So: allergic

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achoo!

Itchy eyes. Sneezy nose. Irritated skin. Living in American’s dust pan means that I experience all these things most of the year. Although the media says Dallas is only the 23rd worst US city for allergies, it feels like it’s #1. Maybe it’s because the pollen is Texas-sized!

I take allergy medicine, sometimes two different kinds of medicine. I’ve tried all sorts of other things to help. Air conditioning certainly helps as does showering, but as you know, I like being outside. Monday mornings after a great weekend outside are the worst. I usually feel awful for the first couple of hours of work, then being sealed in a glass box kicks in and I feel better.

I’m allergic to mosquito bites, any insect bites really. Bee stings makes the stung body part puff up. Ant bites turn to giant welts. Mosquito bites are big red bumps. I’ve had my eyes puff up and almost swell shut. I’ve been so stuffy and thick headed that I couldn’t think or breathe. When I was a little kid, I did a camp overnight and ended up so covered with mosquito bites that I was running a fever the next morning. My mom had to come and pick me up.

I can’t really think of anything worse than paying money to go on a vacation somewhere exotic and spending the whole time getting bit by mosquitos. That’s why I’ll probably never go to the Amazon. Or Africa. Because even the Caribbean or Florida can be iffy for me.

The latest weird thing that happened to me were some random big welts on my right hand. At first I thought I got bit by ants in the garden. On the first day (a Tuesday) there were just a few. I was on a business trip when I noticed them. Three days later, I exploded in little blistery welts within a couple hours of being back in Dallas. Weird!

They were super icky — unbearably itchy and really ugly. I did my best to keep them covered and not scratch so they’re finally going away after two weeks. I’ve gone through 2 tubes of cortisone cream and a handful of extra allergy pills. And I’m finally feeling normal again. Maybe I’ll look normal in another week too.

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4Gs making themselves comfortable. No room for people! Photo by Bruce

Gratuitous dog picture of the day:

 

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So: the Murphster

Meet Murphy. He was our foster dog for 3 weeks. You'll love the post I'll be writing about him (hint: it has a happy ending). Photo by Bruce

Meet Murphy. He was our foster dog for 3 weeks. Don’t worry this post has a happy ending. Photo by Bruce

Murphy was dumped. He should have been returned. Yes, he was adopted as an adorable little ball of puppiness. He was a Duck Team 6 dog, a cute puppy that went to what Duck Team 6 thought was a nice, responsible home with people that would love him and give him a wonderful life. He was loved for a little while. But then, their life got busy. Kids came and the sweet brown and brindle dog with the expressive ears became a pain in the ass. He was, after all, still a puppy, since he was under 2 years old.

So, one of the humans he trusted dumped him. At the local kill shelter near where the family lived.

Luckily his microchip told the city shelter that he was a Duck Team 6 dog or he might not have been around in 72 hours. He was supposed to be returned to Duck Team 6 for rehoming if the family couldn’t keep him for whatever reason. Instead, like cowards, they dumped him at the shelter with vague information that didn’t provide enough information. But the microchip did. And that’s how he came to the Mortroski Midcentury Bed and Breakfast and Home for Wayward Dogs for a sweet three week vacation filled with friends, food, playtime, wrestling, napping, lots of pets from nice visitors, walks, and fun. And had we not already had four dogs, we might have found a nice G name for him.

Here are some of our favorite photos of Murphy:

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Isn’t he cute? Aren’t those ears ridiculous?

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The Murphster looks a bit like Scooby Doo. With George photo bomb.

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Sleepy buddy.

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He’s a snuggler.

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Murphy liked to try to con me out of my breakfast.

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Gidget was his best buddy.

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This is the photo that got him adopted.

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Murphy fit in the pack just fine.

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Obviously Murphy’s former family never let him on furniture.

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Learning the finer points of Squirrel TV from Guinness. Gidget supervising.

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How could anyone resist all this cuteness?

So here’s the happy ending: after the three week stay where Murphy went from scared and sad and hating the crate (he was quite the escape artist) to a well-adjusted, happy-go-lucky boy, he found a new home. One of my coworkers and her husband fell in love with him. He has a new loving family who will spoil him, give him lots of toys and plenty of walks and play time. And his new older sister dog to continue to teach him the ropes. 

Gratuitous dog photo of the day? Really? Don’t you think you’ve gotten enough dog photos for one day?

