Thursday, December 30, 2010

No Snow, but Walking Up a Sweat

Although I have not seen any snow in Texas, I have looked through all of the pics online of snow in AZ. I haven't left my parent's house in days. I have spent days relaxing, which isn't usually in my vocab. And I have eaten more than any human should. Today I went on a 2-mile walk with my dad. He usually goes 3-miles. He was nice enough to cut it short for me because I was hungry. Food takes priority over walking, plus I started to break a sweat. That is unusual for me. By the end of the walk I realized that my dad is in much better shape than I am. I guess I see a New Year's resolution in my future!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Norms

Today one of my students used the phrase, "what any normal person would do." Of course, this all to common phrase struck me for some reason and prompted me to think and ponder all afternoon and evening. Not only did I think about "normal people" that I know and normal behaviors, I began to wonder if I am "normal." Don't laugh. Based on some people's values and actions, I do NOT want to be considered normal by them. Norms establish what is normal behavior and therefore who is and is not a normal person. But who establishes the norms? The majority of course, which is the scary part. As easily as people are influenced these days, believe information to be true without ever researching it for themselves, or even take on a mob mentality, I am concerned about the future of "norms."

Here are my predictions for future norms:
1. Disney pop stars will one day graduate into political powerhouses. Demi Lovato for President!
2. Every American will be a Reality TV star or starlet. We will all record our every action and post it to the Internet for the world to see. Everyone will have an opportunity to be "The Truman Show."
3. There will be teacup and toy humans.
4. There will be more uncompleted tasks and projects that completed because "it was too hard."
5. Range Rovers will eventually become obsolete, as will rappers who use mono-syllabic words or lyrics with only three different words.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Must All Things Die

As many of you may know, I spent most of my summer cultivating my green thumb. I wasn't born with one, but I put forth great effort to develop a green thumb from nothing. Because my summer ended on August 5, here are the results of my summer adventures.

1. 20+ Plants - all dead. However, one box miraculously revived itself after a monsoon. There are no flowers on the plants, but green leaves do fill the box.

2. Grass - roasted and fried. I have watered diligently each day and it is starting to come back. Tonight we even added miracle grow.

3. Vines - mediocre. I planted 8 and 7 1/2 are still alive. I am hoping the 1/2 of one revives because I actually really like the Cat's Claw. I do not like the other vines that the guy recommended. I am not sad about that one at all. Always heed the advice of someone you know personally, not the salesman.

4. Hummingbird feeder - shattered. I was so happy when I purchased a beautiful glass hummingbird feeder for $4. I filled it with the right food and apparently there should be a warning that the Arizona sun is too hot for the food and feeder.

5. Bird feeders - useless. I have yet to see a single bird. Plus, I have never had to refill either of the bird feeders. Dear birds, I know it is hot in AZ, but please visit my yard. I promise my dogs will not attack.

6. Trellibo - roofless. Erik and my dad built a sturdy trellibo. Erik and I designed and sewed a roof for the trellibo. It lasted a few monsoons and then the roof finally completed tore off from the structure. I was more worried about the trellibo withstanding the monsoon winds, but apparently it is more sturdy than our neighbor's roof.

7. Yard creatures - existent. Every time I water cute geckos run up the block wall. I loved the backyard wildlife. Now we have ants. Those suckers bit me numerous times tonight. That is not the type of wildlife I was hoping to attain.

All in all, my summer was great and I learned quite a bit about myself. With enough free time, I am capable of being crafty. Also, start gardening in February when it is not too hot.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Reminiscing

Last weekend I was in Texas for my friend Sofia's wedding. It was beautiful and exactly as I imagined her wedding would be. It was relaxed and an organic affair. Sofia is not fussy and definitely not the "bridezilla" type. Through all of the wedding festivities I was able to reconnect with my friend Lindsey. Lindsey, Sofia, and I were all roommates in college. We lived in the Amarillo House with our other roommate Nikah. I had forgotten about some of our adventures and weekly habits. Cookie dough, Friends, Taco Bueno, and late nights for all except Linds. There was even the summer that Sofia and I didn't really work, but just stayed up late and watched movies all day every day. I said we were losers and she scoffed at me. After I graduated I moved out of the Amarillo House and within a few months, I was married. Through Sofia's wedding I met another wonderful person that moved into the Amarillo House after I moved, Rachel. I think I missed out. We had a great time just talking and soaking up the occasion.

During my trip I realized a few truths throughout the weekend. First, you can go months and years without seeing friends, but your experiences and values always keep you connected. It was as if we had never been apart and were the same girls in the Amarillo House, just now we have different stories to tell. Secondly, it is rare to find such wonderful friends. I think about people I meet all the time who don't have those connections to people. I know I don't cherish my friends enough, call or email. But I am glad they are still my friends and that we have opportunities to come together and reconnect. Finally, after everyone gets married and has kids, what brings you all back together? And, if we don't have kids, does that mean we see each other less?!?! College was one of my favorite stages in life. So far it is the only one I would willingly go back and relive. I love the opportunities to go back and revisit those days. It reminds me of what is most important to me and creates a new attitude in my heart. It was a place where I grew, figured out who I was through the support of amazing friends, and eventually took on a new journey - marriage and the "real world."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Life Changing Experience

Recently my life was changed. It was a simple change, but a glorious change. We purchased a Keurig for the office. This simple act really changed my life. Now I wish I could go into work over the weekend, just to have another perfect cup of coffee. I get to work early so I can have the perfect cup of coffee. It is as if the Keurig is a silent cheerleader encouraging me to get through my list of to dos. I get more done in 30 seconds after a cup from the Keurig than I ever did in an entire day with a regular cup of coffee. The corporate world, focused on its micromanagement, should really jump on the Keurig bandwagon. There is one drawback, which I hate to admit. The Keurig makes me bluntly, frankly, and maybe even obnoxiously honest. In fact, I would go as far as to call it a truth machine. With that said, I may have to cut back once school starts. My frankness could get me in trouble.

