Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Pre-New Year's Friday!

A few of my friends and I have been talking about taking this trip in very vague dreamy terms for several years now.  But this is the first year that any of us took any of the others seriously enough to make a plan.  And so suddenly “wouldn’t it be cool to go to Disneyland for New Year’s?” turned into shopping for hotel/park pass deals online and assessing how much we all had in our savings accounts to make it work.

And so it is!

When I was younger, New Year’s was always one of those lame holidays that came with obligatory gatherings, but no one really cared about.  For many years, we just drank too much Martinelli’s sparkling cider and tried to look fancy.

As my friends and I grew up, we came up with our own traditions, including spending time out at the beach in Manzanita, having family dinners, drinking cheap champagne, and playing HOURS of bitter and spiteful Monopoly or trying not to freeze while watching amateur fireworks outside.

Be happy and safe as this year comes to a close and a new one begins.  I will see you again in 2012 my friends!

*image from here

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Shortest Day of the Year Wednesday!

I’ve never quite understood why the first day of Winter wasn’t until the end of December.  I say that, knowing full well that it has everything to do with splitting the year into even parts, and probably something to do with farmers or daylight savings time too. 
According to the most reliable source on the web, it might even have something to do with old cultures’ starvation.
But really.  Winter starts much earlier than today.
Even in Oregon, where we are so unlikely to get any significant amount of snow, outside of the Snowpocalypse(s) and Snowmageddon(s) of years past, it gets cold and terrible much earlier than today. 

Perhaps it is time to propose a whole new season, maybe know as Finter, or Fanter. 
Here are the benefits of creating Finter/Fanter:
·         It’ll more accurately describe the time between November 1st and December 20th. 
·         It will make Oregon infinitely cooler than any other state due to our innovative 5 season plan. 
·         It will give us many new names for retail sales.
·         Both are cool to say.

I appreciate you supporting my Finter/Fanter cause in advance.  Donation checks can be made out to “CASH.”  It’s just easier that way.

Happy break/shortest day of the year/last day of Finter/Fanter Wednesday everyone!

(*NOTE: articles related to -pocalypses and -geddons are old.  Do not panic.)

Image from here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Virginia Friday

I read the Yes, Virginia letter every year.  More than any movie, song, or epic sweater, it makes me feel the merriest and least Scrooge-like.
I’ve always really loved the idea of Santa Claus.  In my family, he is still very real and very well-represented on Christmas Eve.  I’ll be honest, if I had my way, I would still believe in Santa.
So, even if Christmas or Santa Claus aren’t part of your life, I encourage you to read this.  It’s really about the Spirit of the season.  
Be jolly and joyful.  Enjoy whatever lovely break you may have from work and have a beautiful, healthy, happy, and safe end of the year, however you celebrate it.
image from here.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy Wally World Friday!

Over the last several years, my mom has started a new tradition.  Out with the old fashioned end of year mass mail letter to family detailing our every moment in a cheerful tone!  Out with pictures included in cards for odd holidays like Arbor Day!  Out with personal cards to every member of the family and everyone else loosely connected to us!
My mother, being ever so family focused and making an attempt to share the joy she finds each day with everyone she now spends days creating a photo book showing what we have been up to as a family for the past year.  Each year now, starting around mid-November, every moment or photo comes with an exclamation of, "this will be great for the book!"
The year my brother got married, the book was enormous in order to include all of the vital moments.  When I brought my dog, Stevie, home, the book was full of more pictures of a sleeping dachshund than I ever thought possible.
This year it will have some big travel moments and pretty excellent birthday celebrations, but the best part will be the cover.
I'm not much for staged family photos using a timer where everyone is wearing an ugly sweater, but that's what we've got this year.  Plus something a little extra special. 
Think Wally World, 1989, “save the neck for me, Clark!,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and non-nutritive cereal varnishes.

Happy family holiday card season my Friday Friends!

*image from here

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Leaf Crunching Friday!

It’s not often that we have crunchy leaves here in Oregon.  Usually we have the smushy, rainy, slightly dissolved leaves under foot.  But every once in a while, we are lucky enough to have the icy sun come out and dry out all of our leaves enough to make them into crispy, crunchy bits of autumn joy.
This is when it is best to be outside.  When it’s best to take long, leaping, stomping steps, similar to those you used to take when trying to keep up with a parent who would walk too fast.
We’ve got some sunny days the rest of the week so stomp away!

*image from here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving in my family has always been full of “adventure.”

There was the year of the Turducken, which was exactly the disaster it seems like it would be.  My dad and aunts stayed up all night trying to get the thing to cook all the way through.  It is still questionable whether or not they succeeded.  That was the Turducken’s one and only invitation to the Kross family table. 

Years before that, my dad (somehow) was responsible for the mashed potatoes.  (My dad has, on EVERY attempt, made Kraft Macaroni and Cheese incorrectly.)  However, Grandma Magno felt that he needed to participate that year.  She set him up with her ancient Kitchenaid mixer, a pile of hand-peeled potatoes, and several sticks of butter and told him to get going while she went to dig who knows what out of the basement refrigerator.  Probably one of these.
When she returned to the kitchen, she caught my dad scraping mashed potatoes off of her kitchen cabinets and back into the bowl to continue mixing.  Frankly, they were pretty delicious that year. 

