Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Teen is okay. 2 1/2 inch hematoma to the skull, a bit owie, but otherwise okay. No ideas as to why she blacked out, though, so we will keep an eye on it and if it happens again it will be off to Boston for testing.

As for me, a fever of 101, cough, sniffles, chills. Ugh. I feel like poo.

More as health allows...thanks for your patience. It is tough being a sick single mom. I think that having someone to help, or to comfort me when I feel crappy is one of the things I miss about being in a relationship. This is the first time I have been THIS sick in a number of years. Kick in the pants, I tell 'ya.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Crazy Life

I intended to write up a post yesterday. Really, I did. But my day (and most days, actually) went sorta like this:

I noticed right away that my throat was really very sore...thought it was an over-snore thing, but no...I have a cold.

5AM: get up and take the dog out for a piddle
5:30 : wake up Older teen for school
5:35: feed all the critters and make strong coffee
5:40: put wet clothes into dryer and scoop litter
6:00: empty dishwasher and get breakfast for kids and myself
6:30: wake up younger teen for school
6:50: take older kid to school
7:10: take younger kid to school
7:30-9:30 run with Lux in the woods
9:45: throw Lux in the tub to be rid of whatever the hell she rolled in at the swamp
10:30 check and answer email, start to work on blog stuff (a typical blog post takes about 2 hours of preparation)
11:00-1:00: work on content management for a website of a client
(somewhere in there throw in a 20 minute dog walk)
1:30 make some lunch and gobble it down
2:00 pick up older teen at school and take her to crafts store for project supplies
3:00 half hour dog walk
3:30-4:30 One hour of work for a client
5:00 Take younger teen to orthodontist appointment
6:00 make dinners (fish for one/turkey for the other)
7:00 start helping older teen with navigating the web to find maps for her project for french class

Somewhere in there the younger teen started yelling about a t-shirt and a stain of some sort. It escalated from there...she came dangerously close to losing her trip to the Carnival this weekend.

8:00 get an email from a client asking for an image for a project he is doing.
8:30 last dog walk of the day
9:00 go to bed

Toss, Turn, cough and sputter all night long. Wake up and take some homeopathic stuff for restless leg syndrome. (I have had this for several years now and man, it is not fun)

Today started sort of like yesterday only I was more tired.

Then, around 6:45 I hear a huge crash from upstairs. I run up to find my younger teen on the floor crying. Apparently she blacked out when she got up from bed and fell and hit her head on the windowsill. And, yeah, she probably got a concussion so I am off to the pediatrician for the second time in four days.

So, no post beyond this one today.

I am up to my eyeballs in Life right now.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Phone Cam Update

Sometimes I take pictures with my phone camera when I am out walking...the following is a selection from the past few days:

I saw this just minutes ago. Now, if this was MY truck, I would have written all over that plough. I think it looks like a map from an imaginary place, don't you? I would put labels on the continents and paint ships in the imaginary water. But, that's just me. I am a bit creatively whacky like that.

Mr. and Mama Goosie. They live in the pond at the end of my street. On our walk yesterday we did not see Muskrat Susie or Muskrat Sam, but we DID get a good gander (heh) at the nest. Since we walk there every day, the goosies were really fine with us visiting. They no longer honk, but are quiet and graceful as we peak to see how the babies are doing...

This is from just minutes ago as well...this is what we call Critter Cottage. Once, just ONCE we saw a skunk waddling into this shed in the darkening light of dusk. So, now EVERY time we pass by Lux needs to check to see if that skunk is still in there. Steel trap memory, I tell ya. Needless to say I keep hydrogen peroxide and baking soda on hand at home because I KNOW, in the deepest part of my spirit, that Lux will be skunked sometime...

I am off to the woods for a run with Lux. I will post a real Keen post later, but I wanted to stop by and drop a few images into your lap.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Getting Real

I have not had a good, hard cry since the Peyton incident. Tonight, as I was walking Lux I had tears pouring down my cheeks and sobs wracking my body. I think I just got overwhelmed with a few things...

First, a wonderful senior year teen in our town died suddenly last week. Alex, or "Dash" as he was known to his track buddies was crossing the finish line in a race and he just collapsed. His parents had to put him into a medically induced coma until they could figure out what went wrong. By the end of the week, they had to pull the plug. He was brain dead.

Read more about it here

We have lost a number of teens over the past two years in this town. Most were due to car accidents. Somehow this one touched me deeply, and as I walk past the huge church every day, I managed to pass by during the release of the people from his wake and Mass on Thursday. Seniors, hundreds of them, were gathered, shoring one another up, in tears... the grief was palpable. Heavy. Waves. Incessant.

