Thursday, 28 November 2013

Style: Beach outfit

Happy Thanksgiving America!!
Today I am grateful for the last 9 days I spent in your beautiful country. It has been a real pleasure being here and exploring a bit of California and Oregon. They are both gorgeous states.
It was eerily quiet everywhere today: Most of the stores and restaurants were closed, not very many people on the road. I hope you all enjoyed your turkeys and pie?!

We spent our last vacation day slowly driving up the coast, stopping at whichever beach took our fancy.
Tomorrow we will be home again. One thing I can't wait for? My own bed!

And hugging my furry babes of course.
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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Snapshots

We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday! It was thrilling, I was really excited. After San Francisco we left Highway 1 and moved over to 101. It leads through beautiful wine country, a very enjoyable drive.
Today we saw the huge, impressive redwoods, hung out at a beautiful beach, and I fell in love with northern California and the tiny bit of Oregon we have seen thus far. It is SO gorgeous!!

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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Three things I can't live without

Sand dunes in Marina Beach
I've been up since 7am. Again. This trip proofs to be some sort of time machine: I have transformed into a senior citizen who goes to bed at 9pm and is up at the crack of dawn. Very strange.
However, it gives me plenty of time to spend online in the morning.
And today I came across Bonnie's question: You are going on a trip, what are the three must have items in your travel bag?
Perfect timing! I am on a trip, that should be easy. Just take a peek into my suitcase and I'm all set.
Pebble Beach, Monterey

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Monday, 25 November 2013

Weekly highlights: Vacation!

This is 3 days late - vacation brain, ya know?
Here are last week's highlights:

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Wildlife extravaganza


You may have noticed that our trip is filled with nature and not much else. That is entirely on purpose.
We are weird that way: Once we are out in the wilderness and have nothing but sky above us, trees/desert/vastness/ocean around us, we don't want to see huge buildings, concrete and lots of people.
So we bypassed LA and any of the other huge cities in favour of tiny towns.
When we look for a place to eat we prefer individual small restaurants or diners, not the big chains.
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Sunday, 24 November 2013

Day in the desert

Greetings from Atascadero!
Yesterday was spectacular. Instead of heading straight to the coast we decided on a whim to take a longer route through the desert - and absolutely loved it. Amazing, breathtaking country! It was very cloudy and had just rained, which gave it its own unique charm. Rain in the desert is so rare, it made it special.

I took a ton of pictures, but I restrained myself and didn't dump them all on here. Even though I wanted to, believe me ;-)
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Friday, 22 November 2013

They threw rocks!


I'm writing this from a small, shabby Motel 6 room with spotty Internet reception. This room is a fitting end to today.
There was rain (in Southern California!), crazy winds, a disappointing show, rocks thrown at our truck, and a missed connection.

But let's start at the beginning.
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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Tales from the road

So far, so blah.
We have been on the road since yesterday, 1:18pm, which still astonishes me since we have never left on time before. I was so skeptical in fact, that I seriously considered someone else impersonating Richard (I'm currently on a Harry Potter kick). But he answered my safety questions satisfactorily: "When we first met, how did you lure me away from the party so we could be alone?" "I wanted to show you the pots and pants in my camper." (It's a long story, and sadly, the right answer. Now I won't be able to use that one as a safety question any more.)

So yes, what have we done thus far?
Travelled 1600km in two days, 10 hours each day.
Everything was going very smoothly yesterday until we hit Seattle:
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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Style: Winterwonderland dress

Today is the day where we are starting our adventure! It is 10:35 am right now - Richard's plan is to leave at 1 pm. My guess is we are lucky if we get out of here by 3 pm, so there's still plenty of time.

Originally I wanted to go outside and take a few photos, but we have a couple guys here and I would feel too silly taking pictures of myself when they can see me. So I took them in the house. It really isn't quite the same as posing with dogs, but it will do.

