18 November 2009

November is Finally Here

Sweet as honey, originally uploaded by kyredbutterfly.

I know we're actually more than half way through the month, but we've been experiencing warm, September-like days of late. It finally starting raining yesterday and it was chilly enough that I turned the heat on. All day I wished I had all the fireplace accessories I needed to use my fireplace, but it sat empty and cold. It did entice me to some online browsing to find fireplace grates, screens, and tools that I liked. I think I'll be heading back to Lowe's soon, since that seems to be the only place locally that has all of those things for something less than an arm and two legs.

But despite the chill, yesterday was a long-awaited day because my sectional sofa from Crate and Barrel finally arrived. Mom and I first saw the couch when we were on a Cincinnati scouting trip for my then-future condo. I was going to need furniture in a bad way once I moved in. But buying a couch wasn't on the agenda. I fell in love, however, and couldn't resist an offer that made it possible for me to have it. The delivery truck arrived early yesterday afternoon, and I must say that my productivity level went sadly downhill after they put the sofa in the living room. I had to test it out, right? Alas, no pictures, yet. However, all three occupants of the house definitely approve of the new addition!

Now if I can just get the dining room table and six chairs from Ikea set up and in place in time for Thanksgiving dinner at my place next week! The rest of the recently purchased furniture can wait awhile, but I think everyone would be very happy if there was someplace to eat.

13 November 2009


Decadence, originally uploaded by kyredbutterfly.

Last weekend I and 14 women near and dear to my heart descending on Pigeon Forge, TN for the annual shopping extravaganza. I'm not a huge fan of shopping, and the miles and miles of outlet malls outside of Gatlinburg try my need for peace and quiet, but every year is a fun time of hanging out with wonderful women. The older generation of mothers has been going for twenty-five years or more. The rule was that their daughters were only allowed to join in on the fun once they were fully employed (and able to pay their own way). This is my 11th year. Over the years we've adopted good friends to join us, and each year there are good stories to tell.

Things have changed over the years, but much stays the same. Some outlets have closed, while others (I'm talking to you, Five Oaks) have become ginormous. Cell phones have helped us have more freedom to do what we want while keeping in touch. We shop less, play more games in the hotel rooms. We definitely start our days later than in the past.

And we eat! There must be more pancake restaurants between Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg, than pretty much anywhere else in the world. For the past few years we haven't gone to any pancake places because the hotel we were staying in provided breakfast for free. This year we tried a condo, which was a wonderful change and allowed for more fun and games, and decided to enjoy a couple mornings of pancakes. The photo above is supposed to be my mom's favorite cherry crepes. But as you may be able to see, they aren't very crepe-like. They are really pancakes in disguise. She was disappointed.

The photo was taken with my iphone using the "ShakeIt" app. I love it! It's so worth the $.99 just to play with what looks like a good old polaroid picture.

Anyway, though the miles and miles of shopping tries my patience, I can't wait for the hilarity to ensue again next year.

20 October 2009

Present Tense

My whole life I've been someone who focused on long-range goals. When I was a little girl I remember asking my mom when I could wear makeup, get my ears pierced, and date. I never argued for a different answer, I just wanted to be able to factor that into my internal timeline. I've always been pretty clear on what I wanted to accomplish in life. And to be honest, in almost every area, I've been blessed to get wherever I wanted to go, through the grace of God, my family, and a lot of hard work. This has felt particularly true recently:

  • I finally own my own place. Check.
  • I've achieved a position at work that I could easily stay in for the next 15 or more years, or until I retire. (Staffing for the state legislature is a very flat organization.) Check.
  • I have family, friends and a city I love. I have no plans to move anywhere else. Check.

That's not to say that I don't wish for other things. I would love to be married to a best friend and I would love to have a child. These things may never happen, and I've made my peace with that, truly. I wish I was healthier and in better shape. That will always be a work in progress for me. And there are hobbies that I'd like to try, places I want to travel to. But...

Awhile ago my mother casually asked me, "What are you going to do with the rest of your life?" And while I've kidded her about asking me such a loaded question, the truth is that for maybe the first time in my life, I realize I don't have any huge goals lined up for the next 5 or 10 years. That certainly feels oddly foreign to me, the girl who has always had a future vision of her life. But the truth is, I find that I am content with simply trying to enjoy the here and now and allowing life's surprises to find me, rather than going out and striving for that next goal. I'm going to try to simply live in the present and leave the future for another day.

19 October 2009

Just What the Doctor Ordered

So a few things have changed since July 27 (ahem). I packed, I moved, and I am slowly unpacking. I was so exhausted from the pre-move frenzy that I haven't forced myself to rush to get everything unpacked. And then I got distracted. Not long after the move my Mom went in for knee-replacement surgery. The surgery went fine, recovery not so much. Ten days after the original surgery they did a second surgery. Then she went back to the rehab facility. Finally, finally, just last Friday she was released to return home. Everything's going well now, but it's been a hectic three weeks that has left me getting home at 10 p.m. many nights. That wouldn't be so horrible if the alarm clock wasn't set for 5:15 a.m.

