Sunday, December 29, 2013

2014 is right around the corner

Random darling dog post below. Just saw this on Pinterest, and thought I’d share. It may be a Springer Spaniel…like my friend Gail’s. She just adopted a Springer named Josey.

Looking forward to tomorrow, and our kitchen re-re-install. Soon, the hellishness of being kitchenless will be but a fleeting memory. And I can’t wait. I want to just put all that drama behind me!

Cute pup loves his ice cream...

Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year’s Eve. and day! Here’s to health and happiness in 2014!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Home Depot kitchen fail

I'm usually the one that writes that bad Yelp review in my head a thousand times, but never posts it. Wow, are we having a heck of a time with Home Depot. I don't even know where to begin except to say that my cheery post about the kitchen install starting has taken an ugly turn. It's now 2 months later, and we're using the utility sink that hubby installed because doing dishes in the bathroom sink was getting REALLY old. Awesome huh?

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After the install botch job, we’re now in the color match nightmare of trying to create new cabinets in the same color. It’s really almost funny at this point. I used to have a vision in my head of what the kitchen would look like. Now, I’m like, meh…who needs a kitchen. This was also going to be my first Christmas dinner for the entire family. Not gonna happen now. Okay, sunshine innnnnnnnnn, negativity ouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut.

I promise to post something happy soon.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Random Thursday

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Kate and Gwynneth: laying on the couch outside. It was a pretty day today, and a productive workday. Gwynnie always digs herself under whatever she can, fashioning herself a little sun shade. I think her Mom must have told her to limit her exposure to the elements (her barn Mommy, as I’m her current Mom). I think in this case she’s also trying to not freak Kate out by being so close to her. They love each other—to a point.

Later, inside, next to my desk , I see this. Tongue sticking out while sleeping. So cute! And it looks like she has more than four legs, doesn’t it?

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So, I know I’ve waxed on about BBC television--I’m obsessed with it. From Downton Abbey, to Mr. Selfridge, to The Bletchley Circle, and now THE PARADISE! It’s so ridiculously charming. I sometimes have to watch it again on Monday night so I can crawl into the era, the clothes, the language, the customs, the interiors—for one more night. I love all of it… Here’s a little video about The Paradise.

And, most importantly: TOMORROW IS FRIDAY! Have a great weekend, blog peeps!

Friday, November 01, 2013

One day at a time

I remember my Mom quoting Ann Romano. We watched that show and laughed and laughed. Boy, is that my motto these days. My orderly, tidy, aromatherapy-scented life on Eagle Street seems like it was ages ago. While I know it will all be great eventually, we have a long, dusty road ahead to get there. So instead, let’s feast our eyes on my dear friend Gail’s gorgeous rug. Don’t you love the colors? I sure do.
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I actually ordered a rug recently from Pottery Barn for the bedroom. This one. I’m not exactly sure where it is in the whole “getting here” process. There’s always so much to do and follow up on, and go get, etc. that I haven’t checked. I guess they’ll call me, right?
Misa Persian-Style Rug
Also got these curtain rods for the dining room and doors on either side of the fireplace. Hopefully heavy curtains will help stave off the cold.
PB Essential Drape Rod - Cast Iron
Brrrrrrr. The temperatures are dipping, and we have no heat, except for our little space heaters. No one to blame but me. I told hubby, “I want to go a full four seasons before we install heat and air (I’m that cheap).” I feel like I’ve blogged about this before; it’s possible because dust and chaos has rotted my brain. The sentence echoes in my mind: a fuuuuull fourrrrr seeeeeeeeeeasons. I went to Target today and bought warm things: thermal long sleeve shirt, cable knit leggings, sweat pants. Must. stay. warm. I haven’t slept in long PJs in a long time. Oh, that’s right, we had heat on Eagle Street! The other day, jokingly, I whined, “I wanna go home…” But, alas, there is no going home this time!
And just in case you haven’t laughed yet at my miserable story, feast your eyes on my get-up last night for Halloween. There is an art to doing clown makeup. I get that now. I thought, wielding the lipstick, okay now I’ll draw on a mouth. Hm? Why does it look so strange? The pink nose just made me look a wee bit tipsy, so said my sister in law. And is this how they do their eyes? I guess I could have Googled it. Oh well. The full outfit included navy polka dotted pants, an orange belt, and green shoes. But what’s really funny is only one kid commented on my outfit. Perhaps they just thought I always dress like this? But what a fun night. There were literally hundreds of kids going door to door. I’ve never seen a bigger turnout!
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A real clown, for reference:

On another note, this latest issue of goop almost identically lays out my 50th birthday trip. We went to almost every one of those places, even the restaurant, Stellina, and we stayed at Manka’s. One of the most memorable trips of my life.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fall in Portland

My friend Megan sent some pics from Portland, taken on her walk today. Such beautiful trees and sunshine! I was there last year for my birthday around this same time and it was so cold I thought my hair would freeze to my head. Weather is so strange. The last pic is someone's Halloween decorated yard. Slightly blurry, but no less colorful.



Monday, October 21, 2013

Kitchen progress

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Is that the beginnings of a kitchen there? Why yes it is! The first phase of the install has happened! We’ve had no kitchen since August 7th, but here’s proof that doing dishes in the bathroom sink is coming to an end. There’s a slight hitch with the installer dude, but hoping to get that remedied soon.

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That’s the old kitchen above. It has been sold back to the previous owner and he’s refinished it to a dark stain. I haven’t seen it, but I bet it will look great. It was very French, but really impractical and not very functional. It was actually a long sideboard that he repurposed into a kitchen. That’s why the cabinets were very high. Instead of being around waist high, they were ~3 inches taller than a normal counter. And can you say pink granite and green cabinets? I actually loved it for a while, but then I fell out of love.

Unfortunately, there’s no new gardening progress to show. While Gabriele is great with a shovel and clippers, his understanding of I’ll see you in two weeks fell a tad short. And of course my Spanish is muy mala. But this Saturday, it’s on.

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I spied a Torrey Pine (or I think that’s what it is) this weekend. I want to plant one somewhere in the yard. I think they are so amazing the way you can bonzai them, tying various branches down low to direct the shape.

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This candelabra was entangled in a mass of weeds in the back courtyard. A Mexican menora? You tell me.  I pulled it out, put some candles in this weekend, and lit it up. Interestingly, in the back courtyard at night, the candles burned fairly upright. There was no wind in there, just cool night air. I’m always digging up bits of metal, finials, chunks of marble, various and sundry items. It’s like excavating. The tiki, by the way, was found in the yard at our last house. (Also, strangely, the face that appears on the tiki here in this picture doesn’t really look like the actual face on the tiki. Hm? A haunted tiki, just in time for Halloween?)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Laundry room love, and more

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No, it’s not the title of a saucy novel, but the happiness of having a laundry room right off the kitchen. This picture is pre-window. I love the palm tree shadow on the wall.
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Random neighborhood sunset, taken while I was on a walk. Glorious.
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Making progress in the front bed. Here, a few new plantings. Lavender, rosemary, and farther left not in the picture: a Cleveland Sage (first seen, I might add, in Sherri’s backyard. The biggest, most beautiful sage I had ever seen.) To that I will also share that I had the curse of the couldn’t-grown-a-sage, until the curse lifted about 3 years ago. Now I can grow them like mad. I have high hopes for my new fledgling sage.
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This is my trusty gardening companion, Gabriele. We have worked like dogs three Saturdays in a row. I took last Saturday off, but this weekend it’s back on! Slowly working our way around the perimeter of the side yard. I dug out all of these rocks you see here, which had created a burm, all ensconced in weeds. They have since been freed, and heaved to the “grotto” as we call it. Pictures of the grotto after this weekend’s work is done.
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Husband helping me extract a ginormous root ball from an equally ginormous pot. This pot used to sit at the top of the stairs, sort of blocking the doors to the front courtyard. Gone! I hacked at it for two hours, and James then took pity on me and got it out in like 10 minutes with a pressure washer and some elbow grease. The man is talented. 
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A nice segue from my sweetie, I will end this little summary with a random heart that I happened upon on another walk. It jumped up at me and said notice me!
Sweet dreams, all…

