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November 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

I. Am. Obsessed.

Love Bears: Childhood Confusions

November 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

When I was young my mom had a wooden bear with “Love Bears All Things” written on it. Similar to this:

It sat on her bathroom counter and any time I watched her put on makeup, I would study it like you study a map. So delicate. So smooth. So confusing.

As a kid, I did not realize that “love bears all things” referenced I Corinthians 13:7. I just assumed it meant that my mom really liked bears – which was weird since this was really the only image of a bear we had in our house.

Now that I am grown I understand that “bears” is not a noun in this case. So, yay. True love enables us to tolerate.

But also, whatever you do, love bears.

A Game for the Road

November 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s all fun and games until someone can’t think of anymore trivia. That makes no sense yet. Moving on.

My husband worked with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Tour this fall. On their road trips they played a game that Josh and I will probably continue to play on our road trips for years to come. This game is especially fun between two cars on walkie talkies (or phones if you’ve already joined the 21st century), but can also be played with a single car full of people. I like to call it:

20 Questions Trivia Stump (…which makes it sound like it’s got a wooden leg. Moving on.)

Team A thinks of a person for Team B to guess. Before B can ask a question about the mystery person, B must come up with a trivia question to stump A. If B can stump A with a trivia question, B gets to ask a yes-or-no question about the mystery person. For example:

Team A: I’m thinking of a person.

Team B: What was Doris Day’s first movie?

Team A: Calamity Jane.

Team B: Wrong. Romance on the High Seas. Is your person a man?

Team A: Yes.

Team B: What do James Garner, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart have in common?

Team A: They were all from Arizona.

Team B: Wrong. They were all in movies with Doris Day. Is your person fictional?

Team A: No.

And so on. After 20 questions of trying to figure out the mystery person, Team B should be able to guess who the mystery person is. If not, Team A has won. Yada yada. You get the picture. Rules include:

  1. Mystery person must be a generally “known” person. Don’t pick your Aunt Clara Bixby whom no one else has met.
  2. All trivia questions must have known answers. Don’t ask, “What was the first movie that Doris Day and Rock Hudson did together?” if you don’t know what it was. (It was Pillow Talk. Please tell me you knew that. I’m sure you knew that. Moving on.)

It’s all fun and games until someone can’t think of anymore trivia. See? I knew that sentence would work somewhere in this post. I hope this made-up game entertains you – or at least inspired you to make up your own game for the road. Enjoy.

some dogs are bored by this game. most dogs are bored by this game.

Mismatched Enjoyment

August 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Matchy-matchy. I’ve never been a huge fan. Coordinate? Yes. Match? Blech.

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I got a duvet cover for $20 at TJ Maxx in June, and I adore it.

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photo property of DKNY

It didn’t come with shams, so I’m taking this opportunity to think of ways to make the bedroom seem Feng Shui without them. Here’s some inspiration:

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keeping orange in the pillow mix – but a different orange

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mixing patterns and keeping the tones in the same family

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statement pillow to catch the eye

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monochromatic theme

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florals in the same color family

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breezy

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lots of pattern!

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mismatched florals of all sizes

Go ye therefore and mix your linens.

Fear and Bravery

July 30, 2012 § 6 Comments

When I was in college, I really liked this boy. He was totally a BMOC (Big Man On Campus), and I knew I could make him happy for the rest of our lives. My senior year, I asked him out to a group event, and he said yes. About 20 minutes into this event, I knew I never wanted to date this kid again.

It took a lot of bravery to ask this BMOC out. I’m so glad I did.

When I was a junior in high school, they brought on French as a language option instead of Latin (cake class), Spanish (cake class), or Computers (ew). I knew this new French class would be a lot of hard work, but I desperately wanted to discover the language of my heritage. By the end of two years of French classes, I spoke fairly well and discovered that I have a knack for understanding language.

It took a lot of bravery to begin and continue French classes. I’m so glad I did.

