Tuesday, May 30, 2006

$400 Saved

I dug through my old film SLR bag and found a set of magnifying lenses that fit my new camera! I can get right on top of the flowers now - I think this may work! The true test will be when I try to capture my beads, but for now I think I can play with this and have some fun. Happy happy. Now, off to see how to solve a moldy rose bush problem... oh, and yes it turns out my flower IS a peony! Check out this fabulous peony blog for more.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Better than Haagen-Dazs....

Better than Ben & Jerry's... better than you know what! LOL, I made my own ice cream from scratch today for the first time - it was soooooo good. The best chocolate ice-cream ever. One cup of cocoa to one cup of sugar, then eggs, milk, cream and vanilla. That's it. Took forever and a day to make, but so very worth it. Will do again. And again.

Have been taking hundreds of photos with the new camera and not really loving most of them. I think I need that Nikon 60mm Micro Lens that costs $400. Yes, I'm sure of it, it's exactly what I need.

Here are a couple of shots - not sure why the background came out black on a sunny afternoon outside... but there you have it. And I have no idea what the white flower is - it closes up at night and the ants love it - I thought it was a peony when it was budding... could it be? I just don't know.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Things to Love

12 minute-old kittens.

3-day weekends.

The music heavy rain makes on the roof and having the time to just lay in bed and listen to it.

The smell of wisteria blossoms.

Getting the Sunday paper and looking at it over a good mocha.

Friday, May 26, 2006


Like the Energizer Bunny, he just kept going and going. And going some more. It was his school's annual trike-a-thon to raise money to help the "sick sick kids at Saint Juniors" (St. Judes). Luke went around 75 times - getting a sticker on his tag each time he made a lap. Even better than the stickers though, each lap earned him another dollar - that was what we promised him, never guessing he'd go even half that far! He did great, all told, he raised $310 with company matching. Go Luke!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Flower Painting Class

Each week now for about 9 weeks, I've been going in to class with a beautiful flower or bunch of flowers... inspired by their beauty, color, texture, shape... ready to paint my masterpiece. And then, our teacher imposes her rules on us. "We will be painting in watercolor style this week" (the class was in acrylics), or "only use contrasting colors this week", or, "only use analogous colors this week", or, "no, don't paint all of them, just pick one and paint it from three different angles", or, "paint with dots this week", or "this week we will paint a close-up, cropped version of your flower - no no, don't paint two flowers, just one", or "paint this picture one square of the grid at a time". I have never been one for rules, especially when it comes to creating things. Really, I hate rules in just about everything. Impose a rule on me, and I will almost always find a way to break it. I'm afraid I was just born that way. But in this class, I tried to follow her rules - for the sake of... I don't know what - in case I might learn something new? Or just because I've been too exhausted to fight it. Whatever the reason, it has not been enjoyable and I have not finished a single painting. I'm not sure I'll even finish the class - next week is the last week and I think I might just play hookey and go play with my new camera instead.

Here are some of my unfinished works - I'm missing my magnolia (it wasn't any good, so no great loss). I might try to work on two of them a little more - the rest might get a nice coat of gesso so I can start fresh - with no rules.


I've been reading. This is what happens when you get sick and can't unpack. It's probably a good thing since I needed a break.

Book:06 - Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri. Amazing short stories that stay with you when you have finished reading them.

Book:07 - Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown. I liked this better than Davinci Code and wish I'd read them in the right order.

Book:08 - A Dirty Job, by Christopher Moore. I will never look at a blackbird the same way again. Frank laughed-out-loud reading his way through this one, and I'm not sure I ever even giggled (but then I was sick), though it was entertaining. Strange and weird and twisted. I think Lamb was much better.

Book:09 - A Rose for the Crown, by Anne Easter Smith. Frank got this for me for my birthday. Again, a historical novel, this one much more based in history than the last one I read... though the heroine was very much a woman with a modern spirit. It was a good read right from the beginning and the story was one I kept thinking about for days after I'd finished the book. Poor King Richard...

Monday, May 22, 2006


Luke and I just got done watching the BEST movie, Duma. I think this is a movie I need to own. It was wonderful - the adventure of a life-time for a boy in Africa and his cheetah. Click on the link just for the music even. So good.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

"Dude, what did you DO??"

