Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Our Trip to Chicago Part Two: The Chocolate Tour!

Our second day in Chicago, Amie woke us up with coffee (do we love her or what?). We checked out of our hotel that morning and stopped by a HUGE art supply store before we left. Wow!

We went up to a northern suburb if Chicago called Lakeview. We had lunch at a Thai place that was pretty tasty.

Then we walked around and found a Threadless store (woo!) and looked in a comic book store.

Then we met at Argo Tea Cafe to begin our Chicago Chocolate Tour! Yes, a chocolate tour! A tour all about chocolate and eating chocolate! I think we call that "heaven."

At Argo Tea Cafe we learned about coffee history. Those Aztecs were smart, using the cocoa bean as currency! And we tried some strawberry green tea with chocolate and a little chocolate macaroon. Tasty!

The next stop was Bobtail ice cream shop where we learned about ice cream and tried out the bourbon infused chocolate ice cream, merlot chocolate chunk ice cream, and cappuccino chocolate crunch frozen yogurt. Mmm!

Then we stopped at a little boutique called Spare Parts and had baked treats from Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter. The first was a premium white chocolate bread and the second was a completely homemade chocolate croissant. Which is impressive because said croissants take more than 12 hours total to make. I think our tour guide said 16 or 18! Wow!

White chocolate bread
 Then we went to Loose Leaf Lounge and tried a chocolate banana red tea with chocolate chip cookie. We learned about the first chocolate chip cookies here and the tea was strange and delicious.

The last stop is going to get a blog post all to itself! Are you excited? I am.

Here is information about the chocolate tour that we took.It is called Chicago Chocolate Tours. Visit their website here: www.chicagochocolatetours.com. They do have a few other locations. The website is where you book your tours and find the tour information. There are a few different ones at different times of the day. Our personal tour guide was a lady named Katie and she was very nice. Here is a link to the pictures she took of our tour: Chicago Chocolate Tours - Photo Gallery - April 27, 2013. Overall it was great fun!

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Chicago Chocolate Tour: KC Chocolatier

Our last stop on our chocolate tour was a proper chocolatier shop! It is a Belgian style shop called KC Chocolatier.

This is where we got to the truffles and similar treats!

They served coffee that was OK by my high standards. The art was pretty though.

They also had what they called "siping chocolate," a thick, syrupy, caramel-y, sweet drink served in a very small cup (no larger than 3-4 ounces I'd say) for your enjoyment. It was delicious!
The machine that constantly mixes the sipping chocolate.
Our wee little cup of sipping chocolate.
We couldn't even finish that so we put the rest in a cookie batter with some semi-sweet and white chocolate chips. Yum!
Sipping chocolate chocolate chip cookies! Delicious!
And the truffles and candies were wonderful! Definitely the best part of the chocolate tour!

Here is information for KC: kcchocolateschicago.com. Check it out!

My Trip to Chicago Part One

I was lucky enough to get a long weekend so I could fly out to Indiana with my friend, Krissy, to visit our friend, Amie.

For the first couple of days we went up and stayed in Chicago. Up until that point, I really hadn't spent time there. We got to stay in a nice hotel near downtown and discover shops and plenty of great food!

After we got there, we ate lunch at a German restaurant called Berghoff, which was lovely. I love speatzle! And beer! We walked around the area a lot, finding a Starbucks and Dunkin' Doughnuts on nearly every block. We walked around Millennium Park and saw the bean, among other things.
Our tiny reflections in the bean!
In the afternoon we decided to walk to the Navy Pier. It was a long walk, but it was very nice outside and we got to see a decent chunk of the city that way.
Part of the river walk on our way to Navy Pier.
The Pier was very cool. We rode the famous Ferris wheel and ate some churros. We looked at all the shops along the way. We even thought about doing a dinner cruise, but it was 115 per person! Yikes! And that did not include drinks! So we decided against that. Instead we caught a cab back towards our hotel. By the way, our cab experience was pretty awful. Ugh.
Looking back at the city from the Ferris wheel on the Pier.
Fabulous hats we tried on at one of the many Navy Pier gift shops.
Amie and Krissy in lovely Chicago-themed hats. Sexy.
We went to Pizano's for pizza and beer. Our waitress was super sweet! And the food was good. We had a pizza cookie for desert.

We stopped by a 7-Eleven and got a couple of things including stuff to make mimosas. We returned to our room for mimosas and had a quiet night in.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

What I Miss

I'm not crazy about sleeping alone.

i miss laughing with him and all the odd and silly things he used to do or say.

