Wednesday, September 30, 2009

the cat next door

Several weeks ago, my neighbor asked me to watch her cat while she was away. She's lived here most of the time that I have, and we've become friendly; sometimes borrowing a wine bottle opener from the other, things like that. She's my age, and while we are friendly and chat when we see each other, we aren't really friends and don't hang out or anything.

She has a cat and told me that she was going away for a week and could I feed him while she was gone. I told her I didn't mind at all. She said I simply needed to go in once a day, feed and water the cat and scoop the poo from the litter box and put it into a plastic bag that she had in the closet. She gave me a key.

So each day when I got home from work, I'd go next door and play with the cat for a minute or two, and make sure he had water and refill the food. I'd scoop the poo, put it into one of the plastic grocery bags that she left and then put that small bag into a large garbage bag that she left there. She said to just put all the small bags into the large one and then I could take it out at the end of the week. Thursday night when I went in, I couldn't see the cat and he didn't come right out when I came in, so I turned on one of the lamps to find him. He came out a few minutes later. Later that night, I realized that I left the lamp on, but figured I'd turn it out the next day and didn't think too much of it.

She never said exactly which day she was coming home, but I wasn't too concerned. I had her cell number, just in case. I came home Friday night and came into my apartment. I took my shoes off and changed out of work clothes. I sat down to look at my mail, planning to go over in just a few minutes. As I was about to go over, I heard her at her door. I could hear her opening her door and calling out for the cat, so I knew she was home. I didn't want to rush over as soon as she walked in the door, so a little while later, I went over and knocked, but she didn't answer the door. I figured she was tired from the trip and went to bed early.

Now it's a month later and I haven't heard from her at all! I saw her once in the hallway just the other day, and she said "hey, how are you?!" and I replied "great! you?" and that was it. There was no mention of watching the cat, her vacation or anything. She hasn't asked for her key back.

I'm feeling bad about it, like I upset her somehow, though I am unsure as to how! I hope it isn't because of the poo! I had planned to take it out with me and throw it away that last night, but she came home before I could. She had indicated that that is what I should do with it, put it all in a big bag, and she said to make sure to hang it up high in the closet, so that the cat couldn't get at it, which is what I did.

Should I write her a little note and apologize? Should I ignore it all together? What would you do?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

trimming the fat

My parents came down to visit for a few days last weekend. They didn't stay with me, as my apartment is tiny; they stayed at a B&B over by the National Zoo. They had to check out before noon, but their flight wasn't until around dinnertime, so they metroed over to my place to leave their bags here while we were out. They had been to my apartment before, but it had been a while and my mother was horrified when stepping through the door.

I have a bit of clutter. One might call this a packrat, but I am not sure it's the same exactly. It isn't as though I have an excess of things, it is more like an excess of room to keep my things. I live in a studio/efficiency. I don't know the square footage, but it isn't much. It's fine for just me and my bamboo plant, but two people here wouldn't work. Even a corgi wouldn't work too well (hence the reason that I still don't have one).

I really need to do something about the clutter. I guess I hadn't realized it, since I live here every day and don't see it the way my mother did, stepping in for the first time in a while. My sewing table now takes up a large spot, which is pretty much the middle of the floor. It is actually blocking a bookshelf, though the shelf is also blocked by piles of books on the floor, because the bookshelf is full. In front of the radiator, there is another huge pile of books. I have three bookshelves; one tall and two short, all of which are full. There are piles of books everywhere else.

I need to go through my life and decide what I actually need to keep. Books can be donated to the library and clothes can go to Salvation Army. Let's be honest; I don't wear all of them or the shoes! I may get rid of the ugly blue love seat that I acquired from the girl who lived here before me. I don't need all of these things, I really don't.

I don't have people over, with the exception of Steve, because, honestly? I am embarrassed by my apartment. The building itself has certainly seen better days and my apartment just doesn't have the space. The love seat is usually piled with magazines, Vera Bradley bags and random pieces of mail that I decided not to open that day. There is really nowhere to sit, other than my bed. I don't have a kitchen table, because the galley kitchen is too small!

