Friday, November 13, 2009
2. I'm volunteering this afternoon for five hours. This also makes me happy. The husband was concerned the particular group I've volunteering for was going to take over my life, so he (and this never happens, btw) insisted I choose one day every few weeks to work for them.
3. The two inches of leaves that covered our half-acre lot have been relocated to the garden, where they will rot and turn into compost. I hope. There must be 2-3 feet of leaves covering the entire garden plot. Is it possible for such a big pile of leaves to decompose over winter? I guess we'll find out.
4. After a month of searching, three trips and two phone calls to the PB, we bought our couch:
Isn't it beautiful? The only big piece of furniture that G and I have bought is our mattress and box spring, so this was a big deal for us. We didn't want to buy new furniture when we lived in our apartment because I didn't want to invest a lot of money into decorating a temporary living space. It's taking us a while to put together the living room, but it's kind of fun. For me. Now that we have fabric swatches for the armchair and the couch, we're going to start looking for a rug. That might not be so much fun...
The only bad news about the couch is that its estimated arrival date is January 7.
Have a good weekend! We're spending tomorrow morning cleaning our apartment, and then I'm helping my very pregnant friend with Christmas shopping. Saturday night we're going to game night at our church - hopefully we'll meet some more people our age that live in our area. Good times!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Last night I went to the gym near our house. We received a “free pass” in the mail last week inviting us to try it out, and since I’ve wanted to join a gym since leaving our apartment (and it’s free mini gym) I figured I’d make use of the pass.
I knew that using the free pass probably meant that I would get the whole membership spiel and club tour. And I did. Unfortunately for Justin, the guy who tried to sell me a membership, as an intern during college I’d sat through over fifty similar sales attempts and club tours for another major health club chain. In fact, I had also gone through an intensive sales course in which I learned the ins and outs of selling club memberships (just as an aside, this is funny for several reasons: 1) I took the class with people who were certified personal trainers and devoted their life to the gym – I am clearly not that person, and 2) this training included several days devoted to learning how certain pieces of gym equipment exercise certain muscles and required a final “exam” in which each person would walk the other personal trainers through the gym and have to explain/demonstrate how the equipment worked (not my cup of tea) – you can only imagine my relief when the instructor of the course informed me that I didn’t have to lead a tour)). As a result of my experience, I have a pretty good idea of what kinds of questions to ask, and I think I have a decent idea of what contract no-nos are. While I cannot be entirely certain, I’m sure my salesman was bending a few rules when he offered me a higher priced membership for a lower enrollment fee, and then told me that my husband could join the club in February (two months later than I would be joining) for no registration fee. “No worries,” he said, “just tell ‘em Justin said it was okay.”
Anyway, I met my friend R at the gym. She’s great. R thought we should start our workout on the stair stepper machine. I hadn’t been on one since college, and after about 6 minutes of thigh burning pain I remembered why it had been that long: stair machines are brutal. You feel great when you’re done, but getting to that point is challenging. Then we hit the elliptical machines for a while, which provided us with an opportunity to talk normally (meaning I wasn’t panting or randomly interjecting the conversation with “this is so painful,” “how much time do we have left,” or “this really stinks.”). We ended our trip to the gym with a trip to the mat pilates class.
Mat pilates was 100 times worse than the stair stepper.
The instructor led us through a series of what I would consider super intense yoga poses. The music was faster, she was louder, and the poses were at least twice as fast as they were in my old yoga class. I made it through the first 15 minutes of class with minor complaining. It wasn’t until we started a particular sequence of motions (on back, neck up, calves 90 degrees to the floor, hands next to knees and then you stretch your legs out straight just above the floor and move your arms straight back behind your head) that I really started to feel uncomfortable. She kept going and going. Every time we finished a set I though to myself “thank god,” and then she would start counting again. And again. And again. We must have done 10 long sets. I was ready to bail out, but every time I looked in front of me I saw R pushing right through the motions like a pro, so I kept going (but I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t keep my neck elevated – painful, painful). Our ab workout was followed by some thigh exercises that involved this metal ring that you put between your lower thighs. Then we “pulsed” (pushed the ring in and out) for what felt like forever. R had to leave 30 minutes into the class, and I had to go with her since the husband was hanging out with her husband at her house. We left, laughing about how much our legs hurt and how poorly prepared we were for the class. It turns out that we had both been watching each other during the class – after I told R she kept me motivated, she said the same thing. I guess that’s why they say you should go to the gym with a friend.
Despite how horrible it sometimes feels when you're working out, the euphoric feeling that immediately follows a workout session is incredible. I love it! The husband and I are looking into our health care plan's contributions to gym memberships - hopefully I'll have one sometime this month!
In other news, I think we’re finally going to buy a couch tonight. Yes!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
My first attempt (Cotton. Chocolate brown w/ cream polka dots. Pink edging.):
The kimono top I made tonight (flannel):
I'm going to consider these trial runs. The armpits need some work and I think the edging needs to be thinner. I should also add a snap under the ties to make the closures little more secure. I should probably also make something a little more gender neutral since I have no idea what the sex of either baby is...
Monday, November 2, 2009
We spent Saturday with the husband's parents. We had lunch at our new favorite Chinese restaurant in the TC area (which, unfortunately, is way across town) and then continued our hunt for the perfect couch. Turns out we like the same three couches we saw the last few times we went out. Now we just have to pick one...
