Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Two Thirds!

Just getting some more 365's out of the way here.
I'm now 2/3 of the way through this project and it's become a ritual, sometimes a ritual accompanied by a scowl, but a fixture none the less.

(365 Day 234)

I still have some things I want to try before it's over though. I was thinking about a 365 Cliche Series. Replete with myself in the rain, giant sun flares all about, my bony, slumping back to the camera, head turned toward it with a lost looking expression as mascara runs down a la Mr. Cooper...

(365 Day 235)

It could be a "How many cliches can you find?" sort of thing.

(Sorry Grandmommy, I know you don't know what I'm talking about here.)


(365 Day 237)

I'm not being harsh on fellow Flickr members, plenty of my favorites involve that stuff. I'm also well aware of my own overused devices (extreme perspectives, retro, anyone?) - especially when uninspired, as is often the case. I'm just being silly, here.

It saves me the trouble of captioning these images with something thought provoking.

Besides, I just can't get Alice out of my head...

Friday, August 27, 2010

"Well, you know... support the team."

Had the big "Fired Up" pep rally yesterday at my daughter's school. I'm still not super into it...

...but I did wear purple shoes (365 Day 234.)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Second Summer

I did the responsible thing and made it through parental hazing- I think! I've provided growing room, dozens of specifically colored folders, volunteered to make corn husk dolls, taken an endless list of dates I'll never remember, and adjusted to 6 am mornings without one late day. So, the initial blues of not having kiddles with me will be wearing off soon.

Then I get my second summer.

I have to admit, there is a little part of me that is kind of excited about having the house to myself for several hours a day. I feel like a kid whose parents are going out of town.

I used to say that when they were both in school, I would stay in my pajamas most of the day for a whole year, like when I was a teenager in the summer. But that wasn't really practical and I was in a sort of daze without them that first year, anyway.
Since then, I have enjoyed trying things I probably wouldn't have if they were here (like this blog, yoga, 365, bigger knitting projects.)

This year it may be playing the piano, taking longer runs down a quiet road, and knitting like crazy. I can do whatever I want. Or, better yet, I can do nothing.

Who knows? My husband may come home on his break to find me eating chocolate cake for lunch, with "my" music blaring, playing super mario (the old one.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Happier Trails

We took the kids trail riding over the weekend, squeezing the last few drops out of a thoroughly used up summer with an equally squeezed pocketbook.

So, we loaded up the truck in the rain, threw some food in a laundry basket, forgot pots and pans, and set out with our bikes (Three of which my father had found in trash piles on the side of the road. He's into cheap stuff too) hooked up to a homemade rack.

We chose a campground with an easy trail because I'm not a big fan of scary drops, but that was full of twists, turns, up, and downs so we thought they could do it and might (crossed our fingers) even like it.

The trail was only 8 miles long, but the look on the kids faces half way through gave it the feel of a death march, so we cut it short and made hot dogs.

Their attitudes were getting to me. I mean how many dance recitals have I watched, helped with, and even (urgh!) performed in for my daughter? And then there's the soccer field and taekwondo studio I lived at for a couple of years during my son's practices. I told them this trip and that very fun vacation we took them on were the only things of "ours" that we'd asked them to try and enjoy with us. Was that so much, especially after their dad fixed our bikes as good as new?

After lunch they soothed themselves with cheetos and nutella (?) So, my husband and I sneaked off to do the trail, fast, by ourselves. It was fun, slightly jarring, bonding. And it gave me time to think about something his aunt had said about how her teenage son complained through a camping trip to Civil War sites one summer, but now is quick to admit that it was the best trip he ever took.

By the time we got back they felt better and apologized for being grumpy. We felt better too and were all ready to cool off in the lake.

We gave it one more try the next day. We planned to just let them finish the part of the trail they didn't do the next day ( a very downhill part.) They did great and I'm sure I saw a little pride in my son's exression when he later talked about it.

I have to believe they like this on some level. And that they need it too. This is family life, sans technology, condensed down to the bare essentials: us, a small camper, a huge forest, lots of food, and no utensils to cook with.

(see on my flickr)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I hate our main bathroom. I know the world is full of real problems, so I don't indulge this thought beyond a mere feeling when I enter that room.
A feeling like my soul dying.

