Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Chairs

Before family arrived, Shawn and I decided to get some new chairs! We knew when we first moved in that we didn't love our furniture arrangement in the upstairs living room. We just didn't like the fact that the big couch was sitting in front of our big picture window, so we talked about finding some chairs that would go in front of that window instead. Here's what the living room has looked like for the last six weeks or so.Earlier this fall, we had taken a little trip down to the "local" IKEA, just to see what they had. I fell in love with a chair that was actually out of stock at that time. When I checked the IKEA website, it wasn't listed, so I eventually decided that it must be an old model that they were phasing out. So I chose another model that I thought would work well with our furniture.

A couple weeks ago, we headed down to IKEA again, with the intention of going home with a couple new chairs. We thought we'd leave with two Ektorp Jennylund chairs. Instead, when we got to the store, we discovered the Karlsvik model that I had fallen in love with before! And this time, the furniture had a tag on it that said "new!" So that's what we ended up buying...two Karlsvik chairs. They only come in one color, and it actually works pretty well with our current color scheme.

Of course, we realized that the chairs wouldn't fit in our car, so we had them delivered a couple days later. This weekend, before Shawn's family arrived, we rearranged the furniture. We put the loveseat downstairs in the family room, and we moved the sofa over to the little "half way" by the stairwell. Then the two new chairs went in front of the big picture window. Here's what our living room looks like now:
I'm loving our new chairs! They're really comfortable, and they look good. :) And if you have an IKEA near you, the Karlsvik sofa is on sale this Saturday for $199 (instead of the normal $299). I'll admit...I'm tempted to make a trip to IKEA again this weekend! :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Busy, Busy!

Things have definitely been busy around here! For the last few days, we've been trying to get things ready for Shawn's family to arrive, so that's involved painting, cleaning, unpacking, organizing, and rearranging furniture. Once we figure out where the camera battery charger is located, I'll take some pictures and do individual posts of some of these things.

Saturday was Shawn's last rugby game of the fall season. Although they lost, they played pretty hard. Now Shawn has a couple weeks with no rugby at all...and then "spring training" begins. We think it's funny that "spring" training starts in early December (which is before "winter" even begins!).

Shawn's family has come to visit us and spend Thanksgiving with us! I went to the airport to pick up Shawn's mom tonight, while Shawn waited here for his brother's family to arrive. So for the better part of this week, we'll have a pretty full house! Shawn's brother and sister-in-law drove up from California with our two nephews (ages nine and five and a half). Shawn was brilliant earlier this week, and he saved the boxes that our new chairs came in. So while the adults took some time to relax after the long drive, Shawn and the boys turned the cardboard into a pretty awesome fort. Great way to let the boys run off some energy!

For the next few days, I'll be working from home while Shawn takes his family to do some touristy things around the area. I'll also need to do some more shopping for the Thanksgiving meal. I'll try to do a few posts throughout the week to show what all we're up to!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Glassblower of Murano

The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato, 2007 (348 pages)

I really didn't know anything about this book before I got it from the library, but I knew it was set in Venice. And I love Venice. :)

The author tells two stories simultaneously, so the chapters tend to go back and forth between a modern time and the 17th century. The modern story centers on Leonora Manin, and the 17th century story centers on Corradino Manin...Leonora's famous, glassblowing ancestor.

The plot line itself is an intriguing story about an aspect of Venetian history, and it makes me want to do a little research to find out how much is actual fact (versus the author's invention). But it's also a story of family, love of country, and honor.

One of my favorite aspects of the book is how much the author drew on some classic Italian works. She often mentions the Italian painters that I love (such as Titian and Botticelli), and the characters frequently reference Dante's Divine Comedy. Even Shakespeare is mentioned (as an English contemporary of Corradino's).

I really enjoyed this book, and now I want to go back to Venice. :)
Total number of books read in 2009: 40
Total number of pages read in 2009: 14386

Monday, November 16, 2009

Halloween Bummer

I realized that I never blogged about something that happened on Halloween weekend. That Friday night, we went to our friends' apartment for a little Halloween party. Hmm...I never blogged about that, either, did I? I wasn't feeling super creative, so I wore Shawn's stuff and went as a Queen City rugby player.
Shawn was much more creative than me, and he went as Professor Chaos. (He said I should tell you that I "was a good minion.")
Don't know Professor Chaos? On South Park, he's the alter ego of the character, Butters. We like Butters. And Shawn's costume was pretty spot on. See?We had a good time at the party with our friends. When we came home that night, we went straight to bed. On Saturday morning, Shawn went into the kitchen and made a discovery:Yep...broken window. Fortunately, it's just the outside pane, so we haven't had to be in a huge hurry to replace it. When we went out onto the porch, we found a few rocks that weren't there the last time we were on the porch. There were also a few small, dirty dents in the siding. So...our conclusion is that someone (probably stinkin' kids) was throwing rocks at our house on Friday night. Bummer. Here's the rock that seems to have done the damage to our window:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Shawn's New Toy

We were hoping to be really productive today. One of our major things on the to-do list was to do a little more painting. However, we realized that we had the wrong paint, so Shawn headed off to Lowe's.

He did come home with more paint. And some bags for our leaves. And a new toy.
Since before we closed on the house, we've been keeping our eye on lawnmowers. Although we've had lots of people assure us that "now is a great time to buy a lawnmower," we really hadn't been seeing any good deals. But when Shawn went to Lowe's this afternoon, he found that the mowers had finally been put on a good sale! He called to let me know about it, and I checked the reviews online. People have had a lot of good things to say about this model, and when it was all said and done, we got it for less than half price. I'd say that's a good deal. :-)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Working Out

Every once in awhile, I start feeling a little guilty about my lack of exercise. Last June, I vowed to get fit before I turned 30. I also thought I'd try to be able to run a 5K by then. Um, yeah....I turned 31 a couple weeks ago, and I'm neither fit nor able to run a 5K. Back in January, one of my few New Year's Resolutions was to get more exercise. For a couple months, I did a pretty good job of walking regularly, using the Wii Fit, and working on the 100 Push-ups and 200 Sit-ups programs. For whatever reason, though, over the summer I fell out of the habit of getting regular exercise.

