Saturday, February 26, 2011

If You Work On The East Coat, I Probably Hate Your HR Department; (or: The Rant From The Jobless Curator)

Today I applied for thirteen jobs. Surprisingly, this is not the highest number of jobs applied for in one day by yours truly. Also, I get to apply for about ten more tomorrow, what a fantastic way to spend a weekend.

job-applicationI am tired of the HR runaround. I have a certificate in human resources (no, seriously, I got certified in it.) I understand how it works. How the power play works. I know you’re in charge and until you offer me a position, I have no power. I understood this twenty job applications ago, and even fifty job applications ago. But now that we’re in into the seventies, I am tired.

At first I just did cold applications. There was no pressure. I was still in England and hoping something would come along so we could transition smoothly when moving back to America. This was actually my most successful time and I became a finalist for two positions. This was before I started networking and desperately contacting organizations.

30548123Now I attempt to apply for positions using a 360 degree system. I apply. I email a confirmation. I call a week later. I send application materials to the manager I would work under if hired. I check the status with HR. Most are shocked that I call on the phone. I was taught that if you want to be noticed, you don’t email. Thus I call. Each time they react surprised, interrupted, and sometimes are just plain rude (one snapped at me ‘you just have to be patient’ and hung up, only after I simply asked to confirm that she had only received my application.)

womenworkingFor one application, which was a form filled out online, the system would not allow my cover letter to upload. I tried everything. Finally, I emailed it to the HR email listed explaining it would not upload and needed to be attached to my application. I received a return email, like all the rest asking me not to respond to this automated message and also explaining that no application materials can be sent through email, only the online system.

Frustrated, I called the HR department (which was not easy, many don’t list phone numbers,) and explained, to an answering machine, the situation. Twenty minutes later instead of being called back, I receive another ‘do not respond to this’ email explaining they got my messages and all is well with the cover letter (a few weeks later they sent another automated email to inform me I would not be hired.)

worst job everWhile I’m ranting, I’ll just go ahead and say I HATE when online applications make you fill out an entirely new resume piece by piece, instead of just having you upload your perfectly nicely typed and beautifully designed resume. It took me over an hour on one such site today just to copy and paste each item from my resume into their system. And at the end of it all, after hundreds of hours of work at this, I am still without permanent employment.

Can’t a girl catch a break?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Feminist Friday: Your Husband is NOT Your Babysitter

Or live-in-lover, or baby daddy, whatever. If it's half his kid, he's not your babysitter.

Have you ever heard women extolling how fantastic their partners are by bragging that they "help out" with the kids, or "babysit" so they can go out with the girls. Have you heard mothers-in-law beam proudly at dutiful sons-in-law because they are "such a helper" with the children. Attention please: men are not assistants to their mothering wives or girlfriends. They are 50% responsible for the kids, they should put in 50% of the work, and when they do, they should be seen as good parents, just like their partners, not more so because they pitched in.

I agree with Straight Dope Dad when he explains, "It is insulting to both dads and moms to call it babysitting when a father is taking care of his children." (Although he is a bit harsh with moms stepping down.) It is a stereotype that fathers are only around to assist and give moms a break every once in a while, but in many household the stereotype rings true.

Watching A Baby Story the other day (don't judge, it was on) I noticed moms, who had just gone through what I can expect were the horrors of labor, want to nap, but are worried about leaving the newborn alone with its father. One new mommy explained, she "let" her husband take care of the newborn during her naps, which apparently made her very nervous. She went on and on about how he was such a helper. It made me very sad.

There is a baby amongst my in-laws, the only child of the next generation, thus this child is super watched after and fussed about. It was around this family and with this child that I first noticed an overwhelming emphasis on how helpful the father was, how we should let him rest because he "babysat" his daughter the night before, ect. I will be damned if such language exists around mine and The Professor's future (and most likely adorable) babies when we're around this family.

Modern men are equally sharing child rearing. They enjoy (gasp!) spending more time with their children and being an equal, or at times main, care provider. It puts down their intelligence and abilities to assume they can not cope with a newborn baby, or a screaming two year old. The only reason seeing a man push a stroller and act as main caretaker seems special or out of place, unnatural, is because of latent gender roles, ideas of what men and women should be doing. It is not an unnatural thing for a man to equally care for and tend to his children.

