Tuesday, July 18, 2006

self portrait tuesday -- my life as a...


This is my first pair of cowboy boots and I love them! They're a 30th birthday present to myself (purchased with money given to me by my family...thanks family!). I've been wanting a pair of Lucchese boots since John bought his at Allens Boots in Austin, TX nearly a year and a half ago. It was our first time to Austin and we both fell in love with the town. When we lived in Lawrence, people would tell us all the time that if we loved Lawrence, then we would really love Austin. We couldn't resist the pull forever. Even though we were only there for two days and had a 6-month old with us (and thus did not get to experience any of the live music scene), we saw enough to fall in love with the town. Actually, we spent much of the time throwing around the idea of moving to Austin and opening a shoe store there (we knew at that time that we were definitely pursuing the shoe store, we just didn't know where yet). But, Austin has plenty of hip boutiques (shoe stores included) and Kansas City doesn't, so in the end we decided there was probably more of a need in KC.

I'm sure owning these cowboy boots is the closest thing I'll ever get to being a cowgirl (which I realize is not close at all), but one of my secret lifelong dreams has been to move to a ranch and own horses. I love horses. Or maybe I should say I like horses. Saying I love horses makes me feel like I should collect horse figurines, or subscribe to a magazine about horses, or at least have taken riding lessons when I was younger. None of that applies to me, so maybe I'm only allowed to say I like horses, but either way, I think one day I'd like to own one or two.

I haven't spent massive amounts of time around horses by any means. The extent of my experience with taking care of and riding horses is a handful of days spent with my friend Erin at her family's ranch. I'm sure those few days 15 years ago have provided me little to no concept of what is actually involved with owning and caring for horses, but who cares about that. It's a dream, and thus I don't feel the need to burden it with all those realities. Maybe one day in the distant future when Habitat is doing well and we've opened multiple stores and we can pay someone else to run the daily operations of the business, my husband, daughter, child #2 and I can move out of the "city" and experience those realities of country life firsthand. Right now, it sounds pretty appealing. Who knows if it will in ten years? I suppose I'll just have to wait and see.

Incidentally, although this is my first time participating in the self portrait challenge, I have wanted to for the better part of a year. When I first found out about it, I was intrigued by the concept, but not quite ready to post photos of myself every week. I really like photography, but I like being on this side of the camera...not in front of it. Then, when I'd actually be ready to try a shot, John would have the camera at the store taking photos for the all-consuming website. Or, I'd not resonate with the challenge for that month. Or, I'd think about it on Thursday, but not Tuesday. I suppose the stars just aligned rightly today...who knows if they ever will again.

Friday, July 14, 2006

a much-needed afternoon off

My amazing mother gave me a massage for Mother's Day and I finally got around to using it yesterday because I felt like I could take an afternoon off of work at the store and not spend the rest of the week overwhelmed at all the work I'd have waiting for me next Tuesday when I returned. Now I realize you don't need an entire afternoon for a 1-hour massage, but for me to fully enjoy the experience, I need several hours on either side of the massage to relax and just enjoy some time to myself. And to insure that I would take said several hours, I scheduled the massage in Lawrence -- a nice, 45-minute drive away to my favorite town that we don't live in anymore. The massage was great, although not quite the same when you're 8 months pregnant. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but the massage therapist just isn't able to get to places as well when you have to lay on your side almost the entire time.

Yet, it was still relaxing and I actually experienced a few hours free of pain in my lower back afterward, which was especially nice. I spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Mass St. going to all my favorite shops -- the Dusty Bookshelf, the Yarn Barn and Sarah's Fabrics -- places I loved to linger in when we lived in Lawrence, but I don't get the opportunity very often anymore.

I went into the Dusty Bookshelf looking for three books specifically. I found one of them and four others (of course) that I just had to pick up (hey, I did leave two others behind that I really wanted). The one I found that I had been looking for was Anna Karenina; a classic, and my dear friend Sarah's favorite book. The other four I couldn't resist taking with me were: The Devil in the White City (actually another recommendation of Sarah's), Five Quarters of the Orange, The Known World and Life of the Beloved (all just ones that sounded good). The only question now is which one to begin?

I found plenty of yummy yarn and amazing fabric at the other two stores (as usual), but resisted the temptation to purchase any of it. Not that I needed to at Sarah's because I still have a gift certificate that John gave me for my birthday last year (I know, I know, it's ridiculous). Rather than make a rash decision and end up with a pile of great fabric, but not know what to use it for, I wanted to take advantage of plenty of time by myself to walk around and survey all the fabrics. Then, I plan to use the next couple of days to decide which projects I want to pursue next and go back this coming week and burn through that gift certificate. Maybe, just maybe they'll even be having a sale at Sarah's since Thursday is the Annual Sidewalk Sale in Lawrence. It's a must-see event, if you've never been. We're talking crazy shoppers here people. The first year we lived in Lawrence and I went to the sale, I was blown away by how many people were crowded on Mas St. at 7 in the morning. I think I spent most of the day at Sunflower Bike Shop (another totally fun store) listening to a guy perched at the top of a ladder say things like, "We have Sunflower T-shirts for $5...it's cheaper than doing laundry." I found out later that they guy doesn't even work for Sunflower, he's just a friend of the owners who comes up every year to sit atop his ladder and yell funny things through a megaphone at customers wrestling for a deal.

