Category Archives: Uncategorized

TV Wall

I love our casita.

Being its owner is third on my list of Life’s Joys.  But it, like everything else, is not perfect.  One of her main imperfections is the low amount light that the living room gets from morning until mid afternoon.  The upstairs bedrooms get great morning light, but downstairs takes most of the day to wake up.  That’s her main imperfection.

Her secondary imperfection is an awkwardly configured living room.

(My main imperfection is listing imperfections.)

Both of these architectural foibles have been felt most severely by the north-eastern wall of the living room.  It is furthest away from the bright dining area windows, and meets the fireplace wall at an angle.  It tended to always feel like it was looming.  The Lurking Wall.  It needed something to brighten it up without making it feel cluttered.  So this is what we did:

Wood do you think?

Wood do you think?

The wood slats do not solve the problem of light in the living room, but they do brighten the space and give a person’s eye something to study.  My vision for this wall is a gallery of framed art along with the tv – off center to the right as part of the gallery wall.  And over the fireplace – more framed art!  The Old Man’s vision also includes an abundance of art, adds a guitar, but puts the tv (and speakers) above the fireplace.  A lively debate between The Old Man and me about the very important television placement detail is what made this wall happen on a late afternoon last Saturday.
We have decided to compromise by moving the tv back and forth from one wall to the other until one of us relents / sees the benefit of the other’s vision.  As we are both very opinionated on the subject, I imagine we will be switching back and forth for a while.

Inspiration for having a non-tv centric living space:

Seen at

Seen at

Seen at

Seen at

This photo above is particularly great. Did you even notice the framed tv screen at the bottom right of the gallery?  No?  Me neither.

Now imagine with me…

Our current living room situation.

Our current living room situation.

… art over the fireplace, the tv mounted on the slatted wall (wires hidden behind the wood), a guitar hanging within an arm’s reach, and a modern mantle.  Not a bad vision, right?  A work in progress, anyway.  Eventually a different rug (I love this rug, but this room needs something less busy that can go a day without being vacuumed for dog hair), different shades on the windows, a chair that will fit two but not block the window too much, a sofa with a lower profile, some other coffee table, the list goes on!  I think I would like to paint the entertainment center, too.  Especially once we figure out what we are doing about the mantle, there is going to be a whole lot of wood happening in here, and a bright colored slap of paint might be just the thing.  And white walls!  I am usually not a fan of totally white walls, but I really think it will help brighten the place.  Gosh, this picture looks cluttered.  I’ll see if The Old Man is amenable to putting doors on the entertainment center.  And the more I look at it, the more sure I am that the black chair has got to go.

Hey!  Want a before picture?

The blank slate.  (And the awful fireplace)

The blank slate. (And the awful fireplace)

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Near Total Domestication

Hello again, friends!  Here I am again after a very long absence from this blog.  So MUCH has happened since my last post, so I will quickly recap:

Since April 2012,

  • My little sister got married (July) and bought a house in Arizona (August)
  • I quit my very stable, well-paying job (August) to go back to school (September) to finish the last 9 units I needed to finally earn by bachelors degree (December) and start working for myself / others (September)
  • The Old Man landed a very stable, well-paying job ONE DAY after I quit mine (August)
  • We celebrated our second wedding anniversary camping in a yurt at Cachuma Lake (October)
  • My twenty-ninth year came to a close, and my thirtieth began! (December)
  • There was a total eclipse and the end of the world (December)
  • The band has gotten back together FINALLY and is working on a handful of new songs (January)
  • Gavin and I began house hunting (February), made three offers on three houses and one was accepted (April)!
  • Escrow closed (May), and we moved in (June)!
  • We adopted an Australian Shepard dog named Orlando (May)

So, as you can see, life has been twirling and The Old Man and I are doing our best to keep up.  We officially moved out of our beloved one bedroom apartment in its Old-Hollywood-Pink plaster shell on June 2nd and are currently finding our way around the boxes, ladders, buckets, and power tools that are strewn around our new little casita.  I am very much looking forward to making this place our own… the little by little headway we will make with every tiny improvement and embellishment, the getting familiar with the quirks and creaks, making a habit of getting off at our new freeway exit instead of the old one – all these things will come in time, and we are full and content to experience it as it unfolds.

Pictures coming soon!



Ok, ok, here are some pictures:

Orlando on his drive home.

Orlando on his drive home.

Hallway and guest room in process

Hallway and guest room in process

The empty dining room currently full of boxes, etc

The empty dining room currently full of boxes, etc

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Joining the Union

One of my very favorite movies – and I know I’m not alone in this – is It’s a Wonderful Life.

I want a BIG one!

As a kid, my sisters and I would watch this movie every winter.  I secretly had a big crush on Jimmy Stewart, and I am sure that he is why I have always had an affinity for the tall, slender, good-hearted type man.  (And look!  I married me one!  Thanks, Jimmy!)  Somehow, as I grew up, this cinematic gem was elbowed out of my Christmas flick rotation, replaced instead by my generation’s new “classics”.  Two years ago, I learned that my Old Man had NEVER SEEN IT.  Obviously, this atrocity could not abide.  So we watched it and he loved it and our Christmas Flick List has been rewritten.

