Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Sprucing We Will Go

WOW! What an incredibly busy, busy weekend we had! It flew by so quickly it's hard to believe we had an extra day tucked in there. However, we were so, so busy that I think we're actually glad that it finally came to an end. We can go back to work and just, well, work - not WORK!

Remember that list I told you about? We've been able to work our way through about one third of the items on the list. WHEW! If we could have done so literally, I'm sure you'd have seen smoke coming from both of us! Here are a few samples of some things we accomlished over the nice long holiday weekend.

I found these fun wall clings out shopping one day. I thought they'd add a fun touch to our home. They're fairly easy to apply - though the first one was a bit of a bugger. Here's the dining room's "before" version:
And the "after" version:
And a sweet one for the bedroom. I hope you and your spouse live by this practice as well...
A beautiful new rug for under the dining room table. I just love the colors! They're perfect for our home!
My new "craft desk" in the garden room. Isn't it adorable? I found it at my favorite thrift store about 6 months ago. It's been stored away in the cellar until it's new home was ready for it. I found the cute little vintage linen topper on the desk at the Goodwill about a month or so ago. The colors are just perfect for my garden room! I'm going to recover the little stool just as soon as I find some suitable fabric. I'm hoping for something vintage that blends with the topper. Wish me luck!
While I was working in the garden room, I created this new little vignette in the corner. I just love it.
We also did some work out in the garden. Whew! I've been very neglectful of this area and it sure reminded us of that this weekend. I've decided to work on one small area at a time. This weekend we planted two iceberg roses, 4 hydrangeas, 2 impatiens, 4 pots of white alyssum, a culinary herb garden consisting of sweet basil, rosemary, tarragon, lemon thyme, garlic chives, Italian parsley and peppermint. I also re-potted my plumeria, which seems to be thriving in spite of me. See what I mean -- busy, busy bees! We also bought new cushions for the glider, an adorable green goose (again, from my favorite thrift store), and Kevin got a new toy...a new BBQ! It's a nice one - we tested it out over the weekend with hotdogs (for the Dodger game Saturday night) and steaks (for dinner on Sunday with Vicky). It's a wonderful BBQ that we'll enjoy for many years to come. Here are some photos:

And one final picture: Sweet Slippers in her garden. She just loves it when we're all out playing in the dirt.
One third down, two thirds still to go! Wish us luck!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sweet Baby Girl

Shortly after Kevin and I were married, I had one of the most difficult days of my life. We were married in August and by December, we had to put down my angel dog of 12 years, Hobbes. He had congestive heart failure and no matter how many different medications we tried, none of them seemed to work. They all did for a while; when one stopped working, we'd try another ... and then, none of them worked at all.

I can't tell you how devastating it was to have to have him put down. I was depressed and cried for hours on end. He was such a good boy - and stayed with me through many of lifes ups and downs. I was so blessed to have him in my life - and when he was gone, I missed him terribly. I still do.

One Sunday after Hobbes was gone, I went into the living room and gave Kevin 'the pouty face'. He asked if I wanted to 'go play with puppies', and I, sad faced, nodded yes.

We went to the Pasadena Humane Society and found her. She was lying, belly up, in a cage with a young shelter volunteer scratching her belly. She looked up at us with eager brown eyes and Kevin swears she uttered the words 'this could be you'. We took her out in the yard and played with her to see how we'd all get along. From the start it was a match made in Heaven. When we went in to talk to the adoption counselor, she read the intake report. The final summation: sweet baby girl.

And that's exactly what she is. The name stuck -- we both refer to her often as 'Sweet Baby Girl'. She looks up innocently with those big brown eyes and wags her tail ever so slightly. She knew she had us from the word go.

This past weekend, Sweet Baby Girl (aka, Slippers) got her 'summer 'do'. I'm not sure who loves it more - Kevin and I or Slippers. From her perspective, she's got to be cooler and more comfortable without all that hair! From our perspective, we just love the fuzziness of her newly shorn coat! From any perspective, she's an adorable, albeit spoiled, sweet baby girl. What do you think of her new 'do'?Sleeping Angel

Listening to the early morning sounds in the neighborhood...

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Yo-Yo That is House-Hunting

You may have wondered how the house-hunt was coming along. Well here's the answer: it's not.


After careful consideration, many honest conversations, and numerous budget worksheets that have been worked and re-worked, we've come to the decision that we are not ready to buy a house. Yet. I know that there are some who will argue that this IS a good time to buy a house, but there's a flip side to that. Yes, housing prices have been coming down. Yes, interest rates are at their lowest since...well, sliced bread. However, the flip side of the argument is that we live in California. Southern California to be exact. I daresay that, save for perhaps New York City, this is the only place in the country where $40,000.00 down on a house is a mere pittance. It's also probably the only place in the country (or darn close to it!) in which a $400,000.00 house is a 'fixer-upper'. And that is being kind. Some of the houses we've seen in that price range are really more like 'are you KIDDING??'. Besides that, over and above the down payment, the monthly mortgage/interest/property taxes/homeowners insurance/PMI would be triple what we are paying now. TRIPLE. Ahhhhh, yes, the joys of living in Southern California!