Friday night I joined two girlfriends for a little knitting and a lot of chatting. It was a great way to end the week. The rest of the weekend I spent holed up in my house. From Friday night through Sunday night, I didn't leave for one minute, and I loved it. I cooked chili, unpacked a bit, cleaned a bit, did a lot of laundry, and took care of a pet who was under the weather. I also watched football and read and knitted some more. It was just what I needed to recharge and refocus after several months of good but time-consuming distractions.

27 July 2009

For the Love of Books

(Picture from http://www.julieandjulia.com/)

Last week I finished reading "Julie and Julia." Bought it forever ago, started it and was smitten, and then somehow it got lost in the shuffle of life and I never finished it. But I knew I had to read the book before seeing the movie, which I definitely want to see. I loved, loved, loved the book. Loved the humor and the crazy scenes, loved the various characters, and shuddered repeatedly at the idea of following some of Julia's recipes. It probably doesn't help that for all of my love of food and cooking, I'm not a huge fan of French food. I know, shoot me. But man, oh man, the enjoyment I got from the book just makes me even more eager to see the movie!

It also made me realize that I never mentioned that I did manage to accomplish a few things on my birthday list that I created a year ago. Some of it I failed at, much of it is still a work in progress for this year too, and some things I accomplished. I read three "classics," and surprised myself by picking two nonfiction classics. I tend to gravitate towards fiction.

My first choice was an easy one: Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." Okay, a very easy choice! Especially since I have the BBC mini-series version practically memorized, and it stays very true to the text of the novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it in written form, though I do believe that I had read it once before. I didn't remember that until I was deep into the story again, so I'm counting this one. I also purchased Austen's "Mansfield Park," but didn't delve into it after reading the foreword and learning that it's one of her most controversial works, and not quite as light-hearted as her others. I've picked it up again this weekend, and plan to tackle it for this year's classics.

Next up I chose Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood." I've not seen the movie (of the killing or the author's biopic), and knew just the bare bones of the story. I was enthralled and couldn't put it down, in the "accident on the side of the road" way of horrific voyeurism. I enjoyed it, as much as one can a story where you know 'who dun it' and what's going to happen, but the gruesomeness was hard to think about.

You might think that my third choice followed in the same line, and I did read them back to back, mostly because I'd procrastinated and time was short. But I don't connect Capote's telling of the murder of a family with Elie Wiesel's "Night," which is his autobiographical account of surviving a Nazi concentration camp. I've had the book for over a decade, buying it at a time that I was reading a lot about that horrible period of world history. I could never bring myself to read this personal account, however, because I knew how it would tear at my heart. To be honest, the only reason I finally read it was because of all the "classics" I have waiting on my bookshelf to be read, this was the shortest one, and I was down to the week before my birthday. It was a gut-wrenching, horrifying, and terribly beautiful story. I'm glad I read it, but oh how it has haunted me.

So, at least I can check that task off for my 35th year, though I want to match it for this year as well. Possibilities include the aforementioned "Mansfield Park," "All the Kings Men," "A Tale of Two Cities," and "The Picture of Dorian Gray." There are probably others on the bookshelf as well, but these come to mind.

23 July 2009

I Got Nuthin'

Hi there. Yes, I'm still here. I'm just in one of those ruts where I don't think I have anything very interesting to say. The house buying is progressing. I'm closing on August 5th and hoping to move on September 3. I've picked out paint colors and will be buying the paint on Saturday because it's on sale and the savings are worth having to store it for a few more weeks before being able to start actually painting.

Over July 4th weekend Mom and I went up to Cincinnati to shop at all the great stores Louisville unfortunately doesn't have, like Ikea, Crate & Barrel, West Elm, and Restoration Hardware. While we spent two whole days shopping, we honestly didn't buy too much. It was mostly a planning and documenting trip with plans for a repeat visit once I have the condo, and more importantly, the first time home buyer's money! In terms of big ticket items, we found a couch (unplanned), a dining room table, and pieces to make a "mud room" sort of bench/cubby combo. I did buy the bed I wanted, because I didn't want to move a full size bed and only weeks later have to remove it for the queen that I'm splurging on. The best part was that I was able to use my iPhone to take pictures of all the items I want to purchase next time and their information tag, in the case of Ikea products. That will make the return trip much easier to handle.

In the meantime, the house is a wreck and awash in packing boxes, piles to be sent to Goodwill, yard sale items (those are Lisa's; after last year I swore no more yard sales for me), and stuff to be thrown away or recycled. I'm trying very hard to take only what I need or what I love. We'll see.

In the craft department, I've packed up most everything I have, mostly to make sure I'm not tempted to procrastinate the packing process too much. The one item I left myself was a very large, long-term knitting project that is for someone who reads this blog. So I can't even show you a picture of that, because even if I didn't identify what it was, she would know it was for her because of the color.

Anyway, be forewarned that any future posts, at least through September, are likely to be house and moving related. I'll try to at least post pictures to make it visually appealing. This will be easier once the place is actually mine and I can get into it at any time, without the help of my realtor and permission from the seller's realtor.

