Wednesday, January 31, 2007

cottage news

Our neighborhood is changing. Remember me mentioning the tear downs? I wish I could post a picture of our entire street. It's crazy around here. It's almost every other house you pass...if a property is not for sale, it's for rent. The older homes that are for sale are being bought by builders. New homes are then being sold by builders. The rentals are temporary until the builders can tear them down. In the picture above (taken from my front window), the tan house with the sign in front is a tear down. The sale is for an already planned 4 bedroom house that will go in its place. We just learned last week that the little brick number to its right is being demolished shortly. The current owners want to build something new on that exact property. I will show you the progress as this happens over the next few months. Can you imagine how much my kids will enjoy watching it? If they thought power washing was fun, they are in for a real treat!

Today my husband is meeting with some fellow neighbors who have gotten together to guard our against our park being scrapped. 3 blocks down, at the end of our street, is the train station to the city. It is surrounded by a big park. One of our neighbor friends let the rest of us know that the city is considering making the park a parking lot, or perhaps transforming it into town homes. We are banding together to make our voices heard - we don't want any of that. The park is relatively's so important to save the green space. But that's just a nibble of all the strange building news happening around here, all throughout the town. It's really something, and I talk about it almost as much as I talk about the weather.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

just like mom

Over the weekend when I was with my mom we noticed all these terrific Valentine's hearts on people's front doors. We tracked them down at her favorite florist shop. This is mine, hers is slightly different, just as pretty. I know I wrote here before that someday I should do a post just on my mom. But maybe that's not necessary. You can probably already tell that I adore her.


Here's a close up of the little gator on our mantle. I'm happy to talk about him, glad you asked. Awhile ago I had considered doing a little post on him but then thought, "nah, nobody wants to see that." Yet I was sure you wanted to see the crack in my paneling. Go figure.

My dad brought this guy to us a couple of years ago. He (or is it a she? Just look at that pucker!) is a whistle. His back right leg disguises the opening, so sometimes if it's been awhile I forget exactly where it is. He's ceramic and breakable, and so isn't free to roam around on the ground with the other toys. That's why he stays up here. Plus, we like having him close by.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

not that weird

hi there! I'm writing from my parents' house, where I have come to visit for the weekend. It's fun spending time with 2 of my favorite people. We are having lots of laughs and eating way too much. My mom was at my house last week while I did my work, and we flew here together last night. I just had to see how progress is coming on their house redecorating (beautiful!) Tomorrow I'm going home to see my guys...I miss them! They are having some good male bonding time together. Today it's the zoo (see above) and tomorrow I think it's the pool.

Anyway, I like these tag games going around. Fun to read what makes someone weird. I'm afraid my list isn't too interesting. I can't twist my tongue into a knot or anything like that. But, you be the judge. Maybe I'm being too lenient on myself and I am totally strange.

1. I have Lionel Richie's greatest hits album and I love it.

2. When I eat Campbell's chicken noodle soup, I spoon up all the broth first and save the noodles for last. Also, when I eat Crunch Berries I eat all the crunch pieces first and all the berries last.

3. When I brush my teeth I don't just brush, I multi-task. I check my email, turn on the tv, open the mail, or try to talk to my husband and kids (even though they can't understand me.) I guess just don't like to stand there, brushing.

4. When I have a Starbucks, I have to line up the label on the cup sleeve with the label on the cup, and the opening at the top of the cup. I like to have these 3 things aligned.

5. When I am sitting, I can isolate movement of my pinkie toe on my right foot. I can make it move out pretty far from the rest of my foot. I don't know why I can't do this on the left.

6. I twist my hair all day long. I have always done this and I know it's a terrible habit. Sometimes I get a really good twist going and I have to show my husband what I've created. Because he is who he is, he always says, "Yep! Good one." He's so good to me.

I tag Homedaisy, and anyone else who wants to jump in and play. Go for it!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

go bears!

I'm going to be away for a week. Work out of town + a weekend out of town. So, I won't talk to you in awhile. But, I'll be thinking of you.

