Friday, November 30, 2012

I like my art tiny

Courtesy of Janet Mettee, a talented artist and all-around delightful conversationalist who is exhibiting this weekend at the Terra Vista Studio holiday sale (

Go check out her work before all of the adorable little canvases are gone!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Shake your groove thang

When at, it is necessary to order a milkshake....preferably one that comes with BACON!

(Vanilla Bean Apple Pie Bacon, with or without bourbon)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

From this day forward, he shall be called "Dumbass."

Guess who managed to climb up the curtains and get stuck in them right next to a cold window?


And who thinks it's fun to savagely attack the feeding tongs while ignoring the food?


And who decided to buy a lizard based solely on its looks?

Um, me.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lizard Wars

"No, Luke, ours is a love that was not meant to be."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wow, that was close!

I've been so busy trying to get the photos off of my daughter's camera and into my computer (4 hours, two trips to Target, and three befuddled employees did the trick - sort of) that I almost forgot to post!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Making progress

I have to redo 4 squares (the ones missing in the photo), but it's definitely coming together. I can't wait until it's done and keeping my feet warm while I work on my next project!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Grace, thy name is Liza

Wait til I get home and can post the dancing videos....

Friday, November 23, 2012


Tell me I'm not the only one who finds this hilarious...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Don't bother me

We're in my happy place.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sunny with a chance of awesome

The weather here has been getting windier every day, going from still as glass on Saturday to 'oh my god it would be a glass-bottom pukefest' today. The weather forecast shows none of this, only varying from day to day in whether the low will be 74 or 77. Since my schedule for every day looks the same (read and knit in the shade by the pool until it's time to eat or take photos at sunset), I don't care if it's windy or still. It's all good!

Speaking of sunsets, here's yesterday's:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I feel like I forgot something on these socks, but I can't think of what it could be...

Monday, November 19, 2012

This is the end

Of the pier.
Of the storm.
Of the rainbow.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Sitting here eating breakfast in Jamaica, and the music they're playing in the background is the same Kenny Rogers album my dad used to play all the time when I was a kid helping him in his workshop. I know all the words to every song, and I suddenly wish I had some woodworking to do.

This verse of "The Coward of the County" is for you, Dad. I miss you.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

And here they said...

... That the iOS 6 map feature didn't work right. Found me, even in another country!

Friday, November 16, 2012

On our way

The wifi connection at the resort was really spotty last time we went, so don't be alarmed by radio silence or a lack of photos - just trying to not go insane looking for a decent signal all week.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A poem

The bags are packed,
The curtains drawn.
Don't look for us here
'Cause we are GONE!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Garfield would be so proud!

Last fall we (meaning me - Jason and Liza could have cared less) decided that instead of throwing out our leaves, we would instead use them as the foundation for a bunch of new lasagna gardens ( What began as a billion cubic feet of shredded leaves and grass (plus a bag of compost starter, a bunch of half-finished kitchen compost, and a bunch of earthworms we dug up in the spring) turned into more than 100 square feet of new gardens in the back yard. We planted some this spring, and left the rest to ripen a bit (some piles were heavy on the not-so-shredded leaves). Here it is after a year - 3" of perfect crumbly humus, ready to go.

I bring this up now because it's leaf season again, so I can show you the before and after shots all at once. Here's this year's lasagna bed, about 18" deep in shredded leaves and waiting for the last go-round with the rakes and law mower.

And here's last year's bed for comparison. It's a bit shorter, huh?

The only downside? The pile doesn't get very hot while it works, so we had to deal with (ie ignore) tons of weeds, including this cute little guy:

What, don't you recognize this volunteer? It's the rare "native to Ohio, no really it's not a tropical plant" avocado tree. I've been growing one in a pot inside for months, and this one looks healthier. See, I told you I was doing something right with the compost!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Put that away

Nobody wants to see your freaky tongue, Junior.

Monday, November 12, 2012

One final hurrah

The temperature is supposed to plummet today by 30 degrees, so I'm enjoying the last shreds of summer while I can. I'm sunburned from spending all weekend in the yard, hungry because I haven't been to the grocery store in weeks, and my arm is about to fall off from all the painting and sanding I did yesterday.

Okay, I just need to bring the last few roses inside, and I'll be ready to embrace winter ... right after we get back from Jamaica :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Night, night

The veggie garden has been put to bed for the winter.

Sleep tight, and eat all those leaves in your blanket so I get better soil next year!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I had a happier morning than you did

I slept in until 10.
I had pizza for breakfast.
Jason got the lawn mower to start.
And I got my loom warped.

