Friday, October 30, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday--Halloween Flashback

After I just spent 40 minutes far too long editing a photo only to realize that I already put it up (unedited) as a Favorite {Photo} Friday last year for Halloween, I gave up and threw in the towel. No photo today.

Just kidding.

Instead I went over to Facebook for a few minutes and posted embarassing old Halloween photos on some friends' walls, and then I came back to find another photo. :) And I had to go back a ways!

You know how it's retro-chic now to take Polaroids, make "Fauxlaroids," and there are all sorts of Photoshop actions to make modern photos look like photos from the '60s and '70s? There are even specialty (rather expensive in my view, although they're very wee and cute) cameras that are designed to take "vintage-era" photos! Don't get me wrong, I love this effect, especially what my friend Cynthia does over at her blog Technicolor Postcards (she uses Picnik.com, I think). But in looking back at some of our old photos, it made me wonder if in the future it will ever be "retro-chic" to reproduce crappy early-digital camera photos from the late '90s and early '00s? 'Cause when it comes to graininess and well, general crappiness, those cameras rocked!

For example, the photos I'm about to show. :)

When Jason and I were rather newly married we lived in Ohio while he went to grad school. Of course I knew that grad school would be more rigorous and demanding than undergrad (which I didn't experience directly with Jason anyway, but considering that senior year he took an Ultimate Frisbee class and got drunk with all his friends watching Seinfeld every Thursday night lasting through Sunday, anything would be more rigorous in comparison). But what I didn't bank on was that the Civil Engineering motto is "Word hard, play hard(er)!"

What I'm saying is that (blah blah blah, boring, they all worked really, really, really hard and) we had some crazy parties in Ohio! And hello? What else is there to do in Ohio, anyway?

So, yeah, crazy parties. :)

One year they threw a big party for Halloween and you had to come in costume. As a couple. So two evenings before the party Jason and I are thinking of what we could be, as a couple. And if you don't know this, it's cold in Ohio at Halloween. So while my friends were dreaming up all sorts of sexy outfits, I was thinking, "What can we wear to be cute but also very comfy and warm?"

I don't remember how it came to me, but it did. So we drove to the grocery store, bought the necessary samples, and then I headed to Kinko's in the middle of the night to blow up the label by hundreds of percents. I did the math, even, to figure out exactly how big we needed them for the costumes! Add in some stitch-witchery, lots of felt, and plenty of OCD tendencies, and you get:


See what I mean about the crappy photos? And this is post-fix. [Siiiiigh.]

But HELLO? Funny couples costumes? YES.


Here's another beautifully crappy shot from another crappy early digital camera. We have a bunch of these types of crappy photos because everyone wanted to take photos of our hilarious (and warm and comfortable) costumes.

Just in case you don't understand why these costumes are so hilarious, first, put yourself back into a college mindset. Then, sing the song...

"Almond Joy's got nuts, Mounds don't... because, sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't!" And then of course there's the whole "mounds" thing....

Ahhhh, college. :)

Soooooo... what are you going to be for Halloween?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Things are Really Going to the Dogs Around Here

First it was Madness, and now this: I went out to get the mail today and found these growing in the barkdust at the base of the mailbox.


WHAT. THE. HELL???

The one above is apparently more "fresh"... also note that opening pod-thing at the base, which I think is the start of a new one. The one below is further along in its life cycle:


There are also some that are completely shriveled and turned to mush. I didn't notice them yesterday so I'm guessing they have a relatively short/fast life!

Aren't they the weirdest things you have ever seen? Does anyone know what they're called? Obviously they're some sort of fungi but are the freakiest mushrooms I've ever seen! And how would I Google them, anyway? "Mushrooms shaped like dog penis and chicken feet"?

And OH MY GOD, I just Googled it and guess what? It is totally called the Dog Penis Mushroom!!!!

As one blogger said about Googling to search for it, "Took a picture, came back inside, googled 'dog penis mushroom'. Ok: I know better ways to identify living things; I am one of about 230 people who own a copy of G.W. Hudler's classic Magical Mushrooms and Mischievous Molds, for pete's sake. I understand character keys and taxonomy, and I know where to find the online species databases. But when you want to identify a mushroom that looks like a dog's dick, man there's nothing faster than the straightforward approach." So glad I'm not the only one, ha ha!

