Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wall Decals Really Do Work

Jason and I are pretty clueless when it comes to home decorating. Neither one of us is particularly creative nor crafty, so I am quite proud of us for putting up a wall decal. I know it might seem simple to you, but doing something so abstract and that requires so many decisions is rather impressive for us. In the past, we've simply filled empty wall space with photographs and framed art. When we thought we were putting our condo on the market earlier this year (it hurts to talk about it), we packed up everything personal and put it in storage...where it still sits...eight months later. Since we don't want to go through the hassle of framing photographs that will just have to be packed up again (hopefully in the next year), we turned to wall decals to fill some of the empty space on our 9ft walls.

Here is the area we covered. Notice the boxwood wreath that has been hanging since (gulp) Christmas over our dumb TV.

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My parents "loaned" me those lovely paintings flanking our ghetto entertainment unit. I still wanted to put something above the TV because there is just so much space and it is (pathetically) the focal point of the room, after all!

I researched several sites that sell wall decals, including dVider and Raging Vinyl. In the end, we went with Blik. It was extremely overwhelming to choose a wall decal when faced with a multitude of choices and colors. Furthermore, envisioning the wall decal in the actual space was a challege for two non-creative types. In the end, we chose a very simple, floral design, Cyclamen. Blik describes them as "elegant, whimsical, and extremely gigantic." Good enough for me! And for $50, I would say that's pretty cheap wall art for such a large space.

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The decals arrived all rolled up in a tube. They basically came on sheets that had grids printed on the back. The most annoying part of the process was probably cutting the shapes out of the sheets. Each flower and stem had to be cut out separately.

Here are some (blurry) pictures of Jason cutting out the decals:

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Next we taped all the components to the wall to get a sense of how to arrange them. Again, a challenge for the two of us. We had to consult the image the company sent many times to get inspiration. Yes, we copied exactly how the flowers bend and where to place the stem on the flower. Hey, baby steps.

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Once we were satisfied with the placement, we started to peel the backing from the label. Then we applied the decal to the wall and peeled off the other side of the backing; the decal is basically sandwiched between a glossy sheet and a sticky sheet (the one it needs to stay on for wall application).

Here is the way it looked after we applied just the stems. I apologize for all these crappy, blurry pictures. I was trying to not use the "auto" mode on the camera and it was just too dark in there for me to take a good picture myself. Anyway...

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And the finished product!

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I wish I had a picture of the whole room because it's very large and the wall decal looks awesome in such a big space. There were a few bumps on the wall, but the decal otherwise went on very smooth. The whole process took under two hours and I would say it was pretty easy. Jason had a little trouble making sure the decal transferred to the correct sheet when separating the flanking sheets, but you just have to kind of finesse it and be patient.

The decals are supposedly easy to remove and we will do so if our agent things they are too "out there" for showings. But for now, we will enjoy them. I think wall decals are a really easy way to spruce up a space or would be useful in easing the transition from a nursery to a toddler's room. You can find a diverse assortment of themes, including floral, geometric, classic Nintendo, cityscapes, abstract, and animals. Maybe we will branch out someday into something a little less "safe!"

Monday, August 24, 2009

Triathlon-Bound!

Well, not so much a hardcore triathlon as a wee baby triathlon. Oh, and I won't be doing all three components; Jason will be doing the 21-mile bike ride and I'll be doing the ~1/3-mile swim and the five-mile run. And the swim is inside. Okay, so I'm really not doing a triathlon so much-I'm just taking a short swim in a pool and then going on a quick run, but I'm excited to participate in a race with my husband nonetheless. I've never gotten on the cycling train and he hates running, so we will never be one of those cute couples you see out in the park running or cycling together (unless I finally give in to Jason's hope for us renting a tandem for the day sometime). This gives us an opportunity to bond (I guess) and maybe kick some ass!

I'm just a little nervous about the swim, not because of the distance, but because I'm worried about holding up the other participants. I probably won't really train for the swim, so I have no aspirations to do it in any particular amount of time. I swam at my mom's a few weeks ago, so at least I know I can do it without any training. It would be nice to finish the run in under 45 minutes. I'm sure Jason has some goals in mind as well. But mostly, I hope to just have fun. I guess I need to go out and get some sort of competitive swimwear since the bright purple Speedo I have from about 10 years ago might need some updating. And I'll need cap and goggles. But shopping for stuff is fun, right?

