April 29, 2014
I've been taking baths. It's starting to become a centering, grounding ritual of sorts – so it's fitting that I unknowingly started on the new moon in Taurus. I turn off the light, pour the water a bit too hot, light a few of my muskiest, headiest candles, pour myself a glass of red wine, put on some low, atmospheric music, and settle in. It's a great way to come back into my body after a long day of working in my head. It all feels a bit womblike and magical – especially if the water is hot enough to make me slightly lightheaded.
I love reaching out towards my glass of wine, and seeing steam snaking up from my skin in the low flickering light, like I'm some sort of otherworldly creature. I love how it slows me down, and how it reminds me of the sauna experience: cleansing and bracing and ceremonial, in this great old-world way. I'd like to start experimenting with different essential oils to heighten the experience. And it's made me realize that I need to bring some plants into that room. Maybe a delicate fern hung up high by the window, or a snakey sansevieria underneath the sink...
April 22, 2014
Above: My inner ham comes out with my future sisters-in-law.
My parents are moving to Michigan in a few weeks. One of the things they wanted to do before they left was finally meet Micah's family (who all live in Oklahoma and north Texas). So last Friday, they generously flew us out to Tulsa for a whirlwind weekend of brunch-eating, Easter-celebrating, and family-introducing.
It was... amazing. I can't help but smile as I remember it. We rented a private room at Lucky's (I wanted to steal that L so bad), and invited Micah's dad and his wife, all three of Micah's sisters, plus his only nephew, Micah's mom, and her parents. If my three brothers hadn't all been living their lives in different states all over the north, they've would've been there too. It's always surreal when two of your social worlds collide, and this was no exception. That slightly-too-small room was so full of love and laughter and overlapping stories of the two of us as children... sigh. I didn't want it to end. But I was so grateful that it happened it all.
Like I said, I've got three younger brothers. I remember when I first found out that Micah had three younger sisters – it just seemed like a good omen, a(nother) check in my mental "pros for dating this cute new guy" column. I've always said that, growing up, I would've eaten any sisters alive (and I stand by that!). But this weekend I realized how I excited I was to one day marry into some sisters – and three of them, at that. I loved talking with each of them, and when we all got together, it was, as you can see above, good times. I kept imagining catching up with them over Thanksgiving or Christmas vacations for years to come, drinking glasses of wine while doing dishes after a big dinner, or sitting on a front porch sipping coffee (what is it with me and beverages?). It made me realize that I'm marrying into his whole family – and made me grateful that his is as welcoming, warm, and good-people-y as it is.
April 14, 2014
Above: scenes from the last week-and-a-half of bathroom renovation. I finally got that bedroom toilet I've always wanted, and I forgot to get safety goggles, so I just wore my largest sunglasses instead. Demolition has never looked so fabulous!
So, the bathroom. It was the one thing I hated about the house when we bought it; but I was also glad for the chance to update something (and to hands-on learn how to do all that entails). I hope I never meet the person who thought a bulky built-in sink vanity and chunky faux-terracotta tiles (on every. single. surface) would be a good idea in a small master bath. I was laughing manically through most of the demolition. Like most home renovation projects, though, it became larger as we went along. Initially we were only going to install a pedestal sink (more on that later), but as we removed the old one, we realized we'd also need to repair/install some backer board over the subfloor where the sink was going (and in the walls around it)... and if we were going to do all that, we might as well tile the floor so we wouldn't need to reinstall the sink down the road. We did, however, leave the tile in the shower; that was simply too much to tackle at the moment. Baby steps!
We did all the heavy installation and initial tiling while my parents were still here. And this past weekend, I grouted, and Micah installed baseboards and quarter-round. Next steps are patching up any visible holes/craters from the original demo, then caulking the baseboards, and priming everything so it's ready to paint.
April 4, 2014
Micah bought me a vintage ravioli plaque months ago at our favorite hoarder house / antique store. Each ravioli is about 1" square, it came with the cutest tiny rolling pin and Italian directions, and last week I finally got around to trying it out. I roasted some garlic and shallot, and folded it into a small tub of ricotta with an egg for the filling. I've found that you should always over-season ravioli filling – since there's only a bit in each bite, it needs to carry big flavor to stand up to it's pasta envelope.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the smaller size wasn't any more finicky to stuff or separate than regular-sized ravioli. There's always a bit of a learning curve to figure out how much filling can fit in each ravioli without causing it to burst, which can be frustrating at first (especially if you're like me and want to do everything perfectly IMMEDIATELY, and completely overreact to the length of your own learning process). Micah came up with a great idea to save my handful of burst raviolis and all the edging scraps, toss them with veggies and sauce, and turn it into a small baked pasta dish. A great example of his chill scrappiness balancing out my perfectionist intensity, and another life lesson from pasta-making.
April 2, 2014
Above: A few progress shots of one of our kitchen backsplashes. We still need to cover up some edges, install an under-cabinet light (my parents' idea - so simple yet helpful!), and grout.
It's insane how much my parents have done in the last few days. My mom and I completely tore out the bathroom vanity and floor (we're down to one toilet right now...), my dad and Micah have replaced the dining room light and removed the bathroom toilet, we all took a swing or two at ripping off the existing tile in the kitchen (you can see a bit of what it looked like when we bought it here), we've been clearing "volunteer saplings" and overzealous bushes and monkey grass from both yards, I've learned to tile, we've finished most of the backsplashes... and it's only been three days. Today I think we're starting the bathroom floor tile (here's what we chose), so we can put the toilet back in, and start installing our beautiful new pedestal sink.
In the kitchen, the plan is to eventually paint the lower cabinets charcoal or black, and the upper cabinets white (or, new idea from Kathleen: LIGHT GREY?!...). I would then love a more substantial faucet, and maybe new pulls?, but those are so low-priority right now. Right now it's all about trying to learn a fraction of the amazing skill set my parents collectively have, and getting through our ambitious project list before they go back to Oklahoma. The clean freak in me also can't wait to deep-clean our whole house after the dust literally and figuratively settles. But for now - back to tiling.