Wednesday, August 31, 2011

365 Photos Day 241


241/365

I'm a confirmed furniture re-arranger and paint-o-holic. I'll admit that. I get bored with things always being the same for a long time (which for me seems to be 2-3 years, max).

Our front/formal entryway has baffled me since we moved in. I just couldn't figure out what to DO with it, furniture-wise. I'd thought about moving that chest in there before, but it just wasn't the right time.

Until I found that sweet little stool in the corner while shopping at the Occasional Shops.

I actually originally put that stool there just to keep it out of the way until I figured out where it should go. But then Dart jumped up on it, curled up, and went to sleep. Then I started thinking about it staying in there, thought about what else could go in there with it, and had one of my quintessential DUH moments. It's a more formal space. It needs more formal furniture. Not modern, not cheesy stuff. Huh, I thought. What do I have that would go in there? And then I turned around and saw the chest in the hall...

So, yeah. Moving furniture at 1am is a thing. And sometimes it works out pretty well. The moment I got everything set up (clock plugged in, light plugged in and on), it's like I heard the puzzle piece clicking into place. And the front entryway was all like, "Dang, took you long enough."

Now I just have to figure out the rest of the house and I'll be good to go.

365 Photos Day 240


240/365

The past few days at work I've been in our Back Room of Doom (storage room) sorting through and boxing up donated books for next year's book sale. This is the un-glamorous side of being a public librarian, I think. Some of the books that get donated are in awful condition and after handling them I just want to take a bath in bleach. Some of the books are in great condition, and I can use them in the collection or as replacement books.

This is a good start, but I still have quite a bit to sort through and count and box up.

Yay for the Back Room of Doom! Always entertaining!

365 Photos Day 239


239/365

In July, one of the things listed on the 365 Things to Do in the Twin Cities was to go to the Weekend Sales at the Occasional Shops of Carver and Chaska.
I can't remember why I didn't make it in July, but I remembered to go this
month. At 2 in the afternoon. When the stores close at 4. Yep.

However, I did find some beautiful things in the hour I had to shop (it takes roughly 45 minutes to get there from where we live), and I am skilled in the art of Power Shopping (go in, look fast, get out). One of my new favorite stores is The Vintage Cottage. I really liked the feel of the store, and the merchandising of the items was well done. I got a really nifty stool that swivels for our front foyer entry and some doo-dads which will be incorporated throughout the house.

But these chairs, oh these chairs...

I got these right before closing time at a shop called Mustard Moon. It's in the basement of a building...and all I have to say is thank goodness I'm only 5'0" tall, because wow are those ceilings rather low. Anyway, I tend to gravitate toward the clearance/sale parts of a store before the main parts, and lo and behold, the sign on the wall said something along the lines of, "If it has a red dot, it's $5, if not, it's $1."

I saw these chairs and heard the Hallelujah Chorus singing. Yes, I know they are JUST chairs. But, these are Seriously Awesome Chairs, thankyouverymuch. When I was growing up, my parents had a set of chairs like these--well, not exactly like them, but the same idea.
As soon as I flipped one over, I knew they were coming home with me. There were 3, and I got them ALL. How much? THREE DOLLARS for ALL of them. THREE.

They're FOLDING chairs. Yep. When I went to ask the saleslady if indeed they were $1 each, she said yes, and came to help me bring them up. She was having problems getting one of them out from behind a pile o'treasure until I showed her how to fold them up. She didn't know they did that. Yes indeed they do...which is a good thing, because otherwise they all couldn't have fit into the Focus and thus would have been left there.

When I unloaded them after I got home, I found the price stickers on them. They'd originally been on sale for $7 each. I got them for $1 each. I'm really hoping that I didn't use up all my good shopping karma on them, but I do love them.

Friday, August 26, 2011

365 Photos Day 238


238/365

18 years ago today, I walked down a hallway lined with prisoners handcuffed to benches to a courtroom where I said, "I will" to the marriage vows I repeated to become Steve's wife.

No, seriously. We got married at the county courthouse; our 2 witnesses were one of Steve's friends, and the legal secretary of the judge. And apparently, court was in session when we were there, hence the prisoners. Do I find it odd that was how it happened? Not really. Just another day in the life.

That day was crazy hot. We hadn't quite figured out the air-conditioning in the apartment, so for dinner we went to the only air conditioned place in town (the gas station was air-conditioned too, but I have an innate distrust of gas station food), which was the Dairy Queen. It tends to make most people raise their eyebrows and give us weird looks when we say that yep, DQ was the wedding dinner that night. But somehow, considering the rest of the day...it makes perfect sense.

