January 28, 2009

More New House Ideas and Inspirations

We bought my parents' house in June of 2008. It was the house that they built when I was in 2nd grade. Over the course of 23 years there were some updates done to the home, but nothing very major. Basically new wall paper here and there, and enclosing the laundry room.

So, when Ellis and I moved in, we were instantly overwhelmed with the many changes and updates that we wanted to do. So far we painted the master bedroom, closet, laundry room, and downstairs bathroom. We have replaced eight light fixtures. We have a new refrigerator and dryer. And our new carpet is ready for installation! Hopefully I will have pictures soon!

Once we have the new carpet, our bedroom will be totally finished! And the living room will almost be finished. I still have a little trim to paint. And the question of the one wall in the dining area that needs something done to it. Originally, I wanted to strip the wall paper and just paint that one wall an accent color. Now that I partially stripped it and found how hard it will be to complete, I got a quote from a local painter and it seemed a little high for the one wall. So Ellis suggested just wall papering. At first I was hesitant, but after browsing some on-line styles, I am convinced. And, my mom is a Wall Paper Expert, so the cost would really be a lot less than removing the wall paper and painting over it.

Here are a few of the designs that I liked. Currently, we have a deep brown paint on 2 walls and a neutral beige on the other two walls. This would be used on one accent wall. Also, our furniture is a rich brown with an aqua tapestry on the accent pillows.

I like the simple stripe.

I like the contemporary circles in this design.

The is one is strange and cool..... Might be a little too trendy.

I started to get really excited when I realized that once the carpet is installed and the wall paper situation is fixed, the living room will be finished (well, except for the fact that I haven't found a dining room table yet.....but that is ok.... the time will come for that purchase!).

My thoughts next turned to our kitchen. Similarly, there are a couple of bigger things that could be done in the kitchen to make it really ours. First would be deciding what to do with the walls. There is wallpaper all over the place now, but maybe I can come up with a creative remedy that will look good and be cost efficient, too. Second, the counter tops are country blue. Yes. COUNTRY. BLUE.

Since I am economically minded at all times, I have already picked out a Formica laminate at Lowes that I think will totally make the kitchen look updated quickly and easily. I will have to touch up the cabinets here and there.... but they are in good condition for the most part. Here is a SIMILAR counter top to what I have in mind:

While I was browsing different styles and ideas, I ran across this picture. And I am totally thinking about using this picture and the colors as the inspiration for our kitchen palette. I love the crisp, clean lines of the black, whites, and small red accents.

It is not much, but I do get excited! It has been fun to plan and dream about the things that I want to do around our house. I will try to take some "Before" pics soon. That way, once things are moving along, I will have some "After" pics to show, too!

January 21, 2009

Bruno goes on a Trip

I heard a story about my nephew, Bruno. He is a brown Portuguese Water Dog. He is cute and sweet and active! He lives in Park City with his dad, Rob. Rob likes to take Bruno with him to work sometimes. And while at work, Bruno often roams down the hall to visit another dog who goes to work.

One day recently, Rob noticed that Bruno had been gone for a long time. When he walked down the hall to see if Bruno was playing with his friend, Rob found that Bruno was not there. The lady in that office said that she had not seen him. I can only imagine the panic that Rob must have felt!

He went out of his office, which is at the base of Park City Ski Resort, and started to whistle and call for Bruno. But there was no Bruno. Then Rob started talking to the people at Park City Ski Resort to see if anyone had seen cute, friendly Bruno running around or playing. Finally, he spoke to Ski Patrol and they had a number for two ladies who reported that they found a dog matching Bruno's description.

When Rob called the number, the ladies were skiing but immediately planned a meeting place with Rob. When Rob met up with the ladies, he found out the story of Bruno's adventure!

Apparently, Bruno somehow left the office building (which is also a hotel). Then he proceeded to get on a bus. Yes, a BUS! He road around town for a while. And ended up sitting beside these two ladies. When they got off the bus, the driver told them that dogs weren't allowed on the buses. At this point, they said, "He is not our dog!" But I guess somehow they decided to take responsibility for him and try to find the owner.

