Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I PASSED!!!!

This is the second time in recent months that I've gotten to say that! I passed my PHR exam! I went out to celebrate my badassness with friends tonight and hopefully we didn't scare off my friend's hubs. We were in very rare form this evening! John has started calling it my HRB certification for HR Badass. I wonder if they'll let me put that on my new business card?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

But I don't want to study!

What's that you say, aren't I done with school? Didn't I graduate already? Why yes, to both of those questions. Then what the heck am I doing studying? Why have a been a loser since Friday by staying in to study? Why, I have my Professional in Human Resources (PHR) exam tomorrow. There are 6 areas in which I need to be proficient, 2 of which make up almost 50% of the test. So I need to have those 2 sections down. I'm also regretting being such a swindler negotiator during my undergrad years. I talked not only myself, but also my class out of many projects and exams. I once told my professor, "I honestly haven't studied for my compensation exam. I really don't want to study (this is 2 hours before the exam and just after I had taken a different exam with him). I'm just not prepared to do it. However, I have been to class every day, I've turned in all my assignments, I have an A in the class currently, is there any way I can just take the class average on the exam?" Guess what? He said yes. I also got an A in the class. In the same class I turned a major class project into an extra credit assignment. In my benefits class the next semester I think the professor just gave up on us halfway through. He dropped the 3rd of the 4 exams, and told us that we could keep our current grade or we could take the final to try to improve our grade. Well I had a high C or low B (can't remember anymore), was a graduating senior with a ton of projects to finish so OF COURSE I agreed to this deal. His only mistake was telling everyone about this deal because then we only showed up to class to work on other things, and I admit to learning NOTHING the last month and a half of class. Because of my compensation and benefits actions and the fact that I just plain hated these two subjects, I completly SUCK at these two areas. Which is fine. It won't ever really hurt me in my career because generally there is a compensation and a benefits person within a company. That's what is so great about HR, there are so many areas that you can work in. However, my lack of knowledge in these areas are going to kill me on this exam. Comp or should I say, Total Rewards, makes up 16% of the test and I will have 36 questions covering this topic. I'm scared to death. On the practice tests I've yet to hit passing (73%) so my other areas are just going to have to carry me. Which means I have to know a million and one employement laws in and out (another thing I haven't had to really know since college thanks to google). I'm not talking the major ones - ADA (now ADAA, but not for my exam), FMLA, ADEA, Equal Pay Act, Civil Rights Act, Title VII, ect. I have to know the cases that determined disparate treatment/impact, what case led to the determination that same-sex harrassment is covered under Title VII, and which case stated that ADEA does not protect younger workers, even if they are over the age of 40, from workplace decisions that favor older workers. If you know any of these answers off the top of you head, I'll send you a cookie!

So once again my brain is a huge garbled mess. I'm TERRIBLE at taking "standardized tests." I actually stink at tests in general (explains why I talk myself out of them) and the fact that this test is expensive to take puts even more pressure on me. The national passing rate for this time last year was only 61% which was down from 63% the previous years. The highest pass rate was 5 years ago and was 67%. While these are slightly daunting statistics I think it also shows the importance of the certification. It's like the MBA or PhD (that might be the SPHR actually) of the HR world. It shows that you know your HR shit and have taken the time to show that you are a professional in this field.

So wish me luck tomorrow at noon. I'll find out if I pass or not immediately after I take the exam, but won't get my score until much later. I have to get a 73% to pass the exam, which I know I can do. I don't think I've ever gotten a 73% on exams since I made the mistake of taking Physics my senior year of high school. So I should be in the clear. Today I have to finish reviewing 2 more modules, take about a million practice exams and hope I do better than a 73% on all of them!

Monday, January 26, 2009

My reading list

So I got this


for Christmas.

But needed to read this



and this again to refresh my memory.


Since I finished those, I'm now reading this



which was another Christmas gift.

Plus, I finally used my GC I got for graduation from my coworkers and ordered this



this



this



and this.


Lots of reading to do!

Friday, January 23, 2009

My husband, the dork

Last month John, his step-dad and another friend decided they would get together every Friday for 3 weeks and watch the extended DVDs of Lord of the Rings. Each guy hosted and when it came to the last one they decided they would all dress up. I of course thought this was HILARIOUS and it made for some great conversations:
J: I need to figure out what I'm going to dress up as for LOTR (pronounced loader)
Me: You guys are so gay.
J: No we're not!
Me: Yes. Yes you are.
J: It's not any different than if you and your friends were going to go and watch Sex and the City and one of you was all, "I'm going dress up like Miranda" and "I'm going to be Samantha."
Me: One, my friends and I would NEVER do that. Two, you ARE SO gay for knowing the character names!

