Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Goal Progress: Goal 83

Mission accomplished! I can see the top of the desk again. Of course it was easy once I got started.
Yes that's a headset you see sitting on top of the notebook. Necessary for class conference calls. I actually have one tonight.
Still some sorting and organizing to do in the file cabinets, but it's much better than it was this time yesterday.

I even made it to the top of the bookshelf. Much, much better.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Goal Progress: Goal 83

Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it's not all mixed up.

~ AA Milne

Goal 83: Organize paperwork/office area & keep it that way

I love being organized. It's not that I have an extreme love of order, my love of order falls well within normal ranges. I think. I'm a little bit on the scattered side, a bit flighty if you will. If given the option between focusing my energy on one thing completely or doing some combination of 5 things at once, I always choose the 5. So being organized helps me get to everything that needs to get done, everything that needs my attention.

Admittedly, that hasn't been easy to do lately. School takes up a lot of time and energy. All that means is that things go a little longer before getting organized and put away. Which isn't bad, but eventually enough things pile up that it starts to clutter my workspace. Then I start to feel like the clutter is actually overtaking my mind as well. It gets hard to focus.

That's where we're at today. Take a look at the pictures below to see exactly what I mean.

This is what a desk looks likes when it's shared by two busy people. One using it for work, and one using it for school. That's right, on top of this being my study area, this is the big guy's office. He works from home, or at least tries to with the little space left.

I'm embarrassed. I'd like to say that I staged this photo, you know added some things to it to make it look worse. But that wouldn't be true. Yup, this is the actual chaos that lives in our house right now. Fortunately it's really only here and in our closet. I will spare you the horror that is our laundry pile. It's about ready to stage some sort of revolution. That's on the list for tomorrow.  

A closer look at all the randomness mixed in with the school work. Sometimes a girl needs a break from accounting, hence the magazine and open Crate & Barrel catalog. I got right back to the accounting, don't worry. Well, maybe not right back.

Just in case you though the insanity stopped with the top of the desk- wait there's more! This is the top of the bookshelf. Again, any inch of available space has been claimed with papers and magazines, and school stuff.

My mission this evening, should I choose to accept it, is to make some order out of the chaos. To make sense out of the mess. Basically, to prove the existence of the top of the desk.

We'll have to see how this turns out.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Quote of the Week

When the solution is simple, God is answering.

~ Albert Einstein

Sometimes the view from our backyard is more than just pretty. It's inspiring.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Loki's Thoughts- On Birthdays

I believe in animal rights, and high among them is the right to the gentle stroke of a human hand.

~ Robert Brault.

I'm not sure who this Brault guy is, but I like what he's saying. I'm not real fancy, but I know what I like. I knew right away that I liked my people when they came to get me from the shelter. I knew they'd be good to me, and probably be a little bit easy to persuade with some tail wagging and puppy dog eyes. I was right.

I turned 4 this week. I'm not sure what that's all about, but my people think it's a big deal. They think a lot of stuff is a big deal that I just don't understand. But they're pretty good to me. I get lots of petting, plenty of cuddling on the couch, and if my grandparents are over- I even get table scraps. Yeah, I think I'm a pretty lucky dog.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Completed Goals: Goal 75 & Goal 78

Beauty is invigorating; it's essential to the human spirit. I can't imagine being as productive and buoyant as I am if I did not work from an office that is as carefully considered as my living and bedroom... your environment plays a big part in how you feel- and you should live in harmony with your desires.

~ Mary McDonald

Goal 75: Finish Jewelry Frame Coark Board
Goal 78: Overhaul Jewelry Box

I have a lot of costume jewelry. Not a crazy amount, well not to me anyway, the big guy may question my sanity at times. But I think he has other reasons for that completely unrelated to my bracelet collection. ;-)

I wanted something that would give me a few things as far as jewelry organization goes. I need to be able to see what I have quickly. Some of my things were so buried, I kinda forgot about them. Most of those pieces were things I got in high school, so that's probably not a bad thing, but it wasn't great either. This project took a few steps that I hadn't anticipated.

Whatever it was, would have to be pretty. I'd flagged the space above my dresser in our closet. It's a space that not everyone will see, so it can be a little more on the girly side or a little riskier than what I'd do in the main bedroom.

I'd seen a few different cork boards and bulletin boards that have been turned in to jewelry boards across the blogosphere. I figured I could try making my own. I'm not crafty, but I like to pretend. We had an auction for charity at our office earlier in 2010 and I picked up this picture for $7.  

The irises were not really my thing. This is just after I'd gotten it set up in the garage to paint it. Yes, in case you're curious that is an old Slip N Slide. Makes a great drop cloth.

What I really liked about it was the detail on the frame. That's the part I was planning to keep anyway. My initial plan was to paint the frame bright red, using the last of the red paint we still ahd from the accent wall in the apartment. After painting that wall, and then having to prime over it when we moved out, I think it's safe to say we're done with red walls.

This is the first coat of the red paint. It probably took me a bout 5 to get it where I really wanted it.

After painting, I tried filling in the frame with some cork tiles. They weren't quite the right size, so some cutting was necessary to get them to fit. A little shifting and everythign seemed to work out fine. I used a spray adhesive to keep the tiles on. Of course my trusty side kick was there to help. He didn't help very much though, I think he was more interested in searching the garage for bugs.

This is where I think I made my mistake. I painted the cork tiles. I'd painted a corkboard before, the one that hangs in our laundry room so I hadn't really thought anything about what the paint would do to the cork. Cork is absorbent. It soaked up a boatload of paint. So much paint in fact that the cork warped and pulled away from the picture. The spray adhesive did not hold up to that. So I was left with a lovely red frame and a hot mess of painted cork. This was not going to work.

