Monday, December 28, 2009

totally unrelated to the holidays

You'd think there would be a nice holiday recap post here, wouldn't you? Especially after I just was doing a little housekeeping by posting my 2009 reads. Nope. While it was a really good holiday and Santa was nice to us all and we were even nicer to each other and there were no tears even though there were multiple family gatherings, I'm going to go in an entirely different direction.

Months ago I bookmarked this. Here's my version of the list--basically horrific things that pop into my head without me wanting them to. And just for the record, no, this doesn't happen terribly often.

  1. That the plane will crash, sometimes from something mechanical and sometimes from gravity and physics just no longer working. That I'm forced to make those frantic, last-minute phone calls to loved ones before we all die.
  2. That up ahead? On the other side of that hill? Is a car barreling towards me in the wrong lane.
  3. That Chucky is in my room, you know, just at the edge of the bed. (Why on earth did I just search for him so I could add a link?)
  4. That the test results are positive and not in a good way.
  5. Like I mentioned the other day, that our freaky neighborhood drunk shot at us and I'm kneeling beside my dying husband. (I'm telling you, I was pissed at that guy.)
  6. That I dislocate my knee. Again.
  7. That there are roaches. Near me, on me, whatever.

I know there are more but that's all I can conjure up right now. Happy topic, no? At least I can take writing about it off my To Do list (so in a way I guess this is part of end-o-year house blogkeeping).

2009 reads

It's that wrapping-everything-up time again.

19. The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods
18. March
17. Twelve Sharp
16. Eleven on Top
15. The Reader
14. What No One Tells the Bride
13. Breaking Dawn
12. Eclipse
11. Ireland: Little Known Facts & Well-Known Places
10. New Moon
9. Into the Wild
8. Skinny Legs and All
7. The Working Woman's Wedding Planner
6. Planning a Wedding to Remember
5. The Everything Wedding Book
4. Priceless Weddings for Under $5,000
3. Easy Wedding Planner
2. Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts
1. 101 Amazing Things About Love

Sunday, December 20, 2009

it's the most wonderful time of the year

Or, you know, something... Christmas is always so fun but stressful. I love picking out presents for the family (er, families). I enjoy putting thought into something each person would like or sneakily doing research for the perfect gift or just paying attention when they don't have something or say they need something. I'm less of a here's-my-list-now-please-pick-something-off-of-it kind of person. But I'm having to learn that that has its place.

I do love decorating for the holidays. Here's our tree (with its crooked star apparently--someone should fix that) and lots of presents.



Here you can't tell the star is crooked but you also can't really see the ornaments. And why has no one taken any pictures of it at night? No bokeh shots? Must get on that.

I also love wrapping pretty presents. I bought paper on sale last year and was apparently already in wedding-color mode. Turns out, that was a fantastic idea. I could use the leftover wedding ribbon for the packages. And since I culled the ornament herd this year, I used some of the cute ones to tie on the gifts. Is that regifting? Is that wrong? I think it's green.


Generally, I enjoy holiday baking as well. It is, however, one of those bittersweet times what with the lack of Mom and all. But, on my third attempt this year (usually I only give myself two), here's the divinity:


Yeah, it's cooling in the living room, avoiding any kitchen heat. This candy has been around a long time and in doing some troubleshooting research last night, I found out that it got its name because it's so good. I don't buy that. I think it got its name because you need divine intervention for it to work. Bygones...

There are also, as Grandma called them, Ice Box Cookies in the kitchen. Love these.


So I'm skipping the "Best of" for days 19 and 20. Don't really have anything to contribute. But! Best new kitchen appliance?


Sigh... Not only is it pretty, but it's a workhorse. If you like divinity and your sanity, this is totally worth the large purchase price. If you can work out a marriage and have some super nice ladies in your family, maybe you'll get it for free.

And, finally, the saddest moment. Good thing The Hubby came with a comparatively tiny bottle of Mexican vanilla.

Friday, December 18, 2009

best of 2009: 14-18

I'm not sure if it's because I usually travel on Tuesdays, but when yesterday was over it didn't feel like there was only one more workday left in the week. But, Lordy. After the teleconference schedule for today and the sifting through tons of e-mails, I'm ready for the weekend.

Here's some catching up on the Best Of series:

Rush. I think I have to go with the getting yelled at by the crazy guy I mentioned in the last post.

Best packaging. Oooh, Moo cards. For our Christmas cards this year, I ordered Moo business cards. They're of great quality and have great packaging. (Sorry for the poor photo quality.) But the box is very compact, is made from recycled pulp and is recyclable. The cards themselves are made from sustainable forests. All that info is on the bottom of the tiny box. When you pull off the lid, you see this:


Hee hee. And then there's a one-page insert that looks like this:



If you can't read that, it's the "Buzzword Challenge." One side has the instructions to try to use the made-up buzzwords on the reverse side and see if anyone asks you what they mean. The buzzwords are social workfacing, blogospherical, socialocomotion, future-retroactivate, data-fluffed, viralize, and prioritorizational. It was just cute to me.

Tea of the year. Um, any? I'm not terribly picky about tea as long as it's sweet. Should be cold in the summer and warm in the winter. This year I'm particularly enjoying iced chai from Starbucks when paired with their tiny vanilla scones.

Word/phrase. Maybe "Is that bad?" And more recently, "It's rollin'!"

