Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Almost. But not quite.

I tried to cheat and get a head start on my 2009 to do list, but the universe Metro Community College wouldn't let me just yet. I found a couple one day and one month classes at Metro that I wanted to take but enrollment isn't open yet. I have to wait until January 14th.

I did another little photo session with my friend's nephew last weekend. I'm hoping to get those pictures up tonight or tomorrow. Or Friday. It's a four day weekend. There's lots of time to get things done.

Speaking of taking pictures of peoples' kids...

Sissy's baby should be here any day now. That is going to be awesome. I was offering to photograph the actual birth in all it's terrifying glory, but in the event that she has a c-section I don't want to be anywhere near her hospital room. I just watched a c-section birth on National Geographic a few days ago and it was pretty alarming. Let me tell you something, pregnant chicks are tough cookies. I can't even get an IV without crying and here this woman was laying awake on a table with someone's arms in her gut. The lady on NatGeo kept pulling the little partition down so she could see what the doctor was doing. I was screaming, "PUT IT BACK UP!" at her the whole time. Oh, and she gave birth to twins so I got to see the freakfest twice.

And when I say "freakfest" I obviously mean "beautiful miracle."

Know where I wish I was right now?

Anywhere but the office.

How about on vacation?

During the winter months it's always nice to visit somewhere that's warmer than the place you just left. Last winter we went to San Francisco. (Then again on our honeymoon.)

The year before that we went to Memphis and New Orleans. We drove! It was snowing when we left Omaha but by the time we got down to NOLA, Matt and I were wearing shorts and t-shirts.

Anyone else notice that Matt and I are standing in the same positions in both pictures?

Technically those two trips weren't "vacations." At least they weren't for Matt. He had to go to those places for work. Poor baby. I tagged along to get a break from winter and work. This year though, he's going to South Bend, Indiana. Not exactly warm and sunny I wouldn't think. Maybe I'll sit this winter trip out...

Monday, December 29, 2008

It's like a blog high-five!

This makes me happy, because really, what bride woman doesn't want to be admired by strangers?

Matt and Christine get Hitched on

Duchess of Carnegie

This woman is my new hero: - Duchess of Carnegie, 96, refuses to leave home

I love that she thinks she's worth $10 million. She is the living embodiment of brass balls.

Binge and Purge

It's about to be the beginning of a new year and I'm once again feeling the need to purge my life of the unnecessary. This year though, It's a dangerous combo of Spring cleaning and reading the book Eat, Pray, Love. That book is moving me to make changes in my life. I'm ready to make some emotional and spiritual (for lack of a better word) changes. (I'll blog about that later though. I have page 95 earmarked for a blog entry.)

But before I can make changes in my emotional life, I feel like my home and physical surroundings need to be cleaned out. For starters, my closet(s) and dresser drawers. I can't even begin to tell you how much junk is shoved away in those places. I did about two weeks worth of laundry yesterday and it astonished me to see all of my shirts folded up in one place. It was outrageous. I have about two drawers full of shirts. Some of those need to go. I'm really sentimental when it comes to certain items like shoes and dresses. I keep my nice shoes forever. I have a pair of magenta patent leather pumps that I bought about six years ago. The last time I wore them was August of 2005 (yes, I remember) but there's no way I would get rid of them. Same with dresses. I have a closet full of vintagey, pretty dresses that I would never part with. They just feel too special to get rid of. To me those things aren't clutter.

But two full drawers of t-shirts? Two full drawers of cheap cotton? Come on. That's stupid. Jeans that don't zip anymore? Why would I torture myself that way? Those need to go too.

The kitchen is also packed full of junk that needs to be cleaned out. We essentially have two of everything as a result of getting married. Obviously, only one set needs to stay. Four months have gone by and we still haven't cleaned out the kitchen. We just shoved everything into the giant cubby hole in the dining room. That cubby is a blessing and a curse.

Blessing = Storing bulk toilet paper from Sam's and a deep fryer.

Curse = Storing everything else on Earth in there too.

Luckily, or unluckily rather, my sis has a friend who is going though an unfortunate divorce and we are going to give her a lot of our extra stuff. See, purging the house and stocking my karmic cache. Plus, it gives me a deadline to actually get this stuff done.

And that my friends brings us to the office.

It's actually gotten worse since I took that picture. And there is no one to blame but myself for it. It doesn't need to be cleaned out, it just needs to be cleaned. For some reason my offices are the one area of my life that are always messy. I'll chalk it up to the creative nature of my job.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

2008 Recap

In lieu of a real blog post I'm doing this. You should do it too...

1.) Where did you ring in 2008?
Omaha Playhouse, hanging out during Rave On

2.) What was your status by Valentine’s Day?

3.) Were you in school (anytime this year)?
Took a few classes at Metro, nothing too interesting

4.) How did you earn your keep?
Web Monkey

5.) Did you have to go to the hospital?
Technically yes, but only because that's where my doctor's office is.

6.) Did you have any encounters with the police?

7.) Did you know anybody who got married?
Who didn't get married? Mike and Jen, Ryan and Tammy, Jay and Alicia, I'm sure there's more.

8.) Did you know anybody who passed away?
No one that I knew personally.

9.) Have you run into anybody you graduated high school with?
Only on Facebook.

10.) Did you move anywhere?
Matt and I moved into our first house.

11.) What sporting events did you go to?
I don't think I went to any. We thought about going to an Oakland A's game but didn't make it.

12.) What concerts/shows did you go to?
The Boss, Police, LOVE, Kings of Leon, The Raconteurs, Elvis Costello, countless Moses Prey and Y&T shows.

13.) Are you registered to vote?
Yes, I am.

14.) If so, did you do your patriotic duty on [last time you were supposed to vote]?
Why, yes I did.

15.) Where do you live now?
Omaha, my own house.

16.) Describe your birthday.
I was given my very first surprise party at Espana. I got drunk. It was fun.

17.) What’s the one thing you thought you would never do but did in 2008?
I went to Las Vegas and witnessed the more incredible thing imaginable.

18.) What is one thing you regret from this year?
Nothing really. I guess I would regret not using my time a little more wisely at some points.

19.) What do you want for Christmas?
I didn't want much but ended up getting a lot.

20.) Any new additions to your family?
I gained an entire family.

21.) What was your best month?
September! Got married, hung out with lots of friends and family, went to San Fran for a week.

22.) What from pop culture will you remember that happened in 2008.
The hype that was The Dark Knight, how politics became pop culture.

23.) How do you plan to ring in 2009?
Once again at the Omaha Playhouse. And for the next three years I'm afraid...

24.) What has been your favourite moment?
Getting married, running a 1/2 marathon with Kate, seeing my sissy pregnant

25.) What’s something you learned about yourself?
I learned that there is something I want to spend my life doing after all.

26.) Who has been your best drinking buddy?
I did most of my drinking with family members, Eric, Jen and Mike, Kate...

27.) Made new friends?
Jen and Mike!

28.) New best friend?
They're all the best.

29.) Favourite Night Out?
Every night on our honeymoon was awesome. We walked around the city, ate at great restaurants, drank at cool bars.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Day After Christmas!

