Tuesday, February 27, 2007

surprise!

On Saturday I was given a not-so-surprising surprise 30th birthday party. I suppose I’m a fairly skeptical person who pays attention to detail. When you add to this some friends who inadvertently spill the beans…well, you get the picture. What’s funny is that I was still nervous walking through the door even though I knew what was on the other side. Who knows why…

I had quite some time before the actual event to think about who might be there. I anticipated the usual suspects, friends who live in the area and usually get together for various reasons. But I also started thinking about old friends I haven’t seen or talked to in years. Friends near and far who all played a part in my life.

Since I grew up in a small town and knew some of my friends from kindergarten through graduation, I rarely experienced people coming into and then going out of my life. That was one of the big adjustments of college. After awhile, I realized that some people just aren’t meant to be in your life for years and years. Some play their part much more quickly.

During my little trip down memory lane I mostly thought about people I knew in high school and college. What happened to those people with whom I spent so much time? People I couldn’t imagine ever falling out of touch with. Some of these people I don’t mind leaving in the past but others I would like to reconnect with if I can find them. If you’re one of those people and you’re reading this, send me an email.

While I truly appreciate all the hard work that goes into throwing a surprise party (hey, I know, I did it last year), I think the best gift I was given with all this was that it spurred me to mentally reconnect with my past. Hopefully I’ll be able to reconnect in real life, too. And to all my current friends, I’m so glad you’re here now. Take off your shoes and stay awhile.

Friday, February 23, 2007

if you can't stand the heat...

I bring you the kitchen. For some reason, this was the room I wanted to paint the most when I bought this house. I'm not sure why. Maybe because it always ends up being the heart of a home. Maybe because it was old-sock grey and had so much potential. I mean, really, why not make those built-ins pop? It was also the dirtiest room in the place. It took days and several people to make it livable. And it holds my first major appliance. The fridge.

When you walk in the front door of the house, you come into the living room. If you keep walking forward, you get to the dining room. (Those rooms will come later.) Turn right off the dining room gets you in the kitchen. Look left=kitchen; look right=breakfast area. Here's how the place looked shortly after I moved in. Seriously, it was fairly soon after. I can't stand things lingering in boxes and I hate bare walls.

This picture is the left side of the kitchen half of the room. (Love the wine storage, plate racks, and freakishly large amount of drawers.) The next one is the right side. (How about that fridge? Actually, the stove I inherited rocks. The guy who lived here before was a professional chef, which explains the fantastic, high-end, 5-burner gas stove.) Then you get a shot of the window above my sink. (Love that.) In the cabinet to the right of the sink I now have the coolest spice rack ever. I'll have to post pics of that later. Seriously, you'll be impressed.



I have no pictures of the hideous hardware that was originally on the cabinets. They were nickel and various shades of white and off-white. None really matched and they made the cabinets look worse. Let me just say here that every inch of the place needed painting when I moved in. Most still does. Everything that's white was painted with oil-based paint and has since yellowed. Yet another reason to paint the kitchen walls. The new paint really helps hide the yellowing. And while I've gone off and started writing about paint, I'll also tell you that I'm using all National Historic Trust colors. Anyway, here are the great pulls I ordered online at about 1/3 the cost of the ones from the local home improvement store. Brushed nickel. The doors are plain knobs but the drawers! Oh, how I love those cup pulls. (Thanks, bub.)

Then this is the right side of the room (at the other end of the kitchen). Maybe I'll try to get the blueprints on here at some point to help y'all out. I love the built-ins. You can't really see them but I also had my brother change out the hardware on those cabinets. They are now a tiny fork and spoon on each side. They're cute and were something like 25 cents in the clearance bin. The table set I've had since 1997. Somehow, though, it works perfectly in the room. You'll see in the "after." Thanks to km for the wine rack back there. And cph for the hydrangeas that I've since planted in my yard. The floor is peel-n-stick tile. Not my first (or second or third) choice but as far as that material goes it's about as good as it gets. Very non-intrusive and way less ugly than the flooring in the main bath.

