Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day To Do

To Do:
Inside -
  • do laundry and put it away (this one always comes back on my list!)
  • organize some special garage sale finds so everything is 'ready to go'
  • iron a few items if it isn't over 65 degrees
  • empty dish washer
  • vacuum
  • clean and put tons! of shoes away
  • make dessert for party Monday
  • find steak marinade recipe
  • work on crafty bookmark project

Outside -

  • pull up landscaping border that is hidden / buried / useless by west fence
  • replace landscaping border on east fence to border the grass
  • plant more shasta daisy, basil, zinnia, and now pole beans
  • trim low hanging brances on trees and bushes
  • transplant some day lilys into a 'bald' spot
  • weed

The Iris Live!

The lily's are finally up and the few iris that decided to send up stalks are blooming. I moved a whole row of iris from an untamed part of the yard so we'll see what happens next year!

So far it looks like I have white and yellow bearded iris. There are so many varieties, it's like Christmas morning waiting to see if there are any surprise colors. Hopefully next year there will be a solid row of blooms since they've been moved and have water and healthy new soil to live in.

Book - Body of Knowledge

I was reading some book lists and came across this title and thought it might be worth a read. A journalist follows first year med students through their first semester of Gross Anatomy and follows the cadaver as well as the students through this process.

Being a bit of a "downer" kind of topic there wasn't much that was a surprise or exciting point in the book. It was an easy read just because of the completely bizarre practice (but completely necessary) of cutting up the cadaver and searching every part of it to gain a greater understanding.

The most interesting part to me was the variety of reactions from the students to the whole idea or to specific procedures that they were scheduled to perform on the cadaver. Some students wielded the scalpel with poise and maturity while others could barely look at their subject on those steel metal tables.

As someone who has never had to take an anatomy class it was interesting and gave me a tinge of remorse at not having been able to (or choosing to) take one in college. I think the benefits to understanding the human body can far out weight the uncomfortableness. That being said, I feel like I would want some ambitious lab partners who did more of the scalpel wielding than I would.

I had a discussion with someone the other day about how I really don't like worms. They asked if there was anything worse. I said probably snakes. I think that still stands in light of this book. So that should say something.

Also, I know people who intend to donate their bodies to science. I know once they die their gone and their bodies are no longer a part of them. However, it sure makes you think about those med students, and hoping they'll be as honored and respectful of the ultimate donation.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I wish...

So vacation so far has consisted of yard work, looking at the yard, and watering. I wish this is how plants grew in real time...

Garden Progress

Hope this works. I love learning new things + being a dork. I didn't want to keep drawing the plan as it changed and 'morphed' so voila! PowerPoint! I got so frustrated last year after I planted stuff and then couldn't remember where it was, or how far apart it should all be etc. that I'm being a bit over the top on the planning side this year. *fingers crossed*
Now if the plants would only appear as fast as they do on the slide show :)
The last slide is my "goal" for today, so some planting after the wonderful rain last night is in order.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Waiting and Weeding

Pumpkin, pumpkin, cucumber, and zucchini. That back fence with green monsters are just weeds. Don't get too excited. They're coming to get me.

Garden Update:

Perennials doing well:
  • strawberry
  • chives (moved one, it didn't even care!)
  • garlic
  • lilac
  • iris (looks like there is a white and yellow one so far, not yet opened....)
  • orange poppies
  • day lilies
  • mint
  • peony

Annual Seeds / transplants doing well:

  • radishes
  • sunflowers
  • tomato's (transplanted)
  • green bell peppers (transplanted)
  • jalapenos (transplanted)
  • dandelions

Planted Seeds and WAITING:

  • basil
  • shasta daisy
  • bibb lettuce
  • cilantro
  • carrots
  • pumpkins
  • cucumbers
  • zucchini
  • marigolds
  • rhubarb (transplanted and waiting to see how it does)

I hate waiting. While I stand out in the garden I look desperately to see what has come up. So I weed. Which for me is a NEVER ending job. I wish someday there would be a time where I could say, "Oh, only 5 more minutes and I'll be done weeding". How about five more years? It is so frustrating. I've made huge progress but as soon as one area is looking good, another area has dandelions up to my knees, grass dying, and that darn spready plant that takes over every 5 seconds.

I'm trying really hard not to use any chemicals because 1: I think it is bad for us, 2: I want to eat my food organically, 3: It's bad for the water table, 4: The chemicals can be expensive, and 5: Farmers did fine in the good ol' days, why can't I? So I keep weeding.

