Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Day's Work



Here's the swimsuit. It's all done except for the elastic in the waist and the bra inserts. I have to actually fit those things on her, and my dd is not home yet.

She picked the fabric, not I!

And I could not get the picture to rotate the right way. Oh, well.

The suit is a two piece. It was interesting to construct, as it has panties, shorts and skirt sewn all together for the bottom. It's a bit heavy, which is why the waist band MUST be snug. The top has a shelf bra in it, and once I get them in, bra pads as well. Standard swimsuity type stuff. The whole thing was easy to do, and the fabric was fun to work with.

Today

I am going to sew my daughter this swimsuit. The cute style on the right side of the page that is being worn by the teenage girl. I'll post a picture of the suit when I'm done (but not with my dd in it).

I'm very grateful to have a daughter who WANTS to be modest! She asked for this. How cool is that!

This will be the second swim suit I've ever sewn. They aren't as hard to do as one would think.

Fashion Question

Hem lines for skirts seem to be falling just below the knee these days. This is a cute look.

Am I to old to wear a skirt that comes just below my knee? It seems like most of the women I see wearing this length are younger than I am. Is it an age thing, or is it merely that most women my age (37) or at least the ones I know, don't update their wardrobes often enough?

Help me out here. I"m clueless when it comes to fashion.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Slow Start

Other than my four mile walk this morning, I'm having trouble getting out of the starting blocks. So I'm posting my to do list on the internet. How lame is that?

1. Make bed
2. Clean up kitchen.
3. Bake gfcf bread for my dd.
4. Bake something sugar free for me to keep in the freezer (oatmeal cookies, perhaps?)
5. Put away my laundry.
6. Shower.
7. Tidy up living room and sweep all floors.
8. Dust.
9. Oversee kids school work (sort of happening already).
10. Make a couple of phone calls. (I hate "businessy" type calls. Blech.)

All I want to do is lay around and read. If I can get it all done, I'll take us all to the pool this afternoon. I can lay around and read there, I reckon.

Update:

I never did make it to the pool and did not get any time to read.


BUT...I got everything done but the phone calls. Figures! And the gluten free bread was done first thing this morning.

BUT...I also took stuff to the thrift store, found a pair of shorts, then later on went BACK to the thrift store with my dd who had NO summer clothes, and got her a bunch of stuff and a skirt, top and two more pairs of shorts for me, all for less than thirty bucks because they were having "half off" day.

And I went for a second walk in the evening with my husband, bringing my walking mileage for the day up to 5.5 miles!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Woo Hoo!

My local library is developing a foreign language collection. Mostly Spanish, to be sure, but lots of other languages as well. Today I checked out Harry Potter in German...and in French!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Raise some Money for Autism Speaks

For every click on this wonderful video by FiveforFighting, they will donate a certain amount to Autism Speaks. I think it's $0.49, or something like that. They are hoping to get 10,000 hits. Let's make it more!

Go see the video and forward this to your friends. What Kind of World Do You Want?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Providence

God provides!

I've been praying about textbooks for next year. So far someone sent us the right Biology text book because their kid didn't like it, and today my dd's Spanish teacher loaded us down with a Spanish 2 text, Teacher's Manual, and a bunch of Spanish 1 workbooks and a couple of easy Spanish novels that will be on the right level for next year.

It's a start, and a huge gift! Thank you, God!

My daughter's teacher also told me that my daughter is hands down the BEST language student she's ever had the pleasure to teach. I"m very proud.

Babble, babble

Well, catechism class went well last night. One of the people, afterwards said I should teach stuff more often.

Don't I wish!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What is all this for?

Wes and I had a conversation the other night while we were out walking. (Yes, we've become that middle aged couple who walks together three nights a week...good for the body AND the marriage.)

He was telling me about how a co-worker of his sent him a link to a house outside of L-ville in the country. Eight Acres. Four bedroom house. $178,000. Well, we aren't tempted. No, really we aren't. No even ready to THINK about moving to Louisville. The new-to-us commuter car is saving scads of gas money.

Besides, I've been walking these neighborhood streets for ten years with my "Lord Have Mercy"s and my prayer rope. Greeting the people. Shy, but trying to invest myself somewhat.

And I reminded him of old conversations. It's hard to be downwardly mobile when you start at the very bottom. And believe me, that's where we started. But, as the years go by things are a bit better...one can be intentionally non-upwardly mobile. That is what we embrace.

