Saturday, March 31, 2012

Honesty . . .

Okay, so I posted ONE entry on weight loss, dieting, nutrition, whatever broad category it's called and got a zillion comments.  More than ever before.

I have comments, of course.  I am a girl with the gift of words . . .

Maisy . . . go get the damn jeans.
Winter . . . keep going, keep going, keep going.
AZ girl . . . (1) thank you for the email and (2) we really should have a reunion.  I know you think I should throw the BMI chart out the window.  I choose to reference that one because I find it's results more uplifting that the chart that our insurance carrier uses or the grid on the back of pantyhose.
Homestead . . . 5'4" is with my shoes ON.
M&Amp;Co . . . I was watching your blog through all of your loss last year . . . sorry to hear about your injury . . . . this too shall pass.

I had to take a break.

Until today.

So over spring break, I fell off the wagon.  I'm not beat up about that.  It's honest.  It happens to all of us.  Today's Saturday, still spring break, but spring break "week" is officially over, so I'm back on it.  As such, I'm posting two things today.

One . . . My favorite outside workout.  I've adapted it to meet the needs of my neighborhood, where I generally pound the pavement, but here it is.

Our the door.  Walk to the track at the middle school.  That's the warm up.  It's a quarter of a mile.

Run one lap.
Do 100 jumping jacks.
Run one lap.
Do 90 crunches.
Run one lap.
Do 80 squats
Run one lap.
Do 70 leg lifts.
Run one lap.
Do 60 jumping jacks.
Run one lap.
Do 50 crunches.
Run one lap.
Do 40 squats.
Run one lap.
Do 30 leg lifts.
Run one lap.
Do 20 jumping jacks.
Run for 10 minutes.

I did it this morning.  And is SUCKED.  Really bad, it sucked.  I had one little high that lasted a quarter of a millisecond, right after the lap following the 90's.  The rest sucked.  Sweat ran into my eyes, my back hurt, I rolled my ankle and spent the rest of the workout counting and dodging massive piles of goose shit.  Still, I did it.  Counting, is incidentally, what I do to get through workouts.  I count my right leg when running.  I count squats, I count piles of goose shit.  I count how dogs bark and how many dogs I can hear barking.  I count.  I admitted several posts ago that I'm a numbers girl right?  Like Rain Man savant . . . so be it no surprise that I count.

Second.  Not only did I fall off the wagon, but I gained weight.  Ugh, I say.  Parts of me are hurting and it's not a joke . . . still, I'm discouraged about weight gain.  I've gained 5 pounds.  Big deal?  Yea, kind of.  Not because of the number but because I feel like crap.  I.  Seriously.  Feel.  Like. Crap.   I feel bloaty and slow and sluggish and grumpy.  So, I'm starting again.  Today.

Oh, I have a third thing.  This week, despite spring break-ness, I did get out there twice (one trail run and one neighborhood walk) and did one home workout day.  On home workout days, Mimi often hangs with me in the basement.  She does pull-ups like a rock star and she can do all kinds of "stuff."  When she gets tired, she's in charge of maternal hydration.  This week, I was doing Jillian Michaels' 30-day shred.  At first, I hated her tapes.  I'd mute them because I don't find her words encouraging.  Now, I can hear it but the music selection is still terrible and reminds me of cheap porn music.  Insert gasp.

At one point, I was laying there cursing and Mimi says, from her perch on the chair behind me, in a perfectly inflected Jillian voice, "Come on, Mama, you gotta work hard . . . bodies like that don't come for free."

I had to keep laying there and laugh for a while.  Thank God for small humans with the gift of humor.  The lesson:  I think I better start muting them again.  But, it WAS hilarious!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Yesterday . . .