Here is a photo of another one and it's interesting that she says the mushrooms last about six hours. Here is a page on it, which indicates that I'd better actually pull them up or they will spread--and Jason is obsessed enough about the lawn damage the Verizon guys did, imagine if it started sprouting dog penii everywhere!! It's enough to make one feel faint.

Although I do think I'll put on gloves, first.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday--Madness

Last night before I went to bed, I wrote out a very specific To Do list of all the things I wanted to accomplish today. I have plans for Saturday which I wanted to head into completely guilt-free so I could enjoy myself, so I had a fair but do-able amount to accomplish before then.

I woke up thinking of the To Do list and was ticking away at it pretty well until 10 a.m., when I went out to meet the mailman (I had a stack of packages for him to take and send off to my Etsy customers, HOORAY!). It was then that my lovely neighbor, Roxanne, yelled out to me, "I wanted to let you know, don't be afraid..." and before she could finish, a big dog started bounding across the street straight at me. Luckily I trust her implicity and was not afraid, because this dog was... well, let's just say that I'd be intimidated if I met him on the street!

[Does he not look soooooo sweet here?]

The dog quickly attacked me with kisses and enthusiasm, and as Roxanne and I talked I learned the story... he'd been hanging out on our street since early this morning, being seen as early as 6 a.m. And he just hung out around our little cul-de-sac. He looked like a Boxer to me so I figured he belonged to someone; he looked healthy and well cared-for, except for around his neck... his chain had obviously dug into his flesh and he was bleeding a little bit, but he didn't seem bothered by it in the least. I checked (gently) to see if I could feel a chip and he didn't seem at all in pain when I checked his neck, but it still looked ugly and I felt so badly for him!

[See his owwie neck? It doesn't look too bad here but in person it looked really bad, poor guy!]

He wasn't wearing any tags but there was a clip on his chain collar, like he'd torn free from whatever was holding him (the clip was still there but hanging empty). And he was, AHEM [cough-cough], obviously not neutered, so I thought that maybe his, AHEM [cough-cough], hormones led him to tear himself free of wherever he belonged.

Since he followed basic commands and seemed very social, I loaded him up in my previously nice-and-clean car and drove him to the nearest Vet. I was hoping he was chipped.

I thought ahead enough to realize, "Hmmm, he seems very obedient, but maybe I should be extra careful..." so I left him in the car and went in and borrowed a leash (without locking the car doors). And then I had a moment of pure panic because when I came back to the car to get him he was no longer in the back! I honestly thought that someone had stolen him in the two minutes I'd been inside! But I own a station wagon and--DUH!--he'd gotten bored and climbed into my driver's seat! It was such a relief to find him! Thank goodness! He is a very good boy but did I mention hormones? Let's just say he got a little excited! :P

Taking him to the Vet (and exposing him to other dogs) made me realize just how much saliva Mr. Dog could produce in a very short period. I mean, seriously, have you ever seen Turner & Hooch? It was disgusting. He flung that stuff all over. {Barf.} He'd been relatively saliva-free for many hours, so to see the sudden outpouring and head-shaking-saliva-flinging was really... um, unsettling might be the best word?

Anyway. NO CHIP.

So I drove him back to our neighborhood and started knocking on doors. Nada. But it was quite lovely to see how our neighbors all responded to him! We have such nice and compassionate neighbors!!! They were all concerned about him and wanted to make sure we found his owners or another family to adopt him so he didn't get put down. (I assured them he wouldn't.)

Everyone on Facebook started telling me that I should adopt him. I wasn't in the market for a dog but when suddenly a dog starts acting like he belongs to you it's hard not to think of him that way!

When Jason came home I was sitting in the neighbors' driveway with him. Jason came down to visit and it quickly became apparent that Mr. Dog did not like Jason. I'd tried doing the whole, "He's a friend!" deal but Mr. Dog was not havin' that at all.

