Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Photo-a-Day: Week 21


Sunday, May 26, 2013

TV Loves and Hates: May 26, 2013

Disclaimer: I tend to be fairly behind on my tv watching. Even so, consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead if you're even further behind than I am. You read at your own risk!

**I had my doubts, both throughout the season and even during the episode, but the season finale of 2 Broke Girls actually pleasantly surprised me. That may be the most non-robotic acting I've seen out of The Joker Max since the series premiere.

**Cam and Mitchell at Lily's gymnastics meet and Gloria and Jay's snooping were some of the most amusing bits I can remember in recent Modern Family history. (ep 23)

**Sue skipping school was hilarious because I found it so easy to relate to it. When she finds out she missed a fun assembly *and* free ice cream? I think I actually felt her pain. (The Middle, ep 23)

**Even if it felt forced, trying to cram it all into one half hour segment, I thought Rules of Engagement had a very satisfying series finale. Timmy and Russell made me roll my eyes, but at least Jennifer and Adam are finally married and Jeff and Audrey's baby was actually born. Audrey telling Jeff she was pregnant was an unexpected but sweet way to wrap the show up.

**Irene: Well, you're not boring at all, are you. Sherlock: I make every effort not to be. -- Such a fabulous exchange! (Elementary, ep 23)

**Cam: Please. It's Florida. If I want to sweat more, I'll just move my arms. -- Unless you live in Florida, you have no idea how true this is. And you know how it goes: It's funny because it's true. (Modern Family, ep 24)

**Amy-from-Parenthood guest starring on Law and Order: SVU (ep 20) and absolutely nailed it.

**The *flight attendant* set off the sequence of events and the *husband* was the drug runner?! I did NOT see that coming, Body of Proof! (ep 11)

**I seem to be in the minuscule minority but I *love* who they chose for "The Mother"! She is sweet and just the kind of girl I could see Ted falling for. I can't wait to see how the final season plays out! (How I Met Your Mother, ep 24)

**That speech Lily gave Ted in his completed house. Just the sort of pep-talk we need from our closest friends when we're so close to giving up. (How I Met Your Mother, ep 24)

**The season finale of The Big Bang Theory just didn't impress me all that much. I realize it's a sitcom but still. There were regular episodes that were better.

**We're just supposed to start liking Voight and feeling sympathetic toward him now?? I don't know about that. (Chicago Fire, ep 23)

**So. Season finale of Chicago Fire. The Drama Queen of television shows. There is a fire at a prison right as word comes that Hermann's wife goes into labor. Then, just as they receive word that the baby is in distress and Cindy is going into an emergency c-section, Hermann gets taken hostage by a group of inmates that got out of their cells and killed a guard? Of course. How about Shay is waiting for news about her artificial insemination and Severide's ex shows up pregnant? All right then. Mills wants Dawson to tell him she doesn't have feelings for Casey, who just reconciled with his girlfriend who was then murdered in a prescription drug cover-up, but she can't and then he finds out he also didn't make squad? Seriously. All I know is this group of fire fighters makes the gang on Grey's Anatomy look boring in comparison.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Girl on the Other Coast: May 25, 2013

Here we go again! Another collaborative post with my west coast friend, G. I am a big fan of snacks and I was curious how the snacks I keep on hand differ from those G reaches for on the west coast. We'll take a look at hers here. Curious what I'm munching on? (Humor me. Pretend you're curious.) Take a virtual voyage to Little Italy and find out!
I L-O-V-E snacks! I would rather snack all day than have full meals. Seriously. It's a problem.

So when Dawn asked me to list my top 5 favorite snacks I actually had a hard time coming up with a list. Only 5? Shoot...what do I even eat?? (Forgive me, my brain has been mush lately...)

So then I thought about my favorite store. And then I thought about all my favorite treats there. And my list was born!

1. These fruit leathers are delicious! I normally nibble on one in the morning at school. It's just enough to (hopefully) tied me over until lunch. They say unsweetened but are fantastic. I could probably eat 5 a day...but I don't! I need to save room for my other snacks ;)

2. I love popcorn. I have to have it at the movie theater. I always ate it while studying in college. Something about the buttery goodness. And this popcorn? Well, I don't have to pop it...I can't burn it...and it has the perfect butter-to-salt ratio. Winner!

