Thursday, December 22, 2011

Don't cry over spilt milk

I like my coffee with milk.  I suppose you'd call it cafe-au-lait.  I've also weaned myself from coffee shops.  This is not to say I don't like coffee shops-- I do.  I love the cozy atmosphere, the music, the local paper -- the whole shebang.  But I can't quite justify the expense.  Thus I make most of my coffee at home.

We have a little hand held frother and we heat our milk on the stove.  We used to heat our milk in the microwave.  But our microwave broke and I am steadfastly refusing to replace it.  Appliances should last more than three years.  Period.  And we can live without.

But this means milk on the stove.  And invariably I forget the milk is on the stove and it boils over.  Thus we are also invariably cleaning the stove.

Today I raced into the kitchen and the milk had formed a big bubble, a dam, over the top.  I grabbed it and tried to pour it into my mug.  Alas the bubble dam burst and scorching milk poured all over my hand.  Oi!  Now there is a particularly shiny spot on my finger.  I'm waiting for it to blister.

Why am I telling you this?  Because it seems par for the course. Everything is just a little bit off this season.

I've missed my shipping deadline for family gifts.  They'll be there in time for new years.  I have a plethora of excuses -- dizziness (did any one at bunko see me stumbling last night?  I wasn't drunk -- simply dizzy.), an extra child for the week (and then there were four), work (this isn't really an excuse as I've had the last week off).

The truth of the matter is I could have had my gifts done and in the mail. But, it seems, I am only in the mood for knitting.  Thus I've invented *necessary* knitting projects.

The kids' dentist had triplets?  Well clearly they need hats.  Three of them.  Now.

My friend is in the hospital?  Obviously a scarf is in order.  Tout suite.

The repetitive nature of knitting is drawing me in; keeping me grounded in what is turn out to be an interesting holiday season.

At the moment I am looking forward to the new year.  A chance to wipe the slate clean and start anew.   In the meantime I'll get to those gifts and won't cry over spilt milk (even when it's scorching hot).  After all life is what it is.


Monday, December 19, 2011

She Travels with Goats.

This past weekend we loaded up the car with three kids, two adults and one goat.  Buttercup went to her forever home near Portland, Or.  She did amazingly well in the car.  Most of the mess was contained on her comforter and no seat belts were eaten (for this my mother will be particularly grateful).

Buttercup is now living with two other goats in the gorgeous pasture above.  It was a fun little trip and I'm glad we got to do our part to help this sweet girl.

And, as always, I loved driving through the country fantasizing about goats and pastures of our own.  Someday.  Someday.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Strange days indeed ...

Well this has been an interesting week to say the least.  A close friend of mine has become ill and been diagnosed with bi-polar disease.  She is getting some long overdue help and for that I am tremendously grateful.

In fact I am grateful for a good many things.

  • I am grateful for my messy house and my healthy kids.
  • I am grateful for two vertigo free days -- days in which my presence was needed and I was able to provide.
  • I am grateful for my husband who was "on-call" should I start spinning.
  • I am grateful to my teenage son who is willing to go on errands with his mother.
  • I am grateful to people who are willing to rescue, nurse and house a stray goat.
  • I am grateful for the husbands who put up with these "goat people".  
  • I am grateful for the wonderful haphazard lights on our Christmas tree -- they provide much needed cheer in these dark days (literal and figural).
  • I am grateful for a quick weekend getaway. 
  • I am grateful for friends; people who are willing to drop everything and help at a moment's notice. 
  • I am grateful for forgiveness*. 
  • I am grateful for love.  

* I am full of forgiveness -- for myself and my friend and all of us who are treading on this crazy path.  Perfection is over-rated.  

These are strange days indeed.  Most peculiar momma.  


Monday, December 12, 2011

Two Weeks Until Christmas (whoo boy!)

Taken with my NEW iphone!

Two weeks remain until Christmas.  Two!  And I am behind.  Not only am I behind but I'm taking on additional projects.  Yesterday I knit a baby hat for a neighbor (the little guy is having surgery tomorrow and I simply couldn't let him go to the hospital without his very own hand knit).

And I'm knitting a horai scarf.  My picture doesn't do it justice. Click the link.  This, too, is a gift.  A long time nurse at my allergist's office is retiring just before the holiday.  I've seen her every two weeks for the past five years; clearly she deserves a going away present.

Today I'm also hoping to finish the gifts for my nieces and nephews and get those in the mail.  This means some sewing and cooking up playdough.

I also have a package to ship and a camera (a super cool SX 70 model 2 polaroid) to list in the shop.  C'mon sales!  Santa could use a bump in his Christmas fund.  

Speaking of Santa yesterday we finally got our tree.  It's a family tradition -- we pick up a permit from the forest service and cut one down ourselves.  Our trees are always a little haphazard.  A tad imperfect and oh so right.

I've also made our annual holiday greeting -- a slide show of the year.  In years past I've burned DVDs and mailed them out.  This year we are streamlining and going digital.


Now I'd best get to it.  If I can get all out of town presents made, packaged and shipped this week things will be good.

Note to self:  start getting ready for the holidays earlier next year (as in January).  Yes.  That would be an excellent idea.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Meniere's Update

A lovely flower from a grateful client

I am back with another update on my meniere's disease.  Please forgive me.  I don't mean to blather on and bore you to tears.  But I need to keep a journal of my symptoms and the way my house functions a hard copy journal would disappear.  So bear with me.  Skip over this post if need be.  I'll be back with crafty updates soon.

Over the weekend I felt GREAT.  As in 100% normal.  As in I was a perfectly capable and well human being.  As in I could HEAR. This is also remarkable as I was in the midst of working (last week I logged 65 hours in seven days; three night shifts and two day shifts).  No tinnitus or dizziness or head fog.

Work was busy and I had a surgery to perform (a GDV on a dog).  I made an effort to appreciate the experience.  If this disease continues (especially if it worsens) I'll no longer be able to perform surgery.

Fast forward to Tuesday, my first day off work.  The tinnitus in my left ear returned (why does it always come back when I have days off?).

Then yesterday.  Yesterday Middle and I went to get allergy shots (I've been getting them for five years so this is nothing new).  After shots we went to pick Little up from dance class.  We were nearly there when my tinnitus increased.  Not only did it increase but I had it in both ears.  This seems to be my warning sign that a vertigo attack is impending.

I spent a good 30 seconds trying to convince myself I was imagining the tinnitus; that it was simply a sound my car was making.  Then I spent another 30 seconds inwardly chanting I will not have an attack, I will not have an attack.  Then I had an attack.