My neighbor Maren and I decided that we needed to take him in, because as nice as he'd been to us, he obviously had some aggression issues with men, and we wanted him in a safe location before Animal Control showed up, because we were afraid if he acted aggresively with them he'd be put down automatically. :( So we took him to a local shelter. We had to wait a bit until it opened back up in the afternoon, and in the meantime Animal Control (which is co-located with the shelter) decided to show up to their trucks. Maren jumped out of her car and in the nicest possible way said, "HEY DUDE, WTF, I'VE BEEN CALLING YOU ALL DAY?!?!" And the dude said, "Oh, ma'am, I don't think you've been calling me, 'cause I would have responded!" So we figured out the problem (we live just outside of city limits so all our calls were re-routed to the County which obviously doesn't give a flying EFF!!). But the nicy City employee took a look in the back of the car and said, "I know that dog!!!"

It turns out that Pretty Boy is named "Madness" and belongs to a woman in (we think) the neighborhood behind ours (Animal Control wouldn't tell us where she lived, but we didn't really expect them to). He did say that he's gotten out 10+ times this year already! The officer was very, very nice and knew right where "Madness" needed to go, although he did say that he'd take photos of Madness' collar injuries and the owner would have fines to pay before getting him back. Which I think is fair! And obviously Madness knew the Animal Control officer 'cause he went right to him with no problem! :)

So how could I possibly choose any other photo as my favorite this week, besides that goofy grin in the first photo? What a sweet doggie! I didn't get any of my To Do list done, but I *did* make sure a dog got home! Jason is convinced that he will run away again and come straight back to me and I have to say, his "owner" might just have to fight me for him then!! :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

An Enlightening Weekend, Part Two

On Thursday I wrote a post about how last weekend, Jason and I learned three unrelated things that shined a light on who we are and how we work. I wrote about the first one and said I'd write about the others later. Unlike usual when I get too busy and too much time passes, this time I'm actually doing it! :)

For the past nine+ years, Jason and I have had a joke about calamari steak in lemon-caper-butter sauce. It's only a joke because it's a dish that we had on our honeymoon on Kauai, Hawaii; it was one of the best things I've ever eaten in my life, and Jason has absolutely no recollection of it. None whatsoever. Which is sort of understandable if you consider that we've been married for almost ten years... but he couldn't remember it two weeks after our honeymoon! So the joke pops up when one of us (usually Jason) can't remember something that the other of us (usually me) remembers with clarity.

[Us in Kauai around the time of the wonderful meal that Jason doesn't remember.]

A few of these types of conversations popped up this past weekend. The first one went something like this:

Me: I wish our town had an Irish bar like that one we went to.

Jason: Which one?

Me: The one we just went to a few weeks ago.

Jason: Where?

Me: The one we just went to. We had fish & chips, I got Boddington's because I thought it was the Stout but it was the regular one and I didn't like it. My sister called while we were eating and I called her back when we got home.

Jason: [increasingly confused] What?

Me: [increasingly annoyed] They were setting up a band right by our table and we hurried up and left because I didn't want to be blasted out of our seats...?

Jason: [blank look]

Me: We went up there to buy your bicycle from that lady, we met her in the grocery store parking lot and then we went to eat at...

Jason: [interrupting me] OH! In Warrenton!

Me: [Sigh.] Yes, I suppose it was in Warrenton.

Then we had another one, which finally made me figure it out. The one about the strawberry risotto went something like this:

Me: Oh, it's like that place in Italy where we had the strawberry risotto!

Jason: Huh?

Me: Straaaawwwwwberrrryyyyy Riiiiissssooooooohtoooooooh. The only time we've ever had it. It was pink. From the strawberries.

[Strawberry risotto.]

Jason: Huh?

Me: It was a fancy new restaurant, we stopped there randomly for lunch. All the food was decorated and there were pretty swirls of sauces on the plates.

Jason: [blank look]

Me: They treated us really well because they were brand new and out in the middle of nowhere, and we were from America, like rock stars or something.

Jason: [blank look]

Me: My parents were with us--remember? They had fancy mosaic floors, I took photos of the floors--nothing? I sat with my mom to my left and we had our backs to the window wall; you were across from me and Dad was across from Mom--remember? They gave my mom and I tote bags with the restaurant name and logo, for crying out loud! This is not ringing any bells?

