Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Garden Fairy

The Garden Fairy paid me a visit this weekend. I felt there was something wrong with my tomatoes and was in need of additional gardening guidance. It came in the form of my stepmom, Gloria. We had a great time staking up the tomatoes, which were all laying on the ground, and propping up the beans, which were likewise afflicted. We also put in two more hot peppers - Kung Pao and habanero - so beware all who may be invited to dinner later in the summer. I will be well armed with spices! We also decided to give cucumbers and squash another try. Only one zucchini plant germinated from the original zucchini and cucumber seeds we planted in May. So, we put out some more cucumber seeds and planted a yellow squash plant. I have great hopes for both. We also added to my watermelon crop with a sugar baby plant. I hope to have a really lovely harvest! Now, in the front yard, we did some additional transformation. We created a lily garden with the addition of a stella d'oro amongst the soon-to-bloom day lilies. We also added some pretty red and white flowers to fill out the rose bed. I can't remember their names, but I want to call them peonies, though I know that's not right. It starts with a p, though, at least I think it does. To cap off the weekend, Gloria revealed the true identity of those two small trees that were masquerading as lilacs: they are Rose of Sharon. I'll need to post pictures of the garden progress later in the week. It's been raining most of today, so I haven't been able to take any. Since I have been having such a hard time balancing my new love of gardening with my familiar passion for quilting and crafting, the rain was a welcome invitation to stay inside and create beauty out of fabric instead of plants and soil.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yikes! What Have I Done!!

Today, I debated with Michele over something I wanted to do, but was afraid to try: a quilt swap. She convinced me to go for it. So, in a moment of confidence and fearlessness, I registered. Well, I just went through all the blogs of the 39 other quilters who have signed up to participate so far and they scare me!! They are all so amazing! Well, I plan to bring my A game and create something out of this world. I'll let you know as soon as I figure out what that is!

One Tomato, Two Tomatoes, Three Tomatoes, Four!

We have tomatoes! And cayenne peppers and the beans are flowering - so unexpectedly pretty. I had no idea how thrilling it would be to see actual produce growing in my yard! So very thrilling!! As you can see, the Best Boy plants have two little tomatoes, and Juliet has two lovely offerings, as well. OK, maybe you can't really see at all. The problem is that they are small and everything in the same shade of green. They are there, however, in all their lovely tomato-ness. Not to be outdone, the cayenne has been present and accounted for since last week. Also green, but so much easier to see. She, and two of her sisters, have graced our garden with their presence. I cannot wait to spice things up with cayenne from my own backyard!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Football and Earth 2

Why do I play football? I actually ask myself that every time I head home from the field. I really have no clue why I choose to spend Thursday evenings doing it. Yesterday, especially. I was sad and really just wanted to come home, heat up a bowl of beans, and crawl in bed with a good book. Instead, I joined my friends for a rousing game of flag football. It was raining and cold and wet outside. I fell three times, am so sore today I can barely move, caught the ball a total of zero times, and made not one touchdown. Why do I play football? I have no idea, but every week that I play I have a ball! (literally and figuratively!)

On a completely unrelated note, I mentioned previously that Michele was leaving me at home with no Star Trek DVDs to watch (I could have borrowed a DS9 from our friend Tina if I was deperate, so don't pity me too much.) When I am without a Star Trek, I search Netflix for a show I can watch instantly. A few days before Michele came home, I found Earth 2. I had never heard of it before, but it came out in the early nineties and only lasted one season - 22 episodes. It's set in the future when Earth is no longer inhabitable, and follows a group of pioneers trying to settle a new Earth: think Star Trek DS9 meets Little House on the Prairie, except not a quarter as good as either of those shows. It's really a bad show, but I cannot stop watching it. Have you ever watched a show that is really bad, but you can't stop watching it, so you convince yourself it's really good - I'm sure there's a psychological term for this phenomenon. Anyway, I didn't want to go to sleep last night until Michele was safely in her hotel room, so I stayed up and watched episode after episode of Earth 2. It is really quite good if you give it a chance - or if you give it 22 chances and then the pain will be over, I promise.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I decided - and Michele confirmed - that I did an awesome job taking care of things while Michele was away the last time. That being said, I also decided that if I'd been more organized about it, I would have done an even better job and had much more time to play. To that end, I have created a new chore schedule for myself. Michele and I have always used them, but usually after the first few weeks we ignore them and things get done when they get done - if they get done at all. My new thinking is that if my chore schedule is bright, colorful, and fun, I'll pay more attention to it and also attend to the chores that are on it. I thought I'd share my new, cool, and, hopefully, effective chore schedule - notice all the time for crafting!!


