Thursday, June 30, 2011

you down with ADD (yeah you know me)

I'm a hypochondriac. I'm also a self-diagnosed ADD sufferer. My mom would argue that I was actually an ADHD sufferer (emphasis on the HD) but since it "never affected your grades we decided not to worry about getting you meds for it." I have a wise mama. Bear with me.

I feel like I spend about 15 waking hours with Jon a week. When he's at work I'm home and vice versa. This forces me to find my own entertainment when the blogs I stalk haven't been updated recently. Enter, laser. And cat.

Disclaimer: you may become motion sick from watching that. It's difficult to be both the cameraman and laser operator simultaneously.

I also think I was born in the wrong decade. I adore the baby names [what? Normal people who are childless and not presently trying to conceive don't think of baby names?] Marjorie, Hazel, Virginia, Franklin, Wesley, and Frederick. Jon doesn't. I also adored their fashion. I could have totally pulled this look off:
Image Source: Kaboodle
Which brings me to an inquiry. How can a young lady, such as myself, be so pear heavy yet so lacking in the junk in the trunk department? You know how your jeans get saggy in the bum when they need washed? Well thanks to my birthing hips and lack of hiney, yours truly always has saggy butt syndrome.

Also, I fought with the garage and the garage won. I got home from my parent's and ran upstairs to get the clicker for our newly claimed one-car garage (yay for both cars having a home that is not under the pine trees that leave irritating splotches of sap on my windshield). I could hear the motor working. The door would not yield.

In a tizzy, I made my way into the apartment. Where I couldn't dislodge my key from the door. Inanimate objects 2, Danielle 0.

Being how patient I am, we all know how gracefully I handled this situation.

My car:
... is outside, parked in front of mean garage door.

And my key:
...remains in the door for Jon to find when he gets home in approximately 6 minutes.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

treading update - please consider giving

LOVE146 WORKS TOWARDS THE ABOLITION OF CHILD SEX SLAVERY & EXPLOITATION THROUGH PREVENTION AND AFTERCARE.

The Tread on Trafficking will be over in 2 days. Our fundraising goal was $2000. As of this morning, we have raised $380. It's not too late to help, so if you haven't already given we beg you to examine your finances and consider if perhaps you are able to forgo your Starbucks (or shoe, or purse, or fancy restaurant) addiction for a week and give to an organization that fights against one of the worst crimes humanity has created. If giving to a great cause isn't enough for you, your donations are tax deductible.

Our goal was to complete a combined total of 500 biked miles during the months of May and June. If you're from Ohio, you may recall that the majority of June has been miserably wet and quite undesirable for cycling. Welp, that hasn't stopped us because as of this morning we have 23.29 miles left, and we are preparing to embark on a 12-miler (aka 24 miles if you consider that we are both riding 12 miles). That will bring us up to 500.71 miles with Wednesday remaining for a ride (and we intend on taking one).

AKA, we have held up our end of the deal. So a HUGE thank you to everyone who contributed to this incredible cause and made your stance known against child sex trafficking. 

As for those of you who think these things don't happen here in the States: an estimated 250,000 American youth are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation (in 2000, so it's gotten worse). This is a global problem. Help give a voice to those who can't have one. What if the victim was your child, cousin, best friend, or sibling? To what extent would you give to save them?

Monday, June 27, 2011

what a monday

Today was a whirlwind of a Monday. Apparently the cable company technician was unsure which lines belonged to our downstairs neighbors who just moved out so he disconnected both. I chatted with them via the internet (which went nowhere and turned into an angry, frustrated chat - they wanted me to wait until the 29th for service... I WOULD DIE) so Jon came to the rescue and called the local office. A $20 credit and 7 hours later, we have been reinstated.

The funny thing is that just a few minutes after cable man #2 showed up to fix the problem, this happened:
On the far left you can kind of see the yellow ladder he was on.
The guy in our driveway came tearing up the street. I was convinced the cable guy caught something on fire because 60 seconds prior I noticed him pacing on the phone. The hubbubb was enough to entertain this young lady:

And not long after that we had our cable and internet reinstated, and all was right with the world.

