Thursday, August 31, 2017


I'm really enjoying Stori Tic Toc, the Welsh story telling program on BBC Cymru.  I can understand about half the words now, and more things are making sense to me each time I relisten to one of them.

I made a project to put a magnetic whiteboard on our fridge for all the 'to-dos' I forget to do after I leave the kitchen area.  It's a nice place to put those things that wander out of your mind almost as soon as you think it...  I have a new yoga mat and am going to move the weight lifting things down there, too - to encourage more exercise.  I've saved several beginner routines on my pinterest to try to do more yoga stretching when I have a few minutes here and there.  Little changes add up.

My new sewing pattern came in the mail today for Esme's size shorts and skirt.  I weeded out the things she doesn't wear anymore out of her hang up rod to accommodate the hanging organizer I am going to order with her bed in a few weeks.

Esme's first marks of the year came in, all good, four As and a B.  She says school is very stressful, though - and the boy she shares her locker bay with (her below, him above) is super annoying, whiney and never has anything constructive to say.

Not much other than that... learning  the Welsh, reading another Outlander type book and using the fitness tracker.  There is some big thing coming up at work after the tenth.. trying not to think about what that is about, as it does no good to speculate.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


I'm finding some new resources for Welsh, like Stori Tic Toc on the BBC radio Cymru.  I am understanding more of it.  It is an interesting feeling to hear one or two words at a time that you understand.. and wade through things.  A sentence to remember: 'darllen ar hyd' means 'read along'.

During the thunderstorm the other morning I was repeating after the speaker in the 'Say Something in Welsh' lesson, and getting a fairly natural rhythm on it as it is the second time around, and Minerva dog was very confused.  She kept perking her ears up and walking over to me after I would say some of the sentences, and especially after lightning flashes, and nuzzle my knee and hand and look at me with raised eyebrows.  Minerva usually doesn't do this - so it was very social of her.  She was puzzled I was talking funny during the scary storm *heh*

I've also been using the fitness tracker for a full week now.  I'm still ending up with 30 to 40% fat and much less protein.  It has a nice little bit to the program to track minutes exercised to, to try to meet the weekly standard.  We have the exercise bike downstairs and I've been hopping on for a few minutes at time when something needs to boil, or the washer needs to spin etc.

We're almost to the end of Serafina and the Black Cloak.  Serafina just realized who her mother is, and Esme finds that exciting ;)

Waiting on my pattern to come in the mail.  Tried to get a dental appointment but they are booked up for the next two weeks (on any day I had available).

Sunday, August 27, 2017


Esme had a great weekend, she got to go to a sleepover, another pool party, and have her friend over to play Minecraft on Saturday.  I've had to work every day... I'm trying out a fitness tracker program on my tablet that gives me some idea of how much fat, carbohydrates and protein as well as the calories in what I am eating.  It's tough, as there are a lot of things that are difficult to track.  Compared to the 'reccommended diet' I eat a very high-fat diet.  I usually feel awful if I don't... but my sugar level has come in well below the bar almost every single day I've tracked while the fat is 'in the negative' meaning I ate more than was reccommended. 

Continuing with my Welsh.. cutting a bit back on the book reading because I've just been so busy - one I'm reading now about the girl rescuing the man who has been spellbound in a painting. 

I have a new sewing pattern coming in the mail for Esme.  It has been a long time since I made her things.. and she needs new shorts and perhaps a wraparound skirt to cover up shorts after the pool... although it's almost the end of summer now it would still be a good project to make.  Every pattern in my collection was too small, or didn't have pants/shorts with it. 

I work today, and tomorrow.. and the next day... then have Wednesday/Thursday off.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Autumn Beauty sunflower

My garden sunflowers have finally started to bloom.  I also had a handful of small green peppers. (Petite Bell variety).  The morning glories have crawled up all over the fence but I haven't gotten out there to see them bloom yet in the morning.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Total Solar Eclipse 2017 at Land Between the Lakes

We went up to Land Between the Lakes for the Eclipse today.  

 We started the morning at Hematite Lake, but the duckweed was high... we didn't get to see much of what the lake is famous for.  We decided to head further on North.

 Hematite lake wasn't much to see right now.. but this boulder was lovely.

Esme wasn't that thrilled by the trip to the dam - she said she'd seen it before (which she hadn't)... she perked up when we saw some herons down by the water.  They had been dropping bits of dead fish though, so there was a sort of odor about the place.

 The herons were fishing down by the water.
We went down there and walked out near the water - it was a long climb back up!