I realize now that I'm like a bad fashion magazine. It just so happens that I took the "before" pictures at night. Things look even more drab. The "afters" were during the day (albeit an overcast one). I do get really great light in that room. There's a window by the table, too.

I don't know if you noticed the counter tops above but they were (and are) this bright blue color. They will get changed somewhere way down the road. But for now, I'm working with them. I give you...the "after."

Doesn't everything pop? And the counters make much more sense now. I love the kitchen. Things I still needs or would like to do:

  1. New floors (not sure what).
  2. New counter top (not sure what).
  3. Paint fan blades. The fan works and doesn't rattle or anything. If it ain't broke... But it is a little grungy. I already changed out the light "globe" thingies. They now match the fixture above the sink.
  4. Get a farmhouse apron sink if possible. Because of the configuration, this may not be doable even though I love them. I'd have to go from a double sink to a single one; I'm not sure how I feel about that.
  5. Have my brother build a new light box for the fluorescent overhead light. I'd like to find a simple clear and white stained glass piece to put in there instead of those cheap plastic covers.
  6. I'm toying with the idea of a white tin ceiling or possibly bead board/tongue and groove.
  7. Paint all cabinets and trim. I'm thinking of making the inside backs of the glass-front cabinets a different color.
  8. Speaking of those cabinets, the shelves do not match up with the panes. This makes me crazy.
  9. And I need to replace the window by the breakfast table. All the windows in the house(except 2) are those old, weighted windows and hardly any work. Because of their great, wavy glass, I'd like to keep some like the ones above the sink.

I think that's it. Yeah, I have enough projects to keep me busy (and make me broke) in this one room alone. But, honestly, I love doing it. I love seeing change, improvement. If you think the kitchen is fun, just wait till the dining room... If you think none of this is fun, you can just stop reading about it. I'll never know.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

10 things--shreveport

It's been awhile since I've done a 10 Things list. This week I was in Shreveport for the second time. Then popped by IAH long enough to change planes and head to Austin. One more day and then I can go home. I can't wait. It's funny, having a house. It's like having a child (well, at least for the single, childless, petless gal). I talk about it a bunch and I show people pictures. I carry paint colors in my wallet like others carry photos of their children. I think about it when I'm gone and dream about what it can become in the future. I know, right after I go home I'll turn around and check myself into an institution.

So, Shreveport...
  1. Early morning flights that take me there are empty. Six people empty.
  2. There are several good hole-in-the-wall restaurants and my site can recommend them all.
  3. You can get sweet tea everywhere.
  4. People are generally pretty chatty.
  5. Their little downtown looks kind of nice from across the Red River.
  6. I was able to gamble for the first time. I lost $2. (I bet $2.)
  7. Casinos offer exceptionally good people watching. Rednecks, retired folks, bikers aplenty.
  8. There's an outlet mall.
  9. It's a place where some married guy twice my age with a wife and 16-year-old daughter will give me his phone number so he can take me to dinner sometime. Uh huh.
  10. Ten is a doozy. Prior to going to this site, I was prepared for the worst. No one wanted to take them. There's a lot of work there. The employees were allegedly argumentative and difficult. I decided that it would benefit me in the long run to take them. Everyone would know I was a team player, willing to go the extra mile. It would give me lots of experience sure to help in the future. By taking this site, I could get rid of all the ones I didn't like so much. I would actually be travelling a little less. I would have a co-worker accompanying me making travel less lonely. And I had some weird gut feeling that I was supposed to go. Like for a non-work-related reason (how 'bout that for use of hyphens?). Besides, I had faced difficult and argumentative before. The thing is, they're not that bad. So far we have a good working relationship. I was even told that they like working with me. So far I've done what I wanted to; what the person before me could not. However, I'm still not sure why I'm supposed to be there yet. But I can't wait to find out.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

airport sign

Or, "depressing thought for the day." It said, "Every 14 seconds AIDS makes another child an orphan." Seriously, how sad is that?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

well, it's about time

It was a productive day. Fantastic weather! But before you get too excited, I have still not gotten my computer fixed. I'm working around it.

