Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So Much to Do!

It's Tuesday already, the last day before we leave for NC! I have a very long list to work through by the end of the day. At least the laundry is done. We found a laundromat just down the street and when we pulled into the parking lot we could see through the glass front that it was completely empty. Score, I thought. But once we got in there we realized why it might not be the most popular place in town. No bathroom, no sink (which really sucks when your detergent bottle leaks all over one of your baskets), and a Chinese restaurant next door filling the place with the smell of old grease. All the clothes came out of the dryer smelling like fried rice. It was cheaper than we expected though, and I got in some good reading time.

Dad is going to give us a ride to the airport tomorrow around lunch time and Mom has promised to feed the cats and water the plants so that is all squared away. Today I need to do a bunch of yard work, clean the house (I hate coming home to an untidy house), figure out how I'm going to fit all of our stuff into one suitcase so we don't have to pay an extra checked bag fee, put together a good vacation playlist on my nano, research hotels for the return trip, and set my Etsy account to vacation mode. Ok, time to get on it! I won't be blogging for a while but I will try to update my twitter from time to time.

Lake Gaston, NC

Monday, May 18, 2009


Today is laundromat day! I haven't been to one of those places in years! My favorite thing about the laundromat is that, with all the white noise, comforting smells, and time, it is an excellent place to read. My least favorite thing about the laundromat is the coin operated bathrooms. And the hard plastic seats. We don't even know where the nearest one is so I will have to look it up. I'll let y'all know how it goes.

Yesterday Ross took me to Burlington Coat Factory to buy me some new things for our trip :) I got a blousey, black and white top that will work for going out, white flip flops with iridescent beads sewn on, a big white leather purse with outer pockets and buckles, and a long, light-weight gray cardigan for evenings. Yay!!! Vacation is just funner with new clothes.

Well, time to sort all of the laundry into baskets for our big adventure! Hope everyone is having an excellent Monday!

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon him, for he cares for you.

-1 Peter 5:6

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Well, we've decided to hold off on shopping for a new dryer, at least until after our trip. Instead we've been focusing on the garden and the basement this weekend. The basement has managed to flood every time it's rained and it is really starting to take a toll on the walls down there (not to mention the...fragrance.) Yesterday Ross worked on the storage room while I worked on the garden and, while I'd much rather work on the yard today, I promised to help with the basement too. I haven't got much of a plan yet except that I'm going to use lots of Lysol.

It's been kind of a chilly weekend and last night the weatherman announced a frost warning for our area. Grrrr. I waited so long to plant my peppers so that I wouldn't have to worry about frost! So I brought in my potted flowers, but there was nothing I could really do for the veggies. I checked on them this morning and they look fine. :S Hopefully that really was the last frost of the season. I mean, it's May 17th for heaven's sake!

Yesterday we got the fencing for our veggie garden. It's naval high so it ought to keep even the hugest bunny rabbits out, lol. I was lazy and didn't actually measure the garden before buying the mesh and ended up discovering I was about 8 feet short after I had tied it to the posts. So I had to take it all down and start over, using the existing fence as the back (duh, why didn't I do that the first time?) and problem solved.

I haven't painted at all this weekend - there is just too much to get done before our trip! (When I start painting I have a really hard time stopping and nothing else gets done.) But hopefully I will find some time Tuesday or Wednesday to finish the tulip painting so I can start something new when we get home.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

-Hebrews 13:5

Saturday, May 16, 2009


A second Iris stalk started blooming this morning. It's much darker than the first - very striking! I wish I had thinned them out like I originally planned so that more of them would have had a chance to bloom - they are so fun to watch. Next season, for sure.

We finally saw Star Trek last night. I thought it was great - very entertaining. Ross was less impressed but still enjoyed it.

We saw it at the theater on Western in Chicago that we used to go to when we were dating. It was fun to be back in Ross's old neighborhood. We meant to drive by the old apartments but ran out of time. We will definitely have to go back soon and visit some of our old hangouts. I especially miss the little Thai restaurant we used to go to with it's aqua blue walls and hypnotic, tinkly music.

So it looks like the dryer has really bitten the dust this time and it's stressing me out. I hate the idea of having to buy an expensive new appliance when we don't have a job. Oh well, that dryer is probably as old as I am and we are extraordinarily lucky that it held out this long. And now we have the tax return so it's not the crisis it might have been. Still, I'm grinding my teeth just thinking about it. I think Ross's frugality is really rubbing off on me!

