Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Missing her


It's been one day since my baby-dog went to heaven and my heart hurts. Tears come when I expect them and also when I don't. The rain falling from the sky suits my mood. I miss her.

I know she's not suffering now, but, in all honesty, it didn't make it any easier to come home after work and not have her standing there when I opened the door. It breaks my heart.

Missing her.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Putting Your Best Foot Forward?

Image Source: here

Today was an exciting day at work -- it was the day they announced the winners of the "Put Your Best Foot Forward" contest. This was a contest that was thought up by the head muckety muck at work, and the plan was that you had to wear your most expressive footwear to work and submit a photo to enter to win the contest.

Normally something like this would rank right up there with celebrating "Talk Like a Pirate Day" (which yes, we have celebrated at work before) in my mind -- and by that I mean I was thinking "WTF are they thinking?"

And then I read what the prizes were going to be: iPad 2s and $100 AE gift cards. PLURAL on each of those prizes. As in more. than. one. of. each. prize.

I gotta admit that got my attention.

Both of those sounded very appealing. Very. But, and here's the problem, I don't have any shoes that could be called -- by any stretch of the imagination -- expressive. I'm a tennis shoes and flip flops kind of gal, and that's not something that's going to get a ton of votes for originality.

So I decide I'm going to pimp out a pair of tennis shoes with my Relay For Life and American Cancer Society bling. It's a way to express support for a cause that's near and dear to my heart at work. Normally that's not allowed because showing any support for anything like that is frowned upon as solicitation. (Can you tell I don't agree with them about what constitutes solicitation?)

So this opportunity is exciting. Bling out a pair of shoes, feature something I'm proud to be a part of, and maybe win a prize. BONUS!

Here they are in all their blinged-out beautious-ness:

What do you think? Rico was laughing at me as I was pinning all the bling on after I got done doing my nightly workout on the treadmill. I believe the work "dork" may have been uttered (or maybe I just imagined it -- I truly don't remember). What I remember is that I was getting made fun of. But hey, it was the best I could do, and I was pretty pleased with how they turned out. So I wore them to work and I jingle-jangled around all day with my Relay For Life spirit out there for the world to see.

AND I WON. I won big -- you're lookin' at a grand prize winner, baby! I won an iPad2 today at work! Woop-woop!

Today was a good day to be at work. :)

Here were the runner's up that scored the gift card prizes:
And no, the second pair of shoes aren't stretched out because of an photo problem -- they really were that large. Size 22 I think -- the poor girl had to stuff towels in the fronts of them to keep them on her feet. And it was pretty humorous to hear her clomping down the halls in them.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

(Relatively) Guilt free shopping


(Relatively) Guilt free shopping -- why so few takers? Why? Why? Why?

Have I got an opportunity for you: shop without the guilt and support a great cause at the same time. I'm having a Silpada party on Thursday -- go to the link at the end of this post to BUY, BUY, BUY.

Did you?

Fundraising is tough. Especially with the economy like it is in Michigan the last couple of years. I'm having a Silpada party on Thursday to raise money for the Relay For Life (American Cancer Society) team that I participate on and I'm thinking it's going to be a bit of a bust.

I thought last year's turnout was lame -- but this is looking even lamer (more lame, whatev).

The Silpada rep I work with is awesome and loves to donate all her profits to the cause -- she sincerely hopes each year we'll have even better sales so she can donate more and more. I love her. Laura (Cooky) is awesome.

Sigh. Too bad I don't have a broader pool of silver loving friends who drool -- like I do -- over the Silpada catalog. Too bad we don't all have lots of discretional income. I get it, I do. Money is tight. We're currently a one-income household so I really get it.

But it's for a great cause. And that's where I get stuck. I really believe that we can make a difference in the fight against cancer. And I know women love jewelry -- so why not buy now and combine the two?

(And here's where I'll get on my soapbox a bit. Because I can't do it in person I'll do it on my blog.)

I'll do what I can to raise money for the American Cancer Society -- a non-profit that funds so much cancer research that they're second ONLY to the U.S. government in the dollars spent. That's right. That much. Breast cancer, yup. All cancer, yup. They fund so much cancer research that they're second ONLY to the U.S. government in the number of dollars spent. Straight up.

