Sunday, August 01, 2010
Afghanistan matters to me because today (August 1, 2010), he ships out.
Afghanistan matters to me because I live in Seattle. Recently, two sailors went missing in Afghanistan - one was from here. I secretly prayed for God to spare him pain and feel guilty that he was found dead. I just didn't want him to be tortured.
Afghanistan matters to me because I'm military. My grandfather, my dad, my stepdad, my uncles, my brother. I never lived on post, but for all intents and purposes, I grew up on Ft. Bliss.
Afghanistan matters to me because I don't understand how you fight an insurgent, philosophical, non-governmental entity with conventional resources that expect/predict/plan for conventional results.
Afghanistan matters to me because, in some ways, I feel like if I had just done my job and cared back at NMSU, he wouldn't be in the military. He would be an engineering college graduate with a decent, but probably not superstar athletic history to his name.
Afghanistan matters to me because I'm scared that this economy will take my life. Because we're severely underemployed in my household (I have my job, thank goodness, but I wasn't the main breadwinner here), I couldn't afford to go see my brother (and his son, whom I've never met) back home in El Paso before he left. If anything happens to him...I won't be able to live with myself. Mostly because I know my husband won't be able to live with himself. And if I lost both my brother and my husband...
Afghanistan matters to me because I voted for a guy who said we were in the wrong war. And I wholeheartedly agreed. And I constantly told all the peaceniks that he wasn't anti-war and promoted as a good thing that Afghanistan was going to be the focus. It has been a tough year. And my Hope Beacon has been flickering off and on like a Wii controller with mismatched batteries. Or a candle in the wind. Or that last flickering ember by the campfire. I don't want this war to squelch that Beacon.
Afghanistan matters to me because he's my little brother.
I'll be counting down the days until he comes back.
And then wrapping everything I have around him to make sure that "normal life" is tolerable. This Pentagon report on what is happening to our soldiers when they return (and why it is happening) is sobering. The NYT article on soldier suicides breaks it down.
My little brother is not a statistic. I won't let him be. Not this time.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Then Ashley came into our lives.
Here are some things I don't want to forget about these past two months:
She used to fit in the rock basket. With room to spare.
She loves to hang out (and sleep) under the computer desk.
She is totally daddy's little girl.
Although she still gets super excited when mommy comes home from work.
But she will actually wait by the front door for him to come home...even if he just goes into the yard.
She loves that bright green frisbee. Enough to lay in front of the slider longing for it.
She is SUPER smart - just ask the "Ashley gate" that she manages to get around all. the. time.
She used to be afraid of going onto the carpet.
But she skids across the hardwoods.
Even though she has finally learned how to sit on the floor without her hind end sliding out from under her.
My fave parts of Ashley - her puppy tummy, puppy tongue and puppy tail
In two months, she has grown about 3 inches in height and a whopping 18 pounds in weight.
She LOVES being sick and on meds...or maybe it is the hotdogs we feed her pills in that she loves.
Red is her color - especially her little red blanky
She crate trained in all of two nights. Day crate training is another story.
She usually has the run of the living level when we're out.
She hates being apart from us...or just being alone in general.
She is a water puppy - she swims all the time at Rattlesnake Lake.
She has a cute pink bone name tag. And I broke it trying to hook her leash to it instead of to her collar.
She is a garden puppy. She loves to eat grass and chew sticks.
She loves sticks more than balls. The bigger the stick, the more she wants it.
She is super obedient. Clicker training does a puppy good. Positive reinforcement and all.
This Pacific Northwest puppy LOVES sunbathing on the deck.
She knows how to sit, lay, shake hands and be the cutest puppy ever.
She has the longest whiskers and eyelashes ever
When she wakes up (in the morning or from a nap) she s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s out...like a cat.
She is a THIRSTY puppy. In the morning, we leave her downstairs to fill her camel hump up.
She gets a morning and an evening frisker where she is just all out crazy and uncontrollable. It is the cutest.
Her tail is super waggy and awesome.
She is a super, wonder pup and I think her middle name will forever be Awesome. Ashley Awesome Merikle.