Oh, and the commotion? Looked like a teeny tiny fire in the apartments across the street.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

80th birthdays and crepes

Friday night we celebrated my grandma's 80th birthday. We went to a fancy restaurant that she requested--the whole gang included. Parents, sister, cousins, uncle, other gram, and Jon and me. For being as expensive of a restaurant as it was, I was surprised by their unwillingness to be accommodating. Jon and I are simpletons and are quite happy with anything that is simply deep fried, so we were a little out of our element at this place. Needless to say, we would never go there again aside from another special occasion.
Gram - there were happier pictures of her, just not on my camera
After dinner we all headed back to my parent's house for cake and community. We sang happy birthday, played Animal Crossings (which my mom is now more obsessed with than me), and conversed. Jon and I didn't leave until after 10:45! I think my gram had a great time and that this was one of her better birthdays.

This morning, we decided to make crepes for breakfast. The recipe we use is simple:
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
2 large eggs, beaten
In a medium bowl, combine the first three. In a smaller bowl, combine the next two. Whisk the milk mix into the other mixture until smooth, let sit 15 mins.
Coat an 8" skillet with cooking spray over medium heat and pour 1/4 c. of the batter into the skillet, tilting in all directions to make sure it covers the bottom. Cook about 1 minute then flip the crepe over for another 30-45 seconds. Add whatever toppings you like.
In our case, our toppings included:
A reduction of strawberries and blueberries made with a hint of lemonade
Fresh blueberries, strawberries, and pineapple
Enjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

the night of the kitty

The title probably sounds borderline inappropriate. I pinky swear this post is not. Unless you have an aversion to cats and/or letting your pets sleep on your bed with you.

I went to bed last night anticipating a glorious slumber because Jon and I took a 15-mile ride along the towpath yesterday and I was wiped.

Both Marsala and my body had other plans. I tossed and turned the duration of the night. At one point I was sleeping on my left side and I felt Marsala scale my right side and plop down for her own slumber. It probably looked like a weird circus balancing act, but I was too tired to open my eyes and evaluate how she pulled that off.
In Chicago, Marsala would walk on a leash outside.
At another point in the night she must have left and Jon stirred from his sleep. I felt him moving towards me (thus stirring me from my sleep and apparently Marsala from hers) to cuddle me. Marsala apparently thought that was a glorious idea and made her way over to me (still on my left side). She plopped her little booty down next to my stomach and spread her upper half across my right side, thus blocking Jon's cuddling advances. I felt him quickly retreat, too tired to put up a fight against a loud baby.
She also chose to sleep on my printer.
This morning, within seconds of my alarm ringing, Marsala was up on the bed. She crawled onto my chest and plopped down, her face facing mine. She cuddled me into a state of [relative] alertness, and despite a restless night, gave me a glorious start to my day with her sweetness.
And when traveling home from Chicago, she chose to sleep on her carrier.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

the love blog

I give you fair warning: the following may contain so much mushiness that an instantaneous reaction to reading it may make you barf. If you feel like you can stomach what I'm about to say, read on. If you don't think you can handle it, I recommend you go here instead.

I have been so humbled by the outpouring of love Jon gives me, so much so that the mere fact that God blessed me with this man as my husband is enough to resolve me to grateful, "I'm-so-not-worthy" tears. I'd like to think I've come a long way since this post. I think I've been (in general) more patient, more loving, and more respectful. I've desperately worked on not freaking out every time I find dirty boy clothes on the floor next to the laundry basket, or, as of lately, sitting on the lid on top of the laundry basket. Jon would probably tell you I've come a long way. It was no easy task and I still take two steps back from time to time. But I think we're in a really, really good place right now, which is both a huge blessing and a bit of a pitfall.
One of the earliest pictures of the 2 of us. It was on Christmas Eve 2006 (I think).
We need challenges in our marriage/lives to grow stronger. Sure, each day I am filled with amaze as I get butterflies and giddy giggles when I see Jon pull in the driveway from work. It's a feeling that I was convinced would leave after the first year of marriage. I used to wonder out loud how it would be possible for our marriage to always feel so good. It had to be the "honeymoon phase."
December 2007
Spring 2008
Well, I'd like to think we're past the honeymoon phase. And yet the jumping tummy and racing heart are still just as present as our first slightly awkward double-date-plus-Mike at Carrabba's. I melt when Jon looks at me and smiles, and the way the first thing he does when he walks into the door is come over to where ever I am to give me a kiss. There's something magical about the way my head fits on his shoulders and the way his bear hugs can make even the worst days bearable. But I find myself craving a challenge. It just feels so good to grow closer with Jon each day and I can only imagine how close we'd feel after overcoming a huge, gauntlet-like marital challenge.
December 2009
And what a fool I am for wishing that on us. I know what a wreck I'll be. I'll cry hysterically, complain about how difficult my life is, and collapse into bed/refuse to get out until whatever that challenge is has resolved itself. I'm a crazy person. We are in such a wonderful place right now, why rock the boat?
September (?) 2010

