Thursday, June 30, 2011

Creative Space

The craft room/office is coming together nicely. And by coming together, I mean not just a bunch of random boxes strewn throughout.

Yesterday my goal was to get the craft room/office in order so it could be better utilized than a room our female cat uses to hide from everybody and everything that isn’t us. With so many places to conceal herself it was the perfect place. However, we started putting stuff in place and the room is starting to take shape. Well, I mean, the room is square, which is a shape, but beginning to look like people use it for something other than storage.

After figuring placement for both of our filing cabinets (one ended up in the closet) I decided to bring in two of the four remaining bookcases from out of the garage. My plan was to use the large one for fabric storage and display and have my husband use the medium sized one for books and computer related stuff. He says he doesn’t need it, but we’ll see. I won’t complain if he doesn’t.

Setting up the entire room, according to calculations made in my head, should’ve only taken a couple hours. Alas, my brain’s calculator must be off. I will say it is nice to see that, once I started unpacking and refolding the fabric to fit onto the shelves in a somewhat orderly fashion, I realized I don’t have nearly as much as I thought I did. However, then the realization that there are still boxes and my old sewing bag with fabric in them too out in the garage I haven’t brought it. Of course, refolding takes a good amount of time to get all the various sized remnants and yardage into uniform widths for stacking, and I’m sure that is where a majority of my time was spent.

I still have to go through at least two more bags of quilting fabric and then almost all of my upholstery weight fabric before I begin working on the rest of the sewing space. I’m thinking it might be nice to bring in my canvas and denim from the garage too and maybe make some market bags like the one my friend Sarah gave me so I can replace the Crap-Mart reusable bags I end up taking to the grocery store quite embarrassingly. Okay, so if they indeed said Crap-Mart instead of The-Store-That-Must-Not-Be-Named I’d probably use them. Oh, so many ideas getting in the way of what I was setting up my sewing space up for originally! I must tell myself to stop thinking and start quilting.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Have a Plan

Today, for the first time in a long time, I have a plan. Well, the makings of one anyway.

So with today being rainy outside, practically everything but garage sale stuff moved over from the old house, and less money in our bank account to fill the gas tank in one of our cars, I’m deeming today crafty day. Of course, that means we will have to get the office/craft room in order first, which means arranging and rearranging and getting everything put where it makes most sense. In my mind I’ve got the layout, so it will merely be a matter of putting stuff where I already visualized it being.

And what is this plan after that? To quilt of course! Between my nephew’s quilt and new baby blankets to make for upcoming baby showers, I’ve got a fair amount of small projects to work on in the short term. Long term, I really want to get back to working on The Fall Quilt I started last year so it will be ready for, well, Fall. Of course, I also can’t wait for the “The Desperate Housewife’s Quilt” series being put on by Jane on her blog Want it, Need it, Quilt! ( in which she, along with some brave folks who volunteered, will present fifty original eight-inch blocks in fifty weeks. Okay, so now you know the real reason I want to get the craft room set up. I’ve gotta be ready for this challenge! Of course, it isn’t really a challenge or even a quilt as you go kind of thing, but I figured I’ve wanted to make a sampler quilt for years and what better way than with this. Who knows, maybe when Jane is asking for volunteers again in October I’ll feel a little more up to the challenge to come up with something for it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I can’t seem to wake up this morning. On top of that, someone called in at work and they want me to help cover her shift.

I don’t know what it is, weather, allergies or something different altogether, but the last few days I’ve been rather sluggish. Part of me wishes it would just go away so I can get on with my day and the other part of me just wants to crawl back in to bed and sleep.

Maybe I need to do something creative to get my mojo going again. Quilt or embroider or both as in the case of the baby blanket I started for my newest nephew and have yet to finish and send off to him. Alas, all will have to wait. Work beckons along with the boys’s soccer practice after that. Soon, perhaps. Soon. In the meantime, I suppose I will have to be content being a slug.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Board Games

Yesterday afternoon our friend PJaye came over and we were planning a Scrabble Death Match out on the deck. All would have been well had we known where our game of Scrabble was.

After moving, it seems as though we are only unpacking as needed. That is to say, whatever we are looking for. I know this seems highly inefficient, and you’d be right for thinking so, but without a handle on how long we will even be here or where life will take us next, priorities have been shifted. Unfortunately this also means most of my craft and quilting stuff is still in the garage in boxes. Most is organized, but I know if I’m looking for something and can’t find it there’s a good chance it is in the box marked “Random Shit from the Craft Room.” Yes, towards the end of packing I started getting lazy. I know, shocking.

Anyway, while searching for the box marked “Board Games” I came across a smaller one with that title. Needless to say these were not the games I was looking for. And so I continued my search and was quite clueless where they’d be, mostly because I didn’t pack them so I didn’t even know what kind of box I was looking for in the first place. Well, after I searched, my husband searched, and I did a second search underneath three heavy boxes of DVDs and Blu-rays and an old footlocker, I found it. Also needless to say, we’ve got a lot of stuff.

