Tuesday, May 31, 2011

365 Days of Procrastination

Well, it ends here.  I'm giving myself until mid July to finish the bigger, space stealing projects I have in various stages of completion.   

We tend to have too many irons in the fire at once here.  I know that is just the reality of doing things on a budget- you have to collect things slowly and store them until your ready to do the project. (I have been saving old t-shirts in a certain group of colors for a few years now to make a rag rug.)  

 (day 138)

These are the kinds of things my husband questions my sanity about.  Sure, we have a couple of trasbags of various old t-shirts etc in the garage, and lots of old mirrors and pane windows stacked along the walls of the garage, books for folding under the bed, a basket of sea shells to be painted, a big plastic box of thrift sweaters to be recycled for yarn ...but I usually finish what I start, even if it is years later.  It just makes for a cluttered garage.

Recently, however,  my husband is talking about converting this storage room into a game room.  (I'm sorry I just can't write that without laughing at how Suburban 1980's that sounds.)  

I'm going to have to get some of "those irons" out of the garage for either the space they take up or to just get some things done.  That means I have to re-gesso one antique mirror and find a way to hang the rest, pick shelving for the bathroom, make that cold frame out of the windows I've collected, treat and repaint our patio furniture, repair an adirondack chair, and make an awning.  This will clear out the garage and completely finish my bathroom and patio.  As far as the yarn goes, I am de-stashing this year so it will happen when it happens. 

Then there's the clutter in my house.  I need to clear out cabinet and shelf space, give away some books, and be realistic about what does and doesn't fit me inside of my closet,  give away kids' clothes, and reorganize my computer area.

I really don't like mess, but I'm imperfect.  I encourage myself by repeating the mantra I learned as a young mother: "People before things."  I may not have the neatest garage or closet, and I may take a while to hang art, but at least I don't lose focus on my family.  They just have to walk carefully to get into the car is all... and make sure they have current tetanus shots.  

Maybe this will allow me to have better storage for my cameras and equipment.  Speaking of cameras, I am keeping up with 365 but am now positive I will not do one next year so that I can devote my free time to playing around with different cameras and processes.  I'm tired of the daily photo whip cracking over my head.  Chances are I'd almost take one daily anyway.

Last but not least, there is the stack of books I'm supposed to be reading.  I'll just take them on vacation.
Maybe I should give myself until mid- August.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Never Ending Knit

This is it.  The Corona Camisol.  It's meant to be loose fitted, but I think the model in the picture is pinning all the loose swaths of stockinette back with her elbow or something, because when I made it, following the pattern and gauge exactly, it looked like I was wearing a pretty colored trash bag with a hole cut in it for my head.  Not to say the details weren't cute, but blur your eyes and it was an aqua trash sack fit. 

But, I have been sick and at home all day anyway the last few days, so I decided to rip it out and  make the xs size,  but wish I had increased less than recommended.  If it fails, I won't feel as though I have because one of my goals, along with my efforts to use up all of my hoarded yarn, is to knit all of those dog-eared patterns I've been hanging onto for years.   This was one of them.

So, for that reason I am happy to try it, no matter what the outcome.  That's a good thing because, as one Raveler,  put it "This is the most mindless piece of knitting ever." 

Let the knitting ritual begin:
All I need is my couch,

My knitting stuff,

 iced coffee,
my buddies,

and I'm set.

 I think the animals like these marathon knitting sessions.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Girl

You saw my favorite boy.
Here's my favorite girl who is barely a girl at all.

But I can still see it.

(after the show, day 135)

I really love this last picture.  I know it's grainy and breaks all sorts of good portrait rules, but it is very her.  

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Boy

Here's my favorite boy who won't be a boy for long.  

(summer boy, day 133)

 (mastermind, day 143)

He's making the most of it and I try to help.
(ttv52, week 19)

To be continued...

Homegrown Tomatoes

They adorn kitchen windowsills across the country.  My favorite summer decoration.

