Partial lunar eclipse

Just a heads up guys that on June 3rd and 4th there will be a partial lunar eclipse that will be visible in north america. Fully visible in Alaska and Hawaii, and only partially visible for the western and parts of central north america.
So us here in the western part of Canada and the states should be able to see a partial view of both the penumbral and umbral eclipse (sp?) 

I don't know much more about this but I figured some people might be interested in the info.

Blessed Be

The strawberry moon AKA rose moon, sun moon, or hot moon

So since it's roughly 5 days until the next full moon  I figure I should say my little part on this up and coming moon. For those living in fort mcmurray the time I believe will be 9:36 at night this Friday the 5th. For those outside of town the times will vary, if you need help finding the time reply with your area and I'll see what I can do.

I know it by 4 names but I only know the story for 2 of them. So if anyone knows the story of the hot moon or the sun moon then go right ahead in the comments and tell me about it.

The strawberry moon story is fairly simple, the native tribes where strawberries grow knew to pick the strawberries after this full moon as the fruits would be just ripening hence the name strawberry moon.

Sadly I live far enough up north that the strawberries won't be completely ready but I am grabbing a strawberry plant from a nursery tomorrow, maybe even a tomato plant as my plants last year didn't fair so well from seed.

For those in the European countries where strawberries are not native, roses usually are native and are starting to show/bloom. There is where we get the name rose moon.

Blessed Be

Is taking steroids a gay thing?

The other thing striking thing about that Men's Health article referred to in the previous post was the high percentage of the guys listed who are widely rumored to be gay.

At least eight are, and of those, at least four are juicing. I don't resent actors who take steroids: at least they're not cheating at a sport.

It does seem, however, that gay actors are more likely to juice, though straight actors like Nicholas Cage have done it as well. I've noticed that at masters swimming meets in NYC, the guys who are juiced are almost always the gay ones.

The gay swimmers seem to be doing it more to enhance their sex appeal than boost their athletic performances. Most of them aren't particularly competitive; some are even new to the sport. The few straight masters swimmers who are rumored to be juicing generally do it so they can swim faster; most of them are record-holders.

There is, of course, overlap. Everybody wants to look more buff, and everybody wants to perform better. But there is a difference in the percentage of each group who juice, and there does seem to be a difference in their motivations.

(A straight guy can't just walk up to a girl he's never met before, whip off his shirt, say, "Hey, let's do it," and realistically expect a positive response.)

In the long run, steroids can cause kidney, liver, and heart damage. They can also lead to impotence and sterility. I sometimes think that gay men -- especially the ones who might be HIV-positive -- are more likely to take steroids because they are less concerned about their old age.

Matches Cup

The pilot light on one of the burners on our stove is a little unreliable (even though it's been fixed a few times - we can't figure it out), so we have to keep matches on hand. I picked up a box of these green tipped matches at Target because I thought the color was cute.

The big box is less cute though and if I see it and have to use it almost every day, I think it should be cute! So I bought a few of these pretty mercury glass votives at Gracious Home and thought one would make a perfect match holder.

I remember seeing this idea in a magazine or blog somewhere. It's a two minute project (my favorite kind!). All you do is cut off a square of striking paper and glue it to the bottom of your cup. I use Magnatacalmost every time I need a glue!

My cup was a little deeper than the matches, so I put an inch or so of coarse salt at the bottom before filling with the matches.

Looks cute and works well too with the striking paper on the bottom. Also, my girls don't know how to use matches, but just to be safe we keep the cup back further where they can't get to it. 

Love seeing those little green tips! :) Much better than a lighter or big old cardboard box!

The Yard - Advice, Please?

I hate showing in-the-rough before pictures without having some pretty after (or at least during!) shots for you, so I've been hesitant to share any photos of the brownstone. Those bachelors have not been so tidy! I could really use your help though. (and to make it clear - this is not our stuff. We haven't moved in yet)

I would love to be a really good gardener, but honestly, I have no idea where to even start. When we were first married, we lived in Arizona and our yard was mostly gravel and just a small lawn - totally minimal. Since then we've lived in places with no outdoor space. I haven't had the chance to learn about plants and yard care/design. I'm SO excited to finally start now.

We have an upper and a lower deck, both are about 5' deep and 20' wide - not super huge, but just big enough for a small grill, a table and four chairs on the upper deck (which connects to the living room). I'll probably put a small seating area on the bottom deck too (which connects to my office), but I think mostly that area will be for outdoor toy storage. I haven't figured that all out yet.

