Monday, February 28, 2011

Living the Surreal Life

I've been talking a lot with Tim lately about how surreal it feels to me to be content. To not constantly be in a state of self analysis and depression. The interesting thing is that I had become so used to being in this state that feeling "normal" is anything but.


I know I haven't talked about this much, but one day I just woke up and "POOF" I felt better. My mind was quiet. I looked around at my life and I was okay with it. My laid back hippie vibe suddenly returned. And I have no idea why or what happened - well, except for years of therapy and trying to get my psyche to cooperate - but there it was.

I won't tell you that every day is a bowl full of cherries. I still have my moments, still have self doubt, but it just sort of goes away. Dissipates away into the wind.


So then I think about the great writers throughout history, and how the majority of the real legends were total headcases. How their angst and illness fed their writing - I understand! I have to tell you that since I've been happier I've suffered for deep writing material. I guess I'll have to be shallow for a while as I'm enjoying my newly found bliss.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

William, Who is Now 4

Days seem to fly by, don't they? One day, you are holding a newborn preemie in you arms, marveling over his tiny fingers and feet, and the next day he is tearing into presents, blowing out candles, and cracking you up more than anyone ever could.


William turned four yesterday. It was the first birthday I think he actually "got." When I asked him when he woke up what day it was, he said "William's cake day!" Our first order of business was a trip to the pet store where we picked out 3 goldfish and a plecostomus. Rather thrilling for a child who has always adored fish, and goldfish above others (and entertaining for a kitten with insatiable curiosity).


His birthday party was a small affair with the family and the grandparents (I'm trying to discourage the huge yearly birthday party expectation that the older kids have). And it was a blast. It was the first year that he unwrapped his presents on his own, and in the lovely innocence of a four-year-old was in love with everything that he opened (except maybe the clothes that we bought him). Of course, when you love Hotwheels and you get tons of them, life is good.


There was much hilarity playing with new blocks and sitting at mommy's old table and chairs (that grandma brought and passed on to him), and then there was cake. A devil's food chocolate icing cake with sprinkles and four candles, which sissy helped blow out (his smile while everyone was singing to him was priceless). And then chocolate icing on every item of clothing he was wearing.


And then playing late into the night on his special cake day. The years have flown. And some days I want to stop time and keep him little forever. But then we have a fun, silly big boy day and I marvel at the little boy he is becoming. Happy fourth birthday, William.


Kazoo 468 x 60

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Frankie, who is called Quickie

Say hello to Frankie, who joined our household 3 months ago. Kendall found him in the park across from our house (a well known stray cat haunt), brought him home, and Swore she would find him a new home. Well, that was three months ago. So I guess he's here to stay.


William can't say "Frankie" and calls him Quickie. I think his name is slowly morphing to Quickie because William talks about him all of the time. And devils him by picking him up and walking around with him in that sack-of-potatoes sort of way.

I love him. He lays on my chest and purrs like a motorboat. He is gorgeous. What you can't see in the photo is that his stripes aren't dark and light grey, but dark grey and a sort of light peachy-tan. He has a perfect M on his forehead, dots on his belly, and his eyes are lined in that pretty tan. He follows me around constantly, gives me the look of love, and talks to me when he has something important to say. All of the other cats are Huge, but he's a nice little compact size. And he's a lap cat sweetheart.


He is also completely smitten with Tim. Now Tim, being a manly dog person has never encountered this and is alternately tickled and annoyed with Frankie. One of his favorite spots in nestled in Tim's legs.

So that's Quickie, or Frankie, our newest addition to the zoo.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Don't let PBS Die

When I was a child, I has what was easily my favorite item of clothing ever. It was a Twiddlebugs dress that I got when it was knee length and had to give up wearing when it was shirt length and wouldn't go over my head anymore. I also love Mr. Rogers, and a shining moment of my life was getting to hold King Friday and meet The Purple Panda. As an adult, I am captivated by Planet Earth, watch Collin Firth jump into that lake in "Pride and Prejudice" and still have my VHS recording of Ken Burns' "The Civil War." These moments were all make possible by PBS.

