Monday, January 31, 2011

Eff you Roberta!

I was cleaning out my closet this evening and I pulled out my huge art portfolio that had been collecting dust for the past 8 years. I kind of sat there on the floor looking at it. I never realized that I had blocked most of my time in the MSU Interior Design program from my mind (It was hell, sheer hell) but tonight, I was sitting there looking at the huge black mass and, hey, since I'm glutton for punishment, decided to open it up.

Dammit. That was stupid. Floods of memories came back instantly and as I flipped through the decaying presentation boards. I suddenly had visions of each class and all the emotions of doing each of these projects overwhelmed me as they came rushing back. I remembered every single night sitting until 2 am in the Human Ecology building hunched over a drafting table and the tears shed from misery as if I had done it yesterday. I recalled the day I was rushing for Roberta's class in the rain and the project I had worked on for TWO MONTHS, falling out of it's plastic into a huge puddle (which subsequently had me on my knees in the puddle cradling the mushy pulp that had once been a house
plan, crying hysterically, screaming, "why God!?") On a separate note, I still extremely dislike Roberta- I won't say hate as it's a strong word, but if I were to see her today, I'd probably trip her snooty artistic ass down some stairs.

Well, there is the saying misery loves company. So please allow me to share with you the wasted 2 years of my life, I'll never get back.

This was a project on different floor finishes. My partner and I drew Tile. As the different types of tile is an immense catalog, we decided to focus on Quarry and Resilent Tile. We spent quite a bit of time coordinating work and school schedules to work on this project but ultimately it ended up being done at midnight the day before it was due with help from several cans of Bud Light.
The awesome thing about summer classes is they are usually taught by a grad student and they usually are just there for the credit and don't give rat's ass so you get pretty good grades. We did pretty well on this one.

The next project was in Roberta's class. The concept was to take a letter of the alphabet and create a business utilizing only x amount of floor space. My concept (which, I still think is awesome since the witch nixed my gentlemen's club
using the letter "B"The concept would have been the round parts of the B would be the stage and the in the center would be strategically placed poles, which would have great creative innuendo on the plan view) was to have a travel agency. The main part of it was the buiding was located in Las Vegas, and in Vegas, it's go big or go home. So, since it was a travel agency, I concocted the idea of a huge globe that actually mimicked a puzzle since most people had no idea where they wanted to go on vacation to "Find their Peace" (ha! get it?) The globe sat on top of a circular building ( "O"). I thought it was
pretty damn creative. But not for the Nazi, Roberta.

The 3rd project was actually my very first project. We had to take a building and design a fountain in front of it. I choose the Walt Disney theater in Los Angeles ( the epitomy of modern theater architecture) The building is sleek and shiny steel flowing as if it had music coursing through it.
My fountain was a silver steel fountain, polished to stainless perfection, with abstract Mickey Ears in the centerpiece. Quite clever and the first teacher absolutely loved my concept. Too bad she didn't teach HED 242.

I was and still am proud of this presentation board.

The 4th and actually the final project was a FOUR MONTH undertaking. I worked hard and in the last week, spent 56 hours on the finishing touches with only maybe 8 hours of sleep. I was proud. All the lettering was by hand. I spent days working out the fabulous concept and the color scheme was freaking amazing and had I been an male Interior Designer looking at the boards, I totally would have done me. (I kind of have a high opinion of my work and genius...until Aaron knocks me down off my pedestal...he keeps me humble) This project was also what culminated in my tearful throwing of the white towel and jumping ship to Construction Management...I literally had a nervous breakdown due to lack of sleep and since I've gone back to this dark place, I would like to ask forgiveness to the poor souls along Grand River I might have viciously lashed verbally. Also I ask forgiveness from the Beaners chicks (and yes I'm saying Beaners, eff Bigby's, it will always be Beaners..PC Police be damned) who I might have thrown coffee at across the counter. Kind of poetic that this project was for Roberta's class. She was the final straw. As you will see in the following pictures, a lot of yellow post it notes from her...and after all the time, tears, hard work over the last two years.....bitch gave me a 2.5.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Let's Get Physical

So, just to give you a small history of my gym goings, I could never do beyond 1 minute on the elliptical. I had given up that I would never be able to do it.

