a plug for Firefly

so the other night m and i took a field trip to raleigh to visit “firefly.”:http://www.fireflync.com/ the manager of the fleuvog store in NYC admonished me to support firefly, and in fact i did walk out with a pair of “cute shoes.”:http://www.zappos.com/n/p/dp/19941280/c/2133.html

which was all great and stuff except that they didn’t fit, and after wearing them around the house i knew they had to go back.

i returned them today and the owner of the store was at the counter with an ebay auction up on the computer. i think she actually said, “rats” when she saw which shoes i was returning. i asked if she sold things on ebay and she said, “yeah, like when i’m really desperate for money.”

ouch.

firefly is an awesome store, y’all. it’s not a discount store, although if you happen to wear size 10 shoes, you might check out the sale rack. but they have things that you can’t find and try on anywhere else in our area, really cool things!

she said new stuff would be coming in two to three weeks which happens to be right around my birthday, so we may be having lisa’s birthday party at firefly this year 🙂 but don’t wait until then to visit the store, if you happen to be in raleigh…

the house in 2006

i just ran across the big huge list of house things i wanted to accomplish in 2006. so how much did i get done?

*the basement*

I got an estimate from lindsley waterproofing and did not at all like their approach to the problem, and after talking with neighbors decided to work on my gutters. i’ve added some downspout extensions and replaced one wayward gutter, but i’m not sure this has done much good. i’m adding more downspout extensions and am now considering calling a gutter company to see if having the gutters replaced– possibly with larger, covered gutters– might help.

anyway, the basement isn’t dry, so i didn’t achieve my goal this year but i guess some progress has been made.

i did paint an old desk that had been in the kitchen, and i’ve put it in the laundry area of the basement. this has actually really helped the laundry area be more functional.

*kitchen*

this is where i’ve made the greatest strides. i’ve kitted the kitchen out with a lot of new pots, pans and utensils, and i cannot emphasize enough what a difference this makes. i bought two new appliances, a smooth surface electric range to replace the hideous monstrosity that i lived with for seven years, and a portable dishwasher, the first dishwasher i’ve ever had. the dining room was treated to new chairs and i’ve put new window treatments in both rooms. finally, my friends helped me paint both rooms. i _love_ my kitchen now.

*exterior trim*

i never did anything about the exterior trim. it’s badly overdue for attention.

*floor refinishing*

i never got any estimates on having the floors refinished.

*outdoor living*

i didn’t do everything i set out to do but i accomplished a lot. my back screen porch is very livable now instead of being dirty and occupied by broken down, mis-matched makeshift furniture. i have a working gas grill, and i have a new lawnmower that did make a big difference in how well i maintained my yard.

the one thing i didn’t do was get my pool set up. however, at the end of the season i had a mental breakthrough and came up with a practical way to create a level surface for the pool. i have no doubt that i will get the pool set up next season.

*lawn and garden*

definitely my best year yet for the lawn and garden, although that’s not saying much.

I did not really do anything about the weedy-ness of my lawn (except a lot of research), but oh well. i don’t feel too bad about that, and i have a good idea of what to do next year.

my biggest accomplishment was transforming the raised bed from noxious weed farm into an herb and lettuce garden. i didn’t follow through throughout the season as well as i could have but in the end i definitely made a lasting improvement in that area.

i did plant some shrubs in the bare area around my walnut tree, and applied fertilizer diligently to the stunted holly next to it, to no real avail. there’s still a huge blank spot there, and i’m not sure what to do about it.

another huge accomplishment was the reclamation of the beds lining the sides of the back yard. there’s a lot more work that i could do with those beds, like defining the edge with mondo grass, but now i know how trivial it is to get mulch delivered which will make maintenance of this area much easier.

*bedroom*

the bedroom didn’t appear on the big list o’ house stuff but i got a bee in my bonnet about the bedroom a few months ago. i decided it was time the furniture better matched the paint. i painted my bed and my bedside tables, and replaced the bed side lamps and throw rugs. kind of startling what a difference this made. there’s still a few things i’d like to do, such as replace my dresser and add a wardrobe.

i realize this probably isn’t the most interesting blog entry i could write, but it helps me a lot to see what i’ve accomplished this year. i tend to focus on what i still have left to do, and lose sight of the improvements i’ve made. i always hear critical voices in my head that don’t understand why i haven’t taken care of this or that. well, screw you, critical voices! i’ve been busy taking care of other things.

so for next year? the basement, the exterior trim, and… we’ll see!

