aggie networking

Claire and I both have telecommunications and media studies degrees. IE: we "should" know how to network computers, modems, cables, etc. As of today we have been married for about 1 year and almost 9 months. During this time we have shared music through a flash drive. Folder after tedious folder we would share in our joy of music. Tonight, we realized we could just network our computers together and give and take as we pleased. Also we noted that we could share the one printer that had previously been solely in use by Claire's PC. Yes, we are Aggies and the Aggies are we.

Finally my degree came in handy for something. I knew that 20 grand would be worth it.

truly honored

Holy Moly! I woke up this morning and was enjoying my morning ritual of blog reading, when lo-and-behold - I saw my furniture. My sleepy eyes did a double take. I thought I had made a mistake and posted the blog twice, then I realized it wasn't my blog at all!

I feel so honored - Olga from Ginger & Gold (one of the design blogs I read) featured my furniture in one of her blogs today! I'm still in shock - I feel so special to even be mentioned by someone who does incredible work such as this Before/After:

Can you believe that transformation - with a little paint and some repurposed legs?

I've been reading her blog for several weeks...she blogs about pretty things + her own great re-do's. She's done some great things you'd never think of with upholstery tacks too!

We've only blogged six times, but already we've received mention on two of our friend's blogs...and now on Olga's - who we don't personally know. That's pretty good encouragement to keep going, and to keep trying to be creative! (:

Check out Olga's Blog:

furniture facelift(s)

When we moved from our duplex to our house last November...we changed decorating styles quite a bit (from modern to more eclectic/contemporary/transitional)...and we also upgraded in terms of square footage (by about 400ish square feet). These changes called for some 'new' and additional furniture. Instead of purchasing new, I decided I'd revamp some older pieces with a little paint and TLC.

It was definitely a process...and of course, being myself, I added several steps to the process which were useless ones that I won't do again, most likely. For instance, completely stripping pieces with a belt sander. Unnecessary - since I was painting, and on some, it did more damage than it corrected. But - oh well. The furniture is finally all finished (half a year after I began the process)...and I'm just glad to have it done.

I started with some tables I found on craigslist for the living room. We needed side tables and a coffee table. The side tables were wooden - maybe an oak-ish color, and they came from someone's mother's house. The coffee table was from a seller I often purchase things from, Michelle, and it was painted black (which I originally wanted). At some point, I decided white was better, and this is what I came up with (click on the picture to see it larger):

The tops of the end tables are completely stenciled in a pearlescent white paint. The coffee table has a more 'scattered' stencil. And...the third photo shows the tables from their sides - so you can see their bases/legs.

Once I finished the living room tables, I moved on to a chest of drawers that used to be in Golly's attic. It had a pickled-ish yellow finish, and some funny wooden knobs (which I may save for later use on another project). Here's what it looked like to begin with:

The knobs are in the baggie on the drawer. I decided for the look I was going for the chest would need something a little more fancy...a fresh coat of paint, some stenciling, new hardware, and something to line the drawers.'s the result (once again, click to make larger):

I painted the entire thing black, created a harlequin stencil for the top, found a stencil for behind the knobs (and stenciled in silver paint), and then decoupaged the drawers with sheet music. This piece is currently in our guest room, holding Chance's t-shirts.

Finally, I decided to take a swing at the nightstands I had purchased. They were going to be quite an undertaking, due to some broken pieces, the bronze hardware, and the sheer size of the two cabinets. I found these on craigslist as well, at a dentist office. The 'cane' look on the trim matches a antiqued silver mirror we have hanging on our bedroom wall, so I thought it was perfect! Here's a glimpse of the nightstand(s) before:

And here they are after:

The two pieces are finished out the same way. I painted them black and added the accents with silver and gold paint, which I sanded for an 'aged' look. The hardware, which was bronze-ish, I turned silver with Rub-n-Buff. That stuff works wonders. I did a little 'antiquing' to the hardware - which you might not be able to tell from the pictures - it's easier to tell in person. Then Chance found this wrapping paper at Target which I decoupaged to the inside of the drawers and cabinet doors. Currently, Brewster camps out in my nightstand at night. He loves his new bed!

