pen pals.

I'm always so full of want-to, but I get a little distracted a lot of the time. My Tamagotchis died in infancy. I still have touch up painted to do from, oh, January 09. Pen pals were always something I dreamed of in grade school, but I was a realist even in kindergarten. I knew that fad would be short lived and some poor child in Venezuela would be waiting by the mailbox for nothing.

I was jealous over my friends with pen pals.
I wanted to be someone who could handle that kind of responsibility.
I wanted that mysterious friendship.

Perhaps it's that my friends are too transparent. Or maybe I am. I'm don't know, but we're years into our girlfriend marriage and the mystery is gone. Makeup is forgotten. Showers aren't required for outings together. If it made sense for toilet seats to be left up, I'm sure they would be.

But then, this beautiful thing called blogging entered my life.
And this beautiful thing called Louise entered with it.
Louise and I met over Style Me Pretty. I commented, she followed my comment back here. And we met. She blogged about being The Thirty Something Bride (and has morphed her site into a fabulous look at the world of weddings) and something about my little site caught her eye and made her giggle.

Comments went back and forth. We were in the courting stage.
Then a wild thought: email.
And we were hooked. Full on dating had begun. Total girl crush. Matching necklaces to be purchased.

My first pen pal. And I haven't left her waiting by the mailbox once. Or offended her. Or forgotten to write until she's forgotten about me. Somehow, we've kept this going.

She wrote a post this morning for me.
I thought I'd write one for her tonight.

It's easy to see how an utter devotion to my laptop could have pulled me farther from my life -- I sit and I write. But if anything, it's brought me closer to the people I like, the people I'd forgotten I like, and the people I never knew I was meant to like. It could be solitary to blog and blog. But Chuck sits beside me, and you read it eventually, and just knowing the link is there is pure warmth.

I've loved this blog. A follow-through win. I've kept it going nearly a year.
And I'm going to keep loving this thing for bringing me people like Louise.
People like you.
And the people I'll like to come.

Ski Night

Yeah. No. Like I would actually be a skier. Oh no, I understand, you just love everything about skiing. You can't possibly understand how someone could be both religiously and morally opposed to it (okay that may be a tad bit of hyperbole, but when has that ever stopped me?).

So I'll let you into my line of thinking. Open the door and invite you into this brain of mine. I know, terrifying, right? Settle in sweetheart because logic just went out the window. You're in the rabbit hole of Susie's brain. Buckle up.

We'll start with a few facts:
-I have never gone skiing. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever.

Actually that wasn't too bad. You just needed one fact.

I'll base my argument off of a few key points: fun. temperature. claustrophobia. reverence. And just remember what I said of logic.

Fun. Basically - it doesn't look like any. I've done enough sledding, tubing, and snow shoeing (oh that's a story for a rainy day -- 3 weeks into dating. We shouldn't be married.). I see nothing going on on that mountain that falls under any, even loose, definition of Susie's idea of fun. Falling. Not fun. Soar legs. Not fun. Barreling down a mountain with my Scream face on. Not fun.

Temperature. Biggest pet peeve: Being simultaneously hot and cold at the same time. Gross. It makes me nauseous watching people ski and seeing their huffy exercise breaths and cold faces. WTNewman. Pick a body temp. Maybe it's because I can't regulate mine and I live in a world with a .2 degree difference between Jack Dawson bobbing in the Atlantic and the surface of the Sun.

Claustrophia. This is Chuck's favorite reason. I find the boots, the bindings, claustrophobic. I live in a world where I need to have the option of running away at a moment's notice. I feel the boots would constrict and compromise my ability to avoid "the chase". Not sure what I'm running from or why I need to be able to bust out of a place, but the compulsive need is real. And I'm sure you are so sad for my life right about now.

Reverence. People don't respect water enough. They don't. People. This thing is a killer. That's why I've chosen to respect water in all it's forms. Solid or otherwise.

Bottom line: It's not gonna happen, people. This is a mind that is soundly made up, and solidified its position at Mini Mountain Indoor Ski School 15 years ago. What went on there will never be spoken of. But it was terrifying, life changing, and PK still has 9 of 10 lessons on credit.