Halloween was a bust at Casa K. We had no more than 15 kids stop by. Now we have over 200 pixie sticks we don't want. What happened to trick-or-treating?! I remember my parents doling out candy for hours. There were periods of time where we just stood next to the door because the stream of kids was so steady. Later that night we went to our neighbor's house for a Halloween party. It was nice to meet some more of our neighbors.
Sunday was pretty quiet. Church at 8:30 followed by errands and projects. I managed to pick up some fun projects for the week:
Lots of good stuff in this picture:
1. Please note the glass sitting on top of our console table. The friendly folks at ACE cut it for me yesterday afternoon. I added the vinyl protector thingies and put it on the table. Looks good!
2. My trip to the library this weekend yielded three "fun" books for the week: two cookbooks and a sewing book.
3. After picking up the sewing book, I went to a craft store and picked up some fabric and thread for a new project. The colors are pink and brown. Any guesses as to what I'm making?
Sunday, November 1, 2009
We went to a Halloween party last night and someone was raving about them. I must have them. I looked for them while running errands today, but I couldn't find them anywhere. I'm a little nervous about the disclaimer under the image, so I'm making an urgent request to friends and family: If you see coconut M&Ms, PLEASE buy me a bag. Or more. I will obviously reimburse you.
Friday, October 30, 2009
And boy, did we pay for it.
Interesting things happen to yard waste after it has been in your garage for several weeks:
- It produces a stench so powerful that when the door from the garage to the house is opened, the smell wafts through the entire house and lingers for several minutes.
- It melts into chocolate colored goopy liquid.
- It creates a fuzzy white mold. On the rotting vines and on the outside of the bag.
- It oozes. Slowly. Out of the bag and all over the floor.
Unfortunately for me, while I was very aware of the smell I didn't realize just how bad the problem was until this morning when I brought the garbage out to the curb. This was, of course, after G left for work so I was left to fend for myself.
Freshly showered and dressed for the day, I assessed the situation and realized very quickly that the leaking bag wasn't going make it to the curb in one piece. I also realized that I really didn't want to touch the slimy, moldy mess. I had no choice, though, it absolutely had to be thrown out today. I somehow managed to pick up the oozing blob while using two plastic garbage bags as giant mitts to try to contain everything that was trying to escape from it.
Wrestling with rotting waste is not a great way to start your Friday.
You know what's really bad, though? I managed to stuff another giant bag into our trash bin, but I couldn't fit the third one in. I left it in the garage. I just can't justify paying our waste company extra money to remove it. I think this is a good example of a time when my mom would tell me that I'm too cheap.
Have a happy Friday!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
It's been interesting because we both have very interesting strategies. Can you guess who is who?
1. One player works very slowly. Very slowly. S/he could be nearly finished with the game, but realize that s/he has all of the letters necessary to spell a ridiculously long word, undo the entire game in order to make that one word (thereby needing to use the other 40 or so pieces to make all new words), and then lose the game because s/he played so slowly and needed to have the longest, weirdest word. At the end of the game, this person's game pieces are relatively compactly organized (taking up a small portion of the table and perfectly in line with each other).
2. This player could care less about the quality or length of words used. S/he spells to win. By the end of the game, this person's game pieces are sprawled out across the table.
Sorry mom and Aunt S., but this game might be more fun than Scrabble. ;)
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
1. My husband ate them, despite the fact the fries had been sitting in a cooler for well over 40 hours and were no longer frozen. If you know him, I'm sure you'll understand why this is a big deal.
2. I ate them, despite the fact they were covered in canned meatless chili, which just sounds revolting.
The fact of the matter is that they tasted awesome. The husband has occasionally requested them over the past few months, but I just couldn't bring myself to buy canned meat. (You can love canned meat all you want, I just can't do it. Sorry.) At the grocery store on Sunday, it occurred to me that I could improvise and make homemade TVP chili, pile it on some baked french fries and cover it with shredded cheese. I knew it was risky for several reasons, but mostly because G claims to be repulsed by TVP.
Tonight I made it. I lied to my husband (we can't lie to each other, so this was really tough, but I knew I would reveal the truth after he finished, so that helped me make it through dinner - well, almost through dinner, I ended up telling him before he finished because I felt badly) and told him I used canned Hormel chili for his and TVP for mine. He ate his in record time. The entire time he made comments about how good it tasted. "This is so good." " This is awesome." When I couldn't hold it in any longer, I told him it was TVP chili and his eyes grew really big. He then claimed that it "tasted a little goofy," but was still edible.
I should have taped him talking about how good it was while he was eating it. I will never get him to admit that he liked TVP.
Here's the recipe (using the ingredients I used):
1 Bag of Alexia crinkle cut fries (I think crinkle cut holds toppings better)
1 package of McCormick chili seasoning (reduced sodium)*
1 bag (14 ouces) Morningstar TVP crumbles
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 can mixed chili beans (or just kidney beans), rinsed and drained
A couple of handfuls of shredded cheese
Heat the oven to 350. Bake fries for 15 minutes, turn bake 10 additional minutes. Meanwhile, coat a frying pan with olive oil and heat the TVP crumbles. Add seasoning (*I used 3/4 of the pouch), tomatoes w/ juice and beans. Cook for 10 minutes. Take fries out. I divided the fries into two parts and put each pile on a piece of tinfoil to make transferring them to plates easier. Cover with chili and generously top with cheese. Put back into the oven for 4 - 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.
