2009 Wrap-Up: Life

A lot of people are enthusiastically shouting “good riddance!” to 2009 today, and that’s totally understandable. Our economy went to crap, everyone is up in arms over health care reform and some would-be martyr just tried to blow up another goddamn airplane. I, however, will be a little bit sorry to see it go. Two-thousand-nine was probably one of the best years of my life.

In early ’09 there was snow. And more snow. And then Nathan and i went to Chicago for Valentine’s day and stayed in a delightful little B&B for a couple of nights. I don’t know what it is about Chicago, but it’s just really fun to go there and stare up at the giant buildings and wander around lost and then stop by IKEA on the way home. Feeling romantic, we also stopped into a few stores in the Windy City’s Diamond District and ogled some sparklies while we were there. It was an indicator of things to come.

In March we moved into our lovely downtown loft. It was really awesome at first until we discovered more recently that 1200 square feet is a LOT to keep clean all the time and that being able to hear everything your neighbors yell at each other isn’t really all that fun. It’s been a nice setting for a few parties, but we don’t do that kind of thing terribly often, and even when we do it’s only a handful of people. We’re hoping to rent a house this spring, and hopefully not being able to hear our neighbors will be worth the effort required to keep the lawn mowed and the driveway shoveled.

In the spring Nathan and i started running together. It was a slow start for me again, but i eventually got back up to the three-mile marker again before deciding to take an extended break. It’s still extending, in fact. I got to a point where i could think about nothing but breathing and the pain i was in and that i needed to STOP every time i ran, and for the entire time that i was running. If i run again this year, i’m cranking my music UP and i’m not going to bother trying to breathe correctly. But, more likely, i’m going to get back into dancing instead. And Nathan will be joining me! We start in January, and hopefully it will help me to fit back into the jeans that have recently become too tight to wear. 😦

In the summer a cute bird couple laid their eggs in our sad little garden box, and we watched their babies quickly grow up & fly away. We took a trip to Oregon on what was probably the hottest week there, ever, and enjoyed visiting Portland and my family despite the shroud of fog out on the coast.

Shortly after we returned my job petered out, and so i signed up for a couple of programming classes at DMACC and started the job hunt, bidding working from home a tearful goodbye. Javascript proved to be very intriguing, and programming logic came pretty easily to me. I only applied for about three jobs in all. One was located right across the street from where we live and dragged out their hiring process so long that by the time they finally rejected me, i had started my new job at Spindustry through Robert Half Technology. I learned recently that I ended up getting A’s in both of my DMACC classes (for whatever good that will do me) and that i get to keep my job at Spindustry! Beginning January 18th, i will no longer be a contractor through RHT, i will be a full-time Spindustry employee, and i couldn’t be happier.

This fall we got engaged, and i’m learning what it’s like to have a heart that is both peaceful and elated at the same time. I bought a 2004 Honda CR-V, and it is getting us safely through the mass amounts of snow that are falling upon Iowa this winter. I’m looking forward to starting to plan our wedding in the coming year (well, i’ve kinda started) and meeting the challenge of becoming even healthier. I have everything to be thankful for and everything to look forward to, and i’m sure 2010 is going to be a great adventure.

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Ch-Ch-Changes

Hello again to the five of you who still have a subscription to my blog! Now that i have all sorts of things going on in my life to talk about, i of course have less time for blogging. I do miss it, though. It’s good to be back. 🙂

Three major life-changes have taken place since the last time i wrote. The first was a new job! I started work at Spindustry Interactive a little over three weeks ago. I’m still doing web design, and i actually have a full work load for the first time since college, and i really enjoy it. I won an award for fitting in right away, because on my first day the office prankster sent out an email to everyone and spelled my name wrong where he mentioned me in it. I hit reply-to-all and corrected him. They apparently loved that. 🙂

On my third day of work, Nathan surprised me when i got home with a note which he instructed me to read in private. The note was beautiful, and featured a series of little drawings. At the end it said “come find me,” and when i went to him he knelt down and asked me to marry him! Needless to say, I said yes. I cried and cried, and then we went out to a nice dinner and called our families to tell them the news.

The Ring

Photographic Proof

So with a new job and a new jewel on my finger, i figured the only thing to do was buy a new car. A few months ago i sold my Saturn and bought Nathan’s Blazer for insurance purposes. The Blazer was great for plowing through the snow last winter, but the body was rusting badly and it needed at least one repair, so i decided to trade it in on a newer snow-worthy vehicle. I won’t go into the details of that story because car-buying proved to be quite a stressful process. Suffice it to say i have a new 2004 Honda CR-V and – yes, it’s a manual transmission.

My new ride!

Prior to my test-drive, i had driven manuals on all of two occasions, and both attempts had involved an abundance of tears and frustration. But, hey, everyone told me i’d learn to love it, so why not? Right??

I’ve been driving my Honda to and from work this week, and today was the first day that i managed not to kill it even one time. I have not been a quick learner with this. Digital stuff is easy to learn – Javascript? No problem! But physical things take a lot more practice.

