Thursday, March 30, 2006
This weekend and during the first half of this week, Josh finished my closet. My new and improved Elfa Closet. And I think I'm in love. If I could, I'd make sweet love to the closet. In fact, I spent so much time in there that Josh shoved me aside to see what all the fuss was about, and in a muffled voice from inside, I heard him sigh and say, "Oh, I have closet envy."
Let's look back on the day that I cleaned out my closet here. If you'll notice, the date that I cleaned out my closet and purchased the Elfa closet materials from the Container Store was February 15, 2006. Now, I'm not bitter or anything, just stating a fact. A February 15th fact.
Regardless, this weekend Josh finally tackled the mess that was our guest room, since he told me to empty out my closet in preparation for the new organizational structure. On February 15th. Somehow I think this might have to do with the fact that his parents are coming to visit for Passover, and our guest room looks like this:
Maybe I'm too cynical. What do you think?
Let's get some perspective before we tackle this mess. This is what my closet looked like when we started.
The problem with the original closet was that it was actually an L shaped closet, with the door at one end of the L (see Josh's arm? That is the rest of the L shape). That meant that in order for me to reach all of my clothes, I'd have to duck under clothing and get pelted in the head by hangers, while stepping over shoes and maneuvering between purses. It wasn't the ideal situation so I'd been protesting for a few months over the poor setup. Josh wasn't convinced that we could make it any better, but armed with measurements and my own crafty plans, I got the Container Store to plan out a closet that would allow me to utilize the whole L shape, while also allowing me to get into the closet and view all of my clothes. Keep in mind, of course, that the closet is small. We're not talking walk-in style.
Josh tore down the wooden structure that was there, and I patched holes, sanded, and painted the entire closet a gleaming clean white. Even the ceiling! Without the long bar inside, it looked so much bigger than I'd imagined. Then he hung the brackets upon which the Elfa system hangs.
Then we hung the bars from the brackets, and attached the different shelves or rods, according to the organizational plan.
The Container Store crew came up with some good solutions, even with the small size.
When you are looking in through the closet door, we have a double rod for hanging clothes, and two shelves. On the right hand side is enough space for me to walk into the closet, and turn to see the rest of the L shape and those shelves.
View from outside of the closet looking in.
The rest of the L shape has another double bar, one long hanging bar for dresses and long skirts, and then a row of 5 shelves for sweaters and shirts.
This is at the opening of the closet, looking into the rest of the L shape, but you can't see around the curve yet.
Do you see the prettiness? Don't you love how the white shelves and brackets match the gleaming white walls?
I'm in LUURRVVEEE folks. Head over heels. For the past year, I've had clothes scattered throughout the house. Some hanging in a closet in the basement, some hanging in the closet that I hope will someday be a nursery, some in an armoire in the guest room, and already I was able to empty two closets out to consolidate the clothes in my one closet. And I still have room! The difference is unbelievable!
Standing in the middle of the closet, looking into the bend.
It is a struggle to come to work in the morning these days, because I have to part with my beautiful closet. But getting dressed has been a pleasure, and once I line my gorgeous shelves with my flowery smelling new shelf liners, I may have to take some personal days off. That, and I need to figure out where my shoes will go, because we didn't so much take that into consideration. Suggestions?
Now please free to tell me you have closet envy and want to make sweet love to the closet too. I'm surprised I haven't named it yet.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
The downside to that was that we lived with sand in our cottage the whole week, and even had sand in our bed because it was too hard to brush the dogs off every time they came inside! It was worth it, though. This was the view from our front door:
I could let the dogs in and out several times per day. Tango stood at the door and begged to go out every minute of the day, and once outside he'd lounge in the sand refusing to go into the shade. When I finally called them inside, he'd stand at the edge of our porch and glare at me, as if demanding to know why he had to leave the sunshine.
There are two main towns in St. Croix- Fredricksted and Christiansted. We stayed just outside of Fredricksted where there were very few tourists. Both towns are very cute, although there were more restaurants and shops in Christiansted.
