Relationship and/or Technology?

-Song Lyrics: 
I Love Technology-Napolean Dynamite
Why do you love me
Why do you need me
Always and forever

We met in a chat room
Now our love can fully bloom
Sure, the World Wide Web is great
But you, you make me 'salvivate'

Yes, I love technology
But not as much as you, you see
But I still love technology
Always and forever

Our love is like a flock of doves

Anybody remember, and love Napolean Dynamite as much I did?  A classic!  For some reason when I was writing this post it made me think of that hilarious song he sang to his sweetie LaFawnduh.

Before I had my laptop I spent less time on the net.  I didn't want to be chained to my desk at work then go do the same thing at home.  Now that I have a laptop I can be in the kitchen, on the couch, and anywhere I want to be and still be connected to the Internet.  DVR has made TV time more customizable.  Now I can stockpile a bunch of shows in my play list and pretty much always have something on TV to watch when I want to.  Add to that the fact that now I have a smart phone.  My phone just became a whole lot more interesting to look at and it's literally with me 24/7.  I have apps, e mail and Facebook available to me all the time at home and away from home without even having to open a laptop.

One moment as I stood there in the kitchen watching a DVR'd House Hunters episode, cooking dinner and checking my Facebook news feed while Mj was upstairs playing play station and watching live Baseball streaming from somewhere I don't really understand on his lap top it got me to thinking.  Has technology taken over or should I say taken the place of my relationship?  This is something that I can't help but think about as my stockpile of electronic gadgets has grown and my access to them has increased. 

It's obvious that if there were no TV or Internet our time at home together would look a whole lot different.  Without any distractions all we could do is talk or read.  I don't even know what that would be like.  So clearly technology technically does detract from our interactions but not to it's detriment.   I don't ever feel ignored or disregarded in favor of an i Phone.  Mj enjoys playstation but it's not an obsession.  I've been a victim of that addiction before....and it's not pretty.  I do find that both of us often have our lap tops and/or our phones within reaching distance when we are at home but I don't think it's a bad thing as long as it doesn't become excessive.  When I do feel that I've become too engrossed in blogging or whatever else  I do make the conscious effort to say, "OK, close the lap top and put the phone down."  I really try to be aware of the time I'm spending on technology and not let it become more important then my husband.  We don't have a TV in our bedroom which I think is a good thing.  We always ask each other how was work and how was our day.  I might come home and unwind with my DVR during the busy work week but we usually come together for some cuddle time at some point by the end of the night.  We still talk and enjoy each others company.  We play scrabble, although we do it online!  We play old school Yahtzee.  We watch movies and TV shows together and it's something fun for us to do.  We get out of the house and do things together as well.  While technology time has increased I don't think it's taken away from our relationship in any way.  We still get our quality time in AND we enjoy our outlets that Internet, TV and video games provide.  Like anything else in life it's all about balance.

If I ever felt that I could no longer relate to my spouse, felt a disconnect or became totally annoyed when he needed attention that cut into my technology time there might be a problem.   If I felt that we lived two separate lives at home with each of us entwined in our own respective technologies then it would probably be high time to re evaluate priorities and work on reconnecting.  With us, this has not been an issue.  I don't think you have to choose between the quality of your relationship and technology.  A healthy relationship can balance both.

Girly Girl Gets Dirty in the Yard

I'm a self proclaimed girly girl.  I love Pink, shopping and things that smell pretty.   I am afraid of bugs, I hate feeling dirty and I prefer it when Mj handles all the heavy and technology related tasks around the house.  So when Mj said that I was going to help him in the backyard planting herbs and other assorted plants the first thing I said was, "No way.  My mama couldn't make me get out in the yard and you can't either."  "Oh, yes you are," he said.  And he basically didn't budge which is why I found myself outside sitting in dirt in our backyard on a Sunday afternoon.

We headed to Home Depot first for supplies and spent $130, but who's counting right?  I can't believe I spent money on dirt.  So, we got our plants, dirt, mulch, planters, miracle grow, and other supplies that Mj as project manager deemed necessary and we got to work.  The only way I agreed to this is because I was promised gloves.  I put 'em on and started grabbing handfuls of dirt and putting it into the planter box and an interesting thing happened.  I realized that I didn't hate it.  There was something somehow soothing about digging into the dirt with my gloved hands and using it to plant something and make it grow.  I enjoyed placing the roots of these little plants into their new home.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be!!

When we stepped back to look at our  handiwork I felt proud of it.  I actually had fun and felt like we had accomplished something together.  Now Mj has fresh Basil, Chives, Cilantro, Rosemary and Thyme to use for cooking.  I suppose I can use them too considering I do get in there myself and cook these days.  He also has the tomato plant he wanted.  I don't like tomatoes but I got the dwarf mandarin orange tree I wanted.  It's nice to have a bit more greenery out there.   Planting it with my own hands gives me a greater interest in their survival which means I'm less likely to forget to water them and less likely to kill them. At least I hope so.  I was so inspired that I FINALLY even ordered our patio furniture. 

