The Random Writings of Rachel: December 2012

Behind The Scenes of Fashion Blogging in Winter


I think it's well-known by now that I'm pro-clothing. I wear it everyday and get a whole lot of joy out of it, too. I'm not a fashion blogger but you often see me wearing clothes on this blog, too. Because that's the kind of person I am. I wear clothes.

Like real fashion bloggers, I've found that taking pictures outdoors always tends to work better for capturing a good picture, because there's more light outside and trees and leaves and stuff are prettier than bookshelves and kitchen tables and stuff.

However, there is such a thing as winter. Winter means that you cannot stand outside in normal cute clothes, but can only stand outside in outfits involving snowsuits and/or winter jackets. Some fashion bloggers seem to be unaware of this, and continue taking pictures of pretty outfits in the middle of the snow.

I would never do such a crazy thing. However, I was inspired to imagine what an outdoor fashion shoot in the snowy, below-freezing world might look like from a behind-the-scenes perspective.










So, that's how I imagine how cold-weather modeling photo shoots really go. I like warmth too much to ever try it, though, so I'm pretty sure that if I post any outfit posts this winter, the pictures will be shot indoors.

So What's Next?

What will 2013 bring? Honestly, I have no idea, but here's what I hope it will bring:

 No more detached body parts!!

1. Graduating from cosmetology school. This is a given, unless of course I get expelled before that time comes. We'll see.

2. Getting a job. Not entirely looking forward to this one but money is a convenient thing to have.


3. Visiting my family. For the first time since summer 2010. It's time. I'm so ready, and I so hope this happens this year.


4. Becoming  a world-famous blogger. Oh wait. I already am a world famous blogger, I forgot. I know of people from at least three different countries in this world who regularly read my blog, and that clearly makes me world famous. So I guess the goal is to become even more world famous.

5. Finding opportunities to speak and write Mandarin. Tutoring, chatting with clients, Rosetta Stone, I'm not picky. I just don't want to get rusty.

6.Sewing more often. But not for a few months yet. The reason why I don't sew in the winter is because my office is unheated. Ya'll are lucky I have a laptop or I would only blog during the warm months, too.

During our relaxing Sunday afternoon yesterday, Angel took this picture and posted it to facebook with the caption "Rachel was sleeping while I woke up."

7. Adventuring and laughing at and with my best friend. I think this is likely to happen, seeing as I'm nearly finished writing Angel-isms Part II already. Our dreams for the next year don't necessarily include normal newlywed things like settling down or buying a house together but it would be nice to know by the end of 2013 where we're going next. Will we? I doubt it. But there's always hope!

An Extra Christmas Present!


I love getting packages in the mail, so opening up this Holiday Voxbox from Influenster was pretty exciting! I'm signed up with them as a product reviewer, so they sent me all of the products pictured to try, free of charge.

I must say, I was pretty impressed by the selection of products that they sent, seeing as it included a hair brush, a facial mask, lipgloss, and nail stickers--after all, my current profession means that I must spend all day taking care of people's hair, nails, and skin. So, considering that, the products were very appropriate for me!

I have to say, I was not a fan of the Real Medley by Quaker Oats. But that's probably because I'm still a kid who considers oatmeal a punishment. And oatmeal with nuts in it is even more of a punishment.

The hairbrush will come in handy for styling my client's hair, and I've already been using the lipgloss from New York Color--I was impressed that it sells for less than $3. Sometimes lipgloss can get bizarrely pricey.

But the nail stickers from Kiss were by far the best part. I've seen these around at the drugstore many times, and I've been intrigued by them, bu I've never convinced myself to buy them, because at about $7 for a package of nail stickers, which only has enough stickers to do your fingernails twice or all your fingers and toes at once...I could buy two $3.50 bottles of nail polish and give myself countless manicures. So it's pricier than a bottle of nail polish--but to think of it in a different way--manicures at $8 at my school, so these stickers are still cheaper than getting a manicure at a beauty school.

Taking a picture of your hand is very awkward.
 
