Thursday, July 31, 2008

Marilyn vs. Roy

I wrote out the rest of my checks for the month and realized that paying the mortgage and my car insurance in the same week sucks on the wallet. I vowed to not spend any more money until payday. Then I promptly went to CB2 and bought these plates.

I initially went there to buy some Roy Liechtenstein looking comic book plates, but then I saw the Marilyn plates and changed my mind. They were way prettier and on sale. The two styles of plates were the same price at $2.95 each, but the Marilyn plates are 8" square and the Roy plates were only 5.75" round. Now, I never took economics but the Marilyn plates seemed like a better value. Plus, it was on sale so how can you pass that up?

And that folks is how we rationalize impulse purchases.

I'm hanging these babies in the kitchen. After we paint the annoying ecru colored half of the wall red, I think they'll look great up there. Sometimes I envy people who decorate in white and make it look warm and beautiful. It's so serene and inviting. Alas though, I am addicted to color. Our living room area looks like a never ending acid trip. That must be why I'm choosing not to wear white at my own wedding. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that my dress isn't white. It wasn't really a choice actually, it was more of an "Oh, what? My dress isn't white? Well, um... ok. That's pretty sweet too."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Things You Don't Want to See Before 7am

The dog eating a live opossum on the back patio.

Definitely not something I'm prepared to see at 6:45 in the morning.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Go Ogle

I have a secret little habit that I routinely partake in. It's pretty disgusting and self-absorbed.

I google myself.

It's interesting what you find out there. I was surprised to find some things on myself that I didn't know were out there. Nothing bad. Classified postings I made at work for roller skates and Police tickets. The occasional Sudoku scoreboard. Dean's lists. Embarrassingly bad race scores. It's like a history of my dorky past times.

I also google other people. Old friends, ex-boyfriends, family members, people I've never liked... etc.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Green Thumb

Hen & chicks out front:

Heirloom Tomatoes

Whopper Tomatoes

Yellow Peppers

Beginning of a Cucumber

Weekend Update

Here's what I've got done so far...

1. Vacuum the inch of matted dog hair off the bedroom rug.
2. Paper the bathroom shelves.
5. Weed the front flower box and maybe replace the flowers I let die.
6. Make the guest room look like more than just a room where crap goes.

Can you believe that? Turns out that all I have to do in order to make actual progress on the weekend is to tell the cyber-universe that I'm a lazy pig... And just like that! Motivation!

The rug actually got vacuumed last night due to an incident with Ringo. We left him out while we went and hung out with Ryan, and when we came home Ringo had dragged trash all over the living room and kitchen. He ate anything resembling food and left mostly paper. The worst thing though was that there was five days worth of coffee grounds in the trash. We swept and vacuumed and still there is coffee all over the floor. The gritty feeling on the bottoms of my feet drives me nuts.

The bathroom looks pretty great. It started off looking like this:

And ended up looking like this:

I have since peeled off that label on the basket. It was driving me crazy after I noticed it in the picture.

It took way too long to do, but I think the end result was worth it. I also papered under the sink and in the cabinets. It's a good thing I'm not claustrophobic because I spent nearly half an hour under the sink trying to smooth out all the air bubbles in the paper. I can't stand leaving air bubbles in that stuff. Anal people should not be allowed to use contact paper to cover shelving. Then again, who else but an extremely anal person would even bother with papering shelves?

I fixed up the front yard earlier, and actually weeded the garden on Thursday. It was such a pain in the ass. Bag of crap I pulled out of the garden:

I also bought some cheapo geraniums that didn't look so hot in the store for 29 cents each. I brought them home and planted and watered them, not they look fantastic.

