Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Growing Boy!

So, my little man turned 18 months old today.  That's one and a half years.  And I don't think I'm being biased at all when I say he is absolutely brilliant.  Let me just list some of the AMAZING things that he can do:

He can run

He can throw

He can climb

He can feed himself

He can steal things

At this point, Ben can pretty much do everything.  It's very impressive.  Well, he can't jump.  And he's not potty trained.  And he doesn't really talk much.  And I guess he can't tie his shoes either, but you get my point.  He's very talented and brilliant.  At 18 months, Ben is an absolute joy and an absolute terror.  I love every minute with him and I can't wait to celebrate many more milestones.

What a wonderful little man I have!

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Little Prince

Have you read The Little Prince?  Not, "yes I read it as a kid" or "yes I read it in French class."  I mean, REALLY read it?  Lately?  I know I've said that a lot of books are the best book ever written, but really, I think The Little Prince might truly be it.  It was the first book I read to my son, sitting in the NICU holding him during his tube feedings, and it is my standard high-school-graduation-gift.  I mean it, it's really the best book ever written.

The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery reads as a children's tale of a pilot stranded in the Sahara desert who meets The Little Prince from Asteroid B-612.  The pilot recounts not only his tales with the Little Prince, but the Prince's tales from his journey in space and what he learned when he came to Earth.  And while this really seems like it's a tale for little kids, it's so much a story for adults that I do suggest that everyone should read it at least once in their life.

The central theme, and my personal favorite quote of all time is this:  "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.  What is essential is invisible to the eye."  Is there seriously anything better in the world than that?  There isn't.  I promise you.  And if when you read The Little Prince you will see how wonderfully that sentiment is told through story and illustration.

And while I strongly suggest you pick up a copy now, I will write a little excerpt from the story of the fox, which is central to all other lessons:

"No," said the little prince. "I am looking for friends. What does that mean--'tame'?"
"It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. It means to establish ties."
"'To establish ties'?"
"Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world . . ."
"I am beginning to understand," said the little prince. "There is a flower . . . I think that she has tamed me . . ."
"It is possible," said the fox. "On the Earth one sees all sorts of things."
"Oh, but this is not on the Earth!" said the little prince.
The fox seemed perplexed, and very curious.
"On another planet?"
"Are there hunters on that planet?"
"Ah, that is interesting! Are there chickens?"
"Nothing is perfect," sighed the fox.
But he came back to his idea.
"My life is very monotonous," the fox said. "I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . ."
The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time.

Like I said, this is only a little excerpt from Chapter 21, you MUST read the whole book.  It's just wonderful.

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.  What is essential is invisible to the eye."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

So Irritating...

I'm irritated today.  And I can't even blog about it, because that nature of what's irritating me is something that I would rather not share with the majority of people (however few) that do read my blog.  Which I think irritates me as much as what is actually irritating me in the first place.  So irritating....

I know I COULD start a personal journal, to vent these more personal issues in.  Something that I use actual paper and pen for, but, honestly, I'm too damn lazy to track down said paper and pen.  So I will have to do with merely venting about the fact that I'm irritated, and not what is actually irritating me.  Man, so IRRITATING!

I've contemplated starting a creative writing journal.  I have the beginning of a story stuck in my head, and I'm fairly certain if I don't write it down I'm going to forget it, or lose the momentum, or both.  But for some reason the thought of creative writing is a real turn off right now.  Which is stupid, I know, since I actually HAVE an idea and it's not really a bad one either, but I just can't find it in myself to write it down.  I'm too engrossed with reading right now, and I think I'm a touch concerned that what I write will either sound stupid in comparison, or read like a ripoff of what I've been reading lately.  It is difficult sometimes to find my own voice and difficult as well to deal with writing crap when I don't feel like what I'm writing is true to my own voice.  Bah!  So damn IRRITATING!

Add all this to the fact that the Golden Retriever (who is allergic to fleas) has fleas and does NOTHING but scratch and chew ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT and you could probably imagine that my irritation is near it's boiling over point.

I think I need a vacation...

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Handyman, He's Not...