I've heard that some people think these nails are too blingy so they suggest using them for an accent nail. That's not for me. I don't like letting my other nails be jealous of the one nail that gets special treatment. Go big or go home, folks.

Also, I found that wearing nails like this at a beauty school is a great advertisement for the company. Everyone wanted to know where I got them! The package says that they can last up to 10 days--I was very skeptical of that claim, because with my lifestyle, 2 days with no chips is about as long as I expect a good manicure to last. But in spite of the fact that I was up to my elbows in shampoo bowls most of this week--these lasted 6 days! I probably could have left them on longer, but I was bored at school and wanted to try the new nail polish Angel got me for Christmas.

The Year in Review

All I can say is, it's lucky thing for you guys that I haven't been blogging for an entire year, yet. I went back and picked out my favorite posts from each month that I did blog, if you want to do a little end of the year reading.

January: MyDream

I started out the year strong with a spoof infomercial about the latest and greatest invention to hit the market.

And then I didn't blog again until...

April: The Best Laid Plans

Research papers used up all my writing energy until the 2nd time Angel and I were stranded due to car problems and had to call a tow truck convinced me to blog once more.

May: You Might be a Newlywed if...

Poking fun at this special time of life.

June was the month that I started blogging for real, and it was apparently the first month that I learned that blog posts ought to include pictures.

June: Opposites Attract

It's truly bizarre that Angel and I ended up together.


July: DIY Picnic Table

Angel spontaneously decided to make a picnic table this summer, after trying out a drill for the first time in June.

August: Genes

A candid post about the sometimes unfashionably large hair that runs in my family.

September: Do I Regret Getting Married?

Do I?

 October: Bare With Me

Just doing my part to educate the world.


November: My Closet and My Shopping Rule

Here, I disclose my secret to actually wearing and loving ALL of the clothes in my closet.

December: Two Years Down

We celebrated our 2nd anniversary with a little getaway and some new clothes for both of us (always a good thing, in my book!)

2012 was a good year! Here's hoping 2013 will be even better!

And by the way, it's my parents' wedding anniversary today. They've been married a long, long time. Like, longer than I've been alive! In honor of their anniversary, here's a very retro picture of Mom and Dad and baby Me! 

What is Wrong with the World?

I've noticed a very troubling trend in modern culture, and, much as I dislike stirring up controversy on a regular basis, I feel the need to use my status as a blogger to protest when things are going on in the world which simply aren't right.

 But first, a little background about why I am so concerned about this matter. You may not know it, but I need glasses to see.


The reason why not everyone knows this about me is because I'm often not wearing glasses, and I'm ESPECIALLY often not wearing glasses in pictures. The thing is, I hate wearing glasses. When I was in high school, a guy once told me, "You look prettier without your glasses." (Of course, when I was in college, a guy once told me, "I think you look pretty with or without your glasses." Guess which one I married.)

I don't think my glasses match with my fancier or dressier outfits, I don't like constantly pushing them up when they slide down my nose, and I don't like that I can't lie down and get comfy while watching a movie because the frame of my glasses pushes against my face.

Contacts aren't an option for me. You'd understand that if, like Angel, you'd ever been present at one of my eye doctor appointments. Anyone trying to put eye drops in my eyes or get anywhere close to my eyes has quite a struggle ahead of them. That's just not happening. We've considered Lasik, but it's also not likely to happen for me in the near future, at least.

So glasses it is! My driver's license says that I need to be wearing corrective lenses when I drive, so I always do, but unless I'm driving somewhere, you'll often see me without them. I'm not blind to the point where I can't see my way around a room, so I don't wear my glasses whenever it's possible to avoid it.

And then.

And then.

I became aware that it is now in fashion for people who have perfect vision to wear glasses with no lenses or with plain lenses, just for the fun of it!! I cannot even begin to describe how offensive this is to me, as a visually impaired person.

Take for example this girl:


She does not need glasses. But she decided that she wanted to start wearing glasses when she started going to college, for reasons unknown. Just to be cool and look smarter than the other college kids, I guess.

