Saturday, August 31, 2013

It's Definitely Still Summer, Y'all

  Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone! I know this weekend marks the beginning of lots of fun autumn traditions. The season *seems* like it's changing. School is in full swing for most folks; football games are on every other television everywhere; and apparently Starbucks has started serving their famed pumpkin spice latte again. Don't even get me started on Pinterest, Hobby Lobby, etc. Not that I haven't grabbed a few ideas myself... But I open Pinterest and cinnamon-orange wafts up from my laptop. It's just too much, too soon.

   So, the man made environments we create for each other all tell us it is no longer summer but now already autumn. What does nature say? Maybe not quite yet. Here in Oklahoma the temps are still right at 100. The humidity is high, but the rains are pretty far off. The horses are still sweaty the birds still spend their afternoons seeking shady refuge, doing nothing; and everything is still blooming and producing! Only the sumac has started to don tinges of crimson. Everything else is still a lush, verdant, summery green. It's still summer!

   The Farmers' Almanac says we still have 22 days of summertime. TWENTY TWO DAYS before autumn officially begins, folks. That is almost a month. And we all know that autumn itself is in flux. You just never know what it will bring.

   So in protest of a premature fall, I will be wearing all the white cotton sundresses I want, even if I have to wear them once in a while with tall boots or a scarf. In fact I will wear all the white I crave. And I will be laying out to read my book club book. I'll be tending the garden, swimming, and grilling outdoors every chance I get.


   Let's not be in a hurry to see it slip away from us, ok? Let's cling to every hot, miserable, extended day we can. Grill with me Swim. Pick wildflowers. Take naps outdoors. Watch the summer stars. Count dragonflies in the afternoon and fireflies at night. They're still out there! They still need love too. Eat as many watermelons as you can find. And fresh basil, while you can.

   The idea that basil will soon be bidding us adieu makes me weepy.

   The only autumnal tasks I'll participate in THIS EARLY are planting some garlic, starting seeds for lettuce, kale, spinach, etc. maybe a few new trees.

   If your'e not yet convinced to continue enjoying summer... Consider this:

   The Farmer's Almanac predicts a hefty winter for most of the continental United States. See for yourself right here.  We should expect and prepare for colder than normal temps and wetter than normal conditions, too. It's gonna be fine, but seriously wintry.

   Remember how miserable you were last spring, after Groundhog Day but before Easter? Remember waiting waiting waiting for that first blush of green? That first daffodil? That first day warm enough to run errands or work outdoors without a heavy coat?

Dormancy has its place in life. Let's not rush it.
Lets embrace and celebrate the life before us while it's here!

   Those final weeks of winter are so. Flipping. Long. I was on the brink of insanity last spring, with all the days and weeks of waiting. Every DAY was long. So right now... every day should COUNT.

   For September and early October, then, I intend to squeeze out every last drop of summer. Every grilled meal. Every lap around the pool. Every early morning run. Every weed pulling, even. Because too soon the weeds will disappear, but so will the zuchinni. And the zinnias. And the melon vines. So will the roses and basil.

   Join me, please! Let's let Summertime 2013 know that she is loved and will be soon missed. Celebrate every remaining week. They will pass quickly. Let's endure the heat. Let's endure the humidity and the electric bill and trips to the store to buy chlorine for the pool. Let's even endure the mosquitoes, friends.

   Because the beauty of summertime is so temporary.

   We can soon enough go back to our fluffy sweaters, orange-clove simmering spices, and pumpkin recipes, I promise. Just not yet.

Happy Labor Day Weekend!
Let's Swim Through It.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cool Morning Work

   Hello there! This is Handsome's birthday week. He has ***miraculously*** taken off from the Commish for several days, and I am so happy. He needs the break, like for serious, and I love having him home. Each day this week is different.

   Today? Today we slept a bit late and skipped Hot Tub Summit in favor of working outside while the temps are just shy of hot. He has several fun new toys out in his car shop, and they should keep him busy for many hours. 

   What shall I do with this time? I have the craving for a good, long run building pressure in my legs and in my ribs, that is true. But also... The gardens. Oh my. Today is sort of "makeover" day for the entry gardens. I have spent so much time in the edibles' beds this summer that I have let myself grow sort of numb to the worn out, stressed, and cluttered spots you see below.

   Brace yourself. 

     This is the front door. Those lights used to be super cute. But the plug got smashed in the door, so they need to go. That wreath looks so unfinished and blah. The gladiolus have been pecked nearly to death by the chickens. And behind this shipment of cheezits (that's a whole other story) sits a really worn out concrete urn full of who knows what.

