Friday, April 24, 2009

I Need Encouragement

At the funeral the other day, one of my...uncles? First cousins once removed? Something like that. Anyway, he was talking about Aunt Boe (and, by default, Uncle Posie, since they functioned as a unit--in a good way) and how she and Uncle Posie always, always, encouraged ALL of us kids. Every single one of us, through three generations, felt special (three of the uncles got up and each claimed to be Aunt Boe's favorite, and I thought I was her favorite, and I'm pretty sure my cousin thought she was her favorite, too). She and Uncle Posie had that magical quality of making everyone feel elevated--favorited, even--and encouraged. Even when I was small, they would ask about school and tell me how proud they were of me and how awesome I was...and it wasn't until that moment, the moment that Clayton stood there and said all this (he was talking about himself, but we ALL got that from them), that I realized how sorely I've missed that kind of encouragement, love, and devotion. Yes, I get it from Caleb (my husband. I got tired of referring to him as the husband). Yes, I occasionally get it from my parents, but mostly people just don't talk about school around me because by now they all know how much I hate it at the moment.

Maybe it was just easier to believe the encouragement when I was a kid--I had much higher self esteem then. Now, I feel like I don't--can't--give 100% to anything because I'm so split between work, school, house, family, friends, etc. So I constantly beat myself up mentally about how I could have done that better or I could have spent more time on this. And I feel fat, but that's another post altogether.

It's weird how two of the major things that I used to base my self-esteem on have fallen so far. I wonder if that's why it has taken such a big hit? I no longer make straight A's (in fact, I'll be lucky to finish my master's with a 3.0 overall), and I'm not skinny anymore (and as a result I no longer even feel like myself, nor do I feel pretty). I don't like looking cute in outfits anymore, because none of them fit right, and the cute stuff I used to wear no longer looks good on me. Plus I can't spend money on clothes. I wonder if it all, deep down, boils down to a money issue? A weight issue? Or whether I'm just using so much willpower on work and school and keeping the house not disgusting that I have none left for my body or dressing to look cute or making sure I have straight A's?

I guess, if nothing else, I'll find out in December when I just have work to worry about. I think I will focus on my body and my wardrobe (not buying stuff, just putting it together better and taking more time to look cute) first, then on making my house look like me. I want to paint (burnt orange in the bathroom), build a banquette for the elliptical table in the dining room, get the furniture arranged just right, put pictures up, unpack the get the picture. I just have to find a way to do that frugally. Hello Salvation Army/thrift stores in hoity neighborhoods! I'm getting excited about it already. I will post PLENTY of before and after pictures. For now, here are the "before" pictures of the house (before we moved in--it's not that clean or spacious looking now, that's for sure!)

This is the guest bath that I want to paint burnt orange. What do you think? Caleb is worried that it will be too dark and guests would get annoyed with the darkness while putting on makeup...but over the sink (which would be in the far right of the picture but is cut off) there is a light fixture with THREE 60 watt bulbs. We only have two in there now, and it's plenty bright).

This is the dining room. Right now we have a small round table in there, a huge white beautiful Ikea elliptical table (it's the Gidea, if you must know), a chifferobe (which is currently being used as extra kitchen storage because we don't have enough cabinets for all our gadgets), two chairs, and three barstools. I want to build a banquette on the right hand wall in the picture with (hidden, modern) storage drawers in the bottom/sides of it. That way the dining room would be opened up and we'd have more room for the chifferobe and for people to mingle. Not to mention the extra storage (Eventually the small round table and 2 chairs will go back to their owner, which means there's even more need to build the banquette--that's five people able to sit which they can't do after the chairs go away, and we cannot afford chairs right now. I need to do some serious thrift store shopping for chairs, because they are RIDICULOUSLY expensive! Anyone have three stylish chairs they want to get rid of that fit the color scheme or can be recovered?) Other than that, I'm not sure if I want to paint in here or not...I really like the greenish-yellowish-happy color that is in there. Below is a drawing of what it would look like with the banquette in there:

This is a picture of the living room. Currently there is an apple-green, retro, super cool sofa coming out from the wall between the door and the windows with its back to us. I like that arrangement; it helps define the "entry" as such and divides the room from the entry and kitchen without restricting sight lines or conversations. For the "color scheme" in the living/dining rooms and kitchen, I'm thinking of the wall color, apple green, orange (not neon) dark brown, and a tiny bit of white (a la the table, throw pillows, etc).

This is the master bedroom. Our headboard is centered on the left wall in front of the window (Sound weird? I agreed, but we had it on the wall directly in front of us in the picture at first, and it just didn't work. Surprisingly, it looks decent in front of the window). The furniture in there is sparse, with a nightstand on the left side of the bed (but not right next to it), a tiny table on the right side, a white floor lamp from Ikea in the corner we see here, a short dresser across from the bed, and a tall chest of drawers (or if you're from the South, a "chester drawers.") on the non-window wall we are looking at, centered. Sounds like a lot...maybe it isn't sparse? We don't have a rug or anything in here; I like it without one. We have a painting on the wall above the short dresser, and our duvet is apple green with white print. I can't decide if this room is DONE or not. I think in order to decide, I should take a picture of it when it is clean and then determine what, if anything, is missing.

This is the master bath. I want to paint it but I'm not sure what color yet (green? yellow? white?). I haven't been struck by inspiration for it yet; I have a shower curtain that I love that is (guess what?) apple green with white and off white flower outlines on it (looks more abstract than flowery; I'm not really a flower kinda girl). We also have six black 1 ft cubes in there, eventually they will be floor to ceiling but we might paint them dark brown first. Ooh, I just had a thought! We could put shelves on the wall that would be to our right in the picture, similar to the ones I had in the office in Athens! Like an idiot I never took a picture of those, but I have the design sketched out somewhere. Also, that light-colored panel on the end of the cabinet is horrid. We have to find a dark colored one, or paint it, or something. It drives me nuts.

As for the office and the guest bedroom, they will have to wait--the office has all our unpacked boxes still in it, and the guest bedroom looks ok, but has all the stuff we want to sell at a garage sale in it. Caleb gets to be in charge of the decorating scheme for the office; I think he wants to paint it a grayish blue color. I think that sounds lovely.

I can't wait to be the decorating queen among my friends again. Everyone used to come into the house in Athens and go, "Ooh! I love the kitchen!" (or the office, or my bedroom or whatever). My bedroom was freaking awesome. I painted it deep purple and had sort of a moroccan theme, and it actually worked. (My mom was horrified at the purple before we got any furniture in there and said, "You HAVE to paint it a lighter color when we sell the house!" but then after I got everything in there, she loved it). Plus I could sleep late because the room wasn't bright, a very unexpected and welcome benefit. Hmm. Maybe in light of that, I should paint the master bedroom chocolate brown?

What are your favorite past decorating ideas? Or ideas that you want to incorporate into your future abode? Please share!