Monday, December 13, 2010

4x4 Beauty...

The beautiful "urban Christmas tree" you see pictured above was described over the weekend as a "ghetto Christmas tree". I'm still smarting a little from my house guest's ignorant comment but what can you do? There really is no accounting for taste or a lack of imagination!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

39 Minutes To Spare...

As I tucked myself into bed this evening I reflect on all of my accomplishments from the day...
1) Informational interview with a delightful retired social worker and her cats!
2) Played receptionist at the senior center and made great strides in the New York Time's cross word puzzle while there.
3) Researched graduate programs
4) Watched Glee.

And just as I was about to flip off the lights I realized I had forgotten my newest to do task "Stay true to my promises"...

So here I am a daily update. By the way the books I decided to start reading are as follows
- Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (I already read about 3/4s of it but left it on a plane. This new copy I'm not letting go of!)
- Paula by Isabel Allende. (Apparently I like memoirs written by women when their daughters are gravely ill. Last year at this time I was reading The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. Merry Christmas!)

I will post tomorrow!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm Trying, I'm Trying...

It's always a mistake to make promises in absolutes. For example, in my last entry I promised daily updates on my new life of leisure -- that post was one whole week ago. From now on I promise to not make promises I don't intend to keep and at the time I had absolutely no intention of actually writing daily. I just said that to appease you. Apologies. But I've grown up and I am now ready to make a vow to write daily.

Moving on. So that you all don't worry I can tell you that one week into unemployment and I'm feeling pretty good. I spent some quality time with the seniors last week. Me and my troup of elders experiencing the early stages of memory loss wrote a poem or two, sang along to some lovely banjo strumming, and even line danced a bit. Outside of my time at the senior center I've been so busy brunching, lunching, and feeling festive I've had barely a moment to reflect on my current state of borderline destitution (I jest, I jest. I'm collecting unemployment people so clearly I'm rolling in cash!).

Now that the novelty of not having to sit at a desk for 8 hours a day has started to wane I'm ready to really take advantage of this valuable period of freedom and start accomplishing and exploring in ways I can't when I'm bogged down with 40 hours of employment. Perhaps each day I can add one thing to my to do list (back to that failed to do list from my last post!). Today I can start simple...

- Start reading a book that doesn't have to do with the following:
old people, aging, psychology of aging, dementia, depressed caregivers, happy caregivers, medicare...

This sounds do-able. After I select an appropriate literary masterpiece I will update my loyal , no matter how miniscule, readership.

Until next time -- and by next time I clearly mean tomorrow!
Your Friendly Neighborhood Old Lady In Training

Monday, November 29, 2010

Putting the "Fun" in "Funemployment"...

Today is my first real day of unemployment. After returning beauty products I could not afford to Nordstrom and Macy's I had lunch with a friend. Over lunch he asked what I was filling my day of leisure with. I told him that after we ate I was planning on taking my laptop (my new laptop!!!!) to Starbucks to file for unemployment benefits, pretend to look busy, and make eyes at the newest barista (baristo?) in hopes of winning his affection. This friend told me that whenever he goes to Starbucks he ends up making to-do lists and that I should do the same. As I have nothing better to do I decided to give it a shot.

Here's what I have so far...

1) File for unemployment benefits. Status: Complete.
2) Pretend to be busy. Status: Complete. (note: If looking busy could be an occupation I'm pretty sure I would have no trouble finding a job)
3) Make eyes at barista in hopes of winning his affection. Status: Utter failure. (note: first and foremost, pretending to be busy is incredibly time consuming. Between furrowing my brow, staring intently at my computer screen, and occassionally checking my iPhone for very important fake messages there is seldom a moment for "eye making". Second and secondmost, he seems of the "all business at work" mindset. Clearly we might have some compatibility issues.)
4) Add tasks to my "to-do" list. Status: Outlook does not look good.

So that's day 1 of what I had hoped would be "funemployment". My readers will be updated daily as this adventure continues.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Just Another Statistic...

I am joining an elite group comprised of 8.6% of the Washington State labor force on November 19, 2010. Yes, that's right, I am living the new "American Dream" -- I've been laid off.

With this new found free time expect postings galore!

Friday, September 24, 2010

In Training To Be This...

I watched the delightful and inspiring Run Granny Run today. It follows Doris Haddock who at age 90 walked across America to raise awareness of campaign finance corruption and at age 94 ran for New Hampshire's US Senate position. I laughed and of course I cried - but please don't let my tears discrourage you. It was by no means a tear jerker. I'm what they call an "easy cry". Anyways, after watching the movie I wanted to learn a little more about Doris "Granny D" Haddock and I came across this quote of hers...

