Saturday, December 3, 2011

Holiday things are happening...

We've got our tree up (and finally probably straight), and I just put 21 cups of Turkey broth in the freezer. I can get sick any time now. It's fine. I have the broth to deal with it.
Presents are being picked out and slowly making their way into the house, and under the tree.
For some reason, this year, I've not got that many great ideas for gifts. Usually I get so excited, because I have so many wonderful ideas, and can't wait to implement them. This year, no. Just... no. I have a few lame ideas, but really, I'm just tired, and not ready for Christmas. It's not cold here at all, so Christmas snuck up on me before I was prepared. Now it's almost here, and I'm floundering.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Stupid Bathroom

So Far, I've been fairly pleased with this new apartment. Everything that I don't really like has been minor things that don't really matter, like the placing of the air intake vent, or the fact that all the dirt on our upstairs neighbors balcony filters down onto ours, because the slats are really far apart.
And then comes the bathroom. Specifically the bathtub/shower stall. I noticed when we were beginning to unpack, that the bathtub really needed a good scrub. The whole bottom was just splotchy grey, because it's mildly textured and therefor catches all the foot dirt that comes it's way. I also noticed that the soap dish on the wall had a weird texture but figured it just needed a good scrubbing as well. when I took a closer look, I realized the soap dish seemed to have been painted over, and the paint was peeling on the part that holds the dish/collects water.
I decided that for the tub, not knowing the previous residents, I'd rather just bleach the whole thing, instead of getting on my knees and scrubbing. I left the bleach bath to sit for several hours, and when I rinsed it out, I realized that it hadn't done a thing. Did I dilute the bleach too much? I mean, the whole house reeked of bleach, so I would've thought it was enough. I mean, maybe that's why it was still so dirty after the last residents moved out, it was stained or something.
So I get down on my knees with a scrub brush, a sponge and some baking soda. It sort of seems to make a difference, but when I get up, it still looks just about the same. It seems as though this bathtub has some sort of inherent matte texture (which is great for picking up dirt!), so I will never be able to get it smooth and shiny, so I have no idea how to tell the difference between dirty and clean.
I go to work on the soap dish, and the I'm able to peel paint off in large chunks. Seems that they did a fairly uneven coat of paint, over a dirty dish, so it never really sealed well, and that's why it was coming up under the soap. I scrub off the old dirt underneath the paint too.
Mark points out that some of the tile is also really scummy, so I give that a go. Turns out that's been painted too, or at least, some of them have. Also tile grout scum smeared everywhere and anywhere.
 Since everything is white, you can only sort of see the smears of tile grout everywhere here, but it's all over.
It's hard to tell there, because I'd already scrubbed off a lot, but pretty much that whole ledge there was just smeared with sealant.

There's about three different shades of white tiles in the bathroom, kind of in patches. The tiles underneath the paint are grayer, and kind of stained, so I'm wondering if I'm supposed to leave this stuff there as protective coating? But I mean, what was their plan?  Paint the tiles, and then NEVER clean again? Disgusting. I'd rather ugly clean tiles than white ones that are covered in gross.

So after peeling and scrubbing paint off of several tiles, and parts of the bathtub, I take a shower, because I am covered in paint flecks and baking soda, and dirty water. And I get to stare at this the whole time:
Yeah. If this were my house, I could take that panel down, and clean it and repaint it, but since it's not, and they already passed on their chance to clean it up, I just get to stare at it whenever I rinse my hair out.

After my shower, I discover this:
Yes, that's right. Water got between the paint and the tile, making them sag like old skin. Now I have to clean them all. Ugh.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

So much to update...

I guess I should've been keeping up with how we're decorating and organizing this new place, now that we've been here a few days, but honestly, it hasn't felt that inspired, we've just been shoving the contents of boxes onto shelves, and hoping it will all fit. MOving into this place has been a lot like a game of tetris. It's a smaller apartment, but not in every room. For instance, the bathroom has a lot more storage space, but the kitchen has less. Until we get a washer and dryer, we'll have the whole laundry room to use as storage, which feels like a lot, but if we want to not have to use the common facilities, we'll have to give that up soon. We have a bigger bedroom closet, but no hall closet, so we have to cram a whole bunch of other stuff in there.
We did try to really pare down several areas that we knew were getting out of hand. We both were able to donate quite a few clothes, and books, and I pared down my art supplies and tea.
We're not going to do much differently in this place, probably. We are closer to an ikea, so it's tempting to go buy lots of new stuff to go in our new place, but honestly, we should probably just try to make what we have work. We might try to get rid of one bookcase, because there's only so many places they can comfortably fit.
If Mark's desk faced a certain wall, I could get it fit in, but he'd rather set it against the other wall, and I can't tell him what to do, it's his desk, and he's the one who has to sit at it. It just messes up my Tetris. because of that, some of my wall space is split up into smaller separate wall spaces that can't get anything fit into them. Grrr. But we will be able to fit it all, hopefully. Just not the way I was hoping.
We've taken the shelf that sat in front of the window and held my gardening things, and put it in the dining room, where it holds cookbooks and extra kitchen paraphernalia. For now, the gardening things are outside on the porch. There's an outside closet there that can hold all our unimportant/messy stuff. Our DVD shelf is on the back porch holding the plants, waiting to get painted. It'll be going right in the entryway, so I want it to look good. I'm thinking we'll paint it blue, and maybe try and find some cute coordinating paper for the shelves maybe? Or put in a back covered in cute paper. Right now it's painted white, and is covered with brown weird spots, after living in my grandparent's garage for years.
We're also going to hang up the light weight curtains, instead of the heavy denim type ones we had in the last apartment. There, we needed to keep the heat out in the summer, here we need to keep out the eyes of the neighbors, but there will be no heat or light to keep out. We just can't find the hardware for the curtain rod.

