Thursday, December 27, 2007

See You Next Year, M'dears...

Going to take a little bloggy vacation, even if I'm not taking a 'real life' vacation.

I'll be thinking about new books, new knitting projects, the start of my seasonal 'I gotta organize this house' busy bodyness, watching documentaries and films, and starting a new New Year's Day tradition (baking pie).

And a belated thank you for all the birthday wishes and for sharing your thoughts with me over the past week. Sending you hugs across the miles (or just across town!).

Stay warm next to the fire and have some tea, cocoa or hot toddies.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Three Little Birds


Woke up this morning
Did not smile at the rising sun

I was feeling most melancholy about my Dad not being here to enjoy Kidlet and Christmas. When opening presents, he was always the one who would say or do some silly thing that had you laughing until your belly hurt. Luckily, he was here for Kidlet's first Christmas so at least I have the memory, even if she doesn't.

I poked my head outside, as I do every morning to take a few deep breaths of the cool morning air. This morning, there was a lovely breeze that made my Dad's wind chimes sing gently. A few raindrops fell and the yard started to turn rosy. I looked up. The sky was a brilliant pink and powdery blue. I looked to my right. I saw three little birds on the power line. Behind them, a rainbow. The rainbow got brighter and bigger, reaching all the way across my yard. It was almost ridiculous how perfect the display was; it felt as though it all for me.

So in short, every little thing is going to be all right.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

38...and 39. The Birthday.

I was going to try a Hula-esque list of "39 things to do before I'm 40" but I topped out around number 17. And then I also realized it conflicted with my New Year's resolution to 'Simplify'. And so...this year I will eat more pie, go camping, grow more plants from seed and read more poetry. There. I think that just about covers it.

My sweet hubby threw a birthday party for me today (my first!) and it was nice to catch up with folks I haven't seen in a while. Another old friend will be stopping by tonight with a bottle of wine and after I put Kidlet to bed...if I can manage to keep my eyes open, I will do my annual watching of my favorite movie, The Thin Man.

I'm sure this will be my last post before the holiday so Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Just had to let you know...

I've been reading Orient Express by Graham Greene (one of my fave authors) but I've had such trouble making any headway in this slim novel. I feel like I've been reading the same half dozen pages over and over again until I hit page 140. My eyes drift across the bed to the wall of books (our bedroom seconds as a library). I see a Christmas collection, a pair of books by Charles Dickens. I start right in on A Christmas Carol. Really enjoying it!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Oh yeah, it's THAT time of year.


The tree has arrived to much celebration on the part of the tot. There was crying at the nursery when we were trying to pick out our live tree (why the crying? why?) and absolute jubilation when we arrived home. Kidlet even kissed its prickly needles. She launched a full ornamental attack upon me, attempting to put the ornaments upon the branches and then two seconds later passing them to me ordering me to "do it", followed by her rounding up another half dozen ornaments passed over to her by her Daddy. I finally had to say "enough" and "let me finish what I already have." But the halls are now officially decked.

Now as for what goes under the tree, that's another story. I had a small(ish) freakout this morning when I was trying to consolidate the presents in to one place so I can attack the wrapping operation tonight. Missing present: the lace for my Grandma. Yeah. Something small, dark and featherweight went missing. Something that could not be easily recreated in the week. But it was found in a zip lock DEEP in the craft (crap) closet. Deep breath. And I'm now second thoughting my minimal-Christmas-present philosophy for Kidlet. I have two presents for her and a few stocking stuffers. To add to this number, the Grandmothers all have presents for her. I don't want to overwhelm Kidlet with a bunch of junk. Also, I want to teach her lessons of non consumerism, of finding plenty in what you have. However, in the past week Kidlet has told me all the things she wants for Christmas, none of which are what I have for her. I don't want to disappoint. But I don't want to run around like a lunatic either. And I definitely don't want to just throw money (that I don't have) at my insecurities. So we will see what happens this week. If the giant snowstorms that have been promised us do not appear, maybe I'll go out and buy a couple small things to round out the selection. But if that storm comes, well, someone will learn a lesson, but I'm not sure who that person will be.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Rush to Quiet

I'm feeling the wheels spinning faster and faster, pushing me toward the holiday and I'm trying to find quietude wherever I can. Now when I get into the car after I drop Kidlet at school, I turn off the radio and drive in silence, hoping to calm my mind from its endless litany of 'to-do's'. Late at night, after everyone else has gone to bed, I work at my desk, listening to the sound of the heater kicking on and off and tinny classical music coming from my laptop. I admire my tidy seaming. I pop a treat into my mouth. I am making progress. I awaken in the morning and the 'to-do's' crowd my head once again and I think up more projects I'd like to do ("Oh no! Kidlet says she wants a baby doll? How will I pull that off?"). I'm looking forward to meeting the night with yarn and needle in hand.

Now back to the list-making...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

FO's (that's finished objects, for you non-knitters)

I made a little table scarf for my Grandma. I'm feeling wishy-washy about it since it's really just a little section of a shawl that I adapted to make something table-toppy. I wanted a zig zag out of it, but I only got a zig. Although if you look at it from this angle, it almost looks like a pine tree (which is good).

I also finished up another project (the project that shall not be named until post-Xmas) and I'm pleasantly pleased with it. I thought I was going to have an awful time with the seaming and while it is not perfect, it's pretty darn good. It's funny, I realized while I'm working on the 'finishing' of all these projects (seaming, pressing and pinning, weaving in ends) that I choose the majority of my projects according to the level of 'finishing' skills required, ie. none. I make socks, hats, scarves and they all do not need this level of care. Last year's lacy scarf got me to be unafraid of lace and to try more complicated patterns. This year, I think I'm conquering my fear of seaming. Woot! Bring on the sweaters (maybe)!

Here's the only other photo I can show at this point, the cabled arm portion of a pair of fingerless gloves I'm making for an old friend. Love this pattern. So easy and it looks pretty fancy when finished (I made a pair for myself last year).


Well, that's about all I'll be able to show for the knitting until after Xmas. But after I try my hand at a felted bowl (for the other Grandmother), then I'll get to start thinking of knits for me.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Snow Day (Sorta)

I never could get an answer at Kidlet's school today so she is enjoying the day with an old friend. Me, I'm at work, wishing I was sitting by the fire, working on the holiday knitting, cocoa within arm's reach.

But before all that, at 7:30 this morning, after a half-assed breakfast ("Mama, can I have a snowman Peep?"), we bundled up and built a muddy little snowman. The dogs were bounding around, even our little shorthaired-always-chilly cancer patient. Cold air in the lungs is so refreshing.

Not looking forward to the drive home tonight, with the possiblity of these slushy roads turning to crunchy ice. But once I get there, I'll start a fire and snuggle down with my little family. Hope y'all have a cozy, sparkly, chocolatey weekend.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Good Morning, Gorgeous


Amazing morning. Cool, damp air cleansing the lungs, fog hanging about the mountain tops. Wish I was staying home today, opening the windows to let it all come in, despite the fact its chilly.

Been making my lists, checking them twice, and picking myself up off the ground when I realize how much I need to do before the holiday. At least I found the yarn that I purchased this weekend and thought I had lost. But another trip to the yarn store is in order (darn...ha ha) as the stash yarn I thought I had oodles of, I have only skimpy amounts. Tonight, this elf is about to jump into production mode. Mattress stitch, anyone?

