My fridge clearly hates me!

Little something I whipped up in the kitchen today

We are in a rental house at the moment due to moving from one end of the country to the other and although it is a very nice rental, with great landlords, there are a few things that drive me crazy…

Some of it is just my anal retentive, designer ways – usually the first thing I do when I buy a place is install hardware on all the cabinets – I hate not having handles and drawer pulls it is just not ok!  And I have a shockingly strong urge to put a tile backsplash in the kitchen – but this is not my house, so I resist.

The biggest thing is, of course, that these are not my kitchen appliances – I don’t care for the stove or the dishwasher, but they work reasonably well so I put on my big girl panties and deal….

Recently however the fridge has become possessed – sometimes when you want a couple cubes of ice it decides you really should have 17 – or maybe none at all. It is a little like roulette – you never know just what you will land on.

At one point, I put big strips of blue tape across the ice maker to prevent me from accidentally unleashing an avalanche – but after cleaning it all out I thought it was back to normal….till today

I came home a little early to take my last couple conference calls from home and casually stuck my glass under the dispenser 15 minutes before my call was due to start. At which point 30 or 40 ice cubes came crashing out of the dispenser and all over the floor – much to the delight of my dogs who think they are frozen treats.

Of course, it didn’t stop there – it was the gift that kept on giving – I opened the door and stopped it, but then as soon as I closed the door – it started up again and another 50 or 60 cubes came out – it was endless…. In the space of 5 minutes I was up to my ankles in melting ice cubes and a teenager who could barely stand up from laughing so hard.

I yelled at it, called it many colorful names and finally it ground to a halt. The next 10 minutes were spent shoveling up ice off the floor and mopping up the new lake in my kitchen.

I think it is pouting & scheming now – it makes groaning, grumpy noises and the lights look a little sulkier than usual. I am sure it is just waiting till the middle of the night when I am in a deep sleep, before catapulting ice cubes across the kitchen and causing more mayhem and potentially inducing a heart attack

I am naming it Christine – seems to fit.

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“They like me….they really, really like me…”

At least one person does – Thank you Wendy so much – I haven’t been doing this whole blogging thing that long and I am not really that sure what I am doing. I don’t have a particular hook or focus – I just talk about what is on my mind so I am thrilled that anyone out there is at all interested….

Sweet Wendy at Chez Chloe nominated me for the Versatile Blogger award and I am totally shocked and delighted LOL

Here are the rules.

  1. In a post on your blog, nominate 7 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.
  2. In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.
  3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
  4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
  5. In the same post, include this set of rules.
  6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.

Here’s my list so far…

The Bloggess  – definitely an inspiration although she doesn’t really need my support at all she is laugh out loud funny but with a heart.

Eggton – Katherine is someone I have never met but I think we would have a lot of fun if we did –  we are both newly living in the south – she cooks fantastic food and I love her dog Thunder beyond all measure >8)

Chez Chloe – is it bad form to list the person who nominated me? If it is, who cares – I love to hear about her life in Europe – I need tapas STAT and we both have lived in Washington state and Florida…so we have tons to talk about if we were ever to meet.

Equine Clarity – Elsa was my riding instructor back in Washington and is currently working with a couple of mustangs from the wild with no tools other than her body language – she is a constant inspiration and I wish I had half her insight and skill with my horse….

Design Fetish – one of many design blogs I follow – I am a designer after all – but she seems to do this on her own, without a staff which many of them seem to have – and I always find something new there to inspire.

David Thorne – this guy does not post super often but Missing Missy kills me every time – and once again, as a designer, I relate….

Modern Homemaker – a friend and former colleague who is newly single and blogging about her life and how to enjoy it on her terms.

Okay random info time…

I grew up in Ireland but was born in Amarillo Texas – which makes me the only Texan with an Irish accent you are likely to  meet.

I narrowly missed being named after a freakin cookie (back in Ireland this really was the name of a cookie – really!) my mom almost named me Kimberly… the teasing would have been insane…. there was a damn jingle ….