So I volunteer for the American Cancer Society at Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (in memory of my mentor Judy Junewick Horrigan) and I'm on the committee for the Relay For Life of Lowell (in memory of Judy who participated with me in my first year of Relay, and in memory of my Grandpa, and this year in celebration of the life of my puppy-dog.). And I volunteer at the Tee Off for Breast Cancer golf outing which raises money for the ACS.

I believe we can make a difference. This week, I'm making a difference by buying some sterling silver bling:

http://mysilpada.com/sites/lauranne.oconnor/private/content/home.jsf

Too bad I'm not a better salesman (or any kind of salesman at all, really). But let's fact it, I'm not much of a people person and schmoozing just isn't my forte. And ya gotta schmooze to bring in the dough -- even if it's for a good cause.

I'm a much better volunteer than I am a fundraiser. I'm an excellent volunteer. :)
Here's hoping the few books I have out to friends will bring in lots of orders. Fingers crossed.




Monday, April 18, 2011

Compliment?


"You have white and fluffy skin." (This has nothing to do with the gratuitous photo of baby Jack -- I just couldn't resist his sleeping baby cuteness.)

WTF? Seriously? What the heck does "You have white and fluffy skin" mean?

I think I snorted as I laughed. I just didn't know how to respond. Fluffy? White? I'm a freckle-faced wrinkled mess of dry-from-the-harsh-winter-skin. How does that equal white? And WTF is fluffy when applied to skin?

I won't say who came up with that awesome compliment tonight as we were watching TV... He knows who he is. And he's not even on migraine meds and he's speaking crazy crap like that. But he was serious. Oh my.

I'm going to say it was a compliment, okay? And he's not the only one with issues tonight.

I lost a day this weekend. I don't remember anything that we did on Saturday. I've been thinking about it since earlier today, and I seriously can't remember what I did. I'm pretty sure it doesn't have anything to do with being white or fluffy... just aging and tired... and a bit stressed. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I do remember Sunday. Breakfast out -- where I scored the Triple Bacon Sampler (yes, it's true, I did). After which we went to Goodwill where I scored two quilts: one really cute Pottery Barn one for camping/beach going and one in basic red for the oldest nephew who has grown too tall for a "throw" to keep him warm while watching TV. His poor tootsies get cold now because his feet stick out (that's what you get for getting taller than your aunt!). Following the trek to Goodwill we stopped at Target, then had coffee and a no bake cookie at the local bookstore, and then picked up the my baby-dog from home for a thrilling trip to the laundromat to wash the "new" quilts post haste.

And then we had just enough time for a mini snooze before we went to my brothers for a family dinner. We even made baby Jack get up to socialize with the fam. You have to get him up -- he's 3 weeks old and he just sleeps all the time. Sleep, sleep, sleep. Silly baby. Suffice it to say, WE WOKE HIM UP.

Here's Jr. saying "Queso!" (that Spanish for "Cheese!") with his newest cousin, Jack:


And here's Jackie Moon saying"Queso!" too...
Hee hee.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Yesterday and today

On any given day this is what my dog is doing when we're at work. Doesn't she look comfy?

Yesterday my baby dog had another 1L+ of fluid removed from her chest. Go here to find out the back-story if you're interested.

Today I'm looking at a groggy doggy who has some lovely patches of shaved skin on each side of her body. A doggy who has some unidentified yellow substance dying the skin of said shaved spots. Ick. Really? What the heck is that? Couldn't they clean that off? I guess that's what the parent's are supposed to do, eh? I'll get right on that. (Or I'll ask Rico if he'd mind taking care of that.)

Every day she's here is a gift. And this past month has taught me to really appreciate it. Even when she's stinking up the room with her smelly, smelly gas. (OMG who would think a dog could be so gassy). Love, love, love my dog.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Beach House Dreamin'

I've got dreams for a beach house in La Boquita, Nicaragua. It's pretty much a pipe dream, but it's a dream nonetheless. Today when I looked at a blog I read (sorry, I can't remember whose it was) I saw a pic that made me start thinking about that beach house again. There was a pic from a publication called Nuevo Estilo that really struck a chord with me. I can see some lovely, relaxing vacations at this place... my dream beach house.