   Walking down the sidewalk, which is dotted with goose poop, we arrive at the jungle-like end of the east flower bed where I have collected rusty milk cans and this fabulous rusty iron garden bench. The idea is great in my head, but it just hasn't panned out in reality. All of this needs some fresh eyes.

   But thank the garden heavens for zinnias. Amen?

   Oh boy. This is the kitchen door area. I actually love love love this tiny spot on the farm, but I am slightly ashamed to show it to you. This is where the herb bed brings me so much joy. This is where that green and burlap chair cradles watermelon vines. And this is where I grill steaks and chicken breasts a few times a week. Oh, and clearly it is also where we hang our wet clothes and swimsuits at the end of an outdoor day. Yesterday, as you can plainly see, was an outdoor day. That is my running bra and Handsome's swimsuit and tee shirt.

   This is the herb bed again, looking up from behind it. Isn't the morning sun glorious? Irresistible. It makes everything look so good, even it its messy jungle-like state, that sometimes I just let it be. Like, for three months at a time. I have plenty of weeding, feeding, and mulching to do in this area today, and if any bare spots show up I intend to fill them with something new. Perhaps zinnias.

   So that is my morning plan! I am looking forward to a cleaner, fresher look to the house entries, a cleaner, fresher mind and body after a nice, long run, and then some more birthday celebrating with my good looking guy.

   What do you have planned today? How is your garden looking? Are we still friends, despite the chaos and neglect I have shown you this morning?

Confession is Good for the Soul

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Colorful Chaos

   Hello again! I have been alluding to a lot of activity and excitement here lately, and the truth is that I am so loaded with good stuff to do that I have not really slowed down to share much of it. The days and nights pass by like quicksilver. In fact, this morning I barely have time for a list. Exactly one and a half cups of coffee stand between me and the rest of this beautiful day, and I will use them to organize some of this chaotic energy.

  • Th Apartment is messy again, big surprise; but the good thing is that all of the dresser drawers and the adjacent closet are empty, so the messes are soon to be corralled back into said drawers and closet. In a more organized, productive fashion, Oh, and the curtain dilemma has been more of less resolved. Thanks to some excellent advice and insight from all of you fine people, I know now exactly what I want up there. More on that eventually.
  • Even in the midst of a messy Girly Apartment, crafts are running rampant in my life. Lampshades, yarnish things, paintings, apron sewing, and more are being squeezed out of or into every week. And I just love it. Our friend Marci recently had surgery (again) and one day had just barely enough energy to do a little one-handed crafting of her own. Hopefully she will let me share that soon.

  • Books-books-books. Since our Dinner Club With a Reading Problem (DCWRP) meeting earlier this month, I have been raving non stop about Same Kind of Different as Me. And I do not apologize for that. It's just so good. Read this book! Also since then I have enjoyed a Tom Clancy espionage thriller and some other easy stuff. I'm not saying it hasn't been garden-related reading material or old poetry. Our next selection for DCWRP is The Horse Whisperer. It should arrive at the farm via Amazon any second now, and I cannot wait to dive in.
"Our limitation is God's opportunity."
Amen amen amen.

  • Speaking of books, I am considering the purchase of an E-reader. I know. My own eyes can't stop rolling at myself.
Tiny T pities the fool who does not eventually embrace new technology.

  • The garden is going just plain gangbusters. Except for the gross,weird, destructive squash bugs, every bed and every box is thriving. We get food and enjoy beauty daily. In fact, even the squash vines, under siege as they are, still throw  big, heavy veggies at me when I walk past. The melons are only a couple of weeks away from ripeness. The herbs... Ahh, friends... Even Handsome, who is decidedly not a scent-loving guy, enjoys the fragrant herb bed. This morning after Hot Tub Summit he inhaled appreciatively as he walked past it and said it smells like an Italian restaurant. I almost fainted.

