Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Shoes fit for a princess

I was spending some time perusing Etsy this evening, like I often do, coveting the beautiful things that talented folks have made and came across these simple and lovely shoes at the shop for The Generation.

I thought, "OMG!  These look like the shoes from The Dancing Princesses!"  The Dancing Princesses was my FAVORITE Faerie Tale Theatre movie.

After deciding this little discovery warranted a blog post, I started looking for Dancing Princesses pictures, like the one above, to complete the blog post experience. 

Then, I found this:

Ha!  Awesome, no?  :-)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Drake and Buddy

Followers of the blog are well aware of Buddy, B and I's four legged child. But you might not be fully aware of Drake. When I was in late middle school/early high school we adopted a white west highland terrier. The name Drake comes from a video game called Legend of Legaia which, at that time, was my favorite.

Drake now lives with my mom in Broken Arrow, OK, so I only get to see him once or twice a year. But before I left for college, Drake and I were inseparable. The phrase "man's best friend" was invented to describe Drake and I's friendship. This picture above is what Drake would look like, if we could keep his hair clean for longer than 2 minutes.

Drake doesn't shed, which is a good thing. But a corollary of not shedding is the same dirty hair stays attached the dog for eternity. Buddy's hair remains white as the driven snow, partially because he sheds an entire coats worth of hair in 24 hours. Fresh hair = clean hair = Buddy is always white = our couch is always covered in hair. Not Drake. As a result Drake leaves less hair in the house, but a more accurate name for his breed might be "off-white west highland terrier."

I brought my computer into the living room early this morning to work on my lesson plans* which turned into watching videos on Right now is a good time for this, as my Atlanta Falcons have a 12-2 record, only matched by the New England Patriots. If they can beat the Saints on Monday night and secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs, they'll have a great chance of playing the big game in Arlington.

One of the things I love about the Falcons and their head coach, Mike Smith, is that are a balanced, intentional, and consistent football team. They do not have as many "big plays" as the Eagles, Patriots, or Chargers. There aren't as many spectacular highs during their games where they take a big chance and succeed! And there aren't as many lows where take a chance and fail. But they can pound the ball down your throat drive after drive after drive. After the first half of the Seahawks game, the Falcons had twice as many plays as Seattle! This is especially impressive considering the Seahawks started the first half with the ball!

I'm about to make a potentially absurd correlation between two distinct idea, but bear with me. Or stop reading, either way here I go:

The Falcons are a successful low-risk team and the Patriots are a successful high-risk team. If these two teams represent two philosophies of life, I would choose the Falcons over the Patriots. If the Falcons represent a life philosophy of measured, intentional, and (dare I say?) conservative living, then the Patriots represent more emotional, daring, and risky behavior. I'm averse to drastic fluctuations of emotions. Super highs following by crushing lows... That's probably why I was ready to move on from being a teenager by age 14. It's also probably why I get frustrated working with 14/15-year-olds. Their lives are the swings of a pendulum.

Recently I've spent alot of time thinking about my emotional life. In college I was described as "steady," "even keel," and "consistent." I interpreted these descriptions as very positive comments. Recently I've been described as reserved, distant, and difficult to relate to -- a decidedly negative spin. My behavior hasn't changed, I don't think. I'm not sure why the interpretation has changed. Possibly as my friends/community have changed their expectations for emotional depth and connection have changed. Also as my primary role/identity has changed the expectations for relational depth have changed as well.

No conclusions here, because I'm not sure how to think about all of this (Notice I didn't say how to "feel" about this). On the one hand I want to be a more emotional personal because I think it will help me to develop deeper connections with more people. However, I honestly find it difficult. Enter the Falcons/Patriots analogy. If the Falcons are going to win the big game, will they need to change their game plan and take risks down the field? Or if they stick to their strengths will they be more successful? My money is on sticking with what has worked in the past, both for the Falcons and myself.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Parenting Taboos

Since we're into truth telling around here, I thought this little presentation was fascinating for our child-bearing and non-child-bearing friends alike.

Parent friends, what do you think?

I remember before I got married I got so sad when I heard the "truths" about marriage, such as "you don't like each other ALL the time" and "the next 50 years aren't just like your first year of dating."  Well, maybe not for YOU...but we're different!

But, um, guess what?  We're unique just like everybody else.  I suppose our parenting life will be just as unique.

I really like their ideas about "collectively bending the baseline of happiness upward."  When you feel like the "failure" because your (and supposedly everyone's) expectations aren't met it is nearly impossible to feel happy or even content.  But adjust those expectations, not lower - just adjust, and your ability to "succeed" suddenly becomes significantly enhanced and you discover that nobody is succeeding at the mythical magical life that you imagine based on their Facebook profile, blog, Christmas letter, and general perfect exterior.

