Monday, May 26, 2014

A New Obsession or Inability to Read?

It all started last year when a co-worker asked me if I'd like some onions to plant because he had too many and wanted to give the rest away.

When he said "some" I thought he meant like 5.  Or maybe a dozen.

A few days later, a plastic bag showed up at my classroom door with little bundles of tiny onion bulbs.

When I got home and opened the bundles and I just about croaked.  There were at least 80 onions in there!  They had been labeled and bundled by type.

I wasn't really expecting to plant so many, so I put them in both gardens and hoped for the best, scrounging for space that I hadn't planned to devote to onions.

They did really well and I used them right through the winter.

I missed the chance to order them with that same co-worker this year, so I realized I'd have to buy them myself, which meant I was going to have way too many onions.  I went to the website where he ordered them last year and started looking around.  I wasn't too picky about the names, I just wanted some of each color: red, yellow and white.

It looked like I was going to have to buy hundreds of onions because each color came with over 100 little bulbs.

I figured I'd hand off "some onions" to an unsuspecting co-worker at my school and spread the wealth.  Plant the seed of onion growing so that soon, the whole region would be growing nothing but onions!

This reminds me of the kids book Holes.  Did you ever read it?  A part of the story was that the area was celebrated for onion growing, Vidalias I think, and the had onion festivals and they said the whole town just stunk from eating all those onions.

MMMMmmmmm the smell of ocean breezes combined with onions....

And then I happened upon a special package just for small gardens like mine.  Approximately  60 bulbs, some of each color.  Perfect.  And since there were about 60, why not get two packages?  That way, I'll have plenty of each but I'd still have less than if I had ordered bundles of each color by themselves.

They were surprisingly cheap and came right when I asked for them to be delivered.  Have you ever ordered live plants?  It's weird when they come because it says they've been inspected by the agriculture gods and the box has holes in it.   It made me feel like a farmer.

The directions said they can sit for up to 3 weeks in a cool place.  They would be dry, but they should spring right to life.  That's how they were last year, so I wasn't worried.

Until week 3 was headed my way and I thought they'd spontaneously croak for real.

I decided that since I had two bundles of these mixed types, I'd do one bundle in each garden.  I did them in both last year and they did equally well, though I think we have learned that garden #2 is my favorite for lots of reasons (location, symmetry, full sun most of the day, a gate that latches on its own).

Let me veer off the onion track for a second.  I've used drip irrigation in garden #1 for a long time.  Maybe 10 years already?  It's a system of hard, slightly flexible plastic tubes (but not super flexible rubber tubing like I've seen in catalogs, that you can make into circles around each potted plant, this is harder stuff) and there is a hole every 6-12 inches that lets the water drip out.  It's something I really like because it keeps the water right on the ground instead of spraying like a sprinkler and with all that I read about how it's better to keep water off the leaves to prevent disease, it makes sense.

I decided I wanted to put it in garden #2 because using the sprinkler wasn't all it should be and I have a problem with powdery mildew on the leaves of  my squash plants.  Since garden #2 is very square (symmetry!) as opposed to the drunken ellipse that garden #1 is, I figured it would be easy to lay the irrigation pipe before I planted.

When I installed the irrigation in garden #1, I had already planted for the year and had no rhyme or reason to how I laid the pipe.  This means that when I plant now, things go in nonsensical patterns and there are gaps.  I blame it on the fact that nothing is square, so I can't create actual rows that make sense.

Garden #2 was made for rows.  In fact,  I get a little nervous when I plant there because I have to remember that I can do rows instead of haphazard geometric shapes.

It's a lot of pressure to have a plan when I plant.

This year, the pressure was on to get the pipe out there so I could plant the onions.  One thing after another got in the way and there sat the onions taunting me.

This is what the pipe looks like.

Those are all weeds that I have since removed.  Remember, I was in a hurry to get it down.  These weeds were a breeze to pull out because of the great compost and mulch that went into this garden before winter.

With the irrigation pipe down, I went to get a bundle of onions.  I only had time for one bundle that day.

And as I started planting, I realized that there are way more than about 60 bulbs in this one bundle.

Way.  More.

By the time I got them all planted in both gardens, I had counted way over 200 bulbs.  That's right.  Way over 250 onion bulbs.

I had to go back and look at the website to see if I had read incorrectly because by my estimations, if I had 150 total, that was going to be a stretching it.

