Monday, June 30, 2008

Vacation Recap

Well, back to normality (or what passes for normal 'round these parts). Sigh. I liked not having to make any decisions greater than "Shall I have the IPA or the wheat beer with my dinner?" or "Which ride shall we try to talk Kidlet into riding?" I make it sound like the trip was a breeze (it was not) but once I got into the proper spirit, it became easier.

As means of explanation, we are a quiet family. To be in an environment where everything is quickly paced and the volume is was a challenge to adjust. On the second night, it was when we were watching the electric parade that I had an "aha!" moment. Sitting on the warm pavement, watching wacky little cars covered in lights twirl to silly synthesized music I had a Burning Man flashback. And from then on, I was good. Yes, remembering a counter-cultural festival helped me find my way in a commercial mecca. From my years of Burning Man 'training', I've learned that sometimes you need to let go of all plans and schedules. Be prepared with a calm voice, water and snacks. When it gets overwhelming, step back for a while and hide in the dark of your cool motel room. Re-enter when you are ready. This advice to myself served me well.

Kidlet loved the parades best of all. I got teary-eyed watching her glow with amazement as each float rolled by. Riding the big ferris wheel at night, feeling the cool ocean-tinged breezes was another favorite for all of us. And wow, if you get a chance to ride the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, do. Quite fun. The big roller coaster was pretty good...I give it a 'B'. Excellent start, but the second half of the ride was a bit flat.

Well, I was hoping to come back with one or two projects done, ready to present to y'all, but no. I was going to do a "Disneyland in 10 Polaroids a Day" series but that camera ended up being too heavy and bulky (not to mention all the film I was going to have to juggle through airport security). Then I thought I would do a drawing journal project. I took out my little journal the first morning, started doodling and then...there just wasn't enough time. Letting go of expectations, Lesson Number 7 (or was it 8?) learned.

I'm going to try and look at all of summer as 'summer vacation', despite the fact that I am still going to work and dealing with all the usual stuff (fixing the dented car, paying the bills). I need to carry the spirit of vacation as long as I can. Happy vacation, all!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I'm back to reality and oh-so-tired.
Still processing photos and memories.
No one's eardrum exploded on the flight. No more misread itineraries.
Much learned about myself and traveling with a small one.
And fun was had by all.

Back here soon!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Check Once, Check Twice and Then Ask Someone Else to Check for You

So, when you read your itinerary and check your airline tickets, remember to check those two little letters behind the time. AM versus PM. Yeah. Instead of getting up at 5 AM (well, I woke up at 4 because I couldn't sleep), we could have slept in. Also, it kind of freaks out Kidlet when you are at the airport and you have to tell them that Mama read the schedule wrong and your flight is for PM. Personally, I think that those little gremlins from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons came and scrambled the letters on my itinerary and tickets last night. Hopefully they just stick to messing with Mama's tickets and not her plane.

Wish me luck for the remainder of the day/trip? I think I'm going to need it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sunny Side Up

Kidlet last night: a damp, burning limp noodle.

Kidlet today: vacillating between flushed and foggy to ecstatic jumping around ("I'm going to Disneyland!")

Still don't know if we are flying, driving, hitch hiking or doing the side stroke to get there (or our departure date for that matter), but we're gonna do something and dang it, it's going to be fun. This morning I came up with a project I want to do while on vacation. I'll keep it all hush hush and reveal the results when I get back.

This morning was full of crossing items off lists before I headed into work. I was happily crossing until...I walked out of the bank and saw someone ran into our car and didn't stick around or leave any contact info. It's all cosmetic, so I'm not too torn up about it but it just added another thing-to-do right when I was trying to get rid of things-to-do. C'est la vie.

I will be gleefully unplugging myself from all computers starting Sunday so I'll catch up with you later! If I don't 'talk' to you before then, have a lovely week.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Ups and Downs

Holy cow, what a roller coaster ride and I haven't even left yet. Kidlet came down with a sniffle last Friday and it seemed to clear up. Middle of the night last night, howling and a little one tugging her ear woke me up. I had been asking her all week how her ears felt and there was one twinge last Saturday. Guess I should have listened to the twinge, eh? Guess I should have bought the travel insurance on my package deal, eh? What a learning experience. I'm trying to keep my chin high and my head together to come up with alternatives. I'd postpone the whole deal but due to my current work situation, it's either now or never.