I drove from one client to another yesterday and managed to get caught at the intersection where his funeral procession was passing. It took a full 10 minutes. I turned off my car and sat in silence, praying, feeling, hoping...

I told someone this week that I have a feeling that when a child is taken so swiftly from this world they must be needed somewhere else, Special Ops, some soul somewhere needed that person in a way that necessitated his loss. It is the only way it makes sense to me.

I hugged my own teens harder this week.

Secondly, my older daughter's boyfriend announced that he is enlisting in the Army next week. I knew he was considering this. I knew he had gone in for the testing. He told me how well he had done, which I expected, as he is incredibly brilliant.

In some ways I know this will be an amazing opportunity for him. He has been lacking some direction, and with a brain as amazing as his, that leads to no good. He craves brotherhood, structure, purpose. And he will get it...

And the other side of the coin is my fear. This war just became incredibly real for me, for my family, for my daughter. This is the first boy she has ever loved. For almost 1 1/2 years they have been together, laughing in my house, coming for dinner, snuggling with my family pets watching TV...I am afraid for another loss, the imminent one with his leaving for Basic Training at Fort Bragg. But more cutting is the fear I now have of the possibility of his facing combat.

So there it is. My Deep Stuff for today.

This won't be the last time I say this:

Fuck you, Bush.

Good Morning!


Lux and I took our traditional "Administrative Walk" this at 5:30 morning. The morning light was peeking out, the air was crisp and, most excitedly, the squirrels were teasing us the whole time. They would walk just ahead of us, scampering then stopping, then walking SLOWLY to a tree. Lux just about popped her chain a number of times. I think if the world suddenly came to an end and Lux was presented with a squirrel as the only survivor other than herself, she would be a very happy doggie.

Here are some other images from this morning:


I dunno why I took this, except that I am grooving on the colors against the black.


The Trinitarian Church on the next street over from my home. The bells ring at noon every day. These bells ringing are the reason why Belle was named Belle. She was born as those bells rang in the mid-day.


This Captain's House is around the corner from my street. We visit many times a day, in different light. I am always hoping to see a ghost in the Widow's Walk. It is a really lovely property.


I see this everyday, too. And it makes me think about the metaphor here. I am constantly working on keeping my heart open, instead of locked against the world.


The "Poor Cynthia"bushes are all bursting.

Your Daily Dose of Cool Things:

Seen on a website for Funky Things:

Note the item: DEAD BEARS. I wonder how many orders they get for those. And what the hell is the shipping on that??? I mean, really...and "Oh, just leave the dead bear on the back porch if I am not home when you deliver..." (yes, I know these are really for the colorful Grateful Dead bears, but it did tickle my funny bone anyway)

Keen Things as a graph

Firespiral Arts as a graph

Websites as Graphs!! Click here to Check it Out!!

Your Daily Dose of Wonderful Design:

Surgeons have used 'em for years. This makes so much sense!

"Foot pedal faucet controllers allow you to control a faucet hands-free. These devices are efficient and hygienic — they are commonly found in commercial kitchens and hospitals. I’m not sure why we don’t see them in more homes. You can reduce water use by 50% using pedal controllers, and if it’s hot water, you’ll be saving power too." Via

Your Daily Dose of Inspiring Words:


"To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Your Daily Dose of Wicked-Good Food:

Simple Lemon Soy "Yogurt"

1 package of Silken Tofu (I use Nasyoya brand)
2 lemons, juiced and zest about 3 tablespoons worth
1/3 cup honey

Plop the entire box of tofu in a blender or processor. Add the juice of 2 lemons and the honey. Blend until smooth. Ta Da! I have mine in the morning with rolled oats. Very Healthy, lots of protein and very little fat. You may use sugar, or non-sugar Sweeteners like Splenda (ick) instead of honey if you must.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Iz gonna be Hektik.

Many dog walks, Lux to Vet for suture removal, softball practice, and various thangs. I will try to pop in for a post later. In the meantime, check out this video about Dove Products:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Before and After...

The past two days have kept me really very busy. While my girls were out of town I took the time to do a few youngest had told me she would love a purple room. She picked out a color and that was that...or so she thought! I started peeling off the Nasty Ballerina Border only to find that it had another More Nasty and Vermicious Safari Border beneath it, one which was painted over. I tried removing it, to no avail, so I took the next best route which was sand, skim coat with joint compound, sand again and paint. It took a damn long time, but I finally finished the walls and I have still a bit of trim to do, but here are the results.