Beat that!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Did you get my good side?

No! Not the side where my leg skin is peeling off and I've got skin hanging off my face! You're the worst publicist ever.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Coming to you on a comparatively huge screen...

... because Jason and my mom bought my an iPad for my birthday!!! Gonna get some seriously non-squinty mobile updates now, that's for sure!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


I get my lizard love honestly. I should buy an extra ticket so he can sit next to me on the plane.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Before and after

Turns out that if you donate 25% of your sweaters and actually fold the rest neatly, they take up a lot less room in your closet.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Touching up

Mom bought a complete set of bedroom linens - curtains, sheets, bed skirt, shams, quilt - at a yard sale years ago. They repainted the room and the furniture, but then Dad got sicker and the project stalled. In the interest of getting more closet space freed up (and making her bedroom look less like something the 80s threw up) we pulled it out and put it into service today. Now we're off to find a less ugly mirror (see the shadow of the old one on the wall?) and a significantly less horrible lamp, plus maybe some flannel sheets that don't look like something an old lady would own. And we WON'T be shopping at yard sales, believe me.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

I craft so I do not kill people.

Especially when I'm starving and waiting for a table at a restaurant I didn't want to go to in the first place.

Saturday, November 03, 2012


It was Dad’s last day in the hospital, and Mom and I were talking in the hallway. “It’s so strange to see him with his hands still,” she said. “He’s always doing something with his hands.”

And it was true. From the time he was a small boy, Dad was always doing something with his hands. He made science fair projects, helped his father with repairs around the house, fixed up cars, built things. He served root beers and worked in a foundry in the 50s, painted signs and boat transoms in the 70s, and worked a cash register at Target to keep busy in the 2000s.

When he and Mom were first married, many of the things his hands made were out of necessity, not just for fun. Painting names on boats and making signs for local businesses gave him a creative outlet, sure, but it also earned extra money for Christmases and birthdays. Many of my favorite toys were made out of spare wood and things he found in the garage – a swing made from a Model A tire, a scrap-wood horse –(appropriately named Splinter), a balance beam made from two sawhorses and a 2-by-6. Virtually everything he built is still in use, everything from sawhorses out in the garage to the cabinets he built to hold my childhood toys and books. Every room in both Mom’s house and mine includes something he made or fixed, installed or improved, painted or refinished.

He wasn’t just a good maker, he was a good teacher, as well. When he encouraged Mom to take classes at the community college and work part time, he taught me the value of supporting your partner, and the importance of education. Meanwhile, his hands learned to make fish sticks or Prego spaghetti for us on the nights Mom was away at dinnertime. He taught me to catch crabs and fish (although we never did catch the giant lunker bass that lurked in the depths of Mrs. Shepherd’s pond). He taught me how to row a boat and paddle a kayak; how to hammer and saw, paint and spackle, whittle and glue. His hands taught me how valued I was as they took time to play catch, shoot baskets, throw a Frisbee, skip stones, wield a badminton racket, and show me how to throw a nice tight spiral with a Nerf football. He showed me there was nothing wrong with being different – his hands were putting vinegar on green beans, eating leftover German potato salad for breakfast, and picking approximately 400,000 cucumber slices off of salads throughout his life.

Dad was generous with his abilities – most of what he made or did wasn’t for himself. He did work on his house, yes, but he also helped older neighbors with their maintenance, and some seasons he spent as much time working in my aunt’s yard in New Jersey as he did in his own. If you needed something fixed, painted, trimmed, or modified, he was your guy – half the time you didn’t even have to ask. Once I told him I was having trouble keeping my yarn from rolling all over the floor when I was knitting, and a couple weeks later I got a package in the mail. He had made a yarn holder for me – and not just a yarn holder, but a carved yarn holder shaped like a hand holding a magic wand. And when my parents’ friend Grace asked him to fix an old wheelbarrow she had in her yard, he did – even when it meant replacing all but two of its parts.

Dad was always curious – about everything and everyone. He kept index cards and a mechanical pencil in his pocket at all times, because he never knew when he’d think of something he wanted to look up when he got home. He loved maps and globes, and was always looking up obscure places near and far. As you can imagine, his habit of wanting to strike up a conversation with EVERY docent in a museum was horrifying to me as a child – never mind that he was learning all kinds of cool stuff and meeting interesting people, it was just so embarrassing! You never knew who he was going to meet – one day at our house in Cleveland we went for a walk around the block, and Dad got caught up in a conversation with a neighbor who lived down the street from us. After a while, Mom and I continued on home without him, leaving him deep in conversation. Later Dad told me all about the property values in our neighborhood, thanks to his conversation with a “very nice real estate agent down the street – he’s got a daughter just about Liza’s age, you know. You should go talk to him.” A few months later at Liza’s preschool open house, a man came up and introduced himself – he had met my father earlier that summer, and had heard all about me and my daughter. Now my daughter and his daughter are best friends – but they might never have met if Dad hadn’t stopped to talk that day.

