Sunday, December 20, 2009

Epidemic

It's official. There are three women left in my life (you know who you are) who are not pregnant or brand new mothers. Just for fun, today I counted the pregnant women I saw or heard about and I came up with 4 in less than 2 hours. OK, so that's not EVERY woman I know, but that is an awful lot of pregnant people wandering about!

One friend announced recently on Facebook that she and her husband had "unlocked the Pregnancy Achievement," thus cementing her place in my heart as My Favorite Nerd (and believe you me, there is QUITE the competition!). One coworker had a baby on Monday. I saw one pregnant belly in the hall near my cubby, another in the pharmacy, and another in the audiology hallway. There are still 3 more audiologists expecting, plus at least 3 more in our department. And yesterday morning, I woke up to another announcement from a classmate.

Better call my GYN and make sure all my prescriptions are up to date!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Cheer

After Nablopomo, I always have great momentum for posting more regularly, but I thrive under pressure, and I just can't seem to bring myself to post more frequently without the lure of PRIZES! even though I still have lots to say.

I am currently covered in threads from Christmas present-making, stuffed with cookies sampled during production, and very, very sad at the thought of going back to work tomorrow. With the bonus Monday gift of getting a cavity filled right before going into work. Fun!

Can't I just stay home and be Christmassy all year? (Aside: somehow, "Christmassy" is recognized as a real word by Blogger. Truly amazing.) I was a baking fiend, even if two of the five recipes didn't come out quite as planned and one whole batch of bars had to go straight into the trash.

Friends, check your nuts BEFORE you put them in the batter, because they may have gone rancid after sitting for years on the shelf. The good news is that after I get some fresh nuts, I think the recipe will be just delicious. And here concludes the most unintentionally dirty paragraph I have ever written.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The most wonderful time of the year

This not-having-finals thing is wonderful. This weekend, we put up most of the Christmas decorations, including the tree, which we decorated with the help of some small friends (all the ornaments on one low branch is definitely the Next Big Thing in decorating), I made some sinfully delicious shortbread cookies, and we even hung our stockings by the chimney (with care!).

We've had quite a bit of snow, which doesn't make it hard to get in the spirit! After posting this, I plan on making a few of the gifts on my list. I love making things, but it certainly takes a little time!

I have jury duty tomorrow, which should be interesting. Part of me is hoping to get put on a trial, because I think that would be really interesting, and part hopes to be dismissed early enough to still see my afternoon patients because I missed last Monday (and Tuesday) because of a bad cold.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Home sick

Left work about 45 minutes after getting there when I realized I really should not have come in. Woke up at 5 AM, unable to breathe, after having a pretty bad asthma attack last night. Thank god for rescue inhalers. Took my wonder drug, Mucinex, this AM, but though my nose is nice and clear, the body aches were unaffected. I think I unwittingly pushed myself too much this weekend with travel and lots of fun times. Off to nap this away and get all the way better ASAP.

(Also, last day of nablopomo! Other than my 5 minute delay, I made it! Mostly. But it still doesn't feel like it counts. Stupid 5 minutes.)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Getting Back

Tomorrow, we all go back to work. Unlike in years past, I am not returning from Thanksgiving Break to face papers, finals, and the general mayhem that is the end of a semester. However, I am also not trying to make that final push, knowing that Christmas Break awaits me on the other side. No, I will only get a few days off for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, though I may end up taking an extra day off, just for my sanity.

We just got back from a lovely afternoon and evening with our friends Jill and Kyle. We did more Quilt Club, plus got to join in their family pizza night and enjoy delicious utterly homemade pizza and even play some Rock Band. Completely fun, but I am exhausted now. Off to bed to start the week anew tomorrow. Maybe the Christmas decorations will put themselves up while I sleep.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Working Stiff

For the first time in my life, I am at a point where what I am doing could be (will be?) what I will be doing for The Rest of My Life. This scares the shit out of me. Not because I'm not happy with my chosen profession or because I don't like not having homework, but because this feels so final. So ultimate.

I know it doesn't need to be, and being out of school does give me so many more options, but it is utterly frightening not to have an ultimate goal. In grad school, there was always an end goal (the degree) and even a general end date. Before that, my goal was grad school. Before that, graduation from undergrad. Etc.

So now that I am just working, what exactly is the goal? I mean, I know the goal is to help kids and generally make the world a better place and hopefully have a family someday, but it's just too abstract for me right now.

Maybe that's why I've thrown myself so much into sewing and making these various projects. They give me some sense of completion, a goal to work towards, because goodness knows my job does not give me that. Some jobs are project-driven, and I tend to do very well with those kinds of jobs. Other jobs you just keep DOING, and the doing is the job. The doing may vary considerably from day to day, and it may be very important that you keep doing, but the doing never stops.

Perhaps someday I will decide I want to go back for a PhD, and then I won't have ANY problem with goals and deadlines! In the meantime, I will continue having projects at home to give me a sense of completion. In addition, I am going to try to follow the excellent advice of my father, who was a school counselor for many years, which is very similar to what I do, and make sure that I FINISH the projects on the weekend so that I can get a sense of completion and not have things hanging over my head at home and at work.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Back to the blog

So sorry for the last few posts. For some reason, I was not able to enter text in the body of the blog, even though it has worked in the past. Hence, the incredibly informative and compelling posts.

We are in Reno now, after a lovely Thanksgiving in Sacramento and a hassle-free flight on Wednesday from one of the nation's busiest airports. Today was one of the first Black Fridays I actually went shopping and I managed to get some decent deals. Too bad I can't share most of it, since I don't want to ruin any surprises!

Though this is not perfectly timely, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on a few things for which I am thankful, since this is not something that should be done only one day a year.

In no particular order, I am thankful for:

My beloved husband, for being who he is, and for loving me so deeply.
My family, for always being so supportive and loving.
Jasper, for being the snuggliest dog in the world.
Both of us being employed in our chosen fields, in these uncertain times.
Having health insurance.
Our dear, dear friends, who bring so much light and joy into our lives.
Sleep.
Our health and the health of our friends and family.
Being done with school. At least for now.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Woe, c'est moi!

Tonight, I cried over cinnamon.

Those near and dear to me know that when I am hungry, I cry. When I am getting sick, haven't eaten in 8 hours, frustrated with a hyper dog who just needs attention! attention!, home late due to a broken bus, leaving in 11 hours for a trip for which I have not packed, have an apartment to clean so the dogsitters don't declare us unfit puppy-parents, and desperately want some homemade chicken noodle soup but lack the time and energy to make it, and so make due with some applesauce for which I simply want some cinnamon, and yet the cinnamon is not where it should be! Well then... then I cry. Even while I realize how ridiculous I am. Throughout it all, I just kept thinking, "If Peter were here, HE would know where the cinnamon was!" (In fact he did. He knew it was at school where he took it for a cooking project for his students. Boo.)

Now, my stomach is full(er), the apartment is somewhat picked up, I had an excellent snuggle with Jasper (he really is the best snuggle-dog in the world), and I have exactly two shirts and two pairs of underwear packed. And I think I am going to give myself a freaking break and drive to work rather than try to catch the ass-early bus and attempt to get everything else done before 6 AM. Yes, I think I shall give myself a freaking break.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Transitions

I am at a weird point in my life where it seems everyone I know is either getting pregnant/having babies or off on some epic journey traveling the world. Thanks to too many years of grad school, I am too fresh in my career to join the ranks of the baby-makers immediately, and our own epic travel adventure is years behind us now (not that we couldn't travel more... but being newly employed makes that difficult too!). I'm just very glad we aren't trying for a baby and not succeeding because seriously, I can't even count how many pregnant people/very recent babies I know!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving

I can't even believe November is almost over! We are about to start the week of Thanksgiving, which is basically the official kickoff to the blur that is the holiday season.

