Friday, August 29, 2008

Book Club Meeting

::Happy Friday Dance::

It is the (payday!) Friday-eve of a 3-day Holiday Weekend! I am so very excited!

Yesterday evening was the first official meeting of our Book Club. Somehow, the boys ended up tagging along to our meeting also, but that was fine because we were upstairs and they were downstairs entertained by Wii. We still got a lot of girly-quality time in. It's pretty informal - just 2 other girls and I - who usually hang out together anyway - reading the same books and setting a time and date to discuss. Fun right?

To be honest, I kind of have mixed feelings about the Book Club. When my friend first suggested it, I thought it sounded like a wonderful idea. I love to read books. I love to talk about the books I've read, but don't often get the chance to do so, so I just move right along to the next one. That part is all well and good, but the part that I don't love is reading on a schedule.

For example, our first Book Club read was Breaking Dawn. We have all been following the series so it was an obvious first choice since we knew we were all going to read it. The only issue is that the other two girls were planning to buy the book and were already waitlisted for it, while I was already on a waitlist at the library to borrow the book, which is where I get all of my reads. No big deal, one of the other ladies was more than happy to lend me her book after she finished reading it. Nothing wrong with that.

But. We decided on BD around the second week of July, it was published the first week of August, and we decided we would meet about it on the 21st of August. That's cool. I was reading other books during this time frame as always and I was waiting for either my library waitlisted book to become available, or for my friend to finish with hers. It ended up that they both became available to me on the very same day. This day was when I was halfway through a wonderful book written in a VERY different style than BD that just happened to be about 700 pages long.


Of course I borrowed the friend's book and let my library waitlisted book become available for others on the list to borrow. I stopped reading the book I had been reading in order to start this other 750 page book so that I could have it done by the time we were meeting. It took me quite a while to get into BD for many reasons, but I think the fact that I had to switch gears mid-read in another book to pick this one up was one of my main issues.

I'm the kind of reader that when I pick up a book - especially a great one that I really like - I'm totally into my read. I like to spend all my spare time focusing on it, and I can't wait to finish it, and usually do so in just a few days. I really dislike having to put it down, or having multiple books going at once. I feel like I can't give them both the attention that they deserve at the same time.

Of course it ended up fine, we had fun at the Book Club meeting, but of course we were only on topic about 5% of the time, the rest of the time was spent focused on other girly conversations. All in all, I had a lot of fun, I loved the actual meeting part, I really enjoyed reading the same book together, and I'm definitely going to stick with the club, but this whole experience is new to me and very interesting. I'm not sure if I will get used to this reading on a schedule thing, or if it will always slightly annoy me. Maybe I just need to plan better, which is what I'm going to try to do with the next book - Pride and Prejudice. We'll see.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Weekend Recap.

Saturday was H's Fantasy Football draft day. Presumably, that went well. While he entertained himself with imaginary football teams, I went out to lunch with my friend Rachel. It was nice catching up. I then came back home and relaxed for another couple of hours by myself (well, with the dog and Kitteh running around as always).

Once H got home, we took a trip to 2 outlet stores to see if they had the couch that we had our eye on. They had similar styles, but not quite what we wanted, however we were able to verify that the sale price on the couch that we wanted was a good deal, and that the quality will be good. Once we got home, we ordered our new couch! I'm so excited to get this. I'm beginning to really dislike our current couch. Of course we have to wait like 5 weeks for the new one to get here, but it will be so worth it!

This is it:

We got it for 50% off, pretty good deal if I do say so myself.

Now, we are trying to decide on a chair.

H wants the matching leather chair.

I want a complementary fabric/upholstered chair. I don't like things to be super matchy-matchy and I'm also worried about having too much leather in a small space. H says there can never be too much leather.

Enter "Chair and a half". This may deserve it's own post, but I'm going to include it here.

This is the matching leather chair that H originally wanted:

It's a bit smaller than the chair that we currently have, but it looks comfy.

This is the complimentary chair that I want:
It's a beautiful shade of Olive which would look perfect in our family room.

Here is the corresponding "chair and a half" that I opened my big mouth about:
Same beautiful shade of Olive as the chair that I want, only larger. The problem is that we have a small family room. The "chair and a half", although comfy, I'm sure, is slightly larger than the bohemoth chair that we currently have in it's place. H is convinced that "chair and a half" will provide ultimate comfort to his booty. I think it might just be too large for our space, but I think my choice has come down to the matching leather chair, which I don't even know if H is that interested in anymore, or chair and a half.

