Category Archives: Home

I Never Promised You An Herb Garden

Well my herb garden is pretty much looking like a disaster, friends.  This feels sort of like a betrayal because you always hear that herbs are the gateway garden, right?   A full fledged garden sounds sort of overwhelming, but anyone can grow herbs, right?  You don’t need garden beds, or rich soil, or mad skillz.  Everything I’ve read tells me I can them on a ledge in my kitchen, on a balcony, in little pots.  Herbs! You can grow them ANYWHERE!  

But I’m finding out the hard way that this is shameful propaganda.  Unless I am totally doing it wrong (and I just may be) the rest of my garden is thriving but most of my herbs are dead or wishing they were.  

Exhibit A:  The Dill

Y’all, this dill is either dead, or in hospice.  I won’t be sprinkling this on my salmon anytime soon!  (Good thing Garrett hates salmon.)

Exhibit B:  The Basil


While this isn’t quite as brown and dead looking as the dill, it is definitely looking far more like swiss cheese than I think it should.  Ina Garten’s basil in her backyard garden doesn’t have holes in it, WHY DOES MINE? 

Garrett calls Ina Garten “I’m a Gardener” in a snooty little Southampton voice whenever I make one of her recipes just to be obnoxious, but I feel like it is extra salt in the wounds lately because it is another reminder that I am completely NOT A GARDENER, INA — what is your secret???

He also calls Alton Brown “Alton Bunghole.”  I don’t know why I’m telling you this.  Dinner conversation around our house is lively, I promise you.

Maybe I just need to come to terms with the fact that the rest of my life will be full of store bought basil.  But you guys, I can hardly keep store bought basil alive.  I AM DOOMED.
  

Luckily, some of my tomato plants are looking pretty good.  

Actually they all look pretty good, but these are the only ones that I have responsibly put tomato cages around so these are the ones I’m going to show you.  Elizabeth came by this weekend (who you know, is my garden fairy) and I thought to myself “The Horror! She will see my uncaged tomatoes AND ALL OF MY FAILURES WILL BE EXPOSED”  and she totally didn’t judge me.  But I’m not sure I can trust the entire internet to do the same, so you only get that one picture.  It’s neat to see them grow though, they have all these cute little flowers on them which I am taking as signs that I’m NOT a totally lame gardener!  

So take THAT, Ina!

But the herbs, well, they continue to disappoint!  Have you encountered this before?  Am I doing something wrong?  Enlighten me, internet.  I know you are full of advice.  

Have you had success growing herbs?  TELL ME YOUR SECRETS…

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You Grow Girl

Remember how we redid our front and backyard and I was like “Hey, now I have to take care of 120 square feet of garden, how the hell am I going to do that?”  Well it turns out I am actually responsible for 198 square feet of garden, and since I obviously can’t even do the math correctly, you have to understand my trepidation.

Who has two (brown) thumbs and no innate gardening skills?  THIS GIRL!

Luckily, the internet is full of smarties so I can just steal there ideas and come here and pretend like I’m competent.  You know that’s not how I roll though, so instead I will expose my ignorance!  and then of course reveal my saviors and sources. 

So here’s the story…


(…of a lovely lady.  Who was bringing up 3 very lovely girls…Brady Bunch earworm, FTW!)

Currently the garden looks like this.  And all things considered, I feel pretty happy about it so far. 

  
These beds are filled to the brim with the following:
*Tomatoes (courtesy of Elizabeth who did the dirty work of growing plants from seeds and then feeling sorry enough for me to give me some.  She’s so nice and didn’t even laugh that hard at my novice questions.)
*Peppers
*Lemon Cucumbers (OMG, I die for these)
*Crook Neck Squash (since that is what my Grandma Marian always grew and it makes me think of her.  And hope that her green thumb will rub off on me in spirit.)
*Zucchini
*Spaghetti Squash (I feel like that shouldn’t grow in the summer, but they had it at Home Depot so I’m trying it.)
*More Tomatoes
*More Tomatoes
*Some More Tomatoes (did I mention we really really like tomatoes?)
*Herbs (basil, rosemary, dill, and thyme)


I took a picture of the rosemary because the dill looks dead and that is sad: 



What?  I’m just keeping it real.


