Monday, June 18, 2012

Cloth diapers: the first to go!

Well well!  The first of our cloth diaper stash to FAIL is the Thirsties Duo Diaper!  The velcro on it was getting rather curled and un-sticky, and the other day it fell off of E. in the night!  You can imagine the unpleasant surprise in the morning.  We have obviously abandoned that one!  I was wondering how long all the different brands would last . . . anyway, velcro in general is clearly inferior to snaps.  Another velcro one I made (converted pocket from Bummis cover) is almost kaput as well.  I suppose I could attempt to convert them to snaps . . . hmm, ponder ponder.

Oh, on topic (for once), Bum Genius may be a great diaper (the 4.0 is awesome), but the Cottonbabies warranty (and customer service) SUCKS!  I won't go into unnecessary, ranting detail, but I will just say: do not buy their Flip line, especially not the trainers system -- they break in 2 seconds.  And, to quote my old neighbor Joleen (who I should have listened to long ago! Joleen, if you're reading this, you were so right!!), "Good luck returning anything to Cottonbabies!"  Seriously.  I may buy Bum Genius in the future (a very tenuous maybe), but I'm certainly not shopping at Cottonbabies.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Moms' Group = The One Mom Only.

Well, once again no one showed up to the moms' group (except me and E.)!  Disappointing, because I thought my sign might lure people, but also not unexpected.  I'll give it a couple more weeks before I stop pretending I'm there for a group that doesn't exist.

Oh, I realized that you can't really see the artwork in that last photo, so here's the sign again!

Note: it really did look like that for the first few weeks.  I didn't just imagine up some friends for a "group" that is now just me!  I know, there are many factors -- weather, school, etc.  The new sign has only been up a week; maybe there's still hope.  I did see another neighbor there today by chance, so it wasn't completely lonely.

Oh, randomly, because I'm looking in my artwork folders and talking signs, here is an unused MG plant sale flier I drew, from last year.

They didn't use it because they were trying to get the sale all "professional" looking and this doesn't look very "professional".  I agree that it is more on the creative side, but "professional" doesn't have to mean completely lame.  The flier they ended up making was a totally boring collection of clip art and lousy fonts (as was the one from this year).  I drew them a sign for the 2010 sale (to replace a totally boring collection of clip art and lousy fonts) and they liked that OK.  Then I went on to do all that artwork for the 2010 conference!! Ah well, who knows when I'll get to do MG stuff again, or if I'll even want to at that time.  Blah blah, that came from out of nowhere, sorry!

Monday, June 11, 2012

What I Was Doing, or: A Quick Tour of the Past 2+ Months

Well then!  Here's what I have been up to, not-so-lately!  You know, it's taken me something like 7-10 days to actually get this post sorted, written, and up.  Sad, but that is my life: time is so scarce!  Anyway.

I was quite pleased with my spring bulbs.
This is a bouquet of puschkinia (my new FAVORITE, tiny tiny tiny, beautiful subtle blue and white, smells like grapes!), chionodoxa, and muscari.  This spring, I decided I freakin' love bulbs.  Someday I want a yard with a big bulb garden -- just bulbs, all different wacky types mixed together!  By the way, this bouquet is tiny, like fits in the palm of your hand.

Um, OK, looking at my notes, we went to the beach!  Yes, I have notes.  I like to remember what I do with my life when the days are a big blur . . . and they're continuing to be a big blur.  Yes, we went to the beach, and E. loved the water and didn't want to stop wading and playing, even when her feet turned blue!  Ah, she takes after me!
On the way back we stopped in Rivendell I mean, some random place on the side of the road.  The trip to the coast is so pretty!

Now for a few comics.  Yes, I was inspired to draw a bit!  It happens.  I wish it happened more . . . but I just have to wait for when the inspiration coincides with the time to actually draw.  I'm not going to worry about it; I'm living in the moment! Or something.

And lastly, here is a comic that embodies the spirit of itself . . . because in drawing what the Northwest has done to me, I didn't even feel like finishing and inking it.  So I present it to you in its laid-back pencilled whateverness.  Because, dude! -- I was just done with it, you know?  It is what it is, man.

So, let's see here . . . we had baby's second Easter, which was momentous in that we actually did stuff for her, like dye eggs and hide toys and whatnot.  She had fun running all over the place with her basket and just being adorable.  By the way, this was the last time I'm buying the PAAS egg dye kit!  Compared to, well, even a few years ago, the dyes are so crappy now . . . next time we'll just think of something else, like natural dyes, or whatever.

Moving on, A. and I were good neighbors at a couple community events! (Is this starting to sound like some Xmas letter?  I'd better get some more photos in here soon.)  Our local coffee shop houses the new neighborhood bulletin board (which A. also helped build, BTW), and we stopped by to help plant the landscaping around it.  E. came too of course, and handed out water bottles to the volunteers -- completely her own idea!  We I also painted a tile for the board at a tile-painting party.  Sorry to those people trying to talk to me: I was "in the zone" with my micro-painting of our house and fantasy yard and could not be disturbed.

OK!  I adjusted a raised bed in my backyard, so it's on its way to being nice and not an eyesore!  There are still plant pots in place of round pavers, but I'll get there eventually.
The pavers were dug up from under grass as I work on the path.  I realized that I don't have enough to finish this bed, so I'll have to buy more.  Like I said, I'll get there eventually!  In the bed are an arbutus (wacky impulse buy), geum, wisteria (was already in this decrepit bed that used to be a good idea), transplanted sword fern, transplanted red flowering currant, and this!
Corydalis!  This is another new favorite.  I got one in another shade of blue for my front yard, too.  This plant smells so good -- like iris and grape and just fragrant goodness all mixed together in blue loveliness.

