Monday, March 31, 2014

Once Upon a freak-frackin' Time

Because I care about your feels, here is a disclaimer:
I hate when people write scathing reviews of things that I love and then say,
"It's cool if you like it, but this is my opinion [so suck it],"
which is the basic equivalent to,
"I'm sorry you feel that way,"
which we all know means,
"I'm sorry you're an idiot and don't realize that you're wrong and I'm right."
I don't want you to feel that way.
So I'm telling you now.
If you are still in love with Once Upon a Time, as I was (once upon a time) (wah wah),
it would probably be best for all parties if we parted ways here and now.
If you have nerves of steel and don't give a bother what I think
(do your thang, honey badger)
then please feel free to continue on through this post and simply agree to disagree.
Also **spoilers**

Here's a thing.
It's a rantish thing. And I'm going to be crucified for it, I'm sure.
"Once Upon a Time", the abc show, is everything I should love and adore. I mean, fairytale adaptations and Robert Carlyle. What more could you want? And I do want so badly to love and adore it. I want to fangirl up and down all over it, but I can't. In good conscience, anyway. It got too soap opera for my tastes.
We haven't watched since they escaped Neverland and Pan hijacked Henry's body. That kind of broke our resolve to continue slogging through the incessant "plot twist" drama fest.
Which, like, I am no stranger to. I mean, Grey's Anatomy fan of the month here and how many times have Cristina and Owen done their redundant tango? And how genius was that last episode? And I totally called it, too, at the end of last week's episode when everything was so cheery and bright and shiny.
So like, I do soap opera-ish.
But I think the acting is part of the problem. My problem.
And I legitimately cannot stand the character of Henry or that poor little kid actor who tries his darndest but he can't escape the mediocre. I blame lack of experience and writing. Cuz he's gotten better since the beginning of the show so his acting chops are obviously being honed, good on him, but the character still brings me to cringing and awkward writhing on the couch. (Let's not even talk about Peter Pan and his agonizing eyebrow.)
And considering Henry is/has the "Heart of the Truest Believer" and basically the center of nearly the whole series, it's a bit of an issue that I daydream ways to write him out of the show.
So we haven't watched an episode in 6 weeks and I just used the ever useful wikipedia episode synopsies to quickly catch up on what happened since we left and see whether we were missing out and GAIZ. I am filled to the brim with gratitude that we left when we did.
And I let Mark in on just how grateful I was;

I am losing my mind reading these summaries.
There is something to be said for symbolic parallels in story arcs BUT COME ON NOW. And the family relations has really gotten ridiculous. And I'm still not over Graham's untimely death or August being turned into a child (who just disappears from the plot) and now apparently Neal's "dead" **spoilers, sorry**. Neal/Baelfire and Hook are really the only characters for which I continued harboring loyalty to the show. And didn't we just end a season with Neal being "dead"? Oh yeah, season two and the Neverland portal.
When people start dying and not staying dead (especially villains) there begins to be a loss of the sense of "consequence". And then throw on top of that characters coming back and being exactly the same? What did their death/demise even mean?
I would love to have a sincere conversation with someone on the static/dynamic status of these OUaT characters. How many have actually undergone deep, personal changes because of the experiences they've been through? How many have approached life differently? I am not the same person after experiencing high school let alone a reality bending, life altering journey through what can only be described as "space and time" and yet Regina continues to stubbornly fight for the demise of anyone who has ever given her a sideways glance, Gold continues to stab everyone in the back for self-serving purposes, Mary-Margaret continues to act like forgiving means forgetting means don't-exercise-caution-ever, Henry continues to blindly waddle towards the nearest opportunity to be a hero, Emma continues to stare wide-eyed in manufactured horror when anyone *gasp* betrays her.

Seriously, which emotion is this? Happy? Sad? Surprised? Disappointed? Confused? Murderous?
All of the above. 
Also note Henry's dead eyes.
The beauty of what I just described and what used to draw me to the show was indeed the fact that each character had their symbolic meaning. Their own unique representation of human emotion. Emma; loyalty. Henry; hope. Snow; faith. Gold; greed. Regina; vengeance. David; ....? But that can only carry a story so far. It has to mean something and so far it doesn't. It's just a pretty little kaleidoscope of characters that run around in chaos and never accomplish anything but more chaos.

Villainous Motivations:
Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin- Daddy issues, my kid won't love me, social status. Ooh magic pretty.
Regina/Evil Queen- Dead Daddy and woah Mommy issues, my kid won't love me. Ooh magic pretty.
Peter Pan/Rumpel Sr.- My kid won't love me, mid-life crisis/social status. Ooh magic pretty.
Cora- Daddy issues, my kid won't love me, social status. Ooh magic pretty.
That one bald guy working for Pan that one time- Daddy issues. Ooh magic DESTROY.
Wicked Witch- Mommy issues. Ooh magic pretty. (Wikipedia doesn't reveal much on her, so I admit that she's only a half-example since I can't be sure I'm not missing something important.)
Hook- I actually love Hook and he's the only remotely complex villain so far. And no, Regina's bipolar disorder does not count as "character complexity". It's just plot-convenient and monotonous.

