More mail, a minder, and the mehs.


I got mail today!

I do love my mail.  I think that’s been fairly obvious the past few days.  >_>;;

I got a card from my in-laws.  My hubs reminded them it was my birthday coming up, so they sent the obligatory card and check to try to bribe me for another year.

I also got a sweet card from my Grandmother and a bit of money.   Her cards are always thoughtful and worth more to me than any money she sends.

I’m a big fan of spending money on memories instead of stuff, so I think I’ll use the in-law’s check to buy tickets to see two shows at our local “Broadway” theatre.  “Evil Dead the Musical” is coming near Halloween and “Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood: Scared Scriptless” have a date set here as well in the distant future.  I love them from their Whose Line days and hubs is a big fan of improv, so it seems like it would be a fun night for both of us.  Things to look forward to are always nice.

There was also a small package from another member of the Cross Stitchers Unite group!


I didn’t have a needle minder yet, so I’m really quite excited to have such a cute one to try out….and who doesn’t love shiny floss?!

I think hubs felt a bit left out from the birthday giving because he also received a package in the mail that turned out to be a gift for me and decided to go ahead and give it to me.

It was a DVD of Arrietty.  I looooved The Borrowers when I was a kid!

I also adore Studio Ghibli films and have been trying to collect them all for endless hours of mood boosting fun.  Hubs hasn’t seen this one yet, so we’ll have to add it to the list of movies to watch after we finish the extended editions of the Hobbit trilogy (much better the theatrical releases, in my opinion).

I’ve been in a really bad funk the past few days — it tends to happen this time of year — and all the little surprises in the mail have helped so much.

My sister passed away a week after my 20th birthday, so memories of that always loom around and make me a miserable human to be around.  I didn’t exactly enjoy my birthdays before; my family was rarely around for my birthdays, so they were generally lonely and sad…and my Mom still likes to point out that my sister had a surgery on her first birthday so I have no right to bitch about a miserable birthday, but I think I finally have that right considering what happened.  All in all, I just don’t like my birthday and generally don’t find it something to celebrate.

…at least this year, having random little packages of floss showing up, from complete strangers, have been a really nice little bit of unexpected brightness in the dark doldrums.  It’s nice to know that strangers can have fun with, celebrate, and care about somebody they’ve never met.



More birthday goodies! …and books?

More mail!

*happy dance*

I received a package from my Uncle and Aunt today — my Dad’s brother and his wife — for my birthday.

They sent a gift card to the local Italian eatery we made sure to drag them to when they visited.  It’s fantastic.  I can’t wait to have an excuse to gorge myself on pasta.  😀


The above photo was taken *after* I had finished eating dinner.  I have a hearty appetite and I’ve never walked away without at least two more meals worth of food from that place.

They also sent me a book they recommended hubs and I read when they were visiting over Easter called Last Days of Night by Graham Moore.  Hubs is more than a bit obsessed with Nikola Tesla (hence our eldest cat being named Tesla), so it seems right up our alley.

The book arrived just in time, too.

I just finished up both Foundation by Mercedes Lackey and Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman from our local library, so I’m in need of some fresh reading material.  I’ll of course have to finish the Collegium Chronicles when I head back to the library to return the books I have on loan….and probably get an armload of others while I’m at it.

I usually have several books going at once, so I think this new one will be a nice “heavy” to offset the other book I started today.  It’s one from my own, personal library.  It’s not a huge collection of books, but one I guard jealously.


I’ve filled it out quite a bit since the bookshelf was installed, but there’s the idea of it. :3  There are also quite a different selection of figures on the shelf now that hubs and I have finally decided what to display from his childhood toy collection (he has boxes and boxes) and random fandoms.  I’ve also donated several of the books in the photo — Mom likes to give me the books she’s finished reading as a way to get them out of her house — so there’s always a bit of a cycle.  I only keep the books that I love enough to reread.  I’ll have to get an updated photo when the house is clean.  =X

I’ve put off reading The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home by Catherynne M. Valente since it was published last year.  It’s the final book in a series that I’ve really grown to love and I just wasn’t quite ready to end the whimsy of it all quite yet.  I’m not good at book reviews because I believe so much of reading is subjective, but what I can say for the Fairyland series is that it has somebody that has been reading adult novels since they were a child happily doing the opposite.


Mail and abrupt topic changes…

I love mail!


This weekend, my signed copy *squeeeeee* of Ayreon’s newest project “The Source” showed up.

I ended up forking it over to my hubs. I felt he needed it more than I did.

While hubs was mowing on Saturday, he ended up getting poison ivy -he’s highly allergic- on his face near his eye.  Thankfully, I went to gloat about the CD’s arrival and noticed the rash and we were able to stop it before spread INTO his eye.

Not only did he end up with poison ivy on his face, but he also ended up with a nasty case of skeeter syndrome…which I’ve never seen on an adult before.  He also said he’s never had it.  Mosquitoes love hubs.  He’s like the tastiest of tasty to those little blood suckers.

