Thursday, February 28, 2013

Project Furniture Refurb!

So last night began Phase 1 of Project Furniture Refurb!

Let me first tell you the backstory of this little chair that I'm going to reupholster.  

When I was a teen, my mom liked to go to estate auctions and she got some totally sweet stuff for our house from those auctions, including my bad ass dresser which you can see the corner of in this picture:
I know, I'm sorry.  These are the pictures you get when
I choose to blog on my lunch break.  One day I'll be
a well-prepared blogger.
It is awesome and curvy and beautiful and it even has a secret drawer in it.  When mom brought it home and was cleaning it out we found a bunch of cool stuff in it.  Like a copy of the guy's will wherein he left his daughter only $5.  The previous owner of my dresser was awesome enough to not only have a dresser with a hidden drawer but he also was awesome enough to want to stick-it to his daughter with one of the best F-You's I've ever seen.



At that same auction, she bought my chair.  This, beautiful, beautiful beast:
Yes, I want the purple storage
ottoman and fainting couch too.
She hated it.  Mom always intended to recover the chair.  But in my 13-year old excitement, this was the coolest. fucking. chair. ever.

I told her I wanted it in my bedroom.  I thought its teal and olive swirl, shiny fabric was the most badass and romantic thing I'd ever seen.  So into my bedroom is went and there it stayed.  

Through countless moves to apartments and back to Mom and Dad's house the chair went with me wherever I went.  Until eventually, the last time I moved out, the chair was in too poor of a condition for me to let others use it.  So I left it in the basement of Mom and Dad's house for safe-keeping and for imagination to strike.

Last night, as soon as I got off work I trekked out to Mom and Dad's and talked to Mom about my plans to reupholster the chair.  Being my mother, and understanding her daughter's sometimes ill-conceived ideas, she tried to ground me in my pre-reupholstering excitement haze by relating to me stories of her own attempts at reupholstering in the past and how they had fared.

She knows that I like to ride on waves of excitement without thinking things through so she was being the realist that she is.  Being the heedless and headstrong person I am, I continued, undaunted.  I understand this will be a battle.  But I, like great generals before me, will march into this battle and fight tooth-and-nail until I have the most beautiful chair ever seen!  

So I gathered up my tools, say down by my chair and said a prayer to the upholstery gods that all would go well.  I petted the chair and told it I would take care of it.  I took a deep breath and began to strip the fabric off of it.

*GASP* It's like seeing your baby with its intestines hanging out of it.
Dad came downstairs and set in to helping me.  Whether it was to help me during this painful time of wounding my baby, or just to have a nice distraction for a Wednesday evening, I'll never know.  But together we stripped her back and sides and I began to plan for the next phase of the event.  

My fabric should be in by Friday, so hopefully within a week i'll have my darling all put back together and looking beautiful.  Pray for my darling chair as we undergo this daunting reconstruction.

Hugs n kisses,
Annie Jay

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Just Gotta Say It

I got it!!! 

After a morning wherein I could focus on nothing other than the lack of an email telling me a decision on my apartment application, I finally just got the approval for my new apartment!!

I couldn't be more excited!  (Can you tell?)

Here's just a taste of what my new crib (yep, i said it) is going to look like:

This is a picture of the model apartment so expect my
actual home to look not so well-put together.

I have a feeling that the next month is going to fly by in a flurry of packing, refurbishing furniture, cleaning the Barpartment and repainting walls that I've riddled with nail holes.  (I'm so excited I actually almost typed "bullet holes".  No, no, just because I'm an American doesn't mean I stand around my apartment in assless chaps and a cowboy hat firing off my six-shooter and yelling "YEEHAAW!")  (And now that I've typed assless chaps I'm reminded about how I went to that motorcycle rally on Labor Day weekend and how excited I was to see assless chaps.)

Tonight starts Operation Chair Refurb.  This weekend I'll be moving on to sanding the finish off of the wooden furniture!

