Friday, May 29, 2009

Lova La Vida

Normally it has to be Sunday for me to listen to Jon Schmidt. But throw a cello into anything and I'm hooked. If there's one instrument I could go back and learn as a kid and stick with (so I could be really great as an adult) it would be the cello. It adds such a richness to any piece, don't you think?

historia da missao

Back when I got off my mission in 2004, my mission president challenged all of us to write our Historia da Missão {mission (hi)story} that we could keep as a solid record of all of our experiences. Throughout my life, and especially my mission, I have been an avid journal-writer. Even though I had several journals full of my daily musings, I thought it would be great to have a more consolidated record of those 18 life-changing months.

I started by writing a consecutive list of topics I wanted to cover - receiving the call, my areas, companions, baptisms, funny stories, etc. I began to write and before I knew it I had over twenty pages of material. I still had several topics that I hadn't even begun to describe with the detail I wanted to remember. And as the days and weeks and months went by, I slowly forgot about my Historia.

Until yesterday.

I was going through the external hard drive, looking through old files, folders and documents and there it was. I started reading through it and was surprised at some of the things I'd already forgotten - like when my district in the MTC set the record for eating the most bowls of cereal on our last p-day before heading to the field (oh, the shame!) - but with a renewed enthusiasm to get it done. I realize that as more time goes on, the clarity of those experiences will continue to fade. So I'm going back to work. I've pulled out all the journals, letters, and photos I could find. It will be a big project, with lots of scanning, writing and editing, but I'm determined to get it done. And when I finish, I'll reward myself by getting it all put together in a pretty, bound book.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

ready for the pickin

I'd say my spinach is about ready, wouldn't you?

poplar as a chair

Back in the depth of gray winter, I decided to spice up my life by taking a community class with my friend Mandy. We took "Make An Adirondack Chair" at West High. For seven weeks we spent a few hours each Thursday night in the wood shop transforming raw lumber into beautiful Adirondack chairs. The price for the class has since gone up, but at the time $35 to walk away with a handmade hardwood chair was a steal by any comparison. Overcoming my fear of most power tools was just a bonus.

Halfway through the class I decided to make two chairs (who wants to sit alone?) and thus walked out of the last night at the high school with my arms full of jigsawed and sanded - but not quite assembled - chair pieces. Over Memorial Day weekend I finally found some time to put pieces together and Mandy helped me remember the final steps of assembly the other night. I'm very close to finishing the second chair as well, but for now I guess I'll be sitting alone.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Part of you History #4

In the spring of 2002 I was gallivanting around Europe studying the history of art, eating chocolate and pastries at every opportunity and trying to dream up a scheme that would let me land there for a longer period of time in the future. In particular, I had fallen in love with Brugge, Belgium and all of its charm.

From my journal May 24, 2002

This morning at breakfast we were not greeted by the sweet little lady who usually serves us. Instead a grumpy man who looked very unhappy was manning the tables. We knew we would be on the go all day (leaving Brugge and traveling to Amsterdam), so we each grabbed an extra piece of baguette and left the breakfast room. Unfortunately, I was the last to leave which meant that I got chased out of the breakfast room by the grumpy old man yelling in broken English, "Excuse me, you eat what you want in here. You take, you pay!" He repeated it a few times while he stared down at the floor and I just said, "Oh, well we didn't know." "You take, you PAY," he screamed, "and tell your friends too!" What do you do? Baguette in hand, I climbed the stairs to my third floor room to let my roommates know what was up. He ended up charging us each four euros. At that point I was like, "Brugge, you're done" but then we went ouside to walk to the station and I fell in love with it all again.
{photo I took in Ghent, Belgium}

Friday, May 22, 2009

the kitchen

Nothing says 1954 like knotty pine! Of all of the areas of the house, I think the kitchen got the least amount of TLC and updating from the previous owners. We do have a nice tile floor and back splash, and granite tile counter tops, but to me the cupboards are a little dated. I'd love to refinish or paint them at some point, but that's not really at the top of my list right now.

We do, however, need a solution for the windows. Here are some photos of what the kitchen looks like now. Oh, and our everyday dishes are fiesta ware in lots of colors with most of the kitchen accents and serving pieces in red.

So if you've got great fabric ideas for the roman shades, let me know!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

house projects

There are a number of things I hope to do in the coming months to take our new dwelling from house to home. For now we've just been trying to keep up with some of the challenges that inherently come with home ownership - from finally discovering that a plastic dinosaur lovingly left half way down our toilet pipes was what caused it to stop flushing, and finding a loose wire nut that kept half of the house without electricity for a few days, to warding off termites that decided to make their home (and feast) in our garage, we (Spencer, mostly) have been pretty busy. There have been more surprises, but I'll spare you. Here's my latest in house projects:

Edible Garden: One of the things I've enjoyed most about owning a home is having a yard. We have two lovely mature ash trees in the back, plenty of grass, and a retaining wall that creates a lower section of the yard. It's been the perfect spot for a garden. I've planted 16 square feet of veggies, plus some more traditional rows. It's been fun to care for the plants and watch them grow. So far, I think they're making pretty good progress.
Roman Shades: Another thing I'm thinking about are the kitchen windows, which face west. This means lots of great light, but it can also be a really hot and blinding place to spend the late afternoon. To help filter the light and keep the kitchen cool we have plans to put up some shades. At first I was thinking about a bamboo shade, but then I saw this idea to DIY roman shades with the fabric of your choice.The key would be finding just the right fabric. Thoughts?

go big or go home.

What about if you want to go big at home? I love our new house and it's comfortable neutral palette, but making the place "ours" has been more of a challenge than I anticipated. Of course to do this, I need a few additional pieces of furniture, photos printed for all of our empty frames, and the courage to actually hang something on the wall.

I wish I had enough courage to pull off something as stunning as Design Mom's most recent project: painting the piano (green!!!!)
I've been wanting to set up a little "music nook" in our basement where our piano (came with the house!) and guitars reside. I intend to hang some of the postcard prints I bought at the British Portrait Gallery - oh-so-many-moons-ago - of some of my favorite musicians from the other side of the pond and those "let it be" lyrics scribbled on a napkin. But don't you think painting the piano some bold, glossy color would make it all the more interesting? Yeah, me too.

Oh, and you can read more about Design Mom's endeavor here.

Friday, May 08, 2009

last night

The weather here lately has been stunning. The grass is green, the sky is blue, and the air is warm. Last night when Spencer got home from work, we had a picnic on our backyard lawn before walking along one of our favorite streets, admiring the blossoming trees and listening to the stream, heavy and full, gush out of the canyon. Season 1 of LOST had finally arrived at the library (to help convert Spencer to my latest addiction) and I was anxious to pick it up. Of course we scoured the music collection as well, selecting a choice few jazz, classic rock, and indie artists that will accompany us in the car for the next few weeks. We walked home and chatted with dear neighbors from our old ward (two whole blocks away) as the sun slowly dropped. We came home and Spencer popped Gladys Knight (his pick) into the stereo. We danced in the kitchen to Midnight Train to Georgia as the very last speckles of sunshine freckled the room and finally fell to night. It was just one of those nights... when for a moment, all seemed right with the world.
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