Foto Friday: Homearama

Yes, for some reason, Homearama is one word. But with a sunset like this, do you even care?

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Yeah, didn’t think so.

I had never heard of Homearama, but last weekend Andy and I were eating at Relish, and he realized that we were only a few minutes away from this year’s Cincinnati site. So after dinner we drove around for a few minutes looking for it, Andy going, “I don’t see it, look it up on the BlackBerry!” and me going, “I can’t work your stupid BlackBerry!”

With a mild case of the Grumps about to set in, we gave up and were on our way back to the freeway when we saw a sign right in front of the driveway to Relish: HOMEARAMA THIS WAY —>.

o_O

Two hours, ten houses, and $24 later, we found our new home: #2 Savoy Blanc. Not only is it LEED certified (dunno what level), but it is GORGEOUS certified too. I mean seriously, can you imagine this in your backyard?

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Your backyard that also has an HD TV, a built-in grill, and an enclosable porch for winter? Also, how cool is this bar? (The real boat’s not so bad either…)

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And the best part is, I think we’re really close to being able to afford it. I mean, it’s not so hard to make $2 million, right?

The other homes were nice — our 2nd fave was #1 Arreton Manor and our third fave was #8 The Artisan — but none really came close to Savoy Blanc for us. (PS: We had the same favorites in the same order. Good sign, no?) We did see some cool things to possibly incorporate into whatever house we actually DO buy in the future — which is really the point of Homearama for 99.9% of the people who attend. For example, I’d love a built-in bookcase or the AWESOME curvy wood side table below:

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(I also like those flower photographs. That house had great art and furniture, but was overall too white/bright and too full of glass for me. I felt like I was going to break something.)

More Incredible Housing You Can’t Afford can be seen on my Flickr account here.

Foto Friday: Contemplation

Thanks to everyone for your support yesterday. Sometimes I feel like a self-centered moron for getting so overwhelmed by my problems, which I know are tiny and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Like a cobweb in the middle of the dark, dank, rancid, rat-infested attic of the world’s issues.

I’m lucky, and I know it.

So I let myself have one bad day, and now I’m determined not to wallow. Last night I watched Wednesday’s episode of So You Think You Can Dance and then ran around the backyard with Riley. After accidentally sloshing through some mud and then coming down wrong on my knee, I decided to just sit on the ground and watch while Riley sniffed and chewed on the grass.

I didn’t come up with any magical solutions by looking at the sky or the trees or the old couple walking down the street. But I did find peace.

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Foto Friday: Oldies but goodies

You know, I was walking out of the office yesterday afternoon thinking, “Oh, today’s Friday! That means I get to go home early and take a nap need to post a photo.”

And yet, here is it, 24 hours later, and no photo. (Or nap.)

[sigh]

To make up for it, here are several photos from The Best Place On Earth, aka Madrid. This is the view from a hostel I stayed in the first time I visited Madrid (summer ’05). Behold el Gran Vía:

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I remember waking up to the sounds of the city, climbing down out of my bunk, and slipping out onto the teeny tiny balcony with my camera. I stood there smiling down at the commotion and barely believing that I had come here all by myself. (Aisha stayed in Barcelona, then went to Vigo to see Claudio, then met back up with me for the return trip to Houston.) I gave myself two days to be with Madrid, and when I left, I knew it wasn’t enough.

The following year I arranged a summer study abroad session through IES, which included a homestay. My host Ana happened to live near my university and near the royal palace, and also happened to be a wonderful woman who liked to cook for me. It couldn’t have been more perfect if I’d written it.

Here is a horse-drawn chariot on the promenade by the palace, where I often did homework or other reading, writing, and thinking:

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This is an ant:

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No, Madrid doesn’t have an ant problem (at least not that I know of) but I thought it was a cool photo. I took it at a park in the western extremities of Madrid (I think Casa del Campo, but I can’t remember for sure) when Alex and Teo were both visiting me. We rode the cable car to the edge of the city and had a great view looking out over all of Madrid. (And yet, I posted the picture of the ant…)

Finally, this is a picture of el Parque del Buen Retiro, my favorite park in Madrid, in Spain, and maybe anywhere. Retiro is very much in the center of the city and its inhabitants usually reflect that. This was a typical night in the summer, full of activity, full of people, full of life.

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Funny story: the first time I ever went to Retiro, some guy tried to hit on me. He told me I looked good, like I was dressed to go dancing in a club. At the time I was wearing a t-shirt and navy blue corduroy shorts.

Foto Friday: And would you look at that hair?

It’s been a long, crazy, rollercoaster of a week for many people I know (myself included) so I figured we could all use a little cuteness to start our weekend off right.

Introducing my cousin’s baby girl and her Mischievous Munchkin Face!!

If that doesn’t make you want to jump right into your computer and squeeze/kiss/nibble on those cheeks, you have no soul.

Also, I’m pretty sure I gave her that elephant. Aunt Kristan for the win!

(Photo courtesy of her father, my cousin Ari. Or at least his Facebook page.)