Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Photo of the Day

Dear Homestead,

Fix this:

This bed is in the very middle of the hill and gets FULL sun (Plus+++).  It needs something big.  It had a rescued pear tree but it died.  Give me your opinion.  I turned all the soil yesterday, saving only two day lilies, a clump of purple iris, and a daisy that might not make it.   It has a drip line intact.  

Monday, May 30, 2011

"Mama, mama, look what I found!"

These are words that can be kind-of scary at my house.   Here's the treasure of the day . . . everybody played with it, passing it around like crazy.  They finally ended up releasing it in the rock garden in our back yard.  It's name is Snapdragon.

More Snowballs and a really cool iris --

The yard is alive today with snowballs!  I love this stage, when they are still limey-green and tight.  If I was planning a wedding, I'd use this color all over the place.  Maybe with purple.  But, make no mistake . . . I'm not planning a wedding, nor would I EVER-EVER-EVER in a hundred million years get married again. 

Cool, huh?  It looks deep purple from a distance but is a gorgeous vibrant yellow inside.  

The Help, The Bride Collector and a bunch more . . .

Creepy.  But still a good read.

And, in my movie-going travels this week, a preview for THIS . . . .
Oh my good-golly-gosh.  So excited.  It was a great book.  Read this before August, when the movie opens . . .

I'm increasingly motivated to keep tabs on books I've read or want to read.  Big challenged me, for one reason.  Mama J does it, for another reason.  And looking back, it makes me feel accomplished.  It's kind of like scrapbooking to me  . . . or keeping memories:  there is no good place to start, so I'm just jumping in and I'll try to keep on it from this point forward.  A couple that I know I didn't add:

The Pawn (and all the related chess-piece series) by Steven James
A whole mess of Catherine Coulter books
All of the Scarpetta books.  I'm tired of those . . . .

And pick this up:  I thought this was just a lovely book!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My mother's day basket, snowballs and the neighbor's pink flowers . . .

In the yard today . . . .

Happy Mother's Day to me . . . from me.  Gorgeous, right? 

Both of my snowball bushes are blooming  .  .  . 

This bush is actually planted in our neighbor's yard, right next to our playground area.   That's bad because it attracts bees like crazy.  Also bad because in the fall it has ever-so-tempting red berry balls on it.   They look so consumable, to a little person.  But it's good right now, cause it smells pretty and is a nice pop of pink . . . 

Done, done, done!!

Yeah!!  So glad to be done!  Ready to reclaim our space in the backyard.  They did touch up and clean up today.  Middle and I went out early this morning to find some wooly thyme to plant between the stones.   It looks great . . . still a bit of cleaning left to do, and some repair work with the steps and sprinklers, but all-in-all, done!  Yeah!!

Stucco's On . . Almost done!!

This was actually yesterday.  It was just too dark by the time we got home from Soul Surfer to mess with pictures :)   The end is so near!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Go See This . . . .

The big girls and I had a date night tonight . . . .

Wow.  That's all I can say!  Amazing story . . . 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fireplace Update

The rain has been absolutely nuts lately, so stucco has been a no-go.  The seams in the wall are still clearly visible, so another day of dry-time is in order.  But, the stone is finished, as of today.  A little cleanup is in order.  The hearth will be stained to appear like one continuous piece of stone.  The lids are on the boxes.  Most importantly, the difficult conversation with Contractor Steve happened in several parts.  I marked all of the terribly crooked stones that carried a request to chisel them off and replace them.  It's much better.  All of the super-duper-painful-to-look-at ones have been replaced.  What can I say?  I'm somewhat of a visual idiot savant.   I see a grape wreath at the top.    Another update tomorrow . . .

Purple Iris, Candycane Phlox & An Itty Tiny Vinca

Today . . .

The first of the purple and yellow iris!  These are bursting with buds -- they'll explode in the next day or two.  I counted 32 buds in one area today. 

A vey pitiful candycane creeping phlox.  It was a tag-along from a previous transplant and it's still hanging in there. 

One itty tiny flower on this deep purple vinca.  I love how this flowers appear to twist. 

Yarrow.  Well, some very gorgeous ice plant is also pictured, but the yarrow's the point.  Yarrow is the bain of my gardening existence.  I have no idea why ANYONE would purposely plant this stuff.  It's a terrible, infective, caustic weed.  I'm certain the road to hell is lined with it. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The New Rice Cooker

This is the little guy that caused me a ton of trouble this morning.  I love it.  And hate it.

