Monday, May 31, 2010


I guess I took a rather unscheduled holiday. I mean, I hadn't intended to, it just happened.
You know how it goes - one day of sleeping in and doing nothing sort of leads to another and before you know it, three or four days have just slipped by, leaving nothing accomplished in their wake.
Maybe not "nothing," I guess.
There has been lots of daydreaming and eating good, fresh food - some of it was even from my garden.

There was a knitting night with yummy treats.

We have drawn and re-drawn and measured and drawn again a master plan for a super-intense backyard garden. Almost an urban homestead, really.
We watched movies with our kids and I played with my nephew.
I went out for coffee with some good friends who did me a huge favor. Thanks, guys - for the coffee time and that other thing!

We pinched off just a taste of summer before it was quite ready and gobbled it right up. It's going to be a good one. I can tell.

This week starts the summer semester at the music studio. My student load will be a bit lighter and consequently, my wallet will be too. But you know what? Things are still coming my way - good things. We will be okay.

Daily Bliss: Banana boats - made with coconut, almond butter and dark chocolate! Oh - and the fun time outside with my kids. That was good too.

Friday, May 28, 2010

So Worth It

All the mom stuff and the worth is so worth it sometimes.

My Boy: "You're pretty awesome, you know that?"

Me "I love you too, buddy."

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I have a sick kiddo at home today with a pretty high fever and few other symptoms to clue me in on what's going on. My big boy - he pretty much takes care of himself in so many ways anymore. It breaks my heart to see him feeling so rotten and not be able to really hold or comfort him like I did when he was little. His fever spiked up pretty high about an hour ago and I came in with a washcloth and a bowl of lukewarm water and sponged down his back. Secretly? I kind of enjoyed it. It was nice to feel like I could do something to help him out and it was nice to have a slow moment to take in just how grown up he is and remember how small he used to be.
So, it has been a wandering-around-the-house kind of day, attending to my lists and doing small things to busy myself.
I finished up a little shrug I've been working on. It was the simplest thing - just a rectangle with ribbing on the long sides and a super-easy lace pattern in the middle. Then you seam up the ends of the ribbing to make arm holes. For the life of me, I can't remember where I got the pattern, nor can I remember the name of it. If I ever run across it again, I'll be sure to let you know.
**Edited to add: My friend Brandy found the link! It's the Ribbed Lace Bolero.**

After yesterday's rant about pesticides and pests, I pulled in all of my semi-ripe tomatoes to let them finish ripening on the windowsill. There are a few green ones out there still, but this is the biggest haul I've taken in yet:

I loved how they looked in my dark kitchen this morning. What we have there are mostly Red Zebras, with a couple of Pink Girls and a Jet Setter tossed in for good measure. There is also one tomato from Emma's school garden and one from Andrew's. I love that their schools both give kids a chance to poke around in the dirt and watch some things grow.
I've also decided not to sprinkle my plants with Sevin dust. It really does kill bees and I love my neighbor's honeybees so much that I couldn't bear to put them at risk. My friend Susan left me some helpful advice in the comments. I'll probably look into that soon. In the meantime, I will keep up with the neem oil and hand-picking. I squashed a bunch of squash bugs today on my, well...squash plants. I did a thorough search for eggs and didn't find any, so that's good. The eggs are kind of coppery and very tiny, but they're not too hard to spot if you know where to look.
I am already looking forward to next fall, though. I have one more, last-ditch-effort idea for the upside down tomatoes that I will try. They seem to have so much less trouble with pests, but I have so much trouble getting them to be healthy plants! Argh.

Here's one more vignette from my day:

I actually cleaned my bathroom today. That's because knitting night is tomorrow night and girls will be coming to my house. I guess I tend to stack things when they're in the way. I turned around and liked how my soap (that's what I ended up making as Mother's Day gifts) looked, stacked up on the glass jars. I don't know why. I just did.

I suppose I'd better go take that kid's temperature again, just so I can be sure he's OK. Give him a portable DVD player and a stack of Sci Fi movies and you don't hear a peep out of him all day long!

