Monday, July 22, 2013

Today I'm a Widow...

Today David left at 5:15 am to load up the scouts and head to Scout camp.  Today at 5:15 am I became a widow.  A Scout Widow.  A single mom with a 1-year old boy with way too much energy sometimes.

I have been looking to this time with my fear, trepidation, and just a bit of excitement.  While I really like my husband and enjoy having him around, it will be kind of nice to just cook for me and Ben.  I eat simply.  I don't require a set table and neither does Ben.  If I don't do the dishes right away there is no one to notice but me.  If the house is a mess, no one cares but me.  My mess will not get in anyone else's way.

That's kind of a good feeling.

What I am worried about is Ben.  I have my doubts whether I will be enough for him this week.  He usually has us both at meal times and some good one on one time with each of us while the other is getting things done.  It works well for us.   It works well for him.  But just me?

I have also been thinking of all the things that I want to do while David is gone. Things like:

* Clean the house from top to bottom.  Really clean.  Vacuum under everything, clean the curtains, dust the world.

* Make a wall hanging for the bedroom.

* Finish the pictures I started to frame and get them hung.

* Paint the downstairs living room.

* Make a wall hanging for the kitchen.

* Paint the laundry room so that it no longer feels like the orphan room of the house.

* Organize Ben's room and get rid of what we're not using for him.  I have a bajillion pairs of pajamas that are all too hot for his size stuffed in drawers and shelves to get them out of the way.

* Go through my clothes and get rid of things that I don't wear anymore.

*Organize the kitchen drawers and shelves.  I seriously wish I had time to take every little thing out of every little space in my whole house and place it with purpose.

I know that I should schedule in some downtime but right now that feels like the last thing I want to do.  I just want to take advantage of this time and accomplish great things while there is no other adult around to... well get in my way. 

At least that's the wish... reality usually tells me differently.  Reality says I'm trying to do more than is possible.  Or am I?

Taken on USU campus at the top of the amphitheater.  I love the gnarled roots with new life.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Thought

Sometime I wish I could photograph feelings.

A touch, a smile, laughter, smoky fire.  

Completeness.  Wholeness.  Love.

I can see things.  I can watch them happen.  But how do I capture the feelings that rise up in the heart?  How do I take a perfect and complete moment and transfer it to something visual.  Something to help remember a perfect moment in time.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Too Much Information

That isn't a warning.  Or maybe it is.

Lots has been happening around the Sullivan household.  One of the many is that we made the mistake of watching these two documentaries on food.  "Hungry for Change" and "Forks Over Knives".  I say mistake because now I know too much.  Now if I choose to ignore the information I have been given... well, I'm kind of stupid.

Since watching these two documentaries, which can be found on Netflix streaming, David and I have tried to incorporate more healthy choices into our meals.  We've been trying to make our food count for something besides filling up our stomachs.  I have signed up for Bountiful Baskets.  My grocery list has more fruits and vegetables on it than ever before.  My fridge and counter tops are filled with fresh foods and I am trying to figure out how to use such things as fresh brussel sprouts and kale.

We now have a juicer which is great for helping us get our fruits and veggies in.  Especially the ones that we don't really like or know what to do with (kale, beets, etc.).  Or for me, those that I will only eat with Ranch dressing.  Carrots, apples, and tangerines make a great breakfast juice by the way.  You can even add celery (which I will not eat fresh because I don't like it) and lime juice for a little zip.  In fact you can add just about anything and get all those good nutrients that you normally wouldn't because you just don't. 

We also have a counter top pressure cooker which is quickly becoming a favorite item.  This one I entirely blame on Tawnya and Isaac because they got one and preached of its loveliness.  And it is lovely.  Rice and beans and other things cook so fast and... perfectly.  Sigh.

There are more reasons behind this change than just watching documentaries.  Our health for example.  We have private health insurance with a high deductible which means that a whole lot of money will be coming out of our pocket before that deductible is met.  Oddly enough we don't have a whole lot of money sitting around waiting to come out of our pockets.  So the healthier we get, the better off we are. 

Other benefits are there too.  Eating more fruits and veggies has actually given me more energy than before.  I have been able to do really dang stinkin' hard workouts and do them well!  I haven't gotten quite as sore and I feel like I have more energy.  I LOVE it.  I Love being able to do more with my body.  To feel capable.  I'm not talking marathons or anything, but one of my main goals has always been to be able to move the mass I've got.  I may not be able to lose the weight that I want, but I wanted to make sure that I was active enough to move it around and do what I want. 