Well with my new fitness mindset and being close to my 5% goal already, I decided to try it today. I made it 10 minutes regular and then 5 minutes backward. Since I'm writing this blog, it's proof I did not die..Yay!

Hoping I keep up the momentum this week. Don't have any money so I won't be eating out so thats a bonus and will help leep me on track. Hope everyone has a good week!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The adventures of Cleo and Daria, Pt1

I love my kittehs. Extremely entertaining and straight up full on bitch, they keep life interesting. I think why we get along is because I respect them. In saying respect, I'm not saying I hold them in high regard but more like, I respect the fact that they can kill me at anytime should I piss them off at just the right moment.

Cleo came first. I was on orientation in Dulles for my job. Now,Dulles is 35 minutes away from where I lived at the time. I honestly wanted to drive there everyday, but they demanded that I stay in this hotel. I thought I would get out of it because I had a dog, but nope- They paid for me to keep my dog there for the entire week. I know you are asking, why would I not want to stay in a hotel. Well, many reasons. The biggest is because of the comforter. In high school I was a Dateline fanatic. One night they had a special where they took black lights into hotels and the comforters and walls were covered in old DNA. This led to the adventures of the

"Penis blanket" in Florida and I'm still scarred.
Anyways, I had to stay in this hotel and it was pretty nice, so I figured it would be safe to sleep in the bed. Flash (dog) made himself right at home and enjoyed hotel living. Of course he was a spoiled fat hot dog so only the best for my Puppin. (spolied brat in the picture to the right)

Well, I knew no one, and I'm not really a people person, so I decided to stay in my room for most of the orientation evenings..I did get drawn out by the promise of dinner and beer but other than that, most of these people were boring as hell so I laid in bed and watched my favorite trashy MTV shows and surfed Facebook before facebook was cool. (oh yes, I was one of the first to join after it became available to MSU- I clearly had no life back then either)

I had gotten it into my mind a few weeks prior I wanted a cat. I didn't want to deal with a kitten because I didn't have the time to train so I decided to see what the local shelters had. On the website, they had featured a cat. She was pretty but looked like a super bitch. I have yet to figure out what it was but I decided right away I wanted that cat. I went down the next day and was introduced. They pulled her out of the cage and she immediately starting hissing at the other cats...anti-social, no? There was just something about this cat, so I adopted her and brought her home. Where Flash was waiting. Yeah, that introduction
did not go well. The dog was more than accommodating but the cat was not having it. She was acting like a super biotch, Queen of the nile, hence her new name, Cleo.

(Cleo's first day in the apartment)

Life was good for Miss Cleo. Until 2 years later when my husband joined me. Now the main difference between Aaron and me, is that Aaron LOVES cats. I like cats but every stray he sees he wants to take home, and probably would if we had a house (thank you Caylor Gardens for your 2 (3) pet limit- The 3 refers to the fact that Daria was technically illegal since we already had a cat and dog) His cousin Robin came out for a visit (our graduation present to her) and we were shopping at Potomac Yards and went into Petsmart. We looked at the cats and there in the cage was a gorgeous gray, long haired cat. Upon closer inspection I determined that she also had a bitchy look. Aaron fell in love and we decided to adopt her. Oh great, I already live in fear of death by one, backup is all she needs......

Daria joined us that afternoon. Cleo was is not the right word to describe it...extremely pissed would be more accurate. They did not get along. It was a constant cat battle for supremacy in the apartment. At one point we figured we should be prepared for the Nazis to come storming through our door at the command of Cleo Hitler. We were ready to give up and get rid of one of them but we moved out of "Mexico" and uptown into the "Landmark". New territory calmed them down. When Daria originally joined us, the apartment was already Cleo's castle. Here they were both paupers on equal footing. They quickly made themselves at home.