Trust me, they are good - and pretty healthy (all things considered).
Monday, October 26, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
...and here's the table with our cheery front door. We were foolish and didn't measure the distance from the door's edge to the corner of the wall before we bought the table (or even assembled it, for that matter). Fortunately for us, we had about 18 inches to spare between the table and the hallway entrance.
Mags, you'll be happy to see that the wreath hanger is in its permanent home.
Here's the mirror I mentioned that I want to put above the console table. The stain is listed as espresso and I think it looks quite different from the table, but several of the online reviewers said they bought them together and they look great. I guess we'll just have to wait and see...
Monday, October 19, 2009
1. Saturday morning, I prepared the garden for winter. During the process I discovered an entire crop of onions I didn't know existed. I also learned that you should probably remove squash plants from the soil just after the first freeze. Removing large, rotting, slimy, dirt-covered plants isn't exactly a good time. I also used some really old shears to thin/trim our raspberry bushes. Cutting back the feral vines of the raspberry bushes must have worked, because yesterday the neighbors that live behind us actually came over to introduce themselves.
2. Saturday night we attended the evening service at the Lutheran church just up the road from us. We ended up really liking the pastor, and plan to go back next Saturday.
3. After church, we met three of our favorite people for dinner at Fat Lorenzo's in Minneapolis. After pizza and gelato we went to their house where we played an awesome game called Carcassonne and I kept their almost two year old son up running around, dancing and laughing until 10:15 PM. I'm sure his parents can't wait to pay us back some day.
4. Sunday we went to REI. G bought a new fleece and I tried on some hats that I loved, but didn't buy (G's favorite, my favorite). I think I liked the second hat best because the S/M fit me much better than the L, which was a first.
5. On our way home we stopped at Target and bought a console table for our front entryway. It fits perfectly. Now I need to buy the matching mirror and some picture frames for either side of the mirror, and the entry way will be finished. At least we'll have one room done!
6. Sunday afternoon I made my MIL's receipe for wild rice and chicken soup. Something went wrong, though, because the husband and I agreed it just wasn't right. We'll try it again sometime.
7. Sunday night we practiced, ironed shirts, and got ready for the new week.
We had a very good weekend! Busy Monday ahead, more later!
Friday, October 9, 2009
Long grass + large yard = mower spews smoke and shuts down = perturbed husband.
Fortunately, he figured out what the problem was. Long, moisture filled blades of grass were collecting between the blades. Not fun. He fixed the problem (several times). Lesson learned. We'll never let our grass grow that long again.
While G mowed, I picked up debris in our yard. I thought were would be sticks, but all I found were rotten apples. Many, many rotten apples. I started the cleanup process by kicking them into the garden, but then one apple exploded on my shoe.
Here's a cell phone image of just a few of the apples that I transferred to the garden. That giant feral plant is our raspberry bush. It's totally out of control. My dad is coming to help us tame our garden and prepare it for the winter. That should make our neighbors happy.
I'm working at a new school today. Exciting!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
In order from top to bottom: Pearl Harbor, Barley, Malton. We've pretty much eliminated the barley. It's even more yellow than it looks in this picture. Pearl Harbor is much richer than Malton. We're going to paint bigger pieces of the walls with those colors and see what we think.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
While we think it's our best option, we want to compare it to at least one other paint swatch. We want a color that brings some warmth into the room, but isn't so dark that it makes the space feel smaller. Beigeish colors with a touch of gold might be our best bet.
Both of the paints are available in Benjamin Moore's Natura line (actually, it looks like you can get almost any of their colors added to a Natura base), which is perfect for us. We had been looking at another line of low-VOC paints, but the color palette was very limited and both G and I weren't thrilled with our options. Later today I'll make a trip back to ACE to pick up sample cans of both the colors we think might work.
After our trip to ACE we went to Home Depot. I have spent way too much time at Home Depot lately. We bought the ladder that our home inspector recommended (we have some leaves to remove from our gutters...), a low-VOC primer, several rolls of blue painter's tape, and a paint kit (trays, a small brush, and a couple of rollers). We're hoping to get some primer on the walls today (just a few spots on different walls) and then tomorrow we'll test out the colors. I'm excited to see how they look!
Monday, October 5, 2009
This is the "new" chair (new to us, old to my aunt) I mentioned in the previous post. And to our families: yes, those are the boxes we moved into the house several weeks ago. They were all relocated to the basement during the Vikings/Packers game last night (would you believe I watched the first half of the game?). Our basement is now a true disaster zone.
I really, really love this chair. It's incredibly comfortable. It looks great. I'm sitting in it right now, in fact, and I have no plans to move to a different location anytime soon.
While not the focal point (its size limits where it can be positioned, especially when we get a couch), it is our inspiration piece for the color palette we'll use for our living room. The lighting isn't the best in this picture, but the fabric is striped. It alternates between a gold and a light green, but from a distance of even just a few feet looks mostly gold. Aunt S. had it positioned next to a chocolate brown leather couch and they looked fabulous together. I think we'll try to stick with a similarly colored upholstery or leather for our couch. Accent pieces will probably be a light blue. Maybe.
Here's my question for you:
Knowing that we're working with a palette that is primarily defined by chocolate brown, a soft gold (and green when you're up close), and blue, what color would you paint the walls of the living room? Would you go lighter or darker? Is there a particular color you think would work well in this space?
