Thursday, May 31, 2012

The ceiling

I mentioned in yesterday's post that some minor ceiling damage that happened on Tuesday. Here's the story. I've been going to the old-time music jam most Tuesdays, and I sometimes leave Mr W home for the hour or so, and sometimes I bring him with me. I took him with me this last time. We didn't get home really late, but he had enough time to have a bowl of cereal and then it was time for bed.

Except, he wanted to play more on his computer. See, it was my fault that the internet connection (hello? entitlement?) wasn't very good at the place the jam was at, so he deserved more time. In all seriousness, I do understand that he felt like he didn't get what I had promised, which was to get to do his thing while I did my thing.

Anyway, when I told him he couldn't play on the computer anymore, he got upset. He went to his room and was bumping about, and ended up in his bed (which is a loft bed) and was hitting the ceiling with his feet. Oops, too hard on that one, and he put a dent in the ceiling with his heel. When he started bumping around, I thought to myself, "well, if he busts something, it will be a good learning experience." I guess I felt this way because he was around his stuff (not my stuff!).

And as I would have predicted with my kid, he felt awful about it immediately. He was pretty hard on himself, and we got a chance to talk about what to do when you have those feelings, that everyone has those feelings, and it's what you do with it the matters, etc. In the midst of this, he was saying how much his step-brother picks on him, and how much he doesn't like the kid. I realize I only get one side of the story, and I have to remind myself of that often. But still, it's a stressor in his life that wasn't there before and that he didn't ask for. I'm trying to help him develop thicker skin, but it's a process.

I told him we'd patch the dent this weekend. Hello, puberty...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Little Violet

Well, I was going to post about the new dent in Mr W's ceiling, but I ran out of time this morning, so that's going to have to wait until tonight or tomorrow. All is well, and lessons were learned. 

In other news, here's a new CVB necklace I put on the Etsy site today. I made up several over the weekend and am listing one a day to sort of keep me active on the site.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Raised Beds 5-27-12

I thought I'd post a few raised bed pictures today. I'm not quite done planting, but what's there is doing well. Above shows what I refer to as the 'third' raised bed, although with the raspberries in the corner, it's really the fourth. I extended the soaker hose from the bed on the right, and consequently that bed doesn't get quite as much water as it used to. I think it's enough, though.

This bed has strawberries and... parsnips! Yes, parsnips. The garden store I was at had them, so I got them on a whim. I looked for seed potatoes at the garden store and they were out, so I bought some organic Yukon Gold spuds and am waiting for them to sprout so I can harden them off and plant them in the front part of this bed.

Here's my problem-child raised bed. Too much water at the end of the soaker hose last year combined with faulty corner reinforcement efforts on the part of the gardener (*ahem*) and the corner split over the winder. I've pounded several lengths of 3' rebar and it'll hold for another year or two. Note to self: next time, reinforce corners at the outset. I've still got the corner braces in the garage, unopened. This bed has my one tomato plant (several friends are planting many, many plants and I plan to be there to say, "Sure, I'll take a few extra, no problem"),  a few broccoli from seed that I'm not sure will do well because it's kind of late to be planting broccoli, and some herbs. 

The neighbor's volunteer mint is along the fence line on the right. I'll beat it back a few times over the summer, but don't really mind that it's there.

This one has onions on the left, a couple of cantaloupe plants, my lettuce and spinach, and carrots. I also planted some Calendula and Marigold seeds. Because I felt like it (ah, the benefits of being the only gardener in the house...). Getting to be time to harvest some of that spinach, it would seem.

My pot of flowers. Not much to see here yet. This one has some volunteer Nicotiana from last year, Gazania, and Viola. Raspberries in the back.

Obligatory dog picture. The Tail says, "I'm watching out for potential interlopers. Or cats. Or something. Maybe squirrels." She really needs a haircut, but her appointment isn't until June 7th. She's pretty wooly at the moment. 

This weekend brings graduation parties and a picnic with the single parent group tomorrow. The weather's been windy but nice. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Sifter

If you haven't checked out the site called Twisted Sifter, I'd encourage you to do so. They have wonderful photographs of all sorts of things. Here's one from today, taken in Taipei.

