Sunday, February 28, 2010
Well, I think I've complained about February long enough. It's the last day, and I've already moved on. I'm pretending that it's March already...
These guys and I will are heading to the south and the west about 500 miles to check in on things at the other homestead. We'll fit in all our dental appointments and try to meet up with friends and spend all our time in a whirlwind of activity before we fly north again on Wednesday, depending on what kind of an impression March is wanting to bring to this long, dreary winter.
So - due to lack of time and lack of internet connections at the house, I'll be taking the next few days off. I'll be taking my camera and sketchbook with me, so when I get back I hope to have a lot to share. I've pre-posted my photos to quirk, so you can find me over there if you're missing me...
Thursday, February 25, 2010
I will not talk about the weather.
I will not talk about the weather.
I will not talk about the weather.
I'm feeling very, uh, stormy today. Like I might, er, snow a little more and have wind gusts of 25 to 35 miles per hour. There's a low pressure system off my east coast and my barometric pressure has been dropping all day. I'm considering knocking down a few trees and power lines.
I will not talk about the weather. Because that's just getting old.
I will, however, talk about the fact that a low barometric pressure system makes me sleepy. Seriously. I'm like a walking barometer. My sinuses start getting wonky, I can't stay awake past 2 pm, and even with a nap I have to go to bed by 10. I'm a night owl, people - it's hard for me to talk myself into going to bed by 10, even when I'm so tired I can't stop the words on the page of the book I'm reading from flailing around the page like Mexican jumping beans.
I need a good high pressure system to swoop in and take over, and bring some blue skies and warm...
I will not talk about the weather.
I will not talk about the weather.
I will not talk about the weather.
Four things I love about the internet:
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I am almost incapable of watching television without having something else going on. Sometimes I knit, sometimes I read, sometimes I surf the web, sometimes I draw.
Sometimes I draw strange ravens with lots and lots of squiggly lines.
It means I miss important Olympic moments, sometimes.
But that's why I have a DVR. So I can rewind, catch the fabulousness, and then skip the commercials.
The boys and I went outside yesterday. Outside! In the world! Where there was air and sunshine (sorta). It was very strange. It was very wet and still snowy and we just didn't care. I took a photo or 100, a couple of which you can see over at quirk.
Go, see what you've been missing, follow us and see what we're up to. Oooh. I just ended a sentence with TWO prepositions.
I'm awesome that way.
We're going to open quirk up to other photographers in April, and are looking for folks to play along. If you are a photographer who is looking for a project to stretch you a little, and are able to commit to posting a picture a day for one entire month, please send me an email, at diahnott (at) gmail (dot) com, with "quirk" in the subject line. We'll want to see some samples of your photography, so add a link to a blog or Flickr account in the body of the message. A Flickr account will be required for participation in the blog, but if you don't already have one, its a free account, and it makes posting easy and consistent.
We're thinking that we'll have two additional photographers each month, so once we get a few on board, we'll split up the names so we don't exceed that number. If there is a particular month that you know would work best for you, please add that to the email, as well.
Five things I love about photography:
- The moment. And how it freezes.
- How simple things can look so majestic when framed just right.
- Accessibility - anyone can take a photograph and tell a story.
- Artistry - while #3 is true, it still takes an artistic eye to frame something up that makes you gasp.
- Pulling out a camera in a public place instantly makes you invisible. It's true.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
The Smarty got home last night, after a week (a L O N G week) away. He travels quite a bit, but rarely for more than a night or two, so this trip was a bit of a doozy, especially when he was originally scheduled to be back on Friday.
So, we were standing in the kitchen while I cooked supper, talking about everything he missed while he was gone, when I related a story to him about Smarty Junior, up there in the picture. Anyone who knows us, and knows Derek, knows that he's a unique individual...we like to call him "quirky"...and that he often exists only in his own private world. It's part of what makes him so sweet, honestly - but it can also make you a little crazy sometimes.
The story I was relating to Senior Smarty was this: while we were working on spelling words, I asked Derek to spell "moment." He looked up from his notebook, pencil in hand, and said...
