Saturday, October 24, 2009

3:33 p.m.

Ridiculously busy day today.  So just for fun, I asked my son to pick a time, anytime.   I then set the alarm on my phone to go off at that time.  The plan was to stop what I was doing when the alarm went off and take a photo wherever I was at that point in the day. 

He chose three o'clock in the afternoon.  

As it turned out, in my fascinating life,  I was at Walmart flying through the aisles with my oldest son at 3:00 p.m.  And I did not hear the alarm over him repeatedly telling me we needed to hurry home (his sleepover guests were scheduled to arrive at 4:00).  The photo above was taken in the parking lot at 3:33.  The exact moment I checked my phone and realized not only had I missed the alarm, I had missed 3 phone calls as well.

Yes, it's a very fascinating life I lead.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Corn Maze 101

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, on Tuesday I was a chaperone on my son's pumpkin patch field trip.  I also mentioned the corn maze.  

I need to elaborate on the corn maze.

Ariel view of the awesome maze.  I tracked down a farmer and asked how it was created.  

Here's the rundown.
  1. Corn is planted in a criss cross X pattern.
  2. Drawing of the maze is created on paper.
  3. The farm actually has a surveyor working on the property who is able to translate the drawing into the field of corn.
  4. GPS devices are used to map out the maze.
  5. The appropriate corn stalks are then removed from the desired paths.  If done early enough in the season, this is an easy task.  If they wait too long, an ax needs to be used to cut down the stalks.  I got the impression the ax was used more often than not.

Maps were provided should you need them.  You need them.  It's very disorienting in that sea of 7-8 feet tall corn stalks.  We had a guide, a map and there were marked signs with John Deere Trivia to let you know you were on the right path.

I still got lost.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Little Things.

Today was a good day filled with lots of little good things.

  • Yoga. The day started off with the best yoga class ever.  I mean ever.  Made me remember why I need to continue to go.  And why I need to go more often. 
  • Sunshine.  The rain stopped, the sun came out, the air warmed up.  It was wonderful.
  • Candy corn.  Officially cracked open bag number 4 today.  I so love candy corn.
  • Clean house.  The house is clean.  Until the boys came home from school, anyways.
  • Chicken nuggets.  All 3 boys are buying lunch tomorrow.  Such a rare occasion to not pack a single lunch.
  • Survivor and Grey's.  Both new episodes.
  • Short list.  Totally tackled the to do list.  Not completely, but crossed more off than I have in months.
  • Soak.  I love a good soak in a perfectly hot, bubble bath.
  • Fresh.  Freshly laundered sheets.
I need more days like today.

I loved this day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lessons Learned from a Fall Field Trip.

Chaperoned my son's field trip to a pumpkin patch today.  And what a perfect day for the trip. Couldn't think of anything I would rather do then spend the beautiful fall day with my little guy and his classmates.

And of course, there was much to be learned today.
  1. I learned that if you scratch a farm dog in exactly the right spot, he will pee all over an unsuspecting 6 year old.  Can I mention how relieved I was this child wasn't riding home with me?
  2. Prickly burrs grow in pumpkin patches.  Something I wish we had learned before we let loose a group of 1st graders into a field to find a pumpkin.
  3. Prickly burrs also grow in corn fields.  Again, something I wish I knew before I spent 15 minutes removing the burrs from the pumpkin expedition.
  4. There is one strand of corn silk for each kernel on an ear of corn.  Did not know that. 
  5. If there is one cat and one person with cat allergies on a 100+ acre farm, the cat will indeed find and stalk that one person.
  6. This rule also applies to bees and children terrified of them.
  7. I learned that the inside of a green pumpkin is orange, the inside of a white pumpkin is white.
  8. Soybeans eaten directly out of the shell taste horrific.  Trust me, they need to be roasted first.
  9. If you've watched or read "Children of the Corn", you'll find corn mazes a lot less charming and a lot more frightening.  Stupid, scary movie.
  10. Speaking of children and corn, if you are responsible for 5 boys in a corn maze, chances are they will all choose different paths in the maze.  Some will even make a path of their own (at which point the map becomes completely useless).
No bee stings, no allergic reactions to soy nuts, all children returned safely home.

A very good day.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cool Bottle with a Mysterious Lid.

That's pretty much the reason for this week's selection in my "Cheap Wine with a Pretty Label" series.  

See for yourself.

