I was born and raised in northern California (San Jose area). Lived in Phoenix for 2-1/2 years then moved to Portland, Oregon in 1988. Been here ever since.
My partner and I celebrated 20 years in 2011 by taking a long anticipated trip to northern Italy. Here we are in front of the Duomo di Milano. We can't wait to go back to see more of Italy. Maybe for our 21st anniversary next year...
We live in a house that we bought in 1993. It was a simple little bungalow with one bathroom and essentially one bedroom, 1156sf total. In 2008 we started thinking that we were going to kill each other if we didn't get a little more space. The housing market was looking attractive (for buyers) so we contemplated buying a bigger house. But it would have been a terrible time to sell our little house and I was nervous about having two mortgages, and we couldn't find anything we liked in our price range that wouldn't need at least $50k in updates/repairs. So we decided to expand a little. Found a general contractor we really liked who had great ideas and in January 2009 we had an expanded house that has essentially four bedrooms, 2-1/2 bathrooms and a greatly expanded and improved kitchen. Now our house is just shy of 2400sf. We're still having a hard time believing it all really happened.
This is the architectural drawing for the main floor of our house. The faded/non-defined area is the original house.
This is the architectural drawing of the second level of our house. Again, the faded/undefined area is the original house.
Simone inspecting the house plans
Summer 2008 - Original House
January 2009 After Remodel
We currently have two dogs and one cat. I would like another cat but haven't yet persuaded my partner.
Celine is our 10 year old pomeranian who was rehomed to us in 2007. She is a very spoiled little dog who is beloved by anyone who has ever met her. She went blind in January 2009 from SARDS and then later that year had a horrible reaction to her booster vaccinations that put her in the ICU for a week in an oxygen tank. She thankfully recovered but no more vaccinations for her!
Ginger is our 6 year old pomeranian who was rehomed to us in May 2010 from a breeder. She was never bred but also didn't get the attention that we feel a dog deserves, just being one of the "pack" of an alarming number of little dogs. She's landed in the good life at our house and we think she knows it. It's been fun and rewarding to see her personality unfold over the past year, and see her confidence in her position in our family grow.
Simone is our 4 year old tabby cat who sometimes thinks she is also a dog. She loves to tease Celine, getting her to chase her which is funny but makes the poor blind dog run into things. Ginger is kind of afraid of her. I think she needs a playmate.
Favorite tv shows include Bones, Torchwood, The Closer, Leverage, Amazing Race, Survivor, So You Think You Can Dance, among many others (I love my DVR!). We do watch waaaay too much tv and periodically discuss getting rid of cable (and the DVR). Sadly, there's always something coming up that we really want to see and we put it of again.
On a good note, I do a lot of my crafting in front of the tv since I joined Swap-Bot so I am multi-tasking. My office is a total wreck as I pull things out and then just dump them back in there when I'm yelled at for my messes in the living room. It's so frustrating to not find craft supplies that I KNOW I saw just a week or two ago. I need to almost remove everything and then put them back in some better order or I'll never make any progress.
I've been making my own soap for about 10 years. I'm thinking of branching into some other body products. Mostly the soap has been for personal use, and gifts for family and friends. I usually sell some at a few holiday bazaars but lately there has been some demand for my soap and I may have to get off my lazy ass and make it more than a couple times a year.
My partner is a freelance journalist, writer and photography. With the advent of digital cameras, her basement dark room has become her brew room. She's become quite the home wine maker, as well as some beers and ciders. Over the past year she has become the queen of couponing and freebies. We get so many free samples coming to our house almost daily. It's fun and FREE!
I like to cook, garden, read, and play on the computer. Mostly I'm rather lazy. But I am known among my family and friends as a pretty dang good cook. Mostly I'm a comfort cook rather than gourmet. I have favorite dishes I make over and over and over, with variations on the ingredients. I love to read recipes and often will collect several versions of the same recipe and make my own conglomeration of it. When I get a recipe from someone I usually end up making my own modifications after a first pass at the original recipe. Cook's Illustrated is my favorite line of recipe books and their Top 1000 Best Recipes is my all time favorite cook book, the one I go to often. Reading their recipe books is like an online cooking school. Lately I've been trying for quicker healthier foods rather than the long cooking processes. We love vegetables and oven roasting or grilling them is a favorite method.