Later that night he downloaded 16 Candles and Pretty in Pink, yeah....

J (calling from Goodwill): Well I found an awesome waistcoat.
Me: What's a waistcoat?
J: It's like a vest.
Me: Well does it look like a vest?
J: Yeah.
Me: Then it's a vest.
J: Well S calls it a waistcoat and he's British so I figured he knew better.
Me: Well you're not so it's vest.
J: Whatever. I also found this little girl's velvet green dress that I'm going cut up and to turn into a cloak.
Me: Gay.
J: I'm not gay! I'm married!
Me: Doesn't matter. There are LOTS of married gay men. You could be one of them. I could be your Beard.
and now for your viewing pleasure, my dork of a husband as Frodo, Gandolf and a couple of Ringwraiths:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Shrimp Scampi

I'm still trying to avoid the grocery store, but I got their weekly ad there were some great deals in there so off I went! One deal was on shrimp. I'm still trying to use up food in my pantry and fridge which includes a giant tub of minced garlic and a crapload of pasta. I found this recipe on the WW website and it's only 8 pts a serving:

Shrimp Scampi with Spaghetti



2 tsp olive oil
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 lb peeled, deveined shrimp
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tsp cornstarch
3/4 reduced sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz linguini pasta, uncooked

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add oregano and stir to coat. Add shrimp and sauté until bright pink, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Add wine and simmer about 1 minute.

Dissolve cornstarch in chicken broth in a small cup and whisk until blended; add mixture to skillet and simmer 2 minutes, until sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer cooked linguini to four individual shallow bowls and spoon shrimp and sauce over top; sprinkle with parsley and basil. Yields about 1 1/3 cups of pasta, 1/4 cup of sauce and 3 ounces of shrimp per serving.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama Cake

John came home last week with these little Obama pins and said, "these are for our inauguration party!" All I thought was, "you want to have ANOTHER party?" Thankfully it was more of a just us sort of thing, but I did make him a cake for his "party."



Not my best work, but oh well. I'm sure it's going to taste good!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How do you like the new look?

So I was also looking for a new kind of layout to go with my new header and over at Jannypie I found the the perfect one!

I also went with a different design for the header, but kept many of the colors from the first one which also got the most votes. Hope you like!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Updates

Oh, and I have not decided on a header so please still tell me what you like. I was playing around and can't get my old one back at the moment so it's boring for now!


Tonight I have a girls night. A GIRL'S NIGHT! You have NO IDEA how much I need this night! I mean, it's only HH, but it's drinks and female interaction. I've been sitting on my couch with my husband for 2 weeks and I need people! People that understand my own brand of crazy. Stephanie and I caught up the other day and talked about the difference between boys and girls and while the men in our lives are so understanding and listen when we're upset they're so damned logical. Why can't you just get angry and pissed off for absolutely no reason with me!? Why do you always have to consider the other side!? Why not my side for just one minute!? Can't you just let your emotions completely overwhelm you for just a second? Just one second. That's all I'm asking for! Just feel everything all at once and then start to cope and have logic kick in. It's the very very rare occasion that John actually does this. I think it's just something that guys don't get. I also need to do some total bitching and just be judgemental. It's another thing that guys don't get. Sometimes it just feels good to judge and think you're better. So yes, TOTALLY looking forward to some girl time!

I also hope to work on my desk this weekend. John built me a wonderful desk and he thinks I hate it. I stole the idea from The Container Store and it's kind of similar to this:

Except mine is a dark wood and is longer. He just doesn't understand that I also need all the cute storage boxes to go with it all. Do you know how hard it is to find cute, inexpensive storage boxes? I cleaned out 5 Ross stores to get what I wanted! 5! I attempted to work on it last weekend, but when I went to adjust the shelves I found out I couldn't move them. John had screwed the brackets into the shelves, thinking I was set on their location, and I was under the assumption I would still be able to move them. Just total miscommunication on our part, but really it's more on his. I mean, I'm the most indecisive person on the planet when it comes to things like that. The fact that I had absolutely no objection to the first and only shelf placement should have set him off. Come on! I'm the girl that he goes Christmas tree shopping with every year and looks at 20 trees before going back to the first one. I can't make a decision on shelves in 5 minutes! I have to buy my cute storage boxes and see how everything is going to fit on there first! Gosh! Again, being a guy, he'd never understand this.

