Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Finds - Casual Summer

I have an outfit similar to this that I'm packing for the beach.  In North Carolina, they have real summer.  I hear they have real summer in other parts of Northern California, but seeing as it's completely impractical to drive 1.5 hours round trip on a weekday whim to prove it to myself, I am instead going to attempt to front load my summer in 10 days. In North Carolina, this isn't even real summer yet, but to my malnourished senses I believe this will be as close as I can get. As you can tell by the sweater and scarf, my mind is telling me that the weather I knew and loved cannot be trusted - I'm a silly San Franciscan now, planning for an unpredictable chill.

Dear East Coast,

Please be hot and humid, just like I remember so that when I sip lemonade, my lips smack with refreshment.  And if you could, please also make toting around a fleece a laughable action.

Love,
Melinda

Clockwise from Top L:
J. Crew - 3" Chino Shorts
Zappos - Sam Edeleman Ginger Sandals in Saddle
Nordstroms - Joie "Marbella" Oversized Linen Sweater
Amazon - Teal Cashmere Pashmina

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Oliver Loves to Look out the Window

Oliver loved the windows in our old apartment.  They were huge and offered him views of sea gulls diving with an occasional bug.  He loves our new windows more though!  There are several kinds of birds, all finding refuge in our magnolia tree.  There are dogs being walked on the sidewalk, a neighbor cat running across our back deck and various other critters.  
 Sometimes he perches on our wingback chairs, which we discourage.  I've been motivated to buy him a nice cat tree though.  Sometimes he gets comfy in his bed where he can relax and keep an eye on things.
I love this picture of him because he's finally showing off his cute name tag, but gee whiz do I need to wash that basket liner.  We've got a shed monster on our hands!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thanks and Cupcakes

The phenomenal staff at our previous apartment started to feel like family to me.  We only lived there about 8 months, but we saw them several times a day and often were helped with an extra smile or mile of service.  I really wanted to thank them before we left and when I saw these amazing cupcakes on Annie's Eats blog, I felt inspired.  

I went the lazy route though.  I bough devil's food cake mix,  a can of Reddi Whip, a can of cherry pie filling and some Maraschino cherries.  The short cuts saved me a ton of time and the results were spectacular.  

Filling the cupcakes was actually fun and really easy.  The ratio of effort to reaction made it all worth it!  I did the cone method that Annie recommends and everyone loved the surprise cherry in the middle.  I want to do this a lot more in the future.  Maybe the Banana Cream Pie flavor next????

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Befores and Afters - Wrong Direction

I know it takes time to settle into a place.  But no matter how many times we move, I always forget that feeling of hopelessness when the boxes are piled high and you can't find anything.  To give you a sense of what we were dealing with, I'm going to show you the listing pics as Before and our After move in pictures.
Before
After
 Before
 After
Before
 After
Before
After
I have a vision - in fact, I have several visions, which is contributing to the overall decision paralysis I have.  We're now at a point where we're out of boxes, but after living in the space for a while, I'm not convinced about the placement of furniture and household items.  The scale is much different than in our old place, so it's a little bit like living in a house of circus mirrors where everything is distorted.

I think my next steps are to start collecting inspiration for each room and then logging necessary steps.  Some of the plan requires selling off some pieces we have to make room for choosing new pieces and carefully searching Craigslist or consignment stores for pieces that work better in this scale.  It's slow going, but we're taking the steps and it doesn't seem as hopeless as these pictures full of boxes.  I'm thinking progress is a win!

How long does it take you to feel settled after a move?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hungry

Our lives have undergone a huge transformation.  From DINKs living sky high above the bay, spending our disposable income on local legs of lamb to full time caretakers for Mr. P's mother, spending our income on a mortgage to house us all, we're adjusting.  It's taking time.  More than I thought. And I can't write about the personal nature of our situation because I have no insights and must wait for perspective to make it clear.

So instead of writing, I find myself stealing every spare moment to read.  To escape to a world where the stakes were life and death and where an impossibly good boy tries to save the love of his life.  The parallels I draw, however real or not real, leave me on the brink of tears. The pain of being in a situation over which you have no control, of seeing someone you love die, of being left to care for those who can't care for themselves - that grief reaches me in a way that embarrasses me to admit.  
Peeta Mellark, Photo by Murray Close, via The Hunger Games movie promotional site

In a trio of novels meant for teenagers, I find a refuge. I recall the moment in Literary Theory class where Dr. Schweizer revealed Yeats' theory on masks.  I look behind Suzanne Collins' mask as I relive the moment when the heart monitor stopped and remember staring into the eyes that wouldn't close. Katniss' memories of the mine explosion touch me in a place that didn't exist for me a year ago. The human experience of searing loss and then facing the challenge of going on is the reason I keep reading.

I wake up before my alarm, firing up my Kindle to squeeze in one more chapter.  I wait til the next train so that I can read longer on the platform and hopefully get a seat on the next.  The building security guard asks me what chapter I'm on when I board the elevator, Kindle in hand. I arrange my lunch schedule to meet Katniss on her quest. 

As with so many of my favorites, love and goodness win out in the end.  This is the hope. It keeps us going. For Katniss it's the dandelion and the boy with the bread.  For me, I'm still waiting for my sign.  I'm hungry for the day I write my epilogue on this season.  The one where the hope is realized.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Finds - Hunger Games in Hunter Green

I meant to save it for the beach later this month, but after a certain dragon tattooed lady left my life, I knew I needed another distraction.  Murder, intrigue and political commentary . . . from one series to another.  I'm only 10 chapters into the first book, but I already know that I must be a Peeta girl at heart.  The boy with the bread.  Seriously, who can compete with that?  I guess I'll have to keep reading to find out.

Clockwise from Top L:
Sweet Monkey Tuesdays - Mockingjay Bracelet
Bad Bitch Cosmetics - Katniss Mineral Eyeshadow
Crimson Hollow - Mockingjay Journal
Rista Creations - Peeta's Bakery T-Shirt