August 2010

Let’s have a closer look:

Upon closer inspection I realized it was a fake- just a big ol’ fluffy stuffed animal the size of me, hangin’ out on the street corner. (This kind of thing is normal in the ghetto.)

But mark my words, if that muppet dog were real, he would be MINE.

But I am too cheap to pay for real internet so therefore it gets to decide when it will and will not upload photos for me.

So I’ll just say… what a week. A good friend informed me that bad things happen in threes, so let’s hope that the bad things will lay off for a while. Meanwhile, I love my family, I love my friends, and I love the blessing that is life. Let’s all do our best to enjoy it, ok?? Have a wonderful, safe weekend.

I know I use the f-word too much. I’m sorry, but not sorry enough to stop.

Here’s the good news: I have a shload (that means a lot) of free pavers in my back yard.

Here’s the bad news: They were all placed in random crackhead-style arrangements, which had to be dug out and hauled.

Let's build a path where no one will ever walk!

Dummy here thought she could squeak by with a 4000 sq ft yard without buying a wheelbarrow. This is me hauling one of many pavers by hand. Stan digs them up and walks them halfway, I go meet him and stack them up. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

That's not a smile, it's a grimace.

This is how many we hauled that way (the dumb brute strength caveman way).

Here’s smarty with her new wheelbarrow!

We got a lot more done with ol’ wheely.

Then there was this beast. In addition to coked-out paver placement, the previous owners apparently enjoyed pouring a good random slab of cement every once in a while.

It may not look like much, but we estimated that it weighed about 350 pounds. We tried lifting it into the wheelbarrow- a laughable idea now.

Since it was time for neighborhood cleanup, we ended up moving it using a complex “end-over-end” and “ok-I’m-tired-let’s-try-walking-it” and “let’s-stand-here-for-just-a-sec” method.

Finally we collapsed into an exhausted hug and enjoyed the sight of it on the curb…

…with all the other crap for the city to come get.

Thank you, Salt Lake.

Fantasy world thought: “I’ll just go for an easy 3-4 mile run on my lunch break. NBD.”

Fact: 3-4 miles is not EASY when it’s been 4 months since your last run, even if that run was 26.2 miles long.

Fantasy world thought: “I’ll take it nice and slow, just stay around 5.2 the whole time.” (Note: during training the slowest I EVER went was 5.2)

Fact: .5 miles in at 5.2, my bangs were sticking to my plum-colored forehead, my breath was heavy, and my jowls were bouncing back and forth like a Basset Hound.

I really wanted to stop. I kept thinking of excuses. “My lunch break isn’t long enough” and “I’m starving” (I wasn’t even that hungry) and “HGTV is really dumb today” were among the top three. I thought, well, I’ll at least walk every half mile so I can make it to three miles.

Then something happened.

Scary Manda took over. “Fatty! Don’t you dare stop! You ran a #&%*ing marathon! There is no place for this whiny whininess! Look at your gut! Look at your soft legs! Your arms flapping in the wind! Keep running or you will not eat dinner tonight!!!” Scary Manda is a little crazy, and mean.

So I kept running. I ran while so-and-so-rich-beyotch got a kitchen makeover and droned on about how granite counter tops make her feel connected to the earth. I ran while that super annoying but slightly endearing Progressive lady tried to sell me car insurance. I ran and occasionally glanced in the mirror, then hurriedly glanced away. Yipes. Holy shiznit, I made it.

Afterward, I tried to shield my dripping purple face as much as possible on my way to the locker room. I couldn’t wait to get in the shower and be sopping wet with water instead of sweat. Upon opening my gym bag, I realized that I had no soap, shampoo, or conditioner. I had hair gel and that was it. Awesome! I stepped into the cold shower and remembered something I had read once about friction being more important than soap in the cleansing process, so I pretty much scrubbed myself raw. Sigh. My face was still purple when I got out, and putting makeup on a sweaty face is really challenging. It’s hard to get even coverage when a) your skin is purple and your makeup is “Translucent Medium” and b) “Translucent Medium” keeps melting off your face with the sweat. And since all the hair dryers in my gym are from 1981 and deliver a breeze about as powerful as a newborn baby’s toot, I had to  “scrunch” my hair (a 90’s favorite!).

Despite my less-than-glamorous looks, I returned to the office triumphant. I did it! I ran THREE MILES!! And I’ll be back at it again, mark my words. Oh yes, I’ll be back. Because I signed up for this, which is going to be completely awesome.

