Tag Archives: the little things

New Things in Spring

New ClotheslineI just came inside from taking the clean sheets off the clothesline. They smell so good I can’t wait until it’s their turn in the rotation and they go back on my bed. There’s something about line-dried linens that even the sweetest-smelling “fresh air” scent can’t compete with.

It’s my first clothesline since I strung up rope across my balcony in college – a make-shift option that was so cumbersome I only used it half the time. This time I strung rope between the posts of the rickety ramada in our back yard. It’s a temporary solution, but it’s so freeing to see your laundry flapping in the wind, drying in the desert shade.

College Clothesline

This is probably going to turn into a home renovation blog. Sometimes unexpected things happen, right? And when something takes up so much of your life, it’s hard to look beyond it. We moved into a new house over Easter weekend. Thankfully we didn’t have any plans, because we ended up spending Easter afternoon cleaning our apartment so we could turn our keys in on April 1st. I drove to work in the morning completely exhausted, thinking that this must be a small glimpse into early parenthood, and knowing that I could catch up on sleep in the coming weeks. I was totally worthless at work, and ended up leaving early only to keep working at home to get our life back in order.

New House

Despite our 8 months of looking and our month and a half of negotiating/waiting for closing, we never really thought we were going to get the house. So on moving day, when our amazing help asked where to put the first boxes, I was stumped. I had no plan – none, whatsoever. I didn’t have a plan of what the spaces would look like when we’re finished, I had no idea where the furniture was going to go, I couldn’t tell you what colors I would paint the walls.

Slowly Making it Ours

Slowly Making it Ours

We’re slowly working through the messes. The house isn’t in as good condition as we expected, although we did know we were getting a bit of a project property. I think I haven’t thought about aesthetics because we have bigger things to worry about. We’ve spent the past two weeks working on the house and on unpacking and organizing non-stop and, while it’s been tiring, it’s been great fun. We work really well together until we get tired, and then we stop and enjoy the beautiful spring Arizona weather and our new back patio and rest for a while. Soon I hope we’ll have a porch swing to rest on, on the front porch of our lovely neighborhood, where we can meet our neighbors and start to feel at home in what we hope will be our house for a very, very long time.

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Coffee #20

Coffee #20 on November 20th. HeheHehe.

New Coffee Again

No coffee can be good in the mouth that does not first send a sweet offering of odor to the nostrils.

~Henry Ward Beecher

via: Spilling the Beans

Guess what!? I got ANOTHER coffee maker. One might think that I have a problem (and maybe I do…) but there is some rational. In college, Erin and I shared a big, red coffee maker, out of which we drank many of the cups of coffee that got us through school. But, it was Erin’s coffee maker, and when we moved out, she took it. I had a small coffee maker that my in-laws had given me for my desk at work (where there was NO COFFEE MAKER! Have you heard of such a thing? An office without coffee?) which I used until I smashed it on the counter. Eventually, I got a new coffee maker, and I was unimpressed from the start. Mr. Coffee made coffee that smelled funky and tasted worse. I thought it was just new-coffee-pot-funk, but it never went away.

We’ve been doing a lot of cleaning out and getting rid of things we don’t need/want/like very much, and Mr. Coffee made it into that last category. Tired of making terrible coffee, and with a bunch of coffee left over that was already ground, so no good for the French press, I caved.

There are three important benefits to this coffee maker.

  1. There is no carafe for me to shatter. The coffee is held inside and is released by a (very spill-proof) button, directly into your cup. As someone who has problems both keeping glass carafes in one piece and in getting coffee from the pot into the cup, this is an huge advancement.
  2. It has a make-ahead timer. So I can have it ready when I wake up.
  3. It makes good coffee. It took a few times for the new-appliance smell to wear off, but the coffee has always been good.

I hope this will be the last coffee maker I have to purchase for several years.

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Finding Fall: Pictures from Mom

My Mom sent me these pictures of the turning leaves on the trees near her house one day when I was complaining of missing fall.

Fall Tree

Fall Tree

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Happy Friday!

I had two great ideas for a post today. Which is very unusual – I’m usually scrambling to think of something exciting enough to write, which is why I don’t always write consistently. But two ideas! Both fun and not my usual random-story-about-my-life-with-pictures posts. Yay!

