Friday, April 30, 2010

{this moment}

Inspired by soulemama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you a lovely weekend!

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As a reward to myself for good behavior, I let myself fold laundry while watching the 2007 BBC production of Jane Austen's Persuasion. When I was a mere 24, Marybeth told me it was Austen's best work. I vehemently denied it, but as I have approached, and passed, Anne Elliot's kiss-of-death age of 27, I appreciate this novel with increasing respect.

There is something so appreciable (is that a word?) about Anne's triumph over the flighty and flirty Louisa Musgrove. In a modern adaptation of Persuasion, I would cast The Musgrove girls as sorority girls with implants and iphones, with lots of texting going on at all times. My experience with sorority girls has been that they are (surprisingly) conversant one on one, but the herd mentality takes over quickly, and they are unbearable in a group. Thus I imagine Louisa, slightly tipsy in a tight t-shirt, tripping on her flip-flop as she catapults off the treacherous sea walk at Lyme. Love it. I may be onto something....

Ahem. The movie.

Let me freely admit that though I love Austen, 18th and 19th century women's literature , and BBC adaptions of "classics" (or any adaptaions, for that matter), I can NEVER tell when watching an adaptation whether or not I have seen it before. It must be like watching movies when you have alzheimer's. Are there only 4 manor houses and 7 costumes available in England? Why do they all look exactly the same???????? So while watching this, I was mostly positive that I had never seen it before. But he end I was pretty sure, but it is always touch and go.

Anne Elliot looked horrendous. Greasy hair, clothes that don't fit, pasty skin, she hardly looked alive, much less like a heroine. I know she is supposed to be old- practically dead and shrivelded up from her virgininty, but she it is certainly overkill to make her look like she has tuberculosis. Plus, all the running? really? Completely undidginified. Also, frankly, she looked unloveable. If I were Capt. Wentworth, I would have married the sorority girl. At least she smiled. Anne spent most of her time with her mouth either hanging open or pressed intoa tight-Charlotte-Bartlett smile.

Capt. Wentworth? Gorgeous. So beautiful, he won me over as the film went on.

The movie did not strictly follow the plot of the novel, and that is a pity. Where Austen's plot was delicate, and the climax was intricate and involved and everything was wrapped up nicely, the movie, quite literally, rushed right through the climax. Anne was running around Bath, which is a choice that I understand, but do not respect.

Too tired for more- film criticism is not my forte.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This year's garden

Tomatoes: Polish Linguisa, Cherokee Purple, Black Prince, Valencia, Striped Cavern, Red Cherry, Rose, Waspinican, Brandywine Red (2), Amish Paste, Tommy Toe, Brandywine (6), and 6 plants we grew on our windowsill, which I am pretty sure are from tomatoes Craig's grandparents gave us when we visited them in NC after Owen was born. Also one rogue tomato that popped up from last year's fallen seeds, but that plant is going to live at the Lemstrom's house.
Eggplants (still on the window sill in seedling phase): Rossa Bianca, Applegreen, and Pintung Long (30 total)
Cucumbers: 2 Sweeter Yet, 3 Suyo Long, 2 A&C Double Yield
2 Black Beauty Zucchini
1 congo watermelon
1 Kabocha Squash
3 Beans (Yard Long Red Noodle)
1 cardoon
1 sunchoke
3 rows of corn
2 rows of bull's blood beets
Peppers: 1 datil, 1 lilac bell, 1 jalapeno, 1 sweet bell, 1 sweet cherry red

2 kiwi vines
2 blackberry plants
1 elderberry

We are trying to be committed to heirloom veggies this year, and have so far done a decent job. Starting from seeds was a new and overwhelming experience, so we gave it two tries this year. some seeds got plopped in the garden just two days ago. All of our tomatoes are heirloom, but I still need a few more plants (maybe just one) because I got seduced by the tiny little 6 pack of baby seedling and did not get any yellow tomatoes. I am going to have to get at least one and put it in a pot, as I became addicted last year. Also, a few more peppers to round it all out. Plus some strawberries for my border, which I am willing to go conventional on this year, as heirloom will not be possible to purchase in these city limits. Plus, I still need to get going on my herbs.

