10 things I learned At Mom's ▲

Friday, June 28





I visited my mom for a sort of extended vacation last month.  Here are some things I learned and re-learned while at her house in Virginia.

ONE
When mom comes to visit you at your house, she works while you sleep. Seriously.  My mom has been known to take my car to get cleaned and have the oil changed before 9:00 AM.  She also dusts and does the dishes like some stealthy, OCD mom fairy. When you visit mom at mom's house, you put your dishes in the dishwasher.  You vacuum for her while she's at work. You have to clean your own room and get your dirty clothes together.  You are basically back in high school.

TWO
Mom still calls you twelve times a day even when you're less than 30 minutes away from her at any given time.  She's bored at work? She calls.  Stuck in traffic? She calls.  On her way to lunch? On her way home?  On her way to the bathroom? She calls.

THREE
Mom still wants to make sure you're fed, preferably 12 meals a day.

FOUR
Mom plans for meals when she goes grocery shopping and wants to know in advance what you might like for dinner.

FIVE
Mom will remind you to do something more than once even when she says she won't.  And if you dare leave something on the stairs for longer than a day you will suffer her wrath, because  YOU'VE WALKED PAST THAT STACK OF STUFF 12 TIMES!

My mother's five-foot-two, and I'll be honest with you - she's the only person I'm scared of. – Kiefer Sutherland

SIX
Mom does laundry on a schedule.  Not just when she runs out of clothes to wear.  This is her strangest habit.

SEVEN
Mom is not afraid to wake you up if you've slept too late.  Come down stairs.  She's bored.

EIGHT
There is literally no limit to the amount of HGTV and Law & Order: SVU to be watched.  NO LIMIT.

NINE
Mom always wants to know what you're doing.  What's so funny? Who are you texting?  What are you Facebooking?  What are you Tweetering about?

TEN
Mom will always really really reeeeeaally love you, even when you sleep too late, don't clean up after yourself, spend too much time on the computer, or act like you don't want to talk when she calls.  She will even take you shopping for things you don't need.  Just because.

I want my children to have all the things I couldn't afford. Then I want to move in with them. – Phyllis Diller

*BONUS* ELEVEN
Mom is great and you love her, too.





**top photo of my mom in the 80's taken by my Dad, bottom photo from circa 2008 before I realized blonde was not my best look.

Revamp your old lamp ▲

Thursday, June 27



So, part of the latest living room update was a little change in decor.  I really proved my blogger gumption and tested the heck out of my spray painting abilities.  Bloggers love spray paint.

One of my favorite additions was this antique store find:




I call him Sir Fidel.  I think he's supposed to be a door knocker?  Anyhow, he was pretty beat up and dingy looking, so I spray painted him pastel green and put him next to some framed scrap book paper on my shelf.  I love him.

The next thing I wanted to do was figure out how to revamp our ugly old lamp without spending a ton of money.  I had some spray paint left over from a wedding project, so I painted the base of the lamp an off white color.  Then I headed over to Target and snatched a new lamp shade (which also happened to be on clearance).  And ta-da! New lamp.


If you're hankering for an easy DIY project, I just found it for you.

Living Room Makeover. Again. ▲

Wednesday, June 26




So, Google Reader & GFC won't exist here in a few days.  I've reluctantly migrated my feed to Bloglovin' (nobody likes change...) so follow me there if you please! 

I've posted quite a bit about our home through the ages.  It's a work in progress.  We recently made some changes to the living room and I could not be happier.  Literally. I am SO happy.

Here is what it looked like before (at least for a period of time...):


And this is what it looks like now:



New couch, chair, end table, coffee table, and rug! The furniture is all from Haverty's and the rug is from Target.  I got the pillow covers from Hobby Lobby for $6 a pop, and the rest is stuff we already had.

It's not like we did some drastic renovation or anything, but it's definitely a good change.

Now if we could just finish the master bathroom...

the things you love ▲

Tuesday, June 25





Mike and I went camping with some friends this weekend.  On Day 2, we were all pretty tuckered out from a night of beer, s'mores, and story telling, plus a full day of floating in the sun, so around 7PM everyone headed to their respective tents and took a power nap.

Except me.  I showered, put on dry clothes, and sat next to the lake with Bella, just the two of us and a rogue goose.  It was a beautiful evening - not as typically humid as a mid-june weekend can be, plus the threat of late-night storms provided some pretty awesome sunset material.  Right as darkness broke everyone woke up and we got a fire started.  Lightning flashed periodically in the distance, the light breeze was starting to turn into wind, and the temperature dropped to what must have been the low 80s.  I ate some marshmallows and had one last beer before we all decided it was bed time.  We were in the tent for only a few minutes before a light rain began to fall, and I drifted off to sleep to the sound of rolling thunder and a humming box fan.

It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature's gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever. - Jimmy Carter 

I don't think it really stormed - it just skirted around us and did not rain for long.  I woke up early and started packing up the camp site.  We headed home and talked about the next trip, how we need to buy kayaks and jet skis and a pontoon boat and a bigger air mattress.

It was really one of those weekends that you can't help but enjoy.



The Chronicles of Rico ▲

Monday, June 24



So, I have this friend.  His name is Rico.  And by friend I mean some random dude who texts me every once in a while.  He may or may not have done time in prison...I'm really not sure.

This was our first encounter:


Rico's use of dollar signs in place of a period (or an explanation for who he is/why he is texting me) made me naturally hesitant to reply.  So I didn't.

Rico was understandably upset and I didn't hear from him for several months.  Then he decided to take our relationship to the next level by way of photo message. (Also, the phone number changed, so I kind of suspect he had a fellow inmate send this).


