Sunday, August 14, 2005


Busy busy busy, isn't that the way of the world? But there's been a lot going on at our house these days and I find that it doesn't make sense to keep up the blogging. So I've decided to stop blogging. This post is up as a courtesy because I hate it when pages go away. A few recipe related posts remain and my blogroll (gotta have that!). After a while I'll probably delete this too.

Thanks for was fun.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


I came home from work today to find D had enlisted V and her father to chop chop chop. She is in a soup mood and is creating a "summer soup." Unfortunately it's a hot soup. Her soup creations tend to be very delicious, she's good at creating them sans recipe. But a hot soup today seems a bit much.

For our dinner tonight I had planned an Indian style meal with gifts from my friend Rita: paneer, lamb, meatball things, and lentils. I'll make basmati rice and pan warm some flat bread to stand in for the naan. I also have some leftover cucumber-mint soup I made the other day. It's delicious and very easy to prepare.

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Mint Leaves

2 Cups plain yoghurt
3 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 Tablespoons fresh spearmint leaves chopped
salt to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin

Place all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth, ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with a mint leaf if desired.

Very refreshing on a hot day and a perfect side dish for a spicy Indian meal.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

crockpot granola

I recently decided to try making granola again. My sister-in-law, Kim, brought it on vacation with us and my whole family really enjoyed it. We realized that we have missed eating it for breakfast.

I didn't want to make it in the oven because it would heat the house; at this time of year and with this humidity it's a no-brainer. In searching on the internet I found several variants and put them all together to come up with my own recipe. It came out really well. Everyone liked it. I made a blueberry pecan recipe (using pecans from Texas, a gift from Kim, yum). V didn't care much for the blueberries but they're easy to pick out. Next time I'm thinking of reducing the honey to 1/3 cup to see if it still works, adding a couple of tablespoons of soy flour to punch up the nutrition a bit and perhaps I'll make a cranberry walnut variety. The nice thing is that I can play around with the fruits/nuts/ and possibly even grains to make different types. Delicious over yoghurt, ice cream, in milk or plain. Enjoy!

Crockpot Granola

5 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup oat bran
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cups dried fruit
1/2 cups nuts, broken up

mix all ingredients together
place in crockpot and stir well
turn crockpot on low
leave wooden spoon in crock to help prop lid open
stir once every 30 minutes
cook 4 hours

Friday, July 22, 2005

pickle party

Even though the weather has been horrendously hot and humid it was time to make the pickles. Sort of like making jam...wash lots of jars and equipment, set everything up...stand back and listen to hubby complain about how I'm heating up the kitchen/house.

BUT and this is a big but....nothing tastes so good in the middle of winter as the pickles that you sweated over in the summertime. Plus I had a batch of zucchini that was only going to be good for the compost heap if I didn't either eat them or cook them. While I like eating zucchini there's no way I could eat that many of them in time. And I LIKE pickles.

This recipe is from the Ball Blue Book. Every year I say I'm going to get a new copy because mine is old, has some burned pages (from a canning/stove accident years ago but we don't talk about that), lots of stains, some pages stuck together. But it's a great book and I love it and have not as yet been able to bring myself to replace it.

Zucchini Pickles

Slice up a bunch of zucchini (I used 10 and used the mandolin to slice them)
slice up some onions (I used three)
put in a bowl, sprinkle generously with salt, cover with cold water, let sit 2 hours
In a big pot mix together:
3 cups white vinegar
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup pickling salt
2 teaspoons mustard seed
1 teaspoon celery seed (the recipe actually calls for celery salt but that's too much salt for my taste)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
bring to a boil
Drain zucchini mix and add to vinegar mix
bring back to a boil, then simmer 1 hour (recipe calls for 2 but I've never had that much patience)
bring back to a boil then ladle into jars, seal, hot water bath 5 minutes
label and put away for later 'cause it's too doggone hot to eat hot pickles
ENJOY later!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

domestic diva

That's what I feel like today. Mostly because I was able to devote a significant portion of my day to the domestic chores I love (this is something I haven't been able to do in a loooooong time). It started a couple of days ago when Steve (wonderful man that he is) helped me pick all the currants in the garden. There were LOTS of them. At one point he wandered over to a different portion of the jungle vegetable garden and hollered, "Hey, there's a zucchini here that's big enough to turn into a dugout canoe." Well...that's not really what he said, but he did indicate that this particular zucchini had, shall we say, gotten away from me. So we picked it.

Fast forward to today. The day I woke up and decided to make the jam (imagine an oratorical echo here). I busily got together my pots and pans and assorted little jam/jelly making doohickies like this and this and this.

I destemmed and washed all the currants. Mushed them up in the pot and began to cook. The recipe I used was from Oded Schwartz' Preserving.
For every two pints of currants add 2 1/2 cups of water.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or so until fruit is pulpy.
Strain into a jelly bag [note: I use cheese cloth lining a colander suspended over a large pot which works just fine]
It takes about 2 hours to strain completely
Measure. For every 2 cups of juice add 2 cups of sugar
Add the juice of one lemon
Heat gently until sugar is dissolved then bring to a boil.
Skim foam.
Cook 10 minutes or so until jelling point has been reached.
Ladle into jars, seal and process.


V's friend B is spending the day with us today. She had never even heard of currants. How deprived a life she must lead. She didn't even know that they were a fruit or where or how they could be grown and that you could, of all things, cook and eat them. I have her the teeny-tiniest taste of the jelly on a spoon and she loved it. Told me that it was fabulous. I gave her a spatula and the pot it was cooked in and told her to knock herself out. People I am serious when I tell you that pot looks like it was never used. Amazing.

While making jelly somehow the little fairies who occasionally share my domicile managed to wash and dry two loads of laundry, run the dishwasher twice (not sure how we wound up with so many dishes today but we did) and Steve vacuumed (thank you honey, you are the best!) This added significantly to my domestic divaness feeling as the house is clean AND I was able to do all these fun kitchen things.

As the jelly juice was straining I took that huge honkin' zucchini and made zucchini bread with it! Mmmmmmmmm. It was so delicious. The thing was so humongous I got three loaves out of it. It's been such a long time since I baked anything that one whole loaf has already disappeared. Back to B...she had never, I mean NEVER, in her whole entire life had zucchini bread before. I mean can you think of anything so sad? She's already eaten 1/2 of a loaf all by herself.

In addition to currant jelly Steve thought that perhaps I wanted to go collect the raspberries to make raspberry jam. Being the adventurous brave determined soul that I am I ventured outside to collect said berries. This in spite of the fact that it was drizzling. Those of you who know me know that I am a wuss and I hate to garden in the rain. Any rain. But as I was collecting berries and not actually planting anything or weeding I perservered. Unfortunately it began to rain harder. The silly cat had followed me and true to her garden cat personality took great delight in hiding under the bushes, batting at my feet every time I came near her. This scared the dickens out of me as I kept thinking I was about to fall into a prickly pile of raspberry canes. When I finished I found that I had not quite, ahem, nearly *cough* anywhere near enough berries to make even the most miniscule taste of raspberry jam.

Being on a baking roll [no pun intended there] I realized that I did have enough to make one quick and tasty batch of....muffins! See note about zucchini...I made 12 muffins but somehow there are only 6 left. Of course after all of that cooking and washing up I am now totally and thoroughly (as we say in our family) gepoopinde.

It was a GREAT day, I was so happy to spend the day in the kitchen like that. It made me realize how very much I miss that aspect of my life. Of course with three kids, a job, etc., it's not hard to understand why that doesn't happen very often. I think the kids and Steve really appreciated having fresh baked goodies and I appreciated the time and space to make such lovely things for them.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Last night we had a great dinner party at my brother's. Us, them, his in-laws, and friends of his that I hadn't seen in years. Kim, as always, did a fabulous job with the meal. We had the most delicious kabobs, marinated in Mojo, very tasty.

We also had one of the most delicious salads that Kim makes, she's so good at that and has a large repertoire of amazing side dishes and salads. This one is one of my favorites; one I like so much that finally, after all of these years, I have asked her to buy me the cookbook.

It's called Company Orzo Pasta Salad.

1 16 oz orzo pasta, cooked
1 red pepper chopped
1 green pepper chopped
1 yellow pepper chopped
1 bunch scallions sliced including greens
1 cup currants
1 10 oz pkg frozen peas thawed
1/2 cup black olives chopped
1/4 cup flat parsley chopped
1/2 cup fresh dill snipped
salt and fresh pepper to taste

2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
fresh parsley minced or chives to taste
1 cup olive oil

combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk. Place cooked pasta in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Add remaining ingredients and toss thoroughly. Can be made a day in advance. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Enjoy, we did!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


«Every mira has a story.»

Catching up on my blogreads -- I'm woefully behind -- I come across this link on Niina's blog. Being a curious sort of person I check it out and boom! I have a slogan. Not sure if I should change the capitalization but I like it. Kinda fun.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

too cute

Catching up on my blog reading when I come across a link on Ryan's website that is just too funny not to steal. Thanks for the heads up.

