Monday, January 31, 2011

- Google Map It

Oh hey Google maps...why don't you come in and sit down so we can talk.  Where do you see this relationship going?

Because I'm going to be honest - I'm not happy with these circles you've been leading me in.  See, it was muy importante that I get to the Home Depot.  I tried once before but your route was similar to that of El Dorado in that I had a map, there was an x at the end of it, and yet I never got there.  I gave up and settled for a different Home Depot on a different day.  But tonight, I was going to find it, because it's the closest one to me and therefore the preferable location, and homegirl needed a level.  Last night I tried to hang one of my floating shelves and I measured like 50 times but my tape measure sucks so after drilling the holes and putting the shelf up it was obviously NOT level.  That is unacceptable behavior for a shelf.

It is even more unacceptable for a shelf that a carpenter's daughter hung.  I mean my Dad can probably walk up to a wall and place a hand on it like a horse whisperer and just feel where he should drill holes.  He probably doesn't even need a level, because he just sees things straight but he uses one anyway - to confirm that he's right.  Which is why I have always asked him do this except now he's not 2 hours up the road and I guess it's time that I learn to do these things for myself.

So I was going to the Home Depot because it's probably against the rules of nature to have a crooked shelf in your house for more than a day.  I google mapped how to get there from work.  Oh and just to make this really fun, and stress how much of a mission I was on - I went despite the fact that it snowed all last night and all day long.  I knew it would take me forever in the traffic, but as I said, I was determined.  Here is what you told me to do:

Blah blah blah, merge onto I-394 W.  You told me to get on I-94 first but I tried that last week and I'm smart enough not to make the same mistake twice.  I drive through downtown instead because there is less traffic.  It sounds like a lie, but then again, so is you telling me that the fastest way to get to I-394 is by I-94.  Then you say to take exit 5 for MN-100S.  Awesome.  I can do that, because this exit exists.  Then you say "Continue toward Parkdale Dr" and this is where we start to have problems.  Continue on what towards Parkdale Dr?  Parkdale Dr is not an exit.  There is no split or fork where MN-100S goes one way and Parkdale Dr goes another.  There is no sign for Parkdale Dr. and for all intents and purposes, I cannot find a Parkdale Dr anywhere except on the map.  This angers me, so after passing the exit for Park Place Blvd/Xenia Rd I decided to take the Ceder Lake Rd exit because the Home Depot is supposedly on Ceder Lake Rd.  I get to a 4-way stop and try to consult Google Maps on my phone but my location is not accurate.  To tell me I am somewhere within a 1600 meter radius is not helpful.  I am angry and frustrated and guess left.  That is wrong because it leads to a dead end. So I turn around.  I "continue" on Ceder Lake Rd and get to a shopping center which has NO entrance from Ceder Lake Rd.  I drive around it onto Zarthan Dr and then onto 16th before I see an entrance that will lead to the Home Depot which has somehow magically appeared.  And by magic I mean that literally a protective Harry Potter charm lifted and something was all of the sudden visible that was not seconds before.  OMG now my nerdiness is hanging out.

Now Google Maps, I am not blaming you totally for this.  I put some of the blame on the Home Depot for giving itself the most stupid address known to man which places it on a street that you cannot access it from.  And I take a small smidgen of blame for not zooming into the satellite map and realizing that the path ends randomly in the middle of the street that is near a building but has a parking lot on the opposite side.

View Larger Map
But mostly, I'm just going to say that you led me astray.  I counted on you and you let me down and I don't forget or forgive that easily.  I expect you to be smarter than that.  Just like I should be smart enough to know that I should test the tape measure before buying it so that I don't end up with this:
And while we are on the subject of home improvement implements, let's discuss the level selection.  They divide them up by things like lite duty, heavy duty, and super heavy duty (I am clearly making this up as I can't really remember).  Your super heavy duty one is like all serious for serious job sites - which I don't really need which is good because I didn't really want to spend $45 on a level. The lite duty one is not for job sites and won't scratch painted surfaces, so it's clearly geared towards home usage, but it's only $10 and I just don't know if you can trust a level that's only $10.  So I bought the $25 model with shock absorbing protecting end caps so that when I drop it on my bare foot which hurts like a bee-yotch, my level will still be okay.  That's the kind of logic I like to take to the hardware store.

While Google Maps and I are on a break, my new level proved to be the pillar of steadfastness I needed and my shelves are seriously perfecto.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


For the past 5.5 years I've celebrated Friday knowing that I have no real right to.  As a grad student you don't always have hard enough weeks to justify needing it to be the weekend.  And if you have worked your butt off all week, chances are you are going to keep working right through the weekend be because you've procrastinated and are trying to create 5 months of data in the two weeks before your orals.  Or I've heard that's what people do.