And now...I'm taking a break from re-doing furniture. Lol. Doing all that wore me out! I'd love to try to do a few smaller pieces, but at this point, we've pretty much filled our house entirely. (:

Hope you enjoyed this, Kaki (and the rest of our curious readers)! I'm sure there will be more to come in the way of painting (although it might not be furniture next time. Probably canvases instead!)

EDIT: I didn't give Chance enough credit here. Not only did he help me pick out the wrapping paper for the nightstands, but he also graciously helped me strip a few of the pieces as well as put the paper on the cabinet doors! Couldn't have done it without him!


For those of you who don't know, He-Man now has a home...and a new name. Our good buddy from the old days of Telecommunication Media Studies at A&M....Catherine Clyburn, and her sweet fella' Jarrett Hervey adopted the little guy. He's now in College Station, living the dream with his sister, Pixl the Pomeranian Princess (her name's just Pixl, but I get carried away sometimes). And...his new name is Dr. Ruttiger Daugh, PHD.

I'm so happy he has a good home where he'll be loved on every day. But I'm not gonna say that I don't miss him. I had to fight back tears when he left. In the six short days he was here, he sorta became family. I'll miss him - but luckily we can see him whenever we want now - any time we go to College Station!

Thanks again C & J. It means a ton to me that y'all were willing to help him out...and us. (:

vegetables = vegetables

The diet: woman’s daily challenge, man’s worst enemy, natures’ cruelest joke. Once upon a time men, women, children, and dogs ate what they wanted, they might have had a little extra meat on their bones, yet they stayed warm in the winter. They didn’t have organic eggs, soy milk, almond milk, all natural, unprocessed, and fat free foods. What they had was meat. Meat, potatoes, bread, and whole milk, and they were happy. Now fast forward 50-100 years and you enter the Patrick household.

Day 1, circa Sept. 9th 2008, there is no meat in sight, no milk, no beverages other than water and herbal tea. There is the option for vegetables with fruit or fruit with, you guessed it, vegetables. Mind you there are no sauces, salts, pre-made seasonings, ketchup, condiments, or moisture to be added to your vegetables either. You can put some tomato paste in with your squash and zucchini in hopes that all of it combined will create enough moisture to make it palatable.

Somehow, before this time of vegetables, my lovely wife convinced me to do a 21 day Detox diet with her. A lot of our friends have been doing different versions of the same diet and all have said they felt better afterward. Well, our eating habits aren’t necessarily poor, but they could be improved. So we thought we would give it a shot. Our main goal is to lose weight and feel better. My motivation is to support Claire, because I am a bad influence when it comes to food, and to get my blood pressure down. Claire’s goals are to lose weight, to cut out/back on caffeine, and feel better in a general health sense.

Just a quick run down on what we could eat day 1-10. We are allowed vegetables, fruits (berries, kiwis, lemons, limes, and granny smith apples only), some FEM supplement, almond milk, and nuts (No peanuts, however). Yeah, that’s it for 10 days. It’s fine the first 1-3 days. Then you get hungry. Then day 5-8 everything starts to taste the same. Day 9 and 10 you just decide you don’t want to eat because everything tastes the same. Keep in mind this is my perspective, not Claire’s. Day 11 precious, precious eggs become available in this torture we call a diet. Chicken, fish, lean and organic meats become available as well as goat & feta cheese. So maybe we can survive 10 more days with a little variety.

So to go along with everything tasting the same you have to come up with some creative cooking. Such as “Mushroom Pizza.” Maybe it looks appetizing and tastes decent, but it still comes out tasting like vegetables with more vegetables. When you eat veggies at a restaurant they are smothered in butter and salt. One tends not to think about this until you are on a unseasoned vegetable diet.

