Friday, February 27, 2009
I remember learning to write in cursive in elementary school. Several students would take turns going to the blackboard at the front of the classroom, clasping the chalk, and slowly copying the flourished letters. Additionally, I tried to teach myself calligraphy with some old pens, colored inks, and a guidebook that I found in our house from goodness knows what decade. I wrote precisely in the script form for a long time, but by now my capital "Fs" and Ts" and Ss" are not as correct as I learned them. However, I often get compliments on my handwriting, though I will admit that I do not write by hand nearly as often as I did while still in school.
My job often requires me to decipher manuscript revisions proposed by authors, written in their personal handwriting on hard copies. I cannot count the number of times that the illegible handwriting has baffled me and required a follow-up e-mail for clarification.
I also cannot remember the last handwritten letter I received. Most any handwritten mail I get today is in the form of holiday or birthday cards with a short note scrawled beneath the printed text. I miss receiving handwritten letters, and I miss writing them (although, the problem boils down to, who has the time when e-mail and text messages are so darn convenient?). I would be beside myself to receive an antiquated, pages-long handwritten love note from Husband, but, in the spirit of the true geek that he is, I should probably just settle for a love e-mail instead.
My deceased paternal grandmother (an English teacher and editor of her college newspaper, go figure) was a prolific letter writer. After she lost her vision, my family even hired another woman come in and write letters as she dictated them. I wonder how I will appear to my children or grandchildren through my legacy of prose. Will a piece of me by obscured by the lack of beautiful, personal handwriting? They will surely never see the many e-mails I send to friends or stories I have typed out and saved on my computer.
Today, handwriting has become a scarce commodity. Brides hire professional calligraphers to address their wedding invitations, costing hundreds or thousands of dollars, simply because they were never taught this art. This practice would probably seem absurd just a century ago. It seems we will soon revert to illegibly childish hieroglyphics to communicate with one another and leave for the future in handwritten form.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Sometimes, I do miss certain possessions, but mostly, I can't remember what we even actually have. The majority of the items that we acquired during the bridal shower and wedding were immediately stored and we've really only inventoried those items once, the morning after our wedding in the hotel room. Do we have a cheese grater? Juice glasses? Kitchen washcloths? I couldn't tell you. Husband and I were recently confronted with the vast accumulation of a lifetime of stuff when his grandfather moved out of his home. We inherited quite a few of these possessions as well.
So, what if a tornado or fire ripped through my home? The first items people usually choose to save are those around them, their pets, and their photographs. I would have to agree, but beyond that? I certainly wouldn't save my cheese grater or juice glasses. I would probably save my grandmother's china head doll from her childhood and the Parisian purse she left me from her travels. I might save my scrapbooks of work from school and my mother's artwork and my wedding dress.
Although it will probably be overwhelming, I would be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to being reunited with these possessions, but how many of them do we actually need? We are certainly privileged with friends and family who helped contribute to our new household, but how much is too much? What are the truly important things in life? What would you save?
Monday, February 23, 2009
It isn't much, just Husband's green office, but this makes me feel as though we have made some kind of progress! It is a very beautiful, rich green. A little more "hunter green" than I thought it would be, but I don't think it will be too country-ish of a color once we get some contemporary furniture into this room! We also dabbed our blue on our master bedroom wall, and I cannot wait until that gets painted (it is just so lovely). This weekend we also braved the icy roads and were able to visit Lumber Liquidators (because the word "liquidators" is always good in conjunction with expensive merchandise!) We found some hardwood flooring we absolutely love: bamboo called "Great Silk Road." Here is a terrible picture of the beautiful sample. Now all we have to do is order it, then pick out complimentary cabinets for the kitchen, some carpeting for the upstairs, and we're in business, y'all!
A few months ago, I read a lengthy New Yorker article about the use of medical marijuana in California. The struggle between the state government's stance and the federal government's view was intriguing. You could grow, sell, and buy, with a doctor's written permission, under the state law, but you were still subject to the federal government's legal intervention. A profitable, dangerous, potentially helpful, easily exploited industry.
Recently, Husband and I started watching the Weeds television series through the Netflix streaming queue. Who could be against the lovable suburban mom, Nancy (Mary Louise Parker), trying to maintain her children's privileged lifestyle after their father dies by becoming the local yuppie dealer? Plus, Kevin Nealon. 'Nuff said. I would highly recommend Weeds for entertainment value, but probably not as a how-to guide for breaking into the pot business.