There were two things we needed to contend with before we got all WOO-HOO-EY about the garden — the soil situation and the water situation.  This Situation  has to fend for himself:


For the soil I wanted to test it.  The first time I ever read about soil testing was last summer when I read this.  I laughed hysterically at that post, tucked it in the back of my mind for later, and continued to pour my Miracle Grow on my garden.  It seemed to work fine, but this year I wanted to try my hand at modifying my own soil because thinking about Miracle Grow having pee in it kinda grossed me out.  What can I tell you, I’m the kind of person who won’t eat mushrooms on principle because they are a fungus.  And fungus can grow between your toes?  Or on POOP!   Pee Fertilizer was pushing it for me.  So I bought myself a soil test kit and followed the instructions and actually it was quite easy.  



It sure made me feeeeeeeel fancy, but let me let you in on a secret:  it’s easier than mixing a cocktail.  Which I totally did while I waited for my soil samples to turn colors so that I would know what my soil was lacking.  Turns out the beds needed some Nitrogen and Phosphorous, so I went down to my local hardware store to pick up some Bone Meal and Blood Meal to add to amend the soil.  And then I realized that adding bone and blood to my soil so that I didn’t have to add pee because, um ew gross, wasn’t really sound reasoning but we were already in the thick of things, so I forged ahead!  


Spoiler alert:  Bone and Blood meal don’t look gross.  But then again Miracle Grow doesn’t really look like pee, so again my rationale is sort of floating in the wind.  Take that for what its worth.  


So with the soil amended I had to figure out how I was going to water all 198 square feet of Garden Beds,  and when I brought it up to Garrett he said “Oh, do you need a bucket?”  And when I finally picked myself up off the ground from laughing so hard I said “Sure get me a bucket.  And the next time you want to shower I will bring you a bottle of eye drops so you can GIT’R Done.”  I may have also added in an expletive or two, but I am experiencing some selective amnesia about that entire exchange.  What I do remember is that I sent him off to Home Depot and said “Bring me a drip system” in my very best evil villain voice.  But hey, now it looks like this:  


Garrett feels proud of himself and we have thirsty plants no more since he magically hooked it up to our automatic sprinkler system!  Symmetry and irrigation get me all hot and bothered so you don’t have to worry that Garrett is being abused in this situation.  He’s just fine.  I promise. 


(DO I WANT A BUCKET?  BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!) 


So the soil is tested, the plants are planted (Thanks again Elizabeth!) and  the garden waters itself.  All in all I am feeling pretty good about things.  You know aside from our dill plant being all dead and stuff. 

I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop, but for now I am feeling like I’ve got kind of a handle on things.  I mean of course a loose handle hanging off the side of a jalopy, but a handle nonetheless.

So while we are talking gardening:

What are you growing in your garden this summer?

Do you know of any fun gardening websites I should be reading?  

I mean I can’t ask Elizabeth all of my questions or she might figure out start to think that I’m a total garden loser.

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DIY Jewelry Storage For DIY Dummies

In my dream life I am very crafty. 

I cut things and sew things, and every project I start turns out perfect from the conceptualizing phase to execution.  I patiently complete each step in its proper order, feeling more and more inspired as the process goes on.  Oh and speaking of the process, I artfully photograph each and every step so that later I can quickly and easily throw up a tutorial on my perfectly designed website to show other creatively-challenged folks how they too can aspire to be as perfect as I am in soft-focus. 

Oh wait that’s right —  at this here blog, I document reality.

Since Garrett and I moved in together (two years ago tomorrow, actually HEY-O!) he has been hounding me about getting my jewelry under control.  I have lots of necklaces and rings and earrings and bracelets and they usually end up falling out of the one random organizer that I have and this drives him bananas.  Don’t worry, he doesn’t have Sleeping With The Enemy type OCD, he is just one of those logical people who sees a problem and thinks “Hey, how about we find a solution?” whereas I’m more the type to see a problem, get annoyed by it, and then continue to complain about it incessantly while actually repeating the problematic behavior.

What can I say, opposites attract. (Cue Paula Abdul. You’re Welcome!)

So you would think we could put our two college educated heads together and come up with a solution fairly quickly, but that is ultimately where you would think wrong.  Garrett + I are DIY Dummies sometimes. And not because we don’t have what it takes — I can be a big dreamer when it comes to projects, and damn if Garrett can’t put back together ANYTHING that falls apart, but mostly we are just Lazy DIYers. Anyway, all that to say, after two years of scheming, one day of purchasing, and three consecutive weekends of watching our purchases gather dust on our kitchen table, we finally managed to get this up last weekend.  Then, of course, we spent the MANY MANY days patting each other on the back like we had just finished painting the Sistine Chapel. 

Coupled with my old craptastic organizer that all the necklaces used to fall out of, it now fits all of my baubles perfectly.  Yes, I did just say baubles even though the bulk of my jewelry comes from the clearance rack at Target.  Cut me some slack. I would like to ONE DAY own baubles so don’t kill me dream, alright?

