Monday, Monday



You know, for the first time in a long while, I have enjoyed my Monday.  Though I no longer have a regular 9-5 style office job, Mondays have still managed to stress me out each week.  This has been especially disappointing given that Monday is kind of my Saturday, as typically I do not go into the store for the first two days of the week.  I'm not sure what struck this particular Monday as less stressful than usual, but nonetheless, it was pleasant. 

Now sitting here, enjoying the last little bit of the day before the sun and Benjamin go to bed for the night, I'm pondering the 5-senses-Friday.  I truly am a sucker for these little post prompts, as to me they are like assignments, and I have always been at my most creative and productive when I have been given an assignment.  These little homework bits give me something to think about during the week, helping to notice things about life or my surroundings that I perhaps wouldn't have caught otherwise. 

I have wanted to partake in the 5-senses-Friday for weeks, but I am sorry to say that I have yet to come through a week with a full load of striking sensory experiences to report.  Not that anything has to be dramatic, but for me it does need to be meaningful.  Normally this wouldn't bother me, because sometimes things strike you, and sometimes they don't.  That's just life.  But this bothers me right now, because I have been struggling to lift myself out of a creative fog for year now (that's a long story).  I want to be back where I used to be, when my brain was buzzing with wonderful colorful things all the time.  Especially now that I have a son to enjoy those things with, because I think regularly exercising that part of our brain keeps us young and healthy.

(I have a tendency to blather when really I meant to just write a sentence or two.  Not that anyone really cares about all that blathering, it just feels good to write out, and in the end that's sorta why I bother doing it.)


Today, I was…

…Hearing:  The soft patter of rain falling.

…Smelling:  Also the rain – fresh, spring-like, completely relaxing.

…Seeing:  Dare I say it?  The rain again?  Just watching it fall outside the window.  Rain isn't something I truly appreciated until I married my husband, who has always loved rain.  The day might be gray, but the rain comes and washes the dust off everything, and suddenly it is all brighter.  Green trees are vibrant, rock sparkles, painted signs and buildings are vivid.  Its just lovely.

…Tasting and touching?  I'm inside, not out, so it isn't rain this time.  I'm tasting my coffee, pungent and smooth and dark.  I'm feeling the warm cup in my hands, liking the shape of the smooth porcelain in my hand.

Aaaaahhhhhh…..all of this was contemplated for about 10 minutes, until such time as Ben had his before-bed-breakdown.  As a parent, you really learn to value a wonderful 10 minutes when you can get them, don't you? 🙂


Earlier on Facebook, I promised I'd upload some photos of Phyllis.  Here he is!


Phyllis showed up at the Village, specifically right around the store, sometime last year.  He was almost fully grown when I started seeing him, so I am guessing he was a "dump."  Which sounds terrible, but really, the chicks all around Country Village are well cared for.  They get lots of attention, have lots of friends, and there are plenty of things to eat and places to sleep.


Phyllis generally stayed near our store and next door at Keepsake Cottage fabrics, but over time he became more comfortable with the place and he now makes regular daily rounds about the place.  I typically see him down at the Tea shop in the mornings, just inches from their door, crowing his brains out if they aren't open when he thinks they should be open.  He ends his day with us, waltzing right into the shop at almost the same exact time every day.  We do give him chicken feed, but he did this long before we ever fed him, so I think he just likes the attention.


I've never tried to touch him (and don't plan to), but he is comfortable enough just inches away from me, or the other gals at the store for that matter.  He probably recognizes us at this point, and knows we're safe.  At night, he sleeps on a high branch in a tree right above the hot dog stand.  Every night, in the exact same spot.  He's a very regular rooster.


Each spot in the village seems to have their own name for him, but near the beginning the Keepsake gals started calling him Phyllis, due to his silly hairdo, so much like Phyllis Diller's.  Yes, he's a boy, but it still fits.


Well, so that's Phyllis.  Feel free to come visit him sometime!  But come see me too please. 🙂

Another Outing


We're getting good at these outings!  Yesterday was gorgeous, but pretty freezing. 


The sun was lovely and toasty, but the wind messed it up and chilled anything and everything that was exposed to it. 


We got out of the car and walked anyway, and I took photos until my fingers couldn't turn the focus or push the buttons anymore. 



Ben, like most children, seemed impervious to the cold.  I remember being like that.  What happened?!


