Stick This in Your Nose

I’ve been battling something lately. I’m not sure if it’s allergies, a cold, or a virus…but it’s kicking my hiney at any given moment of any given day, and has been doing so for three weeks or so. After a few random sick days, I finally went to the doctor, only to be told that they’re not sure what to do for me (they gave me a new allergy medicine which has done squat; I usually take Zyrtec, and still do), but to let them know if it finally turns into a sinus infection. No fever, no green boogers (sorry), deal with it. They were more pleasant than that, but she was truly stumped. I’m starting to get annoyed.

So, on the way home from rehearsal last night, I finally picked up one of these guys…

There was much debate between the store brand (which advertised itself as all-natural) and this Arm & Hammer version (which includes, what else, baking soda in with the saline solution). I finally threw my hands up and went with the hubby’s idea – this version said there’d be less stinging. I’m not sure if the “all natural” one would have stung, but I figured this wouldn’t hurt to try. Pun intended.

I asked Dave to take some video of me using it, but he politely declined. He WAS, however, quite excited to see it work. I’ll bet he was. Oh, and he was quite disappointed to hear that we’ll need to buy a separate one for him when he gets sick – can’t share those germies.

In case you’ve never heard of a Neti Pot, you put warm water in, along with some saline powder, then tilt your head over a sink (yes, this gets gross) and pour half of the contents into one nostril while it pours out your other nostril. Repeat with other side.

It. Feels. Weird. Not painful, just weird. I’d do it again. It was just such a surreal feeling. Some of the phrases I uttered:”eeeeeeewwwww!!! Ew. Ew. Ew.” and “my brain is drowning!” and “that’s all that went through?” It was interesting to find out that I could talk while pouring.

Unfortunately, my nose was pretty clear when I tried it out. It’s supposed to help clear allergens, yuckiness, and sinus issues, so I’ll keep working on it. I WANT THIS TO WORK SO BADLY I CAN TASTE IT. It’d be awesome to turn to this when I’m feeling under the weather rather than filling myself with corn syrup cough remedies and drowsy pills. So, I’ll give you a report after using it when I feel crappier. 🙂

Sunday Supper: Butternut Quinoa

We were supposed to have a double rehearsal for “Arsenic and Old Lace” this afternoon (running through the show twice), but luckily it went so well the first time, we got to go home. Woohoo! Score. It’s like going to class and having the professor not show up for >10 minutes.

I’m not sure what I would’ve made for dinner if we were getting out later, but it was nice to have some time to research a few recipes and make something healthy. Let’s just say I’m not sure what dinner will look like this week; not McDonald’s, at least, but I’m not sure WHAT.

So, what’d I make? This:

Butternut and Quinoa Pilaf

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash, (3/4-inch cubes) (see Tip)
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth, water, barley and squash; bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the barley and squash are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper; mix gently.

It came out surprisingly well! Plus, it was borderline vegetarian (except for that darn chicken broth…free-range, organic, and low sodium, though). The recipe originated here (which also happens to be a magazine that I received as a Christmas gift and really like), but I switched out the barley for some quinoa. It upped the protein quotient…besides, I didn’t have any barley around. Dave really liked it, saying that he thought it was filling but light at the same time. I was pleased that the squash didn’t turn out to taste too…um…squashy. If you know what I mean. You’d think something with a name like “butternut” would taste sexy and smooth, but not s’much. In this case, however, it worked!

Now, what to do with my acorn squash….

Oh, and here’s a little irrelevant lovefest I thought I’d share. It’s rare for Beardslee to use the couch when we’re on it (plus, moments earlier he was kneading Dave’s belly…hasn’t done that in a long time). Awww, my boys.

Passion for Programs

On one hand, I do lots at the theater. On the other hand, I do nothing compared to several very dedicated folks. But I thought I’d give you a glimpse into what I DO do there because, well, I’m the only one on the board with a blog…or at least a blog that indicates any relation whatsoever to our crazy “little theater“.

Just as an example, I give you this evening, less than one week prior to our latest show’s opening. My husband and I are both glued to our laptops. He’s working on work stuff (a house exploded, scary stuff). I’m working on the program. (More often than not, though, Dave’s working on theater stuff since he’s the president; I’m merely the secretary. We both agree that the role of treasurer is, arguably, the most work-intensive and thankless of all duties…I said arguably.) Here’s a glimpse:

“Programs” isn’t something that the secretary is necessarily “supposed” to do. (Yes, we have by-laws, although they don’t necessarily lay out everything that we each have to do. It’s just kind of “known”. Things tend to evolve that way when you’ve been going strong for nearly 90 years.) But, being the sick person that I am, I enjoy design and fonts and a general consistency, so at some point I had a lapse in sanity and offered to do programs for every show of the season. It’s okay, though, generally. After the first show of the season I can generally just plug in the new show info and players, keeping all of the ads (which Dave and I solicit) in place. The first one of the year is kind of a pain, though, and this just happens to be that kind. Joy!

I think I may be a control freak. The programs used to be quite different from one show to the next, and oftentimes included photocopied ads. While I sometimes get the occasional pixelation (I think I made a word), having everything as a computer file is so much simpler and easier to work with than the “old way”. Plus, audiences can expect consistency from one program to the next…if they even care….

We’re finally learning how to cut back on expenses and order only what we need for the first weekend; if we need more, I order them the Monday before the final weekend performance. Oh, another thing this reminds me about! We get them through Staples now. Sounds basic, right? We do the same for membership cards, newsletters, and a million other things. The best thing about doing the Staples thing, though? Stapling. Collating. Folding. We used to do all, all, ALL of that at the theater. I can’t count how many times I’d arrive with my hair in curlers only to pitch in in the lobby sorting and stapling pages of the program. Yeah, this really is a special sort of place. 🙂

I do get a strange enjoyment out of using dafont.com to download fun fonts (duh…hence the name) to give an appropriate feel to the program, such as with the title of “Arsenic and Old Lace” above. Frilly, appropriately creepy – it just sets the mood. Here’s another way that I like to sneak a little Meg personalization…

Can you make it out? “Help us go green and cut costs”? Yep, that’s all me. I experienced it at a stage in (where else) Ithaca, NY and had to implement it. It’s probably one of the only green things about the place (aside from our new furnace and A/C, which is Energy Star rated), but I try. 😉

So that’s one thing other than maintaining minutes, doing correspondence, creating newsletters (wow, there’s really SO much more than is in our job descriptions!), and acting that I do at the theater. Like I said, lots of people do lots more – where do you think the toilet paper and comes from? And who gets called when we have an attempted break-in or vandalism? Yep.