I miss his smile. And I miss him being happy to see me.

I really miss being held. I always thought that the very best place to be was in his arms.

I miss all of our time spent together and long for the plans we'd made (like watching the Star Wars trilogy and riding the light rail down to a Rockies game to name a couple I was looking forward to).

I miss talking to him about anything and everything and vice-versa.

I miss kissing him and holding his hand.

But more than anything, I miss telling him that I love him.

And while some of his feelings may have changed, and even though I am heart-broken, my feelings have stayed the same. I still love him with an unrivaled fierceness that I never expected I could. And despite everything, I can't help whispering to the room that I love him when he leaves. It's very hard to not tell him.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Big Life Changes

Most of the people close to me know this already.

A couple of days ago, Isaac broke up with me.

I'm feeling very lost right now. Sometimes it doesn't quite feel real and sometimes I can't even imagine my life moving on.

So I cry a lot and sleep and eat very little.

Remember that condo we were buying? I have to move again. I can't just lose the love of my life, but my home, too. This has been very hard for me. And I didn't want to move for at least 5-10 more years. Now I will be back in the apartment renting cycle, which makes me feel like I am taking about 20 steps backwards. And doing this alone without Isaac's support sure doesn't help anything. I always felt like I do nearly anything as long as I had Isaac with me. But now the person who was my main support (emotionally, mentally, and occasionally financially) is gone and so is all sense of stability that I had in having our own home. And I, apparently, can't call this place "home" anymore. So I just tell people that I'm "going back." Which eats at me a bit because I feel like its still supposed to be home and like we're still supposed to be together.

I feel really stupid, generally. I always tried to be so independent and I think I broke several of my rules during the course of this relationship. But I never, not once, thought to question this. And I guess I should have.

Of course, about two weeks ago we had started planning our wedding. Just to rub some more salt in that wound. So yes, I was caught completely off-guard. We knew what the location was going to be, looked at venues and pricing. We made a rough guest list, picked colors and some decor ideas. I'm not sure what happened to the man who wanted to marry me and spend our lives together. But he was replaced with a man who loves me, but not enough to be with me. Which makes me feel like there must be some pretty serious things wrong with me. I always said that I wasn't meant to be in a relationship. I thought Isaac had proved me wrong. I guess I was right after all.

And I can't imagine ever finding someone else that I can love this much. Even after all of this, I love him more than I thought I could ever love someone. It breaks my heart time and time again. But I never really wanted a relationship, so maybe this is how my life is supposed to be. I always imagined living life by myself before Isaac came along. I also can't imagine finding someone who could love me that much with all the stupid crap that I do and say. I always found it so amazing that Isaac could love me and be attracted to me. I'd never felt that before.

Basically, I'm having a really, really hard time. I kind of wish time would just pass already so I won't feel like this anymore. I'm ready for the pain to stop and it's only been two days. I'm ready to be OK again. But I'm still stuck at that part where nothing is OK without Isaac in my life.Which sounds so co-dependent and annoying, but I can't help feeling and thinking that way. For me it felt so right that we were together and I was so happy. Damn life is cruel. Life gave me somebody that I could love so strongly that the thought of leaving never crossed my mind. Then Life let him stay with me long enough to feel so sure. And then Life made it so that he could not love me enough. That's just so unfair.

This is what I am attempting to deal with. While half-heartedly looking for a new place to live. Right now I am in our second bedroom. And while that feels less home-like, I still kind of like being here despite the close proximity. I keep thinking that if we both could get to a better place and heal quickly, this arrangement might work for a while. At least until I grow into the idea of finding a new place to live. Which I think I will want eventually anyway, just not right now.

And I know this was all one huge emotional rambling session. I apologize. Blogging may end up on the back-burner for a while, but I hope you'll all stick with me.

During this time, the only song I have wanted to listen to is this one: John Rzeznik "I'm Still Here." I'm not sure why, really. It's just what I want to hear all the time. Don't get in my car anytime soon, this just plays on loop. And as a result, I also watch Treasure Planet a lot. Someone explain this?

To add another facet to the problem, I am going to miss his family. I am actually quite attached to them and I always felt like we were family and Isaac and I would stay together, so of course they were my family. Luckily, I think some of them will keep in touch. His cousin, who is one of my favorite people, told me that I can't get rid of them that easily. That makes me feel a little better.

