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Adventures in Home Ownership

Sunday, December 07, 2008

You win some...

This afternoon's approved Holiday Activity was: Make a Christmas Card Picture. Liz was convinced we needed to have the cats involved (especially since our last Christmas picture with Lyra was such a hit), and it was her dearest wish that both Lyra and Bertie would be in the same shot at the same time. The first time through, it worked:

The second time through, I made it back to the couch just in time for Lyra to hiss at Bertie and run away, leaving me dejected and humiliated, my despair captured for posterity by the unremitting single eye of the camera:

We ended up choosing a different picture all together, but it just goes to show you that working with animals is the pits. As Tim Rice so aptly put it: "Animals, actors; two kinds of hell."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The new (but old) chair

We have recently welcomed a beautiful LaFave family heirloom into our living room. The chair, pictured above, is now in the 4th generation of the family, dates back to the 1890's and has now become a favorite perch for Bertie. Those of you concerned with a cat on an antique, he is very nice to it, and we de-fur it every day, just in case. We were very excited and honored to get the chair, and were also incredibly surprised with how well it fit into our living room.

Also, for anyone wanting more information on the cats' budding "friendship," here's a picture that might wow you. Only a few months ago, neither one of them would have willing sat this close to the other one, and would certainly never have closed their eyes in each other's presence. They both knew the other one was next to them before falling into naptime, and we were so impressed with how far they've come, that we snapped a picture. It's now one of their favorite ways to nap, and we often come home from school to find Lyra on her perch and Bert on the floor, both soaking in the sun.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Almost School...Sigh.

The year marches on, and that means a close to this glorious summer. We've been busy, what with sailing, our trip to Taos to visit Beth and Steve, and our two extra little visits to Huntington Beach, CA. We're both looking forward to the new school year, because the sooner we start, the sooner another wonderful summer will come around!

We start workshops this next week, and then kids will arrive on the 25th. I'll be at a new school -- a high school, which will be new for me! Drew will be starting his new Symphony Orchestra. Good times are ahead. But for this last weekend, I'd rather think about the good times that are only a little bit behind.

So, some pictures to leave you with. You saw all our sailing escapades in an earlier post.

Here we are in Taos, NM, on the wondrous deck.

And here we are at the Getty Center in LA, enjoying the gardens after seeing all the art. It was the best art out of all the art. (That's an Office quote, if anyone is Office savvy).

Tra la la! Happy month of August to all!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Beautiful Briny Sea

For our vacation this summer, we took a week long sailing class at Marina del Rey. We took the class through a company called "Blue Pacific Boating." They have about 10 boats in their fleet, and we decided that, not only were we going to learn how to sail, we were also going to stay on the boat.

So here's the boat we stayed on at night and sailed by day. It's a 35 foot Jeanneau in really "shipshape" condition, called Boo! Pacific. We worked really hard every day, helping us to locate muscles we didn't know we had. We steered, we worked the sheets, we tacked (turned the boat through the wind), and we mastered (sort of) the elusive jibe (turning downwind, which, if you're not careful, can kill you!!!!). (Not us, but seriously, it's kind of dangerous.) AND we are now ready for a Man Overboard situation (or, alternatively, the "Lady in the Water" situation). We rescued a disgruntled seat cushion so many times, that our class took to hiding the seat cushion so our instructor couldn't find it in the morning. We will be much happier to perform an actual Man Overboard maneuver when the man who is overboard can actually swim towards the boat.

After each awesome day on the water, we'd go out for a delicious dinner. We had a FREE meal at California Pizza Kitchen, El Torito's, Tony P's Dockside Grill, and the Cheesecake Factory on the last evening with some of our fellow students. Tony P's was kind of our favorite because of its super-duper old school vibe. Every entree came with the option of a baked potato, and Drew even got to order fried clam strips. It doesn't get much more old school than that. But our night out at the Cheesecake Factory was the best, because of the awesome time we had with two of our fellow students. Who knew you'd find two people who get every Pulp Fiction reference and laughed at jokes about "Hezbollah fist bumps?" We were awfully lucky!
This is a picture of the beach in the Marina. We didn't swim in it, because, I don't know, it's right next to a Marina, but it was a nice place for a sunset walk.

