Friday, November 27, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday--Cranberries

Our sweet neighbors Steve and Roxanne always invite over all the "misfits" they know who don't have anywhere else to go for Thanksgiving; isn't that so lovely? My parents often did that when I was growing up and now I get to experience it from the other side. :) And how convenient for us that it was right across the street! :)

We had a great group of ten of us and Roxanne cooked up a feast. Yummmmmm! Her friend Becky made this gorgeous dessert and I couldn't help playing with my 50 mm lens. It's not a fabulous photo, but I'm learning about my lens and I loooove cranberries and the color red, so this is so luscious to me!

I hadn't slept well the night before, so add in a big meal and some Tryptophan and I was falling asleep at the table after dessert! So I went over to the couch and fell asleep; Roxanne covered me up with a nice blanket and the kitties came to cuddle me... what is better than that, I ask you? I'm still laughing that I even did it because it's so unlike me, but it just goes to show how comfortable I am with all our neighbors!

I don't like shopping during the best of times, let alone during busy times; I'm also, ahem, not a morning person. In short, there's no way in hell you would catch me getting up at 4 a.m. to fight the hordes on Black Friday! When I rolled over and saw the time was 9 a.m. I laughed and thought, "Some crazy people have been shopping for four hours already, I'm so glad I was sleeping instead." Ha ha. :) :) How about you, did you score any deals that will make me wish I got out of bed on Friday? Or just have fun watching people act insanely? I'd love to hear about it! :) Leave me a comment! :)

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are having a great long weekend!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Black Friday

My friend Erin wrote to me early this week to let me know that she'd be featuring me in a Handmade for the Holidays post and wanted to know if I'd be offering any Black Friday deals that she should mention. Well, I hadn't even thought about it, but since she mentioned it I decided to!

So I wanted to let my loyal blog readers know about it! :) I'll be offering free shipping, plus a free pair of earrings with any purchase of $65 or more. I want to post a photo of the earrings I'll be giving away, but my schedule today just got changed for me so I have to run and don't have time right now, so I'll add the photo to this post later this evening. Plus, I'll be discounting several of my currently listed items, and those will be first-come, first-served... once they are gone, they'll be gone! So shop early on Friday! :)

Some notes about the deals:

Free Shipping, part 1: It's a lot of work/time to go into every item and remove the shipping charges, so I'm going to *refund* the shipping charges to you... in other words, go ahead and make your purchase, pay for it, and then I will refund you the amount you paid for shipping.

Free Shipping, part 2: If you *really* don't want to do that, then send me an e-mail or convo on etsy before you order and I'll set up a special listing for you without the shipping charges.

Free Earrings: If your purchase amount (w/o shipping, obviously) is over $65, I will automatically include the free pair of earrings, you don't need to do anything.

Discounted Items: Prices for the items I'm going to discount will already be discounted, go ahead and purchase as normal.

Let me know if you have any questions, and I'll be back later to answer them and post a photo of the free earrings. :) Thanks so much!

Updated: I was too busy during the daylight hours today to take photos of the earrings so I'll put the photo up tomorrow before we head over to the neighbors'! :) Thanks!

Updated again: My camera is apparently annoyed with me today and I'm not getting what I want, but I need to go get ready to head over to the neighbors so here's the best I could get for now! :)

You can choose what, if anything, you'd like dangling from the fused circle. Shown from left to right are natural pearl, pink pearl, dark peacock pearl, gray pearl, crystal, and no dangle.

Indicate in "Notes to Seller" during checkout which pair you'd like. If you don't let me know you'll receive the plain loops with no dangle. These are fun little earrings that can go with anything! If you don't place a $65+ order and would just like to buy the earrings, I'll have them available on the site after this weekend for $16 per pair.

Thanks so much for looking and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday--In Search of Photobooths

It seems like years ago that I went to Orlando to visit Lori and go to CHA, but it was only the end of July! The past week or so I've been itching to work on my mini-book for Orlando and then Anke posted some of her photos from that weekend on Facebook, so I decided to go through my photos and start to pare them down to edit and send them to print. Looking at the photos I was reminded of a funny common theme so I thought I'd post some of them for this week's Favorite {Photo} Friday!

