Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Wanna see my raccoons?

If you listen to the podcast, then you have already heard the story of my squirrel infestation in the attic followed by the subsequent raccoon infiltration. Thankfully, all attic critters seem to have been captured and evicted, but I thought you might enjoy seeing some pics of the process. 

These first pics are of the mama who was quite large at around 20 pounds.

This is of the baby, a yearling who was around 10-12 pounds. He came out of the attic about 24 hours after the mama because he got hot and hungry. 

Both of the raccoons were released into the wild in a nearby town around 100 miles away. Hopefully, that's far enough that they don't return to Casa Lowder. 

When I returned to the USA last week, you can imagine how surprised I was to see a large fox loping through my front yard. A neighbor snapped this photo of said fox whom I've nicknamed Tod (bonus points for recognizing that reference).

Considering I live within the city limits in a neighborhood just off a main thoroughfare, the amount and variety of wildlife I'm encountering is a bit surprising. And y'all wonder why I don't spend more time outside here at home. Between the high heat, miserable humidity, overzealous mosquitoes, and audacious wildlife, I think it's safer indoors.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

10 Things I Miss - volume 3

After spending a little more than seven weeks abroad, I can tell you I'm starting to look forward to being home again. There are a few things about the USA that I've really missed and will look forward to when I get home. They aren't huge things, just little things that I take for granted when I'm at home. (And I'm not listing people, hello, because this post is about stuff; there's a difference between the two, eh?)

1. Sitting in comfortable chairs pretty much everywhere I go; it's like Europeans are afraid to get too comfy or something, even in their own homes

2. Changing out my purse to suit my outfit and mood vs. selection based on theft deterrent and having just one choice with me 

3. Top sheets because sometimes I need just a sheet when it's hot, but no cover at all feels wrong; can we talk about this whole duvet thing while we're at it?

4. Buying what I want without worrying about luggage overages and shipping constraints

5. Soft toilet paper, 'nuff said

6. Most of the tv channels being in English because it's disappointing when Sheldon Cooper is speaking German

7. Unlimited soft drink with ice refills; I always feel dehydrated after spending much time in Europe

8. Using a soft, fresh towel and washcloth each day instead of making one rough towel last a whole week (ick!)

9. Surfing online with no thought to data overages or wifi accessibility 

10. Playing with my scrapbooking supplies and other artsy things; I'm itching to create some beautiful things

Give me a few weeks at home, and I'm sure I'll be thinking about my next big adventure. For now, I'll just focus on the things I'm looking forward to at home. Although I love to travel, there's always something magical about coming home to your space and your people!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Possibly the coolest store I've ever visited - Raw Materials in Amsterdam

On a whim, Tonia and I stopped into this interesting looking store as we set out for our first full day in Amsterdam. I am so glad that we did! It is quite possibly the coolest store I've ever visited in my life, and I don't say that lightly.

Take a look at some of the delicious photos I took as we browsed around:

All of the sales clerks spoke English very well and were helpful but not overpowering. They even explained the shipping process to us in case we wanted to buy something large and/or bulky. I was impressed at how friendly and kind they all were. In fact, my sales clerk even wrapped up the item I bought after I told her it was a gift for myself. She said I deserved a pretty package to open when I got home. (How cute, right?!)  Before I left, they even gave me a Dutch design magazine and some postcards that they offer as their business cards. I almost refused the magazine since I don't read Dutch, but the clerk implored me to take it because the photographs were so inspiring in it. How did she know the way to my heart? I mean, I carried that heavy magazine around for the next ten hours, so I hope it was worth it. I could imagine myself decoupaging items from it on some crafty project, so I hope I can bring that image to life somehow. Haha!

I drooled over and caressed these cushion covers (and matching plant bags) for a ridiculously long time but just couldn't justify the suitcase space they would've taken up if I'd bought some. Sigh. I kind of already regret that.

Of course, this is just a sampling of their fabulous displays and items for sale. It was three floors of shopping with multiple rooms that just kept winding around in the building space. Every time I turned a corner, it was like stumbling onto another treasure trove. It sort of reminded me of a World Market meets Country Living kind of place except I think some of the furniture was truly old and not just reproduction pieces.

And, yes, before you ask, I did buy a little something, something. I'll share my purchases with you all when I get home from my European adventure. Suffice it to say that I adore the little treat I bought myself and could have easily spent thousands of euros in this store if money and shipping were no object. Yes, they do have an online store too. If you'd like to check it out, visit them at http://www.rawmaterials.nl/. It was a totally dreamy place, man. I wanted pretty much everything in the whole store.

**No kickbacks or sponsorships led to this particular blog post; I spent about 30 euros in the shop, but they don't know I'm alive otherwise. ;)

Monday, July 3, 2017

Videos from Budapest, Vienna, and Prague

I've been posting videos about my experiences in the European cities I've been visiting since my trip with students ended. If you haven't checked out what I had to say about Budapest, Vienna, and Prague, I hope you'll click the links here and watch/listen. There are a few funny stories and maybe an insight or two. :)

(And on a side note, why does YouTube always choose the weirdest facial clip of me for the video preview? I mean, these are hilarious!)

I'll be checking in with videos from other cities soon!

Friday, June 16, 2017

100 Days Project - Sketching Days 26-55

I thought I'd flip through my sketchbook and share days 26-55 with you. I haven't kept up exactly on pace and have had to go back and finish up some sketches later in the project than I should, and I haven't been posting on Instagram since I've been traveling with students. For those reasons, I thought it might be fun to show you the progress I've made via a short video. Take a look if you're so inclined!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The 100-Day Project - days 14-34

These aren't posting in numerical order even though I've tried a couple of times - my apologies. Hopefully, you care more about seeing the sketches than whether they're truly in chronological order or not. Right? Am I right? Here's a look at days 14-34. (At least I think I managed to add all of them - whew, blogger is giving me fits today for some reason.) I hope you enjoy checking out my sketch results. :)