Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Pumpkin Day

No, it’s not quite Halloween yet, but it is a pumpkin-y day. The school is having parties and a costume parade today and I am looking forward to going in to watch. Yesterday I went to Honor’s class and was able to help with their pumpkin party. It was a “fun day”, but it also included a bunch of learning activities. The kids each got a pumpkin and had to measure it, weigh it, guess whether it would float or not – and test it – then when we carved it. We had to measure how much goop and seeds we scooped out, and how thick the skin was. Honor got a pumpkin that didn’t like to stand up, but as we looked at it laying flat, she determined that the place we cut the stem off looked like a mouth saying “Woooo!”. She drew on the eyes, I cut it out, and we ended up with a screaming pumpkin (although perhaps we should have called it a biting pumpkin, because everyone wants to put their hands - and heads - in the mouth… nom nom nom!)

Hopefully the kittens will settle down before I have to leave the house. They are very clingy today, especially Ninja Cat. I have had a cat (or up to three cats at a time!) appear on my shoulder any time I sit down today (yes – even right now, although one is under the chair attacking my toes). Earlier, Ninja Cat climbed all the way up into my arms as I was standing at the counter trying to make coffee, and they were all over everybody as we were trying to get ready for school and breakfast. The cats have now moved, and are in a massive, three-kitten pile-up on another chair (for a change) having a wrestle-fest. This is usually what happens before they collapse in a fuzzy heap and sleep for hours. This is a good time for them to nap, because it means they will wake up right about the time the kids get home… time for more play and active kitty company!

DSC05451 And they love to distract… I mean ‘help’… with homework.


btw. I love having a table in the kitchen. I can help with homework as I clean up and as I prepare dinner. The kids also have plenty of room to work together, and they do enjoy helping each other. Brian gave Honor a practice spelling test yesterday, and they both read to each other for their reading time. Honor is also picking up some basic multiplication because Brian explained it to her, and she now she asks for problems when we quiz Brian on his math facts.

Kittens are big helpers when it comes to unpacking school backpacks!

DSC05444 Who needs TV?

Note on the on-going kitten name dilemma – we think the pale cat’s name will be Princess Pixie Allspice. Yes, a mouthful for a little cat, but this is a cat that requires a complex name, she’s not one for simple labels.

Oh no! They’ve gotten into the kleenex and are shredding a tissue all over the living room… and are growling over bits of their ‘prey’ too!… I don’t think this is a ‘toy’ I want to encourage. Guess I better go do the mom thing and redirect their energy in a positive way. More later…

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Healthy Snacks – Oatmeal Raisin Bars

Ok. I am trying to come up with healthy and affordable snacks for the kids to take to school. The school provides a good lunch, but they need nibbles during the day too. I used to provide cereal bars and things like that – still do – but they are very expensive here, as are fruit snacks, dried fruit and nuts. Yes, I know that fresh fruit and veggies would be ideal, but they aren’t always portable, and they don’t always get eaten in a timely manner, which is wasteful. They can eat squished granola bars – squished bananas are not very nice. I am also limited because both kids have children in their classes with severe allergies so no peanuts. I also do not like candy (obviously), cookies, chips, and the like. Crackers and real cheeses (not cheese products – blech!) are good, but not for every day, and there’s the wastage problem like with fruit and veg. There’s a local string cheese – like mozzarella, but very salty. They like that sometimes. Anyway…

Today I made some cereal bars. This is a mashed up recipe, frankensteined from multiple recipes I’ve read for inspiration and portions, and using local ingredients.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bars

1/2 cup butter (warmed)

3/4 cup brown sugar (I used natural brown granulated sugar cane sugar – not the fine ground, dark brown sugar like I am used to using in recipes in the US)

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons dark corn syrup (I would have preferred molasses, but didn’t have any)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

3 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups quaker oats (I used quick cooking, not instant – uncooked)

1 cup sultanas (rinsed and plumped just slightly -Raisins in the big grocery stores, are expensive. So are nuts – and most nuts are roasted as dry as paper! I got these sultanas and walnuts at a small grocer, where they were being sold by the kilo at a good price.)

