29 July 2014

The Shiner From Next Door

Escaping the heat of the outside, I sat in my cool, cool house, on my couch that sucks a person into its cushions and won't let go.  So nice.  When the front door opened, an entire three dollars of cold got pulled outside, never to be seen again.  My youngest son came in, closing the door obediently behind him.  "Mom, can I go to my friend's house?"

Looking at his adorable freckled face, it was hard NOT to notice the quarter-sized bump under his eye that had already begun to purple.  "What happened to your eye?" I asked, demanding the couch release its hold on me so I could fix whatever was wrong with my baby.

My baby blinked in thought.  Then blinked again.

"Oh!  I was jumping on the neighbor's trampoline and I tried to do a backflip and I landed on my head and my knee hit me in the eye.  I didn't even cry. Can I go to my friend's house?"

Obviously he hadn't cried!  He couldn't even remember what had blackened his eye!

Like any good mother, I immediately grabbed my phone and took a picture.  Part of me couldn't stop smiling because he looked so stinkin' cute.  And a little bit sad.  I texted that picture to his father, explaining what made him look like a six year-old pugilist.

My husband's response was, "I hate trampolines."

My response was to take more pictures.

23 July 2014


This is what I've been spending my spare time on this week.  And even some not-so-spare time.

I've been changing these fairly ugly barstools into this:

And even though I forgot to get a "before" picture, this is the "after":

We found the fabric for the bench and decided to base all the colors on that.  I'm hoping to make a throw pillow and maybe some artwork also based on that fabric, all of which makes me nervous because I have a tendency to think up cute decor in my head but I can't get my hands to do what I have envisioned in my head.

I've never painted something as big and scary as a piano before, so it took me a while to get up the nerve.  To be honest, I still haven't painted around the keys because that's the most delicate of all places to paint.  If you open the piano to play it, it looks very strange, but I'm getting there.

But what I really want to know is what you think?  Good?  Too much like an ice cream parlor?  Let me know.

15 July 2014

Nudity, Body Bags, and Fruit Trees

I take my kids swimming in my brother's backyard pool.  I know you're thinking of a small backyard with an even smaller pool stuck in the middle of it.  Think again, my friends.  Every time I go, I'm struck again by the scope of his prodigious, theme-park-sized pool.  There are changing rooms, a dedicated pool kitchen, a high dive, rope swing, hot tub, water basketball, and three waterfalls.  He even has a twelve foot nude statue of Poseidon standing guard by the deep end to make sure every little boy gawks then giggles before drowning.  And that's not including the amenities outside of the pool area.  I would show you a picture of it, but then I'd have to track you all down and kill you, so I'll save myself the bother.

It's truly a joy and a privilege to be invited to this wonderland once a week.

However, last week came with an added perk: apricots.  You all love apricots, right?  Right?

In what used to be my father's green bean patch, (Quick side note: My father used plant his garden, then leave it to me and my sister to weed and harvest, and let me say that when we gave away bags of beans at harvest time, I'm not talking about the little grocery bags most people distribute.  We gave away big black garbage bags most people use as body bags.  Any guests that came to our house around that time couldn't leave until they agreed to carry away fifty pounds of string beans.  Visitors decreased dramatically from June to August.)  my brother now has six very productive apricot trees.  They're beauties.  So, to help him out a little, I grabbed a couple of (small) grocery bags and filled them up. Yum.

Until they're not so yum.

My youngest son and I are really the only fruit eaters in my house and we have worked our little stomaches to the breaking point trying to eat all the apricots we picked last week.  We're not much closer to finishing than we were when we began.  Why is that?  I even gave some away.  Twice!  But my big, big bowl is still overflowing.  Sigh.

Looks like I'm going to have to resort to dire measures and make fruit leather.  (Dire, because once it's fruit leather, we all eat it and eat it and eat it until our little stomaches revolt.)

If there are still apricots hanging on the trees next time I go to my brother's, I'd like to say I won't be tempted to pick more, but I probably will.  Free food isn't something I can ignore.

08 July 2014

You Got That Right

I never put together puzzles.  In fact, I think it's safe to say I dislike them.  The biggest puzzle I've ever in my life completed was 100 pieces, and that's because my kids like it.  They ask me several times before I relent and help them.  But for some odd, odd reason, I decided I would pull the only other puzzle we own out of the cupboard and give it a go.  I mean, just because I've been bored silly and/or frustrated by every other puzzle I've ever put together, doesn't mean I will feel that way about every one I will ever try.  Right?

So, I got the box down and rattled the 750 pieces around a little.  Just to loosen them up.  I didn't want any of them stuck together prematurely.  That would be cheating.

Moving aside the table decoration, I began finding all the tiny pieces with flat edges.  Evidently, when there are 750 pieces in the whole thing, there will be a fair few with flat edges.  And a lot of flat edges that don't want to be found.

I babysit my four year-old niece five days a week, and since she's with us so much and looks just like my other children, we all kind of treat her like one of the family.  So, my niece sat next to me and talked to me for a while.  Then she said, "Mandi, can I help you put together that puzzle?"


"Oh."  She got down and wandered the house for a minute or two, then came back over to ask again if she could help me.

"No."  This was not something I was finding easy, and I didn't want any sticky little fingers gumming up my works.

Again, she got down and wandered some more.  When she came back the third time, I knew what to expect.  "Can I help you put that together?"


"But why can't I help you put the puzzle together?  Oh.  I know why.  Because you're a grumpy old woman."

After I stopped laughing, I said, "That's exactly right.  The sooner you learn that, the easier it will be to get along with me."

I never did finish the puzzle.  I never even finished the border.  I probably should have taken her up on the offer to help, since I  obviously needed it.