Home, home at last

I arrived home last night from a week-long vacation on the east coast with Brent.  I've got about 1,000 pictures from our trip to go through and edit, so it might be a few days before I get any posted.  For now, I just want to note how good it feels to be home.  As wonderful as our visit to DC and NYC was, there really is no greater feeling than how much I love being back at home in my little cottage.  It's funny to think there was a time that I used to hate the feeling of vacation being over, dreading going home to the desert heat and endless strip malls in Arizona.  Now I feel so fortunate that coming home just feels like an extension of vacation, for I live in paradise here in the redwoods. After a week away, the change in atmosphere here is so evident I can definitely say autumn is upon us.  Our indian summer is keeping the temperatures up in the 80s without a cloud in sight, but leaves are starting to change and fall.  Although the redwoods retain their green glory year-round, there is an autumn breeze blowing through which showers our yard with their golden dead needle droppings.

I'm at home nursing a head cold I caught while we were away with lots of fluids and boiling pot of lentil soup, and I'm so grateful I had the foresight to take an additional day off before heading back to work.  I'm hoping my furry family will let me sleep through the night tonight now that I've spent the entire day at home showering them with constant affection.  Trying to sleep last night after a week away was a very different, torturous story.

Blogger's Block

I'm suffering from a horrible case of blogger's block.  Most of my free time has been spent cross-eyed and ink-covered trying to teach myself calligraphy while watching Martha Stewart re-runs on Hulu, then having a cup of tea and heading straight for bed.  Just what I needed - another obsession that keeps me hidden in my cottage all day and night like a crazy old cat lady.  Thankfully, Brent is here this week and his enthusiasm for life is catching, so I know I'll get back into the swing of things... I can already feel our 4am talk-and-laughter-fests rejuvenating my spirit. Finding inspiration helps, too...

I love Kate's writing over at Longest Acres Susan Branch (always) this makes me want to run to the art store for supplies Cheryl's 'birthday in Sonoma' posts this week make me want to head up north Plurabelle Calligraphy's work is so incredible... I can only hope to get there someday! This post is making me excited for our New York trip!  Only 13 more days until it's here!

Aaaaaaand, here's a totally unrelated pic of Rudybega (like you're surprised).

50 Things

I loved this post Cheryl did a few weeks back, and since I always love to copy her I thought I'd do it, too! :)  Here goes, 50 things about Brent and I...

  1. We met in high school and even went on a few dates.
  2. On our first date when we were 16, he took me to see "Pearl Harbor" and I made him incredibly uncomfortable when I cried at the end.
  3. On our second date, he took me to see "Signs", and I couldn't sleep for a week afterwards.
  4. One time he forgot we saw that movie together, and insisted he saw it with his ex girlfriend.
  5. I'll never let him forget #4.  :)
  6. If we listed on paper the little things we have in common like hobbies and music preferences, the list would be very short.
  7. If we listed on paper the larger things in life like our values, life goals, etc... the list would be almost identical.
  8. He is my biggest cheerleader, and I am his.
  9. He likes to remind me how I said no to him when he asked me to the prom our senior year.
  10. Breakfast is our favorite meal to eat together.
  11. In the course of our relationship, we have lived far apart longer than we have lived near to one another.
  12. I think the distance has made us what we are today, in a very good way.
  13. He was born and raised in Arizona, and I am a California girl always and forever.
  14. We were listening to Meatloaf's "I Would Do Anything for Love... But I Won't Do That" the moment I knew I loved him.
  15. I love to cook. He loves to cook... burritos.
  16. This is our song.
  17. He is a night owl, I am an early bird.
  18. He has the best bedhead in the world.
  19. We like to rub our heads together... literally.  It feels good!
  20. He says I cuddle my animals too much... but I catch him doing it all of the time, too.
  21. I love the beach; he hates the feeling of sand on his feet.
  22. He likes to stalk me on the internet (I know you're reading this!!)
  23. He loves zombie movies; I can't sit through them.
  24. He is incredibly competitive in athletics.
  25. I am incredibly competitive in board games.
  26. We both like our burritos simple: beans and cheese, please.
  27. He loves to put broccoli in/on anything (except burritos...wait... now he's considering it).
  28. When we are apart, we count down the days until we see each other again.
  29. He has made me a little cleaner, and I have made him a little messier.
  30. He knew we were going to keep Rudybega the day I brought him home as a "foster" dog, even though I tried to deny it for weeks.
  31. He has pretty poor hand-eye coordination.
  32. I love to make chocolates, but he won't eat 'em.
  33. He's a really good writer... but I don't think he'll ever share it with anyone but me.
  34. He thinks living in the desert makes people stronger... I think it just makes them angry.
  35. His first true love is (and always will be) his truck, Goat.
  36. Goat may not have been my first love, but I do love the way he smells, all of the memories we've made with him, and those we have still yet to make!
  37. He always has fun, no matter what he's doing.
  38. I'm much pickier and get bored/irritated easily.
  39. He will never lose his childish enthusiasm.
  40. I was born an 80 year-old lady.
  41. His favorite holiday is Halloween, mine is Christmas.
  42. He makes me laugh until my stomach hurts.
  43. He blames me for getting him hooked on chai tea lattes.
  44.  I think we're both cheesy romantics at heart, but neither of us likes to admit it.
  45. His best qualities are being passionate, loyal, and intelligent.
  46. He says my best quality is always seeing the good in people.
  47. We both value honesty in our relationship... even if it can be uncomfortable at times.
  48. We are going on 6 years together, though he often forgets and loses count.
  49. It makes me laugh that he uses chapstick in weird places, like his wrists and elbows.
  50. When I asked him to tell me one thing about us, he just said, "love".

p.s. 9 days until we get to see each other again.

