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  • A weed is no more than a flower in disguise.
  • Like A Camel


    Conversation moments ago with Chickeymonkey while putting her socks on:

    Chick: “Mommy, why are your hands so cold?”

    Me: “Because I’m freezing. If it’s below 100 degrees out, I’m cold.”

    Chick: “100 degrees?!?!”

    Me: “Yes I’m like a camel. I have two big humps, I drink a lot of water, and I’m happiest when it’s scorching hot out.”

    Chick: “Mommmmmyyyy, you don’t drink a lot of water!”

    Dude, could you help me out here?


    standing squirrel help me out' class=Have you ever seen a mama squirrel with teeters full of milk climbing a 3/4″ diameter iron pole for a little lunch when there’s plenty available in her own private dish on the ground? There’s my QOTD.

    This one here, well, he just wouldn’t stop lookin’ at me. Silly standy squirrel.

    I’m a pacer. Not that it’s related to my crazy kooky squirrels, but it is, sortof. In my best creative moments I’m pacing from the front to the back of my house, usually munching on granola or yacking on the phone. Yesterday I paced. I was working on a blog design layout that is black & white. Literally. In a world full of colors, I had to restrict myself to black, white and a couple of shades of gray.

    For me, that’s a little like being a two year old throwing a tempertantrum that momma won’t let me use her watercolors, just a stupid lead pencil and one lousy sheet of copy paper from her printer. ::stomps and pouts::

    We work with what we’ve got, though, and I made it work. Phew.

    Still, in the creative process of putting the pieces together in my head, I paced. I have my camera at the ready, and I was delighted to see a couple of really beautiful and unique birds yesterday. I know a lot of you might not remember to check my photoblog, and yesterday was an especially active day, I uploaded quite a few new bird photos. For the larger image, just click the thumb.

    I used to post my photography here. I decided to create a photoblog so that I could not only make my photos larger for viewing, but to be able to post more frequently without disrupting the regular average everyday stuff I write here on my blog. Now I’m wondering, was that such a great idea? I mean, there are folks using Flickr who were given Nikon D80’s to test for 6 months – with an option to purchase at a discounted rate at the end of the tryout. Who wouldn’t want to be approached with a deal like that? Is Flickr the place to put your stuff, then? I’m so confused. I’ve got my own server space, my own place to do it – I’m not sure I see the benefits of putting my stuff on someone elses server, aside from the obviously cool opportunities, as long as people notice and/or like your photos.

    And then there’s my gallery – and it must be “that time” again because I’m wondering how functional it is for my guests. And I’m also wondering when I’m going to have time to format a bunch of auctions so that I can offer my Eye Ate It paintings for sale – and Kiki, too – now that I have them back from exhibit.

    I do this, from time to time, I start revamping my whole existence on the web in my head. I crave feedback from everyone who stops by.

    Well, dude, could you help me out here? I’ll be in the other room(s), pacing.

    Weekend Warrior Birdwatching Mom


    (not necessarily in that order.)

    birdwatching tanager couple mating' class=
    Friday night was sleepover night at my house – I had four 11-12 year olds taking up every computer in the house (ok yeah, we have four, I’ll get into that another time) – playing webkinz.

    First I’ll get sidetracked and tell you how proud I am of my own 11 year old. It all started a few weeks ago when she cleaned the house – without prompting or prodding or even poking with a stick. That in itself made me ask the most obvious question, “what do you want?”. Of course she wanted something. A new webkinz. She spent an hour that day cleaning, and I told her that was great -but I’ll only pay her $4 an hour, and they cost $12. She needed to give me two more hours of hard labor, and did she ever. She cleaned the house again, and after an hour she didn’t know what to do. I told her that if she could get on the airclimber and do it for an hour, I’d count that as chore time. Honestly? I didn’t think she could do it. Heck, I can’t even make it through the 20 minute workout (yet).

    She did it.

    Off to the nearest Hallmark we went, where she immediately picked the webkinz she wanted, a frog. Chickeymonkey present, I couldn’t get out of the store without two – you know how that goes. I wrote the check, our intuitive cashier put them in separate bags, and we were all set.

    On the way out of the store, Catybug exclaimed “I can’t wait to give this to H tomorrow at school!”.

    Wait. Hold up. Excuse me? What just came out of my childs mouth? “You did all that work so that you could get this for your friend?” She said “yes, she doesn’t have one, and they can’t afford one, and I really want her to be able to play too.”

    Wow. ::insert choked up teary eyed mommy moment here::

    Of course I gave her a big hug and told her how proud I was of her for being so generous to work so hard just to do something for someone else. Then I quickly had a million flashbacks about how anything I could have possibly done as a parent would have had this kind of effect on her character. I don’t know how it happened. It’s a fluke, I swear it.

    End of sidetrack.

    H was giddy, of course, and the first several hours of the night were all about each on their own computer online playing webkinz as a team. It was cute, and they had fun. They also had banana splits with the works, and pizza. I try to be a good sleepover mom.

