Wednesday, September 30, 2009

White Wenesday - III

This week's White Wednesday is brought to you by a favorite band of my youth, White Heart.

Sometimes holiness
Can seem like emptiness
When you feel the whole world's laughing eyes

But if it's a lonely day
Know you're on the Father's way
He will hear you when you cry

And He will hold you, hold you
Your Father will hold you
He will love you, love you
For the things you do

Desert rose (desert rose)
Don't you worry, don't be lonely
Heaven knows, Heaven knows
In a dry and weary land a flower grows
His desert rose

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Things I've Been Meaning To Tell You

Brace yourselves. This is one of those "everything-but-the kitchen-sink" posts. I'm not usually a big fan, but sometimes life is about breaking the rules. For instance, right now I am eating a chocolate cupcake, at 8:54 p.m. Oprah and Tony Fuller would like me to believe that this is a cardinal sin, but I'm sorry, as much as I love Panera, their meals never fill me up. And just an fyi, this cupcake is not my bedtime snack. This is dessert. The bedtime snack will probably commence around 10:30.

So, have we ever discussed the other-wordly sleeping habits of my firstborn? Some 10 months ago he took to sleeping on his floor in a sleeping bag, with a fan pointed directly at his head. We thought it was just a phase, and he was happy as a clam there, so why not? Nearly a year later, we have "transitioned" him into an actual bed. I was tired of explaining why his bed consisted of a raggedy old sleeping bag and a fleece blanket decorated in airplanes. I always sensed that people didn't fully believe me when I told them it was his idea.

Last month we were visiting my parents in Ohio. He always sleeps in my old bedroom, in what he likes to call the "monster truck bed". (Because it's so high off the ground, not because it has flames painted on its sides.) We tucked him in and went about our business. A few hours later, we went up to bed and found this:

Apparently, the bed was just a little too soft and his face was more than 18 inches from his face - unacceptable!

That's him, in a heap, on the floor. He stretched the fan in the hallway as far as it would go and plopped down beside it. You'll see the evacuated bed in the background. You'll see a perplexed and amused mommy in the foreground.

Fast forward several weeks, and we find this:

How on earth???

In other news, my favorite boy under the age of 31 picked me a flower. That just never gets old.

My friend Jill gave me a recipe for Bruschetta Pizza. Holy Yum. (Top a Boboli crust with cooked meat and cheese (I used rotisserie chicken.) Cover with chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, lots of shredded basil (all tossed with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar) and bake until heated through.

I just found this photo in my file yesterday and had never seen it before. I wish I knew what I was laughing about. It definitely wasn't the 95 degree heat that day. I like pictures where I look happy. I wish I could drive around in a vintage truck painted the perfect shade of aqua.

Stay with me - we're in the home stretch.

This custom illustrated portrait appeared on the wall well over two months ago, beneath our other photos. It's still there. For some reason, I really like it and can't bear to take it down.

I think it's supposed to be Silas. Maybe "inEDLP" is code for Silas. Is it just me, or does Silas bear a strong resemblance to a character from "Arthur"?

Congratulations! You made it through all of my randoms. Your reward is a 5-day vacation from me. We're headed to Eastern PA tomorrow afternoon. 11 hours in the car.

Rest up, because I'm sure to have lots to share when I return.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Flea Market Farewell

It's true, I skipped church again yesterday. Calvin was scandalized, especially since Nana skipped, too. What can I say? Allegan beckoned - the last Allegan show of the year.

I was enticed by the promise of flaking paint and happy faces.

You'll have to forgive me, though. This is the only picture I took.

I knew it was wrong. I knew you'd be disappointed. Why am I acting out like this? Heck if I know.

For what it's worth, I snapped this on the way out of town. Last time, the sign read, "Free rose if your name is Glenda", which seemed like a safer bet than Heather.

If it said "Shannon", I would so go in for my free rose. Do you think he's a stickler for exact spelling?

This Sweet Face Petunia "helped" me unload. (I'll save the dissection of my compulsive need for constant, ridiculous nicknames for another time and place.)

While we're here, I'd like to dispense of what is perhaps my most valuable decorating advice: Find a color palette for the main living areas of your home, if not for your entire home. It makes life so much easier and eliminates a good portion of the "Should I/Shouldn't I" internal debate.