 We built a simple pinhole viewer box 

 Esme got some souvenir rocks.

 This is what was visible in the pinhole viewer box.

 And someone had extra glasses and gave Esme a pair.

 The box really did work.. it just wasn't a big image.
During totality the image disappeared entirely and came back with the sun, just as it should.

Totality was very cool!  It got very dark, and the air got cool and moist like it does at dusk.

  Mark caught some pictures with his camera.

We went on a long trip!  We saw all three dams, and ended up watching the Eclipse just south of the Golden Pond Observatory (which was all full on parking - but there were several 'overflows').  We had a nice chat with some people from a University and our pinhole box worked really well!  I'm so glad we got to spend this event together as a family.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Out at the city pool

Esme and her friend had a lot of fun out at the city pool tonight.  Mark even got in to calm Esme's fears about the water slides! 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

No bus and notes

No bus this morning!  I'm glad I didn't have to be at work at seven, like the other morning.. I would have been late or Esme would not have gone to school.  Luckily, I was noon today, and we took her in.  Mark drove us in and the morning traffic was not half as bad as I had feared.  Spud got a sausage biscuit after seeing little girl off at the school.

I noticed something this morning when I was practicing my Welsh.  I is much easier for me to use my 'audio echo' remembering what I just heard in Welsh than it is with French OR English... Isn't that weird?  My audio memory isn't very good, dismal compared to my visual memory.  But Welsh does have an echo for the end of the sentence while I'm still processing the beginning of it.. which I find difficult in most other languages, including, sometimes, English.

Off to pull the laundry into the dryer and get ready for work.
The coconut curry sauce I found last night was awesome.  I should have only made half a cup of rice to go with it, but I made a full (dry) cup, and it is a bit watered down because of it.  But still SO good.. Mark said I made a terribly happy noise opening the container.  Yes, I did.  It smelled even better than the Thai Curry Rice I used to make but they discontinued.  With a little extra curry powder mixed in even the half-strength one is going to be an awesome lunch today.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

reading list updated

The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert (25% through)
Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys
Sea of Poppies, by Amitav Ghosh
Heartburn, by Nora Ephron
Serafina and the Splintered Heart, by Robert Beatty
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, by Mark Haddon,
Darker Still, by Leanna Renee Heber

I might just have to finish 'signature' and go right into Serafina... I've been waiting for that for a long time!  But I'm still reading volume one to Esme, so maybe I should wait until we are at least done with that... hmm... two weeks to read the last five.. a few days to read the Lahiri and Sepetys books.. 20 hours left on Signature.

bit o bits

I reheated another bowl of the green pea soup this morning with lots of hot madras curry powder stirred into it (remember, it already had turmeric and cumin and red pepper in it!).  SO good.  It was just what I was wanting this morning.

In chapter four or five of Signature of All Things.  Trying to do French in morning and Welsh at night to keep my brain powering on them...

This is how far we are in 'Serafina and the Black Cloak'.. ironic bookmark, as she is a girl that can turn into a panther! (catamount)

I got my yellow split peas!  Simple things make me happy.  We are going to a different store today and I hope to look at more spices.  Looked a little at Indian food and it is not quite what I am wanting.  Although, indian yellow dhal does look like something I would make and eat.  Looked at Swedish food, and that, too... was not on the note my tastes have been leaning towards.  It's somewhere in between... will have to keep looking until I find an ethnic cuisine that can appreciate hot curry powder, rutabagas and orange squash equally... *heh*  Maybe I'm just my own mix and I should write a little recipe book.

//They had no fried chicken at the store :( At least. none for sale.  They were cooking up some huge order to go out and weren't planning on making any for the public today.  We had to settle with something else.  However, I did find some Aka Miso that I had to pounce upon.  I shared a tiny bit of Esme's fast food and came home to make a very nice bowl of miso soup as my main lunch :)

Finished stage one of the acrylic rug - going to use it as a chair mat until I think if I want to put some extra rings around it and make it an even bigger rug.  It is as wide as the floor rug in Esme's room but not as long... if I put another few borders on it though, it will be as large of a square as the other rug in there.

I'm silly that I am pleased for digging up an old soap dish that was not being used and putting it on the pedestal sink when I thought we needed one there.  *rolls eyes at self*

Thursday, August 10, 2017


I'm on to 'The Signature of All Things'... it is starting out interestingly.  Tomorrow is Friday?  The end of the week and we can use it.  I've told Esme and Mark we can get fried chicken on Saturday and they think it is a great idea.  I have some yellow split peas that came in on an order to pickup at the store... they didn't have them in the store but they were free pickup.  I've been having a taste for making vegetable 'soup/goulashes' again... but maybe not quite as much as the other day.