When we bought our house in this not-so-cool neighborhood, the realtor, by way of complimenting my husband, predicted we'd be moving up in two or three years. Young families start out in the Meadows, but no one wants to stay.

But we have this idea of just buying our house. Of just living here. It seems weird. Our Church is in another town, and work is in another town, but ages ago...back when we lived in Wilmore...I was running an errand to the north side of Lexington (there used to be a military surplus store on Louden Ave.) and felt this weird pull. One of those God-thing pulls. It was not until AFTER we bought our house that I realized we were two blocks from where I'd felt that pull.

And we intentionally wanted to move into a mixed neighborhood. It used to be black and white. Now it's black, white and brown, since NAFTA.

So what is it all for? Why am I here in this uncool neighborhood that is still not ghetto enough for us to count as being super radically downwardly mobile in the embrace of it? Embrace blue collar mediocrity for Jesus with your over-educated white collar selves? What's that? Is there some sort of ministry here?

There's still this longing, this God-thing tug to be HERE. I just don't know how that's gonna look beyond my walking around with my "Lord have Mercy"s.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hangs head in shame...

Yes, it's true. I finally ventured on the scale this past weekend. Eeeeep! Time to nip the creeping re-gain in the bud before it overtakes all my hard earned success.

So I've started YET ANOTHER blog...a diet blog. So I don't clog this wonderful blog with boring diet stuff. And yes, writing about dieting IS boring. But necessary for us writerly types, I guess. Dieting is like an inescapable reality. Wish I could make it a lifestyle and forever be done with it. Still working on that one.

Allow me to introduce: Move Your Bloomin' Arse

Monday, May 21, 2007

Aaaack!

My priest asked me to teach the catechism class this Wednesday night. Only, instead of using normal catechism materials that he's working through, he wants me to pull something together for a special add-on. He has people do that when he's got a conflict. That way, he's in charge of the basic stuff, and other people in the parish bring in "extras".

Some of the tonsured readers, from what I understand, have spoken about the Church calendar, or upcoming feasts...things like that. I'm not a tonsured reader and most of my intellectual life is spent re-learning English grammar as I teach it to my kids. I told Fr. that I'm incapable of those topics (liturgics and calendar stuff and the theology behind it all) and what should I talk about?

He was not much help, but in the space of our conversation I said: What about talking about just living life as an Orthodox Christian, you know...the down and dirty when the newness of it all wears off and the honeymoon is over? What about talking about learning to pray with the saints, especially the Theotokos, and sharing what that looks like practically, or at least one model of what that looks like practically...warts and all?

My priest said "Bingo! That's what you should talk about. But I want you to be prepared."

So, I have until Wednesday night. Aaaaaaaaaack! How on earth do I pull together materials, brilliant quotations, etc. about this topic, for a CLASS?????

Much more realistic to my life would be: "OK, catechumens, let's go on a three mile walk and pray the Jesus Prayer. Now, do this again tomorrow. And the day after that, and the day after that." Lather, rinse, repeat. Fail miserably at any discipline, pick yourself up, dust off the prayer rope/books/whatever, and do it again.

The wisest thing anyone ever told me about prayer is: Have a prayer rule. Add just a wee bit on to it each year. That was my old priest who moved to Florida. He was very wise.

So, say a prayer for me that I don't blow this utterly. Visions of millstones dance through my head.

Friday, May 18, 2007

I just love this picture!


I look so happy and full of joy...it's from last year.

Just thought I'd share it again.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lonely and Bereft



The Ascension is one feast I sure don't understand very well. It's not quite as warm and fuzzy as the Nativity, with a sweet newborn baby God born in a manger. It's not the same as Holy Friday with its rending grief, or the expected unexpected joy of Pascha.

By now I'm thoroughly sick of singing Christ is risen from the dead. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think. Enough already. Christ is risen, and I'm still fat. Christ is risen and the house is still perpetually cluttered. Christ is risen and there is laundry to fold. Christ is risen and I still have to battle these constant voices in my head telling me I'm not enough of whatever it is I ought to be enough of.

But my mind goes to the precious story of Jesus by the lake, when his disciples are out fishing, when they recognize him, and there's a fire going, fish cooking, and Peter jumps out of the boat and lunges, swims, splashes toward Jesus. I like Peter in that moment. That is so like something I would do.