If I find something in an acceptable shade of blue/green/grey/aqua/white/black, I'm probably going to buy it. If it's chippy wood or metal, I dare you to try to stop me. If I find something in a lovely shade of red or yellow, I'll get excited to help my mom decorate and I'll keep on walking.

In following this tenet, I am free to snatch something up, even if I have no earthly idea what I'm going to do with it. I can buy it with the full confidence that I'll find a home for it somewhere.

Cory took one look at this and said, "So, we're going for the Wild West look, huh?"

No, that is not the look we're going for.

Unless you're talking about the look of our feet.

Blue. Green. Rust. Metal.
Come to Mama.

Rhubarb Reign is my soulmate. I love them so much, I want to marry them. (Can you imagine our first starter home?)

I was immediately drawn to this bucket.

Mostly because of this label.

Allegan, I adore thee. Especially in the cool, snuggly Autumn.

See you on the flip-side.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Nose Job By Any Other Name

You might as well just come out with it. I know you're all clamoring to hear more about this big Nose Job of mine. I've received inquiries from lands both far and near, so it's time to set the record straight.

Let's start at the very beginning... A very good place to start.

We'll call this "Before - Exhibit A". Earlier this Summer, Cory saw fit to randomly photograph me carrying a bowl of beans in from the garden. (It looks like my secret is officially out - I do not wear make up whilst gardening.) After an unsuccessful attempt at putting him in time out, I regained the wherewithal to realize that this shot was perfect for the pre-nose job file.

Look real close - see how my left nostril leans decidedly down-hill?

This is probably as good a time as any to clarify, once and for all, that the purpose of my surgical endeavor had absolutely nothing to do with the aesthetics or general alignment and balance of my face and/or nose. However, as I told you previously, I collect silver linings. It didn't take me long to realize that the interior realignment of my septum would result in a marginal outward alignment. That at least counts as a silver-plated lining.

The big day came. Dr. M willfully avoided me in pre-op due to the fact that I had plum worn him out with my incessant questions and hypotheticals. The nurse blew my vein. I had a last-second relapse of anesthesia anxiety originally dating back to 1992.

The next thing I knew, I overheard one nurse tell another, "She's really having a hard time coming out of anesthesia." I could hear them talking about me, I could hear them imploring me to open my eyes and sit up and rejoin the world at large. But, I Could. Not. Open. My. Eyes.

Male Nurse Cory got me safely home and took fantastic care of me over the next six days, but I in no way felt relaxed or pampered. Rather, I felt ill and stuffy and nasty.

Every now and then I mustered the strength of will to eke out a little smile.

The upside: My clean-as-a-whistle sinuses and my straight-as-an-arrow septum, a.k.a., my Brand New Nose.

What do you think?! I went ahead and ordered some Jessica Simpson hair extensions, for a little extra punch. And some Victoria Beckham shades.

OK, fine. Sheesh. Take a joke. Latoya's still fair game, isn't she? Here I am, healed up and back from a hard morning's work at Allegan Antiques Market. (More about that tomorrow.) Do you still recognize me? Be honest.

And to make things fair, here's a shot taken just yesterday, by my favorite photographer. Once again, an out-take, but it yields perfect up-the-noseage. My nostrils are slightly more symmetrical. Lefty has shaped up a bit.

Oh, and I can now actually breathe out of my right nostril, which was probably the whole point of this entire blasted thing.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Simple Pleasures

What makes me happy? Well, lots of things.

But few come as easily (or inexpensively) as a bouquet of Surprise Rose Garden blooms and a good recipe from one of my binders.

I'm sure that a fancy-pants florist would never put all of these clashy roses together, but it just goes to show that fancy-pants florists don't know everything, after all.

The air is turning here, Autumn is on the way. Only now do I feel compelled to dash off to buy mums and pumpkins. Alas, we are leaving for vacation on Wed., so it will have to wait a week or so longer.

In the meantime, we have big plans to pick up Calvin's Big Boy mattress tonight and put the finishing touches on his room. I also have the newest Better Homes and Gardens magazine waiting for me, and a Netflix movie.

Here's to a perfect, cozy, love-bug, Autumn weekend!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

White Wednesday - II

In honor of The King of Pop's recent passing (and my nose job), I bring you this week's edition of White Wednesday.

