Mostly I just putter.

Doctoral student, amateur cook, beginning sewer.

Mostly I just putter.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Time for One More

I think I might have just enough time to make this for myself.

How cute is that? Via Martha.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Not Reading, Not Blogging...

Life is crazy right now and I don't even know how to begin to deal with it beyond putting one foot in front of the other. I've been looking for ways to make myself feel better (like trying to convince the Mister we need a dog, a conversation that did not go well) so everyday I go to flickr and find pictures of things that make me happy or inspire me.

Monday, November 26, 2007

My Journal, My Mind

I've been keeping a journal since I was 14. Once a notebook is filled it goes in a plastic bin in the closet under the stairs, never to be seen again. I keep writing in it because it helps me deal with stress and process my life, not because I have any deep thoughts or plans for world peace. Filled notebooks are never touched again--the thought of reliving all of that angst makes me antsy and a little bit queasy.

Recently I haven't been satisfied with my journaling. It was starting to feel like a whine-fest every time I sat down to write. Two articles have sparked some inspiration:

An Introduction to Journal Writing

Brian Learns to Read

For years I've been using some form of spiral-bound notebook, but my new plan/paradigm for journaling requires a change of vehicle, so I have jumped on the Moleskine wagon.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Not Related to Reading At All

My sister is dog-sitting an overweight dachshund this weekend. Its name?

Tootsie Roll.

It kills me every time I think about it. I is dork.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

100th Post

Wish I had something more profound than, " cute!"

From Articles47

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Accessories Make The Outfit

I'm thinking of giving bookplates to some of my friends for Christmas. Some cute examples from Etsy:
Dragonflies, by Easy Life Productions
Owls, by Three Dog Party

Flowers by Le Beau

Have fun shopping!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I Was Thinking Today...

...about my favorite childhood books. What immediately came to mind were my fierce obsessions with Laura Ingalls Wilder and Nancy Drew. Mom even made me a prairie dress and matching bonnet when I was in fourth grade. What young girl couldn't/shouldn't relate to strong, adventurous women? Today is one of those days when I need to tap into my inner pioneer/sleuth and just forge ahead.

Monday, November 12, 2007

This Is Getting Repetitious

Another reason I'm not reading? Our new DVR. Dangerous! However, most of the weekend wasn't spent wasting time in front of the boob tube, I was actually making Christmas presents! My sewing machine is up and running again, so I hit the Christmas project list pretty hard.

Still enjoying my book, though. Read quite a bit on Friday night. It was nice to get into my comfy jammies with my book and read while the Mister stayed up way too late trying to get homework done. While I'm very proud of all of his hard work, it is making me feel guilty!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What I'm Reading

Working on The Singular Pilgrim. I loved the premise and it came highly recommended by someone whose taste in books I've found to be impeccable. Finished the intro and about halfway into the first chapter--so far it's interesting but I haven't really latched on to it yet.

I'm overbooked right now, and not in a good "too many interesting books on the bookshelf" way, but in a "how the heck did my calendar get so full" panicky kind of way. There is something scheduled every night this week and every night next week, and I honestly don't know how it happened. Clearly need to be more thoughtful with the calendar and my time management. This is a problem that I sort of thought I had licked about a year ago, but I guess this is a lesson in needing to be ever vigilant.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Two Word Summary

Stomach flu.

'Nuff said.

Monday, October 29, 2007

What I'm Reading

Read all of Janet Evanovich's 12 Sharp and The Secret Life of Bees this weekend. I'm back!

The Secret Life of Bees

Just a few goodies from an excellent book:

"Every human being on the face of the earth has a steel plate in his head, but if you lie down now and then and get still as you can, it will slide open like elevator doors, letting in all the secret thoughts that have been standing around so patiently, pushing the button for a ride to the top. The real troubles in life happen when those hidden doors stay closed for too long. But that's just my opinion." (p. 170)

"'I wish you could've seen the Daughters of Mary the first time they laid eyes on this label. You know why? Because when they looked at her, it occurred to them for the first time in their lives that what's divine can come in dark skin. You see, everybody needs a God who looks like them, Lily." (p. 141)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Still Not Reading

Argh! Got home last night and only wanted Martha. Fine. Read the Martha. I'm going to see Little Sister this weekend and I'm confident of two things: 1. There will be no Martha and 2. I will have a book with me. Whether I read it or not remains to be seen.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I looked at the calendar the other day and realized we will be out of town for four of the next five weekends. How did that happen? What crazy fool set up that schedule? After taking a good hard look at what I've read so far and what I can reasonably accomplish before December 31st, I need to reevaluate. My goals:

1. Read for pleasure, first and foremost. Quit evaluating books by how thick they are and how long it would take to finish them. This challenge was never to quash my love of reading, just to make me more thoughtful about how I spent my time.

2. Reserve the Marthas (and other magazines) for times when I only have a few minutes to read. Stop reading them in large blocks of time. They'll last longer that way and I won't feel strangely guilty about them.

3. Check out new books from the library. Quit looking at the current stack and feel obligated to read them because they're there. Same for free books from friends.

4. Read. Quit thinking, talking, writing, feeling guilty, and avoiding it, and just READ!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I'm A Slacker

The only reading I've done of late has been a large stack of FREE Martha Stewart magazines. Who can resist the pull of the pretty, pretty pictures?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Books I've Read

Finished Zora's book...simply amazing. More on that another time, I think.