Shop. Am in lurve with modcloth.com. Le sigh... So many fabulous dresses that it makes me want to order a new one almost daily. When would I wear those dresses? Who knows. I'd just roll around in them.

And since I mentioned Christmas cards, first let me apologize if you didn't receive one this year. I had to cut the list due to time and materials and had to add in the husband's peeps, too. It was brutal. Perhaps next year we'll send more again. Here's the front and inside (which were attached to one another with either blue or green ribbon along the top edge):


This time I apologize for the poor cropping and the dirty rug. Huh, and actually I took a picture of one of the cards made up with the back-up green paper as the store had 3 too few of the 1st choice paper. Oh well.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

best of 2009: new food + house changes

New food? I can't think of one specific thing but this year I've continued to really enjoy making breakfast. Last year for Christmas my husband got me a cookbook from the B&B we stay at in Brenham. She has great recipes! I've also made one non-breakfast recipe she has in there and it's fantastic, too.

Changes? To where I live? Where there any? Um, yeah. We've done a lot of work in the yard. Cleaned out a bunch of the beds, planted the lime tree, lost the papaya tree, planted a few other random flowering plants, gardened!, dug up the back "sidewalk" and are prepping for the new one, started growing herbs again. Inside, we've merged our stuff (which was way more involved than 4 measly words convey), got rid of a bunch of things, and finished the black and white bathroom. All good changes! Well, I did like that papaya tree...darn storm.

Unrelated to the best of? Ok, so Husband and I woke up sort of early (for a weekend) to head to town to volunteer at a church. They were giving out toys and books and food for folks for the holidays. We got to escort the people through the different areas so they could pick items for their kids. It was all very organized and it was fun to do with the hubby. Then we knocked out a few more Christmas gifts, grabbed lunch to go, and headed home. It was a lazy afternoon of tv watching and napping. Then we each had a few projects to work on for the rest of the evening. I thought, however, that it would be nice to make an Irish coffee and walk around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. We did that (except insert "hot chocolate" for "coffee").

Yesterday was very foggy--really all day down here--but the evening was so quiet and dark and a little spooky. Not many people driving in the neighborhood. No barking dogs. Weird. And we've realized that our section of the neighborhood (our part of the street even) has the most decorations. It was sort of a bust in that regard. But it was nice to be enjoying the evening together. Well, we're walking down one street and it looked like someone may have left their car's headlights on. We paused to see if they'd go off, didn't remember seeing a car recently turn down the road, and were debating whether or not to knock on their door to inform them. The hubby says that we'll do that on our way back home if they're still on. So we start walking away and the car folks' next door neighbor starts yelling at us. Either he has a screened in porch or maybe had windows open or something but he's cursing and asking why we're so near his house (because, you know, we're in the middle of the road). We tell him about the neighbor's car but kind of just keep walking. He's still yelling and cursing and hopefully drunk because no one should be so much of an a$$hole sober and we just keep walking. And you can hear his wife or girlfriend (or whatever title that poor, unfortunate soul has) trying to calm him down. He pauses and in my head I'm thinking that he's probably getting a shotgun and we'll be dead in time for Christmas. Rest easy, he didn't. But you know? I really wanted to beat the $hit out of that guy and I'm not exactly a violent person. I think I was just pissed that he ruined the evening and that he was basically threatening us in our own neighborhood and, for Pete's sake, it's Christmastime. But I know, crazies are crazies year round. I'm just glad it didn't end poorly.

Friday, December 11, 2009

best of 2009: place

So my favorite place is home. Is that lame? And my favorite place at home is wherever my husband is. Is that cheesy? And my favorite place where my husband is is that spot. You know, the one right where his arm meets his chest, just below the top of his shoulder. That spot where my head fits perfectly and I'm terribly comfortable. Yeah, there.

+++++

In unrelated news, there's a deer head in my freezer, outdoor Christmas decorations and lights are up, and I'm trying out a new mac and cheese recipe. Perhaps this one will be good enough to cross it off the Life List.

Thanks, peeps, for letting me know you're still here. Maybe I'll try to make these posts a little more interesting then. And how 'bout you? What place would you vote the best of the year?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

best of 2009: challenge and album

Best and biggest challenge of the year? Marriage. Hands down.

Best album? I'm going with all things Ray LaMontagne.

Just throwing these two up here before bed. Since no one reads blogs anymore it's only for myself anyway... Ho hum.

And tomorrow? I'm giving up the internet for personal use. Just for tomorrow. Going to be my own slave driver at work.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

best of 2009: moment of peace

This year was a lot of things but peaceful does not rank highly. However, things are often peaceful when snuggling with the Hubby. And, amidst all the wedding craziness, there was a lot of peace (but not so much quiet) during the girls' weekend in Brenham. It was such a good break from everything.

Monday, December 07, 2009

best of 2009: blog of the year

Given the main topic of my life this year, my favorite new (to me) blog would have to be weddingbee. I highly recommend it to engaged peeps. You get to see real brides planning real weddings. They're very diverse--culturally, geographically, budget-wise. But, if you're just seeking ideas on some craft projects, flower arranging, party ideas...it's a good resource. I must admit that I still read it even though I was finished wedding planning 4 months ago. I'm just not getting invested in the new brides. Just reading the recaps of the ones who were planning along with me. Speaking of recaps, if we ever get the negatives of our pro pics, I'll have a little recap series of my own.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

best of 2009: workshop/conference

Not much to report here. I had two training meetings for work this year. One was in Atlanta and was very brief. We were away from the city a bit so I didn't get to look around. It was the first time I was outside of the Atlanta airport, however. I got to drive by (in a cab) the Hubby's alma mater. And we got really good food.

