Friday, October 12, 2012

before and after

I'd intended to post photos of what the house looked like before the remodeling began, but I have so many thousands of images on my laptop that I didn't know where to look for those specific pictures. Tonight, I decided to start organizing my computers' folders and, lo and behold, one of the first files I clicked on contained the very photos I had been searching for.

This was the kitchen before...

And this is the kitchen as of one week ago!

Quite a lot of changes! The kitchen is about double the size it used to be. I'm not usually one to get excited about cooking and baking, but there's so much more space and such shiny counters that I'm already scouring pinterest for tasty recipes to try out once the ovens and stove are installed!

Here's our old eating nook...

This is what that space looks like now:

We'll still put our table back in this space once all of the work is complete. That lovely counter space by the doors will be my coffee and tea bar soon! I can't wait to start making my own lattés again!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

my tiny new friend

When I arrived at home after work yesterday evening, I saw an open amazon box on the front porch. I walked up the steps to peer into the box and found it full of grass and other plant matter. Thinking that my mom had been weeding, I thought nothing more of the cardboard and went inside. After talking to my parents for about five minutes, my mom suddenly said, "Oh! We have a present for you...but you can't keep it." Quite confused, I followed her out front. My mom pointed at the box, so I looked inside more closely. There, huddled in the corner, was the tiniest turtle I have ever seen.

My parents told me that the men working on our house found the little guy in our backyard, having just worked his way out of his egg. I don't usually go googly-eyed over reptiles, but I'm a sucker for just about every baby animal. He's just so small and incredibly adorable!

Barely bigger than a quarter, how could I leave him to fend for himself in the wilds of our backyard? I fully intend to release him soon, but I want to see him grow a little bit bigger before relinquishing him to Mother Nature.

I'm so happy that I was able to see a day-old turtle in person. You see sweet photos of baby animals online, and sometimes you see them at the zoo, but it's far less common to stumble across a young creature in the wild.

Monday, September 24, 2012

little things

I've been thinking about the saying, "it's the little things in life," lately. I like the idea that small, simple, inexpensive experiences or items that can brighten your day. These little things are different for each individual, depending on their likes and dislikes and what obstacles their lives have thrown at them. 

Oftentimes, it's difficult to take joy and pleasure in the little things. We get caught up in our memories, our fears, our concerns about the future, and we forget to take pause and savor those tiny moments. The only moment we have to live is the present moment, but our fast-paced society, obsessed with money and material possessions, and our overstimulated brains challenge us on every step of our journey through life.

On the other hand, some people tend to lose sight of the purpose of savoring those small moments. It becomes yet another source of their anger or frustration when a little thing doesn't go their way. I believe the reason these moments are so important is that their presence can bring great happiness, but their absence should not bring outrage or displeasure. By becoming enraged in the face of a little thing gone amiss, it's becomes too big to be a moment, no longer a little thing worth savoring.

An example from my job comes to mind. I used to work in the café and I interacted with so many different types of people. Some became furious at the first sign that something may not go the way they wanted, while others remained calm or even cheerful, even if several items they desired were out of stock, or service was much too slow. I recall one customer in particular, an older woman, who ordered a non-fat, sugar-free vanilla latté. Despite the skinny drink, she told me that she wanted whipped cream on top because, "it's the little things, right?" That dollop of whipped cream was one of her special little moments, a tiny thing that brought a bit of bliss.

Then I recall other customers who, after taking their drinks, stalk back to the counter, bristling with rage, because I dared to forget the whipped cream on their beverage. A little thing, so easily fixed in five seconds, becomes just another source of annoyance and exasperation to these people. With so much ill will and rage in their mind, more of those wonderful, little moments will slip through their fingers, until they can no longer be satisfied by anything.

It's often difficult for me to notice and savor the little things. I'm so caught up in the never ending rush of the world, being buffeted by the demands and desires of the many different people that I interact with. But I'm slowly teaching myself to step back and truly experience life. I close my eyes as I sip my coffee, shutting down a sense so that I can truly relish the taste. I no longer listen to my iPod when I go for walks in the woods so that I can hear the birdsong, the wind whispering through the trees, and the crunch of leaves underfoot. And most importantly, when a little thing doesn't pan out the way I'd prefer, I take a deep breath and move on. That moment has already passed and I have a million more moments to live.

Monday, September 3, 2012

respite from my mind

It seems a bit odd that I should love nature so much, considering how obsessive I am about germs and cleanliness, and how frightened I am of deer ticks. But spending time in a forest infuses me with awe, with euphoria, and with the delightful sense that there is something so much bigger than myself. I willingly trek through tall grasses and plants where insects are lurking, and I'm happy to touch the rough bark of a trunk or the spongy moss patches on the side of the trail. The woods are where I feel most relaxed, where I feel most connected with the world. Each whisper of wind through the leaves is a song that uplifts my heart and every sunbeam filtering through the trees is a tonic against the stress of my anxious life.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


"Our personal attempts to live humanely in this world are never wasted. Choosing to cultivate love rather than anger just might be what it takes to save the planet from extinction." -Pema Chödrön

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


This is what my kitchen looked like on Monday morning:

Unfortunately, I didn't have the forethought to take a photo of the kitchen before remodeling began. You can see the blank spots where the refrigerator,stove and oven used to be.

Below is a picture of my kitchen as it looked when I got home from work on Monday night.

No more cabinets or counter tops. While it doesn't appear that much work was accomplished, the picture doesn't show that there used to be more counters and a sink off to the right, which are now piled up in our garage.

Finally, this is the most recent photo of our kitchen. When I left for work this morning, there was a wall still separating our current kitchen from the addition. Upon arriving home this afternoon, I was greeted by this cavernous space:

The cats are enjoying their new play space. I'm still in shock from all of the changes. I've lived in this house for twenty years and, while many things have changed, nothing has ever been altered to such a drastic scale. I am looking forward to a much bigger, easier to navigate kitchen, though.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A peek at the coming season

Despite the fact that it's not even mid-August, many stores have already started advertising various kinds of Autumn merchandise. Two of my favorite stores, Bath & Body Works and Yankee Candle, began selling their Fall products over a week ago and I had to get my hands on some of those deliciously scented items.

Much like the first glimpse of red and orange blazing through the green Maple leaves, the smell of creamy pumpkin candles and apple cider soap give me a much-needed taste of the beautiful season to come.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

"It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live."

Life has been uneventful lately and I'm not doing well in regards to making it more interesting. I'm reminiscing about the beautiful Spring we had (during which I took the above photo) and wishing Autumn would hurry up and get here already! Most people feel more depressed as the weather turns cooler and the days grow shorter, but I come alive as all of the trees turn from monochromatic to red, purple, orange, yellow and every shade and hue in between.

In the meantime, I've decided to re-read the Harry Potter series, as it's been approximately eleven years since I first began the series. It's like reuniting with an old best friend after a long, long while and rediscovering all of the reasons why we became close, sharing in our old memories. Reading the series again gives me the ability to see events in a new light and I notice foreshadowing and hints I didn't pick up on before. The only problem with picking up the series again is that I'll miss it all the more when I've finished book seven!