Search results for 'gardening'

Homemade Christmas & Tamari Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

7 Nov

Working in the kitchen has been a balm for my anxiety. The chopping, the washing, the sauteing all help divert my scattered, restless thoughts away from anxious tangents. The inherent rhythm of chop chop chop chop has become my mantra. Cooking is my meditation. Dinner is my devotion.

We have so many seeds from the pumpkins we grew that I’m planning to roast them in batches with a different set of seasonings each time. In addition to the three fat pumpkins we harvested from the backyard my friend and gardening-partner-in-crime Jake gave us the pumpkin he grew as well. It’s an embarrassment of pumpkin riches.

After cleaning the flesh from the seeds by soaking them in brine overnight, I doused them heavily in tamari, the milder, more complex Japanese soy sauce. I roasted them for 45 minutes at 300 degrees. They came out a bit saltier than I’d like so I’ll need to adjust the amount of soy, but they have a robust, almost smoky flavor.

One of the reasons I’m testing out different spice combinations is because the holidays are right around the corner and I’m looking for gifts I can make cheaply and in batches. This year my friends and I have decided to have an exclusively Handmade Christmas. If it can be found in a thrift store (the only exception), cooked, baked, or otherwise handcrafted, it counts. None of us can afford an extravagant Christmas, and aside from a few stocking stuffers and thrifted goodies I’ve already set aside for Isobel, that goes for family, too.

Going down to one income in this economy is way harder than I thought it’d be. I don’t regret my decision to stay home for a minute, but I do have to admit I had unrealistic expectations about how difficult the financial transition would be. Finally, with two incomes in decent jobs we were making enough money to do more than get by when I quit my job. But I know things won’t always be this way. Anthony is still establishing himself in his career and I’m continuing to make extra money through photography and my Etsy shop. (Speaking of, stop by my shop during the holidays! I always include extra vintage goodies to customers I know personally.)

My friends are all in the same boat, most of them dealing with crushing student debt, lack of employment options, and the dreaded foreclosure. So, in the tradition of making lemons out of lemonade, we’re going the inexpensive route. Handmade can certainly be expensive, but I’m on the lookout for crafts that are inexpensive, easy enough for a novice, and not incredibly time consuming. I have some ideas I’ll share later (once I figure out what I’m going to make), but I’d love to hear any suggestions you have or click on any Pinterest links you want to send my way.

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Snapshot

7 Sep

As I write this I have to tell you I am feeling rough. We went out of town for our friends’ wedding last weekend and I am still feeling under the weather. What started off as a hangover has developed into a fever and nausea and is still around two days later.  I wasn’t sure at first but now I’m convince I triggered a Crohn’s flare. I have only myself to blame. I was so worried about being on my feet and taking care of my arthritis and drinking water that I didn’t really take into account how all of that alcohol would affect me. I’ve never been much of a drinker. I didn’t realize it would be an issue. I still haven’t had anything that resembles actual food, but I’m pushing liquids and resting so I’ll be okay. If I have to I’ll go to the doctor, but I’m hoping I can mitigate it before then.

The wedding was spectacular. It might take me a while to get the photos processed and uploaded, but I couldn’t resist posting these. My dear friend Stefanie and I accidentally dressed like matching old ladies. Observe: yellow dresses, pearl necklaces, vintage gold bags, large brown sunglasses, cream colored shawls (no one else brought shawls–just us), and the kicker:

Inside our gold purses were eerily similar fabric zippered pouches containing the same thing, pills for our various medical conditions. Yes. That really happened.

This was pure coincidence. We did not plan this out. Stefanie lives in a different state. I was planning on wearing a pink dress but had to wear this dress as back up. She was going to wear a purple one. This is just the Universe’s way of saying Stefanie and I are fated to being Internet Twins forever. Which is totally cool with me.

My copy of The Quarter-Acre Farm has just arrived and I can’t wait to start reading. Spring Warren, in addition to having a poetic, Earth-motherly name, transformed her yard into a garden with the intent of proving the bulk amount of food for her family. She lives a city near my home in the Valley and her story is inspiring. Especially after finding out how hard gardening can be, I can’t wait to read how she did it.

Other than preparing for the wedding and cooking butternut squash, I’ve been busy with my regular thrifting (I found a giant doll leg, if anyone’s interested), celebrating Jake’s 3oth birthday, watching my friends play piano, and enjoying in tea parties  in the tent I set up for Isobel, which I’ll tell you all about tomorrow.

My friend Brandon is going to be having a huge yard sale this Friday and Saturday. He is awesome, so you know anything he has to sell is also awesome. He’s also a big ol’ nerd, a mailman, and all around good guy. In the words of Brandon himself:

This Friday and Saturday from 7AM – who the hell knows when! The garage sale to to end all garage sales!

We’ll have everything from Geek to Antique:

  • Anime
  • Video Games
  • Magic the Gathering Cards
  • DVDs
  • Toys
  • Neeeeerd Shirts
  • Cookie Jars
  • Barbies
  • Purses
  • Jewelry
  • Paintings
  • Kitchen Wares

And for the rare few who are geeks but love old crap:

  • Comic Books
  • Booble Heads
  • Posters
  • Books
  • Records
  • Vintage Clothes

If you’re local and would like to go, let me know here or on twitter and I’ll send you the address. I’ll see you there. Nerds.

Recipes: Butternut Squash

6 Sep

One of the issues with meal planning that I run into over and over again is that of leftovers. Sometimes the problem isn’t even with the prepared food itself but with the uncooked portions I have leftover in the fridge. In this case, the food in question is butternut squash.

My friend Jake has been helping us with our garden and thanks to him we have both pumpkin and butternut squash plants in our yard. Gardening is way harder than I believed it to be, particularly so because we’re not using pesticides and all the local garden centers stopped carrying ladybugs months ago. Aphids are really kicking our ass over here, and Jacob finally came up with a solution involving spraying each goddamn bug with a magical, organic substance that will shred the critter and knock him to the ground, thereby preventing anymore identical bastards to pop out of his pooper, and, as Anthony put it, “ruin Halloween.”

All that aside, Jake’s plants have managed to produce butternuts, and they are awesome. He gave one to me and I immediately set about the task of slicing it into rounds and baking it. I was originally trying to make steamed disks of butternut so that I could slather them with goat cheese, honey and toasted pecans and feast thusly until my husband returned home from sword practice.

Of course I forgot about them in the oven so that didn’t happen.

