Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Completed!

In case you missed it, I did write an actual blog post before this one for the day. Scroll down.

So, yes, I did it. I wrote at least one blog post a day, for the month of November. And I almost, almost had something to say each day.

Now, whether someone actually read any of it (oh, I saw a few stragglers here and there ^_-), that's another story. ^_^


For about the last 6 months, I've had the need to makes things more simple. In all aspects of my life. I feel that if I do that, I can get a sense of what direction my life needs to take (specifically in regards to a career).

So, little by little we've been de-cluttering and getting things organized so that I don't feel bogged down at home by the clutter and mess, and so that every thing I own has a place and purpose.

I've made some headway -- some of our stuff I've sold on Craigslist, the money which has gone into my computer fund -- but there are still things to get rid of. Small things, fabric, lots of Anime collectibles that I just need to purge and save the most precious, document the rest and sell them.

I think we, as Americans, are so blessed, overall. So many of us have so much, when many in other countries don't. And you'd think I'd know this better than many, since I not only was born in Costa Rica, but also lived in Honduras (a VERY poor country). But, yes, I was somewhat privileged.

But honestly, I probably wouldn't mind getting rid of most of my things, and living in some cute little beach bungalow, enjoying simpler pleasures. Oh, sure, I'd still want my computer, and probably my books, I mean, I don't want to live completely without some luxuries, but ... well, you know what I mean. ^_^

I just want to have a home that's comfortable, that isn't hiding giant messes in the closets, where I have things in bins or bags that I haven't touched for years, where I don't have any room to put them. What's the point of having them, if I can't put them anywhere?

So, I will continue to make a little headway and simplify my life, and earn a little money doing so. Hopefully, that will lead me to clarity into what I should do with my life.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Interested, Not Interesting

Several weeks ago, Oprah had Jane Fonda on, and Jane said something that really struck me. She was talking about being older, and how this time in her life is a great time, and perhaps better than others.

She then said that she has learned that to really connect with people (well, that's what I think she was saying anyway, as I think about that show) is to not be so self absorbed in trying to be interesting. She said, instead, that she now tries to be interested in others and their lives.

And I have thought a lot about that since then, and I guess it's another way of saying that we shouldn't be so selfish and serve others. Sometimes, serving others can be as simple as smiling, as saying hello, as saying "How are you doing?" and really meaning it. I have to tell you, I really loathe the "How are you doing?" line. I know it's considered polite, but if you don't really want to hear it, then don't ask. Because most people aren't just "Fine, thank you." But if you are sincere in asking, then be ready to hear the truth, and try to be one of those people that others like to confide in and tell the truth.

I know I'm very much at fault at the trying to be interesting, or talking about myself. I find that I sometimes tend to do that a lot, and it's not that I don't want to hear what others have to say, I think it's because, especially for the last two years, I haven't had very many people, outside of Brian, to tell about things going on in my life. While Brian is my best friend, I lack many close girl friends (which I've mentioned in a previous post on friendship). And so, when I get to talking to someone about anything I might remotely have my hand in (from costuming to photography), I tend to ... well, overshare and talk a lot about me and what I do.

And, because usually most of the time for conversation is short, I don't get to the point to ask the other person about themselves. *sighs*

So, as this year approaches its end, and a new one is soon to begin, I will try to be more interested in others, and not be so focused on seeming interesting. Because, while I may be interesting, I have a blog to talk all about me, right? ^_^

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Printable

I came across this idea on someone else's blog, and I thought I could easily make one, in a color I wanted!

Have you seen those "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters? Well, this is a Christmas version of that poster.

And, you are free to download and print out to use in your holiday decor! I have two versions, each in green and red, all in 8x10.


(To download, click on image, which will take you to the larger image. Then just save down to your computer by clicking "Save Image As." You can print at home, or take somewhere that makes prints. Any questions, just let me know!)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Words with Friends

The best game I like to play on my iPhone is Words with Friends. It's basically Scrabble, and, you can play against your friends who also have an iPhone.

I think the highest scoring word I've put down so far was 101 points. Although, for the life of me I can't remember what the word was!!

Now, I have to admit, sometimes I am a little creative in searching for my word choice, but even then I can still end up losing. What I dislike is when people take my spot! Arrgh!

I also like to play Scrabble, but it's fun to play against all of your friends, and not just a close, personal group.

As for games that I play alone, I think Angry Birds ranks there in the top.

Oh, I know they're time wasters, but they're fun! ^_^

What kinds of games (on your phone or regular), do you like to play?

Project 365 Roundup: Weeks 46 & 47

November 12 - November 18
316/365: Healthy Mousse Pie 317/365: Dallas LDS Temple 318/365: Decorator Table 319/365: Thanksgiving at the Doc's
320/365: Christmas Goodies 321/365: Camera Ornament 322/365: Baby Bella

November 19 - November 25
323/365: Birthday Steak 324/365: Birthday Cards 325/365: Assortment of Ties 326/365: Chicken Base
328/365: Close to Thanksgiving 328/365: Braving Walmart 329/365: Turkey Day!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Decorations are Up!

So, I don't usually put my decorations up the day after Thanksgiving, but ... knowing how crazy my December (and part of January) will be, I decided it was now, or never.

However, we are not putting up a tree. It's mostly because the cats have really damaged the one we have, and it looks pretty sad. That, and we don't have much room these days. The place it went in last year has a chair in that spot now. And no place else to put the chair.

So, what we mostly decorated was the mantel, and a few other little places here and there. What do you think?

(Sorry about the lighting -- this was taken indoors, without flash, using my phone camera.)

My favorite part is the stockings for the cats. I got them several years ago, and one says "It's All About Meow" and the other says "I've Been Purrfect." Also, very hard to tell, but on the upper left corner of their stockings, on the white cuff, there's a silver embroidered fish skeleton. They're so adorable! Seriously! ^_^

Edited to add:

The Lettered Cottage

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Surprise!

So I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.

Even though we went out to eat, it was kinda nice not to have to deal with bringing food and doing dishes. However, we did end up at Brian's aunt and hung out, had some dessert and watched the Cowboys play. I'm not really a fan of football, but it was actually a pretty exciting game!

Oh, and the surprise -- not a good one. We came home to discover that our kitchen sink had backed up and overflowed, partially flooding our kitchen.

This has somewhat happened before, when our upstairs neighbor would put a lot of stuff down the disposal and it would come flooding back up in our sink. Gross, I know. Last time it happened, I was here to help by scooping out dirty water and tossing it out the window. Sadly, we weren't home this time, so it's all over the floor.

