Monday, December 29, 2008

A Post of Random Proportions

Just to prove to you that life is uneventful in the Saltsman home... This weekend I sat down and figured out how to make the super cute 'box bags' that everyone sells on Etsy! I guess I'm finally tired of the quart sized ziploc... Now I am obsessed! I LOVE them, though! Will be adding five to my Etsy shop this week...

We had the Thummel family over Saturday evening after mass... I always love hanging out with Sarah and Bill because they are plain 'ole good people ~ but when they bring baby Ella... Oh my! She makes my heart pump peanut butter! John will even hold this baby. She's beautiful, folks, with and without clothes!

Oh, for dinner that evening I thought I would woo John with my culinary skills. I made some foccacia bread from Lidia's cookbook. It looked beautiful, tasted wonderful, and even gave me an excuse to use our new food processor. After all the work I then remembered that we're married, and wooing is no longer necessary. Ah, everyone enjoyed the bread anyways!

On Dec. 26 I started on the baby blanket for Surprise Baby Zawislak (surprise being, they refuse to find out the sex). This seems to be trendy these days, surprise babies, and while I appreciate the surprise in everything, neutral colors are soo hard! John and I picked these out at the Loops after Christmas sale! I love it so far ~ hopefully I can manage to part with it at the end of January. I hope to finish this week so I can get started sewing the diaper bag...

And I think that's it until I have something more thoughtful... I hope everyone has a happy Monday!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Marriage and Money

My husband is an accountant. I work in human resources. If you had to make an assumption based on this little bit of information, who would you bet on for being detail oriented? The accountant, right? Well, for some reason, my accountant husband trusted his human resources wife to balance the checkbook.

I have managed my own checkbook for oh, ten years. While I do not bounce checks, I do not claim that my checkbook is good to the penny. I prefer the 'round up' method. Well, managing the sheer number of entries from the use of two debit cards proved to be more than I could handle. When John looked at our checkbook he was utterly disgusted at the inaccuracy of the whole thing.

Over the break, John has spent only 5 hours or so reconciling our entries to the PENNY. Needless to say, my banking privelages have been revoked and all I am to do now is insert receipts into register for hubby record and balance. This is fine with me, really.

This may actually be a result of some very good advice that I received from Mrs. Sims. If there is ever something that I do not truly want to do, mess it up so bad that your husband has to spend his time fixing it... Then you'll never be asked or expected to do it again :-)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Oh, the Holidays!

I have not blogged in, oh, say one week! But, who would have time! John and I hosted Christmas Eve and Christmas evening this year so we've been busy little bees in the kitchen! We did have the luxury of going to my step sisters Christmas morning ~ and all we had to do was sit back and relax! Overall, I would say things went well!

John and I set a 'limit' on gifts this year which I kind of liked. It seemed to cut down on all of the confusion and anxiety the usually accompanies the purchasing of gifts.

A reflexion on the year... and a confession. I believe it was in January or February when John and I went to mass at St. Mary's. On this particular evening our elder priest was presiding - and as he shuffled down the aisle John and I looked to each other and said, "Oh my, I hope the homily is good..." I believe the said priest is probably well over 80; most people that I have known to be well over 80 (which aren't many) are often grasping at words if they are able to formulate words. We sat - and we listened. His homily was amazing! So amazing that even today I remember that the overall message was, 'analysis is paralysis...' Ok. On to my point.

This evening we sat at mass... With the same priest. Only now we giggle with pure excitement when this priest shows up on the aisle. We know that whatever it is he is going to say, it is going to be good. And it is going to be something that we remember. Something that we use. Something worth reflecting on.

Tonight he spoke of families. And the characteristics that are gained by simply being a part of a family. Families, in comparison to factories, are messy. Things are not well kept. They are not clean. They are complicated. But in all of the complication we learn to forgive. We learn patience and if we practice family prayer - all will be successful!

Until next time...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Nature VS. Nurture

A question from yesterdays post, "Why?" My only answer to that is I am human. I made a mistake. I am not always nice - am sometimes cuttingly mean. I am a work in progress. I do know I will not say that to anyone again. So - while it was not right, I am glad I made the mistake now. And I am thankful that I had the opportunity to apologize.

The topic of Nature vs. Nurture is one that can be considered controversial - especially when referenced relative to adoption. I plan to research the topic more thoroughly - to provide opinions other than my own professional opinion :-) - so this may turn into a series of posts.

From where do our characteristics come? Are they taught and learned or are we born into our nature? Is there really one answer or does our person form as a combination of these things? To really explore this topic one has to be willing to be blatantly honest with ones self. As people, we have the ability to see what we want - to perceive things in such a way that is fitting to our own ideals. Example: I am adopted, look nothing like either of my parents - but often hear the comment, "I see the resemblance... You look like your mom, dad, sister, or brother..." It is the expected - or 'normal' - societal response. Children resemble their parents; or do they?

This topic is on my brain because I was told by my birth father that I share similarities with him, like it or not. That is okay with me. Really. There was a time when maybe it would not have been. He is intelligent. Well read. Well spoken. Oddly enough - while similar - we go through phases. Sometimes bumping heads and sometimes having head on collisions both driving 85 MPH foot off the breaks.

It is odd - but it is what it is :-) (John's favorite saying) To date there have been no fatalities - only concussions. We always recover - some scars left behind from the last collision. Eventually, one can hope, that the scars will heal and we are able to move forward. Slowly. We have been like this for five years.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Mistakes are Consistent... That's the Goal, Right?

For as long as I can remember, admit it or not, I am a perfectionist. And as much as I try to be perfect - I still manage to make mistakes. The one thing that is guaranteed when I make a recognizable mistake is that I will dwell on it and beat myself up far longer than the mistake is actually recognized by anyone else. My mistakes haunt me.