"Remember when my tooth fell out all by itself and it didn't even bleed or anything? That was so weird."
I don't know. Maybe he was thinking about significant moments in his life? How we wondered for a moment if he had swallowed the tooth? If the tooth fairy had hovered for a moment before leaving his dollar?
I just stared at him for a moment, and caught his eye. He shook his head and said, "that had nothing to do with spelling moment, sorry. M-O-M-E-N-T."
So, anyway - Smarty and I were laughing about it in the kitchen, wondering where he gets that spacey head of his, and all that. We got supper ready and sat down at the dining room table together for the first time in a week...SO nice.
Interjection: I'm not a great cook. I do okay, but am constantly frustrated at my inability to cook a nice, juicy chicken breast...ALWAYS turns out dry. We'll now return to the story at hand. The very long story at hand. Please accept my apologies.
We're talking and eating and laughing, when I remark that the chicken was pretty good - not too dry and wow, I'm so glad. I get some mhmms from the boys, and then Dr. SmartyPants says,
"Man, my eustachion tubes are standing wide open from being on that airplane."
Derek: "Dad! That has absolutely nothing to do with Mom's chicken!"
And so we come full circle...
Six things I love about my family:
- We laugh. A lot. At each other.
- We all fit on one couch.
- Did I mention the laughing?
- Creativity is a prerequisite to any activity.
- Snuggling is, too.
- They tell me my cooking is fantastic. Except when it isn't. And then they tell me they just weren't very hungry.
Monday, February 22, 2010
I've just peeked at the calendar for the first time in a while - I couldn't stand to know exactly how long it would be February any more.
But there are only seven days left.
Seven days until March, and while I realize that March is still part of winter, there is something about the name that makes me think I can survive it.
It's a verb. It's the only month that is a verb.
Wait. I'm distracted. Deep breath. Moving on.
SO. I'm going to make an honest effort to march into March with my head held high and my spirits ready to rise at the first sign of a crocus peeking through the snow or a forsythia blooming.
I took that photo last year, on March 12. So see? It's not long now...
Here we go...
Seven things I like about winter:
- You don't have to work hard to have a good reason for hot chocolate.
- My kids' eyes when they see the first snowfall, especially if it came overnight.
- Branches bare enough to see the local wildlife.
- The smell of wood-burning fireplaces.
- Extra quilts.
- It eventually ends.
Friday, February 19, 2010
We're sitting at the dining room table and I spy this big fella on a branch outside. I grab my camera and run out back to sneak a few shots before he spies me and takes off. When I zoom in, I notice the squirrel, sitting complacently above him - inches away from a large carnivore.
Cheeky little monkey, er, squirrel.
I think it's a Red-shouldered Hawk? Anyone know? You can't see it in this picture, but the underside of his tail is white with black (or dark-colored) banding. Here's a shot from the dining room window, through the power lines, but it shows the tail, too... The call it made as it flew away was more similar to a Broad-winged Hawk, which it also resembles, but they shouldn't be here right now...they should be down in South America.
Help a homeschooling mama out, peeps...
Needless to say, spelling words were swiftly (albeit temporarily) forgotten while we admired this gorgeous creature, talked about his (her?) beak and talons and speculated why the squirrel above was So. Very. Still.
It launched itself from the branch and soared overhead for a few turns, called out in its curiously tremulous voice and sailed out of sight.
Okay, class. Spell...tremulous...
"T - R - E...Wait a minute! That wasn't on the list!"
Cheeky little monkeys, er, uh, yeah - monkeys.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I found this leaf on the back steps, drenched in a puddle of meltwater from the snow on the roof, and immediately thought of Vancouver.
Are you watching? ARE YOU? Sorry. I get a little feverish about it. Shaun White! Lindsey Vonn! Shani Davis! Apolooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...
And coming up tonight...how will Johnny Weir top the pink tassel and corset-style skating outfit? Could Yevgeny Plushenko be any more eeeevillll? Will Evan Lysacek rock the house? (ooohhh, I hope so...)
Oh, my goodness. It's a good thing it only lasts two weeks, or I'd never leave my house.
