Monday, October 23, 2017

32x32 list

1. donate hair to Wigs for Kids (complete)
2. establish Needles to Say (complete)
3. complete a century ride (Complete)
4. close out corporate bank account, open up checking at a credit union (Complete)
5. go play seal/otter/walrus
6. dye & spin my own yarn
7. watch all the alfred hitchock movies
8. go on 3 blind dates (complete)
9. re-enact a scene from the Miracle on 34th Street (Complete)
10. vote (complete)
11. take someone hostage and love them to death
12. Be a member of the audience in a TV show
13. Send a message in a bottle (complete)
14. Run to the top of the Statue of Liberty
15. Go geocatching
16. Fold a 100 origami cranes and give them to someone special (Complete)
17. Fly in a helicopter
18. go to a silent meditation weekend retreat (Complete)
19. go on tour of the Capitol (Complete)
20. finish trunk projects
21. make garden needles, knit a blanket with +10 strands of yarn (Complete)
22. complete a half marathon (complete)
23. read something by David Foster Wallace (Complete)
24. make an anonymous donation (complete)
25. improve race time on another triathlon
26. swim across the Long Island Sound
27. make stuffed squid like at Cousin Frank's
28. go bowling in the White House
29. knit a blanket with +10 strands of yarn (Complete)
30. blow kisses to all highway patrol cars (complete)
31. steal a choir suit and run around singing, clapping, and praising (complete)
32. sit in the gallery during a Supreme Court trial

5. buy a hOme (40 x 40)

We started looking for our home after a whirlwind romance, getting married within 10 months of meeting. We were looking for a place that we could grow into with the addition of little ones running around. My husband wanted more of a turn-key property and growing up with a carpenter father, I wanted more of a fixer-upper. We knew we wanted to live in Baltimore but we were ALL OVER THE PLACE, started in Reservoir Hill, then looked in Patterson Park, Hamden (the ubiquitous), Mattfeldt Park, Dickeysville, Lauraville.

We would send our realtor the redfin and trulia links of houses and she would patiently take us to these houses and I'd tear them up and nothing would come of it.

Pinterest was a black hole of a time-suck before those major adult (American) milestones appeared on my horizon: marriage, children, home-buying. I just didn't really understand why I would "pin" a recipe or a beautiful place or a fashionable skirt to a "board" when it was just something interesting on the internet. I would copy and paste links to things that I liked into an email and send it to myself if I wanted to remember and organize places (because fuck bookmarks).

And then came a whole new level of needing to save various corners of the internet: organizing a wedding reception, planning for a newborn, and the ultimate need of dreaming of a hOme (capital "O" for the Orioles).

Maybe I have put the cart before the horse, but I started to accumulate ideas for non-existent house on Pinterest. I definitely put the cart before the horse when I downloaded apps to my phone to start looking at houses before a) checking my credit score (because I assume it's heinous from the wreckage of student loans) and b) cleaning up my credit so that c) we could get a ball park figure for how much we could afford.

While Pinterest dreams flourished, the reality check came in early August when we met with a loan guy. Based on a 4.5% mortgage rate the Debt To Income ratio (DTI) for a 200k home is around 21% of solely my income, and a 300k home is around 32%. Jason and I are definitely not comfortable with a $2000+ monthly mortgage (which is what it would be for the 300k home). We also spoke about the 203(k) loans and about finding a house that may need renovations. Seems like there are a bunch of hoops to jump through going that route, but might be worth it.

Since then, we've been a bit busy with the arrival of the little bodhi man, but I've stayed on the lookout for a house that could be our hOme. I've also kept pinning and searching for the elements of a hOme that I would like to have.