So we played our game, had some dinner and said our goodbyes. I don’t know what it is, but there is nothing like a good old fashioned board game to bring friends and family together, even though we only brought about half of our games over and are planning to garage sale the rest. Like I said earlier, we got a lot of stuff and what we have here isn’t even all of it. Why not dust off an old favorite family board game and play it tonight?

Sunday, June 26, 2011


While the budget debate continues in Washington D.C., here in our little corner of Washington State is another budget crisis. It is our household budget.

Let’s face it, most of us are in debt. However, it seems some people are better prepared to handle it. We are not those people, as evidence by our lack of funds in the bank. When your bills are higher than your income something is going to have to get cut. We’ve cut out cable TV, a vast amount of eating out, and our phone bill is as basic as we can get away with, all a couple years ago, but still are having financial issues.

Alas, one must consider how many jobs they have to have in order to put food on the table and survive, versus their own personal happiness. Which, with the cost of most basic things going up during a time when wages and hours and jobs are still going down, is becoming increasingly difficult to do. However, I’m sure there will be a bright side to all of this. Or at least I have to believe that there will be.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Three months ago we had a chicken develop egg peritonitis. This morning she passed away.

Dawn was, to say the least, the leader of the pack. While Buffy was indeed the head hen, Dawn was our head “rooster” once we gave back our actual roosters. Even when she got sick a few months ago the other girls left her alone. Gotta love the chicken hierarchy known as the pecking order.

However, this last week she’s been looking dreadful, and the last few days I’ve been having to take her into the henhouse at night. Last night we thought it would be best to leave her out in the run and hope that nature would take its course, but we couldn’t do it. I put her back into the henhouse anyway, even though I thought she was indeed dead before picking her up. Indeed, death wasn’t far behind.

This morning my husband went out to check on her and came back inside to get a bag. It had finally happened. Letting go is difficult, but really? A chicken? I suppose if we only kept them for eggs and/or meat I would feel different, but we treat them like pets and so they’ve become such. At least I was able to hold her one last time before she died, but part of me wishes we’d have put her out of her misery long ago. However, she’d be sick then seem to recover and yo-yo back and forth until right before we moved when she could no longer lift her back end because she was retaining so much fluid in her vent. The last couple days on the other hand had me seriously considering culling her myself in case she didn’t die on her own, but I don’t think I could go through with it. My husband’s mom, who just got into town last night and is staying for the weekend, offered to do it for us this morning while I was at work, but, her services will not be needed.

Alas, it is time to say goodbye to another hen. I suppose it is really just all a part of life with chickens. I guess this death was just a little more difficult because we’ve had her for three years versus a few months to a year on our other girls who’ve died. That and secretly she was my favorite… even though when she’d get all excited and start cackling I’d yell, “Shut up, Dawn!”

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Two Towers

No, this isn’t a post about The Lord of the Rings. However, with all the drama involved it may as well be.

Here’s the deal, we have these two bookcases that were originally part of an entertainment center. When we replaced our twenty-seven-inch television with a fifty-inch television, the center section was, well, deemed useless. Oh, we kept it for a couple days, as the lower cabinet held all of our photo albums, but then it just became silly. So I did the only thing I thought we should do, which was dismantle the shelves and cabinet and placed the two towers on either side of the new TV.

While my husband never really liked the look of the two towers sitting next to the television in the fashion they were, he never really had an alternative for books and picture display so they stayed. Every time we redecorated (or attempted to) it always seemed the two towers were the first on the chopping block. We kept telling ourselves they were simply temporary until we could afford something better, but alas there never really was a time we could afford something better and at least for the foreseeable future that is going to be the case. Even when we moved, we debated moving them with us, but I said that with the lack of shelving in the garage that we were used to at the old house they would come in handy. He agreed. So they were packed into the U-Haul and moved into the garage where they sat with all the rest of our stuff for over a month until we finally decided our living room looked, well, naked.

So yesterday, while he was power washing the deck, I brought in the two towers and attempted to make them work here. While we no longer need the center section to hold a television, it would have been nice to have those shelves and the cabinet for storage. I’m regretting not keeping the pieces. Oh well, at least they are up and the room is beginning to look less naked. Now if only I could decide which of our artwork we should put on the walls…

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cleaning Up for Company

Looks like today is going to be filled with cleaning and general crap pickeruppery. Joy.

This morning I awoke to howling cats and begging dog, all needing food. Of course, what I found afterwards was that one of the cats, Dexter would be my presumption, had apparently been playing with the blinds again. I’m not sure how, but he managed to pull half a dozen of the actual blinds out of their place. My attempt to remedy the situation hasn’t helped as now the slats won’t tilt when I use the wand. Figures. Looks like more coffee will be required before attempting this problem again.

