Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I tried to start Chuck Klosterman's Killing Yourself to Live but it didn't take. (Interestingly, Klosterman is my maiden name but I don't believe I am related to Chuck.) I also started The Boleyn Inheritance, An Irish Country Doctor, and Playful Parenting. None of which I got more than 35 pages into.
Then, thankfully, my friend Kelly suggested I read The Flying Troutmans. So I sent my sweet hubs to the A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library to procure it for me and into the Troutman's journey I went. (By the by, the A. Frank Smith library happens to be my favorite library. Not only is it located at my alma mater, but it also has the best nook and cranny style alcoves with soft leather chairs where one can get lost reading, writing, or whatever-ing for hours.)
Review: The journey of the Troutman trio (Aunt Hattie, nephew Logan, and neice Thebes) begins in Canada as they drive in search of the childrens' father. Their mother, Min, has once again gone off the deep end into depression, landed in a mental institution, and left the kids to fend for themselves. Aunt Hattie has come from Paris to save the day if only she knew what two teenage children actually needed from an adult figure. Author Toews' does a brilliant job of describing her characters, especially that of Thebes.
An Excerpt: "At the airport, Thebes came running over to me dressed entirely in royal blue terry cloth, short shorts and cropped top, and covered in some kind of candy necklace powder. The empty elastic was still around her throat. Or maybe she wore that thing all the time. She had fake tattoos all over her arms and her hair was intense purple, matted and wild, and she melted into me when I put my arms around her and tried to lift her off the ground."
What I enjoyed most was being tossed into the crazy road-trip with them, not sure where the story was going or how it would end. This book is also one of those that left me with questions at the end yet I enjoying trying to fill in the holes myself. The characters were honest, relatable, and real. A great book to quench my thirst for reading and bate my palate for more.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Ready to know her name yet? I'll tell you at the end of this blog after I share a couple random things that interest me today.
Did anyone else see the Queen of England riding public transportation?
Her Majesty, Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, took the train to the English countryside Thursday, the same as a commoner.
It's certainly not everyday the Queen can be spotted on the 10:45am train. My theory is that someone told her "no, you most certainly cannot take public transport to your vast estate." And she said, "oh yes I will! Don't you realize who you are talking to? I'm the Queen of several countries and have a title too long to relate to you right now."
Ha. (psst, have I ever told you that I kind of have a thing for monarchies? So excited about the new "Young Victoria" movie.)
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Medline created this in Portland last week for their glove division as a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness. This was to help promote their new pink gloves.
When the video gets 1 million hits, Medline will be making a huge contribution to the hospital, as well as offering free mammograms for the community.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I am also officially challenging my Hubs to complete and post the survey as well. Let's see who wins! (This is a competition, right?)
1.What are your middle names? Allen and Lynn (legally Klosterman but I should have kept Lynn too).
2. How long have you been together? Since the fall of 2001. Our first date was in October but neither of us remember if it was the 6th or 10th. Pretty sure it was the 6th.
3. How long did you know each other before you started dating? About a year, but I didn't like him. Thought he was close-minded and opinionated.
4. Who asked who out? Aaron asked me out to dinner with a "group of people." Turns out, he never invited any other people!
5. How old are each of you? What's really important here is that Aaron is one year older than Lacy.
6. Did you go to the same school? Same college, yes.
7. Are you from the same home town? No.
8. Who is the smartest? Constantly up for debate. Are we considering GPA in this? Because if so, Lacy had a 4.0 in grad school...
9. Who majored in what? Aaron: History, Spanish, and Philosophy, Lacy: Communication Studies and English
10. Who is the most sensitive? hmmm...Lacy knows how to properly show her emotions. Does that count?
11. Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? London and Wales!