1 cup walnuts (chopped fairly small)

* Cream together the butter and both sugars.

* Add the corn syrup and mix well

* Stir in eggs and vanilla

* Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cocoa powder, salt and oats. Mix well.

* Add raisins and nuts. Mix well again. Batter will be very thick.

* Preheat oven to 350F

For bars, press into 13X9X2 baking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool. Cut into bars. I assume these could be cookies too – drop by tablespoons on a cookie sheet and cook for ?8? minutes (the batter is thick!) I haven’t tried that yet.

The verdict – delivered when the kids got home from school: “Momma can I have another? Can I have the rest of yours?” Yes, they do want to have them as a school snack. And when I said that I could experiment with other recipes, they said “No! We like these!”

Calling All Crafters


Except you, Ninja – you are an un-crafter - although I am sure that kitten help will ultimately make all my crochet much cuter.

No. I need ideas for a couple of projects. Both are projects I have been thinking about since we moved here, pre-kitten – but the need for them is enforced by their arrival.

Project One – Blind cord thingys.

We have 6 or 7 sets of floor to ceiling window blinds. I hate blinds. I hate the cords even more. Yes, they serve a purpose, and on doors, I admit, they are more practical than curtains, but they aren’t pretty, and the cords are a real pain. The plastic, automatic reel gadget – that attaches to the wall and controls excess cord – do not always work the way they should. They will not work at all for some of the windows and doors we have blinds on. I have crochet chained the excess into a bundle, but because the blinds are so long, the slack of the cords, when the blinds are opened, still hangs to the floor. I don’t like it, and the kittens LOVE it. It is cute to see them play Tarzan with the cords, but unsupervised, this is hazardous. Do you have any ideas for a cord controller? Crochet or sewing? I can probably adapt a knitting project.

Project Two – Door stops (windows too)

I’m not talking a huge, cute cut out/stuffed animal with a brick in it. Something small to wedge under the door or in the jamb to keep it open. I’ve also got a few windows that open like doors and have nothing to hold them open when the wind blows through the house. I can come up with some simple things that will work (my husband wants his shoe back!) – practical and safe, but I am curious if anyone has seen anything like this. Anything fun and creative.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

They’re taking over

We are having so much fun with the kittens! It’s been a quiet weekend otherwise… Honor is finally better, except for a lingering cough as she tries to get rid of the crud. I’ve been exhausted and caught up with some sleep today. Missed a walking tour of local shopping areas, but I needed the rest. Hopefully I will be able to sign up for a later tour.

I’m sitting here watch Brad get attacked by a Pumpkin cat… I mean, the whole litter! Where Pumpkin goes, the girls are soon to follow. It looks like the little boy of the litter is a daddy’s boy! He always goes to Brad and hops up in his lap for love and cuddles.

Sorry that these photos are not clickable for hi-res, but our internet continues to be poor.

Time for Pumpkin and Miss No Name to have cuddles with mom.


Even Honor has a lap big enough for these three little kittens… altho the two wrestling kept falling off.


Nap time with Honor.


Ninja Cat protects us from dangerous shoes.


Honor and Ninja chat.


Pumpkin has the goopiest eyes. All of the kittens have a virus in their eyes that we have medication for. They aren’t fond of the eye-cream, but it is helping.


Honor definitely spends a lot of time with the kittens, which is why I have more photos of her with them(!), but Brian loves them too. Even when facing Ninja attacks as he attempts to read his book.


She’s so fast! You never see her coming!

DSC05433 Three days ago they were wild in the bushes… now they seek out laps for snoozing on.