Sunday, June 19, 2011

father's day

This morning we had breakfast in the Metroparks for Father's Day--something my dad has wanted to do for ages (so I'm told). Bacon, quiche, fruit salad, donuts, eggs, and homemade hashbrowns were on the menu and it was perfect picnicking weather. It was a fun time and I have since decided that Jon and I need to make our eggs over charcoal from now on.

After breakfast we headed to church with my parents. It was good to go to church again because we've been unable to attend for a few weeks due to traveling and other random commitments.

When church ended we headed over to Jon's parent's house where we went for a ride along the canal followed by incredible lunch consisting of spaghetti, salad, pizza, and some of Jon's mom's extra gnocchi in oil & garlic sauce. Nom!

We just managed to miss the rain with all of our festivities which was great. And now, the mushy stuff.
L to R: Me, Dad, & Jac
I was lucky enough to have a man who was very serious about providing as a father. He worked his tail off the ensure that his daughters could participate in just about anything they set their hearts to. Horseback riding, diving, gymnastics, dance, piano, etc. Just about any professional lesson a child could have I think we did (by our own volition). I can't even tell you the number of games we played or the number of sports events of ours he attended. Consistently on hot summer nights after a softball game when I asked if we could have a pool party at the last minute he would throw it together. So many memories were made at our first house that involved our dad running around with us during my young, impressionable years. I even have faint memories of camping in the yard one night in this little shotty rectangular prism-y screen tent thing. I must not have been much older than 6ish. 

So happy father's day to a dad who made sure his daughters always had opportunities to pursue their dreams and who would drop everything at a moment's notice to accommodate his last-minute daughter's desires for a pool party. I truly appreciate the life you built for me and the avenues I was able to explore because of you.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

indian's social suite

I was invited to attend the Cleveland Indian's Social Suite tonight for the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. I brought my dad along as my +1 for Father's Day (and because he is a native Pennsylvanian and this game would be win/win for him regardless of the outcome).

The Indians really did a decent job of accommodating social media users in an effort to build their collective "oomph" and revive the passion in Cleveland sports fans. I think this was the most packed I saw the stadium in a long time of attending a game. Other organizations could take notes from the Indians management.

I think my favorite part of the social suite was the private bathroom. Public bathrooms (especially at very large events such as a sports game) creep me out. My least favorite part was paying $4 for a small Diet Dr. Pepper, which was necessary to wash down my $3.50 slice of pepperoni pizza:
In the process of using social media in the suite (@daniellefilipko), I inadvertently introduced my dad to twitpic. I'm sorry, world.
I'm also sorry for my shiny, shiny face. Don't hate. But check me out sans the 25 pounds I lost on Weight Watchers!

There was some drama in the park tonight. 1 play that was clearly a home run but the Pirates argued it. The 2nd was an ambiguous homer that the umps said wasn't (the batter later stole home on a pop out for vindication). Tribe fans were clearly not pleased.
As I publish this we are at 5-1 in the top of the 8th, so I feel it safe to call it and say we won. I'll probably eat my words though.
My buddy, Slider, walks the dangerously thin line between adorable nerdiness and freakish clown-like resemblance. Tonight I decided he was adorable. But probably only because he was safely walking two stories below me.

Friday, June 17, 2011

when life gives you crumbly cake...

...turn it into cake balls.

We're having Heather, Paul, & Lillian over for dinner tonight. I decided to make a chocolate cake with dark chocolate frosting for dessert.

