Monthly Archives: April 2013

Famous Last Words, Home Improvement Edition

It was supposed to be a simple weekend project.

No one’s ever said THAT before, have they? Didn’t think so.

Our house has hurricane shutters on the exterior of the sunroom. They were in sore need of re-painting.


The plan was simple:

1. Remove hurricane shutters.

2. Pressure wash.

3. Paint.

4. Re-hang.

Steps 1 and 2 went fairly swimmingly. Jason enjoyed the pressure-washing so much that he went ahead and cleaned the driveway and sidewalks.


We hit a snag at Step 3. We bought seven cans of Valspar’s outdoor spray paint and got to work. But the wood was so dry from long sun exposure it simply sucked in the paint and asked for more. We would have used all seven cans on one side of one shutter.

Ruh roh.

I asked Facebook if anyone had a paint sprayer we could borrow, and lo and behold, our friends came through. We returned the unused cans of spray paint and bought a gallon of the same color.

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After that the painting was much easier, although part of our yard now looks like the Smurf Killing Fields.


Jason also now has a dedicated Painting Outfit. Good times.

The shutters, however, look FANTASTIC.


They even look great from inside the sunroom, and give the light in there a nice cool quality.


To sum up: This project ended up taking a week to complete, and cost about $50.  The generosity of friends is invaluable – if we’d had to rent or buy a pressure washer and paint sprayer, the cost would be significantly higher.

And here’s the B&A…..


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I love the pop of color. They even match the pool liner, which I didn’t realize until they were installed. Bonus!

This was another project that’s been on our radar since we bought the house, and it was tremendously satisfying to finally check it off. Don’t worry, though – there’s always more to do around the house. Joys of Home Ownership, Chapter 3495723409587.



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Fursday Homer Update

Yesterday, the rescue was contacted by people claiming to be Homer’s prior owners. They sent photos of their dog, Stew, for comparison.





I carefully compared the markings in the pictures. See the unusual pattern on the dog’s right leg? Identical. You can also clearly see the damaged right eye in both photos (my photo of Homer on the left, submitted photo of Stew on the right):


I’m not a professional dog identifier, but I’d say it’s the same animal.


The City of Tallahassee’s animal control ordinance states that after a five-day hold at the animal shelter, any animal picked up by Animal Control becomes the property of the City. So the owners do not have any legal right to this dog.

Additionally, the rescue called the dog’s prior vet. He’d not been seen since 2010, and not had heartworm medication since 2008. The prior owners said that the dog had gotten out several times, and on one occasion was hit by a car (which injured his right eye).

The rescue lady told me that the prior owners did not necessarily want to re-claim or re-adopt their dog, but just wanted to know that he was safe.

Which he is.

It’s helpful to have a more complete veterinary history on Homer, and I’m glad that his prior owners know he’s OK. Hopefully his future owner is looking at his Petfinder profile right this minute. Wish him luck.


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WIWW: Pool Season

The children have kicked off pool season by freezing their tails off in the still-chilly water. I usually don’t brave the pool until Memorial Day.

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This week I tried another Pinterest copycat look. Here is the original, from “What Would a Nerd Wear”:

And here is my take:


I swapped out the pink button-down for a tank, because it was hot last week, and yes, I did wear shoes.

Saturday I took advantage of the Loft Friends & Family sale, which was filled with cute summer items.

Like this skirt and sunwashed tee:


I have a feeling I’ll be wearing this black-and-white linen skirt on heavy rotation this summer. Also, I heart the combination of the light teal tee with the darker teal wedge.

I also got this navy-and-teal dressy tee on clearance. HUZZAH:


Have a lovely week!

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WIWW: Hiatus

Why hello there.

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This week I only took one photograph. I decided to make it extra special by pointing at something. IMG_7409

Lace tee and wedges: Target

Skirt and necklace: Loft

Have a lovely week.


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Day Trip: USS Alabama

Over the weekend, Tyler’s cub scout pack went on a trip to the USS Alabama, a WWII-era battleship that now resides in Mobile Bay.

I have to admit, it was much cooler than I expected.IMG_7434

It hasn’t been modernized/updated/changed much since its days in active service. There are no staircases, no elevators, and very few added safety features like handrails and fences.

However, this means that you can really experience the ship as it was during World War II, which is really neat.


The tour offered is self-guided and easy to follow. It takes you all over the ship, from the upper tower down to the engine rooms, and lasts about two hours.


The engine room – kind of terrifying. So many things for little boys to test.

There are plenty of other things to see at the park – the submarine USS Drum and various aircraft.


My favorite part was the fact that the kids could actually touch things. And by “touch things” I mean “pretend to shoot each other.”

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If you’re thinking about touring the Alabama, here are some pros and cons:

On the one hand……

1. It’s easy to get to, just a few hundred feet from I-10.

2. It’s an “authentic” WWII-era experience. You really get a feel for what life aboard the battleship would have been like.

