Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Loving Summer

It's finally here. After months of cool days and cold nights, we finally have weather that's like summer. It couldn't have come any sooner for me.

Summer is about sleeping in, goofing off, and becoming a little more carefree. I remember summers as a kid, and that delicious taste of freedom from responsibilities. I love to see that in my own kids now. They lounge around and do nothing, and after the first week, I haven't heard any "there's nothing to do" complaints. Because when you're free, there's always something to do.

I don't even mind that there seem to be a few more things for me to do. A few more towels to wash, a hose to put away after a sprinkler session on the lawn. A ridiculous number of plastic cups to wash after they have been retrieved from the far reaches of the house and yard.

All too soon the realities of responsibility will return for all of us, but for now, hand me an iced-tea and let's kick back. This is absolutely my favorite time of year.

How about you? What's your favorite season?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Makes My Monday: Girly Campouts

Jungle Boy was on a 5 day campout at Yosemite this weekend, but sadly his trip was cut short because one of the scouts got sick. Still, he came home filthy and happy and full of stories to tell.

The girls decided they wanted to use the tent to camp out on the lawn. Their concept of roughing it is a bit different than your average Boy Scout's. I took a peek to see what they'd set up. This is what I found.

Drama Girl has discovered how to use Facebook on her cell phone, so she'll probably be doing that all night. And I think if they actually drink that big thermos of ice water there will be a few trips inside.

Glad it's finally warm enough to have this kind of fun. Seeing the girls create a whole apartment in the yard makes my Monday. For other stories of smiles today, visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gratuitous Kitten Pictures

Falling asleep on a needlepoint pillow. This picture makes me sleepy.

Dumbledore with a portrait drawn by a neighbor.

Dumbledore fell asleep in the doll bed and my son put a quilt over him.

Hestia with a teddy bear. Can you tell she's reaching out her paw towards the camera?

A bit naughty

Who's happier? Hard to tell.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Finished for Friday: I'm FREE!!

No more thumbscrews

related [litandlaundry.blogspot.com]
No more thumbscrews

I am so excited and thrilled that I don't have to go back and get stretched and manipulated and hurt any more. I'm not cured, but I can walk well enough to bid the halls of the therapy building goodbye. This is very exciting for me.

Lit and Laundry

I also managed to put together a little doll quilt while I was tidying up my sewing space.

What have you finished up this week? Grab my button from my sidebar for your blog, and sign in on Mr. Linky below. Fingers crossed I have him working this week. It's late and I've spent too much of my evening watching Michael Jackson videos reading fine literature.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Review of Amazon's Kindle

My husband bought me a Kindle last week. For those unaware, a Kindle is an electronic reader that's compact, lightweight, and able to hold hundreds of books. If you're thinking of getting one, here's my review in a nutshell: Go buy it today. Want details? Here's why I love it.

It's comfortable.
It's lightweight and slim so that I can read at any angle with one hand. Makes regular books and newspapers seem bulky and awkward. The print is black and white, like a paper page, so there's no eyestrain. I can even adjust the size of the font. Wish I could do that with some books! I find myself reading a lot more than I used to.

It's saving me money. I have a serious case of B.A.D.: "Book Acquisition Disease." I buy stacks of books, which get read sooner or later. Unless they don't. Even though I intended to. Not only were those purchases money down the drain, but I'm storing those unread books around my house. Let's not even talk about the boxes in the garage. You know you're pathetic when you buy a book you've already bought because you can't find the previous copy. Or you forget you've already bought it.

With Kindle, I can preview a good chunk of any book I'm interested in. Then I can either purchase it and it arrives wirelessly within a minute, or I click a button that says "save for later." When "later" comes, I'll be able to go to that list of saved items and pick something I want to read and pay for it then. Most books are $9.99 or less.

Which brings up my next thrill (and symptom of B.A.D). There are literally thousands of books available for free. You can find nearly anything in the public domain at websites such as Project Gutenberg, and Amazon has a very extensive list of free books to pick from. So I'm still collecting books - only now they don't take up space in my house, just a little space on my Kindle. Old habits never die.

