Saturday, May 29, 2010

Books I'm Reading

I read.  I read all the time.  I read books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and news sites.  I love reading.  With my busy life, I tend to read fluffy fiction books, books that are quick and easy and I can fit into the free time in my life.  I can go months at a time without reading books of "substance"...I feel like I need the down time for my brain and so I take it.

Then my brain begins to atrophy and I start reading "better" books.  Some are terrific and some are not so terrific.  I've been fortunate, recently, to read some seriously terrific books.  A few months ago, I told you about So Sexy, So Soon, a book that tackles the highly-sexualized world our children live in and can help you steer your children clear.  Before that, I shared with you the tremendous impact The Four Agreements had on my life.   If you haven't read those books, and they apply to your circumstances, I urge you to read them.

Now, however, I'm tackling something new and different.   Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford.  I first heard about this book by listening to the author be interviewed for some radio program and was intrigued.  Mr. Crawford is a PhD in political philosophy who worked in a think tank and discovered he was completely unhappy, uninspired, and exhausted by this lifestyle he'd worked so hard for.  He quit and became a motorcycle mechanic.  (Yes, really.)  The book is the result of his life-changing journey.  The first 50 pages were so dry, I wondered if I'd made a mistake tackling this subject in this way, but the rest of it has made up for it.  The main premise is that we've lost the art of doing as society has grown to value "intellectual knowledge" but that the combination of thinking and doing is what feeds our souls.  Think you won't understand or agree with his message?  What do you think we're all doing as we tackle sewing projects or DIY projects or gardens or cooking from scratch?  We're feeding our souls by working with our minds and hands together.  He makes a compelling argument for education that supports just that, rather than just educating our children to work in cubicles.  Mr. Crawford admits that his examples and his supports are drawn from typically masculine endeavors, because that is his area of comfort, but that it doesn't make his arguments any less valid. 

The other book that I'd like to bring to your attention is The Narcissism Epidemic:  Living in the Age of Entitlement by Jean M. Twende, PhD and W. Keith Campbell, PhD.  This book is a must read.  Truly.  If you are alive and breathing, this book has relevance to your life.  It is just that simple.  If you read no other "real" book this year, you need to read this one.

Finally, I'm offering up a  fiction novel written by a girl I went to Junior High with all those years ago (many, many years ago!).  Of course, we grew up and didn't keep in touch. 33 years later, I was walking through our local library (a few months ago) and saw the author photo on the jacket of a novel and thought, "Hey, that looks just like Karen Kingsbury, all grown up."  I nabbed the book off the shelf and saw that the author's name was Karen Kingsbury, so I check it out, read it, and sent the author an email asking if she was the same Karen Kingsbury who'd attended school in So Cal all those years ago and she responded in the affirmative.  She was the girl I'd known so many years ago.  She's gone on to become a well-known writer of Christian fiction.  If you haven't read her,  you will be pleasantly surprised and if you have, you already know why I enjoy her books so much.  Anyway, the book I read last week was A Time To Dance.  If you're looking for an uplifting novel, her books never disappoint.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fertilizer Friday...Rainy Week Edition

In our region of the world, our last freeze date is supposed to be May 15th.  Unfortunately, we got a surprise late freeze last week and people had some serious damage.  Fortunately, my plants did fine...we covered them for the night and they were fine in the morning.  Since then we've had a few days of warm weather followed by gentle rain for the past few days.  The plants have loved it.  I am so excited that my garden is doing so well.  It makes my heart smile to see all these plants I started from seed. 

Tomatoes and peppers from seed.  Why did I say both?  Because I can't tell which is which, so I don't know if the picture I took is of a pepper or a tomato (but I think it is a tomato).

The squash patch...this is where I did the lasagna gardening and just put my not-quite-done compost material on the dirt, mixed it around a bit, and called it good enough.  The pumpkins and zucchini seem to be fine with it.

My broccoli and lettuce are doing well in the actual garden space.  I have two watermelons that survived the drama of the spring, but I'm thinking I lost my last surviving cantaloupe. 

My verbena and cosmos and even my petunias are doing well, too.  Did I mention that Tootsie taught me how to harvest my own petunia seeds.  (White seemed the most prevalent last fall, so I have a lot of white petunias this year!)  I'm just so excited to see them all.

