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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Welcome to My Virtual Housewarming Party!

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Welcome to My Virtual Housewarming Party!

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On Saturday, Bobby and I hosted a Haunted Housewarming Party for our friends and family to come visit our new home. I asked our guests to forgo the obligatory gift and potluck meal in favor of procuring--and wearing--a Halloween costume. (Well, we "allowed" our parents and Mom-Mom to help us this time with the food ... but no one else! *foot down* Though Aunt Lois brought a vegetable tray anyway.) Bobby and I tried for meals easy to serve to a group, but we also tried to include a few seasonal and traditional specialties.

Anyway, we had a great time. And since I know that there are many of you who would have liked to have been at the party--and indeed, were there in spirit--then I offer a virtual housewarming party for those who couldn't attend, be it because of prior obligations or because we live an ocean apart. As with our "in-person" guests, I ask you to bring nothing but a penchant for a good time and a sense of humor.

So if you'd like to visit the House of Felagund for a while, don your mask and costume and follow me right this way ...

Halloween is Bobby's and my favorite holiday, and so when it appeared that our housewarming party was to coincide with Halloween, having a Haunted Housewarming Party seemed a natural variation for us.

We decorate for Halloween like no other holiday. (Yes, even Christmas.) And so as you come up the street, the House of Felagund is very hard to miss.

As you drive up the street, you will first notice Bobby's graveyard. He's very proud of his graveyard. At night, it is set off with spotlights ... solar-powered, of course.

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And you can see that we have a bit of a spider problem.

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As you pull into the driveway ...

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... I will have you know that that is not me waiting to welcome you by the door!

Nor is the spinny-headed pumpkin Bobby. Alas.

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When you come in the front door, you'll find yourself first in our living room. This room is one of the few that is almost entirely finished. (All that's left is curtains for one window that I've avoided picturing here.)

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I think it's the prettiest room, but I can take very little credit for it. Mom--who is an awesome decorator--found the furniture and much of the accessories for the room.

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As is the outside of the house, the living room is decorated for Halloween too. The little Halloween bears on the top of the hall tree were given to us by my mother-in-law when we first moved into the apartment. They ended up in the background of most of our wedding pictures three years ago!

And the ghost on the wall belonged to my grandmother, who died when I was fourteen. I fell in love with that tacky, plastic ghost from the moment I first saw it, helping Mom to clean out Grandmom's house. That and a couple of pieces of jewelry are what I have from her, and I still treasure it.

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And finally, a picture of a picture. Yes, that is your hosts in the picture! We had an "Olde Tyme Photo" done in Ocean City this year. Since it seemed to fit the style of the rest of the room, we put it up. I told Bobby that it is just like us to have our first studio-done family portrait taken in costume!

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Of course, at any party--no matter the number of people or the amount of seating available elsewhere--everyone crowds into the kitchen. So let me lead you to our dining area.

When we bought the house, the dining area was an ugly green color. Well, I thought it was ugly. I suspect that many would have found it attractive, as it is what might best be described as a "country" green. But since my tastes in home decor tend to be a little eclectic, the green had to go.

We painted it red instead.

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Why red? Because our kitchen/dining area is being done in "chili pepper theme." Hence the chili-pepper posters ... which are a great reference, by the way. Bobby and I are big fans of peppers of all variety, from boring bells to hellish habañeros. One of the great things about living in the country is that we now have available to us locally grown peppers of myriad varieties.

But the red sets off our chili peppers quite nicely, I think. Also, red is my favorite color, and Mom and I have often talked about daring to put up a bright red wall ... so Bobby and I decided to do it.

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Now you're looking down the hallway, toward the bedrooms, bathroom, and study. The wood carving on the wall was purchased this year at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. It was hand-carved from a single piece of wood, and its meaning is

The Knot of Love and Harmony:
Four hearts in perfect balance composed of one continuous line that has no beginning and no end ...
The symbol of a long and loving relationship.


Do I really need to say why Bobby chose that particular design? (Indeed, he bought it as a surprise for me!)

But while your here, in the dining area, might as well step into the kitchen to have a look around. The kitchen still needs some work. We need to take down some wallpaper and paint ... and put up some chili peppers!

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I find it appropriate that when I took these pictures, I was in the middle of making ice cream. Hence, my larger ice cream maker is up and running (on the counter, to the right). My smaller ice cream maker was out the night before, but Bobby makes me put away my toys when I'm done with them. ;)

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So let's talk food. What are we eating? Dad is bringing his famous meatballs. My mother-in-law is making her specialty, taco dip, and Mom-Mom will bring deviled eggs.

Bobby has made a pasta with sorrentina sauce: that is, red sauce mixed with ricotta cheese. And of course, we will have chips and dip, a vegetable tray, and cheese and crackers.

But we wanted to make a few traditional, seasonal items too. Bobby baked a loaf of barmbrack, an Irish bread traditionally served on All Hallows Eve. We also have baked pumpkin seeds to snack on.