It's a long story - one that I hope Michele will tell on her blog - but to get back to work, Michele needed to fly closer to CR England's headquarters. Since we had planned on her driving partner coming to pick her up, we bought massive amounts of food and supplies for her to take with her and were challenged with the need to get that much stuff on a plane. So, this morning, all I could think about was her bags and whether they'd get on the plane with Michele or be too heavy. The smaller blue bag has Michele's clothes in it, while the larger - and significantly heavier - green bag is full to the brim with food and toiletries - mostly food. When we got to the airport, I held my breath when the lady asked us to put the green bag up on the scale. The blue bag had already been weighed and was 44 pounds! So, up goes the green bag and it weighed in at a whopping 57 pounds! Thinking the limit was 50 pounds, I was planning in my head what non-essentials could be removed and what items could pass through security in a carry-on bag. While all this was going through my head, the ticket agent was calmly putting on a baggage tag and an extra bright orange tag that said "HEAVY," then she directed us to baggage scanning, easy peasy! No problem at all! My usual concern is whether we will get on the flight - we always fly standby, for those not in the know - but I didn't even think of that all morning! Michele did get on her first flight - to Cincinnati - and will hopefully make it on her second - to Chicago. And her bags - even the HEAVY one - will hopefully make it all the way there, too!

Well, while Michele was making her way to her gate, I was making my way to a gate of my own - the short-term parking lot gate. Those of you who fly from Rochester's airport - or pick people up from the airport - likely know that the first half hour in short term parking is free. Well, we arrived at the airport this morning at 5:30 on the dot and I got back to my car to leave at 5:57. This wouldn't have been an issue if the lot wasn't under construction and the exit located 10 miles away from where I parked! I didn't make it to said exit until 6:01. It is $2 for the second half hour (or part thereof), but I neglected to bring any money with me this morning. Thankfully, the attendant was a morning person - a very chipper young woman - who, in response to my claim that I forgot my wallet at home (like she never hears that), nicely said, "Well, you're only a minute over. I'll let you by this time," and then gave me a big smile! I love morning people!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On the Road Again . . . Soon

Michele leaves tomorrow morning to get back on the road again. I guess I should know what is in store for me and be prepared, but I've gotten very used to having her home again. I haven't taken care of the litter boxes, trash, cleaning, laundry, etc. etc. since she's been home. I'd go off to work and it would all be done when I got home. Also, we walked the yard and looked at the gardens together every morning and evening - I'll really miss that, too. I'll just miss her - everything about having her home. I do have a list of projects to work on while she's away and will probably start getting excited about that tomorrow. Tonight, I am thinking: "This sucks! Michele will be off on the road again tomorrow and I am out of Star Trek DVDs to watch. This is not good!" All will be well, however: tomorrow is flag football and Star Trek will be in the mail for me on Friday, so with the exception of Michele being away, all will be right in my world . . . unless the mail is delayed, then all bets are off!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Begging for Star Trek

When Michele's original hometime was planned, I fortified myself for her 3-4 days home by watching copious amounts of Star Trek before she arrived because I knew that it would be unlikely that I would get opportunities to watch during those 3-4 days. Well, as you know, Michele has been home much longer than expected and, while it's a treat to spend time with her, after a few days I was going through serious Star Trek withdrawal (although we saw the movie together and throughout my birthday weekend, we watched several DVDs - hey it was MY birthday, right?). So, I devised a devilishly good plan to get to watch Star Trek and not feel like I am forcing Michele to watch it with me: We have a bowl of ice cream every evening. When it comes time to enjoy that treat, Michele always comes to me and says "It's time for ice cream." To which I reply, "Great. Too bad we don't have a TV show to watch with it. That would be really fun!" And every evening Michele replies, "Don't you have a Star Trek we could watch?" And I say, "Oh, ok, if you want, I don't mind watching another Star Trek." So, she's not quite begging for it, and clearly the ice cream is the motivation, but we both end up happy and that's the whole point, right?

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Just after Michele left in February, I made a list of things I was going to work on during the four months she was away. I've been asked a few times whether I completed my list. In an effort to be accountable, I need to admit that I only completed one thing that was on the original list: our friend's birthday present, which became a housewarming gift. I have, however, completed several projects that I did not include on that list. I've shared several with you already, and thought I would share a few more with you.

First, Deb's birthday/housewarming gift. This is a quilt that I named "A Librarian's Joy" (Deb is a librarian.) Michele and I gave this to Deb yesterday. It was nice to be able to give it to her together, especially since I'd been working on it long before Michele left in February.

Next, I made a gift for my mom. I actually started this quilt after I started Deb's, and finished it before I finished Deb's. Michele helped me design it over the phone and via email, so that was pretty fun. We called this quilt "A Night in the Forest." Mum loves owls, so we had fun with that.

