Saturday, March 31

#91: Yard Work

The yard work saga continues, but we're getting closer...

 Thank goodness we are done with the sod. That was the most exhausting project ever! 

Next up is mulch and a new flagstone border. We're also going to power wash the house and driveway to get rid of the mud and yellow dust. Also on the agenda -- fresh paint for the screen doors and steps. I'm still considering ways to spruce up the beds, but I haven't made any decisions yet. 

In the back, Jonathan wants to add on to the deck and plant a small raised garden along the side of the house. We also have to do some paint work back there, as the siding's paint is starting to peel. Finishing touches will be my grandma's pots, which will be added to our deck and filled with herbs. I'm thinking I'll plant chives, basil, cilantro, mint and rosemary. I love the smell of fresh herbs.  

All of this seems like a bad dream now. Thank goodness. 

#90: Building Memories

Between coffee disasters (a coffee maker that took two hours to percolate) and an all-morning rain shower, you would think my last build day would have been a total wash out. Instead, it was filled with good moments -- reminiscing with my coworkers, joking about the weather with volunteers and thinking about everything the past four years have meant to me. And, as always, I was reminded of how small this world is and how much we're connected to those around us.

During morning registration, I heard a volunteer speaking with what I knew was a British accent. I didn't want to ask about his accent while he was with his coworkers, but a few hours later, he walked up to the tent to take a break, and he, another volunteer and I started talking about the hammer he had brought with him that another volunteer had used to break up ice. 

As the weather wasn't allowing for much hammering (most of the work involved cleaning), I made the joke that at least it was seeing plenty of action. He said not to worry, as it regularly saw action on his 1920s house in midtown. When I heard that voice again, I had to ask where he was born, as I recognized his British accent. He said most people assumed he was Australian, but he was actually from a small village in Scotland. I told him that I was also born in Britain. He asked where, and I told him Windsor. He laughed and said his daughter had also been born there, and that he had lived in a small village called Maidenhead for 30 years. I almost choked, as Maidenhead was our home until I was eight. I told him that, and we laughed about what a small world it is. We talked about Maidenhead, Windsor and London for the longest and how much we miss it at times. I told him that I had been back twice in 20 years, and on the most recent trip, that we had walked from the High Street train station to my old house without needing any directions. He said he didn't get back often enough either because of the lack of vacation time in American (Brits get six weeks of vacation time).

The other volunteer asked how he ended up in Memphis. It turns out that he married a girl from Alabama. He told us a funny story about his future mother-in-law fretting over his kilt on his wedding day. I can only imagine his Scottish family and her Alabama family together...luckily she has British cousins (which is how they first bonded) who live one street from his parents. Again, what a small world. 

Also, according to him, The Dubliner is the best pub in Memphis. We might have to check it out.

What a funny way to end my build site career at Habitat. Everything comes full circle, doesn't it?

P.S. I saw this VW at a stop light on my way home yesterday. Ours will be this color when we're finished with it. :)

Thursday, March 29

#89: Coffee

Let it be known that I have never been a coffee drinker. I tried to drink a few caramel macchiatos in college, but I always ended up with stomachaches. I'd rather drink tea.

Despite this fact, coffee has played a huge role in my career. At my first job, I was responsible for making coffee for the staff every morning. There were two coffee makers -- one in the kitchen and one in the break room -- and I brewed coffee in them several times throughout the day. I thought the smell of coffee would always take me back to the agency -- standing in that kitchen measuring the granules and filling up the water. Ad people are big-time coffee drinkers, and they take their java very seriously. As stupid as it sounds, it was a stressful job -- people would forget to turn the pot off after the last cup was poured, and the pot would burn. This happened on an almost daily basis, and cleaning the poor pot was nearly impossible. I would run back and forth to the kitchen and break room, trying to avoid a pot burn up. For a year and three months, I was the coffee girl. I wasn't sad when I didn't have that job anymore. I thought coffee was out of my life forever.

You can imagine my surprise when I interviewed at Habitat and discovered that I would be making coffee for the build volunteers. I might have gotten the job because I told Jeff I had a lot of experience brewing coffee. And so, my coffee saga continued. Build mornings started at 4:30 when I stumbled into the kitchen, eyes still glued shut, and plugged in the already prepared coffee pot. The Habitat coffee pot made 60 cups, and once ready, the boiling hot coffee went in three carafes. It almost always burned my hands, it spilled on the counter and the floor, it smelled like Chandler Ehrlich all over again, but I still saw the humor in it. Clearly, coffee making was supposed to be in my life.

Tonight Jonathan and I pulled a brand-new coffee pot out of its box, and I prepared it for my very last build morning. I'm not sure that I'll be making coffee in my next role, but I do appreciate the experience I've had with coffee over the past six years. I doubt that I'll ever smell Folgers coffee without thinking of Habitat and Chandler Ehrlich.

As I've never tried it, I do hope my coffee has been good.

Wednesday, March 28

#88: Good Eats

Tonight, while Jonathan was working in the yard, I whipped up a healthy dinner of Vietnamese veggie rolls. They are one of my favorite summertime meals, inspired by our birthday lunch at Number 9 last summer. If you want a light dinner that is full of veggie goodness, I highly recommend these. A couple of tips: eat with your hands and enjoy being messy!