Bruno does have a tag with Rob's name and number on it, but it must have fallen off at some point. Thankfully the ladies tried to find Bruno's owner! And thankfully Bruno didn't ride the bus so far away that he would have been out of the scope of Rob's search!

***This story was relayed to me by my mom. When I get the actually details from Rob, I will make changes so the story is accurate.

January 16, 2009

Cambridge Memories, Food, and Thoughts

Lots of memories have been flooding my mind lately. And they are memories that are 10 years old. It is kinda strange and crazy that I can have something significant and life changing that happened 10 years ago.... and I still think about it almost every day. And thankfully, I recorded many, many things in this little journal.

Isn't it cute!?!? I love the plane. And the little strap that keeps it closed and secure. I can't remember where I bought it. Maybe Barnes & Noble or Books-A-Million. I chose this journal because I was starting an adventure that was beyond my imagination.

Here is a little background on me.... I love to read. All sorts of stuff. It ends up that most of the stuff I like to read is historical fiction. I also LOVE historical romance. I love anything set in England or Scotland. When I was in middle school, I started a lot of my own short stories and they were all based around things like English orphans, a governess, or a British benefactor. Some of my favorite books were Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. And of course, there was some smut that had authors who were not notable, but the characters often traveled "The Continent."

In addition to my love of reading, my family loved to travel. As a result, by the time I was 22, I had been to 41 states, Mexico, Canada, The Bahamas, and Jamaica. (As a side note, the only states I still need to go to are Hawaii, Oregon, North Dakota, and Minnesota.)

With all of that said, the opportunity to spend a semester in Europe was really a dream come true for me. Thankfully, our professor required us to keep a journal. We all grumbled about it (and were super upset when he told us that we had to turn them in and he was going to read them *GASP*). But there are no words to describe how thankful I am that I can now go back and read my inner thoughts, stories about my friends, and facts and tidbits about where we went during those three months.

My first entry was on January 18, 1999. My goal this spring is to read every entry exactly 10 years later. I think it will be a great walk down memory lane. Here is an entry in February '99. I loved to pick flowers here and there and press them. I thought this looked really cute.

I loved all the food I ate in England. A lot of fish and chips, pasties, sandwiches, jacket potatoes. I loved "Toad in a Hole" and "Yorkshire Pudding" (which isn't pudding, it is a type of yeasty roll). And the fact that pretty much every meal ended in "pudding." Not Jello pudding, but dessert! Apple and Blackberry Crumble was my all time favorite! YUM! While in Cambridge, we stayed at The Hamilton Hotel. They served us breakfast every day and many evening meals were served there. I always had Raisin Bran and cheese toast. And I learned to drink cream in my hot tea while there. I started out drinking cream in my tea because it was so dang hot! But then, I decided that it was like liquid amber. And I loved it!

At some point, despite so much good food, (no, I never had haggis) I did start craving some of the great staples of a Southerner's diet. So at the back of my journal, I started a list. I would often take suggestions so these items are just MY ideas. For instance, I have NEVER craved KC Masterpiece chips or pretzels. I am not that kind of girl.

And, I never really ate at Outback and still don't eat there very often. So I don't think that was my suggestion. Hot Ham and Cream Cheese Bagel? Not me, either. Things that were most definitely my cravings? Mac N Cheese, Sweet Tea (which I gave up 5 years ago), Cracker Barrel, Gardner's Market, MAYFIELD MILK!, cookie dough, white shoepeg corn, Perkits. There is also a second page (which I didn't take a picture of). On that page is the item that I couldn't get enough of: BANANA POPSICLES! Oh man! Those were yummy!

