Wednesday, 26 August 2015

I've been keeping secrets.

That's not entirely true.  I've only been keeping one secret, and it wasn't even supposed to be a secret, per se.  I was just holding out on posting things to Facebook or Instagram because I was excited to have blog material, and then I kept procrastinating on writing a blog post.

But today feels like an appropriate day to let you guys all in on this little secret:

This is Tenacity.

She's a purebred black tri Australian Shepherd, and she's about 4½ months old, and she came home with us at the beginning of August.  Nicknames include Tennie, Ten, Koala-Bum, and Pretty Girl.  Favourite activities include eating, going for jogs, eating, chasing wasps/leaves/grasshoppers, stealing shoes and/or baby toys, and eating some more.

Edit:  I totally almost forgot to give a shout-out to Tenacity's "original mom", the amazing Lindsay from Q.T. Aussies!

Did you know that today is National Dog Day?

It's possibly my new favourite day of the year.  Every time I looked at my phone, whether it was Instagram or Facebook or my email inbox, there were pictures of dogs.  Dog pictures = happy AJ.

In celebration of this fantastic day, I set up a 50% off sale on my art website.  It was supposed to expire tomorrow, but I've been so stoked on this day devoted to dogs that I think I will extend it until the end of the week, soooo:  

Go place your orders before Sunday!  

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Vague Updates, Hooray!

It has been a really long time since my last update because like a squillion things are happening all at once, and I keep thinking "I should blog this", but then I get distracted by one of the other squillion things, and then I forget to blog.  But the boys are watching some stupid B-movie called Lavalantula, so here I am, and here is a blog post, so I guess I can scratch that off my to-do list.  Since it's been so long, here is a sort of general update, because who doesn't love it when people are vague on the internet, right?

For starters, I still have a job.

So, y'know, there's that.  It's going really well and my co-workers are awesome-sauce and everything is all good on the job front.  Ummmm... yep.  That's all I have to say about my job right now, I guess.

In other news...

My anxiety is intense.  

Is anyone else having an extra-difficult time with their panic attacks recently?  Who can talk to me about the planetary alignment and why I have felt like garbage for the past 6 weeks, give or take? (*cough*Desiree*cough*)  I can actually pinpoint the exact day that my anxiety disorder kicked into overdrive.  I've had my medications increased, and I've started seeing my therapist again, and basically I still have almost-daily attacks, and it's not cool.  (P.S.  Shout-outs to my mom, who I keep calling when I need someone to talk me down - and who always obliges, even when she's swamped at work and it's my third call of the day.)

Wedding plans are in the works.

It's officially 321 days until "I do".  We've booked the venues and the officiant, so I mean... technically, we're ready to get married.  Everything else is just "bonus stuff", right?  All you need is a location and a person who is legally allowed to pronounce you married, and we have those things, so like... we're good to go.  Juliette has been doing these "Wedding Wednesday" posts, and I keep thinking that I should hop on board, but I also have nothing to write about, really.  This one paragraph is basically everything that I have to say about the wedding so far and we've been engaged since December.  It's totally stressing out my Unofficial Life Coach, Jodi, who feels like I should be more wedding-obsessed by now.

Art is also in the works.

I have a series of paintings sketched out and I've picked up all the supplies.  There is a giant stack of wood panels sitting on my desk, waiting to primed and have sketches transferred on to them.  The entire series features adorable animal "odd couples", and I'm really excited about it.  I'll post updates here as each individual painting is being worked on.

And now it's nearing midnight, and George has fallen asleep on the couch, so I'm going to call this the end.  Maybe I'll go work on that stack of wood panels...

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Pie + Puppies.

I have a really quick preface before I get into this post, but it's necessary because it applies to the rest of the post.

I have a job.

Like, an actual, honest-to-goodness, full-time, I-don't-work-from-my-house-anymore job.  I mean, I'm not going to go into a bunch of detail right now about how it all happened, but to make a long story short, I got a pretty good offer and George was like "Take it.  Take the job, AJ.  AJ, take the job.  TAKE IT." because apparently he hasn't been having fun being the only one of us with a steady income or whatever.  So, anyway, yeah.  I have a job, now.

I was at work yesterday when I got this email:

Puppies, you guys.  Puppies.  Delivered directly to your office for a play date!  How freaking awesome is that?!

I was understandably excited about the prospect, especially considering that if this had happened a mere month ago, I wouldn't even have had an office for the puppies to be delivered to.  Obviously it was fate, right?

I may have forgotten to tell him about the email from Uber.  It led to some confusion.
It turns out that my boss hates puppies hates fun wants to ruin my life had concerns about some of the other staff's allergies/fears, and was totally not on board with my suggestion to have puppies delivered to the office.  *insert pouting here*  

But on the bright side... pie.

Did you know that Tuesday was National Blueberry Pie Day?  I had to work late on Tuesday to take care of some client requests, so when George came to pick me up, we decided that it was too late to start cooking and officially declared it a takeout day.  I nudged George, who was reciting our order into the drive-thru speaker.