And of course, we can't have a party without me going a little crazy in making desserts. This year, I tried a new recipe for pumpkin ice cream and, with it, made a frozen pumpkin pie. It turned out delicious! In addition, I made a green apple sorbet to be served with hot caramel sauce. The apples are just a little tart ... perfect! Mom-Mom brought blueberry and apple pies, and I had some frozen cassata left over from a previous party. (Imagine cannoli filling in ice cream form, served in an Italian cookie crust, and glazed with bittersweet chocolate.) Finally, for those watching their sugar intake, I made "NSA" (no sugar added) butter pecan. Indeed, that is what is mixing in the picture!

Let's go next down the hall. First, the bathroom: because the bathroom is really, really ugly. You don't need to pretend otherwise. And actually, we've done a lot to make it look better than it did. Somehow, our bathroom ended up with three different kinds of tile on the wall and two different colors of trim. Well, Bobby painted all of the trim white, which was an improvement. We got rid of the moldy (yes, moldy) window screen and the lace (yes, lace) shower curtain.

But the fixtures are still booger-yellow (which I am told that, in 1970s parlance, is actually "harvest gold"):

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Even funnier, I saw part of a home design show once over Mom and Dad's, and they were remodeling a couple's ugly and hopelessly outdated bathroom, and they had the exact same medicine cabinet. So even the pros would agree that this is one ugly bathroom!

Now once you've had a few drinks, here is the view from the loo:

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Across the hall is the guest bedroom. In an age long ago--as in when I still lived with my parents--I loved zebras and wanted my bedroom done with everything zebra print. We never got around to remodeling my bedroom, but Mom held onto the stuff we'd bought for three years until we bought a house with a second bedroom to use it in.

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I've suggested to Bobby that to continue with the "jungle love" theme, we should install a trapeze ...

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Those very familiar with my journal icons might recognize the print on the wall in the first picture.

On down the hall, we come to the master bedroom. Walking in the door ...

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Like the kitchen, this room still needs some finishing touches. Why is it always our room that gets finished last? It was this way at the apartment too.

(Also, Nelyo would like me to point him out, taking a rest on Bobby's bureau.)

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The painting was the original oil that we found at Ocean Gallery for an amazing $40 last year and fell in love with. The tic-tac-toe shelf to the left holds nicknacks and souvenirs from our various adventures.

Part of why it takes us so long to finish a room is that we generally like to take our time to find things that we 1) really love and 2) have personal meaning. Decorating for the sake of decorating doesn't appeal to me too much. I'd sooner be able to walk into a room, ask my guest to pick up one item, and be able to tell a story to go with that item.

Like our parrot ...

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We found him down the ocean this summer. We loved him immediately. Most places had him holding an ornamental bottle. Yes, ours is holding an almost-finished bottle of Captain Morgan. This is the bottle of Captain Morgan that was purchased to make good on Bobby's promise to drink a bottle of rum the first night that we spent in our new house. As anyone who has been with me on LiveJournal for a few months knows, we fell in love with this house from the moment we saw it, and it proved to be a tremendous pain in the ass from that point forward. Therefore, Bobby vowed to drink a bottle of rum when--if--we ever moved into it.

Being his wife and concerned about his health, I could not allow him to do this. So I told him that I would have to help him.

He did. I did. We did.

(And I learned: waxing floors while drunk? Not recommended.)

So this was all that was left of the first night's rum. Therefore, it shall never be finished but will remain in our room, with our parrot, as a testament to what it took to get where we are today.

And finally, for you aquarium nerds (you know who you are and, yes, I am looking at you), the saltwater tank in our bedroom:

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(No, the coral isn't real. But the fish are!)

I tried to get closeups of the clownfish but haven't quite figured out the autofocus on the SeaLife camera (and was too lazy to really try, honestly).

Now, onward to the study. When Bobby and I started the home-buying process, we each listed what we really wanted in a house. We're simple folk. Neither of us wanted cathedral ceilings or a three-car garage. Bobby wanted a finished basement where we could put our largish TV (inherited from my grandmother) and where he could watch sports and we could watch movies. I wanted a kitchen with a dishwasher (or a place where a dishwasher might reasonably go) and a small room to use as a study. (Of course, we both wanted a large enough backyard for Alex that either was or could be fenced. In fact, our priorities were reversed from most home buyers: to us, the land was more important than the house. We'd sooner settle for a decent-sized piece of land and a smaller house than the other way around.)

That this house satisfied all that we wanted to a spectacular degree was part of the reason that we fell in love with it. My study is in fact a third bedroom, but since Bobby and I won't have any children, then we have no need for three bedrooms.

First things first: the books. Anyone who has helped us to move, either to the house or earlier to the apartment, will attest to the fact that we have a lot of books. (yuanrang?) Most of what we moved both times (aside from furniture) was books. We have three ceiling-high bookshelves and enough books to fill a fourth.