Right now the biggest things I need to move are the boxes of DVDs, (I haven't decided what to do with them, but they are in the way, and need to go somewhere), and the books, because I want to really really know where the bookshelf is going before I fill it up. It will be impossible to move after that, and I'm too lazy to take all the books back off to move it. Ugh.

What is done:
The bedroom closet, pretty much, and the bathroom. The kitchen, except for hanging things on the wall.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Apartment

We'll be taking a trip to Austin on the 15th to sign the lease (yes, it is during SXSW, not they wouldn't let us do it by fax. Yes, it will suck).

Since we'll be getting our keys that day, I figure we might as well bring a load down in the truck while we're at it. I just haven't figured out what yet. There's the obvious: Christmas decorations and books and other things we won't be needing, but I'm also wondering about what would be helpful to have while we're there. We've got an extra mattress pad and some extra pillows, I think I could spare two towels and some shampoo and conditioner. I think we'll bring down two living room chairs, and maybe some cleaning supplies. Rags, sponges, hand soap. Maybe some paper plates and napkins. (I have a bunch that Mommy left at my house after Christmas) Maybe a lamp? And some toilet paper.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Packing up

This will be a boring post, mostly just to get me motivated.
Today is the first day that I'm feeling better, that I've had a day off. So it's back to work on moving house. With both of us sick there for so long, nothing has really gotten done since before Valentine's day. Tonight we have a friend coming over, though, so I started to clean up a bit, and decided I might as well pack up a few things while I'm at it.
I think I'll start with books and DVDs, and maybe some of the frames and framed artwork. Maybe some legos and other knick knacks. I really need to take out the recycling and drop off some stuff at goodwill, but even though I have the truck now, I don't really want to take those trips by myself. I like the help.
I don't know where we're going to put all these boxes, because we barely have room for the empty boxes that are packed down.

We did get our bikes out of storage (Well, the bikes we use. We left the brown one for the time being, because I don't know if we'll have room for it in Austin yet.) They were both in okay shape, although the tires were all flat. I now realize that the red one is kind of a piece of junk, and the black one was a great find. It's got a nice glossy coat, and almost no nicks or scrapes, where there's not an inch on the red one that doesn't. The black one is lugged, and has some nice gold and red painted on details, where the red one just has decals, that are slowly peeling up and getting crisp, and no lugs. It's not a terrible bike, but it's not the prettiest, and we could do a lot better.
We're thinking to sell/give away the red one, and buy a new one. Mark wants a cream colored Fuji, with brightly colored brake cables. If we're getting a bike for me to use, I'd prefer a lady's style, so I can step through, but Mark thinks I should use the black one and he'll get a new one. I guess it depends on who finds a good deal first.

So far, I've packed up a few boxes of things (candles, frames, books, shoes), and threw away and put away quite a few other things. I hate that I don't have anywhere to put things that I've packed up! The empty boxes are also in the way of quite a few things that I'd like to pack up or clean up. When Mark gets home, I'll have him help me move the couch, and I'll see how many boxes I can just shove behind it.
I'm getting kind of sad about the fact that we spend SO much time this summer organizing and decorating, and as soon as we got everything the way we wanted it, we're packing it all up. Who knows how long it will take to get to that point in the new place.

I really need to get cracking on the job applications, but I'd rather pack.

Friday, February 18, 2011


When we visited Austin a few weeks ago, Betsy and Ashley and I sat and had some tea in the afternoon, and I had a lovely pistachio macarons to go with. Turns out Betsy wants macarons at her wedding, and although I'm sure there are those more qualified than I, it would still be fun to try!
I'm starting with this recipe, using almonds ground into flour with my blender. I used a little bit of imitation vanilla for flavor, but I think it would be fun to make some with green tea powder, or maybe some mint ones, and several kinds of fruit flavors. I still haven't decided what to fill the ones I'm making with. Maybe nutella, or jam. I don't really feel like whipping up something special for them.
Next time, or at least if I'm making them for the wedding, I'd like to have someone helping me, and a candy thermometer.

