Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Saying prayers with a heavy heart

I'm kinda mellow today, for several reasons. The other reasons don't really matter as much as this: two police officers from my hometown, Tampa, Florida, were killed yesterday during a routine traffic stop.

Officer Curtis stopped a car which was missing a license plate, a 1994 Toyota Camry. During the stop he discovered there was a warrant out for this peson (from out of state), so he called Officer Kocab for backup. Police received a 911 call shortly after 2:15 a.m. from a person driving by the scene, reporting that the officers were shot.

Officer Jeff Kocab, 31, passed away shortly after he was brought to Tampa General Hospital. Officer Dave Curtis, also 31, was put on life support and pronounced dead around 8:30 a.m. at TGH.

Both men had families. Officer Dave Curtis had been with the department for almost four years. He has a wife and four boys between the ages of 8 months and 9 years old. Officer Kocab leaves behind a wife who is nine months pregnant. Kocab had only been with Tampa police for 14 months.
 

 If this doesn't stop you in your tracks, I don't know what would. Of course, this hits home hard for me because 1) I'm from Tampa, and 2) my husband will be a police officer in about 3 months.

Please, say a prayer for these families. Nothing is more tragic than something like this - two public servants, protecting you and me, were killed for no reason whatsoever.

While you're saying that prayer, offer up a little reminder to God that the f***er that killed these men still needs to be found.

And when he is found, ask God to make him wish he'd never been born.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I survived!

My first day of school went amazing! It feels SO good to finally be doing this for myself.














So, first things first -- thank you all so much for your supportative comments and helpful suggestions! Especially on the textbook issue. I ended up following Amanda's advice and ordering them off of half.com. Both together, including shipping, were $66, instead of the over $100 they would've been at the bookstore (even the used versions). In the future I will definitely be looking into renting them, but the school isn't doing that until closer to fall. A facebook friend told me a about Chegg.com where you can also rent textbooks.


Also, I discovered we aren't allowed to eat in class, at all...even though it's an evening class. I guess that means I'll be eating bigger lunches for the next six weeks on Monday and Wednesday!

The instructor is great, the class ended an hour early (yay!) and he said it may often end early. It's a good thing I like writing because there is supposedly a paper due every week from now on! Last night we wrote an impromptu "diagnostic essay", which I managed to get through. I'm excited to learn more about writing and hope it transfers over into my blog writing style. :)

So overall, it was a great success! I'm really looking forward to this whole college thing!

Today I'm planning the menu for this weekend. My family is coming over Saturday for a beach day and a cookout. I can't wait! Also I have a surprise date planned for Friday with the hubs... hehehe.

Wheeee!

Monday, June 28, 2010

It's like the first day of school

I can barely focus right now! Tonight from 5:30PM-9:10PM is my first college class. Ever. Communications I. I'm almost 25 and have never set foot in a college classroom, so I'm a little nervous. I feel very unprepared too. I forgot about getting my books until this weekend, when it was too late. I was going to stop by the campus bookstore over lunch and drop over $100 on the books, but my facebook friends are telling me I can probably find them somewhere else, cheaper. I thought I would need them tonight?? What should I do?!? I'm currently bidding on Ebay on one textbook I need, The Writer's Reference, which goes for $82 brand new. My current bid is $7.50! It has less than an hour left so I'm crossing my fingers...

Also, I haven't bought any note books, pens, pencils... anything. I haven't picked out my bag. (I have plenty to choose from at home, just don't know which one yet!)

I'm also nervous about the time. I get off work at 5PM and it takes me 15 minutes to get home. I live like 5 minutes from the campus, which is awesome. But I want to rush home and let my dog out before I go to class, AND be early to class because I'm not sure where the room is. Not sure how that is going to work out yet.

And then, there's the getting home after 9PM and probably wanting to go straight to bed. Oh and dinner? I have no idea what I'm gonna do about that. I bought my hubby frozen pizza for tonight and frozen Chinese for Wednesdays class. I guess I'll survive on a granola bar, unless they give us a break to eat.

Eek!

I pretty much feel like this and I haven't even started yet.
















I'm sure everything will be fine. I'll just keep telling myself that ...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Coconut Lime set **GIVEAWAY!!**

It's officially GIVEAWAY TIME!!

I'm so excited! I've been wanting to do this for months.