Fortunately we were nearly there.  I was able to pull over in the dance parking lot. The actual vertigo portion was relatively short-lived (maybe 45 seconds).  Middle went in to get Little and I sat in the car waiting to see what was going to happen next.  My head was foggy, I was a little off balance but felt okay so long as I didn't quickly turn my head from side to side.  I was able to drive home.

The upside?  No real nausea and no vomiting.  Seriously.  This is a very good thing.

Now, as I type, I feel slightly off balance (even though I'm sitting in a chair).  I again feel as if I'm on a boat -- swaying slightly back and forth.  Not like I'm going to fall over, just slightly off balance.

So here are the dilemmas (and there are a multitude of them).

  •  Do I keep driving?  For now, for me, the answer is yes.  I seem to have fair warning before and impending attack and should be able to pull over.  Of course if I'm feeling particularly off balance then I won't drive.  If I start having drop attacks then driving might be out.  
  • Do I allow other people's children in my car?  On a good day, a day without tinnitus,  yes.  When my ear is ringing - no.  It's just not a good idea.  
  • Should I get a cell phone?  Yes.  I probably should.  There may be a time in the future when I need someone to come pick me up.  
  • Was this caused by my allergy shots?  Who the heck knows.  Certainly the tinnitus preceded the injections but they could have pushed things over the edge.  Allergy shots are recommended for people with meniere's as it is thought to reduce overall body inflammation. 
  • How is this going to affect my ability to work?  Thus far I've had one mild vertigo episode at work.  I was able to lay down and it passed.  If these episodes become more frequent and more severe they will be a problem.  If I'm having tinnitus and have to go into surgery I may have to have someone on call.  Someone to come in should things go south.  This doesn't make me feel particularly capable. 
  • Can we save enough money to get us by should these attacks get worse?  Good question.  We certainly don't have that three months pay set aside (the amount of time until disability would kick in). 
  • At what point would my disability insurance consider me disabled?  Now I am working and functioning.  But has this been sheer luck?  My attacks have happened mostly during my off hours.
  • How much is work, and my schedule, affecting this disease?  I don't know.  I'm sure a lack of sleep does not help. 
  • How long would it take and how difficult would it be to file a disability claim?  I have no idea.  I'm not ready to file a claim just yet but am wondering and worrying about the future. 
  • When do I notify my disability insurance about an impending problem?  Again I have no idea.  
And there you have it.  More questions than answers. 

Tomorrow I have another doctor's appointment at the ENT.  This time with the meniere's specialist.  Truth-be-told I feel silly going.  There is not much they can do.  I'm capable of reading up on this disease on my own.  But, again, I want documentation should things get worse. 

For now I'll just appreciate things as they are.  Appreciate my ability to work.  Appreciate driving. Appreciate walking.  And it looks like that cell phone I've been wanting but haven't quite been able to justify is also in my future.  I'm going to have fun with that too.  


Monday, December 5, 2011

What's up Buttercup?

I made a house call this morning to draw blood on our clinic's stray/rescue pygmy goat -- Buttercup.  She's been tucked neatly into suburbia and seems quite content in my co-workers garage.  I'm told she doesn't even want to go outside when she has the opportunity.  But she does wish she could go in the house. If only goats could be potty-trained!

We are testing her from Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis or CAE.  This is a contagious viral infection that can lead to arthritis.  Buttercup is still limping quite a bit.  We are unsure if this limping is a result of her injuries (she was attacked by dogs) or from a potential infection.  Fortunately we'll soon find out.

The good news is she'll likely have a "forever home" either way.  If she tests positive for this disease she'll go to a goat sanctuary in Silverton.  If she's negative then I have a friend whom I am hoping will take her.

She's a very sweet girl -- loves to snuggle and even gives goat kisses.  If I only had my dream farm ... someday.  Someday.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Messy Rooms and Cell Phones; How Can One Possibly Be Related to the Other?

Today I cleaned my girls' room for the umpteenth time.  They simply cannot seem to do it themselves (now I know this not to be true they are perfectly capable children who refuse to conform to my insidious standards).  

But that is neither here nor there. Today I cleaned it.  I spent hours picking up trash that was not mine, folding clothes that did not belong to me and vacuuming dust bunnies I did not create.  I cleaned the girls' room; but not entirely.  I'm giving them an after school chore list.  A little treat to make their day. 

You see Middle wants a cell phone.  Like really bad.  Like everybody else has one and how can I be so cruel as to not provide her with one of life's most basic necessities.  

Only I don't see it that way.  A cell phone is not a right it's a privilege; a privilege to be earned.  And earn it she must.  We've told her time and time again -- you can get a cell phone.  All you have to do is clean your room and keep it clean for a month.  One month.  That's it.  

Has she done that?  Oh no.  She doesn't understand why we would ask such a thing of her.  Why do I care if her room is clean?  It's her room after all.  

Hmmm -- let's see.  So she can find the clothes she owns but claims she doesn't have.  So she can find her homework when it's due.  So she can live a life void of salmonella and E. Coli and other duplicitous organisms.  So she can exit the building in case of a fire or other emergency.  The list goes on and on. 

But the basic gist of the matter is a clean room is proof that she cares; that she respects herself and her material possessions.  After all why in the world would I a) purchase a cell phone and b) sign up for a long term commitment for an object that is going to be tossed on the floor and stomped on?  Or washed on accident?  Or left behind in school cafeteria?  Why indeed.  

A cell phone is a privilege.  One for those mature enough to handle the responsibility.  And if said maturity never appears?  Oh well.  I grew up without a cell phone (and still don't have one today).  I turned out okay.  

Do you think me horrifically mean?  


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Handmade Holidays (and links to projects)

Ah Thanksgiving!  I've had a wonderful week off.  Time to spend with the kids.  Time to spend with my folks.  

As we were packing and heading over the mountain to my parents I worried about my crafts -- did I pack what I needed?  Embroidery - check, felt - check, latch hook - check, wool - check.  'Tis the season for making and doing.  As it turns out I had what I needed -- mostly.  Of course, when we get home, I will be pouring through my fabric stash looking for just the right material for this project and I ordered felt online for this project and this project.  

Yesterday the girls, my mom and I went to the movies.  We saw Hugo -- it was very good.  I'm especially fond of old time Paris in the snow.  The movie theater was in the main shopping mall.  I've not been to a mall in quite some time; its a place I typically avoid.  And I was reminded why.  I can say with complete honesty -- there was nothing there I wanted to buy (with, perhaps, the exception of the Apple store).  Even there I'm on the fence.  Is an iphone really worth the monthly fee?  

