Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Bath time? Or mouse time?

   These three knuckleheads were making quite a ruckus in the bathroom this afternoon. I was in my office doing freelance work, but I couldn't ignore the commotion. I fully expected to see a mouse in the tub, but there wasn't. What else could it be??
   Last week they caught and killed a big mama mouse, and a little baby mouse. And while I was sitting at the dining room table working, I saw saw a small, dark shape hopping down the stairs in my peripheral vision. It was the baby mouse's twin brother. I leapt out of my chair, grabbed a trashcan, and herded him into it before the pets even knew he was there. I'm still going with the catch and release program, although it doesn't seem to be serving my interests of a mouse-free house very well.
   The jig is up, mousie!!!
   He's little dudes are so lucky that I am a mammal sympathizer.


After, and before
   The house is done! So excited to see such a big transformation. Well worth the money, though it was awful lot of money. I think it really increases the curb appeal. Really impressed with the crew from Brogan painters, who completed the work in two days. They made my house look new again, which is quite a treat after being here for nearly 11 years.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Quick change

   The painters were here bright and early this morning to start applying new color to my house! They worked so hard yesterday, easily 12 hours: power washing, sanding, scraping, and caulking. I've never seen a crew work harder! It was like a party at my house, as I was sitting inside working on a freelance job and could hear their music playing all day. It made me happy that they were enjoying themselves while they worked.
   The owner of the company, Aaron Brogan, came by this morning to check in with the guys and see their work. He and his sister, Robin, are great people – I'm so glad I chose them!
  Here's the new body color, a warm, medium brown; much more neutral than the old, yellower tan was. Though I never minded the tan, I am SO excited to see the 90s maroon and hunter green accent colors go away! This will make my house look so much better, and hopefully increase the value as well, making it look more modern and giving it more curb appeal.
   You can really see from this picture how thorough they were!
   It's hilarious to see all my deck furniture on the lawn. I think I need to get a croquet set and host a tea party.
   It's strange being in the house with all the windows covered in thick plastic film. I think the pets are a little confused. They've been extraordinarily patient with all the banging around going on out there! It has made it hard to concentrate on my work, but I'm so excited to see the results--well worth the inconvenience.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Inspiration: wings

   I love this quote that I found today, in part because it reminds me of the amazing and inspiring time I had in Hawaii this summer with Laura and the Ocean Matters group. On the last evening we were together, Laura gathered us and presented us each with a single feather, a symbol of many things. 
   "Feathers represent flight and freedom soaring above looking from a higher perspective, and moving beyond boundaries and limitations." (Written by Natalia Kuna, published in the magazine “Alive, So Make it Count!”). She goes on to say that "White feathers symbolize hope, trust, faith, protection, and peace." 
   What a lovely and thoughtful gift to us all; it holds so much personal meaning for me, giving me courage while embarking on my new journey.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

National dog day

   I don't know who came up with "national dog day" but I think we know who the real top dog is!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Inspiration: more sugoi

   These last five months, aka my "involuntary sabbatical" have been THE BEST. As much as I'm excited to see where the heck I'm going, I have just loved this time and am trying to make the most of every single day. This is the most exhilarating, scariest, awesomest, happiest time ever. The Japanese have a word that I think sums it up well: 「すごい」(sugoi). It means wonderful, and terrible. And I certainly haven't been feeling terrible (far from it), but the stress is real. And change is good, though it's hard. I love the idea that a single word encompasses the whole spectrum.

Summer friendship

   This photo represents the bounty of friends who I am so grateful to have in my life! Bok choy and daikon radish from Abby & Scott, cucumbers from Sandi and Josh, jalapeño and habanero peppers from Scott and Allyson, and loads of tomatoes, brussels sprouts, and eggplant from David.
  Between David and Scot, I have a jar full of habanero and ghost peppers, which I have sealed tightly in glass so that they don't attack. These things are seriously dangerously hot, and I feel a little nervous having them in the house with me. ;)
They will be going to Adam and Dana, who order their food "double Thai hot." Because they are crazy. And crazy awesome.


   I am quite sure I have never seen anyone happier than this kitten. And I have that same smile on my face, knowing that I found exactly the right person to adopt him. 
   Nacho's owner fell and broke her ankle last week, which is terrible, but it means they are spending a lot of quality time together, which is awesome. It was love at first sight for both of them, and they now have a bond that nothing will be able to break.
   I can't even begin to describe the happiness that this photo brings me... it is symbolic of my friendship with Mary Ann, my faithful pet sitter, who found this kitty. She has a huge heart and I'm so lucky we are connected. So glad I was able to help her help this little guy.
Another nominee for the best photo ever. 

The agony of choice, part two

   Robin from Brogan painting just came by to try out some samples. I like the brown and the gray-brown. The grays are too gray. She chose well, I was surprised at how close we got on the first try. Now to go back to Photoshop and try these on the whole house.

   The problem with being an artist is that I have a keen awareness that there are about 23 million colors to choose from. Thank goodness she just brought four.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Scuba Bio

   Sam asked for us instructors to write a bio and send a photo of us for the Skin n Scuba website, and here's my contribution. It made me reflect on what an incredible journey diving has been for me over these last 5 years, how much fun I've had, how many amazing people I've met, and all the creatures I've seen. The ocean is truly worth protecting and we can't afford to lose it. That was one thing I understood much better after this summer's trip to Hawaii with Ocean Matters. The photo above is me with my first Open Water student, Connor.
   "I was raised in the Midwest, and there is little doubt that the absence of a nearby ocean fueled my desire to explore the seas. 
While I’m happy to be under the water anywhere, my favorite dive destinations include Cozumel, the Cenotes of the Riviera Maya, Roatan, and Hawaii’s Big Island. 
There is a lot of ocean out there, so stay tuned…   the Galapagos Islands, the Philippines, Indonesia, and the South Pacific are high on my list.
I may be small in stature but I have a huge passion for diving with gentle giants: manta rays, turtles, dolphin, and sharks… especially whale sharks. 
   What I love most about being a PADI Scuba Instructor is the opportunity to help people of all ages appreciate & understand the marine ecosystem. 
The corals and creatures I’ve seen while diving gave me an entirely new appreciation for life and I just love to share it. 
Divers have a unique perspective on the world and can be influencers for good: encouraging everyone to be better stewards of our seas so that the next generations of divers may enjoy it as much as I do.
   Working with youths is a particular joy—there is nothing like helping them into the gear for the first time and encouraging them to take their first breaths underwater.
I chose to train with and work for Sam’s Skin n Scuba because of their focus on education and safe diving practices, as well as the fun and camaraderie.
   In addition to being a Scuba instructor, I’m a professional artist, and my love for all things scuba & the ocean influence my work. 
Every dive amazes and inspires me, whether I’m watching the tiniest shrimp walking along a strand of wire coral, being surrounded by a large school of grunt with their scales glinting in the light, or studying the pattern on the flippers of a sleeping green sea turtle.
I often draw and paint the creatures I’ve seen on dives and would love to teach underwater sketching someday. Who’s ready?"

   Here's a shot that Chad H caught of me, super jazzed after watching 14 eight- to nine-foot Caribbean reef sharks:
   And here's a shot that the photographer captured of me in Chac Mool, the cenote named after the Jaguar God of Rain:
   "The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul." — Robert Wyland
And just for fun, a total Scuba LOL:

Inspiration: change my life

   And also, this:
   "I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me." — Anna Quindlen

Sunday, August 23, 2015