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a few more on flickr. the yard is blooming just as we are starting to pack up the house for the move. this morning i said to kirk, "don't other people move into their houses once they buy them?" it's been a long time coming, but the final paperwork will be on monday, we think. this weekend we have to buy a ton of boxes, get rid of a growing pile of donations. i have a list of things to pack, and a whole plan for what items will go where in the new house (to make it easier for the movers). we just need to get started, and that requires boxes. we got rid of so many when we moved, and all we seem to have left are item-specific boxes, or the giant c+b boxes that are for fragile kitchen stuff.
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marika took me to see three houses in three hours, and though it's totally overwhelming it was also fun and inspiring. houses are such strange creatures. like a shell built to house something not quite me, and i have to figure out how i'll make it work.

#1 white craftsman


the first house is a craftsman with some additions. it's not my favorite part of town -- across from the back side of a boat yard, plus one block away from a big busy road. addition in the back is carpeted and not very pretty, but okay. the kitchen was stranded in the middle of the house and i didn't like that -- like a place where one person can stand comfortably. small bedroom on the main near a huge bathroom, perfect for a child's room. office/library room off the main living room. upstairs, an amazing attic covered in built-in cupboards, closets, large dressers, even a desk that folds down from the wall. huge basement space with a bathroom and a non-code shower, space enough for a huge work room or letterpress room.

#2 green princess house


second house is an odd one, again with the weird additions. hard to see from the front because it has only a tiny strip of a front yard, and everything is fenced in, for the apparently massive dog whose muddy paw prints we saw at chest height on the front door. but otherwise surrounded by a huge yard, including a hot tub (they might not leave it, it's not in the listing), grape vines, berries, raised garden beds. weird small "master" on the main floor, tiled addition in the back, huge back porch. upstairs two good kids' bedrooms, cute desk lookouts on the yard, plus a jack and jill bathroom. lots of weird angles and corners to this house. we would need a giant lawn mower. cramped unfinished basement with just enough space for the water heater and furnace. very cool space for a gardener and a dog, but i don't think it's for us.

#3 oatfield victorian


this is the victorian that i fell in love with yesterday, the one that's a little outside of our price range but is just gorgeous. complete period details inside, since the same family lived in it for over 45 years. it needs a lot of work, including some intensive love to the yard to make it not such a leafpit, a good paint job, new windows, possibly a new electrical system (!!!), other fixes too numerous to list. you can see some of the hideous paint from the pictures. currently it's filled with the dead mrs goss's things, including beds full of teddy bears and assorted room full of catholic icons and things like that, so i didn't photograph all the bedrooms.

but with all its detractions, this is also sort of the house of my dreams. i've always wanted to restore an old house, and this one is livable. the large rambling victorian with history, with quirks and tall ceilings. the house to fill with books. restoring the gardens. large studies upstairs for kirk and i. a room for the letterpress. a house for writing in. roaming cats, a house with mystery. a big dinner party. that kind of house.

just for laughs, here is the partial list of things i wrote down that the victorian needs:
list of things to fix )

so possibly we would be great fools to buy this house. but maybe we'd also be great fools to pass it up. a historic house that will only increase in value as we work on it. it will be a money pit, a labor of love. but it's a house with a story in its bones. i feel incredibly young when i think about it, though we are probably about the same age as the goss family when they bought it. but also, the house is old and wants love and i don't know if i'm up to the task.
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woke this morning to find a new fallen snow on top of the 3 inches from yesterday, and now everything is covered in a quarter-inch of ice. dad was going to bring us some groceries in his AWD subaru, but they're asking that nobody drive unless absolutely necessary. so we decided to take a walk to the convenience store:

it made me laugh to walk on the ice, which would crack around your boots as you stepped in it, creating great slanting pieces that pushed up into mountains, and long cracks that would shoot out from where you'd stepped. stomping along, breaking the thick crust. on the roads themselves it's not as bad, but the snow is very compacted and icy, and it's only about 20° outside.

