Monday, April 25, 2016

Stream of Consciousness

Ammon's downstairs right now blaring some awesome crooner style jazz and doing the dishes.  And all I can think about is how jealous I am, because I'm sitting in our office where I'm supposed to be working on my final project for my Finance class.  Spoiler alert:  It isn't going well at all.  I thought it would be a good idea to analyze his company, since part of his compensation package is vested stock options.  Instead, I find myself very concerned over our financial future.  The stock market can be such a Debbie Downer.

Speaking of downer's, these "scones" were a huge disappointment.  I had really high hopes for them, but when they literally fell flat in the oven, so did all of my dreams.  It's probably good though, because I've had some decent baking successes lately, and I was probably getting overly confident in my skills.  Nothing like flat scones to remind you it's all a work in progress, I suppose.

 This, my dears, is a loaf of Sourough I made that was decidedly NOT a failure.  Ammon, who professes to hate sourdough, seemed to enjoy it.  How I'm able to win with wild yeast, but fail with baking powder is completely beyond me.

Speaking of things made more delicious with yeast, wine.  Oh, wine.  And beer.  And cider.  You're all delicious, but I'm planning on quitting you.  I've got a 2 week liver-cleanse program coming that I'm super excited about, but in order to do any good, the tasty beverages have gotta go buh-bye.  Glad that Girl's Night at the winery was this last weekend and not this weekend, because I would be sad indeed.  I'm planning on starting the program as soon as it gets here, so any day now.  I'll keep you posted on how that goes.  

Oh, and did I mention I'm planning on going off coffee for those two weeks too?  Feel sad for my husband and co-workers.  And perhaps pray for them.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Why can't we be friends?

 I've been struggling a lot with making friends here.  Oof.  That was a hard start to this blog post, but it is true, and I don't know any other way to start this off.  It hasn't been a small struggle, it's been a huge struggle.  I knew it would be hard, but I didn't expect it to be this hard.

When I was 18, I moved over 1,000 miles away to go to college, and I knew nobody.  It was easy to meet new people, because when you're in college, you have to go out and interact with the rest of the world.  There are classes, on-campus jobs, clubs, activities, parties, dorms, and more that are all pushing you to meet new people and make friends.  Back then, meeting people was easy, but making friends was harder.  I ended up making some amazing friends, people I still adore to this day.  But it wasn't without its challenges.




Then I moved back home after college, after meeting some of the greatest people a girl could ever be blessed to meet.  And it was hard-ish to meet new friends, but not impossible.  After all, I had grown up there - I still had friends, and those people had new friends that I became friends with.  It's how I met one of my favorite best friends on the planet, in fact.


And I also started working at a furniture store that changed my life forever by bringing love and friendship with it.



And naturally, I continued to build on friendships as Ammon's and my relationship grew, as we changed jobs, started school, etc.  We built a great network of people, and as I look back on it, it was remarkably easy.  We were surrounded by some the genuinely best people I have ever met.

When we moved here, I expected that the same thing would happen, and for Ammon at least, it kind of did.  He has 2 fantastic co-workers.  They're awesome, and we love to hang out with them.  But I haven't been nearly as lucky.  I've really struggled with friends.  I've struggled with myself.  I've struggled with being ready to put down roots here, because when I do, it means that this isn't just an extended vacation, it's our lives, and they're now being lived out in CA.  Far away from those fantastic people who I have relied on so much over the years to bring me out of my introversion, and far away from the fun.

So where does that leave me?  Well, I joined a website that helps you make friends.  So basically, it's online friend-dating.  I mean, I think we're all pretty clear that finding love and friends online works... Blogging has brought me several friendships, and so many people I know met the loves of their lives online.  So maybe. just maybe, I can use this tool to find some friends out here too, not just all of you incredible people from all over the world.  Last night I got to meet up with 2 ladies who use the same website that I'm currently on.  We went to a winery that was doing a concert, and it was pretty fun.  There was definitely some awkwardness, and it was hard to talk too much over the music, but it was a good first start.



Am I convinced yet that this is going o find me the friends of my dreams?  No, it probably won't.  Honestly, at this point it's just about getting me out and engaged in society again.  Trying something new, and getting (far) outside of my comfort zone.  But I wouldn't hate it if I found a new friend or two in the process.

Where do you meet friends?

Is it easy for you to make friends?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A little house tour maybe?

Happy weekend, everyone!  Weekends around here lately have been a flurry of trips to Home Depot, homework, and home repair projects.  AKA, it's pretty much like living our dreams right now, because I don't try to put limits on what we do and don't need at "the Depot".  Inevitably, if we don't get something, we're going back in a day or so for it anyway, so I might as well just bite the bullet and stick it in the cart now, right?  
 