As an added bonus, I went out this afternoon and only spent $11.50. That is a Saturday record low for me. Saturday is usually the day I get into trouble with the spending. I bought an over-the-door robe hook for $5, six clearance geraniums for $2, a nick-nak bowl for the bathroom for $1.50, and had a free lunch with Gloria that only cost me a $3 tip.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Weekend To-Dos

1. Vacuum the inch of matted dog hair off the bedroom rug.
2. Paper the bathroom shelves. I found some awesome polka-dot contact paper at Target. $6 well spent!
3. Complete at least two wedding chores.
4. Finish a web layout that should already be finished. Make that two.
5. Weed the front flower box and maybe replace the flowers I let die.
6. Make the guest room look like more than just a room where crap goes.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dresses and Dogs

Project Runway was a good one last night. Suede won with his crazy pink and beige cocktail dress, which in retrospect was pretty freakin incredible considering the materials he had to work with. My favorite dress of the season is still Keith's checked tablecloth dress. I would wear that damn thing day in and day out if I owned it. It's adorable!

The interview yesterday went well. I have another one with another manager on Friday. Eric and Matt really did all the work for me, talking me up to the folks at Apple. All I really had to do was show up as scheduled and show the woman that I was in fact who they said I was. I think I did alright in that sense.

I have a little habit of visiting the Humane Society's website and then taking pictures of the cute dogs and pixing them to Matt while he's working. I always say something like, "Ringo knows this dog. He wants us to go say hi and maybe bring him home." Usually, Matt doesn't think it's cute. But today I did it and he said we could go look at the dog! YAY! She's super cute! She's a lab/aussie mix and has the cutest face in the world. She's seven years old! No seven year old dog deserves to be in the pound! We picked up Ringo in there when he was six-ish and I felt absolutely terrible for him. He is the sweetest dog I've ever met and I can't think of one single thing that would warrant him being given up for adoption. Not one thing. Not opening the trash cupboard and eating garbage. Not opening the fridge and eating a pizza and soda. Not coughing up hair-balls in the middle of the night. Not a single thing! (Seriously though, that dog is a freak for pizza. I can't even tell you how many pizzas he's eaten.)

I'm aware of the risks that go along with adopting a second dog. We finally just got Ringo to the point where he can be left to roam the house while were gone and not completely destroy the place. The new dog might disrupt that. There's also the risk that they won't get along. Cat had a really awful experience with adopting two dogs at different times and they didn't get along. It was heartbreaking for her to have to give up one of her dogs. She went to a close friend who loves her dearly, so it wasn't a completely unhappy ending... but still. No one wants to go through that. And then there's twice the food, twice the vet bills, twice the muddy paws, twice the hair on the floor. But twice the love!

The chance that we'll actually bring the dog home is about 1/1000. So, I shouldn't fret over it too much.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hump Day!

Things going on:

1. Got a job interview after work! How exciting! Hopefully it goes well and I might never have to step foot in a cubicle again.

2. I am swimming in ideas for a certain someone's baby room. It started out with her asking me to paint a mural and ended up with me wanting to make curtains and the whole shebang. No word on the sex of the baby yet, but I'm pulling for a girl after today's conversation about room themes. Before I was partial to a little boy's room, superheroes, a skyline and Shea stadium. Oh my! But we talked about a girl's room today and came up with polka-dots, stripes, a tea party, butterflies, cupcakes and bumble bees. CUTE!!! Maybe if she has a boy I'll just go ahead and decorate my bedroom in those things...

3. Jonathon said he would help us finish up on the massive paint job we started in our home. The basement is 95% finished, then there's the guest room and the bathroom. The kitchen needs to be finished too. The old owners painted red halfway across the wall and stopped partway into the kitchen. It doesn't look bad, but it bugs the crap out of me.

4. Weed that garden already! Technically my garden isn't full of weeds, it's full of crapgrass. (Typo but I'm keeping it.) I would rather have weeds than devious crabgrass that will not go away no matter how much of it I pull out. Somewhere in that mess I call a garden are cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes and peppers. Possibly some onions too. It's really, really bad in there. I'm sure the neighbors hate me for it.