I was not as productive as I had hoped this weekend, but I did manage to get some good things done. I started my Christmas shopping today (I KNOW), and bought some Christmas decorations, since we will actually need them this year! For the first time, family is coming here!

No longer will our single ornament and one strand of lights suffice. We'll need a tree, lights, ornaments and all the trimmings. I seriously wanted a wreath for the front door, but I couldn't find one that was flat enough to fit between our front door and the storm door.

It's all very, very exciting! I love Christmas and am so thrilled that we will be able to have our families here to celebrate with us. Yes, both sets of parents are coming, albeit at different times. Thank goodness, because I don't think we would all fit! Hopefully someday when we have a real house with extra bedrooms and such we can have everyone come to stay.

We are going to California for Thanksgiving (Peter is actually already there with my brother, lucky duck!). I can't wait to see family again and EAT delicious food!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My new hair

Got the bangs a little while ago now, but I LOVE them. Excellent change.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sound Sleeper

I found out last night who is going to be responsible for hearing things that go bump in the night.

C'est moi.

Just after I went to bed, I heard a very loud crash, with a distinct shattering overtone. I startled awake, obviously, and Peter startled to my startle. Great. The huge crash five feet from him didn't even phase him, but my jumping awake did.

The ancient light cover above our bathroom vanity had decided it was time to end its life (perhaps it knew we had designs on its life anyhow?) and threw itself off its moorings. Very odd. Luckily, it was just brittle plastic and so there were only a few plastic shards threatening our feet in the morning.

The two incandescent bulbs now look so chic nestled in the industrial metal frame left. I guess this honey-do just got bumped up on the list.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Frustrated

In keeping with my 8-years-behind-the-times theme (see: recent Buffy discovery), I am obsessed with Funny Farm now. I've unlocked eight of the squares and just get myself to the point of frustration with a section before figuring something else out using only my wits, Google (who seriously knows the names of poker stars off the top of their head?) and a few hints from the archives of when this was popular 2-3 years ago. It's quite fun!

***

Jasper has a habit of lightly nipping or snapping at people's faces when he is excited. I HATE this habit, but haven't figured out a good way to deal with it. Tonight, I saw a positive side to it.

We were on our nightly walk which is always taken in the dark now, just me and J, when I heard two men talking by the bus stop. I had to walk right by them to throw away J's offerings, so I was trying to take stock of them, as any female walking alone at night does, just as a matter of course. Friend or foe?

As I got closer, they began talking to me, asking what my dog's name was and if he was a boy or a girl. I was pretty sure they were residents of the group home nearby, but no matter who they were, they were strange adult men, and it was very dark and I was wearing all black walking a black dog. I politely answered their questions, walking quickly by, as J tugged to sniff them.

I had to walk past them again to get back home, and as I did so, they asked to pet the dog. Sure, fine. J of course is in raptures, wiggling and sniffing and loving attention. One of them is frantically petting him, and talking to him in exciting high pitched tones, and THEN that same guy puts his arms under J and looks like he's about to pick him up!

Nanoseconds later, J is just WAY too excited by all of this. The guy's face is bent down near J, and J does what he always does when excited: nips at the face with love. Luckily, he NEVER gets close to the actual face, but let me tell you from experience, you are close enough to hear those jaws snap!

I tug J away and say we better get going, and Nipped Dude seems to be OK with that. To his credit, he wasn't upset or scared, just a little taken aback, which was fine with me, because who tries to pick up a strange 60 lb. black dog?

I will still try to figure out how to curb that habit (the joys of adoption!), but for the time being, I'll take the silver lining!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Filters

Lately I've been noticing how grateful I am that I have somewhat working social filters. I think they have improved slightly with age, because I'm pretty sure most of my early 20s were spent with my foot firmly in my mouth. But now I notice myself thinking things and only nanoseconds later, thinking, "THAT would be a dumb thing to say!" thereby preventing unknown tragedies and hurt feelings galore. And then I spend the next few seconds congratulating myself on not being a social dunce, and miss what everyone else has just said, thus negating any social points I won by not saying the dumb thing I think and missing the smart things other people say.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Almost!

I almost went to bed without posting! Oh noes! Isn't it funny how when you have time to blog, it usually means you aren't doing much, meaning you don't have much to write about. But when you are doing stuff that would be excellent fodder, you don't have the time to write it. I guess that's what drafts are for! Save the ideas for a rainy day.

I went to dinner with my mom tonight at Bonefish Grill, the first time for eiher of us. I was very impressed! My pork chops were delicious. And the wine was a little too good. There is definitely a reason I don't usually drink on weekdays! On the plus side, I can't keep my eyes open, so I'm going to bed much earlier than usual!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mondays

Mondays are always hard, no matter who you are or what you do. My Monday schedule sounds like it should be a nice way to start the week, but I'm rethinking that now.

Mondays, I can't start the part of my work that actually counts toward something (seeing patients) until 1 PM, though I usually come in at about 11 AM to do paperwork, etc. Easing into the day, extending the weekend, right?

At 1, my first patient comes and then I don't stop until 6 PM, not even for 5 minutes to sit and write the notes for each kiddo's visit. Which means I get to stay and write all 5 of them at 6 PM, plus cleaning up, etc. I'm literally doing a full day's work in half my normal day, so it's essentially going zero to sixty in a heartbeat.

But, being thrown headfirst into the work week isn't so bad. Every other day's schedule seems like a relative picnic!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Crafty Day

I must confess, I am still feeling a little happy from the glass of wine at dinner, so if any of this doesn't make sense, I blame the vino. I also just mistyped three words in that last sentence before catching the errors, so you are hereby warned about spelling mistakes too.

Today was a lovely crafty day! Mom hemmed and hung the IKEA curtains that have been languishing in our bedroom since we moved in 5 months ago. They look lovely and I really should have taken a picture of them opened with the gorgeous snow covered trees just beyond. It was lovely. (Speaking of lovely, Mom got to fall asleep on the bed next to the dying fire. Doesn't that sound awesome?). We also finally had our first Quilt Club meeting, which was super fun, even though one of our trio couldn't make it because of the snow. Le boo. We'll just have to meet again sometime soon!

I also was able to submit an abstract for a big conference next year, the second one I have submitted to, so now we just wait and see. I am so grateful to have such a wonderful advisor because I really could not have done any of this without her. It makes a world of difference to have someone supporting me and guiding me through this crazy process!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Weekend Update

The snow is falling, the fire is gently flickering and the hubs, dog and mama are all snoozing in the soft light. It's lovely. I expect tomorrow I will have pictures, if not video, of more frolicking in the snow because we already have at least 3-4" and it's not supposed to stop anytime soon.

Good thing we got a lot done today! I didn't have much time for pictures today, but I hope I will be able to get some more tomorrow. Then, you'll only get a story a day because I need to pace myself!

OK, off to take J for his nighttime stroll before bed. Mom's coming with me because it's so beautiful out. Sorry, no pictures likely, since it is so dark. Sleep well!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Posting on the run

Phew! This works! I am blogging from my iPhone so this will be short because I don't have enough patience for two-fingered blogging.

It was 70 yesterday (not that I could tell you from experience) and it snowed an inch or so today. Fun!

I am also trying to speed 2-fingered blog because we are driving to pick up
my mom for the weekend! Expect reports of quilting, crafts and antiques. My partying brother would be proud. Hopefully I will also get enough pictures to last me at least until Wednesday next week. Nablopomo is just sad when you have no life outside of work and the weekend. Oh wait! That's adulthood! Right.

