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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Making a Wreath: The Death of a Dictionary

Pinterest has changed my life for the craftier. Look, LOOK what I made! Yeah, I saw it on Pinterest, you know it!

Pinterest inspired Dictionary Wreath

I've been so busy with college...my love of making has withered. Cue not so optional art class! Suddenly I'm running around with a paintbrush and pencils and cutting things up and learning about "value" and "space" 

Mix that with students and friends who were all "how on EARTH have you not heard of Pinterest???!!??" and wham bam I'm trying to rip apart an old dictionary (which nearly gave me anxious fits...book ripping was fodder for bum whacking when I was a kid). Turns out dictionary pages are really fun to Mod Podge all over the place. It's all I can do to NOT Mod Podge them to the dining room walls. 

If you want to learn how to make the cool "page rosettes" Check out this Vid Rosette How-To

It has been a long hard year. I lost a dear dear friend. I made a few new ones. I swam in the ocean and went white water rafting, and saw a bald eagle on my way to sell jewelry my friend makes for Blossoms Bejeweled at the Clearwater Festival on the Hudson River in NY. I fostered orphaned kittens, I met Michael Franti who is amazing, and Nic Cowen whose song "Hardheaded" is now my husband's theme song. 

In this year I've become a possibilitarian instead of a waitandseer!

And so I say to you all.....

Best wishes,

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

We grow bugs. And worms.

So...a few years ago a friend called and said "you like lizards right?"  A few hours later we became the happy keepers of a tribe of 4 Leopard Geckos.

Thing is, it's expensive to keep these little buggers. The closest Petco is 45 minutes away, and frankly their "super worms" are not that super. They smell funny and you have to open an lot of little containers to find one that appears fresh. Well, as fresh as a yogurt sized container of worms is likely to get. Also, the lady at Petco told me I should CUT THE HEADS off of the super worms so they don't bite my Tribe members. So...I was considering switching to the little mealie species to avoid cutting heads off of big mealies when...

Insert a friend of my kids, whom I adore, who came to visit and brought us bugs. Beetles to be exact. And some pupas. And a fancy plastic bug keeping device from the dollar store. This young lady has been our worm and bug growing MUSE. She has also saved me a ton of money in gas and stinky, yogurt-container, dried-up meal worm purchases. She IS my Geiko Gecko! We are growing our own little mealies now!

The white container has three trays. Each tray is full of steel cut oats.  I keep a fresh apple or potato slice on a cleared off corner of the tray for water and a slice of bread for food.

The beetles only live for about a month. They'll eat their own eggs and the baby mealies too...my Muse says so! So...I'll be shifting each stage to the next drawer. I had SO many mealies born this summer I haven't had to buy worms since. I also grew crickets, but they stink terribly and they get loose easily. It was a pain. Mealies don't get out, neither to the darkling beetles they become, and they smell like oats and apples.

This is the lifespan of the Mealie; worm, pupa, beetle. The beetles turn black as they "harden" and become ready to be mommies and daddies.

Here is one of the little guys this whole bug keeping program is all about! This is "Skinny" he is a fussy eater. He will NOT eat anything with calcium powder on it. His cohorts are fatties. And I try to feed him seperately so he'll eat a lot.

He's a good Gecko, but no he won't save you a ton of money on your car insurance. (Bet you didn't see that joke coming! HA!)  Here is another view of Skinny, eyeballing a tasty morsal!TY to my Chickadee who took these great pics!
The following video is gross and disturbing. And it happens at my house every day.  This is one of those posts where I hope that after I hit "Publish" nobody thinks I've lost my potatoes!

Best wishes,

Leopard Gecko eating & Pupa hatching

Friday, January 6, 2012

Shame on Aberslutty and Fitch

I was reading this blog: Mommy Wants Vodka.com and due to her creative take on billboard type advertizing....became inspired to put on my big girl panties and have a say on something that rather bothered me, very much, nay a lot, this Christmas Season.

You know what advertizing KILLED me this winter? I mean, left me wondering what on Earth people are thinking "these days" a form of thinking which actually made me feel my barely noticable age!?!?!

The guys in swimsuits posing by the doors of Abercrombie at the mall. Abercrombie has HIRED models to stand outside their front doors, two days before Christmas, IN swim suites, in NY in winter.....need I go on? Mostly, their hands were crossed in front of their crotches and since they were bare foot and had been standing a long time on the bare marbley mall floor, it looked like their feet hurt. They rocked back and forth a lot.

I created a reasonable facsimile of what went on.
So, truth is, I'm 35. I want to enter Abercrombie to buy a scarf or a post-pre-ripped shirt for my nephew and/or son and ......I cannot....CANNOT.... enter a store flanked by teen male models. There's just something inapropro about someone my age taking perfume samples or coupons from half-naked young boys IN THE MALL. So, as middle school age girls oogled them and the cooler older girls leered a bit as they strolled by repeatedly... I had to hustle to the other side of the walkway due to shock. My husband (40) thought this was funny.

Note the Build-An-Overpriced-Stuffed-Toy store next door.
Families with children shop there. Note the lady with a baby walking by
Where the models were.

Yeah sure it's funny. But having to walk like literally a foot away from those naked model guys to GET IN THE STORE...it's creepy and I'm no creeper. Hell, I wished those kids would put some clothes on. What would be wrong with fully dressed cute guys with Santa hats on or something...at the door...? Nothing! I advocate that NOTHING would be wrong with some Christmassy/societal modesty. 

After fleeing to the other side of the walkway, I stood, juggling shopping bags and evil-eyeing my husband, who obviously thought this whole situation was as funny as our cat jumping IN then OUT of a full bathtub...we noticed the tide of shoppers flow towards us as other women and men were breaking the mall pedestrian road lanes to get away from Abercrombie's dark & solicitious front doors. One woman even said "Oh My God, what has the world come to!?!?!" and she wasn't even me, I mean...I didn't even say that outloud! Literally someone else beat me to it!!!! 

Honestly, now that perfume commercials on TV during the holidays are pretty much soft-core porn, I guess red light districts in the mall shouldn't come as any big surprise. Oh, and I went to American Eagle for scarfs and used looking shirts. Their sales guys are fully clothed.

Best wishes,

Friday, December 30, 2011

Dirty Thirty...or Something?

So, the hubs has had like two weeks off for the holly daze. And I am off of school till' February. It amazes me to think our first Christmas together was in 1995, and this was our 16th Christmas together. 

You would think that all these years would have worn down the whole sexy factor in a marriage. But lately...well, I've really noticed that my husband is HOT. I mean, like I catch myself mooning over him. Like, his mom gave him new jeans for Christmas and I keep hoping he'll walk to the kitchen or something so I can check out his butt. He smells really good. He's so warm and toasty. I could just...kiss his face off. 

There was once a time in our marriage, when kids needed diaper changing and somebody always needed a nose wiped and I hadn't had more than an 8 minute shower in....well probably months....and he would you know, get a little randy, and I would run for the hills.

I distinctly recall many a time when I would hiss "Oh God honey, really? Right now?"  You see, he would always go in for the kill just as my head hit the pillow and my mind rolled out a list of to-do's for the next day. It always seemed he was hoping for some loving, just as I was hoping to God and the Sand Man and all that was holy that the kids would sleep through the night. Romance for me in those days seemed like the stuff of dreams and All My Children. I'm sure Erica Kane never turned down sex because she was worried about the fact that she hadn't seen a fresh razer and a free half-an-hour in two to three months.

People joke that women in their thirties hit a peak. In my case, I've certainly hit something. Maybe it's a peak, or
  • Maybe the kids are old enough to stay home by themselves so we don't have to worry about having enough money to order an appetizer for dinner because the sitter costs more than our whole night out together.
  • Maybe I'm not sitting at the "date night" table praying my son doesn't call the babysitter "fatty" again
  • MAYBE I'm free to just be me again, just a little bit, because the kids are older now  you know? Like, maybe though I'm still mom, I'm a lot less of a "mommy." So...I'm free to look across the table (without entering the mommy worry zone) and think, "my God my hubs is a hottie. Look at that stubble on his cheeks, so sexy...you know what I'd like to do with that stubbly cheek???"
  • Maybe MY peak has to do with the fact that I've done good work, I've paid my dues. And by gum I've earned my Afternoon Delight.

Marriage is a challenge because having two people on the same page for any length of time is pretty much impossible. I mean, now that I want to be a little crazy in the mini-van or sneak off in the woods, the hubs is happy with a foot rub a movie and a snuggle. In other words, HE has become the challenging one and I'm the challenged! I'm chasing him around, winking and he's throwing the coy little smiles. My how times have changed. 