It's the size of a closet with hard water stains in the shape of butterflies in the tub, rotten flooring under layers of grungy linoleum, mismatched brass and chrome, white toilet/off white sink, poor lighting (thank goodness), mildewed caulking, dingy, peeling wallpaper, warped cabinets...need I say more?

I've known what I wanted for years. Something in keeping with an old home and small bathroom. But there was no point wasting a dime until we were ready to start from the floor up. And after pricing the tub I wanted, we knew we weren't ready.

Then, on my way home from coffee with my dad, I spotted this in a neighbor's front yard, brand new and for sale. It was a fourth of the typical price.

So for now it sits in the garage (another soul killing mess.) But, the Day of Reckoning is at hand!

(365 Day 225)

Oatmeal Pullover in Camo?

I finished the Oatmeal Pullover by Jane Richmond. It was designed for inexpensive Lion Brand yarn but I chose this paintbox yarn because I had to get rid of it. I bought it years ago, when I started knitting, to use for the dreaded Bulky Brioche Raglan that whipped me. It seemed wrong to spend so much on a yarn and never use it.

(matchy matchy, 365 Day 224)

But, I don't like the color in this pattern. I thought it looked potholder-ish, but the lower half of the sweater takes on a sort of zig zag pattern that my husband says look like camo. So, I'm going to unknit the bottom, and use an extra ball or two of the same yarn interchangeably to, hopefully, keep the color pattern from forming.

We'll see. It is fitted in the arms (as many Ravelers have noted) but not uncomfortable, especially once it's not in the 90's outside. I'm sure I'll use it. But, I don't think I'll ever love it. So, I started another in a cheaper off white Lion Brand yarn in my stash, hoping that the oatmeal color of this new yarn will override the quality and produce something I truly love.

And since the goal is using up all my saved yarn this year, I'll at least be accomplishing that.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Vant Dis

That's the title of one of my bookmarks. And the list of pages of camera accessories, shoes, diy projects, music, and housewares just keeps growing.

I would never expect to get all of it. We live on a tight budget. Besides, everyone in my family sees the "I Vant Dis" folder on a daily basis and ignores it, even around Christmas and my birthday. Sniff, sniff. No, I'm not really serious about making all my materialistic dreams come true, that's not really the point. It's more like a dumping ground for those wistful desires I don't take seriously. The more "serious" things , like fixing up our bathroom, I pray about.
I see, I like, I save to folder, I forget about it. If something "stays with me" for a while I can either save for it or use it as inspiration to make something similar.

A brief excerpt from my all encompassing list:

How to make a spinning wheel for $2.50
Family grain mill
macrame owl necklace
lucite bracelets
civia cycles
retro usb turntable
star wars cookie cutters
clawfoot tubs
Diana lens
This is Blythe
running skirts
murphy beds

Anyway, a certain Rolling Stones song comes to mind as I look through it.
And I'm ok with not always getting what I want. I know that makes the times when I actually do get blessed with it, more precious. Same principle we use with our children. Sometimes they need to hear, "No."

But a few days ago I actually deleted something off the list:

I had been wanting to switch to running shoes like this for a couple of months now and was disappointed to find they were completely sold out and had been for months, with no word on when the company would have more. This wasn't even a cost issue (they cost about what a pair of shoes at the sporting goods store would cost.) There was just too high of a demand for them. The closest thing I could find didn't seem as comfortable to me and looked like Squidward's tentacles. (I don't need more stares or honks as I run.)

(365 Day 222)

Then after trying ebay one more time, I found an unused pair in my size. This is uncommon.

So I got the shoes and a reminder for my kids and myself: God is interested in our needs and even in our tiniest desires. He won't always say yes; but sometimes, if we'll be patient and grateful, He may just bless us with something we never considered seriously. Like weird running shoes
or a new claw foot bathtub (found in a man's front yard for less than 1/4 the original price.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Utah (Part 7 of the Longest Road Trip Series Ever)

(365 Day 159)

We went on up into Utah after the Grand Canyon, meeting some friends at Zion Park. After the cold at The Grand Canyon this was a real relief: mild climate, hills and mountains on every side of our little pop up, and beautiful clear skies.

