"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Monday, February 28, 2011

Equipped For Beekeeping

 It's a great day for a first time beekeeper. The weather was balmy, it smells like spring, yesterday a huge flock of crows swooped into the neighborhood from parts further south and congregated on a big beech tree across the street, noisily recounting their many travel exploits. Spring is on its way and we are ready.
We have a beehive in our house.
  It came to our door in two gigantic cardboard boxes and sat, intimidatingly in the entryway for a while before I had the bravery to open the containers and lift out the glowing wood and deliriously fragrant comb foundation. The whole thing smells like honey...rich, ambrosial, golden honey. I can't wait until it is really full of liquid gold.
 All these mysterious tools and gadgets, glinting, twirling things that are so exciting and require much trying out. Can hardly wait to take my boys down to the buzzing hive and let them see the bees spinning industrious gold while they see what those tools are really about.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cinnamon Uplift

Little ears are suffering at our house. First Nib had a double ear infection and then Dee got the same bug. It's all coughing, snuffling, gasping and then head-splitting nocturnal wailing around the clock these days. The thing I hate the most is the unsettlingly drawn-out fever that just burns perpetually with this illness. Nib was all flushed and sweaty and now he's over that stage and Dee is the one with the pink cheeks and the glazed eyes. He's finally over the stage where he lays draped over the arm of the couch either unconscious or moaning all day long. We are on the upswing. I thought maybe he would be pretty normal + a cough this morning and we'd be back to normal operations but instead I felt like I was waking a steamed lobster when I kissed him good morning on his forehead.

And that is how we came to be home, making cinnamon rolls in the kitchen sunshine instead of attending church. I was so sad to stay home but there are few more potent balms for soothing ear infections or wounded mommy spirits than home baked sweet rolls.

I think I'll be okay now.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Free Beauty! Have a Haiku.

beautiful haikuImage by lovelornpoets via Flickr
"Beautiful Haiku"
Not to post poetry two days in a row or anything....but I just had to share this. This haiku artist (somehow "author" or "writer" just doesn't cover it) is giving away custom created, beautifully imagined, poems just for the cost of postage! What kind of a fabulous gift would that make for a romantic suprise, birthday, or anniversary?!? So cool.

Go get some haiku people. I'm going to order some myself as soon as I decide on a subject.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Poetry Friday: A Pruning Poem

An apple tree sprout being converted to a bran...Image via Wikipedia

Happy Poetry Friday to you! A pruning poem for you all today. It is pruning season, or at least the tale end thereof. (We must celebrate something in the bleak end of winter after all)  Time for all overgrown trees to get haircuts and all shrubs to get trim jobs that will have them prancing around in high-style once the warm weather has them leafing and blossoming all over the place.

I have been working, little by little on pruning our very large and very neglected apple tree and hoping on one hand that spring comes soon to rescue me but on the other hand that it holds off long enough to let me finish all the snipping and clipping this old tree needs. If a tree is clipped once the sap has really begun to flow hard it can "bleed out" and pour sap from all its wounds and end up dying in the warming, early spring. As I work, racing spring I have been thinking out a poem about the whole thing. This morning I took a little stab at putting down the bits that have been rattling around in my mind as I traded clippers for saw and then saw again for clippers in the chill wind.
Pruning The Apple Tree
I am pruning the dear, ancient apple tree
That leans, reclining over the back hedge
Behind our new home: a tall, old colonial.
It might turn out to bear nothing at all but
Small, hard crab apples like bitter marbles
(For some reason the neighbor can't remember)
Then, I know, my husband will see no point
And archly suggest a chainsaw at the trunk.
I finger all the thickly twisted branchings
And tilt my head as I envision each of the
Diagnostic choices: this branch or that gone.
My glittering saw makes fragrant, smooth
Work of the chosen amputation and the wound
Yawns open, fresh and yellow in the cold.
I am glad the ice-wind is blowing stiffly,
From the north, the better to anesthetize
The patient who sits numbly through my surgery.   
I see signs of other years here on the boughs:
Roughly hacked, black stubs of once-limbs,
Places where the tree has grown a living mace
And one limb that has gone thickly into
The very flesh of its widely forked neighbor
I drop branch bits on the snow and wonder as I
Climb a broad trunk, my palms splayed open,
Against the icy bark if the tree will
Shake its head pinkly, rouse as fragrant cloud
And bear me saving fruit for pies or if it
Sleeps deeply, sunk into a peaceful reverie
Tiny, unborn marble-fruit held tight in every bud,
Knowing this is the last cold, drowsy winter
It will arch sagely over my back hedge.

