christmas dinner was at our house this year! and really, it went over really smoothly. we had peppers and sausage (brought by anthony's parents), a braised paprika chicken dish, green bean salad, asparagus, salad, and a vegetarian stuffing. everything was delicious except for.. well... the paprika dish. it was good, just kind of bland. we'd made it a number of times previously and it thickened up beautifully! insanely delicious and eat-able! but this time, it didn't really thicken, which was sad. oh well. there's always another year!
since my younger brother has to work on christmas eve and christmas day, we actually got together and celebrated early on the 23rd. it was kind of fabulous to have a house full of family, and surprisingly stress-free! i have high hopes for future celebrations.
afterwards, our family friend, jesse, came by on his way down from oklahoma and spent the night with us. he (and we) were exhausted. we stayed up, talked, relaxed and then zonked out completely.
i love heading home and eating a delicious meal made by my dad. my new goal is to learn a new dish each time i come down. so far, i can make sour cabbage, pan-fried fish and hot & sour soup (other than the obvious and easy steamed veggies with garlic and little soy or oyster sauce).
here he's making breakfast noodle soup with baby bok choy, fish balls and steamed dumplings.
this was the fog that greeted me early saturday morning on sanibel island - it was cold and quiet and lovely. it made me wish i could just traipse around taking damp photos on my own. *sigh*
it had cleared up beautifully by the afternoon - a gorgeous day for a wedding.
all i want to do is go home, lounge on the couch and watch some crappy movie with our new fancy pants surround sound system with anthony and our sweet yam.
unfortunately, i get to go home and pack and head down to ft myers for a wedding shoot all day saturday - 10 am to 10 pm!
note to self: bring water and snacks or perish.
the good, of course, is that i'm getting paid for this! and i'm gaining experience for future gigs!
it's hard to have your own business when you've started to already get old and are kind of inherently lazy and anti-social. what was i thinking?!
i keep going through highs & lows:
yay! i'm getting paid to shoot a wedding!
ugh, i can't just relax and spend time in my pjs...
hurray for extra money for more photo equipment!
urgle, less free time...
maybe this will be something i can do full-time and work for myself!
...but do i really want to?
so i'm in experimental mode. trying to find my boundaries and what i really enjoy and what i can do and what i can truly motivate myself to do. i'm sure that part of the problem is just trying to maintain a full time job along with a part time job. TWO JOBS! something i never thought i'd do. ever.
i wasn't here for this, i just stole the pic from my mom.
my parents live in a huge subdivision that was started near the end of the housing boom. there are a bunch of italian style homes set all close together and then... a large area of overgrown empty lots. it's kind of perfect for my parents who like to walk in the evenings for exercise.
this night there were a huge number of biting gnats, so my dad pulled a beavis and walked around with his shirt over his head. *insert much giggling by me* he claimed that this was going to be his halloween costume.
♥ tiffany ♥
thanksgiving was spent at anthony's parent's home - his mom's birthday was actually that day!
sal & rosco, sal giving his best mobster face.
a fabulously relaxing and delicious day. it prepped anthony for his foray into wal-mart at midnight with MAt; they are hardcore. i, of course, went to sleep.
friday evening was spent kicking a kickball around a giant baseball field with friends and their kids - fun times! kind of makes me want to get a kickball for our yard, as silly as we'd look kicking one around by ourselves. it also, again, showed me that i was out of shape, as my back started hurting after a small amount of time and i was a little sore the next day.
seriously, if i'm not constantly doing activity, it's like my body regresses exponentially. kind of scary. in fact, i'm sore, on a thursday, from a yoga class on tuesday.
... wait, maybe it was also from lugging around my 20 lb. sewing machine to and from the parking garage. that little workhorse is heavy.
saturday i did a family photo shoot in the morning and then we drove down to see my family for thanksgiving, part deux.
we got to hang out with jesse on his birthday (*insert many exclamations about how i was there when he was a newborn and now he's taller than me and out of high school and in the air force and and and*) and eat even more good food.
anthony even tossed the 'ol pigskin around with my nephew! it was pretty shocking (given our mutual dislike of football) - and adorable.
can we please have more vacation days a year? please?
lots and lots of delicious food.
two thanksgivings this year left us blissful and satiated.
a large roasted chicken with stuffing and salad and green bean salad and zucchini and broccoli and mashed potatoes and eclairs and cheesecake and coconut custard pie (and i think i forgot a few other sides in there as well).
a goose and lobster and green beans and scallops and jasmine and sticky rice and hot & sour soup and shark fin soup and purple steamed sweet potato buns and cheesecake and papaya and pumpkin pie.
truly, it boggles the mind. first i wanted a dyson - one of those tiny city vacs. then anthony suggested i actually research them and while they're great, they're tiny and can't hold a lot of dirt - definitely more for a small city apartment than a home. with a little further research, i've heard dysons aren't necessarily *that* great. they're all plastic and how much should i spend when all i have are hardwood and tile floors?