  • My children are growing up. I don't talk about it here much because it breaks my heart a little and I barely know what to say. They are recently sixteen and very nearly eighteen and as beautiful inside and out as any two young women can possibly be. I am working on a special tribute to them but that will take some boldness to share. I do not mention it here even a fraction as much as it is on my mind. Which is constantly. But please know that God is answering prayer in this most precious chamber of my heart, and life is good. Very good.
  • The farm animals are all doing great. Chanta's leg has healed beautifully. Dulcinea is growing like a weed. In fact, I have lately been saying that the weeds are growing like llamas. Even our hens are producing again, making it more or less possible for me to sell fresh farm eggs for $3 per dozen.
  • I've picked running back up, having laid it down gently in the midst of some hot weather and hectic schedules, and thereby having failed at my Iron Goat attempt. Anyway, while intense training for the full marathon next April will start right after the holidays, I am spending the next few months doing speed work and stress-relief runs. 
  • Thanks to my ten-four good buddy Stephanie, my newest design obsession a luscious woman named Tracy Porter. I mean, her Pinterest boards and such are called, "Poetic Wanderlust." Seriously. She doesn't even need to be a real person for me to have a beautiful-girl crush on her. And the fact that Tracy Porter also has Instagram means that now I need an extra half hour in every day.

  • The Apartment is not the only room getting a window-makeover around here. The downstairs living room has two new ball gowns, which I scored at a garage sale for ten bucks each. And the tiny kitchen window, which overlooks my beloved herb bed, is about to shed her silly turquoise cafe curtain with the black and white skinny ruffle... and start wearing something smarter and more grown up: A true-blue roman shade! Made of linen printed with monkeys and fruit, lest we get too serious around here. For this project I have enjoyed the advice of a friend and professional, and  I cannot WAIT to share those details!

   Honestly, I better scoot.My last cup of coffee has cooled off now, and the day outside is heating up. My time to run a few miles and work in the garden is fast escaping me. Then errands in the City, Taco Tuesday for dinner tonight, and projects in between. Quicksilver, I tell ya.

   Thanks for stopping in! I hope your world is colorful, chaotic, and joyful just the way you like it. I hope your prayers are being answered. And I hope you have great books stacked in impossible numbers between you and the television. 

Carpe Diem

Sunday, August 25, 2013


   I hope you and yours are enjoying a peaceful, loving, restorative Sunday. Whether you are with your babies or your parents, as this llama family below, or with your lover or your friends, or alone in the beauty of solitude... I hope you are soaking up the details of your life and giving thanks for all of it.

   "If we have no peace, it is only because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." ~Mother Teresa

   Big stuff coming from the W, friends. Also lots and lots of little stuff, because life is good.  Love is real. And prayers are being answered.

   Have a wonderful end of this gorgeous weekend. Hope to see you around here this week!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Photo and a Story

   One of Mama Kat's brilliant writing prompts this week is perfect for me and my hectic but happy schedule. She suggests:

Open your picture folders, close your eyes 
and pick a random photo to share and write about.

   So what you see above is what I saw when I scanned to about the middle of 2013 and opened my eyes. What is your initial reaction?

   This pretty darn priceless photo was taken a couple of months ago at Handsome's twentieth high school reunion. Those four very very cool and stylish people are Handsome and me (in black) with our super good and FUN and beloved friends J and M. 

   I love this photo. Not surprisingly because I love these people. But seriously. Those heads!

   The reunion venue was particularly unique, a weird and wonderful private residence in midtown Oklahoma City boasting more conversation starters than anyone has time in the day to fully enjoy. I mean, you guys, there was a mechanical horse there. The small, heavy, painted kind like what you once found at grocery store entrances. And yes, all the girls rode it. Gleefully.

   There were paintings and sculptures galore. There was furniture like what had to have been collected from a thousand interesting sources, not all at once purchased in a gallery store. There were cars in the loft style home. Real cars. Beautiful collector cars. There were suits of armor and artfully crafted bathrooms with vintage silk neckties on display.

   And then there were these huge, beautiful theater masks of the Snow White dwarves. They were mounted on this exposed brick wall with ***just enough*** space behind each for an adult to cram his or her adventure-seeking face up there and pose for photos. I mean. So much fun.

   That is pretty much the story behind this photo. We have a hundred more from that evening. It was a great time and a wonderful memory maker. We almost didn't attend the reunion, but I am so happy we did. 

   As for tonight's writing prompt,  I am just glad that this photo isn't the one I randomly landed on:


   Thanks for a fun prompt Mama Kat!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Our Chanta

   Friends. Happy Monday to you! We have a lot going on, as usual, all of it really wonderful stuff. My girls are happy and well. Our home is safe and good. We have work before us and love between us. Life is magical.