That said, we're both surprisingly happy about our decision to postpone buying a house and stay put. One of the reasons we felt compelled to buy NOW, is the situation with the landlord and his being behind on his mortgage. However, now that he's re-negotiated his loan and has no plans to sell the house (I know this because I just came out and asked him...), we have no reason to rush into the purchase of a house. We decided that we would much rather stay where we're at for as long as we can and just keep stashing our money in the bank. Afterall, even with it's faults (and there are plenty), the house is cozy and very charming, we have it fixed up the way we want it, and the rent is ridiculously low (well, for our area. Say it with me: Ahhhhh, yes, the joys of living in Southern California!). We just don't feel that it's worth it to strap ourselves and perhaps end up in a messy situation -- like so many are experiencing with their homes during this crazy economic situation we're all living through at the moment.

So - there you have it. What this means for us (in addition to being able to set aside more money) is this: it's time to relax, enjoy and ... get back to work on the business of making THIS house our home! To that end, I've got a wonderful, very detailed, room-by-room list of things we can (and will) accomplish over the upcoming summer months. A new faucet here, a new picture there. Here a sprucing, there a sprucing, everywhere a sprucing, sprucing!

(...and yes, Kevin has read the list - is it possible to grimmace and smile at the same time?!)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Today at Casa de Weir we held our annual Mother's Day brunch out on the front lawn. Though it started out a bit iffy - a little cool with some clouds - just as we began to fill our plates and sit down at the table, the sun broke through the clouds and it turned out to be a really nice day!

Kevin and I began this celebration to honor the moms in our family eight years ago. It's a tradition that we all look forward to and enjoy. Our moms and Deb always enjoy and appreciate all of the attention, and Kevin and I have a fun time putting everything all together. Here we are - all the girls (notice that, even Slippers got in on this one!)
This year's theme was a fun brightly colored floral/butterfly theme. Lots of pinks and oranges, blues and greens. Everything looked so festive! I found all of the decorations (believe it or not!) at the 99 Cents Only store - aren't these cute??
I also fell in love with these beautiful roses the minute I laid eyes on them. I thought they'd be perfect in the vintage white pottery rose bowls that we used as centerpieces at our wedding.
Food? Oh, there was no shortage of that. Afterall, we all know how Drew and Pat love their breakfast! They were genernous enough to share with the rest of us, though. On the menu: egg casserole with sauteed onions, pancetta and four Italian cheeses, egg casserole with sauteed onions, mushrooms and fresh spinach and a cheddar blend, croissants, fresh fruit, sausage, applewood smoked bacon, red potatoes and onions, buttermilk pancakes with maple or berry syrup, orange juice, champagne and coffee. Mmmmm...it was delicious!
(check out that cute little vintage-y tablecloth; isn't it adorable? I found it at my favorite thrift store ... of course! Here's another picture of it:)
In addition to the beautiful orchid corsages all the ladies are wearing, we also gave them these necklaces: Aren't they fun?! We made them -- or rather, I made them, but I couldn't have done it without Kevin cheering me on =)

It was another wonderful Mother's Day celebration. To our moms: We love you very much and thank you for everything you do for us! Deb, you're not our mom...but we love you, too!!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Don't Play With Your Food!

So ... it's blistering hot outside, it's Friday night and, having had a very busy week Kevin and I are both juuuust a wee bit punchy.

We sit down to dinner, sharing a cool and refreshing Chinese chicken salad. YUM! Just as I pick up a piece of chicken and start to take a bite, it hits me ... this piece of chicken is staring back at me! I said to Kevin 'look at this piece of chicken!' and we both began laughing hysterically. Kevin runs in to get the camera and, well, see for yourself: I swear, we did not engineer this craziness - it just happened. I told Kevin we should sell it on eBay, but, nah, the chicken was too yummy to pass up.

I don't know. Maybe it's the heat, or the fact that we're tired or ... maybe just because we're a bit off center, but every time we look at this photo, we crack up. (Oh yeah, ask Kevin to imitate this face for you the next time you see him; he does a great job! Go ahead, ask me how I know...)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Should Work Really Be THIS Fun? (...or Coffee, Tea, or 7-Layer Bean Dip?)

Though I had some concerns about starting our new school year this past fall, I can honestly say that, as the year has progressed, it's clear that my fears were unfounded.

