Tag Archives: Summer

Scrapbook: Home Harvest

26 Jan

I’m still catching up on photos and posts that should have run much earlier in year. At the time I was recovering from debilitating panic attacks so this post and a few others kind of got pushed aside. But I am really proud of my pumpkins and I want to show them to you! (That last sentence was not a euphemism. I swear.)

Aside from the herb garden, which I didn’t take a lot of photos of, we grew pumpkins, butternut squash, a sunflower, and marigolds. I count marigolds because they are a pest-repellant plant and I was specifically growing them for Day of the Dead decorations. Anthony accidentally cleared them out when he was weeding the garden at the end of the season (oops!) so I didn’t get to use them.

I’m really proud of our pumpkins. We were so infested with aphids that I was really worried we wouldn’t get any fruit but we managed to grow three fat orange globes. You can see the other two, plus a helpful PSA, here. Isobel was especially impressed with our pumpkins.

And the sunflower. Which was pretty magical for both of us. When I was thirteen I grew a patch of Russian Giant sunflowers that were easily 15 feet tall. My mom proudly took a picture of me standing next to them. I’ll have to show you someday. We only grew the one, and about half of the seeds are empty, but it was a really fun experience.

We didn’t even have to go to the pumpkin patch this year!

But of course we did, anyway.

The good thing about marigolds, besides the fact they are so cheerful and lovely, is that their petals each turn into a seed, so that by the time the plant has wilted you have enough seeds for a thousand plants. My friend Jake gave me plenty more seeds for next year.

Growing all of these plants was way easier than I thought it would be. Preparing the soil was most of the work done, and daily watering was a chore I had to do anyway. Plus Isobel loves to go outside. I can’t wait to start another garden this summer, but I’m not sure what we’ll grow.

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Last Haul of the Season

24 Jan

Ah, summer. That magical time when I visited the Farmer’s Market each week and planned our meals accordingly. Now that the market has closed and the local fruit stands have boarded up their windows, I have only my memories and occasional trips to the local remate to tide me over. It’s tough to get there with the kid, and cold and muddy, too, and I have a hard time struggling to carry all those purchases the distance I have to walk back to the car. I can’t wait until May.

These photos are from the last market of the season back in October. This trip was extra special because I was able to fit some thrifting in that day, too.

The plates, bowls and hangers are all thrifted. Purchases that day included green beans, pea shoots, pomegranates, raw almonds, peaches, grape tomatoes, hummus, red pepper tapenade, and a butternut squash.

The sunflower seeds pictured here were actually grown in my garden. Earlier in the season Isobel and I checked out a local nursery’s booth at the Farmer’s Market and they had a display with soil, a little peat pot and seeds. We happened to run into my cousin’s family there, so Isobel and her cousin Victoria got to plant their own sunflower seeds. We watered it and placed it above the sink and two days later it sprouted. It was so magical for Isobel and I to watch. We watched it bloom and eventually cut it down. Isobel helped me pluck the seeds from the flower head. It was incredibly easy and required little more than water on my part.

The amber jar and wooden salt and pepper shakers in the background were also purchased secondhand that day, along with the Pyrex, mushroom cruets, and very awesome (but naturally, inaccurate) vintage dinosaur place mat. I picked up the letter sorter for Isobel and milk glass dish below for a song.

I miss you, summer.

Follow Friday: Giant Yard Sale

30 Sep

Once a year my parents’ neighbors hold a giant yard sale. Their house sits on two lots and their entire front lawn takes up one of them. They divide the lawn into plots and people rent spots and set up shop. I always find great things, and this was the sale where we found those vintage books I was telling you about. Although I didn’t buy what is shown in the first three photos (though I would have loved to take it all home except for the mirror), I did buy the succulent and the gorgeous silver scroll work dish. Honestly, I really wish I would have bought Dragon Dominoes for the cover art alone.

