Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Who Knew I Was So Impatient?

I did a really dumb thing this past weekend. Before I tell you what it was, let me try to justify my actions. Fruitless as that might be. And I'm sorry that this post is going to be really boring, since I'm just going to be talking about books, but for real, I CANNOT FOCUS ON ANYTHING ELSE this week. It's driving me batty.

So anyway.

I recently read the final book in Libba Bray's "Great & Terrible Beauty" series. It was pretty good, but it'd been a while since I'd read the first books in the series and so as my mind would drift off I'd notice that I'd been thinking such clever thoughts as "What the wha?" and "I don't remember this character AT ALL" way more often than was acceptable to make the book truly enjoyable.

Of course, after that frustrating experience I was wary about being unprepared for the finale to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. So I did the most logical thing I could think of and re-read the entire series over the weekend. Twilight, New Moon, AND Eclipse. That's about 1500 pages of angsty vampire/werewolf love. No I didn't go out of my house all weekend, and yes it was totally worth it.

Needlesstosay, I'm a major loser.

The problem is now I'm all in a frenzy for the final book, Breaking Dawn. And it doesn't come out until Saturday (or Friday night at midnight if you're a major loser like me). Which means that I've had A WHOLE WEEK TO OBSESS OVER IT! I can't even bear to give you the details of my obsessing because it's really embarrassing, but just know that I'm NOT talking about a mild interest here.

I should know myself well enough by this point to know that I SHOULD have taken work off Thursday and Friday to re-read the series, rather than force myself to spend an entire week in suspense. I can't believe I've put myself through this TORTURE! I have zero patience when novels are on the line.

I can console myself only by repeating over and over, "Two more sleeps. Just TWO more sleeps." But even that doesn't make it better. Will this week NEVER END?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wherein I am Jealous of Myself

So remember the super perfect apartment on Capitol Hill that Camie and I were hoping your righteous prayers would get for us? Well, someone out there must be doing something right, because although we ultimately decided not to go with that specific place - we ended up getting an apartment that's EVEN BETTER!

Blocks from Eastern Market, steps from Lincoln Park, the top two stories of a Victorian brownstone, hardwood floors, fireplace, a kitchen that's not a galley kitchen and Loads of Charm - this place is really going to be great!

And really, location couldn't be better. If we walk out to the middle of the street, instead of seeing the Capitol, we will see this little gem:



Know what that is? Perhaps, you don't recognize the building. I wouldn't blame you if you didn't. Marble + Ionic columns doesn't exactly narrow it down in this town.

How about I give you a hint and show you the inside ...



Got it now? Ok, then let's grab hands and jump up and down while we scream, "LIBRARY OF CONGRESS! LIBRARY OF CONGRESS!"

As a librarian, THIS is the ultimate. Living within yards of the Mother Ship ... well, ironically, there are no words.

I couldn't be happier! I think our apartment is going to be a raging success! So thanks everyone for being so extra-special-super righteous so Cam and I can have a swank pad to chill in. You're all invited over for mocktails (or cocktails, if Camie has anything to say about it).

We move September 6th. So if you're in the area, and are interested in getting some free pizza that day, I know a way we can arrange that.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I shouldn't love this, but I do



** Apartment update: We're still waiting to hear. Hopefully something today or tomorrow. Keep your prayer rugs pointed toward Mecca! **

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Unfettered

Eighteen months ago ........

I wouldn't smile too widely because see that left front tooth? I HATED IT. Longer than the rest, it was the focal point of all of my self-consciousness. Even my jiggly butt failed to attract my criticism - all self loathing was reserved for THAT DAMN TOOTH.

So I did something about it.




Such a charmer with my braceface, doncha think? For all of you teens/adults out there that think you shouldn't get braces because it will dampen your social life ... let me tell you, it doesn't. I did just fine with the mens during this time of supposed social leprosy. It was a real lesson to me that if you are happy and have a good sense of humor you are just as attractive as someone that doesn't have metal welded to their face.

And now, today, I am reveling in their straightness and the fact that I got a few years put back onto my age. I don't look like I'm 17 anymore.


Hello beautiful teeths! I knew you were in there somewhere.