Here's what the website says:

"What we produce is a wonderful mixed assortment (approximately 5 dozen plants) that provides gardeners with limited space..."

I don't do fancy math, but 5 dozen is 60 and when they say approximately, I figure they overestimate rather than underestimate.

What a surprise.  I suppose I could have stopped what I was doing after bulb #200 and given some to colleagues, but I was on a roll.

And they are doing extremely well so far.

Garden #2, looking way more brown than it does in real life.  You can see close to a million happy, green onion tops.  When planted pretty close together, 150 doesn't take up as much space as I'd expect.  Only two rows.

Garden #1in its haphazard randomness.  The bigger onions are a few that didn't collapse last year, so I let them winter over.  I'm not sure if they are making bulbs under there or just decorating the place.

Around mid-July, the tops should all lay down as I explained last year.  Then I have a few days in which to pull them out and let them dry.  The trick is going to be storing them.

Where do people store 300 onions?  Last year, I put them all under the tables in the greenhouse, theorizing that it's darker (and I put newspaper on top) under the tables.  They seemed to do OK, but a few froze during the winter.

And I only had about 50.

I'm not about to put them all in the refrigerator.

I don't really have a good place in the house to store them. 

It's a dilemma I think about daily, while k-ster looks out at garden #2 and says "are you just going to grow onions now?"

Linking here:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Do You Buy Your Car Where You Eat?

A well known owner of a few restaurants in town has recently opened a car dealership.  His restaurants and pretty successful and he does a nice job of making them look good.  So, he's done a nice job with the car dealership's look.

It's nice to drive by and see a bunch of clean cars and since it's spring, everything's lush and in bloom.

However, he has an ad that makes me so mad every time I hear it, I want to drive over to that very dealership and smash all of the cars.

First of all, he speaks, himself, on the ad.  That's kind of weird.

And he calls himself by his first name only.  Like he knows that everyone knows him.

And he mentions his successful restaurants.

And then he says he opened the dealership.

And all of that is fine.

Until he says:  if you like dining in our restaurants, you're gonna love buying a car from us.

What?  dining, buying a car.  I see no similarity.

If I like your restaurant ( and we know that will never actually happen because I don't like to go out to eat), it's because I like your food.  I like how it's cooked and/or presented.  I like that your place is clean and bright and not too noisy.

If I like your car dealership (and we know that will never actually happen because who likes car dealers?)) it's because I think you sold me a car at a reasonable price and didn't try to squeeze every dime out of me and didn't feed me a line of bull.

But one would never cross with the other.

Because you serve good food, I would never think that you sell cars well.


Because you gave me a great deal on  my car, I would never think you could make a good meal.

But here's the part of the ad that grates on me the most.  He says you're going love this new place because he says so!  He actually says (about 5 times in the ad) because (let's call him Pete) Pete says so!

Really?  Because Pete says so, I'm going to love buying a car from him?

His voice is so obnoxious when he says it, I have to change stations.

Guess what, Pete.  I'm suddenly not hungry and I sure don't want a new car.

He may be a very successful business man but he totally missed the boat when he made that commercial!

Oh, shhhh, I better be careful.  Boats might be his next endeavor.

Linking here:

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Clothes Horse or Clothes Whore?

I've never understood the phrase clotheshorse.  I think of a piece of furniture, kind of in the shape of a rocking horse, that's meant to catch all of your clothes as you carelessly toss them around your bedroom.

For many, it's also called a stationary bike or treadmill, right?

The definition of a clotheshorse is a person who likes to wear stylish clothes.

I seem to have a lot of clothes, but I am not one to wear stylish clothes, per se.

So really, I think we should change the word to clotheswhore.  As in one who will take any old piece of clothing and make do, pretending to enjoy it whether she really does or not, especially if it was cheap.

This came to my attention when I decided this is the weekend to bring out the warm weather clothes.  This will ensure that the 70 degree weather we've had will go right back into the 40s and I'll wish I hadn't put my sweaters away.

In the fall, I bought a few of those space saver bags, the kind that you can put a million things into, suck out the air and they become as thin as an envelope for easy storing.

I've never believed in these bags because, for a long time, you could only get them on the home shopping channel or through secret websites and I thought it was just a sham.

Since we have little to no closet space in this house, I usually put most of my sweaters into a rubbermaid container in the summer and then put all of my shorts and capris in it when it's cold again.  They don't really all fit well in there and the cover is always askew, so I never believe they remain dust free.

