Monday, February 27, 2012

A Wintry Night

We've had a mild winter to say the least, but today we had a big blast of winter weather to remind us just what season we're in.

Kevin had an umpire meeting tonight so when I came home, I changed into soft, warm clothes and whipped up a huge crockpot-ful of beef bourginon. Tomorrow morning before leaving for work, all I have to do is turn on the pot and let our mouth-watering dinner cook slowly all day long.

Mmmmm....I can almost smell the savory deliciousness right this moment. I can hardly wait!

Cutest, Easiest Craft Ever!

Yesterday I came across something that immediately struck my fancy. I fell so in love with this easy little project that I had to rush right out and get the supplies to make one for myself.

Today when I got home from work, I did just that. It's SO unbelievably simple and adds a dash of color and a touch of whimsy to the kitchen. Not only is it easy, it's also very inexpensive and fast to make - what's not to love?!

Here's a picture - judge for yourself:
Now I ask you, how absolutely adorable is that?! You can follow this tutorial and make one in a flash. Mine is a bit different, but even cuter - well, at least I think so. I couldn't find the correct vase at the dollar store, nor the bowls they suggest, so I headed to our local Wally and found a similar vase, though a bit larger with no flare at the top, and a small clear glass sugar bowl with a lid that fit just perfectly over the top of the vase. Though neither was $1.00, both were very inexpensive - just $2.97 each. I already had a small pedestal candle holder that I could use for the base.

All that was left to do was arrange my crazy big collection of colorful cupcake liners and place them in their new home. Viola! A fun addition to my kitchen that makes me smile every time I look at it!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

To: Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf

Damn you for inventing wallpaper, you masochist!

That is all.

Friday, February 24, 2012

We're Being Followed

Every morning the three of us - Kevin, Slippers and I - go out for a very early morning walk. It's not far, but enough to satisfy a very anxious doggy and make sure her mom and dad are up and awake.

I've always loved this special time that we share. It's a nice hour - the neighborhood is still sleeping and it's very peaceful. Plus the cool air really ensures that I'm awake and ready to fact the day. There are days, though, where either Kevin or I just don't feel like powering through - but Slippers always does, so one stays home to get breakfast ready and make the bed, while the other partakes in the walking ritual.

This morning Kevin took the morning off, and I headed out the door with our girl. We hadn't gotten too far - just a few houses up the block - when I noticed that we were being followed. Though the perpetrator was stealth, I could still feel the presence. Slippers, oblivious to the incident, continued on her merry way, but I kept an eye and ear out to see if I would be able to 'catch' our suspect in the act. Sure enough, a moment or so later, there was no mistake: we were definitely being followed.

The perp? One cute, but very sneaky little tabby cat named Daisy. Yep, that's right, our Daisy; our little "inherrited-I-come-with-the-house-and-I'm-so-cute-you'll-just-fall-in-love-with-me-if-only-you-let-yourself" Daisy. She is so funny! Kevin says she's the most dog-like cat he's ever seen. I figured she'd follow us for a minute or two and then take off, but no, she stayed with us and walked the whole way. She and Slippers are buddies, so they just had a grand time.

It was both adorable and a precious way to start a Friday morning. It was the first, but hopefully not the last time, that Miss Daisy joins us on our morning adventure.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fiiiiiiiix Itttttttt!!!

Let me first say that I love my job! Yes there are days when it's stressful, but overall, it's truly a joy to get up and go to work every day. Knowing that I work at a middle school, you may find yourself questioning the wisdom of this, but trust me - there is much to love about this job.

Though each day is different, the one thing I know I can count on every single day is interesting interactions with our students. Today was no exception.

Just before lunch, one of our students stormed into the office, clearly upset. He stated that someone had 'stolen' his wallet during PE. When I asked him where his wallet was and he told me that he'd left it in his backpack and felt that it was safe sitting outside the lockerroom area because 'there is a yellow line painted around it which means it's a safe zone'. Huh. Apparently, it isn't.

