Wednesday, December 29, 2010

little changes here & there

a while back i blogged about a yard sale where we scored on a bunch of great {& random} things. one of the things we bought for 50 cents was large brass lamp. i told brandon to look past the ugly, giant shade & sassy brassy color & focus on the lines of the base. for 50 cents he was willing to "take the shot," as rob would say. we came home, cleaned her up, & immediately took the giant {2 1/2' diameter} shade to salvation army. 
we spent the rest of the day wandering the isles of rattle can paint at our local shops. brandon pulled out a caterpillar yellow--caterpillar as in CAT heavy machinery, not the fuzzy little critters. i wasn't so sure, but he was certain we need more color in our house. with some hesitation i agreed. 

now i LOVE it! spray painting is the easiest way to make something not-so-cool into something awesome! we found a greyish-brown shade & the lovely yellow lamp sits on top of our renovated blue end-table. they are great together! it looks better with the fabric basket my mom made us next to it, but i took this photo during advent so the basket was replaced with my little mexican nativity.

i have also done a few things in our bedroom. i have had this necklace tree for 5 years & although i like the look of it, it was tarnishing my jewelry & the tree was starting to fall over daily because the enamel wore off the base. i stopped wearing necklaces altogether just so i didn't have to deal with the carnage of it falling off the dresser. the red jewelry box was also something i loved, but the back broke & i was struggling to keep my earrings & bracelets from tangling. 
with a trip to bart's, our lovely indoor flea market, i found two frames, spray painted them, & filled one with cork board & the other with window screen. now i have a great way to display {& organize} my jewelry!

the other thing i have been up to is sewing! i sewed quite a few christmas gifts this year, but forgot to take photos of them before i sent them on their merry way. those of you who received handmade gifts from me, could you please snap a photo or two for me?

anyhow, i found some amazing fabric a while back & knew i wanted to make a bolster pillow for our bed with it. we have had the red thing going for a long time in our room, but i felt like we needed a few other colors. i added black piping to the pillow & it turned out great! i got together with my friend & neighbor for a sewing night when i made it. she totally doubted it would turn out right with the piping, but we were both pleasantly surprised. 
rowan dubbed this bedside lamp a "popcorn lamp"
while he was here this summer, so now i think
of him each time i turn that light off before bed.
an adorable godson is a great thing to think of as i go to sleep!

i also {finally!} made another black curtain for the second window in our room. i made the first one the week we moved in because there were no blinds on the window from our bedroom to the street. the second window opens to our sideyard & had {nasty} miniblinds. i couldn't take those gross slat blinds anymore so i made my classic twin-flat-sheet-$4-curtains. this requires i measure once, iron, & sew a straight line. it is so simple, easy, & cheap that i can't bring myself to fork over real money for real curtains. these will do for now!
we have done a few other things around here, but i don't have photos to share yet. it only took me four months to get around to taking photos of the revamped lamp! 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

together & alone

being just us together for christmas, i was worried we would feel alone. i am sure that is a strange concept: together & alone at the same time. holidays for me are chaotic & somewhat noisy & i always have the "where do we have to be next?" concern running through the back of my mind. we didn't have any of that this year, but we certainly weren't alone. 

on christmas eve we had friends over for dinner. one couple we have known for some time, but have become closer with in the last month since they had their daughter. it has been nice to spend more time with them & realize how much we have in common. laura is a nurse in the ER at the hospital where i will be doing my internship this spring, so i am counting on her for a bit of guidance. james & brandon teleski together all winter long & climb in the summer, plus they are both geology grad students. with adorable hadley now in the picture, we have fun just sitting around watching her sleep.

we also had another ski/climbing friend from the geology department over for dinner, who i didn't know too well, but had a great time hanging out with. we had lots of snacks, then a roast for dinner, egg nog, & GF apple-crisp. it was a great night! even though family is irreplaceable, good friends make the missing more bearable.

