Monday, June 29, 2009
Today is the one year anniversary of this blog. Wow, time sure has flown! Lots has happened during that time, too. I've gotten married, been laid off, have had deaths in the family, and have welcomed little ones as well. I hope to continue posting to this blog for at least the next year, if not much, much longer, and sharing little bits of what makes me "me" with all of you (boring sometimes, yes, but that's life).
Hope you've enjoyed following me along on my journey. Things can only continue to change and grow from here!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Here's a little entertainment for you while I wrestle with my laptop's mouse, trying to figure out what the heck is wrong with the damn thing. I think I have an idea what's up—it's related to the wireless USB transmitter; I think it's just gone wacky and I need a new mouse—but until then I struggle on, trying to do detailed drawings that are due ASAP and having my mouse freak out and open windows, new folders, etc. Fun, fun, fun. At least the AC is working and my iPhone has stopped hanging up on people.
Anyhow, until I'm back into blogging again later this week, I thought I'd share a good laugh with you. I saw this posted on a former schoolmate's Facebook page, and I groaned when I saw it. I'm not going to point out which one is me, but it's easy to figure out. Let me just say back then I was 50 pounds overweight, very nerdy and quiet, and had poor choices in hair and clothing. I'm so glad I'm not in high school anymore....
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Well, it's been a steamy few days here in the ol' Hoogestraat household, and I haven't been too thrilled about it. Yes, I bitched about all the rainy cold weather, but seriously, is it too much to ask for to have a normal summer? We went from the 50s/60s and pouring rains to the 90s and baking heat. What happened to the 70s and 80s?
To add to the fun, our central air conditioning hasn't been working properly. Last summer it died right before we went on our honeymoon (in early August), and we never needed to use it since then, so it sat there, unfixed. Until now, that is. Well, technically it's not fixed. I just figured I'd give it one last shot, and turned it on partly out of desperation and partly out of confidence. And sure enough, it's providing enough cooling air to temper things in here a bit. The dogs aren't panting so badly, and I can sit here at the computer without sweat pouring down my face (yes, it was that bad). I'm hoping the thermostat continues to drop and we hit a nice comfortable range. I'm not complaining in the meantime, though. I'm pretty tolerant of heat, but for some reason it's really been bothering me during the last few weeks.
In other news, my electronics have been on the fritz today. I sat down this morning to do a little blogging and to work on my freelance project, and discovered that the mouse was feeling kooky and didn't want to work properly. That doesn't sound like much of a problem, but if you can't even open up your hard drive or select options in windows (like restarting, or running a virus scan), then you're SOL. It makes it LOTS of fun trying to do anything, much less draw detailed illustrations or edit photos you've uploaded.
So I've spent the better part of the afternoon trying to fix what's wrong with it, and not getting very far. I was able to switch the primary mouse button to the right button instead of the left, so at least I can select things again, but it keeps freaking out and those little windows that pop up when you right click on something are flashing constantly. Needless to say, I've been unable to blog or do much of anything, except throw this post up to complain. I have lots of catching up to do, especially since I wasn't able to blog all weekend due to a Father's Day party I threw. Hopefully things will return to normal soon, especially since I have a deadline Saturday and LOTS of drawing left to do! I wonder if there are solar flares or something going on right now....
Friday, June 19, 2009
There have been rather bad storms moving through the area today, and another one is on it's way now (the one that's almost covering DeKalb on the map). So I'm trying to stay off the computer and get chores done for the moment. If a tornado comes, it'll be a comedy of errors trying to seek shelter with the animals. I can't imagine how I'll get the two dogs and two cats to squeeze into our first floor bathroom and sit still, while chunks of my house get ripped away by the gale-force winds....
I really like this idea of hanging a bunch of photos along an entire wall, and changing them as the mood strikes. I am a huge photo nerd, whether it's a snapshot of the dog covered in mud or a stunning sunset photo, so this is right up my alley. And I like the idea of changing things up, as I take more photos and inspiration hits. I just wish I had a giant wall to do this on besides my dining room wall (the photos would curl from the heat of cooking).
(Via Design Sponge)
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Pete and I are in the middle of painting our dining room and kitchen floors, which means everyone has to be quarantined to the living room.
The dining room/kitchen has been sealed off, and in order to get anything from those rooms—food, paper towels, a drink—you have to go out the front door, walk around the house, and enter through the sliding doors, providing that particular layer of paint is dry.
