Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Caption contest?

*  Perhaps they will perch on my head while they eat.

*  Just ignore me and go ahead with your seed eating.

* I get fed fancy cat food at home, so you have nothing to worry about.

* Me? Eat a bird? How offensive!

* I didn't realize I was by the bird feeders. Is that a problem?

* Odd. There were lots of birds here earlier.

* Bird feeder, cat feeder. Whatever.

Monday, January 28, 2013


My first post of Pook and Bug was five years ago, today.  I had lots of family stories in my head and was looking for a way to express them. A written paper journal was an option, but in the past years I'd become a follower of a couple of blogs and the idea had been simmering to start my own. 

I started reading, commenting and writing to a blog called Parent Hacks what seems like ages ago.  Asha, the author, suggested I start my own blog.  I said, rightly so, that I just didn't have any spare time to give to it.  I knew I'd give it time and I really didn't have any wide open windows.  Heck, Bug was a newborn; I didn't even have any cracked windows!  But once he was in school three days a week I decided that I could fit it in finally. Ideally I would work on it when he was at school. Instead, I found that often he was sitting on my lap while I typed but hey... parents can't be picky.

Our life is simpler than it was when Bug was in preschool and Pook in grade school. I can ask them to do things and they're capable of doing them.  Attention and compliance are different issues. They're still funny kids and they still do wacky things. I still like sharing our lives.  I barely remember those early days. I'm grateful that I can look back in here, whether the post brings back a memory or merely becomes a story to review. At least I have those. I need to videotape (what an outdated word) my boys more often just so I can remember their little boy voices. There won't be much more time. Unfortunately I can't bottle the smell of their still-sometimes-sweet heads.

So I have no exciting five year announcement. No proclamations. No specific goals for the future. I'm not a resolution writer or even much of a goal maker. I write when I think of it, not too often really, but as often as works. Topics come to mind and then flee my colander-brain. I probably should write ideas on paper so I'll remember them. But I don't.

Mary commented on my first blog post. I give her credit for the existence of a second post.  Harriet encouraged me to keep it up. Mir showed me that sharing family stories could be helpful to others, not to mention, entertaining. I included and then improved my photos of the garden because of Frances, and of foods because of Joy. Others have promised me that they follow my writings and have helped me stick it out over the years. I appreciate you.

Please leave a "hello" in the comments. I'd like to know that you're there as I start into a new year of Pook and Bug.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

sample sized

I just got a sample of an antibacterial hand cleaner. I put it in my bag to use in a pinch. That's what I do with samples; I put them in Useful Places to save for Important Times.  I have a stash of great tiny products in the bag we call the Baseball Backpack, many in my purse, lots more in that little-compartment-that-holds-things in my car.

I have the greatest little emergency kit that even has a bee sting wipe in it. I have something that is supposed to warm your hands in an emergency.  It is so old that I doubt it would do squat, but I have it. And that, there, is my problem with tiny samples. They are so dang useful, or at least they have the potential to be so useful, that I save them.  I never use them. Ever.

See, if I used one of them, then when I was in an emergency, I wouldn't have it to use.  

Have I ever had an emergency?  Well, good question. I have certainly used the tissues and bandaids, but most of the time I figure we can live through the problem and get home. And at home we have full sized containers of any of the products we might need.

There are sunscreen samples that (I think) I was given during the 1996 Olympics. I never used them. I don't use them now because they are probably no longer effective. But! If that was all I had, and I was getting burned and had no alternative, then I would still use them. So they remain in the bag. There is a tiny thing of Neosporin. If I use it, I'll probably never have a sample of it again. So, I don't use it.

But, if you're ever in an emergency and are near me, let me know. I have just the thing to take care of you.

Monday, January 21, 2013

year-round gardening

Another meaning to "year-round gardening" is happening here at the home of Pook and Bug. I shared this photo of a late blooming daisy as a welcome to the New Year. Although usually a late summer bloomer, daisy folliage hangs on until the first hard frost. The plant is close to the house and so it avoided the first few gentle frosts and the one little flower showed up. Now the rest of the plant is black and soggy, but the one bloom is still hanging on.

The usual winter blooming plants look fine. My new red camellias opened in very early winter and are mostly finished, but my ancient white camellia keeps putting them out.

 When I trimmed the hellebores I found lots of blooms hiding under scrappy old leaves. They try so hard to avoid the camera, but I've snuck it underneath for a peek at the speckled petals.

My new winter daphne plants by the front door are happy and covered with white fragrant blossoms. The old daphne had pink tinted blooms and smelled so sweet I could identify it from the other side of the house. These two are more modest unfortunately, although they still smell good.

 To complete the picture, spring has begun to spring here, however premature and at risk of freezing. The quince is in bloom, one of my favorites.

The bulbs are all sprouting and I expect to see daffodils and hyacinth open any sunny day now. This one already shows yellow. Not sure where my crocus are hiding. I see plenty of leaves. The vinca, too, is showing a few early purple blooms.

Summer, winter and spring flowers all in January. Such is winter in Atlanta!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Our kitchen is the ultimate multi-tasker. We cook and store food in it, as most people do, but then we ask it to do much more. I have a deep garden window over the sink which houses about half the sorry-looking, wishing-they-got-more-sunlight plants I own. We eat breakfasts and lunches at a table there, as most people do, but we also use the table for homework, art projects, piling up school notices, collecting stacks of mail, and-- despite sticky spots of either glue or honey-- sorting laundry. The computer which CD and I share, where I sit now, is at a kitchen desk, so in-boxes for various purposes are in here too. Lastly, we have coat hooks by the door for the kids to hang coats and backpacks and to leave shoes.

The cooking space is poorly designed for someone who cooks regularly. Any additional person is in the way. It has nine doorways but the refrigerator opens into the only space where one can walk through. It has a small oven (that only bakes 12 cookies at a time, when it works at all.) The wood floor has warped. Every corner of every wall and every white cabinet has chipped paint. It is dark. (No, being white and being dark are not mutually exclusive.) The counters are unforgiving tile with stained grout.

The cooking area is hard to use and the eating area is overused.

When the refrigerator kicked the bucket four years ago, my brain started rolling. The kitchen was trying to tell me that Something need to be done. Maybe we could fit a refrigerator where the pantry is located.... Although design issues have stayed on my brain, all I've done is put fresh paint on the ceiling and walls, leaving the chipped trim work for another day.  I admit, I was a bit afraid that if I made the place look too much better we'd never remodel it.

And now we are There. Yes, Something will be done.  But how much? And the big question determining that is, How Much? We're starting the ball rolling down what can be a very steep slope, but hoping to keep it in control. It will be an interesting spring.