   Among the work before us is tending to an injured horse. A few days ago our big paint horse, Chanta, got into a bit of an alpha male conflict with the super protective and territorial Romulus (daddy llama). While Chanta delivered several good solid kicks himself, he did suffer a small cut on his beautiful leg from Romulus' crazy sharp hoof. Everyone is totally fine, just enjoying some tender loving care and medical attention for a bit. In fact, the conflict seems to have cleared the air between the two, and now everyone is tucked safely and happily in their own spaces.

   In fact, Handsome and I have enjoyed the extra snuggles at least as much as Chanta, and I am happy to know that we can handle an injury.

   Just hours before the manly kerfluffle happened, oddly enough, I sat with Chanta for over an hour, brushing him, kissing him, detangling his gorgeous mane and tail, stroking his muscles and long, amazing legs. Admiring the permissible layer of blubber he has grown lately. I clearly remember sitting on the grass in front of him while his big head dropped almost on top of mine. My hands, middle fingertip to thumb, can fully encircle his bony ankle. How can those skinny ankles support this magnificent beast? I don't get it. Chanta loves having his legs and feet touched, so I brushed that silvery little forelock above his hooves too.

   Chanta is so big. and so sweet. and so in love with us. He adores being brushed and loved. He likes the Beatles' songs Penny Lane and Norwegian Wood, but not as much as his favorite, Raindrops on Roses. After just a few quiet minutes like this, he usually exhales all of the air in that big round belly, a long gentle snuffle collapsing him into relaxation.

   Chanta is just the bees knees. We love him incredibly, as do all of our friends who visit the farm. We are super thankful he is okay, and to keep it that way if you believe in praying for animals would you do so?


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Same Kind of Different as Me (book review)

   Hello again! I have another book review for you. Of course, if we are friends on Facebook or Instagram, then by now you already know I am overwhelmed and inspired by my most recent read, Same Kind of Different as Me. Upon finishing it around lunchtime this last Thursday, I fell apart in the most wonderful way. This is the current conquest by our famous little Oklahoma book club, Dinner Club With a Reading Problem, and I highly recommend that all of you read it. Every single one of you. And all the people you love. I will be buying copies of this as gifts.

   Same Kind of Different as Me is a true story told from the perspective of two very different but, as the title implies, ultimately very similar men. Their lives and paths cross in a beautiful and unpredictable way, and the shared journey flowers and fruits into more than either of them could have imagined. Yes I know that sounds a bit vague, but just read it! I do not want to ruin it for you.

   There is a sort of sequel available, and we understand a big motion picture in in the works too! This is a bandwagon you want to be on.


   Over the past couple of years I have read a myriad of books that fall under the "spiritual" category, and this one kind of does, but it is different. It is refreshing and inspirational but not preachy or intellectualized. It's a modern day tale of spiritual victory, true love, lasting friendship (not catch and release), and much more. Same Kind of Different as Me just tells a great story. Plainly. Beautifully. Honestly. I felt as motivated by its messages as I did when reading Bonhoeffer earlier this year and moved to tears in a way that I haven't been by a book in a long time. Bonus? The story is absolutely delicious. Addictive. I picked it up and couldn't put it down until the last page, a few tearful hours later.

   This Friday night our Dinner Club With a Reading Problem met at Tracy's house to discuss this treasure. We all hugged, laughed, and enjoyed plate after plate of good food.

My friends provided lots of healthier fare, but I was starved
and ate eleven hot dogs and hamburgers.

   We traded insights the book gave us into our own hearts, admitting prejudices we barely knew still lingered. Several of the ladies shared stories about sharecroppers from their families in Oklahoma and Texas. We talked about marriage, infidelity and healing, judging each other for our "sins," adult illiteracy, homelessness, and mortality.

   Our book club gatherings are always rich with affection and conversation, and Friday night was no different. What was different with this title is that 100% of our readers thoroughly enjoyed it. That doesn't happen too often. We all fell in love with the characters and the message. I think it's fair to say that we all felt changed, too. For the better.

Tracy you NAILED IT!!!

   I must mention that the timing of reading this book is also amazing. On the heels of Marianne Williamson's tutorial book A Return to Love, the philosophical message is crystallized into something digestible. Real life stuff. The bottom line of this true story is just love, love, love. Real love. Powerful, life changing, darkness-piercing, dream fulfilling, mistake forgiving, addiction breaking LOVE.


   I wrapped it up feeling like every good thing is not only possible but actually likely to happen. I feel like I can be part of (a conduit for) some very important solutions in our life. And, as always, I feel even closer to my book club girls. Thank you, DeLana, for guiding us to Same Kind of Different as Me. What a gift.