If you’re ever in the Mohawk Valley, double-check our web site and see if there’s a show going on. It’ll definitely make for an entertaining night, and no visitor to our little theater ever forgets the experience. Now I’m off to enjoy some mindless magazine-reading. Dave and I agree that any heavy reading (y’know…the kind that makes you learn or gives you suggestions on how to live a better life) has to wait until a show’s over. Those lines don’t allow room for much else in the ol’ noggin.

Blog Cliches

With all the blogs I waste hours of my life reading read, it’s hard not to pick up some of the language that the ladies use. (Seriously, 99% of the blogs I read are written by chicks. It is what it is.) While I do my best to maintain my own language, it’s only natural to be influenced. And, honestly, I’m pretty darn good at mimicry. If I was actually a good actress, I’d be better than darn good, but I do what I can. 😉

So, let’s see some of these oft-used blog cliches that I happen to really like, which we will inevitably be snickering at in less than 12 months with the arrival of even cooler (ie more ridiculous) terms…

Evah. As in, “It was the best day evah!” I suppose these are all examples of just fun conversational writing, which I’m not necessarily knocking. I’ve read a couple of scathing, over-indulgent blog posts shooting down much of what I truly love about reading and writing blogs. I want to hear the person’s voice. If they’re spelling correctly (or mis-spelling for the sake of silliness, as in “evah”), I’m happy. Heck, I even love one blogger who is notorious for accepting and self-deprecating her misspellings, which I respect. I’m not reading your blog expecting a professional journal, but if it’s filled with these cliches, I think you’re trying too hard. I know, you want to (not “wanna”) be the best blogger evah, but I’ve officially tuned you out now. :-\ I hope my readers don’t do that!

Wop wop. In case you don’t know, this is supposed to be the trombone sound that’s played when a bummer happens. This is another creative visualization that I actually appreciate. Anytime there’s a musical enhancement without having to throw in a YouTube clip, I’m all over it! And much more interesting would life be if, say, you burn the roast, take the lid off, look, then turn to some unseen camera with a “wop wop” sound in the background? A lot more, I’d say.

Lurve. Yes, readers over the age of 40 or 50 (particularly male), I am aware that “lurve” is from Annie Hall (a movie which I’d like Santa to deliver, if he reads this…). I’ve been told this on more than one occasion. Believe me, I love…lurve…classic film, and I consider it to be on that list. However, why do I doubt that a majority of the bloggers that use the term are aware of the usage history? I guess it doesn’t matter where it starts; it’s fun to use! As Woody Allen says, sometimes it’s necessary to come up with a new word when “love” just isn’t strong enough…

Wait for it. Hee hee. I enjoy this one. It’s so silly. You’re obviously not waiting, because you’re continuing to read. The next line will tell you exactly what you should be excited enough to “wait for”. Example: “We went to…wait for it…Vermont.” You can SEE the word in your peripheral! Hee hee. On the aforementioned nasty blog that slammed some of these phrases, it compared “wait for it” to stage directions in a play. So true! Oh, which reminds me – “Exit, stage right” needs to catch on.

Periods to articulate terribly important pauses. I do this all. The. Time. And, strangely, I like doing it. Obviously “The.” isn’t a sentence, nor is “Time.” And “I do this” is incomplete, as well. Yep, the grammatical inconsistencies (or downright errors) are palpable. But who cares? It’s fun, it breaks up the entry and adds a bit of flourish.

Awesomesauce. This is my current favorite. What’s better than awesomesauce? We’ll see what the future holds, shall we?

Celebrating One Year – A Vermont Getaway

Alternate Title: Or How I Almost Had a Nervous Breakdown Trying to Post from Windows Live Writer With This Many !$%#@?$* Pictures in a Post…hence it took several weeks to get this thing live on the interwebs.

We had plans, baby. Lots of ’em. But just enough not to make the whole anniversary trip a mass of rushing around mixed with a touch of anxiety. It. Was. Perfect.

As for our honeymoon last year, Dave and I went to our favorite fall getaway – Middlebury, Vermont. This time, since we wanted just a brief overnight trip, we didn’t travel north to Burlington, but instead spent a good day in Middlebury before traveling south on Route 7 (aka Antiques Galore) to the Bennington area. The weather was perfect foliage was incredibly gorgeous…it just makes me want to save up for a better camera to play around with and learn how to take pictures that will actually do it justice. And all the other inane stuff I want to photograph. (Y’know – branches, cats, future babies, furniture.) 

To save you from many unnecessary paragraphs, here are some of the highlights of the trip:

And imagine if I had time to edit this photo! My favorite from the trip.
Methinks it deserves a frame.
 
Let’s just say we stopped at the Middlebury Co-Op before checking in at the Inn.
‘Tis awesome that I have a partner-in-crime who will not only put up with me taking pictures of bulk foods in a very busy store, but encourages it. (It was busy, don’t let the picture mislead you.)

Aaaaand here is said partner, studying “local” coffees (kinda). He ended up grinding his own the next day. So proud!

Must I explain why I get excited over dairy in glass containers? Didn’t think so.
(And organic, nonetheless!)


These products are made about 15 minutes from where I live…and are sold in Vermont. Sweet!

Made about an hour from where I live, you know I HEART CHOBANI, right?

Isn’t this the neatest non-waste to-go container? Just wish I could figure out how to heat up soup in a microwave using that thing.