a few tries with the timer on the camera.
we had to have an annual posed photo in front of the tree, right?
brandon looking sleepy after the festivities died down.
harvey boy also looking sleepy under the tree.
one of my nativity sets. this one is from mexico &
although not breakable, it has domino-like results if you
accidently bump one of the wise men.
this picture is blurry, but thank goodness for
technology which kept us talking with family
{& texting with brothers} all day long.
my mom sent harvey a leather stuffed buffalo for his christmas gift.
he is obsessed! first thing in the morning, "where is the buffalo?"
as soon as he is back in the house, "where is the buffalo?"
of course, we call it woofie after my brother's
childhood invisible friend who was also a buffalo.
an especially fun game for harvey is showing woofie to oliver
{tiff's dog who is staying with us for a few weeks}
& then running into the other room before oliver tries to take it.
oliver is over the game, but you can imagine that harvey
will get a few more miles out of it.
brandon & i are pretty sure everyone felt bad that we weren't going to be home so they went overboard with our gifts. we felt utterly spoiled!!! we called everyone & checked to see how they liked their gifts & send our love. i didn't feel lonely, but i would have liked to see people's faces when they opened their gifts.

christmas morning was beautiful. the trees were covered in hoarfrost, the sky was clear, the foot of snow on the ground was sparkling, & the sun was shining. it was incredibly cold, but gorgeous.

after brandon made a yummy breakfast {GF pumpkin loaf}, we suited up for a ski. he insisted on going around turtle rock out at vedauwoo. this is a great place to hike & some fun mountain-biking terrain; it is NOT a good place to cross-country ski. i was pretty frustrated that we couldn't go to the groomed 20+ miles of nordic trails just down the road because "everyone else would be there" & spent the entire ski agitated. at one point i just started crying. here it was beautiful outside without a breeze on christmas morning & i am alone in the woods crying. brandon was irritated with me for being so, let's just say, "upset" & i was fed up. my skis were off most of the morning because beneath the couple of inches of snow that remained there were slabs of granite that i was certain would hurt if i feel on. we got back to the car, i told him i never wanted to ski there again, & then i regained my sanity. 

after that we went to james' & laura's for christmas ham. we brought tamales & hung out for a long time, mostly watching the baby sleep again. going to bed last night we felt fortunate for a wonderful christmas, filled with a bit of extra emotion, lots of people {& critters} we love, & each other. we didn't feel alone, but we sure missed our folks & siblings. 
oliver is an excellent guest. he loves to go for a
ski & come home to sleep the rest of the day away.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

update on the random

whenever brandon is going to be gone, i make lists of things i want to accomplish while he is away. i get a little excited about having the house to myself, eating dinner standing over the sink, sleeping in without feeling guilty, & watching movies i know he would despise. the first few days i revel in all of the above, usually adding a night out with my girlfriends & a few craft projects to the list. but by day three i realize i miss him. a lot. mostly i miss his friendship. he is an amazing husband & i am desperately in love with him, but our friendship is what i can't to do without. especially the sarcasm & inside jokes. 

i know i shouldn't complain, & i feel guilty even posting this, because some people are apart from the person they love for months, even years, at a time. 

he comes home tonight! i might miss sleeping in the middle of our bed, reading until the wee hours of the morning without him dramatically sighing about my nocturnal habits, & eating cheese & crackers for a meal. but at this point, that stuff seems pretty trivial. 

in other news, i think i misunderstood my spanish-only-speaking neighbor's gesture yesterday & gave her a hug. how do you recover from giving an unwelcome hug? yeah, i gave them homemade cookies wrapped up in holiday themed cellophane, but i don't know if the reciprocal gesture is a hug. so she will probably avoid me for a few weeks until this holiday hug fever passes.

additionally, the neighbors who gave us a passive aggressive {read: irritating} letter about harvey's barking this summer stopped by. he knocked on our door & said he stopped by to tell me that my back porch light was on, that it had been on for two days, & that it was incredibly bright. "we don't have a back porch light," i said. he argued that indeed we do & that it is bothering him. again, we don't have a back porch light. at which point it dawned on me that our neighbors {see above, who only speak spanish} are the ones with the light. i told him this & he then said, "could you talk to them about it?" i stood staring for at least 30 seconds, with my mouth hanging open. in my shock & stupidity i said, "uh, if i can communicate that." he smiled sickeningly & thanked me. what was i thinking? why did i agree to deal with his junk? the absurdity of this request baffles me. so i followed his passive aggressive style & did nothing. so much for that holiday cheer i was trying to cultivate.

