Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lamp Re-vamp

This always happens. I get a room the way I want it for approximately 6 months, and then I decide it's time for a change! It's a good thing I go to Target about 3-4 times per week so I can scope out the inventory and get style ideas. :-)

While at Target (where else?) last week, I found a white lamp shade on clearance for less than $10. I have been really, really, inappropriately obsessed with chevron patterns as of late, and I decided that the plain white shade would become a chevron pattern with the help of some painter's tape and a little mustard yellow acrylic. Boom!

I had a lamp at home that had a nice base but just a really hein-doggy shade on it. Yes. The shade was made of denim fabric. Yes. It had a pink polka-dotted "belt" around it. What of it? But the base was pretty nice. It would be the perfect match for my chevron lamp shade.

So, on Saturday afternoon, I sat down and did it. Here are my steps that you can create your own as well.

1. Unwrap the white lamp shade. 'Tis a critical step.

2. Create a chevron template. This is a smidge tricky, but it can be done. I measured the top of my shade's width, which was 6 inches, and I divided it by 2 to find the middle. I knew I wanted my point to reach the exact center, so finding the middle was pretty critical to me. I made just a little dot with a pencil to mark the middle. I then took my tape, which was about 2" thick, and I just eyeballed this part. I started my chevron (which is basically a "V") with the tape and made sure that the two sides crossed at the middle point of my shade. When it looked the way I wanted, I peeled it off and stuck it to a magazine cover to use as my template. I cut the paper along the edges of the tape so that it would make my template.
3. I held my template up to my lamp, starting at the top, and then I marked the edges on the sides of my shade to show where the tape needed to be lined up. I also marked the bottom of the center point of my chevron template so that I knew to line up the tape with the middle of the shade, too. This all sounds confusing, but you'll know what to do once you start doing it. You could just trace the template on the shade, but I didn't want that many pencil lines to deal with.
4. Once my pencil marks were on the sides of my shade, I took the painter's tape and just lined them up with my markings and made sure my chevron crossed at the center point of my shade. I repeated this whole process on all 4 sides of my shade. I don't know how difficult it would be to do this with a round shade, but the 4-sided shade worked well for me.
5. After all the tape was on, the easy part was next! I painted the mustard yellow on with a sponge brush so that paint would be less likely to seep under the tape. I hate hate hate when that happens!
6. I let it fully dry before removing the tape. I was pleasantly surprised with how clean the lines stayed. Of course there are a few little spots to be touched up, but I just rotated the less than perfect side of the shade to the back.

I think the key to the chevron pattern is making sure that it is exactly straight and balanced the whole way around the shade. That's why I went all nerdy with my calculations, templates, and measuring. Measure twice, cut once, fools!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beginning of the End

I have a lot on my mind (per the usual), but the most prevalent thought I have right now in this very moment is football. Is my name Nikki or something? ;-) So if you could care less about football, I wouldn't waste your time reading this.

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a Colts fan. I've got 3 Manning jerseys, a Clark jersey, and somewhere in the depths of a closet, I've got an Edgerrin James jersey. Anyone who follows my car, knows I'm a Colts fan by my license plate holder on the back. Anyone who steps into my classroom, knows I'm a Colts fan by the shrine of posters behind my desk. 

However, changes are on the horizon, and I find myself having a physical reaction to them. My stomach is in knots and no matter how hard I try to shake them, I keep coming back to the fear that my love for this team is fading.

WHAT? You can't do that! You have to be a fan for life! You can't just abandon them!

You're right. I can't just abandon the team I grew up loving, but that team is no longer. The changes all seemed so positive at first. New management. Yes! New coach. Yes! New quarterback. WHAT THE HELL?

A year ago, Peyton Manning was ready to play more football. One neck injury and a serious neck surgery later, and the man is still ready to play more football. The fact that all signs are pointing to the face of this team being sent packing is beyond disgusting.

I could be wrong. Peyton could either still have a home in Indy or he could be deemed unhealthy enough to play (which, honestly, is what I'm hoping for), but I have been reading too many articles and too many ridiculous Twitter posts from the ownership and I just feel it coming.

I don't really follow college football, so I will be really honest in saying that 1) I don't really know who Andrew Luck is and 2) I don't really care. I do know that he is presumably a 22 year old kid fresh out of college who will no doubt struggle in his first season in the NFL, and to just throw away a 4-time MVP, Superbowl Champ, and future Hall of Famer because this kid is the next "big thing" is foolish in my opinion. Ever heard of learning from the best? Ever heard of riding with training wheels? Ever heard of any of the other #1 draft pick rookie QBs sucking ass because of lack of experience, strength, knowledge, intelligence, etc?