Read another Sue Grafton novel this weekend. Started Friday night, finished Saturday afternoon. That's why I love her books--practically instant gratification.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Still Homesick

Why? I want to buy books and I'm 1200 miles from the nearest Powell's, the best book store ev-ah! It's so big, when you walk in the front door they give you a map. Portland readers can go there today and hear Garrison Keillor. It's also very near Chinatown so you can get good grub to go with your book purchases. Sigh...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Friday, October 5, 2007

Swappin' Readin'

I am hosting a book swap today at work. All of those books that I loved but will never read again? The books I couldn't bear to just take to Goodwill to give to a complete stranger? They're going to a new home to be read by someone I hope will love them as much as I did.

Books I'm swapping:

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Denver Banned Books

Denver Public Library's list of books that have been recently challenged.

Not sure what's so offensive about a farting dog that you'd want it banned.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Banned Books Week

In honor of Banned Books Week, I picked up a novel by an author I've long wanted to read but never got around to. Their Eyes Were Watching God is quite possibly one of the most amazing and beautifully constructed novels I've ever read. Actually, still reading. It's one of the few books that makes me want to copy down passages in my journal to mull over later. Only about 1/4 of the way into it, but I know it's one that I'll be thinking about months from now.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Get Ready...

Banned Books week starts tomorrow. Just a quick refresher on why it's important to "celebrate":


The Mister and I finally checked out the library in our new neighborhood and it is AWESOME! Came home with a large-ish stack of reading material and immediately dug into a book by one of my favorite authors, Dick Francis. My WWI stage has been temporarily diverted over to the former-English-jockeys-who-write-mysteries stage.

Monday, September 24, 2007

What I'm Reading

Father-in-Law gave me books he was done with a few weeks ago. He was a modern European history professor for 30+ years, so his collection is heavy on World War I and II. Started Back to the Front last night and was immediately intrigued by the term "accidental historian". I think I've seen it somewhere else, but I can't be sure. Certainly most of what I do could be deemed "accidental"; many of the topics I'm currently interested in came about as I was reading/researching something else. There was the Civil War phase, then the Florence Nightingale phase, then the Abraham Lincoln phase, then a random jump to World War II, Winston Churchill, the Russian Front, then the Romanovs...many other World War I!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Another Item To Add To The List...

...of reasons I don't read: unpacking boxes from the move.

Didn't make it to the library this weekend. Found a book on the shelf that I hadn't read yet, so I'm giving it a try.

Friday, September 21, 2007

What To Read Next

Have started two books in two days and put them both down in disgust. Many times I will just power through until the end, but my heart wasn't in it. I am stuck. Finally going to check out our new library this weekend so maybe I'll find something appealing there. If not, there's always my beloved Tattered Cover!

Any suggestions?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Business Plan

Step 1: Buy cool old building.
Step 2: Break up into tiny rooms. Decorate with rugged wooden desks and comfy chairs. Excellent lighting a must. Install pencil sharpener.
Step 3: Rent out space to writers! Apparently writers are so desperate to have a quiet space to work that they actually rent space. As far as I know this service is not being offered in Denver yet. I wonder if our basement would work?


What I've Read

Found (and finished) Freakonomics! In a word: fascinating.

I love that the authors didn't back off from controversial topics of race and gender. Certainly it would have been a more "comfortable" read if they'd reached different conclusions, but overall it was an eye-opening and interesting book. Definitely a book you can loan to your friends.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What I've Read

Finished Death's Little Helpers, the sequel to Black Maps. Also entertaining, but I don't think I'll read any more books from that series. They're already starting to become formulaic. John March is a stock hero character for a mystery novel--"dark and twisty inside" (thanks, Grey's) with a tormented past, a painful personal life, and a super-human ability to give (and take) a beating.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


It's pretty well-documented that many Americans choose not to read. My own reading habits started to slip which is one of the reasons I set the 52 book challenge for myself. I don't have kids or a demanding job, so my excuses were a) weak and b) pathetic. Things that distract me from reading:
  • The Closer
  • Fussing about things for the new house
  • Surfing the internet
  • Sewing (this is not a bad thing)
  • Scrubs
  • Crazed neighbor dogs that bark constantly
  • Idly checking the fridge to see if there's anything tasty to snack on
  • Magazines - the pictures, not the articles

Monday, September 17, 2007

What I've Read

Black Maps was good. Entertaining, fast-paced, and perfect for a quiet Friday night at home (what I did) or on the beach with a frosty adult beverage (what I wanted to do). I'm mostly done with the next book in the series.

I've been wondering lately if I'm reading to complete my goal but missing out on the enjoyment. I know I'm certainly more focused with my time and watching less TV as a result of this challenge. Is there a way to balance enjoyment and drive?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Newbery Award Winners, Part I

Ages and ages ago, when I was an education major, I started working through the list of Newbery Medal Winners. The Tattered Cover graciously provides a link to the list on their website. I've highlighted in green the books that I've read. Clearly need to read some of the more recent winners!


Criss Cross
by Perkins, Lynne Rae

by Kadohata, Cynthia

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread
by DiCamillo, Kate , Ering, Timothy Basil

by Avi

A Single Shard
by Park, Linda Sue

A Year Down Yonder
by Peck, Richard

Bud, Not Buddy
by Curtis, Christopher Paul

by Sachar, Louis , Frieder

Out of the Dust
by Hesse, Karen

The View from Saturday
by Konigsburg, E. L.