Sweet, chubby, baby hands.


Teeny, tiny flowers.


Pretty weeds, safe and happy in their native habitat…





(…bee doo bee doo…)


We had great timing that day.  Just shortly into our walk, what do you suppose came to greet us?


A train, of course.


We looked…


…and looked… 


…and looked some more…


…until we could look no longer.  There were a great many wonderful things to see that day.  Looking through a camera lens is sort of like looking through the eyes of a child.  Things look different, more interesting, new and pretty. 


Simple dead (or sleeping?) sticks.


This, oddly, was my favorite.

It was another good day.  I asked Ben for a big smile:


Riverside Park

Lately we've taken to chasing trains, which involves taking the long way home every time we're out, and sometimes when we weren't out at all.  Today was one of those days.  Chris is becoming quite familiar with all the various train yards around the Everett / Snohomish area, and it is a great treat for Ben (and usually us) to pack in the car, turn on some Loreena, and go train hunting.

In taking the long way to Molback's today, we happened by this teeny tiny hole-in-the-wall park, which really consisted simply of a few benches, some sidewalk, and a garbage can.  The two great things going for it that thus made it stop-the-car-and-get-out worthy were the multitude of delicious smelling flowering plants and a fantastic view of a bustling industrial yard of cranes and other large machinery.










It was only about a 7 minute stop, but very lovely indeed.


Kayak Point

A while back I wrote about our visit to Kayak Point park, and said I'd post some photos, then never did.  Chris just sent me a whole huge file of my photos that I'd taken, so I was going through them tonight and picked out a few. 


This really is a great park – a little bit of toys and slides and things to play on, but also the BEACH.  We did a great many fun things, mostly involving climbing, touching, exploring, digging, grabbing, jumping, sliding, pointing, and running. 

We looked for treasures…


We ate chocolate, drank coffee (well, I did),


sat on the beach, counted boats,


looked for beach glass,


and other great fun things…




Those last couple, by the way, are rosehips.  Like the kind you see on the side of the freeway about this time of year.  Same kind that they make Vitamin C with.  And the same kind used in our potpourri at the store.  Our most popular potpourri is dried scented rosehips, and people always think they are cranberries, which amuses me, because who HASN'T seen an actual dried cranberry?  Rosehips dry to a hard round berry anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter, and are very very pretty.  Dried or fresh!

And we saw other neat things…A sad, lonely claw all by itself….


…a stinky clump of sea goo looking very pretty behind a lens…


It was a lovely gray day, and fortunately it didn't rain on us.  If you want directions, let me know, and I'll get them from Chris.



Routine is great for toddlers.  But it is great for me too.  I have a certain list of things that I must do each day – whether it be 5 minutes or an hour, some time must be spent each day on these things.  I have learned this about myself.  If I devote some of my time an attention to this list of things every day, my life is just…better.  It is a simple list, the items sort of no-brainers.  Dishes.  Laundry.  Play with Ben.  Life is all about balance, and I'm still figuring out what all I need to be making time for.


Creative play is one of those things I have been sorely neglecting over the past several years.  Now that I have an impressionable little boy toddling around after me, copying what I do, I pay a lot more attention to what it is I do and don't do.  I have always wanted to encourage creativity in my children, whenever I had them.  My problem is that I often make things too complicated, so then I never do anything.


But I decided you don't have to spent a couple hours on a painting in order to be creative.  Maybe you doodle for 5 minutes in your journal.  Maybe you nap a photo of the perfect summer Poppy.  Maybe you bake a cake from scratch, or look differently at some mundane daily item and see something else in it.  That kind of thing I can do every day.


I loved school.  LOVED it.  You sit there and drink in new things, think about them, apply them, practice them.  But I loved getting assignments.  I wanted to see how far off track I could get while still working within the boundries of the assignment.  What could I come up with that no one else would?  It gave me direction, and I always came up with something.  When I graduated, that all went away, and I miss it.

Just for the fun of it, one day I asked my facebook friends to give me some words.  I didn't tell anyone what they were for, I just wanted some random words.  And they gave me some great ones!  It is my personal random word generator.  Now we see what I come up with.


