Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Day In The Life

First of all, pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips in them are quite possibly the best thing in the entire world. Pumpkin muffins are pretty damn good all on their own, but add those chocolate chips and it becomes a whole new food group.





It's amazing. Just add a bag of your favorite morsels to my pumpkin muffin recipe.

Secondly, y'all need to go see No Strings Attached starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. I mean, it's great just for the eye candy alone, but the movie ain't too bad either. Boyfriend and I did a date night last night and saw it. I'm definitely buying it when it comes out on DVD, I was laughing so hard at some of those lines!

Thirdly, it took me all day to motivate for my run this evening. Sloth was the name of the game today. It was glorious and I still managed to finish my list! Except for number 19, added by boyfriend this morning: "cuddle." I have to wait until he gets home from work for that one. And yeah, we're always that sickeningly cute.

On my run I employed Heather's logic: when you don't want to do it, do it faster because the faster you run the faster you're done. I ran up the road towards the mountain and enjoyed the sun cresting the treeline and the balmy 45 degree weather. My first mile clocked at 11:05, which is impressive considering my sloth, lack of motivation, fact that I'm terribly "out of shape" and it's uphill. My second mile was faster at 9:56, and I finished my last mile with a screaming 8:59, running at full tilt (breaking 7 minute miles) at the end.

Now I'm done. Hooray!

What's that you say? I promised you photos? Are you sure? Oh all right. I did promise.

This is a cute headband I knit for my sister. It was pretty simple, I cast on only 70 stitches, I really needed more like 100. Oops. Anyhow, cast on 100, work in k4 p4 for 10 or 12 rows then did knit and purl for for the center at about 3" and then k4 p4 for 10 or 12 rows. I did some McGyvering with the ends to make them longer, but my original idea was to sew the short ends together.

The flower pattern I found here and it was super easy. The pattern called for beads in the middle, but lacking beads and having the center be a little loose, I threw a button in the middle. Super cute!

This is a bag I'm working on at sewing group. The pink is the handle at the top and a band on the top. The polka-dot-owl combo will be pleated and then sewn together hobo-ish. The flower pattern you see peeking out there is the lining. I'm excited to have it finished! I did some work on it today, making pockets and ironing backing and stuff.

So there you have it folks, the promised pics. I'm off to make myself less sweaty, hope you have a wonderful week!


TODAY: 3 miles
YESTERDAY: 7 miles

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Busy Bee

I've been busy. Today I was up early, wide awake soon after boyfriend got up (at 6 as he'd forgotten to set his alarm and it was only his good fortune that my internal alarm happened to be spot-on that ensured he was up on time). I tried to stay out of his way until he left — and I did a fairly good job of it, retreating to the couch with my book and my coffee.

Once he left, my day began.

It was a good day.

I got a lot done.

I vacuumed. Thoroughly. No dust bunnies here! I scrubbed the kitchen. I ran 7 miles. I ran the first 4.5 on the phone with Heather, and then her phone died (!) and I had to finish the run by myself. By that point though, I felt pretty darned good and ran an extra mile (we were only going to do six). I got home, sent off some emails and cleaned myself up. I gave the bathroom a once-over, not too bad there considering boyfriend just cleaned it and then I tackled our bedroom.

I don't know how you operate, but with me, in the morning when I'm deciding what to wear, if I try it on and it's out, I don't really hang things back up. Ever. In the evenings, I'll make an attempt to fold and/or put some of it away, but by the end of the week there's inevitably a pile of my clothing on the bench at the end of our bed.

Not to mention boyfriend's dirty laundry scattered around his hamper. I don't think he could get it in the hamper if he tried. Good thing I like him.

After the bedroom was tidied sufficiently thoroughly, I raced off to my appointment with Les Schwab to have my brakes fixed in my car. Yay! Three hundred some odd dollars later, I have new brakes (not that I noticed...seemed the same to me on my way home, but whatever) am three hundred some odd dollars poorer (c'mon, commission check!) and I was back at my chores. Did laundry, paid bills, the whole bit.

I have a list.

A whole list.

I'm a list person.

It makes me feel good to be able to cross things off.