Orange tree on the left and tomato plant to the right
It felt so good to take a hot shower and relax after that.  This is just another example of me being forced out of my comfort zone by Mj.  I can be so stubborn sometimes but when I allow myself to be swayed 9 times out of 10 I'm glad that I did.  We wanted a small yard with no grass so it would be low maintenence.  There is no reason that I can't participate and help out.  The weather is warming up nicely.  I'm looking forward to finally enjoying our outdoor space and seeing the fruits of our labor. Literally.

Pimp My Closet

Our closet before.  Not too shabby but a lot of wasted space.
I've always thought of our closet as the little walk in that could.  It's small but has so much potential.  I mean, look at all that wasted space.  It's still a walk in so I felt I was moving up in the world because the closet I came from was even tinier.  So tiny my clothes were perpetually wrinkled from being crammed and jammed in there.  I don't know how those people back in the day survived with so little closet space.  Oh yeah, I guess they didn't have much!  Well, now we have tons of stuff so closets are super important.  I was hogging our closet in typical woman fashion but that's what we do because we have the greater need.  I've got work out gear, tanks, bras, long sleeves, short sleeves, skirts, dresses, scarves, pajamas and it just goes on and on.  Don't even get me started on the shoes.  There are flats, pumps, open toed, close toed, sandals and those darn boots.  Men don't have nearly the excessive wardrobe needs that we do.  Despite my feelings of entitlement to more space I at least had the common decency to feel bad for shutting him out so I rearranged some things so he could at least fit some of his stuff in there.

Our brand new organized closet
Mj's double hang rod and Eight drawers
Women love closets.  Men love closets.  And if you have a lot of clothes and shoes like most of us do then you really love organized closets. Enter Closet World.  They pimped our closet and it turned out even better then I thought it would.  I was thinking it might feel cramped after they put everything in AND we put in all of our stuff but it actually made it look larger somehow.  I took the opportunity to get rid of a lot of stuff and tried not to allow just any old thing to make it into our new and improved closet.  Everything got scrutinized and I'm glad to say not everything made the cut.  It was time to cleanse and make a trip to the Goodwill donation center.  I staked out my territory first and tried not to be too greedy!  The double hang section to the left is all mine but there is room for Mj to hang things too if he needs it.  Turns out he only has about 9 pairs of shoes.  How sad.  So most of the shoe shelves are taken up by me of course.  We have 11!  I have  7 which fit 4 pairs across and he gets 4 which fit 3 man sized shoes across.  All the shelves are fully adjustable so I can make it taller for boots and shorter for flats.  There is also room at the top and the bottom for more shoes or whatever else.  We added belt racks and tie racks that slide in and out too.  I was able to fit a lot more into our bedroom set dresser drawers because my clothes are smaller so I'm only getting 2 out of the 8 closet drawers and he has a whole wall of cubbies to himself.

It's been a week and he still hasn't put all his stuff in.  Is he scared I'm going to shove him out?  After seeing the way he awkwardly tried to cram a bunch of his folded shirts and chunky sweatshirts into one of his cubbies I told him he might as well let me organize all of his stuff.  I'm so much better at it.  He agreed.  The only other thing I want to get for storing clothes is a pretty white end of bed type storage bench/trunk, which I'm having a hard time finding.  I've been on a pajama shopping freeze for years because I have a ridiculous amount of pajamas, mostly from Victoria's Secret, that are currently residing in a bin that doesn't quite fit underneath our bed and they could all go in the trunk instead. 
Show wall on left and Double row of hanging rods. 
The cost is actually almost double what I was hoping to spend but we figured if we are going to do it we might as well DO it.  We had them design it in the way that would best fit our needs.  We didn't want to build our own closet so it cost us but I think it was worth every penny.  I feel like I can actually SEE my clothes and there is a place for everything.  Even my giant Uggs have a home in this closet. I love it!
 My dream closet inspiration.  Ours doesn't look 
exactly like it but close enough!!

We landscaped the backyard last year.  Crown molding was home improvement project #2 and the closet was project #3 for this year with our tax money.  Project #4 is rain gutters.  Not nearly as much fun but necessary.  We'll put that off until after Summer.  Project #5 is kitchen and flooring and hopefully that will  happen sometime next year.  Mj claims that this is our starter home and that we won't be here forever but I love this house and every time we add to it I love it even more.  I am glad that we are doing some of the things that we want instead of never getting around to it so that we can really enjoy it while we are here.  Even if this isn't our last home I definitely plan to be here for a while.  Really, how could I ever leave my beautiful closet behind?
Does anyone else struggle with how to store all of your stuff?  Aside from not shopping and donating to goodwill what are your solutions?

