✍ All sorts of new and exciting things coming up for the cast of L to the Third so stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

[Don't] mind the gap

After my big day in and around West Chester with my mother-in-law on Saturday, I went antiquing in some of my old favorite haunts in the Philadelphia area and stumbled across this lovely nickel-plated Deco beauty on Sunday.  I brought it home and had to figure out where exactly I wanted to install it (it had already been rewired, which was awesome).  I settled on the master bathroom because A. every master bathroom should have a little bit of glitz and glamour, B. the ceiling is too low on the second floor landing, which means I'd constantly be hitting my head off of the crystal drop, and C. I really couldn't stand the overhead light in the master bathroom.

I consulted with my electrician-friend to make sure everything looked safe and sound and then tried to figure just how exactly to attach this thing to the mounting strap already in place.  Apparently, my new old chandelier was made in France, which means it was threaded in a size different from most standard American models.  This basically meant I was going to have to jerry-rig (also known as doing a MacGyver) the darn thing using plumbing fixtures threaded at a 3/8" diameter.  Two trips to two hardware stores later, I cobbled something together that would safely hold the light in place.  I set to work and got it all in place and then ran down to the basement to turn the power back on in the bathroom.  I half-expected the thing to burst into flames when I flipped the switch, but it worked!  Now all I have to do is pick up a ceiling medallion or something along those lines to fill in the gap between the top of the fixture and the ceiling, but that shouldn't be too difficult.  Famous last words, right?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Shiny brite

This past weekend I went up to Chester County to visit my mother-in-law, who had planned a whole day's worth of activities; some antiquing in the morning, a holiday tour of a dozen or so houses in West Chester in the afternoon, followed by an evening spent taking in the lights and sights of Longwood Gardens.  Although the day was chilly at times, we had near-perfect weather for walking around the town and touring some really lovely houses that had been decorated to the nines for the holidays.  One house, a spectacular Italianate Revival from about 1865, was open all the way up to the cupola on the fourth floor, allowing for a bird's eye view of the park and surrounding areas.  

After a brief rest and a visit with Captain Husband's grandmother, my mother-in-law and I set out for Longwood Gardens, along with several other hundred people.  I had never been before and I know that this will definitely be the first of what will hopefully be many visits!  The lights were gorgeous and the arrangements inside the grand conservatory were truly breathtaking.  The last few minutes of the musical fountain finale that we managed to catch before the gardens closed was stunning, as well.  I can't wait 'til next year when CH is stateside and he and I can go together and stroll about the grounds hand-in-hand with some hot chocolate to keep us warm.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A public service announcement from Captain Husband

Captain Husband sent me some information about an ongoing humanitarian project when I asked him if there was something I could do here to help out over there.   He informed me that the United States Navy, Army & Air Force, along with the Afghan Army, provide free medical care to the citizens of the Khowst province; they need donations to continue as they cannot accept financial assistance.  Here's a list of the things that they need the most to continue providing care and help to those in need in Afghanistan:

Children's multivitamins
Children's ibuprofen & Tylenol
*Spiral-bound notepaper
*Hand-held pencil sharpeners
*Coloring books (no English writing, please)
*Backpacks, gym bags & totes
Folders or small notebooks & loose-leaf paper
Pens, pencils & crayons
Shoes & athletic socks
*Blankets
*Jackets (especially children's)
*Hats, scarves & gloves
Travel size toiletries
Toothpaste & toothbrushes
* Most urgently needed

Items can be sent by US mail to the following address:
Community Clinic
1/203rd BST
FOB Salerno, Camp Clark
APO AE 09314

As an added incentive, the United States Postal Service charges a flat rate of only $10.95 when sending priority mail flat rate packages to APO/FPO addresses.  Not too shabby when you think about it.  I have a couple extra priority mail boxes around the house and I'd like to send a couple of these special care packages over while Captain Husband is on tour; if anyone is interested in helping me put some together, let me know.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

UPDATE: One art, please

I was the underbidder.  Crap on a crap cracker.

Of trees and trim

My version of the Charlie Brown tree

Last evening I picked out a lovely tree at my local nursery.  I had learned a lesson from last year and remembered to bring my tree stand with me to make sure the tree that I chose actually fit. Captain Husband broke two [cheap] saws last year trying to whittle the trunk of the tree down so that it would fit into the stand--we finally had to bring out the big guns--a hatchet, to make it work. (Thanks for the advice, Tim Gunn!)  I'm still finding sap and pine needles in the garage from that little operation.  I managed to drag the tree up the many, many flights of stairs and successfully upright it, with a few swearing sessions thrown in for good measure.  After all, it's not truly Christmas until someone has hurled the f-bomb a half dozen times at an inanimate decorative object.  Once that was taken care of and the tree no longer looked like the leaning tower of Pisa, I put on some holiday music and hung all of my ornaments with care.  So far, the cats are being pretty good with the tree; the fact that neither of them has their front claws probably discourages the innate climbing instinct in both of them, thank goodness.

