Monday, March 28, 2011

The Things They Don't Tell You...

 Missy checking out Cheese just after we got him.

When you're little your parents tell you all kinds of stuff to try to prepare you for life as an adult.  They tell you about money, paying bills, getting a real job, falling in love, buying a house, etc.  They give you responsibilities in your young life to prepare you for the responsibilities you will have as an adult.  They will allow you to get a pet, but will emphasize that you have to clean it's litterbox or let it outside or clean it's hooves (I had a horse growing up...that's kind of normal when you live on a farm).  But when said animal gets sick or something happens to it, usually that's when the kids responsibilities come to an end.  If an animal needs to go to the vet because it is sick or injured, the parent takes them.  They pay for the vet bill.  They make the tough decisions (to treat or to euthanize).  And then if things go wrong, if that pet dies, the kid might be allowed to say goodbye, but the responsibility usually ends there.  Parents generally attempt to shield their children from unnecessary hurt and pain, and rightly so.  It's the parent who goes to the vet and watches as the animal drifts into unconsciousness.  It is the parent who then decides whether to cremate or bury.  And if they choose to bury the animal, it is the parent who digs the hole and lays the animal to rest.

What parents don't tell you though, is that someday you'll have to do that.  It seems obvious, right?  If you have a pet then you have to deal with all the responsibilities of having said pet.  But there are those things, those dark, scary things that you were once shielded from that you will also have to face whether you like it or not!  And as silly as it sounds I just came to realize this fact!  Missy's illness and passing has made me all to aware of this.  Although I have always considered myself a very independent and responsible person/adult, I guess there are still a couple of responsibilities that I've never had to face before and that come as quite a shock.  I guess becoming an adult is kind of like an evolution, it happens slowly and just when you think you have everything figured out something has to go and change. 

Friday we buried Missy.  We picked her body up from the vet (probably the toughest part), took her home, dug a hole in the backyard, and said goodbye.  We planted some red tulips on her grave, and when they bloom in the coming weeks they will be a constant reminder of the joy and sweetness she brought to Antoine and to our home.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Farewell Furry Friend

 Yesterday was a tough day.  The vet called us on the way back home from picking Antoine up at the airport and told us that they were going to have to put down our cat Missy.  She had been sick for sometime I guess, but cats have a way of masking that they aren't feeling well and it wasn't until last week that we new something was up.  It turned out to be a severe kidney infection, kidney failure and possibly more.  Wednesday the vet took her in for observation, to try to hydrate her and get rid of the kidney infection so they could see what else was going on.  But she refused to eat and continued to be very dehydrated, and then sometime yesterday she had a stroke.

When I stopped into the vet's office to visit her yesterday before heading off to the airport she was only a shell of her former self.  It was so sad to see her so weak and miserable.  That wasn't the Missy I knew.  Missy was always kind of a strange cat, strange in the way she sounded and looked.  Always a bit scraggly, we affectionately called her our junkyard cat because she looked a little rough around the edges!  Sometimes she'd get these knots in her fur (because her hair was really fine) so we'd have to shave her around her neck.  Then she'd have these big patches of fur missing where we had shaved out knots, making it look like she had just been in some sort of feline brawl.  Then there was her meow.  When she meowed she always sounded like she was pissed off, it was deep and almost like a growl.  But that was just her meow, that's the way she sounded all the time, whether she was happy or not!

 She was just a sweet little girl, so petite and agile!  Here she is in the kitchen, begging for a piece of the chicken breast I was cutting up at the time. 

Even though she was small she was also the most fearless of all our cats!  When we first got Cheese, Gui and Buddy hid in the basement for days (like the big cowards that they are), but not Missy!  She stood her ground, observing this strange little puppy, and when need be giving him a little swat on the nose for getting too close!
 Like all of our cats, one of Missy's absolute favorite things were Spring and Summer days when we'd open up the windows and she could look out onto our street and enjoy the breeze.

She liked to keep to herself and spent most of her days curled up in a ball napping away on the bed.