I started with what I considered one of the most easy and fun words of all:  candy!  (Thanks Kara!).  I love LOVE candy.  I love to eat it, I love the wrapping, I love the colors.  I could spend days making art around candy (or just eating it).  But, all I really did was just sketch in my journal late one night after Ben had gone to bed.  Really I just need to exercise my left brain, not create dramatic frameable works of art. So I pulled out my mechanical pencil and my favorite little sparkle paints (very hard to photograph, by the way), and just played.


So then, I'd have to say I'm happy with what I did.  It was fun!  And really, that is kind of the point…

Party Hardy


Today we braved the great outdoors to attend a very special event.  A 4th birthday party for a very lovely and special friend.


It was a wonderful park, and there was so much to do!  Many new friends to meet, many toys to play on.


We said "weeee!"


And others said "Weeee!"


The little ones made a break for the grass…


And we big ones had fun too!


Really, we should have a party every day.


"Will you come when I'm FIVE?!"


Why of course!  We'll come when you're FOUR and a HALF!


Parks are very wonderful things.  They are great fun, and they induce great big naps.  Despite me still feeling rather under the weather, we all had a very lovely day. 🙂

Murder, She Wrote, She Wrote

We don't have a TV at home, we have Netflix, most of which I watch on my laptop.  I love it, because I really like ignoring an ignorable TV program while I'm working, or crafting, or whatever.  As I've been laying low the last couple of days, I've watched a LOT of programs, much of which has been Murder, She Wrote.  I just signed in to Netflix to watch another episode, and came across the reviews of the show.  This is the first one listed for this show, and it is so painfully accurate, it had me rolling.  Anyone who has watched this show will probably understand and relate to this review:

"Enjoying this series depends upon a few simple guidelines. 1.) An attempted
accent should be accepted as accurate. Likewise, an on-and-off accent should be
understood as consistently on. 2.) Jessica has an indefinite number of siblings
and close friends, so there's no point in wondering how she is an aunt to so
many. 2.) Don't notice the recasting of supporting actors in different roles. 4.)
Whether they love of hate her books, everybody knows J.B. Fletcher. 5.) Most
people, law enforcement included, know when to admit theyre out of their depth
and ask for help. 6.) Older ladies can stop anyone from fighting or using a gun
by speaking sternly or appealing to reason. 7.) Unlike the rest of us, Jessica
learns and remembers the names of everyone she meets–from cab drivers to
ambassadors. If you can suspend your disbelief and accept tv as it once was, you
can easily enjoy this program."


Sick and Bored

Being sick is one of the most boring things on the planet.  There's just only so much orange juice, bathroom trips, couch cuddles, naps, and movies I can stand before I am ready to go crazy.  This is what I appreciate the laptop, so I can answer silly quizzes like this.

This is quite an interesting book list!  I actually own lots of the books off this list, but just haven't read them.  Some I even started, but never did finish.  Many of them I've read only because they were school requirements, but I'm glad they were because I never would have read them otherwise.  From reading these books in high school, I developed a love for what I call "classically written" literature.  I just love how they can say a whole paragraph's worth of a message in just one well written sentence.  No one talks like that anymore.  Not that I think they should, but on the other hand, I do believe that there are a lot of fantastic vocabulary words out there that are sorely neglected. 

I still remember the feeling I had when I finally understood how to read these kinds of books, with all their big words, mixed up sentences, and especially Shakespeare.  It was thanks mostly to my 9th grade English teacher, Mr. Baugh.  It's like every day in class, he's just come over and turn on a bunch of light bulbs over my head, making things suddenly make sense.  Whole new worlds opened up!  Suddenly, there was no reason why I couldn't memorizes 50 vocabulary words and their meanings!  I knew how to insult someone in Shakespearean!  I knew what a gerund was, and why it mattered!  He even introduced me to Marc Cohen's music, which I still love to this day.  I don't remember tons about high school, I have a poor memory that way, but I DO remember Mr. Baugh and his English class.

Anyway, on to the silly quiz….

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books on this list.