But anyway, I figured I should show you what the house looked like before we started doing anything, so that when we start showing you what it looks like after renovations, you all can fully appreciate our toils.  And also, it's fun to look at houses... at least, we think it is.

This is us with the outside of the house.  It's a 2 story 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath house with a 2 car garage.  It's got Stucco siding, and was built in 1994.  We really didn't want a Stucco house, or a house that was younger than us, but it was a really great deal, so we decided to overlook these deficiencies.


When you first walk in, it's like a choose your adventure story.  You can go straight into the living room, or you can make a hard left, and there's a hallway with the half bath, a storage closet, the laundry room, and the kitchen.

The family room opens up onto the dining room, which has access to the yard.  The light fixture screams early 90's to me - I think my parents  may have the exact same one in their dining room (their house was built in 1991).


Californians in the 90's were obsessed with tile countertops in kitchens, almost every house we looked at had tile counters.  I hate them with a burning passion.  I do not hate my butcherblock island, though.  That I adore almost as much as I adore kittens.  We need to sand it down and re-seal it, and the top isn't actually affixed to the base, but no matter.  It's still great.  On the far side of the kitchen is a breakfast nook, which we're using for storage and housing the dog right now.

 Laundry room that also has a door to the garage.

 Half-bath.  The home-builders loved extended counter-tops and oversized mirrors in this house, as you will see.

At the top of the stairs is a great loft area.  We lived in the loft for the last month while we got the guest room ready.  

 Upstairs hall bathroom.  More counters.  More mirrors.
 The guest bedroom.  We planned on moving into it right away, but after we washed the walls and they were still all gross, we decided to make fixing it up our top priority.  Friday night was our first night sleeping in there.

The other upstairs bedroom.  It's our office right now, and as we speak I'm sitting at my desk under that window.  Eventually we hope it'll become a nursery, but probably not for a while yet.

 Our Master Bedroom.  It's HUGE!  We are getting a new bed, because a Queen sized bed would look silly in this room.  This is also the only room I am planning on getting professional help with decorating.  I'm entirely at a loss as to what our space should look like.
 The Master bath.  More countertops, and more mirrors.  There's another vanity section with another sink not shown in this picture.  My entire sorority pledge class could look at themselves in this mirror with no problem.

I told our realtor that I wanted to buy this house as I was laying on the floor making carpet angels in our master bedroom closet.  Really, it's a true story.  Ammon has some big plans for tricking this closet out and making it super functional.

So there you have it!  One month into home ownership, and we wouldn't trade any of this for the world.  Once we start having some finished projects, I'll start sharing the results!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Pictures from the outside

Please believe me when I say that our yard is a DISASTER.  Like, I cringe when I go outside, because I don't want to be associated with our house from the outside.  It's just mangled from years of being used as a rental and the worst drought in California history, followed by an epically rainy "winter".  I say winter in quotes, because there was very little that made it feel winter-like.

But never fear, I have found a few wins in my outside spaces.  I'm too nervous to show you what the whole place looks like until we're also showing you after pictures.  Like I said, I'm embarrassed to be associated with our exterior situation right now.  So it's just the cute little pockets.

 Yes, you did see one of the cute IKEA flower buckets already.  But not both of them.  And not both of them, along with the peppers and tomatoes I planted.  And yes, that is a mop in the lower right corner.  Nope, it sure isn't mine.  Inherited house crap for the win.

 Guys, this rose tree... I don't even know how to impress upon you how marvelous it is.  It smells incredible.  It's thorny as a porcupine, though, which is bad since it's right on the front walkway.  I'm going to try to employ some creative pruning.

This is the mystery rose bush that just started blooming today!  And the blooms are orange!  I was cheating by trying to sneak a peak at some of the buds that are just starting to break open, and it looked like there might be a yellow bloom in there too!  But again, it's right on our walkway, just dying to take out innocent passerby.  

Good thing we found my pruning shears a couple of days ago.



Thursday, April 7, 2016

The changes keep coming!

I've been trying to write a post about our home-buying adventure for several weeks now, but the words don't seem to be flowing right.  I can speak the story just fine, but somehow, it isn't translating to the written lexicon nearly as well.  
 
In the meantime, a lot has happened.  For one thing, we've turned in keys on our old place, and are living in our house!  There's so much work to do, and we aren't as on top of it as I might wish we were, but the reality of life is that you still have to function in normal society while updating a house, particularly if you're doing all the work yourself and have limited funds.  So far we've torn some holes in the walls to make sure the water damage we've got going on was not translating into massive mold problems (it wasn't - yay!), we've replaced the kitchen sink, spent several thousand dollars at home depot, purchase appliances, and started working on the guest bedroom, which is the bedroom we're going to live in while we renovate the Master Suite.  Right now, we're living in the loft - it's a good thing it's just the two of us right now!
 

"Exploratory holes".  This one is in our Master.  