I felt bad that his wallet was missing, BUT, this particular child has an attitude a mile wide - and has since he came to our school two years ago. I began a dialog with this student reminding him that both the Principal an the Assistant Principal have one our school-wide newscast every moring telling students to keep their personal belongings with them, or put it in their PE locker for safekeeping, and asking why he hadn't put his wallet in his locker during his PE class. He completely ignored the implication of responsiblity, told me his locker has never worked and he refuses to talk to his PE teacher about it, and ended the tirade by shouting "I am the victim here!"

Hmmm. I think not. The victim of your own irresponsiblity, perhaps. Just then our Assistant Principal walked into the office and I explained to her what was going on. As I was talking, the student let out a huge whine "Just Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiix Itttttttttttttttttt!!"

Now, I was pretty irritated with this kid, but I couldn't help but stifle a laugh. If you have a middle school kid, know a middle school kid - or let's face it - were a middle school kid, you know that this is absolutely the response you would expect.

Eventually he calmed down, apologized for his behavior and went back to class. We weren't able to "fix it", but his wallet did show up later, so everything turned out just fine.

The interaction just made me smile - not the behavior part, but hey, he's just a kid - but the part about wanting to just shout 'Fiiiiiiiix itttttttt!' and really believe that someone can do just that. If only life were that easy.

...but who knows? Hope springs eternal, right? ;o)

Monday, February 06, 2012

Is this as disturbing to you as it is to me?

Every day on my way to and from work, I pass a pet grooming place. About two months or so ago, we noticed a few 'new additions'. At first I just thought they were ridiculous - which they are. But then I decided they were both ridiculous and disturbing. I'll post a couple of photos in a minute, but first, let me first give you a bit of background info on this particular place.

Eleven years ago, Kevin and I hosted our first annual Mother's Day Brunch. The day before the brunch, Kevin had a game and I was busy running around getting everything ready for our outdoor event the next day. One of the first things I did was drop my precious Hobbes off at a new groomer (can you guess which one?) for a bath and haircut. They seemed pleasant enough when I dropped him off, but as the day went on and I hadn't heard anything from them, I began to get a bit concerned, so I gave them a call. They told me that they were particularly busy that day and that Hobbes wasn't finished yet, but they'd let me know as soon as he was ready. I went on with my other preparations and time flew by. Before I knew it, it was 5:00 p.m. and I still hadn't heard anything from the groomer. Once again I called and was told that they were just running really behind, it would probably be another hour or so. I was perturbed, but waited another hour and still, no call. Just as I was ready to call yet again, the phone rang and it was the groomer. They told me that he still wasn't dry yet, but that I could pick him up at 8:00 p.m. EIGHT P.M?? I'd dropped him off at 9:00 a.m., and this seemed like a ridiculously long time to me.

Something about this situation just didn't seem right to me, so I got in the car and headed over to pick up Hobbes, dry or not. When I walked in the door the guy looked pretty shocked to see me. He told me that Hobbes still wasn't ready yet and I told him that I wanted him right then and there, regardless of whether he felt Hobbes was ready yet. It wasn't until that moment that he began shouting and told me Hobbes had bitten him. I apologized to him and told him that it seemed strange to be because I'd had Hobbes for 12 years and he'd never bitten anyone. He was belligerent and told me that he could sue me for this and as he continued shouting, his assistant brought Hobbes out from the back room. I was so involved in the discussion with the owner that I didn't check Hobbes out as thoroughly as I should have. I noticed that he was pretty lethargic, but thought he was probably just a bit depressed. I paid the bill and off we went.

It wasn't until we got home that I noticed that Hobbes had a HUGE SWOLLEN RED EYE! I immediately called the groomer to find out what had happened. He told me he knew nothing about it, at which point I told him he better find out about it otherwise I'd be stopping payment on the check I'd given him. He put me on hold for quite a while and then came on the line and gave me some cockamamie story about how he'd 'slipped' as they were trying to lift him into the tub for his bath. I told him he was a liar and that I knew he'd hit Hobbes. He never quite admitted it, but eluded to as much. I told him that I was glad Hobbes had bitten him and that I hoped it hurt like hell. He asked me if he had a current rabies vaccine. I know it was mean, but I told him no, and ended the conversation by saying something to the effect of 'if you're foaming at the mouth anytime soon, you'll know why.'

