Friday, March 31, 2006

beautiful blue

When D went out for the bus this morning I noticed a pair of bluebirds inspecting the birdhouse in the garden bed in front of the house. Unfortunately the sun is shining on it and all I have is my web cam so no picture of the birdhouse.

I'm so thrilled that these beautiful blue gems are back in the yard. We had two pair last year, perhaps we'll have the same this year. It makes me happy to see them.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

peepity peep

Spring is definitely here when you hear the peepers. They are so cute and it is such a cheery sound. At D's girl scout meeting tonight we flung open the windows so the girls could listen to the peepers down by the pond. It brings a smile to your face to hear them.

another first

Hanging laundry! I's dweeby to some, however I truly enjoy hanging laundry. There's something very peaceful about it and it smells so much better than shoving it in the dryer. I do confess to being a wimp and not hanging laundry during the winter (although I have been assured that you can do that). So the first laundry-hanging day of the year is always wonderful.

p.s. It's currently 65 delicious degrees wahoo!.

weed war

It has begun! Today the weather is a balmy 62 degrees F. Lovely, lovely. I sat outside for a little while soaking up the sunshine and listening to all the little birdies in the garden.

I looked around and was absolutely delighted to see a bunch of small purple crocus open and cheerily bobbing in the breeze. Spring has definitely sprung. And the daffodils have all shot up and are masses of pointy little buds about to burst forth.

Then I realized the weeds have already started! They made massive inroads in the bed at the top of the yard (I know, crummy picture but I'm using a web cam through the window screen). And the evergreen up there is in serious need of a haircut.

Last year the weeds won (okay, let's be serious every year the weeds win) but somehow I still keep trying, not quite sure why but it seems to be the thing to do.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

courageous chloe

This afternoon I went to let the cat into the house and she had a funny look on her face. I know, some people don't believe that cats have expressions but believe me, they do. I look a little closer and there is a neat little coil lying next to her. It's a garter snake. She wandered back and forth seeking (and getting) praise. I wanted to get her into the house so that I could move the snake before D came home from school (figuring a snake lying on the front step was not a good way to start the afternoon). Chloe wandered off and I poked Mr. Snake (and no, I don't know whether it was a he or she, but I'm the one writing here so I get to pick) who didn't move. I decided it was dead and went inside to get a towel to wrap it in. Came back with the towel, picked up the snake and then a little tongue flickered in and out of his mouth. Luckily I didn't drop him. I did however manage to change my hold to avoid being bitten and gingerly lowered him to the ground where he quickly slithered away. How exciting, I didn't know Chloe could catch snakes. Wonder how many "presents" we'll receive this summer.

cooperative cleaning

My friend Christina and I were both commiserating about house cleaning. Lord knows we shouldn't especially given all the advances in technology that the modern housewife has to help her out. Let's face it washing machines, dish washers, vacuum cleaners...what used to take days can be done in hours now. In spite of this we were complaining. So sort of as a joke, we agreed to clean each other's houses together; we thought it might be fun.

This morning I went to her house and the two of us cleaned like mad-women for two hours. It was amazingly productive. We got three bathrooms, one bedroom, the kitchen and the front entry cleaned. Over to my house, a quick break for lunch and then another full-scale attack. We got two bathrooms, a bedroom, the living room, the dining room and the front entry done. It was amazing how much fun it was and how well it worked. The best part is walking into a room that you didn't clean and finding that it is clean. What an amazing thing!

I've never heard of anyone else doing this before but it was fun...who knows, it might catch on LOL.

Monday, March 27, 2006

first garden day

Well the day is a little nippy but warm enough to be outside. I received some plants that I had ordered (and some that I hadn't?!?!). My lovely long-awaited boxes arrived with two cherry trees, a plum tree, gooseberry bush and raspberry bushes. Unfortunately I was supposed to get blueberry bushes instead of raspberries. Called the company up to let them know. The friendly operator said, "Oh Geez, well don't mail them back."

Now I have 8 new raspberry bushes in my raspberry bed (luckily I had room) and am expecting three blueberry bushes to arrive in a couple of weeks.

The raspberries are planted, the gooseberry is planted and my wonderful husband dug three holes for the fruit trees which are soaking and will be planted tomorrow. And I have ripped and dirtied my first set of gloves for the season....I'm happy.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

i thank You God for most this amazing day - e.e. cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing day - e.e. cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing day:
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything
which is natural
which is infinite
which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;
this is the birth day
of life and of love
of wings:
and a gay great happening illimitably earth)

how should
tasting touching
hearing seeing
--lifted from the no of all nothing-
human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake
and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

pod happy

I downloaded and burned my first pod CD. What I have now learned will be the first of many. I sat in front of my cozy woodburning stove, knitting away on a project (not to be mentioned in case the recipient reads this blog) and listening to Cast-On. Totally happy with the humor, the music, lovely lovely way to spend the evening.

first daffs

Driving around town today I saw my first daffodils. Their bright yellow sunniness peeking out from the leaf litter on the ground. It was a definite boost to the spirit, Spring is coming!

pod addiction

Hrrmm! Thanks to my friend Meg I have now acquired another timewaster productivity tool from the internet. Listening to the darn thing while browsing. Not getting me any closer to knitting now is it? Oh sure, I suppose I could browse with a pointer attached to an elbow whilst knitting and listening but that might be too much multi-tasking for my poor little grey cells.

I had actually resisted podlistening for quite some time, sure that I didn't need it. Then Meg happened to mention her favorite podcasts [I'll let her "guest-edit" here...]

