Thursday, February 26, 2009

Our Little Chickadee

On Sunday morning as the snow was piling up, Pipsqueak and I were in the kitchen when we heard a thunk against the deck door. I knew that sound... it was a bird hitting the window, but it didn't sound too loud, so I was hopeful. We went to the door, and I didn't see anything right away. Soon I noticed a couple of tiny, dark gray feathers stuck to the window, then slightly to the left on the ground in the snow, I saw a chickadee laying on its back. I thought it was dead until I saw one of its legs twitch. It looked so lifeless that I felt certain it would die soon, and I didn't want to give Pipsqueak any false hope, so I said, "I'm going to bring it in and put it in a box by the fire, so it won't have to die out in the cold, laying in the snow."

I put a towel in a box and donned my work gloves, and went out to get the bird. As soon as my hand went around it, it let out a hearty cheep. When I tried to put it in the box, it had grasped the glove with one of its feet and wouldn't let go. I didn't want to shake it loose, so I slipped the glove off and left it in the box with the bird.

It layed there on its side for a long time, breathing heavily. It moved its neck a bit, so that encouraged me. I grabbed a large piece of lace to put over the box, so we could still see the little guy. After several minutes, it got on its feet and shook itself a little. After a few more minutes, Monty, our dog, came up behind us without us noticing and stuck his head in the box. This startled the bird, who started flapping around. The lace went ascew and the bird started flying around the kitchen, finally perching on the ceiling fan. Since it hadn't fully recovered, I was able to stealthily come behind grab it with the glove on, and we let it go outside. It flew to a tree where it sat for 10 minutes or so, fluffing and grooming, before it flew off.

Pipsqueak was so happy and thanked me for a wonderful morning. I often wonder how she'll remember me when she's grown up. I hope she remembers me as animal savior and feeder of birds and deer, among other wonderful, happy things. She still talks about the time I stopped the car and got out to shoo a turtle across the road so it wouldn't get hit. But I don't do these things to impress her; I do them because I want to. It's a hard life out there for animals; they could use a little kindness and help.
I let Pipsqueak give it a couple of gentle pets since she was curious what a bird felt like. Then it was hands-off so the poor guy could rest in peace. Luckily it wasn't RIP as an epitaph.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Purple Day

I knew that purple would be easy. Pipsqueaks's favorite colors are purple and pink, so there would be plenty of examples in her room. Before I went there, I thought I'd look for some in the rest of the house. I'm enjoying these daily walking tours of my home.
I got these purple beaded placemats at Pier 1 right after Christmas. They were in a jumble in the clearance shelf, but I managed to find six of them.
I placed the winning bid on this amethyst piece at a silent auction last month. I love geodes and semi-precious stones. This piece was one of the deepest purple I had seen.
This print of Artist's Garden in Giverny by Monet hangs in our bedroom and was a Christmas gift from Sweetie a few years ago. I love impressionist paintings, especially Monet's, because they show the world the way I see it without my glasses.
Now we're on to Purple Central, Pipsqueak's room...
I'm greeted at the door by this purple, sparkly star.
A friend gave her this egg music box which plays "Spring" from Vivald's "Four Seasons.
When Pipsqueak heard today was purple, she started gathering up her things and arranging them in this display before she went to school.
It looks like purple threw up on her floor. I noticed she missed a few things, but that was plenty.
I hope you enjoyed this project as much as I did. When flowers are in bloom, I think I'll have an outside rainbow day or days. First, we'll have to get rid of this white stuff. Then we'll have to go through a period of brown days.... mud season.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Green Day

I'm glad the band isn't so popular anymore, or I might have a lot of disappointed Google searchers stumbling upon this post. Here is my collection of green.
I love these dark green velvet, beaded valances which hang in my living room. I'll probably leave them up until they rot from old age and fall to the floor in shreds. Then I will experience a period of grief, knowing that I will never again find something I love as much.

We have a pineapple and palm tree theme in our living room. I know it's odd for Vermont, but the colors of burgundy, dark green and gold makes it feel more plantation than tropical, so it works.
This piranha that I painted in pottery guards my steel wool scrubber.
My mom made this afghan that I keep in the sitting room ready to warm up chilly toes.