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Weekend Ahead

The weekend ahead will be a good one, I hope. This time of year is difficult since the anniversary of my dad's death is approaching. He died five days after my birthday and I remember that birthday well; he was very, very sick at that point, but my family still made me feel special on my big day. Last year I rang in my 30th with my "internet friends" as a way to distract myself from the inevitable waves of emotion that pass through a person during such times. This year I'm going small and only celebrating with Jason and my family. I think Jason's really trying to make it a good one for me. Even though my birthday isn't until Sunday, I will apparently be celebrating all weekend.

If you don't live in St. Louis, you may not know that we're having fall-like weather. It's spectacular. In a time of year when the temperature could very well reach 100, the high today will only reach 78 degrees. Check out this forecast:

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This afternoon, I'm going to take my big dog on another long walk. We've had so much fun this week together enjoying the cool temperatures. There's no better way to start the weekend. Tonight we'll probably just do the usual for a Friday night-I make pasta, Jason cleans up, and we watch The Soup and some Netflix.

Tomorrow I am going to further enjoy this weather and go on a long run. Jason surprised me yesterday by telling me he booked a massage appointment for me. I haven't had a massage in about a year and a half and I could not be more excited. I think I'm going deep tissue this time.

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And then tomorrow night Jason and I are going to dine at Cielo at the Four Seasons downtown. We've only been there for appetizers and I'm eager to try out this swanky restaurant for a full-blown dinner. The space is gorgeous and with the weather as beautiful as it will be, we'll probably enjoy their vast patio as well.

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On Sunday, I'll have dinner with my family and I'll celebrate with three of my favorite guys that I wish I had time to see more often. In fact, these pictures are embarrassingly old.

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I'll probably have some cake too.

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Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Rant

And nope, it's not going to be about Michael Vick and the Eagles! Fooled you, didn't I? If I went "there," my keyboard would crawl under my desk and hide from my fingers of death and then I wouldn't be able to get anything done. So, let's redirect all of our rage toward people who litter!

There are different types of littering. There's littering from your car, littering whilst walking through Forest Park, littering at events, etc. But there is a special circle in hell reserved for people who throw their cigarette butts out the window. In fact, that's what I saw this morning and that's what got me started on this rant! This person was crawling down Forest Park Parkway in the fast lane, but I couldn't get around her. And then she threw her cigarette butt out the window. Listen-if you want to kill yourself with your filthy, disgusting habit, so be it. But for the love of god, is it so hard to dispose of your germ- and chemical-ridden butts properly? Have you ever taken the time to notice all the butts strewn across sidewalks and public places? It's nasty! And really, if you're already puffing away in your car, what's the difference in simply throwing your used butt into your used 7-11 cup (because you know there's one in there)?

Oh, but I'm not finished! I can't tell you how many times I've encountered chicken bones in my neighborhood and in Forest Park. I often try to imagine the scenario in which chicken bones went from KFC or wherever to the sidewalk where I live. Do people just drive around eating wings or drumsticks and then throw them out the window when they've sucked off every last succulent piece of meat? Can you imagine how greasy their steering wheels must be? And if they drive a manual, throw the stick shift into that crockpot of grossness. Or do people stroll along the sidewalk, gnawing on their wings and then toss them aside to tempt every passing dog? I have to say, Levi is so used to the chicken bones now that he simply sniffs them and walks away. That's how many times he's been told to "don't touch" that.

And then there are the people who dump all their garbage in Forest Park. I love that park and I'm so tired of seeing people's trash all over the place. Especially since there are trash cans! Everywhere! Are you really that lazy? Uh, I think the answer is, "YES!!! I'm too lazy to walk 10ft to a trash can, so I'll just discard my fast food wrappers here in the grass/creek/sidewalk/road/pond." I hate people.

And there's just one more type of litterbug to discuss: people who watch their dog take a shit and then simply keep walking. In my neighborhood, there are FREE poop bags all over the place. There have been times when I've forgotten a bag, but I always go get a bag and pick up the poop! I admit, there have been a handful of times that I haven't been able to find it again, but at least I tried. I am just shocked by the laziness of people. Then there are the times when you are talking to someone in your neighborhood and their dog poops and they don't make a move to pick it up. What is the protocol for that akward situation? Do you say something? Do you offer them one of your poop bags (because you always carry more than one, of course)? You don't want to seem like an asshat, but inside you're screaming, "pick up the shit! I don't want to step in that tomorrow!"

