Friday, July 29, 2011

- Mischief Managed

Soooooooooooooooooooo, if you haven't figured this out yet...I am a huge nerd.  I'm not sure which of my million or so nerdy characteristics would have tipped you off, but it should have been blatantly obvious since...well, forever.

Having said that; ya'll there is something really important that we need to discuss.  I have seriously been trying to hold this back, but I just can't do it anymore.

The last Harry Potter movie was a TREMENDOUS disappointment.

And it's killing me how people are all "OMG have you seen the new Harry Potter?!"  Like it's this amazing awe-inspiring thing that rocked their socks off.  They're saying they got goosebumps and everyone's acting like it was fulfilling and I have NO idea what the heck these people are talking about or how to relate with them.

Not that I had high expectations.  I think I was originally lost after the 4th movie which was a complete travesty.  But then the 5th movie happened and I LOVED it.  I thought it was nearly perfectly done and played it on a constant loop in the background while I studied for my written prelims.  In fact the 5th and 3rd movies are the only ones I actually own, because they are the only ones worth owning.  When the 6th movie happened I just gave up.  It felt almost like it did when I learned there was no Santa Claus due to a slip up made by the Easter Bunny - the magic was gone.  (Yep, I just used that pun.  You shouldn't be surprised.)

The 6th book is like almost my favorite.  I love the journey that Harry goes on with Dumbledore and the way Voldemort's history is created and explored.  When Dumbledore dies at the end of the book, it is a loss I cannot comprehend, much like how Harry feels.  When I first read the book I was affected for days - reeling from a loss that felt real.  Granted this was way back when you had to wait for each book to come out so it was even more torture-filled knowing I'd have to wait over a year to get answers.   Alas, (sidenote: Dumbledore uses that word a lot) when it happens in the movie I basically just feel dead inside.  I seriously had no strong emotional reaction whatsoever.  This is most likely due to the poor casting choice of who they replaced the original Dumbledore with - he always played the character a little too distant and un-loveably eccentric to ever make a meaningful relationship between himself and Harry believable.  To top it all off, in this movie they set the Borough on fire.  WHY?  I understand leaving things out for the sake of time, but if someone hands you 652 pages of perfectly written perfection and you feel the need to just make up some new drivel, then something is wrong with you.

I think I've pretty much sealed the deal on my nerdiness, if ever you were in doubt.  Just wait though, it's about to get even MORE nerdy up in here.

I think after that 6th movie I left what little bit of hope I might have had for the future movies in the theater with my broken dreams of ever seeing the books done justice.  I really wanted to think that the last two movies would be good because they had to be, right?  Wrong.  I think the way I felt about the first part of the last movie can be summed up by that insanely awkward dance scene that happened between Harry and Hermoine.  I never recovered after seeing that.  It seemed like an all time low to invent a love triangle out of thin air where there NEVER should have been one.  In addition to being unnecessary, it felt disrespectful to J.K. the screenplay writers thought they understood the characters better than she did and were allowed to take such liberties.  So yeah, when I went to see Part 2 I was superficially hopeful because I had no genuine hope left.

I barely made it through the movie.  There were so many deviations from how things happened in the movie with how they happened in the book that I'm surprised that what happened in the book actually happened on the screen.  That final book is magical in that every single plot point is wrapped up into this beautiful package.  Every questions is answered.  NO detail is left unexplained or without connection.  When you close that final book, you may be sad that the journey is over, but you are fulfilled.  When the credits rolled I knew I wasted a good 2.5 hours of my life that I would never get back...and that I would have to go home and re-read the book to get any sense of finality.  Which I did.

What I'm trying to say's all my fault that I didn't enjoy the movie.  I made the mistake of reading the books.  I was tricked into thinking, by a few fleeting moments of genius, that someone could make movies that would do them justice, even though I knew that is rarely the case.  Had I not read the books, I think I would have immensely enjoyed mostly every single second (that dance scene would be hard to swallow regardless) of every movie.  When I completely forget about the fact that the last movie is based on one of my all-time favorite books, I actually think that it's a great movie.  I get why people enjoyed it.

But, it makes my disappointment no less real.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

- If You Were To Visit...

We could go to dinner at Cosmos where everything is an amazing creation.  You might get so lucky as to have a lychee emulsion as a palate cleanser and it might just blow your mind.  It's the kind of thing you can't quite wrap your head around or stop talking about.

