Monday, April 30, 2007

Sunday, April 29, 2007


I'm wondering if my relationship with my CDs is typical or not.

Sometimes I buy one, listen to it non-stop for months, and pull it out regularly to have another fling with it.

Sometimes I buy one, like it, listen to it sporadically, and then forget all about it for years.

Sometimes I buy one, get distracted, and don't even bother listening to it for anywhere from 6- 12 months. Then I pull it out, give it a listen, and fall in love with it. Or sometimes not.

Sometimes I buy a whole mess of them, and end up not liking any of them. (Okay, this only happened once, but it was a lesson learned about going outside my genre.)

And now we have MP3s, which add a whole new twist to the experience. You can just buy a song instead of a whole album. This makes me worry that artists will completely stop trying to make their albums cohere into one whole work. And I haven't quite gotten a grip on how to organize my songs now. And what do I do with all these CDs I've ripped? And oh, this MP3 player that I asked for and my beloved DH bought me almost a year ago, and which I've listened to maybe once, because it feels like such a niggling chore to upload songs, put them in groups, and then take them off again and put on new ones. Oh, the guilt of that little blue gadget! I will master it, I promise, honey.

Anyway, what inspired this late-night post is that I'm listening to the MP3 version of an album I've had for years and years, and which falls into the second of my categories above...I listened to it every now and then for the first few years I had it, and now I'd say it's been three to five years since I've listened to it. And soon as it started to play, it took me right to the era when I did listen to it, usually late at night like I am now. It's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy by Sarah McLachlan, which I bought unheard, solely because I liked the title, in an age before I could listen to it on the Internet or in one of those kiosks at Barnes and Noble or Borders to see if it was worth the $15. So it was quite a gamble, at a time before Sarah became as well-known as she is now.

And I liked it. I didn't fall in love with it, but it completely suited those quiet, semi-depressed nights that I had a lot of at the time. Her voice is like coffee with cream, and the songs have an edginess under the mellow. Listening to it now, I realize how well it holds up. Unlike some of the other CDs I've splurged on over the years. So thanks, Sarah.

Now will someone come and make me some playlists for my MP3?

Friday, April 27, 2007

It came, it came!

I got my lovely chair today! Now I need to whip the rest of the room into shape!

So what I'm going to do is find a nice coordinating fabric and get some wonderful person to sew a new cover for my thrifted footstool, and a curtain for the window.

I was going to do a valance over the window, but decided last week that maybe one pretty side panel, pulled over into a swag on the left side, would look better, since there is literally two inches of wall between the window and the corner.

Then I have to paint my thrift store table white or off-white, which I think will look much cuter and show off its shape.

THEN I have to clear all the lingering bits and pieces out of the other side of the room. I don't know why it's taking me so long to get my act together with this room re-do--I think I need longer to think things over than I ever used to before. Or maybe I'm just lazy.

The Georgia O'Keeffe poster is coming down, too--the colors are too purply-pink for this room. I'm going to cover my two big bulletin boards to make one of those French ribbon memo boards, I think.

We're finally getting some wonderful rain today, which will make the grass even longer and the trees even leafier. We're getting a little pinchy-faced about our next-door neighbors, who have weeds/grasses in their yard that are easily a foot tall now. I'm not a grass nazi by any stretch, and our grass is a little patchy-looking out front, but sheesh, take five minutes and mow the front, for heaven's sake. Lovely people, but apparently not yard-proud.

I forgot how bad new upholstered furniture STINKS. How in the world can inhaling that be good for anyone? I had the window open and the ceiling fan on till the deluge began and I had to shut it. Then I spritzed on a tiny bit of Febreeze, but I think that stuff may smell worse than the original stink. Chemicals creep me out!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Home again.

I'm home from a short jaunt out to visit my brother's family. Todd took off for North Carolina to windsurf with the COWS (Central Ohio Windsurfers) so I thought I'd have a little trip for myself, too.

I was especially happy to get to spend some one-on-one time with my niece Marissa, who I simply haven't gotten to see as much as I did her older sister Natalie when she was a toddler. Marissa is almost two, and whip-smart. The amount of words she knows, and the sentences she puts together are just astounding. She also gets this little smile and amused look in her eyes that looks exactly like her dad did at that age.