No inky fingers. I'm getting used to waking up in the morning and reaching for the day's newspaper - right there on my nightstand. There are a lot of newspapers and magazines to choose from, and while you wouldn't want to read "National Geographic" on it (it only supports grayscale pictures), it's great for up to the minute articles.

A little bit of web. If I'm too lazy to walk all the way to my computer, I can check my email and read the news on cnn.com or check fandago for movie times. The internet connection is included in the cost of the device and runs through cell phone technology. So it's not lightning fast, but it's good enough, and I don't need a wi-fi hotspot to use it.

There are a lot more features, including a built-in dictionary; just click on a word in any book to see its meaning, and text to speech, if you want a book read to you (results vary on this one).

Now that I've had it for a bit, I can't imagine how I lived without it, and I also can't see myself buying traditional style books ever again. I even took the kids to a bookstore and didn't buy myself a single book. Some kind of record for me.

Fire away if you have questions. I know it's an investment, but trust me, it's well worth it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wordful Wednesday: Contentment

Summer reading is a lot more fun when you have a sleeping kitten with you.

For more Wordful Wednesday posts, visit Angie at Seven Clown Circus.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Like Christmas All Over Again

I'll have to admit my garden seems to be attaining it's heart's desire and reverting into a wilderness. I haven't been able to keep up with it due to my recent surgery and sadly, I haven't even wandered around it much.

So imagine my surprise when I walked past my pot cemetery on the side of the house a few days ago. Not only did I see the stacks of pots which have not been loaded with their annuals for this year, but I saw the amaryllis I had discarded after Christmas. It was ready to bloom again - proof that these things are so hardy they thrive on neglect.

If I had been organized after Christmas I would have carefully preserved the bulb in a paper bag someplace cool so it could go dormant until next Christmas. But just look what it did when it was abandoned in it's pot. It's gorgeous.

I wont tell it it's not Christmas if you don't.

(For those who like details, this variety is called "United Nations" and was purchased from The Amaryllis Bulb Company.)

Wearing my Tiara

I looked out the window this morning and there it was again. The June Cleaver Nirvana motorcade, with Holly's personal limo in front and dozens of press cars following. My husband looked up from his paper and shook his head. "Again? That lady's coming over to give you some award again?"

"Hush dear, it's a big honor."

"D'you suppose she's going to give you another college scholarship for one of the kids?"

"Probably not, she's already given us three. We only have three kids."

"Hold out for a Caribbean vacation then."

I answered the door to the blinding flash of cameras and thunderous applause. Holly stepped forward, trophy and bouquet in hand, the flowers so voluminous that she almost toppled over.

"Threeundertwo, you are my PEEP OF THE WEEK!" She gushed.

"Aw, Holly, so sweet of you! and the children's choir on the front lawn is a nice touch!"

We spent the next hour posing for pictures, none of which I've had time to upload here yet, and she presented a check for lifetime kibble for the kittens.

My mouth is sore from smiling and I've had to close all the curtains to keep the paparazzi away.

What a wonderful way to start my week. Thank you Holly! And dear readers, please go join her over at June Cleaver Nirvana where today she is featuring fashion tips, my current favorite video, and a picture of her son that's so stinkin' cute - well, he's almost as cute as my kids. And that's saying a lot.

Being Peep of the Week at June Cleaver Nirvana makes my Monday! For more happiness today, visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Finished for Friday: Folding!

I'll admit this post is going to be like watching paint dry for some people, but I'm proud of this week's finish. I've spent hours sorting through and measuring my fabric stash and actually writing down my yardages.

For each cut, I used a pair of cardboard comic book liners (find them on ebay or comic stores) and folded the fabric around them, after writing down the amount. Now instead of messy piles I have these nice neat mini-bolts I can grab.

I need to sort them out by color, and I spared you pictures of all of them - there's a lot more. I clearly have a split personality when it comes to quilting. That's the fun though. A lot of these are leftover from quilts I made for kids or babies or friends. Some will be quilts for me, and some are going to go into charity quilts. I love them all.

Fabric to a quilter is like paints to an artist I think - the more to choose from, the better.