[Note: I could go on and on and on about how I met Lori, how we became friends, how my trip to visit her was serendipitious in eight ways and totally needed in eight zillion ways not even known when we booked the trip, how much she means to me, how much I love her and her friend Anke, how I want to move into a cul-de-sac with them both as my neighbors, and how I'm already plotting my next visit with them... but it's 10 p.m. on Friday and I need to get this posted so I can spend some time with my husband! So here is the quick & dirty version, okay? :) Keeping in mind of course that I'm neither very quick nor very dirty, but we're speaking comparatively, okay?]

[Also note: click on any of the photos to view them larger.]

So: When we were in Orlando Lori took me to Cafe Tu Tu Tango. They had a photo booth and we thought it would be super fun to get our photos taken after dinner, so we scrounged up enough coins and sat down to take our photos and had a blast.

And then we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

No photos. We asked inside and they told us that it happens sometimes; they gave us our money back, but we were still disappointed.

So I decided that we should take our own photos in the photo booth! So we sat in the photo booth and I held up my little pocket camera about where the camera was and snapped four quick photos.

Tonight as I was going through the photos I found these four photos and decided to try to make my own photo strip with them, so a Google search came to the rescue and I found this post with a free Photoshop template and brief tutorial (assuming you 1) have Photoshop Elements and 2) sort of already know how to use it) to make a photo booth strip! Hooray!

Isn't this CUTE for a faked photo booth strip? [So yeah, I know I did something wrong and the proportions are a little off, but it makes us look thinner, so pretend you didn't notice, mmmm'kay? Thanks!]

Then we went to CHA and the DCWV booth had a photo booth! So of course we snapped up the chance to have our do-over and get our photo strip. But it didn't come out as a strip, and it had advertising in the middle.

So we were still excited, and the photos are cute, aren't they? And I love how the bottom corners of each photo are rounded, but the top corners are square... sort of random and cool! But it wasn't quite the same. We were banking on Photoshop to help us out when we got home.

And then, randomly, we decided to go back to Cafe Tu Tu Tango because Claudine had an hour or so to go out to lunch with us, and it was close by and yummy.

As we walked in, I happened to look down and spot this:

It printed out! Who knows how long after we left, and I'm actually surprised it was still there and didn't get thrown out or stapled to the abandoned photo wall (yes, they have an abandoned photo wall!).

In any event, I'm so glad that we have three different versions of photo booth photos! :)


Lots and lots and lots and lots going on this weekend! My day tomorrow is full to overflowing and Sunday I need to catch up on a ton of Etsy orders--HOORAY! I have a TON to share (with photos, even!) and I'm hoping to fit it in at some point very soon. Fingers crossed.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gratitude Project 2009 Day 7

I am thankful for/that:
  1. I had a great lunch date with my neighbors.
  2. I learned about a restaurant in my town that we've never been to.
  3. I found out about a very cute shop in my town that I didn't know about before that has really cute gift items.
  4. I picked up a great gift for someone, which is a big relief because I had no idea what I was going to get for her!
  5. Jeans. Especially ones that fit.
  6. When John saw what I was making for dinner he asked Jason, "Hey, what did I just say that I was craving when we were at work?" And Jason said, "Cameron's curry chicken." I love that John actually craves what I cook! :)
  7. Both Jason and John are super easy to cook for and happily eat whatever I make, and are appreciative, to boot!
  8. New wire cutters that will save me a lot of time filing, hooray!
  9. My stock of silver & jewelry supplies so that whenever I get an idea I can (usually) work on it right away rather than having to wait for an order to come in.
  10. Checks arriving in the mail.
  11. Brand names aren't a big deal to me.
  12. My Moka stove-top espresso pot that allows me to make my own cappuccinos.
  13. My creative confidence that allows me to look at something and think, "I can make that."
  14. Actually making it! :)
  15. And it's better than the original version!
  16. My 50mm 1.4 lens. Yummmm.
  17. I get to see John's wife and kids tomorrow when we all meet at their office for lunch; I haven't seen them in forever!
  18. Plans for Saturday with fun, fun people.
  19. Jason has a job he loves.
  20. I have soooo much to be thankful for!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gratitude Project 2009 Day 6

I can't believe that today is already Day 6!! This has flown by... just one more example of 2009 being the fastest year ever for me. Zoooooooooom!

Thanks to everyone who sent me messages about my headache yesterday... I'm happy to say that I'm feeling much better! See my #1 on my list below. :)

I'm working on a ton of new jewelry designs, including a bunch of bracelets and some necklaces that are different than anything I've offered before. I'm hoping to have time on Thursday to take photos so look for new uploads to my Etsy this weekend!

