March 31, 2006

Tooth Five

Oops! I almost forgot!

Emily got teeth numbers 3 and 4 last week; and sometime yesterday or
today, tooth number 5 made its official, through-the-gum appearance.
Poor thing--it's hard having them all arrive at once. It's rough on
Emily, too. ;-)

Spring Break, Day 7

Our remaining kitties went to the vet: Dudley fought valiantly, so he
must be doing o.k. Fiona will forgive us one day soon. Anyway,
everybody got their vaccines and seems to be doing well.

Pat and Bill came down to visit and take us out to lunch. It was the
first time in quite a while that we had both girls with us at a
restaurant. Emily, though probably hungry and surely tired, was mostly
mesmerized by the people; Laura contented herself with drinking way
more milk than we give her at home, and having some of Grandma's
milkshake. She will probably suffer tonight; massive amounts of milk
stuff don't seem to agree with her (8 oz. a day seems to be the tipping
point.) On the other hand, I was not embarrassed to be seen with my
children in public, so, it all evens out. And none of us had to do
dishes!

Matt fixed our coat closet door; it hasn't actually latched for some
time, and since we cleaned that closet, we've been keeping the diaper
bag in there. Laura knows that she can easily open the door, and
retrieve the special toys we save for our trips out. Hah! Not
anymore, my dear! (It's also nice for us and any guests to have a
somewhat toddler-proof area to set their stuff.)

I spent some time this afternoon working on bringing us into the 21st
century. I finally decided that it would be o.k. to pay bills
online...certainly, it doesn't seem to be any more risky than sending
pieces of paper all over the place. So, I've begun the process. I
anticipate not having to spend so much time shuffling paper each month.
(and I'm sure I'll find a use for the stamp money we'll save...)

I'm off to get more free plants tomorrow morning...I am still marveling
at what a cool idea it is to use the Internet to trade plants,
something most gardeners love to do.

Spring Break, Day 6

..or, Furnace Follies, Episode III.

Basically, the people who put in the furnace were suicidal cheap stupid
idiots; happily, they did not kill us.

(Time out while Ginger has a nervous breakdown, contemplating the
possibilities.)

On the upside, I'm pretty sure we've finally isolated the problem! The
furnace stopped, just as before; we called the same folks, who had last
been here exactly two weeks ago. The regular repair guy was out, so
they sent the manager. He fiddled with it, did some tests, and decided
that the same device--that detects overheating--had been tripped again.
So the magic button was pushed again, etc.

Matt came up to report, and I said, "So, basically, it IS overheating.
Why? Is there a blockage somewhere?" Meanwhile, the furnace guy was
downstairs, thinking pretty much the same thing. So they undid the
pipe that leads to the chimney, which previous owners had insulated--in
all likelihood, because they realized it was getting kind of warm.
That would be because it was getting kind of blocked!

(Another pause while I hyperventilate. O.K. I'm alright now.)

When they took the pipe off, it revealed a HUGE blockage. The idiot
who put the furnace in used galvanized steel duct pipe up the chimney,
which had corroded over the years. Gravity being what it is, all that
yuck had settled at the bottom of the pipe, at the bottom of the
chimney, where the pipe connects to the furnace exhaust duct. So the
blockage was mostly rust, but was quite effective at keeping the
exhaust in, thus heating up the pipe, thus tripping the furnace's
safety mechanism (thank GOD!). Matt got the ShopVac, the blockage is
now all cleared, and this summer we'll get a chimney liner installed,
which is what should have been there in the first place--something that
will a) not corrode and b) not constrict the outward and upward air
flow.

(Roll credits. But not *ours*.)

March 29, 2006

Spring Break, Day 5

We made it to the library for story time this morning, and were treated
to a reminder of Laura's personality: she is a Watcher. She was soooo
excited to go, and get to sing songs and do the motions. Then when
we're there, she just watches--no participation. I think it's just
been too long; if it were familiar, she would have boogied like she
does at home. Makes me wonder what the beginning of school will be
like with her...every year. On the other hand, we got some new books
and some old favorites.