Part of the reason this is so very funny to me is because approximately 2 years ago my Aunt made me a "humorous hat". The humorous part is that it's an aran sweater! Complete with arms that you can either wear hanging down by your side or tie into a cute little top bow. I LOVE this hat and always get wonderful comments on it when I wear it.

A couple of weeks ago I came across this pattern and immediately sent it to my Aunt knowing that she would enjoy it.

And now the above. I wonder what's next? Sweater slippers? That would actually be quite cute, the arms could be tied to hold the slipper on your feet. Unfortunately I am nowhere near talented enough to create a pattern and knit it up on my own. But if anyone else cares to try let me know and I'll happily post it here.

make way for goslings

While driving around running errands today there was a minor traffic jam. Five adult Canada Geese and I think 18 goslings were crossing the road. Traffic was backed up in both directions (that makes it sound worse than it was -- three cars one way, two cars the other) while the parents shepherded their offspring across the road. It was funny to see the little ones waddling after the adults. One or two couldn't make up their mind and kept trying to turn back the other way, it was really amusing. Eventually everyone made it safely to the other side.

fresh air

Aaaaahhhhh. Not Fresh Aire, although I like that too, but fresh, cool air. It's been overcast and threatening rain all day but I don't mind not seeing the sun because the temperatures dropped into the habitable range. I've flung open windows and doors to allow the fresh air to come into the house. It's really wonderful and smells so lovely. How lovely to be able to step outside and feel like you are able to breathe.


I used to belong to the FlyLady Group, I was introduced to it over 5 years ago by Karen. Got the daily emails, participated in all the challenges; it really did help me to stay on top of everything. Lately things haven't been quite so smooth and efficient. So I've decided that it's time to resubscribe.

Looking at the website I see that things have changed in the last couple of years...a lot. But I'm looking forward to getting back on top of all of this and hopefully freeing up more time for important things like kids, and knitting and gardening and ....

I find it very amusing though that my last post was how grateful and happy I was to be able to get so many things done at one time and this one is about trying to be more efficient. Believe me they are not diametrically opposed to each other. I think it was the sense of satisfaction with how well things went that made me realize that I need more of that.

modern mom

It just occurred to me how very fortunate I am to live in the age and time that I do. First let me digress momentarily. S was required to do an independent research paper for school. Her topic, which she picked herself, was "The Effects of Labor Saving Devices on the Modern Woman - Era 1950-1960". It was actually a lot of fun because we own a 38 year old Hoover vacuum (which still works btw) and a 1950's mixer; she was able to bring those in for the show-and-tell portion of her presentation.

I was reminded of this project while I was multi-tasking this morning. First I loaded an enormous chunk of Mount Washalot into my new front loader (which basically equates to 1 1/2 of the old loads I used to be able to do), then I set the roomba to work in the kitchen while I unloaded the dishwasher from last night and reloaded it with the breakfast dishes. So I was in effect washing clothes, doing dishes and vacuuming all at the same time. 100 years ago, heck even 50 years ago this wouldn't have been possible. I confess to still being puzzled by my apparent lack of time to get everything done but when moments like this occur I am grateful for them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Taking the laundry off the line on summer nights has always been one of my favorite domestic tasks. I love the cooler air of the evening. I love the crickets chirping slowly in the background. I love the fireflies blinking and darting through the trees in the darkness. I love the crispness of line dried laundry. Most of all I love the peacefulness of that time of day.

flag day

D begged to go to the beach today in a vain attempt to cool off. After she finished homework we headed down there. We had forgotten that there was a Flag Day Ceremony sponsored by the Town Veterans, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. It was a lovely ceremony with the head of the Veterans Association explaining everything as we went through retiring the old flags.

One large flag was selected to represent the 300+ flags collected for retirement. The field was separated from the flag thereby rendering it not a flag anymore. Then each stripe was cut off and a Scout recited a piece about the State that stripe stood for, when it joined the union and what some of it's historical accomplishments were. Then the pieces were ceremoniously burned.

One of the Boy Scouts played Taps. It sounded really wonderful to hear it echoing across the lake, rather poignant really.

D was very quiet and well-behaved during all of this, I was really proud of her. Afterwards she and the other kids ran around, in and out of the water, up and down to the playground having fun. The highlight of her afternoon though was finding a crawdaddy in the water and scooping him up into a bucket so she and her friends could peer and poke at him for a while.

book mania

Books are a weakness. It's amazing. I'm already reading two books; I go to the library to give them books that I am purging out of my house...I innocently browse the free magazine basket...then the free paperback book rack...then cast my eye over the new arrivals.

Kablooie! The next thing I know I am walking out having checked out a knitting book, a kitchen design book (I'm still dreaming), a crockpot cookbook and the latest Library Book Club book, Dress Your Family in Curduroy and Denim. This has got to be the 5th or 6th book club discussion that I have signed up for *sigh*. In every case I do manage to read the book but somehow I never make it to the discussion. Don't know how that happens but I'm determined to be there this time...I have until August.

Since I know you've heard me mournfully complain how little reading time I have in my day I'm sure you're wondering how I'll manage to read all these books. Luckily for me my library doesn't charge overdue fines. They have a conscience box -- which I do contribute to -- which helps because somehow I wind up keeping the books a wee bit longer than the date stamped on the cover. I guess I'll have to finish Kite Runner asap so that I can focus on Dress Your Family. I like to try to read the book club books at least twice. Once to read it and then again to examine it so that I can sound half-way intelligent when discussing it.

Stay tuned to find out if I actually make it to the discussion or not.

melt down

OMG! The heat and humidity is just unbearable today. It's been a long hot stretch. I find that after 15 minutes outside I can't breathe. Of course some of that is due to all of the cottony stuff blowing around and all of the pollen in the air but the humidity is just ridiculously high. It reminds me of when we used to live in Texas!

We're all sticky and crabby, and that's with air conditioning. D is working as quickly as possible to finish her homework so that we can head down to the town beach to cool off a bit.

At this point I'm thinking that popsicles sound like a good plan for dinner.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

date engine

Another fun little find on the internet. This one apparently tells you what was the number one hit, number one album and what famous musicians share your special day (that's if you're picking birthdays). I hate to say it but for my hubby it is no one and nothing that I recognize. For me? Mostly Elvis.

Obviously pop music isn't my thing...I looked up the kids birthdays and was completely surprised to not recognize a single thing on the list. Perhaps the fact that it's a UK list had something to do with is but still you'd think I'd recognize something.

In the hopes of recognizing some music related to someone else I ran other people's birthdays. I stopped with my brother...the Beatles were popular then. there a bizarre correlation between my pop album/song being Elvis and his being Beatles? I wonder.

reading recommendations

I've finally finished "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell". I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to hear the reaction from my sister-in-law after she reads it. I'm passing it on to her the next time she and I get together.

In the meantime I have started "The Kite Runner" on her recommendation. I've heard that it is a very well-written book although a sad story. I'm looking forward to it.

I have also received other book recommendations that have now been added to the reading list. [note: like the knitting list the reading list is longer than it probably should be but I can't help myself -- there are too many interesting books out there.] My exchange mother recommended "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress". I looked at the description of it and it looks like a really interesting and wonderful book. Funny enough in the Customers who bought this book also bought section of this book is "The Kite Runner" as well as another book that I received a recommendation for, "Bel Canto". This book was recommended by Wendy. I had already read it and we enjoyed a brief conversation about how wonderful it was, some of the unexpected twists and what a poignant novel it is.

I used to be able to read a book a week but since life has gotten so much busier I usually find myself with only 15-20 minutes a day. At this rate it will probably take me all summer to read my way though "The Kite Runner" but I know I have the next great book lined up for after that one.

If you have a great book that you've read and would like to share I'd love to hear about it. Leave me a comment and let me know.

bye bye books

*gasp* I'm actually getting rid of books. Every now and then a frenzied "got to clean this place up" mood hits me. In this case it was a need to rearrange books, again, to try to make more room. I realized that it is finally time to let go of the college text books -- mostly Steve's thank goodness. After all who needs a ## year old, probably out-of-print book on "The Effects of Thermodynamics on Propulsion"? And "The Mechanics of Mathematics" is probably so old it's been revised at least 5 times.

I tried very hard to find other books that might qualify for removal from the shelves but was quite unable to do so. I'm rather proud of myself though, 41 books are on their way to the town Library. There's another book sale in August so perhaps they'll find new homes. More likely I'll find new books but for now I have room on the shelves and can fool myself into feeling virtuous for having let go of some books.

a week of music

I'm about to bake a batch of brownies with D for her piano recital this week. It's going to be a busy music week. Tuesday she also has her choir recital. Sunday S has a piano recital.