Green Split Pea Soup
chicken pieces
1 cup of green split peas, washed
1/4 cup of red lentils (normally would be yellow split peas), washed
onion, chopped up
can of cooked carrots
can of cooked diced potato
a little chicken boullion (because I had some)
water to cover the mixture twice deep (at least this much, you could add more and make it thin)
garlic powder, turmeric, cumin, black pepper and red pepper flakes
a bit of salt
a bit of olive oil

cooked down until everything is ready to fall apart,  I got about three quarts out of this considering we ate some.  Esme had some (she asked) but mostly picked out the carrots and chicken I think - but she made an effort.

I'm also experimenting with some preserved ginger root.  Made Esme a chicken and honey and carrots with some ginger and onions in it tonight.  She ate all of hers (even after I said she could pick out the onions).

Also crocheting a heavy green acrylic rug with some clearance yarn.. probably double-up a few things to make a border for it as it is coming out a bit smaller than I'd hoped for the two skeins they had.

Weeded out all of Esme's too small jeans, a few to go to a younger girl that are decent condition and a few to cut up and sew into something else.  I'm trying to find a few things in the house we can repurpose into 'more useful lives'.. like a jewelry dish that is small but pretty that I've moved to the bathroom for Esme's hair clips.. and one of the rugs I had washed had originally been by my bedside table but is more useful by Esme's. etc.. Whenever I see something and think of a good use for it I try to remember it later and put it to a test.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Stage four fish painting

I've got to let this layer of color dry before I can go back in and define the tyes more and the scales.. just a bit of shading started... Esme has been at me for days about when I will finally start to paint the fish.. so I took a bit of time today.  I meant really to just go down there and start to sketch in my notebook about the colors  - but then I dove right in with the paint anyway without making a single sketch.  The top one is a bit dull, but I saw a gold scaled one with highlights I'd like to try to work with.. and maybe some actual gold flake paint as well.

Listening to Seven Nations... they are gifted musicians.  Sometimes their lyrics are a bit lacking, but they go off on these wonderful multi-instrument joyful 'tirades' again and again.. and that is amazing to listen to.

Reading Fingersmith.. vicious, terrible... I'm not sure where I got that recommendation from.. but I'll finish it out.  Mark said he saw me visibly shudder a few times reading it.

Also working on the yarn.. bought something on clearance that will make another good acrylic washable rug for Esme's room.  It is a chunky green yarn that will work up quick and let me rotate them out a bit. 

Monday, August 07, 2017


I cleaned up a bit and found ten skeins of KnitPicks fingering wool from when I used to make dolls and horses with yarn hair.  There is over 2,000 yards of yarn there.. in black and brown. I'm trying to put a few more rows on a purple acrylic shawl, too - to get it off the circular needle for whatever I do with that yarn.

I washed up the acrylic yarn rugs I had made for Esme's room and put them back on her floor.  One in front of her bed and one under the chair I have been sitting in to read to her at night.

My foot is healing up well - but I'm trying to stay off of it, too, by reading, knitting, and using my language app.

I'm getting along with the languages, 500+ words in Welsh, 1200+ in French.  Dw i'n hoffi bwyta pitsa :)  J'aime bien manger le pizza.  

Yes, Mark made pizza, tonight.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

reading list

Just finished:
A Twist in Time, by Julie McElwain
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, by Helen Grant

Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters

The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys

Just in case I don't finish them all and have to go hunting to put them on hold again...

Thursday, August 03, 2017


 Went out today and got some pictures of an old barn (see end) for painting later.  Also caught a shot of Callie relaxing on the roof under the cedar tree, and Daphne went for a short jaunt into the lake path with me.

Esme says she is having fun in fourth grade, but the switching classes is hard.  She took a lunch today and is eager to play games when she gets home.  I think she is enjoying Serafina.  I stopped the second installment just BEFORE a scary part last night.. with only the sense of foreboding starting... and she has been wondering this morning what that meant and what was going to happen...

I see this barn often on my drive back and forth from Huntingdon.  I wanted a shot to get the idea of the shadows and the colors.  Mark helped me get one, today.  :) Thanks!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

First Day of Fourth Grade

It's Esme's first day of fourth grade