Friday, May 29, 2009

Hide and seek as nightmare, for me anyway.

Originally uploaded by gingerroot63
I had a recurring dream for years that my family had gone to a beach house and we'd stayed for a week or so, which was typical for us. In my dream, I'm around 7 or 8 years old, it's the last day of our trip and I'm playing hide and seek with my sister. I decide to hide inside an old bench that has a hinged lid for storage (similar to the flickr photo I found, above).

Anyway, the way this dream always ends is that I'm hidden for a very long time, my sister doesn't find me, and I fall asleep in the bench. When I wake up, it's dark and the house is empty, I have no idea how much time has passed—maybe it's late the next day? But my family has left without me; all our suitcases are removed, the car is gone and the house is tidied up for the next renters. Abandonment nightmare anxiety swells and I wake up!

Dash found me early this morning and told me he had a bad dream: Rosie, Monkeyrotica, and I had flown off in a spaceship and had left him behind. I comforted him, reminded of my own dreams of being left behind, and told him that it must have been scary.

He said, "No, I just invisibled myself and then visibled myself on the space ship!"

"Oh," I answered, "just like Star Trek?"

"Yeah!" Dash was smiling.

Who knows what quirky issues that Dash may develop over the years to come, but here's hoping that abandonment isn't one of them. This isn't the first time that he's resolved a bad dream in his own ingenious way!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Full speed at Clemyjontri Park

I say: "Hey, hold still so I can take your picture..."

Dash hears: "Run away, fast!!"

My roses, after the rain

Monday, May 25, 2009

Blob's Park Maifest Celebration! Mit Alphornspielen!

(Hi to all the visitors from!)

Here we are with friends M, RM and baby-V at Blob's Park in Jessup, MD. I made sure to leave their building's new mural (dedicated the same day!) of the Maibaum and Neuschwanstein Castle inside the crop. We arrived just in time to experience the Blob's Park Maifest celebration.

I don't think I've ever seen an authentic Maypole dance before! It was fascinating to watch, as all the dancers were weaving in and out, the ribbons formed a lovely pattern on the pole.

There is so much to love about this musical performance with these girls playing bells! First, the traditional dress just rocks; they are so adorable from their braids down to their dancing shoes. Then, they just look like they're having a blast, you know? As if they really can't believe their luck that they get to perform with bells in front of an appreciative crowd. The accordionist and the guy playing guitar in hat and heels are just icing on the cake.

They are the Schuhplattler Verein Alt-Washingtonia Bavarian Dance Club, and it weren't for them and their amazing entertainments, we would have had some crazy screaming kids while we waited over an hour for our food to arrive. Thankfully, the German fare at Blob's Park was excellent and our waitress was sweet and very cheerful.

Check out their alphorn performance below, as well.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Looking for walkies: Alexandria National Cemetery

It's much too hard these days to get my family to engage in a group activity, so I've decided to do a little documenting here on my blog on local places I'd like to take the four of us for a walk! Just a minor exertion, maybe with an educational bent or some gorgeous scenery, is all I'm looking for. We might even discover a wonderful place that we'd never given a second glance. Such as, the location I'm profiling today: the 5.5 acres of The Alexandria National Cemetery.

On my commute, I drive by this cemetery twice a day and have, until now, never done any research on it or thought twice about its place in history. What I learned, through Wikipedia (that's where I go to find the obscure facts, you know?) is that this cemetery predates the Arlington National Cemetery and in fact, Arlington was conceived when Alexandria's National Cemetery began to fill, according to the cemetery's website:

"Alexandria National Cemetery is one of the original 14 national cemeteries established in 1862. The first burials made in the cemetery were soldiers who died during training or from disease in the numerous hospitals around Alexandria. By 1864, the cemetery was nearly filled to capacity, which eventually led to the planning, development and construction of Arlington National Cemetery."

The cobblestone avenue, a fountain, an ornate wrought-iron rostrum, graveled walks and paths, a small pond and a greenhouse all contribute to a very beautiful and peaceful appearance. With the kids' recent interest in their Civil War figurines, it might be a good place to take them for a walk some weekend afternoon.

