Monday, March 12, 2018

Garden Dreams for 2018

Last spring I had big dreams for growing a beautiful garden. Flowers, herbs, maybe a squash. It started off well, I tilled and fertilized, mulched, weeded, planted. I also discovered that we already had some beautiful plants that just needed a little love after a few years of neglect, including loads of roses!

Not roses, obviously.

They are so wonderful, it's lovely to look at them again now!

Neighbors told me that a woman lived in our house for a long time who was an excellent gardener, and the roses and other perennials (that are mostly not faring well these days) were hers. However, most of these have been neglected between her tenure here and ours.

When we moved in I had to unearth a number of hostas that had been planted into the ground within their plastic pots. Who does that??  But I have no beef with hostas. I hated them at first, and dug up a bunch of them (hence how I discovered they had been planted in their pots), but after trying and failing to kill them, I now have respect for their hardiness. Rock on, hostas. Rock on.

Anyway, things were going swimmingly last summer, but as my pregnancy progressed and I got bigger and more uncomfortable, and it got hotter and stickier, it became more difficult for me to keep up with the work that was required and I couldn't keep up after mid-July.

This year I am not pregnant (hooray!), so I'm planning a full summer's worth of work, which is to:

1) Keep the roses blooming through the summer.
2) Plant a "cottage garden" in the front and the back
3) Maintain and use my herb garden
4) Stay on top of the weeding
5) Nurse a long-neglected azalea back to health

When autumn comes, I plan to re-seed my lawn and nurse it back to health (at least back to green) without the use of chemicals and pesticides.

It may be a tall order, and will definitely test my need for instant gratification, but I'm absolutely determined to nurse the garden (front and back) back to its former glory.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

February 13

One year ago today I found out I was pregnant.

I remember the day because it was the morning after my birthday. I don't remember the day I found out I was pregnant with L. - maybe I should have made a note.

I was surprised to find I was pregnant. We had talked about having another baby, but then it happened so fast.

Some people say that pregnancies feel so quick after your first, and that was not my experience at all. It was just as long as the last one, but this time with more tests (because I was a "geriatric" mother - ie. over 35), and it was way more uncomfortable. I was tired, hot, huge, old.

Four months ago today we welcomed little S. into our lives.

Like his older brother, he's a sweet, easy-going little dude. Absolutely full of big gummy smiles. Unlike his brother, he has a temper - he goes from zero to very angry in about 3 seconds. He loves a schedule - where L. would (and still will) stay up absolutely as late as you let him, S. wants to be in bed by 8 PM sharp, or he has some choice words for you. Where L. would happily nurse all day every day and night, S. knows when he is full and is happy to fall asleep just looking around until he drifts off.

They say you shouldn't compare your kids, but it's impossible. I can't help but look at side-by-sides of the two of them.

L on the left, S on the right
 The don't even look alike!

With L, I went back to work at 12 weeks, and it was one of the hardest, worst feelings I've ever experienced. With S, I have taken 8 weeks on top of my 12 weeks. 8 weeks unpaid, but I'm thankful to my employer for allowing it. Still not enough though, and I hope in the near future the US and employers who value their employees will provide a more generous paid leave system.

It's been a rocky transition to big-brotherhood for L. He was so excited for months, but once the baby arrived L. realized that the attention he had previously gotten so freely and generously was now shared. It's better now, after four months, but he still needs lots of one-one-one mama time.

I thought that it would be easier with the second baby, that I'd already be a pro at this baby stuff. However, I find myself second-guessing myself more, and getting worried that things are different than they were with L, then reminding myself not to compare them.

I head back to work in just three weeks. I was feeling ready, but now I'm realizing how much I'll miss my quiet days with S.

Friday, February 9, 2018


First of all, I hate "LOL". I knew someone - someone I did not like, who would always use LOL in work emails when actually they were not laughing out loud, but rather undermining you. Since then I have avoided it. But, it seems appropriate today.

Here I am, back on my blog after more than a year of silence. Can I even remember how to do this? And of course, nobody reads blogs anymore, so I am writing to the void. And my mom - hi, Mom.

