Tuesday, June 21, 2011

To AGJ, on her First Birthday

Dear A.G.J.
Happy birthday, Little Miss. You probably already know this, but you are a very special little girl. Not only because you are surrounded by aunties and uncles (related and not), grandparents, and a whole passel of babies your age who adore you to pieces...but because you have a set of really awesome parents who love you more than you know. I mean, look at what you are doing RIGHT now!
Most people have to wait until college to sit in an excavation unit for a day. And they don't get to take their toys with them. How cool is your summer so far?!

I am sorry I am going to miss seeing you sitting in your birthday cake and smearing icing in your hair, watching you open presents, and helping your mom make party favors. Smile big for the camera and make lots of noise for the video so I can see it all in a few weeks when you get home. And expect to see me shortly thereafter! I miss you all very much!

Oh, and now that you are becoming more mobile and percocious...it is time you learn the motto for Camp Aunt ArchaeologyAsh, which I hope you will be attending soon: "Well behaved women seldom make history."

Not that I am encouraging you to misbehave...Okay. Maybe I am. Just don't tell your mom.

Happy Birthday, Kiddo!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Life with a 7 Year Old

On Saturday, Ellie got to do a whole lot adventuring, which is by far one of her favorite pastimes, especially when the company is good.

This is what she did mostly.

Despite the good times alllll weekend, Ellie decided to punish me for leaving without her today.

I came home after quite a long, hot day in the field to this:

I think she attempted to frame Mr. Monkey.
I was not fooled.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

And now there are two

I felt so bad for Steve the Spastic Guppy that I finally got him a friend.

Meet Chase.

Chase is a fin nipper, though I am sure he goes by some other scientific name (Chichilid, though the exact taxonomic nomenclature I am not sure). His full name in my house is "Chase'n Steve's Tail."

While I have never actually seen Chase nip Steve's tail, Steve's tail is suddenly a lot more raggedy than it was two weeks ago.

I felt bad for Steve so I added a little cave for him to hide from Chase. As you can see by the above picture, the cave is now where Chase lurks for Steve.

Oddly, when Chase is not in the cave, he is doing weird dances around the tank with Steve following behind, mimicking what Chase does. They both like to play in the bubbles from the filter and when I walk up to the tank, Chase does flips and follows me around. I kind of like him, even if he is being kind of rude to Steve.

Today I found this.
The brown thing is a weekend feeder since I was out of town last week. There are four rocks on top of the feeder. Two white ones roughly the same size with two brown ones roughly the same size perfectly lined up next to each other.

Is it art?

Is it a gift?

Is my fish actually a reincarnated interior decorator? The Next Design Star?

Either way, I am entertained.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Ellie and I made this on Saturday.
There is only one leftover screw and only one wheel is a bit wobbly. No, they do not belong together. Minimal blood. Lots of sweat. A few tears.

Ellie's lack of opposable thumbs and my lack of brute strength and our combined fear of propane tanks meant that we were not able to use it on Saturday. The tank kept leaking when we tried it again on Sunday. On Monday we stared at it, willing it to work, but it still would not. We lost the will to eat actual food and settled for cereal on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Sister and her dearly devoted husband came over and fixed it. I made shish kebabs. And Sister made this.
The meal made us all quite full.

And me a little bit sweaty because it is 105 freaking degrees outside and 95 freaking degrees in my kitchen. Even Ellie is belly-flopped on the tile floor in direct line of the swamp cooler vent.

I guess it is finally summer.

And the motivating lyrics of the day from the song, Separate, by one of my new favorite bands, Trampled By Turtles:
Filled with fatal flowers and praying
For the sky to turn from black to grey

Hear what I say

Never plain nor simple
It's breaking my heart
But I'm working hard
To separate
war from beauty

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Conditioned Response

This morning I got up bright, bright, bright and early...fixed myself a poached egg and a piece of soy sausage (its delicious, don't knock it until you try it)...forwent the coffee....put on my running clothes...and went to work.

Running clothes? At work? Well, no. I took the Work Capacity Test this morning, where I had to walk three miles carrying 45 pounds of weight in 45 minutes, all to prove that I am fit enough to work for the Fire Program. I did not think I would be able to do this. In fact, I told the guy administering the test that I may have to come back and take it again. Because despite my best efforts to be in a 30th-birthday-marathon training regime, I am not doing as well as I had hoped.

On top of being negative about my physical state, I should tell you that I've had kind of a rough weekend. For whatever reason, I let technology and meanie-heads get the best of me. This was unfortunate because I really have come a long way from this time last year, mentally and emotionally speaking.

Fortunately, I have a dear friend who is a newly minted life coach, and who was willing to give me some positive affirmations to think about this morning before the big test. Thank you, L!

Walking forward (because you can't run), I started listening to my iPod, which is full of very great music, all of which motivates even if the lyrics are a bit melancholy.

And I started thinking.

And then this song started playing.

The lyrics, in case you can't watch it, say:
I want to find myself a better state, where my stories will never be told
Won't have to worry about all my mistakes, once your body unravels, unfolds

No I can't wait to get to California
Even if it takes, even if it takes a toll
Your face still looks the same, the same as I wanted
And our love will never grow old

And I started remembering all that is good.

And just maybe, thinking back on all that I love about California is part of why I passed that test with 7 minutes to spare.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Follow through.

Meet the skeletons in my closet.
I finally pulled them out.

There are a few ways I can look at this...

1. I am a collector of fabric. A connoisseur of textiles. Quite possibly a hoarder.

2. I have single-handedly kept many small fabric stores across the country in business! And now I can open my own store! Which will help supplement my wallet...to buy more fabric!

3. I have lots of good ideas, but perhaps a little bit less time...or motivation...to get them done than I thought I did when I bought the fabric in the first place.

Looking at these skeletons of my ideas made me quite sad, really. Every pretty parcel of fabric was purchased for a purpose, for a project, for a greater good other than to be folded neatly, arranged chromatically, and stored in a plastic bin in my closet.

So I'll just have to get busy.

I also cannot help but see a life metaphor in all this cotton (satin, tulle, chiffon, linen, flannel, fleece, and felt).

Perhaps this is the lesson to be learned: that in this New Life I am trying to make for myself, I should focus some more on the "follow through" part of the idea.

Finish what I start.

Measure twice before the final cut.

Accept that the imperfections of a project make it unique.

Know that no matter how simple or complicated, if something is made with love....it will be beautiful.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

There Can Be Only One...

And apparently, it's Steve, the Spastic Blue Guppy who gets the whole tank to himself because he didn't get ick and die like Gus, Barbarella, Trembles, and the damn plecostomus who infected everyone. Cool Hand Luke, the crab, went the way of the Great Toilet Bowl in the Sky a while ago...which is why there was room for the plecostomus in the first place. Damn plecostomus.

Ellie does not see this as a big deal, as she is part fish and feels that she could fit in the five gallon tank and be my only pet....no problem. See?
She has been doing the water thing for a while, so the fish are just copying her.
She says she prefers the bigger water so she can chase sticks and ducks and rocks or whatever you feel like throwing for her.
And she also says that she could live on the fish food, since Steve can't eat it all himself. But sandwiches would be the best, really.

Peanut butter and steak, if you must know.