Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Welcome to our tiny, kitschy home

Remember when I said we were going camping? Well, we did. It was cold. It was fun. It involved a ton of marshmallows, a dog, and a new husband. And now, [drumroll please], I present to you....

Our camper:

And a dog. And a husband.

The camper was made in 1981, and it has that late-70s vibe. All browns and oranges and goldenrods. I love it.

[p.s. does anyone else have a terrible time inserting pictures in blogger? it inserts a crazy amount of space every time I put in a photo. formatting nightmares abound.]

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What? More presents?

It's Christmas time. When all of us bring out the best consumer in ourselves. Shopping like maniacs. Practically slapping other human beings in order to be the last one to get the Tickle-Me Elmo of the year. We’re all greedy and glutinous and, well, I love every minute of it.

Greg and I spent the weekend turning our house into a winter wonderland. Since it was our first year with a house together, we were pretty stoked about putting up lights, and adorning any open surface inside the house with cheeky elves, rosy-faced Santas, and cutsey snowmen. There are even some twinkly lights on our four-poster bed.

So, in the Christmas spirit, I spent my lunch hour doing some quick shopping, and Greg and I will head out this evening to try to take care of our families in one fell swoop. Last year we did it all in one go, and then spent a day or two wrapping everything. Maybe this year we’ll even watch a Christmas movie while we get it done. Or maybe we’ll end up watching episodes of Battlestar Gallactica from Netflix. (I already told you I was a nerd – don’t judge.)

In that vein, I give you my wishlist for the year. Be prepared. It’s kind of lame:
  1. An iPhone – Yes, the desire for an iPhone has finally outweighed the desire to NOT pay for the data plan.

  2. Wii Fit – I’m all about Brain Age, so this is kind of like Body Age. And, it’s like having a trainer without paying $75 an hour to have him beat you up and call you a pansy.

  3. A pair of brown or black leather gloves – I think these Coach gloves would work quite nicely. You know, if I didn’t live in a world where $158, cashmere-lined gloves were just a fairytale, since the first thing I will do is lose one.

  4. Black/Brown/argyle trouser socks – Yes. I’m this boring. But I need them!

  5. Office supplies – Because my mom tends to pack my stocking with candy. Candy which I then eat. And regret. Though, the candy would be forgiven if I also got a Wii Fit.

  6. Interesting jewelry – my tastes are usually very plain, but I love jewelry. I just won’t buy the interesting things for myself. I need someone else to do it. If someone bought me something from this shop, I’d probably wear it to death. But I’d never buy anything like that for myself. Or maybe this ring? It would be my new favorite. I just can’t do it on my own.
  7. A good, large-ish jewelry organizer, something that easily holds long necklaces without getting them tangled, because despite my problem with buying boring jewelry, I actually have a lot of good stuff that is too tangled in the bottom of the jewelry box for me to dig out in the mornings. The umbra bijou tree at Amazon would be perfect, or this pottery barn tree.

  8. An electric charcoal starter for the chiminea – We’ve only used our chiminea once due to the fact that it seems impossible to get a fire going in it. Hence the need for an electric, a-dummy-could-use-this starter.
  9. Any of the Cook’s Illustrated cookbooks (i.e. Baking Illustrated, Best Recipe Series books) – These are by far my favorite cookbooks ever. They’re very scientific about the recipes. I love reading Cook’s illustrated because they demonstrate WHY you have to let the dough chill, and what happens if you don’t. They’re books written for the skeptics, who think preheating can be bypassed and letting the dough “rest” can’t have any practical purpose.

  10. Pashminas, or knock-offs. I love my white pashmina, and it’s looking desperate about now. Plus, I need some color in my life.

  11. Sleeping Beauty on DVD – I’m always a Disney kid at heart.

There you have it. My wish list. And if it’s like any other year that I’ve actually made a wish list, I will get exactly 0 things on it. Usually because everyone comes up with ideas that are even better than my lame-o list. The buggers.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wow Factor

Photographer Ellen Kooi has some amazing images in her repertoire.
I mean, really amazing.

The kind of amazing that makes you think that magic may exist, just like in Harry Potter.

That make you want to live in the mystical world she creates in her photographs. Like Oz or Neverland.