And then life got in the way. As it often does. Turns out that our shower has been dumping water into our neighbors kitchen. They’ve known there is a leak, but four bathrooms and kitchens meet up in that corner, so no one knew from where exactly the water was coming. This morning their ceiling caved in and the search for the missing leak got intense really quickly. Maintenance was in and out of our apartment all day (which is totally fine because they’re great and nice and clean up after themselves) but in the end, they couldn’t fix the leak and they need to have a plumber come out. Which will happen on Monday. Until then, we are barred from using our shower/bath tub and have been provided with the key for the apartment model so we can shower there. OoOoOo FUN! HAPPY WEEKEND!

I really don’t think it will be that much of a problem, except for Monday when Nate is getting ready for work. I tend not to shower that much anyway……  .    .      .

So! #1: I’m using this as an incentive to clean off the steps. They have been a handy holding space for all the things we don’t know what to do with. Things currently on our steps: Nate’s guitar and stand, both ironing boards (yes, we own two), two pairs of shoes, my large art portfolio, backpacks, other miscellaneous items. #2: It will be like dorm living all over again! Which could be fun for a weekend, right?! having your shower not be *your* shower (although much cleaner, we were assured the bathroom was clean) and be far away from your sleeping space. I was originally thinking camping, but I think we have too many amenities for that. #3: It’s only a few days and, lets be honest, we’re no stranger to odd living situations and upheaval. The management at our apartment complex as so far been great, as has the maintenance staff. Hopefully this whole thing gets fixed on Monday, for us and our neighbors.

In the mean time, I hope you’re doing something awesome this weekend! We’ll be traipsing across the complex to use the shower. At least our toilet still works.

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New Sidewalks / New Shoes: Adventures in Walking

One of the things I disliked about our first apartment in Tucson was that it was so far away from everything that it was very hard to walk anywhere. It was also super hot (I think the 90 days over 100° this year were the first 90 days we were here) which made it hard to be outside at all. So when we moved to a bigger place, I wanted to be able to walk places! The walks from our apartment are a bit long, usually over a mile, but the weather has cooled down to the “beautiful” stage that everyone was telling us about (OK, so it still gets near 90° but the evenings are wonderful) and all the basics are walkable – groceries, library, pharmacy, park, church, Starbucks, etc. This weekend was in the 70s so we went on some walking adventures.

Well, it actually started when I took my bike out last week. I’ve outfitted it for hauling groceries and library books and such, with panniers and a rack. The rack that came with the bike did not get along with the panniers and almost led to a wipe-out one bike ride in Cincinnati when the pannier came unhooked and got stuck in my wheel spokes. So I needed a new rack for the back of my bike, and some lights for if I’m ever out after dark. Off I went on my bike to the bike shop, having not really ridden my bike since I was a little kid. I rode a few times in Cincy, but always on back streets with no traffic. It was terrifying. The super-busy main street was actually totally fine. It has a bike lane and is well taken care of – smooth road, no potholes, no gravel. The side roads were quite different. The one with traffic was extra bumpy and had tons of potholes. The one without any traffic was covered in very fine gravel. Because no one has grass here, yards are all covered in gravel. I guess it’s quite hard to keep the gravel in the yard, and it often spills into the street. And gathers in little piles where the traffic pushes it, and makes novice bike riders like me panic a lot.

While I’m on the subject of gravel . . . it’s the gravel that required me to get new shoes. Also, I can always find an excuse for new shoes. But these are not my typical shoes. Usually, when I go shoe shopping, I end up with heels or flats, at least one pair in a bright pattern or color. This time I ended up with these:

Sandals

on purpose. I wanted sandals that I could walk/bike in, for quite a long way, through the gravel without having sore feet. I grew up in those velcro-strapped sporty sandals – Teva-type but Teva’s were too expensive – and I was looking for the grown-up version of those. Turns out they’re kind of hard to find, especially in October. So I spent several hours going to every shoe store I could find in Tucson and ended up back at DSW (where I started). I hope they will be practical and comfortable and still be appropriate to wear out. We’ll see.

So, for the real story, we thought that we might take our bikes out together over the weekend, but I wasn’t really up for the stress quite yet. We took our trusty feet out for a walk – we got pizza, walked to the park, and had a lovely little picnic. There were tons of people at the park – kids were playing on the playground, people were out walking their dogs and kids, a soccer game was in full swing. We ate our pizza, then lay down on our picnic blanket for a while and enjoyed being outside and in the company of other people. It was a fun Friday night.

Saretta Picnic

Our picnic spot.

Pizza

Mmmmm, Pizza

Nate

Nate’s just really happy that we got pizza for dinner. It doesn’t happen very often.

Picnic Tree

The big pine tree we sat under.

Sunset

If you look closely, you can see the mountains.

