In graduate school, when I left the man I was engaged to but not in love with I moved into a dark little house that had for years belonged to a woman named Frieda. I didn’t know Frieda but I loved the signs of her that remained in her house. The green and red tiled kitchen floor, the red countertops, the pink bathroom. Frieda had moved to an assisted living facility and I was renting her house. I didn’t think she would mind if I slapped a few coats of paint on the walls of the living room, which was paneled in dark wood. I was unspeakably poor but somehow found the money for a few gallons of paint and I spent the first few nights in my new house alone, painting and mentally whitewashing the past two years.
I took down the dark curtains and let in the white light of a Eugene winter. I cleaned the kitchen and stocked the cabinets with the things I liked to eat: tomato soup, saltines, pasta, cookies. I packed the fridge with cheese, lots of cheese. Feta, havarti, Gouda and some yellow kind with chives that I would cut into slivers and eat with olives. I filled the crisper with lettuce, spinach and good, dark beer.
Some nights when I stared at the walls I’d painted flat white that first week I would think they were the most beautiful things I’d ever seen. [Read More]
These past two weeks Seth and his dad have been giving our little farmhouse a serious upgrade. Two rooms to which we’ve always kept the doors closed are becoming a part of our house with pocket doors, paint and electrical outlets that work. Our spare bedroom is turning into a kids’ room with cornflower blue walls, an insulated floor and heater. Our laundry room has a shiny tile floor to replace the painted concrete that’s been there for God only knows how long and a cold water line that does more than drip.
And tomorrow, America’s favorite home improvement box store will deliver our new washer and dryer. [Read More]
So it’s been a while since I’ve posted a column and while this is not exactly a column, I thought I’d send it out anyway. I’ve not disappeared, I’ve just been watching a remodel unfold in our house. EJ is getting a new room (or getting a room I should say) and Seth’s dad is here for two weeks to help with putting up walls, installing heaters and basically turning our guest room into a kid friendly place.
So since Seth is working all day only to come home and work all night, I thought it time to list off the top ten reasons I love my man today. Here goes. [Read More]
The Swan Valley in western Montana is nestled between the striking peaks of the Mission Mountains Wilderness, which rise up more than 9,000 feet to the west, and the vast, rugged expanse of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, which stretches—for more than a million acres—to the east. The remote valley has a handful of year-round residents, offers endless recreation opportunities and is situated on the southern tip of one of the most ecologically diverse and intact ecosystems in the world.
It is also a valley where one landowner, Plum Creek Timber Company, holds the deed to 64 percent of the private land. The company’s plan to sell some of its holdings in the valley at top dollar for real estate development is generating a flood of concern among citizens, lawmakers and activists. It has the potential to change the culture of the Swan Valley and, possibly, all of western Montana. [Read More]