Thursday, June 30, 2011

River of Stones

I find often the days go by in a kind of blur. I get up, shower, dress, do whatever is screaming at me most loudly that day, and then all of a sudden it's evening again and I find myself  wondering how yet again my day got away from me.

I am looking forward to joining in with the July River of Stones project. I am hoping it will help me to pay better attention to the world.

I know it's not July yet, but here's a small stone for today. 

Breathing in the bubbling sounds and smells of chicken soup in my kitchen, true comfort food.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Today: here comes the rain

Outside my window The rain is very welcome after the 90F heat of the last few days.

I am thinking what a lovely weekend we had. 

I am thankful for the slow cooker, currently cooking tonight's dinner so I don't have to heat up the house.

From the kitchen lime marmalade on toast for lunch, chicken quietly cooking for tonight's simple dinner of chicken, mustard mash and vegetables.

I am wearing my nightshirt! Haven't made it to the shower yet this morning afternoon. Its on the list.

I am creating along with the Profnewly-married life. Thinking a lot lately about the kind of life we want to have, and what that looks like. 

I am going to put the kettle on for a nice cup of rooibos tea.

I am reading In the Kitchen, by Monica Ali. Enjoying it so far. 

I am hoping that the short recent upward trend in my health will continue beyond a couple of days.

I am hearing raindistant thunder and the hiss of car tyres on the wet road outside my house.

Around the house laundry. Always laundry. Piles of books. Paperwork. 

One of my favourite things summer rain. I like to stand at the kitchen door and watch it.

A few plans for the rest of the week a T'ai Chi class, a B12 shot, home-cooked dinners, early nights

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Prof's first Father's Day

me, the Prof and the Young Philosopher

The Prof had his first Father's Day yesterday.

The Young Philosopher surprised him with a card, some beers and a big bar of chocolate with a message iced on it. The Prof came to live with us when the YP was eighteen. From the start they have got on really well, they make each other laugh and go off together to see stupid action films I don't want to see.  It's lovely that the YP recognises all that the Prof does for him, and I think the Prof was quite touched. In the last two years, the Prof has performed all those fatherly duties required by an almost-grown son - including giving him advice, picking him up, giving him money, cooking him breakfast, and worrying about him almost as much as I do. If that doesn't qualify him as a father-figure, I don't know what does.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A little bit of linky love

I am really enjoying the project Jennifer and I started a couple of weeks ago, writing back and forth to each other. I am getting a real insight into her life, in little bits and pieces, words and photographs. I am realising that our lives are very different, but also we have many of the same hopes, dreams and feelings. If you haven't already, you can find us with something new every weekday over at Notes Across the Sea.

Here are some other things I have been loving on the interwebs this week:

It's not you, it's me  An a-ha! moment. Words of truth from Susannah Conway. Susannah has a guidebook out soon, Blogging From the Heart, which I am eagerly awaiting, and an ecourse, Unravelling, that I am keen to take. No, this is not a sponsored post!

Lovely thoughts here from Sara If she whispers her dreams

I will be taking part in the Time Traveller's Wife summer readalong with lots of other people across the world. It's a lovely book and one that I haven't read for some years so I am looking forward to this!

I have been listening to Poems, Prayers and Promises by John Denver this week. In my parallel life in which I am American, and have a wooden porch around my house where I sit in the evenings with a cup of tea or a beer, surrounded by friends and family and watch the sun go down, this is the soundtrack.

And lastly, Lynne Rees and her husband are old friends of the Prof's, at the moment living in France. Her blog The Hungry Writer is a wonderful mixture of anecdotes about food, recipes and writing prompts.

Hope you are having a lovely week!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Rosemary Beetle

If these little chaps don't decimate my lavender before then, I will be harvesting it in a couple of weeks, and plan to make lavender bags later in the year.

Apparently the best time to harvest it is the end of June or the beginning of July. I have to tie it in bundles and hang it somewhere. I have a shelving system made of steel racks, I am thinking I could probably hang the bundles from the top shelf of that, then I read it has to be hung in the dark, or inside brown paper bags, which are not exactly easy to get hold of for me. Is this really necessary? I have also read I should harvest it both first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening, which can't both be correct. Have any of you done this before? All suggestions/instructions gratefully received, both for harvesting and drying the lavender, and for nifty things to do with it afterwards!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Making it simple #3

Everlasting peas, in my garden

For a long time all my spare time, energy and money was going into planning our wedding. Now the wedding and honeymoon are over, normal life has resumed, and I find myself thinking, what kind of life would I like to have? Which brings me back to my desire for a simpler life.