Wow, huh? Doesn't look like Colorado....

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pushing buttons

I went to pick up Mr W from his after school care and just as I was walking into the gym from the hall, he was walking in from outside. In tears. There is one child he has gone to school with since kindergarten that pushes his buttons, trash talks, makes outrageous accusations/ declarations at Mr W, all to get a rise out of him.

Is my kid totally clean in this? No, it seems that Mr W feels compelled to throw stuff back sometimes. I would put money on the notion that my kid does not start these confrontations, though. My kid is the one who still wants to get along, who yesterday, when this twerp was "ranking his friends" out on the school yard and Mr W for some reason wanted to be included, was told something like, "you don't get to be my friend".

Why this little cretin has chosen my child to torment is beyond me, except for the fact that Mr W reacts. It's easy for me to say, "just ignore him" and so very hard to do. It's gotten to the point that the kid escalates what he says in order to get Mr W to react. Ugh. I was very happy to hear the kid is not going to Mr W's middle school next year as we had originally thought. Good riddance.

Here's the thing, and I will tell this child when I see him next. Any time you do or say something to bring tears to someone else's eyes, it's wrong. Simple as that. Golden rule, buddy. Learn it.

Hey! On a lighter note, I just realized this is my 800th post to this blog. Thanks for reading it, and for your good comments.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


How about this corn? Beautiful. Here's the link to the story I saw about it.

From the story:

"No, this isn’t Photoshop or a gemstone-studded trinket—just an ear of corn. Seedsman Greg Schoen of theSeeds Trust got this “Glass Gems” corn from his “corn-teacher,” a part-Cherokee man in his 80s."


"But kernel color is a fascinating—dare we say, colorful—topic in the annals of genetics research. For one, why are there so many vibrant colors in a single ear of corn? You don’t usually see flowers of different colors on a single tree."

That's right. Come for the corn, stay for the genetics.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday recap

Another good weekend here. Mr W got a new computer game, and is crazy about it in a way that is fun to see. I did get some work out of him, though. We got the rest of the flowers planted that he picked out a couple of weeks ago, and he cut the grass. That last one is a job that I'm thrilled to pass on to the next generation. He had a friend over yesterday, and they walked downtown to get ice cream. By themselves. This was a big deal (for me!). The first time he's done that with a buddy. They were more than ready for the adventure. No big deal for them.

I did get a chance to see the eclipse. A glimpse of it anyway. I made a pinhole in a piece of paper and projected it on another piece of paper. Still pretty cool. I saw a picture of my cousin's set up in Las Vegas, where they could see the whole thing. She set up a pair of binoculars backwards towards the sun, set in a piece of cardboard and on a tripod. A really good set up. They the image was projected on a black piece of paper they had taped on a fence about 2 feet away. Cool.

On Saturday, the group of people I play banjo with was doing a jam downtown as part of the city's street art program. The city sets up areas around downtown and brings in performers, visual artists and the like, and people get to watch and ask questions. Sorry for the blurry picture. We played music and got a good response. This music is perfect for square dancing, and there are a couple of people in the group who know how to call dances. This is so very cool. When enough people were gathered around watching us play, the callers got them together, gave them quick instructions and got down to it. We played relatively simple songs, so it was good practice for me. This being the first time I played outside like this, I found myself easily distracted and lost my place several times.

This dancing stuff is one of the things I really like about old-time music. It's simple enough so a beginner like me can jump in, and one can learn the melodies and have fun with that. And, people can dance to it. There were lots and lots of smiles when people danced. That community aspect of it is very appealing to me, too. 

I talked to S, the woman who wants 800 buttons, on Friday and am excited about the project. I've ordered the clay cutters and met someone last night who might be able to make a holder for them so I can cut more at one time. At the moment my process is very labor intensive, with each button cut out by hand and each hole poked by hand. This will be a good opportunity for me to streamline things so I can more easily do bigger quantities. She's going to send me samples of the embroidery floss that goes in the kits and I'll match the colors. Did I mention this project is for making buttons for cross stitch kits? How cool is that? 

