Hello Again…..

Well, I’m back. I had intended to retire this blog all together, change my email address and simplify my online life. You know, a clean break. I really have not spent much time on the computer at all, because I have been living my life. My word for 2013 was MORE (I wrote about it here, one of the two – yes two, blog posts of 2013). 

I was going to experience MORE spending time with friends, getting outside and enjoying the fresh air, Yoga, travel, walking the dog, hugs and kisses, game nights, girls nights, card playing, schooling, reading, random acts of kindness, exploring and living. Well I wasn’t perfect but I did A LOT of all of the above.

2013 brought a lot of fun. I am still dating B and we have a blast together. Here are some highlights with LOTS of links.

  • Went with my mom down to Long Beach, WA for a long weekend. My sister and her family joined us later. We saw a snowy owl and played lots of Cribbage and Scotland Yard
  • Went to the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.
  • B and I attended the Steampunk Exhibition Ball at Seattle’s new location for the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI).
  • Had a work party to help out around mom’s house.
  • Toured both Lemay car museums (B had one of his cars in one).
  • Watched B play Flaming Tetherball at the Hazard Factory.
  • Finally took the Seattle Underground Tour and took my second (B’s first) ride on The Duck with a bunch of people from B’s car club. Had an AMAZING bloody Mary with Sriracha!
  • Took B to the Cirque du Soliel show Amaluna.
  • B and I played Smash Putt (21+ miniature golf – with lazers and other fun stuff)!
  • Helped B’s friend clear out items from their family property. Cars and fabric and photos oh my!
  • Went to Lewiston, ID to visit B’s grandparents. On the way back swung through my alma matter’s home town. Go Cougs!
  • Went camping several times in B’s vanagon.
  • Had a Stone Vertical Epic beer tasting – yes all twelve.
  • Went to a few car shows. One of which I got very badly sunburned at. Finally went to the All British Field meet my birthday weekend.
  • We spent part of the July 4th weekend at the Vintage Car Races where B got to drive his Ghia around the track and then went to a lake house shooting off water balloons from a giant slingshot in the yard and kayaking the lake.
  • To finish off my birthday weekend we took a ferry to a friends parents property, watched Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark on a ginormous screen in their backyard, played extreme croquet (although there was no fire) and camped out.
  • A friend turned a school bus in to a giant party bus and we took that for a spin for a picnic.
  • Attended in costume the Midsummer Renaissance Faire where we saw the Cirque du Sewer, Cavallo Equestrian Arts and a “ribald and raunchy comedy” by the Les Bouffons des Battes.
  • Had a BBQ at my sisters where B was introduced to the lawn game of Kubb and we played more Extreme Croquet.
  • Became a mugger at Special Brews.
  • Fostered a sweet kitty named Bella for three months until we could find her a forever home.
  • B and I went rafting down the Yakima River with Beej. He had a little life jacket and did very well.
  • Met my mom in Chelan for a winery overnight.
  • Attended a craft night at a gal’s house I only knew from the blogworld.
  • B and I attended the fifth annual Steamcon – of course in costume. I sucked my friend Megan in to all things Steamy, she’s hooked! While at Steamcon B and I learned how to rap Steamy style (Chap Hop) with Professor Elemental. I participated in a fencing demonstration presented by the fine folks at the Salle Saint – George fencing school on the gentlemanly way to defend yourself with a cane.
  • B and I attended two Burlesque shows (Lost In Space & The Naughty Nutcracker).
  • B and I participated in a Steampunk photo shoot (yes I wore a corset) at Gas Works Park.
  • B and I Went to Wild Lights at the Woodland Park Zoo (we rode the Carousel).
  • Made a few crafty items, sewed a few things and even knit something.
  • Played a LOT of cribbage with B while drinking yummy craft beer.
  • I did attend Yoga off and on. Managed to mess up both of my knees at two separate times and came down with that hacking cough crud twice.
  • B is re-teaching me the card game Magic: The Gathering.
  • Had a game night a few weeks ago and we played Cards Against Humanity. Got two people hooked on the game.

So, my year was pretty full and I enjoyed it immensely! What’s in store for 2014? Well, certainly more of the above. B and I have tentative plans to see Cavalia and would love to see the Burlesque Alice in Wonderland. More Smash Putt, Flaming Tetherball and Steampunk events, cross country skiing, kayaking, fencing classes, the Dead Baby Downhill and my mom and I are traveling to Greece in October.

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The Beginning is The End

It has been four months since my last post and A LOT lot has changed in that time. I am an active participant in the course my life is taking. To that end, I have decided to retire “Take Life With A Grain of Chocolate” and create an entirely new blog.