My husband is a wonderful man.  He's a great companion, an amazing father, and a wonderful provider for our family.  He is not a handyman, however.  Together we've taken on many household improvement projects and while they do usually get finished, they takes us twice as long as we expect, which is likely five times longer than the average adult would spend on them.  Take for example the Limerick bathroom we thought we would tear out and replace over a long weekend.  A month and a half later, we finished the project.  The bathroom looked nice, not perfect, but certainly a HUGE improvement over the dirty yellow disaster that was there when we moved in.  I imagine anyone else could have had the bathroom done in a week, it was rather small, but for the two of us it took well over a month and perhaps a million arguments.

Yesterday I asked my husband to install safety latches on the bathroom cupboards, a project I thought would take him 10 minutes.  An hour later my fuming husband came out of the bathroom, latches installed, but I thought better about asking him to install the curtain rods in the bedroom...perhaps another day.  So with this knowledge that my husband is not exactly the handiest of men, I have had a rough time supporting his desire to take up a new hobby.  Especially since it happens to be woodworking.  I know he wants to feel productive and manly and hands-on, and I support him, really I do, but I have to say, I've had my reservations.  He has even gone so far as to empty out a room in the basement in which to put this "woodshop."  I had thought perhaps the space might be better used as a family room.

But, yesterday we went to Lowes and he decided to look through the "Do-It-Yourself" books for a "project."  We came across one for "Cabinets, Shelves and Home Storage Solutions."  Cabinets?  Shelves?  A BOOKCASE perhaps??  This would be the perfect project!  We are always in need of bookcases, and I certainly wouldn't turn down some storage units or an entertainment center!  Needless to say, we purchased the book.  And while I'm eager for him to take up this new hobby, and perhaps build something useful, or even just decorative, I'm sincerely hoping that he can do so and still manage to keep all his fingers attached. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sandy Beaches? No thanks...

It's hot.  Really, really hot.  I don't like to complain about it too much, since I absolutely despise cold weather and snow, and would much rather complain about that, but man, this heat is a bit much.  I have found that my patience magically disappears in this weather and, unfortunately, so does Ben's.  We spent the majority of the morning whining and complaining to each other with a fair amount of screeching thrown in for good measure.  Fortunately for us both, Ben settled down for a morning nap and I packed up for a quick trip to the lake.

The water was nice, cooler than the air, but still warm enough to enjoy.  I'm a veteran of ocean water, but lakes, though stinky (in my opinion), offer a much more pleasant way to cool off as it doesn't numb you to your bones.  And while we had a good time, I decided I'm probably a bit of a beach snob.  I grew up going to the beach on Islesboro, where we lived.  The beach belonged to my grandfather and there really wasn't ever anybody there.  Just family and close friends.  There wasn't ever a random kid coming up to steal your shovel, and there weren't a zillion over-tanned moms laying around smoking and screaming at their kids the second they stepped out of line.  There were sand dollars to find, clams and quahogs to dig, mussels and crabs to uncover, rocks to make forts in, driftwood to build boats out of and lots and lots of freezing cold water. 

So while Ben and I were refreshed at the lake today, I found myself a bit bored just sitting in the sand.  Aside from picking milfoil out from between our toes, there really wasn't that much to do.  I think a trip to the island is overdue...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Yet Another Garden Update

I've been meaning to do a little garden update for sometime now, and since I have a spare minute (aka Ben is not screaming to sit on my lap or trying to climb out the window) I thought I'd post a few pictures.  Things are looking quite nice, I have mini green beans already, lots of tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, and my cucumbers and peas have flowers on them.  The herbs (with the exception of the basil which was very quickly eaten by some mysterious bug) are all doing well, and even my cantaloupe plant looks nice.  The only uncooperative veggie appears to be my carrots, I think I have a total of 5 growing.  Very disappointing. 

I have been eating the lettuces, and have only a few more heads left.  My thought is to replace them with beets when they are gone.  The heat is a bit too much for the lettuce, but I think the beets would survive well, and since I only like beet greens, not the nasty beets themselves, I only have to grow them long enough for the leaves to grow, and I think I still have plenty of time for that.

So, without further ado, here are the pictures I took Monday of my veggie garden:

Can you see the mini green bean??

 Cucumber Flowers

Beans, Cucumbers, Lettuces, and the empty space where the carrots should be...

