Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Can't Even Tell You...

This picture of Pepper and a Goonies T-shirt has nothing to do with this post, other than the blatant pop culture reference. And of course its adorable!

...How thrilled I am that the new television season has FINALLY started!!!! Tonight, as a matter of fact, with the premiere of Survivor: Nicaragua. I don't even really like Survivor, but I have missed new TV so much this summer that I'm actually sitting here watching it like its the best show I've ever seen. (I do, however, think this show has kinda fallen apart in recent years - a Medallion of Power? seriously? Jimmy Johnson? seriously?). Its no secret that I'm kind of a pop culture junkie, and as much as I enjoyed summer evenings puttering around in my yard and catching up on good reads over the last few months, I've also been BORED TO TEARS in recent weeks with only Wipeout and Bachelor Pad to choose from. So, let the celebrating begin!!! Fall TV 2010 is here!!
In the coming weeks I will be keeping my eyes on the following new shows:
Hawaii Five-0 (Alex O'Laughlin anyone??)
Nikita (Oh Alias, how I miss you!)
The Event (hopefully, it will be the new Lost - if its not, I'll probably be in mourning all year)
Outsourced (it just looks hilarious)
Raising Hope (also looks hilarious, in a Knocked Up sort of way)
Running Wilde (possibly awful, but also possibly great!)
My Generation (the music, really, just the music)

Returning favorites include:
Castle
V
Glee
Brothers and Sisters
Modern Family/The Middle/Cougar Town
Dancing with the Stars
I have openings on Thursdays and Saturdays, if anyone has any suggestions!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

End of Summer...Almost

I think it happened this weekend, as I was doing yardwork. My summer vacation to Emerald Isle is now a week in the past. The students have returned to UMW and are clogging the sidewalks, grocery stores and restaurants. Its still 92 degrees outside, but there's something ever-so-slightly different in the air. And the Steelers are on TV tonight. Yep, I'm pretty much ready to call the Summer of 2010. Fall can come on over. The leaves can change, the humidity can take a hike, and all of my summer clothes that I'm sick of right now can disappear. I'm all set for it. Of course, its not even Labor Day yet, but just so you know, Fall, I'm ready!!

I'm going to go pop a bag of corn chips and get ready for the game. Lest you all think I've jumped the gun on fall a bit too early, let me just say that I did refrain from baking pumpkin bread this afternoon. Even though I really, really wanted to. I'll just make do with corn chips for now...

P.S. The enamel-top table? Its now my TV stand!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Shouldn't Have...But I Did


I went to a big flea market here in town last weekend (actually, it was even called The Big Flea) and I swear I went with the intention of spending minimum cash. In fact, I only took a few bucks. Which I blew ten minutes in on some vintage Pittsburgh post cards. And then I found some awesome Mad Men-ish holiday serving dishes, so I had to go to one of those mini-ATM's that charges a billion dollars in fees. And I swore I was done.

And then I found the Ultimate Flea Find. A piece that I have been looking for since I found out I would be moving into my house. A 1920's enamel-top kitchen cupboard. In near-pristine condition. And it was only $65. It was like light from heaven was shining down on it. The thing is, I had already obtained another table a while back when I wasn't able to find a decent enamel-top piece. So, technically I don't need this cupboard. Nor do I really have a place to put it. But I now own it. And i have to say I'm pretty thrilled with it!

So, its advice time. What should I do with it? Its currently sitting under the side window in my living room, but it takes up a bit too much room there. Would it make a good TV stand? Should I abandon my plan to someday put a bed in the spare room and move it in there? Should I get rid of something in the kitchen and return the cupboard to its original use? Should I completely rearrange the living room? I'm just not sure.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Belated Father's Day

This is the full company of Marines stationed at Barracks Washington DC, after the drill team had performed. If you look closely, you can see the band member standing on top of the monument in the background, just about to play Taps.

It still amazes me that there are touristy things left to do in Washington, DC that I haven't done after living there for 3 years and very close by for another 6 years. It really is a very cool city. Earlier this week when my parents were visiting, I took them up to DC to see my Dad's long-awaited Father's Day present. He has always wanted to see the Marine Corps' Silent Drill Team perform, and I recently found out that every Tuesday evening in the summer they and the Marine Corps Band perform at sunset in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington. The Sunset Parade is free and open to the public, and lasts about an hour. So, I drove the parents up to Arlington, along with a few folding chairs, to take in the show.


It was well worth it, too - we had a great viewing spot, it wasn't nearly as hot and humid as its been lately, and really the Silent Drill Team is incredible. Not to mention that seeing them perform with the memorial, the US Capitol and the Washington Monument in the background is pretty awesome too! My Dad declared it a success, and really enjoyed the performance. I'll admit that my few photos/videos don't do it justice at all, and I only took photos of the band and of the drill team as they marched out. I was too entranced by the drill team to take any photos!

video

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Desk Chair

Finished and in place!