As you can see the walls were in awful shape. The wall board did not even butt up evenly. I taped and rebuilt the corners on both sides. A long time ago, I rebuilt an old farmhouse living room wall, one with old wooden lath and plaster with horsehair in it. It did not help that it was across the field from a pig farm and it was August. This was MUCH more pleasant.


I sewed this quilt for Meredith when she was 2. At that time she had a light yellow room. Every night we have a familiar conversation. It goes like this:

Me: " Who made this quiltie for you??"

Meredith: "YOU did Mama!"

Me: "And WHY did I do that?"

Meredith: "Because you love me!!"

Me: "More than???..."

Meredith: "Whipped Cream!!"

It is a familiar golden thread that remains from her infancy to this day. And, for the record, I love, love, love this quilt.

The name of the paint we chose is Ace Hardware brand named Shah's Court (A48-4) , and it is a loverly violet/lilac purple.

I also cleaned out a major portion of my basement, resulting in five contractor bags full of mildewy, yucky crap which was carted away by the town today. More to do down there, but at least it was a major dent in a huge project.

Much wood was collected, too!


Because Lux still has her stitches in place on her hind legs, I am unable to let her run free in the woods. It has been a long ten days, many walks on leash in exchange and every squirrel in a five mile radius is on high alert. Tonight we startled some muskrats at the pond at the end of our street. It took every ounce of strength and every atom of redirection I could muster to keep her from launching into the murky water. As it is her paws got wet, and thus her bandages, this afternoon when she found a small stream to pounce in. I had to cut off her bandages and re-bandage. Sigh. Tomorrow, out come the stitches and we may then romp in the woods on Friday, which is a Supremely KEEN Thing!

Your Daily Dose of Cool Things:

Junk Mail Art by Sandy Schimmel

Teardrop Trailers by Go Little

Your Daily Dose of Wonderful Design:

Design by Fuchs-Funke (Say What?!)

Your Daily Dose of Inspiring Words:

"We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about."
— Charles Kingsley

Your Daily Dose of Wicked-Good Food:

While my kids were gone I promised myself I would not buy more food. I would eat what I had in my fridge or my cabinets. I ran out of milk. No problem. I ran out of bread. No problem. I wanted to challenge myself to come up with cool food with whatever I could pull from my already bought resources. I found a can of octopus in olive oil. This salad was born.

Octopus Salad (2 servings)

1 can octopus in olive oil
shredded lettuce/ handful
sliced red cabbage/ a few spikes for color
sesame seeds
2 tablespoons Dulse seaweed flakes (available at Whole Foods or health stores, this is very high in trace minerals and is extremely healthy for you!!)
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon thyme
cracked pepper

Drain the octopus reserving the oil for the dressing. Arrange your lettuces and top with the octopus. For the dressing, take the oil from the can and add the juice of 1 lemon, the thyme and some pepper to taste. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, then sprinkle the Dulse Seaweed flakes, sesame seeds and additional pepper or salt to taste.

Pretty. Tasty. Very economical. Tons of Protein.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Weekend Update: Redux

A snapshot of last night's fire. Lux was laying down on the grass beside my chair, chewing on a bone, the moon was full and I tended the fire for 2 hours. It was wonderful. 3 beers wonderful. Though I have to admit, Lux had about half a beer herself. Heh.

This is a Pie Iron. For those not "in the know" a Pie Iron is a cast iron sandwich maker on a long pole. You butter bread on the outside and then put in any filling you like, sweet or savory, then close it up and return it to the coals for a while, flipping after about 4 minutes or voila!!

Mine was on marbled Rye and had a filling of mixed cheeses and crab meat. And it was Totally Yummy! Many thanks to the kind person who sent this to me last fall. This was my virgin attempt and I must say that I will probably use it everytime...imagine...chocolate, banana, marshmallow...ooh....or raspberry and marscapone...oooh!!! Drool!

Speaking of Sweets, I had to buy these today. I used to stop at the corner store at the end of the paper route my childhood friend had. We would pack our pockets with a selection of Chuckles, Twizzlers, Razzles, Sweet Tarts, Charms Lollypops, Turkish Taffy and/or Mallow Cups. (I never sent in those little cards in the package...did anyone out there do that???) Every once in a while we would splurge on a huge bag of these and eat them all until our tongues were stinging, which takes about half a bag.

I have been very good. I have only had 6 today.