(and coming inside to blog when the wind and weeds drive me crazy)

Hike 1 - North Cheyenne Canyon

I know it is a bit presumptive to label this hike 1 but with the goal of hiking more than once at North Cheyenne Canyon this summer it's the goal. I hiked on Saturday with a friend and enjoyed sitting by the water away from the wind. It was a crazy windy day (as facebook posters suggested, 300mph winds aren't fun). I did yard work in the morning and hiked in the afternoon. Except for being starving hungry for dinner, it was a great day!

We hiked the seven bridges trail that follows the river UP the canyon. It keeps going up into an aspen grove and beyond but my legs and body were too tired and hungry from already gardening that morning to keep going. So....

However, once in the trees it was much easier. I seemed to forget how to dress and had a black tank top, black baseball hat, and no sunscreen. Needless to say I had an overheated head and burnt arms.

I was a bit frustrated that I was as tired as I was hiking up but ran back down the trail like a good ol' trail runner. Running downhill on a trail is one of my all time favorite activities. Makes it worth going up and everything.

And for dinner :

I was grumpy hungry and had 2 whole cobs of grilled corn on the cob. YUM!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Buh-Bye Now

Tomorrow is the last day of school this year. It went by so fast and I really do believe that the 3rd year (at least for me) was so much easier. I knew what I did and didn't want to do for academic and behavior. I really loved my super high energy class and am going to miss them and their non-stop antics. That being said...

"Ok, are they all gone? everybody gone? huh? Good! Oh my gosh my cheeks are killing me! I can't keep smiling like this anymore, I am exhausted. I think I need a break!"

Most of my classroom is very near "summer ready" with some stuff out to have the kids clean tomorrow. Man there can be a lot of dust! My goal is to finish my stuff tomorrow and then help people who are moving rooms on Monday. I am fortunate enough to stay in my classroom but really feel like it's my responsibility to help the people that are moving around.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tales of a Female Nomad

The title of this book at first made me think of the weirdest women put together into one traveling around aimlessly.
I still dove in and found that while it is far from my "life" it still had some very interesting ideas about life. I realized after the first few chapters when I checked that this is nonfiction so the 'real life' aspect brought me a bit more into the story.
It is about a woman who decides that the conventional United States life isn't for her anymore and leaves to travel in non-English parts of the world. In many ways I had a more difficult time identifying with her because she was in another stage of life completely. She felt free and made this decision after her kids were grown and she ended up divorced.
Yet she does comment (where in I stopped typing and spent way too long trying to find the quote unsuccessfully...arg!) that when she talked to people in the United States men just sort of looked at her like, "wow, interesting life" as opposed to women who had a sense of awe talking with her. She doesn't seem to be making a gender judgement, but in talking with people found that many women have dreams of doing something (travel or otherwise) but often don't do it for a variety of reasons, responsibilities, fears, etc. She often in her book described how she found herself wanting to so something and then realizing that with a few simple steps she could do it.
I wonder myself what "dreams" I have, and if I am trying to accomplish them, or just keep looking at them and sighing. I hope I can go get them as best as possible.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bread and Beans

After driving by a notoriously unhealthy fast food joint and wanting to stop (but resisting) I needed amazing food and not just an average dinner last night.
However, I did not pick quick menu items. I wanted fresh bread and had never just made plain white loaves of bread. Well, now I have. They are delicious. I used a buttermilk and flour recipe so not exactly in the "health food" category but it was delicious. It was after dinner, but still great.
With the hamburgers for dinner we also had grilled corn on the cob which was too amazing to stop and get the camera for.
I also had made the goal of making beans somehow this week and decided that Friday night would be a good time to do that. 5 hours later I wasn't exactly hungry but proud that I had made them. Again with the 'too tired to photo the finished product' but here is what was in it.

Front Yard Bargains

A large neighborhood garage sale in a nice part of town, a church garage sale, and a high school sale produced some great finds. Not quite the quantity I might have imagined for so many garage sales, but still great finds!
school stuff. and cheap!

  • Not pictured - 3 men's shirts (one Banana Republic!) - $3
  • Not pictured - white tablecloth to decorate for a party someday - $2
  • Previous Post - freezer basket - $2
  • 9 kids books in amazing condition (either award winning or from fabulous authors), 1 storage container with pony beads, gallon size bag of colored pencils, bear postcards - $2
  • receipt tape - free
  • foam Christmas craft - .10
  • brown heels - $1
  • cookie cutter - .25
  • baby hats for gifts - .30
total: $10.65
(and from one of the online survey companies that I get surveys from I got instead of the normal $3 check, an $10 check today. SWEET!!)