Tonight will be another rough night as well.  After work we are picking up Missy from the vet so we can bury her.  I think it'll be nice to bury her in the backyard, to know where she is and look upon that spot and think of her, her strange meow, and her sweet, fearless demeanor.  It is always so tough losing a pet.  And I feel so bad for Antoine, who has had her since she was a kitten.  This is the first pet he has ever had to say goodbye to, and I know that he feels helpless and so very sad right now.  But I am glad that he can remember her as she was, happy, kneading his chest before it was time to go to sleep (the only time she wanted affection was just before you went to bed).  

Goodbye Missy, we will miss you!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


via Polyvore

I've got a couple of weddings and such to go to this year and I'm in desperate need of a fun little dress to wear. I've had my eye on this one for quite some time, mainly because it's so fun and unlike anything I have in my closet. Plus, it's not my standard black, which isn't the best color for weddings anyway. Plus, I think it's a flattering shape for me, since I'm a curvy lady!

After making bank this weekend at tea I finally have the funds to afford said dress and accompanying pieces...I'm just having a little trouble when it comes to styling the dress! I have a tendency to be a little matchy-matchy, but at the same time I don't want to look out of place. Help, help, help! Red cardigan? Yellow cardigan? White? Or Black? And then what about shoes?!? Flats are a given, but yellow, red or black? I was thinking black-ish tights, maybe with a little design on them (like hearts)...or is that too much? I've decided on these cute little arrow earrings, but then is a necklace too much? Maybe a long locket? Or should I do a bracelet, which is not something I normally wear? HELP!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Friday!

I don't know about you weirdos, but I'm so glad it's Friday!  It's been a long week and I'm ready to spend some quality time with Antoine and enjoy this lovely weather.  Tomorrow I also get the rare treat of working with my sis at her tea house (and get paid for doing it!)  I haven't helped out in ages, but it used to be a regular thing when I was in college.  Did I mention my sister has a super fantastic tea house with a plethora of delicious teas and tasty treats that she whips up herself!?  Oh, I didn't?  Well, now you know.

Anyway, last Saturday was also a blast!  Antoine and I went to Indy for the day!  We went to hang out with these freaks... 

[who I happen to adore!]

...for Amanda's birthday!  First on the agenda, after the gift giving, was a trip to the IMA sculpture gardens.  It was nice and sunny out (although a bit chilly) and spring flowers were starting to pop up all over the place.  You know me, I love a good flower/nature picture...I'm lame like that.  



I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a fantastic Friday!  See you next week!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Letterpress Tray Transformed

A couple of months ago I was perusing Etsy and saw this shop that transforms old letterpress type trays into interesting jewelry displays.  I immediately fell in love with the idea and decided to take a stab at it myself.  See, I've got a little issue when it comes to my's EVERYWHERE!  On my nightstand, on the mantle in the living room, on the bathroom counter, and scattered in mass disarray all over my dresser. There's absolutely no organization whatsoever.  So, for Xmas my wonderful mother bought me a jewelry box.  But as nice as it was, it just didn't go with our new bedroom scheme and I wasn't wild about it.  And I wasn't crazy about any of the other jewelry boxes I found online or in stores either.  But a custom letterpress tray that I could hang on the wall and display all my jewelry...I could get on board with that.

So, the quest to find a letterpress tray began!  Turns out, it's not that hard to find an affordable letterpress tray if you know where to look.  I ended up finding one (well, there were many) at the Ohio Valley Antique Mall during my birthday celebration with my gal pals.  While we wondering around the antique mall searching for a letterpress tray (and other treasures) I explained the jewelry display idea to my sister and my HLP, Amanda.  Amanda commented that she thought that sounded like such a cool idea and that if it worked out to let her know, as she's got a budding jewelry collection forming (she recently got her ears pierced for the first time last year).  **LIGHT BULB**  Amanda had just given me this extremely thoughtful, homemade birthday present  that I adored and I immediately thought to am I going to compete with this when her birthday rolls around in early March?  Letterpress jewelry display anyone?