What do you mean “Get off the computer?" How else am I supposed to keep my butt warm?


btw… it looks like Pumpkin and Ninja Cat are keeping their names. They fit them well. We’re still trying to decide on a name for the pale girl. She’s a sweetie and loves to be stroked and held. She’s very smart too, and don’t let her gentleness fool you… she can be mischievous, tricky, and is the most dead set against getting eye drops! (and says so quite loudly). The list we’re considering:

Mystic Angel Crystal
Cuddles Cinnamon Foxy
Smokey Shadow Pixie
Rosy Sugar Sweetie
Sparkles Whiskers Princess

I like Pixie the best, but I tend to call her Sweetie, Princess, or Baby (I know, pretty sappy, but I can’t help it… gotta call her something!) What do you think?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Kittens in my kitchen

We weren't going to bring these guys in. Not yet. But we'd been watching the kittens, and for some reason, the momma cat wasn't coming around. When she finally did, she didn't feed them - and they were yowling and obviously hungry! When she quickly left again, the kittens started trying to climb up the high wall after her, which was scary enough, but then they started eyeballing the ledge, with the obvious intent to commit bodily harm, all over their little fuzzy faces. I called Brad at work and told him I was worried about them. He picked up some food and litter on the way home, and we went out together to see what was up.

The kittens, by this time, had wised up and not jumped out, but momma had not come back to feed them and they were sad kitties. We'd have known if she had come in. We were making sure no-one leapt out, and the window was open. The mere sight of momma always set the kittens to mewling loudly! They were snoozing in the plants, but curious when they saw Brad. One even approached Brad. I brought out a small saucer of squished up canned food, and apparently, their hunger was more powerful than their fear of us. We decided to go ahead and bring them in. We only want two of them... it is difficult to travel with pets.. but we didn't want to leave one. Feral kittens don't have a good life. Best we try to get it a home. We had said we'd wait to this weekend, no matter what - that if these guys were gone by then, then we'd go to a shelter. But we like these kittens! Earlier, when Brian and I had been watching the kittens as they contemplated leaping to their doom after momma cat, we decided that we really didn't want to take chances!

We weren't fully prepared, but we had a plastic container to contain them. Extra beach towels for cushion. A shallow box for the litter. And, most importantly, FOOD! They chowed down a whole envelope of soft food.

The kids were thrilled, and wanted to be able to hold and pet them, but they understand the need to move slowly. After our dinner, and after the kids went to bed, we gently let the kittens out to explore. They were very scared, but we gave them a little bit more food, and some peace. They quickly found a little fort under our counter, and spent some time under there, getting used to sights and sounds. At bedtime, Brad scooped them up and put them in the box. That's when they started mewing at us! Come back! Fortunately they calmed down and slept.

Kittens in the kitten corner:

... and to think that most people would waste this spot on a dishwasher?!

By morning, they were hungry enough for more food, and because they'd made a mess of things in the box, I let them out. They immediately went under the counter again - until time to eat - they are so messy that I have to feed them a spoon at a time or they'd end up wearing more than they'd get in their tummies! We decided to let them stay out as they had showed they could use their litter box well, but it was good that they stayed hidden as we got ready and did not get underfoot, yet.. The guys left for work and school. Honor was still asleep, another day home sick, although mostly recovered (finally), so I spent some quiet time alone, on the floor, talking to them and watching them play. They were curious, but kept their distance. The kids donated some little toys and the kittens appreciate it. Here's Ninja Cat practicing her attack skills - looks like we'll be ok if we're ever invaded by giant plastic spiders.

They play together - a lot! - and even toilet time can be a team sport. The big fuzzy guy was assaulted while using the box by a sibling who decided that chewing on his ear (or something) might be entertaining. Well, this turned into a 'poo incident' - a term that I do not have to describe to any parent, but for non-parents... let's just say this is not something a kitten could clean up by himself. He was highly decorated. Even though he was scared of me, I put some warm water in the sink, and gave him a very quick bath. He ran and hid as soon as I put him down, but amazingly enough, I was able to coax him out. I had a damp paper towel and started dabbing his fur like momma cat would wash him... and he loved it! Soon enough he was on my lap trying to climb up and rub his head on my chin. Even more amazing, the whitish cat decided her brother should not get all the love, and she climbed on my lap for a bath and snuggles too. The third cat was too scared. After that, we were buddies. And that rule about not having the kids handle the cats... yea... we forgot to tell the cats! By last night, all of the cats were playing with toys, and the two brave ones would climb on anyone sitting on the floor.

The two brave cats are incredibly sunngly too. They play, eat, bathe, play some more, then snuggle. Here's a photo of the pale girl having a wash on my lap, while her brother, who had been running around like crazy, decided to stop - half on, half off my leg - and fall asleep with his head in my hand.