We had Robyn over for dinner. Since she works so close but lives a
ways away, we've been wanting to be better about connecting, so I'm
glad we finally did. Her, Laura played with! (She even got a hug on
the way out, a definite honor.) We had fun, too; we ran Emily through
the ducky tub while Robyn was here so someone else could enjoy the
spectacle. I sent her home with the first Patricia Cornwell book in
the Scarpetta series, doing what I can to help get her hooked on
reading for fun. To me, this sort of thing is half the fun of owning
books: I can foist them off on others! (and if she doesn't like it,
I'll try, try again. I think books and readers are like significant
others: the right combinations are out there; you just have to *find*
the correct pairs to make it work.)

Laura still commits UBE's (Unauthorized Bed Evacuations) at nap time,
but she's--eventually--falling asleep on her own in the bed (and nights
have been no trouble.)

March 28, 2006

Spring Break, Day 4

Today was fairly peaceful. Laura managed to fall asleep, with no
extortion or assistance, for her nap!

We worked on fixing things that were broken (notably, the back yard's
water spigot is again functional; it leaked when we moved in here, but
by last fall it was basically flooding the basement anytime somebody
watered. Not a good thing! And now I can actually plan the garden
knowing I'll be able to keep it hydrated....). I also worked on the
scheduling for the church. It takes me probably three hours to do, but
I only do it every few months, so it's not exactly a huge time
commitment.

Emily practiced rolling; she's got the front-to-back thing down, but
hasn't *quite* mastered the reverse.

Since I have nothing much to report, I can do a brief book review. In
the news lately has been _The Da Vinci Code_, since the author is being
sued for plagiarism. The book he's supposed to have plagiarized, _Holy
Blood, Holy Grail_, was in our library, so I read it.

It's not bad, but it's not that great, either. And if I were the judge
in the plagiarism case, it'd be done by now. There is definitely
derivative material in TDVC, but its author actually *mentions* the
previous book as part of his novel; he has one of his characters praise
the research done, but question some of their logical leaps. That's
about where I stand on it, too. In any event, I don't see how it can
be plagiarism when the source is actually cited. Maybe that's why I'm
only an English teacher, not a judge. ;-)

March 27, 2006

Mommy is the Mafia

Entries like today's are one reason I have Blogger set to not allow
anonymous posts (another is Evil Spammers). But hey, you can always
*email* me your estimate of how many thousands of dollars in therapy
I'm costing my kids down the road. :-)

Laura took her nap today, in the bed. She didn't want to.

Daddy put her back several times, and she did get better about staying
in bed, but not laying down and certainly not going to sleep. Mommy
went down to snuggle with her--modeling, you know? As it happened, I
was pretty tired and genuinely wanted my own nap. But Laura was
keeping me awake. Finally, I resorted to time honored methods:
kidnapping and extortion.

I was lying on her bed; she was sitting on her bed next to me, babbling
happily to her Friends. I took her Dolly--her number one Friend--from
her. I told her Mommy and Dolly were sooooo tired, and that she was
keeping us awake. So Mommy was going to help Dolly to sleep, and if
Laura wanted to hold Dolly, she'd have to lie down with us.
Eventually, she lay down. I fell asleep (with Dolly). She fell
asleep. Mission accomplished! I woke up first, and returned Dolly to
her rightful owner (so don't call the Toy Police!)

I'm hoping this'll take care of it; usually, if you can get Laura to do
something once, she's willing to do it again.

If not, I can always make teeny tiny concrete molds...to make cement
shoes for Dolly!