The mall reinforced my desire to have a homemade holiday.  Now, of course, we will buy some things.  Things that are needed and/or will be well used.  Things I am not capable of manufacturing.  

And I will buy some things handmade; handmade but not by me.  Take for instance my friend Robin.  I know a certain young lady who will adore her crocheted tote.  I'll be making a small make up bag to go with it.  And when I spend my money this way - helping a military family who could use the extra income - it feels good.  Truly.  I've never gotten a warm fuzzy feeling buying from large corporations.  Thus its win-win.  

Now its time to pack up and head back home.  Time to go back to work.  This was my holiday off.  I'll be working Christmas and New Years.  Thankfully I'm on nights.  The kids will have to wait for me to get home on Christmas morning to open presents.  Oh the agony.  Somehow I think they'll survive.  And I, too, will survive.  One way or another.  


Monday, November 21, 2011

A Bee Story and Other Tales

I may have mentioned I am easily distracted.  Today was no exception. My day started at 1:00 pm; I'd worked the night shift and took a necessary nap. My hope was to get up while there was still daylight so I could snap some photos for the shop (I have many typewriters and cameras that need a new home).

Around 2:00 pm, after coffee and some puttering,  I got around to said photos.  Of course, in the middle, I was interrupted by my daughter who wanted me to walk her to a friend's house.  While taking the my break I noticed it was quite warm outside (quite warm meaning above freezing i.e. mid forties).  It occurred to me this might be my one and only opportunity to open up the bee hive and give the girls their new insulated top/candy board.

As this was a last minute decision and I was still groggy from the night shift I didn't think the whole thing through.  I simply threw on my bee suit and my cowboy boots and marched outside to change tops.  My plan was to have the project done snippity snap and get back to my photos.  What I hadn't factored in was the propolis -- that lovely bee glue that sticks everything together.

Plus I hadn't been into the hive for a while and once the top was open I realized they'd built their lives in the middle of two ten frame boxes (rather than fill the bottom box and then the top).  I decided to remove the top box and place the full frames into the bottom box.  This way there would be less hive for the bees to keep warm and they'd be closer to the candy source.

Given this I also decided I'd better get my smoker and do things properly.  So I ran to the garage grabbing the smoker and fuel.  Then I booked it to the kitchen to get a lighter.  Now, of course, the lighter was not in the drawer where it belonged.  So I went to the cupboard and stood precariously on my tip toes shuffling through the liquor bottles on the top shelf.  For some reason this is where we keep our spare matches.  Just as I found the matches a bottle of kahlua leapt off the shelf.  The cap wasn't screwed on which resulted in complete drenching; alcohol on my suit, in my hair and soaked through my clothes.

As I'd left the top cover off the bees and didn't want them to freeze I ignored this alcoholic transgression and continued on my merry way.  I smoked the bees, replaced the frames and tucked the girls in for the winter.

At this point my left ear was ringing and I was feeling moderately stressed.  Subsequently I was swaying a touch, as I have been all week, oh Menieres you lovely gal you.

What my neighbors likely saw was a woman in an alien suit, accessorized with cowboy boots, smelling of liquor and swerving as she walked.  I'm expecting the men with the nice white jacket to arrive at my doorstep any moment now.

I did have one frame with some capped honey that would not fit into the bee box.  I brought it inside and harvested the honey -- wax and all.  It's surprisingly sweet with a slight floral hint.  The reward for a job well done.

Then I discovered I'd also brought a bee in with me.  She was less than pleased and trying desperately to escape out the window.  I trapped her in a mason jar and returned her to her brood.

Now I have photos to develop and items to list.  I've not yet come up with a plan for dinner. As I type I am freshly showered and no longer smell like alcohol.  This may have to be remedied with a margarita and some mexican food.  It just seems like that kind of day.


Friday, November 18, 2011

On Snow and Crafting and Meditation and Life

Last night it snowed; the first snow of the year.  Time to pull out the hats and mittens and snow boots.  Time to retire the skateboards and bicycles. Most definitely time to put away the canoe and kayak (ahem).  Time to nest.

I've got quite a number of projects going  -- I've begun my very first quilt (if you don't count this picnic blanket which I do not).  I'm learning as I go.  The internet is tremendously helpful.  I've complete both the quilt top and backing.  I did have to add girth to the backing once I figured out it was supposed to be bigger than the top.  So much for my precise measurements.

Now it's time to actually quilt.  Hopefully my stitches hold as this is a blanket destined for the couch; it will receive lots of snuggling and lots of abuse.

I've made one acorn garland and shipped it off (after Mr. Peculiar helped me to change the drill bit).  Two more garlands are pending.  I meant to snap a photo of the first but never quite got around to it; I'll try to photograph the others before they go.  I also have an order for a set of felted acorns.  Note to self: finish orders and ship on Monday.

Silly me I've not yet finished those slipcovers I started.  Perhaps before Thanksgiving.  Then again -- maybe not.

And then there's the latch hook rug -- little by little it's coming along.

Oh and there are the holidays to consider.  I have some ideas rattling around in my head but will keep those quiet for now.

❅❅❅ ❅❅❅ ❅❅❅

I've been thinking a lot about crafting; about why I do it.  It boils down to meditation.

Crafting catches my focus and clears my mind.  It sucks away my stress and tucks it in a neat little corner where I don't have to look at it or think about it.  And believe you me my life and my "real" job are stressful.  Quite.  And, for a multitude of reasons, the stress has multiplied over the last week.

I've also been thinking about who I want to be.  This thinking often circles around to who I do not want to be.  I do not want to be angry.  I do not to be vindictive.  I do not want to be bitter.

I want to be loving and forgiving, kind, gentle, and understanding.  I want to be grateful and appreciative.  I want to focus on the good in all people and all situations.  This is easier said than done.  But I'm going to put it in to practice as I return to work tonight.

I am reminded of this quote from John Watson; "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oh vertigo!

Meniere's Disease:  a incurable disease of the inner ear that causes spontaneous vertigo along with fluctuating hearing loss, ringing in the ear (tinnitus) and sometimes a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear.

For the past several months I've had all the above symptoms except the vertigo.  As of Saturday I can add vertigo to the list.  I was sitting in my chair, had a sudden increase in ringing in both ears and felt like I was sinking into my chair.  Then came the dizziness and the nausea.  And let me tell you -- I do not like being nauseous.  Not one bit.  I went to bed, slept for eleven hours and woke up feeling normal.

Mind you normal contains moderate tinnitus and aural fullness in my left ear.  But, thankfully, normal does not yet contain dizziness and balance issues.