The Midwife's Apprentice
by Cushman, Karen , Hyman, Trina Schart

Walk Two Moons
by Creech, Sharon , Desimini, Lisa

The Giver
by Lowry, Lois

Missing May
by Rylant, Cynthia

by Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds

Maniac Magee
by Spinelli, Jerry

Number the Stars
by Lowry, Lois

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices
by Fleischman, Paul , Beddows, Eric

Lincoln: A Photobiography
by Freedman, Russell

Whipping Boy (Award)
by Fleischman, Sid , Sis, Peter

Sarah, Plain and Tall
by MacLachlan, Patricia

The Hero and the Crown
by McKinley, Robin

Dear Mr. Henshaw
by Cleary, Beverly , Zelinsky, Paul

Dicey's Song
by Voigt, Cynthia

A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers
by Willard, Nancy , Provensen, Martin , Provensen, Alice

Jacob Have I Loved
by Paterson, Katherine

A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-32
by Blos, Joan W.

What I'm Reading

Just finished A Thousand Acres, by Jane Smiley. This book could have been an Oprah Book Club selection, it was so depressing.

Moving on to Black Maps, by Peter Spiegelman, and so far I’m really enjoying this book. Haven’t read a mystery in a while, so it feels good to switch gears.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Another From The "Who Buys This?!?" Vault

They'd go perfectly with all of my other Pug accessories! Matching bag and wallet--$30 on Craigslist:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Just What We Need For The Living Room

Really, I have to know, WHO BUYS THIS STUFF?!? As seen on Craigslist:

And ONLY $75--used!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

What To Do In Denver

I'm hoping to have an out-of-state visitor come to stay with us at the Casa this spring. She's only been to Denver once. Some places I will probably take her:
  • Tattered Cover in LoDo - the best bookstore in Denver, and also very accessible by Light Rail. I was heartbroken when the Cherry Creek store closed because it played an important role during the courtship with the Mister. However, the store in LoDo has lots of charm and we have worked through our grief and come to terms with this change. Could also visit the new store on Colfax.
  • Cherry Creek Farmer's Market - the best one in Denver, in my opinion. Lots of fresh produce, excellent people-watching. Also, the dog-watching is outstanding.
  • Wash Park - Walking here is also prime for people-watching and dog watching. The surrounding homes are gorgeous. We were going to have our wedding reception here but they wouldn't rent the boat house over a holiday weekend. Bummer.
  • Red Rocks Amphitheater - good enough for Dave Matthews? Good enough for me. Good hiking, too.
  • The Highlands - lots of good shopping. And eating: Mead St. Station, Highlands Garden Cafe, Stella's.
  • Denver Zoo - love me some penguins!
I know there's more...I'll save that for another day.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Weekend In Review

Little Sister and her husband were in town this weekend and stayed at the Casa. So much fun! Dined at Vesta, did some shopping, played rummy. We were reminiscing about movies we love and came up with a list that need to be rented the next time they're in town:

And one that we haven't seen: Lover Come Back.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Such a Romantic

Me: Well, we've been married three years and I haven't consulted the divorce attorney yet. What do you think of that?

the Mister: He didn't have much to say.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Third Anniversary

The Mister and I will have been married three years on September 4th. Our wedding took place at the end of the hardest six weeks of my life and in the middle of a horrible "life event" that brought our wedding plans to a screeching (crashing, crumpling) halt. Our priorities shifted and our marriage was tested, forged, and strengthened in the chaos of that time. I discovered in all of the craziness that the Mister was a man I could hang on to through the storm. He found out I was someone he could finally let his guard down with. It wasn't the easiest start, but it was the best for us.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's Football Season!

Growing up in a state that really didn't have professional sports (the Blazers don't count; they'll just break your heart) moving to Colorado was a big adjustment. Bumper stickers like, "I Bleed Orange" and, "If God's Not a Bronco Fan, Why Are Sunsets Orange?" were completely foreign to me. However, with enough exposure I started to make some sense of both the game and the passion.

Now I love football season. It's still really not that much about the game, it's about the time with the Mister. The change in seasons. Pulling out my favorite sweatpants and fleece shirt. The Mister making a bowl of popcorn for halftime. Every single memory he has of every single play John Elway ever made and the light it brings to his eyes. Cuddling up on the sofa only to get jolted as he hollers at the TV. The friendly ribbing at work as each rejoices or despairs over their team's performance that week. Soup. Homemade bread. Crisp, dry mornings. Buying Halloween candy. Eating said candy. The smell of a neighbor's fireplace. Putting extra blankets on the bed.

Tonight is the last pre-season game. Let the football season begin!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sewing Sweet

My mom is an amazing seamstress. When it was time to plan my wedding, I asked her to make my dress. I didn't want store-bought, which was quite a departure from my childhood when she wanted to make my clothes and I didn't think they were cool enough. Now that I am older and finally coming to terms with my pear shape, I'm looking more at making my own clothes. Until stores will finally acknowledge that a woman can be smaller on the top than she is on the bottom, I am going to try my hand at my own needle-and-thread revolution. Take up your seam rippers, ladies! Arm yourselves with a good pair of shears--we're taking back our wardrobes!

