May 31, 2006


Still no ring... I'm calling out a search party. Anyone own a bloodhound?

May 30, 2006

Swiss Cheese

When I got to the Union Terrace on Friday night, everyone wanted to see my ring. Imagine their disappointment when they learned that I still don't have it. Imagine my own when I realized that I had never told you all the latest development of the neverending drama involved with this ring.

Let me first catch you up on the story, in case you happen to be a new reader. Just after Christmas, DS began trying to order my ring. Our jeweler, who happens to be my dad's girlfriend, couldn't get the necessary stones in time for him to have the ring before leaving for France, because I wanted sapphire baguettes, and the setting required them to be oddly shaped. So, he settled on another one, without the baguettes, and it was overnighted to him, giving him one day to get it before leaving. Some sort of strike happened on that one day, and the ring was lost for a week. Needless to say, he went to France without it. Jesse, a friend, found it, and shipped it to him for an outrageous amount of money. France refused to allow DS to get it without paying $500 import fees, so it was returned. There was a period of limbo when it wasn't known if the ring would make it home safely. I was proposed to without said ring, and had to wait until DS's return to get it. Then, it didn't fit.

So now you're up to speed. My ring didn't fit, but I thought I could wear it and be careful until we could get it sized. However, after two days, I realized it was indeed to large to wear without danger of losing it. So I stopped. It took a couple of days, but DS finally noticed and was very upset. Something about me not loving him.. I don't know, I wasn't really paying attention. Despite my better judgement, I wore the ring the next day to make him happy. And guess what? I lost it. $3000 down the drain just like that. (Okay, not really. Like I said, I have a jeweller in the family. We get a big discount.)

KT2 and I frantically tore about the entire store, stockroom included, to no avail. At this point, I'm freaking out. I can't remember seeing this ring on my finger for a good 4 hours. (Yes, I'm aware how sad this is.) That means it could be anywhere, because I definitely remembered wearing it to work, but we had run errands for the store all morning. We'd done markdowns and reorganized the stockroom. We'd put tons of stuff in the trash compactor and the cardboard bin. I feel certain the ring is gone forever.

However, KT2 and I decide we'll just check the Copp's parking lot (a local grocery store). After all, I had put lotion on in the car on the way there. Of course, at the point I'm thinking, "Who would leave a $3K diamond ring laying in the parking lot?" On the way, I called DS. You could say he wasn't happy.

We park, get out of the car, and KT2 starts running. Can you believe she found my ring just laying in the parking lot, under someone's car? The funny part was watching her scramble under as the owners were still trying to open their door and get out. The poor thing had been scraped along the pavement, and was scratched along both sides. The setting had come loose. I didn't care. I had my ring back. It went directly into a zippered pocket of my purse, and DS was instructed to get it insured right that second.

Two weeks ago, we sent it back to the fam to get it sized and prettied up. Last Tuesday, it was shipped back to us. An entire week has gone by, and still no ring. I'm telling you, this thing is cursed. It refuses to be worn, at least by me.

I was so confident when I woke up this morning that it would come today, but it would seem now that I'll just have to hope it shows up at all. At least now it's insured...

May 28, 2006

Two Days Just Isn't Enough

There is something I seem to have to re-learn over and over in my life: Two days just isn't enough time. This was a constant lesson when I still lived in Kentucky, and DS lived here in Wisconsin. We'd have to go an entire month without each other, and then have two days together. It was awful. With a week, you have the wonderful day or two where you're over being so excited to see each other again, but you're not quite worrying about leaving each other. With two days, the whole thing is, "oh god, he's leaving soon." It's just not a fun way to carry on a relationship, hence my moving asap.

This weekend, sweet Janelle flew in from Cali to meet the Madison blogging crew. Naturally, she wanted to meet people other than MT and myself, which meant I had to meet the Madison blogging crew as well. (I should really work on this anti-social thing I have going on. I'm sure my life would be much easier.) As a result of this weekend, I now know, in person, Oscar Madison, B, Tonya, and Janelle Renee.