Fertilizer Friday is the time to share our gardens...our triumphs and our failures.  Tootsie's encouragement and all the other bloggers who jump in each week have definitely made me enjoy my garden and gardening so much more.  Head over to Tootsie's and see what is going on around the gardening is always inspiring.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shoot Me! #19 - Costco and #20 - Amongst Lovely Things

It occurred to me that blogging connects people from all over the country, even all over the world.  We find our common ground and share our lives...kind of like a Venn Diagram where we all meet in the middle.  My friend Gens is in the Deep South and my friends Karen and Kyle are in So Cal.  My sister is in Boston.  We're spread out all over the place, you know?  Yet, when I say "Costco" to almost any blogger, you immediately get an image in your mind.  Do you think of the taste test ladies?  Those ladies make my kids love Costco.  Maybe you think of the photo processing or the book section, the meat coolers or the milk, egg, and dairy cooler.  Regardless, I'd bet you could walk through my Costco and find everything you were looking for and, conversely, I'll bet I wouldn't have any difficulty finding my way around your Costco.   Our lives might be different in so many ways, but we share enough that we speak the same "language".  Isn't that kind of cool?

Here is a shot of me at my Costco.  Does it look anything like your Costco?  Yeah, I thought so.  This is my submission for week 19 of Shoot Me...I'm trying to catch up.  Charming took it just today as we raced through Costco so I could hurry up, get home, and take the two younger ones, Valiant and Buttercup, to hang out with my new blogger friend, Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things

We've been fortunate enough to discover that we live a few blocks away from a fellow blogger.  Don't you wish you knew more of the bloggers you read?  Even better?  We love her and her family!  Sarah homeschools her three adorable children who are much younger than mine:  Primrose, Tulip, and Snapdragon.  They're new to our area and I'm so glad she ended up joining my homeschool group.  She's like a breath of fresh air.  She is so fun and has the most infectious laugh...whenever she laughs, you want to join right in.   We had hoped to have a picnic today, but the weather hasn't cooperated, so we headed over to their house for some inside play.   When I confessed that I dragged my camera along so I could grab another photo for Shoot Me, Sarah and Primrose joined in with Buttercup and me, while Valiant snapped the photo for me!  Her house was full of fun and some crazy creatures, don't you think?  (I think the girls' drawings got a life of their own!)  So, head over to Sarah's and say "Hi".

Shoot Me is the brainchild of Carin at Forever In Blue Jeans...a year long project in which you include yourself in at least one photo you snap each week.   I'm still a week behind, but I'm catching up.  Carin Says:
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!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Potty Question

Once a month, the moderator of our homeschooling group hosts a Mom's Book Club or, as I like to call it, we-call-it-a-book-club-so-we-have-an-excuse-to-get-out-of-the-house-to-talk club. Friday night was our most recent one. (If you're interested, the book selection was The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. I'm not sure if anyone but our moderator finished it...those who tried to read it gave up after 3 chapters. They hated it.)

Anyway, instead of talking about the book, we talked about anything and everything, with conversation bouncing around as it is wont to do when a group of women have the opportunity to get together without a task to be accomplished.

My ears keyed in on a conversation that had somehow gone to public restrooms and the fact that the speaker flushed public toilets with her foot. What? I thought. She flushes the toilet with her foot? Well, if you knew me in real life, you'd totally be able to imagine what happened next.

"What? You flush the toilet with your foot?", I blurted out.

"Of course", she replied. "Don't you?"

"Well, no! I have never heard of flushing the toilet with your foot" was my shocked response. (Seriously, I hadn't.)

After that, it was a free for all. Everyone volunteered their public restroom habits for public consumption in a flurry of back and forth conversation combined with commentary on the state of public restrooms. The conclusion? Most of the women in the room flush public toilets with their feet and all of the women think public restrooms are disgusting. The three of us to didn't flush the toilet with our feet all pointed out that we washed our hands thoroughly when we were done, so what was the point of the feet? (Not to mention that we were all now grossed out that people were putting their shoes on the flush handles.)

Well, as one of the hand flushers, I couldn't believe that there was this entire majority sub-culture of women who flush the toilet with their feet. Obviously, it couldn't stop with the Book Club moms...oh, no. I needed to know more.

I got home and I asked Buttercup. You guessed it. Buttercup flushes with her foot. I didn't teach her did she know? The next day, I asked my neighbor. Again, she flushes with her foot. I even asked my dad's wife. It was unanimous, I am the only person in my life who flushes public toilets with my hand. How did this movement happen without me knowing it? Seriously. How widespread is it?