The Night Circus

I love reading fantasy novels - I found this book on the recommendation shelf at Bookshop Santa Cruz.  Since I worship the ground that store is built on, I don't take their recommendations lightly.

I had a hard time in the beginning of the book because there is so much detail and there are quite a few characters to become acquainted with.  But about halfway through the book really got me, so don't get discouraged if you read this and have the same experience.  Morgenstern's writing style has that indescribable little 'something' that gives great visuals and mentally takes you inside the world of the mysterious night circus.  The night circus is created from pure magic to be the setting for a lifelong duel between two gifted magicians, neither of whom know who their opponent actually is.  Many characters weave into the story and are at risk in this magical fight to the death.  The magicians must figure out a way to complete and end the duel without one of them having to lose their lives, and try to do it without bringing anyone else in harm's way.

Overall, the pieces of the story didn't all fit together perfectly - there were parts that felt a little thoughtless, like she had a great intricate story built in her mind but didn't quite connect all of the dots on paper.  However, after I digested it I realized I really liked it that way... it left room for me to use my imagination and try to impart my own meaning to the story.  A love story mixed with intrigue and magic - it's definitely worth a read!

A Discovery of Witches

I am definitely off to a slow start, but I can finally check a book off of my summer bucket list goal to finish 6 books by the end of the season.  I picked this book up at my favorite bookstore downtown a few months ago.  The short summary on the back sounded like it would be a bit like a feminine Da Vinci Code... a bit of history, suspense, great lead characters, etc.  and of course there's a dark, handsome vampire character to fall in love with.  This is the first book of a trilogy, of which the 2nd book has just been released.  I will definitely pick it up - this first book was an easy, entertaining read and I enjoyed the historical references woven with the fantasy of the witches' powers.  It left off on a bit of a cliffhanger so I'm looking forward to read the next adventure.  It's definitely not a crazy "I can't put it down" kind of book, but it was a good summer read.


Click Happy

I'm spending a crazy Saturday night in Vegas... trolling the internet while Brent is at work.  Here are some goodies - get click happy. This adorable video made me smile. This inspires me to finally do something with that empty wall in my kitchen. I must have these. and these. and these. Saw this movie today - loved it! Oh, how I dream of having a garden like this some day. Love little vases. Green letterpress stationery. Good to know info for dog owners. Possible recipe for my birthday cake? A perfect treasure... a girl can dream, right? Love this one, too.  They just don't make jewelry like they used to!

The Book Thief

It took me a while to read this book.  A friend recommended it to me a couple years ago and I started it, read about 90 pages, and never finished.  I think I lost interest the first time because it takes place in Germany in the thick of WWII - I've read enough Holocaust literature to know exactly the emotions this story would evoke in me, and I didn't want to deal with the heavy subject matter at that time in my life. A few months ago I picked it up and started from the beginning again. This time I was much more receptive to the sensitive subject matter.  The book is centered around death - literally - it's narrated from death's perspective... and what an interesting perspective it turned out to be.  I had expected him to be dark and evil, but instead he was simply overworked and worn out from the many souls for which he was responsible during that time.  He had grown weary and his opinion of the human race was unfavorable at best... that is, until he found the book thief's hand written autobiography in the rubble of a small town while he was taking the souls of its sleeping residents.  The book thief's story illustrates the resilience of the human soul and its immense capability to love.  I fell not for the plot of the novel, but for the characters in the story.  I felt a connection to the relationships - young love, a secret friendship, and the love between the book thief and her foster father.

I would definitely recommend it - it was one of those books that I had no trouble crying openly in public as I read the last few chapters.  Heartwarming, sad, cathartic, and inspiring.

Moving Art

I found this video on YouTube while clicking through random websites after Googling "choosing happiness", and thought I would share. I needed a refresher course on choosing happiness after reliving last week over and over again, making myself miserable with frustration over a situation I have little to no control over at work. This put me back at peace - a quick and subtle reminder of how amazing and beautiful life is here on earth. Everything negative is petty in comparison. On a similar note... my tulips have opened and look amazing!


Weakness: kitchen goodies

I stumbled upon the Mignon Kitchen Co. and couldn't resist sharing... and ordering some goodies, of course.  Mignon (pronounced "min-yawn") means "cute" in French, which is a perfectly fitting name for the small site filled with small goodies like moon shaped cookie cutters and orange blossom honey.  And just when I thought it couldn't get any more adorable... my order arrived wrapped to perfection in turquoise tissue paper with the extra personal touch of addressing a small thank you card by hand.  I'm such a sucker for packaging.