March 23, 2017

S&T 3/23 (It's almost spring break)

+If you search for "unmotivational quotes" on Pinterest, it's a gold mine. 

+I spent this whole week (which is somehow still not over) thinking we were one day ahead of where we actually were. 

+Because this is real life. 

+The bottom half of my bracket (see below) actually looks better than the top half. 
I know that will be hard to believe. 

+Spring break next week. I'm thinking a massage, a pedicure, and finishing one (or ideally all) of those books I'm reading. 

Stuff, Things, etc.

March 22, 2017

A very long survey.

(Copy/paste is not my friend today. So this is blue.)

1. What are your nicknames? What you do like to be called? I have no nicknames. Most often I just hear Mrs. Darhower over and over (and over) again all day long. 

2. What books are on your shelf begging to be read? Red Rising. Been sitting there since Christmas. Also, Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. 

3. How often do you doodle? What do your doodles look like? I don't really. There's an interesting answer. 

4. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and turn? Try to get up and do something productive? I read and that puts me to sleep real quick-like. Or I online shop and/or get up and do something productive. I rarely allow myself to toss and turn, but that almost never happens anyway. One problem I don't have is a sleep problem. 

5. How many days could you last in solitary confinement? How would you do it? Probably awhile, having been through several deployments and I spend all my at-home time mostly alone. 

6. Do you save old greeting cards and letters? Throw them away? I'll save them for a month or so until I start going through paperwork and then I toss them. I'm not making a binder full of Christmas cards. 

7. What is your dream career? Eh. I want to say I'm doing it? But I always wanted to be a college professor. Professional dog-petter probably isn't a thing. 

8. When making an entrance into a party, do you make your presence known? Do you slip in and look for someone you know? Do you sneak in quietly and find a safe spot to roost? Stay as unassuming as possible and desperately look for someone I know. And usually I dread the party for the three days leading up to it and try to think of a way to get out of it.

 9. What is your strongest sense? If you had to give one up, which would it be? Smells really bug me so that probably is my strongest. Other than that, you can't taste if you can't smell, so...I'll say what Angi said and give up my sense of direction. It's practically worthless anyway. 

10. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror? Several. But just because I stand in front of people all day and like to know that I (kind of) look okay. But if I'm at home, rarely.

11. What’s the strangest thing you believed as a child? That thunder was the sound of clouds hitting together. I just assumed that for an embarrassingly long time. 

12. What is one guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up? Blogging. Or candy corn. Or Rose Gardner mysteries

13. Who performs the most random acts of kindness out of everyone you know? My husband. He insists we buy dinner for random people in restaurants. That's the kind of person he is. 

14. How often do you read the newspaper? Which paper? Which sections? I don't read a newspaper. I watch the news like a fiend though. This is why I won't give up cable. It plays from 5am-7am and from 5pm-7pm every day in the background.

15. Which animals scare you the most? Why? Rattlesnakes. Self-explanatory.

16. Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage it head-on? I like to do my research and prepare in advance. 

17. What was the most recent compliment you’ve received and savored? Well, I cheated and asked my husband. He said I'm a good dog mom, a good cook, and a good house cleaner because I get "all the crevices". There we are. I know things would not run in the household without me. Scott can deploy and I can manage but I don't know if it'd work the other way around. He takes care of a lot of things, but food/cleaning/laundry is all me.

18. What is something about yourself that you hope will change, but probably never will? I've been trying to convince myself to start getting my brows shaped. I like my thicker, more natural eyebrows and I'm always afraid someone will ruin them. 

19. Are you a creature of habit? Absolutely yes. 

20. Are you high maintenance? Explain. Absolutely yes. This would take too long.

21. When was the last time you really pushed yourself to your physical limits? A few weeks back when I had to help more the old furniture out of the living room. It wasn't pretty. Also, when Scott made me help him lift the 400 pound double-oven into place. Or when I had to help haul a refrigerator down the flight of stairs and then haul another one up the same set of stairs. 20 open-air deck steps that are wooden and wobbly.

22. Do you have a whole lot of acquaintances or just a few very close friends? Why? Both. I have a few friends I talk to every day, both via text and online. Other than that, I have acquaintances all over the world thanks to the army, but it's hard to keep in touch. . 

23. Are you more inclined to “build your own empire” or unleash the potential of others? Who wouldn't want to build an empire?

24. What’s a strange occurrence you’ve experienced but have never (or rarely) shared with anyone? I don't know what kind of answer is expected here. 