So, now I want to know. No, now I need to know. Tell me. Foot or hand? Please. Am I really the only one?

P.S. Again, if you know me in real life, you can picture this entire scenario. Admit're laughing at me right now.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Getting A Lot Done, Just Not Any Blogging

We've been on a roll the past few days, so I really haven't had time to post. (Yes, I know kitten posts, while cute, don't really count!) I heard a nasty rumor that we're going to be having rain through Saturday, so I'm doubly grateful that I buckled down and got a bunch of yard work done these past two days (with the help of my trusty associates!).

Twinkle lights hung on the deck? Check!

(Yeah, I know the deck cover needs to be painted, but the twinkle lights make me feel happy when I see them and the painting will get done this summer.) Even better? These are twinkle lights from Christmas that are LED, so they are super inexpensive to have on. (Valiant took this night shot for me just now...wasn't that kind of him?)

Lawns got mowed and edged...I've decided Mondays are the day to do it. Weekends can be for other fun stuff and yard work just becomes one more Monday chore.

The last of the seedling in are in the ground or in pots and all the pots are hung or set out, even the ones that needed to be attached to the railing around our firepit.

Our new turtle is doing well and I found the time to clean his/her bowl yesterday. This turtle is the size of a quarter and, by our best research, it is a Florida or Alabama Red Belly, which means it is not native to our area and wouldn't survive our harsh winters. We have five guppies still with us, too.

Oh, what? I didn't mention the turtle? My dad found the turtle in the driveway and he gave it to us because he knew we needed more pets! Wasn't that kind of him? What is the turtle's name? We don't won't tell us and we can't seem to figure out its name. Do you know our turtle's name?

The sprinkler system has been checked for problems and repaired where needed. Valiant even repaired the pond filter to keep our koi happy as the weather warms up.

I even found time to go to the chiropractor to discover that I am not pulling the starter string for the weed whacker or the lawn mower properly and am tweaking my neck and shoulder and that is why I am in pain! I love my chiropractor and am grateful that Superman is so supportive of our relationship.

In between that kind of stuff, Buttercup begged for her favorite Honey Wheat Bread, so I couldn't help but make some for her. If you haven't already tried it, this recipe makes an awesome wheat bread that is moist and became a family favorite the very first time I made it. (Oh, and it uses the bread maker to make the dough, so you can keep working in the yard!) Since I was already spending time in the kitchen, I decided to teach Charming to make bagels. Charming loves bagels and making your own is so gratifying, I knew this would be right up his alley. Right now, our bagels are spending the night in the refrigerator (slow rise is apparently one of the tricks to good bagels), but we'll be boiling and baking them tomorrow morning.

So, now you know what I've been doing instead of blogging. Forgive me?

Monday, May 24, 2010

These are the days...

Dear Mom,

I found this critter heading into your room, so I tackled him and threw him onto the bed.

He was a bit unruly, so I had to use some serious force.

He was resisting my authority.

I finally got him subdued. What do you want me to do with him?

Love, Ninja

Sunday, May 23, 2010

For no other reason...

...than it is just so cute.

I guess blogging can take a lot out of a

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A gift from Buttercup...


We had a power failure a few days ago and my computer is still all messed up. Currently, I can't reach our server which has my pictures on it. I'll be back when I can...

Friday Photo Flashback

I know I am no longer a regular at the Friday Photo Flashback party (because I am a slacker), but all the talk of scrapbooking combined with Charming's return from the dorms had me going through some old pictures (in boxes in the room that is now Charming's) and I thought you'd get a kick out this/these. all know me? Right? This picture is me, as the Grant High School Mascot, ca. 1965-66...I was two or three. Cute, eh?
Well. Have you met my family of origin? This is my mom and my birth father on the day of their wedding. He was a Calculus teacher and she was his student. (It is very Lolita, isn't it? hey, it was the 60s.) I believe this picture was taken at the minister's home. (This was Sep. 1962, I think...)
Oh, and here are my mom's mom, dad, and brother. I never knew my grandfather (he was in his 50s when my mom was born), but he was a movie star in the silent film era who lost his fortune in the Great Depression. Isn't that cool? (Not the losing the fortune part...the silent-movie star part-you can go here to read about him.) My grandmother (who was his fourth wife - isn't that very Hollywood?) was from a wealthy NY family (Social Register wealthy), but she was disowned when she ran away to Hollywood in the 20s...isn't that something out of a book? I don' really know my uncle well, either...after my grandfather passed away, my uncle and my grandmother were apparently on the run/underground for years and years because they were involved with some unsavory stuff (don't is all very real-life-is-stranger-than-fiction). When I finally met them both, my grandmother had suffered numerous strokes and was in a nursing home and not, well, herself.

