Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Setting my sights a bit higher...

One of my goals is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
In Africa.
Elevation: 19,341 feet.

And I want to climb every one of those feet. I'm aiming for my birthday in 2014--five years from this autumn.

Now. Unlike becoming a beekeeper, which is easy cheesy, getting my very own Mom Jeans to the top of Tanzania is going to take a bit more:
a) Effort.
b) Money.
c) Planning.
d) Time.
e) All of the Above.

I priced out the trip, with flights, guides, and a bonus day to see the wildlife in the nature preserve there.

I wonder if they have squirrels.

I also priced out the gear that I'll be needing. And I discovered something: mountaineering gear doesn't come in a size bigger than Medium.
I guess they figure that We Chubbers aren't hauling our ample-ness up mountains very often.
Which reminded me that I should start training for this ascent into the sky.

This morning I began.

I hooked the child trailer up to my periwinkle bike, plunked Thing 2 and the Wee One inside, and took off. 3 miles later, I thought I was going to die. I came inside, flopped on my couch, and turned on Toto's song "Africa" to inspire me.

Maybe I should aim for my birthday in 10 years instead.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

100 Goals: #62

62. Become a Beekeeper. Check
(And look! I've weaned myself off gloves now! My bees come this Friday.)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Southeast Day of Service...

Happy Belated Earth Day.

If it wasn't for the fact that Thing 1 remembered that she was supposed to wear green and blue to school yesterday, I would've completely blanked that it Earth Day was even happening. Because all the community "celebrations" are on Saturday, that's why.

We celebrated by distributing paper bags to lots of our neighbors. Attached to each one was a note explaining that we're collecting food for a local soup kitchen. Because they have run out of food.

And that is unacceptable.

In fact, it's a small part of a huge interfaith day of service here in the Southeast this Saturday.
It just has to be a success.
I can't stand the thought of people going hungry.

Neither can Thing 1.

That's why, as we handed out the paper bags, she would run anxiously up to anyone who happened to be out in their yard or getting in their car to give them their bag. Sometime people would see us coming and try to hide in their garage. But she just followed them in there.
The scenario generally went like this:

Startled Neighbor: "AAAAAH! Oh. Hi?"
Thing 1: "We're giving food to the poor people! Put food in the bag!"
Confused Neighbor: "Whaaaa?"
Chagrined Neighbor: "Oh. Uuuuuh. Okay."
Thing 1: "BYE!!!!"

I loved it. I just followed her up the street, carrying her supply of bags. If no one was outside, she would carefully hang them on their mailbox, commenting on their lovely flowers, or the cute cars. (Any kind of small car is "cute".) She noticed every pet cat and pet dog. She was careful not to step on their lawns.

I was so proud.

Now we wait and hope and fill a bag of our own.
I hope for their own sake that our neighbors are generous, or they might get a serious Talking To from my daughter.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Support the Locals.

A few weeks ago, in my wanderings across the internet, I came across the "3/50 Project." Now, if you're like me, you saw that name and you thought it might involve math and started backing away slowly, as if you'd found a copperhead in your petunia patch. But read on! The 3/50 Project promotes that idea that if we each choose three local, independent stores to support and spent $50 each month at those stores then we'll save our local economies.

Support local? Spend money I probably shouldn't? I'm in! I chose my three local stores to support: Aladdin's Eatery, Clara's Choice for Herbs, and The Homeschool Room.


Aladdin's Eatery was an easy choice. My favorite restaurant on the planet, serving gluten-free Lebanese food--with to-die-for American desserts. Even if it was just stopping in for some fresh mint tea once a week, I knew that I could find a reason to visit and support my favorite haunt. That was, until I so purposefully drove up and found a note on the door that "Due to Unexpected Circumstances" they had to close.


Next on my list: Clara's Choice for Herbs. I love this little store because whether I stop to pick up flax seed oil for my salads or just some awesome grapefruit essential oil to make my house smell good, I'm treated to some conversation from the (ancient) sisters who own the store, and a scripture to go with my life. (They have an uncanny sense when it comes to that.) So imagine my growing dismay when I drove up recently and there was a huge "STORE CLOSING" sign on the front window.

REALLY??? What did I DO?!?!

Apparently, I have enacted a curse equal to that suffered by the Red Sox for many decades.

Which is why I apologize, in advance, to The Homeschool Room. You're probably doomed, and it's all my fault.

In the meantime, go support 3 local stores everyone--let's keep our amazing local economies growing.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


One of my favorite things about the "village" that I live in is the community yard sale, held twice yearly in April and October.

It should be mentioned that The Spouse is a garage sale genius. I can send him out with the most eclectic list, and he will absolutely deliver.

I decided to test this a couple years ago with a list that consisted of the following items:
  • A little trampoline, preferably with a rail to hold on to.

  • A Radio Flyer wagon.

  • A porch swing for our backyard.

  • A week wacker.

He brought home every single item. Plus a mini lawn mower for the kids. Unbelievable.

I'm not as good at Garage Sale Sifting. But I have a bit of the adventurer in me, not to mention a specific dining room set that I'm wanting, so this morning at 7:36, I set out on my periwinkle bike to see what I could see.