LEGO Architecture exhibit (much cooler than the link) and the space exhibit. It was a very exciting day for G. Late that afternoon we headed back to Aunt S's, stopping en route at Portillo's for supper. Highly recommended for the simple fact that it's a Chicago legend. Food's not bad either.
Sunday morning we were up early again. Our mission for the trip was to drop off a load of furniture at my aunt's and pick up a chair she gave to us as our housewarming gift. We hauled all of her new furniture in to her house and the chair out to the truck, and then hit the road. We spent a good part of the afternoon in Madison, visiting Sister M, who recently relocated there for work. She showed us her condo and took us to the very impressive campus where she works. We also made a stop at one of our favorite old restaurants - The Nitty Gritty - for lunch. I love being back in that city!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Let me let you in on a little secret: I am a horrible dancer and I am incredibly self-conscious when I am doing any sort of movement other than walking. It usually takes more than two glasses of wine for me to even touch parquet dance floor. Even then, I do little more than gyrate my hips, march in place, and pump my fists in the air.
We spent 50 minutes learning something very similar to this, but with more intricate hand movements. Almost everyone in the class knew the dance. My student and I danced in the back row, which I remember from my ballerina days as the safest zone for the uncoordinated and confused. Or so I thought. The teacher of this course was all over the place. My poor student had her undivided attention for most of the class, and since I was her "other teacher," I had to work just as hard as she did. I think the teacher was impressed - in a not so good kind of way - at my inability to follow her movements. I stuck out like a sore thumb. In addition to being about two heads taller than anyone else in the room, I had zero skills. I was the uncoordinated buffoon in the back row. I'm pretty sure I was the worst dancer in the room. That's no joke.
The experience was made even more awesome by the impressive audience we attracted, which was comprised of: five bus drivers who gawked at us from outside the cafeteria windows, a handful of parents of preschoolers, and an entire forth grade class. I spent the first four weeks of school working with the fourth graders and I know them fairly well. Well enough that a few of them felt more than comfortable calling out encouraging phrases that either started or ended with my name, and for the most daring of the bunch to loudly announce: "Ms. K! I didn't know you got moves like that!"
It was a really, really embarrassing experience. Probably had to be there to really appreciate the story.
We're off to Chicago for the weekend. Hopefully I'll have something more interesting to report upon our return. The last few weeks have hectic. I'll try to find time to do more blogging next week. I don't know how I used to do it every day!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
2. Children are incredibly observant. This isn't shocking, but was made very apparent to me last week. I had over 5 inches of my hair chopped off and the only people to say something were three fourth graders, one of whom tried to engage with me an absurd argument (and she really tried to argue) as to whether or not my hair had been too long.
3. Words become much more powerful in the fourth grade. So many tears this year.
4. Working with middle school children is so tiring. I was ready for bed at 7:00 tonight. I'm glad I have a three-day week.
5. Putting the television in the basement was a very good idea. I bet we haven't watched more than 3 hours (not including the US Open) of TV since we moved.
6. The paint company Glidden sells small containers of sample paint that have brushes built into the caps. I bought one on a whim last weekend thinking it might help cover up some of the large splotches of wall paint that somehow ended up on the ceiling (from the previous owners). It worked! We love cheap fixes.
7. "Hava Nagila" has to be the catchiest tune on Earth. Not familiar with it? Call my husband and he'll sing it to you from memory, tempo changes and all.
8. Never order even the South Seas Grog - not even the feeble version. G is convinced its "tart island flavors" are the result of soaking a package of SweetTarts in vodka. I think that's probably an accurate assessment.
9. After 5+ years of practicing with Silent Brass mutes, we can't get enough of playing our horns whenever we want to, at whatever volume we desire, sans mutes. I'm even practicing.
10. It's awesome to come home to your own house. We have much to do as far as decorating is concerned, but we're fairly content to put that off until later this fall. We'd rather spend our weekends with friends and family.
Posts will be sporadic, but check back!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I ended up working all of last week, which means our house is very much still a mess. A giant mess. The good news is that it's slowly coming together. I don't work today or tomorrow and I'm hoping to finish some organizing and cleaning (and maybe some studying...maybe). I'd post some pictures of our new abode, but I can't find the device that reads our camera's memory card. I'll try to post some soon.
In the mean time, I'd like all of you to know that we have a very healthy insect population both outside and inside of our house. Last week, after mowing almost all of our 1/2 acre of yard, I encountered a very territorial wasp. He not only managed to sting me in my left armpit (impressive, I know), but also attacked my right buttock. By the time I made it back to the house, I had three stings. I know it could have been worse, but those three stings were so, so painful.
Although we didn't see any during any of our pre-sale visits to the house, it turns out that we also have a nice crop of millipedes. Millipedes are infinitely better than centipedes, but they're still disgusting. I've also killed four grass spiders since last Wednesday. Grass spiders, for your information, are ugly, big and fast. I'm going to remain hopeful that only four grass spiders made their way into our house while we were moving (the doors were open all the time) and that I won't find anymore.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Good news for us! The government is implementing yet another stimulus program later this fall that will offer tax credits to people who buy new appliances for their homes. Yes!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I'm glad we don't have to pay for garbage removal. We'd be broke.
Although it seems there's no end in sight, it's nice to know that every box we tape shut means we're a little closer to packing up our apartment.
Monday, August 17, 2009
For the dough, I used a super simple recipe for pizza dough on Epicurious.com. I modified it slightly by adding a few hearty shakes of Tuscan Sunset seasoning (a blend of herbs sold by Penzey's, my favorite place to find spices).
