31 July 2010


Here’s the thing about living in an old apartment building. It’s all cute and charm when you first move in. A lot of oooh, look at the rounded doorways! And ahh, look at the beautiful leaded glass windows! When I first moved in to my apartment and you asked me about it, I would have waxed poetic about the wood floors, the layout, and just about everything else. Even the quirks were adorable: the fact that there is no light in the bathroom? It’s just mood lighting when you’re taking a shower. The fridge on top of the counter? Well, when the place was built they didn’t have fridges; look at that cool ice box in the cupboard. An ice box!

{our little foyer, complete with a cubby-hole that just begs for Holy Water and a Blessed Virgin, if I were that Catholic. I'm not, so there's the more-decorative-less-religious Mexican cross.}

Now fast forward 2 years, and while I still have a fond place in my heart for my little apartment home, the quirks have lost their luster. The birds that nest in our non-working kitchen fan? Annoying as shit as 5 in the morning. The cupboard with 80 years of paint on them? Man, I wish they would close. And the fridge on the counter. Well… that, mis amigos, is where this little blog post begins.

{Fridge. On top of counters. With drawers that don't close all the way.}

In our slightly-bigger-than-a-college-fridge-but-not-as-large-as-a-normal-fridge, there is an itty-bitty freezer. One has to be on a stool to reach said freezer. Well, some people have to be on a stool. I need a ladder to get into it, which is why anything freezer related has to be left to Amos. Sorry to be the damsel in distress here, but 5 feet, 2 inches will not get you ice cream in my house. For that, you need a big, strong man… or be be over 5’5”. Thems just the facts of life our abode.

 Anyhoo, the freezer has been defrosted 2 times since we lived there. The first was when Amos took a knife, stood on the necessary stool, and went to town on the big ice chunks. As he plugged in a hair-dryer to heat the remaining frost, (the cord went across the kitchen and plugged in on the opposite counter tops) I decided to get the hell out of dodge and go shopping. Sometimes I know when space is necessary for us to continue our relationship, and this was one of those times.

 Round 2 was more of an accident. Last February, we were flying back to the Midwest to visit my grandma. As we grabbed something out of the fridge on the way out of town, we must have accidentally hit this little red button. We must not have noticed it because when we returned 4 days later, we found out that the red button defrosted the freezer. Our tip-off? Something about a puddle of water on the floor and streams of water coming from the bottom of the fridge down the counter tops.

To summarize: fridge: 2. Amos & Shean: 0.

We're on to round 3. We went to open our freezer last week and it had frozen totally shut. The time had come to defrost the sucker. I was feeling good. We had the knowledge that there was a red button in our fridge and we now knew what it did. The tricky part? While there is a drip tray under the freezer, it can't be removed because our freezer is on a freaking counter top and doesn't open all the way. But we weren't going to be defeated. We're not amatures at this old-apartment-thing. I cleaned out the fridge & laid towels on all the racks to sop up water. Then we draped a towel from inside the freezer tray down to the other towels, so water could be absorbed down. Then... I pushed the button.

 As the ice melted, the towels slowly filled up. The they rapidly filled up. Amos only had one instance of taking a knife to the ice; other than that, it was pretty hands-off affair. About 2 days in, the water stopped coming. It was just about done. I was ready to call it good and start repacking, but Amos wasn't going to be fooled. Standing on his tip-toes, he looked and saw the drip tray, while not filling up with water, was quite full with a big ice slab. With some creative tilting, we broke it and got most of it out. Success! We can now use our freezer and have a nice cold fridge. The aftermath? I only had to wash about 9 towels. I'll call it a win.

22 July 2010

because French women are inspiring.

{i think my skin is clearing up just from looking @ this picture}

My skin and I have had a tenuous relationship at best. It turned on me around the tender age of 12 with my first zit (on my chin; I remember it exactly). My dad said that it was a good thing - that way I could have clear skin by high school. At the age of 25, I have the pimples to prove that my dad is a liar (sorry, Pops). My skin tends to be red, a bit splotchy, I have pores you could drive a car through... at least you could, if they weren't so clogged. I reached a point in late high school when I just kind of gave up on the 'miracle' fix-it, and decided to try and accept myself, you know, flaws and all.

Fuck that shit. Self-Accepting, my ass. It's time for self-improvement.