12. Who has the worst temper? Aaron, definitely. Good thing he doesn't get riled up often.
13. How many children do you want? I just gave birth to twins. Ask me this question in 3-4 years.
14. Who does the cooking? More me but Aaron makes a mean Shepherd's Pie.
15. Who is more social? Ooh, I have to say we are equally social...only because if I say me, I see an argument in my future. ;-)
16. Who is the neat freak? Me.
17. Who is the most stubborn? No comment.
18. Who wakes up earlier? Me, for sure.
19. Where was your first date? Red, Hot, & Blue (Memphis BBQ) and Barnes and Noble. He read "Oh the Places You'll Go" to me.
20. Who has the bigger family? They're both pretty big.
21. Do you get flowers often? Nope, we're on a jewelry kick lately. I got pearls for having the babies.
22. How do you spend the holidays? Thanksgiving with my family, Christmas with his and probably New Year's with mine. Each year is different.
23. Who is more jealous? Erm...no comment.
24. How long did it take to get serious? Not long, 6 months?
25. Who eats more? Aaron.
26. What do you do for a living? I coordinate communicating to employees and he specializes in the religious and residence life of college students.
27. Who’s better with the computer? Me because I have the patience to read the documentation.
28. Who drives when you are together? Aaron so I can nap.
29. What is your song? "All I Want is You" by U2
Friday, October 30, 2009
And that means I am attracted to pretty web sites too. These are just a few I frequent that I think you should know about.
- Two Blue Peas - Owned by the friend of a co-worker, this site has all the elements of cute baby boutique without being overwhelming or stuffy looking. The founders describe themselves as "two peas in a pod but fun blue instead of plain ‘ole green." Two of my favorite items are the fortune cookie and sushi play sets. I also highly endorse the Trumpette socks. Those fit the best.
- Moomah - I don't live in New York and I don't want to. And I certainly don't want the challenge of raising twin boys in the big city, that's not for me. But if I did, I think you would find me at Moomah. I was instantly drawn into this chill-with-your-children spot when I saw the photos in their gallery. I want my house to look like that. It's like a cool, not stuffy, museum, cafe, favorite library, and most awesome schoolroom ever, all rolled into one.
- Paper Culture - This site makes me want to give up email in favor of letters, postcards, and parcels. Just so pretty! I want all of my mail to look like this. And even better, every one of their cards is environmentally responsible. They use 100% Post Consumer Recycled Paper and they use recycled paper for their envelopes and packaging.
- Pingg - You can say you heard it here first, evite is out and Pingg is in! I've been using these free evites and ecards for months now. Their images make me want to throw an event for just about anything! These are some of my favorites.
Happy web browsing!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
So what am I passionate about and why do I give?
Why not? I have very few needs and wants that are not met and that is a true blessing. I give so other people can have that experience. I don't give to any particular organization, I, somewhat selfishly, just give to those that interest me. For example, this year I gave to the Austin chapter of March of Dimes because I gave birth to premature twins in July. It took me several weeks to admit they were premature, NICU-stay and all, because I didn't want to be lumped into the "premature" group. But the fact of the matter is, my babies were 6 weeks premature and MoD is doing something to prevent that. I want to thank them for that.
My reasons for giving are fluid and often change and that's OK. Here's a list of organizations I gave to last year and why:
- Girl Scouts because parents don't send their kids to camp anymore and I think all children should have the authentic summer camp experience
- What Would Willie Want because Willie was my friend and he sought positive changes for the world
- Georgetown Youth Baseball because a family I know has two little leaguers and are so happy just cheering, coaching, and playing
- Annunciation Maternity Home because I wrote a paper about them in college.
- Thirst No More because a friend of mine works there
- Alzheimer's Association because two of my husband's grandparents have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's
Now, what exactly do I give? Money? In-kind donations? Time? The truth is, people often want to give their time because they don't have enough dollars but the time it takes to give dollars is way less than the time it takes to paint a room or clean up a playground. I just spent less than 5 minutes pledging my 2010 gift AND requesting that my company match it. While I would like to say I spent personal time and sweat to help the organization, I didn't. And my gift was much smaller this year due to some recent family medical bills. But it was still a gift.
I choose to give, no matter how small the gift. Because like my premature babies who started out weighing 5 lbs. 0 oz., and 4 lbs. 11 oz., I know that small gifts grow. I hope you find something you can give a little to today.
