For this week's Weekly Word Challenge, I give you Seven things I love about my chosen corner of the Earth.
First off, there's my house itself. It started out at 1100 square feet--we've more than doubled the size through the painless (hahahahhahaha) process of two major remodels. Okay, so it wasn't painless. In fact, it was oh my gosh, I thought my husband and I were going to kill each other pretty painful. But it is as close to exactly what I want as you can get without starting from scratch.
Of course, you're always welcome at Casa Juggling Life.
Yes, I do actually have a white picket fence!
The trunk of this Kumquat tree is actually in my neighbor's yard, but the rest of the tree is on our side and everyone in the neighborhood shares in the bounty.
Even now, with the youngest being 13, these two swings get a workout from the kids in the summer. The tree the tire swing hangs from is about 70 feet tall. The pepper tree in the background (with the swing designed and built by Social Butterfly and her friend a few years ago--you stand up and swing out over the canyon) was completely barren after the Cedar fire, but came back bigger and more beautiful than ever. That's one of our Beagles, Buddy, patrolling the fence line.
This oh-so-fragrant Star Jasmine covers the fence in the side yard--just a few feet from the windows in the great room. It fills the house with a wonderful scent during the summer when all the windows are open. I wish I had smell-o-vision capability!
This the view from my bedroom window. I don't know much about Feng Shui, but I just have a feeling that waking up to this view is good Feng Shui. The birds in the springtime are another story!
I am totally a wee bit frustrated because I have been unable to locate (on any of 3 computers, the external hard drive, or on the back-up cd-roms) the pictures from when we came this close to losing our house in the Cedar Fire. Instead, I'm stealing from this guy.
For today's Weekly Word Challenge I give you Three pictures of the Fire that almost consumed our home in October of 2003. I will tell the whole story one day, but just know that were it not for the bravery of my husband, my brother-in-law, and two neighbors, in conjunction with the support of the fire department, we would definitely have lost our house that day.
Our pictures look just like this, but they were taken by my husband from the roof of our house, while he had a hose in his other hand.
My first thought when I saw the Weekly Word Challenge words for this week, was "????" Then I had a really great idea involving a large fan and four of my daughter's closest long-haired friends, but that idea didn't have much chance of being executed.
So, this is what I came up with. Fivepeople on vacation with Windblown hair.
All of these pictures were taken in our favorite place in the world (well, all the world we've been to so far), Mammoth Lakes, California. There's something about returning every year to a place where you've always had fun and everyone can spend two weeks doing the things they love. For us that means biking, hiking, kayaking, fishing and playing cards before breakfast with the best friends and family in the world.
That is the window in my shower that you see close-up. Notice how it really needs to be cleaned--we have really hard water in San Diego. I do my best, but the battle against lime-scale must be waged more frequently than I have time for these days. In the background (upper left pane) is a Chassidic Jewish day and boarding school. It is about 1+1/2 miles away as the crow flies. The school wasn't there when we added on to the house and put in the shower with the great big window. After the school was built, I briefly considered a window covering. But then I thought, "Nah, if an orthodox Jewish boy with binoculars is that desperate, I'm happy to help out." Besides, the big window brings me joy on a daily basis. I have the feeling of showering outdoors without actually having to be in the outdoors.
This chicken belonged to my mother (does this sound familiar?). When my mom died I was executor of her belongings (my husband was the executor of the money), and it was a huge source of contention between my sister and me.
I didn't give her everything she wanted, and she was pissed. The reason I didn't give her much was that she had a track record of abandoning or ruining pretty much every nice thing my mom had ever given her. When someone's things are all you have left of them they take on a lot of meaning. I did give my sister this chicken though.
How did I get it back you ask? My sister lived in a house just around the corner from me (it was "acquired" through some sort of sub-prime lending scam involving multiple people and ending in foreclosure), when she was diagnosed with cancer in January of 2007. She wasn't paying for the house, plus there was an abusive boyfriend involved, so she moved from effectively abandoned the house the Saturday before Easter. A week later I drove by her former house and there was a garage sale going on. I stopped. I grabbed this chicken from the hands of a very startled woman and told the owner of the house that he "might think this was just a bunch of junk, but this belonged to my mother and I'm taking it."
What my sister considered junk to be left behind turned out to be a treasure to me.
This is the Bissell vacuum cleaner (made in a foreign country) that helps us get one our domestic chores done around here.
The vacuum is artfully positioned on the great room area rug that was one of my great finds. When I say "great room," I mean really large room. This part of the house was added by us during our first (yes, I said first, there was another one) major remodel. Of course, a big room needs a big rug, which usually requires a big budget, which was seriously lacking after the remodel.
Luckily, I appear to be a rug savant. By this I mean I can go into Home Depot Expo and find the perfect rug, at a reasonable price, in a very short amount of time. I did it with this rug and the one for our living room. I was so impressed with my own skills, I offered to rug shop with friends. And lo, my powers became legend.
Just in case any of my kids happens upon this post and peruses the comments, do you all concur that when vacuuming a house that contains two dogs and two cats you might want to empty the canister a time or two during the process?