I think I could look at these all day long.
All photos ©2002 Ellen Kooi Photography

Seven Things

Kelly at Design Crush tagged everyone who read her blog, so I considered myself tagged, because, well, I like talking about myself. So, here are seven things you might not have known about me:

I can only have my bed exist in two states – unmade or made perfectly. There is no in between. I don’t throw the covers up and call it good; I have to straighten the sheets, make sure there’s an even amount of covers on each side, that the pillows are arranged well, and that there aren’t any crinkles anywhere. Greg gets annoyed when he helps me make the bed, as it results in me saying more than once – “No! It’s wrinkled! Make it pretty!!” …Our bed doesn’t get made very often.

I once met Laura Bush (when she was first lady of Texas) for writing a poem about a library and winning a school-wide contest. I was in seventh grade, but it still makes me happy to think that my poem won. In fact, I kept the trophy I received, as cheap and tawdry as it was. And as much as I disliked the Bush Administration, I think I had an equal amount of love and respect for Laura Bush for have such a dedication to libraries.

I’m not grossed out by very many things; blood, guts, vomit, smells… they just don’t get to me. But you even talk about spit, and I feel myself working up a gag. The consistency, the sound, the resulting… oh, geez. I’m gagging right now.

If I could mimic the style of anyone, it would be Audrey Hepburn. In fact, if I could just have her body, her face and that elegantly long neck, it would make it just that much easier. I’m holding out for full-body transplants.

Baby animals and baby humans (or just "babies" if I don't want to sound so creepy) make me smile. I love watching them, how they figure things out and just toddle around. I could stand all day and watch a puppy. But the moment I begin playing with one of these adorable creatures, I begin to like them less. I prefer pictures and videos. They can't poop on me.

I feel like I have superpowers sometimes, because I often have the uncanny ability to make an estimation and arrive at the exact right number. It happens all the time. I’ll get exactly 28 sheets of paper when I grab a stack to count out 28 sheets of paper. I’ll grab just the right amount of hangers for my clothes when I do the laundry. I’m not sure yet whether to use these powers for good or evil. I’m still on the fence.

My grandmother died when I was 11. I don’t believe in ghosts, but a lot of times I do believe she’s still with us somehow. She and I had some sort of cosmic connection, one that we didn’t get to explore while she was still alive. The day before she died, my parents and I were leaving her house in Arkansas to drive back home to Oklahoma. I was laying in the back of the car and considered faking sleep so I wouldn’t have to get up and say goodbye. And then something inside of me said, “What if this was the last time you ever saw her?” I’m not sure why, at 11, such a morbid thought occurred to me, but I’m glad it did. I will never be more grateful for anything in my life than I am for that feeling that made me get up, give her a great big hug and tell her how much I loved her.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I think I would pay just about any amount of money to be curled up in this bed, maybe with a puppy and a mug of apple cider, watching a movie and forgetting the world.

Is it Monday again? Or is it just me?

I know sometimes meetings have to be rescheduled. Sometimes it just can’t be helped. But the first thing I did this morning? Rescheduled a meeting. Five times. Granted, one of those times was entirely my fault, but the other four were not. Let me recount a conversation for you with the sweet older lady I work with; we’ll call her Mary Tyler Moore, because that’s who she reminds me of:

Mary Tyler Moore: Oh, Jenn. The Young Gun [our boss] can’t meet at 10:00; he’s got another meeting at 10:30.
Me: Hm. Well, I’m not sure he’s really necessary to the meeting. I think he was invited out of courtesy. Maybe they could finish it up without him.
MTM: Yes, but I wanted to hold that time at 10:00, too, because the 9:00 meeting always runs late.
Me: Alrighty.

I spend a few minutes looking through the meeting scheduler in Outlook and find (miraculously) a time when everyone is available. I hurry and schedule it before the mystical thing poofs into oblivion.