The first Home Depot trip of many....  Luckily, it's the only 2 cart trip we've made so far.

 
There's a saying about kitchen sinks, isn't there?  I think it's safe to say that everything in this house is getting the once-over.

Another big change - I got a new job!  My last day at my old job was yesterday, and I start my new job on Monday.  I'm looking forward to a few days off to get some stuff done, like finally getting a CA driver's license, and trying to get our guest bedroom put together so that we can get out of the loft.  It's just awkward to be sleeping so out in the pen, even if it is just us and the animals.  Also, our loft is pretty darn ugly, and it's going to be my next project to start on while Ammon works on the more construction-heavy projects in the Master, so I'm looking forward to getting going on all of that.

One of my favorite changes though, is that I'm experimenting with Sourdough starter!  It's something that I've been hearing about for my whole life, and wanted to mess around with for a few years now, but never got up the courage.  I found an easy tutorial for making your own stater here.  My starter is ready to go today, and I'm going to try this hybrid yeast sandwich loaf.  It seems relatively goof-proof... but we'll see!  This could all be one big disaster.  I would show you a picture of my starter, but it just looks like a thin pancake batter... nothing exciting at all.

 
 
However, I will show you a picture of the flowers I planted in a cute metal bucket from Ikea.   When I put two of these buckets in our cart Friday night, Ammon wanted to know what in the world I intended to do with them.  He looked at me like I was a little out of my mind when I told him I was going to plant flowers in them, but he has since come around.  I've also planted some tomatoes, and will be planting a few peppers and a box of herbs.  Not going to lie, I'm enjoying the fact that spring in California is super mild, and spring planting starts in March and April.  The bright pops of color on our back patio do a lot to improve my mood.


What's new with you lately?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Experiences

I was in the car driving home today, and this song came on the radio.

 
The first time I heard it, Ammon and I were in the car together, and he remarked on how painfully awkward it is sometimes to hear people younger than you talk about their life experiences with a lot of weight, in the same way that older people do.  I thought it was an interesting point, but I really wasn't sure where I stood on the notion.

When I heard that song today, it made me realize that we don't choose when we have our most formative, life-altering experiences.  We all collect experiences as we go through life, and it's true that younger people simply have fewer life experiences.  They just haven't had the opportunity to gain as many as someone older.  BUT I also realized that it's probably really unfair to diminish the experiences that a younger person has.  You never know when those pivotal moments are going to happen that really shift the direction your whole life goes.  They could happen at 8 years old, 16, 22, or 62.  It's only when we reflect back that we can truly see our experiences for what they are.

For me, as I look back on my life I am struck by two moments that have played a profound role in shaping my current world.  The first was going away to college at 18.  Moving over 1,000 miles away and not knowing anyone really changed the way I interact with other people, and the way that I see myself.  While I am by nature pretty introverted, going away to college taught me that I can put myself out there, and make friends.  All things I am struggling to re-learn 12 years later, but I know I can do it, and that's valuable to me.

Oh, 2003.  Dang, I feel so old sometimes.  Also, outdoor lifeguarding did such awesome things for my hair - doesn't everyone love a little green in their frizzed-out hair?  Also, that girl... one of the first real friends I made at college, and I still adore her.  She is the best.

The second experience was when I was 24.  I had just gotten out of another relationship that was fairly short-lived, and I was at a loss for what the problem was.  Why couldn't I just find love already???  I had lunch with my mom, and as we were sitting on the patio at Chipotle eating our burrito bowls, she gave me the best advice of my life.  She told me to stop dating boys that wanted me to help fix them - that if I needed to save something so badly, I should o down to the humane society and adopt a puppy, because as far as saving humans goes, we can really only save ourselves.  I mulled on that for a time.  And then I made a critical decision - no more dating losers who wanted me to help them get their lives together.  I didn't want to be the reason someone did "xyz" thing they thought they needed to do, I wanted whoever I was with to do those things for themselves, and because they knew their self worth.


Within weeks of making that decision, this guy asked me out for Chipotle.  It was kismet.  And what you might not see in this picture that was taken less than six months after we started dating was that we were already head over heels in love with each other - even if we weren't ready to say it out loud.

What has been the most significant experience so far in your life?  How old were you?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Miracles happen

Guys.  It happened.  An absolute miracle, something that I never thought would happen for us.


We bought a house.  Well, at least we convinced a mortgage company to buy a house for us, and let us pay them for it over the next 30 years. 

This is the dream that we always dreamed, but never thought would actually happen  We struggled for such a long time, and had so little, that to now have this happen... it's so good.  So, so, so good. 

There is so much more to this story, so many things that I have been dying to tell the world for the past month, but didn't dare, just in case it all went up in a cloud of smoke and dashed dreams.  And now I can tell you all, but not today, because we have got to start making this house our own.

Have a wonderful weekend!