12.24.2011

This is Why.

I told Dan this morning that for all my eagerness to take him back to Washington, I had some anxieties about parts of it. I'm eager to show him the battlefields, and to introduce him to friends, but I have reservations when it comes to showing him the House of Representatives.

My time at the House was some of the most significant and moving portions of my life, but it was also a debilitating crossroad. Up to that point, my entire focus after the age of 18 had been about living a transient, career-driven, solitary life. That's how I had pleasantly envisioned myself. Unpinned, independent, a gringo Sasha Fierce with a passport like Hillary Clinton's. So it has always been beyond strange to me that at the exact moment that I was offered a transient, solitary and amazing independent job in Australia, in a post that would likely eventually lead me back to the Committee, I chose not to follow. I chose a path more pinned, in an act seemingly entirely against my nature and ambitions. I had confused and hurt only myself, and I couldn't provide myself with many answers.

I never understood fully until today why I made the choice I did. Not even when I walked down the aisle to marry Dan would I have said "This is why." Today was the day, on my first full day as a 26 year-old, sitting across from him drinking coffee in Grand Central Station in New  York City, with a million people walking in circles around our quiet world, that I realized, "This is why."  I know, from today forward, there will be terrible days, and tragedies, and frustrations and exhaustions, but now I know, in my future, there will be a million chances to sigh contentedly, clutch his hand, and think "this is why."

Merry Christmas Eve, to One and All.

12.13.2011

Undead Anxieties.

My sister Alissa is an avid horror fan. She can watch anything without grimacing. As a kid she used to have these terrible night-terrors, and I don’t know if somehow those desensitized her, or if she is able to watch horror movies in spite of it. I wonder what she thinks.

I like most horror movies. I like Zombieland. I enjoyed Resident Evil. I love the ole’ black and white psychological thrillers like Vertigo, the Birds, and my favorite, The Haunting. The great thing about a horror movie, is that at worst, it can only be awful and torturous for at most, an hour forty five minutes. After that, you pop in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and it’s like it didn’t happen. (Unless you have nightmares that night that an Undead Joey Fatone is chasing you down the aisle of a Greek Orthodox Church. True Story. Ruined *NSYNC for me. )

But this methodology doesn’t apply when I signed on for The Walking Dead on AMC. Instead, they can torture you over several months with the long drawn out zombie apocalypse, and sometimes it just feels, so, REAL. It doesn’t exactly frighten me, it just makes me extremely anxious.

The least disturbing reference I could find to this show.




I am an anxious person by nature. I wring my hands if I arrive any later than 2 hours prior to a flight (3 for international). When my boss says “don’t worry!”, in relation to ANYTHING, I worry more than if he’d said not to worry. What did he THINK I would be worried about?? I tend to misinterpret conversations to err on the side of dismal. It’s a terrible thing.

The good news is, I have a new full-proof (ex-nay on the dead Joey atone-Fay) solution to Episodic Undead Anxiety:

Walking Dead Knitting.

This involves a single plain knit stitch over and over and over and over and over and over and over (40 across) until the visions stop and the nausea subsides, and I remember that it’s make-believe. Also, I think it’s harder to be anxious about a zombie if you picture him admiring your folksy handiwork instead of attacking you.


"Does this scarf make my bony butt look big?"


Speaking of zombies, the husband of my other sister is currently teaching a course on Zombies at Johns Hopkins. You go, Bro! My family is so cool (and well equipped to survive an undead apocalypse, as it turns out. As long as I have yarn.)



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12.07.2011

Something Groovy

While doing some work research, I stumbled onto this nugget of gold! I'm not entirely sure of the era, but I'm guessing from her Jean Harlow looks that this may have been early 1930s.

MISS ETHEL D. HOOK CLAIMS DISTINCTIVE TITLE



Miss E. D. “Ethel” Hook, of Sacramento, California, insofar as we know, enjoys the distinction of being the only woman in the United States, to purchase gold in commercial quantities. This blond, young woman, is employed by the California MacVan Company, and is given full authority by her employer, A. E. Vandercook, to buy gold in any quantity.

Grizzled old men who have aged in the hills hunting gold, young fellows getting their first callouses, and even women- turned miners to boost family finances— they’re all familiar to her. Sometimes they come with a great deal of gold, and go away with a great deal of money, sometimes they bring as little as 15 cents worth of gold.

Almost two years ago, Vandercook wanted a secretary, who could learn the buying end of the business, because he is away a great deal, attending to various mining properties. Miss Hook had finished a secretarial school course, and was chosen for the work. After three months of careful attention to what was going on, she bought her first gold.

Miss Hook will buy gold dust, nuggets, gold bars, dental, and jewelry gold, and pays for it at the mint rate for gold. Not many buyers do that, and, as a result, scores of miners make regular trips to Sacramento, to sell gold to her. Some days, after a heavy rain, there will be a long line waiting in the hall—then again, only a few stray customers drop in. All of the melting is done in the laboratory at Placerville, and the gold bricks are sent to the Mint, when about $1,000 worth has been accumulated. Sometimes it takes a week, sometimes two weeks, and during very bad weather, three weeks.

When the gold is brought to Miss Hook, she goes through it with a magnet, to clean out the black sand from the panned gold, and then weighs it. If there is a lot, she advances the miner $30 or $40, or whatever he needs, and when the gold is refined, she sends him a check for the balance. Not many nuggets come in, but “for variety we get gold teeth, watches, old bracelets and all sorts of things,” the ore buyer volunteered.