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's Cheaper to Work

Recently, our July electric bill arrived. Let me just say that it was for an obscene amount. Obscene as in the most obscene thing you can think of. This led me on a journey to figure out how to drastically reduce our electric bill for the pending August bill, which is typically the highest bill of the summer months. I have become the meanest of the mean electricity monitors. I unplugged every item in our house with a plug that is not used on a regular basis. I no longer leave my computer plugged in unless it is charging and as soon as it is done, I unplug it. I only charge my phone every other day. I don't dry my hair, but let it dry naturally. I even have a powerstrip that is supposed to save me energy for my entertainment center. And, I started reading instead of watching TV. This does not seem to be enough. I am already on target to have an electric bill that could potentially be significantly more than July.

Here is my conclusion:
1. It is cheaper to eat out because eating out does not require the use of the stove.
2. Buy new clothes. The washer and dryer use too much electricity. New clothes on clearance or sale may be cheaper than paying for kWh.
3. Work more. I can sit in my cool office, brew my coffee there, and warm up my leftovers from eating out at work. All of these tasks seem to be milking my wallet dry. Less dry if I do them at work though. If only I could do all of my laundry at work. Seriously, I may start sleeping under my desk.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sleep

Is it over-rated or under-rated? I guess it depends on your stage in life. When I was in high school and college, I could sleep for what my mom probably thought was forever. I recall her banging pots and pouring water on me just to prompt me to respond to her failed attempts at waking me. She would deny this. When you are a teenager, you could care less about family breakfast on a Saturday morning. Now I would give anything for someone else to make me breakfast. And the clean-up.

Nevertheless, my college years were spent sleeping as well. I am naturally a night owl, which works well with the college lifestyle. I was wise enough to never schedule a class too early in the morning. Yet, there were those occasions when I had to rise early. Early was before 7AM. I remember staying up so late that when I woke up, I literally felt sick to my stomach. The biggest transition for me after college was waking up in the morning. Taxes, health insurance, FICA, being completely reliant on myself financially, none of those mattered as much as having to get up early. I worked less than 1/2 a mile from my apartment and I think I spent most mornings putting my make-up on at work. The truth is, no matter how many years I spend trying to perfect the art of getting ready for work in 20 minutes, I am not capable of such a task.

Old age has set in though. Now that I have been through the grief cycle in regards to the fact that our society only runs on and respects morning people schedules, I am surviving a morning person's world. It comes at a cost though. Going to sleep is a process for me. I need at least an hour to unwind before I actually fall asleep. This is a long process. Not really efficient considering I value efficiency. Once I get to sleep, I still have the ability to sleep forever. Although, my body has hit it's natural adult rhythm. I am able to get up and function in a morning person's world, to a certain degree.

Life is full of transitions. As an adult, I think sleep is under-rated. We don't seem to appreciate the function sleep serves in our life. Our minds seem to take over and just go into auto-drive. We rarely rest and napping seems to be for the lazy. We have to set goals at work each year, so my goal will be to nap on my lunch break. A nice nap full of dreams and drool. The best kind of sleep.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Working Out

I have been working out lately. Go ahead and pause for a moment so that you can process that statement. I have been working out lately, yes, you did read that statement correctly. It has been rather exciting. I don't have regrets, but if I were to choose one, then it would be my lack of discipline in this area. I didn't develop good habits as a teenager. During my younger days, I was blessed with a fantastic metabolism. I literally just had to think the work "skinny" and I would drop five pounds. Times have changed. I breathe and gain five pounds these days. Or at least in my mind. I can't complain, I am by no means overweight, but I am definitely out of shape.

The real question is, what prompted me to work out? I can't fit into my bridesmaid's dress for a wedding on August 5. At first I thought I would just eat healthier, but I really don't eat that poorly. I guess I could cut some creamer in my coffee, but that seems slightly excessive. I like my coffee the color of my skin, and I could use a tan. My new plan is just to work out to lose weight so that I can fit into my dress. I actually find this to be a huge gift. I have enjoyed working out. I am lifting weights to tone my arms, which as a teacher, I do have a fear of flabby arms. And, I am running/walking on the treadmill. Plus, Erik and I take the dogs on a walk most evenings. If only it was considered exercise sitting at your desk. Maybe I need to take some cues from Inception and use my mind to work out. I will talk to Leo about that.

My strategy for the treadmill varies. When I was in college, I would walk/run on the treadmill and watch at least one episode of Friends. Now I watch one episode Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. Seems contradictory, I know. Of course I want to reach out and grab a cupcake, but the show is an hour. By time I finish, all I want is a large glass of water. It is rather genius! I watch food shows for an hour while working out. I think I may be on to something.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bathtub Miracle

There is nothing I dread more than cleaning the bathtub. Bending over. The smell of cleaning supplies. Bending over. Shadows. Putting muscles into it. The fact that most of the harsh chemicals never seem to work the way I had hoped, probably because I wait too long to wash the dreaded tub. I stumbled upon my favorite bathtub cleaning supply when my parents were coming out to visit and I knew I had to clean the tub. My mom is a stickler for a spotless and clean house. I am not her child. I like things to be neat and I hate a mess, but the cleaning part is where I tend to drag my feet. Usually most people are the opposite, and I wish I was!

