Friday, August 22, 2008

Note to Self: 5th Edition

I just realized it's Friday and I haven't even STARTED my Note to Self piece. I usually start it, um, Saturday.
A little behind.
I guess I let the whole "just relax and give yourself a break every once in a while" mentality hang around a little too long!

1. But I did learn (once again) that I'm not alone in the world! There is at least one other precious misunderstood soul out there that has what I call "sinus days" every once in awhile for no apparent reason! Well, turns out there might be a reason and I should check with my doctor about it.

Don't ya just love blog-land?

2. Hmmm. Let's see. What else have I learned...
Ah yes, clotheslines are wonderful. Especially wonderful are the sheets that are dried on clotheslines. And sheets that are dried on clotheslines make outside-smelling beds that we can sleep on, dreaming of gramma's house in the summertime when she'd open all the windows because she refused to use air conditioning and we could smell the outside all night long.

Mmm. Clotheslines ARE wonderful.

3. Change takes courage. Can't elaborate on that just yet, but trust me on this one.

4. Cameras don't work when you don't charge the batteries. At least the newfangled cameras with batteries that require recharging don't anyway.

5. When I try to think of stuff I've learned throughout the week at the last minute, I don't do so well!

I'll make up for it next week!

What have you learned this week?

Trash to treasure of a different variety

As I think about gardening next year, I return to another idea I've wanted to implement for quite awhile. And that is composting.
I did a quick search and came up with this post by Wes, who lives in Los Angeles and I thought - if he can do it, I can do it!
Wes uses a trash bin as his compost container and we happen to have two bins of our own. I've found in the last few months that I've taken over "trash duty" that we've been using only one of the bins on a regular basis, so I think I'm going to re-purpose the other one to start my compost bin! (Shhh...don't tell my hubby. He doesn't like change so much!)

8/27/08: this site lists a ton of things that you can use for composting!

100 months of Marriage

After these past two (or three) tough years in our marriage, I really want to do something special for my hubby. I was thinking about how during our first year, we'd do something special each month on the 22nd (we were married on July 22nd) and today happens to be the 22nd! Then I did the math and realized it's the 96th month that we've been married....and did some more math (ouch) and discovered that while we are on our road trip to Baton Rouge in November, it will be our 100 month anniversary!!
I'm looking for any suggestions for celebrating this milestone, WHILE on the road, AND on a budget. Any ideas? I've got three months to plan!
Thanks y'all!

Once Bitten

I've been bitten by the gardening bug.


It was bound to happen!

Even though I've been, shall we say, a bit remis in my gardening attempts in the past, I'm gearing up and planning next year's garden! It seems every day I add to the list of things I want to grow. I'm especially interested in the types of things that "thrive on neglect" like horseradish!

Here are pictures of my harvest from Mom's garden the other day. The giant zuke is actually 16". I thought it looked about the length of an infant (aprox 18-22") but now I realize they probably have their legs all scrunched up when I'm holding them! (And I have no sense of time or space!)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Blissfully Quilted

Jo, over at Blissed Out is having a fantastic baby quilt giveaway. Hop on over and take a peek! Her story is really inspiring and touches my heart.

The possibilities are endless...

I'm sitting here, thinking about my infant-sized Zuke and thinking "I swear I heard something about a zucchini recipe just yesterday." Indeed, I finally recalled Jana's Zucchini Challenge and am planning my dinner and skipping lunch to save room for her Parmesan Crusted Zucchini. And since this 7.5 lb/2' zuke is going to go far, I'm thinking of trying Suzie's latkes too! Maybe I'll make some Zucchini Bread or try frying some of it up like my friend did this weekend. MMmmmm...

Or maybe I'll try Jenn's Zucchini Soup. Maybe freeze some for the long raw days of late February when you start forgetting what home-grown veggies tasted like.

Do you have a favorite Zucchini recipe?

How about eggplant? I have two huge eggplants and I have to admit, I'm not a big fan. Help me discover the greatness of eggplant! (I hate to see it go to waste!)

I also got a couple jalapenos, sweet banana peppers, TONS of tomatoes of all kinds (green, roma, beefsteak, etc.), some green beans (my hubby actually likes these!), summer squash, and a mystery pepper.

I also think I'll save some of the seeds to start my own plants next year. Anyone have any seed-saving advice? The last time I had a vegetable garden, I was 8 so I'm a bit of a newbie, though I'm sure a lot will come back to me. I just hate to pay good money for store-bought seeds when I'm simply throwing my own away (or eating them) while I could be saving a few for next year!

Tomorrow I'm going back to mom's garden one last time while "garden-sitting" and I'm hoping the spaghetti squash is ready!

I decided to start a listing of my favorite "Blecipes," recipes I find on my blog list. I think it could become a verrrrrrry long list!