I say all this sarcastically, but really, it has been a good challenge for both of us. Many nights we talked about the foods we long for but so far have both been really good and only eaten what we are allowed. So the next 10 days with a little protein should be easy. As much as I enjoyed Claire cooking her vegetable stir fry,

I look forward to some fish and chicken. We both think we have lost about 7 pounds thus far. Neither of us have had any caffeine, salt, or meat. So maybe there is something to it. I am glad we have done it but can’t wait to go enjoy a cold Dr. Pepper and some enchiladas. 10 days to go. Wish us luck.

20 months in less than 2000 words (aka: from mexico to mexicans)

Well, we promised you a recap. We probably shouldn’t have done that because…well…goodness knows how long a year and 2/3rds recap can be…and how hard it can be to recall everything.

Oh well – we promised, and you’re gonna get it. And…it may be long – but I’ll try to sum it up as succinctly as possible…which we all know – won’t happen.

Ready? Ok.

We’ll start at the wedding. We got married January 6, 2007, in Tyler. That’s another story in itself – but, needless to say – we ended up married. Woo hoo!

After our first night in Dallas, we spent the rest of our honeymoon in Playa del Carmen, Mexico at the Aventura Spa Palace Resort. It pretty much WAS a palace. It was awesome. All the food we could eat, all the drinks we could drink, and a full-blown hot tub in the room. We met some new friends there too. Good stuff.

Unfortunately when we got back to Texas we got hit with the sickness (you know, the kind that comes from drinking sodas with ice in the Mexican airport). I got it first, and Chance got it second. And that’s how we spent the first 48 hours or so in our duplex.

Once we healed and the ice from the ice storm had melted…we started our lives in the ‘real world’. Chance had been hired at Landscapes USA just a few weeks prior to the wedding in a sales/tech monkey position, and I started working for my stepbro Eric at, writing articles about fish. Fish and cats. We also started going to Southwest Family Fellowship (our church) and met a bunch of cool kids (who we like to call our friends).

I eventually took a job at Maggie ‘n’ Me – a kids’ interior design company in South Austin. I truly loved the ladies I worked for. Things were going well…

And then we met Freddie, the Border Collie. I decided one day to go photograph pups at the animal shelter here, and I happened to stumble upon one who grabbed my heart.

Chance met him and, after a little convincing, loved him too. When we got Freddie he was sick with kennel cough – really bad…but we thought we could ‘heal’ him. The healing process was incredibly long, but he eventually got better, like 2 months later.

Also, it rained the entire month of May.

Mid-summer, Freddie got hurt. I had taken another job assisting a photographer (so, I was working 3 jobs at the time)…and was gone shooting a wedding. Chance was home playing fetch with Freddie and Brewster (our dachshund), when a dead rosebush went through Freddie’s leg and tore the tendons. He had to go to the Emergency Animal Clinic and have surgery. To make a REALLY long story short, after 2 vets, 2 e-collars, 30 trips to the clinic, 200 bandages, and some water therapy…Freddie still needed plenty of time to heal.

He was injured. Injured baaad . {For all its worth, he finally did become famous when this photo was included in Austin Monthly Magazine}

Sometime in the aftermath, I quit Maggie ‘n’ Me. For various reasons, I just couldn’t continue working there – although part of me really wanted to, and still wants to. It just wasn’t feasible.

I also got super sick, and continued to get sick. I was sick at least 6 times in 2007. And I don’t mean minor 2 day cold things. Nope. Sick.

And…Chance quit Landscapes USA – also for a lot of reasons – and was hired at Bill Miller BBQ as a Manager in training.

