Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cape Cod

I'm back! And thank goodness. That little no TV experiment just about killed me. I really didn't think it'd be a big deal, but with Raf working until 10pm all week, and me on a strict schedule to leave work by 5:30 every evening, I pretty much just came home every night and worked until my assigned bedtime. Ick! Obviously I could have done something a little more entertaining than work, but I guess that's just where I was this week. Good news is, I worked for about 3 minutes this morning before immediately moving on to catching up on blogs! And boy did it feel good! I'm ready to be back into wedding planning goodness today. Whew!

I just finished watching 27 Dresses while doing some blog hopping and found way more goodness than I should be burning time on on Snippet & Ink. She linked to this great series of shots of Cape Cod by Henry & Masci Photography. (Note to self, these were taken in Hyannis and Sandwich, MA.)

We've been struggling with honeymoon ideas lately. Knowing us, everyone figures some long, exotic vacation would be the first thing we'd have planned. However, with 6+ other weddings and wedding related events this year, I get the feeling that we're going too be low on vacation time and even lower on energy to escape anywhere too distant and crazy. We've been thinking of staying in the States. We've kicked around the idea of choosing somewhere random on the East Coast; I keep mentioning Tennessee, he keeps ixnaying; there's always Hawaii; and we've given some serious consideration to Catalina in order to avoid flying all together. Then I stumbled across these shots tonight. Hmm...Cape Cod? Looks gorgeous. Could be a good time. And maybe I could even convince Raf to squeeze in a couple days in Boston while we're there!

So far, here's my favorite spot on VRBO:
Sadly, I just looked at their calendar and it's booked for 2 weeks after our wedding. Bummer. Maybe this one:
Side note--I'm so disgusting. I'm now on my second girlie movie of the night, The Holiday, as I search VRBO. It's my #1 guilty pleasure on nights alone. I just realized that both movies involve a wedding column writer and the same "wrong guy" (the boss in 27 Dresses and Cameron's cheating guy in The Holiday).

This one's tempting. Cute and cheap! Curious what else is on the property tho...
Too expensive, but awfully tempting.
Evidently August is the time to be on Cape Cod. That would be when prices skyrocket and everything is already booked. Kinda makes me nervous that it would be a bit of a circus. But these cottages and the beaches sure do look nice!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Reset Button

Sometimes in life I just want to press the Reset button. Like many, I find that the lifestyle expectations I have for myself don't always reflect the life I lead on a daily basis. So every once in a while, we find it necessary to reset.

Raf and I normally have a crazy awesome runs where we're super hard core, everything in life falls into place, and it's wonderful and fulfilling. Then we have a couple busy days at work and all is shot to you-know-what! Well, those couple days have turned into a couple months for us lately. I don't think we ever fully recovered from holiday chaos--it just morphed into work chaos. Raf is in the middle of one of his busy times at work--scheduled til 10pm on weeknights and going into the office on weekends; and I've been staying in the office til 7pm consistently for the last couple weeks. We're not getting enough sleep, we're eating like crap, I'm 4 weeks into a physical activity program at work and haven't logged a minute, and we haven't made any wedding planning progress in weeks. Reset Button, please!!!

We've officially reached our breaking point of feeling horrible about ourselves, so we decided that we're going to try out a series of Reset Weeks. Normally we're all gung-ho and try to be rock stars who remedy every issue all at once. As I mentioned above, this always, quickly, leads to a crash & burn. So instead, we're going to try to focus on one thing per week. This week's Reset is going to be focused on time--primarily related to sleep! I've never had that internal sleep clock that everyone else talks about--I have never EVER had a consistent bed or wake time. And no matter what time I go to sleep, even if it's been 12 hours, I can still sleep til 10am at least! Hopefully that will change one of these years. So here are this week's Reset parameters:
  • In bed by 10:30 (If you catch an 11pm blog time this week, yell at me! Except tomorrow. Tomorrow is Raf's bday and we're having a super late dinner, so there's no way we'll make it to bed on time. Good start, huh?!)
  • Up by 7:00 (Of course "up" is a negotiable term! Lol.)
  • At work by 9:00 (I'm a pretty consistent 9:15er.)
  • Leave work by 5:30 (Applies only to me. This was SO hard tonight! Of course, I just come home and work, but whatever, at least I'm fed and on my couch.)
  • No TV (Yes, you read that right.)