My B-Day: Simple & Perfect

I never know what I want to do for my birthday.  I'm a simple gal so chances are it's not going to be much but even so I can never decide.  I never know what I want either for that matter.  I took Friday off because as a general rule starting in 2009 I do not work on my birthday if I can help it.  It was so nice to be reading my blogs in my jammies at home looking forward to the day ahead instead of at work where I'd have been stuck in an office for the next 9 hours and might hear talk of what a nice day it was outside without being able to enjoy it.  I had a quick work out at the gym then came back home to get ready.   I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day!!  It was about 80 degrees and there was no hint of gloom in sight which you can't always count on when you have an April Birthday.
Waiting for the trolley
I'm so glad Mj took a 1/2 day off work because we got started on by birthday that much earlier and really had the whole day to enjoy it.  We took the trolley downtown and went to the movies to see The Lincoln Lawyer-Which was very good.  We indulged in popcorn AND soda; something I never ever do because of price and calorie count but today it was OK.
Movie Snacks

Since it was right there I wanted to go to LA Rack.  It's this cute little boutique that has cute little cheap prices to go with it and accordingly I found a cute little top for $16.99.  Time for shots!  We each did a shot at one bar then went to another place to get our Happy Hour on some more.   It was a full and fun day.  We left the house at about 1 pm and didn't get back until 8:30pm.  We got into our jammies and watched Unstoppable.  Mj gave me the gift of shopping in the form of a gift card to Express.  He also gave me 2 pole dancing classes!  I'd mentioned what good exercise it must be and that I really wanted to give it a try so now I'll have my chance.

From a giant cookie to a festive cake

Me and my cake!
On Saturday my family came down.  Mom, dad, my sister and my nephew.  Mom got me a pretty turquoise ring and my sister got me a cute top. haven't been to Souplantation in a while and I wanted something casual and budget friendly.  "You don't have to pay, why are you concerned about price?" is what Mj wanted to know.  Maybe not, but I can't help but consider everyone else.  After dinner we came home and let our food settle for a bit and then it was time for cake.  By request, Mj made me a Chocolate Peanut Butter cake from scratch.  This thing is about as decadent and indulgent as it gets.  Mj was reluctant to give me the recipe but I insisted.  I really shouldn't have.  I plugged it into my calorie tracker and my heart dropped when I saw the calorie count.  I have to admit that I had a lot of anxiety about eating this cake especially on top of all the other weekend eating but I asked for it and Mj made it especially for me one armed and all so I had to put it out of my head and just enjoy it.  That's what Birthday's are for right? 

My Birthday was simple yet perfect.  I got to enjoy the day and the people who matter most to me.  Nothing over the top but it simply doesn't get much better then that.

Our House Has Character

Mj just about drove me nuts in Home Depot on Tuesday night when we were embroiled in our bold vs safe paint color dilemma.  I was nervous about it but I walked out the door expecting to come home with Orange.  Then we got there and Mj started having doubts.  I had doubts myself but was willing to take a chance and just go with it because he seemed to really want to.  Yes, it would be nice to liven things up but oh boy did that Orange seem bright and we just weren't sure if we would like an entire wall that color.  When he started second guessing the choice I told him I could walk out of there happy that minute with Gobi Desert; the neutral or we could go with the Orange if he wanted to.  The problem is that he didn't really want either.  The Orange felt too bright and he felt the Tan would clash with our kitchen curtains.  I could not convince him that neutral goes with everything and it would look just fine.  This was our 3rd trip to Home Depot and I was just over it!  We mulled it over for over an hour, pondered a few entirely different colors and ended up walking out of there with the Gobi Desert which is what we had initially picked after our very 1st Home Depot trip. 

We'd already painted the wall to the right green but had them
re paint it neutral and we extended that color right into the kitchen
We had already painted our Master Bedroom but it needed some major touching up so we had them do that in addition to the kitchen, a few areas of wall left white downstairs, the stairwell and common areas upstairs.  The only white walls left to tackle are the bathrooms and the 2 spare bedrooms.  We can totally do some point!! Our house looks warmer and more inviting without all those boring white walls.  We got the crown molding all downstairs including the half bath, our master bedroom and the common areas upstairs.  We also had them add a really pretty border underneath the three windows in the living room.  It looks so beautiful and makes such a difference in the overall look of our house.  Now it has this so called "character" that people are always talking about on HGTV.  By the time I got home from work and the gym on Wednesday they were still working but almost done.  Our house was a mess!  As soon as they started packing up I ran around like a mad woman putting everything back in it's place because it literally pains me  to see everything in disarray.
the loft area to the left and our hallway to the right
master bedroom
I love it!  I can't stop looking at it and I have no regrets about forking over such a large chunk of cash.  Next project; our closet!  We're getting it done next week and I am just as excited about that as I was about this project.

 Today is my birthday so I skipped out on work.  Mj took a half day off and we are spending today together then tomorrow my family will come down.  April birthday weather can be hit and miss but this year it's just gorgeous.  The sun came out early and it's supposed to be 80 degrees.  Time to get out there and enjoy this beautiful day.