Saturday, May 29, 2010

I, For One, Welcome Our New Strawberry Overlords

...Into mah bell-ay! Before M had to leave for work today, we decided to gather the strawberries, as neither of us has felt up to it for a couple of days. Teamwork would make the task go faster, we figured, especially as well as those little buggers hide! (You'd think, being bright red, they would be easy to see amidst the dark green of the leaves and grass surrounding them, but you'd be wrong.)

We. Hit. The. Mother. Lode.
The first row we encountered gave us a full pint on its own. The next three rows gave us a combined 2 pints. The fifth and final row...well...see for yourself.

All told, we gathered 4 pints:Plus however many are in this bowl (we ran out of half-pint containers):
* Stringham high: Strawberry Supernova!
* Stringham low: M's sick (still/again)
* Stringham super-high: M's new job starts Tuesday, and he works four 12s, followed by two days off, then four 12s, two days off, etc. This equals 8 to 20 hours of automatic OT a his new level of pay. My husband rocks!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Snowballs in Hell...I'm "Reviewing" a Movie

This is a bit of a departure, I know, but I have to say how much I love a movie. I had initially never planned to watch the movie, thinking it was too much of a chick flick. But then a trailer made me laugh, so I thought, Why not?

I just finished watching Julie & Julia. I completely loved it! Why? I can't really's a general feeling, really. Mostly, I think, it's that I see myself in Julie and Julia. I love the absolute certainty of cooking, like Julie. I love cooking--the more people I'm cooking for, the better. And like Julia...well, I suppose maybe I flatter myself by seeing a lot of Julia in myself. And in many ways, I see some of the not-so-great characteristics of Julie in me, too.

But I identified with the movie, and I loved it. In so many ways, it was familiar, but touching and hopeful, too.

And the portrayals of Julia and Paul made me cry. The personalities and the relationship come through as absolutely touching. Every time they were shown on screen, I saw a wonderful couple.

All in all, see the movie if you haven't already. I laughed. I cried. It was brilliant.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Everything's Gone Green (Again)

Aside from last week's rain possibly drowning out our newly planted corn, that rain and the heat of the past couple days have been great for everything else we're growing (intentionally or not--we've had a bunch of potato plants pop up in the corn this year...guess we didn't get them all dug up last fall). Here are some pictures.

This is the rose bush that was moderately small when we moved in and grew mostly UP last year, past the eaves and producing just a few blooms. We snipped it, getting tired of walking into thorns, and this is the result...

This is one of the four rows of potatoes--our early producers. Already, this row has more plants (and healthier) than we had all together last year. (If you look closely along the very right edge of the picture, you might also see some of the bush beans coming up).
I'm not going to post pictures of the things like greens and root crops that have just barely sprouted; the sugar maples, which have had to struggle mightily against nibbling deer; or the "flowering trees" Mike planted this winter that arrived from the Arbor Day Foundation as nothing but sticks in December, ready for planting (those trees are still barely more than sticks, and most probably won't make it). I have, however, posted a picture (left) of the orchard and berry patch. The long shot is the only way to get everything in the shot, and I left out quite a bit of strawberries patch and the dwarf pear tree to get the rest of the berries and trees in. (The tall grass in the background is just stuff we aren't mowing'll eventually get taken over by trees--probably nuts and some more fruits--and more berries if we have our way.)

Nothing is REALLY big yet, but the trees are clearly visible against the grass this year, whereas last year they were mostly just sticks with some green. This dwarf 5-in-1 pear tree is a real overachiever. Everything in the second shot is new growth this spring.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Cherry on Top

Honestly, I love you all, and I've been in contact with most of you this week (come to think of it, that's strange)...and I've been able to hang out with some of you this week, and that's even better. Super-duper! But honestly, when I opened Google to search for something and saw that the image was a Pac-Man board? I was incredibly excited.
When I accidentally found out that it was playable, and I progressed into Act II? Oh my god, I almost peed myself from the excitement. Seriously!
This could quite possibly be the highlight of my week! (Apologies to anyone who feels offended. I know very few of you understand my love of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac.) Maybe it's just the cherry on top of a sundae of a week. But this is quite possibly the most brilliant thing Google has ever done, IMHO. (Yes, it's an overstatement, but I'm excited from conversations and hopped up on caffeine and good news!)

* Stringham high:Playable Google Pac-Man logo.
* Stringham low: What? Sure, hunger, pain, suffering in the world, but it's these little things that dis...ooh, Pac-Man!
* Stringham super-high: Hello! It's a PLAYABLE logo!!!!!!!

I'm not going to get ANY work done today....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Things are Moving in the Right Direction

* Stringham high: Found a lab that will do lab tests for pretty cheap, and without the need to go through the hassle of getting orders from the doctor. And no appointment necessary.
* Stringham low: Several gray, chilly days in store. And I was really enjoying the sunshine and warmth...
* Stringham super-high: Mike got the job he interviewed for on Friday! $3 more an hour--still not much, but better. More details forthcoming as I get them from him...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pots of Gold

It's a bit of an inside joke, but one of my friends keeps wishing me luck finding a pot of gold, or to keep looking for a pot of gold, or a leprechaun, or always something along those lines.

In an email today, she wished me the same, and I realized that this week has been full of little pots of gold everywhere. One was in touching base again with a very dear friend that I had, regrettably, fallen into only sporadic contact with, and rediscovering a heart of gold and the priceless treasure that had drawn me to be her friend in the first place. Another was in a rather substantial gift from a new friend, just for doing my job--I guess you could call it a "bonus" of sorts.

Other little pots of gold, though slightly less emotional, are no less dramatic or awe-inspiring: a handful of strawberries a day from our berry patch, an explosion of iris blooms after last night's rain where last year there was only one plant, an interview today that may lead to a better job for my husband, another new friend offering to help with no benefit to herself.

Sure, the world can be full of sadness and disappointment, but, oh, what beauteous joys it holds for those who pay attention!

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." —Helen Keller

“We humans are social beings. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others' activities. For this reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.” —The Dalai Lama

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Tools of the Trade

I've spent almost all day working on my book...sort of. I spent hours on the phone chatting with a friend who is designing my book cover, and she mentioned getting a Facebook page going for it. What a brilliant idea! "It takes care of itself," she told me. So, Year of Shadow and Light now has a Facebook page. I figure I hate writing, so I need people watching me and eagerly awaiting updates to keep me on my toes. And if I can get interest for the book and awareness of IIH and its potential effects moving before the book even gets published, all the better! Now, I just need to get a website going and get the book written (won't be done until at least October 2010), published, and printed, and we'll be all set!

If you're on Facebook and haven't already received an invitation, check out the page by searching for Year of Shadow and Light. Become a member, and tell all your friends!

* Stringham high: The book cover is in progress.
* Stringham low: Nadda today.
* Stringham super-high: Shameless self-promotion rocks!