We also decided to power wash the deck, and by we I mean my husband. I’m sure it’ll look great once it is done, I just don’t want to do it. I mean, the rest of the backyard is ghetto and I’m afraid that a clean deck will make it look, well, out of place. Of course we also need to figure out where we are going to place all the ladders and fencing pieces and random crap left from either previous tenants or the landlord from when he lived here.

Inside the house is a different story. We don’t so much need to do cleaning as we need to decorate it to make it look like people actually live here. I mean, we’ve been here over a month and it still looks like we haven’t unpacked or we’re ready to move again. This may not be far from the truth, but still, we need to put some pictures up on the walls and bring in a bookcase or two… I just turned around to shoo the cat out from the blinds again and I think I found out the problem, let’s see if this works. Okay, blinds are fixed. We also need to bring over all of the compact fluorescent light bulbs from the old house’s light fixtures because not only are these incandescent bulbs raising our electric bill, they also are quite hot and produce a lot of heat, which this house likes to retain. I’m sure it’ll be great in the winter, but during the summer when it is already gross and muggy, heat isn’t welcome inside the house.

So much to do and so little time to do it. Hopefully we’ll be able to tackle a third of what is on our to-do list. At least then it will feel like we’ve accomplished something to make this house just a little more livable. And hopefully it won’t look so ghetto when my husband’s mom and sister arrive tomorrow for the weekend.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When Life Takes a Turn

This morning I was looking forward to making biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Instead it’ll be whatever I can shove in my mouth on the way into work.

I got a call right when I woke up, which was already much later than I intended to sleep anyway, asking if I could come in to work early. And by early, they meant now. So naturally I said yes for a couple reasons; we need the money and I wasn’t really doing anything else.

And so it looks like I’ll be working instead of taking a relaxing morning, sipping coffee and eating my delicious homemade biscuits and gravy. Alas, such is life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


The boys are starting soccer soon, which means games and practices and dealing with unfocused children. Oh gawd, the boys are starting soccer soon.

When my husband decided to sign the kiddos up for soccer my initial reaction was if we could afford it and whether or not I’d even be able to go to any of the games with my work schedule being the way it is. Alas, no, we really couldn’t afford it, and hopefully if my schedule stays the way it has, I should be able to attend every game.

But here is the thing, I only think one of the boys is really interested in playing soccer. I mean, yes, the older boy has played before, but according to his mother he would wander the field aimlessly as if he was sleepwalking. The younger boy, based solely on our experience of kicking the ball around with him, seems to be a natural. He knows how to run with the ball and how to kick to other people in their direction and also has a ton of energy. Now, if we can just get him to remember that you can’t just pick up the ball and carry it to a better location to kick we’d be in great shape.

So we will see how things shape up. Tonight is the big meeting to introduce the coaches to the kids and parents, and hopefully the boys will be excited to play. If not, oh well. It will be something to do once a week for the next month and a half. But if they do enjoy playing, it will be one of the few sports I can actually play too. Of course, the only reason I played soccer as a kid was because my best friend played and any excuse to spend more time with him was welcome.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day Thoughts

Yesterday could have been disastrous. Fortunately it wasn’t too crazy… considering the amount of sugar flowing through the boys’s veins!

We started the day with vomit. Okay, so really there was a few minutes between, “I’m thirsty” and regurgitated milk that had curdled and nearly turned to cheese. The little one apparently had a pretty upset stomach that went away after some morning cartoons and breakfast. After everyone was cleaned up and all the chores done and cakes frosted and new ones baked for a birthday party today, we had lunch.

Then it was off to my husband’s dad’s house, where they were surprisingly well behaved… until a few minutes later they were suddenly both hungry. I don’t know what came over them but they were bottomless pits yesterday! Once the boys had cleaned them out of bananas, strawberries and carrots, we had carrot cake and then left to go visit my dad at my stepmom’s parents house where they immediately attached themselves to my stepmom and didn’t let go! She was quite the trooper and played with them nearly the entire time we were there.

So the day didn’t go according to plan, but with kids does it ever? Of course, the plan was for the kids to simply find a corner and play with their Toy Story toys or color the coloring books, neither of which was in the cards for these very social and active munchkins. I’m just glad they didn’t break anyone’s valuables since we are incredibly poor right now and couldn’t afford to replace anything if it did get broken! And I’m also glad we got to introduce the boys to our dads.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Today is going to be filled with some exciting adventures, mostly in the fact that the boys are going to meet our dads. And by exciting adventures I mean potential disasters.

Here’s the thing, the kiddos are, well, mostly well behaved. They are courteous and polite at church saying things like, “Nice to meet you, I’m [insert name here]” and, “I missed you!” when it is someone they already know. However, when they get bored, which is quite easily, they get rambunctious.