"Just tell em I'm a nobody that's tryin to tell everybody
'bout Somebody that can save anybody.
That's all you need to tell em."
~Denver Moore

   Several of my friends outside of book club have already gobbled this up, too. Have you?

"We Woke Up."
  ~Ron Hall

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Zucchini Bread

   Friends. My house smells sooooooooooo good right now. Last night we had our traditional Tuesday night fish tacos for dinner (YUM) and I made a shiny little glazed chocolate sheet cake for Handsome for dessert, but the main aroma-maker from last night which is still delighting me this morning is zuchinni bread. Wowsa. I haven't baked anything remotely like this in many moons, and I must say that it has drummed up something seasonal in me. It probably doesn't hurt that yesterday we enjoyed rain and clouds all day and a temperature no higher than about 87 degrees. And this morning is almost crisp outside.

   Zucchini bread is the perfect bridge food between seasons. You are making excellent use of summer's most bountiful vegetable and lacing it with autumn's favorite spice, cinnamon.

   This is delicious, fragrant, filling, and relatively healthy, and I would love to share it with you.

   Okay. The following recipe came from Martha Stewart's lovely mint green cookbook, "Collected Recipes for Everyday Use," c 1995. I have owned this thick hardback copy since my early twenties, so, you know, just a few years. *wink*

Martha Stewart's Collected Recipes for Everyday Use

   It's falling apart now from heavy use and is crusted together in several delicious places, but the recipes are certainly still worth exploring. Tonight was the first time I finally tried the zucchini bread. Total success.

   A few notes first: While it is technically a "quick bread," meaning, it does not contain yeast and therefore doesn't need to rise, zucchini bread takes just a little extra time to prepare. So it may be a quick bread, but it isn't fast. Also, it requires the biggest mixing bowl you have ever seen in your entire baking life. I actually feel like I say that a lot. Does everyone else have ginormous bowls, except me? Do I need to buy bigger bowls? Or have I been watching too much Shark Week?

See what I mean? The bowl on the left still needs to be added
to the very full bowl on the right. I was a nervous wreck.

   Okay. Other than large quantities of basic pantry staples, the only unusual ingredients are zucchini (obviously), nuts, and walnut oil. I had never purchased walnut oil before yesterday. It is a little pricey (almost five bucks for a small bottle), but I do not foresee using it too often or too quickly. Verdict: worth the almost five bucks.

Now I am actually wondering if walnut oil would be good in pesto. Thoughts?

   The first thing you should do is grate a few large green squashes. You need a finished amount of five cups of shredded zucchini. So if you grow them like I have been lately, you'll need like half of one:

Perhaps you have heard it's been a great year for zucchini here at the W.

  I just used my cheese grater and considered it meditation. Grate, grate, grate. Think good stuff, pray, say thanks. Grate, pray. Grate, say thanks. Grate, imagine only love. Grate, pray for your enemies too.
  Then wrap the wet, shredded stuff in several layers of paper towels to drain some of the water out. Later, if you have chickens, pour that pale green water into their treats, Free vitamins!
   While the shredded zucchini rests, you can mix up the bread batter.

Martha's Ingredients:
  6 eggs
  3 1/2 cups sugar
  1 3/4 cup light vegetable oil
  5 cups unpeeled grated zucchini
  5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  2 teaspoons baking soda
  1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  6 teaspoons baking powder
  6 teaspoons cinnamon
  2 cups chopped walnuts
  1/4 cup walnut oil

Marie's Instructions:
  Using the biggest bowl you can find, even if it is your empty swimming pool...
  Beat the eggs until light.
  Add the sugar, mix well.
  Add the veggie oil, zucchini, and vanilla, and mix again.

  Now sift the (5) dry ingredients in a separate bowl. This one can be normal sized.
  Add the dry mix in small amounts to the swimming pool full of the egg-zucchini mixture.
  Continue mixing until it is all blended. This takes about four hours.
  Now add the chopped nuts. Note: I accidentally bought only 1/2 cup of walnuts, so I subbed in a big handful of     pecans. Still delish!

  Prepare loaf pans (either four large bread pans or eight small ones) by smearing with soft butter then dusting with a little flour and cinnamon. Add lots of the thick, wonderful, crunchy batter to each and bake at 350* for close to an hour. Just wait for the fragrance to overwhelm your soul then test the bread. Clean knife = done. Easy peasy!
   I used both metal and glass pans to get all the batter baked, and every single loaf came out perfectly. The finished bread all slid right out of the slightly cooled pans, still steaming, perfectly in tact, and wonderful.

