Archive | March, 2011

For Jane

30 Mar

This is Jane.

She’s one of my best friends.  We lived together for three years in college.  Unfortunately, she now lives in Washington DC where her husband goes to grad school.  I’m so terribly sad that we no longer get to hang out together all the time.

Therefore, ever since she moved to St. Louis after college, it has been my personal mission to get her (and her wonderful husband and their beautiful daughter and their ??? baby) to move back to the Midwest, specifically to whatever city I happen to be in.  In order to do this, I have been trying to point out all the wonderful highlights of our part of the nation.  And today one of those wonderful things struck me and I had to share it with her, and all of you.

One of the worst parts of living in the upper Midwest is the LONG winters.  They usually start in October or November and for two months there’s fresh snow and its pretty and brisk and wonderful.  Then, Christmas passes and you’re ready for spring but you know there is winter left so you march along through January and pretend you’re oblivious to the bitter cold.  Then February hits.  And it’s the pits.  But God, in all his wisdom, has decided that we’d better not start Lent at a time when the trees are budding and the grass is growing so he throws in another month of winter.  Then, at the beginning of March, you get two or three nice days that perk everybody up.  But they don’t last and you get, yet, another few weeks of winter.

You say this sounds awful?  Like a never ending winter?  Narnia, anyone?

It is.  For a bit.  But then it’s wonderful.  Because somewhere in there the snow has stopped coming in such large amounts and the temperatures have been slowly climbing.  And one day, out of the blue, it’s spring.

That's melting snow, by the way.(That’s melting snow, by the way.)

After living in Virginia for a year, I can tell you that the coming of spring did not have the same effect there.  There was no awe, no expectation.  You didn’t slowly see the grass turning green and the trees budding out.  It’s a beautiful transition there, too, don’t get me wrong, but it feels like it happens in a day.  One day, it’s winter (sort of).  The next, spring.  Not much of a plot line, if you ask me.

But here, in the Midwest, we get to enjoy the whole process of nature renewing itself.  We get to go outside when it’s 35 degrees and feel light hearted and joyful because it’s like a summer’s day after the long winter.  And we get a few weeks when it’s warm outside but not warm enough to melt the snow.  Then we enjoy snow dogs.

(That’s our landlords’ dog, Baxter.)

The seasonal transition in the Midwest is glorious.

I just thought you oughta know, Jane.

Never You Mind

10 Mar

I know what you’re thinking.

I can hear you all the way over here.

You’re thinking that I haven’t told my Lenten promise yet.

And you’d be right.

Because I only decided it YESTERDAY.  Yes, I waited until ASH WEDNESDAY to decide what I would do.

Why?  Meh.  Don’t know.

But enough of this riveting conversation, let me tell you what I have decided to do for Lent.

I’m giving up MINDLESSNESS.

(Apparently I am in a particularly capital mood right now.)

What does it mean to give up mindlessness?  Well, it’s sort of like this:  Sometimes I am making dinner and I pop a piece of pepper (or broccoli or apple or what have you) into my mouth.  Or sometimes I sit on the computer and just surf the web with no apparent goals.  Or sometimes I just set something down on the diningroom table without thinking about why I am not putting it away.  In other words, sometimes I act without intentions.  And I want to stop doing that.  It’s a waste of time.  My time.

So, for Lent this year, I am going to try to be conscious of my actions ALL the time.  I am hoping this translates into a cleaner house, more time to read, blog, connect with friends, and hopefully the loss of a pound (because I’m cutting out snacking, yo).  That last part is actually a repeat of one of the HARDEST Lenten promises I ever made.  Brutal.  Probably not the hardest thing I will ever have to do but it sure seems that way round about 4:00 pm.

I am always better at Lenten promises than new year’s resolutions so, hopefully, this will be a good 40 days!  Or, rather, a productive 40 days because Lent isn’t particularly known for good days, you know.

Ah well.

Just wanted to share.

Amanda

P.S. Did anyone else make Lenten promises this year?

Look what I can do

3 Mar

I’m learning how to edit photos so that they look more spectacular.

Before:

After:

It’s still not perfect because my mom (on the left) and my grandma (in the front) get a bit washed out on their right side and I haven’t figured out how to fix that.  But it’s a start!

Also, I know it’s unheard of to get two posts from me in one month, let alone one day, but there was a new one before this so don’t forget to read it.

UPDATE:

Steve told me that the second picture was too orange and that no one told me they liked it because they didn’t want to tell me it was too orange.  I respect the honest criticism and so, made another adjustment.  Behold, after, part deuce:

Amanda

Happy Birthday!

3 Mar

I turn 25 in exactly 18 days.  And apparently, that is a pretty significant birthday – proven to me by the fact that I often get facebook invited to 25th birthday parties for people I have not seen since high school.  Not that I mind that.  One day I’d like to just show up to one of those parties and see what happens.  It would be like an even more awkward high school reunion because at a reunion everybody is kind of out of the loop but at the birthday, you’d be the only one out of that loop.  But I digress.  The point is, I get a lot of these invites and since I am not having a spectacular birthday party (though I should!) I am not going to be able to facebook invite all my old high school homeboys to any sort of festivity.  Therefore, I thought that instead, I’d make them a list of things that they could send me for my birthday!