I imagine myself lunging toward the risen Christ, somewhere idyllic, somewhere calm, by a lake. Out of doors. One of my favorite things in the world is a camp fire in fresh morning air. I can really picture that scene. I wish I could eat fish by a fire with Jesus. I wish it so bad it leaves a lump in my throat, sometimes, thinking of it.

And then comes the ascension. Up, up and away! There he goes, and I know it's supposed to be all glorious, and transformative. I know all the reasons...anthropos united with God, this stuff of bone and flesh and hair enthroned in heaven. God. Human. The Holy Trinity is burst wide open and we have fellowship. The cross opened the gates of paradise. I KNOW all that. I sat there listening hard to the hymns last night at Vigil.

But all I can think of is: I want to be by that lake, in the early morning. Eating roasted fish by a campfire with Jesus. I don't want Him to go away!

And the ascension leaves me bereft.

My suspicion is that Ascension is hard because I barely comprehend Pentecost. Hopefully this year some light will dawn, beyond the personal tongue-speaking-dog-and-pony-show that being filled with the Holy Spirit was made out to be in my charismatic youth, or the "entire sanctification thou shalt be therefore perfect" schtick of my methodist days. Or the Holy Spirit-as-straightjacket stuff from my Mennonite days.

The only thing I know right now is that this Theosis thing, this Holy Spirit thing, has got to be entirely up to God because my sinfulness goes straight to the core of my being. But I also know that I want communion with God, that I want to have breakfast with Jesus by a lake somewhere, that I want to touch the hem of his garment and be healed. Jesus I can imagine, but the Holy Spirit is a person who is harder to know.

So the Ascension leaves me lonely.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Anecdote

I took the kids to the park yesterday. I swear, I think I have a sign floating over my head that only bums can see. So often I get approached.

Now, lots of times, I'll go out of my way to seek a needy person out, and talk to that person and ask if there is anything I can do to help, etc. Just a week or so ago, I ended up having a delightful conversation that even ended in prayer (the prayer was his suggestion, not mine), with tears streaming down our faces as we interceded for this homeless man's sick wife who had kicked him out. Beautiful prayer to Jesus.

Well, yesterday was not so wonderful. But not really really bad either. I'm sitting on the bench watching my son practice his skating in the skate park. He was going down into the empty-pool-like basins designed for skaters and skate boards. His first time ever at the park, on in-line skates. He was doing alright for a beginner, and the very few older guys that were there were mostly just sitting around talking, with an occasional swoop on the skate board for either showing off or fun, or both.

So, this homeless-looking man sits down next to me and introduces himself: Wayland...perhaps. I barely caught his name because his speech was so slurred. Was he drunk? He didn't smell drunk but he sort of sounded it. Or he'd had so much drink in his life that this was his normal mode. Something. I kept waiting for him to ask for money but he didn't. Soon he is watching my son. Soon he is cheering my son on, and giving obnoxious unsolicited advice. I told him to lay off on the advice, that my son is a beginner and just needs to get a feel for things himself. He apologized and we went back to watching. But soon he started up again, with the advice. "Hey buddy, you need to bend you knees, and then pop up when you hit the rim!" There was no rim-hitting or popping happening. More like enthusiastic wobbling, and this supposed Dogtown retiree just would. not. stop. He had told me he was from whatever place in California skating stemmed from. Whatever. I've watched Dogtown, too, you know.

I had to go check on the girls. After giving a push on a swing, I wandered back over to where my son was, and this man was over there, WITH him, coaching him, etc.

I gave a pointed look up to the group of young men/guys sitting on the edge of the skate rink. You got my back? I thought it, and I think they got it.

"Hi, what did you say your name was? Wayland? Come here, we need to talk!" Mamabear mode: I led him out of the skate rink. Then I nicely let him have it: "Listen, you are a stranger at a park and he's a kid. I really need for you to quit talking to him and leave him alone!" Wayland got it, muttered an apology and left. I felt very good about being assertive.

Then the young men called out to me: "We are so sorry, we totally thought he was with you, otherwise we would have gotten rid of him for you!" Was that chivalry? Or just convenient words? At least I felt safer, like they WOULD have helped me if I'd have needed help.