It's a cute little place, and it does have some nice features (large windows that face the front of the building, two closets with built-in shelves and a large built-in cabinet in the kitchen), I just need to figure out how to work it to my best advantage.

Do you live in a small space? How do you decorate it, to make the most of it?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

oooh, what a cute top!

I recently began reading Miss Polka dot's blog and if you do, you'll know that she is often wearing really cute tops and dresses. Turns out, she makes them herself! Here I am, all excited about making pot holders, and she's making her own clothes :)

She also recently opened a shop where she will custom make dresses and tops for you! Hems and Hers is linked from her blog, as well as right here for you. She was so great to work with; she sent me a page full of links to fabrics that I could choose from, and I went with an Amy Butler print called Fresh Poppies in Fuchsia, from her Midwest Modern line.

I was so excited to see this post, indicating that my top was finished! I came home one day last week and found it waiting at my door! Hurrah! Have a look at the finished product :)

(please ignore my poor self-photographing skills!)

How much do you love the bow on the shoulder? I'm pretty sure I'll be buying a dress or two next spring :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

craft attack

Steve is home at his house tonight doing homework (he'll finish his Master's in December!), so I thought I'd spend a quiet night in doing some quilting, but I am just not happy with it! I'm feeling like I lack the skills that I need. Of course, I know that it takes a lot of time and practice, but I am feeling so frustrated with myself, and I think that much of it comes from the lack of space that I have. I just don't have room to spread out everywhere. My sewing machine is on a little table that is pretty much in the middle of my apartment, since it's so tiny! The table is too small for the cutting mat, so all rotary cutting is done on the floor! Ackkk, my knees hurt!

I want to make placemats for my friend who is getting married next month. I found the fabric that we both love, and I have a few books of patterns and whatnot, but I'm not liking any of the patterns with the fabric I found; I feel like when I put it together, it looks too busy, and that isn't the look that I am going for.

I've been reading a lot of quilting blogs lately, looking for inspiration, and I've found some really talented quilters! I can only hope I will be that skilled someday. I think that I should probably take another class or two, because right now, I am lacking confidence in my skills. When my parents were here last weekend, she looked at some of the things I've made and she said that they look great and I am doing well, but I'm not feeling that way. I've always been my own biggest critic, and this is no exception.

I have so many cute fabrics that I've bought, mostly from etsy, and I have so many ideas in my head. I just don't know how to get from idea to reality!

boots for the fall?

What do you think of these?

They are from Old Navy, and cute, I think. I am wondering if they might work with the skinny jeans I now own, or if I'd look silly. Ha.
They come in black too, but I think I like the camel color.

Friday, September 25, 2009

end of the week!

Friday! Hooray! It's been a busy week.

First off, I was selected to be part of the jury! I was sooooooo excited about it, haha. I spent Wednesday and Thursday at the courthouse and am at work today. The judge doesn't sit on Friday's, so we resume on Monday and he expects that we will be done that day, so it won't take too long, which is a good thing! It's been pretty interesting so far, and I am enjoying it, which is a good thing.

I had a 2 1/2 hour lunch break yesterday while at the courthouse, so I went to Teaism and had a chicken bento box for lunch. I love that place! I also had a ginger limeade, which was very good. I hadn't been in ages, so it was a nice treat.

Tuesday, on my way home from work, I dropped off the bridesmaid dress to be taken in. As you may remember, the dress is a wee bit too big. I called a few places to get an estimate of what the alterations might cost, but places wouldn't tell me without seeing the dress. I finally found a place in Arlington that got really good reviews online and called. The woman told me that it wouldn't be more than $40. Fine. I went to drop it off and she pinned me up. As I was filling out the form, I asked again. She said it would be $75!


I mentioned that I called and she quoted $40, and she said that that was just for the bust, but because it is so big, the entire bodice needs to be taken in. I am so annoyed. The dress was $250 to begin with, plus the $75 matching shoes that nobody will be able to see under the floor-length dress that has a train.

When I am the bride, I am picking $800 dresses for my bridesmaids, as payback.

