30 November 2008

Productive Weekend...sort of

In law school tradition, Thanksgiving weekend is the time to catch up on outlines, reading, or whatever else you have been putting off for the previous 12 weeks. In American tradition, Thanksgiving weekend is a time to start thinking about Christmas. I intended to embrace the former and ended up with the latter. Nonetheless, we have been pretty productive.

George has worked diligently all weekend to install 4 recessed lights in my craft room. When he finishes, it'll be the best lit room in the house since all the other bedrooms are lit by a single wall sconce. As soon as exams finish, I'll give the room a little TLC with plaster repairs where needed, fresh light blue paint on the walls, fresh white ceiling paint, a new closet organizer, some new curtains, and, of course, some shelves to keep all of my craft goodies organized. This is the last bedroom to be "finished," so I am pretty anxious to get my hands on it and really anxious to enjoy my completed room.

We have also tended to Christmas preparations this weekend. For whatever reason, we have been ahead of the gift-buying game this year, and our New Zealand-bound gifts have already been purchased, wrapped, and sent. After my trip to the shops today, we have just one gift left to buy. I'm also making all of our Christmas cards this year (or at least that's the goal). I started several weeks ago, and, after a few solid blocks of time this weekend, I currently have 43 completed cards with about 20 or so needing made. With the exception of a few repeats, they are each a little different to the rest. I hope that each recipient will enjoy the one that George and I pick out just for him/her. I'm really enjoying making the cards, but I seriously doubt that I'll undertake a project like this in coming years.

This morning, we completed another holiday task: picking out a Christmas tree. It's our first tree at this house, and I think it fits in perfectly, if I do say so myself. George is less than excited by the process of hanging lights, ribbon, and ornaments, so I did it mostly myself. As I hung each ornament, I was taken back to the time and place when it came into my life. Corny, I know. Seriously, though, virtually every ornament has a story because the majority are either gifts from my mom or souvenirs from places I've visited. Now that it's all put together, we get to sit back and enjoy that amazing pine scent. Mmmm...

Speaking of pine, we bought a pine wreath at the tree farm. I'm not big on decorations, much less holiday ones, but I thought that a nice simple wreath might bring some holiday cheer to our pathetic front door. The whole thing was going well until I decided to tie a bow. I'm not sure that the bow is going to stay, but I'm quite pleased with the rest of the wreath.

And with that, I'll return to my jealous outlines.

27 November 2008

A Non-Traditional Thanksgiving

George and I celebrated Thanksgiving in our very own way this year. It started with a very late start, lazy "morning" coffee, and lounging in front of the TV. I talked with some of my family, we cleaned up, and, by 3pm, we were finally ready to start thinking about food.

This was our feast: enormous scallops and prawns (from Pike Place Market), Safeway "fresh" bread, green bean casserole, and 2007 Eroica Riesling. The meal was anything but traditional (okay, except the green bean casserole), but I think we both enjoyed it. After eating, I talked with some more of my family, and we lounged some more. I have so much to be thankful for...being able to take a lazy day with my one-and-only beside me is just the tip of the iceberg!

Tomorrow, I'll get back to studying. My final oral argument is Monday afternoon, and I have three exams between now and December 18th. Oh, and there are also some Christmas decorations to buy and display. I'm still looking forward to that tree! :-)

14 November 2008

Jewelry Holder

My most recent craft project was the creation of a jewelry holder from drawer knobs. The idea originally came from a magazine clipping my mom passed along to me. At the time, I made one as a trial, but this one is much more sturdy.

The frame originally held a collage of photos before I broke the glass moving it from California to Washington. I stripped the wood to the raw material, stained it, and applied a coat or two of polyurethane. For the main material, George cut a piece of plywood and drilled holes. He also cut down the knobs so that they wouldn't protrude from the back. Then, I covered the plywood with silk and used hot glue and rubber cement to secure the silk in the back. Finally, I screwed the knobs into the board and hung some jewelry. Tracy's idea of using a handle as a cup worked well. Success!

More on my crafty genes and Christmas card-making project in future posts.

13 November 2008

Autumn Update

It has been a beautiful and exciting fall for George and I.

George spent most of October in London on business. Although he laughs it off, I thought it was pretty cool that the Queen visited the Big G while he was in the London office. It's not every day that the Queen and Prince Phillip stroll past your desk. I'm told that there are videos of her visit on YouTube, though I don't believe George appeared in any of them. George also had an opportunity to catch up with his friends in London and his colleagues in Dublin while he was across the Atlantic.

While George was gone, I had 100% focus on school during the week and girl time on the weekends. One weekend, some law school friends came over for a night of snacks, mojitos, sangria, and Apples-to-Apples. It brought out the true geek in each of us. The other weekend, I drove down to Oregon to visit Tracy in Salem. The drive was gorgeous - sunny, warm, and full of colorful leaves. Although I haven't been to New England in the fall, I imagine it looking something like my drive down the I-5. (Tracy, from Maine and New Hampshire, assures me that New England is even more vibrant.) Tracy and I had a fantastic time catching up, grabbing some drinks, exploring wine country (see photo), shopping in Portland, and escaping from our respective law school work loads.

We've been blessed with exceptional weather this fall. For some reason, the leaves have been even more vibrant than we remember them being in the past. Our house backs onto a community road, lined with deciduous trees. Their huge leaves were glowing in shades of red, yellow, and gold. What a wonderful view from our office and coming and going from home.

Driving through the arboretum on my way to and from school has been therapeutic. (I know that I'm talking about the leaves a lot, but 1-I love the shifting of seasons and 2-little things like beautiful leaves can make the stress of law school passable.) I've definitely needed the momentary escape as the semester progresses. My classes have proven both enjoyable and challenging. The real test will come as I finish my final appellate brief and appellate oral argument for legal writing and take exams in my other courses over the next month. I've lined up an externship (like an internship, but I get credit from the school rather than compensation from the site) for next semester that relates to my interest in bankruptcy law - exciting!

Of course, this fall brought election season to both the U.S. and New Zealand. I can't speak for the NZ experience, but I feel fortunate to have been part of the U.S. election this year. While the ads (particularly for some of our local candidates) drove me crazy, I fed off of the constant election news. Hearing so much about Ohio also made me a bit homesick and even more attracted to the news. For election night, we hosted a small gathering. We had the TV on and two laptops keeping track of counties and states reporting. The election call itself was a bit anti-climatic but exciting in its own respect. This is a really neat time to be part of the democratic process, and I really hope that President-elect Obama is able to harness the country's positive momentum and take us to a new and better place.

Enough with the election talk - our thoughts are now shifting to the holidays. This will be our first Christmas together in Seattle, which means our first tree. I am absolutely ecstatic to bring the pine scent into our home and display my ornaments, though George is less thrilled about killing a tree for our enjoyment. Stay tuned as the semester wraps up and the holidays approach.