Friday, July 02, 2010
That worked out great.
She's awesome and then some. I wish we were not half passed broke and that I could go and see her (and my baby brother) later this month. And that I could make it out to my HS BFF's wedding in NY. All that stuff is so contingent on so much that is out of our control - ie, Senate passing unemployment extension...job offer coming through...
Alas. All to say the only piece of the master plan that makes me sad that has not happened was having completed the plot to move my mother up north by about now. Or have her well on her way up here with some solid plans. Would have loved to celebrate her birthday in person this year.
Things will get better. It will happen. Not the memory thing because that is long shot. but the whole getting back on track to world domination piece.
Love you mom. Love you Dee. Wish I could do so much more to make both of your lives better.
Much longer delayed happy Bday to Q who I miss like my favorite shoe (because...well...that rhymes, I'm delirious from sniffing on the glue project I've been working on and I really really REALLY should just go to bed now. Says the puppy.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
So what is there to catch up on?
Congrats to Rachel for finally walking that long aisle. Looking forward to July 30
Uhhmmm...how long have I been married again? Pitiful
I love our house. Especially now that we are in full project mode.
I love my job. Especially because there is LOTS to do, lots of great exposure and so much...PROMISE.
I miss Liisa. Not enough to call her back obviously. But enough to blog about her.
Finally made the jump to Photoshop cs4. Can't believe how long I kicked and screamed and avoided...
DIY home crafty blogs are a huge time suck
But not as huge a timesuck as Age of Empires II (War Chiefs was way too easy until the end and now I'm on Asian Empires...way too tedious)
My flowers are blooming and I LOVE container gardening
Those paintings...still coming along. yeah, maybe I should just finish something already
house is pretty much puppy proofed
brother is going to Afghanistan for his last tour. Please pray for him, cross fingers, whatever you do
this sister should get to El Paso this summer to see those folks I've always loved
and as usual, I should promise to detail this list more, but never get around to it.
Friday, May 28, 2010
The world got to meet Ashley on Facebook about 4 days ago. Seeing as I now function on all of like 4 hours of sleep a day, I've not fogotten how to use a camera but having the time to upload photos is a whole other story. There's one of her on Facebook though and thank ya'll for the comments.
Here are ten things I don't want to forget about her in this first week of life together:
Ashley is perfect. Almost too perfect. So perfect that we think this is a phase.
I could set a clock by her rhythms...eat/release/play/eat/sleep/repeat
I LOVE waking up in the morning (yes, at 5:30 now) and bringing her to bed to sleep another hour
She smells so sweet and feels so soft. I can't get enough of holding her
I adore watching him with her
She has the biggest, brownest most gorgeous eyes
I love rubbing her cute little tummy
She is so photogenic - you'll have to take my word on that one I suppose
Everyone thinks she is the most precious little girl. I happen to agree of course (smile).
She doesn't cry when we put her down at night. Remarkable!
I'll come back and edit with a photo.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
R: Rooted. You are strong, know what you want and just sway in the breeze. Stay grounded.
O: Outgoing. No wallflower, you make and keep friends easily and for life.
B: Beautiful. You tend to not think it, but you are all around beautiful. Especially your soul.
E: Enigmatic. [i AM a Cornellian...big words = good]. everyday. still a mystery that I love puzzling through.
R: Real. Never fake and showy...totally down home "what you see is what you get". But also real sensitive.
T: Taken. (smile) All mine. Nothing makes me happier in this world
You are my world as I am your's. If we live our lives by milestones, often, we fixate on what didn't happen and/or only remember the days of the big events. So much of life happens between the milestones. Don't forget to live that too.
Love you with all my heart. Happy 40th!
Monday, May 10, 2010
Working only "one job"
Having Wednesdays where I could work from home
Long walks on Alki Beach
Laughing out Loud with him
Going on photography jaunts with him
planning bodacious trips with him
scrapbooking with gluesticks
having an organized scrap room
but especially her
shopping at thrift stores
buying purses and shoes
shopping for groceries
kissing the pig every morning
Having my own desktop computer
washing dishes by hand
jumping in a lake
riding a bike
the Oregon Coast
trips to Mt. Rainier
playing with my pirates
my birth certificate (I know, I know)
Rachel and Alex
Cornell in the springtime
my old boss Sharon
a bazillion JLS meetings a week
that summer of intense fun and severe heartache (or heartburn??)
black lab puppies that were never mine to miss
Southern California (cannot believe we almost moved there this week)
I miss life.