We went to the Master Gardener plant sale and enjoyed Mothers' Day.  I became an official mom when I sat in a chair with MY feet in the baby pool, reading a book while E. played. (This was how my mom spent many a summer evening when I was in the baby pool!) We had all this hot weather a couple months ago, and now into June, I'm scared that the tomatoes I bought at aforementioned plant sale are really not going to do much of anything. Why?  Because now it keeps raining!! :(  We shall see.

This picture is what I was feeling for much of these past couple months.  It clearly shows everything I want in life.  Fresh plants to put in, sunshine, hot beverage, an in-depth guide.  Can you beat this?  No, you cannot.  I just dug around outside this evening, too.  Plants!!

I got a haircut!  Here come the before and afters.
Yes yes, quite long. I spent quite some time during this "hiatus" yearning to move go back to Boston and dreaming that I would get a proper haircut there, but it was not to be.  So I had to try here in town again.
This was the Haircut, Part One.  This is what the stylist gave me, which I dubbed the "nerd cut" because it reminds me of how my hair used to be back when I was an even bigger nerd with limited self-confidence.
(Case in point, this old photo
came to mind whenever I looked in the mirror!)

It wasn't what I asked for (I brought a photo of myself with the cut I wanted and she still couldn't do it), but it was OK.  I went around like this for a few days before I took scissors into my own hands and altered it myself!!  It actually looks really cute now.  I'll have to show you Part Two in a future post, because I can't find a good photo.  Anyway, my current cut is Nerd Cut v. 2.0 -- it's like the B+W photo above, but with added sass and self-confidence and life experience.  (More on my random soul-searching in a future post!)

Then, A.'s sister Marel came to visit us for a while!  I don't even remember how long she was here, but it was something like 3 weeks.  We did a ton of stuff!  A. and I got a couple dates out (including seeing Dark Shadows, which was pretty funny and "interesting" but not my favorite or anything).

We built a new bed frame and got a new mattress!  Thank goodness!!  A. has been recovering from some serious back pain and we knew our old bed had to go.  Note: When it comes to beds, NEVER PURCHASE THE COSTCO SPECIAL.  That is all.
We had to make our own jig/drill press in order to make the bed.  Note how we used some old IKEA Lack table legs!  Ha ha ha ha ha!  The whole point of making our own bed was to avoid IKEA nonsense and the dreaded metal frame, and save some money.  I don't even have a photo of the finished product, but picture a nice, sturdy wood bed.  The headboard comes next.

Anyway, we went to the Farmers' Market a couple times, and the Saturday Market, and dusted off the ol' Wii for some party games and Just Dance! We got a bunch of new iterations of Just Dance, and I plan to incorporate the games into my fitness plan (ABBA, anyone?!).  Thank you, Marel, for reminding me that sometimes when you need energy or motivation, you really do just have to dance and fire yourself up and forget about why you were feeling so mopey and tired.

Oh, my roses have been busting out, and thanks to this climate, I don't have to do anything to maintain them except for occasional deadheading and chopping them back in February!  I just have to brag about this because everyone else is going to get normal summer crops of veggies and whatnot, and I think all this rain is going to ruin my harvest for the 3rd year in a row.  Competitive me has to feel good about something!  So yeah, my house came with a million beautiful no-care rosebushes in back that bloom almost year-round.  Woot.

We watched the transit of Venus across the sun!  Some of us (A. and Marel) were more excited than others (me and E.) about the whole experience, but that's OK.

Here is the binocular setup that A., well, set up.  Note that he has 2 cameras around his neck in the bottom photo.  What a lovable nerd!!  It was really cool to see the transit, truly.  Thank you, gray clouds, for parting so we could see it!

Speaking of clouds, Marel and I almost thought we couldn't go berry picking -- the morning we wanted to go, it was POURING BUCKETS . . . but by the afternoon, it turned into a perfect, sunny day, and we went to Sauvie Island and picked 52 POUNDS OF STRAWBERRIES (more if you count the gallons we ate right off the plants)!!

I love Sauvie Island on a nice day.  Take that, Europe, it's really pretty here, too.
The three of us made jam into the night!!
This is what the aftermath of making 5+ dozen jars of strawberry jam looks like.  Why did we make all that jam?  Well, Marel wanted to take some on her travels, but mainly, because we can.  Hood strawberries are the BEST and freezer jam made from them is the BEST.

Random photo time:
 A super good snack: homemade bread with prosciutto, hard-boiled egg, and melted cheddar on top.
Late-night games of Bananagrams can get wacky.

Oh, and if you bothered to read my comic above, you saw that I mentioned the mom's group at the coffee shop.  Well, after the first month, the mom's group turned into . . . me.  Sitting there with my baby, alone, for 3 weeks in a row.  Then one time my book club friend was able to come (Hi, Kerry!) and another time I met a new person, but then it was back to me -- plus Marel while she was visiting.

Pretty much no one has been showing up either a) at all, or b) at the same time, enough to constitute an actual "group".  Instead of getting sad and giving up, I have made it my goal to continue going at the predetermined time and get this group back on track!  To help in this goal, I talked to the owner and made them a new sign, because their old sign was totally lame (sorry, but it's true)!
Hopefully my new sign will entice more moms to show up, and the moms from before, to come back!  Come on, ladies, please don't just abandon me!  I can (and do) certainly go to the coffee shop on my own, but the thought of having a group to socialize with was a very nice one. (I will try to post tomorrow about how it goes, the first meeting after my sign has been up!)

So there you have it.  A retrospective of my activities while I was ignoring the internet.  I still pretty much continue to ignore the internet, but I do like to share, so I should be around more often on the blog now. ^_^