Monday, December 31, 2007

After A Long Hiatus...

I've been absent from the blog world for a long time. I got a new job at Kohl's, and that, coupled with the holidays, has completely hijacked my time lately. I finally have the luxury of some time to reflect after the departure of our last holiday guests. 

I can't stop thinking about an acquaintance of mine who, between my last blog post and this one, has discovered that she not only has cancer, but has 3 different kinds of cancer. It makes me so incredibly sad for her. How can one person be so riddled with disease? How is it that such an amazing mom and wife and business woman can be staring down such an ugly and unforgiving disease this early in her life? How is she dealing with this, and what can she possibly say to her 3 young children?

She starts chemo in a couple days. Her surgery won't be until this summer. I can't imagine the long haul she has in front of her. Her community has been very supportive. Still, I feel so helpless to do anything significant. Delivering meals and running errands is helpful, but really; she has cancer and a husband and 3 kids. And of course, I can't help feeling guilty that I am just so glad it's not me. (Hayes woke up with pink eye this morning and it wore me out just to take him to the urgent care clinic and the pharmacy this afternoon. Please.) I just don't know how she will manage, how anyone in her shoes could manage.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Disney Retreat

We suprised Hayes with a family vacation to WDW recently. Can't tell you how glorious it was to be together and enjoy a place all of us adore. We used the dining plan this time and it was FABULOUS! Would totally do it again. And the All-Star Resort was surprisingly nice. I would try all the All-Star themes. It was perfect for Hayes. So many things to look at, and climb on, and don't even get me started about the arcade! He must have spent hours in there (and many dollars to boot!). Loved it. Here are a few shots I took while there. As always, it was so nice to get home and sleep in our own beds!




Friday, October 26, 2007

For The Birds



And in so many words, it did. I went to the Newport Aquarium yesterday with our family friends. They have a really nice aquarium with lots of cool things to see. We even got a special behind-the-scenes tour due to Mike's connections! I hope to post some of those pics to Hayes's blog soon. But I digress.

At the aquarium there is a fabulous exhibit where one can feed the Lorakeets. These are essentially large parakeets. The kids had a blast holding out cups of nectar and watching the birds light on their arms and drink. And then, it happened. One of the birds pooed on my shoulder.

I felt it was no big deal. In fact, I felt lucky to only have been beaned on my shoulder. Just as we were about to leave, a lorakeet decided I was a good target and shat upon my head and face. Oh, to be so close to nature! Dispite this misadventure, we had a great time. The other birds we saw up close and personal were much kinder to us. We had a close encounter with some adorable penguins. Again, I hope to have some photos up soon. For now, I am sure the image of the lorakeets will be enough.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Harassed

I completed this layout for a homework assignment given in the latest Photoshop Elements class I am taking. We are learning how to use layer maskes even though it's not an "official" part of the program. I am loving it!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Jesus Camp


I watched Jesus Camp last night. It was frieghtening. While it was clear that the makers of the film had an agenda of exposing the radical nature of Christianity, I too, have been a part of that "get 'em while they're young" movement - on both sides actually. And we "knew in our hearts" what we had been called to do. The amazing part of the film is that there is no narration, no real commentary about what is happening. You see folks from a Pentacostal background (called Evangelical throughout the film) doing what they are doing. Proud to have it being made into film. And there is one lone voice - a radio host of a call-in show who seems to be a voice of reason. A voice that is not being heeded by those at Jesus Camp.

It makes me so nervous when I see it this exposed on the screen. What are we doing? It also makes me so greatful for my community. Yes, we are exposing our kids to our views, but it feels more responsible. (Of course, this begs the question: is it really?) I believe that we are informing them and allowing them to take it or leave it; Jesus Camp reminded me of how we preyed on the emotions (fragile as they are) of the kids we "worked with." And the most amazing part is that these people who were homeschooling their kids, and running the camp, were so genuinely concerned for the next generation. They clearly believed that they were doing what was best for them.