We could walk to Fredricksted, and did every morning to grab breakfast or an iced coffee. Our cottage had a kitchenette, so we kept cereal and snacks in there but we still ventured over to the town for lunch or dinner or my required iced coffees.
The town was small, but had a couple of shops, several restaurants, and a beautiful boardwalk that is being remodeled.
Even though many of the buildings are run down, they are painted in colorful Caribbean pastels, and framed against the clear blue skies, I couldn't help but take picture after picture.
We rented a car to take us around the island, particularly when our hotel told us that it might be up to $40 each way to get us over to the other town for dinner or sightseeing.
Christiansted was fun, but still very low-key. St. Croix isn't huge into the tourism, and it seemed that most people were interested in the sun, sea, and snorkeling. And maybe the pina coladas, too, or maybe that's just me.
There is an old fort right on the waterfront in Christiansted, and it was certainly beautiful! A lovely, sunny yellow!
This was the old customs house, where they'd weigh goods that came into St. Croix.
In spite of Josh's protests, I couldn't deny my history major tendencies and forced him to do a walking tour of the town.
Here is the town hall and the steeple building. These buildings set against the waterfront are breathtaking!
This is just a small portion of the pictures we took over the week! It was a bit excessive, but fun to look back now. Tomorrow I'll add a few more, and you'll have to settle an argument Josh and I are having about what kind of animal is in a wall sculpture. The waiters at the restaurant weighed in on his side, but I have faith in all of you.
Monday, March 27, 2006
St. Croix was fantastic! We did nothing besides sitting on the beach, swimming in the ocean, and eating. It was perfect and exactly what we needed.
I'm still catching up on bills, emails, work, and getting the house somewhat clean, but I have so many stories and pictures to share.
I've decided that a little bit of sun and relaxation is exactly what we needed, given the fact that we are all feeling a little bit more upbeat and a little more motivated. A little more tan, too. Well, except for Josh, who is a lot more freckly.
More tomorrow, once we've caught our breath. I can't wait to catch up with all of you.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
I've been contenting myself with thinking about Spring coming soon (please please soon), and days and nights in St. Croix. I'm so focused on that trip, though, that I am starting to worry about my mental health when I get back. You probably shouldn't focus on the end of your vacation before it actually starts, right?
Lots of my fellow associates have told me that one week is simply not enough. It often takes a full week for you to stop worrying about work or checking your Blackberry obsessively (mine is named Eye of Sauron, for those of you that know Lord of the Rings, his all-seeing eye watches me everywhere). The second week is pure pleasure, once your blood pressure has come down a bit.
Unfortunately, I've never had the nerve to take a two-week trip. Mainly because it makes me nervous, plus I'd have to leave the dogs with someone and two weeks is a long time. Also because, for some reason, the prospect of actually having potential vacation days is very important to me. If I ran out of days in October, I might have a little breakdown.
Sooo, I will focus on my activities in the 5 days that I have. Monday night will see me (hopefully) placing bets on crabs. You don't think the crabs mind, do you? This doesn't negate my love of animals, I hope.
Tuesday we have a snorkling trip planned to Buck Island. Let's hope my normally crushing motion sickness doesn't get me on the trip out there on a sailboat.
Wednesday or Thursday I'd like to take a tour of the island, and besides that, I expect to have A LOT of pina coladas. They are my most favoritest drink, you know?
Plus, even though Jo(e) says you can't plan it, I still "plan" on attempting my first ever skinny dipping expedition (shhhhhh!). I feel that with a cottage on the beach, I'm never going to get a better chance than this, right?
Tango says he doesn't care, as long as we bring his chew toys.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
After an hour of wishing the nausea away, I knew that I had to find a way to shower and get dressed, because yesterday morning was also my dreaded dentist appointment. For my root canal, ick.
Two weeks ago, I had a first appointment with a new dentist, who took the requisite dental x-rays, and found a cavity on my back lower molar. He warned me that it looked like it might be close to the root, and with a grimace, might require a root canal.