So, when the cold weather came, I took out one of the extra large space saver bags and put all of my shorts and capris into it.  And then I sucked out all the air and was shocked at how compact the whole thing became.

So, I quickly did the same thing with some blankets and then a vast assortment of clothes that I can't get rid of but don't really want to wear.

When I retrieved the shorts and capris bag today, I was amazed at what actually came out.

Here was this bag that I could carry under my arm, weight about 30 pounds but much easier to carry than the big rubbermaid tote.

And then here were the contents:

20 shorts
14 capris
1 pair of linen pants
1 pair of overalls cut into shorts that I will never wear again but just cannot throw away.
1 very old cat

That's way too many clothes for just one season.  But here's the reason and you can all throw stones at me if you'd like when I whine about this.

I don't really change sizes.  And haven't in about 20 years.

I know, most of you have left by now because no one wants to hear about that.

While I get toned and less toned and toned again, and I gain a few and lose a few, I stay right within the size of most of my clothes.

And since we have a ton of places here like Marshall's and TJMaxx, for a long time, I would buy clothes that were super discounted even if I didn't need them.  I guess I thought clothes wouldn't last or something.

And, while my underwear doesn't last, my other clothes do, so I wear them over and over but they just seem to multiply.

Now, some of those shorts won't be worn this summer, like the 3 pair of short denim shorts that I don't really wear, or the strange black pair that I bought eons ago when I did promotions but can't part with, but I put them in my pile anyway, in case I have some rare urge to wear them.

I did, however, put these back because I know that they will not suddenly become in style in the next 3 months.
Or ever again, let's hope.

But I keep them just in case...

Now, when I first discovered capris, I thought they were dumb.  Who wants to wear pants that are too short to be pants but too long to be shorts?

Umm, teachers, duh!!!!!  They are the right thing for spring and fall when you'd really like to wear  a bikini because of the heat but the school district frowns upon that.

So then, I went a little crazy.  And I thought it was appropriate to buy things like these.

So, for years, I ferreted them away because I could not wear them in middle school.  I was already lame enough because I'm a teacher.  Being a teacher who thinks it's cool to wear flipflops on capris would push it right over the top.

But now, I am in 4th and 5th grade where I can get away with pretty much any kind of clothing, so out they came.

After I took out the 400 pairs of shorts and capris, I decided to put away most of me sweaters and the pants that are dark and very wintry.  Since we still have crazy cold weather in May, and then again at the end of September, I kept a few cardigans out of the lot.

But it appears that I have just as many sweaters and pants as I do capris and shorts.

To illustrate just what these bags can hold, I put in:

17 sweaters
4 sweater dresses
8 pairs of pants

And when I zipped it closed, this is what it looked like.  I put the books next to it so you can see what happened when I vacuumed out all of the air.  And because there are random stacks of books on my bedroom floor, so it was easy to grab!

After sucking out every bit of air that I could, it shrunk down quite a few inches in height and in length.

And this is what it looks like when I pick up the whole thing, again weighing like 30 pounds, and carry it upstairs for storage in the aforementioned rubbermaid container.

It's possible that I took this picture with my toe, which we should not tell k-ster because he thinks using  toes like fingers is inappropriate.  But how else can a person take a selfie with an ipad?  They are just too heavy otherwise!

You might wonder if all this compacting of the clothes makes them permanently wrinkled.  For the 6 months that my shorts and capris were in the bag, they came out and after a wash, were no more wrinkled than when they sit in my closet without ironing.

If we had under the bed storage, this would slide perfectly under there, it's so thin, but alas, we don't have under the bed storage.  Good for keeping out the dust, bad for storing things that otherwise have to be dragged upstairs for storage.

For the past couple of years, I've greatly reduced the number of new clothes that I buy and usually, I just buy one or two things each season.

I can't get rid of some of these clothes because they come back in style!  Remember babydoll dresses?  They're coming back, I see.  I can't find my most favorite one because I think I gave it away when I thought they were out of fashion.  How said.

That's why I've become a clotheswhore.

Linking here:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


These days, all I seem to hear about are bras that lift and flatter, accentuate, enhance, etc.  No longer are we supposed to crush, smoosh or diminish the boobolas.  We are supposed to fly them high and proud whether we're on the beach, exercising, or just laying around the house.

I, however, never seem to hear these messages and prefer to flatten, diminish and not at all support the tatas.   And somehow, I manage to make that known all over my blog....

