden in our spare room ever since. Further evidence that men are unobservant: the box is sitting out in plain sight. He hasn't noticed.

So anyway, the ball was back in my court for making the arrangements to go to the New Kids on the Block concert, but I could never get Jason to commit to being available. I would have loved to go with a group of girls, but I don't have any female friends in Massachusetts (sad but true) and I figured my mother wouldn't want to go. The week of the concert came, and I realized after spending some quality time with Ticketmaster that the only seats they had available were in the nosebleeds off to the side of and sort of behind the stage. No thanks. I expanded my search to Craigslist and eBay, and ended up finding a pair of face-value balcony tickets on eBay. I won them the morning of the concert and was on pins and needles all day messaging the eBay person about how I was going to get the tickets from her. My PayPal account wasn't working so I had to pay her in cash--luckily she agreed to that plan. We finally swapped cell phone numbers and I met up with her at a bar near the Garden an hour before the concert started. I was in ecstasy--I couldn't believe I had actually pulled it off!

I never thought I would be the kind of person who gets so out of control as to cry over a music group, like women did for the Beatles (as seen throughout this clip) or that one girl did for Sanjaya on American Idol. I have to admit, however, that when the video intro started, I was shaking with excitement and screaming my lungs out. When they rose up on the platform, I had tears in my eyes and wanted to jump up and down. I didn't. I do have some restraint.

Hey, at least I don't get that way about Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers. (Gag.)

I was on cloud 9 after the concert and didn't want the New Kids love to end there. So on Sunday we went shopping and I bought four of their albums: Hangin' Tough, Step By Step, Greatest Hits, and The Block (plus NSync's greatest hits album for good measure). I can't tell you how thrilled I was to find Hangin' Tough and Step By Step on CD. I had the Hangin' Tough album on tape back in the day, but I listened to it in my boombox (that I got in fifth grade!) until the two simultaneously destructed sometime during high school. That was a sad day.

I have been listening to my CDs nonstop. Their newest, The Block, is such a good album that you really have to hear it to believe it. Their music has matured with their fans--The Block is a CD for sexually active women who enjoy having a good time going out to party ("Single" and "Dirty Dancing") and staying in to, you know, party ("Click Click Click," "Stare At You" and "Lights, Camera, Action")--or at least make out. Needless to say, it's excruciating being husband-less this week, because I want to have all my favorite men in the same place.

I'm sure that with all of the songs they've heard in the past few days the cats are now huge NKOTB fans, too. All we have to do is win over Jason! You may have picked up on his dislike, nay, his disdain, for my darling New Kids. At the Garden, one of the seating attendants commented that Jason was only the second man he had seen all night. There were more than two dudes there, but he was definitely out of his element. He's not a fan of pop music, and his dream concert is Bad Religion (which I would gladly attend with him).

Despite his loathing for all things pop, he "suffered through" the New Kids concert with me (his words, said loudly while sitting on a T car full of concert-goers). He also said he would have rather stayed home and watched John McCain in the debate (we're an Obama household).

This is why I love him--he'll do something he detests to make me happy. I think I'll keep him.

I'm also keeping my New Kids albums. He might want to stay in Kansas.