Familial ties are very important plot motivations. But it can't be the one conflict cause for an entire show. Life here on earth is fraught with much more trouble than "Who's your daddy and how strained is that relationship?" (no but srsly, who is your daddy cuz you're probably either my grandpa or my step son.) Jobs, hobbies, time management, friendships beyond the ties of family (when was the last time Emma or Snow and Ruby just hung out and had coffee?), dreams and aspirations, it's gotten to the point where I lack any emotional connection with the characters achieving their goals because it's always the same goal and it never works out.
I understand that it's meant to be a dramatic show, and it darn well is, but the drama is surprisingly shallow for such a deep topic as family and tragically one-dimensional.
I made it through nine seasons of Dean and Sam Winchester beating around the same old bush because I believed their brotherhood. And they changed because of their experiences. Sam hardened and bristled up, Dean began to see the gray in between the stark black and white of morality. They took on a bit of each other.
Because that's what PEOPLE DO. (bonus points for recognizing that reference)
Once Upon a Time has become that thing I binge attention on when I'm bored and looking for something to giggle tabloids.
And it makes me sad.
Cuz I really wanted to love it.

Friday, March 28, 2014

I'm Longwinded and I Can't Stop and I'm Not Really Sorry At All

Turns out I have a little bit of an overdraw of "theatrics" in my system than I actually knew about.
Last weekend was the third (?) (possibly the fourth) (I'm terrible, sorry) AZ Blogger Meetup and the theme was, adorably, A Midsummer Night's Dream. That play is a wee bit close to my heart because it is the first real production in which I ever participated. I mean, I played Granny in our first grade rendition of Little Red Riding Hood and I was excellent cuz I'm pretty sure I just napped through the whole thing. The "cottage" was also placed precariously close to the refreshments table and my eye kept wandering to the hershey kiss cookies.
But during my sixth grade year, my school put on Shakespear's Midsummer Night's Dream and I don't recall how the drama instructor got wind that I played harp but it got me the part of playing one of the fairies in Queen Titania's court. We rented a little folk harp that I could carry around, I got my one song to play as a lullaby to the queen and it was the most nerve wracking thing my approximately 13 year old self had ever done. But it was loads of fun. Being a part of something extracurricular like that was quite a wild swing out of my comfort zone and the experience stuck with me.
So I was particularly enticed and ecstatic by the choice of theme for the blogger shindig. I had a simple plan for my outfit, but the night before the event I discovered that the dress in my mind was lost in the black hole limbo vortex that is my house. So the morning of the meetup I hustled on over to my trusty Goodwill and nearly clicked my heels when I discovered that it happened to be Half-off Saturday. And then I realized it was half-off saturday and I would surely grab a shopping cart and my wallet was so totally doomed.
I tried on a myriad of dresses (most were awful) (my 1995 self would be horridly pleased)

I'm very pleased with that coral chevron blouse find, although it unfortunately came with those bizarre waterfall genie pants that I just left with the dressing room rejects.
Can you see the peek of the purple grandma gown in the upper pictures? Heaven help my fashion sense, I don't even know...

I ended up with the above dress, the chevron blouse, and that light blue number you can see behind me. It was the dress that I wanted to wear to the meetup, however it was a bit of a gamble. It's very eccentric and not exactly something I could wear to work or church or even like, the mall. Basically a costume dress.
I wasn't able to wear it but I'm still working on fixing it and I will complete the tale of the Jasmine dress at a later date.

For the meetup however, I ended up wearing the navy spotted dress because I figured it looked sorta like a midnight sky so...applicable because Midsummer Night.

Considering the low-key attire choices by many in attendance, I was much better off with my subtle pick. I slapped together my flower headwreath and taking into account the considerable size of said headdress I dug through our Christmas boxes and found a small fake bird on a clip that I attached as the finishing touch.
I carpooled with the Al[lie]'s (Ali and Allie) (that is an unfortunate configuration because now it looks like I'm emphasizing "lie" which I'm not but it looks like it...) and we were mega early. Which was totes okay because we got first dibs on prime hippie real estate.

We so cute.
Photocred goes to the Allie on the left.