3. I have a serious weakness for chips. I will take salty over sweet any day! Having said that, these are the perfect blend of salty and sweet. The BBQ flavor makes my mouth water. I could easily put away this entire bag in one sitting. In my defense, the bag isn't THAT big. At least that's what I tell myself when I look into and realize there are about 5 chips left. Oops!

4. These are my number 1 favorite chip. They are literally finger licking good. The first time I had these was in the airport in Maui and I fell in love. Mr. Smith will sometimes surprise me and bring home a family size bag of these. Do you think he gets a chance to have any? I don't think so! I don't know what family they are talking about! Get in my belly!

5. My one semi-healthy treat. Trader Joe's yogurt is super creamy and flavorful. My favorites are the peach and mango. I love these alone and I love them in a smoothie. I really dislike milk so this is a good way to get some calcium in me. Especially after all the salty chips!

ps. Yes, I also eat fruits and vegetables.

(edit to add mine)

I am the Queen of the Snacks. It all started back when I worked in daycare. I became a grazer (and then a good dinner) instead of an eater of three big meals a day. It's modified a bit since then, but I remain a snacker. If you were to dig through my cabinets here, I can almost guarantee you will find all five of these snacks stocked up!

Several years ago, I got myself hooked on Archer Farms Monster Mix from Target. It was becoming an expensive habit, since I was eating it as my mid-morning snack Monday through Friday, so I started buying the ingredients and mixing my own.

I try to keep a healthy-ish snack in my lunch bag for those late afternoon munchies. I will also grab a handful to stave off hunger pangs if dinner is taking too long.

Oh, come on. There was no way I was making it through this list with mostly healthy snacks! After dinner, I need something sweet. M&Ms are just right and they come in so many flavors! Peanut Butter are my favorite, but Pretzel is a good runner-up, and I often have some other seasonal flavor on deck as well. They are a little palmful of happiness.

It gets hot here. And it stays hot here. And sometimes a girl just needs to be cooled off and refreshed.

I think these fall somewhere between healthy and not. These serve so many purposes: they fill a salty craving, they are light enough for when I just need to crunch on something but am not starving, they can calm an unhappy tummy. They *must* be the pretzel sticks though. The tiny ones, not the giant ones.

Hmmmmm... I think I need a snack now that I mention it!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Photo-a-Day: Week 20


Monday, May 20, 2013

Because this isn't a game of freeze tag anymore.

I read this quote on Mabel's House: "My mom always told us that we could measure a good friend not by people who were sorry for us when bad things happened, but by people who were truly happy for us when good things happened."

I've mulled it over for a good long while.

It's something to chew on, really. What makes us a good friend? I think, much like we all believe we're good drivers, we all think we're great friends. Truth is, there's always room for improvement in both areas. Maybe, deep down, we know we shouldn't drive so fast and should pick up the phone more often. Whatever it is, we know where we could use a little elbow grease to shine things up, even if we won't admit it out loud.

It's really easy to fall into one-dimensional friendship. Who doesn't like to be invited to the weddings and the cookouts? It isn't as much fun to sit beside someone when they're down or scared or trying to work through some enormous thoughts. That requires effort on our part. We have to actively listen. We have to spend a little time focusing outside ourselves. We have to give it some actual thought and attention.

For a really long time, it used to bother me when I was the one showing up. I showed up for shopping. I showed up for birthday cake. I stood by when new boyfriends or girlfriends were a higher priority and then I showed up for the broken heart. It would be terribly simple to read that quote I mentioned and look back to see that I also showed up for the weddings, even when I was convinced I was destined for spinsterhood, and for squealing over new babies, even when aforementioned impending spinsterhood appeared to doom my chances of even considering a future family of my own. And I could smugly point out that know I did it with a smile firmly in place, because in all the days that I did the showing up for the good and for the bad, it felt no one was ever really interested, it seems, in how I was doing, unless I was smiling. I was The One Who Took Care of Everyone and apparently it's easy to forget that the well can run a bit on the dry side, if we keep drawing, drawing, drawing all the time without raining back in. But upon a little further introspection, I've never been much of a squeaky wheel. I'm far more of a grin-and-bear-it girl and, more and more, I am starting to wonder if it's a case of "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Is it a case of me just not leaning on people so they don't see the need to offer? Or do they not offer, so I've learned not to expect any place to lean? I really can't remember anymore, and frankly, I'm not sure it even matters how it started. But the wisdom I've gained over time is that looking at it from the angle of "it's never my turn" is a short path to the intersection of Angry and Bitter.