In the meantime, enjoy your summer!

22 June 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays

Love this color, originally uploaded by kyredbutterfly.

I took this picture probably a month ago. Back when I still owned a camera separate from my iphone. Sigh. I hope whoever found it enjoys it thoroughly. But other than the fact that the flowers have raindrops caressing the petals, it has nothing to do with anything. I just thought it was pretty. Oh, and it's. still. raining. here. Daily. But also horribly hot and humid. Talk about the worst combination of summer.

Anyway, despite the heat, I found myself making French Onion Soup on Saturday evening. I had four Vidalia Onions that needed to be used. I had beef stock. Like always, it was a match made in heaven. I had to get a little creative with the cheesy toast, however. All I had was a dense oatmeal wheat bread sliced for sandwiches. But I wasn't deterred. I broiled it with provolone cheese on top, and it served as a successful substitute to the typical French bread.

I just finished having a second helping of my soup, along with a salad featuring veggies from my community supported agriculture half of a half share for dinner. At work. With no end in sight. These would be the Mondays when working for the state legislature doesn't seem nearly as great of a career choice. I think I'll be here for several more hours while the legislators debate. I just love special sessions.

At least the soup was good. And the air conditioning is working.

14 June 2009

A Home of One's Own

With respect to Virginia Wolff, I appreciate the idea of a room of one's own, but I'm finally ready for a home of my own. Or in my case, condo. This is a view from the walkway leading up to either the (open) front door or the side porch. More pictures can be found at my flickr site. One thing none of the pictures show is the fact that the condo comes with a full unfinished basement. Woot!
Now that the seller has agreed to the repairs I've requested, everything should go smoothly. (Ha!) Closing won't occur until sometime in August, probably, but I'm having a hard time thinking about much of anything else these days. I'm really looking forward to being able to paint all the rooms different colors. In fact, I've just about figured out what color each room will be, all based upon this fabric, which will be my bed set. Those of you who know me well won't be surprised that I love the colors, but you might be shocked because it is a type of floral, which isn't something I'm typically attracted to.
My camera still hasn't appeared, so this little site might be without decoration for awhile. I'm going to use what I've got, and see how my iphone pictures look when uploaded, but it could get a little grim. A new camera isn't in the budget right now, when I'm planning for closing costs, movers, and a new bed!

11 June 2009

Good Tidings...

DSC00858, originally uploaded by kyredbutterfly.

Oh, where or where to begin?!? First, happy belated birthday to my dear friend Kat, who spent her birthday on Sunday enjoying Portland's Rose Festival by dragonboating. Such fun. My birthday was on Saturday. I managed to extend the celebrations from last Thursday through this coming Friday. Talk about a successful birthday bash!

While I intended to blog about her regardless, the sadder reason for using this picture from my April visit to Portland is that I think I've permanently lost my camera. Boo hoo. There's still a possibility that it's at a particular restaurant, but it hasn't been seen since Friday night, and I just realized that yesterday. And unfortunately, the money isn't there to replace or upgrade this camera at the moment. So we may be stuck with iphone pictures for awhile.

There's good news, though. The reason a replacement camera isn't in the budget right now is that the budget is completely devoted to the condominium that I have a contract to purchase on! Woo Hoo! I should be closing sometime in August. Pictures to come - I downloaded some onto the computer, but was too lazy to upload them onto flickr a few weeks ago.

I'm very, very excited about my new place. So far everything's going along fine. There are a few things I want the seller to fix, but the place is in really great shape. I am definitely hoping to have enough time between closing and moving to paint throughout, but that's about all the work that will need done prior to occupany.

As you can imagine, the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of looking, making an offer, getting financing lined up, having the home inspection, etc. Being totally new to this process, each step is like a new discovery to me. Oh, I need to do that now? Okay. I can't imagine selling a home while buying another one. The buying alone is complicated enough. May I live in this condo for years to come!

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. Here's hoping that one of them helps me find my camera. But at least I'm finally moving towards the "home of my own" goal!

13 May 2009

What I Did On My Blogcation

DSC00897, originally uploaded by kyredbutterfly.

Apparently this is just going to happen from time to time, these unexpected absences. There are several excuses, such as the awesome vacation I had with my good friends in Portland, or the fact that I lost my camera cord for a couple weeks when I returned and couldn't download pictures (and was too stubborn to go and buy another cord when I knew it had to be somewhere in the house). Then there was the evil illness that befell me. No, it wasn't swine flu (no matter what you say, Mom), but it was bad enough that even though the computer was within reach, I had no interest in turning it on. For two weeks.

But really, the biggest reason for the absence is this little toy that I got a couple months ago. I love, love, love my iphone. I love how convenient it is to pop onto facebook or the internet, and jump off again. It's so bad that I've basically stopped turning on my laptop, because I can do just about everything I want to do on a computer on my iphone. But blogging from my phone, though totally do-able, is tedious. I promise, I'll try to do better! Promises, promises.