And, finally, here's something else I've been working on. It's the first CVB necklace I put up for sale on Etsy. Friend C, to whom I sent a prototype, worked out the last bit of the design, so I'm using her initials in the name. I like these. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Who knew?

Tonight is the Ignite Fort Collins event and I'm looking forward to my duties as a go-fer and to hearing the talks. My contact person among the organizers sent me an email a couple of days ago asking if I could pick up a roll of ticket that they could hand out to people to get their free beer as part of the ticket price they paid for the event. I said 'sure thing'.

Of course, I thought I knew where the party store was, and it's not there, it's another 10 minutes south and east. A few years ago, a big shopping development went up in a spot I consider the very edge of town, and although there is a Super Target there singing its siren song ("Come shop here - toiletries AND groceries, come on! It'll save you money and be worth the extra time...") I don't get there much. The party store was in that shopping center.

Have you been to a party store lately? Who knew there was such a thing? Not me. I felt like an alien or something, seeing all these shiny colorful things in one spot at the same time. I need absolutely nothing in the store, and I guess that's why I don't frequent it; it's an entire store of little luxuries. Still, I saw their Angry Birds birthday invitations, the printable banners, and the pinatas (pinatas are big out here for birthdays) and thought, "Well, at least if I ever need this kind of stuff, there's a store where I can get it."

I did cave and buy Mr W an Angry Birds little plush guy for his backpack.

There's a haze in town this morning because of the wildfire. It was weird that it seemed early yesterday that it was about out, because I couldn't see or smell any smoke. Apparently the wind shifted (and the firefighters knew this was coming, which I thought was pretty cool), and the fire took off in another direction. Now we've got slightly hazy conditions in town and it smells like a campfire. I am blown away at how much smoke, how much burned organic stuff, can be foisted into the atmosphere from one of these things.

In other news, this morning I got an email through Etsy asking if I had a catalog for my polymer clay buttons, as she needed "several hundred" for a project. Yowza. I haven't gotten back to her yet, but will exchange a few emails and see if I can get her what she wants and have it worth my while. If we agree that I'd make her, say, 200 buttons, does anyone have advice as to how much to discount what I charge and how to avoid getting stiffed? It's fun to think about, anyway.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I took the dog out this morning and the air smelled like smoke. There's a wildfire burning in our local canyon that started yesterday afternoon. So far it's been pretty well behaved, but it's always weird to go outside and have it smell like a campfire. It's far enough away that there is no threat here, but the smoke does make it to town. It's been really dry, so it will probably be a busy fire season. It makes me think about the people that live up the canyon, where there are few ways to get out in a hurry. Not sure I would opt for that location.

I've been sort of solitary the last few weekends without Mr W, which lets me get some stuff done around the house, but often makes me feel sort of isolated. Not for long, though. Summer is gearing up and there's lots going on in the next few weeks. I'm volunteering for an old-time music festival that is in a couple of weeks and organized by some of my dog park friends (the ones who play at the weekly jam). I'll work for four hours doing ticket and merchandise sales and get to attend the rest of it for free.

Ignite Fort Collins is this week, and I'm volunteering for that as well. I'll be doing mundane stuff like cutting up pizza and running around, but I also get to attend for free and I like the idea of the event a lot, so am happy to help out.

Then there's graduation parties at the end of the month. Such big accomplishments for both the kids and their parents (my dear friends), I'm looking forward to participating in the celebration.

And speaking of celebrations, Mr W has a "Continuation Ceremony" on his last day of school. I'm a little ambivalent about this, but will certainly attend and applaud loudly. I was going over my budget, as summertime childcare expenses are double what they are during the school year, and realized that this is the last summer I'll be spending that kind of money on childcare. Once they're in middle school, they are on their own more. Yikes.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The mixed Mother's Day

Mother's Day is a mixed thing for me. On the one hand, I'm proud to be mom to the fabulous Mr W ("you're the best mom I'll ever have, Mom", "Awww. Wait a minute."). I consider it my most important endeavor, no foolin'. He's with his dad today, so I won't see him until tomorrow. That's fine, I imagine his dad will have him make a card or something like that.