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.

jenifersf I just thought to myself, boy, I need a drink. Realized I was 3/4 of the way through a beer.

johnmoe All Sportscenters and TV news sports casts should begin “Just a reminder, none of this matters. Not really. Now, on to numbers and videos!”

sgnp Back when I got fired by that dominatrix she said I could let the door hit me in the ass on the way out, for old time’s sake.

MeganBoley Sometimes I hear “no naps for you!” in my head. In soup nazi voice.

misskubelik my all time favorite is the 7 year old who asked for BOOGIE NIGHTS. Turns out he meant BOOGIE *K*NIGHTS. Slight difference.

danforthfrance I’ve had a lot of coffee. Allow me to strip to the waist and I’ll wrestle that giant octopus and save your seaside village.

sarcasmically I’d like to tell you I haven’t spent an hour pasting Burt Reynolds’ face onto Jesus’ body, but I don’t want BurtJesus to hear me tell a lie.

badbanana Just completed a wildly successful first test of my new robot intern at work. At least three dead.

mat I’ve gotten zero spam @ messages since signing up with laterspam.org, which is actually kind of disappointing. I want to play. iPad? Viagra?

jillsmo I had some red stuff between my toes and I thought it was blood. It was jello.

FakePewResearch 100% of lasers are FUCKING AWESOME.

hotdogsladies Guys, explaining a joke is like telling Hannibal why to bring lots of peanuts to Carthage—either you get it or you’re already on Wikipedia.

RailbirdJ Klout thinks I’m influential about John Boehner. I bet its from all those orange erection jokes.

UnicornFlavored I can’t tell if I just saw Ricki Lake’s nip, or if it was an optical illusion.

maggiesox I should not watch Ron Paul before I go to bed. I should not watch Ron Paul before I go to bed. I should not…oh, fuck it.

johnmoe The Playboy Club show is bound to appeal to men. If there’s one thing men love about Playboy, it’s clothed women talking about stuff.

markleggett I’ve been stressed before, but never “infomercial mom” stressed.

InfiniteChicken Take the name of the street you grew up on + your gross income/withholding = your HR Block name.

tommycm Is there such a verb as ‘to verb’?

jberthume Nooooooo I hafta get a shot nooooooo. Wait, actually, that’s probably best and fastest. Oh man, now I’m a grown-up noooooooo.

ColinPeters Puberty is the time in your life when you become extra greasy so you can slip out of your parents’ grasp.

JimGaffigan “How old is your baby?” is the “How about this weather?” of parenting.

antigone_spit Irony is the “Stress Management and Relaxation Training” online class being the most difficult and frustrating class of ever.

MassageByTed Up next on “Today”: cockblocking. What is it, who’s doing it, and how can you protect your children?

MmeSurly Indianapolis Police: “We will not say how they died, but we are looking for a shooter or shooters.” I love mysteries!

ebertchicago “If you go home with someone and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.” — John Waters

sarcasmically Adults who buy a hot dog combo lunch and eat it alone in the Target snack café should get a free pity hug with purchase.

TheSuniverse My hair looks like Hagrid’s today. Fucking humidity.

sween When my wife’s away, I make poor dietary choices. I ate a bowl of Lego this morning.

MrWordsWorth ‘Some side effects are swollen earlobes and a sexual attraction to the letter Q.’ – rejected drug ad copy

FlyteAphrodite My horoscope says I’m on edge but still appear calm. It also says I will be admired if I don’t hide my feelings. *runs in circles screaming*

MoistPork I’m thinking of starting an all-female moped gang. We’ll call ourselves the sCooters.

Its_Death Nevermind is 20 years old. Remember, how the Beatles seemed old back in 1991? They broke up 21 years before. You’ve become your parents.

SpaghettiJesus With my next tweet and my previous tweet, I came to the realization that I’m the Tosh.0 of slightly educated people.

WowItsStephen I’m calling tomorrow “FUNday” b/c I have a perky, upbeat personality!! I’m calling Tuesday the day I finally murder myself.

JillMorris My body is always sending me mixed signals about whether it wants to be alive.

hereslizz When you realize the irony of trying to find an online class for Interpersonal Communication? That.

marklegget tBefore criticising a man, walk a mile in his Crocs.