Daily Bliss: A finished object that I actually like and will actually wear!
Wake-up Playlist: My Morning Jacket, Evil Urges

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Alright, Already!

My garden is suffering.
I have tried so hard to learn to garden here in the unforgiving Florida climate. I know it seems like Florida is a lush land of green vegetation and abundant produce. And it is, to a certain extent.
Maybe it's that way if you're a farmer and you use chemicals and stuff. I don't know. But for the backyard gardener, it isn't easy, and that seems to be the concensus on every gardening-in-Florida web forum I've visited in my desperation.
Orange trees? No problem. Guava trees and loquats? They thrive (unless you get a freeze). But tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash and lettuce? Ha!
You have to plant them at juuust the right time or else. And sometimes, you can plant them at juuust the right time and it doesn't matter because you will have unseasonably warm and humid weather that will kill them anyway.
Last year, it was pretty much a flop for me. I mean, I grew some sweet potatoes with a moderate amount of success, but I got a handful of tomatoes and one tiny bell pepper and that's pretty much it.
This year, my tomatoes have done better. The plants are bigger and for a while, it looked like I had it figured out. But the weather has been so warm. About a month ago, we started finding tomato fruitworms. Now, they were easy to find and control because they were all on leaves that had been nibbled out. The kids and I picked them off by hand and, ahem, disposed of them.
Once those started to seem under control, we started to find flea beetles - or some other tiny, unidentifiable bug. I also attempted to control those by picking them off by hand. They were too small and too numerous and they jumped. In addition to those tiny guys, we were hit with leaf-footed bugs. So, I did what I didn't think I ever wanted to do - I bought pesticide.
I have wanted to garden frugally and chemical-free if I can. It seems like lots of people do it - why can't I? But alas. I was failing. So I bought an organic pest and disease control option - neem oil. I was also hoping this would bring the early blight that was attacking my tomatoes under control.
We did our first spray last week and I had high hopes. Couple that with some plant food and the fact that my non-upside-down tomatoes are planted deeply in almost pure compost, and I thought we'd be sitting pretty soon. There has been new, green growth and a new crop of blossoms.
But yesterday. Ohhhh, yesterday.
I found a new, ginormous hatching of fruitworms. They are tiny and they are everywhere. And, I found this guy:

My focus was a little off, so you may not be able to tell, but he's a tomato hornworm. That is very bad news. And I found a few more friends of his. We went ahead and applied another round of neem oil, but this is the last straw.
I want tomatoes, dadgummit!
Several people have laughed at me for trying to grow tomatoes without chemicals here in central Florida and I think, after all, they may be right.
I need to do a little more research on just what I want to use. Everybody recommends Sevin dust, but I know it kills bees and I like my neighbor's bees a lot. So. We'll see what I can find.
My squash are in hanging baskets and are thriving. So far, they haven't been infested with vine borers or squash bugs like they were last year, but I found this beetle on one yesterday.

But the good news is that I'm getting a couple of cucumbers.

I guess I put them out early enough to avoid pests on this particular plant and they're hanging in baskets too.

I put my sweet potato slips out this past weekend and they are thriving. That seems to be the one thing I can grow with relative ease. Then again, sweet potatoes are pretty hard to mess up.
All that said, my garden is growing much better than it was last year and I have high hopes (still!) that this fall's garden will be even better.

One day, I will grow tomatoes. Tons of them. They will be delicious.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some worms to squish.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Almost Summer

Wow. What a weekend!
The school year is coming to a close, so we have end-of-year events all over the place. It's really fun to see your kids demonstrate how they've grown and what they've learned, but gosh! I need a vacation after this!
Last week, Andrew's school band held their spring concert. He performed with the jazz band and also with the symphonic band. Here he is playing a jazz euphonium (!) solo:

And here he is, smiling just a little after I begged and pleaded with him to do so. I love that he is wearing his Solo & Ensemble Festival medals! Makes a music-teacher-mom so proud, I tell ya.