**addendum: I planted 1 heirloom yellow pear tomato plant, and 5 strawberry plants. 1 meyer lemon tree and one key lime tree, 10 strawberry roots, 5 shallots and 5 onions are ready to go into the ground tomorrow, if the weather and the baby cooperate. Also, did I mention the 30 eggplants growing on our kitchen window sill in tiny pots?

I think I am addicted. Also, in way over my head.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


5 Confederate Jasmine (two given to Craig for Valentine's Day 2006, 3 purchased to landscape yard for Owen's 1st birthday party)
1 pink hydrangea (purchased at USF garden sale during GFSS, Sept 2006)
1 camellia bush (rec'd from Craig for Valentine's day 2005)
1 rose bush (gift from my parents on my first Mother's Day, 2008)
5 blueberry bushes (Christmas 2009)
3 ligustrum (Christmas 2009)
5 fig trees (Christmas 2009)
6 Oak leaf hydrangeas (Christmas 2009, plus one giant one transplanted from my mother's house)
5 Crape Myrtles (transplanted from my mother's house)
2 blackberry bushes
1 elderberry bush
2 kiwis
1 eucalyptus (planted in honor of the yau-maltese homestead and the metzger australian wedding, 2010)
Various beds of canna lillies, given to us by our across the street neighbors when we bought the house, and then propagated, plopped all over the yard, and given away to friends and family

Whenever I think of moving, I ask myself how could I leave this behind? We have put so much work into our yard, and it is just now starting to yield results. We have been too cheap to buy anything full sized, and I know that in 10 years, I will be exactly where I want us to be. I can never leave my beautiful yard- it has grown up with us.

*Experience* Flamingo Cottage

Alice Waters on NPR last night. She prattled on about how food was an experience, and how every morning she wakes up, makes her cup of tea, toasts her bread, spreads avocado on her toast, and feels centered. Eating at a table, experiencing your food, tasting where it comes from... I love the idea, but my morning went a little more like this:

Awoken by Owen: "Mommy I'm ready to get out of bed Mommy I'm ready to get out of bed I'm ready to get out of bed Mommy". I stumble into his room hoping Bridget isn't awake yet (she is) to hear him sweetly say "Oh, hi Mommy. I peed on my sheets Mommy", which was not a news flash, as he was rolling in a puddle. I strip him down and herd him into the shower with me only to discover (after I dump warm water on his back and he screams) that he is COVERED in a rash, from the back of his neck, down his back, on his legs, on his arms... everywhere I put sunscreen/bug spray on his body yesterday afternoon, and didn't wash off when we skipped his bath last night. Which we skipped because he was so whiny. Which was probably because he was covered in chemicals, developing a rash. EFFFFFFFF.

