Sunday, September 26, 2010


I was sitting in the car with the window open when I felt something fall down my blouse.  It was a lady bug.  Her legs were tight up against her body and she wasn't moving.  I sat there holding her and looking at her for about 4 minutes then she suddenly got up.  She wandered around on my hand and shirt, but she seemed a bit out of it.  I know they eat aphids, but I gave her a crumb of cookie.  She sat there with her mouth attached to it for the longest time.  I couldn't tell if she was eating or not.  After about 15 minutes she seemed steady on her feet.  I put her and her crumb on a leaf and drove away.

She needed a safe place and I just happened to be there at the right time.  There has to be a word for that, but right now I am drawing a blank.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Homemade Pasta

For the first time ever, I made homemade pasta.  I was inspired by a post on the blog SouleMama.  I then looked around online and watched a few youtube videos, like this one, this one, and this one.

I prepared it and served it as part of the recipe for Spaghetti with Zucchini and Lemon from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home cookbook.

The pasta was incredible.  I have never had anything like it.

How did I do it?

I put approximately 3 cups of flour on my table, made a depression in the flour, then cracked three eggs into the flour.  I sprinkled about a teaspoon of salt over the eggs.  Using a fork I broke up the yolks and and whisked them in flour.  Slowly more and more flour was incorporated into the mixture until it was doughy.  Then I started kneading flour in until it wasn't sticky anymore.  For twenty minutes I let the dough rest under a bowl.  Next I kneaded the dough a bit more and then divided it into three sections.  I did this because my work area is not big and neither is my rolling pin.  I then rolled and rolled and rolled and rolled and rolled.  I made sure that the dough was lightly floured on both sides and rolled it up like a jelly roll.   I cut 1 cm wide slices off the roll.  Next I hung the pasta to dry for an hour.   Thank goodness for my clothes drying rack from IKEA!  I brought a large pot of water to a boil.  I cut the long stings of pasta into pieces about 2.5 inches long and dropped them into the boiling water.  They were done in about 3 minutes.

I also rolled out some dough just for my daughter.  She used a heart shaped cookie cutter to make her own pasta.  The best part was when my daughter said she would make pasta just like this for her kids, whenever they wanted pasta.


Monday, October 12, 2009


Thumb in the thumb place,
Fingers all together,
This is the song
We sing in mitten weather.

Basic Mitten pattern from Knitting for Peace. Knit in Noro Kureyon using US 5/3.75mm Brittany dpns. Cast on 9 days ago. The mitten string is about half done.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I am a crazy lady

Ok, so last night I started watching the second season of Dexter on Netflix. I kept watching, and watching, and watching, and finished the whole season just after 6 this morning. I am not 20 living in a dorm somewhere. At almost 40 years old with child and other responsibilities, what was I thinking? I wasn't, I was just really enjoying getting wrapped up in something.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day Interview

I was reading the blog Wisdom of the Moon and saw that she had interviewed her child about her parents. I thought it might be fun for Father's Day to interview Fiona.

1. What is something your dad always says to you?

I love you.

2. What makes your dad happy?

When I hug him and kiss him.

3. What makes your dad sad?

When I hit him.

4. How does your dad make you laugh?

Tickles me.

5. What did your dad like to do when she was a child?


6. How old is your dad?

I don't know.

7. How tall is your dad?

Stand up. He can touch the ceiling.

8. What is your dad's favorite thing to do?

Be silly.

9. What does your dad do when you're not around?

Watch movies.

10. If your dad becomes famous, what will it be for?


11. What is your dad really good at?

Being silly.

12. What is your dad not very good at?

Being serious.

13. What does your dad do for his job?

He works.

14. What is your dad's favorite food?


15. What do you and your dad do together?

Go places with him.

16. How are you and your dad the same?

My hair is kind of blondish.

17. How are you and your dad different?

I'm not as tall as him.

18. How do you know your dad loves you?

Because he hugs me.

19. Where is your dad's favorite place to go?

The zoo!

20. What is your favorite game to play with your dad?


Tuesday, June 16, 2009


My first peony blossom.