Whatever the reasoning, it's not right! Glasses are not merely an accessory to be tossed about by the flippant whims of fashion but are a very real necessity of life for many of us. I'm here issuing a call to action. It is my hope that other people who actually need to wear glasses should educate their less-informed friends and family members about this issue, and ask that our loved ones choose to respect our need for corrective lenses without feeling the need to steal this key part of our unique culture and take it for their own. I call this hipster glasses fad cultural imperialism of the very worst type, and it's time for us to make a stand.

*One more request. Could everyone who understood that this post was written entirely in jest please raise their hand?*

'Twas a Merry Christmas!



Christmas is such a good excuse to wear a sparkly red sweater dress. And, of course, the brand-new boots that Angel gave me!

It's also a good excuse for a sibling picture. Lizzy were wearing matching dresses, just in different colors!

 But truth time, this is how we actually look most of the time when wearing oh-so-cute but unfortunately short-sleeved sweater dresses on the 25th of December. Who invented short-sleeved sweaters, anyways?

 Opening my special present from Lizzy and Isaac...

Just what every girl needs!! A book with a secret compartment. Seriously, this is the next best thing to a house with a secret passageway. Funny story: Lizzy said, "We thought it would be awesome to put a bottle of rum inside, but Isaac and I aren't old enough to buy rum, so we put candy in instead."

They crack me up.

This was the best Christmas ornament of the holiday, because it said Darth Vader quotes with a Christmas twist. Maybe I'm just easily amused.

How To Benefit Extremely from Couponing


I know bragging isn't generally considered polite behavior.... but I have to brag a little, because I got this gigantic pile of of random and sundry health and beauty items--completely free!

 And let me tell you how I did it. Seriously, I've come across the #1 trick for scoring free, brand-name stuff in the easiest way possible!

Here's the best couponing advice I could offer: Be related to really generous people who know how to use coupons expertly.

You see, Angel's brother and his wife sent us a huge package in the mail, crammed full of enough razors, toothpaste, cough drops, uno games, shaving cream, deodorant, bars of soap, mouthwash, chapstick, and other sundries to keep us supplied for a long, long time. I think we've got about 2 years worth of shower gel stocked up now. It'll be so nice not to have to visit the "health and beauty" department of the grocery store for months!

You can also see that they sent us a camera and a large knife. I'm pretty sure those were not the products of extreme couponing, though I'm not entirely sure where they came from. When you are a blogger with a 4 year old 8.0 megapixel point-and-shoot, you don't ask a lot of questions when someone offers to mail you a free camera. You just say, "Thank you so much, I will cherish it forever!"

So, yeah, thanks Nestor and Brittany! Keep up the awesome couponing hobby! 

Grandpa's Marriage Advice

 Minutes before my grandpa walked me down the aisle at my wedding, he stood with me outside the sanctuary and said, "It's not too late, if you don't want to go through with it, we can leave right now."

He didn't have anything against Angel--it appears that a last minute reminder that you're not locked down for life until you've actually signed the papers is a tradition in my family. But besides that moment...and the day when he first met Angel and promptly took him on a very suspicious "walk" around the neighborhood, my Grandpa, and every one of my relatives, has supported my marriage and loved my husband, and for that, I'm very grateful.

Today I came across a copy of the speech my Grandpa gave at our wedding reception. Upon reading it, I realized that there's definitely some things I could be paying more attention to! I thought I'd share his speech with you. So here's what a man with nearly 50 years of marriage experience has to say on the subject:


Some things a marriage can withstand: Sickness, debilitating injuries, financial disasters, loss of possessions through fire, flood, tornado, tragedies, death of a loved one, the loss of a child.

Some things a marriage cannot withstand:
Leaving the toilet seat up, using your husband's razor, squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle or leaving the cap off. Hanging the toilet paper the wrong way. Arguing about whose turn it is to do something. Not taking the garbage out when the opportunity presents itself.