Such Restraint.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Weekend Update:

"Garden Hose, oh Garden hose, how beautiful your curves are!" I needed another hose. (ahem) I got one with a Spiffy Keen nozzle to water my wildflower seedlings. And doggie. And, and, and, all SORTS of thangs.

Red Sox Nation: Lux went in for her bandage change and suture check today. It was a long wait, and I could hear her whining in there as the myriads of folks with their critters came in for various and sundry things, though it seemed like lots of people were boarding for the weekend. I did not like hearing my baby cry like that. But, she came out sporting these lovely Red bandages, and I think we both like them, lots. Go Red Sox!!

When I walk in the woods I gather wood. When I walk along the roads, I gather wood. I should probably wear a little red cape, rub dirt on my face and look like a street urchin gathering firewood to keep us warm. Nonetheless, this stuff is EVERYWHERE, and valuable to me as firewood. So I take it when it is appropriate. I came off with a huge haul this morning. Many folks in the neighborhood are clearing out their yards of waste and there are piles of sticks on the sidewalk to be hauled away by the trash dudes. Not if I can help it! I need all the wood I can get. Tonight will be the first fire of the season.

When I got Lux the previous owners fessed up to her "bad habit". "She loves beer", they said. Considering she was poked and prodded today, and I most definitely was NOT (*le sigh*), we are sharing some beer this evening by the fire.

The rest of the day sorta went like this:

Walk. Rest. Soak footies. Walk. Rest. Soak footies. Do finances. Do laundry (Yay for drying in the Sun!) Take Lux to Vet. Go to DPW for Hazardous Waste Day and be rid of ancient printer. I also had a loverly talk with Mom on the phone...(*waves*). One of the funnies (and we always have funnies when we talk) went like this:

Mom: "So, Dear, are you having any Fun?"

Me: "Um, no...not so much. Mostly work"

Mom: "Oh, Dear! You should get out and have some fun!"

Me: "Well, I have my friend, Jenny, and a book group..."

Mom: "I meant FUN, fun"

Me: "Mom...I like dogs way more than I like most people"

Mom: " Me, too..."

Me: "I mean, really now...dogs may FORGET where they hid the bone, but they never LIE about it!"

**Giggle fits**

I also headed over to the hardware store to pick up the paint for Daughter #2's bedroom. I had hopes of finishing the painting before she comes home from Texas, but the border the previous tenants put up was attached with Universal Sacred Super Glue from Space, and despite all attempts at scoring and using DEF spray etc, it is rather like peeling a very sticky Marshall's label from the bottom of some stupid vase or something. One tiny bit at a time. Gah. And Foo. I think I may just find another border to slap on top of it. Really now, this is a rental.

So tonight is Fire Bowl Night, and perhaps a hot bath. Tomorrow, more laundry, some work, and Netflix. Currently in possession are:

Music and Lyrics ( Hugh Grant/ Drew Barrymore: Looks sappy but what the hell)
Bed and Board (Another Francois Truffaut masterpiece, I hear. One I have not seen yet)

And I must finish Breakfast on Pluto (which I highly recommend!) From the cover I report:

"Cillian Murphy heads a solid cast in director Neil Jordan's spirited romp based on Patrick McCabe's boisterous novel. Born the love child of a priest (Liam Neeson) in a conservative Irish hamlet, transvestite Patrick Braden (Murphy) leaves small-town life behind and heads to swinging 1970's London to find the mother who abandoned him. Along the way, Patrick--who's a trouble magnet--unwittingly takes up with an Irish Republican Army gunrunner."

It certainly is a real treat, along the lines of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Catch it if you can.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Blogger seems a bit wonky today. Some of my posts are missing links or videos or html stuff. Let's just be patient for a little while. Maybe the Intarwebbzez will dramatically improve with time...


State of the Union

I am not entirely sure why it is so, but over the past two days things have gotten remarkably copacetic in the critter department. Spring has sprung, and that means the kitties are in and out the window at will, checking out the bugs and flowers, trees and bushes. Lux really enjoys her kennel (especially because I save the REALLY GOOD BONES AND TREATS for that space). Anyway, last night Suki was sitting atop our kitchen table, checking out the world, and Lux walked right up to her...and neither did a thing. They just stood there, being calm and natural. Lux walked away. Suki stretched out. At one point Suki was under the table and Lux came up to be near her and started tapping on my jacket, which was in front of Suki, trying to play with her, very, very gently. The arm of the jacket was swaying right in front of Suki's nose. She did not play, but she did not run, either, and this is a Good Thing. It was so cute! It continued like that all evening. This morning Suki walked right by Lux and Lux did not attempt to chase at all! Yay! Belle is a tougher nut to crack, though. She and Lux are more alike. Hunters, ever vigilant. I think that because Lux has been pretty dopey up until yesterday, that gave the kitties a bit of time to feel her calmer energy and be less reactive. Lux is back to her playful self again, but somehow it seems the spell has broken, and that is great. I want my critters to be able to be happy in the same space together.

