Friday, October 17, 2014

having fun with time mismanagement

posted by jennifer:

being a slightly crazy person, i feel it is important to take on time consuming, and unnecessary projects..... especially during those times in your life when you are feeling overwhelmed with all the things that need to get done.  

this last week, i worked on two such projects.  
..... while waiting in the wings was a birthday party for my now 12 year old baby girl....
a camping trip....and a pile of laundry that continues to grow to this day.  

but, in the process of completing them, i was able to cross two things off my to do list.  always a satisfying feeling.  

the first project was making about 40 felt flowers to decorate my front arch for halloween/fall/day of the dead.
i ripped off the idea from target.  i saw similar decorations there and loved them.  after an initial attempt to make some felt flowers without instructions.... having them turn out a bit sad looking... and then finding a great youtube tutorial, i ended up with these beauties.

i like love them so much i already have plans on making about 50 cream colored ones...with snowy glitter for my winter decorations.  love! love! love!

i think they look just smashing.  and do you remember these crows?  i think they look right at home next to the flowers.

the second project was making pomegranate molasses.  

we have a longtime neighbor, who we finally met.  he approached us with a trade offer. he would take the fruits from our prickly pear cactus, and in exchange he would bring pomegranates over every day or two.  who could resist...i mean i honestly had thoughts about making prickly pear jam this year.  but in all honesty, they were the same thoughts i have had for the past 10 years.  i figured that i could put it off for another 10 years or so.  

and who could say no to pomegranates.  the first 5 days or so of him bringing over 2 or 3 pomegranates at a time, we were ready for them.  the kids were plowing through them.  what a great afternoon snack... not to mention the beautiful spray of pomegranate juice on the gray wall behind the couch.  pink and gray compliment each other dontchaknow.

but all of a sudden i had a pile of pomegranates.
and,  i had a brilliant idea.  pomegranate molasses.  i have used it before when making salad dressing.  you can find the recipe here.   i also like to  use it in marinades for chicken.   so i decided to learn how to make it.

i watched a youtube tutorial on juicing pomegranates.  

i found a recipe for the molasses.

and then the pomegranates sat on the kitchen table.  and the pile kept growing.  and a half dozen or so started to mold.  who knew they would mold...they just don't seem like fruit that would,  but i guess if you leave them sitting for a couple of weeks, it happens.

well, on tuesday, i finally got to it. 
 if you have a lot of time to kill.  and aren't opposed to stained fingers...and splatters on your walls, kitchen utensils, and kitchen curtain... then this is the project for you.

it takes 4 cups of pomegranate juice to equal 1 cup of pomegranate molasses.  i ended up with more like 5 cups of juice, so i have in my possession about 1.25 cups of precious pomegranate molasses.   and it only took about 6 hours.  i am not saying i will never make it again.  i am a bit crazy that way... but let's just say, i have an appreciation for pomegranate juice.... and understand more why it costs so much.  the same goes for the molasses made from it.

i just realized that i hadn't taken a picture of the completed molasses.  and thought i should probably take one to show how much it cooked down.  but really people, this to do list isn't going to take care of itself.  how can i expect to get things done when i drop what i am doing to take a picture.

i have a lot of time mismanagement to get to.

and i plan on having fun...and making a bit of a mess, when i am doing it.


Friday, October 3, 2014

a crutch of the most comforting kind

a poem by jennifer:

we speak poetically, my sister and i
   meaning that sometimes our meanings don't make sense
       unless of course you have that crutch

the crutch of the most comforting kind.

that inborn knowledge that whatever you say 
    uncensored, unedited, without thought

will be understood.

no explanations
no judgement
no slow backward retreat by the audience.

it's a beautiful thing.
     and i feel lucky

that i am offered that crutch of the most comforting kind.

we speak poetically.  my sister and i.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fullerton's Hiltscher and Juanita Cooke Trails

I have clocked thousands of miles walking the Hiltscher and Juanita Cooke trails in Fullerton, California.
The geographic location remains constant, of course,
 but the scenery changes daily without fail.

California peppers, oaks, and pines
Sycamores, eucalyptus, and jacaranda
going through their yearly cycles.

Owls, hawks, and woodpeckers
Parrots, bluebirds, towhees, and song birds
bringing a natural calm to a crisis-fatigued world.

Squirrels, everyday, doing squirrel-ly things.
An escaped domestic rabbit occasionally.
 Coyote trying to eke out a living within dwindling habitat.

Bicyclists, joggers, and dog walkers.
Explorers, birders, and photographers in
an ever-changing parade on the well-used trails.

Oh, the things you'll see on Mulberry Street the trails...
Oh, the things I've seen...

An old man in Dove shorts with a front riding fanny pack.
 (Yes, the image in your mind's eye is as bad as the reality of it was!)
An old woman pushing forward through the dust using a walker.
(And me making a silent vow that I, too, will not be vain and will use whatever prosthetic needed, in order to keep moving both on and off of the trail.)
Gaits as personal as finger prints.

