Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Refrigerator has Moved!

Some time ago, it was unanimously decided that the new refrigerator was too big and bulky for our little kitchen, (not to mention too noisy. When the ice maker kicks on it sounds like Buzz Lightyear is in there shooting a ray gun! Trip to Disneyland anyone?)

So a week or so ago we finally moved it out of the kitchen and into the pantry. That may sound weird having the refrigerator on the other end of the house as the kitchen, but it actually works really well, if you don't mind walking when you forget to grab the pickles for the tuna salad.

Then yesterday Mom finished putting all the spices, temporarily being stored in her bedroom, in the rest of the pantry space.

All in all, a happy pantry and kitchen makes a happy home and family.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I Did It!

This evening, I accomplished my personal challenge and finished reading Jane Austen's Emma. Thus I have read each of her novels, some of them multiple times.

Now the question stands: What should I read next?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Just Too Tired

Maybe it's the fact that it's August, nearing the end of a long, exhausted summer. Or it could be all the cleaning, reorganizing, and putting-things-away going on around here. But no matter how much stuff gets put away, either in an old place or a new place made specially for it, there is always more stuff to be taken care of. The mountain of mess just keeps growing!
Whatever the reason, everyday I wake up tired and can't wait for night so I can go back to bed. I've taken to napping in the afternoons. Today I climbed back in bed, still in my nightgown, at 12:01 p.m. and did not emerge until almost 1:00.

Another reason I want to be a Jane Austen heroine: They have servants to clean up the mess. The external messes at least. Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse had to take care of the emotional messes themselves. (Let's not even get started on Marianne Dashwood!)

I've had Jane Austen on the brain lately. I finally picked up Emma again, after I-don't-know-how-long, and am determined to finish her this time. Last time I read Emma I got a little more than half way through. When I finish I just might reward myself by reading Sense and Sensibility again, which may even surpass Pride and Prejudice and be my favorite of Jane Austen's works.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Look What I Found!

I was reading a post on the Disney blog, Oh My Disney, when I came across this Easter egg in Tangled.  If you look very closely you can see the Little Mermaid on one of the books: 

Next time we watch the movie on our huge movie theater screen, we need to pause it on this scene and look around. I think I might see some more hidden treasures. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

A New Day

This has to have been the longest summer of my life. In fact I think this has been the longest year of my life (and it's not even August!) Everything has happened: life, death, weddings, funerals, work, play, happiness, sorrow; you name it, I'm sure it must have happened here.

But now it's all behind us. All the events laid out for this season have ended, all the major ones at least. Stretched out before me is a blank slate, a story not yet written.

College turned out to be less enjoyable (and useful) than I had anticipated. (Although I did get an A in the class.) So I'm taking this next semester off from school, at least class room school. I'll keep up with my homeschooling, reading, writing, and music. I may even try to get a job this fall.

And now that I'm out of school, the Harold B. Pricklepants society will begin meeting again. I have requested we read Gone With the Wind (one of my all-time favorite books) even if I have read all 700+ pages of it two or three times before!

Life will continue. Even if sometimes I wish it would slow down and give me a chance to catch my breath!  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What I Have Been Up to Lately

Enjoying many cups of tea in my new mug. 

Enjoying the beautiful weather while anxiously awaiting Mama Robin's second batch of eggs to hatch. 

Other than that, it's just been the usual routine: reading good books, eating good food, (my Mom has just learned to make Macarons!) and learning how to knit cables. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

We're All Mad Around Here!

What better way to once again attempt to re-immerse myself into my writing than with a little bit of nonsense?

To combat the dreary, grey rain today, we celebrated our Un-Birthdays with Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, and all sorts of other mad people in Disney's Alice in Wonderland. With all the tea, wit, tea, cards, (did I remember to mention tea!) I felt right at home.

And now that I have finally taken the plunge and joined Facebook, I can find other silly and entertaining nonsense like this:

As my Mom would say: "Yes, let's be silly!"

