Wednesday, March 31, 2010

baby goats

Here are some pictures of what I was doing last Friday! Back in November, Robert and I had our first little farm tour at Noble Springs Dairy. Now that the weather is warming up, I knew it would be the perfect place to take my mom when she came to visit. My dad was also in town, but he was here for business and kept himself busy with meetings. We got in some quality time, but there were a couple of days when it was mainly just me and my mom hanging around - which she loved! :)

We spent a whole afternoon on the farm [thank you, thank you, thank you, Justyne!], and it was basically heaven. Gorgeous weather, friendly happy animals. Friendly, happy people!

Speckled chicken!

Horse with grassy green lips!

Mini graveyard from the 1800s?

Now for the main event: BABY GOATS. I've been wanting to see them for a few weeks, and Robert is jealous that he hasn't met them yet. I wish they could come over and romp in our backyard. They're so adorable and full of energy.

We got to help feed them!

There is nothing so serene as feeding baby goats.

And the milky lips after they eat... TOO CUTE!

Monday, March 29, 2010

ensemble number two!

I'm back, kind of! Do you ever find that after spending a few days away from the internet, it seems like a chore to return? I do. Some days I wish I wasn't even friends with the internet, because it distracts me so much from other adventures I could be having.

I have plenty of exciting pictures and stories from this past weekend to share, but I thought I'd ease back into blogging with the second outfit for my self-imposed wardrobe challenge. To be honest, this is something I only wore for about 30 minutes. I was t-shirt & jeansing it again, but put this on when my mom got out her camera to take some pictures of me and Robert in front of our house. And then I changed back into my boring clothes so I could work in our yard. But I will wear this again for some fanciful occasion! Minus the stripey socks, haha.

Check out my new [perfectly well-worn Justin] boots! I like them for their simplicity. I had some nice thrifting luck over the past few days. More on that later!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

quick update

I know I said I was going to schedule some blog posts for later this week, but I lied. Or forgot. Or was too busy.

So what you get now is a quick update and a "I'll be back later!" note.

Spring is here! The last two days were beautiful. Short sleeve weather, no jacket required - call it what you will. Of course, today is a big rainy mess. The kind of rainy day where you have to get up early and go get a new windshield wiper for the car at the last minute because you should have done it before a rainy day when you have to drive a long way to pick up your mom at the airport. Robert deserves a trophy for his help with that.

Look at my rabbit friend. Look at him eating a leaf! I'm so in love.

Okay, that's about all I have time for! I have a couple of hours to finish cleaning the house before I've got to head to the airport. My mom and I are going to have some fun adventures over the next couple of days-- I hope! I hope the sun comes back and we get to visit some baby goats on a farm.

I hope you all have a wonderful rest-of-the-week and exciting weekend! I will probably not be online much until the beginning of next week.

Monday, March 22, 2010

feathered friends

Earlier today I was making a peanut butter & jelly sandwich (the lunch of champions!) when I happened to look out the kitchen window. Look who I saw!

A pair of Mourning Doves!

I think I've seen this couple around the yard before, but they were hanging out right on the back porch! They sat there for at least 5 minutes, preening and looking around. I think the one on the left settled in for a short nap. For some reason it was very exciting to me. We've heard a lot of dove calls here (so annoying when you're trying to sleep in and they're right outside the window), but I'd never really put a face to the noise!

A little later on I was washing some dishes and again happened to glance up... to see this guy!

An American Robin

There are plenty of these robins around and I love them. But again, this was the first time I'd noticed one so close to the house. I guess this is just a popular spot to preen and hop around (and use the bathroom, as you can see). He reminds me of a bird Sam would draw!

So it seems I've become an amateur birdwatcher! I guess this is what happens when you have a yard and plenty of windows -- there is so much to see! Yes, yes, I am also entirely aware of the comings and goings of our mailman and all of the neighbors too... and the children who are playing in our front yard right now. There's a concrete drainage ditch running along the side of our yard, and every day these kids play in it on their way home from school. And most every day, their dad yells at them. Good show!

I hope I'm not boring anyone! My brain is in a million different places right now. My parents are coming to visit this week, so I'll be fairly busy preparing for them and also spending time with them. I'll try to schedule an exciting post for later this week. Happy Monday!

WAIT! I need to add something very important, in case you weren't aware. Tomorrow (March 23rd, between 12-8 p.m.) is free ice cream cone day at Ben & Jerry's! If you have a participating shop nearby, try to go! It will be worth it. Robert and I went last year. [Ahh, the good old days when he didn't have a job and we just adventured around doing free stuff! And if you check out that old post, I was raving about birds even then.]

Friday, March 19, 2010

ensemble number one!

Today I put together the first outfit for my wardrobe challenge!

Sorry the picture's a little blurred! Still finding the best spots for lighting in this house.

I'm going to give myself an extra high-five for using this dress, because it's something I thrifted months ago and have never worn! It came with a matching long jacket, and I was thinking I might wear it to my sister's wedding [but didn't]. I originally had a pair of black tights and grey shoes on, because it's still a little chilly here, but after a couple of hours they needed to come off. Not only were they uncomfortable, but when I looked at my first set of pictures, I looked entirely unbalanced. I decided that my pale legs would be a better match for the neutrals!