And this is my birth father's mom and dad after they returned from their honeymoon. Isn't it the sweetest photo? Look at how happy they are with each other? Doesn't looking at it make you want to smile yourself? He was an English teacher and she was his wife and together they raised two children and they stayed happily married forever. I never knew my grandfather and I only met my grandmother when I was 24. She, however, was an amazing correspondent who wrote me letters regularly and never forgot my birthday, my special occasions, or Christmas.

So, there you have family tour. Thanks for following along. Weren't those photos fun? Head over to Alicia's to see what everyone else dug up this week.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Musing - What does it all mean?

So, you might have heard that my oldest child graduated from college yesterday. (I know, I've been keeping that news quiet, but it just seems to have leaked out.) As you can imagine, the occasion has had me doing a lot of thinking. Thinking about the passage of time goes without saying. After all, I'm his mother...I carried him under my heart, brought him into this world, and did my very best to guard over him as he grew into the young man he is today.

The other thing I've been thinking about? College degrees. Current wisdom holds that a college degree is the be all and end all. The speeches given at the graduation ceremony talked a lot about how these young people are now ready to take their place in the world. And yet... They're not any more ready than they were yesterday. Yes, they have more random facts at their fingertips, but they have very little hands-on knowledge of the world. This generation, more than any generation before them, is prepared only for the "knowledge jobs". Very few of these kids now how to "do" anything. Yard work, automobile repair, cooking, cleaning...things that previous generations took for granted, these kids have no knowledge of. Even Congress acknowledges that they aren't actually prepared to live adult lives. The new healthcare bill included a provision for parents to keep their "kids" on their medical insurance until they are 26 years old. Seriously? 26?! If they're kids at 26, at what age will we consider these kids well-prepared to live their own lives?

Esoteric knowledge is a wonderful thing. I love having weird little factoids at my fingertips. I love knowing things. Knowing things makes me feel smart. Being able to do things, however, makes me feel strong and competent. I think our current method of educating our young is so out of balance, weighed so heavily in favor of knowledge and so dismissive of the contributions our hands and bodies can make to our world. I want to see the return of shop class, sewing class, home ec, wood shop, metal shop, and all those other things I remember kids exploring when I was one of those kids. I took metal shop in junior high (seriously!) and it was so cool. Pounding hot metal into a shape was an amazing experience. It gave me a greater understanding of what was involved in fabrication. I took ceramics and architecture in high school. (I wasn't any good at either one.) I have no desire to be a potter or an architect, but I still remember the feel of the wet clay on the potter's wheel and the joy of getting perfectly uniform letters on my drawings.

I left those experiences behind as I pursued my college degree. It was the go-go 80s. Wall Street and Michael Douglas gave an image to the pursuit of money and we all jumped on the bandwagon. The business department at CSUN was so full of kids following that dream, we couldn't get the classes we needed to graduate. It took me almost six years and the loss of someone significant in my life for me to realize a business degree was NOT something I wanted. I floundered around, trying to find myself. I got married, I had children, and I put pursuit of my degree on a shelf in my mind.

Eventually, I reached an inescapable conclusion:

A college degree is valuable.

I have one (one that took me 23 years from start to finish). Superman has one, too. And now our oldest child has one. But it didn't transform our lives. The piece of paper isn't education or knowledge. The paper isn't money in your hand. It isn't a job or a promise of a job. It is a piece of paper. Ideally, the piece of paper signifies that you've spent a lot of time opening your mind to new ideas. New ways of thinking. New ways of viewing the opportunities that will present themselves. It is what we do with that knowledge, those ideas, that new way of thinking that can make a college degree so valuable.

So, as I sat there watching my boy and his peers graduate from college yesterday, I wondered if they'd been sold a myth. Did they think these degrees conferred upon them will give them "happily ever after"? Did they understand that their learning can't ever stop? That their growth will continue their entire lives? That their degree is really only the beginning? I wonder.

