Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Veggie Surprise

Last summer Mr. Burns and I would walk down the bike path along the creek outside his condo to get to the farmers market. Seriously the location is amazing - and what a great way to shop for food!

We could pick up a weeks worth of bell peppers, fresh corn and tomatoes (for him- I'm allergic to tomatoes.) and other salad and sandwich fixings for a crazy low price + a nice walk in the sun.

On the way back, he would wax poetic about how great it would be to grow tomatoes on his patio. I looked up some container gardening plans on the Internet and showed them to him. But like most things, he left it at an idea.

Well, shortly after Easter I got the idea to start some plants for him. Rather than buy a starter kit I just planted seeds from my most recently consumed peppers in a shallow take-out dish from Tokoyo Joe's. The lid served as a terrarium. I had to buy tomato seeds - and planted them in another container.

Here's what I have so far:
Mr. Burns likes Green peppers the best - so of course the Orange and Red ones came in first and fast and frenzied! I just opened the lid again today and was thrilled to find a couple little plants in the Green section!
The tomatoes on the other hand:
refuse to grow. Is this their way of saying they don't like me either? My body doesn't like them, so they won't grow for me!
I'm going to move the pepper plants to some small pots - then I'll use that container to try tomatoes again. I am just worried that I'll kill them by putting them in pots. The terrarium effect is so low maintenance... if I have to be responsible for watering them I'm likely to kill them.
I'm going to wait to Mr. Burns what I've done. He's been working out of town a lot lately so I'll wait til things calm down and he can be expected to be home to water them.
Aww. Look at my cute little veggie friends!
In this shot you can just make out the two little green pepper plants in the upper right corner!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Another Favorite

To go along with my resolutions to entertain more - I discovered the need to have more plates available at my house. (I've never been married so I never acquired a full set of dishes - I've been using the same set of 4 dinner plates, 4 salad plates since college!!)

I usually keep things simple - serving kabobs and various appetizers, cut fruit and veggies. What is important to me is the people. My people don't care if everything looks perfect - just keep their glasses and their tummies full!

But, what I can't bear is the thought of 1) serving my guests off of paper plates - tacky!!! and 2) the guilt of tossing paper plates in a landfill just 'cuz I hate doing dishes!

So, leading up to my housewarming party I browsed some antique stores and found these old glass party plates.
Over time, I've added to my collection. All glass party plates and dessert bowls! The bowls are curvy and heavy and lovely. Not heavy, just solid with a nice heft.
Anytime I'm in an antique store I keep an eye out for more. At an estate sale last fall, I found a set complete with the corny little zippered case! How kitschy is that!
And, I pick them for about the same price as a package of new paper plates - but these are reusable.
You should see the adorable 50s finger sandwich plates complete with punch cups I picked up last summer. Maybe I'll share if I dig that box out sometime soon.
Last summer I hosted a Sunday Brunch in my building's courtyard. Many people gasped when they realized I wasn't using paper plates! Not what they expected I guess - especially since it's enough trouble carrying the food and such down three flights to get outside! But, I think it's wrong to eat from paper and plastic. Won't happen at my house!

I only wish I had enough to serve the crowd at dad's birthday BBQ.
It's gonna kill me to use paper plates, no matter how apropos for a BBQ.

Good Times at the Ranch

My brother tends to plan things without thinking them through.

When he brought his family out to visit and ski last month, it took him another week after he returned home to tell me that he's planning a big surprise party for Dad's 75th Birthday.

Gee man, I'm glad you told me - so that I can arrange to be home for it!!!

Well, this is an occassion.
My family tends to keep things simple - so my suggestion to make appropriate invitations was way out there!

Until I came up with this:I love, love, love them!
I think my brother really likes them too. I made them up to be mailed as postcards. The detailed information is on the business side. I mailed the majority to relatives, but my brother will just hand out the rest to folks at home... neighbors, parishoners etc.

I really like how they turned out - except the printer surprised me with the white border. I didn't want - or ask for - the white border. I think that's what he thought of when I said "postcard" though I wish he hadn't.

When he sent me jpgs of the mock ups - I was opening them on a white background so I didn't notice! Boo hiss!

Oh well. No sense wasting more paper and resources just to eliminate the weird little border.

Favorite Things

I'm swiping an idea from another blogger. KC Masterpiece started blogging about some of her favorite things. Things she already has, in an effort to appreciate what she has, and as I took it... to help curb the want for new things.

I think it's a great idea. And so I'll start with a few of mine:

When I look around my home, I notice that my favorite things are mostly antiques. Oddly enough, recently acquired antiques!

I picked up this lovely little number at an antique store last year.
I can't imagine my love for this little vase ever waning!

What's not to love?
The color - beautiful. The texture - amazing!
And if you look closely you'll notice that while the base of the vase is square, the mouth is a triangle. Now that's sneaky!
I really think it is one of the most beautiful things in my home and I can't imagine ever growing tired of it!

The same can be said for my beautiful credenza. I picked it up about 1 1/2 years ago. I searched for YEARS after I moved into my condo for the right piece of furniture for my living room. Oh baby, is this it! I tucked my little tv, vcr and dvd player in the center door. No ugly tv as a focal point in my living room.

For your true appreciation of this beauty... I must point out the very cool Atomic knobs!

How cute!

Oh... actually these are the best photos I have of the credenza - but I must share that I finally moved that old rug to the bedroom and replaced it with a beautiful shag that I found for a steal - so my living room looks more like this now:
Improvement eh?

Now I'm working on the right placement for accessories to display on the credenza. A new sofa is next.