Contrast this with the last episode of Boston Legal, in which Alan - a self-avowed filanderer - is confronted with being a father. He has a choice. He notes that he comes from a long line of dastardly fathers, the last always worse than the man before him. Then he says, "I just don't know that I would be a good leader for a young soul." That a "sinner" would be so reflective of what it means to raise a child strikes me as an interesting contradiction to those who seem to be "as sheep" following blindly the dictums of their faith, or doctrine, as it may be. It reminds me of what an enormous job it is to raise a child and how very much we need a village in order to do it. And perhaps a diverse one, at that.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sabbath

I am not one to really "honor" the sabbath. I wish I was. But today our family was pushed into it a bit. We were all very cranky yesterday and I was a tiny bit under the weather (I knew it was going to be bad when I got teary watching a special about WDW - honestly). I woke up today feeling like I was on the edge and the boys were no better off. Dispite the fact that I was to lead church, we had to take a sick day. I hate doing that. I have really begun to enjoy our church time again. I look forward to being there and seeing everyone.

And so we slept in and had a late, lazy breakfast and took the day rather slowly. I've begun to feel so much better and Hayes seems to be able to tolerate life again. We had so many tears yesterday about so many things, I lost track of them all. Richard still needs some time to recooperate, but over all, I am so glad for the day of rest. I am outside enjoying the day, and my dog, while Richard takes a well-deserved nap. Go figure, the sabbath has been restorative. Things I must try to remember....

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wallpaper

I learned how to use Photoshop Elements to make desktop wallpaper! So excited. It's not so hard really, but now I can put up whatever I want on my wallpaper! I just keep finding more ways to put those digital supplies to use. Love it. Here's my first go round.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Vegetarian Wednesday Makes The News!

Check out the Vegetarian Wednesday blog for the link to the article featuring Eleanor (my niece) and Josh (my brother-in-law)! I am so excited for them!

And by the way, I tied in the T-shirt contest! Thanks so much for all the votes. If you want a t-shirt, let me know and I'll forward all the information to you.

remember, tomorrow is Vegetarian Wednesday. Eat breakfast for dinner.

Dancing Fool

I am a fool for Dancing with the Stars. I can't help myself. I just get all wrapped up in it and somehow believe the possibility that I, too, could be a fabulous ballroom dancer given the opportunity to train with a pro for 4 weeks. My money is on Helio Castroneves, Mark Cuban, Mel B and Sabrina Bryan. Although, truth be told, I really want Wayne Newton to stick around for a while. I think I have a little crush on him!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Me & My Boy

I have to say, I am so IN LOVE with my boy these days. He's just amazing. He takes good care of me and Jezzy; he is learning so much and can't help but tell us all about it. This is a layout I did just recently from his birthday party. Thanks Angie, for this terrific picture!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Crazy Little Thing

I recently discovered a blog called Scrapping The Music. The idea is to use songs as inspiration for your layouts. I really liked the idea. I was listening to my iTunes this afternoon and heard Michael Buble singing Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Although it's not the song that's the challenge for this week, this is want came about.

Stand or Fall: Scrapping the Music


So this is the song that is the challenge for this week at Scrapping the Music, "Say It Right" by Nelly Furtado. "You either stand or you fall" is part of the lyrics.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

One Little Word: Pure

The One Little Word challenge for this week is "pure." I found this fabulous quote about children and was inspired. The photos are from the shorehouse and the beautiful girl is my niece, Reese.
If my heart can become as pure and simple like that of a child, I think there probably can be no greater happiness than this. -Kitaro Nishida


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ah, Fall

How long's it been since we've been able to keep the windows open a full 24 hours? have 3 mugs of tea in the morning? wear long sleeves? When I woke up this morning and smelled the chill in the air, I thought for a moment I was at the lake. Ah, fall! It makes me so happy. I even dared turn the oven on tonight. I spent the entire day inhaling the fresh air, enjoying the hint of autumn, cuddled under a blanket with my lovely dog. I can only hope for more.

Love Is A Greenie

I am taking a Photoshop Elements class on line, and last night, we learned how to colorize just one element of a photo. This layout is my homework for the class. It absolutely cracks me up!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

J*Bella

I simply couldn't resist putting these pix of Jezabel on the blog! I think they are hilarious.



Monday, September 10, 2007

New Vegetarian Wednesday Blinkie

I will be posting this blinkie to the Vegetarian Wednesday site. If you'd like to grab it and put it on your site, feel free!



