Saturday, October 30, 2010

Snickerdoodle Coffee

No more cheap coffee for me! Yay!

I have Starbucks coffee, but my coffee grinder broke about a month ago and, instead of driving all the way to WalMart to buy a new one, I simply picked up cheap, ground coffee from Albertson's. Therefore, I was never drinking good quality coffee--not on the road, and not at home. Saddest story in the world, verdad?
So last week, when I was in Bismarck, I picked up a new Mr. Coffee brand coffee grinder. I also purchased some snickerdoodle coffee beans from a local coffee shop. This morning I freshly ground the snickerdoodle coffee beans, and don't know I've tasted anything better and more satisfying within my month without fresh, quality coffee.

I've also managed to finish this week's book: Cross by James Patterson. He's done it again. I get so engrossed in his novels that they're quick reads and always leave me hungry for more of his literature. This particular novel launches a series of investigations into Alex Cross' wife Maria's murderer. It's almost a mini-series within the Alex Cross series itself, because the others are much more stand-alone novels. Cross is the foundation for Patterson's newer novels. In case you're interested, here's how the Cross series looks:
Cross (becoming a movie in 2011 or 2012)
Double Cross
Cross Country
Alex Cross's Trial
I, Alex Cross
Cross Fire (this one will be released in November of this year)

Lately Patterson's gotten into the habit of threatening to kill off Alex Cross in a novel, should he not sell enough of his books. I'm intrigued by this, and whether popularity will be the end of Alex Cross or not.

Random tangent, sorry. This novel brings me up to 9,449/10,000 pages for the year. I've only got 551 pages left and I'll have completed my goal!

I'm already trying to figure out where I should set my reading goal for next year. For those of you who don't know, I was inspired by a former boss (arguably the best boss I've had, but certainly one of the most influential) who sets page goals every year. Her page goals are significantly higher than mine, but I think it's best I set them to around where I feel most comfortable.
In 2006, my page goal was 2,500. Talk about starting small. I read 7,038 pages that year.
In 2007 and 2008, I read such a negligent number of books that I didn't even bother recording them. Tragic, I know.
In 2009, my goal was to read 10,000 pages. I failed, reading only 6,532 pages. When it came to choosing a page goal for 2010, I had thought about making it only 8,500 so it would be manageable. But then I realized I would never grow if I kept accommodating my handicaps. After all, my parents always told me I could do anything I put my mind to (best advice ever!).
Thus, in 2010, I created a goal of 10,000 pages. I believe it's very realistic I'll accomplish that goal by December 31.
Here's what I'm thinking for 2011's page goal:
11,500 pages
12,500 pages
14,000 pages
But I can't decide which one would be best. I guess I'll figure that out as the time draws closer. Every 1,000 pages added is approximately 2-4 more books, and I've already burned through 27 this year.
Well, comment if you'd like to help me out with this poll to choose next year's page goal.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and that you, too, have the pleasure of curling up with delicious coffee and literature.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Midwestern Moron

I have decided I should make "Midwestern Moron" a screen name, because I sure feel like one right now! I left for the week and didn't turn my heat on. Now my apartment is freezing. Honestly, I'm pretty sure there was fog in my apartment when I came home.

It doesn't really help that I don't quite understand yet how to work my heater. It gets really really hot in my apartment. I don't know if there's no temperature regulator or what. Man, do I feel like an idiot. The heat's probably 20 years old, and I'm so dimwitted when it comes to the most simple things.

The week traveling went well. Snowy. Eww. But overall not too bad. Wanna know what is bad? I dread Fridays. How terrible! Not even kidding, though. There's so much I can't do while I'm on the road and meetings I need to be in, so everything gets scheduled for the one day I'm back. It's typical for me to work at least 10-12 hours on a Friday, with no lunch. Sickening.

Tomorrow is Friday. My stomach is churning with anxiety. Can I call in sick? I try to take Saturdays off, but because of that usually end up putting in at least 4-6 hours on Sunday. Then I pack. I leave again. Trust me, I love my job, but I could really use a break right now. Maybe a weekend--one full weekend-- off from work.

ha ha ha ha ha...I believe it'll be months before I make it to that point.

Also, I found a coffee shop in Bismarck-- called "Coffee Break"-- that charges $2.00 for 30 minutes of internet. WHAT?!?!?

It should be illegal for coffee shops to charge for internet. Especially when it's $4.00 an hour! If I ever become ruler of the world--which, unfortunately, is not likely--coffee shops will all have free wireless internet for customers. Also, time zones will change on state borders only, so I do not mess up again when visiting Bowman, ND.

In spite of my dreadful, torturous Fridays, I hope you all have a fabulous day tomorrow. Stay warm and TGIF!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Life's Little Blessings

Today began crummy, and, until an hour ago, I didn't think it had gotten much better.

Here were my plans for the day: I was going to wake up refreshed, alive, and radiating. I would visit my first scheduled high school, then grab coffee at a local coffee shop, where I would get a few items crossed of my to-do list (namely the ones that are plaguing me). At eleven, I would visit my second high school. Following, I would grab lunch at an adorable downtown cafe and stay for a while, sipping on black coffee and crossing off several tasks on my to-do list. I would spend the late afternoon shopping at the mall across from my hotel, and relax in my hotel room, lazily reading, until I dozed off.

