C. S. Lewis

"It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad."


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Deck taking shape

The deck is slowly taking shape.
I've been slow to realize that this is my patch of dirt. That means that I can plant flowers and veggies in the dirt outside, not in pots on my deck.

So slow, in fact, that everything is still in pots on my deck.

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But it's slowly getting less cluttered. I'm upgrading some of my pots (yay for clearance sales at Michael's and Joanns!) and I'm sacrificing my pallet garden. It was a good idea--but didn't go vertical very well. The harsh winter also killed half the plants in it. Two ground covers and the spearmint survived, but only barely.

I snapped this picture with the pillows and reed mat to show the direction I'm headed, the pallet is still there in this picture, but it's gone now!

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This is what it looks like now--minus the soft things:

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I like to sit out on the deck and write on the weekends--I'm right across from the bird feeder, which the birds aren't happy with, but they cope and come eat anyway after fussing and fluttering around for a little while. They refuse to let me take pictures, though.

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The chipmonk (whom Zorro has named Tim, after a webcomic troll) and the squirrel, however, kept their distance. The squirrel more distant than the chipmonk, who lurked around the edges of the deck watching me for the several hours I was out there.

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"I can see you, Kirk. Can you see me?"
I love green things and wild things. This deck is a wonderful thing.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Blue and Lace

I have finally discovered a decent spot to take outfit pictures. I'm pretty happy about it.

Some shopping notes about this outfit. I've accumulated the pieces over the past couple years, but it's the where that's cool. I know thrifting is a thing, and often really cost effective and also about recycling resources. I approve. Fact is, the thrift stores where I am are a little too aware that it's a thing, and so the prices aren't really fabulous--unless you happen to come on a day when what you want is marked down (all green tags half off, that kind of thing). I've scored some things, but generally find that I spend more and can't return things if I get home and hate it. You can also frequently do better at the (abundant) consignment shops in this area, especially on their clearance racks (mint condition leather jacket for $30? That would be the one that got away...)

At this point in my life, my time is better spent combing the clearance and sale racks of the outlet mall nearby.

 I found this lovely blue blouse at the Banana Republic outlet for $4. (Also, that bright green shirt from Ann Taylor outlet? Also $4).

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The gold leather belt? American Eagle, $6. Black lace skirt? Target-$10

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Trendy arrow bracelet: Altar'd State $3 (it was an amazing sale :P).

The nude booties are leather, and I got them on a Shoemint Sale for $65. As close as I've been able to get to a nude pump that didn't look painful. Despite being nearly 4" heels, they are actually extremely comfortable. Especially once I got them broken in.

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silver charm bracelet - gifted

Granted, these are not the under $5 amazing thrift stories, but I don't have any of those to start with! So I'm pretty thrilled with my $10 or less finds! (Except the shoes....I splurged on the shoes...)

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blue rock necklace - gifted


Party-driven products are like zombie outbreaks. First they are "I've never heard of that" then they are EVERYWHERE and after a couple months they are all gone.

In case you haven't had any zombies in your life yet: Jamberries are essentially non-toxic vinyl nail stickers. Long lasting, easy to apply, easy to remove. $15/sheet--from which you can do your nails twice and your toes once--I think--which is pretty amazing if you are routinely getting $15 a pop manicures and sitting under UV lights for acrylic nails and what not.

I'm not a manicure girl, so the sale points on Jamberries being more cost effective and easier than manicures or home-done gel nails/fake nails/etc. don't really impress me. I'm also not one for busy busy nail patterns, so that wasn't a huge selling point either.

I tried Jamberries because they were everywhere. Also because I'm tough on nail polish, and I'm not sure how I feel about nail polish chipping into my food. Jamberries are non toxic, relatively easy to apply, very easy to remove, long lasting, and I took care to buy designs I would never be motivated enough to paint on (but I would actually wear).

I enjoyed them, nail polish chips within hours for me, so two weeks of consistent color--if not total coverage--was pretty amazing.

I hope that next time I apply them I'll be able to get them on without wrinkles, it definitely takes practice to get the hang of it. And I had to have Zorro do the trimming on my right hand because I couldn't get the scissors to work worth a darn with my left.

It was also an adjustment for me--I have never worn fake nails or stickers before, so having my nails just that much thicker took some getting used to.

They were exceptionally easy to remove when I was done with them. They'd started peeling a bit, and I'd stuck them back in place repeatedly till I could take them all off. Just a dunk in my not-acetone-CVS brand nail polish remover and they peeled back. A few needed additional dunks to get remover between the wrap and the nail, but it worked like a charm.

I don't know that I will buy them often, but they are fun for a change of pace, and definitely work as advertised.

Day 3:

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End of week 2:
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End of week 2:
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

bareback on Midas

Let's just take a moment to appreciate this sight:

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It was a horribly hot and sticky day. No one wanted to be moving around any more than absolutely necessary, because the mere act of existing outside meant sweat would be trickling down your back and off your forehead in moments.

So, how to maximize benefit of minimal movement? Barebacking.