I had lunch with my former MIL on Friday, an outing that was long overdue. I easily get wracked with guilt if I don't keep up that relationship. She'll call me occasionally, but I'm usually the one to call and make plans, and that's more than OK. She's earned the privilege. She's been sick with this and that, so understandably hasn't felt up to going out (although I think she knows I'm happy to just go there for a visit, too). But she's on the mend, so we went and got some lunch. It was good to catch up.

And of course, I miss my mom. That's her in 1967 or so. It feels like an extra kick in the pants that I miss my sister as well today. But I give that stuff a chance to well up and then it recedes; it's part of being alive (and still here!). Starting a couple of days ago, when I've been by myself and thinking about my mom, I've felt compelled to call out, "Ma!" "Ma!" And then I say something like, "I miss you and I love you". Not in a sad or questioning kind of way, but more like I want to tell her something. Funny.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Now it's buttons

I think the hunt for bracelet stuff is a significant part of what makes it fun for me. I was poking around eBay, and saw some nifty old buttons that would work on my bracelets. Let me tell you, if you've got any interest in old buttons, there are tons (OK, pounds and pounds) of them on eBay. It's really something. It's the same kind of thing as with the old watches. These are things that most everyone had, and some folks had a lot of them. It seems, then, that there is an almost infinite supply.

Here are some that I'm looking at:

Nice mother of pearl buttons. I love the luster.

OK, I'm not seriously considering this one, which is a whopping eight pound of buttons, but felt compelled to share. The current bid is $24.50 and it's got a day to go yet. I don't know where I'd keep them all, so I'm generally setting my sights on smaller lots. The thought of becoming a button collector doesn't really appeal either. But wow.

I couldn't copy the larger version of these, but they look really interesting. Metal filigree over color. 

And I probably can't use these, but they sure are pretty! Glass buttons. I'm like a crow - hey, is that something shiny?

It's graduation day for the local university, and kind of grey and potentially drizzly. This says to me quite clearly: "Garage Sales" and "Plant Store". And other garden-y and crafty stuff. Hope you have a good weekend too.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hi blog, howareya?

It's funny to me how writing on this blog has become part of my routine such that not doing it for a few days feels weird. So here I am, although I don't have much in the way of big stuff going on. I'm making a bracelet for my banjo instructor to give as a wedding gift. She wanted to personalize it, so I lined up various bits for her to choose from and took this picture:

It's been my experience so far to have several people say they'd like to do this, but they don't tell me what they want, so the process stalls. I thought maybe I'd work up several of these in different color schemes and make those available for custom orders. 

I made the picture huge on my preview - does it bleed over the margins when you view it? 

After my face-reddening experience at work the other day, I've been taking Excel spreadsheet data and doing this and then that, and cut and paste, and I'm a little weary of all the screen time, but should be done with it today. I've been in the lab some, too and that makes me happy.

I think I've got my irrigation all set to accommodate the fourth raised bed. This strikes me as SO me, but I have the water timer installed (which takes some doing because all of the fittings want to leak, as does the faucet itself) and haven't programmed it yet. I saw that stuff was looking a little limp yesterday and turned it on manually, which you don't have to tell me sort of defeats the purpose of having a timer. Must go to the garage and read the instructions... 

I'm looking forward to getting more stuff planted this weekend, although it's supposed to rain some. I really do like to hit my three favorite plant stores in town and see what they've got. It's kid-candy store level for sure.

That's about it. Nothing major to complain about, nothing hurts, dog and child are healthy, I still have a job, and life is good. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Embarrassing myself at work

I attended a phone conference yesterday with my boss and the people we're working with in California. Afterwards, I was discussing the work with him, and was explaining that the genetic characteristics of one group of mosquitoes we worked with there aren't as strong and obvious as when we've worked with specimens of that group from other parts of the country.

Our shorthand for the group is P. The other group we refer to as Q.

I found myself talking about the "P-ness" of the group in California, in comparison with this group from other parts of the country, and said it a couple of times. Go ahead, say it out loud. "P-ness" P-ness".

That sound you hear now? Me smacking my forehead again. When I told Mr W, he thought this was hilarious. I'm very thankful my boss either didn't get it or let it go so as not to embarrass me. I did pretty good embarrassing myself, it would appear.

