Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Finds - Four Seasons

It's been a season of reflection and trial.  It's also been a season of joy as we welcomed Oliver into our family.    Ecclesiastes 3 is often referenced at funerals and even if you're not religious, you've probably heard it as lyrics in Turn, Turn, Turn.

A Time for Everything
1There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

9What does the worker gain from his toil? 10I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. 14I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.
NIV via

The words never seemed truer to me.  Truer may not even be the word - perhaps dear.  I hold them in my heart as I wonder at life, it's brevity and the perpetual change of seasons.

I believe that everyone has their time and when it's up, it's up.  I don't know the details of why and how God chooses, but it brought me comfort as we said goodbye to Harry.  As I grieved with Mr. Palindrome's grandmother (Harry's mother), I asked her if she believed that too and she shared with me the Jewish belief of the three books being opened at Rosh Hashanah. If your name is not written, it's your time.  Of course, I've been thinking of this especially during the past few days as the New Year approached.

We're in the mountains now and the trees turned overnight, so it seemed.  This is my favorite season of all and this year, I don't even remember September happening.  I didn't start a fall semester.  San Francisco is enjoying it's "summer."  I really miss autumn.  I really miss Harry.

This week's collection is a tribute to the seasons.  I want to leave you with one of my favorite songs by Nicole Nordeman.  It's hopeful, yet it also makes me tear up a bit.

Clockwise from top L:
Magical World Knitting - Hand Embroidered Tapestries
Bailey Doesn't Bark - Four Seasons Spoon Set
Mulberry Creek - Vinyl Wall Decal
Bailey Doesn't Bark - Four Seasons Candle

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It by the Window

This little punkin head loves to look out the sliding doors at the big city beyond and dream of freedom.
Sometimes he squeezes between the screen and the door, just so he can feel the bay breeze rustle through his white fur.
Sometimes, he gets a bit stuck in between.
Then one day, I came home from the grocery store and found this!
 I scolded him and ran to find my camera in case he did it again.  By the time I was back with my camera he was 4 feet up.  Time to buckle down and find him a proper perch I think.
Oh and the little rascal's name?
He's a doofus and a darling all at once.  What have your pets gotten into lately?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Finished Balcony

