Monday, December 29, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
image from notebookdoodles. (a new blog discovery, which is a gift in itself.)
Although it's been a tough few days, the sun is finally out today and I'm feeling happy and Christmassy. This was the first year ever that I've not been with my family on Christmas Eve, which was difficult. But video iChat, lots of baking, and positive thoughts have made a big difference. Even though I'm not with my loved ones, at least I have them and it's just one day out of the year.
Today we had breakfast and presenting with Mike's family, and now we're watching episodes of Arrested Development and working on crosswords. I made croissants and pain au chocolate, which has been on my baking to-do list for a while, and feels like a nice accomplishment. Maybe later today a nap and some snacks, with fake champagne. Yay.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Fireplace mantle dressed up for Christmas.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
it's a macbook! yay. it's been so long since I've had a laptop, I'm pretty stoked. photobooth is pretty sweet too. i have a feeling there will be many many photos that look very similar to these.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
I'll tell you a secret: I don't feel like I am very good at decorating for holidays. I don't like a lot of store bought stuff (which means i don't like spending money on store bought stuff) and when I attempt to make my own I'm not pleased with the results. This usually means our house doesn't have too many holiday touches. Which is why we haven't ever put up a big tree and we've been married adults for four Christmases now. I'm determined to change that this year. Or at least improve.
But it's December 7 and we still don't have a christmas tree. Two reasons: We are indecisive. and. Why are all the fake trees pre-lit nowadays? What a cop out.
I am having Mike finally bring down the advent/Christmas decorations from the attic later today. i don't mind not having a tree. but the house feels empty now without the advent candles and nativity scene.
But I did bake gingerbread men today so some sort of festivity has been achieved.
On the pregnancy front.
I am reaching a state of indignity. Putting on shoes and socks is a challenge. I finally broke down and bought the kind of jeans that goes over the belly. It's a new level of pregnant around here.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Most of my art supplies are now condensed into a basket for big paper and a rolling cart/shelves for small papers, photos, and everything else. The cart fits pretty neatly into the front closet. And when I need to work, I roll it out and work at the dining room table. So far I'm pretty pleased with the arrangement. The lighting in the dining room is a lot cozier than the office, so that's a plus.
I can't say there's much. . or anything. . happening there right now though. I'm exhausted today. I actually fell asleep on the couch at 6:45 waiting for Mike to come home and make me dinner. It's been kind of a rough week at work, so I'm not sure if it's that or some crazy baby growth spurt. Either way, I'm glad tomorrow is Friday.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Your joy is organic.
Birthdays, weddings, firsts of any kind- we want these events to be special. But you can’t force a moment to have meaning. Keeping your heart open will give you more meaningful times than you could ever force. And without the stress of willful over-planning, you can relax and enjoy the memories you’re making.
Today remind yourself: My joy is organic.
nice thoughts for the beginning of December.
My month is off to a good start. I've even made some collages in the past few days! Wonders never cease. I'm reviving my December envelope book project. It's a happy thing to work on as the days get merrier and the baby gets ready to be born.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Some things that are helping:
-Tackling one thing at a time. I think it had been so overwhelming to me that I kind of shut down and just assumed the worst. I'm finding that if I clean one shelf or reorganize one cabinet at a time, it all seems manageable. Plus we have way more room in my house than I realize, if only things are organized in a more functional way.
-Embracing the change. The more I work on reorganizing, the more I feel like I'm making tangible strides towards Making Room in our Lives for the Baby. And then I'm happier about everything.
clean bookshelf, with my vintage books for clipping at the top. I know it's not lifestyle photography at it's finest, but it's prettier than it was before, that's for sure.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I have to say, I think Harriet might be on to something. . . maybe I really am more anxious about the baby than I'm willing to admit, but it's easy to transfer the worries to the furniture, to something tangible. So I have been turning those thoughts over in my mind and trying to make some peace about all of it.
And now, some happier, more Thanksgiving-ier news! I have been baking every night this week, which is so satisfying to me. Even when I'm doing two loads of dishes every night and not sitting down until 9 PM. We're having Thanksgiving at my parents tomorrow, so I really don't need to do or make too much, but I still like to bring something. This year it's two pies and some cinnamon rolls for Friday breakfast.
I'm super excited about this pie recipe from Martha Stewart Living, I think the November issue. Triple Chocolate Pumpkin pie! How can you go wrong?