Spring Break, Day 3

Took myself in for a regular check up this morning. One of the lesser
annoying side effects of pregnancy is the growth of "skin tags" (what a
bargain: not only does your belly grow, and your chest grow,
and--duh--your baby grow, but your skin wants in on the action, too!)
I got mine removed (most of them) while there, which will make riding
in the car more fun; they were all on my neck, where the seat belts hit
me. Freaked out the family, since I hadn't warned them ahead of time
that I was planning to ask about getting the little buggers off. Laura
was impressed that I didn't cry, even though I clearly must have gotten
shots. Why else would I get band-aids put on at the doctor's? It's
nice to know that Mommy has a few surprises left up her sleeve (or
collar. Groan!)

The doctor confirmed what I know about eczema, and gave me some helpful
advice about exercising with asthma (and how not to be completely
zonked for the rest of the day after a simple workout.)

I promptly put this advice to the test, since the weather was good, by
starting to clear my veggie garden patch. It was covered in maple
leaves last fall, so I just had to pop out a few weeds, and rake off
the aforementioned leaves. I spent the rest of my hour outside sifting
compost, which is slow work, but a wonderful meditation. As soon as I
have enough, I'll dump it in the part of the garden I'm working on,
dig, add lime and fertilizer, and plant seeds. That's the lifecycle of
the poor organic gardener.

While out there, I checked the castle bed, and yippee! Lots of stuff
is up--spinach, lettuces, and salad kale. Nothing warms my gardening
heart more than knowing I get to have homemade salad soon!

March 26, 2006

Spring Break, Day 2

Laura got through the night just fine in her bed.

After church, however, her regularly scheduled nap did NOT occur (not
for want of trying...) This cast a bit of a pall on the evening (not
to mention the lost afternoon...), since she acts drunk when she's too
tired; a happy drunk, but still insane! No rules, no boundaries, no
concept of safety or reserve--ay carumba! On the upside, she pretty
much did the classic snore-as-you-hit-the-pillow thing tonight.

So, we'll try for nap again tomorrow.

Church was interesting. We got to, as Laura says, "see Big Margaret
and Little Margaret" (possibly means the Vic, who she *knows* is
Margaret, and our deacon, who IS petite?) There was also a sick skunk
in the courtyard; it was taken away during coffee hour in an amazingly
quick series of moves; we got to see it all through the window. (One
woman, armed chiefly with a blanket and an animal carrier. She had a
net, but didn't need it. As a nominal "cat-whisperer" myself, I was
extremely impressed by the no-fuss results. I'm also pretty sure I
don't ever want "sick skunk-catching" to be part of my job description,
though!)

Since Emily has gotten pretty twisty in the sink-sized bathtub, we
rescued the quacking giant rubber duck tub from the depths of Matt's
office closet and inflated it. So far she likes the quacks; we'll give
it a wet run tomorrow.

March 25, 2006

Bye-bye, Faithful Haven...

The crib's in pieces, stashed here and there. (We plan to put it back
together in a week or so, to make sure the transition has "took".)

Though a little solemn, when I reminded Laura that she got to keep all
her Friends, she was really fine with us dismantling her former haven.
We made her dollies dance, all of us girls sitting on the bed, while
watching Daddy do the dirty work. (Emily was even encouraged to play
with "Doll", the less favored of the two Laura keeps with her at night;
the other is alternately "Baby" or "Dolly." We are not very creative
in the naming department.)

Actual going-to-bed time was a little rougher than usual, though she's
down there now, talking to herself quietly. Matt had to send her back
to the bed a few times, and there were a few tears, but they faded
pretty fast and there was no screaming (screaming is her thing lately.
I will be glad when THAT stage is over!!!) I went down a little later
to check on her, and she was all snuggled in with her toys and crib
blankets ranged around her. She thought it would be great if Mommy
tucked her in with: "The sheet?" "Yeah!"

So, I hesitate to say that the transition is completely complete, but
it's certainly gone better than we were expecting. On the other hand,
considering how previous efforts have gone, it TOTALLY justifies the
Nuclear Option we employed. I guess if we have a Drama Queen, it's
nice to know that, confronted with adversity, she can just suck it up
and make the best of it. (Adversity being a relative term; that bed is
all new, with cushy mattresses, she's got two pillows of her own--she
loves pillows!, the sheets are flannel--in purple, her favorite color,
she gets to sleep under Mommy's or Daddy's [depending on the laundry
status] old comforters, and she finally gets to sleep surrounded by her
books. Everyone should have it so tough.)