I ate them anyway and realized that as divine as steamed squash could be, these were chips, and they were even better. I really think that Jake raised a superior squash because I’ve recreated this experiment a few times since then and while the results of have been delicious, that first squash I used was far and away superior. Perhaps the defining factor was the way that squash was made: it was small, had a very small globe end and a very long cylinder end. When I sliced it the squash divided into perfect disks. Squash I bought from the farmer’s market was too large, so I had to resort to slicing it into half-moon shapes.

After they were sliced I brushed them with olive oil and set them on a foil-lined baking tray. This is about the thickness I was going for.

As you can see from the photo, they weren’t all perfect and some were thinner and some were thicker. I divided up my squash moons into a thinner and a thicker pile so I could cook them in batches. This really wasn’t extra work because I couldn’t fit them all in at once anyway.

Some received a dusting of spices, including cinnamon, cumin, curry, and five spice powder. These were all very good, especially the cinnamon and curry powder, and just by adding the slight addition of powdered spice you could completely change the character of the chip. My favorite is still probably a sprinkling of sea salt, but don’t bother adding that until the chips are out of the oven. If you add it before baking the salt will pull the moisture from the chips and they will steam instead of bake.

I threw leftover chips in a large zippy bag and toasted them throughout the week. They suffered no ill effects from this treatment and could probably survive five or six days like that. Squash are hardy.

They come out like this, though I had quite a few burn and quite a few remain soft and stick. The handy thing about cutting them into rounds is that the skin helps the squash retain its shape and there’s less burning and steaming because you don’t have that bit of squash flesh at one end.

I roasted them for about 35 minutes at 400, but you really have to watch these guys carefully and will almost certainly have to adjust the time and temperature of your oven for their temperament. Mistakes will still be delicious, even if they aren’t chips. The burnt parts are almost completely caramelized plant sugars and they taste like toasted marshmallows.

If they end up too soft, break out the honey and the goat cheese or feta and enjoy them that way.

Chips aside, you are going to have leftover squash. The globe-like ends are not fit for chips, but scoop out the seeds, rub with oil and roast all the same.

After roasting these I mashed them with a fork, discarded the peel, and added them to shiitake risotto (made by adding dried shiitake mushrooms to the stock while it heats, then adding the sliced mushrooms and butternut puree to the plain risotto at the end) and Oh. My.

It was so good I nearly cried when I ate the last bowl. I served it to Anthony in these wooden bowls I salvaged from my bestie’s yard sale. The color of the squash mellows in the creamy whiteness of the risotto and Anthony thought the color came from cheddar cheese, but the pale orange is actually the squash. I threw a squash chip on top for garnish and added a dusting of cheese and for the next ten minutes my life was complete.

Other things I made with the leftover squash include a butternut squash puree which I later realized would have made a perfect baby food. I roasted and mashed the squash then added butter and crumbled feta along with salt and pepper. I decided then and there that all babies should eat so well.

I stirred the leftovers of the puree into a black bean  and bell pepper hash that I had in the fridge and it was so very good. If Jake gives me anymore I’m going to make soup. Do you have a favorite way to prepare butternut or other winter squash? I’d love to hear it. As the summer winds down I expect I’ll get a few thrown at my car when people are at a loss to deal with them.  I’ll point them this way for ideas.

Thrifty Living: Toy Cart Update

22 Aug

Recently I posted about the vintage cart we’re using as toy storage for Isobel. I still needed organizing bins at the time, but it worked out so perfectly just as it was that I wanted to share it. Isobel and I took a trip to Target the next day and I happy to discover their dollar aisle was full of colorful storage bins. I bought a ton since I didn’t know what exactly I’d need and also because her play room (known in our house as “the guest bedroom,” or more often simply, “the pencil room”) was also in need of some organizational assistance. Even so, I bought more than I’d need for just the two areas since I wanted to be sure I had both areas covered and I knew I could take back the unused bins.

Isobel was busy “painting” while I got to work on the toy cart.

Her toys already divided pretty evenly by type: bubbles, sand and gardening toys, chalk, and water painting supplies. She also has a ton of small inflatable beach balls left over from her bubble-themed birthday party,  but those we keep near the pool with her other water toys. The Barbies, of course, are courtesy of Jupey’s Harem.

The top of the cart is where we keep the watering cans, her bulk bubbles, her (by now crusty) Easter basket, and of course, all of her water painting buckets and brushes. Since she was playing with them at the moment of the photo, they are not pictured.

The second tier of the cart comfortably holds vast amounts of chalk and an assortment of bubble wands and bubbles. The librarian in me was tickled the two orange pans fit neatly side by side on this shelf, as if they were meant for it. It gave me an organizational boner.

The bottom shelf holds a large bin with all of her gardening equipment and her sand castle toys. Next to that is the bubble bucket and her “Mrs. Cat Boots.”

Hey, Isobel! While I was organizing, you weren’t by chance  painting the windows, hrmmmmmm?

That’s what I thought.

All the extra tubs I had intended to return never made it back to Target. Isobel thought up a lovely new game called “Train” and they are now a necessary part of our family. She likes to organize them by color, sort them into a line, fill each “car” with passengers, and sit in the front bin while saying, “CHOO CHOO!”

If it makes her happy then I guess it was money well spent, especially since each bin averaged out to about a dollar.

This whole “thrifty living” thing I’m so fond of? I think Isobel’s better at it than I am.

The SAHM Gig

18 Jul

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for awhile, and indeed I had intended to last month, but then I realized I had only been home with the baby two weeks—the length of time I’m usually home with her during Christmas vacation. I really felt like I needed to give it some more time before I could really weigh in on the SAHM gig.

The first week was bliss. I didn’t stick to the work schedule I had created (more on that later) and simply overdosed on time with Isobel. It was lovely, but I got nothing done, and what I did manage to accomplish, I did so inefficiently. Efficiency, I’ve learned, isn’t just a workforce trait: it’s necessary when you work at home with a toddler underfoot as well.

The second week was Anthony’s vacation. What remnants of the schedule we did stick to went out the window when we took off for San Jose and did massive amounts of yard work. The week after that shall be known as The Week of the Tantrum. That was a hard week, and it seemed that the days were one long sobbing and/or screaming fit from Isobel. But we got through it and I learned more about it and now when I see one starting, I have a better idea of what to do or not do, and to accept it when it comes.