(obviously not my photo! thank you amazing MSL food stylists!)
My other pie is pretty classic, the "Perfect Pumpkin Pie." I've made this one before. It really is foolproof, and takes almost no time if you opt to use a premade pie shell.
I'm so happy for this four day weekend and for all the things I have to be thankful for. I hope you have a great holiday, too.
Monday, November 24, 2008
It's not labor I'm concerned about, or my life changing, or really the actual kid at all. I'm worried about STUFF.
I think it would be helpful for me to not listen to other people, ever. Throughout this pregnancy, the only time I have ever been nervous/anxious/scared is when I take people's questions and comments and turn them into something to fret about. People keep asking me, "oh, is your nursery all decorated?" And the answer is a big no. No crib, no changing table, no cute arrangement of books and toys on a cute shelf.
For the most part, I'm not super concerned about this. It'll get done, and if it doesn't, oh well, we'll figure it out once we get there. But the more people ask, the more I think about it. And freak out.
We still have to figure out how to rearrange our house. I feel like I'm putting together a Rubik's cube here. The guest bedroom will become the baby's room, and the office will become a combination office/guest bedroom. The issue is, what to do with our two giant desks, two computer workstations, my ginormous mountain of art supplies, etc. etc. And it kills me to say it. . . I feel like the art supplies will be the first thing to go. I have enough concerns about that to merit it's own blog post, so I'll just leave it at that. But otherwise. . . there are questions of storage, questions of furniture, questions of how is this all going to happen with a kid on the way, and during the busiest season of the year.
I think it's time to write a detailed to do list. Just to maintain some control over the whole ordeal.
and I know this is one of my rambliest blog posts ever, but it's just all on my mind and I thought I might as well share.
Friday, November 21, 2008
So, tonight my book club and I are going to see the movie. I'm pretty excited for some frivolous girly fun.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I've had a few requests for some bump photos, so here you go! These are from this week. I have been trying to take pictures somewhat consistently, at least one every week or so. It's one of those important "for posterity" things. I know that I would love to see photos of my mom when she was carrying me.
Things are still going amazingly well. I get tired when I try to do too much, and just physically getting out of bed can be a challenge, but I haven't run into any other problems. Though I still have two months, and I honestly can't imagine how much more I'm going to grow in that time span. . . so we'll see how much more challenging pregnancy can be.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
i often save things onto my desktop at home, or my pictures folder at work. I really need to start writing down where these things are from, because most of the time, i rediscover them months later and am curious about their origins. aren't these old jungly animal photos great? you know I love old photos, but old exotic photos are even better.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
As the baby gets bigger I'm definitely thinking about it as more of it's own person. It seems like it's a constant companion. The baby goes to stupid work meetings with me, cooks dinner with me, listens to NPR in the car with me, that kind of thing. It's really comforting. I feel like I will miss it slightly once he or she is actually out in the world.
Lately Mike and I have been talking about how we should read to the kid. Usually when we say this, we're sitting on the couch, and the reading materials at hand tend to be J. Crew catalogs or Newsweek. I'm pretty sure "Lightweight wool. Dry clean. Sizes 0-12" is not exactly a riveting bedtime story, though we did get some appreciative kicks after an article about the demise of the GOP in Florida.
Last night Mike was a little more determined and we got out a few of the board books we've received so far, and some of the poetry anthologies I've collected over the years. It made me so happy and emotional to have Mike reading to our baby. Except that he kept cracking up at how cheesy Robert Frost can be. And the Dylan Thomas choice was a little more depressing than something you'd normally read a kid. But we had a nice time.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
1. I got sick. Thursday I stayed home from work, watched terrible TV, made chicken stock, and laid around blowing my nose all day.
3. Mike and I actually went to a movie together. We saw Role Models on saturday afternoon. Recommended! Not the best ever, but still a nice time. Mostly it was great because we rarely venture out together, just the two of us, and I think we're both realizing the time for leisurely saturday matinees will be coming to a close in the next few months.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
as american as. . . , originally uploaded by katie-oltremare.
I figured today is a fitting day to post something as patriotic as an apple pie. I made this on Sunday, and I think this was by far the prettiest pie I've ever baked. It was tasty, too, as evidenced by the fact that most of it was eaten before I even had a chance to take a photo.
I cast my ballot this morning, and I have to say I did get a little misty-eyed in the voting booth. I feel pretty proud today.