I am thankful for/that:
  1. After two muscle relaxers and ten hours of sleep, I woke up without a headache!
  2. I have a doctor with whom I can communicate; when I first met him I brought in my entire medical history and he listened to me and asked questions and then prescribed me what I wanted (muscle relaxers, among other things). I do NOT abuse them but they are there when I really need them and I appreciate his trust in me. Being a military spouse, I've had a lot of different doctors, so I know when I've found a good one. :)
  3. My 4x6" Epson photo printer. The quality is as good as any lab, and it's right here in my studio, ready whenever I need prints!
  4. Jason might have just saved us $200 a month. My fingers are still crossed that it will actually happen!
  5. I can buy whatever I want at the grocery store. Obviously I don't go crazy buying filet mignon and lobster or anything, but I really, really appreciate that I can buy whatever I want when I'm grocery shopping.
  6. More and more people are joining the Gratitude Project! It's never too late... if you happen to see this post in a year and a half, feel free to join in!!! Any time is a good time to feel gratitude. :)
  7. My analytical mind. I really love analyzing things and I may spend too much time doing so at times, but it's just because I love the process! I love thinking up ways to solve things, ways to measure things... I think I should have been a statistician. :)
  8. We've been investing since before we were married when it was painful to invest. We're still investing now when our dollars are buying a lot more than they were a couple years ago. I'm so thankful that we've been able to do this and adjust our spending habits to continue to do it.
  9. E-mail messages about how much people love the gifts they've received that I've created.
  10. The tablecloth came clean! When we moved here from Italy our Italian packers (two brothers and their dad) packed some of our furniture in what they considered to be junk blankets. One of these "junk blankets" was actually a hand cross-stitched tablecloth with someone's initials on it! It was totally covered in grease and grime and had obviously been used to move many, many items previously; there are even some holes in it. But I just couldn't bear to part with it, since someone obviously spent a lot of time on it! So I spot-treated it, soaked it, and washed it in OxyClean, and you know what? It came clean! So I'm going to repair what I can and use it as a table cloth once again! I hope someone asks me about it, I can't wait to tell them. :)
  11. Everyone who donates to the arts and enables children to experience and learn about art. I hope more and more people realize how important this is!!! It should be mandatory in schools.
  12. Honesty over saving face.
  13. Faith.
  14. Scarves; big puffy scarves and thin silk scarves.
  15. Deep, deep, deep breaths.
  16. Friends who will go the distance.
  17. A possible Love Bomb weekend--oh please, oh please!!!
  18. The process of journaling.
  19. Knowing my worth.
  20. Not giving in just for the sake of giving in.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gratitude Project 2009 Day 5

I have a killer headache today (going on eight hours), so this list is a little lame, and still it took me all day to come up with 20 things. But I guess the good news is that I spent the time focusing on what I'm thankful for instead of all the things I could be focused on instead. :)

Before I get to the list, here are a couple photos from the FDR Memorial, where we took my Dad on Saturday before we went to the airport. I love the FDR Memorial! It's not what you think of when you think of a normal memorial... it's set up as a series of rooms you walk through, each room representing one of his terms. There are sculptures in each room and FDR quotes engraved into the walls; it's very powerful, and all of the quotes are still applicable today.

And a cute little squirrel eating berries. :)

I'm thankful for/that:

  1. Neither Bush is president anymore.
  2. Tylenol.
  3. I don't get headaches every day (or even very often).
  4. I'm not really scared of bugs or spiders.
  5. There are a lot of people I can call on when I need to cry, complain, or rant. (I call different people depending on which it is and what it's about, lol!)
  6. Conversations that make me feel 10 times better and 100 times lighter than I did before.
  7. Soft places to fall.
  8. Our insurance's mail-order prescription company which is not only cheaper and easier than the local pharmacy, but they call to ask if I want to get my next shipment!
  9. Crushed ice.
  10. Honeycrisp apples.
  11. Naps.
  12. Not one but TWO planned outings with girlfriends this week!
  13. Love Actually, which is quite possibly my favorite movie of all time. Just thinking about it makes me smile.
  14. Making a joke that makes me laugh out loud and crack myself up! Even if I'm the only one laughing, LOL! :)
  15. Watching Ellen give money away.
  16. I don't have to worry about Jason getting deployed anymore.
  17. Jason and John went to the store for me when they got home and found out I had a headache so I hadn't gone yet.
  18. Muscle relaxers.
  19. Digital cameras.
  20. Photoshop.
Jilliene put Day 5 up and Cynthia decided to play along, too!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gratitude Project 2009 Day 4