of course, then i remembered my long ago fixation with miele vacuums. how could i have forgotten? they were an obsession of mine in high school. so beautiful, so german-engineered precise, so many toothsome colors... and what? $800?! a pass, albeit with a heavy, heavy sigh.
we're now looking at some electrolux models and hope to check some out at sears sometime soon.
how much more of a housewife can i become?! i can see all these bits of dust and trash on the floors or crumbs on the couch and all i can think is: a canister vacuum will solve all of my housecleaning problems.... when i vacuum (as opposed to when i sweep), i won't have leftover dust bunnies to give me agita! i will be able to clean under things without getting on my knees with the small hand broom only to have my glasses fall off my face!! i can easily suck up the dust on the big ledges of our molding!
rest assured, there'll be an unboxing post when i finally obtain my golden fleece.
sadly, the education budget was slashed & burned, so this is the last semester they'll be offering such classes (BOO).
bookbinding (along with, you know, every other craft hobby) is one of those things i've always wanted to learn. i even have waxed linen thread and had tried my hand at it a few times before. FAIL. the books turned out wobby and uneven.
during the heyday of girlfriend sweatshop, we even had a mini "class" (with wine, of course) given by one of the members, but it didn't really stick with me. i can't remember if it actually involved stitching...
in any case, so far i've learned stab binding and the coptic stitch!
so rad, right? 3 classes, 2 books. i'm hoping to also bind the book of photos from italy that i started 10 years ago. about time that thing got finished! it's going to involve sewing pages onto canvas bits to form the signatures/pamphlets and then making a cover out of a hardboard. i'm so stoked!
the bottom one is the stab binding.
and this one is the coptic stitch. it's easier in some ways and feels more "like a book" when you're sewing it. the difficult part lies in keeping the stitches tight (which was my problem when i attempted this on my own).
helloooOOooo holiday gifts! ;)
in december, i'll be moving from the downtown branch to a non-public branch in south tampa; not sure yet how i feel about the move, but change always rejuvenates me. it's a good opportunity (my own title - reporting & receiving librarian!), but i will be sad to leave downtown (and just as i was starting to get really settled, not to mention just as downtown tampa is starting to look alive).
have a few photography jobs lined up in the next few months! i'm working on figuring out how much to set aside for taxes, for new equipment, etc. that $5k camera will still be a long way off. baby steps!
anthony & i are looking for a round-faced feline to add to our brood - today we went to the humane society and cooed over kittens. we're looking for a slightly older cat, one that's slightly more sedate. i'm so excited about this!
here's the fabulous curtain and floor at the front of the lobby; the pattern on the floor faded away the further one got from the wall. totally want to do this on our back alley concrete floor.
the start of the drunkeness and wedding crashing began with wine. then wine and cheese in the room with the door open to watch the reception festivities, then just lots of wine.
it only took a few hours and 2 bottles of wine to end here:
on the floor, half undressed, blissed out and super relaxed. thank goodness for our swedish neighbors throwing their supply of wasa at us. we awoke at 4 am and drank water and munched on dry wasa wafers and thankfully weren't super hung over the next day. meaghan was *totally* fine; i, on the other hand, was slightly groggy and out of it. i am a wimp!
... was fantastic. absolutely fantastic.
a quick rundown:
the lobby is as amazing as all the website pictures appear, with a number of adorable little seating niches - perfect for hanging out with wine, knitting (or, in my case, attempting to knit) and gossiping. the concrete floor had this delicate stenciled pattern on it and the front windows had curtains made from millions of hanging woven/crocheted string (the kind i remember from my childhood, where you could pull a thread at the end and unravel it in kinked nylon excitement).
there are 3 types of rooms, it seems:
- rooms that face the parking lots
- rooms that face the courtyard
- cabana rooms near the pool
we splurged and got one of their courtyard rooms from a getaway weekend deal, which was TOTALLY worth it. the room rate was less than normal, you get a bottle of wine, a day-long on-the-beach cabana rental (shade!) and a ridiculously delicious pulled pork sammy picnic lunch with 2 ice cold beers. SCORE! the courtyard rooms are totally worth it - you can leave your door open and it's beautiful. we even had a mini-fridge and a small seating area with an adorable ceramic light.
from the beach cabana (& where i wish i were right. this. instant.)
mmmmmmmmmmmmmemories...... (of the first night, second night was rough... if you saw my tweet, you know why....)
the good: no roach infestation in the room (as some of the reviews seemed to imply) (thank CHRIST); super cold air conditioning during the day; excellent water pressure; clean sheets; 1st floor room meant no stairs!
super foofy pillows!
the bad: box springs are very creaky (which made me feel like the beds were cheap); 1st floor room meant we could hear the people above us, including their toilet activities (not *too* bad); super cold air conditioning seemed to fail in the middle of the night, wherein i woke up hot & sweaty; we were never told, even at check in, that there would be a wedding that weekend.
