Whirlwind of a Weekend

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{happy to be back in Austin, a mango habenero margarita at Spider House, & a beautiful aloe plant}

My trip to Austin this past weekend was quite the whirlwind.  It was filled to the brim with wedding planning, marg sipping, shopping, and catching up with three favorite ladies.  The entire weekend was very productive, but super relaxing.  It had been a while since I had been back to Austin, and this trip I felt inspired by so many facets of the city.  I enjoyed being surrounded by fantastic graphics, and art,  all worn and warmed by the incredible Texas heat.  When we go back this fall for the wedding I’d like to spend an entire day on bike, patio hopping and snapping pictures of all the wonderful walls and signs encountered along the way.  I just simply love Austin’s laid back, funky style, and find Hill Country’s hardy landscape and vegetation strikingly beautiful.

In between wedding planning duties we found time for the pool and a dip in Barton Springs, which was surprisingly, but delightfully, chilly.  We also found relief from the heat in the form of air-conditioning, while shopping for my sister’s wedding shoes, and my bridesmaid dress.  We were successful, and her shoes and my dress are the same amazing, vibrant color.   All in all it was one of the most gratifying, and enjoyable vacations I’ve ever had.  Partly made so sweet because of it’s compact schedule.  It was such a memorable treat to spend this time with my mom and my sister.  Saying good-bye Monday was difficult, but made easier knowing we will have more celebrated time together in October. I’m happy to be home, but I can’t wait to see them, and Texas, again soon. xo

{just 3 of the many wonderful signs admired}

{just 3 of the many wonderful signs admired}

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{& inspiring graffiti at dusk}

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{at The Burlap Bag Etsy Craft Party}

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{my sister’s ring & a peek at her sculpture garden venue}

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Austin Bound

AUSTINHEREICOMEI am currently waiting for a delayed flight out of Denver to Austin, Texas.  I am meeting my mom and my sister for the weekend to do some wedding planning!  My sister’s wedding isn’t until October, but since we live all over the place, we need a weekend in Austin to see the venue, meet with the caterer, plan a photo booth, finalize invites, and everything else we can manage to fit into the next four days.  I hope to do some of this poolside, or with a margarita and chips and salsa in the equation.  I grew up in Texas, and still have family in Austin, so returning to the Love Star State always feels a bit like a homecoming, though I don’t have many ties there, and rarely get back to visit.  Needless to say, I am very excited to have a girls weekend, packed to the brim with my kinda fun! The icing on the cake is I also get to see one of my very best friends who moved to Austin in August, and who now has a big baby belly.  I’m going to savor every minute of it, even if it’s off to a late start.

 

Voted Best Dad Ever 28 Years in a Row!

Happy Father’s Day to the best Dad ever.  Thank you for your endless support, and all the amazing things you have taught me along the way.   I can’t imagine where I’d be without you.  Thank you for always guiding me in the right direction, while loving me for exactly who I am, or what mistakes I’ve made.    Wish we could go on an antiquing excursion today, or go explore a new place with our cameras.  I look forward to all the many more Father Daughter adventures we will have together.  I love you. xo

P.S. my dad is an avid political button collector, a hobby that began about 15 Father’s Days ago when I framed a few vintage buttons (Kennedy I believe) which he had saved from his childhood.  Years later the few pins I so amateurly framed, are joined by hundreds more, and can cover an entire wall.   They inspired this years Father’s Day cards.
BestDaDButton“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” ~ Jim Valvano
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It is always fun to show friends or family from out of town around Fort Collins.  This past week my cousin met several of his friends here in Colorado, and we invited them to stay with us for a few days.  Like us they all appreciated amazing food and good drinks so entertaining them was easy in a town that offers a lot of both.   Restaurant 415 is a newer restaurant to Fort Collins, but its reputation for fresh, delicious, & creative dishes has made it one of my must share restaurants with visitors.  Plus it’s unique to Fort Collins, and the kitchen uses ingredients that are locally sourced.

The menu has so many options that make my mouth water, making decisions can almost be impossible.  I was delighted when the entire table agreed we had to try my recommendation of the Papa’s pizza as an appetizer, it never disappoints.   We all ordered a different sandwich off the menu, sharing bites, because choosing just one was very difficult.  I also just love a meal where food is shared as part of the experience of enjoying good company and excellent food.   However I was very happy with my order, the Provinçial, with added bacon of course. Yum. But each one was delicious in its own right…and affordable.  I may be back to visit, sans guests, sooner than later.