We could have drinks on a rooftop.  Downtown where we can watch the top of the Target building change colors.  Or in Uptown where we can look at the downtown skyline and have late night happy hour on a Sunday.  Either or all of the above. 

We could stay out so late that we walk home when the sun is coming up and stop to play on a playground.

We could spend a whole day recovering from our late night by taking naps and eating blueberry pancakes.  Then we could go out to dinner and eat waffle fries and see fireworks over the Mississippi.  If we were still tired we could spend the night watching awesome movies cuddled up on my pull out couch with down comforters and the cutest dog in the world.

We could go to my favorite brunch spot and you could order anything and it would be amazing.  Even if you chose not to eat the sausage in your sausage gravy and biscuits.

We could go to the Mall of America.  You kind of have to do that if you visit here.  We could ride 3 roller coasters.  One that still makes me smile every time I remember how it "affected me".  I'm still not sure my stomach has returned.

You could stay in the Iris Suite, so named for my first official visitor, with whom I took part in all of the aforementioned activities. 

I'm just saying...If you were to visit, it could be pretty awesome.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

- Sneaky Peek

Things around here be changing.  Just not very quickly.  Because I'm lazy.
New curtains are up.  Notice that they are too short.  I will work some magic on them and make them longer.  Also, notice the Emma butt sticking out into my picture.  That ho bag messes up everything.  You should have seen the amount of her hair I lint rolled off my comforter today.  Actually it's probably good that you didn't.  You would think I'm dirty and never clean.  I bought two of the pillows like the one in the starfish chair.  I like them, but I want something with pink and grey.  They may stay.  They may go.
Look at my swank new end tables!  Straight from craigslist for twenty dolla, holla!  They are amazeballs because they are taller than the red ikea end tables I've been using which makes it much easier to reach your beer and bring it in for a drink while laying very still.  That brass finish is not so awesome though, so that's what the can of spray paint is there to symbolize.  They have a slate blue future.  When it stops being all humid here so I can spray paint my little heart out.  The stuffed dog is part of Emma's decor.  Not mine.
Even though I put the new end tables in place...that doesn't mean that I got all energetic and moved the red end tables far.  This place is a disaster.  I'm using this one to hold all my kick ass candlesticks I got at the Good Will this past weekend.  All of those lovelies for $12.  Just imagine what they'll be like all spray painted up and as a centerpiece on the table.  These fun bowls are from Anthropologie and were on sale for $4 bucks a piece which is basically like free at that store.  I don't need all 4.  Right?  I mean what would I do with all 4?  I was going to keep the tiger first.  Now I love the peacock.  And the elephant.  And all of them.  I love them all.  I want them all.  Ideas on what to do with 4 animal shaped bowls?

Yo, I might make some more progress soon.  I'll show you when I do.

Monday, July 18, 2011

- Hiding in the Closet

These past few days the Minnie is trying to play nice with me by acting like North Cackalacky.  There's a heat advisory in effect because temperatures are in the 90's but with the humidity it feels like 110+.  Minnesotans are all "Oh Em Geeeeeee it's so hot and sticky and I hate it and I just need to sit in air conditioning and I'm ready for fall and wah waaaaaaaahhhh wahhhhhh".  Their whining is making me all whiney.

Do I like the way it feels outside?  Not really.  My bangs hate it when within seconds of being out there everything is sweating and my hair goes all lank and my bangs end up plastered to my forehead.  Jeans feel terrible and yet I have to wear pants if I want to be in the lab.  Which I don't really want, but sauce doesn't just make itself.  My car is sweltering which is a pain because I've been driving back and forth between the tech centers every day so I'm in there more than usual (side note: Jeepy needs gas)...and yet, yeah, I kind of flippin' love it.  On days like this it's so easy to think "I'll just hop on Glenwood and check out what's on sale at Belk" or "let's have a humpday happy hour at EV"...because it feels like I could be in Raleigh.  I really like the way this city can be so uniquely it's own, all while feeling like the same place I've lived for the majority of my life.