I don't know if this dress is very flattering on me: it's a bit tight on my hips but not as fitted in the waist as I would like... but I still think this would be a nice thing to wear on a summer evening! Guess I'm getting a bit ahead of the seasons.

But it's warming up! We're hoping to spend some time in the yard this weekend. Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

wardrobe challenge

I've been dressing really terribly lately: just outright boring! Jeans and t-shirts have become my every day wear because I'm at home most of the time. It makes sense to me, but I also know it doesn't make for an exciting blog post -- which is exactly why I haven't done an outfit post in forever. But today I came upon an idea that sounds like a fun way to get some of my nice clothes back into rotation. I found the idea at What I Wore, who was inspired by La Fille D'or.

The challenge is to find 3 items in your closet which you never wear, and then over a couple of weeks try to create 4 outfits based around each item (for a total of 12 outfits). Here are my 3!

This little sweater shrug that I got on clearance at Anthropologie a while back..

...for obvious reasons. I can never find a good way to wear it!

This pleated skirt.

Seems like a simple enough piece, but I hardly ever use it.

I bought this skirt to go under my wedding dress, but feel like I should get more use from it.

It has neat pleating and is great for layering. I think I never wear it because I'm afraid I'll get it dirty.

I'm not sure I can get all 12 outfits into a 2-week period, but I'll play dress up around the house and see what I can put together! This should get me motivated to dress a little nicer!

Monday, March 15, 2010

bits of the weekend

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Mine was pleasant and busy. Before I get to other things, I may as well show you a few more house pictures. Robert didn't believe that I could get the house into shape for our first guests, but he was wrong!! Do I get a prize? [Joking.. he was quite appreciative of my hard work!! But I did really hear him tell his dad on the phone that it was going to be messy. Psh!] Compare to these pictures if you wish!

Finally got some curtains (at Target) to cover up the back door!

They create a nice glow during the day. Now we can control the privacy and lighting in there.

More of the front room... Updated for the essential magician poster & paper lantern.

I think things are coming along really nicely here! There are still a few rooms I haven't shown around, either because they're slightly cluttered or slightly boring. But we're getting there. I'm totally in love with this house and I don't mind taking the time to clean it. I lived in 5 different apartments before this, and never put much effort into decorating because I knew I'd be moving on soon [and I am sincerely lazy]. So this is quite refreshing!

Now, here are a few pictures from the weekend. I'm glad that Robert's family likes to go to thrift shops and estate sales; I haven't been doing much of that on my own lately! So we did some fun shopping and exploring around town, along with eating too many yummy foods.

We found a robot. The person who lives here must be exciting! They also had 2 vulture sculptures in their yard, made out of old tools.

Look what we got at an estate sale for $5...

A box full of records from the 40s! Haven't listened to any of them yet.

Thrifted dress. I didn't get my tripod out, so all pictures of the full thing were unsuccessful. It's bright and happy.

Thrifted shirt + hilarity. I heard Robert coming and knew he was going to walk right into the picture, and it apparently just DELIGHTED me.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

cheery songs for a rainy thursday

Just this morning I decided that I like these two songs by She & Him. I know, I'm really slow at music and everyone else has been talking about these for a while. It's hard for me to get into certain music sometimes! But this morning these are just right. So far all of the other songs I've heard by She & Him are a bit too slow for me to enjoy.

I feel like these videos are simply an excuse for Zooey Deschanel to dress up and be adorable, but that's okay too.

I'm going to mop the floors of the entire house today, so I need some happy music to keep me going! Robert's family is coming up for a visit this weekend and it's time to get the house in tip top shape.

What are some of your favorite cheerful songs to listen to while getting things done?

Monday, March 8, 2010

on the bookshelf

It's finally time to see some house pictures! There is still a bit to do in the unpacking department, but the front room of our house is really shaping up. It's the first room I've really been excited about decorating. Since we have a separate den where the television and couch live, this room had a lot of possibilities: we didn't have any furniture to put in it!

Last week we bought two bookcases from someone on Craigslist, and we were finally able to display the bulk of our book collection. So the front room is just books and the record player right now. As soon as we add some seating I think this will become a really great hang-out room!

I'm really happy with our wood floors and painted walls.

A peek at the bright red [and still messy] kitchen...

A stack of vintage children's books - they make me happy.

The elephant clock from decoylab!

Robert just had this hand, for some reason. He told me to find a use for it and I did!

Cat bottle! Pretty comic books by Chris Ware. This bookcase is mostly comics...

...with a few of my books thrown in, and a Polaroid Land Camera!

More books. Apple canister from ModishVintage.

Here's another bookcase. It's been around a while [and doesn't lean to the left - that was just me].

And there I am, too. My hair is getting longer, but I don't have much else going on!

Since I took these pictures, a few things have changed. Hung a picture over the record player, added a lace doily under the lamp, spilled coffee all over my shirt. It's been a busy time.