Over the 12 months that I have not been blogging, I have considered both deleting this blog forever, and also reviving it. You can obviously see what I chose.

So, what came of 2017? Well, I made a list of projects and goals, almost none of which I accomplished - so on-brand!

What I did do was gestate.

Now I am a mom to two sweet boys.

Right, so now I am a mom to two, a return to the blog makes sense, right? I have all the time in the world. Totally. But hey, let's have a go.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Dining Chairs: the Myth of Target's Porter Mid Century Chair

We bought our little dining table almost 3 years ago, and we still haven't found chairs.

I hate these chairs, which are ugly, old Ikea ones. Not only are they ugly, they're also uncomfortable, and they don't even fit this table.

The table, which is no longer available from West Elm, has been so problematic. It is very easily scratched and scuffed, and the table legs are so narrowly spaced that I'm not sure any chair would fit between them.

But then a couple weeks ago, H. and I were browsing the aisles at Target, and we saw their Porter Mid Century Dining Chairs - they were/are stylish, affordable, and narrow!

They are also, I believe, a myth.

Sold in sets of two, they cannot be bought online and are out of stock or unavailable at every single Target from what I can tell.

Yet Target still lists them on their website, and stores still carry a single floor model. It's infuriating! I thought about how far I'd be willing to drive, and searched those towns. In fact, when I searched Wilkes-barre, PA they were available, and yes I'd drive 100 miles if need be. But when I added to my cart to pick up in store, they didn't have 2 sets available; only 1... So I searched even further than I was actually willing to drive, and it was the same - in those rare case where a store had stock, they only had 1 set available. 

Is this some kind of Target conspiracy? Do these chairs exist, and every person in the country has them but I missed the memo? 

Will I never find dining chairs?

Should I sell this table on Craigslist for the troubles it causes me?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Small Joys in Dark Times: Gifts to Myself

I'll try to take a break from my seething rage at the state of this particular union. We are all trying to navigate these events, and trying to preserve our sanity and nerves while voicing our outrage at what's going on. I've been thinking about how to find small joys here and there, and that for the most part (for me at least) that has been within the walls of my home - my family, my little house.

But ah! My little house. What a treasure trove of surprises it has been. There was the roof, of course. The plumbing too. And then, a few weeks ago we lost power to the entire second floor. So, I called an electrician - and bless that honest man - he told me that it sounds like the power company's fault and not something internal. So, I called the power company and they came and fixed it! Or, so I thought...

Then my dryer stopped working, and I called an appliance repair person who came and told me it was my electrics! That I only had 110v coming into my house, and then he looked outside and saw that when the power company had come and "fixed" it last week they had just taken my meter off and left it on the ground... Free electricity! So, I called the power company again, and they said I have to call an electrician to repair some external wires, but they would send a truck just to check again just in case. And they sent two trucks, and after some fiddling they fixed it all, and said I didn't have to call an electrician after all.

It has been an emotional roller coaster.

But anyway, back to my small joys. My house, with all its issues, is a joy. My husband and child are huge joys. My dog and cat: also joys.

Oh, did I tell you about the squirrels? The ones breaking into my attic? Those little bastards! Did I tell you that I, Little Miss 'fraid of Heights, have climbed onto my own roof twice to try to tackle their point of entry? This is definitely ill-advised, but I am at war with these rodents and I am prepared to win. The most recent trip roofside seems to have done the trick - or they've moved on. But I still need to go up there again just to replace some of soffit the little fuckers have tampered with.

But more joys... back to joys. I bought myself these pencils.

I love these pencils. I love Anchorman. When I saw these, I knew I had to buy them for myself. A little gift that cracks me up! The are from Earmark on Etsy.

Another gift from me to me was this cat mug.

That I bought from Keep Company Ceramics. I really love handmade mugs, and not only is this particular mug so adorable with the cats, but it's also a lovely small size and shape. In fact, I can *almost* drink a whole mug of coffee before it gets cold. Almost.

Another little cutie I bought myself was this Cabbagetown tote bag.