Instructions for putting this blinkie on your blogger blog:
  • right click blinkie and Copy Image Location
  • then in your edit layout tab, click Add Page Element
  • choose Picture to Add To Blog
  • When the small dialog box opens, under image, select From The Web and paste Image Location into that box.

Let me know if it works for you!

Friday, September 07, 2007

New Header

I have been experimenting with Photoshop Elements lately. The new header is some of my latest work! Fun times. It's amazing to me all the slight variations that can be made and how elements can be changed to look completely different from one project to the next. I really could be hooked.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Back In The Saddle Again

Ahh, September is upon us. The traveling has ended and the routine has begun. I am feeling it from my head to my toes, that tingly sensation that life does in fact have a rhythm. Oh yes, and that ache from actually going to pilates classes again.

I have been enjoying having time to prepare lessons for church, take a Photoshop Elements class, go workout, pick the beans and tomatoes that are still popping away in the garden.

Hayes seems to have transitioned beautifully to first grade this year, thank God. I was bracing myself after last year for a full 4-weeks-of-torture transition period. Sometimes a girl just gets lucky. It certainly helps to have a teacher who just wants the students "to develop a love of learning." This is what I am talking about! I think she is just unpredictable enough to keep the kids on their toes, and yet predictable enough to feel safe. That's a tightrope walk I just can't do.

I am genuinely happy. It actually took me by surprise to discover this about myself. I'm not knocking it, just pleasantly surprised. May it stay a while.

Friday, August 31, 2007

2Peas Quote It Challenge



this layout was done for the digital "Quote It" challenge. The idea is to use a quote from someone in your life and make a scrapbook layout from it. I really liked this one, as I just happened to have a picture of Hayes dressed up as a pirate for our boat parade this July. Perfect! Unfortunately I am having trouble uploading it to my 2 Peas account, so I uploaded it here instead.

Summer Reading Done!

So I loved having a reading theme this summer. I am sure I will do it again. It forced me to read some books I wouldn't have picked up otherwise, and I really enjoyed reading. Speaking of which, do you have any ideas for my next reading theme? I gained a little weight this summer with all my food related books :) I am leaning heavily toward a sports theme, but I could still be swayed. Art seems like a plausible theme, although I have read all the historical fiction about paintings and tapestries that I want to for a while...

The last two food books were less enjoyable than the others. Return to Paris, by Colette Rossant, was a sad read. She regretted having to be in Paris; it was only the food that got her through. I wouldn't recommend it. And A Bottle Of Rum: The History Of The New World In Ten Cocktails was drier that a bottle of rum. Even with mojito in hand, I just couldn't get through all the boring history of the new world. I thought there would be more of the history of rum, and frankly, I thought that would be more exciting. I'll just stick to my cocktails.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

One Little Word: Balance


I like to visit the One Little Word blog frequently. They have scrapbooking challenges and this is the first one I have participated in. It's also one of my first forays into the world of digital scrapping. I like the result. Love to know what you think.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Vegetarian Wednesday

Many of you are aware that I am a former vegetarian and I miss the experience a lot. I have discovered a fabulous new way to incorporate some of my "old life" into this one. Thanks to my niece Eleanor and her super-smart dad, Josh, I bring you Vegetarian Wednesday, a new blog for all those folks out there who wish to make a small difference in a big way.

Vegetarian Wednesday is a simple commitment to eat vegetarian on Wednesday. There are so many benefits to eating a vegetarian diet, not only to yourself, but to the planet as well. Going cold turkey can seem like jumping off a cliff. This is a tiny step, just off the curb; and who knows? You may just like it. Take a minute and stop on by the blog.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What Next!?!

Our trip to the Shorehouse this year became more like the Griswold family vacation than our usual relaxing experience.