Yes, I know that has a bridesmaid, I accept costs and such, but come on? Why do brides feel the need to pick such expensive dresses that will never, ever be worn again?

Tomorrow is the National Book Festival on the Mall! I am SO excited, I go every year! Some really amazing authors will be there, including Lois Lowry and Judy Blume, two of my favorites! Jodi Picoult, Nicholas Sparks, John Grisham, Paula Deen and James Patterson will be there, just to name a few. If you've never been, you are missing out. It is such a good day. Expect pictures next week!

For some reason, I've been really wanting to go to a Pampered Chef party lately. I love their products. My mother has a good amount and has given me a few pieces for Christmas, and I just love them. I've never actually been to a party myself, but have been invited to several (they are never here in DC!), and have bought from those parties. I want to go to one!

What have you been up to?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Look what I just bought from My Vintage Addiction's etsy shop!

Is this not the cutest thing you've ever seen? I recently bought a few succulents at a local florist, but sadly, they didn't seem to like living in my kitchen. I decided to try again, and found some on etsy from one seller, and bought two, but then found this second shop and bought this lovely set of four small plants. I ordered it Friday and it arrived yesterday, coming to DC from California! It was packaged so well, she sent organic dirt and even labeled which dirt went into which container!
Succulents are nice, because they are so low maintence; you just water them once a week or so. I think they are a cousin to a cactus, but I could be wrong. I love them though, they are just the cutest. I have them in my little apartment next to my bamboo plant, just next to the window, so I hope they are happy there.
Check out her shop, if you are looking for a new plant :)

jury's out

I've been summoned for jury duty tomorrow! I am SO excited. Seriously. I've wanted to be part of a jury for a long, long time, so I was so surprised and excited to find a summons notice in my mailbox a few weeks ago.

Of course, I realize that I will likely spend most of tomorrow sitting around a waiting room, but I am hoping to get called and added to the jury. It's my civic duty :)

So, any words of wisdom on what to say to be picked?!

Monday, September 21, 2009

New York/Niagara fun!

Right, so we went to New York and Niagara Falls a few weeks ago and I am finally getting around to posting a few pictures. There are loads more on facebook, but I didn't think you'd want to see all hundred or so that we took!

We left at 4am...clearly NOT my idea! Sheepie was a great co-pilot :)

Totally funny, because I had tweeted recently about how nice it would be if there were coconut M&M's and apparently there are! I found these at a gas station somewhere in PA and bought several bags. They are limited editions, but I hope they stick around! They are so good!

Steve and I at winery number one of the day, of about a dozen! Oh, and it was approximately 10:30am when we pulled into the driveway :)

Sheepie likes fruit wines the best.


I'm pretty sure I need a Vespa. How cute would I be, cruising around DC on one of these?

Winery number seven or so.

YAY! Niagara Falls!

So in love with Tim H.

Loonies are my favorite.

We had dinner at the Skylon Tower, where we ate 750 feet above the Falls! The view was amazing and the food was also excellent :)

Us at the Falls. It's taken by me, so we are blocking most of them, but they are there!

Horseshoe Falls, the Canadian side. It's so much prettier than the American side.

The view from the B&B we stayed at, Merritt Hill Manor in Penn Yan, NY. So, so lovely and how much do you want to sit in those chairs?

I could post more photos...maybe I will...

Friday, September 18, 2009

bridesmaid this

As you are probably aware, I am a bridesmaid in a wedding that is just a few weeks away (ack, I still have to have my dress altered and book a flight, among other things!)

Yesterday, a bridesmaid was let go. Yes, as in, fired, voted off the island, asked not to be a bridesmaid. It was actually long time coming and happened with good reason, though I have mixed feelings. I only met this girl once, at the shower. The thing is, she and the bride are not really even friends. The girl (we'll call her Bea) is dating a guy we'll call Frank, who is a good friend of the groom. The bride is not friends with Bea though, for various reasons that we won't get into. She's just not a nice girl. She doesn't treat people well at all. She's selfish, immature and uncouth. She says things without thinking about how people may take them, and doesn't apologize when she says something offensive. She had been saying awful things about the bride all over myspace and facebook, not realizing that the bride would obviously see them, since she could see her pages. She has not been at all helpful to the bride in any way and has complained nearly every step of the way, making innapropriate comments and such. She was also more than an hour late to the MA shower and at the CT shower, she sat in the corner and sulked the entire time, never once speaking to anyone else, including the bride!