A few years ago, our marriage was on the rocks. Heck, we were on the rocks as individuals. Ultimately, that's what threw our relationship into a tailspin. He was unsatisfied with his life at almost 40 years old, and I was intellectually rotting away. But instead of taking stock of what we wanted out of life on a personal level, we let eachother take the blame for why we weren't happy. We both made a lot of mistakes because we chose to blame game, rather than take responsibility for our own unhappiness. Somehow I held on to the idea that "the better CAN come after the worse" and thank goodness it did.

I think we both learned a very hard lesson in making ourselves happy. We had it all wrong for so long. When a couple member says "he/she doesn't make me happy anymore" warning bells should go off for everyone involved. Being happy is something personal, it's not up to anyone else to MAKE us happy, it's up to us to be a happy person, and in doing so we improve our relationships, our marriage, our everything.  It's about doing what you're doing at a higher level, and having the one you love along for the ride.

Pursuing my degree and excelling in class makes me happy. And apparently horny. So, as the kids roll their eyes and screech "gross! I could have lived my whole life without seeing that" as I smooch their dad from the first step (he's really tall and I can reach his lips better from above) I know deep down that we've all learned a lesson in love...forgiveness...and creating happiness rather than waiting for it to happen. 

Which is why I'm going to go chase my hubs around the house. Wish me luck when the lights go out tonight! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Strawberry Fields Forever...(or maybe just once a year for kicks!)


Is where the Strawberry Dictator lives while you pick berries and wait for orders.  She is no doubt part of some larger Strawberry Oligarch, however for two hours, she was my own scary, somewhat angry, strawberry field FIASCO...Dictator.

It sounds so idyllic to say..."oh my, let us go and pick strawberries, how delightful, we shall have shortcake" but let me tell you, the truth of the matter is that strawberry picking is NOT altogether delightful.

The entire task of picking fruit from 6 inch tall bushes, is hard work best done ON YOUR KNEES. It's not easy work, OH no. And do you know what? they call Strawberries Strawberries because they literally grow in the straw, the berries, they're bedded down like mice in your winter storage. Seriously, you are lifting strawberry leaf skirts and rifling through the straw searching for perfect berries and running into mushy, buggy ones.

The Dictator alternately read a book in her truck-berry-camper and stalked the rows, squinting at the squat berry bushes and insisting "you MUST pick the little berries, that's just about all that's left!" and ordering the girls, along with the veteran cowed workers, to double check their rows and carry along iron curtain poles, to plant wherever one leaves off picking. "Lift the plants up ladies! Don't Be Shy!" she shouted, waving her arms about before skedaddling back to read her romance novel.

So...as the work commenced (and it was a LOT of work, we picked 25 quarts) I tossed my tee-shirt in the straw and worked in my cami.  The sun baked my shoulders, the breeze started to feel really amazing and the smell of strawberries became literally intense. 

My daughter, and her friends crawled ahead of me down their berry lanes, springing up to run and show me the strangest shaped berries they could find..."Be careful where you walk honey, you don't want to step on any bushes" I loudly cautioned in a stern voice when the Berry Master peeked out to see what the excitement was all about. (I'm a respectful Berry Peon).

As I lifted leafy skirts, I popped a perfect berry or two or three in my mouth, carefully avoiding the gaze of the Berry Dictator. Then laughed as the girls did the same thing, smacking their lips and smiling seedy toothed smiles, and waving pink stained fingers at me.

As our baskets became full, the whole thing started to feel ideal, other than the whole back-breaking-labor-intensive factor...
and I started having these little flits of happy thoughts in my head, bits of songs like "Here Comes The Sun" and especially a piece from one of my favorite books...A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith... 
People always think that happiness is a faraway thing … something complicated and hard to get. Yet, what little things can make it up. 
Isn't that SO true? Even in a Berry Oligarchy?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

State Parkin' it!

So, the kids are getting big. Like bigger than me big...but they still get excited about going with us...IF we're going somewhere they like to go.

Fortunately for us, we live in the Finger Lakes, we have no shortage of awesome places to take off to right at our finger tips!

If there is one benefit to having kids close in age (12, 14, 16) it's that they're pretty much interested in the same stuff.

Diving into the Olympic sized swimming pool...
The opportunity for new FaceBook Profile Pics...
Dad's grilled Steak & Mushrooms...

Hiking the Glen

and a little freedom to wander while mom gads about taking pictures.            

In a few years, they'll probably have better things to do than hang out with mom and dad...swimming and grilling and chilling.   And wondering why their mom is video-taping the ground, from an inch & a half away...But for now they're all mine. And we have this beautiful place to live in.

Badly attempted video of a winged ant dragging off a spider.

Best wishes,
Rebecca Flys