He made the mistake of using my Off instead of his, not realizing what a difference it would make.  I’ve never been bitten by a mosquito, ever.  They just buzz in my ears and near my eyes, so I use a really low level repellent to keep them from annoying me.  Mine has 7% DEET and only lasts for about 2 hours of doing nothing…the stuff he normally uses is 98.5% DEET and lasts for about 10 and through sweaty work, and he still usually gets bitten.  He was eaten alive on Saturday….and is covered in regular mosquito bites and what looks like huge, hard bruises from the ones he reacted to weirdly.  Poor guy.

So I “gave” him my CD, that he knew I had ordered but didn’t know was signed by Arjen Lucassen — whom he fanboys a over as a prog-metal genius (rightfully so) — to make his day a little bit better.  It seems to have worked.  🙂

…and abrupt topic change back to mail!

I’m part of a group on Facebook called Cross Stitchers Unite. It formed last month when another HUGE group for stitchers closed out of the blue due to a fallout with the admin (read: a whole bucket load of drama), so it’s still really new.

One of the things the new group is trying to do is a birthday card exchange so I signed up as a guinea pig for the first month because why not?!

My birthday is next week, so it worked out well.  🙂

I received two cards yesterday!


Hubs picked up the mail and asked why I was getting random cards then acted a bit panicked when I reminded him my birthday was coming up.

He was surprised random people would be so kind as to send floss through the mail to strangers (even though floss isn’t expensive and I think it’s a wonderfully fun thing to do; I’ll sign up to be a sender another month).

Hubs famously forgot my birthday one year.  Totally and completely forgot it.  Then he forgot to get me anything for Christmas that year as well.  The “one year” happened to be the first year we were married.  It was a disaster.  I’m not a superficial or materialistic, but a card would have been nice…even if he had scrawled something on a piece of paper.

Hubs has since been on a guilt-trip mission to make up for forgetting.  I’m not discouraging this.  I probably egg it on now…a lot.  May is now “birthday month” at my house.  I’m turning into my Dad, who celebrated his birthday all November long. 😛

Last year, when hubs asked what I wanted, I told him I wanted to see a moose in the wild.  Told you I was milking this.

Hubs is horrible at planning anything.  He *did* manage to get me that moose, though!  We went to Moosehead Lake, Maine (I think I have an old post about it?)

On the first night driving around, lo and behold:


Hubs makes fun of the photo as my “Bigfoot” version of a moose.  The windows were foggy, it was raining, and the moose was barreling right at our car.  My camera back then was broken and wasn’t saving pictures or focusing right, so I’m lucky to have any photo at all.  He’d bought me a new camera as a birthday gift but, of course, waited until the next day to give it to me — not expecting to see a moose the first night.  We didn’t see another moose.  😄

…but, I digress, as I do every time.

Since I got some floss, I might as well update on my cross stitch project of doom.  I’ve spread out to trying to finish the whole page at a time instead of a 50×50 block.  I think I’ll feel more fulfilled if I can throw something away and breathe a sigh of relief.  It still doesn’t look like much progress but I’m happy with it.  It’s 90 stitches across now, since that’s what fit on the printed page.  I forget how many stitches stretch down the page.  I’ll just not think about that for now. 😛


This is where it was last time I posted:


I’ve started to do a bit of cross-country stitching along with the parking and find it’s going faster and am happier that way.  I can do larger blocks and it’s not as thick on the back.  I guess it’s still a learning process with this many color changes to figure out what is going to work for me.  As long as I continue to enjoy it right?  🙂

…and now back to the sort of beginning of the post.

After hubs pretended to freak out about my upcoming birthday thanks to the arrival of the floss, he decided he wanted to give me a present early.   Presents are fun, so who am I to refuse?!


Fellow knitters, you’ll understand just how excited I was when he tossed this my way.  He didn’t wrap it.  He didn’t *have* to.  It’s a little zippered pouch of joy all into itself.

He hit a massive homerun with this one.


That’s the complete set of ChiaoGoo Twist Red Lace Interchangables in 4″!

*drowns in a puddle of drool*

I looove ChiaoGoo needles and prefer working with circulars to straight needles on most projects.  I only had a few of their needles, all in small sizes, and the two largest lengths of cables, so this is going to drastically alter my knitting habits.

These sound so pretty when they click together.  ❤ ❤ ❤  My hands are itching so, so badly wanting to do something with these!

I already want to start swapping my scarf to these…or just be horrible and cast on something entirely new!

…specifically this Phoenix Wing shawl in Pegasus Chroma from knitpicks with black outlines.  >_>;

I’m going to behave though, for now.  Or try to.  I don’t know how long that will last.  *bites hands*

…and finally, I actually sat at my computer a bit yesterday to catch up on my not-guilty-at-all pleasure show Rupaul’s Drag Race.  It doesn’t make much sense considering the other shows I tend to enjoy (Star Trek, Sherlock, Twilight Zone, Archer, Galavant, Peaky Blinders, Ripper Street, Hell on Wheels, Firefly, that sort of stuff…), but I love it and am not afraid to deny it.

