Wednesday, September 30, 2009

October resolution

Six months ago, I was convinced that the second I finished the bar, my yoga practice would flourish. Once I no longer had homework to compete for my attentions, I reasoned, of course I would focus more completely on my practice. This has not been the case. It turns out that all of the fun, frivolous activities I now have to choose from are actually way more distracting than outlining and brief writing ever were.

I am still getting on the mat occasionally, but more often I succumb to the call of any/all of the following:

Art being made (or copied, rather, from a pretty piece I spotted in Auntie Mary's home).

Tomatoes waiting to be turned into chili.

Just the sweetest little crochet I've had my hands on in ages. Pattern here.
(Though I've simplified it lots to suit my appreciation for the straightforward.

A lonely first chapter wishing I would write a second to keep it company.

Yes, I've read this almost every summer since I was 15, and no, I'm not exactly in its target demographic. But I love it, nonetheless.

I love all of these things and am so glad that I finally have time to spend with them. I mean seriously, I'm reading novels again. I was sure that day would never come. But I do miss my practice. So tomorrow, I begin with a renewed commitment. 31 straight days of time on my mat. A new season, a new start.

I am ready.

Love, J

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Extreme relaxing

In an effort to break out into the yard to enjoy the last few days of summer, I gathered up my iPod, a book, and notepad and pen and headed out the other day. My destination was the hammock, which at the time was nestled between two maple trees, sort of exposed to the street. I don't need an audience while I read, write, nap, etc., so I drug the hammock around the house and settled it like this:

Very nice, right? Right.


Remember when I asked what I should do with these?

Well, the tree that drops them is the tree under which I parked my little nap-nest. After a while of reading, I was gazing off into the yard when I saw two squirrels run up a tree just across from me. I traced their path as they went up the trunk, out a branch, leapt to a branch on another tree, and then to a branch right above me. And then they set to work. I thought for sure I would be killed. Because our chestnut trees are huge, and when the nuts fall, they fall very far. And fast. And this is what they look like before I've peeled off the husks:


Love, J

Monday, September 28, 2009


Who is that handsome guy over there?

It's my husband! And what is he doing?

Picking grapes! In our very own backyard.

Bumper crop. What will we do with them?

I know who to ask...

Juice them! Of course. Grandma, you always have the best ideas.

He's a quick learner.

What a productive Saturday morning. And mmmm, juice...

We also made this flower pot, a few years ago.

Love, J

PS: Now we need to find a use for horse chestnuts. I know they're poisonous, but they still tempt me, they're so pretty. Maybe they'll just be our fall centerpiece?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Projects and progress - Part 3

Okay, I'm back on track. Sort of. Enough. And this morning I'm sending out lots of love to my special patron of the arts for the big box of fantastic how-to-write-a-novel books that the UPS man just dropped off. After I post this, I'm headed out to the hammock with the books and my notepad.

Today we're going down the hall to the second bedroom, which is acting as an all-purpose room. And it's where you will get to stay when you come visit!

Here are the 'before's:

The previous owners really, really liked their pink. The hubs had some fun with graffiti while we primed:

And here is what it looks like today:

I put the TV in there, hoping that having it stashed in the back of the house would keep me from watching it so much. It hasn't worked so far. But it is wonderful to have such a pretty room to sit in while I sew and work on the computer. (And by 'work' I mean watch music videos and play TextTwist.)

This thread rack is another one of my favorite things - a graduation present from my grandmother. My uncle made it for her a really long time ago, and nothing beats a functional heirloom.

That's all of the tour for now. The kitchen's undergone major changes, but the floor in there is still way ugly and I want it ALL prettied up before I post pictures. And we may actually do a real remodel on the bathroom, since it's got tons of mold and we're worried I'll get sick once we have to close the house up for the winter. But other than those two rooms (and the basement, which is big but boring), you've now seen the whole house!

Love, J

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The truth

Why am I taking so long to get to the next room on our tour? I’ll tell you: because I have been terribly busy doing practically nothing. It turns out, the less I have to get done, the less I actually do get done. In the years I went school and worked several jobs at a time, I grew accustomed to a certain level of, shall we say, stimulation? And now that all of that stimulation has been removed from my life, I’ve turned into a bit of a slug. Okay, a major slug.

