Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Madness

It's been a couple of days since I last wrote but the house stuff and holiday preparations both reached critical mass and every moment I wasn't working was spent painting cabinets, doing laundry and stuffing dufflebags. Although Hubster turned the corner on his sickness, he's still coughing up a storm and burning through our Puffs stash, so I've been trying (even as my throat started getting sore) to keep from getting sick. I have had the throat issues for a couple of days and they haven't progressed so I'm cautiously calling this a win. If I'm sick on Christmas I think I'll cry the entire day. Cry and eat cinnamon rolls.

Anyway, on a happy note, I'm blogging from In-Law Central and we're leaving tomorrow morning for extended family, the aforementioned cinnamon rolls, and festive times. I hope you all have a delicious Christmas. May the true gravity and depth of God's Incarnation give you a break from the mad rush of life and refresh your wonder for another year. I'll be singing this lovely carol, my favorite at the moment, long into January.

Lo, how a rose e'er blooming,
From tender stem hath sprung!
From Jesse’s lineage coming,
As men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright,
Amid the cold of winter
When half spent was the night

Isaiah 'twas foretold it,
The Rose I have in mind
With Mary we behold it,
The Virgin mother kind
To show God's love aright,
She bore to us a Savior
When half spent was the night

The shepherds heard the story
Proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of Glory
Was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped
And in the manger they found him,
As angels heralds said.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
The darkness everywhere;
True man, yet very God,
From Sin and death he saves us,
And lightens every load.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Pictures! Pretty! Ignore lack of content! Awesome!

Well, it's been an eventful day at Fyf HQ. We got physical exams this morning and I got my Tetanus booster - weeee! I sure hope I remembered correctly that I hadn't had one since age 12. Otherwise my sore arm would be mad at me for unnecessary roughness. (ba-dum ching!)

Here's a fun shot from last night:

Deconstructing el Pobrecito!

Awwww! He crashed after work and slept for a while. I figured out that making chicken soup from scratch is a snap when you have all the ingredients on hand and thereby won the Wife of the Year award with Hubster. I think I thanked you in my acceptance speech. It was all a blur of parties and shopping for thermometers and cough drops. What dreams are made of, folks.

Anyhow, we've been given a clean bill of overall health and now it's off to our favorite (not-yet) home to paint the kitchen walls. Enjoy your day, peeps!

Monday, December 19, 2005

An Open Letter to the Purveyors of Scotch Blue Painter's Tape

3M, Painter's Tape Divison.

Dear Sirs,

I have, since my youth, been trained to buy your painters tape through your monopoly in the buying public. From an early age I could tell just the shade of blue that meant we had the right tape - the good stuff. Many a redecoration was accomplished through the use of your product, and this was even before your new television ads which, in my opinion, are utterly superfluous because, as I said, YOU OWN AMERICA. Or at least you own Americans wielding edging brushes.

But see, your stuff is not good. It bonds with paint, then it sticks to the wall in tiny strips that break off from the edges and refuses to let go until I have beaten my hands into a pulp trying to get them off the freakin' ceiling.

DO SOMETHING! I don't want to switch to those edge-rollers that promise you never have to tape or something, but if it comes to it, so help me . . .

Also, my husband got a papercut from your product. We're going to talk to our lawyer if things don't change. Oy, the emotional damage we suffer at the hands of your wretched blue adhesive.

Disillusioned Former Fanatic

For Hubster & The Rest of You Voyeurs Who Read It.

Dear One,

I'm so sorry that you're an invalid right now. The sniffles, the aches, the gleben are all conspiring to make you feel like crap-o-la. I hope you feel better soon, especially because of the moratorium on kissing. Not cool.