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The shield is Bobby's ... and yes, it is a real shield for bona fide swordfighting. The design is Richard the Lionheart's. Bobby won't be using it right away for heavy fighting because it's recommended that beginners use a larger shield but, someday, this piece of steel might well keep my husband's head from getting bashed in.

Now my desk, where all the insanity creativity occurs.

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One of my wishes for my study was a shelf over my desk for my reference books: all of my Tolkien books, writing references, and web design books. At the apartment, I would always find myself needing one of these books, then having to search through three (poorly organized) bookshelves to find what I needed. It was more often than not on the third shelf I checked. Now, I need only stand up to find what I need and I'm back to work in seconds.

Of course, in the foreground is Pengolodh Lord of Gondolin (my computer) with my beloved desktop background of Fëanor sleeping on his desk (as I never get to do on mine because I'm always too busy) by the estimable Ebe Kastein.

Directly opposite my desk is my art table. It's like their vying for my attention: "Dawn! Write! No, paint! Write! Paint! Write! Paint! Writepaintwritepaint!" And so on.

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At the back of the table are my perpetually unfinished Fëanor-on-dragon and Oliphaunt models. Expect to see these finished ... when I'm eighty.

Looking up:

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The ceiling was painted as a blue sky because this was a child's bedroom. However, I found is whimsical enough to leave it. It seems an appropriate ceiling for a fantasy author.

For our anniversary this year, Bobby bought us an antique suit of armor. At the time, my flist found this incredibly cool. I haven't posted a picture of it yet, so here it is, as it now lives in our study.

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The armor in front of it, again, is real. This is Bobby's heavy fighting armor ... or his tin-can suit, as I like to call it. Hanging on the wall to the right is his flail.

Because I work in law enforcement, I work with a lot of people who have (for lack of a better word) a gun fetish. They like owning guns. They don't understand how anyone could feel safe in a house without a gun.

I hate guns. And this is one of the few instances where you will hear me use the h-word. Guns are for pansies. Therefore, we do not own a gun. I tell my coworkers this; they go ballistic (pun intended), certain that I face annihilation at the hands of the criminals lurking in very violent Manchester since I don't keep a gun in the house.

No, I assure them. Here is Bobby's and my mode of home protection.

Well, if they're not first dissuaded by the bellowing Golden Retrievers (who sound scary even if they really ... aren't), then they will find themselves in the hallway facing ... archers.

If they survive the onslaught of arrows that we lob at them, then we dare them to come to the study. Because we have a flail. A forty-two-inch longsword. And a battleaxe.

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Home security systems at their earliest and finest!

Now let's head downstairs to the basement. The basement was one of the things that made us fall in love with the house because, as I've said, Bobby has always wanted an entertainment room: a place to watch movies and games and host Super Bowl parties. Here begins your descent into the basement ... and you can clearly see where our loyalties lie. (At least in terms of football!)

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The basement runs the length of the house. We have two large utility rooms and two large finished portions. The first of the finished rooms currently serves multiple purposes. It is Bobby's music room.

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The white Squire Stratocaster is mine. The rest are Bobby's.

It is also where we currently keep our rack for interrogation Bowflex for working out and Bobby's hockey gear.

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He aspires to one day use part of this room for a miniature train garden.

The main room was dubbed early on Bobby's "sports palace." Over his lifetime, he's collected numerous posters, pennants, figurines, and other memorabilia. At last, he has a place to put them all out!

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This is also where we keep our aforementioned largish TV. (And no, your eyes did not deceive you earlier. We do not have a TV in our living room. Why? Because nothing annoys me more than trying to socialize at a party and some moron has to put on the TV and then everyone's staring at it and drooling on themselves ... and why did we get together for that??)

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Because our house is heated with (very expensive) electric baseboard heat, then much of our heating in the winter will come from the woodstove.

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The Ravens corner! The poster to the left of the CD tower was actually made by Bobby from pictures that he took this summer at Ravens training camp, which takes place only fifteen minutes from our house. At the center is an autographed roster. Our neighbor Bob (who is an excellent photographer) was actually paid by a local restaurant for the pictures he took at training camp.

Fellow Bal'morons should recognize (if they squint) the one-eyed man at the center of the clock.

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And finally, the third bookshelf makes its appearance!

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And for the aquarium nerds, stop squinting, here's a picture of the tank. ;)

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This one is a freshwater tank. Unfortunately, only one fish from the apartment is still alive: Celegorm the bala shark. He's one of the original fish we bought when we decided to start a tank a year and a half ago. He's survived the tank almost collapsing through our old console shelf, six hours in the car on moving day, and throwing himself from the tank to the kitchen floor while we tried to transfer him to the new tank. He's the big silver fish to the left of the tank, partially behind the plant.

Finally, let's take a walk into the backyard. The backyard--as I said earlier--was of utmost importance because we were buying the house, in part, for Alex and whatever dogs may follow him.