Friday, of course, was the end-of-the-year field trip with Emma's school. Every year, they get a big group discount ticket rate for the parents to spend a day with their kids doing something fun. For the longest time, Cypress Gardens was the annual destination and I liked that. They had beautiful gardens and water skiing shows and lots of fun rides. Rides that you can enjoy while fully clothed.
Now? Now that Cypress Gardens has closed, we go to water parks. This means that I get to participate in the joyous activity of subjecting the general public to my bare, white mamma-thighs. All day long.
Emma had fun and that's what matters.
Me? Oh, me and my stupid herniated-disc back had to go down water slides. Fast ones.
It's okay though. I'm starting to feel better today.

I'm not bitter.

Saturday was Spring Recital day for the studio where I teach. There are plenty of students and we've had to expand to three recitals, so it's pretty much an all-day event for the teachers. It was so great to see all of my students dressed up and their parents so proud of them for what they'd learned.
My own kids take multiple lessons there, so they were performing as well, and for them it was a big deal because this was the last recital/performance of the school year.
Emma sang with the children's choir and performed a recorder solo. I don't have a photo of her solo because she gets pretty nervous, so I went up on stage with her and played a little piano accompaniment for her.

Andrew performed a piano solo and a euphonium solo.

He also performed with the guitar ensemble, playing bass guitar. He's taken that up just this semester, but he really loves it! Rightly so, I suppose. The bass he plays with is a hybrid that my brother built out of one of his guitar bodies and the neck from Chris' old bass.
Chris used to play bass. He played it, I would imagine, because his dad also plays bass. Chris didn't keep up with it, but between him, his dad and my brother, I guess Andrew pretty much couldn't help but inherit the bass gene.

I, for one, am really looking forward to this summer. We have a few day camps planned for the kids to enjoy and I'll still be teaching (but my student load will be reduced for the summer), but we are hoping to slow down our pace quite a bit. I want to build things with my kids and work in our garden. I want to play board games and tons of Super Mario Brothers! We will build fires in our back yard and read a million books and maybe...just maybe, we'll see the return of a weekly Blackout Night.
I'm trying hard not to pin all my happiness on what this summer can hold, but it's a little difficult. I'm excited. This is my first summer in many years that I do not have to pay someone else to enjoy my children during the day while I am stuck in an office somewhere.
And I can't wait for it to start!

Also? Here's a cool dragonfly that landed on my dad's car antenna. I just liked him.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dear Mr. Black Nissan Altima,

It's me.
I'm the mom who is driving behind you in a courtesy mini-van (because my regular car is in the shop again).
I just wanted you to know that I don't usually drive around boogie-ing down in a bathing suit and a do-rag.
I'm going on a field trip to a water park today and I'm trying hard to make the best of it.


Thursday, May 20, 2010


As promised to my friend, I sent an entry in to The Pioneer Woman's latest photography assignment. Her theme this time was "happiness." We are in the middle of an insane week of recitals and end-of-the-school-year stuff, so I dug around in my archives and found a happy picture. Actually, I instantly knew which picture I would send and I dug around in my archives just to find it.

I thought I'd share it with you, at any rate. Last fall, we attended a community day at our local nature preserve and they had a butterfly house set up. Of course, we had to go in! I love how it looks like Emma and this butterfly are having a deep conversation.

Wake-up Playlist: Led Zeppelin, Ramble On
Daily Bliss: crossing things off my list!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One Promise

Remember when I promised you a panoramic image of that candy counter at the General Store in Indiana? It was a long time ago. You probably forgot. But I didn't!
I don't have Photoshop ($$!), so I've been looking for a good, open-source panorama stitcher and I think I've found one that does what I want it to do. I still need to play with it a little, as the interface is a little foreign to me. But.
Here you go:

There are a few weird spots where the stitching went a bit awry, but overall, this is pretty good, considering I did the whole thing on "auto." Once I figure out all the tools and buttons in the software, I'm sure to be a panorama-stitching fool.