They Print My Message
In The Saturday Sun
I Had To Tell Them
I Ain't Second To None

And I Told About Equality
An It's True
Either You're Wrong
Or You're Right

But, If
You're Thinkin'
About My Baby

It Don't Matter If You're
Black Or White

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Adding Character to New(er) Construction

I am a huge fan of old houses and have never lived in anything remotely new. I do, however, theoretically enjoy and appreciate the many advantages of living in something built in the current century.

A few months ago, we helped Cory's cousin, Mindi, move into her new home. It is so roomy and flows so well. It's charming and clean and NEW. Rather than smelling like musty old carpets and mildew (as some of the homes I have lived in did, initially), it smelled brand spanking new.

Mindi set to work painting and adding her own personal touches. In no time flat, the home was as cozy as the girl herself.

Still, it lacked some character - especially in the kitchen. The white cabinetry was a great starting point, but it was begging for some texture and charm.

So, what did she do?

She had the entire main wall bricked.

Then she added some "tin" backsplash. (The same backsplash I have!)

I was amazed at the difference it made.

The company who installed it (all in one day) used thin brick "veneers".

And now, I'm kind of thinking I could use a brick wall of my own.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Things You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Me

I am honored to have received the Honest Scrap blog award from both Michelle at Vintage Junky and Becky at Farmgirl Paints. Thanks, gals!

I'm supposed to list the rules and then pass this along to 5 other people, but I'm a rebel rouser and have chosen to skip that part. In truth, I hope everyone follows suit in posting 10 Truths about you. Reading these randoms bits never gets old to me!

Here are 10 honest things about Me:

1. I just had a nose job.

OK. Sorry. It's a new day...

1. I once totaled my Pontiac Sunfire upon arriving for my first interview for a job where having a very good driving record is a requirement. I wasn't sure where this place was and when I spotted it on the left, I momentarily forgot that I was on a busy one-way street. I turned directly into the path of a cargo van, which had no choice but to slam into my driver's side door. Once I made it inside, the good people at Enterprise helped me get in touch with Cory and as I talked to him, I remember a random guy picking glass out of my hair and another random guy dabbing blood off my hands and arms. I went ahead and did my interview. (I was stuck there for a while, so why not?) I distinctly remember answering a particular question and glancing out the window only to see the carcass of my car being hoisted up onto a tow truck and hauled away. I did get the job and a couple of years later, the glass-picker and I were awarded Branch of the Year.

2. I am a firm believer that eating a fruit-based dessert for breakfast cannot possibly be worse than eating pancakes with syrup. At this very moment, I'm having a slice of apple pie and a cup of tea.

3. I'm at the end of a years-long love affair with Ebay. Sure, we still talk, but not like we used to. (Having kids and a budget will do that to you.) Some of my strangest purchases over the years: A case of Revlon Outrageous Hair shampoo (It's discontinued and I missed the smell), A box of Teen Magazines from the late '80s and early '90s (My mom threw my stash away! Hello? I was specifically saving those for Ruby!), The Dances With Wolves soundtrack, my kitchen island.

4. As teenagers, Sarah and I were entirely obsessed with supermodels. We tossed their names around in conversation with one another as if they were a regular part of our group. We knew ALL the trivia and gossip. We had a bad feeling about Claudia's inexplicable romance with the creepy David Copperfield and we worried about Helena when Michael Hutchence passed away. We thought Naomi was a total B and wondered how Stella had ever become a model in the first place. To this day, we lament the fact that supermodels rarely grace the covers of fashion mags.

Trish Goff, a grunge-era fave.

5. I can (and have) eaten an entire jar of Chi-Chi's Restaurant Style Mild Salsa with Santitas White Corn Tortilla Chips in one sitting. Don't judge.

6. I make my bed almost every day, but even when I don't, I make it before I climb back in, at the end of the day. What can I say? I like smooth sheets.

7. When I was a freshman in college, I injured my knee. I was standing in line for food at the Campus Center, holding a plate that had only two slices of cucumber on it. It was a special International dinner. There was candlelight and creepy foreign music. My friends and acquaintances sat all around me, eating. Out of nowhere, a guy friend of mine came up behind me and bumped the backs of my knees with his knees. I turned to see who it was and fell to the floor. We then discovered that my left knee cap was floating somewhere on my lower thigh. It was the worst pain I have ever experienced and it was mortifying. Matt was crying, I was screaming, people were eating, music was playing, candles were flickering. It stayed exactly like that until the ambulance finally arrived. They were able to re-position my knee cap, but I favor it to this day. I underwent months of crutches and braces and physical therapy. Things are still a little awkward between Matt and I.