Jason: Did we have calamari steak in lemon-caper-butter sauce?

Me: Ha ha. We were with my parents. We drove up on one of your mountain drives....?

Jason: [blank look]

Me: It was the second time my parents visited, the time we drove up to Pelligrino and we...

Jason: [interrupting me] OH! Now I remember!

Me: SERIOUSLY?

It was this conversation that made me realize that I remember experiences, while Jason remembers locations. It seems so obvious now, I can't believe it took us 10+ years to figure it out!!! If this were Jason's blog, he would write about conversations that went the other direction... where he kept telling me details about exactly where we were and me not having any idea what he was talking about until he said something about the experience we had, when it would all click into place for me.

The rest of the weekend we kept laughing when one of us would bring up a memory, and then we'd try to remind the other based on what would help the other person remember. It may have taken ten+ years to figure out, but since we finally have I'm sure it will help us communicate better! :) Now if only I could remember where we were when we had that calamari, perhaps a ten-year-old discussion would finally be put to rest! But, of course, I have no idea! :) Ha ha!

How do you associate memories? By location, like Jason, or by experience, like me? Or is there yet another way? If you're married, do you and your spouse remember things in the same way or different ways? I'd love to hear! :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday--They Come in Threes?

You may have noticed that the past two Fridays have featured photos of my sister and my mom because it was each of their birthdays. Well, in our family, October birthdays come in threes. Tuesday is my birthday! So I thought I'd stick with the trend and post a photo of myself. :)

Three years ago we still lived in Italy and everything was perfect. Okay, kidding about that last part. But we did still live in Italy, and my birthday fell on a weekend, so Jason and I headed further north into the mountains into the Alto Adige region and Austria.

For some unknown and stupid reason, I let my beloved husband talk me into going hiking. On my birthday weekend. Before you start thinking that I'm a wimpy girl for not liking hiking, let me assure you that I like hiking. I like hiking, as defined by most dictionaries: "to go on an extended walk for pleasure or exercise." What my dear husband calls "hiking," however, involves not only walking but clambering, climbing, straining, hauling, and, usually for me, hurting, fearing, and/or crying. Dude is intense. As an example, on one of our "hikes," I lost four toenails.

Luckily, this particular trip was not nearly so bad; I think he was taking pity on me because it was my birthday. Here's a cute photo of us on our hike:


As I was typing and thinking about this trip, I remembered that I'd written about it before. So I scoured my old MySpace blog, my Slide.com slideshows, Snapfish, etc, and I finally found that I'd sent it as a plain old e-mail with photo attachments! :)

I thought it would be fun to post the e-mail because, re-reading it now, I realized there's a lot I'd already forgotten. So here it is, unedited (I had to stop myself), like a time capsule from three years ago. :) The only change I made was to break up the long paragraphs by inserting the photos into the appropriate places.

******
Jason took Friday off and on Thursday night after work we drove up to a spa in the mountains. It was about an hour and a half away, in the Alto-Adige/S├╝dtirol region, which means that although *technically* you're still in Italy, it *feels* like you're in Austria or Germany already (Austria was about 7 miles away).... All the houses are wood with the gingerbread decorations and the huge balconies with flowers along the whole length of the building on every story, with the murals on the side depicting very German things like horses pulling carts laden with hay, or men and women working in the fields in their traditional dress. :) Oh, and everyone speaks German first, Italian second. Jason is convinced that he could learn German even though he struggles with Italian, and I must admit that when he was pronouncing those 20-letter-long words he *sounded* like he had it right! Very gutteral, my husband. :)


Anyway, the spa was wonderful! They had an indoor pool, and a "Saunarium" (with a sign on the door that said--in four languages--"Naked Zone," with a picture of a topless woman sitting in a sauna, I'm still laughing) that was heavenly. They had a Finnish sauna (about 92 Celcius and 30% humidity); a "BioSauna" (about 60 Celcius, 40% humidity, and a bunch of dried herbs so it smelled yummy); a Turkish bath (read: steamroom, about 40 Celcius and 100% humidity); an Infrared room that Jason and I never could figure out (what's the point of sitting in a closet--with a glass door, no less, so everyone can see you sitting in there--with a colored light shining on you?); a whirlpool that was entirely not hot enough and which climbing in and out of would have resulted in whoever was currently occupying the whirlpool to know entirely too much about a person, in my opinion; and a "Relax Grotto," where you could go post-sauna to lay on a little water-filled bed in a stone grotto with candles and soft music playing, really quite lovely!

