Archive for January, 2009

It’s true.  I want a puppy.  What began as a fun idea has turned into a bit of an obsession lately, as I’ve been browsing the Internet, looking at pictures of all these furry little bundles of joy.  I’ve narrowed my search to non-shedding or low-shedding breeds and am really drawn to Schnauzers and certain types of Terriers (check out this adorable Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier – image courtesy of here).


Shane is resistant to the idea, to say the least, and I really can’t argue when he says that it isn’t fair to expect a dog to be cooped up alone for 10 hours a day while we’re at work, but, selfish as it sounds, I WANT A PUPPY!  I’ve looked at other pet alternatives, but cats are out of the question, since Shane and several of our friends are allergic, and I’ve never been cut out for cat lady-hood anyhow.  Goldfish are no fun, hamsters are too rodent-like, and those robot-dogs have lost their novelty.  I love the thought of having a little tail-wagging pup waiting for us when we get home in the evenings.  I even don’t mind the thought of having to walk him daily, rain or shine.  I’ve always envied all of those proud dog-owners that do their regular loops around Seward Park.  Now, the thought of dog poop on the carpet or chewed-up furniture scares me a little, but I’m hopeful that with the right training, we can avoid too many of those disasters.  Yes, I’ve got it all figured out, minus the whole working 40+ hours a week thing…  So, what to do?  Be patient, I guess.  Wait until we have a house with a fenced-in yard or until one of us isn’t working full-time.  In the meantime, I’ll have to content myself with my pathetic bouts of Internet puppy-stalking.  *Sigh.*

I received one of my most special packages ever in the mail yesterday.  Since my grandmother’s passing last year, my family back on the east coast has been slowly going through her things, setting aside certain items for each family member.  I received two boxes yesterday filled with treasures that exceeded any hopes I had for having something special to remember Nannie by.

This scarf was probably my favorite item in the box.  It was neat that as I called my parents yesterday to tell them what I had received, and as I described this jade green paisley silk scarf, my dad knew exactly the item I was talking about – he could picture Nannie wearing it.


These wine glasses were a wedding gift for my grandparents.  They were married for over 60 years, which means that these glasses are decades older than anything else we have in our kitchen cabinets.  They are so beautifully delicate and “antique”.  They are unlike anything I would ever pick out for myself and yet, somehow, they are perfectly my style.  I look forward to sharing a special bottle of wine, poured in these glasses, next time our family is together.


This is a brooch that Nannie wore often – the epitome of my grandmother’s elegance and grace.  I wore it today to brunch with some girlfriends and felt instantly classier the second I pinned it on.


As I look at these heirlooms, I can’t help but wonder, “What do Shane and I own that will be passed onto our family for generations?”  Our wedding registry consisted mostly of basic kitchen necessities from Crate and Barrel, and it seems that we’ll probably outlast our Ikea furniture.  For the most part, I’m okay with this – I’m glad that we have chosen to minimize our possessions, to keep a simple home.  But it would be nice to have those two or three extra-special objects that our children or grandchildren would cherish one day.  A friend reminded me today that traveling is a perfect opportunity to pick up something that has memory and meaning behind it, so I’ll soon be combing the streets of Paris for that special vase or necklace.  Yes, I like that idea…

Ooooohhh, yesterday was a rough day.  I went to bed around the usual time on Sunday night, fell asleep within 30 seconds of putting my head on the pillow, and then awoke to feelings of uncomfortable nausea around 2 am.  Discomfort quickly turned into pain and by 4 am, I was running to the bathroom and emptying my stomach.  So glad that I scrubbed the toilet and the bathroom floors on Saturday, because I spent the much of the next 6 hours laying on the cool tile of our bathroom floor, hoping with each bout of gagging that it would soon be over.  Was it the slightly undercooked chicken I ate for dinner the night before?  Had I picked up the flu from someone?  Whatever the reason, I felt terrible.  I spent the entire day in bed, doing whatever I could to make myself comfortable, which wasn’t much.  Fever and achy-ness set in around 4 pm to add to my misery.  Thank God Shane had yesterday off of work.  He gets a gold star for nursing his whiny, sick wife back to health.  He did whatever he could to make me feel better – setting up the computer in bed so that I could watch a movie, rubbing my back as I tried to fall asleep, monitoring my fluid intake to make sure I avoided dehydration, even baking me applesauce muffins when that was the only thing that sounded good to me (and baking is not one of Shane’s favorite pastimes).  I don’t know what I would have done yesterday without him.  Today I was at about 80% – well enough to go into work, though there were times today when I was tempted to crawl under my desk and take a nap.  I hope to be back in full force tomorrow.

