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Reunion

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I haven’t been back to my hometown since April of 2009 when Emily and I flew out to attend my mother’s memorial service. As a geographical location, it’s nowhere near my favorite place. It has become, in my perception, a desolate wasteland full of bad memories and disappointments. I couldn’t wait to get out of there as a teenager, and much to my family’s disappointment, it’s a place I hope I never have to live in again. For it is only my family that ever compelled me to go back there.

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They are a gang of boisterous misfits, and when they all get together, it will be loud. There will be a large pile of empty beer cans by the end of the day, and likely something stronger, and possibly illicit. Though I’ve never really been drunk in front of my family, it certainly wouldn’t be a scandal.

One thing I’ve inherited from them is my outspokenness. My husband often laments my desire to debate a point endlessly. Debating was a common past time at my family gatherings, and I’ve become skilled by learning from the best. I was taught to be open-minded and strong-willed. Two things I am very grateful for.

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I am thrilled at the prospect of seeing several of my family members soon, and this time I’m making them come to me. It’s often said that many families only gather at weddings and funerals. I am only too happy to provide the former occasion, and in beautiful Honolulu instead of dreary Kennewick. I’m even excited to see my stubborn, conservative, little brother and his family. Political arguments may ensue. That’s just how things work.

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I also learned today that my grandmothers are booking their trips, which was a wonderful surprise. Talk about strong women. These ladies are tough and sweet, and they’ve made me a better person.

For a long time after my mom died, I had trouble facing that part of my life. I separated myself from a lot of who, what, and where I had been before. I’m more than ready to reunite with my family for a while. I can hardly believe they are honoring me with their presence at my wedding.

I’m am a bit concerned about how my in-laws will react. Eek!

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Keeping Warm

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I live on a tropical island, but I work in a refrigerator. My office is absolutely freezing every day. I woke up feeling cold and sick, so spending a day in a frigid cubicle was the last thing I wanted to do. But temps don’t get paid if they don’t show up, so all I could do was dream about coming home and getting under a blanket and not moving. So that’s exactly what I’ve done this evening.

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I should have done the dishes. I should have cleaned the bathroom. I should have gone for a walk and gotten some exercise. But my head is fuzzy, my feet are freezing, and I just can’t seem to find the energy to get off the couch. I’ve made myself a little cocoon, and I’m waiting for my poor overworked husband to come home. I should have made him dinner. That would have been the right thing to do. But I’m still just sitting here. Maybe he’ll show up with a pizza. One can but hope.

I’ve spent this cuddled up evening watching some Oscar nominated documentaries. Not the heartwarming kind that make you feel all happy about life and ready to conquer the world, but the infuriating kind. I’m doing my best not to rant about the military covering up rapes. It makes me want to scream every time someone blames the victim. It’s disgusting.

Okay, I tried. It pisses me off. A lot.

I’m hoping I can get to bed early and not have to go to work feeling sick again. It’s ridiculous that people should have to dress in winter clothes to work in a place that is artificially cooled. What a waste of energy.

Grab your blankets, kids. I know a lot of you are in places that are actually cold. It will make you feel better.

No Responsibilities

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I had absolutely nothing that I HAD to do on Thursday.  No responsibilities, no pressing chores, no plans whatsoever.  It.  was.  glorious.  It had been a long time since I had a day with absolutely no responsibilities, and boy did I enjoy it.  I stayed in bed as long as I liked.  I cleaned the house at my leisure.  I read books.  I poked around pinterest.  I took a nice long nap.  Amazing.

It was a rainy day, so of course I made myself nice and cozy.  I had hot chocolate and snuggled up with a book at one point.  What’s better than that?

I even got to spend a bunch of leisurely time in the kitchen.  I made a chocolate lime tart which got a bit confused in the translation from an English to an American recipe, but I know exactly how to fix it, so it will come out better next time.  Even though the crust was a bit crumbly, the results were still amazingly delicious.  It was just tart enough to tweak the back of your mouth, but not so tart as to become distasteful.  And the little bursts of dark chocolate here and there were perfect.  Once I make the crust tighter, it will be even more amazing.

