28 January 2015

Haircuts and Page Views

I got a haircut yesterday -- reminiscent of shortest curl from Bumble & Bumble, but still not as good. Probably shorter than I was planning, if I even planned at all. It's so hard for me to talk about what I want for my hair. I don't care about my hair and yet I am deeply critical of others' efforts to tame/cut/style it. This looks nice and bouncy, although full of product and took a while to diffuser dry, something I would rarely, if ever, do. She also took two stabs at cutting it, as the first try left very full sides, so it was like two puffs on either side of my face. Not exactly triangular, but not flattering either. This is good enough for me, and I'll see how it looks straight. I wish I could find someone who knows how to wield a razor to get the choppy, razored ends I like so much.

My Blogger stats are showing a weird anomaly. On Saturday 1/24 it says I had more than 2,000 page views. Ridiculous. My Google Analytics, also installed on this blog/site, show no such spike. I searched and maybe Blogger stats count bots or something, but I'm surprised the disparity would be so great. Also when I drill down to look at the page views in the Blogger stats widget the high number doesn't exist, even when the time frame includes 1/24. Lame and annoying, but no big deal since this is a vanity site with no real purpose.

26 January 2015

Fitness Follies

A high school friend is some kind of online personal fitness coach now. I think it's great, but her posts on Facebook crack me up. She's started posting mini clips of her workouts -- as motivation and incentive (for herself? others?) to stay on track. She has perfect form, is cute and small -- so I'm not laughing AT her or even really that she's putting herself out there. I think I laugh mostly at the idea by extension: What if I started doing that? How many laughs could I get? A whole humor blog of mini clips of me huffing and puffing my way through exercises. That is terrible, and I'm sorry but I had to laugh it out.

Fitness Blender is the bomb dot com if you're into fitness videos you can do at home -- maybe during the snowstorm set to hit the Northeast this week. I've been using the site a lot. I love their all-in-one videos and have also started "blending" my own with the shorter workouts plus warm up and cool down videos. Jane loves Kelli and Daniel, the instructors.

23 January 2015

Vignettes of Annoyance

Pop Art image found on Google Images labeled for reuse
I am a very gripe-y, complainy person. To wit, some things I'd like to bitch about:

---

I am a shit negotiator. As in, I don't negotiate at all. I guess I need William Shatner to help me ... I've agreed to a freelance job for nearly half my "normal" rate. Normal being what I've been paid on my last job, which is actually a lower hourly rate than some other project-based work I've done, although that was so lucrative it felt criminal to accept the agreed-to amount. (I did though. Oh, I did.) I don't want to feel cheated or like I have a reason to slack. I'm very rules-oriented, so I'll track my time and be above board on everything. But I'll always have this little niggling doubt asking -- what if you'd suggested a higher number, still lower than my top, instead of trusting that she was offering the best she could do. TERRIBLE biznass ladee, although I haven't actually signed a contract so I guess I could still just say "no thanks" to the project entirely. I won't do that though. My word is good. Hrmph.

---

Similar rule following -- I get irrationally angry at the other parents in carpool. One guy had a tiny toddler plus his preschooler, both out of their carseats and climbing all over his car -- out of the sunroof, in his lap, on the gearshift, etc. And then he's driving up in the line in this chaos. So unsafe. And another big SUV mom creates her own line of cars next to the building, which is supposed to be kept clear, per the rules, and basically jumps ahead of everyone in the real line as well as leading a bunch of other cars to do the same. Why does that drive me crazy so much?!?!?!

---

Chasing a wayward preschooler through the aisles of Winn Dixie makes me mad. I wish I could better channel my energies and upset when things like that happen. After the race, catching her and then dragging through the checkout process (because I needed the snacks for her preschool class the next day) I just seethe. I try to talk to her rationally later about how scary that is for me and why she can't do it, although I don't think anything sinks in. Really all I feel like doing is strapping her to my body or forcing her into a cart for the foreseeable future. Three-year-old parenting is the hardest so far for me and accounts for the majority of my annoyances, and I'm a highly annoyed and annoyable person.

---

Windows 8 is the worst. I needed to use Skype, but the OS forced me to change my login to be an @outlook.com account. I had already created a mariwalker@ account back when they very first started offering them, but for some reason it isn't mine anymore. At least silvermari@ was still available, so I re-made that, but still so mad. And now I have a different password for my computer login, which was something loving and calming. Now it's full of rage at Microsoft. It's the worst. I think there's a workaround and I can undo the login back to regular and download a different Skype software to use. Hate. hate. hate.

---

iTunes is the worst. I have to use it for my iPod, which is my main music listening device. I can connect it in the car or wear it with earphones while shopping or walking. But my music on my computer is ALL EFFED UP. Duplicates of song files crop up, so that I have four copies of every song in a single Dixie Chicks album but other songs and albums disappear. And iTunes moves files around, from the organized Music>Artist Name>Album Name structure to a separate Music subfolder within the original Music folder, and then iTunes can't find the songs it's moved around. It is so frustrating and makes me rage. As Daniel Tiger says "When you're feeling frustrated ... take a step back, and ask for help." SO I'm going to do some things myself but have Shawn do the real help of uninstalling iTunes and seeing if he can do a reinstall that does not screw up the file management system. AAAAH!