Miss Hook takes great pride in her distinctive calling, and says it is an education in itself to meet and talk with the men who have gold to sell. She says, “They are all dressed rough, but many are highly educated, highly trained, and they certainly are courteous to me.”

Satisfied customers have contributed to her popularity, and a reputation for square dealing. From her income, she supports her mother, and herself, as she has been doing for the last six years. She worked her way through secretarial school, and crowded two years’ study into one, and graduated with honors. She has a hobby —and literally rides it, because it is a horse.

So valuable are Miss Hook’s services, and particularly her exactness in the buying of gold, that her superior officer, President Vandercook, of the California MacVan Company, has insured her against marriage. So, gentlemen, come with your gold dust, but otherwise hesitate and exercise prudence—at least until the insurance policy expires.


I think my favorite part is that she is insured against marriage! What a neat lady.

12.05.2011

Life Through Art.

Sometimes as I go about my day, or my week, I start to envision my life as it might be symbolically represented by priceless works of art. Like, sometimes I get on the scale, and I feel like a fatty, and I try to reframe the moment through Botticelli, as if I were a perfect modern representation of the ideal 15th century woman. (which for better or worse, I am.) 

Occassionally, once that painting is in my brain it can set the tone for the future, and often times, it's set by one of my favorite artists, Goya. The great thing about Goya, is that he started life extremely optomistic, and ended it extremely disturbed. So practically any moment in a person's life could be symbolically represented by Goya. He runs the gammit.

Last week, I would sum up my existence with this late Goya work:

I couldn't say for sure if I'm the poor sap getting eaten by a deranged monster, or if I was the deranged monster eating others for breakfast (a la my mechanic, the insurance company, Dan, an entire box of Tootsie Roll's DOTS in about 5 minutes-I don't even LIKE those.)  but it perfectly represents the horror and disdain and also desperation that the monster seems to have with himself, the total helplessness of the other guy, and pretty much the crumminess of the whole situation.  (I like to think of Goya as the first Zombiest- taking almost normal people and manipulating them into demons who bring about the apocalypse. I love him.)

But the good news is, on this fine monday, I'm feeling a little more like this early, unjaded Goya:


The storm has passed, the company picnic was a great success, and the hot chicks want to toss me in the air for some fun and laughs and good memories all around. I do not anticipate that my velocity or weight will impact the ladies' ability to sustain my bounce. Cheeks are rosy with delight and all is well with the world.

Happy Monday, y'all.

11.30.2011

Lorraine, Defenseless in Spain?

Today I am just plum tuckered out after a knock down drag out fight with my mechanic, and making the subsequent dozens of calls to my insurance, the other guy's insurance, the new mechanic, claims adjustors, and of course, to my dad. While my father may live 800 miles away, having him in the automotive loop is good, and frankly, even at the age of 25.92, I still like knowing that if things get messy I can still send in the scary sounding dad to scare the crap out of someone who thinks they can take advantage of me. In the end, he's taught me so well that I seem to be able to take care of myself, and thoroughly scare the crap out of someone on my own if necessary.

I don't like to be mean, and it's probably not how the Dalai Lama would handle it if HE had hit a dump truck's drive shaft on the interstate. But you know what? No one ever thinks to take advantage of His Holiness. And certainly not auto mechanics. Now a cute wittle thing like me in a business skirt and heels stwanded by the side of the road?  Can't get to her wittle desk job without her cute Korean car?  awwwww. Don't worry, WE'LL TAKE CARE OF YOU. 

........

Let's just get this out in the open, SON. When you try to charge me $150 for a diagnosis and to put MY OWN SPARE TIRE on my car without my authorization, and it took you two business days just to do THAT? You will not, ever, underestimate me, and you will not take advantage of me. And when you tell me that "nothing is leaking" on my car when I have three witnesses and a police report that indicate that it WAS leaking? You are no longer my mechanic, and yes, I will attempt to know my own business about my own car.

Oh, and sorry, someone spilled the beans about how the dump truck's company tried to pay you off and fix the minimal amount that was wrong with the car. Oops! How did a dumb bimbo like me EVER figure that out?

If anyone wants to know what company in my current hometown tried to screw me, I'd be happy to email it to you. 

Cheers!

11.29.2011

A Corn Dog, A Car, A Cake.

If the accident I'd been in on I-15 yesterday had been my final reckoning, it would have been deeply and profoundly unjust in every imaginable way. A newlywed, a new homeowner, a bright young little thing with ambition to change the world and sing songs to ponies and annoy her cat as much as he annoys her. I hope that's what you'd say, anyway, when singing my restful praises. But in one, small, fraction of a minutia sort of way, it would have been just timing.

You see, as my car launched momentarily in the air after running over the drive train in the slow lane of I-15, I had a flash of a thought. It only lasted perhaps 1/100 of a second before I returned to thinking about how to control my car, how to get over to the side of the freeway, whether or not my vehicle was about to explode, etc., but I did clearly think to myself "If I die, my last meal on earth would be a corn dog. How nice." 

It's true. Earlier that day, I devoured one of the most delectable corn dogs from Crown Burger in downtown Salt Lake, and it was divine. Hot and crunchy, sweet and savory, delicately dipped in Crown Burger's exquisite fry sauce. You couldn't have asked for a better final meal.  Well, okay, maybe YOU could have, but as we've discussed, my standards are low. Now I wish I had a picture of my Final Meal that Wasn't a Final Meal.  So you could know. But alas, my vivid description will have to do.

