Friday, June 30, 2006

Beach Day

Most of the rest of you are excited that it is Friday, but I am sad. It means we have only one day left here at the lake. We had such a good day, too.

We set out after breakfast for the beach and stayed there all day. The kids played in the sand and built entirely new worlds, the adults sat and relaxed in the sun, reading or gazing out at the view. In the afternoon, Robb and Reba came back over to the resort and picked up the inflatable and the water skis. Robb got a couple of great runs on the skis. I made a valiant effort, but could not get out of the water. On the last run, I stretched out my shoulder a bit so I decided to go back to the inflatable. We took many runs with the kids and even Noah got a chance to ride with Reba - very slowly. Reba and I also took a turn together and my dad tried to make it as bouncy as possible.

We headed back here for hot tubbing - the kids love the hot tub and picked up on something I said a couple of days ago "the hot tub is heaven" and have repeated it as a mantra every time we get in. It was a great way to end the day and we had a great pizza (homemade on Boboli) afterward. Now we are waiting for the kids to go to bed so we can have our coffee and cake and Dad can try to redeem his reputation as a champion of Hearts.

Blessings and happy weekends everyone!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Alpaca Whisperer

It is very windy on the lake today and so we headed off to Sandpoint for lunch and some shopping and a visit to an Alpaca farm.

I love to knit and so do my mom and sister and I was hoping for a good story to go along with the yarn I wanted to buy for a swedish bed canopy that I am going to make (the pattern can be found in the forthcoming Home Knits by Suss Cousins). We found this place on the internet and one of the kids asked not to long ago where yarn comes from so we decided to show them.

It turns out that Alpacas are really easy to raise and are quite friendly animals, but usually a little shy at first. Jacob told me he really wanted to be friends with them, so I told him to hold out his hand with a little grass in it and to wait for the alpaca to come to him. He bonded with this alpaca, Aspen, and he wanted to stay on the farm forever. It was a great, fun adventure and the best kind of vacation day - adventure and yarn all in one. On the way back in the car, my dad determined that we would forever deem Jacob the "Alpaca Whisperer".

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Hikes and Falls

We discovered last night that the boat wouldn't start, so we spent some time today trying to figure out what was wrong, but after a while we decided there wasn't much we could do about it so we went on our merry way. We traveled back into Washington State to Granite Falls for lunch and a hike. We took some beautiful pictures which I am still trying to upload. (I think it is the strength of the wireless connection which kind of goes up and down and sometimes completely drops that makes it difficult to upload a picture).

The hike was great because Jacob was quite the trail blazer. I taught him that you need a trail partner - today that was me. So Jacob, Jonah, my dad and I set off at a quick pace. We were pretty far in front of everyone else and we actually thought that the rest of them had turned back since they had Noah (who is 2 and 3/4 - he tells me this often). So we got to a T in the trail and turned right to head back to the trailhead. We got back to the parking lot and the rest of our party wasn't there. Jacob and Dad headed up to the point in the trail that we got separated and they weren't there either, so we settled in for the wait. We were waiting for about 50 minutes for them to return. They told us they got to the T and turned left figuring that we kept going. Ah, yes, the power of communication. We all tried to make logical conclusions about what the other half were going to do and we all were wrong. Since my family is not one to get easily upset, this whole scenario was a laughing matter and not a yelling one, but I thought it was interesting that with all of the wisdom in the group we still had to learn this lesson again.

The other thing that happened in our hike is that my mother fell in the creek trying to help Jonah over a rock. Here is what I love - none of us thought to take a picture. Not one. We all went in to problem solving mode and I think it is hilarious that the best picture of the day lives only in our heads.

The week is going way too quickly! We got the boat fixed, so we should be out on the water all day tomorrow. We'll see if the picture uploads work. (Update - yay! they work.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Childlike Joy

A quick first note on how the real world creeps into vacation. I got a call from my hardwood folks this morning at 6:55 (yes, that is am). They called to tell me that they really and truly can't refinish my floors until the 19th of July. For those of you who are counting, that is one month from now instead of next week. If it was any other week, I would have cried, but today, I did something more productive. I registered a complaint with Home Depot since they said that this would happen in a week. Will they make reparation? Stay tuned...

