Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo- Day 1

Today was the start of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). And I actually started writing my novel. I have a bit of head start (not in the writing department, because that would be against the rules) because I've been mulling this story idea over in my head for some time now. I even mapped out some of the characters (very rough mapping, I might add, mostly names and relationships) and figure out a tenuous plot line. Tenuous, because the main climax of the plot line is missing. Basically my main characters go on a mission/adventure to find the main characters missing sister, but I have no clue what is going to happen between point A (sister is missing) to point B (sister is found). But I guess that's part of the fun of this whole thing. Letting the characters just tell their story instead of forcing the story with too much plot mapping.

Well, the first writing session went surprisingly well. Then again, it's easy to have your characters be born and start to grow up to a point where they can actually direct the story instead of just being a part of it. So that's where I am right now. At four years of age. Word Count follows...

Words: 2,074/50,000

Monday, October 25, 2010

NaNoWriMo

So, clearly I have had a major period where I haven't blogged. Mainly this is due to getting settled back into our apartment (we still haven't put everything away and restored order to our home, but baby steps). I've also started my new job and it's definitely hectic, but also a ton of fun. I most certainly have much less downtime at work to blog now, and it has definitely taken its toll.

However, I have been planning to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year and that starts the first of November. If you're interested in finding out more about this, they do have a website that you can go check out. Basically it involves writing a 50,000-word novel from scratch between November 1st and November 30th. It doesn't have to be good, nor should it be edited, it's just a way to get your ideas on paper. Some people will spend hours writing up outlines and creating whole worlds to play in. Others just write whatever comes to mind on November 1st and they let the story lead them. I'm starting somewhere in the middle. I've been tossing around a story idea for some time now, and I'm excited to start writing. Even if the end result turns out to be utter crap.

So part of NaNoWriMo is having a place to take out your frustrations (usually the NaNoWriMo forums) is things aren't going as planned or to share the news that things are going better than planned. I figured I'd do that on my blog instead. It gives me something concrete to blog about at least for the next month. So stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Back from our Honeymoon

We're officially back from our honeymoon. The week before the wedding was completely hectic. We went to bed late every day and woke up early and there still didn't seem to be enough time in a day to get everything done. We decided to do our own food, for 100 people. It took the help of several friends and family members to get all of the food prepped ahead of time (about 10 hours, all told). And the day of almost turned into a disaster if one of our guests and several of the groomsmen hadn't jumped in to help with the grilling. The food was fantastic though. All all of the little things that went wrong are just stories to tell our kids someday.

The honeymoon itself was absolutely fantastic. We went camping by Traverse City in Michigan for five nights and then spent three nights at a Bed and Breakfast in Traverse City itself. We also had the most amazing meal while we were there. Just this tiny hole in the wall place which seats 19 and has no alcohol license. But the food was a total experience in and of itself, so I totally didn't miss the alcohol at all.

I also chopped off my hair, as anticipated, and donated the 10+ inches to Locks of Love. I'm not sure if I like it yet (I actually think I want it shorter), but it's alright for now.

Also, I got the job I interviewed for right before leaving on vacation! I start on Oct. 1st and I'm so excited. It's like everything was worth it. Now I just have a lot of work to do to try and get everything in order to hand off to one or more of my colleagues. I don't feel right just handing someone a big mess (which it's not, but it sure feels like it sometimes).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 30

Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself.

I decided to do Days 29 and 30 all at once, mostly because we leave for Michigan in three days and everything until then will be committed to packing, figuring out the last few planning details, figuring out exactly what needs to be done and when, while we're in MI so that all of the wedding preparations go smoothly.

So, here's Day 30...

Dear Anna,

I love that you're wide awake the minute you get out of bed (on most days), but that you can go right back to sleep if you decide the alarm clock was probably on crack when it rang the first time. I love that you work hard at the stuff you love to do, but also at the stuff you don't necessarily like as much. I love that you know how to have a good time even without drugs and alcohol. Another very admirable character trait, is that family always comes first and that change isn't a big deal as long as your loved ones are along for the ride. Home is where your family is, it's not defined by a space.
I love the softness of your hair just when it's dry after a shower and the color of your eyes. I love the little strut you get in your step when you think no one's watching, like you're walking an invisible catwalk. I love the fact that you like your body, most days, and don't feel the need to be a size 0 or even a size 8. The confidence that comes with that acceptance is damn sexy too.
I love the life you have, the wonderful husband, the adorable cat, and the good job. I love the fact that you like your job, not just because of the co-workers but also because of the day-to-day paper pushing. And the fact that you've never given up on that promotion, even though you've tried five times.

I love almost everything about you, even when there are days when things are looking a bit down.

Sincerely,

Me

30 Days of Truth- Day 29

Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.

How whiny I can get when I'm tired, hungry, annoyed, well, really any time I'm not grinning from ear to ear. I'm not sure I can really tone down the whine factor in my voice, but I guess I can pay more attention to it when I start to get whiny. I guess the hardest part might be to realize that I'm doing it, so that I can try not to do it. And why, well, it's one of the few things putting a bit of a strain on our marriage. My DH just kind of shuts down when I start to whine, which causes me to whine more because he's not paying attention. I need to find a better way of communicating my dissatisfaction. Something that's more conducive to getting something done.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 28

Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?

As short a time ago as two years, I would have said, I don't know. I actually had this discussion with my hubby's cousin about a year and a half ago, because she found out that she was pregnant at 17. We talked through her options, and although we are both pro-choice, neither one of us could really imagine having an abortion. She ended up having the baby, putting it up for adoption and then changing her mind. Luckily, the father of the baby is very much engaged in raising the child, and they are going to get married, and not just because of the baby. So hopefully that's a teen-pregnancy story that ends well. She also has the full support of her family behind her, is planning on going to college this year, etc. So she got pretty lucky.

Back to myself, I had this discussion with my parents when I was younger. I know they would have supported me in any decision I chose to make, if I had gotten pregnant unexpectedly. But they also offered to adopt any child I did have. However, that situation never came up, and I'm now a married lady, with a good job, a wonderful husband, and settled enough that if I did get pregnant now, I wouldn't freak out. I'm not quite ready to start actively trying for a child, but if it happened I think I'd be happy. After the initial fears that we can't afford a child yet, that we don't have the room, that our neighborhood isn't safe enough, etc. I overanalyze everything, so I doubt this would be any different.

If I got someone pregnant... well, that would probably take a miracle, or a turkey baster.

Monday, August 23, 2010

30 Days of Me

Since I am almost done with the 30 Days of Truth (I have about 3 days left), I was really glad to find this new prompt here.