dry and ready

that doesn’t only describe a dredel, but also the spacepod, who remained dry inside during today’s inhospitable downpour. that may be one of the best christmas presents i could have given myself. a dry and ready spacepod.

i’m home now, pending round 2 of today’s cat care duties, watching “a local”:http://www.angusbarn.com/recipes.html hand “cat cora’s ass”:http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/show_ia_the_series/article/0,2495,FOOD_20476_3638760,00.html to her on a plate. since i can’t stand cat cora anyway, this makes me happy. perhaps the next time j is in town, i will take him to the angus barn.

i received many nice things, including a new santoku knife. dan seemed to be quite fascinated with his new ipod, which mom and i went in on together. i have to admit that the starflucks card that the boys gave me is actually one of my favorite presents.

dinner was fabulous although i’ll admit to a little guilty disappointment that neither ham nor macaroni and cheese were involved. in fact, i believe i will make these things for myself in the next few days since i was hoping to eat them today. the standing rib roast was some of the best beef i’ve ever eaten, however.

upon arrival at gran’s we encountered my stepbrother who left quickly after we arrived. he was still in scrubs and was no doubt not lying when he claimed to be tired from working all day, but i’m pretty sure he also didn’t want to deal with the whole lot of us. oh well; it was good to see him, however briefly.

i helped mom cast on a scarf while we had a nice visit with gran who is still pretty damn sharp at 97, although physically quite miserable.

throughout the day as i drove here and there i listened to “sarah’s annual divaville xmas show”:http://www.ovenall.com/diary/archives/006870.php which was one of the highlights of the day.

brief hibernation interruption

it’s officially christmas day here in NC now. the cat is snoring. i’ve decided that _hibernation_ best describes my current state… sleeping, watching tv, leaving the house only if absolutely necessary.

tomorrow will be a hectic interruption of this state. in the morning i have to visit six cats in three households. i’m still the only person available on christmas day, i guess. then i have to find a way to transport four large frozen flounder fillets to raleigh along with a bottle of chilled prosecco and a bag full of presents.

ok, i have to admit, i am kind of dreading tomorrow. i guess being at mom’s house will be nice. then in the afternoon we are going to visit gran, which will be good but difficult. and then i’ll go home from there on kind of a low note. and then i’m on my own until whenever.

on the 26th i know i have to make myself go work on the van. this will not be easy. i’m really afraid of how bad the rust is going to be.

i, for one…

“my cat is evil and he is trying to take over the world.”:http://www.flickr.com/groups/feline_overlord/pool/

-:|:-

j left this afternoon. it was too short of a visit. i gave him “chocolates”:http://www.vosgeschocolate.com/ and a scarf i knitted for him. he gave me a heavy chenille throw (tired of the hot pink wool blankets i keep around the living room in winter) and a copy of “the zero effect,”:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120906/ a movie that we both like.

sadly, my dvd player is so far gone that we couldn’t watch it this morning during breakfast without the extraordinarily annoying director’s commentary popping on and refusing to turn off. plus the usual difficulty in getting it to accept any commands or actually play without stopping. it’s clear now what i should spend that amazon gift certificate on.

i have to wrap things and i guess i want to get a few munchy things for people like chocolates and stuff, but mostly my christmas stuff is ready.

mostly, i’m just being really slack. i’m really bummed that the voyager marathon is over.

reset

the great thing about taking pleasure in morning and having a pleasing morning routine is that, well, the day always starts with a pleasant experience.

i need to work on the evening thing, however. last night i was quite bored and at loose ends. i’ve been watching the star trek: voyager marathon and i wanted _more voyager,_ but neither of my usual video stores have it on the shelves. i netflixed it, but that’s not condusive to a marathon.

j is coming later today and then heads on tomorrow. today i’ll be getting a haircut, going to the grocery store and wrapping presents.

it’s raining a little bit right now, it sounds nice.

no rest for the bleary

woke up yesterday feeling as if i had not slept. yesterday was all _go go go_ keeping up with emails about the new web page. collapsed at home. how i love thee online shopping. knocked out two more presents online last night. roasted a turkey breast. went to bed at a reasonable time. woke up 5am due to the cat. woke up 7am due to the tree trimming guys working on the street. isn’t there a noise ordinance? i could sleep now another three hours but instead i’ll go through the motions at work, drained of the ability to care very much now. tonight i make brownies or some such for the grazing day, and then after tomorrow i am free, no more work until the new year. yes. sleep.