Stuff and Nonsense…

Jen-and-MinThese two make me want to start singing “Sisters” from White Christmas….I’m going to do it, “Sisters! Sisters!  There were never such devoted sisters….”  Minerva on the left is definitely Rosemary Clooney.  I love the was she’s staring down her schnoz at Vera Allen, I mean Jennie Weasley.

Buff-and-CatThese two just want some more grass clippings.  You’ll note Buffy has saved a tiny piece for later.

Ash-climbing-TreeA tree blew down during a storm last week.  It was dead and we were actually pricing having it taken down when thunder storms eliminated the issue for us.  Blessedly, the storm was traveling in a rare southerly direction, thereby preserving the fence you see behind it.

Kids-on-TreeThat’s not the only miracle either-you’ll note that not one, but two of my children are playing outside.  Playing! Outside!

Ashton-Garterstitch-scarfI tried to coax this one to model my Keyhole scarf-he was not pleased.  Looking back with the clarity of hindsight, I’ve had better ideas.

Flowering-weedYou see that?  That’s a weed.  The picture is pretty, but the weed is not.  It has stickers in addition to the little flowers and it is vining through my dwarf azaleas in a way that is not ok.  Weeds, we have lots of them…

Budding-Live-OakWe also have lots of these.  At the moment this picture was taken, this sweet little Live Oak Seed pod was still attached.  I don’t think any of them are attached anymore and they’re covering every square inch of the place with their polleny presence.  I don’t think “polleny” is a word, but I’m going to pretend it is.

And just when you think you can’t stand the pollen any more-not even one more minute…

Purple-Iris-BudYou remember…that pollen, it has a purpose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Enemy of Leisure

A month.   That’s how long it’s been since I’ve posted.  January 8th-February 10th.  That’s whack.  Why?  You may ask-I’ll be glad to share.

Work.

A month of grueling, thankless (except for the paycheck), work.

It’s the enemy of leisure, you know.  So I’ve had to be selective with my time.  Kids…hubbie…tired.  Fatigue is also the enemy of leisure.  I haven’t been completely off-goal, but I have been very limited.  I’ve done some reading, and I’ve done some knitting, and that my friends, sums it up.  Throw in a couple of rented dvd’s and a few good meals and I’ve just recapped the last month in 105 words.

Comfort and Joy!

I woke up this morning and cuddled with my six year old.  He still likes to cuddle with mom, thank goodness!  I made Nutella cocoa and a rich, strong latte and sat down with my family in the morning light.  And I felt happiness.  In that way that you feel it in random moments.  Tired, but relaxed and content.  So lucky. Such Comfort and Joy!

LatteAnd I spied our tree sitting there in the morning light and it was beautiful.

Latte-treeSo I grabbed my camera, because that what you do, right?

Christmas_Tree_Wideangle

 

You take pictures of things that are beautiful!

Christmas-Tree-Day

Pictures of Comfort and Joy!

 

 

 

The List…Etsy Edition

I’m sure we’ve all fallen victim to the time drain that is Etsy.  You log on “for just a minute” and an hour and a half later, you forcibly pry your fingers from the keyboard or screen.  Despite the obvious pitfall to browsing (loss of sleep), I do it because it makes me happy.  I love the clever, diverse, creativity you can find there. So here’s another list.  This time it’s a list of Etsy finds that I think are neat.  I use the word neat because not all of them are pretty, not all of them are cool, and although I acknowledge that some of them are kitschy, I find them all to be very….well, neat.

1.  Blown Glass Acorn Earrings $15.00…nuff said.

2.  I love this brown leather journal…hand embossed, tea stained and adorned with a butterfly.  Pricey at $75.00, but very cool.

3.  I love (!) these dictionary prints by Collage-o-Rama.  The moose is my favorite, but frankly I’ll be buying a set of these for one of my special friends who “gets me”. Priced at $7.99 (and a buy 3 get 1 free seasonal special!)

4.  I covet many things found in the Claylicious store, but I especially love these little owls.  the colors are awesome at $27.00 each.  I love the orange!

5.  Love butterflies…love this bracelet.  A sweet deal at $9.99.

6.  I didn’t really know I had a thing for moose, and then I reviewed this post…This is awesome and I love it!  A moosehead from WhiteFauxTaxidermy…$99.99.

