Saturday, June 30, 2012

Quiet Time

I’ve been quiet lately. Censoring myself, really. Because I am not writing an anonymous blog there are things that I will not and can’t write about. Well, write about and post here, anyways. Sometimes I think that maybe I should have instead created an anonymous blog but then I remember that many of the things that I like to write about – the Girls, my family and friends – are things that I want my family and friends to read.

So I don’t often put up too much of my feelings here. I try to stick with funny, silly stories about little things that happen, my experiences with the girls, the world through their eyes. But I also don’t want to be just a mommy blogger because I am more than that too. I like to bake and craft, explore the world and discover new…stuff. And I like sharing that as well. I blog about quiet things, daily life and adventures. I’m good with that.

Except sometimes.

Sometimes there are so many problems running through my head I’m sure that I’ll explode if I don’t talk about them. Sometimes I get so mad at the girls because of something they did or didn’t do (in the case of the teenager) that I want to yell and scream and rant at them. Sometimes my family irritates me to no end and I want to complain. Sometimes life throws me such a curve ball that there isn’t anyway I’ll be able to hit it in time.

All those times I write down. I tell.

But not here because that stuff, those emotions are private.

I don’t rant about work because even if I was working, it wouldn’t be professional. I don't set out to upset or offend anyone with my words and I try not to write anything that I would be embarrassed if my Mom read it.

So, for the past few weeks I’ve just been keeping things to myself. Problems and emotions that are mine will stay mine. No emotional rants, No bits exposed. Having a gazillion followers was not my intention when I started out as a blogger. I had ideas of just keeping in touch with friends and family but then I discovered something: an amazing community of people with stories and tales of their own. Bloggers who develop dialogues and friendships. Bloggers who expose me to new ideas and new ways of thinking. Bloggers who, although from different corners of the world and different backgrounds, can relate to something that I wrote.

So even though it wasn’t my intention, I’ve found that I quite like the friends that I’ve made here and I hope that they don’t mind too much while I’m quiet, because I promise – I’ll even pinky swear – that I don’t stay too quiet for long. I’ve got stories and plan on telling them…it’s just taking me a bit longer than I anticipated.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Debby Does My Yard

When we first moved in to our house, we were excited by the prospect of having a pond out front. Unfortunately, the pond at the time was little more than a muck hole because of the severe drought conditions that Florida has recently gone through. Unsurprisingly, Tropical Storm Debby and Tropical Storm Beryl have helped alleviate the dried up pond.

Debby did a bit more than fill up the pond though and we are lucky that we didn't have the amount of flooding that others in the state suffered - washed out roads, rivers exploding over their banks. Despite Florida's need for rain, this was not exactly the way we wanted the problem solved.

During a break in the rain, I was able to snap a few photos of the pond.

Just a few minutes later the rain started up again and within ten minutes the yard was flooded...again.

I wish I could have gotten a better shot of the neighbor's yard in this one. Their yard is virtually flat and it was nothing but water.

I wonder if all this water will take care of the fire ants and moles...

The next set of photos are from after the storm passed and the sun broke through the clouds.

Those ripples? 50 gajillion tadpoles just eating and growing and plotting.

This was the high water mark. I was amazed that the water level dropped so quickly after the storm. That might be a testament to how low the aqueduct levels are but I'm not waterologist so don't quote me on that!
Junie very much appreciates having a pond...Guess how many bathes she'll be getting in the coming weeks?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I Love Dudes

Through a few blogs I follow I have stumbled across a new blog. A blog for Dudes. About Dudes. By Dudes. Some of the funniest writers I've read on the internet are over there. Editors WilyGuy and Youngman Brown have turned a fun weekly link-up into a man-sized contest (isn't that just like a dude?). Each week boy bloggers (like boy bands but 5 gajillion times better because 1. I don't listen to boy bands and 2. I totally read boy bloggers and 3. I am a totally fan girl of many male bloggers) link up a post and readers get to vote on their favorite.

So, check it out. Because Dudes need love too!

Dude Write

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Photos

Get ready for the Cinder Block Harvest Fest!!

When we first moved to our new house, I noticed a large pile of bricks and cinder blocks sitting just beyond the fence line. I was curious about them but didn't give it too much thought because as they were on the other side of the fence, they weren't mine.

Every so often over the course of the past year, I'd give them a glance and sigh because if only I had those cinder blocks I could do so much good in the world...well, in my yard at least. Specifically this - a raised garden bed made from cinder blocks. But alas, with out the cinder blocks, I went ahead and repurposed my old milk crates into a a container garden. Still...I yearned for the day when I would make a "real" garden.