Spring Break, Day 1

Now, keep in mind I'm not promising to do this *every* day!

My hands are itchy, but on their way to healing. I don't think I've
mentioned it, but I, like so many allergy/asthma sufferers, also suffer
from intermittent eczema. It is an itchy, painful, skin-cracking
issue. I try hard to make sure I wash my hands after every diaper
change (just like the song says!), and since I've been trying to pick
up the slack for Matt's crazy year at school (so I've been doing lots
of household chores, as befits a "Home Executive" anyhow), AND I've
been all alone with the girls a lot lately, my hands are completely
*thrashed*. I lube up with hand lotion several times a day, and put on
some heavy-duty stuff at night (I think it is pretty much straight
petrolatum and lanolin), and dab on cortisone when I am about to start
chewing on myself...actually, chewing my fingers off around the third
joint would solve a lot of agony. I try to be good during the day, but
I always seem to wake up in the morning, and realize that I'm clawing
at my hands. Ahhhh, sweet relief...until I realize I've just wounded
myself. Again. Anyway, I've figured out that mostly what I need in
order to not have this problem is to keep my hands out of water. So
having Matt around for a week, in addition to hearing his sweet voice,
seeing his sweet face, etc., means having HIS sweet hands wrist-deep in
poop instead of mine. Hallelujah, amen.

There are so many things on our list, that, as usual, I'm sure we won't
get to them all. A few have happened already, however. The garage is
on its way to being cleaned (Matt took back $20 worth of cans and
bottles. They had been accumulating since last summer.) Having the
space to walk around will make outside adventures just a whole lot
easier!

On his way home yesterday, Matt stopped at the co-op and picked me up
part of my birthday present. He's been joking for weeks that he was
going to give me a big sack of ____, but it's actually not manure, just
the parts for organic fertilizer (mostly lime, two kinds, and
cottonseed meal). I will not go through it all immediately, but it
pays to buy in bulk. Which we did: fifty pound bags of each.

As soon as Laura wakes up, we plan to take apart the crib. She's
waaaaay outgrown it, and has had a bed for several months, but--as is
typical with our Drama Queen--refuses to sleep on it. Oh, she'll sleep
on OTHER beds, or even the couch, so it's not a fear issue....It's just
not Her Crib (who do you think she gets this anti-change attitude
from???? Could it be BOTH parents?) She's been totally capable of
getting out of the crib for months, so we've just been going on hope
that today is never the day she's going to do it (we did tell her she'd
go Bonk/Clunk if she tried it, which is probably true. She's more
coordinated than she used to be, but sadly my gene pool is showing).
So we've finally decided that, if she's ever going to be safe, and
secondarily, if Emily is ever going to get to sleep in a crib, the
drastic approach is probably best. We've talked it up for a week or
so, and the next few days will probably be tough, but there it is.
It's time.

In other news, she and Emily are totally enjoying each other lately.
Laura's been in rare form the last few days: bringing Emily toys,
telling her "You're o.k." when Mommy steps away and Em cries, and she
even sang "Frere Jacques" to her one night when I had to do something
out of the room for a minute at bedtime. Emily likes to grab Laura's
hair, and sometimes Laura will actually encourage this by dangling it
tantalizingly close (I never said the kid was smart, just kind. ;-) )
Emily, in turn, lights up when she sees Laura, and will sometimes be
o.k. if I have to step away, as long as she's got Big Sister in view.
Not always, mind you, but sometimes is better than never.

I hear Laura singing. Wish us luck!

March 24, 2006

Emily's week

No worries; it's not like what happened in February!

So far this week Emily has:

~had both of her top front teeth poke through. She says: "Rrrrrrrrr!"