Perhaps it could look like this from the in-land side:

Although it likely wouldn't have grass -- the dry season would fry it to a crisp so that wouldn't really work. But some nice foliage and pavers that would lead me to the pool would work. The other side of the house -- the ocean view side -- would definitely have to have a balcony on the second level with a deep overhang so I can comfortably lounge in the shade in my hammock -- I'm not sure what that would look like yet, but I'm sure I'll find inspiration for it somewhere.

I know we'd need a simple kitchen -- simple to construct and simple to use -- because who wants to be stuck in the kitchen when you're on vacation? Not me. So something like this would be nice, and could be made from cement by local contractors:

Simple and made of cement forms that will be economical to make and durable. And is that a disco ball above the island? You know we need one of those for all the dance parties we'll be having! My sister-in-law's relatives really know how to cut a rug, so we almost always end our get-together with dancing.

I envision a sleeping loft upstairs, one on each side -- maybe like this one:

One thing... it would need to have beds in it -- not just rugs. I'm kinda crazy like that. I'm not so good at sleeping on the floor. I get cranky. And nobody wants me cranky. Really. But other than that I like the feel of this loft -- simple design and basic finishes. And piles of books. Yup. I like it.

Ahhhh, dreamin' of sunshine and relaxation.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gotta get ready for spring

The forecast says we'll be getting some spring-like weather here in West Michigan this weekend (even if it's supposed to be a little soggy we'll happily take it). So it's time to get geared up for Spring.

I'm loving a lot of things in blogland and getting some great ideas:

Look at how a bunch of forsythia cuttings brightens up a room. Gorgeous. I wonder how long it'll be before my mom's forsythia bloom? I might have to sneak over there and trim a few branches to bring some sunshine in a vase to our house. Go to Isabella and Max to see more of this gorgeous room.


I love this egg wreath and grass. The grass is real, not fake like the Pottery Barn grass I have from many years ago. I went with fake grass because my cats tend to nibble on all live plants in our house. But Melissa went with wheat grass. Real grass. You know, the kind that grows. Wow, what a concept. I even have some cute little tins like these that I could use. (Having a cat try to walk across my keyboard just now reminds me to look up if wheat grass is cat-compatible first).


What a cute idea this is. I've been thinking I need to investigate metal stamping, and at first I thought that's what this was. But it's not. It's craft foam! Go to Andrea's blog to hear how she did it. So cool.


How about citrus, botanical prints and birds? I love this spring mantle from 33 Shades of Green. The call of the birds is one of the first sounds of spring in Michigan --well before the weather warms and the snow melts -- so this resonates for me.


Amanda from Our Humble Abowed posted these great downloadables on her site -- don't these just say spring to you? They're both so cute. I've just got to figure out where I want to put them. I'm a mini-prep from way back (that's what my nickname was in middle school) so the preppy pink and green prints are right up my alley.


So, warm weather this weekend and these lovely pics for inspiration? I'm ready for spring!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mid century love

I've been drooling over some mid-century furniture since I visited Diane's cottage a few years ago. And yet I don't have anything even remotely mid-century in our house. What's up with that?

If I had to describe my decorating style I think I'd say it's casual+eclectic.

Casual like Pottery Barn casual (but not so matchy-matchy that it looks like everything comes right out of a Pottery Barn catalog). In great part this is because the majority of my furniture actually does come from Pottery Barn -- I used to work there. Truth be told, I got a job there because we had a house to furnish and they offered a great employee discount (I'm practical like that).

And I'd say my style is a bit eclectic because much of my decorative stuff comes from garage stores and thrift stores so it's stuff that not everyone would have. I also like changing up accessories, area rugs and pillows -- so stuff doesn't always look the same.