And…I quit my photographer’s assistant position. After the scare with Freddie…it just wasn’t worth it. [edit: I didn't technically 'quit' - more like 'phased it out']

In October, we began a house search. By then, Freddie’s leg had healed, but his paw pad was splitting – just another fun doggie drama situation. The house search was quite quick. Our realtor, Candace Christiansen, is amazing. After a couple of weeks of research on neighborhoods, and seeing 3 houses, we found our home. Technically, ours was the second house we looked at, on our first and only day truly ‘house shopping’. We moved in at the beginning of November and haven’t looked back. It’s only about 8 minutes from our old duplex, so it made moving fairly easy.

Thanksgiving was interesting, due to Chance’s new work schedule. We didn’t get to go to either of our homes, but we went to Chance’s Aunt Ann’s instead. And it was a TON of fun with lots of good food and family. It was nice.

I decided to get my thyroid tested, with all the sickness/fatigue/etc going on…something had to be up.

Christmas was also the same crazy yet cool phenomenon. Chance had to work on Christmas Eve, so we decided to start a new tradition (which technically won’t be a tradition until we do it again next year, right?). We opened our gifts to each other (and our stockings from Chance’s mom) by our beautiful little tree on Christmas Eve after Chance got off work. Afterwards…we went to Kerby Lane for some breakfast (around midnight). It was yummy and tradition-worthy. The next morning we set out for Tyler. Chance rode back to Austin that night with our friends Charlie and Emily (an adventure, from what I hear), and I stayed on in Tyler for a week.

We celebrated our first married New Year’s Eve in Austin at the home of the aforementioned Charlie and Emily.

In January, Chance had to do the end of his management training in San Antonio, so we took that as an opportunity for an anniversary trip. He had two weeks of training there, so I went in the middle of it for several days and we enjoyed getting to know the city. It was very relaxing, and involved substantial amounts of good food.

At the end of his training, Chance was promoted to 2nd Associate Manager.

I started taking thyroid meds. Woo hoo!

March brought with it South By Southwest (SXSW) – the giant annual music/film/interactive festival. And this one was the best yet – for so many reasons. We were able to go with our friends (those cool church kids plus a few special others), and we got to see some of our friends play. We also had the opportunity to attend some of our ‘favorite shows ever’, as well as meet some new key people in our lives. It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but one of the high points for sure. So many inside jokes…so many friends…so much music. Perfection – but perhaps only because I am the schedule master and plotted out all of the free shows and food during the weeks prior. Yes, I am good.

During April, Chance was in Seguin for an entire Month. He came home every once in a while, but never stayed long. He was helping them open a new Bill Miller there. April did have its high points though, like the Weiner Dog Races in Buda. ‘Nuff said.

Then, everything fell apart again. Or…Freddie’s Intestines did. They had BEEN falling apart since approximately about the time his paw pad started to heal, but it wasn’t overwhelming til spring. That’s when he started puking and didn’t stop. We took him to our vet (vet #2), and it turned out our vet had left the practice and following an overnight stay at the emergency clinic, lots of xrays and fluids, the other vets couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. Fred’s nausea quit for a bit then started again. We finally went to vet #3, they did exploratory surgery (after x rays and a sonogram), and found that a rubber object had been lodged in his intestine. We’re still not quite sure what it was or how long it had been there, but I suspect it was a chunk of a toy that I had taken away from them in December or so, due to the fact that they were ‘tearing it up’. I neglected to note where the missing portion of the toy was – and it was apparently in Fred’s intestine. Lodged. Causing part of it to die, and another part to puncture. They had to cut out a good deal of his intestine. But at least it was the end of puke stains on the carpet in our new house.

Things started looking up again when Chance was promoted to 1st Associate Manager. To celebrate (well, not really, but let’s pretend), we went on a tubing trip with the Deckers and the Hensons. Floating the Comal was one of the few things on our summer ‘to do’ list that actually got done – and done well. The trip was pretty dang fun.

In the midst of a light-hearted blog, it’s hard to write about something so…hard. I’ll just do it quickly. – Chance’s dad, Barry, was diagnosed with cancer in his lung, brain, and leg. We found out about it at the end of April, and Chance took a trip to visit him in AZ. In July, post floating trip, we traveled to AZ together to see him again, and August 10th he passed away – after a really hard battle and a ton of treatment. Countless blogs could be written about Chance’s dad and how amazing he was and how nice the memorial was and how much we miss him, but just the facts for now.