"You have to keep the young adventurer inside your heart alive long enough for it to someday re-emerge. It may take some coaxing and some courage, but that person is in you always - never growing old."

This is a sentiment I want to keep in mind as I immerse myself further and further into "real life" as a young adult. I don't want to get bogged down by the rules, pragmatism, and propriety that I am asked to comply with daily.

Anyways that's my little poorly written soap box speech for the day.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hello, It's Me...

Before I begin this real, honest-to-goodness post I shall apologize for my laziness. It's been weeks since I put anything up, I know. I could tell you that my computer broke (which it did) and I could tell you that I've been frightfully busy (which is almost true) but I'd rather skip it and just say "I'm sorry". Onward, ho!

Admittedly my world is a little small and so when I make this announcement I know that it's gravity will not be quite as monumental for the reader as it is for this author but the announcement will be made nonetheless.
I have my very first interior styling gig!!!!!!!!!
By gig, of course I mean a completely volunteer based assignment with an incredibly limited budget. The Senior Center I volunteer at is starting a new day program for people in the early stages of memory loss. As is the case with any normal 25-year-old, memory loss is a pet interest of mine and so I am helping organize the open house and hopefully facilitating the artistic expression portions of the semimonthly group (cross your fingers that my "glitter-as-therapy" activities are approved!). Anyways, before any of this can happen the cinderblock and forest green basement space that we will be utilizing must be transformed into a coccoon of calm, comfort, and coziness. *Cue my eager squeals of "I CAN DO IT! I CAN DO IT! I CAN DO IT". Shockingly, no one else at the center has any desire to scour Goodwill, estate sales, and craigslist in an effort to achieve this makeover and so do it I shall!!

This being a low budget (albeit glamorous) volunteer project there are limitations and they are as follows:
1) This arrangement will need to be easily set up and put away. The center uses each of its rooms for every activity you can imagine and so the space is not a dedciated one.
2) I have $100 to make magic happen.

Let's be honest, #2 is a piece of cake. #1 on the other hand is a little tricky but I'm up for the challenge of turning something that looks like this...

Into something that looks like this...

or this...

or this...
So those might be a reach. The point is inspiration is flowing and I'm ready to get shopping!!!!
Updates shall be forthcoming!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Oh Happiest Day!

Back in June upon reading this decor8 entry which featured this picture...

I was haunted. I showed everyone I knew this exquisite portrait. I had to have one of my very own to hang here...

So I spent hours googling "painted" + "dog" + "portrait" + "cone" + "wearing" and while this search blessed me with him I was still no where near finding a coned canine to call my own.

Today the search has ended and sometime between August 6th and August 12th my very own Kranker Hund by Michael Sowa will be waiting for me at home. Thank you design*sponge for this morning's living in:amelie which featured the picture that ended my multi-month long search...

I feel decidely unhip as the print I have been lusting after for months was from a well known movie and I failed to recognize it. C'est la vie... it will soon be mine!!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Plotting My Return...

Update on the horizon.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cube Fever...

I am a little distracted today. Seattle is in full fledged "disaster relief" mode. Which, for those not familiar with the Pacific Northwest mindset, means that it has finally reached temperatures worthy of summer status and the pastey Seattle-ites are already praying for a swift return of gray clouds and rain. Being a newcomer to the Emerald City I am finding this change of climate incredibly encouraging and exciting. So, seeing this current weather report...
I am asking myself what on earth I am doing sitting in one of these...
Instead of packing a picnic, throwing on a summer a dress, heading to the beach, and reliving a little piece of this....
{Thanks Katie for pictures!}

I have 45 minutes left and I am really trying to be productive. Reviewing my notes from this morning's staff meeting I found a handout on the Theory of Gerotranscendence which its creator hails as a "path toward widsom in old age". When we discussed it this morning I thought, "I may only be 25 but I'm sure I could start working on my gerotranscendence now... in no time the Dalai Lama will be g-chatting me for advice!" I started off by reading the list entitled "Signs of gerotranscendence". I think I have made impressive strides already as many item are checked off, however there is one that is making me question my decision to remain seated at my desk (no matter how comfortable my new office chair is). This one in particular is serving as great inspiration to free myself from the shackles of employment:

"More spontaneity. You gladly ignore unnecessary social rules and etiquette... Old habits, routines, and principles no longer seem as important."

After reading this my inner old lady is yelling with wisdom "Get up and get ye' to a beach". I am so incredibly tempted if only my retirement fund had more than $50 to its name. It seems that waiting until I reach the "gero" portion of my "gerotranscendence" to dip into it might be prudent.

