Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Springtime

It is spring.  The calender says so, but more important than that, the world around me is saying so.  Quite loudly, in some cases.  The Northern Flickers started screaming their territorial call (the second one down here, if you want to take a listen) two weeks ago, I noticed.  One cannot really help but notice them.  It is pretty much an incessant shrieking.  I saw my first spring flowers last week on my walk home from work.  Yellow ones of an unknown variety, followed by lovely purple crocuses the next day.  The garlic greens have broken through their winter blanket of leaves.  The tulips, bleeding heart, and irises are up, but without any flower buds yet.  The fruit trees and driveway hedge are budding and leafing out.  It was a gloriously nice weekend and so we spent much of it outdoors.  Ginger is taking supervised visits outside and is just in love with it.  The sights, smells, tastes....she is a happy kitty.  None of us wanted to be inside this weekend!  She ate grass and rolled contentedly in the dirt while we planted some peas, greens, and early potatoes.  It is spring, glorious, glorious spring.
Pea planting.
Ginger scouting the yard from the tree well of one of our apple trees.
A garden overview.
Crocuses.
(I wrote this post on Tuesday, but didn't have the photos I wanted to go along with the text.  Today, Wednesday, we awoke to snow.  So, it IS spring, but it is also still springtime in Montana.  Of course, by the time of my writing, the snow is almost completely gone again.)
A garden overview.
Garlic sprouts in the snow.
Snow on the driveway hedge.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Three Years Already!

At the start of the month Matt and celebrated the third anniversary of owning our own little piece of paradise--our sweet little home and our itty-bitty urban homestead.

We marked the day by treating ourselves to a spread of "special" food and drink, the sort of things we don't often splurge on.  Food is how we celebrate!
Matt started the day by cooking up some Tempeh Biscuits and Gravy for breakfast.
After we got home from work we had a little store-bought luxury snack:  Daiya jalapeno havarti-style cheese on Back to Nature spinach and roast garlic crackers.
Along with the crackers we enjoyed a fancy-pants Belgian-style pale ale called Matilda which had been aged in the bottle two years.  It was very tasty.
For dinner we had a pizza so loaded with toppings it was unreal--bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, Field Roast sausage, and Daiya mozzarella--layered, overlapping, on top of each other.
We capped off the night with my favorite alcoholic beverage of all time--Lambic, the raspberry variety.  If you haven't had this taste explosion I highly recommend it.  Its worth every penny for the happy tastebuds.  Amazing stuff.
Ginger got the cork from the bottle of lambic to add to her ball-like toy collection!  Everyone wins!
It is remarkable how quickly the time has passed since we signed the papers and sealed the deal.  There have been many, many happy hours working the soil and growing things in the garden, playing board games around the table, having campfires in the backyard, visits from friends and family, hours spent playing with Ginger, hosting dinner parties and clothes swaps, and swinging in the hammock out front.  We continue to make it ours more and more with each passing day.  It may not be perfect or shiny or new, but it is perfect for us.  We're so happy here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Scrabble Dorks, 2nd Edition

Last week Matt and I tabulated our Scrabble stats, updating the data to include the past couple years worth of games.  Since we hadn't updated our spreadsheet since 2013, the stack of old score sheets was once again piling up inside the box.  From the data we made a few statistical observations about our Scrabble skills.
In 2013 we were dead-even in wins.  I have now pulled just ever so slightly into the lead in this category.  Matt has 73 wins to his name and I have 76.  There are an additional two games which ended with a tie.
In the average score department I am also ever so slightly in the lead.  Matt's average score is 265.0687023, while my average is 268.6231884.
But, Matt still holds the title for the highest score recorded, at 430 points in one game.  The highest that I have ever attained was 387 points.  But, that is 42 points higher than my best game back in the 2013 stats.  So, I'll take it.  I would still like to break 400 sometime though.
Matt also gets almost twice as many "bingos" as I do.  20 bingos for him to my 12.  It was interesting to note, however, that when I get a bingo I am guaranteed to win the game.  That is not the case for Matt.  Just because he gets one doesn't mean he will win.  About half of the time I still manage to beat him, bingo or no bingo.
Overall though, we remain remarkably even matched.  That is one thing I notice right off.  I mean, I may have more wins, but only three more so its not really much of a bragging right or anything.  I think this evenly matched skill level probably helps us both continue to improve our playing.  We are evenly matched enough that the games are quite enjoyable.  As such, we want to play a lot of games together, so we continue to get a lot of practice.  If one of us always lost it would likely have grown less fun over the years.  However, since we've grown in skill together--expanding our use of unusual two letter wordshooksparallel words, and such--it remains a very fun and challenging game for us both.
There is room in the Scrabble box again.  We've already started filling it back up with score sheets.
All photos from a folfing/kite-flying outing March 7, 2015.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Desiderata

The last time I visited my grandparents I noticed a framed poem--Desiderata--hanging in the kitchen.  It was amazing.  I was immediately taken with it.  The words really moved me.  The calligraphy was lovely, too.
So, later, I found an attractive print online and framed it from my stash of garage sale frames.  And I hung it in my kitchen.  Its a beautiful piece--something to aspire to--and it makes me think of my grandparents--people to aspire to as well.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Rear-View Mirror iPod Bag Creation

Our car stereo is broken.  It inexplicably stopped working while we were away on our Honeymoon Megavacation.  It worked when we left.  We came home and it didn't work any more.  It was weird.  I suppose we could take it into for repair, but, meh, we haven't.  Its not critical.  We don't need it.  We can get along fine without it.  So, we plan to spend our money elsewhere.