So, I bought a letterpress tray that day for myself and a couple weeks later Antoine and I went back and found one for Amanda.  With all the sickness buzzing around our house I didn't have time/energy to work on my jewelry display first, so Amanda's tray had to be the guinea pig in this little experiment...

 Here's the tray as it was when I purchased it!  The inside compartments were untreated (as many of them are) with little letters written in pencil above each compartment to denote which type goes where.

 The compartments varied in size, as many do.

 The handle was a little rusted, but I kind of liked that.  And the top of the tray (where the handle was located was covered with a metal plate (to protect it) that was grey and rusted.  That had to come off for sure.

 Some of the wood around this metal strip was painted grey to match...aka lots of sanding.

 After much difficulty trying to find the right saw to cut out the compartments I finally got to work.  (I ended up using a mini-hacksaw.  Once I found that and got started this part was actually a breeze!)

 Here's a shot after all the cutting was complete.  See how I made several long narrow compartments...those are for necklaces.

 Close-up after the cutting was complete.  You can see the shadow of where the original wood pieces were.

The cutting and customizing of the compartments was actually the easiest part.  After that I removed the handle and the rusted metal strip at the top of the tray (not-so-skillfully using a screwdriver, slowly prying it off) and then I sanded down the entire thing, starting with coarse and ending with a fine sand paper.  Then I began staining!  This was probably the most labor-intensive part.  With all the small compartments it took quite a bit of time.  It didn't help that I was doing it inside (in the dining room) because it was too cold outside and the fumes were insane.  Note to self: don't be an idiot and try staining something indoors without proper will result in a headache and the inability to function properly for the next couple hours.  After staining Antoine so nicely sprayed the entire tray with a layer of polyurethane, since I was incapacitated from the toxic stain fumes.  Next step was to drill holes for the cup and eye hooks I had selected to hold necklaces, earrings and bracelets.  I could only find silver, gold and white hooks so I ended up buying the sizes I needed and then spray painting them to give them an antique-like finish.  Then it was just a matter of putting the handle back on, attaching the hooks and nailing mounting brackets on the back of the tray so Amanda could hang it on the wall.

The finished product...

 I decided to go with a dark stain (one of the darkest they had at Lowe's) and it ended up matching almost exactly with Amanda's dresser and nightstand.

 The cup hooks can hold necklaces, bracelets, and even rings, while the very small eye hooks are perfect for dangle earrings (which is what Amanda has most of).

 For her post earrings I purchased some wine bottle corks.  I cut them down and glued them in four of the smaller compartments.

 I'm really happy with how it turned out.  A couple things I might try differently when I go to do mine: drilling the holes for the hooks before I stain the tray (the dust got everywhere and wanted to stick to the polyurethane) and actually letting the stain dry for a full 24 hours before I apply the polyurethane and then letting the polyurethane dry completely before attaching the hooks (what can I say, it was crunch time)!

In the end, it was a pretty successful project!  And Amanda seemed to really like it (yay!).  Now, I can't wait to get started on mine!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

So Sorry, Uncle Albert

If you're not familiar with the music of Paul McCartney, then that reference of awesomeness was totally lost on you.  Sorry you're a loser!

Anyway, I just want to apologize for being such a blogging slacker lately.  It's been an entire week since I last blogged (eek!) and there's just no excuse.  Well, except that I'm still getting over being sick, trying to spend time with the fella when he's in town, going to Indy to celebrate my HLP's birth, making a slightly involved present for said HLP's birthday, dealing with a pooping cat (and we're not talking about in the litterbox), cleaning the house, etc.  No, I haven't been preoccupied or anything [insert sarcasm].  Things are starting to die down now, so please bare with me as I play a little ketchup (oops, wrong kind!).