I had 18 things on my list this morning. (Don't worry some of them were fun). I have 8 things on my list this evening. Hooray!

Tomorrow, when I get to do the fun stuff, some of which is that sewing I've been tantalizing you with, I'll post pictures.

Oh, I also baked pumpkin muffins and made chicken enchiladas for dinner.

Hope your day was as productive as mine.


TODAY: 7 miles

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Breaking Through

So I skipped sewing group in lieu of date night, but I promise as soon as I can, I'll take pictures of some of the crafty stuff I've been working on. I am almost finished with a flower headband thing that's all the rage right now (at least 'round here) for my sister who kept bogarting my Forever21 one over the holidays. She'll be delighted, I just know it.

I'm also working on a super cute bag at my sewing group. It sounds old that I'm in a sewing group...more specifically, a quilt group, but while I'm the youngest there, it's not by much. There are two other women in the group who are late 20s and then the other two women whom I've met are older, but they're very much young at heart. We chat, sew, and make plans for future projects.

My most recent project however, was digital.

Hand drawn version

Finished product

I like sharing all this with y'all. Just so you can see what I do. "My Mane Squeeze" is an equine massage therapist. She is the mother of a dear friend of mine, and an artist in her own right. The fun part about working with artists is that they will inundate you with ideas until you finally have to say, "Enough! Too much!" The good part about that though, is that there are lots of starting points from which one can be inspired. The downside is that it can be a tad overwhelming if you let it.

Because they really want to help.

Really really.

I don't think you understand just how much they want to help. It's adorable. I get it, being an artist myself. It's hard not to want to help when someone else is exercising their craft for you or near you or you hear of them doing it. Don't ask me why. It just is.

In other news, Heather and I have sort of started running again. We ran together on Wednesday with the help of some super duper awesome bluetooth headsets.

The Jawbone headset is pretty spendy, but worth every single penny. It's got noise cancellation going on, so I couldn't hear the cars as she ran in Portland, and she couldn't hear...the snow falling? Well, heavy breathing anyhow I suppose. We did look like those creepy people who wander around talking to themselves. I confused my neighbor thoroughly because she thought I was talking to her — as she couldn't see my phone, which was in my pocket, or the headset, which was under my earwarmer thing.

Oh well. Technology is a beautiful thing.

Even if it makes you look insane.

I had two adventures while running. Both incited the same exclamation, only with completely different meanings. I won't repeat that exclamation here as it really isn't ladylike and I'm not really sure why I used it twice within the same ten minutes. Well, I understand the second, but not so much the first.

This incited the first one. I burst from the trees, where I could see the sunrise peeking through onto this plateau next to the Deschutes River (the sparkly bits on the land part). To the left, which you can't see the sun is glowing off the snow-dusted pine trees and above it's making the clouds even more ominous (they cleared up later to a beautiful bluebird day, but the day, and my run, started off with snow).

More plateau

Sun peeking through the trees as it's rising

 The second moment happened, as I mentioned previously, not ten minutes after I took the pictures on the plateau. I started running again and the road dipped. Not thinking of the rain we'd been getting, or the fact that the plateau had been flooding a bit from the snowmelt and the rain, I trundled along. Only to break through ice two steps later into water ankle deep and freezing.

I hollered, cursed and exclaimed and incited laughter on the other end of the phone line. After I had recovered and quieted enough for Heather to understand me and explained the situation she said,

"We really need to work out a way to let the other person know if we're in trouble or just enjoying scenery. I wasn't sure both times you exclaimed. It sounded rather similar."

*Hand to face*

After that, I turned around and ran home, feet rather wet but quickly warming up with my run.

Stay warm,

WEDNESDAY: 4.3 miles

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rule Number One

So apparently blogging has been relegated to a weekly thing, rather than daily. So very sad, but also kind of a good sign, since the reason I'm not blogging as much is because I don't have time to blog. Which means work is keeping me busy.


Apparently, yesterday was meltdown day for me. I have no idea what was going on, but the floodworks were loose and could not be dammed. It didn't help that I wasn't feeling well. A really rude customer first thing didn't help either. And then my second customer had violent ADD or something and alternately yelled at me repeatedly about what we were doing and grabbed his phone away from me to run out the door to make a call. It was disconcerting to say the least. An hour and a half into my day and I was already shaken and weary and dismayingly close to tears

I must have had that sort of look on my face because my manager pulled me aside and said, "You have that look on your face, tell me what's up."