{i really, really was hoping that they did something like this to my face. because that would increase my spa street cred by a billion percent. people would say 'oh, have you heard about the seaweed hydrating epidermius wrap? i hear it's so popular in Japan.' to which i could say, 'done it, bitches. and it is awesome.'}

I recently read an article in the New York times on how well French women age (appropriately named Frenchwomen's Secrets to Aging Well) and it was inspiring. How could it not be? Take a read:
She clearly loves being herself. And she makes me think that in France, women might forget everything else as they age — but never their sense of style...
 And even the average Frenchwoman — say, shopping along the Rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré or enjoying a leisurely lunch on the Left Bank, or strolling through the Luxembourg Gardens — seems to defy the notion that, as one grows older, you either have to disguise that process with Botox, eye-lifts, lip plumpers and all sorts of procedures that convey a desperate “youthful” look, or else just give up altogether and let the ravages of time take their toll...
But while American women, like me at least, approach personal care with practical efficiency, the Frenchwomen I know regard the pampering of the skin, hair and body as an enjoyable, gratifying ritual. 
As for makeup, Frenchwomen of almost every age (except those teenagers) regard less as best. Heavy foundation has a tendency to emphasize wrinkles and pores, and most women avoid it in favor of a bit of blush. Those who do use foundation make sure that it blends with the skin, often by applying it just after moisturizing. The idea is to look as natural as possible: a little color on the eyelids, mascara, maybe a bit of eyeliner and lip gloss.  

Of course, it’s easy to look natural if your skin is great. And that may be where the French secrets really are. According to a 2008 Mintel report, Frenchwomen spend about $2.2 billion a year on facial skin care — as much as Spanish, German and British women put together. If you happen to use the bathroom in a French home — something that is not considered polite, by the way — you might see a line of skin care products rivaling a shelf at Duane Reade.

There will be day creams (with sunscreen), night creams (without it), re-pulping creams, serums, moisturizers, cleansers, toners and salves for anything from orange-peel skin to varicose veins. But you might not find much soap. Ms. Caron says she doesn’t use it on her face or her body (except for “certain places”). Madame Figaro magazine recently quoted the French actress and TV presenter Léa Drucker as saying, “The day I stopped using soap, my life changed.” Post-transformation, she uses a hydrating cream.
{i was kidding about the photo above... this is what i want i hope they do at my facial}
Okay, so I pretty much copied and pasted the entire article, but you get why I've been thinking about this for days... a long time to hold a thought in my little head. I called the Avenda Institute and made myself an appointment for a facial. (Sidenote: Amos kept giggling when I mentioned a facial. Apparently, it means something dirty in a double entendre that went -zip!- straight over my head)

I haven't had a facial since my acne prone high school days, and it rather bruised my sensitive soul at the time (I took it quite personally that the esthetician had to do so many extractions.) But I'm an older woman now. Wiser. A bit hardened. Bring on the extractions, baby. I'm ready.

I confidently told the woman to add on the acne treatment because, why yes!, I'd be happy to pay $15 extra for my problem skin. Within a week of reading said article, I was in the salon, lying on a bed, with a very earnest and likeable esthetician-to-be asking me questions. She was good. She picked up my T-Zone is oily and my cheeks dry. That I run warm. That I flinch involuntary whenever someone reaches for my face. To recap my reactions during the process:

-- I am dehydrated - you can tell that from looking at my skin?! 
-- No, not really sunburned, my skin is always this red...
-- The broken capillary on my nose? Yes, it's been there ever since I got a cold sore last winter. I know, runs in my family - my mom wanted to ask if we could get on the family plan for the laser removal! Ha Ha. Oh, you see another broken capillary on my cheek? Well... shoot.
-- Yes, it has been a long time since my facial (said while she is going to town taking out blackheads on my nose)... why I'm glad I came in too!

Thank goodness my self-esteem isn't that of my 17-year old self. I would have dissolved on the floor in a puddle of awkward, self-conscience tears. Instead, I took it in stride, all in the name of aging like those across the pond. I appreciated the hydrating masks and cold stone treatments. I breathed in the aromatherapy. I lied and said the extractions weren't too painful. In the end, when I looked in the mirror, I could tell a difference.

{look at her. look at how confident she is! the spa doesn't make her cry and it's not going to make me cry either!}

Because I don't do things half-ass, I suggested my esthetician-to-be show me a couple of products to buy. For the sake of my aging process. I am now the proud owner of a gentle cleanser and lotion with acne fighting salicylic acid.

And that, ladies and gents, is how I left the salon much poorer, but with significantly nicer skin then when I came in. My face is radiant, and, for the first time that I can remember, I cannot wait to wash said face. It's going to be glorious. As will my next facial, in 3 weeks, and as will the other 2 products I'll be purchasing (my self-pampering does have a budget, people. I need to spread the costs over a couple months, for practicalities sake. What good are fewer wrinkles if your 401k is shit?) 