H is still thinking about it. *sigh* We'll see.

Sunday I spent doing the usual housework chores and we FINALLY got the cabinet doors up. Here's something wonderful -> when we originally shopped for hinges, we found that Lowe's had the ones we need priced at $3 per hinge. We even looked at the package. Well, turns out that there are actually 2 hinges per package. They come in a set, it's just hard to see them both in the little baggie. It's actually $1.50 per hinge.

We only find this out AFTER we purchased hinges off eBay, which took FOREVER to get to our house, THEN ended up being the wrong design, so we ended up biting the bullet and deciding to pay $3 per hinge. It turned out to be 1/2 the price of what we were expecting, but still slightly more expensive than what we could have gotten them for on eBay IF we could have found the correct style, which we apparently failed at before. Now, I have to return the ones that we purchased and waited forever to receive instead of going right around the corner and picking up the hinges that actually ended up being the ones that we used.

Oh well. You win some, you lose some.

In other news, the kitchen looks fab! I love it! It looks completely different, much cleaner, newer, and more open! I can't wait to get the electrical taken care of so that we can get the walls finished!

I'll upload some pics ASAP!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Not Good.

We FINALLY received our cabinet hinges in the mail after waiting about 2 weeks for them. So glad that I paid $12 shipping on them.

We open up the box and... they are not what we need.

This does not please me.

Now we have to figure out what we are going to do now.

All I know is that we have to get the cabinet doors put back on. I can't stand tripping over them any longer!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I've Been Killing The Earth and I Didn't Even Realize It.

Yesterday was our first adventure shopping with reusable grocery bags. I purchased 3 grocery bags for a little less than $3 each (including shipping) from eBay where there are many different options. These are larger and sturdier than the $0.99 bags that some grocery stores are now offering (at least IMO).

About 2 weeks ago a Green-iphany (a Green epiphany ; ) struck me: I've been voluntarily harming the Earth without even realizing it! Okay, maybe that's a bit extreme, but I did realize that my "recycling" of plastic grocery store bags wasn't really enough.

In the past, we have used the plastic grocery bags as lunch bags. Each week, we save the bags instead of throwing them out and then reuse them to carry our lunches. However, once lunch is over each day, the plastic bags get tossed into the trash anyway. It just occurred after 2 uses instead of one.

I realized, with my Green-iphany, that this isn't really an excellent practice in trying to eliminate waste. Plastic bags are still being thrown in the trash. So, I hopped on the reusable grocery bag bandwagon (much to H's chagrin ; ). When I told H about my plans, he was not thrilled, which seems to be a common thread with any of my attempts at Green Living ideas.

Truly, I'm not asking him to cut off his arm to donate to the effort (although he acts as if I am). I'm asking to make very minor, barely noticeable, life "realignments" (as opposed to "changes"). Not only does he just have to go along with the minor things I'm proposing, but he doesn't even have to think of the ideas on his own. I do all the research. I have all the ideas. I'm trying to save the world in my own little way! He's going behind me and trying to make the Earth implode on itself.

Okay, maybe not quite that extreme, but my ideas are usually met with resistance and an inexplicable unhappy face where I can hear him thinking, "Seriously? Where does she come up with these crazy ideas? I hope that she doesn't turn into some dirty hippie."

::eye roll::

Of course I'm no where near heading toward a life of dreadlocks, smelling of Patchouli while rocking out to Phish. ::shudders:: This would not make me happy at all.

Anyway, I'm very pleased with the reusable grocery bags. Magically, the baggers who usually like to put an average of 2 items per grocery bag (which drives me crazy!) were able to fit all of our groceries (minus the TP, and Diet Coke, which of course didn't need to be in a bag) into 2 of the large reusable grocery bags. Very refreshing.

I do believe that the reusable bags have won out based on convenience.

Take that Mark!

Now all you can complain about is the "dirty hippie" smell, known to the rest of the world as new material smell. I think it shall fade away into oblivion along with the rest of your Green-related complaints ; )

Monday, August 18, 2008

Weekend Recap.

Friday evening, we went to an early movie. We saw Mirrors and it was really scary! I'm now convinced that there are people in the mirrors trying to get me, awesome. One thing that really shocked me and made me want to slap people is that they took their kids to the movie! This is an R-rated horror film, it had nudity, very harsh language and it was darn scary! Some lady sitting next to us, brought her kid who was like 5 years old. Totally inappropriate IMO. I know that I should expect it by now, but the irresponsibility of parents amazes me every time. God forbid you should restrict what your young child watches. Ugh!