Carroll County is in the foothills to the Appalachian Mountains. There's lots of land ... but not much flat land. That our yard is both spacious and flat made it quite a find.

Standing on the back patio and looking to your left ...

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And out in the yard is a playful Golden!

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One of the things that I loved about the yard was the grove of trees that is perfect for a picnic area. The week that we moved, we must have looked like a bunch of gypsies to our neighbors because there was always a crowd of us sitting out here, under the trees, sometimes with a fire going (it gets chilly up here, even in the summer, after sundown), in folding chairs. Usually eating. Sometimes drinking and smoking. Having lewd conversations (more likely than not).

And that was just my family. ;)

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The swingset at the back of the yard was left by the former owners. We will eventually demolish it and give it to a good home with kids who will get some enjoyment out of it.

And now, looking to the right of the patio ...

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And that is the House of Felagund! I leave you with one final picture, because every house needs a garden gnome.

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And every photographer needs a good assistant, and Lancelot was mine!
  • awesome pictures! I love the house and all the decorations and designs... pretty much everything. :D And of course I enjoyed seeing the brief glimpses of the fluffy pets sneaking into the photos.
    • Lol! Indeed, when I went through the pictures this afternoon, putting together this entry, I realized how many times Alex and Lancelot were in the background. Or the foreground, in the case of my little garden gnome/photographer's assistant. ;)

      Also, thank you! :^D
  • Thank you for the invitation. What a great virtual party! I had a lot of fun. It looks soooo awesome.

    The best of luck to all of you! Be happy in your house!
  • Ah, well in that case I shall post pictures of my costume at some point, as my admittance fee! ;)

    I will have you know that that is not me waiting to welcome you by the door!

    ...It isn't? Oh...;P

    I told Bobby that it is just like us to have our first studio-done family portrait taken in costume!

    Finrod says, "Daaaaaaaawwnn, you stretched out my work clothes!"

    >_< :D

    We painted it red instead.

    I love this color red! Funnily, it's just the color I've been bothering my parents to paint the kitchen cabinets. Which are currently green.

    *Piles plate - and bowl - high with delicious sounding food* (And looks forlornly at her leftover spaghetti before remembering that there are chocolate chip cookies and frosting about, and perhaps she'll just eat that for dinner!)

    Also, Nelyo would like me to point him out, taking a rest on Bobby's bureau.

    I'd like to point out that in the master bedroom, I noticed Nelyo straight away, without needing the note! *hehehe* :D

    Of course, in the foreground is Pengolodh Lord of Gondolin (my computer) with my beloved desktop background of Fëanor sleeping on his desk

    Heehee!!!!!!!!!! That is awesome.

    Home security systems at their earliest and finest!

    ROFL!! Don't forget the legions of Noldor! ;)

    It is Bobby's music room.

    Mommy, I want a music room!!

    *is reminded that she has effectively spread out her instruments to the point where EVERY room is a music room...including cross-state music roomage!*

    We will eventually demolish it and give it to a good home with kids who will get some enjoyment out of it.

    Ooh, pick me!

    And every photographer needs a good assistant, and Lancelot was mine!

    Puppy, you are too cute, now stop that! ;D
    • Ah, well in that case I shall post pictures of my costume at some point, as my admittance fee! ;)

      Yes, please do! It sounded really cool!

      You've seen my costume. I was an Elf. As usual. *sigh*

      Bobby's costume got quite a bit of love from our guests. But when a man walks about with his forty-two-inch swinging as he goes ...

      *ahem* ;)

      Finrod says, "Daaaaaaaawwnn, you stretched out my work clothes!"

      Harhar! I reply, "Finrod, with that bubble butt, you're just full of wishful thinking!"

      I love this color red! Funnily, it's just the color I've been bothering my parents to paint the kitchen cabinets. Which are currently green.

      >:^D

      You're welcome to use our dining area as proof of why this would be a Good Idea (tm).

      I'd like to point out that in the master bedroom, I noticed Nelyo straight away, without needing the note!

      *Nelyo sends grateful kisses with his sandpaper tongue*

      Ooh, pick me!

      If you come out to pick it up, you're welcome to it. ;)

      Puppy, you are too cute, now stop that! ;D

      He says ...

      Nothing. He's been engaging in ad hominem play with Alex all day and is currently sleeping on the floor beside me with his head butted up against my hardass boots.
  • *must... resist... dognapping urges!*

    What an awesome house and yard! I kept thinking, "My mom would love that layout!"

    And you have aquarium nerds on your flist? I very much doubt it! ;) But ooh, a saltwater tank! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to post another 60 fish photos...
    • Yes, you knew who I was looking at. ;)

      (Actually, not just you ... but yes, I was looking at you!)

      What an awesome house and yard!

      Thank you, thank you! :^D
  • Wonderful pics, Dawn... and what a lovely and very clean house...! Booger yellow, LMAO! The final piccie of Lancelot is my favourite...