Yeah, I've got a great one and plenty of responsibility to go with it. But there are bits large and small of life before today that I miss.
Balance would be great again.
Saturday, May 08, 2010
Gets to a point where one thing means you need to say the other means the other needs to come out and then I get back to looking at the bookshelves and thinking that reading a book would be better than writing a blog entry and...cycles.
No, not those girly cycles.
My general cycles. Sometimes I have to share with the world. Sometimes I have to journal to myself. Most times, it just depends on the mood. And since I'm hungry and will likely need to cook dinner tonight because I didn't clean and I didn't go to work (though I put in my 60+ this week), I sigh deeply and go rummage for something to cook.
I need to start doing grocery shopping again.
Still alive. Barely.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
So in DC, Robert being the finance and government geek that he is arranged quite a few awesome events for us. One of those events which required all sorts of background checks which I seriously thought I was NOT going to pass (not that I have history, but I am a member of my family so...) was a tour of the Capitol.
Believe it or not, Robert was actually NOT our tour guide. And though David proved to be super knowledgable, he wasn't our guide either (though he did fill in quite a few of the gaps/details for me). We actually had a staffer and an intern from Congressman McDermott's office give us a fantastic tour of...the tunnel. That we couldn't enter. Because there was a vote in process? And then there wasn't? So we turned all the way around and went back in the tunnel to check out the children's artwork from schools across the country and I thought to myself, "I so would rather be in the Senate or the House chamber watching that right now." Well, because of course we had tickets. To both. And time (before the next gig) to really only do one. I got to choose and chose the Senate since the House was blabbering about God only knows what. Wait. That was the Senate too. All to say I was fascinated and I want that job someday.
We were a bit rushed for time because we had a tour of the White House. Now. I am the world's biggest West Wing junky. As a matter of fact, I think I just may go watch an episode now. Why yes I have it on standby. Perhaps it is on tivo. Perhaps.
In any event, I'd never been to/inside the White House before. And though there were places I would have rather seen ('chelle, invite me upstairs girl!), the places I did see moved me. Not to tears (it was just a little something in my eye - maybe some pollen from all those gorgeous fresh flowers). But that I could say "I've been there" when I see certain places on tv (okay, on West Wing) and dream about a day when I will officially be invited to an event of some sort there (heck - invite me to clean toilets...I'll pay my own way AND bring my toothbrush).
Speaking of toilets and toothbrushes, I think IJTU. memories of the flares going off and the punishment for not manning your post from the movie Jarhead just flashed through my mind and I'm going to have to really go puke now.
Most will NOT be breaking news (I'll be sure to try and blog those as they happen) but all will be deeper dives into posts like this one which, I've really used as a crutch in the past to mind dump, and then completely forget what I was talking about.
If you have a request for a post from one of those lists, just shoot me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll throw the order of the universe off if I have a moment and satisfy your stalkerish needs.
So let's go.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Shortly here, I'm going to be heading out to ATL. Back in '96, I wasn't there for the Olympics, but I got to run a few steps at Olympic Stadium on the track when I was in town for the Coca-Cola Scholars Finalist weekend.
We can skip right on by the time I was in ATL back in, what...2001 or so for that disasta in hotlanta.
This time, I'll be there for more noble purposes. My main man up above blessed me with the opportunity to be on the Coca-Cola Scholars National Program Review Committee. That's what I'm talking about. Just gotta get my ride to the airport on.
In the meantime, I don't think I'll be blogging from the road. More like wishing my better half would surprise me and just show up. Being responsible and employed, that's not in the cards. But every now and again, responsible can take a hiatus right?
Throwback Thursdays are preset so those will still be here so you'll get more of the DC trip.
