Sunday, June 30, 2013

Simple Things Sunday #15 2013

webBrianPhone 036

Photo by Brian, taken on his iphone.

I love Nolie’s expression that says: “I’m super brave and this is NOT a garter snake, Mom, this is a COBRA!”

I love that it looks like Aidan is running away in terror (even though he is just running in to get me so I can experience the garter Cobra too).

I love that Brian captured the beach towels drying out on the deck railing, a sure sign of summer.

I love believing the boys when they tell me this is the same snake they saw earlier that day (but did not catch) in our garage. I so want to believe that.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Things I Learned in June

As part of our mammoth end of the year letters, Angie, Mary Alice and I started including “Things I Learned”---some  basic things everyone else knows, some esoteric things I’ll be re-learning for the rest of my life. They are my favorite part of our letters to re-read, because I often forget what I learn. Often as in always.

I recently re-discovered Emily Freeman’s blog, Chatting at the Sky, thanks to the Simple Mom podcast. Emily writes a Things I Learned post at the end of every month and invited others to participate this month. I love the idea of doing this monthly instead of annually.

2013 06 04_strawberries

1. If we want bigger strawberries, we need to thin our strawberry patch. (I learn this every June. Every October I feel like a murderer when it comes to thinning. Also, I’d rather do other things. But this year I will thin a complete side so a new patch can start. I will…)

2. If you want to make a dog happy, especially in the heat of a Moab summer, make bacon ice cubes. We used an IKEA kids cup and a bit of leftover bacon from a Sunday breakfast. Great entertainment on the deck as Duke did a happy dance over the ice cube.

3. I’m incredibly lucky to have a partner who can do/make/fix just about anything. Did I know this before June? Yes, but I have a new appreciation of his abilities as we’ve had workmen helping with the drywall in our basement this month. It is the first time Brian has really allowed someone else to work on our home---and I am grateful he did, because it pushed the timing of our basement forward. Yet, as great as these guys have been, I’ll be so happy when they are no longer here.

Maybe #3 should be read: It’s hard to have men you don’t really know working in your house during summer vacation with a dog who wants to lick them to death and run through all the white dust of drywall at any opportunity.

4. I learned there’s going to be LEGO Movie, which is going to make my boys extremely happy.

5. I learned the best thing about the movie “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” is its soundtrack.

6. I kept looking over at Brian during the movie when they played songs like “Air That I Breathe” by the Hollies and got a blank stare. Despite only being a year apart in age, our childhoods had completely different soundtracks.

7. According to David Pogue, if you hit the space bar twice when writing a text, it will add the period and capitalize the next letter automatically. You can also use the space bar to pause a video, and to scroll down the screen in any browser. You probably already knew all of that, but I didn’t.

8. All the time spent watching the Black Hawks win the Stanley Cup in one of the best series ever taught me…to appreciate baseball even more. No clock, no sudden death, no opponent trying to make a run while your team is at bat. Hockey is exciting, and the athleticism of its players is awe-inspiring, but I longed for the poetry and pace of baseball.

9. Teeball, however, has neither the pace nor the poetry of baseball. It does have adorable five-year-olds digging in the outfield wearing oversized t-shirts, though, so there’s that.

2013 05 03_0256 salad

10. I wanted to end with something deep and meaningful, but really, the best thing I learned this month, possibly this year, is to prepare salads in jars. I had seen it on Pinterest but it didn’t look appealing. Then I read about it on Peppermint Granberg’s blog and ordered these pint and a half jars from Amazon (though I just saw them at Alco for the same price). Life changing. I follow her directions for rinsing the veggies in a vinegar/water bath and fill them up on Sundays after my weekly shopping. Life changing because I now use the cucumber I bought on Sunday and normally forgot about until Saturday, because I really do like salads but often don’t want to pull all those ingredients out and chop stuff up when I’m making Brian a grilled cheese anyway, and because when I need a quick veggie side, I split one of these jars between us for a dinner salad.

Life changing.

You can check out Emily’s post and join the link up there with your own lessons from June, or post one thing you learned this month in the comments. Thanks!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Five on Thursday

Hello again.

If you’re still here, I thank you!

I have three sessions awaiting sneak peeks, and dozens of posts written in my head. I honestly thought I’d have more time this summer for blogging and other projects. Ha! I’m not complaining though. The boys are trying to pack everything they love into these too-few weeks of summer, and I’m happy to be along for the ride.