On February 19, 2011, the House of Representatives voted to cut all Federal spending on Public Broadcasting. H.R.1 now faces the Senate. If passed, this measure would place a tremendous burden on Public Broadcasting and many rural stations would be forced to limit programming or go off of the air.


It is estimated that 170 million Americans, or 55% or the population, regularly view PBS. I would take that further and say that I believe that there is no American - not one - that hasn't been affected by PBS in some way, even if it's just because they love to hate Barney. It is a part of our culture. In 2010, Americans rated public broadcasting as an “excellent” use of taxpayer dollars, second only to defense spending. 80% of those polled said funding for public broadcasting is money “well spent. Roughly 14% of a stations funding comes from government grants and funding; this amounts to less than $2.00 per American.


Please join me in supporting 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting, a campaign funded solely through public dollars. Make your voice heard, and keep programming such as Nova, Masterpiece Theater, Mystery, Sesame Street, and Word Girl (not to mention Public Radio shows like Car Talk, Prairie Home Companion, and Whadd'ya Know) on the air. Join other bloggers like Jen of grainline and me and get the word out. Don't let PBS die.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Two Little Ways to Make a Big Difference

Did you know that it takes 1,800 gallons of water to grow the cotton to make one pair of jeans? And then, in the manufacturing process, something like an additional 11 gallons are used. This interesting interactive page goes into detail about the whole process (it's by Levi Strauss, who are making strides to green up the blue jeans manufacturing process). By going to and entering WaterLess in the search engine you can find jeans that have been manufactured using less water.


OR, you could go to a thrift store and buy a used pair of jeans. You are placing no burden on the planet, probably spending about $80 less than you would on a good pair of Levis (and you could just find a great pair of Levis, or Sevens, or whatever), and getting jeans that could just be perfectly worn in.

How's this for irony? That plastic bottle that holds your bottled water used 1.85 gallons of water in its manufacturing process. The solution here is simple: great reusable water bottles are everywhere and tap water is just as good as bottled in many cases.

These cute personalized water bottles are $24 on etsy

Sunday, February 20, 2011

They Make Me Happy


When Will says "backaroni and cheese, please"
The constellations in the winter sky. Orion is my favorite.
Seeing fields full of Canadian geese resting during their migration


Warmer days that follow chilly nights
Grape hyacinth buds peeking through the frosty ground
Cuddling in bed with my men, Tim and William


A coat of fresh paint on an previously dingy wall
Feeling the sun on my face after the frigid weather of winter
Knowing that the cherry blossoms will pop in just a few weeks


Sheep extra fluffy with their winter coat
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula hand cream - extra soothing for dry, knitty, winter hands
Waking up to find that I'm being held


Saturday, February 19, 2011

One Fine Skater


Yesterday was a great skating day. Miami's skating center is phenomenal, easily the nicest place we have ever attended a meet. The main arena had complete arena seating; this was the first time Kendall had competed in such an impressive setting.


Her skate went beautifully. She skated to instrumental music from Pocohontas and had many new elements in her program that she was nervous about. Something happens to her when she competes, though. Any hesitation or weak bits of her program seem to dissolve and she turns into a graceful swan. The funny thing that I've found about most skaters is that they seem to stumble around on dry ground but on the ice they glide as if on air. Those competing against her were also great and I didn't envy the judges their decision.

Another nice part of the day was that Kendall is now skating in a new age class (17 - 21). While still competitive, a part of the cut throat, "must win at all costs" element was gone and it turned competing into a more joyful experience. The people in this age class and the adult class seem to be supportive of each other and know that skating is about joy, not so much killing off the competition. Really refreshing.


So after the skate comes the wait. Parents and skaters hang out around the results postings waiting for the results of their class to appear. It is a hive of activity as skaters check their scores and those of the other members of their skate club.


