Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Breaking my silence...

For the funniest thing I've seen in a while.  I might have to do this myself.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Birthday week accomplished

Hello friends.  I had a great birthday week.  It started with presents and flowers.  


And cupcakes.   


I bought myself a plant at one of our many Home Depot runs.

I'm so helpful.
Mr. Renaissance had a birthday surprise for me.  We were going to do it on Saturday night.  But then Friday morning, after my birthday dinner at Rover's with Halterwhip and The Shutterbug, I woke up pretty tired.  You see we've been sleeping on a full size bed.  Me, a 200 lb man, and a dog.  Bubba got kicked off the bed in the middle of that night, but it didn't help much.  Bed. too. small!


So Friday morning we decided to upgrade to a king size bed.  I hadn't wanted to change beds until we moved - it seemed like too much work - but we were obviously in a too small bed.  And I acquiesced.  

And it took up three days.

We had to go to a few stores to try mattresses, pick out a frame and comforter at IKEA, buy new sheets at Target, take the old bed apart, move the pile of boxes out of the dining room and into the new shed to make room to store the old bed, transfer the underbed storage to the new underbed storage, prewash the linens, put the new bed together, and make the bed.  

Whew.  It was exhausting.  And the first few nights the new memory foam mattress had to outgas.  Meaning it has VOCs that need to come off the mattress (apparently like new car upholstery).  But it was so so strong.  We seriously thought about returning the mattress after the first night.  It's gotten much better* and it's comfortable.  

But the size?  The size is amazing.  The bedroom actually looks bigger than it did with the smaller bed. And Mr. Renaissance let me pick a white metal frame and lavender bedding.  

Doesn't it look great?
So I still have a birthday surprise to redeem.  Although I'm not sure when we'll do it.  Weekend fill up fast and Slutbag is coming this weekend! 

* We still might trade the mattress in though.  We'll see.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Do you ever do this to yourself?

Fold laundry on the bed while watching TV and end up pinning yourself in?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bubba, CGC

Now another member of the family has three initials after their name.  One PhD, one CGC.  Canine Good Citizen, that is.

We just finished a six week class on Advanced Manners at Fuzzy Buddy's in Seattle.  Every Sunday afternoon we've left the house renovation for an hour class at Greenlake.  Some things he was already great at - sit, down, stay, and coming when called.  Other things - like walking on a loose lead and not reacting to other dogs - that's what we needed to work on.  I was having a hard time with those.  I had tried multiple things to get him to stop pulling on the leash pretty much unsuccessfully, and he needed more practice and positive reinforcement on ignoring other dogs when on leash.

Today was the last class where he took the test.  He had to:

  1. Accept a friendly stranger greeting his owner.
  2. Allow the stranger to pet him.
  3. Let the stranger groom him.
  4. Walk on a loose lead.
  5. Walk politely through a crowd.
  6. Sit and lie down on command and stay in place.
  7. Come when called.
  8. React appropriately to another dog.
  9. React appropriately to distractions.
  10. Calmly endure supervised separation from the owner.

He did really well and passed his test.  Now he's officially a good boy.
In other news, Greenlake isn't just a great place to take your dog on a warm spring day.  It's also a pretty good outing for your baby chicks apparently.

Which is what was in this lady's makeshift, travel, 2x4 pen.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I filed my taxes myself!

No I didn't. 

You see, my dad is a CPA and my mom is a doer.  So my college years my mom did my taxes, and after that my dad did them.  My taxes are simple (except for the years I worked in two states) and neither one of them ever gave me the impression that this was a big chore for them.  My mom was already doing her more complicated taxes anyway, and my dad was already doing hundreds of people's taxes anyway.

But this year my dad got a new job as the Treasurer for his town.  And he was still going to do the taxes of a lot of his clients in addition to that this year.  He didn't want to pass them off to someone else in his old company.  And two other things happened.  Mr. Renaissance, who does his own more complicated taxes, said we could do them ourselves really easily.  And I thought, "hmmm, maybe I could save my dad a few minutes from work this year."  I also asked Mr. Renaissance, "By 'ourselves' you mean you do them while I hang out nearby?  Cause I don't want to do my taxes".  I'm in my early thirties and have never done anything more than collect all the appropriate documents, send a fax, and sign on the post-it-noted line.  And this has felt like a little amazing luxury that I do not want to give up.  "I don't do my taxes" is now a small part of my identity.  If I don't want to burden my dad with it, and Mr. Renaissance isn't straight up offering to do it, I'm going straight to a professional.  That's how much I'm invested in this.