5. I officially started my 1/2 marathon training last night. It was unbearably hot outside when I ran after work. I purposely chose the flattest route I could find. I managed to make it all three miles without puking and rewarded myself with a cold shower and an even colder beer.

6. I have so much freelance on my plate right now I don't know where to start. So I'm not. Procrastinate, procrastinate, procrastinate.

7. Project Runway is tonight! Last week Jeff and I watched it together and played, "Guess Which Designers Are on Coke!" Tonight Brandon will rejoin us and we'll watch it at my house for the first time ever. Reminds me of the time Jeff and I watched a Season One marathon at my apartment back in the day. The day went: breakfast, Project Runway, St. Pat's parade, beer (so what if it was 10am, there was an Irish parade outside my window!), Project Runway, lunch, Project Runway, nap, Project Runway, Funnybone. I would love to relive that day over again. It was more fun than two people should be allowed to have in the span of 24 hours.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Lists of things I like. This has no point other than to uh... well. No point. Just for fun.

Top 5 Magazines
1. Budget Living (Which is ironically kind of expensive)
2. Bust
3. Real Simple
4. Elle
5. Rolling Stone

Top 5 Dives
1. Big Mama's
2. Louis M's
3. Lisa's Radial Cafe
4. Razzy's
5. Amato's Cafe

Top 5 Ethic Restaurants
1. Espana
2. El Aguila
3. Taj
4. Kim Som
5. Feta's

Top 5 Shows
1. Arrested Development
2. The Office
3. Project Runway
4. Family Guy
5. My Boys

Top 5 Oldies
1. Annie Hall
2. What's Up Doc?
3. Wizard Of Oz
4. Help!
5. The Shining

Monday, July 21, 2008

Savings and Chutzpa

Sometime I think I have a real problem with focusing on and completing things. Small things, large things, big picture things...

Thing to complete #1 - Save some more money.
I don't think I have a problem with spending money, but I definitely have a problem with not being able to save money. I pay all the bills before they're due and we always have money for food and gas. I think my problem is that I don't save the money upfront. I always think I'll wait until the bills are paid before I put some money into savings. But that never really works out, as I'm sure anyone can tell you. We always end up using the money we're supposed to be saving.

Thing to complete #2 - The mountain of projects I have started.
I also have about 1,000,000 unfinished arts and crafts projects stored up around the house. I think about how much more personality our home would have if I completed the paintings, arrangements and decor that I set out to make. I have a closet of 1/2 finished paintings that have followed me through three apartment moves. I have a box of glass paints that I bought four years ago to make a wedding present with. I did finish one thing recently! I had a table sitting in my parents' garage that needed to be refinished. After three years and my parents finally refusing to keep it any longer since I now had a house of my own, it ended up in my living room in all of its worn out ugliness. I had it repainted within the week. I painted it turquoise blue, a shade darker than the living room wall it sits against. I still want to paint cherry blossoms on it, so I guess it's not technically finished.

Thing to complete #3 - The house.
I really love our home but it's not quite there yet. Hopefully after the wedding we'll have some money to put into the house. I am a freak for window coverings. I looooove them. They can really transform a room. Yet, I have none in my house. We have slate blinds that the previous owner installed but there's nothing pretty about them. They're purely functional. I long for curtains. I also want to put up moulding on the walls and crown moulding. How pretty would that look? (Very pretty.) We also desperately need to replace the windows. The sooner the better. They don't open and it drives me nuts to use the AC on nice breezy days. Plus it's a complete waste of energy and money not to replace them. I try to make myself feel better about spending the money by telling me that we'll recoup the investment in heating/AC costs and when we sell the house. Also upon replacing the windows, I want to paint the exterior of the house, the shutters, and the front door. A little landscaping wouldn't hurt either. And then there's the epic battle of converting the lonely toilet in the laundry room into an actual full bath. The list goes on...