I hope you have a fantastic night, I know I will!

Much love,
Annie Jay

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wrap Yourself in Things to Warm You

Some people who only know my outward appearance think “There’s a girl who’s got it figured out!”  When I make an offhanded comment about being sad or frightened they laugh it off and act as if I couldn’t possibly be – because I’m Super Woman, undeterred by obstacles and negative emotions.  But the truth of the matter is that if you lived inside of my head, you would know that just about every day is a battle.

Every day is a battle to keep negativity at bay, to keep motivation in front of me.

I know that I am prone to depression and anxiety and for this reason I do whatever I can to wrap myself in positivity.  I believe wholly that the best way to keep myself from succumbing to the ever-present darkness curled around my ankles is to keep shining a flashlight of positive vibes down at it. 

It’s not easy.  Nothing that’s worth doing is easy.  But like housework, doing a little bit every day makes the work easier in the long run.

I feel like I write about this often.  And it’s because I see so many examples every day of people who allow themselves to be subjected to negativity that is completely within their control. 

I just wish more people got it.

Notice the main point back there?  It’s people allowing themselves to be subjected to negativity that is completely within their control.  I understand there are things that are outside of your control, but for the things that aren’t – get away!

My buddy Herb was at my house on Sunday and hung out with me while I played Mass Effect 3 on my Xbox.  He asked how far into the game I was and I told him I wasn’t very far because I take a long time to play video games.  This happens because if I fail a mission a couple of times and start to feel myself getting angry about it, I stop.  Video games are supposed to be my relaxation and my entertainment; they’re not worth getting angry over.

That situation is within my control, so I don’t stick with it when it becomes negative.  If I’m running along, killing the bad guys, saving the human race, I’m gonna keep playing.  If I’m consistently getting taken down by the baddies, it’s time to take a step back.   I also don’t watch movies or read books that are sure to make me cry unless I know I’m in a good place in my life.  I also don’t subject myself to people that only make me feel worse about myself.

You are in control of whether or not you subject yourself to negativity 99% of the time.

I have a friend, let’s call her Suzy, who is one of the sweetest but also probably one of the most depressive people I’ve known.  Suzy is a great person but has so many negative influences in her life, it’s hard for her to see the goodness that is within her.  I know how hard it is, and I know sometimes thinking happy thoughts just doesn’t help, but then she goes and does things that make me shake my head. 

Apparently she follows PETA on Facebook. 

Before I really get into this, let me please say that I love animals and I can’t stand the sadistic things that some people do to them.

However, I hate PETA.

I feel like PETA is an evil organization running around in a bunny suit and pigtails, bobbing their heads from side to side with a sadistic smile on their faces saying “We looooooves animalssss!”.  But in all actuality they’re hate mongers.  There simply has to be a better way of sharing the message of animal rights than how they go about things. (For instance, they could stop objectifying women and attacking strangers.  I pretty much have a problem with any organization that makes attacks on other human beings one of its major ways of “sharing the message”.)

So today Suzy was talking about this video that PETA posted on their Facebook wherein they show the way animals are skinned while still alive. 

(I seriously want to puke even writing that sentence)

She talked about how horrible it was because the animals were screaming as they were being skinned.  Of course they were fucking screaming!  What did you expect to see when the title of the video was “Animals beings skinned while still alive”? 

Suzy and I have the kind of relationship where we can be completely upfront with each other.  So we had this conversation:

Me: Why do you follow PETA?
S: Because I believe in the ethical treatment of animals.  I don’t believe people should wear fur and that we shouldn’t use animals for testing purposes.
Me: Ok, so did that video change your feelings about the ethical treatment of animals?
S: Well, it showed me that people don’t treat animals ethically.
Me: Did the video inspire you to do anything differently with your life?
S: No.
Me: Then did you need to watch a horrifying and emotionally scarring video in order to reaffirm your belief that people treat animals unethically?
S: No, but – *sigh* yeah, ok.