Until tomorrow, sweets.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

As the week goes on, the posts get randomer

My mommy is coming to visit tomorrow! I am so excited! We are supposed to get snow tomorrow (le boo), so hopefully her flight stays on schedule.

Funny word swap I have seen twice now: "viscous" for "vicious." I was really confused reading "My horrible viscous burden on society is licking the tears from my face." Umm, really gooey dog? Because she licks a lot? I definitely don't mean to be a word-nazi, and usually I can just skim right over these, but vicious and viscous are still too different for me, and so it's jarring to try to parse it out. And funny.

I have been working on another post about Jasper, but I really need to take some pictures for it and I can't take decent pictures in our place at night. Since I am no longer ever home during any kind of daylight hour (even when I leave 2 hours early), you will have to wait for the weekend for my masterpiece.

The font is wacky on this post and I can't figure it out. Nor do I care overmuch.

You should read Julia. She is wonderful and makes my day happy. We made her couscous cakes tonight for the second time and they were delicious.

Buffy is teh awesome. Why can I never get in on shows when they are actually airing? Oh, maybe the lack of cable and/or time to watch has something to do with it. And the lack of desire to get a TiVo. Netflixed old episodes will have to do, I guess.

Witty, satisfying ending here. Done! And before midnight, even!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Hamthrax*

About a month ago, it seemed like everyone was getting H1N1, including two of my close friends, who came down with it almost simultaneously. We had massive cancellations, and everyone knew someone who had it, or had "the flu." PS If you have "the flu" right now, it's H1N1, even if they haven't diagnosed you with it. The regular seasonal flu just is not circulating now.

Anyway, a week or so after mass infection seemed imminent (and right after I got my vaccination), things started to calm down a little bit. The hospital has a little graph tracking all of the various bugs in the hospital at any given time and after a dizzying climb for 3-4 weeks, it plateaued for a few weeks, and has been steadily dropping for the past 3-4 weeks.

Interestingly enough, it feels like now it is spreading to other places, if my informal sampling of blogs-I-read is any indication. I hope that the peak is as short for others as it was here and that everything calms down before seasonal hits. Stay well!

*Made up by people cleverer than I

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Shouldn't have used all those pictures up in one post

Things that give me a cozy feeling

Having lots of food in the pantry
Snuggling with Jasper
Snowy nights
Knowing I have projects waiting for me
Pulling out the good down comforter
Having a nest egg in the bank
Looking at my pretty fabric stash

Monday, November 09, 2009

Weekend in Pictures

We actually did do fun things this weekend, but I need to stretch them out for my NaBloPoMoing, because we do nothing during the week. Well, that's not entirely true. We have finally jumped on the Buffy bandwagon (what, a decade too late?) after an aborted attempt at starting at Season One (PS Not That Good). So yeah, an episode or two a night and we are DANGEROUSLY EXCITING.

This weekend. Right.

Here are some pictures, because, you know, a thousand words and stuff. And do you know how long it actually TAKES to type a thousand words? A lot longer than picking out pictures, I tell ya!

Here are three pictures of a beautiful sunset we had. I meant to only post two, but accidentally uploaded the third and figured, what the hell. Who doesn't like a pretty sunset? Pro tip: if your camera has a sunset mode, use it. The real sunset didn't look half as amazing.



Went to a super fun engagement party Saturday night wherein I drank some too-delicious vodka cider and remembered my fear of heights peeking over the edge of our friend's 14th floor balcony. Gulp.

Then we went for a walk on Sunday with Jasper and his little people friends (our adult friend and her daughters).

Near our place:

Jasper was watching something very intently. I'm pretty sure it was a leaf.

And finally, here is a video of Jasper frolicking in the snow when we had our storm. He can't wait for winter (but we sure can!).

video

I hope I still have stuff to blog about tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Another weekend...

Another project!

I'm taking a break from the super secret project I'm working on now which might end up being a Christmas gift, if I can get it to work. That isn't looking so good, since I can't even get it to make two stitches at the moment. I have a few possible solutions to look into, but need to take a break from it for the moment.

Since I was hoping to have some more progress to report on than I do, I guess I should tell you my surprise.

I actually finished ANOTHER project this weekend! That's right. The current project is actually the second one of the weekend! In fact, I actually started and completely finished a project in less than two days! Truly unheard of.

I think the secret is making projects that aren't that hard or complicated. Giant quilts? Take forever. Seven seam wonders? Much faster.

Here is my lovely:

It's just a fabric ball, but it was my very first attempt ever at curved seams! It was somewhat successful, especially if you ignore the Franken-seams at the other end where I put the stuffing in. I need to improve my handsewing skills fo sho. Also, I am fairly sure I got the wrong kind of batting to stuff it, but I couldn't find the kind I think I needed at JoAnn's.

So yes, this one worked and it's pretty cute, but it was much too complicated for what I was hoping to do with it, which is shrink the pattern and make little ornaments like this. The thought of all those tiny curved seams makes me want to cry, so no. Other ornament plans must be made.

Also, I realized that while all of the fabrics look very pretty together (Midwest Modern again, just a different colorway), I would have liked a LITTLE more contrast. Maybe that bright orange I was looking at wouldn't have been so out of place. Oh well, live and learn.

Parting shot:
Recent sunset over the Flatirons.


Saturday, November 07, 2009

Things that are awkward

The word "akimbo."
Goodbyes.
Using the word "slim" to describe anything but a chance or a Jim.
Being 90% sure of someone's name.
Baby giraffes (see also things that are cute).
Actors pretending to be dancers.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Guess who?

We watched Guess Who's Coming to Dinner tonight, which aside from being a delightful film full of win, thanks to Hepburn and Tracy, not to mention Poitier, was very interesting from a historical standpoint.

Brief, necessary background: it's about an interracial couple (Poitier and pretty girl who very much looks like she could be Katherine Hepburn's daughter) and their families, who are trying to come to grips with the interracial-ness of it all.

First, it's odd and sad how this doesn't seem THAT dated. I mean, I would hope people wouldn't freak out quite so much at the thought now, but I was really hoping it would feel laughably old-fashioned. Or maybe it's just because the performances are all so good?

Second, the craziest thing is how coincidental and eerie parts of the movie seem now. To wit: the couple meet in Hawaii at the University of Hawaii (presumably), and then later in the movie, Poitier talks about how his love "is confident that every single one of their biracial children will grow up to 'be president of the United States and they’ll all have colorful administrations.'" (Source. Great minds!).

Uh. YEAH. I seriously stopped the movie and made us watch that part again. How crazy is that? Like, did they have a time machine? Nutterbutters, I say!

So I was happy that something that seemed so ridiculously outlandish to the characters was very, very true and real 40-50 years later, but then I was sad again because Spencer Tracy's character says something about how while the world will change, it likely won't be in his lifetime. I have no idea what it was like then (being not-alive and all), but I know it took until almost exactly one year ago for the dream of a biracial president to come true. Luckily, I think there were plenty of other changes before then, though less dramatic. Loving v. Virginia was the same year (1967).

Watching the movie, I was also strongly reminded of the very similar struggle happening this very moment (I'm looking at you, Maine). There's a scene where the very awesome priest looks at the couple and says something about how looking at them makes him so incredibly happy and hopeful. It's funny, but I feel the same way whenever I see a same-sex couple expressing affection in public (even just holding hands or hugging). I always smile at them (or just smile) and want to tell them what a cute couple they are or something, but that seems HIGHLY random. So I just feel very happy for them inside and walk by.