I've been receiving swap goodness and it's wonderful. Unlike the postcard swaps in which I have participated where everything comes in a glut, this swap is coming (beautifully) bit by bit. Liz's sage bundles tied with red string (smelled so good when I opened the envelope) and the red road, Nina's fantastic cards and my fave yellow door and boots (and that bike photo, eep!), Cathy's uplifting tunes and a favorite spot...it's wonderful. Thanks for sharing yourselves.

And hey, if you get a minute, send a few peaceful, loving thoughts toward my Mom. She's having to work 7 days a week for the next few weeks and she's tired.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

yfwd, K2tog, K1* repeat


Sorry it's been quiet on the western front here. I've been so wrapped up (yarn over, knit 2) in this knit for my Grandma that I don't want to think about much else. I'm making a (very) abbreviated version of River (just one pattern repeat) to make a table scarf. I'm looking for more knitting podcasts to listen to (beside my beloved Stash and Burn) so that while I'm at work doing data entry, I can listen to people talk about knitting. Knit! Knit! Knit! I wish I had more time to do it. I've got so many projects in mind but I just don't forsee knitting a sweater, a pair of socks for hubby, another pair of these for Xmas, and these mitts before school plunges me back into knit-a-row-a-week mode (in a month and a half--eeep!). Oh yeah, still need to finish the Jaywalkers (resurrected) and the two Xmas presents. Don't forget that.

My photography is in hibernation and the few photos I've been taking look just like photos I've taken before. I must admit though, it's been nice to not feel the urge to whip out the camera all the time. I say all this as though I haven't taken a photo in months. It's been a few days.

I'm starting my annual work load increase but luckily, it isn't going to be as bad as usual this year since I pawned a big monkey off my back to another department. Whew. This is giving me a little more time to consider what holiday fun I want to concoct for the family. Ummm...I pretty much have every weekend between now and Xmas jam packed with festivities. Yeah. This weekend is a popcorn party premiering Rudolph on our small screen. Maybe Pipakuks. Unpacking the decorations. Planning what other treats I want to make later in the month (the weekend of the 15th and 16th, so it says on my list).

I've also been enjoying peeking in the mailbox. Day before yesterday, I received my y'at pack from Cathy. It has been tonic for my overstressed self. We're still juggling Nora's condition, with its roller coaster-y nature. The good and the bad. Cathy's mail reminded me to look for the good.

Take care, gang. Posting will probably be somewhat sporadic until after the holidays, but I'll be around. Snuggle down and drink some cocoa/tea/coffee/booze.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Yeah, you right!


You get the picture. Oh, yes! They are now skittering their way across town, the country.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

And now for something completely different. Seasonal confusion.

Still blooming. Despite the below freezing temps at night.

Sorry for the maudlin post earlier. I guess it's my way of coping. But the message remains: I'm thankful.

Thankful...Sad, but Thankful

I have received word that our sweet Nora dog's cancer is taking a tour through her body. Her days are limited but she still does her tap dance and wags her tail. She eats her food (and all the fancy food that I'm sneaking to her so our other dog doesn't notice). And she's still a champion snuggler.

I'm thankful that we chose each other, saving her from doggie death row six years ago.

I'm thankful we've been able to provide her with medication to ease the pain of her rickety hips.

I'm thankful she had another summer so she could bask in the sun.

I'm thankful I've been able to experience her cheerful disposition and dancing on a daily basis.

Sigh. I'm not good at this.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ode to a Fish Tank

Oh, Fish Tank. How grateful I am for thee. When the wee tot awakes at 1:50 a.m. and is inconsolable, refusing to go to sleep unless she is allowed to sleep in our tiny-for-our-amazonian-size bed, I thank you Fish Tank for providing a diversion. Something to stop the wailing and to incite yawns.

Fish Tank, if you could only make our bed bigger so that we didn't even have to have this fight for 45+ minutes in the middle of the night, I'd kiss you. Or something else that you might appreciate more (scrubbing? more fish? more regular feedings for your inhabitants?).

So tired. Yawn.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Emerging from my mental cocoon for a moment for five things


1--Finished knitting on two major holiday presents. Photos, sadly will need to wait until after the holidays.

Now it's on to the finishing portion which is something I always seem to rush through, willy nilly. I hope to sew 'em up this weekend and then consider my next move. The table scarf/doily thing is just not happening so far for the grannies. I've cast on lace from about 4 different patterns and just can't concentrate long enough to not make a mistake. Maybe I'll try a different yarn that isn't lace-weight, although I was trying to knit from my stash.

2--Ok, how cute is this and this and this from the evil store that seemed to be created especially for me to drool over? Argh! Well, at least it gives me inspiration for fun future projects (far, far into the future when I'm an applique queen...).

3--The photo swap is finished in my mind, but I haven't actually done the printing and assembling of packages yet. It's funny how I feel like I can cross it off my list since I know what I'm sending, what I'm writing and how it's going to look. I also feel like I need to tuck an extra "+1" in my packages although I'm not sure what. I'd better hunker down and work since I'm feeling like I want to send these out into the world next week.

4--Sweetie Nora. I'm worried. She's having some issues and I'm wading through the test results that all seem to inconclusive, but still nudge us toward her cancer. We've been extremely grateful so far since they said that the life span post-diagnosis was 2 years at the very lucky end of the spectrum. We're at about the year and a half mark.

5 or 1.5--Slowly getting ready for the holidays. I'm mostly done with Kidlet's presents (just on to stocking stuffers now) but that wasn't too difficult as I only bought two presents! I'd kind of like to knit something up for her too, but whatever I knit seems to end up at the bottom of her stuffed animal pile (and then I save them and move them to my desk). I'm really trying hard to make a homemade holiday to the best of my ability. I still have some ideas I'd like to pull off, but I'm not sure if they'll happen. Last year, I made one present. This year, (fingers crossed) at least half of my presents will be homemade. Next year? Ooooo...all?

Ok, back to the cocoon...have a lovely weekend, folks!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Feeling quiet. Have so much planning, making, worrying, cooking, reading, sleeping (oh wait, no sleeping), compiling, and work to do that I need to take a wee break.

If you get a chance to check out this book, do. I need to become more "Moomin-minded". I am tempted to get a tattoo on my arm just to remind me to let the housework go and make work a game.

Cheers! Back soon...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A Musical Interlude

Seeing The Darjeeling Limited (yes, I'm still thinking about it) resparked my interest in a favorite Kinks album that I had forgotten about (Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One). In the film, they featured three songs, "Strangers" (my heart swells whenever I hear this song; it's an all-time fave), "Powerman" and "This Time Tomorrow". The past two mornings after I drop Kidlet off (and that has been hard this week), I blare the CD in my little car as I zip down the highway. This morning, "Lola" came on as I pulled into the parking lot at work and I was singing at the top of my lungs, accompanied by hand gestures. Man, that song is brilliant. I loved it as a kid for the novelty factor, but it's brilliant. Anyway, had to share. I may be alone here, but hey, it's in me.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Plodding and Plotting

Thanks for all the well wishes, my friends. Kidlet is still having some ear trouble but is now on antibiotics (I hate 'em, but I'll embrace them for a good night of sleep). Me, I'm just plodding along through the snot and scratchiness.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to think of Thanksgiving. How can you not think of Thanksgiving, after watching "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" for the 32nd time with a sick Kidlet? I am a bit (ok, more than a bit) of a control freak. I have to have everything planned, listed and purchased well ahead of the big day. Today's dilemma is "shall I bake a pumpkin pie or buy it from my favorite baker, Franz?" I'm leaning towards purchasing if only for the 'ease' factor, even though I finally feel confident in my pie crust skills. Do you have any favorite holiday recipes? There's a rustic porcini onion stuffing on epicurious (for some reason it won't allow me to link directly anymore) and my cranberry recipe (look in the comments for the recipe).