Okay, on to the good stuff. This post is dedicated to Jacob, Jonah and Noah. I love the way kids look at the world. Everything is truly a discovery. They are always exploring and adventuring and going further than they were willing to go yesterday. Jonah tends to be a little bit cautious and even yesterday, he did not want to be in the lake too far out, but today he jumped off the inflatable and swam over to where I was laying on an air mattress in the water. He was having such a good time. I think this is why I like children as the lead characters in novels. From the classic A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to my more recent favorites The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-Time and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, it just seems like the perspective kids offer is helpful in pointing out to me how seriously I take life all the time. So, today I ran down to the dock, threw my shorts on a chair and dived into the lake. No toe first, work my way in adult behavior - just pure childlike joy.

End note - I'm having trouble uploading photos - I'll try again in the morning. :)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Idyllic (with pictures)

This is the view from the deck of our condo. I'm sitting outside right now staring at the water and periodically having conversation with the rest of my family that is sitting out here with me. We are all too hot to be inside and we are enjoying the sunset.

We got up and had a lovely breakfast and then the boys (Dad, Robb, Jacob, Jonah, Noah) went for a walk. It gave us plenty of time to get dinner prepped and lunch fixed for the picnic.

We took the boat over to a lovely beach and had lunch and let the kids play in the water. It was relaxing and fun.

We came back to put Noah down for a nap and then Robb, Reba and I took the older kids out in the boat with a towable inflatable. It was so much fun. Of course we are all exhausted in a good way and we were really grateful that we made dinner this morning.

Now more cards. I'm being called in. Happy summer sunsets.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Priest Lake - arrival

We did all of the fun shopping this morning and then got on the road at about 1:30. The kids were bursting at the seams they were so excited to get up here. It feels like it took forever to get everything unloaded, but while everyone else was moving things in, I took the kids down to the dock and let them get some quality time in the water.

Now the kids are finally settled into bed and we are making brownies. Time for a little adult interaction (translated - card playing).

It took me about 24 hours to stop being stressed about work and the house, but I am currently existing in a stress free zone. I'm sitting on the deck to catch the wireless signal and looking out at the lake and the mountains. Beautiful. We don't have the cables hooked up for pictures yet, but there should be more tomorrow...

Ah, vacation.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

From the Eastern side of the State

We traveled far and wide to reach Spokane today. We make most of the drive today so that we can do all of the fun stuff tomorrow (go to Safeway and Costco) before heading up to Priest Lake. I already feel like a completely different person. I turned off all of my devices (blackberry, laptop) and just enjoyed the drive today. It seemed to fly by.

My family is funny about certain things. One of the things we highly value is "making good time". Today we really did make good time, but it always seems funny to me that we obsess over these small things.

I am slowly working my way through the stack of books. Testing them out and trying to decide what to read. I started off with The Littlest Hitler, a book of short stories by Ryan Boudinot. I am really enjoying the sentences and the little bits of humor. The stories are a little bit twisted which makes them very interesting.

So sleepy. Going off to bed. Tomorrow I hope to be able to post pictures from the journey.

Friday, June 23, 2006


The e-mails are written, the desk is clean (okay, somewhat clean), the bags are about to be packed and I am done with reality for a little while...

Top 10 Great things about vacation (in no particular order - I am not as good as David Letterman):
1. Ice Cream
2. The sun
3. Books (and time to read them)
4. Knitting (and a day to go to the yarn store)
5. Cards after the kids go to bed
6. Watching the kids play and remembering how wonderful life is
7. Sleep
8. Not thinking about what to wear
9. Family dinners
10. Road trip (I love to drive)

Two funny things happened to me this week. When I was driving back from my house one night, obsessing over my hardwoods, I saw a truck that had "Hardwood Floors" on the windshield and smiled. Today was even better - on my way home, I saw a license plate that said "GRATFUL". Me too.

Happy Friday everybody.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Dad and I finished the all the ceilings and the hall, pulled all the base boards and finished up all the little stuff so the floors are ready for refinishing. I have not heard from the scheduler yet, but I have a call into them, so I hope to get this done tomorrow so they can do this next week while I am gone.