Something else about me that has been ever so constant is my mouth. I always have something to say, and it is not always the 'right' thing to say - and to make matters worse I may know this and I still say it - even when it is not my place - GASP! I know...

Well this time it was not my mouth per say, but more of my fingers tap, tap, tapping on my keyboard... Similar to right now. The only difference is here, you are choosing to read it. It took me all of 15 seconds to type my statement that I felt to be fully and entirely justified, "You are a sorry individual." I had actually forgotten that I sent this message to someone - at work no less - until my boss brought it up today. "Annie, the VPGM (<-- Ahem, Very important person) informed me of your e-mail that you sent to said individual. You need to watch what you send over e-mail." Yikes. No more than that and in my mind I have just received a one way ticket to the unemployment office because surely they fire people for saying such things? I have in a single statement managed to seal my own fate with the 15 seconds tap, tap, tapping of the keyboard. How will I ever tell my husband that our entire livelihood has fallen onto his shoulders because his wife cannot keep her editorial comments to herself??

I felt like a young child being scolded for fighting with a sibling. The kicker - companies do not have an obligation to tolerate my BS. Siblings and parents do.

After pestering my boss - touching on my impending termination - then back to layoffs (which are surely more important to deal with at the present time rather than my inability to control myself) - I think I am convinced that my one statement is not actually a terminable offense, just one that required notation by my boss.

I decided that what I said may have been a little off base - and unnecessary. Well, a lot off base, but I'm admitting it, aren't I? Consequently, I apologized to the individual to whom I said such nasty words.

I have managed to learn a few lessons from this... 1) I should probably mind my own business sometimes 2) I do not always have to say what I am thinking EXACTLY how I am thinking it... Tact can help both myself and the other person 3) Send e-mails cautiously - especially while at work from work e-mail. You never know when they may resurface to bite you square in the arse.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Marriage Presents a Lifetime of Firsts

This is our first Christmas together as married people. We bought our first tree - a frasier fur. Not only is this our first Christmas being married, it is also our first Christmas together period. Last year we enjoyed our last 'single' Christmas' where John traveled to Detroit to be with his family and I stayed home.

John and I are clearly still in a state of wedded bliss, as we should be seeing as though we are only 2.5 weeks into this new gig, but everything we now do together is a first. Being married has presented many new opportunities for firsts. It feels like an undiscovered world to us - and as we navigate our way through our new lives together the opportunity is increasingly exciting.

As we begin this journey, and embrace the opportunity to have so many firsts - each one just as exciting as the last (we evidently haven't had any major 'first' married arguments yet) ~ I really am thankful that he is the one that I get to be with!

Here's a photo of our first Christmas tree!! More later...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Consistency, That's What I'm Going For!

I've not blogged in awhile, nor have I really felt like it. We had the wedding, the honeymoon, and then we returned home - and while my home life is great, work life, not so much. We're right squat in the middle of layoffs and while I don't ever have a problem terminating employment for a deserving party, when the employees are essentially undeserving, well, it's a different story.

Don't worry... I know it started off as such but this blog will discuss nothing of the economy - no more about layoffs - no more about work, really. We're going to discuss my feeling fat.

While on our honeymoon, with much ease I seem to have gained 10 pounds. You know, it usually takes people weeks to gain this amount of weight, but not I. I did it in 6 days. Should I write the Guinness Book of World Records for this blessed event?

I think it started with eating in our hotel room - after the reception - where I swear, I ate nothing. I ordered a fish dish. I ate fish on our honeymoon, hell, how is it I partake in sushi and John has something fat and greasy and I gain the weight that theoretically should have landed on him, not me!

When we arrived in Hawaii I attributed my swelling fingers to the difference in climate and even called my god-mother to confirm. I didn't eat anymore than usual - and I'm sure that caramel macchiato I had everyday had no effect - after all, it was non-fat milk. Now that I'm home, it's just not improving.

I called my mom for some comforting and she said, "well, you were probably starving yourself up until the wedding so when you started eating normal again...." blah, blah, blah, I didn't starve myself until the wedding so that school of thought isn't working. I mentioned my weight gain to my husband and instead of his usual response of, "No your not" he said, "I've gained weight, too" so this should tell me it is noticeable!

And happy fat? Well whoever coined that term wasn't any bigger than a toothpick because there is nothing happy about fat. Not to mention the fat is upsetting all of my clothes :-)

Back to the gym in the a.m. where I can hopefully head off this explosion before it fully happens!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Back to Work and Reality

I have not blogged in almost two weeks due to our wedding, honeymoon, and an attempt to get back into the swing of things at work (which is extremely hectic at the moment). In my few years of working, I can count on one hand the times that I have worked past 6:30 PM - I prefer mornings instead of evenings, and last night, I was here until 6:50 PM! Amazing, I know. I either managed to lose my wallet or someone stole it. BOO! The upside, it forced me to call and change my names on my credit cards, and I will have a license with my new last name much sooner than anticipated.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving - and is happily preparing for the Christmas holiday. John and I have been home for almost a week and so far so good on married life :-) I am actually starting to feel a bit more relaxed, definitely more secure and settled. It's a nice feeling!

I did manage to make a creep scarf one evening this week for a Christmas gift (thank you LoopsScoop for the link to the pattern) and hope to accomplish more this weekend! I will post pics in small doses, as I am sure they will get annoying at some point!

Love My Daddy :-)

Monday, December 8, 2008

We're Married!!