Church

Church at the edge of the Park

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Back in the Swing of Things

After two whirlwind weeks and one week of recovery, I’m back to feeling like I have a little control again!

On Tuesday the movers came. Unfortunately there was no directing from the couch for me. I wasn’t incredibly surprised, especially since I figured the furniture would be last. I had to check off each box that came in, so I couldn’t get anything unpacked while they were moving stuff in. On Wednesday, I spent the majority of the day cleaning our last apartment. On Thursday I unpacked like a crazy, but made a surprisingly small dent in the disaster. On Friday, bright and early, we hopped on a plane for Ohio! We spent the weekend there for a friends wedding, and returned late Monday night. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I unpacked, cleaned, worked on finding a job, etc. Friday Nate had off from work, so I was super excited about getting a large chunk of unpacking done over our three day weekend! Until I got sick. Boo hiss. So I was knocked out until about Tuesday. My two whirlwind weeks. The next few days I took off. It was nice.

Popcorn

When we moved into our (first) temporary apartment, they left us a little goody basket, complete with a welcome package of microwave popcorn. Unfortunately they didn’t also provide a microwave, so this popcorn has been waiting patiently for us to get one. Thankfully, this apartment has a microwave, so I popped it just a soon as I could and enjoyed the popcorn AND the convenience of a microwave.

Lizard

This little guy was hiding behind the hamper in our bedroom. I about fell over when he started moving, but I caught him and placed him outside where he belongs. Our apartment was completely open almost all of moving day, so I’m surprised I’ve only found one intruder! (Umm, so far, I guess.)

Toe Nails Polished

Painted like Easter eggs in the fall. I was just excited to get my nail polishes back.

Hub Lamps

We took our first Ohio visitor (a friend who was in Tucson for work) to Hub, a trendy restaurant downtown. They have these awesome upside-down lamps as part of their decor.

Danger

Danger! I do stuff like this all the time (liquids on electronics – what can go wrong?) and it drives Nate NUTS! Understandably, of course. But I’ve fried exactly 0 electronics this way. I looked up while unpacking, saw what I had done, chuckled, took a picture, and then moved my mug. (Right? Right. We’ll go with that.)

Type

I love when books take the time to describe the font used. It’s the design nerd in me. This one is from The Cloud Atlas, which I just finished reading.

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Goals & Resolutions

Way back in January, I wrote about resolutions and monthly goals.  I tried really hard for a while (January, February, some of March?) to always be working toward a goal, then to add another the next month.  But changing your habits is hard!  Fortunately for me I had a major life event that up-ended every part of my life.  A great time to make new habits!

In a Fresh Air episode from March, Terry Gross talked to Charles Duhigg, the author of  The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business.  Several of the points in that interview were really interesting, like how it’s easier to break a habit in a new environment.  And so I took this chance (and the extra time I have) to make some new habits, many that I had been trying to convince myself to do for a long time.  The most interesting thing, I think, is that on our trips back to Cincinnati, I so quickly fell out of my new patterns and into my old, especially since we were staying in our house with our familiar stuff and patterns around us.

Most exciting to me are the little things – I added a bunch of things to my bed-time routine.  When before I would brush my teeth, squint at myself in the mirror, and flop into bed, I now wash my face, floss my teeth, brush my teeth, and put scar cream on my knees!  Because I really would like those scars to fade, pleasethankyou.

Also, I’ve started running pretty steadily.  It’s super hot, so most of my running is done indoors on the treadmill.  It’s kind of miserable, but between the 8 TVs and my NPR podcasts, I manage to not get too bored.  Plus, the treadmills are at an actual gym, so I’ve been lifting weights too!  I love to lift but I refuse to pay for a gym membership when I can just run outside FOR FREE.  So this treat won’t last forever.  Right now it comes with our apartment, and our next apartment, so I have at least 6 more months available to me.

Mountains

But when I do run outside, there are mountains to run toward in every direction.

Finally, I’ve been reading a TON.  I’m on my 17th book since we moved!  It’s been great to get back into reading, and I mostly read in the evenings so I hope it will be something I continue to do.

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My misplaced identity

We’ve been here over a month now.  I’m finally getting used to Tucson.  It still looks like a wasteland when you drive around – huge wide streets, gravel, dead grass that grew last monsoon season and was never removed when it returned to desert condition.  The mountains are beautiful, but they’re often foggy and distant.

I’m getting used to doing nothing.  Nate actually asked me what I did all day today.  It’s not that hard, you guys.  I live in a one bedroom apartment with very little actual furniture.  We have so little “stuff” that cleaning is a joke.  The only thing that actually takes any time is doing dishes.  We have a dishwasher, but too few dishes to make use of it efficiently.  I basically do nothing all day.