I was trying to clean my tub with one of those bristle brushes to no avail. It was pointless. I was tired of spraying chemicals that I had to breathe. I looked under the sink to see what other tools I could locate. Don't ask me why but I found a kitchen sponge under my bathroom sink. The kind that attaches to one of those wands full of soap. The sponge did not have the wand, but I started to use it to scrub the tub. It scrubbed away all of the water spots and grime that had collected. It was my new miracle bathtub scrubber. I remember in college scrubbing a tub for hours and hours with one of those bristle brushes and a regular sponge. Nothing happened. It was all in vain. If only I had gone into the kitchen to get the magic sponge.

Tonight I cleaned the tub with my magic kitchen sponge. Spotless and clean. I am going to go out on a limb and say that I almost enjoy cleaning the bathtub. Now, I won't go that far, but it seems like a less tedious job.

My miracle sponge.

Rose Bowl Flea Market

Flea markets are my favorite weekend activity. You never know what kind of treasures you will find at a flea market. I find it is the thrill of the hunt. One booth charges $100 for an item and then three rows over another booth asks for $10.

The Rose Bowl Flea Market is the 2nd Sunday of each month. I highly recommend it if you are ever in Pasadena on that weekend. I developed some strategies to flea marketing, but I won't share those.
This mirror is made from a window salvaged form an old building. Erik found the sweetest old man who goes around the LA area and gathers old doors, windows, wood pieces, etc. and then cuts mirrors and puts them into the pieces. He had the most beautiful mirrors. We could have easily missed him because he just had his old pick-up truck with piles and piles of wooden treasures waiting to be created. When we found this piece, we didn't have enough cash left. We gave the guy our down payment and headed for the ATM. After getting the necessary cash, Erik returned and paid the gentleman the rest of the cash. He told Erik how several people stopped by and asked to pay double in order to buy the mirror. I was reminded that some people still do have integrity. He saved the mirror for us!

Here is the funky table we purchased. I have no idea where to put this piece. It was buried under some junk and stole my heart. It was the old pink paint. Right now it lives in the garage until I find it the perfect home.

We purchased some old bottles and a few pieces for a friend. If you make it to the Rose Bowl Flea Market, definitely bring $3 for the hot dog and soda. Get the grilled peppers and onions on the hot dog. It made the day! The best part was the fact that it was three times as large as I had hoped. Save thousands of dollars to take with you!

Burk Has Some Moves

Burk is not your average dog. He thinks he is smaller than he actually is. He likes to hug by putting his front legs around your neck. And he seems to enjoy peeing on Denton. Yet, he still has some common dog tendencies. Tonight I had to give Denton a bath because he threw up on himself, so I thought I would throw Burk and for a little scrub-a-dub-dub. Surprisingly, he stood in the bathtub for the duration of his bath and only tried to jump out once. The insanity began when he tried to dry himself off by using the carpet.

Here is a video of Burk drying himself off.

video

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Knight Rider

My husband and I went on a bike ride tonight in the park next to our house. There is a pretty big bike path. It was already dark, but we had lights on our bikes. About half-way through our ride, my light died. We enjoyed riding around and getting a little exercise after our desserts. Considering I need to shed some pounds so I can fit back into my bridesmaid's dress, the bike ride needs to become routine. As we were riding back, it was so dark that we couldn't really see where the path led. We thought we were taking the path when we realized we were riding down a grass hill. Not my idea of a wise biking decision. Once we walked our bikes back up the other side of the hill to reach the path, we were on our way. We were comfortably riding on the path when I saw a bike light up ahead. I eased in behind my husband just in time as the other biker rode past. After the biker breezed past, my husband said, "I'm glad I was with you because that guy did not look kosher." If you know my husband, endearing comments are not his typical m.o. At that moment, I realized deep down inside there may be an actual knight. (I know, I know. Some of you may think this is a little sappy for me. But if my husband can be sappy for a moment, I guess I can humble myself and be sappy too!)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Books

Surprise, surprise! My books arrived a day early! Imagine how excited I was to open the package from Amazon and start perusing the beautiful pages of my new books. I have almost read the entire Downtown Chic. As I was reading, I felt like Cortney Novogratz was telling my story, minus all of the children, the setting - New York, and the large spaces. Oh, and the country house in Massachusetts and trips to flea markets in France. But, nonetheless, my story. After looking at the book, I felt inspired and motivated. Although I don't renovate homes/buildings, I love buying anything that can be used to decorate. Especially pieces that be used in unconventional ways. I love the thrill of the hunt. I almost failed 5th grade art. My teacher basically had to draw my chalk porcupine for me. I know, I know, a porcupine. Well, I thought with all of those crazy needles as hair it would be easy. I was wrong. Funny thing, tonight a friend emailed me and put me on the hunt for an armoire. Am I excited or what?!?! She sent me pics of armoires in the styles that she likes and now I get to find the piece. I love a challenge and this should be a fun challenge.

Well, I also got Domino: The Book of Decorating. Domino was my favorite magazine before its untimely ax. I wish I kept all of my issues. They are selling for $30-50 an issue on eBay. I looked for them at a used bookstore to no avail. The book is great, but there is something about a magazine. Either way, I hope to get more inspiration and one day my house will be wall to wall and floor to ceiling stuff!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Good Friends

I have the greatest friends! They are pretty fantastic. Two of my oldest friends (not in age, but in number of years of friendship) are getting married in August. Then, my brother-in-law will get married right after that. No one has ever described me as sentimental, but I am looking forward to these exciting occasions.