While it may look like an innocent rice cooker, it's actually a giant pain in the ass.  But, like I said, I love it. My old rice cooker was from my college days, which was, um, er, at least fifteen years ago, depending which degree you count and how you add it all up.  It cooked three cups of rice at a time.  No, not enough for a family of six.  It was missing one leg, so before I used it, I had to take the lid off of the soy sauce to prop it up.  Every time or it would ooge sticky-watery-rice-juice onto the counter.  And the cord was a little loose.  It had started to smoke.  It was definitely time for a new rice cooker.  This one is the mac-daddy version.  It has a delay feature and will do veggies at the same time.  It's a sweet set-up.  Except that I don't know how to work it yet.  And, the true trouble:  it doesn't fit anywhere in my kitchen.

Yep, it's true.  There's not a single cupboard or space that this guy will fit in.  Not on the lazy susan.  Not above the fridge.  Not in one of the pullouts.  I have no room for a mac-daddy rice cooker.  It almost had to be returned.

So the commotion of this morning was about getting it off of the counter.  I despise extraneous things on the kitchen counters.  And getting it into a space.  Some space.  But that meant moving the pantry and lunch packing stuff.  I can deal with that mostly because school is out.  But moving that that led to moving the other pots and pans.  And that led to cleaning a few, Goodwilling a few and putting new shelf-liner in.  And that led to adding shelf liner to the drawer in the fridge, which begat taking the towel out and upstairs.  Once upstairs, I started laundry.  Which meant I had to fold laundry.  Which meant I had to put away towels.  Which called for re-organizing the linen closet.  Which meant standing there pondering how the games got in there.  Which led me back to the Goodwill pile.  Which I moved out to the garage and into the pile of un-sold stuff from the garage sale.   Well, being out there led me to the backyard where I piddled around picking up poop, pulling a few weeds.  I pushed Mimi on the swing and made a routine for Middle.  I picked up the playground and trimmed a few things, piddled with the sprinklers until I finally got thirsty, which led me back into the kitchen and all of the unfinished business with making room for the *(&^%& rice cooker.

Housekeeping makes me feel like I have serious ADD.  Like my entire life story is a Laura Numeroff book called, "If You Give a Mom a Mission."

As of right now, I've torn several rooms apart in my home today in efforts to make it better.  Instead of better, it's actually a whole lot worse.  And the most terrible part is that I'm losing my steam and I'll end of over-tired and ready for bed tonight with not a single room put together.  It looks like a tornado spun through my lower level today and I feel powerless against it.  Powerless and poorly motivated.  What a combination.

Green Things

I love these green things . . .

Rhubarb .  .  . among my favorite things.  Not to eat.  To look at.  I have a bed full of just rhubarb and I love how it looks, before hail punches holes in all of the leaves.  I especially love the look of these leaves when they are uncurling in early spring.  It's faithful.  

Sedum . . . Ah, one of my favorite obsessions.  I have about 7 varieties living in my yard.  This is certainly one of my favorites . . . . I could have waited until one of them blooms, but I actually prefer the look of them now and before they bloom. 

Groundcover.  My deepest obsession.  I love this stuff.  Invasive, hardy, drought tolerant with a pretty leaf that has several different tones.  

One of the few bushes that was lucky enough to stay.  

The original owners had completely different gardening tastes and landscaping needs.  I'm not a fan of pines . . . . they were.  I can handle a nice Mugo pine . . but the rest of their pines were dug up and gone within the first year.

Hostas.  It's just a fun word to say.  They split like crazy, love one are of my yard and are a perfect mix with the asiatic lily and astilbe.   Like rhubarb, I love the way their leaves unfurl in spring . . . 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Our Old Neighbor

I love this old fart.  MOTH and I had been married for less than a year when we bought our first house and moved into an adorable neighborhood, right across the street from this old guy and his wife.  Last Sunday was Armed Forces Day at their church & he squeezed back into his old uniform to show off his stuff.  We're so proud of him!   Yesterday, Big and I went over for a visit . . . . oh, how I love a good visit with genuine good people who walk the walk and talk the talk.   Though we moved out of the 'hood, we've maintained our friendship with them . . . . I truly, madly, deeply miss diggin' in the yard with his wife, sipping tea or lemonade & swappin' stories or preparing for a barbecue! 

