BioBooksAwardsComing NextContactBlogFun StuffHome

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Let There Be Cool Lights

My style in decor is all modern/contemporary. I like clean lines with no swirls or curls. Keep the farmhouse/rustic look. Keep the traditional style. They're not for me.

One of the big negatives about the new house I bought is how traditional it is. Some of it is far too expensive to do anything about--the biggest example being my kitchen cabinets. OMG, I dislike them. They are vanilla in color (I prefer my wood be stained and not painted), they have this black line framing each door and drawer, and the crown molding at the top has a rope pattern that screams traditional. Ugh! Don't even get me started about the oiled bronze faucet, drawer pulls, lighting, door knobs, everything else.

Some of the oiled bronze, though, is replaceable because it isn't ridiculously expensive to do so and because I like mixing metals. I believe mixing metals has even become fashionable. Gradually, though, I hope to rid myself of almost all the oiled bronze and replace it with modern brushed nickel.

I began my campaign in the master bathroom.

The old light fixtures:

This is already down. I didn't think to take a picture when they were over the mirrors. (Two mirrors, two light fixtures.)

Here's my new lights:

To me, this looks sooooooooo much better. No swirls. No bell-shaped glass.

I also replaced the toilet paper holder in the water closet with brushed nickel. Three oiled bronze albatrosses gone, a million left to go.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

High Anxiety

I have anxiety.

I'm not sure if I've had it all my life or if it developed later, but I do know I was dealing with anxiety issues in high school and college for certain. I'm sure junior high had some symptoms/issues as well, but my memories of that time aren't clear enough to say for certain and I have no idea about grade school.

For a long time, I didn't realize what was going on. I attributed what I felt to social anxiety or stress and assumed there'd be a day/time when it stopped.

It didn't stop, and in the fall of 2016, my anxiety went off the rails. It was bad. I couldn't sleep, and once I did fall asleep, I'd wake up and lie in bed with my brain churning out horrible scenarios. After close to two months of this, I realized two things. 1) I had anxiety, no ifs, ands, or buts and 2) I had to get a handle on it now. There was no way I could continue like this.

One thing I did know what that I didn't want to go on medication for a variety of reasons, so I started thinking about other ways to deal with it. I'd meditated for years, but I couldn't quiet my mind enough for that, but I heard that crochet and knitting were good.

That's why I signed up for my first crochet class, and four months later, a knitting class. And this is why I spent so much time crocheting and knitting for a lot of 2017. It was my way of coping. The good news for me is that the crafts did help. I was able to sleep again and find a place of mental peace much of the time.

And as I gained control of the anxiety, I realized that I'd had a heavy dose of it since I'd moved to Atlanta and it was strangling my creativity. Once I got a handle on it, I was able to start writing again. It's slow going as I relearn how to put words into sentences, but I took some craft classes to refresh my brain and I went to a conference--which I blogged about in, I believe, October. I'm working on a novella right now which had the roughest first draft that I've written in probably 15 years or so, but I'm happy to have words again.

As much as I'd like to believe I have anxiety in hand permanently, I know that's not the case. This is something I'll be dealing with for the rest of my life and there are still nights where I don't sleep much with the incessant worry. I had one of those not that long ago where I managed maybe an hour and a half around my brain spinning.

This is why I've crocheted blankets, knitted shawls and scarves, and am usually working on something. It's my anxiety medication.

When I look backward, it's hard to believe I didn't realize much earlier what my problem was, but I'm learning to forgive myself for not having a perfect vision of what I'm dealing with. Life is not easy and anxiety makes it worse. Now I know and can do something about it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Light Bulb Moment

This post is about actual light bulbs. not epiphanies. Once upon a time, light bulbs used to be easy, but not now. Now it takes research and trying to decide which bulb, which lumens, etc. It's enough to frustrate the heck out of a person. Okay, it frustrates me!

I'd worked out all the light bulbs in my former home and it was all good. Then I moved. Most of the bulbs were okay. Not what I would have chose, but livable. Except for the ceiling fixtures.