I'm giving away this brand new - limited time offer item from Mary Kay -- a Coconut Lime lotion/shower gel/body spray set, with a cute little bag included! I smelled it the other day and it is SO YUMMY. It smells so good... just like a coconut lime drink. MmmMMMMm.







TO ENTER:
(One entry for each item you participate in below! Please enter everything you've done in ONE comment and I will add them up. Total possible entries: 4)

1) Become a NEW follower of my blog
2) Post this giveaway on your blog or as a link in your facebook status
3) Refer a friend to my blog and have them become a follower (if you follow me as a recommendation of a friend please comment and let me know so I can give that person credit!)
4) Visit my MK website and let me know what product you would LOVE to have! Or which product you already have and love using.

I'm super excited! I hope lots of people enter! If you do you could be smellin' yummy in no time! :)

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A nothing post

I got up at 5:30AM to jog because we had an early board meeting at work. I don't know what is wrong with me. It's now 4:30PM and I'm still not awake! Or I'm really tired... yeah that could be it.

So I have nothing to say today. Plus I've been reading all these fab blogs latlely and it makes me feel inadequate! I wish I was funnier, more interesting, etc. etc.

So have fun checking out one of my new favorite funny blogs! MODG (stands for Martinis or Diaper-Genies) - love this!

So glad tomorrow is Friday! My hubby randomly planned a party for Saturday night, which, I have to say, I'm not necessarily feeling like partying. But that's probably because I'm super tired and want to crawl into bed riiiiiiiiiiight.... NOW!

P.S. I need to do a giveaway because I've reached 50 followers! I've been waiting to see if it lasts longer than one day this time...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dinner, babies, and houses. What a combo.

So I'm sitting here drinking a glass of wine waiting for dinner to get done. I was supposed to go grocery shopping but totally didn't feel like it. I hadn't even made my menu. So I found some chicken and made my own version of King Ranch Chicken. Grocery shopping can wait until tomorrow night.














It smells good, here's to hoping it tastes good!

For some reason I always want more attention from Eric when he's playing Modern Warfare. Normally if he was just watching TV or bugging me in the kitchen, I would be, like, whatever. But when he's playing that blasted game, it's almost like I'm in a competition with the little men running, shooting and grunting on the screen.I always go sit on his lap and (inadvertently) block his view while discussing important topics.

Me: "I think we should make a baby."

Him: "Oh really? What brought this on?"

Me: "I dunno. I just think it would be cute." (Real answer: I just saw a picture on facebook of my friend holding her newborn son in a sling she made. I wanted one. It looked so peaceful. But then again I'm not sleep deprived.)

Him: "I agree. A little baby Steph or baby Eric."

Me: "Mmmhmmm. Except we don't have any money." (referencing the $700 we spent on suits for him last weekend)

Him: "Yeah..."

Me: "Also, I think we should rent another apartment for a few months before buying a house. Houses are expensive. I was talking to Cyndi today (co-worker) who said her electric bill was $300 this month. Then you have to pay for HOA fees, water bills, taxes..."

Him: "I agree, baby Steph." *nods head in agreement*

Me: "So that means I don't have to look at houses online anymore."

Him: "Nope."

Me: "I'm depressed. No house for me."

Him: "No babe, you'll have a house."

Me: "Eventually."


And now that we've agreed upon on a major life decision, it's time for dinner. Cheers!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Trying to get just the right layout!

For those who don't know, I am a website designer. I am not happy with my design until it is exactly right!

Therefore, I'm working on my background. Thus the reason it's changed like 5 times in the past week.

Bear with me... it'll be great once it's finished! :)

Conglomeration ... is that even a word?

Following is a conglomeration of randomness of things that have been happening latley!

(Conglomeration IS a word! It means: "That which consists of many previously separate parts; An instance of conglomerating, a coming together of separate parts.")

I forget if I told you, but Eric passed his State Exam. Oh, I think I told you that part already. The part I didn't tell you was he applied at several police departments/sheriff's offices, and one responded within 24 hours! They asked him to come in to drop off paperwork and have his voice stress-test scheduled for tomorrow already! This department wasn't his first choice (for salary reasons), but he's going through the process anyway, just in case the others don't respond.
 
I'm so nervous/excited! If anything, I was encouraged that he got picked up so quickly. If this is any indication of how well he will do, I know he will have NO problem being successful.
 
