Archive for April, 2006

In which Kate waxes domestic… and gets tipsy on Champagne

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

After a second long week of working hard at the new job, I got a paycheck covering week 1, and woo-hooed all the way to Midtown Wine and Spirits where I bought a bottle of Taittinger Brut to celebrate. You’d think we’d feel obligated to drink such an elegant bottle of Champagne with an equally elegant meal, but no, we ate one of our favorite staples: pasta with hot sauce. Yum.

Woke up early yesterday wanting to cheer on the runners in the Country Music Marathon, but I was outside long before the Ethiopians and Kenyans were due to be in the neighborhood, so I got right to gardening. Weeded about 10,000 hackberry seedlings (I swear, hackberries must be the trashiest trees EVER) and a bunch of seedlings from the birdseed. Noted the overabundance of aphids on my tomato plants (waiting for my shipment of ladybugs to arrive!), and then it was time to go cheer on runners.

Walked by a neighbor’s house on the way back home (amidst the long lines of angry, detoured drivers trying to find their way through our quaint neighborhood to wherever) and she gave us a box full of cuttings from her yard, including some phlox and some tiger lilies, the latter I’m really excited about! I think I’m going to do a whole lily section of the garden at some point, what with the three resurrection lilies I got from my parents’ yard as a memorial to my dad the day he died, the hundreds of daylilies around our house, these tiger lilies, and maybe some stargazers and other lilies. It’s a happy-making thought. Maybe an iris garden, too. Lovely!

For lunch, Karsten and I ate veggie burgers with baby greens from our very own garden (the seedlings needed thinning anyway!), his mostly spinach and various lettuces, mine heavy with broccoli sprouts and basil. It was so amazingly delicious, we both kept moaning with pleasure.

After lunch, we thought it might start raining, so we quickly drove to Gardens of Babylon at the Farmers Market to pick up two more boxwoods (we’re gradually replacing the ones in the would-be hedge that didn’t make it through last winter) and find some little blue and yellow flowering plants to perk up my blue and yellow office. And then over to Bongo Java Roasting Company to pick up some organic / fair trade / shade grown / locally-roasted / locally-sold coffee, and to the Turnip Truck for some soy yogurt and other groceries.

And then my energy was all used up. So the rest of the day was just lazing around, reading, relaxing, playing with cats… you know. Normal stuff. And then pizza for dinner, garnished with fresh oregano — you guessed it — from the garden.

So anyway, that was the gist of yesterday, and now today, since it’s raining, I’m just relaxing indoors and thinking about giving myself a pedicure and maybe taking in a matinee of “Thank You For Smoking” or “American Dreamz,” the latter looking a bit fluffy, but I think the filmmakers deserve my money for coming up with that tagline: “Imagine a country where more people vote for their next pop idol than for their next president.” Ooh, snap!

Hope everyone else is having a relaxing weekend!

New cat loft in action!

Friday, April 21st, 2006
New cat loft in action!
New cat loft in action!,
originally uploaded by Kate O’.

Karsten has been putting this together as a fun side project and distraction during the landscaping work he’s been doing. It isn’t fully finished yet — he’s got some faux leopard fur fabric that he’ll upholster it with — but the cats are already enjoying it.

House renovation plans, 1st draft

Sunday, April 9th, 2006
House renovation plans, 1st draft
House renovation plans, 1st draft,
originally uploaded by Kate O’.

When we had the incredibly outrageous heating bills this winter, we had several experts come out to look at our setup: a guy from the gas company, who verified that there were no leaks and we were not, in fact, providing gas for the entire neighborhood and said the house has the cheapest, least efficient furnace on the market; two energy auditors, who gave us a full report of how to better insulate the house and some ideas for the future renovations about what we can improve, including replacing our cheap, inefficient furnace; and a furnace sales team from Sears to show us what kind of replacement options we had for our cheap, inefficient furnace.

We ended up signing to buy a new furnace from Sears — almost their top-of-the-line model, as far as energy efficiency is concerned anyway — and were eagerly awaiting its installation.

A few weeks later, the installation guy came out and determined that there is no way in hell we’re getting the new furnace into the attic through the itty-bitty teeny-weeny access door. Even if we cut through more of the drywall on the ceiling, the joists were set too close to one another for the new furnace to get through. In fact, he pondered aloud, how the hell did they get the existing one up there?

It’s a mystery, but anyway, he left saying nothing could be done until we hired a carpenter to install a bonafide attic access door. Which meant cutting through the 170-year-plus-old joists, which are effectively petrified. Not an easy task. And not one to be taken lightly, as there’s no replacing the heft and sturdiness of these timbers.

So after talking about it a bit, we decided to hire one of the architects in the neighborhood to draw up some plans for the future renovation so that, if we had to have a new attic access installed, at least it would be in a logical, permanent place.

The linked image is of the first draft of the architect’s plans. The attic issue isn’t really solved in these, which is one of the comments we gave him when we met again last week. We had a great creative session poking holes into this design, and came up with some amazing results. I’ll definitely share those drawings when we get them, but for now, here’s what we have.

Tennessee Tornados, 4/7/06

Friday, April 7th, 2006
Tennessee Tornados, 4/7/06
Tennessee Tornados, 4/7/06,
originally uploaded by Kate O’.

Now that our closest storm has passed by, I got out and took some pictures of the effects in our yard. We were very lucky to have escaped the major damage some of the surrounding areas got, but we definitely saw severe weather. I’ve never seen hail that big!

Meanwhile, on the other side of reality…

Friday, April 7th, 2006

Another clip from @MusicRow:

Julie Roberts recently shot the video for her new single “Men & Mascara” at the Dillard’s department store in Nashville’s Green Hills mall…

, why does this make me want to nudge you and giggle? Oh, maybe I’m thinking she should have tried it in the new Sephora store.

Abducted at gunpoint?! Now that’s a bad day.

Friday, April 7th, 2006

Wow. Just read this in Music Row magazine’s daily e-newsletter:

Sandy Brooks, ex-wife of Garth Brooks, survived an abduction at gunpoint from her Oklahoma farm on Monday (4/3). She was held captive for a short time after leading bail bondsmen to the suspect, identified as 24-year-old Quintine Harper, who was an employee on the Brooks’ property. When Harper learned the bondsmen were there to take him in, he abducted Brooks and forced her to drive him off the property; she escaped a few miles down the road and police later apprehended the suspect…

That’s pretty freakin’ dramatic. I’m surprised I haven’t heard of it elsewhere.

Low-down thing to do

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

Someone stole our bird feeders. Can you believe that shit?

We were out for a walk this afternoon, and got back around 6 PM — I can remember church bells ringing as we approached our block. And in between then and 10 minutes ago, while it was thunderstorming, someone ripped off three of our four bird feeders from the front yard (a tube feeder, a finch feeder, and a hummingbird feeder). Neither of the two tube feeders on the side of the house are missing, nor are any of the three feeders in the back yard. But the ones in the front were the nicest, which was probably stupid, but it made us happy to look out and see them out there. Now they’re gone, dammit.

I phoned in a police report — the woman who took down the information probably thought I was crazy to be reporting such a minor theft, but hey, they came to over $70 value together, so that’s not nothing — and Karsten and I went out to look around and see if maybe someone just threw them aside. We saw footprints and were able to see how the person crossed the yard, but it didn’t tell us anything more than that. And then it started raining again, so even if it was valuable evidence, it’s gone now.

I’m just so incredibly disappointed in people who would steal bird feeders from someone else’s yard. It’s not like they’re stealing food or other necessities — it’s just a plain ugly thing to do.

Good thing I was already in a bad mood, so this isn’t really ruining it.