Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Good Things

Hello friends and neighbors and friends and readers. It's been radio silent over here for a while now. At first I was lazy and just wasn't making the time to sit down and write, but then I got into a bit of a funk and quite frankly I've really been struggling over here these days. There's been a lot going on in the world and it's starting to feel like the walls are closing in. Does anyone else feel that?

I've hesitated taking to this space for a while because when big things happen in our world - big, tragic, awful things - there's a lot of noise that gets turned up and then everyone picks a side and retreats to their Facebook corners and hurls insults at one another. Heavy on the rhetoric, light on the facts. I just figured I probably don't need to be part of the noise and the last thing the internet needs is another opinion.

More so than that, I've been thinking a lot lately...probably too much. I do that actually, I think way too much most of the time. I've been thinking about how I should respond to events in the news and how to still find joy in this world and good things in life and figure out a way to push the walls back a little. To do that I decided to try and look harder for the good. The good people, the good stories, the good jokes, the good places...all the good stuff. Not only does this serve as a good personal mantra, but it also makes for a good (i.e. easy) blog post. And because blogging used to be one of the good things in life for me and I've missed it, I figured yolo let's blog it up right?

An Incomplete List of Good Things That I Really Really Like

1.) Re-discovering an old CD you forgot you loved (talking to you, Sum 41 All Killer No Filler)

2.) When it's about to monsoon and it turns everything orange outside

3.) Monsoons

4.) When Gunther puts his paw in my hand and squeezes and it feels as if he's really trying to hold my hand

5.) When Maycee sleeps next to me, nose to nose when I'm by myself to keep me company

6.) Solitude

7.) When people make a typo at the end of their emails so it ends up saying "thanks you!"...never gets old

8.) When I open a bottle of wine and it has an actual cork in it and not like, one of those fake rubbery ones

9.) Wine....because what would a list of good things be without wine

10.) Costco (all Kirkland Signature all everything)

11.) When this emoji is in my "recent" emojis:
...because that means I've texted my friend Sarah "slap hands!" after a Dbacks win, which means the Dbacks have been winning frequently enough for this emoji to stay in my "recent"emojis (this is a rare occurrence this year...)

12.) The smell of chlorine on my skin after a day of swimming

13.) The sound of your voice in a tent while you're camping. It's like, kind of echo-y but not? Like, more distinct because it's so quiet out when you camp? I don't know how to describe it, but it's a good sound and your voice only sounds like that when you're camping in your tent

14.) Camping in your tent

15.) Being out on the lake after everyone has left and you have the place all to yourself

This world is full of good things and I'm trying hard to remember this and focus on this in the midst of all the bad and the mean and the wrong in this world. Be good, guys...don't be bad, or mean, or wrong in this world. We need more good.

Genesis 1:31: God saw all that he had made, and it was very good...

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Let's Flamingle

Alright guys, this weekend was the weekend we've all been waiting for. "we" I mostly just mean me, my friend Sarah, my friend Charlene, or any of her other close friends that were attending her bachelorette party. So I guess, it wasn't necessarily the weekend you all had been waiting for, but it was the weekend I had been waiting for. And probably Charlene too since it was her party. And also Sarah, cause we're on maid of honor duty together and we put the whole dang thing together (#humblebrag). That was the really long way of saying, OMG THIS WEEKEND WAS CHARLENE'S BACHELORETTE PARTY AND IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! Can I tell you all about it? Hint...the answer is gonna be yes because this is my blog and this is what I came here to write about tonight.
The theme of the weekend was "Charlene's Last Flamingle" and let me tell you, we flamingle'd the shit out of this weekend. We rented an Air B&B for the weekend and flamingle'd it up Friday - Sunday. Also yes, 'flamingle' is a real word and can also double as a verb. 