I've stepped off my soapbox for now. But for serious, he is not your babysitter! And now that I've surely galvanized you to notice such a nuanced injustice, I'll send you here to look at a grass bridge. For serious, it's made of grass!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I won't even go into all the baby drama in my life. The fact that since The High Power Preggers has become, well, preggers, almost all our family talks about is babies. Or the fact that my in-laws want babies, from me, like yesterday. Or how I can't even count on one hand how many close friends/family members are having babies. Or the fact that I have very, very vivid nightmares about being a bad caregiver to babies. Or being pregnant. Nightmares, not dreams.

But I'm here to focus on something positive, the nursery for Baby H, who will be arriving in June. My sister, though talented and skilled in many, many ways, has not always had an eye for design. She wants a Toy Story themed nursery (sidebar, she had a Toy Story themed room as a highschooler.) And to her this means buying up every Toy Story brand item and shoving it into one room. Then, a hitch in her plans. The baby is a girl. There are practically no feminine toy story nursery items out there.

Enter, me. I try to explain to The HPP that once she picks a character on which to base the nursery, we can deconstruct that character and use inspirations from the texture and color of their clothing, and of course their theme, and create a cohesive space. This she simply could not wrap her little pregnant mind around. Enter, inspiration boards. I created two, one more traditional and one sort of weird looking to be honest (the board itself, not the theme.) The first is based on Jessie, the cowgirl. I was told by The HPP, "I want a Jessie room, but not a cowgirl room." Well, that's impossible as Jessie is a cowgirl.

Here is Jessie, our cowgirl from Toy Story.

Here is the inspiration board I deconstructed from Jessie.

The centerpiece for the room would be some sort of artwork featuring Jessie, possibly this wall cling. Then denim or red crib bumpers and yellow curtains, tied back with robe curtain ties. Cowhide elements would pop throughout, such as a faux cowhide rug, or this fabulous red and cowhide blanket. I would buy an official Jessie cowgirl hat and place it on a shelf. Other western elements could be introduced without being overwhelming, such as horseshoes as hooks, distressed red picture frames, and rope spelling out Baby H's name. Other decorative elements could be created using the red/yellow/denim/cowhide color story and incorporating other aspects of Jessie's appearance, such as a sheriff's badge. Red polka dots work well in this space, either by adding a red polka-dotted crib skirt or simple pillows throughout. I would also suggest a small lamp with a red lampshade accented by a light yellow ribbon.

Here is our friend Bo-Peep.

Here is the quirky inspiration board I created for a Bo-Peep inspired nursery.

With the Bo-Peep room I focused on our shepherdess' clothing, her pink polka dots, blue ruffled bloomers, and patterned blue top. Also I went a little wild for the sheep, they are just too cute and perfect for a nursery. I accent the blue (possibly Toy Story clouded) wall with pink polka dot letters spelling out Baby H's name. Pink crib fabrics would be offset by a blue and white patterned crib skirt. I found light blue, ruffled baby blankets and other fabrics which could be used as textiles in the crib or as curtains. The sheep bumper and pillows are also a fun alternative to the pink polka dotted crib. Finding an actual Bo-Peep lamp or figure from the film would tie this room together. The fun sheep rug would add some whimsy.

Here are some more detailed photos of Bo-Peep inspired nursery items.

Which room do you prefer?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Proust Questionnaire

This questionnaire, tagged to me by Desperately Seeking Seersucker, was a marathon, not a sprint. I tried to answer the questions as truthfully as possible, but some of these were tough. I won’t lie, a nice bottle of wedding wine was opened for this occasion and supported me to the last drop (now that is a lie, it was maybe…maybe two glasses, my tolerance living in isolation out at the cottage is not what it once was.) I apologize for my somewhat long-windedness, as I explain throughout, I tend to overanalyze.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 
Relocating all of my favorite people to one city block, with all my favorite things a short walk away and unlimited funds to travel unlimitedly (which includes my own plane, not to be materialistic, just for logistical purposes. I mean, if I can travel unlimitedly, would I really be doing it commercial?)

What is your greatest fear?
Losing my loved ones or putting my loved ones through losing me.