This week the housely-focus has been finding curtains for a few choice windows (including the back door, seen in the 2nd photo). Just this morning I found a solution for the window in our bathroom, which had previously just been covered with a towel whenever we were in there. More pictures to come later! What do you think so far? I can't wait to have some people over!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

book review: half broke horses

The day is finally here to review Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls! This is the first book the Slow Readers Book Club took on. You'll probably see a lot of talk about it today as there are over 230 members in the club now and many of them will be posting a review to their blogs.

First of all: great cover photo, right? I went through several chapters of the book imagining the main character, Lily Casey Smith, as the girl on the left and thinking the other two must be her siblings Buster and Helen. Then I realized that it's one of those Dorothea Lange photos for the Farm Security Administration taken during the Depression! So those aren't the Casey kids. I know, this is irrelevant to the story -- it's just one of the first things I made a note of because I like having mental images of characters. However, there are some real pictures of the family scattered throughout the book.

I just realized this may turn out to be really rambly and I'd like to apologize. It's been a while since I've had to do a book report! And since no one is grading me (presumably) I'm probably not going to work too hard on making it perfect.

Overall, I enjoyed the book-- more than I thought I was going to. Jeannette Walls writes in first person from her grandmother Lily's point of view, and the book has the feel of stories handed down from a grandmother. Not a polite grandmother, mind you, but a really hardcore grandma! One to be admired for her hard life and maybe feared a little bit. For her time, she seems to have been fairly forward-thinking. The book follows Lily from childhood until her own children are grown up, and throughout her life she is an incredibly independent woman. I don't want to give away too many plot points for those of you who'd like to read the book in the future, but I would like to share some of my favorite quotes.

The following exchange is between Lily and her daughter. At the time, they were living with a Polygamist group where Lily worked as a teacher.

"That's what they believe," I told her, "but that doesn't mean it's true."

"Then why do they believe it?"

"America is a free country," I said. "And that means people are free to believe whatever cockamamie thing they want to believe."

"So they don't have to believe it if they don't want to?" Rosemary asked.

"No, they don't."

"But do they know that?"

Smart kid. That, I came to see, was the heart of the matter. You were free to choose enslavement, but the choice was a free one only if you knew what your alternatives were.

I really liked the way Lily was always questioning authority and common beliefs. And it was interesting to see how her own views on life progressed throughout the book: as a child she really looked up to her father and his way of doing things; when she grew up, however, she saw how hard headed and old fashioned he was sometimes. Similarly, as she grew older in the book she seemed to become more set in her ways and more stubborn with her own daughter. Of course, all of this is written from my grandaughter's perspective, with input from Rosemary (Jeannette's mother and Lily's daughter), so I know there have to be some missing pieces that were filled in.

Here's another quote that I like -- this one is between Lily and her husband and they're talking about their daughter's decisions...

"I feel like I failed," I said.

"Don't beat yourself up," Jim said. "She might not have turned out like you planned, but that don't mean she turned out wrong."

I feel like that's something all parents should keep in mind! You know, however many exciting things go on in this book, I think a lot of it comes down to a mother-daughter relationship. The book ends abruptly without many resolutions, and the rest of the story picks up in The Glass Castle, also by Jeannette Walls. It's a memoir about her own life: a really wild ride, both fascinating and sad. After finishing Half Broke Horses, I checked out The Glass Castle at the library and finished reading it in one weekend. I can't stop thinking about it.

For those wondering about the title "Half Broke Horses," Lily grew up breaking [taming] horses with her dad. A good part of the book takes place on a ranch, so the horse references continue throughout the book. She also refers to quite a few people as half broke horses - wild spirits who are just barely tamed.

The book isn't perfect, and I say that mostly because there were some unanswered questions and scenes I wish had been further elaborated. But I also know that Ms. Walls was trying to stay as true to life as she could, and she didn't have all of the details. It's understandable!

I would definitely recommend reading this book [followed by The Glass Castle], and I'm looking forward to the next book club assignment! If you would like to join the Slow Readers, we have a forum here. Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

good neighbors

Hello! Hope everyone is having a swell week so far. I can tell this week is going to be another tiring one for me. Thankfully all of the moving is done now, but there is still plenty of unpacking to do and annoying paperwork to make sure our address is updated everywhere. It will be nice when things have settled down!

It DOES feel like we live in the house now, though it's still a big mess. But I love it here and I just wanted to let everyone know that we have some amazing neighbors. The day we started moving in, we met 4 of our neighbors. This past weekend we found ourselves inside one of their houses, sitting and talking. Yesterday afternoon, I peeked out the window and saw a couple headed my way with...

these flowers

and a pie.

THE NEIGHBORS BROUGHT US A PIE. There's pretty much no better way to win my friendship -- you have to be nice and friendly of course, but a pie basically seals the deal. (Any sweets, really.)

I've never been fond of chocolate pie, but this one is like a cross between brownies and pudding. And reminiscent of cookie dough. I don't know, it's amazing. I see a bright future ahead for us in this neighborhood!