Here's a little daydream for knitter Ani...this made from this.

Monday, November 05, 2007

morning reflection

Last night, I was able to dream because I was finally able to sleep. My dreams were saffron colored. Kind of wonderful, really. The movie still is in my thoughts. Yes, I actually went this weekend. It wasn't my favorite (the story being wealthy Americans trying to muscle their way through a foreign land and spirituality) but it lingers with me. That's really about all I can say about it right now until I've digested it more. Oh. And that Adrien Brody is still a dish.

The past several days have been a roller coaster. I was fevered, shaky and dizzy on Thursday. Coming out of it Friday. Still recovering by Saturday. Then I barely slept a wink on Saturday night due to the tot not sleeping. She did not go to bed until 1:30 a.m. She tossed and turned, and poked and prodded me throughout the night. We really started sleeping around 4 a.m., just in time for me to wake at 6:30 a.m.. She's been complaining about her ears so I get to drag her, kicking and screaming, into the doctor's office in about an hour. I will have to get her up in the middle of her nap for this. The nap that she fell into a blissful snooze in about 3 minutes flat, perhaps a new record for her. Things have been better.

My knitting has gone from the heights to the depths in record time. I finished (well, I still have some kitchner-ing to do, but the knitting is finished) Holiday Project A and it looks quite sharp. Avoiding my colorwork dilemmas for Holiday Project B, I went to Projects C and D. These I can actually talk about because Kidlet's Great Grandmothers don't touch computers. I decided to make a little lacy doily-table scarf type item for each of them. I started with this pattern, Branching Out. I started and restarted. Seven times. Every time, I ended up with one stitch too many. Except the last time when the pattern came out just right. Then I got to row 3. One stitch too many. I gave up. Being so close to hitting the heel on my Jaywalkers, I decided to work that instead. Lately, I have had a couple of incidents where I ended up one stitch short on stick number one. Fine. I figured I had just forgot an increase here or there. Cruising along. Then I started to study it. The double decreases were wonky as hell. I started counting extra stitches on other needles. If this had been last year, I would have shrugged it off and continued. This year, I've started to be a little more critical of my work. I spent five minutes yesterday zipping the yarn from its (partially) tidy zig zags and now it is back in ball form. At least today I have started back on Projects C and D and am having greater success. I'm using the Sugarplum Shrug from the new Interweave Holiday edition for the motif on the table scarves. So far, so good.

Ok, wish us luck at the doc's office. Oh, the misery. She hates the doctor more than anything else on this earth. More than lions and bears. More than being potatoes (unless they are french fried, the only acceptable means of eating a potato). Sigh.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

...and for you swappers out there, I just sent out the swapping list. If you don't receive an email with information regarding your fellow swapping friends, please let me know as soon as possible so I can remedy the problem. Yay! I'm really, really excited about this.

Drawing for pumpkin cut-out: Kidlet
Knife work: Me

Let's Do the Time Warp...again

This morning, I got to spend a little quality time at my University. I haven't walked into the history building in about...hmmm...15 years? It felt really odd, somewhat akin to walking into an elementary school and seeing all those tiny desks and chairs. Well, I wasn't that much taller today than I was 15 years ago except for the fact that I was wearing my clogs today. Anyway, you get the idea.

I went to an advisor to see how many more hoops I need to jump through to finish. Happily, fewer than previously expected (but we'll still be in the next decade before I finish). Unhappily, I have to take a science course before I go any further due to a new requirement that you finish all of your core requirements before you do any other coursework. Science courses are notorious for being loooooong classes that meet several times a week, something that does not work well for this full-time worker bee. Also, I have to go back to the University to get another piece of paper signed by the art department (and the office was closed this morning, of course) and get advised for my minor. It looks like I need only one class to finish that up, but you never know. I could walk in there and they could say, "Whoa, how old are these credits? Ummm, I don't think so, old woman. Start over!" Hey, it could happen. The history advisor did almost fall out of her chair when she figured out how long ago I began this process.

Well, it's time for me to attempt to entreat the core studies department (so many damn departments) to take pity on a poor working mama and please let me take that science class later. Wish me luck.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Reminder

So, I got the call Friday afternoon that Kidlet was throwing up. Bye, bye weekend plans! Luckily the spewing didn't last long, but she ended up with part two of the dreaded crud. At least this time it has come with a halo instead of devil horns. She has been rather sweet, despite her snottiness.

Confined to home, I managed to do lots of homey things that were on my weekend to-do list. I finished Anna Karenina (Yay! Now on to this...), knit on project number one and am 95% finished, made the upside down pear cake as well as homemade pizza with pesto and the last of the summer tomatoes. I wish I were able to share the knitting project, but the photo will have to come after the holidays (sigh).

Despite the fact that I missed out on my movie date (sigh again), it reminded me of something that I need to think about (much) more often. When reading Thich Nact Hanh's No Death, No Fear, one of the things that stuck with me was this passage,"Our true home is in the here and the now. the past is already gone and the future is not yet here. 'I have arrived, I am home, in the here, in the now.' This is our practice."

This weekend reminded me that I need to not place so much importance on what may (or may not) come. I am home.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Five Things Friday

Since it's been a while and I'm feeling listy, I present that old chestnut, "Five Things Friday".

1.. Could it be? That tot seems to be having a relapse. Watery eyes, runny nose...oh tell me it isn't so. At least her attitude was sweet and cuddly this morning.

2.. You're kidding me? Nope. I'm going to see The Darjeeling Limited tomorrow and I'm so freakin' excited I can hardly stand it.

3.. You're going to try to what? Yes, crazy as it may seem, I'm going to try to finish a knitting project of which I have only 50% knitted AND finish reading Anna Karenina this weekend. All this while I'm doing the usual life stuff too. Right. I only get a rush of ambition every couple months so I'd better take advantage.

4.. You are a sneaky one, aren't you? Going to attempt to sneak out of work early today in the hopes of getting a haircut. Definitely not to go to the yarn store. No. Really!

5.. Save some for me, will ya? Think I might make a pear gingerbread upside down cake. Made it last year to nice reviews (from my mom and grandma as this is the sort of dessert hubby will not touch, i.e. no chocolate).

Happy weekend, all!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I can see a light...

As Kidlet's true voice emerges from its froggy depths, so does her sunny personality. Her fits of anger and lashing out are losing their intensity. When she does fall back into it, ten minutes later she'll say "Sorry about when I said that mean thing, Mama" and give me a kiss. Whew. You cannot believe how relieved I am to write that.

I've been spending some "quality" time on Ravelery. Oh goodness. It is so chock full of inspiration, I might go kookoo. I'm almost regretting that I signed up for it since the last thing I need is another online addiction. Note that I said "almost". But truly, I need to start limiting my online time. More living needs to be done in real life. F'realz.

I've been working on the "+1" portion of the photo swap. I'm pleased how things are going so far but it's time for me to start getting the photo part in order. I'm still deciding from which angle I'm going to attack it...where I'm at physically, mentally, or inspiration-wise.