Pretty Lettuce

Cherry Tomatoes

My gardens (and my little helper)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Things I Learned Today:

  1. Waking up without the assistance of a screaming child is bliss.
  2. Cleaning is so much easier when you are home alone and the music is loud enough that you can't hear your own singing.
  3. I do not sound like Patsy Cline when I sing.
  4. You should not paint your nails outside on a 90 degree day.  (It's too gloppy.)
  5. Water snakes are aggressive.
  6. Little hands can in fact pull down your swimsuit top, and people on the beach may, or may not tell you.
  7. Ending the day with a book and a bowl of raspberry chip ice cream is second only to the peace and quiet of a sleeping child.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Now What?

Well, I finished my book.  The George RR Martin book six years in the making.  And if he takes another six years to finish the next one, I might just kill him.  That is, unless a heart attack kills him first, which is not unlikely, since he isn't exactly a spring chicken, and the photos of him show him as being a touch on the heavy side.  In any event, I finished the book.  I'm all for cliff hangers, really I am, but I just don't think it's fair to leave one of my favorite characters with a sword in his belly.  Not cool, GRRM, not cool.  Am I supposed to assume he's dead??  I don't think so!  We both know you need him to finish this story, so was it really necessary to leave the book like this?  I'm a touch grumpy.  Six more years, grumph, I hope not.

Next up on the list, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II.  The plan is to go on Monday with my dear friend Rachel, with whom I have watched the last four or five movies, I think.  At least at the end of this movie there won't be any cliff hangers, I'm still reeling from the fate of, well, I really can't say, because my sister will have a hissy fit if I give it away.  So a movie date Monday, and, in the meantime, I have nothing to do.  No books to read, no plans, not even a baby to watch, since he's gone to his grandmother's for the weekend.  What's a girl to do???

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Week for My Inner Nerd

It's gonna be a good week.  Today, I'm going to spend all my time cleaning, working, cooking and, obviously, blogging, so that tomorrow I can spend as much of my day as possible reading.  Why?  Because tomorrow the very LONG awaited A Dance With Dragons by George RR Martin will be available for purchase and I will be purchasing it and then immediately abandoning all responsibilities to lose myself in Westeros.

Do I consider myself a giant nerd for doing this?  Yes.  Do I care?  Not a bit.

I'm anticipating that this book, which is just over 1000 pages in length, should take me maybe 2 days to read.  Three, I suppose, if I have to work Tuesday and Wednesday nights.  (Fingers crossed that I've got the beginning of the week off.)  I am so excited.  I don't think I have been this excited since the release of the final Harry Potter book, for which I managed to convince Jake (a TEENAGER at the time) to accompany me to a midnight book release and then read aloud on the ride home.  And yes, I admit, if they did a midnight release for this book, I would likely be there, though probably not wearing a Stark of Winterfell t-shirt, I'm not THAT nerdy.

As if this excitement wasn't enough for the upcoming week, next Monday (which I'm including as part of this week because I want to) I've got a HOT DATE with my Harry Potter buddy Rachel to see the FINAL HARRY POTTER MOVIE.  Woohooo!  I'm prepared to laugh, to cry and then cry some more as we say goodbye to the voyage that was Harry Potter.

This week is going to be awesome!  Some days, I love being a nerd.

Friday, July 1, 2011

How Many Books?

Since it's the beginning of July, I guess that means that year is about half way over.  When I started my blog, I thought it would be fun to keep track of the books I read during the year.  I started with just a little list on my home page, but realized, as the list kept growing, that I would have to move them to their own page (See Page Here)  Today I tallied them up.  Twenty-three books since the beginning of the year.  To me, that sounds like a rather disappointing number.  Only twenty-three?  But then I thought about it.  That works out to nearly a book a week.  Which I suppose isn't too bad for someone who has a part time job in the evenings, a part time job at home during the day, a one year old to wrestle and a disastrous house to maintain.  And considering the majority of the books I read were well over 500 pages each, I suppose that's not too bad.

So what's on the agenda for the next half of the year?  Beats me.  I still have my library book list, waiting for my husband to make another trip, and thanks to the suggestions from some friends and family, I have even more to add to the list.  I also have the next George RR Martin book to read (so excited!!!), and I'm seriously contemplating an entire re-read of the Harry Potter series in honor of the upcoming release of the last movie.  And I believe Diana Gabaldon will be publishing a Lord John book this fall, which I'm sure I'll read, just for something to do. 

Now if only I could figure out how to get paid for all this reading....