Matt and I woke up pretty early today and went post-Christmas present shopping. We agreed to get each other a PS3 for Christmas and waited until after the big day so we could hopefully cash in with some gift cards. This year the big winner was Target with $105 in gift cards so we went there and spent it all at once. Plus some.

I also got Matt a couple of video games he wanted and he got me some nerd movies on Blue Ray. Clockwork Orange, Pan's Labyrinth, Planet Earth and March of the Penguins.

Total. Nerd.

Don't think I didn't want the Lord of the Rings trilogy too. It's not out yet though.

Blue Ray will blow your mind. That business is outrageous. The Planet Earth series alone is worth investing in the system.

I have been antsy and bored all day today - despite the PS3. It was beautiful outside for the first time in a couple of weeks. An astonishing 57°!!! I think it gave me a little spring fever - not a good thing to have in December.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

And to all a good night.

Merry Christmas!

Our big Christmas celebration was last night. We had an early dinner with my family and then went to my husband's family's get-together later on. My family was laid back, quiet, only one kid around to open gifts. His family was loud, wrapping paper flying everywhere, kids screaming. You wouldn't want it any other way though, would you?

My mom's family came to Omaha this year so we got to spend our first Christmas with our little cousin Kyle. (He is the only cousin that my sister and I have, and he is four). My family always has a traditional dinner of Swedish meatballs and Swedish potato sausage. I'm not a huge fan of the potato sausage (it smells funny), but the meatballs are something I look forward to year round. My dad makes them and in my opinion they are the best meatballs on the planet. They're so good that one of the secret ingredients might be crack.

Then on to Matt's brother's house... Here hubs and his brothers with (most of) their kids:

This Christmas was wonderful. Having such a large family to celebrate the holidays with definitely makes a difference. I love being able to see all my nieces' and nephews' happy little faces while they tear through Christmas presents. It was a flurry of wrapping paper and screaming. Next year we'll have three more in the mix, for a grand total of eight. Yowza!

One of my favorite gifts I received this year was a bunch of Wilton baking goodies. I got a cookie press and a bake and carry set.

One of my favorite gifts that I gave this year was a photo collage that I made for a couple of the McG's.

Ya, ya. I totally stole that idea from several places. But in the spirit of the recession I decided to save some bucks and make it myself. It was also good practice with the macro lens.

After all the kids were bribed into going to bed we broke out the traditional bottle of Jameson. The family tradition is that everyone takes turns toasting to their worst memory of the year and takes a pull off the bottle. After it's gone around the room, it starts over again and everyone toasts to their best memory. This year we decided to start the tradition of finishing the bottle before the toasting was over. What a great tradition especially considering there was only seven of us doing the toasting. Who doesn't love waking up on Christmas morning with a whiskey hangover? We took a warmup pull, did our two toasts, and then went around the room again for an "honorable mention" toast. I was lit up like the tree by the time we were done.

Today we went back to my parents' for the big extended family lunch. It was chaotic. We didn't help the situation any by bringing our dog with us. For the record, I called first to make sure it was okay but the phone was busy and no one had their cell phones on. Matt and I left a little early to come home and nap and watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, one of the best holiday movies ever made. My list of top Christmas movies are:

1. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
2. Scrooged
3. A Christmas Story
4. Home Alone
5. Mickey's Christmas Carol

Now we're having cocktails and watching movies we got as gifts. I think a leftover sandwich is also in my near future.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pet Sounds.

Beach Boys. Pet Sounds. Masterpiece.

Everyone should own this album.

See, I don't only like The Beatles.

Cold, Changing Tires

Once again, it's freaking cold in Omaha. It's -5° with something like a -19° windchill today. It's so cold that our snow beast of a dog doesn't even like going outside. In comparison, it's -24° at the North Pole right now.

Yesterday was cold too. You know how I know it was cold? Because I had to change a flat tire in it. Okay, so I didn't change the flat tire, my dad did. But I stood next to him and held things for him. Matt got a flat tire on his way to his show yesterday and ended up completely shredding the tire because it was so cold. The car was in no way drivable so I picked up Matt and took him to the theater, then had my dad meet me back at the car to fix the tire. Now, before you judge me for not knowing how to change a tire - I totally know how. But I don't have the strength to loosen the lugs. Even if I had been able to loosen the lugs, I still would have had to call my dad because the wheel was frozen to the car. It took the addition of my uncle and a dead blow hammer to get the wheel off. Two hours after we started, the spare was finally on.

I think we owe my dad and uncle a little something extra for Christmas this year...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Miracle in a Jar

I have some crazy sensitive skin. Ever since I was a little kid I've had problems with it. I get rashes, hives, eczema, skin so dry it cracks. It's quite sexy. Winter is the worst time of year for it. My hands suffer the worst. No matter how much lotion I put on them, they're still dry and chapped.

Growing up we always had this stuff called "bag balm" that worked wonders. If you're not familiar with it, bag balm is exactly what it sounds like. It's a balm that was originally made for cow utters. My dad grew up on a farm so everyone in our family knows about the miraculous properties of bag balm. It works on dry skin and small cuts and scrapes on both people and animals. It's sort of like hardcore Neosporin that you can use on the dog. Well, it works extremely well on dry hands. I put some on last night and within ten minutes my skin was soft and smooth.

I would recommend everyone who lives in a dry, blistery climate pick some up. The only places I've found it at are Target and Walgreens. But I'm sure places like CVS and your local feed and grain store sell it too.

I think it's worth mentioning that the bag balm my sister and I grew up with is nothing like the bag balm pictured above. The kind we're used to comes mysteriously out of a Vaseline jar. It's also an uneven shade of brown and smells like an old folks home. I think it was left over from when my dad's family sold the farm in the 1960s. I guess it's also worth mentioning that the stuff keeps for 40 plus years.

Friday, December 19, 2008

But on a positive note...

I got my photography blog started! I'm trying to recruit some folks to sign up for free photo sessions with me so I can get some more portfolio work and experience. I'm looking for kids, families, couples, seniors, pets. Pretty much anyone.

Let me know if you or anyone you know is interested!

Snow days don't exist anymore...

Great way to start off your Friday: Scraping 1/4 inch of ice off the car

It took nearly twenty minutes for Matt and me to scrape enough ice off my car to make it drivable. Ice storms are a nightmare. I pretty much just put the car in neutral and slid to the office this morning. Today was definitely a day that was meant to be spent at home in bed with the DVR and a cup of coffee.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Few Goals for 2009

Some things I'm going to work on in 2009:

1. Save money for a new car and a nice vacation. Possibly to Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. (Vacation idea stolen from Jeff and Brandon.)

2. Run another 1/2 marathon (beating my previous time) and generally shape up. Ultimately, I'd like to run a half every year. I've done it for the last two. It's really one of the easier goals to stick to - barring any unforeseen baby making accidents. Working out in general though, like sit-ups and toning, I have little patience for. I've always had freakishly toned arms (medical professionals have even told me so) but the rest of me is a little on the squishy side. I know that I am a rather thin girl, but there is no muscle in there. It's all jelly. I'd like to even that out a bit.

3.a. Finish a nice variety of portfolio sittings and start charging for photo sessions by March. This is one of the most important goals for me. I really have high hopes about starting a photography career. I'm tired of being unhappy with my professional life. I've had a recent surge in my desire to make this happen. I think it's where my life is taking me.