Freezer Fix Up

So far this is almost one of the best Garage Sale finds to date. The extra chest freezer was free a long time ago from some people, but came without any kind of storage help. Usually most chest freezers have some kind of hanging basket system, which mine did not. I tried to use boxes and other systems but they were each a systematic failure. So typically it has been just piles of food that I occasionally dig through to find the bottom. All in all, pretty disastrous. (aka, not willing to take a "before" picture"). But for $2 today I found a basket that I'm sure came originally from a freezer and lo' and fit!!!

The new basket in a freshly defrosted freezer - AMAZING!!!

Here's what is in there now. Also, as I put items back in I made a list of what was in there so it isn't a surprise what's there!

Now I should probably look at the small freezer to see what is in there that needs to be "fixed-up".

Friday, May 14, 2010

Not the Brightest Light Bulb

I saw this video of Brian Regan and had an instant "ah-ha" moment about a few of my students. Looking especially at the "dazed and confused" expression he displays so well. I see that look every day from one (especially) or more students. "Huuuuuuhhhh???"

*favorite line, "I don't know what I'm reading... I don't want to have to go all the way back to the cover

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Just Keep Swimming

Only 6 days of school left! That is very important information that needs to be broadcast everywhere!

What do you do when life get's you down?

Just keep swimming, with a friend if possible. Singing in ridiculous voices is also extremely helpful to keep going.

And if you didn't notice I figured out how to embed youtube videos finally :)

Why I Love You-Tube - Shakespeare Edition

I was reading somewhere else on the Internet yesterday and found this and proceeded to laugh for quite some time. If only Shakespeare was so obviously funny to everyone!

Reduced Shakespeare Company : Othello Rap

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Cry of Every Longing Heart!

If great artists aren't proof that God has a plan and purpose, I don't know what is. I think it is amazing that the cry of one person's heart and pen can capture, break, move and still my heart. I love amazing worship songs, and Chris Tomlin frequently tops the list or gets the thumb's up on Pandora.

Tonight's hit:

Chris Tomlin - I Will Rise

And I will rise
When he calls my name
No more sorrow
No more pain

I will rise on eagle wings
Before my god
I will fall on my knees
And rise

And I hear the voices of many angels sing
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I hear the cry of every longing heart
worth is the Lamb

Oh, how my heart yearns for that moment in heaven when everyone cries out "Worthy is the Lamb!"

In an interview Chris Tomlin said he was challenged to write a song for the Church that was on par with "It Is Well With My Soul" to call to us in the darkest moments of life. He found inspiration when John in Revelation saw thousands upon thousands worshiping God and crying out "Worth is the Lamb". Enjoy!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Weekend Garage Sale Finds

white salad spinner (#1 on my list of items I wanted !!) 1.00

Writer's Express - Young Writers - free
Kids hardback book - Eric Carle - 0.50
3 packages cards and envelopes - .50
3 size biscuit cutter - .25
Pencils, luau party sticks, note pads, ribbon, paper bags, lantern decorations, tinsel, calculator, recorder, 3 sand buckets and 2 shovels, balloons, oh, more tinsel, and etch-a-sketch, 7 bandannas - 2.00 -
(obviously most of this is for school and was a great deal! Thanks generous lady who wanted stuff to go to kids that would use it!!)

Monopoly & Battleship (in perfect condition) - 0.50 each

Not pictured - 4 big bags of decorator 'flat' marbles - 1.00

I have to be careful not to buy too much stuff for school. But it makes learning so much more fun, and teaching so much more effective to talk about rates and use counters that grab their attention!

total: 6.25


eeeweee, right?

Well, yes. But I'm trying. Right now it is only compostable food stuff from the kitchen. I have tons of leaves, grass clippings, etc. that I would like to include someday but right now digging a hole in the ground and dumping it in there is the first step.

I'm not too concerned about some of the more debatable items like egg shells going in there because I know it does help the soil, and am not concerned about it taking a long time to decompose. I've got lots of space to dig a new compost hole.

Which brings me to how to compost. I don't have a fancy container that I can spin and rotate and fill and empty easily. My philosophy ..right now.. is to put items that can help the soil into the ground. If it is a fruit or vegetable, its waste, gone bad, or otherwise not eatable, I'd rather the nutrients go into my soil, not a landfill. I would like to have a pile going eventually that I can include the grass clippings in, however, because there is so much grass that could end up being a tall order.
I would like to think that some hard work is worth keeping my soil quality high. It is tempting to see all those chemicals that will kill each weed on the spot. But if my tomato's, mint, basil, or lettuce is growing anywhere nearby, I DON'T WANT THAT IN MY BODY!!!

Cool Weather Gardening

Sneaky people dropping off plants for me!