I tell you all  of this so that you might feel the slightest bit sorry for me and my stupidity as I recount the messages between my sister a-ster and me yesterday.

If you don't follow her on instagram (@callajaire) or view her blog on a regular basis ( then you might have missed this shirt that she made for herself and posted the other day.

She didn't design this one, but she said it was a quick one to make.  I love the way it hangs and stripes are all the rage,  so I told her she should make me one!

So, she sent me a text and an imessage, telling me she needs my high bust measurement.  I got them when I was at school and I don't carry a tape measure with me, so I figured I'd do it right before I got in the shower last night.

So, as I was getting undressed, I remembered, and got my tape measure.  I measured and sent her the numbers.

She sent back a text right away asking "that's the high bust measurement, right?"

I was starting to get a little worried.  This was the 3rd time in one day she mentioned the "high bust".

I  made sure I was wearing a regular bra, not a sports bra and measured them at their perkiest and highest level, so I could get the "high bust" measurement.

Does this mean she thinks I run around with no bra and I need to be reminded?

Are they so saggy that this is her way of reminding me that  maybe I should wear one when I first get up in the morning if I visit so I don't scare people away?

I realize that we are supposed to be lifting, lifting, lifting, but I'm was pretty sure I couldn't get them any higher to make a number that would please her.

So, completely losing my confidence in my sewing skills, I wrote back that I wasn't really sure what she meant if that number didn't seem right to her.

And she sent a picture, kind of like this.

So, it turns out, no bra even needed to be worn.  It's all about what happens just above the actual bust.

All the lifting and pulling in the world wouldn't give me the right number.  They could be ask perky as the day is long and it wouldn't have mattered.

And because she laughed so hard at what I thought the high bust was, I decided to survey some women I know.  If people don't sew, surely they wouldn't know the answer, right?

6 out of 7 knew exactly what the high bust is and actually burst out laughing when I explained what I thought it was.  The one who would didn't know what it is thought the same thing that I did, though without thinking they should be at their highest and perkiest.  She just thought it meant make sure to corral them into a bra before measuring.

Yes, I sew, but I don't use measurements.   I probably should stick to making quilts.

Linking here:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Scaring Auntiejo

It doesn't take much, really, to freak me out.  Send me right over the edge.  Make me a basket case.

There's the typical fear of spiders, the dark, the boogeyman.  Helium filled ballons.

All your normal things.

But this is probably over the top.

My niece, L-ster, is turning 3 this week and she's full of imagination.  She played incessantly with some plastic spoons for a while, turning them into everything from an umbrella to a stethoscope to help a sick stuffed animal.

I thought something fun and imagination-inducing would be perfect for her birthday, so I got her this.

A full-blown toy medical set.  Stethoscope, a special nametag (which I think can be personalized but I couldn't really tell) thermometer, special glasses, even a cell phone (because nothing reassures me more than my doctor chatting or text on her phone).

She will probably go ga-ga over this.  She will spend hours pretending to have a hospital.  She will make sure everyone is more than well.

I, on the other hand was trembling as I wrapped it.  I am not the biggest fan of anything medical.  Never have been.  It's not like I have to take Xanax before I see a doctor, but I don't love going and I'm always pretty sure every twinge in my body is the last one I'll have before death snatches me away.

I've always been like this. 

I couldn't even look at the the fire station when we passed it when I was in 1st grade.  I was pretty sure if I looked at it, the ambulance would come and get me, because it would know I was sick when I didn't know myself.

Head case, I know.

I don't remember any of my friends having these pretend doctor sets when I was little, but I can assure you, if someone had one, it would have been my last visit to their house.  I would have left, shaking in my boots, sure that the next time, I would actually contract some terrible illness because I pretended I had one.

L-ster, on the other hand, seems like a totally normal child who will use this to take care of all of her pandas and maybe some other stuffed animals if they rate high enough.

She will probably never worry that wearing fake glasses will mean she's really asking to be blind. 

Or that giving pretend ear checks will result in becoming deaf. 

And surely, checking reflexes will not mean she will lose the ability to walk.

Hopefully, this will send her right into the medical field so when auntiejo really is sick, she can put on her fake glasses, wear her special name tag, get on her cell phone and fix her right up!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Winging A "Cars" Quilt

My friend's 4 year old needed a new quilt for his real bed. I had already planned to make a quilt for his birthday, which is in August, but she asked if I would make it now since he's been in his new bed for about a month.

