So. Hi. It's been awhile.

We went away for our anniversary trip and then life just sort of got evaporated in the fire of 10,000 suns. Er, a heatwave.

We survived, of course. Two weeks of 100+ is no big deal in the grand scheme of things. We had Bushmills on the rocks and trips to the ocean and a day of napping beneath the fan in the yoga/dance/game/TV room.

And frozen watermelon slushies - my WORD! (Seriously - 8 frozen strawberries, 1/4 frozen super ripe watermelon, a few blueberries just for fun - Holy Crap! Mind blowing. Especially when your house is 110 degrees.)

And, though it is still very much Summer here, things are cooling down enough to think straight again.

~ ~ ~

Part of thinking straight is re-visiting our response to our landlord. We were so hurt and angry and frustrated that they would a) take the tree out for no good reason b) in the middle of a heatwave when we had no AC c) not care, and d) leave a giant pile of mulch in the lawn for US to move - that we basically pouted.

I stopped watering the front lawn. We pulled our porch furniture and our decorative statuary and declared, "This house is dead to us! Dead!" We frantically tried to find ways to break our lease and leave early and just move, dangit. Even considered bumping up our house purchasing plan 4 years because we were tired of Idiots Ruining Our Lives, etc. etc.

But. Yesterday, after a month of gnashing our teeth and rending our garments, we decided that logistically, unless the Perfect Perfect Perrrrrrr-fect rental comes along and the stars align and our ducks stay nicely in a row - we just can't leave til after the holidays. There is just too much going on.

So. We stay for awhile.

~ ~ ~

This decision feels right. And by this morning we'd decided to put the furniture back (and the statuary). And not only will we water the lawn, but we will also plant things in the newly sun-drenched flowerbeds.

Perennials, even.

Lantana. Our favorite. (Well, except roses (MM) and zinnias (me).)

When we moved here, it felt like the right place for us to be. And we wanted to be a blessing to the neighborhood. It's a quiet and unfriendly (though polite) neighborhood, where people don't really know each other or act neighborly. And us sitting on our front porch a lot, gave us the chance to do that. We've gone beyond remarks on the weather and had real conversations.

We don't want to let our butthead landlord spoil that for us. "We want to return good for evil," MM said.

We don't know when we will be moving, really. (Our ducks move around a LOT.) But no sooner than the new year. And until then we want to bring Life and beauty into barren spaces. And, oh, if any of our conversations are an indicator, there are some seriously barren spaces in this neighborhood.

The dead parts in me need to be cultivated and nurtured and brought to life, too. So, win-win. And hopefully the house, and my soul will be in better shape by the time we move on.


thursdaybook - dog days edition

For today I am,

Seeing... The dog days of Summer in all their glory. It is hot, folks. H-O-T. And we have no tree. And no AC. Our house is a Pepto Bismol Pink Easy Bake Oven. And all the blinds have begun breaking, so in the bedroom, we had to tack up beach towels. (Klassy!) Between that, and the Giant Pile of Mulch in the (dead) front lawn, we're looking pretty white trash these days. Oh, neighbors. We had so wanted to be your friends.

Hearing... The tap-tap-tap, click-click-click of MM as he designs a database. He's working from home in the Easy Bake Oven, poor guy. Nice for me though, to have him here. He's cute. (I just winked at him, but he didn't see. His brain is in Database Land. I'll try again when he comes up for air. And coffee.

Tasting... Which is what I'm tasting. Not great coffee, though. Because our tap water is super chlorinated, it makes coffee taste gross to me. We buy me spring water or distilled, but we ran out this morning, so the coffee is nice and chlorine-y.

There are some chlorine-y things I love - like when I clean my bathroom with bleach, or add a little to the water when washing my floors. It feels CLEAN to me. And if I get enough of the water/chlorine ratio on a hot day, it reminds me of swimming in a pool. Man, I spent hundreds of summer days in pools. That awesome feeling of coming home so hungry and so tired. There is nothing like the deep sleep that comes the night after playing all day in the sun and water. Like Ann Lindburg's "the sleep of good children."