Being at my computer means I finally got to knit a bit!  Last time I’d just finished with the dragon, so I got through another 28 rows of double knit and am just about to start a 30 row dragon, this time a water one, for next knitting session.


I wish more patterns had you rolling dice to decide what to do.  The randomness is a lot of fun! 🙂

Looking for shade (+plants)

Fun side effect of my new medicines: heat intolerance to the point of a marked increased chance of heat stroke.  My neurologist likes to warn me about fevers and any other medications that would affect temperature regulation — I already don’t sweat like most people, so regulating my temperature is already an issue.

My new, expensive medication also has a fun “Stay out of the sun!” warning that the dermatologist was very keen to point out, repeatedly before I left the office.  So, I’m kind of stuck today.  Melting.

Luckily, I already just didn’t like being in the heat.  I’ve never been a sun seeker, preferring to stay pasty pale and find a good shady spot.  Living in Georgia for a while was *not* my definition of fun.  Moving northward was the happiest news my hubs (then boyfriend) could have possibly delivered to me at that point in my life.

But we’re having a bit of a heatwave here.

It’s 95 outside and just reached 84 in the bedroom.  X_x

We don’t have air conditioning.

I think it’s time for me to draw a cold water bath and turn into a beached whale for a while with a good book.

I tried sewing for a while.  My craft room is -thankfully- one of the coldest rooms in the house.  It’s above the laundry room, which is semi-underground, and doesn’t have any windows that get direct sun…and I’ve put up black-out curtains to protect the precious fabric and goodies stashed away in there.  But it’s still hot.  Plus, the cats and dogs started beating down the door trying to get in and hide.  It’s bad when the cats are seeking cool places.

Except Joule.


We threw all of the covers off of the bed last night and onto hub’s computer chair and, of course, she tried to hide under them like she does on the bed.  It didn’t quite have the same effect.  A for effort, though.

I did sneak outside this morning before it became too miserable so I wouldn’t feel completely cooped up inside.


The pansies in my planter boxes are loving the heat (glad something is).  They were looking pretty puny after all the cold and rain we’d been having.  I always let hubs pick out the annuals, he really seems to enjoy it.  He’d somehow never seen pansies before (?!?!) and fell in love with them.  My Granny Boo used to always plant some in a huge cast iron cauldron in her backyard, so I know I’ll like having them to remind me of her all summer.


I moved my bird feeder to the other side of the stand and still this squirrel is causing problems.  This time he’s just hanging around — doesn’t care that he’s “activated” the “squirrel proof” mechanism due to his size…he just chewed a hole right in the plastic near the second leaf and eats his fill while upside down.  Ugh, he’s such a jerk.  He’s also totally unafraid of me, so not sure how to mitigate his binge eating.

…and some strawberries that we planted bareroot this week have started popping up!  *happy dance*  Glad to know I did something right.  😀  The plum and currant both have leaves already too.  I’m not feeling too confident about the blueberry, though it came here looking shriveled and dead; one of the stems was brittle and the green stem’s leaves were brown and curled…now the green stem is turning black at the pruned portion and at the root, so I contacted the company to ask for a replacement.


Since we’ve moved here, I’ve been working on establishing shade happy gardens as most of our house is in shade thanks to several oaks that are well over a hundred years old.  I love those oaks, they’re a big reason we bought the house.  Hubs and I agreed we could do a lot to update the physical house but no matter where we bought a house elsewhere here, we’d never, ever have trees and a forest like we do here.  They’re amazing; I can’t get my arms around most of them.   …and I do like to hug those trees.  >_>;;

From Google street view:


Hopefully the car and house are a decent enough representation of scale.  We have a lot of shade…and this photo shows maybe enough sun on that part of the roof that I can look into solar panels after all!  Never hurts to investigate into such things! 🙂

Regardless, the big shade garden in the back, where the shadow of the house falls has really established well and I’m confident enough in it to move to the deep shade side of the house where the larger oaks are.

I just want a bit more variety around the house.

When we first moved in, this whole bed was nothing but a mounding geranium in the front and poison ivy.  This picture was taken a couple of years ago when I first planted everything (and I have since added a few more things):


There are a few varieties of coral bells, the huge mounding geranium that was already there, primrose along the border where it gets a bit of sun, a dwarf blue rhododendron by the stairs, some sweet woodruff that I’m slowly letting creep and take over to become ground cover so I never have to mulch there again *evil grin* (ours only grow about 4″ tall), some solomon’s seal I found in the woods and moved there, spiderwort, a few colors of bleeding hearts, and I added a few green hellebores.

…the red bleeding hearts are spectacular right now.  As of this morning:


I know I definitely want additional colors of hellebores around the house and probably more bleeding hearts — I find them fascinating.  Not sure about the rest, though.

Right now the only things living on that side of the house are moss, forsythia (somehow), and hosta.  So many hosta.

It really is shady on that side of the house, so partial sun would be the most any plant could hope for but most would be in full shade.

Any fun recommendations for any other shade loving plants I could play with on that side of my house?

I live in zone 5.