Some time after that, our whole family took turns getting really sick with the nasty summer cold that’s been making the rounds. Yay. Yet throughout the vacations and the tantrums and the illnesses, a pattern began to emerge. I had a weekly schedule all picked out but a daily schedule developed, and that is what I lean on when times get tough.

OUR SCHEDULE

This isn’t always how things unfold, but when a day is going well, it’s pretty close to it. This schedule allows for everything to get done and for Isobel and I to have the time we need. The times I’m listing are approximate, mostly to show you about how long we devote to activities, but nap time is sort of sacred around here, and we keep it as close to 2:00 as possible, meaning the day goes smoothly if we stay on this track. I keep things like fruit, vegetables, whole grain crackers and turkey or chicken on hand for mini-meals when the stretch between my mealtimes is too long.

This isn’t to say that we are perfect, nor that we get everything done. On the contrary, there’s so much to do that usually something’s gotta give: maybe I don’t eat as well as I should, or the laundry adds up, or I don’t get a shower that day. Mostly it’s my Etsy shop that has born the brunt of this, as I have easily a hundred items stashed away that I need to upload. At best, once I get caught up on some project that need tending and some things that I let go while I was working, I can stick to this schedule and bathe at the same time. A girl’s gotta dream.

So far, our days look something like this:

6:00-7:00 Get up; usually after six but before seven.

7:00-8:30 We do our morning chores, get ourselves dressed and ready, and we eat.

(8:00ish While Isobel plays, I drink my coffee and enjoy between 15-20 minutes of internet time, when I check into twitter, answer my mail, and post the link for whatever post I have up that day.)

8:30-12:00 After that we have our morning stretch: from about 8:30 until noon we tackle whatever is going on that day. This is the chunk of the day when useful and/or fun things happen. What we do here also depends on what day of the week it is.

12:00-1:00 At noon we have lunch, and sometimes start dinner (depending on the menu for that night).

1:00-2:00 We have an hour to play before nap time. If it’s under 95 degrees, we go outside.

2:00-3:30 Nap time! While she sleeps, I work out and edit photos.

4:00-5:00 After nap time, Isobel gets a bit of TV time while I clean up the day’s mess and start dinner.

5:00-5:30 I cook while Isobel plays nearby.

5:30-6:00 After Anthony gets home, we eat.

6:00-6:30 When dinner is done, Anthony and I clean the kitchen while Isobel begs incessantly to go outside.

6:30-8:00 Usually we go outside and generally have family time until about 8:00 pm when we come inside and begin our night time routine. Sometimes we stay in and clean, watch a movie, hang out, or run errands.

8:00-9:00 After the last story is read it’s usually 9:00 and I catch up on my blogroll or instagram from my phone while waiting for Isobel to sleep. Then I get ready for bed, fall asleep, and the whole thing starts over the next day.

DAILY PROJECTS

During that large 8:30-12:00 stretch, I focus on one of these projects:

* I devote one day a week to the house and various household projects, usually including meal planning, cleaning out the fridge and the pantry, organization and improvement projects, shopping, and errands.

Aside: One thing I don’t do a lot of on this day (or any other day) is cleaning. I take care of the chores such as the dishes, some laundry, maybe a quick toilet scrub down or a general pick-up, but as a rule I don’t dust, mop or sweep or do actual cleaning while I am home with the baby. Taking care of her, focusing on my business, and picking up after ourselves are enough. The deep-cleaning happens on weekends and after work, times when Anthony is around to help. He is completely supportive of cleaning together, and it’s important for me that Isobel sees cleaning modeled in a partnership, and not as “woman’s work.”

* I devote two days a week to my business. I get the bulk of my blogging done, I edit photos, I sell photos to Getty, I work on photography for clients, and I upload to Etsy. (So far Etsy has gotten the shaft, but I hope to clear up more time for uploading items in the near future.) My mom or Anthony’s Grandma helps with Isobel during this time.

* The remaining four days of the week are days that I do specific activities with Isobel: swimming, play dates, the water park, visiting family, going to the playground, and just generally having adventures. Two of these days usually fall on the weekends, so Anthony is included, or friends and family that normally work on the weekdays. On Wednesdays we like to have play dates with Kingston, and although we don’t always have an elaborate trip to the zoo, they always find ways to entertain each other. Friday we see baby Abby and go to the Farmer’s Market. I of course spend quality time with Isobel on the remaining three days, but our focus is the tasks that need to get done.

As you can see from this schedule, we are limited to doing things in the morning as lunch and nap time get in the way of the afternoon, and then once she wakes up I’m starting on dinner, but fortunately we’ve been able to find classes and activities and people up for doing stuff in our time frame.

OUR NECESSITIES

I have learned (sadly, the hard way more than a few times) not to leave the house this summer without these:

Hello Kitty Water Bottle: when it’s this hot, water’s a necessity even if we’re just going to the store. It closes tightly so I can throw it in my purse without worrying about leaks, but Isobel can sip out of the straw from her car seat without making a mess.

Cloth Napkins: for wiping the never-ending snotty nose, cleaning up after food related incidents, or wiping off hands that have been playing in the dirt.

Snacks: usually granola bars but sometimes cheese. Purse granola has rescued so many a doomed shopping trip by now that I’m nominating it for sainthood.

Diaper bag and the umbrella stroller: they pretty much live in my trunk at this point.

FUN THINGS

These are some of the really fun things we’ve been focusing on this summer.

Gardening – along with the pergola we have planted a sunflower, marigolds, poppies, onions, pumpkins and butternut squash. All of this with the help of our good friend Jake! Additionally I’ve been growing succulents forever and just started an herb garden.

Dress up – at any given moment, we are all wearing necklaces or some other form of dress-up garment. Even Zorro.

Cooking, both pretend (her) and for reals (me) – necessary on my part—good thing I enjoy it.

Play dates with friends – we’ve had a lot of fun with Kingston and Victoria especially.

Thrifting – Mostly fun for me, but Isobel loves a chance to discover new treasures.

Playing with Grandparents – she loves visiting their houses.

Swimming lessons and the kiddie pool – and painting, obviously.

Cleaning out clutter – fun for me, naturally, but Isobel loves it, too because she gets to play with things she’s never seen before.

Farmer’s Market – I push Isobel around in the stroller while she shouts MORE FRUIT! MORE FRUIT!, usually in Spanish.) I’m going to be so sad when this closes for the season.