Unfortunately, this led to a new chapter that was even worse than Cat War 2. They get along. While this was thrilling at first, it began to dawn on me. Oh my God, Cleo now has willing back up.......

To be Continued

Friday, January 28, 2011

I love my city!

For the last (almost) 4 years, I have lived outside of DC in the gorgeous city of Alexandria. I love living here. It's an eclectic mix of the modern and historical. I love spending my summer nights walking around Old Town, on the same streets George Washington used to frequent, long before DC was our capital. In fact, Alexandria thrived while DC was still a huge swamp called Federal City. It's a great place for me, being the Colonial history nut that I am. It also has Beautiful architecture and interesting charm.

I also have a very nice camera. So I tend to take a lot of pictures. So the following are from some of my walks.

Wilson Bridge from the Ferry to National Harbor. A graceful piece of modern bridge building and a truly interesting project ( I am extremely glad I was not the Project Manager considering the many problems during Construction :) )

Old Town from the boat. ( I'm on a boat! with my flippy floppies)

Market Square, The site of the longest running and one of the oldest farmers markets in the country. The building is City Hall.

Mt Vernon- Washington's place. I love it here.

The walkway into the Old Presbyterian Cemetary...pretty scary stuff at night with only a lantern and a bunch of freaked out kids behind you.

The Old Presbyterian Meeting House where George Washington's memorial was held. Also home to the most gorgeous pipe organ.

The waterfront. A perfect place to read a book or enjoy your Starbucks and people watch.

Most of Old Town does not have street lamps, but instead they use these lanterns.

World War II Memorial. Ok it's in DC but I absolutely love this memorial. Lincoln memorial is way in the back there.

Duke Street Townhomes.

Il Porto- Great Italian and haunted to boot.

Words that should not be allowed to be used anymore

Snowmageddon. That is all

Monday, January 24, 2011

Personal hell on the 3 9 5

Living in DC has it's perks. Great Nightlife, lots to do (if you aren't lazy) and pretty well situated on the Eastern Seaboard so New York and Boston aren't far off. But for all the great things, there is one thing that I will never miss on that day I return to my Midwestern roots: Traffic.

I-395= My personal hell after work

Now, I always believed that the worst drivers in the country resided in Michigan, but I really didn't have much to compare that thought to......until I moved here.

There are three types of drivers that reside in DC: The natives, the foreigners and the transplants. Each is identified by specific characteristics and driving habits.

The Natives are the break riders. They are used to traffic, grew up in it and therefore their immediate reflex is to stomp the brakes at any and all times. The next car on the highway can be half a mile in front of them, but said car hits the brakes, guess what, of course the native will hit theirs as well. Native drivers also tend to drive one of the following 3 cars: Toyota Prius, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. They do not believe in turn signals, looking before merging into traffic and are incapable of getting up to speed before exiting the on ramp to the highway.

The foreigners are terrified to drive. They will drive 25 miles an hour, even on the highway and they also seem to be unable to comprehend basic traffic laws. Cab drivers fall into this category as well, only they aren't afraid of driving, they will probably kill you in the crosswalk just to beat a light or make a turn. No foreign driver makes a person driving in DC shudder more than a diplomat plate.

Granted Diplomats do good work, but they are completely incapable of driving in this country. I assume they are used tt driving on the other side of the road, but anytime one sees this plate loose on the highway, we all know to back up and give them space on all four sides. Unpredictability can be fun but not in a car.

Then you have the transplants. We grew up in the country far from the city, corn fed and farm raised, driving riding mowers at age 5 and getting our first tractor at age 12. We take no prisoners on the highway. Transplants are quite agressive, but this anger is fed by the constant stupidity we have to deal with from the natives and foreigners. The problem basically is we know how to drive a car and know what the mirrors attached on all sides are for and we realize a car can go above 30 with no problems.