I'll keep it short but sweet this week.  Bought the wine because I was curious as to how I would get it open.  Screwed off, by the way, and there was also a cork under that silver cap.  Voga Italia is a very tasty Merlot in a cool, sleek, slightly curved bottle.  Loved the wine, loved the modern design, loved the way the half empty bottle looked (the glass is clear instead of the usual tinted red).  Most importantly, loved that it didn't make my face break out into a nasty rash (whew, not allergic to wine after all).

All this and under $10.00.  Told you I'd keep it brief.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Oh please don't go...."

we'll eat you up-we love you so!

Took my little guy to see "Where the Wild Things Are" today.  

Wow.  Please go.  You need to see this movie.

What a wonderful film.  Beautiful scenery, a touching story and creatures with such personality they made me (and my 6 year old) forget they weren't really real.   I have been waiting months for the release of this movie.  And I couldn't help but wonder how Spike Jonze would be able to turn a 338 word children's book into a 98 minute flick.  Somehow he pulled it off.  Perfectly. 

I enjoyed this movie on so many levels.  As an audience member, I was thoroughly entertained.  I laughed, I cried, I totally lost track of time.  As a mom, I could relate to having a rambunctious son (or two or three) who doesn't like frozen corn.  I could relate as a sister to a younger brother, and as a worried child who feared the sun would fail to rise in the morning.

And as an artist I couldn't help but wonder what it must feel like to watch a book you've illustrated be transformed onto the big screen.  Forty six years ago, Maurice Sendak couldn't possibly have known he was creating a story that would live on for generations.  Awe inspiring to think about.  I also found it interesting that the book's original title was to be "Where the Wild Horses Are".   After realizing Sendak had no ability to draw horses, he changed the title and subject matter.  The large noses and fat bellies of the wild things are modeled after his own relatives, and I'd love to know if the names in the movie are in honor of his aunts and uncles as well.

I was surprised (and a little nervous) that my son was one of only a handful of children in the theater.  There were dark, somewhat scary scenes, but he was not afraid.  There were also funny scenes and he laughed right along with me.  At times he was a little sad.  But he was mesmerized by the film just like I was.

Please go.

You really will love it so.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Purchase to Pay it Forward.

For those of you that don't know, yesterday marked the one year anniversary of my very 1st sale on Etsy.  And what a year it was.  I am so grateful for all of those that have supported me and the wonderful clients I have been lucky enough to work with.  A very heartfelt thank you to you all!

In honor of my anniversary, I decided to "pay it forward" by purchasing an item from an Etsyian yet to make a sale.  Their first sale on the anniversary of my first sale.  I spent hours pouncing, searching for items, reading profiles and lurking in the forums for that special something.

My search (and my heart) stopped when I found this: 

Don't you just love my new bracelet?  

The designer of this wonderful piece of jewelry and my "pay it forward" selection is Elizabeth of Elizabeth Plumb Jewelry .  I had such a wonderful time looking through her shop (I know you will, too).   But this piece was one of those "this is it, this is the one" kind of moments.  The photo of the bracelet remained open on my desktop much of the week.  I'd take a break just to stare at it every once in awhile.  I couldn't wait until Thursday when I could officially make it mine.

I have to share with you an edited description Elizabeth wrote on the piece, as it played a big part in me making this selection.

"Pearls are said to give the wearer a sense of calmness and centeredness, and to promote faith, loyalty, truth and purity.... They can especially enhance personal integrity.

Sterling Silver improves speech and brings eloquence.....Sterling Silver will also help you make a graceful entrance and exit...

Garnet is associated with vitality, courage, passion, love, sensuality and self-confidence. Garnet blesses its wearer with good health, victory over enemies and wealth. Garnet makes the person knowledgeable and improves higher education and professional prospects. Garnet improves imagination."

Every time I wear this bracelet, I know I will be reminded of this special anniversary.  And I hope the attributes in the description will help guide me through my 2nd year.   It means much more to have purchased it from Elizabeth who was so kind and grateful--makes the bracelet even more meaningful to me. 

Happy for her, happy for me, happy with my new purchase.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Leaf Letdown.

The weatherman is predicting snow this weekend.  

I hate the weatherman.

In any event, thought I'd scan the leaves one last time before the snow falls.  Walked around in the cold rainy 42 degree weather to collect them, probably ruined my scanner scanning them. Saw all kinds of beautiful trees and leaves during my frigid leaf collecting.  

Unfortunately, I did not choose to observe any of those leaves.

No, as you can see I managed to choose all the ugly brown ones or the ones that stay completely green.  Note to self: cross botany off list of back up career options.  