At Christmastime, my sister, Lisa, sent me home with an iPod her family wasn't using to give to Matt.  He uses it every day.  Its funny.  He's not a gadgety fellow, but he really likes his iPod, now that he has one.  He appreciates that it plays both mp3s and the radio.  He can pause and rewind the radio.  He really likes that.  I tease him that he is an old man because he loves his iPod for its radio.

He started using it in the car for tunes.  It play surprisingly loud, I must say.  I didn't even know that these old iPod Touches had internal speakers.

The other day while we were tooling around town he asked me if I could sew something for him.  He liked listening to the iPod in the car, but thought the sound would be louder and more clear if he didn't have it in the cupholder at his hip.  He really wanted it suspended from the rear-view mirror.  So, he asked, could I make him some sort of little bag to hang from the mirror, just big enough for the iPod?

Sure, honey.  No problem.

It took about ten minutes and used up two scraps from my basket--one green and one tie-dye--and a piece of blue ribbon in my ribbon basket.  Why do I have this blue ribbon?  I cannot even remember.  No matter.
Initially I hadn't planned to add the green band at the top of the bag, but I wasn't sure the bag would be tall enough with just the tie-dyed fabric.  I didn't want the iPod to tip out as he drove over a bump or something.  In the end, that was a wise decision, I think.
Matt is quite pleased with my creation.  The music is, indeed, louder and less muffled.  He can still use his headphones and the iPod charger while its in the bag, too, though the latter does tip it rather precariously to the side unless the cord is also draped over the rear view mirror.  So there may be some room for improvement, but it really serves the purpose well.
Bam.  Sewing is amazing.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Rounding Up The Honeymoon Megavacation

Zion National Park
Since it took me four months to finish sorting through the 2,000+ photos and scribbled journal entries from our Honeymoon Megavacation the posts are all spread out, blog-wise.  I've tried to refer back to them often enough now that I decided to save myself some time and just consolidate them now into a list, all in one handy place.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Day 1 Flights, Freak Trees, Seals, and a Sunset
Day 2 Oceanside, CA
Day 3 A Coaster and a Concert in Vegas
Day 4 Bachelorette Night and a Hummingbird
Day 5 Val's Wedding Day
Day 6 Angel's Landing, Zion National Park
Day 7 Pools and Narrows in Zion National Park
Day 8 Fairyland in Bryce Canyon
Day 9 A Temple of Time - Bryce Canyon National Park
Day 10 Welcome to Grand Canyon Country
Day 11 Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon
Day 12 South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon
Day 13 Homeward Bound via Route 66
Grand Canyon National Park

Friday, March 6, 2015

Sewing with Friends

I like to sew.  Its a wonderful creative outlet which results in objects of functional beauty in my life.
In that curious way that time flies, I've been sewing for a number of years now, too.  I undertook my first big project--my dancing cloak--in April of 2011, if memory serves.  Since that time I've made an assortment of dresses, boxer shorts, napkins, nighties, bandanas, a wallet, curtains, bags, costumes, and so on.  Not to mention mending velcro and straps and things, too.  I'm not the greatest at it, but I'm not too shabby either.  Practice, practice, practice....  I've grown in my sewing a lot, I think.
And, it seems, I have been building a reputation for myself over these past years of sewing, too.
Meagan proved to be quite good at squaring up blocks.
For a couple years now I've been the go-to for a handful of people's mending needs--hemming pants, fixing torn seams, etc.  Now, my friends are seeking me out as a sewing instructor--a position I feel woefully under-qualified for, really, but which is also quite flattering and fun.
Hannah wanted some basic how-to lessons when she was gifted a sewing machine.  We went over some patching and mending and made one pair of boxer shorts.   Meagan wanted help with some quilt blocks she'd inherited after her grandmother died.  Kelly needed a kingly robe to wear at a winter festival in Red Lodge.
And it has been so much fun, in addition to being so productive.  Hannah is sewing and mending all on her own now.  Meagan and I almost got that whole quilt top together in one day--and we need to set a date to finish it off.  Kelly has a festive robe, complete with mock fur trim to make merry in.
Are these end products perfect?  Heck no.  Look who is "teaching" them. Nothing I make is!
Meagan's Quilt, in progress
Did we all learn something?  Did we make something?  Did we have a good time with friends?  Heck yes to all three.
Hannah, ironing a waistband casing for a pair of boxer shorts.
And isn't that the bottom line?  I sure think so.
Kelly, attaching the mock fur trim.
I have no doubt I will continue to improve my techniques and know-how.  I will, hopefully, become an even better teacher as I go.  But, I am pleased to have grown this much in skill and confidence.  And, so far, no one has asked me for help that was beyond my scope.  (Wait, wait, there was the one busted zipper in my cousin's coat...)
And I am honored to be able to help others make some of their first starts into the world of sewing.  It can be overwhelming, but it opens up so many doors.  I'm so grateful to my aunts and my mom and her friends for inviting me to that first sewing retreat--for getting my ball rolling.  I am tickled to be able to pass it on.  (Even if I do feel like I am floundering sometimes as an instructor.)