I'll also add that this week I adopted two kittens and learned how to use my new Kindle - more on the latter in an upcoming post.

Next week's Finished for Friday is a biggie for me. Hope you can play along. If you're in for this week, feel free to grab my button from my sidebar, and add your link to Mr. Linky below. I love seeing what everyone's been up to!

Lit and Laundry

Hopefully I'll have the new Linky system working next week too. In the meantime, please click on the box below to add your link for today. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Additions to the Family!

We welcomed some new additions to our family today. These are 8 week old rescue kittens. Meet Dumbledore, who is black with a lot of long white hairs on his arms.

And this is Hestia, who didn't stop tearing around and exploring for three straight hours. I had a lot of trouble getting a picture of her. She is black with white tuxedo markings. They're siblings. We let the kids name them and I think they picked good ones.

Finally, they both collapsed from exhaustion.

They're still isolated in the living room while our older cat Nina gets used to the idea. Everyone else in the family is pretty excited to have them here.

This post is part of Wordful Wednesday, hosted by Seven Clown Circus. Be sure to visit Angie today and see the massive home improvement project she is taking on!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Boy vs. Stage

Friday evening:

"I'm nervous mom."
"There's no reason to be, honey, you'll be fine."
"But what if I goof up?"
"Don't worry about it! There's no reason to be nervous!"
"Why do you keep saying that?"
"Because this is just a dress rehearsal. Really, there's no reason to be nervous. In fact, if you're going to goof up, this is a good day to do it."

Saturday evening:

"You were great honey! Were you nervous?"
"No, not really, but I only did triple pirouettes. I wanted to be sure to land them."
"That's fine dear. If you feel comfortable, you can always go for it at the matinee on Sunday. But it makes no difference whether you do a triple or a quadruple. You're still fabulous up there on stage."

Sunday afternoon

He nailed it. An awesome quadruple pirouette. I wanted to jump up and cheer like I used to do at his gymnastics meets. I knew he could do it.

I'm bursting with pride. Sometimes the most challenging obstacle is the one between your ears. I know what it took for him to conquer that.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Finished for Friday: Coffee To Go

Looks like business is good down at the old Bubble and Brew, the next block finished in my Hocuspocusville quilt. Prices are certainly competitive!

And another block completed in Gail Pan's Christmas block of the month!

In addition this week, I've sewn straps on ballet shoes and costumes to get everything ready for the big recitals this weekend. I also read this book:

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. A great light read. I'd be interested in hearing if any of you have read and enjoyed the sequels.

Lit and Laundry

That's it for this week, what have you been up to? Feel free to grab the button from my sidebar and play along. Let's see if Mr. Linky behaves today. Clicking on the button below should bring up the list of participants.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How Harpists Recycle

When a string breaks,

It makes a great cat toy, even for my 18 year old granny who never moves. Thanks in part to the dentist cotton that I use to make the knots at the end.

Poor old cat, you can almost count the teeth she has left. This is the most playful she's been in a while. And for those of you worried that she's being a cannibal by indulging in catgut, fear not. Harp strings are made from sheep intestines. Now you know.

Phone Boy

"Hello, I don't know who I'm calling, but I found this phone at the ballet studio and we don't know who it belongs to so I'm calling the number that says 'home.'"
"It belongs to Jungle Boy. Could you please leave it with his teacher? Thanks so much for calling."

Later that afternoon, "Jungle Boy, can I see your phone for a minute?" Jungle Boy commences rummaging around in his massive ballet bag, pulling out several pairs of dilapidated shoes (why do they have male ballet dancers wear white shoes?), water bottles, candy wrappers, therabands, and other various items.
"It's not here. Oh yeah! I remember, I left it on the counter at the ballet studio. I was texting Drama Girl."
"But, wasn't Drama Girl also at the ballet studio?"
"Yes, but she was in the other room."

At this point Drama Girl spoke up. "Mom, he's always on his cell phone between classes. And girls are always asking to give him their numbers."

"What girls?" I'm thinking some of his friends from 5th grade are sharing their numbers.

Jungle Boy blushes and mumbles. "This girl D..., I didn't want her to but she really insisted."