A few minutes later…

MTM: Oh, Jenn. The Young Gun is out of town that day.
Me: It didn’t show him out of the office in the meeting planner.
MTM: Yes, but I put it in at the top of the day. [I look and, indeed, there is a tiny note at the top of the calendar that says only "Young Gun Out."]
(Note here: There’s this lovely feature in Outlook; if someone is out of the office, you simply select “out of office” on availability, and the entire day turns purple, so people know you are completely unavailable. Mary Tyler Moore never uses this, hence people request meetings left and right on days the Young Gun is out, because his schedule looks clear from the meeting planner.)
Me: I can’t see that in the meeting planner, though; in the meeting planner, it looks like he’s free.
MTM: Well, I just can’t remember to put that on there every time [i.e. EVER].
Me: Well, do you mind if I change it to show he’s out of the office?
MTM: (hesitates) I…guess…

I’m not sure what her resistance is with this. Maybe she hates purple? Likes the control factor of turning down meetings and saying, “Sorry! The Young Gun is out!”? Or maybe (and this is the most likely culprit), she doesn’t know how to use Outlook or how much others rely on it being up-to-date.

Whatever it is, it drives me a little crazier every day. To the point that I wish I could drink at work. Preferably something strong.

On the upside, there's always something out there to make me laugh:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Wedding - In pictures

So, the pictures are finally up from my photographer. And, because I love them so much, I'm sharing them everywhere I can. Sorry for the very photo-heavy entry, and for the immense length, but I had to choose just a few of the 618 pictures to post here. That was a bit difficult, since about 610 of them were just awesome. So here we go -- my wedding day in brief:

The Mansion - built in 1920, it didn't need much dressing up. Greg and I fell in love with it on our first visit and signed up right away.

The dress before I put it on. I loved this picture. You can see the beautiful color of the bridal suite, where my girls and I spent a few hours before the wedding. It was lovely.

My father walked me down the stairs to take some pictures, because the dress was so huge and hard to navigate. It was good practice for my grand entrance later, which was down some stairs off of a deck.

I love this picture of my parents and I, because I have such a genuine smile. My father has a look of, "Yeah, I guess she is my daughter." I'm not sure what I'm laughing at, but it probably involved my brother doing something dumb in the background.

I wish I had been laughing at this. But believe me. I laughed when I finally saw this picture. We had some playful groomsmen.

Of course, the bridesmaids had their own sort of fun. This is our Abby Road walk. It's a mirror image, basically, because we did it all backwards. There's even a VW in the background. Megan, my maid of honor and best friend just couldn't resist asking for the shot, and I'm glad she did. It turned out pretty sweet.

And then we got married. Holding hands through the whole thing.

We sealed it with a kiss, which - as I'm sure you know - is a little more official than a handshake.

After it was all over, I got pretty excited. Or maybe that was the wind in my dress...

After wedding we had his cake - shaped like his Wacom tablet, which he uses to make all sorts of cool things.

And this was my cake. It was a little classier, but only a little.

While everyone stared at our cakes, Greg and I did some more kissing here...

...and there.

I was pretty excited when my niece stopped being afraid of me. She was terrified by my huge dress, but eventually she looked at my face and realized, Hey! It's Aunt Jenn!

By far, the best money I spent on the wedding was for pedicabs. They were adorable, helpful, and didn't take tips from our guests because it was "taken care of." Best of all, they were inexpensive and very classy. If you're in the Oklahoma area, I definitely recommend them: Golzern Pedicabs. It's a fabulous and whimsical alternative to valet, and makes a great photo opportunity.

At the end of the day, Greg and I rode off into the sunset in our aqua pedicab, kissing all the way.

NaNo Update - Still not of the Mork and Mindy variety

I suppose, since we’re past the middle of the month, it’s time for a NaNoWriMo update. I have to say, it’s not going horribly, but it’s not exactly going fantastically, either. It’s somewhere in the middle of those two. Maybe horrtastically? Or fanoribly?

I should – according to my spreadsheet – be at 30,000 words by the end of the day. Instead, I will be more around… 22,000. Now, granted, that’s a LOT of words to have written in only 18 days, but if I want to “win” this thing, I’m going to have to pick up the pace. That’s right, I’m going to have to shun my work more, make myself seem more flighty and ignore my dog. And my husband. And the terrible Sirens of Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy that sing to me from

The story is progressing okay, I suppose, but it’s definitely taken a few too many cliché turns. When I first started writing, I wanted it to be filled with meaning. To be a book that has an English major like me is writing all over the margins, drawing connections between this and that metaphor, with multiple explanation points and words that are not only underlined, but also circled and highlighted and starred. My goal was a cross between A Handmaid’s Tale and Poisonwood Bible, but it’s coming out more like a slightly serious Princess Diaries. Blah. (No offense Meg Cabot. Cute series; just not what I was going for with this.)