Actually, we did leave the house today for a little while. We headed over to the library to return my (late) books, then walked to the mall to treat the boys to a little golden arches luncheon. It was sunny today, and the light felt so good on my face, even with the frigid wind. When we got back to the house, we found this...
Uh. Crud. I guess the three feet of solid ice is a bit much for the aluminum gutter, hmmm? Every other house on our block has the same problem.
Too much water...not enough sun...
kind of like me...
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
No, not the bouncy ball...that cute little puppy would make an excellent chew toy for Raikki.
Oh, I'm just kidding. Don't be so serious.
He'd never chew on something so fuzzy.
The photo I used for this drawing was on the Flickr blog, and while I don't usually draw other people's pictures, I couldn't resist this cute pup. I figured it was just going into my sketchbook, so it wouldn't be too great an infringement, right? All credit to Flickr user shinichiro...
I was just so stinkin' glad to actually draw something again, I had to share it here.
I mentioned a time or three that during the great Snowmageddon of 2010 I was working on a papier mache project, right?
Well, that was slightly derailed by Dr. SmartyPants moving his section of the think tank into my office and taking over my table. But...he's back in Thinkville for the week, so I've got tons of space to spread out and spread glue. Maybe I'll have it finished before he comes back. My main problem is one of deciding exactly how to finish it up....I'm in need of a little burst of inspiration.
Unfortunately, my inspiration is still covered in snow.
Which should melt sometime around April, I think.
I guess I could always take a blowtorch to it.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
- There's a little patch of blue sky up there.
- I saw a Robin perched on the fence.
- Daylight is lasting longer every day.
- There are 4 days until it will be one month until spring.
- Google has really cool Olympics graphics.
- No one cried during math today.
- AND we started long division. score.
- Men's figure skating starts tonight.
- I'm not in the bumper to bumper gridlock that has become the DC commute.
- Taco pizza night.
- Hmm. Radishes. Don't ask.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Oh, mah people. It's snowing.
Maybe you've seen the news. Maybe you've seen how well our nation's capital handles such crises. Maybe you've seen the gridlock and the extreme, intense irritation of the folks in these here parts.
Yeah. It's not been good.
Our street still hasn't been plowed. There are few parking spots due to the piles of snow that people have made whilst digging their own cars out. Our next door neighbors broke our snow shovel, and can't find a replacement. The trash and recycling is piling up along with the snow.
And it is snowing.
Okay. Time for a new random list of happy things...
- Apolo Anton Ohno. And his soul patch. Could he be any cuter?
- The Olympics in general. I love 'em. I suddenly become this rabid sports fan for two weeks and just can't get enough. After those two weeks are over...there's a four-year lull in my winter sport cheering.
- Flickr. I mean seriously - do you ever just go wandering about over there? There are some seriously talented people sharing photos. Go - explore - have fun. Then come back over here and tell me what amazing things you found.
- Raikki and Chico are sleeping together. Wait. That sounds bad. I mean that they are crating together. It's a small sign of acceptance by Sir Grumplestiltskin, but it's a sign, nonetheless. We were stunned, surprised and delighted when we headed out to the store this weekend, and Chico ran and got into Raikki's crate before we could shut the door. Up until then, ever since Oscar died, Chico has had a bad case of separation anxiety. Now he's got a buddy. Things are balanced once again.
- Google Buzz. Just got it. Interested. Always happy to find another way to procrastinate and/or waste time. Thanks Google!
- Blogging. Keeps the whirlygig brain from exploding on days when I can't go outside and play. Like, say...FEBRUARY.
- c'mon...at least one more thing...surely there's something...Dove chocolates...YES! Not good for the hips, but certainly good for the soul.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
See that jacket? The one that looks like it stepped off a 1975 ski slope?
It looks like that because it stepped off a 1975 ski slope.
This one, and its twin that D has been wearing, belonged to Dr. SmartyPants and his older brother way back when. They (the jackets, not the brothers) are Sears and Roebuck classics, customized with Ferrari and Datsun and Alfa Romeo patches. Yes...Datsun. Not Nissan. DATsun.
