Oh hair balls!

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Curly Me.

Hair is a weird thing.  On one hand, it’s just hair right, what’s the big deal?  On the other it’s YOU, one of your most distinguishing features at least.  I’m the girl with the curly hair, so much so that I’m deemed unrecognizable by friends when I straighten my hair.

Curly.

Curly.

Straight

Straight….wait who are you again??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently I gave my curls a break, I just needed a change, something that would stick around longer than a blowout.  The thing with hair, particularly curly hair is it’s a whole darn thing.  It’s like an outfit and accessory all in one, sitting on top of your head.  A constant party is happening above my neck and it’s completely unpredictable. You go to sleep one way and wake up with a different head of hair – forget about factors like weather changes, pffffff, it’s crazy.  There are benefits too, don’t get me wrong.  Curly hair is fairly low maintenance – less washing, prefers to air dry (when possible).  When it’s long you can usually pull off a hair knot sans accessories – it just stays!  And all of your straight haired friends LOVE your curls.

Now with my straighter, albeit slightly fried, locks I did get the much needed change I was waiting for.  Since things are simpler and a bit more predictable above the shoulders I find myself experimenting with my clothes – more pattern, more color, different silhouettes.  Fun stuff!  But I lost the healthy shine and the ability to just wash and go unless it’s 1987 and I’m with Bon Jovi.

Bon Jovi 1987. image via google

Bon Jovi 1987.
image via google

The verdict:  Am I happier with the overall outcome?  Yes………no………yes, most of the time.

Oh hair balls!!!!!!

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Weekend Progress 1

Back to our latest labor of love, the little house in Arkansas.  We call it “Addie’s House” since that’s the last person who lived there, she’d be my kids’ great-great grandmother.  Since Addie’s passing the house has seen some renters come and go but for the past decade it’s been left to get reclaimed by nature, just slowly breaking down.

Not on our watch!  So the first BIG step was the metal roof to stop the major leaks, big critters and such.  I don’t have a handy picture before the roof went on but it was a hefty project.  Next dire need was the front porch, one more round of a heavy, hot summer followed by a cold, wet winter and we’d probably need to rebuild the whole thing.  So to buy a little time we decided on a nice fresh coat of prime and paint.  Sure we could have just painted but primer is a bit more kid friendly and a good way to get them involved.

The family that wears overalls together, works together!

The family that wears overalls together, works together!

While the kids primed my husband and I sanded and then we all chipped in the to cover the porch floor with a nice fresh coat.

Say it with me: roll up, roll down. more paint, roll up, roll down.

Say it with me: roll up, roll down. more paint, roll up, roll down.

Nice difference, yes?

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Since it can’t all be work and playing is more fun we had our first family camping session  …..which turns out is quite a lot of work.

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Just steps from our day’s labor we set up our house for the evening, or houses as it were.  We made dinner – cheese, water crackers and salami, cold beer for the adults, sparkling lemonade for the kids, apples and s’mores for dessert followed by star gazing for our night’s entertainment.  As the sun went down the cooler temps were a welcome relief as we all fell into our sleeping bags not long after the moon and stars made their appearance.

For our next round of work we’ll be diving into the fun topic of removing mildew from the house’s exterior…..don’t even get me started on the interior!

P.S. A few more snap shots

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A walk in the woods behind Addie's house.

A walk in the woods behind Addie’s house.

 

100 year old pines and oaks.

100 year old pines and oaks.

These little pieces of moss are scattered throughout the forest, we have naming continents but this heart was too good to pass up.

These little pieces of moss are scattered throughout the forest, we have fun trying to spot the shapes of continents but this heart was too good to pass up.


Getting Dirty

Growing up in a city I associated the word “dirty” with other people’s germs, your shopping cart that’s been touched by 100 other people, that guy who spit a loogie on the park bench, the money the cashier handed back to you – DIRTY.  In rural life there’s a whole different kind of dirty, one that’s associated with time outside, hard labor, on-going, never ending projects.

