Monday, May 7, 2012

"This Pineapple Tastes like Garlic" and Other Adventures in The Mitten State

My lack of posting over the past few days is due to the fact that I was busy graduating. But don't worry... you won't miss a minute. I'll use my new obsession with Instagram to tell you the tales of my trip through photos...

I started the trip out right by scoring some sweet leg room on the flight to Detroit. I was a little depressed because no seat in front of me meant no TV for my viewing pleasure! Sad face. But, I was willing to make the sacrifice because, hey, more leg room! Girl's gotta have priorities. Then as our plane pulled into the gate in Detroit, Joey discovered that I did in fact have my very own TV... it was just tucked below the seat on a swinging arm. Oops. But all was good, because I got tons of Sudoku done during the flight.

After arriving in Detroit, I visited my favorite fountain. Every time I'm in the airport, I take a few hundred pictures of this fountain because it reminds me of traveling and traveling makes me happy. You may recognize it from Up in the Air, starring the dapper George Clooney.Unfortunately George Clooney opted not to make an appearance while I was snapping away. Maybe next time.

We arrived to a very stormy Michigan. Like, out-of-my-nightmares stormy, where I'm surrounded by tornadoes on three sides and my survival depends on how fast my little legs can carry me. (I really do have that recurring nightmare.) There weren't actually any tornadoes in Michigan that day, but I as we drove to East Lansing, I was 100% convinced that a cloud that was hanging a little too close to the ground was going to transform into a swirling mass and devour our car, so I did urge my dad to drive faster several times. Better safe than sorry, I always say.

Next, I graduated and officially finished my Masters program. No big deal. Then I did other graduate things, such as sitting on a regal throne of knowledge (Actually it was just an awkwardly-shaped chair found in the lobby of our hotel. I just thought the chair looked worthy of the flowing sleeves on my wizard-like gown.), and waiting in line to have my picture taken with our beloved Spartan statue. You haven't experienced real pressure until you are struggling to squeeze in just one more photo while ten graduates impatiently glare at you from beneath their tasseled caps.

When we checked into our hotel in South Lansing (Turns out all the hotels close to campus book up quickly on graduation weekend. Weird, right?), the lady at the front desk so kindly offered us complimentary breakfast and dinner vouchers, since we were "first time guests". What an honor! We headed to the restaurant to cash them in. After we ordered, our waitress warned us, "I'm not sure how long it will be... Our chef prepares the meals in the order they're placed." We glanced over our shoulders to see that we were the only people in the restaurant and replied with a hesitant, "...Ookaaaay..." About 40 minutes later, the dish you see above was served to us. It's cranberry chicken, even though it looks like a human heart. This photo cannot even begin to capture the limpness of the green beans, the toughness of the chicken skin, or the sliminess of the cheesy potatoes.

Slightly Extremely skeptical after our first experience in the restaurant, we decided to give breakfast a try anyway. "It's really hard to mess up breakfast," Joey reasoned. And it was free. How could we say no? Well, I ordered a fruit plate and immediately muttered, "This pineapple tastes like garlic." Sure enough, the entire fruit plate had a distinct garlic flavor. It was then that we knew there was no hope. With that, we were off to bigger and better things.

Ready for some decent food, we visited my favorite East Lansing restaurants. First, Menna's, home of the delicacy known as "The Dub". (Tired of trying to explain a Dub to all my new friends who have not been lucky enough to enjoy this culinary delight, I asked the kind young man behind the counter how he describes a Dub. "An American burrito". Oh, of course. Why didn't I think of that? It's spelled out right there on their website.) Then, Harper's, where one can experience the "Half Off Wednesdays" that sustained me through my broke college years. Next up, The Peanut Barrel, where I sipped on a Long Island Iced Tea while Joey taught me that the beverage does not in fact contain any iced tea whatsoever. Rather, it is made up of five different liquors, a hint of lemon, and a splash of coke. That explains why I always felt the need to cut myself off after just one. Finally, we went to the MSU Dairy Store, where my mom and I debated if Michigan State or Penn State's ice cream was better, but let's be serious... We all know Peachy Paterno ain't got nothin' on Dantonio's Double Fudge Fake.

