Fall TV!

There are a lot of things about this season that I enjoy. Boots, for example, are awesome and plentiful. Cozy sweaters are showing up on mannequins and all of the leaves are turning beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow.

And...Fall TV has returned.

And suddenly it gets much more difficult to make plans.

While I have high hopes for being able to convince myself to spend as much time as possible doing things outdoors once we move, this will be slightly impeded by the return of a few of my good friends - Tyra, Izzy and Betty are back, along with newcomers Serena and Blair, and I'm gearing up to make sure that I spend some quality time with them, in all of their long-legged, lifesaving, braces-wearing, teen angsty glory.

Tyra is back with a venegeance. Cycle 9 of ANTM started last week, with all of the same bones but with a few new twists. Apparently, there is a "green" theme to this cycle, so the models will be showcasing all sorts of environmentally friendly habits, starting with Tyra's no smoking house rule, which should go over fabulously. Because they really need a reason to be MORE bitchy. So far, the girls are a bit generic in that I can't remember most of their names. They sent a space cadet home last week, and it's quite possible that Tyra will give the crown to the beautiful yet totally awkward Heather, who has some sort of disability that they name-drop at least 20 times during each episode. Should be a good season. My current faves are Saleisha, Chantal and Heather. I liked Lisa until she turned all dark side in the last episode and I think Ebony should casually lean too far over a high-rise balcony. I (heart) Nigel Barker. Enough said.

I am slightly behind in my Grey's. Without watching Season 3, I don't feel as though I can take on Season 4, so it's a bit of a predicament that will likely be resolved by yet another purchase of TV on DVD, a few solid weekends cozying up to my new laptop, and the scheduled use of a PVR. We'll see. This one may have to take a pass until I can really apply myself. As much as I love myself some overly dramatic interns, this may be a good excuse to replace an hour of television with an hour on my bike. We'll see.

Ah, Betty. Such an incredibly cleverly written show. The season premiere was last night and so far, so good. Amanda got fat, and is apparently the lovechild of Bradford and Faye, which came a bit out of left field, but I suppose that having missed the season finale from the first season, it's possible that I missed a bit of the background to that storyline. Judith Light broke out of jail, Betty burnt her Henry-loving past, and poor Hilda lost her fiancé. Papa Suarez is still in Mexico, and I think Justin is going to go to work at Mode.

And finally, the newcomer. Gossip Girl, quite obviously created by the same creator as the O.C., has sucked me in. This may sound a tad nerdy, but I like the camera work, which was also something I liked about the O.C. Lots of artsy shots and a decent soundtrack. Even if a show's premise is crappy and the actors suck, a little fancy camerawork and some good music will make it an entirely watchable show. Luckily for GG, the actors are actually pretty decent, for the most part. Totally addicted already.

Of course, my love affair with MTV continues. Will Chrissy sleep with Clay? Will Lauren and Heidi kiss and make up? Will Heidi ACTUALLY marry that jackass? Rest assured...I will stay tuned.

Post-Nasal Drip.

It happened on Friday. I woke up to a tiny tickle in the back of my throat. Seeing as we'd slept with the window open, I thought that some random particle of pollen had flown in and up my nose, since this city is FULL of pollen at this time of year (90% of which I appear to be allergic to). However, after sitting in the glass tower for the day and still feeling the tickle going strong by 4 p.m., I gave in to it. Sick. I woke up on Saturday morning with a full-blown head cold. FAN-freaking-tastic. Since, you know, we have nothing at all to get done right now and I can totally hang out in bed with bad TV reruns with my Kleenex and my cat.

Except that my bed has been sold, my TVs have been sold, my DVDs are packed, and my cat moved away.

Oh - and it's the WORST possible time to get sick, with only 24 hours to go before our house has to be emptied, scoured, and prepped for new inhabitants.

I have to say though, I'm not at all surprised that this happened to me. It's inevitable. I was sick throughout every single exam period for my entire B.A., every stressful event I've planned for LUNLF and their clients, every move...it's just how I do. Once the stress kicks in, my formerly healthy habits get thrown out the window and I succumb to a life of limited water intake, take-out food (and we're not talking about salad), too much coffee, sleepless nights, and exhausting weekends - the time I normally take to rest. The end result is a complete disaster. I am a walking trainwreck...but I have no one to blame but myself.