The gorgeous falls…



And Dave playing around with the fly fisherman.


I LOVED this shop! Everything was either “awww, cute!” or gorgeously-styled.
And we left empty-handed. Bummer.



Dave enjoyed these lil’ guys.

 

The meaning of life, or what?! We both particularly enjoyed this one – and I’m thinking up a way to make one for our digs…or at least using the sentiment.

Our song. It was meant to be. Maybe I should’ve bought this little box, after all.

Twisting his imaginary moustache. How did we NOT purchase these? Oh, right. They were expensive.


Okay. THESE were cheap. Why didn’t we buy them?!

Oh, right. They’re terrifying.
“Yellow Submarine” flashback.

These were pretty cool, but not practical…for us.
You can provide people with a “check” either providing a person extra karma points for awesome behavior, or withdrawing points for crappy behavior. Hmm. Maybe I could use these at school…

 This was in a different store, but it’d be awesome to fill this thing. (With a baby.)

Another perspective on the falls, and, as Dave puts it, “an old building used to be there!”

 Perfect little Vermont town.


So do we, Knitting Club Lady. So do we.
(Sew do we?)

The Middlebury Inn:

And my ever-present, goes-with-practically-everything, gaudy purse. Enjoy.


No, he’s not really peeing. We like to mess around. You should see the pictures I DON’T publish for all the world to see. (See: How To Make a Marriage Last Only One Year – Post Peeing Pics)
 
Love this display of mirrors in the hall of the Middlebury Inn!


He looks pissed, but he’s not – we were truly excited about “tea time” at the inn.

Treats with tea!
 

Love me a branchy tree picture.
(Let’s just say I have several very similar, yet slightly different versions of this one.)

There was a wedding and reception at the inn the day that we were there.
Why didn’t we think of that? Oh, right. We hadn’t been there yet.


The incredible tavern at the inn, where we ate dinner.
Also my nieces name. Giddy.


We found some checkers in the hallway.
Dave insisted that he forgot how to play.



Faker. He won.
Pay no attention to the stomach rolls. It was the angle…yeah, that’s it.


The inn’s lobby (one of its areas).

 Ready for some antiquing? Hard not to be with an interesting

oval lamp like this. (Although I’d prefer it in something other than brass. ;-))


And a sweet chair in ebony. That “M” must be for Megan. 😉

I loved that the curtain fabric was slightly modern/punchy, but
complemented the room’s traditionalism. 

Antiquing highlights:

 Dave found me some great vintage Christmas cards. Got some ideas for ‘em.

 Old seed packets. This ran around $60. Seriously?!
 


More? Good thing we found some at Camelot Village later in the day. Project time!

Ewe. You’re creepin’ me out. And makin’ me sad.
(On a side note, this is our FA-VO-RITE antiques shop in Vermont.
It’s where we got our sideboard last year. :-D)

This place also has a barn full of stuff. This is the creepy upstairs o’ furniture. 

Vintage Remington typewriter. We just happen to perform our shows in Remington’s old stable.

 

Ya don’t see this in NY much…

And in the midst of a heavy afternoon of antiquing, Rachel’s provided us an on-the-go,
locally-made, all-natural option. Thanks, Rachel!


Such as their “Vermonter” sandwich, sweet potato chips and “adult soda”…



…and Dave’s thirst-quenching lemonade.

Which gave us enough energy to enjoy our Bennington stop, and meet up with an old friend.

  And relive our well-known photo op.


Goofing off at Camelot Village (but not in the antique section; that wasn’t allowed. Wop wop.)


                                              Hitting traffic on our way out of Vermont.

What we didn’t get pictures of:
– The best dang anniversary gift ever. After 12 months, we still hadn’t sifted through the plethora of wedding pictures to create a photo album (be it traditional or the online-make-your-own kind). So, when Navigator Meg told Driver Dave that we finally had a stretch of time on the horizon (he’d asked me several times “Okay, after that turn, do we have a long stretch yet?”), he pulled out a present from the backseat and threw in a CD. The gift: a gorgeous album that he’d made online of a selection of our professional photos (which, incidentally, he’d worked on here and there since December, mostly by lying to me that he had to stay late at work 20 minutes…and here I thought it was another girl ;-D Juuuuust kidding). The CD: Most of the music that helped make the day special. For example, here’s the first song (which we and our wedding party entered the reception to; how can you not giggle with giddiness at that intro?!) —

– The inside of our favorite antiques shop EVER. (Possibly tied with Camelot Village…possibly.)
– The fun we had inside Camelot Village’s antiques shop. We visited this store a few years ago (during our first Vermont trip together, while there for a friend’s wedding) and took some wacky pictures. We got to the “village” too late last year. THIS year, I noticed that there was a sign discouraging the use of cameras and camcorders…to which my naughty husband said, “Good thing I have my cell phone.” We got a FEW pictures, but not nearly as many as the first time we went. 😉

– The Middlebury Co-Op. Millions more pictures should’ve been taken, but it was a hoppin’ joint the first time we went, and I’d forgotten my camera for the second visit. Two visits in a 24-hour span. Consider us hooked. Heck, Dave’s still talking about the soap. (Ah, yes, the soap. I should’ve snapped pictures of the soap.)

So, that was our awesome Vermont getaway! Hope it wasn’t too boring to relive with us. It was one of the best weekends I remember having in awhile, so it’s nice to jot down a little journal-like blogging to remember it in the long-term.

Celebrating One Year – A Vermont Getaway

Alternate Title: Or How I Almost Had a Nervous Breakdown Trying to Post from Windows Live Writer With This Many !$%#@?$* Pictures in a Post…hence it took several weeks to get this thing live on the interwebs.

We had plans, baby. Lots of ’em. But just enough not to make the whole anniversary trip a mass of rushing around mixed with a touch of anxiety. It. Was. Perfect.