Rico's white pants and pairing of socks with sandals immediately drew me to him.  That's when he decided to get a little more personal.


One of these was actually a mass text that went out to several numbers (none of which belong to anyone I know, but they all had Alabama area codes).  Also, nobody else replied.

Then on Saturday Rico reached out again using the name Marvin as an alias, and this time in an effort to get in touch with my "home girl."  I really don't know if Marvin and Rico are the same person, but I supsect they are.  Marvin/Rico's texting style fascinates me.  While he capitalizes "I" (so proud), at first he refuses to use apostrophes and blatantly abuses the elipses.  Later on, his style changes, but half way through the text he gets lazy and forgets he was pretending to be Marvin.  I was sort of annoyed at his presumption that I only have one home girl and would immediately know to whom he was referring.  But I forgive him.

Rico/Marvin and I have a unique and special relationship.  Our conversations are very one-sided (as in...I never reply but he continues to text me every few months).  He just gets me and I look forward to our talks.  I can't wait to see where this takes us.

Life of Late ▲

Friday, June 21




I don’t love baseball.  It reminds me of the time I tried to get into softball and sucked at it.  It reminds me of the times I tried to play anything and sucked at everything.  Basically I hate baseball.

Is this weird? ▲

Monday, June 17



Have you heard of Dog DNA tests? I've always been vaguely aware of their existence but never really given them any thought.  I tend to rotate between four breeds when people ask me what Bella "is." When I first rescued her, I was told she was a German Shepherd/Black Lab combo.  I was also told she was 4 months old when I really think she was closer to 6 or 7 months old, but that is mostly irrelevant.  It's just that because she was so large for what I thought was a young age, I believed the original breed diagnosis.



Bella weighs in at a whopping 60 lbs after a lazy weekend and hearty Monday morning breakfast.  Animal Planet tells me the female German Shepherd Dog weighs between 75 and 95 pounds (85 on average), and the female black lab weighs between 55 and 70 pounds, so let's say 63 lbs on average.

On the left is Bella the week I brought her home in June of 2008 and on the right is December 2008:

Her paws were large, but not huge.  Her coloring was definitely reminiscent of a Shepherd or Lab, but her snout, ears, and tail left me unconvinced.  And based on the average weight of those breeds, I would expect Bella to weigh somewhere in the mid 70s when she was full grown, unless she'd gotten the bad end of both genetic pools.

This is a picture of Bella when she was right around a year old:

See how her tail is curly? She also has a spotted tongue, which sort of points in the Chow direction.  But a little research tells us that spotted tongues don't necessarily mean Chow heritage.  Blue marks on a tongue are sort of like birth marks or freckles on humans, a quick google image search shows many pups with this trait, and here's a list of breeds more inclined to get them.


So what is Bella?

After Mike and I started dating, the topic of her breeding came up.  Actually, it comes up often because I am so curious to know.  Because of Mike's exposure to the working dog circuit, he thinks Bella might have some Belgian Malinois in her.  Malinois are on that list of dogs who are more likely to have spotted tongues.

So it remains a mystery and every now and then I am tempted to swab her cheeks and send her DNA off to get tested.  But for now, when people ask I tell them she's a Malinois/Chow mix.  Or a Shepherd/Lab mix.  Or a Malinois/Lab mix.  It depends on the day.  Whatever the combination, Bella is a great, intelligent dog with a goofy, awkward, happy personality.  She definitely doesn't let her breed ambiguity dampen her spirits.  Maybe I should let it go?

Young & Wild & Free ▲

Sunday, June 16




Today is Father's Day.  On Father’s Day, we think of our dads and have the chance to say things we should tell them more than once a year.  My dad and I don't talk very regularly and we see each other even less regularly, but sometimes a girl still needs her Daddy.  It's easy to under value the things your parents do and the things they sacrifice for you.  And I probably don't say "thank you" nearly enough.  I would never be able to.

I wrote this letter last year and wanted to re-post it.

Hey Dad.

First of all, thanks for giving me your height. Sure, it's a little annoying when I can never find jeans that are the right length, and when I wear heels I break into a new level of the atmosphere, but being tall is definitely something I'm grateful for. Mom sure as heck didn't have anything to do with that.

I'm also glad you inspired me to take up photography. I'm sure had you not been so hellbent on taking 351243161 pictures of me in front of every castle, museum, historical marker, or mound of dirt we went to, I never would have caught the photo bug. But because of you, all those awesome travel memories are preserved on film, and I discovered a great passion.

I guess I'm pretty lucky that you're a certified genius, too. I could have landed a Dad with no education.  I wonder what childhood would have been like without all the random historical trivia and grammar lessons.  I probably wouldn't have the same desire to be intelligent.  I might not understand benefits of good grammar and I definitely wouldn't have had to read Kafka's Metamorphosis in the 3rd grade. I'm sure I'm better (and smarter) for it.

One thing is for certain, without you, I wouldn't have been raised overseas.  I mean, unless I had been born to an Asian family or something. My love and appreciation for all things travel no doubt comes directly from you, and life would be so boring if I didn't have the desire to see and learn new things. I know that so many of my best qualities are from you, Dad, though mom thinks I am the perfect combination of you both.

I love you very much.


Wild ▲

Wednesday, June 5




Visiting Austria and Germany ▲

Monday, June 3



 The last few days of our jaunt across Europe were spent in Austria and Germany.  We did quite a bit of hiking.


Finally the last of the Euro trip posts! It was a pretty good vacation.  I got to see a lot of places I have never been and I got to spend time with my Dad.

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