This dress is from ModCloth and I'm obsessed with it. That print? It's so whimsical! I love it. It is also really warm and doesn't require accessories. Easy peasy!
The shoes are another one of my special finds from Old Navy. I spied them yesterday for $5.97! I actually like them better now than I did in the store, I almost didn't buy them. Imagine that!
The tights are from Old Navy as well. Love me some polkadots.

The first photo is my attempt to get into the spirit of the season. I consider that goal accomplished.
Next time you hear from me we will be somewhere in the Americas!

xoxo Miriam

Addendum: It is 1:18 pm and we are leaving. I'm shocked! 
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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

A riddle

This morning I was woken up by the phone which is something I usually hate.

But the news I learned on said phone were so amazing that I didn't mind!

Here are a few clues as to what the news are:
 
source

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Monday, 18 November 2013

Memories

Having time off is funny. One of the things you dream about when working? Sleeping in. Aaahhh, it's the best! But then what happens? You wake up before the crack of dawn at 5:30 am and can't get back to sleep. Craziness.

But it has its good points. I'm sitting here in the near darkness on the couch in the living room, the coffee is brewing, and my head is spinning with ideas for our home.
This year for me has been all about cherishing our home. Last year we were restless: we travelled more than usual, went camping more than usual, had lots of ideas and dreams of moving away. We wanted new adventures! A new chapter! Wilderness, a simpler life, back to nature.

But, slowly over the past 11 months, we have come to the realization that we truly love our home. Not only the area we live in, but the property and house on it. And we have spent most of the year being at home, re-discovering it, seeing it in a new light, and finding a whole new level of appreciation for it.


I fell back in love with it.
Bit by bit, we have made little improvements all over. Which leads me to my weekly wishes:

1. Finish painting the front door.
2. Paint the hallway.
3. Take pictures of it!

Linking up with Melyssa from The Nectar Collective.

The Nectar Collective

Happy Monday!

xo Miriam
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Sunday, 17 November 2013

19 goals in 19 days

Today is the first day of my 19-day vacation!! Our original plan was to go on a 2-week roadtrip down to Arizona and New Mexico. I was very, very excited for this trip, because I adore road trips. Sadly, that plan didn't work out due to Richard's work.
source
But, in the spirit of making the best of it, I decided to make this a spectacular staycation. I have made lots of plans, so many in fact that it is highly unlikely that I will finish them all. However, I will give it my best shot!
Here are my 19 goals for the next 19 days:
  • Paint all the baseboards
  • Paint the hallway
  • Paint the front door
  • Walk every day (no excuses!)
  • Finish my Christmas shopping (that would be a first)
  • Decorate for Christmas
source
  • Go away with Rich for at least one night
  • Cook healthy meals at least 5 4 3 times a week (I don't want to set myself up for failure)
  • De-clutter the house
  • Learn how to do an up-do for Kristen's wedding
source
  • Watch the 2nd Hunger Games movie
  • Bake Christmas cookies
  • Don't cut off my hair (I'm undergoing a mild hair crisis - again)
  • Do a give-away on the blog
  • Take pictures of our newly renovated home and post them here
  • Try out this Christmas sangria
Recipe here
  • Dress up and go out for a fancy dinner
  • Spend an entire day trying on clothes to my heart's content
  • Enjoy the season!
source
This should make me more accountable. 
I will present this list in 19 days with hopefully most of it crossed off!
What plans do you have for this season?

Happy Sunday!

xoxo Miriam
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Friday, 15 November 2013

Weekly highlights: a goodbye and a rude awakening

I should re-name this series to "Weekly mediocre stuff that has happened", because a lot of it you really can't call a "highlight". But the name is coined so I will stick with it. And I guess that's what life is all about: a series of little, random events. But you know what's amazing? Tomorrow is my last day of work and then I'm on vacation for 19 days! I can't wait.


Friday, November 8th
Friday was Kalle's last day in Canada (boo). We hung out by the pond for a while and then had a little party. It was fun!