The top right leaf is beautiful, if I knew what kind of tree that was I would plant more of them. Bottom middle yellow leaf is pretty.  The tree it came from?  Not so much.  

All in all, leaf scan project was a total leaf letdown.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tales From a Fifth Grade Diary.

Oh my, the goodies I found while cleaning out my basement last week.  Who would have known an unmarked container could hold such treasures from my past.  A month's worth of blog posts could be written based entirely on the contents inside that plastic green box.  

The first thing I picked out to examine was this:

Behold, my 5th grade diary. 

Looking through, I can't for the life of me figure out why my younger sister would have spent so much time prying open the lock to read my entries.  The one about the time John Z. tried to set the school on fire and "almost got away with his stupid idea", was admittedly interesting.  You would think I would have a better recollection of that day.  Lots of entries on boys, pets, dancing and my best friend Carol.  No clue who Carol is, but the big fight with her led to my favorite entry in the diary.

Wednesday the 12th, 1980

"Today I made up with Carol just because she cried and her nose ran."

We're talking Pulitzer Prize material inside that little red book.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Program.

Happy to report I had a glass of wine over the weekend with no hideous, rashy side effects.  It was a boring name with an ugly label that I have had countless times before, so I won't post a review.

But next week, don't despair, I'll be back on track with my "Cheap Wine with a Pretty Label" series.

See you then!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Photo for My Future Self.

Four months from now, in the dead of winter, 
I am going to need a reminder of why I choose to live up north.

This photo of the view outside my kitchen window should help.

I like fall.  Fall is pretty.  Fall is good.  

Remember that, future self.  

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Paying It Forward on My Etsyversary.

Next Thursday, October 15th, will mark the anniversary of my very first sale on Etsy.  Listed my first item on August 28, 2008.  And let me tell you those were 48 excruciatingly long days.  Waiting, hoping, nearly giving up and closing shop altogether.  When I finally got that Etsy transaction email announcing I finally had made a sale,  I stared and stared (and stared) at the computer screen in shock.

A photo of my first item sold 
(don't worry, the name and number are fictional).

To see a "1" for sales instead of that big old goose egg I'd been staring at for 48 days gave me an incredible boost of confidence.  It made me believe maybe I really could make a go at this.  If one person would buy from me--surely someone else would as well.

It was a huge turning point.

I've thought long and hard about how I would celebrate this day.  And I can't think of a better way to mark it than by "paying it forward".  So in honor of my first sale, I will be giving an Etsyian their first sale.  I want to give someone else a boost, maybe give an artist a little bit of hope.

I have been searching and pouncing and will post in the Etsy forums as well for that special something.  My purchase will be $50 or under, and I am looking for something that I personally can not do (i.e. no papergoods, wedding items, stationery, baked goods).  

What do I like?  I love ceramics/pottery, jewelry, photography, handbags.  I am more of an artsy person, rather than crafty.  I am not particularly girly and not interested in baby or children's items.  And I do not have pets.  I love the beach, the ocean, the color blue.  Maybe this helps you if you happen to be waiting for that first sale.  

My purchase will be made on Thursday, I'll share the item with everyone on my blog on Friday.

Please don't be shy.  Take a chance.  Post a comment if you would like me to browse your shop.  I will happily check out your listings.  And if I don't select my purchase from you, maybe one of my readers will.  Keep working hard, don't give up.  You will make that first sale.

And what about you?  Made a sale and looking to pay it forward?  I'll give you a head start--my sister's shop "Lark's Nest".  I know she would love and appreciate a (non relative purchased) first sale of her own.  Or feel free to choose a listing from the comments I hope to receive. 

I truly can't wait to see what you're creating!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Get These Mutts Away from Me...

 you know I don't find this stuff amusing anymore."

Can't get these lyrics out of my head today.  It's only fair that they should be stuck in yours as well.   "You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon-- such an entertaining, classic song.   I have no idea what the lyrics mean, but I would love to have been a fly on the wall when they were written.  The entire Graceland album is beautifully written, come to think of it.  Definitely one of my favorites.

You know you're looking for a diversion, go ahead, watch the video.  Chevy Chase's subtle dance moves and silly facial expressions will have you smiling the rest of the day.

"He looks around, around
He sees angels in the architecture 
Spinning in infinity 
He says Amen! and Hallelujah!"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Domino, I Miss You So.

