Archive for September, 2009

Do you ever feel like writing but just can’t form a cohesive thought worthy of putting on paper (or Internet, as the case may be)?

Yeah. Me too. So here’s my stream of consciousness…

Fall is officially here and I’m both excited and also completely unwilling to accept that summer is over. I think what I hate most is the fact that the days are getting shorter. I can no longer go to my outdoor running trail because by the time I get there, I have less than half an hour to run it before it gets dark. And seeing as how it takes me more than 45 mintues to do this trail, I’ve had to start running at the gym instead. And I hate it.

Work is good. For about six weeks, I was stressed the eff out. And it showed, which is never a good thing. So I took a step back, took the proverbial chill pill, and basically just told myself to suck it up. Everyone’s stressed, everyone’s busy, get over it. So I did. And I’ve felt much better ever since, even though I’m still ridiculously busy.

And now for some photos.


My dining room has a “wine” theme to it so my grandma painted this using watercolors and surprised me with it. She had it professionally matted too. Here it is, proudly displayed in my dining room.


Also new in this picture: the coat rack, which is really more of a purse and key rack right now. And my new fall table cloth, which looks much better in person than it does in this photo. I’m especially fond of the texture:


The table actually looks better naked (see below), but when it’s just us, we put a tablecloth on it because repeated tossing of keys and things onto the table will leave scratches.


This was taken a few weeks ago during the birthday celebration weekend (notice the presents in the corner. And the very bored dog in the foreground). Next up on my home improvement list? Wood blinds. So I may continue my avoidance of curtains.

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Excited for…

San Francisco – We already booked our hotel for the days we’re in the city but we’re still deciding which luxurious resort to stay in while we’re visiting Napa and Sonoma.

The Biggest Loser – Watched the season premiere on Tuesday and I can already tell this is going to be another great season. I heart Jillian Michaels.

Fall – Though I’ve been in denial these last few weeks that summer has come to an end, I’m excited for chili cookoffs, home-baked apple pie, sweatshirts, falling leaves, fall decorating, cute jackets and boots, pumpkins, pumpkin pie, pumpkin beer, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie blizzards from DQ…I REALLY like pumpkins. I already have my autumn door hanger up.


Halloween – We REALLY get into the holiday. I’ve waited my whole life to live in a house where kids actually come by and trick or treat. Our house has been the first house where I’ve ever been able to hand out candy to all the little kids. What’s even better is that Halloween is on a Saturday this year so I’ll have the entire day to get ready and I won’t be rushing home after work to change into costume while trying to answer the door. The kids in my neighborhood start EARLY. Then, at around 9 or 10, we’ll walk across the street to our neighbor’s house and party through the night around the firepits (yes, that’s plural. As in SIX firepits in one driveway.) The theme this year is “Wild West” so I should probably start thinking about my costume now.

U-verse – We can FINALLY get U-verse in my neighborhood. Hopefully I’ll have it in my home before Thanksgiving.

5K – I’m participating in my first 5K in October and though I’m excited, I’m also a little nervous. Hopefully the weather is nice this weekend so I can continue my training outdoors.  

What are you excited for right now?

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I was on the phone with my grandpa on Friday when I pulled into the driveaway.

“So tell me about the new neighbors,” he said.

“I don’t know! They closed today and I’m pulling in right now. I see a car. And the yard looks empty which means no dog, so that’s good.”

And then the barking.


“What’s that noise? Is that barking?” grandpa asked.

“Yeah. I spoke too soon. They have a dog.”

Then a guy in his late 20’s stepped out in his camo military uniform. For some reason, I instantly felt better. I like almost anyone wearing US military uniform. I told my grandpa there’s a guy in camo standing there and quickly got off the phone. I let my dog out into the yard and of course, much more barking ensued. Great. But we introduced ourselves and I asked him a million and one questions about where he moved from, what he does for a living, if he has any kids, etc. About 15 minutes later, his girlfriend showed up and she looks to be about my age. She works in marketing (same as me) and I was so excited at the prospect of possible new friends as neighbors that I nearly jumped over the fence and tackled them both in a great big bear hug. Here I was, assuming the worst, and now we might have new friends!

They won’t be all moved in and settled for another couple of weeks they said, but I’m already cleaning my house and planning nights around our firepit, which we’ve refrained from using too much because the old neighbors had itty bitty kids that we didn’t want to disturb. 

Hooray for non-sucky neighbors!