Even with the 3 categories, there is just some commonality among all of them. Something about getting on a highway into or out of DC makes people turn stupid. Being cut off in traffic is constant and may God help you, should you find yourself stuck on the highway when the sky turns gray, or these water droplet things start falling from the sky. NO ONE knows how to drive when it rains.

Or snows...they close schools on 1 inch of snow. Even the cops are not used to it. I remember the first winter I was here, I was driving at about 55 down 395 in snow flurries and I was pulled over. NOT for speeding, but for driving too fast for conditions. I would like to point my out my Michigan license plate was still attached to my vehicle at this time and I laughed in this man's face with a simple "what conditions officer?"

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Current Jam, I can't get enough of.

I would LOVE to sing this to a few people lately.

Jesus Christ Superstar

Those who know me well are well aware of how I feel when it comes to my faith. I'm lucky to have an awesome assortment of friends with different beliefs who allow me to debate and grow in my own faith and they can in theirs. I love that openness.

However, apparently quite a few people seem to have other ideas about my faith and assume I have never been a Christian and are shocked and figure that oh that's why I changed...more about that later.

When it comes to my faith, I believe that my relationship with God is a personal one. I don't need others chiming in and I don't need to stand on a street corner shouting, "God, God, God" because our relationship is fine. I've had a very long personal relationship with God that has stretched over years.

I remember going to my Grandparent's house for two weeks every summer and Grandma and I would sing "The Blood Bought Church" at the top of our lungs as it played on the record player. My Gramnoo was the person who really established my early belief in Christianity and she is the example I strive to live as every day, but while she succeeds, I fail miserably.

Granmoo is liberal. She holds many Southern Baptist beliefs but the woman is faithful. She has been through hell and back in the last six years to the point many would have committed suicide. Not Granmoo. She opens one of the 80 or so bibles in her house and reads. She's devoted to prayer and carries worry for many in the world...even people she hasn't met yet. She believes everything is God's plan and the decisions we make are either influenced by him or Satan. She doesn't go to church much because she's found her happy balance in her personal relationship with God and has found other ways to serve him. I've never really figured out where Grandpa falls in his beliefs, other than John Wayne movies are the greatest ever. But there have been times when I see him silently away with head bowed down. I love my Grandparents.

My parents are also more of the non church going Christians.,..but they have reasons. We went to a very nice Baptist church in our town. It was huge, had a good youth Group and the pastor was devoted. However, he was not one that the older generation in the church liked so he was run off and when he left, the church died. Everyone left in disgust. My parents were ostracized because they both had to work to put food on the table. We were poor but my brother and I never knew it because we never lacked anything we needed. Now that I myself have all the financial obligations and see the financial mess my parents continue to deal with even after 30 years, it shocks me.

Dad is a truck driver. He has left to other jobs, but he always comes back to the truck. To him, that's God's plan for him. He accepted it and while his bosses are kind of jerks, he endures and continues down the road one mile at a time. I do remember how excited we were when he would be able to make it one of our school recitals. Up until I was in middle school and my brother in fourth grade, many people assumed my mom was single or divorced. Mom, was sad when she could no longer stay home with us, so when we entered school she became a CNA. She has worked hard for 22 years, going to school to work up to her LPN and she is a damn good nurse.

I'm lucky to have such awesome individiuals as role models who have shaped my faith. I myself have always been devoted to God. However, I have never made it public knowledge or stood in the church screaming "All hail God!" I'm not attacking anyone who does that because that's their way of showing their devotion but for me it doesn't work. To me as I stated above, my relationship with God is a quiet and reflective one. I don't usually go to church because none can feed me spiritually. The experiences of years past with preacher has made it hard for me to find one that speaks to me. However, thanks to my awesome friend Kelsey, I have finally found one. But I'm not going there to shout and praise. I enjoy church as it allows me an hour of quiet and uniterrupted time with God. I can sit and reflect with no distractions.