I bought my bride's maid's dress for one of the weddings in March or April. I am so thankful because it is the most adorable dress. I love friends that pick cute clothes and Sof is just the cutest. Her invitation arrived in the mail today and it is so adorable. Yesterday I went on the hunt for the perfect shoes. I was prepared to lay down some heavy cash for the shoes because the shoes need to do the dress justice. I didn't know it, but yesterday was my lucky day. I've had my eye on a pair of shoes at Nordstrom Rack. Needless to say, they were 50% off yesterday, so I snatched them home to try on with my dress. I slipped on the shoes and then the dress. I ran into one small issue. I have outgrown the dress! At this point all I can do is diet and lose weight. The dress is sold out and I definitely can't add material to make it bigger. Haha! Nonetheless, I will lose the weight. I have one month. I can do this. Nothing like pressure. Too bad I don't have the same metabolism that I had in my teen years. Here are my shoes.I have been rather worried that I am turning into a Martha Stewart-esque person. I think my friend Jess may beat me. First she had us over for dinner and cooked. Sure she cheated on a few items, but she did cook. Then, she made me a wreath. I absolutely love it! It is one of my favorite things in my house now.
My husband is another of my best friends. I love him because he loses bets. I know, that sounds bizarre. One day we were in World Market and got to talking about the glassware that we have. He was emphatic that they were from Ikea. I bought them at World Market, so I knew they were from World Market. I saw this as a great opportunity to get new glassware. I bet him that if he was wrong, he had to buy new glassware for the house. I didn't even say what I would do if I was wrong because it wasn't worth wasting my breath. Here is one of my new glasses. They come in multiple colors, so I got an assortment.I even went hiking this summer. I use that term lightly. We walked around a third of the lake and stumbled upon a fort. Someone was inspired, not me, the fort builder. Don't worry, just as good friends should do, they already made fun of me for wearing flip flops and a shirt with ruffles.
I even ventured out with some good friends and helped one pick out an outfit for her first professional interview post-college. Of course, that is one of my favorite stages in life! Sharing in life changes, whether they are my own or someone else's change, is exciting. Sometimes I think we constantly try to get to the next big stage, that we don't cherish the one we are in. It is a privilege to share those stages with others.

I love spending time with friends. It usually makes for good conversation, lots of laughs, and friends even mark various stages in your life. Some stages are less desirable than others, but growth is always a positive. Friends can remind us of where we were and celebrate with us for where we are in the present.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Passion

Passion. It is such a fascinating word. For many it has to do with their love relationships. For some it relates to their anger. For me it is impossible to narrow down. For some reason I have many passions. Passions is the word I use to describe all of my interests. I don't see myself as a talented person. I am not gifted in music, sports, or really artistic abilities. I am not the smartest person I know and thankfully, not the dumbest either. Sometimes you meet a person and their gift or passion just strikes you. You automatically know what that person is great at or they describe their passion. At my age your passion should become your career. Don't get me wrong, I love my career. There is nothing to complain about it. Choosing a major in college was next to impossible for me. Why? Because I enjoyed so many subjects. Here is a list of my declared majors: business (haha!), English, psychology, human development & family studies, and I thought about many others. What did I think about? Counseling, sociology, communications, merchandising, political science, education, and who knows what else. Graduating in four years is actually a miracle. I think any profession, besides the world's oldest profession, I have researched and checked into my options.

Commitment is an issue for me as well. I am honestly shocked that I have been a teacher the past 5 years. Even though I love my job, I still wonder what my passion actually is. I read Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers and wanted to know even more what it is that I am going to spend 10,000 hours completing and eventually become great at doing. If only my mind were reality. Sometimes I tell my husband, "I want to do blah, blah, blah." He responds with, " You know you would be bored with that in 5 minutes." But the question remains, What is my passion? Is it right under my nose? Or am I trying to make hobbies my passion. Does you passion even have to be your career? Where did that idea even originate? Is it because I am an American that I feel the need to be "accomplished?" How do we even define accomplished? All of these questions lead to "Why do I even care?"

Sometimes my conclusion is simply that I appreciate many avenues, disciplines, and subjects in the world. I love literature. I love clothes. I love decorating. I love dogs. I love flea markets and anything vintage. I love ideas. I love food, but not fastfood. I love art and architecture. I secretly love reality shows and pop culture. I am not an expert on any of these topics. Most of the time I have not felt comfortable enough in my own skin to cultivate my passion. I care too much about what others think and what they expect from me. Expectations either motivate us or destroy us. I can look back on my life and see where some expectations started to peel back my layers. Some more layers than others. Some just ripped the layers away much more quickly than others. Yet, I realize that our passions add the layers. They are like aloe on the wounds. They bring joy whether they are professional passions or novice passions. Passions are passions. Simply strong and exciting.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Garden Sanctuary

Erik and I have been busy working on our backyard. It is turning into a an outdoor garden sanctuary. I need a sanctuary. I find the yard to be so much more peaceful than I ever anticipated. As a child, I remember my mom always working diligently in the yard. At the time I had zero interest in her outdoor hobbies. Years later, the first place I go each morning is out into the yard. I go to check on my plants, flowers, and to just look at the grass. On occasion I notice the dog poop and pray Erik will mow that day and it will turn into nice fertilizer. Unfortunately, he doesn't mow everyday.

Yesterday, Erik and my dad built the trellibo. We hung solar lights, set out the chairs, and put the fire pit in it's rightful position. I am contemplating putting flowers in the pit. I don't need a literal fire in my yard for several more months. The air just feels like fire. Today, I purchased Cat's Claw and Snail Vine. I planted the Cat's Claw and am in the process of looking for the perfect pots for the Snail Vine. The Cat's Claw will grow to cover the walls that make up our fences. The Snail Vine will grow around all of the posts of the trellibo. My vision is coming to fruition.



Today, Erik and my dad also built cornhole, while my mom sewed all of the bags. Erik and my dad played several times. Erik never even let my dad win once! But they had fun.

I love my yard. I could spend hours out there. There is just something about getting dirt under your nails, digging with a shovel while jumping on it as if it is a pogo stick to get deep into the Arizona ground, and fresh air. I love seeing all of the tiny insects running as I start to dig. I was ecstatic when I found rolly pollies in one of the Cat's Claw pots.