You can tell from her expression how Kendall placed. I was so proud of her. She skated the more beautifully today than I have ever seen her skate. On top of that, I played coach today, sent her onto the ice, giving her the pre-ice pep talk and advice. I've never been able to do that, and I have to say that it made the experience all the more special for me, too, as I stood in the coaches area mumbling to myself as she skated ("slow down, Kendall. Okay, now hold that spiral, stretch it out! . . .") and being the one that got to tell her that she did a wonderful job before anyone else could.

I will tell you that there are times that being a skate mom can be trying - the constant practices, having to deal with uber-skate mom egos - but today was sheer bliss. My girl is one fine skater.

Skate Day!


Kendall has her first figure skating competition since her bunion surgery today at Miami University of Ohio. Just one program against one other skater. She looks great, but has a good case of nerves. Hope to finally take out the camera and take some photos of Oxford, OH. That's my day; hope all of you have a blessed day as well.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Joss and Main

I'm so excited to share Joss & Main with you! It's a new site by CSN, and as you all know, I love CSN for it's quality items and incredible service (and the fact that they sponsor giveaways here is pretty sweet, too). I've ordered from them, returned items, spoken with customer service, and have nothing but good things to say about my experiences.


Joss and Main offers luxury home goods at deeply discounted prices (up to 70% off). Sales only last 72 hours, but new sales are added daily, so there's plenty of merchandise available. In the coming week, eye accessories by Trina Turk, sustainable kitchenware by Totally Bamboo, and Fresh Topiary will be featured, among other things. And right now, Noritake is offering 32 piece place settings for $299 (these regularly sell for around $1250, so if you've always wanted some Noritake, it would be a great time to buy it!). And I discovered Kahla, a cool German porcelain range, with pieces starting at $39.95.

The "Abra Cadabra All White Set" by Kahla, $39.95 (I Love this!)

This elegant floor lamp by Robert Abbey is $79.95. How many times can I say "I love this" before it gets old?

Sign-up is quick, easy, and free (although you should know that it is by invitation only, so click on one of the links here and you'll be in like Flynn). There is no obligation to buy a thing; window shopping is allowed and encouraged. So check out Joss and Main and dream over life's little luxuries.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

He Loves His Cars

Here are some photos that I took this winter of Will playing with his cars. For some reason, I just love taking pictures of his little feet.


These photos happened when Will wouldn't stand still and the camera exposure was long. A happy accident!



William lives for his Hotwheels. We feel lucky that our child's favorite toy costs less than a dollar; consequently, I'll bet there are around 200 of them floating around here. I really do think he'd be totally happy if all he had were his cars. I have a future gearhead!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What I've Been Up To (aka I'm Not Dead)

1. I've been doing a tremendous amount of knitting. I never learned how to hold the yarn correctly and I throw the yarn with my thumb and index finger Continental style which has resulted in a monster case of tendonitis in my left pinkie finger. I have just convinced myself tonight that (a) I need to hold the yarn correctly and (b) I must go on a restorative yarn hiatus. Oh, and typing hurts, too, but I had to post!


2. I've been tackling the former dining room, then Collin's room, with totally destroyed carpeting and really bad walls room. The carpet has been torn up except for a little patch of 50 year old berber (which will come up tomorrow) that was under a bunch of furniture. The carpet pad disintegrates when pulled up, which makes for a lovely mess, but the carpet has long needed to come up. Bye Bye Berber!

The last little pathetically nasty piece of berber carpeting

I've painted the walls a lovely robin's egg blue (which I am proud to say that I mixed myself using left over paint and those little paint samples to tint what I already had).


OH, and I NEVER thought I would do this, as I'm all about maintaining the original beauty of a vintage house, but I painted the paneling in the room (I'm still sort of gasping as I type this, even though I LOVE the way it came out).


Here's the paneling in the living room for some comparison.



It's dated and dark, and painting it white brightened up the room so much it was totally unbelievable, but the paneling is also this gorgeous knotty pine. Really pretty; it makes people sort of gasp when they see it because you rarely see paneling of this quality in houses anymore. But I bit the bullet and painted over it in the dining room.

