Murder, She Wrote, She Wrote

We don't have a TV at home, we have Netflix, most of which I watch on my laptop.  I love it, because I really like ignoring an ignorable TV program while I'm working, or crafting, or whatever.  As I've been laying low the last couple of days, I've watched a LOT of programs, much of which has been Murder, She Wrote.  I just signed in to Netflix to watch another episode, and came across the reviews of the show.  This is the first one listed for this show, and it is so painfully accurate, it had me rolling.  Anyone who has watched this show will probably understand and relate to this review:

"Enjoying this series depends upon a few simple guidelines. 1.) An attempted
accent should be accepted as accurate. Likewise, an on-and-off accent should be
understood as consistently on. 2.) Jessica has an indefinite number of siblings
and close friends, so there's no point in wondering how she is an aunt to so
many. 2.) Don't notice the recasting of supporting actors in different roles. 4.)
Whether they love of hate her books, everybody knows J.B. Fletcher. 5.) Most
people, law enforcement included, know when to admit theyre out of their depth
and ask for help. 6.) Older ladies can stop anyone from fighting or using a gun
by speaking sternly or appealing to reason. 7.) Unlike the rest of us, Jessica
learns and remembers the names of everyone she meets–from cab drivers to
ambassadors. If you can suspend your disbelief and accept tv as it once was, you
can easily enjoy this program."


Sick and Bored

Being sick is one of the most boring things on the planet.  There's just only so much orange juice, bathroom trips, couch cuddles, naps, and movies I can stand before I am ready to go crazy.  This is what I appreciate the laptop, so I can answer silly quizzes like this.

This is quite an interesting book list!  I actually own lots of the books off this list, but just haven't read them.  Some I even started, but never did finish.  Many of them I've read only because they were school requirements, but I'm glad they were because I never would have read them otherwise.  From reading these books in high school, I developed a love for what I call "classically written" literature.  I just love how they can say a whole paragraph's worth of a message in just one well written sentence.  No one talks like that anymore.  Not that I think they should, but on the other hand, I do believe that there are a lot of fantastic vocabulary words out there that are sorely neglected. 

I still remember the feeling I had when I finally understood how to read these kinds of books, with all their big words, mixed up sentences, and especially Shakespeare.  It was thanks mostly to my 9th grade English teacher, Mr. Baugh.  It's like every day in class, he's just come over and turn on a bunch of light bulbs over my head, making things suddenly make sense.  Whole new worlds opened up!  Suddenly, there was no reason why I couldn't memorizes 50 vocabulary words and their meanings!  I knew how to insult someone in Shakespearean!  I knew what a gerund was, and why it mattered!  He even introduced me to Marc Cohen's music, which I still love to this day.  I don't remember tons about high school, I have a poor memory that way, but I DO remember Mr. Baugh and his English class.

Anyway, on to the silly quiz….

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books on this list.

Look at the list and put an "X" by those you have read.

x 1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
X 2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
x 3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
x 4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
X 5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible (I don't think I've actually read the whole thing, so I'm not counting it)
x 7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

Subtotal: 6

x 11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (I have read about 2/3 of it, but not the "complete")
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
X 16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
X 18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot


x 21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
X 22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
x 24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
X 28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
x 29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

Subtotal: 5

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
x 33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
X 36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
x 40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

Subtotal: 3

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
x 46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
X 49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

Subtotal: 2

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
x 52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
x 54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Subtotal: 2

X 61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville

Subtotal: 7

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
x 73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce (I have made it about halfway through, will tackle it one of these days!)
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

Subtotal: 1

80 Possession – AS Byatt
x 81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – R. Mistry
x 87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
x 89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

Subtotal: 3

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
X 98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
x 99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
x 100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Subtotal: 3

Total: 35


I see many sunburns in my near future (well, hopefully they'll eventually just be suntans).  I finally figured out a way to successfully play outside with Ben in our yard.  For those of you who haven't been to our house, half our lawn is level, and the other half is steep hill.  It is also unfenced, and on the corner of our street, with a decent amount of traffic.  Playing outside with Ben for me usually amounted a lot of running, catching, "no no's," and bouts of very vocal confused and frustrated opinions (from Ben – mine was all inside my head).  My mom jokingly said I just needed a tether for Ben, so he can play relatively unhindered, without rolling down the hill onto the street under someone's moving car.

Well, actually, I found one, and it worked.  We played outside successfully for two hours yesterday.  With Ben's new favorite toy.  The hose.





He only went out so far as the hose, with its slow trickle of water, reached in the yard.  I brought out all kinds of toys to play with, but the hose was it.  For two hours, he watered the bushes, the fountain, the lawn, the flowers, the rocks, his bucket, and himself.  This time I'll remember to put sunscreen on myself and not just him, and I'll bring myself out a chair and a magazine.  Watering things with the hose captured my interest for only so long…


The new shoes of summer.  Is it just me, or did we totally skip Spring??