3.b. Take at least two photography courses. Obviously, this is something that is important and will come in handy. I have no real photography education. Everything I know about taking good photographs I learned from art composition classes. I have no real training when it comes to the technical aspects of photography like aperture settings and white balances. A prodigy I am not, so I should probably get on this one ASAP.

3.c. Photograph a wedding. I need to find some very understanding couple who will let me photograph their wedding knowing full well that I might completely eff it up. Are you that guy or girl? Give me a call! Honestly though, I want to be able to do this by the end of 2009. I'd love to find an OBB girl on a budget in the Omaha area and be able to give her a virtually free wedding photo session. Then it would warm my brain and my heart!

4. Fix up the outside of the house. Replace the windows, paint, white wash, landscape, buy a rake. All that kind of stuff.

5. Release myself from the evil clutches of hair dye. This may or may not work out. I'm sort of hooked on being a red head. However I'm very much not hooked on giving some girl $60 every 10 weeks to color my hair. Yes, 10 weeks. I make that shit last.

Can't think of a title.

I found out this morning that a friend's son was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer that usually effects kids and young adults. It makes me feel sick that her and her son have to go through this. His treatment starts in a few days and is going to be very aggressive.

A friend of mine died from ES a couple years ago so it sort of hits home. I've read a lot about it since she was diagnosed and I started involving myself in some cancer organizations. Since there's little that I can do for either of them, I'm going to help by telling the (few) people who read my blog about some of my favored organizations. Knowledge is power, right?

So, here we go:
Help CureSearch reach the day when every child with cancer can be guaranteed a cure. Their motto pretty much says it all. They work to gain support for pediatric cancer research. They have a great support page with ways you can help them that don't necessarily involve monetary donations. You can write a letter to Congress for example. They also have a gift shop with items designed by kids. They have some cute stuff that would make for great gifts.

National Marrow Donor Program
"When you become a bone marrow donor, you join the global movement of more than 13 million donors who stand ready to give someone a future." A couple years ago I had myself added to the national marrow donor database. You can fill out an application and order a testing kit from their website. Once you receive your kit, you swab the inside of your cheek and mail it back. It's that easy. You must be between the ages of 18 and 60 to join. You can have yourself removed from the database at any time. There is a cost incurred for the kit and testing.

Team In Training
TNT is the world's first, best and largest charity sports training program - and the only one to offer a full complement of exciting, sports training options. TNT is a part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I ran a marathon with TNT in 2007 and raised over $1500 for the LLS. TNT raised over $71 million alone in 2008. The potential impact that this program can have on your life is unmeasurable. I still tear up to this day when I think about my experience with them. Not only did I help raise money, but I pushed my mind and body further than I ever thought possible and I made some lasting friendships along the way. I hope to participate again within the next couple years. The training/fundraising program is a huge commitment but you've got to play big to win big.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cold. Effing cold.

What the hell is up with this wind chill? The temperature is -5° right now, but the wind chill is -25°. I'm sorry, negative what now? Cat and I were talking and she said that instead of reading -5°, the digital thermostat in cars should just say FING COLD.

Speaking of cold in the car, we need to get a garage door opener installed so we can use our garage for more than box storage. I have never, in all my years of driving, had the luxury of parking my car in a garage and I think it's about high time I change that.

My friend Kate who is from Red Deer, Alberta doesn't think it's so bad. Of course it snows in July where she's from so her opinion on these matters can't be really be trusted.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Today, I took nearly 500 pictures. Wow.

I narrowed the first batch of 250 down to the best 20. Seriously, 250 down to 20. I guess that's why I take 250 at a time. So maybe, just maybe, half a dozen or so will be good. That doesn't make me a bad photographer, I swear...

These two girls were a dream to photograph. They were so cool. Little Girl wanted to play in the dirt and her mom let her. She said, "Okay, go ahead." What a great mom! She wasn't worried about her kid getting dirty for pictures. I love that.

I'll weed through the second batch tomorrow. Right now it's pizza and beer time.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Oh Boy.

A few moments ago I was thinking to myself how nice it was to be relaxing at home on a Friday night. It's not pathetic because I'm married, so obviously I'm lovable. And I'm not lonely, because again, I'm married. And I had the option of going out tonight anyways but I chose to pass on it.

And then I realized that I was watching trash TV, drinking wine and licking out the inside of a frosting container. Seriously.

What about this isn't pathetic again? I forget...

I did get some work done tonight! I also got two more orders for robot scarves. Robots plus scarves equals a big hit apparently!

Good Old Days

I was listening to a few older gentlemen at work reminisce about the good old days of Omaha. The old drive-ins, the bread store that was run by Italians (real Italians), Charlie Manson. Say what?

I work for a youth services organization and apparently Charles Manson was sent here in 1957 but he was screened out during an initial psychological evaluation and was never admitted to the program. Good call on that one...

The conversation made me wonder what I'm going to miss when I'm 65. What from today, or from my childhood, won't exist forty years from now. Are people going to think I'm an old fart when I tell them that when I was little we didn't have cable TV, the internet, cell phones, MP3s? Or are those things not even going to exist anymore? The world is already freaking me out in a, "Big Brother Is Watching You," kind of way. I can't even imagine how much worse it's going to get. My dream is to one day open a restaurant that does not have TVs propped up in every corner. Can you imagine what a novelty that will be in another decade? It seems like ever since 9/11 every restaurant in America (except for the really, really fancy ones) has installed TVs. No one wants to be less than six yards away from breaking news. The last McDonald's I went into had a huge flat screen TV on one wall and everyone in the dining area was pointed at it. How sad is that? I long for a time gone by where going out to eat, even going to McDonald's, was an event cherished by American families.

I also long to return to a time and place where it would be chic for me to vacuum the house in a cocktail dress and apron, holding a martini in one hand. I seriously want that. I want to put on my wedding dress and this really cute vintage apron I have and get someone come to my house and photograph me vacuuming in it while drinking a seriously dirty, salty martini. How campy and fun would that be? But that's neither here nor there.

Now that I'm married and potentially going to be introducing more humans into this world, I want life to return to the simple times of drive-ins, real Italians and pre-cult Charlie Manson.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Things I'm Loving Tonight

Cheesy Chex Mix...

Diet Coke (what else is new)...

Real Simple Magazine...

Family Guy...

Feeling a sense of accomplishment...


Robot Love

I mailed off a few scarves this morning to a co-op store in Des Moines. It felt good to cross that one off my list. I sent this one, this one and this one:

I didn't realize what I terrible picture I took until just now. It's too late to retake it though. It's in a box somewhere between here and Iowa.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Photographic Proof That I Really Did Get Married!

We finally got our wedding pics back! Here are a few. There is a whole folder of them over on my Flickr stream.

I created my own button stems and then had local wedding vendor/artist Princess Lasertron make felt stems. The bridesgals had similar bouquets too.

We found this awesome tent at a golf course and rented it for the entire day at a ridiculously cheap price. We had both the ceremony and reception here and saved ourselves a ton of money. We also saved our guests from driving to two separate places.

How excited am I?

Our cutting cake was decorated like the Yellow Submarine cartoon. It was a surprise to Matt from me. The cake was unbelievable. It was chocolate with peanut butter mousse.