Friday, February 06, 2009


Building near the elephants at the Woodland Park Zoo

Today I am feeling crabby. I have that pushed and pulled in many directions feeling. Part of it is because I want to "accomplish" things and having a child at home works against that. Look at this, look at me, what is this, I'm done, mom, look it disappeared, why aren't you getting me my snack.

I yelled.

It is all about my expectations and setting the expectations of those around me. That is cognitive behavioral therapy, my friends

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Twenty-Five Random Things

I'm cheating and reposting a Facebook meme.

Everyone who reads this is tagged!

1. I attended 14 schools between Kindergarten and high school. I went to the one high school for 3 years.

2. The longest that I have lived in any one house has been 5 years. I was an adult.

3. I hope to soon surpass that in Aug 2009.

4. Some day I want to wear a dress like Marie Antoinette wore, and I mean the real deal with the crazy corset, hoop skirt and goodness knows how many layers of petticoats etc.

5. I am never one hundred percent sure if I really want something because I like it or because someone else does.

6. I love cats. They are one of the very best things in the world. (Yes, one is sitting on my arm as I type this.)

7. When I die, I want to be buried in the earth wrapped in cloth, no coffin, no embalming, just breaking down back into the soil.

8. When I lose an eyelash, I blow it out of my hand and wish for happiness.

9. I've always thought of Orion as "my" constellation.

10. I want to do things perfectly. If I can't do them perfectly then I don't want to try.

11. I'm working on changing number 10.

12. I love the smell of horses.

13. I am a world-class procrastinator.

14. I talk out loud to birds, cats, dogs, plants, inanimate objects and occasionally myself.

15. My daughter loves me and it blows my mind.

16. I can't cook in a messy kitchen and my kitchen is always messy.

17. I love hosting and providing everything anyone might want or need.

18. I often make myself re-invent the wheel. I know someone else has figured out a way, but I want to try it myself, then I get bogged down.

19. I believe that everything natural is alive or has life in it and deserves respect and love.

20. I still remember very clearly what meat tastes like and occasionally the taste of prime rib sounds good.

21. Death does not scare me.

22. Don't get me wrong though, pain, long drawn out illness etc, those things all suck.

23. Practicing is hard.

24. I wish I had a mom.

25. I love color. Some reds almost hurt my eyes they are so amazing.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Crafty Crow is very cool!

Crafty Crow is fun to read. Go comment and you can have a chance to win a subscription to this cute Book of Days published by the family at Blue Yonder Ranch.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Louvre

It was so beautiful.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Palais de Justice - Paris

We went to Paris in 2002. I've been looking through old pictures. The picture of the sculpture Winged Victory of Samothrace was also taken by me. I wish we had had our good camera back then.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Your whole self

I was talking with someone the other day about the health of a close, aging relative who has actively ignored his mental health resulting in, I believe, a greater number of physical problems. "If only he had taken care of his mental health and his physical health, he wouldn't be where he is today." The next day, I was replaying this in my head, when I realized I am not practicing what I preach at all.

I do take care of my mental health, and to some extent my physical health, but I have some big illnesses looming in my future if I don't actively work on my physical health (type 2 diabetes, heart disease and diverticular disease). This got me thinking about what a whole person is, and what would one have to do to take care of my whole self. What does that mean and how is it defined? Some would say taking care of your emotional and physical self and some would include spiritual as well. Then I feel like I fall down the rabbit hole finding all sorts of little niches to take care of to prevent a precipitous decline. Of course I'm just running away from the fear of what changes I need to make in my life.

I need exercise. I need to eat more fiber, more vegetables and fruits, and fewer pastries, lattés and pints of Ben & Jerry's. I need to get more consistent rest.

I've started working on the fiber by eating more oats, adding flax seed meal to things and remembering that the fruit on the table isn't just for Fiona's benefit. I haven't been to a Starbuck's for five days (and before that it had been weeks since the last time). I've practically bankrupted my family with my stupid latté and pastry habit. Really. I'm just throwing this out to the world that I am thinking about this and trying.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

One of the gifts I gave Fiona for Christmas was a book of poems by Langston Hughes. It is called Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes.

The poems are powerful. Fiona keeps coming back to this book over and over again. It is difficult though, because the book has made me have to explain segregation to my five year old, to talk about the pain that people feel because someone thinks they are different. My husband explained what the word "negro" means and why we don't use that word. She is just five years old, and yet the son of one blogger I read was called the n-word when he was five.

