30 April, 2010

Food, for a thought

I love food. I'm not ashamed of it (anymore). I'm not in the "live to eat" category, but I do love a bit of overindulgence in the kitchen. At one long point of my life I was beyond morbidly obese. But that's been fixed: I took the Carnie Wilson route, & in theory should cut certain foods out of my diet forever, but hey, who are we kidding? But that's several days worth of blog posts right there, and meanwhile I am making forward baby steps once again.

What are we doing now? Planting more veggies! And a couple fruits too. I majored in Horticulture, but am a terrible home gardener. Why? Quite simply, watering is my nemesis. The hubby and I have a little joke about what I'm wasting time/money/etc. on each year by planting it and condemning it to a slow and tortured death. And what's sad is I love plants, watching them grow and flower and fruit, and eating said fruit. But I don't seem to love them enough to remember to water them. I think it's because both in school and places I worked, watering was done automatically, with timed systems of hoses and pipes and solenoids. But that's just the excuse I spout. The hubby knows the truth: I'm just plain lazy.

So for the record, I'm going to list all the little buddies headed to death row this summer. They're supposed to be put in their cells tomorrow. We have a roma tomato, cantaloupe, lemon cucumber, strawberry, bib lettuce, and spinach. The hubby said he would water them this year if I did the planting, since he has quite a few herbs, tomatoes and peppers growing this year. We tried this last year - or was it the year before? I had green beans and soybeans, peppers, and tomatoes, all doing great. Then he had to go across the country for work for a week. By the time he got home, most were lost. It was rather pathetic. All that work (okay, a couple hours worth) all to be wasted by forgetting to water for a couple days. But we'll try again, hopefully to make more progress in getting me to work a bit, and have some interesting and tasty things to show for it in 90-128 days.

28 April, 2010

Manic brain is killin' me

Or maybe it's "mommy brain" but really, I've been this way for at least a decade, since about the time I stopped working full time. Maybe I need to keep my brain working to keep my brain working! Where's Homer when you need a "D'oh!"?

Anyway, I need a system. I keep coming up with what I think are great ideas to write about. I even go through several paragraphs in my mind, edit a bit, go through them again. Then when I sit for a few secs and try to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard (depending on the sitch) it's gone. I can't even think of the initial idea, let alone any of the clever bits. Maybe I need to strap a Dictaphone to my bra (yes, honey, it's pronounced dick-ta-fone). Then I can just record everything that comes to mind. And my mom used to be a PA - maybe she could transcribe for me... erm, or not.

The really annoying part is I used to be able to keep up. Way back when, in the stoner age - okay, not really, I have enough issues with my mind; it was actually a slightly disparaging remark about my age, get it? - I knew my schedule for a month, kept track of homework, activities, menses, gossip, dates, and all the writing ideas I had, and was always able to recall anything and everything at will. But whether it's age, disuse, the mania, the meds for the mania, or some combination thereof, I'm just not the gal I used to be. Tonight I got all happy I could figure out the answer on Wheel of Fortune before the lady on TV, and it was entirely filled in. And the kids on mini-Jeopardy have better brain function than I seem to. If I thought it would help, I'd brave the vomit-scented fragrance of the female ginkgo tree. Or just buy the pills, but I wouldn't remember they exist and end up surrounded by nausea-inducing trees. Gah, I hate ginkgo. At least I think I do.

The more I think about it, the Dictaphone (or modern-day equivalent) isn't such a bad idea. Then no matter where I am I can have a conversation with myself out loud. And if anyone gives me the evil eye, I can pull out my modern-day-Dictaphone and brandish it like I'm someone important. So important I need to make sure every little thing that pops into my head must be recorded. Kind of like a tween with a texting phone, but all grown up.

Hmmm. I wonder if they make transcription software for the Dictaphone?

27 April, 2010

So I accidentally left the wrong window open and the hubby saw the blog. Oops! Just kidding. We had been talking about trying out blogging for a bit now, and I had "secretly" started this little project to see if I could/would or even should (don't you just love rhyme thyme, er, time?). I'm still not writing as much as I want if this is truly to be a diary of sorts, but I'm trying to work up to every other day while starting out. A difficult task, to be sure, especially since my only time to type is when both boys are sleeping.

And hooray me, I have 4 followers! Okay, one if them is the husband, but we have to communicate somehow.

***massive pause***

Okay, I have now typed 4 or 5 different things and deleted them. Gah, I'm self-editing like a madman. Why? Because now that I know someone is reading this, I'm feeling a little bitty bit self-conscious. I'll try to work through it.