Sunday I stayed in my pajamas and laid low.  I was afraid to go out as I'm not one to cause a scene.  And I believe falling over in Costco, vomiting and being carried out would constitute a scene.

Monday morning I rolled over in bed and bam -- another episode.  Thankfully Mr. Peculiar had the day off.  He took the kids to school and, again, I slept.  After another couple of hours back to normal.

Yesterday I managed to take the kids to school.  And I managed a trip to Joann's.  But I was afraid -- afraid of  sudden dizziness, afraid of nausea, afraid of causing a ruckus.  If this continues it will become very  debilitating -- sheerly from the not knowing.

Last night my left ear was roaring.  I felt a little off balance. But I went to book club anyway (we were discussing The Fingersmith by Sarah Waters).  Why did I go?  Because I'm not ready to give up my life.  I'm not ready to submit to this insidious disease.  And it was fine.  I was fine.  In fact today I have less ringing in my ear.

The problem with menieres is there is nothing they can do.  "They" being the medical professionals.  They give you a diuretic and tell you to lay off salt.  Off on a wing and a prayer.  It will get worse before it gets better.  Better is total ablation of the inner ear (i.e. no more vertigo but no hearing either, oh and your balance may never be the same).  Fun, eh?

In an attempt to stave off the inevitable I'm trying a new diet, a low glycemic index diet, that might help.  The key is to keep blood glucose at even levels and therefore prevent spikes in insulin.  Hyperinsulinemia (high blood insulin) may play a role in the tinnitus and vertigo.  Emphasis on the may.

As of Monday I am eating every two hours.  Holy moly -- it's going to be hard to be food creative when eating this often.  Balanced fat, protein and carbs with each meal.  Which reminds me -- time to eat my oatmeal with nuts and berries.

Wish me luck!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Paper Bag Floors

Okay.  The paper bag floor is finished; in one room at least.  You can see a before picture here. The before picture doesn't look particularly bad.  You had to be here to get the full odiferous effect of our lovely carpet.  I don't miss it in the least.  Thus far we have not damaged the surface (fingers crossed).  That's six coats of polyurethane for you.  And let me tell you -- low odor polyurethane truly is low odor.  Who knew?!!

All in all the project took four days but two of those were long work days for me.  In other words one room could easily be done in a weekend.

You'll notice the broken chest and fish tank is now gone.  They've been replaced by a vintage suitcase vignette.

Now I've yet to tackle the sewing projects on my list.  I have started to latch hook a rug for this room.   I still need to complete my couch slipcover.  And now I have some acorns to felt for a custom garland -- a beautiful combination of red and turquoise that will hang on a fireplace during a wedding.

Oh yes -- and then there are the holidays to think about.  Thankfully I have this week off work.  Believe you me I'll keep busy.

❄❄❄ ❄❄❄ ❄❄❄

Things I'm grateful for today:
  • Acorn caps to gather and garner
  • A week off work
  • A warm and breezy November day
  • A mini-date with the hubbie
  • Coupons and discounts (think Christmas shopping here -- can't say more)
  • New floors
  • The Goodwill and thrifty finds
  • Sales in the shop
  • Powdered graphite


Saturday, November 5, 2011

The circuitous route to home remodeling (aka if you give a crafter a cookie ...)

Several weeks ago I decided to sew a scarf.  A fun ruffled scarf.  And I found the perfect material -- extra large tee shirts on sale at Target.  I cut the material, pinned everything in place and discovered my sewing machine would no longer zig-zag.  FineNo problem.  I got out sewing machine number two -- it wouldn't stitch, period.

I was at a crossroads.  Do I repair one or both of these machines or do I break down and get a new one?  After quite a bit of research and some serious soul-searching I found I wanted a new machine; a real machine - with stitch patterns and multiple feet and capabilities.  In other words I was ready to take my sewing to the next level.

After all I had been sewing consistently now for five years.  And, shockingly, the things I've sewn are a) still intact and b) still in rotation. This is justification enough, right?

Then I found a wonderful financing deal with Bernina -- four years interest free.  Four!  And no prepayment penalty.  Now that I can do.  And I did.

My new machine arrived yesterday.  Only here's the thing. I've yet to get it out of the box.  You see once the machine was ordered sewing projects popped up everywhere -- slipcovers and tree skirts and stockings and quilts ...

And I didn't want to wait.  I was antsy and had no patience.  So, with my old machine and simple straight stitch, I began slipcovers for my couches.  Overall they've turned out well; in a rustic sort of way.  I still have to finish a cushion cover and skirt for the larger of our two couches.

While fully immersed in my slipcover project I also began to realize just how disgusting our carpet is.  I spent quite a bit of time sitting on the carpet pinning and adjusting and was not at all pleased with the experience.  Last week I nearly threw down my sewing and ripped the carpet up.

But I talked myself down convincing myself that I should, minimally, complete one project before starting another.

Well yesterday that went out the window.  I was sitting in my favorite chair and quite frankly the room just didn't smell right.  I lit some candles -- better but still not right.  I sprayed some lavender.  The smell still lingered.  And then I realized the cat had peed in the corner right behind my chair.

That was it.  Right then and there I ripped out the carpet.  Then I went to the hardware store and bought   brown builder's paper and polyurethane*.  Paper bag floor here we come.

Now 1/3 of the room is done.  I plan to finish the remainder next week.

So, you see, I am remodeling my house all because I tried to sew a scarf.  If you give a crafter a cookie ...

* Worried about the effects of inhaling excessive amounts of polyurethane I splurged and bought a water based low odor product.  It cost a bit more but is definitely worth it.  More floor pictures as the project progresses.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Phew! The whirlwind of halloween is over.  I never quite finished those slipcovers.  And you know what?  They're not getting done today either.  I have to work tonight and have given myself permission to laze the day away.

This morning there was quite a frost on the car and as I went out (fully clad in pajamas) to warm it up I found myself grateful.  Very grateful for all the simple things in life.

I am grateful for:

  • A heated home
  • Getting the garbage to the curb before the garbage truck came
  • The HUGE load of dishes Mr. Peculiar did last night
  • Precious children who love to snuggle
  • Coffee ready to go at the push of a button
  • Left over pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
  • Left over pumpkin soup for dinner (aka no cooking before work)
  • Pumpkins carved by my children while I was sewing away
  • Funny not so spidery spider webs hung by the boy
  • Creative costumes put together without Mama's help (oi they are getting so big!)
  • Mama as a red head --- funny

Monday, October 31, 2011

Busy, busy...

