19 June 2015

Happy Father's Day Gift

I have really gained a passion over the past few years to give gifts that will truly be cherished and used by the receiver. I had the idea of money being wasted or receivers holding on to things they don't really want. Plus isn't it wonderful to truly see delight in a recipient's eyes when you give them a gift they love. So for Father's Day this year I wanted to come up with something that was just right.

I wasn't at all sure what to get The Man. Especially since we're in two different places geographically. I didn't really want to take a gift to him that he would have to pack and ship right back here in a few weeks. He doesn't really need anything where he is out right now but some good home cooked meals which I try to whip up when I'm there.

Suddenly last weekend it struck me that I should get him a jasmine plant. He loves the scent of jasmine and this would be a gift he would be able to enjoy for years to come. So I headed to Lowe's and found a great bush variety jasmine plant. Then I started looking for a planter to put it in. I feel like finding planters I like is always challenging. They're either too expensive or too weirdly colorful or just not the right size or shape.

So when I saw this planter I decided it exactly hit the mark and better yet it was only $15. In case you like it too, it comes in lots of different colors and a couple of different sides. It goes great with a couple of other planters I bought last week that I will share with you soon. Out the door I went with my jasmine plant and planter and the perfect gift. I stopped next door at Target and picked up a couple of great cards for both my dad and husband.

It was fun to take some time after work Tuesday night to re-pot the new jasmine and get it all ready to go. Then the plant and I had a little photo shoot. Happily with my new phone, photos on the move are a snap and are of fantastic quality. The Man will get a nice photo of his gift in his card and he'll be able to enjoy it for years to come as soon as he gets here. Hope those of you celebrating Father's Day this weekend have a wonderful time with your loved ones.

17 June 2015

Now This Is What Summer Should To Be Like

As much as I loved living in coastal California, I have to say that I always missed having real summers, like I grew up with. Summer in SoCal is often cool and overcast and you would never leave for the evening in June and July without a sweater, sweatshirt or sometimes even a coat. That means 4th of July fireworks with a coat on.  It does eventually get hot in August, September and October but it always seemed a little sad not to be enjoying summer during the actual summer season. So experiencing a real, Intermountain West summer this year if filling me with glee!

The days are hot and dry, which means you need a lot of lotion and moisturizer, but your hair looks fantastic all the time and keeps it's style all day. No frizzies here! And you might even get a second day out of a blowout if you don't sleep on it too hard. It's fun to get warm enough to really enjoy an icy cold beverage or a shave ice without having to wear a jacket or sweater.

 I like the warm evenings with no need for a sweater and all the outdoor patio dining spots.I love coming home from work to a real nightfall rather than just clouds rolling in and obscuring the sun at night. We have the most amazing sunsets everyday here. Every afternoon big billowy clouds roll in from the west desert and make for the most amazing sunsets. With a view so big it's also amazing to enjoy lighting and thunderstorms too. I love watching the lightning light up the valley and then hearing the thunder roll through the skies.

The past two times it has rained the air has been filled with a smell of summer rain that is just intoxicating. Such an unique scent and one I have missed. In the evenings, wonderful, cool breezes come across the valley on one side of the house and on the other cool mountain breezes come down the hills. In the evenings it is so pleasurable to sit and enjoy the fresh cool air.

It's nice to have daylight after work. I cam home and got started on my patio container garden last night. I bought a couple of giant planters for some decorative outdoor plants that I will share with you soon.

It was so lovely to outside with so much nature around and be so close to the mountains.One morning I woke up and there was a big deer behind the back fence. Another morning there was a bobcat in the tree next door trying to get birds for breakfast. Every night there are little bunnies running around the neighborhood. As cute at they are, their presence will require having any garden covered with netting or cages. There are an amazing array of birds outside every morning.

It's very dark in this part of town after dark - a little scary at times but such a great place to look at stars! Plus looking down the hills there is a wonderful view of the city lights. It's quite a delightful spot to live. So grateful for this opportunity. Now if we can just find a house in this neighborhood. Fingers crossed. Prayers said.