Monday, May 7, 2012

It's Raining!

Ha! Normally that would not be news around here at this time of the year (or would it ever be news in many parts of the country in Spring) but it has been so very dry this year that the good soaking rain that started last night is most welcome.

It started when we were at the dog park. It's funny how the dogs really don't care when it's a light but steady rain. Mr W offered to run with the dog around the block, but I realized I like to see the dog park folks, so we went to the dog park. On days when I have my spinning class though, time-wise it's easier to just walk her around the neighborhood.

It was a good weekend. I think I've got my irrigation figured out for the fourth raised bed. It still looks like this (minus the goofy dog):

and I extended the system of soaker hoses over from the bed on the far right to the bed in the front of the photo. I fiddled with the the various parts of it, and moved a shutoff valve from one end of the sections of soaker hose to the other and I think it's as good as it's going to get. The third bed gets a little less water, so I'll have to pay attention and plant stuff close to the hose. 

And with all this rain, I think it'll be good to get out in the next couple of days and plant the stuff that will grow from seed this year. 

Mr W came with me to the plant store, and wanted to pick out colors of annuals. He chose dark purple, yellow, blue, and some of those screaming pink spiked Celosias that I have never bought because they seem kind of gaudy. Awesome. 

I had forgotten that this particular nursery sells almost all of its perennials in gallon pots only. I complained here on the blog about this before, and well, it still annoys me. Annoys me because they expect people to pay $10 for one plant?! Please. I deliberately chose annuals from this shop that were 4 packs (forget six packs anymore, it seems). I'll buy my Penstemmons elsewhere. I'm thankful that there are several good garden stores in town.

Friday, May 4, 2012


As far as exercise goes, I've never been much of a runner. Come to think of it, I've never been much of an exerciser until the last couple of years. Really. It goes to show that one can make changes and get benefits just about anytime, one just has to start. But I always feel heavy when I run; it always feels like work. 

Now biking is a different animal all together. And the group fitness thing has always been a good motivator for me, so Spinning has worked out well. So much so I'm sort of considering getting a road bike at some point. Not immediately, but I'll consider it on the list. Unlike some places, bikes rule here, meaning that it's a very bike-friendly town. 

But running. My Spinning instructor and another person in the class are running in the Colorado Marathon this weekend. Instructor C is running the whole thing (!) and fellow spinner J and her husband are doing the half (still, !). They do it because they love to run. J has had knee problems and it's affected how much she can run, but she's trained and wants to do this race, so she'll give it her best shot. 

They all did this last year, and another spinner D went down to the finish line to make noise and cheer them on. I vowed to be there this year, so Mr W and I will hop on our bikes and head down to the finish line to do just that. Heck, if I'm not going to run, I can at least be a good cheerleader, right? 

In other news, I'm learning Foggy Mountain Breakdown in banjo lessons. This guy plays really fast and really well, but if you squint your ears a little, you'll be able to hear sort of what I sound like. Maybe you can imagine slowing it down like they do in the movies. It's short and sweet.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Little Giveaway

I'm doing a giveaway my bracelet FB page. Leave a comment there (not here) and I'll use a random number generator to pick a winner on Sunday. This is the bracelet that will be given away:

Good luck!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Judging a book by...

Mr W routinely judges books by their covers. I'm not trying to be symbolic or metaphorical, he'll select books from the library based on what they look like from the outside. I've always encouraged him to read, and hold it as the thing that he does (usually) to earn time playing on the computer. I also pick out the majority of books that he reads from the library.

Part of this has been because he'll read the same Calvin and Hobbes books over and over again, and I want him to branch out. I also don't mind steering him towards books I think he'll like that I think are pretty cool.

A few months ago, a friend's husband had a Kickstart project where he was raising money to publish a kid-lit novel. I kicked in and got a signed copy of the book when it was published. The book sat ignored on Mr W's shelf. Yesterday, after reluctantly getting off the computer, he moped around saying there was nothing to read. He wandered into his room and came out with the book.

And proceeded to be captured and engrossed by this book, laughing out loud, saying, "Mom, listen to this", and generally enjoying himself. It was really cool to see. He also really liked that the author signed the book for me.