At the back of my journal, I had this random statement written. I think I know who wrote it, but I am protecting the innocent here, people. But it is so funny that I just have to show you. I think that my *friend* wrote this when were were traveling in Scotland. Our home base was Cambridge but every week or two we would make a side trip. Once we went to Wells. And then Wales. York and Oxford were also side trips. We had about 5 days in The Lakes District. Then on up to Edinburgh. I am guessing that *someone* wrote this during that long trip.

I hear ya, girl! Traveling can be rough on your insides! And I love that it is written forever in my journal. And now, it will be documented forever on these World Wide Webs. Maybe one day, when I am old(er) and gray(er) I won't remember the friend who wrote this in my journal. But today I still remember. And I love that I was able to share this trip with you! I would love to tip my glass and say Cheers! to all the fun and all the memories.

As a matter of fact, to all 21 of you who traveled together. Thanks for all the fun/strange times. I learned a lot about friendships, life, and the world. So next time you are at a Firkin Brewery, raise a glass for me! I promise that the next time I drink a whole bottle of wine (maybe this weekend, in fact) I will think of you!

January 15, 2009


So, I am bad about pictures. Ellis bought me a camera 2 years ago for my birthday and I have never really been a fan of how the pictures turn out. The flash makes everyone look super white. If I don't use the flash, then they are blurry. So, I really don't take pictures. On the other hand, Ellis has this amazing camera with some great lenses. So any picture I take is pitiful compared to his. I ran across these pictures that Ellis took of our nephew when he came to visit for Thanksgiving. He turned 2 at the beginning of November, just a little fellow!

Bathtime baby!! (I love how the water looks in the picture)

Baby Matthew gives Uncle Buddy kisses!! He is so sweet!

We ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Baby Matthew loved playing with the little game at the table.

Such a smart little fella!

Then, he decided that he wanted to eat a lemon slice. We must have had a bowl of them on the table. Thank goodness Ellis was able to capture these expressions. They are just great!

That looks REALLY tart! He would take a bite, make the face, then laugh (probably because we were laughing). Then he would take another bite. He must have liked it!

We had a great visit. It was really good to see Ellis's Dad, Cassie, and Baby Matthew!

January 14, 2009

Deep Thoughts

Our Book Club (check out the blog: http://bookclub37312.blogspot.com/) met last night to discuss The Alchemist. I was typing an e-mail to a couple friends about my thoughts on the book. As I was typing, I thought it would be a good post for my blog....so here you go!

I felt like I had to hurry through it, trying to finish before Book Club. Actually, I was only half way through the epilogue before we met. I feel like there was so much more to absorb, if I had given myself more time.

The search for the "Personal Legend" really hit home for me. We talked a lot about Andrea and how brave she was to go to PC for the winter. I have always said that my job is a means to and end. Money the means, life is the end. So I think that being unsatisfied for 40 hours a week but being mostly satisfied when I leave is usually ok....maybe worth it. One of the reasons I pushed AKB to go out west was because she could. Maybe I made her go out and try to find MY personal legend.

Regardless, this inspired a lot of personal dissatisfaction for me. Sometimes a "means to an end" really isn't worth it. Not that I am unhappy. Not that I really have a burning desire to do something else. I feel like the baker and the crystal shop owner. I had life, a dream, goals. But somewhere along the way they were crushed. Someone told me (or maybe I decided) that I couldn't do those things. So now I sit at a desk, unfulfilled, day in and day out. I think I make good money for Cleveland. I have lots of holidays off. But "working for the weekend?" Is that all there is?

I truly felt joy and happiness for Santiago when he made choice after choice to keep going after his Personal Legend. I was so proud. When we discussed this last night, I expressed how I feel like fate has brought me to where I am. Not choice. And maybe that is part of the resulting feelings. I was surprised to hear that 2 of the four of us felt like they were living their Personal Legends. It is kinda mind blowing to me. Maybe I have always thought my dreams are unattainable....maybe that is part of why I am where I am.

Those are just a few of my thoughts.... maybe I need to actively try to discover what my personal legend might be. Maybe we need to move. I don't think a baby is anywhere near the answer for me.....but maybe it is. I don't know.