If all the video does is pump gruesome images into your head, it’s not accomplishing anything positive for you (or for the animals).

The same idea should be applied to anything – only surround yourself with positive people; only participate in positive activities that make you feel good about yourself; never allow anyone to degrade you; don’t degrade others; don’t tolerate negativity from other people or put negativity out into the world.

Trust me, I know it’s hard work to keep negativity at bay, but you can do it and your life will be better for it!

Annie Jay

I Can't Handle the Antici -

One year ago I was in Cabo:

Ignore the bra strap and questionable hairstyle.
Look how pretty it is there!
I'm jealous too.  No really, I am.

Other people from my company are there this week.  It's nice because all of the bosses are away and I get a chance to catch up on my ever-growing workload.

It sucks because I really really wants to be back in this pool:

This here is the pool alongside which many
Miami Vices were enjoyed 
In other news, I have yet to hear back about whether or not I'm getting that new apartment.  I'm going quite crazy with all of the waiting.  Today marks the 2-week deadline she gave me, so hopefully I'll hear for sure today.  They already have my name programmed into the call-box, wouldn't you think she'd just be like "Background checks be dammed! Annie Jay, come on down!!" 

Unless they saw this blog, in which case, you know, I really am a fine upstanding citizen who will treat your loft with love and kindness and is patiently waiting for your response.  Take your time.  No really, I can't fucking wait any longer I'm going insane!!!! can wait.


So I'm passing my time and easing my frustration by planning how I want to redecorate my apartment.  Whether I move or not, I'm going to be making some changes. 

Right now all of my furniture is mismatched hand-me-downs and I'm ready for my apartment to look more cohesive.  So I'm going to try my had at furniture refurbishing.  I have some bookshelves and tables that I plan to paint black and a chair I want to reupholster in this fabric:

If the chair reupholstering works, I'm going to go all out and reupholster my couch in a navy blue velvet fabric - because, well, this is my couch:

No, no, the swordy-thingie and dancing gopher lighter
aren't always there.  This is the only picture I had
of the couch fabric that didn't have people on it.
In the past few days I've been scouring the internet for information on how to reupholster furniture and let me just say - thank the gods for YouTube.  I found this awesome channel that really goes in depth on how to do it.  

So I'm pretty much a master upholsterer now.

As I mentioned in my blog a couple of weeks ago, Natalia is also eagerly awaiting the decision on my apartment because she and the Penguin (who I'm suddenly not sure if I've ever mentioned before and feel the need to say the Penguin is her boyfriend, not an actual, you know, penguin.  Also not to be confused with Batman's nemesis) want to move into the Barpartment.  She also has a ton of furniture she wants to refurbish so we're going to work together.  Wish us luck!

Ok, so in the course of writing this blog I emailed the lady at my new apartment and she told me I should have an answer by the end of the day tomorrow.  EEEEEE!

Hope you're all having a fantastic week!

Annie Jay

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Miss Smoking

Mmmmmmmm. Delicious.(Also, please let me know if this is
your picture, I couldn't find the source to credit it to)
It’s been around 5 months since I started quitting smoking cigarettes.  

At this point in time, I consider myself a nonsmoker. (YAY!)

Yes, I still have a puff or two if I’m out drinking, but I don’t count those because 1.) they almost always taste disgusting and, 2.) I think I’ll always allow myself a drag if I feel like I really can’t be without it – the stress of trying to completely say no to my urges is harder than having one puff and not enjoying it.  

Plus, my friends won't let me do more than take just one puff and sometimes they even deny me that.  Depending on the amount of alcohol I've had this either makes them amazingly awesome friends or the biggest dickfaces I've ever met.  When I'm sober I know it's a sign that we're growing up because we support each other in our attempts to kick the habit - it used to be that you'd say "Aww come on, it's just one drunken cigarette! You'll go back to quitting tomorrow!"