Ugh. We have called the apartment office several times to get this problem taken care of, and as of yet, they have not returned our calls. It'd be horrible to find out if someone had a horrible emergency that needed to be taken care of right away and no on was available. I GET that it's a holiday, but there should still be someone on call. *sigh*

Now the sink is going back down, but it's draining INTO the dishwasher. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck!!!

Needless to say, this was not the most fun thing to come home to after a holiday. But, overall, it was a nice day.

Now if only those maintenance people would get back to us.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Braved Walmart Today

So, as I mentioned before, I went to Walmart today. Yup. I braved the-day-before-Thanksgiving at Walmart.

I actually ran into two different people I know. How funny is that?! I guess we're all crazy.

I went early (around 10), so it wasn't that bad, really. Well, except for the people who bought two carts full of turkeys. No kidding! I think they had like 20. I can only assume they work for some non-profit and they are giving these away to needy families. My only concern was that they were frozen turkeys. Those birds are not going to be thawed by tomorrow!

I saw a few other people buying frozen turkeys as well! Like I said, hope they don't plan to have them tomorrow.

I am making Brian and I a turkey on Friday. I got a small one (a tad less than 10 pounds), fresh (well, fresh in that it's been thawed already), and a few things for sides, as well as some rolls and pies. (If I had the time I might have made an apple pie from scratch -- really easy if you buy rollout crusts ^_^).

Now, I would have been REALLY brave if I had hit Walmart up later this afternoon or tonight. I may be crazy, but I'm not THAT crazy! *LOL*

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

So, with all the planning and preparation for my niece's wedding, it has been decided in my immediate family that we are not doing a Thanksgiving this year. And the actual day of Thanksgiving is going to be spent at in-laws.

Except, we found out a few days ago that the in-laws are going out to eat. What a lovely thanksgiving (that was a little sarcastic, btw).

So, I decided to cook Brian and I a Thanksgiving dinner on Friday, so that we can actually have something homemade.

And, since I need other things as well, I am going to brave Walmart tomorrow. I know. I'm insane.

Monday, November 22, 2010

10 of My Favorite Things

Okay, so I may not be unique to doing this, especially now, since Oprah's been doing two days of her favorite things, but I thought it would be fun to post those things in my life that I love to use or that I think are the greatest little ... whatever ... since sliced bread. ^_^ Oh, and I would LOVE to tell you that you are all getting one of each of these things, but ... no. Sorry. *LOL*

1. St. Ives Invigorating Face Scrub
 I love this facial scrub. I use it every day, and I like that it feels like it's actual cleansing my face and leaves it feeling clean, but not all taut and dry. (And the only off-brand of it that I've used and thought was okay was Walmart's version.)

2. Covergirl Lipslicks Lipgloss in Bronze Goddess
I wear this almost every day. It gives a sheer hint of color, in a delicious shade that really complements my skin tone. It also helps keep my lips nice with a little moisture. I may not wear much makeup, but I dislike running around with nude lips. ^_^

3. Clinique's Blended Face Powder in (shade) Transparency Number 4
I like that Clinique's blended face powder has always had minerals in it, even before the whole mineral makeup craze came about. Like I said, I don't wear a lot of makeup, but almost every time I step out of the house, I make sure and dust some powder over my face. I like that it immediately tones down the shine and helps my complexion seem a little more smooth and even. (I don't wear base, but I like this just fine.)

4. Claddagh Ring from James Avery
Brian gave this ring to me as a gift at our first Christmas as a couple. His family is Irish and I have a little Irish in my background, and so this was quite appropriate and fitting. It also seemed to me like a Promise ring -- of things to come. ^_^ I wear it almost every day.

5. Canon PIXMA iP4700 Printer
I used to have a fancy, schmancy Epson wide-format printer, but after a little while, it started giving me a lot of problems. Finally, I could take it no more and decided to get a new on. I did some research, asked around, and decided on this one. The nice thing is that I got it for a  great deal and I've been happy with it ever since. Prints great and hasn't given me problems ... yet. ^_^

6. American Crafts Cards and Envelopes
I love these cards and matching envelopes because they can be inexpensive, yet have a lovely texture to them. I like printing on them (using my Canon printer), because overall they take ink well. These are my go-to cards for anything pre-made and pre-scored. I love them!

7. Apple iPhone 4
What can I say? I finally took the plunge into the Smartphone market back in July, and while I honestly did not think I needed something like this (and really, I probably don't really NEED it), I have loved having it! It is truly amazing all that things that it can do and that it can put at your fingertips. There are so many useful apps (in addition to time wasting ones, which I admit I have done), like the Calendar option, so I can make sure and put important information so that it's available to me. No more forgetting about appointments!

8. Sony Cybershot DSC-H2
I've had my camera since April 2007, and I still love it. Overall it takes great photos! Oh, sure, there are times when I wish it would take better photos like a DSLR, but it's not a DSLR. It's more than a point and shoot, however. I also like that I've taken over 10,000 shots with it, and it's still going strong. My previous digicam wasn't doing so hot after 2 years of use. So, one day, down the line I will upgrade, but I hope this one lasts for a few more years. It's been a good camera.

9. KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer
We got our KitchenAid mixer for our wedding, and while I didn't use it much at the beginning, I have loved using it more and more. It makes breadmaking and easy peasy task. (Seriously, I didn't know breadmaking was so easy!) I know there are so many more things it can do, but for now I am content to stick with using it for my baking needs. (Oh, and the color picture is actually called Boysenberry. Ours is actually Plum, but apparently not a color they make them in anymore.)

10. The Library
Okay, so this is a weird thing, perhaps, but I couldn't just put ONE book as my favorite, so I put a place where you can get LOTS of books. This is my local library. I just love that you can get books, read them, take them back. And start over. Find new favorites. Rediscover old ones. I hope that everyone can know the joy of their library. It truly is a great place!! ^_^

So, there you have it -- 10 of my favorite things. What are some of YOUR favorite things???

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hal-le-lu-jah!

At our church (and many other LDS ones around the country), the first weekend of December is usually devoted to a creche or nativity exhibit, where members are asked to volunteer their nativity sets so that they can be shared with the community. Usually, as part of these, there is music performed while people peruse the exhibit.

I am in the choir this year, performing on Saturday evening, and one of the pieces we are singing is the "Hallelujah" Chorus from Handel's Messiah. Now you'd think that since I've been in church choirs since my late teens, that I might have, at one point, sung the this piece. However, that would be incorrect. It's true! I have never actually sung this piece. And some people in our choir were horrified (okay, not really) to learn of how some people, including me, had never sung it before. Well, what can I say? I'm learning it now, though.

And boy, is that puppy hard! Because, you think you know what it sounds like, but then again, each part is different than you think to contribute to the whole. And, the Soprano line is no different. There's even some tricky timing with one section of the hallelujahs.

