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.

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So: out of shape (extra long post)

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I worked 62.5 hours last week. I know that, because in advertising, creative folk like me must complete timesheets (we do it via web portal these days, not paper or clock punching). In this photo, taken by Bruce on Friday night, you can probably tell that it was a tough week. (He also has video because apparently my snoring was so impressive. My whole body moved with each snore. Pretty.)Don’t worry: George was just being an opportunist for a human pillow and a sleeping snuggler.

The week consisted of important meetings in small rooms. Plane rides galore, mostly in the commuter jet kind of plane. Hotel beds, some better than others. Late nights. Early mornings. Lots of writing at the ends of already long days.

Needless to say, after last week, I recognize that I’m painfully out of shape for that kind of marathon. At one time in my career, weeks like that were fairly  normal. And it was exhilarating. Exhausting. Exciting.

There were definitely parts of last week that I loved. I did some solid work. I got to tap dance and sell my little heart out. I did my best to educate and entertain.

Like anything else, unless you use it, you lose it. And I must have lost my stamina and ability to keep that pace for 5 days straight or more about 5 years ago. By the time I arrived home on Thursday night, I was done.

But the week wasn’t over.

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It was so nice to get home and see how much had grown on the Urban Farm. Okra, sweet 100s cherry tomatoes and Anaheim chiles that were marked as poblano transplants were harvested. Good thing they are also delicious. The okra and tomatoes were rehomed since Bruce had been picking tomatoes diligently while I was gone. Several friends and neighbors have been enjoying this spring tomato crop — certainly our most successful so far, despite the weather issues.

And I didn’t want to disappoint this week’s canine coworker:

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Last Friday was Guinness’ turn to go to work. During the summer, we have Summer Hours which means that if you work your 40 hours before noon on Friday, you can head out and enjoy your afternoon. I like to bring a dog along because often I’m one of the last people in the office because it’s nice and quiet, making it the perfect time to get caught up.

Of the three Gs, Guinness is the best office dog because he’s a great listener (Sit. Down. Stay.) and he’s very chill. Plus, he makes every single person he sees feel like a million bucks. He wags his huge puffy tail for everyone like they’re his long lost best friends, sits on feet to keep people from leaving, demands to be petted by putting his big noggin in naps, and lies down on command during meetings, staying put through the whole thing, though he’s very bored. My boss, who isn’t the biggest fan of our dog-friendly office policy (it’s one of the reasons I chose to come to the company), loves Guinness’ well-behaved, laid-back vibe. Although she’d never admit it, she’d be cool if I brought him to work every day.

Friday was actually National Take Your Dog to Work Day in the U.S. I had no idea, honestly. I just planned to bring the Gs into the office one by one this summer and see how they did so I’d know if I’d bring them in again.

The photo above was sent in to a contest that The Three Dog Bakery was having — you just needed to show your dog at work and you could be chosen to win a gift card (the Gs love TDB so it would be awesome to win). I like that Guinness blends in with the office carpet, like he’s in camouflage. He slept under my desk when I wasn’t in meetings. I only knew he was there because I’d hear his soft snores every so often.

Godiva was very put out that again, she wasn’t the office dog, but she’ll be going next. I promise. When she was an only dog, she started coming to work as soon as she was potty trained pup. She had a travel crate, a bed, lots of toys. People bought treats and kept them at their desks just for her. And they bought her fun toys and balls. They had Godiva breaks. Then Guinness came along and separating those two wasn’t a good thing at all.

You already know what I did on Friday night. It’s also what I did on Saturday night. And Sunday night. I can’t remember being that tired in I don’t know when. It reminded me of times in high school when I had to pull all nighters to get the school paper out and study for an exam. Or when I had two finals on the same day in college because of my poor planning. On the plus side, three days later, I now feel back to normal.

Never fear that I rested all weekend. Saturday we needed to get countertops ordered for all of those cabinets. This photo kind of shows what we’re getting, although the photo is too dark. Ice snow is the name of the color:

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It’s whiter but this photo shows all of the flecks in it. The substrate is called caesarstone—it’s quartz and reminds me of travertine which was a popular flooring choice in mid-century homes. The installer will be coming out to do final measurements next week and hopefully it will be installed by mid-July.

