recommend (country)

The older I get, the more aversion I feel towards spending money on music and listening to music all the time. When I was in my teens, I used to do nothing without music accompaniment — whether it was sitting down to homework or taking the trash out.

I don’t listen to a lot of music now. Before I got married I was on this kick where I would only listen to Christian music radio in my car, but then the talking in between got a little too much for me. So I just flipped around stations. Then, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I started getting back into country music.

Now I’m really into it. I’m blaming it on the summer — on hot hot days, long trips, rolled down windows, and driving on the forever highway. Nothing really captures those moments for me, nothing really makes me want to start singing, grab Husband’s hand with a sly smile, or hang my arm out the window like country music. I feel it deep down, I feel it pulse in my heart, in my veins, begging me to close my eyes and just live in the moment.

I normally recommend a song, tv show/movie, and book. But I’m using this post to focus strictly on country music. Here are the top ten country songs (no particular order) that, when they come on the radio, you can bet I’m turning up the dial and belting it out.

Home– Dierks Bentley
Little Bit Stronger– Sara Evans
Fly Over States– Jason Aldean
Springsteen– Eric Church
Even If It Breaks Your Heart– Eli Young Band
Blown Away– Carrie Underwood
Mama’s Broken Heart– Miranda Lambert
Ours– Taylor Swift
Time Is Love– Josh Turner
We Owned the Night– Lady Antebellum



Can we talk about why women are suddenly into objectifying men via such vehicles as 50 Shades of Gray, Magic Mike, and pinning naked with blurred spot/shirtless men? I do not understand this. I don’t understand if they think this is some sort of feminism, or if they think it is okay, because men do not have a ‘private’ area on top like women do.

I support the idea that we should not be ashamed of sex or our bodies. But I feel like women would be outraged if porn became the trend that 50 is, if there was a movie about female strippers ((EDIT: This movie was called Striptease and I remember people being up in arms about it)), or if Pinterest would be bombarded with topless or almost naked women. In fact, in one page of the ‘Celebrities’ category, there were five pictures of men who only had a hand or an object concealing their private area. There were too many pictures to count of men without shirts. To me, this is disturbing. If the picture is in the category page, that means it is getting a decent amount of likes/repins. Why are so many people repinning this?

This hits a little close to home for me because of Husband. In the past year, thanks to biking and eating better, he has slimmed down and toned up. He used to have more fat on his pecs and stomach, but that changed, especially on his pecs. His thighs are rock hard and he has been complimented by other bikers on how great his calves looked. His belts are looped tighter and I recently bought him a couple new shirts because size large looks ridiculous on him now. If you look at our wedding pictures, and look at him now, it is easy to see the changes he has undergone. My husband is quite the fox! 😉

Understanding all that, you can understand my confusion and frustration when he shows me pictures from recent bike rides. “Don’t I look heavy in this picture?” he asks, pointing to one where he is leaning on his bike and smiling. “I don’t get why I look fat here, I don’t feel fat,” he says, showing me a group shot from yesterday’s century ride. “You aren’t fat. You’re totally thin and sexy,” I tell him each time, but he merely shrugs and shakes his head at the photo. Today at his mom’s he did not talk about the endurance it took to bike 100 miles with little training and few stops along the way. Instead he went upstairs to use her scale and see how much weight he lost, because it felt like a few pounds to him.

The number on the scale frustrates him, because it’s not where he’d like it to be. He is 5’8″ and weighs somewhere between 160 and 170 (we don’t own a scale, and the number changes every time he weighs himself). I tried to tell him that muscle adds to that number, and he should be focusing on how he feels instead of what a scale tells him, but he insists that he should only weigh 130. During all this, by the way, he tells me that I am skinny, the one who doesn’t do any exercise period. That makes sense.

I get annoyed when I see my Pinterest friends pin yet another picture of a shirtless Channing Tatum because I think, ‘If they had a guy like Husband, who looked like Husband, would they want him to look like Channing instead? For real?’ I think of Husband, unhappy with his body even though he looks great. Does HE want a body like Channing? He doesn’t come out and say this, but I wonder if he is looking for something similar … much like my cousins who pin pictures of toned stomachs captioned ‘Aiming for this!’ (right next to, may I add, their pinned recipe for Oreo ladden brownies).

I am trying to figure out how to help Husband be happy with what he sees in the mirror (or on a scale). If you have a suggestion for this, or know what he should gauge his health on versus a number on a scale, I would appreciate it. I end this post with the following picture, which was taken at the end of a ride that about 15 people dropped out of halfway.

victorious and looking healthy

road. trip.