Oh prudence! You get me everytime. It looks like my beach time remains relegated to evenings and weekends.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I'm Sorry But...

Today is slow and I am finding it difficult not just to be productive but to figure out what it is exactly I need to produce. I have mostly given up and so instead will share the following with you:

1)During lunch I stumbled across Cassie Boorn's "20-Something Self Letters". Cassie came up with the idea to ask women to write letters of encouragement, praise, and advice to themselves as they were in their 20s. Some of them are really touching (i.e. I was sitting at my desk with tears welling in my eyes) and, even better, some were incredibly encouraging. The hardest part of being an old lady in training is that while I have many of the mannerisms of an old woman I am distinctly lacking when it comes to the wisdom that accompanies old age. What I wouldn't give to go home, check my mail box, and find a letter from 80 year old me saying "chill out 'cause it's gonna be just fine".

2) After reading these letters I was going through random pictures I had saved on my hard drive and came across this little gem. Now I am sitting here trying to contain the nearly uncontainable laughter that "Riley the Smiling Dog" induces.

{thank you telegraph for making my day!}

Happy Friday. Happy Fourth of July. And Happy Birthday to You!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fresno: Making Dreams Come True??

24 days from today, if everything goes according to plan, I will be an official finisher of the San Francisco Marathon. Of course a huge part of me decided to run a marathon to challenge myself, learn about hard work and dedication, and prove to myself that things I think are impossible can be achieved one step at a time. The other part of me, however, thought that a marathon would be a fantastic excuse for a trip and where better to travel then one of my favorite places San Francisco. My excitement for the trip has been mounting. I will see family and friends all the while achieving something pretty cool. However, today while digitally perusing some pictures from my March trip to the Bay Area, I started to feel a little resentful towards the 26.2 mile jog that's bringing me down to my city by the bay for the weekend. With all of the carb loading, resting, and nearly 5 hours of running how on earth am I going to be able to go shopping? This resentment turned into panic as I looked at pictures from the Alemany Flea Market in Bernal Heights that I had taken and I saw objects that I CLEARLY should have purchased at the time but didn't and now during this trip I will not be able to go back!

With less than a month left until the marathon it is hardly the time for me and my dream (running 26.2 miles) to come into conflict. There will be more trips to SF and there will be more flea markets. I let it go.

A few hours later though I started to think about the recently planned trip to Fresno I'm taking the weekend after this one. What will I do while I'm down there? A run. Reading by the pool. Watching my parent's cable. Eating. After naming all of these activies that I am absolutely and immensely looking forward to I remembered an INCREDIBLE thrift store in Fresno's Tower District with an even more incredible name -- Yoshi Now! And the great thing about this store is that it's not simply incredible by comparison. What I mean by that is this: Fresno, for me, is a little less than alluring. When I am there for too long I get frustrated, antsy, and, I'll say it, downright cranky. Anything even slightly interesting can easily be labeled as extraordinary when you're that desperate for something new. Yoshi Now! is not only exceptional for Fresno but it would be exceptional anywhere and in this respect Fresno has a leg up on Seattle. It is a treasure trove of the finest quality because it's huge, chalk full, and CHEAP!!!!

I hope they ship because a week from now I'm on my way!

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Needed Breather...

It's been a rough day at work. Cases that are more complicated and emotionally draining than I have dealt with before seem to be pouring in and I can feel my mind shutting down in an effort to block the experience before it reaches my heart. I have been pretty good about leaving emotionally distressing experiences in my cubicle when I go home at night but today after a client said, "Amanda, what has happened to this planet? How did it get so out of control out there?" I know some serious distractions will be in order to keep my mind off the woe's of the world. My concern is that I am going to seek out these distractions by way of J. Crew, Nordstrom, or Anthropologie. Especially when this long coveted gem is on sale:


Knowing that my shopping allowance has been spent I am trying to focus on my other distractions that are ultimately more fulfilling and far less guilt inducing. First up bingo-karoake at the Greenwood Senior Center (so much rowdier than it seems) followed by a trip to fair Canada for a weekend of friends and 13.1miles of running fun.

Hope everyone has a happy, relaxing, and rejuvinating weekend.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gotta Blame it on Something...

It has been 12 days since my last post and I know that this is unacceptable. I try to take responsibility for my wrong doings, I really do, but today as I come to my dear readers in an attempted act of contrition apologetic words escape me. Instead of "please forgive me" all I can hear repeating over and over in my head are the wise words of Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus (or Mili Vanilli for those of you not in the know). These words, a pet maxim of mine, are "... whatever you do, don't put the blame on you. Blame it on the rain."