Gardening and being in the yard reminds me of my younger days. Days when life was simple. Days when my primary concerns were whether or not my parents would make me come inside at dark. Days when I stole pomegranates from the tree in the backyard and ate them while hiding in the dog house that my dad built. During these days there were even grape Fruit Roll-ups. I miss grape Fruit Roll-ups. These were also the days when I would sneak into the cabinet and drink the Dimetapp because it tasted like grape. Maybe my mom should have just kept more grapes in the house. I would also fake a cough so that I could have cherry Luden's. And today I confessed to my mom that I would fake illnesses to stay home from school because I wanted to stay caught up on certain TV shows. I seemed to fake a lot of things, but honestly, I think my mom knew the entire time.

It is funny how we quickly we forget the simple times. As a kid, I always wanted to be older and have more freedom. Freedom brought more responsibilities. Responsibilities brought more commitments. Commitments brought less free time. I am so thankful and blessed with the life that I have. God has led me down an amazing path. I know my parents wanted two things for my life. A great husband, which I can put a check next to that one and a job that I love. Another check next to that one. My commitments often feel like free time. They aren't burdens. My responsibilities even bring about more freedom. That said, I love being a responsible adult!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Becoming Domesticated

Tonight I realized that I am becoming domesticated. I know this is a term usually reserved for animals. I wouldn't normally compare myself to an animal, but let's face it, I am somewhat like a wild stallion. I like to do things my way. I am independent. I have too many ideas and don't always march down the typical path. Yet, within that context, I am simple and prefer many traditional values. I don't think anyone would ever describe me as one might describe the stereotypical wife from the 1950s or even 1980s. I never envisioned myself with 2. 5 children, a white picket fence, and making dinner every night for the family. Instead, I saw myself working, possibly a white picket fence because they are so darn cute, eating out, and living a life similar to the one I lead now. I live out my dreams on a day-to-day basis.

Lately, I have gained more and more interest in decorating my home. It is fun to find cool ideas, work on projects with my husband, and create what I see in my head, but can't find in the store. Plus, I love the thrill of the hunt. Gardening for example. Fun, but my mother tried her best to develop a green thumb on me at an early age. It did not take. I HATED gardening. Why? Because it required getting dirty and being outside. My two least favorite tasks. Today, I love them both. I am an evolving creature. I pray I don't turn into a Martha Stewart type. I think it would just cause people to panic and be certain that the end times were upon us.

Here are some of my latest projects:




The first project is our outdoor trellibo (trellis and gazebo). I am going to plant some vines that will grow up the red posts and we are going to add more roof pieces made out of this bamboo-like material. It is only in the beginning stages. My dad and Erik built the trellibo. It is perfect. My dad T-ed it up. I learned that is term used in carpentry, not just a call in basketball. Erik and I painted it in the time it took my parents to make dinner one evening. We found these wonderful Christmas lights that run on solar panels. They are perfect!

The second project was my collection of plates. I have always collected plates, but I finally had enough to hang them on the wall in my dining room. I think all of the plate hangers cost more than the plates themselves! It is fun to look at the plates. Some are from my early days of plate collecting. Some are more recent.

The final project is one piece of a larger piece of art that will end up on the wall behind our couch. I was inspired by a piece that we purchased and took back because the color scheme was wrong. Then I saw a blog that showed how a lady made her own. Currently, I am 2 hours into the project and about 5 or 6 hot glue sticks. I have one circle. This may be one of my largest undertakings yet. But don't worry. I will complete the task at hand.

Burning Down the House

For those of you that don't know, when I was in college, I inadvertently caught my parents' house on fire. Needless to say, this is never a good thing. The past two days I have been burning candles on new candler holders to get the perfect drip patterns on the candles that runs down onto the holders. Silly, I know. I have burned through 2 of those red torch lighter things. I have gone through matches. And finally, I have used small pieces of scrap wood! I shouldn't admit this because I used the wood when everyone left the room. As I was working on the candles, I found myself putting my fingers into the melted wax, just as I did as a small child. I guess this obsession carried into my teenage years as well. Some of the wax even ran down the candle holder onto the table. There is just something about the feeling of soft wax underneath your fingernails as you scrape it off the table. Then I found myself putting the dried wax from the table back into the melted wax on the top of the pillar candle watching as it melted again. I didn't want to let any wax go to waste. So frugal or "green" of me not to be wasteful. I even found myself dipping used matches into the wet wax so that they would burn again. Seriously, I may need counseling for my pyro tendencies. I need to purchase some more pillar candles and work on some more tapered candles. Honestly, I enjoy dragging this project out. The joy of playing with fire and melted wax brings a grin to my face. The simple things.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Growing Family

No, I'm not pregnant. I'm getting a sister! No, my mom is not pregnant either. My brother-in-law, Kevin, proposed to the most wonderful person, Krystle! I am rather excited about this! Growing up I never realized that I was rather different because I did not have siblings. It was not until I entered junior high and started staying at my friends' houses more often that I realized the benefits of a sibling. Although when I think back not all siblings seemed that great. However, most of my friends had wonderful siblings. They set great examples of how siblings should treat each other and interact. Selflessnes. Graciousness. Generosity. And most importantly, laughter.

When I got married I gained two brothers. That was pretty exciting and has been great! I couldn't ask for better brothers. In fact I really hate the term "in-laws" because it carries such a negative connotation, which my family is in stark contrast to those stereotypes. I am thankful that my family is growing. God has truly blessed me with great family.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Diapers?

I've been too tired to write lately. Lame, I know. I have been staying up too late and getting up too early. My usual "Summer O'Fun" has been more of a "Summer O'Tired." But I love summer! It is a great time to work without too much pressure and hang out around the house. It is also a great time to just think and reflect. Usually I think about self-improvement in the summer.

