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April 2014

Spring: The Fickle Season


Today's topic - Ten Things You Like to Do Outside - is bittersweet.  Because it is snowing again.  And that seems Not Quite Fair . . . especially after such a beautiful weekend.

Oh, well.  Spring is the most fickle of all the seasons.  









(Obviously . . . not a recent photo!)

Before I start whining, let's just get to it!  Ten Things I Like to Do Outside:

I like to get outside and interact with my environment!


1.  Gardening . . . the all of it!  Planting.  Transplanting.  Weeding.  Tending.  Walking through with a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine).

2.  Watching the Bird Joy!  Filling the feeders.  Managing the birdbath.  Listening to their songs.

3.  Tending "my" bees and butterflies.  

I like to get outside and MOVE!


4.  Walking my dogs in the neighborhood.  (They like it, too!)

5.  Running.  (And I much prefer running outside to running on the indoor track -- although that got me through a long, icy winter.)

6.  Kayaking around the lake. 

I like to get outside and just HANG AROUND!


7.  Enjoying my surroundings with a cup of coffee . . . or iced tea . . . or a glass of wine.  (Pretty much any beverage will do!)

8.  Sitting around a campfire.  (Even better when the lightning bugs do their thing.)

9.  Soaking up the sunshine.  (With a book or a junky fashion magazine or my knitting.)

10.  Kicking back in my porch swing.

How about YOU?  What do you like to do outside?


Join the fun!  Read other Ten on Tuesday posts here, or sign up for weekly prompts here



My Closet: A Metaphor for Life, Part II

As I started clearing out my closet last month, I did some thinking about  how my closet got to be such a mass of clothes in the first place!  

I've already admitted here in the blog that I have a Thing for Fashion.  I don't mean to say that I adhere to Fashion.  (Because I don't.)  But I do follow along.  I appreciate Fashion . . . as an art form.  I  appreciate the juxtaposition of . . .





when it comes to wearable statements of art.

And, really, I always have!


(My sister and I playing paper dolls in 1967; I was in second grade so my sister must've been about 4.)

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite pastimes was playing with paper dolls. I loved collecting the cut-out sets you could buy at the dime store most of all, but I was also really happy just cutting people out of catalogs and collecting them in folders.  It was all about choosing outfits and figuring out what clothes I liked best of all.  I had the most fun dressing the paper dolls up to . . . go somewhere and do something!

It was the same, for me, with my Barbies.  I loved collecting - and even making - clothes and accessories for my them.  I liked to create ensembles and clothing combinations for their Barbie-life adventures.  (Some of my friends made me crazy -- because they never wanted to change their Barbie's clothes.  They liked Barbie-action; I liked Barbie-fashion!)

The fashion-bug stayed with me as I grew older.  When I was in junior high and high school, I learned to sew and made most of my own clothes.  I got great pleasure in choosing patterns and matching up fabrics to create unique and one-of-a-kind pieces for myself.  For awhile, I even dreamed of some sort of career in fashion.  One of my friends in high school was also an excellent seamstress.  Together, we took our high school elective classes in the home ec department -- courses in tailoring and creating your own patterns and fashion design.  It was fun (and a nice alternative to biology and algebra!), even though we both gave up on the dream of fashion design careers.


What happens when a young fashion junkie grows up and gets a walk-in closet?  


Scan 7

(This is magnet was a gift from my sister several years ago.)

As I emptied my closet, I came to the realization that . . . I'm too old for paper dolls and Barbies now, so I've collected life-size clothes . . . to dress myself up! 

And that, my friends, is how my closet became the MESS that it was.

(Stay tuned.)



It's Five O'Clock Somewhere


This has been a tough week . . . 

Taxes.  (Filed.)

Heartbleed.* (Ei-yi-yi!)

Work angst.  (Retirement?)

Printer jams. (Plural)

Recalls.** (Mom-worry.)

Lost contact lens. (Pain in the ass.)

At least it's not snowing.  (There is that.)

It must be five o'clock somewhere . . .


* Check this website or this one for up-to-date lists of passwords you need to change now.   (Total hassle.  But who's counting?)