Me getting VERY dirty

Me getting VERY dirty

The past few weekends I’ve been able to spend time out in the country doing some hard, dirty work and I’ve found it’s cleansed my soul like nothing else.  NOTHING ELSE.  More than a bikram yoga class, more than a 5 mile run, more than a hike in the forests of France – pulling on a pair of work gloves and preceding to work until your soaked with sweat seems to be a little recipe for perfect contentment.  There’s a satisfaction associated with the piles of your labor, a newly weeded garden, a freshly painted porch, a rebuilt fence that no exercise regimen can compete with.  So I’m very excited to announce that my husband and I are embarking on a very dirty project.

The house project

The house project

Say hello to my husband’s great grandmother’s house.  Built in the early 1900’s to stand the tests of time we’ve decided to bring this little beauty back to the land of the living.  We’ve got a whisper of a budget and child labor so please don’t expect any Smitten Studio or Young House Love level of documentation or know-how as we undertake this enormous project.  But do expect a bit of Green Acres humor such as my son running with complete abandon right in a yellow jacket nest (4 stings later he’s learned how to not run through a field with high brush) or me unearthing a rattlesnake 3 hours into day one of our project though my husband who has spent years in this locale had never seen one venomous snake – Lucky me!

Meet the Western Pygmy Rattlesnake - my not new friend

Meet the Western Pygmy Rattlesnake – my not new friend

We are sure to gain a few bumps and bruises in the process but I’m hopeful we’ll not only survive but really LIVE!  Wish us luck.

 

 

 


Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah

My, oh my, it’s a wonderful day today in my part of the world – sun shining, birds chirping, crispness in the air, the kind of day that begs to be lived outside!  It’s the kind of day that gets me thinking about Kinfolk, small gatherings with people I love, simple gestures, the balance of work, play, quiet.  As I set out to watch one of Kinfolk’s much loved videos, I tripped upon the fun news of Kinfolk launching an apparel company.  Fancy that!  No more wondering what to wear to your Kinfolk inspired Small Gatherings.  Then my eyes slipped to the bottom of the page for more fall inspired fashion and I saw this from Portland Monthly online magazine:

Ummm, is that girl wearing a sleeping bag?!?!?

Ummm, is that girl wearing a sleeping bag?!?!?

 

Move over Snuggie, zip on up in The Napsack by Poler Stuff.  This thing looks brilliant to me, but I also spend a lot of time figuring out how to wrap blankets around myself and go about my day, something like The Napsack would make perfect sense around a campsite.  Can’t you almost feel that fire warming your fingers and toes?

For more outside fun check out these:

photo via Poler Stuff blog

photo via Poler Stuff blog

Poler Stuff Tumblir

 

photo via Camp Brand Goods blog

photo via Camp Brand Goods blog

 

The blog from Camp Brand Goods, their Happy Camper sweatshirt makes me smile.

 

photo via Darling, Be Daring

photo via Darling, Be Daring

Lastly, for an urban jungle mash up, Darling, Be Daring.

 

Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Daaaaa    Zip-A-Dee-A!


Dear Best Western

Traveler Beware!!

Traveler Beware!!

Having recently completed a cross country journey allowing me to stay in many fine establishments across our great country I can say without a doubt, your hotel was the worst.  Not to throw out the apple tree due to one bad apple, allow me to limit my comments to the Best Western Santa Fe Inn Amarillo, Texas.

Let’s begin with the name, “Best Western Santa Fe Inn” – there was nothing ‘Santa Fe’ about this ‘Inn’, it’s confusing, overly long and sets up an expectation that the hotel clearly has no intention of reaching toward.