I feel good.  I mean good.  It used to be that to have a day, a full day where I actually felt all the way "good"... no bloated feeling or cramping or blahness that I have completely gotten used to as "my normal", was unheard of.  I never ever felt "good".  "Fine" sure.  "Okay" you bet.  But "good" really and truly "good"?  Now in fairness it's not all the time, but I have had more good days than not so good days.  So I call that a win.

It also does not mean that I will never have another dessert again because that's simply not possible.  It just means that perhaps, just perhaps I won't be so addicted to them.  And if I'm not so addicted to desserts, then perhaps I actually will lose weight.  Hmmm.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.
(You're welcome)

So that's what's been happening here in our neck of the woods. Between the deforesting of our forest and the state of our bellies, I think we're having a pretty successful Summer.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Out of Retirement

I know, you didn't know I was in retirement right!?!  Well it was one of those things that sort of befell the blog.  It was neglected.  It was forgotten.  I apparently retired it and didn't tell anyone.  I was content to let it go.

But like actors, ball players, and musicians everywhere, I've decided to make a comeback.  I should start with something big, maybe with fireworks.  So here you go.

Okay, now that that's taken care of.  On to the blogging.  I've had a busy Summer.  A good chunk of it has been spent on the yard.  I've made three flower beds where there were none before.  I have planted the garden, mowed the lawn faithfully, and tackled the plethora of tree stumps in our yard.

When we moved in three years ago, this is what one section of our yard looked like.  I wish that I had a better shot of this.  Something that could show the whole thing top to bottom. It was just...well amazing.  Impenetrable.  A section of forest.  Someone could have set up camp back there and we'd have never known.

It happens to be the section that I have been removing stumps from.  I have taken out no less than 23 stumps from our backyard.  Some big, some small.  Some will have to be professionally removed because they are just too big.  So of the ones that I can do myself I have 5 to go.  This has taken me all summer thus far and I honestly can't wait to get the last 5 out and gone.  Some tricks that I have learned about stump removal:

1) If at all possible, don't cut down the trees, get a truck and a chain and pull them out because then the stump comes with it and no need for removal or buckets of sweat for years to come.  Had I known this three years ago when we moved in... Oy.

2)  Since I didn't know about the glory of tree removal by truck, we had lots and lots and lots of stumps. So the next step, or first, is to prune the snot out of it so you can see where the stump actually is without the camouflaging effect of wannabe branches.

3)  Next dig all around it, nice and deep.  Depending on size you can start prying them out with your shovel and some of them will actually come up!  I think 2 of mine did... early on so that I thought it was easy and would keep going.

4) After you've dug and hopefully located the major roots get your handy dandy pruning sheers and clip em!  At first I just tried to chop through them with my shovel.  That is stupid.  And hard.  My pruners are much sharper than my shovel and it goes much much quicker.  I'm pretty sure I had 7 stumps under my belt before I learned that little trick.

5)  Now that you've cut the major arteries, pull the sucker out!  If it still won't come then position yourself ground level, feet towards the offending stump, place your foot (either one, I prefer my right foot) on the stump and start kicking the tar right out of it!  This does 2 things.  First it helps you get some anger out at having to still deal with the stump and your own stupidity at not getting a truck and a chain in the first place; you can even grunt if you want to.  Second, it shakes more dirt loose and you can often find the one major artery that slipped by the clippers making it impossible to pull out.

6) Now you can truly remove the stump! After clipping the artery, stand yourself up, brush yourself off and pick up that stump.  Hold it high for the world to see and declare your victory!  "Down you offending and badly placed tree!  May your remaining roots rot!"

Too dramatic?  Well it's kind of what I felt like doing.  But mostly I just threw the stump to the side and laid on the grass while I caught my breath.

This is what that section of yard looks like now.

So how there's a fence?  At the tops of the pine trees that you saw in the first picture, well there are three of them.  Well actually there were 4 but we took one out last year when we FOUND it!  That's right, entire trees were living in our yard that we didn't know where there.

Here's another shot.

It's not really all that great still, but before the summer is out we hope to have most of that area under the trees converted back to grass with a bench seat underneath the pines and maybe some Virginia Creeper along the fence line for a bit more privacy (since we cut the privacy right out).  Which means 5 more stumps and a whole lot of digging and tilling the ground to get things evened out.  Oddly taking out 23 stumps leaves a few holes.

What have you been up to?  Any cool gardening tips?  I need all the help I can get!