I love this time of year. It's wonderful to sit in the audience and watch all of these students so earnestly playing or singing the pieces they have worked so hard on. It's my reward for a year of driving and paying for lessons. I love watching them all so scrubbed and shiny as they play or sing their beautiful music. So many different pieces. Of course I know almost all of the kids so that helps make it even more enjoyable. Not only is it my children, but it's their friends and peers as well. All the parents chat together afterwards about how amazing the performance is and how much the children have grown over the last year, it's a communal bonding kind of thing.

playing cards

Last night Steve, D and I sat down to play cards. D taught us a new game called BS. It was a lot of fun, lots of laughter going on when people cheated or didn't cheat. The funniest part was that several times people decided that I had cheated and called me on it. My response was "help yourself" as I gestured to the cards. Of course they had to take them all because I was telling the truth.

I actually managed to figure out the cards and have a good enough hand that I only had to cheat once and then got all my cards aligned so that I ended on my turn with a single ace and went out. I hardly ever win at cards and do NOT by any stretch of the imagination have a "poker face" so it was a wonderful feeling to shark them both and win at cards for a change.

garden changes

Our garden is definitely overrun this year. Part of it is lack of time and part of it is weather. I think I am going to have to get rid of a large section of the back garden. The woman who gardened here before me was a very enthusiastic gardener. I am grateful for the gift of the creation she left me but find that I am not able to keep it up especially with all of the other demands on my time.

While I enjoy gardening I do not have enough time to do the yard justice. I'm not sure how I'll manage to create the effect I want yet, but I am intending to only keep the top 5 feet of the back yard as maintained garden and then find some way to clearly define the border and let the rest of it go. I need to or I feel that I will go slightly mad worrying about the effect of the overgrowth.

Of course the hot humid rainy weather doesn't help. I find myself unable to spend too long outside in the yard because I just melt from the weather. I seem to be able to keep up with almost 3/4 of the whole garden/yard. I need to learn to simply accept that.

I have realized that my life has so many pulls in so many different directions that I am possibly too intense in my efforts to "get it all done." As I write this the cat is stretching and rolling over in her bed, very self-contented with her life; perhaps I should learn to be more like her!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

tupper here tupper there

Once again it has become time to clean out the storage cupboard. That's the one where we keep all of our Tupperware ™ and mock-tupperware products. We've tried so many different ways to keep them all organized. Lids in one box, containers stacked neatly nearby. Unfortunately after about 2 weeks of the kids unloading the dishwasher the neat stack isn't so neat. Even more unfortunately this situation is allowed to continue until one day the cupboard door is open and the containers leap out at you in a desperate bid for freedom.

At that point I take the time to reorganize the cupboard. My chief complaint is that either pieces have gone missing or the stuff is somehow multiplying behind closed doors. By way of example, this time I decided to move the stuff to a larger cabinet (that's probably a bad sign but we'll leave that aside for now) and pair all the pieces together with their lids. Any piece without a lid is set aside. Any lid without a container is set aside. I know the last time I organized the stuff I had everything matched up. So why do I have 14 mismated lids and 9 lidless containers? And I don't think I have any less pieces in the new cupboard?

Steve's chief complaint is why bother? Two weeks from now the cupboard will be a mess. Three months from now I'll be doing this all over again. He's probably right but I can't help myself, at some point I have to re-organize the stuff. It's some sort of a compulsion.

Now I'm left to ponder the following:

a. Do I keep the mismated pieces in the vain hope that their mate will show up?
b. Where do I keep them that I will remember that I still own them?
c. What the heck do I do with all of the stuff that was in the new cupboard? The old cupboard is smaller and the stuff doesn't fit!
d. Do I invest the time trying, yet again, to teach my dearest darlings to properly put away the stuff or do I just give up?

Any thoughts?

carnival fun

My friend Gail's daughter E had her 7th birthday today. She had a carnival style birthday party. Gail hired S and D to work at the party. S did face painting and her "booth" was hardly ever empty. She did such a great job that even E's Grandma asked for a painting, S did flowers and vines twining up her arm -- it was really lovely.

D manned the bean bag toss and was great at it, moving the line forward for the smaller kids who had difficulty getting the bean bags in. She also slipped them extra prize tickets. This was to ensure that everyone was a winner.

Part way through the party there was a sudden thundershower. Everyone grabbed the food and ran into the screened in porch. After about 10 minutes they all trooped back outside for more carnival fun.

Eventually it was time for music and fun. E's older brother and some of his friends put on an impromptu concert with three guitars and vocals. They were actually pretty good. Everyone else changed into bathing suits and jumped into the pool.

The cake was a gorgeous girly girl colorful swirly confection with three layers and cupcake edges. Very fun. D said she wants one just like it for her next birthday.

The storm eventually came back but not until after everyone had eaten their fill and sang to the birthday girl. What a fun way to start off the summer.

Friday, June 10, 2005

movie night

Steve, D and I had a "free eating" night and watched Finding Neverland while we ate dinner. It was a good movie but a lot sadder than any of us expected. The story was very sweet and touching. Steve and I were so impressed with how versatile an actor Johnny Depp is.

I was amused that Dustin Hoffman was in the movie since, of course, he played Hook.

try try again

Starting over on the shawl. I spent a fair amount of time frogging the entire thing and starting over with the new pattern. Got one pattern repeat done, I decided to try to knit it widthwise so there's 163 stitches across. So far it looks good and I think I like it a lot better than either of the previous two choices. We'll see if that feeling continues as I get further along. Luckily I counted right, I have to admit that I was dreading getting to the end of the first pattern row and discovering there was a miscount. I think the third time may be the charm for this particular yarn and project.

rains a'comin'

It's been so hot and humid all week I feel like I'm going to melt. I've actually worn flip flops to work (I'm lucky I can do that) to help keep my feet feeling cool. It's actually pretty funny to listen to all of us flip-flopping all over the office.

Today on the way to drop D at school I saw a sign that one of the school groups wants to have a car wash this weekend. Unfortunately the weather forecast is for massive thunderstorms on Saturday and Sunday. Somehow I don't think anyone's going to need to have their car washed, they can just leave it outside. Truthfully at school car washes I think there's more kid washing than car washing going on. After all if you get together a group of kids with hoses, sponges, water and friends it's a little too tempting to wash each other instead of the cars.

The humidity factor has been in the upper 90% the last few days so hopefully the rain will at least help cause that to drop to more comfortable levels.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

stitchin' away

Stitch Sisters was, as always, wonderful. S went with me so that she could work on beading projects for some friend birthdays. I really enjoy her commpany at these gatherings, it's so nice to be able to share this with her and everyone there adores her.

It was wonderful that Hope was there, I haven't seen her in quite a while. She brought some show-and-tell items including a Debbie Bliss baby sweater (her second sweater ever!!) that was gorgeous.

I made some more progress on Hoodie. Unfortunately it's been a REALLY busy week so the last time I did any work on it guessed it, last Stitch Sisters. Of course I console myself with the thought that because I am working the front and the back at the same time it takes a l-o-n-g time to complete one row. Plus I'm changing yarn every 4-6 rows which doesn't help me as far as speed goes either.

In reading a lot of other knitting blogs I have decided that I am, of necessity, a process knitter. Firstly because I am probably thw world's slowest knitter. But secondly because I really enjoy the peacefulness of knitting and have no desire to speed through it. Of course it doesn't help that my project list is longer than my arm and continuing to grow but I am at least more organized now having shrunk my on-the-needle list to 8 projects (not including the fabric purse. I STILL need to get my butt downstairs and finish putthing those strips together *sigh*). Plus I've been very organized about writing down my wish-to-do list so that I can keep track of what I'm doing. Because I'm such a slow knitter I confess that there hasn't been much of a dent in the stash at the moment but we're getting there. Plus I'm hoping for a lot of knitting at the beach time once school is out.

white cat black pants

Not a good combination. Why is it that my white cat loves sitting on black clothing? Does she think this makes her look more attractive since it shows off her lovely white fur? But there is seriously nothing more frustrating than getting ready for work, coming out of the shower and discovering a purring cat contentedly sitting on top of your freshly ironed black pants. Once you get all of the fur off the pants they don't look quite so fresh anymore. Of course I'm quite certain if I had a black cat she would be laying on the white pants.


Last night D went to let Chloe into the house and got a sniff. She bent closer and got an overwhelming stink of skunk so she quickly shut the door which startled Chloe who ran away. She came and told Steve and I about it. We were both stunned to think that our cat would have been stupid enough to tangle with a skunk and worried becauses we didn't want to leave her outside overnight but we also, for obvious reasons, didn't want her inside.

While we were discussing this, unbeknownst to us, D and S were plotting to bring the cat in and at least keep her on the screened in porch until we could figure out how to de-stink her. So they cut up garbage bags and got plastic gloves and outfitted D (S being older apparently was wiser to the possibility of skunk smell permeating and "offered" to let D try to catch the cat). She went outside to try to convince Chloe to come inside. It must have been a pretty amusing sight but it scared the cat because every time D rustled closer Chloe backed away. D came into the house very frustrated that she couldn't catch the cat and rather worried that she would spend the night outside and get eaten by a coyote or something.

Eventually the cat came up to the door and asked to be let in. She didn't smell. Hmmmmm. We've decided that there must have been a skunk under the deck where D was letting her in and that's what she smelled. Whew!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


First let me start by saying *&$(%#@! The scanner isn't cooperating.