For those of you out there attempting to cross things off of your holiday shopping list in the greater DC area, Finials, the cool antique/vintage shop in Chevy Chase that I work at on weekends, is having their annual Christmas sale:  15% of the lowest ticket price and all of the fabulous costume jewelry is tax-free this weekend only.  I'll be there from 12 until 5 today, so stop on by and say hello!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

One art, please

I've totally fallen head over heels for this femme fatale, which is going to the auction block this coming Sunday in Chicago. Given that the artist is unknown, I'm hoping that I might be able to score it at its low estimate or maybe even lower if the gods of cool stuff are looking out for me that day. I've put in a rather modest absentee bid and I'm quite excited about the prospect of getting to hang this lovely lady somewhere in my house. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Red sky at night, soldiers' delight

Afghanistan sunset courtesy of CH

I can now say that the husband is safely ensconced at his final destination in Afghanistan; I can't really say where exactly he is nor am I willing to disclose his name due to security reasons, which is why I've given him the new moniker of Captain Husband (or CH if you're into the whole brevity thing). This keeps his identity safe and also sounds like a sort of super hero, so all in all a good alias in my book. Anyway, I've asked him to take some pictures of the things that he sees overseas (ha!) so that I have some idea of what he's talking about when we manage to get some phone time together. He seems to be enjoying his deployment so far, in as much as one can really enjoy such things as mortar attacks and a complete lack of privacy, but I digress. If anyone would like his contact information, let me know as he's finally scrounged up a mailing address over there (hence the previous post for those of you keeping track of such things).

We manage to stay in touch on a regular basis for the most part. When he first arrived, he bought a cell phone that gets some pretty decent reception, at least when compared to the satellite phones that he had access to in Germany.  Man, those things sucked. It was like talking into an echo chamber. Email is still a little spotty these days; apparently no access in their personal space as of yet, but he has hopes that soon he'll be able to check it a bit more regularly. So until then, skype is out. Sigh.

As for me, things are going pretty well. I've started decorating the house for Christmas and am trying to figure out when exactly would be the best time to go and pick out my tree. The cats are pretty much the same, still hissing at each other, but seemingly a bit more tolerant of sharing the same space especially now that its a lot colder.  Josie is dealing with some physical issues that are probably going to stick with her for the rest of her life, which is why her new nickname is Handi-cat.  According to the vet, who took some x-rays two weeks ago, Josie was either stepped on or hit by a car when she was very young which is why she has a nubbin' for a tail and a pretty severe limp.  She's also been having some poo issues in that she's apparently not really in control of her bowels and just lets it go whenever the mood hits her.  I'm single-handedly keeping the stock in OxiClean carpet cleaner up despite the economic crisis.  Too much information, I know.  And on that note...'til tomorrow!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Anatomy of a care package


Big fuzzy blanket: check. Candle in the shape of a Christmas tree: check. Q-tips: check. Drier sheets: check. Body wash and antibacterial stuff: check. Blistex: check. Pot scrubber/body wash thingie: check. Boxer shorts screen-printed with one of our inside jokes on the butt that I stumbled across while in an antique mall in Hancock, Maryland, of all places: check.

The reaction I imagine Captain Husband having when he opens this care package in a couple of weeks: priceless.

Monday, October 20, 2008

McCain would like you ladies to stop worrying your pretty little heads about your "health" and just make him a damn sandwich already

The last few weeks of the presidential campaign has had me up in arms; ok, I should probably clarify. The last few weeks of the McCain-Palin campaign has had me yelling at the tv, jumping up from my seat, literally angry with rage. Each time I think a new low has been achieved, I would watch another debate (air quotes? seriously?), stumble across yet ANOTHER divisive incident that occurred at one of their rallies via youtube or receive one of their incendiary and often blatantly false advertisements in the mail (more on that later). I suppose that's one of the joys of living in a battleground state, in a part of the country that's not quite American enough for Governor Palin or Joe McCain, the senator's brother. But McCain's little visit on Fox yesterday just took it to a new level of crap on a crap cracker.

According to McCain, Sarah Palin is a "counter to the liberal feminist agenda."



Sigh. I mean, I don't even know where to begin. From belittling the importance of women's health, to his calling the pro-choice ideology "pro-abortion," to the C-U- Next Tuesday incident with his wife, the gorilla rape joke, and so on and so forth ad infinitum, there seems to be no end to his overwhelming misogynystic and paternalistic attitude regarding women. Think about it: when asked to describe his running-mate's qualifications, he said she had "a tough husband." Or like the time he and she both met with Katie Couric and he wouldn't let Palin answer a single question (though that probably wasn't such a bad idea after her previous abysmal performances), pulling an attitude like an overprotective/impatient father called in for a meeting with his "misunderstood" kid's principal.

Let's have a quick vocabulary lesson:
Liberal, adjective: marked by generosity: given or provided in a generous and openhanded way: broad-minded; especially: not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms.
Feminist/Feminism, noun: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.
Agenda, noun: a list or outline of things to be considered or done.

You know what? McCain is totally right. Sarah Palin stands for and represents the complete opposite of the above. If being a part of the liberal feminist agenda is wrong, then I don't want to be right. (You know, like "on the right?" Get it? I'll be here all night, folks.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This is not photoshopped


Holy crap, Trish and Josie are actually sharing the SAME couch. Hopefully this means that the duel sneak attacks of poop and puke all over the frickin' house when I least expect it will soon be a thing of the past; cats are passive aggressive little beasts when they want to be, aren't they?

