Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Upside

Well, I've been sick for about two and a half weeks now.  Madness, I know!  You may remember how I caught a head cold just after my birthday?  I did the usual, saw the doctor, got the antibiotics and drank the fluids.  Within a couple of days I was feeling better, stellar even.  I was back to normal, feeling like my old self for about 3 days then...BOOM!  Horribly terrible nasty sickness hit me like a train.  So much worse than the time before.  I might say that I elevated (in the worst possible way) from being a Death Popsicle to being a Death Slushie.  Everything hurt, I couldn't breathe, and I was completely useless.  Time for doctors visit round two.  This time around I had an infection in my year and the nastiness in my head warranted what the doctor called "a very strong antibiotic".  I didn't know there was such a thing!  Oh, but there is and it comes with a long list of possible side effects...scary ones like death and tendon tearing.  TENDON TEARING!?!?  WTF?!  Luckily the only side effects I experience were sweating, nausea, headaches and horrible dreams...mainly about my tendons tearing!  So I spent pretty much all weekend, Friday through Sunday, in bed or on the couch, do nothing but being miserable.

So, what's the upside to all this?  Well, I am starting to feeling slightly human again.  So, yay!  But even more so, all weekend long that terribly adorable fiance of mine took care of me.  To an extreme.  He brought me water.  He went out and got me cheese fries from PRC when nothing else sounded good.  He made me dangerously good brownies and homemade soft pretzels.  He closed all the curtains, that we normally keep open, in the bedroom when I had a migraine and offered to go get me one of those she-she sleeping masks to block out the light.  He moved off the big sofa, to the loveseat, when I wanted to lay down and spread out and take a nap.   He did the dishes and cleaned the litter box.  And gave that stinky dog of ours a bath. Yeah, he's pretty much the best thing ever!  But not just when I'm sick, he's like that all the time.  And I'm so lucky to have him, all the time.  But especially when I'm a sad useless blob of sickness.  Thank you Antoine, for being awesome.  The end.

Monday, February 13, 2012

On the Verge

My birthday was last week, and for my birthday Antoine got me a variety of goodies...a new lens for my camera, Phoenix socks (with howling wolves on them) and, in Antoine's true giving fashion, his cold.  I started to feel that oh-so-familiar sick feeling yesterday.  You know how you can taste that sick taste in your mouth before you actually get a cold!?  Yeah, that.  But I can't hate on Antoine too much, he did make me a huge pot of soup last night to sustain me throughout the week while he was in Phoenix.  Onion soup, yum!  And today I don't feel completely miserable...not completely.  Although, I have this sneaking suspicion that come tomorrow I will be flailing around in the uncomfortable world of death popsicleness.  Come on, you know it...where you can't breathe, it hurts to move your head, and everything tastes like kleenex.  Yep, that's what I call being a death popsicle.  So, unless by some miracle the vitamin C I've been popping like they're candy cures me, I fully expect to make a trip to the doctor for some antibiotics and spend the entire day laying on the couch, drinking fluids and expelling phlegm. 

Stay tuned though, once I'm feeling slightly normal again I've got some exciting posts to share with you all!  Until, I cough and hack up crap in your general direction.  Good day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Peoples and Outtakes

I know it's surprisingly, but when the four of us went to Krohn this past weekend I did manage to take pictures of other things besides flowers (read: orchids).  Now, the success and quality of those pictures is varied and, in some cases, rather suspect.  Let's take a look, shall we...

Amanda and Aaron posing in their cuteness (in the motherf#@king orchid house, I might add)

A halfway decent, self-shot picture of Antoine and I

Now, here's where it gets a bit strange...

I have a thing for jamming my camera in Antoine's face and taking extreme closeups.  As you can see, he is not a fan!

Awe!  Back to the couple cuteness...except, for some strange reason, Aaron didn't want to look at the camera anymore!

Exhibit B.  Aaron, come on man, you gotta look at the camera!  Still killing it with the cute though.