Come to think of it, maybe it’s really just my dad that makes Thanksgiving such an adventure.
Images from here and here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Winter Blues Friday

I am feeling it this week my Friday friends!  I don’t know about you, but this is the time of year when I feel like wearing sweatpants, getting the fire going in the fireplace, and drinking an unnecessary amount of apple cider and/or hot chocolate.
I was born in the Chicago suburbs where the middle of Autumn meant stinging cold wind and lots of layers, but still a bright sun in the sky.
Here in Portland, with approximately 155 days of rain per year, it seems I am more likely to end up with Vitamin D blah-ness than I ever was while living in the Midwest.  Incidentally, SAD is a real thing, both cruelly and awesomely named.

So for those of us who are feeling SAD lately (as in sad-face, as well as Seasonal Affective Disorder-face), here are a few images to cheer you up a bit.
Happy Break Out of the Winter Blues Friday!

Images from here and here

Friday, November 11, 2011

OH. MY. GOODNESS.  Hello 11/11/11! 
I’ll reveal a little-known secret about your Favorite Friday Blogger.  I am REALLY REALLY GOOD at The Google.  This is why my Friday posts are so amazing.
Normally, I find exactly what I’m looking for on my first search attempt.
However, the planning I did for this Friday’s topic was the most insane exception I’ve ever experienced.
A few samples of the glorious sites I discovered with the simple Google search “11/11/11” in ascending order of awesomeness.

Yes, it’s a real movie.  If anyone sees it, please report back.
Trust us, it’s special
We are being guarded

After you check all of these out, the snark in me wants to point out the location of the news sites on this list (#’s 3 and 5...specifically Fox News.  Hint: it's #5)

*image from here

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Fall Back Friday!

Get ready for some knowledge my Friday people. 
Usually I think that the whole Daylight Savings Time thing is nonsense.  Do I work on a farm?  No.  Do I need to mess with my clock in order to change around the sunlight and such?  No.  HOWEVER, of the two clock-switching things, this is the best one.
It’s kind of like a (way) less cool version of time travel.
So, this Sunday night, turn your clocks back 1 hour and enjoy the fact that your normal alarm clock wakeup call will feel just a little less painful.

Image from here

Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Halloween Friday!

Halloween is just 4 short days away!
I love having Jack-o-Lanterns on my front porch, orange and purple lights around my fence, and way to many skull and crossbones around the house.  Thankfully, my roommates are avid supporters of all of these things and usually help me put it all up on October 1st.
The one part of Halloween that is AWFUL is the pumpkin brains.  I have “problems” with touching, smelling, or really going anywhere near the mushy stuff (well, mushy stuff in general).  Because we love roasted pumpkin seeds in our house, this usually means that one of my roommates ends up sifting through all the brains to pick out those delicious little seeds of yumminess while I hide in a different room pretending that I’m totally fine with the mush piled up all over my dining room table.


I also always start out with lofty goals of lovely creative pumpkins to put on the porch, like this one. However, what I end up with usually is a bit closer to one of those “oh how cute, a child must live in that house” kind of pumpkins.


 Happy Halloween Friday everyone!  Enjoy it and save me some of these:

*images from here and here and here and here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy Rex Manning Day Friday!

I am a lover of all things 90’s.  When plaid started coming back into style, I nearly passed out from excitement.  When Everclear (read: 1 of the original members) came to play in a small hole-in-the-wall bar in central Illinois during my senior year of college, I quite literally screamed after buying tickets.  When I feel like I really need to get into spreadsheet-level focus mode, I usually put on some loud grunge music.

When my friends and I discovered the glory that is Empire Records (on VHS), rented it, and watched it in the basement, we fell in love.

So we made an official tradition.  Rex Manning Day.  Every year on October 20th (the date the movie was released), I still watch Empire Records, watch this, and remind myself not to dwell, not on Rex Manning Day!

*images from here and here

Friday, October 14, 2011

Happy Walking Dead Friday!

Not everyone likes zombies.  Why, I have no idea.  I LOVE them.  I love the strange pop culture fear/fascination with the impending zombocalypse.  I love the makeup (both high and low quality, gross and campy).  I love the fact that there are actual academic papers written about how zombies relate to politics.

I love almost every type of zombie – Crawlers, shamblers, walkers, thrillers, viral, you name it.  EXCEPT the fast ones.  I hate the fast ones.  They’re too scary and clearly not at all realistic.

On Sunday, one of the best shows that has ever existed, The Walking Dead, is coming back for its second season.  It’s based on one of the greatest comic book series’ that has ever existed as well.  I can’t quite explain how excited I am for this particular event.  It’s the perfect combination of things I really love.  So, in case you’re wondering what your favorite Friday Writer will be doing on Sunday night, I will be sacked out on my couch with my roommates, some popcorn, and the tv turned up to 11.