However, I do have a really crummy picture of my car on the tow truck:

I have watched my car sail off into the sunset with a tow truck lover more times than I choose to remember, and I'm going to go out on a limb and say it was only my fault, rmmm 28% of the time. This car is just terrible luck. And it's not just bad luck for me- when I lived in DC and had no car, my parents were using the car here and there, and they did something to the back end of the car- I don't even know what because they told me about it after they'd fixed it. Solid call. I've been hit by a drunk driver, mistakenly towed, scraped, dinged, and once I rear ended the van of a mariachi band- in full costume (that one was my fault). The first week that I had this car, I slid down the hill from campus in a snow storm and hit a pole, which didn't seem to cause any damage, but for some reason made my car alarm go off at 3 in the morning for no reason for about a week. Which is also why I never named this car. Even though I've had her for 4 years and 90,000 miles, I still believe at any given moment she'll be dead, and I'll have to say goodbye to a named car. The namelessness is good. Keeps things distant.

Anyway, I survived, the other guy is paying for it, and she's in the shop. All is well.  Once I finally made it home last night, my only obligation was to chill out and calm down, eat some grub, and go to sleep.  At some point in the evening I discovered that my lower legs were completely covered in hives which I acquired from the roadside weeds waiting for the police officer, so I took some Benadryl and figured that oughta have me out like a light in about 10 minutes.

Instead, I was anxious, fidgety, and felt like maybe I was on the edge of hyperventilating, even an hour after the incident, so I decided to DO something. I decided to make a cake.

For the record, I don't really know how to make a cake, so I just kind of winged it off box directions, and replaced the icing (the hard part, right?) with heavy whipped cream. and put plum jam in the middle. I decided that I was celebrating my survival, and my intact, able body. An "I survived" cake.  There are two slices gone, so if you'd like to celebrate life, let me know and I'll send you a slice, or come over and celebrate with me. It's a good day.

11.10.2011

Sunrise in Paradise

Nothing Says "I love you" Like a Sunrise Trip To Wally-World:



Let's Rewind to Last Night:

Dan: I think I'm allergic to Splenda
Lorraine: Uh, Why?
Dan: Because I had some today, and now my throat feels tight and scratchy like when you're getting a cold
Lorraine:Are you sure that you're not just getting a cold?
Dan: No, this is different. I can tell.
Lorraine: mmmk. I'm gonna go take some Emergen-C now.

This Morning at 6am:

Dan: I have a cold.
Lorraine: Uh Huh.

Ergo, my trip to wally world to get the man some gummy vitamins (which I am sure he will overdose on) some mocha mint cough drops (which I will probably eat instead of him) and a humidifier, because I think that's what his mom used to do when he was little. My mom used to get me coloring books and crayons, which I meant to get, but Walmart is so damn big I forgot whilst walking through 26 aisles of cold products.

Jacksons are dropping like flies, y'all. Group funeral, I'll let you know when it takes me down, too.

11.08.2011

An Update

As you can see from my Opal-ish melodramatic post from yesterday, our tiniest Jackson was quite ill. I tossed and turned all night and couldn’t quite put my finger on what was bothering me, but when I awoke myself at around 5:30, I had a sick feeling in my gut. The cat should have been bothering us all night as he always does, and we usually lock him out of the room at around 3 or 4. But he never came. I looked around the house and finally found him right under our bed, and looking dreadful. I knew instantly that he was sick, and my first instinct was a tummy ache of some sort, but the more I watched, the more I realized it was something much worse than that. His eyes were two different sizes, and it looked as if one side of his face was rather limp. He had a twitch, and it seemed as if his vision and maybe even his coordination was impaired. Having seen a 7 foot tall thoroughbred once do the same thing after sustaining a neurologically damaging injury, I was not comforted by what I saw. I immediately began looking for an emergency vet, and we took him to an animal hospital in Sandy. Essentially, the vet just confirmed what we already feared, that the little monster had a neurological issue which could have been caused by an almost shocking and totally uncomfirmable number of things. He prescribed an anti-inflammatory, and that was all he could really do for us, short of recommending a neurologist and offering multi-million dollar cat tests. I adore my animals, but all of us have our limits, and sadly this was ours.

After a day of ups and downs yesterday, where he seemed to improve, regress, improve, regress; this morning he woke us up full of spunk and sharp claws, and I had never been so relieved to find a cat paw batting my nose at 6 am. He wasn’t exhibiting any symptoms he had the day before, and as far as we can tell he is mostly back to normal. This may mean that he ate something that caused him a temporary bout of misery, or it could mean that he had some sort of seizure. Either way, we’ll be showing as much diligence as we can the next few days, and hoping the scary symptoms don’t return.

That update being out of the way, I have to say that emotionally it was jarring to have mortality briefly rear its ugly head at my perfectly charming life. No offense to Jeoffrey, but he’s sort of the least significant member of the family, and losing him would have left a painful gaping hole in the world that we have built. It was perhaps good to be reminded that mortality is hiding behind each of our bright and lovely pairs of eyes.

Also, the cat spent 10 minutes playing with the full length mirror today. He kept walking around to the back of it, like he was trying to see where the other cat went. I don’t know if this means that the neurological wonkiness made him smarter or dumberer.