I’m curious what we should have to occupy their attentions while we are at my husband’s dad’s house and then my grandparents house to be with my dad afterwards. So with that in mind I am mentally compiling a list of stuff we can bring and keep them somewhat out of trouble. I don’t want to simply stick them in front of a television for hours, although the thought is appealing, and I don’t want to have to spend the entire time correcting them and asking them not to touch this or that or anything ever again! There needs to be a balance, and unfortunately I am just clueless as to how to obtain such, mostly because I was the type of kid who you could give a piece of paper and a pencil and I’d be good for hours. However, I’m not so sure how I was at three and four.

Alas, it’ll be fun to finally introduce the little monsters to our dads, and even more appropriate on Father’s Day. And I’m sure that somewhere along the line something is going to happen that will make our father’s sit back and laugh at how completely and hopelessly inept we are at parenthood and possibly transport them back to the days when we were kids and they had those same feelings… or at least I hope they did as I’d hate to be the only one who feels this way sometimes!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Dry mornings equal happy mornings. Especially where toddlers are involved.

I had my concerns, but against better judgment decided the boys were not wearing diapers or pull-ups to bed last night. It paid off. Of course, bribing with animal crackers in the morning if they are dry helps. Hey, I’m not at all above bribing when inappropriate urination is the possible alternative. Besides, it’s not like they are frosted or filled with lots of sugar and they love them.

Now, if only our weather could cooperate. It has been gorgeous here the last few days and I woke up this morning to sprinkles which are sure to turn into showers throughout the day. Oh well, thus is life. Hopefully it will rain while I’m at work and the sun will come out again once I am off. Alas, thus is not life. So I suppose I will take my blessings where I can get them, and a dry bed beats out a dry sky any day.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Yard Work

If there is one thing I hate, and I’ll use this abhorrent word here, it’s weeding. I really hate weeding.

Yesterday, after getting home from helping a friend with some yard work, I decided to continue weeding the front yard. After a dozen bucketfuls it barely looks like I made a dent. Tuesday when I started this project I’d also pulled up a dozen buckets full of weeds. This is a five gallon bucket I’m talking about, so you can kind of get an idea on just how overgrown the yard is. And it’s a rock garden, which means it has been like this for quite some time.

Alas, it looks like this weekend will be filled with more weeding and general cleaning up. But on a much happier note, my husband painted the bathrooms yesterday so they are no longer awful shades of blue. Electric blue, royal blue, navy blue… Now they are a much happier, and brighter, shade of pale green called sliced cucumber. Makes me wish we used this color in the living room, but at least the bathrooms are painted.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Leftovers are great. Assuming you can use them.

It seems that we always have leftovers from dinners or large lunches, but rarely enough for both of us to eat another meal out of them. What I’ve found is that by thinking outside the box, a small amount of leftovers can become a completely different meal by adding a few other ingredients. I’m sure you all have your own tricks to stretching your grocery bill, but here are a few of mine.

Spaghetti is a main staple in our house, not just because it is easy to make but because it is relatively inexpensive. Typically I only use half a box of noodles, which means when two adults eat a meal there is usually enough for a little more than one person to have leftovers. However, add a can of chili, a little sour cream and some shredded cheddar and parmesan cheese, bake until bubbly and you’ve got Chilighetti. It may seem odd to combine those particular flavors together, but the results are delicious.

Fajitas are another main dinner in our household for the same reasons as spaghetti. Now sometimes we are so hungry there aren’t any leftovers, but most of the time there are enough to turn into another meal. Fortunately the ingredients I use, chicken, red bell pepper, onions, garlic and jalapeños, work well in a variety of dishes in the Tex-Mex menu options. For this reason it is easy to work the filling into quesadillas or with the addition of either refried or black beans into a topping for nachos. However, one of my favorite uses is for Black Bean Soup. I cheat and buy a large box of black bean soup and heat it along with the leftover fajitas and a can of black beans for substance. Topped with sour cream and sliced green onions and you’ve got a delicious and filling soup.

Pulled pork is another dish that is relatively easy to make in a crock pot, but can be utilized for a plethora of other dishes. I cook mine for thirty-two hours in a special blend of spices I create and rub the pork with before cooking. But aside from pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw, the meat can be used for enchiladas when combined with black beans and my homemade enchilada sauce, wrapped in tortillas, covered in cheese and baked until bubbly. Other uses are tacos, burritos, pretty much any dish that you’d use shredded beef or chicken you can use pulled pork for. It also works eaten cold in salads.

Of course there are plenty of other ways to make a small main course work again, either by adding an extra vegetable dish or two and some bread. We typically eat a lot of salad with our meals, especially in the summer, but canned or frozen veggies will work in a pinch, and we always have those on hand. We almost always have bread of some sort in the house, but English muffins make great cheesy garlic bread.