But, thank goodness for the Internet. On YouTube I have pulled up the Soprano part only and been able to practice at home and not felt so inept at singing this. Now I feel a lot more confident.

Fun times!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sometimes I Wonder Why I Bother

Over the last couple of months, I have finally learned a hard lesson. It somewhat goes hand in hand with the posts I wrote earlier, one about things that should come back in style, like manners, and the other one about thank you notes. It really boils down to appreciation, or, lack thereof, for work I have put into things. Let me explain with examples.

Example One: A person that I see on a fairly regular basis knows I like to take photos and that I have a decent camera (for it not being a DSLR). So this person, a few weeks (maybe even a month, now, or more) asked me to take some photos for them. They asked me 2 days before they wanted photos done. And, it wasn't even phrased in a manner that would have helped me say yes. It was ALMOST like I was being told to do it. But, that may have only been perception, since it wasn't asked face to face. Not only did I not really have the time (especially since it was short notice), I I felt that this person would be much better served if they had a professional photographer take these particular photos.

Because of the unique situation, and the time crunch this person was in, I got in touch with a photographer that I had won a free photo shoot from and asked that photographer if I could gift my photo shoot to this person. Her schedule was tight and she was only available at a certain time, and so I passed this information along to the person who wanted me to take their photos. I didn't hear back from them. Then, because the time was growing more short, I let this person know of several other photographers I know of or I have worked with that might be able to work with them. Again, I heard nothing.

Now, like I said, there were special circumstances going on, so I understand that this person maybe couldn't get back to me, a the time, for various reasons. But at no point after this, or since I've seen this person, did they even thank me for my time, or for looking up other photography possibilities. Nothing. (And, it may just be perception again, but they seem a little more distant and cold. But, I guess that's neither here nor there.)

Example Two: This actually began before example one, or I might have rethought that situation. I was asked to take some photos for someone I know. I like taking photos and I usually don't take pictures of people, because it can be intimidating, but I went ahead and said yes. Mostly, because it would help me get a little more experience, and because the photos were going to be used for a personal project and not really seen by many people (in other words, not going on a Christmas card, or anything). Let me just say that during the photo shoot, it was expressed to me that they were thankful for my being able to do this.

I had a good experience taking the photos, and as I was editing them (now taking place after example one), I thought that a lot of them came out pretty good, if I do say so myself. However, I do like to do artsy editing, and I hoped they liked it, although I wasn't sure. Also, I found these cool templates for storyboards online, and did a little extra with the photos -- mostly so I could do something fun, and not because I actually thought they would be used.

So I handed the photos over and ... nothing. I didn't get a thank you after they were looked at. I had no idea if they even liked the photos or if they were usable for them. I fretted a little, and even wondered if maybe I should have just done simpler edits. I knew when this project was to be presented, and the day came and went. Finally, a day or so after that, I couldn't help it, I sort of roundabout asked two people involved (at different times) how the pictures came out, citing that I usually don't print my pictures out (which is true, I don't) and just wondered how they came out. One told me they came out really nicely. Another one mentioned this too and finally said thank you.

But I have to tell you, I was a little discouraged. I'm not expecting to be told I'm the next Annie Leibovitz, and I would even have expected constructive criticism, but I didn't feel like I should have to fish for a thank you.

Example 3: My oldest niece, who turned 20 at the end of last month, also got engaged on her birthday. The wedding is at the beginning of January. I have long been purported to be the favorite aunt. Also, out of all the people in the close family, I was the most recently married. I KNEW that with such little time the ball had to start rolling, and quickly. So, I sent her several emails detailing things that needed to be done. Important things.

However, I recently learned, through my mother no less, that my emails have not really been appreciated. That they were stressing her and my sister-in-law out, because there were too many decisions to make and this wedding needed to be kept simple.

The problem is, decisions were NOT being made. And apparently, they thought I was being bossy and trying to run the show (maybe not said in so many words). And I have to tell you, I was shocked. Did I tell her she needed to get invitations out ASAP? Yes. Did I tell her which ones to choose? No. Did I let her know that they both had to be here several days before the wedding to get their marriage license because there's a waiting period? Yes. But that's a MUST. That's not optional.

So, my biggest fault was trying to be helpful, and so some it came off as something else. Well, forgive me for wanting a lovely day for my niece where she isn't stressing out! And ... I, yes, I, had to send an email apologizing for stressing them out and that my intention was only to help and not be bossy. And the response I got back from my sister-in-law was a thank you for my apologizing and that they wanted things simple and didn't want to stress out my niece. (She didn't even acknowledge the help, which I can tell you, the way this wedding has been planned, I will be surprised if everything gets done.)

I will agree that in the last example, I probably should have asked if they wanted help or advice, before providing it. I just wanted to be helpful! :(

However, I do want to make clear that while I don't expect a jubilant gratitude, I do hope for the minimum social cordiality of a thank you. That's it.

Like other people, my time and talents are valuable. And just because I'm doing it for free, doesn't mean that they're any less valuable than someone else's. I think, from here on out, I may decide to start charging for photo shoots, and the like. Just a small, minimum fee, to make it worth my while. Because if YOU can't tell me thank you, your money certainly will. *LOL*

Disclaimer: I am uneasy about making a disclaimer about something on MY blog. It's my blog, and I can cry (and whine), if I want to! *LOL* But I just want to make sure that it's understood that these are MY feelings. These are things that I have actually gone through and witnessed, and if I have upset or angered or offended anyone, that's not my intention. Yes, clearly I have been somewhat hurt by these things, but mostly because I thought more of the situations and people. You know, maybe these people don't even realize what I feel was done wrongly. They're my feelings, my perceptions and these recent examples have shown me how courtesy has declined in our society.

But, on another note, I DO realize we're all human. I DO realize we all make mistakes. I make them too. And it's possible I have slighted someone without knowing it, and if it's you, I apologize. I can maybe look back on these examples and think that these are these people's recent slip-ups and not a pattern of behavior. But that three happened to me within a short time frame does make me wonder.

AND, on that final note, I say that part of blogging is for therapy, at least for me. I have FINALLY gotten this off my chest, and I can stop obsessing about it. I have learned my lesson, and now I can move on. ^_^

Friday, November 19, 2010

35 and a Goal

Well kids, today is my birthday! My 35th birthday, no less.

I went and saw the Harry Potter movie at midnight, and wow, I must be getting old, because the teenagers were so annoying! *LOL*  But then, I told Brian later, that even though I'm 35, and probably a good 20 years (give or take) older than many of those kids in the theater, I don't "feel" that much older than them. Oh, more wise, for sure. More mannered, definitely. But, not necessarily so OLD when compared to them. Does that make sense?