Despite feeling so sad and lost and crying all the time, I still don't have it in my heart to be angry. Sometimes I start to feel a little angry or bitter, but I still love him too much to hold it against him. It breaks my heart that he was unhappy and that I couldn't fix it. I wish I could have a second chance, but life doesn't always work that way. I can't make him love me more. I wish to heaven and hell that I could. But that's very selfish. I can't help thinking it though. I was so happy.

I am lucky enough to have lots of family and friends who are trying to help me out. I'm grateful. I think I will need all of the help I can get.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tutoring High School Biology

At the beginning of the year I signed up to become a tutor through a website that provided these services. Starting in February, I had my first two students. Now I am up to four! And one of those I tutor in two subjects, so it's really like 5. Or 4 1/2, right?

My first student is the one I tutor in two subjects: Biology and Chemistry. While I generally enjoy Chemistry, I love Biology. It is fun to tutor Biology and I feel so confidant about it. I like to do coloring sheets to learn cell parts or little diagrams with moveable pieces to demonstrate differences such as this little review table below (which I made, BTW):
My student had to separate several slips of paper, each with characteristics of the different cell types, into it's correct category on the chart.
One of my newest students is in 10th grade Biology. I thought I loved tutoring college Biology? High school level is even more fun! It's not just that it is more basic, which it is, but it allows me to use all sorts of creative ideas!

Right now, she is learning about photosynthesis and cellular respiration.

In an effort to provide something more stimulating than worksheets and notes, I created some diagrams with pieces she has to fill in herself.

Here is the one for photosynthesis:

And here is the one for cellular respiration:

The coolest part? She really liked them! She was excited and impressed that I had made them! And when we ended her lesson and her mom met us to take her home, the first thing my student did was show her mom the diagrams! And her mom was excited and impressed, too! It was such a great, fun feeling! So now, I love this even more!

Maybe I will teach high school science. You never know. If it is going to be this enjoyable, I know that I would be happy doing it. I just get excited thinking about it! It is so motivating and rewarding.

And I hope this is a good resource for any other teachers and tutors out there! Feel free to use and alter ideas. I plan to post some of the other resources I use in the near future!

Any one have anything to contribute?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Nerdy Ravings: Nerdy Endevors

Recently, a good friend and my boyfriend took it upon themselves to make sure I watched Firefly. In the same moment, Isaac and I took it upon ourselves to make Becca (the aforementioned good friend) watch Cowboy Bebop.

Nearly every weekend these past few weeks we get together, have dinner (and often a drink or two) and sit down to watch our shows.

In many ways, these shows are similar: people out in space in spaceships with a subtle cowboy theme (less subtle in Cowboy Bebop, I guess). Not that Mal and his crew are cowboys, just that there is a sort of western feel to the whole series. And when they were shipping cows, right? Like cowboys? And some of the planets and cultures they encounter are totally throw-backs to the old west. True story.
Image from www.buddytv.com. Need I say more about the old west feel?
One decidedly noticeable difference is how the Firefly crew is (mostly) very rooted in the present. There is a little back story with the war, and a few others in order to explain how the initial crew got together, but that's about it. In Cowboy Bebop, the stuff going on in the present is just a way to reflect on the tormented pasts of the crew members. Our focus here isn't so much what will happen in the future, but what happened in the past to get them where they are now and to determine their actions in the present.

But they tend to be similar. Both crews are out doing nearly anything they can get away with for money. Both crews apparently make enough money to live, but you can never really figure out how because their deals go south in almost every episode. Go back and watch them if you don't believe me!
Image from www.kawaiikakkoiisugoi.com
Both also have a strong center around Asia. In Firefly, everyone can speak Chinese. At least well enough to curse in it. Which gives a strong implication that China and its people were (or still are?) very influential. In Cowboy Bebop, we encounter this, too. Of course, it is a Japanese anime, so we have to delve deeper. While Japanese, they tried to make it rather western-themed (with the Red Dragon gang as a sort of terrorist force? Someone needs to have a nerdy ravings about that connection), but the only currency you hear of are the Woolongs. Very Asian or rather, Japanese. Again, it implies the past or current importance of at least Japanese culture into the futures. Everyone is in space, strewn across many planets and the main form of currency is so very Japanese!

One thing that Firefly has that Cowboy Bebop doesn't is a fear factor. The Reavers scare the crap out of me. As they should. But early on when Becca and Isaac would tell me little things about what would happen with Reaver encounters almost made me want to stop watching. Scary shit. And when we finally got to the Reaver encounters, it was no less freaky!