I know this weekend had it's frustrating points. There was the whole "having to run Christmas errands all day Saturday" thing. There was the "pulling the paint tape off except it WOULDN'T COME OFF" bit yesterday. There was the ongoing "WHY, GOD, WHY?" nature of the cabinet work. But you have been a total peach about most of it. Sure, you have to rail and be mad about it, but once it's out of your system, your resilience is amazing. Plus you haven't divorced me yet, so something's working out in my favor somewhere and I HOPE IT KEEPS WORKING. (*looks heavenward, crosses fingers*)

I guess I'm saying that I love you. I love your giddy mastery of using power tools and looking cool whilst doing it. I love your jokes. I love that you had to bring the cat to the new house because you've been dying to do it for a week and "IT'S HER HOUSE, TOO!" I love that you talk me down from the ledge when I'm looking to throw myself headlong into misery and dramatic WOE-OH-WOE speeches instead of stepping back and realizing I can do this. It's been nice to have your support, even if it is your income combined with mine that put us in this situation anyway. (Kidding!)

Okay, as if by Providence, "Fix You" just came up on iTUNES, so I'll just play that for you when you get home. And maybe there'll be some chicken soup or orange juice or some of those ridiculous candies/"supplements" you love so much. Oh, and cold-virus communicability be DARNED, I'm stealing a smooch.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Linking Friday - because I'm TIRED!

Had a good night last night. Put some ornaments on the tree before dinner. Finished painting the basement. Slept like a brick and got up a bit later than usual. Brother P called and we talked a while, which we hadn't done in forever. I miss him a lot.

Really there's too much going on to blog, so I'll have to leave you with some fun links.

1. A bit boring and long, but this article is an interesting commentary on a celebrity obsession: the press. As much as they complain, they still know the press butters their bread by keeping them in the public eye.

2. Socially Awkward Situations During Which It Would Be Acceptable to Mess With Texas. Ah, humor.

3. I have been careful not to acknowledge the looking-more-certain-by-the-minute doom of my very favorite show, but I have to cave to show this article. Maybe the author's right - killing the show off early prevents a slow decline and overextension. Still, THE WEEPING, THE GNASHING OF TEETH, THE LOSS OF FAITH IN HUMANITY. RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

4. Speaking of the show, if you are a fan and have never been to The Balboa Observer-Picayune website, you must go now. Best trivia/image/quote archives around.

Okay, I'm out, yo. Good weekend to ye!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

High-Maintenance (Holiday) Woman

At first it was satisfying to spend so much time at the new house. Working means sitting in front of a computer screen all day, manipulating images and words or talking to people about schedules and travel. It felt great to get off my butt, climb on a latter and sling some pain on the wall. It even felt good to come home tired, but day after day of it is wearing me down. We took a break last night to get some things done and go Christmas shopping, and now I don't know that I can be motivated to tape and roll. Not that any of this matters, mind you, because the walls have to be blue before I can plunk my desk in front of them and set up shop, so I'll keep plugging along.

I guess the taste of festivity in last night's shopping also reminded me of a sad truth: the holidays just haven't come together for me since we got married and left home. I never realized how long it took to accumulate all the trappings of the Yule season until I had a lonely little tree with no ornaments on it except those of my husband because the few I owned hadn't made it from my parent's house yet. I put up a wreath on our door, but it was so simple and plain and it seemed a pale reflection of the one my mother redecorated so lovingly most years. We spent last Christmas at their house, so it wasn't like I missed my family during Christmas, but I missed the build-up, really "The Season of Christmas." This year we're celebrating with Hubster's family, as is only fair, and I'm sure it will be fun and I can't wait to see how elaborate their oft-mentioned traditions turn out to be, but I still miss Christmas, even as I anticipate it.

I recently read someone say that no one quite likes a holiday unless it's done just like it was when they were growing up. I'm sure there are some who have family tragedies or pain associated with the days, so that might not be true, but I do miss the Christmas I always knew. Everyone told us before we got married that we would form our own traditions and grow to love them, but it's hard not to pine for Christmas Eve candlelight services with solemn liturgy and riotous Picada feasts as soon as we hauled our hungry bellies home. It's hard to not to remember begging Dad to let us open one gift that evening, even though he almost never caved, or anticipating Christmas morning cinnamon rolls and eggnog and Vernors (don't you laugh, sitting there in judgment - you don't know what you're missing). It's even harder to miss the Advent church traditions, singing carols in worship, and the huge ordeal of hauling the giant fake tree out of the attic and decking it out with ornaments whose shape I know so well, like friends who only rarely visit but without whom the year is not complete.

