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 loved Italy so much that we recently went back. The 2015 Worlds Fair was in Milan so we went there first and then finished in Rome with a quick stop enroute in Florence. The highlight of Florence was seeing Michelangelo's David. It simply took my breath away, more so than any other piece of art I've ever seen. More than anything I saw at the Vatican or even the Louvre (in Paris, of course).
We live in a house that we bought in 1993. It was a simple little bungalow with one bathroom and essentially one bedroom. In late 2008 we started a remodel/addition project that completed in January 2009. Now we have a house that has essentially four bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths and a greatly expanded and improved kitchen. From 1156sf we now have nearly 2400sf. It’s been nearly seven years and we still marvel at how it all happened.
Summer 2008 - Original House
January 2009 After Remodel
We currently have just two dogs (both Pomeranians) but anticipate adding a kitten (maybe two!) in the near future. We lost our Simone last December and it has been hard being a cat-less household the past year.
Ginger is our 10 year old pom who was rehomed to us in 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 and see her confidence in her position in our family grow.
Ginger enjoying the beach
Fergie joined us in 2012 after her previous owner passed. She came to us a sad shy little girl, bewildered by the changes in her life. The youngest dog at 9 years, she’s a rather crabby little thing who absolutely loves belly rubs and treats. I’m not quite sure which she loves more but she expects both in abundance as her just due. Her personality has blossomed a lot since we lost Celine. Even though she's less than 5 lbs, she's clearly top dog now.
Favorite tv shows (past and present) include Torchwood, Leverage, Amazing Race, Survivor, So You Think You Can Dance, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, The Big Bang Theory, Grimm, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Black Sails, among many others (I love my DVR!). We do watch a lot of tv although less than we used to, believe it or not.
My partner is a freelance journalist, writer and photographer. 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. She's more recently advanced into distilling. Her bourbons are pretty dang good and she's perfecting her rum recipes. She's also been experimenting with bitters and shrubs (which are delicious!). Her apple pie moonshine has been a huge hit with family and friends. She also an expert at couponing and freebies and has been mystery shopping for a couple years now.
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 develop a taste for something. I really dislike canned tuna in anything. I like fresh tuna okay but not canned. I accidentally ordered tuna pizza in Italy and couldn't eat more than a bite. It's one of our funnier stories from that trip. 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. Oh, and Italy, of course! We recently had a big vacation back to Italy and squeezed in a stop in Paris and Amsterdam, both places we can't wait to go back to. Paris canNOT be done in two days. We merely got a taste of it and already are planning a trip back (hopefully late spring 2017). I've also been to Manhattan, Pittsburgh 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.
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:
I 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 very 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.
I've enjoyed 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, and Dotees. I like making altered tins but shrines are nearly impossible for me. 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. Zentangles are fascinating to me and I am dancing around that craft, too. I like to be prepared when I start something new!
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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