I hand stretched and pressed the dough into a round pizza pan and brushed the entire surface with extra virgin olive oil. Next, I cut up three cloves of garlic and sprinkled them on the dough. I covered the olive oil base with Muir Glen pizza sauce. [Note: G and I are always surprised at the variation between pizza sauces. Muir Glen is definitely our new favorite - not too salty or sugary, just right.] I used leftovers from last week to top the pizza, including red onion, Canadian bacon*, and spinach. Two cups of mozzeralla on the top, and it was read for the oven.
The dough recipe didn't include recommendations for oven temperature or how much time to bake the pizza. I set the oven to 450 and checked the pizza after 10 minutes. It wasn't done, so I gave it another four minutes, which was a little too long. Our pizza was a little brown in some places, but it was still good ("the best yet," according to G). When I make it again, I'll probably check it after 12 minutes. I'm guessing that might be about the right about of baking time.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
After 15 minutes of trying to find a date with two back-to-back times available, the poor scheduler couldn't find my husband's name in the system. I suggested she try flipping two letters in our last name (a very, very common error). She found an entry, but the individual's first name was my husband's middle name. She asked what his birth date was, and I told her. Her response? "There's no way this can be him, this person's birthday is [same month, two days earlier, same year]."
Clerical error(s) or just a weird coincidence? Seriously, what are the chances that someone has a name and birthday so close to my husband and is a patient at our small clinic?
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Over the weekend, I mentioned the same article to my mom, who until last fall consulted on public health-centered emergency preparedness plans at the county and state levels. I expected she might downplay the advice of the reporter - she is extremely levelheaded - but she, too, agreed that it would be a good idea.
At the advice of my friend and my mom, two of the women I trust most (who also happen to be very educated on this issue!), I'm seriously creating a pandemic planning kit. I never thought I'd actually do something like this. To be honest with you, I've made fun of people for doing it. And yet here I am, trying to determine if we need to have a kit in place...
Do any of you have supplies stashed away? Do you think I'm crazy for doing this?
Monday, August 10, 2009
A few pictures from our trip:
The main campground was actually separated from the beach area (just across the road) and the Bog Walk (9 miles north). We were 29 miles from Canada, unfortunately only one person had his passport so we couldn't justify the drive to the border. Who had his passport, you might be wondering? My husband, who still hasn't removed it from his messenger bag after using it to confirm his information when he started his job over three years ago.
The Bog Walk. One mile out, one mile back. This was, believe it or not, the most mosquito-free part of the entire park. We thought the bog would be swarming with them (since every other part of the park was), but I don't think we saw more than just a few during the entire walk.
The park's beach area on Upper Red Lake was really nice. Too bad it was never warm enough to enjoy the water!
My dad and I managed to find a frilly purple orchid. . .
. . . and a wild iris. Pretty!
We found some carnivorous plants on the bog walk. This is called a pitcher plant.
And we ate. Boy, did we eat. My dad and brother spent a lot of time fishing for walleye on Upper Red Lake and made dinner for everyone on Saturday night. I'm not a fish fan, but my husband reports this was the best fried fish he had eaten in a long time.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
It turns out that repetition is the devil.
Yesterday, I decided to spend twenty minutes exercising with Jillian. The gym was overly deodorized (I don't know how anyone can tolerate the scent of the stuff they use to clean that room) and cold, so I opted to workout in our living room. Nearly three months after last working out with Jillian, I found myself talking back to the TV screen, sweating uncontrollably, and repeatedly telling G that Jillian was horribly brutal after a prolonged break even if I had been running and lifting some light weights. Maybe you're not surprised, though, based on my previous workouts with Jillian.
It was a mildly torturous twenty minutes, but I felt great by the cool down. In fact, I felt awesome the rest of the day. I decided I should do the workout first thing in the morning several days a week to make sure more muscle groups are exercised.
I felt that way until 6:45 this morning, when I stumbled out of bed to turn off my alarm clock (a good eight feet away). And I really did stumble. I wasn't prepared for the intensity of the pain that continues to radiate through my butt, upper thighs and armpits. Even now, at 9:30 PM, my husband, whose right calf and foot is confined to a plastic boot, moves with more grace and agility.
Needless to say, I did not do the 30 Day Shred this morning. I'll do my best to fight through the pain tomorrow morning, though...
Saturday, July 25, 2009
One of my friends received this awesome cookbook last weekend at her shower. Since then, I've spent a lot of time looking at it online. A lot. I'm trying my best to convince my husband that I need the cookbook. Help me, please.
Have a good weekend! We're off to my husband's favorite pizza place for lunch. This afternoon? Home Depot, our new favorite store. We're going to pick up some paint swatches. G has done a fabulous job of repairing the screw holes the walls of our apartment, but now we need to find some paint so we can finish the job. I hope you can buy paint in very, very small quantities. . .
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thoroughly clean every room.
Determine which walls need to be repainted.
Seal cement in garage.
That's doable, right? Are we being overly ambitious? What would you add to the list?
