More progress

Today was another productive one, project-wise, mixed in with a bunch of great food. We made waffles on the griddle (these are my raspberry chocolate chip ones, midway).

As you can see from the background, we had Dunkin Donuts coffee to go with! Stretching out the East Coast trip happiness a little bit.

Partly to get dinner ready early, and partly to put off painting trim as long as possible, I took all of the remaining CSA root vegetables and cut them up for a soup. Many of them were surprises/unidentified. We definitely had turnips, carrots (white and orange), a beet (that one was a bit of a shock – ugly brown outside, juicy fluorescent red inside. Woah. My hands are still stained.), and potatoes. We think we also had Golden Bunch Beets and a second kind of turnips?? I added store-bought leeks, lentils and purple onions, and it turned into quite the colorful pot.

I like that we managed every single color except for blue. I seasoned with thyme, oregano, pepper, and (as usual, not enough) salt. Not bad.

Procrastinating out of the way, I finally started painting trim. I did the windows, shelf and one of the doorways, and it took a little over three hours (felt much longer). I think we’ll need at least one more coat, and I’m considering buying a less-glossy paint to hide the many imperfections. It felt like a good step forward when I was done for the day, but the lesson remains: I will not retrim a room that size, with that complexity, *ever* again.

Home Again, part 2

Yesterday, we did a good job catching up after a week away, including the typical fish tank chores, grocery shopping and laundry. Kevin hung Christmas lights (on the mossy, wet roof, in the dark – I asked if he wanted my safety-concious opinion of that and he declined), I did yard work.

And we both finally, finally hung the last of the trim.

Yay! Pre-drilling the boards and then hammering in the nails by hand turned out to be much neater than using the nail gun. We’re still not sure if we should have turned the pressure down or if nail guns just don’t work well with MDF, but these nail holes were nearly invisible. And I am so, so excited about the end result – it’s so proportional and beautiful.

I did another round of caulk, to finish up the work for the day, and Kevin cooked dinner. It’s good to be home.

Home Again

We decided to fly back on Friday, mostly due to cost, and then stupid Continental moved our flights up by three hours so we really only had time for a leisurely breakfast before we had to head for the airport. This is the third time in the last three months that our flights have been changed for the worse – I’ll have to start being more vigilant. We both felt bad to have to leave so early.

The one upside is that we had a three hour layover instead of an extra three hours in the air. Our first flight was Philly to Newark (which I knew was in New Jersey, but otherwise I was vague), on a teeny nine-row propeller plane that flew about 100 feet off the ground. Great views of the countryside the entire trip, but I was shocked when I looked out the window and saw New York City. Huh! We found seats in our terminal that had pretty city views for our long wait, and I called my brother to let him know that we were within “seeing” distance.

Luckily we see him again in just a few weeks, or I’d feel like we truly squandered an opportunity.

Turkey Day

For Thanksgiving, we went over to (family friend) Stacey’s new townhouse. It was gorgeous, and it was fun to see all of her family again. After getting psyched up about it for many months, people decided to deep fry the turkey. (I wasn’t totally on board, especially given the explosion factor, but I also knew that I didn’t have a vote. I felt better after Kevin and I went out and at least bought a B-rated fire extinguisher.)

Sample photo, with my father-in-law in a turkey hat and smoking a cigar (he appears to have put his drink down), a boiling vat of oil, lots of propane, Kevin wearing oven mitts of doubtful utility, and the bird waiting to go in.

Scientific calculations:

An hour later: One cook in turkey hat, two back seat cookers, and a gorgeous field of waving grasses in the background.

Carving, and many in the kitchen:

It ended up being delicious. Debbie had asked for my family’s stuffing and yam recipes, so it was fun to have those on the table, along with all of the other great dishes. I had pangs of wishing I was back with my family, but this was the first holiday where it wasn’t wrenching to be away at Kevin’s instead of at home. I felt like I belonged there just as much – a big step, and nice to finally be at that point. :-)

Wednesday

More rockband in the morning:

And Tucker hoping for another long walk.

Meanwhile, the computer died within hours of Kevin walking in the door. Apparently it had been on the fritz for ages – you have to wonder if it was just saving its last gasps until he got back. In any case, there was loud chorusing this time for a laptop instead of a desktop, and lots of decision-making about all of the options. Tucker ping-ponged around all of the decision-makers – he liked having everyone nearby.

Outdoors

We took way more walks this visit than our norm, which was wonderful. The weather was perfect – brisk but sunny, and we saw lots of wildlife. Sunday night we walked up to see the new huge houses up the hill and saw at least seven deer, grazing in the twilight. On Tuesday, I walked up the hill to see the hawks. There were two huge ones sitting in trees, snoozing in the sun.

And myriad birds circling over the hills.

The view is really getting winterish and brown, but that’s so pretty in its own way. Kevin’s parents’ area is still (despite increasing development) at that rural/exurb mix point and with all of the very old stone houses and pretty barns and covered bridges over creeks it is incredibly scenic to drive through. Add all of that, spread over rolling hills, to the fact that the sun shone steadily (in November!!) and our Seattle souls were sated.

After my bird walk, Kevin’s mom and Kevin and I took Tucker (their golden retriever) up for a nice loop around an old orchard and by a cut corn field. We were just coming down the hill and Debbie was mentioning that they sometimes see foxes when we saw a big red tail bounding away out of view! How cool. Lots of little, bright blue birds, too. We got back, and got to do some raking until it got dark and cold. A great afternoon.

Birthdays and Rockband

We were about a week shy of Neen’s birthday, but we celebrated early, in part so that she could unwrap the joint gift (Rockband for her Wii) and everyone could start playing. Assembly started nearly immediately, and we traded off spots for over six hours.

I’m usually a “three songs are plenty” video game music person, but the evening ended up being a lot of fun. We all played all three instruments many times (though I seem to have timing issues with the guitar??). Kevin’s mom’s rendition of “Ballroom Blitz” was particularly fun – extremely energetic vocals. :-) By the end, Stacey could barely drum she was laughing so hard. This was the general-consensus favourite photo:

A brief break for a delicious dinner (crab cakes and steaks):

Strawberry basil martinis and the almost-birthday girl:

And Kevin and I were surprised to find out that we were celebrating our birthdays, too! (Especially since we thought we’d already been quite feted back in July and August!!)

The gifts were perfect (beautiful scarves for both of us, a great knit bag for me, Phillies gear for Kevin, and Dunkin Donuts coffee and Christmas ornaments to share) – though neither of us had ever received winter/holiday items for our birthdays before… perhaps a little bit of a hedge against the promised “smaller Christmas” this year? :-)

The four birthday people and the cake: