Homegrown Texan

Born and raised in Texas, I've found the home of my heart and soul in the Pacific Northwest. I love trees, cool weather, and rain. I'm a back to basics kind of gal just trying to raise my family and find a bit of time to slow down in this hectic life.

The *one* day the kids sleep in, I wake up at *6:30* and can't go back to sleep!

On a good note, I got to spend a good 2 hours knitting.  All by myself.  With no interruptions.  It's amazing how quickly and mistake-free the knitting went!

On another note, I hope they're not sick.  Especially Michael...he *never* sleeps in.

Yesterday I decided I wanted to make winter hats for my boys.  Well, I've known I wanted to for a while, but I finally finished up my project I was working on for my friend Molly's birthday.  Yeah, her birthday was 11/9.  Let's just say the scarf I made her took just a *bit* longer than I expected.  Oh, well..she sews, so she understands.

Anyway, I can do the hats on circular needles alone (as opposed to starting out on double pointed needles (DPNs), my preferred method), but it requires using the "magic loop" method, which I loathe, particularly on small circles.  I'll go ahead and start the first one this way, because I'm a "gotta have it now" kind of girl, but I ordered a full set of DPNs off of eBay so that I won't run into this problem in the future (specifically, on the second hat).

At least, I *thought* I ordered DPNs. Shortly after I made the bid, I checked the auction and DAMN IT if I hadn't ordered the wrong thing.  I can't blame the seller...everything was clearly labeled with proper pictures.  I just had too many tabs open in Firefox and bid from the wrong one.  I don't meet the eBay requirements to retract the bid, and given that there were only a few hours left and I had to leave, I didn't feel it was right to ask the seller to cancel my bid (if this is even possible). I  decided to just wait, hope I lost the auction, and go from there.

Naturally I won the auction.  I wrote the seller, explained what I had done, and asked if she would mind substituting what I *intended* to buy (she sells loads of these, so I didn't figure inventory would be a problem).  I made it clear that I realized this was my mistake and that I was prepared to purchase the needles I ordered if I had to.  Realistically, i would probably have used and enjoyed them, but since I have a set of Denise interchangeable needles, I don't really *need* them.  Thankfully, she was happy to accomodate me, and didn't even charge me extra (I believe the two sets are of similar value, but since I got them off of a lower bid price rather than a higher "buy it now" price,  I wasn't sure what she would do).

Anyway, my set of 10" DPNs size 1-13 are shipping out this morning (they are like these, for my fellow knitting friends).  I can't wait!  I'm so excited, in a totally knitting-geeky kind of way.

I finally finished my first Clapotis (and my largest project to date) last night.  I'm so excited...so much so that I had to take pictures before I washed/blocked it.

I did it in Bamboo by Southwest Trading Company.  The color is "electric blue" and looks a bit more electric than any of the pictures show.  I used the size needles the pattern suggested; I have no idea if it is to gauge or not, and I don't care.  It's a reasonable size, and I think that's all that matters.

Unfortunately, this is for my friend's birthday, which was 11/9, so it's late.  I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

On to the pictures.

Here's (almost) the whole scarf.  It's a bit wider at the right end.  I don't think it's because my gauge got off, but because the bottom right corner was the final end of the work, and I could tell the weight of it was stretching it out of shape as I neared the end.  Since I took the pictures I have it blocking on my bed, and it evened out nicely (whew!  I was a bit worried!)

Close up of stitch detail (with flash)...this one is a little closer to the true color, but the flash kind of washed it out.

Close up w/o flash.  This shows the stitches better, but the color is off

On the twelfth day of Christmas, PoledraDog sent to me...
Twelve fantasy novels drumming
Eleven kids lunches sewing
Ten austin texas a-breastfeeding
Nine kids anti-smoking
Eight movies a-knitting
Seven babies a-scrapbooking
Six mountains a-geocaching
Five alte-e-e-ernative fuels
Four lazy weekends
Three earth homes
Two gun rights
...and a tex-mex in a coffee.
Get your own Twelve Days:

You Are a Snowflake
You live for the winter - blizzards, cold nights, snowball fights! The holidays are just a bonus!

This is serious stuff, folks. If you can't or don't want to watch the video, you can read more information here: http://healthfreedomusa.org

Nutricide - Criminalizing Natural Health, Vitamins, and Herbs
"Nutricide - Criminalizing Natural Health, Vitamins, and Herbs" on Google Video
The Codex Alimentarius is a threat to the freedom of people to choose natural healing and alternative medicine and nutrition. Ratified by the World Health Organization, and going into Law in the United States in 2009, the threat to health freedom has never been greater.

This is the first part of a series of talks by Dr. Rima Laibow MD, available on DVD from the Natural Solutions Foundation, an non-profit organization dedicated to educating people about how to stop Codex Alimentarius from taking away our right to freely choose nutritional health.

Michael sometimes has this great belly laugh.  He's almost 6 years old, so he doesn't sound like a baby anymore by any means, but this laugh is the kind of unrestrained laugh that a baby has when you get one really going about something.  It actually reminds me of Bart Simpson's laugh, but not in an evil way.  It is just pure, unadulterated joy.  Anyway, I heard him laughing like that, and wanted to preserve the memory for myself here.  Some day I will look back on this and remember what he sounded like.

And for those of you reading this, don't forget to take joy in those little things about the ones you love.

Yeah, I'm avoiding some particularly distasteful work for a moment, so here's a

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? No.  My dad wanted to name me "Layla" after the Eric Clapton song, but my mom nixed that idea (for which I am grateful).
3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Earlier this week, when I was so tired and stressed that I was yelling at the kids for no good reason.  I had that realization that I was being a horrible mom, and I just cried and cried in the shower.
4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Not specifically, but at least it's legible.
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? smoked turkey.  No sweet/honey stuff. Bleh.
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Probably.  I hope so, because the only people I'm not friends with are people who are either a) assholes, or b) very superficial.  I sure hope I'm not either of those.  That said, I don't have a lot of friends, just because I'm kind of a homebody, I guess.
7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Yeah, but I don't keep up with it that much.
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes, although with all the times I had strep and tonsilitis as a kid, it's amazing they didn't just get completely eaten by viruses and bacteria.
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Maybe.  I'd be more likely to skydive, as I have this fear that the jolt at the bottom of a bunjee jump would completely screw up my back.  But I don't plan on doing either until after the kids are grown, since I like to minimize the risk of leaving them motherless.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?  oatmeal made from steel-cut oats.
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Not so much strong as tough. (I stole this answer, but I think it applies to me)
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR?  Blue Bell cookies & cream
14. SHOE SIZE? This question ticks me off, just because it reminds me of how difficult it is for me to find shoes that fit.  I can fit in anything between a 7 and a 9, and none of those ever fit *right*.  I hate shoes. :(
15. RED OR PINK? 5 years ago I would have said red without a doubt.  I've started appreciating pink; I guess it depends on if I'm feeling more feminine/pretty, or more sexy.
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?  When I'm having difficulties with the kids, I yell at them.  I hate it when I yell, and I know that what they end up hearing is akin to what adults in the Peanuts cartoons sound like.  I wish I could just STFU be one of those parents that remains calm.
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My dad in Texas.
19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Jeans, white Hawaii t-shirt.  Since I'm home, I'm barefoot (see #11)
20. LAST THING YOU ATE?  bean/cheese burrito and 3 rolled tacos from the  Mexican joint down the street.
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? The hum of my computer.
22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Probably a rich shade of blue.
26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON YOU STOLE THIS FROM? Well, I don't know her (she's an LJ friend), but she seems pretty cool and helpful online. :)
27. FAVORITE DRINK? Alcoholic: margarita, or a *good* beer, or *good* red wine.  Non-alcoholic: regular iced tea, unsweetened.
29. EYE COLOR? brown
30. HAT SIZE? I have no clue; I rarely wear hats.
31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Yes, although lately they irritate my eyes, which really bothers me because when I don't wear them for a long length of time, my vision degrades (I wear hard contacts).
32. FAVORITE FOOD? Smoked BBQ, *good* steak, Tex-Mex
33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy endings.  I hate scary movies, not because they scare me, but because I find them kind of dumb.
34. THERE IS NO 34.
35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Winter.  If I  never had the sensation of being hot again, I would be the happiest person alive.  I *hate* feeling hot.
36. HUGS OR KISSES? hugs, although a nice sensual kiss from my husband is wonderful.  Come to think of it, a sweet, sloppy kiss from one of my kids is pretty cool, too. :)
37. FAVORITE DESSERT? cheesecake, or chocolate pie
40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? A fantasy novel by Kathryn Kerr. I use a cloth book cover, so I always forget the title of the book I'm reading.
41. WHAT’S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I don't have a mousepad; I use a trackball
42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV?  Lost, and part of the Nascar race we had saved from last weekend.
43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? My kids singing, laughing, and playing.  The way it sounds outside when there's snow on the ground.  Even when it's silent, there's a sound.  Wind blowing through the tops of trees while standing in a forest.
44. ROLLING STONE OR BEATLES?  Both; I absolutely love them both.
45. THE FURTHEST YOU’VE BEEN FROM HOME? Either Fairmont Hot Springs, B.C., or Myrtle Beach, S.C. (I live in AZ; not sure which is farther)
46. WHAT’S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? I can teach myself just about anything, if I'm interested/motivated enough.
48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? I snitched it from  .