I told my son he should view his college degree as a visa to a foreign country. Like a visa, a college degree won't get him anywhere by itself. All it does is make it possible for him to enter certain lands if he works to get himself to their borders. If he doesn't make the effort to get to those borders, the visa won't do anything for him. It will just be an expensive piece of paper.

What do you think? Why did you get a college degree? Why do you want your kids to get college degrees? Or, conversely, why don't you think it is important to have a college degree in the coming new world order?

Sunday, May 16, 2010


"Don't cry because it is over. Smile because it happened." - Dr. Seuss

My baby boy will be graduating from Whitworth University this afternoon. We're so proud of him.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Babysitting - Nagle Style

Babysitting: At our house, we do it a little differently.

Cajun is babysitting Biscuit (who doesn't think she needs a babysitter).

Ninja and Cajun babysitting Biscuit (who really doesn't think she needs TWO babysitters).

Lucy is babysitting Cajun (who doesn't think she needs a babysitter).

Keep in mind I was obviously "babysitting" everyone, or I wouldn't have been able to snap these photos. Babysitting animals count.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Shoot Me - 18 of 52 (Very Late Post)

I'm doing my best to keep up with Shoot Me, so here is the post I owed on Thursday. I was ready with it, but I've been having trouble finding time to sit down to post. As I threatened earlier, I finally handed the camera to one of the kids to get proof that I am, in fact, mowing the lawns.

Buttercup took these pictures for me Monday. As you can see, the weather is gorgeous.

The lawn mower holds many mysteries for me. This was the first year I bagged rather than mulched and figuring out when the catcher was full enough to be dumped without being too full for me to lift was a bit of a challenge.

There was a crispness in the air, so I took a sweatshirt that Mr. R had given me when I realized I had no "icky" clothes. I cut out the collar and cut off the sleeves, then I cut up the middle and made a grungy cardigan for yard work. The outfit was stellar! Baggy overalls, a pink t-shirt, the grungy cardigan, my leather work gloves, and my beloved boots from Big R.

Why are my boots beloved? I bought them for turning the compost and digging in the garden. Then I discovered another added benefit. These magical boots make it become a non-issue when my young son fails to do a thorough job handling the dog messes. Yep...non-issue. I just hose them off and I'm good to go. No swearing, no frustration, no stress.

All from a pair of $10 rubber boots. What a deal!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What Do You Think I Should Do?

Okay, so here's the deal. I need your advice. Seriously. I want to know your thoughts on this, since I can't seem to come to a conclusion on my own.

When I lived in So Cal, I used to scrapbook. Not diligently, not particularly creatively, but I did get simple books done. I used to go to a scrapbooking "class" that met once a week, except it wasn't really a class. It was a evening with friends... gossiping and getting a page or two done in a scrapbook. My friend Kyle and I used that class as a way to stay in touch as I become a stay-at-home-mom and she is a big whig for a huge municipality. I treasured those classes and I like the books that got done in them.

Fast forward almost five years and I have to confess that I haven't done ANY scrapbooking since we left So Cal in 9/2005. Not one page. I have tons of scrapbooking paper, two empty albums, a lot of stickers, and a number of punches. I have the stuff that helps me cut circles, ovals, squares, and rounded corners. The stickers have been used for other craft projects and the punches have been used as well. But scrapbooking? Nada.

Until recently, I held onto my scrapbooking stuff by telling myself it doesn't expire, it doesn't hurt me to just hold on to it. Now, however, I feel like I need to use it or get rid of it. It takes up space (but I definitely have the space for it) and I feel disappointed with myself for not making scrapbooks for my kids. I have tons of pictures that I need to either get into albums or scan into my computer. If feels as if getting rid of the stuff means I'll never do anything with the pictures. I go round and round in my mind and haven't quite resolved what do. So I'm putting it out there for you to weigh in.

What do you think I should do? Do you think I should get rid of the stuff? Keep the stuff? Get rid of some of the stuff? What are your thoughts?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

(Repost from Mother's Day 2009)

Mother's Day is tomorrow [today] and as the day fast approaches, I've been thinking a lot about Mothers and Children and Women in general. Without going into details, I won't be seeing my mother tomorrow, nor will I talk with her. It is a situation unlikely to change and I've finally come to peace with those facts and all the facts that surround them. Having said that, it would be unfair not to acknowledge the things I learned from my mother as I was growing up and as I become a wife and mother myself. In addition to my mother, I've been blessed to have learned from some amazing women. In fact, without the wisdom of the women who've touched my life, I can honestly say I wouldn't have the happy and fulfilling life I have today.