Me:  "Get a blueberry pie."
George:  *to the box* "Sorry, one sec... *turns to me* what?"
Me:  "I need a blueberry pie, too."
George:  "No, you don't."
Me:  "Yes, I do."
George:  "No... you don't."
Me:  "YES I DO, GEORGE.  It's National Blueberry Pie Day.  I need a pie."
George:  "No, you don't.  There's a blueberry pie on the counter.  I picked it up at the grocery store this afternoon."

Because apparently George is psychic.

Just look at this tiny, delicious pie.  That golden, buttery crust.  *drools*

Baby Turtle took part in the festivities, too.

I wish every day was a National Pie Day.
Did anyone else take part in National Blueberry Pie Day?  Or, more importantly, UBER PUPPY DAY?  (If yes, I want to live vicariously through you.  Send me pictures of your puppy playdate!)

Friday, 3 April 2015

Year Thirty-Three

I'm officially thirty-three (with eleven days' experience), and I'll be honest:  it doesn't feel any different than thirty-two.  I don't feel like I'm in my thirties, guys, I really don't.  I feel like I'm... I dunno... twenty-seven.  Tops.  But there was cake and presents and even a surprise dinner, so obviously it's true.

I used to be birthday-crazy.

I looooved my birthday.  Every year, I referred to it as "Amandapalooza", and I'd have the party all planned out by mid-January.  One year, it was an 80s theme party, complete with crimped hair and black lace gloves.  Another year, it was glow-in-the-dark bowling with alcoholic slushies.  Once, there was a trip to Niagara Falls, and there was more than one party involving karaoke.  Oh, and twice, I went out dancing.

This year, though, I planned nothing.  Baby Turtle is only 6 months old and I had zero intentions of leaving him with a sitter, so I just figured I'd head over to my folks' place and have some cake.  (Because I don't care how old I get or how distracted I am, my birthday had better involve birthday cake.)  

It turns out that my parents had a surprise in store.

Not only was there birthday cake, made from scratch by my grandmother, but there was a fabulous birthday gift waiting for me... a DSLR.  I might have been in shock.  I've wanted a DSLR for about a zillion years.  You know how my old posts all disappeared into the internet abyss and took all my photos with them?  Well, now I can take new photos.  New and improved.  See ya, shitty cell-phone-camera pictures (sorry, mom).  

Check out the difference.

Here is a picture of my dog, taken with my cell phone:

And here is a picture of my dog, taken with my fancy-pants new camera:

Awesome, right??  I'm so excited about it...  expect to be flooded with pictures.  (Not always of my dog.)  

(OK, maybe pretty frequently of my dog.)

As if that wasn't amazing enough, George also had a surprise up his sleeve.

Apparently, someone had made arrangements to take me out for dinner, and he'd invited my friends to surprise me.  I almost didn't make it to my own birthday dinner, because shortly after we left the house, I felt like I was fighting a panic attack and asked George to turn the car around.  (I used to have a whole post about my anxiety disorder, but - you guessed it - lost to the internet abyss.)  But once I was with my girls, all of that stupid anxiety just melted away.  If only I had known they would be there... I would have brought my fancy new camera!

This will have to do until the next time I see them.

So, here's to Year Thirty-Three, and being surrounded by such fantastic friends and family!  I'm off to take more pictures...




You're still here?

OK, fine... here are some pictures from the old Amandapaloozas that I mentioned earlier:

But now that's really the end.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

I'm Back, Baby.

After four months of radio silence, Oh Hey It's AJ is back, and perhaps you've noticed things are a little different around here...  Let me explain.

The short version is that I lost everything.

The slightly longer version is that things all went wonky.  My MacBook died in November and the repair fee was insane, so I opted not to fix it.  My Internet BFF was going to send me her old laptop but then I discovered that my Mac issue was a known issue that others had petitioned about and that Apple had decided to extend the warranty on that particular hardware problem, so poof!  MacBook all fixed up. 

While I was offline, the hosting on my blog expired and I lost all my old posts and every picture that I had posted, because I am the worst and I didn't do backups.  This is especially embarrassing when you take into consideration that I have been working in web for over a decade and if anyone knows better, it's me.  

Sooooo... Blogger.  I don't have the patience to set up a whole new self-hosted Wordpress blog for myself right now.  Maybe we'll revisit this later, but I just wanted to get OHIA back online, and this was the quickest route.  I found a few old posts floating around in the Wordpress app on my phone, copied them over (no pictures, though... *whomp whomp*), and here we are.  

Time to rebuild.

So, for now I just wanted to pop in and say "hey, I'm back, wheeee!" and get everything all up-to-date around here.  Thanks for bearing with me!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Apparently it's November Now.

Note:  This post was originally published on November 4, 2014.  All posts prior to this date - along with images from April 2014 to March 2015 - have been lost forever to the Internet black hole.  