So, even though it wasn't nearly as hot outside, we went to DQ for dinner tonight.

Here's to 18 (pretty much) fabulous years married to my favorite husband. I think we make an awesome team, and I'm pretty sure the next 18 years will be as entertaining.

365 Photos Day 237


237/365

Along with cleaning and working reduced hours, I've been spending lots of time this month sitting outside with the cats. We don't just let them out, we go out with them, so I stay outside with them for a couple of hours a day.

This is a nice view, and one of the main reasons we originally bought the house (the old one, which we tore down a couple of years ago when we built the new one).

There's just something really soothing about it being so quiet around here that we can hear the fish jumping in the lake and the wind blowing.

Sometimes, life is good.

365 Photos Day 236


236/365

Recently I've been (not-quite-successfully-as-I'd-like) staving off anxiety attacks because of some things happening at work. Sometimes the Zoloft, she doesn't work as well as I'd like.

I was (sort of) kidding with a friend about getting something stronger, and she said that she'd heard meditation might help.

My Mom used to meditate. She tried to teach me, but it just didn't take. When I slow that far down and empty my mind like that, I fall asleep, which tends to lead to more anxiety when I wake up because now I'm further behind than I was.

ANYWAY.

Last summer, before I'd went on Zoloft, I'd go go go go go go until I fell asleep in a chair at night when I was reading. That was not the answer on so many levels, even though I was certainly breezing through my to-do list quite well.

One of the things that I do when I get stressed is clean. Not for the sake of cleaning, because, yeah...no. When my mind is on overload, I can't stand a lot of visual clutter. It just adds to the TILT factor. Luckily the Kid understands that, so when she sees it happening, she pitches in to get things cleared off and put away.

When I get REALLY stressed, like I'm verging on now, I clean things that need it, but aren't really on my main cleaning list. Things like baseboards, tops of windows, doors, cabinets, etc. I'm not at the point where I'm cleaning out small crevices with a toothbrush and canned air--that was for during finals week when I didn't want to write yet another paper.

In any case, the sink is gleaming now, and I've moved onto other areas. I'm still stressed and anxious, but hey, the house is lookin' goooooood.

365 Photos Day 235


235/365

It's been really nice working some reduced hours for the past month, considering here in a couple of weeks I'll be working most every hour the library is open because the younger girls are in school.

The drawback, however, is that I'm constantly wondering what DAY it is. Not the number date--I rarely know that offhand, but the actual day. I find myself waking up in the morning and having to think, "Ok, today is ______. This is what I have to do today."

Also, yes, I have the family color-coded on the calendar. I have always had the family color-coded since Amanda was born, so it makes it easy for me to see who left what out (Steve=purple; me=blue w/box; Amanda=green; family events= orange and so on).

365 Photos Day 234


234/365

This is the Kid's senior year of high school. Simutaneously, it's her second year at the local community college because she took advantage of the post-secondary option offered through her school. She won't be at the high school at all this year because she wanted to go full-time at the college.

She loaded up her backpack on Monday, and had to set it on the table to get it on because it was so heavy. Her books are HUGE, but that's what happens with lots of math & science classes. That's why I liked majoring in History--the books were much smaller. But, she wants to be a mechanical engineer when she grows up, not a historian.

Iz wasn't sure this new turn of events was a good thing. She misses Amanda when Amanda is gone. So much that she spends part of the day crying until I tell her that her girl WILL BE BACK. Iz's way around it this time was to jump on the backpack and not let go. I'm pretty sure she'd do OK in class with Amanda. She'd be happy she was with her girl.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

365 Photos Day 233


233/365

I love late summer days like today. It was the first Fall Ball games (a shortened softball season that lasts until the end of September), and a gorgeous day.

I like that Fall Ball is more relaxed, somehow, even as it's usually only the die-hard players that play, so it's a bit more competitive too.

Or maybe because most years*, it's so so so lovely outside that it's not a hardship to sit and watch the games without overheating from all the humidity.

*The first year she played, it rained EVERY. FREAKING. WEEKEND. I told her & Steve that I needed a better umbrella if she was going to continue to play. That Christmas I got a really nice golf umbrella.

365 Photos Day 232


232/365

Smoke detectors are really super great to have, especially in a larger house.

What's not so really super great is being woken up by a strange voice saying rather garbled-like, "Battery is low" and not knowing where in the world it came from. (we obviously figured it out. Eventually.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

365 Photos Day 231


231/365

Iz (the orange cat) is absolutely fascinated with the washer when it's filling up with water. She'll sit on the edge until it's done, and then when it's time to close the lid so that the clothes can, you know, get WASHED, she's very sad.