However, on a more positive note I found a little surprise package outside my door this afternoon. A thoughtful gift from my friend Cathy (thank you thank you). Yarn! Hah! I know I'm supposed to be on a yarn diet, but if other people gift it (completely unasked I might add) then it doesn't count.

The scanner wouldn't scan it with the top up and the yarn wouldn't fit flat unless I unwound some. So finally I unwound some to show you how lovely it is and it still won't cooperate. We have several balls of Berocco Denim Silk in the Iguana color and one ball of a lovely contrasting maroon ribbon. I'm not sure what it will become but I'm enjoying thinking about the possibilities. I've never worked with either type of yarn so it should be a lot of fun once I get to it.


My peonies are blooming! They're so beautiful! Such a sweet combination of pink and yellow, very different from the traditional peony. Although this is not an actual picture of MY peonies it is the same type so you can imagine what the bush looks like lush and full of blooms.

I had never seen this kind of peony before; luckily for me the previous owner planted it. I had always thought peonies were only the traditional colors and bloom types (except, of course, for tree peonies but I don't have any of those either).

The hardest part about having peonies though is all of the ants. I want to go pick a bouquet of blooms but when we do they don't last very long -- this type seems to be more prone to petal dropping than the usual kind -- and we get absolutely covered in ant bites. Better to just admire the beauty of the flowers while they last.

The bush was planted so that I can see it from my laundry room and my screened-in porch, so I really do get to admire/enjoy it a lot.

turtle rescue

On the way home today I noticed a lump in the middle of the road. As I got closer I saw that it was moving and realized it was a turtle. Slowing down I managed to stop close by; luckily there wasn't a lot of traffic. As I got closer s/he pulled back into its shell and stayed there while I carried him/her across the road in the direction s/he was already headed. (Usually when you pick them up they start swimming madly in the air which is a rather amusing sight.) I walked a little way into the greenery and underbrush and put the turtle there. Hopefully it kept wandering in that direction and didn't decide to go back across the road.

Monday, June 06, 2005

moving plants

Now that the warm weather is here I realized that it was time to shift the houseplants onto the screened-in porch. I love sitting out there surrounded by all the greenery.

Some of the plants are getting rather large. Nothing too big to move but just a little unwieldy. The inside of the house looks rather bare at the moment as four rooms have been completely denuded of their plant-life. There are a few plants scattered here and there around the house, but all of the big, lush-looking ones have been moved onto the porch.

The funny thing is that by the end of the summer the porch looks wonderful. Then we move the plants back inside the porch looks really empty and the house looks stuffed with plants.

more presents

No pictures, sorry, but I got a really snazzy looking birdhouse from my mom this weekend at the aforementioned birthday party. Amazingly enough I also got a bag of birdseed from my aunt! How funny is that? They didn't know that each had the other item to unload share. Thank you generous people!

I put it up and it looks wonderful. The birdies will surely discover it soon. I'm hoping the squirrels can't get to it the way I have hung it. Chloe thinks it's lovely and sits on the deck under it posed gracefully awaiting the birds. She doesn't seem to have learned that the birds only come when she is not there or on the screened in porch. But I guess it's kitty entertainment enough to stare at a full bird feeder.

weather and beverage

Okay who flipped the weather switch? First it was a cold and damp May. All of a sudden it's a blistering hot, thunderstorm June. This weather stuff is going to drive me crazy. But bear with me because the cottonwood trees are in bloom, I'm allergic to the stuff and it makes me cranky when I have to stop every five minutes and blow my nose.

This sudden switch in weather had also necessitated a switch in our beverage choices. Right now D is downstairs squeezing limes to make our favorite limeade. Four limes juiced, six cups water, sugar to taste. mmmmmm, delicious on a hot day. S had made a batch of sun tea, before the thunderstorm. One of my personal favorites is darjeeling and black currant teas steeped together. I foresee lots more of these concoctions in our future.


This past weekend D and I went to a family birthday party for our cousin L who just turned 1. It was great fun to see everyone there. The other baby cousins M and E were there as well. Cute to see all of these babies together and expanding the family -- we played pass-the-baby for most of the afternoon. It was wonderful to see everyone who was able to make it and catch up with them. I even got to catch up with Wendy. She of blog-start fame who got me started blogging and then stopped! Well, maybe she'll start again some day...I hear she's been writing.

The party was fun. The food was absolutely delicious, the cake was really cute with a picture of the birthday boy, who didn't like his first taste of icing, and there was a even a magician! D liked the magician and said he was "awesome!"


Ooh, I love presents. This one is candy from a Faraway Friend. Interesting flavors such as chocolate with chili (that one's for Steve although I'll try a bite but I'm a little dubious about spicy chocolate). Chocolate with apple vanilla yoghurt. When she sees this picture my friend will realize that there are a few bars *ahem* missing. That's because I live in a house with adolescent females who apparently can smell chocolate before it's even delivered to the house!

ummm...confession...I did at least get tastes of what the kids snagged...and it was all very yummy

Thursday, June 02, 2005

where's george

More fun stuff! We got a one dollar bill this weekend that had a red stamp on it which said "See where I've been! Track where I will go next! Enter my serial number at" It's a neat site that shows you where your money has been before it got to you. This site is only for United States currency. Our Canadian neighbors can go to to check their currency travels.

tink again

My Aunt Carol claims that a ball of yarn is a fabulous investment for her. She knits and re-knits it so many times until she gets just the right thing. Well, I must be starting to take after her because tonight at Stitch Sisters (where they had a birthday cake for yours truly...thank you wonderful caring women that you are) I saw a baby blanket being made and fell in love with the pattern. I decided that it would make a fabulous shawl. So I will be shredding unknitting the current shawl to make the following:

Vine Lace Pattern

multiples of 8 +3

Row 1 = k3, *yo, k2, skp, k2t, k2, yo, k1, repeat to end
Row 2 = purl
Row 3 = k2, *yo, k2, skp, k2t, k2, yo, k1, repeat to end
Row 4 = purl

skp mean slip 1 stitch, knit 1 stitch, pass the slipped stitch over
k2t means knit two together

I'm not sure how this will work out because according to my math row 3 isn't "even" but I will trust in the pattern I was given because it looked beautiful. If it doesn't work I'll just bring it to Stitch Sisters and have them help me figure it out.

girl scouts

Tonight was the Girl Scout Gathering in town. The end of year ceremony where those who are bridging up to a new level do so. Plus awards, badges and special recognitions are handed out. D's troop had been disbanded for two years and only restarted this year. It's so nice to be following Girl Scout traditions again.

Especially wonderful was watching all the eager little Kindergarten Daisies being escorted across the bridge by Brownies and becoming Brownies themselves:

Twist me and turn me and show me an elf
I look in the mirror and see....myself

Monday, May 30, 2005

book clubs

It seems that lots of people are in book clubs. I confess I am not myself but that is more due to lack of time than lack of interest. The hardest part is that all of my book-club-going family and friends recommend books to me that sound so intriguing. And if I don't have enough time to go to book clubs I have even less time available to read. Truly this is a problem.

I am STILL reading "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell". I really like this book but find that I need to read it when I have more than just a few moments available to read.

I am also reading "Food in History" which, if you like that kind of thing reminds me to mention the Food Timeline a place where you can discover interesting stuff about when certain foods came into culinary existence.

Now I've been to visit my brother and sister-in-law. Lovely people, really. But they have a house full of books. I somehow managed to come home with three of them (I did ask permission first, and I will return them when I'm done). But first I have to read them. I started one actually. But let me begin at the beginning....

Imagine me sitting in a doctor's office with nothing to read except things like Arthritis Daily and Upper GI Digest. Both important if that's why you're there but not particularly interesting if it's not. However...there was a wild book; a book that had been set free. It was Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler. Having nothing better to do I innocently picked up this book and immediately got sucked in. It was a great book because it was a cute story but a quick and easy read; although it was not part of the listings (I meant to get a sticker, really I did). I took it with me on my visit figuring it would make for great light reading. Well, duh! I finished it! So I passed it along to my sister-in-law. And in return got drawn into The Girl With A Pearl Earring which I am enjoying tremendously. But I'm still supposed to be reading two other books AND I came home with two extras!

But I love the recommendations because it sometimes gets me to read books I otherwise would never have picked up. So if you have a book you like...let me know...I'll add it to my list to read.

wonderful weekend

We spent the Memorial Day weekend with my brother and his family. It was so nice to see them, we always have a wonderful and relaxing time when we are there.

This time we did lots of activities. We went to Gurnet Lighthouse. Turns out that this is the only day of the year that it is open to the public. It was fascinating to learn some of the history of the place and to all squash into the top part of the lighthouse and look out over the ocean. As a special treat the man who owns the life saving station had it open and was giving tours. It was amazing to see all of the old equipment and learn about how they manned the place.

