Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Can I tell you how good this long weekend was? It would take a long time to list all the goodness that the weekend brought but I'll try to hit at least some of the high points...

--Fancy-pants dinner with hubby. The first real "date" we've had in a year. Yeah, I know...crazy, eh? I'll be happy when he's done with school and we have a real life together again.

--Hanging out with Mama. I'm am so lucky to have a friend like her.

--Log flume ride at the park, followed by snow cones. 'Nuff said.

--Bird watching in the backyard

--Taking fifty photos and having...mmmm...maybe 6 come out nicely. At least I'm learning about this damn camera (finally).

--Merry-go-rounds, mini-trains, sitting on burlap sacks while going down the Super Slide

--BBQ in the backyard with lots of potato salad and smores

I wished I could have done some more knitting as well as work on my postcards for the swap. But hey, I'm taking a few days off next week to continue this lovely, lovely vacation feeling. There will be time for that goodness then.

And as for schoolwork? Schoolwork? Schmoolwork. Ummm, just not feeling it. Think I'm going to try to finish up the next lesson the best I can and then take a mini-break before the test. I was going to try to wait until after I took the exam (as that makes much more sense), but my momentum has gone with the gentle breezes and sunny skies.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Together, We All Go Out Under the Cypress Trees in the Chou Family Burial-Grounds

Today's skies are perfect for a clear
flute and singing koto. And touched

this deeply by those laid under these
cypress trees, how could we neglect joy?

Clear songs drift away anew. Emerald wine
starts pious faces smiling. Not knowing

what tomorrow brings, it's exquisite
exhausting whatever I feel here and now.

--From The Selected Poems of T'ao Ch'ien, translated by David Hinton

Friday, May 25, 2007

Wild Kingdom...in the comfort of my backyard

This is the time of year that dead birds show up in my yard. In the past week, I've had three birds turn up in my yard: a chick, a fledgling and an adult. Tonight, I'm on the phone with my mom. I see a mama bird fly by with something quite large in her beak. I hear her drop it off by a tree. It was a dead chick. Crazy, eh? I had no idea that they could carry anything so large. It was creepy, somewhat sad and most of all, I'm glad Kidlet didn't notice the Darwinian action going on in the vicinity of her tea party.

This all being said, I think I'm turning into a bird geek. Tonight, I i.d.'d a black throated sparrow. I always just thought they were chickadees. Nope.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Moment

Just got home from work, fed the dogs. Kidlet is with her Daddy visiting her Great Grandma Angie for a few minutes. It rained hard for about ten minutes and now it's quiet. Fresh. Green. Birds chirping and Donald Byrd on my lappy. I'm alone in the house which happens....mmmm...maybe a few minutes a week. I'm going to type on my homework like mad but I've got a glass of wine and a few crackers adorned with muffaletta scrumptiousness to keep me grounded in this contented feeling.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Five Things...On My First Blogiversary

1. Camaraderie...I think this is the main reason why I started doing this. I saw the dialog between bloggers and while I was a commenter on several fave blogs, I felt like I was still missing out. To be honest, I really didn't expect anyone to read this thing, except maybe my family, but I've been pleasantly surprised by the connections I've made doing this. I give you all a big squeezey hug for making me a part of your reading.

2. Inspiration and Impetus...I've been deeply changed by looking into others' lives and finding out what inspires them. I like having a forum where I can share what is currently floating my boat. Blogging also gives me an invisible deadline. I feel a need to produce and share...a new photo, a few more stitches completed on a project.

3. Swapping...This was also a reason why I wanted to start this thing. I spent a lot of time on the crafty blogs and saw all the amazing goodies folks received via swaps. Many of the swaps I ran across required you have a blog. So I started one. And the only swap I've participated in was with sweet Nina (which didn't require a blog) and the current postcard swap with the amazing Andrea (which also does not require a blog). As much as I love receiving mail, I know I'd always be the late participant getting my stuff in the mail and I'd be too worried about disappointing folks by sending out a lackluster array of goodies.

4. Stop it already! Ok, I can't tell you how many times I've thought about throwing in the towel. I'm distancing myself from the real world by focusing on online life. This is just self-indulgent noodling. I often type before I think things through. I'm a dork. But oh well. I continue for now.

5. The Date I Started This Thing...I purposely waited until the 23rd of May when I started, because I didn't want to start this blog on the anniversary of my Dad's passing. It happened, most unexpectedly, two years ago as of yesterday. Here I am today, thinking about it and I feel I need to mention it now, even if it's only in a small way (since I still don't feel very ready to talk much about it). I'm still confused by his death and somehow expect him to walk through my Mom's door on a Sunday afternoon, ready for a glass or two of wine and to tell us of his adventures. I wonder what he would have thought about this blogging thing.

Wow, didn't mean to end this party on a melancholy note. Let's raise another glass of champagne, shall we? Kidlet will toot the party horn.