If Kidlet's beloved doctor discourages us from flying, there are two words that are being tossed around...ROAD TRIP. I would be excited to drive instead of fly, particularly in light of the fact that I only recently found out that we will/would be flying on a PROP plane instead of a jet. As much as I do love flying, I am a little scared of flying and have never flown on a tiny plane. I don't want Kidlet to sense my nervousness on her first-ever flight. Also, if we drive, it will give me room to bring my new Polaroid camera and take lots of road trippy polaroids.

I guess we'll just have to see how it all plays out. At least our official date of departure isn't for a few days, so that will give the Little One some time to get better and time for us to regroup.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Thank You...and a Garden Update

Thanks Raina, Claire and KM (nice to see you!) for helping me with my assignment. I need to actually do it now, no more excuses.

It's funny how anti-poetry (well, more like afraid of poetry) I was for so long and now that I've dabbled, I'm in love. I'm so excited that there is so much amazing poetry out there that I have yet to discover. Two ways that I get my poetry fix are catching the Writer's Almanac on NPR on the way to work (and if I don't catch it, I receive the email version too) and listening to the Poetry Off the Shelf podcast from

The roses are a'rambling in our yard which means lots of deadheading. I love deadheading the roses ever since Kidlet made it into a game. Sometimes we throw the petals up over our heads to watch them come down and make lovely coverings for our paths. Or we gather the petals and make rose cakes. I love the spicy scent of my hands after an evening of rose play.

The tomatoes have taken off their jackets (wallo' waters) and are now in their summer finery (cages). They are still runt-y but I have (great) hope for them.

We are going to have a record crop of grapes (thompson seedless). That's what I get for just letting them run wild instead of trying to train and trim them like wine grapes.

The blackberries...I keep my fingers crossed! As I believe I mentioned before, last year we had tons of flowers but little black crisps instead of berries. I've been watering religiously with every bit of water I can glean from the house (old dog water, bath water, unfinished glasses of drinking water, cooking water) aside from its regular twice-a-week watering. I just pulled out a bunch of sumac vines that were starting to entangle itself with the berry bush (and everything else in sight) so hopefully it will be even happier than it already seems to be. Just make it through our vacation week and I will give you so much and water and love, k?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Assignment # 1

Whoa! This photo looked waaaaay different on my home monitor. Anyway...

Your assignment is to help me with my assignment. Hubby is using me as a guinea pig to test out ideas for his creative writing class. My assignment (overdue, I'm failing already!) is to gather a little information from someone I know. Well, I know you so I ask you...can you recommend a poem you enjoy? How did you find it and why are you recommending it to me? I'll take as many responses as you would like to give. Either leave a comment or email me (asta_pup at with your answers.

Thank you.

Whatcha doin' this weekend? I think I'll be racing around, starting to pull things together for the vacation but I think I'd like do a little BBQ down by the river or in the backyard. I'd like to finish my assignment (nudge, nudge). I'd like to get some tomato cages on my tomato children. Rip out some invasive species. Lounge. Enjoy life.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hello, friends. I've been wanting to stop by and say something (anything!) but this week has been hectic. Work issues, a to-do list a mile long, sickness...yup. Busy.

So, Kidlet and Hubby are both sick before our big adventure to the Magic Kingdom. At least it's another week and a half off, but I worry about flying with Kidlet and the possibility of ear trouble. Yes, I said the Magic Kingdom. I've never been to Disneyland (only a quick trip to Disneyworld when I was about 24). I know many out there are cringing at the evil commercialization that Disney represents (and I cringe too) but I am fond of amusement rides and I think it'll be a hoot to see Kidlet running wild in that strange, artificial landscape. There is one thing that is totally bumming me out, the ride "it's a small world" is closed for updating. I adore Mary Blair; she's one of my favorite illustrators and she designed the ride. For a tip of the enviro hat, I'll be purchasing carbon offsets for our plane trip and guessitmating offsets for the rides we will be enjoying. Since I rarely travel by plane and haven't done the offset thing before, where do you suggest purchasing offsets?

My Polaroid has been shipped out and is on its way. Depending on its size, I may take it on our vacation to take a few vintage-y snaps. Where have you found Polaroid film in your neck of the woods? I haven't been out much this week, so I haven't had much opportunity to look. Maybe you could give me some tips and cut down my hunting time.

I'm still on my bike obsession. I just missed getting a gorgeous bike yesterday at a local fixer-upper shop. Sigh. Still looking for that magic bike that I will love and cherish (and will not need to save $3000 to buy).