Warning: Not safe for children rant >_>;;

Mom texted this photo to me yesterday.  I’m not quite sure where she found it, or I’d give appropriate credit to the artist, but I love it and it is so, so, SO appropriate right now.


Long story short, my family (do I have to claim them?) is replete with idiots.  I say that lovingly.  They’re idiots.  If you’re easily offended by TMI or family drama, run now.  I’m fed up.

I grew up with a very unique set of family.  One side is very calm, other than maybe having lots of uncles/aunts I now keep hearing rumors about thanks to a tom-cat of a grandfather.  The other side…is a bit more wild and free.

…like an aunt kicking a baby to death when it’s born because she’s drunk while giving birth wild and free.  Having cousins that were basically raised feral — like nursing on the hunting dogs wild and free.  Cousins fornicating with each other in bushes after funerals wild and free.  It’s, um, a more interesting dynamic and made for some very interesting and bizarre family parties when I was little.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved my childhood and had a blast observing just how insane everybody was…but I also realized they were absolutely insane and knew I never, ever wanted to be that.

I’ve “escaped” and my parents never had me in the thick of it anyway — I was more of an outside observer who knew the crazy family and sometimes stayed with them when I had to, but I didn’t live that way day to day.  We lived on the opposite side of the county (where it was too far for them to drive to see us, but we were expected to drive to see them) and now I live a blissful 12 hours away.

I don’t associate with most of them.  I like my sanity.  I don’t have a lot of it to spare as it is and I guard what little there is like dragon’s gold.

Most of my family has been ostracized from my life for being drama-creating cock-waffles, drug addicts, or legitimate criminals — if they’re not currently in jail or freshly out of prison, they should be.  I don’t have any interest in it.

I still talk to some of them, for whatever reasons.  I question myself more and more about that as the years go by.  They’re always wanting something and it’s never, ever enough.   Lately, they’re just downright infuriating to deal with.

It’s mostly politics and things I should be above.  I’m sorry, you can’t beg for money because you don’t get enough disability to live on (yet have a new car and carry a designer purse???) and then go on a rant about how Obama did this to you.  Sorry, that’s not how things work.  Also, last I checked, Democrats were the ones that supported all of the social welfare programs you subsist on, not Republicans…and no matter how much you yell about it, they’re not going to be able to bring back the coal jobs that you never had.

Lately, some of my family members have been begging for money or trying to sell family heirlooms on facebook and it pisses me off.  It’s not even private badgering anymore.

Which is what brings me to the real point of the rant today.  One of the few cousins I still had a semi-decent relationship with really went off the deep-end.  Her dad owned almost all of the family farm land, which wasn’t a big deal since he was the one farming it.  She has somehow managed to eat through her entire inheritance on who knows what in a short few years.  She’s always claiming she has no money — she “only has $30 in my bank account” yet is always shopping or getting manicures or other frivolous things.

She has began selling off all of the farm equipment…on facebook.  She doesn’t farm, she lives on disability, so no surprise there.

The surprise comes in that she’s now also trying to sell the land.

Her daughter’s friend almost got into a fight at school, so the friend’s family is moving to South Carolina.  My cousin has decided she’s also going to move too…because her daughter only has one friend.

I mean, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  The kid used to punch her dad in the face as a toddler and they’d laugh.  The kid is rotten.

So she’s going to sell the one thing she actually owns — the family land — to try to move two states away to an area that has a much higher cost of living, because her daughter’s friend is leaving.  Her husband hasn’t tried to find a job (though my cousin has looked and thinks he’ll be able to easily find one at $5 more an hour!) and she’s already started looking for 5 bedroom, 2 story, $300,000 houses because with her disability she can’t climb stairs or carry more than 10 pounds.  Brilliant, right?

I looked up cost of living adjustments between the two areas and it’s an 18% difference.  If she has $30 in her bank account now and lives in a 2 bedroom trailer…I can’t even do that math right now (and neither can she, obviously) for the difference in utilities alone for a 2,000+ square foot home in a state with that much of a difference in utilities and average temperature.

…the real kicker?

She wants to home school the kid because she’s proven herself to be the ideal, educated, and intelligent person to do so.

There’s no hope.  -_-;

Sometimes, I just wish you could shake sense into people.  I really, really do.  Best of luck to them.  I think it’s time to wash my hands clean of these crazies too.  There’s no way I want to be around when this one backfires and they’re homeless.  =/




Misc catch-up

I sort of fell off the map for a few weeks.  Oopsie.  I’ve been trying to keep up with reading everybody’s blogs but have failed at that too for the most part.  Sorry.  ❤

Hubs has been working a swing shift and in an effort to see him, I’ve gone completely wonky.  Turns out trying to stay awake when on those migraine meds put me right back into dopey land.  I don’t recommend it.  I had one of my famous 5 day migraines due to a storm system -before- he went on swing shift, so that accounts for the first missing week.