Look at the list and put an "X" by those you have read.

x 1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
X 2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
x 3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
x 4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
X 5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible (I don't think I've actually read the whole thing, so I'm not counting it)
x 7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

Subtotal: 6

x 11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (I have read about 2/3 of it, but not the "complete")
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
X 16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
X 18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot


x 21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
X 22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
x 24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
X 28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
x 29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

Subtotal: 5

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
x 33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
X 36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
x 40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

Subtotal: 3

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
x 46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
X 49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

Subtotal: 2

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
x 52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
x 54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Subtotal: 2

X 61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville

Subtotal: 7

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
x 73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce (I have made it about halfway through, will tackle it one of these days!)
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

Subtotal: 1

80 Possession – AS Byatt
x 81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – R. Mistry
x 87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
x 89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

Subtotal: 3

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
X 98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
x 99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
x 100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Subtotal: 3

Total: 35

Another Survey

Copy and paste into a note and enter your answers

1. What color is your toothbrush? Pink.

2. Name one person who made you smile today. Ben.

3. What were you doing at 8 this morning?  Sleeping, thank goodness.

4. What were you doing 45 minutes ago?  Washing up dinner dishes.

5. What is your favorite candy bar? Dark Chocolate Twix, but they don't make them anymore.

6. Have you ever been to another country? Yes: Canada, Mexico, Japan, England, Wales, Scotland, Venezuela, Italy, and – briefly – Germany.

7. What is the last thing you said aloud? "Love you" (I think)

8. What is your favorite ice cream? German Chocolate Cake by Snow Star brand, but it hasn't been made since I was a kid.  I like anything with chocolate in it.

9. What was the last thing you had to drink? Milk.

10. Do you like your purse? It's fine.  I don't think too much about my purse.

11. What was the last thing you ate? Dinner – "loaded" homemade hamburgers, caramelized onions and mushrooms, broccoli and ranch, potato chips, and cantaloupe.

12. Have you bought any new clothing items this week?  I haven't bought new clothing since Ben started in the 18 month + size socks.

13. The last sporting event you watched?  Have I EVER watched a sporting event?  Hm.  I might have seen superbowl once, and I know I've watched at least one ice hockey game.

14. What is your favorite flavor of popcorn?  Just butter and salt.

15. Who is the last person you sent a text message? Don't text at all.  It's silly.

16. Ever go camping? Yes!  We'll be camping next weekend in Toppenish, WA.

17. Do you take vitamins daily? No, unfortunately.

18. Do you go to church every Sunday?  No, unfortunately.

19. Do you have a tan?  Sometimes.

20. Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza?  Depends on the Chinese food.  Or the pizza.  I like both, with some meat, and lots and lots of fresh veggies.

21. Do you drink your soda with a straw?  I rarely ever drink soda.  If it comes with a straw, I drink it with a straw.

22. What did your last text message say?  Some junk message from a telemarketer.

23. What are you doing tomorrow?  Working at The Weed Patch!

25. Look to your left, what do you see?  Our front lawn, through the open window.

26. What color is your watch?  I don't have a watch.

27. What do you think of when you hear Australia?  Anytime anyone asks me what I think of when I hear something, I can't ever think of anything.  In thinking harder about it, the first thing I think of is that really yummy soft Kookaburra cherry "licorice" from Australia.  I'm not a licorice fan, but I really really like this stuff.

29.Do you go in at a fast food place or just hit the drive thru?  Drive thru.  If I had time to actually go into a fast food place, I wouldn't be eating there.

30. What is your favorite number?  What a silly question.

31.Who's the last person you talked to on the phone? Chris.

32. Any plans today? Yep – going to work a little on the laptop now that Ben is in bed, then will eat ice cream, watch an hour of some old mystery show of some kind, then go nighty night.

33. How many states have you lived in?  Just washington!

34. Biggest annoyance right now? The terrible twos.

35. Last song listened to?  Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora)

36. Can you say the alphabet backward?  Yeah….

37. Do you have a maid service clean your house?  Ha.  Sure, me!

38. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time?  15 year old Teva sandals.

39. Are you jealous of anyone?  Not that I'm aware of.

40. Is anyone jealous of you? Not that I'm aware of.

41. Do you love anyone?  Sure, lots and lot of people.

42. Do any of your friends have children?  Sure!

43. What do you usually do during the day?  See #37 and #34.

44. Do you hate anyone that you know right now? No, definitely not.  I hate hate.

45. Do you use the word 'hello' daily?  Oh yes, quite a bit (I have a two-year-old)

46. What color is your car? Silver.

48. Are you thinking about someone right now?  Yep.  I'm thinking of Holly, because I'm reading her answers as I'm typing in mine.

49. Have you ever been to Six Flags?  I don't remember.  Maybe.

50. How did you get your worst scar?  Having Ben (c-section).