Once we moved, Shawn started talking about the possibility of switching his gym memberships. He's been going regularly for a few years now, and although he's been happy with his gym, driving 25 minutes to get there isn't super convenient. I thought it would be a good time to suck it up and try a gym myself.

There's an Anytime Fitness really close to our house, so we decided to check it out. Basically, it's staffed during the day, but your member keycard allows you to get in 24/7. I like that it's close to home, and I actually like that it's small. We've never seen it crowded, and I can actually figure out how to use all the machines. So a few weeks ago, after taking advantage of the free 7-day trial pass, we both signed up for memberships here!

This is actually the first time I've ever had a gym membership. Before the wedding, I got a 20-visit punch card for the Rec Center...and I never actually finished using up the 20 visits. But this time, I'm proud to say that over the last four weeks, I've actually been going a few times a week! Usually, Shawn and I go together, which is really nice. Frankly, he usually is my motivation for going...why should I stay at home by myself doing nothing, when I could just go with him to the gym?

So, we'll see how this goes! We signed a contract for a year, so hopefully knowing that we're paying for it will help give me some extra motivation, too. Who knows? Maybe I'll be fit by the time I'm 32. :-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

World Series 2009

I have to's always hard for me to watch any team celebrate a World Series win. What can I say? I'm jealous. I've never known what it's like to have my closer get that last out in the 9th. (Thanks a lot, Jose Mesa. I still blame you for blowing the save in the 9th inning of Game 7 against the Marlins in 1997...and therefore losing us the Series.) I've never known what it's like to watch my team swarm the field for a World Series win, and I've never watched my team accept the Commissioner's Trophy and thank the fans of Cleveland for being the best in basball.

So like I said, it's always hard for me to watch any team celebrate a World Series win. It hurts a little more when it's the frickin' Yankees.

With that being said....only 152 days until Opening Day, when the Indians take on the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field! We haven't won a World Series since 1948. Maybe the 62nd try will be the charm! A girl can dream, can't she? :-)

(Just don't get me started on the fact that we've hired Manny Acta to be our new manager. That's right...the same guy who was fired in July by the Washington Nationals...the worst team in baseball in 2009.)

Sunday, November 1, 2009


When we were given the keys to our house, we really didn't get much. Shawn and I each got a copy of the front door key, and there was one spare. That's it. We weren't given a key for our back door or our garage we could lock those doors, but we couldn't unlock them from the outside.

Our front door has two locks on it...the main door lock and the deadbolt. One key worked both locks. Lately, just to save time, I've gotten in the habit of locking the main lock from the inside before I leave the house. That way, I only need to use the key to lock the deadbolt.

This evening, Shawn and I headed out. On my way out the door, I locked the main lock from the inside. Then Shawn came out and closed the door. And then it occurred to us to wonder which of us had brought our keys. Um...that would be neither of us. D'oh!!

Our neighbor was outside at the time, working on her yard. Since every window and door in our house was locked, she gave us her phone book and a recommendation for a locksmith she's used before. While we waited for him to show up, Shawn and I did a little weeding, and we kicked around a soccer ball (that Shawn found in the yard of the vacant house next door). Once the locksmith arrived, it was almost scary to see just how quickly he was able to get through our front door. And since he was already here...Shawn asked him how hard it would be to get keys for the rest of our doors. Turns out, the locksmith was able to change the locks on our back door and garage doors very quickly, and now we can use our front door key on any of them! He also gave us an additional spare key, which is nice.

So...getting keys to those doors was on our house to-do list. We just didn't realize that would be something we'd be checking off our list this weekend!

Trick or Treat?

Shawn and I were looking forward to having adorable Trick-or-Treaters come to our door this year. Last year, we bought a couple bags of candy and then only had about 4 kids all night long. In this neighborhood, we figured we'd get tons of kids! First of all, we've seen quite a few kids around. And second, it's pretty much ideal for Trick-or Treating. We have sidewalks and street lights, and it's a huge neighborhood with LOTS of houses within easy walking distance. So in preparation, we bought nine bags of candy. Not huge bags, but still...nine bags.

We figured kids would start arriving shortly after dark...maybe around 6:00. The first kid didn't show up until just after 7:00. We didn't actually count the number of kids who eventually came to our door, but we're guessing maybe 30...max. So even though we gave multiple pieces of candy to each dressed up child, we didn't use nearly nine bags. I suggested at one point that we just hand the next kid an unopened bag of candy.

What's happened to Trick-or-Treat? I know that kids still do least, they do in Colorado. Even my high school students would go out on Halloween. Maybe it's just not a big deal around here? Or maybe kids/parents are afraid of a little rain? It definitely wasn't raining hard tonight, but maybe it was enough that it kept the kids inside? If that's the kids in the Pacific Northwest never leave the house?? I realized quite awhile ago that if I wasn't willing to do things in the rain, I'd never do anything at all. But that's what rain pants and jackets and umbrellas are for, right?

Oops...sorry about the little side rant. But for future reference...note to self: No apparent need to buy any more than 3 bags of Halloween candy. I hope Shawn's coworkers want fun-size Snickers, Reese's Cups, and Hershey's miniatures, because he and I really do NOT need to eat all this ourselves!