Friday Sarah and I got off work early, packed up what looked like a month's-worth of baggage, food, decorations, and probably like a year's worth of alcohol (Luv u, Costco) and headed out to Phoenix to move in for the weekend. A bachelorette party brings a whole new meaning to "Pinot Grigio Friday" so Sarah and I didn't waste any time pouring ourselves some wine pre-5pm while we set the place up. Girls started arriving, pizza started baking, more wine kept pouring (and also margs and vodka too), and before you knew it all eight of us were dancing in the kitchen trying to learn the wobble. The wobble (and other notable super sexy super legit dance moves that might not look super sexy or super legit to anyone else but ourselves) was followed by a couple bachelorette-themed games, a rousing game of Heads Up (not to be confused with Heads Up 7-Up which doesn't really scream "bachelorette party" but maybe more along the lines of 3rd grade rainy day can't-go-to-recess kind of a game), Cards Against Humanity, more dancing, gifts, more alcohol, singing always, and Justin Timberlake on repeat (I got this feelin' inside my bones, it goes electric wavy when I turn it on...). 

I won't lie, I was pretty proud of the shirt that I found as a gift for Charlene:
I tried telling Nate about it when I found it online (which btw, go here cause she has more super cute shirts) cause I thought it was so funny and Nate's like, "I don't get it." So I had to explain to him what "AF" meant and how it's a thing (mom if you're reading this it means Always and Forever); so then like 30 minutes later as I'm getting ready to leave for work I'm checking my outfit in the mirror and I said aloud "I feel a little bit like a grandma in this outfit" and he goes "grandma AF." Close, Nate but not quite.

The next morning Sarah showed me this insta which was 100% accurate:

I'm just gonna be real honest and come out and say it - I snap too much when I'm drunk. It just happens and it's something I can't control guys, I don't know how to fix it ok? And everyone was giving me a hard time cause my snap story was probably like an hour long (I'm being dramatic it wasn't that long.....I hope) but yolo we all kept watching it over and over so YOU'RE WELCOME. But anyway, speaking of the next morning, we woke up drank lots of coffee and water and brunch'd so hard. 
We had a pretty mean spread of eggs, turkey sausage (cause we like to pretend to be healthy), fresh fruit, muffins, and crepes...with Nutella and peanut butter because sometimes you just get to a point when you have to stop pretending to be healthy. After that we put our suits on and headed outside for the rest of the day!
I feel like you can't really have a flamingo themed party without huge inflatable flamingo pool floaties am I right? So we made sure to have just that. We named the larger of the two Frederick, and the smaller pinker one, Frera last name Jahcka (dormez vouz, dormez vouz...that won't be funny unless you know what song that is).
Double the flamingo, double the fun:
Frederick was a real sport when we tried to play "how many girls can you fit on a giant flamingo floatie;" he wasn't havin' it anymore after about 6. 
We slowly sank forward and poor Frederick's head was the first to be submerged as Charlene yelled, "PADDLE! PADDLE!!" but it was all over after that as the whole thing flipped over and we all LOL'd. 
A video posted by Charlene 🎀 (@lifeonparkave) on

The afternoon flew by while we soaked up some Vitamin D and listened to some Florida Georgia Line and more JT on repeat (...all through my city, all through my home, we're flyin' up no ceiling when we in our zone), and before we knew it was time to get ready for Saturday night.

We crammed as many as we could in front of one mirror while we jammed out to Usher and some Fifth Harmony (don't judge you know their shiz is catchy), because why not right?
It's more fun that long as you don't get burned by any stray curling irons.