The really fantastic thing is that now I know that Shane can bake – I’ll be taking advantage of this little tidbit in the future…

I didn’t make it out to buy our 2009 calendar before we began our January shopping fast, and so I was faced with creating my own solution.  A little Excel magic, a frustrating bout with our printer, some doodling with ink and paint, and voila!  It’s nice to have something that is completely personalized – I did the month names in French as a little vocab lesson for Shane, and the graphics for each month are tied to an anticipated event or a mood (hence the simplicity of the graphic for frugal January and the Eiffel Tower doodle for the month of March).  It’s no Nikki McClure calendar (which served us well in 2008), but I’m pretty happy with the results.  Another tribute to “making do” with the resources we have at hand.


Shane and I were in need of a date, and the weather today lent itself perfectly to an outdoor rendez-vous.  Yes, that’s right, the sun shone in Seattle today!  A January miracle…  We thought the west-facing view from Lincoln Park in West Seattle would be ideal for sunset-watching, and so we hopped in the car and made the quick drive over there.  Man, it felt good to be enjoying the outdoors after so many days of being cooped up inside.  Rejuvenating.






In reparation for all of the money we spent during the holidays, and in preparation for our upcoming trip to Europe, Shane and I are focusing on frugality this month.  We set some ground rules on the 1st and committed to sticking to them throughout all of January:  don’t eat out, don’t go shopping, and don’t spend any more than $200 on food and groceries during the entire month.  In some ways, this has been surprisingly easy – I haven’t even noticed that we haven’t set foot in a restaurant for over two weeks.  And the fact that we have friends who love to get together at home for a movie or some games on a Friday night means that our social calendar hasn’t suffered (in fact, we’ve been spending more time than usual with friends during the past couple weekends).  Other things have been harder to deal with – I miss being able to grab a cup of coffee and sit in a cafe for thirty minutes before work or during lunchtime.  I regret not being able to take advantage of all those after-Christmas sales.  And grocery shopping certainly takes more effort when you’re counting your dollars.  But I find that we are cooking more, we are eating healthier, and, most of all, we are wasting less.  When you’re trying to avoid having to make another trip to the grocery store, it’s amazing what you can scrounge up for dinner out of pantry odds and ends.  Yes, sometimes this means cereal for dinner, but sometimes this means pasta tossed with olives, feta cheese, and chicken sausage.  It’s turned out to be a fun challenge in a lot of ways.  And although I look forward to being able to occasionally grab a latte before work come February, I do hope the restraint we practice this month will create some more conscientious spending habits for the future.  It’s a good way to set the tone for the year, as we re-examine our financial priorities and set ourselves up for things like travel, charitable giving, and a family.

This knitted hat for Elise was the last of my handmade Christmas gifts.  This project took a couple of tries.  My first attempt at a baby hat ended up looking more like a baby yamika – it was much smaller than anticipated and would never had stayed on a busy, moving baby like Elise.  I erred in the other direction with try number two and the hat actually ended up being quite a bit bigger than planned, but she’ll grow into it.


For now, if nothing else, she has plenty of fun trying it on and pulling it off and tugging on it every which way.  Pretty adorable.



Made with a really soft, washable acrylic-wool blend; pattern found in Knitting for Baby by Melanie Falick and Kristin Nicholas.

Usually the beginning of a new year finds me feeling nostalgic and a little sad about the passing of another year and another holiday season.  I resist taking down the Christmas tree, knowing that it will be at least eleven months before Shane and I can embark on our next tree-finding adventure.  I tend to dwell on the things I could have/would have/should have done during the previous year and set all kinds of resolutions to compensate for missed opportunities or experiences.  But this year, I find that I am particularly forward-looking, as I anxiously anticipate all that 2009 may bring.  I am overjoyed with the knowledge that we will be going back to Europe in the spring.  I expect to finish up my architectural licensing exams within the next few months.  I will see my niece turn one in March.  I begin a new art class in three weeks.  We will continue to enjoy good times and good food with the community of friends that we’ve developed here in Seattle.  I will watch with so much hope and optimism as Barack Obama becomes president later this month.  I will continue to blog, to sketch, to make things, to take photos, and to strive toward becoming a more creative individual.  I will rejoice in the blessings that God has heaped upon us and pass His goodness onto those around me.

Cheers to a year of so much promise.