So casual+eclectic -- but definitely not mid-century. So why am I searching for a good price the on Bertoia mesh chairs that Diane has? (Especially when I don't have a single space available to put one. But holy moly is it comfortable to sit in. Who'd of thunk? A metal mesh chair is comfortable? Oh, yea, it really is.)
Source. Mfg by Knoll.

And why am I searching in earnest for a Saarinean 60" tulip coffee table and tulip stools that fit around it (because I love, love, love putting together puzzles on it at Diane's). I'd pay through the nose for these. But, that said, I have nowhere to put them

Source. Mfg by Knoll.

You might think that since these products were produced right here in West Michigan there would be some second-hand pieces available around here. Not so much. Even if that were true, and so far I've seen no evidence of it, I've yet to see any anywhere that don't have New York city prices attached to them. And by that I mean way, way, way out of our price range.

And then, as I look at these images I remember that I've lusted for many a moon over the Aluminium Group lounge chairs (Mfg. by Herman Miller) that we had in our common area when I attended college -- talk about comfort!

But, really? Can you picture either of these amidst my Pottery Barn furniture? It would be a stretch, that's for sure.

So, in my quest for these pieces, I've come up with something with mid-century flair that will work with what I have. I came up with this beauty at auction:

Beauty might be a stretch, don't you think? This is how it looked at auction. It's cleaned up a bit now, and is just waiting for me to figure out how to bring it back to life. In this pic they had the drawers in the wrong places (the bottom three are a bit deeper than the rest), and one of the legs was broken off (which, btw, was not listed as a "feature" in the auction listing online -- but they gave me a discount when I mentioned it at pickup, so that helped). But once I cleaned it off it looked much better.

The problem (aside from the fact that Rico doesn't like it, and also doesn't like the fact that I want to remove the antique desk from the room and replace it with this) is that it's a still a bit beat up and it's a bit smelly.

I sent questions out to a couple of bloggers that I've been following asking for their suggestions. I asked Sausha at Show & Tell about how to add some moisture back to the wood, and I asked Marion at Miss Mustard Seed how to get the funky smell out of it.

I can't wait to try their suggestions. Wait for an "after" photo to come as soon as we get some warm weather in Michigan (because I'm sure as shootin' not going to freeze my buns off in the garage to work on it right now).

In the meantime, anyone got a lead on my mesh chair or tulip table and stools?

Monday, April 4, 2011

The sewing machine scares me


I go to the fabric store and look, and look. But I never buy anything because I'm pretty much paralyzed with fear. I haven't sewn with a sewing machine since middle school home economics. What in the world makes me think I can sew something?

Huh? I could do it when I was 12, why not now? Because now I have to buy the fabric that I'm screwing up. Ha ha. It was all well and good when my parents were footing the bill, but now that I've got to pony up for fabric I back away in fear. Silly. Really.

I've got to get the sewing machine I bought two years ago out of the box. Brave, brave thoughts.

Today when I was surfing I came across this on Bryn Dunns site -- a fabric giveaway: http://brynalexandra.blogspot.com


Ok, I'm drooling. This would be SO fun to play with. Waverly fabrics are awesome.

Pick me oh great random generator program. Please pick me!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

He's here!

The precious little peanut was born early this morning.


Look at all the hair on that boy! Wow.

Here's Rico holding him (obviously I wasn't referring to him when I said "look at all the hair on that boy." Ha ha) . Look how small he is compared to Rico's hand. Little, little.
The size 1 diapers at the hospital are HUGE on him. He's a tiny, tiny boy.

Did I mention the hair? LOL.

So happy for Ber.
So happy that Mom and baby are doing well.
So happy that we have another baby to spoil. :)

P.S. I so wish I'd had the camera in my hands when Rico and Claudia were trying to get the chair in Berlinda's room to turn from a bed back into a chair. Hysterical! And they never did get it to transform. Alas, I was holding the baby so I didn't have a hand free to capture the moment.

Friday, April 1, 2011

conceptionconnections.wordpress.com

The baby is coming, the baby is coming!

At least I think he is. It could just be an elaborate April Fool's joke, but since my brother already pulled that one on us this morning I think it's real this time.