Monday, September 21, 2009
1. Glow-in-the-Dark Pacifiers - Have you ever been the sleep deprived parent carrying their baby through the house at night who hears that horrible "thud thud" as the pacifier falls to floor and rolls out of sight? (if you aren't a parent, prepare yourself to hate that sound) Pacifiers should be made to glow-in-the-dark for easy retrieval after the midnight hour. Or at least be equipped with a homing device.
2. Pacifier Face Straps - to hold the special green hospital pacifiers in your infants mouth so they don't fall out and have to be replaced every 5 minutes. Think something akin to a Halloween mask elastic strap. This product probably won't be certified by the American Academy of Pediatrics anytime soon. But dang, I would kill for these right now.
3. Baby ID Bracelets - I would fashion these in the form of teeny, tiny sweat bands. Not only to tell twins apart, but to hold the name and address information of your child. So you can avoid the persnickety hospital nurse walking up to you asking if the infant you are holding in the waiting room (while celebrating the birth of a friend's baby) is indeed your infant and does not belong to that hospital. Yes, this just happened to me on Friday.
Those are my top three of the moment. I wish I could give you a list of my top ten, but alas, my baby boys don't let me blog all day long.
What baby gear would you invent if you had the chance?
Saturday, August 8, 2009
First, our cottage. The house itself isn't old enough to qualify as truly "cottage" but it does have cottage appeal.
With the swift scheduling of my task master husband, we painted the kitchen, 3 bedrooms, and 2 bathrooms in two days! (Thank you to all of our friends and family who helped, we couldn't have done it without you.)
The kitchen went from sage green to "warm brownie" brown and "red poppy" red.
The master bedroom went from what I will call desert orange to a beautiful "pebble stone" green/gray that my husband picked out.
The other rooms became a color called "parchment paper." We moved in our stuff over the weekend of July 4th, unpacked over the next 3 weeks and then welcomed our babies, a tad unexpectedly, on July 26th.
Charlie Evans Rohre (left image) and Weston Rieves Rohre (right image) arrived about 2 weeks early at 4 lbs., 11 oz. and 5 lbs. 2 oz., respectively.
Because the babies arrived a little early, both are staying in the NICU and working on maintaining their temperatures and eating well. Weston had his nasal cannula removed about 3 days ago but that picture of him passed out just cracks me up.
Here are some pics of their place in our cottage:
Friday, June 5, 2009
June 2009 Catalog
If you've never been to an Anthropologie store, you should pop in for a visit the next time you are near one. They appeal to all the feminine senses with lovely fabrics, textures, smells, and unique pieces you won't see many other places. They do tend to be out of my price range a bit but here's a secret: if you wind your way through all the fashions and past the home goods, there is an entire room devoted to Sale in the back of every store!
Some of my favorite Anthropologie goods of the moment:
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
- 1 half bag of leftover "salad-in-a-bag" lettuce
- 1 half pouch of Caesar dressing from Caesar "salad-in-a-bag"
- coupla sprinkles of grated Parmesan cheese that was "best used by" May 19
- 2 chicken breasts marinated in the last dredges of an open bottle of Italian dressing then grilled
- 2 hamburger buns from the back of the freezer
So after that, I created "Do Something You've Never Done" Day. Whether in the kitchen or not, I challenge you to do something you've never done tomorrow or the next day or sometime soon. It's pretty empowering. Even if it's just leftover hamburger bun croutons.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Unfortunately, I can't for the life of me find a 7-opening frame for Charlie. Anyone have any ideas for me before I go custom?
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
While Avenue Q made for a highly entertaining evening, Wicked wins my award for favoritest musical out there. We saw Wicked at the Oriental Theater in Chicago last year. Here are the details friends, and you must read to the end, because there's a special note for Austin-ites.
The gist - Long before Dorothy landed her ruby-clad feet in Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch were friends, even college roommates. Yes, sparkly blue Glinda the Good gets paired with the emerald green-toned Wicked Witch in the potluck roommate selection of the century.The boy - Of course! What could drive apart two girls better than a boy? Fiyero, all-around rebel and troublemaker who can't choose between the two witches.