We headed out for dinner at Olive and Ivy in Scottsdale...
...and then made our way to Whiskey Row for the night! We got super lucky and basically hovered in front of a table until we saw a couple paying and look like they were leaving and then we swooped right in for the kill (kill meaning the chairs, not actually killing anything of any kind).
I'm not usually the "going out" type - it's not really my usual scene, but Whiskey Row was playing THE JAMS all night long and so we couldn't help but dance together (and also fend off creeps together) all. night. long. From Shania, to the Biebs, to Sum 41 (stormin' through the party like my name was el nino...please tell me that song was your jam in high school too), to Fifth Harmony (you ain't gotta go to werk werk werk werk werk), we had the best time. 
We even saw this guy that I kid you not looked exactly like JJ Watt. And yes, we pulled him over just to tell him he looked like JJ Watt. Charlene's like, "I'm the bachelorette can we take a picturrrrre?!" He's like "Yeah what face should I make like, 'arrrrgh?!'" and he made that JJ Watt face; you know, like the furrowed brow, all JJ Watt-ish:
So basically we met JJ Watt. Sorry, I'll stop talking about JJ Watt. He's so distracting I get distracted easily by JJ Watt... 

So anyway, yeah, as if the weekend wasn't already grand enough, Saturday night was icing on the cake! We left the bar and got home at almost 2am and ironically, now that I'm typing out this sentence, ate cake. Because when there's funfetti cake laying around you don't just let it lay eat the funfetti cake.

Sunday morning we woke up, packed up, cleaned up any remnants that a bachelorette party had occurred (including but not limited to, Victoria's Secret bags, empty bottles of wine, paper flamingos, beads, and/or anything that says 'brunch so hard') and said goodbye to what we dubbed thee, "Bach Pad." I was so sad to see the weekend that we had been planning for so long, go by so fast! But the good news is, it's only two short weeks until Charlene's big day!! I can't wait to stand by her side as Matron of honor, and hold her flowers, and fluff her dress, and yell "COMIN' IN HOT!" as she walks down the aisle. I mean I probably shouldn't do that last thing but yolo I can't make any promises.  

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

I Caught a Catfish and Nate Didn't

I came and sat down at my computer at roughly 8pm tonight, and now it's roughly 8:51pm and I've just typed the first words for this post. I have this thing where I look forward to blogging all day and then I sit down to do it and I check literally everythinggggg else (e.g. email, the 'Tubes, Yahoo news, Facebook, my bank account to see if there's anything left in it, etc. etc.) before starting to write a post. I think it's because I never really know how to start posts so it's almost like I procrastinate starting a post, even though I've been looking forward to it all day. It's weird and doesn't really make sense but hey, that's how everything is inside my head - everything is weird and nothing makes sense.

So anyway, now that I've started this post, let's keep it going shall we? I actually started this post a couple weekends ago but never finished because I dunno, I suck at being productive and finishing what I start? But anyway, a couple weekends ago was a really good one for more than one reason; 1.) I took Friday off so it was actually a three-day weekend, and 2.) Nate was also off for three days ON the ACTUAL weekend which means we got to hang out Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday Hallelujah! This weekend was the 6th annual Flat Cat Classic out at Bartlett Lake; it was Nate's third time participating in the tournament and my first time tagging along.

We left early Friday morning, got to the lake and didn't waste any time getting the boat out on the water to go catch some bait fish!
...Yes, when you go cat fishing you have to actually fish for your bait, then fish for the catfish. 

The weather was not ideal, to say the least, so Friday started out a little rough when we were out trying to get some Blue Gills. The wind kept pushing the boat all around and Nate was getting frustrated, and when Nate is frustrated it never makes for a good time. But alas, we found a good honey hole and soon started pulling those things out of the water like potato chips. I realize that Blue Gills are just a bait fish and they're just little guys, but I'm kind of obsessed with them. When you find them, they're easy to catch, they'll follow your bait all the way up the the surface, and....they're easy to catch. And when I fish, sustained amounts of success are few and far between so I need all the affirmation I can get. 

Friday afternoon we headed back to camp, made some lunch, then got everything ready to head out on the boat for the night.

In case you're wondering, this is what it looks like to spend a night out on the boat:
Shit errywhere. 