A few weeks ago we had Weather.  I was laying in bed with the blinds shut but I could just feel that it was darker and that a storm was moving in so I decided to quickly walk the Emmas.  Outside the wind was whipping trees around like crazy and while trying to prevent a Marilyn Monroe dress incident I ran into a man standing in the park.  He was watching the storm roll in and gawking up at the clouds.  He couldn't believe how the pressure and temperature had dropped so quickly.  I guess it's not so familiar for him to experience the "Dog Days" of summer where the temperature just gets too hot too fast and creates a line of severe storms that move through before dinner.  Usually I'm pretty scared of thunderstorms, but here I find comfort in the fact that storms are the same here as they are home.  I even enjoyed practicing yoga while it raged outside.  I was totally all zen.  I even started to think that maybe I was "cured" because I barely even seem scared up here...I think we can see where this going...of course this all came crashing down on me the other night.

I don't know what it is about a midnight storm, but when constant bright flashes of lightening wake me up - I is terrified.  Maybe it's because I'm half asleep and have no ability for rational thought but I wake up and within 10 seconds I'm convinced that if I continue to lay in my bed, which is always near a window, I will get struck by lightening and die.  Sometimes I can get through it by burying my head in pillows, but so help me Jebus, if I continue to sense flashing of light...panic escalates.  And then, I can't take it anymore.  I grab my comforter, pillow and dog and run into the walk in closet, where I curl up on the floor and peacefully finish out the night.  All safe and sound.  Snug as a bug in a rug.

So, even though I may proclaim that need a walk in closet for all my clothes and shoes and leggings and purses and bracelets and now know that's just my front and that I'm really just a scaredy cat who needs constant access to a good fort.

P.S. - Did you think this post might be homosexual in nature because of the title?  That's SO gay.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

- Barefoot in the Grass

I don't exactly remember the first time I was completely blissed out by music.  I remember a lot of exploration into my musical identity in highschool...when I wore bell bottoms and a Led Zeppelin tee shirt and listened to the Grateful Dead's American Beauty album every day when I came home from school and made sure to watch all of the Beatles movies.  It had to have been sometime before senior year because I did a project on the emotional fulfillment that music can bring.  It was one of those crazy Lyceum projects that had components from all four of of our core classes and I seriously remember writing an equation for the math section that explained it...which was pretty flippin' awesome and explains why I got an A.

Side note: My 10 year highschool reunion is coming up, should I attend?

Highschool is not where I was going with this.  Here's the thing about me and music - it has this amazing power over me, as it does over many people.  When I am really connected with the rhythm and melodies and lyrics and notes...I literally feel that joy in my chest.  I have experienced this at every Bonnaroo, most Widespread Panic shows (except the one where Jaclyn was injured), a Rusted Root show in Asheville under the Big Ass Fan, in the rain at a Ben Harper show at Koka Booth and countless times driving with the windows down jamming to my favorite song of the day.  These are all treasured moments shared with people that are now strangers, people that are still best friends, and moments where I was alone, but never lonely.

But, like any relationship, mine with music ebbs and flows.  There are times of great exploration and discovery, and times filled with top 40 and a devotion to all things Ke$ha.  As craptastic as Top 40 is and can be...I have just as many fond memories from dancing at Frat parties, singing at the top of my lungs at piano and karaoke bars, dancing in the kitchen with the girls I babysat for, and most recently driving around Cali.  I would also like to point out I have had some epic forays into country music, which is why Garth Brooks still gets me.

Recently I switched from Top 40 into finding some really great stuff on Pandora.  Falling in complete and total love with Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Vampire Weekend, MGMT and continuing my obsession with the Avett Brothers, The Black Keys and My Morning Jacket.  Good God Jim James...if this man's voice doesn't make you have a visceral reaction then we can't be friends.

The funny thing is, this timing parallels my summer 3 years ago when I was interning at General Mills.  Michael Franti had just released Yell Fire and it was in constant rotation with John Butler trio Live From St. Gallen.  I remember being glued to my iPod shuffle at work, at home, and even listening as I fell asleep at night because I just couldn't.  Get.  Enough.  Michael Franti was playing the 10,000 Lakes festival that summer - this festival in this gorgeous part of Minnesota that I never made it to despite wanting to desperately.  Of course now that I'm here with the means and vacation time, this festival is non-existant - on "hiatus" due to the economy.

What I'm saying is, I have waited 3 years to see this guy.  I have listened to live albums, streamed festival performances, gone months without listening to a single song only to rediscover a CD and fall into the rabbit hole all over again.  When I saw he was playing the Basilica Block Party it was like everything clicked into place...years of waiting was finally going to come to a close.