MmeSurly Every piece of popcorn chicken is unique, like a beautiful meat snowflake.

neiltyson Just saw “Moneyball” — The power of mathematics over tradition & superstition. Should probably be renamed “Mathball.”

shinyinfo Do you know who isn’t a Merry Man? Worf. Worf is not a Merry Man.

bebehblog I’ve been really hungry for a couple of hours, but too lazy to get off the couch. I AM A DIETING GENIUS.

slackmistress I hate unpacking with such a white-hot fury that you’d think it killed my grandma.

CanuckLibrarian Reading tweets that there are too many plot lines in a tv show on now. I guess there’s a reason those types watch tv instead of read.

80sMomKara I swear that we just got ‘fat free, sugar free’ ice cream. What the hell is it made with? Is it liquified packing peanuts? Soylent Green?

EvenMoreSarah I kind of wish the people at Dunkin had accidentally given me a donut instead of this dumb wheat bagel I asked for.

louisvirtel Happy birthday to Will Smith. Hope he’s spending some quality time with his wife and kids’ money.

luckyshirt I spilled Head and Shoulders on my feet, and now I don’t know which half of my body to cover with pants.

NicLewis Just saw a Target employee as nerdy as me hit on a coworker out of his league. Star Trek tells me this won’t end well for either redshirt.

MmeSurly I just made French toast with apple cider and pumpkin pie spice, so if y’all need me I’ll be marrying myself and maybe doing sex to myself.

thecorbettkid *someone* refused a nap at the appropriate nap time & is now melting down into a puddle of tears & snot. fyi: it’s not me. could be. but no.

ruthakers I want all my online passwords to try on swimsuits in the harsh light of a dressing room. We’ll see how secure they are then.

Whereismyrobot Trapped in the Closet still holds up.

WhyIsDaddyCryin I love finding a FB wall post with a lot of comments on it an adding my own that says “cats are soft”

notthatkendall I like it when Klout sends me “Important Updates,” and I get to remember just how ridiculous everything is.

lovegrrbottle Taking a video of Sonora starting to crawl and got video-bombed by the dog humping her toy in the background. :/

bookishbella The “It’s official: facebook will start charging” meme is going again. Somebody’s kid needs to tell them how the internet works.

stevetweeters I hope I don’t sound too dramatic but I accidentally poked myself in the eye and it hurts just like natural childbirth.

apelad Whenever I play a race car video game I try to cause the biggest crash possible as I cross the finish line.

susanorlean Someone actually did move my cheese.

ohrebecca Yayyuuuuuyyyyyyyyayyayyyayyuauuyyauu vodka!

TheRedQueen Listening to “Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta” while I clean the kitchen. I am fairly confident I am this songs demographic.

nick_hubert Ikea was busy. I only managed 2 fights but won both of them. I bought a highchair.

rstevens Googled “search engines” and now I can see forever.

theneener OH at the Labs: When did you eat? Is it safe for me to throw you up in the air?

geekandahalf Shout out to the person who flaked on going out tonight. I’mma drink at home for free and watch Project Runway. #winning

EvenMoreSarah I’m talking to myself in my dog’s imaginary voice so I should probably be sent home.

sarahbartlett I’ve officially wasted 15 minutes on an email about watermelon. #isitMonday

MarinkaNYC I don’t understand people who talk to me while I’m obviously tweeting. It’s like they were raised in a WiFi-less barn.

Mike_FTW When you put that uniform on you are a US soldier. You aren’t a gay soldier. You aren’t a straight soldier. And you deserve our respect.

PopCulLibrn So Spouse just set up an XBox Live account for the 9yo; it randomly gave him the username WagglyDuchess13. He’s scarred for life.

thejohnblog It’s probably not a good idea to have Santorum standing next to the Google logo. #tweetthepress

danforthfrance I don’t believe in Hell, but for Santorum I’ll make an exception. #tweetthepress

Cheeseboy22 Fun stat: Even when I wear my Hammer pants, I am still the most normal person in Rite Aid 100% of the time.