First, I wanted to snark on Earth Day. I had some almost witty things out there, and some big guffaws still in my head, but meh. Not feeling it. It's an arbitrary day started 40 years ago, that seems to be "celebrated" off & on depending on who's in charge and what agenda is being touted that year. I don't remember even hearing the phrase until high school, and even in the past decade enthusiasm has waxed and waned. I know that's true of every cause, but this one has it's own day. And it's a planet - you know, where we all live. (Unless you're an alien reading this from a galaxy far, far away...but I think that's been trademarked so--- moving on.) So like our ancestors a few millennium ago, shouldn't we "celebrate" or do good -or at least not harm- the planet, like, you know, every day? Or would that be part of the Green Movement? (No, I'm not talking about my bowels here, the spinach was last week. But I do still hold that topic in threat.) I'm all into the current buzzwords just like any good citizen: re-use, repurpose, recycle, upcycle, freecycle, declutter, donate - there are a plethora of them, I can look up more for you. Or make up more, 'cause you know someone somewhere did. But I'm not going to snark about it now. I only mentioned it because the hubster wanted me to talk about all the work I'm doing trying to de-clutter the house, and donating things we no longer need or use, but frankly, I'm too damned tired from doing it!

Second, I wanted to [also] snark about a little blurb I noticed on yahoo's news feed. Apparently, I can now relive the love I feel for Edward Cullen everyday, by wearing Bella's engagement ring! Yes, I'll admit it, while I have not read the books, I did watch the first movie. It was playing during a free weekend on Starz channels, so I tivo'd it...then watched it... 3 nights in a row. (Sicko!) What I hadn't realized was that I had fallen in love with Edward. And that I'm such a bitch I must have stolen this poor girl's engagement ring so I can daydream her fiance wants me instead. Seriously? I know I go all fanatic with some things, too (Harry Potter, House, Buffy) but seriously? Unfortunately, I really am too tired, so I may have to revisit this later.

And lastly, I want to tell the world about my wondrous boys. My toddling has actually started to communicate beyond the point and scream, or just the constant babble of babyhood. He has learned some signs (thankfully, since he constantly wants to watch his Signing Time - truly I love it, but 30-40 times in a row is a bit more than I can take!) He's started using his signs properly, and today, he looked at one of our cats, made his cat sign, and said cat, all at the same time. Two very proud parents over here! And after he and Daddy went to bed, I got to spend some time with the baby [devil]. He's becoming such a flirt - winking and raising his brows, smiling, cooing, laughing. I just beam at him, making happy faces and trying to coerce more grins and gurgles.

So now I sign off, hopefully to get a bit of sleep myself. And I'll try to be back real soon.

23 April, 2010

A DIY Upside-Down Planter

A baby-wearing friend of mine posted a question on the TBW forums (http://www.thebabywearer.com) asking if anyone had ever tried the Topsy Turvy planters. I haven't, but being an active DIYer and Horticulture major, the hubby and I have made our own version in the past. We used 2L soda bottles, but really any plastic jug can be used (milk jug, juice, soda, plastic paint jug - you get the idea.) So following are my directions for making and using your own upside down vertical planter.

1. Buy something in a plastic jug and use it. Alternatively, you could get one or several off your local Freecycle (http://www.freecycle.org) or other recycling club as well. A note about containers - size matters! If you want to plant something that has a larger root system (like tomatoes!) use a larger jug. A smaller container, such as a 2L, would be great for a shallower rooter - we've had great results with peppers and trailing herbs, and pretty good with tomatoes in this size.

2. Wash said container, and remove labels if you'd like. Soap and water is fine, if you want to go crazy sterile you can also rinse it with a weak bleach or peroxide solution.

3. Open up the bottom. To just cut off the bottom on as lighter weight plastic, you can just use scissors, but I recommend you reinforce it by wrapping a couple layers of duct/duck tape around the bottom first. For a larger jug, such as a one gallon milk or large juice jug, you can also just cut a hole in the bottom (large enough to easily get your hand in and out) and leave the sides intact. For a harder plastic, such as a paint jug, you may need to drill a starter hole or two, or use a saw. Ii don't recommend saws or power tools on lighter plastic as they may collapse or be more likely to split.

4. Figure out how & you're going to hang this thing. We had ours hanging off hooks on our deck, so we needed to add a hanging loop. If you know macrame or knotting, you can probably whip up something. You could also use a mesh reusable bag. we used bungie cords. For our method, we poked 4 holes approx. equidistant around the large hole (the bottom) of the jug and inserted the hooks from the bungies into the holes. You'll want to reinforce the holes (another use for duct tape!) Anything that will suspend and keep it evenly upright will work!

5. Get the seedling in there! Take you seedling out of the container it came in and break up the root ball - you can save the soil and mix it in with your potting mix. You then can decide which method to use to get it in the hole.
A--> Carefully push the roots through "top" (smaller hole). This is the best method if the seedling already has a lot of branches.
B--> Carefully feed the top of the plant through the larger hole (the "bottom") and then through the smaller hole. this is great for a smaller, narrower seedling, or a larger root ball. If your plant came in one of the self-composting (paper/cardboard) containers you can also use this method so you don't have to remove the container.

6. *optional* Plug the hole. You may need or want to plug the small hole the plant is sticking out of, to ensure it doesn't fall out. A bit of sponge works well for this. You'll want to sterilize the sponge by soaking it in a weak bleach solution and rinsing it out, the wrap it around the stem at it's base, pushing it into the mouth of the small hole. If your plant has a large root ball or self-composting pot, this step probably isn't necessary.