So when will we have the "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" for this struggle? When can we look back at a scene and marvel at how far we've come? I hope we don't have to wait too long to make real progress. Nothing should hold back love.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Election

We moved over the summer, and yes, there are still some places we have not changed our address. Voter registration is apparently one of them because we got a letter from Voter Registration the day before the election.

"Ooh, are these our ballots?"

"No, they are the letters telling us we can't get our ballots."

Yeah. The letter politely informed us that they can't forward ballots, so if we wanted our ballots, we would have to MAIL IN A FORM to get them in the mail. By the next day. Yeah. Plus, we work until 7 PM, which is when the voter registration office closes. So we didn't vote. However, if we had had Maine's ballot, you can bet your BOOTS we would have made it happen. Fricking Maine.

So um, vote? and change your address when you move?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Posting doldrums already?

Hmm... this is going to be tough. Only the fourth day and already I am thinking about taking a nice hot bath and forgetting about my blogging duties. Onward!

I'm tempted to make my blog all lists. I lurve lists. The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon is one of my favorite books, partly because it has lots of lists. It was seriously the original blog (back in the 990s in Japan, gangsta!). But I know I am too wordy to be able to just stick to nice, neat lists.

Here's one:

Things that have distracted me from this blog entry:

Looking up the full name of The Pillow Book
Looking at a picture of Sei Shonagon on Wikipedia
Going back to the page to be able to make that last link
Call from my brother to joke about how lame I am, "writing my blog"
Booger thing on my keyboard
Decided booger was old rubber cement (phew)
Snuggling with Peter and Jasper on the couch
Starting solitaire game on phone
Turning on bathroom light to take a bath
Remembering blog
Finishing this entry

No wonder I never blog! I am incredibly disctract---ooh! shiny! Where was I?

The end. (PJ, I am counting on a "first!" for this one)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


This is going to be a picture-y post. Busiest day at work yet, with literally no time to pause. But still good! Just no words left...

Last week. Lots of snow. Made news. 20+ inches. Snow days for all!



And then two days later, it was 60 degrees. Colorado, people. Gotta love it!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Another finished project!

OK, this is getting ridiculous. TWO finished projects in the same month? Unheard of. But yesterday, I finished a useful little thing for the house: a plastic bag holder. I used this tutorial, linked from Sew Mama Sew, though mine was not scrappy, sort of defeating the whole purpose. It was not scrappy because though I have lots and lots of yummy fabric, I have not actually been MAKING a lot of things, therefore I do not yet have a lot of scraps. The scraps I did have were lovely, but not of a color that would match our overall decor.

An unexpectedly good thing about making something I actually NEED is that every time I looked at the growing pile of plastic bags, I was reminded that I needed to finish it, and soon! Start to finish, I think this one took me two weekends, which is really good for me. Really, it was probably less than 2 hours, including leisurely cutting, ironing and sewing, and an unfortunate period including mysteriously tangling thread and bad stitching (still learning my machine!).

All in all, this was an excellent project for me, if only to show me how I can branch out a bit and think of things that are NOT quilts! Plus, I got to use some of my delicious fabric (Amy Butler, Midwest Modern here, both prints) and make scraps to use in other projects! And it's much prettier than the cluttered pile of bags we had before!

Have you finished any projects lately? Do tell!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Nablopomo

I've decided to try this again. Blogging once a day for the month of November. If you recall, I made it ALMOST to the very end last year, but missed one of the very last days. Rereading that post was very interesting. I was so, so stressed and overwhelmed and now that I am out of those dark days, I feel sorry for my former self, without even remembering what exactly was going on then. Is all that schoolwork really so important? Was that big project really so daunting? It's hard to remember now, when it has all passed. Perhaps I would have remembered it more clearly if I hadn't finished it and been penalized for that.

Since stress is not fun to read about (I realize now, far too late), and since I have much less to write about anyway, here is what I had intended to write about before I got sidetracked!

Yesterday, in a desperate attempt to get out of the house on a Colorado bluebird day, after two days of clouds and 20+ inches of snow, we went to Lyons, which is a teeny little town on the way to Estes Park. It was simply lovely, with lots of "Q stores": Quilts and antiQues! We each got a little something (Peter, and antique ring, and me, some more fabric!) and Jasper even got a walk in a new place. So much not yet peed-upon! So, yes. Good day, still talking about how much fun it was.

Then Halloween evening was spent on Pearl Street, admiring the costumes, watching the zombies dance and remarking at how few "sexy ______s" there were! Maybe because we were there before 11 PM, most of the costumes were just clever, homemade affairs (or at least homemade). There were amazing get-ups, good ideas and fun group costumes. Very inspirational for next year!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Homey weekend

Such a wonderful day today. It snowed almost all day, though nothing stuck. We had our first fire in our fireplace and I sat in front of it and finished my very first quilt. This is truly a remarkable achievement, not just because it was my first quilt, but because I ACTUALLY FINISHED A PROJECT. And guess what, friends and family who know my tremendous record with projects? It took me less than a year! Actually, less than six months! I think! (You may recall I am still working on a larger quilt, for the same little girl who received this one, to hold her over until the big one is done).

The finished product, in my most domestic picture ever:


In any case, it is done, adorable, and with its new owner already (I was just too excited to have finished it!). It's a doll quilt that began as an experiment with scraps to learn a new piecing technique, but because I was using less-than-great fabrics and not really being super careful, it turned out a little wonky and I decided the pattern would just be too difficult for a larger scale. (Please note it is actually very simple, but I have a long history of struggles with triangles and getting them to look right.). And so the little pieced top was relegated to by sewing basket, where it sat for months until...

Fast forward to last month, when I got a beautiful new sewing machine that could do everything I always wanted and more! I had been using my mom's trusty workhorse, but then I managed to render it inoperable, and couldn't get a new walking foot I bought for it to work, so I went in to get it repaired and walked out with a lovely mechanical Pfaff. Well, I just had to see what it could do, and one thing I really wanted to test was quilting. Why only practice on scraps, when I had a little quilt top itching to be used? And if I messed it up, it was only practice anyway!

I made me a sandwich, did some practice quilting on little scraps, then sat down with my doll quilt. I am so glad I did this because it was a great learning experience. You can actually see, very clearly, my progression down the quilt as I figured out how to get the pattern I wanted. I just did a simple stitch-in-the-ditch, but since I've never done this before, let alone with zigzags, it took me until the last row to have it down pat.

The back. Can you see the progression? (Hint: bottom up)


If this had been a "real" quilt that I had spent hours and hours piecing, etc., I would have ripped out the seams I didn't like and done them again the right way. As it was, I rather liked being able to see the changes and learn from my mistakes.

After the quilting, I squared up the edges (another first! This makes a HUGE difference!), and measured and cut the binding. I would have loved to have used a contrasting dark blue fabric, or even maybe a yellow one, but since this was a scrappy quilt, I was limited to what I had, and the best fit was the same fabric as the backing. Oh well.

This was also the first time I had ever done binding, so the experiences was very similar to the quilting. The first part looks VERY different from the end, but I learned a lot along the way! It's phenomenal what a difference the binding makes! It looks so much more finished with it. I made the binding very narrow, since this is such a tiny quilt, but in retrospect, I could have made it a little wider and been fine.

I can't wait to see what it looks like once it is washed (I was too excited to give it to its new owner to even do this). I hope it gets that nice soft, crinkly look I love in quilts, but we shall see. Maybe the quilting needs to be closer together to get this? If so, it will be another learning experience!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Should probably post more...