Waiter, there's a bug in my salad


I was out watering my herb garden the other day when I noticed some strange looking caterpillars chilling amongst my rather pathetic parsley. I dumped some water on them, hoping they would be knocked off or would seek shelter elsewhere, but they just stayed there without moving an inch. They did however sprout some weird little yellow horns though whenever the water hit them. Hmmm...I wasn't about to try and remove something with my bare hands that had retractable horns and was brightly colored. If I remembered anything from Wild America, brightly colored things are generally best left alone. So it was off to the interwebs to see if I could figure out just what exactly was making itself so comfortable in my garden.

Turns out they are all black swallowtail caterpillars, also known as the parsley caterpillar...appropriate, eh? They're apparently in the stage right before they they overwinter as chrysalis, which means in the spring I'll be greeted by these eye-catching guys:


Not too bad, as far as weird bug infestations go.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Homecoming, part one

The husband is home! Hooray!!!! (Sorry, I would write more, but I'm too busy spending time with the hubby and the kitties)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Keys, please


I think I need to figure out a way to permanently affix a set of keys to my body so that I'm never without. On Saturday, after a lovely day running around rural Virginia with my friend and co-worker, Ann, I had that moment of panic that one gets when you realize you are no longer in possession of your keys. This was sort of a problem, because I was the one who had driven that day, and without my keys, Ann and I were potentially stranded in Culpeper, Virginia. As far as places to be stranded in, Culpeper was quite quaint, but it was quite a distance from home, and I had no one with a set of spares that I could call upon for assistance. We re-traced our steps and got pretty lucky; apparently I had put my keys down at the first antique shop we had gone into, and they had them at the counter, waiting for their owner. I'm just glad I realized I no longer had my keys on my before all of the shops closed at six!

So that brings us to Sunday...I had bought some pretty fall marigolds with which to adorn my rather plain front door and stairs, and I figured I should probably water them before I headed off to my part-time job in DC. I filled up my watering can, went downstairs and left the front door open behind. I had just finished watering the flowers when a stiff breeze came along and blew the door shut. I tried the knob; it was locked. Crap. I was out on the front stoop of my house with wet hair, in a t-shirt, skirt, and flip-flips (it was a little chilly), without my wallet, cell phone or keys. I ran down my list of options: the garage was shut tight, so no getting in that way; I didn't know any of my neighbors well enough to ring their doorbell on a Sunday morning to ask for their assistance; I didn't have any friend in the wings waiting with a set of spares, and even if I did, how was I going to contact that person without my phone?; and that's when I realized I was pretty well screwed and began cursing my cats and their lack of opposable thumbs.

I decided to walk up to the "main street" area of our housing development and see if any of the businesses were open, thinking someone might be nice and lend me a phone book and a phone in order to call a locksmith. I didn't get my hopes up though; I knew that none of the dry cleaners were open on Sundays, which only left the nail salons and I was was pretty sure none of them would be open at 10:20 or so in the morning on a Sunday. Well, fortunately for me, I proved myself wrong as one of the nail salons had just opened up for 10:30. They let me borrow a phone and call a locksmith who I chose based solely on their yellowpage ad that said, "Service in 15 minutes!" After I called and made the appointment, it became quite clear that today was not going to be one of their 15 minute days, as I was told it would take at least 45 minutes for a locksmith to arrive. Great. Now I was locked out and would have to wait outside in the chilly morning and I was going to be late for work.

An hour or so later, after contemplating whether or not I could scale my front porch and climb up to the window I had left open on the second floor, the locksmith arrived and got down to business. The only problem being that he couldn't pick the lock. At this point, thoroughly exasperated, I told him to just drill it out and get to it. I'd fix the lock later, which was fine, because the deadbolt was still operational. 5 minutes and $240 later, and I was finally back in my house. Now I'm trying to figure out ways to hide spare keys all over the outside of our condo so I never ever have to go through that again. Anyone have any ideas?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Documented proof!


Here is evidence of the cats' latest progress in sharing the same dwelling place (the Trish-monster is on the left with her banana, and Josie-cat is eyeballing it jealously on the right, even though she has her own perfectly fine banana in her room, but I digress). As you can see, they're about four feet away from each other. And they're not attempting to eat the other one's face. Amazing! I hope to eventually have the two of them on the couch with me simultaneously (Josie has been bogarting my lap for the past week), but that may require a stronger sedative for me and the cats.

In other news, the husband will be home for a short visit in only a week and a half. Wee! Don't expect us to be answering the phone over the Columbus Day weekend (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Progress

As I type this, both the Trish-monster and the Josie-cat are occupying the same floor of the house at the same time, without sounding like they'd rather try and kill each other. At some point last night, they were separated only by 8 feet of carpet. It was amazing. I credit this fantastic progress to the cat prozac that my friend Chad told me about over the weekend. I put one in Josie's "safe room" and another where Trish likes to relax in the dining room and they seem to have mellowed them both out a bit. I'm not quite comfortable with having the two cats roam around on their own at night just yet (basically I don't want to be woken up at 4 am by a cat fight), but I think in the next week or so the cats will have reached a point where they no longer really care about the other one. Hopefully I'll be able to grab a photo of the two of them in the same room soon as proof.