Yesterday, I was exhausted.  Just bone tired, right to the core.  We went to see The Hunger Games in the middle of the afternoon, and I think sitting in a dark theatre with a belly full of popcorn zoned me out for the rest of the day.  When we got home, I (well, all of us, really) was completely worthless.  In the end, I sorted through a couple of dad's boxes.  On a sidenote, that is TERRIBLE.  Gut-wrenched, completely terrible.  I completely understand how widows can leave their dead husband's clothes hanging in the closet for decades . . . or how things just don't get done because it takes superhuman, superhero quality emotional fortitude to sort through a single shoebox of a loved one's personal belongings.  It's exhausting.

I'm off-track.

The point was is:

I was exhausted.  But still did something.

In the midst of doing nothing, I videotaped my children.  I was sitting.  I was vegging and thinking, "Damn, we're busy.  Even when we are doing nothing, everybody is doing something."  So, I snuck up on them and videotaped them.  Big escaped me because she was onto my antics .  . . but I did capture 75% of them . . .



The Firebolt . . . A Crafting Tutorial

Supplies:  glue gun, twine, one giant stick & lots of little twigs

Glue, glue, glue . . . .

Wrap, wrap, wrap . . . . .

Wrap some more . . . 

Embellish slightly . . . 

. . . And . . . sit back and watch your little Harry Potter fan whiz around the backyard with his glasses, wand & newly crafted Firebolt.  I'm slightly worried that he will wipe out and skewer himself on the Firebolt, but not afraid enough to squelch the playtime and smush the imagination that's spewing out of him.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring . . .

Medical Terms & Big Words . . .

I've blogged before about big words.  To the tune of . . . I believe in using big words around little kids so that they truly understand big words.  Big words like:  responsibility, consequence, integrity, honesty, indulgence . . .

Recently, though, in my house, my  kids have been sponging up medical terms.  This is the medical term of the day . . . . cymotrichous.  It's the medical term for "wavy hair".  Pronounced /sai-mah-trek-us/.  It's been a constant source of amusement around here . . . . especially this one.

MOTH walked into the kitchen and Little says with one eyebrow raised up kinda sexy, "Hey dad, wanna see my hairy nevus?"   Relax, relax   . . . a nevus is a mole.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I really love my . . . .


Cuisenart Griddler.

Yes, I REALLY love my Cuisenart Griddler.  I was hunting for something like this and actually purchased a knock-off at Target, when my deal-seeking-diva-girlfriend texted me to say, 
"this looks like a better deal."  

Indeed.  

This model normally sells at Williams Sonoma for $185.  
Choke. 
Cough.  
Williams Sonoma currently has it on sale for $99. 
She found it at Costco for $69.99. 

SCORE!!

I took the Target floor model back and bought this guy. 

Since we bought him, he's been SO popular that he actually lives on the counter.  
Insert ** GASP **  here because I'm a complete counter nazi.  
Nothing. 
Can. 
Be. 
On. 
The. 
Counter. 

We've made all kinds of lovely hot sandwiches and paninis.  The plates are reversible and pop right out for easy cleaning.  It also lays flat, so it replaced the old dinosaur griddle that we make pancakes on.  We got that for a wedding gift, so it should be about shot.  It kicked our standard mexican night up by about six notches with a home-grown version of Taco Bell's Crunch wrap supreme . . . 

In photos for Homestead's  benefit . . . 






Too bad I don't have a picture of the finished version.  It was into someone's mouth too fast.  It had perfect grill marks, melty cheese and was just plain delish.  De-lish!!

All Done!!

The bathroom tile job is all done and I'm so excited.  Very excited.  We got a great installer that actually executed exactly what I wanted.  I love it.   This weekend, while the bathroom was still 'closed', I sealed all of the new grout on the floor.  I also stripped, scrubbed and re-sealed the tile in the shower & bathtub.  And, because I'm going through an unhappy stint and I tend to shop and do home improvement when I'm unhappy, I also stripped the caulk out of the shower and tub and re-caulked.  And replaced faucets.  They were broken anyway . . .

Finished floor tile looks like this:


I love it . . . . from the color, to the grout, to the diagonal.  I love it all.