I also tried to use up my leftover turkey in a tortilla soup.  A big pot of soup is the perfect thing to make on a drizzly day.  It fills the house with a great aroma, and it’s so hearty and warming.  I thought the soup came out really nicely, even though the turkey was a bit tough, as I knew it probably would be.  But the rest of the soup, especially with plenty of cheese was very tasty.  Geoff, on the other hand, for some inexplicable reason, seems to hate all things corn.  This includes jalapeno corn muffins, corn tortillas, and even corn on the cob.  Who doesn’t love sweet summer corn?  I think he might be a little insane.  He also doesn’t like cinnamon.  What a nutball.

It was a replenishing day.  I hope I have a few more of them in my future.  I miss doing nothing every now and then.  Specifically, I miss doing nothing and not having to feel guilty about it because I know I worked hard earlier and I deserve it.  Here’s to days off.  Enjoy them when you can get them.

On Staying in Bed

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Tuesdays are consistently my toughest day at work.  Island Sole receives their shipment on that day, and there is, undoubtedly, a great amount of physical labor to be done.  I’m usually pretty worn out when it’s all done.

Wednesdays are usually one of my easiest days.  I don’t go into work until 5:00 pm, so it’s the closest thing I have to a day off.  The debate is always whether I should relax and enjoy it or get my butt up and do some work.  My house is a mess.  There’s shopping and errands that need to be done.  The world awaits.  And yet, there’s also a soft bed inviting me to be ever so lazy.  It’s nearly impossible to resist.

I am a profoundly lazy person.  I never view reading a book or watching a movie as wasting time.  Consuming the stories of our generation serves to lead us to a deeper understanding of our culture and humanity in general.  Staying in bed and reading a book could be the path to becoming one with the universe.

Seriously though, somebody tell me it’s okay to just hang out right here all day with my library books and my laptop.  I don’t want to do the dishes.  I don’t want to fold the laundry.  I want hot chocolate and literature and soft pillows today.  I want to go to other places without ever leaving my bed.  I want to be comfortable and cozy.

Damn, it’s time to clean the kitchen.

Conflicted

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I grew up in the desert.  It was dry and dusty.  We had actual tumbleweeds like in old Westerns.  Dry electrical storms were not uncommon in the late summer.  We had dust storms that blocked out the sun in the middle of the day.  Like the kind that drove all the Okies off their land.  Serious Grapes of Wrath stuff.  It hardly ever rained.  And when it did, it was a joyous occasion, at least to me.  I absolutely loved going out and playing in the rain.  When I first moved to Oklahoma, I was amazed by the thunderstorms accompanied by a tremendous downpour.  I’d never seen anything like it before.

We have the most beautiful rain in Honolulu.  It’s light and soft and clean.  It smells of the very essence of freshness.  Most often it falls in a light mist that tickles your skin.  I love the rain here.

So why am I conflicted?  Well, we’ve had quite a bit of this beautiful rain in the past 24 hours.  I managed to not have to drive in it, but my clothes were not so lucky.  See, I do laundry on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Monday evening  I forgot to bring the clothes in, and there was a huge rain storm Monday night.  I mentioned yesterday about how my clothes were still drying, I think.  See, I only have three work shirts, and I had to work at noon yesterday.  All of my shirts were either dirty, or hanging on the line.

Thanks to all that rain, I decided to wash everything again, as it was now wetter than it was when I first pulled it out of the wash.  Unfortunately we had several more showers throughout the day.  I managed to salvage one shirt and bring it in before it got too soaked a second time.  I used my blow dryer to get it to a damp stage, but still ended up going to work in a slightly wet shirt.  As of this moment, all five lines are full of clothes.  It is sunny at the moment.  I’m hoping it stays that way long enough for my clothes to dry.  We’re running out of underwear over here.

In conclusion, I still love rain.  I’d just appreciate it if it would hold off in the early part of the week.  Rain on Thurday is absolutely no problem.  Bring it on.  I love it.

All Snow White Up In Here

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I spend a lot of time at the mall these days.  And I don’t even get to come home with anything cute unless it’s given to me for work.  Four new pairs of flip flops, while appreciated, don’t really sate my fashion lust.  But with all of this time away from home, it’s been difficult to keep up with the housework.  Warning:  The images you are about to see may be offensive to those of you who always have a spotlessly clean house.  P.S.  You suck.

Even with my husband doing some of the dishes the night before, there was plenty left to wash up in the sink.  Remnants of the peanut butter pie I made Monday night.  I left for work early on Tuesday and fell asleep by 8:00 pm, so by Wednesday morning, all this stuff was still hanging around.