When Nate told me earlier in the week that we'd be sleeping out on the boat I asked him what would I do in the event I need to go to the bathroom. Perplexed he answered, "I don't know, I've never had to think about that before." Girl probs, for real. But the next day I was pleasantly surprised when I received a text from Nate with a picture stating, "Found a solution to your bathroom problem."
Marriage is when your husband buys you a bucket to pee in while you sleep overnight on the boat. Yes, I used it and yes, it was both functional and effective. Thanks, Nate.

We got our poles set up (when I say "we" I mean mostly just Nate cause he's the expert), ate our Mountain House dinner using our handy dandy Jet Boil, and enjoyed the sunset.

A few hours later I was awoken from my slumber to the sound of the bell on my fishing pole jingling (that, and Nate's voice like, "Rissa your pole. RISSA YOUR POLE.") and a few short minutes later I reeled in this Channel catfish:
I was so happy and so excited a fish was on that as soon as I woke up I started freaking out a little bit because I didn't want it to get off the line ('cause for whatever reason, that seems to be my cat fishing destiny...hook one, start reeling, and it gets off); as I'm vigorously reeling in my line Nate's like, "How about you calm down a little bit?" I'm like "Noooo I can't, I can't let it get offffff!" And it didn't. So basically, I won. And Nate didn't catch anything all night and I did and so I really felt like an extra winner. Is it all about competition though?? No, it's not. But Nate kicks my ass in everything (except spelling, I spell better than him) so the day when I catch fish and he doesn't is one for the history books. 

Saturday morning we woke up, pulled in the anchors, and headed to the dock to watch the weigh-ins.

We fished the rest of the afternoon with every intention of staying another night, but the wind and rain came in and was more than we wanted to stand for a whole night. So we literally threw everything in the back of the truck and headed out.

Despite the weather pushing us out it was such a fun weekend - mostly because I haven't actually spent a weekend with Nate in foreverrrrr. And also because I caught a catfish and he didn't

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday Night Rambles

Hi fraans! It's Sunday night and I should be meal prepping and getting ready for the week but I decided that blogging sounded more fun. And because I'm the responsible adult that I am, I scratched my to-do list and meal prepping and all the things I should be doing, for the thing I would rather to It's a wonder why I can never get anything done that I need to.

So anyway, I've come to this place a couple times between my last post and now but I had a weird span of like, a week and a half where I was in one of those moods where everything annoyed me. Do you ever have those moods? Like, Nate keeps clearing his throat too annoying. I dropped my Q-tips on the ground and now have to pick them up and throw them away and reach for new ones; literally, so annoying. I started writing a blog post and I was like Rissa, this is boring why do you think people want to read this shiz? I annoyed even myself. So at that point I figured I should wait until I was in a better mood to write.

So here I am. I'm in a better mood. Ready to write. Although, I don't really have much to write about so bear (bare?) with me while I ramble on for the next few paragraphs.

First and foremost, I think I had a break-through this week, you guys. Let me tell you that there's this older gentleman at my work that works in a different department so I don't actually work with him, but I see him in the halls all the time...and I smile at him all the time like any normal, polite, friendly person would do, and he never smiles back. And because I have this unreasonably strong desire to have people like me, it actually really bothers me. Like we'll make eye contact and he won't so much as give me a smirk. Like what the hell dude, I am a delight why aren't you acknowledging me when I smile at you?? So, I decided to just stop smiling at him whenever I would pass him in the hall. I wouldn't even look at him. So I was on my way to the restroom last week and I took the corner and he was right on the other side and we almost ran right into each other and guess what? He said, "Oh sorry." HE ACKNOWLEDGED ME, YOU GUYS. Maybe I should just be less friendly in general? Like maybe my friendliness annoys people. Maybe too much enthusiasm freaks people out. Maybe if I tone it down (tone down for what) people will be more receptive to me.

Also side note, I just killed a spider that was crawling on my nightstand. I squished it in a tissue and then opened the tissue to see if it was dead (like you do) but it wasn't dead and it almost crawled out onto my hand but I squished it extra hard before it touched me. That was close.