Anyway, this weekend Mr. Renaissance filed my taxes (after a few calls to my dad for details from last year).  I was somewhere nearby cleaning the house or doing laundry or feeding the dogs.  All I did was collect my documents and provide my identifying information, and still I got frustrated with the process.  Whatever.

But I'm getting money back (like always!) and my self-identity was left undisturbed.  A win-win.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Stress

I feel like I've expressed that my job is stressful.  It is a LARGE project that I have taken on for my post-doc.  A large project where several of the pieces have either never been done before, never been done at this scale, or never been done in this way.  And yes, that's science, do something that's never been done before, but just for the record, you will usually retain a little more of your sanity if you attempt this a bit more incrementally.

I've got a lot going on there - computer programming, leading several pieces of the project, working collaboratively with many other people, making sure other people are getting their parts done at least somewhat within the timeframe, reading papers, writing papers, going to seminars, organizing the structure of the project and reorganizing the structure of the project, figuring out the details of how to simulate about five surveys for 3 types of assessment, organizing appropriate meetings, etc.

And I had to go to Alaska last week for a meeting.  So add packing, travel, attending talks, talking to a bunch of people, and meeting with my 2 bosses (but not at the same time of course!).

A lot of people have stressful jobs.  And thank goodness that my living situation is calm and good.  But there are other things going on too.

1.  New relationship
2.  House renovation

To explain...

The new relationship is great.  We're good together, he's a great person, we love each other, and have very similar goals.  I found it all and am quite surprised and happy about it.  But, we just moved in together.  We just got engaged.  He just finished going through a divorce, moved, and changed jobs.  That's a lot of shit kicked up.  We somewhat recently went to a couples counselor to get some stuff ironed out before those kind of things become big problems (his idea, which is another reason to love him), and she said that after couples get engaged it is incredibly common that it stirs shit up.  Same with getting married and having kids.  Those milestones kick up the shit in a relationship.  I sighed a sigh of relief.  We're normal!

Anyway, we both obviously have been pretty hurt and disappointed in previous relationships and we both wheeled some baggage in with us.  Sometimes his baggage starts a fight with my baggage.  Or vice versa.  The challenge sometimes is to realize when that's happening.  As in, sometimes Person A needs to realize that his/her nuclear-sized reaction to a particular trigger is not because of Person B's multiple transgressions (in fact it may be the first time Person B has done this at all), but because it is in Person A's history that he/she has had to deal with it way more than his/her fair share.  Perhaps in a previous relationship it was a common reoccurance that was particularly hurtful.  That sort of thing.

And you know, relationships take time.  Spending time together, being present for the other's ups and downs, being someone they can count on, working toward common goals, and having happy times ;) and not so happy times (see above).

So of course you're left with less time than you're used to when you're single.  Of course this is a good thing - companionship, sharing your life with someone, never feeling like a loser on a Friday night.  A lot of singledom, at least when you're out of your twenties, feels like you're trying to have a party when 90% of your friends are out of town.  But, the other side of the coin is that part of me really thrives on solitude.  Like when there's a giant space on a weekend day that is my mission to creatively fill.  Should I take a long walk with the dog?  Do some writing?  Start a project?  Watch 5 hours of Downton Abbey?

In my current life I still get to finish Season 2 of Downton Abbey in the span of a few weeks, and then after the last episode, skip into the living room to express my joy about Lady Mary and Matthew and launch into the short version of their story.  Side note: Downton Abbey told by plot points sounds ridiculous.

And then there's the house.  Don't get me wrong.  I love the house.
I love all the windows, the nooks, the public/private spaces, the efficiency of space, the cook's kitchen, the french doors, the utility room, the under stairs pantry, the library corner in the living room,


the large master bedroom window, my walk-in closet, the beautiful master bath, the small open room at the top of the stairs, and that we've got 3 bedrooms and 3 baths.  It will be perfect to live in and grow in. When we met with the architect and I told him everything I loved, he came back with these plans and I lit up like a LED diamond ring.  


But yes, building a house is stressful.  Stressful to a relationship and personally.  And if you're doing most of the work yourselves on top of stressful full-time jobs it's even more so.  

