Thursday, July 29, 2010

Goodbye old friend...

My delinquency in writing here is in part due to the fact that two weeks ago today, we had to put our 13 year-old English Mastiff, Rupert, to rest. I knew that it would be hard to write about it, but that I would have to.

He had a wonderful life and outlived his breed average by four to five years. He was gentle and loyal and silly as all get out. One time when he was oh, around four, we heard him come up the stairs from where we were sitting in our TV room. My husband saw in his periphery as Rupe checked to see if he was looking, then snuck quietly into our bedroom instead of joining us across the foyer. Tim nudged me and motioned for me to listen. After a moment, we heard a "creeeeeeak" in our room. Tim tiptoed over and peeked around the corner at the doorway to find Rupert, spread-eagle on his back, on our bed and writhing around with glee.

"RUPERT!" He said, and the instantaneous response was a full 180 degree flip to upright position, and a hanging head because he sooo knew he was in trouble. It was so funny though that we just ended up laughing and giving him a snuggle.

He was spoiled to be sure, but my god, he was beautiful and sweet. In the end, the arthritis and muscle loss in his back legs were so bad he could barely get up the three stairs to our porch entry, his bladder was starting to fail, and he was going deaf and blind. What was really hard was that I didn't have any peace and quiet in his final days to just sit with him, and talk to him, and really let him know he was mine and I was his and that I was so grateful to him. My one and three year-olds were being particularly relentless that week and giving us trouble at bedtime (teething and monster fear), so the little bit of quiet I would normally have used for such a thing wasn't available to us.

The next day, my husband and I had our fifteenth anniversary (five years married but fifteen together in total) and the following night we actually got away for one night - our first time away from the boys with my Dad & Stepmother staying with them - and went to a little cabin on the ocean.

When we arrived it was mid-afternoon and such a stellar day. The sun was on the ocean and it was quiet and beautiful. I was still in agony about Rupe. Suddenly I felt like he was there, all around us, in the warmth on my skin, filling my whole body, and I just sat there and soaked him up for like an hour. I don't believe in God in any traditional sense, but it was the closest thing I've experienced to religion in my life. I feel a little bit hopeful in a new way; maybe the soul can remain intact after the body dies. I don't feel sure, but I don't know what to do with the alternative possibility.

I'm finally getting through my days without constant crying jags, but there are still those moments where I cut the crusts off the kids' toast and remember he's not here to eat them, or I come home from grocery shopping and realize he's not waiting to greet us. I'm thankful for the gorgeous portrait my best friend painted of him as our wedding gift, and of every photograph we have of him, and for every moment he was here with us. My world is more beautiful because he was a part of it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Glorious Fabric Nostalgia!

This won't be much of a written entry, but I've been trying to get organized around my house. In so doing I've been finding what I suppose I could call my crafty collections. I wanted to document some of them visually so I have some starting points as I begin to plan the interior of various rooms in our home and so on. If I really love a fabric or even a trim detail it can spark a whole onslaught of related fun decor ideas.

Here are some fabric samples from my collection and also some French lace I bought at a little thrift store in the south of, yup, France, a few years ago on my honeymoon. I will definitely be using some of what you see even if only for small projects like cushions or lampshade trim or whatever. I'm really looking forward to showing this stuff to our designer before we begin on the interiors so he can get a clear idea of who I am and just how engrained in my romantic, hippy soul the nostalgia of kitsch really is. I love old fabrics and papers and things that evoke memories...of people, things, places, even music.

I also came across an old jewelry box today & will try to add a photo later. Hope you enjoy the eye candy! It totally excites me.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

We're building a house!

I find this entire process overwhelming and amazing. It's simultaneously too good to be true and too much to handle! We went to see the property today and it's incredible to walk around in the actual foundation of our home, view the shape of it's perimeter, and talk about how the rooms will flow and so on and what we'll do with the landscape when it's done.

I forgot to take pictures but will do so next time. It's not much to look at right now anyway and I've forgotten the terminology for the kind of footings we're using. Essentially we've got styrofoam molds in place, which are reinforced vertically with steel beams before concrete is poured in to provide the real strength. This will all be done in stages from the ground up. The sound-proofing should be great with this type of a structure, and I'm counting on it since the theatre room may end up right under my bed! My husband doesn't seem to think this could be a problem for his insomniac wife...but that's another talk show. We will also be putting in a gigantic rainwater cistern (sp?) underground which should provide most if not all of the water for our gardens. I am really excited about growing our own food but the planning for that will come later.

In the meantime, and since this is really Tim's territory in the process (he's a contractor), I am dreaming up a storm in regard to interior finishes and decor. In particular the kitchen is on my mind. I adore cooking and want this to be a real hub in our home. We do have an open floor plan in mind for the main floor of the house which will include the kitchen, dining and living areas, so I am trying to come up with ideas around how we can define each space in ways that make sense without separating them too much.

I've started scrapbooking and with my scanner pilfered (Tim took it to his office and I can tell I'm going to have to replace it because they're using it every day) the only way I can share any of it with you is to post a photo or two. They won't be great visuals but for now, better than nothing! Can't wait to really get into materials and colours for the kitchen. The whole house, actually. I want an overall kind of 70's landscape postcard hues effect...if that makes any sense at all. Lots of lake greens and sky blues and old truck reds...but all muted, or subtle in their detailed application. We will have a lot of wood and stone/tile surfacing in the house so we'll need to use colour for balance. It is going to be so fun.