Ok let's see, what else has been going on...oh, I went to the Dbacks game this weekend with my friend Sarah because duh baseball, but also because it was AJ Pollock bobble head night and I have an affinity for collecting bobble heads.
And because it was AJ Pollock bobble head night, they had a giant get well card for fans to sign since AJ is out for the season with an elbow injury. And like the fan girls that we are, we signed it.
"You're the best." Short but sweet right? Straight and to the point. Quick and dirty (that's what she said).

Oh yeah also, my friend Kailey had a birthday a couple weekends ago now and we celebrated by golfing. I use the term "golfing" loosely because firstly, we went to top golf, secondly, I would hardly call the motion I was doing, a golf swing. It was more like a weird jerk/whiff because half the time I missed the ball completely. But yolo, we drank lots of beer and had fun laughing at each other, so it was a good time.
Kailey brought her husband and Brianna brought her fiance and I brought my husband too, see:
Literally, this is my life. It's fine though, I'm good at being a fifth wheel. You know what I realized this weekend, actually? Nate works graves so he sleeps during the day right? I feel like this is sort of like having a baby. Sarah was gonna meet me at my house this weekend before the game and I had to be like, "Nate's still sleeping, can I actually meet you at your house?" Or if someone's picking me up for something I have to be like, "Text me when you're here, Nate's sleeping and if you knock the dogs will bark and wake him up." When the dogs do bark, unprovoked (like a leaf falling from the tree, for example) I have to feverishly whisper-yell at them to be quiet or else Nate will wake up. It's like, "Shhhh the baby Nathan is sleeping." He's the most sensitive sleeper you'll ever meet so I have to work extra hard at being quiet...which is not an easy feat for me because I'm naturally loud and kind of clumsy and I drop things often and I'm not very gentle with stuff. The struggle is real, you guys.

But anyway, it's now almost 10:00pm and if I don't meal prep at least for tomorrow I'm not gonna have any lunch to eat tomorrow and so then I'll probably make a bad choice and order a grilled cheese from the cafeteria for lunch (because yaaaas, cheese), and then after lunch I'll get hungry again and I'll be like whatever I'm gonna eat a whole bag of Gardetto's because I had grilled cheese for lunch so this day is already shot, and then I won't work out after work because the day is already shot, and then I won't ever lose any weight and I'll be destined for an overweight future and I'll probably have to get one of those sit-down scooters whenever I go to Costco because I ate too many grilled cheeses and can't walk around a Costco warehouse without having knee pain and running out of breath. So yeah, I'm gonna go prep some salad or something. 

Have a happy Monday, fraans!

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Monday, April 4, 2016


I told Nate earlier today, "I want to blog something about our anniversary but I don't know what to write what should I say" and he goes, "That F**k. This f**king guy." ...That helps, thanks Nate.

Anyway, guess what today is (or tomorrow depending on when this post goes up)? It's Nate and my 7th wedding anniversary. SEVENTH. We've been married for seven years. Holy smokes. I always struggle a little bit because every year I want to write like, an anniversary post but I never really know what to write because like, a mushy sort of lovey dovey post isn't really my style, there's always marriage advice but I feel like that comes off preachy sometimes, there's always a "things I've learned in seven years of marriage" idea but that's not always what other people learn in their marriages so again, maybe a little preachy? So long story short, here I am, blogging without something to blog about. The struggle, I tell ya. So I think what I decided is to maybe do a little bit of all of the above? Because YOLO it's my wedding anniversary and it's my excuse to write whatever the heck I want to celebrate seven years of marriage right?