Aside from that, once the movie was over, we got trapped in the aisle. Like I said, we went to an early movie, around 4.30PM, so the theatre was not full by any means. There were 2 girls sitting to the left of us, and the 2 women with the little kid sitting to the right. The credits start rolling and we get up to leave from the right side, and the people next to us just sat there, didn't even acknowledge that we were trying to leave. So we turned to the left... the people on the left were getting up and preparing to leave, or so it seemed to us. I have no idea what they were doing, but they were moving so slowly even though it was quite apparent that we were trying to escape the darn theatre. So, we turn to the right again, the people over there still weren't budging. I then turn around (we were sitting very close to the front) the ENTIRE theatre had already emptied out. Seriously. The ONLY people left in the theatre was us and the people who were trapping us.

Eventually we got out, of course the people all ended up getting up and leaving at the same time. I still have no idea what took so long, but H and I found it very funny that we ended up being the VERY last people out of the theatre. I think those people on either side of us were very rude. Everyone knows that movie theatre etiquette is to get up and get the Hell out of there! Or, if you're going to drey around and watch the credits, you need to move/stand up so that other people aren't trapped in the aisle.

After the movie, we went out for Mexican, then ran to Target for a couple of things for the house, then over to Wal-mart (always an... experience) to get some organizers for the kitchen cabinets and then home to relax.

Saturday we went down to Mark's Mom's house to visit. We took the puppy with us so that she could play with Mark's Mom's dog, who she just loves to death. They wore each other out as usual with all of their running around. We then went home to relax for the evening.

Sunday was so nice! I had all of the windows open and there was a nice breeze, very unusual for the dog days of summer in Ohio. I cleaned and did laundry as Sunday is my usual day for this and I also got quite a bit of reading done (I'm currently working on Breaking Dawn). I organized/rearranged some of the kitchen cabinets. We are trying to clear out some of the stuff that we don't need for the yard sale that we are planning to have very soon. I'm sure this will be another adventure. We are still waiting to get the hinges so that we can reattach the cabinet doors, I'm starting to get very impatient, but hopefully we will have them very soon.

And, Mark got me a pretty plant that I put in a pot. It's very cute.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Reading Catch-up.

I finished a few books last week, but I'm just now getting the chance to update my blog with them, so here it goes...

From Booklist: Lakshmi, 13, knows nothing about the world beyond her village shack in the Himalayas of Nepal, and when her family loses the little it has in a monsoon, she grabs a chance to work as a maid in the city so she can send money back home. What she doesn't know is that her stepfather has sold her into prostitution. She ends up in a brothel far across the border in the slums of Calcutta, locked up, beaten, starved, drugged, raped, "torn and bleeding," until she submits. In beautiful clear prose and free verse that remains true to the child's viewpoint, first-person, present-tense vignettes fill in Lakshmi's story. The brutality and cruelty are ever present ("I have been beaten here, / locked away, / violated a hundred times / and a hundred timesmore"), but not sensationalized. An unexpected act of kindness is heartbreaking ("I do not know a word / big enough to hold my sadness"). One haunting chapter brings home the truth of "Two Worlds": the workers love watching The Bold and the Beautifulon TV though in the real world, the world they know, a desperate prostitute may be approached to sell her own child. An unforgettable account of sexual slavery as it exists now.

I like this novel, the way the story is told is very unique. I felt that it didn't delve quite as far into the main character's story as I would have liked, but overall it is a very interesting read.

From Publisher's Weekly: Between running her Manhattan yarn shop, Walker & Daughter, and raising her 12-year-old biracial daughter, Dakota, Georgia Walker has plenty on her plate in Jacobs's debut novel. But when Dakota's father reappears and a former friend contacts Georgia, Georgia's orderly existence begins to unravel. Her support system is her staff and the knitting club that meets at her store every Friday night, though each person has dramas of her own brewing. Jacobs surveys the knitters' histories, and the novel's pace crawls as the novel lurches between past and present, the latter largely occupied by munching on baked goods, sipping coffee and watching the knitters size each other up. Club members' troubles don't intersect so much as build on common themes of domestic woes and betrayal. It takes a while, but when Jacobs, who worked at Redbook and Working Woman, hits her storytelling stride, poignant twists propel the plot and help the pacing find a pleasant rhythm.