And then this guy walks into the shot...weirdo!  (Please note that Aaron is still looking off into nowhere!?)

And then I ask Amanda to hold my camera, for some reason, and all Hell breaks loose.  I should have known that bad things were going to happen when she asked if the camera was on...

Really people!?  Come on.  They can't be trusted!

Anyway, I hope you all have a spectacular Friday!  I happen to have the day off from work for my birthday, but I've got a sick fiance at home, so I have a feeling it'll be a relaxing day in watching movies.  Totally fine by me!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

27 Things Before 28

Psst.  Guess what...  Today is my birthday!  Happy birthday to me!  Sadly, in order for me to have a day off with Antoine (who doesn't get into town until tomorrow morning) I'm actually working today.  Boo.  But, I've got dinner plans tonight with my sis and brother-in-law, which I'm really psyched about!  And today I have a little something special planned for my post...a birthday list.

A couple months ago I stumbled across a blog called A Beautiful Mess and while I was perusing the various posts I came across a birthday list.  The idea was that you'd create a list of goals that you want to accomplish before your next birthday.  Now, I'm not one for finishing things (we all know that by now), but I was immediately drawn to the idea.  Kind of like a life list, but a little more specific and not as grand.  So, I started writing down goals and projects that I'd like to finish by the time my next birthday rolls around (a year from now).  I didn't want to go too crazy with the list, I wanted it to be full of very attainable things, things I could realistically make happen in the coming year.  So here you have it, my list of 27 things I want to do before my 28th birthday...

1.)  Read Jane Eyre:  I am notoriously a Jane Austen hater, and for years I scoffed at Jane Eyre as something very Austen-y (I have a bad habit of stereotyping all female writers from that era because I despise Jane Austen so very much).  Then last year, when the Mia Wasikowska version of Jane Eyre was released and I saw the trailer for it, I was like "WTF!?  That actually looks good!"  But I knew before I could see the film I'd have to read the book, so that's #1 on my reading list.

2.)  Go to Midpoint Music Festival:  Midpoint is a local three-day music festival that takes place downtown.  For the last 3 or 4 years my sister has been begging me to go with all her friends.  But I was always either a slave to my Sbux schedule or busy.  But this year, I am free from Sbux and I desperately want to go.

3.)  Romantic cabin weekend with Antoine:  Antoine and I are in need of a weekend away together.  And since we didn't have my family's annual cabin weekend last November, I'm craving some good, relaxing cabin time.

4.)  Start jogging:  I need to get out and get moving, it's so easy to stay at home and cuddle up with the Cheese-man in the evening.  But when daylight savings time rolls around and it's actually light outside when I get home I am going to start jogging.  Period.

5.)  Make at least 4 LP books for Etsy:  A couple months ago I bought a stack of old records to use as covers for books, but I haven't gotten around to actually making them...so that needs to happen.

6.)  Finally watch Casa Blanca and Citizen Kane:  Though I consider myself a bit of a film buff, I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I've never seen either of these classics.  So, I hope to finally remedy that this year.  I plan on watching Casa Blanca with my hlp, Amanda, and watching Citizen Kane with Antoine.

7.)  Go camping with Amanda and her boyfriend, Aaron:  Antoine and I have been camping several times now, and I love it!  Especially since we can take Cheese with us.  And since my Amanda and Aaron have both never been camping before, it has become my personal mission to introduce it to them.

 8.)  Make rainbow cupcakes:  Ever since I saw Kaylah's Colorful Cupcakes tutorial I've been dying to make some of these vibrant cupcakes!

9.)  Go canoeing:  For a while there, going canoeing was a summer staple for me, my sister and a bunch of friends.  But over the last couple years either my sister or I have been too busy to organize a day of canoeing, so we haven't done it.  And I miss it.  So it needs to happen this year, I just hope I don't get sun poisoning again!

10.)  Visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park:  The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the only National Park in the state of Ohio.  And it happens to be 4 hours from Cincinnati and only 20 minutes from where Amanda lives....and I've never been!  WTF?!