Dad didn’t just love to talk, he loved to tell stories, too. His favorite one was the time his friend Geoff brought his boat down the river and lost a shoe in the mud while he was wading to shore across the street from our house in Maryland. That same day, Dad was doing some work on the front porch when he found an old shoe abandoned under the porch floor. Everyone was delighted to find that the shoe was the right size – and foot – to replace the one Geoff had lost in the mud. And then there was his story about his father’s galoshes – repeated so often we eventually had to drown him out with a chorus of groans whenever he’d start in with, “My father had a pair of galoshes that were sooo big …”

Dad’s hands were active in his retirement, volunteering at the Kalmar Nyckel and the New Sweden Centre. He made commemorative plates for the Kalmar Nyckel foundation, trained to serve as crew on the ship, and helped with some of the maintenance on the ship and in the shipyard. He helped make and outfit displays in the New Sweden Centre museum. He joined a carving club and passed on some of his knowledge of that craft to the other members.

As his illness made it more difficult for him to participate in his other interests, carving took over more of his time. He even went to some craft shows and sold a few of his carvings – but I think he enjoyed meeting all the shoppers as much as he enjoyed actually selling things.

Several people have asked me what Mom and I are going to do as a memorial for Dad. I guess some people get buildings or streets named after them, or at least get a park bench put in front of the library in their honor. And we may do something like that eventually. But I can think of a more fitting tribute that all of us can give him. Dad’s hands touched the lives of everyone here today. Maybe he was part of your family, or your mentor, or your friend. In some way, his hands helped you, or taught you, or inspired you. And although Dad’s hands are now still, we can continue his legacy. So think of what Dad meant to you – and pass it on.

Friday, November 02, 2012

To do

1. Take antidepressants
2. Pick up cakes
3. Pick up barbecue
4. Pick up slide show DVD
5. Drop off cakes, barbecue at church kitchen
6. Bake dad's favorite cookies
7. Take forms to mom's bank
8. Pack up carvings to take to church tomorrow
9. Write checks for church, etc.
10. Preview DVD
11. Pack items we need to distribute after the memorial (Brad, John)
12. Buy waterproof mascara
13. Take load of stuff to goodwill
14. Stash books to donate in mom's car until Monday
15. Practice eulogy
16. Shave legs
17. Birthday card for Susan
18. Make sure we have enough thank you notes
19. Caffeine. Need more caffeine.
20. Pick up dining room table

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Totally cheating today

I'm going to try NaBloPoMo again this year, despite November being The Worst Month Ever For Internet Access.  There may be some, ahem, scheduled posts during Thanksgiving week, since the internet connection will be spotty where I'll be.

Dreary and drizzly, today we're on the road to Delaware to help my mom get ready for my dad's memorial service on Saturday.

What, did I forget to mention here that my dad died?  Yeah, so ... that happened September 22nd.  It sucked.  We were able to make things as comfortable and in-line with Dad's wishes as possible, which didn't make the decisions any easier or more fun to deal with.  He's been gone for more than a month and we're still getting blindsided by stuff on a regular basis, because that's how grief works.  Normal, but unpleasant.

We scheduled the memorial service far in advance, and on a weekend, so that as many people as possible would be able to come.

Then there was a Frankenstorm, which screwed up power and transportation on the whole East Coast, so we have no idea how many people will actually be able to attend the service.  If there are only 10 of us there, there's going to be a lot of food left over after the reception.  Cake for everyone!

(Complete side note - when my mother and I were killing time in the hospital during my dad's final illness, somehow the pain scale came up in conversation, and I took great glee in sharing this blog post with my mom: .  Our particular favorite ratings were,"4:  Huh.  I never knew that about giraffes." vs. "4:  My pain is not fucking around."  Sometimes a good snorting laugh is really, really necessary.)

Anyway, I'm just checking in to let you know that, a) I'm still here, even though I mostly post on Facebook nowadays, and b) I'm going to be here a lot this month, so set your blog readers to check in on me, and guilt me into it if it looks like I'm going to miss a day!