random bits

my time, in bits

this week  so far
Gathering eggs from the chickens, especially now that the "teenagers" are starting to lay these wee little egg efforts that require you to redefine the three-egg-omelet.


in the belly of a horse
Taking Anya to the museum, just her and me, before Summer means two kids to shuttle around and Fall means two kids in school.


8lbs of strawberries  cut  some mashed  sugar sprinkled.
Slicing Strawberries and sprinkling them with a dusting of raw sugar to celebrate Anya's fifth birthday.  Photos from the best party ever will shortly make it to this screen (I hope).


visiting the Mister on a job site for a quick picnic lunch
Visiting Mark at a job site to bring him an unexpected picnic lunch with his daughter and wife.  Check out the beautiful floor Anya is sitting on.  My Mister put that in.


asleep on the job
Juggling work with a child sleeping soundly on my lap.  The nice thing about being pinned to your chair is that you can finally clear your desk of all that pesky paperwork.

The common theme?  Camera phone.  I don't usually have the time to upload anything more than that.  Sigh.

Other common theme? Anya.  We've been spending buckets of time together lately.  I'm looking forward to summer when I'll get to start filling up my Lily bucket, too!

Life doesn't allow time for blogging

Now that we're back from vacation I've had zero time to upload photos or write more about the trip. Lame.  But it was great and we came home tired (rather than rested) and some of us with illness.  In fact, Lily threw up the whole flight home.  It was awesome, except for that it wasn't.  I'm just getting over a pretty wicked head cold and getting back into the rhythm of working and gardening and taking care of what needs caring.  In fact, right now I've been requested in the kitchen for a child that has already had breakfast but is still hungry and will surely perish in mere moments.  So, on that note I leave you with the following conversation, between Lily & the Mister, from dinner last night:

Lily: Hey, stop that.

The Mister: Who are you talking to?

Lily: My peas.

The Mister: Why are you talking to your peas?

Lily: They keep rolling into the sauce and glaring at me

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned. It's been three weeks since my last (real) post.

So much going on here.  For one, this is what recently happened to my chickens:

What happens when they molt

Molting is awesome.  There are feathers ALL over the yard.  It looks like a crazy person went into the coop, grabbed the chickens by their feet and just went to town with the swinging action.  For a while, Isabella had this awesome bare patch running straight down her back.  Henrietta and Sparkle Heart were both way more lady like with their molting, a feather here and there coming lose as the new one grew in.  But damn if Isabella didn't just go full out. At least they finished the majority of the process before the rains came.  Silly chickens.

In other news I got a new camera.  I had saved up most of the money needed for the thing and then said, SCREW IT and bought the camera anyway.  The next day (I kid you not) a relative sent me a check that more than covered the cost.   So then I decided I would finally buy myself a Wii and another relative said she'd pay for it if I let her play with it some time.  HOT DAMN! Then I went to the company holiday party at the theatre where Mark and I work and won a weekend at a fancy hotel on the bay.  WHAT THE?  HELL YES!

And then I came thisclose to getting smeared all over an intersection when a car ran a red light and the screech of tires and the smoke and the terrified expression on her face (which probably matched my own) put me back into my place and I stopped feeling like the Universe was my new best friend and would do anything I wanted. 

So I'm calming down.

But hey, I'm taking photos again!  And that's fun.  Not that I have any computer time to actually, you know, upload them.  Or share them with you here. Whatever, they exist and I'll get to them when I can.

Which leads me to my next thing: I'm out of time.  Must dash.  Love to you all and hope you're having a fantastic holiday season.

Greywater DIY

For a while now, Mark and I have wanted to find a way to reclaim some of the water that runs off to the nowhere lands after it passes through our home.  In fact, we made a stab at it over a year ago, but failed due to a missing element (hose) which we simply hadn't considered using as an instant outlet. 

A fellow Mama at Lily's school is a greywater and reclamation expert and recently showed up in the local paper when the city decided to stop being asshats about the greywater rules.  Before, it could cost you more in permitting than it would cost for you to install a professional system.  People either didn't do it, or did it illegally.  Now that we're in a "level 2" water crisis, someone had the bright idea of getting the city to allow simple systems without permits, such as redirecting your laundry water to your fruit trees.

Now with more vocal flavor!

I can't sleep.  Again.  'Cause my brain won't shut up.

So I'm hanging out in the office in the sky, which we're thinking of calling the Crows Nest to satisfy Mark's ever increasing need to connect to sailboats, and I'm testing out vocal recordings of my posts.  I've added audio files to a couple of these things and I'd like you all to frolic through and take a listen, tell me what you think.  Do I sound as crazy as I feel these days?  Do I put you to sleep?  Are you experiencing technical difficulties?  Lemme know.  I'm terribly curious to see how this multi-media concept of blogging goes over with the wannabe hippie crowd.