Don't get me wrong, Cowboy Bebop has some freaky moments, but since it is a cartoon show that alternates between deep, funny, interesting, and silly, the effect isn't the same. We encounter some creepy characters who give us shivers (the French carnival guy comes to the fore-front of my mind) but they aren't scary, per se.

We haven't quite reached the end of either series together. I may post more if the inspiration strikes.

Anyone else have some nerdy facts and observations to add?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Quick Vegetarian Soup

Yesterday was all cold and snowy, and what's better on a cold day than soup?

I started with some vegetarian broth in the crock pot. I used about two cans. Then I seasoned it. I usually add anything from the cupboard that smells like it should be in soup. Like basil, salt, pepper, onion powder, etc.

I added to the broth in the crock pot:
A few red potatoes
A carrot
A zucchini
Green beans
Some split peas

I would have added some broccoli, but we didn't have any.

I let everything sit in the pot on high for about 4-5 hours and turned it on low for another 2 or so.

It turned out great! Just needed a little more salt!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Another Video Blog Related Blog

Remember when I posted Sean Caspian's video blog, "Draw My Life" that I liked?

Well, my friend Wyatt Kane did one, too. Is it trending??? I hope so! I am still very attracted by this unusual style. I wonder what other things you could do with this. Put that on the back burner of my head.

Here is Wyatt's version of Draw My Life. Go watch!

Cool, right?

And I love you Wyatt, but you aren't the best artist. But you made it very funny because you didn't pretend you were and the side commentary on that made me laugh. I liked it. Quite charming.

There you have it! Enjoy!

And please share similar videos if you find and enjoy them! I like to see what people come up with.

NDK 2013 Costumes Part Three

A costume update here!


I sewed snaps onto my Jareth vest. So the vest and belt are complete. Now to finish the rest. "The rest" being a dickey and the jacket.

I also haven't figured out pockets for this one. Maybe I will put a pocket on the front of the vest where the jacket will hide it. Remember cosplayers: you will need a place to put your phone, money, and ID!

I haven't decided on boots yet. Cat, my Sarah, said that she wouldn't wear heals. I am just a touch taller than her normally, so I just need a little heal. That's good! I will see what I have or what I can find.

I also still need the wig and then I will need to color parts of it and add glitter.

I studied the broach that he wears and decided to make it. After looking at all of my jewelry-making options, I decided to bead it. My mom used to do tons of beading, so I commandeered her materials and will, hopefully, start that soon. I will show that with pictures and such.

I found this material on sale. All shiny silver! Since it was on sale, I decided to line the lower part of Jareth's coat. I wasn't going to, but now I guess I have to.


I found this amazing jacket for my Rogue costume at Old Navy:

I know it's a bit longer than hers, but I have, shall we say, a lot of "junk in the trunk," and I think it's best to cover some of that up considering I will be wearing a skin-tight unitard... ("junk in the trunk" = I have a big butt).

Also, we have pockets! Yay! And I didn't have to make them myself! Double yay!

The whole unitard thing is still tough going. I might just have to pay someone for one because I really, REALLY don't want to make it by hand. The search is still on, but it's not going well. I will probably end up ordering one that I found for about 45 dollars.

I also found that I can't buy the gloves or make the boots until I have the unitard so I can make sure my yellows match. So that is the hold up here. I did get a simple brown belt, however. I think I can make the X-men belt buckle that she wears.


I got a fake costume chest for Isaac's costume. I haven't done anything with it yet, sadly. But I did buy the red and blue fabric to cover it with! And regular old black gloves. I will cut the fingers off later.

One odd note about the costume chest: it has protruding nipples... Which I may have to file down or something...
Yeah. I am embarrassed to own this. I can't wait to cover it up.
I haven't figured out what to do with his pants. Isaac won't want to wear leggings, so I guess I need to find black jeans. I don't know if I want to actually sew the red on the sides of the thighs or paint them. It may depend on the fabric.

So we still need his coat (I'm thinking thrift store?), boots (which will be interesting, but I have a few ideas), pants, and the thing on his head. I found something that will work, but it wasn't black, it was white. Or a ski mask may work.


Sadly, no new progress here. I have been keeping my eye out for brown loafer-type shoes and leg-warmers. I may make those myself since I will have to buy some matching fabric for the cartridges on her top. My Rogue belt may work nicely for her outfit, though. That's good.

Worry not, the denim tunic that I found for this costume does have pockets! Woo! Two costumes with pockets built in!