Then, whew, what a relief!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Poetic Justice & It's a Wonderful Life

My mom gets made fun of a lot for crying.  At everything.  Her sisters call her a crybaby.  She will correct you that she is not a crybaby, she is just tender hearted.  I made fun of her too, I will not lie.

Then on Saturday night we watched "It's a Wonderful Life" on TV.  It's a good movie but you'll notice it didn't make my favorites list in the last post.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, we're all important, no life is a waste that touches some one else, blah, blah, blah.

But this year?  This year when Jimmy Stewart looked like this:

S and I?  We both looked like this:
 What is happening to us!?

Why this old thing?  This is what I wear when I don't care that I'm weeping like a baby.   

Sunday it snowed a little bit.  I cried.

Today I was listening to good ol' John Denver and the Muppets and I wept during this:

Okay, okay!  I'm sorry that I made fun of you, mom.   

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Traditions we can do without

Hey y'all.  What's up?  Been up to much lately?  Yeah, us neither.

You know how I post some of my crafty stuff on here and feel all proud of myself?  Um, there are about eleventy billion bloggers out there who post way cooler stuff than I do and with greater frequency.  But what is up with these people?  They make everything in their houses, they bake crazy amounts of deliciousness, they post on their blog, and they home school their kids.  Why do all of these crafty folk home school their kids?  What is going on with that?

I guess I'm feeling a little threatened.  And confused.

But on to other things: holiday traditions.  You know you have them, you know you love them (or hate them).  We tried to honor some folks we know by trying their family tradition on for size but, I hate to say, it did not work out.

Before I go on, let me share some of our (um, well, my) favorite Christmas movies.

 I love "The Snowman."  Sigh.  Let's all sing together....
"We're walking in the air, we're floating in the velvet sky,
we're walking in the air, we're walking in the air..."
Yeah, I have no idea what the words are either.

"White Christmas" - you are the best.

Um, duh.

How old does a movie have to be before it's a classic?  
I think "Elf" may have made it in record time.

Then I've had all these friends whose families EVERY SINGLE YEAR watch "Christmas Vacation" together.  As in, "it just doesn't feel like Christmas until we've watched Christmas Vacation!"  

Yes, that Christmas Vacation.  

So we gave it a try.  We Netflixed it, we settled in, and we only have one thing to say.


Nope, it's not making the B-S list of holiday traditions anytime soon (ever).  Doesn't that movie stress you out and make you sad about life?  I don't get it.

But if you do, I am happy for you.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Itchin' to get my hands on somethin'

I think I might have a problem.

We've been out of town for three days and I am itchin' to get my hands on a project! I am daydreaming about spray paint for one of our bedroom lamps and turning the white tablecloth that we use for a tree skirt into an actual tree skirt - maybe one that we can add to every year - by adding some trim and buttons and a few pieces of felt.

When did this happen?

We hope everyone had a very happy and cozy Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Last day!

Today is the LAST DAY to get $35 off the registration fee for the 2011 Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure.  To get the discount enter the code CURE2011 during the registration process.

When you register, you can join our DFW team, the Bold Soles.  We'd love for you to walk with us!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Top secret sharing

I am working on a fun project that I want to share but it's for Christmas presents so I can't -

because I have an inflated sense of self-importance and I assume that anyone who might be receiving a gift from me will read this this post. 

On the other hand, if you do not receive a handmade gift from yours truly, please do not be sad.

Since I made a "trial and error" project for myself before I started on the gift, I can share this one little detail.  I'm really proud of it so thank you for indulging me.

And Buddy has a favorite spot for colder weather.  In the summer he was underdog, in the fall he is camo-dog.  Can you find the Buddy in the picture?

MP3 savings at Amazon!

Amazon has a bunch of downloadable albums on super sale here

And you can enter the code GET3MP3S to get $3.00 in credit toward an MP3 purchase!

So I got the James Taylor Christmas album for $2.  Not bad, huh?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You know it's love..

When your husband comes home from a trip to Ace Hardware,
says "I got you a present!"
and presents you with this:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Our mountain greenery home!

This weekend we took a somewhat impromptu trip to the north Georgia mountains.  I've been bugging S about requesting that we go up to the mountains while there are still pretty fall leaves on the trees and we decided to stay the night and then take all of Saturday to enjoy the area.

Buddy was ready!

While stopping for gas on the way, I couldn't help but marvel at how much more classy a tan & salon shop becomes when you put it next to a convenience store.

The lady at Misty Mountain Inn & Cottages in Blairsville told S we were in the "romantic" cottage.  We forgot that to an older woman in the mountains of Georgia, this means "covered in pink roses."

And, for some reason, elevating the bed to a height that requires a step stool. 