Now that homemade is cool again and the revolution is starting, I am gaining a new appreciation for Mom's skills and efforts. Last night was my first time at a sewing machine since I was 12 and mom helped me make a sundress. Our two new throw pillows look charming and lovely (as well as perfectly constructed) on our sofa. They are the direct result of 2 1/2 hours of "slow and careful" and the byproduct of 33 years of Mom's "loving and patient". Thanks, Mom.

Guess I Need To Revise My Travel Plans

You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Casa Is Now Open For Business

We've had our first official guests to the Casa! The house isn't done yet, but it is presentable. The weekend was busy with visitors. Friday night we hosted friends for dinner, Saturday my parents and in-laws all came over for a long lunch, and Sunday the Mister's cousin came down from Ft. Collins. Next weekend: Little Sister and Brother-in-Law from Steamboat Springs. The weekend after: The Mister's cousin and her husband from Minnesota. We've got to get the guest bedroom set up!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What I'm Reading

Oy. The 52 book challenge has come to a grinding halt with this book. It's really interesting but moves at a pretty slow pace. I'm falling behind on my schedule, which has caused me a lot of angst lately. I never leave a book unfinished (great skimmer, though) so I've got to keep going. My worry is that I am reading for the sake of completing my goal and not for the enjoyment and beauty of the books themselves.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lottery Game

I've been playing the Lottery Game in my head a lot this morning, as in, "If I won the lottery, what would I do?" Today's edition is a list of places I would go. Here's my itinerary:
  • Take a road trip from Denver to Newport, Oregon. I love a good road trip! Take the northern route through Montana, Idaho, and Washington so I can show the Mister the wonders of Glacier National Park, Couer d'Alene, Idaho, and Seattle.
  • Spend a week in a cabin on the beach in Newport. Think about nothing. Eat clam chowder at Mo's.
  • Drive to Portland and fly to Hawaii for at least a week. We've been to Honolulu and the Big Island, so I think I'd like to visit Maui on this trip.
  • Fly to Sydney to visit sister-in-law. Take side trips to Great Barrier Reef, New Zealand, and Fiji.
  • Return to Hawaii to rest for a few days before heading back to Denver. Re-pack suitcase and fly to New York. I've only been to New York once (for 22 hours) for a job interview and it was one of the worst experiences of my professional career. Would like a do-over, please.
  • Fly New York to London just in time for the Wimbledon tournament. Eat strawberries and cream and listen to the Mister explain the wonder that is tennis. The Mister and I have been to London during the winter. Now I'd like to see it in the summer and visit all of the beautiful gardens. We didn't do the Jack the Ripper tour, either, so that would definitely part of our stop there.
  • Take the train to Paris. Had a great nap on that train when we went the first time, so I'd like to see if I can recreate the experience.
  • Spend a month in France. Re-visit the Normandy invasion beaches (this time when the museums are open!), explore Paris, buy great handbags.
  • Possible side trip: Spain and Portugal.
  • Next stop: Germany/Denmark. The Mister and I have German and Danish roots, so we would like to go check on our people there.
  • We've not been to Italy yet, either, so we'll definitely need a month or two.
  • Greece. All of it.
  • Home. Where our new lottery-possible housekeeper will greet us with the words, "Just leave your suitcase there. I'll unpack and do the laundry while you take a nap. The coffee will be ready when you wake up!"

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Weekend

Off to Ft. Collins for New West Fest! Free music, hanging out with fun people, should be a good time. The Mister is looking forward to Bruce Hornsby; I'm looking forward to time away.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Harry Potter

I don't have much to say because the internet has been analyzing, evaluating, reviewing, (and ruining) ever since it came out. My only addition: It was good. I cried. I loved. The end.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Still Haven't Found (What I'm Looking For)

  • printer paper
  • the copy of Freakonomics that I started before we moved
  • good dishes
  • some of our everyday dishes
  • safety pins (something rarely needed until they're lost and now have needed three times in the last week)
  • battery charger for the digital camera

What I've read...

Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss. Ugh. Boring. It could have been a helpful tool but mostly it just bored me. I ended up skimming the last third. It would have been better if I'd been a Lit major and understood some of the literary references, but I'm just not that smart. One thing I did take from it was the "Oxford comma" which I'm now seeing everywhere.

Now, on to Harry Potter! I'm continuing the "Hey! Maybe I'll read books that everyone else has already read forever ago and forgotten already!" theme.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Covet, part II

Or this.


My grandmother collects teacups and saucers, and I've always loved her Lomonosov sets the best. I had one teacup that I found in an antique shop, but it broke a few years back. As I was kicking around on the internet the other night I found this set. Do you suppose it's too early to make a Christmas list?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

What I've read...

During my vacation last week I spent most of my time unpacking and getting the house livable. However, I did manage to read two books.

The Pact, by Jodi Picoult, was a bittersweet tale. I've seen her books but never read any of them. Certainly not life-changing, but a good vacation read. It also offers a few interesting tidbits about the psychology of teen relationships.

I am always conflicted about reading Oprah Book Club selections. I know it's going to be good, but I also know I'm going to be depressed when I'm done. Drowning Ruth, by Christina Schwarz, was different in that I wasn't as depressed as usual. Didn't shed a single tear. Maybe I am dead inside? That being said, when I was reading it, it was hard putting it down.

I started Freakonomics right before we moved but I haven't found the box it was packed in. More on that later when it is discovered again.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Back On Track!