If you want to just jump straight to it, you can listen to this post.

Listen to all others by clicking here.

it's all about the fraking beach

Forgive me, Internet, for I have sinned. It's been one week since my last post.

Here's what's been going on since I went all radio silence on you:

The eye? She kept twitching.  It's been over a week and while it's not constant, it starts up every couple days or hours and reminds me to take a nap.  Such a helpful eye. 

Last Friday our playgroup was meeting at the beach.  I, shockingly, am not a big fan of the beach.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the beach when I can walk up to it, enjoy myself and go home.  But when I have to deal with traffic, parking, and the 1000 pounds of stuff to haul that my children seem to require?  Not so very fun.  But I sucked it up and told my kids we were going to the beach. "No, thank you" was Lily's reply.
"What? Why?" I demanded.  After all, I spent a lot of energy working up to it.

To Do:

Blog about camping trip
Blog about Lily's stage debut
Blog about Lily's Graduation
Blog about Lily's class placement for next year
Blog about Mom Night Out
Blog about amazing party (with grown ups!) on Saturday
Blog about Lily's Birthday Party

Probably missing about 100 other things, but that list is daunting enough.

By the way, if you're were following me on Twitter, you'd already know about most of this stuff. 

Just saying.


quick bit of housekeeping

If you read my posts via a feed reader (you know who you are), you may have noticed that things are ending rather abruptly lately.  Some of you have figured out to click on over and read the full post, while others have just assumed I've finally lost my mind (a reasonable assumption, might I add).  But if you haven't figured that out, just click on the title of the post to bring you to the full ramblings.

This shift is due to some copyright issues I'd rather not go into, but be assured I'm not just messing with you for the heck of it. 

Hope you'll stick around!

Why I love me some interwebs

Mark stumbled across the following ad in the free section of Criagslist tonight and both of us dissolved into giggles.  You'll have to see it in large to really be able to appreciate it, but the text reads:

I have a wooden rocking horse in excellent shape. My daughter is too big to use it anymore. It fits children up to 60 lbs. She is also starting to ask questions about the erotic sex swing in Mommy and Daddy's bedroom. Must take both. First come first serve. Call Jake with questions xxx-xxx-xxxx.

"Must take both."

I'm SO there.

See the accompanied image here (click on LARGE to really get the full visual): Rocking Horse and Erotic Swing

Can't count on nobody these days

I can't believe not a single one of you commented on the apparent fact that I planted weeds.  I mean, I didn't actually plant them, but you didn't KNOW that.  Besides, even if you suspected as much, most of you are just obnoxious enough to rib me about it anyway.  Also, why didn't anyone remind me that when cauliflower grows it needs LOTS of room?  That lower raised bed won't work out at all!

I'm starting to think y'all don't have my best interest at heart.

But then, I could be to blame.  I made a claim about photos coming and then let them languish in my "01 2009" folder.  Bad me.  Maybe you're all THAT interested in photos of my shrubbery.  Wait, that sounded wrong.


Here are some pictures.  Now mock me like I've grown to expect.

Man, at work

Mark and Maya, working on the second raised bed.  We built it up some to accommodate the carrots I wanted to plant.


Bamboo pea poles*

Cool bamboo poles Mark set up so the sugar snap peas have something to climb.



Will have to move some things around in here, due to brain not registering that the cauliflower will get BIG.


Still have plenty to plant.  Mark says he'll put in another raised bed soon.  Fingers crossed!


More photos in my freshly started Garden 2009 set at Flickr.

Ok, so I lied about that last one

Wow, that whole last week just got away from me there, didn't it?  But alas, I still exist.  I just started a new job... wait, two jobs.  Yeah.  Two.  Maybe three if you want to get picky.  Maybe I should explain:

We're broke.  Like stupid broke.  But then, if you've been following things here, you already know that.  So it's up to me, the previously unemployed part of our magic duo, to find ways to wrastle up some income.  Here's what we've come up with thus far:

1.  We're talking to friends about having them move in, which would be really good for all of us financially.  It won't  be all sunshine and roses as we learn to adjust to a non-private existence, but this is what my mom did when we were teens and she needed help to keep our home.  Through it, we formed life long friendships and learned a lot.  I think it's one of the reasons I'm so good at sharing.  Wait, I kinda suck at sharing.  Huh.  All I can say is that if they move in, all the stuff-purging (as opposed to body purging, which I hear is icky) I'm doing will have to increase triple fold so we can make room for them.