A piece of random trivia: very often, as I pass on a nearby road, there is a group of women in varying stages of fitness being trained inside the cemetery grounds by a very fit-looking guy. His Hummer is always parked nearby, and has his company's name, Awesome Physique emblazoned on its side. Whenever I see them, I can't help but think how much more inspiring it must be to get trained in such a beautiful environment, outdoors on a sunny day, than inside a stinky basement office gym. What a great idea.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

So, how's the gardening coming along?

Finally, my three raised beds are framed, they are all full of a custom soil mixture and I have some plants in them. My friend Brent (who helped build one of yonder frames) was telling me that once your plants are in the ground, it's one heartbreak after another until you're eating your harvest. I'll be learning about that soon enough.

I still think I don't really know what I'm doing, but that's okay! Whatever I learn from my mistakes this year can be fixed for next year. One big blunder was pouring dozens of seeds into the sprouting cells at the outset—that makes for a tough, tough time when you're transplanting or thinning the seedlings. At the far left in the first photo is my "flower house," the small tent where I'm hardening seedlings. Some are saved for Kelly O, whenever we meet up next!

I'm using the Square Foot gardening technique, and one of the first questions I got from friends who were checking out my beds in person, was, what's with the string? Um, yeah, that's just me being all OCD. The string is my one-foot grid, just a visual cue for me. Because remember: I really don't know what I'm doing, so anything helps. Things are looking pretty good so far! This first raised bed is for the kids, especially Rosie (her fuschia butterfly stake is in there, can you spot it?). It is going to be all flowers, with a few strawberry plants thrown in. So far, there's my stinky marigold-border (I'm trying to see if this will deter pests), dianthus & petunias, and of the flowers I grew from seed, there's sweet pea in the back getting trained on the trellis, cosmos, bachelor's button, larkspur, and maaaaybe one sunflower. I just am not sure. My skills at labeling, and later, identification are lacking.

The second, middle bed has a sprinkler in it (off to the left) and Dash's green dragonfly stake, for decoration. You can't see them very well, but I have two tomato frames up anticipating that my 3" tomato plants will grow into them! Everything in here grew from seed, excepting the marigolds. So far, there are peas in the back right which are trellis bound, roma and cherry tomatoes, jalapeno, collards, and carrot plants.

The third bed is still a little random. I just finished it off with compost from our compost bin (will have to write more about the bin & composting later) and have planted a few seedlings that weren't doing that well in the flower house in hopes that they just needed to be in the ground to take off. I'm saving the trellis for canteloupe seedlings (still indoors) and cucumber, and already planted are more collards, jalapeno, and tomato plants. I might get a few seedlings that were professionally grown to plant in here, just to compare!

I have a few other containers on the deck that used to be my main kitchen garden. I planted some puny basil seedlings in this container.

This container already has gigantic chives and sage plants in it as well as a not-so-healthy thyme plant. I added a few teeny parsley seedlings that look very threatened by the chives.

In these containers, there is mint, growing back in from last year and down below, strawberry plants. The berry plants in the raised bed are looking much happier! They never blossomed or fruited while in this container.

Well, that's the update! One note about the compost bin: it does get very hot when it's doing its work and DOES emit smelly gasses. Is it methane? It smells a bit like a horse stable.

Monday, May 11, 2009

What's making my day more cheerful?

This packaging is, for sure! These owl & pussycat cookies were a mother's day gift from my sister. She saw the box, complete with Edward Lear's nursery rhyme printed on the packaging, and was reminded of my wedding. The Owl & The Pussycat was a reading during my & Monkeyrotica's ceremony. Thanks, M!

I'm feeling torn: I want a cookie, but the illustration is so dear...