I Present...Donny Osmond

Ok, it's just the purple-y sock. No Donny to see here...move along. It's somewhat ill-fitting but I'm going to take notes for sock number two so that next time I do this, it'll be dreeeeeeeeamy.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I'm a machine

Happily the weekend was not as spew-full as expected, but the wee one's booty was kicked by the bug so there was lots of lounge-time for her. Me, I was a freakin' get-things-done-around-the-house machine. Remember the interminable purple sock? Done. Sure, I still have to make the second one, but first one is done. The front yard that has been languishing away for months and months? Still need to throw down new bark, but otherwise...done. I washed the covers to the cushions to the couch (well, that was partially spurred by the spew-fest), washed the dog bed cover (that was spurred by a filthy beast), and the comforters (spurred on by a blend of the previous two). I weeded the carrot patch. I baked buttermilk biscuits, made black bean soup and muffaletta mix. I gathered up goodies for the summer postcard swap and started cutting stuff up. And even a bit of schoolwork was done. Man, I need to stay home more often.

A few words on the sock...can't say I'm wild for it. I was hoping with all the ribbing, it would be a nice, snuggy sock but it's still baggy. I guess that's the trouble with having a insanely long and narrow foot. And the Donny Osmond color scheme leaves a little something to be desired, but I can't really complain. It's a handknit sock and I'll happily wear them. That is, once I get that second one knit. I'd say that'll happen in...oh....maybe November.

I'm so excited about the summer postcard swap I could just burst. I've got my basic idea rattling around in my head and now I just need to apply Mod Podge. As you can see in the photo above, I'm organized.

Ok, back to your regularly scheduled working week...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Poppy-less and Spew-full

The photo is from last summer. I wish the poppies were going to come back (I let them go to seed) but I'm seeing nothing in that patch. I even tried to help it out a bit, by throwing down new seed, but so far I've seen nothing.

I was going to write about how this was going to be gardening weekend, the first dance class for Kidlet, a possible muffaletta picnic....and the Kidlet just threw up, is going home from daycare and well, I'm hoping the weekend isn't all about spew.

Wish us luck.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Ever since I read David Abram's Spell of the Sensuous earlier this year (read it! now!...ok, you can finish what you were reading first), I've been thinking about how removed we are from our local environment. This week, I came across an article that discusses how kids in school are learning about the destruction of rain forests and the melting of ice caps thousands of miles away and how it affects the creatures that live in those areas. But of their own environment? What do they know? They know how to get to the mall.

I want to be able to pass on a love and a comfortableness with being out in the wild to Kidlet. But first I need to get beyond this disconnect that has been growing between me and the outdoors and get back to my roots of running around the forests (except now it would be deserts). Abram suggests learning everything you can about your local environment, its birds, trees, and bugs. I recently received my Peterson's Bird Book and I'm hopefully on my way. This week I saw a barn swallow in my back yard (can I tell you how much I love this bird? So much...). I found out via Knitting Iris that we have Arrowleaf Balsam Root growing in the hills in the springtime. Time to pick up some more guides. Time to get outside and breathe it all in.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sneaking on Summer

Last week was filled with me being grouchy and stressed so I figured that would make for poor blog fodder. The Kidlet has yet another sniffle so she would sniffle herself awake for a few minutes in the middle of the night, waking me up and then I would be awake for the next 2 to 3 hours stressing out about having to give notice at our beloved daycare to jump off into the great unknown of Montessori school and about how our one toilet in the house might fall through the floor (yes, I am crazy). The days following these sleepless nights consisted of me grumbling at my co-workers and spouse and drinking copious amounts of coffee. So there you have it. New week!

And the new project, my leave-behind fortunes...an assortment of fortunes with lucky color and lucky number to be left in various spots around town. Kind of fun, a little less personal than my drawings but much easier to deal with. I think these will be my summer project because in the summertime, the living is easy, right? And I also signed myself up for Andrea's summer postcard swap so I'll need to get cutting and pasting for that. I'm a little nervous as I've never really done anything like this before, but I made sure I had an idea for the cards before I signed up.

This weekend, I mowed my Mom's front yard. I've never mowed grass in my life. Yes, I'm in the tail end of my 30s and I have never mowed. In my defense, I've never had a lawn in my adult life. Kind of fun, really. Good exercise too. No, that photo of grass is not my Mom's lawn, but a professional job I saw while waiting for a stoplight so I took a photo.

And we are inching ever-so-closer toward vacation. It's looking like early June (can't be early enough for me). Kidlet already has her sandals and we are starting to stockpile toys for the long drive. I'm sure you'll be among the first to know when it is finalized.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mama's Day

For all you mamas out there...hope you have a lovely day filled with sun, warm smiles and laughs, wine (if you are so inclined), big hugs from your babes, and yummy yummy food. I would have made pancakes for all of you, if it was possible.