Another day we went to Plimouth Plantation which is a "Living History" museum of life in the 1600's when the Mayflower (and subsequent boats) landed in the area. The place is built authentically. On the Wampanoag Indian side there are people explaining how life was lived back then and demonstrating native crafts. On the Pilgrim side they had an authentic settlement with re-enactors who spoke and behaved according to the persona that they were supposed to be. We met a number of interesting people including Miles Standish and Priscilla Alden. The furnishings, the setting, the costuming and the people made for an amazing experience.

There was other fun stuff too like going to the beach and knitting and such. But I'm waiting for pictures *ahem* so I'll fill you in on all of that later.

book chuckles

Results of the book meme turned out rather interesting.

My friend Sue said, "There's no way I'm counting books ~ that'd take up time I'd rather use actually reading!"

My Dad suggested to my Mom that she simply come up with an average book width, measure all shelves and multiply. Not a bad way to get a quick estimate. I think it got her curiousity going though as this is the email I received:

I did a book count for shelf sections in my room - there are 3 shelves in each vertical section, 9 sections all together. Included books on the floor behind the door but ignored boxes of books I've authored that are in my study's closet. Imprecise but a reasonable approximation would be 700 books. That includes paperback as well as hardcover, but probably not including pamphlets. These are all gardening or horticulture books.

There are 3 bookcases in the living room, 3 more bookcases in the lower landing, the shelves of paperback science fiction at the foot of the stairs, and about 30 to 40 hardcover books on shelves in the basement. Plus I think there are a box or two of books in the basement. Two smallish bookcases of cookbooks in the kitchen, one only partially filled. Three bookcases in the guest bedroom. Maybe 40 feet of books in your father's office.

So yes, 4 figures is accurate.

My brother heard about the meme and his response was a large hmmm-type sigh and a "don't ask me" silence.

My exchange mother heard about it and voluntarily, of her own free will, submitted the following response:

"I found it amusing to think of counting books; I went immediately to work. In my library (that in the last few years has increased), I proudly counted 1020 books. Many books are antiquarian, reference books, art books some novels and science fiction. Not included in this number are my cookbooks, no children's books and nothing from my kids."

Okay folks, I think we're just going to open our own library.

Friday, May 27, 2005

tech update two

Okay, we got the scanner working. Yay us! Actually yah me and whatever braincells I have left after figuring out how to configure two USB networked devices to one overworked little computer. May be easy for some of you but hardware is NOT my specialty.

The next step is to fix the webcam-thingy. There's a persistent red light. I think that means it's not working. Actually I know it means it's not working because when I try to take a picture with it I get a pop-up window that tells me there was a device failure. Hmmmm....I think I figured that out already.

After that is the idea to purloin S's camera. And learn how to use it to see if I want to consider getting a digital camera of my own. This blog is sadly lacking in visual interest. It's getting there...slowly but surely. Bear with me.

weather rant

It started out at something ridiculous like 34 degrees fahrenheit this morning. So I dressed warmly (smart, no?). I have been shucking layers all day. First the sweater. Then the shirt, now I'm changing's 71 degrees out there! Who ordered this crazy weather anyway. Steve suspects that we're going to have a hot humid summer. I am praying that he is wrong.

Unfortunately the weather prompts one to look at the garden and quickly avert their eyes. The weed atrocities are overwhelming at this point. I'm not even sure where some of the paths are. The front looks good, the sides look great. The backyard...let's call it a wildlife sanctuary and hope visitors buy into that.


A fabulous postcard from Sam and Meg who are gallivanting all around England. Visiting Sissinghurst, going to Gnome Reserve, living it up in a restored 1848 stone manor. *whimper* I wanna go!

I'm sure they're having a lovely time and will have lots of pictures to share over tea and crumpets. Actually it'll have to be scones, I don't know how to make crumpets.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

weather update

Aaaaaaauuuuugggggh! Another grey, wet, dreary day. Supposedly we are on the hook for rain for the next 5-7 days. Admittedly everything looks green and luscious in the landscape. But I am sick of wearing sweaters.

I actually put flannel sheets back on the bed and turned on the heat last night. This is ridiculous.

tech update

Updating stuff in the template and discovering that it's a p.i.t.b. especially since the feed that I created from my bloglines blogroll doesn't appear to be font scaleable. it doesn't "fit" with the look of the rest of my fonts. But it will save me lots of work everytime I find a new blog that I want to add to my list. I guess I'll have to put up with it for now while I try to figure out how to make it better.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

dumb laws

This site title says it all. I found this quite by accident and then got sucked in reading all the silly laws. Hmmmm, I think I kissed my husband *grin*.

cake or brownies

Last night I forgot that I had promised to make a dessert for the Staff Appreciation Lunch today. So I hastily got the ingredients together to bake. I took two boxes of brownies, followed the directions but before baking added some vanilla and a sleeve of crushed Oreo cookies. Unfortunately I was so tired that I forgot to look at the pan sizes and saw that one box could have easily made a 9 x 13 pan of brownies and I threw the whole shebang into a pan that size. So they are either really thick brownies or a brownie cake. If they're a cake do I have to frost it? No frosting on hand so I would have to make one. I'm thinking maybe powdered sugar would be good enough to dress it up.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

cheating not cheating

After I unknit the poncho thingie I decided to turn the yarn into a shawl. It's really much better suited for that anyway. Found a pattern I liked but it called for #10 29 inch circulars. Hmmmm. I don't have any. What to do, is this considered cheating on my yarn diet?

I voted no because (justification time):

A) I already had the yarn I just needed the needles to turn it into something useful.
B) I can use the needles for another project when I am done with them.
C) Supplies are not yarn. *grin*

I found a pattern I liked and this evening the girls and I ate dinner in front of the tv (what my Nana used to call "free eating") watching our favorite tv show Stargate SG-1 while I worked on the shawl. I managed to make a fair amount of progress considering that it is an 18 row pattern that is not intuitive -- at least not yet, we'll see as the project progresses. Unfortunately it looks nothing like the doggone picture. Even accounting for the fact that I am not using the exact yarn the project called for. I have decided that it's turning out okay so I'll keep going. I'll edge it in something nice and consider it a lesson in the old adage "seeing is believing."

Sunday, May 22, 2005

attic redux

Since it was raining I decided this was a good time to revisit the attic and work on clearing it out some more. I actually made quite a bit of progress. Getting rid of more stuff, organizing, re-, or correctly, labeling. All good things to do.

Unfortunately I found more yarn. My goodness I certainly hid the stuff all over the place. Sorted through it...set one nice blue skein aside for socks -- someday -- and sorted the rest with the other stuff. I did manage to completely purge out one whole box of yarn so that's a good thing. However just as I was feeling virtuous about having an empty box [see through with a lid and everything!] V said she needed a box to organize more things in her room. I was planning to use that box. Not sure what for, probably more yarn, but I suppose I should be happy that she is at least organizing. I gave it to her. Now I need to wade back into the attic and see what else I can clear out.

wet gardening

Took a planned trip with neighbors today to the local Herb Garden down the street. Victoria and her husband are wonderful people who grow all their own stuff organically, it looks beautiful, grows well, and they are veritable fonts of information. I always love going there and frequently spend more than I should.

As I was leaving Steve yelled out the door, "Don't spend any money!" Hah! Send me to a plant place and ask me to spend no money! Hmmph I say! I hid them in the back of the car so he wouldn't notice and then planted them when he wasn't looking shhhhhhhh. ps I'll have to figure out a way to drag the vacuum out there to clean out the car, also when he is not looking.

I was very good and only bought a few herbs, rosemary, of course, need to get a new one each year, some parsley, etc. But I did get a couple of sweet plants. There was a gorgeous mini-pink daisy that was too cute to walk by. Dang I need to get a digital camera. Either that or steal S's and learn how to use it. Still working on the scanner too, can't get that to function just right either. Anyway...back to the plants. I also bought the most luscious double petunia. In white. It looks stunning and has a heavenly smell. Then a sweet, adorable, little white something that looks sort of like a snapdragon but very miniaturized. Victoria told me what it was and as soon as I got home I promptly forgot. It looks cute with the double pansy and I have them in a container together in front of the vegetable garden.

Unfortunately while we were at Victoria's it started raining. When I got home I guess you could say it was more of a heavy drizzle than a rain but it was wet. I planted as quickly as I could and then came inside for a couple of fortifying cups of hot tea.

I'm a little annoyed that it's still so cold and it's near the end of May! We keep getting teased by the warm lovely days and then BAM! rain, cold, wet, grey. Urgh. Spring has not been very springy so far this year.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

saturday in the garden

Woke up feeling more headache. Plus it was a gorgeous sunny day with a forecasted promise of rain. So off to the garden I tromped. Did a lot of planting, watermelons (let's keep our fingers crossed), tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, summer squash and some flowers. Cleaned out a lot of stuff and wound up spending four hours in the garden all together. No wonder I was tired at the end there.

Set aside one bed in the fenced area for V who says she wants to have a garden of her own this year. She's excited and hopes to plant her stuff this weekend.