[Taken from the front yard of the hotel. There were cows grazing on the mountain so when you walked outside you heard the far-away ringing of cow bells, so cool!]

On Friday we took it easy, swimming and took a little drive and got lunch and then of course came back to hit the saunarium when it opened at 3. Before dinner we walked into town to stretch out my new hiking boots, and Jason ended up buying some ski boots. On Saturday we drove up to a national park that contains the "Tre Cime," or three chimneys, huge rocks sticking up out of the top of the mountain that, from the proper angle, sort of look like three chimneys. Sort of. With the right lighting. :) So off we hiked, around the base of the Tre Cime (pronounced chi-may).

[On the drive to the Tre Cime. Italy has Larch, which are deciduous conifers--"evergreen" trees that aren't evergreen!]

Many of you know that I don't like hiking on gravel, especially when that gravel is on a steep slope that I could easily slip on and fall down and either break a limb or die, especially in a country in which my husband doesn't speak the language to quickly summon help. :) [I'm not scared of spiders, or snakes, or flying, or even of heights--my phobia is *falling* and nearly dying.] Jason had done a little checking and had heard that the path was mostly flat all the way around, so after a moment of panic climbing *down* to the trail from the parking lot, we were on a nice wide path that I couldn't have slipped to my near-death on. Happy, happy Cameron! Hiking on the day after my 31st birthday, in Northern Italy, with my husband who loves me, being alive and active and enjoying life completely!

[See how happy we are!]

Then we got to the far side of the cime, where we were to turn around the sharp end and hike along the other side. We saw people walking with hiking sticks, and Jason promised that there was a trail, but all I saw was little tiny blobs of color slowly moving alongside a huge bank of sharp, pointy gravel, with a steep incline on either side of them--definitely "slip and fall to your near-death" territory if I ever saw it! So I looked out and saw another path that was further out from the direct base of the cime, that looked perfectly safe and therefore lovely. :) If you're guessing which path we took, you really haven't been paying attention. :) It turns out that our path was much nicer because we actually got nice views of the cime since we were a little further away from the base. Oh, and it was also nicer because I wasn't having a panic attack. :)

[The Tre Cime.]

[The best picture we have of the slip and fall to your near death path vs. the one we took. I wish there was a person on the path so you could have perspective. Click on the photo to see it larger.]

When we got about 3/4 of the way around, things got a little squirrelly as our path joined back up with the slip-and-fall-to-your-near-death path; now we were on a decent trail, which was flat and plenty wide enough for just one person, but there was still a steep slope on our left and a big drop-off on the right. So I thought about my Grandpa Earl, which I always do when I get in physically scary or demanding situations, 'cause he was a tough ol' guy, and I try to get inspiration and courage. So I thought about horses, since he was a cowboy, and I thought about blinders, so I just held my right hand up to my right eye so I could only see the path and not the enormous valley below! Ha ha! But it worked. We made it back to flat and safe ground, and I only needed a minute to calm back down, ha ha. :)

[Does this look like Lord of the Rings or what?]


[Jason playing Frodo Baggins. This is in the flat part where we took the path further out from the base. Again, click on the photo to see it larger--Jason is in a red coat!]

We made it back to the car about three and a half hours after we started. It was a nice workout, especially since we were at 7750 feet above sea level, and made us feel that we'd worked off some of the great food that the hotel had been feeding us!