Here are before & after shots of the faucets . . .

Before . . . they were without the stopper-ma-jigs, with leaks and one with a broken faucet all together . . . 

After . . . ah, me likey!! 

Blogger Challenge -- Day 16

Day 16:  Something you believe to your very core.  Support it with examples. 

Okay, maybe the reason I put this one off for a few days is because I had to ponder it.  I had to think.  I've been cogitating for 48 hours and I believe I've got it.  But first, let me say this:  This topic is a writing prompt from a journal.  It's actually from one of my kids' school journals.  That's kind of heavy and deep for little guys, but I'll run with it.  I can't imagine being 10 and trying to shoot from the hip and write to this in a limited amount of time . . . . 

Something I believe to the core:  

Little things matter, or It's the Little Things.  

However you want to say it. 

Support: 

About October of last year, my son gave me a hug.  It was a big hug and it came with an exclamation packed with child-like honesty and innocence that went like this, "Holy Cow, Mom, I can touch my arms around you now. Those shakes things must be working!"  That "little thing" lifted me miles high.  Miles.  High.  I didn't realize that he couldn't touch.  Honestly, I'd never thought about it, but I do now.  We have a pact, however backward it seems.  He's verbally contracted to let me know if ever a day comes when he can't touch . . . . for I will know that I have fallen ass first off of the wagon and stayed in the dirt.   I know, I know . . . his arms are growing.  See, I did say, "however backward".   Still, it IS the little things  . . . 



Second, tea.  Yes, tea.  Or rather, "ocha".  Japanese for tea.  My Pop drank ocha for breakfast for about (hmm, let's see he was 92) . . .  so 90 years in the morning.  Every morning.  He liked coffee and he liked black tea, but for him, ocha was where it was at . . . a truly zen morning experience.  I can remember him drinking ocha out of little Japanese dishes like this: 

His tea came loose-leaf in giant barrels and he had a tea ball that dangled into the pot.  He taught us how to make tea like I teach my kids to put the right amount of creamer in my coffee.  Not too much, not too little . . just right . . . . 

Anyway, during the long stretch of days that Pop was in the hospital, he asked for ocha every hour of every day.  While he was in the hospital care, he couldn't have anything, but once he got to hospice, all the stops were pulled and the sky was the limit.  So I made him ocha.  First thing in the morning for the first four mornings, when we was awake enough to see the moon out of his window but before the good Lord had taken his urge to eat and drink, I made him ocha.  I brewed it and sweetened it just a smidgen and because he couldn't sit up, I straw fed it into his mouth like a baby bird.  And he would smack his lips and let out the most satisfied moan.  

Ocha hit the spot, but what he really wanted in the last couple of days was to hold the cup.  It was warm on his hands.  I helped him balance it and kept it from spilling.  And there he would lay, until the cup was cool, holding the cup of warm ocha in his knotted, gnarly, arthritic hands.  When it was cool, he'd sleep for a while and then wake again, asking for ocha.  Not to drink . . . just to hold the cup  . . . 



Yes, I do believe . . . it's the little things that matter most! 

Big loves this . . .

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Little Weekend Warrior Morning Guilty Pleasure . . .

This is a Pinterest re-pin and I had to click a few links to find his real recipe . . . so I've put it all together here.  This is from a kitchen forum, "John" is the poster and he references Taste of Home, Dec/Jan 2010.

Photos are John's:

We are serious cinnamon roll fans, so this one had me lickin' the screen . . .






Cinnamon Wreath Bread

2 Packages ( ¼ oz each ) Active dry yeast
1 ½ cups warm water (110-115 degrees)
6 TBS butter
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
¼ cup sugar
1 egg
¾ tsp salt
4 1/2-5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 TBS butter melted
½ cup chopped almonds
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 TBS water
¼ tsp almond extract


In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the butter, milk powder, sugar, egg, salt, and 3 cups of flour. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough. ( The dough will be sticky )

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Punch dough down. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into an 18 in x 12 in rectangle. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and chipped almonds to within ½ inch of the edges. Roll up jelly-roll style starting with the long side and pinch the seam to seal.