Today I really realized that I am a rule follower. I don't like breaking the rules or getting in trouble. This may be shocking to some of you, especially my mother. But it is true. I don't like conflict and I don't like letting people down, on purpose or on accident. I actually lose sleep over it, which is often times why I am so tired. I think way too much. Too much for my own good. If I could generate electricity from my thoughts, I would not be dependent on SRP.

One thing I do know about myself - I know what I like and don't like. I try not to be opinionated, but I told a couple people this and they laughed at me. I took this to mean that I am failing miserably! I think so much that I often wonder if I over think the things I need to improve or change about myself. But because I know what I like and don't like, I don't like it when people say, "It's just the way I am. I was born this way." I was born without the ability to control my bodily functions and we are ALL thankful I learned how to do that. I would look silly with a diaper on at this point in my life. Plus, I don't think my clothes would fit correctly. Imagine your metabolism slowing, gaining a few pounds here and there, and now you have to wear a diaper. Obviously, God had a better plan. I am thankful adults don't wear diapers, and even more thankful that I don't need one.

On a regular basis I am asked the following questions: 1. When are you going to have kids? 2. What are your goals? Of course I have an opinion on both of these topics. First, are you supplying the trust fund for the baby? Secondly, goals are just something I teach my students to do. They aren't anything you need in the real world.

So, here are my goals for the summer. I would like to call this my self-improvement plan.
1. Stay home an entire day without leaving my house. This may be an impossible task for me, but I will attempt it.
2. Read more. I love to read. I encourage reading in others. I may even judge those who hate to read. But honestly, I don't read as much as I should.
3. Meet one of my neighbors. I have met one neighbor and I already forgot her name. I want to bring back the art of being neighborly.

With that said, I need some shut eye. The 'rents arrive tomorrow.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Decorating

Today Erik and I ran errands all day. We set out to Costco and the fabric store, but ended up finding some great deals on decorating items. We have been slowly but surely working on our living room. On one of the ledges, I had a vision of funky candlestick holders. We are almost done! We found several today! And, all were on sale! :) We also wanted to put curtains on the sliding glass door to dress up the area. This project needs some serious TLC! Erik picked out curtains and I had the idea to use knobs to hang them instead of a rod. We need to get a few more knobs and then I think it will be complete. Hopefully. I really love decorating together. We feed off one another, in a good way of course. In fact, we went to return TJ Maxx this evening to return an item and who was in line checking out? Mike and Jess. They work well decorating together too. I love that Jess and I both have amazing husbands that see our vision, add to it, and are willing to sand anything! I hate sanding. It is loud, dusty and tedious. But my husband with asthma gladly sands for me! Over the years, we have created some great projects. I fear one day we will run out of room. I don't think I will ever let that happen though. We have a project planned for when my parents visit. It will be the project of all projects for us. We have a vision, but have to build it from scratch. We have never built anything from nothing. Thankfully my dad will be here to teach us a thing or two. Thank heaven for daddies, right!?!?!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Birthday

Today is my birthday. Well, at least for the next hour and a half. I am on what I consider the downward slope to my 30s. Now I am on the last stretch. What does that mean? It means that I have to wear a mouth guard to bed because I grind my teeth. It means I can't eat what I want anymore. It means I determine an outfit as cute only if it is slimming. It means I clean up after myself. I think about retirement. I don't do anything too adventurous because I am concerned about my hips and joints. I want to make sure my clothes match my age group. And for some reason, my face still breaks out, but I religiously put on anti-wrinkle serums and sunblock every morning. I no longer care if my hair is perfect, but if I have a single strand of gray. I don't necessarily care of people see me without make-up, but if I have crow's feet. And one more criteria for my clothes - not too tight on my mid section.

I realize I sound a little vain. My mom always told me I was vain. Oh wait, actually she always wondered why I didn't get ready to run errands with her. Times have changed. I dream about working out, but never put those desires into action. I dream about salads, but never order one. I make fun of Denton for groaning like an old man, but I am not far behind him. The big 3-0 is looming. I hope I make it. My only glimmer of hope is that 40 is the new 30, so I guess next year won't really be that big of a deal.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Burk, the Bee Catcher

Moments ago Erik asked me to climb up on this ledge in our living room that is at least 9 feet in the air. He was trying to hang some floating shelves in it and needed me to crawl into the ledge and see if the shelf was on the screws correctly. As I began to climb the ladder, I saw a buzzing insect. I wasn't sure if it was a bee or a June bug. After all, it is June, but I am in Arizona. The buzzing noise led me to believe it was a bee. As I was giving Erik strict instructions about not moving the ladder, moving while standing on the ladder, or even breathing, he tells me bees don't come out at night. He was wrong. It was definitely a bee. Erik told me it was going to be fine. I envisioned myself getting stung by the bee while trying to get onto the ledge and falling to my death. I did not make the correct prediction.

Here is the ladder and ledge.
As I was climbing onto the ledge, I saw Burk chasing the bee out of the corner of my eye. I started yelling at Erik to get Burk. Erik climbed down the ladder, which moving on the ladder was against my rules, to grab Burk. At that point Burk had the bee in his mouth. Erik yelled at Burk and he dropped the bee. Then he grabbed the bee in his mouth again and ran over 4 steps. Erik tried to grab him again and Burk dropped the bee. Erik was able to step on it. The whole time I am yelling at Erik telling him that if Burk eats the bee, then he will get sick. I said, "Remember how sick you got when you ate a bee."

