Friday, March 30, 2012

The Tea Dance

Let me explain something to you about the women in my family...well, I guess not even the women, but primarily the women: we like our tea! Tyler despairs because I have completely taken over an entire cabinet with tea. He constantly pulls his hair out because I'm forever buying more tea.

It's genetic. Not the buying part, but the liking tea part. We all love it. Not sure why, as I don't remember drinking a ton of it growing up. But Mom always was.

Now, this thing we do with our tea is also genetic. I will tell you, this post was inspired by a Facebook status my sister left the other day and I'm going to repeat it here as I still giggle every time I think about it.
Making tea: (1) Heat water in microwave. (2) Promptly forget about it. (3) Remember when microwave won't stop beeping. (4) Water is now lukewarm. Reheat. (5) Put in teabag. (6) Get called in to the kitchen by Scott [her boyfriend] saying, "How over-steeped are you going for today?" (7) Add milk and honey. (8) Drink some. (9) Leave cup on kitchen table and walk away to work on your capstone. 20 minutes later... (10) Remember you made tea, go get it from the table. (11) Tea is now lukewarm. Reheat...
 And this is very much genetic. I do it too. My mother does it. I'm pretty sure my aunts do it, I know I've seen at least one of them do it.

Not only do we love us some tea, we also love us some tea dance.

Hope this made you giggle as much as it did me...


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Byzantine

Now, this word is for my papa. We were talking a couple weeks ago about my blog and he was saying how he liked Big Word Wednesdays. He suggested "Byzantine" as a word of the week. I laughed.

"Why Byzantine?" I asked.

"Because I was reading the other day and it popped up and I thought it was a really good word." he said.

My dad is pretty wise, and he's got a decent vocabulary -- he has to in order to keep up with my mommy. But he likes new words. I think it tickles him pink to find a new word and then use it. That must be where I get it from. It tickles me pink too.

Byzantine: [biz-uhn-teen, -tahyn, bahy-zuhn-, bih-zan-tin] adjective. of or pertaining to Byzantium. of or pertaining to the Byzantine Empire.noting or pertaining to the architecture of the Byzantine Empire  and to architecture influenced by or imitating it: characterized by masonry construction, round arches, impost blocks, low domes on pendentives, the presence of fine, spiky foliage patterns in low relief on stone capitals and moldings, and the use of frescoes, mosaics, and revetments of fine stone to cover whole interiors.
(sometimes lowercase) complex or intricate.
  • The demand landed in the middle of byzantine negotiations that dragged on through yet another day.
  • Efforts are underway to simplify the complex, byzantine system we've created to administer financial aid, and it's about time.
  • The politics of world football have always been byzantine.
  • Then you need to follow the byzantine instructions designed for trained professionals, not casual shoppers.
  • The communications industry has long loved pricing models and plans that are as byzantine as humanly possible.
I hope you enjoy this as much as my papa will.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Busy Day

All day today I meant to sit down and blog, but you know, it was hard to do! I kept finding one more thing that needed to get done, one more thing to capture my attention.

I woke up this morning with a scratchy throat and I was bone-tired yesterday. Not mentally, I could just feel the weariness in my bones all day at work. That didn't stop me from doing a bunch of stuff today, capping the day off with pumpkin muffins, chicken pot pie for a hungry boyfriend's dinner and red velvet cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting.

I managed to clean house, get some laundry done, and tidy my office. I also managed to get some design work done.

I would like to apologize that this post isn't particularly witty or well-written. I'm tired. And that bone-weariness is back. I am patiently waiting for Heather and co. to arrive, as they're coming to stay with us for a couple days to ski and enjoy Bend. Partly why I did the cleaning and the baking. Though I partly did that for fun.

Let me leave you with the recipe for the cupcakes because they are damn good. Not too sweet, just right. If I do say so myself. And I shall follow soon with pictures.


Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the cupcakes:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Now, I've given you the recipe a la the Food Network website. Copied word for word. Now, I read the reviews and every one said the recipe was a little greasy, so I only put a cup of oil in the cake instead of a cup and a half. They turned out delicious. I also did five teaspoons of cocoa powder instead of 2 just to make them a little more chocolatey. Scrumptious!



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Staid

This week's big word is staid. It's a word I use fairly regularly in reference to one of my managers' personality. He's a great guy, very staid and dependable. We like him.

staid: [steyd] adjective. of settled or sedate character; not flighty or capricious. fixed, settled or permanent. indicates an ingrained seriousness and propriety that shows itself in complete decorum; a colorless kind of correctness is indicated.