The plumber came and fixed the sink, so we're back to being able to wash dishes. That's a huge relief. The house is 75% unpacked and I'll be working on it more on Wednesday and Thursday nights. After the unpacking comes the fun part--hanging up the pictures and setting out the knick-knacks. I have a strong nesting instinct, even after changing residences so many times over the years, and this last stage is the part that I like best. It's not just hanging up pictures that have sentimental value and finding the perfect spot for my grandma's glass candy dish, it's making a home. A home that we don't have to pack up again for many, many, many years! We can finally get rid of our cardboard boxes.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Mister...

...had a wild look in his eyes this morning when I came downstairs. The reason?


The kitchen sink isn't draining.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Things That Are Broken or Strange

The towel rack in the main bathroom fell off the wall.

The grout in the bathroom was never sealed.

The dishwasher won't drain.

Water pools around one of the basement windows when it rains.

The dryer can't be vented to the outside.

The kitchen window won't open now that the mechanism is broken.

I still love it. The Mister, however, is starting to feel a little stressed.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thoughts On Moving

For as much crap as I give away and throw away, we still have a lot of crap.

We thought 1900 sq. ft. would be almost too much room. Now I'm not so sure.

Three days without internet? Surprisingly painful.

How did a box of my underwear get labeled "Kitchen"?

How do you know how many layers of sealant you should apply to grout in a shower stall?

Home Depot and Lowe's are too overwhelming. I've been living in apartments too long--I don't have the hunting instincts, skills, and persistence that are needed to find what you need. The thought of another trip to either place could cause a panic attack.

It's a sad, sad day when the Wal-Mart home improvement department starts looking good (see above). What does that say about my ability to cope and adapt?

I thought we'd be a lot further along than we are.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tired. Happy. Spent.

Next word in the sequence? Moved.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Days Until Closing

The day we've been waiting for has finally arrived! I woke up this morning in a complete fog and my first thought was, "Do we move today?" So much time and energy has been spent on getting ready for the moving part of the process, we haven't thought much about the making-it-legal-and-official-plus-getting-the-keys part of the process. Middle Sister called and left me a voice mail this morning that included lovely sentiments and a bizarre little ditty that she sang to help us celebrate. She's driving into town this evening to help. Yay!

With everything that's happened in the last two weeks, only some of which I've written about, it was really easy to push the home purchase to the back of our minds. Now that we're through the worst of it, I woke up this morning feeling overwhelmed but also incredibly excited.

Quaker Blessing:

Receive Ye Welcome
In a Quaker home, author unknown

LET the guest sojourning here know that in this home our life is simple. What we cannot afford we do not offer, but what good cheer we can give...we give gladly.

We make no strife for appearance sake.

Know also, friend, that we live a life of labour, therefore, if at times we separate ourselves from thee, do ye occupy thyself accordingly to thine heart's desire.

We will not defer to thee in opinion or ask thee to defer to us. What thou thinketh ye shall say, if ye wish, without giving offense. What we think, we also say, believing that truth hath many aspects, and that love is large enough to encompass them all.

So, while ye tarry here with us we would have thee enjoy the blessing of a home, health, love and freedom, and we pray that mayst find the final blessing of life.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Days Until Closing

Photo by: Benefit of Hindsight

Did our final walk-through today and everything looks legit!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


My grandpa died last Thursday, July 12th. My parents, sisters, and the Mister and I were all there as he slipped away. We held his hand, praying and singing, as his heartbeat slowed and his breathing became shallow. His passing was beautiful, loving, peaceful, and painful all at the same time. It was such a privilege to be there and know that he wasn't alone; he was with people who loved him.

At his funeral service yesterday the minister told all of us to collect stories about him from the other people who had come to pay their respects. I didn't do this with as much focus as I should have, because I didn't feel like I had the emotional reserves to keep myself together, but I did hear some good tidbits.

Everyone talked about how kind he was. How generous he was. About the twinkle in his eye. He took a second job so my mom and uncle would have some of the "luxuries" like a special gift at Christmas. He was instrumental in getting cabins built for a camp up in the mountains. He drove for Meals on Wheels. He drove a local pastor to and from his doctor's appointments when the pastor's MS got too bad. He did numerous odd jobs around our house, building the fence, constructing steps next to our steep driveway, and fixing anything mom needed taken care of.

All of my friends adored him. People I haven't seen in five or six years still ask about him. Another uncle (related by marriage) remembers traveling through Colorado in the early 70s and staying with Grandma and Grandpa. Their car broke down while they were there, so Grandpa loaned them his beloved baby blue Bronco so they could explore the mountains while their car was being repaired.

We heard a lot about that Bronco. My fondest memories of childhood involve riding in it to go on some grand adventure. He loved to go four-wheeling. He loved towing the trailer on the back and going "camping". My mom's uncle said that he was always confident they could get that trailer through some of the most impossible terrain. Mom remembers several times when Grandma got too nervous and she would get out and walk while Grandpa took that Bronco to its limits. We all loved to hear Grandma squeal his name when we'd go around a corner and see what we were going to attempt next. I think I still have dents in my knee from Grandma's grip.

During the course of his career, Grandpa was a school bus driver, mechanic, and Director of Transportation for the school district. Several of the women who came yesterday were former bus drivers. I was surprised to see so many women and mom said Grandpa found them to be better drivers. He especially liked to hire farmer's wives because they were familiar with heavy equipment and knew how to handle the buses. He took pride in his work.

When I married my husband I think I also married, in some ways, my grandpa. They have similar personalities. Their walk is identical. They are strict about attention to detail and doing things right. They think before they speak.