As for our honeymoon last year, Dave and I went to our favorite fall getaway – Middlebury, Vermont. This time, since we wanted just a brief overnight trip, we didn’t travel north to Burlington, but instead spent a good day in Middlebury before traveling south on Route 7 (aka Antiques Galore) to the Bennington area. The weather was perfect foliage was incredibly gorgeous…it just makes me want to save up for a better camera to play around with and learn how to take pictures that will actually do it justice. And all the other inane stuff I want to photograph. (Y’know – branches, cats, future babies, furniture.)

To save you from many unnecessary paragraphs, here are some of the highlights of the trip:

DSC02916And imagine if I had time to edit this photo! My favorite from the trip.
Methinks it deserves a frame. DSC02922Let’s just say we stopped at the Middlebury Co-Op before checking in at the Inn. ‘Tis awesome that I have a partner-in-crime who will not only put up with me taking pictures of bulk foods in a very busy store, but encourages it. (It was busy, don’t let the picture mislead you.)

DSC02924Aaaaand here is said partner, studying “local” coffees (kinda). He ended up grinding his own the next day. So proud!

DSC02925Must I explain why I get excited over dairy in glass containers? Didn’t think so.
(And organic, nonetheless!) DSC02928 These products are made about 15 minutes from where I live…and are sold in Vermont. Sweet!

Made about an hour from where I live, you know I HEART CHOBANI, right?

DSC02931Isn’t this the neatest non-waste to-go container? Just wish I could figure out how to heat up soup in a microwave using that thing.

DSC02957The gorgeous falls…

DSC02961 DSC02962And Dave playing around with the fly fisherman.

DSC02966I LOVED this shop! Everything was either “awww, cute!” or gorgeously-styled.
And we left empty-handed. Bummer.

DSC02968 Dave enjoyed these lil’ guys.

DSC02969The meaning of life, or what?! We both particularly enjoyed this one – and I’m thinking up a way to make one for our digs…or at least using the sentiment.

DSC02970 Our song. It was meant to be. Maybe I should’ve bought this little box, after all.

DSC02972 Twisting his imaginary moustache. How did we NOT purchase these? Oh, right. They were expensive.

DSC02973 Okay. THESE were cheap. Why didn’t we buy them?!

DSC02974 Oh, right. They’re terrifying.
“Yellow Submarine” flashback.

DSC02976 These were pretty cool, but not practical…for us.
You can provide people with a “check” either providing a person extra karma points for awesome behavior, or withdrawing points for crappy behavior. Hmm. Maybe I could use these at school…

DSC02985DSC02988This was in a different store, but it’d be awesome to fill this thing. (With a baby.)

DSC02991Another perspective on the falls, and, as Dave puts it, “an old building used to be there!”

DSC02994Perfect little Vermont town.

DSC03007So do we, Knitting Club Lady. So do we.
(Sew do we?)

The Middlebury Inn:

DSC03012DSC02933And my ever-present, goes-with-practically-everything, gaudy purse. Enjoy.

DSC02936No, he’s not really peeing. We like to mess around. You should see the pictures I DON’T publish for all the world to see. (See: How To Make a Marriage Last Only One Year – Post Peeing Pics)

DSC02939Love this display of mirrors in the hall of the Middlebury Inn!

DSC02941He looks pissed, but he’s not – we were truly excited about “tea time” at the inn.

DSC02942Treats with tea!

DSC02947Love me a branchy tree picture.
(Let’s just say I have several very similar, yet slightly different versions of this one.)

DSC03011There was a wedding and reception at the inn the day that we were there.
Why didn’t we think of that? Oh, right. We hadn’t been there yet.

DSC03034The incredible tavern at the inn, where we ate dinner.
Also my nieces name. Giddy.

DSC03018We found some checkers in the hallway.
Dave insisted that he forgot how to play.

DSC03019Faker. He won.
Pay no attention to the stomach rolls. It was the angle…yeah, that’s it.

DSC03032The inn’s lobby (one of its areas).

DSC03024Ready for some antiquing? Hard not to be with an interesting oval lamp like this.

(Although I’d prefer it in something other than brass. ;-))

DSC03026And a sweet chair in ebony. That “M” must be for Megan. 😉

DSC03027I loved that the curtain fabric was slightly modern/punchy, but
complemented the room’s traditionalism.

Antiquing highlights:

DSC03036DSC03037Dave found me some great vintage Christmas cards. Got some ideas for ‘em.

DSC03038Old seed packets. This ran around $60. Seriously?!

DSC03039More? Good thing we found some at Camelot Village later in the day. Project time!

DSC03046Ewe. You’re creepin’ me out. And makin’ me sad.
(On a side note, this is our FA-VO-RITE antiques shop in Vermont.
It’s where we got our sideboard last year. :-D)

DSC03048This place also has a barn full of stuff. This is the creepy upstairs o’ furniture. 
DSC03052Vintage Remington typewriter. We just happen to perform our shows in Remington’s old stable.

DSC03055 DSC03056 DSC03057Ya don’t see this in NY much…

DSC03061And in the midst of a heavy afternoon of antiquing, Rachel’s provided us an on-the-go,
locally-made, all-natural option. Thanks, Rachel!
DSC03065Such as their “Vermonter” sandwich, sweet potato chips and “adult soda”…

DSC03066…and Dave’s thirst-quenching lemonade.

DSC03068Which gave us enough energy to enjoy our Bennington stop, and meet up with an old friend.

DSC03070And relive our well-known photo op.
DSC03076Goofing off at Camelot Village (but not in the antique section; that wasn’t allowed. Wop wop.)

DSC03077DSC03080Hitting traffic on our way out of Vermont.