Because of all of this, several things are happening. First, we spent over $700 buying suits for him on Saturday. Y-i-k-e-s. But, it was necessary for interviews. Besides, every guy should own a suit or two. He I picked out an olive colored suit and a charcoal grey. It was fun mixing and matching shirts and ties, but holy crapola it is effing expensive. The first total came to almost $1,000 and there is no way we were dropping that on clothes. I pissed off the sales girl and made her unwrap everything and gave back a few shirts, ties, and socks (and a tie clip that I didn't even know was included - sneaky, sneaky) to bring the cost down. Sorry babe, but we're going to Ross to pick out the rest of your ensemble. Now that I think about it, I wish we would have done that with everything except the suits. Ohhh well.
 
We have to pay for the first round of alterations which made the cost higher. After this, they are free, along with pressing and cleaning. Thank god something is free! Highway robbery, I tell you!
 
Second, starting in October I'll  have to go through my job for health insurance. No more free, 100% coverage Tricare. *tear* Back to the real world of co-pays, deductibles , annual maximums and 1 hour waits in the doctors office. Of all the things we're losing by leaving the military, this one I will probably miss the MOST.
 
Third, I feel like we need to start looking at houses -- either to rent or buy. The only problem is, we have no idea where he will officially get hired yet. It could be here in Melbourne where we live now, or over in Orlando which is 30 minutes away. We have about 3 months before we'll need to move, but if you're buying a house, don't you start at least that early?? Especially if it's your first time?
 
But we can't! I don't know what to do. Especially when I see houses like this for sale at $109,000 (!!) and want to buy it today.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Or this one, a two-story, 4 bedroom, with a POOL, for $155,000!
   


Isn't it gorgeous?? It's so hard to wait when you see great deals like this and want to run to the realtor right now! I have a love-hate relationship with my new favorite website, Hotpads.com. It shows the location of houses in the area you're looking on a map. There are so many houses for sale, it's overwhelming!

So I'm sitting on my hands and waiting. I'm crossing my fingers and toes that there are plenty of deals like this one when we're ready.

Those are just a few of the things on my mind. I thought the military motto was "hurry up and wait"... but it seems that is haunting me even outside of the military.

Oh well, I'm off to find some new recipes for dinner... grocery shopping tomorrow!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cruise: Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Our final stop was in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. I'd hear a lot of rumors about the people here and how aggressive they are and how we should be really careful. I even heard some guy talking in the elevator about how he may not even get off the boat! I was skeptical, but I wanted to see for myself.

Turns out, it was one of my favorite places! It was absolutely gorgeous first of all...



















The people are very friendly, and their response to everything is "Ya mon" or "No problem mon". So funny! When you come across people selling something (in the poor areas) they are a little "agressive", I guess, but if you just say "no thank you" and keep walking they'll leave you alone. We did have a guy offer us a "smoke" (marijuana) ... no thanks! Ha! I was probably asked three times if I wanted my hair braided too.

We took a taxi to Dunn's River Falls and had a tour guide help us climb to the top.












































It was a lot of work! We were in a long line of people and held hands. I was stuck with this old man in front of me who thought my name was Tiffany the whole time... haha... but he was nice. Eric was stuck helping an old lady behind him and said he basically carried her up the falls! She thanked him after were done and said she couldn't have done it without him... no kidding. Ha!


Finally done! My legs were shaking at the end. I had no idea it would practically be a workout, because I had gone running that morning in the gym on the ship! I was exhausted, but it was so fun!

After drying off, we went back to wait for our taxi driver. The Jamaicans certainly proved their "no problem mon" attitude because the driver was an hour late! We ended up paying another guy to drive a group of us back... so annoying. Once we got back to the city we attempted to do some shopping. It is hard to get away from the people and the things you don't want to buy, but we made it eventually! We got a painting and some Jamaican rum!

We stopped at a little bar and had the local beer, Red Stripe, at the recommendation of our waiter on the ship, Donavan (who is from Jamaica).


Eric said hi to a local policeman...

I liked the Jamaican people because when they are trying to sell you something they call the wife "Boss Lady". Cracks me up!

... and with that we said goodbye to Jamaica!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

4th of July plannin'


I love planning parties! I absoultely cannot wait until we have our own house so I have more room to decorate. Being in a small apartment doesn't lend itself well to decorating much, but I make due.I pretty much decorate for every major holiday (Thanksgiving and Christmas being my favorites), and always try to get cute ideas online.