Finally, at long last, a picture post. I have so many pictures I'm not sure where to start. I thought about a tour or some befores/afters. But I think I should start with the details... They are really what drew me to the house in the first place. So, without further ado, I present to you...the details.






Friday, February 16, 2007

housekeeping

Some odd and ends...
  • To follow up on my gas situation (see #11), my house is apparently very energy inefficient. This should not come as a surprise since it's about 80-ish years old. I've been perusing the net to try to find some solutions. In the meantime, I'm just trying to conserve. My gas bill was down about 25%.

  • Could I possibly be a homeowner? Could I possibly be old? I'm talking about my gas bill. Sheesh...

  • At the bottom of the blog, there is now a quote of the day. This is randomly generated by someone other than me. But so far I like them.

  • The space up there under the title (the subtitle, if you will) is the end of my Happy List (see #91). The next time it changes it will include "little things" that have made me happy over the last few days (weeks?).

  • New poll inspired by this.

  • New quiz inspired by my birthday. Oddly enough, I am Aquarian but am only 53% according to the poll.

  • This week I was called an old maid by another woman.

  • Later the same day I was told "you're too pretty to be single" by a man.

  • Sorry about the last post. I'm allowed one freak out near a milestone birthday, right? And even though this didn't have to do with that, the stuff that led up to it may have a little bit. Anyway, trust that it was a warranted freak out and try not to hold it against me.

  • It's freakin' cold. I know, you Yankees have it worse. I'd be dead up there. On my way home from the greater Dallas area on Wednesday I was caught in a few flurries.

  • Despite the snow flurries, no sweaters were for sale in the town in which I stayed. Being a responsible shopper, I bought two fun, on-sale, short-sleeved shirts instead.

  • Who is ready for some picture posts? I know I am. There's so much that's been going on around the house that I'd like to share/brag about. I will (trying to be realistic here) do my best to make that happen by the end of the month.

  • How 'bout this to keep you warm?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

i'm a mess

I'm not going to get into the reason why but it has nothing to do with Valentine's Day or turning 30. But, really, how could either of those help a situation? You know what's fun to do when you feel like an emotional mess of a person who only takes a break from being on the verge of tears when she's actually crying? Going to a singles event.

Really. There's nothing like already feeling like a horrible human being to lure in the guys. And it makes you super confident and want to approach all the cute ones. And when they have you play this game where guys get locks and girls get keys and you have to go around trying to find the one who fits and you try like 30 locks before you find the person hours later and it feels like a whole freakin' analogy to your dating life where everyone else has made a match (or two or three) long before you have? Yeah, that rocks, too.

So, yeah, I'm going through some stuff right now.

Note: Ok, doing better. Am not bipolar, I swear. Feeling relieved.

Monday, February 12, 2007

10,957

That's how many days old I am today. Or, in years, 29 + 1. That's all I have to say about that right now...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

the noodle stands alone

Why is it that when you make mac and cheese out of the blue box you always get that one hard noodle when all the rest are done?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

can you say uncomfortable?

Awhile back I saw an episode of one of those weekly nighttime news shows where they were gauging the public's reaction to various situations. They showed instances of couples (actors) arguing and it getting physical. They showed actors who were falling-down drunk and trying to get behind the wheel. They varied things like race and gender to see if the public reacted differently.

After the program, you were left thinking that it was a shame that more people didn't step up for whatever reason. Maybe they didn't take an interest in the person/situation. Maybe they felt it wasn't safe to interfere. Maybe they thought it was none of their business. You also were left wondering how you would react in the same situation.

Another interesting scenario involved a cab driver (an actor again) who was blatantly racist. He talked negatively about just about every group of people. The passengers reacted in many different ways. Some ignored it, some joked, some agreed, some took a stand against it. I thought it was an especially difficult situation because the passengers lives were in the hands of the cabbie. I know I wouldn't want to send my cab driver into an angry fit.