The second was in Vegas and I'm going to say it was my favorite. Got to hang with some nice folks, friends and strangers. Food? Less good. Gambling? Lost $20.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

best of 2009: night out

The best night out? It seems like I've had many more nights in this year. While relationships and married life comes with their own set of challenges and sometimes stress, the one thing I probably am most happy to see go (related to the single life) is the pressure to go out. The whole "you can't meet anyone at home" thing was annoying when I was single. I was past the clubbing stage but hadn't met someone to stay home with. Ahh, but now the joy of couch snuggling!

So nights out? There have still been a few. The first one that comes to mind is the night we got into Chicago. My SIL2 (since there are now 2 SILs it seems like maybe there should be a way to differentiate them) picked us up from the airport and we headed to a little bar. We had a bite to eat and drinks outdoors (perfect weather). And nice chatting.

We had a few good nights out with The Brother and SIL. Saw Les Mis earlier in the year and A Christmas Carol just recently. While it's not The Hubby's favorite thing to do, I really enjoy going to the theatre district. Always such good shows!

And then there was our pub night in Ireland. Drinks, snacks, live music. A mellow good time.

The evening where we finally decided our search for a rehearsal dinner venue was over...that was a good one.

Pub dinner and Ray LaMontagne in Dublin. Fantastic!

BBQ and Willie Nelson in Nashville. Also fantastic.

Enjoying the fire at the vineyard outside of Nashville, followed (of course) by more BBQ...

There really were lots of good times this year. Hope 2010 can top it!

Friday, December 04, 2009

best of 2009: parts 1-4

The best trip of 2009? You'd think that would be easy. Hands down, doesn't 10 days in Ireland on your honeymoon sound like a shoe in? And you know what? It was great. We got to experience lots of new things together. See a tremendous amount of a country neither of us had been to. But there was some stress leading up to it and we were still trying to settle in to married life (heck, we still are).

Truth is, I think every trip we took this year was fantastic. We had a quick trip down to Moulton/Shiner for Joe's birthday in February. Costa Rica for a week in March. Chicago in June. I had a great girls' weekend in Brenham in August. The honeymoon in August/September. Southern California (so The Hubby could be a groomsman) in September. The Hubby went with me to San Antonio for work in late September. And Nashville in November. We were busy bees.

The best restaurant moment? There have been many memorable ones this year. Eating fantastic food one night in Costa Rica with the now in-laws. The food and company was great, we were enjoying the perfect weather outdoors, the music was a little quirky but entertaining, and there was a cat lingering in wait of leftovers. Then there was the breakfast we had when celebrating the new SIL's graduation. The Riverwalk meals in San Antonio. The BBQ and home cookin' of Nashville. The Italian we had with The Brother and SIL a few weekends ago before heading to the theatre. And the time in Ireland where we wandered around trying to find a place to eat and ended up being followed around by a nice stray dog. Although, technically, that would be my favorite outside-of-a-restaurant moment.

The best article? Geez, this one is a toughy. The one I remember because I read it fairly recently was this one about the Obamas. Now, it's not super politically-charged. It's about their marriage. I like reading realistic things about marriage instead of rose-colored-glasses stuff. Makes me feel more competent.

The best book? I read a lot of wedding stuff this year and some fluff to distract me from real thinking. I guess this is the year of the last 3 Twilight books. Those just sucked me in and I did tell other folks to read them. (You know, me and the entire media world...) I read Into the Wild. The movie got me all riled up. I was so pissed at the main character and had to talk to other people who saw the movie to see what their reactions were. The book, however, painted a slightly different story and I felt a little better about the guy. Still, what a waste. Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts and What No One Tells the Bride were both good marriage prep books. The latter took into consideration that current brides don't often move in with their husband immediately after leaving their parents' home. You have your own individual life you're giving up in a lot of ways. I think that was helpful to read about in advance. And the last book I read was The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods. Even though I've never met Kate (of sweet salty, see blog link in margin), I am just so proud of her for writing this book. It's a fun read (meant for young adults but this not-so-young adult enjoyed it, too).

Perhaps what I've learned so far about the "best ofs" is that I'm either super non-committal or it's been a fabulous year.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

best of 2009

I was reading the Superhero blog (linked on the side down there) and Andrea is doing the Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. When she does something like this it's usually an interestingly enough idea that I want to do it, too.

For some reason, the link above doesn't work on my PC but does on the Mac. For those of you who may not be able to see it, here's the short list of prompts:
Dec 1: Trip
2: Restaurant moment
3: Article
4: Book
5: Night out
6: Workshop/conference
7: Blog find of the year
8: Moment of peace
9: Challenge
10: Album of the year
11: Place
12: New food
13: Change you made to the place you live
14: Rush
15: Best packaging
16: Tea of the year
17: Word/phrase
18: Shop
19: Car ride
20: New person
21: Project
22: Startup
23: Web tool
24: Learning experience
25: Gift
26: Insight/aha! moment
27: Social web moment
28: Stationery
29: Laugh
30: Ad
31: Resolution

So you can do one or all. You can write a novel or a sentence. Since I'm already procrastinating by doing this, I'll have to start later but I find many of the "bests" interesting to think about. Join me (and Andrea and Gwen)? Anyone? Anyone still blog?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

it's december

Geez, time has been flying. So, how's it going? Whatcha been up to? Have a good Thanksgiving?