Our first dance was to, "Something" by The Beatles.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wedding Pics!

After nearly three months, we finally get to pick up our wedding pictures today!

Monday, December 8, 2008


Little Ringo misplaced his blue squeaky stuffed bone a couple weeks ago. Everyday when I came home from work he would tear around the house looking for it. He temporarily made due with a rawhide bone we gave him. This dog doesn't chew on rawhides, he just carries them around like a prize. He sleeps with them too.

I finally gave up hope that we would ever find the squeaky bone. I'd looked all over the house for it. So, last night while I was at Target I bought him a new squeaky bone. It's exactly the same as the last one, except the new one is green. I gave it to him when I got home and he went crazy. He ran laps around the kitchen squeaking the hell out of that bone.

I was laying in bed later on watching TV when Ringo ran into the room, launched onto the bed and dropped a squeaky bone by my feet. Not a new, clean, green one. A dirty, smelly, blue one. He somehow found the old one no less than three hours after I replaced it.

That dog is a jerk.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stressful Weekends, Stressless Weeks?

This weekend was pretty unrelaxing. Yesterday was spent within close proximity to a bathroom and I passed out at 9pm. Today was spent working. Unsuccessfully. I was trying to take photos of jewelry for a friend's website and it didn't go well. I spent three hours photographing it and none of the pictures turned out great. Then, I ran over to Cat's house, ranted about my afternoon, painted some mountains and left.

Since I'd only spent $5 on Friday night and $10 on Saturday, I felt like I deserved a weekend trip to Target on the way home to stress spend. Target is definitely a weakness. I bought two Christmas presents (very good of me) a $20 dress for myself and a magazine. (Oops. Whatever.)

Not only did I stress spend, but I stress cooked and ate a very comforting dinner of mac and cheese. I did health it up a bit by adding corn and spinach to it. And then I brought it back down with sour cream and shredded cheese. But there was still spinach in it. That definitely counts for something.

New Toys

Finally, today I have both my camera and my health and therefore have the energy and ability to sit at a computer and share pictures and type coherently. Matt and I have both been sick this week. The awful, "makes you wish you'd just go ahead and die already" stomach flu type sickness. I had plans yesterday with two different people to take some Christmas pictures and I didn't want to cancel since it's so close to the holidays. I made it through both without incident, but I did leave the first one in a hurry because I thought I was going to puke all over their Christmas tree.

The second was a little more casual. I just went out with my friend Jen and we took some pictures around downtown Omaha. We're both working on improving out photog skills so we just bummed around for a couple of hours. She helped me find things for a Christmas photo project I'm working on as a gift. More on that later... I also wanted to try out a new lens that my sister got me as "payment" for being her mural painter and upcoming baby photographer. I'm not really qualified for either, but she seems to think I'll do ok.

The lens is a super wide angle lens and it was tricky to figure it out. It doesn't work that great when you just shoot things straight on. I had to play with it a little. It's really awesome though. Here are a couple of pics from my first time out with it:

That's it for now. I'm going to go relish in my ability to drink coffee and eat pizza.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Wheels on the Bus

I did something this morning that I haven't done since the second grade.

I waited for a school bus to pick me up in the morning.

Isn't that weird? It sort of amazes me that no matter how old you are, you're never too old to have to ride a school bus.

You know, I'm more than happy to ride city buses. There's a sort of dignity in taking a city bus. There is no dignity in taking a school bus, however. Not after the age of twelve anyways.

I work for a non-profit that provides long term residential care for youths that are pulled out of their homes for behavioral/legal reasons. It's a very well known organization. You can probably guess what it is. Well, this morning politicians from all over the state as well as executives from other non-profits came to our headquarters for a meeting regarding Nebraska's Safe Haven crisis. As a result, they closed off the parking lot to us little people so the higher-ups have a place to park. So, we had to park at a football field across campus and ride a school bus to the office.

I felt like I was seven again. Standing in the cold, bundled up waiting for the bus. Except this time I had an iPod and coffee and my dad wasn't yelling at me from the front porch to zip up my coat.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Baby Shower

I forgot to post the pictures from Cat's shower last week. It turned out very cute and very un-babyish. Her and I are not "OOOH and AHHH" girly girls. Traditional showers are torturish.

I made her a blanket cake in lieu of a diaper cake. Diaper cakes are a sin in this family. I wouldn't be caught dead carrying one. I also repurposed some flowers I had made.

I also made a couple streamers out of train pictures I printed off.

And then there were the mangled cake bites I made with my mom.

Only 16 Work Days Until Christmas!

I left my camera at my brother and sister-in-law's house on Thanksgiving. I should have known that it would get misplaced in the shuffle of the day. As a result, all weekend I felt like I had lost a limb. We put up our tree, but I couldn't take a picture of it. I finished a scarf, but I couldn't take a picture of it. It snowed, Ringo was being cute, I went to another baby shower... No camera. Sigh... I have to get it back this week because I have a couple photo sessions with friends this weekend. My call to subjects turned up about five people who were interested in getting some Christmas pictures. I was really pleased!

I had no desire to go Black Friday shopping in the stores, and after the incident at Wal-Mart I will never partake in it again. But I did have to fight to keep my credit card buried in a basket in my office. It was very tempting to pull it out and click click click on some internet sales. Unfortunately, I've memorized the number on my debit card so that one is even harder not to use. It was a pretty stupid thing to do. Unless I'm ordering a pizza. Then it's the smartest thing I've ever done. I held up pretty well and only bought Christmas decorations, gift for my nieces and nephews and groceries. It was a record minimum spending for a four day weekend in my house.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Five Alarm Lessons

I was getting my bake on Wednesday night and I found out the hard way that the recommendation to put a cookie sheet under a spring form pan is really more than a recommendation. It's a necessity. Never before have I had a spring form leak before, but it did just that. I'd also never set the fire alarm off from baking before that night.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh Tannenbaum!

I was on a mission yesterday to find a white Christmas tree - for under $100. I went to lots of stores and ended up finding one at the place I least expected to. K-Mart. I never shop there! I guess I should more often. They had some of the cutest Martha Stewart decoration collections. My favorite was Festive Confections. I restrained from buying everything in the collection. I ended up getting a pink polka-dot tree skirt and green polka-dot ornaments. I also grabbed a few boxes of pink, blue and black glass bulbs.

Matt refuses to let me put it up before Thanksgiving. What a Scrooge.

Tres European

I couldn't take it anymore and I woke up early this morning to go to my parents' house for a hot shower. I got there and they had fresh towels, a new bar of soap and a cup of coffee waiting for me. Mom even gave me some lasagna for lunch. Remind me again why Matt and I don't live there???

I can only handle so many 45 second cold showers and this morning was the straw that froze the camel's back. I wasn't able to stand the water longer than a minute, so I hadn't washed my hair since Friday. Thanks to the Ojon or else it would have been gross. Turns out you can use that stuff three days in a row and it will keep working. My hair felt disgusting, but it only looked mildly bad. I felt very European going three days without proper hair washing. I've also read that French women take cold showers because it helps prevent against skin aging. Well, international woman of beauty right here! Those showers were cold enough to turn back the hands of time!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Getting My Bake On

My sister's baby shower was yesterday. I volunteered to bake for the occasion, and when I volunteer for such a task I deliver. And the only other person I know who likes to bake with the same ferocity as me is my mom, so I called her in to help. Cat's only request was a pumpkin cheesecake. Pumpkin cheesecake is possibly the most delicious thing on the planet, but some people don't get down with pumpkin. So, I also baked a yellow cake and made some little cupcake bites.