What I'm trying to say is that this past Friday was the first Friday I felt like I'd earned.  It was the first Friday of my first week at work.  And I was all TGIF people.  I always figured that being a grown up was hard...but I had no idea it would be so exhausting.

So to celebrate I went to Ikea.  I have been anxiously waiting for one of their expedit shelves to be in stock so that I can make some serious progress on my living room entertainment sitch.  But, as much as I wanted that shelf in my living room, I was not excited about everything it would take to get it there.  There are several reasons for this.

1 - The last time I put together the expedit shelves I already have I received a horrible surprise.
I thought Ikea was supposed to be easy, but this was like impossible.  The shelf is held together using 4 inch screws that tighten with a  hex key, that Ikea provides.  Hex keys suck.  They take a lot of strength to tighten and each shelf has 8 screws.  I pulled muscles.  I didn't even like the shelves after they were done.

2 - The last time I went to Ikea I realized the inherent logistical issues of trying to get your stuff into an apartment designed like the one in which I live.  See, I have underground parking.  So to get stuff from my car to my apartment I have to carry it upstairs or use the elevator.  They have shopping carts downstairs to help with this.  That coffee table was heavy, so the stairs were a no go.  It was also too wide to fit in the basket of the cart, so I had to put it on top.  However it was also pretty wide, so getting it in the door that lead to the elevator turned into one of those moments where you can't believe that your life is happening the way that it is.  I'm trying to get the cart through the door, but the coffee table is too wide and it gets wedged, then the cart gets hung up on the door handle.  I am trying to force it in anyway when the side tables that I put on the bottom of the cart slide off and block the back wheels.  Now, the cart won't go in the door, and it can't go back out either.  I am trapped inside and can either go up the elevator and take the stairs back down...or I can do what I did.  Which is to get on my hands and knees, while wearing a dress, and crawl onto the bottom shelf of the cart to pick up the side tables.  When I finally did make it up to my apartment I was again so angry at Ikea that I didn't even want to put the stuff together.

3 - So I'm reluctantly driving to Ikea.  I'm walking in.  I'm singlehandedly loading a 5.5 foot box onto the cart.  I'm paying for things.  I'm backing my car into the loading zone.  I'm watching the employees stand inside where it's warm NOT offering to help me get this insanely large box into my car, while standing next to a sign that says "Let us help you load your items".  I am using every physics tidbit I can remember to help myself lift this box into the back of my car while using one foot to hold the cart in place that seems intent on making a break for it.  But I manage it.  And as far as I can tell I haven't pulled muscles and I'm not particularly angry.  I get home and the cart bit goes differently.  Better.  A nice man even holds the door for me and offers help.  Before I have time to struggle as I thought I would, it's in my apartment.

4 - In preparation for the assembly portion I stopped at the liquor store and bought 3 bottles of wine.  Halfway through my first glass I feel I can delay the inevitable no longer so I open the box.  Maybe there's a learning curve to this whole process, but before I even get angry or finish that glass of wine the shelf is put together.  I'm so excited and can't wait to fill it up with books and stuff but sit back to finish my wine and admire my handiwork first.  

5 - The wine makes me sleepy.  And the couch is so comfortable.  And that is when I realized that I was officially a lame ass grown up.  Because, it was 9:30 pm and I was ready for bed.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

- Slightly Later Than Promised

Do you know what takes a long time?  Everything I endeavor to do.  I mean I think I'm taking on a simple, straightforward project and then all of the sudden it's 5 hours later and I'm still not done.  I'm just a terrible under-estimator of how long things will actually take.  Case in point - this post took two hours to write and I mean it's mostly a bunch of pictures with me chit chatting in between.

My plan was to come home and finish the pillows then take pictures and then post them because that's what I promised a pregnant woman I would do, and I know better than to lie in this situation.  But, my commute home took a really long time and I was all angry about the state of's no wonder that most grown ups are unhappy.  I bet there's a direct correlation to the amount of time they spend commuting.  Anyways, then I talked to my Mom because I wanted to give her my new phone number for my land line, which I had to get because my cell phone only works when propped up on the sliding glass door in between the second and third window pane and that's annoying and not conducive to you know, really using your phone.  But then they gave me Jocelyn Jones' old phone number and even though she hasn't had it for 2 months, there are still a lot of people looking for her.  Namely, collection agencies, State Farm, some pushy telemarketers who like to ask "If I know Jocelyn" and a number that showed up as MN DHS but when I answered never said anything.  As fun as all that was, I decided that since Jocelyn was getting more calls than I was, I wanted an un-recycled number.  So, I was handing out my shiny new number when I realized that I was really hungry.  I never ate lunch today because after my morning training I went to the credit union to set up a local checking/savings account and then after some more meetings my day was over and I was getting in the car for the aforementioned commute.

