Wednesday, April 30, 2008


From my daughter to her grandma and grandpa:

Dear Mema and Papa,

This is a picture that is a pretty sky. And I took it and I think it looks very nice. And I wanted to tell you that this is the perfect picture just for you. The sky is so pretty I can't believe it, that's how pretty it is. And this is the best picture I have ever taken. You could never have taken it if you saw the beautiful outside. Just remember when it's raining, don't take a picture, just take them in the sun. I think it's the perfectness.

Gotta run.


I think it's the perfectness too.


Friday, April 25, 2008

This N' That

Did anyone else participate in TV Turn Off Week? I had heard about it previously, but never participated, because I didn't know when it was (or wasn't paying attention whenever it came up, that sort of thing). But having a kid in school brings that information home, so we participated this year. Surprisingly, it went very well. My kids don't watch a lot of TV, but they do like their PBS kids, so I figured it would be a bit of an argument every day when they couldn't watch. However, it almost never came up. My 4 year old son did ask yesterday morning, but I told him no, and he didn't ask again. They are troopers about it. Because they haven't watched TV since last Friday, I am letting them watch Word Girl today. They are thrilled and sitting quietly to watch it. It's really nice.

This week has taught me two things: one, that the kids aren't that hooked to the "tube", though I had thought they were, and two, that I wanted to watch TV more than they did. I held off until last night, when I watched Scrubs. Normally I don't watch TV during the week except on Wednesdays--after I put the kids to bed, I head to the gym and work out, go home, take a shower, and go to bed. On Wednesday I stay home to watch Mythbusters. Luuuurve that show! But this week I moved 12 yards of mulch, so needless to say, I didn't go to the gym. The couple of days I wasn't passing out from exhaustion at 8 o'clock, I really could have used some quiet time with some MASH reruns or something. I don't know what that says about me, except that I was too tired to find another way to amuse myself and could have used some mindless entertainment. I am hoping that this week will help us all to find a better way to "ration" our time with the TV. We'll have to work it out, I guess.
Did you all hear about the rice rationing??
They are also rationing flour too. I heard about it this morning in our local paper, and then again in some forums I belong to. Scary, no? And interesting.

America, time to wake up, stop building freaking McMansions, and start farming again. You're crapping all over the planet with all the manufactured garbage you buy from everyone. Knock it off, and let's all concentrate on survival and making things better for a while. I think the problem here is that we haven't had to concentrate on survival for a long time. Things are handed to us, food is easy and cheap, so we go and concentrate on the newest plastic crap toy, and what car we want to drive so it impresses the neighbors. If this is the wake up call we need, then so be it. I would love to see us all go back to a world where we can sustain ourselves, and not count solely on other countries. It's gotten beyond ridiculous.

I could rant about that for a long, long time, believe me. I will restrain myself for the time being.

The pics in this post are of the farm and "greenspace" behind my house. So, in the backyard, sorta. It's so pretty in the Spring. And Summer. And Fall. And Winter. Ok, all the time really. There's a bat house in this pic that is going to be hung up this weekend, hopefully to draw some visitors. They fly around here in the Summer, so I'm hoping we'll get more. They are so helpful, those little guys!!

On the same track, one of the projects I did in the past three weeks was to clean up that back wall. One of the most charming things about this area are the stone walls all over the place. Because we back up to a farm, we have one, but there are stone walls here everywhere. Behind houses, farms, even in the woods where they seem to belong to no one anymore, but at one time they did. Our wall was partially absconded by crap left by the previous owners. There are lots of bits of wood, some rotted, some not, from buildings I guess someone took down, bricks from something, possibly when they built the chimney for the house (those are what my son used for his cool village), an old wheelbarrow (that I'm going to use as a planter) and, believe it or not, an entire metal swingset, minus the swings and slide. All the metal bars, rusted and gross, tossed back in that pile. Of course, tossing all that crap back there meant that the wall got a bit knocked down at some point. So I cleared all the leaves laying on it (with my son's help), and found a number of the stones that had fallen and put them back. There are still a lot missing--that portion of the wall is much lower than the rest. There is a large slope behind the wall--most likely they tumbled down and are somewhere at the bottom. I did the best I could. I would like to think that the person who built that wall would appreciate that I helped to put it back together somewhat.

The bricks were piled up nicely (after dismantling my son's cool village--boy did I get a talking to about that!!), and the good wood was stacked. The rotted wood I put under the rest of the wood pile, on top of the swingset parts. I figure that the metal pieces will serve to keep the wood off the ground, so it won't rot, and any moisture that gets through will hit the wood that's mostly rotted first anyway. Some of the good wood I took and framed out the beds in the vegetable garden. I am going to use more to go all the way around the perimeter. I will find uses for all of it-I'm not going to throw it away. You never know when you need a piece of 2x4, right? Plus, what a waste that is. I'm sure I'll find something.