11.07.2011

For Jeoffrey~

Christopher Smart was born in 1722 in Shipbourne, Kent, England. After college, Smart earned a living in London editing and writing copy for periodicals and composing songs for the popular theater. During this time, he became known for his reckless drinking and spending habits; he was arrested for debt in 1747. In the 1750s Smart developed a form of religious mania that compelled him to continuous prayer, and was confined to an institution for nearly all the remainder of his life. Smart is well known for his distinctive and oft anthologized homage to his cat, Jeoffrey.



For I will consider my Cat Jeoffrey.

For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.

For this is done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.

For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.

For this he performs in ten degrees.

For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.

For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.

For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.

For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.

For fifthly he washes himself.

For sixthly he rolls upon wash.

For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.

For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.

For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.

For tenthly he goes in quest of food.

For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.

For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.

For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.

For he purrs in thankfulness, when God tells him he's a good Cat.

For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.

For every house is incomplete without him and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.

For he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.

For he can jump over a stick which is patience upon proof positive.

For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.

For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.

For, tho he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.

For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.

For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.

For he can swim for life.

For he can creep.

 
Get Well Soon, Dear Jeoffrey of mine. For we would not be well without you.



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11.04.2011

Lorraine, Why U No Post Less?

1. I could spread these out, so that in a month when I haven't posted in, well, a month, you'd have something to read, but I kind of like surprising you.

2. Temple Grandin was FUNNY. Really, really, funny. That was the best part of it. I knew when she pointed out how silly it is that algebra is a prerequisite for geometry when they INVENTED geometry first that she and I were destined to be dear friends. Well, I suppose I'm not that lucky, but destined for me to admire her. It was perfect.

3. I had no idea the inspiration for Rainman was a guy from Utah. I learned that last night.

4. Do you think it's okay to be excited about things you know only you are excited about, and your husband chooses to be lovingly supportive of from afar?  I do.  Sometimes I try to convert him to things, but some things are mine. But then I wonder if I'm supposed to be missing him, and wishing he were there with me, and then I feel guilty for not wishing he was there, because I am evil and selfish. Thoughts?

5. I also spent about an hour last night taking a guided tour of Occupy Salt Lake. It was...surreal. That is the best way I can describe it. I was pleasantly surprised at how many questions I asked, and unpleasantly surprised at how naive I felt in the midst of it.

6. I am trying really hard to like the new Coldplay album, but it's not coming.  I am really sad about it.

7. I am currently listening the new Miranda Lambert album, and it is AWESOME.  No effort involved whatsoever.

8. It has a "Parental Advisory" warning label. YAY!! Tell it like it is, Lamby!

9. I have mixed feelings about the enormous impending snow storm. On the one hand, a snowy legginged/sweatered night in with my beloved catandman sounds lovely, but then again, I have to drive to Salt Lake tomorrow morning. So, you know, sixes.

10. I am going to be destroyed in my fantasy football league this weekend.

11. I hope you are pleasantly surprised/horrified to discover that I am in such a thing.

12. I love walking contradictions.

11.03.2011

On Headspace

Tonight is an important night to me, personally and professionally. I'm going to see Temple Grandin speak, who is one of my true heroes for so many reasons. I first read her research on autism in college, not knowing she was autistic until later, I saw her speak about therapeautic riding in a documentary while living in DC 3 years ago, I read her research on humane cattle slaughter when researching it for horse slaughter last year, and most recently, I watched the HBO movie about her life. All of these experiences came to me from different places and for different reasons, but it's almost as if she's been a constant in my life, no matter how much my own life and interests and experiences seem to change.

Tonight, I will get to hear her speak in person, and I will get to applaud her life and her ambition and her contribution. Temple Grandin has probably done more for the face of autism than any other person alive, and made more positive changes for her industry than any other person alive. She is the very essence of what this world desperately needs, and I can't help but wonder what people influenced her to continue against the current, and who else could be unleashed as she has been if they just had the support in place. I've known for several years that I have wanted to work or at least volunteer in the capacity of therapeautic riding, and this year I began that process. It's been awesome, and much of it is thanks to her.

I have been in a bad place this week, feeling sick, feeling restless, and today receiving a small but disappointing piece of news. I have been discouraged, and anxious about going tonight, and whether I would really be able to appreciate it in the midst of all my other troubles. But when I think about her, and her life, and her battles, and the battle of SO many people with autism, I'm calm. I relate to some of the difficulties of autism-- there are things inside that are dying to get out, but the tools aren't always there to release them. But every day, they find more and more ways to let people's minds and bodies free, and let someone find their inner voice. Temple has done that for other autists, she's done it for innocent livestock from which we feed our families (now with dignity) and she has done it for me. I am so eager for tonight, and for what the experience will bring.

She is my modern day Moses- freeing the people. You go, girl.

11.02.2011

A Halloween We Can Agree On.

Let's just say that if Halloween were the middle east peace process, Dan and I would be begrudgingly shaking hands between a Nobel Peace Prize Winner. I feel about Halloween the way Dan feels about Thanksgiving, and vice versa.  Halloween might be my favorite holiday, and Thanksgiving my least favorite. For Dan, it's quite the opposite.

But alas, he indulged some of my requests (going to a Halloween party, watching scary movies, putting up cobwebs on the porch) and I agreed to nix some of my preferred activities (no haunted houses, no matching costumes, no ghost hunting in abandoned buildings).