At this point these pillows have been on my to do list for a really long time.  And I want them done, but I also want to be lazy, because being a newly formed grown up makes me sleepy.  Lazy people typically decide that it's not the worth the work involved to make pillow covers that have zippers.  Especially when they aren't planning on changing their decor for a least a year.  So, they just sew three sides on the machine, throw a pillow in there, and then hand stitch the last side while watching the X-files.  Or that's what I would hypothesize that they do.

It's a happy surprise that pillows made from the depth of laziness look pretty much the same as professional pillows when staged on a bed.
Originally I had only planned to make 3 for the bed, like shown here.  All different sizes and all different fabrics.  But I underestimated how much I like symmetry and I couldn't configure them in a way I liked.
So I made another navy pillow for the sake of symmetry.
Even lazy people make an effort to match the embossed pattern on the two pillows.  Just in case anyone looks closely.

Here's the bed with all 4 pillows, but from this angle one is hiding.
I tried a slightly different pillow configuration.
But it looked stupid and I hated it.  So I switched it back.  Here's a close up.
I promise there are 4 pillows on the bed.  There's a pregnant woman reading, I wouldn't lie.  I feel it is also important to note that laziness did not prevent my first foray into the use of trim, which was also quite successful.  Even laziness can't suppress awesomeness.    

Maybe you noticed the ottoman make over I finished over the weekend?  Originally I wasn't going to do the pink fabric on the top, but navy fabrics in Minneapolis are apparently endangered on the verge of extinction.  I went like a million places but only found one I liked.  I like the way the pink pulls from the bedding, but I'm just not sure about how it works as a whole.  I mean I sometimes feel like this is all getting a bit too colorful and is starting to look like a unicorn threw up a rainbow.  Maybe all of the furniture needs to go white instead of green?  But then is that too much white with the curtains and the lamp bases and the 3.5 foot tall headboard I plan on having?  Whatever I decide, I plan on painting the legs on the ottoman navy, so that they blend in a bit more.
Speaking of fabric choices - I made a pillow out of the fabric that I used in my bathroom because I also liked the way that it worked with the bedding.

The bathroom turned out a bit differently than I thought it would.  The fabric I bought is a designer fabric and it's spendy at $15/yard.  I bought 3 yards of it and it's 54" wide.  But shower curtains are typically 72" wide so I hoped to find something at Joann's that would be cheap (and hopefully on sale) to fill in on the sides so that I could get the necessary width, because $45 is already more than you should spend on a shower curtain.  Isn't it weird that I can talk myself into spending that much because the fabric is all pretty and I love it, but I have a hard time paying $12.25 to have my official transcript emailed to my new employer.  I mean, I spent 9.5 years of my life at State and never asked for a transcript before and I have to pay for one?  Ridiculous.  But $45 on a shower curtain?  Whatevs.

Originally I was thinking of something lime-y green to go with my spendy fabric but it was majorly slim pickin's at Joann's.  I unexpectedly landed on chocolate brown and I love the way the contrast looks bordering the shower curtain.
From this angle the polka dot looks a little too prevalent, and juvenile, so I'm kind of starting to doubt it.  Originally I was just going to use the stripe on the wire storage cover.    
But I thought that using the polka dot on the sides would provide some cohesiveness between the two pieces.  From this angle it's better.  I think.  I'm not sure.  I don't even know if I like it right now.  I did do a much better job on the fit of the wire storage cover this time around though, so that's something.

I would like to place something over the towels, but I don't know what.  I originally tried the framed print you see in the mirror, but the glare on the glass in that location is really bad.  I thought about a grouping of smaller white frames but I don't have any white frames.  I have frames that I could paint white but they're currently dark blue and it would take a lot of coats and I'm lazy, remember?  Plus, I don't know what to frame in them.

And while I'm sharing all of my deep decorating thoughts, I decopaged a trash can!  I mean it was lying around and I needed one for the guest bathroom so I just picked up a few sheets of scrapbook paper and then used some mod podge I had.  It was really more like paper mache since I cut the paper into strips (I thought that would make it easier to deal with the curves) and then dipped them in the glue, which also made it insanely messy.  Seriously I did this like a week ago and I found glue under a nail yesterday.  
It also took me like 3 hours.  I spent 3 hours of my life on a trash can.  I mean, do I take care of my guests or what?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

- Am I Doing This Right?

Dear Minnesota,

I am clearly from North Carolina.  I say "ya'll" a lot and don't have the appropriate clothes to survive these temperatures.  I wore sweater tights tonight when it was -3 outside.  I have never experienced negative temperatures for any extended period of time.  I don't really know what it's like to be around this much snow every day.  I know this is obvious to you, and that is why I need your help.  I'm trying to fit in, but I don't know if I'm doing it right.

