Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I'm Home

I'm home. The trip was great. Very relaxing, and of course it was wonderful to see Grandpa and all of my relatives.
The scenery at my Grandfathers is absolutely amazing. From his deck there is a gorgeous view of Mt. Hood...

and you wake up to things like a herd of 25 elk in the driveway

and theres all kinds of old crap to take cool pictures of.
This is the windmill on my Grandpas deck

This is the wheel on an old 1919 tractor on the farm where my uncle rents a garage for his welding business

and this is said uncle, busy at work

I'm glad to be home, have bridesmaid duties this week, a wedding to photograph Saturday, and my Grandpa (yes, the same one I just got back from visiting) is flying in on Sunday.

Only 23 days until the big trip.

Friday, January 26, 2007

A Little Late to the Game

I'm supposed to be at the airport in about 4 hours, and I'm just now about to put my clothes in the wash. I have yet to pack a single thing. I always do this - wait until the very last minute to pack for my trips. I'm going up to visit my Grandpa and Uncle, only a short trip - a 4 day weekend. I'll be back Monday night so I don't need to pack (or wash) much.

Its only 4 weeks until my trip to Germany. Its coming up so fast that I almost can't believe that I'm actually going. Last night I went shoe shopping for the trip, figuring that I need a decent pair of boots for the trip. I went to Marshalls and they had a pair that looked like they would be perfect - ankle height, brown leather, Nikes with that little air cushion thingy in the heel, and they were on clearance for only $25!! HOWEVER, they didn't have them in my size. None of the 3 Marshalls I went to had them in my size. I'm hoping that the Marshalls in Oregon will have them.
While at Marshalls I spied some Converse on clearance for only $10. Now, this may come as a shock to most of you, but I have never owned a pair of Converse before.
Sorry, didn't mean to make you fall out of your seats like that, hope you're not hurt too bad.
Its true, I've never owned a pair of Converse. Even though they've been around for decades and were extremely popular when I was in elementary school and junior high, I've never even tried them on - I was raised on cheap-o Payless/K-Mart/Walmart shoes. If I'm going to spend $40 on a pair of shoes they'd better be pretty cute, and Converse never looked that cute for $40. But, since they were only $10, I tried some on. OH, the comfort! It was almost as though I had slipped my feet into a stick of butter. I grabbed 2 pairs. Because I was getting what was left of the clearance rack pickings, there wasn't a whole lot. I ended up with a grass green pair and these. They almost look like a faux Burberry plaid, don'tcha think? I don't know that these would be ideal for walking all over Germany and Paris, but I am now an official fan. Theyre definitely worth the $40, but I'll still be on the lookout for deals at Marshalls of course.

Just a bit of a repeat from my last post - be on the lookout for the announcement of the grand opening of my ETSY store. If you're not familiar with ETSY, head on over to WWW.ETSY.COM, "Your place to buy and sell all things handmade". I'll be launching the site soon, beginning with my jewelry and hopefully will get some of my photography on there as well. I've been busy making items to post and so far I have:
2 cell phone charms
5 zipper pulls
15 sets of knitting stitch markers
90 pairs of earrings
50 necklaces
1 bracelet (I should probably make a few more of these)
1 eye glass chain (only a little dorky)

Yes, there are 164 items for me to post. I won't post them all at once - that would take me FOREVER. Once I have the first 20 or so items uploaded, I'll announce the grand opening - my goal is to launch by Monday, February 5th. Be on alert.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Numbers..... and some rambling.

Days since last post - 18
Days until trip to Oregon - 7
Days until trip to NYC/Germany/Paris - 34
Skeins of yarn purchased since new "budget" was declared - 2
Knitting projects completed - 0
Beads purchased - about eleventy bazillion and one, give or take.
Pairs of earrings made - 77
Sets of stitch markers made - 5
Cell phone charms made - 3
Bookmarks made - 1
Necklaces made - 39
Bracelets made - 1
Number of all of these beaded projects that I've uploaded to ETSY - 0
Cameras purchased - 1
Pounds lost since 01/03/07 - 14.08
Rolling duffel/backpack purchased - 1
Hours of overtime I will have worked at the end of this pay period - 10
Times I've been asked to be a bridesmaid - 1

I haven't been up to a whole lot since the New Year.
I have started a new health plan, not a diet per se since I'm not doing Weight Watchers or Atkins or anything prescripted like that. I'm just trying to make logical changes in my eating habits - no fast food, more fruits and veggies, less carbs and more whole grains. Really just the logical more healthy choices, and so far its working. I've lost 14.8 lbs since January 3rd. Ideally, I would like to lose another 15 lbs before I leave for Germany, which is only 5 weeks away so it really shouldn't be that far out of reach.
I am really looking forward to the trips coming up. Next Friday morning I'll be going up to Portland to visit my Grandpa and Uncle. I'm not going for too long, just a 4 day weekend, so I'll be home Monday night. I'm really looking forward to the trip. Its so quiet and relaxing up there. I'm also dreading it a little. It will be my first trip up there since Grandma passed away last July and I'm not looking forward to seeing how different it is without her there.