Now, let me take you on a little journey through time.  Remember a couple weekends ago when Antoine and I, in the midst of our little plague that's been going on for a month now, drove down to Asheville for a Bright Eyes concert?  Well, in my slackerness I never gave you the full scoop that I promised. So, here it is...we left bright an early Saturday morning with boxes of Puffs, Delsym, and Rx decongestant in tow.  Our first goal was to make it to Lexington around 8am to have breakfast at Doodles.  We were successful and made it there just as they were opening, therefore missing the rush.  Breakfast was delicious and energized us for the drive ahead.  Unfortunately, the weather was miserable.  It rained pretty much the entire drive down to Asheville.  But, luckily we made it to Asheville before 3pm (goal number two), giving us plenty of time to rest and refresh ourselves before dinner and the concert that night.

We had made reservations at this adorable little bed and breakfast/hotel called the Princess Ann Hotel, thanks to my awesome sister and brother-in-law who gave us a gift certificate for Xmas. This was only my second time staying in a bed and breakfast, although the first time shouldn't count since it was a sub-par bnb in England where my HLP and I managed to break a bed (but that's another story for another time!).  The Princess Ann was lovely.  Unlike most bed and breakfasts that only have a handful of rooms, PAH offers the feel and personality of a bed and breakfast with the capacity of a small boutique hotel. 

We got the most basic of rooms, a one bedroom deluxe, but we found it very spacious and inviting.

It had all those little personal touches that comes with a bed and breakfast experience, including tasty biscotti, chocolate truffles, bottles of water, afternoon wine and hors d'oeuvres, and a delicious breakfast the next morning.

They even provided wine glasses and a wine bottle opener if you intended to have a romantic/relaxing night in.

A nice little sitting area to relax and peruse through travel brochures of Asheville.

It was definitely a warm and welcoming stay, I only wish we could have stayed longer.

After we checked into the hotel and explored all the niceties of our room we took a little nap and freshened up before we headed out for dinner.  PAH is only a couple minutes drive from downtown or a 20 minute walk, but since it was raining we decided to drive.  We had already decided to go to Early Girl Eatery for dinner (we like to use websites like Urbanspoon to scope out possible restaurants in advance).  Early Girl specializes in Southern style comfort food and utilizes fresh local ingredients.  In addition to their permanent menu they have a selection of specials that changes daily.  Our meal was excellent and very reasonable considering the quality of ingredients being used (actually, I was a little shocked...I was expecting it to be much pricier than it was).

With bellies full of burgers, meatloaf sandwiches and delicious fries, we wandered around downtown for a bit.  It would have been delightful if it'd hadn't been raining and we could find the pharmacy we were looking for (I was running out of tissues).  But still, it was nice to explore a little bit and kill time before the show (which was only a block or two away from Early Girl Eatery).  Finally, the doors opened and we made our way inside the Civic Center.  I bought a t-shirt and we found our seats and waited for the show to start.  The opener was Cursive, who I've listened to before, but not religiously.  This is going to sound strange, but I think I prefer them recorded.  I just wasn't crazy about their live show.  It was good, but nothing spectacular.  It could be though, that I was sick and reserving all my energy and excitement for Bright Eyes.

Now, I've been a Bright Eyes fan since my sophomore year of college.  I remember as soon as I heard Conor's cracking, emotional voice I was hooked.  There was something about the raw emotion behind the lyrics and vocals that just hooked into that sappy, naive heart of mine.  I get why people don't like them (or Conor Oberst specifically), it's definitely not for everyone.  I have many friends who have the urge to rib out their hair when a song of theirs comes on...luckily, that's not the case with Antoine.  While he's not as wild about them as I am (he doesn't have the history), he was more than eager to come to Asheville with me and see the last Bright Eyes concert I would ever experience, since this is their final tour.  He didn't know all the songs they played, but he smiled widely at me as I sang along to my favorites and swayed back and forth.  I was in heaven.  For two and a half hours I ignored that my nose wouldn't stop running, that I was coughing up a lung, and that I was completely exhausted.  In those couple of hours I absorbed the condensed version of 16 years worth of music, music that, while I was in college, made me cry, laugh and long for something more, someone to love.  Through all the dark, rough times (and the good times too) you have songs/music that get you through it all...that describes how you're feeling and what you want for your future, even though it doesn't seem remotely possible at the time.  That's Bright Eyes for me.  And I'm glad I got to see them one last time and I'm glad it was now, when I'm where I want to be in life, surrounded by love, sharing a life with the most wonderful person. 