And lastly...I. Can't. Wait. The Darjeeling Limited opens here this weekend!!!! Anyone want to watch a Kidlet while I go sink myself into Wes Andersonland? This will be the first time I've gone to a movie in over two years. Yeah.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ok, we're all settled...

Glad to hear that there seems to be a consensus on the swapping numbers. If I remember rightly, we're at 10 right now with just about a week left for sign-ups. We'll just be one big happy family of swappers. : )

Thanks for sharing the swapping journey with me! I've been feeling really inspired, which is what I really wanted out of this swap (well, aside from all those fun little pieces of you that you will be sending my way...).

I'm crazy-kookoo tired today so maybe tomorrow I'll get around to scribbling a real post.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dream


I had one of those delicious dreams last night where upon waking you want to drift off again, just to see what happens next. There was a scary element to it, but not enough to be truly alarming. It was somewhat Fellini-esque with lots people in a very small house. The house was on an old highway. It was windy and the sky was full of dark, dark clouds. It was my favorite time of day, dusk. I was outside the house taking amazing photos. I love having dreams like that because when I get up, I'm automatically in a good mood (for at least a few hours).

Hope your weekend is filled with sweet dreams...

A Question for the Swappers Among Us...


I was thinking I was rather nebulous when it came to how many swap partners we would have. I bring the question to you...how many people would you like to swap with? So far we are a small swap, only 9 of us. If we keep limit the sign ups to 10 folks, would you like to make for and swap with everyone in the group? Or would you like to see me divide it into two groups of 5? I, personally, like the idea of receiving 9 photos, but hey, that's just me! I'll be taking votes through the weekend...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

kitschy window


Here's the window above the kitchen sink. It's kind of like a bay window for knickknacks. Residing here are a flock of knives, a butterbell awaiting use and a few fish tank supplies. Kidlet's paintbrushes and a cheese grater. Several cacti, one of which stays in bloom for about a quarter of the year, without fail. An old-time cookie jar (McCoy? if I remember rightly) in black with cherry blossoms strewn across it. Tea tins full and empty. A panda snow cone maker. And one of my odder finds, two elves with open bellies for holding candles. They aren't that odd in themselves, it's just that I found the small one in New Orleans about 15 years ago and then found the larger one in a thrift store all the way across the country about 10 years later. Never seen any other examples of these guys except for these two. Long lost elf brethren, to be found and paired up in my kitchen window.

The child STILL has been home with the crud. She's got lots of energy but she is really stuffy and only occasionally has a voice. However, when she does it's often used to yell at me. I don't know what's going on lately. She and I are at total odds. If I get angry about her attitude, she laughs at me (making me seethe inside with super oooky feelings). I keep looking for reasons why. Maybe it's her new found independence discovered in school. Maybe she has just unearthed the ages old formula for making mothers grow old and grey(er) before their time. If this keeps up, my hair will be completely grey by December 12th.

Gotta tell you, I'm loving the life of "non-student". I'm done until late January and now I'm a knitting and organizing fiend. I'm whipping the house into some semblance of shape and am happily knitting on 3 projects. I'm also now 3/4 of the way through Anna Karenina and it's getting better for me. The story is now fully rolling along at page 650. I'll still be really glad to be done so that I can pick up the books that I'm so excited to read that I could burst.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

three quarters


October is 'show us your abode' month, at least for some of us. I hadn't jumped in yet but here is a start.

From this view taken from the upper corner of my kitchen, you can see about three quarters of our home. Our home is quite petite, about 925 square feet. Starting all the way up in the left hand corner, you can see the hub's and my room (also seen in greater detail here). A couple of hall closets later (please ignore the unfinished baseboards from the big Pergo madness of 5 years ago) and you are in the living/dining/kitchen/office/play area. The tv cabinet is actually open today as the kid has the croup. And let me tell you, I usually shy far away from the tv but after yesterday's extremely intense child and mother meltdowns, the tv is my very bestest friend in the world. And so is my mother, who took over watching her for this afternoon and who also gave me the very bestest pep talk in the world. Today, I still am having remnants of the anxiety attack that launched itself upon me. Ugh. But on to the house!

Beyond the tv (and if you can get past that cute Nora dog), you can see hubby's office nook and his lovely Taylor guitar hanging on the wall. He's been pretty busy (and exhausted) with teaching so he hasn't been playing as much as I'd like...it soothes my soul to hear him play. Making your way around the room, you hit my desk and the slightly feral Kiko dog who looks very much like this dog. Barely in the photo is our little piano that we bought when I swore that I'd have enough time to learn to play it in between doing schoolwork, housework, yardwork and sleeping. I can hunt and peck a few Christmas songs. Not bad eh? Also on the edge of this photo is a painting by our kooky friend, Paul. Missing from the photo is the door, my newly cleaned and organized craft (aka crap) closet, and the fireplace (aka pellet stove). You can see the croupy tot on the couch. You can almost make out the clouds of dog hair on the rug. But you can't feel how this little house manages to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome when they enter. As much I say I want a different house, I love it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Where y'at? 1 + 1 Photo Swap


When we lived in New Orleans, a very popular greeting was "Where y'at?" Translation: Where are you at?

For this photo swap, I propose the following. Show your fellow swappers "where you are at". This can be something as simple as sending a photo of where you live. Or you can take the definition further and it can be "where your head is at". The color cerulean blue is sending you into orbit right now? Snap a photo of that blue. Feeling engrossed in a particular book? Include it in a photo. It certainly doesn't need to be a new photo; it can be one from your archives, it can be a found photo...whatever works for you, works for us. There are no size restrictions. Don't feel like you have to make a museum piece. I want this to be fun and informal.

Now for the "1 + 1" part...I think it would be fun to include a little artifact of "where y'at". This is wide open. It could be a leaf you found on a walk. It could be a touristy postcard from your hometown. It could be a quote that has got you thinking lately. Or maybe an address to a website that you are really excited about at the moment.

Down to the nitty gritty. Sign up by sending me an email with your contact info (email addy and real life addy). Feel free to include your blog/flickr page if you would like to share that info. My email is asta_pup at yahoo.com. Sign up period will end on Halloween, October 31st. I will email you with your swap partners. Send out "deadline" is Monday, November 26th. As we found with the Autumn postcard swap, I'm not always good with deadlines but I think I would be good to get them done before the craziness known as the holidaze/December/end of year madness. My guess is that this will be a fairly small swap since I think my audience is...well...small. I may be posting this on flickr too if it starts to look like I'm sending photos to myself, but we'll see.

Ready? Break!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Better late...



My postcards for the autumn swap are in the mail. Finally. I had fun with these. Hope y'all like them.

Also, a big shout out to my hometown girl, Vanessa. We got together this weekend for a verrrrrrry leisurely snack of beignets. I don't know if it's like this for all bloggy friends (since she's the only one I've actually met), but I really like how we can just sit down and talk like we've known each other a long time. It was great fun and nice to take a break on a frentic energy Sunday (how many chores can you fit into a Sunday morning?). Let's try for a quarterly get together!

One swap down, details for another to come...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

4

I've been tagged again...crazy! Anyhoo, I really like the number 4.