Advice:
1. Treat your marriage partner with respect. Never cut each other down.
2. Make your spouse your best friend and confidant.
3. Avoid negative humor toward family members.
4.Be totally honest in LOVE.
5. Have a generous spirit towards others (in terms of time and money especially).
6. Your home is your castle, keep it financially secure.
7. Never reprove your marriage partner in front of others.
8. Always speak well of your family members to others.
9. At least twice a month spend some time alone together outside the bedroom.
10.When your marriage partner upsets you and they  ask what is wrong, do not say "nothing"--be honest.
11.Remember you are marrying a sinner, a person who is in a desperate need of experiencing salvation every day of their life.
 12. Forgive each other just as you have been forgiven.
13. Do not let the sun go down on your anger.
14. Speak only once to a child before taking corrective action, but make sure they really heard you the first time.
15. Don't argue about the children in front of them.
16. If you throw it down, pick it up, if you open it, close it, if you turn it on, turn it off.
17. Never take revenge, never deliberately hurt or ridicule.
18. It takes two to argue, and a soft word does turn away wrath.
19. Love is mental and physical attraction in the presence of emotional security.
20. Jesus is your life--make Him the center of your marriage.

And I'm just wondering if his last-minute offer to allow me to be a runaway bride is a common one? Did any of you get an offer like that from someone in your family on your wedding day?

Help! I'm Being Repressed!

I'm a lefty. A bonafide, can't write with a gel pen, it always looks like I have a bruise on the knuckle of my pinkie, never switch seats at the dinner table with my husband, lefty.

I've accepted the fact that the written English language is designed to be easiest for right-handed people. I've accepted the fact that I have to buy special scissors and that even attempting to write in a 3-ring binder will always be torturous unless I write on the back side of every page. I've spent my whole life learning from right handed people and having to switch the motions that they use around so that I can do them my way: from writing the alphabet to using chopsticks to doing a 45 degree haircut.

 Pictures of my rings will never be sexy because of that little, almost ever-present mark. The more I write, the worse it gets!

I don't think that the world should cater to the needs of left-handed people. We're a minority, and it wouldn't make sense to inconvenience the majority for the sake of a minority people group, would it? I would never lobby for the English language to be written from right to left just so that my hand won't get smeared with ink so often. That's just crazy.

However. The problem with my cosmetology school is that each student has a very small station and the plugs for each station are set up with a right-hander in mind. I tried plugging my appliances in on the side of the station that makes sense for me as a left-hander and was told, no, it's against the rules. Everyone has to use the plugs on the right side of their station. There are actually 3 left-handed students, in a school of maybe 20. It wouldn't be hard to station us all together, at the end of a row, just as anyone who eats with left handers would put them at the corner of the table so that they are not constantly elbowing the person beside them.

I explained to one of the teachers how it would be possible to station the left-handed people together and avoid the problems of crowding and bumping and non-ergonomically correct twisting that happen with the way stations are set up now. She agreed, and we moved everyone around so that both right handed and left-handed people could have the most convenient workstation.

And the next day, another teacher, who is more of the boss--moved everyone back to where they were originally. Apparently, in his mind, the fact that he wants to have some students closer to where he sits so that he can chat with them, the fact that some students get comfortable in "their spot" and don't want to move, and the fact that some girls don't like each other and don't want to work next to each other takes precedence over reasonable ways of working out the problem of lefties. Oh well. It's frustrating but I don't want to make a fuss over it because I've seen how the teachers treat the students they don't like and I'm trying to just stay under the radar and not get in trouble until I graduate. It really is such a small frustration--but what annoys me is that it could be easily and logically fixed, but 'politics' and 'drama' won't allow it.

Are any of you lefties? Even if you're not, do you see any solution to my dilemma?

Handmade Christmas Cards

Angel and I make handmade Christmas cards every year, rather than opting for store bought or picture cards. I don't do store bought cards because making Christmas cards is such a good excuse for spending money on paper-crafting supplies! And we don't do picture cards because, for me, I feel like sending out family pictures every year makes a lot more sense when you actually have kids. Besides, I have approximately 735 pictures of Angel and I on here, so whenever my friends and family forget what we look like, they can just visit www.therandomwritings.com. They don't need a picture Christmas card from us.


This is our card. My main goal in coming up with the card design was that I wanted a piece to be cut out of the front to show the back of the card. Obviously, because I wanted to use one of those really cool precise craft knives. Cutting squares out of the middle of my cards was just as fun as I thought it would be!