And we're back from Hawaii... Return to work today... I plan to post pics as soon as I figure out how to save everyone else's from snapfish. Don't you miss the good 'ole days when people would just e-mail pics? Aw well, such as life!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Counting Down

Thanksgiving update... Thanksgiving did not turn out too bad after all. John's parents, sister, my niece, John and I went to my dad's house around 11:30 and hung out until about 3:00. After that we went back to our house to prepare for John's other sister and her spouse, as well as all of my brothers and sisters. I know, I'm crazy... We hosted Thanksgiving for 20 only 48 hours before our wedding. It was a long day. But in the end, I think it was worth it. Everyone brought something, so that was good... And John's mom was a tremendous help peeling potatoes, clean-up, etc.

Our neighbor's car alarm went off last night around 11 PM and he was not home. Guess what happens to car alarms when they are not manually turned off? They continuously reset! Sometimes until 3 AM. I'm hoping this means that after a long day of running around and handling last minute wedding preparations I am so exhausted tonight, that even through my own anxiousness, I crash.

I've decided to only take one knitting project on the plane. This means I may actually finish it. It's the Bono Kimono pattern from Loops, and it is for my mom's Christmas present. I can finish the hats for everyone else when we return.

Tomorrow I will be someone's wife - yikes! Keep us in your prayers, and I'll post pics when return!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Uniquely Yours

Today I am sitting in my own form of anxiety. Thanksgiving is 2 days away, the wedding is 4 days away. I'm sure I'm forgetting something... And a comment made way back when still plagues me today! I'm worried that people who said they were coming aren't going to come. It's horrible. All natural, though, so I'm told.

To make myself feel better - no, I didn't buy anything :-) But, thanks to ravelry, I did scope out any local yarn shops close to where we are staying in Maui. I sent them to John with a secret in the subject line, "Things To Do in Maui..." I'm sure if it had said "Yarn in Maui" or anything related, he would not have given it a glimpse!

Yes, I found a local yarn store to visit while on my honeymoon. And for a minute today, it made everything else better.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wedding Week Stress

John and I will be married in 6 days. I remember when I started counting down and we were in triple digits - now we are in single digits that qualify as less than one week! When people ask when we are getting married, I will now say --- this week --- rather than next week, next month, etc. In addition to the regular wedding week stress, I get a dose of that coupled with holiday stress :-)

When discussions of Thanksgiving began, I was very adamant that Thanksgiving was not at our house. Who wants Thanksgiving 48 hours before a wedding? Not I. Somehow, Friday night, I declared myself a 'sucker' as we are now having Thanksgiving here. Ugh!

Yesterday I kind of decided I should just make the best of it and get happy about it because denying that it was going to happen or being pissy wasn't going to get me very far! So, we'll see how it goes. Hopefully everyone is very forgiving since it is so close to the wedding...

Other news... I'm ecstatic that Wally Lamb's new book is out! The title is The Hour I First Believed. I cannot wait to start reading it - and think I will be dragging it onto the plane as well as some holiday knitting! I'm hoping to finish Bono Kimono for my mom's gift and maybe push out a hat or two for my dad and step-mom! I'm not sure what everyone else will end up with, but almost sure that it will be handmade. Lucky family :-)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wedding on a Budget

When I was growing up or even as an adult, I do not think that cultural / geographical differences in wedding traditions had ever occurred to me. Or maybe I’ve just never known anyone so grand as to have a ‘grand’ wedding. I think I assumed weddings took place in a church and then everyone would head over to a reception hall, eat heavy appetizers, drink and be merry.

After all, a wedding is a celebration, isn’t it? I mean, I’ve never thought it approproiate to sit and dissect every detail to determine whether or not the family or couple would be filing bankrupty the following week or maxing out a credit card to pay for it. You are focused on the bride and groom and their happiness, right?

Wrong. I guess. When John and I started planning our wedding, or when I started trying to force my southern views of what a wedding was on him, I think initially he thought it a bit under scale. And I think deep down he was concerned of what his family and friends would think when they came from their area only to discover that ours is much different.

So after much debate and haggling, I convinced him that heavy appetizers are ok, and beer and wine will suit anyone fine. Who needs a full, open bar?

His initial thoughts came full circle for me today when I was corresponding with someone whose Detroit wedding he participated in oh, about a month ago. I had complimented her and told her that everything was ‘stunning’ I think I said… We were discussing budgets, differences, etc. when she commented, As for food, a sit down dinner here is a must and a buffet is a sign of a “wedding on a budget”.

When I read this I thought, yikes, is there something shameful about being on a budget? I don’t think any of us fall into the Donald Trump category where money is no object. Given everything going on, we should all be on a budget. So if you are one who is sitting and dissecting the details of my wedding, please also include in your evaluation that John and I will not be standing in line at bankruptcy as a newly married couple because we refused to stick to a budget 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Professional Student

Ever since I graduated with my master’s degree I have been contemplating returning to school, yet again, to pursue a doctoral degree. This urge comes and goes, and sometimes it is a bit stronger than others.

My Uncle, who fuels this urge by calling me to report the latest stats of hiring and placemat at his university, has not called for awhile. The last time he did call (and I think I was having a bad day at work) I rushed out to purchase GRE study books because I had decided at the very least I would take the test, make application, and let the chips fall where they may.

My friend, Andra, said the words again the other day – doctoral degree… Even though she said the words for her own benefit, I quickly latched on! I thought, maybe I will find a renewed enthusiasm for education of the book kind after finishing up with the wedding. After all, I will need something else to do to fill up my free time!

Who knows, maybe this time the GRE book has a chance of finding its way off of the shelf and into my tote bag to be lugged around side-by-side with the continuous knitting projects. I may take the test, make application, be accepted and become a student, again.

Even if I ultimately decide not to go, something inside tells me that I should make application. I would not want to spend life wondering whether or not I would have been accepted…

Monday, November 17, 2008

Open Enrollment is Finally Over!

Each year, for a human resources person, open enrollment is definitely a 'qualifying event.' We spend months preparing for the deployment of such a task and we hold our breath and wait anxiously as we help that first person to see if it really works.