Exhaustion also means I just let thing stay wherever they land in the living room.  You honestly expect me to walk all the way to the trash can or the laundry basket?  Give me a break.  That stuff can just stay where it is for a little while longer.

This picture doesn’t even show the heap of books and cords on my side of the bed.  It does, however, feature the pile of dirty laundry waiting to be washed, hung up, and put away, as well as the empty cup of tea that allowed me to actually get out of bed and take these photos.

I spent all of Wednesday morning dutifully cleaning my apartment.  I even vacuumed.  I hate cleaning.  It’s not my forte.  But for the lack of merrily singing woodland creatures, it was like something out of a fairy tale in here.  I never clean that much in one day, but I wanted my prince to come home to a shining castle.

I know some people are neat freaks and would never dream of making toast without lifting up the toaster to clean underneath it.  Not my style.  My house never gets that disgusting.  Mostly just a bit untidy.  But it only gets cleaned once a day, time allowing.  I have more important things to do.

So now everything is nicely wash, folded, put away, and disinfected.  I had the pleasure of taking a walk to the beach with my husband on Wednesday afternoon, since he had a half day, and I didn’t have to work until 5:00.  I love that guy.  He’s amazing.  Beach time is truly quality time with him.  I’m always grateful for it and wish there was more.

It feels nice to be lounging around a clean house.  Now to get up the energy to do something about the stupid recycling.  I just can’t bring myself to put it out with the trash.  I shall sigh and rise from my bed to wrestle with it.  What should I buy with my two dollars?

 

Renaissance Man

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My husband has been so impressive lately.  Not only has he been managing his new job with aplomb, receiving glowing compliments at every turn, but he’s also quite handy around the house.  Yesterday while I was at work, he managed to clog and then unclog the toilet without a plunger.  I’m not quite sure how he did it.  Something about Google and pouring water from a great height.

He also made some habanero tacos from scratch.  They were pretty tasty and definitely left my mouth on fire.  And he did it without looking at the recipe.  Not quite sure how he can survive that, but it seems to work for everyone else but me.  I guess I’m too uptight in the kitchen.  I think I failed miserably, once again, at refraining from being a terrible back seat chef.

He’s also been working tirelessly every morning and evening to turn our meager little back yard into a beautiful garden.  This is where we eat most of our meals now.  There were already a few things growing when we moved in, but he’s done some landscaping and added quite a few new features, like this areca palm.  No idea how big that thing is gonna get.

We have some orange ginger plants coming in.  If these are half as beautiful as the red ginger growing along the fence, they’ll be spectacular.  They’re a bit eaten at the moment.  I pretend it’s food for caterpillars that will grow into butterflies.  Probably not.

Not everything in the garden is just for show. Some things are also for eating.  We have Italian parsley, Thai basil, garlic chives, Hawaiin chili, rosemary, and habaneros.  Now I can laugh every time I go to the grocery store and see people paying five dollars for a bundle of fresh herbs when that’s what we paid for a whole plant.

Do I know what these are?  No idea.  What I do know is that Geoff said he tried to get as many purple things as possible because he knew that was my favorite color.  Wait, my sources are telling me this is a venia plant.  Whatever.  It’s pretty, and it smells nice.

This is another view of the herb/chili garden and just a smidge of the rockery.  I didn’t know a pile of rocks was called a rockery.  One must never stop learning.  Geoff built this to attract lizards into the garden.  The rocks warm up during the day, and the lizards come out to sun themselves and battle for territory with head bobs and neck flaring.  It’s all very exciting.

Yay for more purple flowers.  These are…  torinia.  They remind me of the singing flowers in Alice and Wonderland.  Yes, I’m that weird.

In case lizards weren’t enough, we also attract tons of birds to our backyard with this bird feeder.  Every time I open the back door to do the laundry, I hear a whoosh of wings.  Occasionally, the birds poop on my drying clothes, but mostly I enjoy them.  Geoff has been knowm to spy on them from the window of Emily’s room.

I love our garden.  It makes this place feel more like our home.  The inside is still very sparse.  We haven’t had much time or money for decorating, but the garden is entirely Geoff’s creation.  He’s made it so beautiful.  I love that he has a project that’s making him so happy.  I also know he’s disappointed that we can’t have a pet, so I hope this is helping a little.  Why not come over for dinner?  We’ll use some of the fresh herbs, and we can sip wine next to the ginger plants while watching the lizards scurry past.  It’ll be sweet.