Seriously the set up was so cute. I'm not a photogblographer (blogtographer?) so I didn't take many photos of the getup but there were tables on the ground wrapped in pretty white linens and mason jars (of course) with lovely roses in them that smelled delightful. Glitzy twinkle lights wound up the tree trunks behind the gloriously laden food table display with the sunset peeking through the leafy backdrop.
Gaiz it was beautiful.
There was an abundtance (see what I did there? eh?) of cakes and they were all simply and indubitably fabulous. A couple of moist and heavily frosted, exactly my kind of cake, were donated from Nothing Bundt Cakes and there was an angel food cake with heaps of whipped cream and berries on top which I could eat all. night. Not to mention a heavenly chocolate concoction of dreamy creaminess from the cake queen herself, Jen. I snuck two pieces and contemplated smuggling the rest of it into the trunk of my car for later. And by later I mean probably right then and there.
All the cake.
So yum.
Very nom.
The introductions blessedly occurred after the sun had started going down so it was hard to tell that a multitude of successful, inspiring, fabulous ladies were listening to every nervous word I sputtered out. But then it was picture and mingle and snacking time and all was well in blogger paradise.
Plus I kind of hogged baby muppet Svea for a good part of the evening and my baby hunger exploded exponentially.

I love the blogger meetups. 
They're always oodles of fun and the people are just so worth it
Blogging is so cool gaiz! I'm already looking forward to the next one. 
Huzzah for #azbloggermeetup

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


The problem with inviting your parents out to dinner after you've already been married for two years is they start thinking you will be making an announcement at said dinner.
Or at least my dad has hit that phase.
I get emails from Olive Garden (because I'm addicted and I have a problem) and right now they have an amazing deal going on; $9.99 for unlimited soup and salad (as per usual, big deal), pasta entree, and dessert. And they don't skimp on the entrees. It's a lot of food. Glorious food. When I went with my gal pals this past Saturday I got the Zuppa Toscana, Cavatappi pasta with Spicy Diavolo sauce, and the Salted Caramel Tiramisu. The soup was a little thin and the potatoes a tad overdone for my taste but very savory and not too spicy. The Spicy Diavolo was very flavorful and had plenty to go around. It was especially tasty with the breadsticks. But then again that could just be the heavenly breadsticks. I'll eat those all. day.
The Salted Caramel Tiramisu was divine and I basically licked the plate clean after I stuck some of it away because I'm a good wife and keep leftovers for my husband.
Then yesterday when I went with my parents I copied the same meal Allie got when we went on the weekend; Chicken and Gnocchi soup (never get anything else, it's amazing and creamy and there are dumplings, who doesn't love dumplings, and omg dipping the breadsticks in it is like salvation and I'm exaggerating but not very much), Cavatappi again but with the Creamy Sun-dried Tomato sauce, which was also so extremely good I ate way too much of it and hardly saved any for my lunch today. I added the sausage meatballs which was an excellent choice.
My dad has issues making decisions when it comes to food, so he was going to order last. Mark went first and ordered the Tour of Italy, I made my order and then my mom just said, "Give me what she said."
The waitress looked at my dad and he hesitated, staring at the menu then said, "Me too."
Made it easy for the server when he brought the food out. Figure out where the Tour of Italy goes, and then three exactly identical dishes.
Come dessert time however, I got the Chocolate Mousse, Dad got the plain Tiramisu, and my mom ordered the Salted Caramel Tiramisu. Dad wouldn't shutup about the Tiramisu and kept shoving forkfuls in mine and Mark's face, forcing us to try some as it was "the best thing [he] ever ate in his life." Although completely warranted cuz that stuff was delish.
When our waitress brought the check he flustered her by proclaiming, "Best stuff I ever ate...that's how much I get out."
She didn't quite know what to make of him the entire meal.
In any case, we were discussing the amazing insurance benefits at Mark's job and how we're trying to stay with this company until we start having children and my dad interrupts saying,
"So that's not why we're here??" and then motions as if speaking to the waiter, "check please!"
My mom later told me that on the way to dinner he was acting giddy and absolutely sure we were gonna announce that we're pregnant. But moms always know what's up and she shot down the idea.
Now all I wanna do is spontaneously go out to dinner with them at fancier and fancier places and just wig him out. And then one day we'll go to McDonalds for lunch and I'll buy him a kids meal or something stupid.
Heh heh.

I honestly don't know how I'll go about announcing our first pregnancy. I'm so bad at keeping secrets. My heart is on my sleeve and my face is an open book. It's my curse. Also I'm addicted to social media. I'm basically doomed.

Friday, March 14, 2014

So Wednesday was Weird

I wrote this on Thursday but couldn't get the pictures uploaded till today.
I tried to go through and fix it but continuity may be a little funky.