To help more dogs like Murphy, consider a donation to Duck Team 6.

So: back in the infinite game

Hello again! I’ve missed you. No, really, I have. I’m not just blowing smoke up your ass like that long lost high school boyfriend that finally connected with you on Facebook a few days before your 2oth reunion. I don’t need to know if you still love me after all this time. That’s because I don’t have any guilt about breaking your 15 year old heart or not taking you to the prom, because that’s not what we have.

However, I do have a twinge of guilt for not writing a damn thing since March 19, despite polite prodding from friends near and far (sorry, Laura, I’ve been very lazy lately!). I finally realized today just how much I’ve missed my little virtual soapbox and the nice folks who’ve been entertained enough by my (mis)adventures to share their thoughts, kudos, feedback, and other comments with me.

So welcome back! And thanks for considering my little piece of the blog-o-sphere worthy entertainment for your weekend.

I won’t bore you with all the details. Suffice it to say, there was a disruption in the force and I was missing a critical factor. Call it schedule. Call it habit. Call it routine. Whatever it is, I need that magical ingredient, because without it, I have no discipline for posting in a timely fashion.

Something else kept stealing my time/energy/sleeping hours/brainpower/writing ability/goodwill. I could blame any of the following characters that live in my personal time vortex: Any of the 4Gs. Work. Volunteer work. Visitors. Foster dog. Bruce. Growing stuff. Picking stuff. TV. Books. Magazines. Cooking. Eating. Grocery shopping. Cleaning. Landscaping. Chilling out with a glass of wine. Work writing. Florida. Spontaneous adventures. The BigFix for Big D. Rotten allergies. Writing letters. Making plans. Rashes and being really, really itchy. Visiting friends. Creating travel itineraries. Dinner parties. Pinterest. Washington DC. Concerts. Facebook. Organizing. Making love connections. Checking stuff off my to do list. Doing nothing. (I know, that last one really isn’t that believable, but honestly, doing nothing was sucking up a lot of time.)

You get the picture. My well was a bit empty and yet, even rest, different activities, or a change of scenery wasn’t replenishing it.  That’s because rest or downtime really wasn’t the answer. But I didn’t know what was.

So this morning, while I was drinking my breakfast, I read Seth Godin’s latest post.

Green drink made from pineapple, apple, pear, homegrown spinach/kale/chard

Bruce tested, George approved breakfast green drink made from pineapple, apple, pear, banana, homegrown spinach/kale/chard. Photo by Bruce.

(Did you read it? I hope you did. It’s short and sweet, like me when I’m at my best.)

Thanks for the kick in the ass, Seth. I don’t even know you but your blog makes me think. Thanks to Hilton for introducing me to it.

So it’s time to get back into the infinite game. And put my thoughts out there no matter if the post is a photo, a quote, a story, or one of my long-ass descriptions of the mundane. I’ve missed doing it, more than I thought.

And yes, I’m going to deal with the one post that I’ve been writing in my mind for several months now. It’s blocked me a bit because I want it to be appropriate. But now I have a date to publish it in mind. A deadline (which is an interesting turn of phrase since the post is about a person who is no longer living).

You can take the girl out of advertising, but you can’t take the advertising out of the girl.

Today’s gratuitous dog photo (because George photobombing his own photo isn’t epic enough):

Meet Murphy. He was our foster dog for 3 weeks. You'll love the post I'll be writing about him (hint: it has a happy ending). Photo by Bruce

Meet Murphy. He was our foster dog for 3 weeks. You’ll love the post I’ll be writing about him (hint: it has a happy ending). Photo by Bruce

And a new seasonal feature — today’s gratuitous garden photo:

 

French Breakfast radishes! Yield is now up to 66 with more still on the way

French Breakfast radishes! Yield is now up to 66 with more still on the way. The Mortroski Midcentury Urban Farm has been producing so much good stuff this spring. Anyone know if I have time to reseed and get another ton of radishes before it gets too hot?

 

So: temporary houseguest

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Bruce getting ready to transport Lacey to the Mortroski Midcentury

Since yesterday there’s been a four-legged houseguest at the Mortroski Midcentury. Her name is Lacey and she’s around 2 years old. One of the families that Bruce knew through his Duck Team 6 outreach work  fell on hard times and was forced to move to a different place. Unfortunately, the place didn’t allow dogs and the family had to make a tough decision to leave Lacey behind and have Duck Team 6 find her a new home. 