So, we went skiing on Monday. Terms, loose, understandably. I trucked up there with the gang:

See. Gang.
And my kind of skiing:

Me and Twilight had a second date. And I massacred a pack of licorice. It didn't even see it coming.

That's really all I wanted to show you and tell you. I don't like skiing, so I wore a cute outfit and matching arm warmers, and I read instead. I can be a little long winded sometimes, can't I?


Sundays with Lucy.

Sundays are best when she stops by. When she's around, I'm drowning in love.

I love that I caught her red handed in my candy jar.

I love that she stands up by starting in the pike position. I can't touch my toes.

I love that she thinks car keys and cell phones are one in the same. She's called me several times on Shelley's keys. I'm constantly getting hung up on.

I love that she has no idea how to keep her shirt pulled down.
And I double love that her finger is in her mouth 94% of the time.

I love -- no no, sorry, I'm starting over: Chuck loves that she's only interested in the Prospector.

I love the looks I get when I do my crazy faces in the name of photography.

I love that she wears True Religion jeans (and that they're from Nordstrom Rack - thrift and style. I love her more.).

I love that she's crazy about her Uncle Charlie.

I love the she goes and goes and goes before crashing for hours. We do not "wind down". We just stop.

I love that she walks in the "Holla" position. I'm considering amending my walk.

I love the laugh. Oh. The laugh.
I have "sucker" written all over me.

The anti-cool.

It's no secret that I'm utterly uncool and completely without 'hip'. I wear cardigans and pearls. I have a few sweater sets that I've been known to bust out on occasion and I haven't had matching socks in years. I'm one step away from a Pooh bear sweatshirt, tapered pants, and a fanny pack. One very small step.

This weekend was Dania's birthday (Dania: pronounced duh-knee-uh -- I hate when I can't pronounce what I'm reading. It's why I never finished Harry Potter, fyi).

Dania just may be as uncool as I am. She does act cooler than me...She masks it well, but she's really as lame as me. Which is probably why her birthday party seemed fabulous to this girl.

We city folk piled into the cars and headed to the cow-town that Dania calls home. Ratio of cows to people -- heavily in the cow favor. But it happens to be our "college town" so we don't mind one bit hauling our be-hinds over the mountains, through the woods, to Dania's place.

For Dania's lame birthday party.
Not lame to me, or to my friends, don't get me wrong or misunderstand-- I was a happy camper. But I'm thinking that our style of "birthday party" may have been an eye rolling, snooze fest to the much cooler mid-twenty somethings out there.

IRregardless, here's the to-do list to have a fabulously "lame" birthday where everyone cuddles up for sleep at 11 and tells secrets until midnight (I wanted to play telephone but was shot down - devastated and still trying to get over it).

DO: Bring TWO cameras, interchangeable lenses, and a mounted flash. I brought the Big Guy, and all his accompanying glory, naturally, but I also added in the little point-and-shoot gem that Fe gave me for Christmas. She says I can be a tad obnoxious. I quickly snapped these of Jessica and Emy when they saw the new little babe for the first time. They actually think this makes me more annoying. And more lame. Who knew?

DO: Make a perfect cake, decorate flawlessly, and top it off with Twilight paper products. Nothing could be cooler or classier. But don't worry. We'll get to those later. For funsies. Oh and the pompoms begged to have a repeat performance. My hands were tied.

DO: Spend a vast majority of birthday weekend clued to the TV, sucked in by its magical glow. Remember, we are not in the business of doing something or making this extravagant. We were going for lame and awesome and perfect. We achieved all that we set out to accomplish.

DON'T: Don't forget to act like you're 6 throughout the entire celebration. Think religiously playing games (board or otherwise), going to McDonald's, and drinking Slurpees. We is awesome. Yes we is.

DON'T: ask. Dania's behavior in the picture should demonstrate precisely how uncool we are.

DON'T: Lie to yourself and your friends during your birthday party. It's a no-no. We wanted a picture with the girls with their true loves (see Me and Edward = meant. to. be.). Dania's love is Jacob. I'm okay with that. I'm fine with her wanting to throw her life down the drain, but man-up, kid. Own it. You love Jacob. Don't kid yourself by saying you love both. It cheapens the whole picture and makes you out to be a crazy person. Because posing with a paper plate didn't already demonstrate that clearly enough. Clearly the double plates is what pushed it over the crazy edge.