Man, that's heavy and it makes my brain hurt. I am also not a fan of angry or bitter. (Angry and bitter are like orange prison jumpsuits: they aren't attractive on anyone.)

Don't misunderstand. I am pretty low maintenance. I don't need people to fawn all over me for every hangnail or trying day at work. But I know this: It really stinks to be forgotten until the other person needs something. And it equally stinks to learn that they only need you for the shallow stuff but never anything of any substance, when you learn about the big stuff third hand. Or on Facebook. (No one you truly care about should ever have to learn a major life announcement on social media. I can't think of a bigger slap in the face or a harsher reality check of where you stand in someone's circle. I digress.) Turns out the thing that smarts worse than only being noticed when needed is not being noticed much at all. A girl can only take being forgotten or ignored for so long.

When we're kids, we're all in such a hurry to grow up, but being an adult, with adult responsibilities and adult concerns and adult thoughts, is overrated in ways our little child minds never foresee, and friendship is not immune from this. Being instant friends with whomever is available to play at recess or two houses up the street is a gift we don't appreciate at the time, because we have no clue that adult friendship, like any adult relationship worth having, requires real work, and sometimes it forces us to realize that some people aren't ever going to be willing to put in that kind of time.

The thing is, though, stop waiting on your friends to make the effort first. Pick up the phone and call them. And when you do, be genuine about it. Talk about the silly stuff, the catching-up stuff, but don't forget about the real stuff. That's the meat of a true friendship. It's what separates the friends from the acquaintances and the close friends from the casual. It's the good and the bad and the "how are you *really?*" that shows a friend their value. A true friend is rare and they are worth making the time, but also? You have to actually give them the opportunity to talk you out of your tree too. You can't expect anyone to expose their own vulnerabilities if you keep yours locked away under a smiley mask or radio silence. You can't just want them to ask "how are you *really*?" if you never want to answer the question in stripped-bare honesty.

You want to know how to measure if I really consider you a friend? Ask me how I am. Do you ever get anything more in response than "good, how are you?" I hold my cards closer to my chest, the older I get. I'm more careful who gets to see "behind the scenes." I will not bare my soul via Facebook status or Twitter update. My true friends are the ones who know how to narrow their eyes, look intently, and ask "uh huh, how are you *really*?" It is for those people that I will do battle, that I will step up without batting an eye, that I will allow to convince me to dance like a fool and still love them tomorrow. That list is small but oh, it is precious.

Admit it: you *could* be a better friend, so stop sulking, stop being a hypocrite, and just do it, from the quick "thinking of yous" to the three-hour heart-to-hearts. And if someone won't rise to the occasion, won't match what you put out with effort of their own, they're not really a friend anyway, difficult as that may be to face. (They're probably a lousy driver too! So at least there's that.) But the good ones? They're worth cherishing. They're not as easily procured as they were when your next "best friend" could be the kid who climbed onto the next swing over.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

I Watch TV: May 19, 2013

Disclaimer: I tend to be fairly behind on my tv watching. Even so, consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead if you're even further behind than I am. You read at your own risk!

**I am stunned and thrilled and stunned some more that The Carrie Diaries will be back for a second season! The buzz had it a sure goner and I was trying to come to terms with it...and then BAM! Renewed!

**Sophie in the spa, chucking a lime (I think?) at some woman. Oh, holy crap, that was funny. (2 Broke Girls, ep 23)

**One of the reasons Chicago Fire frustrates me so is that they are so good at nailing emotional stories, but they spend so much time wreaking havoc on the lives of their main characters. Case in point, the ending of "Leaders Lead," where the 12-year-old girl comes back to the firehouse to have her photo taken on her birthday, because she was abandoned there and the Chief rescued her and now she's this awesome, adopted, well-adjusted kid: total tear-jerker. *Loved* it. If they would give us some more feel-good stuff like that to balance out all the shock-and-horror, it would give the viewer little insights into who these characters are, giving the emotional bombshells a far bigger effect. I mean, I was more invested in the characters on Scandal after its abbreviated 7-episode first season than I am after 22 episodes of Chicago Fire, and it's not because they don't have the material to work with! (ep 22)

**Bernadette: "I have a new tube top that says 'come hither' and a can of pepper spray that says 'close enough, Jack!'" (The Big Bang Theory, ep 23) - Oh my heck, so funny!