Also, would you add a radon test? The EPA offers discounted radon test kits, and I'm thinking it couldn't hurt to purchase one.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
While I was sweating through my orals, my husband was researching voice recording devices. I had scheduled my first interview for one week after my defense, so it was essential that we found one quickly. I happen to own a very cool mini cassette voice recorder c. 1990, but it only allows me to record just under 90 minutes of material. The door also needs to be taped shut, and the back is held together with duct tape. It works, but it's annoying. G found a relatively inexpensive Olympus recorder that can hold up to 220 hours of material. It's also smaller than a cell phone and pretty easy to operate. Fantastic!
I tried it out for the first time earlier this week. I was a little nervous that I would somehow mess up the recording and not be able to salvage any of the 104 minutes of our interview (and that's just the first part), but we just successfully transferred the material to the computer and it worked just fine. Plus, the quality is exceptional. I love this little thing.
Now if I could just find someone to transcribe the interviews for me. . .
Liquor stores are great places to pick up sturdy, well-constructed boxes. Wine boxes are also nicely sized and easy to carry, which is why you see 8 of them in the above picture. Trust me, one wine case packed with books is about all you want to carry in one trip. If I filled a box that was any bigger with books it would be a major pain in the butt to carry.
While the liquor store is an excellent place to find boxes, we will need some larger sized boxes. Have some boxes you're not using? Know where we might find some free boxes? Let us know!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Some pimpernel (or antique prints of other flowers, for that matter) would also be lovely juxtaposed with the map prints, yes? Maybe I can convince the husband to hunt down some antique stores with me this weekend. I'd rather see the prints in person than buy them online. I'm also convinced any other prints to be hung on the wall must be selected prior to the framing process so I only hang things once. Pottery Barn might make it look easy to put together a wall collage of asymmetrical frames, but I'm certain it won't be a simple task for me. The more prepared I am from the beginning, the better.
Any ideas as to where one might acquire small antique prints of birds, flowers, butterflies - all things nature - in the TC area?
We may not have furniture for our new living room, but we do have art for the walls. Thanks to our parents, I have a collection of five antique maps. Two of the maps are of our hometowns/ counties, one is of the town we went to college in, one is of the state of Wisconsin, and the remaining map is of Saint Paul (close enough to our current place of residence). They've been carefully stored in our spare room for two years.
It is finally time to get them framed! I'm hoping to get some estimates for the project over the next few weeks. They'll require archival glass so the colors don't continue to fade, which means the price will be higher than I'd probably like to pay. Better to be safe than sorry. These maps weren't exactly cheap.
I'm imagining all of the maps on this wall:
I'd like to include some other framed pieces to mix it up a bit. Any ideas as to what might work? I was thinking that antique postcards of places we've visited might be cool. I'm also attracted to small antique prints of birds. Other ideas? Let me know. Please. I've never decorated a space and I have a feeling it will be slightly challenging for me. Any input is appreciated.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Instead, we're going to tackle more manageable, cost-friendly projects like the bathroom in the basement and converting the storage room into a guest bedroom/office space. We'll start with the bathroom.
First up, the homemade vanity, complete with a lovely glass mirror, overhead lights that don't coordinate with any other fixtures in the room, and a cloth "door." What's that on the wallpaper border, you ask? Deer prancing through a forest.
Just to the right of the sink area is a closet that houses the water softener and some shelving. I'm all for extra storage space, but this particular closet is a little annoying. We'll have to work with it, though, because we don't have any other options. We're hoping to replace the shower curtain with a real door.
The depths of the closet.
The shower and toilet area. I'd love to replace that door with a wall, but I've been informed that's not possible. Apparently the only access to the shower is through that space, which means it needs to be accessible. Maybe a coat of white paint would make it look better?
I appreciate the fact that this was probably the man's bathroom (based on toiletries in the room and the amount of camo hanging in the storage room), but the wallpaper is just horrendous. I've spent some time reading about wallpaper removal and I'm determined to make it one of the first big projects I tackle.
Any advice on prepping walls that were once covered in wallpaper for paint? Any changes you'd make?
Monday, July 20, 2009
Any recommendations for home maintenance books? I picked up the Reader's Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual from the local library this morning. We want to look all of our options over before we invest in something to add to our personal library. Send us your recommendations!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I didn't want to wake my husband up and I really wasn't that tired, so I got up and started my day. I opened my email and the first thing I saw was a reminder notice for one of my loans. What a downer. My first day of vacation and it starts with paying my loans. I'm never in a good mood on loan payment day.
At 6:00 AM, I ran to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for a poor man's soup (ham and black bean). When I got home I cut into a jalapeno, removed the seeds, and diced it. At some point shortly after cutting the pepper, I rubbed my nose. My raw nose.
After adding the pepper to the soup, I went about gathering all of our financial statements we've collected in a number of hiding places over the last THREE YEARS. During this process, I realized my nose was really hot. Burning hot. Because my brain apparently doesn't function properly after waking up at 4:00 AM, it took me a good ten minutes to realize my nose wasn't burning from my allergies. Instead, during that time I rubbed my nose and the surrounding area with a thick salve thinking it would help to reduce the burning sensation. When the pain started spreading from my nose to my upper lip and inner cheeks, I realized what had happened. That was 30 minutes ago. My upper lip is still tingling.
This day is off to an awesome start.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I must say that the past week was a blur for me.
Last Wednesday, we committed to our most major investment yet: a new home! We are very excited about the house, the yard, the neighborhood and are very much looking forward to the end of August when we close.