What we didn’t get pictures of:
– The best dang anniversary gift ever. After 12 months, we still hadn’t sifted through the plethora of wedding pictures to create a photo album (be it traditional or the online-make-your-own kind). So, when Navigator Meg told Driver Dave that we finally had a stretch of time on the horizon (he’d asked me several times “Okay, after that turn, do we have a long stretch yet?”), he pulled out a present from the backseat and threw in a CD. The gift: a gorgeous album that he’d made online of a selection of our professional photos (which, incidentally, he’d worked on here and there since December, mostly by lying to me that he had to stay late at work 20 minutes…and here I thought it was another girl ;-D Juuuuust kidding). The CD: Most of the music that helped make the day special. For example, here’s the first song (which we and our wedding party entered the reception to; how can you not giggle with giddiness at that intro?!) —

– The inside of our favorite antiques shop EVER. (Possibly tied with Camelot Village…possibly.)
– The fun we had inside Camelot Village’s antiques shop. We visited this store a few years ago (during our first Vermont trip together, while there for a friend’s wedding) and took some wacky pictures. We got to the “village” too late last year. THIS year, I noticed that there was a sign discouraging the use of cameras and camcorders…to which my naughty husband said, “Good thing I have my cell phone.” We got a FEW pictures, but not nearly as many as the first time we went. 😉

– The Middlebury Co-Op. Millions more pictures should’ve been taken, but it was a hoppin’ joint the first time we went, and I’d forgotten my camera for the second visit. Two visits in a 24-hour span. Consider us hooked. Heck, Dave’s still talking about the soap. (Ah, yes, the soap. I should’ve snapped pictures of the soap.)

So, that was our awesome Vermont getaway! Hope it wasn’t too boring to relive with us. It was one of the best weekends I remember having in awhile, so it’s nice to jot down a little journal-like blogging to remember it in the long-term.

Blogspiration

Alternate Title: Blog Identity Crisis.
I love my blog. Clearly, or else I wouldn’t waste countless time playing around with it! 😉 I enjoy writing, picture-taking, sharing, and hearing positive input. Livin’ in the world of Web 2.0, baby! (Don’t get me started on Web 3.0 – it freaks me out. Although I guess I subscribe to a bit of it.) And, I’m pretty sure that enjoyment that I get is why my husband is so supportive of the time that I put into it. Woot, one million points to the hubby!

I think because I care so much about the darn thing, it bothers me a bit that I don’t necessarily have a clear blog identity jiving. I know, sometimes it takes time for this to happen. But, just as in life, it’s good to have an ultimate goal or objective in mind WHILE wandering down the path – which oftentimes shows a fork that you might not have expected.

What are some of the topics that I’ve covered thus far? Marriage/home life/a wedding (haven’t covered it as much as SOME blogs out there), cats-cats-and-more-cats, home ownership, green-ish living (currently we’re at more of a sage green than a moss, but we live consciously and consistently, and I’m proud) and, to an extent, non-traditional philosophies, food, attempts at simplifying life, a tad bit of decor…and much, much more. Oh, and recently I opened an off-shoot Etsy page. It’s pretty damn random, and I’m shocked that I have any readers at all. It’s a pretty selfish page. Writing about my grandmother’s hands, really – who cares? (Other than me…and family members.)

It makes me think: what am I really passionate about? If I want to put more into this blog, what should the focus be?

I don’t want to alienate my readers by picking one path in particular to write about. I also know myself – in case you haven’t noticed, there are times that I procrastinate, or projects that I start take forever (sometimes out of laziness, sometimes out of having zero free time to work on them, and sometimes out of fear of messing up…case in point: the bathroom); so, setting ONE goal for myself would be daunting. If I give myself the opportunity to still write a “random life post” now and then, I’ll be more likely to write even when I don’t have an exciting new *fill in the blank* to write about.

The strange thing is that the blogs that I read on a daily basis are almost nothing like my current blog. They’re blogs that give me inspiration and are well-written, but hardly ever diverge from their topic: generally-speaking, DIY, decor and home projects.

Wow.

Those really sound boring.

I assure you, they’re not! I’m in love with them. Do you know how many times I’ve quoted something I learned from one of these blogs (from a breastfeeding fact to house cleaning idea) to someone? (I generally get the blank stare in response, though. I should just start saying “My friend, Sherry, said…” rather than “I read on a blog that…”)

Here, catch a glimpse of my daily inspiration:

Okay, I know I’ve talked about them before, but they’re the first blog I ever got hooked on! They’re pretty much 95% DIY projects and decor, with the rare occasional glimpse into their home life. (Actually, they started a small version looking into their everyday life as a tab on their main page called Young House Life – I guess they just have so many interested readers. :-D)

The inspiration I find through them is to better my surroundings. I adored their first house and what they did with it – to the point that I MIGHT just be willing not to live in an “old house” (Dave likes more modern houses – like, post 1950) if I could only achieve what they did. I still enjoy reading about their projects and mishaps, although their style is swaying slightly into “Really? Could I do that?” territory.

This girl is awesome for several reasons, but the biggest: she’s real. Really real. She writes posts that will undoubtedly embarrass the crap out of her little boy one day. She’s unapologetically a poor speller, even slightly knocking the fact that she was home-schooled. She lays it all on the line, and she’s wicked funny while doing it. And, from time to time, her self esteem takes a beating and she writes a post about it. Good girl! Plus, her style is great and she’s all about decor on the cheap. Oh, and I’d say that only half of her posts are currently about house projects, since having a baby. She started off being mostly decor- and project-related, but once her son came along, it’s shifted – and I respect that.

I tell you, even if you’re not into decor or uber-awesome projects, CLICK THIS LINK! Layla Palmer is in-cre-di-ble. She’ll MAKE you like pretty things, and you’ll leave feeling like you were hugged. Truly inspirational. I’d say that she’s one of my current go-to blogs for attainable (yet HOLY CRAP ISN’T THAT GORGEOUS?!) decor ideas – and about 3/4 of her posts are about said decor. Others are about she and her husband’s hopes to adopt, family, recipes, etc. She balances it perfectly. I <3 Her and I hope that her HGTV pilot takes off, 'cuz even though I don’t have the channel anymore, she deserves the best!

Seriously, go check out the link. I’ll wait.