Wow, we have a logo now! Thanks to Paula! :)

I am thankful for/that:
  1. My friend Kellie had her baby! Carli was born yesterday and mama and baby are safe and sound!
  2. For once I'm caught up on my book clubs! One of my clubs doesn't meet in December and the other one will meet while I'm gone, so I don't have another club meeting until January, which means I get to read whatever I want for a while!!
  3. Jason is off riding motorcycles with friends today, which means I get most of the day to myself, the perfect day for an introvert who just had a house guest! :)
  4. Greek yogurt... it's sooooo good!
  5. Cherry Coke Zero; I know I shouldn't, and I try not to drink much soda, but it's such a guilty pleasure!
  6. Cycles can be broken, and knowing that it's a cycle is half the battle.
  7. Learning from others' mistakes.
  8. I don't have much bad food in the house, because if I did I'd eat it all today. I'm especially craving gummy bears and Doritos, neither of which I ever keep in the house. If I really really want to buy something but I don't, I think of it as "saving" money; the same applies to food I really really want to eat but don't--think of the calories I just "saved"! :)
  9. Hummus.
  10. Our house didn't flood during the recent storm (unlike some friends in Virginia Beach!). :(
  11. I got to hear my niece on the phone today and she made me laugh--gwocka wocka wocka means gorilla, apparently. :)
  12. Jason came home safely from his motorcycle ride and he had a great day.
  13. Jason cuddles me every night as I go to sleep; even if I come in to bed after he's already asleep, he'll usually wake up enough to cuddle me. :)
  14. I'm never bored. I have far too many interests to ever be bored, and my brain is too active. When I used to run I'd think up math problems to solve while I ran, just to keep myself occupied while I ran. See? Never bored.
  15. The new vacuum that Jason got me, which is soooo much better than my old one.
  16. Burt's Bees lip balms.
  17. L.L. Bean Wicked Good Slippers.
  18. Patience.
  19. Hot baths.
  20. Soft, fluffy towels.

In addition to the people I linked to yesterday, here are some new ones (either new people or new posts)! Click on the name for the main blog page, and each Day for a direct link to that post. Zanne (Day 1); Katherine (Day 1, Day 2); Sooz (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3); Jilliene put Day 3 up last night and Day 4 this morning; Katie posted Day 2 today.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Gratitude Project 2009 Day 3

I am thankful (for/that):
  1. Our upstairs television in the spare room, where I can cuddle into the little bed (as we call it--it's a twin) and watch whatever I want when the big TV is occupied.
  2. Football season doesn't last all year, and that Jason doesn't really like other sports. :)
  3. Trader Joe's. I love having someplace I can buy convenience food that is still healthy and good and not filled with chemicals and high-fructose corn-syrup!!
  4. Leftovers.
  5. Emery boards; another kind of silly thing to list, but all my fingernails have been breaking off lately and I keep snagging them on things so I seem to use an emery board several times a day! I hate scratchy nails.
  6. Online shopping; there are no local silver suppliers so without online shopping I would have a much harder time getting my supplies!
  7. Two pairs of Dansko shoes that my sister gave me (because they were too small for her after she had my nieces). :) They're so comfortable and keep my feet warm when it's cold and rainy out.
  8. Jason never complains about anything that I wear, even though I know he doesn't like those shoes! :) He just says, "You're wearing the comfortable shoes today." LoL!!
  9. Criminal Minds. I adore this show and love to watch it, even if I've already seen the episode before.
  10. Remote controls.
  11. I can do a lot of math in my head; I rock at percentages and fractions.
  12. I taught my dad something! I told him about Maximizers and Satisficers last night and he said he now understands my mom better because apparently she's a Maximizer like me and he's a Satisficer like Jason!
  13. Wi-Fi.
  14. Our new(ish) mattress. Our neighbors gave us their (still relatively new) mattress because it was way too firm for them and they bought a brand-new super soft one. With a feather-bed on top the firm mattress is perfect for me; love it and my back hurts a lot less in it!
  15. Sorry if this is TMI, but tampons. I mean, honestly.
  16. Accents! I totally love accents (especially Southern, Irish, and Australian)! [And if Daniele is reading, then yes of course I love Italian accents, but I love hearing the Italian language more than Italians speaking English with an accent! :)] We had lunch at an Irish pub today and since they were playing the big match between Ireland and France later, there were a ton of cute Irish lads with their cute Irish accents there waiting for the game to come on. :) And they were so nice and polite while scoping out our table and waiting for us to leave so they could pounce on it! Politeness is so lovely!
  17. We have plane tickets home for Christmas and will be there for 10 days this time!
  18. Comfortable bras. Again, I mean, honestly. How distracting is it to have an uncomfortable one? I can barely think of anything else when I have lace itching me or an underwire jabbing me!
  19. Pinot Grigio.
  20. Beef Barley Soup.
Don't forget to check out Jilliene, Heather, and Lori's Gratitude posts, and Katie joined us today, too, with a list from her awesome son Oliver! Paula joined us today, too! And MaryElla posted on Thursday. :) Let me know if you're writing your own list, even if you don't have a blog to post it on! Or even if you just like reading my lists, then comment to let me know! I'd love to put "Lots of blog comments" on one of my lists, LoL!! :)