Life is too complicated. I wrote a shopping list last week, ordered it all to be delivered, thought I had done really well and then spent another £20 the following day on things I had forgotten or not realised we were out of. And still I forgot the dog food and potatoes. Several times a month I find myself checking our bank accounts to see how much we have left for the month, subtracting from the balance any bills that are due. I have far too much stuff and far too little storage. Combining two homes into one tiny one two years ago didn't help. This year, for only the second time in the eight years I have lived here, I have not got around to planting any pots and baskets with flowers. I will really miss those this summer.

These are just a few of the things I would like to change. Life seems to consist of a to do list that says buy this, do that, cook this, find that, go here, go there, don't forget the other thing. I notice it far more now that I have limited energy. I have a ongoing list of errands I need to run and at the moment, the list for this weekend has around 20 items on it. Not to mention the list of a squillion things that need doing in the house. There is no way all that will get done, but it all needs doing. Last Christmas, there was so much shopping and preparation I had a setback with CFS that I didn't recover from until February. I think I need a more organised approach.

I like spending time with friends and family, gardening, writing, making things, taking photos - and don't do nearly as much as I could as I always feel there are other things I should be doing, there is always a mess somewhere to be sorted out, or housework to be done. Realistically, I often can't do much anyway, with my energy problems, but I think I could do more if there was some level of organisation in place. As it is, I don't want to be using up all the energy I do have on the everyday stuff and having nothing left for doing the things I enjoy. I want more time and energy, and quite possibly money for the good stuff.

There are many aspects to this. I would like to simplify finances, housework, meal planning, shopping and preparation, gift giving. I long for a more simpler organised life. I would like to travel more, grow some veggies, go for more walks (having driven somewhere nicer to look at first. Yes, I would also like to move), read more books (yes! even more), eat healthier food and less takeaways (ie find meals that are healthy but easy for me to make on no-energy days).

This is the reason I chose simplify as my word for this year.

There are only a couple of days left this week, but I think small goals are the way to go anyway. This week, bearing in mind today is Thursday, I would like to:

  • Sort out all three of my bookcases. They need tidying, and there are bound to be a few books I can give away/sell. We did really well selling books on Amazon earlier in the year.
  • Finally get our wedding thank yous written. The Prof will help.
  • Plant our rambling rose bush 'Wedding Day' next to the front door
  • Work on clearing up the garden. It's a jungle out there!
That's all I am committing to for now. Hopefully I might get some of those errands run too. 

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Friday, June 03, 2011

Dreams v Goals

Over at Notes Across the Sea, Jen and I have been talking about our dreams. We both have a list of dreams that we wrote as part of  Mondo Beyondo, an online course that we took last year. You had to write down your wildest (in my case, not so wild) dreams, and after not looking at my list for many months, I have been surprised and pleased to see that some of the things on my list have started to happen, seemingly by themselves, certainly without conscious effort from me. I had forgotten what I had even written, all those months ago.

Thinking about my list of dreams today, I got to thinking about the difference between dreams and goals. Is there a difference? Although there is some overlap, I think, for me, goals are most often things like saving money, doing up the house, and 'down to earth' or practical things, whereas I think of dreams as more abstract and 'airy-fairy' - to do with travel, writing, creativity. When I look though, at my 'dream list' I see that many of the things I see as far off dreams can be broken down into small steps that I could take now. Whilst I have been thrilled to see some of the things I dreamed about starting to come to fruition, albeit slowly, I can surely make things happen faster with a bit of focussed action.

More on this after the weekend.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

On my mind

Sunshine. Cherries. A herb garden. Purple ink. New jeans. Cherry brandy. Bathing the dog. Painting the garden bench. Possibilities. A toe ring. Dreams. Garlic mushrooms on brown toast. The day we saw the bluebells.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Small Stone Blogsplash – we need your help…

Kaspa & Fiona have taken over my blog for today, because they need our help.

They are both on a mission to help the world connect with the world through writing. They are also getting married on Saturday the 18th of June.

For their fantasy wedding present, they are asking people across the world to write them a ‘small stone’ and post it on their blogs or on Facebook or Twitter.

A small stone is a short piece of observational writing – simply pay attention to something properly and then write it down. Find out more about small stones here.

If you’re willing to help, we’d love you to do things:

1) Re-post this blog on your own blog any time before June the 18th and give your readers a chance to hear about what we’re doing. You can simply copy and paste the text, or you can find the html here.

2) Write us a small stone on our wedding day whilst we’re saying our vows and eating cake, post it on your blog, and send it to us.

You can find out more about our project at our website, Wedding Small Stones, and you can also read our blog at A River of Stones.

We also have a July challenge coming soon, when we’ll be challenging you to notice one thing every day during July and write it down.

Thank you for listening, and we hope we’ll be returning from our honeymoon to an inbox crammed with small stones, including yours.

Kaspa & Fiona