Monday, February 28, 2011

Miscellaneous Scenes

Here are a few pictures of what went on around here this weekend.  I was home with Allan because Justin went on his annual Lake of the Woods trip with his friends.  

Yes, that is a decorative cat dangling in front of the kitchen window.  My aunt Kris gave it to me for Christmas so I decided to hang it up!  Since I haven't been home much it was still wrapped in tissue paper.   It wasn't a very challenging job to hang it...the previous owners left many little hooks screwed into the overhang above the sink.  

At one point I haphazardly threw this quilt over the pillows on the loveseat and Allan decided it was his new favorite place to perch. 

That cat loves quilts. 

Speaking of...the memory shirt quilt I made for the Christmas surpirse with Justin's mom has been stashed away for that very reason...if it is out Allan will be using it as a bed.  I thought this was a  shame so for a Valentine's present I ordered Justin this quilt rack! 

It was surprisingly hard to find one.  I couldn't find one in any store and found several online.  This one came from Target, of all places!  It is pretty nice, actually, and quite large! 

We have a quilt rack upstairs already but it is heavily laden with blankets.  I got it for a Christmas gift years ago, I think when I was in 5th or 6th grade, from my grandmother.  My sister got one also and I remember thinking it was probably one of the more boring gifts one could recieve.  Of course I appreciate it now!  Haha.   It has moved with me many times. 

 Very nice!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I think I mentioned before that I hadn't printed photos for three years.  I made a big order that included only my photos from 2010, which were taken after I got a new computer and camera for Christmas in 2009.  They arrived recently and I realized today what a huge F-ing mess my photos really are.  Holy crap.  I looked at the last physical photo album I filled and it leaves off in the early months of 2008.  I also have a big envelope of photos that would be next in the 2008 chronology but something is missing .  I wanted to wait for photos of some other event before I finished putting the pictures in albums but I have no idea what it was or where these mysterious pictures might be.  Yikes.  I think I am just going to forget about whatever it was and move ahead with this project. 

My newest order has approximately 800 photos in it so I had to get some new albums.  I found these three coordinating ones at my favorite place for cheap but unique (I try not to buy everything from Target although it is hard sometimes!) items.  That place is TJ Maxx.  It rarely fails me.  They only hold 200 pictures each so I will need more. 
Yes, that is only one year and two months of photos.  I still have to order pictures from 2009 and the summer and fall of 2008.  I have to get my sister's wedding picture disk and print some of those as well.  SIGH.  I have been wondering what the point of this is.  Who is going to look at these photos anyway?  Before digital photography replaced film a picture was so much more meaningful.  Double prints were important and it was always a special event to bestow some doubles on a friend or relative.  The massive quantity of photos out there now is kind of overwhelming.  I see albums on Facebook with over 100 photos of people's vacations or newborn babies in the hospital.  When we used to go on trips I usually had one roll of film which had 25 shots on it!  Oh well, I would never want to go back to those days.  I love the instant gratification and ease of distribution of digital photos.  The challenge is controlling the quantities! 

While shopping for photo albums I decided to tackle another photo related project.  My sister recently made a "Creative Memories" type scrapbook with the Christmas cards they had recieved the last two Christmases (starting after they got married.)  I have wanted to do that too so I bought a big, cheap scrapbook album (about 1/5 the price of Creative Memories albums!) that has 100 pages, some new paper, letter and number sticker sheets, and adhesive.  I already have an assortment of scrapbooking supplies although I haven't done it since 2008 when I last developed photos.  I looked at that last book today and I must say that it is pretty cute! 

I got through 2007 and 2008 this evening.  Hopefully I will get this done tomorrow and can move on the other projects. 

The creative scrapbooking industry is something I wish I had come up with.  In high school I taped newspaper clippings, band and choir concert programs, notes from friends, and other souvenirs into the old fashioned kind of scrapbook similar to the ones my grandparents had.  No one cared about acid free paper, special adhesives, or archival quality anything.  Now the scrapbook industry is huge.  There are huge sections of craft stores with whole aisles for stickers, an aisle just for individual sheets of paper, and even special storage equipment and carrying cases.  Some can be very expesnive (such as the original Creative Memories) but you can also buy similar products at Wal-mart.  There are even pre-made scrapbooks with pre-printed and decorated pages where you just slide the pictures in.  About that I wonder...what is the point?  The fun is the creativity part.  If you aren't interested in designing pages just use a regular photo album! 