If you want to know the truth, I’m a little bit disappointed at the function over fashion element.  Frankly, my dream jewelry organizer looks like this and I actually thought about doing that for a minute, but luckily I am competent enough to know my limitations.  OK, OK the truth is I showed that post to Garrett and said, “Hey, you’re super handy…what do you think about creating something like this?”  And he looked at me like I was speaking French and said, “You want to install moose antlers in our closet to help declutter?” And then because neither of us even knew where to find moose antlers, we settled on a  Plan B.

The next time I went to Target I spied some belt hooks out of the corner of my eye, remembered an old blog post I had come across, talked Garrett into buying some wood to slap them on in Home Depot, and lo and behold this necklace storage solution was created!  Sorry I don’t have any soft focus pictures to show you the step by step. Overall I have to say I am very happy with it!  And aside from having to laugh at the same joke that every man tells when using a stud finder (Hey honey…look, I put it on my chest, and it FOUND A STUD!) the whole process was relatively painless.

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Before And After: Our Yards

So our front and backyard? 
Finally done. 
Actually, it’s been done for over a month now but I just haven’t had it in me to post the Before/After pics.  I know, I suck.  Part of the reason is because since finishing, it is almost painful to look at the before pictures.  It’s not that our new yard is so super fancy that it blows our old yard out of the water — I mean, come on, our budget was spent on really fabulous things like Extreme Trenching and Improving Drainage, etc so obviously this hampered the Porno Pool w/ Grotto, you know?  I just want you to manage your expectations here.  But my hesitation to post these pictures had more to do with the fact that every time look at the Befores, it is all I can do to not shout – I SWEAR WE WERE NOT WHITE TRASH!
But before I tell you the story of the yard, I feel like I should tell you the story of this house so you understand why the yard got to the condition that it was in.  It’s not like one day we just started throwing garbage in the backyard and stacking things – it was, er…well, a much more complicated process. 
So once upon a time in 1999 Garrett’s parents bought him this house when he went off to college.  They were assuming (quite intelligently, actually) that when he was done with college a few years later they could sell the house, recover their expenses, and pat themselves on the back for their smart investing. This was only possible for two reasons —  1)  Real Estate in Sacramento in 1999 was incredibly cheap  and 2)  Their son was an 80 year old man living in an 18  year old’s body and could responsibly care for a house at such a young age.  As you can imagine there was no way in hell my parents would ever have purchased me a house when I went off to college, and righfully so!  The only thing they didn’t anticipate was Garrett getting comfortable here and never wanting to leave (and who can blame him – our little house is really quite cozy) and that the real estate market would take a massive nose dive.  Have you heard?  It blows.  So for now we rent from his parents, live in sin, and it works out well for all involved. 
But back in 2007, after almost a decade of Garrett living there but before I moved in,  it was becoming apparent that the house needed a little updating.  It was about 900 square feet, had one bathroom, 3 tiny bedrooms, and only outdoor laundry.  Garrett and his parents hired a contractor and 6 months later basically had a brand new house.  It was still 3 bedrooms (though much roomier at 1200 square feet), but it had a second bathroom, a remodeled master suite, and an indoor laundry room.  Due to the dumpsters, tractors, contractors, and new foundations being laid though, what it DIDN’T have at the end of that 6 months were pretty yards.  The front and back yards died a horrible death and instantly got put on the the “Things To Do At Some Point When the Remodel is Done” list.  And then life went on for about 2 and a half years:  Garrett started a new job, we moved in together, we merged all sorts of aspects of our lives, Garrett quit the new job, and  it just never seemed like the right time to start a large scale yard remodel, so we didn’t. 
But by August of this year Garrett had quit the soul sucking full-time job and had been working part time for a few months.  We had fallen into a new life rhythm and it finally seemed like the time.  We started interviewing landscapers, getting quotes, and finally in September we started with the front yard looking like this:  

And come November, it started looking a little more like this:

A nice new driveway that can fit 3-5 cars now instead of just one.  And some low maintenance bark/shrubs/moss rock…see?



And inside that gate, a new little patio:



Of course now that the yard is done we have no Patio Furniture Budget, but that is neither here nor there.  


Now, onto the backyard!  


I just want you to remember to tell yourself that we are not white trash, mmmkay?


Here was our back patio and “lawn” before:



And what was left of my “Garden Beds”:



Here’s another look at what were my Garden Beds and our shed:

No, that is not where the Uni-bomber lives.  That’s our backyard!  