20 January 2015

Crochet Christmas Ornaments

The year Shawn and I got engaged I made a slew of crocheted Christmas ornaments with an engagement picture glued in them. I love seeing them on our family's Christmas trees when we go visiting.

This year Shawn's aunt asked if I would make her some more because she'd like to put pictures of Shawn's cousins on her tree too. No problem.

I have many of the plastic rings leftover, but I didn't have any matching red ribbon. I used what I had on hand. I also don't have the exact pattern anymore, although I know I made each ornament alike in 2007. For these four I just improvised. One looks very much like the original, with picots and ruffles. One is a simple scallop and the other two are hybrids of sorts. I'm happy with how they turned out.

I got them in the mail today. She'll have to add the pictures (I just affixed with hot glue, although you could half-glue a cardboard circle and slip a circle picture in the created pocket). I also didn't glue down the ribbon in case she wants to change it out. In the 2007 versions every bow was glued down to keep it from falling apart through the years. So far so good I think.

12 January 2015

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

At a church meeting yesterday a woman only a bit older than me came up and said, "Oh, you look good!" It is weird because

1) I do not. I'm heavy, my face was mostly bare and my hair scraped back. I was wearing a sort of flattering black top and jeans, so maybe? and

2) she is highly coifed and put-together at all times: full makeup, always blond, short, stylish hair, so she knows "looking good."

There is the likelihood she's just being nice and it's something she says to everything. I don't have that knee jerk reaction usually. I do compliment people on beautiful clothes or new hair. Meh, I don't know.

I'd like to think that it's because I'm "beyond" appearances or don't pay attention to them and look at the real person, but no. It's mainly that I am oblivious and/or mean.

08 January 2015

Christmas Repackaged

We put away our Christmas tree and decorations this week, after Epiphany marked the end of the season.

I spread out the tree ornaments on the table and took a picture. This is enough to decorate the front half of the tree. I will have more next year because my mom gave me a big box of ornaments. Maybe next year we'll put it in the window and decorate the whole thing (maybe not -- the corner is nice and it looks good against the red walls).

I also got 24 books wrapped for Advent 2015. I love the tradition of opening one book per night, and Jane really does too. We have enough Christmas- and winter-themed books to unwrap two a night I'm sure, but we can just look at the others as we feel like it. Our collection seems to grow every year too, as I usually buy her a new Christmas book or two. I just can't help it! (Or can I???)

I wrap the books in tissue paper, which I buy after Christmas. I don't use scissors, so sometimes the books are sort of wrapped twice. And usually you can see the title through the thin paper. But it's cheaper and less likely to give paper cuts. And 24 presents is a lot to open, even in 24 days!

So now everything's wrapped up, and it fits in two footlockers, three small flat Rubbermaid-style boxes and three bigger Rubbermaid-style boxes -- plus the tree, which is in its own bag. When we're getting it all out it doesn't feel like "enough," but it certainly feels like "too much" when boxing it back up. I still love the idea of special Christmas dishes and mugs, decor in every room of the house, etc. I'm still trying to rage against my natural clutter-y tendencies though and KEEP THINGS SIMPLE! (ha.)

04 January 2015

My Stocking Stuffers

I wrote about what I mainly put in Jane's stocking this year, and I wanted to list what I put in my stocking too. I didn't actually fill a stocking, but I put my goodies in a tote bag that has Jane's picture on it. I got a sweet deal from Walgreen's on four of them (so Gingie, Grandma Dale and Shawn also got their own Jane tote!). They're all different, so we won't get confused if we're ever using them together!
  • Jane wall calendar of my favorite month-by-month pictures from last year. (I also gave some of these as gifts.)
  • e.l.f. nails 10-pack of holiday nail polishes -- something I also got for Beth but wanted one for myself. 
  • Kraft paper note cards with a typewriter, hearts and "love" on them. Maybe to use as Valentine's? Got at Homegoods for $2.
  • Couple packs of gum
  • Custom notepad with my name and monogram on the top -- ordered for free/just pay shipping, I think from TinyPrints or another nice online stationery store.
  • A makeup bag from DaySpring -- I'd actually wrapped it for Gran, but I got it back and added it to my goodie bag.
Nothing extravagant, but fun little things I like. I also spent some minor money on myself when I got to go to the outlet mall with my mom and sister this week (new skirt, new jeans and new hoodie sweatshirt -- all together less than $30). Shawn's gift of babysitting the kids so we could have that outing might be my favorite gift of the season! Ha.

Edited to add: also a Chi travel shampoo, conditioner, iron guard and serum pack from Walgreen's, bought on impulse during my flu shot. And I also bought PJ pants and slippers at the outlet mall and probably spent $50 all together on myself. Ugh to looking back at receipts...