Until later...this too shall pass. What a weekend.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Floored. Not that Coakley lost in Massachusets. Because the same thing Obama haters accuse "us" (Kool Aid drinkers) of happened tonight - tell folks some of something they desparately want to believe and holy high water they will take it all hook, line and sinker.
I will never, ever, EVER understand why some folks in this country are Republican. That is NOT a knock on titles and stereotypes and all the rest of the mess (remember, I've been accused of being a closet one of them when I start to talking from time to time). It IS a knock on how you could be a down with anyone who was just so violently against your own self-interests.
Back when George ran his own Sunday show and didn't sell out to ride the early morning couch, he would have great folks on his show. I don't remember which of the Roundtables it was or who said it, but the only time I came close to understanding how certain folks could be Republican (you know who you are...bare with me) was when he noted that folks tend to vote what they want to be. Democrats vote this idealistic "everyone come together" enlightened ticket because that's what they want to be. Right before they say something crazy like "well, you know those women can just be so emotional and those blacks on the internets are nothing like you, so I mean no offense". Seriously. Someone said that to me back in my black power, Barack the Vote days. Seriously.
Republicans vote all "government hands off my money" (that I don't really have because I'm unemployed and totally relying on the government to pay me unemployment, get me WIC and Food Stamps and provide a bailout so I can stay in the house I never should have "bought" in the first place) because one day they want to be rich.
Never mind that as long as you live in dreamy lala land and as long as you vote for folks who will cut off that helping hand you so deservedly need in your time of crisis, we'll get this.
What I AM surprised about is how Martha, also campaigning to be a "first" (she would have been the first woman senator from Massachusets) would so stupidly rely on the very same playbook that didn't work out so hot for that other infamous she-pol not so long ago. Martha, meet Hillary. Hillary, Martha. Mucho gusto.
I actually think it is a GOOD thing Dem's lost this seat. Yeah, it will delay health care. But if we actually show up to play the game (hint, Democrats should NOT hire any Cowboys to coach that game because, evidently, there have been a lot of folks missing the bus lately), this is such a sweet victory. Republicans can't help but to get punch drunk with these "oh this is a referendum on Obama" and go balls to the wall blocking everything. The smart Dem strategist (or hell, the dumb blogger chick) can mine that for days.
I mean really, the economy is starting to tick up and then it comes back to really - who's the demon for blocking your access to health care? I wonder.
Granted, unemployed, disgruntled folks have a lot more time to sit in line and wait to vote. BUT, if Repubs are going to block everything for the next year or three anyhow, that will get Obama back to doing what he does best - speeches and campaigning and getting people fired up. I like people fired up and engaged. And those Republicans who tell you they don't are lying. How the hell else do you win a seat like they won in Massachusets if you don't like folks fired up and engaged. Perhaps even enranged. Guess sick people don't have the energy to get enraged.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
The last item on this list:
Was my hurridly scribbled (see...I don't always have neat handwriting), notion that I wanted our house to have something special. Something we couldn't quite name, but that I would know when I saw it. Certainly, soon as we walked into this house, the mere fact that it had (or will have) just about everything on our list in due time was testimony enough to that "something special". But really, when I wrote that, I was talking about things like this:
A great view. Now. We have a great view. For days. But before I ever thought we'd luck up into a house on the course, my focus was on getting lucky with a house with a view of the Mt. Our second choice was this place which didn't have a bonus room but DID have this gorgeous perfect picture window that perfectly framed the view of the Mt...and a gorgeous yard too...complete with birdfeeder.
Yes people. That is a window into the shower. Say what?! This window was not on a wall in the bathroom, or even a wall looking to the outside. This window was on a hallway outside of the bathroom looking into the shower. Though Robert was a bit excited by this concept, it was just one of those many "there's unique and then there is just plain wtf" that this house seemed to be full of.
Monday, January 18, 2010
This is the main set of windows in my Master before blinds and drapes.
This next photo shows the ledge at the high water mark in the bedroom. I had a great photo of the vault in the room, but I've been fighting blogger all night so we'll have to revist that in the before/after decor shots in the next series. For now, the ledge below is above the oversized doors. It's kinda cool to see my husband not have to duck through any doors (he's 6'6" and he didn't have to duck through standard doors, but now he kind of looks "short" relative to entryways).