Well, a picture is worth a thousand words, right? So I present, "Frida Kahlo" and "Walmart's cheapest cat costume".

10.31.2011

Let's Compare.

This is a milestone. Dan and I have outlasted at LEAST one celebrity marriage! HURRAY!!!

I'd like to do some mathematics!



Kim and Kris:

things in common: names start with the letter "K", have both been on TV. Both known for their anatomical stats.

things their marriage had to overcome: living in New York City, tabloid rumors, and Kris having to marry a Kardashian.

Cost of Wedding: reportedly $20 million.
Duration of Marriage: 72 Days.  
cost/time= $277,777.78 per day of marriage.























Lorraine and Dan:

things in common: inability to resist a char-broiled hamburger, love of the rural american west and history, common religion, and we are often told that we look alike.

things our marriage has had to overcome: money, long commutes through suburbia, an inexhaustible cat whose preferred attack time/location is "the sleeping face".

cost of wedding: $5,000
duration of marriage: 458 days, and I don't anticipate divorcing tomorrow.
cost/time: $10.91 per day of marriage.

And the more days you get, the cheaper it gets! Staying Married For The Win!


10.26.2011

Confessional

1. Sometimes at my job, I stumble onto the public blogs of total strangers. If they are really good, I revisit them later on my own time. CREEPER.

2. I have a cuticle issue. Actually, it wasn't an issue for me, but it's an issue for Dan, so now it's an issue. I ought to have G photograph my cuticle issue for his hands project.

3. I struggle with the fact that my coworkers' TV tastes are profoundly higher than mine. Because, you know, I love the Bachelor. I do. I really do.

4. That probably needed its own confession line.

5. Bless me father, for I have watched the Bachelor and enjoyed it.

6. EVEN THE BACHELOR PAD. (AKA, the Eighth Deadly Sin. Deadly to your BRAINZ anyway.)

7. I live on a diet composed almost exclusively of carbs.  cream of wheat, english muffins, pad thai, and a cookie. That's what I ate yesterday. oh, and some juice?  And a red bull? Is that a carb? Paleo Diets are for Pets.

8. "Is butter a carb?" 

9. I get on the KSL Classifieds to look at horses for sale EVERY DAY. It's a lunchtime ritual.

10. I have a favorite person to sit next to on the bus. She keeps a cooking blog, and has a kindle. We don't speak, I just admire her.

11. Despite our need to save for stuff, all I really want is to spend all our money on a kiln.

12. sculpy and easy-bake oven aren't going to keep Dan entertained forever.

13. I'm feeling relieved that I don't have to decorate the house for Christmas, because we'll be in Baltimore.

14. I don't like the number 14.

15. I like the new Coldplay album, and I refuse to feel ashamed about my taste level.

16. It's 8am. time to work!

10.13.2011

Shopping FTW. (that stands for: For The Win, Mom)

I feel like sometimes I go weeks without any good customer services experiences, beyond a gum popping teeny bopper asking me if I want my receipt, like, in the bag or whatever.  So when I have a good experience, it sticks with me. I hope you'll indulge a small series by me shamelessly plugging retailers doing good work,  and I hope that if you're in the market for "stuff", you'll give them your business. (ps- I in no way benefit from bragging about these businesses, I just like them.)

Today's Feature:

FAB:

























This is a website that offers discounted prices on select designer clothes, house wares, and art. Most of it is modern, some of it is overpriced, but some of it is incredibly reasonable, and really handy. Such as the iced tea pitcher I got on there for a steal.

But where they win is in customer service.  I got a collapsible water bottle from their site about 3 weeks ago, and it hadn't shown up. I hadn't yet gotten to checking up on it when I found an email in my inbox from the CEO of the site (which yes, I'm sure was generated and sent to all the people in my situation, but it was still nice) saying that he was sorry I hadn't gotten the watter bottle yet, the demand was higher than the company expected, but to make up for the delay in getting it to me, here is a $10 credit in your account, and we hope you won't feel discouraged about our site in the future.  Also, here is my direct phone number and email address, if you have any questions or comments.

That, my friend, is good customer service.






10.11.2011

Today's Epiphany

Epiphanies, like feeling the presence of God, food in your belly, or Oprah, come and go.  The exact moment that you feel it, you are transcendent, looking above it all.  And then just as quickly the lights dim and the burnt edges of the moment fade as quickly as an UNDO on a horrible photoshop action.  Reality is restored.  But you hold on to that epiphany, that brush with the divine (I suppose this could apply to God or Oprah), that feeling of fullness for as long as you can, to keep in the coffers for the darkness that's to come. 

Sadly, so many of my epiphanies come in the most embarrassing of ways.

If you've been following my blog since my bravejournal days, you know that I went through this phase with LOST.  Where, living in a studio apartment on the other side of the country, those characters were my closest friends, and we had this one extraordinary thing in common: we were forced to examine the question- if you have lost everything that used to define you, who are you? 

At the time that LOST ended, I had been engaged a month, and it all felt so fitting. They were no longer lost, and neither was I.  That was such an easy thing to wrap into a box, and tie with a ribbon.

booooo boxes.  John Locke could have told you that.

In fact, many times in the past year I have felt lost. Or perhaps, more accurately, I felt like an immigrant with a very poor map. I had journeyed into the well established Land of Marriage, Mortgage, and Long Term Employment,  and I'm still learning the language, or rather, I'm still speaking some hybrid pidgin. (oh how I love a good pidgin language.)