Things are still just rolling along. No terribly exciting updates but I do have a question for you (but feel free to answer the ones above, too). So over there on the side? Down a little, a little more...right there! Is my Life List. I've recently added a few things. Do you have one, formal or informal? What's on it? Just curious.

Also, what's the largest number of strands of Christmas tree lights you can connect without fear of burning something down?

One more thing, word on the street is it may snow on Friday. Nuts.

That's all. Back to work.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

ho hum

I got nothin'. Those pansies I planted are looking good. Like this now (well, today they look slightly less beaten down by rain):


And those ranunculus bulbs I planted? The ones that are supposed to cheerily bloom in the spring? Look like this:



Shame on them. You know, unless they bloom. Doesn't really matter what season to me.

I made cinnamon rolls yesterday. And altered a dress. And we're going to see A Christmas Carol at the theatre (live, not the Jim Carrey movie).

Yep, that's all. I'm super unmotivated.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

hear classic country live at the ryman

Maybe about 4 years ago I made it to Nashville for the first time. I loved it even though, as a Texas Country music fan, you're probably not supposed to. On a subsequent trip, I forced one of my friends/co-workers to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Ryman. If you make it to Nashville, I'd recommend both. I guess I realized that you don't have to be a fan of some of the cheesy current Nashville "artists" (you know, the ones who just sing songs other people wrote and stand there--without an instrument in their hands--looking pretty) to appreciate the history of the place.

I love the Hall of Fame. I love buildings that have meaning. My favorite part is that on the outside of the rotunda, there's a slightly stylized rendition of the musical notes of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken". But there's more. From wikipedia:

The new building's exterior is laced with symbolic images of music. The most obvious of these are the windows that mirror the configuration of piano keys. More conspicuous images include the diamond-shaped radio mast, which is a miniaturized replica of the WSM tower located a few miles south of Nashville. The round discs surrounding the tower symbolize the different size records and CDs country music has been recorded upon. When viewed from the air, the building is in the shape of a bass clef. The north-west corner of the building juts out like the tail fin of a 50s Cadillac.
I love Hatch Show Print (and what they print). You've seen their posters. If only we had a different wedding theme, perhaps I would have had them print our invitations. (I do keep telling The Hubby that we need to get remarried each year so I can have every kind of wedding I'd want...)

But I LOVE the Ryman. When I was there I couldn't help but feel my parents. I know, it's weird. It's just that we grew up with classic country and I felt like it was a place they would have loved to have visited. But I guess visiting wasn't enough for me. So I added to the Life List. The Ryman opened its doors in 1892 (as the Union Gospel Tabernacle) and was home to the Grand Ole Opry from 1943-74. Today you can hear all sorts of acts at the Ryman but I wanted to hear it like the old days, in all its classic country glory.

For a few years now I'd been checking their calendar. Since so many other types of acts play there, it's hard to find a classic country artist not sold out and playing on a date you could, you know, just swing on over to Nashville. About a month ago I realized Willie Nelson was playing there this past Thursday. The Hubby and I made a little trip of it...

We stayed in my favorite hotel of all time. I hadn't been there since it had been renovated. Ahh, even more lovely. We ate barbecue. For several meals. We saw Willie with about 2,300 other folks. It was a sold out show and there really are fantastic acoustics. He sang some of his stuff and some other classic songs. The last song was "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" and everyone sang along and clapped. They turned the audience lights up and you could imagine folks singing gospel here a hundred years ago, needing their paper fans in lieu of air conditioning. I got a little emotional. It was a great show.

On Friday, we drove down to Lynchburg, enjoying the fall color the entire way. We ate at Miss Mary Bobo's (now owned by the Jack Daniel's folks). Good southern food (sweet tea, fried okra, carrot cake, etc.) and good company (you eat family-style with strangers). Then walked through town and down to the distillery. It was our 4th distillery tour (the first in the US). The tour guide was a very entertaining older gentleman. Jack himself? He was only 5' 2"... I don't know why that was surprising. We headed on back up to Nashville by way of Tri-Star Vineyards & Winery (run by a couple on the verge of retiring), Arrington Vineyards (a beautiful property--we enjoyed the evening's bonfire--owned by Kix Brooks), and Martin's Barbeque Joint. Then we headed back to the hotel, exhausted from a great couple of days. If only we could celebrate each quarter of marriage with a trip as good as this one...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

short week

Today is my Friday. We're taking off tomorrow and Friday to go mark something off the Life List. I don't know if it's that things FINALLY start to feel like they're settling down or what, but I'm all about crossing things off this list lately. Trying to encourage The Hubby that now is the perfect time for a new puppy. And maybe we'll sit around one weekend eating nothing but mac n cheese...

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

fall in the garden: picture post

So the weather has been pretty perfect around here. And I was doing some reading and it seems like now is prime time to add new plantings to the yard. Since our winters are generally pretty mild, this gives the plants a long time to establish before the crazy summers.

We've put this little lime tree in the ground. Yea for citrus!


And this tiny green plant on the left, an ixora, has been added. I was looking for an appropriately-sized little guy who could fill in this area in front of the house but also not die back in the fall. There are two other guys in this picture that do just that. By this time next year, it should look fabulous. By the spring, we may have some orange ranunculus...you know, if the 30 bulbs I planted agree.