This series is a CHALLENGE for me! Except for the TV. I watch too much, but don't miss it terribly when it's off. But respecting time is something I'm really not good at. Precisely why I need to focus on one Reset at a time!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Peanut, My Wee Torment

I decided to try to make a gift for Raf's cousin, Marcos. His first birthday party was today....and guess what? I'm nowhere near finished! Shocker, right? Lol. I'm such a sad little crafter.

I started last weekend. I had found the toy I wanted to make, Peanut the Wee Elephant, an adorable stuffed animal from the book, Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts. I picked out adorable fabric, that (I hope) even works for a little boy, spent an hour in the stuffing aisle reading the back of every package, and started cutting from the very first pattern I've ever used. So far, so good.

Then, it all went south. First, I sewed the 4 legs together (into a little 2 leg pocket). I was SO confused. So I got out of bed at midnight (cause the confusion wouldn't allow me to sleep) and googled my question to see if anyone else had the issue. Turns out they had. There's a whole forum of confusion from other novice sewers (thank goodness!) So, I ripped the seams to give Peanut 4 legs, then went on to the next step. Which I also couldn't figure out. So I went back to the forum--this was my last chance with them though, it was the final step they discussed. Then I threw a temper tantrum because I'd never sewn curves and had no idea how to do it on a machine. Then I figured it out. And now I've had the pieces sitting on my desk all pinned together (like the picture above), but am too mortified to take it to the machine! I've never sewn anything three-dimensional before (clearly) and I absolutely cannot conceptualize how the machine's presser foot (the purpose of which is to press the two pieces flat) is going to allow me to sew together one flat piece, and one piece that's all bunched up?!?!

So here I sit. Still. Blogging instead of sewing. I'm hoping to work up the courage to have Peanut finished by Christmas. Btw, here's what it's supposed to look like. Doesn't it look so adorable and simple?!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

This movie was, in a word, Incredible. I loved every minute of it. It's the type of movie where you know 10 minutes in that it will be one of your favorites of all time. It's already claiming a top 3 spot for me (along with Amelie and Almost Famous). The photo above is from my favorite scene--I haven't laughed that hard at a movie in years.

I was just reading a bit from an interview with the main actor, Dev Patel. Talking about visiting India, he says: "I remember reading the script, I remember thinking he might feel a bit sorry for himself. I had a preconceived notion of what a slum was. But being there, people don't feel sorry for themselves; they're just getting on with everyday life. And to them, they're not poor. They don't pity themselves. It's great; all you get is such an amazing sense of community. Everyone knows everyone, it's very heartwarming, and from them I knew that [his character, Jamal] was going to be a survivor, an optimist."

This is exactly how I felt while visiting India and Cambodia. People always ask me about how hard it must have been to see those "poor people" living that kind of life in slums. It makes me smile. It's all about perspective, right? If we, the privileged few, entered some crazy vortex and were living life in an Indian slum tomorrow, we'd be devastated. But they're not. It's just life. They don't know any different. And I have to tell you--there was an appeal about that life. Certainly not the living conditions, but maybe the lifestyle. You know me--I'm not exactly a fan of the pace of life we've driven ourselves to in this country. From my time in Cambodia, especially, I had the joy of experiencing a society of the most pleasant people--they were simply content. In fact, I never heard one child cry or whine at any point while I was there. It really stuck with me--the calm that prevails when you can be content with exactly what you have, right now, in this moment. It's good stuff.

Anyway, back to the point. Slumdog Millionaire is so good. Go see it. Soon.


As usual, I'm slow to discover (incredibly not) new things. This week I discovered Adele. I'm sure you've known her forever from her hit song "Chasing Pavements". I just thought it was Fergie finding some soul when I would hear it on the radio. Was super excited to find out that wasn't the case! I picked up her album "19" on iTunes a few days ago for $7.99 and am HOOKED. She's incredible. And the album is chock full of kitchen dancing wonderfulness. :)

Listen to tidbits here.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Perfect Morning

For Valentine's Day, Raf thinks he made me breakfast, but really, he gave me my perfect morning. It's all captured in the photo above....the yummiest breakfast you can imagine, iced coffee, homemade salsa, fresh flowers--all enjoyed while I spent the morning curled up on the couch hopping through craft and sewing blogs. Doesn't get any better than that.