Try to wash urine off of him without touching skin with warm water (not easy) I convince him to squeegee the shower for five minutes while I try to wake up enough to take the next step. Showered, we emerge and I have to pat dry a dripping rashy pre-schooler while hearing a baby holler from her crib. Owen runs off naked as I throw clothes on and enter Bridget's room, where she is jumping on her pillow with a blown out poopy diaper. (Is this the point at which Alice is making her tea or toasting her bread?) Wrestling a baby (covered in poop) while a naked un-housebroken almost three year old suddenly says "I am about to poop Mommy!" is not centering. More wipes, practically another shower for me, and a full load of soiled laundry later, I emerge (trailing two kids wearing nothing but diapers) into my kitchen to prepare my experience. Scooping Target generic formula into a baby bottle and popping into the microwave might not be enough to give Alice a heart attack, but plopping Nestle Quik into (admittedly) organic whole milk from Publix would definitely throw her over the edge. As each kid is sucking down chemicals, vegetable oil solids and sugar, I have just enough time to slosh some hours old coffee into my cup, dump half the sugar bowl in, throw some milk (not formula) in, and get the cup into the microwave. All of this is performed one handed, because I am giving Bridget a bottle while simultaneously calling the pediatrician's office to report the rash situation. Before the microwave has signaled that my humanizing coffee is finished, Owen is ready for MORE chocolate milk and Bridget has thrown her bottle on the ground, squirmed out of my arms, and is headed for the cat food. There is no thought of toast, much less avocado, because I forgot to get bread from the store last night, and have I mentioned that it has been AN HOUR since Owen first called from his bedroom? Another poopy diaper and two call backs from the pediatrician later, Bridget is demanding breakfast, and can not even wait for me to rip open a bag of freeze-dried fruit before she is shoveling it into her mouth by the fistful. I try to gulp my coffee, now less a beverage and more akin to gasoline sludge, which hits my stomach with cramping intensity. This side effect MIGHT be lessened by food, but I can not for the life of me figure out what to eat. I give up, and let the kids play on the floor until Bridget is ready for bed while I slump defeatedly on the couch. By 11:30 Owen deigns to eat a apple and some ham, but only if he is lying on the floor, covered in a quilt and surrounded by 3047 Lincoln Logs. Breakfast for me is a warmed up piece of Domino's pizza, almost a week old, which almost catches my microwave on fire. And an apple. As experiences go, I've had better.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


So, I have been feeling inspired lately to re-do my closet. Not rearrange it (heaven forbid!) but redo the contents. I finally have my "forever body", which may be wishful thinking, but at the very least, no more pregnancies, no more nursing, and, let's face it, no more noticeable weight loss. Hopefully a little, but I'm going to be realistic here. My body is mine again, and I am going to start dressing it the way I want to. More dresses, yes please!

To that end, I followed (ironically) this tutorial for refashioning jeans into a maternity skirt. I used a pair of corduroy shorts that I received as a hand-me-down from a friend after Owen was born. They were long shorts, and, frankly, always made me look a teeny bit butch. They were my go-to shorts for feeling slummy on my period, which I now am (feeling slummy on my period, that is). So I took my trusty seam ripper and set to ripping the inseam. WHICH TAKES FOREVER, a small fact crafty blogs seem to leave out. I also had to take in the waist band (yay!) which made it more complicated (bleh) and then voila! a skirt!

Pictures will follow, maybe. It's a skirt, but it isn't very attractive. I was inspired enough, however, to take my seam ripper to a camisole I had worn to pieces to turn an old skirt (never worn)n into a new top. We'll see how it turns out. Also a pair or jeans with a hole in the crotch.

Did I take before shots of any of these? Of course not.

Also, before I sound all glorious and domestic goddess-y.... I have not been cooking anything of note, my house is covered in laundry and dog hair, and my personal appearance is only so-so. So I do not, infact, have it all together, as it may sound from just reading this blog.

Friday, April 09, 2010

sheets. ad naseum.

Everyone who knows my kids and their capacious bladders know how often I change Owen's sheets. Sometimes twice a day, because he can't always sleep more than four hours without peeing through his diaper. Since the only alternative seems to be dehydration, I live with it and just do A LOT of laundry.