Four jobs I've had in my life:
1..cook
2..maid
3..registrar for two art galleries
4..dog washer

Four places I've been on vacation:
1..road tripping through the southwestern and eastern U.S. with my Hubby
2..Germany
3..roadtripping through the west with my Mom and Dad
4..Disneyworld

Four of my favorite movies:
1..My Man Godfrey or The Thin Man (tied)
2..Nights of Cabiria or 8 1/2 (tied)
3..Young Frankenstein
4..Rushmore

Four places I've lived:
1..New Orleans, LA
2..Palo Alto, CA
3..Summit County, CO
4..Omaha, NE

Four of my favorite foods:
1..oysters, oysters and more oysters
2..my fresh baked bread
3..rueben sandwiches
4..pie

Four places I would rather be right now:
1..Golden Gate park with Kidlet and Hubby
2..the Ruby Mountains
3..Spain
4..at home (optimally with the family, knitting, and bread in the oven)

Four people I think will respond:
Ummm, I think I will go tagless. I'm meme'd out.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bookin' It

A new blogging/flickr friend tagged me for this one. I do love books. Oh yes.

1. Hardcover or paperback, and why? I love to have hardbacks in my possession but in reality, paperbacks are much easier to read in bed (where I end up doing most of my reading).

2. If I were to own a book shop I would call it…hmmm, maybe "Subject, Title, Author". Or more likely, "Mojo's", named after this dog who ate more than his fair share of books.

3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is…you know, this question is just too hard for me. I dog-ear corners of books to remind myself where the items of interest are but then I never go back to commit them to memory. Here's a fave bit from a post a while back that is just lovely.

4. The author (alive or diseased--umm, I really think they may have meant 'deceased' but who am I to question this) I would love to have lunch with would be …This is where interests cross. I would have to say Alice Waters. You'd be sure to have amazing food and I'd love to talk to her about her project, The Edible Schoolyard.

5. If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except from the SAS survival guide, it would be…maybe What the Buddha Taught: Revised and Expanded Edition with Texts from Suttas and Dhammapada by Walpola Rahula. I'd like to read more about Buddhism and actually have the time to really understand it.

6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that….I have to agree with CSM, I need a bookholder for my bedtime reading so I can keep my arms under the covers so they don't get cold. And with my current read, Anna Karenina, it would come in really handy (it gets hefty).

7. The smell of an old book reminds me of….the deep dark cavernous basement of the University library. I would always find the most remote cubicle in which to hide away. Then instead of doing my schoolwork, I would just sort of wander into the stacks, looking for obscure treasures.

8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be…Again a mix of interests, this time it's films and books. I'd want to be Nora in The Thin Man (but only if my hubby could be Nick). Or maybe Julie Child (although this is serious cheating as I never made it all the way through her biography).

9. The most overestimated book of all times is….Anna Karenina. Ha, ha...it's only because I'm in the middle of it right now and well, I didn't realize that it was originally serialized. This means there are many loooooong sections that I've been slogging through that don't move the stories along. For my taste, it would be quite good at about 450 pages.

At the risk of inciting a riot, I could say Harry Potter. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading them but I'm just not swept away with the fever.

10. I hate it when a book…ends. Especially when it has become one of my favorites.

Right back at'cha... Liz! Tune in a bit later for more meme-mania.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Sky of slate, bitter chill wind. Daubs of flame and gold slowly transform the summer's sea of green. Inhale deeply, the feeling is clean.

This weekend...more of the same but hopefully with some pie action. Also, I get to have my semiannual visit with Vanessa! Eat those caramel apples, folks.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I just ate the most perfect pear ever from the above tree.

More pear love.

Inspiration is hiding under each rock

Last night, Kidlet and I were sprawled out on the floor, coloring, painting and cutting (well, she was. She's obsessed with her little pink scissors). As I was painting with her very-difficult-to-get-any-color watercolors, I was suddenly inspired to use a different technique than I had first planned for my postcards.

As I lay in the bed at the crack of dawn, I visualized my final product. I think it's going to be pretty good! And even better, I think I will be able to finish them this weekend.

In other inspiration, I've been starting to check out podcasts while I do mindnumbing data entry stuff. I really like Stash and Burn. They sound like people I wouldn't mind hanging out with to have a coffee-and-a-knit. They also have very nice laughs.

Anywhere you've been going for inspiration lately?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Putting on weight for winter hibernating


Well, Vanessa definitely beat me in the pie races this weekend. No pie was made over here but much good food was consumed nevertheless. The above buttermilk biscuits were served with hubby's fluffy scrambled eggs and not my half-bad attempt at home fries on Saturday morning. I made a tomato soup with all the leftover-getting-squashy tomatoes. Served it up with grilled cheese sandwiches. The best waffles I ever made (buttermilk wheat) were enjoyed on Sunday. In further foodiness, I may try some schoolwork avoidance tonight and make pumpkin chocochip muffins (seen here).

I still haven't finished my postcards for the swap, but I'm inching along. I'm really really enjoying the ones I've received so far (thank you, lovely people). Next time I think I will design something that doesn't require so much painting (and drying and gluing and painting). I was cruising along with the Jaywalker socks and then last night...about two inches in I saw some strange yarn badness that wasn't a dropped stitch and could not be repaired. Frog, frog, frog. I guess that's the universal symbol for "get to work on the projects that need doing".

All in all, it was a mighty fine weekend where much got done, but there was still time for fun. Pumpkin patching, fall decorating, and did I mention eating? Now that I'm thinking about it, sorry this post is just like the last post, except it is in the past tense. I just need to revel in the weekend for just a little bit longer so bear with me. Thank you.

Friday, September 28, 2007


--Groceries with Mama and Kidlet

--Fluffy, fluffy scrambled eggs (thanks, Greg!) with home fries (thanks, Justin!) and buttermilk biscuits

--Postcards to work on

--Photo swap to plan

--Schoolwork

--A few stitches of knitting (anyone know a good kid legwarmer pattern that's really quick to knit?)

--Pizza with Mom-in-law and her Mom

--Maybe an early morning desert hike and waffles with friends (gotta mix up the pancake routine every once in a while and I can use the leftover buttermilk..ha ha, Emily! I did find a use for that buttermilk. Cake or buttermilk waffles...a difficult choice, indeed.)

--The pumpkin patch?

--Seasonal decorating?

--Maybe an apple pie...? Who will bake the pie first, Vanessa or me...

What does your weekend look like?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Aha!

Well, thanks to lovely Dominque and Vanessa, I now have some ideas floating about. First off, I think once my class is over next month I will host a photo swap. I will sketch it all out and post details next month. But beyond that, having this mini dialog got me thinking. Muwah ha ha ha! 'Nuff said.

Monday, September 24, 2007


The weekend...cold, cloudy, rainy.
Me...huzzah!

I did what I shouldn't and started knitting my Jaywalkers this weekend. I'm very much in love with the colorway (Lorna's Laces Shadow). I've got the cuff ribbing done and sadly, they probably won't get touched again for another few weeks. The kid has got it in her mind that I'm supposed to knit some socks for her now. I'll be lucky if I can get a pair done before she outgrows them with my oh-so-rapid knitting pace.

Getting really close to finishing my class. I have a couple of lessons left, test...and then...woo hoo! Par-tay! Huh? Who's blog is this anyway?