Wish me luck...and avoid my house this weekend unless you want to wade through piles of Shutterfly envelopes, scraps of paper, decorative scissors, and stacks of photos that may or may not be organized.  I'm kind of scared myself.  At least our picture frames will get an update.  We have been looking at the same pictures for way too long! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Memory Card! (aka pictures of Allan)

I am constantly taking pictures of things with my phone to send to people and for myself to enjoy!  I am amazed by the way that phone camera pictures have improved with each phone I have owned over the years.  They used to be fuzzy and hard to see.  I think these phone pictures are great!  I have always just texted pictures I wanted on the computer to my email account but I finally bought the little mini memory card and adapter that matches my phone.  When I got the phone over a year ago the salesman, of course, pushed the memory card along with all the other accessories and I said "No thanks," so many times...then I saw my mom using her phone memory card and knew I had to have it.  Well, I knew I had to have it after I actually looked at it.  That didn't happen right away because it is tiny, the size of a pinky finger nail, and I immediately dropped it and it bounced off a chair and onto the speckled rug under the kitchen table and I had to crawl around on the floor to find it.  It was almost lost before it could be used!  I have always thought that if I ever had to wear contact lenses it would be a big disaster! 

Here are a few of the first pictures I transfered to my phone!  I am mildly embarassed about how many pictures of Allan I take with my phone.  Also, Justin sends them to me when I am gone and I save most of them.  

He looks like a big fatso in this shot.  We always put his toys on the top of the tent when we clean up and if we are gone for a few days they are always strewn around the house when we get back. 

I love this one!  He is looking out the window in the guest room.  It looks out on the back yard and there are always birds and squirrels back there.  Sometimes he gets excited and makes little meowing sounds!  It's really cute.   He thinks he's a big masculine hunter!  Haha.

Allan's little white spot, which I think looks kind of like a little heart!

He's been home alone for a few days and I have been worrying about him! 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

New Car!

I got a new car last week!  It's a Mercury Milan.  The color is called Sport Blue and it is a 2010 model.  I love it!   The best feature is that it has Sync, so I can plug my ipod right into it and have all my music right there without the mountain of cds.  I have tried a few car adapters for the ipod and the sound has never been as good as cds but this  one sounds good!  Also, it is voice controled so I just say, for example, "Play artist Bruce Springsteen" or "Play album Darkness on the Edge of Town" and the music starts playing!  I haven't taken the time to master the phone aspect of it yet, which allows you to say "Call Justin" and it calls for you and you just talk without having to hold the phone to your ear!    Sync is awesome although I feel kind of self conscious talking to myself in there!

 Very nice!  I liked my previous car, which was black but I feel happy to have a blue car again!  I had a bright blue Ranger in college and a beautiful blue Fusion in law school!  Also, Justin has a blue pickup.  I guess we have a favorite color!

On a somber note, Justin's grandfather's funeral services took place on Friday and Saturday.  It all went fine and it was nice to see alot of Justin's relatives who we don't see very often.  There were some who I met for the first time.  Thanks to everyone who gave us condolences. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Grandpa Les


I have sad news to pass along...Justin's grandfather, his mom's father, passed away on Monday morning at the age of 94. 

Here a link to the obituary if you are interested...

I wish I had some other pictures but, besides the birthday picture one I posted a few weeks ago, the only one I have is from our wedding. 

The woman is Justin's grandma Irene, his dad's mom. 

RIP Grandpa Les. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

I don't really care that much about Valentine's Day.  However, I was reminiscing about elementary school and the fun activity of making Valentine boxes at school and giving eveyrone in the class little novelty cards with candy.  That was fun.  My favorite box I ever made was a decorated like a big radio and I made the speakers heart shaped and I think the antenna was a pipecleaner with a heart on the end. The slot where a cassette tape would go on a real stereo was the slot for the cards!  It was so awesome that my friend copied it but I didn't care.  I knew I had come up with a good idea.  In honor of those old parties I searched for cute Valentine card images on Google and came up with these very cute and funny ones, all of which are way before my time!  I wish they were still like this and not all covered with cartoons and Disney characters! 




I love a parrot!

Aawwww...this one is from Allan...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Water, I Have Missed You!

Oh, the weather has been so horrible this winter.  There has been so much snow, it has been so cold, and every time I want to travel anywhere there is a blizzard, freezing rain, blowing and drifting, or all three at once.  There has been a reprieve, because in Bis it has been in the 40's the last few days...yes, 45 degrees above zero! 

I have always been fascinated with the way that temperatures feel so different depending on the context.  In October 40 degrees feels freezing cold and is accompanied by people getting out winter coats, warming up their vehicles before driving, and sending little kids to school with full winter outfits including boots and hats.  After a few months of snow, single digit and negative temperatures and blizzards 40 degrees feels so good!  Good enough to go to the Y with a sweatshirt instead of a coat and good enough to sit on the front stoop for a few minutes and enjoy the sun beating down on the warm bricks. 