We were surprised by how fast the process went. Two Wednesdays ago, we were casually looking at homes with our Realtor when she announced she had added a home to our "visit list" that had just been reduced in price that morning. She thought we would really like it, and we did! We loved it! She also thought that the reduced price would make it move off the market quickly, so we arranged a second showing for later in the evening and had our parents come check it out. The next morning we made an offer. Twenty-four hours later, it was accepted! We actually spent more time researching SLR digital cameras than we did our house!
I put together a photo tour of our home. Let me know if you want the link.
Last Friday, I had a job interview at a school in the TC area. I won't know anything about the interview until the end of the month...
And today . . .
. . . I finally earned the status of PhD Candidate! FINALLY!
I'm taking the next few days "off." We have several projects that have been on hold for many months, I have a bridal shower gift to make by Saturday, and I need to spend some time celebrating!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Trust me, this is very, very good.
Unfortunately, it means almost no time for anything other than focusing on the task(s) at hand. I'll be pretty busy through next Wednesday, so it might be a while before I find some time to invest in my blog.
I have great news to share . . . so check back next week!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
*A truly excellent way to kill time on sleepless mornings. Just before 6:00 AM, I scored my all time high score: 1350. You will find it difficult to stop playing.
This Young House
*This blog maintained by individuals exceptionally skilled and trained in home renovation and providing design inspiration. I check in on This Young House daily. I also check Bower Power every once in a while.
The comment sections of newspaper websites
*Okay, this is probably not so exciting to 98% of you, but I find myself easily distracted by the comments people make on news articles. This is especially true for my hometown newspaper (sorry folks, not going to post the hyperlink), but also true of the Strib and the NYT. I've hyperlinked to an article from the NYT about nuns.
*I still love checking elite wedding photography sites, even if I'm no longer looking for inspiration for our own wedding. Wouldn't it be fun to be a professional photographer?
*Games that are both educational and addictive.
Playing with furniture.
That's it for now. The husband is getting up, which means it's time our day has started!
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
This is also the kippah that I fastened to my hair with bobby pins on Monday afternoon to see how well it stayed put. After a while, I just forgot it was on my head. My husband thought it would be hilarious to let me wear it while we ran errands. It wasn't until we were back in our car - after I had walked through a very busy store and talked with a clerk at length for several minutes - that he broke out into a self-composed song about his wife wearing a kippah. It was a moderately embarassing experience for me.
I made the kippah as a trial run for a much larger project. One of my dearest friends is getting married this fall and asked if I could sew some kippot using her family's tartan. She wants the males in her wedding party to wear them. I want - and still need - lots of practice before I start making the kippot for her wedding. This version is reversible, lined with interfacing to give it a little more shape, and trimmed with some brown fabric. The bride is pleased with the first version, but I want more practice. It's a fun project!
Monday, June 29, 2009
The husband is taking Friday off from work so we can make our semi-annual trip to visit our favorite dentist. We'll stay in W-town for the extended weekend, so our menu for the week is just for four days.
Breakfast: Toast and smoothies made from frozen organic peaches and blackberries, vanilla yogurt, a generous portion of powdered flax, and orange juice. They were the best we've had so far!
Lunch: G = Turkey sandwich, chips, pear, and Petit Écolier cookies (if you ever need to bribe my husband to help you with a task, offer him a box of the dark chocolate cookies); A = salad with feta, yogurt, and a pear.
Dinner: TVP tacos. These were on the menu last week, but our plans ended up changing due to house hunting.
Breakfast: Same as Monday
Lunch: Same as Monday
Dinner: Leftover tacos.
Breakfast: Same as Monday
Lunch: Same as Monday, but G will have egg salad and I will probably have more leftovers from Monday night.
Dinner: Whole wheat cheese ravioli with tomato and basil sauce, beans.
Breakfast: Same as Monday
Lunch: Same as Wednesday
Dinner: Leftovers from Wednesday
Exciting, huh? Maybe I'll be more creative next week...or the week after my defense.
JC, I know that's you leaving the comments about chocolate and chips - there better not be any complaints this week!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Until last weekend.
My husband buys his work pants from one store, and one store only: Eddie Bauer. If EB ever stops making its line of flat-front Performance Dress Khakis, I am certain that G will be completely beside himself. Color changes within the line are hard enough for the guy to stomach. Last fall, when we couldn't find an exact replacement for his "browners" (his nickname, not mine), he refused to buy a different pair because he had "other pants at home" and didn't want to pay full price for something he already had hanging in his closet.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when I realized that he had been wearing the same pair of khaki-colored pants for several days in a row. It was at that point that he confessed they were his last decent pair of pants and that he had been wearing them for several months. That means weeks and weeks of daily wear with no washing. How did I not notice this? G is fantastic about hanging up his clothes after work, and is very good about putting his dirties in the hamper. I only wash what's in the hamper. It never occured to me to check his hanging clothes for quality and cleanliness.
He told me he was a little concerned about the pants because the cuffs were starting to wear a little. He asked if I might be able to hem them so they would last longer. I can sew, but hemming is another thing and I didn't want to make his last pair of decent work pants my first attempt. I tried to prep him for the fact that he needed to invest in new pants. His reaction was similar to my own reaction when I find out I need to have bloodwork done - anxious and frustrated. I told him we could probably manage to wait until they were on sale ("sale" is a magic word in our household).
The gods of fashion must have known we were in a bit of a fix at Casa K, because last Saturday the newest EB sale catalog arrived in the mail. The pants were discounted enough to make G consider buying a new pair, so we went to the mall that afternoon only to discover that they were further discounted in the store. He purchased not one, but two, pairs of pants and saved over $40. It was a good day.