I always wanted a horse but never got one till I about 5 years ago – despite a guy trying to sell my grandfather a donkey for me when I was seven – he said we could “keep it in the kitchen….” needless to say that didn’t work for my mom.

I named my baby brother – my mom wanted to call him Simon – which may have ruined his life  forever – so when the nurse asked me what his name was after he was born I told her Christopher Simon – you are sooo welcome baby bro >8)

I have both held and eaten a gator – not same one…I am willing to try most anything once…

Although having said that, I could not eat crickets at a fabulous Mexican restaurant in Houston – I totally disappointed myself….

I once had a special sushi roll named after me at my fav restaurant back in WA state because I was there so often…. My new fav, here in Florida, made me a VIP LOL I really like sushi – a lot….

Dead animals in dresses

The Bloggess' Juanita in a dress

I would like to blame The Bloggess for this but in reality it is not her fault entirely….

She keeps posting pictures of taxidermied animals she buys, which is pretty damn funny, but then she put the latest one in a dress  – Juanita the weasel in a frock – distressed about her soufflé skills and I just about snorted soda down my nose……

Suddenly I can think of a million uses for a Juanita of my own – however considering I have four dogs it is bound to be disastrous – Charlie barks at animals on the TV and once almost had a seizure barking at a bobble headed doll of a baseball player….

Gizmo the destroyer was once locked into the guest bath for a short time and by the time I figured it out she had shredded an entire roll of toilet paper along the plastic holder it was in – it looked like a white dove had combusted in there.

Not to mention my family would likely think I had finally gone off the deep end and have me committed….

Mouse Magician

Then I stumbled upon this amazing site Amanda’s Autopsies and discovered her Mouse Magician pulling another tiny mouse out of his hat!!!!! So completely awesome I can’t describe it. (By the way all the critters she uses are roadkill – she is not out there on a mad animal serial killing spree) Unfortunately he is already sold but the Mad Hatter is kinda calling my name….

Must resist or the dogs will shred him – or maybe I could bring him to the office??? That would probably not do much for my professional image ….

Alternatively I can just get one of these awesome twitter necklaces and maintain the illusion of sanity for a little longer. Everyone already knows I am a geeky girl.

Cool necklaces from Blend Creations

 

A not so traditional Valentine’s Day…..

Gizmo is not that impressed with my gift - it is clearly not edible...

Over the years we have done the romantic dinners and flowers often, sparkly gifts, champagne, weekends away, spa time etc – all the “traditional” Valentine’s activities. When we were dating I used to find flowers on the doorstep or in the house for no reason at all  – Eric made all other guys look like deadbeats, I got so many flowers LOL

Last year we couldn’t be together for many of the special days on the calendar – in the middle of a relocation we lived on opposite coasts which meant we had to be flexible and enjoy whatever time we did have together, regardless of the date.

 

This year we talked about a nice dinner, but I ended up catching a wretched cold and have spent the last few days feeling like a sweaty, shivery puddle – not so romantic….

check out my tiny head!

So I am glad we managed to celebrate in our own way. Last weekend we went to Kennedy Space Center and did the VAB tour (Vehicle Assembly Building – where they built the space shuttles etc) and I bought my honey a year long pass – he is now a member of the Commander Club – with a fancy badge to prove it!  He is a lifelong space geek so I know how much he loved it.

We made stupid digital postcards of ourselves as spacemen and generally acted like big children >8)

Eric took me to an orchid show on Sunday at a garden club filled with old people, without a single complaint, and waited patiently till I found the “right” orchids to add to my collection. Then today, he got me the perfect potting bench for my growing obsession, which he expertly assembled despite the million pieces and sub-standard instructions.

I may be sneezing and feeling like crud but I still have the warm fuzzies – sometimes the gifts that matter most to eachother are off the beaten path.

So forget the chocolates! But not the dog treats….

Coco the Princess Puppy wants Valentine treats or she will pout...