Here's what I'd like for the kitchen:
 I love keeping old houses like they were: rehabilitation > renovation

 The green subway tiles and the white counters, gas range.
 lots of natural light

 black board and space for pictures for the little man and others (maybe...)

 open shelving with the painted pipes, I could do that. Jason never remembers if he has something unless it is visible (object relativity is real), so this might be more funcitonal than aesthetic for him.

 reclaimed and repurposed wood has a big place in our hearts, we care about not making more Things.
 this type of mural but with Orioles or Black eyed Susans

Here are some ideas for a dining room:
 to match the time of the house... if we happen to find a turn of the century home...

 for all of the mismatched china plates that we were given as gifts for our marriage

 decorating with green is always a dream... unfortunately, it's jason who always has to pick up the responsibility for my dreams... like watering said dream.

I could go on... okay, okay, I will!

ideas for a yard:

I'll stop there. Hopefully the next thing I'll be able to update this post is that we found a place and bought it.

January 2016:
Jason became a stay at home dad and we moved to Arlington, VA to save some money by living with my family so that we could have a nest egg for "getting serious" about buying a house. I put it in quotes because my husband was also following #vanlife on Twitter and I don't know if there was ever a couple who could be more ambiguous about "getting serious" about buying a house.

July 2017:
 Finally after a year with my family we were ready to put it on the good foot and we found a few houses and actually put in offers, our realtor (Kim Lally Holmes, from the the Beliveau Group of Keller Williams) made it amazingly smooth. There were a few nights when we sent her some late night text flurries - but she was professional with her boundaries and answered us reasonably the next day. She was always honest and forthcoming about pros and cons on the house that we finally bought. She's amazing, anyone would be lucky to have her representing them when going through this major life event.

And now we have a hOme! I'll post pictures as soon as all of our boxes are unpacked. It kills me that our boxes aren't unpacked yet and that there's still lingering things. Jason says we have a lifetime to make it a hOme, but I'd like to get my pictures hung and our clothes unpacked and the plants in the right rooms and the walls painted NOW. This has been a great lesson in patience and incrementalism and deferred gratification and compromise.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

5. bet on the ponies (33x33)

Finally finished this item! I actually had it on the 30x30 when I was living in Delaware and my mom and I were planning on going to Dover Downs. And then I was going to go with my best friend when I was in Elementary School, Anna Duff, to Charlestown Races. And then Dar Hamil and I were going to go to the Black Eyed Susan Races at Pimplico the day before the big races for the triple crown but her daughter's birthday was always in the way (gosh, children are so needy).

Cristina and I went to Preakness and WON this year! We didn't know the first thing about placing a bet and we only bet once. I can see now why there is gambling anonymous! It was such a rush! Watching the horses and waiting for the results and collecting free money.

Yay free money!
(forgive my terrifying resemblance to Freddy Kruger)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

10. eat placenta (40x40)

When bebe slipped out of me, the doctors told me to keep pushing so that the placenta, an organ also known as the "after birth," would follow. I could feel it, warm and soft, leave my body. They knew that I wanted to take it home with us, so they had a bucket ready to go for it. They put it in a refrigerator somewhere until we figured out how to get it home. I had already researched placenta smoothie recipes, so I knew we had to get it home and into the freezer.  Because there was meconium in the amniotic fluid when my water broke, we knew there would be some on the placenta to clean off. The nurses kept saying that it was sterile though and so it wouldn't be a problem if it was ingested.

Jason vowed to me that he would support my adventures. This one though, was a bit of a gross adventure to support. After bebe was born and we all snuggled for a while, Jason went home with the placenta to preserve it (and shower and smoke).  In the abstract, this isn't a big deal. But hearing him tell the tale of preserving it, you'd think I gave him my lower intestines to put in the freezer. When he got back to the hospital room and told us why it took him so long to return, the abstract idea of eating my placenta became operationalized and very real.
"I walked home in the hot August heat, begrudgingly, with a bucket that held my son's home for the past 41 weeks. Once home, I had to rinse the placenta off. It was fucking gross. There was meconium and multiple blood clots that clung to the placenta. It had a giant vein, veins, running through it. It was grey. It was grayish purple and extra extra extra slimy. I felt I was washing off an eel I had caught in the Cheaspeake Bay that was trying to escape. Even though it was a slippery as an eel, when I was cleaning it in the kitchen sink and had it spread out, it was dome-ish like a sting ray. It kept slipping out of my hands, and it kept trying to slide down into the garbage disposal." 
Three months after he put it into the freezer, I brought my placenta out to eat it.