3. It’s very hands-on, which makes it fun for families. The self-guided tour lets you explore at your own pace.

On the other hand……

1. The ladders and narrow passages can be challenging for families with small children, or anyone who has mobility issues. On the other hand, if the weather is nice, there is plenty to see on the wooden deck of the ship.

2. See #2 above. This can go both ways. The interior lighting is dim and there aren’t many creature comforts.

3. If you’re bad at following directions, the self-guided tour may be a challenge.


I would definitely recommend this trip to individuals and families with older kids. The battleship allows Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts to spend the night onboard (but not together!).

This is a nice-weather activity, but might be a bit brutal in the middle of summer. The breeze from the bay helps.


The sunsets aren’t bad, either.

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Fursday Homer Update

Homer got his stitches out on Saturday morning, and he’s a much happier pup.

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He’s back to eating regular food and being tormented by the cat.


And napping. Lots of napping.


See his little eyelashes on his left eye? I love those.

He’s still sporting a bit of a bald spot where Dr. Bevis had to shave his face for surgery, but once it grows in the missing eye should be barely noticeable. Thanks, convenient dog breed markings!

The rescue group has requested photos to put on his Petfinder ad, so again, if you have any interest in this laid-back boy, let me know.

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WIWW: Springy

I think we’re pretty firmly in “spring” territory down here. This weekend I packed up my heated mattress pad (which, honestly, is one of the best things I’ve ever bought. Takes the chill right out of the bed in the winter. I turn it on about 5 minutes before bedtime, and turn it off when I crawl in. Heaven.).

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Wednesday: My hair is not, in reality, massively uneven. Honest.

This falls squarely in the category of Good Work Outfit – nothing terribly exciting, but it’s clean and doesn’t itch. Moving on.


Thursday: Better work outfit! I paired my knit blazer with my favorite summer dress. It was knitastic.


Friday: Fun with Scarves. I love this scarf, but it’s enormously fluffy. When I try to wear it infinity-style, it looks like I’m being eaten. Or birthed. Either way, it’s not good. Tying it at the bottom weighs it down and tames it.


Sunday I did something completely daring. I wore a hat IN PUBLIC. And by “in public” I mean “to Lowe’s.” I love hats, but lack the courage of my convictions to wear them. But they’re so useful (see how my eyes are shaded? Genius!), and cute.


And back to work on Monday. I love this shirt, because it’s colorful and light and screams SPRING, but I hate it because I have to iron it every time I wear it. Lame.


Have a lovely week!

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Let’s Talk About Our Feelings

In November of 1992, I was given a journal for my 13th birthday.IMG_7311

I filled it up in four months, then got another. And another. And another. I kept a journal from 1992 until around 2006, when I was 26 years old. Those journals were my security blanket, my therapy, my way to vent.

I kept them all.


Hollyn will be 13 in September, and she is definitely starting to act like a middle schooler/alien being.

I thought it would be fun to compare Hollyn at almost-13 with myself at the same time. I remember myself as being very different from her – bookish and introverted, with a string of not-very-awesome haircuts and an ocean of Deep Thoughts.

So I sat down with my first journal, and read it all the way through. The girl I encountered in it was neither bookish nor deep. In fact, one thought kept repeating in my head, over and over, page after page.

Oh my God I was such an asshat.

I was so angry all the time. This may be because I used the journal when I was upset, but MAN does it leave a bad impression. Also, I wasted most of my ink writing about stupid boys, and wondering why they didn’t like me. I made countless lists – these are the boys I like, these are the clothes I bought for school, these are my friends, these are my enemies.

I wanted to punch my 13-year-old self square in the face.

Anything I would want to know NOW – what classes I enjoyed, what books I was reading, what experiences made an impression – are lost. I only saved the superficial, shallow details.

My journal looks an awful lot like Hollyn’s Instagram feed.


Part of me is too mortified to consider sharing these journals with her. But what I will attempt to share with her is a little perspective. See these lists of people I called my best friends? I can barely remember half of them. I don’t talk to any of them. Without Facebook, they would be totally lost to time. I wrote pages and pages and pages about how I was destined to marry this one boy (or maybe that one, or that one over there – it changed monthly), and how I could never see myself happy with anyone else…. and I grew up to marry a better man than any of them. In fact, it was after I stopped keeping a journal – stopped documenting every hurt instead of addressing them in real life – that I finally met someone I could be my whole self with.

Among all the children, Hollyn is the one most hung up on the past, on the divorce. She’s said things like, “My life didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to.” By which she means, “My life didn’t turn out like I expected it to when I was nine years old.”

Mine didn’t either. Thank God.

I will also try to point out to her that almost no one her age feels like their life is on the right track, whether you have married parents, divorced parents, single parents, or no parents. And clinging to “the way things were supposed to be” is a sure way to miss all the wonderful ways that things ARE.

I hope I can get her to put down her iPod long enough for the message to sink in.

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WIWW: No Sleep Til Brooklyn

By which I mean, “no days off until Memorial Day, which feels like approximately forever from now.”