THE FUTURE

This is how things are right now, and I know it’s subject to change. Summer will end at some point, the Farmer’s Market and fruit stands will close, and the water park will be shut down. Our long days painting in the backyard will be over. And yet that is okay because I feel like we haven’t been taking advantage of all the things I could be doing with Isobel: toddler story time at the library will start back up in September, and there’s tumbling classes, arts and crafts sessions, Mommy and Me. I want to eventually join the Moms’ Club. Our days are so full already; we don’t have to do it all. But it’s nice to have options.

The best thing about staying home, and the most surprising, is how much closer Isobel and I have become. I am so much more patient with her because I understand her more fully. I know how certain moods will play out and the impetus for some of her seemingly mysterious mood swings. I didn’t expect our relationship would change once I stayed home, but it really has. Each day we know each other better and I bask in our closeness. It’s strange, because as mother and daughter, I didn’t think we could get closer, but we have.

It’s not all sweetness and light, and every day has frustrations and challenges. I don’t expect this to change as she gets older, either. Sometimes I don’t get a break from her for days, and I’m slowly acclimating to that. It’s hard, it’s damn hard, but we are having a great time.

A very good friend of mine was worried I’d regret my decision once the summer started. I can easily say not at all. I am so happy with my decision, even if I am not happy every moment I am at home. I was not happy when I had the cold and still had to watch the baby, nor was I happy when she was throwing her epic tantrums. I was really unhappy in that moment. But I am happy with my decision, and I still have moments of just being totally blissed-out. It’s not easy, nor do I have lots of time that’s not already scheduled, but I am so very happy.

Follow Friday – Garden Helper

8 Jul

With all the time we’ve spent outside this summer putting in our new lawn, building a pergola, and generally trying not to get eaten by our rabid wisteria, Isobel has taken a keen interest in gardening. Basically, she wants to do whatever Mama is doing, and when we’re outside, Mama is gardening. My good friend Jake went with us to a nursery recently and helped me pick out some herbs for the garden. While at there we picked up a set of child-sized gloves for Isobel. They are laughable too big but she adores them anyway.

I made the mistake of telling Isobel the herbs we bought were “baby” plants, and now she loves them. A little too much, actually, because within the first three days she loved my basil and dill to death. The others I’ve managed to keep alive by making sure she doesn’t love on them too much.When I wasn’t looking, however, I found out she had been repeatedly watering my cactus. I now need a new cactus.

 

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here. Learn more about it in my FAQ.



sgnp Halfway through “Splice” now. I’m beginning to suspect it’s a Björk biopic.

kwmurphy My bologna has a first name. It’s Janet. Miss Jackson if you’re nasty.

hotdogsladies Remember: when you eat poop ironically, you’re still totally eating poop.

badbanana “He died doing what he loved, which was clinging to life and trying not to die, which he was very good at until recently.”

steenyweeny any Garys following me? if so i apologize but i normally use your name as a profanity.

shinyinfo I’ve taken to my bedchamber in despair! Also that is where the air conditioner is.

KeepingYouAwake “Don’t be scared, I’m not going to kill you” is possibly the least comforting phrase ever.

RailbirdJ 30 people have found my blog this week by searching “naked planking” I think I should win something.

nuunisms “Fuck this shit.” ~ A mantra that will never prove invalid.

ProfessorSnack I think “Rending Topics” would be more descriptive.

KeepingYouAwake Yes, for your information, I do kiss your mother with this mouth.

Sigafoos Comment from spam from work: “Well macadamia nuts, how about that.” I don’t know how to respond. They said it all.

eliza_evans I can buy an at-home waffle cone maker? This changes EVERYTHING.

BridgetCallahan I like to think the guy in the Applebees commercial who says “I love when that happens.” kills himself as soon as he walks off shot.

PolyesterPony I could cook or I could simply eat this bean dip with a spoon.

JohnFugelsang I seriously haven’t seen Nancy Grace this furious since her bungling henchmen let those Dalmatians escape.

babybabylemon The downside is I dropped an entire jar of pepperponcinis on the floor. The upside is that my house smells like a delicious deli.

mommywantsvodka I like to imagine all the Diet Coke I drink is acting as a preservative. Preserving me from the inside out.

bebehblog My toddler is officially old enough to follow orders when I say “Evan, get that dirty piece of napkin out of the baby’s mouth” #winning

thebookpolice I like seeing raccoons, deer, and turkeys when I drive into work and thinking, “I’ve eaten all of you.”

modinkpeeb At least Phineas and Ferb are trending again. It feels so good to get on with our lives.

kwmurphy Just ended a good day’s work by writing a poop joke for a cyborg.

stateiamin My favorite kind of cheese is….all the kinds.

JillMorris The cat bath I tried to give was so ridiculous it could have won an MTV Movie Award for Best Cat Bath.

KeepingYouAwake I’m only excited about “to do” lists, if I’m potentially on them, and the list-maker is hot.

RailbirdJ Whatever you do, for the rest of the day, DO NOT LOOK AT FACEBOOK. You’ll thank me later.

steenyweeny I SWEAR TO HOTDOGS IF YOU GUYS BREAK THE INTERNET OVER THIS.

jennifurret I want a shirt that says “Bloggers: Raising awareness one internet shitstorm at a time”

theleanover Um… why do nards call me on my cellphone? Hello, I pay for text messaging so I never have to talk to anyone ever. Get with the times.

ScrewyDecimal It’s a shame that openly weeping at the reference desk is frowned upon.

danielgrosvenor Someone really needs to invent a GPS app that helps you find the exit in IKEA.

lianamaeby Tweeting about how you’re not gonna tweet about that thing is the new not tweeting about that thing.

shinyinfo I’m in Beal City for 4th of July and I’m not drunk on a pontoon boat. What am I doing with my life???

markleggett Nikon really nailed it with their new camera specifically designed to take flattering photos of genitalia. It even works on animals!

BeTheBoy Didn’t go to the Dodger game because they wouldn’t honor the military discount despite the fact that I was in my KISS Army uniform.

sween Thank you, “Transformers”, for making “Independence Day” look stately.

slackmistress Glad this wine isn’t going to drink itself, cause then I’d have some overachieving wine that’d probably think it was too good for me.

