Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer Picnic Club 2010!

Ever since I read this post, and a week or so later, this one (look at that amazing photo!), I have had summer picnics on the brain.  Good food + outdoors + friends, old and new = totally enamored.

And so I took to the Internets to research.  Of course.  I had to start with finding the origins of the picnic.  Wikipedia's definition is longer, but here's a shorter one that I liked:

The word picnic traces to the 1692 edition of a French book, where it was used to describe a group of people dining in a restaurant who brought their own wine. For a long time a picnic meant a meal that everyone contributed something to, similar to a potluck. Sometime during the Middle Ages, picnics became the enjoyable outdoor meals that we know of today. In the early 19th century in London, the Picnic Society was formed by a group of fashionable people for purposes of entertainment.

Then I looked into what others have done, and how.  The Tokyo Picnic Club was a great find -- but maybe that's because I have a slight bent towards Japanese aesthetics. (^o^)  I plan on incorporating their 15 rules into my own iteration. 

And, keeping rules 7, 8, and 9 in mind, what's a picnic without food?  Martha and The Kitchn have been my go-to's, from how to plan a picnic to picnic knives to picnic recipes.   Pressed sandwiches, anyone?  See Heart of Light's version here.  Or how about a salad in a jar?  Lots of new recipes to try out -- good practice for packing work lunches, too!

I've got dates and at least the first location in mind but am still overthinking the wording -- ironic especially because I want this to be an easy project -- and hope to get my invitations out to friends by early June.  That's next week.  Geez.

Summer Picnic Club 2010 is all I think about whenever I pass by a park, particulary these days, as they are verdant and abloom.  I have talked it all up among some close friends, and DC is totally on board.  So at the very least, there will be a few people -- I hope!  Onwards with the planning!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Big-girl bag

When it comes to the perfect Metro-commuter-friendly bag, all I need are for it to be large enough for a book, a knitting project, and maybe lunch; a side slip pocket for easy access (and for quickly throwing things in when hurried); compartments and zippered pockets inside; and a detachable wallet for my work ID and TAP card.  And it needs to look nice enough to take to meetings.  Doesn't seem like a lot to ask, but finding such a bag was proving quite the challenge! 

DC and I looked at the messenger bags at REI, but they were all too sporty or campy.  My brother had a very nice bag, compact with all the necessary pockets and compartments -- but it was made of green military canvas.  I looked into the LeSportsac and Timbuk2 lines, but they ended up being too casual, too.  We tried the local Ross, with no luck, either.  And with the Internets being so overwhelming, I decided that the best way to "shop" for a new bag was to see what people around me were carrying. 

I approached a lady whose bag I'd been eyeing for a couple of days.  She gladly opened it to show me its innards, and totally raved about it.  Then she told me she got it at the Container Store.  I would never have thought to look there!  Remembering that they are having their annual Travel gear sale, I headed over to my nearest store to hold it and play with it in person, and ended up buying the last bag they had in stock.

And now, let me introduce you to my perfect big-girl-Metro-commuter-friendly bag: the Baggalini Milano.

[bag, front]

[bag, back]

It's made of lightweight nylon, but the grey color matches the hardware and the shape of the bag is not sporty. In fact, I find it quite unique.  Timbuk2 bags are trapezoidal, too, but I didn't like that it narrowed towards the bottom.

In addition to the loveliness of the yellow contrast lining, there are two inside zippered pouches, on on each side -- hooray!  Plus, a pocket panel for pens and the "S" hook which I often use to keep my lap free.  The elastic band for stashing something horizontally is a neat idea, but practically, items tend to slip out.

The wallet is detachable!  There is even another shorter cord for keys.  Genius.

The small slip pouch between the zippered outer compartments has a magnetic clasp.  There is also a magnetic clasp on the other side's slip pocket.  I love magnets.

Turns out that Bagallini was started by flight attendants, so the bags are designed with lots of practicality in mind.  I'm looking forward to being able to try it out on a weekend trip or even on the plane.  I promise I'm not advertising, but as a big fan of form+function, this bag totally meets all my needs, and I just wanted to share the great find.  Hooray!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Garden corner

Just when you think I've only been in the kitchen: voila!  My new container corner in the garden.

[plants in mostly blue and white]

I commandeered an old folding chair from the garage and started moving plants and containers here and there for a tiered, layered look.  I turned the tray and a few planters upside-down to create more varied heights and show off all the colors.  I love how modular it is; lots of room to play around as fancy strikes.