Things to complete #4 - Finally being comfortable and in love with me for being who I am.
I had a totally tragic dream last night that Martha Stewart came to give me a makeover and I broke down in tears and started bawling. She asked me if I was happy with myself and I let out a wailing "NOOOOOOOOO!" while pulling on my hair and trying to hide my face. DAMN! Am I trying to tell me something? I generally internalize all of my insecurities and try not to let people really know what they are. Insecurity is not attractive on anyone. Anyone! I have a bad habit of comparing aspects of myself to those of other people, and then I end up feeling really bad about myself. I need to stop doing that. It's bad news.

I'm not really talking about comparing myself to a model on a magazine and then wishing I could lose ten pounds and grow five inches. I understand, and accept, the stranglehold genetics has on my body. I'm insecure in the intellectual and creative sense. I always think I fall short on creative chutzpa. I always want more out of myself. I feel like my portfolio is just a big book of near failures. I always look at other peoples' creativity and think "GOD! I would KILL for her use of the color pink!" I'm also painfully aware of the fact that although I am a champion of trivial knowledge, I have no applicable higher-academic book learning. I went to college but chose to study art, design, and food and never felt a real need to get beyond an Associates degree. As a result, I can make the prettiest cupcake in the world but have close to zero knowledge of world history and I never learned a foreign language. That might not bother most people, but it bugs the crap out of me.

So, there we go. Four things to work on...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Running and Living Green

I talked Kate into running the Omaha 1/2 marathon with me and now I need to talk myself into it. I'm trying to do good for myself again. I was on a roll last year with training for the marathon, eating right, not drinking (hangovers = runs that make you want to die) and just being a good girl. That is not the case anymore. I run once a week, maybe twice if I'm lucky. And it's always on a treadmill. I ran outside for the first time this year with some guys from work and it was awful. Granted, it was 90+ degrees outside, full of hills and all the guys are totally serious runners. But still, it was completely depressing. I need to work on that. I need to get outside and sweat my butt off doing a real run. The 1/2 schedule starts on Sunday, so I have until then to get my act together. I also need to start eating better. Not to say that having a donut and a diet coke for lunch isn't a well-rounded meal...

The house is shaping up a little bit. Our guest room is starting to be an actual room. There's furniture, things on the wall, the pile of wedding stuff is getting smaller. It feels good to have a third usable room in the house. I've begun digging out some decor that's been boxed up the the last year and making the house more homey. We also hung curtains in our bedroom. I'm sure this is completely obvious to everyone else, but hanging curtains in a room keeps it so much cooler than just having blinds! Matt put them up after lunch yesterday and when I came home from work the room felt great. It's usually hotter than hell in there. I registered for tons of curtains so hopefully we'll get some for the wedding and help improve our carbon footprint a little. (Speaking of carbon footprints, I think the three days we lived without power this month should qualify as us living green for a few days to help offset the eco-cost of the wedding. Makes me feel a little better about it.) We're also going to call and get a quote this weekend for new windows. That will make a huge difference on our energy costs. We live in a house where 80% of the windows don't open, yet 80% of the A/C manages to escape out of them. Plus, it will make the outside of the house look a little less crappy.

I also really want to get a bike and combine my green efforts with my cross training. Work is only seven miles or so from home. I can easily ride a bike to and from the office. I can't imagine it would take that much longer than driving in morning traffic. My building also has a locker room in it so I could shower after I get all stinky on the ride to work. I could probably save at least 2.5 gallons a week with a bike. At $4 a gallon, that's $10 a week I'd save. Pretty good stuff right there! The bike would more than pay for itself in the long run. Riding would also double as cross-training for this damn run I signed up to do.

Back to work I suppose...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Beemer, Nebraska

Last night, Jeff, Brandon, Shannon and I went to Beemer, Nebraska. Yep. Beemer. We went to visit of Brandon's friend Ashley and gawk at small town life. It was strange... to say the least, but very very fun. We stayed at the Trails Inn Motel. (Motel with an M) Our room smelled like 1945. The cinderblock walls were a lovely shade of peach. The bathroom was surprisingly clean, however. No one brought shampoo assuming that there would be some in the room, but no. Not the case.