And so the Adult Crisis continues; I went to see a doctor yesterday for the headaches and ear popping that has been coming off and on since right before Mark and I got married. I left the appointment with a prescription for allergy medicine and the charge of a "strict soft diet" to see if it helps the TMJ. I couldn't help grinning as I walked out to my car dreaming of all the mashed potatoes and ice cream I'm gunna eat.
I also understand that at the end of the week I'll be pining for a slice of pizza and some nice peanut brittle.
But in the meantime, I'm going to really enjoy this "soft food diet". We went to the store and bought soups and yogurt (and pudding because yum) and berries to go in the yogurt and taters.
Although I'm not sure how I walked out of a doctor's appointment complaining that I have "headaches and ear popping" and got a nasal spray that has a side effect of "headaches" out of it...
The appointment was an interesting adventure in and of itself. When I initially made the appointment they said it was for 2 o'clock and there was no need to show up early. Okey dokey, fine with me. A few days prior to the appointment I got an automated voice message reminder but the robot lady said it was for 2:30. I panicked for a moment, wondering whether the nurse I had spoken to on the phone told me to show up at 2 because that was "early" for the real appointment at 2:30 or if there had been a mistake and I was supposed to only show up at 2:30. Then I realized early is never a bad thing so I didn't care and went with 2.
They had super fancy tablet things to sign in and fill out all the new patient information with but they were encased in these huge plastic covers in bright orange. It felt rather like an etch-a-sketch a la Dr. Seuss.
As I was documenting my medical history suddenly I heard a familiar tune and my eyes darted to the hanging tv up in the corner of the office lobby to find this lovely sight:

Not just Disney, old Disney! 
But it was just Homeward Bound 2, which is probably better anyway so I would finish my "paper"work.
They called me to the back and I spent the next ten minutes going over everything I had just filled out on the Seuss etch-a-sketch and totally forgot to mention that I did have an ear surgery as a child because I got ear infections a lot. Which, considering what I was there for, is probably pertinent to the situation. But instead my brain made sure to bring up my tonsillectomy as a baby and my bunion surgery from a few years ago.
The nurse left before I recalled the ear procedure however, so for the next ten minutes until the doctor came in I agonized over how to correct my mistake and not come off as a complete dunce.
Unfortunately I'm 80% socially awkward and 0% problem solver so I just sat there in nervous silence waiting for him to look in my ears, see the scars, and berate me for not mentioning the surgery.
True to the life of a socially awkward penguin, he didn't mention it.
The doctor was an interesting fellow. Almost eccentric. He had crazy curly, frizzy black hair streaked with gray, his eyes were a little buggy and bore into my soul every time I made eye contact. Probably right about as tall as me and a tad portly but very friendly and comfortable. He also had a green highlighter in the breast pocket of his lab coat and it had bled through the corner making a large, neon green stain.
I think I made more eye contact with the stain.
I told him about my symptoms and he looked at me like I was saying I heard the voice of the dead telling me to drink cactus juice for the rest of my life. There also could have been a lemur on my head. Hard to say.
He took me off to another doctor to get a hearing test.
In their words, my hearing is "perfect".
Which is awkward considering I probably ask, "what?" more often than any other human. But the booth of isolation and doom doesn't lie so whatever. My ears are perfect. Nbd.
I had a sweet moment with the hearing test doctor when she asked about hearing problems in my family and I told her that I was adopted at birth so I have no idea as to my biological family history and she smiled and said, "So that's why they gave you such a beautiful name. That's wonderful."