Here's Miss M:

And her big sister Natalie is thriving in preschool, asking millions of extremely intelligent questions (at least in her doting auntie's opinion), and living a rich pretend life. Here she is dressed up as a bride (I was the groom, later we had a baby--it felt a little weird):

So that was fun, to get to see these gorgeous girls and spend some time with them and with my brother and sister-in-law.

Today I finally went out and bought some of the plants I've been dreaming about: the bronze fennel, the green and gold thyme, the purple basil. Also some Shasta and Gerbera daisies, and some other cutting-garden type flowers. Also some pink and purple vincas to scatter along the front of the bed, and some pale pink vincas in hanging baskets for the front porch. I've planted about half of them. It was a large chunk of change, and there's still so much I could buy--!

Well, Todd's finally home, so I'll sign off.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Plans and plots.

My friend Cheryl gave me this little pitcher last week, and it's the perfect size and color to hold the tallest of my johnny-jump-ups, plus a couple straggler pansies and some lemon balm. Thanks again, Cheryl, I love it!

I went to my favorite nursery today and salivated over the herbs. I wasn't in the mood to buy and plant yet, just to look. I've been perusing my herb books and found a few that I'd like to grow, but I'm not sure how far afield I'm going to have to go to find them.

I love thymes, I have several different varieties growing out front, and they're starting to sneak through the rock wall very picturesquely, which is what I was hoping for. I found another variety today that I HAVE to had the happiest green and yellow leaves and a fabulous lemon smell. But it wasn't lemon thyme...I can't remember the name. It was darling.

They also had a gorgeous purple basil and a Greek columnar basil; I think I'm going to get both of those. I planted a plain old basil last year, and it loved the hot, hot sun out front.

Also a bronze fennel that was SO pretty. I've never grown fennel before, and I think this one would make a wonderful contrast to all the green herbs and perennials.

I just wandered along, brushing and stroking and much fun. The mints smelled like heaven, and I think I'm going to do some peppermint and something else to contrast with it in one of my flower boxes out back on the deck. They're built into the benches in the seating area, so you have to fill them with something or they're just boxes of dirt, which is hardly an accent. I tried to grow flowers in them last year, and the sun was just so iffy. I wonder if white impatiens and dark green peppermint would do well in the same box. It could look wonderful...theoretically, anyway.

The weather remains cloudy and unsettled-feeling, and my face remains swollen and tender. I'm usually not one to cry for the sun, but I'm missing it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tuesday musings.

I think the pollen and weird weather have finally overwhelmed my sinuses--today I feel like I'm breathing through a sandbag placed on my face. I always seem to go along fine in the spring and fall pollen seasons, until one day my nose says, "Okay, that's it, I've had it!" Today may be that day.

I went to the library today and managed to find a few books that looked appealing, but my outstanding overdue fine is such that I couldn't take 'em out. I had 35¢ in cash on me--not quite enough to pay it! Foiled again in my quest for reading material. I started The Great Gatsby last week, but lost the book somehow in the midst of our living room emptying. Can you believe I had four years of high-school English and was an English major in college, and still have never read Gatsby? Shameful!

So I've been contenting myself with a couple gardening books, dreaming about what could be. That's kind of fun, but I'd kill for a really, really good mystery! (So to speak.)

I made another Simply Recipes recipe for dinner yesterday--Chicken Marinara, though I would think of it more as chicken parmesan. It was very delicious, and I served the extra marinara sauce over penne. LOVE that blog.

Many of us are thinking about what happened at Virginia Tech yesterday. I've only been a Virginian for four years, but it was apparent from the start what a special place VT holds in many people's hearts here. I keep thinking about my own college days and how a campus feels like a safe little oasis from the world outside. Seems like there are no safe places anymore. I can't imagine how terrifying yesterday was for the students and professors there. Let's keep them all in our thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Ka-POW! Boom boom boom boom BOOM!





BAM! Ka-POW! BAM!!!!!

p-shing, p-shing, p-shing!





Can someone explain to me why men love these kinds of movies?

Just wonderin', while the walls rattle.

Rainy day.