Below is a 10 on Tuesday post I started three weeks ago…but I only got to #5. Less is more, right?

1. May kicked my butt. Aidan traveled to Boston, I switched a few gears professionally, we hosted family and threw a big party, and then instead of slowing down to recover from all of that, the final weeks were packed to the brim. I needed to feel some sense of perspective over the summer so we put together a color-coded, nerdy-as-can-be, calendar of everything that is planned for this summer. I love it. Now we can see the white space where nothing is planned and protect it. And when August 15 (the 15th? What happened to school starting AFTER Labor Day?) surprises us, at least we’ll know where the summer went.

2. I love blogs. I haven’t had much time to catch up on them lately, but they are better than any magazine subscription ever. I used to rip out articles and stick them in files, but blogs move me to do something today. Like the photo on Ali Edwards’ post today that motivated me to pack my good camera for swim lessons.

web2013 06 11_3boys at the pool

3. I’m about to finish a project that didn’t have a due date. One of many takeaways from this project: I need due dates. I wish I could be someone who would just say, “Hmm, I’ll go work on that project that isn’t due now.” But I’m not. Urgent rules over the important often. It didn’t help that it was a heart-breaking project. Lots of gratitude to Brian for taking the boys swimming and giving me the quiet I needed to get it done.

4. Other projects, that don’t require quiet, are best done with a podcast for company. Have I shared here before how much I LOVE podcasts?

I don’t watch TV during the summer, mainly because I feel fidgety sitting when there is so much to be done---and because Homeland & Parenthood won’t be on until the fall. But I love listening to a podcast while cooking, or emptying the dishwasher or folding laundry. My most recent discovery is The Simple Mom podcast. I’m slowly listening to all the episodes with Emily Freeman of Chatting at the Sky as a cohost with Tsh Oxenreider. Funny and inspiring, exactly what I like in podcast.

If you have a favorite podcast, I’d love to hear it!

5. Lots of comic-book writing and drawing going on here, in between baseball games and swim lessons and water-gun battles.

 web2013 06 04_sean's drawing of the future

The Future by Sean. Notice he has a beard in the future and red hair. Aidan is “rich and lives in a building named AOK because he owns it” and that’s Nolan waving from college colij. I love how our house, snug between the skyscrapers, resembles Burton’s classic, The Little House.

When I pointed out to Sean that “market” was misspelled , he said, “That’s how it’s spelled in the future, Mom.”

That’s all for now. I do hope to be back more often.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Photo+Quote | June Blog Hop

“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever." - Walt Disney

laughing on m&d's bed eToes 1 Laughing SeanLaughing

My babies. My babies, who aren’t babies any more. My babies laughing. No other sight brings me greater joy, no other sight---save one.


3 sillies

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My babies, now boys and someday men, laughing together.

Photo+Quote is a monthly series that I’m using to dig deeper into my own archives. On the 15th of every month we are challenged to pair a chosen quote with a photograph.You can see how the other photographers in the series interpreted this month’s quote by following the blog hop to Holly Clouse of Spokane, Washington.

Monday, June 3, 2013

in the eye of the beholder

This month's photography challenge was the phrase, "ugly beautiful." Supposedly the Greeks first said, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." I struggled with this challenge because I so dislike the word ugly and didn't want to photography any of the things I find truly ugly (injustice, pollution, waste, etc.) though I'm grateful other photographers do. 

I photograph my flower beds every year and it was while I was out there, eager to capture to the barrel cactus' blooms, that I remembered when I might have looked at these same flowers that I now so eagerly anticipate with little more than disdain.

I moved from the Midwest to Tucson, Arizona when I was 21. I remember complaining to my born-in-Arizona friend John Boyle that the region had no seasons and he quickly corrected me, pointing out my spoiled eye just hadn't learned to appreciate or discern the desert seasons.

Here in the high desert, we are blessed with distinct seasons. Yet many of the plants and flowers are similar to what I discovered in Arizona, especially from my summer as an SCA volunteer on Mt Graham in Safford. That is where I first fell in love with columbine.

My front bed is filled with mostly wildflowers or what some may consider weeds. Our Midwest heritage rules the back yard, and I'm still a sucker for a big lilac bush. And yet, I've come to love the delicate Blue Flax and the hardy Paprika in our xeriscaped front beds.

After all, the main difference between a plant and a weed is simply the will to live. 

Please continue through the blog circle to see how other photographers interpreted the challenge, starting with Maggie and her post on Ugly Beautiful.

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