Two Today

(At about 2 weeks)

Two years ago today, I remember trying for twenty-six hours to bring my son into the world, only to have a stranger come in and do it in under 30 minutes.  I turned my head, and the first view I had of Ben was him lifting himself up on all fours on the table as the nurse did those things nurses do when babies are born.

(at about 3 months)

 I remember expecting him, as a newborn, to be tinier and more fragile than he actually was.  At almost 9 1/2 pounds, he was just barely under my approved weight limit for what I could safely lift and carry for the next 6 weeks. 

(presiding over The Weed Patch)

Driving down to Colorado with my new son, my husband, and my in-laws was one of the most challenging experiences of my life, but one that has given me some of the best memories.  In two years, I have learned about multi-tasking, sensory overload, self-sacrifice, what real messes are, how to clean in record time, and the importance of personal devotional time and coffee. 


And family.  I don't know how single moms do it.  I wouldn't have made it this far without our parents, sisters, brothers, aunties & uncles, best friends, new friends, grandparents, and of course, my husband.

(First pool experience)

Benjamin is two today.  He knows the entire alphabet by sight, and can name over half the letters.  He loves ducks and books, and of all his toys, he plays the most with his ball and Mr. Potato Head. 

(The discovery of Toilet Paper)

Music is by far his most favorite thing in the world, second only to going outside.  His favorites are Loreena McKennitt and the fiddler from the group Celtic Woman.  Shortly after walking (at about a year), he began running, then jumping, and spinning. 

(First Sprinkler)

He has danced to music ever since he was able to bounce on his tummy.  He is strong, stubborn, intelligent, and has his own mind about things. 

(With Daddy)

He gives me a bad headache just about every day, which I get over during his long stretches of (thank you Jesus) sleep.

(First Lawn Mowing)

And I love him more than anything else in the world.


Happy Birthday, Baby!

Thoughtful Friday 14


"Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway."  –Mary Kay Ash


Journal Day

Today is a day to journal.  If you are a journaller, you know what I mean.  If you aren't I encourage you to consider jumping on the bandwagon.


This is a journal I made my last year at Artfest.  I was over 8 months pregnant, in a tiny room at Fort Warden in Port Townsend, over-filled with 6 foot tables.  I literally couldn't maneuver in there at all.  But it didn't bother me, as I had great fun in the class.  Traci Bautista was teaching us to make great messes with scraps of various papers, most of which was from my recycle bin, along with inexpensive liquid watercolors and markers of all kinds.


That was over 2 years ago now, and I still had yet to write in the
resulting book.  Nothing really seemed to fit, and it still really
doesn't, but I'm tired of my poor little book being all dressed up with
nowhere to go.  I have been experiencing some dark times of late, and though I am a journaller, I haven't
ever really been one to write out all my unromantic, depressing worries
and sad thoughts.  I guess I assume someone will read my journals someday, at the very least after I'm dead,
and I don't want them to think I had a morose personality.  Despite all this, however, I have been putting pen to page, deciding that my own
journal therapy is more important that what people think of me
(especially since the only ones reading these will probably be those
who knew and loved me anyway).  Perhaps the bright cheery colorful
pages will have a positive effect on the words I write?  We'll see I
guess.  But either way it is nice to be scribbling again.


ABCs and Play Doh


Yesterday we tried out Play Doh for the first time.  His auntie Holly brought him some Play Doh a couple of weeks ago, and we gave him a can of it in his Easter basket.  Yesterday afternoon, it just seemed like the right time to give it a go, so we pulled out a glass cutting board surface, and I explained to him that the Play Doh only goes on that surface, and we opened up the can. 


He didn't really get the concept right away, he just kept putting it in one container after another without really squishing it.  But I formed it into letters for him to guess, and animal shapes to play with, and although he didn't go crazy with it, he did seem interested.  Success was confirmed this morning – it was the first toy he went for after his bath!


My friend Charity tagged me on one of those meme's, and I'm always a sucker for them so, here we go.  I'm supposed to "tag" a bunch of people, but I hate doing that, so join in if you'd like, and let me know if you do!

A – Age: 30

B – Bed size: King

C – Chore you hate: putting away clean laundry

D – Dog's name: we don't have a dog.  We have a cat, his name is Rumpuss (like in Cats)

E – Essential start your day item: COFFEE.  in a pretty mug, on a pretty tray, with four small powdered doughnuts on a pretty plate.

F – Favorite color: red.  no, light blue.  no, green.  no, pink.  no, red, definitely red.  Today at least.

G – Gold or Silver: don't have much of either.  not really into fancy jewelry.  its all gifts or homemade, so I guess silver.

H – Height: 5' 10"

I – Instruments you play(ed): piano since I was 5 or so through college after which I haven't had a piano to play.  I miss it very very very badly.