That was Frank's brother's response to our house after the "grand tour". I believe it was said in the same shocked tone a mother might use if she saw that her child had just cut his own hair or something. Frank just said "hu?" Brother: "What did you DO? Your other house was so nice..." I guess he can't see our "grand vision". I'm pretty sure it will look a lot nicer the next time he comes to visit, I sure hope so anyway.

Some positive news - the plumber has come and gone and in the background I hear the lovely hum of a dryer running and a load of wash spinning. Happy happy...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sprinkler Kind of Day

This right here - this moment, and all the ones like it to come - is what makes all the unexpected headaches with the new house okay. It's all good on a hot sunny day with the sprinkler running and grass between your toes. How can it not be?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Will This Madness Never End???

Oh, the blissful sound of water filling the washing machine after a week of having dirty laundry pile up. Joy! It works! And then a bit later the sound of a gasp and a grunt and a few swear words and a loud click as the husband hits the washer off... I run down the stairs to find the floor covered in soapy water, gurgling up from a drain in the floor. (WTF??)

Then, two days before this mess, I called to have the house phone hooked up finally. She said they would turn it right on, so I went and plugged the phone into the jack in the kitchen and checked on it every half hour or so... and then, after a few hours, I decided to call the phone company to see what was taking them so long and as the line was ringing, I changed my mind and called the new number only to find it was, in fact, already turned on. So then I realized the jack didn't work. I tried another one. Nothing. Searched around for yet another and found one in the bedroom, plugged it in and finally, it worked. Of course, I'd nearly forgotten that nothing in this house worked as expected when we moved in. Why would the phone lines be any exception?

When will this end? When??? Yes, I am feeling that perhaps I should have listened to my mother this time - she said, Pam, why do you want an old house? Nothing will work and your furniture will never be level on these floors. "Oh Mom, it will be fine - this is a wonderful old house!" Days like today, I realize she knows more than I ever give her credit for.

Yes, that's a perfect lead in to wishing her, and all the other moms in my life, a wonderful Mother's Day. Hoping it's relaxing and care-free. Laundry-free and mess-free too.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Doh, a Deer...

Luke sang songs for me today. He was the cutest kid at the Mother's Day Tea, of course. Haha, I'm sure all the moms say that about their own kids. He also spoiled me by opening the door for me, seating me, serving me strawberry shortcake and fruit punch with flowers in the ice cubes - all with gusto, flourish and impeccable manners (he's been practicing for a month now). And he gave me a pretty gift he grew himself from a seed. And painted the pot as well. Beautiful morning, aside from the rain and freezing temperatures anyway. Happy to be a mom and to have such a loving child.

The Kid Has His Own Wheels

He's been saving up since Christmas - he wanted roller skates, but at the last minute decided on a scooter. Check out that tongue - you can see how hard he's concentrating here.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

That Friday Feeling

I know it's only Thursday, but... it feels like Friday. It's been feeling like Friday since about Monday morning really. Which, in itself, is really exciting because I think it's been years since I've had that Friday Feeling... probably because I have had my own companies for that long and when you work for yourself, the week is not over on Fridays. And then of course, Moms don't get weekends off... Anyway, you know what feeling I'm talking about, right? The anticipation of good things to come - a chance to do what you want to do with no one telling you that you can't? Free time coming and fun times ahead? Where your stomach tingles and you just want to smile all the time.... potential and possibilities abound... yeah, that's the feeling I'm talking about!

What's so great, you may wonder? Well, I have good news and more good news.

First of all, we are all moved out of the Carnation house. Every last thing. And it's clean and ready for the new owners and I no longer have to drive an hour down there and an hour back every stinking day. I'm soooo very excited about this, even though it was sad locking up for the last time, and my back has still not recovered from a marathon weekend of moving.

Secondly, everything is moved into the new house and I've started putting things where they go. Sort of. But there's no pressure, it will all happen when it does.

Thirdly, we signed papers on the house early and as of 5:00 today, we no longer own two houses - we are back down to one house, one mortgage. Well, two mortgages really, but who's counting? It's still way better than four.