If you read the comments on last night's blog, you know that Reba is having a hard time. It is difficult to even write about because there are no words. Sometimes it seems like you are being tested and other times things just feel too hard. This is one of the too hard times and I don't have any words for it.

I remain grateful that we are going on vacation. I am looking forward to a little mental health break from the grind. We are all needing a little space from our various house projects and from all the stress that can be a part of buying a new place.

50 minutes til Friday . . .

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

So this is going to happen this week

I was in line for the ferry this morning when a nice gentleman pointed out that my driver's side rear tire looked really low. I hopped out of the car and observed a nice little nail sticking out of it. I thought "so, this is going to happen this week". There are two ways to respond to something like this. Hysterical crying was not the route I chose. It was all kinds of lessons for me. I had to ask the ferry worker for help (can I park on the lower deck so I can off load first and go to the tire store?) and he was kind enough to tell me that he could have one of the engineers pump up my tire so it wasn't so low when I got off the boat and I would be able to get to the tire store. At Big O tires, they informed me that my worst fear was not true (I was thinking "new tires, $500") and they fixed it all up in 5 minutes. How's that for the grace of God? I was only 30 minutes late to work and everything else today was pretty good.

Tonight I came home to paint on my own. It was my mom's last day of school so she and my dad went out for a nice dinner and then went to get a barbecue. I got the ceiling in the kitchen and the entire hallway (ceiling and walls) painted. I am now one sore little Sarah so I am going to take myself off to a nice, hot bath.

Cheers everybody, only 2 days until vacation!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Hard Day

Do you ever have those days when things are just difficult? The small task becomes enormous and time consuming or the phone call goes poorly. Today was one of those days. I wanted to get on the 5:30 ferry, but that just proved impossible. So I drove around and ended up in traffic and got to Home Depot and it took a long time to pay and then I had to get gas and I didn't get to my house until 8:45. But, this is what I found and how good is that? My dad had primered the ceilings in the kitchen, the spare room and the hall. So I did the touch ups in the bathroom while he continued with the primer in the hall. Now they are all ready to paint. I can't say enough times how much I appreciate my dad for doing this and my mom for being willing to grab another roller at Home Depot and bring it down so we could work together.

Tomorrow I hope to get the painting done on the ceiling in the kitchen. I am counting the days to vacation - only 3 left...

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Couple of quick notes

1. It costs more than I expected to have hardwoods refinished. And, I'm only refinishing 538 square feet. If I had more time/energy, I'd probably continue getting quotes, but I am going with the one that can do it next week.

2. It is hard to work every day when I just want to be painting. It is really nice to have a family that wants to help in the whole process and is willing to paint without me. Right now, my dad is painting the ceiling in my kitchen since I had a work dinner and just got home. THANKS DAD!

3. (For Mindy Mills, Hi Mindy!) A fabulous recipe for lemon risotto. Believe it or not, I have made this and it is amazingly tasty. As long as you use real butter.

4. I got the Silver Spoon cookbook from a friend today and now I really can't wait to move in. I've started quite a collection of cookbooks over the last year and have started trying things out. I do not aspire to professional chef status, but I do enjoy cooking a good meal.

Hope all is well in your worlds.

Happy Monday all.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A quick note while I update my iPod. I finished the bathroom :-) It was a struggle and a learning experience, but I feel better for it. I have paint on my hands (and probably in my hair.). I'm so tired now, though that I'm going straight to bed as soon as I am done here.

It was a good day and a good weekend. I try not to think about the weekends where I used to just sit around and knit or read. They are a far distant memory and I don't think I will have one again anytime soon. We are going on vacation in a week, but that is different. I'm going to try to blog from there and post pictures - we'll see if the laptop will be willing to talk to the camera.