This move represents a lot of things to both of us, but mostly just a fresh start. We don't know what to expect, and we like it like that. But we have agreed on a number of things that we're going to incorporate into our lives, which this move is giving us the perfect opportunity to do. Taking care of ourselves, no matter what, will be at the top of the list. There was no good reason to stop buying groceries in...oh...July. There was no good reason to stop drinking my normal 2.5-3 L of water per day. There was no good reason to incorporate all sorts of bad things into our diets which we don't normally eat but are now paying the price for. But we did it anyways. Why? Because we are lazy, and living where we do makes it easy to be lazy.

Once we've moved, this won't necessarily be the case...and I can't wait. As some of you may know from the Swedish Chefs blog, Kurt and I love to cook. We can't hang a curtain or assemble Swedish flat-packed furniture together without wanting to kill eachother, but we can create a delicious meal without so much as a snarky remark or an eye roll. This is momentous. We spent last winter trying out new recipes and planning out our meals and it was fantastic. We've got big plans for a repeat performance once we get settled. However, with groceries being as expensive as they are there, it will be interesting to see how much we spend on food in our first month. I've decided to gradually move towards becoming a vegetarian, and red meat, pork and drinking cow's milk were the first to get the axe. This will help. We're bringing our rice cooker, our favorite pots and utensils, and a whole load of brand new cookbooks for inspiration.

But...I digress.

In short, I feel like crap, but it's all my fault, but it doesn't make it any less awful or any less badly timed.

Single Tear.

We're down to (literally) the final hours of Operation: Get Out (Leave) and tonight, Monday, is the very last night that Kurt and I will ever spend in our house. At the beginning of all this, leaving the house behind wasn't something I placed a lot of emphasis on, since it got its thunder completely stolen by thoughts of pink sand and warm winters. However, it finally hit me last night, while I was laying on the air mattress in what used to be our fully-furnished basement.

We're leaving our house behind.

And then I finally got sad.

I was going to take some photos of how it's looking, but it's too depressing - so instead I'll just enjoy the way it was.
I'm not sure what we have planned for the last night in the house, but it's likely going to involve a tear or two. Our first home together has been amazing, and we will miss it.

And what have YOU been up to?

What HAVE we been up to? Oh, you know...casually emptying a house, selling our belongings, and preparing to get out of here. As it turns out, we had a lot more stuff than we even knew, and getting rid of it in a fairly short time span is not exactly a walk in the park. However, with the help of my lovely Mother, who has been here for the past week. In just one week, she has blown through our house, making neat, labelled piles, and pointing us in the right direction. It's kind of like "Moving for Dummies", and it's soooo appropriate for us. Now, when I find something, I just walk around the house until I find the right sign on the wall, and add it to that particular pile. Is this a "Promised/Return to Friends" item? No. Is it "Move Overseas" item? No. Is it "Trash"? Probably. Brilliant. I love my Mom.

Last Saturday, we threw the garage sale to end all garage sales. The weather was looking iffy, but we took a chance and dragged a household worth of stuff (literally) out onto our driveway for the world to see and, hopefully, buy. And holy crap, did they ever buy. I have never seen so many people in a driveway - at one point, I couldn't even see through the sea of people. We had already replaced most of our crap with really nice stuff, so this was a generally crap-free garage sale, which helped enormously. Most things went for one or two dollars, and at the end of the day, we only had a few boxes of stuff to unload and a big box full of money...which mostly just made me marvel at what we must have spent on the stuff to begin with. However, looking back, I can't think of one item in that garage sale that I felt sad to sell, so that just goes to show how much excess you can accumulate in a house that you really, seriously don't need.

But now we're on our own, and down to the final few days in the house. The tenants move in mid-week next week, and we have to be out of there by Sunday. Out AND have scoured the entire house by Sunday. Awesome. What's left to do? Oh...you know...pack.

According to the piles and what I have done so far, this is what we are moving with:

-rice cooker
-Rebar cookbook
-extension cord (?)
-two mugs
-three pairs of heels
-a knife

If that doesn't make for a comfortable household, I don't know what does. Obviously, there is work to be done. Luckily for Kurt, he finished his job last Friday, and so has this week to be home and get his stuff done. I'm trying to cram it into evenings and our last precious weekend, which is less than ideal, but thanks to my intense procrastination and denial over the past few weeks, entirely necessary and something I definitely had coming to me.