Instead of all of the many, many projects I planned to tackle yesterday, for example, I spent my morning laying in bed staring out the window up at our trees. Then I got up around 9:30 and went to the couch, where I watched ‘Baby Mama’ and ate my way through ¾ of a loaf of homemade bread. Finally, totally grossed out with myself, I spent the rest of the day job hunting on Craigslist (and taking Youtube breaks to oogle Shakira, of course – she has way more than her fair share of cool. Actually, that goes for Wyclef Jean too. Basically that video has an overabundance of cool.)

Apparently, I need some structure to my day if I’m going to accomplish anything, ever. So I sent off three job applications with the hopes that the threat of having to go to work each day will make me appreciate that I’m not working yet, and help me get more done in the meantime.

I think my plan is working. This morning I got up and fixed myself a respectable breakfast, and then wrote for a while. And now I’m blogging. So there, it’s 11 am and already I have accomplished more today than I did in the past 3 days combined. And now I’m going to reward myself by re-watching ‘Baby Mama’ because Tina Fey is just the hottest thing since sliced homemade bread.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A detour

The office is messy today, filled with sewing projects left over from the weekend. I don't want to debut the room like that, so instead I will show you the garden.

When we moved in:

And now:

The hubs tilled it up a couple weekends ago, and we mixed in the bags of manure that Grandpa dropped off (thanks Grandpa!) Now it's all tucked in for the winter and I have 7-ish months to plot (haha - get it?) what to do with it.

I know that I will not be growing zucchini. This is because everyone and their mom grows it and each year I get tons of freebies from other gardens. In fact, right now I have about half of this monster pile taking over my kitchen:

I gave away a few, and then used 2 (just 2!) of them to make 5 loaves and 2 dozen muffins of zucchini bread, along with 4 freezer bags of shredded zucchini. I'm tackling what's left of the pile this afternoon. And finishing the sewing projects, of course. Wish me luck!

Love, J

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Projects and progress - Part 2

I always do this. I promise myself I'll take great 'before' photos of something and then I get so overwhelmed by all the work ahead of me that I just start the project and forget about pictures. Lucky for me, G came to the home inspection before we moved in and occupied herself with my camera, so these pictures of our living room are brought to you by her:

That's our awesome realtor Dale in the kitchen.

This time I'd like to draw your attention to the pink walls, pink, super-textured ceiling, and rusty baseboards. We replaced the baseboards with gas forced air. I turned it on one morning last week and it was so cozy, so quick! One of the many great things about having a small house. And not having the baseboards to work around made it way easier to arrange furniture in each room.

So that was then, and this is now:

I won't bore you by pointing out how many things in here are second hand (most of them are), but I do want to highlight the dining room set, because we found it on the side of the road in Spokane 4 years ago. I'm so excited because I love it but it's been in storage practically since we picked it up. In the 7 years we've been out on our own, we haven't had room for a dining room table until now!

I still need to paint over the spots where the old baseboards were, and when we feel ambitious enough I'm sure that wood paneling will go. Also the curtains aren't done, some of them are just pinned in place. But mostly we're good to go!

LOTS of good trees out every window.

I like the contrast between these two:

That 'Om' was a Christmas gift from Grant a couple years ago and is one of my absolute favorite things ever. It was the hardest thing to put up in the house because I wanted it to be everywhere!

Tomorrow we'll go down the hall to the computer/sewing/tv room.

Love, J

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Projects and progress - Part 1

We've been hard at work on the house since we moved in, and it's really coming together now. I think it's time for some before and after pictures. Our tour begins in the bedroom:

Please direct your attention to the carpet (which smelled like cat pee) and dark blue walls (which I didn't actually hate, but the hubs said had to go). These pictures were taken before I'd unpacked my fabulous, fancy new graduation camera, so that will add to the contrast between the before and after photos.

And now, abra-cadabra, just like that (6 weeks after moving in), it looks like this:

Mostly we just painted and had the floors done, but doesn't it look better? And I sewed the curtains, which is good because supposedly the focus of my blog is 'stuff I've made' but I've sort of gotten off track lately.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to point out that every single thing you can see in this photo (and a lot you can't, including all the clothes in the dressers) were either thrifted or gifted to us. I'm rather smug that we've been so successful at easing out of the consumer pool. Oops, wait, our wedding cake topper's in the back corner, and we bought that new. My bad. Smugness gone.

Anyhow, I'm sooo happy with how things are turning out, I can't even tell you. Tomorrow we will continue our tour into the living room...

