Christmas Time is Coming…

Christmas and I have never gotten along.  I have countless posts on how my best plans have been thwarted by the hustle and bustle about.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Christmas time.  I love the smells.  I love the cookies.  I love the plays, the singing, and most times, the people.  I really love the reason behind Christmas.  I love giving gifts to people, and getting that reaction you hoped for.  I love all of it.  I love wrapping it all up in a neat package and putting a bow on it….but rarely, or ever, I should say – has that happened.

You see, a long time ago – I agreed to disagree with the perfect Christmas.  You know: The one with a nice layer of snow, matching outfits, sipping coco by the tree, with smells of cinnamon.  Yea.  Not that I ever wanted that picture perfect Christmas, its just that me and shopping have never gotten along that well.  I always (ALWAYS!) have some sort of a mishap with a gift.  Last year I got an olive green curtain panel to gift someone.  I mean, I didn’t ORDER that, it just came.  As a replacement.  For the item I had ordered.  Which was not window related.  Or olive green.  You can read that story here: And They Call This Fun!?

Another year I searched high and low for the perfect coffee cup for my sister.  I finally found one I liked, forked out the extra money, and waited.  Two weeks later it showed up.  It wasn’t a coffee mug.  But rather a giant bowl.  With a handle.

I could go on and on about my mishaps.  But lets just say I try, but it rarely works out.

Since shopping and I don’t get along – I rarely get the gifts I was looking to give, and rarely get the reaction I was looking for.  I mean, what can I expect really – gifting curtain panels, and giant bowls, after all.

This year, the bug has bitten me early.  I tried, desperately to ward it off.  I ignored.  I looked the other way.  I all but closed my mind to the idea.  But the harder I tried, the more it pushed.  And before I knew it I was off riding the wagon down Christmas alley.  I tried to hang on for thanksgiving.  I really did.  I don’t listen to Christmas songs until the day after.  Don’t decorate until the day after.  Don’t give it ANY THOUGHT until the day before.

But this year?  Oh this year.

This year I have ALL THE PLANS to do ALL THE THINGS.

I have already ordered our Christmas card.  I have already scoured Pinterest, and pinned all the things.  I have ideas that are bursting with glitter and bows and ribbon – and quite frankly, I’m worried.

You see, last year I tried to do much of the same things.  I had a few simple ideas, that I thought I could make work.  Anyone remember what happened?  Lets recap:

Aside from the curtain panel, we had this gem:

santamix8You can read more on that disaster here: An Epic Fail (and other short stories)!

I apparently, cannot melt chocolate to save my life.

This year?  I have GREAT plans.  To do ALL the things, yet again.  I have lists.  Oh the lists.  I have ideas, and bows, and scents, and candles, and thoughts, and plans, and people, and and and and….

Like I said, I am quite frankly – worried.  It could go one of two ways:

The traditional way – where everything ends up a mess, and on Christmas eve I am left with an un-melted bowl of chocolate, ½ trimmed tree, unbaked cookies, and gifts that are unwrapped, unfitting, and a disaster that makes us laugh the following year.

Or, the Non-Traditional way – Things could actually go as planned.

I’m betting on traditional.  Since there is nothing like a good tradition.

What traditions do YOU have?  Can you melt chocolate?  Have you started shopping?

Welcome to The Room!

About ten years ago, we made a move from one house to another.  I will spare you the details, the stories and everything else involved with the great move – just know that nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and get to my point: My room.

When we moved in, my sister and I were basically given the run of the room upstairs.  It was a long, narrow strip of room in the middle of two attics.  It was a decent size, but awkward shape.  The floor was covered in green carpet.  The kind that you would find on a pool table.  There were about 10 closet doors along one side of the room, and cardboard paneling along the other side.

We were told at one point, it was considered an orphanage.  I don’t know how true that story is, but it’s one that my sister and I ran with for years.  It made sense.  It worked.  And now there we were.

It was a frantic move that didn’t involve a whole lot of planning or preparing.  One day we lived in one house.  The next we were moving into another.  Not for terrible reasons – the reasons were all good.  It was just a rush to get from one house to the other – for reasons I can’t recall.

At one point, we had four mattresses lining the room – one for us, and one for the dog and cat.  And then somewhere along the way, we stacked the mattresses, and made us each a bigger bed.

Our room also became a room for the chickens that were hurt.  Or…needing time to readjust.  Such as Amanda’s 10 year old hen: Big Red.  She dutifully kept our dog supplied with treats.  Moving along…

room 008

See the carpet?

room 007

This is one of those pictures that I really don’t know where to begin.  Yes, that is a rooster on my bed.  Yes he is crowing.  Yes those are stickers on my wall.  No I don’t know why they are there.