Tonight, for whatever reason, Dart (the grey cat) decided to see what she was looking at. I was just hoping that nobody would get pushed in.

365 Photos Day 230


230/365

Painting done, now to move everything back in. Why I seem to think 11pm is a great time to do this, I haven't a clue. I worked until 1am, and gave it up. I also don't know how I'd gotten everything to fit in my office before. Either that, or since it's been in the hallway, it's all expanded to double in size.

But I'm loving the light color and the way it changes throughout the day. It'll be even better once I get my desk area (which is still mostly in the middle of the floor) back in place and organized.

365 Photos Day 229


229/365

Getting a new camera because the old one finally gave up the ghost has been great because now I can actually take pictures. However, the Kid likes the camera too, so getting my pictures from said camera onto here may be interesting.

Anyway...

I'd forgotten I had this handy-dandy tool until I cleaned out and reorganized the basement.

This is a lifesaver when I don't exactly get enough paint for a room (which is most all the time). It's a roller scraper/cleaner. When I really crank on it, I can usually get enough paint to do a quarter of a wall, which is fairly impressive.

It's now with the rest of my painting supplies so that I don't have to re-discover (re-re-re-re-discover?) it again.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

365 Photos Day 228


228/365

My painting crew and I painted my home office tonight. They are SUCH a big help, I can't even begin to thank them enough.

The color I went with is Martha Stewart's 'Magnolia Grandiflora'. Partly because I really liked the color in all it's variations throughout the day, and partly because I liked the name of the color.

What? Doesn't everyone pick paint colors by the names? I judge books by their covers ALL. THE. TIME. so this really isn't any different.

I'm just glad I got the first coat on and that it covered as well as it did. I didn't want to have to do another coat of primer. I wanted to get cracking on painting the real color so that I can get all my bookcases & books back where they go so that I can traverse down the hallways without feeling like I'm running through an obstacle course.

Steve wasn't too sure about the color when I started painting. He said it looked just like the primer. Nah. If anything, it's kind of like the ceiling paint I like that goes on pink and dries white. Except this went on pink and will stay pink. One hopes.

Tomorrow I'll put on the second coat and see where it's at.

One step closer to a 'new' office.

365 Photos Day 227


227/365

For the past few days I've had a Spanish word stuck in my head. It's one of my favorites...I have a few favorite Spanish words that make me smile when I hear/say them. For the record, they are 'izquierda' (means 'left') and 'najaranja' (means 'orange'). I don't know why they amuse me, but they do.

But I digress. Like usual.

The word that's been in my head is "ojal√°", which sorta kinda translates into "God willing" (it basically means "hopefully").

I remember the day I learned it in Spanish. The professor said that it's derived from the Arabic "Insha'Allah", which also means "God willing", or "If it is God's will".

It struck me as a really useful outlook to have sometimes. Sure, it could be used as a non-answer, but I think that it's more a recognition of how the universe sometimes works. I tend to view it as a "If the Universe wants it to be, it will be" kind of thing. If something is meant to happen, it will, both good and bad. I've always pretty much figured that there are plans for my life that I'm just never filled in on (or if I am, I need to have someone remind me), and that I just have to trust that it'll all work out in the end. And no, I'm so not an optimist, so it's not me doing the Pollyanna thing. One of Steve's favorite phrases is, "It is what it is" which is kind of the same thing.

This does not mean that I stand idly by wondering what's going to happen next. I know that everything I've done thus far in this life (both good and bad) has led me to where I am right this second. There's that other pesky saying about "God helps those who help themselves" that keeps me moving and learning and doing.

When the Kid didn't get crowned on Sunday, some people came up and asked if I was sad. No, I really wasn't. There was just an internal acknowledgement that this wasn't her time, and I was OK with it. When I talked with her about it all, I said that perhaps this was how things needed to be in order for better things to happen for her. Perhaps she'll have a fantabulous Fall Ball season for her softball team. Perhaps she'll run again next year, win, and be sent to Aquatennial the following year to represent Winsted.

Who knows?

All I know right now is I needed reminded of the life aspect of "ojal√°" and/or "Insha'Allah". And again, message received and understood.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

365 Photos Day 226


226/365

Oh what a weekend it's been...

Summerfest is always physically tiring for all of us because we're all involved with different facets of the festival. This weekend had the added emotional component with Amanda running for Winsted Ambassador.

Only 3 out of the 6 candidates were crowned.

Amanda was not one of them.

