Such a perfect day.

After going back and forth a little bit regarding my new home, the balance was decisively tipped yesterday in favor of Pensacola. I like it here.

Reasons included:

  • Driving 20 minutes and arriving in places that we have never been before.
  • Discovering Navarre (= perfect little beachy community of condos and pastel rental houses on stilts).
  • Discovering Navarre beach (= white sand, little dunes, and blue/green waves).
  • Looking out my window and seeing a pod of dolphins splashing around. DOLPHINS, people. In the wild.
  • Watching them for 15 minutes.
  • Fantasizing about renting a house on the beach for Christmas one year and inviting the whole family.
  • Watching Brideshead Revisited at a newly-discovered cinema in Gulf Breeze that shows art films and cheap 2nd run movies.
  • Deciding that we wanted to try fish tacos and finding the perfect Baja restaurant on the boardwalk at Pensacola Beach.
  • Fish tacos = delicious.
  • Beach sunsets = gorgeous.
  • Walking out on the dock after dark and being blown by the warm wind.
  • Hanging out with friends who don’t mind that we show up at 9:30 pm because we turned the cell phone  off and forgot to check messages.

After moping a bit about the fabulous Pacific Northwest, it was good to be reminded that Florida is pretty special, too.

A blue + brown bedroom.

The good news is that it doesn’t look as though Hurricane Gustav is headed our way, so our provisional plans for hurricane weathering and/or evacuation (along with all the associated chaos) have been put on hold. I’m sure it will rain a lot, but that’s hardly out of the ordinary down here.

The bad news is that we found out first cockroach IN the apartment last night. I looked up from the couch and was pretty sure that I saw something black scuttle across the carpet, but Josh poked around a little and couldn’t find anything. Fifteen minutes later, the dog was busy with something in the same vicinity. It seems that she found the cockroach and somehow flipped it on it’s back before deciding that it wasn’t edible. [Note: the dog’s entire expenses and her presence in the household have now been completely vindicated.] Given the cockroach’s incapacitated state, we were able to easily trap it under a cup and send it flying to the great outdoors. Before this seems too humane, contemplate the mess it would make to squish a 2.5 inch bug on your carpet. Ugh. I am deeply hoping that it was a Lone Ranger and not the type that travels in packs. Cockroaches can’t bite, can they?

In other news, I “finished” one room in the apartment this week: the bedroom. The bathroom is not far off and the dining room is in decent shape, but I’m still missing some art in the living room and kitchen. Some of this has been held up by my freaking Paypal account, which was unnecessarily suspended a few weeks back and which I have not yet been able to restart due to failing a couple of the proof-of-identity checks since I just moved and didn’t update my phone number, address, etc. in time. Sigh. I started a new one but am still fixing all the Etsy-related details, which means that I haven’t opened up my shop yet. Well, that and my general boycott of the computer. Nothing makes me feel like I am at work like sitting in front of the computer. Must try to disassociate the two.

Enough rambling, though…how about some photos of the bedroom? It’s not particularly well-lit (there is only one small window) so I opened up the back door for these shots, which make it seem brighter than it is. I am proud to say that I assembled the West Elm bed frame all by myself, but unfortunately it is a little lower quality than I had hoped. The dresser is my prized craigslist find, and the night stands were originally purchased at a flea market in Uniontown, WA (doesn’t “I found these at a flea market” have a nice ring to it?). Unfortunately, the bedroom is not particularly wide and I can’t fit a nightstand on both sides of our enormous bed. I was not very happy when I figured this out. As a result, one is temporarily standing next to the dresser and I am looking for a standing lamp to go on the right side of the bed, since the left side has to have a white noise/cooling fan right next to husband’s head.

All that to say, this furniture arrangement is the best I can do for now but I am hoping to move a few things around when we move to a bigger place someday. I’m still pretty happy with the way it is now, though — don’t navy blue and brown make a nice combination?

Looking through the hallway door.

The Beans, modeling next to our new bed frame.

My little art display.

Encaustic painting on the right by Amy Ruppel; gocco on left by Yoo-ii.

The blue painting on the right is one I brought back from Azerbaijan, and the Mark Kozalek screenprinted poster is by The Small Stakes. The wall hanging above the bed is a piece of stretched Marimekko fabric.

Yes, we have a lot of perfume and cologne.

The view from our cement patio.

This is boring…I’d better check my (empty) bowl one more time to make sure the cockroaches haven’t stolen my food.

I’ve been a bad, bad blogger.

Sorry about that, folks. (Er, Tim in particular.) I have had “write blog post; include photos” on my agenda for days and it somehow managed not to happen. Before I get into the reasons, though, I am going to pop my photos in here so I don’t run out of time.

Things to keep in mind: this was the situation about two weeks ago, before we had any furniture except our bed. And let me tell you, eating, reading, and checking your email on the floor gets old fast. This motivated us to come up with a couch by the end of the week, and we picked up most of the rest of our furniture at a big BIG trip to Ikea last Saturday. So, the apartment doesn’t look like this anymore but I’m going to wait until it’s “done” to show the current status. Hopefully we will have reached equilibrium by the middle of next week, so I won’t wait so long to make the next installment.

Without further ado, I present the new Chez Gibbs

(living room/office)

(dining area / hallway)

(kitchen, left)

(kitchen, right)


(looks like we won the lottery for the world’s ugliest bathroom cabinet, eh?)