Although I have not fleshed out the exact content, some things have not changed about me like my love of Steampunk, repurposing, Indie film, simplicity and of course my dog. Some new changes ahead will also be featured and we will get in to those when the time is right.

My divorce is not finalized yet but will soon be completely in my past. The lessons my marriage and divorce are teaching me are currently being incorporated in to my new life. My blog is a positive place and meant to focus on what I enjoy and what I feel brings meaning to the world as I see it.

I met a wonderful man who I care deeply about and who embodies the true meaning of all that I hold dear. I feel so very lucky and we have the best times together. I was not looking for it but it found me and it’s darn good!

For now I am still in our condo, I will be getting a new (to me) car and I have custody of the dog. I am focusing on the important things in my life. I have scaled back and have spent much time reflecting on where I am headed. The journey is going to be full of new experiences and surprises for certain.

I made wonderful friends on this blogging journey and I have benefitted from the process of getting thoughts out of my head and down on “paper”. To those of you who have followed me I appreciate you and please join me on my new journey.

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Bloom Where You Are Planted

 

If my word for 2013 is MORE then my mantra is “Bloom Where You Are Planted”.

If I have learned anything over the past year I have learned the following.

  • There is never a perfect time, “Just Do It”.
  • Make certain to tell friends and family you love them every chance you get.
  • Go after what you want. Period.
  • Move forward, even if it’s half a step. It’s progress, there is no need to be perfect.
  • Get out in nature every day.
  • Play a game that DOES NOT involve your computer.
  • Hugs, kisses, cuddles and laugher are NOT overrated!
  • Be brave.

This year I am putting my focus on me. I have some pretty specific goals that involve friends, finances, travel, school, health and getting out in the real world (less computer time and more face to face friend time and getting out in nature) that I will be tracking. I’m not certain how “public” I want to be with these goals so for now I’m probably going to list ways in which I am incorporating MORE of them in to my life.

Today as far as MORE is concerned, I spent no money – not even at Starbucks on coffee, I went to Yoga, I drank prolly ten glasses of water, hung out briefly with a friend and I made a date with another friend for a healthy dinner next week.

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Looking Ahead to MORE

I am ready to step in to 2013 with a fresh outlook. A year ago today I returned to my previous place of employment and that has been a blessing. But this year, has been a hard one with more loss and heartbreak than I would like to repeat any time soon or at all.

This year has also brought me not only great new friends and strengthening current relationships with others, it has brought me so much more clarity for my life and what I want out of it. I have a few things to finalize in the new year and it could take a bit of time but I no longer live in the past.

So for this year to come, there is but a single thought and goal to my life. I will do MORE.

More of everything that I love to do, more spending time with my excellent tribe of friends and family, more getting outside and enjoying the fresh air and nature, more Yoga, more travel, more walking my dog, more hugs, more kisses, more game nights, more girls nights, more sewing, more knitting, more Geocashing, more listening, more card playing, more schooling, more reading, more random acts of kindsness, more exploring, more LIVING!

Watch out world – you ain’t seen nothing yet!

 

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Foodie For Thought – Thanksgiving

I’m one of those people that can be happy with a meal of a good glass of wine (or beer), some yummy h’ordeuvres and good company/conversation. I value the friendships I have and the people in my life – some are new and some have been around the block a few times with me.  This Thanksgiving is definitely little different.

  • It’s my first in 11 years as a single person.
  • It’s my first without my dad (I miss him terribly).
  • It’s my first (in 12 years) without my family.

I am grateful to have excellent friends who have supported me throughout the last 7 months. It’s been a rough road and I have had MANY challenges. This holiday season has been OK so far, it’s hard without my dad and the traditions I have relied on (and sometimes complained about) for years.

This year I returned to my old place of employment, I have made some special new friends and I have let some friends go. I hope my friends and family know how much I care about and love them.

Someone who has become a good friend is Jess, I am going to her house for my Thanksgiving meal and I am contributing two yummy recipies for the feast.

First up is Carmelized Onion and Blue Cheese Bites and the second is Brie and Fig Jam Bites. Who can say no to puff pastry, gooey cheese, yummy rosemary, blue cheese and fig jam? Just add wine!

I’m not a big fan of New Years resolutions but I am so ready to rock 2013 I may just change my mind on that. I am ready for a new chapter in my life. I don’t need to dwell on the past any longer. It served it’s purpose as a lesson and I am moving full steam ahead!

Watch out world!

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Back in Black

So it seems that I may be a little dresser happy. Dressers are not just to house clothing you know. My first installment was the subway sign media cabinet.

A few months ago I was thrift store shopping with a friend. My purpose was to purchase a dresser (or two) to rehab for more storage in my condo. I came across this lovely vision in pink (for those of you that know me – I am NOT a fan of pink) and I temporarily named her Princess Pepto. Yeah, you can say it – it’s hideous. All of the pepto bismol pink and rose patterned paper. But I had a vision.

