yay times


6 months ago, I promised to love this guy for the rest of my life:

I’m the luckiest girl in the world. 🙂

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Little known fact about me: I am an obsessive DIYer.  Most of the furniture in my house has been thrifted or garage saled and then refinished.  I like the satisfaction of working on something that’s been thrown away or outcast and turning it into something fantastic. I’m also uber-thrifty (read: cheap) and while I love the finer things in life, I don’t like the price tags that are typically attached.

My most recent project: a vanity tray for my dresser.  I’ve got far too many bracelets, rings, perfume bottles, and other paraphernalia cluttering up my dresser. Organization, please! My inspiration piece was this beauty from Urban Outfitters:

I loved the scroll work of the metal and the gorgeous (albeit faux) patina. And although it was priced at only $24, which was reasonable compared to some others I’d seen for $100-$200 or more (!!), I still thought I could do better cost-wise.  I made a quick trip to my local thrift store and, after rummaging through a bin of old picture frames, I found an antique frame with a comparable filigree:

The frame’s velvet stand had long since broken off and the glass pane was split in two.  But the $.99 price tag and the additional 50% off sale meant I couldn’t pass it up.  The poor little broken frame came home with me.

I thought at first about trying to replace the glass with either a mirror or a new pane and then maybe spray painting the frame a fun color, but since my goal was to keep this refurbish under the total cost of its Urban Outfitters equivalent, I decided not to replace or paint anything. Instead, I bought a single sheet of pretty, scrapbooking paper from Hobby Lobby. Of course, the paper was 50% off (woo!) so it only cost me another $.14.

Once home, it only took a couple of quick coats of Mod Podge to seal the paper to the glass, one coat on the back to seal the broken glass together, a few hours to dry and blamo!  My new vanity tray was ready for action!

Pretty gorgeous, right? I actually like my version better than the Urban Outfitters’ one.

Here’s the cost breakdown:

Frame:  $ .99 @ 50% off = $.48

Paper:  $ .29 @ 50% off = $.14

Mod Podge: already had some left from a previous project

_______________________

My total cost:  $  .62

Urban Outfitters’ version:  $24.00

TOTAL SAVED:  $23.38

Mission Accomplished!!

You know how your favorite TV shows end each season on a cliffhanger?  Like “Game of Thrones” or “True Blood,” they make you wait months and months to find out what happened to characters for whom you’ve invested your time, energy, and attention.  Will Lafayette be freed from Antonia?  Can Sookie finally make up her mind about Eric/Bill?  Who are the White Walkers?  And will winter ever arrive in Winterfell?!  By the time you get around to the new season, so much time has passed that you’re a little lost trying to remember precisely what was going on when last you saw them.

To that end, I offer you a quick summary of events in the life of super shiksa, since last we spoke:

I started teaching at another university, bringing my total number of jobs to three.

I got engaged,

planned an out of state wedding,

went back to school,

bought a new car,

got married over fall break,

 

honeymooned in New England,

combined households and fur kids,

  

and did it all in time to celebrate three Thanksgivings,

and four Christmases.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

once upon a tuesday night, as dinner time was fast approaching, our heroine decided to offer something unlike any other heretofor: pizza.

“pizza?”  thou might protest. “that is not an unusual delight.”

true, while pizza was certainly no stranger to the typical tuesday night table, this time it would not be Father Angelo who prepared the feast. oh no. on this particular eve, our brave narrator would attempt from scratch to provide the meal herself.

calmly and carefully, she measured the ingredients. 2 cups wheat flour. 1 and 1/2 cups white flour. a dash of salt, a spoon of oil, and one mysterious substance called Rapid Rising Yeast. nervously, she coaxed the ingredients to behave, mixing them thoroughly until finally, they formed dough.

this first, small victory being achieved, she breathed a quiet prayer and gently laid a warm towel over the bowl. now it had been more than a fortnight since the autumnal equinox and the house held a slight chill. our narrator had heard whisperings of many a failed dough-rising as a result of such temperatures and attempted to create a more encouraging environment by slightly warming the oven and allowing the dough to rest therein.