The kids and I also bought a cherry tree this week for our new garden bed. It's a sweet Danube cherry. My daughter named her Carol. She's a self-pollinator, so we only need one. I am very excited about her, but not as excited as my kids!! I think it is because not only is she beautiful (and she is), but she will give us fruit. I am hoping they will be as excited when the raspberries and blueberries and strawberries arrive for us to plant. I think they will be.
I will take some more pictures of all the finished beds, I promise. I will especially take a picture of Carol, who's a beauty. But that's it for me today. I am pretty tired. I hope you all have a great day!!


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Give the Boy

5 minutes and a bunch of bricks that you found behind the woodpile, and look what happens!

He's only 4. I'm so impressed!!


Friday, April 18, 2008

10 Days!!

That's quite an absence. Well, what can I say?? It got nice outside, so I went outside. And didn't really come back in for two weeks. I'm not really in now, I'm just sort of taking a small break today. I'll be back out tomorrow.

This time of year is so cool. Nothing happens for the longest damn time and then all of a sudden--BAM!! Everything starts to happen at once. The crab apple tree gets leaves, the Irises jump up. The Peonies pop. The Lilacs get ready to bloom. Up here is so different from LI, where I lived. There, March was the time things would have started to grow and do their re-appearing act. Here, it's just last week that things did it. I get impatient, I admit. But it's almost sweeter when things DO come back up. I have been in my bliss lately.

I also have been mucho busy, too. This is what I've been up to:

Carving out more bed space in the front garden next to the driveway to plant roses in. (Can you ever have enough roses?? I don't think so)

Carving out more space behind the lampost for more plants (happiness!)

More space here, too!

And here!!

This is a project and a half. we built these boxes (as you may remember) and filled them with dirt. Then it just looked like random boxes on the lawn. Not liking that too much, I drew out a new bed to go around it. It was a bit ambitious--my guess would be 80 feet by 20 feet at the largest part. So, that means lots of grass removal. But then I didn't like that it was so flat, so we built a hill (we meaning me and my little son, who LOVES gardening, it seems. Happiness!) in front of it. This took us all last week. A couple of days ago, I put down the landscape fabric. I don't like that stuff. It tries to fly away all the time. Really annoying. But it's done. Once it's planted, it'll be GORGEOUS!!

Tilled the vegetable garden (the only rectangular patch in the yard), and used wood that the previous owners had thrown in the back of the yard to make a path and a bed. I'm not done with this yet, but I am excited about it.

This is a shot of the border that joins to the raised beds we built. I made it more "roundy" this year, and joined this front bed to the back. It was an undertaking, that's for sure. But I like how round it is. Now I need to fill it with plants!

So, lots of stuff going on here. This time of year is usually pretty busy for me, but this year it's been REALLY busy, because of all the projects I took on. I will try to blog as often as possible, though, I do miss reading up on everyone's everything. I hope you are all enjoying your days. I will post more pictures, I promise!


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Keeping Out of Trouble

Mostly, anyway.

Yesterday started out kinda cloudy, so I had no motivation at all for anything, pretty much. Today almost started the same way, but the sun came out around 10 and it warmed up a bit, so I felt much more enthused about doing stuff. I went outside and ripped up grass, to make way for new gardens to be planted. Every year I do this, and the lawn gets smaller and smaller and smaller. I do realize I have to leave some lawn--where else would the kids play? I only figure I have SO MUCH of it that really, we can spare quite a bit of it to be torn up and replaced with pretty flowers. That's logical, no? So today I spent quite a few hours tearing up the grass and throwing it over the stone wall into the "compost" pile. It's very satisfying work.

I have been stitching some again, too, but I have to say my progress is slow. I did stitch the Chocolate Covered Cherries piece in the last post. It was a freebie by Casey Buonaugurio (that last name is a toughie). It was quick. I did it as a break from the piece I've been working on for so long, Papillion Creations Floralie, which now looks like this:

It's a bit of progress from here, but not as much as I would like, really. It is going so slowly. It's been a little discouraging.

Did I show you these?

Aren't they cute? The Cricket Collection has been making some really cute charts lately, I think. I got these with my birthday certificate from ABC Stitch Therapy. My birthday was last year, but I've been hanging onto the certificate for a long time, looking for something to use it on. I think it must be the fact that they're so "springy" that I like. I think they're so cute!