*image from here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy MY BIRTHDAY IS TODAY Tuesday (A Special Bonus Post)

When I was a kid, birthdays were a HUGE deal in my family. 
Recently, I was cleaning out Rubbermaid tubs full of old papers and school things with my mom.  You know, things made of popsicle sticks, purple glue sticks, and too much glitter.  While she got teary-eyed and insisted on keeping some poorly colored-in pumpkin I had made when I was 3 years old, I found handfuls upon handfuls of birthday cards from family.  Mom had kept my birth announcements, 1st birthday cards, all the way through my 18th birthday. I come from a big family, both on mom’s side, and dad’s, so, after doing some quick calculus, I came up with nearly 200 bazillion cards.
Today I am 27 years old. 
Because of my crazy card-sending, Mickey Mouse ice cream cake-eating family, I have grown to LOVE my birthday.  It’s a whole holiday to me. Between public countdowns, reminding people about my love of peanut butter cookies, and practically yelling from the rooftops that my birthday is approaching, I like to make sure no one could possibly miss such an important day.
Happy birthday to me!

Friday, October 7, 2011

In Honor of Steve Jobs Friday

I was going to write about my birthday for this post.  But I think there are more important things to say today.
With Steve Jobs passing away on Wednesday, I could say that he left a hole in the creative and technological world.  But I don't think that's really true.  He had a hand in creating some of the most exciting and crave-worthy technology and art that has come about in my lifetime, and I'm grateful.  For that reason, for that joy and gratitude that I feel for his part, I think that he hasn't left a hole, but a constantly evolving way for us to pursue more and more wonderful creations.
Because of his amazingly innovative spirit, we have this.  And this.  And I'm not going to lie, he even had an influence on this.
Whenever I felt like I needed a little extra boost or some inspiration, I would hop on and listen to his Stanford commencement speech.  It lifted me up every time.
So on this Friday, I am choosing to seek out some inspiration, feel joyous about what Steve created, and maybe watch a little Toy Story. 
* image from here.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy I-Wish-I-Could-Work-From-Home Friday

One of my co-workers once asked me why I never work from home.  I live in suburbs pretty far south of Portland so my commute is at least 20-25 minutes on a good day.  And, even though we don’t live in a place where traffic looks like this:

I do end up putting a lot of miles on my car in a week.

The simplest answer is that I am easily distracted by my surroundings.  I have two roommates, really awesome movies in my Netflix queue, and a lots of comic books to read.
But if I’m being really honest with myself, those aren’t the real problems.

This is my dog, Stevie (she’s named after Stevie Nicks).  Believe me when I say she is even more distracting than she is cute.

To get a real idea of what it was like the 2 times I tried to work from home,  watch this (it’s only a minute and a half).  Imagine a red, wire-haired miniature dachshund instead of the cat and I feel like you will all understand me so much better.

*images from here and my heart.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy First day of Autumn Friday!

Today is the first day of Autumn – my favorite season.
Here are the very important reasons why it is the very best of all seasons:
  1. My birthday
  2. Halloween
  3. Pumpkins, pumpkin patches, the Great Pumpkin, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin ale
  4. My birthday
  5. The beginning of socially acceptable Nightmare Before Christmas and Hocus Pocus watching
  6. Scarves
  7. Warm food and drinks
  8. My birthday

* image from here

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy (pre) Talk Like a Pirate Friday!

Monday is one of my very favorite holidays.  Talk like a pirate day!
In order to support you so that you can fully enjoy this glorious holiday, I have provided a few valuable language resources:

I recommend the following pirate movies due to their absolute perfect-i-tude.

*Images from here, here, and here

Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy Freddie Friday

Monday was Freddie Mercury’s birthday.  He was and still is one of my very favorite voices in the world of rock.  Queen reminds me of The Mighty Ducks and college football games. 
I’ve spend this week remembering horrible lip-syncing to the high notes in Bohemian Rhapsody (I just love those four faces singing in the dark).  And of hearing Under Pressure for the first time, then playing it 6 more times in a row.
A few months ago, I read a pretty amazing account of one kid’s love of Queen.  The graphic novel, Freddie and Me by Mike Dawson, is full of lovely art, fantastic story telling, and, for me, a very relatable love for a very talented man.

Happy belated Birthday Freddie. 

*Images from here and here

Friday, September 2, 2011

Happy (pre) Labor Day Friday!

Hooray for 3 day weekends!

I come from a family of hard workers.  I have uncles and great uncles who are carpenters, my grandpa and his brothers all worked in heating and air conditioning as the suburbs around Chicago sprung up rapidly.  I grew up playing in basements full of sheet metal and very awesomely dangerous tools (that we used as swords of course).
My cousins are firefighters and several great uncles worked for the Chicago PD.  Other cousins are nurses and my aunts, mom, and sister-in-law are teachers.
Maybe I’m expanding the definition of “labor” too far, but based on what I’ve watched my family do all my life, these are all pretty labor-intensive and extraordinary roles, that I will freely admit that I don’t have the patience to do.

Happy Labor Day in the original sense, as well as the celebratory sports/BBQ/3-day weekend sense!

*Images from here and here