I've been thinking more about my photography lately. I enjoy the flickr community but beyond that, why do I do this? I have yet to print anything up to hang on the wall. They just pile up and take up space in my lappy. I am better than I once was but I certainly don't expect to sell prints or become a photographer. I guess I feel I'm at a plateau and I want to do something more, but am not sure what that is. And then there's the perfectionist in me. I can't just leave it as a hobby, I have to be good at it and if I'm not (stomps foot), I don't wanna do it (throws camera). Maybe I'm just in search of a project. Maybe I need some focus (ha ha). Perhaps I can work on putting some entries in the state fair next year?

Ok, where's my apple pie y'all promised me? Just kidding. I baked bread but forgot to put salt in it. Come on by and we'll slather it in butter and sprinkle salt on top. It's good. F'realz.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ani's Almanac

I love the Old Farmer's Almanac. I haven't purchased one in years, but I think I may when I pick up the groceries tomorrow. Perhaps I'll try growing next year's garden according to their hocus pocus-y sounding advice. But on to my almanac. I noticed that this year the trees started turning on the mountaintop two weeks earlier than last year. We had a brief storm that blew in yesterday where the mountains were socked in with thick, steely clouds. When they receded this morning, snow was on the mountaintop. I forecast a heavier winter, although just about anything would be heavy compared to last year. Please start knitting your woolly socks and hats now. Hmmm...despite the fact that I'm buried in schoolwork and two other knitting projects, maybe I'll take my own advice and cast on the Jaywalkers (finally).

Ani's Almanac: weekend forecast good for baking apple pie. Sadly, I won't be able to follow my own advice, too many things to do this weekend already. Maybe you will bake? Save me a slice, ok?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Out of the Haze


Man, what a week. I really felt crappy. The Kidlet had about 1.5 days of minimal slowdown but the hubby and myself, ugh! But today, I opened my eyes and...I'm feeling much better. Wow! Strange and wonderful!

Despite the congestion and wooziness, I was very busy this weekend as I'm quite bad at resting. Gingerbread was baked for my mama and chocolate chai cupcakes for a friend's birthday. I mopped and swept. I changed the sheets and did about half a dozen loads of laundry. I scrubbed the bathroom. I also did schoolwork, started the postcards for my swap and I ran errands. You'd think that my house would be as neat as a pin for all the perpetual motion that I have going on, but no. How do other folks do it?

I still haven't been able to pick up the knitting needles, despite being mightily inspired. I think I have about 10 projects lined up in my head. Hmmmm...at my current rate of knitting, that means that I have enough projects to keep me knitting until 2011.

BTW...Last night in flickrland, I ran across Ms. Chockylit's donuts-n-coffee cupcakes. So over-the-top. So freakin' cool. All they are missing is a maple glaze...just kidding! They couldn't be more perfect if they tried.

Friday, September 14, 2007

What a Wonderful World...

Yesterday Kidlet painted a picture and said she wanted to give it to new friend at school (we'll call him G). This morning as we are leaving for school, Kidlet does a happy dance, with picture in tow. "G is my friend and he likes me! He is so nice, he is so nice." So very glad that school seems to be working out.

Despite the fact that my nose looks like Rudolph and my breathing sounds like Darth Vader, I had one of those feelings of warm-fuzzy-contented happiness today. I love when all feels right in my little world. It doesn't come together like that very often and if I poke and prod, I can find a ton of stuff that's most certainly wrong, but I'll bask in the warmth of my feeling for now.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

cough, cough

This just in...we have just received the one of many harbingers of the season, the first sniffle. And boy howdy, it's a doozy. However, I certainly don't mind the day off from work with the tot. Maybe we'll make some popcorn and watch cartoons. While she naps I may even knit. Really! Or perhaps sleep would be better for this body that feels as though it's been worked over by a baseball bat.

One thing I feel sorry about is that I heard hubby say this morning that he has it too. I wish he was here with us. I was just about to rant about sick days and the workplace, but I guess that's not my job (ugh! the pun was not so punny!).

Back soon with a sniffle-free post (I hope).

Monday, September 10, 2007

Balloon Love


Twas a very nice weekend. We had a great crew with us on Sunday A.M. for balloonacy, cookies and coffee. This was the first year I was into the photography thing and I took 80 photos(!). For more photos, go here. (Doh! I had lost my link...it's there now.)

This weekend I also...

baked a lovely loaf of bread

made a yummy salad of spinach, pears, goat cheese, walnuts with balsamic vineagrette

actually bought a fancy-esque outfit for a wedding we will be attending so I won't have my usual gee-the-only-thing-I-have-to-wear-is-this-grease-stained-skirt-and-this-somewhat-fancy-t-shirt-freak-out 30 minutes before we need to be there. And better yet, I will even be able to wear this stuff in day-to-day life and I'll look...dare I say it? Nice? Pretty? Hmmm...

got lots of schoolwork done

I've been listening to lots of fun podcasts while I'm at work. The one that gets me though is a knitting podcast and dang it, I almost wish I hadn't found it. It just makes me want to look up a multitude of gorgeous yarns and patterns and start about 40 new projects. I get maybe a half hour a week to knit, at the most. Sigh. Deep breath. I'll be done with my class in a month and then I'll be able to knit until Spring semester.

That's about all for now. Keep your fingers crossed that Kidlet isn't getting a sniffle. She sure seems like it.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

It's coming...

the balloons are in the air, pears are hanging from the tree, tonight the Saints are opening the season (and will be kicking booty for those keeping score) and when I looked to my patch of aspens on the mountain top this morning...the blush of yellow was there. I'm thrilled. And by checking the date for last year's aspen change, well, we're a couple weeks ahead of schedule. Lovely. Now if I could just get my fall postcards ready for the swap, that would be an accomplishment. At least I've got ideas. You can always count on me for that.

Monday, September 03, 2007


These socks are now happily living with my mama. I was very proud when she told me how much she loved them and how they were even better than the ones that her grandma had knit for her. And speaking of that grandma, here are her knitting needles that have been in my possession for a few years now. I think they must be size 0, so tiny.


Not sure what one knits with such tiny needles except some exceptionally fine socks. Time to start looking for a pattern.

Friday, August 31, 2007

5 Things Friday

It's been a while since I've relied on this old chestnut. And 5 hours of sleep make for scattered thoughts...

1--Reading. For school: The Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West
For bedtime: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

2--Eating. Snacks galore when my mama and I watch the University of Nebraska beat the University of Nevada. I've got some mixed loyalties but I was born and raised a Cornhusker.

3--Inhaling. The scent of rain. It rained yesterday for the first time in months. Here at work, the rain came down like it used to in New Orleans. The skies opened up and water spilled out.

4--Debating. Hair, to chop off entirely or just a little? My eternal quandary.

5--Knitting. I'm going to start Secret Project Number Two this weekend because I can't just have only two projects going at one time (Secret Project Number 1 and this poor neglected Daisy scarf). This weekend, I will post a photo of the socks I finished last week.

Have a splendid extended dance remix weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Goodnight, Sweetheart


The world is a'spinning and we're hanging on for dear life. Hubby is up at the crack of dawn and gone before I wake up only to return after I get home. I hope these first few weeks of teaching don't treat him too harshly. I bet it gets easier, Sweetie, really...I bet it does. Despite the fact hubby has every evening off, he is so drained by the end of the day he is in bed as soon as the kid goes to sleep. It's strange being the last one to bed at night. Kidlet is worn out by her own school day so it only takes a half hour to get her to sleep (as opposed to the hour it has been taking the past few weeks). Me, I'm just trying to cobble the remnants together the best I can...household chores, food, yard...I'm sure you know the drill. Add my own scholarly pursuits and work to the mix and wow, no wonder we are exhausted.