  •  He has a very staid personality.
  •  They are a staid and uninteresting family.
  • Staid middle age loves the hurricane drama of opera.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


So sorry, so busy! And I only have time for a quick quick quick check in.

Last week, my back felt mostly healed and only twinged when I busted out an antsy 5 miler on the treadmill last Tuesday. I went carefully, easing into speed, starting at 12 minute miles and moving up, backing off when my back when "whoa!" I was only going to do 3, but I hit three and my legs said, "Don't stop! You haven't exercised in a week and a half! We need to move!" So I did five. Just to make my legs happy.

Because they are in charge.

I know you don't believe me, but it's true.

Yes, I let my body rule my life.

Particularly my appendages.


Last week, Tyler's best friend Jacob and his girlfriend came to stay with us for a couple days to ski and see Bend. Since my back felt okay running, I went boarding with them for a couple hours on Wednesday. Just for the record, as I hit the top of the first run I thought to myself, "This is either going to be just fine, or I'm going to hurt myself again and I'll have no pity from anyone because this time I have no one to blame but myself."

My back made it.

Granted, I only skiied two hours, mostly because Jacob's girlfriend was an uber-beginner and it took her two hours to get down the big bunny run and she was wiped after that. As I had gotten a bunch of runs in while she did her one, I offered to leave with her so she wouldn't have to sit and wait.

I thought it was a good idea, seeing as how I'd had such good luck with my back thus far, I didn't want to push it.

I lifted weights for the first time since my injury on Sunday, going easy -- using the 12 lb. bar instead of the 20 lb. bar for my squats and lunges, taking a page from Nutrition Nut on the Run and doing one of her HIIT to FIT uber leg workouts:

20 squats
30 lunges
45 second wall sit
x 3.

I interspersed the reps with some arms and water. It doesn't sound too hard, but the three or four times I've done that workout, I've left the gym going, " legs are already sore," and then oohing and ahing for the next three days.

Back did okay, but it twinged. I took some advil and was fine. Haven't had any since Sunday, and I rocked another 5 miles today.

My running buddy is down and out with a knee injury, and her physical therapist hasn't given her a date for when she can hit the road again. I told her when her knee started to bug her to rest and ice it, as I know, from experience it's better to rest and get better than make it worse and drive the recovery time up up up. Did she listen? Of course not. Why would you?

Until you experience the aggravation of self-inflicted stupidity with injuries, you don't take anyone's word for it.

I know this.

I've done this.

See? Experience.

Now, I know better.

Sort of.

Now I have to run (not literally) because I have to get ready to go to Portland for a Stampin' Up craft party! So fun! And I get to see Heather! Hooray!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Behemoth

There is a thing Tyler and I do that's super cute. We used to do it more often, when we were long distance and he didn't hear me use big words in context so often that he could pick them up, but we still do it now.

I'm his living dictionary.

If he hears a word he doesn't know or doesn't understand, he'll text me and say, "What does ____ mean?" And then I'll struggle to define the word that I've used correctly in the past but never had to define before. It's fun. It strengthens my knowledge of words and builds his.

As such, I'm tickled pink when he uses a big word. The big word of this week is behemoth. Tyler used behemoth the other day in reference to a lab that was one of the avalanche dogs in Steven's Pass, WA. He didn't use the word correctly, but I let him have it. I love that he tried.

behemoth: [bih-hee-muhth] noun. an animal, perhaps the hippopotamus, mentioned in Job 40:15-24. any creature or thing of monstrous size or power.

  • Every now and then, there is a mournful cry and a behemoth appears through the trees, rushing by indifferent to man and beast.
  • It has also become the biggest company in the world by revenues, a behemoth that strikes fear in the hearts of rivals everywhere.
  • But because they don't come in big-screen versions their energy use may compare well against newer behemoth sets.
  • Every behemoth on the cover of the muscle mags is juicing.
  • The carnivore snuffled the air as it approached the fallen behemoth.
 Keep using big words!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Blogging Goal

My blogging goal is to post more than I did last year, because last year was just pathetic. You all deserve to read more than that!

I'm just checking in really quick. I've was busy as I convalesced from my back injury. (Can you see that word coming soon in a Big Word Wednesday?).