11.)  Learn to shoot photos manually:  I'm ashamed to admit it, but since I got my DSLR I've been coasting along taking most of my pictures on automatic.  Sad but true.  Sometimes I will switch my lens to the manual mode, but I desperately want to stop being so lazy and learn how to take pictures manually.  This will involve me reading my camera's instruction manual, something I do not enjoy doing.  Instruction manuals and I don't usually get along, I tend to ignore them completely.

12.)  Embroider/needlepoint something:  A couple months ago my grandparents were cleaning some stuff out of their house and my grandpa gave me a bunch of his old needlepoint floss.  My grandpa has been cross stitching for as long as I can remember, and he's the one who taught me to cross stitch when I was young.  So I want to pick it back up.  I've got a little project in mind already.

13.)  Gather, scan, and print family photos:  Our house is severely lacking in old family photos.  A couple weekends ago I finally hung a picture of my dad and aunt when they visited Mexico in their twenties.  It felt good to hang it and made me wish I had more families to hang.

14.)  Make a miniature book:  I've been wanting to make a miniature book for a while now, but now I have a little project in mind.

15.)  Make blueberry jam from scratch:  Blueberry picking in July has become a summer tradition for me and this past summer my sister and I said that this year we should make jam.  When I was growing up on the farm my mom canned vegetables, made her own grape juice and whipped up batches of apple sauce like nobody's business.  She would also make the best blueberry jam.  So, that's our goal this year, when blueberry picking rolls around, to recreate my mom's stellar blueberry jam.  Yum!

16.)  Have another drunken, long-distance tweeting party:  You may remember months and months ago Antoine and I had a drunken tweeting party, complete with Commando themed drinking game, with my hlp who lives in Cleveland.  As insane as it was, it was also a blast!  This time, no shots of vodka though!

17.)  Make most of the Xmas gifts I give this year:  The reasoning behind this is part frugality and part craftiness.  I always feel like I spend way too much during the holiday season, but I also loved making an abundance of scarves this year and giving them out as gifts to my loved ones!  This year I'd like to branch out and try to make other things besides scarves and cookies!  It should be fun.

18.)  Get a pedicure this summer:  Now I don't claim to be a girly-girl.  I never wear skirts and I only rarely put on a dress or even dress pants.  I'm a t-shirt and jeans kind of lady.  But I like painting my nails and toenails, and while I'm extremely ticklish, I find a certain joy in getting a pedicure in the summer time when my feet are screaming for some tlc.  But pedicures aren't cheap, and while I'm okay with occasionally buying myself a top or a pair of jeans, a pedicure is completely frivolous and something I couldn't justify spending money on the past few summers.  So, I think I'm due for one!

19.)  Try 5 new (or new to me) Cincinnati restaurants:  Many new and interesting Cincinnati restaurants have opened up in the last couple years.  And while we've been to a couple of them, there's so many I'm dying to go to; including the Senate, A Tavola, Taste of Belgium, etc.

20.)  Have an unplugged day with Antoine:  That means no electronics, no tv, and no smart phones.  Sometimes we are so fixated on our phones or the tv that it's easy to forget about each other, you know, the person we're sitting right next to.

21.)  Learn to French braid:  Growing up my mom didn't know how to french braid.  No one in my family really knew how to french braid.  I had to go to school and con one of my friends into braiding my hair.  So I never learned, but I always wanted do.  And that's where you tube tutorial videos are going to come in handy.

22.)  Buy yarn from a fancy yarn store:  There's a couple of really fancy, local yarn stores in Cincinnati and every time I pass one of them I have this huge urge to go in to oogle at and feel all of the gorgeous yarn.  But every time that thought crosses my mind it is immediately followed by the thought, "No, that yarn is too fancy for you!  You are not worthy of that yarn.  You must buy your yarn from Michaels, where the normal yarn is sold."  Dammit, I'm buying myself some pretty yarn this year!  And maybe I'll go completely crazy and make something for myself with it!