The grey skies kept rolling in and rolling out. Promising but not delivering rain. Finally late in the evening we got a thunderstorm. It didn't last too long but hopefully long enough to wet the stuff I planted. It's supposed to be rainy on and off for the next five days. I need to get a few more things in the ground so I guess I'll have to garden around the rain.

Friday, May 20, 2005

girly night

Went over to my friend Christina's to knit and chat hoping it would take my mind off of feeling yucky. Made a lot of progress on Hoodie. I am now up to the neck and have to start binding off on the next row. A little nervous about that part but we'll see how it goes. I just haven't figured out exactly how to carry both sides without the yarn carrying over. Just have to figure it out as I go I guess.

After solving all the problems of the world (isn't that what everyone does when they knit with friends?) we decided to watch a movie. Christina had Vanity Fair. Lovely lovely film. Great story, of course, fabulous costumes, wonderful scenery. I really found myself very absorbed in the story. I may have to check it out of the library and watch it again with the girls.


On the verge of a migraine yesterday. So no Stitch Sisters. No knitting either. Still not feeling all that great today but at least I'm up and around instead of being laid under by a migraine.

I've decided to rip out the poncho thingie and turn it into a shawl instead. D still really wants a poncho but I've decided that if I make her one it will be out of an acrylic yarn (mostly to enable me to use up my acrylic stash but also because then it will be more kid friendly as far as wash, wear, destroy). Now I have to decide if I start the shawl now (after unknitting of course), start the poncho now, finish what's already on my plate. Plus there's always the fabric purse haunting me in the background because I STILL haven't finished sewing those dratted strips together. Next time it is definitely bias tape making time.

On the garden front I've decided to do even less and have purchase a farm share from a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farm. Should be great to go once a week and get our "share" of the goodies. I'm still planting a few things but will not try to squeeze it all in. I figure the weeks I'm away I can share my share with a friend and everyone wins. Plus it's all fresh, locally grown, organic stuff. Can't wait for our first pickup.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

art and ice cream

Art show today at the school. It's always fun to go and try to find the art project(s) belonging to your child because they are arranged in no order all over the room. Luckily D only had one project this year and it was fairly large and easy to spot.

In addition to the art there is an ice cream social to raise money for the scholarship fund. Plus raffle's a good money maker for the fund. Plus, of course, there's the socializing part. The parents mill around in the display area, the kids -- all sugared up from the ice cream sundaes -- run around like mad on the playground somehow managing to forget that just a few short hours ago they were there.

I ran into one person who mentioned that if you live in our small town this is one of the major social events of the year. Kinda fun when you look at it that way.

tag time

There's another meme going around, this one involving books. Niina sent it to me. Here goes:

Total number of books in your house
Well...794 that belong to me and my husband. That doesn't include the four bookshelves and three boxes that belong to the kids. Itsalotta books! After I counted I asked Steve to guess, he came close at 675. Lots of science fiction, lots of craft books, lots of gardening books, LOTS of cookbooks, several dictionaries/reference/language books, a wide ranging collection.

The last book you bought
Salesforce for Dummies. Lame, I know, it was for work, but it was the last book I bought.

The last book you read
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Fabulous book!!!

5 (or 6) books you read often or that mean a lot to you
Oooh, this is a toughie. Hard to pick just a few but I think this is my top top list:

1. The Golden Key by Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson, and Kate Elliott. Amazing,
amazing, amazing. Now I've got my oldest hooked on it too, she's reading it for
the first time and is absolutely enthralled.
2. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
3. The Foundation Novels by Isaac Asimov
4. Darkover - anything written or edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I read my first
book by her when I was a teenager, Hawkmistress. I think it was the first book
that really hooked me on the genre.
5. The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher. There's just something about this story
that really appeals to me.

Who are you going to pass this to and why?

Well, first my Mom. I'm hoping she'll answer it. Mostly because I've made a private guess as to how many books she owns and I want to know how close I am (we're talking 4 digit numbers here)

Second to my friend Sue who is a huge book loving person -- she just sent me a paperback summer reading book chain, if you're interested in participating let me know and I'll send you a letter *grin*.

And to The Manolo because I know he reads a lot.

rainbow bridge

My Mom sent me this poem. I found it to be sweet and touching and thought I would share it.


Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Monday, May 16, 2005


Last night Sam had a really bad night. He'd thrown up a couple of time, including in his bed which dogs really hate to do, and then had a really hard time breathing for almost 40 minutes. He was really straining. Steve and I realized that it was not getting easier for him and in spite of our hopes and his "good" moments the bad moments were probably starting to really outweigh the good ones.

This morning we took him to the vet. They were very kind. He fell asleep in my lap and when they administered the euthanasia he very quickly and quietly slipped away. It was so hard to make that decision. He was 16, he was getting older, weaker, sicker, but there was a little part of us that, I guess, still wanted him to keep going.

I'm glad that Steve and I could both be there with him so that he was with people who loved him. I'm glad that it wasn't paiinful for him and I'm so glad for the 14 years that he was with us. He was such a sweet little dog.

I'm sitting here crying and missing him and thinking about how hard this is going to be on the girls when they get home from school. I see a sad night ahead.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

do less

My Aunt Carol *waving since I know she reads this blog* has a Do Less philosophy. It's really quite simple. If you can, do less. Then you can do more for you by not creating so much stress in attempting to do more. Easier said that done but definitely a good philosophy.

While sorting the attic [see last post] I had lots of time to think. During that time I have decided to Do Less; at least one thing less. Originally I had planned to enlarge my raspberry bed, finish cleaning it out (hmmmmm, doesn't that sound familiar?) and then plant blueberries on the other side. I had already made arrangements to have someone come and rototill the area to be enlarged and selected, although not ordered, my blueberries.

Instead of creating so much work for myself I am going to leave the raspberry bed as it is. Maybe next year I'll have more time but for now I'm chosing to Do Less; thank you Aunt Carol.

attic ventures

It's been threatening to rain all day. Since we all know that I hate to garden in the rain I decided to turn my attention to the attic -- which sorely needs it.

Every spring I start to organize the attic. By the time summer rolls around I have stopped paying so much attention to the attic and working more in the garden. Needless to say the attic never gets completely organized and sorted.

Then winter rolls around. The attic gets so cold in the winter that anything that needs to be stored in there is stored by the simple expedient of opening the door, finding the closest available space (usually the floor), depositing said item and leaving as quickly as possible. This means that when spring rolls around again the attic is an unholy mess.

Happens every year and this year is no exception. I have spent almost the entire afternoon in the attic. Sorting, correctly organizing, and rearranging. It looks a lot better. The room next to it, unfortunately, is a mess because a number of items have been found that need to be put back into place in the house. Who knows, maybe this will be the year that I actually finish organizing the attic. Then the challenge will be to keep it that way.


The girls got back at 1:00 am! Bleah, thank goodness they're young...I don't think I can do that anymore. They were all ravenous having agreed that the food at the prom was uniformly awful. I set out a snack buffet for them and went to bed. They apparently stayed up until 2:30/3:00 am eating, chatting and watching t.v.

For breakfast this morning I made them pancakes. I was pleased to realize how many times over the past four years these girls have eaten my pancakes and told them all that they need to come back whenever they want for a pancake breakfast. With the pancakes we had a delicious maple syrup. V's friend S brought it as a gift last night. She made it at her school and wanted to share some with us. It was really good and tasted even more delightful since we knew the person who made it.

The pancakes are an adaptation of a recipe that I received many years ago from my friend David who adapted it from a recipe that he got from his grandmother. They are delicious, fluffy, and everyone loves them. I call them David's Pancakes:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy flour
1/3 cup powdered milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 cups water (more if you want thinner pancakes)

Mix together thoroughly, let batter sit at least 5 minutes before using. Pour 1/4 cup per pancake into a hot, greased pan. When bubbles appear in top, flip and cook until bottom is done.

Serve with butter, pancake syrup, jam, or powdered sugar.

Note: by adding 1 tablespoon oil and 1/3 cup wheat germ these make fabulous waffles. The waffles, alas, do not keep well but are amazing when fresh.


It was prom night last night for S. Luckily we have a "gathering" house so she and her friends seem to like to hang out here a lot. So three of her friends came over to get ready all together. I took her to get her hair done in the afternoon, it came out gorgeously. I'm not allowed to post pictures...her request...but trust me she looked beautiful.

They all showed up starting at 4 pm. We had quite a houseful. V had a friend over, D had two friends over, S had her three friends and their moms. The house got so full of women that Steve decided he needed to go for a motorcycle ride. It was a fun girly house for a while. The moms were busy fussing over their daughters who were fussing over each other, everybody helping everyone with hair, makeup, nails, etc.

Eventually they were all dressed and gorgeous. We took a number of pictures and then the prom belles headed off. We moms were all talking about how amazed we were that our little girls had turned into such grown-up beauties. It really was a breathtaking sight to see them all together.

garden days

It's been a busy weekend so far but I have managed to get some gardening in. A trend that will hopefully continue this afternoon.