I didn't think that list was so ambitious when I wrote it, but you guys were right! It was a lot.
I didn't sew and I didn't clean out my yarn.
That's about all I didn't do, though.
My brother came over to visit. He's just back in town from his band's farewell tour. Their last stop was in Toyko, and he brought some cool swag for the kiddos from Japan. We've missed him so much and it was nice to just be in the same room. Our other brother came over too. It's a little bit rare to have us all three in the same room these days - what with busy, grown-up lives and families. So, I think that was a much better way to spend my time than sewing, yes?

There isn't much more excuse, though. I've hemmed and hawed about starting this dress and I need to just do it. It could be said that I shouldn't be blogging right now either. That is just part of my plan to avoid starting this project. I don't know if I'm afraid I'm going to mess it up or what, but I've had this fabric and pattern picked out since (cringe) last summer. It's high time I get this underway.
An inquiry was made about the Whisper Cardigan that's over in that little projects sidebar. Let me say that I really did love the look of the finished project. I did. It's beautiful and I seldom knit anything for myself. I cast it on with great hope last fall. I knit about an inch of the first sleeve.

And it stops there.

I love the yarn. It's red Malabrigo lace yarn. Yum. I love the pattern. I think it just looks like it will take forever and...what if I don't like it? Aaaak! So, instead I am knitting a quick shrug out of cheap cotton and I'm planning to cast on a gorgeous lace shawl with my Christmas present yarn. Maybe I will just frog that sweater and start over. I don't know.

It would seem that my projects sidebar needs updating. I will try to do that this week.

It would also seem that I have a problem with craft commitment. I am afraid to start new projects because I am afraid they will fail. Normally, I would apply that kind of reasoning to the big stuff in life and normally, I am kind of a kamikaze crafter. But maybe...

Maybe I'm bravely forging ahead into school and music and facing my own fears so much that I'm just transferring that behavior elsewhere.

Also, maybe I shouldn't think too deeply before I've had another cup of coffee.
It's getting dangerously personal around here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Plan

Today, I will:
1) knit on my porch on this breezy, cool, sticky-humid morning while I
2) wait for the rain that's been promised
3) visit with my baby nephew and cover him with kisses
4) start cutting fabric for a new dress
5) make dinner for a family with a new baby
6) maybe even make some bread
7) teach piano
8) dream about my fall garden
9) clean up my yarn stash

How will I get all of this done?
I will:
10)not read any of the 100+ blogs in my Reader feed

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Catching Up

I'm hoping to catch up a little bit with this post. We have so incredibly much going on in our little family right now! So. A few pictures and a few words, yes?

The Sunday before The Mother's Day Sickness, Emma had her annual piano recital. She played beautifully and seemed a bit less nervous than she has been in previous years. I'm really rooting for that girl. I hope she can conquer this stage fright issue because she has so much to give.

In every recent picture of Andrew, he is making this exact face:

My fantastically random, bee-keeping neighbor caught me on my way out of the driveway not long ago and asked if I could drop his grandson off at school. An unusual request, but sure. I was going that direction. Why not? I found a nice thank-you gift on my porch when I came home. I love my neighbor.

The kids took their inaugural Summer Swim at Grandma's last week on a sunny, hot day (though all of our days seem to be hot and sunny at this point). It was also my nephew's first-ever swim! He was so funny about the water. He's very serious, analyzing everything carefully.

Andrew was inducted into National Junior Honor Society. We are so proud, of course. It should also be known that I was once a member of the same. And I got kicked out. It may have been a paperwork thing, but I don't really remember. I think I'd rather keep the details fuzzy...
All the same, I had my camera set to auto focus. I won't be doing that again. The photos are pretty blurry:

On the same night, Emma's school art department had a show and fundraiser night at our local Chick-fil-a and she won first place! My camera was sitting in the car, so there is no photo of her lovely piece depicting a darling young girl in Paris, wearing a beret, holding a cup of coffee and visiting with a bird who was perched on her shoulder. The bird was also wearing a beret. That girl cracks me up.