So, here are the daily prompts for 30 Days of Me:


Day 1- recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself
Day 2- the meaning behind you blog name
Day 3- a picture of you and your friends
Day 4- a habit that you wish you didn’t have
Day 5- a picture of somewhere youve been to
Day 6- favorite super hero and why
Day 7- a picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you
Day 8- short term goals for this month and why
Day 9- something youre proud of in the past few days
Day 10- songs you listen to when you are happy, sad, bored, hyped, mad
Day 11- another picture of you and your friends
Day 12- how you found out about blogger and why you have one
Day 13- a letter to someone who has hurt you recently
Day 14- a picture of you and your family
Day 15- put you ipod on shuffle: first 10 songs that play
Day 16- another picture of yourself
Day 17- someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why
Day 18- plans/dreams/goals you have
Day 19- nicknames you have and why you have them
Day 20- someone you see yourself marrying or being with in the future
Day 21- a picture of something that makes you happy
Day 22- what makes you different from everyone else
Day 23- something you crave for a lot
Day 24- a letter to your parents
Day 25- what I would find in your bag
Day 26- what do you think about your friends
Day 27- why are you doing this 30 day challenge
Day 28- a picture of you from last year and now, how have you changed since then?
Day 29- in this past month, what have you learned
Day 30- you favorite song

30 Days of Truth- Day 27

Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?

A wonderful hubby. We may have our differences of opinions occasionally, but on the whole we make a very good team. This past week was Restaurant Week in DC and that means, for my husband the chef, that he works 6-7 days, 10-12 hours a day. What that means for me is that I come home after work to an empty house, sit around by myself on the weekends, and get extremely upset when he then decides to go to a bar after work. I know, I know, I'm a terrible person. Well, that is precisely what happened on Friday night, he texted me to tell me he was going to the bar and I laid on the guilt trip (I've been waiting for you all day, I was really looking forward to spending some time with you, etc.). Said guilt trip didn't work (you know the adage, "be careful what you wish for," well, I wished for a husband who I couldn't wrap around my little finger... and boy am I paying for it).

So he comes home around 3am (the subway- aka the Metro- stops running at 3am on Friday and Saturday night) and I'm still awake, barely. He comes home, I go to bed, and try to give him the cold shoulder. Well, I know I have no legs to stand on in this argument, because he's been really good about coming home all week, and it was payday, which always means he ends up at the bar after work. So the cold shoulder approach didn't last very long, not to mention he didn't even notice I was giving him the cold shoulder to begin with. Long story short, despite our difference of opinions, he's still the best thing going for me right now.

Case in point, last night. He comes home right after work and the first thing he tells me (accompanied by a shoulder rub) is that he was thinking about it on the Metro on the way home, and he really has everything in his life that he wanted when he was a kid. A job, a place to live, some money in the bank, and a wife he loves and who loves him. I may have melted, but maybe the shoulder rub was partly to blame for that. I'll have to do an experiment, maybe next time he tells me his life is perfect, he'll have to refrain from rubbing my shoulders and then I'll know if the melting was because of what he was saying or because of what he was doing. And then he discovered that I had bought him beer (a very rare occurance at best) and came back into the room and said, "so you know when I told you I loved you and my life was perfect a second ago, well, I've decided I really do have the best wife ever." :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Why My Medical Bills are Free... Sort of.

So, I started a Flex account at work this year. There's two of us with medical expenses (mostly dental and vision related, not so much physical or mental problems), but that really adds up. So it seemed like a good idea to distribute those payments out over a year's time. I don't feel the loss of the $50 (pre-tax) that come out of my paychecks and I can pretend all of my medical expenses are free! Ok, so I know they're not, but I can still pretend.

This is great, because instead of being completely unhappy about actually having to pay our dentist (which in the normal realm of customer service expectancies, I would not have paid for... can you return dental service?) I can just pretend that I didn't have to pay him at all, because I'm getting reimbursed for every cent I just paid him... from my own money. In fact, the payflex claim went through in about a day, after our dental insurance took months to come through for us.

It's totally worth it not to have to worry about almost $400 coming out of your account at once (although I still have to pay the dentist first, before I file the claim with payflex) and instead putting aside small amounts from every paycheck. It totally helps with the budgeting too, because I can just enter the same sum in for medical expenses every month and not have to worry about being wrong and having unforeseen expenses pop up in my budget. And did I mention the pre-tax thing? Yeah, I don't have to pay taxes on $400 and my mother (also my accountant/tax person) doesn't have to worry about itemized deductions (or maybe she does, but I really wouldn't know, because I've never done my own taxes).

30 Days of Truth- Day 26

Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?

Hmm, I thought I answered that question in my post for Day 25. But yes, I have thought of giving up on life. Several times actually. Mostly it was during my dark, angsty teenage years when I decided that no one cared about me and that it would make them sorry if I killed myself. Yeah, I know, typical emo behavior. In college I thought about ending it all, because it would be easier than dragging myself to class every day and coming back to procrastinate and then do homework at 1 in the morning. But right now life is pretty awesome, so those thoughts are far, far away. Plus, as discussed in the previous post, even if I did want to kill myself in earnest, I'm too much of a coward to actually go through with it. So I think I'm safe, regardless.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Two Great Things!

Two amazing things happened today...

The first was that I finally paid the dentist. The insurance company finally paid the majority portion of what we've owed the dentist since February. That's how long we've been fighting with the insurance company, 6 months! But we didn't back down, we didn't let up on the insurance company or on the dentist when he tried to refuse to help us with the appeal. And in the end it paid off, big time. We're talking a difference between $1400 and $350. That's over a thousand dollars that we didn't end up having to pay. Today I called the dentist and paid the remainder of the bill and it lifted this huge weight off my shoulders. I'm still never going back to that dentist, because he's condescending and refuses to take the time to explain things to me, but in the end he did come through for us. So I asked his receptionist to thank him for me.

The second amazing thing was that I have a time and date for my interview. I am a grants administrator and manage the grants that my organization passes out. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to say who I work for, because I've had issues with this in the past. But I'll try to explain what's going on in the most general sense. Bascially, over the past year, I've applied for 5, now 6, jobs with the organization. I was well qualified for 5 of the 6, but I didn't get any of the 5 I applied for. I basically made me feel pretty worthless or that HR might have it in for me. I know I don't interview that well, I'm just not good at selling myself yet, and I get really flustered when people ask me questions I'm not expecting. But I know I do an awesome job and I was hoping that that track record would speak for itself. It didn't. This 6th job makes me feel like that has all been worth it. Why, because I really, really, really want this job.