Tomorrow, I have an assignment for you, should you choose to accept. :)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

What if the CSA gave me too much...Swiss Chard

A little recipe from Hubby's Italian Grandmother. You can also substitute spinach for the chard.

Chard Torte

You'll need a pretty heft helping of fresh chard. Chop up enough chard to give you approximately 3 to 4 cups after cooking. Do a quick saute in a bit of olive oil to wilt the chard. This isn't in the recipe, but you could add a little garlic to the saute if desired. Let the cooked chard cool. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the chard before adding to your mixture. If you need to use frozen chard/spinach, two packages are suggested.

1/2 cup cooked and cooled rice

1 pint cottage cheese

6 eggs

1/4 cup grated parmesan

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil (for greasing the baking pan)

Mix 4 of the eggs and the rest of the ingredients together (minus the olive oil). Add a dash of salt if you like, but remember the parmesan adds some salt.

Pour into a greased 9" x 13" baking pan. Beat the remaining two eggs and brush across the top of your mixture. Bake at 350 for about an hour, or until center is set and the top starts to get golden. Cut into squares, serve hot or cold.

Kids love it! Well, at least the pickiest eater on the planet (Kidlet) loves it!

And by the way, my CSA rules the school. The photo displays a selection of what we received. It makes me glad I decided to dive back into the world of CSAs as my last go round was ok, but nothing like this. Everything was picked that morning, cleaned, neatly bagged and tagged if it was something more unusual (turnip greens), and delivered to my (work) door. I'm in love.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Photo Geek

Ummm...I just won an auction for a POLAROID IMPULSE AF CAMERA SPECIAL EDITION WITH ORIGINAL BOX , MANUAL AND FILM. Yes, with two packs of film. $10 (plus shipping). The ridiculous thing? I had a Polaroid that I purchased about a year ago and it was one of the models where you have to do some creative enhancement to make the film work, but it was workable. So, I got rid of it. Now here I am again in Pola-Land. Hope it makes it here before my vacation (and that I can find more film before then)!!!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Summer? Suuuummmmmerrrrrr....?

We're having a late-running Spring, methinks. A couple days of hot are followed by a week of cool, breezy weather. I'm certainly not complaining but I am looking forward to summer.

Eating outside every night.
Tank tops and skirts.
Finally being able to put my spindly tomatoes in the ground.
Camping? Please!
AND a new summer postcard swap put together by the illustrious Hula!

This morning I got an idea for the swap. So. Excited. You should join!

I'm daydreaming about bicycles too. I think I'm going to start the long, hard road of saving my money for the bike to last me the rest of my life. I had a Bridgestone bike that I adored (oh! to see it again made my heart skip a beat...I had the blue/green one); I never was going to need another bike again. Unfortunately, it was stolen out of the back of our house in New Orleans. When we moved, I purchased a Gary Fisher mountain bike, thinking I was brave and skilled enough to go mountain biking. That bike has never fit me properly, I've no desire to go mountain biking and the thought of riding it makes me cranky. While trolling the internet for Bridgestone bikes, I found the designer has his own shop. So pricey, but so perfect. Exactly what I am looking for. To save that much money will take a long time, but perhaps by the time I have it saved, I'll have time to ride the bike too. :) Or maybe I should just hit ebay to find my old ride.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The two projects I jabber on about incessantly, finally photographed

Shibui sock for Hubby with phony cabling. I've got a looooong ways to go on account of dem size 14 paws.

And beloved my security blanket/scarf/wrap in the making. I look terrible in purple, but it seems like everything I'm drawn to lately is purple.

I'm already looking ahead to what my next large project will be after the Clapotis. I think I'm ready for my first sweater...perhaps Mr. Greenjeans, or maybe Tempest. I'm also going to start a tiny kitty for my Mom this weekend (ala this one). The original was made for her to put on her car dashboard but is far too large. Of course I will need to make one for Kidlet since every critter I make either needs to be especially for her, or I need to make a second one so she isn't left out. And of course she will promptly forget about it once it comes off the needles and it will join the ever growing collection of knitted critters on my desk.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Groceries and a giant breakfast, a huge bowl of fruit salad to take to a bbq, the first ice cream cone AND sno-cone of the season, knitting, windows cracked open at night, plant shopping with Mama, new sneakers and new sheets, beautiful plants to greet me in the front door planter, two rides on the log ride, sunburned shoulders and sushi.

Is it Friday yet?