Apple tree with fruitsImage via Wikipedia
I really do hope it turns out to be a grand, old standard apple of some kind, don't you? Even if it is a crab, I have half a mind to try to convince A to save it just so I can make glittering apple jelly every year. I do hate to lose a wise old tree like this. I wonder who planted it and when. Guessing the age of trees is a very tricky game although even I can tell ours is quite old. I'd have taken a picture for you but it's doing a cold drizzle outside and there's no real love for a camera in that kind of weather.

You can find more Poetry Friday entries at our host Sara's blog, Read Write Believe.
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Winter Blues

Just kind of a funny odds and ends kind of day. I am not sure exactly what happened to the whole thing really. I hate it when a day does that to me. Somehow it managed to creep by slowly, feel molasses sloggy and then not really come to anything except for a funny whooshing at the end that amounted a sudden overwhelmedness and a tinge of the blues. I think part of it is the dragging slump here at the end of winter, part of it is kid whining, part family illness (hello Round of Earaches that has been keeping Mama up all night!) and part of is just a big pile of tiny complaints that have heaped and tittered about my ankles for some time now and have just managed to creep up high enough to really whisper persistently in my ear.

Losing the baby weight has been slower than I wanted it to be. Of course it is my third baby we're talking about and I've aged since the first go 'round and then there's my willpower with dieting which is a bit lacking but, even if we can explain it, friends, that doesn't make it all better, does it.

The house is wonderful and a home-improvement queen's dream but, a few little improvement set-backs have made it suddenly feel like an impossible, laughable, I'll-never-get-it-done mountain of work for one woman to tackle on her own while three small children howl in the background. I know this one is real and lots of people would think I was crackers for even trying to fix up a house single-handedly while raising three kids but then, that's just the brand of loony I am. I am determined to get re-inspired on this one and not cave to the popular conception that what I am attempting is ridiculous. Ahem.

I am planning our garden and while on the one hand I am fidgety with excitement over the soon-to-be-muddy yard in front of me....on the other hand it is a big job and although I really want to be a gardener who can handle a whole yard, I've never really done it and I'm trying not to listen to the section of my psyche that is screaming "You're going to waste so much money and destroy that perfectly good lawn!!! What do you think you're doing, you nutcase!" Isn't that silly? I should be thrilled but instead I'm intimidated and believe I'll destroy the property. Fabulous.

A neighbor wants to give me some cast-offs that she doesn't need anymore. That sounds nice, right? I keep avoiding her phone calls. She called this afternoon and I went as far as to press talk and then panicked and hung up. I think part of it is that I suspect that part of what she wants to give me I may not be able to move myself and I don't think A will be very thrilled at the prospect of being looped into the project. Then also part of it is that I kind of suspect that part of what she wants to give me I may not actually want and I will take it anyway and then hate the fact that I brought a bunch of crap into the house that we didn't need. Am so weak of will.

I don't entirely know what to do to get out of the funk. I am not all the way down in a depression yet and I think I can avoid it. Am thinking, early to bed, good talk with A, a nice warm drink and an early morning by myself. Hopefully tomorrow the world will be a kinder place.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bedroom Vision

Somehow my bedroom always seems to be where the most clutter collects. Well, besides the basement but we're not going there today. I think I often feel like I will just absorb all the questionable items into my personal space for the betterment of the rest of the house. Company's coming? Dump all this crap upstairs in my room. Not sure where to put this thingie? I guess put that upstairs in our room. Etc. Like that.