Which is just like what I do with heroin.  Just one little stick in the veins a week is ok, right?

That’s a joke.

We all know it's never just one stick with heroin.

Cigarette addiction not = Heroin addiction


*ahem* Anyway...

The more time that passes I’m realizing more and more things that I miss about being a smoker.  If you’ve never been a smoker or if you didn’t smoke for a very long time or if you’re just, ya know, not me, maybe this list isn’t going to make any sense to you.  That’s ok, it makes sense to me.

Things I Miss About Smoking:

  1. Having an excuse to stand outside in adverse weather conditions without people looking at you like you’re crazy.  I love to be outside in the rain or snow and I used to go outside for a smoke in order to enjoy the weather.  Now I’m just a freak standing in the snow/rain… not that that’s stopping me.
  2. Having an excuse to roll my car window down in adverse weather conditions.  See above.
  3. The Smoker's Patio.  I miss standing outside of bars and talking to people without having to shout over the noise of drunken frat boys playing Foosball or some half-cracked indie band trying to wow everyone with their lackadaisical tunes.  The Smoker's Patio outside of a bar is also a place where some of the best stunts and drunken hijinks take place.  At work, the smoke break is one of the best places to trade NSFW stories with coworkers.  Some of my best conversations have taken place and some of my best relationships have been formed on the Smoker’s Patio.
  4. Giving uppity maafuckas that look.  Y'all know what I'm talking about.  You're standing outside having a smoke and some dickface walking by glares at you and fakes an obnoxiously loud cough.  You're obviously the scourge of the earth because you're smoking a cigarette.  You know cigarettes can kill you, right?  Obviously you're a dangerous maafucka and you should stop living and taking up space and resources that could be used by good people and kittens.  When I'd get that look, I'd smile my most "Yeah, I am that dangerous maafucka" smile at them (it's mostly in the eyes) and kind of shift my body in their direction.  Nothing, big.  Nothing threatening.  Just enough.  Just enough to make them think "Okay, I'm not gonna fuck with that chick.  I'd better go home and hug my babies and stop judging them based on their recreational activities.."
  5. Smoking just looks cool.  I'm sorry.  I know.  I know.  In this day in age, we're not supposed to think smoking looks cool.  But it does.  It just fucking looks cool.  You're James Dean or Marilyn Monroe.  You're maafuckin President Obama.
  6. Knowing what would kill me.  Lung cancer, emphysema, pneumonia.  All of those things were just waiting outside my door like "Hey, yo, we'll be there soon."  And I was all like "That's cool yo, I'll be waiting.  Just don't bring Dementia to the party."  Give me cancer, please don't take my mind from me.  None of the five billion diseases associated with smoking scare me half as much as the likelihood that I'm going to get Senile Dementia.  

So there are some things I miss about smoking. It's not everything.  Gods know it's impossible to put some of the feelings of withdrawal and "I'm losing my fucking mind" into words that other people can understand.  

Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever stop missing smoking.  Probably.  Probably when it's been a longer span of time, or when I'm exposed to fewer people who smoke.

But just to remind myself, here's another list.