8. I am not good at being concise. (You hadn't noticed?) When I started my job in DC that I wasn't particularly qualified for, my beloved boss told me that my writing was "too prosey". I was crushed. I immediately removed descriptive wording from my writing and learned to write in sound bites. Later the same year, he restored my wilted confidence by giving me two of the best compliments I have ever received. On the first occasion, he told me that I was "the cat's pa-jommas" (spelled to reflect his pronunciation), on the second occasion, upon hearing that we were moving back to IN, he deemed himself "heart sick". I owe much to Mr. Rector and loved every minute of my time with him, even if he is the Meanest Man in Washington.

9. I have never learned to do a proper cartwheel or roller skate. I am sure that this qualifies me as the most uncoordinated girl on the face of the Earth.

10. Throughout my entire growing-up years, I thought for sure that I was going to one day be a doctor. I believed it so much that most of the people around me started to believe it. I even won a scholarship just for people going into the medical field. Then, I got to college and hated Calculus and struggled with Advanced Chemistry and realized that I did not want to go to college for the next 10 years. So, I majored in Psychology and loved every minute of it, although 90% of the work I have done since college has been entirely unrelated. Also, I have discovered that I am extremely squeamish when it comes to seeing or even hearing about gross things related to the human body. In short, I think everything worked out just right. I can't imagine that there is a large market for doctors who can't handle the sight of blood or guts.

Speaking of squeamish, I'm off to have my nose systematically disemboweled. Wish me luck and keep the smelling salts handy.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Country Living Fair Recap

No, it's not firsthand. (sniff sniff!)

It's from one of my greatest gals - Jess. Cory and I share our anniversary date with Jess and Dan, and we had big plans to make the trip together, for our 10th.

Then, well, I won't even go into what happened and why that plan fell apart.... I promised not to bring it up again (today.)

Anyway, read this!

Sunday Yums

Allow me to introduce to you a couple of my favorite Autumn dishes.

The first is a re-creation of Panera's Harvest Pear salad.

Mixed greens; ripe, red pear; pecan halves; dried cherries; berry balsamic vinaigrette and plenty of Gorganzola cheese on top.

So, who wants to run to Panera real quick and grab one for me? No, I can't go get it myself. I've been in my sweats and robe for 6 days running. I've only scarcely left my bed.

Did I tell any of you that I was pleasantly surprised with how well things seemed to be going? Well, I take it back.

What? You didn't come here to listen to me whine about the state of my nose on a perfectly lovely Sunday morning? Seriously?


Mini Caramel Apple Pies.

Am I forgiven? These are the perfect dessert for company. They are a total cinch to make, but their "cute" factor leads people to believe that they took a lot of effort.

Oh, and they taste heavenly. Don't scrimp on the coarse sugar. It gives it the perfect crunch.

I have a feeling that the next time we talk, this past week will be but a memory. For the first time, I'm feeling like I might actually be on the mend. Here's to hoping!

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Girl in Pictures

I think it is entirely possible that Ruby will one day be a gymnast. She is wet-noodle flexible and has the requisite dare-devil spirit. Oh, and she loves showing off for an audience.

I mean, seriously, does this photo even need an explanation? I wish I could take credit for the magnificent genetic code of this one. She's beautiful - even with dirty cheeks.

Now's as good a time as any to say it: Ruby is potty trained! (Remember how angsty I was getting about this a couple of months ago? Like all wise Mamas say, they do it when they are ready. Please remind me of this the next go-round.)

Ruby was recently gifted with a stash of hand-me-down Barbies. She calls them her "babies" and sometimes tries to feed them a bottle, which just cracks me up. In this shot, she had just put them all down for a nap in their giant crib.

I've been loving my little helper. She folded this laundry all by herself last week, lining it up neatly in a row. I was so impressed and resolved not to refold a single stitch.

She was oh-so-pleased with herself for stuffing Lucy into Calvin's hard hat. I still haven't fully pieced that one together, but it kept her happy during the critical pre-dinner hour.

I saved the most exciting thing for last: Ruby recognizes the letter "L". I have no idea why or how. I knew that she knows R, O, M and sometimes W, but I had no clue about L.

I wonder what she'll surprise us with next?