I am sure you are wondering why Erik ate a bee. You see, our friend Jess loves a good dare. One of the first times we hung out, she dared Erik to eat a bee for $200. For some reason, there was a dead bee at our table. Erik ate the bee. Hours later, he was pretty sick! I am so thankful Burk didn't have to experience the same sickness. I am more thankful that I don't have to clean up Burk's sickness. And I am even more thankful that Jess dared Erik to eat a bee so I could use that as a reason to get the bee away from Burk!

Patio Fun

Tonight I am sitting on my patio with a giant root beer reflecting on my day.
These are pictures of me, Burk, and Denton enjoying an unusually cool Arizona evening.

It was a wonderful day. I enjoyed time with great friends, Bre and Jess. We visited this amazing little store called Lizabel's Treasures. Treasures is an accurate description of the place. They had the most amazing and unique items in every nook and cranny! I must have walked around the store at least 10 times, each time discovering new items hanging from the ceiling, under a table, in a suitcase, or right in front of my face.My friend, Jess, and I love to decorate and refinish items. She found some amazing treasures too. I think we both love the thrill of the hunt for a good deal. As I look around my patio, I realize that most of the items were purchased without any intention of purchasing that type of item on any give day. Each item reminds me of time spent with loved ones. And all of the items were fairly inexpensive, which is why Erik thinks an item over $20 is really expensive. All in all, each item is a treasure and tells a story. My house is full of items with stories to be told.
Here are my top 5 items from my patio:1. Coffee table - Erik rescued the coffee table from a dumpster. He was the one with the vision for it. It is actually a coffee color, no pun intended. Erik distressed it, sealed it, and put knobs on it from Anthropologie. Our intention was to sell it, but that never happened. It fits perfectly on our patio and currently holds all of my gardening tools. Cost - free +$18 for knobs2. Yellow filing cabinet - I found a filing cabinet at Goodwill for $9. It was already painted yellow and even came with cobwebs underneath. I could not pass up this deal. I thought I was going to put it in our office, but needless to say that room is still a mess. The filing cabinet sat on our patio for a week and then we moved it into the garage. A few months later it was back on the patio with a new purpose - to hold plants! I think it is so adorable! I thought about even opening the drawers and putting large pots in there with bright colored flowers, but ended up just storing future projects in the drawers. I love the bold color and it really brightens up my patio.3. Headboard - Oh, the headboard. I had some skeptics on this one. It is still a work in progress. I have mixed feelings on where to put it. Right now it is just resting on my patio, but it is not in it's permanent home yet. We found this one day when we went to a thrift store that was closing. Needless to say we may have robbed the place. It wasn't like a normal thrift store. It was located in an old grocery store, so it was huge. Because it was one of the final days, the store was trying to get rid of as many items as possible. It all started when a guy told us we could get as many frames and framed pieces of art as we could fit in a box for only $5. It is amazing what you can fit in a box. Of course I just loaded up on anything that looked semi-interesting. Then we were learned that we could fill up a cart for $15. That is when things got out of control. Bre got every kids book in the place! I put my box of frames and art into the cart and loaded up on more. Erik found shoes and clothes. Then I snagged wicker baskets, Erik found baseball helmets. The list goes on and on. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a headboard. I knew it was probably too small for our bed, but I asked how much. Answer - $15. I was already robbing the place of so many other items, I said I would take it. My plan was to put it in my yard and plant a garden around it. Because our yard is so small, I did not want to take up footage with the garden, so I settled on container gardening. Therefore, the headboard moved to the patio. Eventually it will find it's permanent home.
This is the top of the headboard. It is hard to get a good picture of it. See item #5 for the story of the coat rack.

4. Gold tray with flowers - This was a random find. I was actually at school when this item caught the corner of my eye. One of the students purchased items for the yearbook signing party to represent various decades. She found the cutest items! If you ever need a party planner, she is your girl! She even had the cutest powder blue suitcases! I asked her if I could buy the tray from her and she just gave it to me! I will always think of her when I look at it and I love the way it compliments my flowers and patio.
5. Coat rack - Today I purchased a cast iron coat rack. It is pretty sturdy. Since there is never a need to wear a coat in Arizona, I had a different vision for this piece. I could see it on my patio dressed in hanging pots. When I told Jess and Bre that I wanted to hang pots for it, Jess started telling me to buy chains and hang them at different lengths. I was confused as to why the rope on most pots wouldn't work. Finally, I figured out she was talking about pots used for cooking! I still love that idea! I may move it into my kitchen after gardening season ends. So far I only have a bird house hanging from it, but the coat rack has great potential and apparently multiple visions depending on the visionary you ask. Now, this item was a little pricey. Thankfully I had birthday money to spend on it. And now that it has dual purposes, let's just say each purpose cost about $30. :) If you look at the picture above of the coat rack, you will see a bird house hanging from it. The bird house has a great story! While at Lizabel's Treausures, Bre took the bird house from me and hung it on her arm. She forgot to give it to the lady so I could pay for it and almost stole from Lizabel's! Love it!

I am rarely on a hunt for a particular item. The items tend to find me. I always have a vision in my head, but never a time frame. However, I am always on the hunt for a story.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

And sadness will linger for 367 more days....

It is my last year in my 20s. Let the good times roll.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gardening, My New Boyfriend

Gardening is my new boyfriend. I know, you are probably thinking, "What about your husband?" Well, don't worry, I still have him too! I like to have my cake and eat it too. Anyhoo, let me share some pics of my new boyfriend.

We have spent a lot of time together the past couple days. I think we are really bonding. And the greatest part is that we get to see each other everyday!

I know. You are probably confused because you thought these guys were my boyfriends.

They are usually my boyfriends. I guess they were getting a little jealous of the time that I was spending with my new boyfriend. How do I know this? Well, Denton consistently eats the soil. I think he thinks the soil is a brownie, but it isn't. Burk is a bit more vindictive. He dug up one entire pot of flowers! I know! How dare he! It is 2010. A woman can have more than one boyfriend. Give me some space Burk!