Today was my first day at my new work site. I'll be here six days each month (six times as often as any other site). This is not a one-time-cabbie situation. One of the staff members offered to drive me to lunch. I picked a quaint, old, hole-in-the-wall with homemade pie that has been mentioned in Southern Living. I was expecting some pleasant home-cookin' and polite conversation. Instead, I found out that this employee is incredibly racist. I mean, to the point of using the N word. She did mention that she thinks some African Americans are ok people and that some Caucasians are "white trash." Sweet...thanks for that.

So, knowing that you will be forced to have a working relationship with this person, at a site you have been forewarned is difficult, what do you do? I'll tell you what I did later.

Monday, February 05, 2007

tiiiime is on my side

Actually, it feels the opposite. Any way to rewind back to Friday evening and have another weekend? I am super unmotivated this morning. Even though I was in town all last week (and had lots of office time), I still didn't get everything done. I think everyone has things related to their job that they put off. Things that just are way at the bottom of your list of favorite things. Those are precisely the things I'm supposed to be doing today.

And of course today is the most beautiful day we've seen in awhile. Clear skies, sunshine, warmer temps. I could be working in the yard. Or taking a destination-less drive. Or basically doing anything other than working...

I've been thinking about time quite a bit lately. Here's the relevant quote of the day:

"Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity." — Jean de la Bruyere

So what is the best use of one's time? I suppose it would be doing things you enjoy doing with people you enjoy being around. Then I guess you should try to make the not-so-fun tasks as enjoyable as possible. I'm fairly easily entertained so I can laugh at things like unsuccessfully trying to throw mothballs under my house. (Seriously, statistics would say that even a blindfolded person could throw a tiny round ball through the much larger holes in the lattice at least a few times... Me? Equipped with corrective lenses? Not so much.) But I am just at an impasse today. Maybe I need a change of scenery.

As for that quote up there... I think sometimes it may be true. Other times I think you are enjoying what you're doing so much (i.e. making the best use of your time) that you wish it could last longer. Maybe the key to life is to have more moments like that. Or maybe just to do what you can with the time you are given. Sometimes that is easier said than done.

Procrastination over. Gotta get my work on...

Friday, February 02, 2007

S & t C

I miss Sex and the City. I've seen every episode prior to them being put through the PG filter that non-HBO channels require. And I've seen quite a few of the filtered episodes. Some people complain about the editing but I don't mind. At least I can still get my fix.

If I still watch it so often, how can I miss it? I miss seeing new episodes. I want to know what's going on in the characters' lives. Did Big really commit? How's Steve's mom? Did Charlotte really get that baby from China? Is Samantha still with Smith? The questions go on and on...

I've read some of Candace Bushnell's other novels. They're quick, easy, frivolous reads. You become submersed in lives that seem so foreign. Lives of excess. Lives where people don't seem to have real jobs and yet can mooch off others and become world travelers with $1,000 shoes. Even though I can't imagine a life like that I know that someone somewhere has it.

Awhile back I found the Sex and the City book at Half-Priced Books. I thought this may quench my thirst for new material. Yeah, I'm more than half way through and it's been a little disappointing. I'm not sure how someone read that and thought they could make this fantastic show based on it. Thank goodness someone saw more in it than I have. (The same thing with Forrest Gump, if any of you read that...horrible. How the movie came out of that, I don't know.)

I guess what it comes down to is that these characters seemed like old friends who were going through single-gal problems. Granted, some of these problems were completely outrageous. But that, too, makes a real-life single girl feel a little more grateful. Things could always be worse/weirder/more deviant. And as I get older and am battling even more single-gal dilemmas, I have fewer and fewer real life friends who are in the same place. Their lives revolve around marriages and pregnancies and children...not finding Mr. Right while working 40+ hours a week and managing a household alone. I know that everyone has issues they're dealing with but there's something to be said about going through the same thing at the same time.