Thursday, January 28, 2010

Story People

Enough Fluid

I try not to cry about everything I've done wrong she said,
because I don't get enough fluids as it is already.

A few years ago, Darrin introduced me to the Story People. They write wonderful little poems, have several books, and he's an awesome artist too! You can sign up for a daily poem...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What's Blooming

Here's what's blooming in my yard this weekend...

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Sad State of My Garden

My garden did not perform well this past year. Actually, to say it was pretty bad would be an understatement! Part of the problem was that I did not give it the attention it deserved - just too much going on. Secondly, I did a huge expansion of the my original space. Because the ground was so compacted and terrible, I brought in loads and loads of compost as well as shredded leaves, horse manure, chicken manure, shredded bills, straw and just about anything else I could find and think of to use. Not sure the plants like this very much.

And the plants themselves just acted weird. I would get blooms, but no fruit set. Both the tomatoes and potatoes ended up with blight, and even the over producing squash just languished. I had one tomato plant that gave me one tomato. And three plants that didn't produce a single ripe tomato all year! The grapes weren't happy campers either.

The surprise star of the garden was the lone eggplant planted next to the driveway - It produced at least two dozen nice sized eggplants if not more.

I was going to plant a cover crop this fall and turn everything over and try again this spring, however the possibility of losing my house has me not wanting to put much effort into something I might not see.

As I'm writing this, I am reminded of a book I recently read, Farm City. It was a great book, full of humor and city-bound, homesteading insights, where the author farmed an empty plot next door with the constant threat of having everything torn down. But she did it anyway, for the love of growing and harvesting and seeing living things thrive.

I love to garden. That's why I became a Master Gardener. But lately, it has become just one more thing that's not getting done right. I guess that is my perfectionism/procrastination coming out - if it can't be done perfect, why do it at all?! And after all that hard work, to see everything just fail...

The state of my yard and garden is atrocious! But last weekend I got out there for a while and pulled all the dead plants out of the garden, cleaned out the chicken coop and spread it over the top of the beds and let the chickens in to scratch and claw away...I got out my seeds and garlic heads which I will plant when this deluge stops...If I get to harvest - that's just a bonus!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Brightening Things Up

I have been trying to brighten things up a little in my house. When I originally decorated it, I was married and everything turned out very masculine. Not on purpose, but I didn't want it too girly. I love dark woods and warm colors. Well, that combination tends to be fairly masculine...

After the divorce I started lightening up a little. I replaced the gold curtains with white, I made bright happy pillows for the couch, I have a beautiful white duvet cover for the spring and summer. But, a lot of my furniture is still very dark and probably will be for quite a while - mainly because I have two growing, active, dirty little boys. A white couch is not conducive to anybody's sanity...
A few weeks ago, I found a pretty, light colored, cheap quilt to use as a table cloth. There is NO WAY I could have used one of the many (as in hundreds) of quilts in my family since my mother is a hard-core quilter and quilts are heirlooms and need to be protected...e.i. she gets mad if the boys use their quilts off their beds, as in dragging them around the house or any of the other things that boys do with blankets...

I painted some candlesticks that I have had for about 5 years white and moved them together with some white containers I have bulbs growing in.

I'm finding that I have been very attracted to romantic, peaceful looking spaces...maybe my imagination is trying to tell me something.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Camera and Strap

I've been wanting a nice camera for a very long time. I used to love photography and my dad was always very encouraging. He bought me used darkroom equipment and a nice, used camera when I was about 13 and it was something we shared together. However, after I found boys and moved away to college, photography sort of went by the wayside. Though I never lost my love of beautiful pictures and always "see" pictures wherever I am.

To say that digital photography has revolutionized the way we take and view pictures, is an obvious understatement. Both my father and I still have our film Minoltas and my dad has several very nice lenses to go with his. But all our photography stuff has been sitting in a corner unused.

After some research on new DSLRs, turns out, Sony bought out Minolta and their new DSLRs take the old Minolta lenses!!! But, I haven't been purchasing anything new. I have been thinking about this camera for the past 8 months or so...

One of the advantages to purging, is selling. I usually donate all of our unused stuff, but this time I decided to list my old books and textbooks on And they have been selling! Add that money to the unexpected money I received from Christmas, I had enough money to purchase my new camera.

Strangely, I think I might actually be a reformed shopaholic, because I have felt a little guilty about this purchase! Usually after purchasing something I really want - I'm completely excited and happy...

I've been trying to play around with my new camera when I have any spare time (which isn't much, unless it's after 10 pm and then I'm usually horizontal and mindless...)

All of this rambling is to say that I am embracing my new camera and will no longer feel guilty for buying something nice for myself...

Soon, I will be posting pictures! Hopefully, even some good ones...
So, look at the the beautiful strap!!!