I was trying to figure out how to salvage what I'd started and make the cork work. The big guy suggested cutting my losses, removing the cork and the picture and just hanging the frame. As you can see in the picture above, that's exactly what we did. I had a lot of stuff on top of my dresser. I'd like to say it was all organized, but it wasn't.

Once the frame was up it was time to fill it in with the jewelry from the top of the dresser. I took this opportunity to clean out my jewelry box. It's the red one on top of the dresser. I wound up with this configuration of some 3M command adhesive hooks to hang all my necklaces. Earrings and bracelets are still in the jewelry box.

It's much more fun to look at than the blank wall.

Monday, January 17, 2011

20 Books Read in 2010

One of my New Year's Resolutions for 2010 was to read 20 books.

1. The Luxe This is the first of four books in a young adult series. It's about New York high society at the turn of the century. Interesting take on friendship and dating/marriage withing the confines of the world of the very well to do. Quick read. Great for a vacation.

2. Rumors This is the second book in the Luxe series. Still interesting, more scandal, a little shock. Entertaining.

3. Fables: Legends in Exile This was my first graphic novel. Cool story. Not sure that I'm sold on the graphic novel format though. I like it, but I think I'll only read it on occasion. Although, maybe I'll pick up the next few in the series to read during school.
4. Chasing Harry Winston Great vacation read again. Classic chick lit by the author of Devil Wears Prada. Love the differences between the three main characters. Such different worlds, but such good friends. I think that happens. It's hard not to grow apart, but good friends are worth it.
5. A Lion Among Men This is the third book in the Wicked series (Wicked, Son of a Witch). Pretty good story of the Cowardly Lion. I like the cowardly lion as a character and the details of Oz from a different perspective. I enjoyed the first two books in the series, so this was an easy choice to pick up.
6. Miracle at St. Anna This one wasn't really what I expected. Not nearly as heavy into the war details as it could have been.

7. The Automatic Millionaire Good approach to finances and saving. More of what we should be doing for sure.

8. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner I'm one of those people who are totally caught up in the Twilight craze. I'm not embarrassed to admit it, well not too embarrassed anyway. I liked the short format of the story, and the more in-depth look at one of the side characters. What I'd really like to see is a novella for each of the main vampire characters. Let's read more about Emmet or Alice or Esme. Stephenie Meyer if you're reading this, it'd be a great idea.
9. Envy This is the third book of the Luxe series. More characters are being brought in, and there's a twist I didn't see coming. Love it when books surprise me- even books for teenagers.

10. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter Totally entertaining. What if slavery was really about vampires? Crazy take on a volatile subject. But a funny look at a sequence of events that actually happened. Not quite as good as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but a similarly fun read.

11. The Colorado Kid Interesting book. Not at all what I'm used to from Stephen King. Not scary at all. Very much a crime/mystery novel. Not sure that I'm a huge fan of the ending, but that happens every now and again.

12. Winter Garden This book was awesome. One of my VPs at work lent it to me. Amazing story about family and the stories we tell ourselves, and the stories that no one tells. Wonderful look at the mother/child relationship. I cried, several times. It was such a good book.

13. The Link There's no link to this book. It's an antique, and really it was awful. Even if there was a link I wouldn't share it. About 5 pages in I decided that the main character was a sociopath. That made the remaining 200-plus pages very difficult to get through. Not a good read.

14. Swan Lake Love this story. It's beautifully written, and the illustrations in this version are striking. I'd already been gearing up for Black Swan, so this was a natural choice to pick up off the shelf. es it's a kid's book, but in the middle of reading for econ I needed something a little less intense.

15. A Little Princess Again, some beautiful illustrations. Tasha Tudor has a great style to compliment classic British children's literature. My parents bought me this version of the book when I was little. We were on vacation in the Wisconsin Dells and we'd gone to a theme park called Story Book Gardens. It was all fairy tale themed. I loved it, and yes, Mom, I remember that. :-) I also have the copy of The Secret Garden with the same illustrator. 

16. The Old Man and the Sea It's a classic, and I totally have a thing for Hemingway. I'm impressed by the respect the old man has for the fish, and for the fight.

17. Blink Whether or not you agree with anything Malcom Gladwell says in his books, he's an entertaining author. I don't know how much credence I really put into the theories, but I like to think that I've got some good intuition. Maybe I could benefit from listening to my gut more often than I do.

If you don't count the reading I had to do for school, I only hit 17 books. Still, not too shabby considering that I started grad school. But if you count the books I actually read all of for school, that gets me to 20. I'd rather have been reading something else, but it does get me to the full 20 of the goal. What's disappointing are the four other books that I only got through half of for school. They weren't any more exciting than the titles finishing up the list, but it was a lot of reading and I'd like to have something more to show for it.

18. How to Read a Financial Report
19. Economics of Strategy
20. Financial Economics

New Recipe: Taco Soup

this recipe came from our realtor (Thanks, Jennifer!). It's been hanging on the side of the fridge next to the stove for a while, and seemed like a great recipe for a cold day. Well, today was a cold day and since my office was closed, I had plenty of time to try a new recipe.

1.5 lbs ground beef
1 onion (chopped)
2 pkgs dry ranch dressing mix
2 pkgs dry taco seasoning mix
1 can black beans (drained/rinsed)
1 can pinto beans (drained/rinsed)
1 can kidney beans (drained/rinsed)
2 cans corn
3 cans original Rotel tomatoes
2 cups water

Brown ground beef with chopped onion, drain and put in crock pot. (I actually used a big pot on top of the stove.)

Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and cook on low 2-3 hours or until desired temperature.

It was just that easy. And very tasty! It makes a lot of soup. I've got 4 containers in the fridge waiting to be lunch.