Is there anything as wonderful as green leaves and grass in the spring? We're having a rainy day today--the first in ages--and the backyard is so green, it makes me catch my breath every time I walk into the kitchen or dining room and see it through the windows.

I tried to capture some of it through the kitchen window, but it doesn't really convey the GREENness of it all. It's gorgeous.

Yesterday we finished getting the front flower bed weeded and put down some landscape liner in the parts where we won't be planting, at least not anything small. This week I'm hoping we can get some mulch for the whole thing, and then I'll be ready to plant.

Our front bed is huge--it runs across the front of the house and down along the side of the yard, and last year was the "establishing" stage, where we made the rock wall border, filled it with dirt, and added some plants here and there: herbs by the front walkway, perennials here and there, annuals along the front. Nothing except the herbs really looked or did very well.

This year, I can see that we've created something. The perennials that turned up their toes for me last summer are coming back, and the perennial herbs have been in full leaf for at least a month. The pansies I put in last fall are blooming their hearts out, and there's definitely a plan in sight. I can see where to go from here. It's so satisfying, after mostly muddling around cluelessly last summer and ending up with not much of anything to show for it.

And now it's raining, and everything will be even better for it. And I can sort of see what needs to go into the bare spots. A fabulous feeling.

Today I'm washing towels, and putting away the last of the stuff we had to move out to have the carpets cleaned, and I also baked some oatmeal cookies from this recipe at Simply Recipes. I used dried cherries instead of raisins, almonds instead of walnuts, and added a little almond extract to the dough. They're delicious! Todd is working industriously in the garage, humming away with Barenaked Ladies. It's a good day to stay inside and be comfortable.

Happy birthday to my sweet sister-in-law, Tracy--it was great chatting with you today! I'm glad you were born and found your way into our family!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The thrill of the hunt...

There's a phenomenon that happens once or twice a year in the scrapbooking world. A phenomenon that reduces otherwise normal women to the level of desperate junkies on the prowl for a fix.

Yes, Target has document boxes in the Dollar Spot again.

What is a document box, you ask? It's a shallow, transparent, hinged plastic box with a clasp, big enough to hold a small stack of 8.5x11 papers.

But that's not what scrappers use them for. It just so happens that document boxes are the perfect size to hold foam stamps, acrylic stamps, acrylic mounts, unmounted stamps, and...well, I don't know what-all other uses there are, since I just put stamps in mine. Often foam stamp sets, in particular, come in unwieldy packages that require jigsaw-puzzle skills to cram all the stamps back in. Document boxes store flat and you just pop one open, pick your stamp, use it, put it back and move on with your life. Convenient and cheap, is there any better combination?

So once or twice a year, Target puts these in their Dollar Spot and then the hysteria begins on the scrapbooking message boards. Which stores have them? Does X store have them yet? Has anybody spotted them in Cleveland yet? Or Grand Rapids?

They usually come out with the back-to-school stuff, but this year Target decided to put them out in the post-Easter products. Probably because some number-cruncher somewhere noticed that they fly out of the stores in the fall, so maybe they should put them out more often.

I noted with interest the first sighting of the boxes on the Two Peas board, a couple days ago, since I have several sets of stamps that I bought since the last time the boxes were out, and I could use some more boxes.

My friend Cheryl snapped into action, checking the Targets in Williamsburg and here in Newport News yesterday, but didn't have any luck. Today I had to go up to Williamsburg, and dropped by the Target, and--there they were. Fifteen left, and I bought 'em all.

Oh yes, that's what makes these buggers so elusive. Even if your store does get them in, you have to be there right after they hit the shelves, or someone will come in and buy them all, and then you're just out of luck. Like all the Williamsburg scrappers who will show up at Target today. Heh heh.

Many people buy them and sell 'em on Ebay at an inflated rate, which I find to be disgusting behavior. Me, I got five for me and ten for Cheryl. I'm generous like that!

Now I have thirty-one wonderful document boxes stacked neatly in the closet, with all my foam stamps tucked inside. And I can retire from the hunt, rest assured that my document box needs have been met until next time. Ahh.

Lunchtime post.

Did you ever have one of those weeks where you seem destined to look like a total idiot everywhere you go?