Speaking of Javascript, i will still be taking classes on Monday and Tuesday evenings for five more weeks. If i take a class next semester it will only be one, because now that i’m working full-time, six hours of classes each week is cutting into my free time a little more than i’d like. Learning programming has been pretty fun, and i think next i need a refresher course in Flash (especially since i’m supposed to be the office Flash expert at Spindustry).

As beautiful and wonderful as last fall was, i think this one has definitely rivaled it. I had never heard of any such thing as “engaged bliss,” but i’ve discovered that it exists. Or maybe that’s just understood to be the state of being engaged. 🙂 Everything is so lovely. I feel terribly fortunate.

fallen

Art and Romance

It’s been a long and lovely several days since my last post. On Thursday at our class i finished my first-ever oil painting, which i’m pretty proud of.

My First Painting

Again – i know it’s not perfect. The cloth in the background makes no sense because the still-life shifted from week to week and by the end i was just guessing at how the light had fallen on it when i did the under-drawing. I’m not very good at imagining that sort of thing, which is why i don’t draw from imagination.

On Friday Nathan and i drove to Chicago to celebrate Valentine’s Day away from home. We stayed at a lovely little B&B in Oak Park called Harvey House and took the L into the city. I did a bit of shopping but didn’t procure much. We had pizza at Gino’s East and Nathan decided that he prefers Felix & Oscar’s pizza here in Des Moines. I’m pretty sure i caught something by not using my hand sanitizer until after my first bite of the baked ravioli appetizer. Zicam is helping me fight it, though. I’m drinking a lot of tea, too, and will probably become addicted to it as a result.

Saturday we went back into the city to see Millennium Park and the Art Institute. It was awesome to see Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, one of Van Gogh’s “Bedroom” paintings, and some really beautiful Monets. But the painting that struck me the most was this one:

Doppelganger
Nouvart Dzeron, A Daughter of Armenia by Ralph Elmer Clarkson, 1912

IT LOOKS JUST LIKE ME. WTH? Even my Mama agrees. But she says i’m prettier. 🙂

We had a lovely dinner at a little place called Francesca’s Fiore in Forest Park and Nathan made me drink most of the wine since he had to drive back to the B&B. I ended up talking his ear off about Rome, my family and various photographic film formats. Best Valentine’s Day EVER.

On Sunday we visited IKEA and picked up some awesome stuff for the new loft before driving back to DSM. We’ll be moving in nine days!! I began packing yesterday. I know i’ve got a long way to go, but it’ll all be worth it in the end.

The Procession

The Standard Procession after Breaking Up with Steph Adamo:

1. Get a haircut.

2. Tell her you’re going to be fine

3. Decide you’re actually not fine, and write shit about her on your blog where you do realize she will see it.

The decent ones apologize and take it down. The dicks go on writing worse and worse stuff.

I’m with my dear friend Mike Tomlinson on the whole breaking up issue–why can’t people just date for a while, have a nice couple of years together and then part ways peacefully, being glad to have had that time together?

Back to Beaverdale

It’s been an eventful week, so i apologize for not being able to post in a while.

When i went home from visiting my sister i was confronted by Dan about some things, and the conversation ultimately ended in us each going promptly to facebook and changing our relationship status from “In a relationship” to “Single”. The timing of it forced me to hastily pack a bag and return to Des Moines, find and sign a lease the following morning, and sneak back to Ames periodically to pack shit while Dan was out of the apartment. It’s still my apartment, of course, and i’m welcome there, only if the other resident happens to be around i’m greeted by cold silence the back of his head. Understandably.

So, one week, three trips to Ames and one overpriced Uhaul later i’ve got all of my stuff in my new apartment finally. I had thought that, having lived with a roommate in a small one-bedroom apartment and lost virtually everything that wasn’t in it, i didn’t have that much stuff left. My furniture filled a fourteen-foot truck and the rest took two carloads though, amazingly. Let me tell ya, walking fifty yards between the car and the front door over and over again in the middle of summer can make a person want to burn what’s left of her worldly possessions. Next time i’m hiring a moving crew, i don’t care how much it costs.

I owe a huge thank-you to Mike and Dan Falk, and of course to my Mama who not only helped me schlep my stuff around but has also provided companionship and food, and will most likely continue to do so. Maybe it’s just the fact that there are still boxes all over the place, but i really haven’t found the motivation to cook any sort of meal just for myself in this place yet. I don’t even have butter. And i don’t care.

The new place, Franklin Court
I’m in the bottom right one there. The other buildings have cute landscaping around them, but not this one.

The new place is a two-bedroom, bigger than i need but with no dishwasher or garbage disposal or working air conditioner. There’s a constantly-crying baby next door and the laundry facility is in the basement of the next building. It has its drawbacks. I’ll post photos of the interior when i’ve put all this stuff away. I haven’t even found a bike rack yet, so my bicycle is taking up a big awkward chunk of my living room. The cable and internet will be hooked up tomorrow, and i think it will be a much more comfortable place with those distractions readily available. I’m thinking of getting a futon for the extra bedroom, so if you’re ever in Des Moines and need a place to stay, give me a call.