Sunday, September 23, 2012

When Intuition Strikes, Welcome the Poison

After watching a recent interview with Evelyn Lozada, and trying harder to listen to my own intuitive voice, I'm finding myself more and more fascinated with the power of our internal wisdom and instinct. If we're willing to listen, it seems we always know what's going on, what choices we should make, what our next moves should be.

Evelyn ignored the obvious warnings that her husband Chad Johnson was a creep. And then he allegedly cheated on and head-butted her—causing all hell to break loose. What might Evelyn's life look like if she'd listened to her gut earlier?

Check out some more thoughts on intuition over at The Path to Wonderful.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

F-Bombs and Backyard Farming

If Mr. W was a vegetable, he would be a cool, cool cucumber. He is one of the most even-tempered people I've ever met, no matter what's going on around him. I could be climbing the walls or spitting fireballs and he'd be totally zen, rubbing my shoulders, and assuring me everything would be fine. As part of this mellow mode of operating, it's somewhat rare that he spouts off expletives.

That is, unless he accidentally torches his marshmallow when making s'mores (this warranted an F-bomb in our kitchen not too long ago) or our backyard becomes a deer salad bar.

A few weeks ago, he came through the sliding glass door cursing a blue streak about how the mother effing deer had gotten into the efferino backyard and eaten all the blasted effing tomatoes. Every last one. I seriously do not think I've ever seen him get so worked up about something.

It was delightful.

He was not pleased that I found so much humor in the situation.

We think we've sealed the deer entryway, but we're still a little nervous that they may come back and nosh on our new fall garden occupants.

This is the first time we've planted chard and even if it doesn't taste great, it sure looks pretty.

Our carrots are just teeny tiny babies right now, but we're hoping the deeper box Mr. W built will enable them to grow longer than they did last time we planted them. 

Our one and only lonely pumpkin finally turned orange. We're not sure what to do with him yet. Carve him. Roast him. Maybe make risotto with him. We'll see...

Thankfully, a few tomatoes grew back after the Deer Disaster of 2012. I'm hoping we get another rogue that produces all winter for us again!

These California poppies earned their name after popping up out of nowhere. So nice to have such vibrant color dotting the backyard.

We haven't checked the avocados in awhile, but they've got to be close to their full size. It's hard to believe they used to be smaller than my thumbnail!

We've eaten two of the butternut squash and are very grateful to have 3 more waiting for our next meal of gnocchi or past and brown-butter sage sauce.

Although we enjoyed many figs over the summer months, there were a whole lot that ended up like this...

...thanks to this kind of action going on out back. Strangely, the sneaky squirrels do not make Mr. W cuss. 

As much as we love our garden (despite the diners who occasionally pop up in it), we're really excited to build a mini farm at our new house. Maybe full-blown farm life will turn Mr. W into an uncensored potty mouth. I'll keep you informed, whatever happens...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bathroom Before and After, Seahorse-Style

This weekend, Mr. W and I went up to our new house and began what will likely become a years-long process of cleaning/fixing up/remodeling. We had a very ambitious to-do list and, of course, ran out of time when we were only about halfway through it.

But we trimmed up a lot of unwieldy rose bushes in the front yard (see my battle wounds below), made headway with the temporary sprinkler setup, and got a fair amount of cleaning done.

The room that felt closest to being temporarily "finished" at the end of the weekend was the main bathroom. Sure, the original linoleum flooring is still in it, its pink and blue flecks and sparkles sadly faded, but overall it feels very cute and kitschy and clean. Here are the before and afters:

Most of what we did was just scrub the crap out of the man mess. (Why are boys so dirty?) The tile is in great shape—even though we think its original to the house—and the room had been freshly painted, so it was just a matter of wiping down the walls a bit. And of course, hitting every surface with Ajax with bleach.

The one big sticking point was the toilet... Hard water had stained and corroded it pretty badly inside and, frankly, Mr. W and I wanted to be able to put our tooshies on something brand spanking new. So after a quick trip to Home Depot, we had a shiny new white porcelain champion. (There was literally a toilet model called The Champion. I totally wanted it.)

I'm feeling very affectionate towards the seahorse tiles right now. We'll see how long that lasts...

Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to make it over to Solvang's "Danish Days" weekend festival. We did, however, see this gem when we were driving back to the house after Home Depot.