RaNae, thanks for tagging me. I'll think of my "weird" qualities. If I get stumped I'm sure my husband can help me. :) I'll post that when I get back.

Have a great week...and, Go Bears!

Friday, January 19, 2007

news from my mantle

The other day I was rearranging things on my mantle. You know how it goes, sometimes you look at something, and what seemed fine for so long all of a sudden just isn't quite right anymore. We put the speaker for my husband's ipod up there recently, so maybe that's what did just disrupted the whole arrangement and made me think that we needed a change. So I took things down, moved them around a bit.

Then, when I found my slippers the other day, I also found this checkered vase. I thought it would be a nice complement to everything else going on around here. At 60% off, it was destined to be mine.

Yesterday my mother in-law was over and I showed her the dried flowers and twigs I bought for it. I hadn't yet taken them out of their plastic wrap. She liked what I chose. I said I liked them, but I hadn't had much time to scout around in case there was something else out there that would look better.

And do you know what she did? She drove over to a florist shop - in the opposite direction of her house - to look around for me before she went home. She said she didn't mind, that it's easier for her to get out of the house than me. When she got home she called and told me she liked what I had better than anything else she had seen. This is a lady whose home was featured on the cover of a decorating magazine. You can bet that I took her word for it, and got those flowers unwrapped pronto!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

my pick-me-up

These I had to share. I found them at a store that is near my house, a small boutique. It's closing at the end of January. These were new for Valentine's Day and the owner had to mark them down 60%. Aren't they the cutest? If you see what looks to be little water droplets, that's actually on purpose. There are little pieces of (I guess?) plastic sprinkled on the flower petals to look like fresh morning dew. These slippers are a major upgrade for me. Last year I bought new fluffy pink slippers from Nordstrom that started to come apart within weeks of starting to wear them. Then I got some from Target. Target is good for many things, but not slippers. So I was in a quandary for awhile. I saw a lot of slippers out there that seemed really warm and comfortable, but I wanted fluffy and feminine. Not as easy to find as I would have thought. Then I found these. ooh la la! They totally do it for me.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

this just in

My sister in-law forwarded me the following email message from Suzanne Roberts' Gifts (sister in-law is a very, very good shopper.) Anyway, here it is, just in case you're feeling inspired to buy a little "pick me up" next week. Perhaps this will help chase off those January blahs??

Dear Customers-

We will be having a special MacKenzie Childs sale all next week.

This will run through the dates of Monday the 22nd until Saturday the 27th. All Mackenzie Childs will be discounted 20% off.

There will be a special discount on the Buttercup and Bathing Hut line, 50% off.

We will be happy to special order any items that we do not currently have in stock. This includes furniture discounted at 20% off. Be sure to check with us on the freight cost.

Please visit our website to view the entire line of MacKenzie Childs.

Please call, fax, or email your orders before midnight on Saturday the 27th. Thanks so much!

-Suzanne Roberts

p. 214-369-8336 f. 214-369-5097

catching up

OK, somewhat boring but true, it's been a week (so far) of tackling the to-do list. Not a fun, house project to-do list, but one of those 'make appointments, cancel appointments, reschedule appointments' to-do lists. Oh, Friday, where are you? Get here quick!

This week and next week I'm busy finishing an old work project and starting a new one (maybe that's why my blog is so boring as of late?) Did I mention I do freelance work from home? I'm not sure. May have alluded to it at some point. Anyway, I'll come up with something more interesting next time...promise!

Monday, January 15, 2007

inside a snowglobe

We're getting a little bit of snow here today, though nothing like what was predicted. You can't see it in my picture, but there are little white bits floating all around outside. My older son is optimistic that soon we'll be running around again in our snow pants and boots, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen today.