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Our Boy Forever

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I struggle with how to begin this entry.  It is one I feel most compelled to write, but one that brings me to tears still to do so.  Our new year however has been marked by loss for Bill and I.  Our precious boy, Rocky, who filled our hearts, and home, with unimaginable amounts of love, kindness, and kisses passed away unexpectedly on the night of December 30th.  I won’t go into too many details here, because now the only fact that seems important is that he is no longer with us.  After taking him to the hospital on December 26th with what seemed to be an upset stomach and dehydration, his health quickly declined, and by the next morning, our big strong boy could no longer walk.  I felt broken myself seeing him laying in the hospital attached to tubes and IVs, knowing that only two days before we were running through fresh snow together.  We were given hope, we needed hope, because his eyes and his spirit were still so present, loving, and healthy.  The vets too gave us hope for recovery, and we clung to that hope ferociously for four days.  On the last day he contracted pneumonia, which weakened his already tired lungs. By the end of that night it was just too much.  We got to lay with him as we kissed him good-bye, thanking him for his companionship and for always being the best good boy.

I do not have the words to explain how much Rocky meant to me; what he did for me, and for Bill, or what he taught us.  The importance of our relationship with our boy is one that will only ever be understood by Bill and I.  Together we find comfort in remembering how he changed us, and the joy he gave us selflessly on a daily basis.  But to anybody who has ever lost a pet (and the word pet seems trivial and inappropriate to me at times because aren’t they so much more than that) can understand that these bonds we form with the animals we love, and who return that love 10 fold, are priceless.  Rocky came into our lives as a pet, and left as our son, our baby, the one who showed me further how to give and receive without complaint or expectation, and how to live each day full of appreciation and genuine enthusiasm.  He taught me to better love myself.   He taught Bill and I how to better love each other, to be patient with each other, and to forgive each other with genuine gentleness and sincerity.  In the five years that Bill and I have been together our boy Rocky was always by our side. We felt happiest when we were all cuddled in bed together, or out on our morning walk.  It was the simple, calm moments that I felt brought all three of us shared peace, joy, and gratitude.    I’m going to miss those moments most.

He hated when either of us cried, whether from pain, or disappointment, or frustration, or the tear jerking movie we were watching.  It was his kisses, and the worry in his eyes, that always were able to snap us out of tears and find us laughter again quickly. I’ve felt the need for his warmth and kisses more then ever, but I’ve tried to keep my face dry and my spirits high because I know thats all the big guy wanted for us: Happiness.

It’ll be a long time before that hole and quietness at home begins to feel less gaping.  But he still seems so present, and that is how I know he really will always be with us, it will be impossible for Bill and I to lose him in our hearts and mind.  And it makes me only want to hold Bill closer and love him more.  Rocky served a grand purpose in our lives, for those closer to bill and I, you may know he helped save us, just as much as we helped save each other.  Life works in unexplainable ways, and the older I get the more I learn to keep those things loved ever so close.  I have no regrets for my love for Rocky, he made it impossible not to show him everyday how much he meant to us.  I still find myself saying “I love you big guy” in my heart in head every time we leave the house, because for the past five years it was the last thing a I always made sure to tell him before walking out the door.   I want him to know I still do and always will, and I know he does.

My big boy, my baby boy, my Rock Dog, my baby bear, Rocklobsta, your dad and I loved you more than we could have known and love you still.  Thank-you for giving us our lives back and giving us a future together.  Thank-you for just being our good boy, everyday and every second.  We carry every moment with you with us.   They are the most beautiful moments we can remember.

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Caught in Bed

My pets mean the world to me.  I’ve had Scout for seven years.  Bill has had Rocky for almost six years, and I have been with them for the past 5.  They are a big part of our little family.  When we first moved in together there was a big question mark surrounding how our 91lb boy would get along with our 11lb girly.  Rocky had never been around kitties before so I was a little anxious, but I knew she would fend for herself and hide if he saw her as a snack.  To our relief it was disinterest at first sight.  A curiosity grew in both of them as they learned to share a small space, and our attention.  It’s been wonderful to watch their relationship change and even grow.  Scout has pretty much established herself as the tiny boss of the house.  She likes to jump out of closets, or from behind furniture, at Rocky.  He now hesitates every time he enters our bedroom in the evenings (when she’s rowdiest) knowing she’s crouched, waiting to pounce.  It is really cute, and kind of embarrassing for Rocky.  We have also seen many sweet moments between them.  When one of them doesn’t feel well the other knows.  After a bad slip on ice last winter, Rocky was left with a sore paw.  Once we got him home and settled down on his bed, Scout approached him.  He was very still and quiet as she smelled both of his front paws, before giving his injured paw tiny kitty kisses.  It was a brief and simple moment, but it made me so happy to see this closeness between them.  While they have not gotten cuddly yet, I see them getting more comfortable and loving towards each other.   It is special and wonderful catching them together in bed like this.  It’s amazing how much joy these two give me.