LPCookbook I feel impatient waiting for fireworks but it is less because of the magic and more because bitch gotta get up for work in like 9 hours.

antigone_spit My mom: “This is not the Mystery Science version so shut up. But if you want to put a gumball machine on your head feel free.”

kerrianne “This is my childhood in pie form,” she said as she merrily sat down in front of a gleaming triangle of huckleberries and flaky crust.

maggiesox Drinking boxed wine out of a plastic cup while watching fireworks from a Rita’s parking lot. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

BillCorbett If you don’t lose at least three fingers to fireworks tonight, I say your love of country is suspect. #GoBackToRussia

johnmoe The name “Lowly Worm” tells you all you need to know about the brutal Busytown caste system.

muffpunch Just dropped my first f bomb in front of a kid. This party just got started.

theleanover Too many Kardashian sex tapes; not enough Nigella Lawson sex tapes. #ReasonsWhySocietyIsCollapsing

SisterHuff Pants falling down, Pants falling down #ReasonsWhySocietyIsCollapsing

theleanover Guns are cheaper than medical treatment. #ReasonsWhySocietyIsCollapsing

theleanover Your mom. #ReasonsWhySocietyIsCollapsing

kellyoxford I’d love a video montage of every single time I’ve walked into a room and forgotten why I’m in there.

markleggett Let’s not forget who the greatest American hero is: Ralph Hinkley.

steenyweeny ‘aw shit i’m out of agave nectar!’ is a sentence i never thought i would say.

theneener Hooray! It’s that time of the month! You know, the time where I pay my rent and buy groceries.

daddytwocoats Someone referenced a joke I made in a show on Twitter. This must be how Oprah feels.

JosephScrimshaw If you want to blow your hand off with firecrackers, that’s your right. Or your left, depending on which hand you use. #America

thejohnblog “ACCIO JACK DANIELS!”

thebookpolice This land is your land, this land is my land–from the Rocky Mountains, to the two pounds of short ribs in my fridge marinatin’.

MightyHunter Earthlings will always defeat aliens because Earthlings are willing to punch aliens in the face. #independenceday

apodixis Making a movie about today. It’s going to be called “There Will Be Beer.”

theleanover Goodbye, losers! aka unfollowers.

mrteacup The quality of a relationship can be perfectly measured by the length of a mutually agreed-upon netflix queue

modinkpeeb Just ate a hot dog in two bites. Ladies?

unrealsnow Wine tasting places make me wish I carried a disguise kit with me all the time.

PolyesterPonyReheating coffee on the stove top. Like my grandma. Also, wearing support hose.

evandawson I’m proud to be an American, which gives me the freedom to say that the song Proud to be an American is dreadful.

jimmyfairplay I told my dad how many followers I have. He just pointed at stuff he’d built with his hands. You win this round, dad.

wolfpupy Grounded again for delivering the Peoples Elbow to the cat.

apodixis Constant Bliss, Humboldt Fog, Purple Haze. California cheeses all have pot names.

blanklibrarian @exlibris I said “Sweet Baby Picard Jesus!” the other day on fb w/out realizing it’s not really a thing. Except it is now. You’re spreading.

thejohnblog I just woke up with a hangover again, but I’m annoyed that it’s not as good or original as the first one.

B_tothe_S Weed & Feed is lawn fertilizer? I thought it was just something stoners did.

letsgetgizzy The random alley fireworks don’t scare me, but the bag of garbage sitting in the kitchen that I thought was a murderer did.

stevetweeters Day 1 of living in a rural community: A bug flew into my ear.

rstevens I should paint my apartment black with orange gridlines and tell ladies that my Holodeck is broken. #humblebragthenextgeneration

steenyweeny based on how successful my patio garden is, i’m shocked there’s enough food in the world for more than 9 people.

johnmoe Is that a passive aggressive dig at the end of the alphabet song? Like was I supposed to sing with you THIS time?

modinkpeeb Skanks: A good time for you to bathe in Beyonce’s new scent is when it’s 100 degrees and 400% humidity.

GoGadgetGadget Your condescending tone is so sexy. Look! It’s giving my middle finger a boner.

maggiesox So it turns out that I am the kind of asshole who will correct you in public if you get your dinosaurs wrong.

RailbirdJ We can be friends no matter what race, religion, sexual orientation or political party you are. You just can’t vote for Palin.

sgnp Thanks for the sex! #fourwordsaftersex

stray Friends are the people you wish were your siblings.

librarianearp I asked Papa Bear if he’d be my sugar daddy. He said yes and gave me a mint. I don’t think he understands what I meant.

pnkrcklibrarian It’s a truth universally acknowledged a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of an Internet startup to call his own.

lauracope Dust Storms May Exist is a really philosophical way to put it, New Mexico.

jadesongbird When you saw one set of footprints in the sand, that was when I ate your feet.  #ZombieProverbs

ProfessorSnack I have 5 bottles of BBQ sauce and no meat in the house. My subconscious must have big plans for the neighborhood this holiday weekend.

mrteacup The quality of a relationship can be perfectly measured by the length of a mutually agreed-upon netflix queue.

 

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here. Learn more about it in my FAQ.



Follow Friday – Leftover Candy

18 Feb

Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting two online friends who just happened to be locals. I brought my camera but I was so distracted by talking and eating and listening to unbelievable mailman stories that I forgot to take any pictures. When you become a mother you have to accept the fact that your attention will be forever divided anyway. No matter what you are doing, if your kid is anywhere in the vicinity,  a large chunk of your brain will be devoted to Baby Alert. It’s automatic, and as far as I know, you’re unable to ever shut it off.

Ellen, who along with her husband Ivan, cooked us an amazing breakfast despite being very pregnant. Getting dressed and brushing your hair is an accomplishment in the late stages of pregnancy, so making a beautiful berry cake was all kinds of extra points. I should have at least gotten a picture of that amazing cake. It was beautiful. I also got to finally meet Laura, who I met through flickr sometime during my pregnancy.  We had such a great time, and I hope to see you guys again before the baby’s born.

Here’s to online friends.

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here. Learn more about it in my FAQ.

owlpacino The greatest possible use of internet RT @exlibris: Internet, I need your help identifying a Carebear.

ordermeanother No seriously there is no sunshine bear. The actual name is Funshine Bear. #Ihatemyself

Spidey004 You know what, Billy Ray? “Hannah Montana” didn’t do MY family any favors, either.

TweetsofOld James Parker is the latest to add a “phone” to his residence. WA1906

MrWordsWorth A woman died in her office cubicle and wasn’t discovered for a day. That’s why I work at home. So the cat will find me. And eat me.

sween Planning my fantasy baseball team. Got an elephant pitching. He shoots the ball out of his trunk. That’s as far as I’ve got.

