Monday, May 31, 2010

I know I said no updates

We made it safely to South Carolina, but I have received word that my grandmother has passed on. We are going to pack back up and go back to my parents' house Tuesday. I'm probably going to stay there at least through the weekend. I have a feeling I will be cooking many casseroles.

I miss my grandma.

I don't really want to talk about it yet.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

We are leaving for South Carolina to see my sister-in-law graduate high school! Won't be back until Wednesday night, so probably no updates until Thursday.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hazelnut coffee is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy

Okay, so that's a Benjamin Franklin quote that I screwed up that was originally about beer, but I think you've got to admit I have a point.

But hazelnut coffee is what got me writing this at all, so, you know, that's a good thing. I hope.

We introduced the cat to riding in the car, not inside a carrier, today. We're trying to get her acclimated to the idea of being in the car so that she doesn't freak out for twelve hours when we do our slow pilgrimage halfway across the country. She made lots of scaredy-cat noises at the beginning but eventually settled herself down and ended up just basically hugging my purse. Jason thinks the purse smells like our house, so it was something she felt safe with.

In an amazing act of foreshadowing, our neighbors have their giant U-haul so they can prepare their move... sitting outside of our house, on our side. So I keep looking outside and thinking, No, I didn't time travel. It'd be nice, though.

As per usual for Fridays, there's a update up at The Giant's Eye on a color study I worked on this week.

On to what you really read this for... the photos.

Please allow me to introduce you to... the cat with no bones!

She lays all spread-out like that when she's very happy. It takes up a surprising amount of space.

Yes, that is Jason on the couch with her.

Aw, look, he is petting the kitty. Also, he looks really good in that color of blue. I'm just sayin'.

The cat and Jason playing. She really likes playing with us, just so long as she doesn't have to, you know, move. Or change position at all.

Weedy-flower! Weeds get some of the prettiest flowers, let me tell you.

Grass gone to seed, waving in the wind.

I don't know what this is, but it sure is pretty. It would probably help if I ever even tried to look up what these flowers are...

These are vines. These are very tiny wood vines growing on a branch that was tilted downward towards the road, giving me some really good angles. They had very strange striped ants on them, but I'm pretty sure I didn't get the ants in any of the photos. These are amazing looking to me, and they look like someone made them. But they are just tiny vines.

Sometimes it's just really cool what nature comes up with when we aren't looking, or at least not looking close up.

Another vine.

Last shot. I don't know. I am very impressed by these tiny vines. Perhaps I am easily impressed.

That's all, for today!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I experimented a bit and made a huge pitcher of tea with jasmine, rose, and vanilla tea bags. It has this amazing and really delicate taste. I am an awesome tea-maker.

Also it stormed some more and we're still getting occasional thunder.

That is all.

The sky was very angry today

We got one heck of a thunderstorm. I'm talkin' constant thunder and lightning with no letup for over an hour, pea- and dime-sized hail, the works. The clouds were never too roily and dark, though, and so the whole atmosphere stayed very light and I could, y'know, have a great view into the approaching storm. Because that's something I look forward to all the time.

That was sarcasm, for those who don't know all that well. I have a pretty legendary aversion to storms, although that is one phobia I can definitely say I am getting over, albeit slowly. I can prove it, too! I took pictures of this one while it was happening. That says something about me, right?

Please tell me it's something good.

The first half of the day was actually really sunny and beautiful. We picked up Alana to go get her car from the dealership (she had a recall she had to get taken care of). Outside of Alana's apartment complex, there were a couple of really pretty things: a flowering tree and well, a bunch of actual straight-forward flowers on the ground.

Just starting to bud open. Most of the actual open-flower shots I got were sort of coated in crawly bugs, though. Those bugs like the flowers, too. I don't even know how the ants got up there.

Sheer determination, I guess. And the fact that they don't have brains enough to even be aware of heights in any real sense.

Flower! Look at that pretty purple color. I like purple. Also I have absolutely no problem with looking like an absolute freak by leaning over to take photos of flowers in peoples' apartment complexes. At least three people were staring at me as they walked past.

Don't mind me, citizens. I'm taking pictures for the internet.

Something tells me that's not entirely comforting to hear.

Hmmn, that looks like a storm a-blowin' in.

Hurry, let's open all the doors and windows! No, we really did open them all. Look, this house is stifling in the heat. Opening all the doors and windows meant feeling cool air on my skin for the first time in days that wasn't felt while walking around Wal-Mart. I am willing to make these sacrifices. Even with the hail.

Which was melting so fast I couldn't get more than one picture of it. But here it is! You can see it in the slats of the chair.


I took some photos of the cat being a scaredy-cat and hiding under the bed, under my chair, behind me, anywhere she felt was safer than where the Thunder Birds would see her, but I decided against putting those up here. Honestly, I wouldn't want people to take pictures of me while I'm cowering from the storms around me. Although I'm pretty sure people already have. Several times.