As I look through Pinterest and my inspiration folders at brownstone yards, it seems like a lot of them have stone or brick pavers. When we first walked through the house, I thought those flagstone pavers should go out immediately in favor for just grass (right after that astroturf gets pulled up off the deck! yeesh!)

But now I'm worrying about mud. Maybe putting down (prettier) pavers is the best idea?

Okay, all you yard experts - help! What would you do with this space? Ideas I'm bouncing around - a tallish hedge along the back wall for added privacy, some flowers and/or vegetables planted along the sides (I want to take out all those low bushy trees to the left).  Raised garden beds? Maybe a teeny tiny playhouse or a covered sandbox? The yard itself is 20' wide x 40' deep (this is a shot from the upstairs landing).

Any thoughts?

The Natural Life: How to make Edible Finger Paints

I would NEVER suggest letting a child eat food dyes/coloring but this is an awesome alternative to the toxic or otherwise chemically colored versions you get in the store. Plus, it makes for a fun day of play with the kids and SHOULD they get some in their mouth you don't have to be afraid they will become overly sick.  But seriously, this is one of the few good uses I've found for food dye!

This is a really easy paint to make from ingredients you can find in your pantry and will keep your children occupied for hours!

What you will need:
4 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 cup of corn flour
3 cups cold water
food coloring

What to do:
1. Stir sugar & corn flour together.
2. While stirring, slowly add the water, heat over medium heat until mixture thickens. (paint will thicken further when it cools)
3. divide into containers and add the food coloring.

4. Have Fun!

Men's "Health"

A swimming website this morning featured part of a new workout video by Ryan Lochte. You had to go to Lochte's website to see the full video, and I saw there that he had been picked as number one by Men's Health magazine among the "best summer bodies" of 2012. Curious as to which other athletes made the list, I scrolled through the rankings.

I was dismayed to find that of the 25 men listed, 20 were actors, and one was a singer. Michel Phelps, at #20, Dwyane Wade, at #17, and Blake Griffin, at #13, all ranked behind such luminaries as Taylor Lautner of Twilight fame, at #12, and Orlando Bloom, at #9.

The rankings, of course, make perfect sense. Gee, I'd much rather be built like this guy (Orlando Bloom, #9):

Than like this guy (Dwyane Wade, #17):

(Oops, got my wish: I actually am built pretty much like Orlando.)

The other striking thing about the list was the number of actors who've obviously gone on steroids. (I counted a minimum of eight.) You simply don't get a convex trapezius (the muscles which go from the neck to the top of the shoulder) like Daniel Craig (#15) has from mere exercise:

Here's Chris Hemsworth (#10), who sports a similarly convex trapezius:

(Hemsworth bears a striking resemblance to Brad Pitt after Pitt juiced up for Troy.)

In each of the blurbs describing how these actors achieved their miraculous transformation was a link to the Men's Health article describing their fitness routine. (The price you have to pay to make this list is evidently to have given Men's Health access for an article describing your workouts.)

What these articles don't list is the most crucial ingredient to many of these stars' transformations: a daily injection of clenbuterol, or Winstrol, or some other anabolic agent.

The innocent among us might think that we could follow their workout routines and perhaps attain bodies like theirs without the extra help. But that would be wishful thinking.

It's hard to believe that the editors at Men's Health aren't in on this joke, and thus intentionally perpetrating a fraud on an unsuspecting public.

It wouldn't be as bad if the publication were called Men's Fitness, or Men's Muscles, or Men's Pinups. But health has to be about the last thing on your agenda if you're taking steroids.

Well, gotta sell those magazines.

The Infidelity War Escalates

It was the day before Thanksgiving, which can be stressful enough without infidelity shaking things up, right?  There's always lots of family around.  One of the bunch is probably a bad apple, at least where I come from.  That makes for the distinct possibility that there will be some sort of confrontation, hurt feelings or various other family exchanges that are most certainly not reason for giving Thanks.   A daughter hiding her emotions brought on by a cheating husband is right up there with any major league family drama.  I was dreading the effort it would require to put on my happy face for the entire day.

We were going to spend the day with our kids, my parents and my amazing grandpa.  We do this every other year.  The other Thanksgiving days are spent in Florida with Richard's family.  He has two older sisters in Vero Beach.  They have husbands and grown children, most of them with spouses and kids of their own.  It's a fairly large group that we rarely see, but every other year we enjoy spending time with all of them.  Perhaps I should have been more thankful that we were not heading to Vero that year.  Can't imagine how difficult that would have been.