Barack Obama has called for a national day of service on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. In the morning, Fiona and I are going to go and buy some groceries to donate to HopeLink. There will probably be several boxes of mac and cheese that will go in, because that is Fiona's favorite thing to donate. We are also going to each go through our clothes, books, etc, and find items to donate to a shelter or Goodwill. I asked Fiona to think of something we could do to help people or to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. She thought for a moment and then said, "I know, we could draw a bus, and in the front would be a person with a dark face and a person with a light face and in the back we could draw a person with a dark face and dark hair and a person with a light face."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A snowy Solstice and Christmas

We had so much snow over Solstice and Christmas. This is only the second white holiday season of my life. The last one was last year. Crazy weather.

We postponed getting together with family (we host) until tomorrow, so that everyone would be able to come. I just hope the snow melts enough.

On the crafting front, I'm working on a long sleeved sweater for Fiona. It is the Joseph sweater from Fiona chose Cascade Lana Grande in a plum shade. She also wanted the sweater to be long, so it should fall to just above her knees if I measured everything correctly.

We made a gingerbread house from scratch for the first time. I will try to post a picture later. We didn't actually take any pictures on Christmas. I feel kind of bad about it. We had such a nice relaxed time though. Lots of yummy foods, including sticky buns for lunch.

Here are a couple of pictures from Fiona's first Christmas (five years ago).

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes We Can!

My husband, Fiona and I watched Obama's speech from Chicago. I cried. Fiona will grow up with him as the first president she remembers. I cannot express how happy, how hopeful, how everything I am right now.

Thank you Barack Obama, and thank you to everyone who worked, volunteered and voted for him. What an incredible day.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy Birthday to me...

My husband asked me a few days ago what I wanted for my birthday. I told him yoga lessons. I found a place that will be perfect, but they are in the middle of a cycle and I won't be able to join until January. So, I will get yoga lessons for Christmas. That then puts us back at square one, what would be a good birthday present. Something would present itself.

We went out to breakfast and then took Fiona to a friend's birthday party. I decided to continue the tradition I had started the year before of visiting the cat adoption center and playing with the kittens. Last year I had such a nice time. Who doesn't like playing with kittens.

We had to fill out paperwork about our home situation and such before they would let us play. I went and petted the senior cats first. Buddy was a sweet old guy who wanted all the love and scritches I could give him. Then there was Sweet Pea. She was hiding on top of some boxes under a counter. Fiona didn't have much patience with Sweet Pea, she wanted to go into the kitten room. We walked in and I kneeled down to watch a couple of little black kittens that were in full play mode. One of them, a short haired black kitten stopped playing, came over and climbed up onto my lap. He sat for a moment and then he climbed to my shoulder and just stayed there. His long haired brother was waiting to play. I have a very soft spot in my heart for long haired, black cats. I tried to engage the long haired one. He wasn't interested. The whole time the little short haired guy was just snuggling away. We had to leave the kitten room because some other people wanted to come in so we went back to the adult cats.

When someone opened the door to the kitten room a little short haired black cat ran out, and the volunteer said, "He really wants to be with you." He was acting differently. I thought it was kind of strange. A few minutes later I went back to the kitten room. It turned out that the kitten that had run into the other room was not the same snuggly short haired kitten. As soon as I was in the room, he came over to check me out, there were other people there, lots of toys, lots of kittens, but he came back to me. That was when I realized how lucky I was, and I started to think I might not be able to leave him there. My husband wasn't really pleased. "We have enough animals." Fiona wanted to hold the kitten. I set him in her lap. She petted him and petted him. He closed his eyes. A little kitten that comfortable in the lap of a five year old is incredible. Fiona started begging, "Please can we take this kitty home!" Her dad relented.

I went out to the volunteer and said we had decided to take Black Ranger. She went and grabbed his folder. Her supervisor was on the phone. She held out her finger to say wait. When she got off the phone she said that they had just received a call that the kittens had been indirectly exposed to panleukopenia and that the adoption center is required to put all of the cats into quarantine for two weeks. I was so sad, but that was nothing compared to Fiona's reaction. If he makes it through the quarantine without getting sick, he is ours. Any cats that get sick during the quarantine will be euthanized. This is a terribly sad thing for all of the cats and the volunteers.