• Saturday, 10:08 a.m.: we are in the car and on our way!
• Saturday, 12:10 p.m.: We return with our to-go order at BK and discover Jezzy has eaten Hayes’s chocolate chip cookie.
• Saturday, 2:43 p.m.: At rest stop in WV Jezzy regurgitates said cookie.
• Saturday, 6:01 p.m.: Stop at Wendy’s to get dinner
• Saturday, 6:44 p.m. Leave Wendy’s with TO GO order! Ridiculous!
• Saturday, 10:12 p.m.: We arrive at the Shore house – everyone but Mom is in bed.
• Sunday, 7:06 a.m.: Granddaddy wakes up with his eye crusted shut; a result of Carter poking him in the eye.
• Sunday, 11:49 a.m.: Dawn & Reese twist hammock-swing to the breaking point and crash to the ground. Reese is scared but unharmed; Dawn will probably be sore for the better part of the week.
• Sunday 6:37 p.m.: Hayes nearly drowns.

Richard and Hayes were on their second bike ride of the day. Grandmom and I were enjoying a pleasant conversation on the porch when I heard Hayes wailing and saw Richard coming down the street with Hayes in his arms. I figured he’d fallen off his bike and we had a skinned knee to doctor up. Well, I was half right.

While at the wharf, Hayes had toppled off his bike and into 7 feet of water. Fortunately, even though there was no sound, Richard turned around and saw the bike down on the pavement and Hayes’s bike helmet floating in the water; it was still on his head. He dove in and was able to push Hayes up out of the water and by some miracle onto the pavement again. After all the water had been spewed from his mouth, Hayes (understandably) could not stop crying and was like a barnacle pasted onto his daddy. In fact, from that moment, through the shower, and until he fell asleep, he would not let go of Daddy’s neck. He kept wailing that he wanted to go home, and he never wanted to be near that water again. He fell asleep in Richard’s arms shortly there after. It took both of us a much longer time to relax and fall asleep. To tell the truth, I was up several times in the night checking that both Hayes and Jezzy were still breathing. It’s so hard to watch such raw emotion.

• Monday, 11:44: we take the car ferry from St. Michaels to Oxford. Hayes opts to stay in the car, but is not at all upset by being on the water.
• Monday, 12:02 p.m.: we eat the best ice cream I think I have ever had. If you are ever in Oxford, you can find the delicacy at the Highland Creamery. Worth every penny.
• Monday, 5:13 p.m.: Granddaddy and Richard take Hayes down to the wharf; he protests, but once he realizes they don’t have to get out of the car, he is fine.
• Monday, 7:26 p.m.: Richard is helping Hayes eat crab claws; a shell goes right through his thumb! Luckily, he doesn’t need stitches.

The whole thing makes me want to wrap my family in bubble wrap and get the hell out of Dodge! They say bad things happen in threes and we are down to Grandmom, Jezzy, and me on the un-injured list.

It does, however, look like Hayes learned a very important lesson about respecting the water. I hope he’s not going to be so afraid that next year he won’t go out on the water, but I think we’ll be feeling good this year if we can just walk down to the wharf without feeling panicked. I don’t expect he’ll be crabbing with Granddaddy this trip.

Friday, August 10, 2007

It's Duran Duran Appreciation Day!

I was never a huge Duran Duran fan, but in honor of my youth and this national holiday, I purchased "Hungry Like A Wolf" from iTunes today. Go 80s!!

Another "Good" Reason To Feel Like A Bad Mother

Not that I have any issues with feeling like a bad mom....So I am innocently listening to my NPR Story of the Day podcast and this story pops up: 'Baby Einstein' Videos Ineffective, Study Finds. You can listen to it yourself, but this is the blurb they have about it:
A popular series of videos targeted at babies and praised by President Bush has been found to be ineffective. A new study has found that Baby Einstein videos actually inhibit learning. Dr. Dimitri Christakis of the University of Washington in Seattle talks with Madeleine Brand.

Buried right at the end of this very serious report is the fact that later in life, all of the "lost language acquisition" is essentially made up for. Yes, not only do mothers today spend more time parenting their little ones than in any other generation, but we should feel guilty about setting the little tots in front of the TV when we are not with them. You have to hand it to better living through Science.

Thank God I actually "forced" Hayes to become more brain-dead by putting him in front of the Baby Einstein library of videos in his early childhood. Otherwise, he'd be building nuclear bombs by now!

Laughing in the Face of Cancer

Robert Schimmel is performing at Cracker's in Broad Ripple tonight and tomorrow. In every city where he performs, he asks his fans to donate comedy CDs to their local cancer centers. He provides the CD players. As a survivor himself, he understands that laughter matters in recovery. He got the idea when he would go in for treatments and listen to his own comedy CDs. The other patients eventually began to listen to comedy and they started lending these CDs to one another.