Ridiculous, I thought. I am an obsessive teeth brusher and flosser. I had braces in law school, and I learned not to eat candy to avoid stains or cavities, drink coffee through a straw to avoid staining my teeth (did you know that tip?), and I use flouride every week. My parents had dental problems while I was growing up, and their trips to the dentist scared me into action. I don't think I have EVER gone to bed with brushing my teeth. Ever. I'll ask my mom for confirmation, but when I tell you it is a compulsion, I am not exaggerating.
When my braces were removed at graduation, though, no one took x-rays, and I suspect that problem was existing at the time. The cavity is right on that moral they use as the anchor with braces, the one that gets covered by the metal band. It would have been impossible for me to prevent food from getting stuck under there.
Anyway, when I went for the filling, it turned out to need a root canal. The cavity had just infiltrated the root, and according to the dentist, if I didn't do something about it, it would decay the root and compromise the strength of the tooth. If we took out the infected nerve right away, I'd save the tooth from decaying too soon. This weekend I mourned my poor defenseless tooth, and moped around a bit, but the root canal was not bad at all.
It took about an hour and 15 minutes, long enough for my jaw to be screaming in protest from being held open. The periodontist said that many people fell asleep while he was working on their teeth, but that was soooo not going to happen with me. I did have a moment of panic when he told me that I was totally numb and wouldn't feel a thing, but then felt 3 sharp jabs in quick succession on the bottom of my jaw, under my chin. They were each less than a split second, but I was so surprised to feel such a sharp pain that I screwed my eyes up and started crying for a few seconds out of fear of what else I'd feel. That was it, though, nothing to write home about. It was certainly no worse than a regular filling, just longer.
In a month I'll meet again with my dentist to decide whether a permanent filling or cap will be required. He suspects a filling, but we'll have to see.
While the drilling was going on, I kept trying unsuccessfully to imagine myself in St. Croix to focus on other things. About halfway through, they turned on the radio or put in a cd, and strangely, played my wedding song. I say strangely, because the song I walked down the aisle to is fairly unusual and uncommon- Sarah Brightman's "No One Like You."
I took it as a sign that I should calm down, which I did.
In your eyes are my secrets
that I've never shown you
In my heart I feel
I've always known you
In your arms there's a comfort
that I never knew
You're what I've been waiting for,
there's no one like you
Sure as the sunrise, pure as a prayer
You fashioned hope right out of thin air
Ev'ry dream I abandoned,
seems it could come true
I believe in miracles,
there's no one like you.
Monday, March 13, 2006
After a brief talk from some of the legal aid organizations that the increased funds would benefit, all the attorneys split up to visit their respective parties.
It was a beautiful almost-Spring day, and it is always nice to see colleagues outside of the office. They let their guards down, become more personable and friendly. And of course, it is always nice to do something for others.
Friday, March 10, 2006
Just like downtown Boston during the Big Dig. Seriously. The worst part about the Big Dig isn't the mind-bending traffic, although that is bad, or the constant banging, whirring, screeching sounds, although that is bad too, or the fact that all of Massachusetts' money is going to fund this never-ending project, even though that stinks.
No, it isn't any of that. It is the fact that every ever-loving day, I drive to work. And EVERY DAY, the road is different.
Yesterday, the left lane was a turn left only lane and the middle and right lanes went straight. This would make sense, because across the street, the road is only 2 lanes, not three. But TODAY, today the left lane also goes straight. And this morning I found myself crossing the intersection between a school bus and a huge freight truck, and they both began to squish me between them in their effort to enter the two lane road ahead of us.
The turn onto the 93 highway used to be on the right, with a somewhat clearly marked sign. Now, the entry is on the left side, with no sign letting you know in advance that it has changed. It has been 3 weeks since that change, and I promise you, there has not been one morning that a driver from the right hand lane hasn't zoomed in front of me turning left, almost causing an accident. Every. Single. Morning.
Last week, I turned right into my building off of the main road. This week, I have to do a complicated series of turns, that are not explained nor are they labeled, in order to make it into my parking lot.
The other night when I took a cab back to my car from the movie, the cab driver got so hopelessly lost that he threw his hands up in the air and turned off the meter. When we finally pulled up in front of my building, he dejectedly said, "pay whatever you want."
