Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Photo Flashback - Harry Potter Edition

It's been a while since I've participated, but the party has continued on without me. It is Friday Photo Flashback time and I found the cutest picture when I was cleaning out my files last week. Obviously, I need to do that more frequently.

This was taken about a month and a half before we left So Cal for the Pacific Northwest. Our oldest, Charming, was a Harry Potter fanatic and we always attended the midnight release parties as the next book in the series was published. By the time this one came along, the little ones were just as excited to go to the release parties as he was. (Valiant and I stopped reading the books after we finished Book 5...they just felt too sad for us.)
This was taken at the Barnes & Nobles in West Covina, CA. That is Valiant's nine-year-old little head sticking out of the display. This a Polaroid taken by one of the kids working there. I just love it. Wasn't he just the cutest? So much time has passed already and, yet, it seems like just yesterday.

Head over to Alicia's to see what everyone else dug up and I'll keep cleaning out my files to see what turns up.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shoot Me! 16 of 52

Shoot Me! It's time to stop hiding behind that camera of yours. Your family is missing you in the picture. So it's time to post a picture of YOU (yes, you) every Thursday with your child, your spouse, your friend, your dog, or even by yourself. Just get in the picture, you'll be glad you did! And just jump in now with 1 of 52, you can do it! Just head over to Carin's and join in.

I'm still a week behind, but by the end of Thursday, I'll be caught up. For this one, though, I'm pulling out a picture I love from January.

Remember when I got my hair cut in January? What?! You haven't kept my haircut in the forefront of your mind all this time? I'm shocked! Anyway, I loved this picture the moment I saw it. I love the way I'm looking at my boy and how happy everyone looks in this picture. Poor composition and not the most flattering, but who cares? It was just a moment of play with my kids.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Evolution of an Eat-in Kitchen

When we first moved into this house almost five years ago, we used our dining area/eat-in kitchen as our dining room. This house was built without a dining room. Unfortunately, the step down that you can see clearly in the third picture (with Charming on the dark loveseat) made the dining room cramped and actually unsafe for the person who sat at the end of the table.

Within a year, I moved the dining room table into the room that is supposed to be the living room. It eventually ended up looking like this and has worked really well for us.

But what to do with the "dining room" space? Well, for a long while I played with it as a seating area. The family always gathers here when I'm cooking or baking. When guests come over, they want congregate in the kitchen area. Here is the first iteration. A dark loveseat and a leather chair facing it created a conversation area. The problem? The ottoman collected "stuff" and was never cleared off for any amount of time. We needed a change. (This dark loveseat is now in my room.)
Then we have it with the white Klippan couch from Ikea. A little Ikea table that I got for something like $25 in the as-is section was pushed up against my kitchen cupboard. The birdhouse was moved (I hated the way the feathers collected under the table). The big problem? Again, stuff just collected on that table and the table was never used the way I thought it would be.
I don't have a picture, but I ended up taking the table down and storing it (again) and putting a bent wood rocker in the corner to create a conversation area. No ottoman or coffee table to collect stuff. No rug to collect dog fur. Simple and easy.

Then Valiant wanted the Klippan couch in his room, so I put the futon in its place.
This is how the space stayed for quite some time. It wasn't very pretty, but it worked. Then Superman left for his new job. Charming was away at college and the two kids and I didn't want to eat all our meals at the big table. The bent wood rocker was put away (a good thing, too, as the cane wasn't holding up well). I moved the "craft" table from Buttercup's room and put the futon in its place (it is awesome for sleepovers!). I brought out my as-is Ikea bar stools (from my California house...finally had a use for them because the craft table is counter height!) and we started using this as our table. I loved the the size and the layout, but I hated that the ends were shelving, not open like a table. The space was still only "kind of" working for us. This morning, however, inspiration struck!

I took the craft table apart and used the two shelf ends as one big shelf and added a melamine "shelf" from Home Depot to finish the top. I brought back the table that I'd had in the room with the white sofa, as well as bringing back one of the rugs I've moved to various places in the house. Finally, I brought in some of my dining room chairs. Ta Da! A room that is comfortable, functional, and attractive. All for $11.43 (the price of the shelf on top of the "bookcase"). The dog is just eye-candy.

So, the moral of the story? Keep tweaking until you get it the way you want it. As long as you only have furniture you like, you will eventually get to a room you love.

What about you? Do your rooms evolve? Do you think I'm crazy? Does it work for you?