In other news, the hubby is doing well in Kansas although he seems to be a bit bored these days. I guess running around with night vision goggles and being flipped over in a vehicle to learn the proper way of escaping a wreckage just doesn't do it for him anymore (I thought it sounded kind of fun). As of right now, he's supposed to get the weekend of Columbus Day off, so he's flying home to hang out with his girls for a day or two. We like to think of Columbus Day as the light at the end of the tunnel...well, this particular tunnel, I guess. As you all know, there will be many more tunnels in the next year, but we're both taking things day by day. Its kind of funny; we've been married for nearly two months, and we've spent five weeks of that time separated. But I'm fortunate in that I have a wonderful group of friends who have taken it upon themselves to make sure that I'm still going out and about and not sitting at home feeling sorry for myself. Hooray for good friends!

Monday, September 15, 2008

History Detective

I realized the other day that I don't really talk a lot about my job on here, which is a shame, actually. I work in a high-end antiques gallery that specializes in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century fine and decorative arts. I get to do a lot of really neat research and the like, something that I often take for granted, like when I used to work in a museum; I was always so busy with various administrative issues that there was hardly any time for independent research. The best part of my job (and also at times the worst) is that no two days are ever the same; one day might be spent doing nothing but genealogical research, tracking down the family history of a particular piece, going through census records, and the next day, I'm digital photographer extraordinaire, photoshop manipulator, and scanning maven.

I also get to work with some really awesome objects, stuff that would normally be behind velvet ropes and in glass cases in museums or historic houses. I could go on for days and days about some of the fabulous things that I've worked with, but unfortunately I can't really go into much details due to intellectual property issues, private owners, and so on and so forth. Which is a total shame, because I love talking about these things. I guess that means you'll just have to come and visit me at work so I can dork out with you in person. History nerds, unite!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A tale of two kitties

Say hello to Josie, the newest member of our family!


Josie's foster mom, Susan, came over this evening to meet the Trish-monster and to interview me regarding the possibility of adoption. I was a little worried about the two cats meeting for the first time (flashbacks of the time that Trish beat up the neighborhood tomcat kept running through my mind), but altogether it went pretty well. Trish hissed a bunch and Josie growled right back at her from the safety of her pet carrier, but neither one went crazy with rage and were actually pretty calm throughout the entire process. Once I secured Trish upstairs in the bedroom, Josie quickly came out of the carrier and set about exploring the house. She seemed very comfortable in her new surroundings and was bold enough to even eat and drink a little bit out of the Trish-monster's bowl (if you've ever met my cat, you'd know how serious of an offense that could be; I worry about losing a finger or two when I go to change her water).

After a very pleasant visit with Susan, she decided that we were a good match for Josie and asked if I would be interested in having Josie stay tonight. Now, I didn't want to be presumptuous, but during my lunch break today, I went out and bought new food and water bowls and a litter box just in case there was a possibility of Josie becoming a part of the fam in the very near future. She's now comfortably set up in the guest bedroom so that she and Trish can get used to the thought (and smell) of each other without being in one another's furry faces. The transition will be slow, but it will be worth it. They seem to be pretty evenly matched in terms of temperament and personality, so hopefully they'll become friends, or at the very least, tolerant of the other's presence.

Oh, one last thing about Josie; she doesn't have a full tail. She has a three inch nub that she wags like a dog. Nubbins!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Prepare for the Catpocalypse


The husband and I have been toying around with the idea of adding another furry feline to our family for some time; whenever we both had a free Saturday or Sunday we'd go to adoption days at some of the local pet stores and ooh and aah over the cuddly kittens and cats. The only problem is that my cat, Tricia, or the Trish-monster as she is affectionately referred to, has a bit of a dominance issue. I mean, she bearly tolerates my presence, and that is likely due to the fact that I feed her and sometimes give her treats. She's a bit grumpy, but I figure she's earned a little of her curmudgeon-like attitude at the age of twelve; no one could argue that Trish is without a personality, that's for sure. An evil personality still counts, right? I kid, I kid.

Anyhow, in the last month or so that the husband's been gone, I've been thinking more and more about adopting a rescued cat. I was browsing Craigslist.org and stumbled across a little cutie by the name of Josie; like Trish, she's a diluted tortie and is 3-4 years old (about the same age Trish was when I adopted her) and is declawed. I immediately forwarded the link to the husband for his thoughts and he was all for it. Fast forward to today and I've been emailing Josie's foster mom and now have an appointment for tomorrow evening for a home visit and face-to-furry-face meeting with Josie at my place. I'm very excited though worried that Trish might attempt to eat her or blow her up. Josie's foster mom has assured me that Josie gets along very well with other cats and has had no problem sticking up for herself, so hopefully all will go well and I'll soon have two bi-polared tortie girls to deal with. Ah yes, crazy cat lady land, here I come.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I drink your milkshake!

Thanks to Brian for the photo

Wow, its been awhile since I last posted anything! Let's see, what's happened recently? Here's the short version: I had a lot of my hair cut off and am now rocking a sassy bob. I picked up some awesome books at the bookstore and simply could not put this down and stayed up entirely too late on a school night in order to read it from cover to cover. I got all riled up over the current political state of things; fortunately for me, I don't have to reinvent the wheel because a lot of what I'm feeling was very eloquently summed up in this article.