it turned out our little convenience store was closed. the 7-11 on the main road might be open, but that is down one treacherously steep hill and up another, all for a crappy loaf of bread and a can of tuna or something? at the very least they'd have beer! kirk might attempt that later today. so far during this snowed-in weekend:
  • made maple syrup sandwich cookies with lemon cream filling using just what was in the house
  • checked the weather.com storm advisory almost hourly, starting to quibble with tiny changes in wording in case they generate hope for monday's commute
  • started a batch of tiny christmas tree ornaments out of fabric in my stash
  • kiboshed plans to make a potluck dish for tonight, as beth's holiday in the tropics party is cancelled
  • wondered if we'll be able to make it to my parents' for christmas eve, at this rate
  • watched 2/3 of the way through the lord of the rings movies, saving #3 for tonight
  • started looking at what's left in our cupboards and fridge in a funny way, in case we have to start eating plain rice like monks
  • nearly drunk our way through the GIANT jar of hot chocolate mix from kirk's mom last year
  • started to think about getting an AWD for our second car, someday
  • worked on other random holiday craft projects as much as my aching back will allow
  • lamented the lack of a deck of cards to play drunk uncle with

am i being dramatic? maybe. in theory we could hike down the treacherous icy hill (in my ridiculous rubber rain boots, the only vaguely appropriate footwear i own) to the bus, take it 1.5 miles down the road, cross more treacherous icy roads and giant parking lot to get to fred meyer, go grocery shopping and come back, but that does sound silly. ask me about it tomorrow night, though, and it will start to sound totally normal. there's nothing i want more than a simple roast chicken dinner on a day when it is utterly impossible.
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here's kirk at our new office set up in the living room.

we took a trip to IKEA today :) i have been planning this out for a while, but this afternoon i was inspired to figure out the price and the measurements, and off we went. exciting! i do hate having to duck and weave through their stupid floorplan, avoiding all the ridiculously slow families, ugh. memories of boston sidewalk rage!

anyway. now we both have a large open workspace and plenty of storage underneath. before, this long wall of the living room was totally unused. my tiny desk was in one corner, kirk had our small old kitchen table in the other corner, totally covered in junk and really dim lighting. not anymore!

we found out that the kitchen table can fit in one corner of the kitchen, just barely, and i am so happy! it will be nice to have a place to eat that's not the couch. the dining room table is covered with my sewing projects right now, so it's pretty much unusable. (but also, we don't like it! it's an heirloom my mother grew up eating breakfast on every day, but the top has not been refinished properly and the veneer curls up at the edges. ANYWAYY does not matter, because now we have the kitchen table.)
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i bought this teal silk sari at goodwill today for $1.32. it feels so pretty on. i looked up a tutorial on how to wrap and tuck it correctly, i think i got it mostly right (click through for more pics). it feels very graceful to wear. except i need a real petticoat to wear under it.

i still have a sheet of bindis that my poetry teacher brought me from india in like 1996. they are labeled bombay instead of mumbai. anyway, i might go find some pretty jewelry and use this as my halloween costume. and also my watching-bollywood costume.

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the hot is back!

it's been like three weeks of chilly-ish weather.

later i'm supposed to make some blueberry crumb bars though i'm reluctant to turn on the stove.

i'm line drying some new fabric i bought today. this is for a reversible apron i'm trying out.

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i bought a sewing machine!

$106 on the singer website for a factory reconditioned singer 5160. i wanted this one because it is nearly the same as one i've used before. plus, i don't want/need 80,000 charming stitch patterns, only the normal ones.



it should come in time for my birthday. i guess this is my birthday present to myself? (that and our night at the hot springs!)
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last night i planted cucumbers, beans, zucchini, dill, beets, butternut squash, pumpkin, and watermelon. i also added some dirt to the potatoes, to make them grow higher, and i planned out where the tomatoes will go (and just now remembered -- where will the eggplants go?).

(if even one-tenth of these is viable, holy cow what a summer it will be.)

meanwhile, the peas are already producing, and we have thyme, oregano, chives, leeks, rhubarb and strawberries growing like crazy, and grapes on the way.

i tracked all my new plantings over at myfolia, which i hadn't visited in a while, and i laughed to see the old photo of the garden. the yard has exploded into so much foliage and flowers that it is hard to keep track of everything now.

an an example, check out the chive plant in april, in the middle of the left bed:



and here is the insanity of chives now:



i need a better comparison to show the craziness going on at the back fence, too. where before there were a few lone lavender and rosemary plants, there are now poppies, irises, foxglove, and about a dozen other annuals i can't identify yet. crazy!
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(the chicago airport hilton, courtesy of my employer)