So to update for the missing time while I was being slightly crazy again and not curled up into bed with a never-ending migraine.  You’ll have to dig to find the tag you’re interested in.  Most have photos for easy scrolling and skipping around!  🙂

I went back to my dermatologist; there was a scheduling issue at the office and they had to change my appointment and I had to see a different doctor, which I wasn’t too happy about.  I panic enough with doctors as it is and the reason I go is a progressive thing that the new doctor had no clue what the situation was now versus where it had started.  She was nice enough, though.  She prescribed a new medication for me to try and if it doesn’t work, she wants to try to fight my insurance to try to get some sort of twice a week light therapy.  Thankfully, we have pretty good insurance but we still haven’t met our high deductible yet…somehow.  Even after the insurance knocked down the pharmacy’s price, this still makes me cringe….and note it’s for a 15 day supply.  *cries*


It could be worse, I know, but I’m used to my medications being free or much, much cheaper.  I guess morphea isn’t life threatening (though mine is painful due to its location and how thick it is, which is why the doctors are aggressively treating it), so they don’t much care to cover the costs more than telling the pharmacy to knock the price down from 400.99 to 289.70.  Lucky me, guess that savings will cover my dermatology office visit.

As a bit of a fun twist, some of our friends actually came up to visit us.

One flew up from North Carolina, while two others drove up from Maryland and Connecticut.  It was a miserably cold, rainy weekend that we had planned several months ago.  We had hoped to go camping in the Adirondacks (before I sprained my ankle), so I guess I’m glad the weather was awful so I didn’t have to get left behind.

Instead, we went to an aquarium and then saw Beauty and the Beast (finally!!!).  We also drove down to Howe’s Caverns and did a lantern tour.

The Caverns themselves weren’t the most impressive or interesting that I’ve been to (though the winding way in and out was a ton of fun and unique) but the lantern portion of it made it well worth the trip.  I’m not sure if every group gets to walk back on their own, without the guide and armed only with their own little candles or if we were lucky because we were a small group and there were no other tours, but it was AWESOME to get to wander around alone in a dark cave.  I’d highly recommend doing a lantern tour there if it’s always like that.

The caverns before the guide turned off all the lights and left us alone:


Since our friends have left, I’ve spent most of my time outside working in the gardens.

I feel a bit like a Disney princess out there lately.

The birds are completely unafraid and after the initial shock of having a human out there with them, they’ll happily come to within just a few feet of me.  One little chickadee in particular will even hop up to me if I’m sitting and chirp at me when I say hello.

So far this spring in our yard (that I’ve noticed at our feeders), we’ve had black-capped chickadees, blue jays, tufted titmouse, red-bellied woodpeckers, ruby-throated hummingbirds, american robins, american goldfinch, white-breasted nuthatches, dark-eyed junco, chipping sparrows, northern cardinals, common grackles, mourning doves, downy woodpeckers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and even a pileated woodpecker that scared my husband half to death because he didn’t realize just how large they were.  If we go to the common fields we own with our hippy-dippy neighborhood, there are some nesting canada goose, a flock of turkeys, eastern bluebirds, red-winged blackbirds, and tree swallows from just a quick glance.  I saw the guy that does the egg count there at the nest boxes over the weekend, so look forward to seeing the official counts.  🙂  I’ve never been much of a birder but it’s hard not to take an interest when there is so much variety in your own backyard.

We’ve been cleaning several of our garden beds this spring — a few of which we haven’t touched since we moved here.  They were infested with saplings and (unfortunately for hubs) poison ivy.

I rebuilt a collapsed retaining wall over the weekend while hubs worked on weeding a bed of daffodils we planted last fall; it’s still hard for me to crawl around on the ground with my ankle stabilized.  We planted the daffodils pretty far apart so we could execute our plan of planting strawberries between the bulbs this spring so we could have a useful bed all through the year.  The strawberry plants, 75 of them, arrived over the weekend, so we’ve been planting like crazy.  We’re not quite done yet since the weather keeps dumping rain on us, but we’re getting close!

One of the beds, we’re completely redoing.  I started prying out the years of junk that the previous owners had left in it — broken bricks, tiles, assorted rocks — in preparation for tilling.  Poor hubs.  He started helping and moved a brick and freaked out.  He thought he found a nest of baby snakes.  Nope.


I thought he was going to have a heart-attack when I rushed in and scooped the little guys up (there were three of them) to move them.  He’ll eat a berry I pick out in the forest but doesn’t trust me to know what I can and can’t pick up critter-wise (I “grew up” in nature and have a biology degree and focused on wildlife ecology)…  I know the salamanders (northern redbacks as far as I know) would have burrowed back into the soil, but since we were getting ready to till the area, I didn’t want them to get hurt and I know of an area in the side yard where a few hang out, so I hope they’ll be okay there.  Better than chopped up by tiller blades?

