Friday, October 26, 2007

Anastasia Puddle Duck

This rain feels so wonderful and refreshing. One of the best things to do in the rain is to go to Ikea. I went there last night on my way to the RCIA class I am taking where Nick works at Holy Family. I wanted inspiration. Each day this week I have took it upon myself to clean one room each day. My parents have heaps of junk and misplaced items. I never want to be like that. Ikea always inspires me to clean out excess "stuff" and their organizational items are so creative! I wasn't going to buy anything but A and I fell in love with a sheepskin from Argentina for $20. I picked out the softest one and A slept on it last night. Hooray for Ikea!
Today I went to the Library and Borders for some coffee as the house supply has run out. I have $6 in fines but I was told if I bring in 6 cans of food next month they will erase them. So now I need to find 6 cans of food for 50cents a piece so I get a good deal out of the deal and help starving people. Giant's sale rack, here I come!!
The best hang out place in the world would be a library with a Cafe in it. They would make a killing between fines and overpriced coffee! I would be there all the time. The public library system would probably be lame about it though and get a Starbucks cafe or just have really cheap, gross coffee. I still think it would be a great place to be on a rainy day like today. Oh, and I would add a neat play area for kids so that mom and dad could enjoy a cafe latte while children play in fun area. What could be better? Maybe when I am rich....
I had best be off to pick up Caitlin...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Orange Elephants and Black JEEPs

My friend Gwen has a new blog. You have to check out her adorable elephants (like the one A. is playing with in the picture above) and other whimsical homemade goodies at her etsy shop.

I have taken to looking through Etsy for little stocking stuffers and cute handmade gifts. I found these dolls that I love. Anna recommended Nova Natural Toys where I found this husky wooden toy. Its funny how we shop for baby toys more for ourselves. I have a feeling Anastasia's favorite Christmas present will be the wrapping paper. My goal is to have all my Christmas shopping done by the end of November. We will see what happens. I don't even know if we will be here or in the Chicago region for Christmas yet.

I am so happy for the rain. Rain makes me appretiate a roof over my head, hot soups, and most of all for MY JEEP!!! which I have back. I have wanted a Jeep Wrangler for a long time. It was my dream vehicle as a kid. My Barbies had a Jeep therefore they had to be cool. Then in high school I thought they were cute and tough. It wasn't until I went to Moab, Utah a couple times that I knew that someday I would have one. Then last year Nick called me up at the Animal Hospital and asked me if I wanted him to buy a Jeep that was in excellent condition with a good price tag. Heck yeah!! So that is my little story. Unfortunately my Jeep eats a lot of gas. I saw a bumper sticker that read "buy a hybrid, my Jeep needs the gas." It is very amusing, somewhat true and also makes me feel somewhat guilty about not having a more eco-friendly car. I feel like since I don't commute in it and drive it a whole lot during the week, it is somewhat okay to have my "toy."

So in honor of my beloved Jeep who I have been reunited with:
Only in A JEEP!

Sunday, October 21, 2007


My title is actually a puzzle that was in the paper today. By the end of this post you should know the answer. My post today is on Fair Trade. My mom just became manager of an absolutely wonderful and uber fantastic store called Ten Thousand Villages. The store sells fairly-traded handicrafts from around the world. They change peoples lives by selling their beautiful items in the United States and paying them a fair wage, meaning a wage they can support themselves and a family with for their crafts. No other store does this. Even Starbucks Fair-trade is not really fair trade as less than 1% of their coffee is fairly traded. Meaning they have wage-slaves in third world countries. Who doesn't though? Walmart, Target, Ikea, every toy and dollar store in the US--the list never ends.

When Anastasia was born, she was given the cutest, fabric blocks made by Baby Einstein that she loves. A little over a week ago these blocks (well a certain batch that didn't include mine) were recalled due to lead paint being on the blue block for infants everywhere to suck on. Guess where it was made? CHINA. Made by wage-slaves. This pisses me off!!! Every toy I ever played with, and Anastasia plays with now is made in China. I started looking at nice wooden, European toys for Anastasia's Christmas presents. Half of them are MADE IN CHINA and are marketed as "fine European toys" (eg. Haba brand) and they have a mighty fine price tag too.

So I have been researching to find American-made products (and some foreign, fair-trade products) for those interested in resisting the Chinese Empire.

1. Ten Thousand Villages (for gifts, some toys and hand made Jewelry, etc)
2. Nalgene: Never buy another water bottle again- they are indestructible, and if by chance they break, you can take it to any Nalgene store and they replace it free of charge. This is the quality you get when you shop American. Available at most outdoor stores.
3. Klein Tools: This is one of Nick's favorite tool companies. All-American tools that last. Available at Lowe's, Ace Hardware and other trade-shops.
4. Smart Wool: maker of the best socks I have ever worn. My oldest pair is 3-years old and will probably last even longer. 10% of all online-orders go to the Smart Print Advocacy Fund (which is helping build and preserve the trail my bro just hiked, the Continental Divide Trail.)
5. Fox News: List of American-made Toys available at most department stores and a few links.

Thats all for now folks. I will find more and post. These were just my favorites that I looked up last night. Send me any links and companies you know of. Join me in my patriotic act of not supporting China.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Merry Christmas to me!!!!!!!!!