** Brian drives a Cobalt.


Throwback Thursday: Projects Before Ravelry

Last weekend, I was getting ready to take a little nap.  I grabbed my favorite nap-afghan and as I drifted off to sleep, I starting thinking back.

Like WAAAAY back . . . to when I made that little nap-afghan!  

It was the summer of 1977.  I had just graduated from high school, and was getting myself ready to move off to college.  I crocheted up some random squares in pastel colored Red Heart Acrylic (because back in 1977, was there anything else?) and made myself an afghan for my soon-to-be dorm room.

Here's a picture of one of my rooms in college (this one is in 1979, in one of the rooms at the Tri-Delt house; I would've been a junior):

College room

And there it is!  The afghan, right on the foot of my bed.

I still have it - and use it whenever I take a nap.  (Red Heart Acrylic never wears out, does it?)  Jenny likes it, too.

Old Afghan 002

(This throwback photo was taken back in 2009, when Jenny was 2!)

It's funny.  Now, thanks to digital cameras and Ravelry, we take photos of our projects at every step of the process.  But back then?   Not so much!   It's fun to find an old photo of a much-loved, old project!





The Universal Donors of the Culinary World

Okay.  I tried for spare.
Y'all said NO.
How about this one for a compromise?



Often, Tom helps me out with my Ten on Tuesday posts.  Sometimes we do a little brainstorming together; sometimes he helps me sort out my ideas; sometimes he comes up with whole new directions for me.

Today, though . . . it's all his!

Yes, as I chopped peppers and onions for last night's dinner, Tom took this week's topic and ran with it!  He came up with the whole thing:  concept, list, even pulled stuff out of the pantry and took the photograph.

So, from my Guest Ten on Tuesday blogger, here is Tom's answer to Ten Foods that Belong Together.  Take it away, Tom . . .


Might not be your first inclination, but each of these foods can work with almost anything.  They are the culinary equivalent of O blood -- the Universal Donor.

  1. Chocolate
  2. Beer
  3. Wine
  4. Pecans
  5. Bread
  6. Butter
  7. Olives
  8. Tobasco
  9. Goat Cheese
  10. Balsamic Vinegar

(And now you know what's in OUR pantry!)

How about you?  What foods belong together in your world?


Join the fun!  Read other Ten on Tuesday posts here, or sign up for weekly prompts here

My Closet: A Metaphor for Life, Part I

Yep.  You're in the right place!  
I'm looking for a new "blog-look" and decided to try this one on for size.
What do you think?


So I set off, last month, in search of POSSIBILITY.

Which sounds kind of silly, actually.  Because you can't really look for possibility; you simply need to be open to exploring possibility.  You need to be open to new ideas and new ways of thinking.  You need to be open to making new connections.  You need to try new things.

But how?

How could I explore NEW possibilities . . .  when my life is already overloaded with my EXISTING possibilities?

I realized that I am overwhelmed every single day with dealing with my existing choices and options and, well . . . possibilities.  When I stopped to think about it for awhile, I realized that I'm actually so trapped in my already-life, so stuck in my existing structure, so secure in coddling my long-held habits and thought-patterns . . . 

That it's not really feasible . . . 

to think about POSSIBILITY!

Frankly, there's just too much crap in the way!


Over the last couple of weeks, I've come to understand that the first step in my year of POSSIBILITY really needs to be . . . 

A paring down.



So I really CAN consider POSSIBILITY in my life.

It's quite clear to me, now, that I need to tear down . . . before I can build up!


So I looked to my closet.  And I realized . . . it was a metaphor for the rest of my (cluttered) life. I dug in and gave myself a Closet Intervention.  (Stay tuned.)


Cut and Paste

For March, the One Little Word prompt had us making a "vision board."  I loved this project last year, and I loved it again this year!  


I was really surprised at the direction my board took this year.  I had been thumbing through every magazine and catalog that I found all month long . . . clipping images that appealed to me in some way, and then clipping words and phrases.

When I sat down last weekend to see what I'd collected and how they spoke to me, I was somewhat surprised at the sheer number of word-phrases I'd clipped!  And how, taken as a whole, those word-phrases told a tale of discovery, exploration, and . . . yeah . . . possibility!