She was concerned due to an incident a couple days ago where I was in tears. I don't want to go into it for privacy reasons, but just know that it was handled and she was making sure that wasn't the problem. I reassured her that it wasn't and that I just had a rough start to what was turning into a long day from the getgo.

Kindly, she said, "This is why you have personal days. It's not fair to you to ask you to push through this, you shouldn't have to. It's your Friday anyways, take the day for yourself. Have a three day weekend and come back rested. You showed up today, and that's huge."

Relieved and watery from her kindness (or perhaps just unwillingness to deal with an employee on the brink of tears), I went home.

I want to throw out a thanks to the wonderful parents who raised me at this point, as part of my manager's reasoning was that I have never been late for work, I showed up even though I wasn't feeling 100%, I never showed my customers anything but politeness even though they were treating me with less and I'm a hard worker. I have to just say that while that all seems like good common sense, most of it can definitely be attributed to the way I was raised.

Go Mom and Dad!

Apparently, being good pays off. It means that when you're having a rough day, people are a lot more understanding and helpful. Isn't that wonderful?

I'm off to clean my oven, which I made a mess of last week when baking a cake. I won't give you the recipe because even though it was delicious, I cannot in good conscious recommend a cake with 6 sticks of butter in the frosting alone. Cooking Light? I think not!

I'll try to blog again with happier news later. I have my sewing group tonight, which I'm looking forward to. I'll try to take some pictures to show you what I'm working on.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Life is Rather Boring

So not much has changed in the life department. Yet, anyhow. I do have some exciting new projects I'm working on freelance-wise, which is pretty fun. I just did a book cover for a local design firm — mostly so they can see how awesome I am, partly just for fun.

Oooh and ahhh appropriately, please.

Thank you.

I know it doesn't look all that interesting to you, but I think it's pretty cool. And there's a ton of math and spatial awareness that goes with cover design — and book design! It's pretty challenging to work in a flat medium (like a computer screen) that needs to translate into three dimensions, not to mention the wrapping around a book block successfully part. And there are all kinds of requirements from the publisher and the book people on barcodes, etc. that you have to deal with without ruining the quality of the design. You have to work that darned barcode in there without it totally destroying the basis of your designs.

It's fun, I promise. I enjoy it anyhow.

I'm also starting some new logos for people. Mostly logos that they're already working on that they need translated from amateur to awesome — and paper to digital. Which, let's face it, is one of my many specialties.

In other news, I'm still enjoying the snow, but I'm enjoying my commute less and less. We're starting to look at places in town — in fact, that's one of my jobs this "weekend." I need to call the mortgage guy to see about a check to see if I would qualify to purchase a house. Aiee! I'm considering buying a house. How grown-up is that?

Our figuring — or mine at least, as boyfriend is still vague on his opinion of this plan — is that if a house payment is about the same as rent, why shouldn't I pay for a house rather than just renting one? Even if we moved out of the area, we'd be able to rent the house to make the payment.

My other job this weekend is to call the Realtor and to start looking at craigslist for houses to rent (in case the whole buying thing doesn't work out). We want to move in the spring, but the good housing is on the West side of town, and now is the time to start looking at that.

Fun stuff, huh?

Oh, and I've started running again. I've managed to find a wonderful gym that has an indoor track (!) so when there's too much snow, I can run there, and I've been cross training more and more since it's so darned cold outside. Our next half-marathon is projected to be April 3rd in Portland (sorry, Siobhan and all my San Luis Obispo friends, the wine run in Cambria isn't going to happen this year...too far to travel...).

Lovely friend and I are also going to sign up for the lottery for the Nike Women's Half. Firemen in tuxes presenting us with Tiffany's do-dads after we finish? Way better than free beer. (For those of you who don't know, the firemen and the Tiffany's is part of the Nike women's run, which is why there's a lottery to do's kind of popular. Free beer is pretty standard after bigger half marathons, not sure why though.)