The yellow cake was freaking delicious. I think I ate half of it in batter form before it found it's way to the pan. I used Bakeralla's moist yellow cake recipe. Ugh. It was so good. However... There was one major problem with it. I made three layers but only had two layer cake pans. I put the third layer in a spring form pan. When I tried to take the two layers out of the laying pans, they fell apart into a huge, delicious, crumbly mess. The spring form layer came out perfectly. So, if you're like me and you're not exactly skilled at removing things from tricky pans without wrecking them, you might want to opt for spring forms if you try out that recipe. I'm definitely investing in a couple more so I have them on hand.

When I got around to the cheesecake, my arm was so tired from making the yellow cake (lots of holding up a hand mixer) that I finally felt compelled to pull out the stand mixer we got for a wedding gift. I don't know what is wrong with me. I should have pulled out that baby months ago because it makes baking soooo much easier. It takes care of all the hard work!

I am in love.

I've made lots of pumpkin cheesecakes in the last few years, and I've never been 100% satisfied with them. They're always good, but never as good as I'd hoped. They're not "Cheesecake Factory" good. (I would murder for a slice of their carrot cake cheesecake.) I switched it up and tried this recipe. It. Was. Yummy. Much recommended. Next time I make it though, I'm doubling the recipe because I like my cheesecake really thick. This one was a little thin.

Last was making the cupcake bites. Again, I used a Bakerella post for these. Take a look at hers, and then check out mine.

Looks aside, they were really yummy.

In total, we spent five hours baking and had a cheesecake, 1/3 of a layer cake and sort of jacked looking cake bites to show for it.

Not exactly time well spent. I had to stop at the grocery store on the way to the shower and pick up a cake to stand in for the one that fell apart. I grabbed a German chocolate cake since white grocery store bakery cakes are horrible, horrible things. At the end of the shower only one piece had been eaten out of it and the cheesecake was completely gone. Cat's husband loves German choco though so she gladly took it home to him.

I didn't want the yellow cake to go to waste since it was so good, so I repurposed it into more cake bites for a birthday party last night. I mashed it up with cream cheese frosting and graham crackers then dipped it into chocolate bark. They were soooo tasty.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What do you mean there's no super?

You know what's awesome about waking up on a Friday morning for work and it's 12 degrees outside? Not a whole lot. You know what's even less awesome? Finding out the pilot light on the water heater went out some time in the middle of the night and you have no hot water for a shower. Doesn't that sound like a friggin blast?

My brave sweet husband went to the basement and re-lit it since I wouldn't go near the thing. I would take a cold shower any day of the week over having to introduce an open flame to a gas source. No thank you. I do not want to be the one responsible for blowing up our house. My solution was to call my dad. (That's my solution to most of life's problems.) Matt's solution was to be a man and face possible death. Turns out that all Matt had to do was sniff around for the smell of gas, and since he didn't smell it he flipped a switch and it lit itself. Unfortunately though, by midnight it had gone back out. So, Fire Starter lit it again before bed. And would you know what? The damn thing went back out overnight.

In the olden days I would call Steve the landlord and he'd send Craig the handyman over to fix it within twenty minutes. And if Craig couldn't fix it Steve would invite me over to his mansion around the corner to use his hot water and have milkshakes with him and his wife. He'd also wash my car and offer up the laundry room. (He was the best landlord ever.) But now we own and short of my father, there's no one to call when things go wrong except for people who will charge you for repair work. What a scam.

I begrudgingly called a plumber and scheduled a time for him to come out and fix it. Mr. Plumber informed me that he did not have Whirlpool parts and if I called Whirlpool directly they would hook me up with the parts for free since it's under warranty. So, that's what I did. The parts will be here on Tuesday. That means by Wednesday I should be able to take a hot shower in my own home. There's nothing like five days without warm water to really make you appreciate the fact that every time you turn on the faucet it just comes out. This is very much like the three days we spent this summer without electricity. It's sort of like the universe's way of reminding us to be thankful for what we have.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ugh. So happy it's Friday.

What a week!

Thank goodness this week went fast. I don't know what I would have done if it were a slow one. Work has been mind numbingly dull, Matt's work has been terrible, leading him to put in his two weeks. That has led to an immense amount of stress for him. I say screw it. We'll be fine. He's booked with shows for the next two months, so that gives him time to figure something out. Really, I'm jealous of him. He has the ability to quit his job and live off of his career as a musician for the time being. I only have one career - that of a disgruntled web designer - and have nothing substantial to lean on if I quit my 8-5. I'm really working on getting some more photography experience/training right now. I would love to work as a portrait and event photographer to support myself. I have a sketchy business plan and think I could make a living out of it given enough time.

Hey everyone! Call me if you want some pictures taken of your kids, pets, engagement. I'll do it for free and/or for beer! I need to practice and try to get a portfolio started. And if I don't eff up those to bad, maybe someone will trust me with the task of photographing their wedding! Although, I'm honestly not comfortable with that right now unless the bride wants "blurry and slightly yellow" as her theme.

I'm stalled on the scarves at the moment. I've been kinda busy this week. Housework was neglected big time so I had to catch up on that. I went to Cat's one night and worked on the mural. (Looking pretty good so far.) Tonight, I have some massive baking to do to for her baby shower tomorrow. Saturday afternoon though... pure crafty devotion.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Vegas Part II - In Which I Gush

So, back to the LOVE show...

I don't know if I can adequately describe what the show meant to me, but I am going to try. In my house and family, John, Paul, George and Ringo are not people who happened to be in a band. The music that The Beatles brought into the world is a treasure that changed everything permanently. The planet is a better place for them being in it. They are the sum of everything we believe in and a way of life. I'm very serious here. Matt and I are essentially flower children. We try to be the peace keepers, neutral ground in things. We try to keep good karma and do right by the universe. We aren't religious but we believe in the collective spirit of the world and loving your neighbor. We love our friends and family dearly and we don't take them for granted. We enjoy art and creation and seeing the beauty in things. It's not easy to hold true to your ideals on a daily basis but we really try. You can almost smell the patchouli, can't you? I'm just trying to fill you in on us so you can appreciate why we loved this show so much.

LOVE is the closest that anyone will ever come to seeing the Beatles live again and let me tell you... It's damn close. It's more than a concert or a Cirque du Soleil show, it is the music of the Beatles come to life. It moves and breathes. It felt like they were in the room with us, telling us the story of their lives and music. It was so overwhelming, both sensory and emotionally that I cried for nearly half of the show. I was simply stunned. My jaw was on the floor and I had tears in my eyes. The imagery and costumes are so well thought out, nothing is arbitrary. Everything serves a definite purpose and is beautiful beyond belief. There are times when the performers are gone and the only thing on stage are silhouettes of The Beatles, and those moments are haunting. It ceases to be a show and it feels real.