One young man, who was so graceful on his skateboard it was breathtaking to watch, came over and introduced himself and shook my hand. The owner of Hellbellies Skate Shop. My son was having some trouble with the clasps on his ill-fitting blades (thrift store, what can I say?) and he gave us a bit of advice.

Savvy buisnessman, that graceful Evan with the goatee and earrings. I hope I can patronize his shop someday.

Candied Meth

Apparently there is a new drug on the streets: Candied Meth. It comes in many different flavors, and resembles Pop Rocks. One of the street names is Strawberry Quick. And yes, it seems to be targeted to children, somewhat. I checked it out at snopes.com since I'd first heard about it via an eternally forwarded e-mail, and I tend not to trust those. Sure enough, it's for real.
It first started showing up on the streets in January of this year, so it is very very new. And yes, it is being found in schools. Nasty, evil, vile, whoever invented it! There's a nice cute picture of pretty pink candy at this link!

Friday, May 11, 2007

A good book

was implicated in keeping up a bit past my bed-time last night. I was sneaky. The rest of the house slumbered while the pages kept turning. Before I knew it, it was 3:15 am! I was smart, and made sandwiches for my husband (yeah, I know...He can do it, but hates to so I do it.) before I went to bed so I would not feel like I had to get up early and see him off. Breakfast was an evening-made batch of muffins sitting on the table with a kitchen towel draped over them, so that way the kids were taken care of as well. So, I slept in a wee bit. But 7:45 am is still mighty early when burning the mega-post-midnight oil.

Whee, I"m loopy right now!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sitting at Her Feet


"Rejoice O Virgin Theotokos, Mary full of grace. The Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the savior of our souls!"

She teaches me to be yielded to God.
She teaches me about quiet grace.
She teaches me about grief and joy, about longing and fulfillment to be found only in God.
She teaches me about purity and chastity.
She teaches me about faithfulness.
She teaches me about her Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
She teaches me about dying well.
She teaches me about living.
She teaches me in a stable in Bethlehem.
She teaches me receiving wisemen and kings.
She teaches me about motherhood, with Christ in her arms.
She teaches me with a Mother's searching heart.
She teaches me with her boldness before her Son.
She teaches me about faithfully following this God whom she bore.
She teaches me at the foot of the cross.
She teaches me with the myrrh bearing women, surprised by the empty tomb.
She teaches me watching on a hill.
She teaches me about letting go.
She teaches me about God's incomprehensibly bigger plans.
She teaches me to await and to receive the Holy Spirit.
She teaches me about prayer.
She teaches me about quietness in holiness.
She teaches me about love.
She teaches me about being all God's.

Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for me a sinner, now and at the hour of my death.
image link

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Morning Face Challenge

My friend Lisa has issued a morning face challenge on her blog. Ah, yes! The unvarnished truth of what women look like first thing in the morning.

Quite frankly, since I don't wear much make-up, and when I do it's only a little bit, the skin part of this challenge is not so scary.

And then there's the hair. I'm one of these people who does need to put some serious effort into my appearance to only get a modicum of goodness from my looks. Especially my hair!

Well, never one to shirk a challenge, here's me, and all my morning glory. I'm 37 years old, have a bit of gray in my hair, and am eternally struggling to merely be/stay plump.

Some wiser person on another blog said it well: It's time to let the younger women shine. What a relief! I was never much good at that, anyways.

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the read of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." --Proverbs 31:25-30, NIV

That which is Mundane

I sure did enjoy my break from fibro for the last couple of months! Here we go again. I guess that's what the exhaustion is from. I'm definitely hurting again, but it's slightly milder than before. And I can still do more than I used to be able to do. So it goes. The http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifreversal protocol works much the same as that for gout: I take the meds, they do their thing and cyclically (sometimes on, sometimes not on) the meds pull the gunk out that's causing the fibro symptoms. This gunk removal causes symptoms to be temporarily exacerbated. And then after a time, I get a symptom free break. And then it begins again. In about five years I should be done cycling altogether. Meanwhile, I live with this up and down. However, my down is not nearly as low as it used to be. And my up times are more like normal, and they are lasting longer. This last good phase was from early lent until now. Thanks God!