Once the bed is fully prepped, I’m putting a pink lemonade blueberry bush and a black currant bush in that garden and calling it a done deal….and then building a sloped wall behind it and grading out that part of the yard to help with some of the drainage.  We’ve also planted a dwarf plum for hubs.  He loves plums and has decided since I proved I can grow white peaches in a zone 5 that I can grow plums for him as well.  I need to learn a way to preserve them that he’ll eat — he doesn’t eat jams or jellies…so lots of Chinese plum sauce? 😛

I think after the flower bed rehab, I might move our raised garden and break it down to more of a square foot gardening type of thing for ease.  It’s pretty large and unwieldy right now and hubs is getting more into gardening, so I think he may become more invested and active if he has his own little gardens to grow his favorite vegetables versus having to put up with whatever it is I plant.  Hubs REALLY wants to build a CNC type of robot to manage the one we have now.  I think gardening is relaxing and rewarding, so square-foot gardening may seem more manageable to him.  He’s the type of person that hates to stop in the middle of a task, so it would be smaller tasks….and less yard to mow in the part of the yard that I dislike mowing the most. 😀

…and crafting.  My favorite thing of all!

I’ve been knitting a little on my RPG scarf — there aren’t many things to keep me tied to my computer and that’s really the only place I knit, so it has been slow going.

I have my May BOM for my friend’s quilting challenge done though!


I really love these gnomes.  Probably too much.

I’ve started rewatching one of my favorite old animes, Bleach, while cross-stitching.  It’s weird watching it in English but I wouldn’t be able to stitch if I had to read subtitles so I’m having to adjust to the dubbed voiced actors.  I miss Renji’s Japanese voice. 😦  Bonus is that I can skip the filler arcs!  They do a decent job integrating them and I enjoyed them enough when I was back in college waiting for each one to come out weekly, but it’s nice just getting to watch main arc this time through.  I never actually finished the show because the fillers NEVER seemed to end.  It’s finally time to do so.

…which means cross-stitch progress!  I’m past 1,000 stitches now and even more since this last photo.  I’m still enjoying stitching, which is good.  Probably bad though because I don’t want to do anything else except garden…and I have sooo much I need to do!


…and last of all, since it was Mother’s Day:

Image (11)

Mom and I when I was probably about 3 or 4.  I’m still just as sour and grumpy.

…and because you can’t have a mom without a grandparents somewhere, here are my Granny Boo (Mom’s mother) and Grandmother (Dad’s mom) at my high school graduation forever ago.


Granny Boo passed away just a few months after this photo was taken and Grandmother is still kicking ass and taking names.  I sent her a red hydrangea for Mother’s Day since she can make anything grow and loves plants.  Last year, Mom asked for photographs of flowers and animals from our yard since we have so much diversity and I inherited (yay) both of the above’s green thumbs (Mom did not), so I spent all of last year taking pictures and then had a book made and sent it to her.   🙂  Thankfully, Mom loved it and immediately understood all of little references that I slipped in there that hubs didn’t recognize.

Yard and a bit of reminiscing

I finally had to cave and get a brace for my ankle.  😦

Two weeks later and it’s still swelling and hurting, so I’m not quite sure what to do with it.  I’ve never injured my ankles before — they’re usually quite faithfully loyal — so this has been quite a pain, very literally.

Hubs noticed that the sprained one is swelling after I’ve been moving around and he’s totally oblivious, so if he’s noticing, it’s bad.  Frustration!  Good news is the brace seems to help stabilize everything and keep the swelling down.

To nurse my injured pride and sore ankle, I decided to spend the weekend in my favorite spot: my yard.

I conned hubs into digging a nice big hole and planted a beautiful mountain laurel.  I forget the exact cultivar — I’ll check and update when it’s daytime — but it should bloom a beautiful dark red instead of the normal white or pink.  I’m very excited.

Not much has came up yet, as it’s still pretty chilly here — our daffodils and hyacinths are still in full bloom, with just a few tulips (the ones the deer haven’t had a field day with yet) peeking up.

Like these “Little Beauty” tulips!


Our bird friends are also starting to show back up in force.  Notably, the goldfinches have changed colors at long last!


We have droves of them.  Our redbud was so full of them last year that it gleamed yellow instead of the bright pink it should have.  This year looks like we’ll have a similar turn out.  🙂

The redbud is probably one of my favorite things about our yard.  It’s right outside of our bedroom window, which means the birds singing at the crack of dawn wake me up…at the crack of dawn…which can be super annoying, but it provides lots of entertainment during the day.

There’s one specific knot in the tree that attracts the attention of my current favorite avian resident, the downy woodpecker.  Every day he takes a few of the sunflower seeds from our feeder and cracks them open in the same exact spot.  Awesomely enough, a few white-breasted nuthatches have begun to do the same.   …but the downy woodpecker is still cuter if you ask me.  :3


I didn’t actually do much yard work this weekend, just shuffled around and poked at things.

…except this guy, I didn’t poke him.  I just said hi and let him go back to being his cute little self.  🙂


One of my proudest finds was my white peach tree not only survived (suck on that nay-sayers!) but has produced its first bud!  I’ve heard nothing but negativity from a certain southern “relation” that lives in a state known for growing peaches about how I’ll NEVER have a peach tree survive here, much less produce anything.  I just want to show this to the world and rejoice.  Seriously, I love peaches.  This was a very, very exciting discovery.  I realize one blossom will not be enough to pollinate (it is a self-pollinating variety) or yield anything, but it’s a step in the right direction!  The tree is still young but it’s trying! ❤


The last and perhaps truly happiest discovery was, despite literally being mowed over (twice) last year, another of my trees survived.  It may be strong, but it is mighty.