I'm getting there. That will be another Favorite things feature in the future.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Better Campaign Strategy

I was discussing the current presidential campaign with my dad today. Somewhere in the conversation I was reminded of this man who was in my social circle for a while a few years ago. He was involved in local politics and considering a run for governor.

I got to know him through a guy I was dating at the time.

So over a period of several months I got to know this guy since we were invited to the same dinners and parties. Actually, he was usually the one hosting the party. Nonetheless, I learned that he’s a very smart guy, with great plans, and a big heart. I believed this guy would do really good things if he had the chance to hold office.

He did throw his hat in the ring. He would have had a pretty good shot at getting elected too. But a few months later, he explained over dinner that he just couldn’t bear spending all that money on a campaign. Don’t get me wrong. He could afford it. He’s a self made millionaire a few times over. But he told us that he’d rather contribute his money to the programs he believed needed investment – than blow it on a campaign which he saw as a waste.

If only more civic minded people thought like him.

So today it occurred to me: Wouldn’t it be great if we could change the way campaigns are conducted? What if a candidate was allowed to raise money, but instead of spending it on campaign ads and travel - an enormous campaign budget … they were charged to put that money into programs they believed in. Do you really think universal health care is possible? Show us a program. Throw your money at it. Make it work. Make us believe.

Then we (the voters) could see what they really stand for – where their mouth and money really go! Then we decide who gets the job!

It would certainly be better than the political machine we endure right now. We don’t really know what anyone stands for - or what sort of leader they would be.

Coupled with the fact that most of the donations to a candidates' campaigns are really just lobbying efforts. They're funding the candidate, buying the candidates support for their issue.

With my theory, we might actually get a decent glimpse at their heart before we blindly put someone in office just because they are less offensive than the other guy or gal.

Man… what I would give to see that work!!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Life Checklist

I got the itch about a month ago to purge more stuff from my closets. I decided to weed through some boxes of paperwork and clippings.

In one of the boxes I found a list in my own handwriting.
It has no title but after a brief review it's plain to see it was a list of things to accomplish, to do more, or to try something new. I'm not sure when I composed the list, but judging from it's contents it must have been prior to the year 2000.
  • Study Spanish
  • Travel
  • Gym
  • Biking
  • Roller blading
  • Sewing
  • Teaching a CCD class
  • Throw parties
  • Study a Martial Art
  • Gymnastics
  • Ice Skating
  • Have a kid anyway
  • Become a consultant
  • Buy & Use a real camera
  • Play Tennis
  • Freelance Writing
I can check five entries on the list. Should I be pleased or bummed?

It really blew my mind to find this list and realize what is still important to me, what I've accomplished, what doesn't matter any more.

I hope you find a list. Barring that, make one now!
When you find it a few years from now you'll present yourself with a great perspective to view your life!

Read on for progress details if you're interested:

I studied Spanish in College but never really took to it. This is a reminder to give it another try.

Travel. Success in this department. In fact, I get partial credit for Freelancing as well. A couple years ago I started a job contracting with a production company as a Field Producer. They sent me all over the country and I wrote for about 1/3 of them. I think I knocked out visiting 16 different states (that I'd never traveled to before) in that job. Still haven't left the country though - unless Jamaica counts.

Next, I have joined a gym, three in fact since then. I'm off the wagon at the moment.

I also started to bike more, though not much. When I first started dating Mr. Burns, he took me on my first lengthy bike ride in about 3 years. I must have been a little chicken since the spectacular bike crash in 2003. I managed to land on my chin, split it open AND break a tooth requiring my first crown and periodontal surgery! My chin needed 11 stiches!
(to the left >>- self portrait of my banged up body after the crash. Not that bad really. Since the major damage was to my teeth!!)

Mr. Burns took me on a pretty easy, paved trail, and at one point I said, "This is probably a good place to turn around." He said, "aw, let's keep going." Oh crap! But when you're trying to impress a guy you like - injuries to delicate areas of your body be damned!!

I bought Roller Blades when I first moved to Denver, and very much enjoy it if I can drag myself to Wash Park!

Sewing. I've sewn since childhood so this was obviously an encouragement to do more of it. That comes in spurts because I'd really like to have an extra room dedicated to sewing projects.

I did teach a CCD class. I remember the church organizers thought I was crazy when I said I wanted the 16-year-olds!

I did start to throw more parties. I love entertaining! That's been put on hold in this period of unemployment. Wah!

Martial Arts and ice skating are on hold. I looked into a gymnastics class at a local college, since I did it for PE credit in my college years. Considering my age, they offered to have me come try out a class before I signed up. I'm pretty sure that's what led to the big hip blow out of 2007!! I didn't sign up.

Don't you love "Have a kid anyway"? Clearly I was frustrated by the lack of male prospects! I showed this to Mr. Burns and like a guy he asked, "What do you mean by 'anyway'?" That means without a man. I was nearly age 30 and there were no boyfriend/ husband prospects. If no one is going to show up, it doesn't mean the desire to be a mom goes away!

I think becoming a consultant is probably out the window. Darn. I hear it pays well and involves travel!

Buy and use a real camera.

I was refering to an SLR. I did finally save up and buy a digital SLR in 2006. I love my baby!! And since then some friends have asked me to photograph their weddings.

I'd like to eventually make a living with my photography. It is one thing that makes me very very happy and gives me feelings of accomplishment.

Play Tennis. Well, I took lessons when I was in college but never played a game. Last summer Mr. Burns tried to teach me, but my bad hip (see gymnastics) made it really tough. I feel better this year, we'll try again in the summer.

Freelance writing, see above.