Friday and Saturday were gorgeous days. Great temperature, sunny, the bugs aren't out yet. I managed to get a lot of work done and am almost done clearing the gardens (except for the back but that's another story -- always is because it's so huge).

I noticed that my lemon balm has multiplied nicely so I've potted up the extras and am looking for new homes. That's one of the nicest things about plants...when they multiply you can give them to others and everyone is happy.

We got some much needed rain last night. I'm hoping that I'll be able to start planting the vegetable garden this week. I've decided not to put in much in the way of other plants this year preferring to concentrate on widening the paths, fixing the retaining walls that shoved or fell down over the winter, and re-organizing the garden to make it easier to stay on top of. The only exception to that is planting two butterfly bushes that my friend Barbara so generously gave me. They're going to be a lovely addition to the yard.

Tomatoes are, I think, going to be in big supply this year. I was going to buy some plants because I never got around to starting any from seed. In the last week I have received offers of a wide variety of tomatoes from three different people! It's going to be wonderful to have so many different kinds; I'm lucky to have so many generous friends.

Friday, May 13, 2005

nerdly stuff

Today is one of those days that brings on nerdly subjects simply by being itself. It is Friday the 13th of May.

triskaidekaphobia is the word of the day. Although technically it means fear of the number 13 many people have come to consider it to relate to Friday the 13th as well.

Which brings to mind that famous fearly person(?) Churchy La Femme of Pogo Possum and Okeefeenokee Swamp Fame. He was so afraid of Friday the 13th no matter what day of the week it appeared on. There's a copy of one of the strips here.

Last, but never least, today is also the Ides of May. Believe it or not that silly poem pounded into my brain back in 6th grade still remains knocking around in the grey matter - 'only on the 15th day come the Ides of March or May'. What exactly are Ides you ask?? this is the explanation of the Ides of May. And this is an explanation of Ides, Nones, and Kalends. Interesting information.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

thursday night

And that means Stitch Sisters. It was a quiet meeting this time...just a few of us. But my friend Laura came, her second visit. We decided to frog her scarf all the way back and start over. She's just learning how to knit and doing very well but she chose a rather fluffy/knotty yarn and it's harder to correct with if you're new. Luckily she'll be able to come next week too so hopefully she won't get as far along with as many mistakes.

Speaking of my knitting sister-in-law finished her scarf! I'm so happy for her. She's a fast knitter apparently, even for someone who just learned. Amazing. We were discussing her knitting and she has come up with her most comfortable way to hold the needles and found a rhythm that works for her. it's really great that she has picked up on it so quickly, I can't wait to see what she makes next.

Back at the Double S Ranch (Stitch Sisters) of our "sisters" is moving to a new house. In the process, she closes in three weeks, she just realized that this means she has to box up and transport the contents of her house. Since she's lived there for 30 years it's a lot of stuff. So she came bearing goodies to share with the rest of us. It's so nice to be able to recycle your stuff to people you know who will use and appreciate it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

for my dad

Wishing you all the best on this special day -- we love you!!

blissful yoga

Tuesday again...gotta love that yoga class.

Tonight was especially wonderful because the weather was so great that Lara decided that we should start our practice outside. It was GREAT! The slight breeze, the perfect temperature, the nature noises in the background and the feeling of practicing yoga outside (a first for me). Words are not enough to describe how fabulous it was and how relaxing.

We did manage to attract some attention though as we were up on top of the hill overlooking the sports fields and the track. There was a softball game going on down there and several people using the track including a couple of young girls who crawled up the hill to peer at us and giggle. It was kind of fun to listen to their cute giggles in the background. Then one of them said, rather loudly, "That's Mrs. Dessy!" I admit that I lost my balance at that point and had to stop and laugh. I turned towards her and waved while my fellow yoga practitioners attempted to keep their balance with huge smiles on their faces. After waving back my little friend and her companion skipped back down the hill while we continued our class.

Eventually it started to get a little chilly so we moved our practice back inside. We had spent an hour outside instead of the few minutes Lara had suggested for sun salutations. By the end of the class we were all so relaxed I don't think anyone wanted to go home...we probably would have stayed and slept of the floor of the multi-purpose room if we thought we could get away with it.

hair again

The girls all went to play tennis this afternoon. On the way down to the courts they ran into my friend Christina who had already agreed to trim up V's hair. She told them to stop by her house after tennis. Then she called me and told me she could trim D's hair too (I guess I didn't do as good a job of trimming as I thought).

Well...once they get there...shampoos, trims and styles for everyone! Especially when Mom is not there to say no. V and D came out fine, adorable actually. S decided that she was going to get a trim and highlights. I found out about this when I came to pick up D who still had homework to finish for school. A surprise to be sure.

Luckily Christina does good work so they all look great. It's going to take some time to get used to the highlights though. And the next part is convincing the younger two that no they cannot have highlights...yet.

garden cat

Ed note: Dagnabit! The server went down just as I tried to post this! Somehow I think the first posting was much better but here goes.

Chloe likes to hang out with us when we are outside. It's nice to be working in the garden and have her nearby. She wanders off and then wanders back to check on us like a good sidewalk supervisor. When I was working in the vegetable garden she decided to play hide-and-seek. As I was weeding all of a sudden a small white paw darted out from under the rhubarb leaves and tapped me on the wrist. She kept doing this several more times as I came near enough to the plant for her to reach me without my being able to see her first.

Later I was in a different section of the garden pulling a particularly noxious weed that has rather long roots. Chloe peered at the hole and then all of a sudden began digging at it. The next thing I knew she was, I am not kidding, up to her shoulder in the hole batting furiously at something while Steve was cheering her on in the background…"Go Chloe! Come on, get it! Get it!"

Whatever it was she didn't get it (although she managed to get filthy in the process. Thank goodness cats bathe themselves). We imagine it was some poor creature such as a vole who must have been absolutely terrified to find his roof lifting off only to have it replaced by a large white claw. On the bright side this has positive implications for the depredations to the garden caused by the resident rodent population albeit not for the rodents themselves.

war of the weeds

A busy day today but I managed to squeeze in some gardening time. It's been a gorgeous day, perfect temperatures, sunny, slight breeze, the best weather to be out in the garden.

Unfortunately the weeds are winning...this early in the season that's a very bad sign. I went out and finished cleaning up most of the front garden, did a little on the side garden and some work in the vegetable garden. Some plants and flowers poking through but mostly weeds.

It's amazing how much weeds look like real plants. For example bedstraw looks like woodruff. At least until it makes that final leap into an ugly weed. The first year we lived here I learned that the hard way after I denuded an entire patch of garden of all of it's woodruff. Three years later it has been nursed back to health and is re-propigating if that's the correct term.

And ground ivy...I thought it looked sort of like aguja or carpet bugle. Hah! Then I had tons of the stuff. And the weeds are runners so they go on forever.

The garlic mustard is about to completely take over the woods, the bittersweet and, my favorite weed (!) multi-flora rose are battling it out in the middle of the back garden.

At this point I do what I can and hope that eventually things will grow and fill in enough that the weeds won't be that noticeable. And every year I swear I'm going to get rid of more of the garden. But somehow I never seem to get around to it.

I still maintain that my life would be a lot easier if I could just teach the deer to eat the weeds. I would let them eat all they wanted, honest.

Monday, May 09, 2005


It's my lucky relative day...lot's of goodies coming my way.

is a gift from my Aunt Carol, thank you so much! I love getting this magazine and pouring over the ads, pictures, articles. She had initially gotten it thinking that we could discuss the articles together. Hah! She's a MUCH better knitter than I am and our conversations wouldn't be very impressive. But I feel that I have learned a lot from reading this and other knitting magazines/books and am getting more knowledgeable as time goes by.

Now to find more time because doggone it there are at least three projects in this issue that I think could be really fun to make.


A neat link showing the star Mira. Thanks to my Uncle Ben for passing it along.

I had always known that there was a body of water named Mira because my Nana used to tell me about it. It's in Nova Scotia and leads into the Mira river.

Now I find out there's a star too. Fun.

the mother's day racoon

We spent Mother's Day with all of my in-laws and had a lovely meal and a great visit. There were three mother's in the house, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law, and myself so there were LOTS of choruses of 'Happy Mother's Day'.

The big excitement for the afternoon was shortly after my father-in-law took the kids down to the dock to go fishing. My niece decided to crawl into the boat because she was a little cold. She came scrambling out very quickly. When she got under the boat cover she saw something furry and thought it was a cat until it turned around and proved itself to be a racoon! The other kids looked into the boat and saw this huge racoon as well. Then it disappeared into the anchor compartment where it had apparently gnawed through the boat to make itself a nest.

The police were called. A very nice officer came out, looked into the boat and then called the Animal Control Warden. He managed to get the racoon out of the boat and then let it go (apparently he is not allowed to relocate them so he has to let them go) so it went streak/waddling across the lawns as fast as it could. From the safety of the deck at the other end of the lawn it looked HUGE. I'm not the world's best judge of size but I'm thinking Racky here must have weighed about 35 pounds! I know racoons are fluffy and all and if they get wet they shrink down a big (sort of like a wet cat) but still and all this was a very big racoon.