[squash blossoms]

Over on the other side are Mrs. C's squash, in two planters.  They are doing fabulously well, and I can't wait to see the fruit appear.  This is my first time taking care of vegetables and I think it will be very gratifying (I don't even like squash)!


My succulents are thriving!  The jade plants used to be wrinkly, but just after a week or so they are plump and sprouting new leaves.  They get to bask in glorious sunlight for most of the day.  There are about eight different succulent varieties in this little four-inch pot, and I utterly adore them.  All but two come from cuttings.  They are sitting with Mrs. C's succulents in the terra-cotta section of the garden.

I've got great plans for this little space, especially as the weather continues to warm. 

Oh, how does your garden grow?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thrifting at home

I'm such a sucker for housewares.  At department stores, discount stores, thrift stores, you name it.  And don't even get me started with Ikea.  I can spend inordinate amounts of time cruising the aisles of dishesware, glassware, storageware, servingware.  All of it.  I especially like the vintage pieces, so do prefer thrift stores.  Much to DC's chagrin.

Since I've been cleaning out the kitchen cabinet innards to reline them, I've discovered thrifting at home.  Mrs. C has some seriously vintage stuff -- check it out!

[vintage housewares]

I discovered vintage pyrex and corningware, and even an old school kettle (yes, you can put that glass straight on the burner).  I especially like the set of refrigerator dishes, which are already being used often!

But it's also appliances!  I brought my new Cuisinart food processor/blender over because I plan on making lots of smoothies this summer.  As we were making room for it, Mrs. C pulled out her old school blender.  It's from her own wedding registry.  In the early 70s.  And it still works like a charm!  We made smoothies together, and that first week that I was here with her, I came home from work each day to a mini smoothie just for me.  How sweet!

[old school blender]

I recently made some watermelon juice.  So fresh, and so delish!  (Just add some crushed ice and a touch of sugar.)  Don't you just love the avocado green of the blender?  They just don't make 'em like this anymore.

No, these items are not being donated.  Rather, they will be lovingly used and maintained.  And I will remember to go through the cabinets before heading out to thrift shops, for treasures abound here!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Droopy drawers

Mrs. C told me that the drawers in the kitchen were prone to dropping down and falling out, so I must be careful to pull them out slowly and not all the way.  I forgot on a couple of occasions and my heart nearly stopped when the drawer (with knives, no less) took a nosedive and I lunged after it, barely in time to pull it up.  *phew!*

But I knew that wasn't normal, and something could -- nay, should -- be done, stat. So as I reorganized and relined them, I took the drawers out to examine their mechanics.  Then I discovered the culprit:

[broken drawer guide]

Most of the guides at the back of each drawer were old and broken, so that they no longer "held on to" the metal rail (seen in the middle of the drawer gap in the photo above).  I knew it would be an easy fix and headed over to one of my favorite places: The Home Depot.

[old and new drawer guides]

[new drawer guide, installed]

With minimal assistance from the staff ("Um, where's your kitchen hardware?"  "Aisle seven." "Thanks.") I found the replacements and bought enough for all of the drawers.  Then, with my trusty screwdriver, I got to work, first replacing the guides for drawers holding knives and silverware (the most dangerous and heaviest drawers, respectively).

[look ma, no hands!]

With the threat of bruised, impaled, or dismembered digits no longer present, my stress level in the kitchen has dropped dramatically.  Next step: installing drawer stops.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

FO: Baby hat

I don't even remember how long ago I started this hat.  The only documentation is this shot, taken for Project 365 on March 9!  A quick series of emails with the mama -- an old and estranged-utnil-recently elementary school friend -- and we had a meeting set up.  I couldn't show up empty-handed.

There was actually just the crochet edging and ties that had to get done, as well as blocking.  So I put the hat on a metal mixing bowl, sprayed it down with water, and let it sit overnight.  In the morning, I braided.  Seriously, why did it take me so long?!

It took some fiddling with the numbers because I knit it in fingering weight yarn for a baby (as opposed to heavy worsted weight for an adult, as the pattern is written).  The earflaps are a bit far back, but in the end, it fits BabyC with a little room to grow. He'll get a bit more wear out of it in the cooler SF Bay area where he lives, which makes me happy.