So, in honor of Mother's Day, I thought I'd share with you some of the life lessons I've been fortunate enough to learn. Maybe you'll recognize yourself in the lessons...maybe not.

From my mother:

I learned to clean my room when life was feeling out of control. She was right. When you feel like you can't control or have an impact on anything around you, start with what you can control. That feeling you get from accomplishing that small task will help clear your mind and set you on the path to solving whatever is causing you conflict.

I learned to put on my best face and take that first step, even if I was scared out of my mind. Again, she was right...finally acting on a decision is far better than wringing your hands in indecision.

I learned that if you don't point out your "flaws" to other people, chances are they'll never notice them. Again, she was right. That butt you hate? If you keep your mouth closed about it, one of these days a friend will say she admires it on one of those crazy internet 20-question thingys. (Then you'll wonder if your friend is crazy, but you'll secretly be so flattered that she liked anything about your post-three children body that you'll keep your mouth shut until years later when you blog about it!)

From my dad's wife:

I learned that if you keep your mouth shut and the doors open, peace will come. Again, she was right. Someone has to be the adult and it tends to be the one who can see beyond the moment and keep her temper in check (if needed) and keep perspective.

From my really mean boss:

I learned if your name is going to be on it, make sure it is something you'll be proud to claim. She was right. If you're going to do it, you should make sure that you'll be proud to have everyone know it was done by you. Shortcuts might save you time, but doing a crummy job just demeans you. (Oh, and she was really mean, but she taught me to work my a** off and keep my head down and I survived ten years of layoffs because of the lessons I learned from her.)

From my mother-in-law:

I learned that if I want to keep my sons and their future wives connected to the family, I will need to 1) remember that I will be the grown-up when the boys get married and to cut the girls some slack and 2) that compromise will be the name of the game. Then I'll need to refer back to the lesson my dad's wife taught: Keep my mouth shut and the doors (and my heart) open and peace will reign. Sadly, this is NOT what my mother-in-law chose to do. (But I hope she's having a lovely Mother's Day with Superman's sister and her children--life is too short to hold a grudge...)

From my brother's sweet wife:

I learned you don't have to choose. Regardless of the family drama, you can choose NOT to choose sides and just keep your heart open to all sides. Other's may choose and you can't control that, but family is family and you can just keep that in your heart through it all. You can refuse to speak badly, refuse to engage in the drama and just love everyone. (She's right, but it isn't always easy to do.)

From my sister:

I learned it is never to late to live your dreams. Sometimes life just takes its own sweet time getting you to where you need to be to live them out. Then they're all the sweeter.

From my friends (In Real Life and Bloggy):

In childhood, I learned girls/women can be the harshest critics or the loyalist of supporters. The older we get, the more "true" our relationships can be because we've winnowed down our own personalities and stopped competing. We can celebrate everyone's successes without feeling personally demeaned. We can learn from the experiences of others and we can share knowledge freely, rather than hoarding it.

From one friend and her family, I learned to be brave and leave it all behind to live a little adventure. I watched her be brave (and be scared and be lonely and, ultimately, be happy again) and I thought, I can do this. So, I did. (And I was scared and lonely and, ultimately, happy that I embarked on the adventure--just like I knew I would be.)

From another friend, I learned (and I think I taught) that we're more alike than different and we need to embrace our similarities and respect our differences. We thought we were so different, but we turned out to see each other so clearly and had so much to offer each other. How sad it would have been if we'd let our difference remain all we saw. (She also taught me not to yell all the was a habit and I'm so glad I broke it!)

From my husband and my children:

I've learned my capacity for love is ever increasing. Not only am I surrounded by it, but I give it freely.

So, from my home (and heart) to yours,

Happy Mother's Day...knowing you has made me a better wife and mother (and overall human being) and I appreciate all you've so generously given me.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fertilizer Friday

After many delays (some real and some imagined) I'm ready to re- join in Tootsie's Fertilizer Friday's again this year. Despite horrendous winds that caused a lot of damage the past few weeks and the always-at-the-end-of-the-season late freeze, signs of spring are abounding in my yard. So many things are coming up, it was hard to narrow it down. Don't you love that feeling?

The winds trashed my awesome Tulips and Daffodils, but the late-blooming ones are saving the day and keeping things cheerful. The fruit trees are starting to blossom, the other trees are getting their leaves, and even my baby Magnolia is showing good signs of life.
Trashed tulips, still bravely adding color to the yard:

Late bloomers: shouldn't every garden have some?