Alas, the best way to utilize leftovers in new ways is to plan ahead. I typically plan three meals a week when grocery shopping and use the leftovers for the remaining days. While this doesn’t always work out as planned, I make sure I’ve got substitute meals on hand just in case… like a box of macaroni and cheese with half a pound of chopped broccoli.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


What is it about having out of town guests come over that makes us want to put our house in order, especially when we don’t do so for our local friends or family? Or maybe it is just this particular guest… and just us.

For weeks now we’ve been living out of boxes in unfinished rooms, using bathrooms that still need to be painted and unable to find half the stuff we’re looking for. However, next week my husband’s mother and sister will be visiting, which I know will mean cleanup both inside and out, as well as finishing most of what needs to be finished in the coming days.

I suppose this is all a good thing. It will force us to finish the projects we’ve started and start organizing and decorating. That isn’t to say that we are in a complete state of chaos, as the kitchen is mostly put together, but there are some things even in there that require a little more effort to look refined. Not too refined, however, as I don’t plan on unpacking most of our books, but perhaps make the house look like people actually live and enjoy the place by putting pictures on the walls and a few decorations. I guess that means we’ve got our work cut out for us.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Looking out at our front yard, I can barely see the rocks beneath the overgrowth. It must be time to finally weed.

With so much going on lately, yard maintenance has taken a back burner. Actually, I don’t think it has even been on the radar since we moved in, with the exception of the backyard which actually has a “lawn”. The front yard is, well, a rock garden of sorts. There are rocks and a few plants sparsely in the ground. However, it’s difficult to see what is actually there because over the past couple weeks it has become infested with grasses and weeds galore. It is an abhorrent eyesore.

I’m not sure what our plans are for the day, but I’d really like to either start tackling this situation or gather the rest of the stuff from the other house over to here before or after work today since I’m only covering the lunch break. Who knows, maybe we can accomplish both. Maybe.

Monday, June 13, 2011


When I was a kid I wanted to make books. Now that I’m adult not much has changed, except for the reality of the publishing industry.

I was asked recently what I wanted to do with my life and I couldn’t recount a single thing I wanted to do anymore. It was as if I’d given up, and honestly I don’t want to say that I’ve given up on any of my dreams. But on a serious note, the older I get the less those dreams have any gravity to keep them from floating off into the abyss. I thought by forcing myself to write every day it would encourage me to continue books I’ve started or rewrite books in desperate need of a final draft, but I can only count less than a handful of times I even opened up those files on the computer to start it up again only to close them because some other pressing matter needed attending to.

Then I thought I should go back to school and get a degree in something to get a job, but alas even those ventures seem fruitless. And it is as though the universe is trying to tell me to find another path with all the hoops I’ve been having to jump through just to get financial aid, which yet again still hasn’t gone through because they require the same documents I gave them the last two times I went to the financial aid office at the local community college, although to be fair they are different than the previous four documents I had taken down. Somehow I’m getting lost in the shuffle.

For now I should feel lucky I have a job, even if it is only part time and doesn’t pay the bills. For now I should feel lucky that I have a roof over my head, even if it is somebody else’s roof we are renting it from. For now I have a lot of thinking to do and perhaps need to plot out where I want the rest of my story to go.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Grand Floral Parade

Since my husband was in the Portland Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade there was a four-in-the-morning wakeup call… for him. I slept in for another hour.

I have to admit something, and that is I’ve never been to the Grand Floral Parade. For as long as I’ve lived in the Portland metro area, it just hasn’t occurred to me to do so. And so yesterday with a free ticket inside the Memorial Coliseum to watch it before anyone else, after we caught the MAX into town, me dressed normal and him as a clown, I enjoyed the parade from my seats. I say plural because I had two tickets and used the extra seat to hold my bag.

The parade was awesome and I’m glad I decided to simply get my seats early to watch the Queen’s Coronation instead of finding a Starbucks to widdle away the hours before it actually started. I mean, I didn’t even know there was an event before the parade until I walked around to the front of the Coliseum and saw lines already forming at just after seven o’clock. Looking at my tickets I saw that indeed there was the coronation starting at eight-thirty, so I decided to join the line and search for coffee inside. Well, the coffee was gross, the “pastry” overpriced, but it was all worth it. Now, if only they could do something about all that traffic afterwards.

Photo courtesy

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gardening and the Garden

So this past week I’ve planted stuff, some here and some at the church. Frankly I’m disappointed in my efforts.

Here’s the thing, we moved from a place that we had built garden boxes into a place that had some already here, so you’d think that I’d have been able to plant stuff during the month we’ve been here in the new house. But no. It wasn’t until last weekend with the boys that I got any gardening done, and that goes for both here and the church’s community garden. Of course, Spring finally arrived just in time for Summer to officially start. We’ve had some serious rain issues all Winter and Spring that the ground has been too soggy, added to the cold air that has made it about ten degrees cooler than normal. Not good gardening weather.