I'm planning on going this year (my 5th time), so if anyone in KC is interested in scavenging the racks with me, I'd love to be the one to initiate you to this rare, but wonderful experience.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

spoiled aspirations

So I had great aspirations tonight to completely (or at least slightly) change the look of my blog. You know, add that photo of my front porch swing that I've been intending to do for a year. I figure it's long overdue. Although that may be true, what's also true is that I HAVE NO IDEA how to add a photo, change the font, change the size of the font, pretty much anything that has to do with html. But for some reason I decide that tonight of all nights, when I have a zillion other things I could (and should) be doing, I am going to figure it out by myself.

Well, an hour and a half later...no dice. I still don't understand which part of the template I need to change, or frankly where to even look in the template to change what I want to change. I have a hard time believing I'm the only person for which this stuff is not intuitive. I've tried searching the help section of blogger, but to no avail. I'm sure it's there somewhere...listed under some weird code, not something that makes sense like, "How to add a photo to your header." I've tried so many changes in the last 90 minutes, none of which have done anything remotely noticeable to my blog. I've decided to pack it in for the night as I'm afraid if I keep at it I will either end up erasing my entire blog or my husband will have to commit me to a mental hospital. Plus, since tomorrow is First Friday and we're having a HUGE Sidewalk Sale at the store (in the words of our friend Jeff, a "big ol' shut yo mouth" Sidewalk Sale) and it's sure to be a complete three-ring circus, I'd better get some sleep or my 32-week pregnant body is never going to make it until 11pm tomorrow night. If you live in KC, then stop by Habitat and take advantage of some sweet deals on even sweeter shoes. And if you don't live in KC, you can see what you're missing on our brand spankin' new website (which we are only currently telling limited people about while we make sure all the bugs are worked out).

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

birthday week

We've been celebrating a lot around here lately. Two days ago (July 2nd), I left my roaring twenties and entered a new decade of life. I think my husband has reminded me at least thirty times in the past few days that I am now 30 (he's a year and four months behind me). Several people have asked me, "So, how are doing with turning 30?" I'm doing just fine with it thank you. Actually, I'm excited about entering my thirties. I'm not sure why, I just am. Sure 30 sounds a lot older than being in your twenties, but I don't feel any older than I did two days ago, two weeks ago, two years ago (well, maybe two years ago since that's when I became a parent and that will age anybody). I'm not sure I'll ever feel my age again. I have a friend who's turning 40 this year and she says she still feels like she's in college.

Turning 30 is certainly an excuse to have a big party and that's just what my friend, Hannah, and I did (she turned 30 three days before me). We had a pig roast. It was awesome. I'm not normally one for viewing up close the animal that I'm about to ingest, but I will say it was the best pork I've ever eaten. It was so tender I can see why slow roasting produces the best kind of meat. Here's a photo of the carcass:

Now that's a good looking pig, but I think the one Hannah included on our invitation might be easier on the eyes. You can view it here. Hannah designed them herself and then we printed them on her gocco (I use the term, we, lightly as she really did all the printing...I basically watched her because I'm afraid of that contraption). Hannah loves that gocco thingamajig and is into all things stencil-like nowadays, so it's best to just get out of her way and let her create her masterpieces.

Between the 86 pounds of pork and the 10 dozen chocolate cupcakes (and the many delicious side dishes people brought), I think everyone went home content...including Margot and Collette (Hannah's daughter):

Margot had to take a break from scarfing down her cupcake and decided to just hold it for a minute or two...against her dress of course, what better place?

The other celebration this week (today actually) was for Margot's 2nd birthday. Two years ago today, John and I watched fireworks from our hospital room window holding our new daughter. Leave it to Margot Kay to be born on the Fourth of July. It's hard to believe two years has passed since that day. Happy Birthday beautiful girl. I'm sure you will grow up thinking all those fireworks are for you (once we actually make it to a fireworks extravaganza on the 4th) and really, what's wrong with that?

Here's Margot consuming her birthday (cup)cake:

Yes, she's eating a chocolate cupcake leftover from my birthday party. Let's just say we overshot our estimate of how many cupcakes we needed by about 5 dozen. Trust me, they're too yummy to let go to waste and she doesn't look like she minds, does she?