It was crazy at work, almost felt like a holiday. Just kind of a heightened sense of . . . something. Though that could have also been a heightened sense of worry about traffic. With the big Obama rally downtown lots of my coworkers were leaving early to avoid any big jams. It's kind of fun to live so close to all the action.
Users enter a word that describes their emotion and the site live updates. there are categories for everyone, mccain supporters, and obama supporters. here are some screen shots:
yay for typography and feelings and politics.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
my pumpkin. It's supposed to say "i (heart) (narwhal)", but it actually just looks like a weird face to me.
Friday night we went to a pumpkin carving party, hosted by some of my friends from college that I hadn't seen in forever, which was nice. I have to say, I am glad that most of my social group has moved on from the "let's all get together and then drink way too much" era of socializing. Not only is it a plus for me to be pregnant and still have fun, it's so much nicer to be able to do something creative together, have interesting conversations about real topics, and get home at a decent hour. Yet another step forward into real adulthood.
Today was long (we forgot about switching the clocks last night) but I got a lot done and it's been a pleasant sunday. Made chili and baked a pie; cleaned a lot. All good things.
my lunch from today. leftover winter squash soup, triscuits and cheese, and v8. vegetable-y!
so, two blogs in two days. the momentum has started. [i meant to post this on sunday, that still counts, right?]
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Today was the last farmer's market of the year, and I'm so glad I went. The chilly weather seemed to turn most people away and it wasn't as crowded as it is normally. Today's goods: "Pumpkin Pecan" granola (yummy!), acorn squash and butternut squash to make this soup, Jonathan and Granny Smith apples for a pie, a few sweet potatoes to bake for side dishes this week, and a baguette from the nun's bakery. I thought it was funny that the lady who sold me all the produce said, "these will all keep for at least three months," I laughed and said it would probably all be eaten within the next four days. Seasonal fall foods are the best.
When I got home from the market I started roasting the squashes for tonight's soup, and listened to a Fresh Air interview with Michael Pollan. I don't know what I would do without Fresh Air podcasts. It's part of my Saturday domestic routine, cleaning or cooking while listening to Terry Gross interview fascinating people. I tend to get a little superstitious about things, either that or I'm just a huge creature of habit. I feel like I can't work in the kitchen without it.
So hey, it's National Blog Posting Month!I believe I have tried and failed to do this every year, and I'm sure this year will be no different. At least it makes me more aware of my sporadic blogging. I do have a lot to share and I also want to keep better track of what is happening in my life right now. . . my last few months before the baby. It would be nice to have a happy record of that.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I try not to sit at the computer so late in the evening, but I'm still riled up from a crazy day at work. Sometimes I have a hard time calming myself down after something stressful. So here I am, with my hot apple cider and my "dreamy" mix on itunes. mike is watching baseball in the other room and the dryer is humming pleasantly. I guess the best part about post-work restlessness is that I get a lot done: clean sheets on the bed, laundry has been done, dishwasher is running and kitchen is clean.
I had a great weekend visiting my family in Iowa and Minnesota. Both of my maternal grandparents have birthdays in October, and this year they are both 80. The majority of my mom's side got together saturday afternoon on my aunt and uncle's lovely farm in southern Minnesota. It was beautiful. And amazing to see so much family. I hadn't seen most of my cousins since my wedding. Also amazing that we are pretty much all grown-ups now. There isn't really a "kids table" at these family functions anymore. And if there is, it's for the next generation, the great-grandkids. Time just running along.
I brought my camera along this weekend and did not take a single photo. Sometimes you just want to experience things, not capture them, you know? I think I'm okay with it.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
also, for the first time in my pregnancy, I am seriously missing wine. i'm realizing a lot of my fall and winter time relaxation/recreation involves wine. I mean, maybe it's good to change those habits, but right now, man. . . . thumbs down.
On a positive note I have been doing many other lovely autumnal activities. I started working on the baby's quilt and am really enjoying it. i hope my excitement doesn't fade as the project goes along, but for right now I'm always looking forward to the next time I get to cut and sew. I haven't ever taken on such a large sewing project and I'm seriously excited about having the finished product.
I think that' s all. Just wanted to pop in and say hi. Hope you're having lovely autumnal activities too.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
• woke up early enough to do a pregnancy yoga DVD before work. it really is true that excercise makes you feel better. who knew?
• i let myself have a little regular coffee this morning. it's a semi weekly treat I allow myself and it always tastes and feels so good.