There's more, but I'm tired and hungry, so I'll get back to my regular posting schedule this week. I pinkie-swear promise!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hair today, gone tomorrow


Say hello to my hair, but don't get too attached to it because tomorrow I'm having at least ten inches of it cut off. Why ten inches, you ask? Because of this great cause. Am I excited? Heck yeah. Do I know how I'm going to have it cut? Um, well, not exactly...I haven't really gotten that far. It will probably be something shoulder-length and hopefully less of a hot mess than what I've been sporting for the last several months. I'm just looking forward to actually having a style again other than "ridiculously long." The main reason I've not cut my in forever and a day is because the hubby has a thing for long hair. But since he's out in Kansas these days and I won't see him for awhile, I figured now is as good a time as ever. Plus, the earlier I cut it all off, the more time I'll have for it to grow back to a less shocking length for when he returns. Everyone wins!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Give in to the grey

Recently I've decided that I'm going to try and be one of those people who go grey gracefully (say that three times fast). This is due mostly to the fact that every time I comb my hair I see more of those little grey hairs sticking up in the air, taunting me with their very presence, daring me to pluck them. Perhaps the stress from the last month or two has finally caught up with me...but I'll take grey hair over anxiety attacks any day!   I don't really mind it so much aside from their shortness at the moment and so far the greys seem to be blending in with my normal hair, as opposed to my poor mom, who's grey hair has decided to come in coarse and kinky, giving her no end of trouble. I was born with a shock of grey hair actually and, aside from it getting me called a genetic freak by my eighth-grade biology teacher in front of the entire class, it hasn't bothered me any (though my mom was accused by a hairdresser of testing dye on my hair when I was a little kid). I actually thought I'd be totally grey by now anyway, especially since my grandmother, uncle, and aunt were all completely grey by the time they turned twenty-five, so in a weird way I'm kind of happy to see these hairs multiplying while I sleep, totally unaware; its another way of feeling connected to my family. This is probably a weird way of thinking about it, but it works for me.  Awesome grey hair shouldn't just be for men.  Its time we ladies stop plucking, dying, and rinsing the grey away and embrace the sexy, like this:


Aw yeah.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mission Organization

Anyone who's been unfortunate enough to have spent any time in my garage knows it was a total mess.  The husband had a habit of just leaving the garage door open, which meant that the whole thing was filled with dead leaves and other debris (I'm still finding pine needles from the Christmas tree) and probably a host of all sorts of creepy crawlies that I'd rather not think about.  Ever.  Adding to the detritus was a lot of my random stuff that I just haven't gotten around to unpacking or finding a place for in the house.  The husband and I had purchased some of those plastic interlocking shelving units in the hopes that it would inspire us to do something about the garage, but that never really happened.  It just became a place on which to pile more stuff.  But fortunately for me, my mom came into town!

She quickly surveyed the mess and assured me it would be a piece of cake.  We ran back to Lowe's for some more supplies and then began the process of moving everything out of the garage so that we could start sweeping all of the dirt, dead leaves, and cobwebs out.  Then came the hard part--putting the shelves together.  According to their label, they were supposed to be easy to assemble "in five minutes."  Well, I'm afraid I have to call bullsh*t on that because it certainly took us more than five minutes and it wasn't easy (I'm still a little sore).  Let's just say I wish I had video taped the entire process, because I have the feeling that it would be hilarious played at fast-forwarded speeds; it would have made us celebrities on youtube.  I was hanging from the top shelves, trying to force the shelving supports into place, while my mom was up on a ladder, stepping on each corner.  At one point she discovered that if she sat down really hard on the shelf, the support would lock into position.  So it was an assembly line of sorts, with my mom standing up and sitting down, while I turned the shelf to the next corner for her so she didn't even have to change her position.  I'm sure the neighbor's kids were amused.

In the end, it was worth the sore arms and bottoms.  The garage is spic and span, everything is in its place, and the best part is that I can get my car in there.  Hooray!  


Monday, August 18, 2008

The hubby has landed

Got word from the husband earlier this evening that the trip went about as smoothly as one could expect and that he and the rest of his group are now safe and sound in Kansas.  He has internet access and a semi-private room, so he's pretty happy right now.  The only down side is that he forgot to bring his good combat boots with him, so I'll be overnighting them to him as soon as he can get his hands on an address there.  Apparently this morning, before they put everyone on a bus to go to the airport, there was a little pep-talk of sorts followed by coffee and donuts.  Due to time and work constraints, I couldn't attend the final send off, but fortunately for me, one of the people involved in the FRG (Family Readiness Group, for those of you who are Army-acronym challenged like myself) took a bunch of pictures and posted them on a shared website.  Here's the hubby in all of his uniformed glory:



Oh captain, my captain! :)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

D-Day

Today is the day that my hubby leaves for his two-month training stint prior to being deployed later this fall.  After a whirlwind of paperwork, visits to Fort Belvoir, packing and last minute preparations, I finally think that he and I are about as ready as we'll ever be.  We'll probably leave here in about an hour or so to make the 3+ hour drive back to Blackstone, Virginia, where we'll say our goodbyes and I'll have to turn back around and drive back to northern Virginia.  I'm sure I'll be a mess these next few days, but my mom and my youngest brother are coming down to visit with me for a couple of days this week and I have a long list of projects and things-to-do around the house to keep me busy.  If all goes as planned, I might even get to see him over Labor Day weekend.