Also, the sound of running water from melting snow is so invigorating, as is the sight and smell of exposed grass and pavement.  It is hard not to be in a good mood when snow is melting!

I took this photo of the little pool of runoff in our backyard on Friday.  It is much larger now.  I was going to take some more photos but I didn't want people seeing me taking closeup pictures of puddles of water and snowbanks.  It must look really strange!

I see some rocks showing through!  This was on Friday and they can really be seen now.

When we moved here, one thing I looked forward to was less snow and more moderate winters.  In my experience prior to moving here, Central and Western ND always had much better weather and warmer temps thand Eastern ND.  When my family would head to Montana to ski every year, usually in March or at the end of February, Bismarck was already snow free while at home the snow was still in place and it was still frigid and miserable.  Since we moved here this hasn't been the case and there as been record amounds of snow for the last few years.  I have been kind of dissapointed!

As you can see, there is still alot of melting to be done.  I have to mention that the snowbank in the front yard is kind of decieving.  Our lots are so narrow that it all has to be piled in a small area so there are massive piles of snow in everyone's yards from snow cleared from the driveways.

I wish it Spring was here!  However, I know better.  All I have to do is remember the April blizzard that made my junior prom a miserable cold evening that required me to wear a winter coat over my dress and suffer with freezing feet on the way to the dance.  Oh, and there was the time I graduated from law school on May 10 and woke up to a fresh dusting of snow on the ground.  Or my college graduation in May where the temp hovered near freezing and Roommate and I ran from the parking lot to the ceremony with our robes wrapped around us like coats because we both were wearing summery sun dresses and hadn't wanted to deal with keeping track of a coat. And who could forget the many Easter Sundays that were too cold to wear spring dresses and sandals and caused me to go to church in boring old dress pants and a sweater (and, most likely, some chunky and unflattering doc marten sandals with socks.  Shudder).  And there were the spring track meets and baseball games in high school where everyone wore winter coats and gloves. Oh, yeah, we have alot of cold left before spring really comes. 

Also with springtime comes the approach of the Lent season.  I never gave anything up although my friends always tried and often faltered to give up fast food, beer (but not hard alcohol) snacking, and most commonly soda.  I can't believe I am saying this, but I am thinking about cutting WAY back on my soda consumption, and not because of Lent approaching.  I saw on the news about a study that indicated that people who drank diet soda had a 61% greater chance of having vascular issues like a stroke.  Yikes.  I usually completely blow of any study that says that using or consuming something fun (cell phones, alcohol) or delicious (fried food, salt) shows some small percentage of an increase in cancer, strokes, heart disease, etc.  But usually the percentage is pretty small and 61% is not a small percentange.  It has really got me thinking about if I really need to drink so much Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper.  I think both are delicious but do I really need a can each day?  Do I need a 20 oz. bottle every time I am on a car trip?  I don't know...this is tough...I love pop!  So I thought I would not give it up completely but just see how it felt to go a day or two without.  I had none yesterday and I haven't had any today...yet...wish me luck!

Allan says he hopes everyone has a good weekend. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Smiley Dog

In case you haven't noticed yet, I love taking pictures of animals.  While constantly taking pictures of animals I have realized how unphotogenic animals are.  Their eyes always are glowing like lazer beams and when they are looking really cute they get up as soon as they hear the camera turn on.  Every once in a while I get a good one and in Jake's good ones he always has a big grin on his face!  He is a happy boy. 

He is happy in this shot because he is annoying me and getting in the way of my project.  Allan likes to do that as well.

His eyes even look full of happiness in this shot! 

He is a funny guy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oooh! Fabric!

My job has been really slow lately so we have been on "standby" so far this week.  This means that we don't have to be at work but we still get paid.  It is mostly awesome, except that we have to be able to get there in 30 minutes if something comes up so I can't sit at home with Allan.  I have to stay in Fargo. 

With some of my free time I stopped by a specialty quilting store near my hometown and indulged myself with this bundle of precut fabrics from the company called Moda.  The designers that design fabric for Moda make collections that are so lovely/cute/beautiful that they fill me with inspiration for all the things I want to make in the future!  Actually, that happens to me in any fabric store.  The good thing about Moda is that the collections are coordinated to make it easier to choose fabric combinations.  They also sell pre-cut fabrics in different denominations.  The bundles are named after baked goods, such as jelly rolls and honey buns!  They have a good website called the Moda Bake Shop that features patterns and combinations for using the goods to make quilts and other projects.  It is one of my favorites!