That's totally the kind of week I'm having. That's all I have to say about that.

The carpet cleaners have come and gone, and the carpet looks much better. Much cleaner, anyway. Now I'm going to tape off the trim in the living room and paint it while I have an empty room. Can I get a *groan*? I hate to paint. But the trim is sadly in need of a couple nice fresh white coats. I might do the dining room, too, if I get a big blast of mojo.

And then we get to move all the stuff back in. I'm going to weed it out as I move it...there are lots of old catalogs and magazines that need to go, and Todd has a whole mess of mags and booklets that he needs to put elsewhere. I'm also going to pare down the books, AND I think I may take some of our lesser-loved DVDs and put them in a CD holder booklet so their cases aren't taking up room on the shelves. I might try to get rid of a few, too, if Todd will let me.

I just want to have a paper- and pile-free home. No clutter! Is it possible? I used to be pretty good at it, but we seem to be getting more cluttered over the years.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My very own Chairy.

(PeeWee's Playhouse, anyone?)

I think I mentioned before that I'm working on turning my scraproom into more of a computer/sitting room, and I'm looking for furniture to accomplish this.

What I really wanted was a comfy chair to sit in and read or sew, especially late at night when I can't sleep. One night a month or so ago we stopped by a few furniture stores just to look. The first one we went to had a couch covered in this fantastic floral fabric. A chair sat next to it that was the exact style I had in mind. Of course, this store was by far the most expensive furniture store I'd ever been in. Which isn't saying
too much, but still...

We went to a few more stores, and then I hit several thrift stores, and I was planning to also go to some auctions and sales this spring and summer to see what I could find.

But I just couldn't get that fabric out of my mind. It was PERFECT for my study.

Last week I went back to see if it was as great as I remembered, and it was. Long story short (too late, you say?)--I ordered the chair I loved with the fabric I loved. And it wasn't near as expensive as I feared--the fabric was marked down and the chair was on sale. My allowance will be in arrears for a few months, but I think it will be worth it.

The saleslady printed me a copy of what it will look like, so that's what's in the picture. The arms will be different, because I changed my mind on that, and the color is brighter, but it's a good general idea. It will be about a month before I can get it, and I am DYING to have it, so I can curl up in it and relax in my study!

Now I can get a coordinating fabric to cover my thrift shop ottoman, and to make curtains, and it will all be perfectly girly, which apparently is something I'm morphing into in my middle age. Go figure!

I'm so excited...!

Sunny Tuesday.

I had lunch with my friend Cheryl today and bestowed upon her a 2-foot-tall stack of stamping and scrapbooking magazines that I had to clean out in my ongoing Purge of the Scraproom. And we laughed at how magazines take over your life and how we should never buy any more, and then I went to Barnes and Noble and bought two magazines.

However, they were home and garden magazines, which doesn't count, since my previous problem was with hobby magazines. Right?

Also, I don't hoard home mags the way I did hobby mags. So it's all good. Yep, I don't have a problem at all.

Anyway, one of the mags I got was Romantic Homes, which seems to have taken an interesting turn recently. I used to pick it up and flip through it, and it always seemed to be all big curtain swags and floral wallpaper, but I've gotten the last couple issues, and they are really wonderful and more updated and simple.

They have a French editor who writes very peculiarly-worded articles (she has a little essay on the page I linked that is much better written) , but the pictures are pure eye candy. So check it out!

The weather is so ideal this week--cool but sunny, very refreshing. I got all my hair chopped off last week--seriously, like six inches gone--and it feels great to have a light and airy head to go with the springtime breeze. It's been years since I had my hair so short, and it's very layered so I can pull out bits with hair putty and make it look sort of tousled. I have no feminine hair skills, but I can just about manage the hair putty thing.

Now I have to go empty out the living room and dining room so the carpet cleaners can work tomorrow. They're doing the LR, the DR, and the stairs. I've taken a solemn vow never, ever to buy a house from a dog owner again...the previous owner had several dogs, and being a guy, never cleaned up after them, and the spots where they would apparently sit and shed or pee or just emanate doggy odors are just...NASTY. When the air is dry and the windows are shut, the smell isn't too bad, but when the air gets moist and the windows and doors are open--ugh.