There are also no crosswalks, because the street is littered with crushed concrete and spray painted arrows and unintelligible symbols that allegedly make sense to the construction folks, so on top of everything else, there are people crossing in the middle of the street. They just pop up between parked cars and big piles of dirt to take years away from my life.
Every night, it takes me half an hour or more to go the 10 blocks until the freeway. At least a half-hour. This week, I've endeavored to work from home past 7pm just to avoid that traffic. The words that spew from my mouth would make sailors blush.
This morning, though, after almost getting crushed between the school bus and the freight truck, there was a final indignity. Look at the new drivers on the road:
10 miles per hour, people, 10 MILES PER HOUR. I think I need a drink, and it is only 9:30am.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Bodies in the sand
Tropical drink melting in your hand
We'll be falling in love
To the rhythm of a steel drum band
We'll put out to sea
And we'll perfect our chemistry
By and by we'll defy a little bit of gravity
Cocktails and moonlit nights
That dreamy look in your eye
Give me a tropical contact high
I realize I never responded to your vacation suggestions, which were all wonderful. Thank you!!! It took some finagling to find a spot that took dogs, and would allow us to easily fly with the dogs. They don't seem to mind traveling, since they love their bag, but I hate to keep them in there for too long. Even flying to California seems to me to be hard on them. After all, they can't go to the bathroom in their bag and they don't eat on the trip.
I ended up discovering a great deal on tickets to St. Croix from Budget Travel Online. If you haven't experienced the wonder that is Budget Travel, I'd bookmark it now. It is my all-time favorite source for vacations. In law school, I found a deal for $600 for 6 nights in Rio de Janeiro, airfare, hotel and transfers included. 6 of my girlfriends and I took advantage of the trip and had a fantastic time. The hotel was the Copacabana Hotel, nothing too fancy, but right on the beach and within walking distance to a number of restaurants, bars and shops. Through the same company we organized tours of Corcovado*, Sugarloaf, and other sites, as well as Samba shows. I'd recommend any of their deals.
Sooooo, we are off to St. Croix in a couple of weeks. I also found very reasonable little cottages right on the beach, with kitchenettes, that allows dogs. Perfect for us! That way, we can eat breakfast at the cottage and do a grocery run for snacks. It'll save us a little more money. It also makes it easier with the dogs, who can run in and out of the cottage while we are sitting on the beach. A private beach! Hurray! I'm concerned about the heat and the pups, especially Murray, but with the room right nearby, I can stick them inside if the temperatures get too high.
I. Can. Not. Wait.
I need a week away from work. I need a week of sleep. I need to not be cold all the time for a few days. I also can't wait to see the dogs' reaction to the warm water and sand. They've only been swimming once, on Cape Cod, and Tango has been to the beach in Florida. He kept trying to eat the sand.
What I do NOT need, is to put on a bathing suit, but maybe Josh won't notice the extra pounds. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
Camille will also be coming on the vacation, of course, and I'm hoping that I'll have figured out enough to take some nice beach/flower/ocean pictures. Maybe that will keep me going until spring!
* Blogger suggested Crackpots instead of Corcovado. Ha!
Sunday, March 05, 2006
It was great. I learned quite a bit in the 9-4:30pm course on Saturday. Although Nikon sponsored the course, it was fairly generic. They went over "basic" SLR technology, lenses, software, and picture-taking skills. I say basic sarcastically, because, um, no one told me that photography could be so complicated. My head is spinning between apertures and shutters and film speed.
Before I was born, my father worked a second job as a professional photographer. I remember pulling out these fantastically glamourous pictures of my mother he took when they were in their twenties. I would stare at the pictures and wonder if I'd ever look like her when I grew up (unfortunately, I don't). When they moved to the United States, though, my father didn't have a dark room or the time or money to keep up his photography. He had a good quality point and shoot, and because he had the talent and the eye, his pictures were still impressive.