And then suddenly your room looks like this. Even though you just moved in a few months ago. It was time for soul cleansing purge. So, I de-cluttered and polished and put things away and dusted and now it looks much more breathable.

Boring but clean. Once the quilt is out of the wash and back on the bed it won't make your jaw ache with totally sad emptiness anymore. That said...I have have plans.

Not sure how much you can see here but I've been busy writing down all my ideas to make sure I don't forget anything and also to be sure that something happens. It is so easy to just think of things to do and never really get to it. Isn't the so? I feel somehow more definite, knowing that I have the wall paint in a bucket downstairs. Must find a way to get real curtain rods pronto, the ones up are the crappy kind with the little toothy metal brackets that the squarish rods click onto. If you ever move into a house with those rods and are planning hang anything more than sheers on them, take them down immediately and put up real ones.

I have real issues with interior design. Real lack. I always need help. Does anybody else have ideas or pointers for this space? What am I missing here?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Happy Place

 We all have our "happy places" right? The kind of place you go when life is rough and you're not sure you can make it, the kind of place where you go and you instantly know you're going to make it. The kind of place that can make it all okay again. On of my happy places is Panera Bread.

Another one is this greenhouse. We make a point of going every year and have for five or six years running now. It is best to go in the dead of winter, when you've hit the dregs and are not sure you believe in spring anymore.
 You'd never know we were in a greenhouse in Connecticut. I feel like I'm in deepest jungle in Costa Rica...somewhere always warm, misty humid and vibrant with life.
This citrus tree has ten varieties grafted into it.

 This is one of those places I wish I could live. And a place that it's honestly good we don't live down the road from because I would work there for free for sure...and A might not like that.

Here is the entrance...the happy world you walk into through that door of light.

Oh Spring, am holding on for you! Come soon. Okay?

(The greenhouse we visit is Logee's, of catalog fame...you can go too if you find yourself nearby!)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thinking About Style

Am thinking quite a lot of about dress and clothing and beauty and fashion tonight. Truth is, I am kind of a closet fan of fashion design. I still feel pretty wanna-be about my stylishness and ability to put outfits together that feel like art. I don't want to be runway and I care not two figs about labels as-such but I think beauty is perennially attractive and the idea of "creating" is madly magnetic to me.

I think that's what is a good bit of the allure for dressing well to me. It is almost a kind of sculpture or something. I was talking to Penny about the topic when she visited this summer and she mentioned that she thinks of it as a branch of her interest in theatre (an interest I share), a kind of everyday costuming. I think that's very fun and I'm not sure it is what drives me but it gets at a bit of the right idea.

I aspire to be considered a clothes-horse who, able to whip up wear-able beauty from any available discarded textile but, I am finally over being scared to be edgy and feeling ridiculous whenever I wear anything more interesting than khaki or blue jeans. I don't feel tied to any particular era, to trends of "the now" or to romantic old fashioned sensibilities although all of them are interesting to me.

I feel like I'd like to consider most anything and try all kinds of interesting new outside-my-box options. That said, it's not a particularly big box. Remember that khaki and denim. I spent years of my life in very pedestrian dresses and blue jeans with t-shirts. It is fun to realize that the world, even the world of dull old me, can be more lively and exotic and colorful and surprising.

I have an upcoming fashiony blog idea that I think I'll be playing with soon. In the meantime, here are a few of the things that inspire me stylistically things I look for when I walk into the thrift store, and often my favorite finds.

I love: chokers, batik prints, ultra-long and full skirts with slim waists, stripes in bold nautical colors, sequins, feathers, navy blue, faded flowered calicos, wide leg pants, Indian styling, cotton, linen, little cap sleeves,  shimmery fabrics, ruffles, rows of tiny buttons, pearls with peels and scratches, turquoise anything (the color and the gem), soft baby-chick yellow, headbands, ballet flats, comfortable heels, fawn colored leather, metallic stripes, short swishy skirts, demin, jersey knit, and anything handsewn.