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We have neighbors all around us – next door on both sides, across the street, and behind us. The neighbors directly behind us (their backyard meets our backyard) finally sold their house after having it on the market for about a year. Closing day is Friday and I have to admit, I’m a little nervous about the new neighbors.

The current neighbors were great. We never talked much, just a polite wave here and there. They both went to the same college as me, but were just a few years older. I’m not sure why we never really became friends. It probably had to do with the two kids under 4. I don’t know where they worked and I can’t even remember their names at the moment, so that just tells you how much we talked. When we moved in, the wife was pregnant with their first baby. Just as the little boy began to walk, they had another baby – a baby girl. Last week I watched them swinging together on their little swingset and thought “wow, they grow fast!” I think I might miss seeing them out there, playing together as a happy little family.

The only name I do remember however is Oliver. Oliver is their poodle-mix dog and when we first moved in, Oliver was not a fan of us. He barked ALL THE TIME. That lasted a few weeks and then he got used to us. Then we got a dog and Oliver barked some more, but again, he eventually got used to Champ and they became pals, chasing each other up and down the fence line. I think Champ will miss Oliver. Still, I hope the new neighbors don’t have a dog. I already have one neighbor with a dog I can’t stand and I really don’t need another. I also hope our new neighbors take care of their yard. Otherwise I think I see a privacy fence in our future. Or a “For Sale” sign in our front yard.

And of course, that got me thinking. When ARE we going to move? When we bought our house, we figured we’d live there for at least 2 years but probably no more than 5. Well, it’s been 3.5 years now and I think we’re both feeling “the itch” for something new. A change in scenery. Maybe it’s the change in seasons coupled with the neighbors moving that has us feeling this way, but whatever the reason, it’s hard to ignore. We’re so accustomed to things moving at rapid pace in our lives. In just five years since we met, we moved in together, bought new cars, got engaged, bought a house, got married, got a dog… and that was really all in the first 3 years. These last two years have largely been dedicated to vacations and paying off debt. In short, they’ve been kind of…boring. Not that there’s anything wrong with boring! And 3.5 years in a house really isn’t very long at all. But when you haven’t lived in one place longer than 12 months for the last 10 years of your life, well, it FEELS like a long time.

But the unforseen problem in our master moving plan is something that is completely out of our control: The housing market. We bought before the market tanked and even though it’s slowly getting better, I’m not positive that we would make any sort of profit off of our home if we tried to sell it now. And the one thing I’m NOT willing to do is take a loss. We just can’t afford it. So here we will stay, for now, saving up money for an eventual down payment on our future home.

Any tips for how to overcome the itch for change? Maybe I just need to redecorate.

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On this day five years ago, I met my now-husband on the outdoor basketball court of my (our) apartment complex. He was practicing for an upcoming game, I was lurking as I waited for phone call. I spoke first, beginning a conversation that would last more than half an hour, but continued the next night, and the next night, and well, here we are five years later.

At the risk of repeating myself from last year, I won’t go into the details of how much life has changed since that fateful day five years ago. Life is certainly different, but it’s so much more than that. So much BETTER. I loved the newness of getting to know someone and falling in love, but building a life together as husband and wife has been so much more fulfilling. Maybe that’s why so many people don’t really celebrate their “meet day”, as my husband likes to call it. Or maybe they just don’t remember the date. And yes, he really just sent me an email that said “Happy Meet Day!”

Tonight, our celebration will be pretty low-key. We’ll go out to dinner at one of our favorite places and do a little shopping since neither of us had time to get the other one any sort of gift with all the family in town all weekend. (I’m using this anniversary as an excuse to stock up on more scented candles. Sad, but true.) Maybe we’ll swing by the old basketball court on our way home. It’s been about a year.

As much as I like to think back over the memories of the last five years, I get excited thinking about what the next five years will bring. Does it get any better than this? Is that even possible? I hope so. But even if it doesn’t, I’d still be just as happy with what I’ve got. (Though I do hope that when I write this post next year, my husband has a better job. One that doesn’t require him to travel.)

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One of the things I love most about our families (hubby’s and mine) is just how great they all get along. It’s not often that we’re all together since my in-laws live 8 hours away and my parents live 5 hours away. This weekend has consisted of my in-laws staying at my house and my parents staying at my grandparents’ house just 40 min. down the highway. Saturday night we all went out to dinner (in-laws, my parents, my grandparents and my aunt plus us) at my grandpa’s favorite steak place. It’s always a tad bit embarrassing dining out with someone who uses the phrase “ain’t got none” several times per day (FIL), but my family doesn’t cringe or criticize. Instead, we just sit around gabbing and the conversation is never forced or awkward. Everyone just genuinely LIKES one another. I know it’s not exactly rare for a couple’s families to get along so well, but I just feel like it really could’ve been a hit or miss with ours and I’m so glad it’s been a huge hit. We’re lucky.