Oh, Biting! How I've missed you. Carrots, Celery, Apples! No longer shall we be parted!

But you know the thing I'm most excited about? Besides the straightness of them, of course. Is the Flossing .... oh how I've missed the flossing!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Me, The Linguist

Maria2: Shoot! I can't remember the Tagalog word for 'village.'

Me: I think it's 'willage.'

Friday, July 18, 2008

Picture Us Here

I'm all in a tizzy! Camie and I have been looking for an apartment for the last week, and yesterday I lost my heart to the most perfect apartment in Capitol Hill. Its so perfect I was up half the night tittering with excitement. I don't give up sleep for anything less than perfection.

If I walked to the middle of the street and turned right this is what I'd see:


(Fireworks optional)

If I turned to the left I'd see Lincoln Park:


(Fall foliage optional)

And if I went inside the apartment, I'd be in one of the best apartments available in Capitol Hill, if not the world. Clean, huge, bright, and renovated to perfection. All for the perfect price.

Most amazing of all, I was the first person to turn in an application, so there's a tiny snowball's chance that we could actually get this apartment.

SO PRAY, PEOPLE, PRAY!!! Get your golden calves, Torahs, Mexican Prayer Hands, rosaries, fasting, Hail Marys, or whatever else you might need to give your righteousness a boost. Because really, apartments like this one are only granted with Divine intervention. Its going to take all of our combined power to get this miracle to happen. I hope I haven't wasted all of my miracle bucks on minor things like avoiding parking tickets, because I really want to spend them on this apartment.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sweatbands, Not Just for Frenzied TV Surfing Anymore


I played Wii for the first time on Friday night with my friend Bryan. And, I'm pleased to let you know that I ROCKED IT! Well, not the bowling, or the golf. But the Tennis was mine all mine.

I didn't think I'd ever have an occasion to wear the smooth wrist sweatbands my pal Melissa gave me for Christmas (that girl is an alchemist at a dollar store; nimbly converting trash to treasures). But playing Wii is ideal for wearing sweatbands! First, they keep your hand from getting sweaty so you won't drop the remote. Second, they keep the wrist strap on the remote from chaffing your delicate wrist. Third, they inspire a little bit of WATCH-OUT! - I'm-One-BAD-MOTHER-of-a -WII-Player into your opponents mind, making your win that much easier.

Listen, don't mock. Hand-eye coordination isn't going to give me any kind of advantage. The only thing I've got in my arsenal is terry cloth. So GAME ON, SUCKAS!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Baby Glam, Modeled








C'est Magnifique!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

12 Pictures Worth 12 (or so) Words

I discovered this little mosaic maker, and I think its SUPER FUN to use cool pictures from Flickr to illustrate things about me and my life.

To play the game right, you have to enter your answer to the question into a Flickr search and then pick one image from the first set of results - no cheating now my little black-hearted cheaters. Some of the questions are hard, like Favorite Food? Just one? Impossible. Or describing myself in one word? Very tricky. But anyway, I think my favorite is that seal. That seal is crackin me UP!



Questions and My answers:

1. What is your first name? Gretchen
2. What is your favorite food? Dark Chocolate
3. What was the name of your High School? Loveland
4. What is your favorite color? Pink
5. Who is your celebrity crush? James McAvoy
6. What is your favorite drink? Diet Coke
7. Where is your dream vacation? Prague
8. What is your favorite dessert? Pie
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? Beloved
10. What do you love most in life? Laughter
11. One word to describe you? Happy
12. Your flickr name? ghanson


Photo credits:
1. Gretchen, 2. Handmade chocolate cupcakes filled with blueberry cream and topped with dark chocolate ganache and some more of these absolutely delicious wild blueberries, 3. Loveland Statue, 4. 3 different pink eyechips, 5. james mcavoy, 6. Amazing Circles: Diet Coke Cans, 7. Farewell To Prague, 8. I Heart Pie..., 9. Beloved, 10. {side-splitting laughter}, 11. Happy Birthday Flickr Account, 12. Mark Messier with the Hanson Brothers

To create your own Flickr mosaic use this mosaic maker.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tag, I'm It!