Anyways, over the past number of years, we have cleaned up the room, moved the chickens out (vacuumed), put drywall in, put a few decorations up.  Re-stained the closets because, can we say ORANGE?

room 004

Also worth noting: That flooring is what was under the green carpet – leaving us not a whole lot to work with.  And yes, that is the same rooster.

We painted an accent wall, repainted the rest of the room white, threw down a few rugs – and then Amanda got married and left me alone with the giant room.  One afternoon, in a fit of anger (who knows why, really) I ripped up 1/2 the floor.  Another day I decided a good color for the room would be “Jamaican Blue.”

DSC_0444

Obviously we were going from bad to worse rather quickly.  None of our plans for the room were panning out, paint wasn’t cutting it anymore, and I was ready for some updates.

When I returned home from England – I went and got a price to have carpet installed, and was literally appalled that we waited so long to make the move.

This last week I moved everything we stashed in our room (note to self: its time to get rid of things!) from one room to another.  I didn’t think we had a lot of stuff, but moving things will prove you know nothing.  I painted over the blue wall, and returned the entire room to a color known as “Hint of gray” (aside from our purple wall, which is there to stay.)

DSCN0182

This was right before everything pictured in the room above was covered in tiny specks of paint.  Note to self: Move the laptop and all other items of importance before painting.

DSCN0184

….Out with the old….

DSCN0190And in with the new!  I went up yesterday, and didn’t like the look.  Hated it.  Was upset with it.  I had convinced myself that the color was going to be different, and upon seeing it – was devastated.  I know, right?  But after a few minutes, I took another look – and fell in love.

I spent the night at the shop, because the carpet man was coming to finish installing this morning at some stupid early hour, and I like my sleep on Saturday mornings.  Mom was nice enough to let him in this morning (thanks mom!)

And then?

DSCN0200

I don’t think I could be any more in love.

DSCN0196

The purple wall and our ten million closets.

DSCN0201And this?  Well this just makes me happy for reasons I can’t explain.  I think it will be my happy corner.  It’s the small things really.  The attention to details.  The carpeting AROUND the obstacles and making it look oh so pretty.

before

We aren’t completely done up there yet – I have big plans to change the closet color, and then comes the adding back in of all the things, but until then – I can’t help but brag just a little…

Week 41: October 19-25

19. There is nothing prettier than flowers in the fall.

19

20. Me ‘n’ Yosh

20

21. I took my ‘big’ camera out today.  And was proud of the results.

21

22. Point and shoot special.

22

23. Woke up excited about what I would take a picture of this day.  Saw three rainbows at various points in the day – didn’t have my camera once.  Turned around, and the day was gone.  Another Yoshi special!

23

24. Three days in a row.  Sorry.  She was trying to nap and listen to dogs at the same time.

24

25. Summer is desperately tying to hang on.  I’m not complaining.

DSC_0039

 

Week 40: October 12-18

12. It’s hard to be sad about coming back (from town, across the world, etc.) when this is there to welcome you home.  We had just returned from a short trip to town, and she was SO HAPPY we had come back.

12

13. I have never been good at math, so bear with me.  Ugly x 100 = Cute? Am I right or not?  This is the neighbors dog.  She is SO ugly, she is cute.  What do you think?

13

14. My pretty girl

14

15. Yes, I know.  It’s Yoshi, Yoshi, Yoshi.

15

16. Happy fall, Happy pumpkin, Happy everything!

16

17. A dark, gloomy sort of day.

17

18. A sampling of carpet.  My room is a combination of 60’s, 50’s and maybe some 40’s.  I’m not entirely convinced that is all.  We have ugly green carpet covering some even uglier linoleum.  That blue wall was an attempt at something stupid and will soon be gone.  And hopefully within the next month or so, so will the ugly floor.  Replaced with that sampling.

18

How was your week?

Cajun Halibut

I love halibut.  Living in Alaska, I have pretty much grown up on seafood, and love just about all that seafood has to offer.  I know, I’m weird.  It’s ok.  But halibut still remains my absolute favorite fish.  When I visit in England, they try to sell me on having the best fish and chips around.  I don’t buy it.  In fact, I don’t like it!  Its too sticky.  Too fishy.  Too…not halibut!

The only problem I have with fish – is cooking it.  It doesn’t change colors to alert you to its being done.  I HATE raw fish, and always tend to overcook it (much to everyone’s displeasure!).  But the other night, I came up with an idea to change the way I cook halibut (in the oven) and decided to grill it instead.  I didn’t want to fry it, and I didn’t want to smother it in something.  But I wanted to flavor it.