Pipsqueak sculpted and painted this dinosaur in art class at school. She was proud of the fact that she knew how to form the back from doing the edge of pie crusts with me.
I've kept this hibiscus alive for the past eight years. I get two or three flowers a year. The green wallpaper in the background is in my kitchen, but I plan to redo those walls soon. It a bit too 80s country for my taste.
Since I was a spaz and did blue first instead of in the order of the rainbow, tomorrow is purple day.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Yellow Day

Yellow was a lot more difficult than orange for me. Who'da thunk it? I did manage to find a few things.
I can't get through a day without my Mom's Plan-It calendar. If I lost it, I'd have no idea where I need to be. I love that it runs 18 months, so I can plan an entire school year.
Pipsqueak painted this for me at pottery. She's a ray of sunshine to me.
Here are a couple more bottles from my collection.
We found this sea fan awash on the each in St. John last winter. The wooden fish isn't the right species to go with a sea fan, but they look nice together anyway.
Pipsqueak has had this paper star nightlight in her room since she was a newborn. It has faded a little.
Tomorrow is green day. That should be easy-peasy. Now I need to go out and shovel some more of that white stuff.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Orange Day

It's nothing but white outside as we're getting around a foot of snow today, but inside, things are looking sunny. I had more orange than I thought I did. It was my favorite color when I was a kid. I was a bit of a non-conformist... no pink or purple for me. Pipsqueak's room was a treasure trove of orange.
This is Sunburst, she lives in Fairytopia and was once kidnapped by the evil Laverna. She is a sparkle fairy and can't get wet, so Laverna held her in a bubble underwater rendering her powerless. And I know way more about this fairy than any grown woman should.
This is a rainbow tooth fairy. I gave Pipsqueak one every time she lost a tooth. She has the whole rainbow now.
A garland of paper monarch butterflies hangs from her ceiling.
I had a few orange things of my own.
My turtle lamp...
And an orange bottle from my collection of colored bottles.
I love this abstract that Pipsqueak made in school so much that I framed it and hung it in the dining area.
Tomorrow is yellow day.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Red Day

I could fill a memory card with red things around my house. As a matter of fact, I did, but I narrowed it down to my favorites or most photogenic for your viewing pleasure.

This is our beta fish, named Kip (or as I like to call him, Kipper Snack). He has a big roomy bowl, and he gets very excited when someone stops by to look at him. He thinks food might be involved. This was his first photo session.
I got this candle holder from Kohl's right after Christmas. It was marked down form $40 to $6. I never would have paid $40 for it.
I used to have a cow tea kettle, but I got this one a few years ago after we got our new Wolf range...

so it would match the knobs on the front.
I was so sad when Bombay and Co. is out of business. I found this great feathered lamp there, and it look so good in the sitting room. They got a lot of business from me over the years.

We don't sit in this leather club chair very often since it faces away from the television, but it has great sentimental value. It belonged to my father-in-law. When we chose new furniture for the living room, it was selected with this chair in mind.Finally, are my daughter's ruby slippers. I just pulled them out of her closet because they're too small. She's had them in about four different sizes.

Tomorrow is orange day. That might be challenging. I can't believe I have much orange around here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Blue Day

This is the first day in my rainbow week. If you want to play along, I'd love to have you join me. As I walked through the house looking for blue things, I loved how this was making me look at my house in a different way.
First are my aqua globes. These things are great. They're pretty and my house plants are looking better now that they're getting regular water instead of just when I notice they're wilting.
This photograph is of Kayangel, an atoll in the South Pacific where Sweetie lived for a short time with his family when he was fourteen years old. It hangs in a prominent spot in our livingroom.

I hated Crocs, but Pipsqueak broke me down, and I bought these for her. I've got to admit that they're cozy and convenient.

This is the first blue ribbon Pipsqueak won. She got it in a horse show last summer in the walk/trot event. I was so proud of her.Here is the wallpaper in Pipsqueak's room. It's so bright and cheery looking, even on a cloudy day. It was put up just before she was born, but I think it's going stand the test of time and she'll continue to love it for a few more years.

But this is my favorite blue thing in the whole house...
Tomorrow will be red day.

Only the Lonely

I put Sweetie on a bus today. From there, he'll go on a plane and another plan, then a train. Eventually, he will end up in Austria... for nine days. Now before, you start bashing him for being a heel and leaving me behind, you should know that he's going skiing with his uncle. They are expert skiers and I am a beginner. The sort of beginner that feels pretty certain she could face plant in the snow at any time. Sweetie gets stuck skiing with me and Pipsqueak most of the time; he works hard and he deserves to let it rip with the experts.

But I'll miss him. He's been gone four hours, and I already miss him. It's nice in a way... I probably take his company and companionship for granted, but with him gone, I'll appreciate him more. We've been married over 10 years, but he still makes me laugh every day, I love his warm feet against my cold ones in bed every night, and I love being near him, even if we're sitting on the sofa clicking away on our laptops.

When he goes away (which isn't often), I always get the urge to change something while he's gone. I'd love to paint a room or remodel the closet, but I'd get way in over my head, and things might look worse instead of better. I'm going to try to clean out a few neglected areas before he gets back. I've got a few ideas for something a little bigger, but we'll see what happens.