Still, the debate rages on. Click here for a very (short) interesting article about the waves this issue continues to generate in California; is pot the answer to their economic woes?
Friday, February 20, 2009
I even had the opportunity to tell the President about a dear friend who (in real life) was terminated from her job yesterday. A government job, which I have always associated with stability, but no more. She was incredibly dedicated and genuinely concerned about the children her department worked for. The department had been cycling through terminations for weeks prior. She was fired for no reason other than her number had come up. I am sure the bureaucrat in charge of the debacle thought he was doing good by trimming budgets (and, therefore, employees). In reality, he is ruining lives and risking America's very future, the educational well-being of the children for whom my friend worked.
In my dream, when I told Obama about my friend losing her job, he was saddened and empathetic. In the dream and in reality, the weight of our country's future rests on his shoulders. It has been about a month since he became the President, but I think American citizens still view him as our great white hope (no irony intended; don't even get me started). Obama is the Harvey Dent to our Gotham. I just hope Obama doesn't follow suit and lose half his face and most of his sanity.
I think even my subconscious has this mindset. Each day brings new stories about people losing their jobs, their homes, their lives. It may not be a Great depression, but it's the worst our generation has experienced. I think my dream signified the idea that we all hope he will take care of us, feeding us cupcakes and cutting our hair.
In reality, we can rely on no one but ourselves. I pray for the future of this country and for the future of my friend. She is talented, intelligent, and ambitious. I know she will emerge from this situation stronger than before. We all need to demonstrate the resiliency of the United States of America and make the changes that will fix the problems that put us into this mess in the first place, inadvertently or not. Work hard, save your earnings, love your friends and family. I still believe in the sturdiness of these values that have always been important to this country, values that we all just lost sight of. We need to be our own great white hope.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
My faithful public let me know that there is an entire anti- "txt tlk" movement. I will shamefully admit that I have been known to use the occasional "what r u up 2" while texting or IM'ing (I will use the excuse that I don't have a qwerty keyboard on my cell phone, but I can't come up with anything good to excuse the lack of full keyboard utilization). Txt tlk has become a kind of shorthand for the most priviledged and most apathetic generation yet. And, as a consequence, also all the other generations that copy them to feel young and trendy and grammar-inhibition free. I seriously have an editor who ends each e-mail to me with "Thanx."
What confuses me the most is the addition of letters in txt tlk that make the words longer than they normally would be. "Hott" and "kewelz" are two examples that spring to mind. I sometimes use these when I am being silly, but most of the writers are completely serious. Isn't the point of txt tlk to make things faster to type? Inevitably, txt tlk does not make deciphering the hieroglyphics faster to read, but I suppose that is an unfortunate side effect of this impatient need for immediacy.
The pervasive illiteracy is somewhat disheartening, if only because it is sure to get worse and much more pervasive (see: Twitter). Texting and IM'ing aside, however, I always thought of e-mail as a stand-in for handwritten letters. Would you write out "how r u doin" in fine cursive on expensive parchment and then spend 42 cents on a stamp for that letter? There is possibly no greater simple pleasure for me than to receive a lovely handwritten note in the mail from a close friend or relative. The time and effort mean so much more than dashing off a five-minute e-mail, rife with misspellings, intentional or otherwise.
Unfortunately, I can't promise I will never again text or IM you in some form of txt tlk (I accept your mocking when it inevitably happens), but please join with me as I raise the battle cry to keep e-mail and all other forms of communication free of the confusing, lazy junk. Because, really, do you want to make the baby Jesus cry? What? You do? You sick bastard.
*Many thanks to Ravinok for acting as muse for this piece. Also, he came up with the title. I can't claim that kind of genius as my own.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Marriage, you ask? Nah, been there, done that.
The purchase of a house, possibly? Dude, see above.
Children, perhaps? Don't count on it, buddy.
No, the conclusion we have reached is the all-important choice of Living Room Wall Color. Introducing: Holly Glen, Pebble Beige, and Ultra White.