(bed with new Anthropologie duvet cover — 75% off!)

(new-to-me Heywood Wakefield dresser)

As you can tell, Bean likes to be where the action is. One morning, as I was unpacking our kitchen, she sat on the carpet chewing a bone a facing me in the living room. I brought a pile of things to kitchen and noticed that she was now facing me next to the sink. And then I walked back to the box and noticed that she was facing the living room again. It turned out that, as I walked back and forth, she scooted her bone and her little furry body so that she was facing me where I went, even if I was only there for like 30 seconds. Yup, she can’t stand to miss a thing, even if all those things are boring.

Back to the apartment, though. As you can tell, it’s not a particularly bright or character-filled space and the profusion of fugly carpet is inescapable. (Gotta love that mottled brown.) I should mention, however, that in my haste to blog I did not edit any of the pics and things do look a little better than they seem. It’s reasonably big and has nice closets and a linen cupboard where I have managed to stuff almost all of my art, craft, and Etsy supplies out of site. (Although it is a REALLY good thing that we downsized before moving. Even now, we continue weeding through our stuff yet again and finding things that we just don’t need to keep.) Due to significant kitchen rescaling, I am happy to say that ALL of our housewares actually fit in the cupboards provided. Gasp! I am so used to overflowing onto the counters and other shelves that I was quite surprised — and thrilled —  when I made this discovery.

I can still see about 5 boxes as I sit here at our temporary desk/table (long story; will tell you later) so the unpacking isn’t entirely finished. But we have planted the seeds of a home and just need to do a little weeding, watering and waiting until it’s presentable to our friends. And, excitingly, we do have friends to have over. Every time I think that Pensacola might not be the greatest place, I remind myself that the people matter more than the location. Because the people here are just plain amazing. In the past weeks, we have received a place to spend the night, help moving boxes, a kitchen full of groceries, numerous lunch/dinner/dessert invitations, the loan of a giant truck to visit the Atlanta Ikea, and heaps and heaps of other kindnesses. The people at husband’s new school have bent over backward to welcome us, and we are so very grateful.

Must go, but I won’t wait so long for the next post. I have gotten out of the habit of being online, and it’s not something I’m eager to resume very often (in fact, I feel rather resentful when I have to look at a computer anymore). But I don’t like feeling so out of touch with friends + fam, so I will get better.

I miss you all, Pullman + Moscow friends.

Belated highlights.

It seems very odd that we drove into Pensacola a week ago today (in the pouring rain, I  should add — we could barely see the “Welcome to the Sunshine State!” sign). Without the regularity of going to work every day, time has been moving in strange fits and starts. But we just got internet access today and a substantial amount of unpacking is complete, so I am working to establish a new state of normalcy.

Unspectacular pics of the new, practically furniture-less apartment will be coming soon for the family members who have hinted very strongly that they would like to see them. I still haven’t developed my film yet…must find a new photo shop that does good black & white work.

In the meantime, I  present some belated trip highlights from a list that husband and I put together as we drove through the last bits of Louisiana and Alabama en route to our new home. In case you ever decide to drive across the country, at least you’ll know some of what to expect…

In no particular order:

  • total miles travelled: 3672
  • lowest temperature: 58 deg F (northern Oregon)
  • highest temperature: 109 deg F (western Arizona)
  • top speed limit: 80 mph (western Texas)
  • top speed: 94 mph (western Texas)
  • number of speeding tickets: 0
  • number of flat tires: 0
  • most states visited in one day: 4 (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida)
  • worst traffic: Los Angeles
  • best traffic: parts of Texas
  • most expensive gas: $4.69/gallon (California)
  • cheapest gas: $3.51/gallon (Mississippi)
  • grossest gas station restroom: Kent, TX
  • most Americana moment: listening to “Sweet Home Alabama” on the speakers at  a gas station in Cheneyville, LA
  • most expensive car sighted: Aston Martin (Coto de Caza, CA)
  • most eco-conscious: Menlo Park, CA
  • least eco-conscious: The South
  • most interesting/amusing place names: Weed, CA; Crumpton, CA; Truth or Consequences, NM
  • tourist attraction which we most wanted to visit  but couldn’t: UFO Museum, Roswell, NM
  • weirdest natural occurrence: hundreds of dead beetles on the  ground near our hotel in Willcox,  TX
  • most interesting plants: Saguaro cactus and yucca
  • most interesting man-made landscape: wind farm outside Palm Springs, CA
  • most interesting building: Getty Museum (Los Angeles)
  • longest bridge: Atchafalaya swamp causeway (Louisiana)
  • biggest river: Mississippi
  • closest we got to a foreign country: about 1/4 mile (El Paso, TX)
  • best food: blackened catfish at The Blind Tiger (Shreveport, LA)
  • best present: mp3 player full of This American Life from  Uncle Ted
  • most driving: Joshua
  • most dj’ing: Paula
  • most patient dog ever: Sabina

Reporting live from Pensacola, Florida.

We arrived on Thursday night but internet has been nill since then. Hope to change that soon. For now, suffice it to say that we’re here, the trip was good, and the thousands of bad things that could have happened to us didn’t.

[Oh, and why is it that you can find tons of great furniture at a thrift store when you are about to move but can only come up with a few plates when you would really like a nice chair or a sofa? We went furniture shopping this morning with spectacularly poor results.]

Miss you, Moscow friends + family.