And of course, here was our lovely side yard:

But then November came, and after about a month of many strange men being at my house at all hours of the day 5 days a week (sometimes 6!) the yard began to look a bit more liveable.  

Now look at that side yard:  



Which leads right onto our new patio:



And look — we actually have a lawn now!



And Garden Beds that look like, come spring, they might actually grow things:

Though, uh, who is going to teach me how to garden now that I am responsible for 120 square feet of soil?  OY!  HALP!


Anyway, as you can see there is no Porno Pool to my dismay, but I am pretty happy that things are simple, clean, functional, and more importantly don’t make our neighbors think that we are total crazies!  


I am trying to convince Garrett that we should have our wedding here since we could easily fit 75 people in the back to witness a little holy matrimony.  Plus — it would be free!  (Well, the venue at least.) 


If you are interested in seeing more, all of the photos are here. 

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A Love Letter to Jello Salad

So Thanksgiving is all about the food.  That’s a given. 

Of course it is also about gratitude and tradition and family and all of that goodness and stuff, but since I don’t have any kids yet and I’m pretty grateful the other 364 days of the year, WHEN DO WE EAT?  I’m looking forward to football, family, card games and good times, but what I really can’t wait for is DINNER!  Or lunch, I guess. 

Do you all eat your Thanksgiving dinners early?  We like to eat around 3 so that we can have pie (or turkey sandwiches, what?) around actual dinner time. 

Anyway, both my mom’s and dad’s sides of the family cook very similar spreads, so it doesn’t matter who we are celebrating with because there is always a delicious feast.  There is one major difference in the two menus though, and it happens to involve one of my absolute favorite dishes:  Raspberry Jello Salad.  You see it’s a staple on my dad’s side of the family, but we only occasionally make it on my mom’s.  There is really no rhyme or reason to it on my mom’s side, sometimes we have it, sometimes we don’t, but usually it is per my request.   I thought about whipping up a real quick batch tonight, but with all the other dishes I am tasked with, plus squeezing in one more workout so I can freely snarf stuffing without guilt, it just seemed like a bit too much.   So since I’m not going to be eating it, well, I feel the need to at least discuss it at length.  Will you humor me? 

First of all, I will acknowledge a few things about this recipe:

1.  I Get it.  It is not salad.
I used to have an irritatingly food obsessed roommate and during one of the years we lived together I cooked my first Thanksgiving Dinner EVER (you know…by myself.)  I was feeling sentimental and I was telling her about each dish and how I made them, and why we make them year after year when I pulled out this dish she laughed like I had just told the most hilarious joke.  Then she tried it and said,  “Yeah, it’s good, but you are kidding yourself if you think this is a salad.  This totally isn’t very healthy, Holly.” 

And all I can say to that is THANK GOD SHE ENLIGHTENED ME.  I mean where would I have been in life had she not made a flow chart defining salads and health for me in our little kitchen?  Praise the lord!

For this, and many other reasons as you may assume, we are not only no longer roommates but no longer friends.  But I do think about her often when I make this SALAD, and 12 years later I still feel incredibly happy that I chose it over her.  It’s that good, people.     

2.  I Get it.  It sounds gross.
I have seen many different faces when I’ve explained that my favorite thanksgiving dish involves a jello salad with cream cheese, whipped cream and — wait for it — pretzels.  Not all of them have been excited faces.  It sounds like a ridiculous combination, and I full acknowledge that.  But let me just promise you that it is the best gift from the Sweet and Savory Gods, and I swear on a bag of kettle corn that the combination works.  And it just gets better and better as the days pass. 

3.  I get it.  It’s a dessert.  It doesn’t really go with the meal.
Who the hell cares when I eat it, you psycho control freak?  Oops, sorry, I think that was a little residual ex-roommate rage there.  Seriously though, it does taste more like a dessert than a side dish.  But if no one is going to be a stickler with the candied yams about it, then leave my jello salad alone too, okay?

4.  I get it.  Jello Salad is NOT sexy.
In fact, there is little that is less sexy than jello salad, well you know, at least when we are talking about cravings and Thanksgiving food.  I nominate Turducken as a food that sure sounds less sexy, but I have to agree that saying a jello salad is one of my favorites sort of makes me  feel like I’m answering one of those “You Might Be a Redneck” jokes in the affirmative.  

But it is so super duper delicious that I am willing to put all of those points aside!  And I have to admit, I will really be missing my Raspberry Jello Salad this year.  So on the off chance you are in dire need of a last minute side dish/salad/dessert, this recipe on Tasty Kitchen is quite similar to the one traditionally served in my family.  And you should try it, because I dare you not to love it.  Plus then we could be White Trash Friends Forever.   