~broken out in hives. I'm pretty sure they were the result of a
three-egg meal I had. They're fading, but she's been looking like a
giant cricket, since some were on her feet and she's been rubbing them
together. She says: "wah", and sometimes, "Wah!"

~Gone to sleep without seeing Daddy to say goodnight five of the last
eight nights. She says: "ah-bah? dadadadada?" (or something close ;-)
)

Fortunately, it's almost Spring Beak, so she can soak up lots of Daddy
time. And *I* plan to take lots of R & R time!

March 18, 2006

Breaking News: One to Nat.s

One of Matt's student's qualified for Nationals today, in debate!
She's worked long and hard for it, and I know he's proud of her.

There were several other kids who finaled, but did not get to qualify.

Districts for State are next week, and then, oh, bliss, Spring Break.

March 16, 2006

Furnace Follies: The Sequel

Devoted readers may recall that we had a few minor adventures in home
heating a couple of months ago. NW Natural came out and checked it,
did the one of four possible things that was free that might have been
the issue, and it's been fine since then. It seems we've been dealing
lately with one of the other three things, and hopefully have found the
cure.

Monday morning, we woke up to no heat. Fortunately, that was the day
that Matt had conferences, so he didn't have to go in until noon. We
picked a name from the book (Home Service Heating), called, and a guy
came out and fiddled with it. The gist (Matt talked to him about the
specifics) was that the furnace thought it was overheating, so it shut
down. He pushed a button somewhere in its gizzards to reset it, and on
we went.

Until around 5:30 that night, when I noticed I was a little cold. Then
I went to look at the thermostat and saw why: it read 64 degrees!
Uh-oh. I call Matt; he's in conferences, of course, so his cell is
politely and professionally OFF, and he can't tell me where the magic
button is. So I called the furnace people again. They very nicely
sent the guy out again; he showed up at my door about fifteen minutes
later, with some tiny electrical THING hanging from his lips.

It turned out to be a bypass device, since he'd figured out by its
behavior that what the furnace needed was a new part. The part that
keeps it from overheating, in fact. He did, however, turn the whole
shebang on once the bypass was installed, and stuck his entire arm into
the relevantly heating part; he said if he wasn't grabbing his arm in
agony, she wasn't overheating and the monitoring part was definitely
skewed. This solution (bypassing the fried part) was not ideal, but it
would keep us in warmth until the part could be shipped. Having
chatted with a NW Natural guy a few years ago, I was not as worried
about heating this way as you might think; most of my hatred of the gas
is from the gas line itself (and the flame). I tend to have a lot of
respect for electrical devices with multiple back-up redundancy
protectors (see how redundant that is?), which this furnace is.

Tuesday the furnace worked (and I turned 35. Kudos, warm thoughts, and
thanks to those of you who were kind enough to send felicitations. :-)
).

Wednesday the furnace worked.

Today, Matt left for Nat Quals (and the furnace was working). I got a
call this morning, saying the part was in and would someone be home
today or tomorrow to install it? So, around noon our same guy (Ron)
appeared, installed the part, and went on his merry way.

I realized in retrospect that although the furnace was on, it hadn't
cycled while Ron was here, since the temperature in the house was
humming along perfectly at 70 degrees. This turned out not to be
so....well, hot. Two hours later, I noticed it was 69, and thought,
you know, I haven't heard it kick on lately. So I turned it up to 73
(it's calibrated to try not to be more than two degrees away from
wherever it's set, so that should have been plenty...). Nothing.
Sigh.

So, I called the repair folks again. Back comes Ron (fortunately, not
waking up Laura from her nap, though my chance to sleep was pretty well
shot for the day.) It turned out to be something "stupid", to quote
him, a wire snagged somewhere it oughtn't to have been. All is well
now, as far as I can tell. It remains to be seen how much of all this
we'll be charged for; we already paid for the initial visit, and
obviously we'll pay for the part, but I'm not sure where the rest will
fall out. Anyway, we're glad to have heat for the nonce, and hopefully
this will be the end of that particular saga for a while. (Ron was of
the opinion that there was a lot of life left in the furnace, though
it's an '89...the year I graduated from high school. :-) We did talk
to him on Monday about other options; I've always wanted a heat pump,
unless I find out about something even more energy efficient and
practical, and we may go that way in a few years. But we'd prefer to
put off big expenses wherever possible, of course. )

March 11, 2006

Score!