The scandal - Animals vs. animals. The Ozian government passes new legislation that won't allow Animals to speak, teach, or work. The Wicked Witch (an early PETA member) rebels against the government by saving a lion cub from isolation in a cage. (This same lion appears later as a cowardly friend to Dorothy.) The Wicked Witch then sets off to visit the Emerald City and talk to the Wizard of Oz about this new legislation. The Emerald City reveals the Wicked Witch's magical prowess when she causes monkeys to sprout wings and fly, scaring the citizens and causing them to officially brand her "Wicked."
The music - From "Popular" to "Defying Gravity," every song is singable and adds a great element to the story. You will definitely be buying the soundtrack the moment you leave the theater.
So here's the scoop Austin-ites. Tickets for Wicked at the Bass Concert Hall go on sale in less than 17 days! Get your tickets beginning May 16th for the shows on August 12 through August 30.
Hands-down, this'll be the most entertaining night on the town.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The cake was strawberry cake with strawberry icing and fresh strawberries on top. And shaped like a princess.
Monday, April 6, 2009
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart -- This story is for all those of you who ever sent away for brochures to East coast boarding schools in high school because you were bored and college just couldn't come fast enough. (Was I the only one who did that?)
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn -- This is a fantastically silly story about a girl who lives on an island and writes letters back and forth to her friends on the mainland. Her letter-writing takes a challenging turn when the island government begins banning the use of certain letters in the alphabet!
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling -- Old school style fables from the world of Harry Potter. My personal favorites are "Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump" and "The Tale of the Three Brothers." Super quick read I highly recommend for your next weekend holiday.
Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy -- If you loved the movie with Chris O'Donnell like I did, you'll love the book more. My good friend Maeve (I've read LOTS of her stuff) is a fabulous storyteller and weaves what seems like dozens of storylines into one cohesive narrative. The book looks gigantic but it's a page turner.
Atonement by Ian McEwan -- I enjoyed the movie a lot and wish I had read the book first. Good story with several great snippets of language. The book will be more suspenseful if you don't watch the movie first. (If you don't want to read the book at all, I recommend the movie simply for the eye candy that is James McAvoy.)
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I'm not an expert, but I do have 2.5 years of retail management under my belt at a well-known clothing store akin to Banana Republic, Ralph Lauren, Land's End and whose store name begins with an initial followed by a four-letter name (figured it out yet?). I worked at said store in an affluent neighborhood in Dallas. I have countless horror stories that make my blood boil every time I recall them. I thought at one point I might write a book but they make me so angry I thought a blog post would be better suited. (Once out on the Internet for you to enjoy, I plan to leave these stories behind and move on to bigger and better things, like birthing twins.)
Here is a quick conglomeration of my favorite tales:
The Expired Return - Lots of retail stores will be lenient with their return policies IF you are nice and not shady from the beginning. Example #1: Don't try to return a pair of two-year old shorts because you "just didn't like the way they washed." First of all, stores cannot return items if they have been washed because they cannot resell, send them back to the catalog, or even donate them. How wasteful does that sound? You might as well keep them to do your yard work in. Second of all, we know how old something is by the codes on the tags sewn into the seams. I use "code" loosely here because the store I worked at used codes like FA 07 or SP 06 to indicate the season and year. Third of all, learn how to wash things properly. It's highly unlikely that the store is responsible for how something looks after you have washed it for two years. Oh and blaming the severely shrunken cashmere sweater on your "cleaning lady" doesn't give you an automatic pass to no receipt return land. Especially the second sweater. (I kid you not, same woman tried to return two adult-sized cashmere sweaters shrunk enough to fit her toddler.) Always read the wash instructions on high-dollar items. Wool of any type doesn't enjoy being washed and dried. :-) And more importantly, don't try to return something you have washed!