Do you think they make a necklace for that? 

Do you have any crazy family food traditions?  Tell me so I don’t feel so stupid now that I have written a bazillion words about jello salad.  Pretty please?

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Tales of My City

I’ve been looking for a new book to read for a few days now.  I wasn’t quite ruined by the last book I read, though I did find it mostly entertaining.  It was a library book that I picked out right before my trip to Chicago because I assumed it would give off the vibe of “Don’t sit next to me on the plane *ahem*  I like extra leg room”  and since it worked for 3 of the 5 legs of my flights, it appears I was correct in that assumption.  (Would you sit by someone reading this?  Me either.)  My shelf of checked-out library books has dwindled, so out of necessity I have been aimlessly perusing my own bookshelf lately, which frankly is a collection large enough that if I devoured every unread book available I could probably stay away from the library for at least a year or two.  But since they are kind enough to subscribe to all the good magazines I like, and I already have to stop by weekly to keep up with the Kardashians and Justin Bieber’s hair and all that, reaching for one the books I already own first rarely ever happens. 
(Sidebar:  What are you reading right now?  I need to pad my library reservation list too since that is also quickly dwindling!)
So when I headed over to Peet’s to grab some tea and say hi to Garrett this afternoon, I was thrilled to see Sacramento Bee’s Books & Media section abandoned at an empty table.  On the front page was a feature article on Armistead Maupin, as he is doing a reading at the Library Galleria this week to promote his new book.  It was such an entertaining article and it reminded me of my years living in LA in an instant.  I talk about my life in LA sometimes on this blog, but definitely not enough.  I’m going to fix that.  It was such a fun and unique time in my life and full of stories — and today’s article reminded me of that.    
You see I moved to LA when I was 19 because a friend of mine at the time was going to school down there.  I had taken a hiatus from college, my dad had just died, and really my life had a complete lack of direction – why not move to LA, I thought?  So I did.  And I immediately got a job at Peet’s Coffee & Tea in Brentwood (fun fact:  the Peet’s I worked in was actually the old location of Mezzaluna Trattoria of OJ Simpson fame, and years earlier in the midst of the famous trial while my parents and I were looking at colleges we must have driven by it a hundred times so my mom could film it at every angle because she was so wrapped up in that trial!)  

One of my responsibilities at that store was Community Marketing, which was just a fancy title for schlepping thermoses of coffee to big events to promote Peet’s and then sitting there with a smile on my face serving all evening.  I thought it was a giant pain in the ass at the time, and my car’s light colored interior definitely suffered dragging brewed coffee back and forth through LA traffic, but looking back I got to hang out at some very cool events for free just because I was serving coffee:  Food and Wine festivals, concerts, chi chi parties, you name it and chances are I served coffee there.

One of my favorite events to serve was the UCLA Hammer Lectures & Readings Series  which featured lectures by prominent authors, musicians, and artists.  I would serve coffee before the event started and then I could sneak in and listen to Elvis Costello talk about his songwriting process, or Margaret Atwood discuss exactly what she thought of literary criticism.  It was a thankless part of my job for which I most certainly wasn’t not getting paid, but the benefit of eavesdropping on such uncensored fantastic talents was pretty inspiring to me at the time and was an incredible perk, especially since I was so lost in my life at the time. 

One of the final lectures that I attended was one featuring Armistead Maupin.  He spoke of his travels and of San Francisco.  He detailed the catharsis of writing one of his most famous novels and coming out all in the same year.  He talked about AIDS and how no one was discussing it when he started writing about it, about film and about music.  He was the kind of person who you wanted to invite to your cocktail party and sit next to wide-eyed the entire evening. 

After the event I was carrying all of my gear out to my car parked in this back alley, certainly bitching in my head about how I should not have to be doing this so late at night — and it must have been written all over my face because all of a sudden out of nowhere I heard someone say “Need a toke?” and then a giggle to himself.  I turned around to find the event’s Guest of Honor outside smoking a joint all alone, and I couldn’t believe that this super famous author was willing to lend me an ear and a puff.  I declined at the time because I was 20, and a do-gooder, and the sheer shock of someone openly smoking marijuana on the University campus was almost too whacky for my sheltered little mind to even conceive of, but he had such a kind face and was so earnest in his effort to let me know “It’s here if you need it.”

