Friday 13s – December 4

standard December 4, 2015 Leave a response

Happy 338th day of 2015!

1. Wyoming is the least populous state in the Union – an estimated 582,658 people lived there in 2013.

2. Christmas is coming, whether you’re ready or not. Unleash the love and tinsel!

3. Having a hard time finding a gift for that oddball in your life? How about Gingerdead Men Christmas ornaments? How about a Krampus the Christmas demon costume for that person who believes Halloween is a year-round celebration? A map of all the monsters in America for the traveler?

4. The Issus nymph, an insect smaller than a fire ant, has the best adolescence EVER. Unlike other bugs, which use their nervous systems to keep their legs in sync when jumping, the teen issus use gears. Yes, like mechanical gears. But the issus’ nervous system is too slow for jumping – a single sent from the legs to the brain and back again takes 5-6 milliseconds.

Instead, the gears, which engage before the jump, lets the issus lock its legs together – syncing their movements to 1/300,000 of a second, or 400 Gs, or 8 mph (faster than me!). Even stranger, the gears are molted away by the time they reach adulthood – then they jump like every other insect. Nature is awesome.

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Note in the Pocket

standard December 3, 2015 1 response

Working at Big Bank has its perks – free bank account, comfy chairs, no customers – but one of the best perks has to be their volunteer program. They give each full-time employee 16 hours a year to volunteer at a charity of their choice, anytime during normal business hours. You can use that time however you like, whether 8 hours in a single day or spread out over a few days.

My team has previously volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House, baking goodies for the families with seriously ill kids, but I wanted to do some volunteering on my own. I found VolunteerMatch.org – a site that lets you find local charities based on what you’re passionate about (puppies, kitties, faith, hunger, etc.), and once you find a charity, you can send the charity a message directly and BOOM!

Instant feels.

I found Note in the Pocket – an organization dedicated to providing clothing for underprivileged/impoverished children in my county. Since we like to sponsor a couple of Salvation Army Angels each year, this seemed like a good fit.

Plus, I’m not allowed to volunteer at animal shelters – something about me bringing home animals? Children’s charities are OK, because I can’t quite bring home a child. I think.

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Daughter of an Immigrant

standard November 21, 2015 Leave a response

America has welcomed 3 million immigrants since 1975. — President Obama

I’ve seen a few memes floating around the internet lately saying that we shouldn’t let Syrians into the country, because a few Syrians committed acts of terrorism in France. Some European countries have also expressed the same sentiment.

Quite frankly, that’s a load of bull.

You can’t condemn an entire population because of the actions of a few extremists.

As I said on Facebook, should we condemn all Christians for the Oklahoma City bombings? All Catholic priests for pedophilia? All soldiers for committing acts of violence against their own?

No, we shouldn’t.

So why should we condemn innocent Syrians for what a few people did?

It’s ludicrous.

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Counters and Countertops: a New Home Story

standard November 12, 2015 Leave a response

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, dear Noms fans, but never fear! I is still here. Life has been good, but busy!

We’ve been house-hunting off and on for the past year or so; something always came up before we could put an offer in – family stuff popped up, Colby was out of the country, we had some reservations about the house/location and so on. This past Saturday, however, the planets aligned and we toured a new housing development in Durham, built by Lennar.

This development had only 4 floorplans, and we couldn’t narrow down which one we wanted – the Oxford had a nice landing, the Chastain had a kitchen, the Lenox had a nice master bath layout, and the Baldwin was cozy.

On Sunday, we dragged Evan with us to look at the homes again, and this time I was prepared with checklists, questions and things to review. With Evan’s help, we finally narrowed it down to the Oxford plan. If you are house-hunting, I strongly suggest bringing a friend with you to help narrow down your choices – they are impartial and they see things differently than you.

Yesterday, we signed the initial contract stating that we intend to buy the house when it’s completed (oh yeah, did I mention it’s not even built?), and we finalized options/choices for the house (black cabinets, white countertops, cherry floors, and so on).