    So yesterday was the beginning of the weekend warrior projects. Oh my. Our big project was delayed by rain – but this weekend it’s just gorgeous. I love this weather. I carry around my camera, put it down, grab a shovel, dig, transplant, and get my camera again. Fun stuff, people!

    We’re building (and by we I mean my husband, as I stand and point and say “no” and “yeah”, and then I do the making it pretty when he’s all done part) a raised planting bed that’s an “L” shape – about 3 feet deep, 12 feet wide and 18 feet long. Part of this project requires the major undertaking of transplanting everything on our back mound (7th photo), because we need the dirt. This stuff here is being replaced by the planter, so everything needs to be transplanted from those areas, as well.

    It was a busy day yesterday. I put three old fashioned thornless rose climbers in the backyard against the fence, they’re new and I am hoping they take off and cover the entire fence area since we have an offensive odor blowing into our house when the windows are open. We’re hoping this curbs that problem and fills our home and yard with something more pleasing to the nose. I also added about a gadgillion seeds to another area in the yard, and if I did well I should be able to show you those in about 2 weeks.

    As for the birds, I saw this couple flitting about in our poplar tree lastnight once I settled down with my bottled water and camera and just stopped, watched and listened. They’re really neat birds – they fly high and they have a really interesting wingspan in flight. From this kinda crappy photo, I’ve deduced that they are Tanagers – a bird I’ve never seen before. I can’t determine whether they’re hepatic or scarlet, because the females don’t seem to match. I thought because of the speckled breast on the female that it might be a true purple finch, but the male is much too red. If you can’t tell, I really enjoy birdwatching and identifying them. I heard a lot of neat birds yesterday – our northern flicker is back, and it won’t be long before he makes an appearance on our suet – or at least on the hill of ants by our poplar tree. Hubby spotted a predator swooping through our yard twice yesterday on the hunt, looking to nab a small bird or squirrel. I missed the action, off digging up a plant somewhere, but what a cool thing to have going on in our backyard!

    Sidenote: we also rescued 4 baby bunnies last weekend and released them the other night. One had been injured, so we wanted to get the bloody one away from danger and healed. They’re doing fine now, hiding in the brush pile – you can see one of the little cutie pies in my photoblog.

    Today we should finish the new raised bed and transplating. I’m not as sore as I was last weekend, I learned my lesson and did bicep and tricep curls on the treadmill while I walked for a few days this week. The airclimber also helped with the leg squatting and digging. Whatever the task – bring it on, I’m ready!

    Pick my Brain


    Now that the new design is (nearly) complete, I feel like I should be making the other change I wanted to make – which is all about the content.

    I wanted to really do more – to write more, to really get into things because admittedly, I’ve been holding back. I hold back about my family, my kids – my processes in painting, technology and design. Believe it or not, I do know a lot of stuff. Now, it may or may not be accurate, but there’s a lot of stuff just sitting here in my head collecting dust. It’s time to clean off the cobwebs in my brain and start sharing more. Care a little less about what has caused me to clam up and retreat into my safety zone, and ever so cautiously wander back out into what used to be my comfortable, wysiwyg blog. The good old days. When I poured my heart out and allowed myself to be vulnerable – until one day when someone thought it would be really swell to use that vulnerable spot and jab a knife or ten into it.

    I worked up this design in such a way that I’d feel “it” again. The “it” I lost. The “it” that once was, the “it” that allowed you guys to really know me. (BTW, You can also find “it” on eBay.)

    Now, I’m inching forward, taking the next step, hearing the eggshells crunch and crack beneath my feet. Hold me.

    Today I’m just going to open up my comments for questions of any kind. Pick my brain. Ask me anything. Blog or website related, design, photography, gardening, family, personal or art – ask away, and I’ll reply in comments.

    1 Vision, 2 Brains & a dash of Brawn


    A dash of brawn. Hah. Who am I kidding? I couldn’t even lift my arms up over my head to pull my hair back this morning. It was worth it though. I have been on the search for a planter, about 6-8 feet wide, 2 feet tall – not too deep, but just deep enough. All of them I found? Either too small, too big, and all of them too expensive.

    I had to do something, because when we replaced the windows, we ended up short on siding. Some of the siding was relocated, some of it is the closest match we could get. The relocated siding has about 6 years of sun fading, and it’s quite visible right now, so we had to conceal that so the rest of the siding could catch up. Also? I wanted a huge, and by huge I mean spectacularly big showcase of gerber (gerbera) daisies because I love them so much. They bloom all summer, they’re huge, they never disappoint – well, only in that their annuals. I wish they were perennials. So every year, I’ll be buying boatloads of ’em, which I don’t have a problem with. I also added some wave petunias so they’ll cascade down the sides and conceal the rest of the faded siding.

    I drew the blueprint. Hubby wrote up the supply list, and down to Lowe’s he went. $33 later, he was home and breaking out the circular saw. He spent about 6 hours on it, and even got the girls involved in hammering and drilling the nail holes. It was all fun and good, and a perfect day here for being outside. We’re both sunburned and sore, but man. The payoff.