The real countdown begins. The trip to Europe. Erin and I are too excited for words and we have a great itinerary in the works. We'll be leaving Sacramento on a Thursday evening and taking the red eye in to La Guardia Friday morning where we will spend the first part of the day. We're hoping to meet up with an old high school friend of mine for lunch, however she just had her book published so she may be off doing fabulously exciting (and well deserved) publicity appearances. Friday afternoon we'll head on over to Newark where we will depart for Cologne Germany and arrive Saturday morning.
We're thinking that we'll spend 4 days in Germany then 3 days in Paris before coming back home the following Saturday.

I'm so excited about my trip that I bought a new bag. I stopped off at Ross this evening with the intentions of looking for a coat. I was there New Years Eve weekend and they had a fabulous red wool peacoat for only $40 that I didnt get because I was trying to be budget conscious but its been in the back of my mind ever since. I was hoping that it would still be there, but of course it was gone. However, I wandered over to the luggage section. I really don't need another suitcase, but I've never really loved the one that I have. I was able to find a bag that seems like it will be near perfect. Its a rolling duffle that also fits well as a backpack. Yes, I did try it on as a backpack in the middle of Ross. Bonus? It was only $30.

I also got a new digital camera this evening. Theres one I've had my eye on for a couple of months, and was thinking of doing some comparison shopping before my Germany trip, went to Best Buys website and it was on sale for $110 off the normal price. SCORE. I should have it by next Thursday at the latest, so I'll have it in time for the Oregon trip as well. YAY!!

Last Sunday my oldest friend Caren called. Caren and I have been friends since 7th grade and aside from my cousin Erin, she is my closest friend. The type that you know you can call at any time for anything. When my Grandpa died I called her and all I said was "Its Grandpa. Can you meet me at Kaiser?". She raced straight over and I didn't even process until well after the fact that she was in the shower when I called and still had her hair in a towel when she pulled up to the Emergency Room. She is a beautiful person all of the way through and I am so grateful to have her as a friend.
Anyways, she calls Sunday morning and asks me to meet her at Cal Expo for the bridal fair because her and her boyfriend are engaged, and would I mind being a bridesmaid this August? Of course my crafty side kicked in as we're walking around the fair. We're looking at invitations, centerpieces, and as she's cringing over the prices of everything I'm reminding her just how crafty I am so it appears as though I may be making the centerpieces, favors, invitations, bridal party jewelry, and if the wedding is in San Francisco I may be doing the flowers as well. Also, the part I'm really looking forward to... I'll be taking their engagement photos. YAY! Maybe Dad will let me borrow his Nikon D100 again....

The ETSY site... ugh. I have been making quite a bit of product to post on the site, but am in need of a camera to get some decent photos to upload. Problem solved. Perhaps I'll take my jewelry up to Oregon with me and will be able to get the photos taken while I'm there. I'm aiming to have the site launched by the first Monday in February.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Greetings 2007

New Years Eve was a blast. I went out with Erin, Kelly & Stephanie for dinner at Tapa the World where we shared some tapas and had a couple rounds of Mojitos. Afterwards we adjourned to our favorite pub, Bonn Lair, where we rang in the new year. It was great, many drinks were consumed, and we all had a great time.

Now, some resolutions. first, I'd like to review my resolutions from last year:
Well, that didn't exactly work out. Back in early September I did give it a shot, but there was only one completely smoke free day.
Yeah, didn't get that one done either.
I'm 0 for 3 so far.
I did accomplish this one. I went from blogging once a week to about twice a week on average. Sometimes more, sometimes less (like the past couple of weeks).
Check! Ireland this past May was amazing. It was definitely one of the best things I've ever done and has inspired me to make travel a higher priority in my life.
Nope. Didn't do that either. Thankfully I do have other retirement investments.
I came so incredibly close. I was down to about $200 total debt when I bought my new car.
Nope again.
Yep. Ireland, baby!
I crossed out an item or two, but am not sure whether or not I added anything to it.
Done. I've made more than a few purses, a couple of ponchos, a top for Janae, some hats, and I am still working on my Viveka sweater.
13. DATE.
I did read more in 2006 than in 2005, but still not as much as I would have liked.

So, I was only able to complete 6 out of 14 items. Not good. I'm hoping to do better in 2007....

I will be the first to admit that I don't know where the hell most of my money goes. I know that I have a considerable amount taken out of each check for my 401k and other investments, but even after that my take home pay seems to disappear way too quickly. I should be able to account for it in some way, but I generally can't.
I'd like to lose 20 lbs before my trip to Germany.
I'm thinking this will be an annual resolution.
Its so easy for me to stay in and be a homebody.
I need to give this one another shot.

In addition to these, I think I may have to implement some weekly and/or monthly goals.
My goal for this week, to launch my ETSY site.