This morning, we fed the kitties and sat with them more. They are so much fun to watch. Eventually they tired out. I caught the scaredy cat to wash off some food - like it or not - and she wasn't too traumatized. When the two brave ones lay down on my lap to rest, the little one lay down on a towel next to Honor. Honor started petting her, and she tolerated it. After a few minutes, play time started up again, and I became an obstacle course. Slightly painful to have kittens run up and down my leg! I was sitting on the floor with my legs stretched out and I only had thin pj's on (I'm definitely changing into jeans!) but I let them romp and torture me because this was the first time that the little scaredy cat wanted any human contact (not behavior I'll encourage in future though!). Soon enough she even came up for snuggles and cuddles, and when the whitish cat decided to attack my foot, the little one defended me and kept knocking her off. We're calling her 'Ninja cat' now.

We haven't named the cats officially yet. We called them Rosy, Posie and Thorn when they were still plants. Now that they are 'picked' and are housecats, we're trying to figure out who they are and what their official names will be. The whitish, pinkish, grey cat... not sure what color to say. She's the color of cinnamon sugar.... we've been calling Spooky, for her color and the season. But it doesn't fit her. She is the smartest and sweetest, so we'll see... The big fuzzy guy we've been calling Pumpkin because he's orange and roly-poly. But I'm thinking we ought to call him Hellboy, because he's the wild child of the bunch. He's the bravest and snuggliest, and the first one into trouble! Then of course, little Ninja cat. She's the most cautious and wary, but she's also a fighter and very adventurous. We're still deciding. I'd have posted a couple videos, but our upload speed is complete garbage right now. Maybe soon!

We took them to the vet today, the Vet Zone, and they were prescribed eye drops, given flea spray and collars, and had their nails nipped. They'll get their shots next week. The vet seemed to think they were healthy looking, and he guessed that they were about 6 or 7 weeks old. The kittens were a bit nervous when we opened their box, but the vet poured in some free sample kibble and it was pure kitten crack... good stuff! Yes, we bought some on the way out. Better for them anyway as all we've had to give them was adult food. We also picked up some jingle balls and a brush. They had some complaining to do when we got home, but are doing fine now. They got tons of pets, two curled up in their nest under the counter, and Pumpkin is asleep on Honor's lap on the couch.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The view from my window

Honor is still home with me today. Her fever seems to be getting better, but she still has a very stuffy nose and too big of a cough. She slept better last night. Unfortunately, she missed picture day at school, but I hope they'll have a make-up day. A lot of kids are sick these days and the school is very pro-active about checking kids and sending them home if they get sick. I am not sure if we will send Honor to school tomorrow. As it is, she can't talk without coughing, so even though she seems past the actual illness, they're likely to send her home. Probably good for her to stay home and rest anyway.

So what do we do with a sick, but feeling a bit improved, little girl? I sat her up on the kitchen counter and let her watch kitten tv, of course! All three kittens are up and playing this morning and are very adorable. They definitely look old enough to adopt, and all look very playful and healthy. They might, like many feral kitties, need a good bath and flea comb, maybe have drops prescribed for possible gunk in their eyes, and of course, they'll need shots, etc. but we're thinking that we'll be catching a couple of new furkids by Thursday or Friday this weekend. We want to go shopping so we'll have supplies on hand, have time to see a vet, and an opportunity to socialize with them.

We've been calling the dark orange kitten, 'Rosy' and the creamy-white kitten 'Posey', and the fluffier light orange kitten is Thorn. but as we do not even know their genders this may change. We could name the two we want to keep, Spooky and Pumpkin, since they're almost Halloween presents. Or maybe Fireball and Sparky.. they are quite active! We'll have to see.

Here's what we watched this morning:

I watched that Honor didn't get in trouble on the counter.

Posey is too little to climb the wall, but is thinking about it.

Kitten convention - all three come into the open.