Which figures do you most identify with?                                   I have been around academia for so long that I gravitate towards university campuses and graduate students. A lot of the museum work I’m looking at is actually at university museums and galleries. I like being around an atmosphere of learning and art.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My over-analytical nature. Sometimes I wish I could go back to simpler times when I went with the flow better and thought less. I guess there are two traits. I also hate that I am my own worst enemy and typically have sabotaged friendships and relationships in the past. I love that I don’t do that anymore.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Judging others to the point of thinking they are better than others. I hate that people can’t realize that we are all just the same (that sounds very up with people, but it’s the truth.)

What do you most value in your friends?
Understanding and reliability.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Balls. It’s true. I say “balls cold” or “balls hot” or “balls exhausted” or “balls, it’s balls crowded in here.” Really, it needs to stop.

What is your favorite journey?
This question could go many ways. It could mean journey of spirit, like walking on a beautiful day while lost in thought, I love doing that. Or it could mean journey as in destination. That would be tough. I’ve loved many destinations. I love Lake Placid, I grew up there and got married there. I love St. Eustatius, I met The Professor there. I love Scotland, it’s one of the most beautiful pieces of land I’ve traipsed. I love Germany. I feel the most at home there, sometimes even more so than here. But this could also mean actual journey. I love the train connecting Fort William to Mallaig. It might just be the most beautiful stretch of track I’ve experienced. The day I rode this line was one of the happiest and most fulfilled of my life.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
This would depend if we were talking about the four western virtues or the more Christian seven virtues. As a Catholic, I was hard pressed to learn them all. Temperance overlaps them both, and is sort of overrated in terms of alcohol. My friends have a philosophy, to always say yes to a drink due to too many of our friends growing up too young and becoming too boring. I do like temperance as a virtue, however, in terms of restraint. Sometimes enough is enough and it is virtuous to know when to stop, at anything. Trying to uphold the virtue of chastity has caused many problems throughout history, generally due to unrealistic expectations. Thus I deem it the most overrated.

What is your favorite occupation? Due to my current holding pattern this is hard to answer. In the past my favorite occupation may have been the museum consultation I did in the Caribbean, because, come on, I went snorkeling every day after work and subsisted on bad beer and Chinese food. It was an awesome life.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
I’ve had weight problems on and off my whole life. Currently they are on and I’ve been working since our return to America to lose the extra pounds. It always seems when I leave this country I lose weight very quickly. Apparently my body rejects America. Being overweight always makes it just a bit harder to leave the house and feel comfortable with myself.

What is your greatest regret?
This took me a long time to think about. I generally live without regrets, because there was a reason for doing something at the time that I did it, and while cliché, I think most every experience has taught me something (even the first “regret” to come to mind, living with 11 other girls in a house during college. Worst decision ever, but I learned how to be a better roommate in the future.) I suppose if I have any actual regret, being something that I could have controlled myself and not something bad that happened to me, it would be … alright, busted, I don’t actually have one.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
The Professor, hands down, easiest question ever. We have a deep love, a love that I can barely explain to myself. I always thought love like this would be a cage, but it is the most freeing feeling. I fall in love with him everyday. (Cue the bad 80s song this most likely resembles.)

When and where were you happiest?
In January, 2009, The Professor and I spent the longest, consecutive time together we had to that point. We spent 15 days in a row together, both of us in the same place. It was like magic. We had met on an island, had only 14 days to get to know each other. He left and we decided to do the long-distance thing. I lived in New York, he over 1,000 miles away in Georgia. We made it work for a year, finally moving in together. During that year apart we never spent more than a quick weekend together until January when we made it to 18 days, celebrating the 15th as the longest thus far. How did we celebrate? I made a blanket fort and dinner, which we ate next to a beautiful fireplace under a fabulously constructed blanket fort.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wouldn’t be so anxious or worried. I get worried about very irrational things, and while I may not show it (most people think I’m adventurous and whatnot) I scan every situation for its possible horrible outcomes. I’m currently working on changing this.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
It’s something I brag about less and less as time goes by, but I really was bad-ass in college in terms of being an undergraduate student. Junior year I sat with my course sheets and determined that I wanted to double major, and keep my minor, and successfully complete a capstone project within my minor, while writing a thesis for each of my majors. I seriously grew more determined each time a classmate or friend bitched about their one thesis or paper. I took 6 classes one semester and completed hours over the summer. Looking back I was probably trying to prove something to myself. Whatever it was I proved it, kicked major academic ass, and graduated Magna cum Laude and was picked as the senior class representative at graduation for the German department. Major nerd answer, but it’s the truth.