I studied environmental studies in college, and my absolute favorite thing, the thing that interests me the most about environmental studies, is water resources. Specifically, freshwater conservation, water rights, dam removal, sustainable agriculture, riparian borders, etc. Now most of this stuff probably makes the average person yawn, but then again there are plenty of things that other people find fascinating that make me yawn. So it's all good if you're shaking your head at me right now, asking yourself, "what is she smoking?" (The answer to that is nothing, I'm just high on life.)

Well, some of the jobs I applied for had to do with water resources, but only one was about water rights, and I really wasn't invested in the Program because all of the grants I manage have to do with birds, trees, and tigers. Now, tigers are very pretty animals, but I'm just not passionate about saving them. Yes, I think they should be saved, but I'm not sure I want to be the one saving them. At least not directly. Obviously, I'm not going to go out and buy tiger parts from the black market, I might even give some money to an organization that saves tigers, but I don't really want to work with them directly. Some with birds and trees, I know they need saving, but I don't want to be doing it myself. But I just got assigned to a new program, which deals with freshwater conservation. And for the past month and a half my work has actually, for the first time, brought me true joy and happiness. And then I found out that they're looking for a full-time coordinator for the program.

As soon as the job was posted, I jumped on it. I got my resume and cover letter in the day after the job was posted. I've been waiting anxiously for the deadline to pass and to hear about a potential interview. In my mind, this is already my job. Why? Because I'm the only person at the organization who really works with the other two people who manage the program right now. I've gone above and beyond for them and I know they really appreciate that and like working with me. I'm just worried about who else might have applied. Today I found out that they did want to interview me, and I have a date and time now. But even if I don't end up getting the job, at which point I'll be ready to look for another job elsewhere, I won't let the new person lever me out of the program. I'm too invested in it and too happy doing this work, to let someone else take that away from me.

30 Days of Truth- Day 25

Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.

I believe I'm still alive today for two reasons: the love of my family and cowardice. My family has always supported me and even during my dark, teenage angsty days when I was contemplating suicide to "show those bastards that they need me," I still knew deep down that they loved me. I knew that my family would be upset if I did go through with it and kill myself. The other thing that kept me from doing it, was the cowardice aspect. I didn't have access to poison or a gun, I'm scared of heights, I don't like swallowing pills (certainly not a whole bottle of them), and I'm scared of inflicting pain on myself (I just recently got over having to spend half an hour shaving my legs, for fear of cutting myself). So that really left no good options.

Cowardice is also the reason I haven't died accidentally. I slow down to a crawl in heavy rain, more so since my very slow-speed, hydroplaning car accident two years ago. I'm afraid of heights, so falling out of trees or off a cliff, or a parachute not opening has never been a problem. And in general I'm just not a very adventurous person when it comes to doing something potentially dangerous.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 24

Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)

I am terri-bad (yes, that's a word) with music. I can never remember song titles or lyrics, altough the melodies, no problem. I've tried to complete this for several days now, hence the lack of new posts. But I find that I'm no farther than I started, and so I guess I'll have to admit defeat and move on. Due to some sort of OCD, I can't seem to post anything else until this is taken care of, so admitting defeat should let me continue to post. Sorry guys.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 23

Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.

I wish I had taken better advantage of my semester abroad at the University of Limerick in Ireland. I was so focused on keeping my grades up, dealing with a different grading and testing system, not having actual books for most of my classes, etc. that I didn't use my time to travel a whole lot. In the end, it didn't matter at all, because the different grade point conventions between U. of Limerick and American University meant that I ended up with lower grades than I should have for the semester. At of U of L they use .2 to signify a + to the grade (so a B+ would be a 3.2), but at AU they use .3 to signify a + (so a B+ would be a 3.3). And since they didn't bother looking at my letter grades (which is what the teachers gave out, which UofL then translated into the grade points for the transcript) my two B+'s turned into B's. Long story short, I got screwed over and if I had known that to begin with, I probably wouldn't have bothered trying so hard for the B+ when at the end of the day it was going to translate into a B anyway.

So, there were two options for housing arrangements. We could either choose to live with Irish students or with other international students. The co-ed apartment style dorms (individual rooms with bathrooms but with a co-ed living room and kitchen) that had only international students in it, had groups going out almost every weekend to Cork, Galway, the Aran Islands, etc. And some of the international students living with all Irish students would get to go home with their dorm mates on the weekends and see parts of Ireland that way. Oh yeah, Irish students go out almost every night of the week to pubs and clubs, etc. and on the weekends they go home to their parents where most of them have jobs to pay for their party time during the week. Unfortunately, I didn't get close to my Irish room mates. They asked me to go out with them the first few weeks, and I would have loved to, but I had absolutely no money due to an unfortunate extra technology fee that my parents didn't pay in advance. So I had to open a bank account and have my grandmother wire me funds from my German account, but that takes a while (2-3 weeks). So until then, I was completely broke.

So on the weekends, I mostly studied or talked for hours with my then boyfriend. My DH and I had just started dating at that point. But by the time I finally had money, my room mates weren't interested in trying to be friendly anymore and stopped asking me if I wanted to do anything. As for the other international students, I made friends with a few of them, but for the most part they stuck to their own room mates, especially if they were in one of the international student dorms. I wasn't really up for traveling on my own either. And anything outside of Ireland, required a longer period to make it worth it, but because the semester doesn't start until February, they also don't have a lot of vacation days in spring. In fact, the only time we did get was a day or two around Easter and about two study days before exams. Easter I used to meet a friend from high school in Scotland (that was a lot of fun) and the study days I used to go to Venice, Italy with my two friends from UofL. I also took a weekend trip to London to meet up with the same high school friend, and I went on the international student trips to Dublin and then to the West coast of Ireland. All of those trips were a ton of fun, but I wish there had been more.

Hopefully DH and I will be able to go back there one of these days and take care of that regret. We'd talked about it as a possible honeymoon destination, but neither of us could face the long flight right after driving to Michigan (10 hours) and spending a week pulling together our wedding reception. Maybe next year though.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Loremaster- aka banging my head against the wall

For those of you who don't play World of Warcraft, this might be as foreign sounding as the Sindragosa post a few days ago. But I will do my best...

In their infinite wisdom, Blizzard (the creators of the game) decided to put in something called achievements. As the name implies, these track your achievements in the game. And by "achievements," I meant anything that the creators arbitrarily decided was an achievement. Now, there is no reward (except bragging rights) for these achievements, yet. I am convinced it was just a way for Blizzard to keep people interested and playing the game once they reached the maximum level (currently 80).