So that's my excitement and my chore for this weekend. On Tuesday we may have our cable and internet turned off for I'm not sure how long. I'm so not ready. I mean, cable, I could live without, but the internet? Are you kidding me!? We're trying to get our employee discount, but in order to do this we have to disconnect and put it in John's name (he wasn't working for this co when we moved in so we didn't think about it). Yes, it's the most retarded thing on the planet, really, you can't just delete Faith and type in John? Is it THAT hard? Apparently it is. Plus I need my discount so I can justify the cost of adding HBO so I can watch Big Love. Ahhh.....Big Love, how I've missed you! Since the cable install could take 1 day to 2 weeks (we're not sure just how long it will be yet) we could be struggling for awhile. Plus it's not like I can go online and watch the shows I've missed because I will have NO INTERNET. So expect some scheduled, boring blog posts next week! :)

Thinking of a new header

What do you think?
Leave it as is?

or go with this one?


or this one?


Or neither?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Still Showin' Off



My tulips have opened up and look gorgeous!



Thanks again Kristie!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

200th Post

Whoa. 200. What to write for this milestone? Would you consider it a milestone even? Hmmm....

Unfortunately all I've got is Riley and his Mouse.

Riley LOVES Mouse.

However, if you point that out to him he gets angry with you and totally denies it.



You tell him to "get Mouse" and you get the "what you talkin' about?" look.



If you tell him to "get Mouse" when he's got mouse, he immediately ignores Mouse.

Every now and then Riley will run out of the bedroom with Mouse and bring him into the living room. He'll shake him around a bit, drop him on the floor, pick him back up and run back to the bedroom. John calls this, "date time." We think he brings Mouse to meet us and then goes out. Yes. We know we're crazy.

Usually Mouse is left discarded somewhere around the house, forgotten, used and abused.



On occassion you end up with this cuteness:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Baby Butts and Yummy Pasta

This weekend Julie and I were going to go and visit Kandis, Greg and baby J. Our visit didn't work out as planned, but I still wanted to drop off the food I made (and Julie's fabulous pot roast and pie) and the super awesome cookies we had made. Hopefully I'll get a chance to visit with the new little chunk sometime this week or the coming weekend and catch up with Kandis.

Here's the yummy pasta I made for them, stolen from Kraft.

Sausage Rigatoni



4 cups rigatoni pasta (8 oz.), uncooked
1 lb. Italian sausage, cut into chunks
1 red onion, sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup KRAFT Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese

COOK pasta as directed on package.

MEANWHILE, brown sausage in large nonstick skillet; drain. Stir in onions and tomato paste; cover. Cook 15 min. or until onions are tender and sausage is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Stir in dressing.

TOSS sausage mixture with pasta. Sprinkle with parsley and cheese.

It's 11 pts, but you can cut it back with lean sausage and using FF dressing.

Now on to Baby Butts!

All my "shaped" cookies have always been made from scratch using Betty's Recipe.

I got this idea from the Nest. The pictures I saw were from a lingerie party, but I also saw another use for them.

The cookies start off looking like this (you can also cut the tips off before baking, which is what we ended up doing after these were cooked, that way you don't end up with crumbs).



Then the decorating begins!

The frosting that didn't quite work out and required a trip to the store.


Pure cuteness!


Of course being who we are we still made some naughty cookies!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Showin' Off

My fabulous sister in law Kristie sent me flowers today as a graduation gift. I've never gotten flowers at work before! (*hint, hint* *wink, wink* *nudge, nudge* to a certain someone).
Here's my super awesome flower arranging while at work picture:


There's a guy in my office that specializes in Tulips. Let's home he comes in today.....

No drugs this time, just food and no, I don't have the munchies.....

Poor John, the first thing I make in my new crockpot was soup. It was darn good soup though!