And this is the card design I made for my parents. I saw a similarly designed Christmas tree somewhere and I thought it would work well for mass-produced crafting.

These cards were made with love by Angel and Rachel on our coffee table while watching movies borrowed from the library. 


And here's the family picture for my parents' Christmas card, designed by Lizzy. We had to do it Brady Bunch style, because photoshopping everyone into the same picture would just have been way too complicated. Don't I come from a good looking family?? And isn't it so incredibly Angel-ish that he's sticking his tongue out on the family picture?

........................................................................

If you have a minute, you should check out Carolynn's Etsy giveaway--open worldwide, and there will be 5 winners, so the odds are high you could win something! Also, for us old married folks, remember how exciting it is when you get your very first peek at your wedding photos? The very first pictures from Carolynn's wedding were just posted, so check them out!

A Gingerbread House and an Angel


 I asked Angel a few weeks ago, "Did you ever make a gingerbread house when you were growing up?"

His very kind and politically correct response was: "Heck no! Mexicans don't make gingerbread houses!!"

So, obviously, I decided that it was my role to expand his experience of traditions from cultures outside his own, and I bought us a gingerbread house kit to put together. The results of our building project are pictured above. I don't think that the makers of the kit really intended for the gingerbread man to be balanced on the roof, but he's my favorite part. We're not sure if he's a gingerbread Santa or a burglar--but then again, it's always hard to tell those two apart!


I also love our front-yard snowman with evil red eyes and spiky green hair.

But guess what?? The day after we made the house, I came home from school to find this:


The house did not have a back door when we made it! Angel cut it out and ate it while I was gone, figuring that since it was at the back of the house, I wouldn't notice the gaping hole.

But I noticed.

Happy Things



 Clearly, the number one reason why I look so happy in these pictures is because they were taken on our anniversary trip. The second reason is because I was wearing a happy sweater. In general, I hate sweaters. I don't enjoy wearing them at all and avoid it until I start to freeze in t-shirts. But there is room in my heart for two specific types of sweaters: sparkly sweaters and polka dot sweaters. I can wear those and be happy about it. This sweater meets my second qualification and so I am happy.

Also, did you happen to notice my gold medal? I wear it every time I want to feel Olympian. It always works.

Maybe it's a bad thing that simply being dressed in pretty clothes can make me feel like running and skipping and singing for joy--but I prefer to think of it as a good thing. Taking joy in the little blessings of life, you know?

The Hobbit....and Theater Seats that Move!


We went on a date today. To see The Hobbit--which is a movie we've been waiting anxiously for ever since we first heard it was being made. Angel was hoping to go to one of the very first showings at midnight on the day it came out, but his work schedule didn't agree, so we had to postpone watching it till Sunday. We even went to a D-box theater to see it. I highly recommend D-box for a special occasion like watching The Hobbit for the first time, but only if you like feeling as if you're riding a roller coaster for 3 hours straight.

I thought it was great, but of course, I've been an LOTR fan since the first time I saw the movies, which was probably 2005 or 2006. Watching The Hobbit reminded me of the olden days, watching LOTR marathons with my family. Why, I don't know, but at some point in our relationship with the movie series, my siblings and I decided to pair each one of us up with a character from the movies. I think the actual pairing varied somewhat, depending on the day, but usually, we decided that I would marry Aragorn (who wouldn't like him best?), Lizzy would marry Legolas, Anna would marry Pippin, and Rebekah would marry Gandalf.

But there was one more match to be made.

My cute, tender-hearted little sister MaryGrace. Not a mean bone in her body....which is somewhat different from just about everyone else in my entire family. Obviously, because we assigned her to marry Gollum. And every time we told her that, she would cry. And yeah, we told her that more than once.

Poor, poor, MaryGrace. Now that I think about it, no wonder little kids complain about being tortured by their older siblings. Don't worry, she's not scarred for life. At least, I don't think so.

How To Blog Well

In the oh-so humble opinion of Rachel G.