When I think about it, I always have a boyfriend. Each stage or season of my life presents a boyfriend. For example, during the regular NBA season, my boyfriend is Derrick Rose.

Because Derrick and the Bulls did not make it to the Finals, I had to choose another boyfriend. No one in their right mind would ever choose a boyfriend on the Lakers. Fortunately for me, my old boyfriend is on the Celtics. Nate Robinson.
This is Nate dunking over my other boyfriend. You may have heard of him. He is kind of a big deal. Dwight Howard. Dwight is the original Superman. I am not sure what Shaq is thinking, although he is funny.

I love boyfriends! They bring me joy, keep me out of trouble, and teach me life lessons. Gardening - teaches me the importance of TLC. Denton and Burk teach me the importance of unconditional love. Derrick, Nate, and Dwight, well they teach me the importance of hardwork and perseverance.

I am sure some of you are wondering about my number one boyfriend. His name is Erik. He teaches me just as much. On a daily basis he reminds me that he does pay attention and care about me. My other boyfriends teach me important lessons, but really aren't that selfless in our relationships. Erik listens to me and then lovingly responds. I love my number one boyfriend!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Why I like "fighting" with my husband...

I like fighting with my husband for several reasons.
A. They aren't really fights, but rather discussions.
B. They are hilarious!
C. Usually the fight starts and 30 seconds later one of us apologizes.
D. When you step back and look at the situation, it is so stupid! What is really worth fighting
over and being angry about.
Erik probably gets frustrated with me because about a minute into an argument I start narrating and analyzing the situation in my head. It is at this time that I get a grin on my face. Not really the stereotypical game face for an argument. Then I can't help but attempt to bring light to the situation. I am probably the most frustrating person. A real example from this evening. Erik and I were moving some boxes. He broke the glass in a picture frame that we bought when we first got married. I got upset and proceeded to tell Erik why he needs to be careful. Apparently he did not appreciate that. I don't really understand why not. So, he explains to me why it isn't a big deal, it is just a frame, etc. Then, wait for it, he says, "When else did I break something?" Huge grin. I state, "About 2 minutes ago when you broke the chandelier." For a moment I reveled in the fact that he set me up for that perfect question! In those moments that I am grinning, I realize I am probably just as guilty, just as often and should extend some grace. I mean I shudder to admit that I am not perfect on the world wide web, but it is true. I need grace too.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Party Central

Today I went to two celebrations - a baby shower and a graduation party. I loved both! Although both represent two very different stages in life, it is great to share in a transition from one journey to the next in a person's life. It is also a nice time to catch up with friends. As I reach the last leg of my downward slope, I am cherishing friends and the wide range of support I have in my life. I love learning from others and parties are a great place to develop community. God has definitely brought a wide range of people into my life and I am blessed because of that.

Where my dogs at? Here they are.

This is Old Man Denton. He will huff and puff and blow your house down. He is solely responsible for spending all of our retirement money. I hope he gets famous one day so he can support us in our old age. But I love him. He is my 3-legged wonder!

Meet adorable Burk! He thinks he is the same size as Denton, which is is about 3 times as big. That doesn't mean much. He is a real dog. He pees on trees while hiking his leg. He pees on EVERY tree he passes and pretty much marks everything. He plays fetch and is better trained than Denton.

Denton and Burk are becoming the best of friends. Burk has only peed on Denton once and I think Denton forgave him. Oh the joys of raising two dogs! :)

Are we having fun yet?

We recently acquired another dog. Burk. Although yesterday, Erik and Bre changed his name to Burke. I like Burk. That is where I found him and that is how you spell it. But anyway, we now have two dogs. Denton, the special needs dog, and Burk, who believes he is as small as Denton. Now that we have Burk, I realize how old and grumpy Denton truly is. He huffs and puffs like an old man. Burk bounces around like a small child. Are you enjoying my similes yet? So, Burk likes to get up in the middle of the night and go outside. Well, the other night I start to feel all of this sand around my feet. He is a digger and brought all of the dirt back into the bed. Needless to say I read an article the next day about all the reasons you should not let your dog sleep in your bed. Considering one sleeps on my head and the other on my legs, who brings dirt to bed, I haven't contemplated getting them their own beds. But according to that article it will be better for my health and theirs. If the one on my head starts to suffocate me, then I guess I will take action.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I'm blogging.......

And I'm blogging......who knew. Thanks Jess for the inspiration. Because I am out of school, I thought I would try something new. So, let me start with that supercenter place that starts with a Wal and is something of a Mart. I went this this evening to buy one can of spray paint and an hour later I was exiting the store to return home. First of all, kids stop huffing the spray paint so it doesn't have to be behind locked glass doors. As I approached the paint section, I saw three people walking away with cans of spray paint. Once I got to the glass cabinet there were no workers ANYWHERE! I scoured the aisles and no one was to be found that could assist me. Eventually I found this elderly man and he sent me to sporting goods. Once I got to sporting goods, I stood in line behind a family of four getting ready to go fishing. Son #1 needed a fishing license. Mom needed a pink fishing pole and a license. Son #2 wanted to go home and dad needed to invest in sunscreen. After 20 minutes of waiting for this family to purchase their fishing licenses, talk about the hottest spots in the metro area to fish, purusing pictures of large bass on the worker's cell phone, another woman came to help me. I told her that I needed a can of spray paint. She got the keys from the other worker and then asked me where the spraypaint was located. I led the way. She tried every key before the last one opened the glass cabinet. I got my paint and headed to the mile long line. After an hour, I exited to my car and drove home. Did I learn patience? No, I learned it is better to pay twice as much and go to Lowe's. This basic economics. An hour of my time is worth at least $1-2.