Outside of our bedroom on the top floor, they are pretty standard size ceilings (with oversize doors), same in the "Mom Please Move in" level. I'll have to measure the main floor. I know we had a 9 foot tree and room to spare.
Granted, when we were looking at most of the places we stopped in on, granite was pretty standard. Even in the older, remodeled homes. So of course we figured we'd go with the flow there.
You can't really tell that much in the photo above, but we have shiny, BLACK, granite countertops. They looked awesome when we previewed the house. And now, I think they purposefully were crafted to only shine up with my tears. Or my sweat. Or really, a bit of both.
They are awesome to look at. Until someone drops a crumb on them (quite a frequent occurence if you like toasted "everything" bagels) or leaves anything with a bead of water on my countertops. Thankfully, I'm not as OCD as some folks have accused me of being (ahem) so I just go with it. But if I had my way, they would actually be something other than shiny black granite because 99% of my time spent cleaning in this house (yes, I know...but go with me here) is spent on wiping, drying, glossing and glazing those counters. Sure, they look gorgeous, but if I have to deal with someone NOT doing all 90 of those steps above on my counters again...
Don't even get me started on the glass cooktop.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
While we didn't get real fireplaces in our new house, we did get two fireplaces. There were a few places with fireplaces in the master bedroom and even the master bathroom that I was coveting, but I actually really like the two we have.
This fireplace is our main fireplace on the main level. Robert took the photo and had it printed on metalic paper. It is awesome and goes so well with colors already in place.
And then down in the "Mom Please Move in With Us" space, is the other fireplace. The color is growing on me.
At least in the dark it is.
Essentially, we wanted a pantry in our kitchen. It wasn't that we didn't have enough storage at our old place. Okay, really it was. We just didn't really realize that we only had two cabinets (upper at that) for food storage because we ate out so dang much. In crunching the numbers for the next place, we had committed to cooking a lot more from home. Hence why I won with the refrigerator wars and made sure that our pantry was our first improvement project.
Which is actually not a great picture because you can't see the third set of shelves (to the left of the door). All to say, I used to work retail, in a grocery store. So you can see that I totally stocked and faced my shelves like any good retailer would do. You might also notice that in that middle shelf (the small one to the left visible in the photo), the third shelf from the top, that is the designated Graham Cracker shelf.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
I go as long as possible before doing laundry. I'm the girl who will go shop a lingerie sale before doing laundry. That and I've learned long ago that the best way to preserve my relationship is for him to do his laundry and me to do mine. I mean, I get the sorting colors and whites thing. It's the rest of the label reading that I just don't make much time for. And understanding what all those assorted laundry liquids are for. All I know is that 120 count box of Bounce dryer sheets has lasted like half a year. No. Joke.
All said, once he mentioned that we should have an upstairs laundry, I fully agreed. Generally, we knew we'd be moving into a multilevel house. Maybe that was subconscious, but I'd say it wasn't on purpose. All things said, with the multi levels, we then said we wanted a place with an upstairs master. With an upstairs master, we wanted a laundry upstairs because it is hard enough to get me to fold and put away my laundry when I DON'T have to haul it up and down 40 stairs.
He knows me well.
I love our side by side. We could stack them on top of each other but we think we'll probably build pedestals for these two (more because we're tall than because we want to store stuff), create a counter across the top of them (for folding clothes) and then have some rod work across the wall above these for hanging clothes as we do laundry. Across from these, in the same laundry room, is a huge soaker sink. I think I want to do some shelving above it. To store what, I dont' know...we don't have much going on in our laundry room because the only thing I hate worse than washing clothes is ironing them. To that, I'd like to keep the ironing board tucked behind the door (out of sight, out of mind) and do some framed art on the walls. We shall see.
Friday, January 15, 2010
In our old house, in about one long weekend and a few hours, we transformed the place. We have some pretty mellow ideas when it comes to color and had a nice neutral but noticable bit going in the bedroom. It was awesome.