Monday, October 14, 2013

Home improving, slowly but surely

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There’s really only one motto you can have when you’re renovating a house: slowly but surely. Here are some pictures, finally, of various parts of the house, in various stages. Top photo is the side yard, with some of the marble fountain showing.
Below is the dining room, with the new floors in. This picture does not do them justice. They are a greyish color; very cool. No base molding yet, but that starts tomorrow!
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Below is the kitchen, exposed down to the studs. Where you see daylight coming through there is now a nice, new  4’ x 4’ window.
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This is Salvador hooking up a light switch, standing next to another new window that is over where the sink will be. The kitchen install begins Wednesday. I can hardly believe it. I made a really awful meal in the crock pot tonight. We were laughing almost hysterically when I realized I had nowhere to throw it! We have no sink. We debated putting it down the toilet, but instead I put it in the garbage bag and out it went. I laugh now just thinking of it. It was soup. Really. Bad. Soup.
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Below is that large window. It lets in lots of light! More pics soon, and hopefully by “soon” I mean sooner than when I last said soon.
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Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New (old) house post coming soon, I swear

There's no excuse other than the 9,475 things that all of a sudden land on your plate when you buy a 1926 house. We have our hands full! But I swear I'm going to get some posts out soon!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A simple staircase

Gee, is there time to get this installed in the new, old house? I could get a dress with a train and stand there like this as guests enter for the house warming party. I could fly down the staircase and bid them a warm welcome. Wait, my ceilings are nowhere near this high. Oh, and having walls this frail probably wouldn’t do well come rainy season. But, I love it! I love the door! I love her skinny arms. 

Home renovation that goes on too long (in my case, since May 29th) can eat your brain. Help! Someone save me!

I need comments. Comforting, supportive comments that say: It will all be okay. I will wash a load of clothes in my own washing machine again.

Good night. I am exhausted.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

But how do you buy a house?

I read this recently and it so fits: When deciding on a house to buy, I start dreaming of where to put the chaise and what dress should I wear while sipping my cocktail in it – before acknowledging that the roof is falling down.
Thankfully, our roof is intact, but the process of buying a fixer is like peeling back the layers of an onion. So far, no tears though.
The fun continues! Tonight we are stripping doors. We're sticking with our vintage doors, so we maintain the feel of the house.
More soon, and with pictures. Of course I did see this today, and I think we are destined for one in the side yard:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Soon, home sweet home

I have about 75 pictures I want to post, but for some reason the connection between my iPhone and computer is no-worky. We are still living with the hubs' parents, and they are still as sweet and gracious as ever. How is that? Maybe they bang their heads against the wall after they retire to their bedroom at night. Must be that.
The renovations continue. Finally on the 22nd, the floors will be done. Then 5 days later, hopefully by the 27th, we will move in! It feels like we've been homeless for 6 months. Most of our stuff is still ensconced in the garage, where those horrible movers loaded (threw) everything. Oh that's going to be a Yelp post, but I'm sort of afraid they'll come after us. Ok, maybe I'm overly worried about that, but they were a little creepy now that I think about it.
Otherwise, we love our new 'hood. When we're at the house, it's peaceful. I cannot, cannot, cannot wait to live there. I love the house more each day, and I'm still not quite believing that we got it.
Anyway, more to say when I can add pictures. Who reads text-only posts? Probably not many folks.
Hearts and hugs to you, precious blog peeps,
R.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fireplace rebuild

This little lady is getting a facelift. And then we can have real fires. Crackle, crackle golden embers. There's so much going on with the house renovation...but also so much progress. Floors down, walls painted, laundry room stucco is going on, and we will possibly be moving in this weekend. The kitchen will be makeshift for a while, but that bothers me not a bit.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

One board at a time

I've never really been fully involved in a home renovation. But, boy oh boy, am I cutting my teeth on this one! Sadly, most things seem to not go right, versus being just straightforward and easy. Granted, we are contracting directly with the folks doing the work, so there's no big contractor dude to manage it and boss everyone around. It's just us. We're doing really well, except for a few hiccups.