The No-Receipt Return - Save your receipts! You will be far better off no matter how old the receipt is. Why? The store can tell when you bought the item, how much you paid for it, and what the equivalent item is now if you are that far delinquent on the return policy. No receipt tells the store nothing. Don't expect the total reimbursement onto the correct method of payment if the store can't verify what you paid or how you paid for it. Isn't that just logical? Some stores now have computer systems that allow you to swipe your credit/debit card and bring up your order history so perhaps they can find details for the item you want to return. This is not always the case so for the smoothest transaction and happiest store employee, bring your receipt with you.
The Price Adjustment - Definition of a price adjustment: You bought an item at full price. 14 days later or less, that item was marked down to a sale price. You can take your receipt into the store and ask for the difference in price returned to you. Definition of a SHADY price adjustment: You show the store your receipt, don't actually qualify for the price adjustment (b/c the item you bought was already on sale and then marked down again) so you kindly say "can't I just return it and buy it back?" Technically, the answer to this is yes but when you ask the store in this manner, it's grossly annoying to the salesperson because all they are trying to do is what they are told. And you are trying to work the system.
The Complaint About Store Hours - Probably not a good idea to complain that the mall is closing at 6:00 on a Sunday to the store employee. Even if you aren't a church-going person, it's not super fun to work both days of the weekend. Plus, 6:00 is the standard time for many malls across the states to close on Sundays. Not a new concept people. I applaud American businesses like Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby who are closed on Sundays giving all employees one consistent day off each week. So do 'em a favor and scoot on out of the store before closing time, no questions asked.
The Request for the Jacket Off My Back - I once had a customer ask to buy the blazer off my back because she was so furious we no longer had her size in the store. She just HAD to have it. Um, no is all I can say.
The Return of Clothing You Wore Into the Store - Just because the store now has a newer version of the item you purchased over a year ago, say a leather jacket, doesn't mean you can return the jacket you are wearing for the brand new model hanging on the rack. So many things wrong with this one. The "no receipt" issue, the "it's already been washed or dry-cleaned" issue, the "it's weird and completely obvious" issue, and so on and so on.
Whew! I didn't realize I had so many highlights from my retail career. I will have to continue this list in Part 2 sometime soon. In the mean time, feel free to share any of your own retail stories and questions via the comments below this post.
If you remember nothing else from these stories, remember this: In the grand scheme of things, it's only clothing. Just clothing.
To be continued...
Friday, February 27, 2009
My friend Tolly interviewed Sarah for Rare magazine a few months back and I've been watching her "Year of Living Thriftily" blog ever since. Enjoy!
Oh, and an example of Sarah's awesome style:
Summary: Based on the children's classic by Neil Gaiman, Coraline is a fairy-tale turned nightmare. Coraline Jones is bored with her current life, especially her garden catalog-writing parents, and seeks out a better version by traveling through a magic, wall-papered door in her new home. At first, her Other Mother and Other Father seem perfect, offering home cooked meals, new clothes, and a comfy bed to sleep in. Unfortunately, her Other Mother soon wants to keep Coraline all to herself and must do something tragic in order to make her stay.
Review: I am absolutely amazed by this movie in which all of the sets, props, and characters were made by hand out of fun objects like guitar strings and painted popcorn. The hubs and I went to see this on Valentine's Day for a matinee date. It's certainly a movie enhanced by the consumption of Sour Punch Straws but they're not essential.
Be sure and check out this Wired article for fun insight into how the movie was made: http://www.wired.com/entertainment/hollywood/multimedia/2009/01/pl_screen
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I've been gone for almost two months and have lots to update you on. As for my absence, I have no good excuse. (Although I thought about blaming the Cottage Living cancellation postcard I received the very day AFTER I wrote the previous post but that's not really the reason). I've had a very busy January and February. I'll try to sum it up for you.
On January 1, I found out I was pregnant (Woohoo!). On January 22 I saw the first picture of my healthy baby (so cute!). On February 5, my doctor is looking at my baby's picture and says "Huh, it's kinda fuzzy and I think there are two." (Scuse me?) At this point, my brain went fuzzy and I started a 3-hour episode of uncontrollable, sporadic crying. I left the doctor, went straight to Sonic for cheese sticks and then sat on my couch for the rest of the night.