2.  I'm starting to do some freelance grant writing for arts organizations.  Everyone needs money and if there are foundations out there just giving it away, I'm gonna help some artists get it.  I'm working on two grants for the theatre company I used to manage and just got a lead on another company looking for help.  This is work I can do from home.  See, just check out the view from my office door:

What I see from my office door

My commute is great, the coffee is fresh and the company amazing, abet demanding.  And it's paid writing, which makes me happy.

3.  Last week I started working for the kid friendly coffee shop I've mentioned before.  So far it's one day a week doing barista work and an additional 10 hours a week working on Marketing from home/out and about.  

4. Hooking.  You know you want to get you some of this!  HOT DAMN!

Lily started after care at her school, which some days she loves and some days she does not.  She usually does great until it gets dark and her Daddy hasn't showed up yet.  Then she's not so thrilled.  She's only going three days a week and then comes with me and Anya to the coffee shop, but I'm working hard to make sure she still feels connected.

Anya is doing well with all the change, except for this odd obsession with death.  Yesterday she told me she'll be the first in our family (actually, she says "flamly") to die, because she's such a good person and bad people only kill good people.  I'm going with the theory that in this case, pulling the death card is just about change... not literally death.  That, and I'm lying to her, telling her that she doesn't need to worry about me or Daddy or Lily or her dying.  She's also pretty upset that her Grandma, who she loves and adores, took a full time job and doesn't see her on Wednesdays anymore.  It was a great thing for my mom and I would have taken the job if I were her, but Anya doesn't understands and just wants to know when she can see her Grandma again.  Good times.

So yeah, the week got away from me some.  I've been a bad blogger.  Ah well, you'll all forgive me. 


Crafty on the spot!

Lily's Kindergarten class is spending the week learning all about the holidays celebrated this time of year.  Us parents found a letter in our parent pockets on Monday spelling out the game plan for what traditions would be discussed when.  "What about Solstice?"
"Do you celebrate it?" Ms. M asked.
"Yep!" I replied.
"Excellent.  Want to come talk to the kids about it?"

There I go, shooting off my big mouth.

So today I spent the first two hours of Lily's class reading stories and crafting with a bunch of five-year-olds.  Best fun ever, abet terribly exhausting.  Here's what we did:

Read "The Rebirth of the Sun" from Circle Round, my go to book for all things celebratory.

Read "The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice" which goes through how the holiday was celebrated throughout the years in different parts of the world.

Made Spirals out of paper plates (also from Circle Round) which we then hung up in the window of the classroom:


Made a little Solstice Party for the birds with pine cones (gathered by me and Anya from our yard), peanut butter and song bird seed.  This idea was mentioned in "The Shortest Day", but the idea came from Sarah, who makes awesome bird feeders for the birds every year.  Here's one of ours:

for the song birds

At the end of the two hours, I sat next to Ms. M and watched the kids have a bit of free play.  "Your job is exhausting" I informed her.
"At first.  But that's only because you had to work through each problem and issue all at once.  You do this for a while and you only have to figure something out about once a day.  Much easier for me than for you."

I'm thinking she was just being kind.

What kind of crafts are making you tired this time of year?

No way I can catch up (ish)

I keep trying to write these epic posts where I catch up on all I haven't shared lately.  So much going on this time of year and every time I try to recap I start to hyperventilate.  So I'll stop trying and just allow the past to be the past(ish).

Yesterday was a wicked busy day.  Usually we spend Sunday's doing laundry while eating random items from the fridge and monkeying around like idiots.  We watch TV.  We roll around on the floor.  We do nothing of intrinsic value.  Contrastly, here's what we did yesterday:

I pruned three trees.  Some of them fought back.  I won, of course, but have battle scratches to prove they put up a good fight.  Also?  Ow.

I did the requisite laundry.

We painted approximately 1/6 of the living room.  This should also get an "OW" attached.  So much running up and down ladders and stairs is ridiculous.  See, we have this really funky house.  Have you seen our living room?  It's stupid big.  The North wall is about 30 feet tall and then it slopes dramatically downward towards the dining room, where it's normal people height(ish). Here, this will give you a good idea of what I'm babbling on about:

Our funky home

Off to the left is North(ish), so it goes from Living Room to Dining Room as you move right across the picture.  Also in there is a kitchen and bathroom as well as a small, high-in-the-sky office.  I tell you all of this so you understand that 1/6 of my living room is really quite an impressively large bit of wall space to paint.  Those of you with normal houses not made for 26 foot tall giants (who like to stoop as they travel South) would otherwise think I'm a whiny bitch (which I am, but not this time).  And I have photos of the paint job that show off the brilliance that it resulted in, but they are way over there in the part of the house that it currently leaking all over, since it's been raining all day.  And me?  I don't really like firing up my computer in a rain storm.  So you're getting this update as I crouch in a corner typing away on a computer used mostly for watching TV (we ditched cable... which was a story in and of itself).  Anyway, this photo kind of give you an idea of the area in question:

Mark and the illusive Nate

We painted the wall with the fireplace in it, the inset above it and the stair facing.  OK, now that I laid it out for you all, it doesn't look as impressively big as it did just moments before.  Whatever, just come over and I'll show you.

And our wee little precious bits of DNA just kept begging for food and entertainment and affection ALL DAY LONG.  Then the dog kept getting all happy and wagging her tail at the paint.  Bitch. 

So, yeah.  Today was spent in pain.  Mark would call it a good pain but he would be wrong. 

What did you do with your Sunday?  I'm hoping at least one of you spent it eating random items from the fridge and monkeying around like idiots while watching TV and rolling around on the floor. I'm wanting just one of you to say, "Elaine, we did nothing of intrinsic value."  Can you do that for me? 

If so, I'll get off my tired ass and post photos of the completed project tomorrow.  Pinky swear.

Flickr photo fun

I'm still on track for completing this years NaBloPoMo, but tonight am too tired to do anything thoughtful (I say that as though posting my laundry for the week is actually, you know, deep or something).

So instead, I offer you a Flickr game.

Grab the nearest book.  I happen to be in my office where there is precious little fiction, so we're stuck with "The Experts' Guide to Marking the Arts" from my NAMP training.

Open to any random page in the book.  I'm in section 7.7.

Scan the page for a word you might have used in your photo stream.  I went with "marketing" which returned nine hits (although, to be fair, Flickr decided that "market" would work as well). 

Here's my two favorite shots from that selection (click on the photos for more about them):

This TV will change your life*
This one because it was a fun study in how marketing can color your results


Fish watching
And this one because I like it.

Wanna play?  Put your links in the comments!


Laundry Day!

With my family of four I do anywhere from 5-7 loads of laundry a week and this week I wanted to get an idea of what is in those loads. 

Usually the sorting breaks down like this:
2 loads of colors
1 load of whites
1 load of jeans/pants
1 load of rags/towels
1 load of sheets 

Sometimes the rags or towels can go in with the whites or colors.  Sometimes the sheets get some friends as well.  Sometimes we have so many towels or the rags are nasty enough that they get their own run.

As for specifics, here's what I found this Sunday:

General stuff:
2 aprons (we made cookies this week and it got messy)
5 kitchen towels (which often double as napkins)
2 kitchen washcloths
8 rags
2 napkins (see kitchen towels above for lame excuse re: low number of napkins)
3 bath towels
3 hand towels
1 swim towel (there should be two... hmmm)
1 washcloth
1 queen size sheet set (we alternate each week with our sheets, then the kids... unless someone is sick or gross)
1 body pillow case

Elaine's things:
4 pairs of pants
9 tops (some are items I layer and this week we not only had thermal-under-a-tee weather, but we ALSO had double-tank-top weather)
1 night gown (made by Allyn that I LOVE and wear all the damn time)
7 pair of underwear (I'm always ready to get hit by a car)
5 bras
7 pair of socks
1 pair of jammie socks with a hole in them

Mark's things:
2 pairs of pants (I'm really hoping he's just rehanging cleanish work pants)
8 tops
5 pair underwear (he is clearly NOT ready to be hit by a car)
5 pair of socks (he often goes barefoot or sandled on the weekend)
1 bandanna (he tore apart a boat this week)

Either Girl things:
6 dresses
2 swim suits (swim class, yo)
2 leotards (for dance class)
1 pair of tights (Anya this week)
1 pair of babylegs (Anya this week)
6 pairs of socks plus 3 effing singles

Lily's things:
5 pairs of pants (she's finally moving on from the "all skirt, all the time" lifestyle)
2 skirts
7 tops
8 jammies (some are parts of sets, but their such a mis-mash, it's hard to say what's happening here)
5 underwear

Anya's things:
1 pair of pants
1 pair of shorts
2 skirts
6 tops
10 jammies (some are parts of sets, but their such a mis-mash, it's hard to say what's happening here)
8 underwear

I'm curious as to what you wash in a week as well so if you're game, play along on your own blog and leave a link or just give me an outline in the comments below.

In other news, this could be the most boring post ever published, but eh, what's a girl to do?