Friday, November 19, 2010

The Salvation Army Rocks

As I mentioned in a prior post, we have donated a lot of furniture, clothing and goods to both The Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries.

I have to say, I prefer working with The Salvation Army ten times better. If you are considering donating something, I say go with them. I was able to call and pick a specific time for them to come. They did all the heavy lifting and gave me a custom itemized receipt for my taxes.

The effort on my part was negligible, which is exactly what I need during this stressful time!

A Very Puerto Rican Thanksgiving

In all the years Mr. Case and I have been together, we have only spent two with my family- 1 Christmas and 1 Thanksgiving. 

This year, Mr. Case wanted to attend Thanksgiving at my aunt's house. I was really worried about his family but he was adamant.  Our original plan was to celebrate with some friends but those plans were rearranged. I thought it best to stay home and then the offers started rolling in. After a few days I began to feel sad we weren't going to celebrate so I gave in. It's going to be tough considering the timing but I think it is important to celebrate the holidays. It is my favorite time of year so I'm not going to deprive myself of any fun. 

There will be NO TURKEY. Instead we will eat pasteles, arroz con pollo y gondules, plantanas, and a host of other stuff I can't pronounce or spell. To say Mr. Case is thrilled with the menu is an understatement. Not to mention, my aunt is a seasoned baker and will be making no fewer than 4 different desserts. 

My dad said he is jealous and thinks we've made "a terrific culinary decision." He also noted that, "I married a white chick so it's traditional turkey for me." Luckily for him my mom is also an excellent cook. I identify with my Hispanic side more than my European side when it comes to food so I won't be missing mashed potatoes or green bean casserole, lol. My brothers, on the other hand, couldn't love that type of food any more if they tried. 

I see a food coma in my future. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I love Wheel of Fortune.

I know, I know. I'm totally not their demographic.

But I can't help it.

Now, I've never been on the show but from the comfort of my futon* I can say that it is incredibly frustrating to see people blowing their money buying vowels when the solution to the puzzle is blatantly obvious! I found myself yelling at the TV a few minutes ago-that's how obvious it was!

Perhaps the pressure being on the show is a distraction but I have long maintained that the hardest part of being on the show would be remembering what letters other people had called that didn't work.

Don't worry, at some point I intend to get a life....

*I know futons are for college kids but we donated our couches to The Salvation Army and the guest room futon was the only option left to avoid sitting on the floor. 

Public Service Announcement

Tonight Mr. Case and I were driving to dinner and a man pulled up next to us in a large truck. He had one foot resting on the dashboard and was on his cell phone. Obviously he deserves to lose his license but I digress....

I commented that women are usually the ones to put their feet up on the dash. Mr. Case then informed me that in doing so, you almost guarantee loss of use of your legs should you get in an accident. I assumed he meant you'd go through the windshield but he explained that in actuality, the airbags splinter your bones from the force.

So, if you're one of those people that likes to put your feet up in the car, don't do it! Mr. Case is an automotive engineer so he knows what he's talking about. Be safe!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Taking A Stand for Morality

Most of you are aware of the scandal plaguing Amazon last week. For those of you who might have missed it, Amazon came under fire for selling a book entitled, "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct".

The book really is as awful as it sounds. They featured the story on my local news, where the author had been tracked down and confronted about his thoughts on a potential boycott of Amazon, and his thoughts on his book. He was as morally depraved and disgusting as you'd picture such a person to be. 

Twitter was on fire with this story. My stream alone was with filled with people calling for a boycott. 

Originally, Amazon refused to remove the book, stating that they didn't believe in censorship. Eventually, someone with a moral compass in their inner circle convinced them to bow to the pressure and remove the book. Either that, or they realized they couldn't afford the terrible press prior to the holiday season. Regardless, the book has been removed. 

As a kid, I always dreamed I would grow up to be a journalist. I mention this because I do not believe in censoring books, either. One of the people I follow on Twitter stated that a boycott of Amazon was inappropriate because it is a case of "killing the messenger." She rationalized that you can't punish an entire country if their dictator does something bad, etc. 

Except, for all the attention drawn to this book, Amazon got publicity. And every time the book sold, Amazon made a profit.

Let me reiterate: every time a book that instructs child molesters on how to victimize children (and get a lighter sentence if convicted) sold, Amazon made a profit.  

After thinking about the issue for several days, I am calling BS. 

This is not a case of censorship. This is a case of profiting off of victimizing children. I don't care if Amazon only earns 1 cent for every book sold, that is a cent earned off of a book encouraging crimes against children. 

During the interview the author spoke candidly about his stance that child molesters should not face criminal charges, and that they should be embraced the way people of other "odd sexual preferences" are. He also spoke on the need for children to learn tips on how to navigate these "relationships."