Things I Love About Not Smoking:
  1. Asthma is less of a bitch. There's really no order to this list, I love all of these things in an indeterminate order.  Except this.  I love this SO much.  I can breathe.  Good gods - I. CAN. BREATHE.  Yes, it was stupid for an asthmatic to ever start smoking in the first place.  Yes I should've known better.  But I also started smoking to begin with so let's just stop those lectures right there.  Before I quit smoking I would have asthma attacks frequently.  But since I started quitting smoking, I've had only one asthma attack - in 5 months.  EFF YES.
  2. Saving Money!  If I was crunched on money for a week I'd still have to make sure I set aside enough money for smokes.  Now, I am all like "Daaamn, look at all this mooooney!!"
  3. Washing my hair less frequently.  (If you're not a girl, just skip this one.)  I already have dry curly hair.  The last thing hair like that needs it to be washed on a daily basis.  I used to stretch it for a couple of days but I knew that my hair was probably soaking up that cigarette stench faster than anything.  Now I can go a whole week without having to harsh out my hair with over-washing.
  4. Singing.  I've been a singer since I was a little kid and my papa and I would go into the Music Room in our basement where all of his musical equipment was set up.  He'd play guitar, we'd both sing (to this day, this is one of my fondest memories).  I was in choir in school and extracurricular choirs from the time I was 7 or 8 until I quit school at 19.  I was a Soprano in high school and I lost my vocal range as soon as I started smoking.  I finally have it back! Now, when we go to the karaoke bar (which, let's face it is 1-2 times a week since Francesca works there) I don't have to hold myself back from singing certain songs that might be out of my range.  I even get complete strangers requesting that I sing certain songs for them and I don't have to turn them away.  I love to sing and I love the flexibility my vocal cords have once again!
  5. I smell better.  And by that I mean my sense of smell is better.  Let's face it, with the allergies I have I am rarely able to smell anything, but since I've quit smoking I can actually smell things I never used to be able to.  Although there are times when this is not a positive change...
  6. My purse isn't full of little tobacco flakes.  This is definitely something you won't understand if you're not a girl who has been a smoker.  But it used to be that any time I'd put anything in my purse it would come out with little tobacco leaves on it.  Cans of soda, pieces of mail, bottles of water, tissues - it'd all be covered in tobacco leaves.  Now, I can put anything in my purse and never have to worry about it picking up debris while it's in there.
There we have it!  I miss smoking - A LOT.  But I'm not about to forget all of the things I've gained now that I've quit.  

For those of you out there who still smoke, I feel ya and you've got no judgments from me.  In fact, you can expect to see me staring at you lustily every time you light up.

But if you want to quit - and yes, you really can't quit unless you really want to - I'm here for you.  We can stand outside in the snow/rain/hail and look like crazy people together.

Annie Jay

Monday, February 11, 2013

Yeah Baby, it's Monday!

Another weekend full of revelry has passed!  

We had The Boss's birthday party on Friday night.  It was a nice low-key affair at The House.  We played cards, drank scotch (well, I drank scotch anyway, others drank whatever they wanted) and giggled the night away.  I was at home and in bed by 12:30.  Saturday morning I woke up at 6am.  I don't know why my body has been doing this lately, but a night of drinking scotch followed up by a super early morning isn't the most fun thing to do.  

But I survived well enough to get myself showered and dressed for the day and to the salon by 9:30 so Natalia could cut my hair.  (My first haircut since July!) Right after my cut, Francesca, Prudence and I went shopping for a gift for our bestie, Kaatrina's baby shower.  After shopping, we went to the shower and got to see Katarina in all her pregnant glory.  She looks so adorable with her baby belly and I can't wait for my little niece to get here!!!  She's due April 4th and my birthday is April 3rd so I was telling her (yes, I was talking to the baby in Katarina's belly) to come out just a day early so we can be birthday buddies.  I already share with my favorite cousin and our grandpa, I'm very good at sharing my birthday ;-)

We also had Natalia's birthday party on Saturday night.  We had dinner, went out on the town, stopped by a friend's band practice and played around with drums and microphones.  We visited Francesca and karaoked    the rest of the night away.  I think I sang.  I'm pretty sure I sang.  I have some adorably blurry pictures from the evening.  We ended the night at the Barpartment with a few beverages and eventually sleep.  

Needless to say, I spent the entirety of yesterday on the couch with a blanket - but with visitors!  Francesca came by and worked on an art project for The Bear for Valentine's Day for a few hours.  She even brought me lunch!  Then Herbert came over and held down the other couch for a while.  I even got to see my darling Han, fresh back from his vacation to Las Vegas!  He came over and napped on the couch while I worked on an art project of my own. It was a nice day of doing absolutely nothing but with good laid-back company.  I didn't even change out of my pajamas until 6pm and I went to bed at 9.  It was quite the day.

