Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holy Sh!t We Finally Got New Pillows

I know I know it's not at all a big deal but if you had seen (or smelled) our old pillows you will understand why I am so excited. The Husband bought the Perfect Pillows into our relationship and I brought a pillow that we not so affectionaly call the beaver pillow. We had a few more that we acquired over the years and they were all in pretty horrible shape. The beaver pillow was matted in a totally gross way, the perfect pillows were shreaded, and one of the random ones was missing a large section of itself. The down was also a bit musty.

They were kind of a disgrace but obviously well loved. I wanted to replace them before Thanksgiving and we had houseguests and I dragged the Husband all around the city looking for the perfect pillows. Obviously, I failed and we were stuck with the shreaded pillows until this weekend.

We were out in NJ and went up to Tice's Corner, a small upscale strip mall on the NJ/NY border. The husband headed to the Apple store and I went to exchange an extra small shirt my mom had given me (thanks for both the awesome, beautiful shirt and the vote of confidence in my bosom mom!). As I zipped past the store fronts I saw a not so bad pillow in the window.

When I got back to the Apple Store I said to the husband "I can't believe I'm going to say this but Pottery Barn has some okay pillows. Want to look?" I quickly added "There's no sales tax in NJ and they're on sale and the ones that we have are really sad those I love your ones and hate the beaver pillow". He, being a good hearted soul, agreed, and we quickly picked some new pillows (as seen below).

I'm happy to report that they look just fine, are very comfortable, and the long thin ones we got as extra good at snuggling with while sitting in the big overstuffed leather chair. They're not perfect, but they're just fine and they don't smell or look like beavers, so bonus.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

If you ask me about my year, you will most likely get a earful of belly aching about death, destruction, and Kate's very naughty nervous system. I don't advise it. In some regards 2009 was as horrible of a year as 2008 and it was piled upon the horribleness of 2008. But, if I stop and sit down in a moment of quiet reflection, many things about 2009 were quite wonderful. It is only because of those wonderful pieces that I think I survived the past few years and I can only hope that when the death and destruction slows down or hits slightly less close to home, I can somehow or another pay those good things forward and reflect good instead of just absorb it from other people.

Some great things that happened this year:

- New People were born (welcome Alex, Jacob, Cleo, etc) and more are on the way!
- I made a lot of new friends (which I hadn't done in a while)
- We spent a lot of time sitting outside on our roof laughing with friends
- We made some great changes in our house and we love spending time here, perhaps too much time!
- Some much needed traveling together and alone
- Another stellar year of friends and family
- Some incredible professional highs

I don't give much thought to resolutions. I think my last one was to buy a couch and it was 2002. I do however think a whole lot about what I'm doing and how I could do it better. In the past few years this means a focus on skills like listening and writing. Now you may be tempted to stop me and tell me that I am good at neither listening or writing and I would tell you that this was about growth, not objective measures. (Meaning I'm a hell of a lot better than I used to be). The skill that I would most like to cultivate this year is to become a better skeptic and develop more of a push back personality. I don't mean that I want to be more of a bitch but I do want to take the skills that I've developed as a mentor and editor and apply them to more situations. I guess I want to raise my standards and demand more from people. I want people to think of me as someone who tells them the truth (and not in a bitchy way).

I would also like to keep a few things going that I started this year.
- Since September I've been running with a friend of mine 2-3 times a week.
- I've been eating many more vegetarian meals in an attempt to reduce my food footprint (not because I don't love meat)
- I've cut way back on my red meat consumption

Some new resolutions:
- Start shooting more photography again
- Develop a budget and a sense of what I spend money on
- Watch less TV
- Remember everyone's birthdays, anniversaries, etc
- Find a steady volunteer thing, the coop sucks up my volunteer time and I'm not sure it's worth it

I've come to expect each year to include a major death or very bad diagnosis and I think death, like saggy tits, heart burn, and yelling at kids to get off my lawn, is one of those things that you must accept as you get older. My biggest resolution is to keep living a life that makes me happy, proud, and strong. I want to make sure that when life changes I've squeezed every bit of goodness out of it.