Anyways, that's it for now.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Are you sure it's the end of the year?

Just for the record. I'm writing this at 7:03 a.m. on December 31st. As I don't have  a lot of time, and I have a lot of pictures, I don't know when it will actually be posted, so for that, I apologize.

One thing I would like to say is what the hell happened to 2010? Where did it go? Last I checked, I was being dragged — in spite of my protests — into the rain by boyfriend's best friend on December 31st, 2009 because "Only losers don't go out on New Year's," and he wasn't about to let me be a loser while my boyfriend was partying it up a four hour drive away in Mt. Shasta.

Last I checked, I was falling asleep on a plane en route to Venice and then Rome, feeling a wee bit confused about the whole "sun rising" thing the stewardess was going on about when the sun was merely setting...and then being rudely awakened by ridiculously bright sun rays a few hours later by the said sun rising.

Last I checked, my feet were pounding the pavement with my lovely friend while we were discussing the actuality of my move to Bend with boyfriend — and whether or not it would actually happen — and he was startling me with things like making plans and discussing the future, which are normally taboo, or at least tip-toed around, in our lives.

Last I checked, I was dragging my tired butt out of bed for three unending weeks of training in Seattle for my wonderful new job, bitching about the rain, and missing home, which was here, in Bend with boyfriend.

Last time I checked, I'm pretty sure it wasn't the end of this year.

It was a good year at least, and I stuck with you all — rather surprisingly given my other forays into blogging — in spite of the many life changes that have struck since beginning this blog only five short months ago. Is it weird that it makes me giggle that this post, this last post of 2010 is my 69th post? If you don't get it, don't worry about it. It's terribly immature anyhow.

Recap on the holidays. It was wonderfully fun. We had some hilarity with the tree as the manly men and directing women of my family (and extended family) got the tree indoors, in the stand, and covered in lights.

I had to work and miss out on precious time with the fam as they went skiing and built an igloo in our front yard, but I did get to cook for them! I made a wonderful recipe given to me by my adorable sorority sister in Seattle. It involves roasting veggies (like butternut squash) and serving them over pasta. Yum!

The tree was packed with gifts from our very generous friends and family. So we had quite the lush Christmas, and I got many lovely gifts.

I didn't have to cook a darned thing (because my mommy loves me and is a much better cook than I am, and everyone else was helping so I put my feet up and drank my wine). And I got Christmas day and the day after Christmas off (basically because my boss is awesome, just don't let him hear that I told you that; he has a rep to keep up, after all) so I spent lots of time with my family doing Christmas-y things like going for a walk in the idyllic woods covered in idyllic snow just outside my idyllic cabin and eating turkey and skiing the day after Christmas and then going to the Deschutes Brewery for lunch and seeing Tangled as a treat.

I think boyfriend's favorite was definitely the princess movie. Dad and sister's boyfriend, Scott, agreed.

They left and I cried a little on my way to work. And then cried some more with my co-worker, Denise, once I got to work because her daughters had to leave that morning as well. Communal tears at its best.

And now it's today. And I'm feeling a wee bit bewildered as the year is ending.

I know I missed the opportune time to hand over this last 2010 recipe, but you can save it away for next year. It makes a ton of stew, I froze half and we're still sick of eating it for lunch and dinner since Tuesday. I'm hoping the friends of boyfriend that are showing up today will take care of it.

I got this recipe from one of my roommates in college who got it from her grandma. Belatedly, I recalled how much soup it made and how sick we got of it then too. It's delicious and nutritious and a great way to take care of that leftover turkey, but have a dinner party to get rid of it!

Turkey Stew
 Take carcass. Simmer for 3 to 4 hours (until the bones break easily). Make sure the bones are always covered while simmering. Add hot water as needed.

Pour bones through a sieve back into the pot to get the bones out. Pull remaining meat off bones and add to broth. Add chopped carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, leftover turkey meat and other heavy vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste (I forgot to add any, so mine turned out a wee bit flavorless). Cook that whole mess for an hour.

20 minutes before it's done, add a bag of egg noodles. Tadah! You have turkey stew.

This is me wishing you a very happy New Year.