And yes, I said “I love” like 50 times in this post, but can you blame me?  So much Etsy and so little time!

 

 

Archiving Happiness

It started yesterday.  I found myself randomly archiving moments of happiness.  I posted a status on Facebook last night-the first time I’ve posted in months.  It stated simply, “Rudolph!”  Since that moment, the list has grown incrementally, and now, it’s bubbling over…I must share…

rudolph1.  As stated previously, Rudolph makes me happy.  Yes, he’s awkwardly animated, and the dentist is irritating, but it doesn’t matter. There’s a mob of us for whom Rudolph was an eagerly anticipated event, even if Santa was skinny and more than a little mean.

2.  Sam Adams Winter Lager makes me happy.  Especially at this moment, when my beer is so cold that I have to analyze whether it’s actually crystallized or just deliciously chilled.

3.  Mindlessly surfing Etsy makes me happy.  I’ll probably post on this topic separately. So many talented and creative souls! I love the baubles I find there, and I think I’ll have to share my favorites very soon.

4.  Cozy blogs make me happy.  To be specific, those bloggers that evoke a sense of comfort, beauty and home with their posts.  They inspire me.

5.  Christmas lights make me happy.  Apparently, I won’t be growing out of it.  I find them beautiful, and oddly calming.  I think my favorites lights are those that take a small, modest, maybe even shabby home, and turn it into a hodge podge of color and festivus.  I love the celebration implied by the effort. Lights are pretty.

6.   The word “Festivus” makes me happy.  If Seinfeld existed for no other purpose, then the creation of this word justifies it’s existence for me.  I celebrate the concept of festivus.

7.   Christmas themed fiction makes me happy.  This ever-lengthening list of books is also destined to be a future post on it’s own merit.  During the month of December, I read Caron, McComber and every other beautifully sappy version of Christmas love I can get my hands on.  Some are wonderful! Some are terrible! And they all make me happy.

8.  Sappy holiday movies on the Hallmark channel make me happy.  I watch them constantly from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  The conflict is predictable, the problems are solved (frequently by a Christmas miracle) and they usually end in a cavalcade of seasonal joy.  They also remind me of my Daddy.  Pops and I watched many a sappy Hallmark movie together.  Our philosophy was simple.  Life is stressful enough.  Why would you watch stressful TV?

9.  Anticipating someone’s reaction to a gift makes me happy.  The idea that I can make them feel special is a gift in itself.

10.  Spending time with all of you through “Such the Like” makes me happy.  It’s gratifying in a way that supersedes the norm.

I like this archiving of happiness.  I like it very much.

 

The List

It’s been exactly a month since my last post.  In that time, I’ve worked…hard.  Work, work, work….makes Amy a narrow and creatively void soul.  Not really, but I did feel sorry for myself a little.  I had to travel for business in November and I returned Thanksgiving week with three days to ready our home for my husband’s family Christmas.  Yes, Christmas.  Twenty of my in-laws descended the Friday after Thanksgiving for what can only be described as two days of typical, quasi-dysfunctional mayhem.  It was nice.  I then careened back into work.  Today, I took a deep breath.  I poured a glass of wine, and for the first time in a month, I sat down at the computer and logged into my WordPress account.  My friends, it’s been too long.  I missed you.  I missed me.

But the reality is, I have bupkis for content.  Not a lot besides work, family, etc,  happening here.  I have managed to get a lot of my Christmas shopping done.  It was one of the priorities I had to slot in front of my time here.  While shopping, I have happened across some pretty neat stuff.  So in the absence of anything substantive, I present you with my official 2012 Christmas list.

1.  Denise Interchangeable Crochet Hooks….I chalk this one up to Jennifer Hansen’s Craftsy class.  I’ve coveted them for months now.

Denise Hooks

2.  Boots!  I can’t get enough of them….all kinds…all of them!!!

UGG

Frye

6pm grey wedge

Frye CindyI freaking love them….seriously…good to know there are areas in life where I can magically morph into my 25 year old self.

3.  A great general purpose lens for my Canon Rebel…maybe this one?

Canon lens4.  Some watercolor pencils and paper

Watercolor pencil5.  A really good stovetop espresso maker.  I paid 9.99 at TJ Max for the one I use and it’s a pain in the arse.

Bialetti TrioBialetti Musa6.  PJ’s!

Santa PJ'sI love me some Santa Claus!