As for me, I found out that I have a full scholarship to return to school in the fall. I'm going to be a regular-old, full-time, mommy-going-back-to-school. I never thought that would happen in my life and I don't mean that in a Lifetime Movie kind of way - you know, the girl with difficult circumstances who realizes the power within and seizes her dreams. I mean, I'm just not a go-to-college kind of person. But here I am. I'm excited. This is a big change for me and for my family.
A scholarship.

So, that pretty much catches us up. The next week holds more concerts and recitals, end-of-the-year picnics and innumerable fees and dues to be paid to these and those. Summer is looking so good, people. It's dangling out in front of me like a juicy slice of cold watermelon. I can't wait!

Oh, by the way, this dude was hanging out at my house today.

And I love him completely.

Friday, May 14, 2010


During this blogging break, I bring you...
a blog post.
I don't know why it happens that every time I say I'm not going to blog, I suddenly have stuff to say.
I'm feeling better, finally. Man. I haven't been that sick in years. But I'm hungry today, and half-a-box of Cheez-its later, I think I can honestly say I've recovered.
I kid.
It wasn't really half the box.
I don't think it was, anyway...
I'm going to have to double-check on that.

So, remember how I promised my friend Kate a couple of landscape photos?
Here they are. They're nothing too special. We don't have mountains or oceans here in my town. But we do have some swamps with lots of gators in 'em!

And we have giant oak trees, smothered in Spanish moss.

Wake-up Playlist: Beethoven, Piano Sonata no. 8 in C minor, op. 13
Daily Bliss: Really, just being able to walk upright today is good enough for me. Did I mention I was really sick?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


You know, I don't usually talk about it, but my brother's band is pretty cool. He's the drummer.
Right now they're on their farewell tour and I just talked to him - he's in Tokyo. Crazy.
He sent me a link to this video of their show in Indonesia.
3700 people.
Press conferences.

I'm so proud of him. But it still weirds me out a little bit.


So, hi.
If you already follow me on facebook or twitter, you already know that I've been mighty sick. Some nasty stomach bug hit me on Saturday night, ruined my Mother's Day and made it impossible for me to sit up on Monday. Tuesday, I thought things were going well, but I was wrong.
So, I have now lost a good, solid three days to this thing.
I'm sitting up right now - for now. I'm feeling optimistic that this is the day. This has to be the day I get back to life. My life doesn't easily allow me to just slip out for three or four days without consequences. Paperwork is piling up, the absolute busiest weeks of the school year are upon us, I have field trips to chaperone, recitals to attend and the list goes on and on.

At any rate, that is where I have been. If today proves to be the day I can get back to life, I will still need a couple of days to catch up. I hope to see you all soon here and pick up where we left off. I really do.

Right now? I kinda want to sleep. Sigh. I don't have time for more sleep.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Fine Art Indeed

So, this was just a Friday. Nothing too crazy for most of the day.
I got to have lunch with my man and I knitted a little bit on a shrug I'm trying to get done. I edited some pictures I took of the kids and their cousins when we were in Indiana visiting Chris' family. I took a bubble bath and washed some dishes.
You know, regular old stuff.

But I did wash the dishes in a pretty dress.
And I taught piano lessons in a pretty dress.
I spent my whole afternoon in a pretty dress.
I had somewhere special to go.

I have a friend who is an Artist. He had a couple of pieces in a gallery with the opening-night reception going on downtown.
He's a very old, very dear friend.
Okay, fine.
He was my first boyfriend.
My first love, my first smooch - you know. All that good stuff.
He's brilliantly talented and always has been. He used to make incredibly intricate things out of paper. He drew for me a set of amazing tropical birds to hang in my room. When my parents moved my bedroom out to the laundry room to save space (hey - it was part of the garage and practically a whole separate house! it was awesome!), he painted giant music notes and symbols on the cabinet doors that lined one of my walls. In short, he's been creating since I've known him and much further back. And he's really good at it.
He's recently left his job to pursue something he loves (hm. that's a familiar-sounding story...) and is now a painter. His work is marvelous.