Monday, December 6, 2010


we love our little piece of the "old tree" part of town. it is mostly quiet {save for the recent WyoTech admits that terrify us with their noisy engines & jacked up pick-ups} & our neighbors are polite. but we only know one household well, the rest just by name. being the somewhat shy folks that we are, we haven't hosted any block parties at our place yet, although i've been meaning to. last night seemed to change that.

we were in a bad place after receiving tragic news about losing someone we love. although the christmas tree was lit & the ornaments were sparkling, when the credits rolled for "national lampoon's christmas vacation" we sat around feeling mournful & empty. a lot of feelings of where-do-we-go-from-here & what's-the-point? i think brandon & i both knew it was going to be a painful evening as we processed this loss. 

suddenly we had a knock on the door from our neighbor, who happens to be the head honcho director of wyoming public radio. he was wearing his beat-up leather jacket, with his thick round beat poet glasses, & a black beret. he handed over a stack of CDs & a few beers, telling as he settled on the couch that he was in a bad place & needed our company. he must have sensed we were too & felt called to pay us a visit while we were all in pain. although we have talked over the fence {home improvement style} we don't know each other well, so this was a surprise. 

he was well on his way into drunkenness, but luckily is a pleasant drunk. he gave me strict instructions about which songs to play on each album, which were mostly bob marley and jerry garcia tunes. after a bit he invited us to his house to listen to his billie holiday vinyls. he is a talented photographer & his house is adorned with his favorite photos. after a tour of the house & his record collection {which is quite extensive} i decided to head home to make dinner, inviting him back to our place for spaghetti & meatballs. when he came over he brought two incredible photographs--taken literally off of his walls!  

over dinner he grilled brandon & i on every topic imaginable: politics, children, our parents, war, religion, our thoughts on general custer, & harvey. oh how he loved harvey! it was an interesting night to say the least. 

at 11PM we were exhausted & desperately wanting to head to bed. we boxed up his unfinished food & sent him on his way. collapsing into bed we both wondered if the past 5 hours were imagined. but we felt grateful that a neighbor we barely know felt comfortable to come to our house when he needed to be lifted out his sadness. his timing couldn't have been better.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

grateful for good friends

i am a lucky girl & i know it... i have friends spread all over this world, friends that continue to talk to me even after i move every few years & make keeping in touch a real challenge. sara {who i call by her middle name, mia} is one of the greatest friends i have & one of the most wonderful people on earth. i love the way our friendship has grown after college & over the miles. 

her birthday is at the end of december & it has a tendancy to sneak up on me in the midst of the holidays. i never want her to feel forgotten, so i tend to send her gifts really early to ensure that she is loved on her special day. the only problem with my proactive gift-giving is that mia has no patience. she always opens her gifts early. 

this year i found the perfect gift on etsy so i had to order it as soon as i saw it, what with etsy items being one-of-a-kind & quick to disappear. i warned her that her gift was coming early again & told her she could open it whenever she wanted on the condition that she remembered our gift on the day of her birthday. the gift came over a month before her special day & as she tells the story, she didn't even make it from her mailbox to her door before she opened it. luckily she loved it!

mia calls dandelions "wishes" so now i always think of her when i see them & often photograph them with her mind. this print was too perfect & sums up her optimistic outlook on life. 
i am so grateful for a friend who reminds me to see the wishes amongst the weeds & who lives life with energy & passion. you're the best mia!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

koi of my dreams

for all my productivity yesterday, today has been a letdown. i woke up today feeling full-on sick. i have been mildly sick all week, but this morning kept me cooped up in the house trying to sleep it off. i hope a day of laying low & accomplishing nothing has helped me kick whatever this nasty bug was. i have to be all better for our trip!