Place seam down on a greased baking sheet and pinch the ends together to form a ring. With kitchen scissors, cut from the outside edge to 2/3’s of the way towards the center of the ring at 1 inch intervals. Separate the strips slightly and twist to allow the filling to show. Cover and let rise again until doubled. (About 45 minutes to an hour)

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown, Combine the confectioners sugar, water, and extract and drizzle over the warm bread.

I wish I could paint this permanently on our walls . . .
If I could get MOTH to understand this, maybe he'd come to church with us . . .

Chicken Asparagus Carbonara

We tried this recipe this week and it was a TOTAL hit in the house.

Comments:
* Me:  I loved it . . . not too rich, I would double the asparagus and cut the chicken in half.
* Middle:  Liked it cold as a school lunch.
* Big:  Ate two servings after practice.
* Little:  Slurped up a ton of noodles and asked for more bacon.  Made a pile of asparagus on the side of his plate for me.
* MOTH: Said the asparagus was a touch overcooked for his liking, but he still ate it and I don't think it was to keep me from crying.
* Mimi:  Ate noodles and bacon and requested that next time I save some just plain noodles before the "goo" goes in.


From Cooking Light:  Chicken Asparagus Carbonara



Ingredients

  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 2 cups (1-inch) slices asparagus (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup evaporated fat-free milk
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion $
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth
  • 2 cups chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast meat
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • bacon slices, cooked and crumbled $

Preparation

  1. Cook pasta in boiling water 10 minutes or until al dente; add asparagus during final 2 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta mixture in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/3 cup cooking liquid. Combine reserved cooking liquid, egg substitute, and milk, stirring with a whisk.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and onion to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add vermouth; cook 1 minute. Add pasta mixture; stir to combine. Remove from heat; stir in milk mixture, chicken, and cheese. Place pan over medium heat, and cook 4 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in parsley, salt, pepper, and bacon. Serve immediately.
Note:
Raw egg yolks and whipping cream traditionally add the creaminess and fat to pasta carbonara. This lighter version with asparagus and chicken achieves the same texture with egg substitute and nonfat evaporated milk. Prevent the eggs from scrambling by being careful not to heat the egg mixture too rapidly. Eat this dish immediately to enjoy its velvety creaminess; if it stands, the sauce can become too thick.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Little's Car

Recently, Little sat around with a marketing guru who designs race cars.  Yea.  That's a real job.  Isn't it amazing how far employment opportunities have come.  Why, I remember when I was a kid ( ** insert suspender pull, grandpa lean and all-knowing-tone here ** ), choices were limited.  You could be a school teacher or a nurse.

In all seriousness, I never thought nurses would work from home like I do.
I never considered that designing the logos on a car would be a JOB.  A real, full time, all day job.

So, Little spent the afternoon with Logo Design Guy and they made a car.  Here it is, for all time & eternity:



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Today . . . .

Please be advised . . . .
I'm skipping a few days of blogger challenge because, well, honestly, I have plenty of other things to blog about.  

Like this:


Go ahead.  Scroll up and down a bit and try to figure it out.

Can your kids to this?  This is the bottom half of what Middle wore yesterday.  She came in, had a snack and went to "leo-up" (aka get ready for gymnastics).  This morning, I found this.  It's all still connected and perfectly inside out.  So incredibly connected it was that I picked it all up out of the basket like this, swung it around to separate it and when it wouldn't-slash-didn't, THAT's when I decided it was bloggable.  

Could that qualify for a stupid human trick or earn us any money at anything?  Hmmm.  Surely, it's one of the things that I'll remember so fondly when her laundry is missing from my basket.  Good golly, the silence hurts already.  Only 8 more years until she leaves for college . . .

