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!