If you're savvy about your Toronto neighborhoods, you know Cabbagetown. If you're savvy about me, you know this is where I grew up and where my family still lives, so quite near and dear to me. These totes are from the Cabbagetown B.I.A. and I bought mine at one of the increasing number of cute shops in the neighborhood. Always nice to rep C-town when out and about.

Ok, those are my recent joyful treasures. Here's to the little thing that help us maintain our sanity in the coming months & years and always.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Women's March on Washington

Siiiiigh. Every day feel worse than the last when it comes to this new administration. I find myself seething with rage and filled with anxiety, and then I remind myself that there are many people who are going to be hit far more negatively by this than I, and I vow to myself that I will do what I can to not only resist, but to fight for change.

On Saturday I traveled to Washington DC to attend the Women's March on Washington, in what I hope is just the first of many loud messages sent to our new government.

I know you've seen a million pictures from the marches already, and mine are really not that interesting (I wasn't really trying to capture the best signs or anything). But here they are.

My sign!

Me, with my sister (center) and sister-in-law (right)

Monday, January 16, 2017

My 2017 House Goals

There is a laundry list of thing that this house needs - from major, to aesthetic. Thanks to having to put a new roof on in the first 6 months, some of the other major items will just have to wait. Hopefully they can wait... [fingers crossed, touch wood, voodoo prayer].

I do have a list of smaller, mostly aesthetic things that I'd like to get done this year that I'd like to share with you.

1. Paint the upstairs hallway.

As you can see, it's kind of weak-pee yellow. It's also peeling in some areas of the ceiling (which is the same color). I didn't think this was a priority, but it's moving up my list, because - frankly, it's weak-pee yellow. Problem is that painting that high wall over the stairs scares me. And we don't even own a ladder. I go back and forth between hire a professional and just buy a paint roller extension. Either way, it's gotta get done.

2. Blinds

This house is full of blinds. I hate blinds. They are dusty, and annoying and look crappy. I'm planning on replacing the 13 sets of blinds in the house with curtains and shades.

3. The laundry sink

Think about Pinterest. Think about those lovely laundry rooms, so organized and so white. Now, brace yourselves:

This is my laundry sink. Are you scared? It's in our unfinished basement. Take a closer look.

Are you freaking out yet? The sink, despite its ghastly appearance, is mostly functional. Well, half functional.

Yep, it's a twin concrete sink with a big honkin' crack on one side. So, it's half functional. It needs to go.

4. The garden


This is my backyard. I realize it's kind of unfair of me to show pics obviously snapped in the dead of winter, when everything is dead. But there it is. Last summer, I spent many hours, and earned a million mosquito bites pulling weeds out of here, and un-planting the plants in plastic pots that the previous owners planted. Is that normal? Planting something but keeping it in the plastic pot? Maybe the realtor told them to do it. It was annoying, and I pulled them out.

I've done a bit of work already, I planted peonies, lilacs and lavender in the fall before the frost. In the coming weeks I'm going to start some herbs indoors, and this right here is to become my herb garden.

I'd like to configure some kind of patio area back there too. We don't have a patio, so I'll have to think creatively about how to accomplish that before summer.

When we first bought the house, I was also wary of how little privacy that chain link fence has, and thought hard about how to add some without building a new fence, but as time has gone by, we've gotten to know our neighbors a bit over the fence and it doesn't seem like a priority - though I am still thinking about what kind of beautiful floral bushes I might plant to make it look a little bit less like a prison yard.

5. The kitchen cabinets

This is a biggie.

I need to do something about these fug things. I admit, I've gotten kind of used to them. I have cabinet Stockholm Syndrome. We don't have the budget to renovate the kitchen right now, or even professionally re-face these cabinets, so it's likely going to be a mix of painting and replacing all the hardware. Those hinges! Yuck. The thought of this one does overwhelm me. That's a lot of hinges, and lot of handles.

Also up for immediate consideration: the pink paint and beadboard, though I'm a little bit scared of what's underneath... That part is a maybe!

So, that's my list! Do-able, right? I think? I mean, there are people out there building their own houses, so I should be able to paint my cabinets right?
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