I finally put two and two together yesterday when I was needing a nap at around 2 pm. I'd spent the morning alternating between helping kids with lessons, doing laundry, and doing lots of cooking and clean up in the kitchen: Got a turkey going early in the morning (I stick it in frozen, so it takes a long time), and when it was cooked I made stuffing our of left-over gluten free bread bits that I'd been saving in the freezer and stuck it in the fridge to be baked for dinner, I made banana muffins which the kids promptly devoured, I made salmon croquettes for lunch...so I was busy and then I needed to rest.

But my rest did not take as long, and after only a bit, I was recovered enough to run an errand. Did that, and then I sort of took it easy until supper time. There was NO WAY I was going to mow the lawn. I did not have THAT in me! But then I was able to run another errand after supper. I wanted to get some gfcf bread at the health food store, since I often have trouble with my loaves not turning out. I figured it would be good to have an emergency stash. Well, this morning I went to toast a piece for one of my kids and suddenly I'm way more impressed with my humble gfcf brad efforts because the store bought bread also fell apart. So much for toast. I turned it into French toast, instead, and the texture was kind of gluey. My bread's better.

I guess I'm baking bread today.

May God be glorified in the mundanity of my life. Mundanity...is that a word?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Exhausted

Nine months of mega stress....most of it that, after the first couple of months, I've managed to bury deep...are coming to a resolution.

What do you do after the stress is over? I think it all comes spewing out, to be resolved and healed. More tears today than I'd have thought necessary. And I'm so tired I can barely think.

It has everything to do with getting a car. Everything to do with dh's job situation resolving. All of that. It started last August and now it's resolved.

The good news is, my hair was short last summer, but when dh quit his job, I stopped getting it cut. Through the worst part of growing it out now, and it is healthier than it's been in years, past my shoulders and getting longer every day, and very, very curly.

So I got good hair out of the stress.

My first year back at homeschooling is almost over, and has gone really well. So that's more "resolution". Just a few more weeks. We are on the same schedule as the public schools, so not many more days. Kids have composition books filled with completed work. Not that anyone is looking. But it's a good feeling, nonetheless.

But yes, I'm ready for summer break. I seriously could use a vacation or a retreat, or something like that. But that ain't happening. So I'll muddle along and try to recover.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Woo Hoo!


Income tax refund and now we are a two car family. Of course, car deux is a beater (1999 Nissan Sentra), but it will get better gas mileage on "ze longe commutte" hither and yon to L-vile and back (no that's not a typo...well, it was and then I sort of thought it was funny so I left it...).

The first thing one of the kids said, when we got back from the used car lot was: "You mean now we can go to the LIBRARY whenever we want????!!!!"

Tee hee, isn't it great? ...the library...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Generation Gap

I wandered into the Family (Christian) Bookstore last night in search of pre-teen appropriate "cool" music. She wanted Hillary Duff for her eleventh birthday and I said Hillary was so "over". We don't much keep up with pop culture around here, so I sort of got away with that. We certainly don't know who's the latest who. Which makes me think I can get away with buying some Contemporary Christian Music for the child and she'll be happy.

I spent my teen years in Nashville, surrounded by people in the CCM music scene. I was rather under-impressed. Same three producers. Same sound. Lather, rinse, repeat. Those were the eighties. These are the 00's. Kathy Triccoli, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith are still at it, but other than that: Oh, how things have changed!

So, I walk into the store and explain what I'm looking for. No problem! Soon I was ensconced at a demo-listening station perusing the likes of "Superchick" and Zoegirls. Superchick was too "punk" (OK, even that term dates me, I'm sure...is punk still a word?) for an elven year old, so I decided on the Zoegirls greatest hits CD, and another that I bought unheard by a group called Barlowgirls. They aren't getting any points for an original band name but their sound was pretty good and the lyrics were just what I would want my eleven year old daughter to be listening to. Christian bubblegum. I gave it a whirl in my van Cd player while running around to the other stores for the rest of the birthday stuff.

The lyrics on both CD's are fine. The music, on the other hand, makes me feel distinctly OLD. I didn't care for it very much. Not "easy listening" enough. Of course, my definition of "easy listening" is 70's rock and 80's pop and yes, I admit it, country.

I had to laugh at the rite of passage that this represented. Don't parents always hate their kid's music? I'm determined to be cool about the music, as long as the lyrics are uplifting and faith-building.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

What Does the Lord Require of Us?


...love mercy, seek justice, and walk humbly with our God...