The Vision is Coming Together . . .

I really, really, really like Joe.  Joe, the installer.  He's got it goin' on.  The vision is starting to come together.  The "gee-lady-you-are-asking-for-kind-of-a-lot" has been replaced with "I better not show this to my wife . . . she's gonna want it" and "I wasn't sure how this would look on the 45, but it's really beautiful."

Can I get a "yeaahhhh, baby!"   ??



On a sidenote, the kids think it's hilarious that the toilet is in the bathtub.  Ahh, the little things.

From May 2011 to Now . . .

I'm not really sure where to start.

I guess I'll dive right into the middle.  It might require going back to tell history.  Or skipping forward to set goals, but this is the point . . .

This blog is about me.  Little old me.  There have been and always will be some blogger-taboo topics.  One of them is my diet-slash-exercise-slash-fitness-slash-weight-loss goals, attitude, plan.  I said earlier this year that I was planning to break that taboo.  And, well, today is the day.

First, though, let me be clear.  I think that when other people read about one's above stated topics, their reactions are all over the map.  Any reader should now know and repeat frequently that:

(1) I'm not an expert and I don't claim to be;
(2) I'm not in it to put down (gee, we women are hard enough on ourselves with no outside help from others);
(3) I'm not Jillian Michaels.  I'm not any of my inspiration folks.  I'm just me.  I struggle with my own very unique sets of ups, downs and inside-outs.  I'm just me.
(4) Blogging my successes (Lord, I pray), should not make a reader feel WORSE.  I say that because I've been so pissy about reading fitness brags from other folks.  Nothing hacks me and bangs my jealous bone like reading a facebook post from one of my super-cute, uber-skinny, bikini-wearing hot mom friends that says, "My Daily Mile:  I just ran 14.2 miles and it felt great."  I just picture myself limping along, cursing like a sailor, repeating I-think-I-can, I-think-I-can, while my body shuts down completely and tears stream down my face in defeat and disgust . . .  just before the ONE mile mark.  Okay, so I've gotten over some of that, enough to be brave enough to celebrate my own victories.  Please don't throw tomatoes at my blog.  I'm proud of you for being you, no matter what size and no matter how you've fallen . . or how many times.  You'll get back up.  You must.  We all do. Because we all must.

And now, the goal . . . .

My goal with this, as with so many other things in my life, is child-focused.  Yea, yea, the folks with no-kids scold me for losing myself to motherhood.  It's who I am.  Nothing will teach you to eat well and place value on your own health like having a daughter who is mimicking your every move.  And the first time your little tiny little perfect piece of thirty-six pound three year old turns and looks over her shoulder into a full-length mirror, gazes introspectively and says, "mommy, do you think I'm fat?", I promise you . . . you won't feel the same way.  I promise you.  So, yes, one of my primary motivators for getting healthy, losing weight, whatever you want to call it, is my kids, it's also me.  My daughters mimic every move I make.  If it's chicken salads with dressing on the side, I better order four.  If it's cheeseburgers with a side of fries, order four of those too.  This is a no brainer.  Which would you pick?

Okay.  History established.  Here's the deal.  Gasp.  I'm about to reveal my numbers.

My go-hot date was May 24, 2011.  Why?  I don't know.  It was the day I picked on the calendar.  I had done the research, I was mentally ready.  So, for me, that was my "go-live" date.  I woke up, weighed myself and said goodbye to that number.  On May 24, 2011, I weighed 168.    I'm 5'4" tall.  That's a BMI of 28.8.  Solidly in the "overweight" category.

I digress.  Overweight is not a word I like.  Not at all.  I fiddled with the online BMI calculator enough to figure out that I was, at that time, closer to "obese" than "normal".  Eeek.  And I have never thought of myself as obese.  The word obese goes with folks on the biggest loser or on My 600-Pound Life.  I'm an active, kick-ball playing mom that's on the go all the time.  Obese is SO, very not me.   Still, the label stuck and my first goal was to get myself out of that category.  