Ideally, we'd replace the carpet, but till we can come up with that chunk of change, I'm hoping the carpet guys can at least knock down the aroma a little. We had them cleaned before we moved in, but not realizing the extent of the pet odor problem, we didn't have them do a pet treatment. Tomorrow, I will.

This is part of the reason I have a less-than-warm attitude toward most canines and their owners. Not all, but most!

Off to move books and breakables, wish me luck.

Monday, April 09, 2007


I updated my book blog today. I have GOT to go to the library and find something fun to read!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Saturday stuff.

I just wanted to announce that I've been feeling much better the past few days. I stopped taking both medications that were supposed to make me feel better but just made me feel dead, and now that they're out of my system, I feel alive again. Maybe I'm just not meant for better living through chemistry.

Neither medication was keeping me alive or anything like that, so don't anybody worry that I'll be keeling over shortly!

We woke up to about 1/2" of snow over everything this morning--the first snow of the winter and we don't get it till Easter. Go figure. It's mostly melted now, but boy was it cold and breezy today. Wussy little me was whimpering all day.

We spent this morning being fiscally responsible, as Todd did the taxes and I brought our bank accounts up to date. Each of us at our computers, being industrious--it was quite impressive.

Then we went out and drove around looking at the blooming dogwoods and the redbuds and enjoying all the lovely green leaves. We stopped at the Yorktown Victory Center which we've never been to before, and took in as much as we could before closing, which wasn't much. The people that run this place and the Jamestown center put a tremendous amount of thought into it--it's truly impressive. Jamestown has a re-created Indian village, a replica of the Jamestown settlement, and reproductions of the ships the English came over in, complete with tons of re-enactors. Yorktown's site is smaller, but there is a small replica village with re-enactors in costume.

Outside the "kitchen" building, they had a huge vegetable and herb garden, with lots of stuff coming up already: peas, onions, sage, leaf lettuce and spinach. I'm so excited to plant my new herbs this spring, but seeing the veggies, especially the leaf lettuce, made me pine for a vegetable garden of my own. It would be hard to find a good spot for it in our shady back yard, but oh, how I want one. There is
nothing better than a salad full of stuff out of your own garden.

They had an herb called burnet there, which I've heard of, but never seen before. I rubbed the leaves, but there was no smell. Sounds like it might be good in salads, and it was a pretty plant. I want to try some new herbs this year--tarragon, for sure, and I don't know what else.

Flowers are hard for me to grow, especially annuals. I never seem to get the spot just right, or I over- or under-water them, or maybe they just hate me, I don't know. But herbs are the darlingest things--they almost always grow beautifully, and it's easy to find lots of info about the best spots for them. And they smell good, and they're useful if you feel like using them, but you can just enjoy them if you want to. I adore growing herbs!

Speaking of flowers, I saw the most GORGEOUS planters in downtown Yorktown--two huge cement urns on either side of a store doorway, and they were planted with yellow pansies, red geraniums, and what else? A clumpy white flower that has been blooming in my garden for a couple months, and whose name I can't remember--candytuft? And there was something blue, too, maybe blue pansies. Anyway, it was stunning--so bright and colorful. I'm craving flowers and colors like candy right now. Just gotta wait till the snow is done!

Friday, April 06, 2007

A little seasonal humor...

...I spotted this at Two Peas and literally laughed myself to tears:

This is another fave that a certain Pea puts in her signature line every year. It always makes me laugh, every time I see it:

Thursday, April 05, 2007

These are the days of miracle and wonder.

We have a special treat in our backyard every spring--lots of violets scattered around in purple clumps. So pretty and delicate!

The violets are surrounded right now by pear tree petals that have blown around like snowflakes for the last few days. The trees are green now instead of white, but here's what they looked like a few days ago:

And the dogwood in the back yard is blooming, too:

I wish we had some forsythias or azaleas--something with a little color. I've been admiring the neighborhood's flowering shrubs, so gorgeous. Maybe I can plant a little something in the front yard that will impress us next spring.

And now the green leaves are coming out, which is the happiest moment for me. There's just nothing like seeing those tiny green buds grow and seeing bare branches become green. Spring is such a happy time!