So Bruce picked Lacey up last night after work. She was a little confused about the whole thing, but went willingly.

First, they went to the vet for vaccinations and a check up:

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Lacey is pretty laid back and not too worried about being at the vet and getting her shots. Guinness, Godiva, and George are like this at the vet too.

Then, when they got  to the Mortroski Midcentury, the Gs were a little overly enthusiastic and after getting poked and prodded at the vet, Lacey wanted the peace and quiet of a private crate in our laundry room. She really liked Bruce’s truck although she doesn’t have a drivers’ license.

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Lacey may look a little sad, but she’s tired from all the excitement

We humans got lots of doggie kisses and tail wags last night. She got a good night’s sleep in the borrowed crate, but was still very subdued (but hungry) this morning.

The Gs’ pal Tracy reported that Lacey was very sweet at lunch time. At that point, she was still being sequestered from the Gs.

But tonight, she greeted Bruce at the back door along with Godiva, Guinness, and George. It appears that she’s a crate escape artist and maybe spent the afternoon acquainting herself with her new friends. Or maybe the Gs felt she needed to be freed. (NOTE: Gidget is currently being crated for her own safety since she’s a naughty chewer. We are confident that she will outgrow the naughtiness soon.)

Everyone enjoyed dinner time together, except for our sensitive Godiva, who was too busy being a good hostess to eat her dinner:

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Lacey’s gotten 3 good meals and she really likes the Gs’ food.

And before everyone asks if we’re changing her name to Gracie, we’re not. We’re not upgrading to 5G because she’s an awesome dog and she’ll be perfectly adoptable. She’s sweet and gets along well with lots of dog personalities which makes her super adoptable. She’s going to be a nice addition to another family and a good friend to any pets they have. She’s about 55 lbs., 10 lbs smaller than Godiva and she’s not skinny. Bruce says she’s good on the leash since they went on a short walk this evening. She’s not food aggressive nor bothered by squirrels. And she’s got a spotted tongue like Godiva.

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what a difference 24 hours makes!

After dinner tonight, Lacey continued to make herself at home. While she spent a lot of her time outside, she’s far too comfortable inside to have never been a house dog. The Gs are all enjoying her company although everyone has gotten a little too fresh with the bum-smelling. There have been a few growls, but everyone has kept their teeth to themselves.

Since everyone is getting along and Lacey is getting well-rested, she’ll be having a bath tomorrow morning. If it’s like everything else, she’s going to be easy going and enjoy the whole process from the warm water to the fluffy towels. She’s already gone into the bathroom and checked out the shower where the bath will take place. No sweat.

Knowing the Gs, they’ll all come into the bathroom and hang out while she’s getting her bath. Gidget could already use another bath, although she had one on Sunday (white dog’s curse).

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everyone’s getting very comfortable

As an emergency foster family, we simply are a safe place for Lacey to crash on her way to another rescue group that can find her a good home. In this case, it’s Take Me Home Pet Rescue. She’s going to be with us for the next few days. But I think she might miss Bruce when she leaves:

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Lacey likes to snuggle

Lacey hopped up on her own to enjoy the comforts of the sofa with the rest of the Gs. I hope her new family is ok with dogs on the furniture.

So: throwback thursday

young Daisy cropped

This is Daisy, a week after we got her (9 weeks old) The kids in the photo are Bruce’s nephew and niece. They are now in their 20s.

Lots of people do Throwback Thursdays on their Facebook pages where they share funny photos or stories of their long lost youth. I’m a little tapped out in the writing department tonight, so it’s time for plethora of gratuitous dog photos for your Thursday, the Gateway to the Weekend(™) enjoyment.

I hope you enjoy this quick a glimpse into life with a bulldog. Like many of her kind, Daisy was a old-man style snorer with farts that cleared rooms. She didn’t realize she was a bulldog and played ball like a maniac until she was about 11. She drooled when she smelled oranges (her favorite fruit) and ate fruits and vegetables with great gusto. While she spent most of her life in Toronto, she moved to Texas as a senior citizen and enjoyed sunning her self by the pool.

We were lucky to have her with us until she was 12.5 years old.