Don is his name.  But for the sake of the story, when Big was a wee-one, she called him Dung.  Their house sat directly across from ours and Big's window faced directly into his garage.  Don spent lots of time dinkering around in the garage . . . listening to the radio or woodworking.  At nap-time or in time-out moments, Big would yell out the window to him, "Dung!!  She locked me in here!! Can you come save me??  I'm upstairs!! Hey, Dung?  Can you hear me?  I want to come help you over there!"   It still makes me laugh  . . . I'd sit on the front porch and listen to her bargain her way out of nap with the old fella across the street.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Good Clean Fun

Mimi and I sat at the computer for a while today.  She was helping me post payments, when suddenly, we needed a break.  Photo booth.  We haven't played in there, but it was FUN!!

Funny Face Number ONE

Gimme a SMOOCH!! 

Yell REALLY loud!! 

Pig Face.

Scrunchy face.  See that big black frame in the background.  Jazzy, right?  I love that frame.   None of the people in the pictures are us.  How crazy.  It came home and went up on the wall just like that.  Add that to my to-do list. 

Ooh - discovering special effects.  Comic book.  Me likey.

Ooh, mom, swirl my head, swirl my head.  Ooh, ooh, let's swirl our heads together!! 


I awoke at 6:07 this morning to THE most awesome thunderstorm.   Roaring thunder was rippling across the sky and shaking the windows.  Heavy rain turned to hail and pelted the sides of our house.  We watched the streets flood and the gutters over-run.   Lightning lit up the sky and it kept going and going and going.  The storm woke all of the kids up before 6:30, on this, their first morning of summer -- the day that we were all supposed to sleep in.

Backyard picture of hail on the trampoline & grill. 

5th Grade Recognition

Our Little Graduate
May 23, 2011

There were about ten moms that worked as a committee to pull off the recognition event this year.  It's a tough job because (a) it's made up of all moms who have kids in the ceremony (b) there are lots of little parts (c) there's a lot to coordinate.  

So . . . the gym was decorated, invitations were done, programs were handed out, slideshow complete, playlist done and all the food arranged for a pancake breakfast  . . . and everyone settled in to have a proud moment as a parent. 

I missed the picture of Big being handed her diploma.  It just happened too fast, but here she is with her very favorite homeroom teacher: 

And her parents: 

And by herself: 

And with her best friend.  Yes, they're in dresses and standing on top of things.  You can dress a tom-boy up, but . . . . 

And, finally . . . . doing her karate kid imitation.  You can see our house in the background, well one itty tip of the upper corner.

I have to be a little mushy . . . just a touch.  The playlist was awesome - lots of borderline tear-jerker songs that caused eyes to mist over and the tissue box to get passed.  There were 689 pictures in the slideshow.  They made everyone laugh and cry.   The kids sang "You've got a friend in me" from Toy Story 3 and "We are the World".  Parents cried, and the song wasn't even that good.   I was looking at our little wonder up there, speaking at the podium as she and eight other kids did a presentation of gifts, and I was thinking, "gee, this is the kid that hid under the risers in the kindergarten play and wouldn't come out until all the people were gone."   

Now I'm quoting one of my favorite authors, because I can't put it any better: 

"You're sitting there and you have tears in your eyes and you think about the wonder of this  moment, and then - and this is the amazing thing - you look around the auditorium, at the other parents, and you realize that every one of them feels exactly the same way about their own kid.  I mean, that's so obvious and simple and yet something about it overwhelms me.  I can't believe this tremendous feeling, this wave of love, doesn't belong to us alone, that what we're experiencing isn't unique - and that just made it somehow greater.  I remember watching the other parents in the audience.  You see the wet eyes and the smiles.  You see the wives reach for their husband's hand, no words exchanged.  And I remember just being awed.  Like - I don't know - like I couldn't believe one room, one school auditorium, could be so full of pure love and not just take off from the ground."   - Harlan Coben

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday in the Iris Bed

A very beautiful canary yellow iris opened.  Interesting.  Last year, I had only one clump of yellow . . . and it wasn't in this spot, yet today . . . a yellow iris opened here! 

I wish I could add fragrance to blogger.  My wanna-be hedge is beginning to bloom.  Purples are coming first, but I think next week, the pinks and whites should start opening.

The Masks We Wear

Here's to thinking about a simpler time . . . when the masks we hid behind really were tortillas with holes bitten in them . . . .