Husband had a mega bike ride today, and it ended in Milwaukee, so my sister volunteered to drive up with me to go get him. Which was good, because he was expecting to arrive at 5, but as the day went on this time became later and later and eventually ended up being eight o’clock.

We had a fantastic time. My sister and I haven’t spent a ton of time together lately, especially alone, so it was great to get that ‘us’ time. We grabbed lunch, went shopping, and nearly peed our pants laughing. We even accidentally party crashed while we were waiting for Husband (luckily, no one noticed!).

Right now it’s almost 11:00 and Husband and I are just settling down to dinner. I’m so proud of him for riding over 100 miles in a single shot today, but that means he’s exhausted! Tomorrow we go have a relaxing day at his mom’s, after we sleep in (both of us have been up since about 6:30).

Just wanted to write this all down because today was AH-mazing. Also had a great body positive moment today (found some cute stuff that actually flattered me, and I can work it to wear year round). It was in a dressing room, which almost never happens, so I took a picture so I can remind myself that I love my figure, and I look really cute in this outfit!


lifted from A Series of Unfortunate Events, book 2

The shooting in Colorado is a tragedy. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have lost someone due to the shooting, or to even have been there when it happened. I’m glad I live in a country that when tragedy strikes, everyone seems to reach out with condolences, sadness, and sympathy. The goodness of humanity shines through.

That said, I see Twitter and Facebook lighting up with pictures, ribbons, article links, special hashtags and updates related to the shooting. I pray this isn’t a tragedy fad, like Konya or school shootings, where people change their profile picture for a week and then everything goes back to normal, no lesson learned. I hope that people don’t become overzealous and start becoming ‘afraid’ to go to the theater, or think that theaters aren’t ‘safe’ now.

Because in all honesty, bad things happen everywhere. We had a special lockdown plan at a center I worked at once because a kid’s father (who was on a restraining order) might come to the building and force his way in. When I worked at a retirement home, we learned there was a shooting at another due to a disgruntled employee. When my cousin was in grade school, a kid brought a gun to school and was flashing it around. A custodian at the high school I student taught at got stabbed and mugged while taking out the trash at the end of the night, right outside the gym. The store my sister worked at got robbed at gunpoint (my sister was not on shift). A coworker of mine had a daughter who was killed during a shooting spree at a local clothing store. There was a shooting at a parking lot in Arizona in 2011. At Husband’s old apartment, we’d get woken up at 1:00 in the morning due to gun shots, followed shortly by police sirens. The city I live in has had over 200 deaths so far this year, and every week the death toll climbs. There have been several shootings at colleges, and countless more at high schools.

Yet all these places remain open, and we continue to attend them. Maybe there are new safety measures in place, and hopefully people learn how to react in such dangerous situations. But we keep calm and carry on. The dark and the light, and the hope that the light continues to outshine the dark every time.

And because I feel J.K. Rowling truly understands the ideas of death, living, light, and darkness, a couple of Harry Potter quotes:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban


I LOVE my phone, and I love me some Instagram. This weekend was a lot … including an ER visit for Husband, who lost vision for about 45 minutes and ended up getting a CAT scan. So for this post I’m just going to put up some pictures. I won’t be doing this a lot, but I’m still getting use to the camera phone and trying to get the pictures on the web, so this is sort of a practice blog post.

Work on Friday …. they were still trying to repair the building.

Waiting for my sister downtown.

During the four hour hospital stay. After I took this shot, I joined him on the bed.

Spent a lazy Sunday afternoon keeping in the shade and watching these two play contently.

Again, the posts won’t be mega pictures from now on. These aren’t even all the pictures I’ve taken with my phone lately. I really love deciding on pictures, cropping and editing. I don’t post on Instagram for likes or comments (mostly because although I’m following a few people, no one is really following me back). I enjoy looking for the little moments in life to preserve, like those above. I don’t always post my pictures on Facebook either; my pictures are for me, sometimes Husband, and that’s enough for now.

I am ktnchicago on Instagram if you’re interested in looking me up.


Another day off today, and I’m going to help clean up damage tomorrow at my center. Since I basically did everything on Tuesday, I went to Redbox last night and got four movies to watch during the day. I read like crazy, but can never seem to sit down and get through a movie. Plus Husband is not a movie fan in any sense, so we don’t get to the theater very much (I barely got him to go see Avengers, and then he loved it and actually watched Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America with me).

The four movies I rented were:

Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows: A lot of fight scenes which were yawn, but I love some RDJ.