**Raj to Lucy: "Yeah, well, I like you a lot and that's scary for me, because you're a proven flight risk." (The Big Bang Theory, ep 23) - 1. Yay, Raj!! 2. Could Raj and Lucy be any more perfect for each other?

**That whole bit about the "love spell" over Sheldon and Amy? I did *not* see that coming! But, wow, Sheldon must actually really care about Amy, somewhere deep in his robotic soul. (The Big Bang Theory, ep 23)

**April's proposal and (he'll always be chief to me) Dr Webber knowing exactly how to get Bailey back in the O.R. were absolutely perfect. (Grey's Anatomy, ep 23)

**Ellen Pompeo is just knocking it out of the park as Meredith Grey-coming-into-her-own this season. (Grey's Anatomy)

**Sherlock's reaction to seeing Irene. I am bowled the heck over. The whole episode, which was great and hinged entirely on progressing the whole Moriarty story, just stopped existing in my mind, because I wanted to Jonny Lee Miller a standing ovation for the believability of his emotions. Also, newsflash: Sherlock has emotions! (Elementary, ep 22)

**John Ross and Pamela got *married*?? I did NOT see that coming. (Dallas, ep 13)

**With all the renewal and cancellation announcements coming out last weekend, there came the little reveal that Parenthood will be moving to Thursday nights. Commence wailing and gnashing of teeth. My Thursdays are packed full from 9-11pm (Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, Elementary and Person of Interest) leaving me no way to watch and/or DVR a third show, for one, and two, why on earth would NBC think it wise to take a show and pit it against such tough competition? Even if you *don't* watch any of those shows, a lot of people do, and they are invested in them at this point. It's like NBC wants Parenthood to fail and that makes me super sad.

**Speaking of renewals and cancellations, there were a lot on my list that won't be back. Some didn't surprise me that much -- Whitney, Rules of Engagement, Deception, Up All Night, How to Live with Your Parents -- and one I knew was on the fence, and though I am a little bummed, I kind figured it might happen (CSI:NY). But there are two I am really upset about losing: Body of Proof (that chemistry between Dana Delany and Mark Valley was fantastic) and Monday Mornings (a TNT original which was the best new show no one was watching -- clearly or it would have been renewed). ::sigh:: The two most angsty times of year for me are the MLB Trade Deadline and TV Network Renewal Day.

**How I Met Your Mother makes me want to hug Ted. Seriously. He's sweet. And no one seems to appreciate it.

**I also don't really like that How I Met Your Mother insults my intelligence in "Something Old" (ep 23) with that ending: Robin questioning her plan to marry Barney, staring all weepy into Ted's eyes and grabbing his hand. Come *on*. How many times has future-Ted's-Voice referred to her as "your Aunt Robin" -- if she were The Mother? That would be weird and completely out of line with the continuity of this show, something that they tend to excel at.

**As if Reverend Tim Tom weren't pad enough, they made Cassidy and Axl break up? At the *prom*?? Excuse me, I need to go pout. Count me in with Axl, but I just wasn't thinking about what graduation would mean for them. (The Middle, ep 22)

**One of the things that frustrates me the most about Chicago Fire is the ridiculously high number of horrible things that happen to these characters. Even on Grey's Anatomy, a show well known for its over-the-top catastrophes, manages to balance out low-level drama with the earth-shattering stuff. I never get the chance to feel anything about these characters, because there aren't enough non-drama scenes where I can get to know them before something terrible happens. I mean, Hallie's barely back on the show for ten minutes and now she's dead? (ep 22)

**What is this whole thing with Arizona and the cheating? Is someone always cheating? Is this really an accurate representation of the world? Yes, this is still bothering me. (Grey's Anatomy, ep 23)

**I do not like this Jo girl and what she does to Alex. (Grey's Anatomy, ep 23)

**Saying goodbye to the Reagans for the summer. I want them to be real and I want them to adopt me. (Blue Bloods)


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Photo-a-Day: Week 19


Sunday, May 12, 2013

TV Loves and Hates: May 12, 2013

Disclaimer: I tend to be fairly behind on my tv watching. Even so, consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead if you're even further behind than I am. You read at your own risk!

