Monday, April 21, 2008

Hooray for A Project Completed!

A couple weeks ago my friend tossed her kids and husband out of the house so she could finish their taxes . Her hubby came to our place and helped my hubby finish putting up our crown molding. We still need to fill in the nail holes and repaint but I am very pleased.

We started this project about four years ago thinking we were going to snake wires from our surround sound behind it. We were having problems (we thought) with the saw we were using. We found out it was with the particular crown molding we bought. Every time we made a cut at the corner of a room we had a gap. Our solution - spend more money for these groovy corner pieces.

Now we are only stepping over one twelve foot long piece of crown molding when we walk in to the bathroom instead of a small pile. That will be gone soon and at least the project is done.







Friday, April 18, 2008

Name That Movie

I borrowed this blog idea from the Caffeinated Librarian who borrowed it from a blog she reads.
  • Pick 15 (or 5 or 26 or 80) of your favorite movies.
  • Go to IMDB and find a quote from each movie (or quote them from memory because you are so badass).
  • Post them on your blog for everyone to guess.
  • Fill in the film title once it's been guessed.
These are your rules....
  • No Googling or using IMDB search functions (Don't cheat!)
  • Leave your answere(s) in the comments
1. "What's this, another door"?
2. "He was kinda cute, for a sociopath....."
3. "Can you star 69 Italy?"
4. "Christmas is not "clothing optional" this year - we have a guest."
5. Give me a Jack on the rocks. It doesn't have a fancy name, but if it was good enough for Frank, it's good enough for me."
6. "No, Sean Connery is Monique's boyfriend! He may be three hundred years old, but he's still a stud!
7. "I need some peace and quiet... or whatever it is people go away for. "
8. "But I was hoping to meet a girl on the Australian trip! No, African war zone; ship of death!"
9. "I like anything fast enough to do something stupid in."
10. "You burn the picture after you get the assignment! It's the first thing you learn! Oh, I must have missed that day. Just like you missed the one about not marrying the enemy."
11. "
I suddenly remembered my Charlemagne. Let my armies be the rocks and the trees and the birds in the sky..."
12. "
I'm sorry, Emily. I had to wait three hundred years for a virgin to light a candle."
13. "
Now look. There is nothing in the world to get uptight about. We are two summa cum laudes. We can handle one little baby for eight hours."
14. "
How would a little trip down the Nile suit you? There is nothing I would dislike more. There are two things in the world I can't abide: it's heat and heathens."
15. "
Damn, I hate being a foregone conclusion."

Another fun way to play this game is to do it via email. Post a quote in an email and the first person to choose the correct title of the movie (and character if you want) get's to go next.












Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Organization

I attempt to be organized. I have systems in place that work perfectly fine for some parts of my life. I'm certain those systems could be further refined to ensure they take as little time as possible. I'm kind of anal when it comes to certain things - I like spreadsheets.

Recently I came across some fun electronic gadgets that I believe would assist with my organizational expectations.

The first item is the Intelli Scanner. This tool comes with software that enables you to scan anything in your home or business that has a barcode. Media (Books, DVD's, CD's, Games), Assests (Appliances, Electronics, etc.), Wine, Groceries (Create shopping lists, Track nutrition and Inventory what's in your pantry), Comics and more. You can access your information remotely as well. How is that for a home inventory?

The second item is the Neat Receipts Scanner. This tool also comes with software that enables you to scan your receipts and save them on your home computer. You can even upload the detailed information from each receipt in to whatever home budgeting software you use such as Quicken. How great is that to be able to track your expenses in detail as well as know how much sales tax you spent over the course of a given year for tax purposes.

Something that has been around for a while but I have yet to utilize is Quicken. This is software you can use for personal banking, track your investments, etc. I am budgeting to buy it soon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Beginnings

I am a person who is really good at starting things. It's the follow through I have trouble with. Resolutions are not a good thing for me to attempt at the beginning of the new year. It's probably part of my perfectionistic outlook on life I'm certain. For some reason though when spring is around the corner I feel this great need to purge. To lighten up.