What is your most treasured possession?
Again, due to this holding pattern, quite difficult to answer given the standard, “if there was a fire, what would I grab” as all my possession are in storage. Obviously my animate most treasured possessions would be my funny little family, The Professor and the Pet Trifecta. Then I thought, what possessions did I keep from storage and bring to Georgia with me? And what of these are treasured (seeing as what we mainly kept was technological: computers, cameras, electronic cords galore.) This returns the thought process to the fire scenario. As a child I was always told if there was a fire and you happened to be the sole survivor, grab the family Bible. For our wedding my parents gave us a similar Bible, within it a letter written by my father, which is a copy of a letter written by his father, which was a copy of a letter written by his father, contemplating growing old and having a child get married. My instincts would probably lead me to grab this possession. So long story short: The Professor-Defunct Curator family Bible.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Losing all my friends and family, roaming the earth alone without any connections, and sitting in a sad pool of self-pity while I eat all the girl scout cookies this pathetic version of myself stole, due to my sadness and utter state of dismay.

Where would you like to live?
We used to ask ourselves this question after any lengthy holiday, always switching which destination or city was our favorite in which to make a home. I stand by Scotland. I can deal with the isolation (which has been proved here) and icy winters for the beautiful skyline of mountains and lochs. But then I return to Germany, and each time I fall in love again and miss it like a comfortable old sweater.

What is your most marked characteristic?
I had no idea, so naturally I asked The Professor, as he has to be with me the most. He replied, my determination, which actually made me love him just a bit more. Apparently, according to him, I am a very determined young lady and will go to great lengths to achieve things (which I suppose included when he became mine.)

What is your greatest extravagance?
Probably my wedding dress. It was the most expensive single item I have ever bought that was not a car or a loan. I don’t feel bad about it for a number of reasons, including the fact that The Professor’s wedding outfit, which we had specially tailored in Edinburgh, was much more expensive.

What are the qualities you most like in a man?
Humor, understanding, thoughtfulness, and the rugged good looks only possessed, in my opinion, by The Professor.

Who are your favorite writers? In my experience I have generally read only non-fiction, because I am a nerd and am in constant need of continued education. But I have dipped into fiction, specifically with Joyce Carol Oates, who, in my opinion, is one of the greatest writers of our time. I also love falling into a Bill Bryson book, any of them.

How would you like to die?
Surrounded by those who love me and who I love, comfortable, happy, and content.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Probably my favorite classic novel of fiction is To Kill a Mockingbird, and while, depending on your interpretation, there could be many heroes spotlighted from this tale, Atticus Finch always stood out in my mind as a hero of fiction. He stood up for justice and giving everyone a fair shake, which is something I look up to in my literary characters.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Almost anyone else is braver than me, and when I see such bravery as that practiced daily by those put in the face of danger, I am in awe. This includes, but is not limited to, soldiers, policemen and women, teachers in dangerous areas, firemen and women, and rescue workers.

What is your motto?
Today is the youngest you will ever be.

I’m not sure if any have been tagged by other bloggers, but I’d like to tag my followers in this round of questions.

Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong @ How I Met Your Father

PaddyGirl @ If you’re a bird, I’m a bird

Beth’s Blog

The City Dreamer @ City Dreams, Suburban Schemes

I hope you all find this, as I did, a reason to introspectively drink wine.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

For Love of the Weekend: Cottage Shelter

5EG2D00ZI love animals. I have three of my very own (well, I share them with The Professor.) Today has been a surreal experience with a stray dog and a possibly dying baby squirrel (let the choirs of awwwwwww’s began.)

Early this morning my dog went absolutely crazy for seemingly no reason. As I’ve said before, this has been going on at all hours of the day and night, specifically the night, and we’re determined that a homeless dog nests itself outside our bedroom window and whines. We’ve even found the nest of leaves. But we’ve never captured the dog. Our plan was always to find it, take its tag, and report its unfavorable activities to its owner. Of course, we never thought its owner would be an awesome example of a human being, since they didn’t let their dog indoors on the coldest winter night in Georgia (read: 22 degrees Fahrenheit.)