Getting off the bus this morning at my office, at the sunrise hour of 7:27, I slid past a man watching the final scene of LOST on his smartphone. I left the bus as they boarded the plane. My heart actually started pounding. I felt a flood of emotions not necessarily related to the show, but triggered by it. Of being alone, of asking questions of myself, of being engaged.  I remembered the life lessons of the past 4 years in a single instant.

In my frustrations of learning how to navigate permanence, loss of friends, gaining of family, questions about what I am really doing with my life, I threw myself against a door and it opened. I remembered why I was here.  and the here is pointless. Who is everything.

10.02.2011

Before and After: The Kitchen

It's hard to post photos of the house under the guise that the house is "done" when there is still so much that I want to do. But where we still have so many critical needs for the house other than "get rid of the ugly but functioning fan in the kitchen" there are some things that I have learned to  live with   ignore really well. Ceiling fan? What ceiling fan? 

So, while I present the kitchen in its current state, know that there are more ambitious plans in the works, but that in fact I think it turned out pretty darn cute for the $53 we spent on it.

BEFORE: 


 AFTER:
The curtains I got from my friend Vanessa, who was going to donate them. The long ranch table was a gift from my wonderful parents (can you believe how perfectly it fit??) and the chairs I got at DI for $5 each. The ceramics were wedding gifts from my wonderful Aunt and Uncle. 

Sunlight!
BEFORE:
This is a terrific shot of the horrifying mustard that used to be on the walls. I think they were going for an "aged tuscan look" in our 1890's pioneer lehi home. In the infamous words of Home Alone, "Buzz, your [kitchen], woof!"
 AFTER:
I still have ambition to paint the built-in hutch to match the lower cabinets (which you'll see in a minute, but the greenish grey that we chose for the walls already seems to provide a huge sigh of relief from the BEFORE.)




BEFORE:
It's hard to explain how filthy everything was before- the oven was charred black with ashen pizza inside, the sink was yellow, and when the electricity shut off, no one opened the fridge, and Dan and I spent 2 hours disinfecting the village that was founding a new world in the fridge and freezer. I felt a little like King George III. I'm proud of it, but ashamed, too.
AFTER:
Adding some color made me feel good. The exposed shelving we got at IKEA for $7. Better than the $2000 we were quoted for cabinets, for now.

This watercolor and fabric are both treasured items from Moldova- the cloth is regularly kept at the entrance of the home to be a sign of welcome.


BEFORE:

Do you like the fruit??? (the fruit that I spent 2 hours trying to remove and were more permanent that Kat Von Dee's tattoo sleeves?)
 AFTER:
So, yeah, we put a cutting board over it. That'll do.


My Anthropologie knobs. yes, I'm shallow. It's a symbolic milestone.

Yes, the spice box is actually a box. It was free.

Fruit from the trees out front. It doesn't have anything to do with the kitchen, other than the fact that it's edible, I just like them.


It's got a long way to go, this little home, but I feel very much like in its own quirky way, it represents us and where we have been, what we are now, and what we are saving our money for in the future, haha. Thanks donors, DI, and Home Depot coupons!




9.26.2011

To Do Lists

1. Sanitize the house post Food Poisoning Apocalypse 2011.

2. Be photographed in the new pair of stunning boots my mother gave me as an early birthday/sympathy gift for surviving Food Poisoning Apocalypse 2011.

3. Repress all memories of Food Poisoning Apocalypse 2011.

4. Throw away everything in the fridge more than 5 days old. Yes, even the ketchup.

5. Dan says I can't throw away the ketchup, or the mustard. but he insists I get rid of the Vegan Mayo. 

6. That is just like a man.

7. Build a bench in the kitchen to go under the window and run along the dining room table.

8. Squeal with delight after completing #7.

9. Somehow convince people to start coming to our front door instead of our kitchen door.  This could take
awhile.

10. Find someone to sell me a high fire kiln for a fraction of what it's worth, so I can open the coolest etsy store ever. (so cool that if it's not on the front page of Etsy every day, Kanye West will defy your firewall and appear as a pop-up and say "Imma let you finish, but Lorraine had one of the best Etsy Stores OF ALL TIME."

11. Buy the new Kanye/Jay Z album.  It's the least I can do for Kanye defending me like that.

12. Take Dan to the Waves of Mu Show at the U in the next two weeks, because I think that should probably sufficiently freak him out about pop art for the next 2-3 months until we go to New York.

13. Finish posting about the house. It's something I'm eager to do, but also anxious to do, because every room in the house is still so much a work in progress.  But you deserve more, dear readers, you really do.

14. Stop getting so angry about politics and instead read ONLY the wedding section of the New York Times.

15. Go to one Yoga Class. That's all.

16. Find someone who will let me smell their horse. I don't need a ride, just a whiff will do. That should get rid of the shakes for a week, at least.

17. Post my Zion pictures. I swear, I'm going to.

18. Thank my readers for reading.  Thank you for reading!!! Your comments and even non-commenting stalking positively makes my day.

One down, 17 to go!

9.19.2011

Quarantined.