From my mother's day

1. Me and my goofy kids at Founder's Park in Alexandria
2. Dash's Mother's Day note from his preschool class, featuring a photo of himself
3. Side B of Dash's note (the class also made and decorated a "pocket" with a seed packet inside, will add photo later)
4. Rosie's art class painted plant pots for their mothers, complete with a begonia flower!
5. Rosie's kindergarten class made photo holders; Rosie chose to color hers purple and adorn with purple faceted gems. The polaroid is from 2007, I think.
6. A gift from Monketrotica: the Speedball screenprinting kit. Woot!
7. Rosie & Dash were being awfully cute at my lunch with Auntie M and Grandma Sheila. This mother's day scored high above the last few for overall good times!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Nylonthread laid bare in ABC form

Kelly O posted this meme on her blog and challenged her readers to pick it up. Consider yourself tagged if you're reading this (and are looking for blog fodder)! Oh, and that little guy at the right? Once you scroll down to "Z," you'll figure out what he is. Creative Commons photo taken by aginger.

A - Age: 38

B - Bed size: queen

C - Chore you hate: scrubbing bathrooms

D - Dog's name: dog? I have no dog.

E - Essential start your day item: lately, lots of stretching, yoga style; then checking TwitterFon

F - Favorite color: Rosie assigned me orange a while back (she gave all her close relatives color IDs)—I have to admit, orange has become close to a fave.

G - Gold or Silver: silver

H - Height: 5'2"

I - Instruments you played: piano, clarinet, hand-okarina (but not well)

J - Job title: I work for a huge corporation, so it makes me giggle when I read my official title: New Media Specialist IV

K - Kids: Rosie & Dash

L - Living arrangements: a modest 1950's rambler with a fab finished basement

M - Mom's name: Sheila

N - Nicknames: la-NAAA!

O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: none

P - Pet Peeve: when people ask me to repeat myself, especially if they are doing so because they were checking their phone while I was talking.

Q - Quote from a movie: "No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again. Sometimes I just want it to stay saved! You know, for a little bit? I feel like the maid; I just cleaned up this mess! Can we keep it clean for... for ten minutes?"

R - Right or left handed: right

S - Siblings: one younger sister

T - Time you wake up: between 5:30 and 6 a.m.

U- Underwear: bikini

V - Vegetable you dislike: arugula (if you hate me, serve me a blue-cheese, arugula, & scallops salad with lots of mayonnaise)

W - Ways you run late: trying to finish that one last thing before we go

X - Rays you've had: dental (had an MRI of my head, does that count?)

Y - Yummy food you make: banana bread

Z - Zoo animals: pygmy marmosets (they're so tiny, hard to spot at the zoo, but it's always a thrill when you do!)

Dash's new haircut

After much pleading, Dash finally let me use the clippers on his long,
floppy hair. He looks so adorable and handsome with his new cut, but I
couldn't get a decent photo because he kept moving. I have about 5
photos of the top of his head, much like this one (there must have
been something really interesting on the floor, I guess):

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Make Something Awesome

Someone took an excellent photo of me with the adorable notebooks I just finished at the Summit of Awesome—thanks! I was familiar with the Japanese bookbinding technique that we were using, so I finished three books in the small amount of time we had. Everyone had beautiful pieces and were all so creative with how they were assembling their books—once we had the basic instructions, many folks were gluing, affixing and strapping extra peices on to their heart's content. The papers that the session leader, Esti Gerson, brought for our use were so sweet it was hard to choose from the assortment. I clipped out a few leaf shapes from another paper and glued them onto my book with birds in trees illustrations. I love them!

Make Something Awesome
Originally uploaded by Hello Craft
Does anyone recognize the back of my head? A clue: I'm holding scissors and clipping up an illustration that I *gasp* tore out of a book! There were old books and magazines all over the table, just for collaging. I had to pause, take a deep breath, thank the original illustrator for creating their beautiful work, and then tear the page. I made a few collaged cards during this session, then the mini-notebooks, a screenprinted handkerchief, earrings, and had a great time. I just want more hours in my day to make art...

Monday, May 04, 2009

Hello Craft's Summit of Awesome 2009

I made these adorable notebooks at a session during Sunday's Summit of Awesome conference at Miss Pixie's! ZOMG that was so much fun. Check out for more photos and info. I am planning to go for the entire 3 days next year!
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