I'm a wuss when it comes to heights.  I love roller coasters for the controlled fear.  I abhor looking straight down tall buildings because I'm not in a harness.  I say all that to qualify these pictures of our finished balcony.  I took the picture below by holding on to the door with one hand and extending the other as far as I could over the balcony railing.  I couldn't even look towards my arm wrapped several times over with the neck strap.  I snapped with a hope and prayer that it would be a one and done shot.  I could barely look at the picture.  So that was that.  I took the rest of the pictures with my back against the glass.  I don't sit in the outside seats and the grill is positioned close to the door too.  This is why I'll never be an Olympic skier.  Well that and a complete lack of talent and/or athleticism.  
I finally scored these two chairs from Pier 1 after scouring the city for their espresso counterparts once the chairs hit the sale price.  One store had 5 in the color I wanted but they swore they only had three and that they were busted.  I quit fooling around and just got the lighter color to match the wicker couch.  Wild goose chases used to really fire me up as I got the perfect match.  Then I realized that I'd rather have that time back to relax.  So I used my saved wild goose time and instead drank some Grey Goose and cranberry out on my nice balcony.  'Twas the right decision.
This was the hardest picture to get.  Because I love you and wanted you to have the best balcony experience I could give you through pictures, I stood up on the inside chair with one hand on the door handle.  Somehow, despite my knees knocking (seriously, who needs to be 15 floors up and then climb up another 2 feet???) I got a clear photo.  I help you see the couch, you help me conquer my fears.  Excellent arrangement.
All of the cushions are also from Pier 1 and were somewhere in the neighborhood of 20% when I bought them.  I had much different plans for the color scheme, but when you see something that fits your craiglisted wicker bench, my advice is to run with it.  It goes along with the whole acceptance and drinking thing I mentioned before.  Less time hunting non-existent matching pillows in my price range means more time for tasting wine, skyping with my favorite people, etc.
The paper lanterns are from Target and I had to go back for another string.  Having measurements of all of my living spaces would be a tremendously useful thing to keep on my phone.  Yet, I still haven't compiled it.  Lesson learned it is not.
The green basil is an offshoot of some basil I picked up at the Ferry Building Farmer's market.  I had a huge bunch in water and this was the last stem.  When I saw that it had grown some roots, I decided to plant it as a replacement for my sunflowers which died while we were gone last month.  The little red basil is also from a local farm somewhere, but Mr. P brought it home from work, so I'm not sure which one.  The pot is from Lowe's I think.  The neighbors above us majorly over water their plants or clean their balcony too much or something because they tend to flood our balcony with excess.  I have to move these little guys when I see the first signs of drips lest they drown.
To me, our balcony has a feeling of comfy country living amidst a very industrial portion of the city.  The contradiction makes me happy and reminds me of English classes where we talked about it as a technique.
This woven tray is a hand me down from Mr. P's previous roommate.  I dragged it up and down the east coast and almost didn't toss it in with the stuff to move to CA, but it goes great out here and houses this little vignette.  The pot was a gift from my mom when I moved away to college, the succulent from Lowe's, the lantern from TJMaxx, the candle a housewarming gift and the squirrel from Lowe's.  The squirrel stood guard over our deck in NC and he's a sentimental reminder of our first home together (where the squirrels have cuter fluffier tails).
From the inside of our apartment, you can get a better sense of scale.  It's a tight, or as we like to call it, cozy fit out there.  The table is from TJMaxx and the little rug from Lowe's.  We ordered the grill from Amazon and while it can't handle the capacity of our amazing grill which we gifted to my brother, it gets the job done about once to twice a week.  Now that it's warming up more, I hope to get a lot of use out of it through the end of October.  We're pretty lucky that our leasing company allows us to have them.  I'll take a one gallon propane grill over no grill any day!
When we first moved in, I joked with Mr. Palindrome that I was going with a black and yellow decorating scheme to incorporate the caution tape and warning sticker adorning our sliding door.  Most of the time, I can look past it, but sometimes I contemplate taking a razor to glass and ending the madness.  

The only member of the family who can't enjoy the balcony is the littlest member.  I'm pretty paranoid that he'll plunge to his death chasing a humming bird or fly.  I'm afraid that curiosity will literally kill our cat.  Soooooooo, I bought a harness and leash that I plan on testing.  He only hated the harness for the first hour he wore it ...  oh dear.

How are you using outdoor space as we transition into fall?  Where do you shop for your outdoor furniture/accessories?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Finds - Leaf and Mallard

In high school, I was aware of one brand - The Gap.  I coveted a hooded sweatshirt with those three letters of privilege and coolness emblazoned across the mosquito bites I stuffed with toilet paper (No one ever told me that stuffing was something to be done - I seriously thought I was the only one back then!).  When I opened the sweater box at Christmas to find that sweatshirt, I was beside my tween self.  I wore it until it was so holey and ratty that it was relegated to my college oil painting class and thrown out at the end of the semester.

All of that to say that outside of this one instance, I'm not into brands.  Sometimes, I find a good fit or good craftsmanship and I'll return to the same brand, but I'm not all about particular catalogs coming out.  I had never heard of Boden until last year when the mailman delivered the catalog to the wrong house.  Huh, they have some nice stuff I thought.  Then Mr. P, was like, "Under which rock did you just crawl from?" Apparently it's a brand that people like.  Anybrand, the former tenants of our apartment must have been in the know too because we received the catalog yesterday and I flipped through to find a few favorites.  In lieu of a new wardrobe, I decided to window shop via a Friday Finds.

Top Row L-R:
Skinny Cords in Navy
Printed Cord Dress in Petrol Honesty
Leather Pocket Bag in Leaf

Bottom Row L-R:
Bloomsbury Lace Up Boots in Petrol
Amelia Dress in Leaf
Trimmed Velvet Blazer in Mallard

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It Loves the Fridge

First off, It has a name.  I'm just a neurotic kitty mama who wants to photograph him in his dashing collar and name tag to properly announce it.  I can hear you from here - I know, I know.  Groan.  It's totally a huge build up for what's sure to be a big let down.  