It wouldn’t be a weekend without time digging in the dirt. I found out about this cool plant on Saturday morning while I was drinking coffee and reading gardening blogs:

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It’s not really spinach, but a juicy leafed plant that is grown in India and Africa for it’s spinach-like qualities. You see, salad isn’t really a summer food and leafy greens don’t grow very well in the North Texas surface of the sun heat. But apparently this stuff does. I’ve eaten a leaf and it’s delicious. A little citrusy in addition to spinach’s green iron-y taste. And it is a vine so it can climb the trellises that Bruce picked up for me. The photos of it are gorgeous and it would bring lots of visual interest to the months where not much is happy to grow (except okra). Stay tuned for further details.

photo[6]By Sunday I was feeling much better rested. Although it was very hot (98°F), I spent some time outside and did another big beet harvest, which I promptly roasted. We had lots of yummy tomatoes and some additional okra. I peeled, chopped, and froze the remainder of the peaches, although I saw a few in the tree up fairly high this morning. I guess it’s time to get the ladder out again. The jam will get made when it’s cooler.

I’m also thinking about making some pepper jams. Down here in the South, people pour pepper jam over cream cheese (or baked brie) and serve it with crackers or baguette slices. Since I couldn’t make plum jam, it might be nice for gifts.

Bruce made dinner (and extra dinners) on Sunday night. We’ve been enjoying the okra grilled. It’s very yummy and a quick side to just about anything.

photo[4]If we get enough okra, I’d love to pickle it, but we’ll have to see how it grows.

Last night I also ordered the fall seeds: beets, spinach, lettuce, collards, mustard, bok choi, snow peas, kale, chard, arugula, carrots, radishes. It’s funny to think about fall when it’s finally summer and it’s predicted to be over 100°F this week.

Yes, it’s back to “normal” for me. Get ready for more “sow” posts.

And I have something exciting to look forward too. Bruce and I will be starting a stay-cation on Friday (through the entire July 4/Canada Day week). Between now and then I have the usual work, plus a day trip to NC on Thursday.

I must rest up since we are going to use the time to get more of our projects completed. I want to break out the sewing machines. And plant the fall tomato crop. Don’t worry, I’ll post photos.

So: birthday projects

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day, or as I like to think of it, Guinness’ birthday. Of course, since he was a stray, we have no idea when he was born, but it made sense to give him March 17 as a birthday given his name.

It was a great day to be Guinness. He had his dog cake from Three Dog Bakery and shared with Godiva and George. He went for an extra long walk this morning and played with Edgar the schnauzer. He also spent most of the day outside with us and got really close to catching a squirrel. And he mooched some fajitas too. (He’s also passed out on the sofa right now. In fact all of the Gs are passed out from exhaustion.)

I would also like to pass out.

My bottom is sore from squatting. It was manual labor weekend and we got a number of projects completed and a few closer to completion. Tons of outdoor work happened. The yard is looking great. The farm is growing like crazy. It was awesome to pick so much delicious stuff this weekend.

The weather is amazing. Shorts and t-shirts weather. Windows open weather. Hopefully it’s here to stay.

Projects complete:
1. Ikea light wood stool converted into Kraft Dinner orange end table for living room
2. BBQ cart for all of Bruce’s big green egg stuff now has a grouted tile countertop, pull out shelves, and bright red paint. It just needs to have its white trim painted but it already looks great
3. Dug a fence post hole, poured concrete and hung hinges so we can open up another gate in our fence over by the plum and peach trees
4. Got a dual action composter so we can turn our plant scraps into fuel for the urban farm
5. Plans for office and laundry room are finalized. All materials are purchased and we are going to begin the big deal work this week. We are on deadline now with the office since the pad for the bamboo is back ordered but will be ready for pickup in a week.

Whew! Good thing tomorrow is Monday so we can rest.

So: reading is fun

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Uncle Bruce and I read the twins 10 books yesterday before dinner. Yes, 10. You parents are probably not surprised at all by the number.

I love reading and always have. I loved hearing books read to me and still do. But I am truly amazed by the twins desire to sit still and just listen. Intently.

My brother says they turn into zombies when they watch their 30 minutes of tv per day. Yesterday that was an episode of Olivia. We had already read two Olivia books so Uncle Bruce was familiar with Olivia, Ian, Julian and Perry. Again, another time when the girls were quiet. Still. Their attention was captured.

This is important because even when they were eating, Eva and Katia were busy! They jumped from toy to toy. We built towers with block, towers with Lego, played store, played Barbie, played with ponies, played dollhouse, ran around outside, picked up seeds from pinecones, petted their dog, drew on the chalkboard, played in a tunnel, did crazy spinning on a sit and spin, danced, sang, and probably did a whole lot more but it’s a blur.

Parents of multiples, you are my heroes. And you’re much better people than I am. I don’t know how you do it. I know you’ll say that you just do, but seriously, you are on a major sleep deprivation experiment accompanied by severe overstimulation.

It was a wonderful day but I was super tired when it was time to sleep. Moms and Dads of three year olds I salute you!