For example, let's discuss snow boots.  I have never owned a pair but I figured they would be necessary here.  I looked at them online before I moved.  For some reason I didn't order any.  I don't know why.  Five minutes into my first walk with Emma I realized that they were a necessity.

So I ordered some.  These.  I was really excited when they were delivered.  Especially since the salt/snow mix had damaged the pair of boots I'd been wearing out.  But as soon as I put them on I knew that they weren't quite right.  I hated the way they looked on me, which I know, is a bit shallow - because it's a snow boot and it's all about function, but that really is an awful boot height that just accentuates how short my legs are.  More importantly they were IMPOSSIBLE to walk in.  The calf had no bend so I had to walk while holding your lower leg straight, like I was a pirate with two peg legs, and that was weird.  I mean I'm not trying to stay single forever and looking like "that pirate girl" isn't going to do me any favors.  It was obvious that they were going to take a lot of breaking in and I didn't like them enough to go through that.  I did some more research and decided to order these.

These are infinitely easier to walk in.  They need a little breaking in but nothing like before.  Since the boot is taller they look a lot better, and a taller boot means that more of my leg is warmer and all waterproof and stuff, although I still feel like I'm wearing moon shoes.  I'm sure that they're the right size, but they just seem so big, especially in the width.  But what are snow boots supposed to look like?  Minnesota, am I doing this right?

I decided to keep them because I don't know that it gets much better.  I wore them when I walked Emma this morning and my feet were anything but cold and they seemed to have good grips.  Speaking of Emma, she's been wearing her argyle sweater through this cold snap.  She seems to not mind it like she does her coat, so I've been leaving it on her all, it's flippin' adorable.  Sometimes I feel like she's fitting in better than I am.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

- Business Time

I moved to Minneapolis for a job.  I think I've mentioned it a few times but I don't know that I've given any real without further ado, "It's Business Time"

"I might go to bed, I've got work in the morning" 
On January 24th I will start my food science career as an R&D Scientist II at General Mills.  I worked as an intern at General Mills in the summer of 2008 and really loved the company for the way that it treated it's employees and the emphasis it places on a work/life balance.  I also liked that for such a large company, it had that small company feel and that I was able to make a niche for myself in just my summer there.  When I decided it was time to procure a full time job, GM was the only company I contacted because I honestly felt like, for me personally, there wasn't a better option.  I emailed all of the right people (several times: I like to refer to at persistent but not stalkerish) and got an offer in September, which I quickly accepted.  

"Team Building Exercise '99"
My first assignment is in the Gtech ingredient division and after just speaking with my manager I'm uber excited to report that I will be working on sodium reduction!

"Then you tell me you want some more, well I'm not surprised"
This is a huge point of interest in the food industry as there is a lot of external pressure from the public to address this because of the health concerns that are associated with high salt intake.  I attended a conference at UC Davis this past summer that was largely focused on the need for food companies to take responsibility and address sodium reduction in their products.  And they are...of course the logical problem is that if you take the salt out, the product doesn't taste as good.  So I'll be working on all kinds of clever ways to accomplish this alongside other food scientists, sensory scientists and culinary experts.

"Business hours are over, baby"
And that will probably be the last time that I address my job here.  My employment is one of the few areas that I feel should be off limits for this space.  I spent 9.5 years in school so that I could get the job that I wanted, and I wouldn't want to jeopardize that in any way.  Aside from that, most of what I will work on I won't be able to legally share because of confidentiality agreements.  As with any food company, the bottom line reigns supreme.  And the company that is able to put low sodium claims on their product first, will cash in first.  It's competitive, and therefore, it will be secretive.  It's totally "If I told you, I'd have to kill you" kind of stuff - and I couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

- I Did Something Awesome

Yesterday I was having one of those lazy days where I just wanted to wear my pj's and hang out around the house.  I decided I would try to be productive and make throw pillows and then if there was time work on getting some stuff up in the kitchen.

But then I walked past the guest bathroom.  I stared at those curtains again.  And I just felt like, I needed to figure out that room, and get it finished.  I had bought these three hot pink vases at Ikea and so I started playing around with their configuration around the sink.  I needed some more things to mix in so I went to my pile of crap in the guest bathroom and pulled a few more pieces.  It took a while, but I finally got things got situated.