I’ve always struggled with what I want to do with my life. I’m good at a lot of things, but there are few things that I really love doing that will bring in revenue. (Why does no one pay me for each pin I post?!) There is some memo in my subconscious that says I have to have a career. After all, I have two undergraduate degrees and lots of special skills – surely I should be the CEO of something. (Or, at least the Administrative Assistant to the CEO.) If I don’t have some sort of a career, I’m just a bump on the log of society. I am a sponge in our marriage. I’m that girl who never really amounted to anything.

I was struggling with this thought last week, and as I cried in the bathtub, Josh kissed my forehead and reminded me to just enjoy living. In trying to figure out what I’m meant to do, I forget that I need to enjoy what I’m doing right now. Comparing is such a killjoy.

I enjoy theatre. I enjoy being involved with theatre to the point of affecting the culture around me. My skill in the theatre world is acting. I’ve discovered that I enjoy it enough to put the hard work into the details. And you better believe it’s hard work. This isn’t a new idea – I knew I wanted to be an actor since before Josh and I were married. But, suddenly he is done with school and starting professional jobs, and now it’s my turn to step back from a high-paying job and hone my acting skills.

It’s a little insane to take the plunge into doing theatre for a living considering that my husband is also an actor. But, we’re young – we don’t know yet that you can’t live on under $1,000/month. And, if I don’t take this brave step, I know I will regret it. I want to be able to say

It took a lot of bravery to become an actor. I’m so glad I did.

It’s possible that I won’t want to be an actor somewhere down the line. But, this is right for me right now. There is a lot of hard work ahead of me: a lot of disappointment, rejection, and frustration. But, there is also a lot of joy ahead of me: daily creativity, a sense of community, and affecting the culture around me. It’s less of a Career choice and more of an Enjoy-Living choice. May it never be said that I was afraid to take a chance.

 

Fear can be one of the most destructive emotions. It is, of course, also very important, in that fear sometimes stops you from doing stupid things. But it can also stop you from doing creative or exciting or experimental things. It can cloud your judgement of others, and lead to all kinds of evil. The control and understanding of our personal fears is one of the most important undertakings of our lives.”  – Helen Mirren

If I Were President: Marriage

May 9, 2012 § 4 Comments

In my house growing up my parents had rules regarding toys, games, etc.: play nicely, respect stuff and people, ask to use stuff (and if they say “no,” deal with it). If these rules were not followed, the item was taken away from everyone and we all had to do something else. No arguing. No complaining. It is what it is because someone ruined it with his/her selfishness.

There is a lot of hate going around right now; my Facebook newsfeed looks like a hot debate between “yay-gay-marriage” and “boo-gay-marriage.” Many things being said are ugly and disrespectful – shame on you. I say if you two can’t play nicely, I am going to take marriage away from all of you. 

If I were President, the government wouldn’t care if you were married or not. Just like they don’t care if you eat sugar. While I’m in office, it won’t matter.

Civil unions can happen for two people who desire such a thing. (Yes, you have to be a certifiable human. No droids.) Civil unions for everyone! This will cost $100.00 and all this money will go to the government. If 1 million couples join in civil union each year, that means the government would get $100 million dollars each year. And I’ll lower income tax for those in a civil union. Boom. I’m a genius.

Marriage – a God-ordained union – can happen in the chapel or synagogue or park or basement or whatever. The church I go to would not marry a gay couple. That’s fine – there are a whole bunch of other ordained ministers in town who would marry them. Freedom of religion is intact. Personal morals are intact. Everyone is happy.

If I were President.

This isn’t about politics. I don’t care enough about politics/rights/whatever to argue with anyone about this. I mean – I just don’t care. I should. But I don’t. (I therefore will never run for President, so those of you who are scared by the above proposal, rest easy.)

This isn’t about changing anyone’s views on marriage. I don’t care if you love it or hate it. Persuasive speeches aren’t my thing. Disagreements can be good. It’s what makes the world interesting and what pushes us to becoming better. What if the Earl of Sandwich hadn’t argued that his food was inconvenient to eat? We wouldn’t have the sandwich – we’d probably have the Franklin. Benjamin Franklin would have totally been on that one.