25. What do you think about more than anything else? Currently...a few things. But I've really focused in on not trying to play God in my own life. It's a struggle. More often than not, though, I'm thinking about my dogs. So much so that my coworker tried my dogs' names as my computer password at work one day when I wasn't there. (My password is not my dogs' names.)

26. What’s something that amazes you? How life moves along and a lot can happen without you even realizing how much you've gotten through and accomplished. 

27. Do you prefer that people shoot straight with you or temper their words? Tact goes a long way. As does professionalism. Also, if it's not helpful, it's usually hurtful. 

28. Where’s your favorite place to take an out of town guest? Ha. To our home on the prairie. 

29. What’s one thing you’d rather pay someone to do than do yourself? Pedicures. 

30. Do you have a catchphrase? Not really. I say "indeed" and "ah, got it" a lot. And my dogs know my voice when I say iloveyoumylittlefluffernutter. I say that a lot. 

31. What is one of your most cherished memories? Any homecoming ceremony after a deployment. 

32. How and where do you prefer to study? Let's call this "grade papers". I grade papers between 5-9am, always with coffee and a good show on in the background. 

33. What position do you sleep in? My side.

34. What’s your all-time favorite town or city? Oooo..tough. We were really fond of Palmer, Alaska. Alaska was an inconvenient place to live, yes. But that small town was nice. I love Boston though. 

35. What are the top three qualities that draw you to someone new? When they do what they say they're going to do, when they ask questions as well as talk about themselves, when they're generally kind and friendly to everyone (not just me).

36. How has your birth order/characteristics of siblings affected you? First-borns are thought to be high-achieving and I struggle with perfectionist tendencies. Also, I've always been bossy, but not particularly independent. I've gotten better at independence, but I'm also introverted in that I like being alone (and I'm 99% sure I have one of those highly-sensitive personalities), so independence has grown on me. 

37. If you could eliminate one weakness or limitation in your life, what would it be? I plead the 5th on this.

38. If you could restore one broken relationship, which would it be? Probably childhood friendships that went by the wayside after high school and college. I'm generally pretty good at making friends where I am and I love my Co Springs friends, just like I loved my Alaska friends and my Missouri friends. The army has done me a service by bringing these relationships into my life. 

However, it'd be nice if I had the kinds of friends back home that Scott has. I do have friends in PA that I love to see when I can but we'd have to go home for that and we've not done that for awhile. 

39. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? I never wanted a different name because I figured I'd never settle on the perfect one. People do spell it wrong and that's annoying. 

40. Do you believe ignorance is bliss? Why or why not? I kind of learned that the last deployment. There were things Scott and I didn't tell each other because him knowing that the township in Pennsylvania was threatening to fine us over "too high weed-growth" outside our house there...or me knowing that something else went wrong in Afghanistan...none of that moves the needle. I believe there's things we just need to absorb and get past on our own.

And yes, sometimes there's things I'd rather not know.
For example, I don't check my work email on the weekend. 

41. What do you consider unforgivable? Using the last K-Cup. Eating my leftovers. Taking food off my plate.

42. Have you forgiven yourself for past personal failures? Sure. I don't like to dwell on things that can't be changed.

43. How difficult is it for you to forgive someone who refuses to apologize? I think the issue is that the person doesn't believe they have anything to apologize for and that's not anything I can change. I can usually forgive ignorance, if this is the case. 

44. Do you hold any convictions that you would be willing to die for? Indeed.

45. What three fictional characters best represent you? I'm really not sure. If you have any ideas, please send them my way. 

46. In what area of your life are you immature? I'm bad at money or dealing with things I don't want to do. I will put off phone calls for eternity. In fact, there's one I've been avoiding for 2.5 years now. 

47. What was the best news you ever received? Getting my first real job. I remember the phone call well. 

48. How difficult is it for you to be honest, even when your words may be hurtful or unpopular? I don't go out of my way to tout my opinion about things that may hurt others. It's just unnecessary. However, I've never really cared about being popular, so if someone doesn't like me over the fact that *insert whatever here*, that's not something I can change. I'd like to think that we can find other common ground, though. While I don't want to be actively disliked, I've never felt a compulsive need to be liked. 

49. When did you immediately click with someone you just met? Why? Well, my husband was like-love-engaged-married at first sight. A friend here in CO because we hate the same things. And blog friends are really easy to sort into "yep we click" and "no we don't click" pretty quickly. 

50. When do you find yourself singing? Never. 

Feel free to copy/paste! I got the survey from Angi.

March 21, 2017

Currently 3/21

Wearing....shorts. If you know me at all, you know that one of my greater goals in life is to live in a place where shorts are acceptable year-round. While I seem to have found that place in Colorado (apparently), I don't like the weather here at all. I got my shorts weather in a way that also involves droughts and fires and snakes and cacti and the like.