Much as I like where I'm from and where I live now, on days like today (cloudy, cold, wimpy snow), I wonder, what would it be like to live somewhere sunny and warm? Like, Arizona? Or Florida? Or California? My kids would be so happy.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

meg's beat

Yep, I am. As in, worn out. Sleepy. Last night's party was fun, but my eyelids are at the halfway point right now. The crowd stayed until midnight (or so?) and I went to bed at 1 (or so?)...up again at 6. My husband was talking to me a little bit when he came to bed, and then our oldest son was awake for awhile, and then I never really got into my R.E.M groove. The whole night feels like it was a light nap. Ever have nights like that? Let me say that my drink of choice last night was water. So, really, this is just old-fashioned exhaustion speaking.

The reading was fun. Among other things, I was told that I can expect some financial success in the foreseeable future. No one has ever predicted financial success for me, so this was a pleasant surprise. Perhaps I will discover or invent some great new gadget. Perhaps I will hock my collection of MacKenzie-Childs on eBay. Stranger things have happened.

In other news, I think I've developed "blogger elbow" from too much time at our ergonomically unfriendly desk. My hand and arm get tingly whenever I'm typing for more than a minute or two. So I haven't been visiting all of your fun sites as much or leaving comments as much. I apologize for that. I'm going to (reluctantly) call the doctor today to see what needs to be done.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

company tomorrow

Tomorrow night is my turn to host the neighborhood bunco group. We've decided this year that each hostess, when it's her turn to host, can choose to either have bunco at her house or choose a completely different activity for the group. Like a night at the movies, dinner out, etc.

So, tomorrow we're meeting here, but instead of playing bunco, I'm having a friend of mine come by to read Tarot cards for us all instead. I thought it might be fun (especially since it's January) to see "what's in the cards" for us this year. My friend who reads the cards does this strictly for fun. She's a kind and sensitive person, too, so you don't have to be afraid of what she'll say. I wonder what the cards will say for me this time?

When the crowd arrives they'll see my new sign welcoming them in. That's it up there. I got it through a company called "Hung On Words". They make little personalized signs in any color combination you want, and you choose the words or phrase as well. The yellow's a little off in the picture, it's actually a pale yellow. But you get the idea. It's a cheerful little thing.

Monday, January 08, 2007

let's back up a minute

I feel the need to explain why I said my hair is an indulgence (see post below.) Generally speaking, I'm not shallow, but when it comes to my hair, I am.

That's a shot of my hair above. If you're a curly girl like I am, then you understand how often it feels as if your hair is the center of your life - like it or not!

Growing up my hair was just like this, only short. My older brother had short, curly hair, too. We are 2 years apart, and though my mom denies how often this happened, we were mistaken for brothers on many occasions. Many. Quite naturally, as a young girl I started believing that my curly hair was an unfortunate part of my appearance. Everything else was manageable, but this was...well, hideous. Nobody ever told me my hair was attractive. The kids at school didn't like it. I didn't like it. Hairdressers used to ask me how short I wanted it when I went in for a cut. I thought it was just my bad luck that I had been born this way.

Right before I started high school, my mom made an appointment for me with the hotshot hairdresser in town. When I went in for a consultation with him, we started talking about big changes. He told me that I would be beautiful once my hair was chemically straightened. And you know what? I believed him. Afterwards, everyone told me I looked great. Everybody. I was thrilled that I had found the solution to my problem. My self confidence sky rocketed. I happily went in for straightening every 3 months or so, and I was careful to not talk about my curly hair with people I didn't know well. Only my close friends knew my dark secret.

I continued happily going straight until my early 20's. When I was almost done with grad school I started looking around me and noticing that there were some beautiful curls out there. There seemed to be more options for curls, too. Curls didn't mean you had to wear your hair cut close to the scalp. Curls could be soft and pretty. I was curious.

Then I met a hairdresser near my office who had long, curly hair. She was ready to guide me back to my natural ways. Her enthusiasm was contagious and I decided to do it once and for all. I stopped straightening and started growing out the curls. Straight ends were snipped off as the curls took their place. My new look came into focus gradually, and I became more excited with each inch that grew out of my head. My then boyfriend (now my husband) cheered me on all the way. The transformation took about a year.