After I blew the hearing test out of the water, they stuck me in another examination room and the doctor did some more poking and prodding. He kept putting his fingers at my temples and asking me to open and shut my mouth. Then he would smirk and I felt really self-conscious. He asked, 
"Did you know that your mouth opens at a slant? Have you ever noticed?"
Yes, because obviously I sit in front of the mirror and watch how my mouth opens. 
But I just nervously laughed and told him I hadn't noticed. 
So apparently I'm a slack-jawed, sharp eared manbeast and my nose is infested with allergies judging by the docs reaction when he took a gander.
Then abruptly I was quickly ushered out of the office and I crossed my fingers that I wasn't supposed to have a document in hand for prescriptions or anything because I had already said goodbye and stepped out the door. Socially Awkward Penguin law dictates that as the point of no return.
I went home, direly wishing for a nap but we had a blood donation appointment at 6 and we still needed to go grocery shopping. We went to pick up my prescription because Walgreens called (which is good because I hadn't been given any instructions on that, thanks Walgreens!) and then braved the depths of Walmart just after 5 o'clock on a wednesday. It wasn't too bad actually. Except for there was a scary, grizzly looking guy strutting in front of the garden center with his mullet mane of stringy gray hair and patchy beard sporting a blue tee that said, "What's your O-face?" and I felt pretty grimy after that experience.
We quickly took our perishables home and then headed over to the vampire's lair United Blood Services office on Gilbert. We had eaten steak for lunch so thankfully my iron count was high enough. Randomly about a year after I had started donating I began having issues keeping my iron high enough. Not to mention we were both doing Power Red (as long as I'm fat and meet the weight minimum I might as well) so the iron requirement is higher than normal Whole Blood donations. The nurse led me out and sat me on the side of the room that had CNN playing on the tv with Piers Morgan interviewing Bill Nye on the disappeared airplane and it was fascinating. And then I guess the machine was broken so they moved me to the other side where some stupid fix-and-flip home remodeling show was playing. 
She played with my arms, trying to find the best vein candidate and I couldn't tell any difference. I'm totally fine with needles, I love donating blood, but there is a moment right after they stick ya when I get this dull ache at the injection site that generally makes me begin to feel nauseous. That's the part that makes me anxious for the prick. 
It got started alright and I was doing fine. Until my thumb started tingling. With Power Red, it draws out the blood and then, in intervals, shoots the plasma back into your body. They wrap one of those blood pressure arm bands on ya and when it's taking blood, the band squeezes and when you're receiving plasma back, it is loose. They always give you a bit of PVC pipe to squeeze on while you're donating to help with blood flow (I guess, I dunno, I don't have a medical degree) and the nurse said the easiest way to remember is, "When it [the arm band] squeezes, you squeeze."
During the first blood draw, I was squeezing the pipe in 3-5 second intervals as suggested and suddenly I realized my thumb was tingling like it was falling asleep. This was my first time donating Power Red and I tried to not think much of it, but it got uncomfortable and I figured better to ask than to remain silent and find out later that I should have spoken up. I mentioned my thumb was tingling and the nurse just kind of laughed it off. 
It quickly spread through the rest of my fingers and then slowly crawled up the length of my arm until I was legitimately having a difficult time continuing to squeeze the pipe because I could hardly feel my hand. My fingers felt like great wads of wet rubber (wet because I was clammy and sweaty). But I didn't say anything and just made weird faces at Mark. Or, I guess they were weird because his reactions were bizarre.
Every once in awhile, the tube transferring the blood would start weirdly vibrating. It wasn't necessarily painful but was not particularly pleasant either. I asked the nurse when she was nearby what that was and she offhandedly told me that was caused by pressure buildup in the vein and lifted off the gauze covering the injection site to show my vein (or what just looked like a small lump in my skin to me) being squished and contracted.

So now we know to ask questions after the whole donation process is finished because that little bit of knowledge sparked an absurd amount of anxiety every time it started vibrating.
The band suddenly loosened as I finally started my first plasma return and almost immediately the tingling, numb sensation evaporated from my arm. Such sweet relief. As the plasma entered my arm I began to feel that cool sensation I've always heard about. By the time it's being returned, the plasma has been cooled to room temperature and obviously our bodies are warmer than that. That was actually not bad at all and mildly pleasant. The only weird bit was the buzzing tingling sensations transferred to my lips...but then she warned that if I felt "burning, stinging, or stabbing sensations" (some other scary word that I don't remember) I should let her know immediately
Which is the perfect thing to say to get an anxious brain to imagine all kinds of burning and/or stinging. But I never had to call her over so that was alright. I guess. Maybe I'm poisoned and my arm will randomly snap off today. Who knows?
After the unfortunately short plasma return was finished and it began drawing blood again everything went swiftly downhill. The vibrations/buzzing came back in full swing and every two minutes the pump would shut down and beep some kind of error that the nurses had to come reset. The buzzing was worrying me as it became pretty constant and an older nurse stepped over and asked if I was alright. I told her what was happening and she gave a much more comprehensive explanation that the feeling was from the needle getting suctioned to the wall of my vein. Like putting the tip of the vacuum sleeve up to your palm, or cheek.
Which somehow made me feel better to have an adequate, understandable description of what was happening and also completely nauseous to picture it in my head.
So she rotated the needle just slightly and that basically fixed the problem.
But the beeping continued. On and on until I sat there for almost a full minute with the monitor beeping because the two nurses that were nearby were sticking other people and couldn't come reset me and I felt so high maintenance and like such a nuisance. 
After that a couple of the nurses were fiddling around and discussing what was happening and I didn't catch or comprehend a word of it except for "purging". 
Something like, "If it keeps purging, blah blah blah..."
And I don't know how you feel about the word "purge" or "purging" but it is not a happy word. And it's especially not a happy word when being associated with a sharp needle stuck into your vein and maybe I'll be in massive amounts of pain at any second or bleeding profusely all over everything or even worse, puking. I hate vomiting. Mostly in public. If I'm holed up in the bathroom of my own home, then fine whatever, get it over with. But the donation clinic was full of people and I did not wish to be sick in front of them all.
Good news; I didn't vomit at any point. But that's not the point.
I also never found out what "purging" meant or was referring to but it thoroughly freaked me out.
So while my arm is throwing a major tantrum and refusing to cooperate no matter how diligently I follow all the nurses instructions, Mark is sitting straight across from me, cool as a cucumber and filling up his bag nice and neat as you please.