Monday, April 26, 2010

100 Years...

A few months ago, my Aunt MB sent me two dresses that her mother (my grandmother) wore as a child. Aunt MB's granddaughters, the daughters of my cousins, each had their pictures taken in these dresses and Buttercup was next in line. I was very excited to get the dresses, but confess I know very little about them. My grandmother was born in 1901 and it is my understanding that she wore these dresses as a child/young woman, but I'm not sure how old she was when she wore them. (A little research put me at roughly 1914 - the dresses look very much like the "1914 Afternoon Dress Pattern" I found here. The math makes these dresses close to 100 years old. Can you imagine? The dresses are made out of a fine lawn...tissue thin. The workmanship is exquisite. There is even a chemise to go under them. They are so delicate, I was afraid to even put them on Buttercup. We finally got brave enough last week and I thought I'd show you the results of our dress-up day.

Doesn't she look like an elegant little girl from a bygone era?

Clothing has changed a lot in 100 years. Buttercup felt awkward with the chemise and I had no idea how to deal with some of the buttons and hooks and layers. (We put the first dress on backwards at first.)

I think little girls have changed a lot in 100 years, too. Buttercup's shoulders at just-turned-11 were actually too broad for either of the dresses and the scyes (arm-holes) were too high and too small for Buttercup's arms. Finally, we couldn't close the backs on anything...if my grandmother wore these dresses as a young woman of 14 or 15, she must have been a tiny thing. That, or corsets hadn't yet been abandoned in Kentucky in 1915 (which is also likely). Dresses like the two I had the privilege of "playing" with were definitely NOT designed with active, athletic little girls in mind.

After the pictures were taken, we packed the dresses back up. Now that my youngest brother has a little girl, she's next in line to try on a few pieces of family history. Maybe her mom will know how to wash and iron these beautiful dresses. As for me? I was too afraid to do more than slip them on and off Buttercup.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Things that make me go "huh?"

I recently read (but didn't confirm) that physical trainer Jillian Michaels is reported to have said that she would never ever have a baby because it would ruin her body. Now, don't get me wrong. I am all in favor of someone choosing not to have a baby and I totally get that everyone has different reasons for making such decisions. I respect anyone who knows themselves well enough to make life decisions like these. I also believe that famous people have always made decisions like this for their craft, but they rarely came out and said they were doing so. Ms. Michaels obviously wasn't worried about the reception such a stand would receive. We are a society that is so vain, so shallow, so concerned about appearance that we make our childbearing decisions based on looks and we have no qualms about admitting such.


How did we become a society where physical appearance became the be all and end all of our existence? How did we become a people for whom physical appearance is the measure of success and worthiness? How did caring about our appearance evolve into obsession with every little aspect of our bodies?

What does this mean for our society? What does this mean for our children? Looks are more important than children? What else are they more important than? Last year, I read and reviewed Too Sexy, Too Soon . It was as fascinating and disturbing look at the overwhelming pressure our children feel to be attractive and sexual at younger and younger ages. This book made me aware of how we are sacrificing our children on the alter of physical beauty; Jillian Michaels' comment made me aware that we're going even farther back.

Looks have replaced substance. We are how we look, not what we do. Looks fade. Even the advent of plastic surgery and various other cosmetic interventions, our youth fades. Even Jillian Michaels will eventually sag, wrinkle, and slow down. How will she cope with the inevitable? With nothing more important than looks, I have to wonder: As our looks go, do we cease to exist?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Chaos reigns" or "We're back to normal"

Well, I had terrific intentions to get caught up with Photo Friday Flashback and Shoot Me, but a few "things" tripped up my schedule.

Furry, sweet, adorable things with claws...

Meet "Ninja" - she's roughly six months old and was lost. Charming found her wandering his college campus on Thursday evening and he couldn't get her to stop following him...long story short, we headed over Thursday night and picked her up to save her from a sure fate as coyote food or a future destiny as an owl pellet. She never stops purring and fell asleep in Buttercup's lap in the car. A quick trip to the vet to check for a microchip and we had to decide. No microchip and not fixed, as well as a bad case of ear mites meant very little chance of finding her owners. What decision? For us, we'd already decided. She was ours if we wanted her. We wanted her.
She's all black and has topaz-colored eyes. She's so beautiful and sweet-tempered. Ninja has adopted Buttercup and Buttercup has adopted Ninja. She now has a microchip and will be fixed on Wednesday. She put a smile in our hearts...a sincerely joyous, lit-from-within smile.