This past week I've been mired in a little project -- sewing slipcovers for my sofas.  I gave myself a deadline -- tonight.  Looks like I won't quite make it; one sofa will be sans ruffles for our pre trick-or-treating gathering.  I'm sure I'll be forgiven.

Tonight we are having folks over for soup and cider.  Before that happens I need to go shopping, make soup, bake some witches fingers, finish sewing one cushion and, oh yeah, take a shower.  Given that I'd best hup to it.

Back tomorrow with halloween goodness.


Friday, October 21, 2011

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you are inspired to do the same play along with SouleMama


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Muffins and Bunk Beds and Pencils. Oh my.

Inspired by Martha I baked pumpkin doughnut muffins.  I can't seem to get enough pumpkin.  Fortunately my family doesn't mind.  Let me tell you -- the cinnamon sugar topping makes these babies.   I swatted away more than one hungry hand to get this photo.  The muffins are rapidly disappearing as we speak.  I've implored the monsters to save a few for Papa -- hopefully they will.

Today I've been tired, sleepy and not entirely productive (i.e. still recovering from working Monday night).  I spent some time on Pinterest and am in love with this idea -- built in bunks in the bedroom.  Oh how I wish we could do this in the girls' room.  Carpentry skills where art thou?  Energy where art thou?  Ah well.  Perhaps someday.

And now Middle wants me to take her to Target.  She needs pencils.  And dance clothes.  And jeans.  It seems the lists of wants is never ending -- for Mama and daughter alike.  I suppose I could at least splurge for pencils.

Have a wonderful day!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

These are the best days ...

This fall has been gorgeous.  Atypically warm.  Comfortable.  Every time I go outside I am mesmerized by the golds, deeps reds and oranges.  The trees simply glow.

Today I took advantage and walked Little home from school.  I was hoping for a fantastic stroll, mother and daughter hand in hand, chatting happily.  Instead Little marched twenty steps in front of me.  She was in a huff because I wouldn't let her stop to do homework.  Seriously.  What a bugger!

Now I'm sitting in my favorite chair and knitting.  See that delectable yarn?  It's turning into a scarf.  A little something just for me.  Something to celebrate the season.

And those pumpkins?  Homemade too.  Homemade and super easy.  If you are going to the pumpkin patch pick up a few extra stems and make a few of your own.  I filled mine with lentils and bird seed foregoing the polyfill.  I really like their weight.  They are sturdy, substantial.

And the flowers?  All from my garden.  You wouldn't know it to look at it.  There is definitely work to be done.  Dead heading and weeding and trimming.  But amongst all the mess -- simple beauty.

Tonight we're having left overs (either that or eggs on toast or ham and egg cups -- I can't decide).  I am trying to be frugal and stretch the budget.  To compensate for spending in other areas (cough cough yarn store cough).

In the oven are homegrown tomatoes -- roasting to perfection.  On the table beside me?  Iced coffee, the ghetto version made at home.

In other words -- today is a good day.  I'm happy to be at home.  To be off work.  To putter.  These are the best days.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Healthy Three Ingredient Ice Cream Recipe

Okay. I know this basic recipe has been all over the internet.  But I'm a bit slow on the uptake and have just gotten around to trying it.  And I am so glad I did.  Mr. Peculiar loved it.  The kids loved it.  I loved it.

And the next day?  When I had ice cream for breakfast?  No guilt.  None. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

Six Bananas
1/8 to 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
2 tsp Instant Espresso Powder (my secret ingredient)
Milk (optional)

Peel bananas, cut into slices and freeze for ~ 2 hours.  Place in a food processor and begin blending.  Be patient.  Blending took longer than I anticipated.  A touch of milk helps to speed up the processes.  As does scraping down the sides of the processor.   When nice and creamy add cocoa and espresso powder to taste (the espresso powder really helps bring out the chocolate flavor).  Serve and enjoy.

Many of the recipes recommend using very ripe bananas as, apparently, the banana flavor is less apparent.  Now me?  I like bananas.  And not only do I like them but I like them slightly green.  So that's what I used.  It resulted in a delicious chocolate flavor with a hint of banana.

You can also experiment with all sorts of additions.  Peanut butter.  Honey.  Agave.  Maple syrup.  You name it.   I can't wait to play around with different ingredients.  If you've not already tried this get thee to the kitchen ASAP.  You won't regret it!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Day in the Life

I feel like the most boring person on the planet.  This past week I've been hunkering down, listening to books on tape and cleaning house.  That's it. The kids are in school.  Mr. Peculiar is back on day shift and I am blissfully alone.

I find when I'm listening to a book (rather than reading one) I like to keep busy.  And the chores go that much faster.  Currently I'm immersed in the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.  They're not something I'd typically pick up but I am thoroughly enjoying them.  Soon, however, I'll be done with the set.  And then what?

If the house is to stay clean I'm going to have to find a new aural obsession.  Any suggestions?

I've also snuck in a few crafts -- the freezer paper shirt above.  And I knit a couple of pumpkin hats.

I'd like to develop some sort of routine -- one that includes crafting, exercise, household chores, bagpipe practice *and* mental stimulation.   I'm still working out the particulars.

In the meantime here's what I'm loving today:

  • Crisp cool days
  • Hats to cover my not so cooperative hair
  • A clean house
  • Oricchette with Rapini -- mmm mmm good
  • My reading chair (which is currently pulled into the living room as our couches are typically occupied by little people, sleeping misters and various furry critters)
  • Burnt orange -- lovely burnt orange
  • Naps
  • And, finally, fresh flannel sheets on the bed.  Oh how I love my bed

Saturday, October 1, 2011


It has been quite a while since I've had a real true weekend.  A weekend at home.  With little plans.  Pajamas till noon and serious puttering.  Pure bliss!

Things I'm loving today:

  • When Harry Met Sally (seriously -- I watched it this morning)
  • Fresh peaches and plums from our very own tree
  • Alfredo Mac 'n Cheese bubbling away in the oven
  • Crisp overcast days 
  • Leaves beginning to turn
  • Funny mottled molting chickens
  • Movie night with the family
  • Custom adult pumpkin hats -- knit to order
  • Downtown festivals and friend's bands
  • Crafts in the works
  • Books on cd and listening while cleaning (it's amazing how much I can accomplish when I'm entertained)
  • Halloween art work -- *love* my littlest vampire's drawing.  
  • And, as always, sleeping in!
I hope you are having an equally wonderful weekend!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

More crafts ...

Following the theme of the week I've continued to craft.  I made a fabric pumpkin inspired by this pin.

And organized my floss inspired by this one

And whipped up a quick last minute scarf/necklace.  Tutorial here.  