Thus came: Cajun Halibut

1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoon chili powder
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed

The great thing about it is you can add or take away, mix and match.  I ran out of seasonings with a few more pieces of fish to go – and was able to whip up just a bit more.  It was awesome!

I cut the halibut into serving size chunks, rubbed them down generously with the spices – plopped them in a pan and let them get to work.  I didn’t have the burner on super high, and covered the pan for about 3-5 minutes before flipping them over and finishing them off.  They are done when the fish flakes easily.

That’s it!  So easy, and SO good!

Just A Yoshi Girl

As the sun pushed it way through the clouds, and the rain momentarily let up – I drug Yoshi outside to play ball.  It ended up going something to the tune of:

“Here!  Get the ball!”

Yoshi half heartily runs after the ball, and doesn’t stop to get it.  Turns around and looks at me like she has no idea why she even bothered to trot after it.

“Get the ball!”

Yoshi trots off, and I fetch instead.

While we were out there, I thought it would be fun to get some “Autumn styled” photos of her.  I persuaded her into sitting, and got her attention with a blade of grass.  Because after all these years, girl still will do ALMOST anything for a blade of grass.  Except get the ball, perhaps.

She was all about the humor today.

DSC_1036

Oh, Yoshi.

DSC_1035

You are too much.

DSC_1031

But we love you.

DSC_1029

When we got back inside, I realized one of those pictures looked vaguely familiar…

yos outside 047

And then I died from all the cute.

Funny thing was when I took the picture today, I wasn’t even thinking about the one I took of her as a pup.  It just looked familiar, and I had to go looking and realized: Same pup, same spot.  Just a few years in between.  What a girl.

“It was awesome.”

Three weeks in and the newness of being back has started to wear off.  Life is starting to return to a somewhat normal pace that consists of waking up, running through the day and neck breaking, maddening speeds, and returning to bed some point later that night.  I’m not complaining, I kind of enjoy the site of life as it goes speeding on past.

I have sat down multiple times convinced that I am going to write something – some amazing recap of my time away.  Some “This is how I spent my amazing summer!” yet nothing happens.  I look through the 4000+ pictures, looking for some sort of inspiration, yet find nothing.  Much like looking through last years photos, I smile…a lot.  I laugh…a bunch.  And pick out the pictures that are horribly composed, have bad lighting, and make it appear that the person on the other side of the camera had absolutely no idea WHAT they were doing.  Because the blurry, crazy, dimly lit photos – are my favorites.

They remind me of the amazing times I had away.  They make me laugh, and give me no words to explain just what was going on.  Because in the middle of all the neatly composed, wonderfully lit, professional looking photographs – sit the memories that will remain a lifetime.  Memories that will pop up at random times during my conversations with people.  Memories that I can relieve with the people I spent them with, and attempt, vainly, to share them with others.  But when it all comes down to it – the memories that I made this summer?  Are really just that.  Amazing memories, of amazing times, spent with some amazing people.

Which is why when you ask me how my trip was, I will respond by saying “Amazing.”  Because it was.  All around, simply, amazing.

I couldn’t tell you what I did, much like if I asked you what YOU did this summer, you wouldn’t have too much to say.  A few random memories, a few disconnected thoughts that make you smile, and then…fall is here.

Sure, I traveled to Portugal, Greece and Germany.  Sure.  I spent the summer with some of my favorite people.  Yes it was hard to leave.  Yes I want to go back.  Like yesterday.  Yes the weather was great.  No it didn’t ran as much there.  Yes there was lightning and thunder.  Yes it scared us.  Yes.  It was an all around amazing trip.  No I don’t have a favorite place I visited because they each are in a special place in my heart.  Yes.  It was awesome.  Yes I took lots of pictures.  But no.  I really couldn’t tell you what I did.  I will try.  But I will fail.

Because summing up five months of awesomeness?  Is harder than it sounds.  So for now just believe me when I say: Yes.  It was awesome.  And know that someday, I will share just what made it so awesome.  Once I can figure out how to put it all into words that make sense to those that weren’t there to experience it.

Week 37: September 21 – 27, Week 38: September 28 – October 4

21. Mr. Big looking all grown up

21

22. Last day in England

22

23. I have pictures for the next few days, but they are on my cell phone – and I can’t find the connecting cord…

24.

25.

26. Miss Siren

26

27. Have no idea what happened this day.

28. Or this day either, apparently.

29. I found my point and shoot camera – which resulted in the worlds lamest photo ever of Yoshi.

29

30. I may have sort of missed this view.

30

October.

1. My Yoshi girl

1

2. Scenes missing.

3. Honey

3

4. Honey two days in a row – doesn’t get sweeter than that!

4