Ms. Pearl-McPhee is hilarious. The story about knitting socks at the movies is worth the price of admission. Check out her podcast as well:
Yarn Harlot

And speaking of podcasts:

Brenda Dayne, an American ex-pat living in Wales. She's a writer by trade, a fan of great music, and a knitting fanatic. Her motto is "remember, if you're cold put on a sweater, that's what they're for." Check out Episode 1.5, A Snow Day" and see if you're not hooked...

Marie Irshad, out of the UK - a pioneer of knitting podcasts:

Luckily according to NoIpodRequired I learned that I can copy all my favorite casts, burn a CD and then happily listen while driving around town because I don't own *gasp* an ipod of my own.

Thanks Meg!

Monday, March 20, 2006

how well do you know me?

Sent to me by my friend Joyce. Here goes...

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Database Administrator
2. Network Systems Administrator
3. Job Counselor
4. Adult Ed Teacher

Four movies I would (and have) watched over and over:
1. The Princess Bride
2. Return to Me
3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
4. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Four places I have lived:
1. Kingsville, TX
2. Fairfax, VT
3. Lyndhurst, OH
4. 29 Palms, CA

Four TV shows (on regular network) I love to watch:
1. Monk
2. Stargate
3. Dirty Jobs
4. ??

Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Switzerland
2. Finland
3. Austria
4. Maine

Four websites I visit daily:
1. Google
2. MyYahoo
3. Wikipedia
4. AllRecipes

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Eggrolls
2. Eclairs
3. Hot Fudge Sundae
4. Coleslaw

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. On vacation with my husband
2. Somewhere else on vacation with my husband
3. In a different location with my husband
4. ...

Four friends who I have tagged that I think will respond:
1. Carolyn
2. Chris
3. Zosh
4. Marianne

4 people (past or present) you'd invite over for tea:
1. Richard Feynman
2. Wangari Maathai
3. Jane Goodall
4. James Earl Jones

You've been tagged. So here it goes...delete my answers, replace with
your own and send it back to me and on to other friends.

cool game

I read about this game from the newsletter. It looked so cool that I am downloading it now for my kids. What a neat concept for a game.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

bathing the cat

D asked if she could bathe Chloe since she thought Chloe smelled bad. Her father jokingly replied, "Sure." I tried to caution her, being afraid that she would get scratched or, worse, bitten. Ignoring me she started the bath, scooped up the cat and headed upstairs to the bathroom.

No noisy scuffles and 20 minutes later D came downstairs with a rather bedraggled, spiky looking cat snuggled into a towel. D claims that Chloe tolerated the bath, didn't complain too much, although she did try to climb the wall that the faucet was on one time. But she's been bathed. First time in the 3 1/2 years we've had her.

Hopefully this is NOT a new trend.

triple b

As in Big Baking Day…it turned into a marathon session.

V had a friend sleep over last night. Turns out this friend is a vegan. So I ground up some Ezekiel bread flour, used that to make a snack loaf (since it has legumes, millet and beans in it for extra protein), replaced the egg with banana and the honey with sucanat. Threw in an extra handful of millet for crunchy goodness. They were yummy. The guest in question departed practically clutching the remainder.

Then onto making a batch of bread for sandwiches (two loaves) and baking almond-barley biscotti. Unfortunately I wasn't paying attention when making the biscotti. They "felt" different. Looked different too. A taste revealed that I had forgotten the sucanat. So I have some almond toasts. Not sure what to do with them but I'm thinking of grinding them up and using them for a crust?? We'll see.

Another batch of biscotti, apricot-barley because I didn't want to pound all those almonds again. This time I remembered the sucanat. Amazing what a difference that makes (hah!).

Next an olive oil blueberry cake for tonight's dessert. I've made this recipe before but not with fresh-ground whole-wheat flour. Hopefully it will turn out well.

It's definitely been a big baking day.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Book Meme

Lifted from someone who lifted it from somewhere else...carry on the theme. But you know me and books, how could I pass this one by.

Meme instructions : Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you might read, cross out the ones you won't, underline the ones on your book shelf, and place parentheses around the ones you've never even heard of.

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
(His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J.R. R. Tolkein
(The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon)
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
(One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
(Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk)
(Neuromancer - William Gibson)
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
(The Secret History - Donna Tartt)
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis
(Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides)
(Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell)
The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkein
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman (I tried to read it)
tonement - Ian McEwan (I tried to read it)
(The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zagon)
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood (I tried to read it))
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

b-day blowout

Things are okay here. Nuts as usual but we had a great family birthday for V last weekend. Now we are going to have a blowout school party this weekend (shoot me now). This time I was smart though...I invited some of the parents to STAY! Especially since Steve won't be home and if the whole group shows up (doubtful but you never know) that would be a lot to handle by myself - 24 kids. I am looking forward to it though, it should be a lot of fun for her, and for them. They're really a great groups of kids.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Prayer for Peace

I recently came across this Prayer for Peace attributed to St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) and found myself so moved by it that I decided that I needed to put it somewhere.

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

I guess this means that this is the restart of my attempts at blogging. This time I'm not sure where it's going to go. Last time I had to stop because life got very overwhelming and I needed to free up more space and time. Funny enough it's sort of like how I journal. I'm very good at it for a while and then I stop. So who knows where this attempt will lead.

One important lesson that I learned though is that this time I will not delete all of the prior posts if/when I stop. Last time I did and I think there were some really good posts that I should have kept. Oh well, live and learn, isn't that what this journey is all about.