I also realized I have no idea where my halloween decor is.  Somewhere in the garage -- that much I can tell you.  Clearly I've got some cleaning and organizing to do.

 I'd like to find this guy and get him on my mantle.  And find our beetle juice to put on display.

I did pull out the Witch Craft book.  The girls and I will pour over it and pick our next project.  But for now I must shower and get ready for work.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bigger Than My Body

It's 4:00 pm and I am fading fast.  I've worked the last four nights and stayed up today (with hopes of sleeping tonight and feeling human tomorrow).

The only way for me to stay awake is to stay busy.  As such I picked tomatoes (black cherry are my new favorite), made a cake stand/sponge holder (inspired by this), picked flowers from the yard and arranged some newly felted acorns.  The acorns must be kept under glass to protect them from evil felt grabbing paws.

I also cleaned the kitchen and started a load of laundry.  I meant to cut some material for a quilt and really want to give this project a go. Oh yes and I'd like to make a plum cake and, perhaps, can some jam.  But, alas, my ambition is bigger than my body.  I am simply too tired.

There in lies the problem of three am pinning -- too many beauties to capture my attention and so much that I *need* to do.   If only I could craft and bake and write for a living.  Perhaps someday.  For now I think I'll take a nap.


Friday, September 23, 2011

The Trouble with Being a Nerdy Nerd

 I am a type A nerdy nerd when it comes to tests.  I want to do well.  I want to pass.  No, not just pass, I want to pass with flying colors. This neurosis applies not only to academics but to medical testing as well.  As a result this week was chock full of anxiety.

First I had an MRI.  A brain scan.  I am not claustrophobic, thankfully, and had no fear of the procedure. They packed my head neatly into a head rest and rolled me into the machine.  There was a mirror that showed a view of the outside. The view, however, was less than exciting (a fence) so I simply closed my eyes.  I did my best to be still and regulate my breathing.  All sorts of sounds emanated from the machine and, truth be told, it felt silly.  I could hardly imagine how the grunting and groaning around my head was going to elucidate any viable information.

Halfway through the exam they pulled me out of the tube for a injection of contrast material (gadolinium).  I expected to feel something, anything, beyond the prick of the needle.  But I didn't.  The remaining scan was uneventful and I went home to await the results.

And the results were good, the all clear, I think.  I can definitively tell you there is no mass or tumor in my head.  This is a very good thing.  I do have "asymmetry of the temporal horn to the lateral ventricles".  My doctor felt he needed to point this out to me.  He could not tell me what, if anything, it meant and I was left to do my own research.

From what I can tell this can be a normal variant on an MRI (especially if the positioning were a touch off).  It could also be an indication of schizophrenia or early parkinson's disease.  Schizophrenia I'm ruling out -- I think by now that would have reared it's ugly head.  Parkinsons?  We'll have to wait and see.  I do have a family history and do not want to dismiss it off hand.  But chances are it's nothing.

 I am clinging to two parts of the report.  1) "there is no significant difference in the size of the hippocampus between sides" -- i.e. my brain isn't squished and 2) there is no retrocochlear mass or other finding of significance.

This week I also had another test, a hearing test.  They put me in a sound proof booth and put on head phones.  That was the moment, when all was quiet, I realized how much noise was in my head.  My left ear was (is) a cacophony of sound with both low and high pitched ringing, as if someone left the radio on between stations.

In my hand was a buzzer, one like the contestants on Jeopardy hold.  I was to press it each time I heard a beep.  Anxious to do well I held the buzzer at the ready.  It was hard, though, to distinguish the beeps from  the noise in my head.  Was that beep?  Or was that ringing of my own accord?  I was once again struck by the idea that deafness is not an absence of sound.

Soon enough I figured out the sounds from the headphones caused a vibration in and around my ear.  Then I could distinguish external beeps from internal sound.  Has my body compensated that much that I am now feeling sound as much or more than I am hearing it?

At any rate I completed my test and was deflated to find that my hearing loss is just the same as before.  I took some solace knowing it hadn't worsened.  I am to return in six months for a recheck.

And that, my friends, is what I was up to this week.  I am now looking forward to delving into normal life.  Filling my autumn with baking and crafts and all the things that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.   To start I need to figure out what is for dinner -- something appropriate for the first day of fall, yet simple and quick.  Hmmmm ....


Thursday, September 15, 2011

On the Road Again ...

I am at a conference. Here.  At the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.  This place is HUGE.  As in 50 indoor acres huge.

Right now I'm on my lunch break and Mr. Peculiar (who came with me -- thanks Grandma and Grandpa) is out galavanting.

Thus far I have learned a few things unrelated to veterinary medicine and I thought I'd share them with you.

  • Our room rests at the intersection of the red and green carpets.  If you're on brown carpet you've gone too far.  Double back.  Run if necessary. 
  • If you want to sit on the patio of a restaurant inside this massive unit ask for a patio seat; technically the patio is not outdoors. 
  • I like wearing knee high leather boots and v-neck cashmere sweaters and long gray skirts.
  • I especially like wearing the above because they are thrifted.
  • I ought not stay here too long or I might come home with a drawl.
  • There are not enough hallway seats outside the conference hall.
  • One can sit on the floor in a skirt.
  • The line for a free lunch is inappropriately long.
  • A smoothie and walk are an excellent substitute.
  • When using your computer in a public place mute the sound, preferably before the loud ad pops up on your screen.
  • I like taking notes on my computer.
  • I wouldn't mind being a student again.
And now off to my next class -- "It's for the birds!  Clinical ER Cases in Avian Medicine."  I need to boogie -- it's a long walk back.  


Monday, September 12, 2011

Walty alty alty alty ...

I am a big dog person.  Labradors are my breed.  Hearty family dogs that can just as easily take a long hike or lounge about the house.

I'm not so much a little dog person.  They seem floofy. Too girly.  I especially swore I would never get a dog that needed haircuts.  I mean really.

And then came Walter.  And, yes, I am a sucker.

Today was the day for his bi-annual hair cut.  I dare say he looks spiffy.  And you know?  Little dogs aren't so bad ...


Friday, September 9, 2011

On work and kids and travel and life

Driving in to work this evening I made some mental calculations -- I will log 70 hours at the clinic in a seven day span (Monday to Sunday). If I include the weekend before the number jumps to 96. Yup -- 96 hours in nine days. No wonder I'm tired.

Why am I working so much? Because next week I'll be traveling. I'm attending a conference in Nashville. Mr. Peculiar will be going with me and the grandparents will be coming to stay with the kids. It will be a lovely and much needed change of pace.