[baby Thorpe (pdf)]

Now on to knitting for the three other babes and two more that are on the way!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bridal shower bliss n' blues

Bridal showers, to me, have always been a bit awkward.  So maybe it's because I'm older, maybe it's because we have more friends in common and I'm closer to this bride than the others whose showers I attended -- or maybe it's because I went to those other showers and am now more experienced! -- that I had a great time at last weekend's. 

Having planned my first baby shower last fall, I learned that it's hard work -- something you don't necessarily see fromthose beautiful (i.e. done by professionals) online albums!  For me, it's almost harder to be a guest because I don't have the excuse of running around doing things.  I'm trying, though, and getting better at it.  Some things that I've learned over the years about being a good bridal shower guest are:

Depending on how close you are to the hostess(es), come a little early, offer to help.  Often there are a lot of last-minute details that could really use an extra pair of hands: setting the table, hanging banners, etc.  But -- and this is a tough one for me -- don't do too much!   Help out with little things, especially if it's at a home you've been to before and you know where things are: pointing people to the restroom, getting extra chairs, etc.  But don't rearrange things that have already been placed, and don't take over!  Defer to the hostess(es)' plan and vision, they've probably been thinking about it for a while.  And since they're probably better friends with the bride, they'll have a better idea of what she wants, which is the most important thing.

Don't be shy about eating!  Hostesses go to a lot of time and expense to make or order food, and they stress out about whether it will be enough, too much, etc. etc.  Appreciate it, enjoy it, help to not leave too many leftovers!  We had homemade cucumber and chicken salad sandwiches and cupcakes with real strawberries blended into the frosting, along with some of the bride's favorites from Porto's.  And loads of tea, of course!


No matter how many times you've done it before: Play the games!  With gusto!  Remember, it's not about you or your shyness, but the bride.  We played Mad Libs, "Pass the Teddy", telephone charades, and Project Runway: Toilet Paper wedding dress.  Two fellow brides-to-be, including me, were the dress models.  My team decided to go with an Eiffel Tower look, since the groom proposed in Paris.  We attempted criss-crosses of "fabric" about the bodice and a long train, but  the material wasn't very durable.  Sadly, we were eliminated.

[tp dresses -- guess which is my team's!]

Don't hog the bride!  Let her talk to her other friends, especially the ones who've come long distances.

Another hard one for me: Don't just hang out with people you know!  Even if it's been a while since you've seen them.  Branch out!  You'll probably see these folks again at the wedding, so strike up the conversations.

Take pictures!  With the bride's-to-be camera!  She'll want those memories.  (And she can always delete the ones she doesn't like.)  If the hostess(es) are making a scrapbook, make sure you email them a link to your album. 

It's good for me to keep these things in mind as I think about the showers I'll be attending in the next year.  And, of course, as I consider whether I would like to have a shower thrown for me!  That will require thinking about how I feel about being the center of attention, a position from which I usually shy away.  What has me leaning towards having one is the sheer and utter joy I feel at being able to be there at my friends' showers.  I'm sure my friends feel the same way for me, and it'd be nice to have an outlet and a time for that to happen, in a fun setting. 

We'll see...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Spring cleaning: kitchens

When I was packing to move out of my old apartment, I didn't realize how much kitchen stuff I had accummulated!  All those drawers and cabinets that helped me organize everything neatly also led me to believe it wasn't that much stuff.  Now that it's divided -- or added to -- two already-furnished households, the big purge kitchen clean really has to happen.

[my old kitchen]

I am hanging on to my old pots and pans and some extra plates, as well as any doubles between DC and me, as a "starter set" for my younger brother.  He's moving back home from college this summer and I will keep these essentials on hand for him so that when he moves out he won't have the added expense of buying all new.  It's agreed that I'll keep these things from nine to 12 months; if he's still living at home, they're going to be donated.

I found this blog post helpful when it comes to the basics.  But in terms of my own needs/desires/whatever, how do I know what or how much to throw away?  For example, Whatabout the silverware? I'd like to keep some handy for entertaining, so that what I'm cutting down on is disposables.  But are three full sets for 12 really necessary?