The toes are doing better every day. A major portion of the underside of one of my toes is now raw, as the huge blister finally broke, but I am still soaking my footie in sea salt water three times a day, and using a natural salve. I spend larger portions of the day without discomfort. Whenever I can, I take off my shoes and socks and let the toesies get air. Lux and I look funny walking, her with her green and white bandages on her back paws and me hobbling about. She goes back Saturday to have her bandages changed, and then back again in five days to have her sutures removed.

The girls have headed to Texas with their step-mom for a few days to visit their cousins. I am taking Monday and Tuesday off from work, as I need to address some household issues that require time and energy (read:clear out the basement and paint Younger Daughter's bedroom a lovely Lilac color). Although I still wake at 5 AM, just because that is when I wake up (I have been doing so for almost 18 years now) I don't have to get kids ready for school for three mornings, and that is Very, Very Keen.

Your Daily Dose of Cool Things:

I have always loved Bela Fleck, and this is one really good example of why.

You just Gotta LOVE this ad for Discovery Channel:

I might be renting this tiny little A-Frame in Maine at some point this it not the cutest???? ( for more see:

Your Daily Dose of Wonderful Design:

A great blog about handmade furniture by someone who makes it:

(Check out the posts about John Sterling and Gale Satterlee)

Your Daily Dose of Inspiring Words ( Scrabble Version):

Qutb: n. an Islamic saint who has reached the highest degree of sanctity.
Mulct: n. 1. a fine or penalty. 2. a blemish
Gamp: n. a large umbrella
Culch: n. odds and ends of meat
Serac: n. part of a glacier left behind
And my personal favorite today: Troat: v.t. to cry out like a rutting buck.

Sweet Potato with Crispy Carmelized Orange Peel
(serves 2)

Powdered sugar is finely ground sugar mixed with cornstarch. Cornstarch is often used in Oriental cooking in the fry process because it adds a crispness to the finished dish. I decided to try this out this morning. Both Lux and I approve highly.


1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup baking mix/Complete pancake mix
1 orange peel, julienned into thin strips
1 large sweet potato
grapeseed oil (to fill fry pan about 1 inch)

Mix the powdered sugar and baking mix in a shallow dish.
Thinly cut the sweet potato lengthwise in thin strips (about 1/8 inch)
Dredge both the orange peel and potato in the sugar/baking mix until lightly covered
Gently slide the slices of both into the oil, a few at a time and cook, turning after a few minutes, until golden brown.

Drain on paper towels.

Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Whereupon I deliver...

Okay, as promised, here are some Cool, Wonderful, Inspiring and Wicked-Good things for you to ponder upon: (and, yes, my toes are feeling better!)

Your Daily Dose of Cool Things:

This video is really amazing. At times, the freaky visuals tweak my brain, but overall, the animation in this is extrordinary.

This little kid makes me smile in a BIG WAY:

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Your Daily Dose of Wonderful Design:

Amazing Tungsten Rings

Not that I am considering marriage ever again, but, damn, these are really keen rings!

Crazy Staircase designed by TAF

Your Daily Dose of Inspiring Words:

“Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.” Simone Weil

Your Daily Dose of Wicked-Good Food:

Delicate Crab Soup

1 quart lobster broth (you could use clam broth, or other fish broth)
bits of yummy meat from lobster
1/2 can crab meat
1 cup "cream"
1 teaspoon tarragon

I bought myself a lobster the other night to celebrate finishing my taxes. After dinner, I saved the carcass and took out the bitter parts, put the rest back into the steaming water, added more, and some sea salt and continued to simmer to render a tasty broth. I also picked the meat out of the backfin portion of the lobster. There are lovely, tasty pockets of flesh to be had in the deep parts of the thorax portion. I reserved those in a little bowl. Today I simmered the broth, added the lobster bits, and added 1/2 can of crabmeat. I added about 1 cup of Fat Free "Cream", about 1 teaspoon of tarragon and a sprinkle of Old Bay Seasoning. Garnished with tomato slices