Friday, May 2, 2014

It's May!

Obviously I did not succeed in my Lenten challenge of blogging for forty+ days, but after a few weeks of respite I'm feeling inspired again.

First of all it's May, one of my favorite months. It's at last warm enough to dance about in sun dresses and leave the windows open all night long. And the gardens look glorious.

I took so many pictures of these purple beauties, trying to get the perfect shot. 

Everyday I step out the door and am greeted by a waft of sweet perfume from the collection of roses. 

With the turning of the calender comes my Mom's birthday, the first of May. We celebrated with a proper Jane Austin tea, complete with cupcakes slathered in a pale pink frosting and a good black tea served in floral teacups. 

The Birthday Girl! (And Daddy.) 

(Who's Un-Birthday we celebrated.)

And last but not least, I'M A COLLEGE STUDENT! 

I'm not going away to school yet, just taking English 1A at the junior college over the summer. I'll probably take several classes at the j.c. over the next year or two, and then it's on to the big leagues! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Day 14

Can it be that the first rose of the year is already starting to bloom? And the first day of spring still two days away! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Day 13: The Seamstress is In!

This afternoon I finally got my sewing station in my room all set up, on my very own sewing table! My room looks so complete with it there. I feel ready to sew all kinds of things! After getting the sewing machine set up I finally finished the shirt Becki and I were working on. (I plan on posting pictures of it tomorrow.) It definitely took longer than I had originally thought it would (the pattern did say "easy") but it turned out really cute, and my Mom said it looks professionally sewn. It feels good to hear that. I guess that's my reward for patience, and working with a difficult albeit lovely fabric. I must say though, I'm glad the shirt is finished and now I can move on to something new.

Next project: a dress! 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Day 12: Just in Time

I was worried I wouldn't get a post up today, but I made it. I haven't failed yet!

Quite honestly today has been a rather lousy day. Why? I don't quite know. The situation in Ukraine has us all worried. (If you're reading this, please pray for Ukraine.) Maybe there are some positive ions flying around. (With ions, negative is good, positive is bad. I can't remember why.)

Anyway, right now I'm pretty chipper. This evening we gathered in the tiki room theater and watched Winnie the Pooh, and Pooh Bear is always a good tonic for Grumpy.

How can you not smile with him?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Day 11: Soaking Up Spring

This afternoon the weather was too lovely to stay indoors. So after a walk through the garden, as I was ready to settle down with a quiet book on this peaceful Saturday, I took my novel of choice out with me onto the back deck. I settled down on a comfortable wicker couch and turned page after page, taking in each word, as a relaxed breeze played ethereal music on the wind chimes overhead.

I heard earlier today that it is supposed to grow cold again, before the spring months end, so I'm taking as much opportunity as I can to be outside soaking up all the deliciousness of a warm spring. This evening, after an early dinner, it was still warm enough for me to go outside again! I went straight to my vegetable garden. The raised beds were bare except for a dusting of weeds in one. One raised bed I had already weeded and tended some months before. The other stood sadly neglected. But the time for gardening is again upon us. Then and there I went to the garden shed, selected a few tools (a rake, a pitchfork, some gloves, etc.), and went to work. With the pitchfork I turned over the crusty upper dirt to reveal dark and rich soil underneath. Soon I will need to start buying seeds. I don't want to make the same mistake as last year which was to spontaneously want to start planting in July! This year I will be more careful with my planning. I'm going to devote a whole raised bed to squash. I love growing squash, and it did so poorly last year. I hope this year's crop is better, which means we'll need a good, hot summer. Spring has barely begun and already I'm thinking of summer!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Day 10: No Pictures Today

And, unfortunately, probably not many words either. I've had a long, busy day, productive but busy. I went over to Becki, my sewing teacher's house this morning to finish up that shirt I was working on. It turned out to be much more complicated than I had anticipated, but I've learned a lot. Now it's just about finished. There's only one more step to complete which will go quickly.

