Friday, September 28, 2012

Trash to Treasure

My neighbors have the greatest trash. 

I should clarify: my neighborhood has a very active listserv.  People often post that they're getting rid of one thing or another and that it's available for pick-up on their curb. 

It turns out that this is just the sort of thing that appeals to my cheapskate, Mormon heart.  And I've really lucked out picking stuff up from my neighbors "trash piles" in this way. 

I've scored a chair, a 50's style rolling desk chair, a library lamp, a vintage steamer trunk, an x-box (complete with 5 controllers, a headset and 25 games), a console table and a few other things.

But, my favorite "rescue item" is probably the American Girl doll brass bedstead that I snagged while on a walk a couple weeks ago.  I saw it and knew my niece, Ella, would just love it to use with her American Girl doll. 

The bedstead was in perfect condition- just a little dusty, so I came home and quickly cleaned it up.  Then I used things I had around the house to make a mattress, a quilt and a couple pillows.  I love the mint green and pink with the brass.  So much, in fact, that I am almost tempted to keep this for myself.  Not that I have ever had a doll (I had Ninja Turtle action figures instead) or a kid with a doll, but it's just so cute! 

To recap:
Brass bedstead - free
Quilt, mattress and pillows - free
Time spent - about a half hour
Total: Free-ninety-nine

I can't wait to give this to little Ella.  She'll like it, don't you think?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

An Apple (or 10) a Day

 My Mom came to visit for a few days last weekend.  Usually when she comes we end up doing house-related projects the whole time (my Mom is a home improvement genius!) and I end up feeling guilty that I put her to work for the entirety of her vacation.

So this time I made sure that we used the time as a true vacation. I took both Friday and Monday off work and we both had a truly relaxing vacation. 

It's nice to have guests that have already seen the sites multiple times so that we can branch out and do things that wouldn't necessarily be on a normal tourist's list. 

I did have a couple of things to do on my agenda - things I've never gotten around to doing, but have always wanted to do because the weekends are never long enough and there's always too much yard work or housework to be done on Saturdays when I would otherwise be gallivanting around the area on adventures with Blake.

Our first item on the list was going to Butler's Orchard for apple and raspberry picking.  It was a glorious 70-degree day with a clear sky and a slight breeze.  It couldn't have been a more beautiful day. 

Prior to driving up, I had worried that there wouldn't be any raspberries left for us to pick.  But boy was I wrong.  There were still tons of them - we just had to take our time.  We picked two pounds of raspberries (some of which didn't even make it to the car before we started snacking on them).  Hands down the best raspberries I've ever had.

We also got a little carried away picking apples.  We thought we were picking 20 turns out we picked 40 (!!!!) pounds of apples.  Whoops.

Not quite knowing what we were going to do with all 40 pounds of the apples, we stopped at the grocery store on the way home to pick up pie-making supplies.  We made four pies - baked one and put the rest in the freezer - and had only used one bag of apples.  We also ended up putting together cellophane-wrapped packages to give to our friends and neighbors.  Blake and I have each been eating two or three per day, but we're still only down to 2 bags. 

Now it's a race against time...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

S'More Nothing

Do you ever feel like everything exciting happens on the same day?  Not necessarily good exciting or bad exciting, but just out-of-the ordinary.

My week has been like that.  Monday, Tuesday, meh, same-old same-old: get up, get ready, chomp on breakfast on the way to the metro, work, read, cook dinner, work out, shower, watch a show, go to bed.  Repeat.

Then Wednesday hits.  A normally 35 minute commute takes 1 hour 35 minutes due to lack of power on the rails. We spend 15 minutes standing on a platform in NE DC wondering how in the world we're going to actually get to work (and join every single other person on the platform in frantically calling our offices to let them know we'll be missing whatever we have scheduled that morning):

I finally make it to work an hour late feeling ennui that can only be cured by Diet Coke or ice cream.  I opt, due to the morning hour, for the Diet Coke route.

A couple of my colleagues and I decide to further combat our metro-induced frustration by taking a long lunch and walking to the MLK library and then out to lunch.  I am now the proud owner of a DC library card (hooray for reciprocal borrowing privileges!).

The weather is perfect when I get off work, so I enjoy the walk home in the crisp fall air.  I dodge the oddly cut branch overhanging our walkway (it's a long story...), open all the windows in the house and start in on dinner and the cream cheese pound cake recipe I've been dying to try. 

Ten minutes later a man (woman?) from a childrens' poverty sponsorship agency (to sponsor the children, not their poverty...obviously) knocks on the door and proceeds to make me awkward by 1) asking if I'm really over 21, and 2) telling me that during the course of our conversation, "Bam! 50 children have already died of starvation etc. while we've been talking."  Feeling guilty and grumpy does not make my wallet open any more easily, lady (man?). 