Our tiny tree is up in the living room, but there's nothing on it. The house is so important, so pressing, that we've spent all our time in it's empty rooms, hoping to work our magic so that when the Christmas season is finally over we can move our stuff in for good and start the new year right. I understand why it's happening, but I still don't like that the season is being interrupted. Perhaps its my idealistic/melancholic side that dictates it but I hold festival and ceremony in high regard. It is deeply affirming to me to experience the rituals of life - from the simple ones like morning tea or coffee to the elaborate customs of Christmas. I count down to my birthday (once I'm suitably close to the date that I don't feel like a total seven-year-old, so two months out ;) and I guess I should stop apologizing for that because it's not really changing over time.

The problem that I face once I realize that all this brouhaha is important to me is that it is now my responsibility to act and change the situation. My Dad isn't around anymore to poo-poo the idea of opening one gift on Christmas Eve and my mother doesn't really care if I swath my tree in coordinated colors or mismatching, homemade ornaments. And it may only be up for a week before we're off to celebrate elsewhere, but I think I'll decorate the tree anyway. Staying up for that will make me happy to be tired.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Why, yes I DO dream in color.

Another day, another late night filled with edging and reloading paint rollers. Work continues apace with the house. We did a portion of the basement (future home office/den) in a cheerful shade of blue. I know I claimed recently that I hate it, but really, I think I'm just not soothed by most shades of blue; I'm bored by them. I'm more a red girl. Still, this color is wunderbar. I'm trying to decide between accenting with red as a really crisp, preppy look or a 60s-revival look with chocolate brown and mod textiles. At least I have options even if the shade is bright as all get out:

Now that's a blue I can get behind!

Tonight it's errands, Christmas shopping, and free Starbucks. See, Monday I ordered a set of Pantone chips. I got my UPS Ground tracking number that very evening and the next day my chips were in my hands along with the $25 Starbucks gift card they included for free. Do I turn down free espresso? No, indeed it's one of my life's principles never to let such an atrocity happen. But as a side note, Pantone, CALM DOWN. I will not die for lack of Four-Color Process Guides, be they coated or no. Also, among all your pretty snippets of color, I was unable to find anything to match my Baer Eggshell Enamel Costa Rica Blue. You should get someone on that.

But I'll still take your free espresso. On principle, of course.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Listing Tuesday

1. I made half a quesadilla yesterday for lunch with pepper-jack cheese in it and guacamole on the side. I got the best guacamole at our local warehouse club. It is almost entirely avocado, very little fillers, and it tastes AWESOME. Maybe not an every-day sort of fatty-food fest, but it sure was tasty. Mmmmmmmmm.

2. Yesterday we got off to a late start at the new house. K started out sanding the cabinets in the kitchen but realized it was loud and getting on toward kid bedtimes (we think both sides of neighbors have kids - play structures outside are a giveaway) so he had to quit. He talked to his dad while I was gone at IKEA getting window coverings. One of my boxes had one bracket missing from the white wooden blinds. So much for putting those up last night. The rolling match-stick blinds turned out fine for the kitchen, they just need to be trimmed, so we're gonna try that later this week sometime. Maybe tonight. Even if the errand had to be run and it wasn't totally fruitless, last night felt like one road-block after another. We got most of the basement taped and ready for painting tonight, but still. WAAAH!

3. Hubster and I haven't gotten out to see The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe yet, but we're looking into going this weekend, perhaps. I found this article talking about it from a non-Christian perspective. I grew up hearing about C.S. Lewis about every other day in my tight evangelical church and school, so it's hard to separate out his faith from his stories and, though I don't think you can and neither does the author of the article, it's nice to know that some people got wonder out of the book without the back story. Lewis speaks to non-Christian AND Christian minds - an increasingly rare talent in the sub-culture-driven landscape of American evangelicalism. Plus he names the faun "Tumnus." Seriously awesome.