Reading...I finished three books over the weekend. My plan is to then finish two more that I've started and then I can start something new. I've got to stop reading between four and six books at once. It's stressful. I'm always more likely to start something new than I am to finish what I already have going.

Watching...I might be the only one not watching This Is Us. (If you are not watching, let me know so I don't feel so alone.)  We watched Trial and Error the other day. LOL. I was impressed that the really funny parts aren't on the promos. That makes it worth watching.

Bemoaning....what I'm going to do with my Monday evenings now that The Bachelor is over. This finale recap is a good one. It was such a terrible season and I wanted no one to "win" because "win" in quotation marks is what Vanessa did. Nick's no prize. I really just like the recaps better than I like the show. I do like to look at the clothes/dresses though.

Drinking...I stopped at the liquor store to get Scott his favorite beer (Great Divide Colette Farmhouse Ale) and I grabbed a pack of apple ale. It was a long week in these parts.

Loving....I still love my Erin Condren planner that I bought back in December. That is the mark of happiness. Normally I'd have moved onto something else.

Somewhat failing at...having birthday gifts ready to send out. I'm like halfway there.

Glad...because I found these flats at Target for $17. Mine are black. They are the THIRD pair I've tried and I think we have a winner. I think I want a pair of Tieks but I'm holding myself accountable for a few specific things and, if those things come to fruition, I get Tieks. If not, the Target flats will work out just fine.

So. Tuesday.

What's *currently* happening with you?

March 20, 2017


Borrowed from Cherie, a friend and fellow RF Consultant

Also, my weekend.

Love these camo Keds I got for $19 back in December. First wear of the season on Friday. 

I packed up my winter shoes and coats in hopes that winter will come back.

This recipe for dinner on Saturday. 

The trees are starting to bud. I hate it. This means the bugs are coming back.  

Did something with the shed to "extend" it. This meant pouring more concrete. This meant carrying buckets of rocks and sand. Everything hurts. But since we're having this streak of 80 degree days (eyeroll), it's good weather for such work. 

These dumb-dumbs are going to get stuck under that shed one of these days.

They spent the (entire) weekend trying to corner a rabbit.
Exciting times.

Also exciting?
5 more days til Spring Break.


Linking up with Biana

March 17, 2017

Friday Favorites.

Well the wind destroyed my hair, but here's a heads up for when it's warm out (79 degrees on March 16th): I love Old Navy's and Target's jersey skirts. I can wear them to work and they're comfortable. 
The shirt is Madewell, but I wore a semi-professional looking tank underneath because I was prepared for it to be so hot in my building that I would need to be wearing a sleeveless shirt.
This is Colorado. 

I finally realized that I should buy a second water dispenser and then maybe I won't have to fill up the bowl that the dogs use during the day so often. Usually I fill up a regular metal water bowl before I leave for work (they aren't upstairs to use this big blue one during the day). I finally, after two years, thought it'd be wise to just pay for another dispenser so I don't have to fill it up every single morning.
Again: that took me two years to figure out. 

Last night, we went to the Hometown Heroes banquet that's put on by the American Red Cross. Scott's 1st Sgt. was being honored for rescuing people from a civilian plane crash while they were in  Afghanistan last year. This was at the Broadmoor so it didn't disappoint. 

My favorite part was when they honored an animal hero and brought a dog on stage. 

I'm turning into this kind of person:

Dogs proving their worth is one of my favorite things.
This dog is a therapy dog who visits patients receiving mental health treatments and goes to schools where there have been traumas. 

Anyway. It's Friday. Whew.

March 16, 2017

S&T 3/something

+I couldn't quite remember the date when I went to type this title, so I'll just leave it like that. Doesn't all of March blend together anyway?

+Scott saw the gold bag I posted last Thursday and said it was hideous.

+This is how I feel this week:

+I've been unnaturally terrible at responding to comments this week. Life, right?
I hope to get on my game soon...I have a ton of SUYB links to check out! In case you missed it, here's what I read in February. 

Stuff, Things, etc.

March 15, 2017


Edited to add: I wrote this before the Women Tell All episode of The Bachelor last week. You know, the showdown in which Corrine was given a free pass to act like a spoiled brat and was actually celebrated for it because that's what our country seems to value. Sickening, right?

Subtitle: Personal development learned from The Bachelor.