I work at a steel mill, so I think our employee population in itself provides interesting challenges when completing ONLINE open enrollment. Our average age of employee is probably somewhere in the 40's, and seeing as though they are definite blue collar workers, I don't presume that many of them go home after 8 plus hours here to fidgit with a computer. Not to mention, I held 6 open enrollment meetings to explain the changes, and for those who chose to come, I don't think they listened to me - and all others are working off of here say.

Initially I thought it a novel idea to 'empower' our employees and talk them through the computer enrollment process. Joke. I think after the 15th person told me they had not touched a computer since last year's open enrollment I cried uncle and sat in for each person needing to make changes. So my process has been 1) send login and password to local IT to have it reset - check (it would make too much sense for these to be reset in the initial stages and a master list provided to HR. We'd rather go 1 by 1), 2) log employee onto benefit system - check, 3) Talk employee through current benefits and explain all of the differences that were explained in the open enrollment meeting - double check, 4) Then provide a final review of their enrollment as well as a print out that I offered for them to take home to their spouses to ensure the benefits were selected correctly - check, again!

Needless to say, I am thrilled that this period is coming to a close. This one man open enrollment team (with the help of local IT and sparse help from my boss) is packing up her bags until 2010 where I will pray that we make no changes. I promise the changes that we make are not cost efficient with all of the work that goes into explaining them and selecting them in the system.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wedding Shrug Completed!

As promised here are photos of the shrug for the wedding, completed!

Pattern: DIC Shrug
Yarn used: Tilli Tomas Rockstar
Needles: KnitPicks Interchangeable / size 8 for lace and size 7 for ribbing

I think that this turned out beautifully and am very excited to see how it goes with the dress at the wedding! I think silk will be nice for temperature / warmth purposes... I'm not sure where I'll ever wear this again, but I guess worst case I could store away with the wedding dress!

The pictures don't really do it justice ~ nor does my ensemble or hair :-(

Hope you enjoy the pics :-)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Plantwide Emails

Often before I send out a plantwide e-mail I read it several times myself, and then pass on to my boss for review. I have a constant paranoia that I will misuse a word, forget a punctuation mark, or type something that could be misinterpreted by the reader on the other end.

Let's face it, I'm afraid people will find out that I am not really as smart as they may think I am, or I may just reconfirm to them how imcompetent I am. Either way, I loathe sending plantwide e-mails. And would like to keep my brains or lack thereof as private as possible.

Today was different. My boss was not there to reread my e-mail. And I had to deadline. Uggh! I confidently typed up my plantwide e-mail. Triple checked that what was communicated in the attachment was the same as what was communicated in the e-mail. I held my breath and pressed the send button.

Tonight when I checked my work e-mail I had already received two responses to my plantwide e-mail. The title of my attachment was "SOB Meeting" - short for State of the Business meeting... Well, it clearly was not interpreted this way! Ohwell, hopefully I gave people something to look forward to at the meeting, or something to say afterwards after they are provided a full on explanation of how the economy is impacting our business.

Son of a b*tch! Oh - and have a great weekend!

A Monumental Week

Monumental, yes, I am not over exaggerating! If you read my blog the other day than you know that I am the proud new owner of an independently operated light switch!

Well, temperature, I forfeit no more. I jokingly whined, yes whined, that now that I have a light switch, maintenance could move the thermostat for me. Yesterday morning I arrived at work around 7:15 a.m. and what do I find? Two maintenance men waiting to move the thermostat from the nurse’s office to a common area that we can all have access to! Yippee!

Who would have thought that my whining 72 hours ago would have turned into actual production with results!

I might add that the nurse was not overly excited about this move, as expressed to my boss.

Knitting news… 28Thirty is progressing rather nicely since I taken off the sleeves. I cast on this morning for the Felicity hat using yarn that Sheknitigans sent as a contribution to the wedding  It is going to be beautiful! I am going to spend 4-5 hours getting my hair done tomorrow so I figured I should take something easy... I was planning to post pics, but someone stole my work camera…

I think tonight I will go celebrate all of this progress with a drink, dueling pianos, and some girlfriends!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Picking Up Stitches - Not My Friend!

I went home last night on cloud 9 due to my newly installed light switch (which I didn’t even get to use this morning because the janitors left my lights on) and the anticipation of finishing, yes – I am finishing something, my wedding shrug! I finished the last few rows of K2P2 and trudged through a grueling sewn-off bind off (which terrifies me in itself - thanks for the instruction Coley :-)) --- I went to put on my shrug, and damn it if I didn’t pick up enough stitches! The shrug would probably fit my 12 year old niece... Uggh!

The yarn I’m using has beads in it, ugh, and the sewn-off bind off is a bitch to undo. I was ready to cut through the ribbing and start over with new yarn. To this John says, “what are you going to do if you don’t have enough left on the skein,” Well, duh, I’m going to buy more! At $40 / skein John is thinking NOT SO MUCH so he sat on the couch and took out the entire ribbed edge of the shrug and even pulled out my ball winder to make it into a cute little mini ball for me to start over with.

I sat and happily worked on 28Thirty, which was a far less messy task than my wedding shrug.

I will finish this shrug this weekend… Even if it means staying up late! You will have FO pictures Sunday evening.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And the Lights Come On... Finally!

I have worked with my current employer for almost two years now. It’s funny because when I took this job my boss told me, “Now keep in mind, the offices are scheduled to be remodeled soon…” Well, I bet you guys can guess when the offices were remodeled?! How about, they weren’t. It was supposedly on the plans for 2010, but given our current business state, I will not hold my breath for fear that I would pass out or suffocate!