TheOnion Anthropologists Trace Human Origins Back To One Large Goat

pnkrcklibrarian Librarians are awesome. ™

shinyinfo The Secret to Writing Papers, by an ex History Major: If you can turn one sentence into three, you are good as gold.

MrWordsWorth If you want meat-flavored food, eat meat. It’s got 100% of the RDA for meat flavor. And it’s MEAT!

markleggett My boss is silently looking at some of my work and frowning. That’s good right?

AFG85 There is something vaguely Lovecraftian about shrimp that I find unsettling.

MostShefinitley KY Jelly should change their name to High Fucktose Porn Syrup.

shellipants I just made Banana Pudding. Aw. I’m domesticated.

thejohnblog I’m hiding in a bathroom stall at work playing WORDS WITH FRIENDS because last time I checked, this is America.

reikibrarian My cat appears to be watching MSNBC . She sees this as an opportunity for cats to regain their former status as gods. #Egypt

unrealsnow A green bean just splooged in my face. Happy Friday everyone!

WhyIsDaddyCryin daughter just sounded like a career drunk trying to say the word “Michigan”……”Mitch….Mish….Mitzkushhhuhnnnhetssspffgg”

PaulyMortadella Facebook buying Twitter is like your fundamentalist Christian parents coming home during the best party ever.

badbanana Mubarak’s take-a-hint meter must have broken during one of those six or seven times his people tried to assassinate him.

markleggett Sobbing too loud will get you kicked out of a gun range.

eareeve Nopants: I am in you!

TheBloggess Every time I feel socially awkward and snubbed at parties I just want to yell “I HAVE 80,000 FRIENDS ON TWITTER”.

purple_quark ah, it is #oversharewednesday Well, the dog has diarrhea. My life is now complete.

FamilySizedFun FYI gardening with toddlers takes the serenity out of gardening.

malenkayaptitsa My allergies are so bad my doctor seriously suggested bathing the cat. Yeah.

Sigafoos Robocop Kickstarter project is funded. Humanity, you did a good thing this week.

helgagrace Patron looking for dog-food recipe books. We have some.

wordlust A good teacher doesn’t crush souls. A good teacher shows students how to crush their own souls. This ensures the flattest souls possible.

inversejaik Oh, it’s #oversharewednesday! Looks like the ol’ spare tire’s gone from “bicycle” to “motocross”. Thanks, Grandma’s cupcakes!

mommywantsvodka So I used to worry my kid was going to become an interpretive dancer to punish me: “This is me, acting out salad.”

antigone_spit All of my likes are going to collapse into a heap of singularity

markleggett Might start a blog where I show what clothes I wear each day. Should be easy, I’ll just reuse the same five photos over and over again.

BeTheBoy Went Valentines day shopping but the trophy store had nothing for nicest boobs. I hope my wife joins a bowling league tonight.

shinyinfo So Bill O’Reilly believes in god because he doesn’t understand how tides work? If I were a Christian, I’d be insulted by this.

StephenAtHome Valentine’s Day is almost here! Ladies, get your hopes up! Fellas, get your apologies ready!

joshuamneff “I resign as leader of Egypt. No, not RESIGN! I REIGN! REIGN! DAMN YOU AUTOCORRECT!” — Hosni Mubarak

adamisacson A car cut me off. Since I had the kid with me, I yelled “Forget you.” Now I’m pissed off _and_ I sound like Gwyneth Paltrow.

dirtyvicar I am drunk with POWER! . . . Wait, nope. It’s vodka.

TheBloggess I also plan on redefining punctuation to fit my personal needs. For instance, all brackets will be purely decorative. {}{}{}[][]{}{}{}

love_drunk Still giggling that Pea refers to the movie delivery service as “Nutflix.”

NASeason My salad was too large. I developed lettuce fatigue.

ApocalypseHow GRAMMYS UPDATE: Millions of nerds still scared from when the announcer yelled “Arcade Fire!”

DamienFahey If I’m reading this correctly the Second Amendment allows me to shoot a bear, tear off his arms and keep them.

eareeve Almost pulled a muscle trying to do the Roger Rabbit.

slackmistress Our peeping tom just looked in our windows and waved. That’s the sort of extra effort that makes our peeping tom special.

iasshole Neighbor’s fence blew down last night but my hair stayed up. Perhaps you should have used Aqua Net on your fencing, sir.

pcsweeney I used to make fun of nickelback before making fun of nickleback was cool. Now everyone does so I’m going to just have to become a huge fan

tomhenrich Someone please make a zombie western. I’ll start you off: Instead of smallpox, the cowboys hand out t-virus infected blankets.

VHStapes2 Wendy Williams is talking shit about you right now Charlie Sheen. Rock Bottom.

EvenMoreSarah Brought my heating pad to work today. This is the best idea I’ve ever had.

sarcasmically Hey guys, does this graphing calculator make me look involuntarily abstinent?

MrWordsWorth The sad thing about a cold is that a really vigorous cough doesn’t count as exercise.

noirbettie OW THESE ROSES HAVE THORNS WHY DIDN’T I LISTEN TO BRET MICHAELS.

willgoldstein You reach a point in every bout with a cold where you just don’t give a crap whether those kleenexes land in the trash bin or not.

tristina_wright Happy National Singles Awareness Day!

ScrewyDecimal Romance Title of the Day: “The Executive’s Valentine Seduction.” Because nothing says romance like sexual harassment in the workplace.

TheRedQueen Well hello new bots. I am your leader now.

markleggett Tomorrow is “Bring your cat to work dressed up as an adorable widdle biddy baby Day”. Excited.

louispeitzman I was really worried Christina Aguilera was going to forget the letters to “Respect.”

markleggett I want to see an Anne Geddes “Where are they now?” calendar, where the babies have to recreate the same photos 20 years later (No dudes).

himissjulie every time I take the toner cartridge out of the printer, shake it around, and put it back in, I think, HELLS YEAH MASTER’S DEGREE

slackmistress RASHY #rejectedcandyhearts

slackmistress GOOD ENUF #rejectedcandyhearts

slackmistress SISTER WIFE #rejectedcandyhearts

thejohnblog BEER MINE #rejectedcandyhearts

slackmistress FAKED IT. #rejectedcandyhearts

slackmistress BEWBZ. #rejectedcandyhearts

slackmistress It’s a boy. #rejectedcandyhearts

bitchylibrarian So far, Grandma Wendy has sent me two Valentine’s Day ecards. I don’t have a Grandma Wendy.

mattmbr Stop it with the twitlonger and the deck.ly it’s 140 characters. If that’s not enough try Facebook. It has a farm.

unrealsnow Phrase I got to learn in Spanish today: There’s a car on fire across the street.