I have done this before. I have gone through my things and felt really good that I had been "ruthless". I am down to the bare minimum of my "stuff". I really haven't. I always find more I can get rid of.

Maybe it's because even though I was so looking forward to 2008 it didn't start out too great for me. In the first week of the new year I fell and severely bruised my tailbone (it's STILL on the mend), had a root canal done (still need to get the crown) and found out I needed to spend $3000 on my car (that is now fixed).

Moving on.............

The rest of 2008 and beyond I am committed to focusing on Health, Wealth and Simplicity which will bring me Serenity.

A big portion of my time in the past almost seven years has been eaten up by an unhealthy family member. This person is severely narcisistic and unfortunately part of my married life - she is my MIL. The link here is a GREAT reference for anyone who has dealings with a narcisistic personality - thank you Vanessa. I re-read the traits discussed section all the time just to keep myself on track and sane.

The terrible thing about the entire situation is I was sucked in to her unhealthy way of life so slowly I didn't really notice and as a result, lost myself. On the surface she was great. However, as time went on I began to realize that unless she got her way (specifically with my step kids and controlling her son - my hubby) there were no problems. If she didn't get her way - watch out! I felt like I was going crazy and being dictated to and blamed for her unhappiness. Even after knowing what she is I still question myself sometimes in the limited dealings I have with her.

Sorry, got side tracked.. Moving on..........

Health - I really want to get back to a point of fitness. I own an elliptical machine that I will start using again. I am commiting to twice per week at a minimum of twenty minutes. I already walk with a friend once per week and I would like to encorporate Yoga or Pilates one day per week at a minimum of twenty minutes as well. Along with longer walks with the dog, consuming more water, fruits and veggies I think these are good goals for me.

Wealth - My husband and I have put a plan in to place to be debt free (except for our condo) in two years. We started a home business in order to get our debt paid down faster (and eventually live off of). We are six years away from having no kids under the age of 18 at home and we will only be in our early 40's. That means for us travel and even less attachment to material things and downsizing to a one bedroom cottage of our own design on a lake in a warm climate.

Simplicity - We as a society are inundated with advertising telling us what we want. I fell for it for so long that I am still donating things I probably never really needed or wanted in the first place. My goal for my home is to only keep/buy things I absolutely need and are good for the environment. I know I will have trouble with books, movies and craft items. I would love to find a website or blog with great examples of how to create a wardrobe that I can transition as I lose weight and become more healthy. I know I have clothing I will never wear again or can't fit in to and need to purge. Why it makes me feel better to have that stuff on hand is beyond me.

One thing I have read is the more you give things away the more you are open to receiving. I certainly don't want to end up with more junk but I would like to received things that go with my new mantra. New electronics are making life a lot easier and portable. I think iPod's are one of the greatest things ever invented. I love the fact that I can download CD's I own and music online and keep it on my tiny little iPod where I can listen to it at home, in my car or anywhere. It's like a great mixed tape (wow, I have really dated myself). Considering On Demand movie viewing I am certain "they" are coming up with a way to digitally store your movie collection and I am so up for that! Have laptop - will travel.

Serenity - This is the ultimate goal. Not being bogged down by "stuff" but enjoying life to the fullest. Having a home that is a restful retreat (see cabin above) where I can recharge and go back out in to the world. My hope is to be completely self employed. I want to travel and write and take photos and keep a small garden. I want to read the great literature of the past and present. I want to be free of clutter (body, soul and space).

Here's to a new outlook of lightening up!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Decluttering

Tonight after getting home from work the hubby and I decluttered the vanity in our bathroom. I had already taken care of the medicine cabinet and drawers in the vanity a couple weeks ago and I am happy to report they are still organized after all of my efforts.

It is absolutely amazing how much stuff we threw out - not even fit for donation but TOSSED! Two plus grocery bags of stuff we were storing for no reason since we will never use it. It was a good feeling actually. Really, what family absolutely needs three containers of Aloe? We were finally able to get the Costco size bag of toilet paper - which we DO use - a storage place of it's own.