So in a nutshell, I'm having twins! I'm very excited about the idea now, I just had to get over the initial shock of double the cost, double the diapers, double the breastfeeding, and double the over-sized, colorful plastic baby gear one must own to entertain, nurture, and raise double the amount of baby.
Other than that, I've had an uneventful two months. Probably due to the fact that I'm making time to sleep and eat and not much else. I have read a book, Old School by Tobias Wolff, and I highly recommend it. I began watching the John Adams mini-series that just came out with Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti. Also highly recommended.
(I did have an interesting craving episode where I woke up at 3:30am craving Arby's so bad I could taste it! I waited all through the next day and then drove thru immediately upon leaving work and ordered a roast beef sandwich, curly fries, and lots of Arby's sauce. Best meal I've had in a long time.)
So thanks Hil for your "Ode to the Ever-Present Blog Post" comment. I'm glad you're such an avid reader, even though you have to remind me, multiple times, to update my blog. I think you need to blog about your bike because I haven't seen it in the lot lately...consider yourself challenged. ;-)
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Now it's January and my high-horsing, soapbox talking has gotten the better of me. We now have seven, that's one more than six, subscriptions coming into the mailbox each month. I'm not even angry about it because some of them were gifts and will be down right fun to read each month. I also tell myself we are growing the combined intellect of our little apartment in leaps and bounds. I'll break them down for you:
Bon Appetit - Thanks to our friend ex-farmer Andrew, we'll be receiving this appetizing little gem each month. We haven't received our first issue yet and I am still slightly intimidated by the beautifully cooked food on the covers, but I'm sure I'll find several recipes to try. Honey, get the towel ready for the super sensitive smoke alarm in the guest room!
Cookie - This was a gift to myself, from myself. It's a posh, NYC mom kinda magazine (why am I receiving it in my tiny apartment in Georgetown, Texas you may ask?). Well, my future children will undoubtedly be fashionable and it's simply bursting with fun family ideas like driving old Route 66 for a summer vacation or putting paper and paint in a salad spinner for a fun craft project. All in the name of research for the little cottage kids of the future...
Cottage Living - This is a given if you know anything at all about me and my blog. My dad gave me a one year subscription last Christmas and I renewed it after being suckered by one of the many paper cards that fell out of the magazine. Of course this was back when I thought I would make Cottage Living the ONLY magazine arriving with my name on it. It has great ideas for decorating, gardening, and wonderful neighborhood recommendations.
Creating Keepsakes - I must admit something to you. I am a closet scrapbooker. Knowing this, my sister-in-law gave me a subscription for a gift and I spent most of Christmas day poring over the December edition. There's just something about pretty paper and all those wonderful stickers and embellishments that makes me happy. I realize this hobby goes completely against my desire to use only recycled paper products and bring less paper into my house but I'm not sure what to do about it. My pictures look much better when matted by pretty paper and stickers!
Relevant - My hubs gave this subscription to himself sometime last year. He describes it as a magazine that explores the intersections between faith and culture. I think he's trying to write it off as work-related. Bonus, the entire magazine is printed on recycled paper!
Runner's World - A marathon finisher, my hubs finds lots of good information in this one. Another gift from my sister-in-law, he would have bought it himself at some point so at least this one's FREE for the next two years. Thanks Monica! Runner's World often has good recipe recommendations, tips for short workouts if you're like me and can't dream of running longer than about 45 minutes, and recently had a super cute article all about running skirts!
Smithsonian - This subscription has come from my Grandmother for the past few years and each edition is a wealth of information about all kinds of subjects. Recently I have read articles about the night Lincoln won the election, a rare Giraffe herd, and a man who photographed Africa from a para glider. Above all, it makes me feel smarter once I've read it.
That's my story of 7 magazine subscriptions and why I appreciate each of them even though I thought I didn't want them. How many do you have coming to your house?