We ended up extending our trip and seeing the show twice. We couldn't not see it again. That extra day cost us a lot of money but we would have regretted not doing it. I've always felt that life experiences are priceless and I'll pay any amount of money for an important one. We could have come home and spent $300 on a new TV rather than LOVE tickets, but what do you think I'm going to remember more when I'm sixty, that TV or that show? You think I'm going to sit around at Christmas and tell my grandkids about the day that I went to NFM and bought a 19 inch flat screen for the kitchen? Possessions won't get you far in life. You have to value your experiences and the moments that shape you because that's what life really is and that is what is worth every penny to your name. It's not the house you live in, the car you drive, the clothes you wear. Life is how you live and what you experience. Life is what the music of The Beatles is about.

The first time we saw LOVE, we were at about the top of the second tier of seats. The second time we saw it, we were nearly eye-level with the stage in the fifth row. Sitting back farther gives a better overall view of the show. You can take everything in as a whole. But sitting up close allows you to see the real acting and the story. Those performers do an amazing job. The theater is set up so the show essentially surrounds you. You can see and hear and feel it from every side of you.

Whether you're up close or farther back, the message remains the same. Love. Love will change the world. And you know what? I believe it. Why do you think the message that they shared with the world has stayed at the forefront of Western culture for over forty years? Because we want to believe in it, want our neighbors to believe in it. Peace, love and happiness. Why wouldn't you want to believe in that? I think it's a message we could all benefit from.

What happened in Vegas didn't stay in Vegas. We stayed in Vegas.

This is going to be part one of a two part series, just to alert you ahead of time...

Matt and I just got back from the Vegas trip today. We were supposed to get back yesterday, but drunk impulse-purchased a new return flight so we could stay one more night. (I'll get to that... ) The trip was a gift from Billy and Rach, who met us there via Mexico. Billy unfortunately was unable to make it to our wedding, so he wanted to do something very special for us to make up for the lost memory. He definitely delivered.

We arrived early Saturday morning, which may or may not be the beginning of the day in Vegas, depending on how you look at it. Of course we started off by pigging out at a buffet. We then went to Madam Tussaud's and posed with/groped as many wax celebrities as we could. Then lots of walking, a little gambling (I won $16 on my first slot machine!) and a trip to the Stratosphere. I wasn't even going to pretend that I have the balls to ride a scary ride on the roof of a building so I hung out on the observation deck while everyone else did the ride. We then drank some cocktails to ease the fear. I also encountered everclear for the first time this side of 21 and I was not impressed. Rach and I went hoe boot shopping and the guys went to get tattoos. Unfortunately, tattoos were going to cost way too much money and Rach is the only one who found her some hoehoes.

And then it was time for the reason we went to Vegas. LOVE.

That show quite possibly changed my life. I'm serious. It was beyond amazing. It was the most incredible thing I have ever seen in my life. I cried the entire time. There was just no getting over what I was witnessing. It completely and utterly blew my mind.

Matt and I were scheduled to go home Sunday night around 7:00, but after some noon time cocktails we got to waxing about the show and things changed. We started by wishing there was a matinee. And then we started planning our next trip back in the spring. And then that turned into us wondering, just out of curiosity, what it would cost to transfer our flights to the next morning because we could just stay in Billy and Rach's room for the night so it's not like it's that big of a deal.... Right? And then that turned into me and Billy in the business center with my credit card rationalizing the price of new plane tickets. It was probably the most impulsive moment of my life. The transfer wasn't exactly cheap, but I was so excited and a wee bit intoxicated so I just rolled with it. The general consensus of the night was that we only live once so we better enjoy it. We then ran across the street and bought tickets to the late LOVE show.

It was just as incredible the second time.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I can no longer hate you Sephora.

I discovered something last night that can almost be called a miracle. It permits me to spend even less time getting ready for work (or anything else that involves being seen outside of my home).

Dry Shampoo.

Two reasons why this is so great:
1. I can save my dye jobs by not washing my hair every morning.
2. I can save myself the torture of washing and blow-drying every morning.
2.a. That makes me feel sort of European.

Am I the last person on Earth to learn about dry shampoo, or is it a generally well kept secret that this stuff is awesome? I really wanted to order Bumble and Bumble's dry shampoo after reading about it, but it was $40. Not only do I hate spending time on my hair but I'm also cheap. So, I broke my solemn vow to never step foot inside a Sephora and I bought some from them. I think Sephora is kind of a B.S. store, a lot like Victoria's Secret. I dislike both of those places equally. I shouldn't have to have a reason why.

I found the "Dry Shampoo" aisle which reminded me a lot of the "Dirty Leper" aisle. Here's this bright and glossy store full of things to make you pretty, and I'm picking around in the aisle that's going to assist me in washing my hair less. The salesgirl seemed annoyed when I asked her which one I should by and she didn't really give me an answer. She said, "Well, people seem to like this one," and pointed at a brand called Ojon. Then she promptly walked away. So, I bought a travel size of the one she kind of pointed to in case it sucked and I hated it.

I was so excited to try it out this morning. I wasn't sure it was going to work since I own the greasiest head of hair you've ever seen in your life. But damn, if it isn't shiny. I sprayed some around the front (greasiest spot by far) and combed it though. And you know what? The greasiness vanished. I put it in a ponytail to avoid having to straighten it after rubbing my head on a pillow all night, and I took what might have been a 90 second shower. I was at work by 8:00 this morning for the first time in... ever.

I didn't put enough in though because I wasn't too sure what I was doing, so I'm getting a little slimy around my hairline. But you can bet I'm going home tonight and spraying more on. I wonder how long I can keep piling this stuff on? The benefits of integrating this stuff into my life could be endless. I can now add "not washing my hair" to the list of "not wearing makeup" and "refusing to shave more than once bi-weekly." I am such a babe. The only down side is that the spray kind of smells like an old lady. Not bad old lady, but like Aquanet and Chantilly perfume.

So, Ojon. Go buy some.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Progress Report!

Let's recap a couple projects I've been working on:

1. Nursery Mural - No progress to report. Its in the same state now as when I last saw it Saturday. I didn't get a whole lot done that day so needless to say I'm a little behind. In my defense though, I was a little hungover that afternoon so it's amazing that I even made it to her house. I wouldn't have gotten as far as I did if my dad hadn't shown up with some Heineken's.

2. Scarf Orders - I'm still working on Elisabeth's scarf order for her shop. I took a peek at it on Facebook and it is darn cute. I can't wait to send these guys off to her. I'm also making her an additional scarf for a silent auction during a benefit concert. I still owe Matt and Kate each a scarf, as well as Cols asking for one. So in all, 3 scarves down, 6 to go.

3. Mastering the Art of Photography - I bought a couple books and signed up to take the first in a series of digital SLR workshops. So far I haven't mastered it, but I'm finally learning things I should have learned nine years ago but never did. The only problem is that now, I want tons of equipment and crap that I'm reading about. Lenses, filters, tripods, flashes. It makes me drool.

4. Stop Spending MONEY You Fool! - Aside from the huge salon bill and groceries I haven't paid for anything this week. Not bad actually. Not. Bad. At. All. But we're going out of town this weekend so I'm sure that's not going to last.