But wait, the story gets better. You might remember that we lost One Lucky Baby last summer. We were heartbroken. Then we fostered Oliver and Slinky in the hopes that they'd be a good fit. They weren't and we returned them to the vet to find homes that they'd be happier in. We put getting a kitten or two on the back burner, telling the veterinarian to put us on the list for a kitten in spring, when kittens are abandoned to them in need of extra love. Well, it is spring.
When we walked in Friday morning, they seemed to be expecting us. It turned out that they were because Cajun was ready to go home. Yep, they'd left a message on the machine Thursday night asking us if we still wanted a kitten and we hadn't yet listened to Thursday's messages. Isn't that funny?So, meet "Cajun". She and her litter were dumped in a trash bin (!) at roughly 4 weeks. Only Cajun survived. When she was brought in, she weighed 13 oz. Now she's a brawny 1 lb 13 oz and roughly 7-8 weeks. She's got six toes, greenish-grey eyes, and tiger coloring that normally goes to male cats. The vet told us she's special and they were right. She's amazing. She's Valiant's baby (but that is Buttercup's chest she's sleeping on). She is not wasting any time hiding, this little bit of kitten. Instead, she's decided she's going to slay dragons, she's such a scrappy little thing.
So far, we've been really fortunate...Sam I Am is tolerating the new arrivals and the dogs and the cats aren't fighting. We've only had one "oops" and that was no big deal. As you can see, the babies are playing. What you can't see in this picture. Cajun was charging Ninja, not the other way around! Charge and retreat with the tiny one going after the bigger one. It makes me laugh to watch them together.

So, yes, chaos reigns at the Nagle5 house...and, you know what? We wouldn't have it any other way. We now have 3 cats, 2 dogs, 4 koi, 1 hamster and 3 birds. 13 pets and they make us happy. Go figure.
P.S. I'm learning just how difficult it is to take pictures of black cats...unless they're up against something really light, they just don't show up.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shoot Me: 15 of 52 (Late) Impressionist Art?

(Thank you for all the encouragement you sent my way following yesterday's post. I so appreciated all you said.)

I am sooo late for last week's Shoot Me. Rather than promise myself I'll catch up later and thereby add to my "to do" list, I've decided to just post while I'm thinking about it, so bear with me.
A few weeks ago (the same day I dyed Buttercup's hair red), I decided to take the plunge and start playing with Picnik. If you haven't discovered Picnik, it is free online photo editing software that you can enhance for a really small fee. After a few days of playing for free, I took the plunge and paid my $4 (or whatever it was) and upgraded. Obviously, now I'm having too much fun with it.
This is a picture of me taken from the back deck. It was originally supposed to show you the glory of the plum tree in bloom and highlight just how much a few weeks can make in a garden. Instead, it became a post where I highlight how Picnik can make anyone look unrecognizable. Look at me! I'm the artist's model now!

Shoot Me! It's time to stop hiding behind that camera of yours. Your family is missing you in the picture. So it's time to post a picture of YOU (yes, you) every Thursday with your child, your spouse, your friend, your dog, or even by yourself. Just get in the picture, you'll be glad you did! And just jump in now with 1 of 52, you can do it!

P.S. Between you and me, I like the "real" me more than the artist's rendition, but, boy, does that plum tree shine in the "painting".

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lost in Translation?

I've lost my voice these past few weeks. Truly. I can't seem to string together anything cohesive and find myself overwhelmed most of the time. Superman has been gone more than 3 months now and is finding our Skype conversations less than satisfactory. As I don't want to spend our brief times "together" whining about life at home, I just seem distracted for no reason. I don't tell him the real deal: Broken sprinklers, power failures, bugs/ants, plant disasters, broken bikes, broken vacuums, checks that never arrive in the mail, and children who swing back and forth between angelic and heads-spinning-around.

With the advent of spring, the house/yard needs new and different attention...all of it very labor intense. I'm feeling pulled in more directions than ever and the strain is starting to show. I fall to bed exhausted and wake up at the crack of dawn thinking about the things I didn't get done the day before. It is not just me, either. The kids are struggling with their normal school work these days. Their focus is just shot. The weather is beckoning them, just not for yard work. The girl is arguing with me about school almost every day and the boy is just quietly not getting stuff done.