The Hubby has been hard at work digging up the poorly installed (by previous owners) flagstone. We're going to expand the veggie garden a bit and re-install a smaller path (or some path, with some materials). We've already changed our minds several times including after this picture was taken.


We still have some old herbs as well as some new ones. Seems like there are very few cute herb labels out there and ones I bought at Ikea (that you could label yourself) just washed away (the labeling, that is). So I whipped these little wire ones up. Easy, fun, and a little rustic looking. I think the oregano likes it because it is looking fantastic right now.

And my pansies. I don't really enjoy putting annuals in the ground only to have to rip them up again so they rotate in some pots on the porch. These little guys greet you before you get to the front door.

This is what you get when you hack back an overgrown hibiscus...a lovely dark red bouquet (that looked pretty nice on the black Halloween table runner). Seen here in a wedding gift--an equally lovely Vera Wang vase. Thanks, Gary.


I wasn't totally in the mood for Halloween decorations this year so I only did a little. Until Halloween. Then I felt guilty. The creepy porch.

And the husband who would scare trick-or-treaters and their mothers. (He doesn't scare me. I think he's cute.)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

what happens when you go a week without posting

Braindumping...


Remember when I said there was a potential new job? Got the second interview but didn't get the job. Was it the perfect job for me? Probably not. I guess the current overwhelm with work led me to try to find a way out that was different from actually just tackling all the work that had been piling up. So this last week I finally got to the point where I could suck it up and just DO THINGS to help me feel better. Mark some things off lists. Get organized. File a few piles that were on the desk. I got over some pretty big hurdles but have at least one big item to finish. Overall? Feeling a bit better in this area.

I heard somewhere that only boring people talk about the weather. I disagree. Perhaps you're boring if that's ALL you talk about. I must say the change of seasons is my favorite time. Fall has been interesting so far. Some torrential rains, several days where you need to run the heat and air conditioning in the same day (we're sticking with doing neither). Some great cool, low humidity days where yard work has been accomplished. Visible progress...I like it.

Since I've been home more, I've also been able to do a little more cooking and baking. That has been nicer than expected. We've enjoyed some good meals and had family over last Sunday for some comfort food. If anyone has any tips on making a pot roast super tender, I'd like to hear them. I did tweak the recipe and was pleased with the flavor. Also? Loving a newish peach cobbler recipe.

Other things I'm loving? Grape Gatorade. And dresses on this website. Ok, well some are a little crazy but others are ridiculously fabulous.

The Husband and I had date night last night. We've been trying to do it for awhile and finally made it! We saw Where the Wild Things Are and then had some Mexican food. Good times. The movie was interesting to watch and think about. I'm so glad the costumes didn't look crazy. Made for some good conversation at dinner.

I guess that's about all that's been going on. I'm not sure why I haven't been posting more regularly. I think blogging (in general) is being killed by Twitter and Facebook. This makes me sad.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

positive quote o' the day

"When we tire of well-worn ways, we seek for new. This restless craving in the souls of men spurs them to climb, and to seek the mountain view." - Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Feelin' well-worn over here. Looking at making some changes...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

weekend

Hopefully my husband is coming home today. There's a chance he'll stay out of town until tomorrow which would mean I wouldn't get to see him until Tuesday evening. That's sad.

So yesterday I got a little work done around the house. Did a little laundry. Made some lists. Got some shopping done. Baked a cake (that looked really terrible but tastes good). Hung out with The Brother. Watched some of his cable.

Today? Got some yard work done. Made dinner (ahead of time). Laid around a little because I was starting to feel like I might be getting sick. Am trying to refuse the sickness. It's been a good weekend. I should be trying to get a little work done but I'm not going to. It is still the weekend afterall. I'm reclaiming it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

one step back, two forward

So I apparently needed a slight meltdown yesterday. Up to my eyeballs in work and it still keeps coming at me from every direction. Not a very good start to me trying to be more Zen, positive, stand-still-while-the-crazy-swirls.

But. BUT! Today? Much better.

Good stuff from yesterday? Having a husband who will be the big spoon. And pet my head (which is oddly comforting to me...guessing that stems from childhood). Grey's Anatomy. Uh, yeah, that's all I can think of. Like I said, yesterday? Not good.

Today? A cold front! Pleasant weather! Low humidity! One of my work sites actually doing things right. Eating a good lunch with a good friend. Getting our air ducts cleaned. (What can I say? We're wild and crazy folks.) Spending the afternoon with my husband. Hammock time! Letting the new, extra work just roll off me with it's ridiculousness. An impromptu dinner. Sending my husband off to camp the country (where he goes hunting occasionally) for the weekend. A whole weekend ahead to spend however I like. Much, much better day today.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

good stuff about today

  • admiring the weird, foggy weather in the mountains
  • driving through a great neighborhood full of old Victorians
  • getting work done
  • listening to middle-aged women chat on the plane
  • making it home
  • making it home safely
  • having a partner who takes care of things when I'm gone
  • blogs
  • a miraculously cleaner sunroom
  • the promise of a bonus
  • and the promise of fall
  • a quick email exchange with my bestie with the baby
  • that I'll be sleeping in my own bed
  • and have someone with whom to cuddle

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

on its ear

I don't know if it's just the natural progression of technology or the nature of my job, but I use the internet. A LOT. There's tons of information at your fingertips. You can stay connected with people. And you can "meet" new. It's no wonder I did most of my wedding planning research online. I found weddingbee.com. At first I wasn't sure what the fuss was about and then I became obsessed. You'll notice it's the only wedding blog still on the list over there.