Which is when I discovered that there is a whole subculture that I don't know if I was aware of going on in our communities. My first clue was when I stopped briefly to say hello to my next door neighbor. One of the choice items she had for sale was a black lacquer headboard. Fan shaped. With gold accents. She was firm on the price: $200.

I wondered if she was asking that because it played a part on the set of "The Wedding Singer", but I decided not to ask.

I peddled carefully onward.

The street, you must understand, was jam packed. Cars were parked right in the middle of the road as their drivers threw open their doors to claim the treasures awaiting them on other stranger's front lawns. I heard more than a few curses muttered at "The Dealers" who showed up an hour before the official start time and had already filled their trailers with The Really Good Stuff. They had their loot loaded and were weaving their way smugly through traffic just when everyone else was arriving.

But, for the intrepid, there were still treasures to be found.

I was halfway around the neighborhood when I saw it. I mean IT. MY DINING SET.
The exact one.

The one I've been pining over, planning over, dreaming of.
The World Market Lugano Dining Table with Bench and 6 Chairs.

How did The Dealers miss THIS?!!?!? The owner must've put it out late! I kid you not when I say that I ditched my bike in the middle of the sidewalk, even at the risk of someone selling it for a tidy profit, and grandma-power-walked (because running is against my religion) up to the table. No "SOLD" sign. Only a piece of paper that said "Table, bench, and 6 chairs. $200."

I turned to the owner to tell him that he'd just made my entire LIFE... just as the man closer to him said "I'll take that table."

And I died. Right on the spot. The End.

No, but really. REALLY????? I can't even tell you how tempted I was to say "I'll give you double." But I'm unsure of Garage Sale etiquette, and I wasn't sure if that was even acceptable at garage sales.... is it?

So I forlornly went back to my periwinkle bike and peddled mournfully away. *sniff*

Oh well. At least there is one compensation: that black lacquer headboard is still in my neighbor's front yard, in case I change my mind.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


So this probably won't come as any surprise to you, my friends, but here's a confession: I am to fashion what thong unitards are to sunburn--not a pretty sight.

I'm being serious. My fashion sense is so out of whack that I'm holding on to my denim jumpers and overalls, just waiting for them to come back "in." Aaaaany minute now...

(Eeeek! Butterflies! C-ute!)

I blame this on the fact that I was fat in high school. Don't get me wrong--there are advantages to being fat in high school. Mostly the fact that if I were ever to go to a high school reunion (snort) people would be able to say "You haven't changed a bit!" even after 3 kids. Not many people can pull that off. But seriously, what do you expect when you go shopping for your Harvest Ball date in the PRETTY PLUS women's section at JC Penney? Your sense of what's "in" tends to get a little skewed.

Thankfully, I have my daughters to help me, and both of them have better fashion sense then I do. At 5 years and 18 months old, respectively.

I'm not the least bit kidding.

When I need to buy a pair of shoes, I go to Marshalls with Thing 1. Plunking myself down in the middle of the shoe department, I tell her to get me a size 9 and set her free. She brings me back boxes and boxes of shoes, which I try on. Then she tells me which ones to get. Then people proceed to tell me how cute my shoes are. If I stray from this procedure and try to choose my own shoes then I get comments that are more along the lines of "Oh wow! I haven't seen shoes like that since..."

What? Chunky shoes with square toes aren't in anymore???

And just this Sunday the Munchkin came toddling up to me carrying a dress and the matching pantaloons. "How cute!" I thought, and put them on her. Then I reached for the closest pair of her shoes to put them on her. She cocked one eyebrow at me and toddled back into her room, bringing back a shoe that actually matched her outfit. "Oh." I said, placing the shoe on her foot, and feeling a little foolish.

I went to find the other one and when I returned, she had wandered into the bathroom, climbed up on the toilet, and retrieved a matching butterfly hair clip and brush.

"Wow! I didn't even know we still had those!" I muttered.
I swear I saw her roll her eyes.

It's going to be a long twenty years at my house.
Maybe by then, my overalls will be back in style...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Shades of Green...

For the past week... or more... I took a blog-cation. To spend time with my parents. To spend time with my kids. To spend time in my garden and in my home.

Sometimes, the world right outside your front door is just so beautiful that you can't keep away from it. A friend of mine said that, and for me, that explains my life for the past few weeks. First thing in the morning, I am lured outside to watch the apricot sunrises and check on my baby plants. The feel of grass that is still soft (which will change rapidly here in ye old South) on my feet. Dirt under my fingernails and endless nursery receipts on the floor of my car. I am thumbing through nursery catalogs and coaxing little plants to grow.

Friday, I went to a local hardware store with my Dad and my kids. This hardware store was built in 1901. The floors are made of wood, and they creak. The man who runs it knows everything about gardening in North Carolina, and is an absolute treasure for a poor, helpless transplant like me. My kids love to look at the chickies that they have in the springtime, as well as the big roosters and hens in a pen in the back. Of course, I couldn't resist running my fingers over the plants they have for sale. Nor could I resist scooping up a couple of pickling cucumber vines or some sweet baby watermelons.

It just couldn't be helped. It's like visiting an orphanage, you can't just leave them there.

I hope that wherever you are, you're being drawn out too--into the wide world and the sunshine. It has been such a long winter, even here.
It's time to stretch and breathe deeply and revive.

But I'll be back.