I was thinking this morning that it was a really nice, balanced weekend between family and working on the house. Today is Father's Day, so we had a nice family dinner at Mom and Dad's. We were going to eat outside, but it kept getting colder and threatening rain. I'm really grateful to have a wonderful family and my dad has been a big part of my life. In church this morning, we had to turn to our father's and say "You're my hero" and I had to fight back tears. I'm also grateful that my nephews have such a great Dad. So, here they are, the heroes of the day, Dad and Robb, looking happy and relaxed. It was a truly good day.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Painting and anniversaries

I got up early and headed over to the house to do my priming. I was so grateful that I spent the time last night on the prep work. It made the morning a little less frustrating. This is the first room I have ever painted, so everything is new to me. It might seem strange that I have never done a project like this on my own before, but I loved the colors in my townhouse when I moved in and I never made any changes. So, I had to figure out the best way to paint the ceiling. First, I started in the corners. I tried all kinds of special little tools and ended up using a paintbrush for the edges. It doesn't matter if I get some on the walls since I am going to paint them tomorrow and the paintbrush was the only thing that didn't drip. Once I got everything edged, I used a roller for the rest. I was really happy when I got to that point because it went so fast. After putting on the primer, I was worried because the other paint color was showing through so much. But, my mom came over and encouraged me by telling me that this is what primer is supposed to do. (Thanks Mom!) At the end of the day, I came back to the house and painted the top coat and it went much faster since I had a better idea of what I was doing. Yay! White ceiling as you can see above. Tomorrow - walls.

My sister, Hannah, hates spiders. She should not read the rest of this paragraph. One of the first things that happened to me this morning is that I started cutting in a corner and I was painting merrily along when I glance to my left and saw a spider right next to my head. Of course, I quickly jumped off the step ladder and ran out of the room. Here is the part where I have tried to grow and change. I've lived alone for a long time now and there is no way to get around the fact that spiders are going to come into the house. Most of the time, I yell at them and then kill them. Today, I tried to be a kinder, gentler Sarah. I got the long pole for the roller and helped the spider climb on and then took it outside to live another day. I like this response to spiders because they are good and they get rid of bad bugs, but for hours afterwards, I could feel my skin crawling.

And on to the happy ending. It is my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary and they requested a quiet afternoon with family rather than a big party. We all went over to their house today and had some time for cake and snacks and visited with the family. It is amazing to me that anyone can be married for 60 years. They have been together since my grandfather returned from the war in 1946. Think of all the changes. My grandfather was a pastor for many years and my grandmother was always the one who prayed for all of us everyday. She still does to this day. I love this picture because they are supposed to be holding up the cake that says "Happy Anniversary", but you can just tell my grandfather is in it for the kiss. Good for them. Happy Anniversary, Grandma and Grandpa.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Prep Work

I came home on the 5:30 ferry tonight. To the right is a picture of the kind of late afternoon it was in Seattle. Can you see why I love this city so much? It was windy, and a little bit choppy, but beautiful. After I took this picture, I crashed out in the back of my car. I know, I'm staying up late working on all of these housing projects.

I met Mom and Dad for dinner and then headed over to Home Depot to buy paint. Yay! I finally have everything I need to get started on the big weekend project - painting the bathroom. I couldn't wait, so I headed down to my house even though it was already 9:30. I had intended to get a coat of primer on the ceiling so I could get the paint done tomorrow morning before heading over to Puyallup for my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary.

I immediately set about taping the bathroom and cleaning the walls. I knew by 11:00 that I wasn't going to get any priming done tonight. Ah, yes, the patience aspect again. I have little talks with myself about the importance of doing things right at the beginning of the project so that the end result is better. Does anyone else have to talk themselves through things like this? I still do terribly irrational things like try to bargain with myself to get out of doing the little stuff, but every time I skip a step I end up paying for it later. You would think I'd have learned this stuff by now.
A note before I am off to bed on music. I think it is important to note a few of the records I am listening to while doing all of these projects. Here they are with some commentary:

Keeps me up:
Hot Fuss - The Killers - energetic and bouncy. It is a mood changer for me.

X & Y - Coldplay - Still great, even after the thousandth play. I've had this in rotation since it was released.

Achtung Baby - U2 - good and crunchy. I liked this more electric phase of U2 and I still listen to the entire U2 catalog when I need a good kick off to the weekend.

Final Straw - Snow Patrol - when I first listened to this, I thought they might be the new Coldplay. I'm not convinced on their last two albums, but this remains good.