luckily i finished my pants last night & they are all packed. {yes mom, i am packed already!} i love these pants! the pattern was a bit unclear, so there was a point where i had one large tube instead of a pair of pants. whoops! thanks goodness for seam rippers, right? i have had other simplicity patterns that have been somewhat vague, so i am thinking of avoiding that brand in the future. don't they know that if their pattern is marketed to novice sewers the must explain EVERYTHING?!?

i am so glad to have conquered my sewing machine--it haunted me each time i went in our spare room, reminding me that i wasn't smart enough to master it. take that singer!

here are a few pictures brandon took last night. (disregard the crazed sewer's disheveled appearance please!)
brandon insisted i do something "spicy" {what exactly did he mean by that?} for the second photo. not sure if this silliness was what he had in mind...
this is a close-up of the material. after the supplies {1/2 price material, pattern, elastic} these pants were still cheaper than old navy p.j.s so i am happy. it is discouraging when your handmade items end up costing more than you would pay at a store.
i have a couple of other pieces of fabric i am scheming what to do with next. after taking the sewing 101 class at mama said sew & successfully following a pattern, i am looking forward to future sewing projects.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

good riddance

my thesis proposal {which is hopefully the worst part of this thesis process} is out of my hands now. good riddance indeed! now my committee members get to read it with the sole purpose of stripping it of all my mistakes & naive statements until i can't remember what i was researching to begin with. so i get to look forward to that, but for now, i don't have to do anything to this document for at least two whole weeks!

my thesis topic is: how the self-efficacy {belief in one's self to accomplish a given task} of oncology social workers impacts their willingness to conduct mental health assessments & provide supportive counseling. check back after i hear from my committee members & it might be a whole different story. i hope not.

as a reward for getting over this hurdle {that my avoidance of turned into a hurdle of epic proportions} i am gonna sew myself some pajama pants. i found awesome funky koi fabric at 50% off a week ago, meticulously ironed & cut out last night, & tonight i am gonna do the fun part: sew! the plan is to have them finished in time for our trip to austin.

other than that, i just have a few pounds of apples to turn into applesauce & can, a paper to finish for one of my classes, grading of 21 undergraduate student papers, & packing my bags for our trip before monday at 6am. it's gonna be a race to the finish!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

stop over

rob & becky made a detour on their road trip to austin to see our little piece of life here in wyomin'. it was nice to be able to share some of our old favorites & new adventures with them. we went to vedauwoo & hiked around the crazy rocks. we were eager to see a moose, so eager i mistook some hikers tromping through the brush for one. oops!
we also spent lots of time in antique shops & each of us found a few treasures. i found a great print of a ponderosa (kind of nikki mcclure style) in a junky frame. we put it in a new frame & it looks great. plus it is a reminder of home, which is always a bonus! 

on saturday we packed the four of us & the two mutts in the outback. we felt like sardines in there with the dogs breathing down our necks! but it was another beautiful day so we took our time & enjoyed the trip to rocky mountain national park. we saw one elk from a distance in the park & about fifty in a city park down in town.

the park was beautiful--definitely a place i want to visit again. most of the park was closed for the season, so brandon & i need to make plans to get there next summer. too bad dogs are not welcome in national parks. i understand the rationale, but as a dog owner it really cramps my style.

on sunday we hung around the house, brandon & rob put together a washstand papa overstreet made a few years back. i need to get pictures of the finished product--it is really cool! becky & i ran errands, went for coffee, & baked an apple pie. it was nice to lay low with them. we even used our projector and $1-yard-sale-score-projection-screen to watch a movie! 

they took off yesterday after a tour of campus. it was nice that it wasn't "goodbye" since we will see them in austin in a few weeks for thanksgiving. after they left brandon & snuck in the last bike ride of the season, which was awesome. i had a wreck that left me hurting pretty bad, but it still felt good to get out before the snow hit. which it did this morning. we are in a total winter wonderland at the moment!