When I moved to Seattle in the summer of 2009 I was well aware of the city's gloomy reputation but always being one to give the benefit of the doubt I ignored warning and dove in with abounding optimistism about our future togheter. Who needs the sun? Rain boots are hot!

A year later I can honestly say that my time here has been filled with bliss. The only real issues to have arisen stem from the shoddy roads, terrible infrastructure, and clueless motorists that plague the streets rather than the damp climate and my new vitamin D difficiency. But even saints have their limits and these past few weeks known around here as "June-uary" have really taken its toll and left me feeling miserable. It is a drizzle induced despondency that not even a good cathartic cry during Toy Story 3 could ease. Finally today the sun has emerged and we are promised a high of 72 degrees! But instead of sighing with relief and allowing the healing to begin I am filled with panic. Tomorrow we're probably right back where we were yesterday (which was a summer solstice with no sun!!) and so what am I doing inside? I must immediately go hiking, running, kayaking, and sun bathing (these white legs are surely not helping my quest to fight off old maid status!!). At any moment these rays of warmth will disappear indefinitely!

I know I am not alone in these feelings of gloom, doom, and subsequent anxiety. I suppose at some point I will have to weigh out the mental taxation of the weather against my own love of the city and decide "do I stay or do I go"? Until then I must admit that it is nice to have a scape goat in common with the majority of Seattle-ites. Tomorrow when once again I am feeling lathargic, angsty, and self-pitying all at once and someone says "Hey. What's wrong with you?" it's comforting to know that all I need to do is cast a finger towards the sky and say "I'm sorry. It's not me, it's the rain." And the thing about this particular scape goat is that "the rain don't mind and the rain don't care. You gotta blame it on something. So blame it on the rain."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Beer Me!

One of the best things about living on top of this hill...

Is a view like this...

And a great thing about riding your bike while living on a hill like this is the thrill of going down it. Unfortunately what goes down must come up again if she wants to get home to devour her roommate's homemade fajitas. And this is the biggest drawback I have found to living atop this handsome hill...

I was recently gifted a hand-me-down bike and it was not until today that I had the time (and the helmet) to get out there and try it out. I had been renting hybrid bicycles from a local bike shop and these bikes had been dreamy. When I moved to Seattle I brought with me my beautiful, apple red, Schwinn beach cruiser (named Harvey, thank you very much). Unfortunately, after being tied to the roof of my sport utility wagon, Harvey is a little worse for the ware and his 3 speeds are not quite enough to get me around Seattle. The bike that I was gifted is a hybrid bike similar to the ones I had been renting. The big difference? My hybrid bike has a distinct lack of upkeep but a definite excess of rust. But I figured since it's a hybrid it will ride with the same ease that the rental did. Oh ho ho! What a foolhardy little troll I can be! With confidence in my "new" bike I decided I would make its inaugural ride's destinatation be Magnolia. To my non Seattle-ite readers this means ALL the way down the west side of the hill across a bridge and then TADA another hill to ride UP! Well getting to Magnolia was not a problem but once I was I came to find out that my new friend is prone to making mountains out of mole hills. The slightest incline felt like a spinning class from hell. Shins, hammies, and lungs were burning! Defeated, I turned around. Back at the base of Queen Anne I had a mountain to ascend. The bike, currently nameless, and I had an awkward and silent (I use silent loosely as the huffing and puffing were defeaning) walk up the hill. Now sitting here in my apartment, sweating something fierce, and doubting my level of fitness (I ran 16 miles on Saturday for goodness sake but this nearly killed me?? How can it be?) I am craving a cold one to soothe the aches and bruised ego. Me and Mr. Nameless Bike are not on the best of terms. Perhaps once the wheezing subsides we'll be on speaking terms again, but I don't think I will be taking him down the hill until he decides to get a major tune up!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Recipe for a 100% Wonderful Day...

This morning started off a little unsure of itself. I had a 5:45am running date with a friend and this commitment loomed over me even as I slept. I woke up at 2:15am, 3:23am, and 4:35am thinking it was time to get up and cursing the day I became a slave to running. When 5:15 actually did roll around my mood was not much better. I reached for my phone at least 4 times to call Mikaela and cancel but each time the excuses I thought up in my head were not good enough to say out loud despite my best attempts to perfect them. And so with no call to tell her otherwise Mikaela arrived at 5:49am (4 minutes late!) and I came to find out that she was entering into this 8 mile expedition with a similar mindset. To make a long story short: she came, we ran, the rain conquered. When I finished I looked like a drowned labradoodle. My pony tail was one giant rat's nest with odd frizz-curls framing my face but luckily an accompanying doodle-stench was absent. I say luckily because there was no time to shower. I hurriedly (and somewhat violently) brushed the rats out to create a lovely fluff-ball on my head, stuck a headband on forementioned fluff-ball, and packed up left-overs from last nights foray in Moosewood Restaruant: New Classics and ran out the door.