Anyway, the point is: Be Respectful. Don’t be ugly. Or I’m taking away the toy and I’ll make you hold hands until you’re friends again.

Can you play nicely? Good. Carry on.

Dog Hangouts

April 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

I did something today I thought I would never do: I took our dog Harper to Doggie Day Camp.

happy puppy!

I got a call from our landlord telling me they’re showing our apartment in 15 minutes so I had to have the dog out of there. (Yeah. Fifteen minutes is barely enough time to get home from work, much less make the house look half-way presentable.) The landlord planned to show our apartment multiple times throughout the afternoon, so I either needed to keep Harper with me at work (a discussion worthy of its own blog post) or send her to a doggie day care.

Doggie Day Care: the epitome of American overindulgence in materialism and laziness. “I am not walking the dog in those filthy streets. I’ll get my exercise in the gym, and he can get his at day care. I don’t care what it costs.” “My child goes to day care, so my dog should, too.” “I love my dog, but I hate how hyper he is when I come home from work, so I’ll send him to doggie daycare so he can play and get worn out so I don’t have to deal with his hyperness.”

…or so I assumed…

With the help of our veterinarian, I quickly located a reputable Doggie Day Camp in town. When we got there, I was greeted by 4 people behind a counter. Oh, and about 20 dogs. Just hanging out. My dog doesn’t really know how to do that unless she’s tired. Ah. That must be it – these dogs have been playing for four hours, and I’m interrupting their after-lunch nap time. Cool.

Harper was super excited to be there – excited enough to poop in the lobby on their carpet. One of the employees immediately took her to the back, cleaned up the poop, and pleasantly excused her sudden bowel movement as “nerves.” Cute.

There were a lot of people working there – the [many] dogs get a lot of attention. They get to play on a doggie playground, in a doggie pool, and with doggie friends. This place might be cooler than any hangout I’ve ever been to. I was suddenly jealous of my dog’s good fortune. Clever.

When I picked Harper up at the end of the day, she was excited to see me, but it was more of a “Hey, let me show you my new digs” rather than “My friend! Take me home! Take me home!” Harper’s report card boasts that she enjoyed herself, so raise your glass to that.

hey, that was pretty fun. i want to go to there again.

Fine, then! Doggie Day Camp is cool if you find a good one. It did well for us in a pinch, and I’ll probably have to spend that $16 to send Harper back  from time to time just to show her how much I love her. Darn it.

Eclectic Decorating: Mirrors

January 21, 2012 § 1 Comment

Since I was in high school I understood the appeal of having a mirror on every wall: not only can you check to make sure you don’t have any boogers in your nose, you can capitalize on every song that suddenly comes over the radio. “A Whole Neeeewwwww Wooooooooorld!”

Once I got a home of my own, mirrors quickly took up much of the wall space. Any time Josh and I go to an antique store, we scour the place for mirrors before we look at anything else. It’s a vice.

The first item that Josh & I bought as a married couple that cost more than $50: a floor mirror!

To the right is an old mirror Josh & I found at an antique store in town. This mirror is old enough that it is lined with silver.

This mirror was my great grandmother's. I've had it since she died in 1997. Love it so much!

Another old mirror we got from an antique store in Greenville, SC. It's right across from the bathroom so it serves as a nice double-check before I walk out the door.

A large old mirror in the bathroom. It's next to the toilet so boys can check their teeth while doing their business.

OK, this mirror came with the apartment, but I like it because it's big.

Josh brought this mirror into our marriage. It's not old, but it's big. It's right next to our front door so I can triple-check to make sure I have no boogers.

The mirror offsets the large Chris Koelle print that Josh also brought into this marriage. Perfect.

The little mirror below Chris Koelle's painting was another antique store find. It is very old and lined with silver.

The mirror is about as practical as the mirror in Mary Poppins' room when she first moved in. "This will never do." But, it does well as a jewelry tray or accent piece (as pictured here). You can see the age of the mirror in its imperfections.