You know how you look forward to something for so long and then it happens and it didn't live up to your expectations or the excitement you had before the event?  This was not one of those times.  I could not have asked for anything more from that night.  He played every single song that I absolutely love and kept me jumping for almost an hour and a half.  His music is filled with such love and positivity that it is impossible not to get wrapped up in the was unforgettable and completely fulfilling.  I'm still smiling from the experience and reflecting over something that I realized for the 10,592,836,740,589,612,938,457 time while standing still during a slow acoustic moment: life, like my devotion to music, ebbs and flows.  Sometimes it's easy to forget or stray from how much simple things mean to you until you find yourself in a situation where it's right there, completely surrounding you...and you realize that dancing barefoot in the grass to really good music is this amazing experience you never want to stop having.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

- Six Months

Dear Minnie,

I have lived here six months now and I really like you.  I tell people I like you, and sometimes even say I love you, because it's true.  I talk about how beautiful your lakes are, how much I love my neighborhood and lots of others that you have near by like Uptown, Loring Park, Nordeast and Edina.  I think you have awesome restaurants, I pretty much only drink your beer, and I have a hard time coming to grips with the fact that I simply don't have enough time to explore all of the fun things to do in and around the cities this Summer.  I can't wait to show you off to my friends when they visit, because I know they will like you just as much as I do.  I'm not even afraid of your winter, even though it will be here pretty soon. 

But Minnie, in friendships there has to be some give and take.  I feel like you've taken a lot of my sentiments and not given much in return.  I mean a lot of what I like about you was already here and would be here whether I was or not...what I'm saying is, I think it's time for you to do something special for me.

And by that I mean - you need to bring out the big guns.  In the form of super hot men that want to date me.  I know it may appear that I'm good at being single, and perfectly fine being independent, but this is a brave facade that I am getting tired of maintaining.  I would very much like for you to produce a partner-in-awesome for me.  I will be at the Basilica Block Party this weekend.  I trust that you will present several opportunities for me to hand out my business cards and that these gentlemen will act accordingly.

Laurie Elaine, Ph.D.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

- The Pillow Made Me Do It

I am unhappy with my living room.  When I posted the house tour I mentioned that it was my least favorite space and I think the main reason is that its the room that I put the least amount of effort into.  With all of the new stuff I bought for the rest of the spaces, I figured I should re-use a lot of the stuff I had which happened to be in oranges and reds.  I bought minimal furniture and accessories and a few fabrics to pull it all together.  I don't think it looks bad or "un-finished"  but, I feel like it's the only room that is in disagreement with my design aesthetic.  Ohhhhhh look at me with my "design aesthetic" - I'm so big time.

I've known this pretty much since I put it all together, but I just finished decorating in April and I'm probably coming up on a move in the next 6 months so it seems insane to change it all again.  But, this room has been bothering me so much I don't even hang out there anymore.  And there have been some projects that have needed my attention for some time and I haven't been able to motivate myself to take care of them.

Exhibit A:
This is the cutest dog in the world.  She is not the problem in the living room, but she does contribute to it.  Notice how she sits on my pillows like a complete and utter ho bag?  This smooshes them down and makes them all misshapen.  The ones I didn't make have zippers so if needed I can always open them up re-straighten them out.  However the ones that I made and lazily skipped the zipper step on...they are not so fortunate:
Ugly deformed blobs

One of these used to be in the starfish chair, which is usually Emma's favorite perch, but since I took it out and put it on the table to fix she doesn't even get up in that chair anymore.  The other one was her favorite one on the couch.  My plan was to take them apart and use some extra fabric I had to make an envelope closure in the back (like the back of a pillow sham) so I wouldn't encounter this  problem again, but could still avoid exerting the mental energy a zipper requires.  Instead I exerted no energy and just left the pillows on the table for the last 3 weeks untouched.

Exhibit B: 
Those are my curtains raveling out.  This is also a result of the previous 2 factors: the first being my laziness to actually sew a hem and resorting to iron on hem tape and the second being Emma - who every morning chases her treat ball around the house to get her breakfast.  This frequently involves her being all up in my curtains, which is why we have this problem.

Don't even get me started on the two stains that need be treated because someone has had some recent stomach issues and I will spare you any more of a visual but let's just say this: after all the babysitting and escapades with Emma - poop does not scare this girl.