 {i better look like this while i'm washing my face. i certainly hope i feel it after i spent $40 on lotion.}

Okay, enough of this blogging nonsense. Time to wash my face (YEA!!) and hit the hay. 

Talk Soon,

I'm not sure when this turned into a letter/journal entry, but we're going with it tonight, ok?

PS - Mom, I cussed a lot in this post. Sorry. But I'm 25 and it's a blog, so it's okay.

20 July 2010

what to do when you're not writing a blog post:

1. Check Facebook. A billion times. Judge people who post too many status updates as people who need to get a friggin' life. (Remain oblivious to any hypocrisy of this judgment.)

2. Read the latest Dan Savage article. Then go to the archives and read the 10 years of Savage Love. (I made it from 1999 to 2003.)

3. Read the book The Gift of Asher Lev. The entire thing.

4. Attend an open house of a fantastic apartment, even though you are not in the market to buy and even if you were, there is no way you could afford it. lie to the agent when she asks, Why yes, I'm just beginning my search. The interest rates are amazing right now, aren't they?!

5. Finish the first season of Mad Men. Then go see Inception. Then watch a couple episodes of Better off Ted.  Tell yourself it's okay that you watched that much televisions/movies since they are all well done. It could have been worse: It's not like you watched several hours of Say Yes to the Dress (not that I haven't before. That show is like crack - terrible and highly addictive.)

Gesh, no wonder I'm dreading Monday and feeling terribly behind the ball: no blog post, a lot of dirty dishes, and not a lot of clean clothes. I would care, but I'm still watching Better Off Ted.

15 July 2010

dancing queen

you know how when you come home from vacation and look at your work email and it's totally overwhelming and sucky and you wish you were independently wealthy and never had to work and could backback and take ferries and be on permanent vacation?

yea, i felt like that tuesday.

you know how when you come home from vacation and the first two days are so effing long that you totally forgot you ever left and when you look at pictures it seems like you took off years and years ago?

yup, that's today.

thank goodness celia posts things like this to make me laugh. 1,2, cha cha cha!

13 July 2010

my bad, Nan

 you all remember how i whined and bitched about Nan Lawson never getting back to me about the custom portrait? Well, turns out I never sent her a confirmation email to say I wanted to order the first draft. Yeah, I know. Somehow, in my totally excitement, I sent the confirmation email to my mom and not Nan. Whoops. I also sent all follow up emails to my mom and not Nan. Whoops again. I'm left a little bit red in the face that Nan has been very timely in response when I actually sent emails to her, and a little bit annoyed at myself for not catching my errors when I went back through these emails a couple weeks ago. (And, sidenote, Mom... why didn't you say anything when you got all these random, not addressed to you emails?!)

Anyway, my rant on Nan was totally, 100% unwarranted because it was totally, 100% my bad. If I am getting good at anything in my mid-twenties, it's this apologizing business. So: I am very sorry Nan. You were right, and I was uber, uber-wrong.

09 July 2010

planes, schmanes

I. Hate. Airlines.

Wait, doesn't everybody? Aren't they the bane of modern existence? Does anyone enjoy them or do we all just wax nostalgic for the days when they served food and everyone got dressed up (and people could smoke on them and stewardesses were fired or hired depending on their looks... wait, maybe they've always been awful?)

I'm flying out for my grandmother's memorial service the last weekend in July (and a sincere thank you to all the kinds words from you folk. I really appreciate it. Really, Really.) This has been my last 2 days:

- Book a ticket at a somewhat reasonable price for somewhat reasonable times. 

- Amos has to check with work before he can buy one.

- A day later, Amos is ready to purchase.

- Tickets on my flights have jumped up $250.

- I call a representative, he says something about supply and demand. I take that to mean price gouging and collusion. I took Business 101, I know what that means.

- Cancel my first ticket, which is fee-free if you do it within 24 hours of purchase. That's so common sense smart, I can hardly believe the airlines allow it.

- Look for and book another ticket, this time for two people, at slightly higher and slightly more unreasonable times. Our 12 hour flight from Seattle to Kansas City is a red-eye with a long layover in O'Hare.

- Get a early morning call from my dear aunt and mom, who let's me know - while telling me not to worry - that my red-eye lands the wrong day. I need to get in Friday morning, not Saturday.

- I get online and cancel tickets number two and three.

- I start looking for tickets four and five.

- Nothing.

- Expensive.

- Returning home at 1AM. Two red-eye flights within a 72 hour span.

- I check non-discounted tickets.