That's not to say that we're not fitting in the fun stuff as well, where we can. The goodbyes have already started...some of our friends are having a goodbye party for us tonight, I have a dinner date on Thursday and we have another one on Friday. The goodbyes make it even more real than the empty house does. And as excited as I am to do something completely new and be completely on our own, it is very, very difficult to think that these people won't be just a car ride away, or in the case of my co-workers, just down the hall.

I hope my new co-workers aren't duds, by the way. This thought scares me more than the idea of hurricane season.

Anyways...it's happy but sad, fun but not, exciting but nerve-wracking, mind-blowing but still kind of surreal. Friends are congregating with their support, which is overwhelming and means a lot. We have a lot to do yet, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel now...and empty floor space in our house, so the worst is now over. Minus the final goodbyes, of course.

I can not WAIT to get on that plane....

Unsolicited Product Endorsement.

It has been awhile since I wrote a UPE, but it has also been awhile since I found that one was warranted. However, I have had a number of things lately spark the UPE flame, so I'm bringing it back. I love sharing what I love. Unless it's only available in limited quantities, in which case I keep it to myself. Obviously.

Last week, I came across some great blogs on new and awesome not-to-be-missed items. I'm going to put some links up at some point to these blogs, because I've found them to be great as far as product ratings by real, actual people go. It's one thing to read about an item from someone who is trying to sell it. It's quite another to read comments from people who have spent/wasted their money on it.

I have been in the market for new blush. Unless I've been running, or exerting myself in some way, my cheeks don't naturally flush. Not even when I'm embarassed. In the winter, particularly, this leads to a kind of death pallor that reflects badly in photos. Seeing as I'm not willing to risk serious sun damage to keep some color on my face, and refuse to wear foundation, I do rely on blush and bronzer, from time to time. And since my entire regular, every day make-up routine consists of no more than blush/bronzer, mascara and lip gloss, I'm more than happy to shell out a few more bucks for awesome products. Though I enjoyed my current blush, I always found that because I don't wear foundation, it was gone before lunch time.
Enter: Tarte Cheek Stain.

This is Tarte Cheek Stain, in the exact color that I purchased. As you can see, instead of a powder, it is more of a glue-stick type of product. Except not glue, and not sticky. It's brilliant. When it first arrived, I thought it would be too dark (despite having read numerous online reviews on this particular color suiting all different skin tones). My fears were unwarranted, because it's very, very sheer, so you can layer on as much (or as little) as you want. Personally, I am not into "clown", and it's very easy to avoid "clown" with Tarte. However, if you were into "clown", you could definitely achieve the look with a few more layers. It's very natural-looking, and you can't feel it when it's on. You can buy it at Sephora, or do what I did and get it from a retailer on Ebay. I'm very impressed. And even though it was a bit pricier than normal, everyday blush (I paid $18.00 for mine, I think Sephora sells it for $39 in store), you really don't use very much so it will last a long time. The only thing I would be concerned with is having it melt into a sticky mess if you live in a warm climate and, say, leave it in your purse. Which totally did NOT happen to me with my favorite Cargo lip gloss palette, which I am still totally NOT pissed about. Needless to say, mine will live in the fridge.

Out of it.

To say that our lives have been somewhat upside down since we decided on this big life change is a huge understatement. Our house is in utter chaos, and it's all I can do to make myself pack, instead of hiding in bed with Dawson's Creek reruns, in a fruitless attempt at procrastination. Am I dreading our departure date? No. Am I super excited to leave? Absolutely. Am I in total denial about what is left to be done? Clearly.

This past weekend, I had lofty ambitions to clear out the green room, otherwise known as our office. Otherwise known as the room where we have dumped the "we're not sure what to do with this yet" stuff that we've collected as we've emptied other rooms. It's very simple to make yourself look organized if you have a place to dump all your crap which happens to have a door that closes. Open the door and you are treated to an array of old magazines, paid bills, art supplies, jigsaw puzzles, mountains of schoolbooks from both of us, photos waiting to be framed, random homeless wires and cables from various electronic things that we most likely no longer own...the word "mess" doesn't even begin to describe what I'm dealing with here. And when you're faced with such a dizzying array of crap, it's hard to know where to start.