    *hugs*
  • Wow! The house is really coming along. Congratulations. The Halloween decorations are wonderful. (The sleeping Feanor screensaver is one of my favorite pictures--Feanor at peace (maybe just exhausted?).)
    • Probably just exhausted. I understand where he's coming from. He probably thought, "It'd be a great idea to write a novel in a month and, before that, catch up my beta-work backlog in a month too. Huzzah!"

      Not. A. Good. Idea. Feanor.

      Anyhoo, thank you, things are indeed coming along! Now we just need to do something about that booger-colored bathroom ...
  • What a lovely house! I admit, when you first started talking about a house out in the country, I had a far different picture in my mind -- I started thinking New England Country, while your house is in reality much closer to what I might find out in the wilds of Dixon or Walnut. It's bigger than I thought from the photos of the exterior, and I think having the finished basement helps with that.

    I actually know quite a few people who maintain a TV room separate from the living room. Mom and Dad Pony, Aunt and Uncle Pony, Aunt Finduilas and Uncle Denethor -- basically, most people I know who have the option of doing so (who are not living in apartments, that is) do it.

    I like the decorating job, and I completely agree about wanting your decorating items to have a little meaning behind them. Sometimes I pick things up at tag sales or art fairs, but I choose them for specific meanings -- which is how I acquired my "Kitten on the Keyboard" lithograph (art fair) and my two framed jazz pictures, one of which is a photo of Duke Ellington at the piano, and the other of which is an abstract of a small combo (tag sale). They speak to me. As does the champagne-bottle squeaker toy, for that matter.
    • Were you thinking of a farmhouse? We looked at a farmhouse ... but it had no dishwasher and a rotting basement. :^P We do live in the Manchester township proper, but we can also stroll two minutes down our street and wander around in a cornfield. So I like to call it "civilized country." We're also only twelve minutes out of Westminster, the largest town in Carroll County.

      Anyhoo.

      The exterior is indeed deceiving. Bobby and I don't need a lot of space for two people and two dogs, so we were aiming for smaller houses, but we were really surprised how much space this one had once we got inside.

      Huzzah to the Pony Family for understanding that television and entertaining guests are not synonymous! I think that everyone in my family has a TV in their living room but us. In fact, it was one of the first things that my aunt said upon seeing our house: "You don't have a TV in here??"

      We've talked before about our similar philosophies about "decorating." My parents are HGTV addicts (and they have a TV in their living room), so I end up seeing several hours of "Design on a Dime" and similar ilk whenever I spend a weekend at their house, and it always depresses me how a designer will hasten to remove something icky but meaningful to bring in beautiful, meaningless pieces. Most of the time, I like the look of the room when it's finished ... but I would like also to hear the owners tell me the story behind that rather random champagne-bottle squeaker toy. ;)
  • Where was I? ;D Mooom, can I go visit Daawwwn? (heehe) (Actually, mentioned you one day because they saw a guy wearing a TAPS shirt, & they didn't seem too creeped out. I told them you worked downtown...? :\)

    But anyways. (OMG Pengolodh Lord of Gondolin's wallpaper... And I'm not a fangirl XD) ...then they will find themselves in the hallway facing ... archers. (dies) Or the swords^ ^'

    One-eyed man... center of clock... I have a guess, but not sure. :\

    Hee, Lancelot^ ^ He looks like he's saying, "....What?" :p

    Guh, wish we had a kitchen like that. X_x
    • I do work downtown, with the Parole and Probation Warrant Apprehension Unit, so I'm with law enforcement if that makes them feel better. As in, I had to pass a background check to get my job. ;)

      I thought y'all would appreciate Bobby's and my home security system! :^D Swords and boards, man!

      One-eyed man... center of clock... I have a guess, but not sure. :\

      The Natty Boh man!

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      Guh, wish we had a kitchen like that. X_x

      I understand. Our apartment kitchen was tiny and awful. I make homemade ice cream and candy, and it was not fun trying to achieve any sort of efficiency in that kitchen. You see how big my ice cream maker is. It took up half of the counter space!

      So a decent kitchen was definitely a plus when we were house-hunting.
  • *hands you the local and specialised fruitcake*

    As you drive up the street, you will first notice Bobby's graveyard. He's very proud of his graveyard.

    I really like it!

    Yes, that is your hosts in the picture! We had an "Olde Tyme Photo" done in Ocean City this year.

    Wow sexy Dawn with a bottle of booze! Did you had to squeeze in that costume (if so, why did you pick that one)? Very nice!

    Why red? Because our kitchen/dining area is being done in "chili pepper theme."

    Red is an active and yet warm colour. Gauging from the photo, it is a spot where people can sit down to have dinner in a cozy and warm way: it's very inviting. It works even more with some other creme/white walls because of the reflection, making the celtic knot stand out in a charming way :)

    Most of what we moved both times (aside from furniture) was books.

    When we move into this home, a lot of family members that helped complained about that and said this was the last time *ever*. Hubby thought last minute that the boxes for his comic book could handle extra, but that turned out to be the most heavy things to carry upstairs. So if we move, we'd probably hire a moving company who pack the stuff for us and move it.