sadly, i did not take 500 billion photos as i originally intended. the first night we just relaxed and took it leisurely. and then.... starting saturday morning... the courtyard was completely taken over by the wedding - photographers, caterers, tables, linens - it was awkward. each time we came out of the room, we felt a little like we were invading a private event. (hello? a little warning?! thanks.)
the magical nighttime photos planned for saturday night? utterly scuttled.
in fact, we pretty much had to scoot off the property for a while, either going to look at thrift stores or relaxing on the beach (which sounds ridiculous, i know, but sometimes you just want to have the choice of relaxation venue). the cute little letter we got from management for our getaway weekend seemed to imply that we wouldn't even need to leave the property, it was so relaxing!! try again. we just felt like outsiders at a wedding that took over the entire hotel. towards the end of the night, as we got progressively more drunk on wine and cheese, we sat on the concrete slab in front of our room and watched the wedding and ended up meeting our swedish hotel neighbors.
1) (violeta) she's a server who gets paid $15 an hour. (one of her actual quotes: "yes, we get paid more, but we don't have the same tipping rules. i mean, maybe on a night... i get... maybe $150." WTF, $150 was a crazy good night for me when i was a server. note to self: move to sweden.) he (bjorn) was a bartender that worked 3 nights a week. THEY GET SIX WEEKS OF VACATION. in april and october, they take 3 weeks each and vacation in florida. poof. just like that. also, he wears an engagement ring.
2) i took my first drag on a cigarette. um...... FUCKING NASTY. meaghan was going on and on about how good it tastes with alcohol so i had the itty bittiest suck/inhale/baby drag from the cigarette she bummed off violeta. it burned. it was gross. (fucking gross.) and my hands smelled like old ashtray. smokers? ya'll are nasty. sorry.
and then, at the very end, when we were REALLY drunk, we ran up onto the stage/dance floor and had a rollicking' good time. if only we'd gotten some cake and had the balls to get pictures at the photo booth. damnit!
- Buying clothes from the junior section. (up until a year ago, is till bought clothes from the children's section at target. but now my ass is too big.)
- Forgetting her parents’ birthdays. (never! though i often stop to remember which is first - they are both in june.)
- Making out with her BFFs at bars for attention. (i like laid back and casual bars. i hate the bars where 30-somethings are trying to reclaim their 20s - it's so pathetic.)
- Making out with her boyfriend at bars for attention. (really?)
- Filling her bed with stuffed animals.
- Carrying a torch for anyone she hasn’t seen in the last five years.
- Rebelling against her parents for the sake of rebelling against her parents. (i don't think i ever rebelled. hm.)
- Declaring an entire gender “all jerks.”
- Holding a grudge against anyone who wronged her in high school. (i will never forgive justin l. for being total racist jerk.)
- Skipping regular gyno exams.
- Going to bed without washing and moisturizing her face. (if i skip this, i break out like crazy.)
- Being “that person” who had a bit too much to drink at the office party.
- Crushing on Justin Bieber.
- Thinking she’s got it all figured out.
- Calling her father “daddy.” (ewwwwwww.)
- Engaging in sibling rivalry.
- Trying to get by on her looks. (right. my 12 yr old boy looks!)
- Living paycheck to paycheck. (workin' on it.)
- Expecting a man/knight in shining armor to swoop in and save her. (what about a winning lotto ticket in hand?)
- Aimlessly jumping from job to job.
- Using MySpace to pick up guys. (oh GOD, that sounds so dangerous. craigslist was way safer.)
- Expecting a man to do all the wooing.
- Wishing she had someone else’s life. (nope, just their money. their cold. hard. cash.)
- Expecting everyone to drop everything because it’s her birthday ... (i love a good birthday party!! but if you can't come, you can't come. but if you CAN - then PARTY!)
- ... or because her “boyfriend” of two weeks dumped her. (or because her ex knocked up some girl, or because her ex started dating someone else, et al. - i know someone who could benefit from this one.)
- Measuring her self-worth by a number on the scale. (let's see... how many lbs of sushi can i ingest....)
- Being cheap. (buying quality products definitely means a lot more now. ... except couches. i cannot imagine paying over 1k for a couch.)
- Quitting a job without having a new one lined up first (especially in this economy!).
- Blaming her mother for all her issues.
- Romanticizing her 20s. (i loved my 20s! *shrug* it was fun. so was high school. not that i want a do-over. i'm a total in-the-present girl.)
broke out the decorations for our tensday party, but we still have a long way to go. more bats!!
it seems funny to decorate for a holiday when we won't even be home to celebrate! anthony and i are planning on a trip to orlando to visit our current favorite fancy-pants restaurant.
(AND i'm hoping to finagle a little side trip to h&m.)
have i mentioned the pumpkin battle? (that link *should* work - it goes to a facebook group.)
it runs from october 1 - november 25 and the goal is to eat as many pumpkin flavored items as humanely possible. anyone is welcome to join! each item is worth a point, however, you can't just drink 20 starbucks pumpkin lattes for 20 points - that would only count for 1 point.
while i'm definitely not in the running to be a winner, as long as i get more than 20 items in me, i'll be pleased.
current score: 11