Happy dance!!!

This apple tree is super special to me.  I planted it soon after we moved here and it somehow has survived through all of the abuse, so it must have a good root system at least.  It’s a whopping 2 inches tall at this point after the last mowing down.  I’m surrounding it by bricks now. >_>

This tree holds the secret of my childhood.  It’s a start from my Granny Boo’s apple tree.

It has the tiniest, pinkest fleshed apples I’ve ever seen.  They’re tart and sweet and perfect.

…and cows love them.

…and I loved to jump on rotten ones.

It makes the BEST apple sauce.

My Granny Boo died in 2003, two weeks before I started college.

When I was born, Grandmother said before anybody ever came out to tell the grandparents, Granny Boo hopped up and declared “I hear my baby!”….and then Dad came out to tell everybody that I had been born.  I was the 7th of Granny Boo’s grandchildren but the first she ever asked to keep….demanded, actually.  She told Mom to go back to work and they’d take care of me.

Mom likes to tell me that she did everything in her power to be nothing like her mother, then ended up having her as a daughter.  I’ll take that as a complement.  😛

She lived in the log cabin she was born in (which was old at that point).  You’d think, just by looking at her or talking to her, that she was a backwards hill woman from the Appalachians and that’s the image she loved to trick people into believing.  Truthfully, she’d been around the world as part of the WAAC/WAC in WWII — she was recruited because she worked at the telephone company and took French in high school, then became part of the MP.  If you got her drunk, she would try to teach you jujutsu.  She was intelligent, witty, and downright hilarious…in addition to being a downright wicked mountain woman.


On the back of this photo, Granny Boo had written ” Apr. 16 Col Hobby  Apr. 17 President Roosevelt   I was all dressed up – ready to guard them from all danger”.  

I graduated high school a year early and Granny Boo took great pride in telling everybody that she taught me everything I knew.  As it would turn out, she also graduated high school early so felt the bragging rights were appropriate.

We were at Granny Boo’s playing cards — she had a fierce competitive spirit — the night she her aortic aneurysm ruptured.  She lost the hand of Skip Bo and we thought she was being a sore loser (an unfortunate trait I did inherit).  She had emergency surgery to repair the tear — the aneurysm was the size of a football — but they couldn’t get her off of the ventilator.

I ended up graduating college early as well, so I think that would have made Granny Boo proud.  I’ve not done much with the degree, but it exists and I guess that’s what matters.

I still have a few jars of her apple sauce from our last canning season on my shelf downstairs.  The seals are good and they look as beautiful as the day they were made…but I dare not open them.

Someday, probably not for another 10 or 15 years, I hope my little apple tree will be big enough to make some apples so I can finally have some of that apple sauce again.  🙂

Amber and Granny Boo




Morning Secret

Every morning, I have a secret ritual that my hubs knows nothing about.

Our little kitty, Joule, follows me everywhere I go but gets overstimulated quickly when petted — she starts to meow agitatedly or has to go nurse a dog pillow — and hates being picked up.

She’s more of a sidekick and we have a good understanding.  I know her limits well and now she even rolls over for a quick belly rub without immediately running off or murdering somebody’s hand.

Our other two cats are teddybears and prefer being held and snuggled.  Sagan will even bite you if you quit petting him before he’s satisfied.

My hubs wasn’t ever really around cats before me, so he can’t wrap his head around Joule.  He adores her but wants to smother her with affection, so she avoids him like the plague and that makes him want to steal hugs even more.

Every morning, about half an hour before hubs has to get up for work…or just at 5:00 a.m. on the days he’s off, like today, I get my own sweet, secret little alarm.


It’s impossible to be mad waking up to a purring headbutt.  Then she actually snuggles down and gets her morning dose of chin scratches until hubs’ alarm goes off or he moves suddenly.

Best. Secret. Ever.

Stitchy progress of sorts

A week’s progress sure doesn’t feel like much when it’s so tiny!


That’s my first 500 stitch block and a bit of progress on the next set.  I ran out of needles, which is almost absurd.  There are so many colors and it’s hard to tell.

The one thing about it that’s driving me a bit bonkers, that you can see in photos but not really in person, is that some of the stitches are a bit looser than others, especially that first row and when a new color is added.  Guess that’s what I get for having a zoom lens.  Bah!

Shouldn’t be left alone.

Hubs and I went to a metal festival on Saturday and then ended up going to another concert last night…with some of the same bands.

It was a bit of a weird weekend.