However, I couldn't be prouder of her than I am. From not wanting to do it at ALL, to reluctantly signing up so there would be 6 candidates in order for 3 to be crowned (it's Winsted's 125th anniversary next year so they wanted to make a big deal of it), to deciding to give it her all and not have any regrets...she's been a trooper through it all.

This picture was taken when she was answering her fish-bowl question (something that lets the judges see how well the candidate can spontaneously think on her feet and come up with a coherent answer) which was, "What obstacle have you had to overcome?" (or something like that)

Amanda thought for a few seconds and answered as honestly as she could, "One of the obstacles that I've had to overcome was being made fun of because I'm smart." (I can't remember what else she said, but that's the gist of it.) And it's true. For awhile she tried to dumb herself down so that she could fit in...we're talking at 7-8 years old here.

Until I figured out what was going on and had a, er, "discussion" with her about it. I told her to NEVER EVER EVER EVER play dumb to get people to like her (especially boys); that it was BEYOND OK to be smart, and that someday she would be in a place where LOTS of people are smart like she is; and that most importantly, if being smart was her gift for this life, it's better to honor it and use it wisely rather than attempt to try and ignore it. I didn't know how much of that lecture discussion had sunk in until today.

When she realized that she wasn't going to be crowned as an ambassador today, I was so proud of the way she held herself--not as someone who was bitter and mad about losing, but with grace and dignity. The judges had asked the ambassador committee if they could crown 4 instead of 3; when they were told no, just 3, all of them made a point to come up to Amanda at the end and strongly urge her to run again next year, which they certainly didn't have to do (her response was one of my stock ones, "We'll see", which usually translates into, "Ahahahahaha, no." So we'll indeed see.)

She came home, got changed into street clothes, and went back up to the festival with her head held high. She congratulated all the new royalty and talked with them for awhile. Apparently there were a few people who were surprised that she was up there, but I'm not sure why. We've raised her to be a gracious winner AND loser, plus that's just who she is.

So I don't know if she'll run again next year as requested, but I do know that she is an amazing young lady, and I'm very glad I can be along for the ride.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

365 Photos Day 225


225/365

One of my favorite Summerfest things is the Dunk Tank. Mostly I'm working at it, so it was fun to be able to stand back and watch the Kid get dunked. Repeatedly.

This is her last dry moment before she went down...officially 44 times, unofficially, well, it was cruising up on 70ish (We let little kids come in and hit the lever sometimes; she also stayed in for 15 extra minutes because the candidate who was supposed to go in after her wasn't there yet).

Sometimes I look at her and wonder where in the world the time has gone, and why did it have to go so dang quickly.

I'm really enjoying the young lady she's become, and it's pictures like this that makes me really wish I could turn back time sometimes.

Friday, August 12, 2011

365 Photos Day 224


224/365

Today was the first (official) day of the town's Summer Festival. It'll be a busy weekend for all of us, but especially Amanda as she's fulfilling her ambassador candidate duties.

I love Summerfest for lots of reasons: it's warm outside; it's a 3-day festival; people seem to be in good moods; the fireworks; the annual fireman's pancake breakfast; the parade; the dunk tank...

But most of all, I love the feeling of having that one last hurrah before the reality of school starting, fall sports starting, and the hurry-up hurry-up that seems to come with all of that.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

365 Photos Day 223


223/365

These two were just headed off for the National Night Out festivities here in town. Steve as a Reserve Officer, Amanda as an Ambassador Candidate.

I know. I am sooooooo lucky to have these nuts in my life. Really.

365 Photos Day 222


222/365

Unfinished projects drive me nuts because the house gets all wonky because things aren't where they should be.

Currently I have 4 FOUR projects going (the laundry room, pictured here, the upstairs side closet, the inside launch pad, and my office). This does not make for a happy me.

I know, I know. Finish one before going on to the next, which is great advice. But sometimes I think, "Oh, while I'm waiting for [some component] for this project, I can get started on this other one..." I'd like to say it works for me, but no.

Ah, home improvement season. A good time had by all.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

365 Photos Day 221


221/365

My home office has informed me that it is NOT a blue kind of room. In fact, it's not anywhere on the blue or green spectrum, which kind of negates my entire (rough) plan of what I thought that it should look like.

One thing I've learned since choosing paint colors for rooms is I have to let the room be what it wants to be, rather than what I think it should be. Yes, I'm aware that rooms don't speak out loud, but they do speak. How many times have you gone into a room and thought, "You know, something's not quite right with this room..." but you're not sure what. Sometimes it's the decor, sometimes it's the paint color.