Saturday, November 9th
Dropped off Kalle at the airport, quick and painless, didn't even go inside. I hate goodbyes.
Afterwards Rich and I had fish and chips and spent the rest of the day camped out on the couch.

Sunday, November 10th
Sunday was filled with cleaning, brushing the horses, cooking a nice dinner, and lots of Harry Potter. I'm on a real Harry Potter binge, started re-reading all the books and am now at book 6. They are so full of wisdom! Love it.

Monday, November 11th
This photo shoot happened. Plus the start of Christmas shopping! I'm very proud of myself.

Tuesday, November 12th
What a weird day. Do you want to know why? I got my start time for work wrong. That has never happened before. There I was, happily sipping coffee (in bed if you must know), when the phone rang at approximately 9 am. "You were supposed to start at 8:30. Where are you?" Aaaahhh!!! I was sure I started at 12 noon! Darn it. I jumped in the shower, did the world's fastest shower in history (I'm sure I broke the record), threw my dripping wet hair in a ponytail an raced out the door.
Rich had my car with my parking hanger in it, so I had to park about 10 minutes away (that also never happens). But I was at work at 9:30! What a start to the day. Somebody really needs a vacation...
That picture above happened on the way back to my car after work - somehow that little Cat looked so cute nestled in between the big ones.

Wednesday, November 13th
The daily cleaning of the stalls has commenced. Aka "Scheisse schaufeln" (shit shovelling). This will be part of our routine now for at least 5 or 6 months. I keep telling myself that it's a great workout.

Thursday, November 14th
The day of the final invasion. The floor looks awesome though, so all's well that ends well.
On my way to work I just had to stop and take a picture of the sun setting  - so beautiful!

Happy Friday peeps!

xo Miriam
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Thursday, 14 November 2013

There's a fridge in my living room

This is day 2 of the buttcrack gang invading my house. Who are they you may wonder?
They are the guys who turned my house upside down and parked the fridge and stove (along with everything else from the kitchen) in our living room:
Do you see? A fridge! In my living room! And behind it: A stove! They don't belong there!
Neither do the 2 kitchen tables and all these chairs. 
*Disclaimer: I took these pictures on the sly when the guys stepped out for a minute. So they are blurry and/or bad quality.

We are getting a new floor in our kitchen. Which was not my idea, but that's neither here nor there. Yesterday the floor guys came. And by golly, you couldn't miss them.
There were five of them. Five! All with their jeans hung low so their butt cracks are on display at all times. Not only when they bend over, but also when they stand fully upright. I have surmised that this must be part of their uniform. Otherwise, why would they all wear their jeans so low? It's not 1996 any more guys!

But that's not all.

They are loud. And frankly, a bit scary. I hid in my bedroom (that's where this post is currently being written), but made sure they know that I'm home. Just in case. You know, if they have questions or something. But either they forgot, or they don't care - they keep using my bathroom. For number 2s! And then they come out and talk about it!
We had to temporarily park my fish ("Fishly") in there because we also got new carpet in the spare bedroom where Fishly usually lives. Again, not my idea.

Anyway, just now one of the guys came out and loudly proclaimed: "That fish kept staring at my while I took a dump!" Uproarious laughter on their part. Mortification on mine. That's what inspired me to write this down, because frankly, I need to share my misery.
A different angle of the stove in our living room. 
Why, oh why do they have to be so coarse? And open with their bodily functions? I applaud everyone who feels comfortable in their skin, but this is too much.

They also emptied out the fridge before they moved it. Because it's lighter? Or to not throw everything around? I don't know. The contents are currently lined up on the counter for them to freely comment on:
See that empty space straight ahead? That's where the stove usually lives. 
And comment they do. They made remarks about the can of Strongbow, my German Christmas Stollen, and - well, that's all I heard. But I feel judged! And strangely vulnerable. Don't talk about my stuff when I can hear you!