5. Rehab the Living Room - Going great! Everything has been ordered and most of it has arrived. We finally hung up the curtains. FINALLY!!! It only took two hours, one argument and countless utterances of the eff bomb. It's just about ready to be photographed and shared with the world.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Has anyone ever had one of those allergy scratch tests? Basically, the doctor pokes you over and over again with various allergens and then waits fifteen minutes to see if any of them create a welt. Thanks modern medicine!

Well, I had one last week. I am allergic to something/somethings unknown and it drives me insane. It drives Matt insane too and it was at his consistent prompting that I made the appointment. According to the test, I'm not allergic to anything. Humm, that's mighty helpful. The tests ruled out dust mites, mold, dogs, cats, eggs, wheat and 21 other potential things that I can't remember. The doctor said that we could either do the test again, this time with higher concentrations (which I think involved needles), or he could write me a couple prescriptions to get me through the fall and I'd be on my way. I'll take the needle-less option, thank you.

I went to fill my prescription and it was going to cost me $50 for a month's worth of allergy pills. That. Is. Insane. $50 to prevent me from sneezing for a month? I'm not so sure about that... I talked to the pharmacist and she suggested I try an over the counter pill. Claratin doesn't work from past experience so I tried something else. I forget the name right now. Basically though, it's a little bit of antihistamine mixed with meth. I took it and it definitely cured me of my allergy symptoms. No doubt about that. But it also gave me a raging case of cotton mouth and completely spun me out on pseudoephedrine. The next day I tried taking half a pill instead and it did exactly nothing in the way of helping my allergies, but still managed to give me dry mouth.

Now I have the choice of continuing to take the meth pills (and learn to enjoy the three hours a day that my eyes spin around inside my head) or I drop $50 on designer allergy meds and just get over the fact that I'm paying for some drug rep's Christmas vacation.

Decisions, decisions.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Well, it cost $85 to correct my hair-don't.

That is an $85 lesson that I didn't need to learn.

I definitely got my money's worth both in color processing and lecturing from the poor girl who had to fix my mistake.

My hair isn't the bright, coppery red I wanted it to be. It's more of a dark auburn. Compared to yesterday's kool-aid colored tragedy, it's looking mighty fine. I figured it was better to let her go dark than to try and lift the freaky red out and fry myself silly. She also talked me into cutting off what she said would be "an inch, inch and a half" of dead ends. Really though, she took at least three or four from me. I understand that the hair needed to go. The ends were the remnants from last September's foray into bleach blonde-hood and they were seriously crispy. Add to that two days worth of processing and it was not a bad idea to let it go. But I really wish she had asked me before chopping it off. I've been trying for a year to grow it out.

Well, actually I tried for about two years to grow it out, then I spent a year gradually cutting it all off, then I decided a year ago to let it grow out again. It's currently still sitting above my shoulders if that indicates how much dedication to my hair I really have. (I'll just go ahead and tell you: Very little. That's why I thought it was okay to spend $8 on hair color and then apply it myself without any way of seeing the back of my head.)

In total, I spent more on my hair tonight than I spent on the utilities last month. I should have just shaved it all off with Matt's clippers and then taken us out to a fancy meal.

Vegas (The Dog)

But I will be in Vegas the city this weekend.

I was at my sister's house on Saturday to paint the nursery mural and I ended up taking some pictures of her doberman.

Cat- I know you want me to send you these but I already did you one better. :)

At least I managed to do something right yesterday...

After the hair debacle yesterday, I sat down and finished Tam's scarves.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

DIY Disaster!!!

Oh. No.

I have dyed my hair at home on many occasions and it always turns out fine. Sometimes it's awesome, sometimes it's just good. I dyed it today and the results are horrible! It looks like a blind kindergartner colored it for me. It's blotchy and essentially bright orange with some dirty blonde underneath.


I promptly called a salon in a total panic and had to confess my hair sins to the girl who answered. She laughed. Of course she laughed. It wasn't a mean laugh though, it was more of a "oh you poor amateur, you" laugh. She said that she would take me herself tomorrow and needed to know what I'd done to myself so she knew how much time to block off. I told her that I tried to dye it red and now my head looks like Ronald McDonald's left out in the sun too long.

Unfortunately, I have to go to work looking like this tomorrow. Luckily, I work with a bunch of male IT nerds so they probably won't even notice.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Aww. One more reason to love J.Crew.

I think it is so adorable that Michelle Obama shops at J.Crew. Maybe it just excites me because I have a recent crazy fondness for the Crew and now I too can have First Lady Style.

It's a little pricey for us average folks, but it's not insanely expensive. I wonder if she shops the clearance rack?

I also saw a picture of her coming from parent-teacher conferences wearing a baseball cap and I made an audible, "Awww" noise.

Wii Fit!

Buying a Wii Fit = AWESOME!!!

Buying a Wii Fit and paying your tuition in the same afternoon = BUMMER!!!

But the Fit was on hold for me at Game Stop and I've been trying like a crack addict to score one of these things for months. What was I supposed to do? Pass it up? Come on. No way. It'll come out of our redecorating money. One less table lamp isn't going to hurt anything. Everyone will be too busy faux hula-hooping to notice how dim it is.

What was that I was saying the other day about spending too much money on crap... Humm. Don't remember! Let's go play!

I found that it's hard to get work done at home when you spend all night standing on a plastic board, doing yoga with a hot digi-instructor, but worth it.

Seriously awesome piece of technology! Everyone should go buy one.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One More Piece of Politics and Then I'll Try to Stop

I have a serious problem with the opposition to gay rights in America. A huge, serious problem. This is a family joint, so I will keep it clean. But go here if you want to see exactly what I think of Proposition 8 and what I think of those who are trying to deny basic civil rights to homosexual Americans.

It's ridiculous that gay rights were left up to a vote on a ballot. I really don't think that this is a matter of public opinion. I honestly believe that this is a right that the American government has a duty to protect for all people.

What other segment of tax-paying American citizens face this kind of legal injustice on a daily basis? And you don't even want to hear my thoughts on the states that are banning gays and lesbians from adopting. I have nothing ladylike to say about that. Nothing.

I read on someone else's blog, "If you want to protect marriage, ban divorce."

I'm very sorry if you disagree with me. You see, my best friend is a gay man and I love him dearly. Unendingly. It breaks my heart to see his rights be denied in this wonderful country and for him to be treated like a second class citizen. I stood up with him at his commitment ceremony this summer and promised to help promote his rights as well as the rights of everyone in the GLBT community.

And I intend to do just that.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Look at me go!

Guess what I just did?

I placed the order for our wedding photos 10 days before the deadline.

Can you believe that? I almost can't.

That means that my pictures will be here 10 days sooner than if I'd waited to order until the last minute! Yay! The photographer guaranteed them in time for Christmas. Sweet. That's like what... another seven weeks? I can't seriously wait another seven weeks. All I've seen this far are thumbnails and low res pictures with giant watermarks on them.


Thank god that's over!

I am, of course, speaking of our thank you notes from the wedding. We did about ten a couple weeks ago and then never mailed them, never finished the stack. Just pushed it aside and forgot about it. Last night I cracked down and finished them while watching election coverage.

