Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Heavenly Blue

Back in the springtime, I planted many morning glory and moonflower seeds along the chain link fences on each side of our yard in the hope that they would flourish and block out the view of the neighbor's junk with something prettier, and provide a little more privacy.

What the blackberry frost didn't kill, the well-meaning elderly lady next door finished off with a liberal spraying of RoundUp intended for poison ivy. Still, a few of each species survived and we've been enjoying them for the past week or two. Pearl likes to walk out there with me to touch and gaze at and sniff them... today I sent her over there to look at them on her own as I hung laundry to dry on far side of the yard only to have her erupt into tears, running back to me saying, "There's a BUG in the flower!" And indeed, there was a bee, and alas, she only tolerates bugs when she is in the best of moods.

Morning Glory

Heavenly Blue

Pollen in the Nose

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Cottage Roses Twirly Patchwork Dress

I completed a project this week - a dress for Pearl (because I really just haven't sewn her enough dresses for her this Spring & Summer... I can't help myself, I enjoy it so much!) inspired by and made using this tutorial.

Twirly Patchwork Dress

I fell in love with a line of fabric Hancock Fabrics carried over the summer called "Cottage Roses", assorted florals and coordinating material in cream and pink and blue and green. I bought some of the pink and blue to make Pearl a birthday dress with because she has always been a rosy little thing who looks good in those colors. I picked up some more pinks and greens to make her this patchwork dress and added in what was left of the birthday dress prints.

I managed to sew this dress without having to rip endless seams and make tons of revisions like I did the birthday dress. It was the first dress I attempted to make up without a pattern or tutorial, just drawing from my limited experience and patterns I already had I made a lot of mistakes along the way - it took me four tries to work out a bodice that fit - and the end product, while pretty, doesn't hang very well. The bodice actually does. It's the skirt I take issue with.

Anyway, I got the bodice on the patchwork skirt right the first time with no problems and only had to go back and redo one thing - I originally had a shorter row of patchwork right beneath the bodice but it wasn't gathered and the rest of the tiers are and it really bothered me so I took it out. Also, it is really hard to tie knots on the the shoulders of a two-year-old, but it won't come off or go on while tied!

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Monday, July 09, 2007


After an embarrassing amount of agonizing over whether or not I wanted to go to my five year high school reunion, I decided to go at the last minute. And it wasn't horrible at all! Not many people showed up - only about fifteen out of fifty or so. It was fun to see how those people had changed, though, and to see my change reflected in their reactions to me. Pearl had fun playing with the other young children there, and it was neat to see her playing with the children of those who were children with me.

I only had one conversation about the college education I didn't complete (I was kind of cringingly prepared for that, having been known as The Extremely Smart Girl, voted Most Likely to Succeed, graduating as Salutatorian, full scholarship, etc etc.)

And I was only asked once about my ex-husband, who was my boyfriend all throughout high school, and I told the pertinent details without even being tempted to slander him, or even tell the whole truth which would've been damning enough.

The reunion took place in the high school cafeteria, the walls of which are covered in portraits of each graduating class. I got to see my face and those of my friends hanging among all those I'd looked at over the years growing up. Passing through the door, a face caught my eye and stopped me in my tracks - his, my ex's, back when he was young and our relationship was still mostly good, before it got mired in untruth and unkindness, before violence and manipulation. Before the pregnancy, the subsequent abortion.

I threw out all of the pictures I had of him when I left him, save a few favorites I saved just in case I wanted them later - and a few months later I decided I definitely did not. I know my mother has some of us somewhere, and I have seen more recent pictures of him, but this was the first time in a long while that I'd seen his face the way it looked when we were young and happy. It made me miss that long-gone version of him.

I am quite proud of myself for going. I've been feeling very reclusive lately... I think I must have a bit of social anxiety or some chemical imbalance going on still or something. But I went, and I looked nice and I interacted with everyone well and hardly felt nervous at all! That's probably a lot more than I would've been able to say about such a gathering five years ago.


Monday, July 02, 2007

Camping = Superfun

I am happy to say that our camping trip was enormously successful! We all had a great time. The campground was lovely and we got a great site - one of three in a little clearing in the trees right next to a deep swimming hole on the river, below tall bluffs. We managed to have that little area to ourselves for the duration of our stay except for some people wandering through to the swimming hole... which unfortunately included a group of about eight young boys who came through after dark the first night and again at just past 6am the next morning. Six. In the morning. Which is indeed outside of the posted quiet hours but that wasn't much consolation when they woke us up.

Pearl, of course, was entranced by all the trees and dirt and rocks and water around us, along with her first flashlight! She was content for the most part to sit in a chair and read or munch on some crackers while we worked at setting up and preparing food, and she understood about the fire being hot and stayed back. Bedtime the first night was rough as we were very busy and it got late far quicker than we realized and so she was not a happy camper... literally. But she slept fairly well and I made sure I got her to sleep at a more reasonable hour the next night.

It was beautiful in our little clearing after the sun went down. There were a few clouds but not enough to completely obscure the stars or the moon, which was huge and bright. The moon didn't climb high enough to shine directly down in the clearing before we went to bed, but it shone through the trees and reflected off the bluffs above the river and made them glow.

The next day we hiked for a little while... not quite as far as I would've liked but we were all pretty tired so that was okay. We got to cross the river a few times and we stopped across from some bluffs and snacked while Pearl played on the rocks and frogs' calls echoed across the river.

Buffalo River, as Seen While Being Crossed

We got some swimming in, too. The water there is so clear and clean. Pearl has really enjoyed being in the water this summer: splashing, and floating forwards and backwards while I hold her chest, putting her face in the water and on this trip throwing stones in and hearing their plonk-and-splash for the first time.

I had a lot of fun planning and preparing our camping fare: Sesame Lime Tofu with Mushrooms and Zucchini (the latter from my garden!) for dinner the first night, then Cranberry Pecan Chocolate Chip Oat Muffins and then bacon for breakfast the next morning. For lunch we drove about thirty miles to a wonderful bakery called Neighbor's Mill that we've been to once before and we had turkey avocado sandwiches. We also picked up some absolutely divine sticky buns - sweet cinnamon rolls covered and a sweet buttery pecan sauce, and a loaf of honey-wheat bread to use as hot dog buns for supper that night as I didn't get any beforehand. We also stopped and got some charcoal and a chimney to start it with to make creating a cooking fire easier and more of sure thing.

The charcoal and the chimney did the trick and Mr. Peach started up a fire that lasted even through the rain that started as I was laying Pearl down to sleep that night. It rained for a bit then let up, allowing us some dry time by the campfire so that we could giggle and talk and roast bananas in foil, split down the middle and filled with chocolate chips.

However the rain started again strongly in the night and was still coming down hard the next morning. Thankfully everything was pretty much either in the car or in the tent, so I stayed inside with Pearl and got everything ready to go and Mr. Peach ran it all up to the car with a little protection from an umbrella. We dried off and dressed in clean clothes at the bathrooms (which had flush toilets and sinks and mirrors - what a luxury when camping! Often it's just a vault toilet. I'm still weighing whether I think those conveniences are worth the larger crowds they draw - when I camp I want to enjoy nature, not hang out twenty feet away from strangers, grumpy old hermit that I am.) then ate our sticky buns in the car and headed home!

I can't wait to go again!

Here is a slideshow containing all the photos from the trip.

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