This most definitely did not happen.

For starters, I really couldn't fall asleep last night. I am currently running on 3.5 hours of sleep, which is a lot less than I would like, considering I was in bed by 9:00 last night. So, I awoke with minimal sleep and a positive outlook for the day. Until I went into my hotel bathroom. I saw a spider. I know, I know, how girly. But wouldn't bother me so much had it been in my own home, but this is a hotel. And I'm staying in it a second night too. It just put a slight damper on the day. Not that I wore my Negative Nancy mood on my sleeve, but deep down, under the smile, was a case of the Mondays.

I visited my first high school. Nobody showed up, but I had a really great conversation with the very, very nice counselor. I left earlier than anticipated, and was eagerly awaiting visiting a local coffee shop. I went to two, both of which were closed. That's silly; what coffee shops don't open until 9:00?!?!?!? Before I arrived at the second shop, I thought I heard a little bit of a thumping noise coming from one of my driver's side tires. When I got out, I looked, and everything looked fine. I didn't hear any whistling of air coming out of the tires or see any flatness, so I continued on my merry way.

I was disappointed I wouldn't be able to visit a local coffee shop, and accepted my fate at the glorious Starbucks. As I was on my way, a light came on in my state car, informing me I had low tire pressure. I pulled over at the closest gas station to discover I had NO tire pressure in my front driver's side tire! It was completely flat! I put air in it, and stood back satisfied. Freak accident, no big deal.

Less than one minute later, it was flat again. I couldn't believe it. I felt around and, sure enough, there was a decent-sized hole in the tire, perhaps the size of a nail, which I suspect may have been the case. I called my boss, who told me to notify the state fleet people and get someone to help me out. Upon calling, I discovered I would have to change the tire myself, and they would give me the address of a shop I needed to bring it to in order to get a new tire put on. I was disappointed, but began removing items from my trunk and hoping I could remember how to change a tire. AAA was a minute's phone call away, when my cell rang. The guy on the other end offered to drive over to help me change the tire. HOW NICE!!! Not only did Jon help me change the tire, but he brought me to the tire store, and offered me another state fleet car to use in the meantime. Thanks to him, I was able to visit my second high school (and arrive on time), and fix my attitude.

I realized that I was looking at the day as an annoying Monday, and forgot to count my blessings. Here they are:
1) Jon proved to me that there are always nice people in this world, willing to go out of their way to help a stranger. In North Dakota, there happens to be an abundance of them.
2) My boss, and my school, are so supportive of me, and I'm so lucky to work at a place I love.
3) Unlike most days, I only had two schools to visit today. I didn't have to rush from one place to the next or have anxiety at the idea of not making it. It is what it is.
4) I am in a city, near civilization, not on a tire trail, in the middle of a field, smack dab in the middle of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation (long story).
4) I have met some truly amazing individuals in my travels, both in my position and through my position.
5) In spite of it being the end of October and in spite of snow having been forecast for this week, today, it has only rained.
6) It may be a really bad hair day for me, but my outfit is really cute.
7) I still found a delicious local coffee shop, Mocha Mommas, and am enjoying a Caramel Apple Crisp Latte. I recommend the coffee shop, should you ever find yourself in Bismarck.

Thanks for listening to me rant. I hope this blog inspires you all to look at the blessings life has given you, turning your case of the Mondays into a case of the Fridays.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Returning to the Blogging Scene

Hello there! Welcome to my first blog in...a very long time.

Once upon a time (about 6 years ago) I had a blog and was really into it. Then, one day, I just decided, selfishly, that I didn't have time to commit my thoughts, dreams, and future to paper (er...textbox?) and simply gave up on blogging.

After 6 years of longing for my thoughts, dreams, and future to be recorded, I have returned to blogging, with the conviction that this blog will not be my last.

I woke up to a chilly, Midwestern morning and a freshly brewed pot of hazelnut coffee. I had finished yet another book last night, and eagerly scurried to my bookshelf, staring at the wondrous potential it holds. I stared in bewilderment, wondering what my next adventure would be. Would it frighten me? It is close to Halloween, after all. Would it make me cry? Laugh? Learn ways to improve my leadership and communication? I decided that I would instead journal. Pulling out my journal, I felt eager to record everything I desire and know. Then I got distracted. By Facebook. FAIL.

My hope in writing this blog isn't necessarily to appease my audience (sorry, guys), but rather to ensure that I am committing to writing in one form or another. So I welcome you all to join me, as I make my way through my 20s, A LOT of coffee, and bookshelves upon bookshelves of beautiful, life-changing novels.

P.S. This was my most recent read, completed as of last night. I rated it a 7/10, but to tell you the truth, I was slightly disappointed in Stephen King. For once, I did not get the anxiety deep in the pit of my stomach while reading one of his books, flipping to the next page with such eagerness.

I would recommend it, but not if you're looking for an authentic Stephen King thriller.

Also, an update on my page goal. This last novel brings me up to having read 9,056 pages of my 10,000 page goal. Almost there!