Anyway, as I was saying, two days just isn't enough. Of course, at first, I thought it would be. You start off a weekend like this, where you sort of know people, but you don't really know people, and you have a mental image in your head of what these people look like, who they are, how they sound. A year of blogging creates a large memory bank of imagined situations. My mind always visualizes the stories read, or the conversations had over IM, so that though I may have never had an actual in person conversation, I know your gestures, your facial expressions, etc.

So now, imagine that you know these people, and then you sit down with them at the Union Terrace for a few beers, only to discover these are not the people you have known, but not known, for a year. There is a moment of disorientation. Who are you? How do you know me? Why am I here? But, having already experienced a similar situation through dating DS, I recognized the issue and firmly told myself to be quite and get to know them all over again.

And let me tell you, rarely have I met someone in person who didn't just lived up to the mental image, but they almost always surpass it. So what had seemed like a nice weekend of meet and greets ended with that frantic feeling of "oh no! when will i see you again!?" Which is both wonderful, and sad, because sweet Janelle is flying back across the country today, where she assures she has a new 1 year lease on an apartment.

This weekend was full of fun times. I mentioned Friday night on the terrace, but that wasn't really the best part. Saturday morning, Janelle, MT and I met for a walkthrough of the farmer's market at the capital, where I was happy to get baby rice popcorn kernels (a first for me!), beef jerky, and 7-year cheddar (holy cow! it's amazing!). Then we met Oscar at a cute little coffee house, where we were treated with a round of iced coffee. Soon, we were joined by Tonya, whom I only knew of through comments on Oscar's site. Come to find out, she is hilarious, says freakin', and is otherwise full of awesomeness. Her biting humor went right to my fuzzy happy place. I always love the "mean" ones. You know, the ones that are actually very nice, but can throw out those stingers that have me rolling in laughter? (I can't explain it any better than that, so I'll stop rambling on the subject.) MT drew several pictures commemorating the event, and Oscar took about 1 million pictures, apologizing excessively for flashing without permission. (It's okay, I laughed too. I keep picturing a professor in a trenchcoat, asking if he can flash me, and then opening it up. Well, not picturing.. never mind.)

An overdose of sugar and caffeine brought on my attractive red eyeshadow look, follow by red splotches, which sent us to the Weary Traveler in search for lunch. There, we were met by B, who has a firecracker of a personality. When we parted, she promised to let me know if she ever heard of a job I could do, which is exciting. People are keeping their eyes open for me! Hooray!

On a whim, Janelle, MT and I drove out to Taliesin, where we chose not to take the $70 per person tour, and instead stalked the grounds from the road yelling "Stop! Back up!" whenever we found a good place for a photograph. We've agreed to start a savings fund just for that tour, and the next time we're all together, we can actually see the house. On the way back, we stopped at Peck's and fed goats, bunnies, deer, and a whole myriad of animals. I can firmly say that turkey's look hilarious when they're running.

Finally, we ended up at my apartment, where we oooh'd and aahh'd over Janelle's portfolio. And of course worked on convincing her to move to Wisconsin. I'm quite sure I would make a great manager of her second furniture showroom. I mean, that's pretty much what I do now!

So there you have it. You can meet your blogging friends and it can turn out to be a most wonderful time. And who knows, I might even have a few more friends here in Madison as well.

May 27, 2006

Allergic Reaction

I think I'm allergic to social situations. I knew there was a reason I don't normally do this. I'm starting splotch and I have red circles around my eyes....


I'm currently sitting in a coffeehouse, experiencing group blogging. This is new for me. Of the five people at this table, I previously knew 2 of them in person, one of which is myself. Look at me! I'm meeting new people and being social!! I know, it's shocking.

So, we're supposed to be creative right now, and express something in blog form. Something that suggests we're blogging in a group. But I can't think of anything, so you see that cluster up there? That's a blogfart. Similar to a brain fart. Except it's visual.