After the last coat...

First coat of primer in progress, while watching bad summer TV, of course...

Cleaning in the driveway - apparently 70 years of rough use will build up some serious grime!

These are a few pics from the most recent project in the spare room - a chair for the new work table. I am extremely proud of this chair, because it is almost identical to the desk chairs I've been drooling over in Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel for months, but unlike those $400 options, this chair cost me a grand total of $10. I found at the Washington City Mission's Renovation Station (which is much like Habitat for Humanity's ReStores) at home in Pennsylvania. The re-sale store usually only sells construction materials and things like used sinks and electrical parts, but they do have a few odds and ends of furniture that come in, and sometimes its kind of unbelieveable what people leave there. This little chair, which was already in primo condition, was holding a huge stack of drop cloths on the day I found it. I asked if they would sell it, and $10 later I had a vintage (I'm guessing 1940's, only because my grandfather had a very similar one when I was a kid that came from his war-era office) banker's chair. Actually, I shouldn't call it "little" at all - its built like a tank, of solid oak and steel bolts. The whole thing weighs about 25 pounds!

The finish was a little beat up, so I decided to try my hand at refinishing it (I know, I know - all of my curator/antique store friends are gasping in shock right now) and quickly discovered that I am not the type of person who has the patience for refinishing. So, after a few failed starts, I decided to just paint the thing white, which would really look better in the room anyway. It took two coats of Kilz primer (low-fume, oil-based) and two coats of semi-gloss white latex paint (both of which I already had). Ta-da! Now it looks perfect in the spare room, which is just about finished.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Yes, Folks...



...THAT IS A DISHWASHER!!!

In my kitchen, hooked up and working! As I'm typing this its whirring away, scrubbing 2 bowls, a plate, a fork and three spoons. I realize that's probably a huge waste of water (although I put it on the Energy Saver mode) but I just coudln't wait to try it out!

I'm not sure whether or not I was more excited about the washer/dryer or the dishwasher. All I can say is that appliances rock!
P.S. This is my 150th post!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cutesie Curtains


Just a quick post to show off the super-simple but super-cute curtains that I made for the spare/office/craft room. I bought some $5 canvas valances at Target, and some ball-fringe trim at Joann Fabrics - add a couple hours with a needle and thread, and voila! Cute, vintage-looking curtains for a total of $14.

Progress in getting that room done has been slow lately, as has the dishwasher situation, but I have reason to hope that there will be real progress on both fronts this week!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Living Room





The AC at the museum is out today (and its supposed to be 101 degrees outside), so my boss (i.e. me) is letting us all work from home - yay!! I do fully intend to sit down and work on a huge stack of grant applications today, but I thought I'd take a few minutes to do a blog post first! Bess reminded me some time ago that I never get around to posting pictures of my finished projects or room decor. After I spent hours cleaning my house in preparation for the 4th of July cook-out this weekend, I decided it was a good time to take some photos of the living room - it very rarely looks this put together and organized! Its the first room in the house that I can really consider "done". I still need to come up with another solution for the TV/VCR/cable box/rat's nest of cables and wires, and eventually I want to put up some crown moulding. The rug in this room is also temporary - the color works, but its not big enough and I'd rather have some sort of natural fiber woven thing to go with the bamboo window blinds. Otherwise, I can pretty much check the living room off the "to-do list".

Hopefully by the end of the day today I'll be able to put up some photos of the mostly done spare room/office/crafting room, as well. It's just about done and looking pretty good!

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th Fun-ness!




I had a crowd of people over last night for a backyard cook-out and some fireworks watching. It was the first test-drive of my backyard for entertaining purposes, and all in all I think it did pretty well. It hasn't rained here in, oh, 3 years or something, and its been in the 90s for weeks on end, so sadly my grass and many of my plants are pretty much dead. So, I bought a picnic table and cute twinkly lights to hang in the trees to dress the place up a bit. The lights definitely made the scene - I only wish the photos above could have come out better! Anyway, there was a lot of great food (even my first attempt at grilling kebabs didn't go too horribly!) and good friends, and the fireworks display at the end of the night was pretty great too. This might just become an annual thing!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I HATE SPIDERS!!


So, I get home VERY late last night from the Harry Connick, Jr. concert, and I'm literally ready to fall right into bed. As I was pulling back the covers, I notice Pepper sitting on top of my dresser staring intently up into the curtains over the window (which, by the way are new - I put them up a couple of weeks ago, and I kinda love how they look. But, I digress.) She's not doing her normal "stalking a bug/wiggle butt" thing. She's not meowing loudly as she does when there's a shiny thing or reflected light just out of her reach. No, she's just staring. So, I go over to investigate - AND SCREAMED SO LOUD MY ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD HEARD ME, I'M SURE!!!!!!!!!!!!! There, in one of the the folds of the curtain was literally the biggest spider I have ever seen in person. It was easily 4 inches in diameter. Even as I'm typing this my hands are starting to shake at the memory. It was awful.