I'm lookin' at you, my relatives.

After the storm, we went out to see if I could get any pretty pictures. This is one of my favorite places to stand and just look out across fields. I love these tree stumps and trees here.

We saw our friends the deer. I have now counted five does and one buck, mostly sticking in a loose group together. Usually two or three are on one side of the road and the rest are on the other, but they stay within communicating distance.

An interesting discovery was that the turkey and the deer were wandering around together. We saw two tom turkeys and at least three female turkeybirds. I was very excited by this momentous knowledge.

Please excuse the quality of the photo. The light quality was occasionally really messing with me. Look at him! His other tom turkey friend was right by him, but I couldn't get a halfway decent photo of both of them. The female turkeys mostly stuck with the deer, but the toms were right out next to the road.

Another bad photo, but three more deer on this side. They were a little startled by our car.

Since I gave you two bad photos, I will end with one I actually like:

Yay, a stump.

And now away to bed. I updated twice in less than twenty-four hours. I'm sure that's an omen of some kind, though I can't decide if it's good or bad.

Ugh. I am not tired at all, but we have so much to do tomorrow before Jason goes to work at 3 PM.

Okay, I lied. That wasn't the last photo.

This is. It is also a stump.

Good night.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Salsa Verde Soup & Cloud Man

Well, we'll go ahead and start with cloud man. It's been unrelentingly hot for days here. This morning has been going better, but it's still 83 degrees before 11 AM, which doesn't bode well for the hottest time of the day around 2 or 3. I've been watching our temperature climb up slowly every day, wincing when I realize it's just not going to stop.

This insane heat and sort of stifling calmness means that we've had thunderheads in the sky constantly. They pop up, there's some lightning and thunder, they disappear. Since we already got a little too much rain in the spring, I'm not going to complain: if the farmers get the sunny days they need, I won't begrudge them that. I just wish their sunny days didn't have 95 degree temperatures in May.

Monday Jason and I went to Barnes & Noble, and when we left I realize another thunderhead had popped up, this time it was actually heading for Carbondale and it looked like we'd get a little rain. Looking around at the clouds, though, I realized they were those wonderful shape-clouds, cumulus clouds, the kind that children point to and tell you is a lion or a goose or a dinosaur.

Well, I am nothing if not full of childlike wonder, I guess. Because I was looking for shapes, too.

Look! It is a man in the clouds! You can see his face in profile.

A close-up which hopefully proves that I am not crazy.

So other than moping around being complain-y about it being too hot, I cooked soup on Monday which is delicious. And I am going to share this deliciousness with you. Unfortunately, I didn't keep track of what I did to create it? But it is a soup made with ground turkey, a jar of salsa verde (green salsa, with tomatillos), a lot of cumin, lime juice, bell peppers and other vegetables, chicken broth, and cilantro. We chopped up an avocado to eat with it, which took the place of sour cream for adding creaminess and was delicious.

Salsa Verde Soup

Tell me that doesn't look good, huh?

Actually, don't tell me that. Because I won't believe you.

Mmmmn... avocado.

Oh! We are making a flying trip to South Carolina on Sunday for my sister-in-law's graduation from high school! So we will get to see that side of the family, which I am definitely excited about. We are hoping to get over to the apartment place to talk to them about it, too. I suppose I should start trying to find my nice clothes.

Monday, May 24, 2010

"Boo" Rochman Memorial Park

This is going to be hideously photo heavy, people.

Saturday night my parents came into town, and they left Sunday afternoon. Saturday night we went out to eat with my friend Alana (pictured bein' all pretty at the Art & Wine festival in the previous entry) while Jason was at work. Sunday morning we went to the park I'm about to talk about, and actually hit up Barnes & Noble, where I found a book I remember and adore from childhood.

The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble is a picture book that they had in the library at my elementary school. My name probably made up a full quarter of all the names ever written in the check-out slip. I loved this book. The art style is gorgeous. He's written several books I love, but the Girl who Loved Wild Horses is, as always, my favorite. And now I have it! I have it in my house. I can look at it anytime I want. This is definitely something to celebrate.

Sunday morning we also visited Jeremy "Boo" Rochman Memorial Park, which is essentially an incredibly well-kept secret in Carbondale. I've been to see it three or four times, and only once actually gone in there before yesterday. But we took my parents and wandered around. It is, basically, entirely magical.

But first!

New bag I was talking about. This thing is huge! I love it. I can carry my sketchbook in there.

Look... I really like taking pictures of the cat.

And the cat's nose.

Okay! I'll stop now.

I was talking about a park, right?

Like I said, this is ridiculously photo-heavy, far beyond my usual photo-heaviness, so I am definitely making a cut here.