Vietnamese Veggie Rolls*

-Vietnamese egg rolls wraps (these are thinner than a regular egg roll wrap with only two or three ingredients -- usually wheat/rice, water and salt. We buy ours at the Chinese market on Summer Avenue
-Green Bell Peppers
-Green Onions
*Use organic ingredients when possible!

Sides - we buy all of our sides at the Chinese market!
-Udon noodles
-Sweet chili sauce

Thinly slice all of your veggies. Fill a shallow baking dish with water, and place an egg roll wrap in it. Make sure both sides are wet and the wrap is flexible. Lay your wrap on a cutting board and fill it with your veggies. When you have enough veggies, wrap your roll like a burrito. Repeat until you have a plate full of rolls. Add a side of udon noodles, some sweet chili sauce and tamari (good soy sauce). Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 27

#87: Good Seats

We received a pleasant surprise during the first quarter of the Grizz game tonight. Our sales rep stopped by and gave us a seat upgrade! We sat behind the goal in section 100 for the rest of the game. To make things even better, the Grizz played really well, and we won! Two back-to-back wins? I'll take it! I was so excited that I broke my bam-bam. Bummer, dude.

Monday, March 26

#86: Starting Fresh

In less than two weeks, I'll be packing up four years of my life and heading in a new direction. When I gave my resignation on Friday, I had been at Habitat for four years and two months. If you think about it, that's longer than I was in high school or college, and it's almost as long as I've been married. We bought our house less than two months after I joined the staff, moving into Memphis and into friendships and a real city life. The end is bittersweet, but I am so excited about the next chapter. My new job will be at Green Line Marketing, where I will be helping small business clients with their marketing, advertising, social media, PR and graphic design needs. I'll be working from home or at their Clark Tower office, so I won't be dealing with high gas prices or the crazy interstate. I'll have more flexibility and more quiet time. I'll have a pretty routine 8 to 5 schedule with few surprises. I'm ready for the new challenges and this new lifestyle. I have truly loved my Habitat chapter, and I will always treasure my time spent there. I have so many dear friends because of Habitat, and I truly understand Memphis, its battles and its people because of it. I will continue with the organization as a volunteer, a role I'm also ready to tackle. I haven't had time to volunteer because it was basically my full-time job, and I have missed it terribly.
So here's to great friendships, hearts for service and fresh starts. May the next chapter be just as wonderful...

Sunday, March 25

#85: Green Line

Today we strolled on the green line behind our house. Tomorrow night's post will explain this post's other meaning. There is another Green Line in my life these days. :)
This afternoon Porter and I joined my friend and coworker Shanda, her son Jackson and her funny little dog Emme on a walk along the green line. It was a really sunny day, but it was a little warm. Porter found a ball and carried it home. He has become quite skilled at finding lost tennis balls on walks. Lauren came over for dinner, and we made facon-wrapped jalapeƱos, stuffed mushrooms and tuna steaks. After dinner Jonathan threw Porter's new tennis ball for him. Now we're listening to the Grizzlies play the Lakers in L.A. The Grizzlies are winning by 10 at the half. I really hope they win...winning in L.A. would be huge, plus they need a win after losing the past few games. Fingers crossed. I won't make it to the end as they didn't get started until 9:30 our time. This game is on national television...just one more reason why we need a win!
Sorry for the rambling post...

#84: It was a good day

I love a Saturday where I can get up a little later than usual, eat breakfast, shower and walk out into the sunny backyard. Today was that Saturday. We worked in the yard for a few hours, and then showered again to head to Hi-Tone to watch the Grizz game. Sadly, we were handed another painful loss to the L.A. Clippers, but we did visit with some old friends. After the game, we went to Whole Foods to do some grocery shopping, walked Porter and then fell asleep on the guest bed until just now. Sure, today wasn't that exciting, but it was the kind of day that is good for the soul. It allows for rest and rejuvenation. Plus, it was sunny and warm with a light wind -- very California-like and truly my ideal weather.
Now I'm off to bed so I'll be ready for church in the morning. I need to give thanks for such a beautiful day and for such an amazing life.

Saturday, March 24

#83: Beautiful Quote

Shared yesterday by a dear friend...
"May you respond to the call of your gift, and find the courage to follow its path." ♥ -John O'Donohue

Thursday, March 22

#82: Footprints in the Sand

Footprints in the Sand One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there were one set of footprints. This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints. So I said to the Lord, "You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?" The Lord replied, "The times when you have seen only one set of footprints, is when I carried you."
- Mary Stevenson

Tuesday, March 20

#80: Today's Inspiration

Pinterest is on my brain today. Here are just a few things that are currently inspiring me:

Source: via Crystel on Pinterest

Things I Want to Eat: Mid-March Edition

This is to make up for yesterday's missing post. It was one of those days/nights. I've said this before, but there are so many good recipes on Pinterest...

Sunday, March 18

#78: More Sod

A sunny day in the yard wouldn't be complete without a pansy pic.
The grass that we grew from seed is coming along nicely in the backyard.
From this angle, it looks like we're almost done. Ha. Ha. Ha.
Yep, we were back at it again today. At this point, we can barely move. On the bright side, every piece of old sod has been removed, half of it has been hauled away (by Bartlett of all places) and we are ready to lay four more pallets of new sod.
I will likely dream of grass tonight...lots and lots of grass.