Why do I still read a wedding blog post-wedding? I'm involved in the weddings of the other girls who were planning while I was. All these women had something interesting and different to contribute but one of my favorites was Mrs. Cheese. She's a great writer. And during the whole process she was honest and real. Since I'm not a rainbow-n-unicorn kinda gal 100% of the time (or maybe ever), this was a huge relief.

Wedding planning, the actual day, and the subsequent marriage isn't always easy and fun but so many people only talk about the positive. Maybe some people really can ignore the crazy or wear rose-colored blinders. Good for them. Have I had post-wedding blues? Maybe a little. Sometimes I think about what I would have liked to have gone differently, more smoothly. Sometimes I'm disappointed in myself for not being that glitter-n-puppies girl. Sometimes I'm mad at myself for regretting any of it at all. Part of me wishes I could have a do-over. Maybe then I'd be smiling in at least one of the rehearsal photos. And I would have been even more explicit with the wedding day timeline. And would have started the whole day even earlier so I could have gotten more pictures. And while we're at it, I would change some of the things that followed the wedding and some honeymoon happenings as well. But alas... Can't go back.

I guess my point is, all this stuff is hard. I feel very fortunate that I've found Mrs. Cheese's personal blog and can read about her struggles and what she's trying to do to improve things. The internet is good. Also? Lately it feels like I've been focused too much on what's wrong instead of being grateful for all that's right. Mrs. Cheese tried to blog positively for the month of September. I think that's a great idea that I'm going to try for awhile. And I've gotten away from my introspective, psychology-student self in favor of just getting tasks marked off lists. I need some centering, some balance, some self-care, some less tangible goals. Wish me luck.

(Good about today? The beauty that is Colorado, chocolate cake, sweaters, and the opportunity to miss my husband.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

the wayside

Seems like the blogging is falling by it...

On Friday I had to do real work and then try to finish getting ready for the garage sale. On Saturday we woke up early to set things out and finish pricing random items. It was a pretty good day weather-wise and we had a lot of traffic. Got rid of a lot of things and made a little money. I put up some of the remaining items on Craig's List and have gotten several responses so no official income tally quite yet. We're donating the rest.

A few garage sale tips? You should advertise at least a little. I don't think you need them to start obscenely early like they did when I was a kid. We started at 8 but probably didn't have people show up until about 8:30. (Which was fine since we didn't even have everything put out yet.) Price things to get rid of them. If you're pricing something too high, maybe you secretly want to keep it. And if you're going through all your belongings and cramming them into boxes before cramming those boxes into your overstuffed garage? You might as well price things as you go along. Why I didn't do that is beyond me...

Very glad that is over. Hopefully we'll get the leftovers out of the garage this week and can then organize what's left. You know, the stuff that actually belongs in the garage. And maybe I'll do a little yardwork this weekend. The weather promises perfection and The Hubby is leaving town.

Yesterday, we mercifully vegged all day. A little TV, a little reading, a little internet, a little Wii. Good times.

Update to last week's post? The birth giving actually happened and my friends are now parents to a ridiculously cute baby girl. I sneakily accessorized the baby's room while they were all at the hospital. Perhaps I needed some crafting. I won't claim it was selfless. As for me? One doctor appointment down (no problems), one to go (follow-up from 6-ish months ago), and one cancelled (condition resolved). Things are looking up there. Obviously garage sale craziness is off my plate. And I'm in the middle of trying to pin down a date for the second interview for this potential new job. Perhaps early next week. More on that later (if anything comes of it). And I finally made it through that stupid snowboarding game on the Wii.

Basically, things are better. I'm trying to remain Zen as much as possible. So tell me, what do you do to at least try to stay Zen while the crazy is swirling about you?

Monday, October 05, 2009

all over the map

Things are busy and crazy and ever-changing. Weren't things supposed to settle down after the wedding planning was over? Wasn't I supposed to have free time?

Let's recap, shall we? Since we got married I've thrown a baby shower, gone on the fabulous honeymoon, traveled to California for another wedding, traveled to Vegas and San Antonio for several days for work, gotten my hair cut (bangs!), changed my name, had 2 doctor appointments, had huge job changes, and had one job interview. The Husband also moved in; we went through every possession we each owned to see what we should keep, sell, toss; and prepped for a garage sale.

In the next two weeks, I have 3 more doctor appointments and one of my best friends is giving birth. And if things look good with the potential new job, I'll have to fly out for a face-to-face interview. Can we say crazy?

Granted, many of these things are positive. Baby/baby shower? Good. Honeymoon and other traveling? Mostly good. Potential new job? So far so good. Marriage/living together? A big transition but good. My eye health? Good. Other doctors appointments and changes in the current job? Stressful. Garage sale? Will be so glad when it's over. And the name change thing has been very challenging thus far (but glad that it means I'm married).

Speaking of name change... It's not freaking me out so much to see the new last name behind my first. It is weird to sign a new name and to not be able to effortlessly introduce myself to people. The thing that freaks me out the most is seeing "Mrs. cjm." Woah. I think that means I'm an old person. :) A very scattered, busy, overworked, neglectful-of-friends old person as it turns out.