We drove down to a "malga," which is a little place up in the mountains that makes cheese of all kinds--cow, goat, sheep. They usually have very simple and very good food, with, as you can imagine, lots of cheese. :) We had an amazing meal--we both think that it would have been quite good if we'd just driven there, but after our hike it was just about the best lunch we've ever had. :) Then we went back to the hotel and promptly sauna'ed our asses off. :) My dream home is going to have a Finnish sauna! We took a nap in the grotto, then I sauna'ed some more, then we went for a swim. The indoor/outdoor whirlpool was open today (it wasn't on Friday), so Jason and I tried it out. It is like a small pool, about four feet deep, with jets at various heights on one side and a sloped metal rack-type thing on the other side. We quickly figured out that you pushed the red button to activate each jet, and on the wall it was great to stand against each one--lower back, upper back, thighs, calves, perfect after our hike. So we went over and laid on the sloped metal rack and pushed the red button--waaahooah! It was hysterical, we were both being bounced around by the jets and had to hold on to the metal rack just to stay in place! It felt great but very odd, I've never seen anything like it. Neither of us could stop laughing!

Yesterday we drove home the long way, heading up into Austria through the mountains.




All of the trees are changing colors, it was really beautiful. So, all in all, a great weekend! Thanks again for your birthday wishes!

Love,

Cameron
******

So there we are! That was, for me, a fun trip back in time. I hope you enjoyed it as well! :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An Enlightening Weekend, Part One

Okay, so I know that it's Thursday and we're on the verge of another weekend, and I'm just getting around to writing about last weekend. Better late than never. Mamma mia, that seems to be my life's motto lately. What can I say? I'm working on it.

Anyway, Jason and I had a rather enlightening weekend. Three unrelated things came up in random fashion that each shone a light on who we are and how we work. [I was going to write about all three in this post but since I'm sort of obsessed interested in self-awareness and -improvement, once I got going it ended up being longer than I thought, so I'm going to break it into two or three posts.]

First, I was thumbing through an old issue of Real Simple magazine [side note: in my mind I always think "an old episode" and have to correct myself--a sure sign I need to read more magazines and watch less TV] from last October. In an article titled "10 Ways to Be Happier," Gretchen Rubin explains two types of decision makers: Satisficers and Maximizers. Satisficers (yes, satisficer--a combo of the words satisfy and suffice) make a decision once their criteria has been met. When they find a hotel or blender or restaurant that is good enough (however they define that for each decision), they're satisfied and make the decision without looking back. Maximizers, on the other hand, want to make the best possible decision. They can't feel satisfied making a decision until they've researched all the available options and determined which is the very best (or best deal). Afterward they are less likely to be satisfied and more likely to be anxious about their decisions, for fear that they didn't have all the available information. Obviously this takes more time and effort and is less rewarding to boot! Double whammy!


Although this comparison/explanation was only a paragraph long, it hit me right upside the head and I felt that there was a reason I'd saved this particular old magazine. Jason is a Satisficer, and me? I am soooooo a Maximizer. I'm a maximum Maximizer. I've wanted a new camera, a new vacuum cleaner, and a new mattress for over a year now, but haven't done anything about it because I haven't made the time to sit down and explore ALL the available options. In case you're a Satisficer (lucky you!) and have no idea what I mean by ALL available options, allow me to give you an idea of what my research process would entail, for say, buying a new camera. First, I'd figure out which cameras were available in my general price range and make a list of all of them. Given those, I'd check with known product test sites (like Digital Photography Review) to get the reviews on each of them. I'd check out reviews on Amazon, B&H, etc., and I'd Google reviews to see what other reviews were out there. I'd ask all of my friends which cameras they use and whether or not they like them, and of course I'd put greater emphasis on the opinions of those whose photography I admire. I'd check Flickr to see which cameras took which photos. I'd drive to camera stores and look at the front-running cameras, hold them in my hands to see how they felt. I'd search for the very best price of all the front-running cameras. I'd check to see if there were any deals or rebates available. I'd research the different body & lens packages to see which was the best deal for what I wanted. I'd probably have to research lenses, too. And it goes without saying I'd have this all compiled in an Excel spreadsheet. Obviously.

Do you see why I haven't even started looking yet?