Now the room – when staying in an unfamiliar place it is generally helpful to have lights by the bed or beds.  A lamp, a switch for over heads, a sconce or two – a light switch clear across the room which ignites a dim lamp in the far corner is unhelpful when reading in bed or rising when it’s still dark outside.  Secondly, when offering a “Clean Remote” it’s generally helpful that it is indeed clean. Although I find it wasteful, the concept is that remotes are disposable allowing each new customer a fresh clean remote.  Our remote had been wiped down – sort of, there was still “schmutz” on the power button and sides.  Thirdly, privacy curtains, although the blackout shades are particularly helpful to block out the morning sun, it’s also helpful to be able to fully close curtains when your room faces the parking lot.  A 12″ gap does not provide the privacy one might hope for.  On to the carpet, while placing carpet in front of the bathroom sink area is an interesting choice, it does experience greater  wear due to water, constant standing for brushing teeth, drying hair, flossing, etc.  Whatever synthetic “softener” you used to create the illusion of thickness in this particular area resulted in a greasy residue that sticks to your feet and smells weird.  Lastly the bed, traditionally I prefer something softer than the floor, when my 7 year old son, won’t even bounce on the bed because it “hurt his bottom” when he sat down, I’d say that’s a touch too firm.

Shall we go outside to the “pool”?  We’ve had our share of hotel pools on the trip, usually the color is something akin to blue, the greenish hue at the BWSFI (that’s Best Western Santa Fe Inn) was green and cloudy.  Hmmm, a little concerning but not as concerning as the number of dead insects floating on the top of the water.  But having 5 children  under 10 in a minivan for 8 hours requires some release, so we allow them all to jump in.  What’s missing?  Towels!  It’s not uncommon for towels to be missing from the swimming area, but this was the first time I had to ask the front desk “helper” for the towels and then receive a lecture about only asking for one towel for guest and she’ll count how many people are swimming.  She can actually do that from her front desk station since she can see the pool clearly – might have been nice to send someone out with towels when she saw us swimming but maybe she figured we’d air dry.

I could go on about breakfast, security, hotel employees, wall non-thickness but after about 10 nights staying in different hotels each night suffice to say that the Best Western Santa Fe Inn Amarillo, Texas was the WORST EVER, like EVER.


Wait for it…….

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Book Three

I’m a big fan of book series  (plural for book series – seriess, seriei?).  Characters grow and change, plots thicken, twist, turn, sometimes they take us backward, sometimes forward.  I’d rather get sick of characters than feel like I didn’t get enough.  Usually, I will not even consider beginning a series unless all the books are published.  I have self discipline to wait for something at the beginning but once I start reading my addictive brain wants to inhale the whole thing as soon as possible……I’m the same way with pie.

So when I finished Deborah Harkness’s “A Discovery of Witches” and realized it was a trilogy I was thrilled…..UNTIL I learned the third book was not yet published.  “A Discovery of Witches” rang all my bells: supernatural, historical fiction, adventure, romance.  I couldn’t help myself after finishing the first, I HAD to go for the second even though I knew it be that much more painful to wait and wait and wait.  Two years, my friends, two years later book three is available!!  I can’t say I’ll ever knowingly do this again but I decided to reread the first two books in order to recreate the excitement of tucking into a final book and right now my anticipation is thru the roof, there might be something to this waiting game after all.

 

 


Couldn’t have said it better

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My summer recently began, kids are out of school, the steady stream of busyness that took over May is now down to a trickle and I’ve had some time to read some fantastic things on the internet that I’m bursting to share.

Wishing everyone a restful and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend.  (Side note: I recently had dinner with an American soldier who is on leave, he mentioned the desperate need of things like socks and underwear,  and that there is little, to no need for the candy and sweets that apparently show up in loads.)

Great article on “healthy habits”.

Loved what this guy said about “appreciating the tools modern medicine offers but not relying on them to keep us healthy”.

Had a beautiful lightbulb moment reading about the mental load attached to parenting, running a household, etc. in this article.

Re-read this article to gather my courage for stepping out into the world in a bathing suit for the first time since last summer.

Got on a roll and hunted down this article again for tips when buying a bathing suit, hilarious.

 

Happy long weekend! XO.