I grabbed Pepper and fled the room, racing down the hall to the kitchen, where I cowered for a few second to gather my thoughts. Pepper was ticked that I'd taken her away from what I'm sure she thought was an exciting new play toy and went running right back into the bedroom. After some deep breathing exercises, I decided a wad of Kleenex and a shoe were probably my best weapons, and I ventured back in, too. I'll just make a long story short and say that it turned out that this colossal spider could also jump. And I ended up chasing it allover my bedroom for nearly half an hour. There was no way I could let it go, or even let it out of my sight, because I knew there was no possible way I would ever be able to sleep in my bedroom again if I didn't know that the thing was destroyed. Finally, it made a dash for a tiny space under the baseboard near my closet, and to my astonishment, if managed to fit all 8 of its legs in there. I used a flashlight to look into the crack, and discovered that the floorboards stopped short of the wall under the baseboard, and there was a gap that I'm guessing leads straight down to the crawlspace under the house. EWWWWWW! A completely open access-point for every creepy-crawly in the world to get into my bedroom! The spider squeezed itself into this little gap and disappeared, so I'm guessing that's where it must have come from to begin with. I couldn't very well kill it at that point, so I did the only thing I could think of - stuff tons of Kleenex into the crevice between the floor and the baseboard, and then put duct tape over it to hold it in place. That sucker's not getting back into MY house! At least not that way! Feeling at least somewhat relieved (although, I had the nagging thought that there could be more of these things lurking in other corners of the house) I finally went to bed. Where I laid wide awake for the next 2 hours. I really, really hate spiders.

So, on today's to-do list is a trip to Lowe's to buy some sort of caulk, which I will use to fill every baseboard gap in my entire house before night fall. I need some sleep tonight!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kitty Wars






I can't explain it, but whenever the temperature and humidity gets ridiculously high, Bailey decides its cuddle time. He's not an overly affectionate cat normally, but all of the sudden he's demanding that I sit on the couch so that he can sit on my lap, or he tries to sidle up next to me while I'm brushing my teeth. My favorite is when I come in from doing yard work, completely sweaty and disgusting, and he climbs allover me. Nothing better than a coating of kitty fur to round out the disgustingness! And its not just me - Bailey suddenly wants to cuddle with his sister, too. Sadly, Pepper does not react to the heat the same way. She likes to stretch out under a fan and generally stays away form everyone. Sometimes their two personalities clash. The clash is demonstrated above. Witness Pepper, happily sleeping on the back of the couch, near an AC vent. Then, witness Bailey moving in on the party and attempting to look comfy while barely clinging to a corner of the couch because Pepper refuses to move over. Also witness Pepper's pissed off expression. What I was not able to catch on film was a few seconds later when the all-out fight for couch-supremacy started. It was a short battle, and Pepper won. But that's okay, Bailey just moved over to my lap, where he's now happily generating heat.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Hello, Summer!


So, here it is - the unofficial start to summer! And in grand Virginia style, Memorial Day 2010 is weighing in at 94 degrees, 72% humidity, and possible thunderstorms on the horizon! I got a fairly early start this morning and got my front yard mowed. I would have done the backyard, but by then it was already in the mid-80's and I thought I might pass out. So, the mower is now parked under a tree in the side yard, just in case I want to go back out later this evening and finish up (yeah right). After mowing, I parked myself in the shade and planted (finally) the last of my perennials in the flower bed. They were all looking very sad and bedraggled (and I would too, if my new owner left me sitting in tiny plastic pots for 3 weeks on a hot deck) but I have to say, after I got them planted, mulched and watered they really perked up, so maybe they'll make it!

Among the items I planted was a GORGEOUS hydrangea that my friend Cathy gave me (and also one to G) as a thank you for hosting her bridal shower on Saturday. Cathy, it looks awesome already - thank you!! The shower went off without a hitch, and I think everyone had a good time. It was a very nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon! The photo above is of one of the flower arrangements that G and I put together for it - I don't know, G, I think maybe we should open that florist shop afterall!

Lastly, a decision has been made re: my last post. Stay tuned for results!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

The Ikea dropleaf table. Hmmmm...

Details of the farmhouse table that Pottery Barn sells. If I had a billion dollars, this is the way I would go.

Much like G over at Dandelion Garden, I need some help making a decision. I'm an incredibly indecisive person on a good day, and this particular decorating decision has been going back and forth in my head for far too long!


Here's the issue: my spare bedroom is very small, and it has to serve two main purposes - an office/crafting room, and a guest room. Therefore I need both a bed and a table or worksurface in the room. One twin bed would fit easily in the space and leave enough room for a fairly good-sized table, but I would really like to put in a twin-sized trundle bed, so that I can sleep two people in there comfortably. Two twin beds will only fit in the room, if whatever table I have can be moved out entirely or folded up in some manner. Hence the dilemma.