I must say that watching this movie in this particular economic moment as a socially conscious adult was a whole lot different that it was as a child in the 80’s.  Is this not a movie written for the diminishing middle class of today?  I say it is!   

As a member of this diminishing middle class, I got to wondering about the Building & Loans of yesteryear and whether such establishments still exist.  Since doing electronic transfers from the buried Maxwell House Coffee can under the azaleas has proven to be problematic, I wanted to know if a non-bank, non-coffee can option exists for modern folks.  I eventually came around to the revelation that Credit Unions might be the answer.  I did a little bit of investigation, and this is what I found: 

Since credit unions are not for profit, they are not under the same pressure banks are to impress their shareholders with how much money they have made from their customers… because their shareholders ARE their customers!  It’s a We-Won’t-Screw-You-Because-We-Are-You philosophy.  And because of this philosphy, credit unions do not generally charge the same type of under-handed fees that banks are infamous for.  It’s how it oughta be!  As I learned from The Golden One Credit Union, when a member joins and opens up an account, they are charged one dollar – essentially buying one share of the company.  When it’s time for company decisions to be made, members are asked to vote, and each person – Joe Broke with ten dollars in his account, and Joe Loaded with ten thousand dollars – gets one vote.   And on the occasion that the credit union makes a good investment that pays off, it divides the profits up between all of it’s members!  (According to Dino at The Golden One Credit Union in Goleta, several years ago, each member received $40 from such an investment.  It’s not an everyday occurance, but it does happen!)

But because we live in a world of imperfections, there are of course drawbacks.  These include the fact that credit union ATMs can be hard to find. 
The Solution:  99% of credit unions accept deposits from members of other credit unions, so any credit union or credit union’s ATM can be used without fees.  Also, ATMs at all 7-Elevens are part of the program and can be used for free. 

Another drawback is that credit unions have had the reputation for being slow to modernize. 
The Solution:  there’s an app for that!  The Golden One has an iPhone app with which you can take a picture of your check and deposit it digitally.  Boom:  modernity. 

Yet another credit union shortcoming is the fact that they cannot offer business accounts. 
The Solution:  There is no solution.  Bummer.

As you can imagine, the Old Man and me opened up an account at The Golden One.  I haven’t used it enough to rant or rave about the pros or cons of the actual practice of credit unionization, but I have high hopes.  

Mean-spirited Big Banks and Wall Street dookies.

 Merry Christmas to you, Mister Potter.  (I flip you the partridge in a pear tree.)

Sweet, wonderful Building and Loan middle class darlings.

Credit union group hug!

(If you’re still not convinced, google “Why choose a credit union?” and you’ll very likely get converted.) 

The Golden One Credit Union link

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Back in the Saddle

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that Life Partner and I have had the good fortune to have recently adventured the hillsides and plains of Europe for our honeymoon.

After an amazing sixteen days, we. are. back.

I am at a loss deciding what exactly to say about the trip – where to begin.  So, I suppose I should let this post suffice as a “hello again”, and as the days and blog posts pass, stories and pictures of the trip will emerge and I can dole out bits and pieces instead one huge too-much-info-heap all at once.  I will say though that, although we were sorry to leave Ireland / Spain, we are happy to be home.  And Santa Barbara stands up beautifully even against the charmed cities of The Old World.

Of course I couldn’t have a blog post without a photo or six.  So here are some teasers (à la Gavin or myself using an iPad app called Photo Toaster).  Enjoy and hasta pronto!

The Irish countryside.

Open air market in Galway

Cliffs of Moher

Rainy day in Granada


(Ancient postcard?  Nope!  Digital magic from the caldron of Photo Toaster.  Cool, right?)

The Alhambra

This Is My Blog Launch… This Is My Blaunch

After many moons of oogling other people’s blogs, admiring my peers’ fashion sensibilities, decor savvy, photographing skills, musical tastes, travel diaries, adventures in housewivery, etc… I am officially throwing my hat in the blog ring. Into the Blring.
Although currently less focused than it should be, this blog will chronicle the life and times of me, my band, my housie happenings (decor, gardening, cooking, neighbor gossip, cat gossip, husband husbandry, etc…), the joys and sorrows of living in Santa Barbara, movies, music, fashion, poetry, literature, second-hand booty (as in treasure – as in thrift store finds), travel, and whatever else that may strike me as pertinent to myself, and you and the world at large.
I hope you likee. I hope you readee. And I hope you bear with me as I work out the kinks of this whole thing and refine / define this blog.

Currently listening to Lykke Li’s Wounded Rhymes

Current weather report:  sunny, beautiful, autumnally breezey, 65 degrees (at 10:15 am)