There's of course the stress of money.  A lot of money gets spent.  And we've had to realize that our best move is to build just the first story now and live in that for a couple years before adding the second story.  This means we'll have a temporary bedroom in the space where the stairs and library nook will eventually go.  But the kitchen will be done.  When I get stressed about the state of flux in the house I will barricade myself in the finished kitchen.  

The stress of money also comes up when you're deciding on building materials.  And even though one of you is very flexible about letting the other one have her dream family home, you will still have arguments about windows*.  As in, one of us ideally wants all the windows (aside from in the bedrooms which have to open to meet code, and in the bathroom and utility rooms to vent weird smells) to be fixed (i.e. don't open) in order to save costs and decrease heat leakiness.  The other of us wants windows to open so that we can let the outside in on our limited Pacific Northwest beautiful days, so that we can feel the breeze run through the house and smell the flowers in the front yard, and so that we can yell at the kids without having to run outside.  We'll come to a compromise, but I'm still standing my ground that a living room needs 1-2 windows that open.  

And then there's the stress of time.  Weekends are either spent entirely at the house working, or spent feeling guilty about not working on the house.  I've started to feel like my life is consists of work, working on the house, trying to keep the rental house somewhat clean and mostly failing, eating fast food, watching crap TV (I love crap TV), and sleeping.  Bags don't get unpacked until a week later, laundry doesn't get done until it takes 8 loads, time spent together is either the work or decompressing from work variety, social lives get neglected, and healthy home-cooked meals don't get made.  

We were recently exhausted at 6pm on a Saturday (after not even working on the house that day), and one of us had a mini-meltdown about coffee grounds at K-Mart, and one of us had a less-mini-meltdown at home afterwards about Cabela's.  Yes, I cried about Cabela's.

So stress.  Yeah, I've got it.  My plan to deal with it is to:
A.  Exercise, hard.  
B.  Rebalance my life.
C.  Spend too much money in the pastry/cake section of Whole Foods.  
D.  Realize this is the stress of over-abundance?

But that's all I have to say for now - got to get back to the laundry.


* Windows 101:  Do you want vinyl ($), fiberglass ($$), or fiberglass/wood ($$$)?  Do you want fixed ($), awning ($$), single hung ($$), casement ($$$) or double hung ($$$$)?  What do you want the wooden panes to look like?  Do you want triple-paned glass ($$$$)?  

Monday, April 2, 2012

A few recent pics

Hello friends!  Haven't seen you much these days.  Where ya' been?  Well, pretty much everything of note lately (that I've had any time at all to write about) has been going on over at the house blog - oneweekendatatime.  Head over there for some house updates.  We've been working pretty much all weekend days at the house - and some other time on top of that.  So I've been quite busy.  Work, house, relationship duties (knowwhatI'msayin'?), a little time to myself once and awhile, that's about what's been happening.

But here's a few things we've also been up to (in pictures):

We've started having some spring days!

Went with The Violent Offender, The Shutterbug, Mr. Renaissance and our new friend to Leslie and the Lys!

Ah, Space needle.

I'll give you one guess who did this to him.

Using my new Kitchenaid to make St. Patrick's Day Guinness chocolate cupcakes with Bailey's frosting!

Bubba went to an agility workshop and he looooooved it.  This is him just dying to go replace that other dog.  He was taking too long to figure it out and Bubba thought his chance should have been over.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fun!

Maybe I'll make you some of this guacamole some day...



(Found over at Serious Eats during my morning rotation)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sorry for having a vagina

In lieu of posting a whole tirade about: misogyny in America; and insurance not covering birth control; and about how birth control reduces abortions (which given that uber-Conservatives don't give a shit about this just proves it's not about babies, it's about keeping women in their place); and about how without birth control women must either be celibate or not have careers; and how it's a panel of men making these decisions; and about how apparently we're not even going to mention the hypocrisy of Viagra; and about how if men are allowed to have sex without being called slutty, but women are not, then men should have sex with men?  wait, you're against that too?  hmmm...

In lieu of all that, because I'm currently too busy making science and designing my dream kitchen (only one of those things is Conservative-sanctioned), just go here.

It's my favorite thing this week.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I can haz chickenz?

We've got some new creatures at the house.

These are the two normal chickens.