Monday, November 1, 2010

cookbook poetry

we are on a detox/cleanse diet this week, so naturally all i can think about is the food i can't have. instead of smoothies & soup, i want au gratin celery root & potatoes. 

a while back, on the advice of my dear friend tiffany, i requested alice waters' "the art of simple food" from the library. my love affair with this cookbook began immediately! i love that she writes out her recipes in a way that seems more like poetry than cooking instructions & how she is mindful of combining things that are in season. for the most part, every recipe seems easy to convert to gluten-free & includes lots of cream & butter! :)
i received an email notice that this book is due back soon. i want to protest & keep it forever! i could forgo every other cookbook (except for gluten-free girl, i confess) & happily cook from this book for the rest of my days. it is going to be a sad day when i have to drop it back in the heavy, cold, metal book drop, but at least i know it will take a few oil splatters from my kitchen with it.

on tonight's detox menu: broccoli & arugula soup. tomorrow: still no coffee or 1/2 & 1/2. what were we thinking?

*** update
brandon quit the cleanse. the broccoli & arugula soup was awesome & he quit before dinner, so i had this yummy {& warm!} dinner all to myself.

Friday, October 22, 2010

you win some, you lose some

well we didn't buy the truck last week like we planned. brandon specifically asked about the condition of the clutch & the guy said it was fine. turns out that was not true. we were annoyed that we drove 2.5 hours based on inaccurate information. in addition, they had not replaced the timing belt ever so it felt like a ticking time bomb. we offered them way below asking price {honestly, hoping they would say "no", but knowing we could work it out if they accepted}. they didn't accept & we got in the car feeling annoyed with the way sales work. honesty people, have you heard of it? i suppose they needed the money, but it left us with a yucky feeling.

we redeemed the weekend by getting together with tiffany and having scrumptious pizza. we decided to stay the night at her place. for whatever reason we brought enough food for harvey to stay the night, but failed to bring extra clothes or p.j.s for us. always thinking about him first... staying the night gave us a chance to cruise denver auto-row and hit up lots in ft. collins on the way back. we didn't find anything, but got our annual fill of stereotypical used-car salespeople.

to further redeem the weekend, we found a yardsale where everything was half off. it was the biggest yard sale score i have had, on a sunday to boot!

we got a set of spice jars, an herb garden kit, an old-school heavy-weight wrench,  an ugly lamp & two lampshades {future post on that redo to come}, & a spring-form pan. our grand total: $3! the pan is in perfect shape & is costs over $50 new. {yes, i googled it!} the spice jars not only make my cupboard look more unified, they also prevent bags of herbs from the co-op from falling down on my head each time i open the door. the random grey stick thing was in my box of jars--i guess it is for bathtub plumbing. hopefully we don't have to use it, right?

in other news, i entered a contest to win a year of free udi's gluten-free bread {which is the BEST gluten-free food ever!}. help me win by voting for my sandwich, the "AvoPestGobbler". just go to this link & click "thumbs up". the sandwhich is totally inspired by my mom & aunt kris who made similar sandwiches at grandma's the day after she cooked a turkey. i used to think "yuck, cranberry and turkey" & now i think "yum, yum, yumm!"

i've been doing all kinds of crafty projects in an effort to avoid homework. i need to take pictures and post them, but i hear a 10 page paper due tomorrow relentlessly beaconing me. it might be a bit before i get the photos up, but rest assured that the ugly sassy-brassy lamp above has crossed over into coolness.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

big brother

my dad is a little creeped out by the power of google maps, referring to it as "big brother". i suppose it has something to do with feeling like his privacy could be violated. but he didn't grow up in a generation of narcissistic facebook status updates, so i can understand his desire to preserve some sense of privacy.

recently google pulled off some pretty cool tricks for brandon though... 

we have been in the market for a truck & finally saved up enough cash {per dave ramsey's advice} to buy it outright. brandon found a pickup he is interested in on craigslist but we have had difficulty getting in touch with the person due to phone number issues. we were beginning to doubt the whole situation & fearing we were getting the run-around on a non-existent truck. 

cue google: brandon entered the phone number we had into google, got an address connected to the number, & then went to "street view" where he could see the truck we are trying to buy in the driveway!

we were feeling all excited about the magic of google, until we realized how easy it is to track down someone's home address, vehicle type, & property layout without even leaving the couch. let's just hope no one is looking for us with ill intentions, eh? so yeah, now i understand why that "big brother" gives my dad the heebie-jeebies. 