WHAT? What do you mean they're boring? Believe me, in person, away from the grossly inadequate work of a cheap scanner, they are beautiful. The green is not so terrifyingly forest-like and will adorn a single accent wall, highlighting the love of our life, the television. The beige is soft and creamy and will be painted on the remaining three walls and continue up the stairs, creating an airy feel. And the white is crisp and stunning, to be placed on all of the trim in the house for clean, beautiful lines. Okay, so maybe they're not hot pink and neon blue, but I think they will work out quite nicely, thankyouverymuch. Either way, these colors will facilitate the most important part of our entire renovation: the eradication of our couch pillows.
I really, really, REALLY hate these pillows. They came with the couch. Usually, I love red. These pillows, however, disgust me. I don't know why. Probably some deep seated issues that will require years of therapy. Or, maybe the following fabrics will erase these pillows from my psyche. I'm planning to con my mother into slip covering the ugly existing pillows in BEAUTY. Observe:
Twill water lotus in spinach. The bright blue might not go so well, but I love the bold, contemporary pattern. Also, I love the word "lotus." Is that reason enough to purchase a fabric?
Pegasus. I don't know what a Greek winged horse has to do with fabric, but look at the pretty! These make me think of olives. While I don't personally like to eat olives, anything that reminds me of food is a good thing. Isn't the green striking?
Frisbee mink. This is a similar pattern to the olives above, but is a little more wonky and fun. Possibly my least favorite of the batch, but still light years better than the current Ugly.
Twill wood fern in moss. There's something soothing and organic about this fabric. I could nap on this, no problem.
And finally, Jacquard Damask. It's no secret that damask may be my one true love. I think the black and cream color in this fabric would be very graphic against the tan and green wall and couch colors. Good enough to eat.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
You can almost hear their screams. Or terrified quacks. I felt like I accomplished a lot in several hours worth of work. View the spoils of my victory:
A truly beautiful sight. I have one hundred and ten billiondy percent decided I hate wallpaper. Perhaps time will soften my animosity, but I don't know. I'm going to be having nightmares about this house's wallpaper border for a long, long time.
Doesn't the lack of ugly border make the room feel so much bigger? Now just imagine the room with paint...and flooring...and a new light...and...
Friday, February 13, 2009
Oh, yes, it's turning out to be an awesome day.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
It's that last bit that I'm personally banking on (HA! you see what I did there?). In honor of this unfettered spending spree to jumpstart a car with no wheels (the economy, get it?), here's my dream purchase that I could now possibly afford, just maybe, with fingers and toes crossed:
NEW CABINETS, BABY! I absolutely love the craftsman/shaker style. Such simple lines and classic elegance without a lot of superfluous gingerbread.
Our current kitchen cabinets are...fine...aside from the thick plastering of cat hair and the not-so-functional layout. I had fully intended to just slap some paint on the old cabinets, but with the new tax credit, our budget might now be able to include something more beautiful and useful. If we're going to have an awesome quartz countertop (see Orgasm), it would be almost criminal not to get something equally pretty to hold that countertop up. At least, that's the argument I'm planning to use on Husband.
In the meantime, enjoy your potential government windfall and just try to ignore that whole no Social Security when we're 62 thing.
Your sleep-deprived neighbors
Monday, February 9, 2009
I have never thought my first name or my maiden name were hard to spell, but apparently I am very, very wrong. I have had a rather long lifetime of misspelled names, both first and last. I can understand substituting a "C" for the "K" in my first name, or the occasional use of a "y," but not after someone has become well acquainted with me. My elementary school couldn't even spell my name correctly on letters they sent to my parents. In high school, I received a trophy from a local organization at the annual awards night, and my name was very misspelled on the engraved plaque. Don't they have people who check these things? Along a similar vein, I had a professor in college (he was also my adviser) who repeatedly referred to me by the "Kathy" nickname that I abhor. Finally, by my third and final year, he started to catch himself every once in awhile, but I didn't often correct him because I am nice and respectful and simmering with anger that will one day blow and result in multiple casualties.
When I mail letters or send e-mails, I try to be very conscientious about the other person's name, particularly at work where even leaving off a "Doctor" title of the name can result in some ridiculously (and petty) snippy replies. I find it terribly insulting to blatantly misspell someone's name, especially if it is clearly displayed in the e-mail address line.
So, what's the deal? Are these people just careless or passive aggressive? Or am I really just that forgettable? Because either way, I'm getting darn sick of being Cathryn.