So far: first batch didn't really work. I think they were too dry. they looked great, but when I pryed them off the pan, the were hollow underneath, and they never got a 'foot' like they were supposed too. This was with added water, and a shorter baking time. Weird. I can still fill them, they taste fine, but they will just take a lot more filling, since they are concave instead of flat on the bottom.
With the remaining batter, I added some melted chocolate, and once piped out, I let them sit a bit longer than the first batch had. Once they baked, I opened the oven, and voila! they have perfect little feet, and smell amazing.
I turned off the oven, but left them in there, since they didn't bake as long as the recipe said to, but I don't want them to dry out like the first ones.
I'm going to have to buy some peanut butter to put in there, and maybe make some sort of minty ganache? hmm. I will probably do all this tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day Activities

I wouldn't really say it's snow, but it's white, and it's cold, and it's keeping us all inside. And it's given me the chance to do a project that I've seen a lot of places, but never had the opportunity to try before: ice decorations.

The idea is that you put berries or branches or something pretty in a container, and fill it with water, and let it freeze, and then hang it from a tree or something, to decorate outside. You can use a bunt pan to make a wreath one, but I just had these little cake pans, and some red berries I picked up on our walk yesterday.
I hung another one over the side of the balcony, and I think it will last longer, because it's not being blown around by the wind. It is just hanging on a thumbtack though, whereas this on is hung on a nail. I'm curious to see whether they melt or break first!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


I've been doing a bit better lately, although the house is a mess.
I made some soup last night, and some sort of blueberry cake for mark.
I'm working on some slippers for Christy. I wasn't able to find as nice of sweaters at Goodwill, so I'm hoping these look just as nice as the first ones.
I cleaned up most of the Legos this afternoon.
I hung up the laundry yesterday, and did a load of dishes yesterday and today. Took out a month's worth of recycling.
Tomorrow we'll finally be going to visit my parents.
I've been making myself smoothies, and they've been nice and refreshing, making me feel better. But I used up all the juice last night. Can you use milk instead? I guess I'm just going to have to find out.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


So I got right up after writing that last post, and did a load of dishes, swept the kitchen and stairwell, put my coat on, and went to the grocery store. I feel much better now, than if I had stayed at home watching the waning light, and playing Little Big Planet 2.
Other good things that are making me feel better: text messages from good friends, emails with good news from Daddy, and on the way to Tom Thumb, I passed a girl who was singing to herself, and another who was getting into her car with a huge batch of pink cupcakes.

Next up: empty the dishwasher and run another load, make lentil stew, and then, maybe, sit and knit.

January and February

This time of year is hard for me, especially lately. Because of our horrible work schedules, I usually only see the daytime sky for a few minutes on my way to work, and then by the time I get off work, it's dark. Spending months in darkness is really not good for my depression-prone nature. Spring is much better, but then in the summer, again, I can't go out til after dark, because of the heat. Blech.
I'm trying to get out of this slump, but it's hard to know what to do about it. Take vitamin D (does that work)? Just will my self to do more? (This Does Not work. but I always try it first, until things get out of control) Wait it out? (that's what usually happens)

So, the house has been a mess, the laundry was getting out of control, there were piles of christmas decorations that had been taken down, but not moved to the closet. Lots of dishes, but not much food. Not enough showering, or vacuuming, or plant watering.

Mark's been really understanding, and helpful, and last night I got home from work to see almost all the decorations put away, the odd project bits and pieces away, the pine needles all vacuumed up... it felt great. Now I feel like I can handle the last bits that need doing, and maybe then some.

I'd like to start knitting more, and selling on etsy again, if possible. I figure that it will always be nice to have some options out there for extra money, if I ever have the need.

I have also been wanting to knit myself a sweater, since I rarely knit for myself. I'm thinking this one:
But I have to make myself get to the yarn shop to buy supplies for it, which involves spending money, which starts up my anxiety-and-depression machine. (I do have some money saved up for it, but that doesn't make parting with it easier!)

I do feel proud of myself for selling so many pairs of handwarmers this year. I think I lost count, but it's something like six or seven! If I hadn't spent all the money from them on hot chocolate, I would be amazed at how much money I have in my pocket. (Okay, I still have money from them left. But not as much as I should)

Maybe today, instead of playing video games til mark comes home, I'll open wide the curtains to get as much sun as possible before it gets dark, and then put on some music, and do the dishes, knit something to sell, or maybe even walk to the grocery store to pick up stuff for lentil stew! Better start quick though, I can feel the sun setting as I type.