Ugh, I could keep going, but I feel this rant has lasted long enough. If anyone wants to leave me a comment about people who throw gum on the ground, cups out the window, or soda cans at cars (happened to me at Forest Park), have at it. Or if you are grumpy and just want to complain about something, this is the time and the place.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"A Torturous Affair" by Levi

Here's a guest post from Levi. We went to an event on Saturday, 8/1, and he's just now getting around to blogging about it. Can you believe how lazy he is??? Anyway, take it away, Levi!

A torturous affair. That's how you could describe my Saturday. The day started off great! I got about 30 minutes of belly rubs in bed from both mom and dad. They're so easy-all I have to do is flash them a fetching look or roll over onto my back and they keep the massages coming. We took an awesome walk in Forest Park. I love going with both mom and dad because I run around like crazy between them and get lots of treats when I decide to listen to them. But then things took a turn for the worse. After multiple proclamations of how stinky I am (hurumph-I think I smell good), they took me for a dreaded bath, saying I needed to smell good for the party. Then we all did something we never do-took a nap! In bed! Those pesky birds had to go in their cages, but I was invited to snuggle up to mom and dad while they slept.

Then they started getting ready for the party. Mom tortured me by making me wear my new Cardinals bandana as a bonnet:

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I quickly put an end to that. I was so embarrassed! But don't worry-as soon as their backs are turned I'm going to wipe dingleberries all over the slipcover on the couch. AND I'm going to do it right after they wash it! See how that works?

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Then she put it on the proper way. I must admit, I felt quite handsome!

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The party was to celebrate the publication of Randy Grim (the nice man who rescued me off the streets)'s new book, Don't Dump the Dog and was held at this really cool place that had a bunch of vintage motorcycles. Rick Ankiel from the Cardinals came to show his support for Stray Rescue. That's why I was sporting my fancy bandana.

Here I am with mom at the party:

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My old friends Jeff Popowich and John Garcia from National Geographic's Dogtown series were there, and I also got to meet trainer Ann Allums for the first time! What a nice group of people! I was so happy they made time to come help Stray Rescue and spread the word about Randy's book. Mom keeps talking about how Stray Rescue needs to raise more money for the new shelter to be completed, so hopefully a lot of people buy a copy of Randy's book.

Here are the Dogtown folks with Randy:

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There was also a funny lady named Jill Michele Melean at the party. She's been on TV and did a stand-up routine. Here she is being silly with Randy:

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The best part of the night was definitely when I met this lady. She asked mom and dad if she could give me a piece of her turkey sandwich. As usual, mom made me work for it. What a drag. But it all paid off because this woman kept feeding me and feeding me and ended up giving me practically the entire sandwich. Here I am being a polite gentleman, working what my momma' gave me for a little turkey:

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Here are a few shots of the motorcycles in the museum. Mom embarrassed me once again by reminding me not to pee on them. Please. I don't remind her to not pee when she sits on the couch or makes dinner, so why does she feel the need to ask me not to pee? I am housetrained, after all! Can't I just sniff a motorcycle every now and again?

Mom getting all arty again with the picture-taking:

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Dad was into this one because Cannondale is a bicycle company:

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This one basically looked like a bicycle:

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One of those Ducati thingys:

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There weren't a lot of dogs there, but I had the chance to meet these two guys. They were fun! The fluffy one was hilarious-he would just nudge me and then jump away.

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Mom and dad were too timid to talk to Rick Ankiel, but mom was sneaky and took a few pictures of him:

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I guess the night wasn't too tortuous. After all, I got to mingle with famous people, see my friends from Stray Rescue, pal around with some dog buddies, have people constantly tell me all night how handsome I am (duh), and eat almost an entire turkey sandwich. Oh, and spending a Saturday night with my two favorite people isn't too bad either.

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Where Does the Time Go?

I have a lot of catching up to do here. I STILL haven't finished posting my Belize pictures, have some great things with Levi in the works, and of course have to post about my girls' trip to Florida. By the time I get home, shower, and eat, it's 8:00 and I haven't even been getting my computer out at night. Stay with me here, people! I know I've been bad about commenting and I want to thank Princess for tagging Levi. That's coming down the pipeline too. Anyway, good news that some of the almost 500 pit bulls seized back in June from the disgusting scum-of-the earth people who used them for fighting will soon be getting a second chance. We've been debating for some time about bringing in another dog, probably a foster. I'm always trying to imagine everything I do with one dog and then multiplying it by two. Plus two feathered friends. It would be a challenge, for sure. Anyway, enough of my ramblings-I need to get to work on a real post at some point!