**Timmy finally quit! I hope he sticks with it. Russell may be one of the most annoying characters on television. (Rules of Engagement, ep 11)

**The way Mad Men makes me think and analyze like pretty much no other show I watch.

**I have a love-hate relationship with a show that can pull off a good child criminal. Something is so creepy about a kid being that creepy. Maybe because we expect it of an adult, but kids are supposed to be innocent. All I know is Body of Proof's "Committed" creeped me out like crazy! Which is, I guess, what you want from a crime drama?

**I love that Bailey could finally feel safe and come unglued when Ben arrives. (Grey's Anatomy, ep 22)

**There was a scene when Mer and Derek are having a tea party with Zola and talking about how her whole world is about to turn upside down when the baby arrives. If that doesn't just tug the heartstrings, well, I don't know what does. (Grey's Anatomy, ep 22)

**The Moriarty arc on Elementary intrigues me. I clearly enjoy a running background story in my crime dramas (Red John on The Mentalist, what really happened to Megan's father on Body of Proof -- just to name a couple) and I like that this "Moriarty" seems capable of playing on Sherlock's level.

**I thought the cardiologist poisoning the man who poisoned him with the same poison was the perfect poetic justice. (Person of Interest, ep 20)

**I love the way I can feel Person of Interest building up for the season finale! So many questions and threads left hanging, just like last year. Just as you start to wonder what it all means and how it connects, they present you with the season finale and something to chew on all summer!

**It is a wee bit annoying that Natalie (the little girl) is the smartest character on How to Live With Your Parents. Especially when you consider that there are at least five regular adult characters.

**I keep reading that there is going to be a police spin-off of Chicago Fire. I am not interested. There are a thousand police dramas already done. Some of them are among my favorite shows. However, Chicago Fire's "schtick" is that it's unique in being a fire department. You cannot lure me into what's going on at the police station down the street, especially not after one season. And a season that was slow to hook me, at that.

**I know I am supposed to feel some angst with Dawson's love dilemma and to find myself on some Mills or Casey "team," but really? They can't seem to make me care about who she chooses. I kind of just want to smack her and tell her to stop being a child. (Chicago Fire)

**Why does there always have to be some cheating or some sort of ambivalence regarding fidelity on Grey's Anatomy? I don't like that some new lady doctor is threatening to rock the boat with Arizona and Callie. Can't we just leave intact relationships alone? I guess I should be happy it doesn't involve Meredith and Derek? (ep 22)

**As annoying as he could be, I am bummed they killed off Jamie's partner on Blue Bloods.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

20 Questions: May 11, 2013

1. Paper, plastic or bring-your-own?
Yes! I actually have a finely tuned method to my madness: I get paper when my stash runs low for containing my paper recycling between pick-ups. I get plastic from the grocery stores when my stash runs low, because I use these when I need to contain some kitchen garbage that will be too stinky or messy to hang out in the regular trash can until that bag is full and will get tossed directly into the big garbage bin that goes out to the road on garbage day. I get plastic from Target when my stash for lining the bathroom trash cans gets low; they are the perfect size, a little bit bigger than the grocery store plastic bags! And most of the time, when my stockpiles of paper and plastic are sufficient, I use my own bags, four regular reusable totes and one insulated.

2. What's the next trip you're planning to take?
I don't have anything planned, long distance, at the moment, but I will likely take a trip to visit Nichole and Daniel at some point this summer.

3. You are going to the beach for the day. Your essentials--sunblock, bathing suit, towel, sunglasses, water and snacks--are provided for you. One ONE other item do you bring with you?
I'm not much of a sunbather, but I think I would need to bring a book for between walks along the water and people-watching.

4. What was the last food you *really* craved?
A vine-ripened tomato sandwich. That's what I am actually craving right now. It will be a while, though. The tomato plants only have blossoms.