There's a really great article in the Style section of the New York times today about being a "war bride" that does a wonderful job of summing up a lot of what I've been feeling.  Give it a whirl if you have some free time!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

When it rains, it pours

I've been a bit absent from the interwebs due to some crazy things going on in my life lately, namely that my hubby will be going away for two months starting this coming Sunday, someone in my family who is very dear to me is currently suffering from alcoholism, and my in-laws are in town. Stress much? Nah. The last few days have been spent trying to tie up all loose ends and get the household (a.k.a. me) situated so that I can take care of things during the hubby's absence, like getting updated home-owner's insurance, new car insurance, health care, military id cards, etc. While in the midst of all of this, I got a frantic phone call from my mom last Friday telling me that the situation is not getting any better with the family member and that they're going to have to have another intervention (this would be number three so far). The hubby and I decided that we need to go to western PA to take part in this and left late Saturday afternoon, arriving at my parents' new place around midnight. Sunday was the day of the intervention, which while emotionally-trying, probably won't chalk up to being considered successful, sadly. On Monday, we visited with my grandmother, another situation that is deteriorating rapidly and had me choked up for most of the trip back to Virginia; we arrived home safe and sound, but tired from the 5 1/2 hour drive and emotionally raw (well, at least in my case). Then the in-laws arrived on Tuesday and will be here through tomorrow; I think their respective trains leave at noon. While I definitely like my in-laws and appreciate their company, a part of me is jealous and bitter because I wanted to spend the last few days that I had with my husband all by our lonesome. Plus the hubby is a bit on edge from being at home with his parents for the last couple of days. Le sigh.

But all is not for naught! The hubby has taught himself how to make pizza from scratch and while killing some time antiquing in Pennsylvania on Sunday we came across a pair of circa 1900 oak side chairs that were strikingly similar to the ones that descended with the family dining table. The best part? They were $11 a piece. Seriously. Some restor-a-finish and a coat of feed-and-wax, and they were as good as new. Structurally they're awesome and just need to be upholstered. Now I can have a dinner party of at least 6 people without worrying about running out of chairs! Nothing like taking a little bit of pleasure in the small things, right?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Internet shout out!


Today the hubby and I were featured on the awesome website, Offbeatbride.com, which is dedicated to providing today's brides with "taffeta-free alternatives." I'm so glad that I stumbled across it early in the wedding planning stages--reading the other couples' tales about their unique unions made me realize that the hubby and I were making the right decision by doing things our way. You can check out the complete profile here!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Slowly but surely


Ok, ok, I know I've been promising some step-by-step blogging regarding the wedding and the pseudo-honeymoon that followed it, but I'm afraid that I'm moving at a snail's pace these days. I've got most of the "good" wedding photos uploaded and about two-thirds of the honeymoon pictures uploaded to my flickr account, which has taken me much longer to do than I had expected. I'm trying to record where all of the photos were taken so that in a couple of months' time when I can't remember this stuff, I'll appreciate the effort that I put in now. I think by tomorrow I'll have all of day three uploaded and cataloged and then I can start the blogging. So patience, my dear friends, patience.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

New additions

The hubby and I were up at the butt-crack of dawn this morning, also known as the ungodly hour of 5 am. We had be at Fort Pickett in Blackstone, Virginia, at 8 am so that he could go over the final paperwork before being shipped off for his training on August 18. He figured we might as well kill two birds with one stone and suggested that I tag along so that I could be added into the military system and get me some benefits (woo!). I was rather reluctant until he added that there was a pretty sizable antique mall in the center of town that we could visit once everything was taken care of so of course I agreed to go. The paperwork proceeded as planned and we were released into the small town of Blackstone a little after 1 pm. After a less than satisfying experience at the local Hardee's for lunch, we walked over the antique mall and proceeded to look around. I have to admit that there were some surprisingly good buys there and it didn't take long before we both found things that we couldn't live without:



Say hello to our new library table and mantel clock! We plan to set up the table in the hubby's office (he's finally reached a point where he can say farewell to the Wally Martin desk that currently lives there) and will hopefully do that in the next week or so. Also exciting is that the main house computer died while he was away in Texas (I swear up and down that I had nothing to do with it), which means we'll be getting a new computer--a Mac!--soon. I have officially turned him to the dark side. I think the library table might be a circa 1910 unlabelled example by L. & J. G. Stickley, as it has nearly identical hardware with rosehead nails as some other tables by them. The thing is built like a brick house with solid quarter-sawn oak legs and sides and a veneered top (and yes, we lugged it up three and a half flights of stairs ourselves after a slight scare over whether or not we'd be able to get it through the door). It has a couple of condition issues, but they're all minor and don't effect the overall aesthetics and usefulness of it. Plus it was a total steal, so I'm not complaining.

As for the clock, well, I love it, which is good because it is not currently in working order. All the parts are there, but its frickin' filthy and will certainly benefit from a good cleaning and overhaul. Hopefully I'll be able to work one of my job connections and get a deal on having it brought back to ticking and tocking until the cows come home. It was made by Sessions and probably dates to between 1910 and 1915. The plan is to put that on the mantel downstairs and move the family mantel clock up to the bedroom; it doesn't really keep time all that well, which I blame totally on my dad, but it looks nice and sounds comforting. My plan to have a clock in every room of the house is slowly coming to fruition. Mwahahaha!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Wedding Teaser

Here are a few pics from the wedding to whet your appetite; I'll be posting more on flickr (once I finally upgrade to a pro account) and blogging about the ceremony and honeymoon later on this week when things have settled down a bit and the pile of dirty laundry no longer threatens to topple and bury me alive. Enjoy!