7. Fill the pot with potting soil. Just dump in your soil mix though the big hole. Add in your in your preferred soil enhancers and fertilizer, and throw a bit of mulch on top.

8. Hang it up!

If you have questions or something doesn't make sense, let me know about it.

22 April, 2010

Ah, Ikea, my love...

We go every 6 month or so. It's a love/hate relationship to be sure. There are a lot of cool things, new ideas or ways to use space and furniture, and many things are very affordable and even cheap. But even with a list, we end up over-spending, over-loading, and generally over tired. Today was no exception.

It was our first major trip since January; we made a quick trip to get the new crib and a "few" other things before the new baby was born. We managed to not over pack too much today. The baby was wrapped in a FCC (front cross carry) in my Natibaby Ocean wrap from the car, and for most of the trip. But because of this, he was happily asleep most of the time - we had to wake him to get him to eat, so he wouldn't wake and scream on the trip home! So other than more formula than we thought we'd need, we did well on our packing.

We did a brief run - skipped most of the display area for just the kids section, then went through the marketplace. We bought a lot of little items - more kid plates & bowls, a second high chair, burp cloths, light bulbs. Bill had us get a couple potty seats for the boys- okay, won't actually be needing them any time soon, but we can store them in our already crap-packed home and lose them in the next year or so until they're needed and we have to go back for more. And he let me get a few yards of a cute fabric to make a DIY wrap with, but he was having fun looking at the fabric too. If the kids' Barnslig fabric was thicker, I would have gotten that - adorable! We also got some paper for Liam, and a paper roll holder, as we wanted to get an easel, but of course those were out of stock.

Oh, and chocolate. Dark chocolate. A lot. It was either 48 or 52 bars - I wasn't involved in the total! - but they're $1 each or 3/$2.50, so Bill went back to get one more for the deal (um, we could have just had the cashier drop 2, but I was told that, like in the Marines, "No chocolate left behind" is the motto)! It is one of my favorites of darks, and the cheapest around, so it's a win-win as far as that goes.

So we check out, take things to the car, and go back in for lunch. Liam didn't want to eat. First time ever. My folks claim sometimes when he visits them he doesn't eat much, but I'd never seen it happen. not a big deal, he's not starving or anything, just a bit bit cranky from being hungry, tired, etc. After lunch I thought a little running around would be good for the boy, and suggested letting him run around a bit. It's a pretty enclosed area, hard to get too far away. Daddy thought the play area was a better idea, but I wasn't sure of age requirements. What I hadn't realized was by play area, Bill meant the kids area display, and I meant the kiddie ball pit. Or was it the other way around? I can't remember for certain anymore!

Anyway, we got our wires crossed and Bill let him run around like I first suggested. Liam of course took of shoes and socks and ran willy-nilly all over the place. Most folks seemed to think he was cute and funny and charming, as usual. A couple seemed annoyed. And Ii did hear one loud comment about how he was barefoot - hey, if she could get him to keep socks and shoes on, I'd like to see it! So he ran around, got tired, had a little melt-down when I wouldn't let him follow a little girl down the big stairs, and we went home. Less than 5 minutes in the car, both boys asleep!

So we're done for a while, hopefully at least a year. Though if I know anyone running down, I may have to have them restock my chocolate!

21 April, 2010

Who's smarter than an 18 month old?

That would not be us. Maybe I just wasn't around enough toddlers, but it seems like the boy is learning a lot more than he should, a lot faster than he should. Maybe it's the proud mum syndrome - thinking my boy must be smarter than everyone else's little wonder. Or maybe I should check with some reference materials on what to expect from his development. Case in point: he just turned off the tv. After changing the grouping and sorting options on the tivo. After I couldn't figure out how to change them back last week when he did this. Only this time, he changed them, I looked at the tv & him and asked him to change it back, and he did.Does he really know how to work the remote, or is it a bizarre coincidence? He also is hitting the number buttons to go back and forth between bbc and food network , currently showing Gordon Ramsey(Uncle Gordon) and Paula Dean (do you like butter-fried butter?), respectively. Yes, two of his faves. He also asks for his signing videos, and knows if I grab the wrong remote (the neuros instead of the dvd - the look alike to me!)

Other wonders of the boy - he can destroy anything, either by hand or teeth. Especially anything listed as a teether. We're starting to wonder what's in some of those rubber chew toys for dogs, and would they be safe for a toddler. I remember when he got his first two lower teeth in when he was 6 months old. We let him play with the tivo remote, and within a minute was almost choking on the actual tivo button. That was when the whole "not out of your sight for a second" phrase really sank in.

He's also turned into a very determined climber. Bookcase, sofa, cat scratcher, changing table, playpen, toy box, toys, oh, and stairs. Lead him to it and he will climb. I was always pretty good at climbing too, even though I'm a girl - I just could never get back down! And now Ii have to go, as he's destroying the checkbook he just yanked off a "higher" shelf on the bookcase!