Friday, February 6, 2009
This mask is my new best friend. I felt a little silly trotting around with this thing on my face, but it virtually eliminated my clogged-lungs-can't-breathe-slowly-asphyxiating feeling. Plus, with all the dust I kicked up, it was truly a lifesaver. Please note the horrific bathroom wallpaper border in the background. On purple walls. There's apparently no accounting for taste.
It was a little eery cleaning out the cabinets. I kind of felt like the previous owners had suddenly died and I was erasing their life's possessions. Who seriously leaves their toothbrush? Gross. I also found a random ceramic painted rooster in the vanity cabinet. I don't know what these people were into, but...
This delightful coat rack (?) is located in our garage. Every single coat hook is different. No, I don't know why.
This is (part of!) the recycling I segregated from the trash. The previous owner also left us two half empty bottles of wine. Thoughtful.
The fruit of my labor: Six bulging contractor's bags full of trash. Plus a random sign and half a rake. These are the reason I slept so well last night. Also the reason I immediately took a shower when I returned to our current abode. I wonder when the moment will come when I walk into our new house and don't instantly feel dirty.
Our inheritance: These are the belongings left by the previous owners that I deemed sellable. Some garage sale goer will want a brand new briefcase, a teapot, and some shower curtains, right?!
Father-in-Law peeling off some of the living room's ugly wallpaper border. They didn't paint the walls; they just put up border. Freaking everywhere. *shudders*
Husband following in his father's footsteps. This is our master bedroom and one of the few rooms with painted walls. And more border.
This weekend I am looking forward to more renovations. My dream is to have all of the carpet extracted from the home by the end of the two days. We'll see if that actually becomes a reality.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
1. I am named after Lake Katherine in Wisconsin. My parents owned a cabin on that lake, and my father announced that my name would be Katherine Marie right after I was born. This was the first my mother had heard of the news.
2. I am an only child.
3. My parents had me late in life. My kindergarten teacher called my Dad “Grandpa” when he picked me up from school one day.
4. I have one set of living grandparents. However, my paternal grandmother died just a few months shy of her 101st birthday.
5. The biggest fish I ever caught was on Lake Katherine a few summers before I was married. It was a muskie and was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life. I would have liked to have it stuffed and mounted, but we ate it, which was still okay with me.
6. I had asthma as a child and remember some really terrible attacks. Thankfully, I grew out of it, but I still don’t have any lung capacity.
7. The limited lung capacity probably doesn’t help the fact that I do not enjoy exercising. Also, the sweat. I hate sweating.
8. I am a very shy, introverted person. I think I come off as snobby to new people I meet, but I’m really just afraid to speak to them. I think I have sub-par social skills.
9. I absolutely hate tanning, and it grosses me out. Sunscreen is my friend, and I love my pasty complexion.
10. I graduated from college in 3 years instead of 4. When I would tell people I was graduating early, their response was consistently, “Why?” That really, really, really annoyed me.
11. One of my minors in college was French. I lived in Aix en Provence and Paris for 5 weeks the summer before my senior year of high school, and it was an amazing experience.
12. I would love to take Kyle to France and would also like to travel much more extensively in Europe and Asia.
13. Kyle and I bought our first home in January. It is everything we wanted: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, with a deck, a porch, a 2 car garage, and a large basement (the basement was what I really wanted). We are so excited to fix it up and really make it ours!
14. One of my favorite activities is scrapbooking and making cards. The house has a bonus room that is going to be my craft room, and I cannot wait to start crafting!
15. I love books, but I hardly ever make time for reading. This is something I want to work on more.
16. What doesn’t help my lack of reading time is that I watch too much television. I’m looking forward to curbing this habit when Kyle and I move into our own home. We are planning to have the most basic of cable, and Netflix is our new best friend.
17. I never leave the house without mascara on.
18. My first car was a yellow Volkswagen bug. I loved that car so much, but I traded it in for a responsible four door car. At least it’s red.
19. My dream job would be to come up with names for nail polish colors.
20. When I was young I had a ridiculously large nail polish collection, probably over 300 bottles. I still have them all in a tote in my parents’ house, but I hardly ever wear nail polish anymore.
21. I took piano lessons when I was a child and played the clarinet in band. I quit both eventually, but wish my parents had forced me to continue my piano lessons (against my will, at the time).