Camie tagged me to fill out this little meme. What she doesn't know is that I love to fill out these things! To me they're totally fun. What's more fun that writing about yourself? Whenever I read them on other people's blog, I'm always thinking, "I hope they tag me! I hope they tag me!" So when I read that Camie had tagged me "to torture me" I was like, "YEEEESSSS! .... SUCKA!!!!!!"

So here I go ...

What were you doing 10 years ago?

Ten years ago I was smack-dab in the middle of my LDS mission in Santiago, Chile. Sometimes, just to myself, I call my mission The Emotional Rollercoaster of Doom so I was sure that if I looked back in my journal to see what I was doing 10 years ago I would surely find some gems. Here are some snippets from the July 4th, 1998 entry. I was with my favorite companion, Mary Kay Marshall, and had actually started to really enjoy my mission (you should see the entries from March or so ... talk about glum).

"Elder Cummings called tonight with his panties all in a wad because we got home late last night. Marshall was like, Listen dude, we NEVER get home late, only the times you have called - which is totally true." (I've mentioned how I feel about being micromanaged haven't I? Plus I like that I used the phrase "panties in a wad" while on my mission.)

"Turns out one of the people we were prepping for baptism is not only excommunicated, but he's been in prison, AND is a con-artist. Nice, eh?"

"We were so poor this week!!! We get $8.56 for each of us a week to eat 3 meals a day. Hello starvation. But Tuesday Marshall and I were so sad and all we wanted to do was drown our sorrows. So we went to KFC and combined all of the money we had left and bought a side of mashed potatoes and an apple pie to share. It was pretty sorry."

Here's a picture from my scrapbook from about this time. We were getting ready to go outside - it's winter in July there you know - and I had on 7 layers of clothing. SO COLD! I didn't take off my long johns for 5 months. This is the room we lived in, you'll notice how skinny it is, I think it was supposed to be a closet. Just cozy enough for two!


Ahh Mission Life. Good times, good times. Wow, I'm glad it's 2008!

5 Items on your to-do list:
  1. Get a pedicure
  2. Have a slurpee
  3. Go to the pool
  4. Go to the mall
  5. Wash my car
(I think I have the hardest life of anyone I know.)

Snacks I enjoy:

I don't snack too much, but when I do almost any food becomes a snack food: fries, ice cream, cookies, candy, protein water, dried fruit, fresh fruit, ribs ... seriously, anything! Right now I am really into Special K snack bars - they're crazy Delicious! It'd probably be easier to tell you what snacks I don't enjoy. Hard Pretzels. Yick. No likey.

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

All you people that say that you'd keep your job if you were a billionaire have clearly never had an opportunity to realize how great life can be when you don't have to work. I will DEFINITELY not be working.

If I were a billionaire I'd buy some great luggage and gather an entourage to accompany me as I travel the world ... maybe twice. When I'm done with that, I'll publish my memoirs or a travel guide ... maybe both. (That's the great thing about being a billionaire with no particular agenda: "maybe twice" and "maybe both" are totally acceptable.) Of course, I'll have to spend a little time making sure I'm a success by going on the publicity book tour. But once the tour's over I'll be ready to snuggle down into one of my amazing homes for a while. If I get bored, I'll call up Warren Buffet and we'll go for cheeseburgers and cherry cokes and talk about things that billionaires talk about. Maybe we'll start a book club for Billionaires only.

Other things I will do:
  • Buy books instead of check them out from the library
  • FedEx my luggage when I go on vacation
  • Have a chef
  • Have a personal trainer that will come to my house. Maybe they will live in one of the wings of my house in case I want to work out at a moment's notice. We'll see.
Being a billionaire is just chock full of maybes!!!

Places I would live:

Without a second thought:
  • New York City
  • London
  • Paris
  • Sydney
  • San Francisco
  • Washington DC (of course)

With a little more consideration:
  • Hong Kong
  • Dubai
  • Barcelona
  • Prague
  • Los Angeles
  • Any quaint European places, like a farmhouse in Provence or something along those lines.