Happy Saturday night! See you again tomorrow! :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday--Dad + Gratitude Project 2009 Day 2

My Dad has been here since Tuesday and he's leaving tomorrow, so in honor of Dad and because scanning and showing photos last week was so fun, here are some photos of me and Dad!

My favorite photo, at the Oregon coast:

The back of this photo says 7A, and it took me a minute to recognize that this must be the number from the film negatives--remember those? LoL!

And the back of this one says 12A. I love the Olympia Beer shirt my dad's wearing!

Starting out a Fun Run:

Further along and still having fun, apparently!

Fishing, my dad's all-time favorite hobby. He fishes for steelhead and salmon and smokes it... it's the best smoked salmon you've ever had in your life anywhere in the world, I guarantee you. He even made some for my wedding!

And now, on to the gratitude!

I am thankful (for):
  1. My love of reading and love of letters and words, and that I'm a good speller! :)
  2. That I asked Nunzia, our neighbor in Italy, if she'd teach me how to make pasta. She did, and gave me cooking lessons in her kitchen every single week for months! I made completely-from-scratch lasagna tonight and it was soooooo good!
  3. People who are kind just because it is the right thing to do.
  4. That I'm learning more about myself and my limits and accepting and adapting to them.
  5. That gasoline here in America is less than $3 per gallon (in Italy it was $6-7 per gallon).
  6. My Epson printer/scanner; it makes me annoyed sometimes but it's pretty cool that I can just scan something in really quickly!
  7. Our health insurance, which covers most of my Chiropractor visits.
  8. A strong marriage going on ten years. We've been through a lot and have seen couples shatter at less.
  9. That I'm finally starting to be able to ask for help when I want/need it, even if it's "dumb" like tonight when I needed Jason to open a jar for me but he was on the phone. I really needed it opened right away so I asked him to put down the phone and open it. Previous versions of me would have waited until he was off the phone and been mad that I had to wait... STUPID.
  10. That I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, even if it is just a teensy tiny pinprick at the moment.
  11. My washer and dryer and that I don't have to hand-wash all our clothes. I mean, I really hate hand-washing things! Hooray for machines!
  12. That I'm from Oregon so while everyone else is getting totally depressed about all the rain I just put on my raincoat and go about my business, LoL!! :)
  13. My fuzzy flannel pink sock-monkey pajamas. Lori sent them to me and I'd totally love them anyway but knowing they're from her makes them that much better!
  14. Cheese. I know it might sound stupid, but man, I really love cheese! We had a Roquefort and Apple pizza today, and cheese really does make everything better. YUM.
  15. That I'm starting to learn my way around this crazy area that I live in, and I'm also learning how better to use the GPS to make it take me where I want to go the way I want to get there! :)
  16. Hilarious people on television who make me laugh out loud instead of just on the inside.
  17. Etsy orders, hooray!
  18. My awesome mailman Mike who is super sweet.
  19. Jason and my dad cleaning up after dinner so I could put on my pajamas and relax and finish The Lost Symbol!
  20. Fridays!! :)
For even more gratitude, check out Jilliene, Heather, and Lori! Let us know if you're playing along in the Gratitude Project, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gratitude Project 2009 Day 1

A few days ago I was going through my blog archives looking for something and I stumbled across my Gratitude posts from last November (Day 1 is here). I was thinking that I should do it again this year and then I got an e-mail from Jilliene saying that she was starting again today! Great minds think alike, I guess! :) Then Heather joined in and posted today, too. I, too, am in need of refocusing on gratitude, so here we go! I'm going to try to post 20 things every day for seven days in a row, without duplicating anything (although I'm sure there will be some overlap!). Some are big and some are small and they are in no particular order, just whatever comes to me!