5. What is the last thing you changed?
Well, I changed out the towels on Saturday morning, but the last things that I actually changed, like from one thing to another, was the color of the master bedroom. Well, I contributed to that change, anyway. I chose the colors, T did the actual painting.

6. Have you ever peeked at a present?
I did once, when I was probably 9 or 10. There was a stack of gifts in my Gram's bedroom and I looked, even though I knew I shouldn't. Ruined that whole Christmas for myself and never once considered doing it again.

7. What is your least favorite part of the morning?
The part where I have to leave for work. I am grateful I have a job, but I like having slow mornings at home.

8. Ocean or pool?
The ocean. But not for the beach or swimming. I prefer it at sunrise or sunset. And I want to take a slow walk. With my camera. And my guy.

9. Name three of your guilty pleasures.
Red Sox t-shirts. Yankee Candles. The tv show "Dallas."

10. Who was your high school celebrity crush?
Ohhh, Dylan McKay... because that was the closest I was ever getting to a bad boy.

11. Other than church, to whom did you make your last charitable contribution?
The One Fund for helping victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

12. What was the last thing you created?
In an artsy-craftsy way? A bunch of items for our wedding last September.

13. Do you attend church?

14. What item do you always seem to forget when you're packing to travel?
My earbuds for my iPod.

15. How many email addresses do you use?
I use two regularly: my personal email and my work email. I have a third, but I haven't logged into my old Hotmail account in I don't even know how long now.

16. What kind of camera do you use?
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi. And sometimes the cameras on my cell phone and iPod.

17. How old is the oldest pair of shoes you own?
Of the ones I actually wear on a regular basis, I believe my black heeled boots are about 8 or 9 years old (hooray for good quality, real leather shoes!), but I have a pair of strappy black heels that Michael picked out for me back when we were dating, and considering we broke up in early 2000 (or was it 1999?),  you do the math? They are beautiful shoes and very classic, which is great, because they might last forever at the rate I have the opportunity to wear them!

18. What was the last pill you took?
My multivitamin this morning.

19. Who was the last person to instant message you?
Pretty much no one messages me anymore! It was probably G or possibly my brother. Everyone else just texts.

20. Which board game was your favorite when you were a child?
I loved Clue, Monopoly and The Game of LIFE. Don't ask me to pick just one! I'd still play any one of them, if the opportunity was there.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Ending up where I should have started a long time ago.

When we first moved into this house, lo these fifteen months ago, we dd a lot of thinking and planning and dreaming about how we'd make it into our own over time. We're still thinking and planning and dreaming (as is the state of pretty much every homeowner ever, I suppose), but bit by bit, those plans have begun to take on actual existence outside our heads and conversations.

The very first project was...

I'm getting ahead of myself.

Our kitchen looked like this on the day we signed all the paperwork.

Back to the early 80s. Which was when the house was built. Almost immediately those (possibly) original appliances were carted off and replaced with these new lovlies.

The cabinets and counters remain. For now. Because a kitchen renovation is a giant endeavor and we're just not there yet. But we were feeling a little cramped for kitchen storage (kind of funny, since we'd pretty much doubled our storage space from the miniature kitchen we'd had in the apartment, but ::shrugs::) and there was this big empty space.

Sure, we could have just found some shelving or a baker's rack or an armoire or something, but instead of wasting time and money on something absolutely temporary, T decided to construct the template for what will, eventually, be the cabinetry for the entire kitchen! Which, let's be honest, is *way* awesome. In time, all that bleh off-white fake yuck cabinetry will match this gorgeous, custom-made cherry wood beauty. (And yes, that wallpaper will also be history at some point as well. Ahem.)

Want a little peek inside?

We've played around with the arrangement a bit, because daily use is the best way to fine tune. First, there was this...

...but there was an awful lot of unused space over there on the left. That bugged me. So we added a shelf in there, which worked for a while. Until we got married and had some fabulous new cookware to house. So we tweaked a little more and came up with this! The perfect solution to all our beautiful new Calphalon which was a wedding gift (via gift card purchase) and a few old friends not yet ready for retirement.

And while that is a multitude of awesome, the lower half steals all the thunder.