Peony Shoots (Should be big!)

Strawberry Blossom - I'll get at least 1 berry

Not much has been happening with this gardener this week. The garden that is in the ground continues to flourish but I haven't done much more.

However, there is finally some spring scent in the air. I know, Colorado is a bit slow. A new lilac shoot decided to show off and be the first to bloom. The smell is wafting through the house and does give me some motivation to continue planting.

Goals this week:
  • Plant lettuce in ground
  • Water seeded marigolds / pansy's in brick beds
  • check amount of border / transition material that we already have to see where it will fit
  • Get rhubarb and plant starter plant (or two?)

Pictureless Mother's Day

This morning after trying out a new Sunday School class (I liked it, good straightforward teaching and good "looking"(personality) people) it was time to prepare brunch for mom.

The menu included:

Chocolate chip pancakes

Quiche with fresh chives and monetary jack cheese

Scrambled eggs with tomato, bacon, and chives

Blackberry smoothies

Baguette with brie, tomatoes, bacon, cucumber topping

and for dessert

cupcake brownies with chocolate frosting and a chocolate covered espresso bean

And I forgot to take a picture :(

We ate outside with the picnic table in the grass. (Imagine colorful table cloth, bright white china with sparkly glasses, and delicious food)

It was lovely... isn't the grass green :)
As you can see from the (Oh, man I forgot) picture the tablecloth is very necessary as a squirrel decided to sample the vinyl covering.

The Bonesetter's Daughter (and cake!)

I finished the Bonesetter's Daughter this week and really enjoyed the plot development. The main character's mother (happy Mother's day) has dementia and slowly begins to reveal the life she had in China before immigrating to the United States. She had built her life on keeping certain information secret from her family, husband, and anyone that knew her - including her daughter! She had written a partial life history in Chinese characters and as her daughter begins to have these translated she sees more clearly who her mother really was!
Oh, and chocolate cake and chocolate frosting made it DELICIOUS!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sunny Day

Sunny but windy today. A bit wind whipped and still slightly crisp on the edges from the sun at track day yesterday.

Thought a nice Wordle of my recent blog posts would be appropriate. Apparently I 'need to know much, really'. Not quite what I would prefer to be the most frequent words used on my blog but it is what it is. I truly don't know all that much, but maybe that is why I like to point out what it is that I do in fact know.

I finished The Poisonwood Bible on Sunday. I liked it and thought it had great characters and in depth analysis of their lives and situations. I tend to like a bit more plot driven / mystery / action / semi-surprise ending type of books so in that I was a bit miffed and didn't know what to do with the ending. I believe this book would be more fun to do as a book study / book club than just a solo read.

I'm into chapter 7 of Amy Tan's "The Bonesetter's Daughter" and finding that it has an appropriate amount of intrigue paralled with realistic lives and circumstances. It also has great potential to have some wonderful twists and turns. I know Amy Tan frequently writes about mother daughter relationships and this one is no different.

I love that I have an amazing realtionship with my mom. Puts many book characters and real life characters into perspective when I have a great lady to compare the rest of those "mom's" to.

I'm excited to prepare a Mother's Day brunch for her on Sunday so I'll be posting plans for that soon.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Take a Look, It's in a Book!

Thanks to several suggestions (KQ) from some friends and other various book list sources I have a fresh stack of books to read. Yum!

I'm starting with the Poisonwood Bible which I'm interested in because I have heard from 1+ that it is great. I'll try to keep on top of this gigantic stack without loosing too much sleep.
I think I'll read Amy Tan next. I need to figure out which book of hers I have already read. From what I could remember it was really amazing and different as an Asian-American writer.

Shopping Saturday With Mom

Great Deals area always just waiting to be found!

I'd seen this top at Kohls and loved the shrug but wasn't about to pay $68 for it, and a dress I didn't really need. (I know, $68?!)

Well, Mom had a 10 dollar off coupon and I had $17 in store credit from some returned earrings from Christmas. A few weeks later, the dress was on clearance and I ended up paying with 6 quarters :).

I am planning on adding a 3 inch black trim on the bottom. It isn't skanky short but a bit longer and I would be more comfortable wearing it. So some crafternoon I'll tackle that project.

In addition to my great deals mom got duplo legos for $1.50 and two 30qt storage drawers for $1 each! Wahoo!

I also got at a fundraiser garage sale a under armor hoodie. The last thing I really need is another hoodie, but none of mine are "generic" and either have highschool stuff and my maiden name on them or 1 from my sister's college. So generic hoodie here we come. It is freshly washed and clean and ready for a cloudy afternoon.