    At the apartment, I would always find myself needing one of these books, then having to search through three (poorly organized) bookshelves to find what I needed.

    *nods* When we finished Kevin's room, all my bookcases there had to be re-allocated. It were 3 in total and I gave away one and a half bookcase filled with books to charity (of which hindsight, only one book I shouldn't had given it away...), one of the bookcases found a new home next to my pc and it holds all my much used books... :)

    This is Bobby's heavy fighting armor ... or his tin-can suit, as I like to call it.

    Hehehe, just wait until he has to fight in it during the heat of summer.

    They don't understand how anyone could feel safe in a house without a gun.

    Yes, I know. THose very same people think that we are insane over here with our gun laws which are very very strict. Its hard to explain that owning a gun does not serve as a guarantee for your safety. I mean if a burglar doesn't want to be caught, he makes sure you won't catch him, or if you do pull a gun on them... Guns belong to law enforcement only: period. They are trained for it.

    No, I assure them. Here is Bobby's and my mode of home protection.

    I daresay that swinging that flail would be more fatal than a gun.

    It is also where we currently keep our rack for interrogation Bowflex for working out and Bobby's hockey gear.

    You know, I saw the picture and thought: oo that's cute, a dress boy for hockey hear :)

    Because nothing annoys me more than trying to socialize at a party and some moron has to put on the TV and then everyone's staring at it and drooling on themselves ... and why did we get together for that??)

    Yeps, that is what happens here. Watching TV is one of hubby's hobbies and he owns a lot of dvd's that always has people wanting to browse through them. The last christmas here, my brother (without asking) pulled out the movie 'a bridge too far', popped it in and well, at a certain point we were watching that. Where I sit, I don't have a tv, so I can concentrate quietly.

    Unfortunately, only one fish from the apartment is still alive: Celegorm the bala shark.

    Evol evol evol Dawn, I saw the picture of the first tank and went like... where's Celegorm.. Oh noes, he didn't..? So when I saw the top of the next picture with a tank, I spotted him immediately!

    *pwew*

    He's survived the tank almost collapsing through our old console shelf, six hours in the car on moving day, and throwing himself from the tank to the kitchen floor while we tried to transfer him to the new tank.

    Well my Celegorm muse says he's the uttermost survivor.

    I leave you with one final picture, because every house needs a garden gnome.

    Oh he's so cute. This probably sounds very funny, but Lancelot looks so different than Alex at that age, the way he looks, a certain cheerfulness somehow.. I can't put my finger on it, but both dogs have a different character.
    • *hands you the local and specialised fruitcake*

      Ah, thank you! Please, have some pumpkin ice cream pie! :^D

      Wow sexy Dawn with a bottle of booze! Did you had to squeeze in that costume (if so, why did you pick that one)? Very nice!

      Thank you! Believe it or not, it is a breakaway costume ... so it was worn over my regular clothes! It laces in the back. Bobby's was the same way. Olde Tyme Photos takes literally ten minutes. Bobby told me he always wanted to try it but thought it was something that took hours. When I told him they were breakaway costumes, we were there that night.

      All of the saloon girl costumes are pretty much the same. My request: I wanted something naughty. Bobby's request? He wanted to dress up as a sheriff. (Awwww ...)

      Gauging from the photo, it is a spot where people can sit down to have dinner in a cozy and warm way: it's very inviting. It works even more with some other creme/white walls because of the reflection, making the celtic knot stand out in a charming way :)

      Thanks! :) Yes, people tend to linger at our table. At the party on Saturday, everyone was crowded around it, and I kept reminding them, "We have two rooms of seating besides this one ..." Did it make a difference? Noooo ...

      Hehehe, just wait until he has to fight in it during the heat of summer.

      Lol! Indeed, the wives of the heavy fighters were all warned to watch out for when their husbands stop sweating: that means they have heat stroke and need to leave the battle. The fighters in our barony have the rule that any one of the women can tell any one of the men that he needs to sit out the next fight, and he must. If he does not, the other fighters will drag him back off the field. They have this rule, primarily, because of fear of heatstroke, I suspect.

      THose very same people think that we are insane over here with our gun laws which are very very strict. Its hard to explain that owning a gun does not serve as a guarantee for your safety. I mean if a burglar doesn't want to be caught, he makes sure you won't catch him, or if you do pull a gun on them... Guns belong to law enforcement only: period. They are trained for it.

      Yep, Americans and their guns ... ;)

      I despise guns. The band 311 has a song called "Guns Are for Pussies." I agree with that statement. It is not an act of courage, bravery, or even aggression to squeeze a trigger, no more than it is to press a button on a remote control. So therefore, people who commit violence with guns are not badasses. In my opinion, if you want badly enough to hurt or kill someone, use a sword or knife. Get their blood on your hands; look them in the eyes as you do it. I bet the murder rate would drop, if this was the way.