When we came home from the memorial, Chance was promoted to General Manager – and moved to the store nearest our home. And that brings us to this month…in which so far we’ve sold Chance’s truck (to some soliciting landscapers), and started this blasted diet.

The diet, my friends, ohhhh – that gets a blog to itself.

dogs are evacuees too

Sometimes plans change on us. Today was one of those days. As of Sunday, I planned to wake up around 10, have a smoothie (more on that later), make a few phone calls to repairmen for the house, eat some lunch, and then start working on cleaning out the garage. We might possibly throw in a movie at the end of the night but that was up in the air. Well At around 12pm, I glance out the front door and see a dog chasing a car down the street. Being curious I step outside and see if I can get the dog to come over to me. Reluctantly at first, then exuberantly after that he chases me down. I wanted to see if I could get close enough to befriend him, read his tags, and return him to his home that presumably contained him and stopped him from chasing 2 ton killing machines down the road.

Well wouldn’t you know the luck, NO TAGS. Let me take a brief intermission and get on a soapbox. WHY do people not tag their dogs? They are magicians, escape masters, and they can wiggle a 50 pound body through a 6” by 6” hole. Please tag your dogs for when they do escape someone like us can return them to you. Anyways, the thought crossed my mind to go inside, let the dog go on his merry way, and pretend it never happened. Unfortunately this dog pulled on my heartstrings, he was cute, and I told Claire to come out and see him. That’s mistake number one. Claire immediately falls in love. (Mind you, this is dog number 3 that this has happened with). Being the Good Samaritan she is we set off with dog in tow to ask all the neighbors if they know who the dog belongs to. No luck there either. We take He-Man (that’s what I decided to call him during his brief stint at the Patrick house) to the vet to see if he is micro-chipped. No luck again. At home once again Claire proceeds to make out posters about a found dog and post ads on Craigslist. As of 10:15 tonight we have no responses.

So this is a call out to all of you our new, loyal, and dog loving readers. Please let us know if you would be interested in adopting He-man (you can change his name if you must). We really would like to give him to a good home rather than take him to Town Lake Animal Shelter. We can’t keep him ourselves more than a day or two, Freddie doesn’t like him much.

So we could really use your help to spread the word and pictures to friends that you think might be interested in adopting him.

blog numero uno...

Holy Cow. Like 5 hours later and I'm blogging.

Chance and I have been wanting a blog for some time...but I've been busy painting furniture and getting the house together - and he's been busy working. I was DETERMINED to get a wordpress blog and do it all myself - all the coding - all the prettiness - all that jazz. I thought blogger was a cop-out...and if I were a REAL designer, I'd make it happen on wordpress.

Clearly, that did not happen.

We finally got around to creating this guy today, due to a change in evening plans. And...I gave up on the wordpress idea. Unfortunately, I can't remember any code...anything Robert Adam taught me. Nothing. So we had to settle for the time being. Perhaps someday I can beg James to make a wordpress blog for us. Or maybe someday I'll reteach myself CSS. But until then...this'll have to do.

We're excited about joining the blogosphere...we read so many of our friends' blogs, and now maybe they can keep up with us. We let our old url ( go for now...but maybe someday we'll repurchase it to make keeping up with us easier. But for now...bookmark this - or subscribe to the feed - cuz we'll be here a while!

Pretty soon we'll be posting a recap (or two) of the past year and a half of our lives (since we've been married)! Then we'll move forward to our day-to-day lives...and talk about...well, whatever we want!

Pardon my random elipses (...) and bizarre punctuation. I guess you'll have to get used to it (and Chance's spelling). (: --- And my backwards smileys. You'll get the hang of it.

For now, I bid you adieu.

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