From the time I can remember, my father set me up with a basic camera and provided tips on how to take pictures. Center the subject. Try to put people in the picture for perspective. Make pictures interesting. Work with the sun behind you. And on and on. Through his teaching, I was able to frame pictures in an acceptable manner, but we never went over any of the more technical details of photography.
Saturday's course was exciting, because each new lesson learned meant a new kind of picture, a new level of skill. Holy smokes, though, it is so much harder than my old point and shoot! So much more potential for mistake.
I spent most of the day on Sunday taking practice pictures and trying to remember some of what I'd learned on Saturday. This one only took about 90 practice pictures to get right.
It is much harder than I ever thought it would be. I guess I'll be reading through the manual again. And then again. And then I'm thinking that I'll sign up for a longer photography course, because maybe that will help me to remember some of these tips.
One of the things I've always wanted to do is take those pictures where your subject is super focused, and the background is blurred.
I'm still ecstatic to have Camille, and she certainly takes lovely pictures, when I don't mess them up. But, it is difficult.
Murray says, "how embarassing! I have a leaf on my face."
Tango says, "stop taking pictures and just throw the stinking ball, mom."
I also got Photoshop Elements, and that should help to correct those pictures that I screw up. Like when I spent an hour taking pictures outside in bright sunlight after I'd just set the camera for indoor lighting. Hmmm, that would explain the black pictures.
I know, shut up.
One of the reviews said that the scariest part of this movie was imagining how much Windex it takes to clean all the windows in this house, and that isn't far off from the truth. It was pretty slow-moving and non-scary. But really, this isn't about the movie.
My friend, T, was at a restaurant in Boston's Theater District, having drinks with a friend before we met for the movie. The Theater District isn't toooo far from where I work, so I set out walking to get there. I'd failed to recognize that it was sub-zero temperatures on Friday night and that I was wearing thin pants. I made it to Boston Common, and realized that by the time I made it to the restaurant, I'd have hypothermia and also need to turn right around and start walking back to the movie theater. So I did the logical thing, and stopped inside the movies, called T and let her know I'd meet her there instead, and then set upon defrosting.
I asked to use their restroom to examine my wind-blown hair and stop my frozen nose from running all over my face, and although the restroom was behind the ticket taker's stand, they waved me through with nary a glance. When I returned, I parked myself near the ticket taker's stand, leaning against the snack bar, waiting for T to arrive.
After a few minutes, two young girls wandered over from a larger group of teens to the side of the theater where I was standing. They were well-dressed, around 13 or 14 years old, laughing, and African-American. Chatting animatedly, they asked the ticket taker, who also happened to be African-American, if they could use the bathroom. At this point, I was hardly paying attention, but then the ticket taker said rather nastily, "I don't know. Do you have a ticket?" When the girls said no, she said that it wasn't a public restroom and until they got a ticket, they couldn't use the bathroom. I was surprised, because obviously I'd just been allowed into the bathroom. One of the girls said that they were waiting for a couple of friends before choosing a movie and purchasing tickets. The ticket taker just stared at the girl rudely, and shook her head no, "When you get a ticket, you can use the bathroom."
As the two girls went back to the group of teens they'd been standing with, a manager who'd been standing nearby the whole time, said to the ticket taker, "You can just tell sometimes. You can't let everyone through."
I understand that white or black, some teenagers can be intimidating, "sketchy," appear to be trouble-makers. These girls were not and did not look like anything other than sweet girls who needed to use the restroom. They were even part of a group of teens, further proof that it was unlikely they'd disappear into the theater.
I'm sure it happens all the time. I'm sure I shouldn't be shocked, but I was. I didn't know what to say. Had the ticket taker been Caucasian, I would have walked over and asked her why she let me through, and not the girls. I could have called her out as a racist. But how could I call someone out as racist who was discriminating against people of her own race?
T arrived shortly thereafter, and I recounted the story to her as we walked to our seats. I'm annoyed at myself for not saying anything, and I'm saddened that the manager confirmed the ticket taker's behavior as appropriate. Sigh. A 30 second interaction, and now it is Sunday, and I'm still stewing.