This year, I'm crossing my fingers that my family will be able to come over for the July 4th weekend! If they do, I'm gonna do my best to decorate our little place and have a fun cookout!

I got all of these ideas and images from The Hostess with the Mostest blog. (here)

I love this vase/sand idea. If I don't do anything else, I'm making a few of those! I see trips to Michael's and Old Time Pottery in my near future...































 DeLiCiOuS food ideas! I posted the links to the recipes I plan on making!



















(Grilled Corn with Parmesan Butter recipe here, from Rachael Ray)



















(Patriotic Pizza Cookie recipe here, from Pillsbury)

 More cute decorations!! You can also use the foam stars for coasters!

And finally, what's a party without alcoholic drinks? ;) Red, white and blue ones, no less.


(Patriotic Margarita recipe here, from Real Simple)

I can't wait to start decorating! Gonna go shopping this weekend! :)

Writer's Workshop: It's not nice to stare

It's been a while since I've particpated in Writer's Workshop! I know I still have yet to post pictures from Jamaica, but I wanted to write a little story about our cruise that relates to Writer's Workshop.

The first night we sat in the dining room for dinner, I noticed a table of 4 somewhat good looking guys sitting near us, in a good place so that I could look at them without it being too obvious. Of course, though, the first thing I noticed was there were no girls sitting with them.

So, what do YOU think when you see 4 good looking guys all sitting together alone?

Ok then. Don't judge me. You know what they say about the good looking guys.

I commented to Eric on the first night, "I bet they are gay." Please understand, I am not judgemental or a homophobe by any means. I love everyone for who they are. I was just curious about them and their table provided me a sort of "bet" with Eric on who would be right about first impressions. Usually he is right, but this time I was determined to beat him.

Throughout the week I would sometimes pass them, whether it was just two of them walking or the whole group. I admit, I would always look (or subtly stare) to see if they were holding hands. Sadly, I never caught them!

However, on one of the last nights, there was a NEW guy at their table. He pulled up a chair at the end of the table and joined them for the rest of the cruise. I noticed he was sitting in a way that touched legs with another guy. I'm just sayin'.

I think I was right about my first impression. Eric agreed.

Thus, my staring and jedi-first impression powers proved right once again. :)

Mama's Losin' It

Head over to Mama Kat's and participate in the writing madness!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cruise: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

The next stop was in the Cayman Islands! I was surprised what a tiny little island it was. I pointed it out here and this is the route we took during the cruise:


















The night before we arrived we set out our room service breakfast selection on the door, and they were supposed to come and wake us up before we were scheduled to leave for the excursion. Well either they never came or we didn't hear them, but I didn't wake up until 10AM and we had to be on shore at 10:30! Normally that wouldn't be a problem, but on this stop we had to take a ferry to the island... which took exactly 30 minutes. We got there JUST in time, whew!

It was so worth it!















We were able to go 20 ft. under the water and view and old shipwreck.



























After the suba excursion there wasn't much else to do on the little island but go shopping. We walked around a lot and I ended up getting some Cayman Islands rum! Can't wait to try it!

 

That night was got all dressed up for dinner. This is one of my favorite pictures of us!






































Up next: Ocho Rios, Jamaica!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cruise: Cozumel, Mexico

The first stop on our cruise was Cozumel, Mexico! This day was fun because we got to stay late, until 9:30PM. If you've ever been on a cruise you know normally they require you to be back on board by 3 or 4PM, not leaving a lot of time during the afternoon. It was great to stay late while it cooled off!

Our excursion that day was swimming with dolphins. It was SO much fun. Probably my favorite excursion of the whole trip!

































































After the dolphins we had lunch ...















...then we went back to the boat after lunch to shower and change into comfortable clothes, since we had so much more time to stay. We explored, shopped...
























































... then we sat down at a local bar and had drinks!














































After a while Eric's family showed up and we stayed late into the night having drinks with his mom and sister Julie! That was SO fun!! I paid for it the next day, but it was totally worth it. ;) Actually it probably saved us money because I didn't feel like drinking for the next 3 days. Haha!









































































I passed out after this and woke up at 4AM hungry because we never ate dinner! Thankfully there is pizza 24 hours a day on the ship, so I ventured out and got a slice. I felt ok the next day, but was thankful it was a "fun day at sea" so I could just relax by the pool! :)

Tomorrow... Snuba in Grand Cayman!