What I've always dreamed of is a big old heavy farm table with turned legs - it would look great in the room and would give me the huge expanse of work surface that I've never had before. However, such a table would not be something I could move easily, nor does it fold up. Another option would be an old drop leaf table, which as it happens my parents have in their basement (currently holding a pile of dropcloths and paint cans). This particular table has the vintage charm, and it could fold up fairly small when I have guests, but it would not be as big as my dream farmhouse table. Also, by design, drop leaf tables have their legs in the center, which makes the ADORABLE rolling office chair that I bought at a flea market last weekend somewhat hard to use with the table (I would constantly be banging my knees against the legs, and I know this would eventually drive me up a wall). There are 2 other options that I have conceived of - one super-easy, but not satisfactory in the style department, and one super-complicated but possibly a solution to all my problems. Super-easy would be to buy the white drop leaf table that Ikea sells, which is the same surface size as any farmhouse table I could fit in there, and has the added bonus of having drawer storage. This table however, is very sleek and modern, and does not fit the style of the room very well at all. The super-complicated option is to buy either a vintage farm table or a new one and come up with a clever way of mounting it to the wall on hinges, so that it could be lowered when necessary. My dad has some thoughts on how to do this - none of which I really understood.


So, what should I do? Go for the big, old table of my dreams and put possibly days of my life into figuring out how to make it collapsible OR purchase a cheap but functional Ikea table OR go with my parents' FREE drop leaf table that has some drawbacks?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wandering Thoughts on a Day Off

In a bold move this week, I have taken today, tomorrow and Friday off from work. Yes, its 10:00am and I'm still in my PJ's, sipping coffee, and I LOVE IT!!! Of course, I have a huge list of things I want to accomplish, but at the moment I'm not feeling any pressure to get them done. On Friday I'm going to head up to the parents' house to celebrate a belated Mother's Day - plant shopping and tea at the Frick in Pittsburgh! It should be a nice, restful vacation...

In other news, the battery in my camera died last week, and I'm having a mental block about charging it. So, every time I've wanted to take a picture in the last few days, I've reached for the camera and then said "oh, crap! I forgot...". Hence, the lack of photos with posts recently. Its charging away right now, though - photos will be back soon!

In other, other news, Pepper and her boyrfriend had a spat the other night, and I think she's depressed over their break-up. I don't know if I've mentioned Harvey - the neighbor's huge Maine-coon cat - but he and Pepper have a "through-the-screen-door" relationship (i.e. Harvey sits on the front stoop studiously ignoring Pepper, who is purring, rubbing, rolling on her back and everything else she can do to get his attention). Well, the other evening for some reason Pepper and Harvey started hissing at eachother. It went on for 5 minutes, then Harvey took off and hasn't been back since. Now Pepper just sits in the window staring wistfully at Harvey's house. I swear I'm not projecting, either - she's definitely wistful! Anyway, I have hopes that Harvey will be back soon...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

There are Days...

...when it all just gets to be too much. You know what I mean? I had one of those days yesterday. I've been battling a cold all week - a week during which I was doing exhibit de-installation and re-installation at the museum (which I swear is the most stressful part of my job) - and yesterday, when I could finally relax a bit, the cold exploded. I think I'd just been pushing through it to get the work done, and as soon as I didn't have deadlines hanging over my head, it just hit me like a Mac truck. In one day I managed to run out of Kleenex, chapstick, orange juice and Jell-O. Unfortunately, there's a lot of stuff around the house that I'd been putting off "until the weekend" that was still up in the air - my nemesis mowing the lawn, piles of laundry, huge stacks of bills to pay, a long list of calls and messages to return, grocery shopping and cleaning the house (its been WAY too long) were just a few. Then on top of that, I discovered that the ventilation fan in my attic shorted out, and the ant invasion from last week returned. I think the moment when I just about lost it, though, came when I noticed that some little animal had systematically pulled up every single one of the strawberry plants I planted a few weeks ago.

So, I did probably the worst thing I could have done - or maybe, it was the best thing (hard to say). I marched inside, got my PJ's on, layed down on the couch and watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding, followed by The Blind Side, followed by an array of ghost hunting/UFO programming on the Discovery Channel. I still felt like crap, but at least I was horizontal instead of vertical.

