Home makeover

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The movers showed up as promised on Sunday morning. It was a whirlwind as they unloaded furniture and box after box and hauled all of it into the house. Before we knew it, the truck had pulled away and we were surrounded by all of our crap beloved possessions. Poor Austin was not happy with the drought-proof yard of gravel, so we decided to do a little yard upgrade as our first order of business. We went to Home Depot and got a roll of dog-friendly fake grass. He seemed to approve of his new “lawn”:

AustinNewLawn

T also hung some lights that I’d picked up on clearance at Target. Our little backyard is a really great space to hang out. I really love it.

NewBackyard

The rest of the week was spent trying to work while unpacking and getting settled in. By the time the weekend rolled around, we decided to take a little break. A while back, we’d put ourself on the waiting list for the wine club of a winery that we’d enjoyed during our trip for Vineman. They called to let us know that we were in on the Thursday before we moved down, so we made an appointment to come pick up our selections in person.

It was a beautiful day. We got coffee and window-shopped in Healdsburg, had a fabulous tasting and bought a bunch of wine:

AcornBounty

It was a great way to spend our first official California Saturday. It was Halloween and we settled in for a quiet evening at home, but were surprised to hear trick or treaters on the street! T made a dash out to the Walgreens for candy and I put out the Halloween decorations that I happened to have unpacked recently. It was definitely impromptu:

HalloweenDecorations

But I have big plans for next year!

The next day was spent giving our house a little makeover. The paint colors were a little too neutral for our taste, so we got clearance from the landlord to add a little pizazz. (Probably more than she was expecting, but we can always paint it back when we leave… ) Here’s the bedroom before:

BedroomBefore2BedroomBefore

And here’s the after:

Bedroom2Bedroom1

It’s a very similar color to our Seattle bedroom and I LOVE it.

The kitchen was a little more challenging. Here’s the before:

KitchenBefore3KitchenBefore2

We’d always wanted a red kitchen and this kitchen was a perfect candidate. The problem was that we picked the wrong red initially. It was way too orangey and bright, so we had to repaint it. (Which was tough, because the wet paint looked a lot like the dry first coat, so you had to remember where you’d painted. And apply a lot of touch ups the next day.) But the end result was very cool:

KitchenAfter4 KitchenAfter2

And I forgot to take before pictures of the paint, but here’s one of the chandelier when T took it out of the box. God bless IKEA…

ChandalierParts

But here’s the end result (of both chandelier and painting) Here’s the “closed” position:

DR_closed

And the alternate “open” position. Isn’t it cool?

DR_open

The house has all of these cool little details that I just love. Like the STAINED GLASS WINDOW in our living room:

StainedGlassDetail

And the pretty frosted glass window on the bathroom door:

BathroomDoor

And the embossed flower on the closet doors in the bedroom:

ClosetDetail

I just love it here. I didn’t really realize how much I’d missed California until we came back. Even our slightly ghetto neighborhood is so friendly and welcoming. (I think I’ve met more neighbors in my first weeks here than we did in three years at our last place.) The light is golden and warm and we have such beautiful sunsets:

Sunset Sunset2

Especially now that the house is under control, it’s really starting to feel like home.

 

Fireworks

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It’s been quite the summer so far, (more on that in another blog post), so I’ve been excited to have a 4th of July visit from Erik & Nerissa on the calendar. Erik’s birthday is at the very end of June, a few days earlier than their arrival, so we prepared a little mini-birthday celebration – cupcakes and Goldschläger (long story). We opted to divide the cupcakes into quarters, so we had Erik hold his candle while we sang Happy Birthday…

ErikBday

It may have been Erik’s birthday, but Nerissa brought us a present from her recent business trip to Japan – exotic KitKat bars. (Green tea and red bean flavors, in case you can’t tell.) I actually wish they sold these in the states, they were delicious.

ExoticKitKat

I’d originally worried that we were going to have our typical gray and rainy 4th of July weather, but we actually had the opposite extreme – temps in the 90’s. Here the dogs demonstrate our primary coping mechanisms… Option one, hang out in front of the fan:

FanDogs

Or Option Two, hang out under the shady tree in the backyard:

FrogDogVoila, Option Two!

LawnGroupWe finally got to take them to Essex/Delancey:

CocktailEssexWhat a nice-looking group:

EssexGroupErik showing off his fruity cocktail:

ErikCocktailOn the night of the fourth, we opted to stay home. It was lovely. We grilled, drank wine, watched the fireworks from our back porch and stayed up late playing Mexican Dominos. #murica

MexicanDominos2

We stayed up way too late, but it was lots of fun!

MexicanDominos1We wrapped up the visit with a delicious dim sum brunch at Din Tai Fung. (Pro tip, if you go mid-morning on a holiday Sunday, there’s no wait!) We stuffed ourselves with dumplings and then wandered around Capitol Hill. It was the perfect end to a lovely visit.