Well, that's what's been going on around here. I fervently hope they will finish today and I can start putting my life my house back together again. There is such a mess everywhere that I will take this opportunity for a thorough decluttering. Because as of Saturday, 6 pm, I will be on vacation for a glorious 19 days! It can't come soon enough.

I have so many things planned that I will actually make a list, put it on here and then see how many of the items on it I can cross off. But more about this tomorrow.

Now I will sneak out and hang with the dogs for a bit. For some, ahem, fresh air. (The bathroom is really close to my bedroom. Just saying.)

Thanks for listening!

xo Miriam

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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Being Type A in a B world

source
Exactly.

Guys, I fear I'm turning into a nitpicky bitch. Mainly at work. (I feel I've made huge improvements at home. Right Richard?)
Here's the thing. In any job, there are probably a hundred different ways of doing something with a similar outcome. But, in my mind, my way is the best and most logical, and why can't everybody just do it like me?

Ever since I was little there were certain things that would drive me crazy when they weren't done right.

Example 1: Growing up, we had this big kitchen that was inspired by an old farm kitchen. Which meant that we had a real fireplace and no other source of heat in a huge room, in an old house with bad insulation, in a corner of Germany that gets freezing cold for approximately 8 months of the year, with biting winds... but I digress. The long and short of it was that we needed to build a fire every day. Wood+ash in the kitchen=dirty floor. I was obsessed with sweeping that floor. Obsessed! And I seemed to be the only one. It would make me incredibly mad when the floor was dirty again and nobody else seemed to care. Type A in a B family.

Example 2: Hair in a brush. Is that weird? (Don't answer that.) I absolutely hate when there's any hair stuck in a hairbrush. Don't know why, can't explain it, that's just the way it is. We have a communal hairbrush in our bathroom at work, and I will take out every last stray hair that may still be stuck in there. You're welcome.
I can't even - that's the stuff  for nightmares. (source)
Example 3: There are countless examples around the farm. Because Richard is the most relaxed, type B, unorganized (in my mind) person I have ever known. When I'm in charge (usually when Rich is gone) I have a routine: I will feed everything pretty much at the same time every day. My feeding buckets are in the same spot so I know where to find them. So are the scoops to scoop the feed out of the bag.
Wheelbarrows are in their place, with one parked right in front of the hay so I can load it up straight away. Everything is in its place.

When Richard is in charge and he asks me to feed it's a totally different scenario: There are no buckets to be found. We have 4, so you think there would be at least one lying around? Wrong. Same goes for the scoops, wheelbarrows, or the feed itself: half the time we are out of something and I have to first drive to the store and buy it. It's beyond frustrating!
Peaceful scene to calm me down. 
Example 4: At work. Here is what I do in a nutshell: A doctor asks me to take pictures of bones (in the form of a requisition). I do, and then another doctor (a radiologist) interprets them. So in my mind I'm assisting these two doctors in finding out what ails the patient.
Now let me give you a small insight of how my mind works: If one of these two doctors asks me to do something, I will do anything in my power to oblige. Even if it is very difficult or impossible. Or doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.
I can't help it. On some level I understand and appreciate that other people have a more relaxed approach. I do! But at the same time I have a very hard time with the 'live and let live' philosophy.

Here is Wikipedia's definition of a Type A personality (and we all know that Wikipedia is always right, right?):
"The theory describes a Type A individual as ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status conscious, can be sensitive, truthful, impatient, always try to help others, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, proactive, and obsessed with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving "workaholics" who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence." (source)

Yikes! That definition is spot on. Scary!

Basically, the point I'm trying to make here (there is one, really): I want to apologize to my co-workers for being so - well, Type A. And I'm glad you're not all like that!

I promise to let you be your way and I will continue to be mine (because mine is right hehe).

Love you!
Miriam (aka the "marker police")
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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The 10 oddest compliments my husband has made me

Rich and I love each other. Very much so.