In the meantime, I'll tide you over with It's incredible love of our refrigerator.  He knows exactly what's in there - yummy goodness of all sorts.  Jean Valjean would have been an apropos name for him.  I was eating a chicken burrito the other day and when I turned to grab my drink, I saw him out of my peripheral vision take a piece of chicken piece right off the burrito in my hand.  He's a stinker.

What's in there?
Oooooh!  Green stuff!
It's a little tight in here.
But I really want this green stuff!
Mmmmmmmm - Kitty loves asparagus!
He's particularly happy if I'm retrieving the second half of his Fancy Feast Turkey Kitten Formula can (Groan - yes I feed the kitten Fancy Feast!  Where do I turn in my sane person card?  This kitty lovin', it's an illness y'all!).  And just to give you a little taste of our morning routine now:
For those who care more about our house endeavors, you can see peeks at our kitchen.  For those who care about my fashion sense, you can see me rocking sweat pant pajamas (which I'm putting in as exhibit A for evidence why I think San Francisco is COLD).  And for those of you who care about my sanity, you'll notice that at the end, I tell It that we have to open a new can when there's a can clearly on the top shelf.  It's really cute though.  I'm going to miss his kitten squeaks when he grows up enough to meow.  Seriously, I just got a lump in my throat thinking about him growing up.  I'm gonna be a mess when it's a real child (someday in the very distant future).   

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Together We're Giant

How many games have you been to?


That's our pathetic answer for curious folks who find out we live a few block from the ball park.  It's like asking a New Yorker how many times they've climbed up the Statue of Liberty.  That's for people from the suburbs and tourists.  I can do it tomorrow or any day after that.  

With the season winding down and my Giants on a winning streak though, I wanted to give you a little peek at our 1 baseball outing courtesy of our apartment management company.  I'm a firm believer in rooting for the home team, so I bought a Giants visor and at least tried to match up players numbers and names.
It was a gorgeous day in August, but we were under the overhanging balcony, so it was just a touch chilly in the shade and I had zero use for my new visor.
The stadium is great as far as new stadiums go.  Nothing compares to the old parks, but everything can't be old and it has some nice features like flat screens hanging for close ups and instant replays.
It was dog day, they had all sorts of games for kids and then they blared the Jersey Shore fist pump song.  Suffice it to say, fun was had by all.

As someone who married into a big part Jewish, part Italian family from Jersey and as an East Coaster myself, I couldn't help but feel like an insider while all these San Franciscans tried to fist pump.  Do they play Journey in bars here and the whole bar starts fist pumping? There's a whole lot of Bucknellians in Hoboken who started the craze I think.  Can't you see Andy Bernard fist pumping to Journey at a Cornell frat party?
My dad played baseball in college and coached a high school team for a while.  "It's all about the fundamentals," he would say.  It's truly amazing to watch pros play and all exhibit the same fundamental swing.  Even the people with the crazy stances, they end reverting to the tried and true swing.  After years of hearing my dad coach players on hitting, I found myself thinking through his tips while editing some of these photos.  The tip for the photo above?  All the power is in your hips.
If were at any other stadium in the nation, we would have been glad to have a shady seat in August.  Here, it wasn't exactly refreshing to have a beer as my teeth chattered in the breezy ball park.  Also, as you can see in this shot, we were on the wrong side of this aisle and people were constantly in our line of sight.  If we had paid for the seats ourselves, I would have been a little more upset.  Instead, I took another swig of overpriced beer and huddled with Mr. P.
Remembers these cranes from our balcony view?  Anybody know what they're building out there?
We got pretty excited when we saw this bearded guy warming up in the bull pen.  Then they announced him as a closer and it wasn't Brian Wilson.  Who knew they had more than one black bearded closer? 

Anyballs, we're glad we got to go at least once and there's still plenty to do at the ball park even after baseball season is over.  Cal football . . . opera . . . etc.  We may even have to hit up Candlestick Park if they can get the shootings under control.