Only if circumstances (aka a husband) force it on me:
  • The Midwest
  • Idaho
  • Salt Lake City
  • Anywhere without ready access to 4 star restaurants, a museum of art, and an H&M or IKEA. (The true necessities such as a Wendy's and a Target are of course, non-negotiables.)
Jobs I've had:

My dad started us off young by having us kids clean his office on Saturdays. The older kids would sit around in the conference room for an hour eating Taco Bell and drinking sodas (purchased with money from the petty cash drawer) while us little kids would hang around idolizing them and thinking they were the funniest human beings to have ever lived on this earth. Then, sensing that we would do anything to gain their approval, they would con us into doing all of their chores as well as our own. As a 4 year old I was pretty handy with a vacuum, I'll tell you. It was here that I learned that if you can manage to turn a 15 minute job into a whole hour's worth of work you get paid a heck of a lot more money. This has been a lesson that has continued to reap rewards as I moved onto other jobs.

Some of which include:
  • Assistant Innkeeper at a Bed & Breakfast
  • An assortment of fast food/waitressing jobs
  • Bartender (since I've never been a drinker, I always thought this was rather ironic. I said, "Here you go, hope that tastes like it should" a lot.)
  • Accounts Receivable clerk
  • Computer lab attendant
  • Bookstore barista (again, ironic that I've never been a coffee drinker either. I suspect I served up a lot of really horrible coffee.)
  • Shop girl at Ann Taylor Loft
  • Librarian
I'm now a Product Manager, which is a fun job, but hard to explain to people. Generally I just tell them that I'm a librarian, since that connotes the appropriate mixture of smart and sexy that I always strive to achieve.


So that's it. And now for the moment you've all been waiting for ... the TAGGING!! Muwahahaha! I tag my brother Kevin, so he can provide a rebuttle (if possible) to the claims I made that he forced his younger siblings into child labor. And I tag Bryan, because he's just getting his blog started and needs a really good retrospective post to get things going. Even though it'll be depressing when he tells us that 10 years ago he was in Jr. High. And I tag Holly, who just moved to Oklahoma, and is about to have another baby, so we'll probably not hear from her until daughter #2 is three years old. Give us something good to remember you by, Hol!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Baby Glam

Look at Cute Bridgette. Already bored with her illustrious career as a High Fashion Muse.



Poor thing. Not everyone is born the niece of a world-famous Baby Onesie designer. I keep assuring her that all of her hard work being drop dead gorgeous will be worth it when she hits the Gymboree sporting one of her fabulous new designer baby fashions. Any baby would be thrilled, simply thrilled (!) to wear any one of these from my "Vocabulous Onesie" collection:



A Zoom, please ....

So darling! And perfect for helping convey your every mood. Plus, its never too early to start building your vocabulary. No?

Of course, being the thoughtful Aunt that I am, I realized right away that being so glamorous and being related to moi would naturally throw sweet Bridgette into the harsh media spotlight. We all know how bad for your temperament, not to mention your complexion, running from the paparazzi can be. Simply dreadful!

So I made her this. A girl must have some down-time, after all.


Alas, there will still be some people -- like Grammas and Pop-Pops -- that WILL insist on doing all sorts of inappropriate things like pinching cheeks, nibbling baby toes, and giving zerberts on her little diva belly. These people have no shame. They think that they can just PLAY with an International Super Baby Model? Its shocking.

Fortunately, Mustard agrees with me that this kind of thing is completely unacceptable and has offered sweet Bridgette the protection she deserves from these thugs. To strike fear into the heart of these ne'er-do-wells, Bridgette now has this little graphic tee to let people know exactly who they're messing with if they just can't resist giving her tummy a little tickle-tickle.

"Mustard offers you his protection"

These people have to learn that you can't just go around man-handling the talent. You're just going to have to resist the irresistible! Consider yourself warned.

The rest of you can join me in thinking Bridgette is Absolutely Fabulous!



(Ok you guys. Confession time. I'm not really a famous baby onesie designer - but I DID make these baby onesies for my niece all by myself. And personally, I think they're crazy cute! I don't craft, obviously, so no one is more impressed that I successfully made these than me! I'll admit that I ripped the idea off from my Master-Craft-Blaster friend Erin. She's so clever. And crafty. And cute.)