Category Archives: this is my life

Two Years.

This is just a short interruption in the radio silence to share our standard anniversary shoot. Here’s hoping I can carve out some time over Fall Break to update you on the Cottage’s recent transformations!
Wedding Day.

Year 1

Year 2



Filed under this is my life

Snippets from day 2.

The professor walked into the room and in big letters, wrote “FEELINGS” on the white board.

I’m logging my bike commute miles and I’m up to 33 over the past week (=indulging in ALL the Reese’s cups, thank you).

Professor gives life story, mentions that a BA in Psychology is about as employable as a BA in English. Forgetting I am no longer in the Humanities and thus no longer surrounded by that tribe, I audibly complain: “HEY!”. Everyone turns and stares. I blush.

Leave a comment

Filed under this is my life

The end of summer.

The week of summer finals, I found myself dehydrated and ill, laying in the student clinic.

Besides the constant vomiting, what’s going on? asked the kind doctor.

I didn’t comprehend. Wasn’t food poisoning enough? (IT MOST CERTAINLY IS).

No, but what else? What is going on in your life? He insisted.

And as I began to explain my summer schedule, its balancing act, unexpected losses, stresses and floods, I caught his look of girl-is-crazy. Then I realized that, most certainly, I had made two mistakes. One was a frozen dinner, the other was overbooking myself to the point that I could barely sail though the season’s surprise storms – and by the end of July, my body simply wasn’t having it anymore.

California came at the perfect moment, most surely. A week of limited obligations, good food, sunshine, it made me wonder why we live in the Midwest. Of course, then I came home and remembered: good soil, crazy inexpensive cost of living, our people (this is a good little plot of earth, you see). But oh, how enticing it was.

Of all the stories from the west, I’ll share one. There was this homeless guy flying these magnificent kites at this park, and goodness – it was a great show. I ended up buying him lunch. It was my favorite $10 I spent the entire trip.

The ability to take this trip was a small mercy. I remember thinking, at 2 PM the night before I set off, that the timing was wrong. But it wasn’t – not at all.

Leave a comment

Filed under this is my life

This shall be a great month.

January is definitely winter, but February is a step towards spring. And you know what that means: I can start to plan the garden. (eeeeeeee!!!!!)

My illustrated spring to-do list, including sketches of what I want built

My dreams for the yard are big this year. John finally agreed that we could tear down the fence divider and we’re adding another rain barrel to the homestead, so there’s some significant landscape shuffling to be done. John also wants to stain the fence (and get chickens … but the fence is all we’ve agreed upon).

There is also a small alley along our garage leading to our neighbor’s yard, and I’m planning on (finally) clearing it of its weedy vegetation and installing a proper barricade to prevent the opossum / stray cat migration. Apparently, it’s a popular pathway for all sorts of long tailed creatures.

And oh, the plans I have for the plants! John and I have been discussing the grow list for 2012 (there was a bit of heat over the number of lettuce plants…), and the seed list is mostly determined (I’m starting them indoors this year!). There’s really only one thing left to decide: watermelon, or not to melon? (I’m trying pumpkins for the first time this year, and I’m concerned about available ground space. Moving before May is not an option, nor is tearing down the garage. Boo.)

I have enjoyed these months off with clean fingernails, but make no mistake: I am ready for spring.

Other great things in February:

  • My mama is planning a visit (we might paint the basement walls)!
  • Book club resumes!
  • I’m going to finish the house tour on this here blog!
  • At the end of the month, I’m paying a visit to a favorite city of mine!

US Capitol


Filed under Green Thumb, this is my life

You’ve failed me again, Animal Control.

We live in a unique place. Want to forgo landscaping and mowing your grass? Get your yard certified as a natural habitat and you have the legal right to ignore it (the city will provide a sign!). Want to create a concrete zoo and garden gnome habitat in your back yard? Fill it up – the city has no problem with your (overflowing abundance) of yawn ornaments. Need a place to keep your broken vehicle with no windshield? Anywhere on your property and you’re good to go.

If our city was a family, our local government is akin to parents raising a 5th child that they did not plan on. Nothing fazes them, nothing worries them, do what you like.

For that reason, I can’t say I was surprised to wake up the past couple of days to the standard barn yard call of a rooster. Chickens are a standard sight in our neighborhood, but roosters, so far, have been a rarity. And while I like to consider myself easy going, when your backyard pet impedes my ability to sleep past 5 AM? I’m significantly less pleasant about it.

I called Animal Control, who confirmed that roosters are not allowed in city limits. But without an exact location, they told me they couldn’t help – they wouldn’t go on a wild goose rooster chase.

I had to locate the bird myself.

(“Be sneaky,” the dispatcher told me).

And luckily, lovely Martha to the Right happens to be the perfect neighbor for such an operation. Martha has at least 10 bird feeders in her back yard, which she fills promptly at 3 PM every day while she has her afternoon cigarette. And if her arthritis is acting up (she is 91, you know), her sons do the job for her – she won’t let the birds (and squirrels, and hawks, and cats) miss a meal.

So it wasn’t a surprise that I’d find him there. Even roosters get hungry.

I called Animal Control, who promised to send an officer … but two hours later, the rooster has nested in Martha’s trash can and is still a-cock-a-doodle-doing. I called Animal Control again (“Hi, I called earlier about a rogue rooster?”) and they told me their field officer left for the night an hour ago

Which means that, baring a shotgun and a roast chicken dinner, I’ll see the sunrise tomorrow.