TPHD GOOD THING THESE SNACK CRACKERS WERE “FLAVORBLASTED”>> I WAS WORRIED THERE WOULDNT BE ENOUGH FLAVORS

LastMomOnEarth Kurt google searched for my blog by typing, “Last Mom On Earth Amanda Kurt sexy piece of husband” so that I would see it in my stats.

TheProvArchive My x-ray report finishes off with ‘The rest of the foot is unremarkable.’ …I still love you, foot. No matter what they say.

johnmoe “I like their later stuff. After they sold out. When they played big arenas and teenagers liked them.” – Hipster hipster

jillsmo Do you ever feel like you spend every waking moment constantly in motion? And if that’s so, why am I not thinner than this?

mommywantsvodka Pretty sure I inadvertently mooned my neighbors. Not sure I’m unhappy about that.

badbanana Here’s how you end any meeting early. Just approve everything and walk out. Works even if you have no authority.

heyrenees I’m reading these match.com profiles and I have two thoughts. 1. Men, there are other writers besides Palahniuk. 2. Dying alone seems fine.

iasshole Attempts at deep feminist readings of The Magic Treehouse are being met with confusion and indifference.

palinodeWhy didn’t they rename “The Hills Have Eyes 2” as “The Hills Have 2 Eyes”? Because duh.

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.

Scrapbook: The Fair

26 Sep

We go to the fair every year. I love the weird shit, the competitions, and the animals. When I was younger and less concerned over the safety of rides put together overnight by the obviously high, I loved the rides, too.  I really think the people you go with really affect how much fun you have. We live in a small town, where we learned from a young age you either make your own fun or you make your own meth. And the market’s kind of flooded for meth.

'Sup, tortoise.

Last year I was super excited to take Isobel to the county fair, but I knew this year would be even better:  she was old enough now to really enjoy it, we were going with her good buddy Kingston, and, to top it all off, high school slow dance favorites Boyz II Men was headlining! Actually, we were neutral about  Boyz II Men, but we did happen to go on the night they were performing. The show started just as we were leaving, and I suddenly remembered that my friend Melynda planned on going. I  turned to Anthony and said, “Hey! Maybe we’ll see Melynda!” Anthony looked over the crowd of thousands dubiously.

“There is no way we’ll find Melynda,” he said confidently.

“Oh look! There she is!” I replied. Not twenty feet from my stroller, there she was. It was a moment of total serendipity.

First stop: the heart booth. Always the heart booth. Each year our local hospital sets up a booth including a giant, anatomically correct heart that you can walk through, complete with wooshing blood-noises.  Like a snuggle nest! Anyway, it’s by far the best booth at the fair for two reasons: my bestie volunteers there, and it’s air-conditioned.

What we didn’t realize is how much the kids would love the heart booth, to the point that as soon as we exited one ventricle the kids would immediately try to to circulate back in. There were two kids and four adults yet somehow they were so crazy for the heart booth we could hardly contain them. In the photo below, for example, Kingston is being escorted out of the heart for about the seventeenth time.

It was total mayhem.

They would not be deterred, even as the heart booth filled with strangers. My normally timid child followed Kingston’s bold lead and steamrolled their way through the innocents trying to learn about anatomy. Kingston favored brute force, pushing his way in and weaving through legs, while Isobel was more sneaky. At one point she  pulled a fast one on me and ran around the back of the heart, searching in vain for a extra ventricle that she could circulate through. No such luck.

Anthony did take this picture, though, and I realized I could have won a blue ribbon for Whitest Legs in the County had I only thought to enter them in the fair.

Once we were able to pry the kids away from the heart, we visited the photo-op area, which is a yearly tradition. Seeing as how we’ve done it twice now.

(Click here to see photos of Doctor Baby Isobel and Buxom Nurse Anthony.)

Then we headed over to the rainforest area where I took my favorite photo of the night. Too bad it wasn’t of my kid!