PP did not fit in my car so a friend went and picked her up the next day in her mini van (ha! every time I see the word mini van, in my mind I add “not Cooper” and it’s all Kasey’s fault!).

First step was to remove the top of the unit. It was screwed in at all four corners through the top. That was OK as I really want to replace the top with a nice piece of sanded and stained wood or granite (it helps my sister is an interior designer and can source these things for me).

Next step was to removed the contact paper on the inside and outside of the drawers (yes someone actually stuck rose patterened contact paper on wood – the horror). The paper on the inside came up in about five minutes. The paper on the outside took the equivalent of a full day with the help of a bottle of wallpaper remover (and some wine).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After I removed the contact paper and wiped it down I got out my trusty palm sander and went to town on her. A friend was over and inspecting my piece and he told me it was actually probably a lower kitchen cabinet and not a dresser. Further proof is the sheet rock attached to the back.

The hardware I chose for this piece had holes spaced slightly closer together than the holes in the existing piece. I plugged the holes with some dowel and wood glue (at the suggestion of the same friend) and procedeed to paint her with two coats of Onyx Black in high gloss by Behr.

The hardware was super easy to put on, even for a novice with a drill like me (not gonna lie, sometimes I am intimidated by power tools). I measured carefully and was able to get all of my hardware put on in about an hour one evening.

I am not calling this project completely finished as I still need a new top and hinges for the door. But for now it’s serviceable and holds all of my sewing and craft items. The third and final installment of my dresser fetish is sitting in my bedroom and I will share with you soon.

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Subway Sign

Several months ago I saw this post by Mrs. Limestone and I knew I had to recreate this project in my house somewhere. As the months went by I suddenly realized I had the perfect piece. Sitting in the storage closet off the patio was a dresser used to store gardening equipment and small tools. It was missing a drawer but that just made it all the more enticing for what I had in mind.

Over the Labor Day weekend I got the dresser out of the storage unit and emptied the drawers. I sanded it down with a palm sander and got to work painting it in Behr’s Black Suede which looks more like a Charcoal grey but I like it. A lovely friend let me borrow his drill and I was able to put a hole in the back of the dresser for power cord access.

I painted the drawers white and then added sticky vinyl backed letters in two sizes. Originally I had thought about putting stops from London, Paris and Rome but stuck with London to go with the other artwork in my living room.

I did sneak in a silly one – can you find it?

A neighbor came over this evening and helped me get my TV off the wall mounting bracket and on to the base. The top shelf area has my Blue Ray player, Wii, modem, router and a basket for my remotes. All of my DVD’s fit in the three drawers and I have room to grow. This allowed me to eliminated a shelf the DVD’s were previously sitting on.

Being non tech savvy, one thing that helped me was to label all of the cords and where they go before I unplugged them. I added my signature paisley to plump up my couch.

I am imensly pleased with this project. It makes me just a little giddy. Living room almost complete. Would like a rug and need to tile my hearth and bulk up my mantle.

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Holy babies Batman!

I have been super busy of late and not really been reading blogs like I normally do. This morning I had time to sit down and hit up some of my faves and BOY am I missing out! Two of my favorite bloggers and online friends are having babies. When did I miss that?

Um apparently a little while ago.

Mrs. Stephanie at Brooklyn Limestone is having a baby! She’s due at the end of this year and I can’t wait to find out her plans for the baby’s room. First they have to find out if they are having a boy or a girl.

Mrs. Crystal at Brunette on a Budget is also having a baby! Not to mention they bought a house, a second car and got a second dog. She is having a little girl and the nursery is coming along wonderfully. Check out the French Provicial trash to treasure post.

Congratulations to you both (sorry I dropped off the face of the earth)!

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So many shades of blue…..

Sorry I have been a little absent on this here ol’ blog. Due to a couple recent life changes I have just needed to chill. But I’m back.

To make a long dramatic story short, I find myself in the position of needing a roommate. I’m not going to go in to the story on here as I want this space to be a positive place. Suffice it to say – I filed for divorce last week. There I said it – on the internet. Moving on…..

I am staying in our condo but I need a roommate to ensure I don’t eat more than Ramen and PB&J’s morning, noon and night. I have been decluttering and clearing things out and doing some redecorating.

The master bedroom, closet and bathroom need touch up paint. Since my husband chose the paint color I currently have, I have decided to repaint in a blue that is a little more me – reminicient of the ocean. So my choices are three very similar colors (from left to right in the photo below);  tropical skies, peacock tail and moonlit pool.

Moonlit pool won my unofficial Facebook poll and turned out surprisingly to be my favorite.  When viewing them on the small little paint sample squares I thought for certain I would choose peacock tail. I painted a first coat on a small bedroom wall to see how I liked it.