Yeah, I can't do this forced creative thing. Deal with it. If I come up with something better, you'll know. Because it will be here. Or maybe.. it won't be! Perhaps I'll put it on someone else's blog while they're in the bathroom. Goblins are sneaky that way.

May 23, 2006

DS is Famous!

I felt like I should post, before SG kicks me off the bed...

Things you should know:

  1. I went to an AMAZING!! party Saturday night at my boss's house. Holy cow! Unfortunately, DS's sleeping curse sent us home around midnight, just before the dancing started. I'm determined to send him home without me next time.
  2. I'm deep in the throes of Prodigal Summer, which for reasons I can't quite explain, has me utterly hooked. On the surface, it seems random, but something inside me knows it is not, and I'm searching, searching, searching for the part where it all comes together. And poor Lusa.. *sigh* I'm totally on her side. (Thanks SG!!)
  3. My engagement ring, which has now been lost three times if you count the time it was rejected from France, is scheduled to leave Kentucky tomorrow, sized, polished, and re-set. I might, just might, be actually wearing my ring by the end of the week. We'll see. This ring has a history...
  4. DS has officially gotten his first research paper published in a highly respected science journal called PRL or something. We're very stoked, because this means he's one step closer to graduating. (And let me tell you, it's about freakin' time!)
  5. I'm trying to convince myself to pick up painting again. I haven't painted anything since I sent BOBI that puffin picture.
  6. I'm secretly (or perhaps not so secretly) in love with Kimberlina, but she coyishly brushes me aside. Alas!
  7. I'm determined to save up $42.00 to buy a dress at this place called Francesca's Collections. It's so totally me.
  8. I have a dinner date with my girlfriend on Wednesday! I think she's making me tacos. Oh, I guess the boys will be there too, but who cares!
  9. I have a "drinks" date with some of my "blogging friends" on Friday night. Yeah, that's right, blogging friends. What? If you're so jealous, you should fly out and visit me too!
I know you think I should have 10 things on here, so that you can see an nice, round, even number. No! Deal with the number nine. It's good for you. It's the square of the magic number, with makes it doubly magical. 3 x 3 = 9. See? Beautiful. Though admittedly not as beautiful as 4, which stole my heart away in 4th grade...

May 13, 2006

Cuba and Baseball

For some time now, I have been meaning to begin a string of posts that would allow me to share my experiences in Havana, Cuba. Blogger has been making this difficult by denying me the ability to upload photos. I've also had trouble accessing these photos, because they're store on one of DS's harddrives that requires him to not be playing Oblivion. Any idea how hard that is? Also, I'm forgetful. But now, I give you baseball in Cuba.

My trip occurred over spring break my first year in grad school, which I guess makes it about two years ago. This was just before President Bush pulled yet another asshat move and further restricted travel to the country. Contrary to popular belief, it is quite possible to travel to Cuba legally, though admittedly they create many hoops for you to jump through. My favorite professor, one Dr. Dennis Domer, had a teaching visa that allowed him to take small groups of students to the country to study the architecture.

Before the embargo, the United States was Cuba's number 1 trading partner, which makes since as they're only 90 miles away from us. Havana was a vacation spot for the American elite, and was also known for it's nightlife. I believe this is illustrated in the move Havana Nights, a Dirty Dancing sequel or something, but it sounded awful and so I haven't watched it. Anyway, after the embargo, the country became very poor. Most goods now had to be imported from Europe, a much more expensive venture, and many things within the country came to a standstill, including architecture. As such, the country has become almost like a time machine. The lack of funds to demolish and build new has created a necessary preservation movement. The streets today look very similar to the streets of 1962. For anyone studying the Modern movement in architecture, it is a dream come true. It also creates a very good excuse for historic preservation students to legally travel there.

Now where was I? Oh right, baseball. In case you didn't know, baseball is, and has always been since I knew the difference, my favorite sport. I was lucky in that I found someone who also shares this passion, so that DS and I can always enjoy a baseball game together. Cuba also shares this passion, and has made it their national sport.