So often, what comes to mind when I think of this part of Holy Scripture, is the place a few blocks away that feeds homeless people seven days a week, three meals a day. So often I think of things to vote for. So often I think of the downtrodden whom I don't even know and can't really personally do much for anyways. Or there's the favorite social justice issue du jour that only affects me insofar as it might impact the places I shop. Pretty cushy, on my end of things, isn't it?

Lisa, over at Author Intrusion is thinking about such things, and asking some very good questions. Her thoughts reminded me of what I was thinking about yesterday:

In my little bitty life as a mother, a homeschooling mother, a Stay-At-Home-Mom (and all the supposedly unappreciated bourgeoisie that that implies), how much do I hold these words at arms length, instead of embracing them right here, right now?

Do I love mercy? Or do I come down hard and unmercifully on my own children? Do I love mercy when I think about my own sins, or do I constantly berate myself and never ever accept God's forgiveness? Do I love mercy in my attitudes and thoughts and words about other people? Am I truly merciful to them...my family, the people in my parish, my friends and acquaintances, my neighbors, the other drivers on the road, the tired person who is scanning my groceries, the frequent posters on the e-mail lists I receive, or am I quick to criticize and judge either out loud or in my head and heart?

Do I seek justice? Do I take the time to really listen and discern when my kids start fighting with each other? When they have a "situation", or do I just throw some parental platitude in the general direction of the noise that neither is just, nor instructs them in better ways, but is merely lazy on my part? The need for justice is not only "out there", but also "in here", inside these for walls. If I were a Queen and this were my kingdom, would my rule be just?

Do I walk humbly with my God? Or do I get all proud of myself when I manage to pray three days in a row, imagining myself to be on such a sure footing, when in reality I constantly fall? Do I act and think and in my deepest heart believe that I really actually have to save myself (thereby spurning God's gift of salvation while all the while claiming to embrace it)? Do I humbly accept God's forgiveness, or do I keep it at arms length? Do I remember, acknowledge and worship God always, even when it is an act of the will rather than a comfortable, cozy, emotional experience? Do I walk humbly with my God?

I write all this not to disparage the call for social justice, and works of mercy outside of one's family. No, no, no! Not at all. It's just that unless it's starting, growing and firmly established here at home and in my own heart, I know there will be nothing at all to do or to give to others.

I measure myself, and come up lacking...as usual. God have mercy!

(picture link)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Is it, or isn't it?

Inquiring minds want to know what is up with the mystery bite. Well, nothing is up. That's what is up. It is giving me absolutely no pain unless I press it with my finger, in which case it feels like a bruise. Duh. It's not getting any bigger. No signs of necrosis, etc. Nothing.

I'm not worried. Maybe it's not a bite at all, but rather the result of an unconcious moment of klutzyness. Believe me, this is entirely possible.

Not all brown recluse bites result in necrosis. If after 48-96 hours there is no change, I need not worry. Thursday will be my day of freedom, in that case. This much I have learned from doing research. So, if the brown spider I caught on my couch this morning is the culprit, and IF he is a BR spider, then his venom does not seem very potent. He's dead, by the way, but the hairy black and white spider with the blue eyes that I caught yesterday is living in my bushes out of doors.

Is it a spider bite? I"m kind of thinking NOT because in the past, when bitten by various eight legged creatures, I get massively swollen and very itchy, hot and inflamed. This is not that.

Sorry for the drama....

Bad Luck Baking

I made a gorgeous strawberry cake last weekend. I was practicing, because my youngest daughter had indicated that she might want one for her birthday, and so I figured I"d try it. All natural. I took a gluten free/casein free white cake recipe (normal white cake recipe would do as well) and instead of 1 cup of milk, I used about 1.5 cups of strawberry puree. The strawberry puree was just about three or four cups of frozen strawberries thawed in the microwave and put through the blender. Whole fruit! Vitamins, antioxident-filled goodness.

And it was pink enough to satisfy even the most die-hard little pink-lovin' girl! This is what the batter looked like.

Finished, but unfrosted, along with some bread I'd also made:

I frosted the cake on Sunday mornig, with white buttercream (OK, margarinecream...but that doesn't sound as nice) frosting, and even sliced up a real strawberry to make a flower on the top of the cake. No picture, sorry.

Taking it out to the car, I dropped the cake! All over the back of my mini-van, my sandals, and the driveway.

It was pink! But we did not get to eat it.