I couldn't really tell you how hubby's first days of teaching are going except 'damn, those teachers work hard and deserve waaaaaay more money than they receive.' Kidlet is back at her school and now that it's the actual school, I think it's going really well. As iffy as I was feeling about their 'summer day camp', I'm glad she participated because it gave her a (somewhat) gentle introduction, meeting several of the children in her class as well as her teacher ahead of time. There hasn't been a tear (at least while I've been there) at drop off. There was even a day when she got mad when Nonna came to collect her because she was busy with a friend. I know it's only the first week, but I'm finally feeling positive about the experience (and I'm going to hold it close to my heart, damn it).

Autumn is feeling closer despite the fact it is still a billion degrees during the day and not even cooling down at night like it was a few weeks ago. One of the trees in our neighbor's yard (seen above) changed to yellow overnight and lost most of its leaves. Kidlet gave me one of the dried up leaves and said "Isn't it beautiful? It's for you, Mama." Yes, yes it is. It sits on my desk in front of me, a talisman to bring the new season closer. It's been a hell of a summer.

It's a cloudy morning and I'm loving it. Just had to tell you.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Vacation-Go-Round


Well folks, I'm back. I had a mini-vacation. Six days! Can you believe it? Amazingly, I feel somewhat refreshed despite the fact that everything is ramped up to DEFCON 2 stress levels. Hubby starts his very first day of teaching sophmores today (woo hoo)! Kidlet goes back to school! Somehow I missed the line in the school paperwork that stated she only has a half day today so today is a big race from home to school to work to school to home to Nonna to work again. Oh joy! But that's today. I've got other stuff to relate.

I discovered that if I didn't work, I wouldn't blog or flickr. I don't know if blogging/flickring is a way to remind me that "yes, I can be creative" with the very limited amount of time I have when I'm working, but I had little desire to do either during the past week and it was wonderful. Since I had time, I wanted to do more 'real life' projects like actually print my photos to put around the house (except for the fact I lost the battle with my printer). I went to the state fair and saw the 'creative living' competitions and thought, "i need to enter some stuff. i can do this." I finished the purple socks and started on another (super secret) project. I've got a billion ideas swimming around in my head. I'm mentally prepared for the fall postcard swap. I love recharging the creative batteries.

I got a ton of schoolwork done too, in between trips to the mountain lake, the fair, and eating ice cream. However, last night I had the dreadful realization that instead of the 8 classes I thought I had left for my BA, I have more like 13 classes. That was a big blow. At the rate I'm going, I'll be done in 7 years. Yeah. And that doesn't even include the master's degree I have planned for myself. I'll keep plugging away for now since I only have about a month left with this class and then I won't need to do anything but create(!) until January. Maybe I need to rethink all this and go with plan B or C. Then again, if I quit school then I definitely will never finish. Better to keep on keeping on and finish someday in the distant future, right? Right? I still don't regret dropping out and living the wild life in New Orleans when I was 21. But it sure was easier to take 4 and 5 classes at a time when I was a kid instead of now when I have a kid and work full time.

Ok, that was a big ramble. But that's what you come here for, right? Right? Big hugs to you all and now it's off to catch up with you here in Virtual Land.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Just a moment

Gliding down the freeway: windows open, cool breeze. Mind riding with Brubeck's piano. Taking stock of my New Year's resolutions and I sit up straighter. I simplify where I can. Dreaming of next week, only one day of work. Old fashioned chocolate cake to make, lakes to visit, cotton candy hands. I take pictures with my mind. Wondering if I'll be able to come back and actually use my camera. Nope. The moment is fleeting.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Just pretend


By not blogging, I think I'm somehow pretending I'm away on an extended vacation spending lots of time sitting next to a sparkling body of water, digging my toes into the sand while working on a happy crafty project, eating yummy food while having a glass of wine, and reading good books. In Realityland, I will be taking a few days off next week to watch Kidlet before her two week school break ends, but any travel will be daytrippish. The state fair will be starting and I will take the opportunity of being able to go in the daytime, before all the questionable crowds come out for the rides at night. A trip to mountain lake. A trip to desert lake. And a bunch of schoolwork. No, we cannot write a post without mentioning my arch nemesis, schoolwork. But I'm looking forward to it (minus the schoolwork), as short as that time off may be.

So I think I may continue this blogging vacation for now. Maybe I'll feel refreshed if I stay away. Maybe I'll shut off my computer (except for schoolwork) next week when I'm off. Ha ha ha! Good one. I'm such an addict to the internet but one can dream, eh?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The cool of the morning

I was instantly transported when I poked my head out the back door this morning. There was a certain amount of dampness in the air.* I remembered being in Omaha and going on a field trip with my school to see...a train? I remember the train depot, but I don't know if that was what we were really going to see. But the air. It smelled exactly the same as it did that morning 30 years ago. Fresh. Slightly chilled. And I could even feel the electricity of being away from school with all my classmates. Wonderful.

*Ummm, said dampness would not be caused by me leaving the soaker hose on ALL DAY. Yeah.

The last of the summer swap...


From Ali. Yes, I've had this lovely all to myself for about a month. I guess I didn't want the swap to end and I knew that as soon as I posted the last card it would be over. Thank you, Ali, for such a gorgeous card! Each one she made was so unique and full of care.

I hemmed and hawed and then happily said "yes!" I've joined the fall swap! I don't think I could do the more complicated knitty-sewing-megagoodie bag swaps because, well, it takes me at least 6 months to knit a pair of socks. But this, it is small and can be as complicated or as simple as one chooses to make it. I've got ideas a'brewin' in my head already. What makes you think of fall? Or are you not ready for fall yet?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

And back to our regularly scheduled program of kvetching and dreaming of finding enough time in the day to finish knitting a pair of socks

Something has been bugging me hence, an apology

I had a sudden realization the other day and I hope I haven't inadvertently offended anyone. I realized I've been lax about giving credit where credit is due. I can blame it on my hazy state of morning blogging, I can blame it on the state of my overworked brain, but I wanted to say I am sorry if I haven't been making it crystal clear if a photo was not mine. Photos that show up when you come to the blog are mine, taken by my camera (of which I'm not really fond...shhh...don't tell). Links may take you to flickr where it usually will be someone else's photo (and you would be able to see that from the account icon in the upper right hand corner of the page). No one has contacted me stating that I was not making this clear but I realized I had a couple of recent posts that may have been construed as "attribution hazy" as some links were to photos I took and some were not. I have since edited these posts.

Again, terribly sorry. Let's make tea and cookies.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Inspired...


Madre Adoptiva just recently came back from a Sun Dance in Oregon. Reading her blog, talking to her, as well as reading Fools Crow has been getting me thinking about my own (tiny, but hopefully growing) spiritual life, nature, and people in 'civilization'. These things have been stewing for quite a while but have really come to a head for me in the past week. I don't want to leave people with a rant about civilization so I'll just say I think the time has finally come for me to start a meditation practice, renew my efforts to be more kind and understanding, and hopefully get out in nature more often. Sadly, my weekend is already lining up to be full of 'civilzation'. Bleh. I hope yours is filled with juicy, red tomatoes, blazingly bright sunflowers, and dips in cold lakes.

Monday, July 30, 2007

And what's sitting next to your bed?


Since Bekka inquired via comments a few posts ago and since it's been a while since I've written about books, I thought I'd share a smattering of what I am reading/might pick up and browse/have recently finished.