What were my concerns? For starters we have a new principal this year. And yes, it's true I was on the committee that chose him, but you just never know -- sometimes people aren't always what they seem. This, however, is not true of Jeff. He really is a 'what you see is what you get' kinda guy. He's absolutely wonderful we love him, and we feel so lucky to have him as our principal. To top it off, he's just crazy enough to fit in perfectly with our staff. What do I mean when I say our staff is crazy and he fits right in? Here's a little snippet of day to day life at FA:

For the past six years during state testing, we've put together a 'snack cart' for the staff. The cart contains various goodies - fruit, granola bars, small packages of peanuts, baked goods, etc. And coffee. Always coffee. While students are testing, the cart gets wheeled from room to room. At that point the teacher can step out, select a goodie and some coffee and the person pushing the cart can give the teacher a brief break to go to the restroom. I can't exactly remember how this practice began, but it's one that's enjoyed by everyone, and really, it's just a little morale booster. Who couldn't use one of those, right?

Several weeks before testing began I mentioned our 'snack cart' practice to Jeff. He was incredulous that we do this, but was good natured enough to go along with it. Our schedule is set up so that we test each morning for 6 days; all testing is finished by breaktime and we resume our regular schedule for the rest of the day. The first day we had the cart, as I set it up, Jeff gave it a look of disdain. However, as he walked past the cart, he couldn't pass up helping himself to a package of cheese and crackers. A bit later, he enjoyed a cup of coffee. Shortly after that, he indulged in a package of peanuts. Before he went out to supervise students at breaktime, he grabbed a granola bar. Huh. Guess he's re-thinking the snack cart issue.

The next afternoon as he was dashing out for a meeting on campus, he looked sheepishly at me and said 'can I take the licorice to the meeting?' Of course! ...but next year, I don't want to hear anything about the snack cart! We both laughed.

This pretty much continued every day we had testing. We had the same 'basics' on the cart each day, but typically a staff member would also have made something to put on the cart and share with the staff. One day it was an egg casserole, another day - you guessed it - 7 layer bean dip. Why? Because we have a teacher who once a week will walk into the faculty lounge and proclaim "What, no 7-layer bean dip?" Hence, the 7-layer bean dip.

On our final day of testing, the coffee place up the street that had been filling our cambro with coffee, met with catastrophe; their coffee machine broke down and, horrors!, there was no coffee. I sent a message to the staff letting them know that we were ending testing on a low note; due to circumstances beyond our control, there would be no coffee. Jeff (aka Mr. Snack-Cart-Poo-Poo'er) didn't want to disappoint everyone, so he began making pot after pot of coffee in the office until the cambro was filled with coffee. I sent a message out to the staff letting them know that, because our fearless leader does indeed love us, there would be coffee. Here's a sample of the responses that followed:

Me: “Just wanted to let you all know that Jeff is up here brewing coffee, so there WILL be coffee on the snack cart. Can you feel the love???”

MG: “Tell him the doughnut machine is broken, too.”

JR: “I knew there had to be a reason we hired the guy.”

MZ: “Let's taste the coffee first before we go and make rash judgements!!”

DP: “Exactly. If the coffee gives us a rash, then Jeff is fired.”

PR: “Cheeeeeez! The things people do around here just to get a good cup of coffee!!!”

See what I mean? Now don't you wish you worked here?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Yesterday we had an early celebration for mom's birthday. Mom and dad, Deb, Bill and the boys and Kevin and I all met at Mimi's Cafe for breakfast. We had a fun morning and all enjoyed a yummy breakfast.

Mom's been working on sprucing up the house with some new decorations. She's made pillows and re-worked a floral wreath - all with a bird theme. I thought I'd continue that theme when creating her birthday gift. It turned out really cute! It was fun to gather all of the goodies to create it, it was fun to make, and best of all - mom loved it! Here's a picture of it: Since I completed it, I've had it sitting on the table out in our garden room. Now that we've given it to mom, our table is looking a little bare. Hmmm ... guess I'm going to have to get busy and create another one for us!

Happy birthday, mom. We hope your day is a special as you are!

Friday, May 01, 2009


A couple of months ago I reconnected with some friends from high school whom I've not seen in years. Emails flew back and forth between us and a get-together was planned.

That get-together took place this past Wednesday night. What fun we had! It was so good to get back together and catch up with each others' lives and reminisce a little about the past. Boy, it's been a long time! (no, I'm not telling you how long it's been!) But, as Lisa said the other night, it's like we never missed a beat. It was so natural to be together, we chatted and giggled like we'd seen each other every day since high school. It was wonderful!

At the end of the evening, we vowed to make these get-togethers a regular event. We'll even include our husbands from time to time.

Karen, Lisa, Blanca and Leslie: it was great to see all of you again. You all looked great!

Barbie and Trini: we missed you and are anxious to catch up with you both at our next get-together!