Soooo... it looks like I blog once a month these days.  I'm going to make a serious effort to change that.  Are any of you guys even reading this anymore?

Oh, and before I get distracted and forget, I have to tell you guys about some new stuff in my art shop.  (Shameless self-promotion time!)  I'm offering cartoon-style watercolour pet portraits - at a wicked "introductory special" discount, btw - and also custom pet sculptures.  Christmas is less than 8 weeks away, just sayin'.

Halloween has come and gone, and for the first year in a long time, I didn't get dressed up.  I just didn't have the time to plan out a costume for myself, y'know?  I made costumes for both J-Bird and Baby Turtle, and it's really hard to find time for costume-making projects with a newborn.  I mean, I was still working on J-Bird's costume the night before Halloween... although, if I'm completely honest, that could have had something to do with how long I procrastinated starting on it.  See, J-Bird wanted to be Naruto this year and I could not find a kids' Naruto costume anywhere, which meant I had to make it.  "No biggie," I thought, "I'll just grab an orange track suit and make the adjustments."


It it impossible to find orange track pants.  We managed to locate an orange sweatshirt at a thrift store, but the pants were not happening.  So George and I loaded the boys into the car, made a trip to the fabric store, and picked up a couple yards of orange micro-fleece.  I was going to sew the pants.

Here's why that was terrifying.

I have never turned my sewing machine on.  About ten years ago, I had a machine that used to belong to my great grandmother, and I sewed a few squares together before loaning it to a friend of mine.  While she had it, it broke down (probably because it was a jillion years old already), so she brought it back and I stuck it out in the garage.  Two years ago, I mentioned to my mom that I wanted to make some curtains but my sewing machine was broken, so she decided to give me hers - apparently, she's not much of a seamstress, either, and wasn't using it.  She brought it over and it sat in my bedroom closet until a week before Halloween this year, when I dragged it out and brought it down to the dining room table to make J-Bird's costume.

And then I promptly chickened out, returned it to its case, stuck it on the dining room floor, and started working on Baby Turtle's costume instead (which, obviously, was a baby turtle costume.)

Once Baby Turtle's baby turtle costume was all finished, and I could procrastinate no longer, I pulled the sewing machine back out of the case and got to work.  And I was so stressed about it.  I kept picturing J-Bird wearing his costume to school only to have my shoddy craftsmanship come apart at the seams and leave him standing in his underwear in front of the whole school, so even though - spoiler alert! - the costume totally ended up working out, and even though I tested the seams over and over again), I made J-Bird wear shorts under his costume.  Y'know... just in case.

{pictures of the boys in their handmade costumes were here}

So there you have it - Halloween costume success!  Now... what percentage of J-Bird's candy do you think I can claim in the name of "costume-making payment"...?

Dear Sleep, I Miss You

Note:  This post was originally published on October 9, 2014.  All posts prior to this date - along with images from April 2014 to March 2015 - have been lost forever to the Internet black hole.  


I don't remember being this tired when J-Bird was a newborn, and J-Bird had colic - which means I slept even less than I'm sleeping now.  Apparently it's a lot easier to handle newborn-related-sleep-deprivation when you're 22.  (I think I just heard all of you collectively shout "DUH" at me.)

{some sort of image was here}

I have no idea where the days are going, though.  Seriously.  I'm exhausted and the house is a mess... And I'm totally behind on replying to emails/Facebook messages... And there are 74 unread posts in my blog reader.  I don't know how "mommy bloggers" do it.  I cannot even imagine trying to fit daily blog posts in right now.  It took me three days just to find the time (and energy!) to shampoo my hair.

I'm also still a hungry, hungry hippo - Baby H (aka "Baby Turtle") eats all the time, and apparently his constant feedings meant that I need to re-fuel frequently, too.  There aren't even words to describe how excited I am about Thanksgiving dinner this weekend, you guys.  (Yes, Canadian Thanksgiving is way earlier than American Thanksgiving.)  I can't stop thinking about all the turkey and pumpkin pie I'm going to stuff into my face when we go to my folks' house for dinner on Sunday.

{i had an image here titled 'eat all the things'.  i'm sure you can picture it.}

There's only a few weeks to go until Halloween.  I'm making a turtle costume for Baby Turtle (obviously) and it is going to be adorable.  For J-Bird's first ever Halloween, I made a lamb costume using a onesie, some hot glue guns, and like 200 cotton balls, so I figured I have to make Turtle's first costume, too.  J-Bird wants to go as Naruto this year, and as far as I can tell, Naruto costumes for kids are not a thing that exists... so it looks like I'll be making his costume, too.  Uh, I guess I should probably get started on that, huh?  I think I'll skip the whole dressing-up thing this year since I've already got two costumes to worry about making in the next 21 days.  Plus I probably won't be going out this year - it's too soon for Baby H to be out in the cold!  George and J-Bird can do the trick-or-treating this time around.

Are you dressing up in costumes?  What are you all planning to be for Halloween this year?