On our last day, we took the tests for our American Sailing Association 101 and 103 certifications, that would make us eligible to charter boats from this company and other companies around the world. We had a different instructor for our last day, and he taught Drew how to single-hand the boat, while the rest of us tried hard to stay out of his way. Pictured here is Drew, the single-handed sailor, and the two folks we had so much fun with over the week.

And, lastly, we leave you with a picture of our tried and true boat shoes. They are the best shoes I have ever owned. And now I have the most excellent tan lines on my feet -- they rock.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Springtime Desert Foliage

Every spring, I find my hankering for a greener thumb just too strong of a siren call. So we head down to the local nursery or Target in search of new green things that will survive in the climate. We filled one pot that we've always had on our patio, but changed the place of one pot. Some neighborhood cats on the prowl had taken to digging up our old succulents in this pot, so we thought some elevation might help these little guys out. We got a plant stand for this low pot and put it on our front stoop next to the door.

This lavender plant is on our patio in the backyard space. It is exceptionally fragrant right now...since lavender is good in heat, I'm excited to see what this plant has to offer in the months to come!

Also, this spring, we added a plant inside. This is our Majesty Palm in a great bright blue glazed pot. The colors didn't pop as much in the picture as they do in our entryway...the palm in its blue home are adjacent to our zippy red ristra -- it's a great primary color space now!

Drew made ribs on the grill yesterday, and it was cool enough this weekend that we could spend some time out on the patio. We had a couple glasses of sangria and enjoyed the hickory smoke smell. Our backyard plants are doing well on their one year birthday. Everything's good here! Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Spring Break in Bryce Canyon

For Spring Break this year, we spent a few days in sunny but cold Utah at Bryce Canyon. We stayed at Ruby's Inn, did an incredibly muddy hike, and enjoyed our in-room hot tub every evening. This was also a great opportunity for Drew to put his great new camera to use!

Here we are hiking around the rim. Some Germans we met took this picture for us.

Some of the hoodoos available for your viewing pleasure!

We took the Najavo Loop Trail through knee-deep snow and some pretty devastating ice. We saw the couple in front of us, hiking in tennis shoes with a thousand-dollar camera just around their necks, slip and fall down an entire flight of stairs! They were okay (and so was the camera) but the flight of stairs they fell down had turned into a flume of ice. So we slid down it caf-tray style. Except without the caf trays.
It was a beautiful hike, though, which we extended into the Queen's Garden Trail when we reached the bottom. Seeing the canyon from the top was breath-taking -- seeing it from the bottom gave you another level of appreciation!

Here's Drew on the way back up:

And here's Liz at the trail ending. Notice -- boots recommended. Boy, were we glad to have them! And will all the mud and snow, did they ever look used when we were done!

Nothing felt better than a dip in the hot tub after a long. muddy, snowy, but beautiful hike!

We also ventured out to the trail heads at night. Bryce Canyon is known for its stargazing, and Drew wanted to take some nighttime pictures. Believe it or not, this picture was taken in complete darkness at about 10:00 at night! Spooky!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Valentine's Flowers

Happy belated Valentine's Day to you all! Last night, Liz and I went out to our local Buca to celebrate the day-of-love at the Vegas incarnation of the place we had our rehearsal dinner. Good times, but we feel like the garlic mashed potatoes have gotten gradually less garlicky over the years. Still good... just less garlicky.

And, of course, I brought Liz home a dozen roses on Thursday. They proved a handy subject for me to experiment on with my new camera. Although we've had a little Fuji point-and-shoot digital camera for a couple of years, these last few days have been my first real experiment with the power of a digital SLR. Once I figured out how to get the white balance corrected for indoor shooting, I got some nice results. Check them out above.

I'm really excited about the new toy and the possibility of sharing some images as time goes by... so look for a photoblog from yours truly later on this spring. Until then, keep your eyes glued to this blog to track my re-entry into serious amateur photography.