But before I do that, which I know you are all eagerly awaiting (I’m lookin’ at you Jake Smith), let me first tell you what Steve and I got each other for Christmas so as to assure that these gifts are not repeated on my most spectacular upcoming day!

My gift was a very long time coming.  You see, when Steve and I moved to Virginia we generously gave our couch (a Behnke original) to one of Steve’s cousins.  She has since put it to grand use, I am sure.  But while getting rid of the couch left us with a lot of spare room in the Relocubes we were moving with, it also left us with only a futon on which to rest our weary, um,  behinds.

And let me tell you: a futon is not the most comfortable thing to sit on.  In fact, there isn’t really any lumbar support so your back sort of curves into the cushion and you go all Quasimodo.

(Source)

So, for Christmas, Steve bought me a couch.  Ta da!

She’s lovely, isn’t she.  Unfortunately, she spends most of her days covered up by a blue sheet, but that just protects her from the inevitable poopy paw or spilled ketchup or, let’s be honest, dog hairs.  Steve and I have grown very much attached to her.

She was a custom order (just the fabric) so she wasn’t supposed to be in until January but lucky for us, the delivery guys came in mid-December and so were able to comment on our ridiculous looking Christmas tree.  Looking extra ridiculous because I can’t get wordpress to rotate the photo.  Such is life.  The point is that the tree is all scraggly and is as tall as our 9 foot ceilings.


Anyway, our couch is from Room and Board and cost a pretty penny.  Probably the most we will ever spend on a piece of furniture…except maybe a new mattress.  But I convinced Steve that it was worth it because if you divide her total cost by three (for Steve, Reggie, and I) and then divide by the next 20 years or so, we’re really only spending like 1/108th of a cent every time we sit on her.

Total logic.

Kind of like that thing that people used to do in high school that made girls the devil.  You don’t know what I mean?  Remember:

(Source)

Anywho, let’s move on.  Steve wanted something equally as useful so he went to Sears.  (Where else?)  There he bought the item that has since been my greatest joy and the bane (it took me three tries to spell that word) of my existence.  Our treadmill.

I love it because a) it is helping me get back to my pre-Virginia weight, b) it is helping Steve get back to his pre-Amanda weight, and c) it is helping Reggie get back to his pre-winter energy level.

I hate it because I hate running.  Surprise.  I ran cross country for years and have since tried to keep up a “steady” level of jogging and even once participated in a 5K for fun but the truth is, running sort of sucks.  I mean, it’s nice to feel good and accomplished and such but really, when you’re actually running, admit that whenever you aren’t jamming to “The Final Countdown” you’re wondering, even in a tiny little part of you bran, “why am I doing this to myself?  I should just sit down right now.”

But, really, the treadmill has been good to have and I usually just drown my thoughts in extra loud 80s power hour music.

Here’s the working girl (in use even):

Apparently all of the things in our house are girls.  I never knew.

So, now that you are all caught up on what we got for Christmas (and you, Carolyn, can return the treadmill you bought me) let me tell you what I want for my birthday:

1.        More acreage closer to the heart of the city.  Do you know, in order to get the 10 acres of land that Steve and I want, we have to travel almost 45 minutes outside of the city?  Quite the commute!  Let’s just say that we probably will have to come down on our property size before we actually buy a house.

2.       Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt to get together on Parks and Rec.  Something tells me I might get this birthday wish.  But not too soon because then they are going to have to break up and get back together and be all dramatic a la Meredith and Derek or Rachel and Ross (Hi, Erin!).

3.       A large heat wave to melt the snow.  Rather, we are getting another 12 inches or so (supposedly) in the next couple of days.

4.       An ice cream scoop that functions.  Steve and I broke ours a few months back and have never gotten around to replacing it.

5.       I have been in love with this chair for years:

(Source)

and this one for weeks:

(Source)

6.       The will power to donate more of my books.  Well, only kind of.  I want more room to have new books but my old books are taking up all my available shelf space and I can’t seem to part with them.  Maybe I actually want more shelves…

7.       $5000 cash.  Or $10,000.  I’m not picky, really.

8.       The FlipUltra HD Video Camera.  CNET’s best rater under $200 model.  Yowza!  There are definitely better cameras but I’m really only looking to record Reggie playing so that I can post it on the blog and make you all jealous that my dog is so spectacular.  Steve and I have talked about buying this but never actually done it.

9.       Someone who can get all the pictures and music and documents off my old computer without charging me a ton of money.  (My old computer is kaput, FYI.  It still turns on and functions but the power cord won’t charge it any longer (or it doesn’t recognize that the power cord is in there) so I only have like 46 minutes of battery life left EVER.  Very dramatic.)

10.   Comments!

And there you have it, dear readers.  My most spectacular birthday list ever!  I can’t wait until the suburbs rezone themselves so that Steve and I can buy a huge parcel of land.  Ah!

Also, did you know that my darling baby boy turns 2 years old in 11 days!  He’s growing up so fast I can’t hardly bare it!  Here’s his list:

1.       Bones

2.       Pets

3.       Bones

4.       Trip to the dog park

5.       Bones

6.       More bones

7.       Peanut butter

8.       A nap

9.       Bones

10.   To sleep in the family bed

Steve has recently re-relegated Reggie to the floor.  Sad, I know.

Anywho, hope you enjoyed this month’s post.  (Ha!  I’m doing pretty bad on that resolution.  I’ll keep trying anyway!)