At what point do we, as a society, stand up and say that protecting children is more important than protecting this disgusting creature's freedom of speech? When was it determined that his needs or desires are more important than those of the children who could be harmed as a result of this book? 

This is not about censorship! This is about children. Helpless, vulnerable children. And it's about the monsters who want to harm them and are looking for information on how to do it. 

I am sick of the right to freedom of speech being manipulated to enable criminals and vagrants to terrorize and harm others. I am tired of censorship being used as a crutch to promote morally corrupt songs, books and the like. 

We need to stand up for what is ethical and moral, even if it is unpopular. We need to stand up for people who cannot defend themselves (like children.) We need to take a stand as a society and say we are not going to tolerate people manipulating us into thinking their immoral behavior is acceptable simply because they have free will to choose to do bad things. I'm not going to condone someone's behavior simply because they have a "right" to be who they want to be and act the way they feel like acting. 

The time to stand up for morality is now. I don't care if I am never popular, I will make a vow to myself to stand up for what is right. Promoting pedophilia or companies like Amazon that profit from it, is not right for me. I am not a good fit for their company values. 

To be fair, I must disclaim that I have not purchased anything from Amazon before. This is directly correlated to my lack of internet-savvy, and not a prior incident. I don't make a lot of internet purchases but in the future I will not be buying from them. 

Here is Amazon's official statement:

"Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable," it reads. "Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions."

"Objectionable" is putting it lightly, to me. 

I'm glad they support my right to not give them any of my money, now or ever. 

Birthday Time

We celebrated Mr. Case's birthday in fine style for the better part of three days.

On Thursday our good friends Russ and Debbie treated us to ice cream at a locally-famous place called Farrell's. The place was like a zoo! Lots of fun and commotion!

With Russ and Debbie at Farrell's

On Friday Mr. Case's mom took us to Maggiano's. Their timing was VERY off so that left us feeling a bit rushed but as always, the food itself was fantastic. I can't recommend Maggiano's enough if you have a large party. 

On Saturday we celebrated at Dave and Buster's. I feel like such an idiot because I forgot to take pictures on Friday and Saturday! I am completely bummed since this is the last time we'll really get to see a lot of our friends in one place. We had a lot of fun! I never even left our table to play any games-the conversation with my girlfriends was too fun!

I really need to get a "point and shoot" camera for myself. Rob has one but I don't know where it is our how to use it. My new goal is to take as many pictures as possible. Any recommendations on a camera? I have a super expensive DSLR gifted to me but I don't know how to use it (yet) and it's a bit bulky for nights out with friends.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Today is Mr. Case's birthday-he's 25! For those that don't know, yes, he is younger than me!

In the 4+ years we have been together, we have lived A LOT of life! Mr. Case has been with me through sickness and in health, prosperity and failure. It hasn't always been easy but we've stuck it out and I am so proud of us for that.

Mr. Case is a wonderful man. He is an extremely hard worker, often working side jobs on evenings and weekends to support our fledgling little family. I know one day he will make a terrific father. He is dedicated and honorable.

Let me tell you a few things about Mr. Case:

1. He loves cars. In fact, "love" is an understatement. He eats, sleeps and breathes them. Cars are his mistress.

2. He is a "man's man." He loves sports, the occasional beer, hamburgers and all things Americana.

3. His signature dish is macaroni and cheese with hot dogs. Otherwise, he stays out of the kitchen and tries not to complain about my cooking.

4.  He is a clothes whore. Despite his affinity for masculine stuff, he's a total metrosexual. I got the best of both worlds! Unfortunately he can't wear his mohawk the way he likes because of work, but he's a fashionista at heart!

5. He is a family man through and through. And by far, that is the sexiest thing about him!

This is an old photo from 2007 but I love our crazy hair and Mr. Case's mohawk!
Happy Birthday, Mr. Case. May all your birthday wishes come true...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Losing Steam

I'm losing momentum on the Thankfulness Project. Don't get me wrong, I have TONS to be thankful for. In fact, way more than thirty days' worth. But choosing this project in the midst of packing was over-ambitious to put it lightly.

Hopefully I can return to this project once I get re-settled but I never make a promise unless I'm confident I can keep it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Freedom! Or, Thankfulness Project Day 7

Mr. Case is taking a class on religions of the world and part of his assignment is to attend various houses of worship. The fun part of his final two classes is that I get to tag along. Something you may not know about me is that I love to study different religions. 

Today I attended church with my friend Debbie. She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (AKA Mormons but from what I understand that's not how they prefer to be referred to as.)

I had a fantastic time at Debbie's church. We attended what is known as "Sacrament Meeting" and it was a special day-during the first service of the month members of the church partake in what (I believe-Debbie correct me if I'm wrong and sorry for anything I butcher!!) is called "Fast and Testimony." Members of the church got up and gave their testimonies and it was a very special event to watch. 