Filed under Gotta Share, this is my life

January Get Away

Chilly beach

John: “If you were a Christian pop star, this would be the cover of your “I am HIS” album”

Sorting Hat at Universal

Disney Castle at Night

Trying on early retirement

Picking up Pashicakes from Dog Camp

Last week John and I stole away to Florida (with 1/2 of my family). We spent a couple of days near the beach, then took our inner children to the theme parks. I never know how to describe a vacation to people who were not there (as surely hearing how someone else spent a holiday seems so dull, yes?), but you’ll have to sit through one short paragraph as my childhood fear came true.

Brace yourself.

A ride broke when I was on it.


Oh my, it wasn’t an easy ride like Pirates of the Caribbean, where a short delay would only cause you the inconvenience of smelling a fog machine for 20 minutes and force you to talk to your fellow boat mates. No! A fully harnessed ride! After a 2 hour wait, we finally climbed abroad the flagship Harry Potter ride and suddenly, KARPLUNG SCREECH GARGH GUH POW – we were left dangling, rather high, face down, over a suddenly-dead screen, with a frozen dragon making eyes at us on the left.

Who knew that thinking you were going to die in a theme park would ruin the magic of a ride, but guys, it kind of does. (Don’t you think dying in a theme park would be an awful way to go? Can you imagine the eulogies?).

We got back on the ground, regained our composure, and being my mother’s daughter, I complained (kindly!) to Guest Services. In return, our party was given passes to skip the line and ride it again (+ similar passes for other rides! We were nearly-killed kings of the park!). (It was fun the second time).

The rest of the vacation was full of wonderful bits, and then we got to come home and pick up Pasha, and goodness, as much as I love my family and the sunshine and vacation in general, coming home to a dog? Favorite thing.

1 Comment

Filed under Furry Child, this is my life

Goals for 2011: RECAP RESCHMAP

2011, you’ve been a fine friend to me. This year saw me making some new friends and settling into this new hometown of mine, growing an entire produce section, experiencing some crazy neighborhood hijinks, celebrating 1 year with the Cottagerevamping the back yard, saving a baby opossumcelebrating 1 year with that husband of mine, becoming an aunt, and a whole mess of home improvement (fence repair! new doors! new dishwasher! new microwave! new soffit and fascia! painting the garage trim! painting walls! buying adult furniture! chalkboard paint EVERYWHERE! holy moley, how are we not poor yet?)

Still, there is business to discuss. A year ago, I set some goals for you, Year 2011, and it’s time to check in and see how we both faired.

1. Travel more, see more
Done, sucka. Mexico, St. Louis, Springfield, and Kansas City … and the trend continues. So far, 2012 will send us to FL and to AL and will send ME to DC. We’ve had family talks about another European jaunt (who needs savings after all?) (Just kidding Dad! Just kidding!)

2. Get connected and write more letters
I didn’t become better at returning phone calls (my absolute worst personal trait), but I did write many-a-more letter. In particular, about a zillion to a certain friend in Germany. Equally important, I made many a new friend in my-hometown-city and have mostly stopped crying whenever I drive away from St. Louis/Kansas City (hurray!).

3. Grow some more food
If you need to be reminded, you clearly don’t read my blog enough.

4. Floss every day
TOTAL FAILURE, and my teeth let me know about it. I haven’t complained about my mouth recently, but let the fact that I’ve been to the dentist EIGHT SEPARATE TIMES during October to December speak for itself (and mostly, all for one tooth. Such a drama queen, that tooth!). So I’ll be picking up this goal again for 2012.

5. Do something scary
Not to throw myself a parade, but I did loads of scary things. I picked up a baby opossum! I attended social events all by my lonesome! I gave a professional presentation in front of a huge audience! Something-else-that-can’t-be-named-yet, lest it turn into a total disaster!

6. Remain childless
Holla! Where’s my medal?

And soon, I shall announce plans for 2012 …


Filed under this is my life

Dear Contractor.

Don’t call me “kiddo,” or I’m going to be tempted to call you “old geezer.”

Don’t fuss at me for asking you to “jump though hoops”. Last time I checked, coming out to give me  quote and then returning to modify that quote based on new information are necessary tasks in order to procure business, not circus tricks.

Please don’t complain to me about my timeline. Buddy, you’re not the one walking the dog in 30 degree weather, so believe me when I say we’re moving as fast as we are able.

And for goodness sakes, don’t be nicer to my husband than you are to me. If you’re going to be rude and condensing, at least have the decency to be rude and condensing to everyone.

(Oh yes, we’re choosing another contractor).

1 Comment

Filed under this is my life


(Pasha is a supermodel)

I’m self-imposing a blogging ban for the rest of November, dear friends and friendly strangers. Life is particularly full this month. Full but lovely. Like a nutella-filled donut. (Does that even exist? Oh, I hope so, for the sake of world peace.)

See you in December.


Filed under this is my life

This is the last anniversary post. I promise. Probably.

I hope to make this a yearly tradition, which means I’ve basically committed us to only living in homes with steps leading to the front door, forever and ever, amen.

Wedding Day:


(I’m too impatient to wait for the photo CD to arrive in the mail, so excuse the watermark. We used this local photographer for Y1, and of course, wedding photos were by Beautiful Mess Photography. Both were fantastic.)


Filed under this is my life