I am also too cheap to buy sheets. Plus, O-dog has some VERY particular feelings about sheets, esp. those with a sub-par thread count or *gasp* poly-cotton blend. The first time I put a sheet on his bed with polyester in it, he said "Mommy, these sheets hurt my back". He was two. This would not be a problem, because when we put him in a big-boy bed, it was a twin. I promptly went to Target to buy fours pairs of sheets, which I layer with water-proof sheeting so that when I need to do a quich sheet change, I just strip off the top layer and protective sheeting, and voila- clean sheets. (He sometimes doesn't make it from midnight to eight a.m., thus rendering the midnight diaper change both ineffective and annoying.) Then, for reasons that only my pregnancy addled brain could possibly deduce, we changed his mattress to an extra-long twin, making all of his sheets useless. Awesome. This leaves me with the sheets my brother gave me with the mattress (red plaid, with holes), the cheap back-hurting sheets, and a pair of star sheets that are twin size and cause my to spew expletives whenever I struggle to jam them on the bed. Which is about three times a week, minimum. Add to all my other bed sheet quirks the fact that I don;t believe in white sheets, because I want to know at a glance whose sheets are whose during laundry time, and I am stuck either shelling out good money for (admittedly good) sheets that coordinate with each room's decor (and I am using the term "decor" as loosely as possible, here) OR doing laundry over and over while risking some of Bridget's first words for linens being spelled with only four letters.

What's a girl to do? I was seriously considering going to goodwill and searching for ex-long twin sheet sets (in all my spare time) but this thought alarmed Amanda and made me realize that my mother would DIE if she thought my children were getting bed-bugs from the homeless, or whoever might be touching the goodwill sheets. Plus, we all know that "bed-bugs" are a slightly sore topic in my extended family right now....

I was resigned to Target. Again.

Then I was putting away some laundry (don't worry, not all of it- my kitchen table is far from naked) and found my wedding sheets. I chose my bridal bedding from the Swell dorm line that Target was selling at the time, because I am a sucker for Cynthia Rowley and multi-colored stripes. I still have the shower curtain up in the kids' bathroom (well, in theory. I haven't removed the Valentine's curtain from the bathroom yet) and the hand towels. (That part is actually true). I loved the sheets because I grew up with white sheets and a powerful menstrual cycle- not a good combo. Once I realized you could get multi-colored striped and RED sheets, I felt like I had just discovered Google Reader. (Ha! Not true either- I don;t think Google Reader even existed when I got married almost seven years ago- if it did, i certainly had never heard of it. Or heard of a blog, for that matter.) Anyway, I felt elated.

These sheets were my favorite, until I got pregnant with Owen and realized what it was like not to have a real period for almost a year, and then pretty immediately afterwards (or at least it feels like it) got pregnant with Bridget. White sheets all around! Plus, my mother made me a BEAUTIFUL quilt for my 27th birthday, in pastels and clear, sea glass-ey colors. Beautiful, but not matching my multi-colored stripes.

My swell sheets, soft, beautiful.... SOFT have been languishing in the sheet box under my bed, forgotten like Junie in the rapture of motherhood. Then I got inspired, and in less than an hour, converted my beloved queen size sheets into extra-long sheets for my big boy's bed. Fitted and top. Admittedly, they look like a squirrel all hopped up on crystal meth sewed them , but they are done, on the bed and....

They look perfect. Like I chose them for the room, spending hours online, trying to match the perfect color scheme. Mimsie made the bed quilt- TOO CUTE.

Apparently, I have a very narrow palette of acceptable decorating colors. This might seem shocking until you ask Craig how many gallons of light blue paint we have in the garage.

Five, all just a tiny bit different from one another.

(Please excuse some of the ghetto aspects of this, like the lack of bedskirt. I almost started that tonight too, but then I recognized what a bad idea it is to start a sewing project at midnight. The old me would have done it in a heartbeat, but this is the new me. The one who looks at naked mattresses, apparently.)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

I thought I was a genius

Let's make these, I think to myself. What a good Martha-esque mom I will be. I will be the-mom-who-makes-itty-bitty-cookies- while-chatting-charmingly-with-her-preschooler.

Within 10 minutes I was emphatically yelling "Don't lick your ball!" to said preschooler. (Cookie dough is too close to play-doh to distinguish, apparently).

I will never serve you something my child helped me cook. I will lie and say I am (to make him feel good) but rest assured, I have remade a new batch while he was sleeping. This is why I no longer bake.