Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Any guesses?

Why do you suppose the words "Barnacled worship" were written on a piece of paper in our library book?

Now taking scenarios. :-)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Steak and mistake

Not having a grill, there are some foods that are just a challenge to cook. Like steak. So far I've got two methods.

1. Broil them. I get out my cast-iron frying pan and preheat it under the broiler, then drop in the steaks. I don't know if my broiler is underpowered or what, but if the cut is thick, it takes like fifteen minutes to get reasonably cooked, at which point it's kind of tough and still doesn't have that nice crisp caramelization on the outside.

2. Pan fry them in a little oil. This, in contrast, gets very caramelized on the outside and tends to be a leetle rare on the inside unless I joggle the precise level of heat. Also, the amount of oil spatter and smoke is really impressive. I forget it's going to fill the entire house with greasy smoke until it's too late and then usually the smoke alarm goes off.

For all that, it's totally worth cooking steak sometimes. It's also worth going out to eat it!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Meg quotes

Meg is smack in the middle of that cute, open, ungrammatical stage.

"I need cake because I'm hungry. Cake please! Cake please!"

"Women curd" (lemon curd).

"I'll bring you animals. ...I bringed them."

"Good morning, Mommy. I'm done resting now."

"See, here is an orange smile for you to bite wif your teef. It's very lovely! I bited it wif my teef. We're having orangies."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A matter of presentation

This morning at the mall, they wrapped up my purchase in pretty hot pink tissue paper and put it into a gift bag with real ribbon handles. It's amazing how it elevated that little purchase from Target-carries-it-for $.20-less to something special. I felt like I got a present.

Which is, of course, how it was intended. My compliments to the merchandizers. In fact, it made me so happy I unwrapped it and re-wrapped it at least twice before Jonathan got back, and then again when he got home!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The first step into a larger universe

We started Narnia today. I didn't quite know if Meg was ready for a chapter book, but she likes picture books and is able to follow the story  of such classics as If You Give a Pig a Party and Fancy Nancy. She'll sit with them herself, identifying the pictures and (half the time) reciting the text for that page, so I thought it was worth trying, at least. I got out The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and started reading aloud.

We counted the children - Peter, Susan, Edmund, Lucy - on our fingers, and talked about their riding the train to the Professor's house. We talked about the owl sound Lucy heard and made owl noises ourselves. We talked about exploring big houses and what wardrobes and fauns are and examined the illustrations closely. We made it all the way to chapter two and started having tea with Mr. Tumnus before she got restless, so we put it away and went and had a glorious tea of our own, with a fried egg and croissants with honey, lemon curd, or Nutella. All in all, it was a highly successful introduction to Narnia. I'm so pleased I could just about cry.

I hadn't ever put this together before, but I realized Lucy's meal with Tumnus was especially notable because back home in England, she was under wartime rations! A cake with sugar on top would have been a particular treat for her. I'm so glad we're not rationed these days.

Friday, May 11, 2012

No shoes. No shoes at ALL.

I don't think I've got the hang of retail therapy. Meg and I go out shopping for something specific, don't find it, keep hunting till we're both tired and crabby, either don't buy anything or, worse, get something necessary and boring like canned tomatoes -- and then we come home all cranky.

I live in Leesburg. We have an outlet mall. There are even helpful and sensible sales associates at their shoe stores. So how can there be no shoes at the outlet mall?? Truly, a mystery of life. I think my real problem is that my fashion consultant lives a third of the continent away, and I need to wait and go shopping with her. Love ya, sis.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

So I have a crush on this house

The great house hunt has begun!

Yesterday I impulsively drove down a street because I'd never been down it before, and jabbed my finger towards a little brick ranch style. It had grass in front and a big tree in back, and a picture window the size of Minnesota. "THAT ONE," I told Meg. "I want a house like that one."

So after I got home I did a little online searching, and lo and behold that very one was for sale. It was even tidily within our price range. There weren't any interior pictures online and it was billed as a "handyman special," which didn't worry me much. After all, my parents bought a house that was a wreck and made it very nice, and if they did it so could I. I fell head over heels for it on the spot.