Then there was still the question of art.  Most of what I have in the guest bedroom I've planned to use in  other rooms and what was left didn't work for the bathroom.  But I did have the pieces I used in my old bathroom - 2 metal frames I had painted grey, and a framed and matted piece of scrapbook paper.  Which got me thinking that I could just repaint them to match this new bathroom.  I pulled out my arts and crafts boxes to get to my paint and brushes and then also found a new piece of scrapbook paper that worked with the bathroom and a bunch of canvases.  The last time I tried to "paint" something on a canvas it was an epic fail.  I mean I am totally crafty, but I'm not an artist in any way shape or form.  But I got this I went to my computer and googled some images.  I took a pencil and sketched something out on the canvas and then I painted in the lines. turned out WAY better than I expected it to.
I made an Emma!  I had planned to do a project like this forever ago but I was intimidated by trying to get it right and never got around to it.  Plus it's hard to capture the cuteness that is my dog.  See what I mean?  Side note: the signature head tilt in the 3rd picture is one of the main reasons I have spent THOUSANDS of dollars on this dog and her allergies.  Makes me melt.
The silhouette can't capture all that, but it reminds me of it.  It is clearly a representation of her and how much I love that little ball of fur despite the fact that my white duvet cover is already covered with her hair.  It isn't perfect in proportion, ear shape, and a million other things that I could nitpick, but all in all, I love it and I'm pretty proud of myself.  AND I think it looks awesome with the rest of the pieces I whipped up, and in the room as a whole.
I would like to take this opportunity to brag about my paint mixing skills.  The only color that came straight out of the tube was the teal I used for Emma...the rest I concocted out of a collection of pretty basic colors - I'm like a "real" artist, ya'll.
There was no way to get a close up of the vanity without being in the picture myself, so I figured I should at least look happy about that.  And that I should shower.  And fix my bangs.  And not wear the same PJ's I've been bumming around in for longer than I will admit...and brush my teeth.  Yesterday was maybe a bit too lazy.
So, in conclusion: I'm awesome.  I used my awesome abilities to make an Emma.  And to finish off my awesome guest bathroom, which I've been using more than my own just so I can sit there and admire my awesome handiwork.

Now, I should probably get to those pillows...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

- Bare Bones

Okay I may have to revise my "plan" here.  I really wanted to have everything done in the apartment by the time I went to work so that I didn't have any projects hanging over my head.  But as you will see in the pictures below, there is still A LOT to be done.  There are about 234,897 pillows to sew and 901,583,465 things to paint and at least 50 million frames to fill and hang on the wall -  so it's all becoming a little overwhelming instead of the "fun" that I imagined it would be.  I've decided that since  I made the deadline, I can blow right past it if I want.

Anyways, here's the living/dining room.
It has thoroughly frustrated me this morning.  That sliding glass door is massive.  Which is great because it lets in a ton of light, and yet sucky because it isn't easy to find curtain rods that long.  Or to install them.  Especially when they give you hardware that does not WORK...and I will NEVER understand why curtain brackets are designed in a way that prohibits the use of a drill.  Clearly these manufacturers are trying to drive people insane.  I dropped f bombs like it was it 'Nam.

My original plan for this window was to use my orange Ikea curtains with the brown ones that Mom made forever ago, which is what's up now.  But the colors are more similar than I remembered them being, and also, the Ikea ones have extra fabric at the top.  I like having the width of the two panels, but other than that I'm just not sure about how this is looking.  I could use curtain rings at the top and that will take care of the uniformity, but to be honest I was so mad at that curtain rod that once I got everything up I didn't care to mess with it any more for at least 24 hours.  

The entertainment center is also not ready.  Right now I'm using the two shelves I had stacked on top of each other, but my goal is to get this bookshelf and use it instead, so that I can stand mine back up on either side to create a built in look.  I decided on this because I think it will fill the space and help cover up that access panel, plus it will create more of a focal point since this is what you see as you enter the room.  Also, the two shelves I had were completely full of my books before, so there isn't much room for expansion, and I can't walk into a bookstore without buying a book.  This will also allow for space for me to keep my stereo, Wii, and Blu Ray player.  That is, if I can ever get the darn shelf.  I have some words for Ikea these days...
The coffee table and side tables are new and were super cheap at Ikea.  I wish the side tables were taller, but I do really like the pop of red that they offer and I think the will look a lot better once I get all the pillows made and the lamps painted orange.  That red/yellow combo almost too much for  me to bear just in the interim.  Even though I measured, the coffee table is a bit larger than I thought it would be...but I still really like the size.  I would like to point out that this is probably the last year that I will have my brown couch.  Up close it is definitely looking worse for wear from the move and us stacking stuff on top of it while in storage (what was I thinking?).  I'm saving up for something like this next year.  I think the coffee table will still work with a piece like that, it will probably just need a coat of paint.  Also you can see that I'm using the CD storage boxes from Ikea which fit perfectly on the bottom shelf of the coffee table and will hold my (wait for it) CD collection.  
Once the entertainment center gets put in place I'm going to see if I can move the table over any more to allow for my directors chairs to sit at the bar.  I'm also going to re-hang the two shelves that I had in the dining room before (seen here decorated for Christmas in 2009).  I plan to paint the base of the table red to match the end tables, and I've also ordered more fitted chair covers for the parson's chairs.  