Okay, while I was waiting, I went to rehearsal for “Arsenic and Old Lace”, enjoyed some time with my husband, had a full night’s sleep, then worked. I couldn’t wait FOREVER, after all. 😉

Who else, who else…Oh, right! My “new” inspirations…

This lady’s got style coming out the wazoo. It really wasn’t until I found The Lettered Cottage, then stumbled upon Miss Mustard Seed (via TLC) that I realized, “I don’t hate country design. In fact…I kind love it.” How does one admit to one’s mother that they finally have *similar* tastes? Wow. That’s surely a come-to-Jesus talk if ever there was one.

Anyhoo, “Miss Mustard Seed” is about a lady who finds flea market and antique store finds and gives them a new life – then is lucky enough to be able to sell these goods (as well as other items that she hand makes) at a local shoppe. Ain’t that neat? But, honestly, it’s her incredible bloggery that inspires: her clear, concise writing mixed with magazine-shoot-good images. She makes me dream about a new camera, and makes me WANT to learn how to use it the right way. She’s made me learn how to swoon over grain sacks and metal wire crates. *sigh*

Honestly, every day I find a new blog that I admire for a different reason. There are ultimately too many to list. Today, I even found one called Three Boys that not only focuses on decor, but green living, too! Heaven.

So, for those of you who lurk and those of you who comment on every single post (thanks, BTW!), lemme know a) what you enjoy about my little home on the interwebs, b) what you look forward to seeing me write about the most (I’ve once heard feedback about recipes – fun!), c) what you wish I wrote more about (may be the same as b), and d) what you’d like to *politely* critique *coughcough-if anything-coughcough*.

I appreciate you stopping back to my favorite little hobby here and hope that I can write to make folks happy while I continue to enjoy myself doing so. 🙂

One Year Later – Lessons

Back with another one-year anniversary post – aren’t you the luckiest readers? 😉

While we were stopped at our favorite pub/restaurant in Troy on our way back home from our anniversary trip to Vermont (the UBER-LONG VT post will be ready soon…I hope!), the conversation naturally led itself to our marriage. In all honesty, the discussion was brief; I mean, how philosophical can one get over a flight of 6 (beer samples) and a pint of pumpkin ale? (I’m sure some people can get QUITE philosophical over such, but I was anxious to get back to the three fuzzy ones at home and Dave was just enjoying his flavor selection. We ain’t too classy sometimes.)

Instead of focusing on the numerous improvements we need to work on with the marriage, or all that we’ve done wrong (either as a couple or individually), I decided to ask – “What’ve we done RIGHT and good?” We’re painfully aware of what we need to fix (although it’s not really much), so there’s no need to dwell on the negative. The anniversary weekend was ALL about fun and positivity.

Here are a few of the answers that I jotted down on the beer-splattered napkin:

Forgiveness. We’re both stubborn, and I own my Irish temper – it is what it is. Arguments are inevitable. I once read that more marriages fail when the individuals involved DON’T know how to argue correctly – either by keeping it all inside and holding unspoken grudges (never fighting) or by getting verbally abusive or harmful. We’ve learned to fight about the issue at hand, not drudge up long-dead issues or past faults just to win the upper hand in an argument. Simultaneously, we’re not out to HURT each other. (Isn’t it true that we always hurt the ones we love? And the jerks that we work with or deal with outside the home get away with being, well, jerks? It shouldn’t be that way.)

So, we’ve learned to fight properly, but most importantly, we forgive and move on. One of us is usually able to calm down before the other, and remind the other of the love we share. Oh, and since, through trial and error, we’ve learned about forgiveness and how to fight properly, we fight a lot less. We didn’t fight much in the first place, but when we did, it wasn’t pleasant. Now, every issue doesn’t turn into a fight; more often than not, it turns into a conversation.

Communication, or, as Mr. Hubs put it, “We talk more.” We suuuuuuuure do! Like I said, even when we’re annoyed or mad, we lay our cards on the table and explain it. Sometimes we don’t even know that the other is upset, or we need an explanation. It’s a lot easier not to get mad back and to try to bring some calm levity to the discussion when you know what the other person’s going through. Because of this, the number of “I just wanna be alone” or downright SILENT fights (you know what I’m talking about, married folks) has diminished.

Remembering to Regroup. We’re a busy couple. Between theater duties and practices, Dave’s particularly rough work schedule, caring for the cats (that doesn’t sound like much, but it’s something!), and trying to find time for friends and family (which we only wish we could do more). It could be worse, but it’s easy to get home, exhausted, only to sit eating without connecting. I’ve more than once laid down in bed to say, “I don’t remember talking to you today.” I know we’d spoken, but I don’t remember a word of it. It’s like phantom driving, that dangerous habit of pulling sleepily into one’s driveway not remembering driving.

So, we remember our occasional Cooperstown trips, or put aside a Saturday to focus on what WE want to do. It’s often not about “us”, like a date day or what have you, but we enjoy the process of whatever we’re doing, together. Shopping at the farmers’ market (or even the grocery store), working on a little house project, making breakfast and actually eating it together – it helps us regroup. And, the strangest thing is, we both get the urge when it’s needed. It could be a random Wednesday night conversation during which we realize that we had both been struck with the “This Saturday, we should go to the farmers’ market” mood during the day. And, when we’re on the same page (95% of the time) and SPEND time together, it FEELS like a date. We appreciate the time together all the more and really enjoy each other.

Mind you, there are those times (like the weekend prior to our anniversary weekend) that a simple, slightly-too-expensive date night makes you feel like a princess. Those rock, too. 😉

Support and understanding. While it’s not like we didn’t support OR understand each other before we got married, it seems we get better at this the more time we spend together. Everyday I learn more about the stresses that he deals with at work; everyday he learns more about my hopes and dreams and wishes and frustrations. Every time I don’t blow up that he has to work late, for example, I show that I’m learning how to support him better. Every time he compliments my talents, he shows that he supports my creative outlets (sometimes even more than I do). Every way that I can show him support for his writing and understanding for the bumps in the road, I try to find. Heck, even making the occasional pot of soup seems to boost him up; whatever I can do. We’re stronger than we were a year ago, and not everyone can say that; I hope this continues for decades!

