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

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

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:
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.)

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