1. a comb or brush (my fingers)
2. contact lens case (water bottle top + ketchup bottle top)
3. glasses (blindness)
4. pyjamas (nekkidity)

oh dear oh dear. i am so happy to finally be home! chicago was fun enough but dirty and humid.
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this weekend, for our sixth anniversary, kirk and i bought each other bicycles.

my new bike!


kirk's new bike!


we went for a ride around the neighborhood, during which i did not die or fall over once! wow. though my ass does hurt. supposedly i will "get used to" my pelvis being arbitrarily split in two, though i have my doubts.
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i made quiche for the first time tonight, in a new tart pan (with removable bottom!) that i bought especially for this. (okay, maybe also for other nefarious dessert purposes.) it was so simple, could easily be made in a regular pie crust if you add a few extra eggs. click click click for the full recipe at flickr.
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this weekend:
lemon curd cheesecake (first cheesecake i have ever attempted!)


our family's traditional easter bread
Easter Bread

ogling the country sheep
Sheep at my favorite farmhouse
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we bought a new haircut kit at fred meyer this weekend because the old one was loud and buzzy and heavy and rusty. this one nearly choked on kirk's hair, but it pulled through.
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today in the yard i:
  • raked the leaves off the pathways
  • discovered most of the front yard is actually moss
  • repaired part of the stone wall that had tumbled down
  • clipped back the rhododendron so it doesn't block the walkway
  • removed parts of a vine that are choking a tree in the backyard
  • cut down the sunflowers along the fence where they were rotting
  • took down part of a trellis that had come apart
  • discovered some mystery beans in cranberry-striped pods under the trellis:


Mystery beans from the garden
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put up today:

12 quart jars
4 pint jars
4 quart freezer containers


that's 4.5 gallons of preserved tomato sauce.

the tomato invasion is almost finished. the stove has been running nearly continuously all day long, and thankfully it is a nice crisp autumn day. my parents are even putting cold frames on the garden because there are a lot of unripe tomatoes still on the vines, but tonight it will get down to the 30s for the first time, so they need a little help. they are raised beds, so now they look like little greenhouses made from scrap windows -- all salvaged from the old cabin that was torn down on the property.

i am dreaming of making cheese for my next kitchen project.


i realize i mainly want to live in an old farmhouse because it would have a nice cold cellar to keep things in. like vegetables, homebrew beer, wine, and preserved things. it is hard to follow heritage foodways when you don't have a proper cold cellar.
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today i bought a vintage argoflex 75 camera:



here is kirk, through the viewfinder:



more pictures through the viewfinder.

kirk bought a slide rule in a leather case. it is beautiful. he used one in middle school, but doesn't recall its operation any more. i think it is rather magical looking, actually. we talked and dreamed about our future house, in which the study lined with books will feature an antique case in which we can showcase oddities like the slide rule. one day.
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new shoes i bought yesterday. so comfortable! they are the first pair of high heels i have been able to wear since the surgery last summer. the scar is not pretty to me -- the line is not tight and too blurred, and i am still kind of self-conscious about it. i've definitely caught some stares in public. the hardware is not painful, but i hate how it deforms the line of my already-lumpy, short ankles.


in other news, it turns out that a job i was going to apply for today is not on a portland campus, but rather in klamath falls, a six hour drive south of here. boo hiss.
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kirk and i were married on sunday.
it was beautiful and ten million kinds of amazing.



we are honeymooning on the oregon coast, where everything is bright and grey and just cool enough to make you want a sweatshirt at the beach. life is such perfection right now, i can hardly believe it. but it's true.
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last night after we had turned out the lights i was seized with a deep need to find:

1)

a kenner family tree house, and

2)

the woodsey squirrel family log home.

kirk went to get my laptop and watched while i looked them up.

memories of the tree house elevator were just stuck in my brain, though i couldn't recall all the details until i looked it up. but the button that makes the treetop pop up! oh. and the painted-on hanging plants that looked just like ours! and the feel of the woodsey squirrels' little brown chairs! and you could put your fingers in their sleeves, like little puppets. they came with a storybook, "lightning strikes twice," which terrified me. i don't know what ever happened to all this stuff -- i suspect my mother gave most of it away to her church, if it wasn't destroyed already by my siblings.

oh, toys.

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