I know I don't have it tough. I know I'm lucky to have a husband who is working so hard to help our family get out of debt and get ahead. (But right now I don't feel like I have a husband.) I know I'm lucky to have three healthy happy children. (But right now I feel like my children think I'm the enemy.) I know I'm lucky to have this beautiful house to live in. (But right now this house wants too much from me.) I know I'm lucky to have wonderful friends and neighbors. (But right now I feel invisible.) I know I'm just tired. I know I'll eventually have a minute to take a breath, to return a phone call, to sew something pretty...but right now, right this very minute, I am having trouble keeping things in perspective. Right now, I'm having trouble seeing beyond this moment. Right now, I've lost my voice...

Friday, April 16, 2010

My brain is like a Pachinko machine...

I was having a conversation with Superman the other day about the fact that I don't think I'm a naturally OCD person. Honestly, I don't. I think I am actually an ADD type person who has developed OCD tendencies that help me to be productive day in and day out. When I was trying to explain to Superman how my thoughts are, I came up with a Pachinko machine. My children didn't have any idea what a Pachinko machine was, so I found this video for them. I have concluded that my brain is like a Pachinko machine with lots of balls in play at any given time.

Now you know my deep dark secret: a pachinko machine is simply my brain in gaming form.

After this conversation, I read that Lollychops brain is teal and filled with felt peanuts. Who knew? I guess I'm not the only one with an odd brain. What about you? How would you describe your brain?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

You know it's happened to you...

A stain. On an article of clothing that has barely been worn. You try and you try and you can't get the stain out. Four years ago, I would have said, "donate it or toss it". After two years of blog reading, however, I put this little tank top aside and started figuring out what I might do to salvage it.


These are two of the most obvious, but they were sort of like a splatter pattern...don't know what was splattered, though. (I know the stains didn't show well in the photo, but they are quite obvious in real life and, even worse, they are right in the center of the shirt so they are pretty obvious.)

What to do, what to do?
Embroidery over the stained area? Maybe, but I wasn't inspired to do it. Freezer paper stencil? Not sure I'm ready for that, but it got me thinking.


What do you think? I love the way it turned out. A clipart of a flower silhouette and and iron-on transfer paper and I gave the shirt a new life. What do you think? I love it and, importantly, Buttercup thinks it is cool.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

$2.94 - Before and After

I've been wanting some new light fixtures for our entry way/front porch for some time. Honestly, our fixtures are darned ugly. A few years ago, we found four matching fixtures to replace the existing fixtures across the front of the garage for $15/each, but we couldn't find any more at a reasonable price to take care of the porch. Unfortunately, aggressive debt repayment doesn't leave room for fixtures that will cost upwards of $60-70+ each. So, we've lived with them and they've bugged me every time I looked at them. Two years ago, I broached the subject of repainting our existing fixtures to Superman, who nixed the idea as not worth the trouble.

You know the old adage "when the cat's away, the mice will play"? I knew you did.
So, Superman is away and this mouse decided to play. I called my dad and stood on the porch with the phone at my ear while he talked me through disconnecting the fixtures (yes, they're hard-wired). Then, of course, I thought to take a picture of the "before". So, the picture is taken with the fixture laying on the bird cage table.

See? Just your standard construction-grade polished brass light fixture circa 1993. I don't like it - at all!

Oh, the mousetraps? Not for mice. No, those for Sam. They discourage him from thinking the bird cage is a boxed lunch when I set it outside for the birds to enjoy the fresh air. Don't worry...they've never caught a cat (or a mouse, for that matter), but they snap and scare him and the birds can chirp happily along.

One can of spray paint, some tense moments while I slid the glass back into the fixture, and some misplaced mounting hardware later, I have lamps that look a lot better!

The finial and the bottom of the section below the finial didn't take the paint the same way, but I'm kind of liking the burnished metal accent I ended up with there. For $2.94, I just can't complain. I think they look so much better against the rock that is lines our front porch.

What do you think? Do you like them? Hey, Superman! Are you sure that painting these babies wasn't worth it? Want to revisit that position? I'll graciously let you admit I was right and then I won't even need to say, "told you so!"

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fertilizer Friday - Epic Disaster

It is Fertilizer Friday...and I was so excited to share photos from my greenhouse with you today. Unfortunately, yesterday we were hit with wind gusts exceeding 60 mph and, in addition to ripping shingles off the roof, uprooting my old birdhouse tree (dead, but still), and destroyed the greenhouse in about 45 minutes. Through the heroic efforts of my children, we managed to save all the plants, although some of them may not make it for the duration. (Broken stems may spell doom for some of the seedlings...but the vast majority should be fine.)

