Tuesday, August 25, 2009


This past weekends agenda: nothing. This past weekends goals: rest, relax and rejuvenate. This past weekends destination: Ohio baby.

For the second summer in a row, we happily accompanied our friends (and neighbors) Mike and Sara to Mike's family's "farm." As you'll see below, we were really, really roughing it.

Here is the bunk house – the air conditioned bunk house with a fully functioning toilet, shower, washer and dryer and fridge. It sleeps up to four Ruggles residents.
This is the main cabin. It's deceivingly bare from the outside…
…but fully equipped from the inside. Charming as all get out.This is the loft of the main cabin where Shawn and I cozied up for a couple of the nights and where I took the greatest 2 or 3 hour nap. I lost all track of time. And, it was great.This is a nice sneak view of the main cabin walking up one of the trails from the pond.
Our view off the back porch of the cabin onto the fire pit and natural backdrop. Mind you I was sitting in a wooden rocking chair while taking in the serenity. Rough, I know.Mike Woodruff doin' what he does while sporting the awesome shades we all got to rock out.Sara Woodruff doin' what she does while sporting the cutest baby bump which contains Bigglesworth.The ladies, assuming their position.The gentlemen, assuming theirs. (Mines the one in the blaze orange hat - shocking.)Another view – this one from the barn down by the pond looking out at the dock and Dirty Dancing log.
Us on the last day just wanting to stay. I'm of course, el natural and therefore sportin' the hat.The countdown has officially began until next summer's return…

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Norman Made a Friend

Meet Norman's newest buddy… Kodiak.
(with his owner and boss, senior Wilson)
Kodiak is 7/8 Lab and 1/8 German Shepard.
He is just 8 weeks old and cute as a bug's butt.This wasn't the actual first meeting between strangers, but similar. Norman came a chargin' and Kodiak immediately surrendered. His paws went up, his tail went down and the saddest little whimper came out.
After time, and some convincing, they became friends.
Norman looks forward to Kodiak's next visit… by then, Kodiak will be able to kick his arse.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Paris By Pictures, As Promised

In exact opposite order of visitation, below is a sequence of our stops in Paris. You cannot take a bad photo in Paris and you cannot visit a bad site. My only advice, spend more time there then you think you need. That way when you've hit all the must-see landmarks, you can spend a little time living life according to the Parisians. Slow and steady.

Luxembourg Palace: Ironically enough, this was our last and most relaxing day. We were museumed out at this point, had stopped for some tasty gelato and strolled to this lovely landmark and it's gardens. We found two chairs, sat and people-watched. It was fantastic.

The Panthéon: Our hotel was in walking distance to this site, however, we never ventured in. Like I said, we needed more time. Guess we'll have to go back.

View outside our hotel room: We stayed at Hotel Acte V located at 55 rue Monge. It was a great location within walking distance of the metro, a boulangerie, a street market and the Latin Quarter.

View in line for the Catacombs: This was our longest wait - I think close to two hours. Honestly, I could've passed but Shawn enjoyed himself and it was an enlightening experience which is all I could ask for.

Steps to Sacré-Coeur Basilica: This was our longest commute on the metro and also the most sketchy. We made it safe, sound and satisfied with the view. From these steps, there is an amazing panoramic view of the city. Pure contentment.

Rodin's The Kiss: This was personally my favorite museum and this piece happened to reside in Rodin's former house, now the museum. We also received a quick French lesson upon entering and therefore had a nice little convo with some locals.

Rodin's The Thinker: This is the first sculpture along the zen path outside the Rodin museum. Each is almost hidden among greenery and is larger then life. It was a perfect day to stroll the statues…

Louvre Pyramid: This marked the entrance to the enormous museum. I believe this was the first we visited and also the greatest undertaking. We hit what we wanted to see and were impressed by the volume of art but instead chose to watch Pigeons court in the courtyard.

Arc de Triomphe: By far, this was the easiest place to find but the hardest to get to. The metro entrance drops you off right next to it, but thanks to the nature of the roundabout that surrounds it, you have to walk underground to get to it. The view from the top is well worth the trip.

St. Chapelle: Everyone at Notre Dame kept referring to St. Chapelle for it's original stained glass windows. We brushed it off as a helpful reference should we make it to see them. Knowing now how breathtaking they are, we are grateful we were pleasantly amazed. It's probably one of our most memorable reactions, ever.

The Conciergerie: We had never heard of this place but were impressed to see and read about the prison that held the people awaiting the guillotine. Including none other then Marie Antoinette.

Notre Dame Cathedral: With all the history and symbolism that exists in this church, I think we truly could have spent an entire day here. It's beautiful, it's huge, it's architectural, it's historic and when you see it, all these things are magnified.

Eiffel Tower: This makes me smile. This was our first site on our first night in Paris. As we were on the metro, it started to play hide-and-seek with us, right in the middle of it's light show. It was a giddy tourist moment when we finally approached it in it's entirety, however, I'll play the giddy tourist anytime I get to see something like that.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Fiscal Irony

Last week I was able to catch up on the laundry and even had time to wash our sheets. As I was making our bed with a spare set, my mind wandered to where it always does when making the bed; I want new sheets. We’ve had the same two sets of sheets since we’ve been married and both are stretched, faded and have a few random holes. Having wanted new sheets for a while now, I came upon an interesting inquiry. Why is that we spend money on certain things that really have no lasting relevance, but refuse to spend money on others because they seem too expensive or not really worth the price?

I’ll give you an example. I recently colored my hair again. It was easily over $100 to do this. Granted I only get this done twice a year but I, rather effortlessly, spent the cost equivalent to a new set of sheets, or two. And sheets, as I’ve just explained, last at least four years! Here’s another. I had my eye on a light fixture for probably close to a year. It was being sold at Pottery Barn and feeling their merchandise is highly overpriced, I kept watching for it to go on sale. Sure enough, it went 50% off. Not good enough. I decided to wait until it was at least 75%. This light fixture would probably hang in our house for the rest of our existence here but I just couldn’t pull the trigger at half off. Even though I really, really liked it and haven’t found anything since. I, on the other hand, have no problem buying a new pair of shoes or going out to eat on a regular basis or spending a good chunk of change on cable each month. These easily add up to the price of the light fixture.

This one is even worse. In fact, it may not have anything to do with money, but shear laziness. We’ve often times been in the middle of cooking something when we’ve realized we’re missing an ingredient. Instead of running to the grocery store, which is about three to four blocks away, we’ll run to the neighbors to see if they have what we’re missing. Why not just buy it? Surely the missing ingredient isn’t that expensive and we’ll more then likely need to use it again!

I just thought of another one. Razors. Razors are so expensive! I cringe every time I have to pay close to $15 for razors yet I’ve been known in the past to buy “special” shampoo for close to $25 a bottle. We’re even so cheap with razors, we share. Here’s another one… we’ve been saying for quite some time we want one of those boxes that you wind your water hose into when you’re done but for some reason, we can’t get ourselves to spend the money. We did, however, enlist the help of TrueGreen for an entire summer at well over $100 without putting much thought into it. You know for a fact that box would’ve down right decomposed before we actually rid our entire lawn of every weed and problem.

I find it frequently perplexing the things I’ll spend money on and the things I won’t. Even more interesting, what I’ll indulge in and what I can convince myself isn’t important. It’s even intriguing what we’ll buy generic and when we can’t bring ourselves to buy anything but the name brand. I’m guessing I’m not alone in this fiscally ironic battle. Any confessors?


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