As you can imagine, things are now a bit sticky. Frank has dropped from the wedding party and the two may not even come at all. Of course, the groom isn't happy and neither is the bride, but she's more upset because she's feeling blamed for all of this. I know I've left out many details of this, but it's a long and complicated story!

My question is this. Would you ever expect to be asked to be a bridesmaid simply because your boyfriend/husband was in the wedding party, if you weren't very close to the bride? If you were the bride, would you ask a groomsman's girlfriend to be in your wedding party? Most importantly, how would you handle this? Would you have fired the bridesmaid?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

he's not your sexy

Want to know a secret? I'm not a fan of pet names. By that, I mean that I don't call people honey, sweetie, etc and to be honest, I am not a fan of being called them by others, with a few exceptions. Occasionally my grandmother will use one, but not too often. Most of my friends don't either (maybe it's a northern thing?). Sometimes Steve does, but we tend to use more silly things. Lately, he's been calling me pupcake (ie, puppy and cupcake), haha.

He has female friends who use them, and use them a lot. To him. I hate this, it drives me crazy and irritates the crap out of me. He says it's meaningless and harmless, and I know this, but still, I hate it. He's not your hun or sweetie or your anything. He's mine. His birthday was over the weekend and his facebook wall is filled with "happy birthday sweetie!" and "wish you were here to celebrate with us, sexy."

Don't call my boyfriend sexy! He's not your sexy!

Again, I know they don't mean anything by this, but I still hate it. He doesn't use words like that for others, so I know it shouldn't bother me, but it does and I don't know how to make it stop!

Do you use expressions like this? If not, what do you think of them? Am I being ridiculous by letting myself be annoyed by this?

Monday, September 14, 2009

just another manic Monday

Monday's always seem to come just a bit too quickly, don't they? The weekend was a nice one, I hope it was for you as well.

Friday night I stopped at Ann Taylor Loft and picked up a few things. They were doing their buy one, get one half off sweater sale. I bought the following-

Rib trimed scoopneck in majestic plum
Placed petal tee in purple
and a v-neck that I can't find online...

Loft has some really cute things right now, so if you need fall clothes, go check it out!

From there, I headed to B. Dalton at Union Station where I got yelled at by a tourist! I was in line to buy a few things and the cashier asked for the next person in line. I was at the front, so I walked over and put my things down. Meanwhile, I walked by a man who was bent over, as if he was getting something from the bottom shelf. I assumed he was still shopping and didn't think much of him. All of a sudden, I heard "excuse me, but I was next in line," in a loud, shrill voice. I turned and realized that the man was talking to me! I was shocked and aplogized, and picked up my things saying, "please sir, go ahead, I didn't realize you were waiting!." He got all huffy and said "whatever, just stay there," followed by "people in DC are SO rude." I was mortified! I honestly didn't realize that he was in line and I would always let someone go ahead of me!

This, of course, came after I had helped a British couple buy metro passes, because they couldn't figure out the machines and how to get a fare card! Ugh, there went my good karma for the day!

I went home and fell asleep somewhere in the ballpark of 9:30pm. I am awesome.

This weekend was Heidi's wedding and it was so, so lovely. She was such a beautiful bride and is off honeymooning in Puerto Rico right now! I think I am guest posting at her blog sometime this week, so make sure you stop by and congratulate her. I will post some pictures eventually, assuming she doesn't mind!

My mother had a letter to the editor published in the September issue of School Library Journal. She's awesome too.

I had a pair of black shoes re-heeled and they polished them up for me too. It's like they're brand-new!

Steve's birthday was yesterday. It was a low-key day, as he had some homework to do, but we went to the Brickskeller last night with a few friends. It's one of my favorite DC bars; they have hundreds of imported beers and at least three Polish beers, so I am always happy. I always tell myself to try something new, but it never seems to happen.