I was listening to the Here to Make Friends bonus episode on Friday afternoon a few weeks ago. Actually, Friday night. I'd put in a full day at work and then I'd had a thing to go to after work and this led to me getting home at 6:30pm, which is out of my normal routine. The dogs weren't pleased.

The hosts were interviewing Taylor. Taylor of Taylor-and-Corrine. That Taylor. She is a counselor and she was speaking really reflectively about her time on the show and the impact it's had on her professional life. She summed it up as people not necessarily liking her or trusting her because of the way she was portrayed on the show. We know they edit the show within an inch of its life, so it's not that she was a villain; they just needed watchable TV.

The one thing she said that really stuck with me was that she knew she had to give herself a bit of compassion concerning the fact that she did the best she could with what she had.

A paraphrase: Sometimes I regret certain things and thought that, as a counselor, I should've handled everything perfectly. And then I stop and think, No, I did the best I could and I have to trust myself in that. 

And then it was brought up that this is especially important when you're taking the criticism and feedback from others toward yourself.

I've had a rough go of it lately. I've been beating myself up for not being perfect in certain situations. But am I doing the best I can? Usually. I'm not intentionally screwing up or doing my worst. I'm not sabotaging myself. I'm forced to take very real criticism on a very-often basis. It's the nature of things. Again, I AM DOING THE BEST I CAN with what I have and based on what I know.

Sometimes it's necessary to have this reiterated but I didn't exactly expect to come from The Bachelor. I'm guessing it'd just been a really long week and this was certainly a quite necessary ah-ha moment for me.

March 14, 2017

February Books 2017 February.

The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg A
This is a book about the Danish concept of hygge (who-ga). I have a friend from Sweden and she said the word sounded familiar but wasn't something she ever did or knowingly practiced. The word itself doesn't have a straight English translation. If it did, it'd be close to "cozy".

The reason I asked my friend about it (because I realize Denmark and Sweden are indeed different countries, hashtagAmerican) is because the book mentions Glogg and we had that for the holidays with her family this year.

It tastes like Christmas.

Anyway, the book is a short read and has a wide variety of examples of what hygge could be; it's different for everyone. I read it at the beginning of February and will probably look for another on the topic during the holidays next year. It's a great fall/winter book.

In the Woods by Tana French A
This book took me forever to get through but it was a good one. I kept coming back to it, even renewing it at the physical library, because I never not wanted to pick it up. It was always just rough when I did my reading in the 20 minutes before bed.
I had originally started The Likeness by Tana French last fall, and didn't finish because it was boring (to me). Now I think I'll jump to #3 in the series, The Faithful Place.

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney A
The audiobook did pull me in from the moment I pressed play, so those reviews of it that I read on Show Us Your Book posts a few months ago weren't wrong.  I got a little meh about it toward the end (it did drag a teeny bit) but then I really liked the very end. It wrapped itself up in a non-predictable bow, still leaving a bit of the ending to the reader to judge. I think that's difficult to find these days.

The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood D-
This book came highly recommended. I didn't like it. It was boring. It was annoyingly slow. But there was also no point to it, so I'm not sure what speeding up the "plot" would've done for it. It was one of those that started the book with the end of the story.
I could almost (almost) see the charm in it. I liked Ona. The story was just dull though. I pushed through to the end (on audio) because I wanted to see what happened to Ona. I just felt like I never got into the story. I was always on the outside, hoping something would pull me in.
This is just a lesson in "just because booksellers say it's good, doesn't mean it is". I would've returned this to Audible but it was a Daily Deal; I'll pay $4 to finish a book.
However, I'll also muddle through a book just so I can say with absolute certainty that I don't like it. I have no qualms telling you how I really feel. And I know that all books are (usually) okay and some just aren't for everyone; but if I don't tell you my own opinion, Goodreads will be full of 5-star reviews and then, if you don't like it, you'll wonder what's wrong with you.

The Girl Who Lied by Pam Fortin B+
I would actually recommend this. I got it for 99 cents (I think) back in October when I needed something to read and then I got bogged down with my library books/other things and I just finished it Presidents' Day weekend. It's a twisty tale that's not *quite* as predictable as some of the others floating around. As in, the beginning of the book relates to the end of the book but it is not a linear path. I liked that aspect. The characters were fine, the writing was decent, and the ending was a nice wrap-up.
It's a family mystery that takes place in a small town in Ireland (which is the most summarization you'll ever get from me).

The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N Aron Phd I can't rate something like's textbookish.
I have this theory that I'm an HSP. Bright lights? Loud noise? Generally being overwhelmed? I struggle with these things. This book was written in a clinical way, with lots of case studies (which I never really appreciate all that much).