So, yeah, it was a pretty great weekend...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


While Antoine's new consulting job might be a big giant bummer, in that we don't get to see each other Monday through Thursday and he has to be by his lonesome in a city where he knows no one besides the several people he's working with, there's also a couple of perks.  There's the perk of more money...which allowed us to quit our part time jobs.  But there's also the fact that consulting is a fast track gig that will let Antoine move up the ladder more quickly than he was here.  But the perk that stands out most in my mind, the one I can't stop thinking about, is the possibility of travel.  I'm not just talking about weekend trips to Chicago, which I am looking forward to though.  No, I'm talking about travel excursions to the places Antoine and I want to go the clock.  See, Antoine has to make all his travel arrangements in advance and then he's reimbursed later.  This means every week he makes flight arrangements, hotel reservations, and gets a rental car.  Thus racking up points on his credit card while also accruing frequent flier miles, free hotel stays and rental car points.

As soon as I found out about all these free miles and points and hotel stays Antoine would be racking up in the course of a year my imagination went wild, immediately I started thinking of ALL the places I wanted to go to!  All the places I haven't been, but really want to!  I thought of the East coast to see the leaves change.  Austin, to go to the the Austin City Limits Festival.  Savannah, stay in a colonial style BnB and take in some Southern charm.  Charleston, collect seashells on the beach and take in the sprawling oak trees.  And I planned in my head, the soonest we could possibility go...maybe September or October?  Then I thought to myself..."how much vacation time do you think you have!?"  Last time I checked, it was about 8 hours (I'm really bad about saving up my vacation and sick's a little problem I have).  So, it's going to take a while to save up enough vacation time to take a decent trip!  And if you (I'm still talking to myself here) can save up like two weeks of vacation time, you might as well make it worth it and go on your dream (US) trip.   

So, I think that's what we are going to do.  I'm going to do my best to hoard as much vacation time as I can and then, maybe in May of 2012, we can go on the trip that I've been planning in my head for ages!  It'd take at least two weeks.  First, fly into Seattle and snag a rental car (hopefully for a reasonable price if we've racked up enough points)...

Visit Olympic National Park, Pike's Place Market and the Seattle Central Library (for starters)
Then drive down to Portland to visit the rose garden and the Japanese gardens.
Then make our way to Crescent City, CA to visit the Redwoods.  I love trees and there's very little I want more than to take in these gorgeous beauties that have been around for ages!

San Francisco to visit Chinatown and ride a trolley.

Then drive about 4 hours East to Yosemite National Park.  Ever since I visited Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado I've made a little personal goal to visit every possible major national park I can!

Then back to the coast to visit Monterey, CA.  

From the moment I first saw pictures of Big Sur I knew I had to go there.  When Amanda went on a similar road trip to the West coast I was dumbfounded by her pictures of Big Sur, it didn't even look real!
 Finally we'd end our trip in LA.  Antoine's best friend recently moved there so he could show us all the sights!

That's my dream trip, my dream US trip anyway!  And with any luck, next year my dream just might come true!

Monday, March 7, 2011

In the Blink of an Eye...

Sometimes the weekends just don't last long enough, this was surely one of those weekends.  Despite being sick (again!), Antoine and I woke up bright and early Saturday morning to make our way to Asheville, NC.  We had tickets to a show I was very excited to see (but more on that later) and reservations to a cute little BnB for the night (more on that later too).  The drive was over six hours, and probably closer to seven with all the stopping, and despite the rain it was quite nice.  We listened to music and enjoyed each others company.  But, in the blink of an eye...*POOF*...the weekend was over.  And we were back home and Antoine was packing his suitcase for Chicago.  I would have liked one more day...just one!  I don't think that's too much to ask for, do you?