But then this happened.
And then I cried and moped about my wretched life. Then, the epiphany. Mix in the frosting with the crumbled cake until you can form it into a ball.
 Then dip in chocolate after a few minutes in the freezer. Wait, we don't have a double boiler. Let's make one!
While you wait for the white chocolate chips to melt, allow your kids (in my case, Jon) to lick the bowl. No, not that bowl. This bowl:
Okay, back to the double boiler. When that brilliant plan doesn't work out and you fail, try & try again. Or, send your husband out to the store to buy this:

So that you get this as an end result:
 In the meantime, check that your slow cooker bbq chicken (the recipe you adore) is doing well.
Superb! It is. Pull it for sandwiches.
You should probably start on those potatoes. Combine all of the following ingredients with red skinned potatoes and olive oil:
Until they look like this:
Then bake at 350 for about an hour. 

Here's to hoping the rest of the night is less eventful than my near dessert disaster.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

maybe i wasn't made for this world

I've been listening to a lot of Between the Trees' album, "Spain," lately.

One song of theirs that resonates with me is called Scarecrow.

"Oh, Scarecrow it ain't so bad; just try and fit in this hollow man. Cause you've traveled so far from where it all began. Maybe I wasn't made for this world: all the space in between the soul and the seams. I think I took the wrong path, I need to find my way back. They say you're never too far to start it all again; am I too far?"

It's been one of those melancholy days for me (for no obvious reason). I just feel distant from God. Again. When will I break the cycle? Ever? I can't remember the last time I prayed a heartfelt, non-routinesque prayer. It's been long. Way too long.

And yet, how I struggle to find my way back. Maybe it's my inherent stubbornness. Maybe it's my uncanny ability to avoid the need to evaluate my failures. We're still lacking community. I feel less isolated than I did during the semester, but when I'm not walking with God (although I think I'm pretty much always at least three steps behind Him) I've come to realize that these isolated feelings are inevitable. No one knows me as intricately, not even my better half. So how do I find my way back when I identify the need but also have this overwhelming apathy about the whole situation?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

the snapper

I neglected to mention a fun part of our one year wedding anniversary and wanted to right my wrong.

We woke up early to go for a long bike ride (13+ miles) on the towpath. In the process we saw the "deepest Erie canal lock keep:"

And a snapping turtle that hand wandered onto the path:

Don't worry about the turtle. I used my foot to nudge it to safety. It snapped at me at one point so that was cool. It was a really refreshing way to start our day. Jon said I probably saved a cyclist's life (not the turtle's) by moving him. I like to say I saved two lives. ;)

Once home, we freshened up and headed out to Olive Garden (don't judge). We engaged in bottomless [does anyone else get a rather strange visual at the term "bottomless" or am I alone on this?] soup, salad, and breadsticks and concluded with a piece of white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. Shout out to our friends Courtney and Mike for giving us an Olive Garden gift card as a housewarming present--you paid for our anniversary lunch! Thank you!

ohio pride

With all the hoopla about the NBA championships and LeBron's abandonment and blah blah blah, I decided it was time I contributed my two cents about this whole Cleveland business.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone ask me "Cleveland? What's there to do in Cleveland?" or how many times I've heard a fellow Ohioan joke about how lousy our state is. In fact, I was said Ohioan at one point.

In high school, I wanted nothing more than to get the heck out of this state. My main concerns about which college I'd attend were 1) Is it out of state? and 2) Is there a chance that someone I'm graduating with might be attending the same college? I hated the town I grew up in save a few select people and places. Lots of rich, snobby kids who complained that daddy bought them the 2005 Eclipse instead of the 2006. You know, rich people problems.

Anyway, that was what drove me to Chicago. And while there are a few select locations besides Ohio that will always have a chunk of my heart (see also: Chicago, IL, Ligonier, PA, and Great Falls, VA), Ohio is where I belong. By my senior year of college I was desperate to come home. The people here, the relationships I've formed, and the general spirit of this state is unsurpassed. I mean, we haven't won a freaking championship since 1964. And yet we truck along. We have hope that maybe one day we'll clench a title. Any title. Really. Call us cautiously optimistic because we generally know how it will turn out but we choose to hope anyway.