I had been out on the donation floor way before him but he finished quicker than I did. When they started wrapping his session up and took the needle out of his arm he smirked at me on his way to the "cantina" area. Always so competitive. He told me later that the nurses kept referring to me as "beeper".
But I persevered and finally I had filled up the entire bag worth of blood and they unhooked me and a couple of the nurses were very kind and nicely teased me so I didn't feel like they were just annoyed that I was so troublesome.
All in all, it was a weird day. But at least I ended up with a couple big stickers by the end of it.
And free snacks.


Left: Drawing blood

Right: Plasma Return

During the transition between blood and plasma. You can see where the red color is lighter because it's been diluted with the returning plasma.

Bodies are weird.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Of TV and Shipping

I don't know if I've ever shipped a tv couple so hard as I'm shipping Jo and Alex from Grey's Anatomy.

(update: I was talking to Mark about "shipping" and he was so utterly confused I guess shipping isn't as widely known a term as I think it is. Derived from the word "relationship" and is basically a word meaning "I want these people together")

I am so ready for poor Karev to finally have some happiness that isn't marred by crazy or the inevitable fact that it is obviously going to fall apart. But also he's a jerk. And a slimeball. But a reformed slimeball? Is that realistic? Maybe not.
But in the interest of a little fun, let's have a showdown of Karev's terrible track record when it comes to romance, shall we?

First there was Izzie [insert menacing growl]...

And well, kind of Olivia too...

Alex comes into the show as a cocky, grumpy, anger-prone hermit that hates everyone as well as being shadowed in mystery. For whatever reason (perhaps because of his guilt for making fun of her center-fold history), he opens up to Izzie and they form a relationship based off of, "nobody knows my haunting secrets and what a miracle it is that I'm here actually making something of my life let's have sex."
Surprise, surprise, it doesn't go well.
Mostly because Izzie goes and falls for a heart patient at the hospital and I won't even go into that because omg feels. [she didn't deserve Denny]
Whilst Izzie is mourning Alex eventually leaves off trying to win her over again and is studying under the devil-woman Addison and they get involved in a little hankypanky.

But then there's a ferry crash and Alex rescues a pregnant woman with a smashed face.

She conveniently awakes with crippling amnesia and latches on to him as her hope for the return of some semblance of her life (they name her Ava and create an identity for her). It's an extremely unhealthy relationship on both ends. After the birth of her baby, her memory comes back (now she's Rebecca) and turns out she's already in a bad marriage and Alex ends the relationship.
There's a quick fling with cute, mousey Lexie...

But wait, there's more!
Ava/Rebecca returns and reveals that she is pregnant with what is assumed to be Alex's baby and he tries to make a little family out of the messy situation. Ava/Rebecca attempts suicide because she has serious mental issues and Izzie finally steps up as the former best friend and convinces Alex that Ava/Rebecca needs psychiatric help. He breaks down to Izzie again. They kiss. Go figure.

But now Izzie thinks she's going crazy because she's hallucinating [vividly] and seeing dead Denny everywhere all the time and it gets really awkward for everyone. But lo and behold she's actually just dying from a tumor that's causing all the hallucinations.
So what does Alex do?
He marries Izzie.

She has surgery and flatlines, Alex revives her, she awakes and decides now is a good time to just ditch everything and leave without saying anything. I guess she was pissed for getting fired, but seriously?
But she storms back into town eventually to hash it out with Alex but no one forgives anyone and Alex rekindles the short flame between him and Lexie.

Alex has a surprising gift for pediatrics and is seriously so good with kids it's adorable and ovary-melting but then divorce papers arrive from Izzie [thank de lawd] and he gets shot during the hospital shooting (speaking of feels...) and during recovery as Lexie is crying over his broken body he mistakes her for Izzie and I probably threw the pillow at the tv. Freaking Izzie.
After Lexie has a mental breakdown from stress, he cowardly ditches her and fancies himself a proper bada** because he still has the bullet from the shooting lodged in his shoulder. But he is barred from surgery till he gets it removed so he caves and as a consequence of some intense family drama he attempts to sleep with flaky virgin April Kepner.

It doesn't go well. And he probably scars her for life because #angermanagement
But then there's this sassy australian peds chick and it seems like they could be pretty happy even though Alex is still an anger-prone sex addict baggage douche.