This morning, thank God, I seem to be feeling better. I'm going to take stab at the lawn, and tackle the stack of dishes in the sink. Wish me luck! And send Kleenex...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Homecoming



I just got home from a 3-day weekend in Massachusetts for my cousin's wedding, and I was greeted with two surprises - one good, and one not so good. First the bad news: I have been invaded by ants! Poor G had to deal with the swarm when she came in to feed my cats (sorry G - but thanks for the clean-up effort!) and unfortunately they had returned by the time I got home. They're those teeny-tiny ants that walk in straight lines across your floor - it would be fascinating if the floor they were crawling across wasn't my kitchen! They seem to have come in around the kitchen door, and they were drawn in by the cats' food bowls. Poor Bailey and Pepper - I'm not sure how much ant-free food they got this weekend! Now for the good news: after I spent about 45 minutes trying to clean up the ant mess (I went all-out and used the serious, chemical ant-killer stuff) I noticed that the rose bush outside was blooming! I'd almost completely forgotten about the "yellow rose of Texas" that was here when I moved in. I don't think it even had buds in it when I left on Friday, but its covered witht hem now and there are too full roses already. It made up for the ant invasion...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Results


I've been doing an immense amount of yard work lately (hence the lack of posts). It seems like I spend most evenings after work and pretty much all of my weekend time outside weeding, digging, cutting, dragging, planting, mulching, etc. There are begonias in pots on the front stoop, squash plants and strawberries out back, red daisies by the shed and two new azaleas under my bedroom window. I wrangled a huge bamboo tree into submission, and I removed about 10 years worth of brush and debris from an old flower bed. I'm pretty much exhausted!

Today we're supposed to have severe thunderstorms all day which is good news. Because of all this yard work, I've pretty much been ignoring housework. So, while the rain soaks all of my recently planted stuff, I'll be cleaning the bathroom and folding laundry.
The picture above is of my first crop of daisies - lots more to come this summer!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's Time...


After tonight's marathon dish-washing session, I came to a decision. It's time. It's time for me to bite the bullet and get a dishwasher. My tax refund has arrived, and my dish-washing discipline is not getting any better with time. I'm now up to 3 days worth of dirty dishes in the sink before I break down and wash them. Actually, that's a lie. If I rinse them thoroughly before stacking them in the sink, I allow them to build up for 4 days. And they overflow onto the counter and sometimes onto the stovetop. Its never good when you decide to order takeout for dinner because you can't get to your stove to cook anything.

The first step is to get my electrician in to put a line in. Check. I got an estimate from an electrician back in October. Then, I have to find a plumber to put in a water line. Hmmm. I'm sure I can find a plumber. Then I have to actually buy a dishwasher. Sears Scratch n' Dent, here I come!

Yes, its definitely time...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Who Knew?



Over the weekend, the old, gnarled tree in my front yard suddenly burst into bloom. Lo and behold, I have a Redbud in my yard!! I've always loved seeing these beautiful pinkish-purple trees out in the woods or along the side of the road in the springtime, and now I own my very own! Its a huge one too, and looks like its been there forever. Hopefully it has a long life ahead of it, too.

Mom and Dad were a huge help over the Easter weekend. We pruned the afore-mentioned Redbud, dug out some dead shrubbery and mowed the lawn. I also acquired a grill and a wheelbarrow, and we had the first cookout of the season my back porch!

All in all, it was a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March...Out Like a What??

I supoose its not really March's fault that it rained BUCKETS on Sunday night. But I'd rather blame March than myself for the fact that my pesky roof leak resurfaced with a vengeance. You see, after I discovered the leak back in February and had zero luck finding a roofer to fix it, I kind of just put it out of my mind. Afterall, we didn't really have anymore downpors, and it was pretty easy to pretend that there wasn't a problem at all. Well, apparently that is not the best strategy for homeowners. On Sunday, the downpour broke right through the laundry room ceiling, and - get this! - began gushing water into the ceiling light fixture! Yeah, the glass globe filled up with water and then the light shorted out. A little scary, I have to say! So, I spent the rest of the night on bucket brigade, running up and down to the attic every couple of hours until about 5:00am when the storm finally moved on. I was left with a wet, sopping mess in the kitchen and I was literally crying.

So, Monday morning I got my butt in gear and got on the phone to a whole new set of roofers and DEMANDED that they listen to me! Interestingly enough, they responded to my new authoritative tone - apparently the nice girl routine I tried the last time was the wrong approach! Anyway, I had one roofer here today after work to give me an estimate and I have another one coming on Monday. No rain in the forecast until then, so I should be okay.

In the end, March didn't defeat me!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sexy Filing




If this filing cabinet were a person, it would be the sexy librarian type. This filing cabinet is hot. I think I love this filing cabinet.

Yes, at long last I got around to spray painting the old, beat-up, institutional gray cabinet that I looted from my office. Its now a shiny, fire-engine-red color that looks pretty awesome in my spare room. Now I just have to put all the red hanging files and red folders into it. I might just enjoy filing with something as sexy as this little number!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Success!


On two fronts actually! At 8:00 last night I finally finished my taxes. It wasn't too bad - yes, more complicated than last year, but still manageable. I now await my refund, which of course makes the process worth it in the end.