I still have to paint the floor, find a new ceiling fixture (there's a groovy one at Ikea that I like, but our nearest Ikea is 100 miles away (Ikea, why haven't you placed a store in Columbus, OH? Oh, and would delivery kill you?)) And I have an idea for floor pillows that are made crazy quilt style using old sweaters that I steak and sew together and then do one of those cool embroidery stitches on, but I'll do those after I get the room done. Hmmm, so I think that's about it. That's the news, Walter Kronkite!

Thursday, February 10, 2011



Congratulations to

She won the $40 CSN card!

Have fun spending it!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Food for Thought

Click here to enter a drawing for a $40 CSN gift card. Go on, do it! You know you want it!


I saw this post the other day on We Heart It and it got me thinking once again about how much we have and how lucky we are to have been born into a land with so much prosperity. Even in this land, however, there are plenty of people who have great need. It's not news to anyone reading this that there is a new face to homelessness in this country: more families displaced by loss of work, more cold and hungry children, more skilled workers that just can't catch a break.

The world is full of pain and suffering. Orphan girls who "age out" of the system find themselves in the horror of sexual slavery. African villagers wonder where their next meal or cup of water will come from. Mothers wonder if their children will survive the genocide of their land to grow up to be adults. People are tortured for knowing too much, for making stupid decisions, for owing money that they will never see. Every day, all over the world, devout people die for believing in their God and not faltering.

There is a tendency for people to look away from these problems because they are too great and after all, what can one person do? In our family, we sponsor a Zambian girl through World Vision. We struggle to pay our bills, but the one thing that we never even think of removing from our expenses is our sponsorship. Even though we struggle, the little bit that we send each month has made a remarkable difference not only in Jovanna's life, but also those of her villagers. We may not be solving the problems of the world, but if each of us decided to help just one other person, think of how far our assistance would reach.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Modern Furniture for a Much Needed Makeover

The nasty carpeting has finally been pulled up in my former dining room and I have what is essentially a blank slate for William's future toy room (when I last wrote about this, the room was to be his bedroom, but we decided to have him share a room with his big brother and create a space for toys, coloring books, crafts, and learning).

I've been thinking that it would be great to decorate with a bit of a Mid-Century Modern vibe to echo the architecture of the house. And I turned to All Modern, a branch of the wonderful CSN, for aome fabulous Modern Furniture to and set to dreaming.

Right now, there is a coach style lamp that hangs down too low into the space. I Love the George Kovacs Bling Bling Pendant. It has all of the clean lines that I'm looking for at the reasonable price of $200.


The walls will be a very pale blue grey and the floor is going to be painted brown. The room will need and area rug and the Soho Blue and Brown Accent Rug by JoJo Designs fits the bill, should hide toddler stains well, and comes in at the great price of $34.99.


These Eames Storage Units by Herman Miller are fantastic! They address the storage needs of a kid's playroom, have classic lines, and can grow with William. Herman Miller also offers a matching desk, and both the desk and storage units can be bought in all blond or dark wood. Starting at $449.


The Arper Catifa 53 Four Leg Stackable Chair is available in White, Light, Black, and Sand with a frame of Brushed or Stainless Steel. Better yet, it is made of Polypropylene, aka amazingly easy to clean stuff for a kid's room. The chair comes in a set of four only, but is priced amazingly well at $244. I think they'd look great in a dining area as well (and my dining chairs are on their last creaky legs.


Right now you can share in the love as CSN is giving me the opportunity to give away $40 to any of it's wonderful stores. To enter, leave a comment telling me what you'd love to have in your home from All Modern.

For a second entry, become a subscriber to my blog and let me know in a separate comment. If you are already a subscriber, just leave a comment letting me know that you are.

If you blog about the giveaway, you'll get another entry (just let me know in another comment). If you Twitter about it, you'll get another (you can use the following entry: $40 CNS Giveaway at Dropped Stitches! )

You have until Wednesday, February 9th to enter the giveaway. Good luck!
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