My sweet mother-in-law pulled them out back at Thanksgiving to see if they would fit this next generation of close-in-age Ott brothers, and they were an instant hit. Everywhere we go, people ask about them - no one else has anything like it, and everybody loves the story behind them.
It almost makes me rethink my need to purge everything from my home on a twice-yearly basis...
Thursday, February 11, 2010
We left the house today! It's true! Even Dr. SmartyPants went outside! (the weather shut down the think tank...he's been thinking from home since Monday...) We even found a few cleared sidewalks, so that we could go somewhere.
We started out with the intention of heading to the Starbucks on the corner to get a coffee, but it was so great to be out and about, we headed down the road to a shopping center with a Starbucks in the Barnes & Noble bookstore. The boys had a blast, climbing over the huge piles of snow left behind by plows, and jumping into fresh, untrodden patches of snow in the FDIC courtyard.
A couple of hot chocolates, coffees and cupcakes later, we were sitting at a table in the bookstore, talking about The Beatles books on display, when a man walked down an aisle following his grey tabby on a retractable leash.
Yep. There was a man walking his cat inside the Barnes & Noble.
Shockingly enough, the cat was FREAKING OUT. It was low to the ground, ears flat against its head, hair standing up on end. It rounded a corner and slipped out of its collar, while the man tried to avoid being slapped upside the head by the retracting leash.
He chased the kitty around a couple of plinths, finally crying out to his wife, "A little help, Jill?" She gave him an exasperated look and finally helped herd the cat back to her husband. A few moments later, I saw her carrying the cat, while her husband trotted along behind her, with the soft-sided cat carrier. About that time I picked up my purse to get out my phone so I could tweet that nonsense, and Cat-Boy walked over, still holding the cat carrier, to ask if they could have our table.
Now. We weren't leaving, but even if we were, I mean...really? You're going to sit inside an eating establishment with your cat? With its little litter-digging paws?
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The snowflakes come barreling out of the sky
Drifting on breezes that come passing by.
I admit that the crystals are pleasing to see
But why can’t they fall on one other than me?
White dancing snowflakes, so merry and gay
Streak past my window nearly every other day.
At this rate I cannot imagine just how
To ever leave home without stealing a plow.
Grand larceny doesn’t seem prudent, I know.
But neither does sitting here, buried by snow.
My only conceivable doubt with this grift,
Is finding a plow that’s not stuck in a drift.
So here I sit, waiting for spring to breeze in
Dreaming of beaches, and sun on my chin,
Determined that somehow, I’ll make it through this
Without having to sacrifice more of my sanity than is absolutely necessary, are you kidding me with this freaking snowstorm?
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
I'm a huge fan of The Pioneer Woman's website. She combines lovely gorgeous spectacular photography with witty writing and delicious recipes - it's really a great place to visit.
One of the things she does really well is break down photography for those of us who don't like to read manuals...she really gives great explanations for things like aperture and shutter speed and lenses and all those things that help you take fabulous photos but are too lazy to learn the old fashioned way.
I like to participate in her photography assignments over at Flickr, too, and compare my humble photos with some of the magnificent ones there.
So...I'm completely excited that she picked one of my photographs for her first group of standouts in the latest contest! (scroll down toward the bottom and you'll see it!) It's the photo I posted to quirk yesterday, and I'm just over the moon to get a mention...seriously - go look at the Flickr group and you'll see why...
My excitement may carry me through the next blizzard...
Monday, February 08, 2010
Just so you don't forget about the other "sweet" pup in the Ottwork compound...
By the way... 7 year old chihuahua + 12 week old boxer = very grumpy chihuahua.
We're digging out here - literally. Our vehicle is technically freed of snow, although we haven't ventured out in it yet - we'll have to go out today and brave the icy streets - we're almost out of milk and dog food. Our local supermarket doesn't carry the dog food we need, so we'll be four wheeling it - in our 4WD.
We also have to stock up on food for the next few days.
BECAUSE IT'S GOING TO SNOW AGAIN.
Whew. Sorry. Had a little breakdown there. Another storm is heading our direction and threatens another six TEN TO TWENTY inches of snow on our poor little hacienda.