There is one more impact on the adoption center from this exposure. All of the furnishings, e.g scratching posts, tents, kitty condos, must be destroyed. One of the volunteers had just that week donated a brand new multi-level kitty condo. If you can spare a few dollars I am sure that the cats and the volunteers at the PAWS Cat City would be very grateful.

And please keep your fingers crossed for Black Ranger.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Where are the crafts?

Oh, yeah, this blog is called craftydabbler. Here is the long story, uh, long (interspersed with creative commons pictures from flickr that I like but have no real connection to this post).

Open Gate to the Beauty by Hamed Masoumi

I have been on a craft vacation for quite a while. I over did it a bit last year and had a hard time maintaining interest long enough to complete, well honestly, to start projects. I've bought fabric, thread and yarn, but for the most part they are all spread around the house in different piles.

Recently, a friend was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She put out a call for some lovely knit hats. She was told that she would lose her hair during chemotherapy. I offered to knit Shedir for her. I've never done cables before, so I was a little nervous but thought I could do it.

Around the same time I started having trouble with arthritis, which used to be very troublesome, but a six month stint of acupuncture about five years ago seemed to have put it in remission. It took me a while to realize that I had also started drinking Coke around the same time that the pain in my hands had started. I've stopped the Coke. I believe I have a sensitivity to the high fructose corn syrup, because I have had sodas that are made with cane sugar or are sweetened with fruit juice without feeling ill. My hands are still stiff, but not very painful. I am hoping to get in to see an acupuncturist soon for some help in clearing this. The upshot of all of this is that I have made very little progress on Jenna's hat. Luckily, Jenna has not lost her hair, which is amazing. She loses more than average in a day, but she still has a full head of hair. I am still working on the hat in bits and pieces. It is being worked in garnet (shade 492) Rowan Calmer on US3/3.25mm needles.

Quiet Beauty by JumpinJimmyJava

There is one project that I finished recently. Fiona had wanted a bathrobe for over a year. Last fall she and I went to JoAnn's and she picked out some lavender fleece. I decided on Simplicity 9853 for the pattern. It was all put in a drawer and a storage box and put off for many, many tomorrows. About three weeks ago it was very chilly one Saturday morning and I decided it was time to make the bathrobe. I found the bag with the pattern and the matching thread. The fleece was in the box. Much tracing, cutting, pinning and sewing later, and there was a comfy bathrobe, just the right size. Fiona is still so pleased with it that she keeps asking to wear it out of the house.

The Texture of Beauty, Or the Beauty of a Texture! by Hamed Masoumi

The last crafty thing that has been interesting me lately is embroidery and most specifically Chicken Scratch embroidery (see here and here). Fiona is getting impatient with me, she wants to go to the zoo, so I shall have to fill you in another time on that endeavor.

ps The other day I listened to Mozart's Requiem Mass for the first time in eons, it is my absolute favorite piece of music. (To call it a "piece of music" seems sacrilegious, it is much more than that.) Let me tell you, it is nice to have that popping up in my head through out the day instead of the theme to The Backyardigans.

pps Don't get me wrong, I like The Backyardigans.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Quote from Goethe

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Thank you Jen Lemen.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Yet another quote...

"It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched, for they are full of the truthless ideals which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real they are bruised and wounded."

Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

That's mighty neighborly of you

My neighbor across the street had just finished pressure washing her aggregate driveway when I got home from an errand. I stopped to say hello. She said, "We could pressure wash your aggregate steps and path and get rid of all of that moss."
"Oh, yeah, we should do that sometime," I said, thinking nothing of it really.
"What are you doing right now?" she asked.

My front steps are beautiful. They didn't look this good four years ago when we bought the house. My husband who doesn't really notice much noticed the difference right off. Pressure washing was also kind of addictive. The back spray felt good because it was about 86 degrees Fahrenheit. We ran out of gas, but I think in the next day or two I might borrow it again and do the driveway and the curb. Fun, fun.

Afterwards we all had big glasses of iced tea.

I love getting to know my neighbors. They are really all very kind people. I feel blessed.