Well, anyway, so far the day has gone well, and it just started, so I'm very excited. And ... I have decided (been thinking of this for a few days now), that today I would put a dream into action and move towards a goal.

As many of you know, I dream of one day throwing my own Masquerade Ball. I have talked about for YEARS. At times I get more excited about it, then start doing lots of research and then realize that *sigh* I have no way to accomplish this right now. And so, I let it slide for awhile. I've had this dream for, oh, I would say a good 10 years (if not a few more), and I do talk about it with people from time to time.

So I decided that no longer will I just TALK about it. I am now going to start moving towards making my dream a reality.

Today, I opened a new, separate savings to save for my Masquerade Ball. Money has been my biggest roadblock, but no longer. I just added a little bit of money to start off with, and every month I will put something in. For now, it will be a very small amount, since Brian's the only one that has a steady income coming in, but that's okay. Because I'm giving myself a timetable to accomplish this goal.

5 years. In 5 years, I WILL throw my very own Masquerade Ball, with whatever money I have put away for this goal. Whether it's $500, $5,000 or $50,000 (yeah, I wish!), I will take that and do what I've dreamed of for so many years.

Of course, there will be other things I'm saving for, like a new camera and a house, but like I said, no matter what I have to work with, I will do it.

Because what's the point of dreaming if you don't try to make them reality. I can't wait around for a Fairy Godmother to grant me all my heart's desires. I am my OWN Fairy Godmother. I just need a little more time. ^_^

And THAT is my birthday gift to myself.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Leonids Missed the Mark

Almost every year since I knew about them, the Leonids have arrived, or been around for the morning of my birthday. I remember sitting out on a front lawn, very early one morning (think 2-3 am) watching the meteor shower greet the day of my birth.

While obviously not just for me, I like to think of them as God's little gift to me, to let me know, "hey, happy birthday!" It's cool. ^_^

Buuuut, this year, oh, no, they HAD to go and come early! Silly Leonids! Now, granted, it's been kinda rainy and overcast now and then over the last few days, so the chances of actually seeing them were slim, but they actually were set to appear early yesterday morning and this morning. *sniffs* Sad!!!

So, I will have not Leonids to greet me tomorrow morning, but that's okay. I'll have next year. I hope.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thank You Notes are Not Outdated

I have been meaning to write about "Thank You" notes, or lacks thereof, for awhile, and then I saw this Dear Abby in today's paper:


    DEAR ABBY: At Christmas, "Santa" always fills my children's stockings with a mix of fun, edible and practical items. A few years ago, when my oldest child was beginning to write, my husband and I started the tradition of tucking packets of thank-you cards into their stockings.
    We explained that Santa must have given them the cards so they would have stationery to write thank-you notes to family and friends for the gifts they had received. The cards are a wonderful reminder to my children that they need to express their gratitude to those who have spent time and money to buy and send them a gift. Usually there are cards left over to cover thank-you notes at birthday time as well.
    Unfortunately, these days, not enough people -- even adults -- take the time to write a note of appreciation for presents they are given. I believe parents should encourage children to do this as soon as they are able to understand the concept. I hope my husband and I are instilling a lifelong habit in our children. Abby, can you help get the point across? -- THANKFUL MOM IN BRUNSWICK, MAINE

    DEAR THANKFUL MOM: Gladly. You are teaching your children an important lesson. It's a formality that started being ignored decades ago. Then, as years passed, it was a custom that was not just ignored, but many people forgot it existed. The result was that parents who hadn't been taught the social niceties did not teach them to their children.
    When I publish letters about thank-you notes, I invariably receive an avalanche of letters and e-mails from readers complaining that they are hurt and offended because they don't receive thank-you notes. Some individuals use texts and e-mails to acknowledge gifts. However, for most people a handwritten note is much more memorable. Thanking someone for a gift, an invitation to a party or a kind deed in writing is important.
    While composing a letter may always be a chore to some people, there are occasions when the written message is the only proper means of communication. It shows effort, and can become a keepsake. For those people who have difficulty expressing their thoughts, my booklet "How to Write Letters for All Occasions" covers a few basic rules for acknowledging gifts, expressing sympathy and accepting or declining an invitation. It can be ordered by sending your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds), to Dear Abby -- Letters Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price. Not everyone can write letters that are literary masterpieces, but for anyone who wonders how to put in writing a brief, charming thank-you note, a letter expressing congratulations, a love letter -- or one that announces a broken engagement -- my booklet will serve as a guide to those who have put off writing because they didn't know what to say, how to say it, or even how to begin.
    Because the season for exchanging gifts is nearly here, "Thankful Mom," your letter is an important and timely one.

Now, I will be the first to admit, that I don't know everything about proper etiquette, but I do know the basics when it comes to "thank you" notes. Basically, whenever you receive a gift, you send a thank you note. Yes, even if you and the giver are in the same room and you express a thank you right then and there. More than likely, it's at some sort of party, and you're not the only one being thanked for their gift. There are other times when you might not be sure, for example if someone does something nice for you, out of their way, and a large gesture. When in doubt, always send one. But, I do have to say, that I have actually gone to several baby showers over the last year (give or take a few months), where I have given a gift (and sometimes even handmade) and besides the verbal "thank you," not received an actual thank you card. I can accept perhaps loss in the mail, but ... two? Seems to me that's not something that would be in question, right?

And yes, I've probably let one or two slide by. I think the worst is for Christmas gifts from my family. Brian's family I'm pretty good about sending ones, but mine ... I guess because I'm so used to them. I will try to be better! ^_^

Although, I do remember once that a friend sent me a thank you card, thanking me for a gift, but I was sending one to her about something else, and both my husband and hers wondered if I was thanking her for the thank you card. *LOL* It was pretty funny!!

So anyway, I liked this Dear Abby and what it had to say. And if I ever have children, I will teach them to do this. Oh, after Brian and I were married, I made him start sending out thank you notes. (I think part of the reason I like them is not only because it's a heartfelt sentiment, but also because I love stationery. ^_^) It's never too late to start!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A New Quote to Add to My Favorites

So I know I just posted one of my favorite quotes a few days ago, but just today I came across this one, and 1) I'm surprised how much I think it describes how I feel, and 2) I can't believe I didn't come across it earlier, because it's by van Gogh, who is my favorite painter.

"I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it."
- Vincent van Gogh

I am a self-proclaimed Jill-of-All-Trades and Mistress of None. I like to dabble in many creative things, even those that I may not talk about often (like my singing, for example, that if I ever truly wanted to pursue, I'd need a voice coach to improve my breathing and my range). I like to craft and sew and do all these things to learn how. So that I can feel like I am furthering myself and learning new things. But, I think it's part of my downfall, as well. Because, I can't seem to focus on ONE thing to excel at, to do so I can become great at it.