(While we were driving around after the dinner with the family, the husband turned to me and said, "I feel like I'm in an episode of Mad Men!" Sweet.)


Married=yes. Mature=not so much.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wedding eve

I apologize for the lack of posts lately, but the future hubby and I have been running around like mad these last few days preparing for our respective families to descend upon our humble abode. So I've been busy getting the house cleaned and vacuumed, putting fresh sheets on the bed, getting laundry washed, and perfecting my no-knead bread technique, which I totally cribbed from this awesome blogger, by the way. My brothers and sister-in-law will be staying in the house with us tonight, while our parents will be crashing at a hotel about 10 minutes away. We decided to have dinner here at our place, mainly because this way everyone can get to know each other and not worry about being too loud or obnoxious (things I tend to forget about when my family is involved). About 80% of the meal is being catered by Balducci's, "the food lover's market;" the other 20%, like the salad and *FRESHLY MADE* bread (BY ME!) have been taken care of from our end. I also made a raspberry trifle for desert, which I've always wanted to try but never really had a proper occasion for one (pics will follow once I have more than a few stolen moments on the computer)...hopefully it turned out well.

Early this morning, I went and took care of Jim's wedding surprise. The aesthetician gave me props for not yelling or kicking her in the face, so all in all I was pretty pleased...albeit sore. I think this picture does a pretty adequate job of expressing just how I'm feeling at the moment.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Children of the corny 80s



In just four short days, Cookie Monster's friend and Poppa Smurf's friend will be getting married. A Popple will be officiating.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tales from the hair salon

This Thursday I went in for my trial-run hair appointment; since the marriage is taking place about three hours from here, I decided it would probably be a good idea to meet with someone locally and get a feel for my wedding hairstyle before taking the leap of faith with a total stranger. I went to the London Bob in Alexandria and met with Linda to have my hair "did." I brought my hat with me and some photos and she came up with an idea that we both thought would work. After about an hour and a half with the curling iron, a bottle of hair-spray, and some thirty hair pins later, this was the end result:



I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out; Linda gave me some finger waves in the front and then the rest was pulled back into a pseudo ponytail with waves cascading down my back. Linda's assistant took a ton of pictures of the whole process, so that the lovely lady in Lovingston doing my hair this Saturday should be able to duplicate it. The part that I like the best? The fact that its not an updo but my hair is out of my face and won't be blowing around like crazy should the weather be less than cooperative. (Keep your fingers and toes crossed!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mad hatter

When I decided to go with an 50s style cocktail dress for the wedding, I figured I should go all out and get a fabulous chapeau to match. After some digging on the interwebs and coming up with nothing that really struck my fancy, I turned to Etsy and found EXACTLY what I was looking for courtesy the lovely lady at Batcakes! Couture. Seriously, I would have done the entire wedding through Etsy, especially if I were going the more traditional route and had tons more time (like this adorable cake topper? I could just eat it up)... So I went and bought a gorgeous hat and I love it; the only problem being that I didn't have anything in which to transport it to various hair appointments and the actual wedding itself. Well, thanks again to one of my favorite local consignment/antique shops, the problem has been solved!



And yes, I bedazzled the hat box with my initial. Booyah.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Worry wart

The future hubby received his official orders today, which has made me think a lot about what this next year and a half is going to entail. Reading the news, especially recently, about what's going on overseas hasn't been helping my state of mind too much. We probably won't know exactly where he'll be stationed for at least another month or two, so all I can really do is just keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best. *Sigh* In the interest of keeping my mind off of things and staying busy, I'm thinking of maybe taking a cooking class or volunteering at a local animal shelter. If anyone else has any ideas or suggestions, I'm all ears! Impromptu dance parties, perhaps? I know--underwater basket weaving!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Like, totally awesome to the max!

Laura & Jim 4-ever!

My lovely and fabulous friends decided that they couldn't let me get married without having a bachelorette party, so they came up with the great idea of having an 80s themed slumber party, which by the way, was possibly the best idea in the history of mankind. Friends came from far and wide (with Kathryn and Aubree' competing for the furthest distance traveled) in their 80s finest. Crimpers were used, as was blue eye shadow, frosted pink lipstick, and oh, the glorious scrunchies! Tab was the drink of choice...ok, not really, but it did make a good prop.