      I do support the right of Americans to own guns, though, only because it is protected by the Second Amendment of our Constitution, and I dread more than guns the idea of weakening the Constitution. It seems easy to water down the Second Amendment, then the First ... and so on. However, I do not hold with the idiots activists who believe that the "right to bear arms" means "the right to use armor-piercing bullets and assault weapons," i.e. things designed to kill cops, i.e. my coworkers.

      I remember learning in school how only 2% of break-ins occur while the owners are home. Meanwhile, my parents had a friend whose young son shot himself in the head with his father's gun. Luckily, he survived. But I'd be interested to see how the stats compare of the number of people (mostly children) killed accidentally by guns in the home versus non-gun-owners killed during burglaries.

      This probably sounds very funny, but Lancelot looks so different than Alex at that age, the way he looks, a certain cheerfulness somehow.. I can't put my finger on it, but both dogs have a different character.

      They do! It doesn't sound funny at all. Bobby and I were talking tonight about how Lancelot has a longer, thinner face. His eyes are bright and sparkling where Alex's eyes are soulful. And Lancelot is much, much darker than Alex was at that age.

      Lancelot is currently curled in a tiny ball asleep on my beanbag chair. Awwww ...
  • What a beautiful Hose of Horrors!

    (The only real horror in your place seens to be those Harvest Gold fixtures in the bathroom. Too bad you can't trick out the bathroom with Avocado and Orange towels and let the trick-or-treaters walk through it; it would give them a fright they'd never forget. Indeed, 70s home decorating was a real-life horror show. I can't be the only person who hopes that decade never becomes chic again!)
    • Thank you!

      And LMAO!! What an effective "freak house" that would be! And I definitely share in your hope that I never have to see a harvest gold sink or avocado refrigerator again ... ;)
  • Disclaimer: I am particularly fried and frazzled from my trip to the Northern Kingdom yesterday so if this is more incoherent than usual, that is why.

    Forgive me. I didn't have time to bake a casserole or a cake. Will a bottle or six of sangiovese do?

    What fabulous photos! The wonderful color in the dining room is reminiscent of dried poblano chiles. I'm especially enchanted with the personalized spaces: your study, Bobby's sports palace. There's nothing better than a room of one's own if you can swing it.

    Re: the saltwater tank. Back when I was around your age, you young whippersnapper ;^), and thought I might become a marine natural products chemist, I had a saltwater tank with a blue tang and a standard issue orange clownfish. I was amazed at how much more personality those fish had than my freshwater fish, including Claudius the African green cichlid.

    Re: Wood burning stove. Do you have a means of circulating the heat through the house? We had something similar in Madison WI, but it didn't circulate. Our basement "rec room" would heat up to 90F while it was -20F outside. Nothing like lounging about in barely any clothing while Cold Instant Death lingers at the door. :^D

    The color selections of the bedrooms are really nice, too. Very soothing.

    Ditto on the TV. The big one is in our finished basement. There are none on the main floor. However, sometimes the whole point of my entertaining or being entertained, like when I visit my friend in Cambridge, is to engage in Mystery Science Theatre 3000 antics. A television is a must then!

    The old timey photo is fabulous! I can practically hear the bar room piano.

    And the yard? Yep, I can see why this property appealed to you and the Green Knight.

    Lancelot continues to amaze with his pure unadulterated cuteness. Btw, I asked the Lord of the Nazgúl how Georgie was doing. He said she and her mother are both fine, and in fact, regularly plop themselves on to the Lord and spouse's bed at night. A third Golden (puppy) burrows under the covers all the way at the foot of the bed. Oh, and a cat sleeps with them, too. All of Georgie's pups are happy, healthy kids in various homes around central Jersey and eastern PA. Their "parents" send photos of the pups to the Lord of the Nazgúl. :^)

    Thanks a million for hosting this housewarming of the Best First House Ever!
    • Will a bottle or six of sangiovese do?

      *points to icon*

      Always. ;)

      The wonderful color in the dining room is reminiscent of dried poblano chiles.

      I'd never thought of this, but you're right. Intuitively, dark red just seemed a good color for the "chili pepper room." Besides, I've always thought that red walls looked daring, and I wanted to look daring, dammit. ;)

      Do you have a means of circulating the heat through the house?

      Yes. There's a name for it, and I can't think of it offhand. (Passive heating?) But we have vents in most of the upstairs rooms through which the heat rises to warm the rest of the house. It's running now, since the weatherfolks are calling for temperatures in the twenties at night up here, and it's nice and toasty in my study. :)

      This is really nice because electric baseboard heat can be sooo expensive. Bobby is also thrilled that he can make iced tea and cook breakfast on top of the woodstove!

      However, sometimes the whole point of my entertaining or being entertained, like when I visit my friend in Cambridge, is to engage in Mystery Science Theatre 3000 antics. A television is a must then!