Of course after that encounter I went out and picked up a few of his books, though I have never actually cracked the spine and read one.  Not for any particular reason either, except that I have a lot books and most of them end up sitting on the shelves unread because of my penchant for library books.  And when I thought of that story this afternoon while drinking my tea, it pretty well convinced me that Tales of the City needs to be my next book choice, even if I do have to do some digging around on my bookshelves.  And hell, with the annoying Monday that I’ve had today, don’t think it hasn’t crossed my mind to head downtown later this week and take him up on that long overdue offer.  I think we all know that my do-gooder tendencies still have a stronghold even 10 years later though, so chances are it’ll probably remain just a memory.

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Sometimes I do NOT enjoy being a girl….

So yesterday we had another company come out to give us a second opinion on our House A/C Situation.   As I mentioned recently, the last guy from a Very Reputable Company came out and basically said our A/C was dunzo, which on the eve of summer in Sacramento is like being sentenced to the death penalty. 

The incident went down something like this since Garrett was out of town:

Holly:  Our heater wouldn’t turn on all winter and we are now worried our A/C is up to no good as well, although we haven’t tried to turn it on.

Very Reputable A/C Guy:  Well let me do some checking, I’ll be back.

(After about 30 minutes)

H:  So, how did it go?

VRACG:  Here let me draw you a picture and speak to you with lots of big words you will only kind of understand. 

H:  OK

VRACG:  Blah, Blah, Blah, and in the end, I’m not saying you have to get a new A/C System, but you kind of have to get a new A/C System.  Have your boyfriend call me if he wants me to break the situation down for him too.   

*****Cue Panic******

So then yesterday Mr. New Repairman from This Other Company comes out to give a second opinion.  Although he doesn’t know he is our second opinion.  And rather than dealing with me, he deals with Garrett — and when I say “deals with Garrett” I mean spends an hour and a half diagnosing and tinkering and cleaning and servicing and ALLOWING GARRETT TO STAND ON A LADDER WHILE HE DOES THINGS ON OUR ROOF BECAUSE GARRETT IS CURIOUS HOW EVERYTHING WORKS, and then answers ninety billion of Garrett’s very mechanical questions that were relevant to the sitiuation. 

And this guy’s verdict:  There’s nothing wrong.  

Um…wha??????  Nothing?  Like at all?

Nothing.

Two very different answers, and two very different situations.  

One is offering the death penalty, the other is offering an all expense paid trip to the Bahamas.  And I’m feeling sort of vexed by the whole situation.  

COOL THINGS:  

*Um, you know which guy we are going to listen to right?
*The second opinion made sense and was very thorough.
*And most importantly, after a quick cleaning, both the A/C and the Heat are now working like a charm.

THINGS I’M KIND OF ANNOYED ABOUT:

*According to the First Opinion, yes the A/C is technically working, but we are living on “borrowed time” which of course gives me anxiety, but not enough to run out spend $8K just in case, you know?
*Um, did I just totally get worked by Mr. First Opinion?
*Here let me answer that for you.  Yes, I think I totally just got worked by Mr. First Opinion.

I don’t know if all of you will feel me on this, but sometimes in my experience as a female, if I have to have something serviced or repaired I totally get the run around.  I’m not saying I expect it, because I really give people the benefit of the doubt, but I have seriously had some shady situations go down (especially surrounding car problems) that just NEVER happen when Garrett takes the car in or whatever.  It’s annoying, but I’m not going to lie, it’s also kind of fun to let someone go through the process of trying to give you the run around, just to turn around and let them know that you know what the hell you are talking about.  Take, for example:  Many years ago, in my single days, I had actually just picked my car up from having the break pads replaced and went to get my oil changed (which, was obvs my dream day of errand running I’ll have you know)  and the oil change guy gave me a line about how my transmission was all effed up and my break pads really probably needed some attention, but he could handle that for me at the low price of $149.99 or something ridiculous.  Actually, I’m not sure if it was exactly those things, because now that I think about it why would an oil guy be looking at my break pads, but it was somebody looking at my break pads and telling me they were shot even though I HAD JUST HAD THEM CHANGED SO SHUT IT YOU LYING LIAR FACE, DUDE!  Wanna see my receipt, because here it is on the passenger seat you idiot.  

This happens more often than I would like, I find, but I am really having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that this A/C guy would really take advantage of me!  He was so nice to me!  And my mom, who was also there!  How can you want to take advantage of my mom, too?  Grrrrr. 