- Normal, direct flights.

- Mucho Dinero.


- Aunt and Mom say book it. 3 1/2 hours travel time compared to over 10 hours each way. It's family. It's important. To quote my gramps, "Money not spent is wasted." They will help. It will be okay.

- I buy the tickets.

- They overnight a check.

- Until then, I have $32 in my bank account.

I. Hate. Airplanes.

But, I do love my family. So I keep buying the damn things.

06 July 2010

paint it white

My grandmother has been ill, and on Saturday, I received a call that she had taken a turn for the worse. This is not a post about that. This is a post about painting a dresser, which took place at the same time.

On a almost-sunny and slightly sad Saturday afternoon, I had a beach BBQ to attend at 5:30. It was 3:17.  I also had a can of primer, a can of a delicious Martha Stewart paint called Heavy Cream, a very blah dresser and bookshelf, and hands seemed too idle. So I let them move, taking all of my clothes out of the dresser and all the books off our shelf, giving our bedroom a delightfully and completely distructed look. I don't necessarily recommend doing something like this the night before you and your boy throw a 4th of July get-together, and I especially don't recommend doing it when you have a BBQ to be at in less than 2 hours. But grief makes people do interesting things, so I went with it. Luckily the boy was, as always, cool and calm in all situations, even ones where I take apart our house.

About 15 minutes into the project, when my clothes were halfway out and I was getting sheets to put on the ground, I knew this was a bad idea. I had absolutely no time to get this done. I kept going. I didn't say this was a particularly intelligent course of action; I just said I did it.

I put down the sheets, swept in corners that hadn't been swept since I moved in, and with ruthless efficiency began to prime the dark brown pieces. My sister, Megs, and I had gotten the primer when she last visited Seattle, and it was super duper grippy, perfect for the slightly slick plywood construction. I was off, painting my heart out as quickly as humanly possible. There was no room in my head for anything except Glidden Gripper and rollers and edging, and maybe - perhaps - that was the point.

I did not make my ridiculous time schedule, leaving my house a bit closer to 6 than I would have liked. I had a bit too much primer on me - globs on my hands and in my hair - and a bit too little on some patches of the furniture, but there I was. I wrapped up and with no time to think, left for the beach. (I decided to wear a sweater to said beach, simply because I was beyond freezing last time I was there. Only this time it was really nice and I was sweating buckets. Fucking grief; clouds a girl's head right up).

I was out, enjoying a birthday BBQ when my mom called. Gram had passed.

Tears. Shit-ton of the tears.

Thank God the dressers still needed another coat. They were there when I got home, practically begging me to go at it. I held off, as I had drank a couple of beers (I hear beers and paintbrushes are not a good combination), and I was painting in the same room we were sleeping (I hear VOC fumes and lungs are also not a good combination). I successfully did not paint until 10AM the next morning, at which point I attacked.

My god, Heavy Cream is gorgeous. Thank goodness.

Isn't it lovely, my friends? It looks peaceful. It looks light and soft. There's nothing like death to make one feel helpless and there is nothing like a can of paint to make one feel somewhat... well, better? More in control perhaps? Thankfully distracted? I can't name what exactly it gave me, but it did stop the tears for a bit. Creating something felt good. Creating something felt needed.

At any rate, whatever I am trying to say, I finished the dresser & shelf. They even were almost dry by the time my tears had stopped and our party was about to begin. I felt better once they were done, and I was surrounded by friends who were ooohhh-ing and ahhh-ing over them and asking very kindly how I was doing as we ate brownies, drank gin and tonics, and watch fireworks from the roof.

In the end, I realized that sometimes life hands me things I don't know quite what to do with. In those moments - in this moment - I did the only thing sounded right, to paint a dresser, and I still cannot explain why I needed to. But my heart feels better, my bedroom feels warmer, and somehow that seems perfect answer. And, well, that's all I got.

02 July 2010

holy f*cking sh*t

i'm so sorry, other blogs. i don't know what happened. 741 unread entries. and i know what it takes to write one of those things. the agony of stringing together letters. into words. into sentences. making the sentences coherent. the heat of the laptop on your lap when your partner has been in bed hours upon hours ago (not that i'm bitter). all this effort, just so you can send your voice out into the universe and hope it gets read. i get it. i promise to get my shit together and read you all soon. i blame summer. it makes me act all sorts of inconsiderate.

please still read my blog. i mean, i will still read yours even if you are mad and don't want to read Jackson anymore. but please do. i know that my google analytics are too tied to my self-esteem to be healthy, but i can't break the habit now.
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