23.)  Blow dry my hair less:  My goal is to blow dry my hair only 4 or 5 times a week; not only for the health of my hair but to force myself to do more interesting/creative/girly things with my hair as it grows.

24.)  Go to the "World's Longest Yard Sale":  The Highway 127 Corridor Sale is billed as the "World's Longest Yard Sale", running from Michigan to Alabama.  And it happens to run right through Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky!  Yet, I've never been.  So this year my sister, Antoine and I have made a pact to go and check it out, August 2nd-5th.

25.)  Learn to make latte art:  You know those flowers and hearts that some baristas make in the foam of a latte, just by free pouring the milk and foam into espresso!?  Yeah, I'm jealous and I've always wanted to try it but never have!

26.)  Plant a better garden:  I feel like Antoine and I did a fairly decent job planting our veggie garden last year, but there were several things that I'd like to tweak for this year.  For instance, the type of tomatoes and lettuce that we planted didn't really work for what we wanted to use them for.  And we planted more banana peppers than we knew what to do with, so maybe I'll try canning and freezing things this year.

27.)  Hang more of our Rob Jones prints/posters:  When Antoine and I moved in together he brought with him an array of Rob Jones (mainly known for his work on White Stripes and Raconteurs poster art and videos) posters, which I welcomed with open arms.  Over the years we've been slowly framing and hanging up some of the prints and posters, but there are still so many that remain unframed sitting in the guest room.  I'd like to remedy that this year and find happy homes on our walls for a number of them.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Flowers are Pretty!

Okay, you can't really argue with me on that!  Flowers are beautiful, delicate pieces of nature that grow and change, and that's part of what makes them oh so pretty to look at.  You can't debate me on that!  Sure, they're not the most original thing to photograph, you got me there.  But I like taking photos of flowers, so I'm going to continue to take large quantities of them...and there's not a damned thing you can do to stop me!  So there!

Sorry, I get a little defensive about my flower-picture-taking.  Anyway, this weekend while my lovely HLP, Amanda, and her delightful boyfriend, Aaron, were in town we decided to go to Krohn Conservatory (since it was raining cats and dogs and there wasn't much else to do).  Behold, an obscene amount of flower picture for your viewing pleasure...


Oh, did I mention that half the time, while taking pictures at Krohn, I was singing "Pocketful of Sunshine" a la Easy A.  I'm a charming flower-picture-taking freak.  That I am.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February: Photo a Day

During January, several of the folks that I follow on Twitter and/or Instagram were doing this photo a day thing where they had a set list of things to take pictures that month, each day.  One photo a day, or more if a picture-taking mood struck you.  And then the photo(s) got hash tagged #janphotoaday.  I liked the idea and wanted to participate, but by the time I caught on to the trend it was almost a week into January.  And I've always been the type of person who if I was running late to a class I would just opt not to go at all.  I'd rather not go then walk into a class 10 minutes late and have everyone's eyes on me, thinking "what the hell is this girl doing!?"  But for the whole of January I was sitting here, on my throne of jealousy, wishing I had some list telling me what pictures to take which day and forcing me to be at least a little clever about it.  So, I sat with my jealous eyes glaring and stewed.  And then I got wind of a #febphotoaday and my ears pricked up and I began salivating, as if some old dude had just rang his photo-a-day bell or something (sidenote: that is one of the only things I remember from the psychology class I took.  Well, besides watching that movie where Ed Norton pretends to have multiple personalities.  Also, looking back now, I think that professor had a major thing for Richard Gere, we watched at least 3 films with him in them in that class).  Anyway...

the list

Before I knew it I was on the photo-a-day bus, smiling ear to ear.  So, here's a peek of the first 7 days of February's photo a day:

day 1:  my view today (not the most original, I'll admit...but I was warming up)

day 2:  word(s)

 words (alternate)

 day 3:  hand (and heart)

 day 4:  stranger (at Krohn Conservatory)

day 5:  10am

 day 6: dinner

 dinner (alternate): leftover Indian food

 day 7:  button (from my new top)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Weekend in Instagram