22. I have never had my blood drawn, been under anesthesia, broken any bones, or had stitches.
23. A few of those facts will change next month when I have my wisdom teeth removed.
24. Lately, I have been thinking more and more about having children. I am actually beginning to look forward to starting our family in the next few years.
25. I feel like the most blessed person in the world to be married to my best friend. There is no one else in the entire world that I like being around more.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Husband is planning to purchase a new desk for his home office. It's his very own space and I want him to get whatever he would like. As long as it's pretty. I found the following desk at Overstock. com. This desk could NOT get any cooler.
My random desk searching inevitably led to random bedspread searching. I don't think this bedspread would quite work with the slate blue color we've tentatively picked out for the master, but it's still lovely. And very comfy looking. And bubbly. It tickles my nose.This looks equally comfy. Buttercream and grey. Yum.Bedspreads led to rugs for our living room. I've noticed I have a possibly unhealthy obsession with geometric figures. I guess it's very modern, and I love the clean lines that modernity brings. I like symmetry and orderliness and all things anal. Um...that came out wrong. Not all things anal...
Yet more squares. There's something so soothing about every square in its place. Plus, RED and BLACK. I don't think either of these colors would work in the living room I've designed in my head, but they're so calming to look at.
Rugs then led to bathroom vanities (what, you don't understand the correlation?) Notice the mirror? You can't even tell how it's attached to the wall! And the vanity is is Stunning and Floating and see how the white porcelain fits so perfectly into the wooden square?! BEAUTY DOES NOT HAVE TO SACRIFICE COUNTER SPACE, PEOPLE!
DUAL FLOATING SINKS?! *Fans face with folded newspaper* I've got the vapors! I think I need to go lay down...ooo...headboards...
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Please, no lame last name color jokes, please. I may smile and laugh when you make these jokes in my presence, but be aware I am secretly choosing the best weapon for decapitation.
We took yesterday off work, prepared to sit by the phone all day waiting for a call from the gas company. We were pleasantly surprised that the phone rang closer to 8 a.m. than 4 p.m. However, it didn't ring long enough for Husband to answer the phone. The gas company may have promised us a half hour preparation period before the technician (?) would arrive, but we actually had about five minutes. Husband was desperately trying to call the gas company back when he watched the white truck drive up to the house. But, whatever, the heat is now on.
Yesterday, we also purchased blinds for the entire house, and I am more excited about these blinds than should be natural. The blinds are called "Cape Cod Roman Shades" in Golden Oak and our house is kind of a Cape Cod-ish style, I guess, so if we had a theme, I suppose that could be it. But we really don't have a theme, evidenced by the following paint samples we picked up at the local hardware store this weekend.
The store had really neat clear plastic sample rooms. You simply inserted your paint swatch behind the room to see what the finished product might look like. Here's the plastic kitchen without any color behind it:
Here's the kitchen with "Hollow Cavern" brown and "Belpink" cream. The cream is a little too rose-colored for my liking, so it will probably be closer to a neutral light tan. All of the trim in the house will probably be a warm white.
We are planning to paint one or two walls of the kitchen as well as the kitchen cabinets the dark, chocolatey brown to match the Riverstone Quartz countertop that I am completely in love with. The color is described as "Aspen." I just call it "Orgasm." Seriously, I might leave Husband for this countertop:
Husband and I both really liked this "Himalayan Eyes" blue color for our master bedroom. My scanner did a terrible job with these colors, so please trust me that this is not purple (again, stifle your color jokes). In person, the color swatch looks like more of a slate blue. With the white trim, I might have to nickname this room "Orgasm" instead. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
The following three colors are our ideas for our living room and two upstairs bedrooms. One of the upstairs bedrooms will serve as Husband's office for the time being (until we produce another human being who needs the space more). Hopefully, by that time, the basement will be finished and his office will be relocated there. In the meantime, just imagine these three colors for our living room. The first is "Boston Coastline," a muted blue-green:
The next is "Restoration Green," a brighter, more apple green (but not melt-your-eyes bright):
And finally, Husband's favorite, "Dynamic Forest," a darker, muted green (seriously, this scanner is crap). Husband thinks that the darker green color will be nice in a room with the television so there will be a more entertainment-friendly environment. I'm not yet sold on having such a dark color, but I am open to the idea and still trying to decide which colors I will be able to live with for the next several years. What are your thoughts, dear reader?