Am I gushing too much?

Sigh. It's just that - I've always believed in his talent and I'm so happy to see him doing something he loves.

Emma, being something of a creative soul herself, insisted on coming along - even though her timely arrival for ballet class was in utter peril. I'm telling you, we live on the edge here in my family.
So, she and I, wearing pretty dresses (out of respect for the Art), went downtown to an art gallery. It felt very important, I tell you.

Not only did I love seeing his work in person, she really did too. She was so moved by the paintings (one in particular) and by her personal connection to the artist.

So, since I know you're reading, Brandy:
Thank you for supporting him and caring for him the way you do. It makes such a difference. I can tell, even if it's from a distance.
And make sure he knows that my little one was moved to tears, so - at least for one small person, his message came through.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I already put this on Facebook as an exercise in self-humiliation. I mean confidence.
It's just tiny and it's only the good part. But it's my way of saying that, officially, I'm going back to school in the fall. I know I've talked about it and maybe even said I was going to, but this time I mean it. I filled out a FAFSA and everything. Looks like I have a scholarship too.

Chopin beat me, as a early-admission freshman in college. That's right, at the ripe old age of 17, I decided I would never be good enough to be a pianist.
But you know what?

I'm no longer too proud to go to community college.
I'm okay with not being the Most Amazing Pianist They've Ever Seen.
(Well, I do have some performance anxiety, but...that's a different issue)
I'm just here to learn and to love the process.
I am not as good as I used to be, but I didn't believe I was any good back then.

Hooray for second chances.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Kind of Evening

I had such a lovely evening.
At one point in recent history, I promised my friend Kate that I'd enter the next Pioneer Woman photography contest with her. And then it was a macro assignment and I don't have a macro lens.
So I told Kate I'd enter the next one. The next one was landscapes. Sadly, I have no landscapes photos in my collection and I was deeply entangled in my photography class final. So I didn't do that one either.
I started to feel like a pretty bad friend.
However, I told Kate that as soon as my class was done, I'd take a landscape photo. Just for her. Just in an attempt to prove that I'm sort of a thoughtful person. Sometimes.

My class was finished yesterday.

So today, I packed up the fam and made them accompany me to a local nature preserve, hoping to hunt down a nice landscape shot.
The humidity of the last couple of days has dissipated somewhat, a soft breeze was blowing and the sun was going down. Birds everywhere were calling and yes, even alligators were grunting at each other from both sides of the path we were treading.
Chris decided that maybe he would look into a concealed weapons permit for next time. He didn't say, but I'm pretty sure he implied that I seem to be bent on dragging my family into dangerous situations to take pictures. I can't be sure, but I'm suspicious.
My family waited patiently as I set up my tripod.

I framed and re-framed and snapped my shutter and some wonderful gentleman, carrying a tripod and a camera bag himself, smiled at my husband and said, "Artist at work, huh?" I smiled and let him pass in front of my lens, my dress swirling around my ankles in the breeze, hair gone all wild and a ridiculously happy grin spreading across my face.

I'm not going to say that I took brilliant pictures. I need to edit them and try some fun stuff and I'll show them to you, I'm sure. Here's one little shot, just to prove I was there:

We left, the deafening shrill of thousands of cicadas following us to the car. Evening flowers were opening and their sweetness seemed to be drifting our way from deep in the woods.
And I was happy.

The end.


Um, hey. Turns out that I'm the kind of girl that eats leftover chocolate sauce out of the pan while she's in the bathtub.