Sock Monkey Santa PJ'sI love me some sock monkeys!

7.  Slippers!

slipper flip flops

Mukluks

Tall Mukluks

clog

I wear a lot of black and brown.  Slippers should express your colorful self :)

8.  Earrings! Of any description…not terribly picky.

Aga Earrings

These are by Aga Designs.  I find I love everything she does-including her Craftsy class.

EtsyI found these on Etsy….

David YurmanDavid Yurman….a girl can dream, can’t she?  But really, who needs David Yurman.  Last year, my sweet baby girl helped her daddy pick out a pair of dangly gold and turquoise earrings at Target, and they are the bomb! Mama likey the earrings.

9.  Time

10.  Energy

There you have it! The first installment of my 2012 Christmas list. Hubbie asked for it weeks ago.  Better late than never! Have a great week my friends!

Poultry Parade

My chickens are divas.  Not only do they lay extraordinarily tasty eggs, but they are tremendously amusing to me.  They’re greedy, messy, ridiculous and sweet.  And although it’s been quite a while since I posted about them, they take up quite a bit of my time and energy, and deserve a little press.

I have six chickens in two domiciles.  Four (The Hogwart’s Four) live in a split-level ranch kind of chicken coop with an extension.  The other two live in a chicken tractor-or what I like to call the chicken equivalent of a classic Air Stream travel trailer. Let’s do a roll call with their updated head shots…First, there’s Hermione

Hermione is a Barred Rock and the undisputed Queen of the coop.  She’s a real diva’s diva.  She coexists with the other ladies in peace and harmony, right up until they cross her.

Hermione’s sister, Luna, however, is more reserved.  She’s the first to move out of the spotlight and the last to investigate when there’s activity in the coop.  Luna is cool, quiet and distant.

Then there’s Minerva.  A Black Sex Link, this lady doesn’t suffer fools.  She just doesn’t really have time for nonsense.  I might even call her haughty. Just look at the disdain in her expression…

And then there’s Jenny.  Jenny’s the chicken equivalent to Paris Hilton.  She’s a party girl-always the first to the door when there’s company in the coop.  She seeks out the camera like it’s the paparazzi at an after-party. Diva-licious!

 OK, moving on to the Tractor Team…This is Buffy, the Buff Orpington.  I love this chicken.  She’s just sweet.  She’s kind of isolated with a companion who is the chicken equivalent of paranoid schizophrenic (more on this in a moment).  My goal is to integrate her with the Hogwart’s four.  I tried once and she wound up with her ear ripped in two.  I’m not sure if one of the divas did it, or if she did it to herself fleeing their bullying.  I pulled her immediately, though, and haven’t had the nerve to try it again.  The guilt was terrible.  Even with the slight ear deformity, though, she’s a looker!

Catniss.  I don’t even really know what to say.  She’s like a demented version of Miss Prissy (you know, the chicken on Bugs Bunny).  She tends to go into panicked, self-destructive flight.  She does this frequently for no visible reason.  She just freaks out. And when she freaks out she starts flinging herself against the coop.  This always, always results in bleeding along the top of her nose.  I’m pretty sure she’s brain damaged, and I’m starting to think it’s stunted her growth.  I got her as a chick just after Easter, and she just doesn’t seem to be putting on the growth you’d expect from a Rhode Island Red.

One of the reasons I love Buffy so is because she’s so patient with Catniss.  No matter how many times the freak chicken bloodies herself, Buffy never gets aggressive with her.  In fact, I’ve never seen Buffy peck at Catniss at all.  She’s a saint. As I mentioned before,  I separated them once, and Buffy actually acted distressed that she wasn’t with Catniss.  I find this difficult to understand because, again, Catniss is a freak.  I’m not sure what to do with her.  I don’t get that she’s healthy, and I can’t bring myself to bump her off.  For now, I’m watching her closely, and planning another attempt to integrate Buffy with the more “balanced” crew in the Hogwarts Hacienda.  Then I’ll figure it out….

 

So there you have my Diva roll call – five big beautiful hens and a slightly demented ingenue pullet.

