Tuesday, October 14, 2014

the year of the lentil

Costco does something to me.  I have gone in there and bought one item. Really, I have. But if you get a cart, there is no way that you're getting out of there with just what's on your list. Assuming you have at least some common sense and go with a list. If you don't, I have no advice for you. I am a list person.

To begin, let's just acknowledge that nothing at Costco costs less than $20. There is much at Costco that costs more.  And our state allows Costco to sell wine, which I must say, they sell at a great price. I'll buy most brands of wine that cost less than $10 (which is less than $20, I know, but isn't the same so I'm not counting it.) So there are big items and there are glass bottles, but nothing is exactly cheap. A good bargain, yes, but cheap? No.

I try not to go there hungry. My kids very much want to accompany me when I go near lunch because they want to enjoy what we refer to as "Costco dim sum." I will taste some things and I will sometimes buy those items, but I think I only buy them if I wanted them anyway. Usually.  I realized last time I went to Costco that there's a "What the Hell" point after you've spent a certain amount.When my huge-assed cart gets full I know I'm passing the $200 mark and at that point what difference is a bag of dried mangoes? It can progress quickly after that. And that is why I have a three pound bag of lentils while having only one recipe which calls for lentils.

Please send lentil recipes.

My new little car can easily hold $300 worth of Costco goods even with my yoga mat in the back. It looks like it could hold much more but I am uninterested in testing it. 
This all reminds me of a story I meant to write here but never found the right time.  This summer, when the kids were home from school and around to beg me to wait on my Costco trip until closer to lunch so they could do their dim sum thing, Bug saw a stuffed bear. It was not just a stuffed bear though. It was a five foot tall stuffed bear. He drooled. I stood firm (yay for standing firm at Costco!) and told him he had to think for 24 hours before spending his own money on a five foot tall stuffed bear.  He waited. He dreamed of nothing that night but what to name his new bear. I should have told him to wait 48 hours. The boy is nothing if not determined.  But the next day I drove back over there with Bug and his wallet, and he dropped $30 on this:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

past peak, prime, prepping

I've neglected the gardens during the hot summer. I always do.  But the last few weeks have been beautiful weather to get outdoors, so I've been digging in the dirt and assessing the membership of some plants. It seems as if the plants which have looked poor to mediocre for several years then thrive when others are faltering. I seldom get rid of a living plant. They're all welcome to try.

The Autumn Sedum has never looked more than meh here. It takes no care so I've kept it and now have three large clumps. This year however it shone. And I missed taking a picture of it in its prime.

The Beautyberry is just barely past prime. The berries on the lower branches haven't yet attracted the attention of birds like the ones on top. The branches which have fed the birds are stripped almost bare.

The second wave of fall color is approaching. I see subtle hints of color on the trees and the late bloomers are getting ready for their show. 

Here is the Obedient Plant. Buds start opening from the bottom and are only still developing. I'll have a sea of purple until Christmas.

Perhaps the chrysanthemums will come sooner. I'm hoping to have some purple/pink again, but the main location for them was totally wiped clean by last winter's cold. The yellow which were the primary color in this location are welcome, but will look better with company. We'll have to wait to see.

 I've dug up our whole mailbox area to replace the mailbox and redo the garden around it. There are piles of daylilies and iris buried in our compost right now. I intended to mark the date and color as the daylilies bloomed this summer, but few bloomed. They were very crowded which could explain it. I'll just put some in and see what I get. I'll sell the rest at a charity garden sale which is coming up.

I also potted up daisies. They don't look like much this time of year, so I don't know if they'll sell. A purchaser needs to have confidence and plant knowledge to buy spring and summer perennial at a garden sale in the fall.

Friday, October 3, 2014

parenting points

I did not say "Well that was stupid."
I did not say "Why the H*** did you do THAT?"
I did not say "You did WHAT?"
I did not say "You should have...."
I did not say "I guess you deserve this."
I did not say "Natural consequences, dear."

But dang it was hard to hold it in.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

where we are

 I found $68 today in the pocket of some pants I haven't worn in a while. Oddly, it included a $50 bill and I can't figure out why I had a large bill. Or when.  Not that I can't spend a $50 bill, but nevertheless I am curious.

*****     *****

We just went a full week of school and work and all the accompanying errands without using any gasoline. CD has taken to biking Bug to school and then continuing on to his office. Pook either takes the bus or I drive him with the electric Leaf. I drive myself around to work and errands in the Leaf. Great feeling!

Update on the Nissan Leaf: Electricity consumption has gone up more than expected but not really very much. I think our bills are about $20 more each month.

*****     *****

Pook decided that carrying a purse is really practical. This hasn't swayed him to actually carry one, but he did make a list of what he would put in it if he did:
  • Swiss Army knife
  • iPod
  • matches
  • penlight
  • pen and pencil
  • small notepad
  • playing cards
  • fishing line (hmm?)
  • handkerchief (?!)
  • wallet
  • charger
  • earbuds
I don't understand what the matches or fishing line are for, and he's never used a handkerchief, but whatever. I think with the pocket knife, iPod with charger and wallet he's covered for any emergency. He isn't a boy scout, but I think they'd accept him.

*****     *****

Update on the fishtank: Years of fishes have proven to me that I should just keep my mouth shut. Soon after showing off Freddy to the world, my fishtank acquired a nasty disease and every single fish died. I felt particularly badly about losing Freddy and his/her parents. Only a few fish have ever been named.

*****     *****

Pook will be passing me up in height this year, at age 13. He's about an inch shorter still, but can make himself a three egg omelet for a snack. For a while we thought Bug might catch up with him, but he's suddenly looking much older.  He likes to point it out to me when his voice cracks. He also thinks he's growing a mustache but I haven't pulled out a magnifying glass to confirm this.  The child is way too fair for any facial hair to show anyway, so I think I'll be spared the shaving for a while yet.

*****     *****

We've opened windows, at least at night. I love to hear the night noises as I go to sleep. If we turn on fans in the early evening and early morning, I think we can be done with air conditioning. Ahh, fall. It still looks like summer here, and days are still warm, but hopefully the night temperatures will encourage plants to start fall shows.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

of no monetary value

I've been teaching Preschool Special Education almost all of my working career. I spend my time with children who will not remember me. It used to bother me, but then I realized that I don't work for the children-- I work for their parents. If I can give a parent a good start down that long dark road of special educational services (and for some families it will be a forever road) then I'm doing it right. If I show them how it should be and what they should expect then I'm ahead of the game.  Sometimes they come back and thank me.  This came in my email yesterday:

"I have YOU to personally thank for getting into that program.  You personally were the only one who brought up the school.  Thank God you put it in my ear.  It is going great for Jay.  His facilitator has a Masters in Special Ed.  She is fabulous and is even willing to learn his play therapy. (appointments scheduled.) On a personal note, I have seen great improvements in Jay- in a wider range of interests, manners ("No thank you, " " I don't care for that…" etc.  He is growing by leaps and bounds and it is exciting to see him in a place that is equipped and used to kids like him.  They have a sensory room- as you know- and have lots of kids with sensory issues.  

God Bless you and thank you for caring.  Because of a kind and interested person like YOU- we found help for Jay.  I had not heard about it from anyone else…..really…thank you a million and know you have changed your lives.  Tonight when you go to bed, know that God is smiling at you because you have changed the life of a child.

All My Best,

(Jay's mom)"

Yeah, I'm wiping off the tears.