He golfed. He fished. He walked every day until the Parkinsons took that away. He climbed Mt. St. Helens when he was almost 70 years old. He loved pecan sticky buns, Dairy Queen, and Jim Beam. He loved me.

I miss my Gamba.

Days Until Closing

Photo by: badjonni

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Days Until Closing

Photo by: Scott Foy

The mortgage guy called today and we've been cleared to close! Friday at 4:00, baby!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007

Monday, July 9, 2007

Such a Romantic

Me: Do you realize that our three-year anniversary is right around the corner? I wonder what you're supposed to buy for the three-year?

the Mister: It's the Year of the Flat Screen TV.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Pretty Green Paint

Thinking hard about painting the living room--a fresh, light green color would be nice. However, with my history of migraines I'd like to find a brand that is "low odor" and nontoxic. Looks like Sherwin-Williams will be our best bet. This is a good list, but what strikes me as odd is that some of the major brands aren't represented: Behr and Glidden both coming to mind. Hmmm...

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Holy Rollers

Seen on a white Lexus: THXLORD

Seen on a beige Lexus: PRASGOD

I wasn't aware that God was handing out luxury sedans! How did I miss that Gospel lesson? I can't even articulate all of the ways those vanity plates tick me off.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Chili Mac, I Curse Thee

I would just like to eat one meal, ONE MEAL, where I do not spill goo on my shirt. I have officially become my mother.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Just Finished

Stayed up too late last night to finish The Memory Keeper's Daughter. My goal is to read 52 books by December 31st--I was inspired by my cousin's goal to read 100. So far I'm pretty far behind schedule because the most intriguing books right now are the ones that are loooooonnnnnnnggg.

I enjoyed this book, there are some unexpected twists, but I don't think I'll read it again. Hey, I have an idea! Maybe I'll send it to my she can fall behind on her reading goal, too!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Inspiration from Pottery Barn

I think I like the idea of this room better than I like the room itself. On first glance it's very attractive, calm, clean, etc. When I think about having that room in my house, however, it quickly becomes unrealistic. First, I hate wicker. Hate it. Second, there's not a lot of color, so while the neutrals are nice and universally appealing, it really doesn't reflect our tastes. Third, I could never be that tidy. Where is the unfinished book hanging over the arm of the chair? The unopened mail on the coffee table? The pair of shoes that were discarded after work? Lovely in theory, impractical in practice.

More on Xeriscaping

Sunset magazine has a good article on conserving water during the summer whilst maintaining a lush garden.

Flowers to Plant

I have several lists in the back of my planner: restaurants I want to try, books I want to read, etc. Now I have a list of flowers/herbs I want to plant in our new back yard!
  • echinacea
  • Shasta daisies
  • gladiolus
  • peonies
  • dahlias
  • hollyhocks
  • day lilies
  • chocolate daisies
  • basil
  • rosemary
Now I just need to find out how many of these are drought tolerant and appropriate for quasi-xeriscaping. We want to keep our water usage low but still have an attractive yard.

Friday, June 22, 2007

And lightness has a call that's hard to hear

The Mister and I went to Boulder to see Indigo Girls (opening act: Brandy Carlile) last night at the Chautauqua. I've been a fan since college and many of the songs transported me back to some of the best times with my favorite people. However, some of the sweetest times were when I was by myself--in particular, a memorable sunset as I'm driving my Ford Escort home for the weekend, over the Broadway Bridge to the sounds of "Galileo" and "Chickenman". It was during the college years, after I broke up with my high school sweetheart and especially after I bought my first car, that I really started to appreciate time by myself.

During my single years I started to resent all of the time alone. Although I lived in a chaotic environment with lots of activity, it still felt like I spent an inordinate time talking to myself instead of having real conversations. I developed some very close friendships during that time, but you can only go out so many nights a week. Eventually your bank account and your pillow will object.

Now I’m married and trying to find the right balance. The Mister’s job has always provided plenty of alone time—he works a lot of evenings and weekends and I’m a 7:30 to 4 kind of gal. That job is changing in the middle of August, and he’ll be home a lot more. I’m giddy as a schoolgirl over this development because it has been a long time overdue, but I also wonder…What will this mean for the marriage? I know we’ll get along just fine, but how long will it take us to find equilibrium? Will he respect the fact that I watch House Hunters every night at 5:30 and there will be no argument about that? Will he understand that some nights Cheerios are the best kind of dinner? Will there be adequate time to read and write in my journal? I guess we’ll work through that in August.

In the meantime, I think I’ll get in the car and drive with “Power of Two” cranked up as loud as I can stand it. Maybe even conjure up a good sunset.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


My folks have a small assortment of animals on their property just outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming. About a month ago they had to put the dog down as she was very old and starting to suffer. Last weekend they had to put one of the goats down as he was sick and not going to recover. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I love dogs and goats, so it's been a rough month. My tribute to Little the Goat*:
Fortunately, Mom and Dad still have Big* (the other goat) and the llama, Molly Mocha.

I'm still trying to figure out how to steal one of those cute baby goats from the petting zoo at the Stock Show in January. I'm willing to create the distraction, I just need someone to put the goat under their shirt and run. The Mister wants nothing to do with this plan, and that makes me sad. He has no sense of adventure.