Another cluster of late bloomers, because I think they're so pretty!

The Maple tree has some gorgeous little leaves. I'm hoping since we got rid of the evergreen that was wrapped around this tree when we moved in, that this little guy will thrive this year. Someone had to go, so I picked the evergreen.

The Magnolia I planted last year survived the winter (yippee!) and seems to have survived the winds...looks like some flowers might be on the way. (The wind tore the first batch right off the tree.) :
Finally, the Apple tree has a two sections with blossoms already!

Now, if I can just figure out how to keep the dog and birds from getting to the apples before I do!

So, there you have enthusiastic entry for Fertilizer Friday. How could I not be cheerful when I see all this new life around me. It is inspiring, I tell you! So, visit the other gardens and share in the joy that is spring. It will definitely put a smile on your face!
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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Shoot Me: 17 of 52 - My Window to the World

I've giving up on getting caught up these days, so I'm one week behind on Shoot Me! That's okay...for now, I'll just work on staying only one week behind and call that success.

I've been trying to figure out why I haven't thought of any picture taking opportunities and come up with the following excuses:
1) When I'm mowing the lawn and wrestling with the weed-whacker, no one is home to take a picture of me because they're all hiding, afraid that I will corral them into yard, like little cockroaches, they scatter.

2) The kittens are just so much cuter than I am.

3) When I am stressing over weather-damage (ie. wind damage to the roof, freeze damage to my plants, etc.), I'm not thinking: Hey, I should run and get a picture of myself trying to stand upright in the blustery wind. Weird, I know.4) The kids are just so much cuter than I am.

5) When I headed over to my dad's new house with full intentions of getting a Shoot Me picture with my daddy (did I mention he and his wife just moved to our neck of the woods?), I forgot I had the camera with me until we were leaving and by that time, it was freezing and I thought his wife would cry if I kept them outside any longer. (Look, she's from So Cal; she thinks 48 is so-cold-you-could-perish cold. )
6) The kittens and the kids are so much cuter than I am.

7) Vacuuming and dusting just don't seem like worthwhile photo ops.

So, there you have it, my list of excuses for why my picture this week is so lame. I finally decided to show you what I've been doing a lot of. I'm hoping you won't remove me from your feed reader and understand that I just couldn't come up with something exciting. This is my life, I love it, but I'm not sure it makes awesome pictures!

It seems like I've been doing a lot of driving. Today I took the kids into town for their Adolescent Literature Seminar. (They read The Giver by Lois Lowry.) Then we headed home for a little while (long enough to transfer the laundry from washer to the dryer and pick up the dogs) and we headed to my dad and step-mom's new house for dinner 40 minutes away in a different direction. The dogs love going because he's got 10 acres for them to roam around on. 8:45 p.m, we arrived at home.

It occurred to me that this is a view I'm intimately familiar with. Whether I'm cruising along at 55 mph or stopped, it feels like a second skin. This window on the world is frequently the perspective from which my life occurs. It was an interesting thought. How many things have I observed from the windshield of my vehicle?

See the grievous wound on my right thumb? That is from that very first week I had to wrestle the horrible weed whacker. It still isn't completely healed. I'm obviously just so delicate... (wink, wink).

So, there you have it. My contribution for Shoot Me...I've managed to keep going for 17 weeks. I'm pretty impressed with myself.

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!

Monday, May 3, 2010

No More Wind or Guess Who Is Afraid of the Wind?

We are having crazy winds again. This is so weird. (You might remember that the last "weird" windstorm demolished my beloved greenhouse.) Today's winds aren't quite as bad as those. My dad, the purveyor of all weird weather trivia, informs me that today's winds are gusting above 50, but the winds from a few weeks ago were in the 60s. Got that? Okay.
So, now that I've bored you with Eastern Washington wind news, my post. Remember my cleaned out under-desk area from Saturday? All that nice clean space for my feet? Well, it really isn't feeling so spacious right now. In fact, I can't fit my feet under the desk at all!

It seems that Lucy really doesn't like the wind:

The rug is for my feet, which get cold on the ceramic tile. Obviously, Lucy sees it differently. (Can't you just hear her saying, "Please don't make me move...I'm scared!"?)

P.S. She's been stuck to me like glue. Just be glad I didn't take a picture when she followed me into the restroom!