If you walk down the hall you are immediately confronted with the two areas that are still completely in disarray.  There is no linen closet anywhere, so I plan to use those white plastic shelves for all the extra sheets and stuff and keep them where they are in the laundry room.  In the storage closet, which you can't see but is across from the washer, I'm going to store all my craft/sewing supplies.
At some point this room will be beautiful and it will hold my old comfy bed and you can visit me and stay there.  However, I have to get everything else done first so that I can clear out all this stuff to make room for the furniture, which will all be painted white.
Guests may not have a place to sleep (well there's a pull out couch and an air mattress) but they can easily go to the bathroom.  I am in LOVE with these curtains used as a shower curtain.  I seriously stop to look at them every time I walk by.  I found some cute little towels and bath mats at HomeGoods, but I still need art for in here.  So far I haven't seen anything that I like or even think will work, so I'm at a bit of a loss.
Emma is modeling the hallway.  Which had the perfect spot for this little dresser, but again I'm not quite sure what to do above it.  I really wanted to put a lamp there, but there is no outlet.  I though it would be fun to find a really bright piece of artwork so that I could paint the dresser a fun color, but I haven't found it yet.  I'm thinking photo collages on the walls in between the doorways.
Right now the top of the dresser has stuff on it for my bathroom.  I found this fabric yesterday to use as a shower curtain.  It works well with the bedding I have in my room, and yet allows for me to use my beachy accessories in there, which I like because the reason I bought all this stuff is because it reminds me of home.  
Speaking of my bathroom...
I installed my curved shower rod (another frustrating experience with ill-fitting hardware - I really miss having my Dad around) and set up my wire storage.  I'm glad that there was room for it because without a linen closet and only the space under the sink, there just isn't room to keep all my bathroom stuff in the bathroom without it.  I just threw my old cover on it for now, but I found some options at Joanne's yesterday that match the fabric in the last picture so I can make a new cover.

And lastly, here's my room.
It's been like this pretty much since the movers brought my furniture since it was the first thing I got semi-set up.  The only thing I've done since then is hang up the curtains.  I need to get the new headboard made and recover the ottoman at the base of the bed.  I would really like to do it a solid navy on the base, and then a navy and white graphic print on top...but I couldn't find anything like that yesterday.  I want to make pillows out of the pink and navy fabric placed on the bed and I have to paint all the furniture in the room as well.

I'll keep you posted as things keep evolving...

Monday, January 17, 2011

- (Second) First Impressions

So, now I live in Minneapolis.  It's weird because I've lived here before, but that was 2 years ago and it was Summer.  Places are familiar and yet new all at the same time.  Sometimes I forget that this is where I live now and I'm not just visiting.

Whenever I told people I was moving to Minneapolis the most common reaction was to say something negative about the winter weather.  I mean in the South they pretty much think that survival here is next to impossible.  In the week that I've been here I think the highest temperatures I've seen have been right under freezing, and it's weird how 26 already feels "warm" to me.  Seriously, I went outside today to let Emma pee, without a jacket on.  I'm practically already a local.  But, this coming week looks like it will be a whole new test.  Because I'm all grown up now and grown ups read the paper, I ordered the Sunday paper.  The forecast for the week says:
Wednesday: High 8, Low -9.  "Numbing sunlight.  Feels like -25".  On Thursday a "harsh wind blows" and Friday will be "subzero most of the day".  But my favorite was Saturday: High 7, Low -7.  "Character building cold".  I don't even know what that means, but I decided to interpret it as this: "If you go out, and survive, you will be more awesome than anyone you know".  Bring it Minnesota.

Minnesota has definitely been bringing it when it comes to snowfall.  It has snowed at least 5 days since I got here a week ago.  I mean there is a ridiculous amount of snow here.  While I can say Minnesooota like a local, I'm definitely a North Carolinian because I still totally think snow is magical.  I lay in bed and watch it fall through the window, and I've even taken some pictures.  They are pretty good about cleaning it up so that the roads and sidewalks are mostly clear.  HOWEVER, I hate the "slush" that forms when there is enough snow to accumulate, but not to scrape, which is what's been happening a lot lately.  It suctions my boots when I walk in it, and the salt that's mixed in has ruined the leather on one pair.  It sticks to shoes so well that people track it EVERYWHERE and most stores have several mats at the door for people to wipe their feet on, but when it melts they just become soaking wet making it really easy to slip and slide on the tiles.  I haven't fallen yet, but I feel like it's just a matter of time.  And of course it also makes it easy to "slip and slide" when driving.  But, unlike in NC, people still go places.