Right before book group is supposed to start, I hear what sounds like a cross between a crying baby and a strangled cat howling outside the window.  I think at first it is some friends playing a joke on me, but Kristin knowingly informs me that it was actually a male cat in heat. 

We find him lounging in the ground-cover in the backyard, arching his back and yowling unceasingly.  It is simultaneously hilarious and terrifying and I find myself considering how I'd defend myself in the event of a cat attack (stop, drop and roll?  cover eyes, nose and mouth to prevent massive allergy attack?).

Book group otherwise goes off without a hitch, but I find myself absolutely exhausted by the end of the evening. 

What will tomorrow bring? 

Friday, September 14, 2012

A blog about nothing

Today's street-preacher snippet (mind you this was being yelled into a cell phone - because apparently he preaches remotely, too):

"...and men were made by God to be warriors.  And you aren't born a warrior.  You have to go on a quest to be a spiritual warrior. I only recently became a warrior as I was previously possessed by devils..."


On Tuesday night Blake and I were watching TV in our family room with all the windows open because the weather was incredible and we wanted to dispel the fumes from refinishing our kitchen counter tops.  We noticed that it started to smell like smoke. This didn't bother us. In fact, it kind of made me jealous because I thought someone was having a BBQ and that sounded nice. 

Then we started hearing multiple fire engines and ambulances.  Then we felt the floor rumbling faintly and finally roused ourselves from the couch to look out the windows.  The engines were parked just a couple houses down from us! 

Blake and I ran outside and walked up the street to investigate.  It was only when we were standing in front of the fire engines and the evacuees that we realized that we still had our bowls of ice cream in hand.  And I continued to eat mine in the soft glow of the fire engine lights - I couldn't just let it melt!  So, yes, we are those people: the ones who bring treats to a tragedy.

Finally - because this has been a post about absolutely nothing - I give you Cookies About Nothing
Enjoy.  And have a happy weekend!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Labor Day - Belatedly

We kept our Labor Day weekend low-key and close to home with a day trip up to Baltimore and lots of lounging and movie-watching around home.  It was perfect.  Blake and I have both been crazy busy at work (Blake more so than I) and we loved having time to hang out with friends, relax, and not think about work for a couple of days.

Some friends joined with us on our day trip and we had a grand time despite the heat.  It was humid, muggy, and probably about a million degrees, but we kept our morale up by popping into stores like It's Sugar and the Fudge Factory.  It's impossible not to be smiling when you're listening to a bunch of guys sing a capella about fudge making.  As a side note: I learned that I'll do just about anything for a free sample - listen to an a capella musical about fudge? no problem. be made to sing and dance to the songs - I can do that too as long as there's fudge in my immediate future.

We got crab cakes, explored the shops at Fells Point and stumbled up the reason for all that traffic we'd encountered in the inner harbor: the Grand Prix.  We were especially confused as to why folks would buy tickets to sit in the hot grandstands when they could get a perfectly good view through the fence from the shade.  Sometimes it pays to be cheap.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Puppy Love

On our way to Home Depot on Saturday, Blake and I got an email about a dog adoption day at the local pound.  Although we weren't successful at finding any non-pit bulls at the pound, we did pass a puppy store afterwards and excitedly pulled over to spend the next hour playing with the puppies.

We were particularly taken with the three-month-old golden doodle.  All the other dogs were yipping and chasing each other around while he was asleep in his bed.  We asked if we could play with him in one of the "puppy play rooms" (yes, there truly is such a marvelous thing as a puppy play room!) and he was the sweetest thing.  He just wanted to put his head on our laps and be snuggled.  He was quiet and so docile. 

It absolutely broke our hearts to leave without him, but because he was only an F1 doodle, he was more golden retriever than poodle, and was shedding like crazy.  That's a no go for a girl with allergies like mine.  It was worth an afternoon of sneezing to play with him for an hour, but it wouldn't have worked out in the long run. 

After talking about getting a dog for the past four years, we're finally getting close to pulling the trigger.  There's just no reason why we shouldn't be living each day greeted by a face as cute as this one:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Madly in Love

There's a street preacher between Union Station and my office who is loud and full of important proclamations to the world.  He'll cast out your demons. He'll bless you and your family.  He'll proclaim your past and your future.  All for the price of holding your hand...and a small donation of course.

Usually he's bellowing out hell and brimstone. Or he's praising Jesus: holding someones hand with eyes downcast in mutual prayer.  But yesterday was different.  Yesterday's prayer was my favorite. 

He was holding a woman's hand. Eye's downcast in the usual fashion.  Swaying a bit to his chanting. Ignoring the sagging pants and growing plumbers crack creeping down his backside.

And I bless you....praise him...praise him...mmmhmmm...I bless fall MADLY IN LOVE WITH ME. 

I wonder if she had to "donate" extra for that?