21 Jump Street: I surprised myself by how turned off I was by all the language. But I work with toddlers and don’t want TV/movies, so I guess I shouldn’t be. Still a funny movie and I enjoyed picking out all the actors I knew.

50/50: Knew this was going to be awesome and it was. Made me cry! Excellent.

Big Miracle: Lots of people in it, so it jumped around a bit on the storyline, but still a good, ‘heart-warming’ movie.

Husband’s phone died for good, so we went to Best Buy last night to get him a new one. While there the lady graciously looked up when my contract with AT&T expires and it turned out it expired at the beginning of July! This meant I could finally replace the Pantech I’ve been using for four years now. I usually try not to get too fancy with phones, as seen by the fact that I haven’t had a new one in four years. But once I explained that I wanted one with a good camera feature, and she steered me towards the phone Husband was getting. It’s a HTC One V and … it actually just hit the shelves yesterday.

I don’t know what that means, and honestly I just went to to look up the name of my own damn phone.

The reason I got this phone is because I can now take/send pictures with ease, skim and comment on Facebook, and use a bus tracker app where I just hit the app and my bus times shows up. All of this I was unable to do on my last phone. I also put Instagram on there for the thrill of having pretty pictures, but I haven’t used it yet.

I just read a blog post where the author said she puts her grocery list on her iPhone because it’s too hard for her to … hold a paper and cross off items with a pen.

Limiting my technology so I don’t get that bad.

In financial news, Stepson’s daycare expenses are (tentatively, from our preliminary calculations) dropping by $200 a month. That is a car payment right there, my friends. God is good.


Work yesterday was exciting … a water pipe burst midday, and flooded half the building. They’ll be working on it the rest of the week, so although I have today off (paid!), I’m going to a different center tomorrow to help out, and we’ll see from there where they need me next. It’ll have to be somewhere in Chicago, possibly downtown, because I take the bus/train.

I’ve been keeping more than busy today, doing loads of laundry and dishes, cleaning up and wrapping up garbage. It was so hot last week, and the apartment was in the 90s every day, that it was not a good environment to be keeping up with chores. We’ve also been making smoothies lately, and I made a pitcher of it this morning as well. It’s delicious and makes us feel healthy, since we use non-fat yogurt, non-fat lactose milk, and fresh fruit.

Health has been on my mind lately because although I feel good, I notice that I don’t really have any stamina, and I’ve been trying to change that. I’ve been exercising the past couple of days, but I’m not going to go too crazy because A) it’s all very new, so I can only do so much, and B) when I overexert myself in exercise, I get overwhelmed, and stop. I’m not really talking about it with anyone besides Husband though. I have a couple cousins that are ‘crazy’ about fitness, but they really Pin fitness more than actually doing any, and I don’t want to become that. So even though I’ve only been doing about 15 minutes of exercise a day, my thighs and arms still feeling the burn during it and the day after, and that’s good enough for me.

In sad news, a really great You Tube video creator stopped for awhile because she was getting death threats and stalked in real life over one word she said THREE YEARS AGO. People are very crazy and scary. I hope everything works out, and that she comes back eventually, because her videos were really great. John Green posted speaking out against it, and people were actually saying that she kind of deserved it! What?!

Other sad things on the Internet: people hating on Kelle Hampton because she only posts the positive, saying they hate the portrayal of her ‘perfect life’. Um … her site is called Enjoying the Small Things! Would it be called that if all she did was bitch and be negative? Believe me, there are some blogs like that out there and they’re really … boring! Also a girl I knew from long ago posted on Facebook saying we should all hate free health care and stand against it — even though some of her friends rely on it! When those friends spoke up, she got all huffy and declared she was just ‘voicing her opinion’ and then ‘closed’ her status saying she didn’t want to get into an argument … yet she posted something that would CAUSE an argument! Why did she say anything if she didn’t want to argue?

I’m all for free speech, and for people having various views, but when it doesn’t make logical sense to do so, or if you’re not doing so fairly (like stalking someone, or saying they deserve death threats, or that someone is ‘narcissistic’ because they are pretty), then it’s wrong. I wonder if the Internet makes us feel like people want to hear our opinion, even if they are cruel or factually wrong. People get so worked up over things and they don’t even know what they’re talking about. For example, the YouTuber I was talking about is all about loving yourself and your body, and even made a video about it. She herself is average, neither skinny nor overweight. Someone told John Green she did lots of fat shaming. What!! That’s exactly what she’s AGAINST.

There are times I just have to step away from certain places on the Internet because I can’t handle the cruelty and putdown of others.

Luckily I’ve been spending more time in really amazing books, trying to narrow down my outstanding list of 122 books I want to read …