Endless summer

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Seattle continues to have the most awesome summer weather ever. We’ve broken records for most days over 80 degrees in the history of ever. I’m definitely in the minority of people who are happy about that, but given what the rest of the year’s weather is likely to be, I’m enjoying every second of it. Unfortunately, this leads to blog neglect, so I’ll share some snapshots of our summer adventures.

T did an open-water swim race at Lake Meridian. I’ve done this race twice as part of my Ironman training, so it was weird to watch it from the comfort of a camp chair. Here he is suiting up and getting ready to go:

PreLakeMeridianTOff into the wild blue yonder:

LakeMeridianTAnd they’re off!

LakeMeridianTstartHe did very well, beating my previous best time by ten minutes (bastard!) Plus, he got some valuable race experience and I got a lot of time to read my book in the sunshine. 🙂

We continue to be entertained by these two bozos:

SummerSleepyPups AustinBoneSleepAustin got a new toy eggplant and he’s obsessed with it. Such a silly puppy…

SummerPupsAustinvEggplantWe’ve been enjoying our summer cocktail of bourbon lemonade. I’m embarrassed to admit how quickly we went through this Costco-sized bottle of Maker’s Mark:

SummerCocktailWe balanced it out with our veggie box bounty and, of course, the occasional treat:

IceCreamWe also got to attend a fun Pink Martini concert at the zoo:

PinkMartiniCourtesy of our friends’ adopting this little nugget:

NewBirdT’s training has reached the point where you’re on the cusp of various injuries and battling all sorts of aches and pains. We did a century (100 mile) bike ride down in Portland where he had such severe lower back pain beforehand, I wasn’t sure he was going to make it four blocks. But he rallied and did the whole route and was looking pretty spry at the end. Then threw his back out adjusting the bike in the back of the Element. So, it’s been lots of physical therapy with Dr. Austin (in addition to his real PT, of course.)

PTAustinOver Labor Day weekend, I had him do another long swim to make sure his lower back wouldn’t seize up. We headed over to Seward Park, so he could do a long swim but still be close to shore in case something happened. Plus, there was a path along the shore, so I could keep an eye on him. Here he is heading out, so hardcore!

TswimSewardParkI think we’re both looking forward to the race getting here already.

White weekend

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Life is slowly returning to normal. The boy had a follow-up with the cardiologist and it sounds like he will make a full recovery. There was no damage to the heart muscle and no expected change of his life expectancy, at least from this. Which is a huge relief, of course.

We had a nice Saturday evening hanging out with M & J. T even bonded with his nemesis Mushroom:

GrumpyCatTWhen we went to leave, we were greeted with this surprise sight:

SnowT drove home and I took pictures/cowered in the passenger seat:

DriveHomeWhen we got home, we got to introduce our Texas dog to his first Seattle snow. You can tell he’s a lab by his initial reaction (MUST EAT ALL THE SNOW!!!):

AustinSnow

But he and Wally also had fun romping around in it.DogSnowChaseThe next morning we woke up to a winter wonderland:

SnowyYard2 SnowyYard SnowyHouseT’s “special” tiny snowman:

SnowmanI walked over to the supermarket to pick up some breakfast supplies. Green Lake was so beautiful in the snow:

SnowMontage SnowLake SnowDucksWhen I got back, the boys greeted me with some more snowy hijinks:

BoysChasingI love this shot of Austin’s ears. He looks like Dumbo!

AustinSnowEarsBest of all, the snow started melting in the afternoon, saving me a trip down to my office to get my laptop. Instead, we spent a nice cozy evening watching movies. I like snow just fine when it only lasts for one day.

 

 

 

 

This weekend has gone to the dogs

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Susan came up for an impromptu visit to meet her new “grandpuppy”. She arrived on Thursday night after enjoying the delightful rush hour traffic. 😉 And just like that our house was full of dogs. Young Austin got to meet his doggie uncle Blue. They hit it off right away:

BlueMeetAustinThere was lots of licking and wrangling:

BlueAustin3 BlueAustin2I think that after dealing with the puppy all week, Wally was convinced that all of the dogs were staying and he was not having it. At one point, he went to sulk in the corner:

WallySulkThe next day, T and I had to go to work, so Susan hung out with the dogs and went and got her hair cut at the salon that did mine. The end result was super cute:

SusanNewDoI think Austin likes his grandma:

SusanAustinSnuggleOr maybe he just likes snuggling with people:

AustinToddLapThe next day, we went for the world’s wettest run around Green lake and hung around the house. Austin was happy to help Susan with her foam rolling:

AustinSusanRoller

M, J & Rowan came over for diner and to meet the dog pack. Little Austin LOVED baby Rowan. I tried to get a picture of all of the dogs swirling around her, but this was the best I got. I love Wally’s crazy face in this shot and the fact that Austin is kissing her face while she tries to wave him off. TOO MUCH CUTENESS!!!