I was so happy to be done with it! (the cards and the election) Now all of our friends and family won't think we're ungrateful jerks. Eight weeks isn't completely obscene to get out thank you notes... is it? I was so worried about finishing the notes that I forgot to get stamps. I had exactly thirteen at home. So, a lucky thirteen will be getting their thank you cards in the next day or two. The others will have to wait a few days longer until I drag myself to the post office.

I put off working on some scarves to finish those thankyas, so I will be returning to that tonight along with praying for the band rehearsal in the basement to stop. It is sooooo loud in the house when they play. I need to find my ear plugs...

Come here it for yourselves:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Jeans? On Election Day?

Maybe I am alone in this thinking. Forgive me if I am...

I have a raging addiction and I've been checking the news today like a freak. There have been pictures posted of the candidates voting this morning. Photos of McCain, Biden and Obama showed them dressed up in suits. A picture of Palin showed her wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. Perhaps her attire is a testament to her "Main Street" appeal, but don't you think she would want to look professional and like a world leader on the most important day of her life? Is this really the last impression she wants to make on the American public before they potentially vote her into office?

Even I (not running for an office today) managed to clean myself up this morning and put on some pin stripe pants and a blazer before heading to the poles and off to work. She couldn't do the same?

She essentially showed up at her job interview with the American public wearing jeans. That doesn't sit well with me.


Total OMG moment. I was wrong about the sweatshirt. It was actually a Carhart jacket.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Tam's Scarf - #2

I've finished the stitching on another scarf that Tam ordered from me, but I don't know how I feel about it.

I think it's missing something, but I'm not sure what...

Market Failure = Buyer's Remorse

Soooooo... I'm bumming hard right now. Because of the drop in home values, the neighborhood we wanted to buy a house in is now affordable. We rented in our old neighborhood and didn't want to leave when we decided to buy, but we couldn't afford to do so. Everything in our price range fell into the "fixer-upper" category, otherwise known as the "total crap" category.

Now however, houses on the very BLOCK we wanted have fallen into our range and are sitting there with their for sale signs mocking us for buying a house mere months before the market bottomed out. I just found a beautiful house that's bigger than ours and all pretty on the inside and it's listed at the very price we paid for our house.

The house we ended up with is wonderful and I love it, but come on!!! Give me a break! I would have cut off my left hand for that house six months ago.

Disposable Income Goes Where?

I think it's time to devise an honest to goodness savings plan. We share a bank account so we have the habit of paying all our bills first and then buying/spending whatever we want after that. It's not very conducive to *saving* anything. At all. I have a percent being pulled into a 401K and I save my freelance money, but nothing out of our paychecks gets saved.

I really have no idea where our money even goes! I did the budget calculator on The Nest and according to them we should have $1100 a month left to save after bills and going out to eat/drink. Huh? What? Are you serious?

That is a very depressing revelation. I wanted to set a goal to save $200 a month and they're telling me I should be saving $1100? I must have missed a major bill or something in there because that just seems outrageous on our part. There's no way we spend that much a month on miscellaneous crap. Oh god, do we? I think I severely underestimated the amount of money we spend at the grocery store. And I didn't budget in my Target addiction. In all honesty, we could probably save nearly $400 a month if we just kept a better eye on what we buy and where we go. Yet we don't...

That is a sad, sad slice of reality on a Monday morning.


Ok, so some of the fields I filled in ended up blank and didn't get included in the monthly expenses. The total to save should have been $618, not $1300. That is not nearly as gut wrenchingly awful. It's still not good though.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A sign of things to come.

I finally decided to order some furniture online that I wanted and discovered that shipping was going to cost an arm and a leg and then another arm. (Do you know that it costs $288 to ship a $279 ottoman from Ikea? Doesn't that seem completely outrageous?) So, I scrapped the online ordering idea and we went out today to hunt furniture.

We went downtown and cruised some boutique furniture stores looking for some things for the living room. We ended up finding a chair we both freaked out over and ordered the matching ottoman. Matt showed sincere interest in this chair so I felt it was necessary that we purchased it immediately. He does not share my interest in home furnishings so any interest from him is a sign that I should buy whatever thing he likes NOW. We also didn't mind spending the money on it because it was going to a small business and not Nebraska Furniture Mart, the store that sells a million dollars worth of crap a day. That's not an exaggeration.

Am I the only person who gets a rush from buying furniture? I hate spending money on toiletries and groceries. I don't understand spending lots of money on electronics. I enjoy clothes shopping but it feels way too self-indulgent to actually spend too much time and money on it. (I just look and drool mainly.) But furniture. Wow. I felt like I needed a cigarette after buying that chair. It was so much fun. Is that weird? This is the first piece of furniture I've ever bought that wasn't out of necessity. It was thrilling!

Cupcake Scarf

Phew! I finished a second scarf today. I also smashed my finger with a hammer putting on a grommet. Word of advice: Don't try to watch a trashy MTV show while hammering something you're holding on to with your bare hands. It will not end well. Take it from me.

Here it is:

Does that cupcake look familiar?

It's almost gross it's so cute.

I've seen lots of people doing cupcakes lately. Like this person. And her too. So I joined in.

Makes me hungry...

Thursday, October 30, 2008


We got prepped for Halloween tonight. I bought massive amounts of candy to hand out to strange children, then we carved pumpkins.

Ringo supervised.

Guess who did which one...

Then we ate a bunch of candy corn and peanuts.

Now I'm drinking a Jack and Coke and relaxing, also possibly suffering from a brain aneurism because of the earth shaking sneeze I just let out. Stupid allergies...

We're going to go out tomorrow night, but I'm debating on whether or not to dress up. We're just going to see a couple bands at a neighborhood club, but I'm thinking people might be hallowed up. I have a little 60s dress that I might wear. It's not costumey, but it's vintagey and sweet. I actually wore it to prom in high school! Some people loved it, some told me it looked like I was wearing wallpaper. Either way, it's high time that it made an appearance again. And what better place for a 60s dress than at a Led Zepplin/Doors cover band show on Halloween?


Never, in my life have I been this excited about a video game. Mariokart for Wii is my favorite game (until now possibly) and it's still a distant second to this...

Beatles video game slated for 2009

In a conference call at 10am EST this morning, the Beatles' Apple Corps. Ltd., MTV Games, and Harmonix announced a new video game using the Fab Four's catalog. And little else.

The game, which will have music supervision by Giles Martin, son of longtime Beatles producer Sir George Martin and co-producer of The Beatles LOVE project with his dad, is slated for the 2009 holidays. It will not be a Rock Band game, however; it will be a wholly new, standalone title. Details will unfold in the coming months.

Keep reading...

With my in-law family comes a severe and undying devotion to all things Beatles. It's almost like a cult. You have no idea what kind of an effect this is going to have with my hubs and his brothers. I think they're all going to have Wii remotes permanently implanted in their palms.

Did I mention that we're going to Las Vegas to see love in less than three weeks? (A wedding present from the eldest McG.) I'm ridiculously excited about it. Its probably the closest I will ever get to a true religious experience.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Scarf #1 Done!

I finished putting together the first scarf for Elisabeth's co-op store thingy. I really like it. I really got down with those French knots. They took ages and ages to do. But, the effect is worth it. They look like little suckers...