[new kitchen]

Don't worry, I'm not all worked up about it.  Things will work themselves out.  My task for the next week is just to clean out and re-line the cabinets (drawers already done!).  That's manageable, especially with DC coming to help!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New ride

Although I am now only two miles away from my old apartment, I am on a new and very different get-to-work schedule that involves taking Metro railways instead of the bus. It makes me feel like I am living in Portland.  Or San Francisco. Or Tokyo. (Well, not really, but let a gal dream a little!). The ride is much smoother and faster than the bus, but now involves walking to the station and changing trains -- which means a lot of exit options and a lot of stairs. It took me about a week of emerging out of Metro stops three blocks away from my office or at the extreme other end of the platform before I finally got a handle on how to properly navigate those underground walkways.

[union station]

[two yellow lines; waiting for gold]

I even purchased a TAP card, which means no more fiddling with tokens and no more wasted paper printed for tickets. I think the Metro ticketing infrastructure is still being built, which is why there are ticket "sweeps" by officers every now and then. It's annoying for some people, but I don't mind.

[emerging from underground]

Other major changes need to be made, however, in terms of shoes and bags.  When I used to have to just walk downstairs or a couple city blocks to the bus stop, heels were bearable.  So was a load of library books.  But such is the case no more.  I have been rummaging for appropriate footwear and baggage.  So far, my work flats are okay, albeit barely.  I'm also testing out some of the free bags DC has gotten from conferences.  But I'm still looking (online, in stores) for cute, lightweight, efficient accoutrements.  And maybe an upgrade to a smart phone.

That's a lot of newness for someone who's not generally comfortable with change!  But I have been re-learning about embracing the new life, not being concerned or comparing it with the past.  And I'll do what DC always tells me: keep on keepin' on!

If anyone out there has suggestions as to good walking shoes (that may be appropriate with work clothes or not, I'll keep some heels at the office), bags, or a phone/PDA, I'm all ears!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spring cleaning: closet

I'm a fan of the Makeunder My Life blog because of the author's intentionality to create a quality life.  I like the term "makeunder" as opposed to the ubiquitous "makeover," which connotes that if we're not happy with our lives or ourselves, we can simply do it "[all] over."  Which is not really the case, right?  I love Jess' definition of a makeunder: "any action that improves one’s life through addition by subtraction."

Back in January, DC and I edited our closets and had at least three bagfulls to donate to Beach Cities Interfaith Services.

Taking a cue from MML's "end of the week exfoliation" (another brilliant word choice that evokes the image of scrubbing out to reveal something nicer underneath) series, right after the move I went through my closet and purged a fully-stuffed-paper-grocery-bag-size load of clothes, which DC donated -- along with a host of other things, including pillows and drapes from old roommates and apartments -- to the local American Veterans.

[part of the pile to donate]

I don't think I would have actually gotten rid of anything if it weren't for BCIS having a drop off at DC's church, or if DC hadn't already made an appointment for a pickup by AmVets.  How many times have I had bags of recyclables or donations nicely bagged, yet sitting by the front door for weeks on end?!  Remember, equally important to selecting and gathering the items to purge is actually taking them out of the house!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day Bouts

This year I intended to make bouquets for the mamas in my life: mom, g'ma, two sis' in law.   Then I found out my folks were hosting a get-together.  For about 40.  And about 10 moms.  Whoa.

My plan was to go to the farmers market and pick up some flowers to make small boutonnières for them all.  But DC had the excellent idea of cutting flowers from his garden.  Luckily for us, the former owner was a florist, so beautiful -- and many sweet-smelling -- blooms were in abundant supply.  So on Saturday night, before sunset, we walked around the front and back yards with pruners in hand.

DC cleaned them all off and helped me decide on combinations of flowers.  Just a few rounds of floral tape (that I already had on hand), and in a couple of hours we'd made over a dozen little arrangements.  It was fun -- and better yet -- FREE!

[nasturtium, roses, orange leaves, camellia leaves, lavendar, basil]

[boutonnières, done]

[boutonnières, next morning]

We stood them up in a plastic container with some water, and left them outside overnight.  The next day I pinned them on all the moms in attendance: a combination of aunts and cousins, including some visitors from France!  They were a big hit, especially the ones with the multicolored roses and herbs, because of the lovely fragrance.  A nice way to appreciate the mamas and make them feel special, because they are!

Hope all you mamas had a wonderful day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

New reading nook

In addition to cleaning, this spring we have organizing and arranging.  Which is enjoyable in two households: I get to play interior designer using a mix of my stuff and items that are already there at each place.  Another fun instance of slowly but surely merging lives.

