Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Erika tagged me.  I'll play along, even if I don't sound very scholarly.

Here are the rules:

1 - Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. (Just grab one, no cheating!)
2 - Find Page 123.
3 - Find the first 5 sentences.
4 - Post the next 3 sentences.
5 - Tag 5 people, who will post theirs in the comment section.

From "Building a Shed" by Joseph Truini:
"Hand the first truss to your helper on top of the wall, then hustle inside the shed and grab the long rear rafter of the first truss.  Help your partner set the truss on top of both the front and rear walls, making sure it's directly over the first wall stud.  Working at the front wall, align the outside edge of the plywood gusset plate on the truss with the outside edge of the wall's top plate."

I like that it includes these words: hustle, partner, stud and align.

And, we decided to wait on rebuilding a shed 'til after deployment.  Besides that "deployment" begins in, like, 3 days, being shed-less might be a critical step towards figuring out how to live a less-is-more life.  I'm better at accumulating creative possibilities in big plastic tubs, though, so that'll be a challenge.

I'm also trying to focus on savoring these last days before separation, rather than just being sad, angry or anxious.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

yesterday, my garden

There is lots of possibility in the garden, as of yesterday.
(pictured, from top left: bachelor's buttons, alstromeria, zinnia, hibiscus, marigold, geranium, stephanotis, clivia, lime tree, calla lily, gardenia, passion fruit, poinsettia, banana, sweet pea, african daisy, lavender, fig tree, mexican bird of paradise, gazania)

Hard to believe it snowed this week in other parts of the county.

We've been working on the house like crazy, trying to get lots of projects done before Matt's departure.  Pictures will follow soon...  In the meantime, I'm off to catch a plane to Vegas for a little gathering of leaders from the west, in preparation for our UMC General Conference in April.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

creating comfortable things

The last two nights, I've been engaging my crafty side; it feels good to make projects I've been thinking about for a while.

While I was sewing at our kitchen table last night, we heard gunshots in the neighborhood.  I don't think Matt was the only one to call the police.  In minutes, our street was full of police cars and a helicopter overhead; a man was found, killed by gunshots, in the alley on our block.

It felt a little surreal to sit at the sewing machine, stealing glances outside to watch as news crews set up to film in our driveway.  But, I suppose, sewing is a decent response to violence in the world.  Creating, generating, making all feel like fine alternatives to destroying, ending, tearing apart.

Here's half of what I made yesterday--an apron from one of Matt's old jeans legs.  I made him one from the other leg, too (though with less fruit sewn on).  Since we're cooking more, it seemed like maybe we could use aprons.  The binding and ties are from an old sheet I got at the thrift store last week.
And here's what I made tonight: a pile of pincushions, inspired by Betz White's design of a cupcake pincushion.  Fuzzy sweaters and images of sweets--what could be more comforting?
We checked in with the neighbors today; no one knows who it was in our alley.  And we all want to live in communities where these things don't happen.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

tomato cycles

Yesterday, I picked the last tomatoes off of last year's vines--scrawny, little, yellow tomatoes.

I also started seeds for this year's tomato crop.  I love tomatoes.

My little neighbor and garden club member, R, was walking home from school while I was out in the yard, so I got to share with her the first harvest of this year's strawberries.  (Strawberries are her favorite.)  She stayed to help me plant some new seeds--she got the job of writing on the little sticks.  She was amused that most of the tomato varieties we planted were named after other fruits.  (Tomatoes are after all, she noted, having studied such things in school this year, fruits themselves.)

So, we planted our pineapple tomatoes, grape tomatoes, strawberry tomatoes, brown berry tomatoes, garden peach tomatoes, and a few less fruity ones too.

Here's hoping they grow!

We've been working on our house like crazy lately, trying to get everything Matt wants to be involved with done before he leaves.  It also means that we get to help employ some neighbors who've been having a hard time, lately, getting work.  We talked to our painter today--he said it's been a month since he had a job.   He gave us a spectacular price on our paint job last year, and a great deal again, so he's not getting rich off of us, but it does feel good to be able to hire people who are wanting to work and having trouble finding it.  I also really like the neighbor who has been working on our roof--he used to live next door, and now his eldest son does.  He has a new daughter--7 days old--who came for a visit yesterday.  She's beautiful.

I'm starting to think it's gonna feel crazy lonely and quiet here when Matt goes...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I love Ash Wednesday.  It seems so gloriously simple and honest--confession and grace.  Humility, and a reminder that we're all made of dust, and we'll go back to the dust.  

And this Lent, Matt and I have agreed to take on a practice we hope will help shape us in good ways: we're giving up eating in restaurants and taking up cooking for ourselves (and, hopefully, others!)  We even make our first several-day meal plan.  

I don't think I've ever gone more than about 4 days in San Diego without having at least one bean and cheese burrito from a drive-thru.  I also can't remember the last time we cooked more than 2 meals at home in a week.  This could be big.

If we also live into our hope of eating more locally, it'll also mean we can make use of all that deer meat in our fridge...and the chard in our yard.

Here's hoping...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

the pics

I found the camera cord.  It was in the garage all along.

So, here are my illustrations to yesterday's post, and a few more for kicks.

I'm having fun quilting woven woolens.  Here are the first (and only, so far) 2 blocks.
This is the quilt I was given, my inspiration.
And, for fun, here's what it looks like to watch a football game at our house.  Of course, we San Diegans know the big game was 2 weeks ago.  Super Bowl, Schmuper Bowl.
And, we got to celebrate a birthday after watching the game.  To help lift our spirits after our loss.
Good times.

And, apparently the Army has some small amount of reason in some corner; Matt's coming back from NorCal tonight, as they got all the things they needed to do done.  :)

Friday, February 01, 2008

making it

We finally got news of my dear husbands upcoming deployment, like for real.  And, his departure will come at the end of this month.  For the last few days, we've both been moving much slower than usual.  Funny how depression makes you feel so, well, like someone's pressing down on you all the time.  But we're making it.  This weekend, he's off in NorCal, meeting with the group of folks he'll deploy with.  Filling out paperwork and getting shots and all that.  

So, to rally my spirits, I finally got myself to work on some of the crafty project that have been swirling around in my mind for the last many weeks.   Making things has been good for my spirit.  I took pictures, but can't find the cord to download them--I have this hunch that it's in the computer bag Matt took up north.

So, you get to use your imagination.  I make two squares that hope to be part of a quilt of some kind--a free-styling log cabin block, made out of repurposed wool.  Perhaps, if I like the quilt pattern, it might also make itself into a baby quilt for a baby-to-be that I'm ecstatic about.  Also, I had my first mostly-success in remaking a big t-shirt to a fun, fitted style.  It still needs something, but I'm not quite sure what tonight.  Maybe inspiration will come tomorrow.

Really, all the quilt-making inspiration was spurred on by a beautiful gift I received this week.

On Thursday morning, I felt my usual mix of tiredness and uncertainty (amplified by the above-mentioned depression) about whether I really wanted to get myself down to the Rescue Mission for my weekly Bible study with the women there.  And, as usual, when I finally got myself there, it was beautiful and full of grace.  This week, in addition to Bible study grace, there was a kind woman I've enjoyed for a long while now, who gifted me a lap quilt she made.  "For you and your house," she said.  "It's earth tones.  I know you have an old house--I thought it might match."  And, she's right: it's perfect in our house.  It's such a gift to have my hesitance met with overflowing grace, embodied in a homemade gift.