This morning, as The Professor enjoyed a lay in, I spotted the white dog from our porch window as our dog once again went completely ape shit. I ran outside, sans shoes, and discerned that the pooch was quite amenable to being friendly. While my dog hopped around excitedly, I ran back and forth between the house and the yard getting things like a collar (as, it turned out, the dog had none,) some shoes, and dog treats to trick it into trusting me. Eventually, with the help of a sleepy Professor, we collared and leashed the dog, and led it into the very large dog pen that is conveniently located on our grounds (for the sake of the 5 dogs owned by The Professor’s parents.)

This dog is ad-ooooooooooor-able. It is also very, very, very IMG_6179dirty. I can not even tell you how many times I’ve washed my hands due to the many, many ticks I’ve pulled from its fur. It has apparently fallen in love with me, and demands constant attention and is very snuggly. With The Professor it cowers and always acts afraid. We have thus determined that it has been abused by a man. It also limps slightly, has not been neutered, and there are no signs that it has ever been brought to a vet or properly cared for.

dogAfter printing up flyers and canvassing the lake, which was sort of a fun way to see our neighbors’ little cottages, we met a man who informed us that the county road close to our cottage is a common dumping ground for unwanted pets. He said not to get our hopes up that we will find an owner.

3628796511_bae7ec5c3dThus we put the word out that unless someone contacts us from the flyers in the next few days, we have a dog up for adoption. I hate the idea of dropping him off at a shelter (although we’ll research and make sure it’s not one that puts animals down.) We’re just hoping that through our network of family and friends, someone will want to bring him into their home.

BabySquirrel_450x388As I played fetch with him (who we call, new puppy,) I heard a horrible squealing noise and witnessed our adventure cat leaping from a tree top with something in its mouth. Low and behold, he had stolen a baby squirrel from its mother and nest. Freaking-A. Getting him to drop it was oh so fun, as was keeping all the animals away as I ran inside once again, this time to google what the hell to do with a baby squirrel. Apparently you are never to touch them as they have parasites and other nasty things. So we followed the instructions of the internet (thank you, oh internet,) and put it inside a box, under a tree in hopes the mother will come in the next 1-5 hours to reclaim it. Whoa is me, and our furry household, it’s been quite a day.

*This is not our photo of a baby squirrel. We would never touch a baby squirrel because we believe in the power of google.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Feminist Friday: The Bitch Tax

"Bitch Tax" is described on Urban Dictionary as "The price you pay for having a girlfriend or wife," which can be monetary or, I suppose, damage to your "rep." While this in itself is highly offensive, it's not the Bitch Tax I'd like to discuss today. Without a proper term, or at least one that I know, I've been calling the extra work, or considerations, a working woman in a high pressure position must undertake in order to avoid being labeled "The Bitch," and thus no longer respected as an equal, or a boss, in the workplace, as the "Bitch Tax."

This came up recently during a long car ride because my sister (The High Power Preggers) and I discussed her payment of the Bitch Tax. The HPP is frank, she is direct, she is a force to be reckoned with. She is a powerful businesswoman, the most senior woman in her company, and is being groomed to go even higher. She is a boss. She has to fire people. Fire men. Men who are older than her. She has a bottom line to reach, goals to achieve, and she is serious. Thus, she fears everyday one misstep in the eyes of her department or her male boss that might label her as a bitch. Because of this she has to be slightly more careful than her male counterparts, pick and choose when and how to give demerits or bad evaluations, she has to pay the Bitch Tax.

As a senior male executive, being a bit harsh with your team is seen as natural. It's seen as getting the job done. But when a woman is equally as assertive in the same role of power, it can make those around her feel uneasy. This can be latent, not something they are actively thinking or even know that this could be the reason they may resent her slightly. We were all raised in a society where certain pressures shaped these thoughts and feelings over time, through many sources. The HPP often responds to her boss' slight objections to her frankness, if I were a man and said/did the same thing, would you feel the same way? It's great that they have such a candid working relationship that she can pose this insightful question to him, and challenge his latent sexism.