Looking around our bathroom (which is due for renovation this summer) we realized the artwork and a lot of the "stuff" in there was not really representative of us and how we want to live our lives. We took down a shelf, got rid of old towels and I convinced my hubby Star Wars models DO NOT belong in the bathroom. (The Star Wars stuff is a debate for another day and another post).

The next step for me is to gradually replace ALL of my makeup. It's old and I don't particularily care for the brand anymore. I'm not a big makeup wearer. I religously moisturize my face after getting out of the shower (first item to replace). My makeup routine is pretty easy, foundation, powder, eyes and some lipstick. I don't like blush, never have and can't be convinced I need to wear it.

All in all, we made some significant improvements and we didn't spend a dime. Our bathroom actually looks and feels bigger and I can find things!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Experience Music Project

Yesterday we took the kids to the Experience Music Project which is "dedicated to the exploration of creativity and innovation in popular music". The entire building is considered one huge sculpture and situated at the Seattle Center. The shot below has the Space Needle behind it. It was built for the 1962 worlds fair.

Here is a shot of the EMP with the Monorail coming out of it. Chris and the kids are in the foreground.


One more shot of a different side of the EMP with Connor.


Attached to the EMP is the Science Fiction Museum. My hubby is a HUGE Sci Fi fan so he was in heaven. You might say it's like the mother ship calling him home. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos inside the SFM. Some items of interest were costumes from Films such as Blade Runner, Star Wars and Aliens. Props from TV shows like Red Dwarf and Star Trek (including captain Kirk's chair). There was even Borg and Storm Trooper costumes created by fans.

This is an interior shot of the EMP. Notice how there are a lot of curving lines, colors and materials including wood, cement, metal and glass. It echoes the exterior and doesn't quite fit in with the buildings that surround it but Seattle has embraced it.

This sculpture has over 700 guitars in it. If you look closely you can also find a few keyboards, a bass and an accordion.

Connor and Chris looking at the guitar sculpture. Behind them is the American Sabor exhibit. A temporary exhibit about Latinos in American popular culture. We didn't have the time to see this today but I will definitely go back before it's gone.

Bass at the top of the guitar sculpture.

My hubby thought this record jacket was funny. This was in the permanent exhibit Northwest Passage, which explores "development of the Northwest music scene, from its beginnings as a small, isolated community to its status during the grunge years as the center of the rock universe". They have costumes from bands such as Heart and Paul Revere and the Raiders. They also have a guitar owned by Kurt Cobain and part of a drum set of Dave Grohl (Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame).

Gene Simmons costume from his band Kiss presides over the stairwell to the exhibits.

The Beatles Apple.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Tourists Again

Last weekend we took the opportunity to visit Fort Casey which is across the Straight of Juan de Fuca from Fort Worden.


Our first stop was Deception Pass. In the late 1880's Ben Ure and Lawrence "Pirate" Kelly smuggled illegal Chinese immigrants through here. The bridge completed in 1935 spans 976 feet from Fidalgo Island to Whidbey Island. Parts of the 2002 horror movie The Ring were filmed in this area as well.

You can take a path that goes under part of the bridge structure down to the waters edge. It's quite a hike!

This is looking from the Whidbey Island side of Deception pass out in to the water. Further to the left is the Straight of Juan Fuca.
Fort Casey barracks.

Chris and BJ next to a WWII gun. These guns could be lowered below ground level so from the straight you could not see them.

This is part of the bunker in the bluff. From the water you don't even know anything is here. It's all hidden at ground level.

This gun was not original to Fort Casey but is the type of gun that was used here. This one and another was found in the Phillipeans.
Chris down in the corridors of the bunker.

Admirality Head lighthouse stands at Fort Casey just across the water from Fort Warden and the Point Wilson lighthouse. Built in 1861 and rebuilt in 1903. It's not in use today as an operating lighthouse but still a great opportunity to visit past history.