Now: Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Was going to ready Harry Potter 5 (yes, I'm only on 5) but didn't want to spend any cash right now for books. This was sitting about and hubby said it was a fun read, so I'm halfway through. It is fun. Very much like reading one of his comics.

Also reading right now but not pictured: Fools Crow by James Welch. For school. Pretty interesting and I'd probably really dig it if I wasn't having to really think about the questions I need to answer for my assignment ("How many treaties does so-and-so say they signed with the white man?").

And courtesy of the lovely Project Guttenberg, More Translations from the Chinese by Arthur Waley. Chinese poetry? I'm obsessed.

Finished: All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this book. I shed tears when I finished it because I enjoyed it so dang much. Ummm, you probably won't have that reaction if you read this, but this novel really moved me and I'm still not sure why. His writing style suits me perfectly. That's really about all I can say.

The Selected Poems of T'ao Ch'ien. This is another one of my fave books of all time now. Beautiful, beautiful. Can't really say 'finished' because I keep returning to it.

Upcoming: what do you suggest?

The tale of the garden that went kaput and its (awaited) rebirth

My yard is in a mixed state. Usually the backyard is tolerably pleasing with an array of flowers across our hill that starts with irises in the spring, to coreopsis and cosmos, to white onions at the tail end of summer. Then the virginia creeper officially takes over and we end the growing season with a week of blazing red. Then the rest of the year, it officially looks like crap. This year, erosion finally won out. The cosmos and coreopsis didn't happen. The onions are an inch high, if they exist at all. We'll still have the creeper, because...well...it's creeper and invasive. Over the past couple years, I've tried reseeding the hill with drought tolerant wildflower mixes, planting assorted xeric plants and...nothing. My hill is officially dust, not an ounce of organic matter in it.

So I've been planning, gathering inspiration, and trying to figure out how to amend my hill with out it blowing away with the strong evening winds that tear across the yard and how to dig a hole deep enough for a tree that doesn't require a jackhammer.

Here's what I'm thinking: on the hill, try to get some sumac in as it is invasive so maybe I'll get something out of it. Add a couple of aspens. Some sort of hardscaping to help it out during the winter months. Grasses look good year round. Fill in the spaces with wildflowers for summer. I'm going to make a sunflower patch where the vegetable patch is supposed to be (but always gets nibbled away by Nora). I'm also going to make an evening garden that is full of white flowers by the patio (which I want to expand) .

And the inspiration:

white (via gardenhoe/sara) and here (from me)
sumac and here too (both from me)
aspen (via knitting iris...the butterfly dress doesn't hurt either...maybe if I grow a grove, I can knit one to hang in the trees. a girl can dream, eh?)
sunflower (via nessie) and here (this one from me)

Wish me luck, I'm going to need it. Or wish me superhuman strength so I can dig a hole through the boulder that comprises the base layer of our hill.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Pancakemama proud of Pancakepapa


Last night...hubby's last night of school. He is now on the road to teacher-dom. Over the next month, he will be making the transition from waiter to teacher. This also means we get to make the transition from seeing each other two nights a week to ALL OF THEM. WE HAVE NEVER, EVER HAD NORMAL NIGHTS TOGETHER IN THE ENTIRE SPAN OF THIS RELATIONSHIP, WHICH IS 16+ YEARS. Wow. I'll get to see how the other half lives.

Boo, I'm proud of you. I'll be jealous when it's you and Kidlet traipsing about the desert all next summer, all day, every day.

Oy vey, this means it will soon be my turn to attempt to finish this school thing. Lessee...my goal is to be done by the time I'm 45, so I've got mmm...6 years to go. Wish me luck.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Random thoughts of the morning or tell me how you really feel

--I hate feeling Kidlet getting stressed about going to school because I'm the one who said 'oh yes, I think she's going to love this' and now she tells me 'I don't like school' and holds back her tears to put on a brave face when I drop her off. I can't wait for this 'summer day camp' to end and have the real school start. Ok, just had to get that off my chest.

--Had to take an exam this morning. It was like pulling teeth to get me there to take it. I had planned on taking this thing way back at the end of May. Well, I didn't find out until I was there, taking the test, that I had studied for this thing totally wrong. I have taken this instructor before and he usually wants the grandiose theme-and-scheme of things. Well, today it was all nit picky stuff like "what's Alexander Hamilton's mother's maiden name?". A full 20% of my grade, right there...down the drain. At least I have a very solid 'A' on my written assignments to balance it out (a little).

--On the way back to my car post-exam, I walked through a neighborhood in which I would love to live (except for the fact every third house is a rental for partying college folks). Sitting under a huge pine tree next to one of these charming houses, there was a lovely elderly woman. Something about her really struck me...don't know if it was her friendliness, her beauty or her bright pink lipstick. Felt like I just wanted to invite her out to a cup of tea.

--Now I'm totally wiped out from the test taking. Looking forward to a quiet evening with my tiny family. Usually, we are only able to all get together twice a week since hubby has been "all school, all the time" for the past year. But next week, that will change. I can hardly believe it. Tonight: glass(es) of wine and knitting. Tomorrow: back to the writing assignments for school.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Bonus Round...Seven Random Things About Me

A few months back I answered this question but I'm pretty weird and random so answering this is like selling lamb tickets at a wolf carnival. So Emily, I'm more than happy to come up with another set!

1--My not-so-guilty pleasure in music is uber-cheesey 70's soft rock. Think "Evil Woman" by E.L.O. , "Sister Golden Hair" by America, "More than a Feeling" by Boston. Oh yes. I revel in this stuff. I grew up listening to AM radio where these were the staples.

2--Somewhat related...my first LP was John Denver's Greatest Hits, my first 45 was "Le Freak" by Chic and my first tape was Golden Years by David Bowie.

3--I've met Charo. On several occasions. She is the sweetest, tiniest, bustiest woman you could ever hope to meet.

4--Somewhat related--I have a small reputation for refusing famous people. I've (tried) to kick out Jimmy Buffet from a high-falutin' cocktail lounge for violating the dress code (but the manager didn't have my back, he let him stay). I refused to serve Sting at the restaurant I worked at because we were closed and I had had a bad day. ("Not even a bowl of soup?" he asked plaintively.) Must have been a bad day because I do love The Police. Lastly, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top asked if my friend Mikey and I wanted to go bar hopping but again, I was tired and cranky from a long night at work and said no. Gotta say, Billy Gibbons is one very nice, cool cat.

5--When I get dressed, I have a theme in mind. It could be "summer in Stockholm" or "Amelie", but I'm positive my end result looks nothing like my inspiration.

6--If I could live in any other time, it would be in a 1930s screwball comedy ala The Thin Man or My Man Godfrey. I wouldn't want to live in the actual 1930s (you know, the Great Depression, between World Wars, all that biz), but the sparkling drinking and dancing at supper clubs with gobs of money...that, I like.

7--I currently don't have a favorite color. This month I just really love them all. Last month, it was pink. (via gardenhoe/sara)

Sorry I'm so wiki-happy today. I got a little out of hand. I'm not sure if anyone really reads this poor little blog much anymore, so I'll just assume if you are reading this...consider yourself tagged!

Have a lovely weekend, all. I'll give it my best shot but I'm going to be studying for an exam on Monday (bleh!), but at least I'll study with a glass of wine in my hand (yay!).