It's not just men who label powerful women as bitches. Women did it to other women. We were put through society just like men, and similarly we may not fully understand our feelings towards other women in the office when we think, what a bitch. Next time you find yourself unhappy with the decisions or actions of a senior, female co-worker, challenge yourself by asking that same question. If she were a man and did the same thing, would you still label her a bitch?

Additionally, now that she's pregnant, the HPP finds that her Bitch Tax has doubled. She must be even more cautious, lest she express her displeasure at a team member's crappy work and he/she think, well she's just got pregnancy rage hormones. Only women can get pregnant, so only female bosses can be labeled as being upset with someone's work just because they're pregnant. And that's plain sexism.

Now, because it's Friday and that was a pretty heavy post, let's see even more heavy things with NPR's Heavy Stuff on Top of People. Seriously.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Devil with the Blue Shoes on

This is day three of me working, and I come to you, shocker, from work. I'm definately adjusting and getting use to, A. getting up in the mornings, B. the freakishly long commute, and C. working in a giant room all by myself while air conditioning blasts even though it's not hot, thus making it colder, during my long, lonely days.

OK, that was a bit melodramatic. But I am working at a table within an old exhibition space (the exhibition is moving to a new building.) So like me, this place is in its own holding pattern. It seems only fitting that I be placed in here as my work space, with all the other boxed-up and slightly cast-off objects.

The day is going faster as I focus more and more on my project and the research before me. I do really like the smell of archival boxes (sad!) and the discovery of one or two outlandish letters from times gone by, such as one today blaming teenage VD on the lack of prayer in schools (take that one, school nurses nationwide!)

I wore my electric blue shoes today, which I very, very, rarely wear. They make me smile. And they were cozy during my half hour hike from the parking garage to work (uphill both ways, it seriously is!)

I hope your shoes make you smile!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Welcome Back

That song has been stuck in my head for the past couple days, "Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back." And it's true, I'm back. Not so much as defunct as before, depending at how you look at it. I've returned to my previous employer in university city, back to museum work, stretching my brain and attempting to remember how to function in the working world.

I do miss going to TJ Maxx whenever I want. But the benefits far outweigh the downsides. Benefits: I get to work, function in the world, collaborate with people, contribute to an exhibition in a curitorial role of sorts once more. Downsides: I have to drive in with The Professor about 1.5 hours each day each way (not that being with The Professor is a downside, far from it, but the drive does suck hard,) the job is not exactly what I wanted (more research assistant than bad ass curator,) I work mainly in a room alone for most the day, I have far less (read: no) free time anymore due to the lengthy drive in and out, it's only temporary thus we can't stop our holding pattern and move on to the next phase of our lives. So still holding, but the landing gear may be coming out just a bit.

And I'm still a bit defunct. Yesterday I could not remember simple words and had problems drafting simple, short object labels, a task I used to be able to complete in my sleep. Apparently my brain has been buried deep beneath watching too many reruns of Grey's Anatomy and reading cookbooks all in between napping and taking random photos of my cats. I really needed to get back to work.

Another plus is I'm able to commit to this project just one month at a time, which means the search for real, fulfilling employment is still on. After about 58 cover letters and rejections I still hold out hope that not all is lost. I could even be coming to a city near you!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tea for Two

Tea4Two-trade-adHappy Valentine’s Day, late night edition (if, like me, your late nights start at 8:00pm.) This last weekend was a whirlwind. We only recently got back to our little cottage and I’m only now catching up with you all.

IMAG0157And, it’s Valentine’s Day. As I said before, we’re not big Valentines people, but I do love chocolate and an excuse to have surprises. The Professor left me an adorable handmade card-like-thing on my pillow when we arrived home. I gave him his telegram, which he loved, as well as some Earl Grey and some almond syrup. Why? Because almond earl grey is our new favorite guilty pleasure without the guilt. I discovered it at a small coffee shop one trip into university city and have been sold on them ever since. I introduced The Professor to it just last week and he, also, fell in love. So now we can make them at home, there has already been a mention of almond tea becoming our “house drink” of choice.

IMAG0155Another V-Day surprise? The in-laws came by the cottage while we were away, always a bit terrifying for me as they technically own this place. They dropped off some wine, wine glasses, and chocolates in a pretty display, as well as a pork and apple pie in the fridge (from a recipe I gave, which I’ll surely post eventually.)bron936l

How cute. Also, a bit creepy? Just me who thinks so? (However, also strangely reminiscent of the honeymoon basket they gave us, read: lotion, bath oils, candles, wine, subtext:

Well, instead of the wine we opted for two cups of the almond tea tonight, mainly because I’m still nursing a wicked cold that, shocker, a 10 hour car trip twice in four days did not cure.