The first project was to create a reading nook at DC's.  Previously he simply had a chair (the ever-recognizable Poang) and footstool in a corner of his bedroom.  It looked nice, but functionally, just held a lot of clothes or bags.

We put one of my old floor lamps in the corner (this one), along with a small bookshelf, and a pillow for some color contrast.  Result:

[new reading nook]

A cozy corner where DC can read or grade papers, with room for his books and a glass of water.  All it needs is some art on the walls.  I have some small pieces picked out, specifically us-related as it's in a private part of the house -- with plenty of space on the walls for our collection to grow.

DC was super excited about his new area, and began using it immediately.  "What's going on here?!" he asked in disbelief, from his chair, with books within arm's reach.

Your house is becoming functional, dear.

Spring cleaning: times two

I tried to exercise foresight in packing, divvying my possessions between DC's place and my new place (already fully furnished).  But in the final days, in a frenzy to just get it all out of the apartment, things started going all over the place.

Now with spring in full swing, spring cleaning means tackling two households:  daunting.  But it's a good thing I like this kind of stuff.  There's no real rush, but to hasten the *exhale* of completion and carrying on with life more simple and with more focus on what's really important has my motor revved up and ready to get to it!

[packing - moving - unpacking]

I'll be checking in with Re-Nest's spring cleaning series, especially using things like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon for cleaning!  Since they just started it last week, I don't feel so behind!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

May 5th menu

When it's my turn to cook, it can be a very long day.  Sometimes I have the meal planned in advance, but more often than not I am public transporting home, driving to market for ingredients, and heading to my brother's or folks' to wash + chop and then cook.  Lately I've been going to the farmers market during lunch and letting my findings there dictate the menu.  I couldn't be bothered yesterday, and it wasn't until the end of the work day that I realized it was both Cinco de Mayo and Kodomo no Hi. 

Luckily my brother and sis'-in-law had all the goods for guac; we cheated a bit by buying a rotisserie chicken.  Even after a stop at home and two markets, we had dinner on the table by 7:00.  Thanks especially to DC, who came to pick me up, and always offers helping hands.

I'm not sure if Mexican and Japanese cuisines go together, but in the spirit of multiculturalism we had a little bit of each last night.

Beverage: Michelada (made with dark or light beer)

[my first michelada]

Appetizers: Guacamole + chips; Somen {cold noodles + sauce}

Mains: Chicken soft tacos;  Hamachi Kama {yellowtail collar} + rice

Dessert: Ice cream!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Laundry by color

My college friends still remember me bringing two laundry baskets home on weekends: mine and my brother's.  They hailed me Best Sister Ever.  Me?  I just like doing laundry.  (Don't bring up doing dishes, though.  Boo.)

A number of years ago I switched to drying clothes outside.  Something feasible and eco-friendly.  Which saves a bit of $.  Plus, with the kind of sunshine we get here in SoCal, it's a shame not to.  This workhorse of a drying rack -- which collapses to be completely flat, easily stored right next to the washer -- makes things much easier.  It's one of the first gifts I ever got for DC, who enjoys laundry, too.  Romantic, no?

Recently I started arranging clothes on the rack by color.  I must have been really bored or something, but the effect has been revolutionary.

[laundry rainbow]

This has infinitely increased my laundering enjoyment.  I can't go back!  Go ahead, give it a try!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Order of the Towel

DC and I just finished a 10-week marriage preparation course.  The couple who taught and facilitated class has been married for nearly 43 years!  Since then we've met two other couples who've been married that long (at DC's church, and his neighbors); plus, our parents are going on 34 and 37 years, and my namesake and her husband celebrated 55 years of marriage last December.  We are encouraged!

It's crazy to me that for as long as the institution of marriage has been around, there is still so much to learn.  Some of the important lessons during our MPC were:

  • The myths or romantic ideals about "finding your other half" or someone who "completes" you are totally false.  If (God forbid) anything happens to your spouse, you have to be a whole person on your own.  It's not same-same, but like-like.  You and your partner are not carbon copies of each other.

  • In regards to parents, rather than, "We haven't lost a daughter, but gained a son," or vice versa, each set of parents (or more) needs to recognize the new couple on an equal level with them as fellow marrieds.  That was pretty revolutionary for me.  The Bible says that, "For this reason [marriage] a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Gen 2:24).  In our cultural tradition, however, marriage is not simply the union of individuals but their families as well.  I'm still pondering this one.