Woke up early.  I usually did.  Wasn't sleeping well these past 2 months.  (shocker!)  I just laid there with my brain spinning as usual.  The lovely Dr. K advised us not to discuss the affair in our bedroom.  What can I say?  I'm not the greatest patient ever.  The conversation that started the next battle in the infidelity war went something like this:
"I don't know how I'm gonna hold it together all day tomorrow.  Maybe it's time to tell mom & dad the truth.  I just don't know what to do."  (BTW...I don't know and I don't care were at the tippy top of my current responses to anything!)
"It's Thanksgiving.  Why ruin Thanksgiving?"
"I'm going to have to tell them soon.  I can't believe they haven't called us on anything yet.  Mom knows something is up.  I'm sure of it." it comes....Wait for it.....

"Your dad already knows."

Are you freaking kidding me??  Did I just hear what I thought I heard?  I thought my head was gonna explode like a grenade, skull shrapnel and brain matter all over the place!
It took me almost a full minute to catch my breath and gather my wits about me.  My eyes must have been as big as melons and my mouth was agape, hanging to the floor in utter shock.  I tried to ask for details, but when you can't breath, speech is difficult, so is rational thought.
"What do you mean?  How, when?"  (So articulate!)
"I told him when we hiked up Mt. Woodson two weeks ago."  TWO WEEKS AGO??
"What made you think that was OK?  I thought you'd come to your senses?  Stupid me!  How dare you talk to MY father about this??"
"I thought he could help me/us." (I don't remember if Richard said ME or US.  My guess is, he said me, but I'm hoping he said us.) "He went through this with your mom.  I thought he might have some insight."

Yea, my dad is a cheater, too.  I remember when my mom tried to tell me at Soup Plantation years ago.  She gave me the "a friend of mine is going through this" story line.  What did I say?  "If Richard ever cheated on me he'd be gone! Men like that are complete pigs!"  Or something equally as compassionate.  Ugh.

The battle intensified.  It was about to escalate out of control.  I tried to absorb the fact that Richard had lied yet again.  He said it wasn't a lie, he just didn't tell me.  He was trying to find help for us.  Seriously?? I thought Richard may have had a stroke!  He used to be so much smarter than this!

Plus, I was thinking about my dad.  How could he have known for two long weeks and not once come to me?  Didn't he care how I was doing?  What in the hell was happening?  Richard is only related to him because of me!  I'm his daughter for the love of the Lord!  Oh my God!  Did he tell MOM??  I was headed to panic mode about mom, so I didn't feel the pain in my heart about my dad not coming to me until later.

The screaming in my head was so damn loud!  My voice had to stay at a slightly lower volume because of my kids.  There was a lot of pacing and arm flailing as I ranted, raved and stormed about our bedroom.  This must have been why the lovely Dr. K suggested that we not discuss the affair in there.

Even as I processed the potential impact of this new offending lie, I was plotting my next defensive strike.  For me, there was always payback.  If he thought telling my dad was no big deal, why shouldn't we tell his sisters?
And the war raged on.

Mint Green Step Stool

Hey friends! I hope you had a great long weekend! Ours was so perfect! It felt really long, which is about the best way a weekend could feel. :) Last night was especially fun. We went with our friends Dennis and Jenna on a sail boat down by the Statue of Liberty. The weather, food and company were amazing.

Earlier this weekend I had a little time to finish a project on my list. I bought this step stool at a vintage shop for $20 a while back. I filled the joints with a little wood glue to sturdy it up and then it was good as new and ready for a coat of paint.

I love the diamond pattern on the old rubber treads. 

EDIT: I was wrong about the paint color. I used BEHR's Kiwi Squeeze (latex, high gloss).

After two coats of paint (I did prime first with Zinsser), I dug out the rest of these small brass nails and used them to flatten the rubber tread that was starting to pop up a little. Did you know the easiest way to place a nail in an exact place is to use a pair of needle nose pliers to hold the nail while you tap it in. Work SO well!

Man, I love mint green! 

The stool has been so handy in our kitchen. We don't have a ton of cabinets, so we actually use the items stored on our top shelves on a regular basis. It's nice to have easy access to the shelves all the time now. The girls are really good about not using the stool without me around. I usually fold it up when I'm not using it anyway.

It tucks into this little nook really well for the times we want it out of the way. Or I can put it away in the pantry if I want it out of sight.


But the color makes me so happy, I doubt we'll put it away much. :) I especially love the way the gold looks on the green.

OOTD 5/28: To Cut or Not to Cut...