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here. Learn more about it in my FAQ.


Follow Friday – Guest Blog Edition

1 Oct

Home Office

This week I’m delighted to say I’m guest blogging for Aunt Becky on Mommy Wants Vodka. She needed to take time off to work on her celebrity vendettas, so please go over here to check it out. I’ve never guest-blogged before, so I am simultaneously proud and terrified.

I spent much of this week shoving papers into the laminator that I coined a new name for myself—the Laminatrix. It got really boring sitting there waiting for things to be plasticized, so after awhile I entertained myself by convincing as many students as I could that I had to go to school and get a license to operate a laminator. “But it looks so easy!” they would say.

“Ah yes, but that’s the trick,” I replied, “to make something that’s supremely difficult look really easy. It’s an art form really.”

Twitter memes this week include tweets about the record-breaking heat, coming up with bad prom themes ideas, commentary on the death of the Segway company owner, and several nasty viruses such as the “WTF?” virus, the “Twitter Rank” virus, and Glenn Beck. Enjoy!

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  Learn more about it in my FAQ. See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here.


wordlust You can overcome any problem if you stab it 47 times with a trident.

ApocalypseHow It’s hot enough in LA to melt a Kardashian.

Bagyants She told me she was a social butterface. What? Butterfly? I like the other way better.

palinode This has been the busiest week I’ve spent in forever. And I don’t even have a job.

yowhatsthehaps You can’t just stand on the sidewalk and hold the Little Caesar’s sign, lady. You gotta put your back into it.

Bagyants You can make fun of tramp stamps, but those girls can now mail themselves anywhere in the country, so, joke’s on you.

asiajane How many mini muffins make up a muffin serving? Like, eight, right?

AHGinCLE Get your twitter creative ranking “from your head”

sockington AM NOT EATING THIS KIBBLE it is hours old and WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR HAND oh my god ENTIRELY NEW KIBBLE munch munch ARE YOU A WIZARD

shinyinfo My Twitter Rank is “Your Mom”.

thejohnblog Before I could stop myself, I just complained about the fiber content of my granola bar. Am I getting old? -Sent from my Jitterbug

louisvirtel My fave Barnes & Noble section is “Christian Inspiration.” I’m learning how to make a chic ascot out of this tattered old dogma!

ApocalypseHow Prohibition#badpromthemes

BadAstronomer Taffetastic #badpromthemes

BridgetCallahan In conclusion, I’d like to live under a rosebush, owned by my family for generations, guarded by a ferret made of fire.

apelad It’s been great getting to know all the new neighbors and finding out what the names of their wireless networks mean.

evilnick Visit to dentist yesterday left me with a frozen sneer for half the day. It was a great timesaver

aloria Someone on my block is blasting Tejano, so I stood at my window screaming a Dragonforce song. Music’s still playing, but I feel better now.

Bagyants “Are you going to this Bar Mitzvah with us or not? Somebody is going to become a man. Also I learned what douchebag means.” -Mom voicemail

saraschaefer1 When the voice in my head tells me I’m not a beautiful snowflake I try to imagine it’s the voice of Brad Pitt. Total hotty up in my brain!

CorporateMonkey I don’t know how, but I seem to have pulled a butt muscle while sitting in a chair for the past 2 hours.

louispeitzman I find it hard to believe that something as awesome-sounding as fantasy football only allows you to draft humans.

hereslizz So tweets with WTF in it are bad? That’s like 85% of my tweets.

making her baby sign for "more"

thejohnblog There was a clown on the corner waving people into a car wash, but I don’t get why he looks confused that I immediately hit him with my car.

BugginWord I just invited my cat to shower with me. I might need to get our more.

lilpyrogirl Some days I just let the panty lines win.

lovelyandroid School is so painfully boring. It is like someone is flicking me in the face all day long.

mikey_m00n Is it still called *irregularity* if I have it regularly?

adamisacson Earth, Wind and Fire only hit it big after several band members quit. Water, Dirt, Drywall, Phlegm, and Perfect Vacuum faded into obscurity.

wordlust According to Google Pants, I’m not wearing any pants.

zombiesitcom The saddest instrument is the clarinet. I think his mom died.

mathowie If there is a thesis titled “Economic Impacts of Curious George: Lasting Damages Caused By A Single Monkey” I would read it.

ninjapoodles OMG, I accidentally clicked on “New Twitter,” and they moved all my cheeses.

yowhatsthehaps I nap at a college level.

dried aloe vera leaves remind me of The Kracken

midwestgrrl The ads for Fiber One bars, where people don’t believe it’s fiber & eat like 3 bars? They’ll believe in a few hours. As will their co-workers.

ApocalypseHow In honor of the Segway founder’s passing, Gob Bluth is permitted to run red lights today.

TheBloggess Just discovered a blog plagiarizing a post I wrote about being plagiarized. This is how wormholes get started, people.

mommywantsvodka Dear Preschool Parents: I am sorry that I taught my son, “Boys have penises, girls have lasagnas.”

jezebelsadie The real question is not why I have a “Gnomes” category in my Google Reader feed, but why new items appear daily.

Phineas I need a photo reference for cowboy chaps, but honestly, I’m afraid to google it.

lafix The neighbor boy wants to be a cowboy. I told him he should also consider construction and Indian chiefing. It takes a village, people.

nicpiper I’ve got graffiti finger from lots of spraying. I look like a multicoloured crab.

smileydooby Geez I look down at my phone to play ONE game and now everyone is going the wrong way on the highway! Learn how to drive and quit honking!

joshuamneff “Data, can you transfer those sensor readings to Engineering?” “Sorry, Geordi, we only have a license for one terminal.” #startrekDRM

sween Red sky at night, mutant’s delight. Red sky at morning, cockroaches swarming.
Red sky all day, I have a tentacle! – post-apocalyptic saying

danforthfrance My cat and I will now perform the “we’re dying” scene from E.T. on the relatively less-warm bathroom floor. Admission is a bag of ice.

AnissaMayhew I slack therefore I am-ish.

zombiesitcom You are not leaving this table until you eat all your brains. #ZombieSitcomMom

OngoingBS Do you know we lose 100,000 brain cells a day? Mainly to immigrant workers! #glenbecktweet

ApocalypseHow CBS is picking up another sitcom based on a Twitter feed. This one’s just called “Shit.”