I am now sponsoring a five year old boy called Rueben in Uganda through the Christian Upliftment School. Of course, I am still loyal to World Vision and my Albanian girls, but this seemed like another good opportunity. I wrote a big paper on Uganda for a class last spring, and there is so much going on there right now that it's just crazy. With them, sponsorship is only $35 a year, and covers tuition and school uniforms. Of course, I can send letters and packages, if I wish, which I am sure to do. I'm pretty excited about that. The school has a blog too, so have a look at it!

I'm also meeting with two girls tomorrow about the DC chapter of Room to Read, which I am really excited about. There are a few big events coming up, and we are meeting to discuss smaller events where people our age might come, people who can't necessarily donate in the thousands of dollars, but maybe could donate a few dollars here and there. They also have a girls scholarship program that I am really excited to learn more about. Let me know if you'd be interested in attending any of these events, and as more are planned, I will be sure to mention them and invite all those who might like to come!

My parents are visiting this weekend and we have tickets for the Red Sox-Orioles game in Baltimore Friday night! Whoooo!

What's on your agenda this week?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

horsing around

The equestrian look has been going around for quite some time now and I am just now getting into it a bit. It's funny to me, because I rode for years. I began riding when I was nine and rode and competed all through high school and college. With the exception of one lesson last summer, with my mother, who now rides, I haven't been on a horse in at least six years. It's sad to me, because it was such a big part of my life and I loved it. I'd love to ride again, but stables in DC are expensive and harder to get to, since I don't have a car and it is unlikely that the metro runs out to wherever they are! Maybe I should look into it though....

Over the weekend, we stayed at a lovely B&B called Merritt Hill Manor in Penn Yan, NY. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend it. It was gorgeous. I didn't take any photos of the inside, but several from outside (and the view!) that I will post later. We stayed in room 3, the Matthew Joseph room. It's hard to tell from this photo, but the room (and the bathroom!) had the equestrian look going on, and I loved it.

You can't see from the photo, but to the right of that chair in the corner are two windows facing east where we saw the most amazing sunrise. The photo also doesn't allow you to see the details, but this room reminded me of my love for all things equestrian.

Then I found this blog post that detailed a lot of looks that I like (like the leather trunks!). It is so classic and pulled-together looking. Right now, my tiny apartment doesn't allow for much of it, but maybe someday? Also, look at these cute pieces. I should check out some antique shops...I'm sure I could find something similar!

Since I rode for so long, I already have most of the clothing, though I admit, I wouldn't wear much of it outside the barn :) I do have the tall leather boots though. Maybe I should have them cleaned and polished and could wear them with a pair of skinny jeans? Would that be too much?

What about you? What do you think of the equestrian look? Is it something you'd try?

an apple a day

I really should teach, shouldn't I?

Why Pursue a Teaching Career?

Check out this list of the top ten perks to an education career:

10. Solid Paychecks
While teaching is not a get-rich-quick profession, starting salaries are in line with other graduate professions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public teachers are actually paid about 11 percent more than the average professional worker. Teaching careers also offer opportunities for advancement and increased pay over time.

9. More than Just an Apple a Day
Important benefits, such as health insurance and pension plans, are becoming scarce commodities in many professions, but you can count on both as a teacher. Most teachers have their premiums fully paid by their school districts and their health, dental and vision benefits are among the best when compared with other industries. Teaching also offers additional benefits such as sick days and tuition reimbursement, so you'll find that teaching actually pays a lot more than you think.

8. Love Your Education Career
Joseph Campbell's "Follow your bliss" recommendation is universally echoed by career counselors. If you are happy at work, you'll be more motivated, energetic, successful and confident—and the other people in your life will benefit from your outlook. If the idea of teaching invigorates you, that's a great reason to pursue a teaching career.

7. Nix the Nanny
With a work calendar synched to your kids' school calendar, an education career allows you to eliminate most childcare expenses. Even though you're earning a paycheck, you'll have the flexibility to be home with your kids before and after school.

6. Become an Expert
There's an old adage that it takes three years of teaching to master a subject. The best way to learn a topic is to teach it—students' questions make you dig deeper and learn more until you know the subject inside and out.