Friday, March 03, 2006
Now, this new member of the family came by much discussion, bargaining, begging and check balancing. She also came about because of a slight raise from my law firm, that was received with much smiles and appreciation and praise be to whoever noticed that I work all the time.
I have fallen madly in love with this newest family member, I think she is adorable.
[If you are interested in purchasing or knowing more about Digital SLRs, please read on! If not, feel free to skip to the comments section to tell me how gorgeous you think Camille the Canon Camera is, and how you think she looks just like me.] ; )
I mentioned in the past that I was hoping to purchase a Digital SLR, and when I received my digital SLR photography course for Valentine's Day, I took it as an indication that I had also received my husband's blessing on purchasing it.
Now, because I am anally obsessive, I read hundreds (!) of reviews and went to 5 camera shops to get differing opinions on which camera I should purchase. I heard many conflicting opinions, read many conflicting opinions, and quite frankly, people feel VERY STRONGLY about their camera choice. Who knew? It is like the sock thing. We take it personally.
My choice came down to the Nikon D-70 and the Canon Digital Rebel XT (not to be mistaken with the Canon Digital Rebel that is not the XT). Before I held the camera in my hands, I suspected I might prefer the Canon, but once I picked it up, I knew I was right. The truth is, I am a wuss. I complain that my purse is too heavy, I believe that my head has hurt all week because I had to carry the 16 pounds of dog through the airport this weekend, I make Josh carry my bags when we travel. I cannot deal with a heavy camera, and for me, Nikon's 2.5 pounds was just too much. Scoff if you must, but I knew that I'd never take it on vacations if I had to carry that weight around. I'll admit it, I am weak and should go to the gym. Go ahead, point fingers and laugh.
That being said, the Canon achieves its lighter size by being smaller and built out of plastic with a metal casing inside. If you are looking for a very sturdy professional feeling camera and you have bigger hands, this might not be the one for you. I have small hands, Josh doesn't want me to tell you he has small hands, but he kind of does. If you believe, based on reviews, that the picture quality is very comparable between the two, then it comes down to how it feels in your hands.
Anyway, Camille is a HUGE improvement over my Canon Powershot S50. I took pictures of (who else) the dogs last night, and I could see every hair on their little heads in the shots. As a demonstration, I also took pictures with each camera from my office window. With Camille, I could see whether the blinds were open on the buildings many blocks away.
These are through my office window, no zooming.
Hmmm, more impressive when you zoom in. Ah well. I'm attempting to figure out Photoshop, and once I do, I'm sure I'll be accosting you with pictures. Hurray!
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Yeah, I thought so too.
Angie at Big Red Couch was kind enough to give me the February Perfect Post Award for my post about my wonderful parents, The Originals.
I've been having a rough week, and this was such a welcome surprise! Thank you, Angie! I'm so excited and flattered! Thank you!
Now... how do I get this into my sidebar? Why am I so computer illiterate?
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
I begged Josh to drive into the city and pick me up from work, a good half hour drive for him. As we were driving back out, I realized that I'd driven in that morning, and had forgotten my car in the garage.
Inspired by Songbird's suggestion of pancakes for Fat Tuesday, we decided to leave the car where it was and head to IHoP for dinner. They were having a fundraiser and everyone got free pancakes for Fat Tuesday! What good luck! I decided to splurge on a chocolate milk to go with my pancakes, but when the waiter delivered it to the table there was chocolate globbed onto the side of the glass and the milk was looking decidedly unchocolatey. I didn't have a spoon, so I used my straw to whisk the milk around the glass and mix it up. In the process, however, I accidentally flicked the straw filled with milk out of the glass and sprayed myself, my bag, coat and scarf, and my neighbor in the booth behind me with chocolate milk. Do not doubt how much chocolate milk can fit into one straw. My sticky hair is still providing proof.
This morning, Josh dropped me off at the subway station, and when I arrived, I realized that I'd worn my thinnest pants with my thinnest trouser socks, and forgotten my hat, and I had to walk 15 minutes in the 19 degree weather to the office once I exit the train.
Yes, it is a distinct possibility that I may need to try going to bed a little bit earlier from now on.