I Never Seen A Light Move Like Yours Can Do To Me …

When Eric and I started planning our wedding, there were very few things that I knew right away I wanted.  Two of the things I was most sure about?  The song I would be walking town the aisle to (which I’ll discuss in my next post), and our first dance song (which I’ll be sharing today).

A lot of couples have a song they deem special, known to them as “our song.”  Despite the fact that I’m obsessed with music, Eric and I don’t have a song.  This probably should have made choosing our first dance song difficult, but it really wasn’t.

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The wife of one of our groomsmen took this picture during our first dance, and Eric and I thought it looked really nice.  Guest photo.

The song I immediately thought of for our first dance was “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds.  The first time I heard this song, I was in college.  I remember listening to it, really listening to the lyrics and thinking, “I want a love like this.”

“The Luckiest” is, in my opinion, the perfect love song.  The music is lovely (practically made for dancing!), and the lyrics are incredibly sweet and romantic without being cheesy.  The last verse is actually pretty sad, but it’s also romantic in that “love that will never die” kind of way.  (If you’re not familiar with the song, that verse basically tells the story of an older couple in their 90s.  The man dies, and his wife dies only a couple of days later of a broken heart.  As I said, it’s sad … But that’s honestly the kind of “depths of my soul” kind of love I always wanted.  And now I feel so lucky because I’ve found it.)

I like a lot of songs by Ben Folds, but “The Luckiest” is by far my favorite.  And now it will forever be one of my favorite songs because it will always remind me of my wedding day and how happy I was in that moment, dancing with my new husband.

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This was my favorite picture from our wedding.  I think part of it is because it captured such an intimate moment so beautifully.  Personal photo taken by Kelsey at Memrical.

I Have Snipped Your Wingspan, My Precious, Captive Swan

The recipe I’ll be sharing today is definitely not a healthy one.  It’s also not a very photogenic meal.  But it’s good.  Really good.

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As I said, this isn’t exactly the prettiest meal I’ve ever made.  Personal photo.

The first time I ever had hash was at Bonnaroo last summer.  Corned beef hash always sounded really gross to me, but it was surprisingly good (and great camping food!).  I never made it at home, but I would sometimes find myself craving it.  (Hey, sometimes you just have random cravings.)

I really wanted to experiment a little, though.  I started searching for hash recipes online, and came across a Tex-Mex version.  It sounded delicious, but I wanted to experiment even more … And this was the result.

Chorizo Green Chile Hash

Recipe taken from The Way The Cookie Crumbles (www.crumblycookie.net)

Adapted by me!

Ingredient List:

  • 1 lb chorizo sausage
  • 5 Yukon gold potatoes, diced into cubes
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 4 oz. cans diced green chilies
  • 1 tsp sea salt, divided
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Instructions:

1.) Combine the cubed potatoes, 1 tbsp olive oil, and 1/2 tsp sea salt in a medium microwave safe bowl.  Cover and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Stir, then return to the microwave for another minute.  Repeat these steps until the potatoes are completely softened.  (I had to do this several times.)

2.) Heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a large nonstick skillet.  Add the chorizo, and cook until it’s completely browned, breaking it up as it cooks.

3.) After the chorizo is completely cooked through, drain as much grease as possible.  (If you’ve never cooked with chorizo, it’s a very greasy sausage … So be prepared to drain!)

4.) Add the diced onion and remaining 1/2 tsp sea salt to the drained meat, and cook for approximately 5 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.

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It should look something like this at this point.  Personal photo.

5.) Turn the heat up to medium-high, and add the potatoes and black pepper.  Stir once to combine, then let cook for 2 minutes without stirring.

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Yum, potatoes!  Personal photo.

6.) Add both cans of green chilies and red bell pepper, stirring to combine.  Allow the mixture to cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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It definitely looks more colorful after this step.  Personal photo.

7.) Using the back of a spoon, create 4 wells in the hash.  Crack an egg into each well.  (You can make more if you want, as long as space in your pan allows.  We wanted 2 eggs each, so that’s why we made 4.)

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As you can see, the wells don’t have to be incredibly deep.  You can probably also see that one of my egg yolks got a little damaged when I added it to the skillet.  Personal photo.

8.) Turn the heat down to medium, and cover the skillet.  Allow the hash to cook, without stirring, until the white of the eggs sets (about 6 minutes).

9.) Enjoy!  This was an incredibly filing meal, so I didn’t make any side dishes.  It made enough for leftovers, though, and we were able to reheat it in a large skillet and recreate the eggs in a well method.  It tasted just as good the second time around!

The Lonely Life Of A Writer Whose Words Could Not Pay His Debts

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time (particularly the Music Monday posts), you’ve probably noticed that my musical tastes tend to run toward the hipsterish (with a few notable exceptions).  I’m the kind of person that people label a “music snob.”  (Trust me, I get that a lot.)