The store I visited today carried Moda products!  Chain stores such as Hancock and JoAnn don't carry it so it is a special find.  I was kind of distainful of pre-cut fabric (it seems like buying the fabric already cut takes out part of the experience).  I admit though, hunching over the cutting board is not my favorite experience so I couldn't resist buying this roll of fabric called a "layer cake".  A layer cake contains 40 squares, each of a different fabric, that measure 10x10 inches. 

Oooh, these fabrics are so bright and cheerful!  The colors included are yellow, two shades of aqua, green, two shades of pink, and coral. 

I love that bird print!

I bought some yellow fabric (cheap, not from Moda!) for the supplemental fabric and have started cutting.  I will post photos when I have something to show. 

The quilt shop was a great place.  I also bought a few other pieces for a future project.  It was very hard to contain myself from buying more but in those situations I have to think about what I am actually going to do with a fabric before I buy it! 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super/Puppy Bowl

The Superbowl just wrapped up.  It turned out to be an exciting game accompanied by the usual nonsense to talk about (such as Christina Aguilara messing up the lyrics to the National Anthem).  I didn't really care who won but in the interest of not being wishy washy I declared myself a Steelers fan because I like Matt Spaeth, a tight end for the Steelers.  The reason he stands out to me at all is because he is from Minnesota, which is kind of close to here, and because his uncle played football with my dad in college in the 70's.  That's it.  That's how I pick players I like (recall my devotion to Chris Long.  I initially became interested in his career when I saw him on the draft and thought he was attractive). However, I don't mind that the Packers won because I like when teams from the Midwest are successful. 

The commercials were, in my opinion, not very memorable.  Actually, I can't even remember one I feel like mentioning.  In the category of more serious and patriotic commercials I kind of liked the Chrysler one that featured Eminem and Detroit.  As far as humorous ones, I didn't really laugh that much at any of them but I giggled at the one where the dogs were hosting a party.  Sadly, it took me a second to remember the product (Bud Light) so that must mean it wasn't the best advertisement! 

We turned away from the main event for a few minutes to watch the Animal Planet Puppy Bowl.  It was pretty cute, of course.  My favorite puppy was this one...

His name is Two Face!  I looked up the puppies on the Animal Planet website and discovered that he is a mutt.  Further searching lead me to animal adoption site blog that talked about Two Face's past (all the puppies featured are from shelters).  When his mom was carrying him and the rest of the litter she was kicked and injured ended up with an injured pelvis.  Poor dog!  People can be such A$$holes!  I'd like to kick whoever did that to a pregnant dog in the pelvis...or maybe whack them with a baseball bat in the pelvis and see how they like it!   Whatever his past may be, he sure is cute!  And, according to the puppy bowl footage, pretty lazy!

I also liked this one...

River is his name.  So cute! 

Well, I will miss the NFL but now it's on to baseball season I guess...
Check out the Chris Long tshirt Justin ordered me for Christmas!  Wearing it occasionally will sustain me until the NFL returns!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lesson Learned

Recently I have been trying to face something I have been avoiding.  I have not printed photographs from my digital camera in almost three years.  THREE YEARS!  The instant gratification of digital photos mixed with the mounting cost to develop as the pictures accumulate has caused me to avoid printing photos for three years.  I haven't printed photos from my law school graduation party, my sister's wedding, three of my cousins' weddings, two trips to Mexico, two ski trips, three seasons of tailgating, and countless other fun moments.  I have no physical copies of photos of our house or Allan.  In Fall of 2009 my crappy old computer from law school crashed in such a violent way that I wasn't able to rescue the photos saved on there so I have been trying to salvage the lost photos from albums I made on Facebook (it is a relief to have them!). 

A few weeks ago I showed off the notecards I got for free from Shutterfly that featured Allan...I actually mentioned that on here to begin with because when I ordered the cards, I received on offer from the website awarding members with a $25 gift certificate if someone were to send Shutterfly a link to a personal blog or website that mentioned Shutterfly.  I did, and I got the $25!  That is what inspired me to try to get this photo mess under control. 

Wow, it is a huge disaster.  It is like the drawer full of photos at my parents' house that have built up over the years after my mom gave up her valiant efforts to organize our family photos in albums.  Post 1990 it is a bust and they are a jumble.  However, I would prefer a jumble of physical copies than files and folders of digital copies, some only exsiting on Facebook!  Ughh what a mess! The process of uploading them is going to take hours.  I vow that I will never let my photo situation get this out of control again!  Don't do what I have done!