Third, I reupholstered the sun porch furniture. The furniture came with the house and is a really beautiful antique cane couch and two chair set. The cushions were covered in a pretty gold fabric, but after years of use, the fabric was crumbly and incredibly scratchy. We'd wanted to re-cover it for four years, but couldn't find the right sun-resistant fabric for the right price. While Mum was here, Joann's had a wicked sale on indoor/outdoor fabric, so we now have a bright and colorful sun porch that Michele has really been enjoying while I'm at work.

And, finally, there is an awkward corner in our downstairs bathroom. The previous owners installed this bathroom in what was once a pantry. Since New York doesn't allow plumbing in exterior walls and the interior walls were plaster, they erected a wall to house the plumbing for the shower stall. This new partial wall created an 18 inch alcove that has been unused and pretty useless space. Michele and I decided to install shelving there since there is very little storage in this small bathroom, but, for the four years we've lived here, we hadn't gotten around to it. Well, I finally got to it. I also painted some unfinished wood boxes to keep the toiletry items prettily contained.
So, as you can see, although I did not complete the items on my original list, like my thesis and the upstairs bathroom floor, I did keep myself busy and accomplish several unlisted projects. And had a lot of fun doing it!! I do have a new list of projects that I shared with you a few posts ago. Now if Michele would hurry up and leave, I'd once again be productive and get to working on the newest list.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Michele's Birthday

Today is Michele's birthday (and Sara's! Happy Birthday, Sara!!) and I am so glad that she got to stay home this long so that we could celebrate her birthday together. I have the day off work and we plan to just play, play, play - after we take my car to the shop. I made the appointment for first thing in the morning because I expected to go to work today. Since I made Michele get up early on her birthday I am taking her to IHOP for breakfast. Of course, that's a gift for me too - I love their crepes!! Well, we're off to start the fun! Happy birthday to anyone else who shares this day with Michele!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Attacked by Little Bunny Foo Foo

Michele and I (or I alone when she is away) walk the yard every morning and evening to look over the plants and admire the garden. Yesterday morning, we both commented that the lettuce was getting really big and looked great. I wondered aloud whether I could eat it yet, but Michele said it wasn't ready. Well, yesterday evening, we walked along the vegetable bed and someone obviously thought the lettuce was ready - it had all been eaten down to the ground!! Bunny Foo Foo strikes again! The funny thing is I wasn't upset at all. I really thought I would be, but I'm beginning to relax about the garden, I think. Of course, if that little bunny even thinks about touching my carrots it will be an entirely different story!!

On an unrelated note, I finally let Michele out of the basement dungeon where I had her locked away and she has blogged. It's a red letter day that I will note on my calendar!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Four Minute Showers and Why Michele Will Not Blog

Last night, Michele and I went to a class on going green. Before I tell you about it, I should mention that Michele is still home. I started thinking on my way to work this morning that by now you all probably beleive that she really is home and that I am not just imagining her presence. Unfortunately, you are all probably thinking that I have disabled or debilitated her somehow so that she is unable to blog. Perhaps I not giving her access to electricity or am forcing her to work around the house while I am at work so that she is too busy or too tired to get out her laptop and pen a few words. Well, your guess is as good as mine!

OK, back to our going green class. It was great fun! We learned so many really good and simple tips that will both help the environment and save us money. Some we had been doing for a while already: using cloth napkins, using CFLs and other flourescent lightbulbs, turning down the thermostat, and other things like that. One of the suggestions was to take four minute showers. I've known for a while that my showers were too long - I daydream and lose track of time in there - but four minutes! Now that's hardly any time at all. Well, this morning I decided to try it. I asked Michele - who is home, by the way - to time me and guess what: I ended up taking only three minutes!! I wasn't even really rushing. I just didn't take my sweet time at it, either. It's just one more simple thing I can do to help the earth and lower my water bill - especially since I am now watering a garden - which leads me to my desire for a rain barrel, but I'll save that for another post.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Walking by the Lake and Stealing Tulips

Michele and I went for a walk by Lake Ontario this afternoon. It was so beautiful! I am so grateful that we've gotten to spend so much time together after being apart for so many months. It's been a real blessing, but I know we are both excited about her getting back out on the road with her new driving partner, Dana. We're both wondering how different driving without a trainer will be. What an adventure!

Anyway, back to our walk by the lake. At one point we were in fear for our lives. We were standing on the rocks by the shore gazing out on the beauty and we see a lovely swan. Then we see another swan, and another, and then several ducks. Suddenly, they all start swimming toward us, getting closer and closer, nearly surrounding us. And as they approached, the looks in their eyes turned more and more menacing. I said the Michele, "Oh my, those birds are about to attack us!" She calmly said, "Hmmm, maybe. Let's just walk away." As easy as that, we thwarted their attempts to have us for dinner. I'm so glad Michele was there - always the voice of reason.