I am thankful (for):
  1. My sorority alumnae book group. I love these ladies! They've totally accepted me into their group even though I'm as young as or younger than most of their kids! :)
  2. Spinach and berry salad at Bittersweet.
  3. Random conversations with strangers made possible by the shared references of Seinfeld and Friends episodes!
  4. Every single person who has served or is serving in our Armed Forces.
  5. Every single one of their family members and friends who have had to sacrifice so much in support of them.
  6. That we have a good Cajun/Creole restaurant in our town.
  7. My car, which is safe and reliable and paid off.
  8. Hardwood floors.
  9. Clean water. (Click here if you don't think this is a big deal.)
  10. Society being thankful for our military, unlike during the Vietnam War.
  11. The DVR... dumb, I know, but it's so nice that Jason and I can communicate when we need to just by hitting pause on the TV instead of having to wait for commercials or annoy each other!
  12. My new phone; I now have a keypad and a decent-enough sized screen that I actually looked something up on Google today for the first time ever!
  13. All of my artist friends all over the continent that I met at Inspired and with whom I stay in contact via our blogs, Facebook, e-mail, and Yahoo Groups!
  14. Inspiration in everyday things.
  15. My husband and my dad getting along! :) And by that I mean that they do get along, not that they usually don't but are right now, LoL! :)
  16. That my parents are still married AND Jason's parents are still married... that's so unusual!
  17. My friends on Twitter who post such interesting links to articles that encourage self-growth and learning and self-improvement.
  18. Strong bonds formed in extremely trying times--relationships forged in fire are strong.
  19. Big comfy sweaters!
  20. That my biggest annoyance of the day was that Jason drank the last of my wine even though he had beer in the fridge; my day was pretty good if that was my biggest annoyance! LoL!
If you'd like to play along please leave a comment here letting us know so we can check out your gratitude list! You don't have to do 20 per day or 7 days in a row; you can do more or less or whatever suits you! There are no rules except having a spirit of gratitude! In fact, you don't even have to have a spirit of gratitude; you can be cranky and pissy and annoyed. You just need to want to have a spirit of gratitude and then look around your life for things that you should be thankful for; write up a list and you will be surprised at how quickly you start feeling more grateful! Fake it 'til you make it and I guarantee that you will make it! :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thoughts On A Train

Riding the commuter train into DC to meet my dad. Checking my e-mail on my new phone and feeling very fancy and like one of the crowd since everyone on here is doing the same thing. Loving that I can drink my coffee on here (unlike on the Metro) but thinking that I'll regret bringing it because now I'll have to carry my mug around all day. Trying out posting from my phone... we'll see if this works!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday--Aunt Susan

Sixty years ago today, in a small hospital in Oregon, one of my grandmas had given birth the day before, while my other grandma would give birth the next day... yesterday was my Dad's 60th birthday, and tomorrow is my aunt's 60th birthday! The story goes that my grandmas talked back and forth across the hallway. :) Ahhh, coming from a small town! :) Great stuff. :)

But this post today is about my Aunt Susan, for two reasons: first, my dad doesn't read my blog and Susan does, and second, because something happened this week that would have caused me to do a Favorite {Photo} Friday about her even if it hadn't been her birthday this week!

I think I've mentioned my aunt on here before. When Jason and I moved here just over two years ago we came here for his job, but a big fat bonus was that my Aunt Susan and Uncle Bob lived nearby. I've always been close with my aunt and I was really excited to live so close to her.

Little did I know just how close to her I'd be living! Our plan was to stay with Susan and Bob for a week or so, until we could find a furnished apartment (which are fairly plentiful here in the DC area). We wanted to look for a house to buy (our first!) and I wanted time to do it and not feel rushed into anything. (All of our "stuff" was in military transit from Italy--talk about a slooow boat!--so there wasn't a big rush there.) Susan happily agreed to this plan when I told her while we were in Italy, but once we were at her house she invited informed me that it was stupid to waste money on an apartment and that we'd be staying with her and Bob for as long as we wanted/needed to.