06 April 2009

Who Me? Intimidated? No Way!

I have to confess: my sewing machine intimidates me. I don't know why, because I realize it can all be ripped out. This philosophy helps me conquer my knitting fears (oh, the joy of frogging) so I don't know why the seam ripper doesn't calm my fears of turning on the sewing machine, but it doesn't. However, it was on my life list for this year, and I'm running out of months before I have to talley my accomplishments.

My dear friend Chrissie sent me her sewing machine about a year ago, and there it sat. Taunting me. In October I signed up for two sewing classes through the public school adult ed programs. The first was a one night class to get to know your machine. The second was a multi-night course to do home decorating sewing. I went to the one night class and felt a little more confident when I left. Unfortunately, the other course was cancelled because of lack of participants. And still the sewing machine sat. It continued to smirk and laugh at my fear.

But I'm leaving town very early Tuesday morning, which means that Sunday was the perfect day to pull the sewing machine out and get over my intimidation, right? Well, anyway, that's what I did. And of course I waited until I was home alone, and Lisa wasn't even around to help me figure out my mistakes. Why make this easy on myself?

But the amazing this is that I did it! I wound the bobbin, I threaded the machine, I figured out my settings and I finally sewed. I even changed a needle when the one in the machine when I got it out of the box finally bit the dust. I fixed the situation when my bobbin got off course and thread was knotting up. I even considered my options for raising the presser foot. Nothing stopped me!

And I even produced the product I wanted to make. It's a coil bowl. I made one of these in the one week sewing camp my Mother signed me up for when I was 17. That was 16 years before the crafting bug bit me, so you can imagine I wasn't very impressed with the class. The shorts and shirt I sewed that week are long, long gone, but beside my bed is the coil bowl I made that week. And ever since I've had this machine, I've been wanting to make more coil bowls.

This one is by no means perfect. In fact, I feel a bit like a kindergartner with a craft project that only a mother would love. But I'm pleased that I finally faced up to the intimidation and didn't let myself back down until I accomplished what I intended to accomplish. More bowls to come. And maybe I'll find a way to fix the wonky height variations!

31 March 2009

My Peeps

No, not these kinds of peeps - though I do so love me some marshmallow Peeps! (And thanks to Wikipedia for a Peep picture.)

I'm talking about the peeps I had lunch with after church on Sunday, the peeps that aren't family but might as well be, because I consider the older adults to be other parents of mine, and those that are my age are good, good friends. I've known these people my entire life. My mother joined a church when I was three months old and soon found a Sunday School class where she felt comfortable. One of my earliest church-related memories is standing outside of my mother's classroom, with other children, jumping as high as we could because our parents had ignored the bell that told them Sunday School was over and we were beginning to wonder if they were ever going to come out so we could go to worship service. Talk about reversal of roles.

The "fathers" have helped me move, gone with me to court when a man assaulted my car and I pressed charges, offered advice on how to fix things, and generally have played the role of father that my own father didn't. The "mothers" have consoled me when I found out I had diabetes, told me how to get stains out of clothes and quilts, given me ideas on substitutes when I was half-way through a recipe and realized I was missing a key ingredient, and share recipes and homemaking tips. I've gone on trips with these lovely people, taken "retreats" with some just we so could go play cards, eat food, and talk. I've babysat some of their children. I remember a childhood full of times spent at their houses, during adult parties and play dates.

Their daughters (and oddly enough, they almost all had daughters) are dear friends. We weren't always that way, but thankfully we are now. I go on trips and retreats with them, too, and dinner parties, back yard barbecues, movie nights, game nights, and on and on. They hold me accountable to my values, and are always willing to listen when I'm whiny or down. They lift my spirits and support me.

Having this group of people who have known me my whole life, who love me, sometimes in spite of myself, who laugh at and with me, and who will be there no matter what, is such a great blessing. I've come to realize that more and more these past few years, as I've seen some of them less and less. You see, for some very messy reasons, I no longer attend the same church they do. It was a hard decision to move on and find a new church, but I don't regret it. What I do regret is that not being in the same pew as they are week after week means that I don't see some of them for months at a time. I miss them. It had been a long time between visits when we were finally able to get together this past Sunday. I'm so glad we did! In fact, I was enjoying myself so much that it didn't even occur to me to get my camera out and take a picture or two!

05 March 2009

Green Week 4 - Green with a bit of "Red"

I hate having my picture taken. This is why I have no picture of me uploaded that I can use as my "thumbnail" when I comment on flickr or otherwise. But green week has led to me sneaking into a shot. This great mirror (greener than it appears here) was given to me several years ago by my friend Judy. Right now it's hiding behind the door to my office. And back in that little corner I don't often think to look into it, or even see it. Maybe when I move to my condo I'll find a nicer place to put it and hang another mirror back there that I don't love as much as I do this one. Oh, and the red hair is the inspiration for the red part of kyredbutterfly. Happy green week!

04 March 2009

A green kick, with lime

A green kick, with lime, originally uploaded by kyredbutterfly.