So alas, we’ve got some stuff planted, mostly tomatoes, although I’m uncertain whether anything will come of them if we have a repeat of last Summer that barely felt like Spring except for a couple days. In any case, I’m just glad I got something planted, even if the boxes look ghetto. Of course, so does our chicken coop at the moment due to how we had to, er, notch out some decorative touches to fit it into the trailer we rented from U-Haul. Note to self, make sure that even though the measurements say they are six feet two inches wide on the inside that there aren’t any obstacles which actually make it less than six feet at the opening. I guess that’d be a nice note to leave U-Haul too so they can warn their customers.

The yard is another matter and will need a different kind of loving to get it into shape. One that I’m not too keen on delivering, so I think I’ll let my husband take care of that pet project. I’ll stick to getting the other two boxes planted with stuff once they’re prepped and make sure there is room for all our herbs in pots. I’m afraid to transport our sage as it is in bloom right now and almost five feet tall. I guess some casualties will have to be expected.

So much to do and so little inspiration. I guess I have got to work with what I’ve got, right? At least the front yard is a rock garden, but it is so overridden with weeds right now you’d be hardpressed to find rocks.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Surprise Visits

Yesterday my sister called to ask if we’d want company. Most of my To-Do list was complete so I said why not.

After getting through a couple loads of dishes, a few loads of laundry, vacuuming, scrubbing toilets and sinks and showers, filling the chickens water and food, and shoveling the soil into a pile for one of the garden boxes, I was ready to call it a day. Yes, I know most of you would’ve been able to keep going, but not I. While I was planting a tomato, a jalapeño and the last two marigolds, along with some lettuces, carrots and radishes, my sister called saying she was on her way back home with her kids and wanted to hang out. We never really hang out, so I said sure. Besides, it would be a great excuse to stop doing chores.

Of course, what I failed to take into account is that these kids are unruly hellions. Okay, so that may be a bit of an overstatement, but not by much. Alas, after water balloon fights, and dinner, which I made pulled pork enchiladas with my delicious from scratch sauce I kindly toned down the heat factor for the kiddos, some Wii games, it was time for them to go. While I’m not close to this sister, I wonder if only living only a couple miles away from each other will make a difference in how often we see her family?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cleaning and Quilting

My plans for the day include cleaning and quilting. Hmmm… I wonder which will take priority?

First off, I haven’t really done much cleaning since we moved in with the exception of the kitchen. I have yet to vacuum more than the dried remains of urine-filled baking soda and haven’t scrubbed the toilets or sinks in the bathrooms since the week before we moved. I’m admitting this because we’ve been here almost four weeks now and it is sinking in that we really need to start cleaning this place up, both inside and out.

So, what needs cleaning? Well, the floors need vacuumed since we have a long haired cat who leaves little clumps of hair everywhere. Funnily when I brush him with my hands I get nothing, but if he gets up from a nap there’s a ball of hair in his place. Seriously, the floor looks like a sagebrush covered desert. Showers, toilets and sinks need to be scrubbed; laundry needs washed and dried; dishes washed; cardboard boxes broken down. Outside the house requires some general yard maintenance, coop care, garden boxes put back together and the deck needs a good scrub down.

Now what needs quilting? I need to finish the baby blanket for my brother’s new baby since, well, he was born and they finally agreed on a name so I can embroider that onto the back of the quilt, sandwich, quilt and send it off to them before he graduates high school. And our pastor and his wife are having a baby and with the baby shower coming up I wanted to make their daughter-to-be a quilt as well. Nothing fancy, but probably using the original Lily & Will line from Moda, and probably in the pink colorway.

I suppose a list is in order. As much as I dislike lists because of their tidy arrangement of to-dos, alas I must confess that without them I stray too far from the original goals. I wonder if I can add grocery shopping to the list since we are out of practically everything? Then maybe a trip to the craft store or better yet the quilt shop…

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Clowning Around

My husband is a clown. No, literally.

Today is one of the many parades involved in the Rose Festival in Portland, Oregon, the Junior Rose Parade, and one in which he will be Roosevelt the Clown as part of the Rose Festival Clown Corps. The big deal is this Saturday in the Grand Floral Parade, the star attraction of the Rose Festival, where he will be walking the four-and-a-half mile route with other clowns. I think I might be involved somehow in this as well.

So, with all the clowning opportunities, this morning as I am making my coffee he asks me a favor. He asks if I can go to Starbucks and get coffee and a bazillion green straws and some paper lunch sacks at the grocery store in which it is contained. I declined on behalf of my wacked out hair and sleepiness because, well, I slept way too long this morning. Of course, now that I am drinking my coffee and blogging guilt is setting in.