  • I stamped up a storm for the short periods that I was able to sit up, prepping for a Stampin' Up party at the end of the month.
  • I got some design work given to me (paying customers even! Thank you Shae Lynn and Kevin!)
  • I worked on said design work
  • I installed my new AppleTV which I am very excited about.
  • And I slept.
  • And ate.
  • And watched TV.
Very exciting stuff.

I'm hoping to be running again by Sunday (we'll see what the PT says...I have to make that appointment...) and skiing by next week, but we'll see. I just wanted to check in with y'all and say hi!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Emphatic

Now, it always amazes me when I use a word that seems common or a little obvious and I'm greeted with blank stares. So this week's Big Word Wednesday is a tribute to one of those words.

I don't have a fun dialogue this week, but I did use this word the other day and my friend that I was with looked at me blankly. There was an awkward pause and then I just strove on with the conversation.

emphatic: [em-fat-ik] adjective. uttered, or to be uttered, with emphasis; strongly expressive. using emphasis in speech or action. forceful; insistent. very impressive or significant. clearly or boldly outlined.
  •  I must be emphatic about this particular.
  • The emphatic beauty of the sunset.
  • It stands, like a great, stone dagger, emphatic against the sky.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tricked You

Let me share a little secret with you. You know the plethora of posts I managed to post this week? I wrote them all last Tuesday. Yes, all of them. There's this little thing called delayed posting that is my new best friend!

Well, not new, exactly, as I've used it before.

This week I had a killer week at work (I give credit to my posting-mania), and I am currently at the top of the food chain, which has never happened. I'm almost 50% to quota for my new service sales! And I've only worked four days! Holy crap!

And there's this new thing we're doing — again, it's an old thing but it's new that we're doing it in the store — called trade ins. Yeah, they've always been available online, but as of the middle of February we're doing them in store now.

Well, the point is when we first started doing it it was a grade-A cluster fuck. My boss was ripping out his hair because some people had access and some people didn't and some people had super access and some people didn't...and I said, "Look, I don't mind taking on some more responsibility. Let me do it. I'll be in charge and make sure this works the way it's supposed to."

My boss grabbed that offer with both hands and shoved me into that responsibility.

So I took it, streamlined it, made guidelines and educated my co-workers. It was going well.

Then this past weekend, corporate offered a $200 gift card to "Fill the Fridge" (buy snacks) to the first store to hit 50 trade-ins in the three days. I ramped up, sent emails, and encouraged my co-workers. We did it and my manager yesterday morning let me know.

Now, before I tell you what went on from there, I have to tell you that Sunday morning I bent over to pick up my running capris off the floor and my back went out. Not like full-on out, but definitely muscles seizing, full-on pain and I crumpled to the floor and thought to myself, "Crap, I don't know if I can get up and I have to leave for work in ten minutes. And Tyler's not home so if I can't get up I'm going to be here on the floor all day because my phone is all the way across the room."

I managed to get up, and I (stupidly) dragged my aching back to work to work all day. Bad call, physically, but good call professionally as I sold a bunch of phones and had a great day sales-wise. My boss said it was karma for managing to get to work and for staying after they offered to send me home and I said I'd stick it out as long as I could. Needless to say though, I cried myself to sleep with the pain and could barely walk yesterday. So when I got the good news, I was lying on my back on the floor with my feet propped in the most comfortable back-injury-pain-relieving position.

"We won the fridge contest $200!!!! Thank you Kristen!! Do you want to send a group text out?" my manager texted me.

"Sure!" I said and proceeded to do that. My phone bing-bonged and I checked my messages.

"Also, you should know that this was very much recognized as your project. Use it in any future promotions interviews," my manager told me.

That alone made me feel super stoked. Then, the responses to my group text came flooding in, many of which said, "Kristen gets first vote on what we get [for the fridge] as she's the one who made it happen!" Not just my managers, but my co-workers!

There I was, an invalid and upset because I couldn't make it to work (when I was having such a good week...I didn't want to break the momentum), and I was getting all of this support and kudos from my co-workers and management team. It's awesome.

Yet another perk to being good at my job.


Sunday, March 4, 2012


It's that time of year again. Running season has set in. I'm scheduled for my first half marathon of the season at the end of June, I'm doing the Pacific Crest Half on June 23rd. I haven't actually signed up yet, but it's on my to-do list and running has started up again.

I have a new running buddy. She and I did not get along at all when we first started working together. Personality clash to the max. She chewed me out one day at work, like full-on screaming match in the back room overseen by a manager. Not a particular highlight of my career.