I normally wouldn’t have considered a new development, I didn’t like waiting and there were so many other houses on the market, how could we justify buying a new home with a larger carbon footprint? It’s a sellers’ market right now, and houses are being sold all over the place. The RDU is expanding at an exponential rate, and it’s gotten to the point where there are only really old houses with tons of problems or brand new homes that haven’t been built. Plus our lease is up mid-June, so it works out perfectly – we should close on the house at the end of May/beginning of June.

We drove by our lot yesterday, before signing the contract, and while there was only a pile of dirt on Sunday, Wednesday had piles of wood nearby, and tons of construction workers!

empty_lot

Our lot is on the left!

Yeah, we’ll definitely be driving by over the next few months!

I keep doing my we’re-buying-a-house dance, and no, you may not see it.

In regards to the blog, I have an idea for a multi-post series, but I haven’t had the time to write it. I’m hoping to have more recipes out soon, but my attention span has been a little on the short side lately. It’s a side effect of one of my meds – short-term memory loss. According to Colby, it’s a good thing I’m pretty, because I couldn’t get anywhere with my brain right now, but we know he’s joking.

Right?

Well, I shall leave you with this image, dear readers, a picture of Stormy looking quite dapper in her new sweater.*

stormy_sweater

*She gets really cold in the North Carolina winters, to the point where she’s curled up in a ball, nose up her butt, shivering like crazy. Yes, you really needed that mental image. You’re welcome!

Grass and House” by Hubert H.

Love and Tough Decisions

standard October 29, 2015 Leave a response

Life is full of tough decisions – what to wear to work, what car to buy, what players to pick for your fantasy football team – but there’s one thing no one wants to make a decision on: death. No one wants to think about death. It doesn’t matter if your faith tells you there’s a heaven/hell/giant candy playground in the sky when you kick the bucket, no one wants to accept that it’ll happen to them. Other people die, you never will, you’re immortal until proven otherwise.

mimi_comic

Mimi & Eunice, July 28, 2010

I know, I know, it sucks.

But you know what else sucks?

Not talking about it, especially to your family.

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Texas-Spiced Pecans

standard October 19, 2015 Leave a response

I’m 30, and the world hasn’t ended yet.

Go figure.

It’s nearly Halloween, spooky lights are up, mummy lights adorn the mantle, costumes ordered, now we just need to wait for the big day! To get in the spirit of the season (see what I did there?), I made an awesome Halloween playlist on Spotify – see the end of the post. It’s not quiiiiiet safe for work. Or parents.

Texas-Spiced Pecans

Texas-Spiced Pecans

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 1/2 cups pecan halves

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter. Add cumin, cayenne, sugar & salt. Cook, stirring constantly for one minute.
  3. Remove from heat, stir in pecans. Mix until sauce coats all pecans.
  4. Spread on large cookie sheet or baking pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until light brown, stirring occasionally.
  5. Cool and store in an airtight container.
http://www.profoundnoms.com/texas-spiced-pecans/
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Goodbye, Dear Twenties

standard October 15, 2015 Leave a response

Today is my 30th birthday.

When asked how old I am, I can no longer say “in my 20s.” I can no longer choose “25-29 years old” from demographic dropdowns.

I’m trying to think of more things that I can’t do in my 30s that I could do in my 20s, and I simply can’t. I can still wear skinny jeans, watch Disney movies, listen to Taylor Swift, eat pizza. Nothing’s really changed except how I see myself, and even then, I’m not sure what’s different.

People tell me age is just a number, that I should act as old as I feel. Some days, I want to throw a temper tantrum like a toddler, and other days I want to sit on my front porch and yell at the acorns. Somehow, I don’t think society is too keen on me doing either.

My twenties were interesting. Chaotic. Depressing. Eventful.

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Banana Bread Muffins

standard September 29, 2015 Leave a response

Last Friday, a group of coworkers and I headed down to the Ronald McDonald House in Durham, N.C. I’m a big fan of the Ronald McDonald House charities.

If you didn’t know, Ronald McDonald Houses provide homes away from home for families with seriously-ill children – families that need to travel more than 50 miles to get the care that the child needs to survive. They charge only $15-2o per night for families to stay (but they will work with families who cannot afford it), and everything is provided – there’s a communal kitchen where volunteers bake food (or the family can bring their own and cook it), computers & internet, laundry facilities are on-site, and so on.   Read More