And then there is this:
W.T.F. That is the downstairs level. I call it "chili pepper red". Who does this to a perfectly good wall? The shocker? It totally grew on me as you'll see when I get around to the Christmas photos. And that green furniture? It actually goes remarkably well in here. Who knew. All said, there is just absolutely NO EXCUSE for this though:
Oh. My. God. This is my friggin' scrap room. I would say they wanted it to be a nursery but what child could ever sleep in a room this hideously bright? It's obnoxious. I've not scrapped in here yet. It sucks my creativity because I get so distracted with all the other colors I could paint my room with my little bottles of craft paint. Ick.
Skipping along down the wish list because 1) some of these items are covered by default in another post because we got a bit repetitive with creative use of similar words and 2) I just don't have photos of some of this stuff and I'm already getting bored with the wish list:
We are now here. At #15. We wanted a great room concept that was really open with few walls. Clearly, we don't have kids that we want to hide stuff from. Yet.
In the old place, we had sort of a great room concept. Mostly because we just had really big and open and airy rooms (we lived in a 2200 SF condo...the rooms were pretty big). Best photo of the great room concept is below - this was the view from our living room towards the staircase and powder room with the "yellow" room in the background which is the dining room on the other side of the kitchen. So it was "great" to entertain there because you could see clear across the house with few obstructing walls.
In our new place, we (okay I went) a bit nutso when we walked in cause this is the hallway:
Surely, number 27 on the list is "hallway". For some reason, he was opposed to any hallways. I like hallways because they are truly non-functional walls with lots of space for photos. I got that in spades on this house. But this entry hallway is actually awesome because on the right side of this photo, there are actually art cubbies on the wall. In the house video tour that better the hell NOT end up on the internets (namely, because it actually starts out with "Welcome to [our address]! Come on in" and love ya'll much but...let's hold off on the uninvited guests for a while.
I was saying. On the video, you actually see the canvas we made for someone (who me?!) to paint and put on said walls. The canvas making was a DIY project for the ages in itself. I'll take photos...promise.
On another tangent, you will also notice number 19 (wood floors - REAL wood floors...requested by the girl who never had to deal with shiny new wood floors and keeping them that way) in the photo above.
#15. The Great Room Concept. Once you come down the hallway in the previous photo, you land at those columns. One one side of said colums is number 30 - a dining room. Great room concept and all, it is not a separate walled off space, but it is where our 10 seater rests it's weary, well-traveled, table legs. The view is from the kitchen (#14 - check, we have a kitchen). On the right closer to the bottom edge, you can see the wine bar. Farther back, you can see my fave staircase in the house. There's more than one. The downstairs one is growing on me.
On the other side of the columns is this:
The living room. That cubby is the soon to be custom built entertainment center built in that my better half is working on. Well, right now, he is muttering about the difficulty in buidling his own speakers. Come Saturday, maybe that will be done. Maybe more like Sunday.
More photos of what we've done with this space to come. It is huge, and it was an awesome entertaining space for watching the Cowboys whip the Eagles - for the second week in a row. Bring it Minnesota. Bring. It.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
In our old place, we lived in a condo where the common areas were less than fun. That whole lawsuit thing and cutting our losses before the work was complete so that we could move from a backyard which showcased views like this when looking towards our house:
To a house that showcased views like this from across the way:
Kind of dreamy huh? Well, from our backyard, we now look out onto the "lake" and the course. Ultimately, our yard will be an extension of all that gorgeousness.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
In our old house, our five piece master was awesome. I loved having a tub separate from my shower although I used it, oh, maybe twice. No, I think I used it exactly twice.
In our new place, my favorite feature of our five piece master is actually what I consider the 6th (or 7th) piece. The 6th piece being these wonderful corner windows with a view from the tub out onto the lake. Well, and into our neighbor's daughter's bedroom if the angle is just right.
As I am a prude, we did get some blinds up. But I love these top down, bottom up blinds because I can bring the top down for daylight (and privacy) as I climb down into the tub and I can bring the bottom back up to view the course and the lake once I'm in and covered by sudsy bubbles. Just saying.