My office is situated next door to the nurse’s office. Guess what we share besides a common wall and door linking our offices? A light switch! Our nurse has very private information in his office – supposedly – therefore no one can have access but him. This leaves me without thermostat control or a light switch! If he does not come to work, to gain access to either of these novelties, I have to call the guard to come unlock his door. I cannot tell you how many times I have come to work early (well, I probably could tell you because it isn’t that often) BUT to come into a dark office and have to call a guard and wait until you can have light – it’s a pain in the arse and can completely put a damper on your day – especially when you are in a hurry! I mean have you ever been sitting in your office – mid optimum productivity – and have your light turned off~! I have, every time someone gets a piece of dust in their eye and the nurse has to take a looksee. And then when you tell people that your light is connected to the nurse’s switch and they all feel the need to ‘test’ it. Like my bitching isn’t enough to know this is a fact. The friggin’ lights are connected.

My compromise. Climate control – I can do without. I just have a space heater that I usually run twelve months of the year. I have been begging and pleading for months with our maintenance supervisors to please, please, please install a light switch in my office. Isn’t this something that we should be entitled to – dare I say – to be productive employees? So today, my begging and pleading has paid off. I’m having a light switch installed.

So as I sit in my dark office while the maintenance men do their duties, I’m pleased to know that persistence does pay off and I am spending my last few hours in dark state that I am unable to control. In a few hours, folks, I will have light! That I can turn on and off at my own leisure.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Monday, Here We Come!

This was a nice weekend, and productive - but, tomorrow is Monday! Monday's always come way too quickly for me, as I am sure they do for other's that get to return to work each and every Monday :-)

John and I did turn over some of the wedding reception decorations to my god-mother, rake the lawn, and almost finish the wedding program all this weekend! Productive, right? I also stitched up two nursing cover-up's for my good friend, Sarah! She was my first 'customer.'

I received the graphic for my Etsy shop ( although I only have 3 items listed to sell. I hope to post a few more between now and the wedding and get rolling full steam come January. My hope is to support my craft habits through Etsy. We'll see how that goes.

My breaking news for the weekend... We had a "Girls Night In" at Qianna's on Saturday and Nikki and I beat Qianna and Tonya at Taboo! A small feat for some, but seeing as though I've never been great at Taboo, this was a big win for me! Thanks, Nikki, for the constant encouragement throughout the entire game! And thanks to baby Kaelin for sucking all of mommy Tonya's brains out at the time of your birth (Tonya, I really don't know what this means for your hospital patients).

I believe I will now retire to the couch to work on the wedding shrug... The wedding is in 20 days - and, no, for the record, I cannot believe it!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Economic Woes Increase Time in Kitchen

I’ve spoken with a few of my friends over the past few days, and I now realize the effects of the economy on 20-something married or soon-to-be married women. Instead of eating out whenever we’d like, we cook!

For a moment, let us set aside the fact that cooking at home is often more nutritious… Let us forget about all of the kitchen items that we load onto our wedding registries, but never really intend to use… Or the fact that some of our spouses may find some comfort in our inner desire to be domestic… Cooking, folks, saves money.

And when your 401k plummets and your bonuses come to a screeching halt – admit it or not, we look for ways to save money. Funny thing, we do not sacrifice things such as clothes, yarn, fabric, or the all important regular maintenance trips to the salon, but we will fore go eating out and the convenience of picking up dinner…

Instead we go home after 10 hour days, 2 hours of errands and make dinner. All in name of savings! Woo ~ ! The thought just made me tired.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I've Got the Blues

I've been feeling rather glum lately and I think that I have identified the cause... As I was sitting at work today contemplating when exactly I wanted to strap on the old hardhat and head into the mill, it occurred to me that we still are not running. While John and I have managed to stay protected in our little bubble and avoid any direct effects of the current economic state(with the exception of our 401k's ~ which we luckily will not need anytime soon), if I look at my work environment our economic state is hitting me smack dab in the middle of my face --- everyday.

For an environment that typically produces 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to be reduced to nil, it is very scary. The outlook is bleak as well. The projection is that we will not be running for the remainder of the month. Yikes. While we have avoided layoffs thus far no one can deny the worsening state of the economy, and without improvements, what we have avoided has to be inevitable, right?

Unfortunately, I have yet to the find the crystal ball that will define or shed light upon our future state. So, the question, how do we stay positive in negative times?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can! We Did, and We Will!

The outcome of the presidential election was not shocking, only given the fact that this has been the projected outcome for so many weeks... As I watched McCain concede to Obama last night I don't know that it really occurred to me the enormity of what had just happened. I think it was when Obama gave his speech that it started to settle in, because I still don't completely think I am there. I don't know that I've ever given much thought to race ~ only because my own unique situation. We all think we're unique, right? :-)

I am half white and half black. I was adopted by a white family. I have been raised by white people, and fortunate for me, they never focused on race. In our home, it was not an issue. I think it became evident to me when I went to Roosevelt Elementary. I did not fit in with the white kids - and I did not fit in with the black kids. I was too poor, too proper, my skin too light, my hair to nappy - then my hair too straight and long. In high school I attended a predominately white school (only fitting since I had for the majority of my education) so by default most of my friends were white. Still not fitting in - too poor. Not that I ever did without anything, but I by no means had everything. In college, I joined a black sorority. Lucky for me, these women had a reputation for having long hair and light skin. Looks - I fit right in, personality - still accused of 'acting white'. As I think about all of these things, it is funny how my life has evolved - and that I am marrying a white man. Italian, if you ask him :-)

I don't know if I ever given any thought to whether or not we would have a black president during my existence; I guess I felt it only inevitable sooner or later. I cannot deny the pride that I felt last night as Obama made his acceptance speech - more than being African-American I am proud to live in a country where this is not only a possibility, but a reality! We've made great strides in this country and I am sure that the best has yet to come.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Presidential Elections and Marriage

John and I probably fall in the majority as we sit in front of our television and anxiously await the outcome of the presidential election. We woke early this morning so that we could make it to the polls early enough so not to disturb our busy work schedules... I guess this is what married life is? We're not married yet, but we have been living together for a year and a half.