On the other front, I finally figured out how to hang my homemade padded bulletin board on the wall above my desk in the guest/craft/office room. I can't rememebr if I mentioned this or not, but this padded bulletin board has been vexing me for WEEKS! I've tried about 15 different ways of getting up on the wall, and all of them ended with it falling down minutes later, and leaving a lovely set of gouge marks and scuffs on my beautiful "Meadow Mist" paint job. During my marathon procrastination session yesterday, genius finally struck and I came up with a full-proof plan. And voila! You can see the results above.

And to all of you who I have given these homemade padded bulletin boards as gifts over the last couple of years, my sincerest apologies - I've seen most of them hung in your houses somewhere, and I had no idea what you had to go through to get them that way!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ugh.

Yep, there's not much else to say. I have assigned myself the task of doing my taxes today, and as you can see, I'm procrastinating. I hate doing my taxes. I don't even really know why - I've never had really complicated taxes, so its always been fairly painless. But, every year, I drag my feet and stall and complain until its April 14th, and then I freak out. Obviously, this year I'm trying to be a bit more on the ball, and that's mostly because I have the sneaking suspicion that my taxes will suddenly be far more complicated due to the addition of the house to my personal assets.

Hmmm. So far, its not going well. I've washed dishes. I ran some errands. I vacuumed. I watched the Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. I'm blogging. And I just discovered that the Da Vinci Code is going to be on TNT in a few minutes. I can't do taxes while watching a movie, so clearly I'll just have to wait until the movie is over. Did I mention that I actually own the Da Vinci Code on DVD, so I could just watch it whenever I want. But no, its better to let it stave off the taxes for a couple more hours.

Anyway, that's my fun and exciting weekend. Hope you all are enjoying yours'!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Are Those Inflatable Beavers?!?


Sadly, the 2010 Winter Olympics came to an end last night. In an unbelievable written-for-Hollywood game in the afternoon, Canada's hockey team beat the US by one goal in overtime, and 2 hours later it was time for the closing ceremonies. Vancouver treated the world to a dazzling final show consisting of enormous cartoon-style Mounties, dancing canoes and - I'm not kidding - giant inflatable beavers. It was all set to the mellow strains of Michael Buble. I'm not going to lie, it was one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen, and not really in a good way. My parents were visiting this weekend, and I insisted that we watch the closing ceremonies. They both sat on my couch with horrified looks on their faces the whole way through it.

Oh, Vancouver. You're so Canadian.

I'm going to miss the Olympics. I always do when they're over. But, we had a good run - 37 American medals (a record for any nation in a Winter Olympics) and the Canadians got 14 golds (also a record). The competition was great, and the memories will last. I really do love the Olympics...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Moving Moments

I stayed up to 12:30 last night to see all of the ladies' figure skating finals, and I'm really glad that I did! Kim Yu Na of South Korea won, and thank goodness she did. Apparently the poor girl was actually worred about her family (and her entire country) turning their backs on her if she didn't win gold. Good grief. Anyway, her performance was absolutely amazing - and she broke all records for the highest score ever in competition. That's an Olympic moment!

Then there was another Olympic moment last night - a very different one. Joannie Rochette of Canada, won the bronze medal just three days after her mother died very unexpectedly of a heart attack. I'm not going to lie - I balled like a baby the whole way through her performance. Scott Hamilton even got choked up afterwards. I can't even imagine...

So, the 2010 Olympics have not failed in providing us with some very memorable moments that no doubt will be part of video montages for the next 30 years, and there's still more to come. The big final hockey game is on Sunday afternoon - its always the last event of the Winter games. Of course, we don't know who will be in it, but I think everyone's hoping for another USA/Canada showdown (well, except for the Finns and whoever it is that the Canadians have to play today). It shoul dbe a great weekend in Vancouver!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Historical Note

It was 30 years ago today that the Miracle on Ice took place at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics. I was not quite a year old at the time, so I don't actually remember it happening, but like everyone else in my age group, I have heard the story a thousand times and seen the movies and the documentaries, etc. over the years. Watching the US Hockey team defeat Canada last night was exciting and exhilerating to be sure, but I can only imagine what it must have felt like to see the US beat the USSR back in the day - one of those moments when everyone watching knew they were witnessing history. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - those are the best moments!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Olympic Update, etc.

We're a week into the Olympics now, and I have some thoughts. First of all, I was somewhat under-whelmed by the opening ceremonies last Friday. I mean, visually, it was very pretty, and I liked the general concept of the projected images on fabric that moved (the Orca whales moving across the floor was very cool), but mostly I thought it was a little slow. I love the song "Allelieuia" (and I did not know it was written by a Canadian!), but I don't think having k.d. Lang (who's Canadian -who knew?) sing it at the opening ceremonies strikes quite the right "yay athletes! go get'em!" vibe. For me, it was a bit of a throwback to the '94 (I think) Barcelona games, when everyone generally had no idea what was happening during the opening ceremonies. But, in general, good effort Canada!