The other good news is I now have a sewing table all to myself so I can set the sewing machine up in my room permanently. No more borrowing the game table, hauling it up to my room, and setting everything up each time I want to sew.

But no more sewing for today. I am ready for the weekend.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Day 9: A Perfect Place to Sit and Dream

Every day I look out the kitchen window and see the flowering crab apple tree in front of Briar Rose Cottage, growing more beautiful with each sunrise. The little bench encircling the base of the tree brings to mind L.M. Montgomery and all her young heroines, each of whom loved simply beautiful places like this. I can imagine Anne Shirley, or Emily, or Pat of Silverbush sitting under such a tree, with minds wandering into enchanted times and places. "There is such scope for the imagination," as Anne might have said.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Day 7: Missing Hawaii

This morning I listened to Hawaiian music while I showered, and the steam from the hot water smelled sweetly of tropical body wash. I dressed myself for the day in a colorful sun dress, placed a pink plumeria in my hair, and it was even warm enough for me to go part of the day without socks!

I'm starting to dream about another trip to Hawaii.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Day 6: Glorious Sunlight

Although still adjusting to the time change (we didn't sit down to dinner until after 7:00!), already I am enjoying the longer, beautiful evenings. Even after 5:00 the sun is still high in the sky, lighting up all the young growth in the garden. Long dinners outside on the deck and warm nights can't be far away.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Day 5: An Empty Day and a Return to Childhood

"Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet," said Anne Shirley. (L.M Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables.) And I think it is equally nice to wake up to a day with no plans in it yet.

I feel so much freedom in having a simple day at home where I don't know what I am going to do. There are so many things I could do! Should I have oatmeal or toast with my eggs this morning? Shall I choose to knit, a familiar pastime, or try something new: crocheting? Would I rather ramble through the garden this afternoon, or just curl up with a good book? And if I chose the latter what should I read? Julia Child's My Life in France, Out of Africa, or start something new altogether?

Earlier this morning, after getting a little frustrated at my lack of internet, (I do have a deadline to keep here!) I thought of a beloved children's book I had not read in a long time, one which happened to be safely tucked in the bookshelf in my own bedroom. I ran my finger over the bottom shelf, the home to several, over-sized children's stories, and selected the one on my mind from the bunch. I opened The Gardener (by Sarah Stewart) and perused the colorful, beautifully illustrated pages that tell the story of a little girl with a great love of gardening and flowers, a girl who happens to share my first name: Lydia, Lydia Grace Finch.

Later in the day I chose to walk outside in the garden, (possibly inspired by the morning's reading!) Being outdoors in the warming days of spring, examining all the new growth in the flowers and on the trees, makes me feel very child-like again. It is a wonderful feeling. Sometimes I yearn to truly return to my childhood, where my world was smaller, simpler, and sometimes even sweeter. Of course I only remember the beautiful things at times like these. But that is not an option. I can never go back, only forward. But I can take as many things with me into the future as I want, like children's books, a love a flowers, the simple beautiful things that I remember from long ago....       

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Day 4: One Way to Deal With Daylight Savings Time.

First throw a spur of the moment birthday party for the Saturday before.

Spend Saturday cleaning house, decorating, getting everything ready. (In our case there was very little food prep involved since our friends brought pizza and the cake.)

When the rest of the party-goers arrive, turn on fun, loud music (preferable from the eighties) and feast on pizza, veggies in homemade ranch dressing, and chips and salsa. Yum! Then sing Happy Birthday to the birthday boy (or girl) and (if you can bring yourself to) cut into and eat the adorable Minion cake. (Yes, it was a Despicable Me party.)

Then put on a movie, (Despicable Me 2) watch and digest dinner, before going and eating more Minion cake and too many chips and salsa. You will fall into bed stuffed, tired, and sleep through the night on an earlier schedule. (I was tired out by nine o' clock!)