All that is left of the greenhouse...the plastic tore and was ripped from the floor, the side supports snapped, and the ends cracked.

The view from within the greenhouse...

The shelves that used to be in the greenhouse...

Sam is exploring the sad remains...I'll be cleaning that up today...

I guess I've solved the dilemma of what to put on top of my kitchen cupboards...

Petunias, verbena, cosmos, marigolds, zinnias, and melons (I think)...

Lettuce, broccoli, pumpkins, zucchini, corn, and sunflowers.

Here in Zone 5, we have a last frost date of May 15, so I guess I'll be keeping these babies in the kitchen for a month. I'm just happy we saved so many of them.

Fertilizer Friday is the day when gardeners from all over the world join in and share the blooms of their labors! Head over to Tootsie's place and see what the gardeners have been doing.

As for me, I have some seeds to sow (yes, they'll be a bit behind the curve, but still, they'll bloom!)...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Shoot Me: 14 of 52

What a crazy day we've had here at the Nagle5 News. Wind gusts of a billion miles per hour have torn out fence boards, ripped up trees, and destroyed the greenhouse. (I'll have pictures tomorrow, but we're beat after spending all afternoon salvaging all of our baby plants, as well as our wintered plants.)
Anyway, it is already week 14 of Shoot Me! I hope you don't mind, but I pulled a picture from October for Shoot Me this week. I actually took this picture to see if I could get used to putting myself in front of the camera and never posted it anywhere. It was taken right after I'd worked out and Buttercup had taken a shower, so she was bright and shiny and I was a bit rough around the edges.

Head on over to Carin's and join the Shoot Me!'ll be glad you did.

Shoot Me! It's time to stop hiding behind that camera of yours. Your family is missing you in the picture. So it's time to post a picture of YOU (yes, you) every Thursday with your child, your spouse, your friend, your dog, or even by yourself. Just get in the picture, you'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thick, Chewy Oatmeal and Chip Cookies

The other night, I wanted something sweet. I really, really wanted Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (find the original recipe from February 2009 post here). Unfortunately, I am out of raisins. In fact, I'm running low on a lot of baking stuff and, since I don't have a place to send all my baked goods, I'm not baking nearly as much. But that wasn't helping me during my craving. What could I do? Duh...I improvised. I took my favorite oatmeal raisin cookie and substituted with what I could find which was roughly 3/4 a cup of chocolate chips and half a bag of butterscotch chips. The kids loved them and, since there weren't that many butterscotch chips, they still weren't too sweet. I think you can substitute any kind of chip you have (in place of the raisins) or, you can go absolutely crazy and have chips and raisins! Live on the edge!

Thick, Chewy Oatmeal and Chip Cookies

1 cup of butter - softened (two sticks)
1 1/3 cups of brown sugar - packed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (oh, please, why do recipes always say 1 teaspoon - I always use more!)
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (um, I left these out, as always!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Combine with butter mixture, then add oats, chips, and nuts (if you're using them!).

I used my Pampered Chef scooper and put them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until bottom looks golden and the tops look not quite done. Leave on the cookie sheet for five minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

P.S. Just to make you laugh, I thought I'd let you know that I am on my third day of the 30 Day Shred! Yep, I'm doing it works that well.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Crazy? Maybe...

Since she has been able talk, Buttercup has been enamored of pink hair. Yes, pink...really, really pink. She's seriously wanted pink hair with a passion, similar to the way some girls want pierced ears. I thought her longing for pink hair would fade as she got older, but it didn't. At all. Oh, and she wants green eyes, too.

So, last week, we compromised. I said I just couldn't bring myself to do anything that had me bleaching her hair before I even got to the coloring step, but that I would do a semi-permanent hair dye. She got as close to pink as she possibly could with a color called "Raspberry Creme" and we got to work.
At this point, I'm thinking to myself, 'Superman is going to kill me.' She was giddy with excitement.

10 minutes later it was time to rinse out the dye and blow dry her hair. I was still thinking, 'Superman is going to kill me.'

I had to admit, however, she looks pretty darned cute as a redhead and, as you can see by the grin on her face, she loves it. Then I decided that Superman was going to think, as he always does, that his Princess Buttercup is just perfect. And you know what? When he saw her via Skype, he thought just that.