Now that it's been a year and a half after my dad's death, this lesson, live as much of life as possible, had sank into me and changed my world view. I thought the hole that his death left (and I'm now starting to feel the hole that Adam's death left) would never be filled and I still believe that it won't be filled entirely. But if anything is going to fill it it will be new experiences, warm summer nights, staying up too late, decadent food, incredibly good books and I can never underestimate the power of snuggling. It's the little, itty bitty things that make up a life well lived that have yanked me back and I am so grateful everyday for those who taught me about them.

So, I'm very excited about 2010. What a decade! I'm so much happier, better, saner than I was 10 years ago and I hope that the next year offers some great stuff and less not great stuff. Merry Merry Happy Happy and I promise I'll pull in those dead plants and holiday decorations very soon!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Party Like It's 1999

So Abby and I had a holiday open house last weekend. It was pretty rad. We were sitting around at 5 pm, watching the snow start to accumulate, and convinced ourselves that no one would show up. Very quickly, much quicker than we ever imagined, the place filled up, quite to the brim. It turns out that while few people wanted to take the subway or bus to our house, everyone from our neighborhood was very excited about walking through the snow and then quite content to settle in for the evening.

I've never thought of myself as someone who likes to host parties but after 4 or 5 big parties at our house I find that I really enjoy it. I enjoyed it even more this time because I got to plan the party with a pro (Abby) and we had a great mix of people.

The husband, who is wise and wonderful, suggested that people leave their boots out in the hallway, perhaps the best decision of the year!

Plant Tree

I've been yearning for a Christmas Tree for a few years now but haven't actually gotten one. This was the first year that I decorated anything for the holidays and I was determined to be festive and blah blah blah. The husband, knowing that I lose interest in things after a few minutes or a shiny thing, convinced me to wait a week before getting a tree. He, as usual, was totally right and I talked myself out of a tree in about an hour. My rational: we live on the 4th floor with tiny stairways, have no decorations or lights, and don't have a stand. I also knew that I would want a tiny one, due to the no lights no decoration thing, but the husband would want one that was in proportion to our house and it would be huge. So I bought some garland and wreaths and prepertrated my holiday "joy" on the outside of our building.

But, the need for a christmas tree reemerged when I started wrapping gifts and we decided to decorate Plant. Plant, who has always been known very affectionaly as Plant, is a lemon tree who has been with us for probably 6 years. He started off a stunted little nubbin of a tree while we lived on 15th street. The husband took over and the thing blossomed (not literally but like a malnourished child who finally gets over rickets). He very lovingly waters and cares for Plant and it has made it through 2 moves and a stint at Abby's office. This is perhaps only important because our other house plants have met horrible torturous deaths (sorry mom). Yes I do have a lovely "garden" but I can't keep a house plant alive for more than a month.

So the husband had a very definate decorating plan for Plant, a single ornament and here it is. It also became obvious that Plant is growing into a Tree and has hit some sort of adolescence. So Plant may soon be renamed Tree.

Isn't he festive?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Rebellious Teenage Years

For those of you who don't know, I graduated from college in 2000. We endured these horrible questions about what our graduating class would have to endure as the "millenial" class, I'm pretty sure none of us saw this coming.

In spite of my incredible education I missed the announcement that we only had a few short weeks until the decade was over and we headed from our not so innocent adolescence into our rebellious teenage years. I've written extensively about my past few years and I thought it was high time to reflect upon some of my favorite things about the past decade. They were not necessarily invented in this decade but they rose to prominence or scale since I graduated from college, and they've made my life radically different. In no particular order, I present to you, the awkward, gawky adolescence of this millenium graduate.

* Lycra/ stretch jeans. I don't know about you, but I used to dread washing my jeans. They would go from soft and supple to hard and scratchy in a thirty minutes. While their not perfect and still take some breaking in, it's only about 30 minutes and they are good to go. For us curvy girls, this had made all the difference in the world.