After checking into our luxury suite we walked down the alley about 40 feet to Ashley's apartment. Here's her back porch:

Ashley lives above the bar that she owns. Her apartment was awesome. Huge, open, bright. The bar was the exact opposite. It was just what you might think a bar in Beemer, Nebraska might look like. But there was karaoke! Who doesn't love that? I was no where near intoxicated enough to be willing to sing in public. Plus, I have an out-of-state only policy on karaoke singing. I did it once in Kansas City (I sang "I Like Big Butts" in case you were wondering) and that was enough for me. But everyone else had a good time with it. Everyone including the baby the karaoke operator was holding the entire night. I didn't know babies liked karaoke? I mean I know that babies love being in bowling alleys at midnight, but I was not informed that they also liked smokey karaoke bars. I need to get a parenting book or something. Can you believe people let me babysit? I'm such a terrible tare taker...

After leaving the bar, Shannon and I walked back down the alley to our room. Luckily, I had a couple drinks and my sense of needing to go to sleep overpowered my sense of not being willing to touch anything in the room and I was able to get into the bed without being totally grossed out. That vanished in the morning though when I woke up and remembered that I wasn't in my own bed and the comforter that was pulled up over my head was not one that I really ought to have been touching.

After everyone woke up we headed back to the bar for breakfast. Beer for breakfast, yay! No, not really. The town's hotspot bar also doubles as the town's hotspot breakfast joint. I had a delicious egg sandwich and a few bites of the most incredible biscuits and gravy. I am unashamed of my love for biscuits and gravy. They have serious ass-fattening potential, but the yumminess is more than worth it. And then that was that. After eating we drove back to Omaha and I took one of the hottest and longest showers of my life. I needed to burn off my top layer of skin to be sure that I got all of the motel off of me.

Friday, July 11, 2008

What the Heck Is This Thing All About?

Here I am, on the cusp of mid-20s, on the cusp of marriage, and on the cusp of being gainfully unemployed (potentially and intentionally). So much is happening right now that I feel the need to put it all down in one spot and maybe find some clarity in all of it. And since blog sites have become my new internet addiction (so long Myspace) here I am!

Let's begin with the wedding. This is easy stuff. I am beyond elated to be marrying Matthew, the man of my dreams. Our relationship is so sweet and lovely it makes me want to puke sometimes. It's not all cuteness and nausea though, we both have terrible tempers. Our lives are enhanced by the wonderful Ringo. Not that Ringo, although he's nice too. I'm talking about this Ringo:

And on to the not-so-easy stuff... I'm talking career here. I will be turning 25 shortly and have been working in an office since the age of 20. I've known the entire time that I am not cut out for office longevity. It's painfully boring and quiet and stuffy and lots of other bad things. I've been presented with lots of crazy opportunities lately and I'm thinking about embarking on some of them. I really want to regain some of the creativity I've lost over the last five years. (You want to kill a creative graphic design graduate hungry to make it in the world? Give her a job.) This however would mean that I would need to quit my job and depend entirely on freelance work and hourly wages. It's something I have to consider sooner or later if I want to finish school. It's kind of hard to take an 8 hour cooking lab on a Monday when you're supposed to be at the office.

Did I not mention that I am also a culinary student? Well, there you go. I am currently taking classes for a culinary degree in bakery/pastries. Matt and I want to open a diner in the semi near future. Everything in the restaurant will be made fresh on the premises. You want some hash-browns? Not a problem, just let me chop up this potato real quick. My specialty will be the baked goods and being mistress of interior decoration and all things fun and pretty. Every roll, every pie, every slice of bread will be made fresh and from scratch, not pulled out of a plastic bag from the freezer. My dream in life is to wake up every morning and bake delicious food that people love to eat. That seems simple enough, right? It's the getting there that's not so simple I've found.