Alas, it looks as though I will indeed be going to get more coffee and paying their outrageous fees and sneaking out a handful of straws in the process. Oh, the things we do for love, even if that love is a clown… and I’m desperately afraid of clowns.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Carpet Game

Oh, how I despise carpet. Or maybe just the carpet in our house.

Old, dingy, once gray carpet that has seen better days throughout the house. Of course, those better days were eleven years ago when it was installed. I mean, it’s great that it really doesn’t matter how much more damage the carpets withstand while we are here because they will have to be replaced, and I completely understand his hesitance in replacing carpet while our landlord is renting out his house because, well, it’s his house he plans on moving back into. Honestly with Great Dane and two cats, it probably is for the best the carpets are in as sad of shape as they are.

So, what should we do? Live with them or get area rugs like our original plan? I guess the thing is that I like the idea of an area rug, just not the cost of one. And of course, once the cost isn’t an issue, it is finding one that we actually like, which, let’s be honest here, my husband and I can sometimes have differing views on decorating. After all, figuring that I pretty much hijacked the last house on choosing paint colors for the walls so I let him choose from a variety of neutrals, bought the paint, painted the walls, and he already wants to repaint some areas and we haven’t even finished painting all the rooms yet!

I’m thinking that, although the carpets are disgusting looking, they are clean. I’m also thinking that should the time come when we can afford to get an area rug that I’ll just pick one out based on colors or patterns we already have. I suppose they may not look so disgusting if I also vacuumed them once in a while too, huh?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Let's Finish This Already

While we mostly moved a few weeks ago, we are still living out of boxes. I’m ready to unpack now.

Yes, there are a few things at the old house we still need to get. For one thing, our lawnmower. I mean, it’s not like we’ve got a lot of lawn to mow here, but still, it’d be nice to have it here so we can mow down the patch of weeds that is referred to as a lawn in the backyard. It would also be nice to get our fish moved over and everything else we want here, like the vegetable garden stuff we are taking, herbs and strawberries, and all of the garden pots.

I’m also ready to get the ceilings painted in the office and boys’s room and finish painting the bathrooms, I just don’t want to be the one to do it. I know it has to be done and that the longer we wait the more we’ll simply be okay with how it looks. While I was reading the boys a bedtime story the other night I looked up at stared at the Hail Hitler painted on the ceiling and thought, “Well, it isn’t that noticeable.” Okay, now I know we need to paint over it soon.

I guess I am just tired of everything looking like we are ready to move again, because I don’t want to do that for a long time to come. Things like hanging pictures on the walls and books and bookcases that make a difference. The personal touches that make a house a home. After being here a few weeks now, I’m ready to leave the old house behind us and start living in this one.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Vegetable Gardens

Yes, yesterday was absolutely gorgeous with eighty-five degree weather, perfect for planting vegetables. And yes, I forgot my camera yet again, so no pictures.

Having already made plans to meet my gardening partner to plant veggies in a plot at our church’s community garden on Saturday, luck would have it there was sunshine… lots and lots of sunshine. Well, by the time she showed up I was done and we were packing up. Oh well, at least we got stuff in the ground and plotted out the rest of the area with her starts she brought, which fortunately filled up the remainder nicely. Whew, I was worried I’d planted too much.

So here’s the thing, planting vegetables and fruits I find fun. Planting with a three and four year old who want to help but will, uh, to put it nicely, destroy the poor little plants before they really have a chance to live, not so much. This isn’t to say I wouldn’t like to continue to teach them gardening, just that perhaps they should have their own box to do it in and not with my stuff. Yes, I’m greedy like that.

Now, because I didn’t have enough fun planting at the church, I also decided tonight, after cooling off, to go ahead and plant the tomatoes we bought last week. The boys naturally wanted to help so I figured, why not let them. After we picked all the weeds out of the box I mixed in the rabbit poop my husband threw in there right after we moved in and we began digging holes for the tomatoes. This time I decided to go ahead and let them actually handle the plants, which could have been a multitude of factors, but more likely a bit of heat stroke. Fortunately there weren’t any casualties. We then planted some marigolds in the corners, stuck the cages in and watered.

Okay, so with all this done, what kind of response did the kids have? Well, the younger boy was busy chasing the dog, and the older one asked why the tomatoes weren’t ready to eat yet because we planted them already so they should have grown and made tomatoes. Apparently I’ve still got my work cut out for me in explaining just how long it takes food to grow.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Wet Bed

The boys have been having more frequent accidents the last few weeks. I’m not sure why, but it’d be great if they both didn’t have to do everything together!

So I woke up this morning and checked in on the boys to find a big yellow spot under the older boy. I just knew that there was a similar spot under the younger one because, well, that’s how they roll. It seems if one has an accident they both do. Unfortunately, even though they both were wearing rubber diapers, the mattress is soaked. An unhelpful search on the internet led to some stupid answers, so I decided it’d just be best to use baking soda. I debated over whether to also use vinegar, but figured the pee-puddles were not as big as they’d have been had the boys been wearing underwear so hopefully the baking soda will soak it up.