Achievements vary, they can be anything from running around a whole zone and discovering every part of it (if you discover every single part of every single zone, and there are a lot in the game, you get a special "Explorer" title and an Explorer tabard you can wear, so I guess there are some very useless rewards after all), to collecting as many pets as possible (they have little "vanity" pets in the game that do absolutely nothing but look cute and follow you around, at 50 pets and at 75 pets you get a little bonus pet), to killing a certain creature or boss, to doing every single quest in the whole game.

Well, that last one, doing every single quest in the game is called the Loremaster achievement, because in theory, in the process of doing every single quest in the game you will learn a lot about the lore behind the game. Now, between vanilla WoW (the player's slang term for the original game) and the two expansions (Burning Crusade or BC and Wrath of the Lich King or WofLK) there are around 4000 quests in the game. 4000 little tasks for you to do (well, some aren't so little and take a lot of time and effort). Some are as stupid as some guy being too lazy to turn around and telling you to go talk to the guy standing right next to him, some involve killing a set number of a certain kind of creature, some involve bringing back items, etc.

There are 4 continents in the game, Northrend added for WofLK, Outlands added for BC and the original 2, Eastern Kingdom (which is technically two different continents connected by a big bridge) and Kalimdor. So far, I have completed every quest in Northrend and every quest in Outlands. I'm at 621 out of 685 in Kalimdor and about 330 out of 550 in Eastern Kingdom. Now, you might say, why the hell have you done that many quests when there is absolutely no reason to? Or you might say, but look, you're almost done. Well, folks, therein lies the problem. I still have plenty of quests left to do in Eastern Kingdom, but of those last 60 or so in Kalimdor... well, I can't find them. And even if I could find a few more here and there, somehow I doubt that will add up to 60. I'm that close and I feel like giving up. Yes, I know, it's a game. And a stupid use of my time, I'll admit that. But to come that close and feel like I'm going to fail anyway makes me want to bang my head against a wall.

30 Days of Truth- Day 22

Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.

This one is difficult. I haven't done a whole lot of things in my life that I've regretted later. I could say I wish I'd never moved to Florida, but I made some friends down there, I got to spent a year with my fiance learning how to live together. It gave me my first chance to stand completely on my own two feet (well, if you count my fiance) and a chance to work for a great little non-profit. Without those opportunities, I may not have been where I am today. I don't know if my life would have been better or worse, I don't know if I would be farther in my career or farther behind. I can play the what if game for ages, but at the end of the day, I'm ok with the decisions I made and I am honestly not sure if I wish there was something I hadn't done.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Banners

I've been playing with some possible banners for the blog. I still think it's too plain, especially with the blue background I'm rocking right now. Let me know which one you like best. Or if there's a combination you like. I was trying to get several things represented on the banner that I talk about on the blog.

#1



#2



#3

Contents of my purse

The contents of my purse.

The Perfect Pear posted a fun entry about the contents of her purse. Well, if you've ever wondered what's in someone's purse, wonder no more. Here is the content of mine:

The book I'm currently reading: The Scarlet Contessa
Two PenPal Project letters that I wrote answers to and sent off the other day.
My collapsible umbrella (and was I ever glad I had that in the downpour yesterday).
My cell phone, keys, and wallet.
Several pens and a tube of lip gloss.
Stamps I grabbed at the post office yesterday so I could send off those PenPal letters.
My work badge and keys.
My SmarTrip card for the Washington, DC metro system.
The little green thing, is my moleskin idea book that's always in my purse.
Then there is my nook cable (usually my nook would be in my purse instead of a book)
A business card for a traveling cupcake van, that parks in various places around the city.

There you go, not terribly interesting. Although I have to admit, I may have gotten rid of some crumpled receipts before laying everything out. I cheat, what can I say.

30 Days of Truth- Day 21

Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

Rush to the hospital. Just because I got in a fight with her, wouldn't mean I didn't want to be by her side. Especially since I'm very bad at holding grudges. They confuse me. It usually only takes a few minutes of cooling off after an argument, for me to start trying to figure out what went wrong, what the major points of discussion were, where they may have come from, and how I should address these points during the next discussion. I have honed these skills after three years of my husband walking out on me, when an argument gets too heated and stupid and he needs some time to cool off. Unfortunately, his idea of cooling off usually takes way longer than mine, and he won't answer his cell phone when I call him. So then I start to worry, etc.

But back to my best friend, who is in a car accident... If it was an hour before, I've probably already called or texted her to apologize and what not. Maybe we won't be completely squared away, but we'll be well on our way to it.

If I had a bedroom to decorate...

I have been reading Un-blog-evable's, "If I had a [room] to decorate..." posts. The latest in the line was a bedroom. I thought it was really interesting, so I'm going to follow suit. However, since I already have a bedroom to decorate, I think my challenge to myself will be... how would I decorate that bedroom if I had unlimited funds (not to mention I'd want us to own our own place first).

Paint from the Natura Bejamin Moore line and wooden floors from here.

This beautiful brown rug and green curtains from Target.

Bed from Anthropologie found here with a white comforter set from The Home Decorating Company.

An awesome refurbished green dresser and these cool twisty wooden tables from vivaterra as end tables.

As for decorations, I'd start with these green tiffany lamps for the bedside tables and this hanging lamp.

On top of the dresser, I'd love some candles.

On the walls, I'd hang several of these frames, with this artwork in it.



Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sindragosa bites the dust, Lich King will surely follow... eventually

So, for all of you who don't know. I play World of Warcraft. It's an MMORPG (Massive Multi-player Online Role Playing Game) with currently millions of players (although I have a feeling that's millions of accounts, not necessarily actual players). Sorry for people who are not going to understand all of this, but I'm too excited not to post about it.

My guild has been running 25-man ICC (Ice Crown Citadel) for weeks, even months now. Pretty much since it came out. First we had a hard time getting past the first four bosses, now we're flying through those, and taking down most things in one attempt. Although, in our overconfidence we managed to wipe on Lord Marrowgar the first time we tried to down him on Tuesday (embarassing). We've been doing Sindragosa (big scary bone dragon) attempts for the past three or four weeks, and last night... we one-shot her!!!! At 10% I died, because I wasn't broken out of the ice tomb quickly enough, and then I watched with mounting excitement as her health dropped down to 5%, then 4, 3, 2, 1. When she dropped, I was shouting with excitement and doing a little happy dance in my chair, much to my husband's amusement. One-shot, after getting so close the past few weeks that we could taste it. It was amazing.