I hope you all had lovely, albeit rainy, weekend!  I'll catch you later.  Hopefully by tomorrow I will no longer be a walking head cold carrying her box of Puffs, jar of Carmex and bag of Echinacea cough drops.  I'm not that hopeful though!

*Also, Happy Birthday to one of my most favoritest people in the world, my HLP, Amanda!  I like your face, it makes me happy!  I love you!  Thanks for being born and being my friend, despite the fact that I hate doing dishes and I've, on more than one occasion, made you watch America's Next Top Model against your will!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What the F#@k...

I'm sick again!  The death popsicle has returned.  Although I am feeling a tad bit better today, yesterday wasn't pretty.  Hacking all day at work to the point where my voice went a little froggy.  Then I spent the evening on the couch with Cheese, shivering uncontrollably under my heated blanket, drifting in and out of unconsciousness.  All I could manage was a handful of cereal for dinner (no wonder I felt like I was going to faint this morning).  I am seriously over this whole sick thing!  Sure, it's nice to have a couple days off, vegging in front of the tv, but when you've used up most of sick time and you've got a fun trip to Asheville, NC planned this weekend it's just not cool anymore!

Also, I'm kind of pissed.  I had this long list of things I wanted to get done before Antoine comes home tonight from Chicago, but I haven't made any progress!  The house is not clean.  There's still dishes piled up in the sink!  I didn't do any laundry, or put any clean clothes away.  I did give Cheese a bath, but that's about it!  Grrrr!  I'm ready to be done this sickness so I can actually feel human again.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lack Luster

This past weekend was the last weekend before Antoine started his new job in Chicago (on Monday).  We spent most of it running around like crazy people in an attempt to get stuff done.  It was hectic and stressful, not exactly the ideal weekend I had imagined!  But we will have many weekends together, so not all is lost.

Yesterday was my first day flying solo.  I dropped Antoine off at the airport around 5:30am amid fantastical rainstorms...and then I was by myself.  I did okay.  I didn't crawl into the fetal position or cry my eyes out.  I let Cheese out, got ready for work, went to work, gave Cheese a bath, took out the garbage, made dinner, did some dishes and watched some tv.  Pretty standard.  Still, it felt kind of weird.  I had lived alone before I met Antoine (after living with my HLP for many many years).  But I think I only lived alone for about a year before Antoine moved into my apartment with me.  So really, I've never been alone for too long.  Not that I have anything against living alone, it was kind of nice (if a little lonely).  It's just, I don't live alone now.  I live in a house with a puppy, three cats and a very special fella.  And while that guy might be on the road right now he's still all around me!  I can look over on the couch and see his grey and black hoodie.  Or see his crinkled up Vellux blankets on the bed.  In the house it still feels like he's here, like he's just stepped out for a bit...maybe he's picking up a pizza or something!?  Maybe it'll sink in and after a bit I won't be fooled anymore?  I hope not, I like living in this state of denial, it's comforting.

Meanwhile, all this time I've been whining about how scared I was of Antoine starting his new consulting job.  How I was going to be all alone.  How I was going to have to do all the dishes, let Cheese out, feed the animals, make dinner, clean litterboxes, etc.  All of it!  What I wasn't thinking is that I'm not the one who got the short end of the straw here, Antoine did!  I get to stay home, sit in my pjs with Cheesy on my lap, and watch tv on our couch.  But Antoine doesn't have it so lucky!  He had to fly out at 7am, meet up with his new boss he's never met, get filled in on his new job (aka overloaded with new info), check-in to his hotel after 5pm, go to some restaurant for dinner, and then come back to a strange hotel room.  It's a lot to absorb in a 24 hour period.  It will get easier, it's just big adjustment.  But Chicago isn't home.  While I can curl up with his pillow (that smells like him) if I'm feeling lonely, he can't.  I feel bad for the poor guy!  I've been so selfish worrying about how I was going to cope with this big change when really I'm the one who has it easy! 

Stay strong Antoine!  It'll get easier and Thursday will be here before you know it.  I love you and I miss you!!