Friday, October 02, 2009

i'd rather be in the yard

I don't want to work today. There's a lot to do. And I'm again in that place where there are organizational things and the figuring out of things to do. Things that don't have deadlines. Things that no one will ever see whether or not I've done but will allegedly make my job more manageable down the road. We'll see about that, though, what with all of our big changes.

So, yeah. I'd rather be working in the yard. Or maybe working on preparing for that fictional garage sale that I'm determined will actually materialize next weekend. Or hanging out in the hammock.

Sigh...but I'm inside even though the weather is nice. And should be working. Wanna see another wedding sneak peek before I go? It's my cake. Perhaps I'd also rather be eating that right now.

Monday, September 28, 2009

what's been goin' on

Domesticity. You know, in between bouts of travel. I've only been home since about midnight on Friday and am leaving around lunchtime today. And I had to work over the weekend. But I also got a lot done around the house. It's starting to look a little, um, less lived in. Woohoo. Here are some recent projects.

The Hubby's roadside find from years ago has been repainted (in only a slightly new color but it's no longer shiny and has flowers!) and now the guest bed has a real nightstand:



Speaking of the guest bedroom, it is now sporting new linens. I've always wanted them to be all white:


I made cobbler (peach and raspberry from here) in an awesome green Fiesta pie plate that looked better in person:


There are a few signs that The Husband now lives here (the beginnings of his family's wall in the hallway):


And the shelf in the living room has a little wedding area:


That's it for now. Next up? Eye doctor. Then a long drive.

Monday, September 21, 2009

ireland honeymoon, part four

And now for the finale... On Wednesday (the 2nd), we had a quick Continental breakfast before heading on to Tullamore. We stopped along the way to visit Emo's Court. Beautiful gardens, pretty nice home, and giant redwoods. Not a sullen, angst-ridden teenager in sight.


Then we visited the Tullamore Dew distillery which was combined with a little town history museum. This tour was self-guided and was pretty interesting. We learned more about coopering, the art of making those wooden barrels the whiskey is aged in. I can't imagine ever making even one barrel that could hold liquid. My luck, after all this time and labor, I'd go to char the inside and would burn the whole thing down. Props to the coopers.

We ended the tour with the requisite sampling. The Husband tried the whiskey while I had the liqueur, Irish Mist. Now that's something I could get behind. Much less harsh when compared to straight whiskey. We also had some lunch and an Irish coffee. Turns out the Tullamore folks were responsible for popularizing the drink in the US.


Then we drove the short distance to Kilbeggan to tour their distillery as well. Also a self-guided tour and you could really get up close and personal with the equipment. Again, even though we toured multiple distilleries, they all had something unique to offer and it didn't seem like you were just seeing the same ol' thing repeatedly. And they had a real live cooper working on the premises. Fun!


Because we didn't need a car in Dublin and also didn't want the stress of returning it by 8:00 the next morning, we found a B&B to stay in right outside the city. We returned the car to the airport the night before, ate McDonald's (blasphemy, I know) and headed back south via the bus. We ended up getting a great bus pass that included roundtrip airport transport, any city buses and the hop on and off bus tour. Too bad their bus system is incredibly confusing. No one really knows what's going on--even the locals. Even the transit employees. At least everyone is nice and tries to help as much as they can. On our way back to the B&B that night, we ended up on a bus with other B&B guests. They were kind enough to show us the short cut from the bus stop to our temporary home.

We chatted with those folks over breakfast the next morning and the dad gave us two free passes for the Guinness tour (that they hadn't used). Very nice. After breakfast, we took a cab to our hotel. It was the only place we stayed 2 consecutive nights while we were there. Reasonably nice hotel but no one knew where it was...that always makes for a fun cab ride. We were able to check in early and lounged around a bit before heading to the city.

Our fellow American tourists (as well as guidebooks) recommended taking the Trinity College tour before seeing the Book of Kells. The tour guide was a current student--very funny and informative. It's crazy to think that here's this college...and it's older than our country. The Book of Kells was amazing when you really think about the work that went into it and the technology that was available at the time. I'm glad we got to see it since you probably don't get the chance very often in life.

We spent some time visiting the National Gallery and seeing some of their art for free. Then we headed on to Bruxelles Pub for a quick bite before seeing Ray LaMontagne in concert. Perhaps this was the real reason for the trip, not to celebrate the joining of our lives, etc. :) Really, it was probably why I consented to us leaving a few weeks after the wedding. I found Ray's music while wedding planning and even used one of his songs for the recessional. It was a great show with a fantastic opening act...The Low Anthem. These people played 3 times the number of instruments as they had people. Seriously. And, then there was Ray...


Friday was our last day in Ireland. We slept in, tried to figure out the bus schedule so we'd be able to leave the following day, were told misinformation (we later realized), and ate lunch at Flanagan's. The rest of the day was pretty much spent on the on-and-off bus tour. We saw some interesting sites including the Custom House, Phoenix Park, and Christ Church Cathedral. We also toured St. Patrick's Cathedral and Guinness. The best part about Guinness was the bar on the top floor. It's round with the bar in the center and all the walls are windows. You have a great view of the city. That night we had pizza and dessert at the hotel and packed up for the early Saturday morning flight.







The Husband would like for me to tell you (I'm sure) that we tried to take a bus Saturday morning but realized that they didn't start running early enough. Fortunately, there were lots of available cabs. We took one and the driver said his meter was broken--it was charging us a lower rate but what can you do? He told us how much he estimated the fare would be and The Husband looks to see how much cash he had. I also had some left but soon realized it was probably in my pants pocket. The pants I wore yesterday. The pants that were packed in my suitcase in the trunk of the cab. Turns out, we had just enough money to pay the fare without worrying about the misplaced cash. The flight back was thankfully uneventful.