But working in peds is slowly softening him.
And then he makes one of his first personal mistakes causing his ruin on his very own, unaided by a positively mental woman. He rats out Meredith for tampering with the alzheimer's trial.
And everyone. hates. him.
But all is forgiven fairly shortly, all things considered, and Alex miraculously passes his boards despite being late by proving he really is a fantastic doctor and the medical world needs him.
I think the australian chick goes to africa or something noble so that isn't too awful a breakup/falling out but Alex is informed that he has been offered a position at a prodigious hospital in his exact field; pediatrics. Not even just offered, the hospital created a position just for him. Honored, much? The head of peds is pissed that he is even considering leaving (which is totally ridiculous, keep your panties on Arizona geez what kind of mentor are you anyway??) and due to their fight she takes his place on the plane that later crashes and loses her leg. Survivor's guilt anyone?
And then there's a whole new batch of interns (aren't they so widdle bitty?!) and he forms a relationship with Jo that is mostly just supporting each other from their traumatic childhoods but it really bonds them and they make each other better people and it's beautiful and gaiz I just want them married.

Just look at that sass!
Jo don't take no crap from nobody.

But he takes care of her when she needs help.

Look at them being all cute and normal.

And did I mention adorable?

Also their kisses are hawt.

But they're fighting currently because Alex vaguely asked Jo to marry him because everyone's getting married and she's not ready and his pride is injured and I haven't seen the latest episode (other update: I watched it. It was good.) but from sneak peeks it seems like they aren't making up anytime soon...
No spoilers please!
I think they're adorable and she's just the right amount of fire to handle him but also damaged so he doesn't feel totally unworthy of her affections and they've both grown up enough to not be defined by their damage. Plus Alex has finally succumbed to his soft underbelly from working in peds for so long and they would have beautiful babies and make such cautious careful parents who want their kid to grow up undamaged.
I need them to work out.
Basically because of Jo and his work in peds, he went from this womanizing whiner:

To this beautiful, faithful, heart wrenching man:

I hated Karev when the show started (and through most of the seasons I only barely tolerated his character). He's mean, and selfish, and a pretty terrible friend. But dude has major baggage and could very well have been just another druggie, deadbeat father to a bunch of illegitimate children but instead he pulled his crap together and tried his best to protect his family and worked his butt off to get into a very respectable career. He's a very real, complex character that I hope gets the chance to show that people really can change and aren't just the culmination of what has happened to them.

I also realize how terribly addicted I am to this show
 and please don't judge me 
I can feel your glaring eyeballs stahp. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I Finished the Thing

I'm pretty sure I never finished talking about our cross-country road trip adventure and I'm stuck home with food poisoning today so...what better to take my mind off the sudden betrayal of my one true love glorious food than pictures of my adventures with the husband?
If you need another reminder...

Turns out I've already drafted what happened it was just waiting for pictures! Easy peasy lemon squeezy, look at me being a smart but forgetful blogger.

After our frigid night in the forest of semi's, we left chicago and illinois behind and headed west through Iowa to Nebraska. That, and the road we'd already been on, was a lot of freeway. Open, winding highway weaving through the country. A good portion of it was wonderfully scenic, even with the billowing snow storms pressing in around us erring on "dangerous". With that in mind, we ended up keeping a running tally of the number of vehicles we saw that had been run off the road. Whether by wind or ice or sleep deprivation, it's hard to say. On the long stretch between Pennsylvania and Nebraska there was a grand total of 47 cars/semis/trucks that were lying dark and cold off the side of the highway. It got a little creepy when along one single mile there were 9 cars dumped in the frozen embankments.
Our scariest encounter with this phenomenon however, was while rounding a long curve in the highway, broken in the middle by a deep median overgrown with shrubs and large spindly bushes. We had just been talking and laughing about the last chapter in our audiobook when suddenly Mark gasped and pointed off to the other highway lane going the opposite direction, "Look!"
A fully loaded semi was hurtling up the side of the hill directly off the highway and made an awkwardly graceful leap through the snow, cascades of white powder exploding around the cab as it twisted through the air, landing with a great "whump!" heard even from our enclosed vehicle speeding away on the other side of the highway. It was one of those rare, inexplicable slow-motion moments of awe and surprise. And then it was over and we were around the bend, the truck no longer in sight. We debated calling 9-1-1 before another truck came rumbling along the empty highway and we figured they'd know better what to do and who to contact. Hopefully it didn't turn into a pileup.
After that, watching trucks ahead of and behind us drift haplessly across the highway inspired great caution and a bit of fear as we crossed our fingers that they weren't falling asleep at the wheel.
East coast drivers be crazy! Even here in Arizona, when it comes to monsoon season and the rain comes pouring down in great buckets and the windshield wipers can barely seem to keep up, I am the type of driver that will go 30 and below to get optimum visibility. When we were first coming in to Chicago, the wind was whipping up all sorts of snow and ice, swirling over the road in low clouds and sometimes there was not a bit of dark pavement to be seen. No lane lines, hardly any directive assistance and still people are hurtling along at 60 mph. We were completely content to chug along at our slow, safe speeds. Always keeping to the set minimum.
We stopped in Davenport to gas up and took a surprisingly minuscule detour to visit Mark's old home. He was continuously shocked how close we were without even realizing it, we had almost just passed through without bothering to find his old house. It was seriously not even five minutes off the highway, we're glad we stopped. I took a couple creeper photos and we debated finding a dollar store to buy some cheap plastic sleds and take a couple runs down the nearby hill.