 

 

 

 

Acts of Random Gastronomy

Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun…

When I ate my first Big Mac, there was not a McDonald’s in my home town.  You had to drive about an hour in any given direction to get to one.  When I tried my first one, it was love at first bite.  (Scarcity drives demand, don’t  you know.)  I don’t remember if it was my sophomore or junior year in high school, but we finally got a McDonald’s in my little East Texas town. The cars literally stretched about a mile down the street the Saturday it opened.  I’m not sure that there was ever a more anticipated opening in our little burg.  It was big news.  Yep, big news.  But it wasn’t pretty.  I have vague memories  an  undetermined period of time where I consumed  Big Macs daily. Looking back, it’s hard to believe.

I don’t love Big Macs anymore.  I don’t love McDonald’s.  And I certainly wouldn’t drive out of my way to get to one.  There have been times when I’ve pulled into the drive-through for my kids and smell has repulsed rather than enticed me.  In spite my general abhorrence for the restaurant chain, however, about once a year, I have an inexplicable craving for a Big Mac.

Over the last couple of weeks, I felt it coming on.  I’d see a commercial, and be tempted.  I knew it was coming, and when I woke up this morning, I had a sneaky suspicion that  today was the day.  Today was the day for a Mac Attack!

I’m not gonna lie.  I was stress eating.  Stress with a capital “S”.  And I’m not ashamed to say it…That sandwich was good.  I enjoyed it.  I didn’t feel bad about it.  I don’t now.  And I’m done.  Done until the next time.  My next annual (or whatever-I’m pretty sure it was well over a year this time) Mac Attack.  Nostalgia?  Probably Tasty? Usually. An anomaly?  Absolutely. Acts of random gastronomy…

Obstacles…

 

It’s been a month of transition at my house.  Transition back to school.  Transition back into my husband’s business travel.  Transition into a new level of engagement in my own job, which has also necessitated travel.  As it turns out, I’m not as good at transition as I used to be.  This morning finds me reflecting back on a month of obstacles.  Isn’t that absurd?  It’s so easy for us to focus on what we aren’t able to do instead of really experiencing what we’ve done.

I sat down today to write about obstacles to my blogging.  Mainly because I carry masses of guilt on a daily basis.  Guilt for what I haven’t done or haven’t done well.  I added my blog to this list over the last couple of weeks.  I felt guilty because I didn’t do something that I do strictly because I enjoy it.  And guess what? The guilt eliminates the enjoyment.  That’s an irony I don’t find enjoyable.  And I love irony.

So this morning I woke up a little angry.  Per the usual, I was angry with myself.  So I decided to give into the obstacles. I let myself be interrupted by my kids and chose not to be frustrated by it. I let myself go onto other things when i couldn’t start a load of laundry because I’m out of laundry detergent.  I let myself read blogs and link to sites as my whim dictated. I let myself drink a cup of coffee and do nothing. And it was nice.  And I don’t feel guilty.  I gave into the obstacles, and I was able to cut myself some slack instead of focusing on what isn’t getting done.  (I win!)

….And now I’m blogging.  (I win again!)  And I’m still going to talk about those obstacles, because really, they’re kind of funny.

1.  I finished my Tunisian Multi-Garment, but have no photos to blog because I can’t decide the best way to lace it together.  I’ve laced and re-laced this garment around 5 times and undo it every time.  There’s a strong possibility I’m subconsciously postponing the inevitable because I don’t want  my picture taken.  Hmmmm.

2.  I’ve crocheted what I feel is an adorable scarf.  I can’t finish it, however, because I went off pattern and ran out of yarn with only three sides of the final border row to go.  I went to the yarn store yesterday and they’re out, so I ordered some.  It’s going to take two weeks for the yarn to come in because I went to my local yarn store instead of ordering it online.  Why don’t I order it online?  Because of guilt! I love the little ladies at my yarn store and I feel obligated to get it from them because of their elderly wonderfulness. Next.

3.  I’ve finished a pencil skirt and I think it’s pretty awesome.  I’m actually taking license by saying I’ve finished it because I haven’t.  I need to add a hook and eye to the waist band.  That’s all.  I’ve needed to add this hook and I for roughly four weeks.  Still haven’t done it.  I want to wear it to work.  But I can’t because it needs a hook and eye.  Could it be that I’m postponing completion on purpose?  Probably.  You see, I want to blog my sewing triumph, but then…I’d probably need to have my picture taken….

Oh well, I think I’ll deal with one shortcoming at a time…don’t you think?  I’m going back here now…Wishing you all a peaceful weekend!….Amy