I’m going to admit something shocking today, though: I have musical guilty pleasures.  (Okay, that’s probably not that shocking.)  The guilty pleasures, though?  Probably at least kind of shocking.  But hey, I like what I like!

Today I’m going to share one of these musical guilty pleasures.  It’s not that it’s bad … It’s just that it’s so far from what I normally like that most people are surprised when I mention that it’s something I enjoy listening to.

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Image courtesy of en.wikipedia.org.

I like some of Kelly Clarkson’s other songs, but the Breakaway album just does it for me.  First, she is an undeniably talented singer.  I mean, seriously … Girl can sing.  But there’s more to my love of this particular album than her stellar vocals.

This album reminds me simultaneously of some of the best, most carefree moments in my life and some of the darkest, most painful times.  I got into it during my senior year of college after hearing it on repeat in some of my best friends’ cars when I’d go back to my hometown.  Although I didn’t completely love every single song on the album, it quickly went into rotation in my own car.  I can’t even begin to count the number of times I made road trips while singing my heart out along with Kelly.  And since this was one of the few artists my pop-loving hometown best friends and I actually agreed on, it was a staple anytime we drove anywhere (particularly on longer road trips to Cedar Point).

Unfortunately, one of the other reasons I fell in love with this album is because the songs were so relatable for me at the time.  I was dealing with some major heartbreak, and lyrics like “Now all that’s left of me is what I pretend to be/So together, but so broken up inside” from “Behind These Hazel Eyes” as well as pretty much the entirety of the lyrics from the song “Addicted” (among others) just described everything I was feeling so well.  I sang my heart out to these songs not only because I thought they were good (and they are), but because I actually felt the words.  It sounds silly, I know, but that’s one of my favorite things about music … Being able to relate to it.

As with other album discussions (and I suppose that’s what this is even though it started off as more of a confession), I’ll share my top 5 favorite songs from the album and my favorite line(s).

* Addicted

Personal Favorite Line(s): It’s like I’m lost/It’s like I’m giving up slowly/It’s like you’re a ghost that’s haunting me/Leave me alone/And I know these voices in my head are mine alone/And I know I’ll never change my ways if I don’t give you up now

* Behind These Hazel Eyes

Personal Favorite Line(s): Now all that’s left of me is what I pretend to be/So together, but so broken up inside

* Hear Me

Personal Favorite Line(s): I used to be scared of letting someone in/But it gets so lonely being on my own

* Gone

Personal Favorite Line(s): That’s all changed into lies that drop like acid rain/You washed away the best of me, you don’t care

* Because Of You

Personal Favorite Line(s): I lose my way/And its not too long before you point it out/I cannot cry/Because I know that’s weakness in your eyes/I’m forced to fake a smile, a laugh every day of my life/My heart can’t possibly break when it wasn’t even whole to start with

If anyone reading this wants to comment, do you have any musical guilty pleasures?

You’re Insecure, But That’s No Excuse

I haven’t forgotten about the 30 day blogging challenge.  I was just waiting for another Sunday Lists post to share the next topic.

This week’s list: 3 Things I Like About My Personality

3.) I like that I’m very sensitive.  There are times when I hate this because it can be a little embarrassing … I mean, I will actually start to tear up sometimes if I’m even just telling someone a story that I find moving in some way.  But I like that I feel things so deeply because I think it helps me relate to others a little more.

2.) I like that I’m driven.  I may not be exactly where I thought I’d be at the age of 29, but I work hard for the things I have.  I have very specific goals in mind relating to my career, buying a home, starting a family, etc., and I plan to achieve them.

1.) I like that I’m not afraid to be myself.  There are a lot of sides to my personality, but I’m never ashamed of any of them.  I tend to think that people will either like me or they won’t … So why waste time trying to get them to like someone I’m not?

If anyone feels like sharing, what are the 3 things you like best about your own personality?

We Rejoice ‘Cause The Hurting Is So Painless From The Distance Of Passing Cars

I haven’t gotten as far with my 50 book reading goal as I would like, but I guess that’s to be expected.  Between work, spending time with Eric, going out with friends, various responsibilities (volunteering, running errands, cooking meals, etc.), and just wanting to do other things from time to time, reading is often pushed to the back burner.  I thought I might read more while I was sick, but unfortunately most days I could barely stay awake long enough to finish a chapter.

There was one day, however, that I read a lot.  I think I read more than half of this book in a day, though that was mostly due to the fact that I was so congested that I couldn’t breathe when I tried to sleep … So basically I was so exhausted that I was just trying to do something quiet and calming in hopes that I might be able to nap a little here and there.

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Image courtesy of bookcoverarchive.com.

Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk

260 pages

I specifically chose this book to read while I was sick because I’d read it before.  Generally rereads are pretty quick for me (unless it’s a more “challenging” novel, like Anna Karenina or something similar), and Chuck Palahniuk’s books are typically quick reads for me as well.

I feel like when it comes to Chuck Palahniuk, a lot of people either love him or hate him.  For the most part, I love him.  (I was pretty disappointed in Snuff, however, and I haven’t picked up a lot of his more recent work, including Tell-All and Damned.)  I am, however, a big enough fan to drive 3 hours just to attend a reading/book signing.  (I did this back in 2007, when he was on his Rant book tour.)  I’m glad I had the experience of meeting him, even though I got completely tongue-tied when it was my turn to have my book signed.  I told myself I wouldn’t be lame and “star-struck,” but I totally was.

Want proof?

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As I said, this was back in 2007 (literally a couple of weeks or so before I met Eric, in fact!).  The wedding stuff is related to Rant, so it’s not completely random.  The biggest thing to note here is how terrified I look … Like a deer in the headlights.  I wish I’d gotten a better picture in which I didn’t look so scared/crazed, but it is what it is.  Personal photo.

I at least managed to handle getting my book signed, though, and it’s been proudly on display ever since.

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I actually have 2 copies of this novel now.  The signed copy, which is just for show, and a copy to be read.  Personal photo.

So now you know all about my love for Chucky P.

This post isn’t really about that, though.  It’s about Lullaby, which I first read back in … 2006, I think.  Lullaby is the story of a journalist named Carl Streator who is working on a piece about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.  As he visits several homes to get information from grieving families, he begins to notice a pattern … A book entitled Poems and Rhymes from Around the World is found in each home.  On page 27 of this book, there is an African chant/song.  It’s known as the culling song, and it kills anyone it is read to.

As the story unfolds, readers learn that he has experienced tragedy in his own life and is perhaps too close to the subject he’s researching for his story.  He meets a real estate agent named Helen Hoover Boyle, who has suffered a similar loss.  They team up to find and destroy all copies of Poems and Rhymes from Around the World as well as to discover the origin of the song (a book of spells known as the “grimoire”).  In meeting Helen, he also gets to know her young assistant Mona, who is into witchcraft, and Mona’s boyfriend, Oyster, who has his own agenda when it comes to the culling song.

If you’ve never read any Chuck Palahniuk books, this summary probably sounds insane.  And the book is weird … But in a good way.

Lullaby isn’t my favorite Palahniuk novel.  It’s good, but not my favorite.  From a review standpoint, some sections are a little too repetitive for my taste.  The ideas are interesting, but the execution falls flat at certain points.  Overall, it’s dark but funny and it makes you wonder what you would do if you had the kind of power the grimoire (or even the culling song alone) could give you.

One thing I will freely admit about Chuck Palahniuk’s books is that they often make me sad.  I’m an extremely sensitive person anyway, so this probably isn’t too shocking … But I feel like most people read his books and don’t cry.  I won’t give details of the part that made me cry because I hate spoilers, but it’s near the end of the book (so if you choose to pick it up, you’ll probably figure out what I’m talking about).  It’s not really meant to be sad … I mean, it’s completely bizarre and a little disgusting.  Yet for whatever reason, it just made me so sad that I cried a little.  (I don’t remember if I cried the first time I read this or not, but I’ve definitely cried over a few of his other books in the past.)

I’d obviously reread this book in the future, and would recommend it to those who are interested in reading something strange.  If you’ve never read Palahniuk, I wouldn’t start here, though.  There are much better novels to start with, including my personal favorite, Invisible Monsters (I may reread and review that one later this year).  If you’ve read some of his other work, though, this one is at least worth checking out.  As I said, it can get a little repetitive at times, and I don’t feel like the writing is as good as it is in some of his other novels … But it’s worth a read simply because the ideas are pretty interesting.

I give Lullaby THREE STARS.  It’s probably closer to three and a half, but I don’t think it warrants a four star rating since I know he can do much better.

These Games They Really Do You In When You’re Making Up Your Own Rules

I’ve noticed lately that my most popular blog posts are those featuring memes.

As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t really start this blog to gain a ton of followers.  I started it because I enjoy writing, but often feel unmotivated to do so.  Updating a blog forces me to work on my writing on a fairly regular basis, which I’m hoping will eventually translate into better creative/fictional writing.  Blogging is also fun because it gives me an outlet to share random thoughts, reviews, etc.  I share a lot with the people in my life, but some things just seem better suited for sharing on a blog.  For example, most people in my life wouldn’t benefit from wedding planning advice.  A random person who stumbles upon my blog might, though.

But anyway … The point of all of that is to say that I don’t always make an effort to post things that I think will be “popular.”

Today, however, I am.