It wasn't until my landlord came over to supervise the recent yard work that I made a startling discovery. The cinder blocks were actually on this property! The previous tenant was the one who put up the fence for his dogs and, being sort of lazy about it, just fenced around the brush and pile of cinder blocks instead of following the property line.

I asked my landlord if I could use the bricks and cinder blocks and after he looked at me like I was crazy said he didn't care at all what I did with them!

So I have started harvesting the bricks. They are easy to get as they are lighter than the cinder blocks. In order to get those, I need to disassemble part of the fence and I haven't gotten to that point yet.

Here they are...just waiting for me...waiting to fulfill their purpose.

See how sad they are behind the fence? Poor things! They long to be made into a garden!

These are some of the bricks I was able to save. A sad little pile now, but when I have some more, I plan on making a couple flower beds with them.

It's hard to see in black and white, but the sun filtering down through the branches above really made the cinder blocks pop out. It was pretty in a creepy sort of way.

I love the vines that crisscross over, around and through the pile as though trying to hold onto them.

The bricks are in the best of shape and I have no idea how long they sat neglected, but it will make an interesting juxtaposition  - old bricks, pretty flowers... Nice!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

So Long Summer Plans

What started out as an Epic Summer Adventure has fizzled in cold, stark realism. The Summer of Lobster is no more. In fact, I knew it wasn’t going to happen about two months ago when a whole bunch of poop hit the fan and splattered in all directions coating everything around in six inches of yuck! Kind of like what a hippopotamus does…except with the amount of poo a herd of brachiosaurs would leave.

Without landing a job over the past year, I knew money would be tight but we had a little tucked away so that the girls and I could travel. Ashleigh planned a trip that brought us up along the New England coast sampling different lobster meals. I planned on an extended stay with some friends in my home town and seeing my brothers and their families. I planned on a few weeks at my dad’s cabin a three minute walk to the rocky beach I grew up exploring.

Somehow what I plan never seems to turn out how I want.

So, heave a sign and throw my shoulders into an exaggerated shrug. Things happen and I move on making new plans for a “staycation” (Man I hate that term! It is so fake and gross).

I probably should schedule this out but then it might feel too regimented, but here’s to the newly named The Summer of Little Cost…of The Summer of Staying Home…or The Last Summer Ever (What? It is 2012 after all and I am scrapbooking all about it). Or maybe something a little less sad sounding. Any suggestions?

On the agenda we have beaching, crafting, local sightseeing (many tourist traps in town are free for residents), a few day trips, tubing on the Ichetucknee, climbing down to the bottom of the Devil’s Millhopper and a few other things.

But the biggest thing I’ll be doing is building a for real raised garden bed out of reclaimed cinder blocks (more on that later).

I’ve not put anything down on the calendar for fear that concrete planning will result in everything going wacko again. I’m taking it day by day, hour by hour with the hope that spontaneity will conquer the summer…

Hey! What about The Summer of Spontaneity?

That works for! This summer is all about unpredictability and by the time school picks up again in August the girls will be more than ready for some serious routines and schedules!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Photos

It was my sister's birthday just a bit ago and all things being crazy - the end of the year, work (her's and my mom's, totally not mine), Girl Scouts and such, I lost track and ran out of time to bake her a cake, so I surprised her with cupcakes from my favorite cupcake store: Cami Cakes. Ridiculously sweet, oozing with gooey goodness and over flowing with icing. So very yummy. Never as good as homemade, of course, but a welcome treat nonetheless.

The one picked out especially for my sister: chocolate almond raspberry.

Mint Chocolate

The Elvis

Key Lime Pie

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cream

Toasted Coconut Pineapple

Monday, June 11, 2012

I Made It Monday

I've decided that I will take a break from my "I Made It Monday" series. I find that the summer is not a time I am very focused on crafting and while I have a few projects I am working on right now, they are intended as gifts and as such, I will not post them here until after they have been, you know, gifted. "I Made It Monday" will return in late August or early September.

I am thinking however on doing a Strange Florida many day trips to so many odd places in this creepy state!

I don't want to leave you without any photos though, so here is one of a scarlet ibis I took at the zoo. Scarlet ibises freak me right the heck out because 1) look at that eye! Can you not hear the ibis' thoughts? "Just one little step closer and I can jam my beak straight through her eye! 2) They are far too flashy. Kind of egotistical if you ask me (and as a Leo I totally know all about being egotistical). 3) I once got into a near shouting match with my 9th grade English teacher because of the short story "The Scarlet Ibis" by James Hurst. I held the older brother accountable for killing Doodle and the teacher disagreed. Really?