Before leaving on the trip, the class was told about the extreme poverty of the Cuban people. It was suggested that we bring gifts, things that were cheap for us, and yet meant the world to them. In general, Cubans are a very generous, loving people. When we were invited into their homes for drinks, we repaid them with gifts or money. It was nothing to us, and everything to them. So for the children, we all decided to bring baseballs. We had loads of them. I felt like a travelling salesman.

These images are of the baseball stadium along coast. It is mostly in disrepair, as are most the buildings along the coast. The salt spray are especially hard on them, and repairs are expensive. In the first image, you can just see children playing in the field to the far left. The structure is a beautiful example of modern form and the flexibility of concrete.

Here, you see some children playing in an open space near La Habana Vieja. There were adorable, but their baseball was crap.

When we would see things like this, we would give out a baseball if we had one. Oh to see their faces! It was like the best Christmas you had ever had, when Santa Claus was still an unquestioned certainty. A brand new baseball was rare, and they did not hesitate to show their gratitude. We were hugged, they would follow us around, laughing. It was the most amazing feeling.

You don't generally think of a baseball as something that is expensive, or out of reach. You can probably get one at Wal-Mart for a dollar. But to them, it was an expense that took money away from food, clothing, and shelter. And yet the sport is so important to them. One of Dr. Domer's personal friends in Cuba, who is collaborating with him on a book about Havana, had a young boy in his house, probably around 5 or 6. I cannot remember if he was his son or grandson. We all went to visit him in his home, which like all homes within the city was small. For him, we had a special treat, both a ball and a mit. The child was young, and though excited, was shy and scared by the multitude of people speaking English around him. But the adults, they knew what a gift like that meant. He had trouble holding back tears, and struggled with the words to tell us how thankful he was. I must admit, the sight of it made it hard not to cry myself.

Hopefully, I can get more of my pictures and sketches from this trip uploaded. It was, by far, the most amazing week I have ever had in my life, and it's time I shared it with others.

May 11, 2006

Landbound Hurricane

If I didn't live in the middle of the country, they'd be forecasting a hurricane right now....

I swear, that storm is rotating. Look for yourself.

May 08, 2006


We finally found a manager we were willing to hire to fill out our team. Ever since my old store manager left in early March and KT1 and I were promoted, we have been short one manager. This has been very hard on our schedule rotation, meaning I pretty much work every weekend. However, two weeks from today, we will be on a full four manager rotation, meaning I get two whole weekends off every month. Hurrah!!!

In other news, I'm currently obsessed with The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Most of you have probably already read it by now, but I tend to stay away from bestsellers unless they're something I'm already interested in before they get that way. This is also why I resisted reading the Harry Potter series for so long. But seriously, if you haven't read this book, pick it up! I was gushing to DS about it, and I promised him it would have him hooked by page 2. And you know what happened? We're fighting over who gets to read it when. Even if you don't want to think about the religious connotations, try to simply enjoy it as a thrilling adventure.

May 06, 2006

Spring is Here

While people like Janelle and Kimberlina were boasting about warm weather months ago, I'm just now able to say with certainty that spring has come to Wisconsin.

Now, don't get me wrong. The freezing temperatures ended a while ago*. However, it takes more than that for me to feel like it's spring. Now, I have proof. See for yourself!

Hooray for Farmer's Markets! Ours just re-opened this past Thursday, and I happily bought some farm fresh honey!

As a special treat, here are the Easter eggs DS and I made last week. And yes, I know that we did it late. But as least we did it!

*Note: DS has informed me that it was indeed 32 degrees when he woke up this morning. But really, it gets into at least the lower 60's most days. Visitors should bring a light jacket though, just in case.

May 04, 2006

Hide and Seek

Let's play a game. It's called, "Where does my time go?"

I'm pretty sure most of it is hiding at a place called work, followed closely by a place call sleep.

However, we should start looking into a place called Oblivion, where I'm noticing that hours go by in the blink of a quest....

And you guys thought I was cool, but now you see how much of a total geek I am!