To make a placenta smoothie put the following ingredients in your ninja:
1 cup Almond Milk
kale from farmers market
1 frozen banana
2 tablespoons of almond butter
1 scoop of vanilla Vega protein powder

Unwrap frozen placenta.

 Cut placenta into serving sizes.
 Cut placenta into cubes for future smoothies and store in sandwich ziplock bags. Add one serving of cubed placenta into ninja.
 Blend. Blend well. Blend until there aren't any sinewy pieces left.
 Drink. Swallow without chewing. Ignore that metallic taste in the back of your throat.

Friday, November 6, 2015

7. finish all the thank you cards (40x40)

Getting married and having a baby within the same year has made for the mother-load (see what I did there?) of thank you card duty, which is why I put it on the list. I'm not complaining, I just needed a little extra motivation to get all of these puppies done. People are too generous though and keep giving us the most amazing gifts; I'll never actually be done!

I did make my own cards at the Fab Lab for baby gifts. I think they turned out pretty well.  After sending them out after the showers, there were some leftover that I thought I could sell on etsy. I'm glad I didn't though because after Bodhi was born there was another wave of generosity for which I required them!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

17. watch Survivor Season 30 (40x40)

I can't believe this show is still airing. I can't believe I watched it, but Jason loves it, and I love him, so I did.

Nothing else to report, except let's talk about the millions of dollars wasted for American "entertainment." There was one episode where the contestants performed some community service in the region where the season was located (Costa Rica or someplace tropical). Imagine if a) the money that went into the entertainment industry went to fund education programs across the nation, b) people spent their money on education or fitness rather than cable or movies. It's a worthless hypothetical because its so absurd and unrealistic, but it makes me wonder. There is some irony in that because communities do not accurately value arts education that sooner or later the products of the entertainment industry will begin to show their lack of depth... maybe they are already.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

4. get married (40x40)

"I asked for a car, I got a computer. How's that for being born under a bad sign?"

Well, at the beginning of last year, I was set to start a new blog called Spinster Is the New Black, and three months later knew that I had found my "it." Apparently, I'll never be a bridesmaid, but I'll be a bride. Go figure.

Jason and I went to Connecticut in July 2014 so he could ask my father for permission for my hand in marriage (because I thought my dad would be tickled by it, since he asked Mart's 75 year-old dad when they got married at the ripe age of 50ish). The way my dad tells it, Jason asked and in his head my dad said, "hell yes!" What actually came out was a more tempered, "yes." Originally, Jason was going to wake me up before dawn and we'd walk down to the beach where he would propose... but it was raining. Next, he thought he could propose on the elevated gardens by the Port Authority in Manhattan... but it was ridiculously crowded on a Sunday afternoon. Finally, when we got back to Baltimore we were starving and went to our favorite diner, Paper Moon, and he proposed on the porch with the most beautiful ring and love in his eyes and it felt perfect. Now, whenever we go there, I remember when everything slowed to a sparkling moment.

then came the particulars.

Neither of us really liked the idea of a big wedding where we wouldn't get a chance to hang out with any of our guests so we decided to break it up into four parties: one for friends and family in New York, one for friends and family in Connecticut, one for family in DC, and the last for friends in DC. the actual wedding was a small courthouse affair with only our immediate family in Annapolis. We of course came to this decision by drawing up a list of pros and cons and deliberating over it for a month.

in the end, this was the moment that really mattered: 

Lovely vows  lovely reception.
Posted by Denise Lyons on Saturday, December 20, 2014