DO: Play cards during dinner. We went to our favorite restaurant, ordered our favorite food, and sat with our favorites. And we played cards the whole time. We know how to party.

And ps: I'm wearing arm-warmers. Yup.

DO: Reenact Twilight. Trust me, all the cool kids are doing this. And by all of them, I mean none of them.
DON'T: Invite Jacob to the party. Big time don't. We want it to be "lame-cool", not intolerable suffering. Jessica corrected this wrong by scratching out his face before wiping.

ADDITIONAL DO: (you can call it a sub-do) Lame can also be achieved by simpling having these many references to Twilight at your 26th birthday. It might not be so bad or so lame had we not already had a Twilight birthday in the last 6 months. And my blog might not be so lame had I not referenced Twilight so much lately (totally fine with it, btdub, I'm just worried about you).

DO: Get hyper-competitive over an iPhone app called BubbleWrap. It's as it sounds: popping bubble wrap in a 45 second countdown. Friendships were broken. Bridges were burned.

DO: Act like this guy.

DO: Turn 26 with your best friends. We may not have been traditionally cool and we may not have thrown a conventionally awesome party, but it was pretty hopping by our standards. And it was everything birthday girl Dania wanted.

Happy Birthday, Dania.
You're pretty swell and pretty much the coolest lame kid I know.

The winnings.

I hate to do this, but we need to start with a quick review sesh: Chuck and I went to an estate auction on Saturday and found out that they are awesome. See Monday's post here. In the end, Chuck was left unsupervised and placed an unauthorized bid in the silent auction round with the hopes of winning this:
Good news. He won.
Along with it, came all this:
I understood that he really wanted the Prospector. You may not see this initially or understand it, but trust me. I've dealt with Chuck for 8 years. I spotted the love affair from a mile away. Which is precicely why I strategically blocked him from seeing it for 3 hours.

Tonight, we decided to inspect our "winnings" (term, loosely, you get it). Because only we could be in a room full of antiques and gorgeous paintings, and leave with Prospector and Friends.

Here are the four boxes o'goodness. They looked gorgeous in the family room. They smelled gorgeous too. A treat for all the senses.
I've noted the boxes in the picture. I've also noted my Snuggie. Just as an FYI.

And now spread out for viewing. Arranged with care. It's kind of like a display case at a museum, except not.

On an aside, Jack = not a big fan of the toys. We couldn't settle on a caption, so I'll just list the possibilities, you pick the one that you feel best describes him:
1. ET Jack. Jack phone home.
2. Saber tooth Jack.
3. Bella Jack (aka Kristen Stewart Jack). Say it. Out loud. "Meow".

The treasures held in these four mystery boxes were astounding. ASTOUNDING. I'd like to zoom in with you on a treasure hunt through the boxes, if you'd be so kind.

Trolls with homemade outfits. Stunning.

Gorgeous. Just amazing. The box of "magic nursery", incidentally, was purchased in 1991.

Personal favorite. Dried and hollowed out pumpkin complete with ornate carving. What will they think of next?

Tags still attached. Olympic bear for the MOSCOW GAMES. 1980. It's older than us. And it will sit in our family room for the Vancouver games. He's made a 30 year trip. It's the least I could do.

OctoMom? OctoBear. I prefer my bears in costumes. Just a personal preference.

So many thoughts. So much to say. So many levels.

Rubber pants. They appear to be un-used, but appearances can be deceiving, now can't they?

I wanted to model these gems for you: sequin tank, sink bouquet. And I'm ready for school tomorrow.

Finally, the Prospector and his friends. Take a good look (I recommend clicking to enlarge on this one for full effect). Especially you, sister Shelley. Because one of them will be sent your way. But only one. Chuck has insisted on keeping the set together. He's a fine arts collector apparently. Now we're all about the "integrity" of the pieces.

A few final points.
The "good stuffed animals and dolls" will be donated away. Chuck's now considering himself a philanthropist for this act. Saint Charles of Klahanie. However, we will be keeping the Prospector et al along with a few choice pieces which will be given as priceless gifts to those in our circle of trust -- as if being friends with us isn't a gift in-and-of itself.

Bottom line: The end total was 161 items for $7.50. A nickel an item. We grossly overpaid.

He's never been happier.

Saturday at the Auction.

There are a couple of principles that Chuck and I live by. Fastfood and Nordstrom come right to mind, not sure if those are principles, but they are definitely in my world. And you are in my world now, sweetheart. You chose to visit.

Principles, principles, where was I before I snapped? Ah yes. Our Saturday. We lived by two of our favorite principles on Saturday "Thou Shalt Live Cheaply" and "Thou Shalt People Watch". So, for no reason other than it was free and it was awesome, we went to an estate auction.

Uh huh. Estate auction. I can give you no back story as to why. We needed some culturing and this seemed right up our alley. I'm not sure about your upbringing, but I had no previous estate auction experience -- not really Fe and PK's crowd. Chuck's childhood, however, was littered with these kinds of cultural experiences. His parents raised him to appreciate the art of People Watching and educated him on the best places to do this.

My expectations for Saturday ran wild. I expected awesome people, paddles with numbers, and avoiding any sudden hand movements that could be construed as bidding. I was prepared to be a statue.

It was nothing like I expected.

No paddles. No standing still-as-Edward (oh I went there). And the people were pretty normal. Sigh. Plus, it's at the actual house where these people live, which is sad and morbid because they've recently died. And it's their "stuff". A lifetime of treasures out on display. You're sorting and bidding on their life. It was weird, at first.

But before I knew it, I was in-love with auctions.

This house was incredible. Imagine if someone on Hoarders was a collector. And if that person enjoyed square dancing, sewing, fur, fine china, ivory, wood working and everything in-between. That's what this house was. Even the most seasoned auction-attendees were shocked by the sheer amount of it all. It took the auction house 10 days to set up and most the items went to their main facility for a future antique sale. It was overwhelming.

The event (it was an event) began at 9:00.
We were there at 9:15.
There were 1300 lots (a lot is one or more items).
I was swept off my feet by 10:30.
We stayed 7 hours.
We bought nothing. NOTHING.

I covertly took pics on the point and shoot. I wanted to remember every last inch. I'm not sure why people yard sale when this is around. This was fantastic.

At first, the amount bothered me. The whole "their life" thing was tough to swallow. But Chuck put it best. "Bravo". Bravo on your collection. I got out from under my rain cloud and chose to spend Saturday celebrating these people. They worked hard and it was amazing. Tip of the cap.
Remember what I said about lots? An auction item might be one thing or a stack dishes, box of trinkets, or 200 frames bundled together. 1300 lots. THIRTEEN HUNDRED.

See, one part that we never could grasp was the appeal of one item over another or its value. There was no guessing. You couldn't figure out what the crowd would go for. For example, the hedge trimmer paired with the chainsaw? $2.50. The pile of wood in the above picture? $25.
We stayed out of obsession and curiosity. We loved the live auction. The numbers, the competition between bidders. It was just good entertainment. Of course, Chuck and I loved starting the bids. We were amazing at throwing out the $5 bid for a 10pc set of China. We were the go-to-opening bids. I could really tell the crowd appreciated our help in getting the ball rolling.

Oops. You know what? I realized I lied early. We did buy something. I'm just choosing not to count it and trying to forget the pain. See, while I was engrossed in watching a bidding war over a ceramic frog sleeping in a walnut shell (truth), Chuck snuck away unsupervised to one of the 7 silent auctions. Sigh. I should really bring a leash for that guy.

Chuck wanted a Prospector. A little miner doll ecstatic over his gold.

The need for this is so apparent.
Chuck decided to bid only after realizing it came with 3 companion dolls -- he plans to gift them to Shelley (act surprised, angel). Oh it gets better. The "Lot of Dolls" that Chuck bought was EVERYTHING UNDER THE TABLE. So, for $7.50 we are the proud owners of all this.

I've circled our winnings for you to covet more closely. Beautiful antiques everywhere and this is what we get. We are so cheap. And easily entertained.

And that was our Saturday.
It was amazing.
It was pretty typical.
And it was entirely on par with how we live. Ridic.
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