I sometimes wonder if I'm just undisciplined to try ONE thing, or if I fear trying that ONE thing (to be great) and failing. I know there are many out there that are better at things than I am. (But that's perhaps a whole other story....)

So ... anyway. A new favorite quote!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Five Things to Do Before I Die

Once again, the day draws to a close and I have not blogged. Trust me, I have many things I WANT to talk about, but the time ... oh, the time!

So, instead I perused the prompts again and found this one: What five things do you want to do before you die? At first I thought it would be hard and take me awhile, but then I realized, it's not asking for the top 5 things, or even why, just to name 5 things, and in no particular order.

So, here goes.

As of right now, before I die, I would like to:
1. Visit Europe.
2. Go to the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas.
3. Have a masquerade ball.
4. Climb Mt. Fuji.
5. Be published in a scrapbook/card magazine with one of my designs.

Many of those have to do with traveling! ^_^ Of course, ask me tomorrow/next week/month/year and some of these might change!

So, what about you? What would you like to do before you die?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Book Review: The Way of Kings

I know I haven't done a book review in ages, even though I've almost completed my 50-books-for-the-year goal, so I've read plenty! I promise I will do a full disclosure of the books read in the year and what my faves ones were when I get there, but I did want to review (somewhat) The Way of Kings.

When Robert Jordan died, Sanderson was hand-picked to finish The Wheel of Time series. Since learning that, I have since read almost everything, save his short stories, that Sanderson has in print. (I read the first Alcatraz book, but did not like it, and therefore would not read the rest of the series.) And, I really came to love and enjoy Sanderson's style.

I came to respect him even more after he put out the first of the last three books in The Wheel of Time series. It was probably ONE of the best books in that series (of 15 books). That, to me, was a lot. It was also saying a lot that in that book, he wrote one of THE best battle scenes I have ever read. And that's saying a lot, because I don't read battle scenes. I skim them, at the best, and move on. They bore me, frankly. But this one, from the get-go, had me entranced. It was so awesome!!

So, needless to say I was expecting a LOT out of Sanderson's first foray into his epic Fantasy saga. I heard a lot of hype from other authors and the like who received advanced copies to read and review. And then ... I began on the heavy, thousand-page tome.

And, as much as I wanted to love it, I personally will have to give it an average rating, on MY scale. I'll be honest, a book like this, of this genre, with as much as I was anticipating it, I should have breezed through it within the week, perhaps two (as I did have to take some time to work on my Halloween costume). But it took me several weeks. Mostly because I would force myself to read a chapter a night, and then put it away.

I had a hard time getting into it, and normally would have put it down after a few hundred pages, but I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. And finally, finally, around the halfway mark, I actually started getting interested. I actually finished the last half in a week.

Don't get me wrong, overall I liked it, once I made it through the first half. There just seemed to me, to be a LOT of world building and a LOT of character development, without going anywhere. And that's probably because this is not your typical "reluctant hero saves world with entourage" sort of story. Frankly, not until the end do you start to see a glimpse of a real plot. Most of the book is spent in a lot of storytelling, with a lot of battles (which, maybe, right then, should tell you something *LOL*).

A lot of people have loved this book, and I think that, maybe once it's all said and done, this will be one of the epic fantasy series that make it along with the greats, like The Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of time. We'll see. For me, though, I think I will wait until the entire series is out before picking it up to read the rest. If I'm going to make the investment on this specific one, then I want to have the story ready to finish.

But, I still love Sanderson and know he has lots more to give us in the future. And that, is that! ^_^

Saturday, November 13, 2010

10-Year Throwback

I have had a pretty busy day today, and couldn't decide what I could write about that was fairly quick and easy. So, I was looking around the NaBloPoMo prompt tab and saw one suggesting I write about where I was and what I was doing 10 years ago. I knew I could do one better! Even though I've only had nonchalantgirl for a little while, I HAVE been blogging for 10 years. The proof: I have a blog post from 10 years ago to share. Well, it's actually from November 16, 2000 but ... here's the throwback! Enjoy!

Thursday, November 16, 2000

8:51 PM CT: Why, YES, this IS an UPDATE!!

Yes, yes, I know it's been awhile... but, well, you see... I must confess... I've been busy with other things. As you may recall, last week Robert Jordan's new book came out, and well, it engrossed me. Which, btw, is a good thing, right? So much happened and I must say, I did enjoy this book -- very much so. But, for those of you that are reading it, I won't say anything else. ^_^ Let you find out on your own.

And then, I've been trying to finish up watching the anime that Kris sent me. I LOVE CCS, btw, and I am totally in love with Yukito-san *big huge dreamy sighs* *ggls*. Yeah, yeah, I know! I know! ^_- I want to get it all done before the holidays come upon me (ack! is that next week??) because then I won't have much time.

And so I'm behind. Behind in moving my blog. Behind in putting up my blog layout which Mirs made for me, which is too kawaii! Behind in working on my Nyan-Nyan shrine (it's hard when there isn't much around the 'net to scour up!). Behind in getting a new layout up for Nonchalant.nu. AND, to make matters worse, my CD drive is not working. I'm going to have to send that to be fixed soon, which means: no computer for awhile. *sighs*

And then, could I just say... I'm a HORRIBLE friend!!!! To Christine!!! *hangs head in shame* I didn't forget her birthday, really I didn't. It was in October... and I knew when it was... really! But... I let it go, because I swore to myself that I would send her a card, or something, at some time. But it slid by. And then I promised myself it would be something late. And then... here it is, a month later... and to make it worse I had two cards from her sitting in my P.O. Box yesterday. One as a Halloween card, and the other was a birthday card! *sighs* I am SO sorry, Christine! I'll write you soon, I promise! I love you!!!!

Birthday. Yes. It's my birthday soon. On Sunday. I'm going to be 25. It feels so surreal. Really. I'm going to be out of the targeted demographic of 18-24. I'm young at heart, though, and most people think I'm younger than I look, which, I guess, is a good thing. I probably have more to say, but, well, not right now.

So, here I am. Back, hopefully, on a regular basis. Thanks for the poke, Mirs. ^_^

So, I better get back to work, now. Not that there's much work, but well, gotta look productive.

Wow, I can't believe I was bemoaning turning 25. *LOL*

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's All in the Details

I realized today that I am a true details person. In other words, I love all the little details that take something from simple, to amazing, from cookie cutter, to personalized. But not cluttered. Never cluttered.

Over the last few months I've come to realize how much I come to admire and regard details, and how I try to infuse that into my own life.