So I decided to go for simple and spare.  I tossed aside the images.  And I created a little "poem" with my word-phrases.  Just in case you can't read it in the photo above, here's the poem that I created from a month's worth of word-clipping :

Wander with purpose
See the world through a different lens . . . go forth . . . get crackin'
Give it a whirl . . . off the grid
Spread your wings . . . rise and shine
Don't be chicken . . . chart an entirely new course
Change everything . . . go bold
Jump start a whole new ballgame
Roll out a new blueprint
Unleash your inner character
Stand tall
Go with the flow . . . discover the unexpected . . . no rules, just movement
Less can do so much more . . . do more of what you love
Time is precious
Crave good things
Create endless possibilities
Live in full bloom . . . be an inspiration
You've come a long way, baby.


Looks like . . . POSSIBILITY . . . to me!


Spring Break Throwback

I don't miss my kids' "school days."  At all, really.  I don't miss the schedules and the extra activities and Some People and the drama-of-it-all.  (You could say I've settled into Empty Nesting without a hiccup.)

But there's one thing I do miss.

Spring Break.

If my kids were still in school, we'd be heading south today.  And I do miss that!

So here's a little throwback.  Erin and Brian on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  April 2005.

2005 gulf shores

(That beach looks awfully inviting. . .)

The Truth Shall Set You Free

And now . . . the truth is revealed.

(But first, look what showed up in my frozen tundra of a yard!)


(So. Exciting.)

Yesterday, I left you hanging with my April Fool Ten on Tuesday.

  1. In second grade, my school had a mumps epidemic.  I was the only student in the school to win the Perfect Attendance award that year.
  2. My first job when I finished college was at The Coloradoan newspaper.  I took classified ads over the phone, and typed up obituaries and auction announcements.
  3. The butterfly on my left hip is not my only tattoo.
  4. I used to play softball.  (I pitched.)
  5. I was kicked out of Brownies because I didn't pay my dues.  (To be fair, I was just not clear on the concept.  I liked keeping my nickel in the Official Brownie Coin Purse on my Official Brownie Belt.  Besides . . . the troop leader's house smelled funny.)
  6. I started out in college as a French major.  
  7. I was nominated for Prom Queen when I was a senior in high school.  (I didn't win.)
  8. If I was a boy, my parents planned to name me "Todd."
  9. One of my college boyfriends played baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals. (But not when I dated him.)
  10. I have three college degrees.  They are not related in any way.  (And one is not French.)


  1. True.  I have never had the mumps, but I was surrounded by them that year.
  2. True.  Sometimes I also typed up wedding and engagement announcements.
  3. False.  Alas, no tattoos.  (Although I would get one in a heartbeat . . . if I could figure out just what image or word I would tattoo.  And where.)
  4. True.  I used to nearly throw up before each game.
  5. True.* Scouting just wasn't for me.  I know many people who loved their scouting experiences, but, even as a child, scouting seemed a bit fascist to me.  (My kids didn't do scouting either.  Brian was lured to Cub Scouts by the promise of the Pinewood Derby, but in the midst of our very first pack meeting -- I'll admit my eye was twitching the whole time -- he looked up at me with that sweet little 6-year-old face and said, "Mommy?  I don't think this is for us!"  We left.)
  6. True.  French literature did me in, though.
  7. True.  I was not named Prom Queen, however.  (And I detested my date, besides.)
  8. True.  Todd Michael, to be exact.
  9. True.  He was just a college baseball player when I knew him.
  10. True.  Elementary Education (bachelors, University of Wyoming), Accounting (bachelors, The University of Texas), and Philanthropic Studies (masters, University of Indiana).  Interesting skill set, sure.  But what does it get you?  Working for a small pile of shekels in non-profit arts adminstration, that's where!

And now you know!

* My mom doesn't remember that I was actually kicked out of Brownies.  She does remember the leader's house, though, and she remembers that scouting just wasn't for me!  (She loved being a Girl Guide in Canada, herself, though.  And my sister loved Brownies and Girl Scouts -- and became a leader for her own daughter's troops.  It was just me.)