And if you aren't a mama, you still should have all that good stuff I listed.

Hugs to you all and I'll post a real 'un tomorrow.

Monday, May 07, 2007

And what did you do?

This weekend I...

--made three loaves of bread. I almost made a choco chip banana bread too, but maybe that will come tonight. Let me tell you, I'm so happy. I finally made my dream bread: not too dense, not too full of air pockets, perfectly salted, with a thick, chewy crust. It was the "No Knead Bread" that usually does it's work in 12 hours. Well, it went into experimental mode after it hadn't budged after about 20 hours of (non)-rising. I decided, what the heck, I'll let it go another day and voila. After 30 hours of waiting, a beautiful, oh-so-perfect, golden orb of bread happiness emerged from my oven and can I tell you something? I'm in love with a loaf.

--FINALLY worked on the new leave-behind project. I wouldn't call it 'guerilla art', but more like 'guerilla fun'. I made little fortunes that I'm going to roll up like little scrolls, tie with yarn, and leave around town.

--bought a sun hat that hopefully doesn't make me look too dorky. Kidlet was my only advisor and she didn't nix it like the other dozen hats I tried, so hopefully it isn't awful.

--didn't get any schoolwork done.

--didn't finish the front yard project that would take any regular person an afternoon to do. It's taken me at least a month to: stretch out the new soaker hose, dig the hole for the (hopefully) 'live' Xmas tree, cut out (most of) the dead juniper branches (hate hate hate junipers. Except in the gin form). I still have to plant the aforementioned tree, finish the junipers, put the soaker hose in a useful spot, buy and spread bark for the areas where it has deteriorated. Once this is done, however, the front yard can take care of itself for another couple years. It ain't the purdiest of front areas, but it is reasonably xeric (no grass, thank you very much) and carefree (except for the minor work I'm putting in this year).

--didn't finish that SAME DAMN SOCK THAT I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON SINCE JANUARY. Ummm, I really want to finish it. And I really don't want to knit the second one. But I will twist my arm and tell myself I cannot cast on the other 3 projects that I want to start (and let languish in my projects box) until I am at least 2" into the 2nd sock.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Ol' Five Things Trick

1. Awoke to snow. Hoping it doesn't kill the seedlings.

2. Listening to Feist's new one, The Reminder. I've only been through the album 1.5 times and it's everything I hoped it would be. It's soothing my firey, hormonal mood.

3. Pondering...to vacation or not to vacation. If you looked at my bank account, you'd say "Woman! What are you thinking?! You definitely can't afford it!" But ohhhhhh, I need it. San Francisco, anyone? Anyone? You know...the ocean, North Beach, Chinatown, Hello Kitty store for Kidlet, Golden Gate Park, the racetrack? Anyone?

4. Planning a new guerrilla art project. It's about time I got off my booty and pulled something together. I am also thinking my guerrilla gardening project isn't going to happen this year because I don't have the time to cart water to the site. Maybe when Kidlet is a little older, I can interest her and we can make it a fun, sneaky, "under the cover of darkness" project.

5. Thankful, oh so thankful, it's the weekend. I'll watch the Derby and maybe refill Hubby's bourbon supply so I can sneak a little to make a mint julep. Did I ever mention how much I love horse racing? Yeah, a few times.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Bad, Ani! Bad!

Darn those evil websites that make it so easy to order stuff. I just ordered:

"A Field Guide to Western Birds: A Completely New Guide to Field Marks of All Species Found in North America West of the 100th Meridian and North of Mexico (Peterson Field Guides(R))" Virginia Marie Peterson

"Invisible Man"Ralph Ellison

"The Selected Poems of T'ao Ch'ien" T'ao Chien

New books to come in the mail...I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Earthy Update

I've done a heap of nothing (ha ha) as far as my compost heap is concerned. All I've done is wade through Rodale's composting handbook. It sounds so complicated: too much of this and you've got a stink-pit, too much of that and you've got critters, too little of this and it will take 42.3 years to compost. I've composted before and had the "42.3 years" problem, so I thought some research was in order. Now I'm just getting overwhelmed. Maybe I just need a bucket of worms. That'll be a roaring success with the tot who is scared of anything that is small, slithery or crawlie. But I have started another earthy project: working on my water consumption ("I'm drinking at least 64 oz a day!"). No, I mean that I've been trying to wash my dishes without the water running down the sink for a solid 5 minutes, and I'm starting to use veggie cooking water and Kidlet's bathwater to water the seeds.

Gotta start somewhere, right?

And if someone can tell me why the line spacing in my posts is giving me headaches, puh-leese let me know. Sometimes I can get it to work by copying it into Word, changing the spacing to 1.5 and pasting it into the post it will hold the spacing....and sometimes not. It used to default to the proper line spacing for easy readability, but not lately.