Goals. We both have an idea of where we’d like to head in life. These ideas may or may not be different than they were a year ago, but we’re still completely connected as to the importance of supporting (see above) one another while traveling our paths, whether those paths be what we expected or not. I was always concerned about human’s inclination to change – hey, what would life be if we just lived in ruts for good? But, I was worried that the idea of marriage opposed a person’s will to change, leading to ultimate doom (the dreaded “D” word that marks the end of a marriage). Now, however, I’m feeling much more confident that people (Dave and I, in particular) can change and grow – even if they’re moving at different speeds or in different directions – as long as it’s together and with open communication throughout. It can be an uplifting thing, really. Quite unexpected!

An extra non-napkin note that I’d like to add is one that I haven’t mentioned to Dave. Something that means A LOT to me is that he’s turned into my cheer-up person. There was a time that I’d be in a bad mood about something and he’d be completely hands-off about it. It wasn’t for lack of caring; he just didn’t know that my needs are different than his needs, and I need some support. (I guess you could “see above” again about that.)

Recently, I was working on the aforementioned looooong VT blog post and was having major problems posting 50 pictures using Windows Live Writer. (Any suggestions GREATLY appreciated!) I finally had to face the music: I was going to have to upload them directly to often-fussy Blogger. I was discouraged and downright upset, and Dave knew it. He boosted up my mood by being super sweet, bringing me tea, supporting a project I decided to do instead, and organizing my kitchen cabinets. It. Was. Incredible. Even a year ago (yep, newlywedland), he wouldn’t have handled it this well.

I used to have a certain friend or movie or other activity to help boost me when I was feeling low. Now, my husband fulfills that role. Not bad for a one-year anniversary; just think where we’ll be in five years!

Honor System and Ommegang

Dave and I were having the quintessential autumn Saturday yesterday, with a successful trip to the Cooperstown farmers’ market under our belts, when it occurred to me that I had hoped to pick up some pumpkins. I like to decorate with them, mostly, but if they don’t get destroyed first, I’m considering making some pumpkin puree – the cats eat it on occasion, and I loves me some pumpkin pie. ‘Tis my favorite. Remember that, there’ll be a quiz.
So, the husband came up with the incredible idea of calling up a good friend, whom we will refer to as “B” from the awesome couple of “B+B” (not sure how they feel about being mentioned in a blog. :-D) He suggested that we go to his friend’s farm, which has been selling pumpkins and such on the honor system for a year or two (just getting off the ground), so the three of us high-tailed it over there.

For some reason, it gives me a sense of satisfaction in mankind that the honor system is still used. Heck, I’m sure that there are many people in our area that rely greatly on the income from the produce that they grow, but the system still exists. It’s. Awesome. And, no, of course I didn’t gyp them. I think I threw in an extra dollar or two for good measure. After all, their prices were crazy good.

Upon arrival, we were met by some incredibly creepy, wicked papier mache monster ghoul thingies. One might also describe them using the term du jour, “awesomesauce”. Awesomesauce, indeed.

Flying pumpkin dude. Consider me freaked out.


Freaky pumpkin-head on stick. *shivers*


“Who ya gonna call?” Am I right?


Pumpkin-sitter. This guy was gnarly. Definitely my favorite.


But, these guys seriously brought the goods. (The farmers, not the monsters.) And I may or may not have ran around like a dorky idiot choosing the proper gourds and pumpkins, muttering a running cost total to myself while the guys discussed much cooler things. I was happy that they knew enough to think, “Pay no attention to the weirdo in the black Converses and purple scarf.”

Poser.

Did I MENTION how insane the prices were? $2 for a bundle of Indian corn, $1 for three gourds?! Yes, please.

I ended up with 4 small/medium pumpkins, along with an extra white/peach-ish one, a handful of gourds, a bunch of Indian corn, and several strange pumpkin/gourd hybrids.

I guess the honor system isn’t completely true here.
This dude was watching us. He wouldn’t take our money, though.
I suppose the best part of our treasure hunt was that it led to an impromptu visit with B+B, along with a visit to the Ommegang Brewery. If you’ve never been, it’s an amazing place with equally amazing Belgian-style beer (and other products) in the middle of absolutely nowhere. It’s a destination in itself. Why have we not brought more friends there? Sheesh. Honestly, it’s strange, but I an fond of every one of their beers in a different way. I’m not a connoisseur (how much French can I fit into one post without completely translating?) or anything, but I couldn’t often say that I could test a complete run of their beer on tap and enjoy every. Single. One. If you like Belgian, you must go.

They’ve recently renovated to include a completely new cafe, gift shop and tasting area – and was PAAAHAAAACKED (ie “filled to the brim”, if I wanted to be punny). Luckily, girl B was an expert at grabbing seats (belly up to the bar, folks), so I got to try their infamous fries with several dipping sauces (if you must know, garlic aioli, truffle-soy aioli, Witte Ale mustard and a suspiciously un-spicy spicy chili aioli) and a smaller-serving-than-expected plate of cheeses and charcuterie (camembert, Jersey Girl colby, and prosciutto…but who could pass up the perfectly-heated camembert?). It was delicious, although the conversation and company was just as good as the food and beverage.

Don’tchya love when an impromptu pumpkin hunt turns into an unexpected brewery visit?

One Year Later – Wedding Fun

Dave and I celebrated our one-year anniversary this past weekend, so I’m going to ask you to indulge me for one post. I’d like to remember the silly stuff from the wedding day. We did our best to focus on the most important part of the wedding – y’know, the marriage part – but sometimes it’s fun to reminisce about the stuff that people tend to remember more than the personal stuff.
We were lucky enough to have a lot to laugh about 10/9/10, mostly thanks to our close friends. Our families were VERY well-behaved (consider us pleased and proud that everyone got along so well – we’ve since realized that things aren’t always this pleasant), but as my mother said, a person would have to have been dead not to have a ball at our wedding. (How many “have”s can you fit in one sentence?)