      Absolutely! Bobby and I also host a Super Bowl party each year, so a TV is obviously necessary for that too. In which case, we host in the basement, which is plenty big enough!

      But I figure that once people drive an hour to see us, then we might as well catch up and not watch programs that we could watch at home, sans the hour-long drive.

      I'm glad to see so many on teh flist agree with me on this. I was beginning to feel a little weird, since people tend to exclaim over the lack of a TV in the living room. I don't think it's that much of an anomaly!

      Yep, I can see why this property appealed to you and the Green Knight.

      As many people buy homes with their kids or future kids in mind, so we bought our house with our Golden--and future Goldens--in mind. ;)

      On Georgie ... awwww ... The Lord of the Nazgul makes me feel less ridiculously obsessed with Goldens. ;) Though Bobby and I fully plan to one day add a third.

      Though our Goldens aren't allowed on the bed except for "family moments" due to one Felagund's allergies. If it wasn't for that, I have a feeling that Bobby would totally let them!

      Thanks for coming to my party (and for the wine ... *staggers away happily*)
  • At long last my veeeery sloooowwww broad band woke up a little today and I could finally get to the last picture: well worth the wait. I want a puppy like that right now!!!!! (my dog is snoring on the couch so he won't get jealous. Angelica might).
    Lovely house. Lovely garden. Congratulations
    I saw something familiar in your Ravens corner and, yes, of course: the black lamp in the corner! We have three (!) of those because some moron who renovated our house long ago had covered all the light outlets in the ceiling of the living room turning it into the kind of cavernous affair you might associate with Morgoth's throne room (plus a whole wall painted dark brown. Unspeakable) The switch and the dimmer on the lamps broke after the first week of regular use. I hope you were luckier. At that moment they were ridiculously cheap, though.
    I also learnt a new word from your post: woodstove, which in Spanish (Argentine at least) has the lovely name of salamandra. Next time somebody asks, I'll know what to answer.
    About moving books, when we moved here, the guy from the moving company went to our apartment, looked around and asked "Are you taking *all* the books?" and he doubled the number of boxes.
    Oh! And for the party I'm bringing dulce de leche. Do you know what it is? A kind of sticky stuff made boiling milk and sugar. Simply delicious.
    • Lol! That black lamp was inherited from my grandmother! When Bobby and I moved into our apartment, we had no furniture, so we took whatever we were offered, no matter how odd or mismatched it was.

      The black lamp was one of the things that we got.

      And while we've since passed on many of the other items to people who need them, the black lamp has remained. I'm rather fond of it. (And it has worked fine for us for three years now, plus however long my grandmother had it.)

      Now, I have this image of how your house must have looked when you moved in. Didn't you have a bathroom (?!) with puke-green carpet with a long pile? And now brown walls and Morgoth's throne room ...

      Oh! And for the party I'm bringing dulce de leche. Do you know what it is? A kind of sticky stuff made boiling milk and sugar. Simply delicious.

      I do! I have a recipe around here somewhere, and I always mean to make it, though I've yet to try it. (I usually settle for traditional caramel since it's familiar and easy enough that I can make it while doing pretty much anything else.) I will have to try it someday ... soon!

      And thank you! :)
  • Wow. That's a beautiful place you've found for yourselves! (Almost makes me want to overthink my notion of "I'll never buy a house, unless I one day have the money for an Italian 15th century farmhouse like that one. Really. Your house looks like a wonderful place to live. From the outside (what a gorgeous garden!) as well as from the inside.

    I love those warm colours in the living room. And those big windows! And can it be that the house looks a lot smaller than it actually is from the outside?

    Also, the 'historical' portrait of you and Bobby is honestly made of awesome! :-D

    The red walls in the dining area are just my taste. When I'll have a larger apartment I seriously plan on painting a wall in that colour, too.

    The kitchen looks really cosy. I especially like the white furniture and the classical floor-pattern. My cousin used to have a kitchen that reminds me of yours until he moved. I haven't seen his new apartment yet, but because it's in a new building I'm already planning on liking it less than the old one (even if my aunt says it's huuuuge) because it won't have the pretty stucco ceiling and worn old woodboards on the floor. ;)

    I think the zebra bedroom is really cool. The pattern fits so well with the green walls!

    I guess I could go on like this for hours. And I'm honestly in love with your beautiful big garden. (And Lancelot is soo cute, OMG! *girly squee*)

    *must come visit*
    • Thank you, thank you! :)

      We're so happy here, as are the Goldens. They love the big garden even more than Ye Flist does! ;)

      The house does look much smaller from the outside than it is. I remember first coming to look at it, loving the garden, but thinking, "Will it be big enough?" We don't need a lot of room, but we both wanted our own spaces: my study, Bobby's basement. And we wanted to start entertaining properly, and one needs a bit of room to host a houseful of people!

      But once we saw inside, we were sold!

      *must come visit*

      If ever you find yourself in the Baltimore/DC area, I hope that you do! :)
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