Well, they're not exactly new.  Mr. Renaissance has had them since this spring, but they finally got moved over to our rental house.

There are three, and the little one is not only quite little, but pretty much lacking any survival skills.  She got here all muddy because the other chickens were pinning her down and picking on her and Mr. Renaissance decided she needed a bath.  In the kitchen sink.



She came out of the bath with her feathers all floofy and unable to see through them.  So then I had to give her a ponytail on the top of her head so she can see.  Then she finally started eating the food that was right in front of her.

We also decided she shouldn't be let back outside all wet from her bath.  So she stayed inside the first night in a plastic bin on the freezer.

Bubba was quite interested in this chicken during the whole process.  He was dying to get his teeth around her neck.  The other two chickens, he doesn't care about at all; they're as big as he is and he knows a losing battle when he sees it.  But the little one... yoinks.  He tried so hard to get his paws on that one.

He stared at Mr. Renaissance during the chicken bath portion of the evening, then stared at the top of the freezer when she was put up there for the night.  You could see his little wheels turning, trying to figure out how to get to her.


Bam!  Smart little bugger.  

So then we moved the chicken bin so that it was in the way of his landing spot on the freezer.  I wanted to see him get all frustrated and think it through...


If you're going to frustrate him you better let him win.  Sometimes living with a dog is like living with a Muppet.  It's awesome. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How to glam up a rainy day.

Silver-tipped fingers...
And eggplant-colored toes.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Good morning friends!



That is all.

Mexico!

Right now I'm still in Alaska, and due to the ice storm in Seattle my flight home tomorrow might be canceled.  :(  In better news, Bajabucky and I just split a surf and turf at dinner, I met two lovely new people, and I have a massage tomorrow at noon courtesy of my very sweet fiancĂ©.  The massage is well needed by the way because: A. it's been almost a year; and B. I could barely move my neck at all last weekend without scorching pain.  Thank goodness the sweet fiancĂ© also had muscle relaxers.

Anyway.  Did I mention it's -3 degrees here right now?  Which has got me really missing a couple weeks ago when we were in Mexico.

In Mexico!  For Hoeface's 30th birthday with Slutbag and a dozen other friends.  It was pretty epic and involved a horribly swollen ankle injured the first night on a bar trampoline, one of us going missing because he walked home from the bar in rural Baja, a shredded rental car tire, a rental car transmission crushed from the underside by a dirt road rock (this involved a car that would no longer shift, let alone move, followed by a tow by a local mechanic, terror at the potential bill to fix it, a possible day trip into Cabo San Lucas to fix the transmission by an incredibly patient, adventurous, and responsible man, and an ultimate car switch 3 miles from our house by the rental agency and subsequent zero charges due to the foresight of paying for the extra extra insurance), the owner of the rental house getting peed on by one of us, some naked hot tub time, and a horribly hungover drive to the airport in which the car had to be stopped four times.

But we had a lot to celebrate - between the 14 of us we had a birthday, an engagement, a pregnancy, a new job, and a promotion.  I didn't think anything like my 30th birthday would be seen again.  But it has. Yes, yes, it has.

When we first got to Mexico Mr. Renaissance and Slutbag and I stopped at a mega-mart for supplies - including flip flops and a swimsuit for him (the man needs more vacations I think!) and a birthday cake for Hoeface.

These are shoes.  We did not buy them.
Even the grocery parking lot had beautiful views.
The house was beautiful, right on the beach, held 14 people, and cost $35/person/night.  There were surfboards, kayaks, and a wood fired concrete hot tub.



Mr. Renaissance and I got one of the (mostly) private rooms, but to get to it we had to go through the single ladies' bedroom with just a sliding wooden door separating the two rooms.  Where I'm going with this is that the ladies got to hear a lot of snoring.  Which is kind of funny because as soon as a couple of weeks into dating him I already had it tuned out.  So now I never even know if he snores or not because if I'm asleep I don't hear it.  Thank god.

The surf at our house was really big.  It was beautiful and the sound of the waves crashing was so amazing to fall asleep and wake up to, but it also meant we really couldn't get more than about knee deep safely.  That was fun though.



I did way less of this than you might imagine.  Sadly.
So we went to a beginner surf break nearby.  One with quite a few other people.  We sat at a table with an umbrella all day and drank beer, and had a few snacks, and rented surfboards and boogie boards.