And finally, remember the camera I felt I had gotten a bad deal on? I called them to arrange for a return and refund... and they worked it out with me - lowering my price and throwing in an extra memory card to make up the difference. Even though they still seem like a shady company, and I will never purchase from them again, it saved me the money I would have lost in shipping costs both ways, and I did get a fair deal - not a great deal, but a fair deal. So all is good there and I have a new toy to play with. Just in time too, to get some great shots of Luke singing at his Mother's Day Tea tomorrow!

And just to leave you with a little eye candy... remember those green fuzzy pods from a week or so ago? Well, this is what they turned into. Taken with the new camera, I'm happy to say.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

May Flowers

Sing A Sad Song

Song on Radio: "...sing a sad song...."
Luke: "Did he just say "sing a Santa song?!?!"
Me: "No, Sing a SAD song."
Luke: "Oh..."
Luke: "I can sing a sad song."
Me: "Ok, let me hear it."
Luke: "Ok... Zoe ran away, Kesia ran away, Tyger ran away and the fish fell out of the water."
Me: "Oh! That is a very, very sad song."
Luke: "I have more. Listen. There was no Starbucks...."

And there was even more... but I tuned out at that last one, I couldn't stand the thought...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bird Brains

So... the camera thing is clearly one of the stupider things I've done in awhile. I do believe I've been "had". I tried to cancel the order and was told it is "en route". So I will have to wait for it to arrive and then try to return it. Please wish me luck... I have a feeling I'm going to need it.

On the other hand, I think I have managed to outsmart a couple of bird brains. Literally. A pair of nesting robins, birds I usually have a great affinity for, as "Robin" is my middle name and for the obvious reason that they herald the beginning of my favorite season, Spring. This pair however, has been trying my patience - what is left of my limited supply of it. I'm not sure what their issue is, but they are making a great mess of the windows and deck at the Carnation house. They seem to be walking up the windows leaving muddy foot prints, covering the entire window in mud, sitting on the window ledge and sometimes crashing into the windows and then flying away. Then, as if this were not enough, they have turned the beautiful deck into their own private loo. And I just have to say, two birds sure can make a lot of poop. I've been cleaning it up every time I'm out there - here I am supposed to be packing, yet I'm washing windows and the deck. You can see why I'm not happy with these birds. So anyway... I did get around to a little packing, in between washing bird prints and poop, and I was working on the halloween decorations... and there in the closet I found a big stuffed raven - it looks real-ish... with feathers and a sharp beak... and I thought, hmn.... maybe.... and I took it up stairs and attached it to the hose holder on the deck.... and wouldn't you know, the robins have made themselves scarce! Haha, I'm feeling so clever now.... I outsmarted some dumb birds. I guess that's not really saying much, especially in consideration of the camera fiasco. Ah well...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Productive Day

Well, it was anyway... Now I need a little break. I *was* doing so good for a while. Ate all my vitamins, and breakfast and lunch (something I've been skipping more days than not) and got so very much done. Organized a kitchen cabinet, moved stuff to the laundry room, hung a picture, moved some things to the studio and started putting things away there (made some excellent progress, just waiting for the last desk and a cat-proof fireplace screen, and a rug or two, and I'll be ready to really start making this room feel good). Then I ordered my new camera and my new oxycon, and was feeling pretty good about finding a good deal online for the camera, saving a bunch of money... until they emailed me to call and confirm my order and then things blew up pretty fast. Upgraded the memory card, got a battery (which wasn't included in the original package, go figure), got a warranty, and upgraded the lenses to digital lenses rather than regular SLR lenses (thought they were). Ended up spending an extra $800 or $900 and while I know I will now be happy with what I got, I really didn't plan on spending that much. Sheesh. Oh well, right? It's only money? It's how much my new torch and extra oxycon would have cost, I guess I'll have to put that off for awhile now. So now I'm feeling drained - I guess I'll go make a second mocha and see if that perks me up.

Oh, and here is a shot of my studio - a work in progress as I said. Anyone have any good, attractive ideas for keeping a cat out of the fireplace? My plywood board is doing the trick but it's not pretty, especially with the hundred plus lbs of junk holding it in place (she's pretty strong as we all know). But it's coming together, I think I could actually work down here now.

AND! Thank you everyone for all the nice birthday wishes the other day!!!