I know, I know, it's insane. And reading that paragraph in the magazine made me see, for the first time ever, just how insane it all is. Of course I don't do this type of thing for every purchase; I might read the labels on a few different pasta sauces before I buy one (we avoid high-fructose corn syrup), but I don't Google pasta sauce reviews or anything. :) And actually, pasta sauce is a bad example because I make my own, but that's one of the examples she uses in the article so there you go. :) Anyway, it's usually just the high-priced purchases that turn me into Mrs. Maximus Maximizer. Growing up, every dollar counted and a bad financial decision could be felt acutely; I don't know if that contributed to my Maximizer-ness or if I would have been like this anyway, but it certainly helped me to feel justified in my decision-making process.

Now that I know I'm a Maximizer, I can see all the ways it's affected our lives. I don't like planning trips, because the research that goes into booking airfare, finding hotels, choosing a rental car, etc, becomes completely overwhelming to me. So Jason usually ends up doing it, and you know what's funny? I always make the best of any situation, even when he books hotel rooms in parts of town that make people say, "Seriously? You're staying there? Be careful!" I can't remember ever being mad at him for making a bad or questionable decision about travel plans. Why do I hold myself to (impossibly) higher standards?

And it's not just spending money that I Maximize, it's making it, too. I have a ton of Polish pottery that I got while we were in Europe, and I haven't sold any of it--even though there is a big pile that I want to sell--because I don't know the best way to go about it. I know it would go for more money on eBay than on Craigslist, but then there's the hassle of packing and shipping and potential breakage. And then if I sell it on eBay, there are a ton of different options--do I do a Buy It Now or not, how many days should I set it for, etc, etc, etc. This past weekend Costco had an outside vendor selling it, and I checked out the prices; it made me want to have a Polish pottery show & sale at my house, but how would I advertise it, and how would I make sure that no creepy people showed up? The same goes for stacks of books I don't want anymore, Birkenstocks I bought on eBay and never wore (I went on a Birkenstock-buying binge one summer when Jason was gone for training, whoops!), skeins and skeins of yarn I bought in Europe when I was learning to crochet.... So there it all sits, taking up space and equaling zero dollars in my wallet.

Also, our house isn't even close to the way I'd like it to be, and I think now I know why. I'm afraid to make a decision unless I can be sure it's the perfect decision; the best place for each thing to go, the best way for things to be organized, the best piece(s) of furniture to buy, the best paint colors, flooring choices, and on and on and on. Being a Maximizer has paralyzed me and it stresses me out to live in a house that's not done. I have so much guilt about it and I hate for anyone to come in the house. I'm embarrassed and angry at myself.

It all seems so obvious and pathetic now. But the good news is that we can change our decision-making habits! Now that I know I'm a Maximizer I can choose my decision-making process. So I'm going to focus on balance, and trying to see when more research is really needed and when good enough is good enough. Jason's going to help me when I get stuck. I'm going to work on the house, remembering that DUH, everything can be moved around, walls can be repainted, furniture can be moved or sold on Craigslist or torched in the back yard, for that matter, which Jason would loooove. I'm going to be satisfied and things will suffice!

Which are you, a Satisficer or a Maximizer? I'd love to hear about it! :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday--Mah Mamma

(Post title should be read with an exaggerated Southern accent.) Tuesday was my mamma's birthday so I thought I'd find a photo of her for this week!


While we were in Italy my parents came to visit us twice. This photo was taken during the second trip in May of 2006. I've mentioned before that Jason loved to take people driving around up in the mountains behind our house, and this photo was taken on the same trip as this photo, and actually as this photo, too! So this was obviously one of his better mountain trips! :) We had a lot of fun, but most importantly, Mom has her eyes open. This may not sound like a big deal unless you know that our last family photo session ended when we all finally just told mom, "Just look at the baby!" (my niece, her granddaughter) because every other shot had her eyes closed, no matter which tricks we tried. :) So I'm happy to have this one of the four of us. Happy birthday, Mom!

I was going to post photos of the gift I made her, but then I decided that I like it so much I'm going to make some more for other people. :) So I still want it to be a surprise. :)

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Other stuff of note, in random order:

I woke up this morning to an e-mail notifying me that one of my items made it to the front page of Etsy! Okay, so it happened to be from 1-2 a.m. Eastern time, but that's only 10-11 p.m. Pacific! :) The Treasury I was in was actually chosen by Etsy, so that's cool! I also got a bunch of views of my stuff, and nine different people tagged my item with a "heart." If it seems like I'm speaking a semi-foreign language, don't worry, it seems that way to me, too. :) [See my previous blog post for a photo of all the items in the treasury, you can click on each thumbnail to be taken to that item.]