This is a topic that is becoming ever-nearer and dearer to my heart.  I always knew it was "a good thing" to eat locally, but this article emphasizes the point to me even further. I can also see that the stupid fucked up FDA will make it such that I *have* to grow a garden, simply because I won't be able to afford to buy locally grown food (because of stupid regulations).

Support your local farmers

You Are Guinness
You know beer well, and you'll only drink the best beers in the world. Watered down beers disgust you, as do the people who drink them. When you drink, you tend to become a bit of a know it all - especially about subjects you don't know well. But your friends tolerate your drunken ways, because you introduce them to the best beers around.

You Are Austin
A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll. You're totally weird and very proud of it. Artistic and freaky, you still seem to fit in... in your own strange way. Famous Austin residents: Lance Armstrong, Sandra Bullock, Andy Roddick

Once tagged by this entry, the assignment is to write a blog entry of some kind with six random facts about yourself. Then, pick six of your friends and tag them; no tag backs. This explanation should be included.

1. My dream is to someday live in the forest.  Even better would be self-sustaining, with my own garden, etc.

2. My bathroom has what I think may be the smallest shower stall on the planet, and it is an ugly green, but I still mentally give a little thanks every time I use it, because I love hot showers and would hate to not be able to take one when I wanted to.

3. When I was in 5th grade, I got in trouble for stealing a little kid's lunchbox.  Weird thing is, I wasn't trying to steal it.  It's kind of a long story, but really, I wasn't. Honest.

4. When I was in high school, I took the ASVAB test.  It said I should be an aircraft mechanic or a nurse.  Interestingly enough, I could probably be an auto mechanic if I were physically stronger, and I'm seriously considering going back to school someday so I can become a nurse.

5. My ideal vacation is to sit in the middle of the forest on brisk days and just talk, read, nap, and sip tasty warm drinks all day.

6. I often feel like I was born after my time.  I think I should have been born in the 1800s or so.  I've felt this way since I was a little girl.

Nathan (my youngest son) turns 4 today.  Happy Birthday, Nathan!

Yesterday he had a very nice birthday celebration during class at his preschool.  Jim and I spent the morning with him in his classroom.  Nathan and I made pumpkin muffins to share with the class, and the teacher did a (classic Waldorf) Rainbow bridge birthday ceremony for him.  I thought the teacher did a nice job of focusing attention on him throughout the day without making the other kids feel ignored.  All in all it was very sweet and I think Nathan came away from school that day feeling very special and loved.

*Sweet moment*:  Nathan is the youngest and the smallest kid in the class.  The other kids seem pretty aware that he is younger and seems less mature than them, but they seem to watch out for him rather than exclude him for it.  One particular boy, Winslow, who Nathan has mentioned to me a few times before, said to me, "I'm kind of like Nathan's big brother".  And he really is.

Today Nathan picked Chevy's for dinner.  Definitely a step up from his pick last year (Sam's...yes, Sam's Club, the warehouse store).

Saturday we're doing our traditional have-everyone-over-and-make-a-meal thing for him.  I'm making burritos and appropriate sides.  Nathan wants a castle cake, which Jim has volunteered to construct.  I'm nervous about this, but we'll see.  Nathan's getting an Imaginext castle from us, along with a wooden treasure box (which he's been really wanting).  Michael hand knitted him a crown and bought him a snake book at the book fair with his own money.  I think Nathan's going to have a nice birthday, which makes me happy. :)

"Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?" - Ernest Gaines

We would like to know who really believes in gay rights on livejournal.There is no bribe of a miracle or anything like that. If you truly believe in gay rights, then repost this and title the post as "GayRights". If you don't believe in gay rights, then just ignore this.Thanks.

DAMN these cramps hurt like a mofo.  I *hate* this!

I'm seriously considering having some major "plumbing" work done.  Especially since I'm not planning on having any more kids.  I can deal with some pain, but this double-over-nearly-throwing-up bit is ridiculous.

Yes, I love pesto.