I'm closing this post with a high note.  As of my dad's death, which was January 20, 2012, I was at 147. A total weight loss of 21 pounds.  147, incidentally, was my target weight.  It is still in the "overweight" category, according to BMI, but like all heavy women, "I'm big boned and have a lot of muscle."  For me, that's actually quite true.  I'm build like a middle linebacker and have some pretty dense muscle.  Always have, always will.  Which just goes to show you that it's not about the label.  It's not about the number.  It's about buying the Buckle jeans that make you feel great.  And, for me, (for JUST me), losing weight is about SO much more than being skinny.  It's about SO, SO, SO much more than being thin.

More posts coming on diet and exercise, for as of today, I have surely broken the silence . . .

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tile Work . . .

 . . . . started yesterday in the master bathroom.  I really like the installer.  He is kind of giving me the "gee-lady-you-are-being-difficult" look.  Still, I like the tile.  I like the idea.  I'm hoping that he gets onboard with the vision once a bit more is laid out . . .

Monday, March 19, 2012

Just Something Pretty to Behold . . .







Day 15

On the Blogger Challenge we are mid-way through.  Homestead is right.  We did Day 10 last year in a Challenge I stole from Heather.  Here is last year's wisdom.  I had forgotten about it.  Last year, I clearly put more thought into it.

There may be other repeats.  I'm still plugging along.  And it is Day 15:  The Million Dollars.  What would you do with a million dollars.  Why?

I actually read the topic for this one last Friday before we left for the weekend, so I had time to think it through, but I still don't have the very best answer.  I've spent that imaginary million about six times over during the course of the last few days.  I've bought houses in Breckenridge and time shares in a bunch of spots.  I've paid off our house and the car.  I've put money away for college and pre-paid kids' sports funds for the next couple decades.  I've created a pre-paid slurpee fund at 7-11 and thought about new furniture.  I've built a rescue mission for dogs, gone on a few medical missions where I rocked starving babies with no mothers and have doled out a ton of money to deserving charities.  But, here is my final answer.

I'd invest it.  I'd find a good place to stash the whole wad.  Somewhere safe and secure where I could tuck it away forever.  My only request would be for the annual payout to be enough for us to live on  . . . or to at least replace one source of income.  Wouldn't that be divine?

Finances are a constant source of wonder around here.  Mostly because I'm a one-woman show and I stand on an island.  I am our financial planner.  I'm our money-guru.  I do our money-related everything.  And that's a stressful position to be in.  An entire family's hopes and dreams rides on my shoulders, so I would find it liberating and wonderful to be able to invest and just live off of the return.  I'm not sure if a return could be what it would need to be for a million dollar investment, but because we're just pretending anyway, I'm pretending that the answer is yes.  I'd whittle expenses down to a comfortable nothing and then just live.  I wouldn't cut coupons or search for deals.  I'd just buy what we needed, when we needed it with never a backwards glance or regret.  The pain of the payment wouldn't be an issue.  I'd only think of the pleasure of the purchase.

Ah, daydreaming . . . .

Friday, March 16, 2012

She made the team . . .

Big's been in volleyball mode all week.  Tryouts for sixth graders were on Monday.  She got a callback for Thursday.  She went.  She said it went well.  And before she left on Thursday, she got a callback for today.

I picked her up today after tryouts with a smile on half my face and concern on the other . . . .

But . . .

She made it!  She's on B-squad.  I'm so happy for her.  She's so happy for her.  Interestingly, the person who seems MOST happy for her, is this little sister, who can't wait to go to her first game.  This is what an "I'm so happy for you, you're the best big sister in the world, congratulations" hug looks like:

To Save for All Time and Eternity . . .