I ended up going angry old lady on one of the pat-down chicks at the festival when she opened my purse, without asking, started pawing through it, then grabbed my pill box and opened it in the rain and started going through it as well.  She obviously isn’t a medical professional so has no clue what she was looking at or doing and getting that stuff wet isn’t good for it, especially since my expensive migraine tablets are orally dissolving so were ruined by her actions.  Sorry, but not sorry; she definitely got one of my more passive-aggressive, over-blown, very loud lectures about how she could kill somebody by ruining their medication doing what she was doing because she was clueless and rude.  One of the managers ended up pulling her aside, so hopefully she won’t be doing that nonsense again.  I understand bag checks are mandatory in most places now but manners are still a thing.  Ask and I’ll open the bag and show you what you need to see.  You don’t just rip somebody’s bag from them and definitely don’t start messing with their medication.  I think if I was trying to bring in something illicit, I would have been a bit more discreet than putting it in a pill box.

As a contrast at the concert the next day, the bag checker laughed at my bag because it is so small (it’s a very tiny crossbody bag that my Mom gave me many years ago because I never seem to have pockets) and said I couldn’t hide anything in there if I wanted to.  He didn’t even want to look inside of it, just waved a metal detector wand over me and let me through.

I also somehow flustered the ticket takers at both places, to the point both had issues putting wrist bands on me.  I’m not sure what it is about me but it happens everywhere I go.  =/    Hubs and his friends once tried speculating about it and only came up with that I’m unusually approachable and oddly direct to the point it’s disarming.  I’m pretty antisocial and really awkward…and a general giant…so I certainly don’t understand it.

It’s a running “joke” that I can’t be left alone anywhere or I won’t be alone by the time the other person comes back.  When we go shopping, if hubs goes to another aisle, when he comes back to find me, there will ALWAYS be somebody talking to me — either an employee or another customer.  Once at Home Depot he had a question about concrete paint and went to find an employee, gave up, and found me chatting with the regional representative for Behr paints who just happened to be at the store that day…I didn’t go looking for anybody, the guy had came up to me and just started talking, not knowing I was looking for paints (I was in a different part of the store).  When I was in college, my Mom actually left me in a parking lot in a random city once because a random guy beelined it to me out of nowhere and just started talking to me.  She thought I knew him from somewhere because he came up to me so confidently like he knew me — I think she was just trying to have me thrown into the trunk of a car.  She still finds it hysterical because the first thing out of his mouth turned out to be “Boy I sure am glad I brought my library card with me ’cause I’m CHECKING YOU OUT!”….and she was a librarian at the time.  The guy that pet sits our dogs always calls hubs sir and is super respectful, I go there and get invited to hang out and go smoke (which I don’t partake in) and get life stories.  I can’t be left alone with people.  =/

Hubs and I were in separate lines at the venue this time and I didn’t think much of it this time until the guy at our local venue that’s known for being a real hardass actually knew my name and told me to have a good time.  I don’t even know how he KNEW my name but he did.  o.o;  All I did was chide him for asking a lady her age this time — I know he was doing it because he has to for the venue and for alcohol reasons, but I totally blanked and was buying myself some time until I remembered how old I actually am. I’m 30!  I should be able to remember that!  >_>;;  Poor guy was shaking when he had to put my wrist band on and ruined a few of them trying.  Then he immediately told an 18 year old kid she couldn’t see the show like it was water off a duck’s back.

At the local show, I ended up picking up a sort of impromptu body guard.

Again, I can’t be left alone.

Hubs was rocking out in his typical flailing fashion.  He really gets into certain bands and Battle Beast is one of his favorites.


Hubs ran into the singer from Battle Beast somewhere in the crowd at the metal festival

Hubs started his venture into music in the rave scene and isn’t afraid of dancing and being the center of attention.  He quickly attracted a small crowd of teenagers that were at their first metal concert and after filming him for a bit, they declared him their new hero and immediately started flailing around him in the same fashion for the rest of the show.  It was mayhem.  He was in heaven.  Those kids are going to be so disappointed when they realize that Hubs is not typical to metal concerts…but maybe they’ll carry on his bizarre behaviors and make it a thing.  😄  They all seemed to be wildly enjoying themselves.

Regardless, some awesome stranger took one look at the bedlam that I was surrounded by, combined with my sprained ankle (why do I still go to concerts with an injured foot?!) and voluntarily took up post as a guard for me — he started out by acknowledging (I didn’t say anything) I was there with hubs then actually told me he was going to clear out space for me and did so.  He spent all night intercepting drunken jerks and pushing the overflowing mosh pit away from me.  The guy was a stalwart wall of protection — only one guy was able to bulldoze his way through and that was at the very end…unfortunately the guy that got through managed to land a kick full on my ankle.  He was drunk and stumbling and pushed by the festering mosh pit, though…and he apologized profusely; not sure if my “eat shit and die” look prompted that or if the looming hulk of a guy with me did.  Hubs didn’t notice at all; he was still too busy dancing with his group of fanboys.  This was one time that my inability to actually be left alone paid off.  I know I thanked you last night but thank you, random stranger. ❤

…so it was weird.

…and now my ankle hurts worse than it has in a few days.

…and I still shouldn’t be left alone with people.  =/

Even the grocery clerk after the concert started telling me her life story and boyfriend drama.  I was much more interested in trying to figure out what on earth was with the chick with the weird metal vampire teeth caps and chains.  o.o;;