From here you can see a thrifted vanity, mirror, dresser, lightswitch plate, curtains, curtain rod, laundry basket, and bedspread. Pretty good, huh?

Just when I think it's settled

Most days I am very (very, very) glad it's still just the hubs and me, living our life and enjoying each other. Most days I have zero desire to cart around a mini-me all day and night, feeding, cleaning, changing, blah, blah, blah. And most days I don't give a second thought to our child-free state or to when we might decide to end it.

But once in a while, I'll run across something like this:

And it makes me think.

Good grief, she's so cute I can hardly stand it.

It's still settled, for now, but what I mean is that I sure wouldn't mind having that little bug to snuggle on for just a while. And who could blame me, really?

Love, J

Post edit: If you click the photo to enlarge it, you can see her chin drool. Man, does she kill me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Someone's coming to visit...

Who could it be?...

Some hints:

She's a very chic dresser...

She is always there for important occasions (even when you're a jerk and forget to invite her until the absolute last minute and she has to jump in the car and drive 2 hours through the city to be there for you):

She is wicked fun:

And photogenic:

And hilarious:

Any guesses?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Where dreaming (and not paying attention in class) pays off

In college, there were very few students in each of my classes who brought their laptops to class. It wasn't necessary to type your notes. The lectures were repetitive/slow/unimportant enough that you could easily make do with jotting down the big issues on a notepad and then get back to your crossword puzzle in the Daily Evergreen (this is all hypothetical, understand).

But in law school, everyone brings their laptop to every class. This is because a) we are told to do so at orientation, and b) because the lectures are dizzyingly-paced and the casebooks basically useless at exam time. But what really drove me to schlep my computer to and from school on the bus each day was the fact that everyone else was doing it, and if I didn't, then I was probably doing something wrong. I find fear and intimidation to be excellent motivators.

The difficulty was never in having the laptop with me in class. It was in having internet access in class. And because I've always been a back-row kid, I could see that 99% of my peers were taking full advantage of that access. Everyone had a favorite site: Facebook; MSNBC; Youtube (on mute - what's the point?); Zappos.

Mine was Zillow.

Oh, how I loved house shopping. Years before I had any inkling that we would be able to even dream about thinking about being able to afford one of our own, I still shopped. I shopped my way from torts through professional responsibility and back again. And then I shopped some more.

I found no less than 10 this-is-the-one-and-no-other-will-ever-hold-a-candle-to-it dream houses. Big brick manors on the South Hill, cute bungelows in the Valley, rambling farmhouses on acreage in Otis Orchards, it didn't matter. I wanted one of each.

I'm pretty sure this obsession stems from that desire I have to create. I love to make things. And to have a house to make beautiful, to have space to work on my projects and then display them, oh, my heart still beats faster when I think back to the anticipation.

And then, by the end of our time in Seattle, we learned that:

working + saving + (scrimping - still having way too much fun in a very awesome city) =

Heck yeah.

Love, J

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What I'm not up to

Catching up on my friends' blogs, I see I made Natalie's blog roll. This means there is at least one person who reads this, which is weird to me. I was thinking of this as an exercise in self centeredness, like a public diary. But now it's feeling more like an actual way to keep people up-to-date with what's going on in my life.

I am too lazy to do a real post today. A real post would require photos, which means uploading them from our camera, which means changing the camera's batteries, and that's way more ambitious than I feel this evening. So instead of relating what I've been doing, here's what I haven't been doing (since I don't need pictures for that):

- I'm not starting school, even though it's September. Heck yes, no more school for me.
- I'm not studying. The bar exam is over, and good riddance to it. I'll get my results mid-October but (knock on wood) I think I'll be okay. It was very hard but I'm pretty sure I eeked by (knock on wood again).
- I'm not working. Because I don't want to yet. My summer vacation didn't start until the exam ended at the very end of July, so I'm taking it well into fall this year.
- I'm not having babies. No more school and hitting our 6 year wedding anniversary have started family and friends a-questioning. 'No,' is the answer to that question.
- I'm not living in Seattle anymore. We're back in Spokane! Yay! (Which also means, unfortunately, that I am NOT enjoying my thrice-weekly sushi binges, darn it.)

So that's what I'm not up to. But I'll put the whole batteries/camera/real post thing on my to-do list and be back shortly.

Love, J