We were lucky enough to buy a house when the market was... well, let's just say that it was a buyers' market; it hadn't hit bottom yet but as buyers we had our pick of a lot of homes. Add in that I'm a Maximizer and it was our first ever home purchase, and you can understand that we looked at a lot of homes! I wish I'd kept track of the number, actually! Then even after we found a home, there was--what, a month?--until closing.

In all, Jason and I lived with Susan and Bob for just over two months. I would be kicking someone's ass out after two months, no matter how much I liked them! But I can't remember a single argument between the four of us [well, okay, maybe between Jason and I, but hello, we'd moved across an ocean and were trying to buy a house! LOL!]. And even after we technically had our own house, we didn't get our "stuff" for three more months, so we had a good excuse to be regular visitors at their house. :) And since she spoiled us so much when we were there, of course we wanted to be there all the time! :)

Even as we were more settled in to our house I'd drive in to have lunch and spend time with her. We'd stay there overnight if we had an event in DC (because they live so much closer than we do and are near a Metro stop) or if it was a holiday. In the morning she'd make us waffles with berry sauce and scrambled eggs and ham. I mentioned she spoiled us, right?

But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. I knew that Susan, an Oregon girl after all, was itching to move back to Oregon when Bob retired; it's been the plan for as long as I can remember! So, this past May they bought a place in Oregon and Susan moved back; Bob will retire early next year and join her permanently.

Like I said, this happened in May, and my first bullet point in this post was about it and how I'd "almost pulled myself out of the depression it left me in. (Almost.)"

HARDY HAR HAR I say to that! Because this past Thursday Bob called me to ask if I could come by the house that weekend; they'd gotten an offer on the house (I didn't even know it was up for sale!) and he wanted me to verify which furniture we wanted. Okay, yeah, sure! So we headed over on Sunday.

Since I've been there last, Bob's loaded up a couple of pods and shipped them to Oregon. So the house is basically staged, with their own furniture and art, for showing. But even though it was their furniture and art, it just seemed... well... empty!

I was absolutely fine when we were talking to Bob about the logistics of the move, when closing would be (he'll be moving into an apartment until he leaves), etc. Then he kindly and thoughtfully went downstairs to watch football while Jason and I talked over which items we wanted to incorporate into our home.

As soon as he left I felt like, PUNCH ME IN THE GUT, why don't you? HOLY SHIT IT'S REAL. They're leaving. They're GONE. And, okay, in all honesty, Bob is a great guy, incredibly brilliant, very kind, a fabulous uncle. But really, it was more like, SHE'S GONE. She's really, really GONE.


And, I'm sorry, I know that's a gross and vulgur thing to say, but sometimes, well, sometimes it just suits.

Some notes about the above photos:

  • In the spirit of embracing vintage and my awesomely stylish friend Cindy I just scanned these in and didn't do anything except take out the red-eye.

  • The first and second photos (in reverse chronological order, since the second one was taken on our way up to the mountain and the first one once we were on the mountain is my favorite) are from a trip when Susan and Bob came to visit and took me--just me!!--up to Mt. Hood to play. It was the summertime, which is why I'm in a tank top. I distinctly remember being thrilled--thrilled!--that I got to go with them by myself without my younger sister; I also remember feeling very anxious that I would let them down and be too boring or not worth their time. As I hope you can see in the first photo, I had a blast playing in the snow with my aunt! It's one of my favorite memories and I'm soooo glad that they took the time to take me--a punky kid--up to the mountain when I'm sure there were a dozen other things (at least) they could have done instead!

  • At a much, much younger age than the previous two photos, here's me and Susan. Check out her awesome overalls! I love these photos.

  • Here's Susan teaching me wrestling. I have very clear memories of this and it happened on many occasions! In these two photos, however, she is kicking my butt! Those pajamas I'm wearing are homemade by my mom and they were so awesome that I'm surprised my aunt is beating me in our wrestling match! Like my pajamas should be super unbeatable suits or something. :)

  • In the last photo we're riding a water ride somewhere here on the East Coast. Hershey Park? We'd (meaning my mom, sister, and I) come to visit and Susan took us around someplace.
So Sus, Happy 60th Birthday! I can't begin to tell you what you've meant to me over the years and what you mean to me now. I miss the hell out of you and love you more than you can know. Happy Birthday!