The only control we had over the fun factor was in the planning; otherwise, our friends (and family…but mostly friends) took over and did most of the work. Our “fun factors” were, in no particular order: music, activities, people, food, and photography. These seem like no-brainers, but stay with me here; it’s how we planned, selected and set up these factors that let us relax and enjoy the day while allowing our guests to cut loose, too. Looking back, I realize that the day, ultimately, was as much about “them” (the people that we love and adore) as much as it was about “us”.

Music: If we hadn’t selected our DJ, who was meticulous in HIS own planning of our reception time and in the gathering of information from us (hate the electric slide, love Beatles songs), the dance floor wouldn’t have been hopping like it was ’til the moment people finally left (or headed down to the Dungeon for drinky dinks). Seriously, for an afternoon reception, I was shocked at how many people were still dancing hours into it. We hardly had to call people back out to the dance floor for the final dance – “All You Need is Love”, which turned into the bride and groom’s final dance, surrounded by a circle of LOVE. Best. Moment. Ever.

We knew “DJ Bill T” was going to do an awesome job, because he really brought his A game to my brother-in-law’s wedding. But the equation of Bill T plus weird, awesome friends equaled incredibly crazy dance moves. Again, for an afternoon wedding, it was unheard of. Relive with me, won’t you?…

air guitar + Journey = awesome.

Christine’s Travolta

Activities: As for the little “activities” that we had embedded here and there, people were given the chance to mingle and meet or share in their Dave and Meg stories. We provided cards for folks to leave messages, a scrapbook comparing the bride and groom’s growth, from messy-haired kids to awkward teens, to when we finally met and fell in love. Our Flip camera was set out to allow for any greetings or, as it turned out, creepy/strangely-acted-yet-hilarious messages – can’t wait ’til we have kids, and they’re eventually old enough to watch some of those! Even the table names gave way to some conversation. Oh, and a little game played by our DJ REALLY got the tables talking and laughing, enough to break the ice at the get-go for amiable chatting for the rest of the day.



People:
If we hadn’t invited the folks that we had…if we hadn’t decided early on to keep the day small, simple, and meaningful…if we hadn’t whittled the list down to the people that we truly loved and cared about…we might as well have eloped. A huge wedding, showing how in debt a couple can go by inviting over 200 people, showing how many important people we know well enough to invite…well, it just wasn’t us. Our day was MADE by the people we invited. See for yourself…

Good times!

Jim Mills, ie Col. Mustard, ie Hip Hop Extraordinaire.

Chuck, the Professional Party Starter.
(Small Print: Chuck Carr was not paid for his involvement in our wedding.)



And, needless to say, Uncle Mark’s perfect mix of humor and somberness made for an eloquent, PERFECT ceremony.

Food: Holy crap, the food was incredible!!! Seriously, I’ve just gotta share with you just a sample from the menu (and not ‘cuz I’m bragging – it’s not like I cooked the stuff!): Slow Roast Certified Angus Top Round of Beef served sliced, rosemary mushroom au jus, roasted to medium, with whipped potatoes & frizzled onions (mmm…frizzled onions)…Roast Breast of Turkey with traditional herb sage stuffing, pan gravy (I MUST MASTER SAGE STUFFING…I never knew I liked the herb so much until I tasted this). We were going to go with a chicken and a beef, but given that it was a fall wedding…and given what we found to be delicious (hoping that our guests would agree), let’s just say we don’t regret it one bit. AAAAND let’s just say that when the leaves start to turn, we start craving a Beardslee meal. (And the staff was ON TOP OF EVERYTHING, even down to framing our singed seating chart, which now hangs proudly in our dining room. If they hadn’t been so smooth and accommodating with ALL the planning, it wouldn’t have been such a perfect day.)

Dave reconstructing the seating chart…

Seriously. I put TONS and TONS of thought into what I cook for people when they come for dinner. At times, I Martha Stewart a little too much. So, it was incredible that we found such a perfect venue for our wedding that would treat our guests just the way I like to treat them when they come over – only slightly better. 😉

The food was served homestyle, which definitely contributed to folks interacting at their tables. We also had black, champagne, and white M&Ms (one of which was “personalized” with our picture), and a huge chocolate fountain bar (thanks to Dave’s mom for prepping all those awesome goodies – I don’t think I ate one, but all the guests partook, which is what matters most; the only thing I missed out on!) with marshmallows, graham crackers, and tons of fruit on skewers. This area drew people in…then forced them to do the aforementioned activities. Mwahaha, sneaky.



I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention, also, the fact that our cupcakes were in-cre-dible, from the Gingerbread Bake Shop. I think we had 4 different flavors, from chocolate and “wedding cake” vanilla to orange and lemon (we were saved one of each, which we ate before and during our honeymoon…so sweet, so yummy). But, the best dessert was OURS. My mother had made a homemade apple pie (her recipe is THE best) with a “D” on it, which we cut into instead of cake. With forks in hand, we fed it to each other. Much nicer than the face-smash, and much more personalized since my hubby’s a much bigger pie fan than cake. Throw in the Beatles song “When I’m 64” to cut the pie to, and you’ve got a memorable, fun time!



Photography: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Sarah Beck is insanely talented and, mostly appreciated, incredibly accommodating and easy to work with. I was SO looking forward to pictures and never once became nervous that they were going to take over the entire day. I feel badly for brides who miss their entire wedding (ie “all the fun”) because the photographer’s taking a million pictures. Here’s just some of the fun Sarah brought along to the party…

And she was kind enough to grab a few extra family shots when folks were heading out…

Oops. Sorry. Not those ones.
Although, this WAS a hilarious moment to capture. 😉

Of course, the “group shot” loosened people up even more to saunter back into the Dungeon (it also got us away from the other “evil” wedding group that had taken over the bar unexpectedly – which we graciously rose above ;-D Beardslee’s folks were so kind about it, though, really) and finish the night off right.





Dave and I marvel at how much fun our wedding day was. I don’t think we’d ever renew our vows – nothing could compare to the fun, semi-perfection of our one and only wedding day.