J – Job title: Mom, retail/online store owner, artist

K – Kid(s): 1

L – Living arrangements: Married with children at our home in Everett

M – Mom's name: Esther

N – Nicknames: don't have any at all, except from my friends at my old work.

O – Overnight hospital stay other than giving birth: None

P – Pet Peeve: Losing things, especially when it is a book or toy I want to play with and I only have a little while to do so before I have to go somewhere or Ben wakes up.

Q – Quote: Seize the moment.  Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.  ~Erma Bombeck

R – Right or left handed: Right.

S – Siblings: 2 sisters, both married.

T – Time you wake up: between 8 and 9, depending on when I went to bed

U- Underwear: Um, usually.  (Gee, some of these questions are weird.)

V – Vegetable you dislike: can't really think of any.  Artichokes, I guess.  Older ones.  I like the hearts.

W – Ways you run late: don't understand the question.  Late is late, not sure there are different ways of being late.  I am typically late because it always takes me longer to get Ben, and then thus myself, ready than I think it will.

X – X-rays you've had: spinal

Y – Yummy food you make: hm….soups, bread, flank steak, cakes, cheesecake, pastas, tea party food

Z – Zoo favorite: I haven't been to the zoo in so long, I can't remember.  i remember being very fascinated with the gorillas.  so human-like.



and I have been taking evening walks in the neighborhood, every night so long
as it isn’t pouring, and as long as it is still light.  Our neighborhood is a wonderful mix of
houses, some run down a bit, and some painstakenly cared for.  I love both kinds equally, as almost all the
homes around here are very old, and thus even when run down they have great
character.  One of the several things I
badly miss about our Snohomish home is the neighborhood.  If you’ve followed the blog at all, you’ve
heard about it before. 


At the end of the
main street of Historic Snohomish is a small cul-de-sac of old, brightly
painted historic homes.  Behind them is a
garden, all netted together, full of plants I remember from my childhood.  If you live in one of those homes, you are
part of the Neighborhood, which I learned was a small community of people that
instantly became family and friends, the kind you would have last minute dinner
parties with, drink wine outside under the stars and flower, and slap
miquitos.  Indeed, we spent a few of the
wee hours of our labor with Ben wandering our neighbors’ back yards, because it
was such a lovely and peaceful place to experience excruciating pain, and
really the best part was knowing we were welcome.



it came to buy a home, we had to move, sadly. 
We have lived in Everett now for about a year and a half, and although I
know nothing will ever be like The Neighborhood, I think this place has
potential.  There seem to be plenty of storybook
characters living around here, some new to the area, and some who have been
here longer than I’ve been alive.  We
pass by a few of them as we are taking our walks, and we are starting to build
our own neighborhood personality as we chat with them.  


It was on our walk yesterday as we were exchanging
gardening ideas with a couple who had just torn out part of their yard that I
realized that unlike Snohomish where we moved into an instant neighborhood,
here we’d have to make our own.  I have
heard enough comments from various folks to know that the desire to actually
know each others’ names and be welcome in each others’ yards is actually there,
just no one has really started working toward it yet. 


Having grown up in the middle of nowhere, I
had no neighbors, so I’m not really sure how to go about it.  Chris, of course, doesn’t have a shy bone in
his body.  He can talk to anybody, and I
mean anybody.  Me, I speak in food, among
other things.  Maybe I’ll drop off some
cookie gifts and see where it leads us….


Useless Things

Chris takes the camera to work with him almost every day, so I don't
often get a chance these days to snap many shots.  He did leave it
yesterday, though, and I took some random pics of our morning.


Ben was working very hard, as usual.


I was not.


I have started painting again, a bit.  Nothing fancy or museum worthy, but fun things that bring out that child-like spirit that has very unfortunately been buried lately under adult concerns.

My mother told us a couple weeks ago that we were living a wretched existence (I love my mom).  And at that moment, she was right.  We have this tendency to run around like chickens with our head's cut off whenever life gets a little tough, as if our sheer effort is going to make the difference.  Every single time we do that, sacrificing everything from time with each other to sleep to even eating, we suffer worse than the original problems in the first place, so I can't really figure out why we end up doing it again later.  Silly us.


But, that's what friends and moms are for, to tell us when we are being idiots.  So, lately I've been spending a little bit of each day (naptime) doing some completely useless things, to relieve myself from having spent so much time doing useful things.  Well, when I say "useless" in this context, I mean things that don't have anything to do with any of our businesses, or cleaning the house, or things like that.  I think the things I am doing ARE useful, but in more personal ways, like, um, helping me to not go insane.  Insane in this context just isn't a good thing, so the other day I painted an elephant.  Yesterday I painted a house and put glitter on its roof.  Today…well, today I'm blogging.  During naptime I may actually get outside and plant my flowers before they decide that the little 4 inch plastic containers they came in are their permanent homes, and die out of misery…