All in all, it was a great visit back to my Alma Mater. I savored every minute, because I'm not sure when I'll be back to enjoy it again. Then again, after watching all the Doctoral students sport their hoods and other fancy regalia at the graduation ceremony, the first thing I said to Joey and my parents was, "I'm totally getting my PhD..." So, who knows what the future holds...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Super Blessed. Fo' Realz.

I had the most amazing weekend. Truly, 100%, absolutely wonderful. Of course, everyone will be hearing all about this visit to Michigan State for graduation (whether they want to or not), but before I get to that, all I keep thinking about is how blessed I am. I loved every minute of this quick trip back to my old stompin' grounds - the food, the graduation ceremony (well, except for the long, boring parts.), walking around campus - Everything! But the weekend wouldn't have meant anything without the incredible people in my life who shared it with me.

My hubby, who sacrificed one of his few precious vacation days to travel to Michigan and listen to my non-stop reminiscing about "the good ol' days". (No, I'm not 84 years old. I just act like it sometimes.) My caring parents who planned everything - rented the car, booked the hotel, even started a dang Facebook group to coordinate details - and drove 9 1/2 hours to watch me walk across the stage for a grand total of 5 seconds. (Yes, I counted.) My best friend's mom, who scheduled time into her weekend to meet my family for lunch. After all, the next best thing to my best friend is her oh-so-sweet momma! My in-laws, who not only cared for "the critters" while we were gone, but then took me out for a delicious graduation dinner when I got back to Atlanta. Great dinner company and no need to shop or cook - Amen!  And of course, all my dear friends who sent messages and texts of encouragement and congratulations - you all made me feel just so so special! Not to be totally boring going on and on about this, but I'm just so happy and filled with love. Anyhoo, thanks for letting me go all Buddy the Elf on you guys...

And stay tuned for more about my adventures in The Mitten!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

We've Achieved the Impossible.

Thanks to Joey, yesterday was laundry day. If it were up to me, laundry day would be next week. Or next month. Maybe. Staying on top of the ever growing pile of dirty clothes is not my wifey super power. I am still getting used to the fact that my laundry is now OUR laundry. Therefore, I can no longer wait a month and a half to wash my clothes, because, frankly, the laundry bin won't hold 45 days of clothing for two people. Not to mention the questionable hygienic practices that this would suggest. So, of all the reasons I'm thankful for Joey, the fact that he doesn't mind regularly taking care of a few wash and dry cycles has gotta rank in the top five.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE sorting laundry. I'm very detailed in my work... I don't limit myself to darks, lights, and colors. My categories are a little more like:
  • whites (AKA socks and undershirts. The boring load.)
  • blues and greens
  • navys and blacks
  • greys and browns
  • yellows and oranges
  • pinks, reds, and purples
The problem is, after all that sorting, I get a little bit... tired. Which means the laundry then sits in those beautifully separated piles for a few days weeks. Don't even get me started on the piles of clothes that develop AFTER the laundry finally comes out of the dryer. Folding is my least favorite.

Which is why I'm thrilled about what went down yesterday. At the end of laundry day, when it was time to tackle the dreaded chore of folding, Joey and I discovered something amazing. Incredible. Mind-boggling. Wait for it...

Did you know you can fold a fitted sheet?!

Seriously. You can learn how here. I had no idea this was possible. Martha was holding out on me. That is, until yesterday. And now I'm amazed. Like, I might make this my new party trick or something.

This is probably old news to all you laundry pros out there (Turns out this stuff is all over YouTube. Who knew??) I, however, am not up to date on the latest laundry-folding trends, so please let me have my moment.

Imagine the future... Soon, my linen closet random shelf where I stash the sheets will no longer contain a clump of wrinkled mess, but instead will be a perfect picture of neatness and organization!

This knowledge will surely revolutionize the way I do laundry. That is, if I ever actually get around to doing our laundry. I'll work on that... Promise.