This week started off pretty slowly for sales but it sure picked up at the end! Hooray! I also posted some new things, check it out!

Jason and I painted the garage doors tonight. Not a lot of fun but we didn't actually yell or swear out loud so I guess that's a success. :) And the doors look great, hooray!

Tomorrow we're going to see Mike Birbiglia, our favorite living comedian (our favorite dead comedian is Mitch Hedberg). I'm super excited to see Birbigs!

I have a ton of new jewelry ideas brewing. We have big goals for work around the house this weekend but I'm sure that Jason will want to squeeze in a football game at some point so I should have a break. :)

My October challenge to move at least 30 minutes per day has been working; I've done it every single day, although it's taken a different turn than I thought. I wanted to start jogging, but all of the traveling and sleeping in different beds when we went to Colorado did a number on my back; so until my Chiropractor gives me the okay, no jogging for me. So I've been riding the exercise bike at the gym because I can read while I'm on it (and I have book club next Wednesday). :) The big surprise (to me) is that I've started walking again, and most evenings Jason's been joining me. It's great for communication and our relationship, since while we're walking we have nothing else to do except catch up on each other! I love this time together, but walking isn't as vigorous as I had in mind in my quest to get healthy and fit back into my damn clothes, so I need to add in some other activity as well.

Have a great weekend! :)

I Made It To Etsy's Front Page!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday--My Seeeester

Today is my seeester's birthday! Happy Birthday, Tauni! She was born in 1979 so that means she is now the big 3-0! Wowsers!


Weren't we cute? Okay, actually, I look sort of crazy, and that haircut didn't do a lot for me. But Tauni is really cute, huh? Ahhh, the early '80's! Don't you love my dress?

There's another picture that exists in my mind and also exists somewhere in my mom's or sister's house--I know it's not in mine because I just searched for it for like an hour--of both of us standing in our long nightgowns over my grandma's big air vent, and we are puffed out like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, with funny looks on our faces, our cheeks puffed out to enhance the effect. There's another picture I was thinking of but couldn't find where she is hanging upside down on a horizontal bar; I remember taking the photo and thinking how funny it would look to turn it upside down, so she is right-side up with her hair sticking "up." It is/was funny. The fact that I can't find those makes me want to 1) completely organize my house 2) completely organize my photos 3) get a negative scanner 4) scan every photo and negative belonging to my family that I can get my hands on.

Anyway, Happy, Happy Birthday to my seeester! :) I know you're having a good day. :) Eat some strawberries in the carriageway for me. ;)

Happy, Happy Birthday also to Aimee! Wish I could be there to celebrate with you, not that I could keep up. ;)

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In other news, where the hell is 2009 going? It's OCTOBER already? Lately I'm really remembering all those times when I was a little kid and adults would say "Where is the time going?" and "Time is really flying!" and I'd think, "What is wrong with you? It's going to be foooooorrrreeeeverrrr until Christmas!" And now, today, I discover that it's 12 weeks until Christmas and I think, "Oh, crap, already?" {Deep sigh.}

I finally uploaded my photos from our trip to the computer tonight but I haven't even looked at them. I want to upload a few and write about our trip, but then again I still want to upload photos and write about my trip to Orlando and that was back in August! {Another deep sigh!}

I'm going to (note that I said going to and not want to) upload at least four more items to my Etsy store to complete my September challenge; hopefully Sunday. I'm proud of myself for (mostly) keeping up with this challenge, despite the unplanned trip. It was a lot of work. My October challenge is to work out for 30 minutes per day (yesterday was walking with Jason, today was the exercise bike at the gym) as well as working on the house towards certain goals. That will be a lot of work, too, but the fact that nearly every negative thought in my head lately has to do with how I feel about my house or my body, it's badly needed. Wish me luck!

Tomorrow I'm headed out to Crafty Bastards and Art on the Avenue with my friends Andrea and Elizabeth--I'm super excited! Have a great weekend! :)