IMAG0156The chocolates were the Dove hearts, which I love because not only were they dark (the only way to enjoy coco) but also when you open them there are little expressions inside, and with them, my sage wisdom for you. So far we’ve opened:

“Trust with your heart, not your head.”

This is very wise, oh Dove chocolates. Dive in every once in a while. You have a gut instinct, trust it. This goes both ways, meaning kiss that cute guy you just met even though social graces may be shocked, but don’t climb into cars with strange boys.

“Linger over chocolate longer.”

I could not have said it better myself, tiny delicious chocolate I shall now eat. Enjoy things more. And, enjoy things slower. Too often we want a quick fix, something for right now, that we forget that snack we just popped in our greedy, little mouth was actually delicious.

“Be a little mysterious.”

Don’t give it all away. I love being a bit mysterious, with something unknown just under the surface. It’s difficult to turn this tid-bit into advice, because it already states it perfectly, be a little mysterious.

“Exercise your heart today.”

Love hard. Love today. There is someone in your life you can turn to right now and say, I love you, do it. It’ll make you feel good.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mr. Postman

9504_1The Professor and I are hitting the road tomorrow in a strange, obligatory, and yet somehow fun weekend involving him having “man time” with my brother-in-law while my sister and I continue north to DC for some lady time.
Due to this last minute holiday, we’ll be riding back to Georgia on Monday, St. Valentine’s Day. IMG_2000The Professor and I generally do not make a fuss on this very strange day. Not a lot is known about this feast day’s saint but Chaucer did basically invent the secular holiday. And I just can’t deny a good Chaucer invention stemming from courtly love. So we usually do little things, generally baked goods, like cannolis (which are, surprisingly, extremely difficult to find fresh in Georgia.)
In keeping in our Valentine’s tradition of do less, say more (and since it needs to be done before this little trip,) I’ve just finished my V-Day project for The Professor.
western-union-telegram-sign_280601253115Western Union Telegram Ad 1959I love Western Union telegrams. Working in the archives, seeing how they were used to tell good news, bad news, important news, I just fell in love. I was going to use a service like this one to send one to The Professor. But then I remembered two things. First, we share an address with his parents due to our unique living arrangement here at the cottage (read: no address) and I was not sure if such a shop would keep the messages private or send as a postcard. Second, I am trained as a freaking graphic designer. This would be the easiest project ever. And it was.
blank western union telegramI downloaded this blank telegram. Opened it in photoshop and wrote a message using one of my favorite fonts, 1942 report.
IMAG0151I then slightly tilted the text box to give that “just stamped” look. I followed these instructions to size, print, and fold my telegram. I thought of tea-dying it for aging, but I only had twenty minutes, so I just printed on slightly yellowed paper and went about my business.IMAG0153
I finished the whole thing by melting some wax and stamping it shut, and completed the back with a lovebirds stamp I used throughout our wedding planning. Adorable alternative-card finished!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Love is in the Air

I am exhausted. Dinner with the in-laws went perfectly but now I have a very messy kitchen and a motivation level of zero. I am, however, motivated to blog about photos.

I’ve been loving looking through other blogs, which link to other blogs, which link to other blogs, and finding some great reads out there. Today I stumbled upon Fried Pink Tomato and a photo contest set up through Webbisodes.

The contest is a couples photo contests, My Funny Valentine, and at first I thought I wouldn’t be able to enter, as I’m trying to stay anonymous. But later I was flipping through some old photos, (you’re right Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong, I do keep them organized and time stamped,) for another nostalgia entry, and I came across this favorite:

Title: Love Between the Bicycles.

It was March of last year during a trip to Amsterdam that we paused to reflect over one of the many canals near the flower district. My brother-in-law captured this moment between The Professor and I. We definitely look like we’re in a moment, but we were probably still glowing over our recent score buying old architecture prints in a nearby print shop (remember: nerds.)

There’s still a few days before Valentine’s Day and thus still some time to participate in this photo contest.