Here's what I'd advise anyone who wants to write a blog that people read.

1. Don't be boring. I wouldn't recommend making every post a play-by-play of the average day of your life, unless of course every day of your life consists of activities like skydiving, swimming with sharks, and robbing banks. Even if your life does consist of such activities on a daily basis, I wouldn't recommend writing about the robbing banks part. Legal reasons, you know.

 Husband+Shovel=Funny

2. Have a funny husband. (See mine, for example). If you don't have that, have funny kids. Or a funny pet. Or, better yet, do funny things yourself. People who have time to hang out on the internet reading stuff are often looking for a laugh, so give it to them.

3. Play to your strengths. I'm not very good at writing on serious topics that pull at your heart-strings. It's like I almost can't help but throw in a joke or two to ease the tension. I can be serious when called for but it's not my favorite way to write, so you won't see seriousness from me very often. At the same time--I don't have the patience to even sit down and read through a tutorial or a recipe properly, let alone write a craft tutorial or a recipe properly, so I'm not going to annoy myself trying to write something that I'm not good at writing. I'll leave recipes and tutorials and seriousness to those who are good at it, because chances are, if I hate writing a post, not very many people are going to enjoy reading it!

4. Don't give in to peer pressure. Just because "everyone" hates CAPTCHA doesn't mean that you have to. Just because "everyone" is wearing peplums doesn't mean you have to, either. You don't have to go to Disneyworld or buy a professional blog design, and you don't have to watch The Bachelor or know what the latest Katy Perry song is called. I'm going to let you in on a little secret: There's really no such thing as "everyone". We're all different.

5. At the same time, if you want comments and readers...you might not want to be too weird. That might be my problem. I'm ornery. When Christmas is the talk of the season, I want to talk about the 4th of July, and when New Girl or Real Housewives are the kind of shows I hear other people talking about, I want to proclaim from the rooftops that I love The Red Green Show and Gilligan's Island with all my heart. When other people ask nicely for sponsors, I try to seduce  people into sponsoring me. Even my husband says that he thinks I'm weird. So be you...but maybe secretly act a little normal until you trick people into loving you and then be yourself again.

 I'm spoiled--I've got a whole family full of pretty!

6. Be pretty. Or at least make a blog design or take pictures that aren't hard to look at. Most of us don't like looking at ugly or obnoxiously loud things--so if you want people to stay, make your blog look inviting.

7. Write in English. If your audience is American or generally composed of people from English-speaking areas of the world. Actually, 一个妇女 像 你一样  is one of my top 5 most viewed posts of all time. Why, I don't know, but judging by the lack of comments, people don't really know what to say when you post in other languages, so I wouldn't recommend it.

 My unfriendly face

8. Be friendly. That's what my mom told me after she met Angel for the first time and she knew that she wanted me to catch him. I think the same is true for blogging. Email, comment, tweet, swap ads, guest post, collaborate with others on big projects. The most valuable things in life are relationships, so don't miss out on your opportunity to build them through blogging.

9. Don't say the same thing everyone else does. If you want people to read, you have to offer them something of value that they can't get just anywhere. If you're familiar with the typical list of blogging tips, you'll notice that here I didn't mention that you should not be a no-reply blogger, that you should not write "Follow me, and I'll follow you back" type of comments, or that you should post consistently. All of that has been said before and said thoroughly. Instead, I'll telling you my ideas, the ones that you might not see in other places.

 10. Don't title your posts "Bare With Me". Because then people are going to snicker and they may not even tell you to your face that you made an amusing grammatical mistake. The phrase is 'bear with me.'

Why Buy a Rice Cooker?

In light of my recent 2nd wedding anniversary, I'm reflecting upon one of my wedding gifts which has come in especially handy over the last two years. When you're 19 and you're given a little scanner gun and faced with the entire store of Target to make your wedding gift wish list from....you may not even know exactly all the things you need for a house. But the one appliance that I knew for sure I wanted was a rice cooker.

In the interests of pursuing truth in journalism, I didn't clean the water spots off of the rice cooker before taking a picture. You're welcome.