Rosy and Posey, our favorites, and the potential adoptees (although it might be best that we catch them all - still considering that...)

and if that isn't enough cuteness for you, here's some live action adorability!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

And so the day starts

Honor is still fighting a fever and stuffy nose. I slept on the floor in her room again last night with my phone alarm set to ring every hour so I could check her temperature. I suppose that she is doing better because I only had to wake her once for medicine. The first night, I pretty much had to dose her every three hours, switching between Tylenol and Motrin, just to keep her fever down to a reasonable level. I was also making her drink a lot each hour. She was feeling ok yesterday, but tired. She’d get up and play awhile, then crash on the sofa… repeat all day. Her appetite and mood has been good too.

Last night, I gave her Tylenol at 8:30pm, which is (in our experience) the weaker of the fever reducers, because that was what was up in the rotation. I would have preferred Motrin as it lasts longer, but it was too soon. Still, I checked on her every hour and she was fine until 4:30am, when she had a fever of 101.5. I gave her the Motrin and lots of water… helped her clean her face because she was a crust  monster, and she went back to sleep.

I went back to my, now on auto-pilot, checking on her every hour schedule, which means that when my alarm to get Brian up and ready for school went off, I just stumbled out of my floor-pillow nest, checked Honor for fever – none – then went back to sleep! Good thing Brad had a back-up alarm set, although he is also used to me being on the ball and he didn’t get us up until 20 minutes before bus time! Amazingly enough, Brian got up, dressed, washed, etc. even ate breakfast; I got his backpack, lunch ticket, snacks and water bottles ready (I even started the coffee!), and we were out the door in time to sit around and chit-chat about things before the bus arrived. He joked that he had plenty of energy to move fast because he got to sleep in!

After Brian left, I went in and peeked out the window. The kittens were awake and playing. Rosy kept grabbing Posie’s tail and I thought they would tumble off the ledge! Silly babies! Yesterday I spoke with our bawwab and asked that he catch our gardener before he comes in to water the plants (we do not often see him) and ask that he leave the place where the kittens are alone so they will be safe. If momma cat does not move them, we may take two of the litter. We honestly cannot take all three. It is hard enough to travel with two, but cats need playmates in order to stay kitten-y as they grow. We worry about taking them too soon, but they look to be about 4-5 weeks (able to wean) and feral kittens face a lot of hardship. They also get wild if left un-socialized too long and it is harder to tame them. They look as big as Misty was when we were given him by a farmer who pulled him out of a hayloft and he did just fine. These kittens are walking around, ears up, eyes open, little tails straight up. They are MEOWing very loudly, and goofing off a lot in the nest. I have contacted a local vet who can see them as soon as we get them, and if momma cat does move these, he told me that he has some 6wk old kittens at his clinic that are ready to adopt.

Let’s see, what else? Brad’s gone off to work. I’ve read my email. I read some news. I cleaned up an exploding boiling oozing banana that was trying to take over the kitchen… it still had yellow skin, good camouflage, but had gone bad anyway. Most fruit goes off gradually, some just go evil. I checked on Honor – I kissed her to check her temp, and she woke up, but she just smiled at me and went back to sleep. 

I played some Not sure why I find it so addictive. It’s just one of those turn/time limited, ‘roll of the (virtual) dice’ chance game. As you win fights or buy items, you build your stats and strengths, etc. It’s not even animated. But I’ve been going in and rolling my ‘dice’ on this thing religiously all summer:

browser based mmorpg

After I got my post-apocalyptic brawl fix in, I had breakfast and coffee. I’ve written this post… and it’s now 9:30am. After the too little sleep I got last night – and that was after staying up too late - I really should be tired and should go nap while I can… but I am not tired. I bet I’ll be crashing this afternoon…

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rosy, Posey and Thorn

Last night, as I washed the dinner dishes at the sink, I heard a tiny - but very insistent - little kitten meow through the open window. This little critter really wanted its momma, and I mean, now! He kept calling and calling …and it sounded like he was right outside the window! I turned on the light and Brad and I went out looking, but we couldn't find the kitten anywhere... although I still heard him. The meows sounded healthy enough, so I figured mom must be on the job... but running late... so we went in.