Daily Bliss: catching up
Wakeup Playlist: Midlake, Bandits

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The End

No, no - don't worry. I don't mean the end of this blog or anything. It's just the end of my photography classes.
But I do feel sort of...bereft. I walked out of class and felt a little bit empty. I've had so much fun and I've learned so much in these classes, and I don't just mean about aperture and shutter speed and stuff like that. I mean that I've learned a lot about myself. I've learned that I can make stuff with a camera in my hand.
See, most of the stuff I make comes with instructions. When I make - sew, knit, crochet, cook, play the piano or whatever - I always follow somebody else's ideas (well, if I'm being completely honest, I usually start with somebody else's idea and alter it to suit my fancy). But when I use a camera, I'm making something that's mine. Even when I have an assignment from a professor, ultimately, the images I take are mine. For the first time in my life, I've had to be brave and present something to a group of people that I made - from start to finish. So, it was a stretch for me, but I did it.
And I feel really good about it.
And you know what else? My final project got a round of applause from the class.
So, for those of you who have endured my endless indecisiveness and looked at version after version of images and helped me with the actual shutter when I couldn't get the job done myself (that's you, Mindy) - thanks. Thanks so much. You guys - my friends - you're just the best.

"What's next?" I asked myself as I walked to my car.
I have a few ideas, but only time will tell which ones will tug hard enough at my heart to pull me along into a new adventure.

A Start

I am going to try and get caught up with picture posting here in the next couple of days. Here are all the sand pictures from that poster I made in class.
Every year, Chris & I take the kids to the beach to celebrate the Summer Solstice. That is the only beach trip of the year that we allow them to collect shells. I also grab a little sand and we keep that year's treasures in a glass milk jar. This year, we will fill our tenth jar! On the back of the tags pictured here, I also have written the year we visited that beach.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

How Are Ya?

So, hi. It's been a while, huh?
I mean, it's been a while since I actually put words here.

Rather than trying to re-tell the stories of the last several weeks, how about I just start with yesterday and we move forward from there?
It was hot. I mean, swelteringly hot here. We didn't get much of our beautiful spring weather here before summer arrived and my tomatoes are definitely suffering.

I mean, there are yellowing leaves and it looks like early blight or maybe powdery mildew are going to get them before I get many tomatoes. If not that, then the fruitworms that have been eating at my plants will probably get them before I get many tomatoes. However, they are very tall and have stayed green and thriving for my longer than my tomatoes last year.
I am improving.
I'm not saying it would take much to improve on my gardening skills from last year, but I am improving nonetheless.
Our snow peas are just about done - the heat is just killing them - but the cucumbers are doing well and the squash are blooming. Hopefully, I got those out early enough to avoid the squash bugs that ate all my plants last year, but with the hot weather setting in early, I'm not sure. I may have to resort to pesticides if I want any food at all, but I don't want to do that. I might try neem oil first. I've heard good things about it.

In the early heat of the day, though, Andrew's jazz band had a concert at one of the local lakes. The school district hosted a fine arts festival downtown and it was lots of sweaty fun. We enjoyed seeing the work of local kids on display and hearing ensembles from various schools perform.
We also enjoyed this random dude.

He walked across the front of the stage while a local high school band played Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" - and he totally air-guitared it.

It was awesome.

And a little bit gross.

As for the rest of our Saturday, errands were run, yard work was done, and we built a fire in our back yard.

As the sun went down, the heat did too and a nice breeze set in.
A stiff enough breeze to blow smoke into little girls' eyes.

So yeah. We are the kind of family that has safety goggles laying around the house.
Emma ducked inside and came back to the fire, prepared and protected.

As for me, I am doing well. I still have to write my bit about that photography final, but other than that, I am done with that class. It's been so much fun, but so much work too and I'm looking forward to taking pictures just for me - and not because somebody told me to.
I don't like being told to do things.
Speaking of which, I have been told by a doctor to take a bunch of allergy medicine. That should help me get my voice back - apparently the problem is the heavy pollen season. But I tell you what - that stuff makes me sleepy! I don't take medicine, as a general rule, so when I do, it's super-effective. I am not a good sleeper - I'm prone to insomnia and love staying up late. But.
Once I take that allergy medicine at night, it seems I am a goner. I am sleeping so hard for so long and have such a hard time waking up. It's weird.
Due to all of that heavy sleep, I have no idea what my wake-up playlist is. That feature will return when the songs do. Or the memory of the songs. Whatever.


Daily Bliss: coffee, coffee, coffee