Saturday, December 31, 2011

One-Hit Wonders: December 2011 terms inexplicably pulling up my blog...
  • cheerleader with dirty stain
  • funny quotations on journalism
  • person buried in concrete
  • millatimes fake tits
  • childish gambino red hoodie
  • odds and ends life improvements
  • college beer bellies
  • one time at band camp
  • pour out a little liquor

Monday, December 26, 2011

Year in Review

cue the world’s smallest violin for the typical lamentations that come with the ending of another year. despite having very few reasons to complain, i always seem to arrive here feeling like a pile of crap. the year has flown over me like a rocket in space, just like every other year does, yet i still find myself disturbed by the passage of time and how it refuses to stop for me.

because as much as i do each year, there are so many other things i don’t do, things that tug at me like needy children clamoring for attention. it’s the dusty goals, the broken resolutions, the should haves. my hope chest is full of them.

of course i have a very good excuse this year in the form of THE HOUSE, which occupied most of my life and will continue to do so through the first quarter of next year as the deck (finally) gets built. naturally, the house has been my greatest source of happiness and pride this year — in addition to a fair amount of debt and misery.

it’s been an intense 113-day labor to get here, but i love my beautiful new baby and plan to enjoy her for many more years to come. she has taught me so much already, mostly about carpentry, but also about the empowerment that comes from tossing aside your fears and doing what needs to be done. she’s the crown jewel of my year.

another great highlight this year has been my FRIENDS, both new and old. when i reviewed my posts from 2011, what struck me was how much i talked about “socializing.” most of my friends i’ve known between five and 20 years, though this year i met a bunch of new people whom i’m sure will turn into old friends in no time. i hope this trend continues.

one source of these new friends has been HAIKU WEDNESDAYS, a facebook group i started earlier this year on a whim and have grown to love. lots of quality people have joined the group and have put their inspiring creativity on display. the energy there is warm and funny and has made wednesday my favorite day of the week.

as for WORK, it’s been a mixed bag this year. it was definitely not the best year for freelance work as a magazine i had been working on folded. other clients also vanished. thankfully, i have a few prospects lined up for next year, including a new magazine and book assignment, that will be fruitful if all goes well. here’s to hoping that it goes well.

the day jobby has also been fairly stable all year, though it provided a small fiasco this month as i entertained an offer for a new job in a different department within my company. there were several mitigating factors surrounding this, most of them financial. but ultimately, the planets realigned and i decided to stay put as i really dig my boss and have made a happy home in my own department.

as for my WRITING, cue the violin because this is where i want to beat myself up, not only for not updating this blog as often as i had hoped to, but for not getting one single thing published this year. i did try a few times but was demoralized by the rejection like a total, insecure lame ass. i’m going to work on this next year.

LOVE has also been a losing game for me this year. after a short-lived relationship during the summer, i find myself entering another new year on my own. it’s a lonely place to be at 35, but i’d rather be here than in any of the (many) wrong relationships i’ve been in before.

if anything, i’ve grown increasingly less desperate and more picky over the years, understanding that things will work or they won’t. and if they won’t, i don’t need to waste time with silly dramas or childish game-playing, which always indicates a poor match.

of course, i would be a liar to say i wasn’t still hoping for my happy ending and i’m sure i’ll keep trying because i am a romantic at heart. i only hope i make smarter choices and get it right the next time. but if i don’t i know i’ll be ok either way.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Home-Improvement Chronicles: After Photos


remember this piece of shit? that pink monstrosity that sat on a hill looking ugly? yeah, that was my old house. thankfully, it’s nothing like my new house.


another angle of the turd: these before photos are shocking to me. it’s as though they speak to some former era of my house’s life when it was living in the wrong skin — before the sex change operation that brought it to its rightful state. nothing about the before makes any sense for the house, whereas everything about the after does. the remodel wasn’t so much an overhaul as a correction.


drumroll, please: there’s my beauty! ain’t she the prettiest girl at the hillside fair? like a butterscotch and chocolate dream with a cherry on top — a very expensive, diamond-encrusted cherry that took 113 days, countless amounts of dollars and buckets of tears to produce. but she was worth every painstaking effort.


side view: obviously, the deck has yet to be built and landscaping has yet to be addressed, but the rest of her is totally done — and her angles are stunning. that top and center ribbon of brown trim were meant to elongate the house and make it look larger than its 1,000 square feet and i think it worked.


front door: i love my new front door and the hardware and the windows and pretty much everything else about the house. (sorry, i promised myself i wouldn’t make this post a big masturbatory session, but i can’t seem to help it.) the door is solid mahogany from not sure where (contractor handled that one), hardware is Baldwin and windows are Milgard.



inside view looking out: one cool thing about that door is that it makes the main room of my house essentially have some sort of window on every wall. the result is an astounding amount of natural sunlight.


opposite walls with other windows: i’ll admit that sometimes it’s too much natural light for me and i find myself needing to put on sunglasses inside the house during the day, especially if i’m washing dishes. of course this is better than the perpetual darkness of many of my former ground-floor apartments that faced alleys.


east facade: that window on the right is the only place where that top ribbon didn’t perfectly sit over the top of the window, so we devised a “cheat” to compensate. the stucco of the ground floor was painted the same color as the doors and trim to make it seem uniform, as though the house were sitting on a big rock. the stucco color is slightly lighter than the house trim, which is more gunmetal gray than chocolate brown when viewed up close.



up close: colors came out like a delicious Neapolitan ice cream and change their saturation daily depending on the position of the sun. that main cream color can look quite yellow in bright sunlight and almost white in overcast skies. that brown/gray is also shifty, with only the cranberry red staying pretty solid.



an hour from sunset: looks fairly yellowish, right? also note that the house is actually painted two different colors on either side of that main center ribbon, with the lower half slightly darker than the top half. it’s an imperceptible but subtle contrast that helps your eye as it moves down the house. or not. i might be making that part up.



north facade: the lines also came out nicely here. i love this view and i love that door that used to be a window (and here i go again). thankfully, Milgard makes a paint line to complement the trim of their windows so we got an exact match of the cranberry for the door, which originally came from a salvage yard.



praise for my contractor: not only did he frame out the openings to the attic and crawlspace to match the house perfectly, he painted the pipes behind the chicken wire black so they wouldn’t be seen. it’s the little things.


window upskirt: sometimes the house looks like it’s made out of plastic to me. not in a cheap way, but in that barbie dream house way where everything looks too pretty and perfect. sometimes it amazes me that this is really my house where i actually live. i regularly walk around touching the exterior, almost pinching it to see if it’s real. so far, so good.



someone is too cute: i think the dogs are also happy with how things have turned out, probably because they sense that i am happy and no longer an irritable stressball.


stairs at north facade: these stairs lead to the east facade, which consists of the ground floor and basement. as i’m still deckless, they are my route to reach the washer and dryer.


decklessness: it’s nowhere near godliness. i’ve had to remind myself (and various friends) on more than one occasion that it’s still not there so don’t open that sliding door and try to step out because the fall will injure you. in other news, check out how the new planter further elongates the house!


my cheerleaders: mom and dad were beyond happy — and supportive, loving, encouraging and every other positive adjective you can think of — throughout the remodel. i am very lucky to have these two as my parents, and i made sure to tell them this during the thanksgiving dinner that was hosted at my house this year.


thankful: i sure am.

Sunday, December 04, 2011