I can't stand the CFL bulbs. (I think CFL is what they're called.) Those twisty, soft-serve ice cream looking bulbs. They're not instant on. I flip a switch and they stay dim and awful until they're on for a while. Literally can't tolerate them at all. When I turn a switch on, I want my light now. And every single ceiling light fixture in this house has a CFL bulb in it.

At first, I thought I could live with it until they needed to be replaced, but a few weeks of frustration proved otherwise. I wanted to swap them for LED bulbs which meant research to find a bulb that could be inside an enclosed fixture. Like I said, light bulbs used to be easy.

I did find one I like and I had my handyman replace almost all the bulbs. I would have had all of them done, but my office wasn't unpacked from the move then and he literally couldn't get a ladder in there to reach the fixture. :-/ Now I have things in a little better shape. Not great, but better.

It was an instant improvement. I could actually see right away! Bliss!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The New Desk

I lamented about my office before Christmas and mentioned that I'd ordered a desk. I also promised to share pictures once it was installed. While it's still a Work In Progress (WIP)--I can't put everything away yet because I ordered some more wall anchors and can't cover up the rails--I'm too excited not to share some pictures!

The desk was ridiculously expensive, but I think in the long run that it'll be worth it. I could have spent half that amount and been unhappy. I believe this desk with make me happy and work for me for years. One of the best parts is the shelving. Now I can reach reference books without crossing the room to the bookcases like I had to do for years and years.

If you see any stacks of clutter in the pictures, it's because my office is a WIP at this point. There are still instructions out for the desk installation and there are things that can't be put away until the desk is setup. You'll notice none of my computer equipment is out yet.

I still have books to put away, that's why there's big gaps on the shelves. I also have a shelf over the bookshelves which you can see some of in the top picture. I'm not sure what I'm going to put on there because I literally can't reach it without a stepladder.

The utility boards in the center of the desk are cool, but I'm not sure how much use I'll get out of them once my monitors are out. I'm afraid a lot of that space will be blocked. The monitors are also why I have a little shelf resting on the desktop. It was originally placed on the right side, but I took it down. I'm thinking of moving the utility boards to the left and the right and trying to get the monitors in the center. That little shelf on the left might mess up that idea.

Drawers! I have drawers! The most drawer space I've ever had in a desk I've owned in the past has been one tiny one that held next to nothing. Now I have eight--EIGHT!!!--drawers! Four of them are super deep too. I ordered trays for two of the shallow ones that can hold pens and pencils and scissors and things like that. They haven't arrived yet because I didn't think about it until after the desk was installed.

There will be more pictures once everything is setup. I won't be able to help myself. So loving this desk!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The S Word Was Spoken

I didn't want to interrupt my saga about moving, so I'm posting this well after the fact, but I thought it was kind of amusing.

I was born and raised in Minnesota. I spent most of my life there. I've driven in snow since I was old enough to have a license. Hell, I drove in two feet of snow. I bitched about it, but I did it. And then I moved to Georgia.

After 6 years (SIX?!? OMG!) in Atlanta, I've started reacting like everyone else does here when I heard a forecast of snow. As I'm writing this, the National Weather Service has predicted snow for Friday night, maybe up to an inch. In Minnesota an inch of snow is called a nuisance. This is not the case down in Georgia.

Grocery shopping day is normally on Saturday morning. I'm now grocery shopping on Thursday just in case the snow starts earlier than expected on Friday. And yes, there's bread and milk on the list, but only because we needed bread and milk. :-) No eggs. This is actually not crazy. After Snowmageddeon when people were trapped in their cars for 24 hours or abandoned their cars on the freeway and walked off, I've erred on the side of caution. (BTW, I was not trapped in my car, but it did take my van pool 3.5 hours to get home, making it the longest snow-related commute I've ever experienced.)