Here's what I found in the kitchen at 4am the night before when I woke up on the couch and made Raf get up and go to bed. So cute. He's like the kid who lays his clothes out the night before. :)
Here's a closeup of the final product. AMAZING! Seriously. Best breakfast ever.
And this is what he got from me for Vday--book #3 (and 4-7, but they're still in hiding) in the Harry Potter series.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Soup & Salsa

I've clearly fallen off the map on Sunday Soup reporting. I have still been eating them though! Two weeks ago we made the Tomato and Fennel Soup (p.60). It was good, but I don't think I'm a big fan of fennel. This was my first experience with it, and it gave it a bit of a weird sweet tang that you wouldn't expect in Tomato soup. I think I prefer a more savory version. The cool thing though, was learning that you can make tomato soup out of one thing of canned tomatoes and another 5 cups of non-tomato fresh veggies! It's like when you hear about moms hiding pureed carrots in chicken fingers. So cool!

Then last week we weren't home to make soup, we were coming home from SLO. The good news is, I still had soup! We stopped by Raf's family's place on our way home and his mom had taught Monika how to make her awesome pork meatball soup that night. So maybe I didn't make the Sunday Soup, but I sure did enjoy it!

As for the salsa, Nena's boy Matt makes the most incredible homemade salsa. He's been testing out a new version lately, and taught Raf how to make it while we were visiting. Best day ever! Especially since he's super protective of his recipes. Raf made it tonight and it was SO good! I love having nothing but salsa for dinner. Or hummus. I love hummus. I really need to try making one of the 18 recipes I've pulled for hummus...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Exhausted Slacker

Evidently I'm becoming one of those super irritating once-a-week slacker bloggers. So sad. If it makes you any more forgiving, I'm exhausted! We have so much going on right now. I skipped right over stress-mode, and went straight into auto-pilot. I definitely prefer auto-pilot to stress, but I'm seriously lacking focus right now. I drove in a circle for 5 minutes today after taking a wrong turn to get to a place I go all the time! So, what's keeping us busy at the moment?
  • We went to SLO this weekend to meet with a couple caterers, In Good Taste and Pacific Harvest. I think we trust both to serve great food, but they seem to have pretty different concepts when it comes to service and their role for the day. Should be really interesting to see the proposals they come back with. The good news is, both are open to working with us if we choose to provide our own fish (either thru Daryl's boat-building hookups, or by providing Dad with a good excuse to head back to Alaska to do some more fishing this year!)
  • I have two Card Clubs this week, one was tonight, the other tomorrow--everybody needs Valentines! Thank goodness I finished most of my designs at crop last week, cause we were still up way too late finishing the last design and cutting all the pieces after getting home last night.
  • Work is kicking my behind.
  • The Prelude crossed the 200k mile mark on our way home from SLO! I've put 100k miles on that car in 5 years. I really need to get a bike. Or maybe a moped.
  • Oh, and did I mention that we're putting in an offer on a house tomorrow?!? Ahh!! It's a short sale and there's at least one more offer on it, so who knows where it'll go, but our gut feeling is good, so we're going to throw our hat in the ring. Crazy! Wanna know the best part? We've only seen it at night...and the electricity is shut off! HA! Good times.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bee Bag

This bee purse equals hap, hap, Happiness! Found it, along with much more sewing goodness, on Lady Harvatine. I don't think I've disclosed my ridiculous cheesiness related to bees and bears into the blogosphere yet. Can you figure out the connection without me having to spell it out...?

If not, here we go. So, y'all know Raf's last name--hence the bear love. As for the bees, once we're married, what are my initials? That's right: bb. And the best part--the honey connection! I told you it was cheesy. Feel free to unsubscribe from the blog now. I disgust even myself. :)

In other news, sorry to be so MIA. Last week was some kinda madness. I had jury duty and didn't get released from the selection process until Thursday, so I was pulling some crazy long hours in court all day, then working all night--in fear that I might get chosen and end up 6+ weeks behind at work.

Spent the weekend hosting a ladies-only Super Bowl party. This turned out to be the most genius plan ever for those of us in relationships (thus happy to have a day free of testosterone!) The game was on the whole time...I probably even watched 3 minutes of it. Also FINALLY finished our Save the Dates...woo hoo! Such a good feeling. More on that project soon.