(It was of Kingston, though, so that is totally okay:)

Last year Isobel couldn’t navigate this bridge on her own.

Taking toddlers through areas like this takes a bit longer, especially if your kid is Kingston. You have to fight his natural impulse to be set loose in the rainforest so he can Break All The Things and have a great time.

Previously the mantis was just kind of hanging out, but this year they added mangled butterflies. The carnage is a nice touch.

So here is the part where I think to myself, “Let’s take a sweet photo of the kids together, holding still and smiling and looking directly at the camera nicely, so that we can always remember all the good times we had at the fair.”

Cheese!

Touching, isn’t it? It came out about as well as the photo I took of Isobel and Victoria at Yo Gabba Gabba.

I did get a photo of Isobel sitting on the mushrooms to compare to last year’s, though, and that made me happy.

This year:

Last year:

"Oh hi! Just trying to cause grave bodily harm to myself or others!"

Hey Kingston! Kingston! I want to take a picture of you, dude!

That’s better.

So my favorite part, even better than all of the weird things you can see in the exhibit hall, is the animals. Specifically, the bunnies, the chickens, and my personal, all-time, most-favorite-ever: the goats.

The thing about the goats is that they are always trying to eat their own signs. Always. It’s hilarious. One time in high school I went to the fair and I was wearing a pair  jeans that were ripped in the knees an the goat tried to eat the pants clean off my body. True. Another time, back when I was a toddler, my parents were at a farm when they needed to consult their map for directions home. A goat wandered by and started eating the map. How can you not love an animal like that?

You can tell from this photo how excited I am to see bunnies. I look more enthusiastic than Isobel. But she was actually flipping out with glee. Here she is telling Anthony that she wants Dada to “put this bunny in her hand.”

That girl is like, “Hell no. Mr. Fluffernutters is MINE.”

She adored the fair. Her tiny body reverberated with excitement all night. She loved it so much we ended up going again on a free day for more pig petting and goat snuggling, and and would have gone a few more times at least (admission and all) but that was the week we went out of town to visit Jose and Lupe. She even loved the bus ride we took from our parking spot to the fair on the park and ride. She might even love the fair more than I do, if that’s possible. Her favorite part, by far, was the animals. Even now when I tell her we have to go somewhere she begs me to take to the fair to “go see the animals.” She was in heaven. All night I heard the refrain “I love amimols!”

"I love amimols!"

"I love amimols!"

When we went to the petting zoo to see the goats I realized she either picked up on my love of the creatures or inherited it, because she was terrified of all the animals in the petting zoo except the goats. In fact, she told me that this goat was hers, all hers, hinting that no one else could pet it. She spent the better part of the next 2o minutes hugging it.

"I love amimols!"

We saw the chickens, which she loved but later told me were “too loud.” Other things she said were too loud: turkeys, cows, and Kingston.

Kingston, for his part, was also having a blast. When he wasn’t initiating headbutt competitions with the goats he was playing in…

CORNS! Which I’m sure Angel found in his diaper later.

I love this photo. He’s like, “I have the power. OF CORN.”

Isobel went straight to the farm equipment, which, if she ever saw in real life would definitely be deemed, “too loud.”

She must have known this, because as she played with them she made truck noises.

After baby Kingston left we toured the exhibit hall for a while before heading out. I was looking at artwork and photography while Anthony was indulging in parkour for parents: stroller tricks.

Aaaand because I can’t write a post about the fair without including one strange thing I found in the exhibit hall, I shall leave you with this epic cat lady painting. Not pictured: her 300 other cats. Until next time, county fair.

Scrapbook: Goodbye Summer

25 Sep

Flipbook: Summer

20 Sep

Scrapbook: Bucket Head

18 Sep

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.

Scrapbook: Yosemite

5 Sep

I hope you are enjoying your Labor Day weekend! Right now we are just getting back from watching one of our oldest friends marry another good friend. Recently, though, we took a trip to Yosemite. As I mentioned earlier, we’re not going to be doing this again until she’s older. We had a good time, but herding her around and making sure she wasn’t discovering creative new ways to injure herself took all of our energy. We felt like the Secret Service, clearing the perimeter, ensuring at least one of us had a visual at all times, and trying to convince our VIP that she shouldn’t wander into the bike lane. It was exhausting.