    Keep reading »

    A Game of I Spy


    i spy
    Want to play?
    Study this photograph and finish this line…

    “I spy, with my little eye…”

    Here’s another hint:

    i spy

    Taba wins it! Click to see what was in that crazy mess!

    Keep reading »

    Creatively Speaking


    birth of a blog design graphic These are the lengths that I will go to to be sure that the ideas in my head are absolutely as original as they can possibly be. If I want something to look a certain way, I’ll create my own reference photo and start from scratch. That’s what it’s all about, right?

    That photo, that idea – it represents something to come, something like a rebirth. A new energy, a new outlook, another step forward. It’s a work in progress, and it won’t be too long before you know what I mean.

    There’s a part of me that changes every spring, I think when I get outside and spend some time with my gardening gloves on, I grow right along with the beautiful plants and flowers I mother on a daily basis. When I saw my new stargazer lilies peeking up through the mound of dirt and mulched leaves this morning, it was almost a zen moment. Then my nose filled with the smell of a beautiful sherbet hyacinth, and my ears were ringing with the sounds of multiple birds chirping and chatting.

    sherbet peach hyacinth
    Aaah. Can you smell it? I wish I could bottle the scent. I’d make a mint.

    I’ve been working on blog design projects for EW, so I’ll show you those once they’re up in the official portfolio. For me and my own portfolio – I’ll be finishing up that monochromatic cat painting today, I’ll be back later to update you on that one.

    Happy Friday – don’t forget to stop and smell the roses – or whatever you’ve got blooming near you!

    Squirrels in Action


    The three squirooges.
    I had 8 at one time, but these three were a hoot.
    squirrel lying in the food
    Don’t bother getting up. No, really. Just lay there and eat.

    squirrel carrying whole piece of bread
    Because a little nibble of bread isn’t enough when you have to share with 7 other squirrels. Fend for yourself!
    (Especially while the other guy is lying in all the other food.)

    squirrel jumping to action for peanuts
    Did you just throw PEANUTS out the window?!?!?!?

    (why yes, I did!)

    Not again, not so soon!


    toothless grinIt happened again. Lastnight my Chickeymonkey lost the other bottom front tooth – in her pizza. Bawling that she couldn’t find it, terrified that she lost it or swallowed it, we found it on her plate next to her slice of pizza. (:phew:)

    It’s happening too fast. Why couldn’t it wait a couple of weeks? Why couldn’t I get to see one adult tooth before a new one popped up? Now, now my babies face is going to change dramatically, and it’s going to happen much too fast for me.

    I learned my lesson the hard way with Catybug. We were all excited when she’d lose another tooth – and then I’d have a look at her school pictures and think – holy cow. What is happening to my baby girl? With every new tooth, her face changes and becomes more mature. With every empty space, she’s growing further away from “my little girl”.

    It’s a little heartbreaking, I have to admit. Especially with the Chick, since once she outgrows her baby face, I’ll just have to envy all of the other baby faces I see. Then I’ll get that yearning for a baby again – yeah I know it’s going to happen. The smell, the snuggling, the unawkward and “don’t stop tickling me” behavior.

    Slowly, things have changed around here. The girls are more sensitive, and need to be tended to in a different more emotional way. You can’t tease and have fun as much, it’s become a little more serious. You can tickle, but not right now, because if she’s not in “the mood” you get “that face” and you’ll be sorry, beacuse now they hold a grudge for more than ten seconds.

    One more tooth – it’s just a reminder of how much further away I am from my sweet silly little girls, and how much closer I am to not getting to pick up the phone on a whim – since it’s in use by a pre-teen. The earnestly seeking guidance in their innocent and pure faces slowly turning into “doh mom, I already knew that.”

    It won’t be long before I’m carting them both to the mall and movies with their girlfriends, before I’m forbidden from listening or joining in on conversations they’re having with their friends. Before they’re embarassed when I hug ’em or kiss them when I drop them off or pick them up from school.

    It’s hard to start that whole backing off and letting go process. I can only hope I’ve already given them the information and tools they need to start really developing their individual opinions and character. Catybug is well on her way – but Chick – this is new territory for her and she’s such a mini-me. My heart is already aching for her, knowing her mind works just like mine – and knowing those “if I could change one thing about what I did when I was a kid…” talks will probably not make much of an impact on her, since nothing my mom told me made me change what I was about to do. Still, I’ve got to try, right?

    Sigh. Yeah, mom, you got your wish. I’ve got a kid just like me. I also have a kid who is a good mix between Aunt S. and Aunt T., so I’m a lot less worried about the fine young woman she’s turning into.

    Chickeymonkey. Ah, my sweet, mini-me Chickeymonkey. It’s going to be a long bumpy twisty-turney ride. I’ve just fastened my safety harness, it’s locked into position, so just cover your ears when you hear me screaming through the loop-de-loops.

    (anyone have any tooth superglue? I kinda really wanna put it back.)

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