Now, as you can see, I'm all about my curls. I still visit the curly haired hairdresser and I buy my shampoo from a famous curly lady in NYC. I get a lot of comments (and truthfully, compliments) on my hair from people when I'm out. Funny, what used to embarrass me now makes me proud. I love being curly, it's a better fit with my personality. Perhaps my 8 year-old self didn't understand that being different was actually a good thing, but I don't hold it against her. Sometimes you have to grow into your skin a little bit before you can appreciate it.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

tagged by homedaisy

This was surprisingly difficult.

A-available or single? It's going on 12 years since I met my husband.

B-best friend? My mom, Betsy, Lauren

C-cake or pie? Cake first (chocolate please), but I generally don't turn down any dessert.

D-drink of choice? hmmm...In order of how the day unfolds...The Recipe, diet coke, beer or champagne.

E-essential item I use everyday? Lubriderm

F-favorite color? sky blue

G-gummy bears or gummy worms? Bears, if I must. But only the red and clear ones. Can I get peanut M&Ms instead?

H-hometown? Columbus, Ohio

I-indulgence? My hair. Do you order your shampoo from out of state, too?

J-January or February? J is also for June.

K-kids and names? Bobby and Thomas

L-life is incomplete without? All my guys.

M-marriage date? July 17, 1999

N-number of siblings? 3 brothers - 1 older, 2 younger

O-oranges or apples? Granny Smiths

P-phobias or fears? Tidal waves

Q-favorite quote? "Don't follow the herd." - Dad

R-reasons to smile? I live in my dream house.

S-season? Summer

T-tag 3 0r 4 people...Preppy Rider, Jen, Deb

U-unknown fact about me? I have a new found love for Alison Krauss and Martina McBride. Am I becoming a country music fan?

V-vegetable you don't like? Brussels sprouts

W-worst habit? too much time on the computer

Y-your favorite food? homemade chocolate chip cookies

Z-zodiac? Virgo...and it shows

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Santa left a bluetooth in my Christmas stocking. That thoughtful guy. I've been using it steadily for the past week or so, mostly around the house. Yes, that's right. Around the house. So far it's great. I am guilty of accidentally hanging up on people when I have our home phone cradled between my chin and shoulder. This has been happening too frequently, always at the worst times. Santa saw a problem and he came up with a solution. He's just my type.

Not that I'm a big phone talker. I'm not. But, probably like you, I have a core group who I like to speak with regularly. I don't go for long sessions, just little check ins. My mom. My dad. My brothers. My best friend. My childhood best friend. College friends. Old work buddies. Fab city friends who design beautiful greeting cards. Other moms. My *of course* husband. Did I say I'm not a talker? Really, I'm not. I just like being in the know. And staying connected.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

happy new year

Wow, it feels like I haven't done this in awhile. No, I wasn't away. I've been here all along, lurking and (only) occasionally checking in with you, keeping a low profile while I enjoyed the last of the holiday madness. Now that it's passed, I'm rested and relaxed, - so it's time to jump back in the saddle (like my cowboy friend up there) and get back to blogging business. Hello! How have you been? I missed you.

Christmas was lovely. My parents' visit was great, made more so because of my bachelor brothers' attendance. Really! It would have been fun had we just had my parents, but with the brothers there too it made for a nice dynamic. We weren't a group, we were a crowd. This, surprisingly, did not test the limits of the Little Cottage. No no! We were cozy but there were plenty of seats to go around. I meant to take more pictures when I posted my Christmas Eve shot. The little table came back out to much fanfare. We opened up our seating area by putting one of the couches on a diagonal. That made it easier to get to the gift mound under the tree. And yet there was still plenty of space for Santa to get in and out in a respectable amount of time. He's probably happy that we don't have our chimney fixed yet, eh? ;)

Anyway, looking forward to catching up more in the coming days. Happy New Year, everyone!!