Friday, January 29, 2010

Welcome to the ConeZone

Here's the thing people, and if you're friends with me in "real life", on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter you already know this- I LOVE Conan O'Brien. And I really mean it. I think the man has more talent in his pompadour than most people have in their entire body. That's how it stays so fluffy and naturally bounces back into place. And, as I think a lot of people have discovered through this whole NBC brouhaha, he is a really genuine guy. I've seen a lot of comments in the recent weeks on many of the blogs I frequent about how inspiring his last Tonight Show speech was, and I couldn't agree more. And the recent turn of events for Mr. O'Brien has made me realize that I just can't go that long without some Conan in my life. So, I've decided that around here on Fridays it will be time to enter the ConeZone. Every Friday I hope to share a video, picture or other Coney-related item to help get us (okay, mostly me) through these dark days until Conan's next project can bring us out of this winter of discontent.

Clearly I had some thinking to do. What clip would best serve as the inaugural post for this new venture? The speech from The Tonight Show might be an obvious choice, but is in fact so obvious, and already so ubiquitous on the blog circuit that it was easy to eliminate it from the running. Then, I of course have some personal favorites. Clips that I can watch over, and over, and over again, then go to sleep, rerun in my dreams, wake up and watch again. But this isn't all about me (just this one time though, from here on out I'll be selfish), it's about sharing a little bit of why I think this guy is the cat's meow, a hilarious inspiration to us all. And so, I made a decision and I truly hope that if you decide to watch these clips they will just reinforce for you what you got a glimpse of last week- he is a man who works hard and is kind. Oh, and is very, very funny. ConeZone #1: Conan's speech to the Harvard Class of 2000, in two parts. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Wanted to share some of the newest additions to my To-Read list. Hoping to make a library run and check out one of them this weekend.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver

Happier: Learn the Secret to s to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment by Tal Ben-Shahar

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Feeling Better

Okay, after much ruminating over our budget I came to the conclusion that I should just quit my worrying and get on with things. I still want to keep an eye on our spending, but I've decided to just keep up with the savings plan we've been on. Then, depending on how trimming excess spending goes we can move extra money into savings every so often. There, the end.

I'm still feeling a little off kilter though. I've been pretty out of focus lately as far as working on goals. I haven't had my typical strong start to the year on my resolutions. Trying to keep on keeping on, but just feel like there is a lack of strong motivation right now. Deciding to keep my head down and power through, and hope the motivation catches up with me later.

Josh's 30th Birthday

I didn't get a chance to post about it yesterday thanks to a super busy work day , but it was Josh's 30th birthday! We slept in a little yesterday morning as a treat. He had ice cream cake at work, and after drum lessons came home for nice birthday dinner of pizza, champagne and tiramisu. I bought him Resident Evil 5 for PS3 and the latest Stephen King book, which both pleased him very much. We spent the evening eating and watching Kids In The Hall episodes. He said he had a very happy birthday, and I'm very glad!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Weekend Roundup

-Sleep in
-Clean house
-Coffee, reading and lunch out on the deck to enjoy the nice day
-More reading indoors
-Play some Beatles Rock Band
-Josh gets home from work
-Warm spinach salad w/ potato, mushroom and egg for dinner, individual apple crisps for dessert
-Play drums with Josh
-Watch Conan's last Tonight Show, cry my eyes out
-Fall asleep watching Marx Bros. movie

-Sleep in
-Breakfast and coffee
-Spend most of the rainy day reading
-Chipotle for early dinner
-Watch old Conan clips, more reading
-Holly comes over to watch a movie, Marx Bros. Animal Crackers
-Convince Josh we NEED Sonic blasts
-Eat our ice creamy treats while watching Kids In The Hall
-Hit the hay

-Sleep in
-Take a walk, get harrassed by miniature schnauzer
-Coffee, menu planning, grocery listing
-Get ready
-Grocery shopping
-Clean and prep veggies for the week
-Watch first half of Cranford from Netflix
-Egg & cheese sandwiches and roasted potatoes for dinner
-Watch second half of Cranford on the DVR
-Get ready for bed
-Fall asleep watching Arrested Development

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The push and the pull

I am struggling right now with conflicting drives. On one hand I feel the need to be saving ever more money. And the other hand- well that hand is saying "gimme gimme" to every little thing that tickles my fancy. I want to stave off impending doom (of any variety), but I also want to finish decorating the house, start my garden, fix up the shed, get my tattoo, a new flash and lens for my camera, etc. (Don't think I'm a crazy greedo, or ignorant of the world around me. We made our donation to the Red Cross for Haiti relief. Have you?) Beside the everyday stuff and projects that make me want to spend is the current idea we've been tossing around for our 5 year wedding anniversary in 2011 of possibly going to Europe, most likely Paris. Looking at the cost of flights makes me queasy. So, how bad do we want this? Bad enough to forgo any trips until then? Work an extra day each month to put extra savings towards it? I realize this is a mega-crazy ramble, sorry. Just trying to clear my brain a little bit. We have 5 targeted savings funds, then our retirement funds. But how do I know we're saving enough? How do you go about planning your savings goals? Please share any advice or tips you got. Ramble over.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekend Update