Today I was trying to get to a Home Depot.  I'm not exactly sure what went wrong, but I ended up in a neighborhood where the roads hadn't been cleared at all and were named after states, but also had Canadian provinces mixed in.  I never found Carolina Ave...the organization was off, so it wasn't near Virginia or Georgia, which were also not near each other.  I think at one point I went from Pennsylvania to Dakota to Ottawa, and turned around on Boone.  But the main point is, had I not had 4 wheel drive, I might have been stranded on Idaho Dr. all night.  I never found Home Depot.

Emma has also survived, despite some skin allergy drama that cost me a fortune and forced me to find a vet a lot sooner than I thought we would need one.  She was anxious the first few days but as soon as I got my bed put together she set up camp and could seemingly care less what state we're in.  Although if she's missed my bed as much I have, I don't blame her.  When we go out she doesn't fuss to much about the snow, but her feet do get cold if we're out there for much longer than 10 minutes.  I bought her some boots to hopefully help with this, except when they are on her feet she thinks that they are some kind of torture device that prevents her legs and feet from operating normally.  It's hilarious, but all of her crazy antics usually just results in the boots coming off and me giving up.

As for the city, my quest to visit every HomeGoods in the area has taken me to a bunch of different suburbs and I feel like I've explored a lot.  Today I saw a "herd" of wild turkeys walking down the street in Roseville on my way to a fabric store, which was unexpected, to say the least.  I can honestly say that I never thought I would see a turkey footprint in a pile of snow.  I'm starting to learn what roads go in what direction and where they'll take me, but for the most part I really don't have any idea how to get from point A to point B without Google Maps.  Unless Point B is Panera, Target, or the liquor store.

Mostly though, I find myself really liking where I live and the city as a whole.  I mean we aren't BFF's or anything, but we're like when you make a new friend and you're really excited because you feel like you have a lot in common and you can easily hang out and you see the potential.  That's where I am with the Minnie.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

- A Clean Slate

Alright, before my Mom dies from lack of updates, let's talk about my new place.  I had a really hard time deciding on an apartment since I was doing everything from Raleigh with only the help of the internet. Luckily, Ph.D. new hires at General Mills get assigned a relocation agent, so I did have someone local helping find places.  Unfortunately, I was still pretty undecided about where I wanted to live.  I poured over floorplans and websites with community information but it wasn't until Minneapolis had their first really big snow event that I came up with my number one priority: underground heated parking. After hearing all the stories I decided that in my first year, I didn't want to have to dig my car out of a snow drift.

So that narrowed my list down a little bit.  My next priority became Emma.  I didn't want her to have to walk far to get to a place where she could use the bathroom and there was only one apartment that had a walk out patio into a courtyard, along with a park on the other side of the complex.  There was also a Panera Bread, Qdoba, Trader Joe's, dry cleaner, tailor, and liquor store all within the complex or right across the street. With all of that my decision became clear, so I signed a lease for an apartment at Excelsior and Grand.

The staff was really great to work with and they even went in and took measurements so I could have a better idea of what I was dealing with on the floorplan.

To be honest, I was a little disappointed after seeing that.  Everything seemed a little bit smaller than I was hoping, especially since I really wanted to have room for my dining room table.  So I had pretty low expectations when I walked in the door for the first time, which worked in my favor because I was definitely pleasantly surprised.

 Living/Dining Room: For those that are curious - that is about how much snow is on the ground outside, plus a few more inches since it's snowed 5 days since I've been here.
View down the hallway:
Laundry Room: 
Guest Bedroom: 
Guest Bathroom: 
Master Bedroom: 
Master Bathroom:
After my stuff was delivered and I spent the day unpacking most rooms in the apartment looked like this:
I filled up the cardboard dumpster twice with broken down boxes and packing paper - although both times it was already halfway full.  And then I didn't want to unpack anymore and so I was throughly lazy for a few days and didn't.  Although I did do some exploring/shopping.  Thursday I started unpacking again with the intention of getting rid of all the cardboard boxes by Friday.  I have made a lot of progress and most things are where they should be, minus a few closets and the laundry room.  And the guest bedroom.  That bedroom holds something I have become quite embarrassed about...
That is my collection of crap. Pictures, vases, "decor".  Things that hold no "real" purpose (except for the lamps and my wine glasses) other than to make things look pretty.  I knew I had a lot of stuff like this, but seeing it all laid out like this made me realize that I definitely need to scale down my collection.  This much cannot be necessary, although believe it or not, I have plans to use a lot of this stuff.  But, what doesn't make the cut won't get moved again.

So for the most part the moving/unpacking part of this is done.  Now, it's all about organizing and decorating.  It is my goal that by this time next week I am completely finished with the whole process, because I have no intention of leaving behind unfinished projects when I start work.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

- Indianapolis to Mankato

I am in Minnesota.  It's absolutely crazy.