But we had fun! Our favorite parts involved water, and not just because Isobel enjoyed it so much: the temperature was in the high nineties and I wanted to keel over every time I ventured into the sun. I’m used to this baking, relentless heat in my home in the Valley as it’s a part of living here. But there’s something demoralizing about getting excited to visit a lush forest, a national treasure,  and finding you’d prefer to sit in the car with the air conditioning on full blast. Sacrilege, I know.

We found solace in the Yosemite river twice. First, before our picnic we stopped by the lower portion of Yosemite Falls. The river was so low families were climbing in to cool off their toes and wade as deeply into the frigid water as they could stand. We climbed down to the river bed and the water was as shockingly cold as the sun was scorching. Usually venturing into the water at Yosemite Falls is only for those with a death wish, but this late in summer the river is more rock than water.

After our picnic, which was punctuated with constant requests from Isobel to “go pet the squirrels,” we hiked down river and found shady little spot just right for exploring. This was the most relaxed we were the whole trip, and it was nice to sit on the cool rocks and listen to the shushsush of the water and watch Isobel contentedly pretend her stick was a fishing pole. The best part (and you can see this in some of the pictures on my flickr) is that after we got there some dude decided that this spot on the river was the perfect place to stop and meditate among the beauty of nature. Which, I’m sure it was, but nature’s splendor had to compete with the joyous cries of my daughter repeatedly saying, “HOLA! I’M ISOBEL! DO YOU WANT TO GO FISHING WITH ME? YAY, I LIKE FISHING! ME TOO!”

I mean, we were there first, so he had to know what he was getting into when he plunked down into the lotus position. If he was actually able to tune out Isobel’s voice then we may have been in the presence of a Buddha himself. Also, while she was singing and shouting and splashing she was also wading into the river up to her shins. It’s a good thing I packed extra clothes.

If you’re interested, you can see more photos from our trip to Yosemite here, including a shot of the smoke from the wildfire that detoured our route by a good forty minutes.  I hope your weekend was long and relaxing.

Follow Friday: Our Garden

26 Aug

Our garden is so enormous now the pumpkin and butternut squash vines my friend Jake gave me have taken over the back corner completely and are growing over the lawn. It’s crazy. These photos were from when they decided to be serious about being squash vines instead of just little baby plants, as Isobel likes to call them. One of her favorite things to do still is to hang out in the garden and paint with water. A while ago we had a get together in the back yard and it was still going strong even after the sun went down. Kingston and Isobel stood in the garden, knee-deep in squash vines, each drinking their sippy cup full of milk and shouting “MOON! MOON! MOON!”

I love summer.

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.

JerryThomas I wish I loved anything as much as Ren Faire people love the word “huzzah.”

markos God is punishing Virginia for not allowing gay marriage.

iasshole Oh nooo today is still happening every time I look.

theleanover Worst dressed particles: tachyons.

kerrianne Overheard: “I probably shouldn’t say these things out loud because someone will take me seriously if one of them turns up dead.”

BenTallen Together there are more of us than if there were only one of us! #GenericActivism

Hornpipe2 We support Posterboard and Magic Marker! #GenericActivism

thebremely It’s important to remember. #GenericActivism

peachgrenade All over the world there are people. Won’t you help? #GenericActivism

johnmoe If none of us can, which of us will? Please send money to an email. #GenericActivism

johnbiggs For the price of a cup of coffee you can buy someone a cup of coffee. #GenericActivism

Unept “If we don’t stop now, then who will?” #GenericActivism

slackmistress “Home is where the hearts are.” – Serial Killer Needlepoint Sampler

palinode My out-of-office email has been on. For the last five years.

shinyinfo @exlibris Goofus was like Tyler Durden to Gallant.

eshep Text “Sorry you spilled your chai latte” to 90999 to donate $1 to the victims of the U.S. East Coast earthquake.

joeinverarity Just installed a rope to swing from my balcony into my car through the passenger window. This will make every morning epic!