the next hour crept along wearily, waiting for the magical rising to occur, fearing to sneak a peek at the process lest the sudden rush of cold air stymie all progress.  finally, she heard the bell toll. the hour being passed, she opened the door, gingerly set the warm bowl on the counter and removed the towel.

it had risen! it had risen, indeed! a quick and happy jig was danced before endeavoring the next task: the great separation. as before, steady hands and precise movements were of the utmost importance, lest the dough, overworked, become tough and chewy. great pains being taken to prevent its agitation, the dough was cleverly divided in two.

once more, the warm towel protected its inchoate ward. another span of time meant for waiting. another sabbath for our bread.

not so long as before, however, the proper season eventually arrived: it was time to add the trimmings. one bejeweled in glorious crimson, the other in shy green. both were laid upon a warm stone and nestled back into the dark, dry bosom of the oven, now piping hot. within the merest matter of moments, our narrator’s great ambition was ultimately and deliciously achieved.

all the company rejoiced! wine flowed freely and good-natured compliments joined in. and thus went the tale of that tuesday night’s happy adventures.

You know how every once in a while you’ll get change at the gas station or grocery store and quickly stuff it into your coat pocket? More often than not you remember to fish it out once you get home. But every once in a while you forget it’s there…and the coats go away into storage in favor of summer clothes and months go by before the first frost of a new winter when you dig the jackets out from the back of your closet. And then it takes a few days before chance and circumstance happen to drive your hands into your coat for warmth and Hey! there’s a $20 I forgot I had! You know the feeling I’m talking about?

That’s kind of what I felt when I stumbled upon this piece in an old file on my hard drive…except I can’t put this story towards rent.

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April 2006

A 13 year old could do my job. Well, one of my jobs at least. Upon completion of my masters degree, I dove headfirst into the real world, eager to find gainful employment in my field of choice. In hindsight, it might have been a good idea to choose a field before seeking said employment. But since I am only 25 and as able to make permanent decisions about my future as I am likely to remember to change the oil in my car, I had to resign myself with whatever I could find to make ends meet. Luckily this task was partially covered by my job as a youth pastor. Now as we all know, ministry is terribly lucrative. You know, will of God, Prayer of Jabez, and all that. Be that as it may, I concluded I would need additional income to support my presently extravagant lifestyle of student loan repayment and ramen noodles. This being so decided, I reluctantly joined the ranks of countless young girls who dream of earning extra cash to buy lip-gloss and Pussycat Dolls CDs: I am a nanny.

And yes, I am aware of the silliness that occurs when you place my name and job title next to each other. Try to stay with me.

One of the benefits of being a nanny, apart from the free ice cream and Chex-Mix, is getting to mess with young minds. The particular family I work for has two such intellects ripe for confusion. The older sibling, a precocious (ok, spoiled) nine year old believes me to be the most beautiful, intelligent, and funny young woman she’s ever met. Clearly, she is very bright. Her brother, being only recently turned seven, is more easily turned by my powers of persuasion. A few weeks ago, over green apple slices and gobs of peanut butter, my young friend asked, “Hey, you know what?”

I love this question because there are a number of ways you could go. One option is to turn it back around with a decided, “Yes, but do YOU know what?” Another is to state various things you do in fact have knowledge of, like the temperature at which water freezes, the distance from the earth to the moon, the number of licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop… On this particular afternoon, I took a slightly different approach.

“Of course,” I said, answering quickly. “I know everything.”

“Come on!”

“Its true.” I nodded my head.

He wrinkled his nose. “Not everything.”

“Yep. Everything.”

At this point in our conversation, the wrinkles on his nose staged a coup and completely overtook the rest of his normally cheery face. Disappointed to the point of extreme agitation that he would not be able to share what he learned in school that day, he looked at me pleadingly through his now-squinty eyes and begged, “Well then can I just tell you anyway?” I agreed that he could.

It’s true a 13 year old might be able to do my job. She could make lunch, help with homework, fold laundry and clean dishes. She might even be able to do a mean lip-sync to Beauty and the Beast’s “Be Our Guest” (though I’d be willing to bet mine is better). But could she ever achieve omniscience? I think not.