16 July 2010

Thinking Outside the Frame

I've been in a very de-stash-y kinda mood lately. I just want to get rid of stuff. This week I went through our bookshelves and found about 30 books to give away, and this was after going through them two months ago for the garage sale. You see, my husband will be finishing up his PhD this next year and going on the job market. So in a year we'll be moving literally God knows where. And then, because of the way academic careers work, we'll probably have to move again a year or two after that. The prospect of moving all our crap potentially all over the country is not a happy one.

So I've been rather mercilessly destashing and decluttering. (For me, anyway. I'm definitely a stuff person.) I was looking around the living room and spotted a picture frame on top of our tallest bookshelf. We got it as a wedding present. Over four years ago. It's never had photos in it.

[See it there behind the wise men?]
[...which are no longer there. This photo is from last November.]

I thought, "Well this is ridiculous. I should just get rid of it." But I couldn't do it. I like it. It's pretty. But I knew I'd never put photos in it. Because of its odd shape, I'd have to either cut up some of our photos for it, or get new copies of three photos specifically for this, which I knew I'd never get around to doing.

So I was at an impasse. Until I decided to take it to the craft room.

[A magical place]

Once the frame was in there, it was like the blinders fell from the sides of my face and I realized I didn't have to put pictures in the picture frame -- I could put anything I darn-welled pleased in there! Pieces of old maps? Pretty wallpaper samples? Cute illustrations from vintage children's books? Each of these might make their way into the frame eventually. But today I settled on flowery upholstery fabric.


[Much better]

[Side note: the little pottery bowl in the photos was made by my friend Laurie. She makes pottery as a hobby, and I'm blessed to have this bowl, another bowl, and a set of coasters, all made by her. Love it!]

I want to hear your blinders-falling-off stepping-outside-the-box stories! (Even if they include horrible things like mixed metaphors.)

09 July 2010


I found out this morning (after Norman had left for work) that today is "Cow Appreciation Day", at least according to the marketing department at Chic-fil-A. (Which I tend to call "Chic-a-Fil", because that's what my mom calls it, because that's what my Crazy Aunt Janet calls it.) ("Crazy Aunt Janet" is her official title.) That means if you dress up like a cow, they will give you free food. But only today. Probably all the rest of the days they'll get a good laugh, but you'll still have to pay.

So I Facebook'd Norman and told him, hey, free lunch! He cut a black file folder into blotches with his pocket knife and Scotch taped them to his khaki pants and white shirt. Then he walked from his office to the student union. The people at the Chic-a-Fil (see?) told him the promo wasn't really valid at the university-owned locations. But he pestered them enough with his tale of woe and personal humiliation that they gave him free food anyway. Hooray!

Then I decided, "Hey, why should Norman have all the fun? Let's all go there for dinner!" Norman can eat vegetables tomorrow. So we all dressed up like cows and went to dinner! Free dinner! Hooray!
I was a brown cow with off-white splotches. And a white tail. I don't know.

Babby could have been a dalmatian. Those are duct tape spots. And she has a tail.

Oh yeah, and Norman had a cowbell in his office! Perfect!

We went to the other Chic-fil-A in town, in case you were wondering.

There were a lot of people dressed like cows! Some in actual cow costumes!

I had a plan, in case they saw my hastily-thrown together paper splotches and yarn tail and said, "No, you don't look enough like a cow -- no food for you!" The plan was to tell them that I'm lactating. Moo. Then they'd want to change the subject so fast that they'd give me whatever free food I wanted! Or something.

02 July 2010


Confession: I am the world's laziest gardener. Really. Remember this? Oh, it all started so promisingly, didn't it?

I had tilled up a patch of the backyard. I didn't put anything in it. I mean, no fertilizer, no compost, no store-bought soil. Mistake.

I was thoroughly spoiled at my former residence. There, I (really!) just stuck a half-dead tomato plant in the ground, and several months later I had about 100 tomatoes. Literal number. Here, not so much. The soil is very clay-y. It mats up given half a chance. And the weeds! Crab grass, I guess. I don't go outside much, and I certainly don't have time to sit on the ground for 15 minutes every day weeding. You think Crazy Babby/Super Toddler is going to let me do that? No. Not without a fight, anyway.

There's also the part where all of my cucumber and butternut squash sprouts withered away to nothing after I put them in the ground. (Probably because I didn't weather them or whatever it's called.)

Oh and I never actually got around to putting the basil, sage, or bell peppers in the ground. They're still in little pots on my windowsills, not growing, threatening to die.

So my "garden patch" looks like this:
[My actual garden, enhanced with the help of this website.]

This zucchini plant should have died, but it is obviously too stubborn.

This snow pea plant gave me two snow peas before it keeled over.

There's a tiny tomato plant in here... somewhere.
Oh! And the strawberries! I forgot about the strawberries! I bought strawberry roots and then apparently left them in the garage too long before I planted them. I tilled them up a nice little patch in the front flower bed, planted about 6 strawberry roots, and then.... nothing happened. Well, I mean the grass is back. But other than that, not so much.

There are but two success stories here -- the compost pile, and the green beans.

Here is the compost pile I started over the winter:
It digests food scraps and mostly smells like dirt, so that's a success, right?

And speaking of stubborn, here is the green bean plant:

And here are the green beans!
[Some heirloom variety of crazy-long bean.]

And here are some more that aren't done yet:

And here is your opportunity to insert a "That's what she said!" (or "Barrowman!", if you are my lovely husband or part of the new Doctor Who fandom...) joke of your choosing:

One of these years, I will be so on top of things and grow soooo much food. Sigh.