Chore Slogans

I've come up with some catchy slogans to remind myself what I should be trying to accomplish each day.

Mending Monday
Tidy (fridge) Tuesday
Handwash Wednesdays

What are some of the funny things you do to remind yourself of your chore routines?

Mixing Metaphors: Vegging Out The Ears

Last night, it was about harvesting aproximately 30lbs of veggies and then vegging out: cuddling up with my hubby to watch Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International. Dracula's castle was a bust. Oh well. High expectiations I suppose. But the other place they investigated was great!

I got no sewing done, but I did make it home from my mom's garden just in time to take my clothes down from the clothes line before they got dewed on. My poor hubby. He's so stressed out about the folks that he trudged out to the clothesline, grabbed his comfy pants off the line, (left everything else to the mercy of the setting sun) and plopped himself on the couch. No fun anticipating the worst. (Not productive either, but I've got enough to do working on myself!)

I did manage to straighten up my sewing table a bit so that I'm ready to go if I get the chance to tonight. I caught sight of the fabric for the burping cloths that I want to make for my dear SIL. I can't wait to get started on them! I got pictures of their nursery this morning and I'm getting all kinds of ideas for the baby's cross stitch.

But before I load myself up with even more projects than I know what to do with, I have to go back and read this as a reminder not to get obsessed! (Again.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Profound moments

Monday and Tuesday nights were spent making furniture deliveries for our church ministry. I have to tell ya, it might mean more work, but it might make sense to make home visits before we all head out with four cars going in circles! The first night we didn't have to turn around at all, but last night got very confusing. Way downtown the numbers on the apartment houses are teeny tiny and at night a 9 looks like and 8 and then you realize - you gotta lug that thing across the street now!!

But the most profound moment came at our last stop Monday night. The guy lived on the fourth floor WITH an elevator, (Seriously, thank you, Lord!) and we got the couch and the kitchen table and the chairs up and into his apartment and started helping him put the legs on the table. There's four of us and we're all kneeling on the floor, working on the legs and he starts telling us his story.

He was homeless. Lost everything, and ended up staying in a rent-a-room sort of situation. Except it ended up being a crack house. In March, he somehow met this lady who works with a non-profit group downtown. She got him help through her program which provides security deposits and job programs for the homeless so they only have to come up with the first month's rent instead of double. He's disabled, but was able to get a job near his new apartment.

Then he looked up from what he was doing and said "the most important thing I've learned from all of this is to ask for help."

That is one thing that God has been trying to pound into my brain since before I can remember. I'm altogether too independent.
The guy was very appreciative but not in a sticky-sweet way. Gentle. He was very gentle. It reminded me of a scripture that says in a nutshell - you never know when you may be serving an angel of the Lord. He just had that sense about him that was gentle, genuine and not appologetic or gushy.

It never ceases to amaze me how by serving others, I am blessed beyond measure.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bucket List Revised

In my original bucket list, I listed all the things I want to do in my lifetime, things I don't want to forget, things I dream of. Many things I'm sure won't happen, but it's fun to imagine.
While I visited the list over the last few weeks, I've made up my mind that some of the things I've "always wanted to do" are really not things I care deeply about any longer. They sound good, but they aren't deep personal desires of mine.

So here is my revised Bucket List:

-experience parenting (whether via giving birth, adopting or foster parenting)
-see Niagara Falls
-visit Australia
-see the Grand Canyon
-visit Ireland
-be professionaly trained by a pastry chef
-take a photography course
-have a family reunion at a log cabin on a lake and sit on the porch in matching rocking chairs with my hubby, watching our kids and grandkids play and visit.
-work with inner city youth

(I still want to do this, but it's not exactly a burning desire of mine. More like something I think I SHOULD do.)
-learn a foreign language

(these really aren't bucket list items and should just be on my goal list)
quit coffee
quit dairy
quit processed sugar
quit the snooze button
quit yeast
regularly declutter
regularly exercise
regularly print and frame photos
regularly update quicken
regularly read 1/2 hour every day from my reading list
regularly write poetry (I'm realizing this can't be forced. I write really well when I'm upset. Happy poems aren't in me. I don't want to be upset on a regular basis, so this goal "kicks the bucket!")

(these really are more like interesting things I'd enjoy learning more about)
In order of most to least interest:
learn how to do flatwork (a beading technique)
learn crochet
learn cutting
learn to knit (more than a scarf)

(This is something that when I was very young, I heard others say they wanted to do and the idea of it is really great. Reallistically though, it isn't high on my personal list. More a romanticized idea of a young girl wanting to see the world.)
see every continent

What do you think of a staggered plan of sorts?
I mean, here I am - at 31 years old, listing off things I want to do before I die. I know this list will be quite different for people in different stages of their lives, but I'm thinking it would be good to create a 5 yr plan, 10 year plan, 20, etc...
I like the idea because it takes some of the pressure off.