All of those big decisions will of course be made without my input. No one is calling me and asking what I think, and maybe I'm just a little too sentimental, but I just can't fathom being a fan of a team that no longer resembles any of the reasons I have loved it for so long.

For starters:
1) The new GM seems like a total douche bag. I kind of want that shady old Bill Polian and his nepotism back.

2) I don't know much about the new coach, but I do know that no coach will ever compare to Tony Dungy.

3) From what I hear, nearly all of my favorite guys, who not only are great on the field but also are kick-ass human beings, will be gone undoubtedly-- Jeff Saturday, Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne. Will I know any of the names on the back of the jerseys?

4) Jim Irsay has gone off the deep end. Prescription drug abuse again? Not sure. His Twitter feed is a waste of the Internets.

5) #18. Enough said.

So, here we are, in the waiting game until supposedly March 8th, when we find out if the Colts will pay Peyton his signing bonus-- which I am the first to admit that it is way too much money for any human, whether you have 1 year left in the NFL or 10.

Until then, I will be left to wonder one thing. Will my loyalty follow my team, or will my loyalty follow Peyton Manning? Right now, I'm leaning toward following Manning, despite the fact that I saw something on Sports Center about him going to the Jets and nearly threw up. Maybe I'm leaning toward not turning on my TV next fall and being done with football forever.

Why is it that football gets this kind of reaction out of me (and so many others I know)? It's just a stupid sport full of athletes who make WAY too much money. However, I can't ignore that the memories attached to this sport, and namely the Colts, are too sweet to ignore.

Watching games with family and friends-- sometimes high-fiving perfect strangers. Eating good food and enjoying time with friends...guts in knots together and celebrating the victories and mourning the losses.
Going to the Colts exhibition at BSU several years ago and being a few feet away from Manning himself.
Hearing a collective scream in the streets at IU when the Colts made it to the Superbowl the first time.
The Tampa Bay Monday night game where I was the only one awake watching the comeback from my bed and whisper/screaming loudly.
Attending their last game in the RCA Dome which honestly felt like the beginning of the end for this team. Lucas Oil really doesn't compare.
Doing touchdown dances in the end zone during our tour of Lucas Oil.
The game where Reggie Wayne didn't wear his belt and you could see his butt crack the whole time.
Learning that Indy would have the Superbowl in 2012 and fantasizing about what it would be like if the Colts actually played in that game.

And I will never, ever forget being in the Dishmans' old small living room with teal green carpet, watching the AFC championship with the Steelers and us missing the win with the help of a pass interference no-call in the end zone.

My list really could go on and on and on and on and on. My love for this team runs deep. My mom and brother have Notre Dame. My dad has UT. The Colts were my team. It feels like a death.

Maybe what makes this whole situation saddest of all is the realization that all anyone cares about is money. The world is about money. I see that every day with the education system. Every decision made is made with one thing in mind-- money. The NFL is of course all about money. It's not about the memories or treating people with respect and dignity or honoring their contributions to a city or listening to the people who are going to putting their asses in their seats on Sunday afternoons. It's about money.

Thanks for the memories, Colts. Here's hoping Peyton's new team color looks good on me.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Things that make you go "Hmmm....?"

I'm so excited... The Pioneer Woman's new cookbook is due out in March! Woohoo! I absolutely love her and can't wait to start making some new recipes of hers.

But no, this post is not about P-Dub, as I lovingly call her. It's about getting old.

I'm almost 28. Yikes. It looks even older when it's all typed out like that. But, I'm not an idiot. I know 28 isn't old by anyone's definition (other than my 4th graders'). However, I was at McDonald's today with Noelle for breakfast (don't worry...we split a fruit & yogurt parfait and plain pancakes...I'm not off the wellness wagon yet, folks...) and all around us were really old people.

I was gawking at them and trying to listen in on their conversations. There was a group of about 6 old ladies behind us, and a man walked in who they knew (probably because he comes to the local McD's every morning, too), and they were talking to him about how many people they knew who fell and slipped on the ice last week. The man alone knew 3 people who fell, and one of the little old ladies fessed up to falling, too. Yikes.

I got real scared.

I then spotted an elderly gentleman eating by himself with no wedding ring. I remembered being in college and one of my roommates, Laura, and I would get so sad when we would see an old person eating alone that we would have to make up a story about the person so we would feel better. "Oh, he's probably getting ready to go see his 54 grandchildren. He probably has a fun 84th birthday party to go to later."

I'm so afraid of getting old, but I'm also afraid of the alternative, which would be not living to be "old."