Every now and then, a piece of homework or paperwork comes home that I really, really love.  I love this one more than just the average scan.  I love it more than just seeing the imperfections in handwriting and mis-spellings.  I love the idea.  Little's 2nd grade teacher this year is a creative genius.  I love her.  For Valentine's Day, she had the kids write love letters . . . from one inanimate object to another.   They brainstormed things that go together like peanut butter and jelly, paper and pencils, rock and roll, bread and butter, skateboards and wheels, then wrote from one to the other.  Their love letter had to include at least two compliments and and offer for a date . . .

Here is Little's:



Most Darling Paper, 


Your four corners are so pointy.  You are so smooth.  You make me feel like I could draw on you all day.  Would you please meet me at the Mountain Math board at 9:00 AM, so we can solve all the problems all by our selves?  Won't you be my smooth Valentine? 


Your Love, 
Pencil

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Seriously. It has started already . . .

Heavy sigh.

I have a soft, squishy, made of ooshy spot in the deepest, darkest back, bottom part of my heart for animals.  All animals, really.  Every year, it seems like some sort of rescue mission gets fronted from our garage.

The first year, it was bunnies.  Having never lived in THIS neighborhood in spring before, I didn't realize bunnies are a dime a dozen.  We spotted baby bunnies, these cute little bitty things EVERYWHERE.  They were in window wells and drain pipes, behind bushed, under porches.  Well, a little hutch of three was tragically orphaned when their mother (unknowingly) built their bunny hideout in our backyard.  Bird dog.  Chaser.  She often catches.  She doesn't EAT small things, but she does slobber them up and toss them in the air until they don't wiggle anymore.   So, we converted an old birdcage into a bunny rescue mission.  We hand fed them carrot puree and mushy dog food, followed by grass nubbins until we could release them.  Two survived.

And don't get me started on the birds.  Didn't I blog part of last year's bird saga?   Oh, yes, here it is . .  .
Good golly, there's more .  . . here.  Oh, I forgot about this guy.

Still, point is . . yesterday, I walked out into the front yard to say goodbye to guests and was startled by this flappy noise.


That's a panic-stricken red-headed finch and he is stuck in the light fixture.  Stuck.  Seriously stuck.  A big part of me wanted to walk away and let him figure it out.  And I did, kind of.  But as time progressed (yea, my ooshie gushie spot let about 4 minutes elapse) and the rational part of my brain began to admit that he was NOT going to find his way down and out, I got out the ladder, disassembled the light and rescued the little guy.  He flew out and cheeped a "thanks".

Mission accomplished.

And today . . . .


That's a different light fixture, still in the front of the house.  I  heard the flapping, looked up and saw TWO of the little buggers stuck in the light this time.  Sheesh.

Ladder.  Screwdriver.  Take apart.  Blah, blah, blah.

The point is .  . . I think this is nature's way (via finch, of course) of telling me, "Get new lights."

For sure.

I've always disliked these lights.




They look great with the house, but they are dumb for a variety of reasons.  You have to disassemble the whole contraption to change a light bulb or clean the glass, for one reason.  The screws don't align and you need a special screwdriver to get at the right angle.  Hence, they are stripping, rusting and virtually impossible to deal with. Second, the light bulbs required are THREE candelabra base lights.  In EACHl light.  We have FIVE!!  Who does that?  They NEVER burn out at the same time.  It's impossible to be energy conscious when you are blazing fifteen light bulbs at a go every time you turn that damn porch lights on.

Exhale.  Rant complete.  So, when the budget allows, or maybe sooner, if I have to continue to rescue finches from these stinkin' lights on a daily basis . . . I'll look for a lantern type outdoor light.  I'm already a fan of these:



Except.  ** Gasp ** Are those candelabra bulbs.  Curses.

It must be black.  I'd like a real light bulb.  And I'd LOVE it if I could find an antique looking,  HEAVY looking lantern, like a old seafaring gent would carry out from a lighthouse for a midnight check.

How about this?


Does anyone have words of wisdom on outdoor lighting?