So here's my bucket list in stages:

-see a sunrise at the beach or from a great vista at least once a year

5 year plan: (by 36)
-take a photography course
-see Niagara Falls

7 year plan: (by 38)
-experience parenting (whether via giving birth, adopting or foster parenting)

10 year plan: (by 41)
-see the Grand Canyon

15 year plan: (by 46)
-work with inner city youth

20 year plan: (by 51)
-be professionaly trained by a pastry chef

35 year plan: (by 66)
-visit Ireland

45 year plan: (by 76)
-have a family reunion at a log cabing on a lake and sit on the porch in matching rocking chairs with my hubby, watching our kids and their kids play and visit.
-visit Australia

Monday, August 18, 2008

A weekend of Traditions

This was our 2nd annual Saco River Rafting trip with two other couples. Parts of the river are notorious for wild parties, but we visit the less-traveled section just up river from that.

The weekend was filled with traditions, old and new:

First up is Friday night's snack after everyone is set up and we can relax for the first time around the fire. My hubby pulls out his open-fire grilling rack and we have turkey kielbasa. Just a few bites for each of us is the perfect topping to a hectic day and the perfect christening to start the weekend. We don't do turkey kielbasa for health reasons, one of the ladies has no gallbladder, so can't have pork. Fine with me...turkey kielbasa is surprisingly fantastic!

Oh, and our campfires are usually made up of 2X4's that are leftovers from my hubby's jobs. Not exactly the romantic fire of my dreams, but it puts out the heat just as well!

This is our "tent," among other things! Didn't turn out quite as convenient as I thought it would be, but it certainly was dry! This may or may not continue to be a tradition (depending on the weather!)
Breakfast the first morning is usually big and hearty because lunch on the river is easy-to-carry snack-type foods. Enter my hubby's Cheezy Eggs. Recipe: a dash of milk. a dash of pepper, a dozen eggs and 12 oz grated cheddar. Mmmmm... and the best. blueberries. ever.
And peaches. Can't forget the peaches! One of the couples lives right next to a fantastic farm stand and brings all the fresh local fruits and veggies we can possibly consume (and more!)

And we can't forget my hubby's coffee. We used an $8 percolator for a few years, but it takes forEVER (according to my hubby who cannot function without caffeine) so he treated himself to this spiffy new unitasker this year! And of course, we still use the little teapot for our hot cocoa and teas! (Especially when we're finished with our next tradition...)

Here we're all lined up ready to go rafting...waiting for two of the guys to get back from dropping off the car at the bottom of our trip!

Rafting in the rain. Mmm. Not our favorite tradition. Last year it was overcast almost all day and rather miserable, but we made the best of it and made a pact that we'd be smarter in the years to come. Well, they all came on with startlingly similar cases of amnesia and wanted to raft thought I was going to stay behind. It was forcasted for rain and thunderstorms even though Saturday morning it was so hot. I finally convinced myself to go when they were getting all sunscreened up and changing into their suits and getting all excited!
If you catch a peek at the top/center of this pic you can see the leaves are already changing!! Of course, it's at 2,369 feet above sea level, but's August 16th!

... and 15 minutes after we got in the river, it started sprinkling. But the water was moving pretty swiftly because it was about twice as high as it was last year. The trip last year took about 5 hours, this year's was only about 3 1/2. (Thankfully!!)
Eventually we caught the thunderstorm (or it caught us!) and we headed for the treeline. It got preety cold with the rain and wind and already being soaked, but we got through it dreaming of a new tradition for next year - scuba diving in the carribean!

This is my hubby's mess kit from boy scout days. He made the casing himself for his sewing merit badge. It hasn't held up TOO well, but after all-it has been 20 years! One of the many projects I'd like to take on this fall is re-sewing his pouch. Or maybe just fixing the blown seams and putting a new snap on it. We'll see. I'm not sure how he'll take it. He's very sentimental about these things and may like it just the way it is!
I sometimes call him my LeatherMan. He uses his Leatherman almost constantly when we're camping or hiking. My tough guy!

And of course, there's the tradition of me taking all kinds of random, mostly nature-related photos!

Quite by accident, we ended up camping at the same campground that our premarital "marriage mentors" camp at every year (for two whole weeks!) and we got to do some visiting before we left Sunday afternoon. It was so great to catch up. We exchanged e-mails, so hopefully we'll have a little better luck keeping in touch this year!
While there, we got a visit from a heron and I got to snap away! Did you know they nest in trees and in communities? It just seemed odd to me. I've never seen more than one at any given time and I don't really know why the thought of them nesting in trees sounds odd, it just does!