(Oh, please, did you really think I gave her pink hair? Even I couldn't bring myself to allow that (let alone do it!) least not yet... Picnik is as close as she's going to get for some time.)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Musings...

When my sister and I were trying to get to know each other with a blog that both of us had to contribute to, we started Monday Musings as a way to share some random thoughts on just about anything. Our blog ended December 31, 2009 and, with it, so did Monday Musings. I've decided to start it up again. No rules, no guidelines, just my random thoughts...feel free to jump in...I'd love to hear your opinion.

Monday Musings...
My oldest child, Charming, is an adult with a life that is almost completely separate from mine. This means many of his friends are heading off in other directions. Today he told me that one of his friends is engaged. I loved hearing the news, but it made me wonder if I'd her the news when she got married or had her first child. I don't know her parents at all. We moved here when Charming was almost 15, so the play dates, school functions, and sports that bind us all together when our children are little aren't part of my life up here. My friends back in So Cal have kids the same age as Charming and we used to share the news of our children's lives, making each family part of the other family's journey. Now those children are starting their lives, too, but I don't hear about the little things...the things people think are too trivial to share. They would be wrong. I feel like I'm missing something by not being part of their stories. I don't hear about the boyfriends, the new jobs, or the other things that are important in their lives.

These kids/young adults have been important to my son and have often spent some time with our family. But, as is often the case, the kids come and go in each other's lives. Some passed through our lives barely notice, but some, however, stick with me. Maybe I know more about them, maybe they had a spark that caught my attention. For whatever reason, I think of them. I wonder about them. While I'm not invested in their lives, I truly wish them the best and love to hear news of those lives. It makes me feel weird to think that for some of these kids, I'll just never know more than I already now. Now Charming is getting ready to graduate from college and the stories of the kids he's gone to school with will fade, leaving me with new questions. Will the room-mate the girlfriend actually get married? Will the female friend go on to be a biologist (or whatever kind of biological scientist she's planning on being). What about the kids that are just phoning it in? Will they finally find their passion and go for it? The truth is, I probably won't ever know. The only chapter I'll get to read is the one in which their lives intersected ours. It feels like I don't get finish the reach the happy ending I want for all of them.

They're at the beginning of some wonderful journeys and I'll not get to cheer them on. I think it makes me a little bit sad.

What do you think? Am I weird? Do you ever think about things like this?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Easter is not a time for groping through dusty, musty tomes or tombs to disprove spontaneous generation or even to prove life eternal. It is a day to fan the ashes of dead hope, a day to banish doubts and seek the slopes where the sun is rising, to revel in the faith which transports us out of ourselves and the dead past into the vast and inviting unknown. ~Author unknown

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Final Tail of Mickey and Miss Mouse-elline

Well, if you read the first installment of our "tail" here, you'll recall that when we left you, Sam-I-Am was doing his level best to capture Mickey - the- mouse (not to be confused with his more famous cousin) in my closet. I did not get up to help Sam or Mickey. I'd decided that my interference at 4:00 a.m. wouldn't be welcome. At this point, however, I must confess to being quite relieved to find no mouse parts anywhere when I awoke.

With the drama of the day, I quickly forgot about Mickey and moved on to other things until Charming discovered a mouse in his bathroom (aka the guest bathroom). Ack! How did that rascally Mickey end up down the stairs? And if Mickey was in the guest bathroom, just who was Sam looking for in the refrigerator (yes, again!)? With little fuss, Charming and Buttercup caught Mickey in a dog biscuit box (hey, we're high tech here and we have big dogs, thus, a big dog biscuit box can double as a snazzy mouse mobile home). Buttercup took Mickey down the street to the bushes near the mailbox and helped Mickey move. (Apparently, the bushes down by the mailboxes are warm bushes - who knew?) Sam was foiled, Buttercup was relieved, Charming could use the restroom with privacy, and all was right with the world.