In a seemingly unrelated note, several weeks ago, I mentioned another walk I took with a different lady: my walk through the lilacs with my mom. I also mentioned that my mom attempted to steal tulips while we were at the park and that I had posted the picture that proved my claim. Well, Mum commented to me the other day that I neglected to post the proof; therefore, I must be lying about the tulip thieving. So, I am rectifying the situation and have posted the evidence.

See me, in the image to the left, looking sweet and innocent, simply admiring the beautiful tulips. And see my lovely mother, in the image below, also looking sweet and innocent so that no one notices the tulip she is about to pick with her right hand. What more proof is needed, I ask you?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Black Gold

I feel like I am truly gardening now: I am composting!! It's really fun. Michele got me a little pitch fork to turn the refuse while its cooking. I put the bin in a really sunny spot in the backyard. I can't wait to see it all turn into compost!

Michele and I worked in the yard today - my first Friday off on my new schedule. It was so nice to be out and about on a weekday! I promised her that tomorrow we can just relax all day and enjoy our hard work from last weekend and today. I want to go to the market in the morning, though, and when I do I am always tempted to by a plant or two. Michele has made me promise that I will not buy any vegetables that we cannot cut up right away and eat. Although I love having her home, if she was out on the road I would have the whole backyard filled up with vegetable beds! I mean, what's the harm in one more variety of tomatoes, right?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Nagging Michele and Squirrel Nutkin

I've been nagging Michele to get her to update her blog while she's been home. I told her that since her last post didn't mention her coming home, everyone who reads both blogs will think I am delusional, that she is still out on the road, and that I am imagining she is home. So, anyone who is thinking that, I am not crazy, she is home and, though she was supposed to only be home through Monday, she's still home waiting for her new driving partner to pick her up. Hopefully, if my nagging is at all successful, she will update her blog and verify this so that you can all stop thinking my imagination has run away with me.

On a completely unrelated note, we bought a new tomato plant for the garden this weekend called Juliet. The man we bought it from (for 95 cents!!) said that it would produce more tomatoes than the squirrels and I could handle. That got me thinking about squirrels. I didn't know squirrels liked tomatoes. Now, in addition to Little Bunny Foo Foo, I need to be concerned about Squirrel Nutkin? Well, this morning when Michele and I were admiring the vegetable garden, we met Squirrel Nutkin sitting in the vegetable bed. She didn't even run away when we came up to her. She just looked a us like we were cafeteria ladies and said, "I'll have a little of this and a little of that. Dish it up I'm ready to eat!"

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Making Mischief Time

For the summer months, I will be off every Friday - starting this week. I am very excited to have extra making mischief time on my hands and thought I would share what I plan to accomplish over the next three months:

  • Finish thesis - I know, I know, you've heard it before, but I really do plan to finish it.
  • Finish bathroom floor - see lament above.
  • Finish friend's birthday quilt that is 2 years old and has now turned into a house warming gift
  • Make winter quilt for bedroom
  • Attend to garden - yippee!!
  • Reupholster parlor furniture
  • Do decorative staining and woodburning on dining room table
  • Set up an Etsy store
  • Make merchandise for Etsy store - what's the point in having a store if there is nothing in it, right?
  • Finish Christmas gift for Michele - now 4 years overdue
  • Make shea butter soap
  • Get caught up on outstanding presents for family and friends - OK, I realize this is a blanket statement, but it pretty much covers it!
  • Make something out of polymer clay - I have a polymer clay station and all the tools set up in my craftroom. I need to do SOMETHING with it to validate its existence.
  • Eat more ice cream (see previous post), fruits, and veggies, exercise, and be a generally healthier person.

I think that about covers it. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Home Time

Michele is home for her first "home time." We've been having so much fun. We saw all the movies that we planned to see, except Star Trek: Terminator (very good), Angels & Demons (Michele liked it, I thought it was too scary, but well done), Night at the Museum (very good indeed), and X-Men (so very excellent!! Really, really good!!) Now, don't start feeling bad for me because we didn't get to see Star Trek - Michele will be here another day, so we will be going to see it tonight!

Since this was the first time she was home in 4 months and it was my birthday, we mostly spent the weekend having fun, but Michele gave me the best birthday present ever: her time working with me in the vegetable garden! W extended the bed by 18 feet, so now it's a total of 36 feet of yummy veggies!! We have 4 varieties of tomatoes: Best Boys, Roma, Cherry, and Juliets; cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, beans, green peppers, carrots (of course), cayenne pepper (my favorite seasoning!), beets, and watermelon!! We're so excited to see what produces!! It really was the best birthday ever. We're not sure when she'll be leaving - some time between tomorrow and Friday - but I'm sure the rest of this home time will be just as fun!


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