Mothers pushing empty jogging strollers, as their children
run ahead and gather sticks.
  Children riding on the shoulders of an adult.
Children in radio fliers, on tandem bikes, and on unicycles.

Photographers with elaborate "sets" for holiday and "save the date"
shoots...beds, chairs, tables, rugs, decorated Christmas trees, all under an oak.
Birders with tripods and large lenses. 
Students on assignment.

Runners with so much sweat flying, I hope their wake doesn't baptize me.
High school track teams with kids laughing and prancing along.
Some joggers (well beyond their teens) panting, heaving and wheezing so heavily, I mentally brush up on CPR. How many chest compressions per minute?  100.

People walking dogs.
People urging their arthritic dog along.  Dogs in booties. 
Dogs in strollers, dogs being carried in a front pack. ← Poor doggies.

I've seen amateur movies being filmed.
Tai chi movements flowing uninhibited.
Organized events: races, scouting, tree plantings.

There are domestic animals in the fenced properties along the trails 
or, some times, on the trail:
horses, sheep, goats, llamas, geese, chickens, dogs, and cats.

I have found feathers, a $20 bill, and contentment.
I have heard music wafting from above.

I've walked through fog,
on crunchy frost,
and in heat that causes my feet and hands to swell.

I've walked under an umbrella, 
under a full head of steam,
and under clouds that looked like spilled paint.

This time of the year my shod feet get so dirty from the dusty ground, I have to wash them when I get home.
There are a few times a winter when the mud is so bad, detours, board walks, and careful stepping is paramount. 

I see friends, family, and strangers. (People who know me, but I don't know them.  This happens when your daughter was a beloved 2nd grader teacher at the nearby elementary school.)

And, as you can imagine, there's every kind of attire to be seen, including
prom dresses, bridal gowns, jogging spandex and nylon,
prairie skirts, wife-beaters, toe shoes, an array of hats, medical face masks,
 and, Dove shorts!

I love walking the trails and never tire of the outdoor pageant.
I hope you have a recreational trail near your home.
And, if so, I hope you are able to enjoy it.

Happy trails to you.

t.t.f.n. ~ Carol

Saturday, September 27, 2014

there's lions in them thar' holes

...or another reason yet that you should read to your children

posted by: jennifer

so for about the past year or so we have noticed these small divots in the loose dirt under our hundreds of years old, live oak.

at first i just thought one of the kids was walking around poking a stick into the ground intermittently, but then i crossed that thought of the list.

we had a couple of people hypothesize on what they felt caused them... one being condensation forming on the tree and dripping down... but i had to throw that off the list as well.

it just didn't make sense.  and when i would walk through the yard and see the holes, i would wonder.  i started thinking it was something alien.  i was clearly grasping at straws here people.

i had of course tried to google it, but came up empty handed.  i was getting images of gopher holes... vole holes....hole holes.

these were inverted cone holes.

then one day, while reading tove jansson's  finn family moomintroll  i learned something new.

i read:
*In case you don't know, an Ant-lion is a crafty insect who digs himself down into the sand
leaving a small round hole above him.  Into this hole unsuspecting little animals fall and then get caught by the Ant-lion, who pops up from the bottom of the hole and devours them.
   You can read all about it in the Encyclopedia if you don't believe me.  Translator

now, upon reading this i looked at my son, and said something along the lines of..."do you think this is real?"  

i mean, it seemed pretty far fetched to me.  and in fact, when searching for ant-lions on ye old google, i felt a wee bit gullible.   

but guess what?!  they are real.  and we have ant-lions living in our yard.  wild huh?  so, next time someone asks what those small holes are in the dirt are from i will state with authority,
"there's lions in them thar' holes".....(ant-lions that is)


Monday, September 22, 2014

from the desert to the ocean

posted by jennifer:

so, i have been a busy little beaver in the craft room the last month or so.... with nothing to show of it as of yet on this here blog.... but i am determined to start sharing again.

i think things are starting to settle slightly on the whole back to school/get more responsible with time management front.  slightly.  

i actually cleaned the kitchen table off today, did the laundry, vacuumed the 1/4" of dust off of the blades of our ceiling fan.... in our room at least. the living room fan will get done someday.   and i didn't go down to my craft room once.  yet.   but my point is, i have been spending too much, and often disjointed, time working on multiple (fun) projects while the house suffers.  

but look what i have to show for it!!!

these beauties  were made from found items collected from the desert to the ocean.  i am a collector you know... i come by it honestly, and i am raising a brood of collectors.  which i think is a good thing.

you can check out the entire collection here.

 the shells, sea glass, barnacles, and sand dollars were found on the beaches of san diego. mostly coronado, because, well, it is our favorite beach.  and there are often sand dollars to be found.  even really small ones.  so cool.