I'm just not sure I have anything worth writing about. Work is great ('nuff said), I leave in time to watch the sun rise and get home well after it has set, Jasper is settling in nicely, though he wishes desperately that we were home more often and that every day was a weekend (me too!), and the kitchen (and rest of the condo) have been in the same state for the past several months. Perhaps I can see if Peter would be interested in finishing the last bits of the kitchen this weekend? I haven't taken any "after" pictures yet, because it's not really "after." Two of the cabinet doors are still resting where they will be hung, and the kitchen lacks trim entirely. It's amazing how easy it is to get used to these things, and then years go by and you still are staring at the unhinged cabinet doors. Hmm, maybe I will bug him to finish stuff. (Note how I don't try? I could, but I have no idea what I'm doing and would just do it all wrong. I'll stick to the sewing around here. At least he doesn't know how to do that either!)

So that's the haps. In exciting weather news, two weekends ago, we had four inches of snow and a record low of 20 degrees, last weekend we tied the record high at 80-something, and this morning we had slushy rain (technical term). Colorado weather is awesome.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Flu Season

I got both flu vaccines (seasonal and H1N1), thanks to working at a hospital with direct patient contact. Frankly, it was not a moment too soon. I have 2 close friends with confirmed cases and have been around many more kids who have likely been still recovering from it. It is raging like wildfire through the schools around here, as well.

The hospital had been planning on a huge vaccine-fest, but like many places, they got quite a bit less of the seasonal vaccine than had originally been promised. At first I was pretty annoyed by this, but then I realized that the shortage is because vaccine suppliers have been trying to make more H1N1 vaccine, and H1N1 is what's going around now anyway. Waiting until November for the seasonal vaccine really should be fine.

Right now, they only have H1N1 as the live virus nasal spray. Technically, I am not supposed to get the nasal spray because I have asthma, but talking with the vaccine giver guy (I am pretty sure he is one of the heads of the infectious diseases dept), it sounded like it might just exacerbate my symptoms. Since my asthma is extremely mild (rescue inhaler a couple times a year, if that), I decided to risk it. At the rate H1N1 is tearing through this area and the kids I see every single day, I felt like not being vaccinated was a bigger risk.

There are so many myths and misconceptions out there about the vaccines, it's amazing. One of the more reassuring things I've heard was about the H1N1 vaccine. After the relative debacle of the swine flu vaccine in the '70s (some people became ill from the vaccine itself), many people are scared about this vaccine being "pushed through too fast." Well, it's *exactly the same vaccine* as the seasonal flu one, just filled with a different strain of the flu. So it's just as safe as the regular flu shot, which has caused none of those problems they had before.

In sum, get your flu shot(s) when you can, because not only will you prevent yourself from getting sick, but you will also prevent spreading it along. And frankly, I don't think it needs any more help from us. Stay well!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Freaking amazing video

It's a little long, but SO worth waiting out. Just before 5 minutes, it becomes mind-blowing. And the reaction shots of the military guys warm the cold cockles of my heart and make me believe the world will be OK if these middle school girls can do such awesomeness.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

He fetches!

Maybe it's because he's more comfortable with us now and little more bonded, but Jasper has been acting like an actual lab! If we get him excited enough, he will chase a tennis ball down the hall and bring it back. Actual retrieving? I guess he is part lab after all! However, he won't even look at the ball outside. There are to many yummy smells to investigate and critters to hunt. We'll just be thankful for small miracles.

The barking in the middle of the night also seems to have calmed down for now. Letting him sleep on the couch and running the fan so he can't hear noises outside as well seem to have solved the problem (knock on wood).

His critter-dar is better even on walks now. When he spots a squirrel, he will freeze, then slowly stalk it, get close enough to it that it runs up a tree (though the squirrel is never scared), watch it in the tree for a while and then he's good. We can walk on without whining, pulling or barking. I think he needs to be able to tree it to feel like he has done his job. Even so, if I tell him to "leave it," he actually kind of does. It's awesome!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Wordsmything

I was doing some language therapy the other day (yes! I have started! Yes! I love it! No! I will really, really try to avoid blogging about it! I will try to never blog directly about my work!)...

Ahem. As I was saying, before I so rudely interrupted myself, that the language therapy I was doing reminded me of my own complicated relationship with language. I began my professional/academic relationship with language in undergrad, when I was an English writing major. There, I was deeply, deeply involved with the English language and became rather skilled at manipulating its intricacies.

Then, I moved to Linguistics, where I was fascinated by the ability to quantify that tricksy will-o-the-wisp of language I had tried to master in my writing. Attaching numbers to the frequency with which people used a certain word versus another, or even analyzing the minute differences in the vowels people use could tell you so much about the intersection between people, society and language. It was amazing. As I studied more and different languages, I learned about the incredible range of possibilities in language. I found poetry in the translations of other languages, was moved by the simplest differences in how we encode our thoughts.

Finally, I moved to speech-language pathology, where I could use all of that linguistic knowledge and experience to help those who struggled with learning language in some way. I love it because all of that theoretical knowledge I acquired for selfish reasons (I loved it! I wanted more!) I can use to help others. However, it is a double edged sword.

I am learning that while I adore many aspects of my job, I am challenged when I try to teach some of the slightly higher level language concepts. If you or I spoke with one of these kids or young adults on the street, we could have a perfectly good conversation with them. However, they often struggle with many of the slightly more advanced language concepts, especially those used in school. Things like defining words, explaining "why," describing things, etc. And I don't mean doing these things well, just doing them at all.

My struggle is that I have spent many years teaching students with typical language how to refine these skills and shape the language to their use. So how do I go back so many steps to try to remember how to learn the skills in the first place? It's definitely a challenge for me, but I am making small progress. Learning how to explain things at the most basic level is a skill everyone should develop (I just have a pressing need to).

(And with that, I end on a preposition! Take that, prescriptivists!)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Timing

My timing is never very good. I nap away the afternoon (today was excellent napping weather), then get all motivated to organize the disaster of an extra room or vacuum the dog-haired living room at 10 PM. Not the best plan. So, the extra room stays a mess, I put off vacuuming for another day, and I go to sleep (soon! I swear!) in order to wake up early to start the new week. How did it get to be Sunday night so fast? I guess I'd better get used to this again. Summer vacations can be deadly.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Working Girl

I started my first real-life, grown-up job this week in my chosen profession and it feels good. As I stood on our porch this morning, looking out on the mountains with Jasper by my side, I felt for the first time that I've EARNED this. I am working to support the life I want and contributing to our household to make this all possible. It feels very good.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sleuthing

Jasper is one big mystery to me and I love finding new pieces of the puzzle. All of his little quirks feel like clues to his past. Some can be reasonably interpreted (his crazy barking at two huskies indicates some kind of past bad interaction with a husky), but others will likely always remain mysterious (he only poops in bushes, and only bushes of a certain height. Was this trained? Just a quirk?).

As many people close to me know, right now I am consumed with trying to figure out his breed. Because we adopted him from a lab rescue, they have to say he is 100% labrador retriever. Which, I guess, he could be, but after having him for a couple weeks, I highly, highly doubt. For one, he is the worst retriever ever. I can only get him to chase a ball with a LOT of coaxing, and only in our apartment.

No, his obsession is the hunt. Finding critters, knowing where they are and chasing them are his main goals in life. He also points, not beautifully, but definitely a very still point, and can occasionally follow a scent trail pretty well (this morning was very god because it rained last night, so the smells were nice and damp).

We realized just how MUCH he loves critters when he woke us up at 3:30 in the morning a week ago because (we figured later) he heard or smelled a raccoon in the dumpster. And then he would not settle down for another two hours. That was fun. And then again when a cat was right outside the door. He was calm, but clearly excited and interested, when he could see the cat, but when I opened the door to show him that the cat was gone so he would stop whining, he completely lost it. The poor baby looked SO worried and concerned, ran back and forth between the two windows he could see out of, looked at me with panicked eyes and whined and barked even more. Clearly, it was the KNOWING where the prey was, not the getting it that he was most concerned with. Yeah. Not exactly typical lab behavior.