Here are a few of my favorite Daisy photos:

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This photo was taken in Toronto when Daisy was only a few years old. We are in the park next to our friends’ house doing a little photo shoot for our annual Christmas card. 

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Another Christmas card. This one was taken after we were on an HGTV show called Get Color (US)/Colour Confidential (Canada) and designer Jane Lockhart and her crew overhauled our bathroom.

Daisy was a good sport

Daisy was a good sport, especially on her birthday.

She liked holiday photos

She liked holiday photos

And squeaky toys! But any ball was her favorite toy.

And squeaky toys! But any ball was her favorite toy.

Daisy was a great dog.

Look how big her noggin was!

 

 

 

 

 

 

So: ice ice baby

this is not what winter looks like in North Texas

our winter is not pretty like this

In some parts of the U.S. and lots of Canada, there’s a mythical event called a snow day, usually when the snow comes down so fast and furiously that the plows and salt trucks can’t keep up with keeping the roads safe for school buses.

In north Texas, we have ice days because we have such extreme temperature swings,  no snow plows or salt trucks, and the sand that they throw down on the streets and highways just makes the ice dirty. It feels like we’ve had at least 4 ice days this winter. Usually we’re lucky if we get one, and it’s a lovely day at home with hot chocolate, fires blazing in the fireplace, maybe a little snowman building.

The rule of thumb at my office is if the school district you live in is closed or delayed, you should stay put at your home for safety’s sake. This works well if only you remember to bring your laptop home and any important papers you might need.

My rule of thumb for this winter is to always bring home the stuff I need to work on the next day because this year, the ice days are nothing, but massive inconveniences. Instead of bringing people together, they make everyone very grumpy. Parents have to work from home and try to figure out how to get work done and kids occupied. Kids get irritated about Mom’s conference calls and Dad’s presentation building. Pets are a bit better, though the Gs saw me sitting next to the back door at the kitchen table and suddenly realized that my opposable thumb could let them out whenever they sat by the door. Bruce left for somewhere on the Eastern Seaboard this afternoon so he and I didn’t have to deal with dueling conference calls or staking a claim to working space.

So I’m one of the lucky ones today. I got tons done and was pretty much able to do everything I usually do on a Monday at work, and then some (I have a bit of homework tonight so this post is a little break). Since I was working in the kitchen, the microwave was handy for thawing out some frozen leftovers for lunch. My slow cooker made me a pretty good soup for supper. And the rice cooker made enough brown rice for a while. I managed to finish the last cup of coffee that never usually gets drank. George slept on my feet during a conference call which was awesome since Gidget ate my Christmas slippers after the first time I wore them. And I caught Gidget in the act of naughtiness twice, so maybe she’ll learn eventually that she can’t tear up her dog bed.

After I took Guinness and Godiva for a walk, I put ice melter on the parts of the driveway that was still icy despite the sunshine this afternoon. Gidget and George got their walk next and I noticed the peach tree is still looking ok. Hopefully the weather didn’t ruin its chances. The collards, kale and cilantro look a bit frostbit but that’s my own dumb fault for not covering them. If they don’t rally, well, it’s going to be time to plant new stuff this weekend anyway.

The polar vortex has moved east and is now torturing the rest of the south. Tomorrow it will be North Carolina’s turn for an ice day.

Gratuitous dog photo of the day:

The Gs were hoping to go for a ride, but instead they figured out that a bag of dog food had spilled in the bed of Bruce's truck. Photo by Bruce

The Gs were hoping to go for a ride. Instead they realized that bag of dog food had spilled in the bed of Bruce’s truck.    Photo by Bruce

 

 

So: 2013 lesson

Patience. Stillness. Acceptance. Calmness. Since the 23rd of December, I certainly haven’t been up to my usual tricks.

There’s been no way to cram my Christmas break chock full of visiting, errands, crafts, gardening, organizing, sewing, DIY projects, or really anything that requires lengthy standing. Instead I’ve gotten well acquainted with my insurance company’s online portal, watched a lot of HGTV and the Cooking Channel, reconnected with the sofa, cuddled with all of the Gs, slept way more than I have in years, and sat. And sat some more. And sat some more.

I’ve gotten pretty good with the crutches (Bruce constantly tells me to slow down).

It’s not what I planned.

Looking back on 2013, there’s plenty that did not go as planned.