So, I thought about it for awhile and figured out it still needs to be in the red spectrum of colors, but a bit less saturated than the red it was previously. And then I went to Home Depot to get some color sample cards and hung them up. I think I can discard a couple immediately, but I'll leave them all up for a couple of days so that I can see them in all sorts of lights.

Then maybe, just MAYBE, I can paint the walls and put my office back together (which in turn will make me very happy indeed).

365 Photos Day 220


220/365

Today I put up the dunk tank schedule and Golden Towel Award in the front window of the library in preparation for this weekend, which is the town's Summer Festival. This is the 7th year it's been a part of the weekend happenings, and it's always pretty fun to see people coming to target a particular victim, er, volunteer.

This is the library board's last year running the dunk tank on Sunday, and I'm kind of sad about that. However, since we run everything with the mindset of 'majority rules', it's how it's going to be.

In the meantime, it's shaping up to be a good weekend.

Monday, August 8, 2011

365 Photos Day 219


219/365

I've been (rather badly) trying to fend off an anxiety attack for most of the day today. I haven't a clue as to what the actual trigger is/was/might be, which doesn't help. I'm certain that forgetting to get a refill for the anti-anxiety medicine that I take didn't help either.

All I can do at the moment is remember to breathe and try and stay OK, which is quite enough to do.

And to put a post-it note on the door to remind me to not pass Go, not collect my $200, but to go directly to the pharmacy and have them fill 'er up.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

365 Photos Day 218


218/365

I've been working on priming my home office all day. I had to do 2 coats to make sure all the red was covered.

I'm pretty sure I've hit the Point of No Return.

It'd be a pain to repaint the red (and at $64 a gallon, there's NO WAY that's going to happen), so it's onward and upward.

365 Photos Day 217


217/365

Friday was the (mumblemumblemumble) birthday of my friend, Julie. To celebrate, we had pizza and watched this movie. And laughed and laughed. Because seriously? This could BE our families (if we combined them).

One of the things that stuck with me (aside from the whole Superfreak dance routine that Olive did during the talent part of the pageant...and getting grandpa out the window...and yeah, pretty much everything) was the moment when the dad and brother came backstage to plead with the mom to not have Olive go on because they're afraid that she's not good enough to compete with some of the other candidates.

The mom thinks about it, but then says to let her go on and do it. "Let Olive be Olive."

How simple is that?

I thought about the "Let Olive be Olive" thing in regards to my own Kid for awhile before falling asleep last night.

It's not that I think the Kid can't compete with others (although if she does a Superfreak dance, I may have to freak out a little), but sometimes I worry that she's not doing the "normal" teenager-y kind of things, like hanging out with friends more, or having a boyfriend, or throwing fits (I think I'm OK with that, though).

It's just that she's not like, well, ME (which is OK). She's always been an old soul, whereas I'm so not. She really didn't like being a small child, and was always impatient to get on with it all and be an adult. She reminds me (very strongly) of how my own Mom said she was like as a kid. My Mom was perplexed as to what to do with me because I wasn't like her.

And I know most parents would be BEYOND thrilled to have a kid like the Kid, and we are too...but sometimes we look at her like she must've been mixed up in the hospital with someone else's kid (there were a couple others in the nursery, but no others with auburn hair).

So basically, the Universe is telling me that I should just "let Amanda be Amanda" and to enjoy who she is, not who we think she might should be.

Message received and understood.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

365 Photos Day 216


216/365

Disapproving Dart is disapproving.

Apparently me moving everything out of my office but my desk is not to his liking.

This could be a long weekend.

365 Photos Day 215


215/365

Finally getting ready to repaint my office. This picture is from today (Thursday, 4 August) because I can't find the ones from yesterday.

This is only a couple of my bookshelves. And yes, most of the shelves are double- or triple-stacked. It makes looking for books almost like Christmas sometimes. "Yay! I'd forgotten I even HAD that!!!! Woooo!" Whereupon I put it back on the shelf and forget about it until the next time.

365 Photos Day 214


214/365

Sigh. More Halloween stuff.

I swear Father Time is just messing with my head. I have to remind myself almost everyday what DAY of the week it is. I don't need to be thinking it's a whole other month too.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

365 Photos Day 213


213/365

This is the (not quite) end result of my picture hanging on Sunday.

We've only been in this house for 2 years (I think), so yeah. A little art on the walls would probably be a good idea.

Some of it is printable art I found in Greater Blogland, some is art I found but did my own spin on, the picture is from our wedding day, the top right hand picture we had drawn for our 1st (paper) anniversary, and the "&" thing is from Target's Dollar Spot (well, it was $2.50, but still).

I'm not sure if it's done done yet, but for now it's OK. I think.