We say "I love you" to each other every day (because I'm needy, and he likes to hear it, too). But one thing Rich is really bad at? Giving a good compliment. His specialty is the "odd compliment".
Here is a random selection of Rich's 10 most commonly used ones:

1. "You are the best sleeping pill." Isn't this what every girl wants to hear? (NO!) Without going into too much detail: Rich has sleeping problems, but he sleeps like a baby after - well, let's call it sexy time. That gem came out of his mouth after a really good sleep he'd had.
   
2. "You have hobbit feet." Like any girl, I like a foot massage. And like the sweet husband he (sometimes) is, he quite often obliges. The price for this though? Listening to his weird comments about my feet. I know I don't have the prettiest feet around. Who likes their feet? Foot models? Well, I bet even they have bad feet days.
Anyways, he never stops telling me that I have "the fattest big toe ever", "duck feet", and a "crippled little toe".

3. "You have a womanly body." He has also called me "solid" and "sturdy". But, he hastens to add, "in a good way." For the longest time all I ever heard was "you are fat", even though he never meant that. What he really means is: I like your body. He just words it unusually.

4. He calls my butt my "anchor". I have a bubble butt. It sticks out, it's large and in charge. After agonizing over it and only wearing super-long shirts and sweaters in 9th grade in an attempt to hide it, I decided to (sort of) embrace it. Rich loves my butt, but he always calls it "anchor". And that's just annoying.

5. "You walk like a gazelle ... or what's that big, grey animal with a trunk called?" Ha ha Richard. At least people can hear me coming, and I don't cause near-heart attacks on a regular basis.

6. Do you like being picked up by your man? I do. It makes me feel girly, dainty and cute. I also like to tease him (when he wants to refuse, which happens often): "I'm as light as a feather!" Richard's response: "Yes, a steel feather."

7. "Women your age shouldn't have long hair." OMG, where to start?? First of all, I'm 33 years old. Second of all, Rich made the grave mistake to mention this last Valentine's day. Of all the days! You should know that I'm currently growing my hair out after 11 or so years of short hair. Rich liked my short hair. And you all know that growing hair out is a pain and a seemingly never-ending series of bad hair days. But seriously??
There was no loving on that Valentine's day, let me tell ya.

8. "You have a potato nose." Meaning it's quite wide. He thinks it's cute? I hope so, I'm stuck with that thing.

9. "I love your floppy ear." One of my ears is floppier than the other. I never even noticed that (in 23 years) until he pointed it out. At least he notices the little details?!

10. "You have the pointiest knees." It's true, but I happen to like them. And so does he, secretly (I think).

What pearls of wisdom have your men come up with?

xo Miriam

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Monday, 11 November 2013

Farm "style"

This morning I woke up with the plan to do an outfit post. I had already planned the outfit: flowy pink maxi skirt, white knit sweater, maybe my cute black-and-white checked little jacket on top...
But first I went out to feed the horses, llamas and sheep. In my everyday farm clothes.
And then I had a thought: "In the spirit of full disclosure I should snap a few pictures in clothes I actually wear every single day."

That's how these photos came about. That's me on the farm: dirty old clothes, rubber boots (essential footwear from October-May around here), messy hair, and, as always, no make-up.
Oh, and in case you're wondering what that blue string in my pocket is: It's bailer twine, used to bind hay bales.


Have a peaceful Remembrance Day everybody. 

Miriam
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Saturday, 9 November 2013

It's getting muddy around here

Our friend Karl-Heinz went back to Germany today after a 2-week vacation. He is such a nice and easy houseguest, we love having him here!
We had a little party yesterday, with drinks and dancing and a lot of Bee Gees - Rich got his fave records out! 
Before that we spent a little time under the willowtree during the "magic hour": the sun was shining and the light was golden. We put a thick layer of hay on the chairs which made for a dry, warm and cozy seat - and the horses got to eat it after. Win-win!

Love, Miriam
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