In gardening terms, it was a great day. I am now blessed with:

-one 12 inch wide patch of asters
-one eight inch wide patch of asters
-one eight inch wide clump of pink peonies
-one eight inch wide clutch of shasta daisies
-one eight inch clump of perennial sunflowers and
-one small but chunky pink cranesbill (hardy geranium)

The last two were "oh, here, would you like these, too?" additions to
the scheduled goodies. I didn't know there WERE perennial sunflowers
until today!

All of the things (except the geranium, which was a volunteer) were in
bigger clumps than I would have been able to buy at a standard nursery,
and I will probably be able to divide them if I do it soon.

With apologies to Sting, "Free, free, got them free!" Can you tell I
feel all smug and frugal? (not to mention grateful to the donor.)

March 10, 2006

Survey Says....

I called the "call before you dig" number a few days ago, so our yard
is now sporting various Day-Glo colors identifying all the major
utility lines. I wanted to get it done now for a few reasons: one,
I'm picking up some free plants tomorrow, and while none of them have
particularly deep roots, it's definitely nice to know for the long term
(one is a peony, and they do hate being moved, after all.) A second
reason is that we're serious about wanting to revamp the place, and who
knows what we may decide to do? Radical change is certainly not out of
the question (for reference, see our living room paint color ;-) ).
I've already pretty much decided that I can let the cedar tree by our
driveway go, and I'm ready to chuck the dwarf spruces on either side of
the front walk, as long as they can be replaced with something shrubby
(that blooms!) As it turns out, the only line even close to either of
those is water. See? It's wonderful to know these things, not that
either of those changes is likely to happen in the next few weeks.

I went out and took several photos of the marks, since they're not
permanent by any means (they are meant to fade). If we get the chance
before they're too weak, I'd love to go out and actually measure
everything so we can make a totally accurate map, but if not, I did try
to put stable reference points in the pics.

As a side note, the reason I have the free plants coming is because of
FreeCycle, and one of its offshoots (get it?), which is a version of
the list just for garden-related things. It is too cool, and I do plan
to donate my own cast-offs (as soon as I have any!) If you're
interested, I can send you the info. on signing up for it. I think my
favorite thing is that you know you're getting things that are adapted
to the local climate (and my second favorite is that it's free.)

March 8, 2006

The Trees are Dancing!

That's what Laura says when it's windy. I admit that I think it's
pretty cute. (While I try to be clear-eyed about it, I will confess
that I'm as enraptured by my children as the next parent. I try to
remind myself of that when I'm telling her something for the 12th
["Stop that! It hurts her! You're going to have to leave the room if
you do it again!!] time.) Anyway, the trees have been dancing a lot
today.

I'm very happy to have nothing much exciting to report. In reading
others' blogs, excitement really sucks, usually!

I did get tomato seeds in their pots yesterday evening; that should
give me enough time for a back-up round of planting should anything
happen to these. I think there are seven? different varieties, plus
four pots of ground cherries; we've discovered we're addicted to them,
and I've absolutely never seen them in stores. A pity, since they have
good natural storage qualities. They've probably done focus groups and
figure people don't want anything that's been on the ground unless they
can scour it. Sissies. They come in their own little paper case,
right off the bush! What could be cleaner?