He thinks he's set for at least the next 12 months.
Monday, June 22, 2009
What's on the menu this week?
Breakfast: G = one slice Canadian bacon, one slice cheddar cheese, one scrambled egg sandwiched between a toasted wholewheat English muffin; A = whole grain rice, eggs and onion sauteed in olive oil & a banana
Lunch: G = Chicken sandwich, juice box, baked potato chips, pear, cookie; A = salad w/ feta, yogurt w/ flax, pear
Dinner: Leftover baked chicken, carrots and potatoes from Sunday night.
Breakfast: Same as Monday
Lunch: Same as Monday
Dinner: TVP tacos, apples
Breakfast: Same as Monday
Lunch: Same as Monday
Dinner: Leftover TVP tacos
Breakfast: Same as Monday
Lunch: G = tuna fish sandwich, yogurt, chips, banana, cookie; A = leftovers
Dinner: G = turkey burger, A = veggie burger, mac and cheese, broccoli
Breakfast: Same as Monday
Lunch: Same as Thursday
Dinner: We'll eat en route to our concert that night.
* We're staying with my parents on Friday night after our concert and spending Saturday at an event taking place at my research site.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Those of you who own an iPod Touch or iPhone should all click on the image above and purchase the "My Tunes Trivia" application. It's the brainchild of one of our dearest friends, and G contributed a little of his knowledge to the project. We played the game en route to Fat Lorenzo's last night and had a lot of fun!
Friday, June 19, 2009
There are several phrases you never want to hear on an airplane. This afternoon, shortly after reaching cruising altitude (which we were at for all of a few minutes), our pilot came on the PA system and announced: "Folks, things aren't looking so good up here." This statement was followed by a short pause during which my I developed a cold sweat and a rapid pulse rate. The pilot must have realized that he needed to clarify his statement, because shortly thereafter he tried to offer some clarification, letting us know that he was referring to some "rough air" that was going to cause some significant turbulence. I didn't recover until we had pulled up to our gate.
The rough air we flew through was on the tail end of a giant storm that was raging across Iowa and Illinois. Several flights from the airport in Nebraska were delayed or canceled, which meant there were a good number of unhappy people. Trust me when I say the Omaha airport isn't an ideal place to spend a lot of time..especially for those people who left campus at 3:30 AM to catch 6:00 AM flights, only to find the departure times had been delayed until early that evening. Fortunately, I had booked an afternoon flight and didn't have to worry about delays or cancellations.
I am so glad to be home. I have big plans to sleep in tomorrow. Grading the same essay question from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM for 7 days straight can really make a girl tired.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I survived a 5+ hour wait at the airport before my flight left for Nebraska. During that time, I finished an impressive number of crossword puzzles and had a great time people watching.
Remind me to never travel with four children under the age of seven.
The flight went well. The equipment was old, which always makes me a little nervous, but we made it safely and in less than 45 minutes. We were hardly in the sky.
I made a trip to the gym tonight to check out the equipment. I guess “cardio machine” isn’t part of the Nebraska vocabulary, because I had to ask five different people where the cardio equipment was before I found someone who could actually show me the treadmills (which have built-in televisions). The lady at the front desk somehow interpreted cardio machine as yoga and sent me to a studio filled with women practicing hatha yoga. The next guy I ran into confused me for a volleyball coach (I’m not sure if it was my name tag identifying me as a visitor, the tennis magazine, or my very confused look that led him to believe I might be the coach) and asked if I had “all the girls out on the court.” I turned around and saw somewhere around 50 girls hitting to each other and then told him I didn’t know anything about what was going on in the gym. He repeated his initial question, to which I responded that I had never been in the rec hall before and didn’t know if all the girls were in the gym. He then repeated his question a third time. I looked at my magazine and my name tag and told him I was lost. He also didn’t know where the equipment was. Fortunately, I only had to talk to a few more people before I found the treadmills…
I opted not to bring my computer with me, so my postings may be sporadic. What’s new? Send me some good book recommendations. I’ll have plenty of time to read before going to bed each night since I can't poke around on the interweb to kill time. I’m in the middle of re-reading Salinger’s Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, but it won’t last much longer.Note: I will post something about our first house hunting trip sometime soon. I'm too tried to do it tonight.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Breakfast: G = eggs, turkey bacon (that stuff cooks strangely, but he likes it!), lemon ricotta toast; A = an egg/rice/vegetable concoction I came up with last night to try and increase my protein intake at breakfast (I do not like eggs by themselves)
Lunch: G = BBQ chicken sandwich, apple, string cheese, cookies, juice box; A = peanut butter and jelly English muffin, apple, string cheese
Dinner: Turkey burger/Veggie burger, broccoli, some sort of carb
Breakfast: Same as Monday
Lunch: Same as Monday
Dinner: Bean enchiladas (we have some ingredients leftover from last week's chicken enchiladas that should be used), banana
Breakfast: Same as Monday
Lunch: Same as Monday
Dinner: Leftover enchiladas
Breakfast: Same as Monday
Lunch: G = peanut butter and jelly sandwich, string cheese, apple, cookies, juice box; A = airport food (en route to Nebraska)
Dinner: G = Mac and cheese, turkey burger, apple
Breakfast: Fiber One cereal, yogurt
Lunch: Eat at work
Dinner: Brat, potato salad, banana