Tomato Basil Soup



2 cans (28oz) peeled whole tomatoes, drained and liquid reserved
2 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cups liquid reserved from canned whole tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp allspice
5 oz evaporated milk
1/4 shredded fresh basil leaves (about 10)
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450. Line baking sheet with foil; spray with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange whole tomatoes on foil in a single layer. Sprinkle with brown sugar and top with onion. Bake 25-30 minutes or until tomatoes look dry and brown. Let tomatoes cool slightly; finely chop.

2. Place tomato mixture, 3 cups reserved tomato liquid, chicken broth, tomato paste and allspice in the slow cooker. Mix well. Cover; cook on Low 8 hours or on High 4 hours.

3. Add evaporated milk and basil; season with salt and pepper. Cook on High 30 minutes or until hot.

I made up for the soup a few days later and made him some ribs, sorry no pictures.

BBQ Spare Ribs

Take however many lbs of pork spare ribs you want, I think I did about 3. Rub with some brown sugar, cut the rack into half or thirds depending on the size of your crockpot. Then slather on BBQ sauce of your choice, I used Stubbs. Cook on low (they're ribs, cook them on LOW) for 6-8 hours. To finish them I line a cookie sheet with foil, slather on some more BBQ and broil them in the oven until they look crispy and then flip and make the other side crispy. John was in Heaven! I also made PW's green beans (for me) and John got some potato salad. Finally, since we're still recovering from Christmas spending and just trying to cut back in general, I've been trying to find new things to make using what I've got in the pantry, fridge and freezer. Yes, I make a list, yes I use coupons, but I'm also one of those people that can't just buy a few things at the store. What should be $30 easily turns into $60 so I'm trying to avoid the store until we're out of dairy and produce. So I discovered Tiffany's Temptations from her comment on one of my posts and I stole her idea of making Swedish Meatballs. I think I made this once when John and I had first moved in together, but made a packet of cream gravy and served it over mashed potatoes like my mom used to do (except her gravy was homemade). John loved this!
Here's my variation using what I had:

Swedish Meatballs and Egg Noodles



Meatballs

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

Dried onion flakes, I just threw in what looked good.

About a 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper


Sauce

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/4 cup beef broth

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup sour cream


1 bag egg noodles


Cook egg noodles according to package directions. While waiting for the water to boil, make the meatballs and sauce.


To cook meatballs on the stovetop: preheat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Mix ingredients for meatballs in a medium-size bowl. Form bite-size balls and add directly to the pan as you roll them. Cook meatballs 10 to 12 minutes, turning them occasionally. Remove meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate, wipe out pan, and return to heat to make the sauce.


(You can also make them in the oven this way: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix ingredients for meatballs in a medium-size bowl. Form bite-size balls and place on nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes)

To make the sauce: melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour and continuously whisk until a smooth paste is formed. Add broth in a slow stream and continue to whisk until sauce thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Turn off heat and whisk in salt, pepper, Dijon mustard and sour cream.


Drain cooked noodles, add meatballs to the sauce, stir to coat, and serve over the noodles.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A Random Thought on Psuedoephedrine

I'm cracking up with all the comments about my "meth use." Leah Maria's comment in the first post really got me wondering: Do you think it's possible to break down meth into it's original components? Then I can find my one sinus and allergy savior. According to Wikepedia, psuedoephedrine is an illicit drug in many countries. I can see it now, "No, really officer! I wasn't buying the meth to snort/inject/free base/swallow/smoke! (I don't even know what form the real meth comes in or how one would take it) Really! In a way, I'm helping take it off the street!"

Forgot my medicine at home.....

I made a mental note this morning to grab some of my Advil Allergy & Sinus on my way out. However my husband thought it would be cute to harass me about when I was going to leave the house. He said if I wanted to be at work on time I needed to have left already (I started a new 7:30 - 4:30 schedule this week). I ended up peeved at him and forgot to grab it. Did you know there are NO pharmacies open before 7:30? I stopped at a CVS (closed), a Walgreens (pharmacy closed) and an HEB (pharmacy closed). So I did some more desk scrounging and found some allergy packets I had taken from the student health office probably over 2 years ago. I opted for the fake meth allergy medicine that had the phenylephrine instead of the psuedoephedrine ("meth"). I did have some meth, but it was just that. There was no headache or itchy eye stuff in there so I decided to suck it up and take the fake crap. I figured this could hold me over until 11ish when I'm going to take off for lunch and more of the real meds.