I haven't yet had to explain my missing tooth, but I've decided to tell people I've lost it kickboxing. I think it'll be an easier sell than the Pridefighting, because I'm not entirely sure what that is. I'm clear on kickboxing, though.
Have a great day!!


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Hole in My Head

Hey everyone,

First I want to say thank you for the comments on my last post. It's good to know I'm not way off base with this. It's something that has really ticked me off, and I am composing a letter to the PTO currently, but I'm having to go back to edit it again and again, because, quite honestly, every time I start, I sound normal, and then I get totally aggravated and sound all crazy. I will get it done, though. I just have to calm down a bit and try to be rational. ....Rational, yeah, good luck to me!

Got my tooth pulled yesterday, and now I have a big hole in the front of my head. I am very self-concious about it, and have found I'm talking through a half-closed mouth all the time so no one will see the gap. The procedure was no big deal, I think it took 5 minutes at most. The pain afterward lasted a couple of hours, but I had popped 3 ibuprofens, and that stopped it. There's no pain at all today, but still a big hole. So I guess I'll be talking through a half-closed mouth for quite a while, until that hole goes away.

I've also been debating telling people I'm a PrideFighter, and I lost the tooth in a match. I think I may tell people that anyway, just to see what happens and who believes it. It would make for an interesting story, no?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Emotional Blackmail

I know, I'm back one day and I'm complaining already. Not cool. But listen to this:
Last Thursday, while I was trying to die peacefully, my daughter brought home this from school.

It's a magnet that was made out of a piece of artwork she did in class. It took her two days to draw the picture (by the way; it's a rainbow with unicorn-pegasus-horses flying around. What would those be considered? Unisuses? Pegicorns?? Hmm... Anyway, they are NOT goats, so don't think that, because that's what I thought and I got a STERN 6 year old lecture on art appreciation because of it) and then someone took the picture away forever pretty much and turned it into a magnet. So I looked at it, and thought, oh, what a nice art project she did, I'll hang it on the refrigerator, but then she produced the REST of the information that goes with the magnet, and it went something like this: "Congratulations on your child's lovely artwork. We made it into a magnet for you. If you want to keep it, send us $6. If you don't want to keep it, just send it back in by Friday. If you want to keep it and then buy more stuff with this picture on it, send us more money, and here's the list of prices for you"


Is this NOT emotional blackmail? You bet it is. What child has ever created anything that they DON'T consider a masterpiece? My kids are insanely prolific artists. We can't keep up. Half the things they make are -uhm- practice pictures for better things. But do they allow me to throw them out? Of course not. I have to sneak them out in the dark of night to the recycle bin and then bury them under last week's newspapers, just so my kids have no chance of seeing them there. So you let this child work on a picture for two days and then take it away and she'll never see it again unless it's in magnet form, and is there any way she's not going to think it's fabulous and want me to keep it? They're going to get my $6, I guess.

What about the kids and families who don't have $6 for this little venture? How crappy are those parents going to feel, turning away something their child has made? Was the idea here to alienate those people?

All in all, this whole thing is not cool. I don't enjoy being forced to purchase something I wouldn't have purchased at all. I would much rather she brought the picture home so I can save it for her or even frame it for her if she liked it enough. Instead, I have an overpriced magnet.

This school district is doing Spring pictures basically the same way. I don't even know why they are doing Spring pictures, as school pictures were "officially" in the fall. But here we are in the Spring, and I get a notice home saying that there are Spring pictures on Friday and every child will get their picture taken, and they will be sent home, and if I want to keep them I can pay then. Well, guess what, folks? I don't want them at all. School pictures were done in the fall, and we all just went as a family to get pictures taken and that means my daughter too. So I don't need it. But there's no way to opt out. The pictures will be taken no matter what. And I'm going to send them right back. Nice try.

So here's my final word on this whole thing, you ready?

Hey American businesses: Is it not enough that you try to sell crap to children all hours of the day on TV (which is why we only watch PBS--no commercials--ha ha suckers)? Now you need to "force" the product into their hands and then ask for payment? I know you know what kind of a position you are putting parents into. We don't like it. We will remember it. You have lost my business, and I will complain to the PTO about this whole affair.

Hey school district and PTO: Shame on you!! By doing this, you are no better than all those stupid commercials on TV, and you are supposed to be above all that. You're an educational institution, not a mini-mall. Yes, I know you need to raise money for things. I fully support that. But forcing children to carry home products that the parents do not want or need is unfair. You are not making this voluntary, you are essentially making it mandatory, and I don't appreciate it. You need new ways to do things. Let's work on it together, shall we?