Driving home with Jonathan, we detoured by the place and checked out the yard. It had honeysuckle by the carport. I went home and emailed the realtor, who wrote back quickly saying his schedule was booked, but here was the code for the front door if I wanted to look around. (I love having codes.) Well! Talked me into it. This morning after Bible study Meg and I and my camera trotted our little selves right over there to look around.

It was even cuter by sunlight. I tried very hard to notice things realistically, like the driveway needing a load of gravel and some cracks in the brickwork. We went in to find the entire house had been gutted, doors, toilet, cabinets, kitchen sink and all, except for wood floors and the ceiling fans (oddly). It had the look of a house that needed total rewiring, and probably plumbing and a heater installed too. I have my suspicions about water damage on the ceilings and some external cracks from a tree. There was a basement, which was a relief, and you could see it through a hole where the tub used to be. The basement was dark and spider-webby and completely unfinished, but there might have been an upturned utility sink down there, presumably by the washer/dryer hookups.

I'm still enamored of the place. The rooms are generously sized and nice and bright. It could be so cute with a little love, and I could even do it. Learn to do it. With a small army of plumbers, electricians, concrete experts, roofers, and appliance installers. And someone to put in a second bathroom. The garden I could manage by myself, probably. Did I mention the back lawn was full of ripe strawberries?

Possibly not the house for us. But I hope someone will buy it who loves it.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Room makeover, part 2

The keystone piece in Meg's room makeover turns out to be a ginormous basket from Ross's, of all things. Woo! All of Meg's stuffed animals fit in there, and we were able to throw away the junky boxes and cardboard shelf and that nonsense. I moved the dresser next to her crib and switched around her low drawers and shelf, and it opened up the space beautifully. Jonathan walked in and asked if I'd made the room bigger. He's a great husband.

We're still waiting for the ottoman pouf to arrive, and I have her new little white rocking chair about halfway painted white. I ran into technical difficulties, such as running out of spray paint and then having to wait 48 hours for it to cure before I can do more coats. Also, it's been raining all day, but since I'm painting in the stairwell that's not a huge issue. Side note: when we buy a forever house, it needs a YARD so that I can paint things properly.

I'm planning to post pictures after it's all done. :-)

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Meg's room makeover

Meg and I have spent the last few days redoing her room. The furniture is all catch-as-catch can and it's just a mess. Her nursery in Richmond was darling with pink and chocolate, but the decor didn't actually fit her room here. Now I'm going with white, gold, and hot pink, with leopard-spotted accents. So far I've changed out her art from pale pink to leopard mats, and Bismarck of course is there looking gold and stately. I think she needs another shelf, a toy bin, a grown-up sized chair, a kid-sized chair, and maybe a shelf and a little table. We've spent the last few days combing the thrift stores, consignment stores, Craigslist, Wal-Mart, Target, and the grocery store for suitable furniture and whatnots. 

The grocery store was actually for groceries, though I'd have bought a truly fabulous shelf there if they'd had one. They didn't. But I discovered Wegman's carries mead. !!!

Ahem. Today we went to the Blue Ridge Hospice thrift store in Purcellville, which was actually pretty thrilling. I'd never been before, though people keep recommending it. I see why. They had a copy of The Ordinary Princess for a quarter - do you have any idea how rare those are?? -- and some ruby glass teacups, which I was strong and did not buy because I had an armful of toddler, toddler jacket, and tiny rocking chair.

Yes, they had furniture for Meg's room! The rocking chair is homemade and the wood is unfinished, so I brought it home and spent the afternoon sanding it and hammering the nails in properly. Meg spent the rest of the afternoon carrying it around, putting stuffed animals in it, and climbing on it to see over the counter. I think I'll paint it white, or possibly gold. I am not going to do like a previous owner of something I saw today, and embellish it with leopard duct tape. Just, no.

Then this evening I bought a leather Moroccan ottoman (pouf! pouf!) off Amazon. An ottoman isn't technically a grown-up seat, but it's close. And I've been wanting one for a year. It'll be cute in there, and when we get tired of leopards and hot pink, it'll be cute somewhere else.

Fancy-lettered day

Today, finally, Jonathan received his official certification for the Virginia state bar!

He was sworn in October 31, so right at six months ago.