What strikes me is that it's so simple. There's no red tape, no overhead, no business meetings about what goes where and when to donate; you take the CDs to the center, he drops off the players. End of story. It's so nice to hear about someone doing something so simple, so small, and so meaningful.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I Made This



When I was a kid, my mom used this book to make some of the most memorable cakes for our birthdays and holiday parties. I remember really loving that candy was used to decorate the cakes. Talk about having your cake and eating it too! For the child of a diabetic, it was like heaven on a plate. One of the benefits of living with Mom is that I have access to all her recipe books, including this one. Although the pages are literally falling out, the cakes are still loads of fun.

I gave the book to Hayes so he could select the cake he really wanted for his birthday. It was definately a tough choice. Although the football held a lot of pull, the final choice was the Rocket. The best part about this is that I could decorate the entire thing with white icing and organic candies, avoiding dye completely! This is the final product. It was a real blast!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Garlic & Sapphires


I just finished reading the latest installment on this summer's food themed reading list: Ruth Reichl's Garlic And Sapphires. I really enjoyed it. Not only was it fun to be in on her disguises and how the restaurants of New York treated the critic so differently from the common woman, but it also gave me a glimpse into how Richard must eat. I never realized how multi-dimensional it is for the true "foodie." There was even a spiritual dimension to this savoring of food. It was the perfect summer read.

Every Day's A Holiday

I found a fun new calendar with all sorts of wacky holidays. You can access it here. Just to prepare you, tomorrow is National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night. Neighbors beware.

Presidential Candidates -- So Many Choises

There are so many candidates out there, it's hard to know where they stand and who you like. Here is a quick survey to help you see which candidate(s) closely line up with you on the issues (thanks to my brother-in-law, Josh, for leading me to this). I was most closely aligned with Kucinich, and then Gravel. Who do you match up with?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Summer


One of my dear friends said this May, "It's all about summer survival." I think, dear Bryan, you are correct. I finally pleaded with another friend to have her daughter Renee come over and cure Hayes's summer doldrums. She was ecstatic to consent. I can only say that the day was a welcome relief for both Hayes and me.

I am starting to wonder why I didn't sign him up for more camps, why we didn't schedule more play dates, and why in the world I didn't think about getting a regular sitter once a week. Of course, doing it now would be utterly foolish. We have scarcely a week before we road-trip out to Maryland for one last hurrah before school starts. This, however, does not seem to quell the urge to set up a bunch of activities for the next month. It'll all be over soon and I'll be happy to be back into the routine of school and yet, I am sure, grousing about the early mornings, the "long" commute (really, it's just 20 minutes to the school), and the school politics that drive me crazy. Please God, help me not to say yes to every request simply because I am ready for a change of pace.

I swear, August is an endurance test.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Eat, Pray, Love


I just finished reading this enchanting book. Only one third of it is related at all to eating (my summer reading theme, as you may recall) and then, scantily. Even so, it's well worth the read. Although Elizabeth Gilbert is not an author I know well, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this memoir. Although I am no Buddhist, I related intimately to her spiritual quest. And although my lover is no Brazillian, I knew exactly what she means when she writes that his love knows no bounds. I was surprised that this little book lived up to the hype it is currently receiving. You should read it.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Harry Potter - No Spoilers Here

So I won't comment on the plot, but 25 hours after receiving the book, I have finished it. I was glad that some of my predictions were on and some were way off. After all, if I had been completely right, it would have been boring wouldn't it? I felt satisfied with the ending and hope there will be more. Looking forward to an encyclopedia of characters Rowling has as much as promised to publish. Love to know that Dean Thomas's story!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

Harry Potter Predictions

So here are the things I think I know about the new book to be released in 20 minutes:

1. Harry will be able to communicate with Dumbledore through his many protraits that are prolific in the wizarding community. After all, he is on Chocolate Frog Cards.

2. Dumbledore really is dead. He would not have preserved himself in a hoarcrux; it's too evil.

3. Snape was asked to kill Dumbledore, by Dumbledore himself, and that is what his protest in the forest was truely about. Notice that he didn't kill anyone in the escape from Hogwarts.