   Thank you Martha Stewart for this classic recipe! It makes enough for me, the lovely ladies who run the front desk at Handsome's office, and our neighbors. And all of Rhode Island, probably, although I have never been there. This bread is dense and heavy, too, so one slice is like a meal.

   I am not exaggerating. This morning I plated myself two skinny slices with an orange and can barely finish it. In other news, this week I'm reading Same Kind of Different as Me for Friday night's book club meeting. It is so good you guys. Can't wait to talk to you about it.

   What are you cooking with your abundant zucchini? They continue to just tumble off the vines here, so I am happy to collect recipes.

Buy Bigger Bowls

Linking up with Mama Kat today!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

My Newest Art Obsession

   I am such a sucker for fresh, new artwork. Different stuff. Off beat. Colorful, neutral, dramatic, plain, big, small, emotional, intellectual, silly, serious. Two-dimensional, three-dimensional, just whatever. So long as it is fairly unusual and not likely to be found in, say, a builder show home. That's just not my groove, man.

   I especially like original paintings or old photos that have been "built up" with new little painted doodles or decoupaged photos. And maybe some glitter. Or whatever. Eye catching stuff. Meaningful stuff. I really love keeping old things, not tossing them just because their original purposes seem lost. Our home and property are full of re-purposed treasure.

   Well. My husband knows this. And he is the most romantic man ever, always coming up with gestures to woo me and amaze me.

   This evening he rummaged around in my garden shed then spent some time alone in his shop with an array of paints and a small grouping of weird plastic lawn animals.

   Meanwhile, I was in the pool getting lost in a Tom Clancy novel.

   And a while later, he presented these colorful gifts to me:

      Right??? My breath stuck in my throat when I saw them. I had to turn my face away and look again.

   These are nothing but those odd little plastic decoy animals you buy at farm supply stores... painted like folk art! Well, the deer is actually a planter, obviously not a decoy. But that raccoon has tricked me in the barn more than once. Not anymore, I suspect! And the duck? I have never seen a more beautiful, fabulous duck. Silver, With so many little colorful details that didn't photograph so well in the bright sunset.

   Babe, thank you. I absolutely, positively, unashamedly L O V E these pretty little critters! Perhaps especially their gorgeous little eyelashes.

   I have one more plastic animal craving such a zesty treatment, a white plastic swan, also a planter. Do you have anything like this that could use a face lift? Wait, it's more than a face lift; it's a complete and total reinvention. Well, do you?

   Just FYI, this was a simple project. He did not need to prime or sand the critters; the plastic takes paint great. He used a combination of spray paints (we keep quite a full inventory for every day colorful use) and some acrylics. The most important supply is creativity.

   Tune in later this week for some milestone celebrations in our little family, some yummy recipes, and more of Tiny Mr. T. Until then, don't throw stuff out! Just make it yours.

"The purpose of art is washing the dust 
 of daily life off our souls."
 ~Pablo Picasso

Friday, August 9, 2013

Senses Inventory: Skunked

   Everything was going just fine. I was on a good, average run around the back field. My miles were adding up. My thoughts were sliding by easily, transforming a worried mind into a peaceful one. The harder my heart beat the less it hurt. My sweat was warm and salty and mixing with the cool rain, the oily mixture of both running in beads down my arms and legs.

   I ran downhill through the prairie grass with the forest on my right, rounded the bottom of the trail, and turned south along a little ridge of red rocks made slick from the rain. My footprints matched a string of llama hoof prints. My arm brushed past the same soft pine tree branch that always, always touches me on this lap. It's like a touchstone, a gentle nudge, even a little kiss every quarter-mile.  I took a deep breath and navigated the rocky downhill corner, enjoying the goose bumps from that pine tree kiss.  Then it happened...

  That deep breath I took should have been refreshing and energizing. Instead, it filled every cell of my being with...

   Skunk spray.

   So obviously it warrants this Senses Inventory.


See: Even through my rain-spotted sunglasses, I see the blurry haze of skunk spray. All the colors of the farm are muddled together. They are slowly dropping into shades of brown and gray. My eyes are burning now.

Hear: Pacino is uphill near the house, singing and screaming at the free range guineas and chickens. I hear Dusty give a little whinny, like he felt a disturbance in the force. Besides these animals voices, all I hear is Shakira from my iPhone, making promises to me about truthful hips. She has no comfort for me about skunk spray.