{Blazer: Jcrew, Top: Jcrew, Skirt: Jcrew, Belt: Jcrew, Wedges: Jcrew}

My hair is getting long friends. I noticed it today and am especially realizing it as the temperatures near 90 degrees. I always go back and forth about cutting my hair. I want it cut, but then after, I feel remorse. 

Getting a hair cut here is out of the question (at least for me). Don't get me wrong - there are good hairdressers here in Spain, but here they go by the system of "dedos" (fingers). So if I want three dedos (three fingers' length off my hair), I hold up my fingers and show her where I want it cut. Once this decision is made by me and communicated to the hairdresser, it is then the hairdresser's interpretation of my "dedos" illustration and what they'd liked to do with my hair. 

So, on behalf of my timidity and half on my lack of hair cuttery vocabulary, I'm going to hold off on the haircut for a little bit. Maybe my growing hair will just encourage me to learn how to braid well or find some cool hairstyles on Pinterest. 


Men in Black III is inventive, funny, and even sentimental (which is new for the franchise). It hangs together well, and is both overtly and slyly funny. It's well acted, and comes at you from all sorts of angles.

It's not nearly as much fun to write -- or read -- a positive movie review as a negative one, so I won't go on at length.

It is, however, fun to see a good movie, so catch this one.

It'll be the most fun hour and forty-six minutes of your day.

OOTD 5/27: T Minus 5

{Top: Zara, Skirt: Jcrew Bigshot Dot, Belt: Jcrew, Bracelet: Jcrew, Sandals: Target}

Whew! I'm almost to the end of the school semester! T mins 5 days (4 and a half really - we have a half day on Friday to close up the year and hand out awards) and then vacation!! My former college roommate and her husband fly in on Saturday to spend a week with us. We plan to show them sights in Madrid and are taking a overnight trip to Barcelona as well. 

Hubby and I went out on another walking adventure today. It was mid-80s, and the Spaniards were out eating their tapas, strolling their kiddies, and enjoying a good ice cream cone. So we did like the Spaniards, and got us one too (ice cream cone - that is!). One thing I love about Spain is their desire to get out and socialize. On beautiful days like this, everyone's out and about chatting, munching, or just people watching. It's great to be a part of a culture that takes in its surroundings and doesn't let them pass them by.

P.S. Rynetta @ Jcrewismyfavstore is having a Jcrew Giftcard giveaway. (She is SO awesome!) Pop over to her blog here and enter! Thanks Rynetta!!

Peppered steak a day late

Sorry RYH
I couldn't think of anything to cook last night so we had leftovers, But I do plan on making peppered steak in the next few days so I'll give you the recipe here.

The basics
-Crushed mixed peppercorns (you can buy whole and crush them yourself with a hammer and a few plastic bags)
- 2 steaks or like my mother uses when she's stuck stew meat
-olive oil (or any oil really)

On the bbq?
mix your peppercorns and oil together (you can add water as well to make it less oily ) and then crush garlic into the mixture, rub on both sides of the steak and let sit for no less than 10 minutes. Then BBQ time.
Seriously that easy

fried on stove with stew meat or cubed steak? What I'll be making
Cut your meat into chunks, make the same mixture as above and mix with the chuncks, let site for no less than 10 minutes. fry on stove in pan.

add more?
-bell peppers or any other pepper.
-corn on the cob
- you can marinade your steak overnight for better flavor
-anything in you fridge almost can be added

Oh yeah and salt and pepper to taste (though I normally don't use any for this recipe)

See ya in a few months RHY!


edit: I forgot you wanted a picture from last week


Isn't she beautiful?

And the girl at the top (or bottom) is almost as pretty, in a similar sort of way.

Actually, by normal girl standards, Bullock is nice-looking. But how she ever became a leading lady is a mystery. She looks more like the type who ought to be cast as the best friend of the romantic lead, you know, the ballsy one who's always making wisecracks.

Every now and then I'll see actors or actresses who seem to get roles for which their looks don't really qualify them, and I always find myself wondering. Did they have connections? Is this nepotism at work? Do they have a certain ethnic look which the producers wanted to promote? Is this the end result of the casting couch? Are they so likable that directors just want to give them work? Is this a case of the heroine in a chick flick being purposely cast so that she won't be threatening to the average female movie-goer?

Or am I just not seeing something which everyone else sees?

I have no idea what the story is with Bullock.

She was actually great in Crash, where she played the bitchy wife of the ambitious politician. And she was excellent in The Blind Side, where she played a stern, no-nonsense matriarch.

But she does seem miscast in roles where you're supposed to think, I want that.