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The Padawan and the Ham both spent time trotting Midas around bareback. The fleece pad reduces slipping, but I was extremely proud of their ability to sit the trot. I had to work so hard to learn how to sit the trot, and that's basically how they learned how to ride. Glad to see they haven't lost it after a couple years without Navarre around.

Midas, too, was pretty happy and relaxed throughout. No rushing off or pressing a perceived advantage. Partly, I'm sure, due to the icky weather, but also due to improved training and improved riders. Mostly improved training.

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Afterwards we gave Midas a thorough cooling rinse, for which he stood quietly as usual. The Ham didn't let him splash him this time.

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Also, I found a tree frog hiding out on one of the sweat scrapers:

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Zorro and I took a long weekend recently and hid at a B&B reading novels and sunbathing.

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I've discovered how to put PDF documents on Zorro's kindle, so I've been doing that to read my friend's novels--it works for the ones I don't intend to edit grammatically--the print is a little small, which is annoying. But it'll do till I can buy my fabled Surface Pro.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

50 - He said, she said

Lost? Catch up on Zare here

50-He said, she said
Ozriel and I looked at each other and started to run toward the shouting. We collected purple clad servants and an orange guard or two as we dashed through the bright halls—causing not a little bit of commotion ourselves. Finally our little bit of chaos reached the source of the shouting—a small crowd jostling urgently around an ornate doorway—I pushed my way to the front and into the room with Ozriel just a step behind me.
Two orange guards were standing on a four poster bed with their swords drawn; Deadweight was on the left with a knife, and Quill on the right with his knife.
The sight of Deadweight with a blade in his hand flung me into action. I leapt forward threw my leg at the back of his knees, sweeping his legs out of from under him. Deadweight fell on his rear and I kicked the knife out of his hand. “What is going on here?” I demanded.
Because, clearly, they all answer to me.
Quill straightened from his fighting stance, “I caught him in here coming to kill the Grand Master.”
“That’s a lie!” choked out Deadweight. “I caught him!”
“That’s preposterous!” Quill spat. “Why would I kill the man who hired me?”
“Why would I kill my uncle?”
“Perhaps the same reason you would slaughter an entire caravan with Shahoyan Raptors?”  
“Am I a sorcerer that I command birds?”
“As if you would need to be!”  I snorted.
“Enough!” The Grand Master’s voice rose from behind the orange-clad guards on the bed. The guards cautiously stood aside, then hopped off the bed to help the Grand Master up. “It seems,” said the old man with effort, “That my guards need to improve their watch.”
Before anyone else could comment there was another commotion by the door and the Head Marshal strode in, Azbar in his blue cape sweeping along behind him. “What is going on here?”
“A tea party,” I answered.
“My lord, are you alright?” The Marshal ignored me and turned to the Grand Master.
 “Uncle,” Deadweight shifted to his knees and pointed at Quill desperately, “This man is in league with the Marshals against you. They bought his loyalty when he got too close to their schemes with the thieves in the badlands.”
“Is that so?” The Grand Master looked at his long-lost-nephew.
The Marshal stiffened and cast the barest glance at Deadweight.
Deadweight wasted no time. “I was going to tell you—but when I saw you I was overcome with emotion and my wounds—while I was held in the prisons of the thieves because of my relation to you, and learned that the Head Marshal has been betraying you to the thieves for years.”
If we had been friends, I would probably have found his audacity admirable. As it was, however, I considered him a conniving snake of legendary proportion. I started to make plans of escape in case the Grand Master believed him.
“Your nephew,” said the Head Marshal measuredly, “would know, as it was he who held my leash.”
“Lies!” cried Deadweight.

Hook was loose in case I needed to call for him, and could carry two for a little while. We would have to steal another horse pretty quickly to hope to out distance the guard, though, and there was the little matter of finding our way out quickly…I was not going to let this spiral any further. One desperate man’s word against another’s and all vying for the trust of a man far too emotionally invested…this would not end well.  Drawing myself up I called on all my princessly upbringing, “The Marshal is telling the truth!” I announced loudly.

Copyright 2014: The Legend of Zare Caspian is an original story by Abigail Cossette for The Raven's Landing.  If you enjoy the story, please share and link back! Please don't copy it. Contact me if you would like to publish a portion of it in any way, shape or form.

Friday, July 18, 2014

White skinnies project

I have beautiful hand-me-down Nordstrom white trousers. If you have ever shopped for white trousers you know that finding a pair that isn't completely see-throughish is rather remarkable. This pair, however, hits me in really weird places--being high waisted and either straight leg or boot cut--the combined effect was very unflattering.

So. I made them skinny. And while they are not done, I'm stuck on what I want to do next.

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They are rolled up in the picture above, so they can be worn with flats, below you see how long they are:

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It's a good length for heels, so I'm thinking that I want to keep the ability to have the pants longer or shorter. And I really, really want to embellish them with buttons--but where?

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My original thought (inspired by these trousers) was the leg:

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But I'm also wondering if I might be able to redeem the high waist (which I don't find flattering on me) and tag along with that nautical high waist pant trend:

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What do you think? I think I'm leaning toward the button embellished legs and I'll go on trying to pretend they aren't high waisted....
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