4. Harry will survive to the end of book 7.

5. Perhaps of no real plot value, but an interestin detail: the portrait in the prime minister's office is an Umbridge, I think.

6. Hogwarts will reopen by the end of the novel and Hermione will be asked to teach there.

7. Harry and Ginny will finally get back together and he will be part of the Weasly family, officially.

8. Has Percy been under the spell of the new Minister of Magic?

9. There is something unresolved, and I think important, with Fawkes the Pheonix. Remember that Harry and Voldermort both have a feather from the tail of this phoenix in the core of their wands. And remember that Neville got one of the last known Olivander wands - could it also contain one of these feathers? Will Fawkes come to Harry's rescue again?

That's all I've got. Can't wait to read all about it!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Disney Paper Art



For all you Disney Fans out there, I ran across this really fun site. You can make a model of several of the Disney icons from paper! This Space Mountain model rates a medium on the difficulty scale. You can bet I'll be trying some of these.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

I finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's book. I love her voice. It's like a cross between my Literature Professor, Pat Magness and my good friend, Caitlin Jorgenson (also a professor). I loved this book. It was really inspiring for me. It makes me want to live on a farmette and can all summer long. But short of that it makes me proud that I grow some produce and shop regularly at the farmer's market. Reading this book also prompted me to be more informed about the origins of my food. I am not as zealous as Kinsolver is about saving the gas it takes to cart in my fruits & veggies from all over the globe, although I am happy to do more than just recycle to save the planet. The thing that most hit me is that my money should be going into the economy where I live. I want to support my local farmers and their way of life and help send their kids to school. I want to be more intentional about how I spend my money and how much of it gets to the producers. These things seem to matter. At least I think they should. And if none of that is really impressive to you, Kingsolver's daughter provides these fabulous meal plans and recipies throughout that are mouthwatering in and of themselves. It's worth a look.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday, July 09, 2007

The First Real Tomato

We got our first real tomato from our backyard today. Hayes has been dying to pick it for the last 3 days. This morning he picked it and ate it for breakfast. By all reports it was delicious! He also had a strawberry from the plant he purchased with his own money this spring. He told his dad it was just like a real strawberry except with sugar on it! I don't know which one of us is having more fun growing all these new and interesting plants.

The community garden is on a roll too. I went over yesterday to tend it with a friend and we pulled enough green beans to feed 3 families, 2 very large zucchini, the rest of the spring onions, a few very large green tomatoes, and enough beets to feed my family. I cannot speak highly enough about those beets! I love fresh food. Hayes said, "This is the best dinner ever! Fresh veggies from the garden!" I couldn't agree more.

Our own cucumbers have exploded and I may not be singing the same tune in a month, but right now, the prospect of all this home-grown food sends me to the moon and back. The bounty of summer!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Last Chinese Chef Author Interview

I listen diligently to "The Splendid Table," an NPR show that comes on every Saturday. It just so happens that they recently interviewed Nicole Mones, the author of our latest book club selection, The Last Chinese Chef. The book was a lot of fun to read and actually fairly informative about Chinese cuisine. So is this program. You can listen to the full show here. If you only want to hear the interview, slide the play bar to 22:30. You'll need Real Player to hear it.

Women In Art

I ran across this video surfing other blogs. Thought it was pretty cool.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Harrison's Index (with appologies to Harpers)

These numbers are the bulk of the last 3 days:

4 trips to Walmart for plants, soil and mulch
24 bags of mulch
13 bags of soil
3 azaleas
3 red twig dogwood shrubs
1 trumpet vine
1 arborvitae
5 foxglove
3 coreopsis
1.25 inches of rain
2 new whiskey barrels for carrots and beets this fall!
34 wheelbarrows full of removed clay and grass
1 very large wooden beam dug up from a new bed
2 trips to Costco for new patio furniture
1 broken hoe
1 new pickaxe
2 spent pairs of garden gloves
3 very happy people




Thursday, June 14, 2007

On Obesity


I mentioned in an earlier post that I am reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. She mentions that after WWII, the industry of farming really took off and commodity farmers began producing twice as many calories as we need. They do this because it is the only way they can survive as farmers. Then, naturally, the food industry began finding ways to market all these calories to the general public. This passage resonated with me today:

"Obesity is generally viewed as a failure of personal resolve, with no acknowledgment of the genuine conspiracy in this historical scheme. People actually did sit in strategy meetings discussing ways to get all those surplus calories into people who neither needed nor wished to consume them. Children have been targeted especially; food companies spend over $10 billion a year selling food brands to kids, and it isn't broccoli they're pushing. Overweight children are a demographic in many ways similar to minors addicted to cigarettes, with one notable exception: their parents are usually their suppliers. We all subsidize the cheap calories with our tax dollars, the strategists make fortunes, and the overweight consumers get blamed for the violation. The perfect crime."

I swear I am going to be a vegetarian again after this summer.

Surprise

Not that I really want this to get out, so don't tell anyone you heard this from me, but yesterday I was home with Hayes because it's summer and I was lax in planning anything for him to do this week, and I really enjoyed myself and my child.

I generally dread these sorts of unplanned days. In my heart I believe it's good for him not to be scheduled to death, not to have so many activities do go to that he has no time to be a kid. But I also feel annoyed when I am his only playmate and we hit about 2 o'clock. He's bored and needs entertaining and I feel for him but don't necessarily enjoy playing army men with him, or the 100th game of laser battle, and let's face it, I'll have to make dinner soon.

But yesterday, just as I am feeling this familiar sinking feeling, I got a second wind. We decided to make strawberry ice cream together and it was, well, it was fun. Hayes measured out everything and even suggested adding chocolate chips (which I am convinced he would add to ANYTHING given the chance). It was like a scene out of a Martha Stewart magazine. And then, as the ice cream was freezing, Hayes had this brilliant idea to invent a game called Stick Bomb, and it was fun. We must have played it for 2 hours. You can see pictures of it on his blog. And when I look back on yesterday, I realize I actually enjoyed myself and my son at the same time, all day. This may not seem like a minor miracle to anyone else, but for me, it is. I mean, I have fun with him at times, lots of times, but it is rare that we can spend a whole day together and still enjoy one another at bedtime. Yesterday was one of those days.

I'm not expecting to have more of these days. I mean, I'll take them if I can get them; but it's good to remember that we can have times like yesterday. It's no secret that I don't enjoy the stay-at-home-mom routine. But a surprise is always nice.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Shoes Are Like Crack For Women


So I love Law and Order. I watch it religiously and I wait for the zingers that the detectives predictably spout at least twice an episode. I am watching last week when Det. Ed Green (Jesse L. Martin) turns to Det. Fontana (Dennis Farina) and says, "Man, shoes are like crack for women." And I think to myself, yeah, he's right. I mean, don't necessarily feel a soaring high when I buy new shoes, but I love that feeling of finding the perfect pair: stylish, beautiful, so comfortable I could wear them all day. And it's even better when I get them for a bargain! I think the DSW may be my crack. Just two days ago I found the most fabulous pair of red pumps for a song. And really, who doesn't love having just the right shoes for every outfit? These sandals are my current favs. They have become my summer staples. Perfect for almost every summer occasion. Now if I could just find a pair in brown....

Monday, June 11, 2007

Everyone Loves Food

I am finally reading again. It must be the onset of Summer. It seems like my summer reading list has one common thread: food. I finished The Last Chinese Chef last week. It was a very good read. It was really informative and a fun story to connect all the history. I have just started Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Already I am captivated by her prose. Can't wait to finish it. On the bedside table are stacked: The Omnivore's Dilemma, 75 Exciting Vegetables for Your Garden, and Garlic And Sapphires. Perhaps all the gardening is seaping into the reading list :)

On the other hand, I just finished re-reading Harry Potter and The Order Of The Pheonix and I am ready to start (again) Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince. I have to remember all the details before I can start the very last one! It's good to be back between the covers of a good book.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Growing Up



Hayes is getting so big. He's almost 6; he'll be in first grade next year. Four years ago I never would have believed I'd be feeling this way. He can get himself dressed. He can clean his room. He can tell funny jokes. He can carry on a full conversation. He can work the computer better that some adults. He is learning spanish. He is really his own person. And I just love him. Independence comes with a price, I know. But I am so in love with this kid right now. What am I ever going to do when he goes off to college?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Garden Passion