I've pretty much watched all of the prime time coverage since then, and my top moments so far are definitely Evan Lysacek winning the gold medal in figure skating and Apollo Ono winning his silver medal. This probably isn't a very politically correct thing to say, but I really miss the '80's, when the USSR was our arch rival in all things, and every athletic competition turned into a contest for the fate of the world. So, when Evan Lysacek had to go up against Evgeny Pleshenko (sp?) to win the gold, it just felt like the good ol'days! I'm really looking forward to seeing more hockey as it gets into the more competetitive rounds, and they just started Skeleton yesterday - still in my opinion the craziest of all winter sports - so I'm looking forward to that. Today I plan to pretty much park myself on the couch and watch a full day of coverage! Why couldn't the Olympics have started during the Snowpocalypse two weeks ago, when I was desperate for something to watch??

In other news, I have broken my vacuum cleaner. This is a major crisis, because I vacuum a lot. Like every day. Its genetic - my dad does it, too. I accidentally ran the vacuum over a cat toy and sucked it up, breaking the rubber belt thing that turns the motor. So, before I settle down for the Olympics, I have to go in search of a vacuum repair shop that hear tell actually exists in the local area. Here's hoping a cat toy extraction is cheaper than buying a new vacuum!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Operation Peep Rescue


There is a bird in my house. Not an accidental "eek, a Robin just flew down the chimney" kind of bird, but rather a tiny, neon yellow cage bird named Peep. I think I may have mentioned before that we have a pet bird in our office at the museum. Normally, Peep can survive just fine on her own for a couple days, along as she's stocked with plenty of seeds and water and her radio is tuned to her favorite top 40 station. However, this snowstorm is pushing the limits of her patience with being left alone, and they are now predicting another 6 inches of snow tomorrow.

So this afternoon I mounted Operation Peep Rescue. It took an hour of shoveling to finish digging my car out, some assistance from my neighbors to get out on my still unplowed street, and then some serious white-knuckling to get across the bridge into the downtown area and up a couple treacherous hills to the museum. Upon arrival, I found literally a 10 foot high mountain of snow piled around the entrance to the building. I managed to climb over it, and with the assistance of a co-worker we were able to carry Peep, cage and all, out to my car for the ride back to my house.

Peep is now safely ensconced on top of the bookcase in my living room, where she is happily chirping away. However, she has attracted an audience of two very curious cats who are making increasingly bold attempts to get a closer look. It won't be long, I'm sure, before I have to close her up in my spare bedroom to keep her safe, but at the moment there is peace in the animal kingdom.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Huh? The Super What?

What's that you say? There's some sort of super football championship game tonight? A bowl of some sort? Well, I don't know anything about that - between the Storm of Doom and the fact that my beloved Steelers are not in said championship game, I simply don't have the time to care about it...

Actually, I'm totally joking. I did forget completely about the Super Bowl until this morning, and I really have no vested interest in who wins, but I'm so completely and insanely bored from being stuck in the house that I'll probably watch it anyway.

Sigh. This time last year my cousin Beth was headed over to my house for homemade Primanti's and pierogies. Still one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever in my opinion. Good memories. Almost enough to erase the depressing memories of the '09-'10 season...

Well, since I have no Super Bowl excitement this year, I guess its time to move on to my other favorite sporting event: THE OLYMPICS!!! Yes, yes, hard to believe, but its been two years since my awe-inspiring coverage of the Beijing games in '08. This Friday, the "youth of the world" will be gathering in Vancouver - you can bet I'll be parked in front of my TV with some sort of Canadian-themed food for the event.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Obligatory Snow Pics




Yes, I've taken more pictures of my yard in the snow. Who knows if this area will ever get this kind of snow again - I want to make sure my little house is well-documented! Plus, this snowstorm is a little different than the last couple we've had. This snow is very heavy and very wet, and its doing really funny things to all the trees in my yard. Unfortunately, its also causing the pine tree by my driveway to droop onto my power lines, directly above my car. Needless to say, I'll probably be worrying about losing power the rest of the day. Not really sure where else I can park my car at this point, though, so I think I might just have to keep my fingers crossed!

Which reminds me - guess what happened to my car last Monday after our last snowfall (of only a few inches)? A city snow plow hit the front bumper and tore out the headlight while the car was parked on the street in front of my museum. Actually, I don't know for sure that it was a plow - no one left a note or anything - but last Monday plows were about the only thing out on the local streets. So, that was fun. I guess if a tree limb falls on the car at this point, it won't make a huge difference!

Well, I guess I need to quit procrastinating and get to shoveling. Wish me luck!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Broken Record Anyone??

Not that this is news anymore, but its going to snow again this weekend. Another Big Snow of possibly 18-24 inches. I'm not sure what we'll refer to the Big Snow back in December as if this prediction comes true - perhaps we just won't care to discuss it ever again. This snow stuff was fun for a while, but I get the impression the novelty has worn off for most people. A police officer had to step in and break up a fight over a snow shovel at a local hardware store yesterday.