The biggest gratitude of the day was that neither of the dogs knew the racoon was anywhere around, otherwise I think we would have had a problem. Now, of course, my father-in-law has a problem...he's got a hole in his boat. But at least it's a racoon-free boat.


Sam, our dog, is definintely getting older and it's getting sadder. He's not even eating enough for his body weight at this point and a lot of times what he does eat doesn't stay down. He's getting painfully thin.

I find it really distressing because sometimes he seems to be happy and doing well but that is happening less and less. When we took him to the vet she said it was our decision. We know that, the problem is that we don't want to end his life prematurely but we also don't want him to be in any pain or discomfort.

He also keeps falling down a lot now, his back legs give out when he's walking or if he needs to go down stairs. And his senility/Alzheimer's is definitely getting worse. After 14 years with our family we've become very attached and I'm discovering it's really hard to be the one to make that decision. In the past it's always been someone else who decided.

At this point since he still has happy moments and doesn't appear to be in pain we're not ready but we know that time is not too far off. We just need to love him as much as we can and realize that not allowing him to be in pain will be another expression of our love for him.


Look what arrived in Saturday's mail! Autographed and everything! I'm so excited. It's my Mom's new book! It's impressive that she is so smart about bulbs and other flower things that she gets to write books about it and they actually get published.

Lots of lovely photographs inside too. I know I'm going to enjoy reading this.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

butterfly cupcakes

While perusing through my blog-reads (catching up actually...I've been on late shift at work all week and haven't read any of them...there's a lot to read!) I saw on the Cupcake Blog a link to the above cupcakes. They're so cute! So I shamelessly pinched the link and posted it here.

These look so easy to make. Perhaps I'll make a batch to take to work.


There's a meme going around the internet and I've been interviewed by Niina.

Here are my responses to her interview...if you want to be interviewed leave me a comment.

1. When did you learn to knit and how?
I learned five years ago, taught by my neighbor first project was a pair of mittens.

2. What is the most difficult thing you have knitted and how long it took? (And a picture would be a bonus)
The most difficult thing is the sweater I am working on, my first, it's a hoodie. I'll try to get a picture up but my scanner isn't cooperating right now.

3. How many UFO's do you actually have?
I've successfully managed to purge them down to 8.

4. What is the most fabulous yarn you have bought/knitted?
Oooh, this would be a fabulous handspun, hand-dyed wool yarn, I gave one skein each to my mother and my aunt.

5. Chocolate, do you like it or hate it? If love is the answer, what kind does it for you?
Chocolate...what's not to love! I have to confess that Cote d'Or Bouches from Belgium are my big weakness but anything will do in a pinch.


What is it about girls and hair? Not that long ago V decided that she wanted short hair. She was too impatient to wait for me to make an appointment to take her to my friend Christina so she cut it herself. It looks cute but needs to be....ummmm...fixed. So now she has an appointment next week.

This morning D awakened me from a sound sleep to tell me she had a surprise for me. She turned around and she had cut her hair! She knew I thought she looked cute with shorter hair and so she decided to cut it as a gift to me! Not too bad a job but I had to neaten it up a bit. Not the easiest thing in the world when you are just woken and haven't even had your first cup of caffeine to start the day. I managed to even it out and I don't think she needs to go to Christina, we'll see how it looks once it's dry.

date night

Last night Steve and I went out on a was great to get out of the house, away from the kids and just spend time together. We went out for a pizza at a local place that has good pizza. We got a salad for two that was absolutely delicious. It had shredded cheese, a chopped tomato thing on top with herbs and an amazing dressing. Then we got a pizza with eggplant, onion and meatballs. It was really good. It's been a long time since we've been out for pizza since I usually make ours so it was a real treat.

After dinner we decided on a whim to see if there was a movie at the local theater that we wanted to see. We got there 10 minutes before the start of the next showing of "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" which I had wanted to see. And there was room in the theater. It was a fun movie. Definitely based on the book but not exactly like the book. Still enjoyable and funny though. Alan Rickman was a scene stealer as Marvin...I can't imagine a more perfect Marvin now that I've seen the movie. Steve even liked it and I wasn't sure he would since that usually isn't his type of movie.

When we got home the house was quiet and peaceful...a good end to the evening.

stitch sisters

S decided to accompany me to Stitch Sisters this week, she brought her beading to work on. It was so nice to have her there with us, I really enjoy the opportunity to spend this craft time with her as well as the other wonderful women in this group.

I managed to give away the last of the yarn I was purging. So much nicer to give it to those who want it and can need it...don't know what I would have done with it otherwise.

I also managed to teach my friend Martha how to do a ripple crochet afghan. She got it started. Luckily she works in the office next door to mine so if she gets stuck between now and the next meeting she can just bring it over and I can help her. The ripple stitch was the first kind of afghan I learned how to make when I learned how to crochet. Martha already knew how to crochet but wanted to know how to do this. I'm really happy to be able to share and teach her.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

book sale

At the aforementioned meeting in the parking lot I picked up a lovely flyer from my friend Lindsay. I somehow found myself agreeing to be the Publicity Director for the Library Book Sales. Please don't tell my husband. I have a severe case of volunteeritis and frequently find myself agreeing to be responsible for more things than I should.

In any event...I need a graphic artist and managed to coerce convince Lindsay that she was just the person for the job. And she did a lovely flyer for us. Now to get all the labels made, the newspaper inserts submitted, and then hold the sale. Luckily I don't have to organize all the books.

Don't tell Steve when it is though because I think I'll be stopping by to *ahem* peruse the offerings.

the great yarn purge continued

I've been purging yarn and have to admit that it's really great to clean out and organize my larger-than-I-realized stash. Sorting and grouping everything has helped me rethink what I'm working on.

I have given away a lot of yarn, three afghans in progress and, in a repeat of last week, tonight at Stitch Sisters intend to foist off give away another afghan and a basket full of yarn.

In the meantime I have gotten my project list down to a really manageable number and am writing down the other projects so that I can be more orderly about this whole thing. The "to do" wish list is admittedly rather long but having it written down helps keep my scattered ideas together.

five 5

While talking to my brother today he reminded me that at 5:05 it was an historic moment. A very neat numerical oddity that my Grandpa Robby would have loved. May fifth two thousand and five at five oh five. He even pointed out that it's on a Thursday, for those who start their weeks on Monday rather than Sunday.

I called my kids to tell them about it. They were suitably unimpressed. I pointed out that it would not happen again for another 100 years (and quite frankly I don't think I'm going to be around for the next one). The calm response from V was a slow, measured, "okay Mom." That tone that lets you know they are sure you have lost whatever remaining marbles you may have possessed.

I was in the IGA parking lot talking to my friend Lindsay, where were you at 5-5-05:5:05?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


I was amazed today to notice that the colors of the landscape are changing. First it was the yellows of forsythia and daffodils and such. Now pinks and reds are painting their way into the background. Tulips, crab apples, maples, dogwoods,'s all so lovely.

And every day I notice more and more leaves and less and less bare brown sticks. Soon there will be a lushness to the landscape again. I always love this time of year. I swear you can almost smell the greeness of it all.

Plus! Today is the day my favorite local nursery opens. Victoria's Herb Garden. She always has such lovely stuff and she and Rodney are great people. Time to head on over and see what she's got blooming this now.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


After dinner V suggested that we all sit down and play cards. S had a ton of homework and couldn't but the rest of us did. It was so much fun. D started learning how to play.

V sharked us all and was the big winner of the evening. Steve thinks she should to on the World Poker Tour™. I'm just happy that I managed to end the evening with a score in the positive range.

Monday, May 02, 2005

scion news

Wow! Apparently my little car is quite popular. I'm not a Gen Y'er but love my little car anyway...just goes to show that demographics aren't everything.

I admit that I was tempted by some of the "extras" that the dealer offers but resisted -- so far. S on the other hand was bummed that we didn't get the lighted cup holders and the fancy interior light strips. I think if we had let her design the car she would have put quite a bit more into it.

And there's a whole lotta stuff available to personalize your car here, here, or even here. Amazing what you can do.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

library lunch

This afternoon I went to a luncheon that the library held for volunteers. I had been expecting a light tea type of affair. Instead there was a lovely luncheon spread and an amazing collection of delicious fresh-baked goodies.

It was so nice to sit and chat with all the different volunteers. Usually the ones I see are the ones that volunteer at the same events that I do. During those events we are far too busy setting up and managing the event to actually converse about anything else. This provided a great opportunity to get to know some of them better. It's quite astonishing to realize just how many volunteers there are in this small community that support our wonderful library.

While I was there I did manage to grab Lisa, who heads up the Book and Barn Sale, to get her to unlock the barn so that I could offload all the leftovers from the Kitchen Swap. In return I somehow found myself agreeing to help with the Friday night pre-auction. Should be a lot of fun, but luckily it's in August so I have some time to prepare.