Click 'Read More' to see the pictures of the park!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Art & Wine Festival

My friend Alana turned 24 today! While waiting for my parents to get into town, we hit up the farmer's market with Jason this morning (he didn't go into work until 2 PM) and had birthday breakfast with Alana at Mississippi Flyway, who know how to do one heck of a good southern breakfast (delicious biscuits and gravy, nom nom nom).

After that, we just hung around our house 'til Jason went to work, then Alana and I hit up the Art & Wine Festival going on right now!

The birthday girl, in her pretty shirt. We are both coated in sunscreen, let me tell you.

Absolutely coated in sunscreen. I cannot even make it clear enough how much sunscreen she and I were wearing today. I cannot. There was rub-on sunscreen and spray sunscreen. Which is what happens when a fair-skinned Irish girl and a fair-skinned German/Dutch girl (for extra credit, guess which of us is which!) hit up a very, very sunny day.

We tasted wine! The wine was delicious. A local brewery was also showing beer... I splurged a little, even though I shouldn't, and got Jason some Big Muddy Saluki Dunkle Dog beer. That was really good stuff. Alana, who is not a beer drinker, tried their light beer and actually really liked it.

Mostly we tasted wine, though.

The police were there to keep everyone in order.

A great band was up on the stage playing some good country bluegrass type stuff to keep our toes a-tappin'.

Alana and I both gave in to terrible urges... we were seduced, I tell you! Seduced by Katherine Accettura and her willingness to haggle and her incredible patchwork things! Alana got a hoodie with a bunny on it for her birthday present to herself and I haggled a new purse/shopper's tote for myself. I am ashamed to say I haggle. I usually never haggle! But these two months are special circumstances, and... and it was beautiful! I will show you a picture of it later.

I know. I'm kind of a tease, telling you about it but not showing you just yet! Give me time! I am sleepy and water-deprived and I drank wine.

Look at that pretty centerpiece on the table. No, I did not test whether or not the grapes were real. I have a distinct feeling that if I did, that would be the one time in my life everyone in a given area was looking right at me... watching me spit out wax fruit (or, if they were real, watching me rudely eat the centerpiece!)

Lots of artists here sellin' their goods! I saw two people I had classes with when I was in college, two of my favorite class mates actually, Nelson and Ken. Nelson is a delightful older gentlemen who does oil paintings of his dog, Puppy Pepe, who I and everyone else who has ever seen the paintings adore. Ken is in his fifties and mostly does landscapes, but he does these beautiful oil landscapes that are quick but have this amazing quality of line...

I'm sorry. The art student in me was starting to break out, there. I'll try to damp her down a bit.

There were also people selling home-made scarves, rugs, printwork, ceramics, glasswork, paintings... there was a girl with these delightful tiny watercolor portraits that I loved. I am just not rich enough to drop money on everything I like! If I was, let me tell you... I would have a very large house to keep all my things in.

Alana and I both had a great time! Alana is a lot of fun.

And appropriately modest, clearly.

That's all for now. My parents should be coming into town to visit in the next half hour! I am looking forward to it! I haven't seen my parents in a couple of months and that is a very sad thing, let me tell you internet.

I am going to drink some more water and try to cool down. I'm not sure the sunscreen on my face lasted as long as I'd thought it would.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Well... I tried?

With Mom and Dad coming to see me tomorrow, it occurred to me that my house should probably make a valiant attempt at looking livable before they get here? So I cleaned the kitchen and the living room, and both certainly look better than they did when I got up this morning. So that's progress, I suppose.

More rain today, although not too much. Enough humidity to cut the air with a knife, though. At least tomorrow will be bright, shiny, and sunny? It's my friend Alana's birthday! She, Jason and I are going to hit up the Farmer's Market together tomorrow, since she doesn't work all day and Jason doesn't work 'til 2, then I think she and I were considering hitting up the art and wine festival. At some point in the evening Mom and Dad will come into town. They are staying the night! Yay!

A friend of mine stopped by today and we ended up sitting around talking for like half an hour. I think he was a little... daunted by my enthusiastic attempts to try and give him some of our stuff. Ah, well.

I ended up digging out some sketches that I had forgotten about, but not finished, so yay! I can pick them up again.

Speaking of sketches, there is a new update at The Giant's Eye. All sketches today, nothing finalized. This week has been very... sketchy. That actually sounds bad when I word it that way.

I have some photos, although they're not from today... today was mostly gloomy.

Okay, this one is from today. Tell me that's not ominous!

It's a baby... something! I don't actually know. It looks like the poor dear fell out of its nest. We've seen it for four days running, so it must be surviving on something, and it doesn't seem injured, so I think it'll be fine.

Isn't it neat, the things you see when you're just looking for something to take a picture of? I don't know. I don't really notice these things, usually, but lately I have been.

Flowers! In the shape of a heart.