Take the Urban Farm. Try as I may, I just cannot make tomatoes happen here in North Texas. Cherry and grape maybe, but certainly not anything larger. Same goes with squash, cucumbers, English peas, brussels sprouts, and pumpkins. But okra? Peppers? Kale? Lettuce? Malabar spinach? Swiss chard? You better believe I’ll be planting tons of all of those in 2014. Alas, the big ice storm at the beginning of December while we were off in Palm Springs celebrating our 18th anniversary pretty much wiped the winter veg out. Hindsight being 20-20, it’s a good thing. There’s no way for me to tend it or harvest at the moment and veggies don’t generally wait around 4-6 weeks to be picked. But that said, all the time spent in the garden was very well-spent and I look forward to February when I’ll be back in it.

Take sewing. It’s in the name of the blog, but after February, the machine has stayed ensconced in its case and resided in the spare bedroom closet instead of on the dining room table as I planned. And given my mishap, no sewing is happening any time soon (can’t use the pedal/presser foot). But while I’ve been sitting around, I’ve been surfing Pinterest for inspiration. Looks like I’ll be busy in 2014 if I attempt even 1/2 of what I’ve pinned.

Take work. The end of the year (aka Q4) was as busy as always. (PS: I learned at my management training session that life-work balance is a complete myth and that striving for it just makes people crazy. Don’t do it). Other than writing for work, I did a few pro-bono animal rescue press releases. Doing necessary household chores was exhausting. The dog hair tumbleweeds grew. There were few Christmas decorations this year. Luckily I had made most of my Christmas gifts throughout the year, dehydrating, preserving and saving the harvest, so packing them up was nice and easy.

At this point, I’m guessing Fransi is saying “I told you so.”

You see, my lesson for 2013, delivered at the very tail  end of 2013  is obvious to everyone, including me: slow down.

I’ve always had tremendous energy. The stamina to stay awake and working for days. The ability to throw myself into many different things at once and get it all done. The desire to see things completed and delivered neatly. In high school, my parents worried that I was over-programming myself. I told them I was just fine, but fell sound asleep on family vacations. Like the time we went to Yosemite. Surrounded by beauty, I had to be awakened at every stop. Sitting still in the car, seatbelt on, just shut me down and sent me to Slumbertown. The same thing happened in college. After final exams, I knew better than to start a job right away. The batteries needed to be recharged.

We had a mini-vacation in early December. In Palm Springs, we walked, went on an amazing mid-century architecture tour, rode cruiser bikes, hung out with my parents, went swimming, chatted with strangers at happy hour, visited with Bruce’s aunt, uncle and cousin. I marveled at how well I slept in our cool little mid-century boutique hotel. And I was surprised that things like canceled flights, having to change airports three times, middle seats, and unexpected expenses including plumbing issues and arborist bills from the ice storm didn’t phase me. Why? It was completely escapist. I went with the flow. But I guess it wasn’t enough of a recharge.

And so, here I am again.

This physical break in my foot and the break I’ve had from work and the usual responsibilities have brought me rest, though I can’t say relaxation, exactly. It’s more medicinal than soul-feeding. Even with our annual Boxing Day party, I just sat. It was really all I could do. And poor Bruce had to carry on with the party preparations, running around and picking stuff up. Still, I have to say it was the best one we’ve had. I really had a chance to visit with our guests and catch up with dear ones we don’t see often. And I relished each and every hug. Of course, I parked my butt on a chair near the door so no one could leave without me seeing!

Lest you think I’m ending 2013 on a sour note, let me assure you I’m not. It was a fantastic year. I reconnected with friends I haven’t seen in years (yes, you, Ida-Rose and Laura). I spent loads of time outside. I got to see my best friends (Reesa, Clair, and Simone) much more often than we thought geography would allow. The Gs, Bruce and I fostered and kept a puppy (Gidget) and found volunteer work that we really love (the Gs especially enjoy it when we are bagging dog food).

Gratuitous dog photo:

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It’s definitely cold enough for Gidget to put on her puffy pink coat tonight

We got to see a fair amount of far-away family members. My grandma turned 99 on Christmas Eve! Work was great. We spent more time discovering Dallas and are inspired to try lots of new stuff in 2014. We hung out with Fransi (one of my advertising idols). I read so much great writing—especially blogs. I ate lots of great things, including stuff I grew. Whew! 