Plans and Transatlanticism - Death Cab for Cutie - the best Seattle music. I love these songs and can listen to the albums on continuous repeat.

Futures - Jimmy Eat World - Great rock and roll, plenty of good lyrics and great tunes.

On all of these, when I am by myself, I sing along at top volume. Ah, come on, you do it to.

Happy Friday everyone.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

What are you reading?

Okay, I can't be a real book nerd if I don't tell you what I'm reading -

Current book:
Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich - it is hilarious as usual and a real treat at the end of the day.

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist - A big book that will pub this fall. It is big - 700 pages and I am savoring it 50 pages at a time.

What I'm going to read on vacation:

The Places in Between by Rory Stewart - the author walked across Afghanistan after the Taliban fell and recounts his encounters with the people there and the history of the country.

The Hard Way by Lee Child - for entertainment and love of the crime thriller

Lisey's Story by Stephen King - I loved The Cell for the pure, horror aspect. This one is more literary and also coming out in the fall

I just finished:
Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal - the author is obsessed with lists, and categorizing things and she has a great, whimsical way of looking at life that I enjoyed.

What are you reading?

Patience, Discipline and Hardwoods

Anyone who knows me knows that I struggle with patience. It is a lifetime struggle and one I don't expect to gracefully overcome. Today I met with a floor refinisher and was diappointed by the amount of time it was going to take to schedule someone to come out and sand and refinish my floors. I do not like the hurry up and wait that is going on for me right now. I have to keep reminding myself that I got the house 6 days ago. I am not moving in until the middle of July (my lease goes through July so I have some wiggle room). Despite all that, I want to move in NOW. So I bounce between the high of "Yes, this is my house" and the low of "it is going to take forever to get this done so I can just move in already".

For sheer joy, here is a picture of the kitchen with the hardwoods featured in the background on the left hand side of the picture. The walls will not remain yellow - they are going to my favorite - brick red. I'll try to find an accurate representation of my color palette so I can post it, but the bottom line is "warm" colors.

Tomorrow I will buy paint for the bathroom so I can at least get one thing DONE. Maybe that will help me feel a little better.

The discipline part is a little more difficult. I am a disaster with plants. I kill things with inattention. So, Reba and Joanne, who commented below on great plans for landscaping, I am going to try to keep some plants alive before I graduate to climbing roses. As a start, my mom and sister gave me a color bowl for my birthday and I have managed to keep it alive for a little over 2 weeks. Here it is in red glory. It reminds me every day that I can develop discipline. I can water the plants. I can pack 3 boxes a day. I can clean out the closet. I can whittle it down to 42 pairs of shoes - but that is a post for another day. Blessings on all of you.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Book Nerd Buys a House

My sister, Hannah expressed surprise that she came to blogging before I did. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I tried my hand at it last year and couldn't keep up with all of the posting. Now, my friend Joanne blogs every day and I will probably not be that up to the minute, but I thought I might have a few things to post.

Currently, I am obsessed with my new house and all of the projects I am working on. Last weekend, I got the keys and got to work on the initial phases of making it my own. I am waiting for the floors to be refinished before I undertake any major painting projects, so I tried my hand at plumbing. Here you see my current gold fixtures. I am not a gold person and everything else in the bathroom is silver, so I took myself down to Home Depot to buy new fixtures. Unfortunately, what they don't tell you on the box is that you need to be able to change the valve in order to have a new faucet. I discovered this after I had already removed the current faucet and spout (which involved about 5 minutes of me running around the house trying to figure out where the water main was). So, back to Home Depot, new faucet. Finally, I finished the faucet and discovered that I don't have the right part to put inside the spout to attach it to the wall. The part I am missing? A pipe nipple.

That is my first weekend story. Just so you don't think I am crazy, here is the view from the dining room and backyard.

Yes, that is the water and I can see the ferry coming and going.

Tomorrow I am meeting with the floor refinisher to get an estimate and (I hope) book the refinishing job. The floors in the bedrooms and the living room are all hardwood.

I am not the most patient person in the world and it is killing me to wait to move in. But, I think I am learning a lot in this process.

In tomorrow's blog, I'll give you a little note on what I have learned about resurfacing bathtubs.