The biggest moment of realization came when I was working on my Halloween/Party costume. For me to be Atropos, I had to get the details right, from the use of scissors, to the little hints of skulls (signifying the death she brings). And many people noticed those details. But it's what made the outfit complete. Whole. Interesting. At our church's Trunk or Treat, there was a little girl there dressed up like a Spanish Lady/Flamenco Dancer. She had on these cute little Mary Jane shoes (no heel, as she couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 years old), a pretty red dress on, her hair done up in curls ... and the detail that caught my eye? A white fan that she would flutter every so often. A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E. And, while I know it was her mom that probably helped with the outfit, I kind of think the little girl had something to do with it. I complimented her on her fan, and she seemed as appreciative as a little girl can be. *laughs*

I love looking at scrapbookers and card makers to see how just an extra little detail here and there can take a project from simple to fabulous!

I love looking at photographers' blogs and seeing the details they capture with their cameras.

I love watching design shows and reading design blogs, to see how it's easy to transform a room with just a few details.

So, here's another attempt of mine to add some detail to my life. This time, to my home. We live in an apartment, and although we may be able to technically paint the walls, the hassle of having to paint them back isn't really appealing. So, many months ago I saw a great idea on a design blog to incorporate a little color and texture into a room that has a bookcase (or more than one). I've seen people put wallpaper on the backs of shelves (usually built ins) or paint the backs a different color, but this person used fabric instead, and wrapped it around foam core board that she cut down to fit the back of her shelves. It's easy, somewhat inexpensive* (depending on price of fabric) and can be changed out quickly, if need be. And, knowing that I couldn't/wouldn't paint, I decided to do that with my bookshelves that sit in the back of the dining area which is open to the living area.

So, here we have the before and after (which included me removing some books and repositioning others):

The fabric isn't that bright, I just had to use the flash on my camera so it was noticeable. And, there's not an imperfection in the fabric on the right side, it's just the extra light from the mirror reflecting back onto it. The effect is noticeable, for the most part, but still subtle, which I like. And I LOVE the fabric, which was a 365 photo some time back. Almost has a linen look to it, and the paisleys are so fun!

175/365: Red Paisley Fabric

Oh, I know that my eye for details has probably come across because I'm a proofreader. It's something I've been trained to do, but that's just my case. Some people are naturally drawn to it, and some people even have a better ability to translate that into something tangible.

Slowly, but surely, I will try to do that. I usually get people that comment on my home, saying that it feels comfortable. And I'd like to think that it's because I try to pay attention to the details, that may not always be noticeable to someone's eye, but the feeling is still there.

* Total cost for the project was about $15-20 per bookcase (maybe a smidgen more). I could have cut that down, if I had gone with less expensive fabric. But, as it is, this home decor fabric was already on sale for $7 a yard. The foam core board was only $1 for each one, but unfortunately, because each space was so tall, I could only get one shelf out of each one. So, all in all, not bad for shelves I've had for several years that I wanted to spruce up.

Project 365 Roundup: Weeks 44 & 45

October 29 - November 4
302/365: UP! Costume 303/365: Brian Cooking 304/365: Halloween Spiders 305/365: Healthy Fried Chicken
306/365: Candy Corn 307/365: Cashew Butter 308/365: Aldi

November 5 - November 11
309/365: Candy, Candy! 310/365: Who's watching me? 311/365: Graphic Print Shirt 312/365: Nielsen Family
313/365: Memo Board in the Making 314/365: Fall Leaf 315/365: Japanese Sword

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Strange Dreams

Some of you may or may not know this, but I dream a LOT. And they're quite odd. And I remember them, most of the time. And they're not mundane everyday kind of dreams. I've had dreams where I was in a medieval-like fantasy world, trying to break into catacombs that contained ... something that my group needed. I've dreamt about the turn of the century and boarding a doomed ship. I've had a dream where I lived in a supposed Utopian society where any kind of artistic endeavor wasn't tolerated -- like music. And how I alone, using my musical ability helped begin a revolution. Oh, and I've even dreamt of sliding along the stars in space, in some unknown galaxy (which was normal, and all in the dream).

Yeah, and that's just the tip of the iceberg!

Seriously, I could devote a blog just to the dreams I have. I will say that sometimes I will wake up and remember the dream, but then ... it will fade quickly. Sometimes I won't remember when waking up, and later bits and pieces come to me. I have woken up crying because I was crying in a dream, or because I was so overwhelmed by what was happening in a dream. And other times, I can remember so much about a dream, that I usually write down as much as I can remember, to possibly use as the plot of a short story (I actually have a document that holds all these snippets).

While I do say I have had a few bad dreams (I would categorize the ones that I wake up crying, mostly, as bad dreams), but I will say if I HAVE had an actual nightmare, I don't remember. Thankfully, mine are just weird and not scary -- at least, not in my mind. (I usually remember some sort of dream. Even if I can't remember, I know I've dreamed. The only time I can actually recall not recalling any dreams, was when I was writing my NaNoWriMo novel. I think all my creative energy was being channeled into writing. *LOL*)

Oh, and it used to be that celebrities would play the major parts in my dreams. Seriously! I would hardly dream of people I knew. Ben Affleck used to appear in my dreams quite often -- until he married Jennifer Garner. Then he stopped. *LOL* Thankfully (and not-so, depending on the dream *grin*), maybe because I'm getting older, but I don't have celebrities much in my dreams anymore.

So, the reason I am writing is because last night I had two.

The first, I was at some resort (hotel, with large swimming pool and slides near it), and I was trying to escape my husband for some reason. Now, it wasn't necessarily me, but a version of, perhaps. (And my husband in the dream was NOT Brian, but someone I knew from my past.) I kept tricking him and hiding, and they even got the police involved. Finally, they wrangled me back to the hotel room. (I maybe get the feeling that I wasn't mentally stable?) But, at the hotel room, this is where it gets weird. He and I get accosted by some weird entity, and ... I turn into water. Yep. I was able to turn into water. (What I can gather is that I felt in the dream that this creature was after me/us, so I was trying to get away, to make sure the people around me were safe.)

Anyway, with my fighting the entity, I told my husband somehow to light us on fire, which killed the entity, and while it didn't kill me right away (because I was water), it eventually sucked out all the moisture from me, and while I turned back to human, I ended up dying, but did tell him I loved him. (Because I think he didn't know that from me.)

So. Yeah.

The second dream I remember, was shorter, or at least it seemed that way. I was in a thrift store with some friends (some of them from my past and some from my present). We were rummaging through things. I remember vividly this Ghostbusters t-shirt I found -- I really liked it because it was artsy. *LOL* Yeah. Anyway, a friend that I'm with comes up and says she can't find what she's looking for -- a little black dress. She says nothing is fitting her. I try to help her and come across a few connecting rooms of trinkets, but the rooms are either poorly lit, or not lit at all. So I'm trying to turn on lamps, or flip switches and some lights are coming up, but others aren't and it's just weird. When all of a sudden a friend of mine comes up to me to show me what she's found -- a young woman, looking sad and bedraggled, in a Victorian era wedding dress. Oh, yes, and she turns out to be a ghost. (I get visions of Ghost Whisperer here!) So, we decide to take her with us, and she latches on to a handsome young man we have in our group (I don't think I know him really, he was just a random person). I remember trying to leave and the person at the front desk maybe giving us a hard time ... but then the dream ended, or I woke up. Anyway, don't know where THAT one was going.