-Meet second foundation guy, a dummy
-Clean house
-A bit of TV
-Junk food dinner while watching What Not To Wear
-Get ready
-Head to Lola's with Holly
-Glen Farris, Chatterton, and Telegraph Canyon show
-Say hi to Tony and Chris, head home
-Pretzels and water and a little TV
-Hit the hay

-Sleep in way late
-Coffee and toast in bed while watching some HGTV
-Watch Conan from the night before
-Finally get out of bed
-Try out the tai chi dvd from Netflix, sucks, do a little pilates instead
-Measure my Swell Season posters so I can find frames
-Grab some Chipotle for dinner
-Eat and watch Simpsons before Josh leaves to rehearse with Matt
-More HGTV time wasting
-Read some of my Groucho book
-Short 30 minute nap on the couch
-Watch the end of You've Got Mail and Follow The Fleet
-Bed time

-Sleep in a bit
-Make menu plan and grocery list over coffee
-Eat leftover Chipotle and read a little Newsweek
-Get ready
-Home Depot run and grocery shopping
-Unload groceries, eat sandwich while watching a Rick Bayless episode
-Clean and chop veggies and take composting out while Josh puts up gutter filters and takes down Christmas lights
-Clean kitchen
-Shower quickly before Golden Globes start
-Watch the Globes while washing towels and sheets, ironing, and making pizza for dinner
-Make the bed and read a little Newsweek

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Learning French...for Free!

As you may recall I decided to renew my attempt to learn French. I am however currently far too cheap to buy any fancy Rosetta Stone or similar product. Instead I've been searching for free resources to try and learn the language. So far I've been working with a combination of FrenchPodClass and Coffee Break French. FrenchPodClass has lesson review sheets also available for free, and I believe Coffee Break French has work sheets and other support material available for a fee. Both are available free through iTunes. I just download them to my iPhone and listen while cooking or doing other chores. FrenchPodClass ended in 2008, but there's 3 years worth of podcasts to utilize. And Coffee Break French will be ending soon, but they say they will be working on an intermediate course next. I also found the free app "French 24/7 Tutor Lite Edition" so when I need to waste a little time I can do play games and puzzles to help me a little. And, on top of that it turns out our friend Jason speaks French, so I'm going to tap him know and then for a little practice.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Elvis!

Here's a clip from my favorite Elvis movie in honor of the King's birthday.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

On The Home Front

So, I finally got off my lazy butt and called two foundation repair companies to come out and give us free estimates on the house. It is quite apparent to us that the house doesn't want to just shift back to where it was, and something needs to be done before it gets much worse. It will undoubtedly be a horrifically stressful experience for me, but I'll make it out the other side in one piece I'm sure. And, at Holly's wise suggestion, I've got beer in the fridge for post estimate wallowing. We've got a decent amount in the house fund, so hopefully we can mitigate the damage on the bank account. But this is just one aspect of continuing to make our home a happy and healthy place to be. Upon approval from Josh I ordered new dining room chairs today. I am so sick of our old chairs, which are pretty worn out at this point. I'm going to try and clean them up some and hopefully get a little scratch for them on Craigslist. I'm excited about the new chairs though! We ordered the copy cat eiffel-base shell chairs from in white. I'm fully aware that I'm late to the trend, although I would like to state that I'm not so much late to the trend, as late to the purchase. I've wanted these chairs for quite sometime, but just now was able to buy them. Yay chairs! Also, yay's $2.95 shipping on 4 chairs.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Weekend Roundup- New Year's Edition

Well, shortly after I posted my 2009 Goodbye where I mentioned looking forward to loving on Stephanie & Rodney's soon-to-arrive twins I got a text saying they were arriving early- as in, about an hour, ha. I grabbed a ride from my bro who happened to have the day off and be heading my way, and made it to the hospital just a little after they were born. Things happened so quickly though that I was the first person there, aside from Rodney's mom who was sitting with their 4 year old Rylee. Stephanie's mom and youngest brother arrived just a few minutes after me and we were all there early enough to see the twins rolled back to be cleaned and examined and Stephanie rolled back to her room a little bit after them. I spent the next 6 hours at the hospital visiting with all the family and friends coming and going, trying to be helpful every now and then, taking pics, and of course loving on the twins. Logan was born first, weighing in at 7 lbs., followed by Hadley at 6.2 lbs. Josh came to see the newborns when he was done at Rock School, and then we said goodbye and made our way towards home. Josh had already eaten, so I grabbed some bad fast food on the way. We got into our jammies, played a few rounds of chinese checkers, uno, gin, and yahtzee while we watched Monty Python episodes. We shared some champagne and a kiss at midnight, listened to a surprising amount of firecrackers and the like going off in our neighborhood, and tucked in to bed. So, that was our exciting new year's eve, ha. And the rest of the weekend consisted mostly of mucho chores, one more visit to the twins with Holly before we went to see A Single Man (movie good, Colin Firth great), a night of wigged out dreams partially influenced by said movie, grocery shopping, and a lot of Muppet Show watching. That about sums it up. Here are some pics I took on the trusty iPhone the first day at the hospital.