This is the living room, with the new oak sitting there ready to be installed, starting Monday. After that, painting can begin. Again, more blurry pictures. Oops.


Kind of amazing seeing all the old boards ripped up and sitting in a pile. I may have jumped the gun on pulling them up, but the amount of repair areas were adding up, so you have to make a decision to spend the money on repairs or new floors. We went with (b) and I think it will be worth it in the long run.

One thing is for certain through this process…when you’re not sleeping in your own bed, time creeps by. We can’t wait to get back into our own bed, cats at the foot, dog in her bed, so we can truly sleep.

Here’s the new laundry room/pantry being built. A pocket door will be installed between the kitchen and laundry, so there’s access from the house. Before, you had to go outside to get to it. Huh?

More to come as things unfold, get nailed together, painted, etc.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

We've flown the coop!


That move I was alluding to? It's happened! Well, almost. We've flown our Eagle's nest, and we've closed on another bird-name address! Yay! Still living in our temporary quarters at a local hotel, but probably mid-next month, we'll be in our new digs. Kate, Gwyneth, and Saylor are here, too, and being little angels if I may say so. We will all be thrilled, though, to not have to use a flat key to get in and out of our "home."

As of today, floors are completely ripped up... More posts to follow. So much going on. New laundry room under construction. Every day it gets better and better, but this will be a long labor of renovation love.
Pardon the super-bad pic!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Our tree dweller

Gwynnie in the pepper tree. When we move, both kitties will miss that tree.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Garage sale day

All of Mission Hills had a garage sale this Saturday, and Ms. Foziewisp and I got some of our wares in on the action -- and much of it sold! Yay! Pardon the blurry picture...

Friday, April 26, 2013

My office assistant

My little Gwynnie is always on time, and I forgive her for sleeping on the job because she is so darn cute!

Monday, April 01, 2013

German botanical illustration

I'd never heard her name before until today's Google doodle. But what beautiful illustrations! And isn't it interesting how many Germans are into botany? Hmm. Is there some obvious reason I'm unaware of?
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A painting showing the metamorphosis of Thysania agrippina produced in 1705. 
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A plate taken from Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium.

And this is the illustrator herself...Maria Sibylla Merian (2 April 1647 – 13 January 1717).
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Peace, love, and pupae!
Robin

Friday, March 15, 2013

Birthday lunch at DaoFu

Every year, my friend Sherri and I celebrate each other’s b-days with a lunch out. It’s usually to one of two places, but this year we colored outside the lines and went to DaoFu. They make the best homemade tofu in town. They also start you out with this awesome salad with raspberry dressing and fresh tofu (warm creamy deliciousness), and there’s always homemade ice cream for dessert. Lunch is served: a tofu rice bowl, and veggies in citrus sauce with tofu. Yum!

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

La Tartine Gourmande is on it's way


Just ordered this cookbook. Have been looking at it for a while. Such beautiful food. And I love this bright, pastel-colored kitchen. (The video takes a bit to load...)

Monday, February 25, 2013

A beautiful food store

I’d been hearing about Bristol Farms grocery store from my belle mere, but had never gone. This weekend, I made my way over there. It’s tucked into a shopping center in UTC/La Jolla. It’s like Whole Foods, but with a more worldly, slightly European bent. Jellies and mustards and crackers galore, and a produce section that you just want to photograph. So I did…

The way these radishes are arranged: pure art!

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Gorgeous golden beets…

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…and red beets…all perfectly washed and arranged…

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…and Swiss chard. Of course, why would you hide the blazing red stems when you can face them out?

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And they sell these English bowls that I love. Next trip, I’ll have to get one.

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I was such a goon in there, too. In Produce, this poor guy is doing his job as I wax on about how lovely everything looks! And that it was my first time in the store, and how beautiful the store is, and did he arrange those radishes? He did not because, well, he worked in the cafĂ©, but he did say, “Welcome!” I have to admit I love me a fine grocery store, even if on this trip I got a wee bit crazy in the aisles. This might be the perfect time to say: I need to get out more!

Happy grocery shoppingRed heart,

R.