I am so looking forward to our trip to North Carolina. Just 4 days to go! The plan is to fly there, spend some time at his parents places in Raleigh and Gaston, maybe visit his sister in Wilmington, and then drive the Yukon his parents are giving us back to Illinois. I plan on taking LOTS of pictures :P

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tulips Cont. (Update)

Still a long way to go on this one...

One of the problems I was having was that that back wall wasn't reading as a back wall, so after some good feedback from Steph and Mark I'm trying something different with it.


Our dryer has conked out again. Second time this week. Grrrr. Oh well, if I'm not doing laundry I have more time for the garden.

Today was an awesome day for gardening - sunny, breezy, mid 60s (((happy sigh))).

I've been holding off on planting my peppers (part caution, part separation anxiety) but they are practically bursting out of their tray, so I decided it was time to stick 'em in the ground. About 60 of the original 72 survived but (per the advice that newbie gardeners should start small) our garden is tiny, so I was only able to transplant 16 plants; 8 bell peppers, 4 banana peppers, and 4 hot peppers. We also have a tomato plant we picked up at Walmart.

Now that the peppers have left the nest I'm wondering what I should do next! I have seed packets for marigolds, basil, onions, and cucumbers, but only a few pots, and we are going on vacation next week so I wouldn't be able to keep a close eye on them. I'm thinking I'll probably do the marigolds because they are supposed to be hardy, right? I can just stick them in my remaining pots, set them out in the backyard and let nature take its course.

The flowers are doing so-so. While the irises are already way better off than last year, the first one bloomed during a downpour and looks like wet tissue paper!

That greenish/red plant next to the irises is my rose bush and it is also doing better than last year. Little buds are starting to appear. The tulips and daffodils are finished with for the season and I'm thinking about planting some hostas or decorative grass between them because that spot is going to look pretty sad soon without them.

The forget-me-nots are doing awesome! The lavender, not so much. Out of the 50 or so lavender, I have only 5 or 6 left and they aren't growing at all :( I've also got 5 impatiens left and they are barely growing. Peonies are doing great. Weeding out the clover really has made a big difference this year. The lilies and violets have never seemed to need any help and are growing strong.

Alright, enough with gardening, time to paint!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mally's Visit

Ross and Mally making up a new game with the tether ball we bought at Dick's that day.

Mal riding the kiddie train at Yorktown Mall.

Watching the freight train pass in downtown Lombard.

Mally with his goodies after a visit to the candy store.

The boys sword fighting with packing material.

Chilling with Moosey.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

White Tulips, So Far (Updated)

Just started this one tonight. Had to do something to get that dumb episode of Lost out of my head!

From the Bent Tip of a Grass Blade

The sensation of writing a book is the sensation of spinning, blinded by love and daring. It is the sensation of rearing and peering from the bent tip of a grass blade, looking for a route. -Annie Dillard
That is what painting feels like too. Sometimes getting to it feels like going to work, but once you start it is like nothing else. Even when it's going awfully, and you feel like such a hack, you are under its spell and the world is a million miles away. When I say "it" I mean the act of painting, not the canvas in front of you, which is just the road under your feet. Or the dance floor, if things are going well ;)

It's been a long time since I did so many paintings in a row. I love looking over and seeing them stacked against the wall next to my desk. It reminds me of the old days - painting in the basement of the Elgin house, trading tips with painters on the Wet Canvas boards, and checking eBay auctions every five minutes.

I hope I can keep up the pace for the next couple of weeks. Then Ross and I will be heading to Raleigh for a visit. I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Grapes and Pears, Finished

One sure fire way to take the fun out of painting is spending too long on the same one, so I'm calling this one done. (The blue doesn't look quite so vivid in the real painting - for some reason my camera transforms ultramarine into more of a cobalt.)

Monday, May 04, 2009


I've run into a snag with the Grapes and Pears still life. The shadowy side of the bowl is supposed to have a reflection of the pear in front of it and I just can't get it right. So I'm taking a little break from it and doing yard work instead.

I pulled our old fashioned push mower out of storage and did the lawn today. Seems to be working as well as ever. Our neighbors think we use it because we are green, but the truth is we are just cheap. I also sprayed the weeds that are bursting out of every crack in the drive way (see, not so green). And I think I ought to put baby veggies and flowers outside for a few hours to start acclimating because the final transplant into real world is coming up this week!