Oh well. I suppose I will create all those metaphors when I do the first revision, right? They’ll just appear suddenly without me having to rewrite 30,000 words of my 50,000-word novel.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.
Photo from

Monday, November 17, 2008

Oklahoma's Got Game

There are two blogs that I am kind of obsessed with right now. If you haven’t heard of them, you should have, and if you have, then I applaud you. I must include a warning here. Both these bloggers are living in Oklahoma. And, of course, that’s part (a HUGE part) of why I love them. Love them to the point of being stalkerish. Really.

The Pioneer Woman

This site, run by a prarie mom, rancher wife and photo-demonstrative chef has probably provided me hundreds of hours of instruction and entertainment. This is one of those bloggers who has catapulted to celebrity status in my mind. Ree Drummond lives in rural Oklahoma, on a ranch with her own personal Marlboro Man and country children, far away from the comforts of a city life.

When most people think of what living in Oklahoma must be like, this is probably what they think of. I like to fulfill people’s fantasies, but only sometimes. When I do, I send them here for a “typical” picture of life in Oklahoma. I don’t ride a horse every day (and neither does she), but at least their stereotypes are somewhat safe for now.

  • The Pioneer Woman is in the process of writing a romance novel. Except that it’s not a novel. It’s real life; it’s her life. It’s all about how she and her Marlboro met, fell madly in love in only two weeks and she went from a metropolitan, Chicago-bound young woman to a wife on the prairie. Read From Black Heels to Tractor wheels: A Love Story. Trust me. It’s worth it.
  • The Pioneer Woman cooks, too. And if you’re like me and you need visuals when learning to prepare a new dish, you will be floored when you look at her recipes. She takes pictures of every bit of the action as she prepares the dish. How she places the butter around the casserole just so, making it gooey in all the right places. And – most importantly – what the dish looks like when it’s all said and done. I’ve gotten a good amount of milk and flour on my computer since I found this site, but I can safely say I’ve not found anything that compares to the thoroughness she provides. Go here to check it out. (And an added bonus for women like me, she loves REAL butter, HEAVY cream, and doesn’t shy away from salt. Yum.)
  • In addition to these two favorite parts of Ree’s site, she also includes information on how she homeschools her kids, her photography, and her developments in home and garden. Overachiever.

Design Crush

Now this is the website I send everyone to when I want to fly in the face of stereotype. When I want to prove that YES, some of us in Oklahoma do enjoy elements of art, design and fashion. We’re not living in the dark ages, and we’re not the Okies John Stienbeck created in everyone’s eyes. (No offense to Steinbeck, because I love Grapes and, well, pretty much everything he wrote.)


  • The Daily Eat. Every day, Kelly of Design Crush offers up a recipe, following a theme. This week’s theme? (God help me) Sweet potatoes. Last week’s theme was chocolate.
  • Multiple Postings. Many people are too busy to post more than once a day, or just too inept at using their blogger site (ahem…), but each day there’s usually two or three little morsels of fun from Design Crush. Just enough to make you click around, but not so much that you feel like your Google Reader is going to short circuit. Like Goldilocks – it’s just right.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy Weekend

It's almost time for me to get out of here. I'm heading out of work early, so my new husband and I can do a little of this:

But, in fact, it will look a little more like this:

Hopefully Monday I will have some pictures to load up of our adventures. That is, if we can get it wired in time...

Photos via Steve Castle and Piedmont Fossil on Flickr

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I've been a little silent lately. Not because I have nothing to write - because OH I do. It's just that all my creative energy is going to be poured into NaNoWriMo right now. Because writing 1667 words a day? Not as easy as it sounds. It's week one, and I'm already behind.

Anyway, rest assured, I'm happy right now. Why am I happy? Because this is what we have to look forward to:

via Design Crush