Smell: I normally kind of like the smell of skunk spray, but this is too much. It's just so dang strong. It's so intense. It's like skunk spray... concentrate. It's like all the skunks of the world have been warned they have one last chance to rid themselves of spray, and they must do so here at the Lazy W. Behind this. Exact. Tree.

Taste: That sour, peppery, putrid, slightly gaggy, warm, fuzzy air that follows a truly drenching skunk spray. I taste it in my mouth. I taste it in my throat. The awful taste is now seeping down into my empty stomach.

Touch: Now the oily mixture of sweat and rain feels dangerous, like it could in fact be, well, you know...

Think:  Is this skunk spray actually on me? Or is just about me? And where is the skunk??And are green garden tomatoes as effective at sanitizing as standard tomato juice? I know my car needs cleaning, but there is no way I am getting in there smelling like this.

Feel:  Betrayed. I feel betrayed by nature.


   Have you ever been skunk sprayed? It turns out my little run in was just friendly fire; it could have been much, much worse. And I credit the damp weather for intensifying every detail of the blast.

   Still, Momma Llama Seraphine would only get **just so close** to me when I walked back uphill.

Slightly Rude.
All of it.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Five Things That Should not Bother me as Much as They Do

   I have for many years held close to my heart a wonderful quote which speaks to the disproportionate power of small problems to weigh on your spirit even worse than the biggest trials:

"It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out;
it's the pebble in your shoe."
~Muhammad Ali

  Right? We can usually keep a large challenge in perspective, scaling it down, breaking it up into manageable pieces that we conquer one after another until the thing is done. Or maybe our deepest heartaches are surrendered because that's all there is left to do, and we bear the pain until the prayer is answered. But how often do life's smallest, weirdest annoyances drive us to the breaking point?

   Super often. Very often. All the dang time often.

   Following are some culprits in my life. The Big Stuff is in check. These things? They makes me use swear words. You know. Like my good buddy M.  : )

1. The wrong color of shopping buggy. It sets the tone for my entire shopping trip. It affects my decision making skills. It distracts me and causes me to buy too much coffee and lettuce and not enough freezer paper. Of all the possible buggy color choices, I simply cannot abide orange. Unless it is Thunder basketball season. Then only if I am wearing blue. I hate that this is so important to me, but it just is.

2.  Hammering my bony shin against the low metal bar of that stupid orange shopping buggy. Childbirth hurts less. I am pretty sure the fronts of my shins are both permanently dented. And it's not like walking more slowly helps that much! One wrong step and you're a victim.

3.  When people leave their hair styling products and hair brushes anywhere near the bathroom sink, where I brush my teeth. I have a very real mortal fear of getting hair in my mouth, so brushing my teeth where someone's hair might at any moment jump up on a light breeze and attack me... well, it is horrific. FOR-THE-LOVE-OF-GOD-BABE. I am begging you.

3.  Tangled up garden hoses. Especially when they are a hundred million miles long. Just kill me.

4.  House flies, squash bugs, and grasshoppers. In that exact order.

5.  Botching a great joke. Either by losing that good, funny rhythm or completely forgetting the punch line. This happens more than I care to admit.

   Whew!! I feel better. Thanks for listening. Now what silly little pebbles are stuck in your shoe?

"Adversity is like a strong wind. it tears away from us
 all but the things that cannot be torn,
 so that we see ourselves as we really are."
~Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

p.s. Have you read Memoirs of a Geisha? Good movie, great book. Treat yourself.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Apartment Windows

   You guys, I am about to blog about something I have not previously attempted to blog about. About which, about, blog about this... Whatever. Dangling prepositions are hard.*

   I am about to write about my house.

   The inside of it, not the garden. (gasp!) Specifically, the upstairs Apartment. If you're addicted to home interior blogs like I am, then brace yourself. You are gonna be grossly underwhelmed. But I am excited about some upcoming spruce-ups and thought I'd share.

   If you want to, you can click here to see some window dressing ideas I have collected on Pinterest. Yes, I have a Pinterest addiction. So do you. If you don't admit it; you're not an honest person.

   Anyway, below I will highlight some of my favorite inspiration photos so far.