Our "tail" ends there, right? Wrong. Fast forward 24 hours and Sam is making us crazy staring at the refrigerator. He hadn't stopped Seriously. I moved the refrigerator completely out from the wall, vacuumed under it (yes, there was a clump of dog fur behind it--let's be real here, it is the refrigerator!) and there was nothing there! Sam wouldn't move, however, so I knew something was somewhere.10:30 p.m. - Charming has gone to bed in the trailer and our day is winding down. Valiant hears a thump-bump upstairs and jokes to Buttercup, "You'd better run, I'll bet Sam has a mouse." Buttercup runs and screams...the joke was on Valiant...Sam did have a mouse! So, even as I'm praising him for bringing me his "kill" that he's dropped on the floor in the laundry room, I notice the "dead" mouse's ear twitch! I scoop up Sam just in time to watch "Miss Mouse-elline" (Mickey's significant other) race into the guest bathroom (again with the guest bathroom!). Sam gets locked in the family room with me, the dog biscuit box gets recruited again, Buttercup gets to work (after drying her tears) and "Miss Mouse-elline" (get it? Miss Mouse-elline/Miss Maybelline) is captured 20 - 30 minutes later (she didn't give in easily!). Mind you, it is close to 11:30 p.m. by the time the mouse is in the dog biscuit box. Buttercup informs me that she has to take Miss Mouse-elline to be with Mickey down at the warm bush. Um, seriously? She was intractable...the mouse had to go be with the other mouse. Valiant was drafted to head down the street with his sister and the mouse was dumped into the warm bush. (I heard that Miss Mouse-elline didn't want to give up the dog biscuit box, but Buttercup was firm.) I don't think there are any other members of the family lurking about, 'cause Sam doesn't seem to find any of our appliances worthy of interest and is back to guarding the bed all day long.

And that, my friends, is the end of this "tail". What? You thought I'd leave you with an unhappy ending? Oh, please...we don't roll that way at our house!

Oh, and to the people who live by the "warm bush", we hope you like mice. They were quite behaved at our house and we hope you'll be happy with each other.

A few important discussion points:

Did you notice that nowhere was I involved with the actually capture and release of the mice? You noticed that and wondered about it? Oh, please...why else did I have children if not to take care of strange animals in my home?

Did you notice that I did not care where the mice were released, as long as it was far from my house? Yes, I know...I'm a terrible person, but I just didn't have it in me to find "good" places to release the mice and I figured a "warm bush" was just right!

Finally, did you notice that I didn't bother to get up in the middle of the night to find Mickey, even though I heard a rumble issuing from my closet? I looked at it this way: If the cat couldn't find the mouse, what made me think that my finally honed middle of the night senses would be better? Good thinking, right? Yeah, I thought so, too.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Photo Flashback - wow...that long ago?

Okay, since I really hijacked Friday Photo Flashback last week to share Buttercup's birthday, I thought this week, I'd get back to the true meaning of Friday Photo Flashback. Alicia puts it like this: I started "Friday Photo Flashback" because I have so many pictures from my PRE-digital camera days. I thought it would be fun to scan them and share them here with you. I'm having so much fun doing this, that I would love for you to join me, too! So dig out the photo albums and put your scanner to good use!

As this picture comes from my 1979 high school yearbook, I know it was pre-digital. Actually, since it was taken at a football game at our high school's stadium, I can tell you it was taken in Fall '78. I think it is definitely in keeping with Alicia's goals.
This picture takes up almost a full page in the yearbook because my friend was on 'yearbook' got to help arrange the pictures. If I remember correctly, the placement of this particular picture was the result of a crush someone had on her.

The funniest thing about this picture is not the blank look on everyone's faces, although that is hysterical. No, the funniest thing about this picture is this: When our yearbooks came out, I asked by friend who she was sitting next to in that picture and I was serious. I have always been in so few photos that I didn't recognize my 15-year old self in that picture! Isn't that funny?

Fertilizer Friday - Springing up!

Fertilizer Friday...According to Tootsie, "Fertilizer Friday is the day when gardeners from all over the world join in and share the blooms of their labors!" Let me tell you, some of these gardens are amazing!

It is springing up all over the place in my neck of the woods (don't let the April 1 snow fool you!). I'm still working hard on my greenhouse babies, but I couldn't resist showing you these pretty harbingers of Spring.
After five winters in a part of the country that actually has four seasons, I'm learning to love the tiny crocus. It is the first flower of Spring and as soon as I see them poking up, my heart gets just a little lighter. Like other bulbs, these multiply each year, so the few little bulbs I planted when we first moved here are creating a colorful show these days. We have lots of yellow, a little of that purple, and even a few white.

So, while my tulips and daffodils have only sent up green leaves, these pretty winter babies are already brightening my days with signs of things to come. How happy is that?