In other news - My new boss is fantastic!  I'm not going to lie, I was a bit apprehensive about things the last few weeks.  But after a great meeting with him and my supervisor on Friday I feel 100% that he's a great fit for our company.  He's still letting me take the reigns on my training program that I've been wanting to redesign just as long as I make the underlying philosophy one that fits with his mission for our department, which I agree with 100%.  It's a very exciting time with all of the growth we're undergoing!

Tomorrow morning I'm going to fill out more paperwork for the apartment I'm hoping to get!  This means I might find out this week if I'm going to be able to get it!  If I find out this week, I estimate that I'll be able to move in March 1 or 15.  This could be a great month!

Have a fantastic Monday, friends!

Much love,
Annie Jay

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ups and Downs and Excitement Looming Before Me

Hello my sweets!

You’ve no doubt noticed I’ve been quiet as of late.  A few weeks ago I got a new boss at work and my head has just been spinning.  He’s going to be doing great things for our company and ushering us into a completely new age, but damn it has been a tumultuous ride! 

One of the things I love most about my company is how we’re always growing and changing.  When I started here six years ago we had about twenty people in the home office.  Now, we’re coming up on a hundred and our sales force is even larger than I could have ever anticipated.

However, with that constant growth and change come periods of uncertainty where I feel like I’m trying to keep my head on straight but don’t even know what direction I’m supposed to be looking in.  Whenever this happens I just have to remind myself to ride the wave and try to remember that the changes bring with them awesome new opportunities for me and my colleagues.

In addition to the work stress, I’ve been going through some romantic turmoil and have been considering an amazing change in my living situation. 

The romantic turmoil is over.  Essentially the Replay came back and asked for forgiveness and I realized I’m not really all that capable of moving on, no matter how good his reasons for past mistakes were.  The stress of trying to find it in myself to forgive him and try to move on was actually ruining the happiness I’ve built up over the past few months so I figured that wasn’t a good sign.  No matter how many interests and goals we share, there are only so many times I can beat a dead horse.  

So really, nothing has changed.  

In the meantime I’ve decided to just back off on dating – for real this time.  I’ve deleted the dating website apps from my phone and don’t intend to go back anytime soon.  I’m happy enough right now without a significant other.  Maybe now that I’m in a happy place the man of my dreams will just fall into my lap.  Maybe not.  Either way, I’m happy right now.

The possible amazing change in my living situation is stressful - but in an exciting way.  I mentioned it a few months ago that there’s an awesome new neighborhood in my town and it is calling to me.  MSN also covered it here: From Industrial Wasteland to Hip Hangout.  I put in my application for an apartment two Fridays ago and won’t know for a couple more weeks but I couldn’t be more excited!  As much as I love the Barpartment, I would love to get back downtown. 

These apartments are within walking distance to just about everything I do.  Plus, it’s kind of exhilarating to think about being the first person to live in an apartment.  And the addition of a washer/dryer and dishwasher into my life will be freakin amazing!  Natalia is helping me to stay optimistic about my chances of getting the place and not, I’m sure, because she is just waiting to pounce on the Barpartment as soon as I turn in my 30-day notice ;-p

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

And finally, I’ve also been doing quite a bit of fiction writing.  I usually work on blogs during my break time at work, but the new stories and scenes have been popping into my head most frequently so as soon as my breaks roll around it’s down to writing them I go!  They’re nothing special, but I really appreciate the escape and honest creation that comes when I’m writing stories.  Ever since I was a child I have invented worlds and characters and maybe someday I’ll turn this effort into something more substantial.  For now, I’m just going to continue doing what I love to do!

And holy Jesus it’s February!  Is 2012 flying fast for you all as well? 

Annie Jay