In order to get time off several of my shifts have been squished into a short period of time. The downside being I don't have a lot of time to prepare for this trip.

Our house is, ahem, a disaster. And my parents are coming. I'd really, really, really like it to be somewhat clean. I am hoping the family will clean this weekend whilst I sleep the day away (and work the nights). If you don't include the night shifts that sounds terribly luxurious -- sleeping while others clean around you. If this doesn't happen (honestly it's a pipe dream - they have water polo and thrifting and other events to attend) then I'll be scrambling on Monday to instill some order in our chaotic world.

Of course this stretch of work also coincides with the beginning of school. Which, in a way, is nice as I have time during the day to sleep. But I feel guilty for doing so (and then I feel guilty for feeling guilty -- what a vicious cycle) . There is so much to do at home.

I can say the crock pot is my friend -- last night we had Honey-Mustard Rosemary Chicken with Sweet Potatoes. But today I did not manage to cook. Mr. Peculiar will be delivering take out. Which is, in and of itself, guilt inducing as this does not fit into our budget. Oh economy will you ever turn around?

I have managed to provide after school snacks. Wednesday was pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Yesterday we had fun apple slices, peanut butter and marshmallows. Today was easy peasy sweet and salty popcorn.

Ah and now it seems I have a flurry of emergencies to attend to here at work. I must bid you adieu.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

The "Mama Has to Work Book Club"

Yesterday afternoon was rough for Middle. She'd had a bad day. She was grouchy. And when she's grouchy she treats us to a litany of complaints. The subjects most often addressed are:
  • Why do you have to work? I hate it when you work. You should be home.
  • Why don't you cook the things I want to eat?
  • Why don't you buy me the things I want like a cell phone or ipod or a new computer?
  • Why does brother get the star treatment and you treat me like dirt?
  • I'm bored. Why don't you entertain me?
My answers go like this:
  • Do you like living in a house? Do you like eating? Do you like wearing clothing? If so then I must work. If not we could take to the streets.
  • I cook fresh healthy meals for the family. I'm sorry they are not to your taste. I am not a short order cook and child can not live on noodles alone.
  • If you want an ipod you may buy it for yourself. You will get a phone in due time (your brother didn't get one until he was fourteen). You have a computer. Actually two. Which is two more than your father. Be grateful for what you've got. And what do I look like? A money tree?
  • If, by star treatment, you mean your brother has a phone then yes -- he gets the star treatment. He gets it by virtue of his age. You, too, will get such treatment when you are older. And if, by star treatment, you mean I bought your brother a new computer keyboard from the Goodwill then yes. YOU have a nice keyboard. His was ruined by a suspicious incident involving his sisters. I did buy you a skirt. Something I did not purchase for your brother. Ponder that.
  • You are a bright, inventive, creative child hence perfectly capable of entertaining yourself.
To be honest I am flabbergasted by the lack of gratitude from my children. They are SO lucky. They have food on the table, a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs. And yet they don't care one iota (that is until such things are taken away, hmmm ...)

I know (well at least I hope) some gratitude will come with age. As these children go out into the world and make their way I presume they will begin to appreciate the effort and sacrifice that has been made on their behalf. Obviously there are no guarantees.

In the meantime I've begun a project that will, hopefully, a) stave off boredom while I'm at work b) make Middle feel singled out and appreciated and c) foster some appreciation (i.e. middle has a great life).

Introducing the "Mama Has to Work Book Club". Our first read? The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I plan to read this in conjunction with Middle -- me during the day and her while I'm at work. Then, as time permits in between clients, we can discuss the book via email.

I created a PDF document to direct our first meeting. Hopefully it will be met with a positive reception.

On another note -- the MRI machine is down. My scan has been rescheduled for a week from Monday. Ah well -- such is life.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Day of School

Today was the first day of school for two of three kids. I found the time to putter. To straighten up, to garden and to bake. One child came home and immediately did her homework. Now she has gone out to play.

The second child did not fare so well. She ended up on the wrong bus and had to walk part way home. The contents of her backpack spilled. Now she is bored and tired and hungry. And she is making sure the rest of us are acutely aware of her cantankerous mood (lucky us).

Mama is just plain tired -- up at dawn and running around all day. I am ready to curl up with a book and a glass of wine. But there are children to attend to, dinner to serve and miles to go before I sleep.

Middle is begging, however, to go for a ride. And wine truly does sound good. Perhaps I might do something to appease the both of us -- a quick trip to the market for an inexpensive screw top.

Tomorrow is my MRI. A brain scan to look for a rare tumor. Something I probably don't have. Honestly I am looking forward to the scan -- a spot of time tucked into a machine. An hour all my own. Silly? Perhaps. But true nonetheless. The time could only be spent better if a book were involved.

For now I bid you adieu -- back to the work of the house (and a trip to market). I hope you had a lovely day.


Friday, September 2, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Play along with SouleMama.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Summer's Final Days ...

Picnics in the grass, quinoa salad, good books and green tomatoes. This is what summer is all about. I am working hard at appreciating. Loving each moment. After all you never know when it will be gone.

My hearing remains odd. Not normal. There is a near constant ringing in the left ear. Yet tonight it seems I *might* be hearing better. Might being the key word. It's quite subjective. Or, perhaps, I'm getting used to it. Either way it's a good thing.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oregon Caves National Park

There is just something about national parks. They hold a certain nostalgia, as if permanently steeped in sepia. And I especially love national parks that are quiet. Not teeming full of people. The Oregon Caves National Monument is just such a place.

We took a cave tour, had burgers, shakes and fries in their classic cafe, admired the arts and crafts furniture and took a junior ranger test. All in all a lovely day.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sorrow and Joy, Hearing and Sight


We are camping. Okay, well not exactly camping. Rather we are glamping. The five of us are tucked into a tree house in Southern Oregon. Tonight was our first night and we found ourselves down by the main house without a light. In other words instant blindness finding our way back to our tree.

This sudden loss of sense makes one take pause. It makes one appreciate what one had before it was gone. This appreciation is even greater for me as I have recently lost another sense. The hearing in my left ear.

For the past couple of weeks my ear has felt clogged. Allergies I told myself. When conversations became hard I blamed it on the whirring laboratory machines at work, or the loud oxygen cage or the car engine or the crowd of people. I have been saying, "What?" and asking people to repeat themselves all too often. But it wasn't me.

I also blamed the phone. It must clearly must not be working because I CAN'T HEAR OUT OF IT. Then I switched ears. And I heard perfectly. It wasn't the phone.