And if you need anything from upstairs–our bedroom suite—the same thing applies. All of our stuff from the dining room/kitchen has been shoved into our living room, including my drawing desk, the huge Magic Chef 1000 stove, and other assorted goodies.
So not only are Pete and I stuck in the living room, but we're crammed in there with a bunch of stuff that we're tripping over AND all four animals are also trapped underfoot with us. At night, Pete and I have to crowd into a twin-size spare bed to sleep (or he sleeps on the couch and I take the bed), and of course the animals all pile in there with us, making it extra cozy (i.e., crowded).
One day of this? Not a problem, I can handle it. But six days of this? I am going insane. We sealed off the rooms on Saturday night, and the final coat of sealer won't be dry enough to release the hounds (and cats) on until Friday. I can sorta understand how someone in a small prison cell must feel. I hate my house being turned upside down, dirty from construction, cluttered from renovating, and stinking of paint fumes. I know it's for a good cause, but I don't think I can stand much more of this.
Yeah—that's our mini vintage Frigidaire fridge in our living room, which you have to walk around to get to the couches.
The cats seem confused and restless, and are constantly getting into it with the dogs. That's my drawing desk that Miss Dollie is sitting on, which has been shoved behind one of the couches. And that's the Magic Chef in the background, which is an enormous stove, but much more so when it's sharing a tiny space with three couches, a fridge, a table, a tv, two people, two dogs, and two cats. Ugh.
The dogs are absolutely bored out of their skulls, as I am. They stare longingly outside all day, wishing they could be anywhere else. And the bummer of it all?
Pete's car is still broken down, so he's been taking my beloved CR-V to work every day. We have him take the car, because otherwise I have to drive to and from his work twice a day, wasting gas and adding miles to my car. So I'm trapped at home in the living room, AND I can't go anywhere besides walking around my neighborhood. And it's been raining like crazy around here this past week, so daily walks have been out of the question.
Hopefully this will be worth all the discomfort, although I'm panicking because we are hosting a Father's Day party on Sunday and I haven't been able to clean the house. Either I can't access certain parts of it, or we're all stuck in one spot and things just will get messed up again. So I'll be doing a marathon cleaning session Friday–Saturday, with a final move of the furniture on Sunday morning, just to be sure the paint is dry. Sigh....
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Georgia and I are headed to the Chicago Botanic Garden today, after we have a hot breakfast somewhere nearby (I'm scoping things out now).
We hope to have a day full of running around with our cameras, enjoying the weather (please cooperate!), and having a few laughs (or more). I'll be posting my results later this week on vivid.
UPDATE: This has since been postponed to next week, due to our crazy Chicago weather. But I'll be sure to share pix after we visit!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I just got this wonderful clear glass memory locket from the Etsy shop PoPkO, and I am in love! It is the coolest thing.
You can put whatever you want in it—flowers, leaves, photos, notes, a lock of hair, whatever you want.
And the great thing is you can change what's in it if you want, and show something else in your pretty locket. I chose a pretty yellow flower from my front yard to start off (a buttercup, perhaps?), which dried nice and flat within the confines of the glass.
Another goody from PoPkO that arrived yesterday was this custom butterfly wing ring. It is a beautiful bright yellow color, and looks so lovely on my finger. (This is not my hand, it's from the sale listing, but it shows the ring better than my picture does.)
And no, the wings aren't pulled off the poor butterflies, but instead harvested after they have lived out their lives. From the shop:
All of my butterfly wings are from a Butterfly Conservation garden where the butterflies live in a happy garden until they naturally expire. The gardens collect the wings and I make jewelry with them. I feel this is a great way to recycle these wings so people can appreciate them long after their time. Eco friendly!
I already own a gorgeous Keepsake Glass and Sterling Silver Necklace with a Real Butterfly Wing in it. I have the Cairns Birdwing, which is similar to the one on the lower right. I wear it all the time and get lots of compliments on it. What's really great is that it's two sided, so you can see a little bit of beauty from both sides.
And Crystal, the shop owner, is a wonderful person to work with. She was very patient and helpful when she assisted me in designing my custom ring. And I couldn't be happier with the results. I highly recommend stopping by and checking out her shop.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Hey, everyone, how are you? I've been feeling really, really tired and sluggish for the last few days, so I've been a bit absent from my posting duties. To remedy my stupor, I've taken the laptop outside to work on my freelance project (and maybe squeeze in a little blogging and surfing). I figured I should enjoy the beautiful weather before the rains come AGAIN tomorrow, and get some usage out of my lonely patio furniture, which hasn't seen many sunny days lately.