"I will cut you if you don't give me some fish. Right. Now."

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Photos

We've had a lot of rain this week which puts a damper on going out and taking awesome photographs of wicked coolness. Plus, being in a blech mood puts a kink in my get-up-and-go plans. So, forgive me if I post some photos I took awhile ago. I posted a couple of these on my Facebook when I first took them, but it has been quite a while so...maybe those that have seen them will have forgotten. Of course I just reminded them...


It's been a week, what else can I say?

I love going to museums and botanical gardens. I am lucky that where I live there are no shortages of either. The following photos are from The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. Nestled right along the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, the Cummer was once the home of Arthur and Ninah Cummer. When she died she left her home and her extensive art collection to the city and requested that they turn the house into a museum. House is probably and understatement. Indeed The Cummer is a small mansion. Rooms spill into rooms and the formal gardens are sigh worthy.

Unfortunately, like many museums photography inside is not allowed so all of these are from the gardens.


Thursday, June 7, 2012


My two hundredth post. It doesn’t seem like a lot. Not really. I meant to write something witty and silly. I thought about listing 200 facts about myself but decided that I was way to boring to have 200 facts. I thought about…well…honestly, the 200 hundred facts was as far as I got before I just kind of shrugged my shoulders, sighed and decided to play Sims instead.

The thing is I don’t know what is wrong with me right now. I’m not in a funk. At least, based on my last funk I’m not in one. I’m not sad or depressed or moody. I feel normal and fine. I just…


Maybe it is because it is the end of the year. The end of a school year, that is. And for the past twelve years I have been living a school schedule. I went from Flagler to teaching. I’ve spent more of my life in a classroom than I have anywhere else and I’m surprised to say I really miss it.

I miss my classroom. I miss my teacher friends. I miss sitting with a group of students and helping them grasp a concept they were struggling with. I miss training days. I miss watching a group of unruly 13 year olds become more poised and mature. I miss 8th grade graduation. I miss my end-of-the-year breakfasts I started. I miss the schedule, the bells, the fire drills.

I certainly don’t miss testing days that stretched endlessly, minutes ticking by slower than sloth. I certainly don’t miss the high stakes and the pressure put upon teachers by the administrations, district and state. I really, really don’t miss the mountains of paperwork.

The end of the school year has always been celebrated. A rite, if you will, moving from one year to the next, one stage to the next, one level…The end of the year is like a level up. New knowledge, books, attitude and adventure wait. For the teacher, it is the anticipation of a new year, new lessons, new projects, new kids.

Maybe that’s what I miss.

Maybe it is as simple as that. Or as complicated.

Maybe it is a funk.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I Made It Monday

What happens when I combine my love of gaming, my craftiness and too many sets of dice? You get a new dice box! I made this a few years ago but as you can see it's getting crowded again. On a side note, I really need to stop buying dice.

The top and front designs are just doodles I did in silver, gold and black acrylic paint.

I painted a light brown on first and then streaked a darker brown through the still wet paint to achieve a wood plank look.

I wanted to line it with crushed red velvet...but all I had was red felt.

So many dice. I think I need a bigger box...and of course more dice would be needed so the box wouldn't feel empty. It is a vicious cycle. More dice, bigger box, more dice...pretty, pretty dice!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Photos

Remember that branch that almost took me out a few weeks ago? After talking to my landlord about it, he decided to have the Professionals come and take care of some of the bigger bits of yard work that are beyond my capability (because I don't have a ladder, machete OR a chainsaw). Well, I had the forethought to snap a few photos for comparison.

BEFORE: looking down the driveway towards the road

AFTER: I can see the road from here. Yay (notice my lack of exclamation point. I kind of liked the wild look). It's like my yard has been deforested. Man! those Ferngully Fairies are gonna be pissed!

BEFORE: Front yard and gazebo.

AFTER: It doesn't look much different, but all of the shrubs have been cut back, the pond cleaned up, the palm shaped and a few trees...gone.

Aftermath. This isn't even all of the branches they brought out. They took two loads away in their truck plus there are a bunch of piles still laying around the yard. FYI - this stretches from my driveway to my neighbor's driveway and at its highest is taller that I am.

On the plus side, I asked that they leave me the better tree trunks and branches for firewood. They not only left them, but cut them into convenient log-sized pieces for me. This stack is from three trees and it took me four trips with my little cart to pick them up.