Well, come to find out, after a long drawn out discussion about an A/C Unit last night (Hey-O, kind of like this blog post!)  apparently, when Garrett called him (as you will remember the A/C guy TOLD ME TO HAVE GARRETT DO) Mr. A/C was a little put off and defensive and kind of evaded all of Garrett’s questions (which, honestly, Garrett does ask a lot of questions about mechanical things, I know this — but um, that’s why I’m pretty sure HE CAN FIX SHIT, which, indicidentally is not my thing.  But hey I have other things!  I can write diatribes on fixing shit on the internet, so there!)  And this sort of gave Garrett a feeling that we really needed that second opinion, which, in the end I’m super glad we got.  But still, the whole thing is just sort of vexing — I mean yes, it’s good news.  But also, I feel sort annoyed about the whole damn thing. 

I bet you all can’t wait to hear about our dealings with landscapers!

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Focusing on the Positive

So I played hooky at work yesterday because the Air Conditioner in our house isn’t working so I had a guy come out to look at it and figure out what the heck was wrong with it.  The short answer is:  everything.  The long answer is:  We just need to get a new one.  But the AC guy was nice enough to tell me that he has seen new systems as cheap as $6,000. 

Blink. Blink.  blinkblinkblinkblink.

Well golly gee, that’s good to hear.  They’re cheap!  OMGKILLMENOW.

So yeah, not so much goodness happening around these parts this week.  We’re going to go ahead and add the A/C project to our To-Do list of *life projects that are totally going to be cheap to do I’m sure*, which also includes:

-Landscape Front and Back Yard
-Fix Air Conditioner in my car before Sacramento gets sucky and sweltering
-Fix CV Boot issue in Garrett’s car
-Paint Interior House..oh, and my personal favorite
-Go to the dentist to get to the bottom of that tooth of mine that is hurting

So Yeah….since I’m trying to stay positive here, I’m choosing instead to focus on this to-do list, which I like to call

Shit I’m Prioritizing This Weekend:

*Making this Warm Quinoa Salad
*Reading this book. 
Real Quick, can somebody tell real quick when I turned into a giant hippy?
Meh.  Whatever. 
*Watch copious amounts of Criminal Minds

I’m going through an obsession with that show, pretty much as I did with every single one of the CSI franchises (except NY, I just can’t get into CSI:NY), where I can watch like 5 episodes back to back and not bat an eyelash.  What can I tell you?  I can be a master at the art of time-suckage when I want to be.  

This weekend, will be great damnit!  And at least it won’t be hot, so I’ve got that going for me with no Air Conditioning…hahahahahahahahaSOB.

Hope you are doing something great, friends!

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Tree of Life

I lived in the same house from the time I was very small until I was 17 years old. When it was my turn to move out of the house, my parents did as well and it was sort of this weird simultaneous transition. They say you can’t go home again, and the truth for me was, I couldn’t. Ever since that house I’ve lived in a number of different apartments and in many different places: college in San Luis Obispo and then Los Angeles just because (in Westwood right by UCLA, then in Mar Vista right by Marina del Rey). After that I headed up to Sacramento where I have lived Downtown, then in East Sacramento and now in the suburban outskirts of Carmichael (which trust me, are all very different living experiences). With each move I have become more efficient with that dance of systematically unpacking my stuff, setting up a brand new life, finding Target and the grocery store and the good gas stations, and then of course trying to make my house a home. But part of me was always still searching for something.


I’ve always had a bit of wanderlust. I’ve discussed that here before, I love to travel and when I do I rarely go for fancy hotels. I much prefer renting a house or a condo in my destination, and pretending – even if just for a weekend – that this is my home. It’s fun to play the part of a whole new life. I’ve always thought of myself as someone who was adaptable. I’ve always though I could pick and move anywhere at anytime. It’s something I know how to do, something I do well even – moving from place to place and always finding where I belong there.


I think I took for granted the stability of my home growing up, but I mean what can you expect? I was a kid and idyllic suburbia was all I knew. I longed for “bigger and better” things as I grew up – living in the city, or having a fun apartment downtown – whatever it was. But as I’ve gotten older, moved around, and lived in different places I have such a better appreciation for everything my parents did to make our house more than just this place we all slept. It was home. And of course even though I have had great living experiences in my 32 years — lived in fun and quirky places, had some fantastic roommates (and some not so fantastic ones, too!) — I still found myself in search of that feeling of home and often wondered what it would feel like as an adult.


Yesterday afternoon I fell asleep on the couch as I often do on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I took a catnap with the sun coming in the windows just a bit making the house that perfect temperature for snoozing. It was quiet and when I woke up Garrett was tip-toeing around the house cleaning things up in the kitchen.


“I’ve never seen you sleep more soundly than you do at this house.”