Interesting, eh?

SO, any dream interpreters out there? Am I more weird or less weird? ^_^

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Don't Like the Weather in Texas?

Wait 5 minutes, and it'll change.

Almost halfway through November, and today's high here, near Dallas, Texas is 76. Oh, don't get me wrong, that's nice, for here, but several weeks ago we were in the 40s. Seriously. I just wish it would make a steady decline. I mean, I don't expect it to be snowing (like in Idaho, where my niece is right now). But a slight decline in temperature wouldn't hurt, would it? I mean, 50 would be nice? Wouldn't it?

I would be nice if fall felt like fall and winter felt like winter. Of course, last Christmas Eve we had quite a bit of snow here, which is rare, but I remember Christmases past that we've had temperatures that were just too warm for Christmas.

But then, while I don't mind the cold, one of the biggest reasons I don't like it, is artificial warmth. For some reason, if it's too warm due to a heater kicking on, it feels stuffy and suffocating to me. I'd rather be a tad too cold and add some comfy socks or an extra soft blanket. My favorite kinds of socks are the ones that have the little nonskid bumps on the bottom. (That way I can keep them on but not fall on slippery floors.) I used to have some really cute Powerpuff Girls ones, but they got holes in 'em. *sniffs* Sad.

The recent ones I've been able to find are ... flimsy. They're really soft and that's how they reel you in to buy them, but after a wash or two, they start to fall apart. I just want some comfy socks that will keep my feet warm and won't make me fall and last more than a season. Is that too much to ask? Apparently so. :(

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Favorite Quote

One of my favorite quotes is this one:

Power is your friend. That power used for purpose is the most thrilling thing in the world. It's right up there with singing show tunes.
- Diane Sawyer
I like that the end is so unexpected, and  that it talks about show tunes. I LOVE show tunes. ^_^

But I think, lately, what strikes me about this quote, is the word "purpose." I think that once you find your purpose, then you can garner power. I have a new friend that designs and sells her own jewelry, and she's quite successful at it (as in some celebrities even wear her stuff), and she built this all on her own, and kept forging on through a divorce and now a new marriage. She is creative and she loves what she does and she makes money doing that. I envy that (though not her, specifically, she is one of the coolest kats I know, and very open and non-judgmental, and one of those gals that has tons of friends, because what's not to like?). What's my purpose to bring this self power into being? What is my calling here on earth? What can I do to unleash my true self and gather that power unto myself. I focus on too many things, I admit. But, if I choose to narrow it down to one, to try my hand at it, will I be making the right choice? I admit, I would love to be doing something creative, but I don't know if that's really my purpose.

Well, hmm... I guess that's what posting last minute, and late at night gets me -- weird, introspected, vague thoughts. Heh.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Good Ol' Days

A friend of mine recently posted an article on Facebook, about 30 Things That Need to Stage a Comeback, Pronto!

It's really more of a photo essay, but I found several intriguing things. I love hats on men, very classy. And I'm not talking about baseball caps, either. Another thing I liked was crudité platters. I liked this because I actually found to seemingly brand-new crudité plates at a thrift store (both branded William Sonoma). So, they can't be THAT out of style, could they? I also liked the mention of pocket watches (because now I own one, even if it is a costume prop, it does actually function). Discreet voices is also another good one. And, I also loved the game night and discussion societies. And, who doesn't love a handwritten thank you note? However, I personally could take or leave white tennis clothes and a record player (one, not that interested in tennis, and two, even the record player was being phased out when I was a child).

But the one that made me the most sad was ... manners. Do manners REALLY need to stage a comeback? But, when you're out and about you can start to see this as apparent. And that just makes me want to cry! Is it so hard to say "please" and "thank you" and "excuse/pardon me?" Is it so hard to open/hold open a door for someone?

I think that many of the things talked about in this article have been deleted from our society because of the advent of technology. Sure, it's nice to have the mobile phones, but do we HAVE to talk on them loudly about things that should remain private? And, those long dinners with immediate and extended family almost done away with because someone has to go plop down in front of the TV or something. And, those societies to discuss ... whatever you want? Now it's all done somewhat anonymously online (although, there is something to be said for finding people that share similar, esoteric interests).

Oh, don't get me wrong. I love technology. But sometimes it seems to take over, or it leaves our lives with time that we feel we must inundate with other things (activities for kids, for us, etc.).

I wish we lived in a place that did have nearby areas where it would be interesting to just unplug, leave things at home and take a walk with nature -- oh, but I HAVE to bring my camera along!

Anyway, anything you wish would make a comeback? (Either mentioned in the article, or your own thoughts?)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Girl Behind NonchalantGirl

Ooo... it's a video blog post!

Phew, that was almost more trouble than it was worth! ^_^ (Fun, though!)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

While the Husband's Away

So, I was husbandless for the day.

Brian's mom needed help with a fundraising activity, and since her husband was probably going to be out of town this weekend, she asked Brian for help. They live in a town called Saginaw, which is near Fort Worth. So, Brian left last night to spend the night so he could help out this morning and during the day.

He asked me what I was going to do while he was away. I said: "Oh finish editing the photos I've been working on; tidy up in the living room; probably tidy up in the kitchen. Maybe I should vacuum too. I need to work on that survey that they sent me the Web cam for as well. Oh, I need to choose music for some choir pieces. And maybe I'll have time to watch a movie." And he says, "Yes, you should watch a movie, because you need to take some time to relax."

Can I tell you that all I managed was the photos, the survey and a movie?! *LOL* I'm such a slacker!

Well, part of it is that I woke up late this morning, because I stayed up very late last night. I don't sleep well if Brian's not in the bed with me, so I knew that I had to be especially tired to fall asleep. I did manage to sleep okay, though I did wake up a few times during the night, but not for long periods. I don't think it was because I heard anything, or because I didn't know where Brian was ... I just did.

So, there you have it. I was productive, but not as productive as I could have been.

Although, I think I can find the choir pieces while I wait for my pizza to arrive (which Brian and I decided on ahead of time would be fine for me to do). ^_^

Friday, November 5, 2010

Saving for a New Computer

Overall, I really like my computer. However, it's 5 1/2 years old, and most people will tell you, that that's a good life span for a computer (especially one used as much as mine). However, it's been VERY slow for awhile now, and HORRIDLY slow for the last few months.