Over April vacation, I made up some crazy math and put up this post about my progress.  He loves cars and Cars too.  We tried finding cool car fabric but nothing worked for us.

When we found the Cars movie fabric, things started to fall into place.

As vacation ended, so did my free time, so it took a couple of weeks to get the binding on and finish it.  This beast supervising my every move didn't help.

She was drooling with anticipation.  I'm sure she did a happy dance on it the second I left the room.  He's not allergic to cats, so I wasn't really too worried.

I love how it came out.  Successful winging, once again.

I think it's neat that in this first picture, his baby blanket is at the foot of the bed.  It's the one with the sea creatures on it and after 4 years of nightly use, it is pretty beaten up.  I tied that one and wasn't impressed with how the batting held up, so I hope the quilting on this helps it stay together longer.


The way the black makes everything stand out and pulls all of the colors together at the same time is my favorite part.

Ok, my favorite part is actually this square.  Something about that green and the green on the van just makes me smile.

One happy boy who doesn't have to wait until he turns 5 for his new blanket!

Now I want to take some of the Cars fabric and make borders for pillow cases.  His mother wants curtains with the same blue and green that I used for the backing.

Ironically, my mother just made a quilt with that same blue for the backing and she cleaned out the store, so I had to use the blue and the green!  There was only a little bit left when I went, but there might have been just enough for curtains.

I'll have to look into it and get back to you.

Linking here:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Seen Around the Barn

I haven't posted about riding in quite a while.  There was a terrible lull between Thanksgiving and January when Jackson was lame and I had to make do with some alternatives.  That wasn't fabulous but it wasn't awful.

Okay, that was pretty dramatic.  It wasn't a terrible lull, but it made me realize why I really like Jackson so much.

He listens and he behaves and works hard to do what you ask.

Around the time that he was sound again, I shifted my schedule to have two lessons a week and two freerides, where I can ride as long as someone is on the property, but I'm doing my own thing without anyone telling me my every move.

This has been the best thing I could ever have done.  My riding has improved 1000 times as I've ridden on my own twice a week and really figured some stuff out.

For example..

Wait,does this look funny to you?

Just kidding, this one's better, right?

I can't help laughing every time I see this picture.  My flying legs remind me of the wicked witch when the house landed on her.

I had just jumped over that blue and white fence and we landed and then I was straddling his neck, hysterically laughing because I couldn't get back up onto the saddle and he was still running around like he thought he was supposed to.

I got back in the saddle, didn't fall off and he continued jumping every jump like it was 6 feet high.

In the month since these pictures were taken, I've jumped more and understand it a little better.  K-ster took this really cool picture with is new phone.

When I jump, it is actually like this in my head.  When I first started riding, this was the case and then it became clear as I got better.  Then when I started cantering, everything was like this and now I can talk while I canter around.  With something new, everything around me is a blur as I try to figure it all out.

But the best news around the barn is that I finally found some underwear that stays in place while I ride.  I can't explain just what a joy this is.  I've spent more time with my underwear making me so uncomfortable that some days, I've just wanted to stop.  I thought I had found some great pairs for a while, but they have pretty much disintegrated.

They are nothing special, not riding underwear or anything, but they fit and stay in place and don't really show any seams which is definitely a good thing.

You can be sure I've bought about a million pair in case these also disintegrate.

Now, if I can just find the right saddle that fits me and Jackson at the same time.

I'll leave you with two shots of my butt because I know that's why you come here:

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Was I Wearing Pachouli?

I spent the day working in the garden, the greenhouse and the yard, so I was dressed like this.

These pants crack me up.  I bought them like 20 years ago.  They are boys pants, something like a boys size 20.  Does that even exist?  I remember buying these and a khaki pair that I somehow new I could alter and make work.

These altered much better than the khaki pair.  Something happened with the crotch of the khaki pair but these worked really well.

Do you ever have something you alter and completely amaze yourself with the finished project?  I do that every so often and then, years later, I look at it in total amazement.

These pants amaze me.

After a long time, I relegated them to the work clothes pile.  I laugh every time I wear them because a) I somehow managed to alter them properly  and b) because they are boys.

K-ster was doing a spring clean-up nextdoor, while I was in the garden.  When I walked over to ask him what he wanted to do about supper, he said:

"You look like such a hippe right now, in those colors."


I wasn't wearing a prairie skirt, no  Birkenstocks and definitely nothing with pachouli. 

And yes, that is the new kitchen floor I'm standing on.