The salad I had at lunch was delicious and exactly what I needed. But I didn't want to get too crazy and be healthy all day long! Haha. So when the legislature allowed us to get home at a decent hour on Tuesday, Lisa and I met at our neighborhood Mexican restaurant and I broke my 6 month ban on margaritas. It totally hit the spot!

03 March 2009

Green Week 2 - Ripening

Well, I'm shamelessly copying Sarah, sort of. Her avocados were homegrown and shipped to her. Mine come from...somewhere much more tropical than Kentucky in March. And mine are definitely not ripe yet.
I stopped by the store on the way home and knew I had to pick these up, along with all the ingredients for a great salad. I've been craving salad, which I don't believe is a sentence I've ever thought, much less admitted. I'm not a huge salad fan. Don't get me wrong, I like my veggies. I don't usually prefer them raw, but I eat them that way a lot, just not all mixed together in salad form. But all day yesterday, that's all I wanted. I thought I'd get one for lunch, but that was a no-go. I wasn't able to grab lunch until 2 p.m., and by then I was afraid of what might be left on the cafeteria salad bar. So I knew I had to remedy that last evening, and after buying lots of green goodies, I came home and cleaned, chopped, and packaged up a ton of good things to take with me to work today.
Good thing, too, as I'll probably be eating three meals there, at least until Friday (and maybe even then). It's the time of the long days, every day, as the legislative session reaches its fevered pitch.
Maybe the avocados will be ripe by the weekend. Something to look forward to! In the meantime, here's the flickr link for Green Week. But also check out the blog entries, listed here.

01 March 2009

Green Week 1 - Where, oh where, to begin?

It's no secret to those who know me that I love the color green. I love to wear green and decorate with green. I love to walk through green forests and sleep under green quilts. And, as the picture above shows, I like to knit with green yarn. Actually, I guess this picture really only shows that I like to purchase and stash green yarn. But most of these were acquired with projects in mind, if only there was enough time in the day for me to knit to my heart's content. And if only my sore elbow would let me. Anyway, I decided I'd start my green love this week with my lovely green yarn.

Thanks to the shining egg for suggesting green week. Please check out all the various participants' offerings. Green, oh green, you give me faith that spring is coming!
Side note: Only 36 more days until I touch ground in Portland, OR...a truly Emerald City where it's always green, even when it's gray!

25 February 2009

Forty-One and Definitely Counting!

No, not years. Not for another 5+ years! But forty-one days until I touch down in my beloved Portland, OR and get to spend an entire week with Kat, Josh, Melo, Chrissie, Keving, their girls Leina and Kulia, etc., etc.!!!! Can you tell I'm out of this world excited? I haven't been in Portland since August 2005. Wayyyy too long ago for my soul. And, of course, I've already told Kat about all the wonderful things I want to do while I'm visiting. Too many things, actually. But she knows me, and knows that once I'm there I will be thrilled, no matter what we do.

23 February 2009

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!*

Happy Fat Tuesday, everyone! My only form of celebration will be a work pot luck where there will be no jambalaya, gumbo, red beans and rice, crawfish, benets, or muffulettas! This is the educational sign that hangs in the French Quarter grocery that supposedly created the wonderfully delicious muffuletta. No matter how you celebrate, eat, drink and be merry!

* Let the good times roll!

20 February 2009

A Hint of Yellow

DSC00207, originally uploaded by kyredbutterfly.

It snowed again this week. Thankfully, it didn't last long. But as I've said, I'm ready for spring at this point, which always means tulips for me. I think I may have to splurge this weekend and buy some to put in a vase...on a high shelf where the cats can't eat them, or knock them over. I didn't get a chance to download more pictures last night, so I dug around in my archives and found this little shot. I love the almost technicolor quality of the red, and that one blaze of yellow! Yellow Week has been so much fun. Thanks Erin, for hosting it! (Check out Erin's banner, too. I love all that green!)

19 February 2009

Yellow Week 4 - Yarn Love

Before I could pick an angle to snap a picture of the yellow yarn on the quilt, Cassius snuck up and started getting comfortable. Eventually, he was resting his little chin on the skeins of yarn - so sweet. But photographing a black cat can be difficult with the best of light. At night, getting a good shot is nearly impossible for me. But I liked this one best, with the yellow light infusing the shot. However, he was much happier when I stopped taking the pictures and he could settle in for a long nap.

Don't forget to jump over to Flickr to see all the other great pictures from Yellow Week! I'm so impressed by the submissions. It's like we're willing spring to come.

18 February 2009

Yellow 3 - Tonight's Dinner

I've decided to go Moroccan for dinner, so here are some of my ingredients for my take on the Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew from SmittenKitchen. When I add the saffron threads, even my dinner will remind me of yellow week! As the picture shows, I'm going with a fresh lemon instead of the preserved lemons called for in the recipe. I'm not sold on them enough to go on an expensive search. A little lemon juice, some zest, and a little more salt added to what's called for will be just dandy for me.