So while we may not be the most glitzy state in the country, we are proud. Most of us are happy where we live, work, and play, and wouldn't trade it for anything. So next time you hear the classy ole "what's round on both ends and high in the middle" shtick, you can respond knowing that there's no shame in this Ohioan's heart.

Monday, June 13, 2011

the mother-in-law

This post will be dedicated to my mother-in-law... one of the worst mother-in-laws a girl could imagine!

.......I JEST! I absolutely adore my mother-in-law (MIL) and I continuously wonder how I got so lucky to not only have such incredible parents of my own, but to have inherited such wonderful parents-in-law. Both of my in-laws are so kind and loving and generous and have blessed Jon and I in such unbelievable ways. After all, I wouldn't have the husband I do if it hadn't been for how they raised him. So for that I will be eternally grateful.

All mush aside, last night we went to the in-laws for dinner because my MIL had just received her Associate's Degree from the University of Phoenix. This was a long time coming and such a journey for her--after working her way up majorly in her company she came to the conclusion that she wanted more. She knew that to get there she would need to go back to school and get her degree. So she's been working her tail off for the last few years (in addition to putting in insane hours at work) and pulling off enviable grades in the process. And she did it (she will probably yell at me for putting her picture online):

It was so wonderful to see the joy on her face because she realized what she accomplished and she was proud of what she did. So many people (myself included) take education for granted, but she didn't. She appreciated every part of the system. The highlight was the fact that she kept crying. In a good way!

She cried when she saw us as she came in the door. She cried when she presented a carnation to my FIL (they were given carnations at commencement and told to give it to the person who helped them the most). She cried when she said grace, when she read the cards she was given. It was both beautiful and comical - I even told her that when Jon and I have our first child I expect a similar emotional response. She set the bar high for herself!

All joking aside, we are so proud. She worked so hard and I can't think of someone who deserved that degree more.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

the land of the giant milkshake

If you couldn't tell by the picture, Jon and I spent 6 days in Toronto. Monday through 3 pm on Thursday I spent the majority of my days at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. I felt awful for abandoning Jon during those days, but he was a total sport and it helped that he knew going into it what to expect. I'll inter-splice this verbal update with pictorial highlights.
Chocolate milkshakes as big as a newborn child.
However, for the most part, evenings were all ours and we spent our time exploring and attempting to find delish places to eat (although based on the ratings of the restaurants we tried we came to the conclusion that Canadians don't know what tastes good).
Tea and coffee at a little art gallery slash crepe restaurant. 

We fell in love with this church.
On Friday we spent the majority of our day at Eaton Centre. The typical touristy thing to do, but we like to window shop. Don't hate. Friday night Jon treated me to a super fancy dinner at the hotel restaurant where we indulged in asparagus soup, various cuts of beef (short rib, ribeye, and sirloin), and the most delicious chocolate souffle I think has ever been created. It was lovely.
Such a lovely city, so clean.

I'd hate to be that guy.
Saturday morning we made a brief trek to take some photos of the CN Tower for my dad and headed home (not without detours to the Niagra Falls Outlets and IKEA). It was a great trip but we're definitely home-bodies and therefore were very much looking forward to sleeping in our own bed and preparing our own meals. We're about to head out to retrieve our babe and I couldn't be happier - this must be what it feels like to empty nest.
We ate lunch in this park a few times.

Okay, now THIS was delicious. Far Coast breakfast.

You can't really tell in this pic, but their squirrels had brown tails and black bodies. Like a Reese's cup.

This guy chowed down next to a statue. How refined.

1 of 3 pictures of him from the entire trip.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

name that city

I extend my deepest and most sincere apologies for abandoning you the majority of the week. I pinky promise I didn't fall off the face of the earth.

Instead, I was out of town for a work conference and a slightly belated one year wedding anniversary trip with my very handsome groom. What town, you ask? Here's a hint:
And no, we didn't go up to the observation deck.
I heeded my parent's warnings to not publish our whereabouts since we left our apartment alone for a week. (And all you baby followers out there, don't worry--our baby stayed with my grandma for the entire time we were out to get all the affection she could possibly desire).

We got in around 7 pm and have been running around like mad people to restock our fridge, do laundry, and unpack. I'll update more tomorrow about the week, but for now I leave you with this highlight of my *favourite* part of being abroad:
100% distraction-free time with my bestest