As our wedding day nears (25 days to go), I don't think the reality of what is going to happen has really settled in. I know that we are getting married, and aside from John being unwilling to help with thank you's, he really is a wonderful man! I feel fortunate that he's going to be my husband and that I get to spend the rest of my life with him, I guess it just seems further away than a mere 25 days.

It probably will not fully hit me until I am walking down the aisle minutes away from accepting a sacrament - with someone else. Scary! My reality probably isn't helped by the fact that I refer to our 'honeymoon' as a 'vacation' and John as my 'boyfriend.' Ah, well! All minor details...

Baby Sling - Sample Completed!

Ok, so I went to a baby shower on Sunday and Kendra received a gorgeous baby sling! At the suggestion of her MIL I borrowed the sling to make a sample pattern. Last night, because I couldn't resist, I ran to JoAnn's - purchased some sale fabric and made this sling! I love it! Wish I had a baby to go with it... But until then, I think I'll start making them for our friends. There are a lot of babies around us right now :-) Oh, and I'm actually pretty proud of my first go-round --- and I've identified some enhancements to be made!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Productive Weekend at the LaffySalts House

I'm exhausted... But I at least wanted to post some photos! On Friday John purchased wine and pickles for our wedding reception - check! I also finished the goodie bags for the bridesmaids - check!

I went to a baby shower today for the adorable Kendra Sims and baby Marley! I brought some store bought items but also made them a handful of burp cloths, baby shoes, and baby blankie!!

Hmm, finished up a patchwork bag sewing class project, and made the first two items for sale in my Etsy shop (Coming after the wedding... I'll work on building inventory and getting a graphic for now!) The coasters can be made with as many as 6 coordinating fabrics!

I managed to bind off and sew up the arms of my wedding shrug. I will start picking up stitches around the neckline tomorrow... We also went to our nephew, Colin's 8th birthday party today! Talk about busy... But all very fulfilling and fun :-) So I would count this weekend as a more productive one! Hope yours was, too!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thank You, From Annie and her Absent Partner

The wedding is now 29 days away and I constantly find myself making lists in my head of things that John and I (it is OUR wedding, after all) can accomplish prior to the wedding. My wedding shower was last weekend - and it was fabulous!! John and I received many wonderful gifts! I try to be etiquette conscious as often as possible so I am trying desperately to send thank-you's within the suggested two week time frame. And, please don't misunderstand any of this, I do want to make sure that everyone knows how incredibly appreciative we are for just plain 'ole having their support - gifts aside.

On Wednesday John said that he wanted to 'help' is there 'anything that he can do?' to which I responded, "Why, yes, dear - please help me write some thank-you notes. Especially since many of the gifts are from your family whom I have never met. It may mean more if you wrote them..." Well, people, here's what John said, "Those gifts were addressed to YOU, not me. It was your shower, not mine. I am not going to write any thank you notes." Yes, as you can imagine my mouth did drop to the floor when he suggested the dishes, the mixer, the sheets, gift cards -- everything, mine! Most women would enjoy receiving everything all for themselves, I'm sure - the only problem is, he uses the stuff as often as I do. Here I was thinking that they are 'our' things...

So, in humor I wrote a thank you card today... It read, "Dear John & Margaret, Thank you so much for the t-shirt, yarn, and sheets. I will really enjoy using them! John actually indicated that these are MY sheets... That I received at MY shower, for which he has no responsibility to help say, 'thank you.' So, until I can figure out how to configure them on the bed so that only I use them (because they are MINE), John is sleeping in the guest room. You never know, he may feel inclined to pick up a pen before long. Or, I could always change the sheets. But, why? These are so comfy, I, may use them all the time!" All of my love, Annie

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Certifiably A.D.D

Yesterday I attended an Excel - Advanced class. When Vonchelle worked with me I had no need for such skills because she is a super user, but since her departure I have been left to my own devices, which isn't much. I have actually been sending my work to John, communicating my needs, and then he would promptly return to me! That was only going to last for so long seeing as though he has his own work to do -- AS IF!

It occurred to me during the class that I really only have the attention span of a fly - or that I am certifiably ADD. At any given time of the day I am thinking of what I did, what I need to do, and for five focused minutes here and there I think of what is actually in front of me and needs to be done pronto. I think my inability to pay attention and focus is represented in other aspects of life too. I have 4, yes, 4 knitting projects on my coffee table (28Thirty, Scabbard, Wedding Shrug, and Nati) all begging for my attention! I have probably 2 additional projects in my bag and 2 more in my basket :-) I have a list of wedding items to be done - and I still insist on making plans for the weekend... Oh, and then there's work. 35 items on my pending list --- all to be completed by November 26; right!

I like to think of myself as a productive person, but really, how can I ever get anything accomplished. Since I feel this way about myself, it's a bit alarming when my boss says that I "exceed expectations" -- how can I exceed anything when I can't finish?? I am great at starting, maybe not so great at finishing. I can only finish when under pressure. And more importantly, what does this say about me? Uggg! I'm going to commit this weekend to not starting anything new, crossing off of my 'to-do' list, and maybe finishing a few items.

I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I have my workout partner back!

Almost two years ago I joined St. John's Health Club thanks to the encouragement of a friend. I have found in my adult life that is often difficult to find extra time to catch up with friends on somewhat of a regular basis so it seemed to be the perfect opportunity to visit regularly while staying healthy... Or just maintain some sort of a balance between all of the junk food that I often find myself eating :-)

Well, that worked really well until this past January where I kind of fell off the face of workout earth. After that happened Andra abandoned me to join a gym much closer to her home (I guess I abandoned her first), and once I was to a point where I wanted to return to the gym, the accountability to drag ass out of bed at 5:00 a.m. to go work out along seemed to be nonexistent.