I didn't enjoy this novel as much as I thought it would. I wanted to read it a while back soon after it first came out after hearing all of the hype, but never did pick it up. I heard more great things about it recently, so I finally decided to read it, and I must say it was a little disappointing. I love the parallels between life and knitting, I love that there is such a focus on history in this novel, but overall, I found the plot a little lacking. It was just 'okay' in my opinion.

This novel is the sequel to Life As We Knew It which I REALLY enjoyed.

From Publisher's Weekly: As riveting as Life as We Knew It and even grittier, this companion novel returns to the premise of that previous book to show how New York City responds to the global disasters that ensue when an asteroid knocks the moon out of orbit. . . . Once again Pfeffer creates tension not only through her protagonist''s day-to-day struggles but also through chilling moral dilemmas: whether to rob the dead, who to save during a food riot, how long to preserve the hope that his parents might return. . . . The powerful images and wrenching tragedies will haunt readers.

I really liked this book because it was essentially a rehashing of Life as We Knew It. I did not like this book because it was essentially a rehashing of Life as We Knew It. What I mean by this is that it was essentially the same story, retold from another's point of view. At times I really liked it, at times I liked the original better.

Overall, I feel that the original novel was much better, which is usually the case with sequels anyway, but looking at the novel on it's own, I do really like it. The conditions that the characters in this book are experiencing are much harsher than that of the characters in the preceeding novel. It was nice to get a different perspective.

I don't know what Pfeffer's plans for continuing this storyline are, but I would definitely read another of her novels, especially if she chooses to write more on this topic. The stories are very unique and extremely thought provoking. I finished reading this in a day, and I felt as though I was living the story along with the characters. I feel that it is a characteristic of a great writer to make the reader feel as though they are actually living the story. Crazy stuff!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Weekend Recap.

Friday we went to Dinner and a Movie with some friends of ours. We ate at Cheesecake Factory, but ended up not having any cheesecake - bummer, seems pointless to eat there without eating any cheesecake, but anyway - and we saw Step Brothers. The movie was okay, there were definitely some funny parts and I laughed quite a bit, but overall I don't feel like there was enough story line to keep me entertained for a full hour and a half. Meh.

Saturday we made the pilgrimage to IKEA! I've been wanting to go since they opened a store in Ohio several months back, but the wedding planning got in the way, both energy and money that we were spending on that, so this was my very first trip!

The one major issue with our trip was that we didn't understand the upstairs "showroom" vs. downstairs "store" dynamic. First, we went upstairs, which as far as I know you have to do, and we were completely assaulted by stuff EVERYWHERE! To be honest, I don't like the showroom setup at all. Everything snakes around and leads into one another, so I felt a little like I was trapped in a very strange dream.

For those who have never been there, the upstairs is comprised of small rooms (maybe 6ft x 6ft?) that are completely decked out decorated with all the fixins. There are probably 50-75 of these little rooms all connected to one another basically. It's like going through a bunch of little houses, very strange, trapping experience. Also, it's not JUST a showroom, there are also displays of stuff that you can buy. We spent a lot of time walking around up there because it's very hard to shop when things are set up that way unless you are willing to say, okay, I want this entire room. I think not.

We made our way slowly through the jungle of mini-rooms and we eventually ended up at a staircase that led downstairs. We had found the Real IKEA, woohoo! I was very skeptical about the store until I made it downstairs, then I had found the real thing! I loved it! There is so much selection, their prices really are great, I found tons that I wanted to buy and we ended up purchasing quite a bit! The only drawback was that we had spent so much time upstairs, that we were tired by the time we made it downstairs. I got a second wind, but H, not so much. Although, to give him props he didn't complain too much, he was quite the trooper!

Our two big purchases that we basically went there to purchase in the first place are a new bookshelf for the family room (to replace the smaller one that we currently have), and curtains for the kitchen (to replace the vertical blinds). We also purchased, some nifty storage things, a metal board that I'm planning to cover with fabric, a really cool rack system for the kitchen, and various decor items including a piece for the kitchen table, and decorative pillows for our bed. It was a wonderful trip, checking out was a madhouse - picture a Saturday at Wal-mart x 3 - but it was worth it! We'll definitely be going back at some point.