It being Seattle the weather on June 2nd is nothing but doom and gloom but for some reason today I decided that I would eat while I worked in order to afford myself a walk to Pike's Place. So after eating my polenta and Sicilian Stir-Fry (the rosemary, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, and red wine are what make it delightfully Sicilian) I grabbed my umbrella and headed out. I picked up a coffee from the tourist laden original Starbucks and got down to business -- scoping out the flowers!

I did not title this entry "Recipe for a 100% Wonderful Day" because I have bad hair and woke up earlier than I would have liked so that I could run 8 miles in the rain. But I am sure that you, my ever so clever reader, know this. You have patiently been reading so that you too can know the secret to a 100% wonderful day and finally we have arrived. Hold on to your fedoras because here it is...





PEONIES at $10 for 6 stems!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know!

Did I tell you or what?

Take a minute. Process.




Now, get in your car / hop on your bike / board that bus and get down to the market.

Or just enjoy this picture. Can you spot the peonies??

Feeling sunny in spite of the surrounding stratocumulus',

Friday, May 28, 2010

I Dreamed A (miniature) Dream in Days Gone By...

Some of you who know me are probably aware of the Great Dollhouse Disaster of 1995 and the 15 year old festering chip on my shoulder that resulted directly from this tragedy. If you have not yet heard this tale of shattered dreams and a child's first experience with disillusionment then please lend me your ear. (If you can already recite this tale verbatim then please feel free to scroll down and look at the pretty pictures):

My story begins in the summer of 1994 at the California State Fair. All I really wanted to do was check out the livestock and ride a death trap or two but instead I was dragged into the expo hall to see which 4-H member had the most ribbons and who had grown the largest tomato that year. I was in for the surprise of my life when I stumbled upon an exhibit on miniatures and dollhouses that would ignite a multi-month long obsession. The vignettes on display were more than I could have ever imagined were possible in the world of miniatures (granted I was 9 at the time and this was the first time I realized there even was a world of miniatures). After my mind was blown all I could think of were the hundreds of ways I would style my own diminutive abode if I had one. There would be chandeliers and window dressings, wallpaper and canopy beds, Viking ranges and tiled backsplashes! If my parents would not heed my advice and invest in lime tulle curtains and red velvet chaise lounges then I would get a dollhouse and style it my way! As a child of nearly 10 it is hard to ask for only one thing for your birthday but that was how badly I wanted a pint-sized design project of my very own. It was the only item on my wish list. I wanted this dollhouse stat so that the luxe rooms of myimagination could be created and the complex (not to mention sordid) lives of its itty-bitty inhabitants could commence. I could not care less if the house's exterior was shingled or finished at all. I wanted it immediately; I wanted it pre-fab. My father, on the other hand, thought, or pretended in an effort to save money to think, that the building of the dollhouse was half the fun. I objected. Not only did I not want to waste hours of decorating time building the dollhouse but I also did not trust my father to build the dollhouse in a timely fashion. My parents were insistent and so the dollhouse was purchased in the form of a build-it-yourself kit and I was promised that in no time at all my Allison Model dollhouse would look like this:

I didn't buy it at the time and 15 years later it's no surprise that instead of the above image my dollhouse looks like this:

How do I cope with the dissapointment, the shattered dreams, and the disillusionment of a young girl? The way you must cope with everything: suppress and repress. I don't entirely blame my parents. I should have put up more of a fuss. I knew better even if they didn't and so I have lived the past 15 years shouldering my fair share of the blame and trying to pretend that life is just as rich without that particular dream coming true. But I am only human and every so often my rage comes out. When I go home I will occassionally dump all of the pieces on the craft table and gather the tools to start building my masterpiece but the directions confuse me. Last time I even looked up local dollhouse stores to answer my questions. I drove to the only one in town and found out that it was out of business. Those are the moments I curse the day I acquiesed to a build-it-yourself "fun".

This entry was brought about because today has been particularly trying. In an act of massochistic stupidity I googled the words "miniature" + "interior" + "design" and practically drowned in the beautiful images of mini-lives and small scale design. I am posting the following images with a healthy dose of concern for you my readers. Please do not hold it against me when you fall in love with these pictures, ask your parents for a dollhouse of your very own, and find yourself in 2025 still waiting for it to be built.