17 February 2009

Tea Time - Yellow 2

A mug of lemon tea was a welcome respite to a stressful day. Made all the more so because my computer and/or internet has been giving me fits for days now. Just when I commit to uploading pictures daily for Yellow Week, my computer doesn't want to let me link to pictures on my blog or upload them to Flickr. A borrowed computer was the only way to solve the problem!

16 February 2009

Yellow Monday

***For some unknown reason blogger won't let me upload my photos tonight. Please see the links below, or click on my Flickr link to the right, to see my first four entries into Yellow Week. I'm going to try to keep working on this, but until then...***

Erin is hosting a color week. I jumped in at the last moment, knowing that it would be a challenge for me on several levels. It would require me to post daily, and it would require me to put my photos out there amongst other much more accomplished photographers with much nicer cameras than my little point-and-click Sony Cybershot.

Don't get me wrong, I love my camera and it's more than enough for me, personally. But when I look at other blogs with pictures taken with cameras that create immensely better photographs, and are taken by people who know something about taking a good picture, well, it's a little intimidating. But mostly, I knew that I am sick, sick, sick of winter and ready to embrace spring. The warm weather from last week was just a flirtation. So I knew I needed to go looking for spring, and Erin's color week was just the thing to help me find a few moments of spring in my days.

I took these shots in and around the state capitol, since I knew I wouldn't be getting home tonight until after dark. I at least wanted my yellow to look cheerful. I was surprised that I found so much yellow lurking around me!

08 February 2009

This and That

If I had blogged last week, as I intended to, the title would have been "Snap, Crackle, Pop" as the perfect description of living through the snow and ice storm that shut down large swaths of the state. It snowed all day on a Tuesday, then that night the ice started, and you could hear the tree limbs creaking and snapping under the weight of the ice. Finally, by Wednesday, lines started snapping and transformers popped as the power went out, at our house and throughout the state. Here are my pictures from the front porch and back door of our house.

But this weekend has been about puttering around the house, cooking, laundry, knitting, and listening to "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" on CD. My second attempt at bread from this book was much more successful than my first loaf (the rest of that dough went into the trash after the storm). Seriously, is there anyone out there that doesn't have this book yet? Everywhere I look, someone is blogging about baking something from it. I've had it for several months now, but peer pressure finally got me to start trying it. This could be very bad for my health goals for the year!
The mushroom barley soup I made to go with it on Saturday tasted great, except for some of the mushrooms were too woody to eat. This is rather disappointing, since they came from a "gourmet" dried mix of mushrooms I bought at Costco. I love mushrooms, but they have such horrible shelf-life that I like to use dried mushrooms. These looked like a good deal, but if half of them aren't palatable, it doesn't do me much good. The broth and the rest of the soup is great, though. The recipe is definitely a keeper. I just have to find a better mix of dried mushrooms.
Today I indulged in one of my favorite meals. I made a "hearty" breakfast of scrambled eggs with peppers and onions, hash browns and bacon. I adore breakfast. I adore hash browns. And I love, love, love bacon. So much so that this is the first time I've bought bacon in over a year. I have a hard time saying "No," so it's better if it just never enters my house. But I'd been craving this kind of breakfast for about a month now, so I finally gave in on a lazy morning. It was a very nice treat. When I was in law school I'd cook this kind of breakfast once a month or so, for my roommate and I. It's the only kind of luxury I could afford back then. It's a good thing I don't indulge in this habit too often, however! The bread is going to be bad enough.
(**Sorry for the stars...for some reason I keep having trouble getting new paragraphs to format correctly. This at least keeps the entire post from being one very long block of text!)

20 January 2009

These Hallowed Halls

Most mornings I get to work at 7:30, when the state capitol building is still dark and quiet. I enjoy the grand silence as I walk up the marble steps between the first and third floors, and the view. Looking down the length of the building where governors govern, legislators legislate, and justices judge fills me with awe. Working for 138 legislators/politicians can be a cynical business at times, but in the core of my being I still stand in reverent awe over the form of government our forefathers created and that has been refined over generations and centuries.

But today is a historical day, no matter how you voted on November 4, 2008 (or if you voted at all). Our country's history is scattered with moments that turned on racial issues, for the worse and for the better. And while many people supported Barack Obama's presidency because he was an African-American, and many people did not for the very same reason, many more supported him or didn't for reasons that had nothing to do with the color of his skin or the fact that his father was froom Africa and his mother from Kansas. Today is another turning point. It makes me proud to participate in representative democracy. It makes me proud to be an American and know that the people did have a choice, and the choice means another barrier has crumbled.

Happy inauguration day, everyone. I'll be watching from the attic of the capitol in the state where Abraham Lincoln was born. The Great Emancipator would be proud of his country, and so am I.

16 January 2009

Baby, it's COLD outside!