So today, I am thankful for several things:

1. God and His love for His people. 
2. The blessing of hearing people give their testimonies. Even though I am not a member of her church, I was really moved by the stories people shared. I felt blessed to hear them.
3. The fact that I live in a country where I can go to pretty much any place of worship and not have to fear for my life or worry that I will face punishment for any reason. I never take for granted the liberties granted to me as an American. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Who Says the Magazine Industry is Dying?

This, friends, is a tiny sampling of the magazines in my house. I can't explain why I save them after I read them but the impending move has given me incentive to throw them away. Today (and every day!) I am thankful that I was born in a country where learning to read is possible. I am also thankful not only for trashy magazines, but for books, newspapers and all other forms of the written word. Never take for granted your ability to read!


This blurry photo is my bird, Woody. Have you ever tried to photograph a bird? It ain't easy!

Woody technically belongs to my mom but he has been in our care since April 2009. I am thankful to have him in my home because during the day when I am alone by myself, he sings to me and cheers me up. Mr. Case has taught him a bunch of whistles and calls so we randomly call out to one another during the day. My favorite thing about him is the fact that he loves to take a bath in my hands; it's the coolest thing!

I wish I could've gotten a better picture so you could see the beautiful colors on his tail feathers, etc. but he was cranky today. If you're curious, there is much debate in the family as to whether he is a parralett (sp?) or a Lovebird. The verdict is out. He has been mauled by two dogs and had his legs reattached and still gets up and sings every day!

Having pets are a requirement for me for a happy life.

***As I'm sure most of you can tell Nablopomo couldn't hold my interest past two prompts so for anyone who was interested in it, I apologize. If you're doing the prompts please let me know so I can check out your blog. 


My 4th thing I am thankful for is the gift of siblings. I am sure being an only child wouldn't have been the end of the world, and I am also sure many single-children LOVE being the one and only. But for my part, I am really glad my parents gave me siblings.

When I was in preschool my mom had a miscarriage. I continued to tell people my mom was pregnant for several months after till the school told me to knock it off. My poor mom!

When my parents got pregnant again, they sat me down with my favorite meal and joyfully announced the news of my brother's impending birth. My response? I angrily responded, 'I didn't ask for a baby!'

By the time my mom was pregnant with my second brother, I just hoped and hoped it would be a girl. For a few years after his birth I still wished for a sister.

Today? There is no way you could pay me to have a sister! I even got another brother when I married my husband! God knows best and He knew I needed all brothers!


I am thankful for the ability to start my life over. Quite literally, and sorta figuratively.

Not everyone is able to start over when they face financial hardship but we are able to do so and for that I can't express how grateful I am! Lesson learned: being laid off has not meant the end of the world (though it did mean the end of eating out, lol.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Today is a 2fer post: Nablopomo-worthy and thankfulness-worthy.

This is a necklace given to me by a person whom I consider my kindred spirit. Friendship really is one of the greatest gifts in life. I am a girl's girl and having close girlfriends is of extreme importance to me. 

Friendship has not always been easy for me, but I am proud to say that I have a few close friendships that have withstood the trials of life. For me, it is about quality of friendship and not quantity of friends. 

Being given this beautiful necklace made me feel safe, loved and special. Knowing I have my girlfriends to depend on means more than words can say. Cheesy? Yes. But absolutely true. 

Friends are the family we choose for ourselves!
Inscribed on the necklace: I am thankful that in God's design He planned it so that your path crossed mine

Why Move?

I've lived in California for most of my life.  I love it here-the local mountains, the beaches, the weather, the food. I could go on and on. But since my family moved to Oregon almost ten years ago, the joy I have felt here hasn't been the same. There could be a million things to do, but if your loved ones aren't there to enjoy them with you, what's the point?

I have made so many friends here, some of whom have been around for what feels like a lifetime. The mere thought of leaving those friends behind brings tears welling behind my eyes. I have certainly enjoyed countless memories in this beautiful state with them.

When Mr. Case and I first began to consider moving out of state, we had to list the pros and cons. Both lists were extensive. We fought, we plotted, we cried and we basically stretched the issues to every far corner of our mind trying to decide what would be best for us.

Mr. Case's family lives here and it will be difficult (at best) to leave them behind. His grandfather is elderly and will not fly so the only time we can see him is when we visit California.

So we began to look at real estate here. While modest, our income was strong. We qualified for a sizable loan but the options for us were mainly condominiums. While we have nothing against condos, we intend to have children someday and had concerns over having enough room. Some of my fondest memories from childhood were of roaming my neighborhood, and a small condo with a zero lot line wouldn't allow for that.

Mr. Case's income is directly affected by the economic climate. When people don't have money, there is, quite literally, no work. Because of this, we had concerns over whether we would be earning enough to upgrade to a bigger home when kids came. The high cost of childcare and my desire to stay home with our kids also factored in. We would need to live in a home we could afford off of only one income. With no foreseeable improvement for his industry, it became obvious we were not going to be able to rely on only one income.