I can already imagine the chaos at the grocery store, if not on Thursday when I'm planning to go, then definitely on Friday. Part of me is still sitting here mentally shaking my head over the thought of rearranging my whole schedule for one inch of snow. Let's pretend one inch of snow equals 12 inches of snow in Minnesota. You know what I would do if they predicted a foot of snow in Minneapolis? I'd buy gas, period. Not one other thing.

But I'm not in Minneapolis anymore. I'm buying the groceries.

Edited to add: We got 3/4 of an inch of snow overnight. You can still see the grass through the snow. The Minnesotan in me scoffed at this pitiful amount. The person who's seen how they drive in Atlanta is grateful this was a Saturday morning.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Rip Off

On Tuesday I mentioned that I watch television in the gym while I'm working out and I talked about my guilty pleasure. Today I'm going to talk about shows that I have a problem with.

So when I watch TV in the gym, I really don't have a lot of time to search for something to watch. It hurts my speed on the machine. This means I only watch two channels (because of the previous button): The History Channel and The Travel Channel. If the Travel Channel has a food show on, I automatically watch whatever is on History. This has led me to see two shows that I've seen and heard about, but had never watched before: American Pickers and Pawn Stars.

Pawn Stars I just flat out disliked. Hard. In the episode I watched, a man came in to buy a sword that they'd purchased for $500 and were selling for three times that. The guy says he's seen them online for around $800. The Pawn Stars guy talks the buyer into $1000. Yes, double what they paid for it originally.

I know pawn shops work this way--they take advantage of the person who wants to sell their item and rip off the person who wants to buy it--but what I don't understand is why we're glorifying this greed. Blech! I'll probably watch the Weather Channel (the only other channel number I know) the next time my choices are a food show or Pawn Stars. I don't like to watch people being taken advantage of.

American Pickers is a little tougher for me because the guys driving around in the van seem like they're pretty good guys. Except they find older men who have been collecting things for decades and then pay them much, much less than the item is worth. Or try to anyway. I always feel bad for these old men. Not only are they losing something they've been collecting, they're not even getting a fair price for it.

I totally understand making a profit, but seriously obscene profit is another matter entirely. If you can sell an item for $1000, don't be offering some old man $300 for it, and then when he counters at $800, be telling him that it's too much. Bullshit. A $200 profit on a single item is more than adequate compensation. I have even less sympathy for the Pawn Star people because as far as I could see, they don't even drive around the country looking for stuff, so they don't have that overhead. People bring the stuff to them.

I'd like to like American Pickers, but I just can't get past how little they want to pay for items that are worth double or more what they're willing to pay. How much profit is enough? Especially if the man you're trying to purchase it from has already done all the restoration?

Anyway, I just find it so disheartening to see these television shows where it's predicated around the stars taking advantage of ordinary people. I always cringe when I see the final value of the item.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Latest Guilty Pleasure

Some of the equipment at the gym as televisions mounted on it, and to pass the time, I put something on and do my thing. The problem is that I don't know the channel assignments, and since I'm on my lunch hour, I don't have time to ditz round and figure them out. I never did find HGTV. :-( I have figured out the channel numbers, though, for the Travel Channel and History Channel.

This is how I got hooked on my latest guilty pleasure TV show: The Dead Files Revisited.

A psychic who can talk to the dead and a retired New York City police detective investigate places where people say there are ghosts/spirits/demons or whatever. The psychic and the detective work separately, so neither knows what the other one is learning, and before the psychic arrives, all identifying information is covered up or removed so she can't riff off a picture or something. Then, at the end, they do a reveal where they meet with the property owner and compare notes.

I am hooked! I never record anything because I don't watch it. I do DVR this show and I actually do play it back. One time I did the really stupid thing of playing it late on a Saturday night...during a heavy rainstorm. It happened to be a scary episode too and I stayed up a couple extra hours because I was spooked. :-)

My biggest frustration is that The Travel Channel doesn't have Dead Files on often enough! More, more, more!

And of course Netflix doesn't have this show. They never have anything I want to watch. Sigh.