I saw this tutorial a while back on Design Sponge, and I promptly made this while the battery was charging before I could even take a picture...

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I usually only get free apps for my iPhone. But, I found a couple of photo editing applications for only .99 cents! These are really easy and so much fun! I have no idea what I will do with these pictures, but for now, it's something fun and creative to do...

I've noticed in the shops at etsy and other design sites, people are re-creating the look of old time, toy cameras. As well as instant cameras. The look is really appealing to me, and these editing programs let you recreate that look with a touch of a button.

Here's a couple of edits that I did with a picture of Max from the beach:


Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I went to Southern California this past weekend with the boys to visit my parents. They live just north of LA in a little tiny town that feels a million miles away from a big city. It's really strange because they are only 42 miles from LAX, but it is completely in the country. There is only one stop sign in the town, the closest gas station is 12 miles away, and no chain anything. They have a general store, two small restaurants, a hardware store and a couple of small stores have popped up recently.

This is where I grew up. When I was little, we had horses, goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and the occasional lamb. My mom milked the goats twice a day for milk, and we raised our animals for meat. Every year we had a huge garden and I know this is where I get my own homesteading desires from - even though I didn't know that's what we were doing.

My parents have two olive trees that are at least 35 years old. They have never picked the olives, just let the birds and chickens eat them. My mom said her mother cured olives - once. I have wanted to pick some for years, but never have. Life always seemed to get in the way. I really want to pick all of them and press them for oil, but with only two trees I don't know where I could take them to be pressed and doing it myself is definitely not an option.

So, I will try my hand at curing olives this next month. My mom gave me an antique crock she has had for years that is just like the one her mother used to use...

Monday, January 4, 2010

I will be happy when...

I have a hard time being happy. For a reason that God only knows, I was born with a more somber personality. I’m not an Eyore, but I’m definitely not a Pollyanna either. I run kind of in the middle and have anxiety issues to boot.

I want to be happy. I want to be joyful. I want to be a person that makes others smile. I want to leave fear behind. I felt that I was on my way for a while and then life got in the way. For the past 6 and a half years I feel like I have been clawing my way out of a deep hole and trying to figure out who I am in the aftermath of my daughter’s death and then divorce.

Last year, I was asked by one of my dearest and oldest friends, “What happened to you? You used to be so full of life.”

This question really hurt, but as so many questions that evoke large emotional responses – was right on. What had happened to me? I can answer with a litany of things and situations, but more than that, it is my responses to those events that truly shape who I am.

I know that I am a different person than I used to be. Everyone grows and changes, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse; and most of us have a combination of the two. I’m not as happy-go-lucky as I used to be. I’m not as bitchy, not as much of a know-it-all, not as sure that everything will turn out the way I want it.

I don’t want to be Eyore. I don’t want to be angry, bitter, disappointed and I know that I have made HUGE inroads in that department! My faith is growing by leaps and bounds. I still have questions and am constantly working on trusting God in the midst of whatever is happening in my life. And this coming year already has some big challenges coming!

But for the first time in a very long time – I have hope…

My life is not the way I envisioned it. That doesn’t make it bad, just different. Right now, I am working on what I want my life to look like this next year. Not new year’s resolutions, but more a general feeling. What is important for me to have in my life? What makes me happy? What makes me smile? How can I leave fear behind?

So, my goal for this next year is to work on joy. To be joyful in the midst of whatever life is currently offering…With that in mind, the following is a poem that I have read over and over to myself. Every time, it helps remind me that there is nothing outside of myself that will make me happy. Not another person, not a new tv, not a house, or a garden…

The Station
By Robert Hastings

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision.
We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent.
We are traveling by train.
Out the windows we drink in the passing scenes
of cars on nearby highways,
of children waving at a crossing,
of cattle grazing on a distant hillside,
of smoke pouring from a power plant,
of row upon row of corn and wheat,
of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hills,
of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination.
On a certain day, at a certain hour we will pull into the station.
Bands will be playing and flags will be waving.
Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true
and the pieces of our lives
will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle.
How restlessly we pace the aisles,
damning the minutes for loitering- waiting,
waiting, waiting for the station.

“When we reach the station, that will be it,” we cry!
“When I’m 18…” “When I buy a new BMW…”
“When I put the last kid through college…”
“When I have paid off the mortgage…”
“When I get a promotion…”
“When I reach retirement I shall live happily ever after!”

Sooner or later we must realize there is no station,
no one place to arrive at once and for all.
The true joy of life is the trip.
The station is only a dream.
It constantly outdistances us.

“Relish the moment” is a good motto,
especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24:
“This is the day which the Lord hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
It isn’t the burdens of today that drive people mad.
It’s the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow.
Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles.
Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice-cream,
go barefoot more often, swim more rivers,
watch more sunsets,
laugh more, cry less – life must be lived as we go along.
The station will come soon enough.