That is a parade float with a giant pan of aebleskivers in it. Classic.

We also met about half a dozen of our neighbors and everyone is SO nice. It was hard to come back to LA. We are so ready to begin our lives as house-rehabbing farmers. Sigh...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

New Beginnings

 Me and my niece throwing leaves and prancing around in Boston last autumn.

In the past month, two of Mr. W and my nieces started high school, another started junior high, and the oldest started college. That last one was a biggie for my entire family. She is the niece whose college tour I tagged along on last fall and her final two choices for the next four years were down to Georgetown and University of San Diego.

My entire family was rooting for USD because we wanted her close. Much to our surprise she chose to stay in California.

She is my first niece and the only one whose birth I witnessed. I think until the day I die, that moment—watching her enter this world—will be one of the most miraculous things I'll ever see. I remember hearing her first wail, watching the first waves of her little clenched fists as they shook furiously at the doctor for moving her from her comfy, warm space into a cold, bright delivery room.

New beginnings can be hard.

Just like her birth, it's been such a privilege watching her take this big step and leave her familiar nest. On some level, I think she's wailing and waving those fists again. But her next eighteen years are sure to be even more incredible than the first, and I cannot wait to see how they unfold.

In the midst of the whirlwinds of niece activity, Mr. W and I also have been pursuing a new beginning.

You might remember how I wrote about the real estate we checked out last month in Santa Ynez. Well, we put an offer on the little mid-century place I wrote about. And it was accepted.

We celebrated and started combing remodeling magazines for kitchen and bathroom ideas. And then the rollercoaster left the depot.

We rode up and down the purchasing peaks and valleys until finally Mr. W texted me and told me the mortgage broker delivered the news that we didn't get the loan. We were both pretty heartbroken, so I did the only natural thing I could think of to cope. I posted the news on Facebook.

Then Mr. W came home from work and informed me that after his text was sent, the mortgage broker called back and said the underwriters wanted to look at one more thing. We were that close. They shuffled some paperwork and recrunched the numbers and the next morning, we had our loan.

This weekend, we had already planned to visit Santa Ynez with my family to celebrate my dad's 70th birthday. It was like fate that my parents got to go with us on the final walk-through of the house. The whole family was delighted by the potential of our new digs.

We are so excited about our new beginning.

The view is the absolute best. We cannot wait to sit and drink wine in the backyard, gazing out over the hills. 
 The living room is also at the top of my list with its bright, cheery ambiance and giant picture windows.

 The hutch in the kitchen reminds me of one my mom has in her dining room.

 And the retro pink tiles with seahorses won me over the moment I saw them. 

Don't worry, we plan to do significant remodeling in the future. Stay tuned for lots and lots of before and after pics!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Wanting to Take a Big, Fat, Red Pen to 50 Shades of Grey

A girl can only handle so many non-fiction, self-help, and meditation books. When days upon days have been spent studying for life coach training and trying to educate oneself on the principles of more enlightened living, there comes a time when one just needs to give in to mental lethargy.

And so, this week, I began reading 50 Shades of Grey.

I am only 53 pages in, but already I know that Christian Grey has very long fingers. The author likes to remind readers on every third page. It's also been pointed out thirty or forty times that Ana, the main character, finds Grey "unnerving" and "unsettling."

If James cut back on the repetition of language she used, I think the book would be about half as long as it is.

The worst offender I've seen so far was on page 24:

"Saturday at the store is a nightmare. We are beseiged by do-it-yourselfers wanting to spruce up their homes. Mr. and Mrs. Clayton and John and Patrick—the two other part-timers—and I are beseiged by customers."


Was an editor not employed during any part of the publishing process? I'm thinking not. I cannot imagine ANYONE reading that and not drawing a thick red line through one of those sentences.

Not every page is as painful as the above excerpt. There have been a few scenes that flow relatively well and hold my attention enough to want to keep reading without complaining to Mr. W about something. But then I come across a word that seems so unnatural for a twenty-something to use in "taciturn"...and I lose it. I don't think I've ever even heard any person—regardless of age—use that word in real life. It's like James is working weekly vocab words from English class into her prose. Very Dawson's Creek.

I plan to finish the book, although I'm sure I will keep griping throughout the entire process. I just wish I'd hurry up and get to the S&M parts already...