Orchid Obsession

One of my $5 orchids

Orchidelirium was the name given to the Victorians obsession for orchids – this flower mania was triggered in the 1800s and spawned a new profession – that of the Orchid Hunter –  an intrepid adventurer very much in the style of Indiana Jones. They faced disease, wild animals, exotic locations, cannibalistic tribes and of course deadly competition from one another…. duels to the death were not uncommon – subterfuge, deception and intrigue surrounded their every move. Sounds like a movie, doesn’t it? But all completely true…

 

Orchids have always inspired passion in people – the word orchid comes from the Greek world for testicle and in ancient times many orchids were considered to be aphrodisiacs They certainly are a sensual flower – exotic, organic but architectural blooms, seemingly endless varieties and hybrids…. The uptight Victorians couldn’t get enough of them as a status symbol and their hunger for the exotic led to a level of madness that still exists today. Collectors have had rare orchids stolen and there are now laws prohibiting anyone from removing them from the wild. An awesome book called The Orchid Thief is worth a read if you don’t believe me – bears almost no resemblance to the movie version Adaptation with Nicolas Cage – but still an enjoyable watch.

Another $5 orchid

So what’s up with the history lesson you ask? Well I am afraid I have succumbed to the orchid bug myself – and what started innocently enough is now taking over the patio….

 

I have always loved orchids, but mainly from afar – growing up in Ireland they were exotic, expensive and rarely seen outside of fancy floral arrangements or botanical gardens. Nobody I ever knew had an orchid in their house – that was seriously “fancy”

 

In Seattle, I tried and failed to keep an orchid alive for more than a few weeks at a time so after a couple of depressing attempts, I gave up on it completely – orchids were too expensive and too pretty to kill off like that and the gloomy Pacific Northwest weather did not help.

lovely white orchid blooming again after a year

Now that I live in sunny Florida, where everything grows like a weed and you can buy an orchid by the side of the road for $5, I decided to try again.

First, my mother in law bought me a lovely orchid for my birthday not long after we moved here and not knowing what I was doing I promptly killed it – sadness  >8( Perhaps I was kidding myself and I was doomed to kill every orchid within reach.

 

Next a coworker gave me a lovely white orchid that had lived on the reception desk for months and just been replaced by a newer one – still having no clue, I took it home and repotted it into completely the wrong stuff  – but miraculously it did not die! It was, however, bloomed out and eventually all the flowers dropped off and I was left with some nice leaves and a bare stalk.  I decided what the hell it was free and I might as well experiment – so I cut the stalk off and watered if regularly to see what would happen – that was about a year ago….

The $6 non stop blooms orchid

In the meantime, I kept adding to the collection –  I bought a $6 orchid with nice yellow green flowers and that thing has never stopped blooming – more buds just keep on showing up…

My son bought me a beautiful (and expensive by my $5 standards) blue orchid for Mother’s Day last year and it was lovely till all the flowers dropped off and the suddenly much more intense summer sun scorched a black spot on one of the leaves. But undaunted I started reading up on them and figuring out what I was doing wrong. My mother in law bought me another orchid for Christmas and a book about orchid care, hoping this would help it live longer I imagine .

Before I knew it I had a plant stand with half a dozen orchids on it that I lovingly misted daily, moved around the patio depending on the amount of sunlight they needed and brought in at night if it dropped below 50….. My family recognized the pattern here – I was in the grip of a powerful new obsession.

Recent addition

Then one day, miracle of miracle, the several flowerless plants (including the white one from a year ago) that I had continued to take care of in the hopes that someday I would be rewarded, grew spikes!!!! (Having read up on it, I now know that is what a orchid stalk is called – aren’t I special?) For the past several months I have watched with joyful hope, smug satisfaction and a healthy dose of paranoia that something would go wrong as five (yes five)  of my orchids developed new spikes and tons of buds….

 

 

I am now, officially, an orchid maven!!!

Unsurprisingly to those who know me, I have racked up about a dozen orchids on multiple plant stands scattered around the patio. I can’t seem to leave the house without picking up another one to add to the growing collection. I am even planning a trip to some upcoming orchid shows – which is probably a very bad idea and may lead to an orchid hoarding situation.

I may end up with my own reality show on TLC –  Designers Descent into Orchidelirium. Thats just the working title…