4. I'm reading Television Without Pity's Grey's Anatomy recaps and if you watch the show, you totally should, too. If you saw the Thanksgiving episode, start there. Endless mirth.

5. It's been one disagreement about sandpaper and drapes after another since the house came. No huge fights with the Hubster, but it's not a picnic to sort through the obstacles when both of us are total perfectionists and type-A workers. Still, Hubster said something sweet about how, though he's been busy and worried and hasn't said it, he's been really happy with how we've pulled together and how helpful I've been in working through designs and physical tasks alike. He almost made me cry, he's so sweet. Once again, SO LUCKY I MARRIED HIM. In the words of Michael Bluth in Arrested Development, "Well, who could blame [me]? [I] got to lock that down."

6. I got the design up on my friend Dawn's blog, so you should totally check it out. It might look eerily familiar if you read my blog, but the artwork and colors are different. Plus, she's much funnier than I. Also, HOTT. Enjoy!

Monday, December 12, 2005

A Weekend in Four Acts

Act 1:
Scene 1: Opens as we find our heros having purchased a new home. They are thrilled and excited as they gaze at it on Friday evening.

Erica: What delight we shall have in making this new home our own. I do hope we can begin our work quickly for I am anxious to witness its transformation.
Hubster: Indeed, it shall be magnificent - a true testament to our skill and teamwork! Let us away to the Depot for Homes.

Scene 2: Opens with our heros having returned from the Home Depot possessing many new tools and an appetite to refinish their kitchen cabinets on a Saturday morning.

Erica: I am so pleased by the lovely setting here. It will be perfect for us. I must document its beauty for posterity.

Act 2:
Scene 1: Opens after several hours of work on Saturday. Our heros lay down their cabinet drawers.

Hubster: Our labors have been long and arduous, but the husbandry of the cabinet-makers remains barely scathed. This work shall end our marriage if you do not change your mind, Dearest Wife, about the need for this project or if we do not jointly find a better solution than SANDING THE EVER-LOVING STUFFING OUT OF IT.
Erica: (Aside) I am a-feared that I would not mind seeing him go. "Vexed" understates the severity of the situation. (To Hubster) I shall call my mother and discuss our problem with her. Perhaps she shall have a solution for us. (Exits in huff)

Scene 2: Opens minutes later, as Erica enters the room in which Hubster is still busily sanding drawers.

Erica: My mother says that there is a product available, used to good effect by a friend, that removes all trace of stain and varnish from cabinetry. Perhaps we should look into it before finalizing the divorce.
Hubster: I am not sure I can trust your advice, but I shall investigate it further. I give my solemn vow not to sign the paperwork unless my search proves fruitless.
Erica: Let us away to eat dinner with our friend in Georgetown for the evening as we promised him many days ago. We will begin again tomorrow.

Act 3:
Scene 1: Opens with our heroine busily painting what will become her boudoir, or both of theirs if they reconcile. It is Sunday afternoon.

Erica: If I cannot help my husband in the kitchen, I shall begin another project. (works silently for a few moments) Lo, I had forgotten how hard the work of painting can be. At least the color of this room shall be lovely once I finish.

Scene 2: Opens with our hero busily applying the famed solvent which was acquired at Home Depot, along with many safety tools for its application and disposal.

Hubster: This project is still long and painful. I may forgive my refinish-obsessed wife if we can do the doors over time, but it is still doubtful. I believe I shall wait to call the lawyer just the same.

Scene 3: Opens again in the master boudoir. Erica is busily working as she has been for a few hours. It is late Sunday evening.

Erica: If I am to continue at this pace, I shall require sustenance. (yelling to Hubster downstairs) Should we break this long fast with some food for McDonalds?
Hubster: (Replies, offstage) Indeed, I could eat an oliphant entire. I shall away and bring it to you. Continue the work of painting until I return.

Act 4:
Scene 1: Our heros eat together on the floor of the master boudoir.