So, I like the number seven - it's my favorite number because not only is it lucky number seven but Nate's lacrosse number in high school was #7
Good ju-ju for our 7th year of marriage right?! But before we got to seven years of marriage we went through like nine years of dating (I know, basically forever) and those nine years of dating didn't always have the best ju-ju so, here's seven reasons why we've broken up and almost didn't make it to seven years of marriage:

1.) It's not cool to have a girlfriend and be in a relationship when you're starting high school
2.) It's Thursday (Thursday is break-up day)
3.) Carissa doesn't like PDA and it hurts Nate's feelings that she won't kiss him in the hallway when the bell rings
4.) Carissa's tired of fighting
5.) Nate's tired of fighting
6.) Nate's too possessive and it's annoying
7.) Carissa's an asshole and hangs up on Nate all the time so as to avoid fighting and talking about feelings

Life is rough when you're a teenager, you guys. For real.

I'm happy to report that we got all of our fighting out in high school and the couple years shortly thereafter. We've been fortunate enough to both have different life experiences that offer different perspective...perspective enough to realize fighting is exhausting and we just don't have the energy for it. That said, my number one piece of marriage and/or relationship advice I could give to anyone would be to pick your battles. Pick. Your. Battles, people. It's cliche but true. Does Nate have to have his firearm in our Christmas pictures? Christmas pictures? Yeah I guess so. In the long run, does it really matter? No. That's what makes Nate, Nate. Firearms in Christmas pictures and all.
Does it drive me freakin nuts that he leaves lights on in all the rooms he's not dwelling in? Yes. Is it worth a fight? No. Does it take a lot of energy to just turn the light off yourself? No. Problem solved. Does Nate hate it when I go on cleaning sprees and reorganize stuff and he can't find any of his shit anymore? Yes, probably. Does he yell at me for it and pick a fight? No.


When Nate enlisted in the Army and eventually was deployed in Iraq I became very aware of time.
He was gone for five months in basic training, then came home for exactly four weeks before his unit deployed to Iraq and just like that he was gone for another 15 months. I remember specifically, when he was home on his two week leave, we were trying to hang out one day and I couldn't get a hold of him, his cell phone kept going to voicemail. I was getting upset and getting mad thinking he just wasn't answering my call. I ended up just going over to his house and it turns out it was the same thing - he tried calling me and it kept going to voicemail; it must've been something with the phone line, neither one of us couldn't get through. I only had two weeks with him, how could I have wasted a whole day just because I couldn't get a hold of him on his cell phone??!! I was mad and I had to say to myself, this isn't Nate's fault, this is the cell phone service - why spend a whole afternoon upset and mad? Snap out of it. You only have two weeks together. 


I feel like marriage sometimes maybe gets a bad wrap (rep?). I hate when people make jokes about the "'ol ball and chain," or the "beginning of the end;" the truth is, marriage is the best. Is it hard? Yeah, sometimes. Is it the hardest thing I've ever done? No. Marriage is actually really fun. It's steady. It's reliable. It's trustworthy. It's comforting. It's bigger than you. 
You always have someone in your corner. Always. 

Junior high school seems like a long time ago, and it's weird to think it's been Nate this whole time, because my time with Nate doesn't feel like that long. The truth is, I don't really remember life before Nate. We went to Sunday School together, junior high and high school together. We grew up together, learned how to be in relationships together, matured together, he enlisted in the military, I graduated college; bought new cars, became adults...all together. 

The past 6 years of marriage have been pretty bad ass. But that's because Nate is pretty bad ass, and he makes me more bad ass. ...I'm lying, I'm not actually a bad ass at all, I just like to think that I am. I try really hard, but I just don't think "bad ass" is in the cards for me.

Nate's told me before that when he was overseas and they'd be conducting a mission, clearing houses and such, kicking down doors, they'd make sure everyone had someone's "6." That is, everyone was watching someone's back...they're 6. They were looking out for what's behind them, anything that might be trying to sneak up on them, attack them from behind when they're not looking, etc. Nate's had my 6 since since the 8th grade.

He's got my 6, I've got his: year 7

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