I keep meaning to report on Matt's latest activity, which involves
mandatory after-school tutoring. Apparently they've been doing this
for freshman already; if a kid is failing, they are assigned to after
school tutoring to have a supervised time to get help and/or get caught
up on missing work. It's been a pretty big success, so they decided to
expand it to English at the other levels this semester. They needed a
point person to do all the administrivia, so.....Matt has one period a
day now that he does that instead of teaching English. He spends a lot
of time tracking down parents by phone--they need parent permission to
keep a kid after school, and if there's a transportation issue, there
are a few opportunities to do the time at lunch. He also calls kids in
to deliver the news. For some, that conversation is enough to take
care of the problems, while others are more...interesting! [this
commentary censored--ask Matt :-) ]

Anyway, I think it's been a mostly positive experience for Matt (and
hopefully, the rest of the department). It's a good feeling to know
that the kids who "slip through the cracks" are being caught and given
a lifeline (or a push!). And the parents there are overwhelmingly
supportive of the process.

March 5, 2006

Books, friends, seeds, signs

Yesterday was the YMCA's annual Used Book Sale (actually, it was Friday
and today, too, but I went yesterday morning). I got most of my
Christmas shopping done! My family has mostly eliminated presents, so
my list was considerably shorter than in the past, but still, I'm
feeling smug about that. I confess that I found a few classics for
myself; a book on dressmaking from the 1960's, which is dated in terms
of fashion but not in terms of process, and the classic _Square Foot
Gardening_.

We had a bunch of the Usual Suspects over for dinner and fun last
night: ten grown-ups, three toddlers, two babies. There would have
been another grown-up and baby, but half of the Davisons stayed home
sick. Since we got to see Ty and Jonah and Elisha about a week ago
(and certainly will again), we missed Ty and Elisha but could handle
the heartbreak. It was wonderful to get a little caught up with
everyone, and enjoy Dave's interspersed excerpts from _Why Do Men Have
Nipples?_. Now that there are just a few big tournaments left, we can
start emerging from our winter speech cocoon and enjoy everyone more.

In between those two activities, I managed to plant some seeds. I
scattered wild flower sorts of things out in the alley (if you've never
been back there, there is about a foot and a half of "frontage" past
our back fence on what used to be an alley, and is now nominally a
street since it leads to a little set of cottage apartments and their
parking...but to me, it's still an alley, except for the street sign!)
These joined the sweet peas (mostly native, perennial) that I stuck in
the ground Friday while we were out for our walk.

I planted about half of the raised "castle" bed, too, and nasturtiums
in all the spaces that had room, hoping for the usual lava-like effect
in July or so. About six different kinds of lettuce, and a fair amount
of spinach went in, since that always seems to be the favorite snack of
the pill bugs. Conveniently, the weather today has been perfect; it
rained nicely this morning, and then there was a little sunshine to
keep things cozy and warm. What seed could resist such a pull? (I did
check the forecast first; it's supposed to do this pretty much all
week. Since I'm not quite ready to get the hose to working, the timing
couldn't be better. Besides, I'm cheap! Why use water if I don't have
to?)
~~~~~~~~~~~~

And yet more books: I realize that reviewing things here is mostly a
pipe dream. I can either read, or I can review, but I just never seem
to have the time for both. I *can* tell you what I've been reading
and/or have on deck, and you can just ask me about 'em when you see me
(or email me if really really curious.) So, here's the current list:
Freakonomics
Sewing for Plus Sizes
The Gardener's Atlas
52 Weekend Gardening Projects
New Complete Home Landscaping
Time Management for the Creative Person
The Historian (great fun--if you liked DaVinci code and enjoy a little
vampirism, this was a rollicking good, and literate, read!)
S is for Silence

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And yet still more books: Last week, the girls and I managed to get to
the library, where we finally got Emily a card of her own. As I
remarked to Matt that night, we now have the combined household
capacity to check out *two hundred* separate items. Heh. To break in
the new card, I got, among other things, a baby-sign language book. I
don't think Emily's quite ready for them (though it won't do her any
harm), but Laura's just been LOVING it, and she's picked them up
quicker than I can. She seems to still remember her favorite from her
own babyhood, which any one who's seen her growth charts will be
unsurprised at: "more". (In case you want to try it, hold your thumb
against all four fingertips, on both hands, and tap the tips together a
few times.)