RowanMeetsDogsT and I are doing another Whole30 this month, so we couldn’t partake in the wine drinking, but we had a delicious dinner and a wonderful time hanging out. M was kind enough to text me from Costco about a really attractive dog bed and grab it for me. The dogs seemed to approve:

NewBedThe next day, we went out to breakfast and ran a few errands. Susan bought everyone new toys, so much of the day was spent watching the dogs:

BlueAustin4Austin really enjoys wrestling with big Blue:

BlueAustinPlayThey also enjoyed chasing each other around the backyard, but only if I wasn’t trying to photograph them. I did get a nice shot of them hanging out in the shrubbery together: 

BoysShrubsI think young Austin is going to miss all of his dog friends. But snuggling with his dad should make up for some of it:

BoysSnuggleAs will the new bed:

WhatAs you can see, we’re very much enjoying the new addition to the household. He’s a very good dog and is fitting in very nicely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the pack

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After writing so many pet obituary posts this year, I’m excited to write a “welcome to the family” post. Introducing Austin (formerly known as Lucky) a new arrival to the Pacific Northwest from a high-kill shelter in Texas. We’ve been going through the adoption process for about three weeks, so were very excited to meet him. As you can see, it was pretty much love at first sight:

NewPalsI was very worried about how Wally would take to him, but it’s like they’ve been best friends forever:

Wrestlin BuddiesAustin loves the yard:

WheeLoves getting attention:

AustinTAnd pretty much everyone and everything. He’s made himself right at home and we couldn’t be happier with him:

AustinRug AustinChair CouchSnuggle

 

 

 

Good-bye, Georgie boy

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It’s been a tough year for pets and it saddens me to write yet another pet obituary post, but we had to say good-bye to another member of the Dragonfire family this week. Our kitty Georgie had been a member of our family since the early days of our marriage and he was definitely my favorite cat.

We adopted him in the Fall of 1997 as a tiny kitten. T was working in downtown San Francisco, where the local Humane Society brilliantly brings “highly adoptable” pets to office building lobbies. So, I get this call from T asking me what I thought about adopting a kitten (it may have been something closer to “the cutest kitten in the world!”) We were planning to go up to Oregon for the holidays, so I needed him to confirm he was old enough to fly, if it came to that. He happily complied and I came home to this little bundle of ridiculousness.

SleepyKitten

BabyGeorgie HungryKitten

We drove him up to Oregon for Christmas, where he made a spectacle of himself:

GeorgieXmas2 GeorgieXmas1And I have to share my favorite picture of baby George:

BabyGeorgie2He was a pretty rambunctious kitten. (Is there any other kind?) Guests in our home would be treated to punctured air mattresses and Georgie “sharing” his favorite toys in the middle of the night. When we could close off the guests, he’d rattle their doors. On the first Thanksgiving after T and I got married, (where we were hosting two sets of parents) he licked the pumpkin pie. Since I didn’t have the time or supplies to make another one, I had to scoop out a big hole around the cat licked part and fill it with whipped cream. He was a naughty but super sweet kitty.

GeorgieDesk

GeorgieCartAt first, it was just George and Dewdrop. Dewdrop wanted nothing to do with George, despite his overtures of friendship. It wasn’t until Godiva joined the family two years later that he had a buddy. They were pretty cute together:

GeorgieGodiva GeorgeGodiva2And they kept that up over the years:

GeorgieGodivaNow2 GeorgieGodivaNowThroughout our time with him, George was good at rolling with the punches. He drove from the Pacific Northwest to California multiple times and then to New York and back. He lived in eight different houses/apartments in his sixteen years of life. Not even two silly dogs bothered him.

GeorgieWally IMG_1443 IMG_1060But in the last couple of weeks, he’d been losing weight and just wasn’t his usual perky self. We took him to the doctor to run some tests and learned that he had a tumor on his adrenal gland and some sort of blockage near his bile duct. Both things would require invasive, high-risk surgery to address, so we opted to enjoy his company as long as we could. Basically, as long as he was still eating voraciously, we were doing okay. Then on Wednesday night, when T was out of town on a business trip, he stopped eating with the same amount of enthusiasm and spent a lot of time laying in the bathroom, so I knew we were close. We scheduled an appointment to put him to sleep on Friday.

He was still not really eating on Thursday and very listless. When I came home from work, he didn’t greet me at the door like he usually did and I was really worried about him. I petted him and gave him some tuna, which he actually ate. Then I had to go pick T up from the airport. When we came home, he spent a little time petting George and then we chilled out in the living room for a little while. I went in to take a bath an hour later and he was curled up in a ball, sleeping next to the toilet. When I reached down to pet him, I realized that he had gone. He looked very peaceful and I was grateful that he’d gone out on his own terms, even though it was so sad to lose him.

The next morning, we buried him in the backyard that he’d loved prowling around so much:

IMG_8234I’ll miss hanging out in the backyard with him. And his predilection for chilling out in cardboard boxes:

georgie_01He was an awesome cat and we were lucky to have so many good years with him.