This weekend was a blast.  My best friend in the world Amanda and her boyfriend, Aaron, came into town and stayed with us for the weekend.  We had a great time showing Aaron around Cincinnati and checking out some of Amanda and my old hangouts...like our little tour of Xavier, where we showed the boys the classroom where Amanda and I first met.  Plus, Cheese absolutely fell in love with Aaron.  They're new best friends.  He was kind of bummed last night when they didn't come back home with us...he kept looking at the door and waiting.  Poor guy!  Anyway, here's the weekend through the eyes of Instagram:

 Whenever someone comes to our house to visit Cheese likes to welcome them by first throwing a crazy fit of unusual jumping and then he insanely runs around the house like he just snorted a bunch of coke.  Then, after he gets a good 30 minutes of petting (by said guest) in, he'll resign to being adorable and promptly falling asleep on their lap and snoring.  It was the same when Amanda and Aaron came.  The next morning he proceeded to follow everyone around and would pout if someone tried to close a door and leave him out of that room...you know, to take a shower or change.  Hence, dog on the bed with ridiculous face.

 After a visit to Krohn Conservatory and a walk down memory lane at XU, the couples split to go get lunch at different places.  The out-of-towners went to Myra's in Clifton, one of Amanda's favorites (not a favorite of mine) and Antoine and I decided to go get cheap Chinese food at the Blue Gibbon.  It definitely hit the spot.

My sesame chicken.

 After lunch, A and I ran some errands and when we got home I whipped up a second batch of fruit salad, the four of us had nearly polished off the entire first batch during breakfast that morning.  

 After lunch everyone was feeling slightly comatose, so we laid low.  We watched nearly all of the first season of It's Sunny in Philadelphia (some of us, in our pjs...as it should be) and then we headed out to dinner at Emanu.  Here's Antoine's and my plate of delicious Ethiopian food.  Yum!

 The best way to end a delicious Ethiopian dinner is with their amazing coffee.  It's like no other coffee I've ever had.  It's super strong and rich like espresso (served in teeny tiny demitasse cups), but it's not at all bitter.  Since it's not bitter, all you need is a little sugar and it's perfect...no milk or cream is needed (this coming from a person who loves a little coffee in her cream).

 The only bad thing about Ethiopian coffee is that it disappears too quickly!

 After dinner we had an urge to get some drinks and play pool, unfortunately all the main bars that have pool tables are nightmares on Saturday night at 9pm.  So, after some brainstorming and calling around we settled on the Tavern on the Corner...a tiny place right near Kenwood mall that I don't think most people know exists.  It's the kind of place that doesn't have beer on draft, but it does have the most interesting and unique selection of people there.

 We had a great time drinking beer (me a little too much, too fast, but that's my M.O.), playing pool and listening to a very drunk woman sing Shania Twain songs off-key.  Good times!

 The next morning was not a pleasant one for me.  My head was pounding (beer always seems to make my head hurt more than usual), I had a mysterious bruise on the side of my head and everything was spinning.  After getting up for a bit, I ended up crawling back in bed and snuggling up with this guy for a bit, in hopes that the spinning might stop.  It didn't.

 After many cups of coffee and showers we headed over to Sitwell's for some breakfast/lunch.  These lovely little origami things were hanging over our table.

 Amanda and I each got a Mexicoco, a hot chocolate with honey and vanilla.  Mmm!

And then it was time to say goodbye, and Amanda and Aaron made their way back to Cleveland.  Boo!  I don't like saying goodbye, especially not to them...cause I really kind of like them. After we parted ways, Antoine and I decided to walk around Gaslight for a bit before heading to the mall in Florence, where I bought myself a birthday outfit that I'm in love with and treated myself for a free birthday Sbux drink...

It was such a good weekend (of mostly eating).  And I was so sad to see these two go, but I can't wait for them to come visit again!  (photo of Amanda and Aaron at Krohn that I took with my new Polaroid camera)