In blog news, Liz at Quilted Turtle has inspired me with her yellow photos this week. For the next six blog-days, I'm going to feature photos from each color of the rainbow. I'll start tomorrow with blue.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Remember When-sday - Kids Today

Just in time for Remember When-sday, I received this in an email. If you're over 30, you should be able to relate to this...

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning... uphill... barefoot... in the snow... BOTH ways... yadda, yadda, yadda. And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it, and how easy they've got it! But now that... I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia! And I hate to say it but you kids today don't know how good you've got it!

When I was a kid we didn't have The Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalogue or an encyclopedia!! There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter, with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps cost 10 cents!

Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our ass! No where was safe!

There were no MP3's or Napsters! You wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up! There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our car. We'd play our favorite tape and 'eject' it when finished, and the tape would come undone.

We didn't have fancy stuff like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal; that's it! And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your Bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent... you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'asteroids'. Your guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!! And there were no multiple levels or screens; it was just one screen forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder, and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your butt and walk over to the TV to change the channel! There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons!

And we didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat something up we had to use the stove ... Imagine that! That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled. You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980 or before!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Staycation, Day 1, Part 2

Saturday evening, we went to our town's Tiki Torch Trek. As darkness was falling, we snowshoed around the well-groomed trails, all lit with tiki torches and marked with famous poems on the subject of nature. It was a beautiful, starry night with mild temperatures of mid-20s. That seems pretty comfortable after dealing with sub-zeroes.

Pipsqueak has the modern, light-weight, short profile snowshoes, but Sweetie and I prefer the old-fashioned, wood and rawhide version. Their only drawback is slippage on steep inclines.

After our hike, we returned to a roaring bonfire and tables of food provided by local restaurants and grocers: cheddar cheese soup, chili, an array of sandwiches, hot chocolate and hot cider, and enough desserts to rot our teeth or give us a monster stomach ache.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Staycation, Day 1, Part 1 - Aquatic Center

Since we're not going away this school vacation, we're having lots of fun locally. Saturday morning was spent at the new Aquatic Center. It opened a few days ago. We had so much fun, we joined for three months. I had all sorts of happy endorphins from warm and humid feeling in there. I think this video that Sweetie put together illustrates it best...

The new Upper Valley Aquatic Center is Bahamas. Without the baggage. from Rick Read on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's NOT All Greek To Me

Have you tried the Greek yogurt yet? It's so good! There are other brands out there, but my favorite is Fage (pronounced Fa-yeh). It comes plain or with honey. I love the addition of the honey, and it's really good, flavorful, ever-so-slightly granular honey.
The first time I had really good yogurt, it was 1999, and I was in France. Our run-of-the-mill yogurts (Yoplait and the like) are an entirely different product from this creamy, smooth delicacy. It tastes indulgent. This Greek yogurt is very close to that, but I've got to go back to France for the genuine article.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Remember When-sday - Babies and the Prevention Of

Until I run out of material, Wednesdays are going to be for waxing nostalgic and remembering the way things used to be. I hope they will bring back some memories... some good, some thank-God-we-don't-do-it-that-way-anymore.

  • plastic pants that went over cloth diapers
  • cloth diapers when that was all there was instead of the "green choice"
  • diaper pins
  • before EPT
  • hearing someone say, "The rabbit died."
  • before the pill
  • before Lamaze
  • fathers-to-be pacing in the waiting room, instead of camcording in the delivery room
  • diaper pails
  • metal strollers and high chairs with sharp edges
  • walkers that could roll across the floor (and down the stairs)
  • copper coil IUDs
  • new mothers staying in the hospital for a week instead of 24 hours
  • first shoes of white leather with hard soles

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Be My Frugal Valentine

I just saw an advertisement for one dozen red roses with greens, wrapped or in a box for $50. Any other day of the year, long stemmed red roses run $2.50 each. They give me the greens and the wrapping for free, so presumably I could buy a dozen for $30 or less. If Sweetie brought me roses on Valentine's Day, I'd be mad. There is no danger of that happening since he's as frugal as I am. Other things I don't want: dinner out, tacky jewelry and bad chocolate. Dinners on Valentine's Day are usually over-priced and over-crowded. I like nice jewelry, but I'd prefer we didn't spend the money right now. Nice chocolate is fine; I'd rather have 4 pieces of premium chocolate than a pound of waxy, tasteless chocolate. But what I really want:

  • to be verbally appreciated
  • a few moments to reflect on our engagement which occurred on February 14, 1998
  • a nice family time
I'm pretty easy to please.