* Genetic barcoding. I went to a great undergraduate institution but despite all that education my biology degree was essential obsolete due to the genetics revolution. I don't even recognize most of biology without trying really hard and one of those reasons is that most biologists, even the ones that do what I always wanted to do, are geneticists in some way or another. A quick lay definition: you can take a living creature and compare its DNA to another's in a giant database. The ability to extract the DNA is not new but the ease of comparison is startling. Thanks genetics for making the first 21 years of my education totally obsolete.

* Blogs. You're reading this so you obviously get it, right? While the internet/Internet has radically changed almost everything about how we get and receive information, few of these things enhance my life like blogs. I never knew I like looking at puppies, interior design, or some statistician named Nate Silver but I look at those things everyday, sometimes all day (that would be the puppies). Looking back I never thought I would have access to so many opinions, styles of writing and capturing images, or communities as I do now and I'm not sure what was there before blogs? Smaller locally-oriented communities? 'Zines? Graffiti? Self publishing maybe? Never before has any idiot with an internet connection been able to put their ideas out there and find an audience, even if that audience is just her mom.

* Cheap data storage. I bought a terrabyte drive for $159. That's like the aircraft carrier of storage and it's filled with thousands of digital pictures, multiple copies of my dissertation, three or four full TV series, and a few random word documents. I suspect that cheap data storage had made much of what we do online possible but for me it means not carrying around those silly square disks, now i carry round or thumb shaped ones.

* Reality TV. I'm not sure if its good or bad. It brought us Top Chef and So You Think You Can Dance but it also brought us America's Next Top Model and Hidden Potential (two time sucks that I admit to). I think these will shade on the side of good but only because of my next choice.

* DVR. Oh.So.Good. It's not the fast forwarding of commercials that is great, it's the ability to watch what you want whenever you want. And that oh so awesome moment during a sporting event when you spouse shrieks from the other room "Meg you have to see this!" AND THE GAME HAS BEEN PAUSED. Of course I never really watched TV before the DVR...

Ok, more to come.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Some Holiday Decorations

I really got in the holiday spirit last weekend and bought a whole bunch of garland, some wreaths and enough christmas lights to satisfy a sorority house. They had been wallowing in our garage all week and I finally was home, on a sunny day, and in the light and put them up. I should say that I am not crafty, I'm somewhat anticrafty, so I've learned not to do anything that requires skill, style, taste, or thumbs. I wrapped the garland, hung the wreaths and decorated the hell out of one of our window boxes (the window box lights really made my husband question this whole thing).

I may not be crafty but I am tenacious and at least my corner smells a little bit better (on a windless day if you put your face right in the pine).

Some Thanksgiving Pictures

Twee or am I getting old?

I just find my niece, nephew, and the dog that I dog sat for to be too cute. Like they could out cute a fluffy bunny or that surprised kitten on youtube. My niece spends most of her time rolling, trying to crawl and laughing. My nephew came to the museum where I work and ran around looking for owls. When he found them (as seen here) he ran back and forth going "who who who". Molly, the dog, is kind of a disaster and this is her trying to jump in the Gowanus Canal, something I don't think her owners would really appreciate.

Next thing you know I'll be wearing sweaters with angora cats on them, yelling at kids to get off my lawn, and running around shoving my phone in people's faces telling them to look at my nephew. Actually, I already do two of those things but I'll leave it up to you to guess which ones.

Updated Kitchen Pics

I resisted putting up good pictures of our finished kitchen because I wanted it to be a surprise for my Mother In Law. Here are a few. Note the beautiful magnetic knife mount. That was a hard fought battle against the tile and against the most unhelpful staff at giant box hardware store down the street. I have to admit, I would not have been sad if, in the process of pre-drilling the holes, the Husband had cracked the tiles to pieces and we had to replace the whole thing.

And here is a bad camera phone picture of the kitchen in action. It is exactly how it should be: messy from a festive evening of cooking and celebrating.