* I take no responsibility for these names. My sister named them and she's lost all naming rights for eternity as a result. The llama came with her name, so there was no arguing about that.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Designs & Dreams

Obsessing over paint color for the living room. Imagining a beautiful chandelier over the dining room table. Picturing the sheers I want to sew for the bedroom (must learn to sew first). Drooling over throw pillows.

The home inspection went beautifully this morning, and I find that it has just taken my daydreaming to a whole new level. I will be completely non-functioning by the time the closing date rolls around!

Monday, June 18, 2007

We have a contract on a house!

Bliss. Just have to pass the home inspection on Wednesday and sign lots of paperwork and spend oodles of money and obsess some more over paint chips and mentally arrange our furniture and figure out what plants are growing in the backyard and.... Look! Isn't it cute?!?

Absolute bliss.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Elephants on Parade

I just returned from a conference in Omaha. Not much to say about that, except that the first day I was there I went to shut the drapes in the hotel room to change clothes for the evening festivities, looked out the window out of habit, and saw elephants! Our hotel was next to the city’s event center and the circus was moving their animals. The police had an escort for the 12 elephants that had to be moved. I was completely entranced—what a great welcome to the town!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

I live with an internal processor

And I’m OK with that. It’s taken some getting used to, but I also think it’s made me a better person. I listen more intently, for one thing. He doesn’t process everything out loud (like I do) so when he does say something it’s already thought-out and ready. Because he doesn’t talk very much (unlike me), when he does say something people are more likely to listen. Early on in our dating relationship I realized that if the Mister says something more than once, it’s really important to him. He’s subtle like that, so I have to pay attention to know what’s going on inside his head.

Me? If something’s really important to me I’ll say it more than ten times. With jumping up and down. And many exclamation points!!!!!! Just so people know it’s important.

You can see where it might cause some confusion.

Monday, June 4, 2007

He only calls me "Woman" when he's disgusted

the Mister: (incoherent singing, mumbling)
Me: Whatcha singing?
the Mister: "Purple Haze"
Me: I don't know that one.
the Mister: It's by Jimi Hendrix!
Me: That's why I don't like it. I hate Jimi!
the Mister: Woman, I'm not so sure we have a future together...

Moments later...

Me: I don't like Bob Marley, either.
the Mister: (grumbling, disgust, more grumbling)...sigh...

Thursday, May 31, 2007

At least they put some in savings

Fiscally responsible thieves.

Real Estate Envy

This disease hit me hard today. For the most part I'm pretty content with the search parameters that we have: price, location, etc. I also know that if we don't find something we love this summer we can rent for another year and try again next summer. However, every once in a while the bug bites and I start looking at homes that are at least $100,000 more than we can afford. Why do I do this? Suddenly all contentment disappears and is replaced with nasty little whispers like, "If I had a different job and made more money....if the Mister wasn't planning on going to school this fall..."

What I should be saying over and over again is, "At least we don't live in LA/New York/San Francisco!" Or, "We have what we need (and then some) and we will continue to live within our means." We are abundantly blessed, and the reality is that the price bracket we are looking in will produce a house that we like. Living within our means and allowing the Mister to go to school are higher priorities than wood floors and trendy neighborhoods. If we don't find it this year? There's always next year.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Dear Seller of the Cute Victorian,

How are you going to sell a house that has a toilet that was installed on the landing of the stairs to the basement? How have you lived with that for two years? There is no sink, no shower, no DOOR. The toilet is just off the dining room. In a stairwell. Convenient? I suppose. Bizarre? Definitely.

Dear Seller of the White House in West Denver,

Your house smells like stinky standing water. The floor is buckled and squishes when you step on it. People who walk into the house think it's gross. The kitchen is horrendous. The gutters had weeds growing in them--the realtor said he'd never seen that before. All that for the low, low price of $225,000!

Dear Seller of the Rowhouse in West Denver,

I'm kind of wishing now that we'd put an offer in. Now that I've seen what we can afford, your little bundle of cuteness is looking better than ever. Not that I'm wishing bad things for you, but I'm kind of hoping the contract falls through and we can have another shot at it.

With Kind Regards,


House Hunters

The Mister and I are looking to buy a house. One that is cute, has a little bit more space than we have in our apartment, and doesn’t cost too much. Ridiculous expectations, I know. As an obsessive watcher of House Hunters, I thought that I was prepared to jump into this search, and on most levels I am ready. My love of research and obsessive pigheadedness has finally paid off. What I wasn’t prepared for? The emotional “issues” that come up when looking at real estate. The Mister and I are having complex discussions about our values and priorities. How much does location matter? Our friends live in one part of town, I work in another part. Do we want to live close to friends or close to work? What does “quality of life” look like to us? There is always going to be a trade-off between size and location. The closer you get to the city the smaller the house you can buy with the same dollars. Do we want to buy a house that’s family-friendly now? Do we want to buy a starter home and downsize in the short-term so we can buy bigger when we do have a family (and live closer to the city? City = fun)? Once again, marriage has taken me by surprise, and I’m grateful. The conversations we’ve had in the last few weeks have clarified our values, and I think it’s made us stronger.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Weekend in Review

In a word? Heavenly. Reading, scribbling, cooking, walking, hanging out with friends around the BBQ, working on music with the Mister. Exactly the kind of weekend I've been needing for a while. Finished the Tony Bourdain book (so good!) and read Astrid and Veronika. Sweet, gentle, satisfying, and yet still leaves you twisting a little bit in the end. I felt drawn to this author because it was her first novel. A sample:

"'My life now consists of fragments', she said, 'where some are so blinding in their intensity that they make everything else indistinguishable. What shall I do with these glittering shards? There is no pattern: I can't make them fit. With each other, or with the whole that should be my life. It feels as if my existence was extinguished in a flash, and afterwards my universe became incomprehensible. Just shards and particles, which I carry with me where I go. They are sharp and they still hurt to touch. And they are so heavy.'" (p. 76)

Tonight we made lovely stuffed artichokes. The recipe is here. I'm not a fan of the Everday Italian TV show (the teeth! the cleavage! the teeth again, but with extra enthusiasm!) but some of the recipes are good. Anything that requires more than 6-8 core ingredients (not including spices, stock, etc.) is not going to get made very often in this household. This recipe looks elegant but doesn't require a lot of effort.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

We shan't speak of it

Things I’m not supposed to do anymore because there was “an incident”:*

  • Deep fry anything.
  • Roller blade.
  • Wear blue eye shadow.
  • Arm wrestle with my sisters.
  • Feed the dog peanut butter.
  • Confront a drunken man who is urinating in the bushes outside of our apartment. Yelling, “It’s too small to be offensive!” when he gets agitated.
  • Return to the Hult Center in Eugene. Who knew that it was possible to fall up the stairs and have your skirt flip over your head? In a very crowded atrium? During the intermission when it’s packed full of people? The scars are still very deep, and I can’t ever listen to the soundtrack of “The Music Man”. I didn’t like that musical very much, anyway.
  • Open any database that the Mister has spent any time building. Ever. Apparently I’m not very good at building databases but I’m incredibly gifted at deleting them.
  • Confront the man who is sipping on his beer as he drives by our table at the Dairy Queen and yelling, “Thanks for drinking and driving!” into his open window. **
  • Drinking more than two margaritas at the Rio in Steamboat Springs. I’m a giggler. Hee, hee, hee!
  • Singing in the shower before 7 AM. I hear that it's hurtful.

* Mostly it’s my mother who has banned me from these activities. However, the Mister, my sisters, and several of my friends have also weighed in on this list. Everyone’s got an opinion these days!

** Apparently I do a lot of confronting. Who knew?!? I like to think I’m pretty mild-mannered, but certain behaviors do get me riled up.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I know why you're single

A close friend of mine has been doing the eHarmony dance for several weeks now. She’s an amazing woman and I’m so sad that she hasn’t met and married a great man, because she has a ridiculously funny, thoughtful, and loving outlook on life. This week she forwarded an e-mail to me that she’d received from a man she’d been communicating with through the website. She was frustrated because he’d made an awkward and juvenile sexual comment in response to a semi-serious question she’d posed. As we were talking about it I noted that I have so many amazing women friends in my life who really want to be married and haven’t found the right man. They’re frustrated, discouraged, tired and fighting off a raging case of “cynical” every day. The men I know who are single? I have no doubt in my mind why they’re single.

For the edification of the single, late-30s crowd, I present “Beulah’s Tell-Tale Signs For Single Men That Probably You’ll Never Get Married If You Don’t Figure These Out Already”. A lengthy title, I know, but I didn’t want to downplay the importance of this list.

  • Operating in a world not of this one. It’s a cliché for a reason: they’re badly dressed and slovenly, but still expect that Claudia Schiffer is going to be the woman they end up with. Take a shower every once in a while. Repeat after me, “The foul and unwashed stay single forever…The foul and unwashed stay single forever…The foul…”
  • Can’t read the basic social cues. My friend identified herself as a Christian on her profile. While I admire his attempt to avoid jumping to conclusions about her based on that label, she put it on her profile so he would jump to a few conclusions about her based on that label! The topic of pre-marital sex is (to many) Christians an important relationship milestone that you don’t open with a crass one-liner from a Chris Farley movie.
  • Not making an effort. Flowers and chocolate are always nice and are easy to pick up at Safeway on the way to someone’s house, and very few women are going to turn that down. But the best gift I ever received? The cables that I needed to connect my laptop to my stereo that I’d mentioned as an aside in a conversation with my boyfriend the week before. It meant that he had listened, and looked at my stereo to see what length cables I would need, and then he went to Circuit City and bought the cables. As I unwrapped the gift (He even wrapped! With paper and tape and a RIBBON!) I distinctly remembered thinking, “This man is definitely a keeper.”
  • The Peter Pan syndrome. This well-documented disease is easy to diagnose but hard to treat. “Friends with benefits” is no longer an option, because women in their thirties are over that drama and want a MAN. A Man who will be there when life goes in the crapper. A Man who will fold the laundry and load the dishwasher without making a federal case about it or (worse!) feel they’re doing you a huge favor. A Man who can manage their finances and think about purchasing real estate (if they haven’t already bought a house) and maybe even having babies without breaking into a cold sweat and whimpering like a newborn puppy.

My hope is that the amazing single women I know will continue to stay connected to their belief that being single is still better than settling…and we all know a woman who did and we feel sorry for her. She’s the girlfriend that can’t leave her husband home alone with the kids, the girlfriend that can’t schedule anything on Friday or Saturday nights because “he” might want to do something, the girlfriend who manages the finances because “he” can’t be trusted to remember to pay the bills.

A post for another day? Women in their late 30s who dress like they’re in late puberty. Women who are so desperate to get married they say and do whatever it takes to get to the altar. Women who create drama for the sake of creating drama.