I AM SO HAPPY I FINALLY GET TO SEE NICKEL CREEK in 2 WEEKS!!! It is perfectly ok to envy me... because I envy where I will be in 2 weeks and 7 1/2 hours. I just happened to look up where they will be next... and they are playing at the 9:30 Club on Nov. 2nd. Hooray!!! LONG LIVE CELTIC BLUE GRASS AND VIOLINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pumpkins are fun

I have been so lame about updating. Most of my computer time is spent posting antique postcards on eBay. Postcard collecting is apparently a HUGE hobby. I really enjoy looking at postcards from a different time and place. Most of the cards I post are from the early 1900's. It is neat to see pictures of what the world was like back then. Almost every main street has similar mom&pop drug stores and department stores. Its hard to imagine America pre-corperation explosion. The neatest part about the postcards are some of the messages people write. Most of what people wrote were vague or nothing more than a "Hello" but I have seen some pretty neat stuff. There was one woman who wrote a letter (it took up over 3 postcards, but all I had were those 3) to a man she had never met in person. They wrote back and forth and she was commenting on his picture and how she would like to meet him. This was in 1909 or something mind you. Another woman commented on how you could get a gallon jar of apricots in Chicago for 50cents and you could use them to make pies or jam, and her aunt bought 3 jars! Seems kind of silly, but buying a jar of peaches in the store was a new thing. My uncle had even seen one with a civil war camp and a man had written that he had stayed there during the war. He kept that one.

Over the weekend we really enjoyed the Folk Festival in Richmond. It was perfect weather and I fell in love with a band called Vishten which is considered acadian music. I learned that acadian music is French Canadian, Celtic-Cajun music. Whatever it is I love it. Being that I am 1/4 Irish and 1/4 French Canadian (yeah I am a mutt) it seemed like the perfect music mix for me. They had a violin (which I am dying to learn) and even did a little bit of Irish dance (another thing I want to learn). Vishten truly speaks to the Irish in me and connects me to my heritage... something most Americans are disconnected from.

I also saw my good friend Devon after the festival at Cafe Gutenburg... a delightful (and somewhat snobby) Cafe in Richmond with delectable lattes and tasty wines. Who could ask for more?

Sunday we enjoyed a trip to a not-overly commercialized pumpkin patch in the middle of nowhere. Anastasia was more interested in the straw than the pumpkins and we got her (I mean us) a pumpkin. Then we enjoyed the Bonfire at the Hatke's. Anastasia was in her element (as was I) outside beside a blazing fire. Bonfires in autumn are sublime. The hospitality was awesome. Life is good.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

It has been a while, my blog followers, and I post at last! I half expected my life to settle down come autumn and it has somehow been the opposite. Between apple-picking, a trip to Williamsburg with the in-laws, picking Caitlin up from school, selling antique postcards on eBay for my uncle, and reading the 7 books in the Harry Potter series I feel as though I have been non-stop. And perhaps you thought I was sitting around in front of the t.v. eating bon-bons.

Speaking of Harry Potter... I have posted my review beneath these wonderful pictures so if you are not finished with the series... DO NOT READ MY REVIEW. Just look at the pretty pictures.

The Wythe House
Anastasia and her Grandpa
Nick in the Pillary... not a bad sentence for stealing a watch in a tavern, having his mom as his only witness (who was drinking at the time) and having two eight year olds as the Jury.

Leia on her throne.

Growing up with a lot of conservative influence where the general consensus regarding Harry Potter was that Harry Potter is EVIL. So finally, at 23, I have done the unthinkable and committed the eighth deadliest sin... and I read them all. Wahahahaha. Amazingly, I have not converted to Wicca nor have I sold my soul to the devil. In fact, I laugh that this book is so hugely banned. Harry is such a strong character who fights for and even sacrifices himself for what he believes in and those he loves. He constantly fights evil with good. I think Harry's loyalty and love, and love being the conquerer of death in Rowling's world makes the Harry Potter series almost Christian in principal and any child who reads this series (at a reasonable age of course) has much to be gained.

I think Rowlings is a very clever author. I came up with half a million predictions on characters and the overall ending and with few exceptions (I knew deep down that Snape was good) I was wrong. There were so many surprises (good and bad) and I was on the edge of my seat through this entire book. Deathly Hallows was much darker than the other six, partially due to the lack of the social life at Hogwarts. I thought Rowlings was a little bit quick to kill certain people off... like Lupin and Tonks!!! With no explanation of their deaths? That pissed me off. I think besides that, my only other qualm with this book was what I felt was a rather abrupt ending. I mean COME ON!!! I just spent the past three-months worth of my free time reading Harry Potter without abandon and it was over in less than a chapter? It was far from the "Happily ever after" that this series required. I thought the story was great and the death of Voldemort was so dramatic and well planned, but UGH!! I just wanted more. I want to know what happened to George Weasley when Fred died. I wanted to know what happened to Hagrid, Malfoy, Luna, the professors... and everybody!! But that is just me. I felt ripped off on the ending. Other than that it was an excellent series and I recommend it to anyone who is 10 or older.