It's *really* difficult to compete with pull-out spice racks and shelves-that-are-actually-drawers for canned and jarred goods. And that little deal on the bottom left? A drawer with slots for all those awkward-to-store kitchen necessities, like muffin tins and cooling racks and cookie sheets. On the right, the top drawer is divided for all kinds of utensils. The next two shallower drawers hold all manner of various kitchen-related odds and ends that are useful but awkward to store (like manual can openers and corn cob handles and my beloved citrus trumpet, to name just a few). The drawer below them has dishtowels in it and the big deep drawer has bulkier items, like the mandolin, various attachments for the KitchenAid mixer, the cord for the electric griddle. The slow cooker and the electric griddle share that cubby on the bottom, thanks to another handy dandy shelf. It's pretty ridiculous how much I love what T created here. It's been in for over a year and sometimes I still stand in front of it with all the doors open and just grin. I cannot wait to see the kitchen in its full glory one of these days...and in the mean time, I am busy saving ideas on Pinterest, so that when T asks if I have any requests, I'm ready to go!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

This is what happened when I went to visit friends after Christmas.

A long time ago (or a little over a year, whichever),  the space by the front door looked like this.

We don't wear shoes in the house--a rule we follow about 98% of the time--which meant a lot of sitting on the floor to put on shoes. "A bench would be nice here," I mused, as I climbed up off the floor yet again.

I commented here and there in April.

And in July.

And again in October.

(And probably about a hundred other times. You'd have to ask my husband for a true count.)

In late December, I went to California to visit Nichole and Daniel and to celebrate some more Christmas. While I was there, my husband was bored one day.

I returned to find this, designed and built to match the entertainment center:

Moral of the story: I leave for five days and come home to newly constructed furniture.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

In which she brags some more about her husband.

Not all that long ago, I had to brag on my husband for his crazy woodworking skills that resulted in a gorgeous new bed and blanket chest in the master bedroom. I would be remiss to make you think that his handiwork was limited to that one room. Back in October, this beauty was unveiled in our living room.

Our living room has high ceilings and abundant light, so not only can it handle those deep red walls, but in order to achieve the warm cozy feel of autumn, it needed a little more weight. So T designed this entertainment center, complete with storage and lights and curio cabinets. It's enormous and beautiful and *heavy*. The day he brought it in from his workshop, I tried to help him move it into place. He had it on these coaster thingies, made for easily moving furniture. I tried to brace against one side, in an effort to hold it in place, so he could shimmy the other end toward the wall, and the combination of his strength and the weight of the entertainment center basically swung the whole thing in a circle, taking me with it! There is something to be said for actual wood construction as compared to the cheap, mostly-particle-board stuff for sale now, even at higher end furniture galleries.

(As an aside, if you ever want a special treat, take T furniture shopping. He will eyeball, circle, tap and poke at everything, then proceed to point out all the ways in which it was poorly designed, sloppily assembled or constructed out of cheap sub-par materials. And then he will tell you he can build something twice as awesome for a third of the price. And he will be very right.)

(Also fun: Ask him to paint a piece of furniture for you and then ask his honest opinion. Go ahead. I dare you.)

Back to his work of art. The lower cabinets beneath the television are great for all sorts of accessories that you want protected from dust but still need to access, necessitating glass doors, like the DVR and the (please hold back your laughter and judgment) combination VCR/DVR player. (What? It still works!) the side cabinets are way awesome though. The lower ones (without glass) are great for stashing things out of sight. The upper ones are genius though! Just look.

That would alongside the glass is not just a decorative design! It hides shelves for all our DVDs!

Shelves that SLIDE OUT. (My husband is a genius.)

I have had way too much fun decorating my mantel-like shelf for the various seasons and holidays. Easter/spring is still up (in the top photo) and I am still kind of impressed with what I cooked up for the way-up-high top, if you want to know the truth of it.

Now I need to figure out what will live there when Easter comes down, now that it's May.

All we really need to complete the living room are three matching end tables to replace the old black ones (and the tv tray) we're making do with right now. We're toying with the idea of painting the trim white and I'm trying to decide if I want a valance over the windows. All in good time. What I do know is that I will love every piece of furniture he builds as we make this house more and more our home.


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