   First, some Apartment facts:
  • It is the only room in our home with windows on three sides. Even on cloudy days is gets plenty o' sunshine. The natural light in there is really really beautiful.
The mess here is NOT really really beautiful. I know this. This was a million years ago, just when we moved here.
Now... the whole big room is "finished" at narrow sliver beneath the rafters
to the left of the window is a tiny attic bathroom. I love it. 
  • It was originally built as my girls' Apartment, and may serve in that way again some day. Right now it serves as a guest room, a sewing and arts room, my sometime-writing office, and more. 
  • The color palette is flexible because so many projects are in the works, but basically this is the only room in the house where I am fully indulging my love for mixing greens and blues.
My sweet, smart, beautiful youngest chicken helping to decorate the alcove where her bed once stood.
She added to the blue sky mural I painted, dozens of glow-in-the-dark stars, which still shine at night.
This photo seems like it was taken both a hundred thousand years ago and also yesterday.

  • Except no bright lime green curtains anymore, please. More on that below.
  • The Apartment has four sets of windows: Two sets on the north side, behind the twin beds, and one set each inside alcoves on the east and west ends of the long room. I am not sure that all four sets have to match. 
  • The room is carpeted. I think that matters a little bit when choosing window dressings.
   Okay. You are now basically an expert on the Apartment. 
  On to the inspiration photos:

   1. Long and Loose  I like these drapes for their length and big, elegant, pleated skirts that puddle so nicely. Perhaps they could afford to puddle even a bit more. What about the oatmeal color though? Really pretty, but perhaps too bland for this creative, energetic space. Again, long and loose. That is nice.

Muraca Design website

2. Balloonish and Bunchy  I like these for their more pulled together balloon poofiness. Except I have tried living with lime green curtains in this sun-filled room for quite a while, and I Just. Can't. Do it. Anymore. This is probably the only shade of green in the universe that make me want to puke. I need pink. Either hot pink or salmon or something pretty and glow-ish. But I do like this shape. Or navy blue? Or even black? Would that look too funeral-parlorish? Or maybe this playful shape and volume would offset the heft of back. Like, long curled eyelashes.

boho glamour blog

#3. Bohemian Paradise  But you know what? I really like... I mean, I LOVE these Bohemian curtains. Silk hankies and runners sewn into patchwork panels. Simple. Complicated. Colorful. Smooth. Interesting and dreamy. Love em. They make me want to burn sage and listen to Camelia Jordana. I have nothing bad to say about these other than that I would probably need to sew them myself. And I take forever to finish sewing projects.

Babylon Sisters Etsy shop

#4. Preppy and Modern  And how about these fresher, bolder, preppier graphic drapes? I groove the breath of clean air offered by the drapes below. But will this trellis pattern, like chevron, soon run its course? I mean, I am usually the last person in the world to worry too much about trends and following them, especially with interiors. HOWEVER  I don't want this space to look a decade old all of a sudden one day. You know?

Castle Creek Designs Etsy shop

   Friends, this space is important to me. I love the Apartment and all it has been and all it can be in the future. It needs to always be free to work hard and hold the promise of so many heartfelt dreams for our family. The window in this space connect all of that work and dreaming to the view of our farm fields. So the curtains are important!

   I would love to hear your opinions! Lay it on me.

*that's what she said

Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Morning Commute

   My morning commute is tough, friends. I mean, really tough.

   Just as the sun is crawling over the front field, I have to weave my way downstairs to my favorite coffee shop. Luckily I am always the first customer. And luckily they always get my order just right.

   Then, before I even realize what day it is, I have an early morning meeting with the CEO of our company. We almost always meet in the hot tub. Luckily he keeps a pretty loose dress code around here. And luckily he is really cute.

   Then, once I am caffeinated and have a decent grip on the day ahead, I have to battle gridlock. Chaos ensues when the chicken coop doors open and the guineas mix with the hens and and roosters. Sometimes I try to sort out the conflict; other times I tell them it's their problem. Yesterday someone filed a complaint in HR over abuse of the clear water in the wading pool. It's never ending drama around here. Luckily, I have lots of garden hoses to refill that wading pool. And luckily we also have a pond.

   Then we have the geese. They are the lobbyists around here: Noisy, overfed, and in my face when I could be doing so many other far more productive jobs. Luckily, four of them are afraid of me, And luckily, the fifth one loves me more than life itself.

   I try to stay calm on my morning commute. I try to work through the obvious difficulties and focus on the tasks at hand while maintaining a healthy perspective. You know, see both the forest and the trees.

   Luckily, I have the sweetest coworkers and am surrounded by beauty. 

   And luckily of course I never really have to commute anywhere.

   It's a tough job, and I am so happy it's mine.

   Linking up with Mama Kat today.
Prompt chosen because it was inspired by my good buddy Rose
who blogs over at OKRoserock.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...