My Grandma bought the rice cooker for me off of my registry, and then asked me why I wanted it? She'd never used a rice cooker in her life--and wondered if they were really that convenient. I've since found out that while quite a few of my young married friends have kitchen appliances that I don't have, like, say Kitchenaid mixers, deep fryers, bread makers, or coffee makers....they don't have a rice cooker. Apparently they aren't on the must-have lists for many young brides out there.

Because I love expounding on the goodnesses of my favorite kitchen appliance in real life, I thought I'd mention this handy little cooker to anyone out there who isn't convinced that a rice cooker is practical for their kitchen. Of course--it's not practical unless you eat a lot of rice. So it depends on your eating habits. I knew about the wonders of rice cookers from a young age, because my family had one when I was growing up, and we ate rice about 5-7 days a week. Seriously. Lots of rice. Angel and I eat rice at minimum 1-2 days a week, which is much less than I used to eat rice, but probably still a little much for many Americans. 

The thing about rice cookers is that they always cook your rice perfectly! Although I'm a good cook, I'm not a very precise one, and in spite of the fact that I'm pretty sure the proportions of rice and water  that I throw in the cooker are rarely the same, I always get perfectly cooked rice that is never burned on the bottom!  I just throw the rice and water in, close the lid, push the button, and wait for the beep that lets me know I have rice to eat. It couldn't get any easier. Although I grew up eating lots of rice, I've never actually made rice in a pot on the stove, and even now I think I'd be a little nervous about doing that and trying to make it turn out right.

So, that's my rice cooker. I use it more often that I use my toaster and slow cooker, even. It's not exactly the newest invention in town, but I thought I'd share it anyways. They aren't expensive, as far as appliances go, either. This one looks identical to ours.

Do you have a rice cooker? Or don't you like eating rice?  

Working on the Holidays

When I married a nurse, I knew what I was getting into. Sort of. I mean, I knew he'd probably always talk about things that I found completely inappropriate for civilized conversations. I also knew that his schedule wouldn't be as convenient as the schedule I remembered my dad having when I was a kid. When I was little, my dad worked in an office--five days a week, not on weekends, and he had all holidays off.

Angel works 3 days a week, 12 hr. shifts, every 3rd weekend (often more weekends than that, even, to my chagrin) and quite a few holidays. I haven't spent a 4th of July with him yet, which is a little sad because that boy loves fireworks. On Memorial Day I go to parades and picnics with my relatives, but not with Angel. Last year he worked Christmas Eve night shift, which meant that he came home at 8 am Christmas morning and promptly went to bed. This year he's working Christmas Day.

 Christmas 2011

Now--before you start scolding me and telling me how good I have it--I already know that I have it good! Angel's job is a blessing to us! I'm so grateful that he got a college education and was able to get a job in his field immediately, and that his paycheck supports us well. I feel much worse for the people who have to be in hospitals on the holidays because they're actually sick than the people who have to be there in order to keep their job. And I know I should feel more sorry for Angel, since he's the one who actually has to work on Christmas, than for me--who will, most likely, heartlessly travel to the other side of the state to visit relatives for a few days.

I know it's not reasonable to feel sad that I don't get to spend Christmas with my husband. It's such a small thing, when you look at the blessed life we have. But I am just a little sad. It kind of reminds me of our first Valentine's Day together....which was also our first Valentine's day as a married couple and the very first romantic Valentine's day of my life (Angel was my first boyfriend, you know), and Angel was working, so I went to a Valentine's Day party without a date. You know, how it's not a huge thing, but you did think that when you got married, you'd finally actually have a date to things like Valentine's Day parties?

 Christmas 2008; the last time I was with my family for Christmas

There's nothing earth-shattering about this post. It's just that when I start watching Christmas movies and start getting excited about the presents collecting under the tree, I start remembering that I don't get to spend Christmas with my mom and dad, my little sisters, or even my husband! In all honesty, because I'm weak and frail, that does make me a little sad. But at the same time, I'm so, so grateful for all the people that I won't be spending Christmas with this year!

 And all you nurses, doctors, policemen, and everyone else who has to work on Christmas, THANK YOU!