My walked through Princes and Blood Queen and picked things back up on Wednesday by one-shotting Festergut and Rotface within 30 minutes. Professor Putricide gave us a few problems, due to stacking issues, but we got him down too. And then, for the first time in our 25-man runs, we got to see the Lich King. We were so excited we decided to take a group picture with him still alive. Then we proceeded to wipe several times as we were learning the strategy for Phases 1 and 2 and the transition phase in between. Phase 1 is down, the transition phase is so-so, and Phase 2 was absolutely terrible. We only got to try it twice, but both times were a royal disaster. You've got something coming to you, stupid chickens.... just saying.

So yay! Our guild is 11/12 with one boss to go. Don't even mention hard modes to me yet.

30 Days of Truth

I have completed 20 of the 30 days. Here is what you have to look forward to:

Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself.

30 Days of Truth- Day 20

Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.

Alcohol, while legal, should not be abused. I've gotten the spins twice in my life, which tells you how often I've gotten past the "pleasant and tipsy" stage of drinking. I enjoy a nice glass of wine on occasion, but I try not to drink to excess. I just feel that there is no point in feeling like crap when the room starts to spin around you, not to mention vomiting and the hangover the next morning. Also, why would anyone want to pass out and forget all about their night? I know some people use it as a crutch, but they're just prolonging the inevitable acknowledgement that something has gone wrong and they need to deal with it.

Drugs I feel even more strongly about. Although I'm willing to negotiate on medicinal uses. If you're a terminally ill person, do I begrudge you a drag at a joint or even a line of coke? No, certainly not. However, when medicinal drugs are used to self-medicate or for the buzz, that's when I start to have problems with it. I don't even like taking things for a headache. I had to take Vicodine after I had my wisdom teeth out. Once the initial sedative wore off, I took half a tablet of the stuff, and was completely loopy the rest of the day. I made do with aspirin for the rest of the time.

Recreational drug use I'm completely against. Except as mentioned above for terminally ill people. They're illegal, dangerous, and addicting. I refuse to touch the stuff, not even necessarily out of a fear for the law or the potential consequences, but because I am perfectly happy with my life. I don't need to "enhance" it or shut it out. And I like knowing that what I see, say and do is done with all my senses working properly.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 19

Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?

Well, I started touching on the religion aspect in the last post, so I might as well answer that question. I am an agnostic. What that means is that I know somewhere in my mind, in my heart, the parts that are not ruled by calm reason, I know there is a higher power out there somewhere. I just have to look at awesome beauty and power of nature to know that something is out there. I'm not sure what form that higher power takes, because I'm not sure I want to put that love, that beauty, that power into a particular form. I completely respect anyone who believes one way or another, but I have a huge problem with the way religion has been used to justify various attrocities throughout history. And I'm not willing to back any religion that has perpetuated various crimes against others just because they don't believe the same thing. To me religion should be about faith, about love, and compassion. And when it's used to justify violence, it makes me sick. So that is what I think of religion.

Not to leave you hanging though, my feelings on politics are very simple. It's a popularity contest and politicians are interested in making their financial backers happy. I also think it's sad that so few people in this country actually vote, because politicians take their win as a "mandate from the people" when it's not in fact a majority vote at all. I actually like the idea of making it a fine-able offense to not vote, I think Nov. 2 should be a federal holiday so that no one has to choose between their job and being able to choose the politicians to represent them. Then someone who makes the choice not to vote, does so in the knowledge that it comes with financial consequences, not something they just don't feel like doing. Okay, maybe that wasn't as short as I thought it would be. :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 18

Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.

I'm going to play catch-up. To me, marriage has always been a way for two people who love each other to make a life-long commitment to each other. I think anyone who fights for the "traditional family unit" or whatever, should take a better look at the rate of divorce amongst heterosexual couples first, before denying this union to same sex couples. Maybe their time would be better spent fighting for mandatory pre-marriage counseling or tougher divorce laws, etc. than trying to keep two people in love from making that status legal. So, do I think it should be legal, hell yes. Why, because I think a gay couple has the same rights to fuck up their marriage as much as the next couple.

Now, this brings me to the rights of organized religions to say whether or not they will allow their ministers to perform those marriages. Since marriage is above-all (to my happily agnostic self) a legal union (and no, civil unions are not the same thing as a marriage) and not a religious one, and we do still have a separation of church and state in this country (at least on paper), I do think that every church should have the opportunity to make that choice on their own terms. Is it fair that same-sex couples couldn't get married in a church of their choosing... perhaps. But then again, there are plenty of beautiful venues out there, with a justice of the peace or non-denominational minister who would be more than happy to marry them. Also, I don't see too many Catholic churches willing to work with a couple of another faith, unless at least one of the two was Catholic. Or a synagogue willing to lend their facility to a non-Jewish couple, etc. So it's all relative. Does it hurt not to be able to get married in the church you grew up in, yes, I think it would. But as already mentioned, I don't go to church, so that's hard for me to judge. I never wanted to get married in a church in the first place, but some people do.

I read about something a while back. It was a story about a lesbian couple in Australia, I believe, who had decided to have a commitment ceremony. Gay marriage is not legal down there either. So they gathered together all of the documents needed to approximate the legal status of a married couple (medical consent forms, name change forms, wills, etc.) and part of their ceremony was signing these legal documents together. Well apparently it took them forever to sign everything and it really brought home to them and to their guests what a legal hurdle they have to jump through to have the right to visit each other in the ICU, to inherit the others possessions, to be able to have legal guardianship over their children, etc. when for a straight couple all it takes is one signature (and a bunch of very easy name change forms, for women, not so much for men). I don't think that's right.

30 Days of Truth- Day 17

Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.

So I totally started this post yesterday, but I could not think of a single book I've read that has changed my views on something. This is not because I've read so few books, but because I've read so many. The local library loves me (probably in part because I sometimes don't have time to return books, thereby racking up large amounts in overdue fees). I'm starting to think the librarians know me by sight. Our living room is only not called a library because of the presence of our computers, dining room table, and currently our bed (it's too hot to sleep in our bedroom, unfortunately, so we dragged our mattress into the living room where we have a window unit). I guess other people would have just bought a second window unit, but when you have to pay an additional $75 a month for the privilege of being able to sleep at night, I'll drag that mattress anywhere. But I'm getting off topic.

Well, let's examine my choice of reading materials in a given month:
Historical fiction, romance, wedding books (which should stop after September), etc.