I have to admit, I'm getting cabin fever myself. I honestly don't have a plan to keep myself occupied for the next 2-3 days. I guess there better be some good stuff on TV!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Its Snowing...Again


The new red folders displayed with the padded bulletin board I made last week, in front of the newly painted spare room walls. Nice combo, right?


Yep, we're getting another snowstorm today - possibly 8 inches by the time its all said and done. I don't know what's happening with the weather patterns here in the Southeast, but I think I like it! Notice in the photo above I got smart this time and parked my car at the END of my driveway last night, so that I'll only have to shovel a few feet to get myself out. I also bought a real shovel, so the digging out should go much better all the way around this time!

So, what to do with my snowed-in time? Well, I'm just so giddy I can't stand it, because in anticipation of having a lot of time on my hands I went out and purchased file folders and hanging files to use in organizing the massive amounts of "important papers" that are currently housed in a bunch of moving boxes in my spare room. And, the best part is - wait for it, wait for it - they are RED!! Yes, bright red file folders and hanging files! It just makes the task of sorting through mountains of insurance paperwork and old paystubs that much more enjoyable.

Eventually there will also be a bright shiny red filing cabinet to put the the files in, but that step will require a bit more work. I don't know if anyone else is shocked by the ridiculously high cost of filing cabinets (and I'm just talking your basic institutional, olive-drab metal cabinet - nothing fancy) but I finally decided I just couldn't justify the expense. So, I'm doing the next best thing and stealing one from my office. Well, its not exactly stealing - my office is getting all new office furniture next week, and our furniture delivery guy mentioned that because our current office furniture is in such bad shape, they're just planning on throwing it out. Ah-ha! So, by sneaking one of the cabinets out of the office before the new furniture comes in, I'm actually helping the environment while taking major steps towards organizing my life. Its totally not stealing. At some point I'm going to give the cabinet a coating of bright red Rustoleum, but that might have to wait until spring, so that I can do it outside.

Anyway, I can't wait to get to sorting!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Eek! A Leak!


My first homeownership crisis has arrived. Or is it my second? Third? Anyway, during the heavy rain we've been having over the last 2 days, I discovered that my roof is leaking. Yep, a nice big leak near the chimney is allowing a pretty steady stream of water to flow down the chimney, through the kitchen ceiling and onto the floor of my mud room. Awesome. So, yesterday I spent most of the morning trying to get reccomendations for a roofer, and trying to ascertain whether or not my home warranty covers roof leaks (it does not - does it actually cover anything??). Today I have to hope that one of the three roofers I left messages with yesterday calls me back, because we're supposed to get nearly 2 inches of rain tomorrow, and I'm getting really tired of lugging full buckets of water down from my attic every few hours!

In other news, Pepper has a boyrfriend. His name is Harvey and he lives next door, but seems to spend much of his time on my front stoop. Pepper thinks he's the bees knees. Her social life is way better than mine...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

PAINTING IS DONE!!

I know, I know - most of you thought it would never happen. I myself had my doubts. But as of 11:30 this morning, I am officially DONE painting in my house! I finished the last section of trim in the spare room, and put down my brush with a satisfied sigh of accomplishment. Awesome feeling.

In all honesty, its only the painting in the rooms that don't need major construction that's done. There will be much more painting to do in the coming years when I remodel both the bathroom and kitchen at some point, but for the moment I am done with rollers and trays and brushes and wet paper towels and blue tape and, well, you get the idea. Let us all rejoice that I won't be subjecting you all to anymore posts about painting, either. There will be one last wrap-up post with photos of my finished work (as Miss Bess pointed out over the holidays, I never get around to showing of my final products) and then I can move on to other things. Yippee!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ah, 2010!

So, for my first post of 2010, I thought I would turn to a topic that I haven't mentioned since about this time last year - my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers. I suddenly realized today as I watched the last regular season game of the year that I haven't blogged about the Steelers at all this season. It might be because other things in my life have been taking precedence lately, or it might be because the Steelers' season has been, ahem, sad to say the least. Whatever the reason, I decided to start off the new year by rectifying the situation. So, the Steelers beat the Miami Dolphins just moments ago, and thus are keeping a very paper-thin playoff hope alive. Baltimore, the Jets, and another team I can't remember at the moment all have to lose today in order for the Steelers to get into the playoffs. Like I said, paper-thin. But there's always hope.

So, here I sit, wearing my trusty Steelers sweatshirt, drinking from my Steelers mug and watching the Ravens game. Its weird what the playoffs do to a person!

In other depressing news, I have to go back to work tomorrow. Blah. I should be all rested and ready to attack projects at the museum with renewed energy and enthusiasm, right? Well, its not looking good - I'm already coming up with reasons to procrastinate tomorrow!