Tonight, we had everyone minus my aunt at my house tonight for an early dinner and I can’t express how blessed I felt to have zero family drama in my life. Not only that, but it was wonderful to be able to celebrate three birthdays with everyone together – my grandpa’s, my step-dad’s, and my hubby’s. All September babies. As much as I love being together with family for holidays and special occasions, I love it even more when it’s in my home. I’m not sure why because it’s obviously a lot of work to clean, cook, entertain, and then clean up afterwards, but it always seems worth it. As if my house needs an occasional dose of family warmth and love to fill it and last me through to the next celebration. (Forgive the cheese. I’ve had a couple of beers.) So we ate, we sang happy birthday, we opened presents, and then we finished the night off by playing cards for 3+ hours. Definitely a great night. The only thing that could have made this night any better would have a been a few more winning hands.

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Sharing the Love

I feel like I’ve been quite the Debbie Downer lately. Always bitching and moaning about something. Well today, I’m changing my tune. It probably has less to do with me caring about how I sound on this blog and more to do with the wine, but let’s just go with it, shall we? Mkay.

So HGTV. (Hang on! Don’t leave!) Alright. So I love HGTV. I find it fascinating to watch someone with about 10 times more vision and creativity than me transform a house from a total shit-hole into a palace in just a few weeks. I love those types of shows. What I don’t love is the “My First Place” or whatever the first-time home buyers show is called. Why? Because every freakin’ time the young couple they feature end up house hunting with a budget of oh, a measly $400,000!!! Seriously, HGTV? How is anyone supposed to relate to that? I mean, I know the houses are prettier and more fun to show on TV, but here I am, expecting to watch some cute young couple fall in love with their first house and get ready to begin that lifetime of happily ever after everyone talks about in some quaint little cottage, big enough for two and maybe a baby down the road. But that’s not what I get. I get a couple of whiny ass rich kids that nit pick about the crown molding or the color of the cabinets in the ginormous kitchen with a built in island and marble counter tops. Boo-fucking-hoo. And then when the contract on their first house falls through, I’m supposed to feel all bad for them but instead I feel like using my TV screen as a dart board because no one should be dropping $400K on their very first house unless they’re a trust fund baby or buying a house in the heart of San Francisco. Which they are not.

Wait, did I say I wasn’t going to bitch and moan anymore? Damnit. Sorry.

So instead, I turn to the blogs for inspiration. (They make me feel less…stabby.) And that is the point of this post. To share some cool home improvement/DIY blogs that have inspired me over the last few months. In no particular order:

Brooklyn Limestone– Her latest post features a DIY pet bed which ALMOST makes me want a small animal so I can make this too. But not a cat, because (most) cats are ungrateful creatures that would not appreciate all my hard work. And I hear they will sit on your head if you’re not careful. Gross.

Centsational Girl – I just started reading her but her master shower makeover had me drooling all over my keyboard. And I may or may not have dreamt about taking a shower at her house, no matter how creepy that sounds.

Nesting Place– A lot of the projects she takes on are simple and easy to follow, but they make a HUGE difference to a room. Her latest DIY project involves wreaths which I’m keeping in mind for later this fall when it’s time to break out the fall/holiday decor.

One Project Closer– This is really more of a guy’s blog because it focuses more on home repair and maintenance than it does on home design, but I’ve found several posts to be really relevant and helpful so I’ve emailed one or two to my hubby for extra reading.

She Wasn’t Pretty– Now THIS is the kind of couple HGTV should be filming. They bought a house that wasn’t in the greatest condition but they’re doing some pretty major work to make it feel like “home.” I love their before/after pics and their taste in home decor is pretty similar to my own.

Young House Love– Similar to the blog above, this adorable young couple bought an old house and rehabbed the entire thing – both inside and out – taking on one room at a time. Their photos are amazing and their recent experience with painting their bedroom ceiling had me staring at my own bedroom ceiling last night wondering what color to paint it (answer: None. Because then I’d have to paint the walls and, you guys, I just hung curtains. After 3.5 years in the house. At this rate, I think painting could commence in another 12-18 months, but hopefully by then the market will bounce back and I can SELL! Until then, the walls will stay white. With awesome curtains.)

Enjoy! I hope you like these blogs as much as I do!

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