This evening, as Brian was doing some homework, I heard it again. I looked out the kitchen window, and saw a little orange kitten yowling at his mom. Kitten was on a ledge on the wall, in the plants, and mom was on the ground looking up at him as if to say, "Come on! How can I go make dinner if you keep calling me over here??" (I know that look, as I wear it myself at times). I couldn't get a photo because the sun was going down and I was afraid the cats would be afraid if I used a flash, so I brought in a professional sketch artist: kitnest

(ok, maybe not exactly professional…)

Anyway, Brian and I saw 2 kittens up there. One was creamy orange and tiger-striped, the other was darker (he was more shy and stayed hidden – maybe grey, maybe a darker orange), and somehow, we came up with Rosy and Posey for names. What else do you call colorful plant kittens? I carried Honor to the window so she could see too, but she quickly went back to bed… she’s sick (again) today, was running 103.8F fever, and wanted to sleep. Brad came home and, having the benefit of height, saw that there was one more kitten in the back of the nest. Later at dinner, Honor named the third one Thorn. The kittens look barely old enough to have their eyes open, but are definitely big enough to holler when they want momma! If I get a chance, I’ll try to get a photo during the day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Four Foods On Friday 92

Meme by valmg ; Here’s this week’s questions.


I haven’t played this meme in awhile!

  1. Name something you like with pumpkin in it.
  2. Name an orange food you like.
  3. What’s your favorite color/flavor of licorice?
  4. What’s your favorite hot beverage at Halloween.
Here are my answers:
  1. Pumpkin bread
  2. Oranges (I was going to say Circus Peanuts, but I have to be in the mood for those - one of those odd craving type foods)
  3. You know the little handful of anise, fennel seeds, and a few crunchy bits of rock sugar that is scooped into your palm as a breath cleanser when you leave a good Indian restaurant? That.
  4. Mulled wine

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kitchen View

I was looking at my counter last night… probably zoning out a little as I was kinda tired… and noticed that I had an odd assortment of goods sitting there.

Olive oil, coconut milk, tropical fruit Tang mix, Corn meal, spices, syrup and Biryani Rice mix.  Quite a random and cosmopolitan little gathering.


I’ve been enjoying the local grocery stores because I can pretty much get whatever food I want. And I can buy feta and halloum cheese by the half kilo chunk!


I get to experiment with new (to me) canned convenience foods…


And find recipes on the packages of snacks that I am used to, that are geared for the local tastes (and the above-mentioned canned convenience food!)  Mmmm!


After a summer of living in a kitchen that had to be stocked for a few days at a time, as we were never certain of our schedule, I am back to buying rice in big bags.


And I am building up my spice supply. I need to get a good set of bottles, but in the meantime these disposable ziploc containers work fine. Honor labeled them for me.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

They Decorate my Life

I am pretty sure that life before kids was black & white, way too stark, and absolutely mind-blowingly boring. I like to craft and create, and am very happy to see that I’ve managed to pass on this trait. Our kids – who are free to be artistic and spread their creations through the house (within reason) as we do not separate “kids’ rooms” from any other area of our home – add a magical touch that never ceases to amaze and surprise me.

I enjoy finding their art, tableaus, dioramas, forts, etc. around the house, as much as I enjoy their playing, joking and dressing up.  Especially when I find it on accident – I open a cabinet, or look under a dresser, and find a bunch of critters gathered for some important meeting or other event… usually with carefully arranged props and other useful items. For example:

We have a nest of dragons congregating in the empty entertainment center.  (Yes, I am the crocheter who made the scarves and sombrero for the dragons – wouldn’t want them to get cold now would we?)


A cave full of cats (and one dragon)


Polar expedition practice


Mythological creatures who take their reading homework very seriously.


And my favorite. The offerings upon the altar of mom. The altar is my bedside table, and … I don’t even know when it started?! Ever since forever? Since both were very tiny. I often find little presents next to my bed. Sometimes they will sneak in during the day and place something for me to find at night, or they’ll get up early on a weekend – when we get to sleep in! – and set up little gifts for me to see when I wake up. Often it is one of their favorite toys that I get to borrow for a while. Sometimes I get notes. I have had arts and crafts of all sorts appear, including legos and water paintings on paper towel rolls.