It was a really good trip. I'd highly recommend it (although yours may not be as good since you probably won't be honeymooning with my hubby--but perhaps your travel companion will make a Guinness mustache, too).

Friday, September 18, 2009

we fit, yo

We're not the typical couple. Even though folks are marrying older these days, we're still above average. We've lived with roommates and on our own. We've had time to inherit things from other households. We've had real jobs for years and if we needed something we could afford to buy it. This makes registering for wedding gifts a difficult task.

What did we do? Registered for some things we needed, some upgrade items, and lots of fun things. Last night we used two of these. We did our first round of the 30 Day Shred. Holy moly. That you can feel that way in a mere 20-ish minutes? That's got to be good. Then, since we were still alive (and by "we" I mean me as The Hubby is obviously way more fit), we set up the Wii Fit.

It was fun to see our little Miis dressed up in their workout clothes. You have to enter your height and DOB and they calculate your weight and BMI. Then they test your posture and balance and stuff to give you your Wii Fit age. Ok, so I misunderstood the directions. Twice. After the third round of testing, my age went from 51 to 52 to a much more respectable 37. For the first time, I'm older than The Husband. I told him I was enjoying being a cougar...

Both are good programs. They seem pretty enjoyable and are much more fun with a partner. We'll see how long we can keep it up.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

irish honeymoon, part three

I'm going to keep at the recaps even though no one appears interested. Is anyone reading blogs anymore or has everyone gone over to Facebook? No matter, the blog is like my own little (public) diary so it's as much for me as anyone else.

On Sunday morning we at breakfast at the B&B. Potato waffles! Then we dressed up and walked through the park to St. John's Church. It was The Husband's first Catholic mass and about half of it was in Gaelic. If you're Catholic, you know this makes no difference to you since it's all a giant pattern anyway. But it was bare bones mass. In and out in 30 minutes flat.

Then we headed on to Dingle, briefly stopping by the windmill outside of Tralee. We had read good things about the scenic Ring of Dingle (a drive around the peninsula) and were told if you were short on time you should do this instead of the Ring of Kerry. There are two routes from Tralee to Dingle. According to Rick Steves: "the easy southern route or the much more dramatic, scenic, and treacherous Conor Pass." We chose Conor Pass. It was indeed curvy, narrow, a little scary, and it was rainy and like driving in a cloud the visibility was so poor. The Hubby did well driving it, though.


When we got to Dingle we did the walking tour in our Rick Steves book. We had lunch at Paul Geaney's Bar and Restaurant (lamb stew and ham/cheese/pineapple panini). We bought art from the artist's daughter in a cute little gallery. We saw the tribute to Fungie, the Dingle Dolphin. The weather was really the worst of the trip but we attempted the Ring of Dingle anyway. After about 9 kilometers we turned back. This was enough, however, for The Husband to get to drive over the "upside down bridge." Twice. This part of the road has never had a bridge but was designed as a ford. Fun.


We drove on to Killarney but just stopped by the Tourist Information. Nothing too exciting. We basically were just trying to cover some ground. We ended up staying at An Cuasan, a B&B near Macroom. We had dinner at the recommended Abbey Hotel in Ballyvourney/Ballymakeery. We walked around the little village a bit before heading back to the B&B.

The next morning we headed off to the nearby toy soldier factory. They were quite neat but pricey. Then we headed on to Blarney. We'd read that the castle is very touristy and overpriced so we had hoped to get to see only the gardens. Well, turns out you have to pay for that, too. So we skipped that and wandered about town. It is a pretty area.



As we headed away from there and on to Cork and Midleton, we stumbled upon Barryscourt Castle. It had been redone and even included some furnishings that would have been present in it's prime. There was a great tour guide and the whole thing was free. The tour guide even said that this tour was better than Blarney, where she also sometimes gives tours. I'd definitely recommend it. The had nice gardens as well.


So off to Midleton for the first whiskey distillery tour, Jameson Midleton Distillery. This was the most touristy tour but very interesting. I had read that at the end they ask for volunteers for a whiskey tasting. The Husband, of course, raised his hand and was chosen. He got to taste an American, Irish, and Scottish sample. Lots of pictures from there.




Then we drove on to Dungarvan, one of my favorite places. It was beautiful and would have been completely overdeveloped if it were in the US. As it was, there was a quaint little town on one side of the bay and our B&B was on the other. The man who owned the B&B had grown up next door. It seemed like a lot of folks didn't move far from where they grew up. We ended up getting Italian that night (very good food) after taking in our options and being followed around by a very friendly dog.



Tuesday morning, The Husband finally got to try white pudding. Eh. And we drove on to Waterford even though we new the factory was closed. We went through the visitor's center and I bought a Celtic cross Christmas ornament (since I try to pick up a Christmas ornament whenever I travel). Then we headed on to Kilkenny. There, we visited the Kilkenny Castle. This one was very different as it was set up more to show how fancypants the residents were rather than to be used primarily for defense. Very well restored. We also browsed some of the town including their rather large art center and St. Canice's Cathedral. We then headed on to Portalaoise and stayed in a B&B there. Dinner that night was at Egan's. Quite good, highly recommended, and the decor was nice as well.




Up next? Dublin (and our last installment).