Sunday, it was so nice outside, I was able to have the windows open! Quite the treat for August in Ohio. I did laundry and folded a mountain as large as our bed - while the animals were running around ON THE CLOTHES in Kitteh's case! ::shakes head:: Mark finished up painting the cabinets, got the drawers back in, and cleaned up the countertops!!! I'm so excited to have my kitchen back to semi-order, but of course we are still waiting to receive the hinges to get the doors back up. Those should be here any day, then we will really be in business. I changed out all of the linens on our bed, including getting the new duvet set on there, I'll have to get a pic. And we finished the weekend off with chocolate shakes at 9PM, Mark's idea of course ; )

It was a wonderful and productive weekend, but it went by too fast. I can't believe it's Monday already!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Our Behbehs are So Very Cute!

Just a very quick update, Belle and Kitteh (a.k.a. Delilah) are starting to really get along. They even play with each other. Of course it's very rough play because that's how Belle always is - I don't think she realizes how much bigger she is - but they both seem to have a good time, so we let them have at it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

And... We're Still Working on it.

The kitchen renovation that is.

We are currently rounding 3rd base and about to head home with this project. I think we need ONE MORE coat of paint on the cabinet doors, which will then be a total of 3 (+ 2 coats of primer) and we should be good to go!

Yesterday, we ordered new hinges, which are MUCH more expensive than they should be in my opinion! At local home improvement stores lower end hinges cost about $3 PER HINGE! We need 32 hinges total, which would have ended up costing about $100 for something you barely even see! Ick.

Thankfully, I was able to find what we needed online - I lub eBay - and we were able to purchase hinges in bulk (maybe I can resell the ones we don't need?) for a total of $55 including shipping! That's a savings of 45%! Yay us!

We also started looking around for drawer pulls and cabinet door knobs, which we will also end up purchasing online (most likely). They are just outrageous in home improvement stores.

I can't wait to see the cabinet doors back up. I really think it's going to look great!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Operation: Kitchen Renovation Update.


We worked on the cabinets ALL weekend! Saturday, we spent all day applying two coats of primer. It doesn't sound like much work, but trust me, it was.

Sunday, we started applying color. We are using Antique White, and we are very careful to allow the paint to dry in between coats. We ended up getting two coats on the cabinets themselves, and one coat on the doors (because you have to wait for one side to dry before you can flip it over to do the other side).

I'm so sick of working on these, but I really think it will be worth it in the end. They are already looking amazing! I can't wait until we get finished and get the doors back up so that we can see the end result of all our hard work.

In all, we spent approximately 10-12 hours working on cabinets this weekend. Not the best weekend ever, but certainly productive.

Here are the cabinets at the beginning of the day on Sunday. They are all primed and ready for paint.

And the doors:

I told Mark that next time I get some crazy idea to rush into a huge project like this, it's his job to remind me of the cabinet project.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Operation: Kitchen Renovation. Oy.

Yesterday evening after H and I got home from work, we took down all of the cabinets, removed all of the hardware and then began the long task of stripping the cabinets of their current varnish. To those who have not yet had the glory of this experience, it's not a *difficult* task, it's just time consuming and a lot of hard work.

We weren't yet sure whether we were going to be restaining the wood cabinets or painting, we needed to see what the wood underneath the current stain looked like, so we brushed, and scraped, and sanded, and cleaned, and underneath the ugly orange-y tinted varnish... was orange-y wood, but that's okay. Now, we have decided that we won't be able to acheive the look that we want by staining over orange-y wood, so we are now just going to give them a fresh coat of white paint.

The good news is that we won't have to deal with stripping the remaining 10 cabinets, we can just give them a good rub down with sandpaper, clean them up, prime them properly, and then slap on some paint. This will actually save us some time because we can skip a step.

Here's a glimse of the chaos ensuing at our home right now:

Here is a before shot, you can see the hideous faux-brick (ick!) and the complimentary orange-y cabinets. Lovely pairing.

Here's a shot of the ridiculousness that we uncovered when we removed the faux-brick. If you can't tell, that's an exposed wire connecting to the outlet, which was so conveniently located up against 20 year old particle board. Awesome.

This is what my hubby's face looked like after we uncovered the exposed wire asshattery. He's not pleased.

This is after we got all of the brick down. I'd be happier looking at that ugly dirty yellow wall for the rest of my life, than the disgusting faux-brick that was up there. Literally.
And here's what the kitchen looks like right now with all of the cabinet doors removed. On the plus side, it looks like we have a lot of storage, and if you want something you can just walk up and take it without having to deal with the extra step of opening a pesky door first. ::thumbs up::