(homegrown tomatoes, day 137)

Friday, May 20, 2011


That's an order.
I wish it were that easy.  Don't get me wrong, considering the dry spring we're having, this is the best I've ever done in my "little garden that could."   I don't have very much of anything and a few things never "took," but I wasn't really expecting us to survive on my agriculture.  I planted it to learn and I'm definitely doing that.  So far this year, I've learned:

-not to plant herbs without being sure they aren't too aggressive (bee balm,)

-and not to forget to water the potatoes,

-and that some plants bought at the grocery store may actually not be hybrid and will spread seeds everywhere (tomatillos),

-and rosemary bushes have a few good years on them before they need to be replaced or else the grasshoppers kill them,

-and how to properly prune a grapevine,

-and Grasshoppers, die!

I've got a few peppers, enough tomatoes for salad and sandwiches, a smattering of tom thumb peas (snow peas), grapes coming, squash coming, onion, and all the good herbs.

(tendril, day 131)

 Even The Great Potato Experiment Part Deux was technically more of a succes than last year's.  I had like 4 normal sized red potatoes instead of 3 mini ones.  That was totally my fault for planting late and forgetting to water them.  We had zero spring temperatures, so there was no time to grow them, stack a tire on and grow some more, etc.  I truly think this is a great idea for planting potatoes in a small space, especially in a cooler climate, and next year I will be more attentive to them.

 (experimental potatoes, day 139)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

How Very Collegiate of ME

Remember me writing about the Schwinn Collegiate bicycles I got for myself and my daughter here and here?  How I was going to try to learn how to tune up a bike?  Well, last weekend I started working on mine.  I originally envisioned my daughter working beside me on her's, just us girls, learning how to do something for ourselves while laughing and talking.  But she had just woken up (at noon,) had bedhead, and stood there shifting her bare feet back and forth impatiently.  She wasn't so enthusiastic. I did make her let my husband show both of us how to take off a wheel and change the innertube.  He was our sensei.  

Everyone should know how to do this, but until last weekend, I didn't.  I may have changed one once with my dad as a child.  Back then I had a "dirt bike" with a padded handlebar and nubby white tires that left a white mark when I skidded to a stop (I always skidded to a stop.)

The tires on this Schwinn were from 1981 and dry rotted, so  I ordered new ones in cream for both our bikes.  I didn't know how I'd like so much off white on mine, maybe I should have just bought white walls, but I thought I would have it painted anyway.

I also learned how to true a wheel. 
That's a fun kind of monotony, like braiding hair or coloring with a child. 

 The back fender was a little bent and needed adjustment.  

Then I cleaned the rust off of the rims, crank, and handlebars with steel wool and WD-40, then washed it with degreaser.  After a good washing, the paint really didn't look that bad.  It's faded in places, but since this is all about diy cheapness, I will probably just keep it.  I did try to dab a bit of matching nail polish over a couple of unsightly scratches, but being off white, it really didn't cover well, so I left it as is.

 I also don't want to paint either bike for nostalgia's sake. They both have all of the old Schwinn decals.

They even have the sticker from Fred Miller's store where the original owners bought them for their girls.   Fred Miller's is where everyone got their bikes way- back- when.

The first time I took it for a ride, I squeaked and squealed all the way to my father's house.  It was like a rolling, one woman Stomp performance.   Every dog in the neighborhood was howling as I rode by.  I got home, googled squeaky bikes, and waited for my husband to get home so we could center the rim brakes and one pad wouldn't rub against the wheel.

The next time I rode it was still making a shuffling sound when the chain moved.  I feared I'd have to repack something or other and have lots of tiny things strewn around me on the greasy garage floor, but my husband suggested the obvious- the chain was rubbing against the chain guard.  Once I bent it back in place, I could ride very discreetly (except for the squeaky, springy seat with a cut in it that bounces up and down.)  I guess I need a new one.  I'm thinking about ordering one of these, but I'd really like the old "S" saddle.

On those thin tires, I shake quite a bit on the neglected, potholed streets of my neighborhood.  But once I get past that, it's a nice ride.  It's way more comfortable for my neck and back to be upright on a bike,  like riding the bicycle my grandparents gave me as a teenager.