I’ve never had to deal with bed wetting with the boys before. Since we switched them from diapers to underwear they haven’t had any accidents in bed, but I’m sure all the changes they’ve gone through the last few weeks has obviously shaken their worlds. I mean, both their daddies and their mom moved into new places at the same time and right before that the older boy had a surgery to correct a herniated testicle during which he also was circumcised because the younger one will have to be for medical reasons and their mom wanted their penises to match.

I’m wondering if perhaps the bribing technique will have to once again be employed. Animal crackers did the trick rather quickly the first time, so I’m pretty sure they will once again. Of course, we need to get the kiddos more underwear anyway so maybe I’ll take advantage of that and let them choose what kind they want. Since they don’t divulge into the real issues behind wetting their pants, I hope incentives in place will at least prevent the preventable ones.

In the meantime I hope the baking soda does the trick. Perhaps a spritz of Febreeze after it dries and I vacuum it up will help prevent any odors from developing. Oy. It’s bad enough when the cat pees, which when she peed on that very mattress years ago took forever to remove. Hmmm… I wonder if there are any other tricks that don’t resort to gimmicky unitasker products for urine removal?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cat Urine

While we had the pug over, our cat Tuesday hid most of the time. Well, until I found out where she’d been peeing.

I’m not sure why but our mean cat has become a scaredy cat. She hides whenever something is out of place, like another dog in the house. Dexter, our other cat, is the complete opposite as he will lay out in plain sight as if egging on the guest to take their best shot. It wasn’t until day two that I noticed an ammonia smell coming from the office and I was pretty sure I knew where it was coming from. When we moved in I had simply thrown down a bolt of fabric on top of my new and unused cutting mat I had gotten with a gift card for my birthday along with some hand towels. Yes, this was the “just unload everything and throw it wherever” pile. Needless to say, the cat took this as a pseudo litter box.

Fortunately the bolt of fabric was okay, but a couple hand towels weren’t so lucky, so I threw them into the garage to wash later. I should’ve washed them right away, but I didn’t. So, needless to say, the cat urine was rather ripe when I finally got around to washing the articles yesterday. I tried our usual Tide and added a couple scoops of Borax and put the machine on presoak, heavy soil and stain cycle. It still smelled like cat pee. So I decided to try the load again, but using All Free and Clear, which we use on all of our dog’s bedding because of her sensitive skin and allergy issues, along with a cup of Borax and half a cup of white vinegar. The sniff test after that load was done revealed no hint of cat pee, so I consider it a success.

So, perhaps next time, and I always assume she’ll pee on something inappropriate again either while she is mad at us or we have guests she disapproves, I’ll try this method first to find out if it does work better or if it really was just washing them twice that made a difference. However, from my last experience of washing pet urine it took three washes and a lot more vinegar, including a twenty-four hour soak, so perhaps the All does work better for getting out pet urine better.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Pug and the Pig

While our good friends were out of town on a surprise birthday vacation for one of their four daughters, we’ve been watching their pug and guinea pig. This is their story.

Otto the One-Eyed Pug and our Great Dane, Lucy, have been best friends since they were wee puppies. They are only a few days apart in age as well. However, one thing to make known is that Otto has ulterior motives, or at least it would appear to be so anyway. It seems the entire time he’s been visiting they have been playing or, well, er, foreplaying. Part of me wonders what kind of babies they would make if they both weren’t fixed, but only part.

Lucy the guinea pig on the other hand is a completely different story. She hides out in her little blue house until I bring her some lettuces or peppers or carrots to eat. For some reason she doesn’t like apples. And yes, I’ve held her and pet her and she’s chirped her little guinea chirp, but I think she’s just old and cranky and prefers to be left alone most of the time now. So I did. I mean, I’d go into the boys’s room twice a day to feed and check up on her and pet her if she’d let me, but she just doesn’t have the same spunk she had last time she stayed with us.

Meanwhile I’m having the same thoughts I had last time Otto stayed with us in that Lucy, our dog not the pig, needs to have a brother. I just really wish we could afford another dog right now because I’ve never seen Lucy so happy and worn out as when Otto comes to visit.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Something's Missing

Looking around the living room, it is plainly obvious something just isn’t right, besides the enormous amount of whitespace. There seems to be a lack of us.

Okay, so we really haven’t started unpacking stuff yet, so that might be part of it. However, when I think of home I think of books and pictures, neither of which have made it onto bookcases or the walls here. Hell, up until yesterday I didn’t even know if my husband had been noticing the same thing. He thought we needed an accent wall (yes, after we already painted) then thought a bookcase with a shelf in the center for the fish tank would be a good idea. Can anyone say IKEA? Of course before we say that we must also say money, something we are severely lacking these days.