Friday, May 30, 2014

rest in peace, Dr. Angelou

"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."
-Maya Angelou

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

crane spotting

I've been busy working (a little) and enjoying the great outdoors (a lot) lately, too busy to post about it here, apparently. Something interesting will happen or the kids will do or say something funny and I'll think "Right, I should write a blog post about that," and then suddenly a week goes by and it doesn't seem important anymore. I'm going to try and be better about that. Starting now!

Today we had one of those rare days of perfect weather. It's that one week of spring we get in Wisconsin, after the ground finally thaws and before summer sets in with all the humidity and bugs. After torrential rains last night (and I mean torrential - downtown Madison got 5-6" in the space of two hours, and it was a huge mess with flash flooding and stranded cars and everything), everything was green and blooming and happy today. Our family of four took advantage of the gorgeous evening weather and took a short bike ride up the road to a small conservation park where a pair of sandhill cranes has been nesting every spring for the last few years. Stuart got a few shots on his camera phone.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

happy mothers' day!

It's Mothers' Day today. For some of us, that's a thing to celebrate, and for others, it's a reminder of pain, loss, or personal difficulty.

As for me, I am having a pretty nice day. I got a nice note from my MIL, I talked to my mom on the phone, my kids gave me lots of cuddles plus some stuff they made in school, and Stuart gave me DB Infusion chocolates and is making noodles from scratch for dinner. I also decided to do what I want to do today and not feel guilty about skipping the stuff I didn't want to do. I spent the morning doing yard and garden work. Anya and I planted flower seeds in her garden (she is growing zinnias, St. John's Fire salvia and nasturtiums), I transplanted some hostas and tended to my rows of straw bales, where I intend to grow lots of yummy vegetables this summer. (Straw bale gardening is the new thing this year, have you heard?)

I also did some shopping, which is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, spending an hour or two looking for ways to spend money on myself without feeling guilty about spending (here I refer to both the time and money) is really nice. On the other hand, I find clothes shopping to be an exhausting, soul-sucking experience and every time I go, I vow to sew/knit all my own clothes and never go shopping again. Oy.

I came home with two very nice running shirts which I probably won't even wear before next fall. Or maybe this week because it's going to be all cold and wet again. (Seriously. It's the middle of May.) Everything else looked ridiculous, was too long, or the wrong color. People, I am just waiting for the "color of the year" to be something, anything, that doesn't make me look pasty and anemic. I was in Title Nine, a shop I generally like, and most everything in there was orange/coral, lime green, pink or teal. I just can't wear orange, I like lime green but I can't pull it off, pink is gross and there is only so much teal one can take. The staff there is incredibly friendly and helpful and I told them if they ever get a chance to give feedback to the corporate powers-that-be to please request some reds, darker colors and earth tones. Everything they stock would look terrific on a blonde with a great tan, or anyone with dark skin. I don't fit any of those categories, obviously.

I checked out a couple of other places, but they were even worse. When I found myself in the dressing room at Target looking at myself in the mirror wearing a ridiculously long pair of stretchy pants and a tank top that looked like it wouldn't survive more than two laundry cycles, listening to the toddler next door pound on the wall and scream to her mother that she NEEDED. A. SNACK. RIGHT. NOW. WHERE. IS. DADDY. WHERE? WHERRRRRRE?? I figured it was time to bail and came home.

Anyway, way better than the shopping experience was our family spending a little time walking the hiking trails in the Pheasant Branch Conservancy. It's such a beautiful place. When you climb to the top of the hill, you can see for miles and miles. We saw plenty of other families there, too, and trail runners and bikers. It was a nice day to be out.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

spindly seedlings

They are reaching for the light.

Hopefully in a few weeks' time, they'll be exuberant vines of tomatoes growing in my back yard.