In my mass cleaning binge last week,  I recycled 6 bags of magazines I'd been holding onto.  I saved several garden magazines, a few organization publications made the cut as well.  But every single issue of the now (sadly) shuttered Domino magazine remains in my home.

Premiere issue on the left.  Final issue on the right.

Nothing like a stack of Domino's on a Baroque coffee table lacquered with 1970 Dodge avocado green automotive paint.  
I'm a Domino gal alright.  

It has been 8 months since my favorite magazine of all time ceased publication.  And I still miss receiving it. I was a loyal reader from the very beginning, subscribing shortly after that.  It was a unique magazine that I instantly connected with.  The one magazine that when it arrived in my mailbox each month, everything stopped.  I'd curl up on the couch and read all the articles, check out the website, enter the contests.  The homes featured were always unique, personal artistic places.  Not perfectly decorated symmetrical rooms you were afraid to touch anything in.  But homes comprised of pieces lovingly collected over time.  Pieces that told a story in warm, artsy welcoming spaces.

There's nothing out there like this awesome magazine, and believe me, I've certainly tried to find a replacement.  As for me?  Still working on creating that warm, artsy, not so perfect home of my own. 

So sad it will never have a chance to appear in Domino.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Rash, Rain, Rant. Repeat.

And that pretty much sums up the way last week went for me.

Here's a brief rundown of the annoying week (notice I didn't say bad.  Just annoying.)

  1. Husband brings home new bottle of wine to try out.  New wine causes the entire left side of my face to break out into a very red, very unattractive itchy rash.  Thinking maybe it wasn't as bad as it looked to me, asked my husband if he could notice it.  I believe his reaction was something like "Whoa--what happened to your face!"  
  2. Bad reaction to wine leads to scrapping this week's "Cheap Wine with Pretty Labels" post.
  3. Itchy, inflamed face and rain much of the week lead me to remain housebound.
  4. Remaining housebound was boring.
  5. Boring led to a massive cleaning out of the laundry room and basement, many trips to recycle, trips to Goodwill and a lot of questions about why we own half of this stuff.
  6. Rain most of the week also led to the cancellation of both my weekly leaf photos and the hike I had hoped to take.
This week started off better.  Tried enchiladas for the first time (okay, where have they been all my life?),  baked a delicious, homemade apple crisp, went to 2 football games without getting rained on, and I am still 4-0 in the family football pool.  The rash has finally cleared up, and I enjoyed a nice glass of Red Stripe in lieu of wine.  

Oh, and my basement?  Much, much cleaner.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

89 Fake Spanish Dollars.

If you happen to have some extra fake Spanish money burning a hole in your pocket....

I just love the clever idea my son's teacher had to teach the kids how to count in Spanish last week.  She asked each child to bring in an item that they would be willing to donate to a class auction.  Something small that another child would be willing to bid on.  My son scoured the house and finally settled on three very old, unopened McDonald's Happy Meal toys.  Each child was then presented with 100 (fake) Spanish dollars to bid on the auction items.

My son had his eye on a mood ring but was outbid.  He was, however, the proud winner of a mysterious beaded ornament (I think that's what it is anyways) and the lovely fall treasure pictured above.  Somewhat surprised by the items he chose, but he had a great time counting in Spanish and competing in the auction process.  And he still had 11 fake dollars to spare at the end of the day.

I would have loved a game like this when I was growing up.  And more importantly, I'm always happy when a teacher can find a creative, exciting way for the kids to learn.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Whatever Happened to Supertramp?

"It's raining again..."

All week long, rain, rain, rain.  Cold and rainy and dreary.  I searched today for Peter, Paul and Mary's "Rain, Rain Go Away" on YouTube and came up blank (wouldn't you have liked to hear that song today?).  I did, however, stumble across another awesome song I had completely forgotten about.

I used to love Supertramp as a kid.  "Breakfast in America" was one of my most played cassettes.  I remember blaring "Goodbye Stranger" while my sister and I played Barbies.  We'd pretend Ken was singing the song as he was ditching Barbie.  For some reason Ken was always riding away on horseback during the chorus and one of us always got to pretend Barbie was crying. Looking back, I don't know if we were reenacting a western movie or just wanted to get some use of that horse.  But we would play that song and reenact this scene over and over.

As a mom now, I'm thinking my sister and I were some pretty freaky kids.  Not 100% sure I would have let my kids play with us.

Sorry, I really went off on an old person tangent today.  It's raining.  And I want to know where Supertramp went.  Ignore the crazy Barbie stuff.