So with this book, since it did read like a textbook, I found myself employing the speed-reading tactic. 

Until I came across this post last week, I never thought about it much. The idea is that if you are starting to speed-read, it means you just want to finish the book to check it off the list. I can see how this is a thing with non-fiction. While I enjoy the topic of reading about highly-sensitive people and their characteristics and think I got a lot out of it, it was dragging.

I also found myself doing that with the next book on the list, which I did NOT expect to happen.

Still Life by Louise Penny DNF yet
The first in the Armand Gamache mystery series. I didn't finish this. I'm about 53% in and once I found myself speed-reading, I decided to move onto something else. Should I finish it? Did anyone else struggle with it? Thoughts? I feel like I'm the odd one out here.

Linking up with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books!

March 13, 2017

Weekend Things.

Friday was Jett's 3rd birthday.

Just to give some context: this is the first dog birthday that Scott has ever been around for. That's a good way to demonstrate how much he's really been gone in the last 3 years. Or wait. He was around for Scout's first birthday, I believe, but can't be sure if he was actually there on the day of. We were in the middle of PCSing.

So poor Jett turned one and two with just me around. And Scout turned 2 and 3 stuck with, again, just me.

To celebrate, we had pupcakes and chewed on some rabbits. To Jett's dismay, this was just a stuffed rabbit. But still, he could get out his aggression without killing an actual rabbit (again...that might have happened once last summer).

That was Friday night.

Saturday, we went on base for the Warrior Dog Dash.

He turned 3 and became attentive.

Jett and his best buddy Max.

He who cannot be controlled a.k.a. Scout

I was impressed with the ginger's well-behavedness. Scott wrangled Scout the whole time. I knew this would happen so I "let" Scott run with Scout. 

Then I went to a Noonday party with a friend. I bought nothing because jewelry and I aren't really a thing.  I'm not sure how I feel about that brand either. They had a great leather bag I loved but $200 seemed a little steep and unnecessary. Is it wrong to think that these brands are exploiting people? But the bag I posted on Thursday has the same sort of story behind it. (Though, I don't think I could spend that much for an "unlined interior" anyway.)

I had two minor meltdowns on Saturday when #1 I tried to order an On Demand movie from DirecTV (note: they suck) and Scott ended up yelling at them on the phone and #2 When Scott decided to read my blog (which I didn't know he does every now and then). I just feel judged when people I know read my blog. I don't know why.

Then we watched Making History. The first episode is on Hulu. Very funny.

And then the O.J. Simpson story that's on Hulu and was previously on ESPN.

Because, obviously, there was no On Demand movie to be had that night. (We watched it Sunday. Hell or High Water and it was very good.)

Sunday was cleaning and basic chores that get us ready for another *shudder* week.
It's going to be a busy one. Here's your motivation:

Linking up with Biana.

March 9, 2017

Stuff and Things, Stuff and Things 3/9

+Whew. Thursday. I'm running behind today. I went to bed last night knowing this post wasn't written.

+I'm erasing my 75 books this year goal. It's the second week of March and I'm feeling actual panic over getting "enough" books read this year. Ridiculous. So that's gone. This is what we could lovingly refer to as "self-imposed panic" (I may patent that term if it's not already a thing.)

I've found myself pushing through books and really (really) trying to read each day. If I think back to 6 months ago, I didn't always sit down with a book each day. My new Kindle has made it really easy to do because it's so portable. But I may be stressing quantity over quality. Not that I'm reading books I don't like...but I may be pushing through books I'd otherwise not be reading, just because  I "started it, might as well finish it". This is not productive or helpful to reaching goals.

This is coming to mind now because I read a really great book over the weekend and the experience reiterated that I need to consistently choose quality. We don't always know when we don't like a book right away, but we KNOW when we DO like a book right away.

+Speaking of, I'm reading Eats, Shoots & Leaves and had a conversation with a friend about grammar the other day. I'm ready to start screenshotting bad grammar (apostrophe use mostly) and putting it on here. I found a ton of mistakes while I was looking at some school websites the other day.

+Some things I'm reading: Decision fatigue is why teachers are so tired, features of the Japanese education system, and John Hattie on why you shouldn't tell other teachers how to teach.

+OH! Today is the last day to get a fabulous deal on LashBoost + a regimen of YOUR choice from Rodan+Fields! If you order TODAY, you get a free SUNLESS TANNER!

Sorry, I'm not trying to yell. 

I'm going to be pulling out my Sunless Tanner this weekend. It's bare leg season again. 

+I really like this bag but can't justify it. Is there a word for that?