We booked it out to Nebraska to stay at my dear, sweet Aunt's house and it was the best part of our trip. We got a chance to shower, clean up and just chill. We had fun watching the horses and playing with the doggies. Sitting on a blessedly comfortable couch and snuggling wasn't too bad, either.

How gross is that salt muck?

And how beautiful is this house?

Stiff, cold bums and aching backs from driving too long are
no comparison to fleece blankets and mini lap heaters.

The next morning we drug ourselves out of bed a little before nine and attempted to gather all our crap and head out before ten but alas, twas not meant to be.
We had settled back into our van and quickly discovered that it was obstinately not going to be starting anytime soon. We tried and tried to get the engine going. I pored over the owner's manual I'd downloaded to my phone and Mark scoured google looking for possible causes and solutions. We were not very fruitful. Or at least not very certain of what it could be. No use huddling in the freezing van, though. We slunk back up to the house and knocked sheepishly. My aunt graciously let us back in, the dogs acting as though we'd been gone for ages, and Mark settled down at the computer to hash out what we could do or where we could go to fix the problem. We ended up calling for a free tow through Geico (thank ye lawd) but they didn't show up. An hour after their first projected arrival time Mark tried calling. No answer. He called Geico and they called. No answer. We finally heard back and were promised, "twenty minutes!"
Forty minutes later, he finally shows up.
And the van starts up just fine.
The adventures never cease.
We were back on the road way late in the day, near or after four o'clock I can't remember exactly. But it didn't much matter because after the diesel gelling fiasco, we determined we weren't willing to risk it again and would just take shifts to drive through the night and straight on till morning/home. Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico flew by in a flurry of dark highways, small cities bordering on Ghost Town, and a lot of pot holes. New Mexico was exceptionally empty but also quite scenic. Mark had opted for the shortest distance rather than time considering we couldn't really optimize speed in our lumbering van anyway, so we got to go the backwoods route. We had finished our book so we depended on oh-so-reliable pandora to keep our minds alert. We ended up with a lot of silence. But oh well.
Oh! Right, we were headed out of Albuquerque (accompanied with endless Weird Al references by Mark), we stopped along the highway to administer the van's 200 mile motor oil dosage and as I looked ahead I noticed, not 20 yards in front of us, a sign for the Petroglyph Museum off the next exit.
We decided then and there that sounded fun and went to the very empty and lonely visitor's center where the stationed cashier was prepared for us before we even got to the door.
But we both needed the bathroom...badly.
So before the poor guy could start his obviously well-rehearsed spiel we dashed to the restroom.
He seemed elated that rather than dash back out the way we came, we approached the counter and asked about hiking trails. He was very informative and excited about our interest and told us all about a couple of the relatively shorter trails and sent us on our merry way.
We were skeptical about parking charges when he had said, "They take your dollar and you're free to hike all day," but it was literally $1 for the parking pass. Again, we were glad we hadn't just skipped out of town and instead persevered. We hiked around for the next hour and had a grand ole time adventuring and taking pictures. Then we ate at Red Robin and indulged in a little food coma in the back of the van listening to our audiobook. It was a relaxing break to the drive-drive-driving.

We had gone through Zuni, NM when I switched shifts with Mark and he continued driving while I clambered in the back of the van and read some Harry Potter. The road there was rather bumpy and full of rolling hills and curves, winding through the half forest, half desert. I quickly became ill and had to put the book down. For the rest of the trip I was a miserable ball of nausea and pain huddled under a blanket.
We pulled into our driveway around 10:30 Wednesday night and it couldn't have come soon enough. We gathered up the electronics and important stuff, stumbled inside and dumped everything inside the front door, clambering up the stairs and slumped in the shower, soaking in the steam. We were both exhausted but somehow couldn't shut down our minds. We were fatigued, but not sleepy. So we stuck on an episode of Supernatural or two and finally made it into bed.
I love that bed. Like, a lot.

So there you have it! Our five-day adventure across most of the United States in the middle of the Polar Vortex/Arctic Blanket hullabaloo.

Thank goodness we can be crazy together.

(I took a zillion photos of the petroglyphs, here are the rest that I didn't post above)

Mark thought this one was a fake.
I thought it seemed legit and looked like a little happy balloon dude with an axe.

Okay one last story, I'm sorry.
We were messing around with the sighting binocular things and I swung it around to pretend like I was looking at Mark and he started laughing hysterically and told me not to move.
Apparently my eyes were comically magnified and he tried diligently to get a photo of it.
It didn't quite work but you can definitely tell there are eyeballs present.

The end.