It’s looking more green that I thought I wanted but I don’t hate it. Tomorrow morning I will paint a second coat and see how I feel about it. I have a tank top that is more the color I want so may have to do some color matching at my local Home Depot.

***Edit

Well I woke up this morning and decided Moonlit Pool was just still too green. It’s a lovely color but not what I want surrounding me on all four walls. Back to my local Home Depot where my awesome friend Micah helped me choose two more colors. Bermudan Blue and I color matched my favorite Old Navy tank top and I’m calling it Paisley’s Pad.

 

 

 

 

Paisley’s Pad looks greener on here than in person. It’s probably the closest to a true peacock blue I am going to get. Bermudan Blue is lighter in the photo above than on the wall but doesn’t have enough green in it.

I believe the winner is Paisley’s Pad!

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I am my father’s daughter…

Sadly last Saturday July 14, 2012 at 5:30 AM my father lost his battle with a brain tumor. He was loved and will be missed by many. I posted about him a few months back here.

In meeting with the priest at my parents church Sunday he asked about memories we had of him. I came to realize that I am my father’s daughter. We have the same crazy personality and sense of humor. We have the same cheeks. We have the same basic outlook on life. I will miss him terribly.

Dad was born in Perryville, MO November 26, 1937. He was the youngest of six children, 2 sisters and 3 brothers. He graduated from McBride High School in St. Louis. In his teens he worked at the historic Fox Theater, which furthered his love of movies. After a brief stint at Washington University he decided to go to auto mechanic school, laying the foundation for a lifelong passion.

Here he is below with his dad and all his siblings and their spouses.

From left to right. First row: my Aunt Gwen (dad’s oldest sister), my aunt Phil (sister), Aunt Betty, my mom, Aunt Phil and Aunt Reba. Back row: Uncle Jack, a different Uncle Jack, Uncle Lee (my dad’s oldest brother), Grandpa, my dad, Uncle Bud and Uncle Dan.

Looking for some direction dad attempted to enlist in the army. He and two friends went down to the local recruiter and signed up on the “buddy system”. Dad didn’t pass the physical exam due to his eyesight and his other friend didn’t pass the written exam. So his third friend went in to the army alone on the “buddy system”. Ironically he ended up in the same unit as Elvis Presley, whom dad was a big fan.

In 1961 dad’s brother Felix (known as Bud to family and friends) asked him if he wanted to move out to Seattle with him. Dad accepted and never looked back.

In Seattle dad worked in the printing industry. Through the Chancellor club, he met and fell in love with a wonderful woman. Shirley Strum, who would eventually become his wife and mother to us three kids; myself, my sister Denise & my brother Mark. He made quite a first impression by stating his job title was “stripper” which is the industry name for lithographer.

Dad was always ready to laugh and tell story after story. Family game night was a particular pleasure and he was tough to beat at Trivial Pursuit. Often after much internal deliberation where the family was all required to be silent, he would pull some obscure factoids from out of nowhere.

Travel was a passion he shared with mom. He always found a way to put together a family vacation whether it was flying to Disney World or road tripping to Yellowstone. I remember we borrowed our Uncle Buds “Mini Wini” and during a particularly violent rainstorm – us three kids had to take turns sitting behind mom in the passenger seat and holding a towel over her head. Over the years, especially after retirement, he looked forward to adventures in faraway places. He and mom traveled to China, Mexico, England and enjoyed several cruises including Alaska and Mexico.

Dad enjoyed working on restoring his cars, specifically Studebakers of which he rebuilt three from scratch. Below are photos of his 1963 Avanti and 1962 Grand Tourismo Hawk. In recent years he loved driving his Porsche Boxster. Having three children in their teens there was no shortage of putting his mechanic skills to good use. He would often answer the phone when my brother called with “what’s wrong with the car now”?

Recently on the fourth of July I was with a friend and his two boys and one of the boys pointed out a plant and asked me if I knew what the flower was called. I immediately without thinking too much about it quoted my dad “well, it’s an aint rose”. My friend’s son looked at me quizzically. I explained my mother is fond of gardening and my dad could never remember the names of all the flowers in her garden. He would say, “there are two kinds of flowers, roses and aint roses. That’s how I keep them straight. If this aint a rose, then it’s an aint rose”. That of course sent my friend’s son in to fits of laughter.

Dad was a person who everyone knew. He loved people and would always chose his friends. He was fun to be around and everyone cherished the advice, love and care which he had to share. You were taken before your time and I love you!

My car has been in the shop and I have been driving my dad’s Porsche Boxster. Yesterday I took him for his last spin from the church to the cemetery.

To quote one of dad’s favorite movies, “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”.

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