There's not a whole lot of non-fiction or classical lit to be had, except what I was forced to read in school. Unfortunately, since they were "required" reading, I honestly couldn't tell you too much about any of them. Maybe, and this is a big maybe, the book One River by Wade Davis changed my views about what to do about isolated indigenous populations in the rainforest a tiny bit. It's always been my opinion that progress requires wealth (which to me equates with currency) and certain rights, but reading this book showed me that some indigenous populations may be happier not being found. If all you know in life is that food should be shared with the rest of the community or that a psychedelic trip is not only legal but essential to a religious experience, etc. then who am I to walk in and tell them otherwise. Aren't most people happy with what they have until someone tells them to someone else has more?

Should they have the right to modern technology, especially health care? Do the women have just as much right to be equal members of society (which is not to say that they aren't already)? All of these rights I assume are a necessity to the rest of the world, what if they're just the product of our society? What makes us "civilized," and them "savages?" Just our mind-set. I've had this same problem while reading accounts of early settlers and missionaries in the United States or traders and missionaries in the Far East. What was wrong with just leaving them be to pursue their own culture or religion? Were they really better off in the long-run with the Western notions of wealth and power, did it make any difference at all? Clearly I have more questions than answers. But it's a question that has bothered me and that this book made me question.

Friday, July 30, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 16

Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.

Cleaning the cat litter box. I love cats, but that part of the "cat keeping" process grosses me out. Granted, not as much as cleaning up after a dog. Nor as much as cleaning up after my cat puking on the carpet (which he's only done twice in the nearly two years we've had him). So I guess I should be glad it's not worse. Unfortunately, the only time my hubby is willing to go near the litterbox (he had a really bad experience cleaning up a house where the cats had pissed all over the place when he was younger, at least that's his excuse) is when I beg and plead, or threaten him, when I'm out of town.

Does Cooking Make You Feel Sexy?

I am currently reading Julie & Julia by Julie Powell, yes, the book the movie was based on. Usually I like to read the book before watching the movie, but this time I happened to do things the other way around. I'm really enjoying the fact that I get way more of the story surrounding the central plot (girl decides to go on hare-brained cooking adventure and blog about it), which is pretty much the only thing the movie deals with. It's also way less chronological than the movie. She jumps around quite a bit, lots of flashbacks and such. Now I personally enjoy this type of storytelling but I know it's hard to do in a movie.

So that brings me to my point. I was reading a chapter today about how she thinks that cooking certain foods can make you feel sexy, just like eating certain foods can feel sexy. It all depends on who you're cooking for. Now, I'd like to preface this by saying that I am not the cook in this household. I barely ever cook and when I do it usually turns out mediocre at best (with the possible exception of things that don't need to be cooked like my 7-layer dip and most things that come out of the oven like stuffed shells). My husband is a chef, so there's really not much point in learning. However, I have been craving this chanterelle omelette my father used to make after we'd go mushroom picking. For the longest time I couldn't figure out what the mushrooms in the omelette were, but I finally figured it out.

My husband, being the sweetheart he is, offered to bring me some home from work. Apparently, they are a) in season and b) they are using them at the restaurant he works at right now. This made me extremely happy. Then he proceeded to forget for almost a week to bring any home. But fortunately, he remembered today and came home with the loot and booty (no, he didn't actually steal them). I had crashed and burned the second I'd gotten home from work, several days of not enough sleep finally catching up to me, but I woke up when he came home. I'd stopped at the farmer's market after work and grabbed a baby cantelope and some purple peppers. When he got home, I woke up, grabbed the mushrooms, cut up the melon so we'd have something to snack on while I cooked and cut up half the mushrooms. I sauteed them in butter (managing to almost burn them... I told you I can't cook) and then dumped three eggs whipped with some heavy cream over them. Since I was still in a bit of a haze, I managed to pour way too much pepper into the egg mix, because I forgot what I was doing for a second.

Flipping the omelette was a nightmare (if your mind can't wrap itself around the idea that an omelette doesn't have to be folded over with cheese in the middle, then call it an egg pancake) and it looked like a mess. I toasted an egg bagel to eat with it. Luckily it still tasted delicious (I blame the butter, not my cooking skills) and the pepper wasn't completely overpowering. My husband deemed it "well seasoned," which I think is high praise from a chef. But maybe he was just glad I didn't make him cook tonight.

And as for Julie's point that cooking can be sexy, I must say I totally agree with her. While chopping mushrooms and trying not to burn them and the eggs, I felt like a domestic maven, a true goddess. And I felt sexy as hell.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 15

Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.

SomeTHING I can't live without would definitely be my computer and specifically my computer running World of Warcraft. Sad but true, I'm addicted to the WoW crack. Although I do have long lapses where I won't play at all, even though my account is activated, and I like to think that I live a pretty normal life despite this addiction. However, go too long without it, especially when my account has lapsed, and I start craving it like nobody's business.

SomeONE I can't live without is my hubby. That darling and often-times irritating man makes me ridiculously happy. We did the long-distance thing all through college, but ever since we lived together for the first time down in Florida, we just couldn't do the separation thing anymore. We tried, for almost a month after Florida, he was going to stay in Michigan to finish up his culinary arts degree while I moved to Washington, DC to start my new job there. Well, it lasted only long enough for us to decide, screw it, this isn't going to work. Luckily I'd decided on a one bedroom apartment instead of the studio I was originally looking for, so he drove down my my dad and the furniture. We haven't looked back since. Traveling independently isn't too bad, especially if I'm the one traveling, since I don't have all of the joint memories that come with being at home, but if it goes on too long, like my enforced stay in Germany in April, it starts to get old really fast.

Friday, July 23, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 14

Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)

Dear Governor Granholm,

I was so excited to see a woman as governor of Michigan. I cannot remember a time when you were not governor of Michigan and when you weren't trying your very best to pull Michigan out of the slump it was in thanks to your predecessor. But amongst all of your budget cuts, your frugal plans, you cut one thing that should never have been cut. The scholarship program for Michigan graduates, the Michigan Promise. While I was not personally affected by this, several of my friends and relatives were. My brother-in-law in particular was counting on that money to help him in his first year of college. He's working full-time, living with his parents, and going to community college so he can pay for college himself. He plans to complete his four-year degree at another college, after his two years at community college are finished. He was really excited that he didn't have to figure out where those $1000 for his first semester would be coming from, until you pulled the rug right out from under his feet.

The budget had to be cut, I understand that. But why do it at the expense of your future workforce? And now that you are getting companies interested in staying or opening a plant in Michigan and things look to be going uphill, that scholarship still has not been reinstated. The Michigan Promise was not everything you made it out to be. You broke that promise and the next generation of workers had to pay for that. You'll always be my hero for the things you've accomplished, but I can't forgive you for this.