As the last few hours of 2013 happen, my wish for you is that you appreciate all that you have right at this moment. If you’re making resolutions, think about what you’ll gain, not what you’ll lose. 

As for the residents of the Mortroski Mid-century, to celebrate the end of 2013 and the start of 2014, we’re going to make a pizza, then I’m going to put my foot up, watch a little tv, call some friends and family, and probably hit the hay long before midnight. Remember the Gs don’t really get what all the fuss is about — their tummies will tell them it’s time to wake up long before this human is ready to rise. Bruce is walking all 4 at once for the next few weeks, so please think positive thoughts for his poor back!

Cheers to you all and Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year, y’all!

 

So: blue weekend

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tiny piece of inspiration

Hooray! The makeover of the formerly boring beige laundry room is pretty much complete—we finished the blue touchups on Sunday afternoon. I still need to get out white paint for the trim and the door, but the ultra blue (the paint color is called Azurean) makes me smile whenever I see it and it really brightens up a room that’s really not known much for fun.

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glass tile countertop works great with the wall color, just need to get that white counter trim done

We’re really pleased with how it turned out and I plan on getting the cabinets all organized during this long weekend. There’s a ton of space for the laundry stuff, some cleaning supplies that don’t need to go in the utility closet.

It may even be the home of Morty, the much neglected sewing machine (he really needs to come out and see some use in this last part of 2013). Morty would look pretty slick in this room because he’d stand out. Of course, the sewing basket and all of the fabrics I’ve been saving (truthfully old clothes I’m either going to repurpose or just practice with) should probably live here too.

While the color is certainly not a typical midcentury color (maybe too extreme—you think?), it makes me happy. So does the ironing board cabinet.

Do you have one of these babies in your house? This is the second house that we’ve had that has had such a built-in. In Toronto, we removed one to free up some needed space. Here, it’s perfectly fine where it is, although we don’t really use it. I just love the lattice screen at the bottom. The knob is not original and it’s not what I would have chosen, but it’s here. If I find something cool, I may replace it just for kicks. For now though, it’s fine.

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we kept the original ironing board cupboard and ironing board —a little visual interest for the room even though we don’t use it at all

The new ceiling light makes me happy too. The circles remind me a little of soap bubbles which is fun for a laundry room. The designers probably intended some grander purpose for it than lighting up the sorting and folding, pouring and spraying that will happen in here. Maybe a dining room or kitchen—or even a foyer (in Texas, it’s pronounced FOY-yer by the way, so I usually say entry, lest I be accused of putting on airs by Frenchifying the word).

It puts out a ton of light so it’s great for the laundry room. And for lighting up Guinness, who has recently rediscovered his love of the laundry room now that there are no paint cans, tools, and tarps in his way. It’s also a nice place to hide from the younger ones and their rambunctious romping and destroying of toys. Bruce calls George and Gidget the NGs (new Gs) and Guinness and Godiva the OGs (Old Gs).

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A bit of the fancy ceiling light…that we picked up at Costco Canada last summer

Speaking of the Gs, Gidget got a bright blue ear on Saturday afternoon as Bruce was painting behind the washer and dryer. That makes her even more official as a member of the 4G Network. Now, every one of those dogs has now gotten paint from this house on them. Guinness and Godiva have gotten orange and avocado green on them, George managed to paint himself with bits of gray while we worked on the office/tv room. And I always manage to get some in my hair too. Not sure what that says about me except that I’m klutzy.

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we painted the cabinets blue since leaving them white looked funny and made your eye just look at the wall of white

So that’s what we were up to last weekend. Bruce wants to put a shelf above the washer and dryer, but that’s a project for later once we see how we like the new set up.

We also took Gidget to our vet and found out that she’s not 11 months old. Dr. Hutson thinks Gidget’s probably 8 months old tops.

Now that explains a few things! Gidget decided last Monday that she might like the taste of the bay window sill and moved on to the surfboard coffee table. Luckily, Bruce is handy at fixing wood things, she didn’t hurt herself, and we have gone back to using the crate while we’re gone for during the workday. It’s just too long of a stretch for her to be left to her own devices—and the naughty 3Gs didn’t police her very well. Still, I know she looks forward to the Kong filled with peanut butter (I freeze it for less mess).