The one in the photo below was placed, at first, beside my bed of pillows on the floor beside Brian’s bed when he was running a very high fever last week. I had to wake up every hour to check  on him because his temps were not staying down. He’d be at 102F at 9pm, I’d give him motrin, but by 11pm, he’d be back up to 103-104F! I was alternating Tylenol and Motrin for 48 hours to keep him comfortable. The first night, I definitely slept (not well) by his side and set my alarm to keep close track. The second night, he was somewhat more regulated and it ended up that I didn’t have to wake him for medicine as much, but he had still wanted me to stay in his room, and even offered to re-make my bed. The kids went and got cushions from the sofa, my pillow, a blanket, and made up a nice nest for me on the floor. They added some soft toys so I would have company, and Honor also left this little offering of treasures to one side:


A cool rock, two quarters (one US and one Canadian), and a paperclip bent into a ‘snake’. I tried to give it back to her the next day, but somehow, it is back on my ‘altar’ again.

I love these little tokens of love! Although, I love the kids who present them, and who make our home and lives full of surprises and unconventional decor, even more. 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Flowers and green

Usually, I have to browse other people’s blogs for a glimpse of green trees, pretty garden flowers, and other mementos of nature that we had been deprived of during our 5 years of living in a third floor apartment with balconies so sun-blasted it was a minor miracle that I managed to keep any plant alive. But now, we have our own bit of green. I went out and snapped some photos the other day as it rained… it looked so cool and inviting that I could not resist. I meant to post these earlier, but we have been fighting a flu here the past week and I’ve been a bit too tired to write. We’re recovered finally, and so here I am.

Here comes the rain.


The view from my kitchen sink… I’m thinking that a pretty potted plant would go nicely in that little hole in the wall.


The wall on the property border/patio. It’s pretty enough anyway, but I love the vines and plants decorating it.


Another view of the ivy.


Of course, we must have bougainvillea. There are a number of plants of different colors along the walls.


The wall and patio, heading to the grass. Another aspect of this garden that I find amazing, is that this is probably the first time we’ve moved into a house with an established garden, that hasn’t been neglected for years and years. We’ve either had NO garden, or a garden that had to be dug out of jungle and/or otherwise rescued. This garden is happy and healthy, and when the gardener who’d been working here before asked to keep his job, you know we said yes!


I should know the name of this shrub, covered in tiny daisy-like flowers… and I think I do… but I am not sure. My gardening skills are very rusty!


I should also know this one – I want to say that it is some variety of jasmine. Or related, or has a common name that has jasmine in it whether it’s related or not… but I could be totally wrong. I need to study!


There’s even a bit of fresh soft green grass for cooling our toes in! I think next year, I will get the kids some seeds to plant in the little bed at the end of this strip – in front of the trees. I saw some zinnias, other cutting flowers (easy to grow), and sunflower seeds at the store. Both kids had been asking for roses, but we’ve found that there are at least 12 established bushes in the garden already. Can’t wait until they come into season again next year. 


oh, and yes, the patio in the photo above is wet… I was wandering around getting rained on as I snapped these photos. I came in right before the skies truly opened up, but it was refreshing, and as I miss living in the rain, it simply felt good to feel the raindrops hit my skin. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Did I mention that it's hilly?

I read, before we got here, that Amman was located on hills, but what can I say? I am from Florida. Florida is flat. This is a new experience for me. Ok, not totally new. I have lived in hilly places before, but it has been a long time, and it's not my native habitat, so it feels new. Preparing myself mentally wasn't enough. The idea of living on hills is not quite the same as actually doing so. I am constantly caught by surprise as we drive around town. Round a bend, and we're looking out over a valley, round another and we're looking out at city, climbing up to the sky, far into the distance. It rained yesterday. We actually had quite the downpour (for all of 20 minutes!) and the water was rushing down our street, which is down a hill, in a bubbley stream. I guess it will take some getting used to, but I am enjoying the random sensory surprises I get as I catch these sights and am physically reminded, again and again, of the incredible variety of terrains our earth gives us as home.

One of my favorite views is from this bridge. Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to snap a photo with a good camera. These are from my mobile. I need to go there one day and see if there is a sidewalk so we can experience the bridge as pedestrians.