  • Conflict resoution and good communication needs to be practiced in ALL relationships!  I will be bringing many of the points on love languages, learning styles, intent/action/impact, the five c's (compliment; coach; confront; confess; closure) etc. to the way I interact with my friends, family, and associates.

  • Our relationship to each other will grow stronger if we work on having strong individual relationships with God.  He always comes first.  DC and I have always known that and cultivated that in ourselves and one another.  I like the idea of getting to know more couples, at different age groups and stages of marriage, for advice and support.

We also had a segment called, "Getting Your Sex Life Off to a Great Start" (GYSLOTAGS)!  Perhaps a bit shocking for some, but I appreciated the frank nature of the conversation, the acknowledgement that sex is a part of married -- and family -- life, which should be prepared for and enjoyed.  There is even a book by the same name!  Sex Ed: Marriage Edition is totally different from the junior high school version.

A professional wedding planner visited us with tons of advice and information.  I found this very educational, especially since we haven't really made any plans yet!  It's fun to read wedding blogs and see inspiration boards and amazing photos, but it's an overwhelming (to me) amount of work.  Although the course itself is designed to prepare for the marriage and not just the wedding day, it is good not to underestimate the task of having a nice and memorable wedding.

On the last week, there was a Q&A session with other married couples from the church, whose personal stories drove home the fact that marriage is not "happily ever after."  One story that particularly struck me was Mr. M's.  He told us how the metaphor of a tandem bike really doesn't adequately describe a good marriage because the image is of only one person steering; at one point in their marriage, his wife got off, and he didn't know what to do.  Since then, he learned to think of his marriage in terms of a dance: there are times when their steps are exactly the same,when they are complementing or mirroring the other's steps, and when he and his wife may be doing their own separate moves; yet they remain unified on the dance floor (in the marriage).  I'll remember that story each time I see the tandem bike motif on wedding invitation suites.

Finally, we were given our "diplomas": handtowels.  They are to remind us to serve one another.  I chose this geometric weave, which will always remind me of India, where one of our instructors was born and grew up.

["don't throw in the towel; pick it up and use it."]

One of the first things that DC and I got on the same page about when we got engaged is that we would like our preparation for marriage to be led by and pleasing to God, and a witness to our friends and family who don't yet know Him or who are far from Him.  I like that the MPC covered a lot of different yet real and relevant topics, and love that it is regularly offered by my church to educate and encourage, and come alongside to grow couples and families.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Why did I move out then, you ask?

A few reasons.

Downsizing.  I realized that 630 sq feet is a lot of space for one person.  Especially for me, since my folks' and brother's homes (where we have our weekly dinners for anywhere between five and a dozen people) are nearby.  Throughout the week I am generally out and about with friends or doing church activities.  I didn't host friends or fellowship groups at home as much as I'd wanted to and felt that I could live in a much smaller apartment -- even a studio -- so as not to "waste" the space I was occupying.

So I'd been looking for a new apartment -- slowly, casually -- probably since February.  In early March, on the way home from my birthday trip to London, DC -- the man of my dreams! -- proposed!   He'd been carrying the ring around all week, waiting for the right moment and the right sequence of words, and I was clueless and traipsing about town the entire time!  So now there's a big day and a life for which to start preparing -- and saving.  So it made more sense to downsize.  But...DC didn't want me to enter into another nine- to 12-month lease.

To where am I moving, then...?

Nope, not in with DC (we won't share an address until we're married).

[new digs]

Believe it or not, I'm moving in with my future in-laws!  Well... only sorta.  They'll stay here only when they're in town.  I kinda consider it long-term house-sitting.  Though I'll have the freedom to arrange and organize things as I see fit.  And I'll have an outdoor space to relax and do a little gardening: a dream come true.

I'll live out my last days of maidenhood here -- maybe more, as DC and I haven't decided where we'll live after we're wed.  My future in-laws have been so accommodating, donating their old sofa to make room for mine, an in other ways doing their best to make me feel at home here.  I actually stayed here all this week, and Mrs. C woke up early to make me coffee, prepare a little breakfast, have a little chat before I headed off.  

My living space actually got upsized!  There's a different feeling, though, because I know that it's "all in the family."  I get to entertain here, too, and since it's closer to more people, there is a greater possibility of that happening for reals.  On top of all this, it's nice to slowly merge our lives together.  It feels good; it feels right; it feels ever so blessed.