MeganBoley Someone replaced the baby with an irritable squid from 7-9 last night. Rude.

midwestgrrl My mom still has a hard time with texting. They’re on vacation at the beach & she just texted YAY WE ARE ON THE BEE

English50cent I am planning a film career, listening to a stingy drinking vessel and suffering from constipation. 3 more weeks of it will cause burning.

English50cent You are sexually attractive but absent. Use a horticultural tool on this ‘pimping’. (gardening term – ed) Are you toying with my affections?

English50cent Sex?

English50cent Does my bum look big in this?

RailbirdJ This better be a good day, my AK is in the shop.

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  Learn more about it in my FAQ. See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here.

Falling Waters: The Soothing Sounds of Nature

29 Sep

My daughter is attached to me at the hip. We sleep together, we eat together and you know what? We go to the bathroom together, too.

That’s right. I bring my daughter into the bathroom with me.

I see this as a matter of safety and not just a matter of convenience. When I am the only one at home with her, I’d rather lock her in the bathroom with me than leave her to her own cat-tail-pulling, electrical-socket-investigating, shoe-tasting devices. She knows exactly where to go when Mama says, “I have to go to the bathroom. Do you want to come with Mommy?”

“YEAH!” she exclaims excitedly, and she bolts down the hallway. (She never says “yes,” just “yeah!” I’m convinced it’s because she’s half Swedish. I’ve yet to catch her saying, “Bork! Bork! Bork!” though.)

Isobel is becoming more aware of her own bodily functions and she is probably not that far off from toilet training. We ask her frequently if her diaper is wet and if it’s time for a change. Sometimes she lets us know she has a poo poo. I’m always proud of her when she walks up to me and says, “Poo poo!” because she’s recognizing her body and its functions and holy hell! I just think that’s great. Clearly, she’s a genius.

Before we go any further I’d like to bring up the following facts:

  1. Everybody poops. I’m sorry if that offends your delicate sensibilities, but it’s a fact of life.
  2. When I was being toilet trained I always thought my turds were fishies and I’d happily wave “bye bye!” to them as I flushed the toilet. It’s #oversharewednesday so I just thought you should know.

There you have it. Everyone poops, and everyone has funny stories of toilet training.

But this story isn’t just about poo poo.

As I’ve mentioned probably dozens of times now, Isobel and I spend pleasant late afternoons and early evenings on the patio blowing bubbles, coloring with chalk, or digging around in birdseed. I bring a snack and we eat on the porch together followed by unwinding in the Indian summer sun. If she wants to stay outside for a couple hours, I open my laptop and work on some projects. After awhile she lets me know when she is ready to head inside and we make dinner while listening to the musical stylings of DJ Lance Rock.

One of the things she really likes to do is to help Mama water her plants. She calls all plants, “flower” and uses the Spanish term “agua” for “water.” Yesterday I set the hose on the edge of the chair and set my watering can beneath it. As water filled can it made that distinctive pouring noise that one usually hears while going to the bathroom.

“Mama!” she said, full of excitement, “Agua pee pee!”

“Yes, I guess it does sound like that when I go to the bathroom.”

“Agua! Pee pee!”

“Yup! You’re a smart girl.” I agreed with her. It totally sounded like pee pee now that I thought about it.

Then she ran her fingers through the stream of water as it left the hose and filled the can.

“Pee pee,” she said with wonder.

Home on the Range

23 Sep

I can’t believe I’m working in the garden every night. And I’m loving it. I honestly don’t think I’d be out there if I didn’t have Isobel. Before baby I spent time after work decompressing by processing photos, surfing flickr, or watching TV. But I don’t want our after work routine to be spent in front of the TV. My mother had very strict TV limits with us, and plus we couldn’t afford cable, so we were allowed an hour of antennae-TV a day, which usually meant snowy episodes of whatever was on PBS. She set a high standard, especially because we have access to DVDR’d episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba on demand. It’s very tempting to turn it on and fold the laundry in peace.

But that’s not why I became a mother.

So! The backyard beckons. She knows every day at around five o’clock we go out there and play for a couple hours before bed.

Proof I have no yardworking skillz

Right now I’m only focusing on my plants on the patio, because those are the ones I love and my skills really don’t go beyond container gardening at this point. I mean, I can prune the power-hungry wisteria over there but trust me, there’s no reason to until the leaves all fall off. Much more manageable that way. And the lawn? Well, the neighbor is still working on that.

This bucket is one of Isobel’s favorite outdoor toys. She likes to fill it up with water or birdseed and then dump it out again. She is also developing quite the little sense of humor as I saw her putting it on her head and saying, “Hat! Hat!”

These begonias clearly need some help. They used to be a lot healthier and happier but something’s been snacking on them. Also when I was moving around I noticed there were tons of black widow egg sacks on them, which I promptly crushed with a shovel.

Remember my golden scooter? This scooter is very special to Anthony and me because it came with the house. The side of our house by the pond was so overgrown with weeds when we moved in that we didn’t notice the previous owners left this scooter back there for an entire year. That’s right. Anthony had to literally dig it out of the weeds that had grown around it. Nature was claiming the golden scooter for its own.

Just look at that scooter! Some boy somewhere is weeping that it’s missing because it’s painted solid gold and very obviously magical. This is what it looks like right after someone rides it:

It's magically delicious!

Some of my plants still look pretty good despite all the neglect I’ve lavished upon them.

My patio table, however, needs some help.

Zorro looks on, disappointed in my gardening skills.

Look how fresh and clean everything looks after a good sweeping and some repottings!

Jupiter watches with interest whenever he sees us outside and begs to join us. Sorry, I’m clearly some sort of Cat Dictator.

Let me outta this hell hole

I call this shot “Begonia Vision” because you can see Isobel playing in the background. Also I was out of hanging pots and just added the barely-still-alive String of Banana plants to this one. It’s a party in that pot!

Also looking a lot better on this side. Less places for Black Widows to hide, certainly. Although the guy installing our cable didn’t do a pretty job of it.

I’m actually working on the patio and I couldn’t be prouder of myself. I originally posted about the patio to shame myself into working on it, but in the end, that held no sway whatsoever. Apparently I don’t hold myself accountable to the internets. I’m doing it because I love, which is the best reason to do anything anyway.