5. Realistic Hours
With students in school just six hours a day, teachers often spend much less time on the job than their corporate counterparts. With the 8-hour workday rapidly becoming the 10 to 12 hour day in other occupations, you'll find a teaching career leaves you with more time for family, friends and other interests. Sure, you'll have some long days—plan on time for parent-teacher conferences, grading homework and attending (or leading) after-school activities—but overall, your work days will leave you with a life outside of your job.

4. Share your Passions
Did you have a teacher that got you so excited about a subject you started putting in extra time and work? That's what happens when you share your excitement and enthusiasm. Sharing your love of the subject matter with students is one of the best benefits of being a teacher.

3. Can't Beat the Job Security
In many communities, teachers are a scarce commodity. While requirements may differ from state to state, once you've established yourself as a good teacher, you'll find there are always jobs available. And, unlike many industries, layoffs and downsizing are rare occurrences in education. For information on the most high demand subjects and areas, see our teacher shortage article.

2. Serious vacation time
If the idea of having more than a two-week vacation once a year appeals to you, you might want to become a teacher. With a couple weeks off for winter holidays, another couple weeks for winter and spring breaks, and most of the summer months off, you have the opportunity to invest in other interests:

Pursue your obsessions – You'll have chunks of time to climb mountains, visit exotic lands, join an expedition to climb Mt. Everest, spend a month eating your way around Europe or jump into a series of music workshops.
Summer moonlighting – With summers off, it's easy to develop a fun, seasonal career. For example, you'll often find teachers working as docents in our national parks each summer, a classic case of having your vacation and getting paid for it too!
Doctor in the house – Teachers often devote their vacation time to furthering their own education and professional development. If adding PhD to your name is part of your life plan, but not your budget, teaching can help you find the time, and the money, to make it happen.

And, the number one perk to a teaching career?

1. Knowing all the answers on the test!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

come read with me

Last year, I posted about becoming a penpal with a great organization called In2Books. Last year, I read five books with my student Terrion. I really enjoyed getting to know him a bit through our "letters," which were really emails through their online system. My actual email address was not given out; no personal information was ever exchanged.

I just had an email from In2Books, letting me know that I will soon receive the name of my new penpal for this school year! I'm really looking forward to it once again. It's not that time-consuming; every other month or so, you will receive an email with the title of the book you read next. My student was a 4th grader, so reading the books he chose never took too long. Then I'd write to him, asking questions about the book, and he'd reply, asking and answering questions of his own. Once I was finished with the books, I collected them and donated them to a local library.

If you are looking for a fun opportunity, check it out! You'll have fun, I promise!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Niagara Falling

Hello from Ontario!

I'm in Niagara Falls for the night, on the Canadian side, which is so much better then the American side. It's been a busy day, but loads of fun. We left DC yesterday (Thursday) at 4:15am (SO not my idea, obviously), but were in NY well before lunch, which was ideal. We pulled into the parking lot of the first winery on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail at approximately 10:30am. Awesome. From there, we drove north and hit about ten more wineries. We had lunch at one of them and kept on going! Of course, we bought a bottle or two at each one...

Wine-o's? Us? Nooooooo.....

Today we got up early again (not as early!) and left our B&B around 9am to head to the Falls, which I love! So, so pretty. We stopped at my beloved Tim Hortons for a breakfast snack and were at the Falls by lunchtime. After checking into our hotel, we drove a bit north to Niagara-on-the-Lake to visit a few more wineries. Many of them feature ice wines, which Steve loves and we don't see much of in VA, so that was a nice treat. Then we did the Falls, had dinner 700 feet about the Falls and then went to a casino where I lost $10. Oh well. It could have been far worse!

Of course, there are lots of pictures, which I will post when we get back.

Tomorrow we are heading back to the Finger Lakes for a wedding. Sunday, a few more wineries with some friends (on the other side of Seneca!) and then visiting a family friend in Binghamton before back to DC on Monday...

Happy long weekend to you! Hope you are enjoying it!

Loonielove :)