It’s been difficult to admit that I do nothing.  The last time I had this little to do I was probably 12 years old.  Even then, my Mom kept us pretty busy during the summer, and imagination and free play is way more acceptable when you’re 12 than when you’re 26.  I went from being employed full time straight out of college to being unemployed.  I spend my days inside my dark, empty, tiny, one bedroom apartment.  I have a list of really tedious things that need to be done, lots of making phone calls that never get returned.

For the first few days we were here, I would get up, shower, put on my brand new shorts (I never needed shorts before!  I was always working in the air conditioning and I had a few sun dresses for the weekends, or gym shorts, or I’d just wear my jeans), do my hair and my makeup.

Now I  try to wake up at a reasonable time (the sun comes up REALLY early here, its usually pretty light out when Nate gets up at 5:30) putter around for a while.  I’ve started going to the gym.  It’s kind of far away, so by the time I get there, work out, and drive back, its usually been at least 2 and a half hours.  Sometimes I dry off for a while, slather on my sunscreen, and go lay by the pool.  For one hour.  Mandatory.  30 minutes on my belly, thirty minutes on my back.  Try not to get the library book soaked.  Sometimes I just hang out inside.

I read a lot.  The library is my new best friend.  I got twelve books out of the library and I’ve finished six.  Only one book was from my reading list of classics.  I try to have dinner ready every night when Nate gets home from work.

Writing about all this, I hardly feel sorry for myself.  It all sounds like a grand vacation.  But a vacation with no end in sight.  And I’m not a sit-still person.

By the time Nate gets home from work, I’m crabby.  I’m crabby and he’s jealous that I’ve been sitting around all day, and we have nothing to do but sit and crab at each other.  At first, we would go out and buy something just to get out of the house.  It was awful.

That lasted for about a week.  Then we gave in and bought an X-Box and a little TV.  As much as I complained about video games before, I never would have guessed that they probably saved our marriage.  We got one with a Kinect, so sometimes we play funny little games together.  But usually Nate plays with his friends online while I continue puttering – reading or writing or finding one of the many other ways I have to entertain myself.  I have to say, there was no such thing as “bored” in my parents’ house.  “Bored” was not allowed then, so it makes it very difficult for me to be bored now.  And that has really come in handy.

We’re going back to Ohio for a wedding this weekend.  I really can’t believe it’s been so long since we moved!  I’m super excited to sleep in my own bed, with my own pillows that fit the shape of my head perfectly.  And then all of our stuff will be packed up and stored in an undisclosed location (seriously, they won’t store it in Tucson because it’s too hot) until we figure out what we’re doing with our living situation.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll give a tour of our apartment.  Ha!  It probably won’t be very exciting, but at least it will give me something to do!

It’s kind of funny, after some of my previous posts about being overwhelmed and over extended that I am now with almost nothing to do.  It has been nice to regroup and take some time to reevaluate what I really want to be doing and what is important to me.  But I think I will have to get a job soon or I might go crazy.

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Snapshots

One of the conditions of moving here (probably the only one, provided the job paid well enough for us to live on) was that we could get smart phones when we got here and that I could get an iPhone.  Nate got out of getting an iPhone through the myriad of rules from the cell phone carrier.  He didn’t think he wanted one anyway, but conceded that it would be easier to coordinate our lives on compatible devices.  He wasn’t too upset when it didn’t work out, and “settled” for a Droid.  Every time he gets a text, it says “Droid” very menacingly, which he says is to remind me that his phone is better than mine.  It’s amusing.

One of the (many) benefits of having an iPhone is that the camera on this phone is great!  It is probably better than the point-and-shoot that I have, but I love my camera, so I won’t go that far.  It’s nice to have a convenient camera that takes good photos when you’re exploring a new area!

Not that I’ve been doing much exploring.  We got here last Sunday but didn’t get our cars until Friday.  I’ve spent most of my time in our sparsely-furnished one-bedroom apartment.  Here are some of the things that have kept me sane – or so.

Mountains are visible from almost everywhere in Tucson

The one indulgence I snuck into my suitcase without Nate knowing. And, oh, they have made me happy 🙂

I, the proud owner of about 87,923,432 water bottles, did not bring a single water bottle with me to the desert. Nate insisted we purchase some. I am almost never separated from mine.

Bota Box and fresh fruit – Yum! Maybe I’ll attempt sangria one of these hot and lazy afternoons!

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