Disclaimer: I know I’m not fat. I also know that self-depreciation is not the most healthy form of encouragement. But sometimes I have to reach into deep dark places to get the motivation I need to finish such tasks as running 3 miles. Don’t judge.

After I excitedly told you about my new pot rack, I promised to “fill you in” (ahahaha) as to what we did to “fill in” (ahaha) the ugly hole.

This is what it looked like before:

And this is what it looks like now:

A close- up:

Quite a while ago, Stan found me this pretty old heat grate at a salvage shop. He spent hours stripping about 30 layers of gunky paint from it, then spray painted it. He also got a piece of thin plywood, cut it to size, and spray painted it silver to go behind the grate. Then he screwed both of them into the chimney with masonry screws while I took a nap. It was wonderful. I tried to paint the blue masonry screws, but it looks like they may need another coat. Oh and that yellow stuff in the “before” picture is Great Stuff- just a spray insulation foam, since the ugly hole pretty much opens to the outside.

No more ugly hole!

My sister is one of the most practical and thrifty people I know. This woman will avoid conveniences like fast food at all costs, because she thinks it’s a rip-off (she’s right). She always has carrot sticks, grapes, and crackers at the ready for her kids so she’s never tempted to pull into McDonalds because of a hunger-induced temper tantrum. I, on the other hand, have been known to jerk the wheel into a 7-11 parking lot at the first hint of thirst or drowsiness that can only be remedied by a drum of Diet Coke with lots of ice. Mmmm.

Anyway, the reason I tell you this is that my sister is a girl who uses it up, wears it out, makes it do, or goes without (I’m impressed that I remembered that whole rhyme). Her house is no exception. A while back I did a post about her trailer-shaped (and similarly sized) house and the improvements she’s done on it. Without disclosing private information about their income, I’ll just say that I have a suspicion that they have been able to afford a LOT more house than that for quite a while now. Their restraint is impressive. And I actually really like that house, but with three kids and one on the way, it’s getting a little small. I guess my point is that they are finally moving into their dream house after a lot of saving, searching, and analyzing. And they’re the types to stay put, probably forever.

Wanna see it?

Gorgeous, no?

Keep in mind that these are the photos from the listing. It appears as though the house has been thoroughly staged, so try to not be put off by the cowboy decor. Although I won’t lie, I’m kinda digging it. Must be my Okie roots.

The living area is open to the upstairs.

The huge kitchen will suit her well- she is a great cook and loves to can and make jam.

And with eleven acres at their disposal, I’m sure they can grow more than enough things to can!

Yep, that’s a pond. Dreamy.

I’m not trying to brag for my sis (well okay, I guess I am) I’m just really excited for them. I’m also excited for me to go visit. I can’t wait to see what she does with it and how she makes it her own (she’s already trying to bribe me out there to help her demo some “mauve” tile in one of the bathrooms- funny, that picture wasn’t included in the listing!).

Congrats, Lam Fam.

It’s confession time. Before I read The Help, it had kind of been a while since I’d read a book. As a kid I could barely go anywhere without my face in a book, but college kind of ruined reading for me. I felt way too guilty every time I picked up a book for fun instead of studying, so I just didn’t do it. More than two years after graduating, I’m finally getting back into it. Trouble is, I don’t really know where to begin.

So here’s the confession part: I totally stalked Kate’s blog (since I had seen that she, too, loved The Help) for some suggestions. It was funny when she commented on this post saying “I read Twenties Girl too” because, um, yeah, I knew that. 🙂 I seriously read like ALL of her posts about books, wrote down about ten titles, and headed to the library. Twenties Girl was pretty far down on my list, it being chick-lit and all, but it sounded fun, and apparently Kate reads very popular books, because TG was one of the only ones of the ten titles I wrote down that the library actually had! So Kate, I’m embarrassed, but thanks. I feel that you’ve been instrumental in me picking up books again.

On to the review! (More like “review” with quotation marks, denoting that it’s not really a very good review.)

I thought Twenties Girl was fun to read. My fears that it would be too cheezball were confirmed on a few occasions, but I did laugh a few times and find the characters endearing. This book reads exactly like a chick-flick. Seriously, at times I forgot that I wasn’t sitting around with all the girls (minus Carrie) eating bonbons and drooling over James Franco (or Colin Firth, or Mark Ruffalo, or creepily, Zac Efron). It has the usual elements of a movie- the characters can’t stand each other at first then learn to feel differently, a mystery unfolds, the main character learns a lot about herself… as Kate said, this book won’t exactly change your life. However, if you’re looking for an easy fun read that does get a little suspenseful toward the end, Twenties Girl could be for you!

Next up: Water for Elephants

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