Sincerely,

Anna

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 13

Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter)

Dear Enya,

Everytime I get mad, sad or scared, I can put on your music and let it do its magic. It calms me, it puts me in a better place. The best memory I've had of your music was the first time I got the spins after drinking too much. I hate not being in control of my body, so getting the spins was terrible. I started crying and my husband held me, put on your music, and everything was alright again.

Thank you,

Anna

Saturday, July 17, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 12

Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.

"Never" is a tough one. As mentioned in the previous day's post, my husband compliments me on my looks, even if very few other people do. So that doesn't count as a "never." You know, I don't think I've ever gotten compliments on my glasses. There's not much to them, just some very skinny rims in a copperish brown. They bring out the color of my eyes, but I guess they're meant to fade into the background a bit. That's all I've got. My glasses. Maybe that's a good thing.

Friday, July 16, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 11

Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.

My laugh (see Day 1). My ability to get shit done, quickly and efficiently. How quickly I learn new things (This is starting to sound like a resume). Apparently most people appreciate my perfect imitation of a worker drone. Except for my husband, I don't have too many people complimenting me about my looks. But really, as long as he finds me attractive, who the hell cares what anyone else thinks?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ahh... the Potential

I finally got the scrapbooks I ordered online a couple weeks ago. It took me forever to find something that was the right size (20x20), a ring binder (no post-bound scrapbooks for me), that was something other than the same old boring three colors.

Behold... my beautiful new scrapbooks. Lavender, yellow, lime green, and wine red. Don't you just love the potential a new scrapbook holds? What will I put in this one? A theme, a single event, a year of my life? I know there is a huge debate about chronological scrapbooking, well, I'm one of those strange creatures. I must say, however, that I have one scrapbook devoted to the "outdoors"... my family's trip around Lake Superior one summer and my one week long canoe trip in Minnesota. I also have one dedicated to the early years of my husband's and my relationship.

However, I fully intend to use these to continue telling the story of my life. The red one is dedicated to becoming our wedding album. I'm currently working on scrapping the Civil Ceremony section of the saga. After our reception, I'll be adding those pictures as well.

The lavender one will probably end up being dedicated to my early childhood. I have the least amount of pictures of this part of my life (in part because my parents didn't take many and in part because they still have most of them and didn't feel like getting any more remade). So that album will probably span quite a few years.

I may devote the yellow one to our year and a half in Spain. Not the best time of my life, my dad's heart attack and all, but I do have quite a few pictures from that time.

I'm not sure about the green one yet. Maybe it will be devoted to my freshman and sophomore year of high school. My senior year takes up an entire album of its own (and is complete, I'm happy to say) and my junior year is resting in an album of its own (just tossed the pictures and accompanying items in a scrapbook, still need to actually scrap it). Another option is to use it for my college years. I actually didn't take a whole lot of pictures during college, except during my semester in Ireland, but that's already in an album of its own (and also complete).

So many projects, so little time. But that is part of the fun of being a chronological scrapbooker after all, you never can catch up. But that only makes sense. After all, I take new pictures all the time.

30 Days of Truth- Day 10

Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.

Besides my dentist, I actually try not to surround myself with people who are negative about or to me or our relationship. So I'm not sure I have anyone that I need to let go or that I wish I didn't know. Although I guess our dentist qualifies as a person I wish I didn't know. But unfortunately I can't let go of him until this issue has been resolved.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 9

Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.


Most of my friends growing up, actually. When you move around so much, it's hard to keep up with everyone. I also was never much of a letter writer and most of those friendships were pre-email. However, even now, with Facebook and email, etc. I have a hard time keeping up with people. Maybe it's a desire to keep things current, but I really do feel like I'm all alone a lot of the time. And I sometimes get jealous of DH's close group of friends, that he's had since elementary school.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 8

Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

Well, this is actually an ongoing problem. Some background... my DH had some dental work done. And unfortunately in his line of work, added to the fact that he hadn't been to the dentist in five years, that meant a lot of cavities. So he had the first six done, no problem, but on the second set the insurance company suddenly wanted to call in a medical expert to get a second opinion and asked for the X-Rays. No problem there either. But then they said that the X-Rays showed that the fillings were unnecessary and refused to pay. Now they want a medical narrative from the dentist, which the dentist refuses to write because it's an "unnecessary unpaid administrative cost" and "his time is valuable."

We have had issues with this dentist since the beginning. He makes me feel 2 inches tall every time I talk to him. He actually had the nerve to tell me off several times, even though there was no way for me to know ahead of time. I think my favorite example of this was after my X-Rays. My previous dentists would actually take the time to show me my X-Rays, explain to me where the cavities were, and why they needed to be fixed. This dentist actually yelled at me for looking at the computer screen on which they were displayed, because "there could be classified patient information on there" and "I wouldn't know what I was looking at anyway."

Then today he calls my husband's cell phone to remind him of the cleaning appointment tomorrow. And I told him in no uncertain terms that we would not be keeping those appointments until we had figured out the insurance situation. He actually sounded surprised when I told him that they wanted the medical narrative and told me the bit about unpaid administrative costs. Then he went so far as to ask me if I was sure that my husband had called his office to ask him to write it. Yes, my husband would have a 10 minute long conversation with me about a phone call he didn't make? Let's just say, we will be looking for another dentist as soon as this insurance issue is taken care of.

30 Days of Truth- Day 7

Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.

My parents. Sometimes it's hard to appreciate your parents for everything they do while you're growing up. They're the adults standing in the way of you and the fun time you know you could have, if only... However, having had several years to compare stories with other people of their childhood, seeing good and bad parents on TV or reading about them, they make you really take another look at what you had and appreciate it more.

My parents were always very strict about my curfew, my grades, knowing my whereabouts, etc. At the time it seemed annoying, but now I appreciate the fact that they were just concerned about me. They also showed an interest in my school and how my day was going. My mother was sparing with praise, at the best of times. But I guess that became a goal I set for myself, because I knew that if I did get praise, it meant something. They wouldn't be just empty words.

They didn't always support me, but raised me to be realistic both in my expectations of myself and of others. I know they will always love me, and that's what makes my life worth living.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 6

Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.

There are several things for this as well. I hope never to have to burry a child, go on unemployment, foreclose on a house, sign divorce papers, etc. Well, thinking about this is making me sad, so I'm going to keep this very short.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 5

Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.

I have several big goals in life. 1) Get a master's degree 2) Have 2 children 3) Become the COO of an environmental non-profit organization. Nothing huge, you know. It's kind of strange how goals change over the course of your life. When I was young, I decided I never wanted to have kids, or I'd adopt them. Now I really want to have my own. And as I see more and more of my peers having kids and even now some people who are younger than I am, I look at what they have and I really want some of my own. But at the same time I know it'll be a big responsibility. As to the master's degree, I'm ready to start applying to schools, but first I need to decide what I want to go back to school for. And that's not proving quite as easy.