I present to you,


This is French toast, but instead of adding vanilla, sugar, and the usual spices in with the egg and milk, I added garlic salt and chipotle chili powder.  After I cooked it I topped it with homemade pesto sauce, goat cheese, and sun dried tomatoes.  Yum!

I just found out that my little brother is smoking pot again.

This is after getting out of a halfway house just a few weeks ago.  He's currently on probation, and has already violated the terms of his probation once (twice?  I can't keep track anymore) with pot.  If he gets caught again, he will go back for a long time.

It doesn't bother me so much that he smokes it, it's just that he's willing to risk having a life to do it.  He doesn't even think he has a problem.  I don't think all pot smokers are addicts, but I believe my brother is one.  It makes me very, very sad.

For those who don't know, Michael is ga-ga crazy over weird, funky socks.  If you've been to our house in the last year or so, he very well may have shown off his ducky socks to you (funny green socks with a 3-D duck knitted into the front of them).  I've been on a quest for colorful socks for him, but have found that the selection for boys is so...dreary and boring.  There are plenty of things for girls, but I don't see Michael walking around in daisies or little pink hearts.

Sooo, I finally got around to teaching myself to knit (something I've been wanting to do, anyway).  I knitted a couple of simple treasure bags for the boys and  a dishcloth for myself.  I bought myself a used copy of Sensational Socks, by Charlene Schurch, which I highly recommend to anyone who is inclined to master, or even attempt, the art of sock-making.  I took a 3-hour class at my local yarn store, which I probably didn't need, but thoroughly enjoyed.  And come to think of it, I did learn a cool tip for casting on, and how to make my kitchener stitch look right.  I then furiously knitted a small pair of baby booties for a friend's baby shower.  Then, I set to work on socks for Michael.  He loves green and bright colors, so the yarn was his pick.

The socks have a k3p3 ribbing, and the leg is done in a slipped stitch rib (alternating rows of K3P3 and "K1, sl1 wyib, K1, P1, sl1 wyif, P1").  The foot is basic stockinette.  This is a basic top down, heel flap sock.

The yarn is Cascade Fixations spray-dyed key-lime.

The cuff/leg part turned out a bit large, but other than that I'm happy with the way they turned out.  Next time I'll try knitting that part with a smaller needle.  I did these on size 3 dpns, and the next smallest size I had was 00, so I didn't do that.  My son loves them, so I'm happy.  And, I'm very proud that my kitchener stitch turned out *very* nicely! *pats self on back*

Upon finishing these, Nathan immediately told me to "get out the green yarn and the knitting needles". He picked out a solid bright green for his socks. So now I'm working on those.

Last night we had a friend over and had pasta with pesto for dinner.  It was, I must say, absolutely wonderful.

I made a spicy and  a mild version.

First, I made the pesto.  Mmmmm, pesto.

Then I cut up the sausage and started cooking it.  The one in front is chipotle sausage; in the back is spinach/fontina/something (pine nut?) sausage:

While the sausage was cooking, I prepped the vegetables.  First, the yummy rainbow chard.  Isn't it pretty?

Vegetables are prepped and ready to go.  On the left is the Swiss chard.  Next to that are the Hatch green chiles that I wasn't finished cutting up, next are the roasted red peppers and Hatch green chiles ready for the spicy pan, and on the far right are the roasted red peppers for the mild pan.  The bowl just has the skins I peeled off of the chiles, and look at all those seeds I took out!

(Side note to fellow coffee snobs: The Maxwell House can is there because we recently went on vacation for the weekend and forgot to bring coffee.  I told my dad to pick up the most expensive thing the store had, and that's what he came back with.  That's what you get in a small town.  I can't bring myself to drink any more of it, but I'm saving it because it's a good can.  I'll eventually give in and just dump it out I'm sure...or, I just realized I can use it for compost.  Yay!)

Anyway, when the sausage was almost done, I added in the Swiss chard and covered it with a lid to help it steam a bit.  When it was almost done, I added in some pine nuts, the peppers and chiles, and some sun dried tomatoes and stirred until those items were warmed.  Then I dumped the whole thing over the pasta, and added the pesto on top.  I actually made two batches of pesto, but as one who can eat pesto with a spoon, I ended up using it all instead of saving half, anyway.  Yay, pesto!  The mild version is on the left, and the spicy on the right.

Finally the table, with the bread and wine our friend brought.  The bread was a wonderful sourdough; our friend said the bakery was out of the rustic loaf style, so he had to get the sandwich loaf.  It was still very tasty!  I don't know much about wine, other than if it tastes good or not (this one did!), but our friend does (which is why it's his job to pick out the wine :) ).  This is an Australian wine, GSM, and is a mix of grenache, syrah, and mourvedre (imagine an accent over the first e in the last word).  It was delish and went very well with the pasta.