Rylee and Hadley Rodney, Rylee and Hadley

Rylee and Rodney with new sister/daughter Hadley

Rylee and Logan Rylee, Rodney and Logan

Rylee and Rodney with new brother/son Logan

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 Resolutions: In with the new

Last year, although I don't think I mentioned it, I decided that photography would be my big focus. I didn't spend all of my time on it, but I had so many areas that I wanted to delve into that I decided I would benefit from picking one to focus on for the year. I'm doing the same thing this year, so along with my resolutions there will be the one big interest that I put more attention on.

Big 2010 Project: Learn French- I've wanted to do this for some time now, and I decided that this year will be the year I focus on it. I've been collecting free resources and ideas to try and help me get on with it.

.Read 20 books- I have exceeded my reading goals the past two years, so upping the ante again
.Exercise at least twice a week- Justin and I plan to go back to dance classes on Tuesday nights, so I just have to find time for one more workout during the week. I've had problems with this goal, so setting the bar low with hopes I might finally meet it.
.Improve my eating habits- We've come a long way since our days of living off fast food, but I'm still easily tempted, especially when busy, to grab something out
.Be a better listener- I have a hard time concentrating on people in conversation sometimes, and it really bothers me, so gonna work on it.
.Learn to drive- I have panic attacks about driving, but I want to try and work through that this year.
.Get a full physical/gyno/bloodwork- I'll be turning 30 in 2011, and I'd like to get a full picture of my physical health before then, so I can move into my next decade as healthy as possible.
.Learn some tactics for handling stress- I'm a stress eater, have panic attacks, and let little things get the best of me and it affect not just my quality of life, but Josh's. Going to try to figure out some good ways that work for me to handle these things.
.Start a vegetable garden in back yard and container herb garden in side yard- Going to start small, but have already started researching square foot gardening, and can always tap my father-in-law for some expertise.
.Learn how to develop my own black & white film- Really interested in learning this skill, especially since I've been shooting more with my Holga.
.Have clothes hemmed- I have lots of pants, skirts, and even shirts that need adjustments made.
.Finish family photos for the hallway- I have a big selection of fantastic old family photos that I need to get hung. Need to find frames and decide on an arrangement.
.Get my Beatles tattoo- Really want my Beatles mark on me this year.
.Be more like Diane Keaton, Jane Birkin, Linda McCartney, Katharine Hepburn, and Audrey Hepburn- I find these ladies inspiring, for the lives they lead, the choices the make, the personal integrity they seem to ooze, and of course their style.
.Rent a cabin- Have been desperately yearning for a quiet retreat, so I think this year calls for it.
.Finish organizing my office- I've got the house running pretty smoothly, but my office is still in a shambles. Want to get it whipped into shape this year.
.Cross 2 things of my Life List- Several of my goals above were items on my Life List, so I scaled down the number of things to cross off this year aside from those ones I'll already be working on.

Well, that's it. Anybody got any resolutions for the new year?

2009 Resolutions: Out with the old

So, before I delve into my long list of resolutions and goals for 2010 I wanted to recap quickly where I ended up on my 2009 resolutions as of yesterday.

.Read 15 books- I read 14 new books, 1 new audio book, and re-read 4 favorites for a total of 19
.Set up an efficient new household- I've definitely got a system going that is working for me, but not perfectly. I feel pretty darn efficient, but there is still room for improvement.
.Finish my needed dental work- made no progress whatsoever.
.Try yoga and tai chi- did try yoga, and got a tai chi dvd from Netflix in the past few weeks, but never found the time for it.
.Watch 5 foreign films- Breathless, Cinema Paradiso, Metropolis, Shall We Dance, and La Strada
.Travel more- We went to Washington DC, San Francisco, a quick one day jaunt to Austin, and I went south for my sister's graduation.
.Cross 5 things off life-goals list- I was able to check mark: See Woody Allen Live(!), Learn to put on eyeliner (embarrassing, but being honest here), Go to Washington DC, Read all of Jane Austen's books, and Win a contest (crossed off when I remembered I'd actually done this in 2008, ha)

2008 Continued:
.More physical activities: pilates & walking- failed miserably here, involving this in new resolutions
.Study photography and experiment- I took 4 classes at a local camera shop, read several books, and took an online course. Also experimented with the Holga I got for Christmas last year. Plan to continue with my hobby this year.
.Keep up with Newsweek reading- did pretty poorly at this.
.See our friends more often- We definitely socialized a lot more this year, more parties, more hang outs, made new friends and traveled to see old ones.
.Improve my wardrobe- I'm definitely looking better than I was last year and think I am getting a little closer to developing a personal style.
.Be much more money conscious- I did better tracking our expenses, and we have several targeted savings accounts for our different goals now. We could be more frugal though.
.Try 4 new restaurants- I try not to count out of town restaurants, since obviously most of those are new. This year we tried a couple of new restaurants in the area, but we also stood by our old favorites as well.