"I don't know her, is she nice?"
Drama Girl can't contain herself. "Mom! D... is in HIGH SCHOOL!"

I can't help but smile. Someday he'll appreciate the unique position he's in of being a rare male dancer. At the moment he doesn't understand all the attention he gets from giggling girls, big and little.

In the meantime, I'm going to have a little talk with my girls about leaving their numbers on boys' phones.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Makes My Monday: The Last Lap

Four more days of school. I think I'm as excited about summer as the kids are. No more teachers! (asking for parents to volunteer/drive/donate) No more books (overdue/lost/loaned and not returned). No more alarm clocks going off at 6:00 only to be ignored. (Honestly, that alarm clock is right next to my son's head and I've counted 26 of those loud buzzes before he finally shuts it off).

I'm spinning this week, with all the last minute trips to the grocery store ("Mom! I said I'd bring 4000 cupcakes to the party this morning!), writing checks for the PTA (why are teachers giving me receipts from last July?), and doing extra mountains of laundry (Drama Girl had 20 sweatshirts in her PE locker alone).

But on Thursday afternoon we are all free free free! And that thought makes my Monday. To see what other bloggers are celebrating today, visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Finished for Friday: Otter

This is a sea otter Christmas ornament for my husband, because nothing says Christmas like marine mammals wrapped in tinsel.

For those of you who aren't familiar with sea otters, they wrap themselves up in kelp to keep from drifting away when they take naps. My husband and I have had a lot of fun trips to Monterey to enjoy the sea otters, his favorite animal.

I still want to put some trim around the edge of this (which will hide the lumpy edge), but my husband came home from his business trip sooner than expected so I had to stash it away for now. I'm probably finishing it as you read this.

This is all I finished up this week, although as usual, I have a lot of projects in the works. This coming week will be the last week of school for the kids - hooray! I think we're all about ready to end the academic routine for now.

What have you finished up this week? Special pats on the back to those of you tackling big decluttering jobs! I love seeing the before and after pictures!

Grab a button from my sidebar if you'd like to add it to your blog. We'll try Mr. Linky again this week, even though he's been a bit temperamental lately. Just click on the little box and he'll open in a new tab for you. Thanks for playing along and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Way Back When-esday

From 2003, when the twins were five years old. Their expressions are so indicative of their personalities; Jungle Boy is looking off to see what he can do next, and Wasabi Girl has his back, calm and confident.

It's always been fun watching these two interact. I can't even imagine one without the other. I'm grateful every day that they are so close and sympathetic to each other. Someday they will make great spouses for some lucky people, having learned so much about sharing life with another person.

Way Back When-esday is hosted by Cheryl at Twinfatuation. I'm posting this on Wednesday, so it counts. Please join me on Friday with something you've finished up this week!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Turnabout is Fair Play

I've been known to take a tiny mommy vacation or two. I've escaped with friends for a few days of fun, and I've attended the occasional quilting retreat. My husband gives me this freedom from the mommy grind because he doesn't want me to go postal loves me.

Being the hyper-organized list-maker type that I am, I always leave him a long detailed list of what needs to happen while I'm away. I write down all the kids' appointments and tasks around the house.

Since I had my hip repair surgery in March, I've had very limited mobility. Dear husband has been cooking and doing extra driving. He's been wonderful really.

But this week he's on an extended business trip to Las Vegas (poor dear), and what did he do? he left me a list!

He's carefully written down the scout meetings for Jungle boy, listed the forms he needs to pick up from the Scoutmaster, noted times and addresses for me to go drive the kids.

He even added a to-do list; who should empty the dishwasher, garbage needs to go out on Wednesday, "everyone needs to keep their room clean."

I have to smile. Either he's noticed the work it takes to keep everyone on task, or he doesn't trust that I will be able to figure out what the kids need to do (she can't walk, so she can't think either) or he has picked up my listmaking habit.

I think it's the latter. I think he's discovered the peace of mind you get by spelling everything out for the parent left alone.

Maybe I'll be a little less of a micro-manager the next time I feel compelled to leave a list. Now I know how it feels to get one.

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