• wearing my new favorite earrings. something about my new haircut makes me want to wear giant roundish earrings. these were seven bucks from target and are the prettiest rosy gold color.
• all my favorite blogs updated today. yes, this makes my day nicer.
• work was busy but not crazy busy. ate lunch with friends and not at my desk, for once. had some pleasant afternoon conversations.
• and the obvious: it was the most beautiful october day today. crisp. the setting sun was gorgeous.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
i visited my friend Mindy in Ames this weekend, my college town. i can't imagine how it would have been any better: going to the des moines farmers market & craft fair, walking around campus, talking about arty stuff, listening to music. and a gastronomic tour of ames too: the west street deli, stomping grounds, the cafe. yay for ames.
two stories though. the melancholy one first.
when i drove into town and neared campus, a ton of college memories flooded back to me. and not good ones. I've had ample time now to cultivate my collegiate memories into a neat little package of happy times. being back in ames reminded me that there were a lot of not so great times. feeling lonely a lot. wishing I was different, smarter or cooler or whatever. worrying about school. i had pushed all those things away and it was interesting to face them, now that it's so far in the past and I'm in such a good place right now. so I suppose that's a happy ending.
and now. . .the funny one.
saturday afternoon mindy and I went to walk around campus. we started at the design building. oh, my old home away from home. it was surprisingly crowded for a saturday, and we walked into the main atrium and saw a political rally about to begin. and who was speaking this afternoon? ashton kutcher and demi moore. unbelievable. i was actually a little ticked because I just wanted to wander the building in peace, and it was interrupted by stupid ashton kutcher.
college of design.
stupid ashton, can you see him down there? i also feel like this picture is sorta creepy since nearly EVERYONE is talking a photo.
ames in the morning.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
new shoes from anthropologie! I treated myself to something fancy since my maternity wardrobe is fairly small and kinda plain. and frankly, I'd rather not buy anything else I won't be able to wear in four months. so shoes it is! can you believe it had been almost a year since I purchased any new shoes? that is a looooong time for me. maybe I have learned some restraint in my late twenties.
hey, thanks for all your comments about my puppy. she has been doing perfectly fine since the episode and seems all back to normal. now I'm thinking about this. . . if my dog getting sick worries me that much, how much more will I worry about a child? I guess that's what every mother deals with.
Monday, September 22, 2008
i love my dog so much, i'm one of those people. this morning she gave me a little scare. . . . poor puggy had a seizure. I took her in to the vet and I think everything is probably okay. it could have just been a blood sugar thing, since she didn't eat enough yesterday. they sent away some blood work so by tomorrow we should find out if it's anything worse. it's amazing how distracted I can be just from worrying about my little pup. I got all my work done today but my heart just was not in it.
i have some happier things to share, too, but today I just wanted to post these photos. i did a little ditka photo shoot last spring. I should do this more often, i have tons of pictures of Mike and I, but not too many of the dog. she deserves it.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I never know what to call my work. art? collage? scrapbook? it is what it is though. i'm pleased with these two, made the day after we had our 20 week ultrasound. I always feel like my artwork is better when i'm happy.
This is the kind of week where all I want to do is cut and paste and cut and paste. just let the pages in my art journal fill up, and make postcards for friends, and start a new sewing project. instead, I'll be working late every night and coming home with enough energy to eat, finish a few chores, and veg out in front of msnbc. I am always a bit envious of people that can stay up late working on projects and still function normally. i guess being pregnant doesn't really help that right now.
The prospect of an entirely free weekend makes it all better though. the weather has been so perfect this week it feels like time to start all the fall projects on my list.
-finally, finally putting up curtains in our bedroom. i found some simple white sheers and I think they might look great with a wide brown grosgrain ribbon sewn along the bottom. if I get ambitious.
-reorganizing and redecorating our mantle. I'm starting to get the thrifting urge big time, since it's been a couple of weeks, and hopefully I can pick up a few cute things.
-cleaning up the garden for wintertime. i have to say, the garden definitely fell to the end of the to do list this summer and it's looking a little unkempt, to say the least.