At the vet we decided to get her DNA tested like we did for Godiva (lab-bull terrier-chow-English setter) and George (lab-golden retriever-pomeranian-some other small dog). We’ve assumed Guinness is 100% lab but several people have remarked that he might have some Great Dane in him. Looks enough like a lab that we’re not bothering with DNA. I’ll let you know what we find out about Gidget. We should know in a couple of weeks. Any guesses? We think terrier of some sort for sure, but who knows?

Gidget’s gained a few pounds (yay!) and seems to be getting a little bit taller. She also was a wee bit sick and the vet found out she had giardia. Unfortunately, it’s contagious when you have a pack so It’s meant treating all the dogs this week. They haven’t minded much since we mix the medicine (it’s a powder that must taste delicious) with their favorite wet food. They’re going to be sad tomorrow when they take their final dose. They all line up and sit when they see us doling out the wet food and sprinkling the powder on. We have to hold each dog’s bowl to make sure each gets their own dose (it’s by weight). As you know, George would be glad to take everyone’s medicine.

I hope that you’re all doing great. Thank you for your kind words about my last post. We are all so glad that Gidget found her forever home.

PS: I’m sorry that I haven’t written much lately. Work’s been a little nutty. And having a puppy in the house again is keeping everyone on their toes. I’m hoping that things have settled down a bit now.

So: renos and reunions

Wow! What a weekend. Today alone was an amazing high energy day. We managed to install our new pantry cabinets, put the pantry back, and entertain a friend from college!

First of all, hanging out with IdaRose for the first time in a very long time was awesome. It was a big surprise since we heard from her yesterday, but the Mortroski Mid-century has a welcome mat out 24-7 so we were ready.

I wish we lived closer, we’d probably have lots of fun dinners and do cool things together. And I wish I wasn’t traveling this week while she’s in Dallas because I’d love to take her to some of the museums and restaurants. But at least we had a lovely dinner and a few hours together tonight.

And before she came over, Bruce and I were very busy today (I realize this is a surprise):

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Putting together the new cabinets for the pantry. Notice the supervisor.

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The gutted closet that will be a pantry. Notice the new supervisor.

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Bruce doing the finesse stuff.

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The final result

People, this is an Ikea setup. We are very impressed! We have 1/2 for pantry items (canned goods, staples) and 1/2 for cleaning stuff (home for vacuum, broom, steam mop, cleaning supplies). It’s lovely and well thought-out. Works for us–and we could get it all installed in a Sunday.

Sow: pop-up pepper pickles

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Today I realized that we had a lot of jalapeños and Anaheim chilis to harvest and I needed to do something with them. So I decided to pickle a pound of peppers. Say that 5 times fast just for fun.

I pulled up a refrigerator pickle recipe my co-worker Lisa recommended (pinned to my pinterest board “can”). I made the recipe last fall with some of our pepper bounty and everyone who tried it, liked it.

Most people around here will eat a jar of pickled peppers so fast that refrigerator ones are the best way to share the bounty.

If you want to try it, check it out here: http://www.sippitysup.com/sippitysups-selection-of-a-pound-of-pickled-peppers/

It’s a delicious pickled pepper in my opinion. And Bruce and I really like them with fish. I put a bit of extra onion in each jar since everyone who tried them remarked that the onion was delicious too. One of my friends said the brine would be good for pickling carrots too.

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It’s a quick recipe if you have the ingredients. I picked up the vinegar at the local yuppie/hippie grocery store today. And as you can see from the photo, I was ready to make 5 good sized jars, some to keep, some to give away.

While I was pickling, we got a big surprise: a pop up gully washer (Texan for flash flood) thunderstorm! Yes, more rain.

When I checked the rain barrels today and added the mosquito dunks (organic mosquito prevention disc you add to rain barrels), three of the four were full.

So when the storm happened today, Bruce ran out and put buckets, the plastic liner for our garden wagon (looks like a kid’s wagon except with all terrain tires) and anything else he could find to catch water. He also had to get a broom to push water off the patio since it was coming down so fast and hard and flooding in places.

Power went out several times because of the lightening. Surprisingly, George was not scared at all.

Very odd weather for July in North Texas. When I checked the garden today and harvested okra and peppers, the ground was still saturated from yesterday’s popup storm. Obviously the Malabar spinach likes it:

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Peppers turned out very well. Now they need to marinade for about a week before tasting them. Hopefully they’re as good as last fall’s version.

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