I’m pretty sure I’ve written about my love/hate relationship with Facebook in the past.  I appreciate that it gives me the opportunity to stay in touch with people I might have lost touch with otherwise.  I enjoy seeing pictures that my close friends and family share, especially since a lot of them live far away.

But … I hate some of the random shit that people post.  I don’t care what you had for lunch, nor do I want to see an Instagram picture of your peanut butter sandwich.  I don’t want to try to decipher what you mean when you tipe lyke dis nd thnk ppl can reed it.  I don’t want to scroll through a ton of images of sick children saying “If I get 1,000,000 likes, my rich uncle/neighbor/Prince William will pay for my cancer treatment!”  I also don’t need to see a bunch of pictures of Jesus that say “Like if you love Jesus!  Keep scrolling if you hate him and love Satan!”

No.  Just … No.

So today I’ve gathered some memes that represent some of the things that I hate about Facebook.  (And yes, I realize I could simply delete my account, but, as I said, it’s not all bad.  I just have to limit the amount of time I spend on it … Otherwise, I might go crazy.)

I’ll start with the profile picture.  I think this is pretty accurate:

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I said it before, but I’ll say it again … I have no idea why some people insist on typing up a bunch of gibberish to post on Facebook.  I have to wonder … Is this person drunk, dumb, lazy, or all of the above?:

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Another issue I’ve already mentioned … The random sick child/religious/insert other random thing that’s supposed to make you feel guilty if you don’t “like” it images that pop up in my newsfeed.  Do people really believe this shit?:

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Some people love to share everything.  Seriously.  I understand that you’re sick … If you want to share that, that’s cool.  But I don’t need to know that you’ve had explosive diarrhea for the last two days.  No one needs to know this (and this is coming from someone who tends to overshare!):

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Then there’s the question of Facebook etiquette.  I’m sure most people with a Facebook have wondered about this at one point or another:

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I will admit, though, that sometimes I like to watch the drama unfold on Facebook.  I find it particularly amusing because the majority of the people I’m friends with on Facebook are within 5 years of my age (so most people are between the ages of 24-34).  Adults.  Adults who, for whatever reason, sometimes feel the need to stir shit up.  While I always stay out of it, I won’t pretend I’m above busting out the popcorn and doing exactly what this meme says:

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Following a Facebook fight, I’ll often see one of the people involved make some sort of passive aggressive jab at the other person.  Then they’ll (OMG!) delete that person from their friends list!  (Or at least threaten to do so.)  This is pretty much my reaction every time this happens (and sadly it happens on a fairly regular basis):

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So yes, I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.  This leads me to my final meme, the one that sums up how I often feel after wasting some time scrolling through my news feed (especially if none of my close friends or family have posted anything):

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I Have Lived So Many Lives All In My Head

I kept trying to think of something to write about today, but I couldn’t settle on one specific topic.  So I decided to share something fun.

I first took the Visual DNA Personality Test several years ago.  I don’t know what made me think of it tonight, but for whatever reason I thought, “Why not take it again to see if anything has changed?”  It’s pretty quick, fun, and interesting (though I generally enjoy taking personality tests, so maybe I’m biased).  

If you’re interested in taking it for yourself, the test can be found here: https://personality.visualdna.com/?c=us#quiz

Here are my results:

You’re A Seeker

Your positivity is infectious — which sounds a little germy.  When times are tough you’re waiting with open arms and your best sympathetic face.

You’re open to new things, and can be persuaded to try anything twice, all in the name of experience of course.  We’ve got you down as a bit of a dreamer, you’re probably zoning out right now, PAY ATTENTION, and read on.

Your home forms the cornerstone of your life.  It is your castle, or at least it could be if you got planning permission for the turrets.

Find an outlet for all that pent up creativity.  If that means running barefoot howling at the wind, then that’s … Er … Cool, but also welcome a bit of structure into your life.  Word to the wise: you’ve got good ideas, find your voice, but always take advice.

Valuing the big L, probably more than anything, you keep your dearest nearest.  As a consequence of them knowing you warts (not literally?!) and all, they are best placed to give you support.

The results also break your personality down in several areas, including Time, Energy, Love, Money, and Fun.  I won’t share everything here because, well, it would probably be pretty boring to read.  

I will say that my results are pretty different this time around.  I think part of this is due to my position in life … When I first took this, I was in my early 20s.  I was single, depressed, and floating pretty aimlessly through life.  Now I’m in the last stretch of my 20s (Can I pretend that’s not the case?), married, doing well at work, and starting to think much more seriously about certain things (like buying a home and having my first child).  I wouldn’t say I completely agree with all of my results, but part of this is due to the images being very subjective.  I may not interpret them the way they were intended, but that’s okay.  It’s still an interesting personality test, and a good way to pass the time if you’re bored and have 10 or so minutes to kill.

If anyone reading this takes the Visual DNA Personality Test and wants to share the results, please feel free to do so in the comments!