After spending nearly an entire week away from work, boredly skimming hours of TV, knitting, reading, coughing, making homemade soup and smoothies, sniffling, doodling, medicating, and sleeping, the Jacksons are finally back to work. We also got into the game Skip-Bo, which I was really excited about, until Dan defeated me twice in games much closer than the Utah v. BYU game Saturday night. (I have to say it like that, because it's the only I can feely okay about it. Yes, I am 5, and yes, that's why Evanses don't play many games. We are not now, and will probably never be mature enough to lose gracefully.) Go Utes.

We also got to know our adolescent kitten much better, which is wonderful, because after spending almost a straight week with him, I am fully relieved to know that he is NOT a normal cat as I have feared, and full of weird cat neuroses as I had hoped.  For example, Jeoffrey ONLY drinks the purest of pure waters, preferably from containers made for humans.  Even when I wash his water bowl, fill it with clean water, and set it out for him, he will take a couple pitiful pitter pattering licks of it before turning up his nose and returning to his previous obsession with Dan's orange plastic State Fair Cup on his nightstand, which enrages my beloved to a point of hilarity I cannot express here. Occassionally, he can be appeased by my new morning ritual of filling a tiny mexican ceramic bowl at the bathroom sink, and letting him drink there while I "make myself up for the day".

The cat loves animals on television, and cartoons. he is obsessed with the cursor arrow on my laptop, he comes when he's called, and he absolutely ADORES fetch.  He will bring you a catnip mouse and wag his tail until you throw it.  If you should fail to notice that there is a catnip mouse, he will proceed to bring you the feather toy, the teddy bear, and if truly desperate every one of the scrunchies from my hair drawer until you notice, and then you WILL be expected to throw each and every one of them.  He snores when he naps, and he almost always sleeps with his feet in the air, belly exposed, and delicate white paws curled. His favorite morning pastime is to crawl behind the window slats in the bathroom and watch our neighbors hens which feed on our backyard worms every morning.

What I think this means is that we will never have a need for a dog.




Ahh work, why must you pull me from my boys??




  

9.13.2011

Before and After: The Office.

I decided to start my very ceremonious and official tour of our new house in the office, mostly because it's the cleanest right now, and because it just happened to have good light coming in the same time that I actually had my camera charged. That's fate, y'all.

For some reason the only pictures I have of the office before the update was the ones from the realtor.  The realtor made it look much better than it actually was. there were giant burnt holes in the carpet, the brown paint was washy and cheap and sad and, like the whole house, it had a thick film of dirt and grime from the former tenants. 

Before:






After:
the desk I've had since I was young, our art supplies, Dan's guitar, a fraction of the books (including my Utonians!)


Dan's records, the non-fiction books.  Do you like the wall color? I hope so. You'll be seeing it in 2 more rooms! Also, this is probably the best shot of the original pine floors, which are painted white now, but someday when we win the non-existent Utah Lottery, we will refinish them to their 1895 glory.


The pine doors and handles are original to the house. Hand planked mormon pine, specific to the 1890s. The photography above the computer was my father's gift to us.


The "shrine" haha!  These are probably worthy of their own blog post someday, but sufficeth to say that they are souvinirs from being present at Pres. Obama's inauguration. (and yes, that black power painting was purchased from a street vendor in DC and is hilariously awesome.)

Some of our favorite old books and precious gifts from friends.

the original door framing, and one of the paintings my mom and dad made for Sundance Catalog back in the 90's. Fish paintings are so en vogue now.

the middle shelf is where I keep some of my favorite and oft-referenced literature.

My yarn finally has a pretty place to live! (for better or worse, the cat only likes the yarn when I'm knitting it.)

That's part one, can't wait to show you many more of our humble new-old abode!

9.02.2011

A Thief in the Night

Last night Dan and I got to go to an impromptu outdoor concert at Red Butte Garden for the band Thievery Corporation. They're sort of an electric/lounge/reggae group from DC, and I really enjoyed the vibe and variety of their show, but I also enjoyed that the whole thing was free, a bonus to the picture of life, because I didn't feel obligated to participate in the show in any particular way.  I didn't feel like I "had to get my money's worth."  I just took what I liked, did as I pleased, clapped when it was deserved.  After dancing around like a fool much to the giddy embarrassment of Dan, we just sat down and let the people dance around us, while we looked up and talked about the stars.  In the muffling of dancing bodies around our little blanket planet, you could almost forget where you were, and just enjoy being on earth on a summer night. It was a rather perfect moment.

The only question I have to add to this is, Why do we get so excited when bands say the name of our city?  "I'M FROM THERE! YEEEAH!"  or "HE'S TALKING TO ME, BECAUSE WE ARE ALL SALT LAKE CITY!" or perhaps "I HAVE ALSO BEEN TO THAT PLACE THAT YOU MENTION!"  either way, it created quite a joyous kerfuffle last night. multiple times. I didn't mind.

8.30.2011

The Eagle Has Landed...In My Heart.

Now that I ride a bus for an hour and a half each way, I get to spend time reading.

But the past 3 weeks haven't felt like reading. They've felt like an afterschool job that I love. They've felt like intimate meetings with some of the most extraordinary minds who have ever developed themselves, for the greater good. They have felt like walking a mile in a great man's shoes.

I've been reading about SPACE.

More specifically, the U.S. space program, and not just the astronauts, whose stories are of course amazing but well known.  Instead, I've had the chance to read about the space program through the eyes of the directors, engineers, telemetry guys, guidance systems gurus, and even the security guard of the Mission Control Center.  Every single one of their stories makes it so real, and so powerful, and reading it has truly been a life changing experience. 