Of course, I will be reciprocating with a wee little something for my Sweetie. I don't know what it will be yet, but I'll brainstorm over the next couple of days and come up with something thoughtful. My crowning Valentine achievement was a few years ago when I took a glass jar with a red lid, decorated it with heart stickers and put in little pieces of paper with 101 reasons why I loved him. I don't know how I'll ever top that.
Pipsqueak has a Valentine party at school on Friday and will be bringing cards to everyone in her class. We've always made her cards. Sometimes I design them with her; sometimes we get kits. This year, she chose these kits from Oriental Trading. She's been working on some little secret project that she won't share with us, so I expect we'll be getting something from her. I'll be making a card for her and choosing a little gift from my hidden stash of clearance and thrifted Pipsqueak gifts.

Monday, February 9, 2009

An Interview

I really appreciate all of your nice comments during my low period. Thanks to temps in the 40's this weekend, I'm feeling much better other than my sprained or wrenched left ring finger. I think it happened during the sled relay races at our town's Winterfest. I taped it to the pinkie finger for comfort, but it makes typing a challenge. I'm such a klutz.

Since I was feeling pretty happy, I spent most of the day doing tax prep, so I don't have any good material for blogland. Luckily, Tammie provided me with some. There's a new project circulating that's an interview. When Tammie did hers, she asked for volunteers. I was hesitant at first, but then though, "What the heck." So here's Tammie's interview with me...

One of your interests is thrift shopping---What's the best thing you've ever found while thrifting?

It's hard to choose, I've gotten so many good things between thrift stores and ebay. I guess my favorite is the item that has the most soul, this vintage train case.

Although it's impractical and I never take it on plane trips, I always wanted to have one. I do use it on car trips. It's in pristine condition, and it came with a heavy canvas zippered cover to keep it protected. But here's what gives it soul...
My train case was on a steamship from Africa to the US, forty-one years ago! I'll never tag that tag off.

You mentioned you're planning on opening an Etsy shop---I want details...what do you plan on selling?

I love making earrings and have a pretty large inventory. Here's a sneak peek. I want to package them nicely, so I'm waiting for organza bags to arrive from Hong Kong, and I'll be ready for business.

A little later, I'll be adding Rejeaneration Bags, which are bags made from recycled jeans. I carried one that I made when I was a teenager. They'll be all blinged out. I can't show you one because I don't have any made yet, but I've got all the "ingredients". I got nearly everything at thrift stores.

How long have you lived in Vermont and do you ever have the desire to move somewhere warmer?

I'm a native Vermonter... fifth generation. I lived in Vermont until I was three years old. I did my growing up in New Hampshire, but I could see Vermont from my house. (I hope that doesn't sound Palinesque.) I moved back to Vermont when I was 25, and I think I'm here to stay. In the depths of winter, I do get the desire to go somewhere warmer, but a week would be enough. Vermont is such a great place to live that I can put up with the sub-zeroes for a short time.

What's your favorite way to spend time with your daughter?

Boy, you ask tough questions! Pipsqueak is so much fun to be around that I love doing everything with her. I love shopping and going out to eat with her. Doing art projects or painting side-by-side is fun, too. The relaxed weekend mornings where we cuddle in bed and talk for awhile are special. I like time that isn't hurried and stressed, where I can just concentrate on her.
I have a lot of harmless celebrity crushes. Tell me one of yours.

I'm almost afraid to have a celebrity crush, because the ones I had a decade or so ago have really let themselves go. I used to crush on Sylvester Stalone and Nicholas Cage. But now... ewww! A few years ago, it was James Carvel (yes, the bald democratic advisor to Clinton), but he's looking too skeletal as he ages. Now, I would have to say George Clooney and Daniel Craig.

If you would like to volunteer for an interview on your blog, let me know in the comments and I'll send you five questions. I promise they won't be too probing.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Winter Blahs

I've taken a couple of days off from blogging. I've been feeling a little low, and since I want to amuse, entertain and inspire you rather than complain, bore and bemoan, I decided to keep my distance. Perhaps it is this
and the fact the temps are are still in the single digits. Or this

the wandering tendinitis that started in my heel this Fall, showed up in my elbow just before Christmas and appeared in my wrist a few days ago.
I am making attempts to turn myself around. I bought this today

because there's nothing like the overwhelming scent of hyacinth to promise that spring is near.

I ponied up $12.99/pound for my favorite meat...loin lamb chops, rubbed with a paste of garlic, rosemary, course sea salt and olive oil, then broiled.

And I turned these ugly things
into this.

I hope to be back Monday with a cheerier attitude. And if you have any tips on turning a frown upside down, bring'm on.

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