-organizing our wreck of a spice cabinet. you should see it, it's not pretty. so far I haven't found any perfect solutions. . . but I'm convinced it's out there somewhere.
to be honest though, if I even accomplish one of those four I'd be pretty stoked. i like takin 'er easy these days.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
So. Today was a crummy day at work. Half the day I had too much to do, the other half I was sitting around doing nothing and waiting for other people to finish their projects. Not fun. Plus I seem to have some kind of mood sponge, and whenever someone close to me is in a bad mood, it rubs off. Not fun, part two. Then, the worst part. I had to attend a meeting with three of the biggest bigwigs of the company since my boss was out sick. I was slightly unprepared, not to mention feeling nervous and out of place. The actual meeting went fine. . . until they starting talking politics. Talk about uncomfortable. Two of them had opinions that could not be further from mine. . . . ugh, horrible. I wanted to puke and cry at the same time. Ouch. A topper on top of a bad day of feeling unsettled and moody.
But there's good news. As soon as I got home, I cleaned the kitchen and started making dinner, a chicken pot pie from scratch. I changed the sheets in the bedroom and did a load of laundry. Had an idea for a collage and started cutting some pieces while the pot pie was in the oven. And now i feel like I've flushed out all the bad of the day and reordered myself. Sweet relief.
All these simple things have made me feel so much better about myself than whatever dumb thing I accomplished at work today. And obviously, I don't feel like this all the time, I do enjoy my work. But after a rough day it's nice to come home and be comforted by domesticity.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
some other random things:
last night I had a dream I was trying to construct a miniature of Frank Gehry's Pritzker Pavillion (see below) out of frozen yogurt. It was going pretty well if you can believe it.
I also dreamt that Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum were time travelling robots from the future. Both of these things have made me smile throughout the day.
Monday, August 25, 2008
on our sheep farm tour! I'm really excited, can't you tell?
mike and his sheepy friends
on a lookout tower, peninsula state park
eagle harbor sunset
whitefish dunes state park
milwaukee art museum
we had a great time, it was really relaxing. I always forget how much I love the country. we stayed on "the quiet side" of door county so I'm sure that made a difference. i think we experienced most of what door county had to offer, including: numerous wonderful hikes in state parks, a climb to the top of a lighthouse, a fish boil, yummy custard, browsing at touristy shops but not buying anything. . . and of course our wonderful bed and breakfast/sheep farm, whitefish bay farm, which I highly recommend. the breakfast was great and the sheep were soooo cute and friendly.
we also stopped in Milwaukee for a day this weekend too, and I always forget how much I love smaller cities. we visited the art museum, walked around downtown on the riverwalk quite a bit, mike drank a lot of brewpub beer, I loved shopping in the third ward and seeing the public market. happy times.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
some artworks for an online art journal class I'm taking.
I decided to take this class, not because I feel like I need instruction on how to make things, but just for more of a boost, new ideas, whatever. It's been a good experience but has underlined something I've known about myself for a while. . . I really hate to follow directions. I cook from recipes all the time, but use them as a loose guideline. I've never sewn from a pattern in my life. So, in making these pages I feel like I'm using the tutorials as more of a suggestion than a direction. and I am totally okay with that.
Today I have the day off work and I'm going into the city to get a haircut at my old favorite salon in Wicker Park. I'm feeling sorta nervous because I might take the plunge and get some blunt bangs or something completely new. I guess we'll see. I think the haircut urge comes from the fact that if I can't really control how my body looks in the next few months, I might as well have cute hair. Plus it's a nice excuse to go bum around in my old neighborhood. I do miss it sometimes.
Then tomorrow, Mike and I are off for a long weekend in Wisconsin-Door County and Milwaukee. It should be fun. We're staying at a bed and breakfast that is also a sheep farm so you know I'm deliriously excited.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Some pretty things I've found in the past few weeks. Wildflowers in a park near my house. Zinnias in the side yard around dusk. And "natural graffiti," shadows from some foliage on our dining room floor.
Things have been nice and quiet around here. Lately I have been waking up fairly early and really enjoying it. sunday morning the whole neighborhood was so cool and super quiet, I ate breakfast on the back patio and it felt like I was the only one awake for miles. It's lovely. We've been having some friendly bird visitors on our back patio, too; a hummingbird, a pair of american goldfinches, and a daily afternoon sparrow party (dozens of them!). It's fun to watch.
I'm appreciating all these calm docile moments. Lately I have been feeling a little unsure about some of my friendships. Once again it's an issue of my being in a different life place than some of my friends and it makes me feel so awkward. I'm pretty sure it's all just my perception, but still, I think about it too much and it troubles me. Not everything is easy. But. Everything is good, ultimately.