There was pizza to eat, booze to drink, games to play and awesome movies to watch...such as Dirty Dancing (sadly lacking in Swayze butt, did they edit that stuff out?), Heathers, and The Princess Bride, because mawwiage is what bwings us togwevaw today. It was great! Maybe too great of a time, as I had to spend some, ahem, alone time in the bathroom for a bit. After some rest (and offering to freeze my bra in pittance), everything was cool and it was back to the party. (I blame the pimp cup that Elizabeth had me drinking out of at the beginning of the evening-it just made everything taste better!) I would share more, but I had to sign a contract stipulating that whatever happened at the bachelorette party stayed at the bachelorette party. Like, totally.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A cherry of a ride

I know I've been pretty heavy on the whole wedding posts nonsense lately, but since I am getting married in 2 1/2 weeks, I'm hoping that all of you will let me slide on by. So, anywho, I decided that a classic Virginia wedding for two wouldn't be complete without a kick-ass ride. Not that my 1999 Olds isn't pretty sweet, especially since I've re-glued the rear-view mirror to the windshield, but still... In the course of some internet sleuthing, I came across this company that specializes in renting out classic cars. I gave them a call yesterday to see if my first choice was available the day of the wedding, and they called me today to let me know that it was all mine for the taking. Set your eyeballs on this:



Aw yeah.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Ring-a-ding-ding



The future hubby's ring came in yesterday and I love it! It was custom made for me by a wonderful artist in Savannah, Georgia, who I found through Etsy. She can do just about anything you want and she's super fast and wallet-friendly. This way, if the future hubby should happen to lose this while he's overseas, I won't have to kill him...I can order another one!

Crafting carnage


This weekend was a whirl of tissue paper, rick-rack trimming, and accordion pleats; that's one of the few positive things about the future hubby being away for two weeks. I can spread all of my things out on the floor and make as large a mess as possible and stay up as late as I like folding paper stars until the cows comes home. And of course, the Trish-monster loves playing with all of the paper scraps scattered about on the floor. Its a win-win! The only thing that I'm worried about is whether or not I'm getting a tad carried away with all of my wedding craft stuff, but really, can a girl have too many giant tissue paper pom-poms? Nope, that's what I thought.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Charlton Heston would approve

Today the future hubby left for a two-week trip to Texas; I like to think of it as a mini trial run for the "big trip" that he'll be embarking upon in just a matter of a couple of weeks. I dropped him off at the airport this morning and then ran around on some errands, picking up some crafty things to work on for the wedding and stopping by my favorite antique/consignment shop. And that's where I found this:

This thing is in absolutely pristine condition (and made in the USA, woo) and even retains the original instructions and recipe suggestions! And it comes with cake decorating tips! I have the feeling that I'll be spending some of my recently gotten "alone time" having some kitchen fun with my cookie gun (trademark pending).

Friday, July 4, 2008

An email moratorium (aka I'm screwed)


Yesterday the boss gave me a sizeable raise (which was nice, especially since I haven't had a raise for two years...nothing, nada--not even the standard cost of living handout), with the opportunity over the next six to eight months to have my salary increased even more. Awesome, right? Well, like all things, this comes at a cost. All emails of the personal persuasion are now verboten, which is easily done. I mean, I think I can go cold turkey. I'm going to try and get up a little bit earlier in the morning and catch up with emails then and again when I get home from work. With any luck that will help to keep the withdrawal symptoms to a minimum!

The tale of the dress

The weekend after the future hubby and I sat down and decided to just go and get married (we're super romantical), I went out with my sister-in-law and brother to browse through the selections at David's Bridal. At this point I had pretty much planned on having an outdoor wedding, so I knew that I wanted something a bit informal and cocktail-length. There were some pretty dresses there, but nothing that I was truly wild about (I was actually more into the bridesmaid dresses). I tried on a couple just to get a feel and discovered that white and ivory made me look like pale death. Hmm, not quite the look I was going for. It was about then that I realized that I had what could be a potential ace up my sleeve; my awesome and insanely talented friend, Julianne! I rounded up some pictures off of the interwebs and let her in on the big secret that I was going to be getting married and if she could make my dress (I did this with my fingers and toes crossed that she would say yes). Fortunately for me, the timing was right, and she was able and willing to take on the job. She sketched out a plan and then we met to discuss fabric choices and colors. I've got to say, having a dress made for you is the way to go. I don't have to worry about fit or my boobs falling out because she's already taken all of those things into account, plus I got to pick exactly what I wanted. I don't want to give too much away, because I'd like everyone to be pleasantly surprised when they see the pictures, so I'll just wrap this up now and leave you all with one of the web inspirations and Julianne's first sketch. Enjoy!
(Dress on left courtesy http://www.vintageous.com/)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Shoe overload

I think I've narrowed down my shoe selection for the wedding, but I'm still unsure of my final choice. I'm about the same height as the future hubby and pretty clumsy, so I don't really need to wear heels or anything, so I decided to find a nice pair of kitten heels (going with the whole 50s theme, of course). I think I found the perfect pair; they're peep-toed with pleats and heels short enough that I won't kill myself, or anyone unfortunate to be standing next to me for that matter. Now the only question is should I get them in silver or in the dyeable satin and have them dyed ivory to match the sash on my dress? I'm leaning more towards the silver ones, if only because I know I'd be more likely to wear them again if they were fun and fabulous. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hai interwebs!

This marks the start of my first-ever web log--welcome all! I've wanted to do something like this for awhile, but crazy things going on in my life at the moment have given me even more impetus than before. In 24 short days I will be getting married to a boy that I'm totally heads over heels for and then that boy will be leaving the country for more than a year (yup-that's right). I figure by keeping track of all of the big things going on in my life right now, that maybe, just maybe, I'll actually remember this stuff once the hurricane of impending adulthood has passed. Also, I hope that this blog will serve as a way for the future hubby to stay abreast of what's going on in our humble abode while he's overseas. And to talk about my cat, of course.
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