Tomorrow, salvation arrives. My mother, in all of her label-making, expert-packing glory, flies in tomorrow afternoon to help with these final stages. As her plane descends, the clouds will part, sun rays will fall on us, and an angelic choir will sing. She'll set us straight in no time, I'm sure, but I'm not sure that Kurt is ready for what's about to hit.

The last time I experienced this phenomenon was in August of 2002, when her and I tackled my apartment, cleaning it out and packing it up for my move to Ottawa. Oh. My. God. It was really something. I hated every second of it, but when it was over, my entire existence had been reduced to a neat stack of carefully packed bins, each marked appropriately with labels such as "Kris - Rock Collection" or "Kris - Knick-Knacks" (it actually says this) or, my personal favorite: "Kris - High School Yearbooks, documents, ect." Facebook would LOVE what I have in that bin. What isn't stored in bins in their basement was shipped out to Ottawa with me, where, as I mentioned in a previous post, most of it remained until just a few weeks ago. In short, the packing whirlwind that is my mother is a force to be reckoned with. She is ruthless...and thank God for that, because I have a slight tendency to hoard, apparently. As evidenced by numerous useless, forgotten items strewn about our house.

One of the best aspects about the move is that we are going there with only the items that we actually need. It costs some pretty serious duty dollars to bring things in, so we're not going to be wasting money and bringing in things that we're not 100% positive we'll need and use while we're there. In fact, the only things that we don't have to pay to bring in are used clothes, books and golf clubs (how appropriate). Everything else gets a hefty duty tax stamped on it and we'll have to cough it up at the airport when we land. To reduce the sting, we have to pare way back, and that's actually going to feel pretty good.

They say that the state of your home is a reflection of the state of your life, and I definitely find that to be true. When we're in our normal state of meal-planning, grocery shopping and cleaning, life is generally stress free. It's just our routine, and we do it well. However, we currently have no schedule, we haven't bought groceries since July, I haven't cooked a meal since June, and we don't know where anything is. Worse, we don't have any motivation to restart our routines now that we're about to leave. It's definitely taking it's toll. It spirals outwards too - my normally somewhat organized workstation is a mess, I haven't been drinking my normal 3 litres of water each day, and I've actually chosen muffins for breakfast, which I would find gross otherwise.

In short - order is important to me. I like bringing my lunch to work, and knowing what we're making for dinner each night. One of the things I'm most looking forward to is settling into our new routine once we get our feet on the ground. It's going to be like the "new us", just a little warmer year-round and hopefully a lot more relaxed!

New Babies.

Because we don't have enough going on, Kurt and I have decided to expand our family, whilst simultaneously and systematically shutting down our Canadian lives. Yes...whilst. So far this has mostly involved closing accounts, telling the Liberal Party to stop spamming me, and burning a gigantic box full of our financial pasts...which really has nothing to do with leaving the country, but is a lot faster than shredding every. single. thing. Going forward, I'm going to aim to destroy irrelevant but yet possible identity-theft inducing materials on an annual basis, as opposed to a "every 14 years" basis. It would have been a much smaller fire, involving far fewer toxic chemicals being infiltrated into our marshmallows.

On Friday evening, after a somewhat questionable "work day", I busted a move over to Best Buy and purchased us each a new laptop to take with us. We've been watching the sales for awhile and figured that the ones aimed at broke students are probably best for us as well, so we jumped on the first one that fit our criteria:

-fast-ish processor
-small-ish screen
-HP or Toshiba (throwing a conversion to Mac into my life right now would put me over the edge)
-DVD player
-doesn't suck

Last Friday, laptops that fit this description perfectly went on sale, and now we have two of them in our living room, doing whatever it is that laptops do when you put them into "hibernate" mode. HP, 14.1" screens, 160GB hard drive. They're so cute. Like babies, but less loud and replaceable when we get bored of them. They were cheap-ish too, so we're pretty thrilled. Now I'll be able to blog from the beach...which doesn't sound nerd-ish at all.

A Question.

Are we screwing ourselves by putting "lawn maintenance" in our lease when our lawn currently looks like this?