Friday, July 9, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 4

Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.

Ok, so maybe I'll play catch up after all. In part because I actually have someone I need to forgive. Well, more of an entity really. I have to forgive BP, Transocean, and Halliburton for the oil spill. I don't care whose fault it ultimately was, I don't care why they were drilling out so far without proper measures. All I care about was that it happened and that it is still happening. I don't know if I will be able to forgive them any time soon, but I hope that someday I will be able to tell my grandchildren about the oil spill without sounding completely bitter about the companies that messed up the planet I was trying to save. Our planet, as in, everyone's. And maybe someday I'll be able to forgive the US Government and BP for being more concerned about the politics of all of this, that they seem to be debating what to do more than actually doing anything. Or turning down foreign aid, because clearly the most powerful nation in the world can't admit it might need help once in a while. Maybe someday I'll be able to forgive, but I'll never forget, and I won't be able forgive for a long time. I know it. Sorry about how political this is, but it's something I've needed to get off my chest for some time now.

30 Days of Truth- Day 3

Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.

Yes, I'm a day behind. But I refuse to rush and I plan to finish this at my own pace, tyvm.

So, something I have to forgive myself for is for my car accident in Oct. of 2008. No one was hurt, except my poor car, but I keep replaying it over and over in my head. Playing the "What If" game with myself, which doesn't make it any better. I think about it every time I get in the car, every time my husband steps on the brakes a bit too forcefully, and every time I actually dare to get behind the wheel. Fear and anger are a way of losing your independence just as surely as being without transportation entirely. For almost a year, I refused to get behind the wheel at all, except if we were already on the highway. City driving still holds terror for me and it wasn't even a bad accident. I just happened to hydroplane into a Hummer... the Hummer won. The most I will drive in the city by myself even now, is to the grocery store three blocks over. And only when absolutely necessary.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Table Numbers

I was really proud of the way my table numbers came out.

Materials and Supplies:
4x5 canvas board (or anything else in the size you want the table numbers- cardboard would probably work)
Number templates to use as stencils
Paper of a neutral shade to be the base
Pictures
Exacto Knife and mat
Hot glue gun
Paper Cutter (helpful but not necessary)
Paper glue




Instructions:
1) Cut the neutral base paper to the size necessary to cover your base front and back. In my case, I had 20 numbers, so I cut 40 4x5 pieces. Hot glue the paper to both sides of your base.
2) Print out your number stencils and cut them out (I used Microsoft Publisher to set a size for the numbers, used one of the standard bubble fonts, and then printed out four to a page). Rough cut anything with double digits, because you'll want to use the spacing as a guide when cutting the numbers out of the pictures.
3) Cut the pictures you want to use to the right size, you need as many pictures as you have numbers (in my case I had 20 pictures, which I cut down to the 4x5 size).
4) Place the number stencil on top of the picture and use the exacto knife to cut out the number. Make sure you hold down the stencil firmly, so it does not move while you are cutting. Also be careful not to cut your fingers.
5) Use the original picture as a guide to center the number on the base, but only glue down the number you cut out.
6) Then turn the base over and glue down the original picture. If you have a center filler, like on a 6 or 8, use the original number stencil to figure out where to place them.
7) Rinse and repeat until you are done. For double digits, place the rough cut stencil on the picture and cut through both the stencil and the picture, making sure not to move the number while cutting.

30 Days of Truth- Day 2

Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.

I love my laugh. It's loud, it's unapologetic, and I exercise it frequently. In fact, I can find the funny in almost every situation. Just a little fun story from last night... DH comes home and brings with him a double deli of cashews. He was apparently supposed to throw them out, because they're no longer serving the dish it went with and since he loves cashews he decided to take them home and eat them instead. So he has the double deli of cashews sitting next to him on the table, and he has another double deli of cherry juice (it's a chef thing, apparently they don't believe in drinking out of glasses) sitting next to it.

While playing on his computer he randomly reaches out and dunks his hand in his juice, pulls his hand out again and looks perplexed. I think it took a second for the message to reach his brain that he'd reached into the wrong deli. By the time it hit him, and he reached into the correct container with a sheepish look on his face, I had already burst out laughing. My laughing got him laughing and I laughed for a good ten minutes. Every time he'd stop laughing, he'd hear me laughing and start laughing again.

I love my laugh. It makes me happy and I like to think it makes other people happy too.

Tablerunners

I had the more or less brilliant idea to buy 33 yards of 60" burlap fabric online as table runners. It's sustainable, it's cheap, and it fits our woodsy/green wedding theme. However, when it arrived, it looked like a roll of carpet, and not very good carpet at that. Now, I had bought 100 yards each of several different colors of ribbon. I didn't realize at the time quite how much ribbon that is, but now I was definitely glad I had it. My idea to dress up the burlap was this: first I cut the fabric in half so I had two 30" pieces instead of one 60" piece. All 33 yards of it... let's just say my back was not happy by the time I was done. 

Then I cut about 45 foot pieces. I ended up with 4 45 foot pieces and 2 shorter pieces of around 16-18 feet. Then I took the ribbon, and sewed it to one side, while simultaneously folding under the rough edge. Luckily this did not have to be perfect or even terribly precise, nor did I bother to double fold for a proper hem. On the other side, which had a factory weave edge, I didn't bother folding the edge under and just sewed the ribbon to it. All in all, it took me several hours and 132 yards of ribbon. I ended up using both of the shades of green ribbon I had to edge it. When I was finally done, it actually looked pretty decent. However, I had burlap fuzzies and fibers all over my living room floor.

Sock Gauntlets

I recently wore out a pair of white socks. Now, this is not in fact a rare occurrance, but usually I just throw them out. However, this time I had a bit of an epiphany. What if, instead of consigning them to the garbage, I repurposed them. And thus was born my newest little project: sock gauntlets.
Materials and Supplies:
1 pair of socks (preferably ones with worn out heels and long top part)
Thread
Needle
Rotary Cutter and Mat helpful but not necessary

Instructions:
1) Using a rotary cutter or fabric scissors, cut the bottom off the socks along the edge of the band.
2) Place the band on your hand and determine where your thumb should be and use some way to mark the space between the thumb and index finger.
3) Sew together the front and back part between the thumb and index finger so that there is a space for the thumb and a wider space for the other four fingers.
4) Ornament as desired. I simply sewed some embroidery floss around the edge and made a quick bow.

Quick, easy, and helpful especially for those people who benefit from warm wrists.