Friday, May 27, 2011

Bad Weekend

My grandmother died Saturday night. She was a HUGE part of my life. She was the only person that ever sent me mail, I always had to have stamps and stationery on hand just for responding to her letters. She would mail me any little clipping or picture that made me think of her, and in college when I was on my own for the first time I loved getting weird little things in my mailbox. When I was in college she would call and leave messages and my roommates would never be able to understand what she said, they'd just say "We think somebody called for you." When she called the house and Matt answered the phone she would just say "Where is she?" They had whole conversations about me and how grumpy I get and whenever I would be visiting her for too long she would send me home to Matt "so he doesn't divorce you."

When I was little I was jealous of all the other kids who had babysitters because she was my only babysitter for my entire childhood. I didn't realize how good I had it. We would walk to the park and she would hang out with all the moms while I played. Every weekend my parents would drop me off at her house and she would feed me totally unhealthy Hungarian food on Saturday night and we would watch old musicals on PBS and play card games. Then I would take a bath in her bathtub and sleep in her sparest spare room. In the morning I would go wake her up and she would make me eggs and bacon while I watched old Adam West Batman reruns on TV. Then we would go work in her yard all day. I mowed her lawn (the way it was supposed to be done) and planted and dug things up under her eagle-eyed supervision. I was never allowed to touch the azaleas. The fuchsias looked like little ballerinas and the camellias were the size of a baseball. The jade plants were bigger than I was. I didn't know anyone else with a garden like hers.

In junior high and high school she came to all my track meets, basketball games and concerts. She was my biggest fan. Even in college she managed to see one of my concerts. We had big family dinner at her house every Christmas Eve, and every Easter. This year we had Easter at her house again with the whole family for the first time in at least five years. I worked my butt off and she had a great time (so did everybody else, I'm told). We sat around and my sisters looked through all her old furniture and rugs and everybody took whatever they could fit in their cars. She loved seeing us with her stuff, knowing who was going to use what where.

In the last couple of years we tried to organize ourselves so everybody talked to her at least twice a week. She loved it. Whenever you called her she gave you the latest gossip on everybody else. She got all the news first and she would make sure everybody knew whether you were going to a concert this weekend or just planting a shrub. She was 104. When she moved into the nursing home last year my dad got her a cell phone. It was her lifeline. She racked up a HUGE phone bill. She had people calling her from Hungary, from the East Coast, from all over the place. And she called us all the time. In the last three months of me living here, she was never without that phone. In the hospital when she was too tired to talk I would tuck her in with her phone by her pillow and my sisters would call her and talk at her just so she could hear their voices.

Now I live in her house. I had to rearrange all the furniture and repaint the entire place so it wouldn't be weird. And I can prune the azaleas. But I'd rather have her here. The nursing home is two blocks away and it is so strange not having to stop there on my way home any more.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Totally Out Of Title Inspiration.

So I am back. And pictures of the painted room will have to wait until the a.m. when it is light. But I just got back from a weirdly mixed/nice family trip. My family flew to Phoenix from our respective cities of residence, and then all got in one car (an Armada, and the back seat is NOT comfortable, I wish I got carsick so I could always get to sit shotgun) and drove to Prescott (say it with me, Pres-KIT), Arizona. It is a cute little town about two hours north of Phoenix and man, was that a long drive. I am the baby and my three sisters and I and my parents, sans partners or children, all went there for my grandfather's memorial.
We stayed in the historic and wacky Hassayampa Inn, and my oldest sister and I ended up getting a suite with a parlor. The parlor had its own door! We walked down the hall and our door was one down from the end of the hall and I looked at the door at the end and said "I wonder who gets the Parlor?" and then we walked into our room and they were connected. So nobody had as nice of a room as we did and we totally rubbed it in. But then everybody hung out there anyways.The memorial was very low-key, we just had a nice room with a slideshow and pictures of him and people stood around and told stories about my grandad. And then we went and hung out at the hotel bar. 

I'd totally stay there again if I could be sure we didn't get one of the even wackier rooms. But it was awesome when people came to get us and we invited them in via the parlor door. Also, my aunt who got to clean out my grandad's house let us look through a whole pile of his mom's jewelry that she didn't know what to do with, so I wore one of her necklaces to the memorial. It was a very odd vibe but we all had a really nice time in the end. 

And just to make sure I looked decent (and because I haven't found anywhere to get a cheap haircut yet), I got my brows done before we left. It's more expensive down here, but they also "fixed" my makeup afterwards, a.k.a. gave me a whole new face of stuff and tried to sell me on lash and brow tinting. I love a face of new stuff, but lash and brow tinting completely creeps me out so that was a little annoying. I am still totally tempted by the purple mascara, believe it or not. The brow stuff really fills in and tidies up my brows nicely and the mascara, cliche as it sounds, really made my eyes pop. The tinted moisturizer was nice, but I couldn't really tell if it was any better than the stuff I normally use. And the blush was horrible and dark and shiny and looked really bad. I mostly just thought it would fill out the little image roundup I've got going on.
Benefit Cosmetics : makeup : box o' powder
$28 -