InfiniteChicken ‘Little Rascals’ never made sense to me until I realized they were all in Purgatory.

theleanover My fantasy football league still involves helmets and a grassy field but also a lot more Victoria’s Secret models and pillow fights.

LIFECOACHERS Try waving goodbye with five fingers instead of just the middle one.

YourAuntDiane I’m against harmful emissions but LOVE the smell of gasoline. Ugh! Copulate with ONE Bolivian on a riding mower and it haunts you for years.

goodinthestacks If my car’s a rockin’ it’s probably an earthquake. Or the engine mounts.

WordShore Earthquakes, droughts, 100F+ heat, hurricanes, tornados, rattlesnakes, tarantulas, fried butter on a stick. Still want to live here, though.

matt_T EAST COAST QUAKES HAVE STARTED A RAP BEEF WITH WEST COAST QUAKES LAST TIME THIS HAPPENED BIGGIE AND TUPAC DIED.

BillCorbett Giant earthquakes. THAT is what wall-to-wall coverage of a Kardashian wedding will get you, America.

rob_sheridan The collective eye-rolling of everyone in California is probably moving the earth more than the east coast.

joeljohnson New York earthquakes are better because of our thinner crust.

gabedelahaye Change your avatar to green in support of the Earthquake! #swineflu

johnmoe I like earlier earthquakes before everyone found out about them. I felt a tiny earthquake in Olympia, Washington once at a house party.

BillableBarbie That wasn’t an earthquake. That was just me getting out of my chair. #pregnant

JerryThomas Since the earthquake, I can’t make a call on my AT&T phone. So, no different from normal.

xzqx Confirmed 5.8 earthquake in Virginia. Casualties include my productivity for the rest of the day as I continually refresh twitter.

FakeeEtiquette Politely respond to online friends who make duckfaces in every picture by throwing bread crumbs at them when you meet in real life.

badbanana Wore my Lucky Meeting Pants today and all three of my meetings got cancelled. See, they work.

morninggloria I knew that “Gettin Jiggy Wit It” would lead to nothing but pain.

shariv67 Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s Eve? Thou art more douchey and more desperate.

theRratedBull One very important lesson I’ve learned is that no matter how smart your phone is it still won’t know how to swim.

massagebyted Just a hunch, but I’m beginning to suspect that some of these DMV employees are not pillars of the motor-vehicle professional community.

UnicornFlavored My rice salad is even better the next day. It’s like all the flavors had an orgy overnight. A delicious, delicious orgy.

letsgetgizzy Oh, look who downloaded the Country Strong soundtrack off iTunes when she was drunk last night.

gabedelahaye Ladies, which do you find more romantic: “AWOOGA!” or “HUBBA HUBBA!”? Please be honest.

wordlust If I’m supposed to be loving my neighbor as I love myself, I guess I owe my neighbor 217,816 handjobs.

DogWearingAHat I saw the best minds of my generation post gay porn under other peoples’ accounts – that dude who wrote Howl.

BillCorbett Look Look Cool Jorts #CelebInitialsRevealed

apelad The first day of school is over, but the evening of signing every form ever is just beginning.

ProfessorSnack I send all of my followers a Terms & Conditions statement to accept. They just have to cross out “Fear Factor” and write in @ProfessorSnack.

smileydooby If I had a business I’d call it “mind your own” and we’d sell nothing but shut the hell up.

ProfessorSnack Welcome new followers. Many of you will deny and unfollow me before I tweet thrice. I’ll love you no less.

tommycm i always feel like my iphone is passing comment on my life when it states ‘nothing to undo’.