Based on this behavioral stuff, with the addition of his very un-lab-like body (very lean, with muscular legs and a thin, curling tail), I've decided that I think he is black lab and English coonhound. (The obsessive hunt for the raccoon the first night put the thought in my head, though his body had always made me think "hound" for some reason). I really have no basis for this thought, other than lots of pictures on the internet and guesses.

Compare:
Photobucket

To:

Whaddya think? Seriously, I'd love to hear opinions. Other ideas?

Sometimes, I think it's kind of like horoscopes. You can find shades of your dog in the description of any breed and make it fit what you want. When I read that English coonhounds love the couch, it seems like another piece of the puzzle, since sleeping on the couch is the only thing that will calm him down when he is riled up about a critter. And he loves, LOVES going out for night walks, which is apparently when raccoon hunting happens (since they are nocturnal and all).

Really, he could just be a super-mutt who likes to sleep on the couch and knows that animals are more active at night, but having an idea of a breed behind these odd quirks somehow makes it seem to make more sense. I like trying to make sense out of him.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Birthday Update

It's my birthday and I'll do what I want to, DOOO what I want to... you would do too... OK, that's enough.

So, what did I do? Not a lot, but that was fine with me. My lovely, darling brother called me at 8:30 this morning, thinking I was 2 hours ahead, not just one, which is an understandable mistake, except that he READS THIS BLOG and therefore knew that sleeping in was on my list. Sigh. Well, 8:30 will definitely be sleeping in, hard-core, after next week. Le boo.

I also went shopping at JoAnn's for crafty supplies (fun!), then came home and worked on the pink and orange quilt and quickly remembered why I had made so little progress before. Cutting takes FOREVER! I'm trying to be very precise and good so that this quilt might have a hope of turning out a little more even than all of my past endeavors, but I still manage to get the cuts just a little bit off. But I did get one more fabric all cut.

While I cut, I watched The Princess Bride and listened to the (500) Days of Summer soundtrack at least three times through (not while watching the movie, though).

Jasper and I took two medium-length walks, and explored some neat area right by our condo. He was also mistaken for a puppy ("He can't be more than one yet"). Since this is not the first time, I do wonder how old he really is.

I got a great haircut by a new stylist, and I keep swinging it around and feeling generally sexy. Always a good sign.

We had dinner at home, but I didn't have to cook and we went out for ice cream after, and I even got a special birthday scoop! I was tempted to get the Birthday Cake ice cream, just because, but I don't really like birthday cake, even in cake form.

All in all, a very nice birthday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Grand Birthday Tradition

Last year (maybe the year before?), I decided that on my birthday (which is tomorrow!), I will only do things I *want* to do and avoid things I *have* to do if at all possible. Mainly this is because I often postpone pleasure because I know I should be doing other things, and then I never seem to get around to the things I REALL want to do. When I did this last year, the feeling was incredible. Yes, I didn't get a lot "accomplished" that day, but I think we all deserve one day a year where we don't need to feel like we need to be productive (very different from simply not being productive).

So, in the interest of accountability (and also because I am excited for tomorrow!), here is a general list of things I want to do tomorrow. Of course, since I get to do whatever I want, I may not feel like doing any or all of these when the time comes. Thats the beauty!

  1. Buy thread to finish tying Peter's quilt.
  2. Work on my pink-and-orange quilt that I haven't touched in months.
  3. Organize some of my crafty things and fabric.
  4. Make and eat my favorite chocolate cheesecake (but not all of it!).
  5. Read.
  6. Play a game or three on the Wii. I love it but never get around to playing it.
  7. Maybe go for a drive in the mountains.
  8. Work the blog posts about the kitchen (and others) that have been languishing as drafts for too long.
  9. Sleep in.
I realize I am very lucky to be able to do this, and recognize that this might be the last year I can, since I start work NEXT WEEK. (Sorry, I will NOT be blogging about work. I have no desire to be dooced.)

What about you? What would you do if you had a day to do exactly as you pleased?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Jasperillous Espinoza von Tragerberg Smith the Third

I promised you the sweet story of how we met our Jasper, and so I shall relate it. Here is the long version, even though the short version is nice too.

As already discussed, we decided to go backpacking in the Rockies near Boulder. Based on the suggestion of the Forest Service worker, we decided to go to Jasper Lake for our first (and actually, only) night. On our hike in, we met some friends of ours from Linguistics hiking out with their dog. We had heard about him as a puppy, but never got the chance to meet him. As Peter and I petted him, we mentioned how excited we were for the day we would get our own dog, as we had been waiting for this since moving to Boulder almost four years ago. (Foreshadowing!)

We made it to Jasper Lake, fished, got bitten by mosquitos, woke up very sore and decided to cut the trip short and hike out, rather than continuing on. Instead, we took a lovely day hike straight up the side of a mountain, wherein we watched a group of 8 backpackers and a dog almost fall down the rocky slope, and watched a pack actually fall hundreds of feet with baited breath before we could confirm with our binoculars that it was only a pack, and not a very-probably-dead person lying at the bottom.

On our hike out, only a mile or so from the lake, I heard a woman say something to the effect of "Anyone want a dog?" I was thinking it was more along the lines of a joke, like when your kid is misbehaving and you jokingly offer them to a stranger. But no, this woman, Becca, was a foster mom to this dog, whose name happened to be Jasper, just like the lake we had just come from. He seemed very calm and sweet (of course, this was probably six miles into a hike, so most dogs would be at that point!) and she proclaimed him the best dog she had ever fostered. Even better? When we expressed concern that we lived in a condo, she said she did as well and since Jasper was a fence jumper, but had a great temperament, they thought a condo would actually be preferred. She got my phone number to text me the website of the rescue group, and we headed off on our merry ways.

The entire hike down, Peter and I were thinking about Jasper off and on. Could this work out? Could we have just met our dog? All of the reasons we had for concern (condo, lack of time for training, leaving for vacation in a week) had an easy answer with Jasper (fence jumper, only needs fine tuning for training, Becca would love to watch him while we were gone). For some reason, the name of the rescue group, Safe Harbor, stuck in my mind as well. As soon as we got home, I looked them up.

Immediately, I was nervous. "Must have a fenced yard" was right there on the front page. Would they let us be Jasper's parents? Becca said a condo was OK, but what if she was mistaken? We filled out the online application (which was full of seriously intense questions, many of which we didn't have an answer to) and waited. Nothing. A few days later (or less?), Becca let me know Safe Harbor had not gotten the application. Huh? So we filled it out again (thank goodness auto fill remembered most of the answers!). Still nothing, she said. She gave me a number to call so I could fill it out over the phone.

At the end of the phone call with the volunteer slash adoption coordinator, the woman said the next steps were either to adopt Jasper or to foster him for a few days to see how it would go. Woah! At the beginning of the conversation, I wasn't even sure if they would let us have him! Now we could just have him?

Before we did that, we went over to Becca's to see him again, since ten minutes on the trail after many miles of hiking may not be the best indicator for compatibility. At her place, we were even more in love. He seemed to recognize us, or at least sense us for the petting-suckers we are, and stayed by our sides the entire time we were there. He even graced us with his funny smile he gives when he's really excited or happy (like baring his teeth, but friendly and goofy). We were hooked.

A few days later, we met with the Safe Harbor rep, signed some contracts promising to be good to him and he was ours! With all of the stars that had to align for this, it really does feel a little bit fated, or at least, very, very lucky. I honestly still can't believe that he is ours.