But it was cozy and comfortable and they had cable.  Buddy didn't care about cable, he spent most of the time ready to go.

We veered from our original plan and made a stop at Crane Creek Vineyards in Young Harris.  Excellent choice, if I do say so myself.  We got there in time for a wine tasting and bought two bottles, White Mountain Harvest and a really interesting red called Hellbender

The people were super nice and so were the vineyard dogs.  Buddy made some friends!

Isn't it lovely?

We planned on just hiking so we weren't really dressed in "wine tasting chic" but no one seemed to mind.  They were serving a yummy potato and leek soup with a glass of wine for lunch so we sat on the deck and ate while Buddy socialized.

Then we stupidly relied on our Garmin to get us to Brasstown Bald mountain.  Guess what, Garmin does NOT know how to get to Brasstown Bald Mountain from the middle of nowhere.  When you have left paved roads, are driving down a one-lane gravel road, and then see the "Leaving County Maintained Road", you know you might be going the wrong way.  So, blah, blah, blah, many u-turns and a steep hike later, we ended up at the highest point in Georgia, where it is also lovely (huge surprise).

And then we drove home.  Ta-da!

Friday, November 12, 2010

What's been on my mind

B is very good about sharing what's on her mind. She has an idea and then launches into a new and witty post. Somehow she always seems to find a picture that captures, illustrates, or personalizes her posts, too. She posts about her craft projects, decorating, our new niece, and whatever else may be on her mind. Somehow those thoughts bouncing around in her brain make for interesting blog posts.

But when I, S, think about what's on my mind, I inevitably think about grading homework from 2 weeks ago, whether or not I should go out and get some ice cream tonight, and if I do go get ice cream which credit card should I use so that B doesn't see the charge until several days later. What I'm trying to say is: the stuff that's typically on my mind does not provide fodder for public literary consumption.

But I want to write a post tonight because when I read the blog's tagline, I was reminded this is about the married life of Renee B and Mike S, and NOT just a blog about B. And I'm trying to convince myself that I have a meaningful place in this cyberspace.

So what's on my mind? Beer. More specifically, the dogfish head punkin ale. This beer is magnaminous. It's make with pumpkin, brown sugar, and all spice. At 7%, it's a relatively high gravity beer. But so Delicious!!! The only downside to this beer is that it goes on sale at the beginning of September and this year was totally sold out in our area by mid-October. I was only able to buy 1 four pack before they were all gone.

So what does good homebrewer do when his favorite season is sold out? He makes his own! My brewing buddy and I found what's called a "clone" recipe online (a recipe that produces a facsimile or close approximation of the original beer).

The beer will be ready by Thanksgiving (I think) so I'm thinking about packing some and taking it to Chicago. I've searched online for advice on how to pack beer in your checked baggage and I've heard conflicting reports.

.... so that's what's been on my mind ... and now I have to go to work... I'm running late in the morning as always...


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The new arrival

We have a niece!  She was born early Monday morning.  Now S and I are an aunt and an uncle.  We're still deciding who will be which, though I am trying to clinch "aunt" seeing as how you rarely hear the phrase "my creepy aunt."  Not that S (or I) would ever be a creepy uncle, it just seems that aunt is a safer title.

I didn't ask if I could post a picture but I'm sure it would be okay because her cuteness just deserves broadcasting.


Monday, November 1, 2010

It was the best of blogs...

What are your favorite blogs?
Which ones do you check everyday?
Which ones inform you, make you laugh, or give you a reason to live?

Please share.  And feel free to promote yourself. :-)
I get like 9 hits a day - this could be your big opportunity!

In addition to my real-life friends, I regularly check up on these folks:

I dream of mirrors

Not an existential statement, just a decorating wish.  I have a thing for giant mirrors leaning against the wall.




Oh man, doesn't that just make you swoon?

Do you have a decorating concept that gets you weak in the knees?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Real Simple for $10!

Couldn't resist.  Had to share. has a one-year subscription to Real Simple on sale for $10.00!  Deal lasts until November 6th!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Extreme Makeover: Garage Sale Edition Reveal #2

Earlier I revealed my first garage sale find makeover, The Bench.  Today I give you reveal #2.

The Wine Rack

This is what the wine rack looked like upon purchase for $8.  It had been spray painted black and was showing some signs of sadness.  Especially on the top.

So, I fixed it.  You saw a little bit of the wine rack in The Bench post.  See?

First, I took the whole thing apart.  Using the same electric sander and the same stain that I used for the bench, I sanded the whole thing down and gave it a couple of coats of the supposedly evil stain.  Man, that spray paint is a pain to sand off!  But worth it.  It turned into a lovely piece of furniture. 

And now the great debate in the B-S household, should the candle holder be spray painted white or left in it's rustic metal condition?