if all goes according to plan, we will head down to denver tomorrow, cash in hand, to add another vehicle to our car insurance policy. a bonus of the trip is that we get to visit tiffany in denver! 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

inaugural girls' weekend: vegas style

kemi, sara {mia}, & i have been trying to start a tradition of taking an annual get-away together for some time. we finally made it happen this past weekend & went to vegas! what a perfect place to kick of a tradition of fun, shopping, food, & laughs.

we went dancing EVERY night & my feet have still not recovered. i am not sure they will ever forgive me for forcing them into 3" heels & then proceeding to dance my way through vegas. i learned i don't much care for dancing to house music, that every club plays the "new york" & "all the single ladies" at least once per night, & that getting ready to go out is half the fun. 

on the last night we found ourselves at an irish pub with a live band. turns out dancing to irish music involves a lot of jumping, elbow swinging, & beer drinking. this trifecta resulted in a pint of beer being poured down my back & tired legs. it was by far my favorite place though!
we also saw a circ de soleil show. wow! i can't wait to see another one. it was breathtaking & totally worth the money! 

mia found the biggest slot machine i have ever seen! we didn't gamble much {i didn't at all, actually}, but put our money towards other things, like clothes & coffee. luckily we didn't have to buy our own drinks since they are so expensive there! ahh, the benefits of being a girl in vegas...
this was our hotel, the luxor. one wall of our room was slanted glass, so that was sort of strange. the lobby boasted four starbucks which kept us running on less than four hours of sleep per night. i even stayed up long enough to catch a SUNRISE... 

i'm already scheming where to plan our get-away for next year!

Monday, September 27, 2010

if i had a million dollars, if i had a million dollars...

...i would totally fly out to d.c. for the rally to restore sanity. a weekend with jon stewart, seeing if a call-to-reasonableness is a possibility? sounds amazing! with a message of: "take it down a notch america"? yeah, i think i could get behind that.
but then, after all that middle-ground seeking, i think i would have to head on over to the march to keep fear alive
perhaps i would waffle between the two? going back & forth, feeling invigorated in the same way you do when you go from the hot tub to the swimming pool. yep, if i had a million dollars, i would totally be d.c. bound the last weekend in october. {oh, & if i didn't have class that weekend.}

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

lively decorating

candace, an old friend who i don't get to see often enough, & her adorable daughter came for an overnight yesterday. we went to lunch & then headed out to bart's, which is an awesome flea market in town. we had a blustery afternoon, so spending an hour in the indoor flea market/antique store was perfect. my favorite section is the plant booth {to which candace rolled her eyes in disgust}. last winter i got a creeping charlie plant for our bathroom and almost bought a string of pearls, but didn't feel like i should buy both. i later regretted that and went back, but there were no more pearls left. yesterday they had some so i didn't hesitate!
some jade & the string of pearls to give us some
more greenery & life in the house.
my mom has had these plants before, so i will think of her each
time i water this guy.
turns out now is the time to buy gardening supplies. the pot
that the jade is in was originally $10 (not too bad for a
decorative pot, right?). i thought i was getting a deal on it for $5,
but it rang up for only $2.50! gotta love
needing/buying things out of season!
i also found this yellow enamel bread pan at the
flea market. i wish i would have chosen the larger one so it
would fit more fruit, but i am not totally sure that i am
going to dedicate it to that purpose.
although i haven't decided how to use it, i sure do LOVE it!
Garden Party
we have ears of corn!
brandon's hopefulness paid off.
the broccoli is finally coming around. supposedly it
does ok into the cold fall. lets hope!
i love the feel of this photo. who knew
broccoli could be such a fabulous subject?
i had tomato dreams last night, willing them to turn red!
our only sizable squash. i was too zealous & planted my seeds too
close together, resulting in humid conditions & ultimately,
powdery mildew. next time i will trust the
seeds &give them the space they need.
this might be the only squash we will be able to
eat this year. bummer!
our little forest of peppers
an antique, a few plants in colorful pots, & an expanding garden--all of these things make me happy to have a little more growth & life in our house.