Needless to say, we never went back there again. I think about this incident every time I pass that building. I hear that the man who owned the business sold it recently and there are new owners. I read some online
reviews and it doesn't sound as if the new owners are an improvement over the old one.

Anyway. Here are a couple of photos of their new additions:
Disturbing, right? I mean seriously - wouldn't Giant Floating Dog and Creepy Hidden Kitty keep you awake at night? Blech.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Vive la France!

Something that I've always dreamed of owning is copper cookware. I just absolutely love the warmth and patina that are innate to this lovliest of utilitarian objects.

Our new kitchen is beautiful! It was remodeled just about 3 years ago and there are some really wonderful features that I just love about it (great cupboards, and a beautiful new hood over the stove to name a few). The color scheme is very different from what we have now, so I've been thinking about how to incorporate 'our' colors with what's in there now. The cupboards and walls are white, so that's not an issue, but the countertop tile is a dark green. It's really pretty, but it's not a color I'm used to; I tend towards warmer tones - think gold, copper, and warm brick red.

One of the gifts we were going to give mom this past Christmas was a kitchen tray by one of her favorite artists, Carl Larsson.
As you can see, it incorporates all of those colors really well. (I think it's kind of ironic that I would be drawn to that particular Larsson print for mom; coincidence? sixth sense?)

Taking my inspiration from the colors in the tray, I've been dreaming up all sorts of ways to incorporate the old with the new. With that in mind, I thought this would be the absolute perfect opportunity to begin collecting my coveted copper cookware! Yes, it's outrageously expensive, but I was able to rationalize it by pointing out several things: 1) it will last a lifetime, and 2) it will be the perfect glue that brings everything together. 'Besides,' I told myself, 'if you only buy one piece at a time, it won't be all that expensive.'

Last week I began my study in copper cookware. I read about it, lusted over various piece of various brands. I'd finally decided on Mauviel - the standard of French chefs. And, to make it even easier, they carry this particular brand at Williams Sonoma. Easy peasy!

On Sunday we picked up dad for an outting. He wanted to go to the mall and people watch (always a fun activity in my book!). As we passed the Williams Sonoma store, I spied that delicious copper cookware in the window! Don't you just know that we had to make a detour and check it out.

Whoooooooaaaaa Nellie! While the price did make my eyes pop, I wasn't surprised by that. What caught me off guard was the weight of those puppies! Holy moly. I could barely lift some of those pans - and that was without food in them! Needless to say I've all but given up on that idea. Who knows - maybe I'll hang a piece or two just for decoration. I guess that's sort of the best of both worlds, right?

...just like combining the old and new in our kitchen ;o)

New Year, New Life

As I'm sure you can imagine, the last month or so has brought about a great deal of change in our lives. One of the biggest changes on the horizon is moving to a new home. Well not a "new" home exactly, but a different home. In fact, it's my childhood home.

Shortly after mom passed away, dad asked if Kevin and I would consider moving in with him. In some respects, it was a difficult decision to make. We have our little house just the way we want it, and it's in such a lovely area ... plus, we really like our landlords. But then, of course, we thought: Helllooooo! How often does one have the opportunity to repay their parent for all they did during their childhood? For always being there; for being a wonderful provider; for being a wise and ever-present figure in an unsure world.

Yes we love our house; but this will be our home. Afterall, home is where your heart is, and our heart is here. Plus, we're moving to an area that is also lovely. Still at the foothills of the mountains, and only about 20 minutes from where we're at now. And while we may like our landlords, we love dad.

So there you have it: decision final. We're not fooling ourselves into thinking it will be easy for any of us. We are all well aware of some bumps that will no doubt come up along the way. But it's worth it.

And so, over the next couple of months we will be packing up houses (two) and painting a house (just one, thankfully!) and preparing to move into our new home. We've already either started, or in some cases, finished projects, so I won't have a lot of "Befores", but I will have lots of "Afters"!

I hope you'll join me on our latest journey. I'm looking forward to the adventure and even the twists and turns along the way!