By the time we got to Illinois I realized that all of the ponds on the side of the road were completely frozen.  We saw people playing hockey.

I thought Iowa was really boring.  For the most part the sparkly leg warmers I was wearing were the most exciting thing there.  Then I saw people riding snow mobiles - that wins.  Also Iowa and Minnesota have wind mills, and for some reason, I think those are really cool.

About 45 minutes outside of Mankato I came way too close to hitting a deer.  I don't understand deer.  After all this time haven't they realized that when two bright lights are barreling towards them it might not be a good time to cross the street?  We missed her butt by an inch.  But as Fah-tar says, "an inch is as good as a mile".

We went to pick up dinner from the Olive Garden.  I fed Emma and thought she would be fine to wait in the car while we went in.  She decided to eat all of our leftovers we had in there in addition to her dinner.  I would punish her but dogs don't have long term memory, so she has no idea what she did wrong.  She's curled up on a pillow at Kelsey's parent's house...completely unaware of how much things have changed in the last two days.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

- Raleigh to Indianapolis

It started snowing as soon as we got into Virgina and didn't stop until Charleston, West Virginia.

I visited Ohio, and Indiana for the first time ever today.

Emma is staying in a hotel for the first time.  She doesn't care as long as she gets to cuddle in a bed.  I wonder what she thinks of all of this...

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

- Moving in Small Steps

Step 1: Locked and Loaded. Met movers at POD at 8AM. Watched them load all of my possessions onto a big truck. That truck is now en-route to my new home, and I'll be following shortly. This was the first in a chain of events that makes everything irreversible. This is happening. I am totally moving to Minneapolis.

Step 2: Beat a deadline. Upload dissertation and (finally) signed title page to officially meet all the requirements for graduation - in May.  Realize that signed title page has tons of typos.  Feel embarrassed for about 2.6 seconds and then realize that caring about my dissertation isn't fun.  Shrug shoulders and get over it.

Step 3: Ready the Jeepster. Thanks to Matteo, Jeepy has a new neutral safety switch and actually works in low gear and won't short out my starter again! There's also a new starter, all of the fluids have been topped off and my sweet little brother changed the oil. However, he wasn't sweet enough to check my breaks so I'm hoping they're still okay...the tires are good, and it's been cleaned, washed and inspected.  I don't doubt that he'll make it just fine to our new home.

Step 3b: The X-Files. Not a real step in the moving process, but moving is made much more fun when you re-discover this awesome show from the awesome 90's.  Thanks to Jon for finding this on Netflix watch it now and reminding me.


Step 4: Start the goodbyes. First up - Mom, Dad, and Trev + crying.  That was a tough one.

Step 5: Goodbye friends.  They only have to miss one of me.  I have to miss ALL of them.

Step 6: Actually MOVE.  Pack the car.  Get in.  Drive away.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

- A New Year, A New Everything

I am starting off the New Year in typical fashion: hungover.

I have no resolutions - I quit making them years ago because it seemed so silly to give myself yet another to do list that I would ultimately fail at. And usually they were lame and revolved around weight loss.  Which I found the secret to this year! If you want to be your goal weight all you have to do is be a Ph.D. student that procrastinates, do a lot of research in short time intensive spurts, take your orals, break up with someone, date someone new, break up with them too, write a dissertation, defend said dissertation, and be homeless/in-between addresses for 4 months.  If you don't lose 10 pounds with this plan you're doing something wrong. I'm not sure how I will apply it this year, but where there's a will, there's a way. Besides, with all the change looming on the horizon, I think it best that I just try to keep up...

New address - I actually have one now! New state of residence - weird. New driver's license - I cannot even imagine not having an NC one. New apartment - Please come visit, you will have your own guest suite. New space to design = new projects: I'm making a headboard, painting furniture and sewing tons of pillows, all in the next 3 weeks.  I can't even express how excited this makes me, stay tuned for tons of pictures.

New job - I think I might be a grown up now. New salary - cha ching! New health insurance with dental - I cannot even tell you when the last time I had a cleaning was, mostly because I can't remember.  Also, my bottom teeth are totally getting fixed! New car - I'm not quite ready to let Jeepy go, but it might not be up to me.

New blog design. Today I wanted to change a few things. But, blogger has changed a lot of things and all of my cool html coding I did way back when, well it isn't compatible anymore. So as soon as I changed one thing and pressed save, nothing worked and everything had to be re-done.  I still cannot get my post titles to be published in the correct color and I have no idea why. The internet is hard. Edit: I fixed it!  I'm a Doctor so the internet had no choice but to do what I said.

Basically in 2011: New EVERYTHING + same me = BIG adventure.