I went to an ear, nose and throat specialist. I thought he'd find a ball of wax or some other simple solution. Truly I expected to walk out of his office with my hearing fully intact. Instead I left with a diagnosis of acute sensorineural hearing loss and a minimal chance of regaining function (i.e. damage to the inner ear and/or auditory nerve). Cause unknown.

Now I am on a course of high dose steroids and a prayer -- hoping that my hearing returns (my hearing isn't completely gone -- I'd say it's at 50%. I've lost the low frequency sounds; those which human speech is composed of. If you are dolphin its all good -- I can still hear you).

Next week I get an MRI just to make sure it's not tumor (thankfully typically benign) causing these problems.

So now I'm compiling a list of precious sounds. All those things I want to file should this hearing loss a) be permanent and b) move to the other ear. In no particular order ...
  • My children laughing
  • Crickets
  • The first lawn mower of spring
  • Ocean waves lapping at the shore
  • The coo of mourning doves
  • Chickens cackling
  • U2, The Shins, Bagpipes, James, Norah Jones, Adele ...
  • The crackling of a real wood fire -- full of hisses and pops
  • Jingle bells
I've also always thought of deafness as silence. And for some perhaps it is. Not for me. I have a near constant ringing in my ear. Most prevalent when the world is silent. It's strange. And annoying. And something I suspect I'll have to get used to.

At this point time will tell. Will life go on and I'll adjust. But let me tell you. Appreciate what you have while you've got it. For tomorrow it (whatever it may be) could disappear.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

In My Kitchen

  • Sandwich Bread
  • Orzo, Fennel and Radish Salad
  • Figs with Prosciutto, Mint and Lemony Creme Fraiche (recipe to follow)
  • Bowl covered with vintage dish towel and secured with head band
  • Fresh cut Black-Eyed Susans in the background. Heaven.
Oh, yes. I have returned to the kitchen. Bring it on fall. I am ready.

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊

Figs with Prosciutto, Mint and Lemony Creme Fraiche

  • 3/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tsbp freshly chopped mint
  • 12 fresh figs
  • 2 slices prosciutto
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Slice figs in half and place in serving dish. Top each fig with prosciutto. Mix creme fraiche, nutmeg, lemon, mint, salt and pepper. Drizzle over figs. Decorate with mint sprigs. Serve and enjoy.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bedtime Lanterns

As summer winds down we merge into new routines. School appropriate routines. This means sleeping in our respective rooms; in our own beds, purchased for our very own selves. This opposed to sleeping where the sandman hits whether that be the living room floor, the couch, mama's reading chair or mama and papa's bed.

These unorthodox sleeping arrangements are permitted in the summer because, quite frankly, upstairs is a sauna. But autumn is nearly here. The nights are cool. And its time. The children are resistant. They like the status quo. But it must be done.

Today, while waiting at the orthodontist, I flipped through Parenting; The Early Years. A project caught my eye. Jar lanterns. And so we pulled out the mod podge and some ribbon. We punched out fall leaves and got to work. At Michaels I found inexpensive no flame candles. Voila! The perfect nightlight to carry upstairs.

Now it seems I have some tucking in to do.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer is Winding Down

Summer is winding down. The mornings are cooler. Water polo has begun. My son is in his second year of polo. They practice morning and night. It brings back poolside memories of swimming and lifeguarding. Tomorrow I might bring my suit and swim laps while the boys practice. The thought is quite appealing.

In the garden we've got lots and lots of green tomatoes. I can't believe I've nurtured these plants from seed. Now my fingers are crossed that they'll turn red. If not we'll have fried green tomatoes out the wazoo.

The beehive sits next to my raised beds. This was all well and good until I got stung -- my first ever bee sting. No major allergic reactions yet. But I need to wait for the next sting to truly determine whether or not allergies will be an issue.

The bees are getting more protective of their area and do not want me watering my tomatoes. Whenever I start messing around the bed the guard bees buzz my head with their aggressive warning. Though the bee sting wasn't too bad I'm not interested in a repeat so soon. Thus I put on my bee suit to water. In the suit the bees leave me alone. It smells of smoke -- I wonder if that's the difference.

Our lavender is done with its bloom. I let the buds dry on the vine in order to give the bees full access to the plants. Now I've begun to harvest and the lavender is hanging in our dining room. I plan to make homemade linen spray (vodka plus lavender buds). Perhaps this spray will make its way into our holiday gifting.

I'm also in a nesting mode. Anxious to clean house, cook and prepare for the school year to come. I plan to make and freeze breakfast sandwiches and whole grain waffles. I'd also like to make another batch of granola and bake some bread. But all of this will have to wait until tomorrow. Today I am tired from the night shift and plan to laze the day away.

As I type I am laying on the couch. Little is snuggled next to me. Phineas and Ferb is on the tv. Our new cockatiel, Leo, paces back and forth on the arm rest while carrying on a serious discussion with my feet. Every once in a while he pauses his conversation to nibble on my socks.

Mr. Peculiar brought this bird home from a garage sale -- free to a good home. We've housed him with our other cockatiel but it seems he prefers human company. I've learned it's best to spend time entertaining him; it's that or listen to him screech.

And speaking of birds - the chickens are laying full force. We have such a variety of eggs, dark and light brown, sweet mint green, large and small. I keep them on the counter and *love* seeing them each and every time I walk into the kitchen.

Now I'm going to enjoy some cantaloupe. After that I'll snuggle in bed with my book, The True Darcy Spirit, and relish today's lazy disposition.

I hope you, too, are having a wonderful day.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Standing By ...

Though summer is not over (and really has barely begun given our weather) I am looking forward to fall. Dreaming of crisp cool mornings, baking, autumn leaves, sweaters and boots.

I also find fall a time to assess and reassess. It has to do with back to school; it's a milestone or marker if you will. In my assessment I am not there yet; not quite the person I hope to be. I'd like to exercise more, eat healthier, keep a cleaner house, practice pipes daily, list daily, create daily ... so much room to improve!

I've also found myself sucked in to Pinterest. Holy moly so much to drool about. Strangely (or perhaps not) these pin boards have had a positive effect on me. Rather than pine for what I do not have I've been motivated to improve what I do have.

As such I've been spending quite a bit of time in the garden -- making new flower beds, tending my tomatoes, picking and drying lavender and generally admiring the bees. And I've been cleaning house. And exercising. Doing things that pull me away from here, from this space.

I expect I'll be back here full swing when fall does arrive. With the kids back in school I'll have more time and the weather will begin to push me indoors. In the meantime I'll continue my sporadic posts here -- noting, marking.

Thanks for standing by!