Working... My main work these days is finding work. I'm updating my website, writing up portfolio pieces, revamping my resume. All this takes lots of thinking, which is giving my brain cells a workout. I'm tired at the end of the day. Last night I slept 9.5 hours, and could have probably slept longer. But, it's good.

Creating... Well. I'm doing a lot of writing and some designing. I'm behind on a lot of creative projects, and my art project is languishing. I just don't have a lot of energy left after the soul work and the work work.

But, I did use a food processor for the first time to make cauliflower rice. Very cool. Two bursts with the pulse button - done. Takes, like 30 minutes to chop by hand. And, last night, I cooked with shallots for the first time. Made an amazing pasta sauce. I know those aren't creative, but they were new and exciting, which is what creating feels like, so I'm putting them in this section.

Reading... We are blasting through books in the EasyBake!

Today, I'm finishing upBirthright, the last of my library stack today. (Good timing, as it was due yesterday. I'll be 10 cents poorer this afternoon.)  That one had some very exciting bits. Duels, guns, assassination attempts, perjury, kidnapping, woah Nelly Olsen! So far, the best of the biographies.

I'm late on this because I took a couple days to read Matthew Paul Turner's book, Churched, a memoir of growing up in a Fundamentalist home. Funny and poignant. We read his blog, and MM follows him on Twitter, so it was fun to read a bit of his story. Made me laugh.

A lot, actually. And had this funny moment with MM. We both grew up in Evangelical circles, and find that we both learned some of the same Sunday School songs. Its fun when something reminds each of us of the same song, and we have those little, "Hey, you know that one too!" moments. Well, this book had a reference to one of my Sunday School songs, and I'm trying to read it to MM, and I"m laughing so hard I'm snorting and crying and have to try several times before I can get it all out coherently. And he didn't remember the song. All that hillarity and effort and it was a bust. Oh well. I still had fun.

I may pick up a few more biographies for the last month of summer, but at home I'm down to:

Bookbag - The Story of Philosophy
Read Alouds with MM - Pascqualle's Nose and Changes that Heal

Learning... How to work a food processor... how to make more paleo dishes. Little by little, I'm putting together my own collection of recipes. If I can add even one new thing each month, eventually, we'll have a fun rotation of meals. Hard for a non-foodie like me, but it's happening. The new lunch system and the food processor were both encouraging. Things feel simpler now. I have breathing room to figure this out.

Moving Around... Stole this from my friend Rachel. It's mostly too hot for moving around, but I at least got the yoga/tv/dancing/game room ready to rock and roll. We'd set up our comfy chairs in there for a movie marathon and left them there for a few weeks. Now the floorspace is clear and today will be my first day back to stretching. I'd halted my 100 pushups/situps/etc. program when my hands and knee started hurting, but I'm feeling like I can begin again. Adding in some exercises for hands and knees this time. Next year, I'll be lifting weights - Booyah!

I also went an a nice walk with a friend the other day. And I'm hoping for another one tomorrow. If we go early enough in the day, it's nice under the trees. Of our neighbors. Because we don't have a tree. I'm totally not bitter.

I also went on a short bike ride yesterday. We've not gone in a month, or so, and should get back to it. MM loves bike riding, and we're right by the river trail. It's just hard to get motivated to do it in 100+ weather. Soon.

Dreaming... Of a new career direction... of travel plans... of moving to a new house with a landlord that doesn't cut down shade trees in July. (see? totally not bitter.)... And, weirdly, of Will Ferrel as a zombie who kept trying to steal my truck. Not really sure what's up with that.

Thankful for... A big glass of iced Jasmine Green tea... Friends that make me laugh... the new lunch system... the food processor... an emotionally supportive husband... zinnias and crepe myrtles, and the smell of the sidewalk after a summer thunderstorm... ibuprofen... $10 dancing lessons...