Is this what I will do when I am retired? Go to McDonald's with my friends? I mean, I did that through most of my years in college. It's probably quite fun. And you can't beat the Senior Citizen coffee price.

I don't know. I don't really know the point in writing all of this. I also can't seem to get The Lion King's "Circle of Life" song out of my head.

Deep thoughts, Ya'll.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

That awkward moment...

Well, it happened. Yesterday, it happened.

I got my first, "Congratulations!" as a woman who has actually known me for a long time stared at my belly. I was at the gym, trying to shrink the damn thing, when she made special effort to walk across the room and tell me congratulations because she thought I was "expecting."

It was that awkward moment when it sunk into my brain and hers at the same time...nope...definitely not pregnant. She then began digging herself out of the most colossal hole she could ever be in, rescuing herself with "Oh, how old's Noelle? You must be trying, right?"

OK, Lady. You don't have the right to ask me that question. That's quite personal, and if you really want to know, YES...we have been! For half a year! Do you really want me to unload all of that shit on you right now?

So, I tried to help her and tell her it was OK (even though her comment made me want to shoot myself) and then I tried to get away from her, but she felt so bad that she continued to ask me questions that she already knew the answers to, such as my job and Luke's job and other random crap. I wanted to die and she just wouldn't let me!

Finally, I made my escape, made it to my car, still managing to laugh about it most of the way home, until I called Luke and told him what happened. THEN the tears came.

Honestly, I've heard of this happening to other women, but the first time it happens to you, it just feels like a punch in the face and the gut at the same time. All of a sudden, you feel absolutely ashamed, even though you've been walking around in that body for quite some time now. I started to wonder who else thinks I'm pregnant based on this belly? My students? My coworkers? My friends? My family? That lady I see at Target 4 times a week?

The truth? Heaven knows I WANT to be pregnant. I'm about to turn this blog into a "My Fertility Journey" blog because it is getting that ridiculous, but we're not quite there yet. The fact that everyone assumes they have the right to even ask you if you're "trying" to have another baby is pretty friggin' annoying. What a personal, insensitive question. My best friends don't even ask me that. Wanna know why? Because they KNOW that we are.

I spent the whole day sulking about it. Sulking because it was a rude thing to say (even though she didn't mean for it to be rude), but also because I know that I have to do something about it. It's no secret that I have let the stresses of life get to me, and now if it weren't for "flowy tops" my students would see that Mrs. E never buttons the top button of her pants. I think I was mostly mad at myself yesterday.

So...what to do about it. It's clear that I'm not going to enjoy Zumba in Muncie the way I did in Indy. The style is different...classes are different...people are different. I don't see it being my "thing" the way it used to be...which honestly makes me really, really depressed. I'm going to have to find something else that makes working out motivating and fun.

I woke up early and decided that I better make good use of the time I have before Noelle wakes up, so I put on the 30 Day Shred and started at Level 1. Corny and stupid and lame...but I did it. I broke a sweat. I'll probably be sore tomorrow. And I guess that's all that really matters anyway.

The best part of yesterday? Celebrating my "pregnancy" with a huge glass of wine. Maybe being Sterile Meryl or Baron Sharon ain't so bad after all...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New You!

We have been asking Noelle to repeat after us, "Happy New Year!"

Instead, she says, "Happy New You!"

Either she isn't able to articulate the word "year," or she is wiser than we know.

I know some people have qualms about the new year and making resolutions and trying to change themselves all in the name of a year growing one digit higher, but I do tend to enjoy a good New Year's Eve and the promise of a happier, better year in the future.

I have been thinking a lot lately about resolutions and things I hope happen in the new year. I think, above all, I wish for peace.

Not necessarily "World Peace," (the inner pageant girl in me is coming out) though that would be nice.

I think I just wish for peace within my self, my soul, my heart, my mind. Peace in my decisions. Peace in my current place in life. Peace in my accomplishments and peace in my failures. I wish for peace in my loved ones. I wish for peace in those I interact with on a daily basis. To feel peaceful about life is a really great place to be in, and that's where I want to be in 2012.

I wouldn't mind losing about 50 pounds either. (palm slaps forehead)

The weight issues will always be there. The money issues will always be there. The work-life balance issues will always be there. No matter how old I get, some kind of drama will always be there.

But if I can have peace with these "issues," I'm feeling good.

Of course I hope 2012 brings me success in the classroom, growth in photography, memories with friends & family, perhaps a new baby, and a supermodel's body to boot, but I just. want. peace.

To start off this new year, I want to look back on my favorite moments of 2011.

Happy New You!