Our first day we hiked The Watchman Trail, very easy and fun with lots of things for my son to climb. We were pretty bummed out that The Virgin Narrows were closed, due to high water, because that was the hike I'd wanted to come here for. But we consoled ourselves with the prospect of seeing our friends that used to be neighbors and would be again in Zion, if only for two days. That night we roasted marshmallows and laughed around the fire with them.

The next day our two families planned to hike all day with a picnic lunch.

The first hike was to the three Emerald Pools. But it being Saturday and this being an easy hike, it was also very crowded. I felt like I was in a never ending line at Luby's.

The next hike was a big test for me. We thought the test was how far would I make it on the way to Angel's Landing before my fear of heights kicked in. But it was actually how long would I let group mentality control me (kidding.) We followed Walter's Wiggles to Scout's Overlook, and from there we had the option to continue climbing slickrock while holding onto a chain to the top of Angel's Landing, with a 3 ft wide path and a drop on either side of 800 or 1200ft. This leads to...

my camping lesson #12- Set a limit on how much fear you will test your psyche with per trip. Because it's not vacation if you have to be committed when it's over.

At first I didn't want to be a drag to the group, so I walked on eyeing my youngest and saying, "Close to the wall!" like I had Tourette's until we got to Scout's Overlook. I'll save the details for a journal entry but let me say I was 3 chains up Angel's Landing when God told me I should not be doing this. I looked at my friends and said," I should not be doing this."

And that was the end of mine (and my son's) Angel's Landing climb. Had I seen what was further on, I would have dragged my daughter off and guilt tripped my husband into quitting too. Lucky for them it was out of my view.
Even my husband had to admit later that it was the stupidest thing he ever did.

If you're hardcore and I sound like a killjoy, sorry, but I think parents should live to parent.

Our last day it was just our little family, so we hiked to Weeping Rock. Aptly named because nerves were frayed, kids were no longer enthusiastic without their friends there, and I was ready to weep a little. This water dripping there is said to have taken 1200 years to filter through the Navajo limestone and Kayenta rock above our heads. Trippy.

(365 Day 161)

Since we wouldn't be renting gear and doing the Narrows, we went horseback riding past The Patriarchs. I think the kids enjoyed their colorfully named horses and I imagined what it would be like to be alone on the trail hundreds of years ago on horseback.

Zion was pretty cool. My husband wants to go back-immediately.

Our last hiking destination was Bryce Canyons. And even though my kids were tired of using their legs and it was hot and the wind would suddenly freak out and sandblast us, I thought it was the neatest.

We walked a six mile figure eight trail of some steep climbs, combining Queen's Garden, Peekaboo Trail and the Navajo Loop. It would be the perfect trail to run. I could've ran all over that place all day if I'd been there alone. But I was glad to be with my family, who else would hold a wet polaroid in each hand for me?

All the hoodoos were like something from a dream. Especially at Inspiration Point where we walked through a narrow crevice for our view to open out onto thousands of giant dribble castles. You know, like the kind you made on the beach as a child.

I wanted to take a picture at every bend,
with every type of camera I own,
and I did. And my family got sick of me.

(365 Day 162)

It was just some place I needed to see.

And when I was done seeing it, I was covered from scalp to socks in a thick layer of sand.

More pay showers, pizza, and an all night drive awaited us, but we did feel that good kind of exhausted. Like a day at the beach... or Death Valley. What felt so vast to us was really just the bottom sliver of the state, so I guess we have to go back.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Thrifted Stuff

(365 Day 219)

This is a short post without much substance to it. I just like old stuff.

Got some dollar suitcases for storage in the bathroom since a certain cat almost broke her leg on our old wire shelf/hamper thingy.

Just need the right stool or chair to sit them on. The end.

(my Flickr)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Blue Green

It's always been my favorite color. I remember joyfully coloring with the "Blue-green," "Green-blue," or the "Robin's Egg Blue" interchangeably. The larger crayola sets that had them were like the holy grail of school supplies.

(365 Day 218)

My neighbors blue- green eggs made me want to have chickens.

I love all things Martha Stewart blue, I can't help it.

There's an unusual amount of blue and green on the walls of my home.

Just thinking out loud.

(On my Flickr)