This morning, my 45 minutes on the bus corresponded perfectly with the 40 minutes that it took Mission Control to guide the Lunar Module from lunar orbit into descent, and onto the surface of the moon.  Reading each of the commands, hearing the voices of all 15 of the guys in Mission Control and the crew responding as they determine altitude and fuel quantity and the splendid but curt description of the surface of the moon as the astronauts seek out a landing site. You've just never read anything like it. 

This particular book, "Failure is Not an Option" is written by Gene Kranz, who was the flight director in Houston.  What I love about his writing style is that he writes to you as if you are intelligent, capable of keeping up with his descriptions of people and titles and timelines and unbelievably advanced engineering and physics.  He writes to the world as if just reading the book is a standing invitation to join his team. By the time you land on the moon with Apollo 11, you just get it. You see the extraordinary talent and courage it took not just to be the man on the moon, but the men and women who put him there. 

It is sad to me that I have had a hard time finding a friend who feels this way about the space program. Who doesn't see it as a waste of money and a trivial part of the political cold war game. I guess Gene Kranz is that friend, the guy who devoted his life to putting a man on the moon not for fun or for money or to beat the Russians, but because, as he so magnificently states, there is a draw to "accomplish some feat where the human factor makes it possible where technology, no matter how brilliant or advanced, cannot. We have slipped the surly bonds of Earth."  The moon landing, that moment, is one of the masterpieces of collective human genius and valor. 

I just can't recommend this book enough, and hope that someone will take me up on the offer to read it, just so I can have someone to talk to about one of the best bus rides of my life.


Another one of my favorite space moments: Ed White completing the first Extra Vehicular Activity in history.

8.18.2011

For Safe Keeping.

Everytime that I want to use my mom's pie crust recipe (which is the best pie crust recipe) I have to go SEARCHING for it in the only place that I know it exists forever, which is my sister's blog. No offense to mom, but middle sister definitely has this recipe memorized, and I don't think mom memorizes anything anymore. But the farther we get from September 2010 the harder it is for me to find it in the backlogs of blogs.  Which is annoying. So I'm putting it

HERE.

beware, for this link will take you to the world's best mommyblogger with ADD (which is more charming than anything), the world's most photogenic blogchildren, and the world's best Pie Crust Cookies.  (as well as actual pie crust.) 

By the way, this comes about as a result of us picking our Plum Tree last night- AREN'T I SO FREAKING DOMESTIC AND CHARMING?  Less so when I say it in all caps? Good.

8.12.2011

The World As Seen by My Phone

Awhile back I got a nice camera to go with all my photographic ambition, and more recently, I've continually forgotten to charge it, or pretty much that it even exists. So that when I went to Austin recently for work, I said, meh, I'll just take my point and shoot, and proceeded to forget to get batteries the entire time I was there.  It's a residual issue for me, the fact that things needs power to run. It's baloney, anyway, I've been running on fumes since April.  beat that, CAMERA THAT HAS ENOUGH BATTERIES TO TELL ME MY BATTERIES ARE EXHAUSTED, BUT NOT ENOUGH TO TAKE ANOTHER PHOTOGRAPH. That's all, the ranting is done. I've sat with it, and I'm over it.

Ergo, here is my life the past three weeks brought to you not my a DSLR, not by a point and shoot, not even by an artsy iphone instagram, but by my ENV 2 and all both of its megapixels. (like I'm going to complain that my PHONE can take PICTURES.  that will always be awesome.)

The Austin skyline at sunset from my hotel room. It's purrrty.

The Texas Capital. Hotter outside than you can really gather from watching Real World Austin. Almost died walking here.

Texas dome. If a state could copyright a shape, Texas would copyright stars.


Best Door Hinges in the world, ever.  I can't compete.

the Texas House of Reps. When they say that everything's bigger in Texas, they mean, our house is bigger than America's House. And they would be right. Also, their chairs are nicer.

You may or may not know that Austin is also known as BAT CITY. Those brown swirly things? Bats. about 100 of the 1.3 Million bats that live under the Austin bridge and leave at dusk every night to go a huntin' like good little Texans.

See the black specks on the right over the horizon? Bats. I KNOW.

Coworkers and I took a little detour one night fer some outlying rural texas BBQ. I ate the rib of a cow, and it was amazing. Then we went sightseeing, to walk off all of the eating.

A purrty building in Lockhart, our BBQ town.  I loved this town, if you can't tell.

Back to Austin. This is the Driskill Hotel.  Real fancy, in a country and western sort of way.

This was in the Ladies Bathroom in the Driskill. I didn't go in there to take this picture, but it was a delightful bonus.

The stained glass dome in the Driskill, which I thought was just lovely. Dan, can we put one up in the "Stoker house"?

And here are two other nice things my camera saw recently. One is from when Aimee and the kids came to visit, and Dan and Sylvie had a nice peaceful bonding moment by the duck pond at Pioneer Park, while Aimee ventured alone into the land of chaos which was trying to wrastle two scruffy and wonderful boys into their car seats.

I'm glad you can't tell that's what's going on behind this pastoral scene of utter cuteness. Though I wish I had a picture of that too. 


This is our cat, Jeoffrey c.o.u.g.h. Cannonball.  He is a kitten, and he is a handful, and he makes terrible odors, and I love him desperately. 

Oh, the life of a camera phone. Her life is charmed, if you ask me.