Today I took it to my dad's again, down the street I grew up on, past my old elementary school, past the cemetery, under the enormous live oaks that arched over the streets I rode on as a girl.  I was listening to Cornershop and thinking about Junior High, when I listened to Bon Jovi (I know) on my walkman when I rode.  It was a perfect morning.  And no dogs followed me.

(day 134

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Recite This

I  have a choice with this post.  I can just upload the photos, or use dance as a metaphor for some aspect of life, or I can say what I'm really thinking during Recital Week.

So, here's what I'm thinking:  I don't know if it's such a big deal everywhere else, but where I live it's the equivalent of a debutant's ball or quinceanera.  Weeks worth of rehearsals that keep school girls up way past bedtime, parents paying costume and recital fees, and mom's struggling with alterations and sequin applications, even if it's a "non-costume year."   Then, on recital night, relatives are charged to get in to see the performance.   I hear women carrying on conversations about it everywhere I go, sometimes accompanied with an eye roll, but they wouldn't dream of not participating.  Neither would I.

We go to a more laid back studio that only does recitals every other year with rehearsal and performance all packed into one day for free admission, but that is uncommon.  Even so, my daughter leaned close to me in the dressing room, during the show, to whisper, "See, aren't you glad you have a daughter like me?" with a smile.   It seems she'd been overhearing another girl from the studio go all diva on her mother.   I was grateful for a sweet tempered girl.  But I couldn't help thinking that even my generous, sweet tempered girl, who was both nervous and excited, probably accepts this as routine.   Though she is not selfish, she probably didn't feel grateful.  I mean, I didn't feel grateful.  Tired- yes, grateful- no.

I had just as much reason to be.  I grew up with few such experiences and am getting to provide fun lessons and things for my children that I would've liked to have (except dance, I would rather have died as a girl than wear a tutu.)  But the point is, I'm able to give this to my children and that is something to be grateful for.  The fact that her studio is not as expensive or invested in weeks of rehearsal is also something to be grateful for.    I'm just too rushed with all the hub-bub to feel it.  Have we all just gotten to a point where this is the new norm and we're just playing the roles we're supposed to.  Businesses, schools, or events require more, parents rush around, dutifully giving, and children casually take?   

To some extent I think I have.  I'm an eye roller at times, but I still stand in the same admission line.  I do try to remind my kids that "Daddy and I didn't get to do this when we were little."  I then go into a short soliloquy they could probably recite on their own about how it was for our parents and grandparents and that we never know how long the fat years will last before lean ones may be coming.  Their eyes are glazed over, but I think they hear me.  I hope they do.

I can say this, however, once the lights go down and the little girls tumbling and dancing starts, everyone (even the most harried of moms) has a smile on their face.  The grandparents look so satisfied, even grateful, as they watch their little ones perform.  I do love the idea of giving out of love.  And this kind of gift is one both giver and receiver can be thankful for.  So I am.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My First Car Had an Eight Track Player

My first car had an eight track player.  So, I stuck homemade mix tapes into an adapter that stuck into the eight track player and bounced up and down as I drove down the highway.  Every few songs it would work it's way out of the player and I'd whack it back in, like Fonzie, and the tunes played on.   
My friends knew if I was going to cart them all over the place, there was only one rule: I controlled the radio, and my musical tastes were all over the place.  

That meant high schoolers were made to bear Beethoven or Native American flute music; headbangers... The Mamas and The Papas; Country loving girls... techno.  And Everyone hated Kate Bush.  

When I got my second car (an Eclipse) with a cassette player, I imagined myself speeding down the highway to U2's "Numb" or something like that.  It's funny the the things we value when we're young.  For me, it wasn't gas mileage or safety, it was stereo and stick shift.    

Anyway, these are a few songs I loved to drive to from different times in my younger days.  I feel twentyish every time I hear them. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rainy Day

We've had so little rain that it actually feels novel.  Where I would usually want to read or nap through it, I felt like I should sit on the front porch and enjoy it.  It was better than sunshine.

 By the looks of my Flickr friends' photostreams, I wasn't the only one.