I also have decided that I can use my own hair for Nausicaa and Rogue as long as I keep it this red-ish color. For Rogue I will diffuse and curl it and spray some white on the front.

Well, that's that! More soon!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Yes, I have tattoos. In general, I like tattoos. I often think that people don't put enough thought into their tats. If they have some sort of meaning to me, and I have wanted it for over a year, it's fair game!

Since I'm a nerd, this is the first tattoo I got:

They are hydrangeas! And they are circled around the Japanese character "hana" which means "flower."

And yes, I am nerdy enough to know the Japanese character and word for "flower." That, I believe, is thanks to SMAP, a Japanese boy band that my friend, Amie, got me into in high school. And then Amie is first generation Japanese-American, so she can confirm these things for me.

Now for the hydrangeas. Besides loving the flowers because they're beautiful, they are also natural pH indicators. I have a minor in Chemistry and it is one of the subjects that I love to tutor. What does this mean? The flowers change color based on the acidity or alkalinity of the soil in which it grows. If the flowers are more pink, the soil is more acidic. If the flowers are blue, the soil is more basic. Cool, right?

My second tattoo is much more obvious, being in my wrist and all:

Bubbles! Why bubbles?

When I was young, I got my first degree in Reiki. Reiki is literally spirit energy. It is the idea that you channel the energy you give off (and everyone does give off energy) in a positive, healing way. You use this to help others-people, animals, or plants.

So my teacher, Lynn, taught me to visualize colored bubbles flowing out of my hands and into my patient to drive out the bad, dark things. I always used this visualization. And while I rarely practice Reiki anymore and did not get my last two degrees, it is still the most effective visualization for me.

In addition, my mom always told me to visualize myself in a bubble if I ever felt scared or if I ever went into a hospital. It is meant to block negative energies. I still take a moment to put up that shield before I enter hospitals or if, for whatever reason, I feel scared at home. Fun random fact that makes no sense even to me: my shield bubbles are always pink.

My parents divorced several years back and my sister and I were on the outs. After about a year, things started to feel better in the family front. My relationship with my mom has been almost entirely healed (my relationship with my dad wasn't harmed during the divorce, so that was fine). I continue to make small steps in right directions with my sister, which always makes me feel encouraged. When things started to get better, I got the bubbles on my wrist. Bubbles for healing. Side note: I couldn't do all of the colored bubbles because my tattoo artist was afraid the lighter colors wouldn't show up very well.

So those are the stories behind my current tattoos. Now you know.

As a little tangent, I have to cover my tattoos for work. Since I wear pants, this isn't a problem for my ankle tattoo. For my wrist tattoo, I planned for this. I have a ribbon watch I can use to cover it or I have a basic black sweat band that I wear to work. Generally, this isn't commented upon, but I had a middle-aged gentleman ask me about it about a month ago. I told him it was to cover a tattoo, to which he responded in a highly sarcastic, condescending tone, "I bet you're glad you got that now, aren't you." I didn't have a professional response, so I said nothing. But that was rude and presumptuous. I don't regret it. Not one bit. And I planned to be able to hide it because not everyone allows them. And who are you to say anything anyway? I'm sorry, are you my dad? Screw you. Anyway...

And my dad doesn't really approve, but he is tolerant. When I showed him my bubbles, his response was, "That's nice, Sweetheart." Hehe. 

I want more tattoos in the future. I know I want the symbol for the bear that Native Americans use, the quote, "shinjite-iru no shinjitai kara," which is romanji Japanese roughly meaning, "I will believe because I want to believe," and last but not least, I want the 13 hour clock from Labyrinth. Where I will get them all, I'm not sure. I might get one soon--I've been saving up. When I get them, I will give the stories. Look forward to it!

Our Annual Easter Peep Torture!

Every year, Isaac's family has a family get together for Easter. And, as it did last year, the celebrations ended with everyone participating in Peep destruction.

Here is a Peep smashed by a croquet mallet and run over by a bicycle:

And here is the one that some of the "kids" played ping-pong with:

Time for a fun experiment: baking soda (not powder right?) and vinegar!

Which, surprisingly did very little. We let our children eat these?

Here is a Peep under a magnifying glass:


Now nail polish remover!

The nail polish removed did a good job of melting the Peep! That was fun.

And some sparklers!

Nice! That was a good one. Once we got the sparklers lit...

So there you are, our annual Peep torture session! We will have to research and come up with ideas for next year!