In September Andra and I decided to go to boot camp together ~ and this morning, she made an announcement. Andra said that she will continue to schlep across Tulsa at the wee hours of the morning on M - W - F... Just to work out with me! I have to say, this is the best news regarding workouts that I have had in awhile. As I left the gym this morning I felt a renewed commitment to catching up with my friend every M - W - F, and the bonus is I get to be a bit healthier while doing it! Many thanks to Mrs. Nelson!!

Wedding Updates: I have completed 75% of the shrug for my wedding! Plan to bind off tomorrow - then have to pick up stitches around the neck! It's beautiful - will post pics soon! I also had a fabulous wedding shower last Sunday. It was hosted by my dear friends Angie, Brooke, Caroline, Jessica and Vonchelle. If you know me well, you know it takes at least this many to keep me in line! I was honestly overwhelmed with all of the love and support that I felt during the shower. It really hits you when so many take time out of their weekend to mix and mingle. I am currently work on proper 'thank - you's' but in the interim, thank you to everyone who was there, and to those who I know were there in spirit. John and I are appreciative of the support :-) XOXO

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Knitting, Better than a Sorority

So, I've been knitting for a little over a year now... And joined Ravelry shortly thereafter. It seems as though in the past few months I've come out of my shell a bit on Ravelry and I've started to participate in groups, post comments, and interact with other members. Ravelry and knitting are exactly like a sorority, only better!

I was in a sorority in college - and while at the time it was ok - it doesn't seem to meet my needs as an adult. I have tried a few times to stay active within the sorority's graduate chapter, but I can never quite make the full commitment. Knitting, though, well the only thing I'm committed to more than knitting is probably John :-)

I love all of the yarn, fibers, new techniques, and patterns. Knitting provides an endless world of exploration and an even larger group of friends with whom you have something in common. Knitting is pleasant - and the people who enjoy it, friendly. It's amazing how when I have a question about a project that someone else has already completed how excitedly and how quickly they respond.

So, thanks to knitting, thanks to Loops for being so fantastic and making knitting seem interesting, thanks to Ravelry for creating an amazing network, and thank you to everyone who knits and shares :-)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Welcome, Miss Ella Thummel!!

Today, folks, we are welcoming Miss Ella Thummel into the world! She was born to Sarah and Bill Thummel. They've been anxiously anticipating her arrival and the wonderful opportunity to be parents! John and I have not had the opportunity to meet her yet, but hope to get to the hospital tomorrow. I made her a little blankie --- I sure hope that she likes it!

Tonight John and I are just lounging around... I feel like I am swamped at work lately, so much so that I brought my laptop home this weekend! I should be doing work - but tonight, I'm going to be selfish and do things that I want to do! I'm hoping to sew a bit more and get some items for my Etsy shop that is in the making... But with everything going on I am lacking on time. The wedding is officially 8 weeks ago - shower invitations are out, and we've started receiving gifts. With gifts come 'thank you' notes :-) It is difficult to write 'thank you's' to someone you've never met. I try to let a little of my personality out in the note - but I am secretly afraid they'll think I'm a dork and take it the wrong way! Ohwell, such as life :-)
Next week I start sewing class with Von. I've made her a small book for her 'pins and needles.' I definitely want her going to class in style! I've added photos, but clearly have not mastered this technique because they are scattered about the page.

John and I have also start dance class -- Friday evenings. That's a long road for sure. I think next week I'm going to try a glass of wine before class.

Maybe more tomorrow... Oh, here's Scabbard after a soak. I really should finish the sleeves...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And here we are, two weeks later....

I think it's been about two weeks since I last blogged. Life has been pretty status quo around here... Two weekends ago John and I played in my company golf outing. This is always fun for me because golf outing equates to new golf outfit :-) We did walk away with a trophy - and I know what you're thinking... 1st Place!!! NOT!! How about "most honest score" which equals worst score :-) All - in - all we had a fantastic time!!! I always like to look very LPGA'ish while losing!

I have finished the body of Scabbard and blocked. Will finish a sleeve this weekend and will post pics then. I also started the Bono Kimono and 28Thirty. The Bono Kimono will hopefully fit someone I know and make a nice Christmas gift, and 28Thirty is for myself, of course!

John is finally going to let me make him something besides golf club covers --- so we're going to go for the Cambridge Jacket from Best of Interweave Knits. I purchased the pattern yesterday and am currently contemplating what kind of yarn to use. Next fall (i.e. 2009), he should have a very nice sweater...

We only have 60 days until the wedding! And his wedding band arrives tomorrow --- so it's officially sinking in. In 60 days, I'll be married. I've only had a few freak outs about not receiving RSVP's yet (we did allow unti Nov. 9) and the decoration idea is getting to me. Tomorrow my god-mother and I are going to look at the reception space, which will hopefully provide some calm to my overly anxiety filled mood.

Oh, I'm enrolled in a sewing class, too --- oh, and the ballroom dancing class. I start ballroom dancing this Friday (with John) it is offered through the local community college and lasts 5 weeks. The sewing class starts next Wednesday and lasts for 4 weeks. Tonight I will post the items I've made thus far thanks to Last Minute Gifts --- a nice little needle holder book thing for Von to take to class (I want her to go in style) and some quilted coasters for another unsuspecting birthday victim.

Watch for: My Etsy shop! Everyone thinks I'm just dreaming but I swear I'm going to do it! just need to sew up a few more items so I have a full shop front!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

I made a mistake? And here I was thinking that I was perfect...