Even as I type that, I have a cold little icicle of fear in my heart because one of the things the rep told us was that since he was not surrendered (he was found in Nebraska covered in ticks), theoretically his owner could come back and claim him. Since he is such a good dog, it's clear he was not a stray his whole life and I'm terrified that he jumped a fence somewhere and has a home that misses him terribly. On the other hand, he could have been abandoned by a family overwhelmed. Impossible to say. I just hope that Safe Harbor's record of never having a dog reclaimed holds true for us and he gets to stay with us forever.



Weekenders

Update! I officially, officially submitted my thesis (though of course it needs one tiny change, so I'm STILL not totally done!). HOORAY!!!! Once it is all done, I will be thrilled beyond measure. As of today, it should all be taken care of, but I thought the same thing Friday and again on Monday.

We went backpacking this weekend in the mountains not too far outside of town and had an incredible time, complete with adventures, fish and chance encounters with friends. We had planned to go for two nights, but it turns out that a five-year hiatus is not good training for backpacking, particularly at high elevation, so it turned out to be a good thing for our bodies that we headed back early so Peter could work on project for his summer class. The hips, they still hurt!

Unlike many people, we did not move to Colorado specifically for the outdoor opportunities, but they are a lovely benefit that we don't advantage of often enough. In an effort to correct this, I pretty much demanded of Peter that we go camping/backpacking at least once this summer. And so we did!

Proof:




Sunday, August 02, 2009

Lots to write about

Just got back from a great weekend with the girls, including soaking in a hot springs with a surprisingly respectful nude man, many bottles of wine, and lots of great conversation. Also, we have an adorable, wonderful new member of our family sprawled on the floor, listening to both of us clacking on our computers.


Working on a post that has lots of pretty pictures of our previous weekend adventures, plus the heartwarming story of how we met our new "fur-child." Stay tuned!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The perfect childless weekend

In a couple (several? more?) years, when we have little ones who take up every second of our days and nights, I hope we can remember this past weekend fondly, because even as it was happening, I thought, "we could never, ever do this with kids and we are having so much fun!"

First, we threw a double surprise party for our friends who are getting married in a couple months (sort of a late engagement party/early shower), which we claimed was a surprise birthday party for ANOTHER friend, in order to get the engaged friends here, but then we double surprised the birthday girl (who knew it was really an engagement party) with a special dessert and singing. Got it? Any way, it was amazingly fun and everyone had a great time. The guests of honor ended up spending the night (yay!) and we played Rock Band until 3 AM. Not possible with little ones, though we probably got more sleep even doing that (and waking up at 8 AM to make breakfast) than we will with kids.

I then took a nap (Nap #1), worked on my thesis revisions, then we went tubing on Boulder Creek with some other friends. I have wanted to tube Boulder Creek ever since we moved here four years ago, and spent the majority of that time living right on the Creek. However, I was always too scared because the water was too high (at least a person a year has died in the creek since we've been here, though not all were participating in water sports), or then the water was WAY too low to even imagine being able to float in anything. Luckily, this year has been a very wet one, but it's late enough in the season that the flow is more normal. Plus, it's nice and hot, which is VERY IMPORTANT because the water is effing cold.

I need to buy a waterproof camera because then I could have captured at least some of the incredible beauty we saw. It was ridiculously idyllic. As we floated under the bridge of the public library, families picnicked on the banks, dogs fetched sticks in the creek and children cooled their feet. A mandolin and banjo player provided the soundtrack, in counterpoint with childish laughter and splashing. The dappled sunlight came through the wide shady trees and highlighted the creek as it fell over small boulders, looking like jade lit from within. And then, as we watched the people watching us from the bridge high above us, the cottonwoods let loose their fairy puffs to drift down over the scene like light, glittering snow.

It was impossibly beautiful and I'm almost glad I didn't have a camera because I don't know if a physical image could live up to the one in my own mind.

When we were numb and shivering, after about four trips down the creek, we called it a day and ate pita sandwiches (this IS Boulder!). Then I took Nap #2. It was lovely.

And there you have it. A weekend made all the sweeter for the fact that we were actually able to do it at this point in our lives.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Nothing like a deadline

We are entertaining on Saturday, partly as a way to create a deadline for ourselves to finish up some of out projects. Thanks to this looming deadline, we (read: Peter) have:
  • installed the new faucet in the guest bathroom
  • finished painting ALL of the kitchen drawers and doors
  • installed all but two of the previously painted doors
  • installed hardware on most drawers and all installed doors
  • made the under-cabinet light switch look pretty and not all janky
  • bought a new-to-us rug from Craig's List for the living room
  • lowered and fixed the dining room chandelier
  • bought a leather ottoman/bench/coffee table for the living room
  • put most of our electronic paraphernalia in said ottoman (storage FTW!)
  • fixed the wire nest of doom trailing from the TV and router off the mantle (Peter is magic)
And then, the bestest thing of all, Peter went and surprised me by getting these super sweet chairs from Costco that we had been wanting, but that were all sold out at our local store. They are super pretty, SUPER cheap, and basically two-for-one! I will definitely take some pictures once everything is all snazzy for the social engagement.

Too bad that even with all of that done, we still have so much more to do. Installing the last 5 kitchen doors, caulking the counters, putting trim on, touching up paint, etc. etc. The worst part is that the more we get finished, the more the unfinished stuff sticks out. I guess we'll just have to plan another social engagement in a few weeks!

And don't worry, pictures will be forthcoming, once things are a bit more cleaned up!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Summer time!

Bad blogger, bad! Other than passing my thesis defense (woohoo!!!), very little has changed around here. The week between my return and Peter's was only punctuated by the defense and the awesome friends who came out and supported me, and then meeting with a few friends to get me out of the house and give me a reason to shower.

Other than that, we have started unpacking some of the boxes, I found and filled my awesome "new" dresser that I scored on Craig's List (I love the first blush of ogranization, when all of the shirts are neatly folded and every category of clothing has its own space. We'll see how long it lasts) and I slept and read a lot of Internet.

Since Peter got back, we've been at warp speed, but doing lots of social things with friends who were probably just so thankful I am done with that stupid thesis! We've moved friends, Rock Banded with friends, danced at our friends' wedding, and breakfasted with friends at far too early an hour (you are awesome for getting up so early on a Saturday, Dan!). However, the kitchen looks exactly the same as it did three weeks ago, no doors have been painted nor installed. Ah well, can't have everything!

Oh! And we got new iPhones after my 3.5 year old phone leapt to its death. We had been planning on getting them very soon anyway, but this sped the process up. Hooray!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

In brief

I've been internet-less for the past week and a half while visiting the in-laws in Michigan. Awesome time, but now I'm playing catch up (per uzh with vacations, I think). So here's the news in brief:

Preparing for thesis defense tomorrow. Alternating between confidence with progress and abject terror.

Still living amid boxes. In-laws nicely dropped off about 20 more filled with the hubby's paraphernalia from growing up (they are preparing to move too). Let's just say boy collected a LOT of stamps.

One of the boxes has these amazing little books that cover all kinds of topics. Thus far, the ones I can't wait to read are "Esperanto for Beginners" and "An Introduction to Philology (The Science of Language)." Other extremely promising titles: "Sex in Psychoanalysis," "Hypnotism Made Plain" and "How to Psycho-Analyze Yourself: A Confidential Analysis of Your Personality." All published around 1923-1924. Amazing.

In Michigan, we killed some time at a Big Lots, discovering $3 DVDs. Most miraculously, MANY of the movies were my kind of stylistic, esoteric films, like Adaptation, The Squid and the Whale, and Lost in Translation. God bless northern Michiganders who would rather see big blockbusters for sending these to Big Lots. I bought 15 of them.