For those that think I'm crazy I googled the fake stuff that they're now using in allergy and cold meds. According the Wikipedia (yes, it's a real source!):
Phenylephrine or Neo-Synephrine is an α1-adrenergic receptor agonist used primarily as a decongestant, as an agent to dilate the pupil and to increase blood pressure. Phenylephrine has recently been marketed as a substitute for pseudoephedrine, (e.g., Pfizer's Sudafed (Original Formulation)) but there are recent claims that oral phenylephrine may be no more effective as a decongestant than a placebo.[1]

NO MORE EFFECTIVE THAN A PLACEBO!!! Take that people! So excuse me while I go buy my old school sudafed and my regular old benadryl, smash 'em up, and snort 'em through my nose. I'll be back when I've woken up from my allergy medicine induced coma.

List Update

So I have a backlog of stuff that I need to write about in regards to the list. I've also found that it's really hard to recall all of this stuff so I really need to keep better track. So here goes!

I've read (I think, it could be more) 3 books that are not chic lit.
Brisingr (cause John and I are both dorks)
The Time Traveler's Wife (Loved)
The Thirteenth Tale (I also highly recommend)

Went to the Dr. Pepper Museum

Graduated from Grad School

Made 5 (again, could be higher) new recipes. They've all been previously mentioned in other posts as well. Don't worry, I'm not holding back on you. They include the glazed carrots and mac n cheese from Thanksgiving, the 2 kinds of Pumpkin Muffins and my Tomoato Basil soup (ok, holding back there, but I'll get to it).

I didn't pay off my car, because I bought a new one instead.

I documented a day in November in pictures and shared those. I have Sept., Oct., and Dec., that all need to be shared though.

I tried 3 new restaurants: Rio Grande, The Guenther House and Bravo. The Guenther House was the only so so place.

Hosted a family event, Christmas.

We've hosted 2 game nights.

Attended a fair - I'm including the carnival we shot our TTD pics at and Wurstfest.

Went to a sporting event: We went to a Spurs game with Sean and Laura

The updated list is over the the right at the top of this page. Check it out to see what all I've completed! Hopefully I won't got 3 months without any updates again!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Currently

Scrounging around in my desk for allergy medicine. Zyrtec sucks ass! Anyone know where I can find some of the old school Benadryl D? You know the stuff with the meth ingredient in it?

A Belated and a Soon to be Birthday

Saturday night we went out for Kandis's birthday. Yes, a woman about to give birth in just 3 days went to a bar. She was also shakin' her thing at Emily's wedding just a few weeks prior to that. Kandis is going to be my pregnant lady role model. Early on in her preggo days I called her and said, "You being pregnant sucks! I'm always wanting to go out and think, who can I call? Well, I can't call Kandis anymore!" and she told me that I had better keep calling her and that she would totally hang, and she did! She was always out with us, drinking her water or her rootbeer, but her social life didn't come to a standstill and I totally give her props for that. So it was absolutely no surprise when she said she wanted to go to Howl at the Moon for her birthday and so off we went!

Here's the birthday girl:



Today, she's going to become a mommy. Trust, me I'm going to have an eye on my phone all day waiting for the "Joshua is here!" text message. Can't wait to meet this little (or not so little) guy! Hope everything goes as planned today Kandis! Happy (belated post at least) Birthday and Happy (soon to be) Birthday to little Joshie!

UPDATE: Josh is here! He arrived at 2:59 this afternoon and is 8lbs, 6oz and 20.5 inches long. Congrats to you guys!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Ringing in the New Year

This year for Sarah's birthday/New Years we did a pub crawl. We got picked up at Babcock, moved on to Boston, Chicago, New York (where we had the countdown), and finally Dixie's.

On the bus to Boston

Virginia and Brandis


John doing I don't know what


Our bartender for the night


Sarah blowing out the candles and me and the birthday girl.


Me and Virg (with her eyes open!) and John and Becks.


Me and the hubs


Sarah, Virg and I

At Chicago (still trying to get the "sober pictures" in)

Becky and Erin


Me and Me and John

I caught Virg double fistin'


Then I gave her props


At New York, ready for the countdown


Showin' off the shoes (mine are on the left) that I borrowed from the shoe bank of Virginia.



Look! It's almost midnight and Sarah is out!


Happy New Year!!!! This is what John and I looked like right after.


John lettin' us know what year it is


Still lookin' pretty good for midnight and lots of booze!
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