the metal pieces are mostly from the imperial valley desert.   my father-in-law and his wife have a house on the colorado river, which runs through the desert.  most of the year it is too hot to go treasure hunting there, as it often hits triple digits... but at least once each winter, we go out when the weather is cool(ish).  there are rocks and crystals to be found... and thanks to people dumping their trash out in the back country many moons ago, pieces of metal and glass that have weathered perfectly for a girl like me.

here are some pictures from our last winter hunt:

i had a collection of so many bits and pieces that were just begging to be brought back to life.  i spent enough time mulling things over, and came up with these ornaments.  i think they are just lovely. 

 it is amazing that a piece from an old tab top beer can get together with some shells from across the way, and something beautiful comes from it.


most of the additional sparkle comes from my collection of "jewels" that i have collected mostly from estate sales.  just to put a little extra shine on the matter.

and speaking of extra shine... 

behind the scenes of the photo shoot:

lest you think that all is sparkly and beautiful.... trying to keep it real here.  and that's just the deck ;)

well on that note.  


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Au contraire!

Life is filled with contradictions.
Here are some of mine:

I am a pacifist,
but football is my guilty pleasure.

I don't watch "t.v.",
but I'm hooked on tight ends and Downton Abbey.

I'm into healthy food, 
but I eat French fries and potato chips.

I'd do a rain dance for a stormy day,
but I don't like to be cold or damp.

I long for new adventures,
but have been in love with the same man for 50 years.
I've lived in the same house for 44 years.

I'm a realist,
but happily cheer on dreamers.

I'm conventional (read=a bit boring),
but I'm drawn to much that is bohemian.

I think flying is a fantastic way to get somewhere,
but I hate the flight.

I love Scrabble,
but am not a good speller.

I live a simple, (kind of) close-to-nature urban life,
but I shave my armpits and legs on a regular basis.

I guess inconsistencies are a part of every life.
I know they help to keep me from taking myself too seriously.
Ha! Ha!

t.t.f.n. ~ Carol

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Got nausea?

Ever since I was a kid, and that was quite some time ago, I have needed a barf bag in the car during trips.
The first time I got air sick was on a trans-Atlantic flight.  I needed the air-sick bag during that wretched trip.

Feeling nauseated, while packed into an  airplane, practically sitting on someone else's lap, is not a good way to spend time with strangers.
I had used Dramamine for years, but although it helped a wee bit, I still felt sick as soon as the plane's tires lifted off the run way.

Twelve years ago, I was preparing for a trip to Seattle.  My sister was working for a doctor at the time.  I thought, "Oh, I am going to have her ask him for a prescription for a heavy-duty motion sickness pill."  When I asked her about this she said, "Just get yourself some 'Sea Bands'."

I was a skeptic.
How could a couple stretchy wrist bands help?
Still, because my sister has given me helpful guidance many times before, I went to Target and purchased a pair of the acupressure wrist bands.
I remember being in the airport before that first sea band flight, debating with myself as to whether to use both the Dramamine and the bands at the same time.  I really didn't think the bands would work and I HATE feeling nauseated.  
But I thought, if I used the Dramamine and the bands, I wouldn't know if the bands worked, so I didn't take the Dramamine.

Seated in the plane before pushing back from the terminal, I put on the bands as per the instructions.  
The plane taxied, revved... (I wish I would have thought of this word during our Scrabble game last night, as I had two V's on my rack at one point.)... revved its engines and took off.  I waited.  No queasiness.  No feeling green around the gills.  No need for ginger ale, mints, or a bag.

For my next few flights, I used the sea bands with increasing confidence in their effectiveness.  I turned from cynic to convert.  Sea Bands work perfectly.  No more nausea while flying.

Last October I flew to Austin to visit my sister.  I put my sea bands on as usual and settled into a book.  About an hour and a half into the flight, I started turning green.  I was confused, as I had used the bands with complete success repeatedly through the years, both for nausea when flying and for nausea with a bad headache.  I didn't understand why they had suddenly stopped working for me.
When we finally landed, I pushed my sweater sleeves up in order to remove the bands. One of the bands had slipped and the plastic bead, which creates the pressure, was no longer on the Nei Kuan Point between the tendons on my wrist.  Uh huh!  I was so relieved to see the problem was easily corrected.

Before an airplane trip last month, I brought new Sea Bands.  My first pair had lost a lot of their elasticity and that is why they had slipped on my trip to Austin.
I didn't realize how much they had stretched until I put on my new bands.  The new ones are nice and tight.
I'm good to go once again.

If you, or someone you know, adult or child, gets motion sickness, I highly recommend these amazing bands.  They are drug free and work for travel, morning sickness, and for other types of sickness.

Fine print:  The Sea-Band Ltd does not know me.  I have not received any compensation for this recommendation.  The only connection I have with this company is that it is in England and my mother was English.  Sea Bands are made in England.  A lot of good things come out of England.

t.t.f.n. ~ Carol