A mirror in the kitchen is a brilliant idea; a large mirror in the kitchen is covetable. This is another antique mirror lined with silver.

The mirrors in the hallways are super cool. The top two we got from an antique store in town and the bottom one was from Goodwill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope our next apartment has lots of walls. What’s your decorating weakness?

New Year’s Resolutions

December 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Only 50% of my resolutions from 2011 were realized: I did try to grow my own cilantro, but I did not learn the Sun Salutation (who has time?). Here’s hoping I can do better in 2012.

Happy New Year!

Josh and I are making our New Year’s Resolutions together this year. I very seldom make more than two resolutions – I often don’t attempt any resolutions – but this year is different. All three of these resolutions are lifestyle changes that we’re hoping to implement. We’re going to make every effort to keep these resolutions for years to come.

1. Buy nothing new – Josh and I are striving to buy nothing new this year; anything we buy will be thrifted or vintage. (Exceptions: we will purchase new food, underwear, socks, and/or shoes.) I’m excited to see how our needs are met!

2. Eat only best – This is not a diet except in the sense that it is what we eat. Diets are for people who want to fail! Boooo to diets. Instead of “we don’t eat this,” we are going to undestand that we can eat anything – but we choose healthy foods close to the natural source. It’s a different mindset, not a restriction.

3. Be active now – Part of being healthy is being active. I sit at a desk all day long, and my hips are nice and plump as a result. This is not about being skinny – this is about being healthy. I need to take the dog for a walk and get my heart rate up – that’s a win/win situation.

OK, those are the goals – now keep me in check! I think 2012 holds promise of being a pretty good year. I learned a lot of stuff in 2011 – I learned that I don’t want to work in an office the rest of my life, I learned about vintage pipes, I learned I have pretty good taste, I learned banjo & a bit of mandolin, I learned it’s really hard to get a puppy to come on command, I learned I am so not ready for kids yet, I learned that I kill plants (OK, I knew that one), I learned I have a need for theatre, and some other useful stuff. I’m excited to see what I learn in 2012. Here’s to a New Year. Cheers.

A Sweet Christmas Story

December 20, 2011 § 2 Comments

In the Spirit of Christmas, let’s chat about gift-giving. I know it’s better to give than to receive – I have two ears and a heart – but it’s rough watching your sister give your parents an iPod for Christmas while you give them two mugs. (That was a hypothetical situation.)

Happy Christmas

I have a friend – let’s call her Susie – who is a single mom of four (ages 4 through 21). Here’s a sweet Christmas story Susie’s congenial ex-husband recounted to her today:

I haven’t really been in the Christmas spirit until I noticed something this morning.  Over the weekend Nick [age 10] collected change from my junk basket, my car, and my backpack and put it all in a Ziplock bag.  He had me take him to the store to cash it in and asked if he could have 10 dollars from it.  Then he asked me to take him to Mega Replay [a used video store], and he thoughtfully picked out movies for people.  Last night he got a half-roll of wrapping paper from your house, a few tags for labels, and brought it all to my house.  He wrapped one last night (even ignoring football!), addressed it to Zakk, and brought it with him this morning to put under your tree.  He hasn’t announced grand plans or congratulated himself.  He’s just been doing it.

So in the midst of buying overpriced Uggs for Bri (don’t tell!), shaking my head at Zakk wanting bar crap for Christmas, worrying about whether Nick will enjoy a Kindle Fire (don’t tell!) – I stressed out the holiday a bit too much.  When I noticed that Nick’s been quietly dedicated to making Christmas happen it made me feel warm and proud.  It was a good reminder.  Kids can be great teachers.

 How cool is that?

I have been so concerned this year with keeping up with everyone else. I feel like everyone is giving iPods and Nooks and fast cars for Christmas. I gave my car new tires, which made me feel pretty good.

The biggest thing I learn from little saint Nick is that I need to ignore what everyone else is doing for Christmas and demonstrate my love to everyone in my own way – even if it means spending no money. And I needed a 10-year-old to tell me this. Clearly, I need to watch more Christmas movies.