Ok, so I thought I wanted to be creative and do something fun, so somewhere in my overly dreamy head I decided we should do our own wedding invitations... It'll be fine, right? I typed up the invitation as well as all of the inserts - sent them off to have them printed, and apparently on the 'Directions' card there's a damn mistake! I didn't notice this mistake prior to sending them out, but lucky me, my mother-in-law to be told us about it this evening.
Of course I am mortified; am comtemplating sticking my head in the hand somewhere because I cannot bear that I made a mistake, or rather did not notice a mistake and sent it out to 125 people that way! Hopefully people will just overlook it and not mention it again. They have to know that such a mistake would mortify any bride only 75 days to the wedding... Ugh! I guess I will just remind myself I'm human until I move on find something else to panic about.
Thanks, Von, for tell me not to worry about it! I don't know what I'd do without you, seriously!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wedding Flowers... D-U-N!

Ok, so the main purpose of the post, to publish photos of the lovely scabbard! With any luck I will have this completed within the next two weeks... Sheknitigans is taking a small break from the project because she is busily spinning her heart out! I LOVE her yarn! I have some on the needles, and as soon as I have more money - that isn't spoken for (thanks to the wedding), I'm buying more!!!

Today I spent the afternoon at my dear god-mother's house discussing wedding flowers - ugh! I am so glad that detail is out of the way! I did also pick up a gazillion yards of lilac organza that I will need to craft into table overlays for the wedding reception - the sooner the better. It really seems these details can get you down on wedding stuff. We have a priest scheduled and the honeymoon booked, what more does a girl need? Oh -- dress fitting, flowers, bridal luncheons... Make-up appointments, and the list drones on. I think I'm a little bored with the wedding details.

The cookie below... Well, I know you must think I made it for myself, because I do love myself, dearly, but that is from my beloved, John. I left him home sick for two days last week and on the second day boredom struck! I came home from work to this nice surprise... He's great, isn't he??

Well, more tomorrow... I meant to post photos of the Feb. Lady Sweater, but after deciding it doesn't hit at the hips quite where I want it to it got soaked and is stretched and drying on the bed... Maybe in 2-3 days!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hurricane Ike Strikes in Tulsa, Not So Much...

All week I've been anxiously anticipating what is supposed to be a rainy weekend thanks to hurricane Ike. I think we have received at least two phone calls today from people out of state asking about how much rain we've received... Not much. I was secretly hoping for an uncontrollable downpour so that I would be forced to stay in the house to knit and sew!

Scabbard is coming along quite nicely, I plan to try on and post pics tomorrow... And I will be posting pics of a completed, yes completed, February Lady Sweater. Buttons are on at all - now if this blasted weather would just cool to a nice 65 I may get to wear it!

We're going to the movies to watched Righteous Kill this afternoon which has been confirmed by my god-mother to be horrible, but John and my mom still want to see it. Don't ask me why??? I've read about people supposedly knitting in movie theatre's, I'm going to give it a whirl because I can't imagine sitting through 100 minutes of poor scripting.

Until tomorrow... When pics will come! Yes!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Baby Showers, I'm tired...

So today John and I helped with a baby shower. When I say 'helped' I mean prepared a lot of food and acted as paid help through the duration of the shower :-) It was a lot of fun, though... John graciously volunteered (part selfish because he loves to cook!) to make Spanakopita (spinach pies)... So he spent the morning rolling up close to 200 spinach pies... I asked him if he would do the same for our wedding reception at which he responded with a "No." What's up with that?!

Yesterday I spent the bulk of my day knitting... For myself :-) So last night at about 11:00 p.m. I figured I might actually want to finish the gift for the shower... Today --- and popped out one last baby bootie. I attached the pom-poms, left off the bows because we're unsure of what the expecting couple is having and even managed to pump out a nice bib :-) I'm officially exhausted --- will spend the rest of the evening try to mentally prepare for boot camp which starts at 5:45 a.m. - Monday!

I have cast on a rather lovely Scabbard sweater (that's the thing I can't put down!) and am happy to say it's actually coming along quite nicely! I'm about 25% finished, I think, but before I can merge the body cables will need a lesson from Sheknitigans! I can read the pattern, but, unfortunately, it does not make much sense to me...
Off to the couch I go, will revisit Scabbard tomorrow!

Friday, September 5, 2008

I was TAGGED!!

I've been tagged for the 6 quirky things meme by Sheknitigans!

The rules:
1) Link to the person who tagged me
2) Mention the rules
3) Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about myself
4) Tag 6 other bloggers by linking to them
5) Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they’ve been tagged

The meme:
1) I was adopted when I was 2-3 weeks old. That fact is still being debated between my parents and I.
2) I like to touch my feet and smell my hand to see if they stink. Gross, I know :-)
3) I LOVE country music... And listen to NPR on my way to work.
4) I'm a down to earth kind of girl ~ yes, that was me in the baseball cap!
5) I love tattoos - and have four total, only one is visible...
6) Although I seem to do well in the corporate world, I am definitely trying to find a way to craft full-time!

I tag :



Saturday, May 17, 2008

Captured by Fear

So I was thinking last night as a perused through, yet, another knitting book... Knitting, a hobby which I took up about one year ago, but I am still afraid to take that next step and create something that I am excited about. Logically, I think, what's to fear? The worst thing that can happen is that I will have to tear something out --- but the possibility of making a mistake has me paralyzed and I continue to make small things that are safe. So, this fear of mistakes not only affects my "hobby" life, but also my real life. I often think of how many things I do not do because I am afraid that I will not do it right - or just the plain 'ole uncertainty of the outcome. Yikes! What a way to live! So, at least for today - I'm going to try to step out of the box and start to knit something that I might like - that I may struggle with along the way. Who knows, I may learn something. If I can only conquer this task, who knows what may come...