Any attraction in your town that you've been putting off since you've been a resident?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Adjusting to a New Kitchen

I felt like I was in someone else's kitchen for weeks.  I avoided cooking because it was a hassle to find my favorite tools.  Dishes were the bane of my existence as I struggled with misplaced dish towels.  Then I had a bunch of bananas go real ripe.  The kind of ripe that that begs for banana bread.
I had to buy all new baking ingredients after not being able to move my pantry staples, but I didn't let that stop me.  Hello Joy of Cooking my old lover, my old friend.  You suggest some chocolate chips?  Okie dokie.
Once I had one loaf under my belt, the baking juices flowed from there.  Well that, and I had another bunch of bananas go ripe.  Besides overbuying bananas, my other mad skill is substituting wheat flour to make me feel less guilty about the butter and sugar crust on these bad boys.
After the banana confession, I feel pretty confessorial.  We eat out roughly 50-60% of the time.  Mr. Palindrome eats at work, I eat out for lunch most days and since Mr. P gets home late, we eat late for dinner. Yep, it's more money.  Sometimes it's more fat.  But sometimes, it's just so darn good.  Not only do we get some awesome local fare, but awesome views to boot like this tasty sausage breakfast sandwich from the Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building.

What's your favorite dish to break into a kitchen?  How do you split your at home meals vs. eating out?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Finds - Simple Fall DIY

Yesterday I saw this beautiful mantle on Centsational Girl's blog and today I saw it again when Sherry from Young House Love pinned it on Pinterest.  When Sherry commented that she thought the bottles were Red Stripe bottles, the project seemed a lot more doable to me.  Everything seems easier after a six pack (also I'm high on a big W for my Redskins last week, so I'm looking forward to this Sunday!).


- Mantle via Centsational Girl from Choose to Thrive (upon reading the original post, I see they're ginger beer bottles and vinyl letters - but she says use what you have, so I'll give it my own twist)
- Cardboard cut out letter tutorial from Craft Envy (I'm thinking I want curlier letters and possibly covered in orange glitter)
- Wheat from Save-on-Crafts (sometimes I cheat and have supplies delivered to my door - much more convenient in the city!)
- Red Stripe from their website, though I plan on buying mine at Safeway

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It Loves to Play

We might be closer to making it official, but no name on this front yet.  Besides being incredibly indecisive about names, I've also realized how incredibly dirty our bathroom floor gets on a day to day basis from me blow drying my hair.  It can't be left alone in the apartment because of a panache for chewing on electric chords, so we keep him in the bathroom when we can't supervise him directly.  I'm going through swiffers like whoa since we spend so much time playing with him on the bathroom floor.

He loves to hide in his fun carrying box from the shelter that turns into a mini cat condo.  He also loves the camera and want to know exactly how it works.

As you know from his little adoption announcement that he loves the shower curtain.

He's on the move almost constantly, so much so that I was sure he broke his tail within the first 24 hours of being home.  Turns out he's fine, so says his amazing vet.

It loves his ball, not as much as the shower curtain, but still.

We call this move the Godzilla and he does it a few times a day on various objects of prey.  Then we scare him by doing our Arrested Development impressions.

Like children, kittens tend to like free items over bought toys.  Cardboard boxes and socked feet rank among his top most favorites.

Then he gets tuckered out and is ready for a nap.  He's still a teeny guy - right around the developmental age of a human 4-year-old.

Just as quickly as he falls asleep, he's back up and at 'em.

This time taking on the door stopper.  His big boy teeth are cutting in and he's already stopping some of his chewing behavior.

His all time favorite toy of prey though is his feather wand.  He goes absolutely nuts over it and we can't bring it down unless we're ready to play for a solid 15 minutes.  

You can also see why I haven't shown you any before shots of our apartment.  The weekend we adopted It, we were still very much in the "settling in" phase which basically still involved boxes.  We're about 20 steps closer to livable space with some key furniture purchases and rearranging, but you get the idea of the craziness we call our apartment.

This little guy seriously warms my heart.  Have you welcomed any new furry friends lately?  What's your kitty's favorite toy?