**deep breathing exercise**
- Knitting is going well. It would go more smoothly if I could actually count.
- My little papier mache project is coming along well. I'm excited about it, but not ready to show it yet. I'm still trying to decide the next step of it...
- The Smarty's office was closed today so he's working from home. That means I can make him drive to the store. I've made it this long without driving in snow. I really don't intend to start now.
- I've now seen every single James Bond film ever made. This week. Over and over and over. This may not be a positive.
- Factor trees. It's things like this that make homeschooling worthwhile for me.
- I got a nice little feature here.
- My kitchen floor was squeaky clean for about 5 minutes right after I got on my hands and knees and scrubbed it. And for those 5 minutes, I kept dropping food and picking it up and putting it in my mouth. Just because I could.
- quirk. Linda and I are having too much fun over there, and I've been so delighted to see some of you following it. Thank you for the warm reception.
Okay, peeps. Stay warm. Hug the ones you love. Spread some cheer.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
I hail from much warmer parts of this fine country. I grew up in Louisiana, went to college in Alabama (Roll Tide...) In those places, a threat of snow warrants a huge response. After all - no one ever talks about the snow removal budget in Bossier City, Louisiana, because there is no snow removal budget in Bossier City, Louisiana. Nor are there any snow plows.
I can remember way back in 1993 when a winter storm swept through Alabama and dumped a foot of snow on us. We were stuck in our house for nearly a week without power or water. People in the deep south just aren't prepared for big snows.
Understandably. That big storm was 17 years ago...and hasn't been repeated since.
When there is a threat of snow in the southern parts of the United States, people head out to stock up on milk and bread and other staples out of necessity. They don't know when they'll get to a store again. They have to be prepared. They get a little crazy...
Understandably. There's also very little walking to the stores going on, especially in the more rural areas.
I always assumed that here, near the Mason-Dixon line, things were different. They HAVE snow removal budgets AND equipment. They have huge beehive shaped storage sheds for salt and sand. They have huge dump trucks with snow plows on the front. They know how to handle the snow. Here in Arlington, I can walk to the grocery store a block away if I run out of milk or toilet paper or whatever.
On Thursday, however, I found out a little differently. The boys and I went out Thursday morning to do our weekend shopping, thinking we would beat whatever crowds might be developing later during the day as school let out and people left work. I did intend to stock up on milk, because I have two growing (G R O W I N G) boys that go through a gallon faster than I can buy one. I needed a few other things to round out the menu as well.
We went to Target first, and it wasn't too bad. We got the non-food items on our list, and a couple of food ones, and had they had any milk (besides that dratted chocolate soy) I probably would have been done for the morning. But, they didn't, so we headed to Safeway to finish up.
The parking lot was already packed, so I left the boys in the car and ran in on my own. I grabbed a hand basket and went back to the dairy section and grabbed a couple of gallons of milk. I added one or two other items and went to the front of the store to check out...
There were 4 cashiers and 9 million people in line.
I grabbed a spot and settled in for a long winter's nap.
And then I was entertained completely for the next few minutes while the official store announcement lady had a nervous breakdown.
"Attention: all available personnel! We need everyone to come to the front of the store. I don't care if you are a cashier, a stock person or a bagger, you need to come up front. We have got all these people up in here because of the storm prediction and it is crazy. We have got to open up some more lanes right now...you know they closed that Seven Corners store and all those people have come over here to get their groceries because of that winter storm prediction and they are crowded up in the front of this store and we have got to have some help up in here..."
I could hear the panic in her voice.
This went on for a few minutes...an announcement...a moment of silence, where I assumed she was collecting herself...another announcement.
Then...another announcement. This one was very calm.
It was also made by a completely different person.
"Attention: all cashiers. Please come to the front and open your register. Thank you."
I'm afraid someone may have been put on administrative leave.
I paid for my small basket of goods and headed out to the parking lot as this announcement by the same calm voice was aired...
"Attention: customers. We recognize that due to the large crowd there are very few shopping carts available...if you need a shopping cart...(the voice was growing more stressed)...then we suggest...you go stand in the parking lot ...and wait for one."