This is just wild grass that's gone to seed. But isn't it so pretty like that? Thought I should get a few pictures before the farmer finishes up his plowing.

This one is also from today. This is the cat... studying my husband's textbook. She laid there for about ten minutes and would not move at all. Clearly, she had some reading to do!

That's it for me. I am surprisingly sleepy. I suppose awkward fits-and-starts cleaning will wear you out!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another entry with no pictures? Clearly, I am lettin' you down.

In my defense, it rained all day. I mean all day. I mean, people I spoke to were considering whether or not it would ever end. Not heavily raining, just... always raining. So I kept my warm self inside all day long. It's dry in here, and it has nice floors.

Our basil and cilantro I think are basically good for eating now? Although the basil probably could stand to grow a few more inches. Our little egg-flower died, which was quite sorrowful, but I guess he just didn't have it in him.

I'm making tea! I just finished reading one of my books (People of the Wolf, for those who read this post about my terrible taste in books). I had gotten most of the way to the end previously, so when I picked it up tonight, I was in it to the finish, really.

Jason has been playing Warhammer Online for much of the evening, and would occasionally speak to me. I am afraid I mostly grunted in response... there were lots of important things happening in the book! Power and conflict and betrayal and... yes, I know it's just a book.

Of course, eventually the book was done and I was ready to come out of my book-induced fugue state. I wake up from books like I do from a deep sleep: it's difficult to pull myself together, I'm cranky for a while, and my brain feels a little bit like it's stuffed full of cotton candy. Cotton candy and knowledge. And stories.

I like stories.

Books take me into my head, and once I'm in there, it can be a struggle to get out. I've been known to read the last three chapters of one book, get finished with it, and instantly pick up the next before that state of mind has time to start fading away.

It's really nice.

If I have children who dislike reading, I don't know what I'll do. My house is  shrine to books! This is their temple! Except when the bookshelf breaks and they're all stacked willy-nilly on the floor.

But soon there will be new bookshelves!

In other news... I've been sketching and working on a present for someone, but other than that mostly an unexciting day. I got some writing done yesterday? So that's something. Tomorrow, I have some stuff to organize and get done and then I am going to make a serious effort to try and talk myself into considering maybe thinking about cleaning the kitchen. Possibly.

I am sleepy. I simultaneously want it to be August and want it to not be August. I will miss my family: I miss them already! Four hours is a lot less than twelve, though.

I don't know. I yawn at all of you! And toddle off to do more reading.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Of a walk

Just some photos tonight; it was kind of an uneventful day, all things considered.

We saw our turkey friends again! The same two, I think, the gentleman turkey and his lady-friend. They were sneaky this time, though, and I only managed to get fuzzy, blurry shots of them. On the other hand, isn't this dead weed attractively in-focus?

We saw our deer friends, too. There's actually two of them in this shot, one's got her head down. We ended up counting five separate deer before our walk was over: we saw them on the way out and the way in.

My attractively windblown husband.

My husband's squinty wife (ie, ME, sillies). I am wearing a Charleston pirate flag T-shirt I got the first time I went to see Jason in SC.

Farmer's out plowing further down the road. A John Deer tractor this time, but you know what, I'll forgive him.

Actually, as we were walking, Jason made a comment about how neat it was to smell all the freshly tilled earth. It was a smell I hadn't even noticed until he brought it up, really? But it did smell good; kind of loamy and, er, well, earthy. In any case, it definitely smelled like freshly tilled earth. So, you know. This is why my mother sent me to college: to learn these incredible descriptors.

I managed to snag some photos of local wild birds. This is a red-winged blackbird.

I am actually not sure what this is: I didn't get a close enough look at it and the picture isn't quite detailed enough.

A mourning dove! They are basically pigeons, only we call them doves if we think they're pretty.

They were very, very excited at what the farmer was doing. A lot of insects were being overturned and running for cover, and it was basically an all-you-can-eat buffet for the birds tonight.

A weedy flower! It was very pretty, but had little spines on its stem so we mostly left it alone, except to take the picture.

And we'll end our evening walk with two sky shots. We had some neat clouds going tonight.

So there you have it. It was a nice walk.

Also, someone... or something... stole one of our bunches of cilantro right out of the pot today. It was there this morning, and while I was inside in the afternoon it happened, since it was gone by the time we went for our walk. It doesn't really look like an animal: it's too evenly ripped/cut. It kind of looks like one of our neighbors wanted cilantro for their evening meal and came and took a half of ours.

We're not terribly appreciative, but who knows what happened. Our actual next-door neighbors are off in California getting an apartment to start their grand adventure in driving halfway across the country about two months before we start our version. So I don't know who the culprit was. Perhaps I'll catch 'em out next time, if there is one. I kind of hope not.

Everybody sleep well! It is time for Katie to go to bed.