SpaghettiJesus I think it’s safe to say that Twitter’s trending topics are proof of the limits of humanity’s reach. This is as far as we go.

tommycm you know those awful misogynist hip-hop gigs where the group get all the sexy ladies onto the stage? how might i do something similar here?

adiopink Somewhere in the library, a patron with the perfect bass is quietly singing “Noooobody knows… the trouble I’ve seen.”

badbanana Pandora has gone from asking me “Are you still listening?” to “So, like, shouldn’t you go get some exercise or something?”

MyVogonPoetry Giraffes are actually horses who purchase the extension neck as an upgrade. Mainly to spy on the penguins. #MadeUpFacts

Pinochet I was much happier before i knew what truck nutz were.

lateandsoon Books in the STORM of Ice &Fire series include: A HOME FOR KNIVES, A PRIDE OF KNAVES, A GORGE OF SCONES, A STORM OF SONGS, & STABAPALLOOZA.

MmeSurly My teen angst should be worth something now because it’s vintage.

january_samurai My response to the poor service at the Dust Bowl Brewery -> non stop Tears for Fears on their music. You’re welcome.

notthatkendall I miss elementary school, when you could pick out the crazy people around you by whether or not they smelled funny.

sitrick2 @johnmoe hey now! Gaius Baltar! Seein’ cylons! In-yer brain! Go now! Tell Adama! You’re not! Insane! #smashedmouth

sgnp @johnmoe Pay now! For a small car! Buy a dayglo…toupee! Stray chow! Got a name tag? Look I’m James Caan! Olé!!! #SMASHEDMOUTH

InfiniteChicken Tina! Where’s the hand towel. Spilled my soda. Tina! #smashedmouth

johnmoe Hey now! It’s your mom’s car! Eat a crayon! Old grave! Goat chow! Where’s a snack bar! Move to Bayonne! Nice save! #SMASHEDMOUTH

InfiniteChicken @johnmoe All those quitters have toads! Only Hooter’s bars share the load. #SMASHEDMOUTH

johnmoe Hey now! Watch the Munsters! Bring some clams home! Okay! Nice cow! In the dumpster! Buy a lawn gnome! Bad play! #SMASHEDMOUTH

morninggloria Gold is all the rage, stylish youths are wearing overalls, and I predict a return of the pickaxe. Prospector chic is hot for fall 2011.

InfiniteChicken I’m ‘clouding’ my entire music library to the Google. It’s inloading now!

bookishbella The good news is my bra padding burst and started leaking all over my shirt *before* I left the house.

nicpiper #ff @exlibris She’s a lady, whoa whoa whoa she’s a lady…except on #oversharewednesday when she is not a lady.

sarcasmically I just closed a convo with “word to yo’ mother”, in case anyone needs a ride back to 1998.

andrewtshaffer Today’s sex term: “pork sandwich.” Being tag-teamed by Jon Hamm and Kevin Bacon.

hazard Tweet not, lest ye be tweeted. #noideawhatthatwouldmean

lauracope all i need now are some studies that say watching Teen Mom and using Quora make you smarter. i’ll happily participate in trials for this.

rstevens Give me coffee or give me a minute to remember what the end of that sentence was.

BridgetCallahan I have named some of you My Circle of Jerks.

jenstatsky Just thinking bout how effin cool it would be to go to the original Panda Express in China.

Bookish_Bitch Today I had to explain to my father what a reach around was. It was special.

Handflapper I’m too drunk to even try to suck in my stomach. That’s pretty drunk, y’all.

CanuckLibrarian Wasn’t sure I’d have any luck finding linens here, but then there was a blanket with my name on it. (in marker, grandma wrote on it)

TheRedQueen Trying to pull up spanx while tipsy in very tall heels in small bathroom is adventure.

ohrebecca I’m 15% alcohol right now.

geekandahalf I love these Buick commercials with people under 80 in them. Spielberg is something else.

steenyweeny i’m holding out on you guys, i came up with all kinds of bread tweets this afternoon.

FlyteAphrodite *taps microphone* Let today be known as the most fucked up day in my recent history! *stumbles offstage* *passes out* *makes the front page*

oodja I thought Bing worked by saying “BING!”

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.