The best way to describe me is I'm a liberal non-judgmental Christian. What does that mean, exactly? Well, it means I try to not judge people for their beliefs or how they choose to live their life. I won't force feed you my beliefs, but I hope that you will also do the same for me with yours. Judging people takes way to much time and that is something that is hard to come by these days. Plus, frankly it's not my job. I think God, while he knows the details, also knows that we aren't perfect and is just happy for us to lead a good life, treat others with kindness and continue his work in small ways, be it spend a day at the homeless shelter serving food or going to a small gathering on easter Sunday. AS long as you keep the commandments, all the other stuff kind of falls into place. He is always forgiving. Sadly, his followers don't always practice what he preaches and those are usually the ones who make a big deal of their walk with God.

MY faith was truly shaped when I moved 3 years ago. I moveds to a large city from farm ville , away from everyone and everything I knew and that was familliar. The first six months here were the somne of the worst months of my life. I didn't know anyone so I did a lot of praying because it was the only relationship I had close. I had three awesome friends who kicked it into gear and did everything they could to support me, even if it was a simple phone call or a bitch slap to get over myself. I love you, Mon, Ape and Sar :)I think this trying time was when I really understood what I wanted my spiritual relationship and faith to be. I haven't looked back since and now my life, despite crushing student loan debt is awesome. I have a wonderful husband who is supportive, lovin and cracks me up with his wit daily ( I love you Hunbun!), two fur ball children (although I still remain convinced they are going to kill me in my sleep) and a job that is slowly killing me everyday, but I love it and love what I do.

I'm just keeping on , keeping on. Trying to be good and yet failing daily in his grace. But, I think that's how he likes it. I learn more. This is the last time you will hear me preach. Because I've revealed too much already. :)


Friday, January 21, 2011

And I Ran.....

I was on the track team from 7th-11th grades. Yes, me, on the track team and I even have pictures to prove it! However, for the most part, I did track to get out of gym class. I never really had any expectations about being sporty because I'm not a natural athlete. (Still a true fact, but I am what I am). I am glutton for embarassment so I did the 100M dash (always last and 3 seconds behind), long jump (I would have placed once if Jonesville hadn't cheated) and the 800M relay (we consistently beat Jonesville, ha!). Now, basically, that last one was the farthest I could ever run-half a track length.

I continued on through life beyond high school and just figured running was not something I would ever be able to do. I remained blissfully happy and didn't let it bother me. Then I started to get fatter and lazier, even more so after I got married. Watching Biggest loser one night with my Taco Bell or Chinese (whichever we ended up with) I watched 400 pound people running 5Ks. Man, talk about shaming a shameless person. If these people could do it, surely I could?!

I began researching how to get started and found the Couch to 5K. Hmm..looked pretty interesting, easy to start and look, an ipod app. Bonus! I downloaded that even though I was confident I was wasting 2 bucks. I started the program a week later with the hubs. Yeah, so let me just say this now, I wanted to DIE! After the second minute of running I was ready to say screw this, but then something happened. Something strange that I have never had before. My brain woke up and told my body to shut up and just do it -My body remains pissed. I finished that first day and have continued off and on following the program with varying degrees of success.

Last week, I ran a mile and a half. 6 times around a track. I could never even run one lap before, but here I was doing 6 laps and I haven't looked back.

To be continued....

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Year, New Manda

Just a quick blog to pacify April.

I used to be somewhat skinny. There was a time I wore jeans in the single digits. In a couple months, I turn 30. While career wise and in life I'm happy, I am not happy with the way I've allowed myself to grow lazy and fat.

January 1st, I decided to do something about it.

Our company is having a "Biggest Loser" competition. A woman has never won or placed in this contest. Of course. considering the industry, there aren't a whole lot of women anyways, but I digress. I'm going to give it a good run to at least place. A lot of the guys fattened themselves up before the contest. which is utter crap, but it is what it is. They lose weight easier so it's pretty much assured a guy will probably win. Unless I have a say about it.

I joined weight watchers and committed myself to the gym. I've only been at this a week, but I plan to keep you informed as I go along this path.