{the house of lisa (thanks for the correction!)}

{dream dollhouses}

{design sponge}

{courtesty of fabric of my life, my latest blog-session}

Have a larger than life weekend!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Lame, I know...

I must say, this week was infinitely better than last and I am wrapping up this Friday feeling energized and accomplished (faciliting a raucus book club at the Senior Center and paying off debt collectors with my first pay check are pretty big accomplishments if I do say so myself). However, with all of this energizing and accomplishing I have had hardly a moment for a real post and sadly that moment is yet to arrive. Instead I leave you with two images that I'm currently inspired by. Seperately they each represent two of my favorite interests: vegetarianism and taxidermy.

{thank you design sponge}

{bright bizarre, you're an angel.}

Happy Friday!

Post Script: This Old Lady in Training does not actually perform taxidermy herself. Instead she has a strange and unshakable fascination and magnet-like attraction to anything involving stuffed once-alive animals or their mounted heads/antlers/etc. Don't judge.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Picked Me Right On Up...

Tonight my friend and I took in the Greenwood-Phinney Art Walk. It served as a good setting for some informal counseling. I am a week and a half into my first full time, career type job and while I'm fairly certain I am going to love it I am still experiencing a certain amount of anxiety, exhaustion, and general awkwardness that go along with being the new kid. These feelings of uncertainty and discomfort as I figure out what this whole work thing is all about are all well and good but it seems as if it is becomming a theme in my non work life as well. I spend my day at work trying to figure out effective work place communication and struggle to forge relationships and lately I have also been feeling this same discomfort in my personal life. As a result I have been feeling frustrated and lonely because seemingly no real connection is being made despite a true desire to understand (and of course to be understood). After walking and talking about this Alexis, said friend and counselor, found this print by Jessica Swift at Assemble Gallery and Studio that instantly cheered me up. While it might not be a connection with another person a connection was made none the less.

It gets me.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Start Expecting the Unexpected...

Two days ago I got in the car with a co-worker who, if it weren't for the noted absence of the "Seattle freeze" in her person-to-person interactions, I would have labeled as "pure Seattle". She's never without her Danksos, eats in a sustainable and organic manner, and drives a 10 year old Subaru. Seeing these cues that clearly scream "PACIFIC NORTHWEST" I had assumed she probably enjoyed the musical stylings that accompany the PNW "mystique". I enjoyed this image so much that I had even envisioned myself running into her at Tractor Tavern in Ballard while taking in an alt-country concert. At this chance meeting we would probably discuss the bluegrass players we had both seen down at Pike's Place on our respective lunch time walks. In my fantasy the only music I could see us coming into contention over was my obsessive listening to the Glee soundtrack (Volumes 1 and 2) and my love of modern country (in my imagination she has a dedication to classic country and so by focusing on that shared value I would always be able to smooth over our artistic disagreement). A few sentances ago when I used the phrase "I had assumed" I hope that you, the reader, could immediately forsee that this was going to end in a shattering of dreams and a general sense of dissillusionment for your author. When I was offerred a ride I was thrilled. I thought "Oh man... she will probably have an obscure local band playing in her car... if not I'll suggest we listen to Cat Stevens and we can ride the Peace Train all the way to the meeting." The reality of the situation was as far from my dreams as possible. Instead of The Maldives we listened to a mix comprised exclusively of Keith Sweat-esque slow jams. Shocked, but not quite appalled, it got me thinking...

You think you know a person and then you ride in their car.

With that said... I should probably go deep clean mine.

Monday, May 10, 2010

To My Imaginary Readers...

To the thousands of millions of adoring fans who do not know about, let alone read, this blog:

Please excuse my lack of updates. Besides the missing camera I am in new job acclimation mode. While my energy and inspiration may be down my optimism for a brighter blogging future is high. Give me a few more days.

Working For Retirement,

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I just received the following text message from my sister's friend, "I just found your camera buried in my underwear drawer!"

I don't know how it got there and I don't care. A celebration is in order. A proper update on the way!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Search and Rescue...

This past week has been wild. A dreamy adventure to the Olympic Peninsula, Bingo-Karaoke at the Greenwood Senior Center, and Bloomsday! All of which have incredible pictures. The problem? My camera has gone missing. I had so many posts all based around these photographs. I weep for the writing that never will be.

Can we please have a moment of silence for my camera. Please if you have any information as to its whereabouts step forward. Your identity will be protected and there will be a reward (I hope you accept I O Us)


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Take A Load Off...