Canada, thank you very much for the generous offer, but you can have your frigid winter temperatures back now. We in the south - even the northern edge of the South/southern edge of the Midwest - aren't prepared to handle this commitment. We have to save up for air conditioning, bug spray and citronella candles for when the temperatures top 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity levels make us feel like we're breathing through water. If we could work out some sort of swap, I would definitely be interested. You can always put on more clothes and find/knit more blankets when it's cold, but there comes a point where taking off more clothes to beat the oppressive heat of summer will get you arrested. So until we can come to a timeshare agreement, you need to come pick up your negative wind chill and take it back to where it belongs. Thank you.

15 January 2009

Honor Thy Father

If he had lived, my father would be 66 today. He died less than one month short of his 60th birthday, the week before Christmas in 2002.

He's been on my mind lately because I have such crystal-clear memories of the days surrounding his death. How I was obsessed with wrapping Christmas gifts and so went to Target at about 10 p.m. on December 23 and came home with everything I would need to wrap gifts because the idea of digging out the wrapping paper I already owned was more than I could contemplate. I used up the last of that paper this past Christmas (I really loved that paper, so it was used sparingly after that initial year).

I remember how I drove back to Louisville on the afternoon of his funeral and collapsed into bed, exhausted. And how I was still just lying there 45 minutes later, unable to sleep. A friend from law school called me all the way from Russia, having just heard the news. How dear of her - I needed that distraction. The call made me realize that sleep wasn't coming, so I got into my car and drove to the movie theater and watched one of the Harry Potter movies, hoping to get lost from my life in the darkness of the movie theater. I started falling asleep half way through the movie and could only laugh at the irony.

Organizing my paperwork (again) a few weeks ago reminded me of the disaster my apartment had become during the six weeks he was in the hospital, and how I came home and realized how horrible it would be for my mother if I were to suddenly die because all of my documents were a total mess and she'd never know where anything was. I started organizing right then and there. Of course, that realization wore off over time, but it shouldn't. It would be horrible for her, and I would hate to burden her like that.

The odd thing about all of these ruminations is that my father and I weren't particularly close, and as horrible as it sounds, I don't miss him. He was an alcoholic, which ultimately led to his death and made it difficult at times growing up. Also, I am very much like my mother, and very not like him. The only thing we ever had in common was education and watching sports. He was very proud to be the first in his family to graduate from college, and was supremely proud of my academic achievements. And he, along with my mother, taught me to love and understand basketball, football, and even baseball (which I understand but don't really appreciate). But you can only have so many conversations about grades and basketball games. Unfortunately, by the time of his death, his drinking was so heavy in the evenings when I would stop by to see him and have dinner that it wasn't a particularly useful few hours, and so I avoided going. My last visit with him, about two weeks before he went into the hospital, was particularly unpleasant.

I never doubted that my father loved me. He told me that every time we saw each other or talked. It was important for him to say that to me, because that was something his Catholic, hard-working, farming parents never said to him. But he didn't "get" me and really didn't understand what I needed him to be as a father. I loved him, too, and resolved my feelings about him years ago. I just wish I could say I missed him.
Instead, I miss what I never had.
Okay ... I promise we'll get back to regularly scheduled programming now, with no more "deep thoughts" posts for awhile! It must be a holdover from the new year contemplations, but I'm done now. Truly. I'm working on a Noro two-stripe scarf for myself and will show you WIP pictures shortly. And there's sewing planned for this weekend, so maybe I'll show some of that too. I'm a little intimidated still by the sewing machine, being a novice, but I'm determined to conquer my fears.

08 January 2009

Coveting is Bad, Right? Giveaway Alert.

I read this post about the Epson Artisan 800 printer and literally, I started to drool. Just reading mommycoddle's description makes my brain start whirling with ideas. I've wanted a scanner/printer/fax for a long time, but with plans for buying a house this year, I was living with the idea that there was definitely no room in the budget anytime soon. Maybe I'll win this one that's she's giving away! Go over there and post a comment. If you win, I promise not to be (too) jealous.

UPDATED: I didn't win. And I'm jealous. But I'm filing away the information about this wonderful toy/machine, for later. Maybe by then something bigger and better will come along and this beauty will be discounted!

06 January 2009

Christmas Knits in Review

Toasty (see link below) in Malabrigo worsted: Vermillion. The color's redder than seen here. These still need to be delivered to their recipient.

Malabrigo worsted in VA (?), basic hat pattern from my LYS. Mustapha, along with Andrew and Rhonda in the pictures below, were nice enough to pose for me, since I didn't get pre-giving pics. Unfortunately, that meant taking the pictures under flourescent lights. Ugh. The colors here are about right, though it's slightly greener and all the colors are much, much richer than appear here.

Same pattern in Malabrigo worsted: Black Forest. The color is very camouflagey, more than advertised when I bought it online. But it works for Andrew, who's in the National Guard.

Toasty in Malabrigo worsted: Indigo. Very "UK blue," which suits Rhonda to a "T". I'm hoping these help keep her fingers warm as she types, since her desk is in a cold hallway and her space heater doesn't do much to warm her hands!

I had bigger handmade plans, but I'm pleased that I got these done and am going to finish up some more gift items to give at random times to a few patient friends and family members!