I have a feeling it was a very long day at the Safeway...
Saturday, February 06, 2010
Awwwwwwwwww. He's adorable!
Yes. Yes he is.
I got up at 5:45 this morning and dug him a path to the backyard, after he tried to go walking in it on his own. The snow came up to his chin and completely freaked him out. Pretty funny.
This was my morning's work in the front yard. It is already being obliterated. At 7:00 am, we were up to 17 inches, with another 5 to 9 inches forecast before the end of the storm. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny, and believe it or not, I'm eager to get out and see what two feet of snow looks like in real life.
But today? That snow is too wet for me to get out in while it's still falling...and I've got crafty, arty fun planned...
Friday, February 05, 2010
Looking on the bright side...
- I'll have plenty of time to make papier mache things, AND I have supplies for the making of...something I'm not telling you about yet.
- I'll have plenty of time to work on the sweater I just cast on the needles today. I've never knit a sweater before.
- Someone parked a snowplow right in front of my house, so there's hope that I'll actually be able to leave sometime in the next 72 hours.
- There are no desserts hidden away, so I can't get really depressed about the snow and eat myself into a size mumbleymumble.
- I've got my love to keep me warm.
- The puppy can go out in the backyard without me, now. And he likes snow.
- I'll have plenty of time to read my new book.
- I'll have plenty of time to catch up on my Netflix stack.
- I'll have plenty of time to figure out all the ins and outs of Wii Fit Plus.
- I'll have plenty of time...
Thursday, February 04, 2010
Even if they do snore like a bandsaw.
Anybody know where I can get a CPAP for a dog?
Well - the weather forecast for the weekend is calling for another great dumping of snow - up to 18 inches or so - so we're spending the day going out and about, soaking in the sunshine, and hoping for a little warmth to carry us through.
Not to mention bread and milk. We have bread. We have milk.
We will survive.
And hey - you all know Melinda? This is for her...
Now run on over there and give her a big smooch.
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Okay. I'm changing tactics.
Look! It snowed! Woo Hoo! I'm so excited! All my life I've been waiting for a snow like this. I can hardly stand staying inside and looking at it...
It really is pretty, isn't it? This is a much wetter snow than we've seen here, and so it's clinging to the tree branches and power lines and transforming the urban landscape into some sort of fantastical confectionary.
I've been staying warm and dry - crafting and photographing and drawing and Wii Fit-ing and taking an occasional nap. I'll scan the drawing I did of Raikki last night and try to get it posted tomorrow. He's got some pretty cute wrinkles and rolls of extra skin...very much fun to draw.
I have to tell you about the weird dream I had the other night.
I dreamt that I was divorcing Dr. SmartyPants and HE WAS TOTALLY OKAY WITH IT. All through the dream, I kept wondering
a. why I was divorcing him and
b. why he didn't seem to mind it at all.
Anyway - the boys and I found a nice house, located in a major drug selling area of whatever town we were living in, and the Smarty paid for it.
Needless to say, he was in trouble when I woke up. YES, I know I was divorcing him, BUT...
He could have, at least, been a little saddened by it.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
It's Groundhog Day, peeps. Punxatawney Phil saw his freakin' shadow.
Six more weeks of winter and two snowstorms predicted FOR THIS WEEK, DC.
I was so tickled that so many of you clicked over to quirk and checked out our little project. Thanks for the encouraging words, and thanks for the follows - it just reminds me that no matter the weather, I've got a nice bunch of warmth coming in through this here blogging portal.
You all are like my own personal spring breeze...
Monday, February 01, 2010
I've FINALLY painted something. I was so excited about it that I listed it in my shop, and made it my banner...
I think it's a sign that January is really over.
I hinted that Linda and I were up to something, didn't I? Oh, yes. I did!
In January, we started the quirk project - a daily photo blog, where the emphasis is less on perfection, and more on learning to relax and enjoy the process. We're planning to continue it as long as we are learning from it, and are thinking we might open it up to other photographers on a monthly basis, after February is over.
Please feel free to come visit, check out what we did in January, and hang around and heckle encourage us on our journey.