I don't have tons of food dislikes although I have so many likes that I often don't feel the need to push myself to develope a taste for something. I really dislike canned tuna in anything. I like fresh tuna okay but not canned. My mom ruined me for macaroni salad (the mayonnaise-based kind) as a kid so really despise that although I love pasta salads, especially anything with orzo or curly pasta and feta cheese. I LOVE LOVE LOVE cheese. Love cheese.
I love to travel, even if only in my own mind. Outside the U.S., I've gone to Japan, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Puerto Vallarta, Victoria, British Columbia, and Vancouver, British Columbia. At one time I desperately wanted to relocate to Australia and even got an immigration packet from the Australian embassy. I've also been to Manhattan, Pittburgh and Philadelphia, New Orleans (twice, once during Mardi Gras), Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Houston and Galveston (before Hurricane Ike), and Washington, DC. Also all over California, Arizona, parts of Oregon and Washington.
When planning a trip somewhere, I love to get lots of books on the location and culture and really do my research to maximize the trip. I'm the ultimate travel planner and used to be the go-to person for the best air fare, hotel, etc. among my family and friends. I'm currently researching Italy for our trip in late September. If you have any suggestions or tips, I welcome them! We're planning on northern Italy, specifically Milan, the Piedmont area, Cinque Terre, Parma, Modena, Bologna, Verona and Venice. I'm hoping to find a small vinyard B&B or two to stay at.
Reading is my #1 addiction and I read a wide variety of genres, including historical romance, science fiction, fantasy fiction, cooking, crafting, gardening, home improvement, computer, history, some erotica, children's, young adults, even some teenager-type books.
I tend to read and re-read books again and again, and often have four or five novels (or ten) going at the same time.
My most favoritest books are:
Don't have tons of dislikes except for religious tracts, especially Religious Right or Moral Majority, Watchtower, anti choice, etc. type stuff. Also don't care for politically conservative stuff. My views are pretty moderate/liberal and I'm not religious at all.
Crafting/swapping-wise, I'm finding that I prefer pretty things rather than corny or cheesy. I like and appreciate the clever and witty but don't much care for cutesy child-ish stuff. But I do have nieces and nephews so if something comes my way that I can't fully appreciate, I have no problem passing it along.
I enjoy making ATCs, Inchies and Altered Matchboxes. I really like creating the matchboxes (decorating, really) but filling them is not so much fun as I like to hoard my tiny things. I've also played with Button Fairies and button flowers. I like making altered tins but shrines are nearly impossible for me. I'm stuck on one right now (but the exterior is gorgeous!). I'm dancing around altered books but haven't jumped into the pool yet. While the thought of journaling or making journals is fascinating, sadly I don't think I'm a journaling person. And I recently made my very first Dotee and was very pleased with both the process and the end result. I'll be doing more of these. Zentangles are fascinating to me and I just recently finally made my first one and then did a zentangled paper doll that really turned out well.
I tried to think of some favorites (i.e., likes) and just can't really come up with a list. I like to garden, greens and purples are my favorite colors but I like most colors except for lime green and orange. Not terribly fond of yellow except as an accent or embellishment. Flowers are exceptions, as I love yellow daffodils, roses, etc. and orange California poppies are a favorite flower of mine. I like butterflies and dragonflies but not really creepy crawly bugs. HATE scorpions, earwigs, big spiders....giving myself the creeps now!
I will always rate but not always right away. I promise I will always contact my swap partner first if a swap hasn't arrived.
I try to always write a personal note with my swaps. Otherwise what's the point of swapping? A personal note or letter with a swap is the surest way to get a heart from me. I'd rather have that than "extras".
It sure would be helpful if people would put both the swap title and their Swap-Bot name on the swaps. I have a couple recipe swaps that I just cannot figure out who sent them and for what swap. It's also helpful to put the swap title on the back of the envelope.
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