Made a to-do list in MI (while I was avoiding thinking about doing any work). Fills a page of a legal pad.

Sat next to an 8-year-old on the flight from Chicago to Denver flying alone. Cutest damn kid ever, but a bit of a hellion. Too smart for his own good, but reminded me of how smart kids can be (you can get myopic only working with the kids we usually see as SLPs). Reading, spelling, and doing multiplication on his own and not even in second grade.

Got to visit Amish country in MI. Awesome because it's almost totally untouched by tourism. Considering the last Amish country I went to was Lancaster, PA, where I seriously had to leave it was so touristy, this was amazing. Everyone was so friendly and just living a normal life. Very awesome.

In-laws' house in MI is amazing. Right on the lake with a dock and everything. Saw wild turkey, baby fawn (with spots!), lots of birds and fish. Fished every night till dusk at 10:30. Had visions of FIL teaching our kids to fish. Also found out that the line of grandfathers and grandsons fishing together goes back to Peter's grandfather learning from HIS grandfather in Germany. So our kids def. need to learn how to fish, regardless of gender.

Considering doing some stress baking for the defense tomorrow. A dear friend is making brownies. Cookies would be a nice addition, no? Plus, I could break in our new oven. Hmm... can I find all the ingredients and tools needed? What about the cookbooks?

Finally, so grateful for all of the support I've gotten from friends for my defense. They are amazing. The end.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Kitchen Pictures

So I realized in looking over my recent posts that I have left a lot out in the kitchen update. Mostly it's because I feel like each step deserves a nice long post detailing what we did and how we did it (since it's all DIY), but frankly, that takes too long so the post goes unfinished. Since we are going to Michigan soon with the relatives and will have no internet for DAYS at a time (oh, the humanity!), I thought I would post some of the pictures I have taken of the various stages, with limited commenting interruption. If you desire any comments on any pictures, let me know and I will write about them.

Keep in mind that all of the pictures are "in progress" pictures. I will hopefully have pretty pretty post-renovation pictures after we get back.

Please see the before pictures before reading on to refresh your memory and help see the changes.

Safety is #1!



New microwave frees up counter space.


Not technically part of our kitchen, but this sweet pantry will free up a ton of cabinet space in the kitchen (which is great, since we didn't have enough in the last place, and we have even fewer here!)
So hopefully that gives a better indication of where we are now. In looking through these pictures, I realize we still don't have a very recent picture with the new fridge, sink and under cabinet lights on. Ah well, that will save some surprise for the final picture!

I can say this: doing all of this work ourselves has made me immeasurably proud (even if Peter has done pretty much all of the heavy lifting), and has allowed us to get a gorgeous kitchen for a fraction of the price of most renovations. I'll have to figure out the costs when all is said and done. Really, the only place we've gone much over what we had thought was in purchasing the various tools necessary to do the jobs, but those are reusable and MUCH cheaper than a contractor! I now actually WANT to cook and spend time in the kitchen, which Peter would probably say is worth the time and money (at least, as long as I can improve my cooking skills!).

With those pictures off my chest (and hard drive), I am off to bed so I can rise to unpack another day.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Water: the giver of life

We have running water in the kitchen! Not only that, but a functioning dishwasher! My days as the "dish fairy" are OVER! (Well, except for pots and pans, but after doing every. single. dish. BY. HAND. for the last four years, I'm OK with that).

In addition, all of the counters are done, microwave is in and the kitchen is almost done! If only stupid Target had not been out of the only two kinds of contact paper we liked on the last visit, we could have actually put all of our dishes and things away. Perhaps Home Depot will treat us better tomorrow.

Pictures! OK! Here are some teasers:


I promise more when the kitchen is in better shape for photographing!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gratitude

Weather here has been CRAZY the past week: heavy rain, massive thunder and lightning, hail and actual, literal tornadoes touching down almost every afternoon. TORNADOES! This is Colorado, people, and not the Nebraska part of Colorado either. Thankfully, we haven't had any in town, just in the county. I would not know what to do if there were a tornado here. Anyway, today as I am standing under our lovely wide eaves, watching the rain pour down, cascading off the roof and filling up the drainage "pond" across the way, I realize how very, very thankful I am that I can be inside and dry and not out there and wet.

On our cross country trip, pretty much our first stop was Oregon. I was born there, we still have lots of family friends there, and it's lovely. It also rains a lot. I knew this. Our first night there, in early September, we pitch the tent and decide to leave the bulky rain fly off because it is so gorgeous and we want to be able to see the stars through the mesh roof. You see where this is going. We did not.

2 AM or so, we feel the drops, Peter gets the fly on (which is still in the car, I think), and we never sleep in the tent again on the trip (our minivan was WAY comfier anyway). We are also not dry again until almost a week later. Oregon, you see, gets a lot of rain. Well, a lot of drizzle. We were perpetually damp with no way to really get dry, since everything we owned was also wet. And in the small minivan. And the humidity was always 100%. As Nevadans, this was WAY too much wetness for us.

About a week later, after much damp camping, hiking and cooking, we arrived at the home of one of those Oregonian family friends previously mentioned. Honestly, I have never been so happy in my life to be in a SHELTER, a place that would shield me from the elements and keep me warm and dry.

I don't ever want to forget that feeling of gratitude for simple shelter. As much as I love redoing the kitchen and making our new place pretty and welcoming, I truly love the walls, the roof and the floor, which protect us and keep us safe. I am grateful we have that much when so many others out there do not.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Writing on purloined internet

All of our belongings are now in one place, but now we have the challenge of trying to remember where everything is. Making a bagel the first morning required hunting for: a bread knife to cut the bagel (5 minutes), a plate (never found, used a paper towel), and a butter knife (used a paring knife with some success). Pretty much every activity has required a similar search for at least one necessary item.

Our first piece of the counter is in and looks gorgeous. We also now have a microwave (hooray!) so we can kind of cook some things at least. The stove will go back in once all of the counters are installed. I can't wait for all of the counters to go in! I will post some pictures once we have real internet again.

In other news, I am employed! I don't start until August or September, but I am thrilled and a little scared, but I know it will be great once I start. Hope to post more tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Stuck in between

I have a lovely post in the works with more pictures of the kitchen floor, but I was rudely interrupted by a little thing called MOVING. Yes, that time is upon us, when you open a drawer to butter your bagel and discover all of the silverware, including the knives, is at the other place. Repeat 100 times daily, and add in 50 or more trips up and down seven flights of stairs carrying heavy boxes and furniture and you have our life!

We spent our first night in our own bed at the new place last night, though we had to leave early this morning to come back to the old place for several reasons, including the fact that our kitchen is not currently functioning yet (no countertops, though we have purchased them, microwave comes today, new fridge not until next week).

In good news: we are *almost* done, though we have the most annoying loads left wit lots of large, awkward and fragile things. Fun! As mentioned, we also purchased the countertops, and I think they are going to look beautiful. However, they clash horribly with the wooden trim we were going to paint anyway, but now we really need to paint it. More sanding. Ugh.

Bad news is that we are not done moving yet and we need to be out by tomorrow. We can do it, but it will be a push to get everything out and the place cleaned in time. Other bad news is that once everything is moved, we need to actually unpack and figure out how to make the new place livable with all of our furniture and crap. I think Goodwill and dumpster divers will be very happy in the coming week, not to mention Craig's List.

Before we can even think about really unpacking, we have GOT to finish the kitchen. The stove is in the dining room, construction materials take up half the living room and there is just no space for anything.

I would upload some new pictures, but I'm pretty sure the camera cord is packed.