Benefit Cosmetics : makeup : foundation
$30 -

Benefit Cosmetics : makeup : eyes & brows
$30 -

Benefit Cosmetics : makeup : mascara
$19 -

And the obligatory packing rundown. 
J Crew vneck sweater
$88 -

J Crew vintage top
$80 -

Short cardigan
$60 -

Old Navy sheer top
$13 -

Banana Republic jeans
$67 -

GAP bootcut pants
$60 -

$49 -

Gap short
$40 -

$35 -

Indigo by clark

Privo slip shoes
$50 -

Kenneth Jay Lane stamped jewelry
195 GBP -

$120 -

Privo Gali at
$70 -

Of course, these are all the Polyvore equivalents, the real deal had a lot more purple and a lot less J. Crew. It fit perfectly in the MLC though. The Patagonia Maximum Legal Carryon is perfect for a nice weekend trip. And it makes roaming the airports much easier when all you have is a big soft backpack with no frame.

I will take office pictures as soon as it isn't the middle of the night. And then we can discuss how the heck I am supposed to "finish" in here other than spending a bunch of $$$.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Biting The Bullet

I am painting my office. The same color as most of the rest of the house. For now. It may change but right now I am starting to get the feeling that anything that is decent and clean-looking will be more restful to the eye than the array of big swatches of colors that I don't like. Sigh.

Pictures will be forthcoming.

Also, I love this website and I realized, I must share it with my fellow logophiles!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Miss Cookbook Got Me Thinking

What are some of the weirdest things you have ever eaten? We went to Teske's Germania Saturday night and I got wild boar goulash. It was delicious.

I like trying something unusual on a menu. Especially if somebody else is buying ;) If I can't get it at an average grocery store, I am probably 30% more likely to try it at a restaurant. That may not mean I'll get it ever again though.

Rabbit and duck were both eh, I don't think I'd try them again. There is always the cute factor with those - as a proper Disney-watching American female, can I eat ducks and bunnies without a twinge of guilt? Yes, once. But I probably won't do it again. Venison, boar and elk I would all definitely try again. Pigeon? Sure, it's just all dark meat. I like dark meat. But skate? Terrible texture. Who thought that was a good idea? Apparently me AND a fancy restaurant. Boy were we all wrong.

What are some unusual dishes you never expected to try? And did you like them?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

For Your Saturday Night Entertainment

I love this site. We are taking my dad here for his birthday dinner tonight. I may paint my office tomorrow. But first we are having muffins and frittata for Mother's day brunch. And I'm done. Is a pre-dinner nap not the done thing? Because I feel like I will need the energy.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I Swear I Am Still Here

Thus, a To-Do list to keep me in action in my poor little office:
Choose paint color
Paint walls
Continue to empty closet (this is the closet of DOOM right now, let me tell you)
Get rid of unwanted stuff so there is room to breathe (I am torn between making the effort to sell stuff and being lazy and donating it)
Edit out tiny things (Alana turned me onto this lovely blog and I am enamored of this post on editing)

I am not so in need of adding things (unless adding another closet is an option) so I am just working on subtracting. I put a pair of big nice throw pillows on Craigslist and am trying to decide if that is weird and if I should just donate them. They are nice though, and barely used at all.

And I finally found a band that I can go watch with both my parents and Matt. Hell hath possibly frozen over.

Matt loves the guitarist and I luuuurve the bass player. And I think everybody loves the fiddler, she is hilarious.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Yet another project. The front of the house has siding on the bottom half of it and a bed that runs along it, and until recently it had a big hedge of crazy plumbago that crawls into the siding and under the house and the contractor hates it and the exterminator hates it and the landlord hates it. So it got ripped out and now I get to paint the siding and dig out the roots and replant the bed.
 from here.

This is our awesome focal plant. It is a smoke bush, which normally comes in dark purple. That was my original idea, but the landlord convinced me it wouldn't show up enough, and this one plant happened to be on display at the nursery. The siding is the bottom half of the wall and it is dark green. So now I have a lime green smoke bush and some phormiums to accent it that should also show up well.
from here

And a nice variety of wacky succulents to underplant with. A good low-water, full-sun combo. But it meant today I repainted the bottom half of the wall (the bit with siding) and then put up new house numbers. Before I could do any planting. And sadly, the old house numbers were almost invisibly small, because they were actual metal and not metal-colored plastic like my new ones (twice as big though and actually visible from the street). But of course I broke one installing it so now I have to return it and get a new one (right now it is held together with black electrical tape). I wish I could get metal ones again but I doubt they'd be in the budget.

Plants down here are much more exciting. Succulents are annuals in Nevada because they freeze solid with the first snow. Here, not so much. There will be real After pictures on this one, I promise.

Update: here they are!
 Freshly painted green bits and no hedge.
 Ta MotherF'ing Dah.
 After all that buildup, this looks pretty tame. But it was a beast to dig out the stupid roots from that hedge. And that agave on the right really fought back. The succulents (other than the awesome greeny-purple one in the middle) were hand-me-downs from my sister, and the smoke tree and phormiums were purchased by the landlord (on the principle that, even if we don't stay, he gets to keep them so he might as well fork over), and those agaves were stealthily growing in my backyard. So now they get their moment in the sun. I don't even know why they were in the backyard, they were behind a shrub so you couldn't even see them. 

So, anyways. Ta Dah!