And we're also in the middle of painting the dining room/kitchen floors (robin's egg blue, so very lovely!), so avoiding the fumes has been a big motivator for going outside. The doggies are keeping me company and getting some fresh air too. Hopefully I'll be back to my energetic self tomorrow.
And thanks for all of you who expressed your concern and good wishes regarding Dollie. She did indeed come home, albeit a bit late (a day and half later), which is really unusual for her, hence my freaking out. In true cat fashion, she simply strolled up to Pete in the backyard and acted like nothing had happened (he grabbed her quickly so she couldn't change her mind). I was thrilled to have her back, and she's up to her old antics again, running around like a maniac and climbing on every surface imaginable.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Our spunky and chunky little cat Dollie (the one in the banner for this blog) has run away, and I'm very sad about it. Last time I saw her was yesterday morning at 5:30 a.m., when the dogs dashed outside to chase her up into a tree. She later came down and ran off, and I haven't seen her since. She's very affectionate and friendly, so I worry someone's taken her in without checking to see who she belongs to (she's microchipped but lost her collar). And she's not an "outdoor" cat, but prefers to stay inside, except for the occasional trips out on the patio or up a nearby tree. I've been walking from open doors to open windows in the house, calling her over and over, with Max at my side, "helping" me look.
Anyhow, I hope she comes home soon. It's rainy and cold outside, and everyone seems lonely without her.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Yesterday Pete, the dogs, and I were driving home on 88, and we happened to be driving alongside one of those Invisible Fence–type trucks. There was a giant photo of a chocolate lab on the side that look a lot like the image on the van above, probably a good 6 feet tall.
I suddenly saw Adora intensely staring out the window at the dog picture on the truck as we drove along, and pointed this out to Pete. When he turned around to watch her, she had started growling at the giant dog and would have probably started barking if we hadn't passed the truck.
Pete and I laughed a long time about this, but Adora was all business. Thank God we were all safe from the mean, giant dog on the highway, thanks to her!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I'm thinking of starting up a composting bin for our household. We have lots of organic garbage including banana peels, egg shells, and watermelon rinds, so I figure they'd be put to better use as fertilizer rather than ending up in a garbage dump.
I saw this nice little bin at organize.com, which is handy for the immediate storage of compost and can be kept in the kitchen. I'll have to investigate a larger bin for outside though. Are you composting right now? What methods do you use, and what tips do you have? My dad has been composting for many, many years, long before it was the hip and "green" thing to do. He simply used a garbage can with a lid tied on it, and he kept it on the back porch near the kitchen door. I think it's still there....
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Sam, Jane, Henry, Mani, and I all met up for brunch at Blueberry Hill in LaGrange on Saturday, which was wonderful.
Then we girls let the boys go off to do their own thing (which included riding the carousel at Brookfield Zoo), and we headed to the antique mall in LaGrange. They were having a sidewalk sale, but Sam and I weren't too impressed this year. So we went inside the mall, and I did find some cool things, like...
this charming sheet music
this lovely teacup
We stopped at Starbucks for some coffee, then headed to Trader Joe's, Borders, and a few boutiques on the way to the car. Afterward, I took Sam to the Honda dealer to pick up her CRV, and we headed over to another antique shop, where I found...
this pretty magazine
I parted ways with Sam after that to fetch Pete (who was at home without wheels) and headed back to Sam's house. Mani and Henry were back, and we all went to Khyber Pass in Oak Park for some delish Indian food.
We all had the buffet, and I tried some rose milk, which was utterly wonderful.
I must learn how to make it at home....
Anyhow, then we headed back to their house and watched "Milk," which was pretty good.
Everywhere we went, people were fussing over Henry and Jane. They were quite the little charmers and enjoyed the attention.
I plan to frame the sheet music and magazine as I've framed others in my house (the framed Life magazine is my favorite so far).
And the teacup is going in my growing collection. All in all, I didn't spend all that much, yet I still got some great vintage finds to add to my happy home.
(Some images from Blueberry Hill, Khyber Pass, LaGrange Park Antique Mall, Kitchen Tantra; image of Jane by Nicole)