Lastly, and very importantly, on Sunday rest... and don't forget to change the clocks.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Day 2: My To-do List for Today

I find it easier to have a good day if I make my list of requirements small and manageable. I give myself just a few things to do each day and then I can check them all off with minimal stress and still have time for things I may rather do, like reading.

Today's list consisted of three things I must accomplish: 1. Blog. Obviously that has been taken care of. 2. Play my harp. I have yet to do that one, but even playing just one or two songs will count, and I enjoy it so much (when I find the time) that it will not be at all taxing. And 3. Spend some time sewing.

Recently I've begun taking sewing lessons from a friend, Becki, who is proving to be an excellent  teacher for me. Sewing is a skill I've long wanted to gain, but I unfortunately have a serious lack of confidence and a fear of failure. I don't want to take the time to learn to sew. I just want to instantly be an expert. But that is not how it is done. I must learn one step at a time. But when I gain all the skills I need I'll be able to fashion all my own skirts, dresses, shirts, maybe I'll even tackle pants someday. I've already made one skirt (the one I wore yesterday to book club,) I'm currently working on a shirt, and when it's finished Becki and I are going to start on a dress!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Day 1: The Rain Rain Rain Came Down Down Down!

At last, a few days without pouring rain! Today it is even warm enough (nearly sixty degrees) to wear the new skirt I made a couple months ago.

Back in January, one of the events this sleeping blog missed was our family-and-friends trip to Disney World. (Elizabeth put some pictures up on One Captured Moment.) Usually when we plan our Disney trips, we plan to take them when the crowds are small and weather temperate, and the end of January is supposed to be one of the lowest times for crowds and have the loveliest weather. This year: low crowds, yes; good weather, definitely no. Our first day (spent in the Magic Kingdom) was ideal. Sunny, warm and balmy, but not too hot. The next three days it poured more rain than the Hundred Acre Wood in the rainy season, and it was not a warm rain like in Hawaii. It was cold and windy.

Later we figured it out. Elsa, the Snow Queen from Disney's Frozen, was there in Epcot Norway. She must have let it go!

Good for you, Elsa, but did it have to be during our Disney World Vacation? Thankfully the rain and cold let up for the past couple days and our adventure ended on a warm note. (Actually we got the good weather. The week before we arrived Florida was getting freezing temperatures, and they returned after we left!)  We actually rather enjoyed the experience of going to Disney World in the rain. And as I shivered in damp jeans and Disney hoodie, hunched against the wind, feeling a little miserable, I thought to myself, "In the future we are going to have so much fun talking and laughing about our cold, rainy trip to Disney World.

And so we happily came home... to more rain. As the Narrator would say, "And it rained, and it rained, and it rained." After a very warm, dry winter, I'm thankful for the rain and expected a wet spring (that usually follows a dry winter here.) But I'm even more thankful for a break. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Challenge

How the weeks have flown. Can it really be March? Was I not just celebrating the Winter Solstice amongst the daffodils? And already it is Mardi Gras, soon to be Lent and the countdown for Easter.

While sitting around the table, feasting on delicious new pancakes with English bacon that just the thought of makes me hungry, the subject of Lent came up. What should we give up for forty days? A year or two ago it was chocolate, but recently we have already chosen to stop eating chocolate, except on a special occasion. Hmm. What to do? Then Mom came up with an idea: Instead of giving something up, why don't we add something. Do something each day for the next forty days, something enriching. We might form some good habits. But what? Then came the perfect answer: blog.

In the whirlwind of life, I fear my writing has suffered some neglect. This poor blog has missed Christmas, New Year's, and the first tender months of the year. And so I begin again. For the next forty days I and my fellow writers shall post something on our blogs each day.

What shall I write? Anything I want. But what if I run out of ideas? That's a silly thing to ask. What if I run out of time? That is a more serious question. Time is a fleeting thing, and some days I don't find the time to write. I would rather read with my spare moments, or sip a cup of tea and visit with someone.

I will make time for blogging, that is the answer.