04 January 2009

Goodbye to Time

Okay, so that may be an exaggeration. But this is the first year since law school that I feel like I've had a Christmas break. Being a single person without children and a very small, flexible family, I'm always the one who happily works during the weeks of Christmas and New Years while others take time off. But this year I've been away from work for a week and a half, and most of the days have been rather unstructured (Read: A few days have been spent in PJs, knitting away and watching football and movies). It's gotten so bad that my roommate and I have been confirming with one another what day of the week it is.

Added to the sense of being out of the normalcy of daily life was the short trip I took with my mom to Daytona Beach. She had to go for a high school boy's basketball tournament for which she was keeping the score books. I "had" to go because it meant a few days staring at the ocean, walking on the beach, enjoying fresh seafood, and generally loving life. It was all of that and more. Our seventh floor hotel room had two walls of windows overlooking the beach, and a long balcony to sit out and enjoy the ocean air. The weather was beautiful, and there was always a nice breeze. The water was pretty darn cold, but I didn't do more than dip my toes. We drove on the beach, explored back roads and ritzy developments, and took in a movie (Doubt: very good acting, mesmerizing story, but you leave with as many questions as you have throughout.). It was the perfect tonic to the gray and cold winter weather of home.

But tomorrow the alarm will go off while it's still dark as night outside and I'll be forced to wear work clothes, put on makeup, and do my hair. I'll be getting to work around the time the sun rises, and I'll leave when the sun is setting. With the legislature coming back to the capitol this week for the beginning of the legislative session, it will be busy. Time to jump back into the regular tempo of life with both feet. As I sat in church this morning, after having taken communion and waiting while others were served, I have to admit my brain started racing on all the things I need to do this evening to prepare for the week to come, and all of the errands that must be done. Sigh. It had to come to an end at some point, and the day has almost arrived.

But first, one more moment of time away. This afternoon, the University of Kentucky plays the University of Louisville in men's basketball. In this basketball-crazed state, this is *the* game of the year. Time to go root, root, root for my team!

02 January 2009


One enduring aspect of being my mother's daughter (and oh, am I ever!) is that at least half the time that I see her she hands me something. Either something she's unearthed from my childhood, like the Christmas ornament from our trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park when I was about 11 years old, or even more likely, a clipping from a newspaper or magazine. Last week when I received the ornament I also got a couple clippings.

There was an article from the October 2008 copy of Southern Living magazine (I can't find a direct link to the article) entitled "Less is More" by Jan DeBlieu. It's a commentary, the kind frequently found at the end of a magazine. She starts off quoting a cross-stitch sampler from her childhood which said "Use it up/Wear it out/Make it do or/Do without." That phrase certainly speaks to me today after spending hours wading through the accumulation of paper from the past year and bringing a certain degree of order to chaos. I love feeling organized, but I'm very lazy about staying organized, so for me these days tend to require Herculean efforts. Tonight I'm feeling good about what's been accomplished and trying not to be overwhelmed by all that has yet to be done to bring order to the house in general.

It also speaks to me as I begin to prepare myself for packing and moving later this summer into a condo of my own. Having moved many, many times since I graduated from high school (4 official addresses in 1998 alone, as I graduated from law school, moved back to my hometown, moved to a small town near where I work, then moved a block away from where I work. Ugh.), I know that I don't handle the rush of packing that every previous move has required, and end up so exhausted by the process of getting everything ready for the move that I live amongst boxes for months afterwards, not caring to see my possessions again. But I want this move to be different because it's finally going to be my stuff in my place, and I want it to feel like mine as soon as possible. So I'm hoping small steps of packing as I purge makes the pre-move period a little less stressful. And as I go through everything, my mantra is to be brutal. I want to take only what I need or love, and nothing more. Sorry Mom, because I know the pack rat in you shivers at the thought of what might be given away or tossed. What you don't know can't hurt you.

01 January 2009

2009. It's About Time.

Cassius says, "It's about darn time you got off your duff and got back onto your blog!" Can I simply say that I don't know what happened. I'm amongst friends, so I'm going to assume you'll forgive me and we can all just move onward and upward. I mean, it's a new year after all, so it's time to let bygones be bygones and start fresh!

I'm excited for the new year. But I always am. I love those times during the year that signal a new beginning - the new year, my birthday, the start of school in the fall (doesn't matter that it's been 10 years since I had a fall term, it still gets me all excited). Yes, I have goals for the new year. They fall under the categories of Health, Create, Simplify, and Learn. I have not set myself up for failure by expecting too much from myself with these goals. I am hopeful, and know that if I even complete half of them, it will be a very good year.

2008 had it's struggles, worldwide, within my circle of friends, and personally (though I am grateful they were not plentiful on the personal front). But I am wealthy in so many, many ways that count more than the stock market or my bank account. And I am deeply grateful for all that has been given to me during this past year and in my life. I am hopeful for what 2009 holds, despite the fears and difficulties that the news brings daily.

I wish nothing but the best for you, my friends, and will let you in on one goal for this new year - I will keep you better informed, right here, on what I'm up to in my corner of the universe. Happy New Year to one and all!