Lots of people went surfing, including Mr. Renaissance, Hoeface, and Slutbag.  I didn't want to surf unless I could really spend a lot of time to learn (I do have a bit of self-awareness about how obsessive I am) so I passed.  



I boogie boarded instead.  And when I got tired of hauling that out through the surf I just swam and body boarded.  That was way more fun.  And I kind of accidentally got out into a pretty decent surf break and got a little bit rocked.  That was also pretty fun.  And I wore my swim goggles.  Natch.  

We also did a little shopping in Todos Santos, but didn't really take the time to shop at the edges of town where the decent prices were.  So I just bought a magnet, and a couple Christmas presents, our first Christmas ornament, and some small gifts for the doggy sitters.  Mr. Renaissance insisted on bringing back a sombrero for Bubba.  Since he's part Mexican and all.  


There is one soul in this house who loves it, one soul who hates it, and one soul who feels caught in the middle.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm in Alaska, b*tch

And omg, is it cold.


I'm here for a conference.  A conference that is always held in January.  My only guess as to why is that the hotel costs a lot less in the winter.  That and many people aren't available in the summer due to fieldwork.  But whatever.  

I got here Sunday night and still wasn't done with my presentation that I had to give this morning.  So I spent a couple days holed up in my hotel room ordering room service... 


and working like mad to finish my presentation by Tuesday.  

This is what the sky up here looks like at 9:30 am.


Ah, finally some sun!  I'm not going out there, though.



So then Tuesday I spent most of the day practicing my presentation.  Oh boy, are the first few times you practice a presentation painful!  Then that evening I walked 4 blocks to the poster session.  In those 4 blocks my face went numb.  


Look, Bajabucky is here!


We're going to hang out later.  

So this morning I got up at 6:45 to have time to practice my talk and get downstairs by 8 am for the beginning of my session.  My talk went well but I was a little bit terrified.  The ratio of audience size to my comfort level with the topic was waaay higher than I'm used to.  This meeting has only one talk at a time in a large ballroom.  So there were probably over a hundred people in the room.  And up until, oh, about Monday, I didn't quite understand the subject in all the detail necessary to speak on it.  But I did ok.  Some people even said I did well, and that it was "well organized" and "accessible".  Phew.  

I'm glad that's over with.

Now I'm just hoping I can fly back Friday what with all the snow we've gotten on the home front.  

See?

Mr. Renaissance is keeping me updated on adorable Bubba photos.  Thank goodness. 

Over and out.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I guess he likes it!

Well we're starting 2012 off with a bang here friends!  Mr. Renaissance over here put a ring on it!  We had reservations at Joule on New Year's Eve for their special menu.  We were going to have a nice casual NYE together.  And because it was a nice dinner I wore a black dress, blue tights, and heels.  Mr. Renaissance said he wanted to stop by the house renovation because he wanted to check on some things before dinner.  I said sure, no problem.

Once there, he turned some lights off, checked out his work for the day, then grabbed me on my way back into the car.  And right there on the sidewalk in front of the house he's building for us, in which we plan to build a home and family and live for 40 years, he told me how much I mean to him (at this point I thought this was just a sweet way to start 2012), got down on one knee (at which point I was like, "wait, what?"), pulled out a ring (I was mightily confused that he would have had a ring made already), and asked if I would marry him.

So I said, "Of course I will".  And then he laughed at me.

Here's my ring!


It's a round aquamarine set in a band of diamonds.  Of course my engagement ring would be blue, amIright?  It couldn't be more perfect.  

Look, it doesn't even fit on his pinkie.   


We finished the night off with an awesome dinner, then dancing at R Place with The Violent Offender.  And asleep by 4am.  Not exactly the mild night I was expecting.

And then we started 2012 with breakfast at our new favorite neighborhood joint, with texts and calls to friends and family.  And he told me all the details of his secret ring designing.  And that he brought the ring back and showed it to almost my entire family without me being any the wiser.  


So obviously that is the big news over here!  There is so much more to tell you though, so I'll get on that soon.  But not like tomorrow soon because we're going to Mexico on Friday to celebrate Hoeface's 30th with Slutbag and some more friends.

And mark your calendars for sometime in 2013 to go someplace great to celebrate with Mr. Renaissance and myself the official binding of our happy union.  Which is to say, we need to get this house done before we start planning a wedding.