A Home Is Where You Make It

Ever since I can remember I have been inspired by the way my mom decorated and designed interior spaces.  Every house we lived in (and there were quite a few as a military family), quickly became a home because of her natural abilty to transform space.  Her homes are always cozy and uniquely decorated with items collected from our family’s travels.  When I go visit my parents, no matter where they have moved to, their house feel like home to me, even though I haven’t actually lived in any of their homes for the past ten years.  Their current home is perhaps my favorite so far, with huge windows that face a unobstructed view of The Sound, and light yellow vintage kitchen appliances.  I love taking in all the details, and there are so many that I never get tired of taking it all in.  I find myself constantly snapping pictures of all the little things she has set up around the house, appreciating it all separately, and as a whole.  She has such a good eye for quirky folk art and funky vintage pieces, and it all finds its way to mesh together effortlessly and welcomingly.  She’s passed me her eye and appreciation for all things well loved and one of a kind.  I would be honored if someone compared my home to my mom’s, and I like to think my home does reflect the same warmth, coziness, and personality as hers.







I have also come to realize how much I like taking photos of plants, and my mom has a lot of those, especially now that they live where it is so wet!  I really fell in love with all the little succulents she had arranged on her front porch table.




Memories Made Simple

{a trip to the Seattle EMP Museum}

{Jagger photoed by Jim Marshall – EMP Rolling Stones Exhibit}

{delicious bloody which accompanied a delicious crab BLT}

{at the market}

{tomato love}

{ginger pig snack}

{an evening out with my cousin}

{rain boots & wet leaves}

{the rain came}

My visit with my parents was, as it always is, exactly what I needed.  There is always so much to explore and see while visiting, however this trip was focused mostly on spending quality time together.  Great food, reading, relaxing, shopping, and talking took up most of our week.  We didn’t have any big adventures on our agenda, which was perfectly alright by me.  We ate out at many fantastic restaurants, and had some even more amazing home cooked meals, courtesy of my mom and my cousin.  The beautiful weather turned rainy at the end of my visit which meant more time to read (I never find enough time at home and I started my first Steven King book which I can’t put down).  Sometimes the best vacations are the ones filled with the simple pleasure of being around those you love.  This one was memorable and very special to me.  It’s not often I get both my parents all to myself for a full week (thank you Bill for staying at home with the pets xo).  It’s funny how a trip like this can feel so long, yet simultaneously way too brief when it comes time to say goodbye.

Home Sweet Home

I feel so grateful to have such a wonderful home. It may only be a smallish two bed, two bath apartment but we have made every inch of it ours, and for the first time since leaving my parent’s house I have a space that I feel so comfortable and truly at home in.  Throughout college I moved too often, and was too static with my schedule and social life to create a home for myself, but as I got older and life evolved, the need for a space which I could retreat to, and feel safe in, became necessary and natural.  Also, this is Bill and my first place together.  In the short few years we have lived here our lives together have become more bonded.  Our relationship has faced the challenges and beauty that accompany sharing a home and life, but it has only grown stronger.  Within the walls of the wonderful space we have created, our most treasurable times together are held.  All that aside, I just plain love having a place to decorate, and having a boyfriend that likes to help make the house look awesome.   It’s a fun process finding ways to make it unique and perfect for us.  While we both dream of a backyard, a bigger kitchen and more windows (our place lacks sources of natural light sadly), this place is ours and that makes it everything we could ask for.  And in the wake and on going burn of the fire west of here, I  have felt a heightened sense of thanks for what we have, so here is a homage of sorts to my home, paid threw a few pictures I took while enjoying being there with my little family.

{newest globe added to our collection}

{need a light?}

{a peek at the bookshelf adorned with vintage glasses}

{our comfy couches may lack style but for now they are ideal for two pets to lounge around on all day, and the denim holds up awesome to kitty claws}

{fridge fun)

{a little green}

I would also like to say thank you to everyone who commented on my last two posts and sent their concerns and good wishes to our community and to Colorado.  My thoughts will be with all those directly effected by wildfires this summer and with those fighting to keep all safe. Thank you again for your support!

Spirit Houses

{house of zen}

Today I thought I’d share something personally inspirational and close to my heart.   Spirit houses, traditionally found in East Asia, are placed in homes or businesses, harboring the spirits inside so that they may provide protection to the owners and families.  My mom embraced the idea and spirituality of the spirit houses, creating these wonderful, collage art shrines.  They are dear to me, and within each piece she placed details and ornamentation that have sentiment and love, such as a photo of her mother, my grandmother who lost her battle with breast cancer before I was born.  Having them in our home is a small reminder of the constant encouragement and support I have always had through my mom and my family. They also inspire me to create, and when guest are over they always spark curious conversation.  I am thankful to my mom giving me creativity and all the protection she could all these years.

{my favorite, house of inner peace}

{doors to let the good in, and to keep the bad out}

{house of dreams...what is your hearts desire?}

{my grandmother}

{tucked in with my Shakespeare collection}