Last Tuesday as my friends and I squeezed on my couch (with one or two of us having to sit on the cold, hard floor) watching Glee I thought "Self, you sure could use some more seating." Seemingly I am in the Universe's good graces because as if by simply thinking the thought I stumbled upon not just seating but golden brocade seating fit for a regal 85 year old woman (and let's not forget her 3 cats). What was the proverbial frosting to this cupcake? The $25 price tag!!

It was clear this was not a chance meeting. What I was experiencing was an act of fate. I had to act quickly and so I handed over the cash without considering where in the apartment it would go (or without doing a sniff test first). I so strongly believed in this match I would not allow common sense to play any part in our union.

When we arrived home (and thanks to the help of Colin and Alexis getting it up the stairs) it was time to figure out where the new addition would go. I tore the living room apart trying to figure it out. I knew that my shopping partners had a little bit of doubt about the chair. I had ignored it. But now that it was just me, the chair, and an already granny chic room I too started feel the pangs of uncertainty. But after rearranging a little bit I found a spot near a window that I thought would keep the chair happy...

It was still missing something though. Time to get creative...

A pop of color and contrasting textures in the pillow helped but the walls were too bare and I had run out of "spare art" to fill the space. Think. Think. Think.

That morning, at a 6 family rummage sale, I bought some incredible bird fabric (I'm a sucker for bird fabric). How is that useful??

Then I remembered that I had some extra frames from a Goodwill outing. So I cut up the fabric, stuck it in the frames, took the mirror my sister brought me back from Morocco off my dresser, put it all together, and then stepped back to see what had transpired...

That'll do. That'll do.

Now I just need to clean up the mess I made while tearing the living room / dining room apart trying to make space for my latest find. But as they always say, "Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow (or the day after tomorrow)?"

Good night.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Time to Start Planning for Retirement...

{photo courtesy of apartment therapy. thank you.}

After over 9 months of searching this Old Lady In Training has finally found gainful employment. I am talking full time, benefited, gainful employment. While I am a little sad to have to cut back on my Friday estate sales and relegate the treasure hunting exclusively to Saturday and Sundays I am THRILLED to have more money to spend at said sales as well as cash to start tackling my "When I Get A Job I Will..." list!

Time to go celebrate (thriftily of course as the first pay check won't arrive for a few weeks)!!!

Respectfully (and "employfully") yours,

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Die...

While perusing my google reader today I found that Design Sponge posted a portal to the deepest parts of my soul with this image:

A dog in military garb with his pet dog! Oh man, nothing gets me more than anthropomorphism and what's even better is that this image did not stand alone. Along with it was a link to a certain Dorian Greyhound & CO and while the site is not fully up and running yet it shows great promise with its tag line of "Portraits for Pets of Distinction". The associates of Dorian Greyhound & Co create "ancestral" pet portraits by combining old world images and pictures of pooches (but I'm assuming other animals can be used as well). Although I don't currently have a pet for them to paint (or the $800+ price tag that goes along with the portraits) I am hoping the site will have a gallery for me to spend hours gazing at and dreaming of the day when I will be one of the lucky few with an ancestral pet portrait of my very own.... ... ...

Perhaps so that I could have a portrait with all of my many dogs in it I would opt for Diego Valaquez's Las Meninas

But then again I've always had a thing for Byzantine iconography. A nice Madonna and Child could be lovely (despite the damnation I might be tempting through my sacrilege).
Ah dreams. I suppose I have a lot of time to ponder the merits of both but it's nice to have something important to really get the ole' mind going.

Best Regards,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cheap Thrills...

Today I had a job interview and while it was for the program that I have spent the last 2 months volunteering 20 hours a week with I was still pretty nervous. Nervous enough in fact to on several occasions trip over my words and fill in the blanks with such eloquences as "um" and "eh" and "ahem." Despite these stumbles I think it went pretty well but two hours later I am still a little dizzy and nauseous from the experience. I am trying to think of things to take my mind off what I could have said differently. Go for a run? Well, yes. But I'm going to do that anyways today. Paint my nails? I just did that last night. Clean? Again? Do I have to? Read? Well that's a pretty good idea... but what if I want to get out of the house? Shop? OH MY GOSH YES THAT'S THE ANSWER! But wait... I think I've forgotten something. Oh that's right... what is that I spend 30-40 hours a week doing? Volunteering. What don't I have? A job. What should I absolutely not be doing? Shopping.