Trying something new here. I've recorded what I wrote in this blog. Mostly. It's not exact. If you like it, head over to my Facebook page and let me know. If you don't like this, let me know that as well. If it doesn't work, I'm sorry and I don't know how to make it work. This is a test. :-)

Thursday, January 04, 2018

New Year, New Planner

One of the things I love most about a new year is starting my new planner! In 2017, I had a planner in a binder which had a huge benefit--Saturday and Sunday had their own pages--but one enormous drawback. I could only fit two months in the binder and I wanted my whole year in one place.

For 2018, I went back to a spiral planner, and while I'm sad that Saturday and Sunday are on the same page again, it gives me peace to have my whole year accessible.

I've already gone through my planner and added some stickers: I use dividers to add some space to the weekends, I put a "Weekend" sticker over the header they have on the bottom half of the page (who the hell makes a grocery list in their planner anyway???), I added "water the plants" stickers, and stickers for all the holidays.

They've made a few tweaks to the 2018 planner that I'm struggling to get used to like the glasses of water. I used to just draw a line through each glass I drank, now they're little bubbles. Do I color them in? Do I still cross them out? I've tried both and can't decide.

Also, in 2017 they did away with the check off boxes and I got used to using a highlighter to cross through the things I accomplished. This year the check boxes are back, and while I loved them in 2016, I am having a hard time remembering to use them this year. I'm sure I'll get back on track with this in no time, but for now, I'm struggling.

This year I also bought a second planner, one that's strictly for budgeting. While my regular planner does have a budget component, it isn't working for me. This budget planner has a number of features I think will be helpful, including recording what you spend each day. A bit cumbersome, but after moving this year, I'd like to restore my savings account to where it was before I paid for all the stuff on the old house, as well as the new house.

And I've ordered a writer's planner. I have two other ones that I didn't use (I think both are undated), but I'm still ever hopeful that this one will click more for me.

I don't know about three planners, though. I'm good with one, but I've fallen down in the past when I've tried to segment my life. 2017 is littered with the fitness planner (I just kept track of this stuff in my regular planner), two writer planners (see above), a business/goals planner, and a personal/emotional goals planner. None of which I used past March. Some didn't make it out of January.

Here's hoping I can stick with the budget planner and that this new writer planner clicks for me.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Farewell Old Friend

I'm writing this the day I signed the contract on the offer to sell my former home. Even though I know that keeping it isn't an option--I do not want to be a landlord--I still feel sad about the sale.

When I sold my house in Minnesota to move to Georgia, I thought I'd never love another house as much as I loved that one. It was a custom home that I'd had built and I'd chosen the counters, the lighting, the appliances--everything. I expected my house hunt in Atlanta to be long and excruciating and I thought I'd drive my Realtor crazy.

But that wasn't what happened. We looked at three homes and then met with a builder's agent on a ranch (on a basement) in a new subdivision. This was literally the last house they had. And the more the builder's agent talked, the more panicky I became. My Realtor noticed this, hustled us out of there, and on the car ride back to where I was living, I asked if she could set up a second viewing of one of the homes we'd seen that day.

My house. Or what would be my house.

It had this serene retreat in the backyard. I literally couldn't see my neighbors in the summer. I had a good-sized kitchen and lots of cabinets, and one of my favorite things was the massive master closet I had. There were enough racks to hang all my clothes and shelving for my hats and purses and whatnot. I had a powder room, which I loved, and a covered back patio to sit out and enjoy my backyard retreat. If this house had been on a level lot, I would have stayed there forever.

But it was on a super steep hill--literally the only thing I couldn't live with. I have bad knees and my dad moved in with me after my mom died. I didn't want him going up and down that driveway everyday, but he did that because he wanted to get the mail. I couldn't tell him not to leave the house.

And so we looked for a new home and found one that has enough storage space (my former home did not have enough storage, not even close) and is designed in a way that feels as if there is more separation between the bedrooms, although I think it's about the same.

I'm hoping someday I love the new house as much as the one I'm selling, but today I'm mourning the loss of my home.