Now we get along. I'm not really sure when that particular transition happened, but now we're friends. Who knows. Co-workers do tell me horror stories about one co-worker or other that they didn't click with originally and now they're the best of friends.

She's enthusiastic and excited that I'm motivating her to run. She's the first running buddy I've had where I know more about distance running than she's interesting to be the running expert. So far, I've disabused her of the idea that I'm hardcore and fast. Which is good, because she was super nervous about running with me initially.

She has a two-year-old who we've had to take with us a couple mornings this past week. I don't know if you know this, but pushing a stroller -- even a nice one -- while running is hard. It's like back in high school when they'd strap those parachutes to us to practice starts for track and field to create drag and make us faster. Only it's in front of you and instead of air, you're pushing a stroller with a 35 lb. child in it. I'm a nice person and will push the stroller to give her a break and I was shocked at how hilly it makes the run that I previously believed to be flat.

My arms and shoulders are sore from our run the other day.

When we got dumped on in the snow storm that passed through.

That morning, I expected to not have to go run outside. I expected that she would call it off. After all, she has a child who would freeze during our run. She said, "Let's go!" and I said, "Are you sure? Do you realize it's dumping snow?" Her response was, "Yup! We're going!"

Though our run ended up being a tough two miles that took us half an hour instead of the four miles we were supposed to run. And in that half hour, four inches of snow piled up on my car. And we exhausted ourselves pushing that damn stroller.

It banishes my ideal of being a running mom when I'm all growed up, that's for sure.


Friday, March 2, 2012

QR Fail

I don't know if y'all know what QR codes are, but they're those weird box things that you find everywhere these days.

QR Code — abbreviated from Quick Response Code — is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry. More recently, the system has become popular outside of the industry due to its fast readability and large storage capacity compared to standard UPC barcodes. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. (Wikipedia)
 They look something like this:

And these days, you can scan them with those really cool phones you carry around. You know, smartphones? iPhones, Androids, etc. Though technically you can even scan them with WiFi connected iPod Touches and tablets...but that's something else entirely.

Now, realistically, how often do you really scan these things? Not very often. But they're a cool idea in theory. Except when they're put in a really dumb place.

Like here:

Can't tell what that is? Oh? Well...

Oh yes, some brainiac decided to put a QR code on the insole of my new running shoes. As my new running buddy said, "Your shoes are scannable!"

Now, theoretically, this sounds like a good idea, but you all have heard me talk about how many miles one puts on a pair of running shoes before you switch them out. Yes, 300 to 500 miles. My last pair of running shoes had been sweat in (eeewww) so much that I couldn't even read the size tag on the tongue of the shoe. You know, the place that is least affected by sweat was so worn that it couldn't be read. So why put a QR code on the inside at the bottom?

Marketing only knows.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Perks to being good at your job

There are lots of perks associated with being good at your job. At my job some of the perks are:

1. Little old ladies hug me, much to my dismay. I don't particularly care for hugs from strangers, but I put up with them from little old ladies who are stoked on their new iPhones and that I was such a darling and showed them how to use it.

2. My boss gives me raises and says that I rock.

3. My co-workers like me most of the time.

4. I can get away with having bad days. You know, days when I just can't bring myself to care about how many phones I sell. Or accessories.

5. Number five here is my favorite. When I am good at my job and I connect with my customers, occasionally I wind up having lengthy conversations about things I like. Like Cypress Grove goat cheese. Cypress Grove is a goat cheese maker in my hometown. It's delicious. They do all kinds of fun goat cheeses with herbs and such. It's nigh impossible to find goat cheese that's as good here in Bend.

The gentleman in question is a food processing engineer and is designing their new processing systems. We got to talking about how delicious their cheese is and he told me that they gift him with pounds of the stuff every time he goes over there and often even send him boxes of it. My eyes must have gotten really big with envy because he offered to bring me some. At this point, I had been troubleshooting his phone for an hour and was on the verge of making it work. I demurred politely, but he insisted, repeating again that he's got more than he could possibly go through considering how generous they are.

Now it sounds creepy, but once I got his phone up and running he was practically beside himself with joy that it was working again. And if it hadn't been sealed and packaged by Cypress Grove I would have been weirded out a little bit, but he brought me three rounds of Cypress Grove's "Purple Haze" goat cheese and some apple-smoked gouda, which I've never had but sounds interesting.

And it all boils down to being good at my job.