How about these sunsets? I'm telling you they happen every night...every night. Such an amazing gift from Mother Nature! This summer stuff is making me feel a lot of happiness every night. I just want to make sure I enjoy every moment I can. Hopefully before the summer is over we'll have a pretty patio to entertain on and enjoy time with new friends and family.

images by kalanicut

13 June 2015

House Hunting: The Lost Dream House

When I saw this photo, it seemed to so perfectly capture what I've been feeling this past week. Oh we were so close to getting the house of our dreams this past week. This was a house we'd been watching closely for five months and it was ours for the taking when another significant price drop came. Through a crazy, fluke-ish set of circumstances we lost the house in the very last few hours of negotiations due to a competing offer that came in at the same time we made a very small counter-offer.

Talk about feeling like you want to hurl. We have just felt sick about it. Full of doubt and questioning not only of our decisions, but questioning having trusted our guts, which at this point seem to have done us wrong. In a greater sense feeling really let down that when it seemed to have all miraculously come together in ways we could never have imagined that felt so right and so hopeful, we lost it in an absolutely bizarre set of circumstances. This is a house that had only 3 previous offers in 6 months. We were the fourth and the fifth had to come in just at the same hour we were about to wrap up the deal.

This is a house I've been driving past almost daily. We have pondered and prayed over this house, we have meditated living in this house. I've said repeatedly to myself "if we don't get it, I am okay with it, as long as we did out best." Well, we absolutely did the best we could with the entire process and I am so not okay with the outcome.

This is that house that immediately spoke to all three of us, where we could see ourselves living and where we could completely imagine our life happening. And we were so close we were just waiting for final word and then it was gone. It was like the bottom fell out of hundreds of hours of work, weeks of watching, months of hoping there would be a miracle. And the miracles came and then the miraculous outcome did not.

Boy are we devastated and yet we don't have any choice but to lick our wounds and get up and keep marching. Marching towards what I have no idea. We have seen so little that we are really interested in and it's 99% impossible we will find something as absolutely unique as what we thought we were headed to.

I tried to climb back on the realtor.com pony later in the week but it just made me feel too sick. Instead I went back and looked at the not yet removed listing of the house we so badly wanted. Oh, what a heartbreak.

It's so easy to say to others, "Oh, it will be okay" and "Things always happen for a reason" or "Something better will come along" but man those words don't sit well in the depths of one's grief. I feel like life has been plenty tough on us the past few years, from war zones to car accidents and near fatal illness - and this just really scratches the surface. I think we've seen enough of the trials and tribulations situations.

I share all this frustration not for a pity party but with the realization that we all face these uber frustrating times and I'm assuming there will be a lesson in it. I'm praying to see the light, to feel the peace and to have the faith that this is just a bump in the road, but it can be difficult to keep hoping and to keep pressing forward. Right now I feel like I will never, ever get over losing that house. It was the perfect house in so many, many ways. I will confess to a lot of tears and a lot of questioning - and some anger at how this so miraculously DIDN:T happen. My little family too, is completely devastated and that has been a burden in itself trying succor their mourning while dealing my own anger and frustration.

So what does one do in the interim...in that moment when you realize you've just been kicked off a bucking bronco and open your eyes to find yourself covered in dust in a heap on the hard ground? Maybe you do just hurl. You stare, sulk, cry, kick, scream, weep and mourn until you get it all out of your system. After you spin the situation around and around and work yourself into a bit of a frenzy and hurl out every bit of offending anxiety until your system is again clean and you can start digesting life again.

We had one big disappointment with a house right at the beginning of the year and that took us a couple of months to get over. We had not been emotionally invested in any other house until this one and it too vanished into thin air.  I'm not sure how long the mourning process will be with this house. I think for each one of us the emotions and hopes and dreams were different so we'll all have to work through it in our own way. And so in the midst of the twirling and hurling, we have to find our way back on our feet and moving forward. I hope the process isn't too difficult. I hope our hearts and minds are captured by something new soon. Until then I'll steady myself on a handrail or wall somewhere until I feel ready to walk again.

I'd love to hear your home buying life lessons and gems of advice. I imagined this process would be much simpler, but it has not been that much fun. It's bee more of a long journey...one that continues on to an unknown destination. But I would love to hear that you landed where you were meant to or that you came to know the house you so thought you wanted turned out to not be the house at all. This tired girl is going to sleep this off for a while. Trying to remember to shine.
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