Not the best picture, as I was in a hurry to snap it before the vultures descended on the food.  Anyway, here goes:

I meant to pair this with a salad, but forgot about it until the last minute.  I could have whipped one up, but the boys said "salad?  We don't need no stinking salad!"  And we really didn't.  There was plenty of food for all (and plenty of leftovers are now waiting for me in my fridge).

If you are so inclined, please use http://www.goodsearch.com for your internet searches.  Designate "Desert Marigold" as your charity of choice, and your searches will help generate money for my sons' school.  Goodsearch.com is powered by Yahoo.

If you don't want to, that's cool, too, but hey, if you don't ask, you don't receive, right?

This made me smile.

I was just taking a break between work and making dinner to do some knitting.

Michael happened to be playing with his Leappad at the same time.  After a few minutes, he picked up the pen to his Leappad, started twisting it around, and said, "Look Mom, I'm knitting!  Look at this stitch I just made!"

I did take him to a class to learn to knit, but the teacher and I determined that he's not quite ready to manage holding the yarn and needles together.  He'll get there, though. :)

This is so cool!!!

Oatmeal (made from steel cut oats); add honey, raw milk, and a palmful of pumpkin pie spice
grapefruit juice

I'm trying Trader Joe's organic fair trade Nicaraguan coffee this morning, and it's delish!!!

That's what Nathan said this morning after he and Michael had sang a blessing on their breakfast, which goes something like this:
Blessings on the blossoms
Blessings on the roots
Blessings on the leaves and stems
Blessings on the fruits

Yes, one of the things they are learning from their Waldorf education is to take time to appreciate the food they are eating.  Which I think is a good thing.   I'm not particularly religious, and for me traditional prayer in the form of talking out loud to God doesn't really work.  It doesn't make me uncomfortable for others to do it, but for me to lead my family that way would be entirely fake.  So I've pretty much neglected this aspect (prayers before meals) because I wasn't sure how to structure it in a non-formal-prayer fashion.  I like what the school is doing in this regard, and I like that it forces everyone to take time to think about what a blessing a meal is.    (And besides, their little voices singing this stuff sounds darn cute!).  Plus it's a tradition, and I like traditions, even though, again, I'm having a difficult time figuring out how to establish them since I'm not religious at all, and most traditions we have in this country are at a minimum loosely based on religion.  I'm getting there, though.  Waldorf has some good ideas that we're incorporating (have only gone through one year, so I can't call anything a tradition, yet).

Of course, when my dad, Mr. Meatatarian was here (not that I don't enjoy a good steak or burger), his immediate comment was "what about 'blessings on the cows and chickens...'?"  I told him to leave the kids alone; there are a lot of vegetarians/vegans at their school and while I have no plans on joining their ranks, I don't need the kids offending them, either.  (He was teasing, by the way).

You Are an Espresso
At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping Your caffeine addiction level: high

When we were hiking in Northern Arizona a couple of weeks ago, my son Michael cautioned us to watch out for "poison owie" (i.e., poison ivy).

That is all.

...I found this on a friend of a friend's journal and decided on an attitude adjustment instead.  Love to all my (LJ, non-LJ, and real life) friends.

If there are one or more people on your friends list who make your world a better place just because they exist, and who you would not have met (in real life or not) without the internet, then post this same sentence in your journal.

So for whatever weird reason, I'm craving some kind of whole grain.  As I perused my pantry shelves, my eyes landed upon a box of organic bulgur wheat that I bought from Trader Joes (when I was, again, craving whole grains; I had no idea what I was going to do with it when I bought it).  I've never cooked this before, but a quick search on the internet told me I could basically make a pilaf.

"This shouldn't take too long," I thought.  Quick chop of some onions, saute in butter, add 1/2 c bulgur wheat and 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth.  This is the proper ratio of cooking liquid per the package directions (directions say to use water; I used the broth for more flavor).  The directions state "bring the water and bulgur wheat to a boil.  Reduce to simmering, cover, and cook for 10-12 minutes.

It's now been 20 minutes and there is still so much damn liquid in there, it's more like a soup.  Now I'm *never* going to eat lunch.

Edit: It *finally* got done, after an hour.  I added some pine nuts, freshly grated parmesan cheese and creamy goat cheese.  Topped with a sprinkle of chipotle chili powder.  Mmmmmm.

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