And it’s true (although truth be told regardless of chair, bed, or couch, I can be a champion sleeper in any locale.) But even more than that, I realized – I do sleep sounder here. I breathe deeper here. Moving in to this particular house with this particular boy has – at the risk of sounding a bit cheesy – been a bit of a homecoming.  (Collective barfing can commence!)  My favorite stuff and my favorite person are finally all in the same location. No more subconscious worrying about one or the other. No more shuttling back and forth on the weekends. No more buying groceries for one house just to end up having them spoil because you both are staying at the other house.


THIS, is home.


And you all, it is like this giant exhale for my soul.


And I know you are probably thinking to yourself – hey genius, it’s already been a year and you are just getting around to this epiphany now? And the answer to that is: kind of. What can I say; sometimes I’m slow on the uptake.

Lately I keep looking around the rooms of my house – our house – and seeing our intertwined lives in every single room. The things we’ve done together, the things we’ve chosen together, our shared tasks, and our shared goals. I’ve looked around at this house – well, at this life really – and seen roots.  Which is exactly what I have always missed about my life with my parents in our little old house.  This is the thing I have been looking for.  This is the life I’ve been searching for. And I know that if you take this blog’s word for it, sometimes it is a small and mundane life — who are we kidding, right?  But even though it is a silly little life, you guys sometimes it is such a good life – and on days like yesterday I almost can’t believe my luck that I found it at all — and can hardly believe that I get to watch it grow.

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Passion Pit, Peroxide Yarmulkes, and Pictures

Is it just me or have any of you all looked at your calendar lately and said to yourself “Where the hell has April gone?”  My god, I looked at my calendar last night wondering about the next time I would have a moment of down time all to myself and had to actually flip it to the month of May.  Sigh…Weren’t we just talking about New Year’s Resolutions? 

This isn’t a bad thing though, I swear.  In fact even though this week is going to fly by, it is full of Super!  Fun!  Things!  Including a Wednesday night show in Davis to see Passion Pit (yay!) and then on Friday, we are Seattle Bound!  I may even end up doing laundry somewhere in there too otherwise Seattle better get ready to see my in my wrinkled best.  I figure this will be acceptable though because if people look at me funny I will just say I’m making a pilgramage to the capital of grunge!  Although this time around I will wear much less plaid than I did in the 90s.  And of course I’ll be sure to make sure my lipstick doesn’t make me look like I’ve been sucking on a tailpipe.  You’ve got to draw the line somewhere you know.

seattle-skyline-night

And among all of the touristy things I plan to do I assure you that I most certainly do plan to fight fellow tourists at Kerry Park for pictures of that view.  Hell, I may even wear a fanny pack and a camera around my neck while I’m at it — what of it?

(Excuse me while I take a minute to stop laughing my ass off because I am having a gay old time visualizing myself in an awful plaid shirt, wrinkly jeans, and Dr. Martens, while I also strap on a fanny pack and sling a camera around my neck.  This trip is going to be awesome!  Maybe I will just do some laundry.  There’s a thought. )

Anyway — digression, apparently is my middle name!  So we will be there for a long weekend and I have made a spreadsheet of all the places I want to go because I am a giant nerd like that and have come to realize that instead of 4 days, we need about 40. People, there are 47 restaurants on my list.  FORTY SEVEN.  Not sure how to reconcile that just yet, but I can tell you this much — I told Garrett he needs to pack layers and his appetite! The weather looks to be pretty nice and of course we will get to visit some fabulous people, so I basically can’t wait for that! GOD I CAN’T WAIT FOR THAT. 

The only downer is that I anticipate taking about 970 billion pictures, and I sort of hate my haircut right now.  I wish I could say my hairdresser is to blame, but actually she is the most adorable thing on the planet and gave the exact cut that I asked for — I just um…well…don’t love it.  So yeah there’s that.  But I keep trying to remind myself that this haircut is not that bad.  After all it is nothing like the time I went to see my old hairdresser in Los Angeles for a cut and I walked out with a peroxide yarmulke.  A YARMULKE OF PEROXIDE….let that sink in for a minute.  My lesson after that incident was if a hairdresser ever says that you should go a little bit “avante garde” turn and run the other direction.    

So yeah, this hair is not that bad.  It’s short and has bangs.  Big whoop, there is no peroxide and no yarmulke, so I will live.  But it probably means that I will take plenty of pictures of the adorable looking patio that we will have outside of the condo that we are staying in instead of me!  Whatever.  We’ll see what happens.   I mean if all else fails and I run out things to photograph, I will just start taking pictures of meals we eat because you know there will be no shortage of opportunities there. 

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