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Thursday: When in doubt, accessorize with cats.IMG_7322

Friday we had a half day at work, so I broke all the rules and wore jeans. In fact, these jeans started life as boot-cuts, but I DIYed them into straight-cut jeans using this wonderfully simple tutorial from Domestic Ingenuity.

(As an aside, what makes jeans “Jeans” for purposes of the work dress code? The black corduroys above are cut like jeans – with rivets and everything – but are not jeans. Most of my denim pants are cut like trousers, with no rivets or back pockets. It’s very confusing.)


Saturday night we dressed up a little bit for Easter dinner:

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Tuesday I wore a legitimately spring-y outfit. I bought this dress years ago and still love it. So easy.


Have a lovely week!


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I thought I was doing well in the run-up to Easter. I managed to avoid the flyers from Target urging me to buy the children Christmas-level gifts. I rolled my eyes at the picture of Jesus that showed up in my Facebook feed, instructing me to “Like if you believe I’ll come back from the dead.” I resisted the urge to create an Easter board on Pinterest, and I didn’t do any Easter crafts (my feelings about religious Easter crafts can pretty much be summed up by this post on some fresh hell called “Resurrection Rolls”).

It was a simple advertisement e-mail that put me over the edge.


Whaaaaaaaat?! Spring Black Friday? Are you kidding me?

Easter, it turns out, has become kind of insufferable.

As I sat in church on Sunday, watching family after family sneak out early (presumably to attend to Easter luncheon preparations), I tried to work out why this bothers me so much. After all, 99% of the religious symbolism has been sucked out of Christmas – why should Easter’s secularization irritate me?

1. There is a fundamental difference between Christmas and Easter.

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. While Christians believe that Jesus’ conception was miraculous, there is nothing to suggest that the belief in Jesus’ birth requires any leap of faith. The only miracle is that neither mother nor baby died of sepsis, considering the whole birth-in-a-stable thing.

Scholars and historians have come to the consensus that Jesus of Nazareth was a historical person. Islam considers him a great prophet, and while neither it nor Judiasm accept Jesus as the Messiah, both acknowledge his existence. His message of love, kindness, and compassion is appealing to broad swaths of humanity, regardless of whether you believe in his divinity or resurrection. “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is not a terrible idea. And it’s not unheard-of to have holidays for other great people – Martin Luther King, Jr. day comes to mind.

On the other hand, Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, in fulfillment of the prophecies and for the salvation of the world. This is radically different from a birthday party. In order to celebrate Easter, you  must believe very specific things – that Jesus was, in fact, the Messiah; that he was crucified and was no-kidding dead, and that after three days he came back – not like a zombie, but as himself. No other faith believes these things, no other faith celebrates these things. It’s what makes us Christians. It’s kind of a big deal.

2. Christmas church doesn’t interfere with Christmas celebrations.

Most Christians, even “Christmas-and-Easter” Christians, attend church on Christmas Eve, not Christmas Day. The church part is kept separate from the secular part, unless Christmas Day happens to fall on Sunday (egad).

Not so with Easter. As I watched people furtively file out after the sermon on Sunday to attend to meal preparations, I became quite sad. The church part is THE WHOLE POINT.

3. It’s not necessarily a HAPPY occasion.

Birthday parties are fun. Giving gifts is fun. Christmas is fun. Everyone loves the safe delivery of a baby. Yeay babies!

Easter? Not so much with the fun. While the empty tomb is certainly cause for celebration, it’s a solemn celebration – because if the empty tomb Means What We Think It Means, it changes everything. The days leading up to Easter are mired in death and despair several orders of magnitude greater than “no room in the inn.” The light of Easter morning shines so brightly is because it stands in contrast to the darkness of the previous week.

4. So what?

I am not immune to the powers of popular culture, and I’m not proposing that my family renounce the secular side of Easter. Two years ago, Tyler spent Easter with his father. He called me in tears on Easter Sunday, because “the Easter Bunny forgot about me.” Tyler left his basket out on Saturday night; his father left it empty (and never explained why). My heart broke for Tyler – I told him that his things may have been delivered to the wrong address (we’d recently moved) and that I would figure out what happened. I hung up with him and drove to the store to paw through the now-on-clearance Easter candy, desperate to make my son feel  less unloved.

The myth of the magic bunny is strong.

I decided to try a small compromise.

This year Jason and I decided to have Easter dinner on Saturday night instead of Sunday. I guess my thought process was that Saturday night would have been when a good meal and good fellowship would be most needed. It was wonderful – we were able to relax and enjoy preparing the meal. Church did not feel like an interruption or a scheduling hurdle; rather, it was something to look forward to the next day.

The children left their baskets out on Saturday night, but they were small baskets. And on Sunday morning they were
filled with a few treats. No toys. No clothes. No electronics. After breakfast, we got dressed, took some pictures in the front yard, and went to church. I was able to listen, to be present, without distraction. And I enjoyed it.

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