I have a consumption problem that I am pretty aware of. I have a love hate relationship with consumerism and I struggle with this. My recently intensified love affair with second hand shopping has helped assuage some of the guilt I associate with my love of things and the obtainment of said things but the guilt of spending money that for the most part I don't even have cannot be eased by simply buying things used. The only way to cure living beyond my means is to stop doing it. DO NOT SPEND. But even outside of standard consumerism it's difficult. My other interests require a certain amount of cash to make them possible. I have a running list of "when I finally get a job I will do..." Knowing that the job market is in the toilet and the social service positions that I am applying for don't even pay that well I need to keep the spirit of the here and the now alive and so I am trying to find creative ways to make these things happen without the job and thusly without the money.

When I Get A Job I Will...
1. Start back up with yoga.
Solution: Value Village happened to have a few exercise DVDs. I picked up a yoga one for a buck fifty. Drawbacks? Well I don't have a remote for my DVD player and the DVD won't function without one. So I have to set up my 12" computer in my living room and try to follow along while squinting from my downward dog. Verdict: This arrangement keeps the "om" moments a little fewer and farther between and since it's only one DVD there's no variety but it does get the job done.

2. Return to voice lessons / Buy a keyboard
Solution: I have started reserving music rooms at the Seattle Central Library to play piano and learn new music. I also bought an instrumental CD to play in the car (my favorite time to sing). Drawbacks? Ugh... well first there's a volume restriction at the library (go figure) so this keeps the diva from coming out. Second having to reserve a time to be creative can sometimes interfere with said creativity. Also the library is a hassle to get to. Nonetheless it's been nice to have a place to go. Verdict: Will do for now and it has definitely been a great reminder and renewal of an ignored passion.

3. Visit friends in far away places.
Solutions: I have realized that this notion is naive. When I have a job I will no longer have freedom to escape for days at a time. I am rethinking travel and what it means. I was graciously invited along on a road trip next week with my dear neighbor and am in the process of planning an Olympics Peninsula rustic get away. Verdict: Focusing on the company and the sights in my own Washington backyard as opposed to the accommodations and distance away from home is what traveling is now about.

4. Buy a bike with more than 3 speeds.
Solutions: After a little research, well more of a serendipitous meeting with a bike enthusiast, I have found out about a recycled bike shop in Portland that sells used road bikes for $75 and certified and inspected ones for a reasonable $250. Verdict: I still can't afford that. Oh well... in the mean time I can ride around the top of the hill and use my beach cruiser for grocery shopping.

I should use this new problem solving skill to figure out what to do with my post-interview afternoon. What am I going to do today as a little reward for a job medium-well done? As much as I would like to say "Buying that lovely pair of Emma Pillsbury-esque t-strap heels I saw while masochistically window shopping at Nordstrom the other days"... I am going to honor my limitations and act accordingly.
Solution: A rainy day run (let's not forget the marathon is three short months away), followed by a trip down to the 76 station to fill up on gas and practice singing Wicked's "For Good", returning home and lighting a decadent Voluspa candle (a vestige of my time as a sales associate at Anthroplogie), snuggling up and reading my newly arrived Journal of Gerontological Social Work, and topping it all of by cooking an economical dinner with friends.
Verdict: It will feel great to not have the too expensive (albeit completely adorable) pair of shoes tapping, nay stomping, their 3 1/2 inch heels and adjustable ankle straps against my conscious until I go insane which will force me ask the online Magic 8 Ball if I need to return them, which it will inevitably answer in the affirmative (the damn thing always tells me what I don't want to hear). Once I realize they must be returned in order to restore my peace of mind I will have to then make a return trip to Nordstrom tomorrow which quite frankly with all of my thrifty endeavors I do not have the time for.

Now it's time to a hitch the bus home and allow my afternoon of nearly free funtivities to commence.

Respectfully Yours,

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dog Wall Unleashed...

I actually have quite the brain-full of blog ideas right now and just have not had the time to actually post. So until my next entry (hopefully tonight or tomorrow) that will be lengthier here are a few pictures of the project that I mentioned a few entries ago.

I was inspired by a picture in Emily Chalmer's Flea Market Style to have a dog portrait wall of my very own and a few months ago when at an estate sale in a home previously inhabited by a hoarder I came across a collection of dog portraits and had to snatch them up. I purchased frames at Goodwill in Bremmerton and waited for inspiration to hit me. I decided that I wanted to use salvaged crown molding for my shelves and headed to The Re-Store in Ballard. I bought one that was perfect as is... clunky and chipped. The other two pieces needed to be painted so I headed to Lowes with my trusty Lowes expert picked up some paint and got to fixing them up. Here is the final product!

Respectfully Yours,