Monday, May 23, 2011

A post with cute plants and asterisks

As of one week ago today, our garden* was officially in the ground. This is a huge accomplishment for me, because in the past few years, I haven't been able to get a garden in the ground before Memorial Day.

As of yesterday, my mother-in-law's garden** was officially in the ground. This is a huge accomplishment, because this is her First Garden Ever. She's on my bandwagon.

In addition to outside vegetables and fruit, Husband and I are trying our hands at a little indoor herb garden. So far we just have rosemary and thyme planted, but we're looking to expand. The thyme plants are up (I planted them a week ago today also), and they are just the cutest little things you'd ever see.
*minus some surprisingly devious melon plants, which have walked off the shelves of at least three local stores, foiling my attempts to have a completed garden. A pox upon area garden centers!

**except for her cucumber plans, which have yet to be purchased. I like pickles,*** but I do not care for cucumbers. I also do not care for canning, which inevitably takes place on the hottest day of the year, but which one must do with cucumbers in order to get pickles. In summary, you're on your own, lady.

***last summer my grandfather spent a ridiculous amount of time arguing with his grandchildren over whether pickles and cucumbers are, essentially, the same thing. He thought they were two completely different vegetables. I fail to understand how someone lives to the age of 85 (*cough* he was a farmer *cough*) without knowing this fact.****

****86 as of today; happy birthday, Grandpa*****

*****no more asterisks, I promise.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Coming up for air

Like so many others on this planet, I've been swamped. Trying to fit too much work into too little time. But I'm starting to reach the pinnacle of the mountain. I even took time during my lunch break to read a wonderful little article by John Hodgman. Yes, that John Hodgman, the PC guy.

I didn't realize his actual profession is that of writer. I suppose I just thought he went about his days wearing old glasses and bland suits and extolling the virtues of PCs, tongue-in-cheek. Apparently, not; he's a wonderful writer. This is a great piece that he wrote, "Apologia to My Second Child." It is humorous and poignant. It also helps explain the experience of being an only child.

Read his article today; he's more than just a computer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Daily Eye Candy

Love these Poketo! Dendrite Earrings, $35.

Daily Word Candy

Have you ever read "Mrs. Kelly's Monster" by Jon Franklin? If you answered "no" to that question, I command you to immediately click on this link and read the piece. "Mrs. Kelly's Monster" is the first real feature article that I recall reading, and it changed my life, in regards to my love for feature articles. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1979. It is a flawless, immaculate, engaging story about the struggle between a doctor and a "monster" and poor Mrs. Kelly, the victim caught in the "monster's" tentacles.

God, it's good.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Love you!

(Image from a few moons ago. Moi, one of my aunts, my grandma, my mother, and my mother-in-law)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Daily Eye Candy: When zombies attack

When zombies attack, you'd better hope you had the foresight to purchase this Crovel Shovel, the "Ultimate Survival Multi-Tool," $85. Pretty darn cool. Thanks, Husband, for sharing your find!

Swing Low

My family used to own a little cabin on a little lake in Wisconsin. And that little cabin had a front porch that looked out upon the little lake. And in that little porch was a little swing. If I ever had to pull a Happy Gilmore and "go to my happy place," I think I would mentally go back to sit on that little swing, its wood smoothed by coats of paint and years of gliding. The porch was screened with wire mesh, so the mosquitos were kept out, but the gentle Northwoods breeze, scented with pine, would blow in. When it rained, you could feel a gentle spritz as the drops hit the screen. The little swing's metal chains creaked upon their hinges anchored to the ceiling. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. I loved to take a stack of books, ferried across state lines from my hometown library, and read on that swing until the sun went out and the porch light went on and my Dad wandered down to the little wooden pier to fish for bluegill or rock bass or the errant walleye in pitch black.

I haven't been back to that little cabin to sit on the little swing for ten years, but it's still one of the happiest places I've known.
This is the porch swing at my parents' new house, and it made me remember the little Northwoods swing from all those years ago. I hope to get a swing for our front porch this summer, so I can sit with a book and glide back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

Current Events

I don't know what to say about the killing of Osama bin Laden. Or, rather, perhaps I have too much to say, and too much of it conflicts.

All I can say here, is that, once again, Tom Junod writes my thoughts. "Yes!" I think. "This."

It is definitely worth a read.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Daily Eye Candy

Important reminder! Mother's Day is Sunday! You run right out and get a nice card and a thoughtful gift, or be sure you at least call your mommy this weekend, y'hear?

I am planning to celebrate a belated Mother's Day with my mom and mom-in-law next weekend with a day of lunch and shopping and mani-pedis. I get so tired of wracking my brain trying to think up a gift, usually just ending with a boring gift card, so I try to make these special events about memories rather than things. I hope they will enjoy the day.

Meanwhile, Father's Day will be here before you know it. Perhaps to go along with those Steak Button Thermometers, your dad or dad-in-law would like this awesome Smoker Box from Williams-Sonoma, $39.95.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Daily Eye Candy

I love scrapbooking, I really do. I especially love it because I can design the pages myself and add little items that I picked up from vacations or events - pressed leaves, ticket stubs, cards.

But sometimes a homemade scrapbook just won't do.

As a gift to commemorate my wedding anniversary, my sistercousin/maid of honor created and had a book printed online, and it is a lovely keepsake. There are numerous companies that provide these services, but for the design-minded like myself (or at least who I aspire to be), these companies can often prove frustrating due to their pre-designed templates, from which one is essentially unable to deviate.

So, when was recommended to be by an art director colleague, I was extremely interested. Of course, I never wrote down the site name, and the information was promptly deleted from my memory. That is, until this week, when I came upon the site once again, and my memory was restored from my brain's the recycle bin.

There are some gorgeous examples of recently created books under "Staff Picks." Check this out the next time you want to create a photo book with a little extra freedom of creativity!

I fully intend to take advantage of this company's services the next time I need a book!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Letting go

Dad is down to using one cane in public, because it's easier to move among crowds of people with as few "legs" as possible. Our extended family gathered for a belated Easter dinner this past Saturday, and I stopped to watch him walk across the kitchen, stiffly but completely unassisted. He's returned to the driver's seat whenever my parents go out in the county. He mows the entire yard by himself, and he even runs to his favorite store when the inclination strikes.

But I can't let go of that fear. That pervasive fear. That anxiety, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for the next round of sickness or pain or death. The trepidation that has become a Pavlovian response whenever my phone rings.

Last week I missed a call from my Mom's cell phone, and when I couldn't reach the number, I called my parents' house to find out what they wanted (they almost never leave their cell phones turned on). Mom told me that Dad was out and about, and he had her cell phone.

"This is it," I thought, as my stomach dropped. "He's out there flat on his back, or worse, needing help, needing me, and I missed the call."

A few minutes later, my phone rang again, that same cell phone number, which I answered.

He was fine. He didn't need my help at all. In fact, he had driven out to our little woods, lumbered through the trees and underbrush with his cane, and found a whole sackful of mushrooms. All by himself. He wanted to drop by our house and leave them off for us to enjoy.

It bothers me more than it should. That he has regained his independence. That he goes out alone, especially into woods or areas with unsteady footing. I should be overjoyed that he is here, that he still has a wonderful quality of life, that he is able to enjoy his favorite pastimes, like nothing ever happened, like the cane isn't there.

But I'm having trouble letting go of the fear. And I so want to.

Spring, cont'd

Daily Eye Candy

Maybe I could just marry Kate Spade. Then I would get all of her gorgeous designs for free. Or at least for a discount!

Kate and Kitty Spade. Has a nice ring to it, right?
Riley Fifth-Avenue Dress, $255.