Then, in August, I got laid off. As the sole employee of my company, I incorrectly assumed my job was safe. Oh how quickly the mighty fall, yes?

Being laid off taught me a lot about myself and really confirmed many beliefs I held about priorities, standards, expectations and the like. Thankfully, we have been able to stay afloat. But just barely. I'd be lying if I didn't say things were tight 'round these parts. But that's OK. In fact, it has been a blessing. We've really been able to examine our spending and firm things up. We are running a tight ship.

All this to say, I often fantasize about what it would be like to not have to pay rent, plan for a mortgage or worry about, well, shelter. I can say with certainty that if I were to win the lottery, the first thing I would do is secure a home for me and Mr. Case. The second thing I would do is move both of our parents into homes where they can grow old and not have to worry about stairs, paying a mortgage on a fixed income, etc. And the third thing I would do is help displaced families. For those of you who know my family's personal story, you know that we know displacement well. Thankfully, we are resourceful but mostly we have been graced by God with opportunity to continue working as hard as we can to remedy as much of the displacement as possible. If I'm being too vague, feel free to email me and we can discuss anything you'd like.

Our goal (while lofty considering my lack of gainful employment) is to purchase a home within the next year. My wish for anyone in my same boat is to not lose hope. Know that "this too shall pass" and that there is hope for improvement. Sometimes losing everything is what it takes to appreciate what you do have. A valuable lesson can be learned from losing money: money is helpful and at times important, but it does not define you and you can't take it to the grave so you might as well enjoy the life you do have!

I Stand Corrected

Apparently, though Nablopomo doesn't have a theme, they're still issuing prompts. So I think I shall follow them. But! I still have quite a bit to be thankful for so I won't abandon that "theme" entirely.

P.S. Please let me know where you blog so I can add you to my reader. I've outgrown a lot of the blogs I used to follow and love to find new places to waste spend time! :)


So I had all these grand plans to follow Nablopomo this month as inspiration to get this new blog off the ground, only to discover there is no theme for this month. Go figure. 

But then I started noticing that "the cool thing to do" is to list 1 thing you are grateful for each day this month. Sounds like a grand plan to me! God has bestowed upon me more blessings than I can count. It would be foolish of me not to take advantage. 

This is Paris:

6 years ago I was living alone in California with my family a thousand miles away. The boy I loved had left me high and dry. I asked my mom to get me a dog. I don't know what on Earth possessed me to make such a request, considering I wasn't even allowed to have a pet at my apartment. But the planets aligned and in December of 2004 I flew to Oregon to pick up the best dog I've ever had: Paris.

I'm not one of those crazed people who thinks a dog replaces a living child, and I'm not quite obsessed with her. But still...

To be honest, Paris is the best friend I've ever had. She is loyal to a fault and always happy to see me. She has comforted me on days when I didn't think it was possible to get out of bed. At my lowest points and during my darkest days, she has given me comfort. 

Her love is unconditional. In fact, when I think of models of healthy loving, aside from The Man Upstairs, Paris gives the love I aspire to give. She keeps no record of wrongs and she loves with all her heart. Shouldn't we all???

So today, I am thankful for Paris. When she had cancer a few months ago, I felt destroyed inside. I know that pets aren't meant to last forever, and I definitely think that God teaches us lessons through loving and losing so many in a lifetime. Thankfully, she was able to have a curative surgery that should extend her life. When she boards a plane Saturday to live with my parents, my heart will ache each day till we're reunited. And even though I didn't select her from the litter, and even though I had my doubts since she is spunky and I "wanted" docile, I know she was always meant to be my loving friend. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Time to Get Serious, Or, A Serious Case of the Mondays

Today is November 1st.

I need to give notice at my apartment. I need to pack.

I need to do a lot of stuff. Instead of being inspired it makes me want to run and put my head in the sand like an ostrich! Alas, I don't have that luxury so productivity it is!

I was up all night feeling kind of icky so after a much-needed nap, I am ready to start running errands and preparing meals.

I'm really in the mood to just give away everything. Everyone is telling me that is the wrong thing to do, but I am a minimalist at heart and all this "stuff" feels like a burden. I need to call Goodwill and ask them what they will and will not accept. Selling stuff on Craig's List is not going too well. My friend Angela is hosting a garage sale for me on the 13th so hopefully I will lose a lot of dead weight there!

Wow, I didn't realize how tired I am. I took my brother to traffic court this morning at 7:30 and so I guess I haven't been entirely unproductive. I also did the first run of the dishwasher. I don't know if it is because my kitchen is to tiny or what, but whenever I clean the kitchen it is a miracle if I only have to run the machine once! Time to pull my boot straps up and get to work!