Erica: I am sorry that my project has become a heavy burden to you. It was never my intent to work you to the bone, My Love.
Hubster: I understand. I wish we could have known the travail this cabinetry would cost us. I believe it may be cursed by its crafter not to yield up its finish until Doomsday.
Erica: If we work together and perform the work in stages, perhaps we can live in harmony. Would you be amenable to such a course?
Hubster: Yes, I suppose. And at least the boudoir looks lovely.
Erica: (with her mouth full of cheeseburger) Indeed. Please pass me a fry, Darling.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Crazy Day

Working is hard.

Aside from trying to work with, you know, THAT going on, I've been quite busy because TODAY WE CLOSE ON OUR BEAUTIFUL NEW HOUSE! I'm leaving soon, so wish me luck! Will write more tomorrow. With sawdust in my hair, most likely. LET THE HOME IMPROVEMENT HILARITY/HYSTERIA BEGIN!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Something New at FyF: Brevity. (Sorta)

LOTS of things have happened since I last updated and the intervening time, according to some of you, has been a desert of loneliness in your lives. People, I am flattered but a little frightened. But none of this matters because one of my favorite Internet Rockstars just smacked me down! WEEEE! Go read it!. I'm "Desperate near DC." Also, I'm not very clever with the signoff names. Read it anyway because I'm a dork who has to have friends all over the country (as well as total strangers) share in my life in minute detail before I'm truly happy.

NOW, what's been goin' down? Time with the fam was AWESOME. We ate Dad's Astonishing Revelation Of Deliciousness (otherwise known as his Cheese Fondue), marinated brochettes (shish kabobs for those who prefer the Mediterranean/Arabic terminology) and many, many more plates full of yum. Mom and I talked and played with makeup. Hubster and Brother J played the piano and guitar and talked about stupid guy stuff. We hung out with friends from high school, again with good food, and we saw Walk the Line which was lovely to watch and hear, even if after two-and-a-half hours we wanted to know so much more about Johnny Cash's life than we got.

We got home Monday night and I had to turn my suitcase over because I was leaving the next morning to surprise Jefe at the company Christmas party. BossLady had been plotting for months, and I SO WANTED TO BLOG ABOUT IT, but I had to keep mum so Jefe wouldn't READ ABOUT IT ON MY FREAKING BLOG. And I succeeded in keeping my mouth closed. THAT'S ONE! (hee) So I arrived on time and coworker CJ picked me up at the airport and dropped me off at a Bee's house where I proceeded to get dolled up for the event. Minutes into that ordeal, we get a call from her - someone ran into her and her car is totalled and she's okay but could we pick her up? Terrible! She'll be alright but she was shaken, so y'all should pray for the most hardworking (also hilariously sarcastic) gal I know. Wow, that brought the mood right down, but it was pretty much just like that yesterday, so at least I'm accurately portraying the events in which I had a part. Because we're all about accuracy here at FilosofĂ­a y Flores. As you well know.

Anyhow, we made it to the party, surprised the stuffing out of Jefe, consumed filet mignon and Luce red wine like it was GOING OUT OF STYLE. Bee and I also had some clever T-shirts made up and they much amused the crew. Even CJ of The Recent Trauma arrived looking smashing and hoping to forget her troubles. It was lovely.

After breakfast with Jefe and lunch meetings with BossLady and Bee, I hopped my fourth plane in less than a week and came home, on time, no problems. Now I'm sitting here, in front of my keyboard, stressing about closing on the house tomorrow, and trying to make this all interesting. What a world, what a world!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Percy is appalled by this breach of dignity!

If she knew I was publishing this she would look more grumpy.

K and I are headed to my hometown for a little fun with my family and friends until Monday or so. I might or might not post. It kinda depends on how crazy people are or how nostalgic I get being back in what my mother lovingly calls "the stomping grounds." She's chock of delightful old-person speak. Makes me smile, and even more so when I realize I'll see that smile today. THE SMARM IS ON, YO!

I leave you you with another pic from Persephone's adventures atop our closet doors.

Come back here, you stupid human, so I can bat at your head.