Okay, I admit, part of it is that sometimes I try to run Photoshop, Lightroom and have Firefox open, usually streaming Pandora. Oops. Yes, I know the drain on resources is HIGH. *sigh* But, I would think that a computer should be able to handle that.

Oh, and did I mention that several times over the last few months I've gotten errors about no room left on the hard drive. Seriously. I used to get Scratch Disk errors in Photoshop all the time, until I moved the scratch disk to my external hard drive (the scratch disk basically holds the memory for the last few editing motions done, so you can undo them or redo them) -- so, when I got them, it meant there was no room on my hard drive to support them. About a month ago, I was uploading photos from my camera to my computer, when it told me there was no space left. Oh dear! And, recently, one of my programs that automatically updates couldn't because I didn't have the space. Yep. Really.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I have already upgraded my RAM once, and maxed it out on my computer (in other words, I can't add anymore, even if I wanted to). And, as mentioned, I have a 1 TB external hard drive to hold all my giant files (my digital scrapbooking folder alone is a little over 37 GB), since my computer's hard drive is only 80 GB (I remember laughing when I got the computer how there was NO way I could fill it up -- that was before I discovered digital scrapbooking).

So, around the beginning of this year, we decided that we needed to start saving for a new computer. Now, yes, we have money in savings that I could have easily just taken out and plopped into a new one, but we knew that we had many things around the house that we wanted to get rid of through selling (whether Craigslist or eBay), so Brian and I made a pact that the money from things we sold could go straight into a computer fund for me, as well as money made from other sources other than a job (gifted; credit card cash back programs; surveys, etc.). That way, we could get rid of things we really needed to get rid of.

So, as of right now, I have almost $550 toward a new computer. My goal is probably around $1,000. (That MAY seem excessive for a new computer, but I have to make sure that it's a Pentium chip, because it handles Photoshop better, and I have to ensure that I can max out the RAM right off the bat. There's even a slight possibility of maybe thinking about a Mac. But only slight.) I would also love a new monitor, but mine works great, it would only be to make bigger. So, if I don't quite make the $1,000 I will still have plenty for a nice, new computer.

However, I wanted to make a quick mention about surveys. It's actually a little bit more involved than that. In 2009 I signed up with several Survey and Research companies that conduct focus groups for other companies. They usually have you come in to their office and talk with a third-party rep about a particular product or idea. And, the best part, is that they're usually pretty fun and they pay really well. Usually $65-100 for a couple hours of your time (a little more or less, sometimes quite a bit more, depending on the study). I've only been to two (every study is very particular of who they are wanting), and I'm about to do one this weekend. The nice thing about the one coming up, is that I can do it from home, and besides being paid for it, I am also getting a free Webcam! (I have to use the Webcam as part of the study, but I get to keep it.)

So, you're certainly not going to get rich quick, but it's a nice way to have a little extra cash now and then. (If you're interested and live in a major market, then let me know and I can let you know a little bit more about it.)

So, hopefully, by the end of the year I will have the money to buy myself a brand new computer. I'm very excited! ^_^

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Blog Banner

If you haven't noticed already, I have a new blog banner!

I couldn't resist finding something Steampunk related. And she also has an Anime look, which is a bonus (for me, at least).

I would love to add some wings like this to my Steampunk outfit down the line, but maybe in black? How cool would that be?! I've seen them used in Cosplay (Costume Play) before, so I'm sure there are tutorials online. Thing is, I know that involves sheets of acrylic and a harness. Hmmm.... maybe I'll find another way.

Brian mentioned that he wants a Steampunk mad scientist outfit for next year, so we can actually have complementary costumes (which I TRY to do, but this year proved too much).

So, an update on my car: they can't find anything wrong with it. Besides the fact that it didn't start for them right away, after charging the battery some, they were able to get it to turn on every time. They told me just to drive it around this weekend and see how it goes. That's fine that they didn't find something wrong, but it not turning on means there is something wrong (or going wrong), and I REALLY don't want to have to be stranded somewhere again. (Luckily I was at home this time.)

So, that's that. But, of course, you know they're going to charge me for all the diagnostics they did. *sigh* I'll be going to pick him up shortly. I just hope he behaves.

UPDATE: They were nice enough to not charge me to diagnose anything, because, as they said, they couldn't diagnose anything while the car's running fine. So, for now, I'm not out any money!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Car Woes

So, even though I just updated with my Project 365 Roundup, a REAL blog post is in order.

And, as you can tell from the title, it involves my car. I love my car. His name is Julian. I have owned Julian since July 2001. He's a sparkly blue, with a hint of purple (you can see it if the light hits him just the right way). Is it weird that I think of my car as male?

Well, anyway. He's been pretty good up until today. He wouldn't start. *sad face* It has cooled down for a few days recently, so maybe that has something to do with it.

But, I don't think it's the battery. So, I had to call AAA on him. For the first time. Ever. They towed him away (and stupid me for not taking my camera out -- what a great shot for a 365 THAT would have made), and I waited to hear from the mechanic.

As of right now, word is that he wouldn't start for them either (duh! After me AND the tow truck guy, did YOU really think it would for you?), they noticed the battery was low. So, they charged it some and it started. BUT, the mechanic seemed to think that that is not the problem. She (yes, woman mechanic) said they're not sure what the problem is, and even mentioned a slight, maybe possibility of something with the fuel pump (*groan* expensive!), so ... they're keeping him overnight. *LOL* Yes, for observation! But, more to observe what happens in the morning while sitting in a cold environment for awhile.

So I had to cancel a doctor's appointment and I wasn't able to make a Sprouts run this morning. But Brian said we could go to Sprouts tonight. (Wednesdays are double ad days, so muchly stuff on sale!)

By tomorrow, I will either be sighing in relief or be out begging on the street for money to get my car fixed *LOL*. We'll see!

Project 365 Roundup: Weeks 41, 42 &43

October 8 - October 14
281/365: Pretty Tea Cup 282/365: The Hunger Games 283/365: Jungle Cats 284/365: Park Girls
285/365: Fruits and Veggies 286/365: Baking Needs 287/365: Howdy Y'all

287/365  (Extra): Sky Gondola

October 15 - October 21
288/365: Raspberries 289/365: Craft Jars 290/365: Rehearsal Continues 291/365: Jewelry Findings
292/365: Sewing! 293/365: Pocket Watch 294/365: A Giant Tome

October 22 - October 28
295/365: Pretty Beads 296/365: Red Berries 297/365: Full Moon 298/365: Counting Jars
299/365: Candlelit Pumpkin 300/365: BOO Jars 301/365: Messy Crafter

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