So while all of this stuff is just sitting around in disrepair and I'm hiding in my bedroom playing Pocket Frogs...I occasionally check in on Pinterest.  And I find some pretty interesting things...

Like this living room that has a brown couch like I do, but also mixes in the same shade of grey that I have been majorly crushing on for like ever.  My next couch will be grey...but I hadn't considered mixing this color in now, until I saw this picture.  Also, if grey chevron was a man, I would marry it right here, right now.  And seeing as how the owner of this blog diy-ed that canvas...I'm thinking I could do that too.

Then there is this pink fabric and amazing pillow.  I can't fight that I love pink and that I want more of it around.  Also pink+grey is pretty much perfection, as evidenced by this lovely pillow that I want to adopt and provide a nice home for.

So this color combination leads to me to these curtains from Urban Outfitters.  Which are a bit of a splurge in comparison to what I normally pay, but a little too exactly-what-I-want to pass up.  I bought them.  I think the yellow will play nicely with the light colored wood that I have and the fact that they have orange in them means I can keep around the boxes that I bought at Ikea and am using for storage.  Plus there is all of that luscious grey and I like that they are a lighter material which will allow more light through than the curtains I have now.

There are two other splurges I'm going to make.  These chairs from Ikea are going to be my new dining room chairs.  And, I'm in the market for some fabulous lamps - that will probably have silver/chrome bases - and may or may not be a splurge depending on where the lamps come from.  I'm planning on checking out the local flea markets because Me, You and a Weiner is like inspiration crack and I'm pretty sure that my coffee table will eventually look like a silver version of this desk:
I have tons and tons of other ideas, but you'll have to wait for the "after" pics...for now I just wanted to tell you how something as small as a smooshed pillow can lead me down a destructive path of redecorating.

Friday, July 1, 2011

- Faking Summer

I've been doing that thing that I really absolutely hate doing.  I've complained about it on here a lot and blatantly stated that I don't do it because it's stupid and lame.  It involves sweating and painful moves and weights and it is more awful than I can express.  This kind of torture tends to have positive results though, so about 5 times a week I talk myself into it being a good idea.

In case you're lost, I'm talking about working out.  I started doing this back in April.  So, it's absolutely crazy that I'm even still going because usually you get a good 2-3 weeks out of me and that's it...for like a year and a half.  But since I decided to go all vegetarian on my personal time it kind of seemed like a good idea to start up with this again so that I could live the healthy lifestyle through and through.  I know - totally stupid logic.

The thing is, I was somehow keeping myself going and motivated with workout DVD's at home.  I was actually coming home from work and then making myself jump around my living room for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week with Jillian Michaels, the queen of all torture mongers.  Forget the physical triumph there, the mental one is something I've never experienced in my life.  Seriously, I managed to survive a Ph.D. but have never kept a workout routine going for more than 3 weeks, even when I paid for gym memberships.

But, I was starting to get bored with it.  Things were slipping to 4 times a week...and I was opting for the 30 min workout instead of the 60 min one more often.  So, I decided to up the crazy level and just when Minnesota was starting to get warm - I took up hot yoga classes.

And here's where I would like to practice being Minnesotan with you and complain about the weather (seriously these people are rarely happy with what they get)...when I say "warm" I mean like 65-70 degrees.  Spring lasted forever here.  I think it might be finally be over just in time for a month of "summer"before fall hits in August.  Or I could totally be wrong, and it could be back next week.  I wouldn't be surprised.  So, while it may sound like absolute torture to go willingly into a room that is 98-100 degrees with humidity and spend an hour "stretching" - I actually just consider it to be the one hour a day that I get to fake Summer and pretend I'm back home.

What I'm saying is: I like it HOT.  Even now, when it is actually warm (we seriously have a heat advisory) I'm still going to class.  Because, a side benefit is that it's totally making me all relaxed.  I absolutely LOVE the way I feel afterwards because class honestly does become this mental thing...a journey if you will.  I find myself sad when I can tell the class is ending, but also, ridiculously blissed out.  I mean I don't know that I've ever felt so zen about things as I do when I'm walking back from class.  I'm literally at peace with my day - no matter what happened or didn't happen or happened wrong or not the way I planned.  After a hot yoga class, it's gone because I was able to let it go.

Plus, an hour in there burns the same amount of calories as an hour running, and that saying that goes "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" - yeah that's pretty frappin' true.