We've been doing a lot of gardening lately. In fact, today we created a raised bed for some lovely new veggies. It's a passion I can't seem to fully explain. I love the flowers and the fragrances of all the herbs; but the produce has really got me going. It's not that we've never planted a garden before, it's just that it's been a while. A long while. And I forgot how very satisfying and refreshing it is to plant and eat your own food. I love being in harmony with nature. I monitor those little plants every day, sometimes more than once. I can't get enough. I don't know what I'll do when we aren't planting any more. I just know that I need to keep turning the soil, nurturing the life that is planted there. Maybe we'll never move. How could I leave all my plants?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Looking for Feedback

I am reworking my artist statement in anticipation of putting together a portfolio to take to galleries. I know what I see when I look at my artwork, but I wonder what you see. If you have the time, I'd love to know what you see when you look at my work. For a little refresher, you can click on the label to the right that says "art" for posts with my artwork in them. Thanks!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monday, May 07, 2007

Garden Weekend!

So we made some large changes in the backyard this weekend. Not only did we plant our church garden at the Gunns on Sunday, but we spent all of Saturday in the backyard with Hayes and Jezzy. Richard, God bless that man, dug 8 very large and difficult holes to house our new roses! For those of you who are unaware, the soil around here should not be called soil at all. It's clay. It's such hard clay, that Richard had to use the sledge hammer on the shovel in order to dig the holes out. We filled them three-quarters of the way full with water Saturday afternoon and on Sunday morning, they had only drained half the water that was in them. I must say, the hard work is going to pay off nicely; these roses will be beautiful!



We also widened both the beds in the back, planted a couple of lavendar plants (ringed with white marble chips), and added two containers for veggies (due to the unfriendliness of said soil). We should have lots of lovely heirloom tomatoes, as well as basil, peppers and spinach this summer. Hayes even decided he wanted a strawberry plant and spent his allowance on one! (Shades of Eleanor at 3.) We are hoping to get one more whiskey barrel for the far corner of the yard to be filled with annuals. But we were just too tired this weekend to get there!

The Small And Mighty Garden

So we finally planted our wonderful garden as a church. I am so proud of us! We are going to learn so much about each other and how to be a community. Don't get me wrong; I think it'll be really hard work, maybe even drudgery sometimes. But I am excited none-the-less. Here is a copy of the Garden Blessing and some photos of the endeavor. It was a marvelous morning. (Scroll all the way down for all the pics!)



Garden Blessing

Leader:
Our garden began as a small idea and has become something we would never have imagined. This garden will be a place of hard work. We will learn the lessons of toil and patience, disappointment and surprise. We will be rewarded in the end with lessons we never saw coming, both negative and positive.

We will be reminded that we are not in control; no matter how attentively we tend it, we are only one factor in the life of this garden.

We will learn to live in the ambiguity of waiting: waiting for the sun to shine, the rain to fall, the plants to sprout, the fruit to ripen.

We will be reminded in our weeding that getting to the roots is of utmost importance. If we don’t, the weeds will return again and again.

We will find power in being in collaboration with nature and with God.

We will be reminded about our commitment to our community. We know we cannot create a garden and walk away. The garden will have to be taken care of, even when we don’t want to do it, or when we are sick, or on vacation, or very, very, tired.

We will be rewarded with nourishment of all kinds in the tending of this garden. It is my sincere wish that the lessons of the garden will be rich for us all.


**Process around the garden singing “He’s got the whole world in His hands.”

**Children will plant some seeds in the garden.

**Everyone holds hands.

Blessing:

Almighty, everlasting God, sower and nourisher of the heavenly Word, you till the ground of our hearts with spiritual tools. Hear our prayers, please & pour your blessings upon these sprouting seeds, strengthen them in the gentle movement of soft winds, refresh them with the dew of heaven, and let them grow to full maturity for the good of body and soul. Grant us a sense of constant gratitude for your many gifts, so that the hungry may find rich nourishment in the fruits of the earth; so that we may find patience as we wait for the harvest; so that we may find wisdom in the working of this earth.